Bev. ’Tis here—and here—(Pointing to his head and heart.) And now it tears me!
Mrs. Bev. You feel convulsed too—What is’t disturbs you?
Lew. This sudden turn of joy perhaps. He wants rest too. Last night was dreadful to him. His brain is giddy.
Char. Ay, never to be cured. Why, brother!—O! I fear! I fear!
Mrs. Bev. Preserve him, heaven!—My love! my life! look at me!—How his eyes flame!
Bev. A furnace rages in this heart—I have been too hasty.
Mrs. Bev. Indeed!—O me! O me!—Help, Jarvis! Fly, fly for help! Your master dies else—Weep not, but fly! (Exit Jarvis) What is this hasty deed?—Yet do not answer me—My fears have guessed it.
Bev. Call back the messenger. ’Tis not in medicine’s power to help me.
Mrs. Bev. Is it then so?
Bev. Down, restless flames!—(Laying his hand on his heart) down to your native hell!— there you shall rack me—O! for a pause from pain!
Mrs. Bev. Help, Charlotte! Support him, Sir! (To Lewson)
Bev. What river’s this? I’ll
plunge, and cool me! (Flings himself upon the ground.)
O! ’tis a sea of fire!—Lift me! lift
[They raise him to his chair.
Mrs. Bev. This is a killing fight!
Bev. (Starting) That pang was well. It has numbed my senses. Where’s my wife? Can you forgive me, love?
Mrs. Bev. Alas! for what?
Bev. (Starting again) And there’s another pang—Now all is quiet. Will you forgive me?
Mrs. Bev. I will. Tell me for what?
Bev. For meanly dying.
Mrs. Bev. No—do not say it.
Bev. As truly as my soul must answer it. Had Jarvis staid this morning, all had been well. But pressed by shame; pent in a prison; tormented with my pangs for You; driven to despair and madness; I took the advantage of his absence, corrupted the poor wretch he left to guard me, and—swallowed poison.
Mrs. Bev. O! fatal deed!
Char. Dreadful and cruel!
Bev. Ay, most accursed—And now I
go to my account. This rest from pain brings
death; yet ’tis heaven’s kindness to me.
I wished for ease, a moment’s ease, that cool
repentance and contrition might soften vengeance.
Bend me, and let me kneel. (They lift him from
his chair, and support him on his knees) I’ll
pray for You too. Thou Power that mad’st
me, hear me! If for a life of frailty, and this
too hasty deed of death, thy justice dooms me, here
I acquit the sentence. But if, enthroned in mercy
where thou sitt’st, thy pity has beheld me,
send me a gleam of hope; that in these last and bitter
moments, my soul may taste of comfort! And for
these mourners here, O! let their lives be peaceful,
and their deaths happy! Now raise me.
[They lift him to the chair.