Jar. I had not the heart, madam. By degrees I brought him to himself. A shower of tears came to his relief; and then he called me his kindest friend, and begged forgiveness of me like a child—I was a child too, when he begged forgiveness of me; my heart throbbed so, I could not speak to him. He turned from me for a minute or two, and suppressing a few bitter sighs, enquired after his wretched family—Wretched was his word, madam—Asked how you bore the misery of last night—If you had goodness enough to see him in prison—And then begged me to hasten to you. I told him he must be more himself first—He promised me he would; and, bating a few sullen intervals, he became composed and easy. And then I left him; but not without an attendant; a servant in the prison, whom I hired to wait upon him. ’Tis an hour since we parted: I was prevented in my haste, to be the messenger of joy t’you.
Mrs. Bev. What a tale is this?—But we have staid too long—A coach is needless.
Char. Hark! I hear one at the door.
Jar. And Lucy comes to tell us—We’ll away this moment.
Mrs. Bev. To comfort him, or die with him.
SCENE IV. changes to STUKELY’s lodgings.
Enter STUKELY, BATES, and DAWSON.
Stu. Here’s presumptive evidence at least: or if we want more, why, we must swear more. But all unwillingly: we gain credit by reluctance. I have told you how to proceed. Beverley must die. We hunt him in view now, and must not slacken in the chace. ’Tis either death for Him, or shame and punishment for Us. Think of that, and remember your instructions. You, Bates, must to the prison immediately: I would be there but a few minutes before you. And you, Dawson, must follow in a few minutes after. So here we divide—But answer me; are you resolved upon this business like men?
Bates. Like villains rather—But you may depend upon us.
Stu. Like what we are then—You make no answer, Dawson—Compassion, I suppose, has seized you.
Daw. No; I have disclaimed it. My answer is Bates’s—You may depend upon me.
Stu. Consider the reward! Riches and security!
I have sworn to divide with you to the last shilling.
So here we separate, till we meet in prison.
Remember your instructions, and be men.
SCENE V. changes to a prison.
BEVERLEY is discovered sitting. After a short pause, he starts up, and comes forward.
Bev. Why, there’s an end then. I have judged deliberately, and the result is death. How the self-murderer’s account may stand, I know not. But this I know; the load of hateful life oppresses me too much. The horrors of my soul are more than I can bear—(Offers to kneel) Father of mercy!—I cannot pray—Despair has laid his iron hand upon