(Here WORM enters, and remains standing unobserved in the background.) It can be nothing real--'Tis but the terrible delusion of my over-heated blood.--When once the soul is wrapped in terror, the eye beholds spectres in every shadow.
LOUISA and WORM.
WORM (approaches her). Good evening, miss.
LOUISA. Heavens! who speaks? (Perceives him, and starts back in terror.) Ha! Dreadful! dreadful! I fear some dire misfortune is even now realizing the forebodings of my soul! (To WORM with a look of disdain.) Do you seek the president? He is no longer here.
WORM. 'Tis you I seek, miss!
LOUISA. I wonder, then, that you did not direct your steps towards the market-place.
WORM. What should I do there?
LOUISA. Release your betrothed from the pillory.
WORM. Louisa, you cherish some false suspicion-----
LOUISA (sharply interrupting him). What is your business with me?
WORM. I come with a message from your father.
LOUISA (agitated). From my father?--Oh! where is my father?
WORM. Where he would fain not be!
LOUISA. Quick, quick, for God's sake! Oh! my foreboding heart!--Where is my father?
WORM. In prison--if you needs must know!
LOUISA, (with a look towards Heaven). This too!----- This too!--In prison, said you? And why in prison?
WORM. It is the duke's order.
LOUISA. The duke's?
WORM. Who thinking his own dignity offended by the insults offered to the person of his representative-----
LOUISA. How? How? Oh ye Almighty Powers!
WORM. -----Has resolved to inflict the most exemplary punishment.
LOUISA. This was still wanting! This!--Yes, in truth--
I now feel that my heart does love another besides Ferdi