Father, I loathe this useless life of mine! I
action—danger—anything that stirs the blood, and brings oblivion.
Oblivion!—Nay, Diane, I have something happier to suggest than that. Time and circumstance commend to you a marriage. We owe our lives to the wisdom of a man who seeks your hand to-day.
The Marquis?—[After a pause.] I cannot marry, for I do not love him.
Then ’tis time you did.
No more, I beg of you.—It is impossible!
Impossible! When prompted by the wisdom of a father’s love? When your escape from peril and my peace of mind demand it?
I cannot argue.
Then at least explain.
Alas, I dare not.
You fear mere frankness with your truest friend?
[DIANE sinks into a chair and hides her face. The DUKE looks at her with suspicion.]
By heaven! You hide your face as though to speak implied dishonour.
No, no! It is not that!
Then why torture me with this concealment? Have I been cruel, or faithless as a father?
Then I claim a father’s sacred right to confidence. Give me one good reason why you refuse the man to whom we owe our lives?
I love another.
[After a pause.]
What matter, since we shall never meet again?
I understand at last!—’Tis Paul Kauvar!
[DIANE bows her head.]
So! The saviour of your father’s life is scorned for his betrayer! No wonder that you blush to own it! This makes my course more clear. The safest cure for this disgraceful love will be your marriage.