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The barnstormers; an account of the barnstorming of the barnstormers of the Barnville online

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RUPERT. Yes, dear one. But should he seek to
take thee from me, my heart will know no mercy.
Now await me here while I go to yonder hilltop


to light the signal-fire that will let my men know
we are within the forest.

ROSALIND. Oh, Rupert, I am afraid! Should
anything happen to take thee from me or me
from thee !

RUPERT. Fear not, dear one. Blow thrice upon
this pipe should danger threaten, and I will hasten
to thy aid. Adieu, my love.

ROSALIND. Adieu, dear one, and may you come
soon back to me.


ROSALIND. Ah, I am weary, for we have come

so far. I will couch me here upon this leafy bed,

and rest my weary limbs till Rupert comes. And

if, perchance, a gentle slumber steals my senses,

then in my dreams I'll see dear Rupert's noble

face. Oh, I am weary! Heaven guard me well.

Lies down at side. She is partly hidden.


steal in.

GROGERMERE. Sh ! Methought I heard a
noise! Ugh! I am afraid! Since we did lose
our guard I shudder when the wind sighs through
the trees.


CRAFTON. Brace up! Brace up! This is no
time for cowards! We deal with red-clad Rupert
and his band. 'Tis said they burn their captives
at the stake, like to wild Indians in the far new

GROGERMERE. I I I I well b-b-believe they
may! Oh, that I ne'er had left the castle gates!
Now Heaven keep us from their prowling bands,
and bring me safe again to Grogermere Hall!

CRAFTON. I doubt if ever you do see its walls

GROGERMERE. Oh oh s-s-say not so. I trem-
ble like a leaf. [He lets out a yell.

CRAFTON. Ha! Silence, fool!

GROGERMERE. I thought I heard a noise.

CRAFTON. Doth wish to bring all of Red Ru-
pert's band to haul us 'fore their chief? Another
sound from out thy coward throat, and like a
menial low I'll run thee through, and say thou
wert killed by Rupert and his band.

GROGERMERE. Have mercy pray! I I I am
so m-m-much afraid I know not what I do!

CRAFTON. Coward! Sit down. We must take
counsel here, and find some way out of our desper-


ate case. Should we fall into Rupert's hands, our
lives are worse than forfeit. If we are not killed,
he'll make of us low menials for his men and have
us serve them till we die.

GROGERMERE. You think he will not kill us?

CRAFTON. You, perhaps, he'll torture, since you
seem so much afraid. It hath ever been great
sport to torture cowards. Me well, perchance
my daughter will save me.

GROGERMERE. T-t-t- torture! Ugh!

CRAFTON. One way remains to escape the vil-
lain's hands. A league from here there is a hid-
den cave wherein an ancient crone hath dwelt
long since. Men know not when she came nor
whence. 'Tis said she ne'er will die, but lives
until some greater power shall break her druid
charms. We'll seek her out, and get some power-
ful charm, or, perchance, a demon guide to lead
us safely from the forest.

GROGERMERE. A witch! And how shall we
know she will not do us harm? She may e'en
change us into demons curst!

CRAFTON. We'll take our chances. Come, let's


They start across stage. CRAFTON stumbles
over the sleeping ROSALIND.

Ha! Ha!


CRAFTON. Silence, fool! 'Tis Rosalind herself!
And sound asleep. Give me thy scarf.

[Binds her arms.

ROSALIND. [Awakening Oh, Rupert, is it thou?
[Screams} My father! Grogermere! Lost! lam
undone ! But touch me not ! I'm his ! I'm his, I
say! For we are wed, and all your cruelty can't
take me from him!

GROGERMERE. Ha, ha! We'll see!

CRAFTON. Silence! [Seizes ROSALIND] Nay;
struggle not! Here, Grogermere, lend a hand.

ROSALIND. Help! Help! Oh, Rupert, help!

CRAFTON. [Stops her mouth] Nay; not so loud,
my lady, not so loud ! He cannot hear thee though
thou shout. We laid him low while sweetly thou
didst sleep, and death alone will bring him back
to thee!

ROSALIND. Oh, say not so ! Cruel man that thou
art! Dead? Nay! It cannot be. But if it's
true, then let me die! Oh, Rupert! Rupert!


CRAFTON. Here, take her feet! We'll carry her
to ancient Jglma's cave. Hell search long ere he
finds his lady there.

ROSALIND. Oh, Rupert! Rupert! Dead? Nay;
'tis a lie!

CRAETON. Ha, ha, ha! Revenge, revenge!
Exit all

RUPERT off stage sings.
RUPERT. Out of the forest I come, my love,
Out of the fair greenwood.
And I love thee, darling lady fair,
Who art fair as thou art good.
[Catts] Rosalind! Rosalind! [Enters] Rosalind!
Where art thou? Gone! Gone! Do my eyes
deceive me? Nay; there hath been a struggle.
'Tis her father and old Grogermere have done
this deed. [Blows thrice on pipe} Now come, my
men! We will win the lady back and punish her
rash captors. Oh, Rosalind! Rosalind!



JGLMA' s cave. JGLMA bending over a caldron.

JGLMA. Ha, ha! I weave a spell to hold quite


Whoe'er shall underneath its power be cast.
First, now, into this pot of boiling blood
I drop a wicked lie nipped in the bud.
I let it boil, and boil, and boil, and boil,
And in the caldron bubble, steam, and moil.
Ha, ha! Old Jglma knows to weave a charm
Of wicked worth, and muckle deal of harm!
Now thereunto I add a dried bat's eye;
The whiskers of a buzzing bottle fly;
The wriggling wiggles of a typhoid germ;
The sightless eyes of an earth-tunnelling


The thousandth leg from off a centipede;
The triple essence of a miser's greed;
The last life of a nine-lived black tom-cat;
A hangman's smile; an o'erfed monkey's fat;
And all of this with poison rank I cool,
For deadly poison is my rigid rule.
Ha, ha! And now the fire's blaze doth say,


That something vile and evil comes this way;
But all my charms defend me! There comes,


A something innocent, and good, and true!
Haste, all ye devils ! Come and aid me quick !
For goodness breaks my power, and makes

me sick.
A knock.

Who's there? 'Tis Jglma challenges! Be-

CRAFTON. A friend, sweet witch. Let us come
in, I pray.

JGLMA. A friend? Ha, ha! I have no friends,
they say!

CRAFTON. 'Tis one to whom thou oft hath sold
thy charms. Tis Crafton, lord of ancient Crafton
Hall. With me I bring Lord Grogermere and a
brazen maid I once did call my daughter. Much
do we need thy aid.

JGLMA. Devils help me! I do feel afraid!
Enter, I say, but seek to do me harm,
And each I'll wither with a deadly charm.


ROSALIND. Pray, what dread place is this?
Why do you bring me here? Heavens! That
vile-faced hag ! She makes me afraid. Oh, father
you whom I once loved, and who once loved me,
deliver me not into the power of this creature.

JGLMA. Ha, ha!

CRAFTON. Silence!

GROGERMERE. Indeed, sweet Rosalind, I I I
do fear her myself. She hath a most unlovely

CRAFTON. Silence, fool! Sweet Jglma, I do
come to see what thou canst do to break my
daughter's will. She hath eloped with Rupert
the Red Ranger, and swears that they are wed.
I told her we had slain him, but as we left the
copse where we had found her hiding, Rupert's
voice, tuned to a love-song, echoed through the
woods. Then, when my daughter knew that Ru-
pert lived, her obstinacy was doubled. My wish
is to wed her to Lord Grogermere. I come to
thee for some right powerful charm that will make
her look on Grogermere with favor.

GROGERMERE. For, troth, am I not a man to
win most any lady?


CRAFTON. Silence, fool! [To JGLMA] If she will
not wed him, then I leave the rest to you.
ROSALIND. Oh, father, mercy!
CRAFTON. Do what thou wilt with her. She
will no longer be mine.

ROSALIND. Father, have mercy! Let me return
to my husband. Deal with me less cruelly, father,
I beg of thee!

CRAFTON. Silence, girl! I will not hear thee

ROSALIND. Rupert, my Red Ranger, will yet
have revenge on all of you for this!
JGLMA. [Aside] Ha! Rupert! I do fear that


'Twas long ago foretold that when my power
Broke, and I faced my last, stern, reckoning


And all my magic from me far had fled,
Vengeance would come upon me clad in red!
CRAFTON. Come, come, a charm! Work with
thy magic on the maid.
JGLMA. Quite as you say, my lord. Yet I'm


Ha, my pretty, do not flee;


In yonder man I'll make thee see
Him whom thou dost love the most
In all the world's unnumbered host.
Close thy eyes, and when anew,
Yonder ancient lord they view,
Thou wilt find him perfect quite
For thy own true loving knight!
ROSALIND. I do not fear thy charms! E'en
magic cannot make me look on any man other
than Rupert and see in him one whom I love!
JGLMA. Ha! That name again!

But I will bind thee with a magic chain
That even Rupert cannot break.
Goes to caldron. Takes up some of contents
in hands. Sprinkles drops about ROSA-
LIND in a circle.

Thus from my magic pot these drops I take.
Ha, ha ! My lady, sweet, thou art bound fast !
And till I do release thee will it last.
ROSALIND. I cannot move! Oh, father, bid her
loose me from these cruel charms. Here am I fast,
chained by some unseen power. Oh, say the word
and have her set me free!

CRAFTON. Nay, girl, thou shalt not go hence
till thou goest as Lord Grogermere's bride.


ROSALIND. Then here I stay until sweet, wel-
come death shall free me.
Death I fear not. I fear not any danger,
While I am true to Rupert, my Red Ranger!
JGLMA. Ha, ha! [Makes motions at ROSALIND
with hands] Morpheus' bride thou art,
And slumbering, mine to use will be thy heart!

[She falls. JGLMA catches her.
JGLMA. Ha, ha! Old Jglma now may work her


And make her yours, Lord Grogermere, ere
the day!



FRIAR. A strange unrest disturbs my very soul,
a feeling that some strange thing's in the wind.
Pray Heaven it be not that harm hath come to
that brave lad and his fair Rosalind.

RUPERT. [Without] Father! Father!

FRIAR. Enter, my son! [RUPERT comes in] Ha!


What's amiss? Why these wild looks? Why this
unseemly haste?

RUPERT. Oh, father, she is gone! Rosalind!
My Rosalind!

FRIAR. Come, calm thyself and tell me all.

RUPERT. I left her but to light my signal-fire
to tell my men we were within the forest, and
when I did return, the maid had disappeared. I
called my men. We searched. The tracks were
plain. Lord Crafton and old Grogermere, the
villains, had found her resting and had carried
her off. But, worst of all, the tracks led plain
enough to that dread place the cave of Jglma
old. Oh, much I fear I ne'er will see her more!
My Rosalind! Entrance I sought. A wall of liv-
ing fire blazed up between the witch's den and me,
and through it, faint, I heard my lady call:
"Rupert, Rupert, my Red Ranger,
Come save me from this dreaded danger!"

FRIAR. Despair not! There may yet be found
a way to break the power of this dread druid
witch !

RUPERT. There must be found a way! Lord
Crafton seeks by charms to win his daughter's


heart from me and give it to old Grogermere.
E'en now she may have been so charmed that she
forgets her husband and on Lord Grogermere
looks and sees not what he is but what old Jglma
wishes her to see! Oh, Heavens! It shall not be!
That wall of fire old Jglma's charms the devil
himself I fear them not! For I will win my
lady back or die!

FRIAR. Nay, nay, my son, be not so hasty. I
think, perchance, there is another way. Grows
there not there before old Jglma's cave a mighty
oak, 'fore which stands an altar rude, carved over
with the signs of druid charms, and on which
old Jglma daily burns an offering?

RUPERT. Ay, 'tis there! The altar shows the
marks of recent fire. The oak, a mighty tree,
spreads out its leaves and makes a shade at noon
like twilight deep. And men avoid the spot.
'Tis said strange ghosts do haunt it and strange
spells have fallen on those who rested 'neath its
shade. But what of this same tree?

FRIAR. Long ere I came to dwell within these
forest solitudes, in this same cell there lived an-
other man a holy man, deep versed in holy lore.


Well he remembered when within this wood the
druid mysteries were yearly held. Beneath that
oak was placed the altar where the highest priests
their human offerings slew and burned. He told
me ere he died that in that tree dwelt all the
power old Jglma exercised; that while the tree
lived on, old Jglma lived; that when it died her
power died with it and she likewise would die.
Now go, my son! Call all your men. Then arm
yourselves with axes and lay low that mighty
monarch of our forest glades.

RUPERT. It shall be done and Rosalind be

FRIAR. Stay! A moment! Take this flask of
holy water, for perchance it will be needed to re-
lease thy lady fair from any charms old Jglma
may have worked. Now go! My blessings and.
my earnest prayers go with thee!

RUPERT. How can I thank thee, father? Thou
hast saved us both! And Jglma shall no longer
rule these glades with her dread power. I go!
And Heaven help me win the day!




JGLMA' s cave. Rosalind still sleeping. JGLMA is
stirring the caldron. CRAFTON and GROGER-
MERE are together on opposite side of stage.

JGLMA. Ha, ha! My pretty lady, slumber still.
While the spell lasts on thee I'll work my


Sleep sweetly and in Grogermere wake to see
All of perfection that a man should be!
Ha, ha! Ha, ha! Ha, ha!
And you, who crouch there fearful 'gainst the


Fearing on thee my charms might hap to fall,
Come hither help me win for you the maid.
Coward that you are, of me be not afraid.
GROGERMERE. Jglma, sweet Jglma, harm me

JGLMA. Ha, ha! I hope thy creaking bones may


GROGERMERE. Oh, Jglma, Jglma, pity, mercy,

JGLMA. I doubt, coward, if thou livest to see
the day!


GROGERMERE. Heaven defend me! Deep I

curse the hour

That put me in this wicked creature's power !
JGLMA. Revile me not! Thou fool! I but as-

To find how much thou really wert afraid.
Come hither, now, take Rosalind's hand in

Thrice say: "Wake, lady, wake to be all


CRAFTON. Be not afraid, Lord Grogermere. I
am here to see that no harm comes to thee.

GROGERMERE. A strange, cold fear clutches
my very heart, and steals throughout my limbs.
Oh, that I ne'er had followed thee to Jglma's

CRAFTON. Come, come, man! Everything will
yet be well!
JGLMA. Ha! Hasten, fool, or troth, the spell

will break,

And other spells I will be forced to make!
GROGERMERE. Then I obey. And now I take
her hand. "Wake, dear lady, w-w-w-w-w-wake
to be all mine!"


JGLMA. [Screams] Ha! What is this! [Blows
of an axe are heard] A dagger strikes my heart!
I'm being murdered! Now is all my art
But useless quite! I am undone, I say!
Oh, druid gods ! Your help, your succor, pray ! .
[Screams] Ha! the blows! Each is at me, at


They kill my body, set my spirit free!
'Twill wander curst throughout eternal years!
Mercy! Have mercy! Spare me! Misery!


I am undone! My life, my oak-tree falls!
Oh, gods and devils! It is Jglma calls!
Stop them! Prevent the felling of that


They hear me not, and neither do they see!
The end hath come! The end! I die I
die ! Ha, ha ! Ye heavens, split with my last

cry! Ha! Ha! Ha !

All lights off. JGLMA goes screaming from the
cave. The sound of the oak-tree falling.
Wild noises.

GROGERMERE. Oh, Heaven, save us! What hath
happened? Are we, too, undone?


CRAFTON. Lost! Lost! The spell is broken!

We must flee!
It can be no other than Red Rupert who has

done this deed!
Come, Grogermere, draw thy sword and follow


Well fight our way, and yet we shall be free!
Both exit. Sound of fighting. Yells. Spot-
light on face of ROSALIND. RUPERT,
sword in hand, bursts into the cave.
RUPERT. Rosalind! Rosalind! Ah! Thank
Heaven, she lives. Wake, my dear lady, it is
Rupert calls ! She stirs not ! Is it death? Is this
pure light that round her like a halo spreads the
sign of a sweet spirit passing? Perchance she still
is under Jglma's charms, though that cruel hag
lies spent and lifeless quite, stretched by the fallen
tree that was her life. Ha! What foul drops are
these? A charm a charm! They circle her.
Perchance they hold her fast. Ay, she is fast!
I cannot move her though my strength is great!
Stay ! The holy water ! First, within the caldron
I will drop three drops. [Explosion in caldron}
Ha! The power of that vile hatchery of wicked-


ness is o'er! Now here about my lady on the floor
I make another circle. On her lips I sprinkle what
is left. She stirs, she wakes! Oh, Rosalind, 'tis
I thy Rupert!

ROSALIND. Rupert! Rupert!

RUPERT. Here am I, dearest lady, at thy side.
Now fear no more, for Jglma's power is broken
and Grogermere and thy father are captives.

ROSALIND. Oh, Rupert! Rupert! I am safe at

RUPERT. Safe always, for my love shall hold
you fast.



A forest glade. RUPERT and ROSALIND seated on
rustic chairs at rustic table. Rosalind is again
dressed as a girl.

RUPERT. At last, dear Rosalind, we find that
peace for which we long have wished. No more
must we those stolen moments sweet have as our
only meetings. Never again will Jglma work her
magic black against our love. Henceforth within


these forest glades we dwell, and peace shall be
our lot, and happiness.

ROSALIND. It seems, dear Rupert, almost like a
dream a lovely dream from which I soon may
wake to find myself a captive in old Jglma's cave,
or locked in some fast tower of Grogermere Hall.

RUPERT. Fear not, my loved one. It is true-
quite true. No more shall danger threat thee.
Thou art safe. But who comes here? 'Tis John
of Ardmore. Enter, we bid thee. And what
brings thee here?


JOHN. I come, my lord, to ask what's to be done
with those two prisoners taken in the fight when
Jglma's cave we stormed and did destroy.

RUPERT. Do they rest easy? Have ye done
my bidding and made them quite as comfortable
as can be here in our forest?

JOHN. Ay, my lord. But one says not a word
and only stares before him with a silent, fixed
stare. The other grovels 'fore each man he sees
and begs but that we spare him. Such a coward
methinks I ne'er have seen in all the years I've
ranged the forest.


ROSALIND. The other he is brave?

JOHN. He is a brave man, lady, though me-
thinks he now repents him of the wrongs he's done,
or else the blackness of his heart may come from
disappointment deep, and longing deeper still to
yet attain revenge for capture. Sometimes, when
alone, he mutters to himself. Again he calls the
other captive coward and fool, a grovelling weak-
ling not e'en fit to die, and so in truth this other
captive is. We have sent the worthy Friar Jo-
seph to them to see if holy consolation may ease
their present pain.

ROSALIND. Oh, Rupert, though my father hath
been cruel, though he hath done against us all a
man could do, yet now I would that we might
show him mercy, for never will I joy in this, our
joy, as fully as I might, if, like a cloud, his misery
casts a shadow over all. Grogermere I grieve not
for. Unworthy he of pity or of love. But Craf-
ton is a man of bravery, and in happier times he
was a kind and loving father to me.

RUPERT. John of Ardmore, go and bring the
prisoners to us. Rosalind, to make your happi-
ness, which is my own, all that it should be, unto
you I leave the judgment of these prisoners.



ROSALIND. I thank thee, Rupert! Thou art
ever kind. And I shall seek to temper justice
with sweet mercy. We would not spoil our joy
by hurting any living thing and he is my father.
Though unnatural, cruel, and changed from him I
knew as father, still I do remember him as kind
to me when yet I was a child.

RUPERT. Do as thou wilt, sweet Rosalind.
Send him back free, but let him know that if
again he stoops to cruelty such as he oft hath
practised, we will raid his castle and leave not
one stone standing on the next.

ROSALIND. And Grogermere?

RUPERT. Him I ignore. Weak fool and coward,
he is not worthy death or punishment. The ter-
rors that beset him are enough. Send him back
to his castle. There, no doubt, he will brag that
he hath met and vanquished Rupert and his band.

ROSALIND. See 'tis Friar Joseph comes this
way. He comes alone; his mien is strangely sad.
Some dim foreboding says his news is bad.
Enter FRIAR.

RUPERT. Welcome, holy father.


ROSALIND. Welcome.

FRIAR. Greetings, my children, greetings. I do
come from the two captives, and I bring strange
news. When I entered the rude shelter where
they lay, Lord Crafton bid me come to him. The
man had changed. Upon a cot his body was
stretched out. His face was pale and drawn. He
drew me close. The smell of some strange stuff
was on his lips.

ROSALIND. My father!

FRIAR. Nay, my child, be calm. Whispering,
Lord Crafton did unfold a tale of his own cunning
and past cruelty. Know, Rosalind, that he is not
your father.


FRIAR. When yet you were a little babe in arms,
Lord Crafton and his men waged cruel war upon
your father, Gerald Vere de Vere. And when the
castle fell, all in it felt the sword, and thus met
death, save you, a babe of seven months. Crafton
was childless, so he bore you home, for Gerald was
his cousin, and some strange compunction seized
him when he saw you helpless in your cradle. He
reared you as his daughter, and was kind until


the question of your marriage rose. But he hath
now repented of his cruelty, for, as death stole the
breath from out him, he

ROSALIND. Death? Say ye death?

FRIAR. Death, my child, for he wished it, and
a phial of poison which he had with him brought
painless death.

ROSALIND. It grieves me sore.

FRIAR. Grieve not! He is at peace, for ere he
died he sought to right the wrongs which he had
done thee. Here I have his will, and unto you
he leaves his castles, land, and whole estate.

ROSALIND. I would I might have seen him ere
he died.

FRIAR. Grieve not, for he is gone. But seek to
feel that in his going he did much repent, and
ere he went he sought to right with Heaven the
wrongs of a most ill-spent, ill-lived life.

RUPERT. May he forgiveness find! Peace to
his soul! [The blast of a trumpet.] Ha! What is


JOHN. A messenger from the King.


MESSENGER. Know ye, my lord, whom men
have called Rupert the Red Ranger, the King
hath, on advice of all his lords, decided to restore
your titles, lands, and all thereto pertaining. He
hath found that grievous wrong was done thee
and now seeks to make full restitution. 'Tis the
royal command that to the court you come to
kiss his hand and there receive full pardon.
RUPERT. My thanks unto his Highness. I shall


But ever here, within these forest glades,
Will be my best-loved seat. Here shall I bide.
And here erect a castle for my bride.
Now Heaven be thanked that sees this happy

When justice, love, and mercy end our play!


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Online LibraryMax AleyThe barnstormers; an account of the barnstorming of the barnstormers of the Barnville → online text (page 12 of 12)