Obi Melodrama: Act II, Scene 3

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A transcript of the scene

SCENE III.—A rocky passage, leading to Jack's cave. First Grooves. Stage dark.

(Music.—Enter ROSA, L.H., followed by JACK, at some distance.)

ROSA. I know not what impulse 'tis that leads me within this dreary cavern; yet twice methought a groan sounded faintly on my ear. Oh, Orford! should this be the abode of Karfa!

(turns suddenly round and sees JACK watching her. Screams violently and attempts to fly, but is seized by JACK.)

JACK. Why, how now, boy? Enter you my dwelling with bad intent that the presence of the owner thus alarms you?

ROSA. With no ill intent, I do assure you. I merely sought a shelter from the storm, that is over, accept this, (offering purse with her left hand.)—this trifling recompense, and let me pass. (attempting to cross to L.H.)

JACK. What, to tell the white man you have discovered the abode of Karfa? No, no—this cave you never quit with life.

ROSA. (falling on her knees.) Mercy, mercy!

JACK. Nay, fear nothing, boy; attempt not flight, and you are safe. Here you shall attend on my wants. Come, come, do not tremble so; you have doubtless heard of Karfa's cruelties; but know, it is not merely thirst of blood that fires me,—a nobler passion nerves my arm—vengeance!

ROSA. Vengeance! on whom?

JACK. On the planter, Ormond! Should he or any of his accursed race fall within my power, the most lingering torments nature can endure shall speak my hate! One blow is struck, and the nuptial song is changed to the lament of death.

ROSA. Good heavens!

JACK. Nay, fear not, I have promised you life, and Karfa's word is as his hate—unalterable! Nor wilt thou be so lonely as perchance you think. You are not the only bird this trap encloses.

ROSA. (aside.) Merciful powers! then 'tis here that Orford—

JACK. Come, the night wears on, and I must show you all the splendour of my palace. Nay, nay, by your leave, I suffer not the eye of mortal to track the haunt where, like the tiger of his native deserts, Karfa crouches till fate places the victim in his grasp.

August 2002

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Praxis Series