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Till I knew you, wandering, alone, oppressed,
I wept and struggled, I had never loved.

Marion.- Poor Didier !"

It happens, however, that a regiment is stationed at Blois, the officers of which have, one or all, been admirers of Marion. One of these young sparks discovers the fair Lais's retreat and disguise, and Marion, to obtain bis silence, half confesses the purpose of both. We cannot go into every detail of the piece. Didier and Saverny, the young officer, meet, quarrel, and fight, immediately under a placard, which the Cardinal de Richelieu has had posted up, forbidding duelling, on pain of death to the parties concerned. The city authorities intervene, Saverny pretends to be dead, and is carried of by his friends; and Didier is conveyed to prison, whence Marion contrives to bribe his escape, and they fly together in disguise, among a company of strolling actors. We are now introduced to an old nobleman, the uncle of Saverny, who, in great distress of mind, is about to celebrate his beloved nephew's obsequies; Saverny himself having, with one of his brother officers, escorted an empty bier to the chateau, which bier was supposed to contain his body. Of course he is so disguised as not to be recog, nised by his worthy uncle, and trusts to time to reconcile the old gentleman to the cheat, when the Cardinal's displeasure at the duel shall be over, and the search everywhere making for Didier, the only person concerned who was supposed to survive, has ceased. At this very chateau is staying an emissary of Richelieu, who is on the look out for the fugitive Didier. Here he meets young Saverny, who knows nothing of him, and, under favour of his disguise, discusses the matter of the duel in all coolness with him ; and hither, as ill luck would have it, come the Thespians, and with them Marion and Didier. Among these strolling players, who are allowed to take up their quarters in one of the out-houses of the chateau, Saverny sees and recognises Marion, and, much puzzled at the circumstance of her appearing there, communicates it to Laffemas, Richelieu's emissary, who was on the point of leaving the chateau, to pursue his quest of the unfortunate Didier. This, however, fatally alters his purpose. He insists upon seeing the whole troop, and to the agony of Marion, and the consternation of poor Saverny, who was unaware of the mischief he was causing, presently discovers the sham actor among the real mimes, and claims Didier as his prisoner. But Saverny had inflicted a far deeper wound on his former rival. In indicating Marion to Laffemas, the young gallant had shown a picture of her, which he wore round his neck, and which Didier, then standing in the back ground, had also seen. This leads to a dialogue between them, in which Saverny discloses to Didier the real character of Marion, of which he had supposed

him aware.

The enthusiast and her lover is at once precipitated from his high and holy faith, and beholds, in the object of his deep and pure affection, a disgraced and degraded being. We will translate the scene.

We should premise, that, at the very opening of the play, Didier, in a street affray at night, is the means of saving Saverny's life. After a few lines of mere explanation, in which they account to each other, Didier, for not being, as Saverny thought him, in prison ; and Saverny, for not being, as Didier thought him, dead, in consequence of their duel ; Saverny, whose quarrel with him was the mere result of high spirits, and a few aristocratic airs on his own part, professes an honest regard for him, rejoices that they have both escaped so well the affair of the duel, and, remembering only that at their first meeting Didier had saved his life, asks him in return what he can do for him. Didier.-Give me that woman's picture which

you wear.
(Saverny gives it to him ; he looks bitterly at it.)
Yes, 't is her eye, her brow, her snowy neck,
And oh! her heavenly look ;-'t is very like!

Saverny.--D'ye think so ?

Didier.—Tell me, was it then for you
She had this picture taken ?

"Saverny. (Nods, then bowing to Didier).- It's your turn.
You are the loved the chosen among many,
The happy fellow.

Didier.-Am I not most happy!

"Saverny.-I wish you joy!—faith, she's an honest wench.
Her lovers are all men of family.
The sort of mistress one may be proud of.
'Tis a good boast, too, and tells prettily
To have it said of one,– He's Marion's lover.'

(Didier offers to return the picture ; he declines receiving it.)
No, keep the miniature ;-she's yours, and so
Her picture comes to you of right.
Didier.-1 thank you.

(He puts the picture in his bosom.)
Saverny.—That Spanish dress becomes her wonderfully.
And so you're my successor!- pretty much
As Louis succeeds Pharamoud, indeed;
For I was jilted for the two Brissacs,
Yes, faith, the two ;-why even the Cardinal,
And then D'Effat, and then the three St. Mêmes,
And the four Argentaux ;-oh, in her heart,
You'll be in the very best of company;
A little crowded - that's a trifle.

Didier. (aside.)-Horror !

Saverny.But pray inform me now,—to tell you plainly, "T is here believed that I am dead. To morrow, I'm to be buried. As for you, I take it,

You found some cunning way to cheat your gaolers ;
Marion has opened all the gates for you ;
Why your adventures must make up a history.

" Didier.-Yes, a strange history.

Saverny.--For your sake, doubtless, She smiled upon some archer of the guard. Didier. (with extreme vehemence.)—God's thunder ! dare you

think it! “ Saverny. - Well, what then? What, jealous ?- why the thing's fantastical. Jealous of whom? of Marion de Lorme! Poor wench ! pray now read her no homilies. Didier.- Fear not. (Aside.) Oh God! this angel was a

devil!”

We have quoted this scene, in order to give M. Hugo's own account of his heroine ; we now proceed with the story. Didier, disgusted alike with his mistress and his life, surrenders himself at once to Laffemas, and is about to be dragged to prison, when Saverny, thinking but that means to rescue him, comes forward, takes off his disguise, and avows himself alive, and not dead, to the infinite ecstacy of his poor old uncle, and the satisfaction of all present. But the malicious agent of the Cardinal's sanguinary will, instantly arrests him also, as guilty, since not dead ; and both the young men are carried to prison, to await the fulfilment of the sentence, which Richelieu's edict had proclaimed against duelling, that is, death.

The fourth act, which we should imagine tolerably dull on the stage, gives a clever, but rather exaggerated picture of the interior of the palace, and the state of slavery in which Louis the Thirteenth was kept by the ambitious and cruel Cardinal. Saverny's old uncle and Marion de Lorme by turns appear as supplicants for the duellists, and are both refused; the King not daring to reverse the Cardinal's sentence, though much inclined to do so. This inclination is carried to a climax, by the information given him by his sister, (who, by the by, is a most lugubrious personage,) that both the young inen were expert falconers; the King, among other graver lamentations, deploring the disuse into which the sport of hawking is falling. The jester takes advantage of his Majesty's merciful mood, presses the matter in every point of view, plays by turns upon his pride, his pity, his conscience, and his love of hawking, and finally, after many misgivings, obtains from the King the full pardon of both the young men, which he delivers to Marion.

In the fifth act we have the prison, and its inmates, the two young men. Drawn together by their common misfortune, their sympathy and tenderness for each other are very touching, and

the contrast between the light-hearted kindliness of Saverny, and the solemn and sad meditations of the heart-broken Didier, is exceedingly effective and affecting.

The old Marquis de Nangis, (Saverny's uncle,) bribes one of the gaolers to assist his nephew's escape ; but when the latter finds his companion is not to be rescued with him, he rejects the offer, and remains with Didier to abide the issue. At this moment, Marion arrives at the prison gate, and, showing the King's pass, is refused admittance. At the same instant Laffemas appears, and showing a pass from the Cardinal, the door flies open to him. Marion eagerly displays to him the pardon which she holds; and he unrolls before her eyes the revocation of it, signed by the King, a few hours after. Her despair then knows no bounds, and the wretch Laffemas takes advantage of it, to offer her as the terms of her lover's rescue, the same alternative which Angelo proposes to Isabel, in “Measure for Measure;" of course the reader's own mind will naturally suggest the wide difference between the women, as making all the difference in the transaction. However, it is consented to by Marion, who at length thus obtains access to her lover. She brings him a disguise, and offers him the means of escape ; these, however, he rejects, charging her with having deceived and betrayed him. While she entreats and he reproaches, the gun is fired which announces the arrival of the Cardinal to witness the execution. All flight is of course impossible now. We give the parting of Didier and Marion :

Didier.-(to Saverny.) My brother, 't is for me you're sacri

ficed,
Let us embrace!

Marion. (rushing towards him.)-He does not embrace me! Didier, embrace me too !

Didier. (pointing to Saverny.)- This is my friend, Madam.
Marion. (wringing her hands.)-Oh! hardly do you deal with
the

poor
Who, on her knees, of King and Judge implored
Your pardon, and now begs of you her own.
Didier. (about to leave her, suddenly exclaims.)-My heart

is bursting! No, no, 't is impossible
With a calm brow to bear this agony.
Oh too much loved ! thus to be left for ever,
Come to my arms ! death is at hand, - I love thee,
'Tis joy unspeakable once more to tell thee so !

Marion.—Didier !

Didier.—Come, thon poor lost one ! Speak, all of you,
Say, is there one amongst you, who could now
Shut close his arms from an unfortunate,
Whose very soul was given up to him ?
Oh, I have wronged thee ! Shall I die before thee

woman.

Unpitying, unpardoning? Oh, hear me!
Among all women, and all those who hear me,
In their own hearts approve of what I say;
She whom I love, she with whom dwells my faith,
She whom I worship, it is thou, dear, thou !
For thou to me hast been most kind and gentle.
Hear me; my knot of life is now untied;
I am about to die, and all things show
In their true light and colour to my eyes.
’T was thy exceeding love that made thee blind me,
And in this hour thy sin is surely expiated.
Ah! by thy mother, in thy cradle left,
Thou wert perchance, like me, a thing forsaken;
While yet a child, thy innocence was sold
By others ; lift thy forehead from the dust!
Bear witness all ; now, in this hour, when life
Fades like a shadow, and the lips are true,-
In this dark hour, my foot upon that scaffold
Which innocent blood doth make a holy place,
Mary, angel of heaven! lost on earth,
My love, my wife, oh hearken to me, Mary !
By that great God, towards whom death hurries me,

I do forgive thee!" Upon Marion's bitter lamentations, he consoles her by showing her how irrevocably his happiness was already lost ; and concludes by requesting this “ angel of heaven, his love, and wife," to remember him, when some other more fortunate lover shall approach her; and here the tenderness and pathos of the scene are again turned into a mockery, by this allusion to the woman's degraded character and situation. We strongly recommend our readers to contrast this scene with the conclusion of Heywood's

« Woman killed with Kindness”; in which an unfaithful wife, who is dying of the shame and sorrow of her sin, receives her husband's pardon. The old playwrights were not mealy-mouthed in the use of language ; but we cannot help thinking, that, in matters of morality, they beat the modern dramatists hollow.

T'hat a woman, who has been seduced from virtue, and forfeited her honour, should excite our commiseration, our sympathy, and eren, under some aspects, our admiration, is not impossible. But that a woman whose whole life has been a course of heartless and shameless profligacy should do so, is totally impossible. For a sin of passion there may be some circumstances, if not of excuse, at least of attenuation, to be found. But from a series of venal prostitutions, committed boldly in the world's eye, and gloried in with a spirit of the most abandoned levity, our moral sense, our human sympathies, our very physical nature, revolts in total disgust. A woman who has led such a life may be a fitting object for the di

vol. II. (1839). No. 11.

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