MILDRED. Thorold too?
GUENDOLEN. I have thought. First lead this Mildred to her room. Go on the other side; and then we'll seek Your brother: and I'll tell you, by the way, The greatest comfort in the world. You said There was a clue to all. Remember, Sweet, He said there was a clue! I hold it. Come!
SCENE I.--The end of the Yew-tree Avenue under MILDRED'S Window. A light seen through a central red pane
Enter TRESHAM through the trees
Again here! But I cannot lose myself. The heath--the orchard--I have traversed glades And dells and bosky paths which used to lead Into green wild-wood depths, bewildering My boy's adventurous step. And now they tend Hither or soon or late; the blackest shade Breaks up, the thronged trunks of the trees ope wide, And the dim turret I have fled from, fronts Again my step; the very river put Its arm about me and conducted me To this detested spot. Why then, I'll shun Their will no longer: do your will with me! Oh, bitter! To have reared a towering scheme Of happiness, and to behold it razed, Were nothing: all men hope, and see their hopes Frustrate, and grieve awhile, and hope anew. But I... to hope that from a line like ours No horrid prodigy like this would spring, Were just as though I hoped that from these old Confederates against the sovereign day, Children of older and yet older sires, Whose living coral berries dropped, as now On me, on many a baron's surcoat once, On many a beauty's whimple--would proceed No poison-tree, to thrust, from hell its root, Hither and thither its strange snaky arms. Why came I here? What must I do? [A bell strikes.] A bell? Midnight! and 'tis at midnight... Ah, I catch --Woods, river, plains, I catch your meaning now, And I obey you! Hist! This tree will serve. [He retires behind one of the trees. After a pause, enter MERTOUN cloaked as before.]
MERTOUN. Not time! Beat out thy last voluptuous beat Of hope and fear, my heart! I thought the clock I' the chapel struck as I was pushing through The ferns. And so I shall no more see rise My love-star! Oh, no matter for the past! So much the more delicious task to watch Mildred revive: to pluck out, thorn by thorn, All traces of the rough forbidden path My rash love lured her to! Each day must see Some fear of hers effaced, some hope renewed: Then there will be surprises, unforeseen Delights in store. I'll not regret the past. [The light is placed above in the purple pane.] And see, my signal rises, Mildred's star! I never saw it lovelier than now It rises for the last time. If it sets, 'Tis that the re-assuring sun may dawn. [As he prepares to ascend the last tree of the avenue, TRESHAM arrests his arm.] Unhand me--peasant, by your grasp! Here's gold. 'Twas a mad freak of mine. I said I'd pluck A branch from the white-blossomed shrub beneath The casement there. Take this, and hold your peace.
TRESHAM. Into the moonlight yonder, come with me! Out of the shadow!
MERTOUN. I am armed, fool!