GUENDOLEN. Us two? If you spoke on reflection, and if I Approved your speech--if you (to put the thing At lowest) you the soldier, bound to make The king's cause yours and fight for it, and throw Regard to others of its right or wrong, --If with a death-white woman you can help, Let alone sister, let alone a Mildred, You left her--or if I, her cousin, friend This morning, playfellow but yesterday, Who said, or thought at least a thousand times, "I'd serve you if I could," should now face round And say, "Ah, that's to only signify I'd serve you while you're fit to serve yourself: So long as fifty eyes await the turn Of yours to forestall its yet half-formed wish, I'll proffer my assistance you'll not need-- When every tongue is praising you, I'll join The praisers' chorus--when you're hemmed about With lives between you and detraction--lives To be laid down if a rude voice, rash eye, Rough hand should violate the sacred ring Their worship throws about you,--then indeed, Who'll stand up for you stout as I?" If so We said, and so we did,--not Mildred there Would be unworthy to behold us both, But we should be unworthy, both of us. To be beheld by--by--your meanest dog, Which, if that sword were broken in your face Before a crowd, that badge torn off your breast, And you cast out with hooting and contempt, --Would push his way thro' all the hooters, gain Your side, go off with you and all your shame To the next ditch you choose to die in! Austin, Do you love me? Here's Austin, Mildred,--here's Your brother says he does not believe half-- No, nor half that--of all he heard! He says, Look up and take his hand!
AUSTIN. Look up and take My hand, dear Mildred!
MILDRED. I--I was so young! Beside, I loved him, Thorold--and I had No mother; God forgot me: so, I fell.
MILDRED. Require no further! Did I dream That I could palliate what is done? All's true. Now, punish me! A woman takes my hand? Let go my hand! You do not know, I see. I thought that Thorold told you.
GUENDOLEN. What is this? Where start you to?
MILDRED. Oh, Austin, loosen me! You heard the whole of it--your eyes were worse, In their surprise, than Thorold's! Oh, unless You stay to execute his sentence, loose My hand! Has Thorold gone, and are you here?
GUENDOLEN. Here, Mildred, we two friends of yours will wait Your bidding; be you silent, sleep or muse! Only, when you shall want your bidding done, How can we do it if we are not by? Here's Austin waiting patiently your will! One spirit to command, and one to love And to believe in it and do its best, Poor as that is, to help it--why, the world Has been won many a time, its length and breadth, By just such a beginning!
MILDRED. I believe If once I threw my arms about your neck And sunk my head upon your breast, that I Should weep again.