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Col. (Running to join and assist them.) I'll get them, I'll get them: perhaps somebody may do the same kind office for me, one of these days. Oh! how I should like to be married ! [They place the table in C., and an arm-chair behind, for
Baillie, who sits, produces his ink-horn and papers, and arranges them.-Colin, who is extremely officious, is, to his great chagrin, checked more than once in his good offices.—Omnes appropriately group round
Baillie. Bai. Now, then, all is ready; where are the contracting parties?
Edm. [Taking Ernestine's hand.] Here.
Bai. Edmund Beauchamp, what bring you in marriage with Ernestine Dormeuil ?
Edm. My farm, my fields, my gold, my goods, all that I possess, all is Ernestine's.
Bai. And you, maiden ?
Ern. Alas ! sir, I can only give my heart, and that has long been Edmund's, and my dear mother's, who, with out a mother's right, has bestowed on me a mother's love, has supported me from infancy, to whom I owe my life, my all!
Dame M. [Crossing to, and embracing Ernestine.) Good girl! good girl!
Col. This is too touching! It melts my very soul: I was born for the wedded state-if Madame Gertrude would but- -it won't bear thinking of!
Bai. Nothing now remains but to sign the contract. Dame Michaud, as the adopting mother and nearest friend of the bride, Ernestine Dormeuil, you will sign first.
[Presenting the pen. Dame M. Laws! your worship, what should a poor body like I do with writing, -I can only make my mark.
Bai. "Twill be sufficient, it is good ir law; put your cross there.
[Dame Michaud signs. Col. (Looking over.] Why, dear me, you sign your name just exactly as I do mine, dame; but come, let me have a hand in the marriage, at all events.
Bai. Now the contracting parties. [Edmund and Ernestine sign the contract,-Colin each
time going to take the pen, but disappointed. Col. [Taking pen.] Now then me! What an interesting moment !
Bai. (Depriving Colin of pen.] Madame Gertrude, as nearest neighbour of the affianced, you will witness their betrothals.
Col. [With great mortification.] Why, then, my turn will never come.
Ger. [Speaking aside.] I sign the contract of his marriage with another?--Ungrateful-after all that has passed—but I betray myself. [She crosses to the table, signs, and goes back to R.] There, may you never repent your union !
[Aside to Edmund. Edm. Thank you, thank you kindly, cousin. Come, come, we must still be friends.
Col. If that had been our marriage contract that she's signed—but it won't bear thinking of. Mr. Baillie, would you, as a very great favour, just let me put my scratch in the contract, if it's only on the back. I should like to have a finger in the pie.
Bai. Oh! certainly-here, we'll put you in the left. hand corner.
Col. I shan't take up much room. [Signs.] Now I'm satisfied!
Edm. All then is completed, dearest! and we are affianced-to-morrow we meet, never to part again. Now, friends, in to the farm, and taste my humble cheer; then for the song and dance. My wedding eve must not be pass’d in sadness—and to-morrow[The Village Lad and Lass remove table, &c. into farm
house. Col. Will be the death of me. I shall never be able to live over to-morrow night! I'm convinced of it.
Bai. Madame Gertrude, give me leave[Takes Madame Gertrude's hand, and, with much cere
mony, conducts her into the Farm, L. S. E.- -Dame Mi. chaud und Villagers follow.- Edmund and Ernestine have retired a little up, R. Colin stops, disappointed.
Col. Eh! why, if she isn't gone off with the Baillie, while I was standing, talking. Heigho! what a way I (Colin stands, ..., lost in a reverie.-Edmund and Ernes
tine, imagining themselves alone, with evident satisfaction retrace their steps to the front of the stage. Edm. (R.) Ernestine, my beloved Ernestine! now that, for a moment, we are alone, let us seize the golden chance, and—[Sees Colin.] Eh ! Monsieur de Trop here?
Excuse me, neighbour, but Ernestine and I-a little.conversation--and-you-you know-are
Col. Yes, I know, I'm Monsieur de Trop; I know who I am-I can take a hint-two is company, that is when they're going to be made one, but not afterwards: three's no company! I know, I'll go and see if I can make one with Madame Gertrude, Heigho! was ever a little man so much in the way as I am? But it's all the fault of being singlesingle mep;are always in the way.Heigho! I must get married !
(Exit Colin into Farin, L. S. E. Edm. My own, my only love; now I can speak without restraint! Behold this ring, it was my mother's, the best of mothers-take it, you are now my affianced bride. [Puts the ring on her finger.) Take this bouquet, too : the preparations for our nuptials will force me at times to leave you ; let it be my representative, let it remind you of him who has no memory of aught but you.
Ern. Dearest Edmund, I will place it next my heart; that heart, love, in which you reign supreme, alune ! Want may assail, the world look coldly on us, kindred may fail, and friends estrange ; but here is one, love, who can never altero++Proof alike to wealth or woe, still fondly, truly thine !
Edm. 'Tis nobly, said-one kiss to seal the vow!
Ern. I will give it to your representative. (Kisses houquet.] Now, then, are you satisfied ?
Edm. I must be, till I am wholly yours. My bonquet must take my kisses for me-but, once yours
[Embraces her. Enler MADAME GERTRUDE, from Farm, followed by COLIN.
They advance, L. Ger. Very pretty, very pretty, indeed ! such liberties before marriage! I'm quite shocked to see such goings
Col. (L.) It gives me a bit of a turn. I wish I had been in his place though, nevertheless. [As ide.
Ger. You, who pretend to be such a pattern of virtue! sucb a mirror of modesty !--but I'll let all the village know of your doings, miss!
Edm. (Crosses to Gertrude.) Nay, pay, never frown, coz-come, come, you and Ernestine must be friends,
and so must we, too ; though you are not my wife, that's no reason you should be my enemy; let us live in good fellowship, let us be united.
Col. Ah, do! Madame Gertrude, let us be united.
Edm. Come, come, give me your hand, and your's, Ernestine—nay, I must have it-still sullen-come, Ernestine, love, you must make the first advance, then! [Draws them together, and puts their hands in each other.] 'Tis well done—now then, embrace !
Col. (L.) There's nothing but embracing! but deuce a hug do. I get-Oh dear me! I wish this marrying business was all over, it quite upsets me. I shan't be myself again for a twelvemonth! Why was I born-so inflammable? but I'm for all the world like a tinder-box!
Edm. Nay, I insist on it; there.--[Makes them embrace.] And now, then, to seal the reconciliation, and that there may be no jealousy at my embracing one and not the other, I'll embrace you both.
Col. And what am I to do? I'm like nobody again, I'm one too many here.—Oh, Colin de Trop! Čolin de Trop!
Edm. You, my dear fellow! you must do the best you an ; you must look on and see justice done. Now then, it's no use attempting to escape.
[Embraces Ernestine and Gertrude. Enter De Rosambert in a plain travelling-dress, fob
lowed by OLIVER, L. U. E. Ros. Holloa! what, two at a time? Oh, this is really too bad ; share and share alike, is fair play all the world over.
[Advances to Gertrude, L. Col. So it is, you're right there, Mister ; but I've no share at all.
Ros. You are certainly very fortunate, friend, to be on such good terms with two such-handsome girls at one time. A poor traveller Jike me would think himself too happy to be half so blessed.
[To Edmund. Col. I only want to be half so blessed, but I can't ! Edm. Rather familiar, methinks, for a stranger. [Aside.) You'll excuse me, sir, but, as this is a family party, and we have not the honour of knowing you, may I ask your business ?
Ros. Faith! I merely want to know the nearest road to the Chateau. Edm. [Going a little up stage and pointing off, R. V. E.)
This way: you see 'tis written up, “ Road to the Cha. teau.'
Ros. Is it far?
Ros. Indeed, six miles ! It is more than I had bar. gained for. I am somewhat fatigued, and
Edm. A fatigued traveller! Oh, that alters the case ; I shall feel but too happy if you will accept the hospitality of my humble farm ; we are somewhat crowded, it is true, for to-morrow I am to be married, but
Ern. (Courtesying.) Yes ; with me, monsieur.
Col. She is not to be married at all. I wish she was ; I am all ready—but it won't bear thinking of!
Ger. I, sir, thank heaven, am disengaged-am my own mistress, at your service, sir ! [Courtesies.
Kos. Umph! (To Edmund.] I thank you for your offer, my good friend, but I will not put you out of the way. (Looks and points at Inn.] Here is an inn I see! I will stop here ! [Edmund and Ernestine go up c.
Ger. With pleasure, sir–I can accommodate you. “The True Lovers' Knot,” sir. Here, Marcelline, Marcelline ! I say
(Going towards Inn-door. Ros. Eh! the mistress! So much the better, I shall .certainly not budge now.
Oli. [Saluting Rosambert à la militaire, and speaking aside.] Sir, sir, attention ; they will be waiting for us at the Chateau—it grows late !
[In a whisper. Ros. [Also whispering.] No matter, I shall stop here ! I am fatigued, and may not easily encounter better quarters !
Oli. But will they not be alarmed, at the Chateau ?
Ros. Well thought of-you shall go and prevent it! But hark'e, sirrah! not a word over your cups, that I am the proprietor of the Chateau—I would remain unknown-do you go and drink something for the good of the house, at my pretty landlady's; then on to the Chateau-mind, sir, don't let me be disobeyed--I have my reasons !
Oli. I'll take care, sir !
Ger. (To Rosambert.] Will your honour take off your travelling-cloak ? Why, Marcelline, Marcelline, I say ; we're going to have a dance on the green here soon; and, Marcelline ! why, where are you? [Calling