the curses of his subjects? (Makes a sign to the servant, who goes away with the jewel case.) Wouldst thou have me dragged to the earth by the dreadful weight of the tears of misery? Nay! Sophy, it is better far to wear false jewels on the brow, and to have the consciousness of a good deed within the breast!
SOPHY. But diamonds of such value! Why not rather give some that are less precious? Truly, my lady, it is an unpardonable act.
LADY M. Foolish girl! For this deed more brilliants and pearls will flow for me in one moment than kings ever wore in their richest diadems! Ay, and infinitely more beautiful!
SERVANT enters. Major von Walter!
SOPHY (running hastily to the help of LADY MILFORD, who seems fainting). Heavens, my lady, you change colour!
LADY M. The first man who ever made me tremble-- (To the SERVANT). I am not well--but stay--what said the major?--how?-----Oh! Sophy! I look sadly ill, do I not?
SOPHY. I entreat you, my lady, compose yourself.
SERVANT. Is it your ladyship's wish that I should deny you to the major?
LADY M. (hesitating). Tell him--I shall be happy to see him. (Exit SERVANT.) What shall I say to him, Sophy? how shall I receive him? I will be silent--Alas! I fear he will despise my weakness. He will--Ah, me! what sad forebodings oppress my heart! You are going, Sophy! stay, yet-- no, no--he comes--yes, stay, stay with me----- SOPHY. Collect yourself, my lady, the major-----
--FERDINAND VON WALTER. The former.
FERD. (with a slight bow). I hope I do not interrupt your ladyship?
LADY M. (with visible emotion). Not at all, baron--not in the least.
FERD. I wait on your ladyship, at the command of my father.
LADY M. Therein I am his debtor.
FERD. And I am charged to announce to you that our marriage is determined on. Thus far I fulfil the commission of my father.