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Macd. What avails sword or dagger against him ?
He is not to be wounded-he is -
But. (starting up)
Macd. Safe against shot, and stab and slash! Hard
Secur'd, and warranted by the black art !
His body is impenetrable, I tell you.
Dev. In Inglestadt there was just another-
His whole skin was the same as steel ; at last
We were obliged to beat him down with gunstocks.
Macd. Hear what I'll do.
In the cloister here
There's a Dominican, my countryman.
I'll make him dip my sword and pike for me
In holy water, and say over them
One of his strongest blessings. That's probatum !
Nothing can stand 'gainst that.
So do, Macdonald !
But now go and select from out the regiment
Twenty or thirty able-bodied fellows,
And let them take the oaths to the Emperor.
Then, when it strikes eleven, when the first rounds
Are pass'd, conduct them, silently as may be,
To th' house--I will myself be not far off.
Dev. But how do we get through Hartschier and
That stand on guard there in the inner chamber?
But. I have made myself acquainted with the place.
I lead you through a back-door that's defended
By one many only. Me my rank and office
Give access to the Duke at every hour.
I'll go before you—with one pointed-stroke
Cut Hartchier's wind-pipe, and make way for you.
Dev. And when we are there, by what means shall we
The Duke's bed-chamber, without his alarming
The servants of the Court; for he has here
A numerous company of followers.
But. The attendants fill the right wing; he hates
bustle, And lodges in the left wing quite alone.
Dev. Were it well over-hey, Macdonald ? I Feel queerly on the occasion, devil knows !
Macd. And I too. 'Tis too great a personage.
People will hold us for a brace of villains.
But. In plenty, honour, splendour.-You may safely
Laugh at the people's babble.
If the business
Squares with one's honour-if that be quite certain-
But. Set your hearts quite at ease. Ye save for Fer-
His crown and empire. The reward can be
No small one.
Dev. And 'tis his purpose to dethrone the Emperor ?
But. Yes !-Yes !--to rob him of his crown and life.
Dev. And he must fall by the executioner's hands,
Should we deliver him up to the Emperor
It were his certain destiny.
Dev. Well! Well! Come then, Macdonald, he shall
not Lie long in pain.
[Exeunt Butler through one door, Macdonald and
Devereux through the other.
Scene-a Gothic and gloomy apartment at the Duchess
Friedland's. Thekla on a seat, pale, her eyes closed. The Duchess and Lady Neubrunn busied about her. Wallenstein and the Countess in conversation.
Wal. How knew she it so soon ?
She seems to have
Foreboded some misfortune. The report
Of an engagement, in the which had fallen
A colonel of the Imperial army, frighten'd her.
I saw it instantly. She flew to meet
The Swedish courier, and with sudden questioning,
Soon wrested from him the disastrous secret.
Too late we miss'd her, hastened after her,
We found her lying in his arms, all pale
And in a swoon.
A heavy, heavy blow!
And she so unprepard! Poor child! How is it ?
(turning to the Duchess)
Is she coming to herself?
Her eyes are opening.
Coun. She lives.
Thek. (looking round her) Where am I?
Wal. (steps to her, raising her up in his arms) Come
cheerly, Thekla ! be my own brave girl!
See, there's thy loving mother. Thou art in
Thy father's arms.
Thek. (standing up)
Where is he? Is he gone ?
Duch. Who gone, my daughter ?
He-the man who utter'd
That word of misery.
O! think not of it,
My Thekla !
Give her sorrow leave to talk !
Let her complain-mingle your tears with her's,
For she hath suffer'd a deep anguish ; but
She'll rise superior to it, for my Thekla
Hath all her father's unsubdued heart.
Thek. I am not ill. See, I have power to stand.
Why does my mother weep? Have I alarm'd her ?
It is gone by—I recollect myself.
(She casts her eyes round the room, as seeking some
one.) Where is he? Please you, do not hide him from me. You see, I have strength enough: now. I will hear him.
Duch. No, never shall this messenger of evil
Enter again into thy presence, Thekla.
Thek. My father-
I'm not weak
Shortly I shall be quite myself again.
You'll grant me one request ?
Name it, my daughter.
Thek. Permit the stranger to be call'd to me,
And grant me leave, that by myself I may
Hear his report and question him.
No, never !
Coun. 'Tis not advisable-assent not to it.
Wal. Hush! Wherefore would'st thou speak with
him, my daughter? Thek. Knowing the whole, I shall be more collected; I will not be deceiv'd. My mother wishes Only to spare me. I will not be spar'd. The worst is said already: I can hear Nothing of deeper anguish !
Coun, and Duch.
Do it not.
Thek. The horror overpower'd me by surprise.
My heart betray'd me in the stranger's presence;
He was a witness of my weakness, yea,
I sank into his arms; and that has sham'd me.
I must replace myself in his esteem,
And I must speak with him, perforce, that he,
The stranger, may not think ungently of me.
Wal. I see she is in the right, and am inclin'd
To grant her this request of hers. Go, call him.
(Lady Neubrunn goes to call him.)
Duch. But I, thy mother, will be present-
More pleasing to me, if alone I saw him :
Trust me, I shall behave myself the more
Permit her her own will.
Leave her alone with him ; for there are sorrows,
Where, of necessity, the soul must be
Its own support. A strong heart will rely
On its own strength alone. In her own bosom,
Not in her mother's arms, must she collect
The strength to rise superior to this blow.
It is mine own brave girl. I'll have her treated
Not as a woman, but the heroine. (Going.)
Coun. (detaining him) Where art thou going? I heard
That 'tis thy purpose to depart from hence
To-morrow early, but to leave us here.
Wal. Yes, ye stay here, plac'd under the protection
Of gallant men.
O take us with you, brother.
Leave us not in this gloomy solitude