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Lady M. Who was it that thus cried! Why, worthy thane, You do unbend your noble strength, to think So brainsickly of things: Go get some water, And wash this filthy witness from your hand. Why did you bring these daggers from the place? They must lie there: go carry them; and smear The sleepy grooms with blood.
I'll go no more.
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on't again I dare not.
Infirm of purpose!
[Exit-Knocking with Whence is that knocking?
Re-enter Lady Macbeth.
Lady M. My hands are of your color; but I shame fo wear a heart so white. [Knock.] I hear a knocking At the south entry :-retire we to our chamber:
A little water clears us of this deed:
How easy it is, then!
Hath left you unattended—[Knocking.] Hark! more knocking:
Get on your night gown, rest occasion call us,
And show us to be watchers.
Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.
Macb. To know my deed, 't were best not know myself. [Knock. Wake Duncan with thy knocking! Ay, 'would thou could'st!
Morning came, and with it the discovery of the murder. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth made great show of horror, and surprise, and grief. Still, suspicion fell wholly upon them. Foolish had they been to suppose that for all they had taken the daggers from the guards, and had smeared their faces with blood, that these would be proofs of the guilt of these poor
"The servants loved their master too well to kill him," said the people. Besides, what gain could it have been to them to have him dead? No! they were not the murderers. The murderers were those who would be gainers by his death."
Duncan's two sons, feeling that Macbeth must have murdered their father with the hope of gaining the throne, and knowing full well that they too must be murdered before the throne could by right be Macbeth's, wisely fled the country. One put himself under the protection of the English court, and the other fled to Ireland.
Macbeth was now, indeed, king.
But were this
of the weird sisters had all come true. king and queen at peace in their new position? Did they even feel secure?
No; now that part of the prophecy in which Banquo had been told: "Tho' not yourself a king, yet shall thy children be kings,”—this disturbed the peace of the new king and queen.
It is of very little value," thought they, "to have stained our hands with blood and to have defiled our souls with crime, only to place the kingdom in Banquo's hands. We have but scotched the snake, not killed it. Banquo, too, must die-Banquo and his little son."
And so a great supper was ann nnounced, and all the thanes in the country about were invited, Banquo and his son Fleance with especial respect. But along the roadside by which Banquo was to come, Macbeth had stationed murderers, who were instructed to rush upon Banquo and Fleance and stab them. See that you do your duty well," said Macbeth, as he entered the banquet hall.
"Now good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both," said Macbeth with forced gayety. "If only Banquo were here, all the country's honor would be beneath our roof to-night. Where can the noble Banquo be?"
But only too well he knew that an hour before Banquo had been struck down by his own orders, and
that already in a ditch he lay, with twenty trenched gashes on his head.
"If only Banquo were here," said Macbeth again. moving towards his royal chair.
A start! a cry! and a look of horror spread over the wicked king's face. Trembling with fear, his voice almost strangled in his throat, he clutched at Lady Macbeth, saying:
"Oh, 'tis Banquo's ghost! he sits upon my chair!'
Brave man as Macbeth was, shrinking not to face the enemy in hottest battle, he now shrank trembling, his cheeks blanched, his eyes fixed, before this awful reminder of his crime.
"Shake not your gory locks at me, O ghost. You cannot say I did it!" cried he trembling with fear. "Gentlemen, let us rise," said Rosse, "His Royal Highness must be ill."
No, no! pray seat yourselves," cried Lady Macbeth, who knew all too well that Banquo's ghost might well appear, for, as was then believed, ghosts could appear.
My lord is often thus,
He will again be well; if much you note him,
You shall offend him, and extend his passion;
Then turning to Macbeth, she said in the scornful tone that had spurred her lord on to his great crime ·
Shame on you! Can you not be a man?"
Macb. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appal the devil.
Lady M. O proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear:
This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws, and starts,