The Witch of Edmonton – Act Three, scene three

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Enter DOG.

 DOG
Now for an early mischief, and a sudden.
The mind’s about it now.  One touch from me
Soon sets the body forward.

Enter FRANK THORNEY and SUSAN.

 FRANK THORNEY
Your request is out; yet will you leave me?

SUSAN
What?
So churlishly?  You’ll make me stay forever,
Rather than part with such a sound from you.

FRANK THORNEY
Why, you almost anger me.  Pray you, be gone.
You have no company, and ‘tis very early.
Some hurt may betide you homewards.

SUSAN
Tush, I fear none.
To leave you is the greatest hurt I can suffer.
Besides, I expect your father and mine own,
To meet me back, or overtake me with you.
They began to stir when I came after you.
I know they’ll not be long.

FRANK THORNEY
So, I shall have more trouble.                                                               [DOG rubs him.
Thank you for that.  Then I’ll ease all at once.
‘Tis done now.  What I ne’er thought on.  You shall not go back.

SUSAN
Why?  Shall I go along with thee?  Sweet music!

FRANK THORNEY
No, to a better place.

SUSAN
Anyplace, I.
I’m there at home, where thou pleasest to have me.

FRANK THORNEY
At home?  I’ll leave you in your last lodging.
I must kill you.

SUSAN
Oh fine!  You’ll fright me from you.

FRANK THORNEY
You see I had no purpose.  I’m unarm’d.
‘Tis this minute’s decree, and it must be.
Look, this will serve your turn.                                                      [Draws a knife.

SUSAN
I’ll not turn from it,
If you be earnest, sir.  Yet you may tell me
Wherefore you’ll kill me.

FRANK THORNEY
Because you are a whore.

SUSAN
There’s one deep wound already.  A whore?
‘Twas ever further from me than the thought
Of this black hour.  A whore?

FRANK THORNEY
Yes, I’ll prove it,
And you shall confess it.  You are my whore,
No wife of mine.  The word admits no second.
I was before wedded to another, have her still.
I do not lay the sin unto your charge,
‘Tis all mine own.  Your marriage was by theft.
For I espous’d your dowry, and I have it.
I did not purpose to have added murder.
The devil did not prompt me.  Till this minute
You might have safe returned.  Now you cannot.
You have dogg’d your own death.                                                                 [Stabs her.

SUSAN
And I deserve it.
I’m glad my fate was so intelligent.
‘Twas some good spirit’s motion.  Die?  Oh, ‘twas time!
How many years might I have slept in sin?
The sin of my most hatred too.  Adultery?

FRANK THORNEY
Nay, sure ‘twas likely that the most was past,
For I meant never to return to you
After this parting.

SUSAN
Why then, I thank you more.
You have done lovingly, leaving yourself,
That you would thus bestow me on another.
Thou art my husband, Death, and I embrace thee
With all the love I have.  Forget the stain
Of my unwitting sin; and then I come
A crystal virgin to thee.  My soul’s purity
Shall with bold wings ascend the doors of Mercy,
For Innocence is ever her companion.

FRANK THORNEY
Not yet mortal?  I would not linger you,
Or leave you a tongue to blab.                                                                 [Stab again.

SUSAN
Now heaven reward you ne’er the worse for me.
I did not think that Death had been so sweet,
Nor I so apt to love him.  I could ne’er die better
Had I stayed forty years for preparation,
For I’m in charity with all the world.
Let me for once be thine example, heaven.
Do to this man as I him free forgive.
And may he better die, and better live.                                                        [Moritur.

FRANK THORNEY
‘Tis done, and I am in.  Once past our height,
We scorn the deep’st abyss.  This follows now,
To heal her wounds by dressing of the weapon;
Arms, thighs, hands, any place.  We must not fail                                   [Wounds himself.
Light scratches, giving such deep ones.  The best I can
To bind myself to this tree.  Now’s the storm,
Which if blown o’er, many fair days may follow.      [DOG ties him, and exit.
So, so, I’m fast.  I did not think I could
Have done so well behind me.  How prosperous
And effectual mischief sometimes is.  Help, help!
Murder, murder, murder!

Enter OLD CARTER and OLD THORNEY.

 OLD CARTER
Ha!  Whom tolls the bell for?

FRANK THORNEY
Oh, oh!

OLD THORNEY
Ah me!
The cause appears too soon!  My child, my son!

OLD CARTER
Susan, girl, child!  Not speak to thy father?  Hah!

FRANK THORNEY
Oh, lend me some assistance to o’ertake
This hapless woman.

OLD THORNEY
Let’s o’ertake the murderers.
Speak whilst thou canst; anon may be too late.
I fear thou hast death’s mark upon thee too.

FRANK THORNEY
I know them both; yet such an oath is pass’d,
As pulls damnation up if it be broke.
I dare not name ‘em.  Think what forc’d men do.

OLD THORNEY
Keep oath with murderers?  That were a conscience
To hold the devil in.

FRANK THORNEY
Nay, sir, I can describe ‘em;
Shall show them as familiar as their names.
The taller of the two at this time wears
His satin doublet white but crimson lin’d;
Hose of black satin, cloak of scarlet.

OLD THORNEY
Warbeck, Warbeck, Warbeck!  [To OLD CARTER.] Do you list to this, sir?

OLD CARTER
Yes, yes, I listen you.  Here’s nothing to be heard.

FRANK THORNEY
Th’other’s cloak branch’d velvet black; velvet lin’d
His suit.

OLD THORNEY
I have ‘em already:  Somerton, Somerton.
Binal revenge, all this.  Come, sir, the first work
Is to pursue the murderers, w hen we have remov’d
These mangled bodies hence.

OLD CARTER
Sir, take that carcass there, and give me this.
I’ll not own her now; she’s none of mine.
Bob me off with a dumb show?  No, I’ll have life.
This is my son too, and while there’s life in him,
‘Tis half mine; take you half that silence for’t.
When I speak, I look to be spoken to.
Forgetful slut!

OLD THORNEY
Alas, what grief may do now!
Look sir, I’ll take this load of sorrow with me.                 [Carries SUSAN’S body.

OLD CARTER
Ay, do, and I’ll have this.  [Unties FRANK.] How do you, sir?

FRANK THORNEY
Oh, very ill, sir.

OLD CARTER
Yes, I think so, but ‘tis well you can speak yet.
There no music but in sound, sound it must be.
I have not wept these twenty years before,
And that I guess was ere that girl was born.
Yet now methinks, if I but knew the way,
My heart’s so full, I could weep night and day.                                                  [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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