Double Falsehood, or, The Distrest Lovers
By Lewis Theobald (1688-1744)
Act  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

Act III. Scene I.

Scene, The Prospect of a Village.

Enter Julio with a Letter, and Citizen.

Citiz. When from the Window she did bow and call,
Her Passions shook her Voice; and from her Eyes
Mistemper and Distraction, with strange Wildness
Bespoke Concern above a common Sorrow.

Jul. Poor Leonora! Treacherous, damn’d Henriquez!
She bids me fill my Memory with her Danger;
I do, my Leonora; yes, I fill
The Region of my Thought with nothing else;
Lower, she tells me here, that this Affair
Shall yield a Testimony of her Love:
And prays, her Letter may come safe and sudden.
This Pray’r the Heav’ns have heard, and I beseech ’em,
To hear all Pray’rs she makes.

Citiz.                                        Have Patience, Sir.

Jul. O my good Friend, methinks, I am too patient.
Is there a Treachery, like This in Baseness,
Recorded any where? It is the deepest:
None but Itself can be its Parallel:
And from a Friend, profess’d! — Friendship? Why, ’tis
A Word for ever maim’d; in human Nature
It was a Thing the noblest; and ’mong Beasts,
It stood not in mean Place: Things of fierce Nature
Hold Amity and Concordance. — Such a Villany
A Writer could not put down in his Scene,
Without Taxation of his Auditory
For Fiction most enormous.

Citiz.                                   These Upbraidings
Cool Time, while they are vented.

Jul.                                               I am counsel’d.
For you, evermore, Thanks. You’ve done much for Us;
So gently press’d to ’t, that I may perswade me
You’ll do a little more.

Citiz.                           Put me t’Employment
That’s honest, tho’ not safe, with my best Spirits
I’ll give’t Accomplishment.

Jul.                                    No more but This;
For I must see Leonora: And to appear
Like Julio, as I am, might haply spoil
Some good Event ensuing. Let me crave
Th’ Exchange of Habit with you: some Disguise,
May bear Me to my Love, unmark’d, and secret.

Citiz. You shall not want. Yonder’s the House before us:
Make Haste to reach it.

Jul.                               Still I thank you, Sir.
O Leonora! stand but this rude Shock;
Hold out thy Faith against the dread Assault
Of this base Lord, the Service of my Life
Shall be devoted to repay thy Constancy.          [Exeunt.

Scene II. Don Bernard’s House.

Enters Leonora.

Leon. I’ve hoped to th’ latest Minute Hope can give:
He will not come: H’as not receiv’d my Letter:
’Maybe, some other View has from our Home
Repeal’d his chang’d Eye: for what Business can
Excuse a Tardiness thus willfull?  None.
Well then, it is not Business. — Oh! that Letter, —
I say, is not deliver’d; or He’s sick;
Or, O Suggestion, wherefore wilt Thou fright me?
Julio does to Henriquez on meer Purpose,
On plotted Purpose, yield me up; and He
Hath chose another Mistress. All Presumptions
Make pow’rful to this Point: His own Protraction,
Henriquez left behind; — That Strain lack’d Jealousie,
Therefore lack’d Love. — So sure as Life shall empty
It self in Death, this new Surmise of mine
Is a bold Certainty. ’Tis plain, and obvious,
Henriquez would not, durst not, thus infringe
The Law of Friendship; thus provoke a Man,
That bears a Sword, and wears his Flag of Youth
As fresh as He: He durst not: ’Tis Contrivance,
Gross-dawbing ’twixt them Both. — But I’m o’erheard.          [Going.

Enters Julio, disguised.

Jul. Stay, Leonora; Has this outward Veil
Quite lost me to thy Knowledge?

Leon.                                      O my Julio!
Thy Presence ends the stern Debate of Doubt,
And cures me of a thousand heartsick Fears,
Sprung from thy Absence: yet awakes a Train
Of other sleeping Terrors. Do you weep?

Jul. No, Leonora; when I weep, it must be
The Substance of mine Eye. ’Would I could weep;
For then mine Eye would drop upon my Heart,
And swage the Fire there.

Leon.                           You are full possess’d
How things go here. First, welcome heartily;
Welcome to th’Ending of my last good Hour:
Now Summer Bliss and gawdy Days are gone,
My Lease in ’em ’s expir’d.

Jul.                                Not so, Leonora.

Leon. Yes, Julio, yes; an everlasting Storm
Is come upon me, which I can’t bear out.
I cannot stay much Talk; we have lost Leisure;
And thus it is: Your Absence hath giv’n Breeding
To what my Letter hath declar’d, and is
This Instant on th’effecting, Hark! the Musick

[Flourish within.

Is now on tuning, which must celebrate
This Bus’ness so discordant. — Tell me then,
What you will do.

Jul.                   I know not what: Advise me:
I’ll kill the Traytor.

Leon.                O! take Heed: his Death
Betters our Cause no whit. No killing, Julio.

Jul. My Blood stands still; and all my Faculties
Are by Enchantment dull’d. You gracious Pow’rs,
The Guardians of sworn Faith, and suff’ring Virtue,
Inspire Prevention of this dreaded Mischief!
This Moment is our own; Let’s use it, Love,
And fly o’th’ Instant from this House of Woe.

Leon. Alas! Impossible: My steps are watch’d;
There’s no Escape for Me. You must stay too.

Jul. What! stay, and see thee ravish’d from my Arms?
I’ll force thy Passage. Wear I not a Sword?
Ne’er on Man’s Thigh rode better. — If I suffer
The Traytor play his Part; if I not do
Manhood and Justice, Honour; let me be deem’d
A tame, pale, Coward, whom the Night-Owl’s Hoot
May turn to Aspen-leaf: Some Man take This,
Give Me a Distaff for it.

Leon.                             Patience, Julio;
And trust to Me: I have fore-thought the Means
To disappoint these Nuptials. — Hark! again;

[Musick within.

These are the Bells knoll for Us.— See, the Lights
Move this Way, Julio. Quick, behind yon Arras,
And take thy secret Stand. — Dispute it not;
I have my Reasons, you anon shall know them: —
There you may mark the Passages of the Night.
Yet, more: — I charge you by the dearest Tyes,
What-e’er you see, or hear, what-e’er shall hap,
In your Concealment rest a silent Statue.
Nay, hide thee strait, — or, — see, I’m arm’d and vow          [Shews a Dagger.
To fall a bleeding Sacrifice before Thee.

[Thrusts him out, to the Arras.

I dare not tell thee of my Purpose, Julio,
Lest it should wrap thee in such Agonies,
Which my Love could not look on. —

Scene opens to a large Hall: An Altar prepared with Tapers. Enter at one Door Servants with Lights, Henriquez, Don Bernard, and Churchman. At another, Attendants to Leonora. Henriquez runs to her.

Henr. Why, Leonora, wilt Thou with this Gloom
Darken my Triumph; suff’ring Discontent,
And wan Displeasure, to subdue that Cheek
Where Love should sit inthron’d? Behold your Slave;
Nay, frown not; for each Hour of growing Time
Shall task me to thy Service, ’till by Merit
Of dearest Love I blot the low-born Julio
From thy fair Mind.

Leon.                      So I shall make it foul;
This Counsel is corrupt.

Henr.                            Come, you will change.—

Leon. Why would you make a Wife of such a One,
That is so apt to change? This foul Proceeding
Still speaks against itself, and vilifies
The purest of your Judgment. — For your Birth’s Sake
I will not dart my hoarded Curses at you,
Nor give my Meanings Language: For the Love
Of all good Things together, yet take heed,
And spurn the Tempter back.

D. Bern. I think, you’re mad. — Perverse, and foolish, Wretch!

Leon. How may I be obedient, and wise too?
Of my Obedience, Sir, I cannot strip me;
Nor can I then be wise: Grace against Grace!
Ungracious, if I not obey a Father;
Most perjur’d, if I do. — Yet, Lord, consider,
Or e’er too late, or e’er that Knot be ty’d,
Which may with Violence damnable be broken,
No other way dissever’d: Yet consider,
You wed my Body, not my Heart, my Lord;
No Part of my Affection. Sounds it well,
That Julio’s Love is Lord Henriquez’ Wife;
Have you an Ear for this harsh Sound?

Henr. No Shot of Reason can come near the Place,
Where my Love’s fortified. The Day shall come,
Wherein you’ll chide this Backwardness, and bless
Our Fervour in this Course.

Leon.                              No, no, Henriquez,
When you shall find what Prophet you are prov’d,
You’ll prophesie no more.

D. Bern.                       Have done this Talking,
If you will cleave to your Obedience, do’t;
If not, unbolt the Portal, and be gone;
My Blessing stay behind you.

Leon.                                Sir, your Pardon:
I will not swerve a Hair’s Breadth from my Duty;
It shall first cost me dear.

D. Bern.                      Well then, to th’ Point:
Give me your Hand. — My honour’d Lord, receive
My Daughter of Me, — (nay, no dragging back,
But with my Curses;) — whom I frankly give you,
And wish you Joy and Honour.

[As Don Bernard goes to give Leonora to Henriquez, Julio advances from the Arras, and steps between.

Jul.                                      Hold, Don Bernard,
Mine is the elder Claim.

D. Bern.                    What are you, Sir?

Jul. A Wretch, that’s almost lost to his own Knowledge,
Struck thro’ with Injuries. —

Henr.                                Ha! Julio? — Hear you,
Were you not sent on our Commands to Court?
Order’d to wait your fair Dismission thence?
And have you dared, knowing you are our Vassal,
To steal away unpriviledg’d, and leave
My Business and your Duty unaccomplish’d?

Jul. Ungen’rous Lord! The Circumstance of Things
Should stop the Tongue of Question. — You have wrong’d me;
Wrong’d me so basely, in so dear a Point,
As stains the Cheek of Honour with a Blush;
Cancells the Bonds of Service; bids Allegiance
Throw to the Wind all high Respects of Birth,
Title, and Eminence; and, in their Stead,
Fills up the panting Heart with just Defiance.
If you have Sense of Shame, or Justice, Lord,
Forego this bad Intent; or with your Sword
Answer me like a Man, and I shall thank you.
Julio once dead, Leonora may be thine;
But, living, She’s a Prize too rich to part with.

Henr. Vain Man! the present Hour is fraught with Business
Of richer Moment. Love shall first be serv’d:
Then, if your Courage hold to claim it of me,
I may have Leisure to chastise this Boldness.

Jul. Nay, then I’ll seize my Right.

Henr.                                     What, here, a Brawl?
My Servants, — Turn this boist’rous Sworder forth;
And see he come not to disturb our Joys.

Jul. Hold, Dogs! — Leonora, — Coward, base, Henriquez!

[Julio is seiz’d, and drag’d out by the Servants.

Henr. She dies upon Me; help!

[Leonora swoons; as they endeavour to recover her, a Paper drops from her.

D. Bern.                                Throng not about her;
But give her Air.

Henr.              What Paper’s That? let’s see it.
It is her own Hand-Writing.

D. Bern.                         Bow her Head:
’Tis but her Fright; she will recover soon.
What learn you by that Paper, good my Lord?

Henr. That she would do the Violence to herself,
Which Nature hath anticipated on her.
What Dagger means she? Search her well, I pray you.

D. Bern. Here is the Dagger. — Oh, the stubborn Sex,
Rash ev’n to Madness! —

Henr.                                  Bear her to her Chamber:
Life flows in her again. — Pray, bear her hence:
And tend her, as you would the World’s best Treasure.

[Women carry Leonora off.

Don Bernard, this wild Tumult soon will cease,
The Cause remov’d; and all return to Calmness.
Passions in Women are as short in Working,
As strong in their Effect. Let the Priest wait:
Come, go we in: My Soul is all on Fire;
And burns impatient of this forc’d Delay.

[Exeunt; and the Scene closes.

Scene III. Prospect of a Village at a Distance.

Enters Roderick.

Rod. Julio’s Departure thus in secret from Me,
With the long doubtful Absence of my Brother,
(Who cannot suffer, but my Father feels it;)
Have trusted me with strong Suspicions,
And Dreams, that will not let me sleep, nor eat,
Nor taste those Recreations Health demands:
But, like a Whirlwind, hither have they snatch’d me,
Perforce, to be resolv’d. I know my Brother
Had Julio’s Father for his Host: from him
Enquiry may befriend me.

Enters Camillo.

                                          Old Sir, I’m glad
To ’ve met you thus: What ails the Man? Camillo, —

Cam. Ha?

Rod. Is’t possible, you should forget your Friends?

Cam. Friends! What are Those?

Rod.                                             Why, Those that love you, Sir.

Cam. You’re None of Those, sure, if you be Lord Roderick.

Rod. Yes, I am that Lord Roderick, and I lie not,
If I protest, I love you passing well.

Cam. You lov’d my Son too passing well, I take it:
One, that believ’d too suddenly his Court-Creed.

Rod. All is not well. [aside.] — Good old Man, do not rail.

Cam. My Lord, my Lord, you’ve dealt dishonourably.

Rod. Good Sir, I am so far from doing Wrongs
Of that base Strain, I understand you not.

Cam. Indeed! — You know not neither, o’ my Conscience,
How your most virtuous Brother, noble Henriquez,
(You look so like him, Lord, you are the worse for’t;
Rots upon such Dissemblers!) under colour
Of buying Coursers, and I know not what,
Bought my poor Boy out of Possession
Ev’n of his plighted Faith. — Was not this Honour?
And This a constant Friend?

Rod.                                I dare not say so.

Cam. Now you have robb’d him of his Love, take all;
Make up your Malice, and dispatch his Life too.

Rod. If you would hear me, Sir, —

Cam.                                              Your brave old Father
Would have been torn in Pieces with wild Horses,
E’er he had done this Treachery. On my Conscience,
Had he but dreamt you Two durst have committed
This base, unmanly Crime, —

Rod.                                   Why, this is Madness. —

Cam. I’ve done; I’ve eas’d my Heart; now you may talk.

Rod. Then as I am a Gentleman, believe me,
(For I will lie for no Man;) I’m so far
From being guilty of the least Suspicion
Of Sin that way, that fearing the long Absence
Of Julio and my Brother might beget
Something to start at, hither have I travell’d
To know the Truth of you.

Enters Violante behind.

Viol. My Servant loiters; sure, he means me well.
Camillo, and a Stranger? These may give me
Some Comfort from their Talk. I’ll step aside:
And hear what Fame is stirring.          [Violante retires.

Rod.                                     Why this Wond’ring?

Cam. Can there be one so near in Blood as you are
To that Henriquez, and an honest Man?

Rod. While he was good, I do confess my Nearness;
But, since his Fall from Honour, he’s to me
As a strange Face I saw but Yesterday,
And as soon lost.

Cam.               I ask your Pardon, Lord;
I was too rash and bold.

Rod.                          No Harm done, Sir.

Cam. But is it possible, you should not hear
The Passage ’twixt Leonora and your Brother?

Rod. None of All This.

Enters Citizen.

How now?

Citiz. I bear you Tidings, Sir, which I could wish
Some other Tongue deliver’d.

Cam.                                 Whence, I pray you?

Citiz. From your Son, Sir.

Cam. Pr’ythee, where is he?

Citiz. That’s more than I know now, Sir.
But This I can assure you, he has left
The City raging mad; Heav’n comfort him!
He came to that curst Marriage — The Fiends take it! —

Cam. Pr’ythee, be gone, and bid the Bell knoll for me:
I have had one Foot in the Grave some Time.
Nay, go, good Friend; thy News deserve no Thanks.
How does your Lordship?          [Exit Citizen.

Rod.                             That’s well said, Old Man.
I hope, all shall be well yet.

Cam.                              It had need;
For ’tis a crooked World. Farewell, poor Boy! —

Enters Don Bernard.

D. Bern. This comes of forcing Women where they hate:
It was my own Sin; and I am rewarded.
Now I am like an aged Oak, alone,
Left for all Tempests. — I would cry, but cannot:
I’m dry’d to Death almost with these Vexations.
Lord! what a heavy Load I have within me!
My Heart, — my Heart, — my Heart —

Cam.                                                   Has this ill Weather
Met with Thee too?

D. Bern.             O Wench, that I were with thee!

Cam. You do not come to mock at me now?

D. Bern.                                                         Ha? —

Cam. Do not dissemble; Thou may’st find a Knave
As bad as thou art, to undo thee too:
I hope to see that Day before I dye yet.

D. Bern. It needeth not, Camillo; I am Knave
Sufficient to my self. If thou wilt rail,
Do it as bitterly as thou canst think of;
For I deserve it. Draw thy Sword, and strike me;
And I will thank thee for’t. — I’ve lost my Daughter;
She’s stol’n away; and whither gone, I know not.

Cam. She has a fair Blessing in being from you, Sir.
I was too poor a Brother for your Greatness;
You must be grafted into noble Stocks,
And have your Titles rais’d. My State was laugh’d at:
And my Alliance scorn’d. I’ve lost a Son too;
Which must not be put up so.          [Offers to draw.

Rod.                                  Hold; be counsel’d.
You’ve equal Losses; urge no farther Anger.
Heav’n, pleas’d now at your Love, may bring again,
And, no Doubt, will, your Children to your Comforts:
In which Adventure my Foot shall be foremost.
And One more will I add, my Honour’d Father;
Who has a Son to grieve for too, tho’ tainted.
Let your joint Sorrow be as Balm to heal
These Wounds of adverse Fortune.

D. Bern.                                    Come, Camillo,
Do not deny your Love, for Charity;
I ask it of you. Let this noble Lord
Make Brothers of Us, whom our own cross Fates
Could never join. What I have been, forget;
What I intend to be, believe and nourish:
I do confess my Wrongs; give me your Hand.

Cam. Heav’n make thee honest; — there.

Rod.                                                         ’Tis done like good Men.
Now there rests Nought, but that we part, and each
Take sev’ral Ways in Quest of our lost Friends:
Some of my Train o’er the wild Rocks shall wait you.
Our best Search ended, here we’ll meet again,
And tell the Fortunes of our separate Travels.          [Exeunt.

Violante comes forward.

Viol. I would, your Brother had but half your Virtue!
Yet there remains a little Spark of Hope
That lights me to some Comfort. The Match is cross’d;
The Parties separate; and I again
May come to see this Man that has betray’d me;
And wound his Conscience for it: Home again
I will not go, whatever Fortune guides me;
Tho’ ev’ry Step I went, I trod upon
Dangers as fearful and as pale as Death.
No, no, Henriquez; I will follow thee
Where there is Day. Time may beget a Wonder.

Enters Servant.

O, are you come? What News?

Serv. None, but the worst.Your Father makes mighty Offers yonder by a Cryer, to any One can bring you home again.

Viol. Art Thou corrupted?

Serv. No.

Viol. Wilt thou be honest?

Serv. I hope, you do not fear me.

Viol. Indeed, I do not. Thou hast an honest Face;
And such a Face, when it deceives, take heed,
Is curst of all Heav’n’s Creatures.

Serv.                                       I’ll hang first.

Viol. Heav’n bless thee from that End! — I’ve heard a Man
Say more than This; and yet that Man was false.
Thou’lt not be so, I hope.

Serv.                            By my Life, Mistress, —

Viol. Swear not; I credit Thee. But pr’ythee tho’,
Take Heed, thou dost not fail: I do not doubt Thee:
Yet I have trusted such a serious Face,
And been abused too.

Serv.                      If I fail your Trust, —

Viol. I do thee Wrong to hold thy Honesty
At Distance thus: Thou shalt know all my Fortunes.
Get me a Shepherd’s Habit.

Serv.                              Well; what else?

Viol. And wait me in the Evening, where I told thee;
There Thou shalt know my farther Ends. Take Heed—

Serv. D’ye fear me still?

Viol.                            No; This is only Counsel:
My Life and Death I have put equally
Into thy Hand: Let not Rewards, nor Hopes,
Be cast into the Scale to turn thy Faith.
     Be honest but for Virtue’s sake, that’s all;
     He, that has such a Treasure, cannot fall.          [Exeunt.

Act  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5