LADY MILFORD alone, in extreme agitation, gazing on the door by which LOUISA left. At length she recovers from her stupor.
LADY MILFORD. What was that? What preys so on my heart? What said the unhappy one? Still, O heaven, the dreadful, damning words ring in my ears! "Take him! Take him!" What should I take, unfortunate? the bequest of your dying groan—the fearful legacy of your despair? Gracious heaven! am I then fallen so low? Am I so suddenly hurled from the towering throne of my pride that I greedily await what a beggar's generosity may throw me in the last struggle of death? "Take him! Take him!" And with what a tone was it uttered!—with what a look! What! Amelia! is it for this thou hast overleaped the bounds of thy sex? For this didst thou vaunt the glorious title of a free-born Briton, that thy boasted edifice of honor might sink before the nobler soul of a despised and lowly maiden? No, proud unfortunate! No! Amelia Milford may blush for shame,—but shall never be despised. I, too, have courage to resign. (She walks a few paces with a majestic gait.) Hide thyself, weak, suffering woman! Hence, ye sweet and golden dreams of love! Magnanimity alone be now my guide. These lovers are lost, or Amelia must withdraw her claim, and renounce the prince's heart. (After a pause, with animation.) It is determined! The dreadful obstacle is removed—broken are the bonds which bound me to the duke—torn from my bosom this raging passion. Virtue, into thy arms I throw myself. Receive thy repentant daughter. Ha! how happy do I feel! How suddenly relieved my heart, and how exalted! Glorious as the setting sun, will I this day descend from the pinnacle of my greatness; my grandeur shall expire with my love, and my own heart be the only sharer of my proud exile! (Going to her writing-table with a determined air.) It must be done at once—now, on the spot—before the recollection of Ferdinand renews the cruel conflict in my bosom! (She seats herself, and begins to write).