Oh, Paul! Be charitable!
Charitable! To what?—Your father’s pride in the race from which he springs—the race whose iron rule for centuries stamped shame on honest labour—crowned infamy with honour—made gods of profligates and dogs of workingmen—ruining their wives—insulting their mothers—debasing their daughters, and sowing the seeds of madness in their veins?—Ah, Diane! when I face your father, ’tis not your husband who should blush for his race.
My father’s race is mine.—I forgot its glories, and atoned its wrongs in marrying you!—But I love, revere, my father still, and have hoped each day that he would come to love you for your saving care of me—and grow content to take you as a son.
Who knows—perhaps he will.
Ah, no! The more you do for me, the more his pride revolts, till now I dare not tell him of our marriage.
Diane—listen. The time has come when you must choose between us. I staked my life in saving yours, and his! He loves but little if he hesitates to keep the precious life I saved unmarred by sorrow.
DIANE. Well, then, so be it! Have your will! But oh, seek first his blessing for our love, before you tell him of our secret marriage.
My love for you will teach me tenderness for him. Go now and send him here.
Courage! All may yet be well.
[Exit DIANE. PAUL sits at desk wearily.]
Hateful humiliation!—to stoop in pleading for that already mine! But patience, Paul Kauvar; he is the father of the woman you adore.
[Entering and advancing to PAUL.]
One word before we part, good friend. I thought to leave this house without farewell, but I cannot be so cruel. I have learned that this is no longer a safe retreat. I am forced to seek one safer.
And where will you find one, Monsieur?
DUKE. I shall best serve you by keeping that a secret.
And does your daughter go with you?
Could you think that I would leave her here?
Certainly, Monsieur. If to stay seemed less perilous than to go. Why not let me replace you for awhile?