|Sullivan > Major Works > The Beauty Stone > Web Opera > Act II
From the arcade comes the sound of boisterous, mocking laughter.
DEVIL (as he enters, to those who are out of sight). Nay, nay, sirs! prithee spare them.
PHILIP (to the DEVIL). What's toward?
DEVIL (coming into the apartment). Sir, thy good gentlemen, in carelessness of spirit, do make jest of an aged couple here.
SAIDA (entering the apartment). Why, 'tis the weaver and his dame.
JOAN and SIMON enter from the arcade, resisting two attendant who attempt to put
LAINE (running to meet them).Ah!
SIMON (to PHILIP). Lord, we do entreat thee —
JOAN. We came hither with our daughter, and are mocked at by gentlemen, and served like thieves by these varlets.
PHILIP (to the attendants). Begone! (The attendants withdraw. ) (To JOAN and SIMON.) What would you?
SIMON. Naught but wait upon our child wherewhither she goes.
LAINE (to PHILIP). My lord, thou seest how 'tis. My father and mother are but poorly clad, which seemeth to render them food for laughter. I do pray that they too may be given fitting raiment, even as I, so that we may all dwell in the castle without being shamed.
JOAN andSIMON. Dwell i' the castle!
LAINE (embracing them joyfully). Yea, mother; yea, father; you and I!
LAINE talks to JOAN and SIMON apart. The DEVIL suddenly appears at PHILIP's elbow.
DEVIL. Ha, ha, ha!
PHILIP (to the DEVIL). Sir, thy mirth is unwelcome.
DEVIL. Nay, sir, I am most sympathetic. For truly I perceive what vexation is here.
PHILIP (heavily). I am not vexed.
DEVIL. Not now, sir — when thou art merry. Yet I vow 'twould anger me to see my kitten mewling after such a tom and tabby.
PHILIP (eyeing LAINE askance). Sooth, 'tis a fair flower to twine about so rank and common a bush.
DEVIL. Let not thine eyes be reminded of it. Come, sir, shall I aid thee in this business?
DEVIL. Wilt give me leave to dispose of these unsightly folk, to their comfort and thine own?
PHILIP. What, with thy purse?
DEVIL. I know not the plan, till I have argument with them. But wilt give me leave?
PHILIP. Nay — nay —
DEVIL (persuasively). Be counselled. Ugh, how they tumble her!
PHILIP (guiltily). Yea, then; as you list. (He turns away, and sits upon the throne-chair with his head bowed.)
DEVIL (to SIMON and JOAN). Come, weaver; hither, good dame. The lord Philip doth graciously charge me with the care of you. Follow me, most worthy people.
JOAN andSIMON (bowing low to PHILIP). We thank you.
LAINE (embracing them again). Oh, mother! father! (In their ears.) Sweethearts, I will steal back with you to the alley to-morrow and help break the loom into a thousand pieces.
DEVIL (impatiently). Come, come, come! (The DEVIL takes SIMON and JOAN away, on the left.)
LAINE (kneeling before PHILIP). My lord —
PHILIP (harshly). Sayest thou?
LAINE. My heart doth ache with very joy. (Bending over his feet.) Oh, my lord, my lord, my lord!
There is a distant sound of a blast of trumpets.
PHILIP (starting to his feet remorsefully). Ha!
GUNTRAN enters quickly from the arcade. He and PHILIP talk together in low voces.
GUNTRAN (to PHILIP). Hearest thou that?
PHILIP. Guntran — ?
GUNTRAN. Thy guests approach.
GUNTRAN. Those that have leave to lie here to-night, that set out at dawn to join with Duke John and William of Hainault at Flourines.
GUNTRAN. Aye! Wilt not go forth but a few steps to cry a welcome to these brave and true lords?
PHILIP (his head averted). See them and their following fitly honoured. (Sitting at the table.) I have no words for them.
There is another, but less distant, blast of trumpets. The DEVIL re-enters lightly,
GUNTRAN (to PHILIP). Thou hast no words for them! yet are they to be fitly honoured! Ugh, but thou'rt in the right, for these comers should be welcomed by one as gallant as they.
PHILIP. Peace, Guntran, lest I forget thy hold upon my heart.
GUNTRAN. Nay, prithee forget that too, that I may forget the love I once had for thee.
PHILIP (seeing the DEVIL and calling to him loudly). Count of Foscano! the game again! come, sir!
The DEVIL joins PHILIP at the table as the trumpets sound once more.
GUNTRAN (to PHILIP). Hark! they are nearer.
PHILIP. Peace, I say. (To the DEVIL — playing cards.) Sir Count —
GUNTRAN paces the apartment in rage and despair.
DEVIL (to PHILIP, in a whisper). Sir, a word. Be at thine ease; thou art rid of them.
PHILIP. What mean you?
DEVIL. The weaver and his wife.
PHILIP. Ah? the manner of their going?
DEVIL. E'en now they are being driven out by your varlets.
PHILIP. Why, sir, I did not charge thee so far.
DEVIL. Nay, sir, not you — (close to PHILIP) but I am apt at the reading of men's thoughts.
SAIDA (suddenly, to LAINE, drawing her to the window). Look! look!
LAINE (looking out). My mother and father!
SAIDA. Look still!
LAINE. Oh — ! there is one that strikes at them with a cudgel! Ah — !
SAIDA (gripping her arm tightly, and hissing into her ear). Yea, they are sent forth with blows. Now thou know'st thyself, know'st what thou hast become! Fool, to expect aught else from thy lord! thy lord, forsooth! thy lord!
The trumpet sounds finally, near at hand.
GUNTRAN (approaching PHILIP). They are without. Wilt not greet them?
PHILIP (to GUNTRAN). I am busily employed. (To the DEVIL.) Deuce-ace!
GUNTRAN (vehemently). Nay then, play out the night till bed-time with thy new-fangled, painted pictures — devil's playthings — !
DEVIL. Ha, ha, ha!
GUNTRAN. I'll to these lords and tell them how 'tis with thee!
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