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Honeywood. Very true, sir, nothing can exceed, love, an abject intercourse between tyrants and the vanity of our existence, but the folly of our pur-slaves.
suits. We wept when we came into the world, Miss Richland. And, without a compliment, I and every day tells us why. know none more disinterested, or more capable of friendship, than Mr. Honeywood.
Mrs. Croaker. And, indeed, I know nobody that
Croaker. Ah, my dear friend, it is a perfect satisfaction to be miserable with you. My son Leontine shan't lose the benefit of such fine conversation. has more friends, at least among the ladies. Miss I'll just step home for him. I am willing to show Fruzz, Miss Oddbody, and Miss Winterbottom, him so much seriousness in one scarce older than praise him in all companies. As for Miss Biddy himself-And what if I bring my last letter to the Bundle, she's his professed admirer. Gazetteer on the increase and progress of earth- Miss Richland. Indeed! an admirer!-I did not quakes? It will amuse us, I promise you. I there know, sir, you were such a favourite there. But prove how the late earthquake is coming round to is she seriously so handsome? Is she the mighty pay us another visit, from London to Lisbon, from thing talked of?
Lisbon to the Canary Islands, from the Canary Honeywood. The town, madam, seldom begins Islands to Palmyra, from Palmyra to Constantino- to praise a lady's beauty, till she's beginning to ple, and so from Constantinople back to London lose it. [Smiling again. [Exit. Mrs. Croaker. But she's resolved never to lose Honeywood. Poor Croaker! his situation deserves it, it seems. For, as her natural face decays, her the utmost pity. I shall scarce recover my spirits skill improves in making the artificial one. Well, these three days. Sure to live upon such terms is nothing diverts me more than one of those fine, worse than death itself. And yet, when I consider old, dressy things, who thinks to conceal her age. my own situation,—a broken fortune, a hopeless by every where exposing her person; sticking herpassion, friends in distress, the wish but not the power to serve them-[pausing and sighing.]
Butler. More company below, sir; Mrs. Croaker and Miss Richland; shall I show them up? but they're showing up themselves. [Exit.
Enter MRS. CROAKER and MISS RICHLAND.
self up in the front of a side box; trailing through
Honeywood. Every age has its admirers, ladies. While you, perhaps, are trading among the warmer climates of youth, there ought to be some to carry on a useful commerce in the frozen latitudes beyond fifty.
Miss Richland. You're always in such spirits. Mrs. Croaker. We have just come, my dear Honeywood, from the auction. There was the Miss Richland. But, then, the mortifications old deaf dowager, as usual, bidding like a fury against herself. And then so curious in antiques! they must suffer, before they can be fitted out for herself the most genuine piece of antiquity in the traffic. I have seen one of them fret a whole morning at her hair-dresser, when all the fault was her face.
Honeywood. Excuse me, ladies, if some uneasiness from friendship makes me unfit to share in this good-humour: I know you'll pardon me.
Mrs. Croaker. I vow he seems as melancholy as if he had taken a dose of my husband this morning. Well, if Richland here can pardon you I must. Miss Richland. You would seem to insinuate, madam, that I have particular reasons for being disposed to refuse it.
Mrs. Croaker. Whatever I insinuate, my dear, don't be so ready to wish an explanation.
Miss Richland. I own I should be sorry Mr. Honeywood's long friendship and mine should be misunderstood.
Honeywood. There's no answering for others, madam. But I hope you'll never find me presuming to offer more than the most delicate friendship may readily allow.
Miss Richland. And I shall be prouder of such a tribute from you, than the most passionate professions from others.
Honeywood. My own sentiments, madam; friendship is a disinterested commerce between equals ; |
Honeywood. And yet, I'll engage, has carried that face at last to a very good market. This good-natured town, madam, has husbands, like spectacles, to fit every age, from fifteen to fourscore.
Mrs. Croaker. Well, you're a dear good-natured creature. But you know you're engaged with us this morning upon a strolling party. I want to show Olivia the town, and the things; I believe I shall have business for you for the whole day.
Honeywood. I am sorry, madam, I have an appointment with Mr. Croaker, which it is impossi ble to put off.
Mrs. Croaker. What! with my husband? then I'm resolved to take no refusal. Nay, I protest you must. You know I never laugh so much as
py. My dearest Olivia, what would I give to see addresses. I consider every look, every expression you capable of sharing in their amusements, and of your esteem, as due only to me. This is folly,
as cheerful as they are.
Olivia. How, my Leontine, how can I be cheerful, when I have so many terrors to oppress me? The fear of being detected by this family, and the apprehensions of a censuring world, when I must be detected
Leontine. The world, my love! what can it say? At worst it can only say, that, being compelled by a mercenary guardian to embrace a life you disliked, you formed a resolution of flying with the man of your choice; that you confided in his honour, and took refuge in my father's house; the only one where yours could remain without censure. Olivia. But consider, Leontine, your disobedience and my indiscretion; your being sent to France to bring home a sister, and instead of a sister, bringing home
Leontine. One dearer than a thousand sisters. One that I am convinced will be equally dear to the rest of the family, when she comes to be known. Olivia. And that, I fear, will shortly be. Leontine. Impossible, till we ourselves think proper to make the discovery. My sister, your know, has been with her aunt at Lyons, since she was a child, and you find every creature in the family takes you for her.
perhaps: I allow it; but it is natural to suppose, that merit which has made an impression on one's own heart, may be powerful over that of another.
Leontine. Don't, my life's treasure, don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter. At worst, you know, if Miss Richland should consent, or my father refuse his pardon, it can but end in a trip to Scotland: and
Croaker. Where have you been, boy? I have been seeking you. My friend Honeywood here has been saying such comfortable things. Ah! he's an example indeed. Where is he? I left him here.
Leontine. Sir, I believe you may see him, and hear him too, in the next room; he's preparing to go out with the ladies.
Croaker. Good gracious! can I believe my eyes or my ears! I'm struck dumb with his vivacity, and stunned with the loudness of his laugh. Was there ever such a transformation! [A laugh behind the scenes, Croaker mimics it.] Ha! ha! ha! there it goes: a plague take their balderdash! yet I could expect nothing less, when my precious wife was of the party. On my conscience, I believe she
Olivia. But mayn't she write, mayn't her aunt could spread a horse-laugh through the pews of a write? tabernacle.
Leontine. Her aunt scarce ever writes, and all my sister's letters are directed to me.
Olivia. But won't your refusing Miss Richland, for whom you know the old gentleman intends you, create a suspicion?
Leontine. Since you find so many objections to a wife, sir, how can you be so earnest in recommending one to me?
Croaker. I have told you, and tell you again, boy, that Miss Richland's fortune must not go out Leontine. There, there's my master-stroke. I of the family; one may find comfort in the money, have resolved not to refuse her; nay, an hour whatever one does in the wife. hence I have consented to go with my father to make her an offer of my heart and fortune.
Leontine. But, sir, though, in obedience to your desire, I am ready to marry her, it may be possible she has no inclination to me.
Olivia. Your heart and fortune! Leontine. Don't be alarmed, my dearest. Can Croaker. I'll tell you once for all how it stands. Olivia think so meanly of my honour, or my love, A good part of Miss Richland's large fortune conas to suppose I could ever hope for happiness from sists in a claim upon government, which my good any but her? No, my Olivia, neither the force, friend, Mr. Lofty, assures me the treasury will alnor, permit me to add, the delicacy of my passion, low. One half of this she is to forfeit, by her faleave any room to suspect me. I only offer Miss ther's will, in case she refuses to marry you. So, Richland a heart I am convinced she will refuse; as I am confident, that without knowing it, her affections are fixed upon Mr. Honeywood.
Olivia. Mr. Honeywood! you'll excuse my apprehensions; but when your merits come to be put in the balance
Leontine. You view them with too much partiality. However, by making this offer, I show seeming compliance with my father's command; and perhaps, upon her refusal, I may have his consent to choose for myself.
if she rejects you, we seize half her fortune; if she accepts you, we seize the whole, and a fine girl into the bargain.
Leontine. But, sir, if you will but listen to reason--Croaker. Come, then, produce your reasons. tell you, I'm fixed, determined; so now produce your reasons. When I'm determined, I always listen to reason, because it can then do no harm.
Leontine. You have alleged that a mutual choice was the first requisite in matrimonial happiness. Croaker. Well, and you have both of you a Olivia. Well, I submit. And yet, my Leon- mutual choice. She has her choice—to marry you, line, I own, I shall envy her even your pretended or lose half her fortune; and you have your choice-
to marry her, or pack out of doors without any here presently, to open the affair in form. You fortune at all.
Leontine. An only son, sir, might expect more indulgence.
Croaker. An only father, sir, might expect more obedience: besides, has not your sister here, that never disobliged me in her life, as good a right as you? He's a sad dog, Livy, my dear, and would take all from you. But he shan't, I tell you he shan't, for you shall have your share.
Olivia. Dear sir, I wish you'd be convinced, that I can never be happy in any addition to my fortune, which is taken from his.
know I am to lose half my fortune if I refuse him. Garnet. Yet, what can you do? For being, as you arc, in love with Mr. Honeywood, madamMiss Richland. How! idiot, what do you mean? In love with Mr. Honeywood! Is this to provoke me?
Garnet. That is, madam, in friendship with him; I meant nothing more than friendship, as I hope to be married; nothing more.
Miss Richland. Well, no more of this: As to my guardian and his son, they shall find me prepared to receive them: I'm resolved to accept their Croaker. Well, well, it's a good child, so say no proposal with seeming pleasure, to mortify them by more; but come with me, and we shall see some-compliance, and so throw the refusal at last upon thing that will give us a great deal of pleasure, I them.
promise you; old Ruggins, the curry-comb maker, Garnet. Delicious! and that will secure your lying in state: I am told he makes a very hand-whole fortune to yourself. Well, who could have some corpse, and becomes his coffin prodigiously. thought so innocent a face could cover so much He was an intimate friend of mine, and these are 'cuteness! friendly things we ought to do for each other.
MISS RICHLAND, GARNET.
Miss Richland. Why, girl, I only oppose my [Exeunt. prudence to their cunning, and practise a lesson they have taught me against themselves.
Garnet. Then you're likely not long to want employment, for here they come, and in close conference.
Enter CROAKER, LEONTINE.
Leontine. Excuse me, sir, if I seem to hesitate upon the point of putting to the lady so important
Miss Richland. Olivia not his sister? Olivia not a question. Leontine's sister? You amaze me!
Croaker. Lord: good sir, moderate your fears; you're so plaguy shy, that one would think you had changed sexes. I tell you we must have the half or the whole. Come, let me see with what spirit
Garnet. No more his sister than I am; I had it all from his own servant: I can get any thing from that quarter. Miss Richland. But how? Tell me again, Gar- you begin: Well, why don't you? Eh! what? Well then-I must, it seems-Miss Richland, my dear, I believe you guess at our business, an affair which my son here comes to open, that nearly concerns your happiness.
Garnet. Why, madam, as I told you before, instead of going to Lyons to bring home his sister, who has been there with her aunt these ten years, he never went farther than Paris: there he saw and fell in love with this young lady, by the by, of a prodigious family.
Miss Richland. And brought her home to my guardian as his daughter?
Garnet. Yes, and his daughter she will be. If he don't consent to their marriage, they talk of trying what a Scotch parson can do.
Miss Richland. Sir, I should be ungrateful not to be pleased with any thing that comes recommended by you.
Croaker. How, boy, could you desire a finer opening? Why don't you begin, I say?
Leontine. 'Tis true, madam, my father, madam, has some intentions-hem-of explaining an affair
Miss Richland. Well, I own they have deceiv--which-himself-can best explain, madam. ed me-And so demurely as Olivia carried it too!Would you believe it, Garnet, I told her all my secrets; and yet the sly cheat concealed all this from me?
Garnet. And, upon my word, madam, I don't much blame her: she was loath to trust one with her secrets that was so very bad at keeping her
Croaker. Yes, my dear; it comes entirely from my son; it's all a request of his own, madam. And will permit him to make the best of it.
Leontine. The whole affair is only this, madam; my father has a proposal to make, which he insists none but himself shall deliver.
Croaker. My mind misgives me, the fellow will never be brought on. [Aside.] In short, madam, you see before you one that loves you; one whose whole happiness is all in you.
Miss Richland. But, to add to their deceit, the young gentleman, it seems, pretends to make me serious proposals. My guardian and he are to bel Miss Richland. I never had any doubts of your
regard, sir; and I hope you can have none of my duty.
Croaker. That's not the thing, my little sweeting; my love! No, no, another guess lover than I: there he stands, madam, his very looks declare the force of his passion-Call up a look, you dog! [Aside.]-But then, had you seen him, as I have, weeping, speaking soliloquies and blank verse, sometirnes melancholy, and sometimes absent
Miss Richland. I fear, sir, he's absent now; or such a declaration would have come most properly from himself.
Croaker. Himself! madam, he would die before he could make such a confession; and if he had not a channel for his passion through me, it would ere now have drowned his understanding.
Miss Richland. I must grant, sir, there are attractions in modest diffidence above the force of words. A silent address is the genuine eloquence of sincerity.
Croaker. Madam, he has forgot to speak any other language; silence is become his mother tongue. Miss Richland. And it must be confessed, sir, it speaks very powerfully in his favour. And yet I shall be thought too forward in making such a confession; shan't I, Mr. Leontine?
Croaker. But I tell you, sir, the lady is not at liberty. It's a match. You see she says nothing. Silence gives consent.
Leontine. But, sir, she talked of force. Consider, sir, the cruelty of constraining her inclinations. Croaker. But I say there's no cruelty. Don't you know, blockhead, that girls have always a roundabout way of saying yes before company? So get you both gone together into the next room, and hang him that interrupts the tender explanation. Get you gone, I say: I'll not hear a word. Leontine. But, sir, I must beg leave to insistCroaker. Get off, you puppy, or I'll beg leave to insist upon knocking you down. Stupid whelp! But I don't wonder: the boy takes entirely after his mother.
[Exeunt MISS RICHLAND and LEONTINE.
Enter MRS. CROAKER.
Mrs. Croaker. Mr. Croaker, I bring you some. thing, my dear, that I believe will make you smile.
Croaker. I'll hold you a guinea of that, my dear. Mrs. Croaker. A letter; and as I knew the hand, I ventured to open it.
Croaker. And how can you expect your break-
Croaker. What a Frenchified cover is here!
Leontine. Confusion! my reserve will undo me. But, if modesty attracts her, impudence may disgust her. I'll try. [Aside.] Don't imagine from my silence, madam, that I want a due sense of the honour and happiness intended me. My father, madam, tells me, your humble servant is not totally in- it contains. different to you. He admires you; I adore you; and when we come together, upon my soul I believe" DEAR NICK, we shall be the happiest couple in all St. James's. "An English gentleman, of large fortune, has Miss Richland. If I could flatter myself you for some time made private, though honourable prothought as you speak, sir— posals to your daughter Olivia. They love each other tenderly, and I find she has consented, withAsk the brave if they desire fout letting any of the family know, to crown his addresses. As such good offers don't come every day, your own good sense, his large fortune and family considerations, will induce you to forgive her.
Leontine. Doubt my sincerity, madam? By your dear self I swear.
glory? ask cowards if they covet safety—— Croaker. Well, well, no more questions about it. Leontine. Ask the sick if they long for health? ask misers if they love money? ask
Croaker. Ask a fool if he can talk nonsense? "RACHAEL CROAKER. What's come over the boy? What signifies asking, My daughter Olivia privately contracted to a when there's not a soul to give you an answer? If man of large fortune! This is good news indeed. you would ask to the purpose, ask this lady's con- My heart never foretold me of this. And yet, how sent to make you happy. slily the little baggage has carried it since she came Miss Richland. Why indeed, sir, his uncom-home; not a word on't to the old ones for the world. mon ardour almost compels me--forces me to com-Yet I thought I saw something she wanted to conply. And yet I'm afraid he'll despise a conquest gained with too much ease; won't you, Mr. Leontine?
Mrs. Croaker. Well, if they have concealed their amour, they shan't conceal their wedding; that shall be public, I'm resolved.
Leontine. Confusion! [Aside.] Oh, by no means, madam, by no means. And yet, madam, you talkCroaker. I tell thee, woman, the wedding is the ed of force. There is nothing I would avoid so most foolish part of the ceremony, I can never get much as compulsion in a thing of this kind. No, this woman to think of the most serious part of the madam, I will still be generous, and leave you at nuptial engagement. liberty to refuse.
Mrs. Croaker. What, would you have me think
Mrs. Croaker. Sir, this honour
of their funeral? But come, tell me, my dear, don't] you owe more to me than you care to confess? Lofty. "And, Dubardieu! if the man comes Would you have ever been known to Mr. Lofty, from the Cornish borough, you must do him; you who has undertaken Miss Richland's claim at the must do him, I say."-Madam, I ask ten thousand Treasury, but for me? Who was it first made him pardons.-" And if the Russian ambassador calls; an acquaintance at Lady Shabbaroon's rout? Who but he will scarce call to-day, I believe."-And got him to promise us his interest? Is not he'a now, madam, I have just got time to express my back-stairs favourite, one that can do what he happiness in having the honour of being permitted pleases with those that do what they please? Is to profess myself your most obedient humble sernot he an acquaintance that all your groaning and vant. lamentation could never have got us?
Croaker. He is a man of importance, I grant you. And yet what amazes me is, that, while he is giving away places to all the world, he can't get one for himself.
Mrs. Croaker. That perhaps may be owing to his nicety. Great men are not casily satisfied.
Enter French SERVANT.
Servant. An expresse from Monsieur Lofty. He vil be vait upon your honours instrammant. He be only giving four five instruction, read two tree memorial, call upon von ambassadeur. He vil be vid you in one tree minutes.
Mrs. Croaker. Sir, the happiness and honour are all mine; and yet, I'm only robbing the public while I detain you.
Lofty. Sink the public, madam, when the fair are to be attended. Ah, could all my hours be so charmingly devoted! Sincerely, don't you pity us poor creatures in affairs? Thus it is eternally; solicited for places here, teased for pensions there, and courted every where. I know you pity me. Yes, I see you do.
Mrs. Croaker. Excuse me, sir, "Toils of empires pleasures are," as Waller says.
Mrs. Croaker. You see now, my dear. What an extensive department! Well, friend, let your sir. master know, that we are extremely honoured by this honour. Was there any thing ever in a higher style of breeding? All messages among the great are now done by express.
Croaker. To be sure, no man does little things with more solemnity, or claims more respect, than he. But he's in the right on't. In our bad world, respect is given where respect is claimed.
Mrs. Croaker. Never mind the world, my dear; you were never in a pleasanter place in your life. Let us now think of receiving him with proper respect-[a loud rapping at the door,]-and there he is, by the thundering rap.
Lofty. Waller, Waller, is he of the house?
Lofty. Oh, a modern! we men of business despise the moderns; and as for the ancients, we have no time to read them. Poetry is a pretty thing enough for our wives and daughters; but not for us. Why now, here I stand that know nothing of books. I say, madam, I know nothing of books; and yet, I believe, upon a land-carriage fishery, a stamp act, or a jag-hire, I can talk my two hours without feeling the want of them.
Mrs. Croaker. The world is no stranger to Mr. Lofty's eminence in every capacity.
Lofty. I vow to gad, madam, you make me blush. I'm nothing, nothing, nothing in the world; a mere Croaker. Ay, verily, there he is! as close upon obscure gentleman. To be sure, indeed, one or two the heels of his own express as an endorsement of the present ministers are pleased to represent me upon the back of a bill. Well, I'll leave you to re- as a formidable man. I know they are pleased to ceive him, whilst I go to chide my little Olivia for intending to steal a marriage without mine or her aunt's consent. I must seem to be angry, or she too may begin to despise my authority. [Exit.
bespatter me at all their little dirty levees. Yet,
Enter LOFTY, speaking to his Servant. Lofty. "And if the Venetian ambassador, or that teasing creature the marquis, should call, I'm not at home. Dam'me, I'll be a pack-horse to none of them." My dear madam, I have just Lofty. Oh, if you talk of modesty, madam, there, snatched a moment-" And if the expresses to his I own, I'm accessible to praise: modesty is my foi grace be ready, let them be sent off; they're of im-ble: it was so the Duke of Brentford used to say portance."-Madam, I ask a thousand pardons. Mrs. Croaker. Sir, this honour.
of me. "I love Jack Lofty," he used to say: "no man has a finer knowledge of things; quite a man Lofty. "And, Dubardieu! if the person calls of information; and, when he speaks upon his legs, about the commission, let him know that it is made by the Lord he's prodigious, he scouts them; and out. As for Lord Cumbercourt's stale request, it yet all men have their faults; too much modesty is can keep cold: you understand me."-Madam, I his," says his grace. ask ten thousand pardons.
Mrs. Croaker And yet, I dare say, you don't