Obi Melodrama: Act II, Scene 6

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Transcript of the scene

SCENE VI.—A wild and rocky dell. Stage half dark.

(Music.—JACK hastily descends the rock, dragging ROSA after him, R.U.E.)

JACK. The pursuit is vain. In these wild glens,—old nature's fortresses, which they fear to penetrate, I breathe again; and now, weak girl, the last moment of your life is come.

ROSA. You know me, then?

JACK. As Orford fell, one word escaped him—'twas joy, 'twas triumph! for it told me I had within my power the only child of the detested Ormond.

ROSA. Mercy, mercy!

JACK. You whites are ever ready to enforce for one another that civilized, that Christian law of mercy which our dusky children never yet partook of.

ROSA. Yet, for pity! Wreck not an aged father's hopes by the destruction of his child.

JACK. I had a daughter once; did they spare her harmless infancy? Where is my wife? was she spared to me? No! with blood and rapine the white man swept like a hurricane o'er our native village, and blasted every hope! Can aught efface the terrible remembrance from my soul, how at their lordly feet we begged for mercy and found it not? Our women knelt, our infants shrieked in vain, as the blood-stained murderer ranged from hut to hut, dragging the husband and the father from their homes, to sell them into bondage! No more, no more! the vext spirits of my wife and child hover o'er me like a holy curse, and claim this due revenge.

(Music.—JACK raises his dagger, and is on the point of springing upon ROSA, when QUASHEE leaps from a projecting rock, and interposes.)

QUASHEE. Stand back, Massa Jack! this lady good missee, and me no see her hurt.

JACK. Slave!

QUASHEE. Me no slave! me free! me gentleman, me Mr. Quashee now, and no care a button for you or Obi either.

JACK. Fly, and leave the girl with me, or thy life—

QUASHEE. Me see you dam first, massa. Fly, Missee, to high rock, and tell Sam to come here and help cut him blackguard head off.

JACK. One step, and she dies.

(Music.—ROSA flies to the rocks, and JACK springs after her. QUASHEE rushes between them, places himself upon guard, and stays JACK.)

QUASHEE. No hurry, Jack; all fair fight, and I'll bet my five fingers to your three I send you to your friend down stairs.

(Music.—JACK and QUASHEE fight. QUASHEE is disarmed, and falls on R.H., JACK is upon the point of despatching him, when suddenly, SAM jumps from the rocks at the back, saying, "No you don't massa Jack." A desperate combat of three, and JACK is severely wounded. Ultimately they all lose their swords, and a struggle ensues, QUASHEE falls, JACK pushes SAM upon his body, and holding them both down, draws his dagger, and is about to stab, when TUCKEY (who has appeared at back with a blunderbuss, but cannot fire for fear of hurting his friends,) fires, and mortally wounds him, he falls—SAM and QUASHEE recover their swords, and despatch him.)

QUASHEE. Oh! tank ye, Tuckey! just in time my man.

August 2002

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Praxis Series