|Sullivan > Major Works > The Beauty Stone > Web Opera > Act III
SAIDA. 'Tis but a beggar-maid that sings daily under the castle wall.
SIMON (rising and looking down at SAIDA guiltily). Lady — !
SAIDA (avoiding his gaze). Aye?
SIMON (his head bowed). This beggar-maid is the daughter of
old Simon Limal, the weaver; the daughter of the man I
was ere I became — (conscience-stricken.) Saints, what
SAIDA (rising and embracing him). My lover — my lover.
SIMON (repelling her gently). The song of the beggar-maid oppresses me.
SAIDA. Think not of her now, in the hour of our love. Fling her gold.
SIMON. That have I done, and she renders it back to the warder at the castle gate. 'Tis not gold she begs. Poor wench! poor wench!
He looks over the balustrade, while SAIDA taps her foot upon the
SIMON (turning to her). Lady, you speak sooth — the air is heavy.
The SENESCHAL returns.
SENES. Madam —
SAIDA. Say you?
SENES. There has ridden one into the town telling how that, upon coming of the Duke of Burgundy and the Count of Hainault, the rebel lord of Pieruels did raise the siege of Maestricht and fall upon Liege.
SENES. And that there a great and victorious battle has been fought.
SAIDA. Victorious! (Advancing to him.) My lord of Mirlemont — ?
SENES. Returns triumphant. The town buzzes with talk of his gallantry, and even now gathers an assemblage in the market-place to greet him honourably.
SAIDA. Triumphant! At what hour is he looked for?
SENES. Madam, at noon. (The SENESCHAL goes out, on the left.)
SAIDA (to herself). Triumphant! and returned! already!
SIMON (approaching her, gloomily). The lord of Mirlemont is for home. Then am I banished from thy side.
SAIDA. Sweet, I will plot to keep thee near me. Come, 'tis still a little time from noon, and the sun is hot. Let us, while we may, go within, and 'twixt sleeping and waking, whisper promises of love.
SIMON (passionately). Saida!
SAIDA (drawing back). Stay! but first show me this holy relic that thou hast upon thee.
SIMON (disclosing the stone). 'Tis here.
SAIDA (in a whisper). Come!
They go off together, on the right, her fingers toying with the
cord from which hangs
DEVIL (to himself). At last! I thought my jest had run its course, the booby was so prudent. (To JACQUELINE.) Little Jacques.
JACQ. (approaching him, with downcast eyes). Call you me, sir?
DEVIL. See you yon couple?
DEVIL. What make they?
JACQ. (with a sigh). Love, I ween — true love.
DEVIL. Ha, ha, ha! ho, ho, ho!
JACQ. Why, 'tis my lady Saida and the pretty youth! and while the lord Philip is away at the wars! Oh, shame! (Walking away.) I will look no more.
DEVIL. H'm, I had forgot you are a girl, little Jacques. 'Tis surprising, too, how modest ye are, remembering ye as I found ye. Lo, they have shut themselves within; you may turn your blushing face hitherward.
JACQ. (returning to him). Oh, do not scoff at me, dear master!
DEVIL (with a grimace). Dear master! (Venomously.) Dear puling, sighing, bleating sheep — for so you are become!
JACQ. Oh, prithee!
DEVIL (sitting, gazing in the direction in which SAIDA and SIMON have departed.) Bah! strike me thy lute and sing. Sing me a strain with mischief in it.
JACQ. Nay, I know no such strain. (Woefully.) I fear me I have lost appetite for mischief, master.
DEVIL. Sing, vixen! sing!
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