THE CONSCIOUS LOVERS

“Illud genus narrationis, quod in personis positum est, debet habere
sermones festivitatem, animorum dissimilitudinem, gravitatem,
lenitatem, spem, metum, suspicionem, desiderium, dissimulationem,
misericordiam, rerum varietates, fortunæ commutationem, insperatum
incommodum, subitam letitiam, jucundum exitum rerum.”[103]–CICERO,
Rhetor. ad Herenn. Lib. i.

_The Conscious Lovers_, a Comedy which had been long in preparation,
was acted at Drury Lane Theatre on November 7, 1722, “with new scenes
and all the characters new drest,” and with Booth (who had acted the
part of Pamphilus–the prototype of young Bevil–at Westminster with
great success), Wilks (Myrtle), Cibber (Tom), Mills (Sir John Bevil),
Mrs. Oldfield (Indiana), and Mrs. Younger (Phillis) in the principal
parts. The play ran for eighteen nights, and was a great success. It
was often revived between 1722 and 1760, and was acted at Covent Garden
in 1810, and at Bath in 1818. Phillis was Peg Woffington’s second
speaking character in Dublin, and she took that part on March 9, 1741,
during her first season in London. The play was published by Tonson on
December 1, 1722, with the date 1723 on the title-page. The general
idea of the piece is taken from Terence’s _Andria_, but the original
is widely departed from after the opening scenes. Colley Cibber lent
material aid in preparing the play for representation. It was attacked
by John Dennis in two pamphlets, and defended by Benjamin Victor and
others.

_To_

THE KING.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,

After having aspired to the highest and most laudable ambition, that
of following the cause of liberty, I should not have humbly petitioned
your Majesty for a direction of the theatre, had I not believed success
in that province an happiness much to be wished by an honest man, and
highly conducing to the prosperity of the commonwealth. It is in this
view I lay before your Majesty a Comedy which the audience, in justice
to themselves, has supported and encouraged, and is the prelude of
what, by your Majesty’s influence and favour, may be attempted in
future representations.

The imperial mantle, the royal vestment, and the shining diadem are
what strike ordinary minds; but your Majesty’s native goodness,
your passion for justice, and her constant assessor mercy, is what
continually surrounds you in the view of intelligent spirits, and
gives hope to the suppliant, who sees he has more than succeeded in
giving your Majesty an opportunity of doing good. Our King is above the
greatness of royalty, and every act of his will which makes another
man happy has ten times more charms in it than one that makes himself
appear raised above the condition of others. But even this carries
unhappiness with it; for calm dominion, equal grandeur, and familiar
greatness do not easily affect the imagination of the vulgar, who
cannot see power but in terror; and as fear moves mean spirits, and
love prompts great ones to obey, the insinuations of malcontents are
directed accordingly; and the unhappy people are ensnared, from want
of reflection, into disrespectful ideas of their gracious and amiable
sovereign, and then only begin to apprehend the greatness of their
master when they have incurred his displeasure.

As your Majesty was invited to the throne of a willing people,
for their own sakes, and has ever enjoyed it with contempt of the
ostentation of it, we beseech you to protect us who revere your title
as we love your person. ‘Tis to be a savage to be a rebel, and they who
have fallen from you have not so much forfeited their allegiance as
lost their humanity. And, therefore, if it were only to preserve myself
from the imputation of being amongst the insensible and abandoned, I
would beg permission in the most public manner possible to profess
myself, with the utmost sincerity and zeal,

Sire,

Your Majesty’s

Most devoted subject

And servant,

RICHARD STEELE.

THE PREFACE.[104]

This Comedy has been received with universal acceptance, for it was in
every part excellently performed; and there needs no other applause
of the actors but that they excelled according to the dignity and
difficulty of the character they represented. But this great favour
done to the work in acting renders the expectation still the greater
from the author, to keep up the spirit in the representation of the
closet, or any other circumstance of the reader, whether alone or in
company; to which I can only say that it must be remembered, a play is
to be seen, and is made to be represented with the advantage of action,
nor can appear but with half the spirit without it. For the greatest
effect of a play in reading is to excite the reader to go to see it;
and when he does so, it is then a play has the effect of example and
precept.

The chief design of this was to be an innocent performance, and the
audience have abundantly shown how ready they are to support what is
visibly intended that way. Nor do I make any difficulty to acknowledge
that the whole was writ for the sake of the scene of the Fourth Act,
wherein Mr. Bevil evades the quarrel with his friend, and[105] hope
it may have some effect upon the Goths and Vandals that frequent the
theatres, or a more polite audience may supply their absence.

But this incident, and the case of the father and daughter, are
esteemed by some people no subjects of comedy; but I cannot be of their
mind, for anything that has its foundation in happiness and success
must be allowed to be the object of comedy; and sure it must be an
improvement of it to introduce a joy too exquisite for laughter, that
can have no spring but in delight, which is the case of this young
lady. I must, therefore, contend that the tears which were shed on that
occasion flowed from reason and good sense, and that men ought not to
be laughed at for weeping till we are come to a more clear notion of
what is to be imputed to the hardness of the head and the softness
of the heart; and I think it was very politely said of Mr. Wilks, to
one who told him there was a General[106] weeping for Indiana, “I’ll
warrant he’ll fight ne’er the worse for that.” To be apt to give way to
the impressions of humanity, is the excellence of a right disposition
and the natural working of a well-turned spirit. But as I have suffered
by critics who have got no farther than to inquire whether they ought
to be pleased or not,[107] I would willingly find them properer matter
for their employment, and revive here a song which was omitted for
want of a performer, and designed for the entertainment of Indiana.
Signor Carbonelli,[108] instead of it, played[109] on the fiddle, and
it is for want of a singer that such advantageous things are said of an
instrument which were designed for a voice. The song is the distress
of a love-sick maid, and may be a fit entertainment for some small
critics[110] to examine whether the passion is just or the distress
male or female.

I.
From place to place forlorn I go,
With downcast eyes a silent shade,
Forbidden to declare my woe;
To speak till spoken to, afraid.

II.
My inward pangs, my secret grief,
My soft consenting looks betray.
He loves, but gives me no relief;
Why speaks not he who may?

It remains to say a word concerning Terence, and I am extremely
surprised to find what Mr. Cibber told me prove a truth:[111] that what
I valued myself so much upon–the translation of him[112]–should be
imputed to me as a reproach. Mr. Cibber’s zeal for the work, his care
and application in instructing the actors and altering the disposition
of the scenes, when I was, through sickness, unable to cultivate such
things myself, has been a very obliging favour and friendship to
me. For this reason I was very hardly persuaded[113] to throw away
Terence’s celebrated funeral, and take only the bare authority of the
young man’s character; and how I have worked it into an Englishman, and
made use of the same circumstances of discovering a daughter when we
least hoped for one, is humbly submitted to the learned reader.

PROLOGUE.

_By_ MR. WELSTED.[114]

_Spoken by_ MR. WILKS.

To win your hearts and to secure your praise,
The comic writers strive by various ways;
By subtle stratagems they act their game,
And leave untried no avenue to fame.
One writes the spouse a beating from his wife,
And says each stroke was copied from the life.
Some fix all wit and humour in grimace,
And make a livelihood of Pinkey’s[115] face.
Here, one gay show and costly habits tries,
Confiding to the judgment of your eyes;
Another smuts his scene (a cunning shaver),
Sure of the rakes’ and of the wenches’ favour.
Oft have these arts prevailed, and one may guess,
If practised o’er again, would find success.
But the bold sage–the poet of to-night–
By new and desperate rules resolved to write;
Fain would he give more just applauses rise,
And please by wit that scorns the aids of vice;
The praise he seeks from worthier motives springs,
Such praise as praise to those that give it brings.

Your aid most humbly sought, then, Britons lend,
And liberal mirth like liberal men defend.
No more let ribaldry, with licence writ,
Usurp the name of eloquence or wit;
No more let lawless farce uncensured go,
The lewd dull gleanings of a Smithfield show.[116]
‘Tis yours with breeding to refine the age,
To chasten wit, and moralise the stage.

Ye modest, wise and good, ye fair, ye brave,
To-night the champion of your virtues save;
Redeem from long contempt the comic name,
And judge politely for your country’s fame.

_DRAMATIS PERSONÆ._

Sir JOHN BEVIL.

Mr. SEALAND.

BEVIL, JUN., in love with INDIANA.

MYRTLE, in love with LUCINDA.

CIMBERTON, a Coxcomb.

HUMPHRY, an old Servant to Sir JOHN.

TOM, Servant to BEVIL, JUN.

DANIEL, a Country Boy, Servant to INDIANA.

MRS. SEALAND, second Wife to SEALAND.

ISABELLA, Sister to SEALAND.

INDIANA, SEALAND’S Daughter, by his first Wife.

LUCINDA, SEALAND’S Daughter, by his second Wife.

PHILLIS, Maid to LUCINDA.

SCENE.–LONDON.

_THE CONSCIOUS LOVERS._

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.–SIR JOHN BEVIL’S _House._

_Enter_ SIR JOHN BEVIL _and_ HUMPHRY.

_Sir J. Bev._ Have you ordered that I should not be interrupted while I
am dressing?

_Humph._ Yes, sir; I believed you had something of moment to say to me.

_Sir J. Bev._ Let me see, Humphry; I think it is now full forty years
since I first took thee to be about myself.

_Humph._ I thank you, sir, it has been an easy forty years; and I have
passed ’em without much sickness, care, or labour.

_Sir J Bev._ Thou hast a brave constitution; you are a year or two
older than I am, sirrah.

_Humph._ You have ever been of that mind, sir.

_Sir J. Bev._ You knave, you know it; I took thee for thy gravity and
sobriety, in my wild years.

_Humph._ Ah, sir! our manners were formed from our different fortunes,
not our different age. Wealth gave a loose to your youth, and poverty
put a restraint upon mine.

_Sir J. Bev._ Well, Humphry, you know I have been a kind master to you;
I have used you, for the ingenuous nature I observed in you from the
beginning, more like an humble friend than a servant.

_Humph._ I humbly beg you’ll be so tender of me as to explain your
commands, sir, without any farther preparation.

_Sir J. Bev._ I’ll tell thee, then: In the first place, this wedding of
my son’s in all probability–shut the door–will never be at all.

_Humph._ How, sir! not be at all? for what reason is it carried on in
appearance?

_Sir J. Bev._ Honest Humphry, have patience; and I’ll tell thee all in
order. I have, myself, in some part of my life, lived (indeed) with
freedom, but, I hope, without reproach. Now, I thought liberty would be
as little injurious to my son; therefore, as soon as he grew towards
man, I indulged him in living after his own manner. I knew not how,
otherwise, to judge of his inclination; for what can be concluded from
a behaviour under restraint and fear?[117] But what charms me above all
expression is, that my son has never, in the least action, the most
distant hint or word, valued himself upon that great estate of his
mother’s, which, according to our marriage settlement, he has had ever
since he came to age.

_Humph._ No, sir; on the contrary, he seems afraid of appearing to
enjoy it, before you or any belonging to you. He is as dependent and
resigned to your will as if he had not a farthing but what must come
from your immediate bounty. You have ever acted like a good and
generous father, and he like an obedient and grateful son.

_Sir J. Bev._ Nay, his carriage is so easy to all with whom he
converses, that he is never assuming, never prefers himself to others,
nor ever is guilty of that rough sincerity which a man is not called
to, and certainly disobliges most of his acquaintance; to be short,
Humphry, his reputation was so fair in the world, that old Sealand, the
great India merchant, has offered his only daughter, and sole heiress
to that vast estate of his, as a wife for him. You may be sure I made
no difficulties, the match was agreed on, and this very day named for
the wedding.

_Humph._ What hinders the proceeding?

_Sir J. Bev._ Don’t interrupt me. You know I was last Thursday at the
masquerade; my son, you may remember, soon found us out. He knew his
grandfather’s habit, which I then wore; and though it was the mode, in
the last age, yet the masquers, you know, followed us as if we had been
the most monstrous figures in that whole assembly.

_Humph._ I remember, indeed, a young man of quality in the habit of a
clown, that was particularly troublesome.

_Sir J. Bev._ Right; he was too much what he seemed to be. You remember
how impertinently he followed and teased us, and would know who we were.

_Humph._ I know he has a mind to come into that particular. [_Aside._

_Sir J. Bev._ Ay, he followed us till the gentleman who led the lady
in the Indian mantle presented that gay creature to the rustic, and
bid him (like Cymon in the fable) grow polite by falling in love, and
let that worthy old gentleman alone, meaning me. The clown was not
reformed, but rudely persisted, and offered to force off my mask; with
that, the gentleman, throwing off his own, appeared to be my son, and
in his concern for me, tore off that of the nobleman; at this they
seized each other; the company called the guards, and in the surprise
the lady swooned away; upon which my son quitted his adversary, and
had now no care but of the lady. When raising her in his arms, “Art
thou gone,” cried he, “for ever?–forbid it, Heaven!” She revived at
his known voice, and with the most familiar, though modest, gesture,
hangs in safety over his shoulder weeping, but wept as in the arms of
one before whom she could give herself a loose, were she not under
observation; while she hides her face in his neck, he carefully conveys
her from the company.

_Humph._ I have observed this accident has dwelt upon you very strongly.

_Sir J. Bev._ Her uncommon air, her noble modesty, the dignity of her
person, and the occasion itself, drew the whole assembly together; and
I soon heard it buzzed about she was the adopted daughter of a famous
sea-officer who had served in France. Now this unexpected and public
discovery of my son’s so deep concern for her—-

_Humph._ Was what, I suppose, alarmed Mr. Sealand, in behalf of his
daughter, to break off the match?

_Sir J. Bev._ You are right. He came to me yesterday and said he
thought himself disengaged from the bargain; being credibly informed
my son was already married, or worse, to the lady at the masquerade. I
palliated matters, and insisted on our agreement; but we parted with
little less than a direct breach between us.[118]

_Humph._ Well, sir; and what notice have you taken of all this to my
young master?

_Sir J. Bev._ That’s what I wanted to debate with you. I have said
nothing to him yet–but look you, Humphry, if there is so much in this
amour of his, that he denies upon my summons to marry, I have cause
enough to be offended; and then by my insisting upon his marrying
to-day, I shall know how far he is engaged to this lady in masquerade,
and from thence only shall be able to take my measures. In the meantime
I would have you find out how far that rogue, his man, is let into his
secret. He, I know, will play tricks as much to cross me, as to serve
his master.

_Humph._ Why do you think so of him, sir? I believe he is no worse than
I was for you, at your son’s age.

_Sir J. Bev._ I see it in the rascal’s looks. But I have dwelt on these
things too long; I’ll go to my son immediately, and while I’m gone,
your part is to convince his rogue, Tom, that I am in earnest.–I’ll
leave him to you. [_Exit_ SIR JOHN BEVIL.

_Humph._ Well, though this father and son live as well together as
possible, yet their fear of giving each other pain is attended with
constant mutual uneasiness. I’m sure I have enough to do to be honest,
and yet keep well with them both. But they know I love ’em, and that
makes the task less painful however. Oh, here’s the prince of poor
coxcombs, the representative of all the better fed than taught. Ho! ho!
Tom, whither so gay and so airy this morning?

_Enter_ TOM, _singing._

_Tom._ Sir, we servants of single gentlemen are another kind of people
than you domestic ordinary drudges that do business; we are raised
above you. The pleasures of board-wages, tavern dinners, and many a
clear gain; vails, alas! you never heard or dreamt of.

_Humph._ Thou hast follies and vices enough for a man of ten thousand a
year, though ’tis but as t’other day that I sent for you to town to put
you into Mr. Sealand’s family, that you might learn a little before I
put you to my young master, who is too gentle for training such a rude
thing as you were into proper obedience. You then pulled off your hat
to everyone you met in the street, like a bashful great awkward cub as
you were. But your great oaken cudgel, when you were a booby, became
you much better than that dangling stick at your button, now you are a
fop. That’s fit for nothing, except it hangs there to be ready for your
master’s hand when you are impertinent.

_Tom._ Uncle Humphry, you know my master scorns to strike his servants.
You talk as if the world was now just as it was when my old master and
you were in your youth; when you went to dinner because it was so much
o’clock, when the great blow was given in the hall at the pantry door,
and all the family came out of their holes in such strange dresses and
formal faces as you see in the pictures in our long gallery in the
country.

_Humph._ Why, you wild rogue!

_Tom._ You could not fall to your dinner till a formal fellow in a
black gown said something over the meat, as if the cook had not made it
ready enough.

_Humph._ Sirrah, who do you prate after? Despising men of sacred
characters! I hope you never heard my good young master talk so like a
profligate.

_Tom._ Sir, I say you put upon me, when I first came to town, about
being orderly, and the doctrine of wearing shams to make linen last
clean a fortnight, keeping my clothes fresh, and wearing a frock within
doors.

_Humph._ Sirrah, I gave you those lessons because I supposed at that
time your master and you might have dined at home every day, and cost
you nothing; then you might have made a good family servant. But the
gang you have frequented since at chocolate houses and taverns, in a
continual round of noise and extravagance–

_Tom._ I don’t know what you heavy inmates call noise and extravagance;
but we gentlemen, who are well fed, and cut a figure, sir, think it a
fine life, and that we must be very pretty fellows who are kept only to
be looked at.

_Humph._ Very well, sir, I hope the fashion of being lewd and
extravagant, despising of decency and order, is almost at an end, since
it has arrived at persons of your quality.

_Tom._ Master Humphry, ha! ha! you were an unhappy lad to be sent up to
town in such queer days as you were. Why, now, sir, the lackeys are the
men of pleasure of the age, the top gamesters; and many a laced coat
about town have had their education in our party-coloured regiment. We
are false lovers; have a taste of music, poetry, billet-doux, dress,
politics; ruin damsels; and when we are tired of this lewd town, and
have a mind to take up, whip into our masters’ wigs and linen, and
marry fortunes.

_Humph._ Hey-day!

_Tom._ Nay, sir, our order is carried up to the highest dignities and
distinctions; step but into the Painted Chamber,[119] and by our titles
you’d take us all for men of quality. Then, again, come down to the
Court of Requests, and you see us all laying our broken heads together
for the good of the nation; and though we never carry a question nemine
contradicente, yet this I can say, with a safe conscience (and I wish
every gentleman of our cloth could lay his hand upon his heart and say
the same), that I never took so much as a single mug of beer for my
vote in all my life.

_Humph._ Sirrah, there is no enduring your extravagance; I’ll hear you
prate no longer. I wanted to see you to enquire how things go with your
master, as far as you understand them; I suppose he knows he is to be
married to-day.

_Tom._ Ay, sir, he knows it, and is dressed as gay as the sun; but,
between you and I, my dear, he has a very heavy heart under all that
gaiety. As soon as he was dressed I retired, but overheard him sigh in
the most heavy manner. He walked thoughtfully to and fro in the room,
then went into his closet; when he came out he gave me this for his
mistress, whose maid, you know—-

_Humph._ Is passionately fond of your fine person.

_Tom._ The poor fool is so tender, and loves to hear me talk of the
world, and the plays, operas, and ridottos[120] for the winter, the
parks and Belsize[121] for our summer diversions; and “Lard!” says she,
“you are so wild, but you have a world of humour.”

_Humph._ Coxcomb! Well, but why don’t you run with your master’s letter
to Mrs. Lucinda, as he ordered you?

_Tom._ Because Mrs. Lucinda is not so easily come at as you think for.

_Humph._ Not easily come at? Why, sirrah, are not her father and my
old master agreed that she and Mr. Bevil are to be one flesh before
to-morrow morning?

_Tom._ It’s no matter for that; her mother, it seems, Mrs. Sealand, has
not agreed to it; and you must know, Mr. Humphry, that in that family
the grey mare is the better horse.

_Humph._ What dost thou mean?

_Tom._ In one word, Mrs. Sealand pretends to have a will of her own,
and has provided a relation of hers, a stiff, starched philosopher, and
a wise fool, for her daughter; for which reason, for these ten days
past, she has suffered no message nor letter from my master to come
near her.

_Humph._ And where had you this intelligence?

_Tom._ From a foolish fond soul that can keep nothing from me; one that
will deliver this letter too, if she is rightly managed.

_Humph._ What! her pretty handmaid, Mrs. Phillis?

_Tom._ Even she, sir; this is the very hour, you know, she usually
comes hither, under a pretence of a visit to your housekeeper,
forsooth, but in reality to have a glance at—-

_Humph._ Your sweet face, I warrant you.

_Tom._ Nothing else in nature; you must know, I love to fret and play
with the little wanton.

_Humph._ Play with the little wanton! What will this world come to!

_Tom._ I met her this morning in a new manteau and petticoat, not a bit
the worse for her lady’s wearing; and she has always new thoughts and
new airs with new clothes–then she never fails to steal some glance or
gesture from every visitant at their house; and is, indeed, the whole
town of coquets at second-hand. But here she comes; in one motion she
speaks and describes herself better than all the words in the world can.

_Humph._ Then I hope, dear sir, when your own affair is over, you will
be so good as to mind your master’s with her.

_Tom._ Dear Humphry, you know my master is my friend, and those are
people I never forget.

_Humph._ Sauciness itself! but I’ll leave you to do your best for him.
[_Exit._

_Enter_ PHILLIS.[122]

_Phil._ Oh, Mr. Thomas, is Mrs. Sugar-key at home? Lard, one is almost
ashamed to pass along the streets! The town is quite empty, and nobody
of fashion left in it; and the ordinary people do so stare to see
anything, dressed like a woman of condition, as it were on the same
floor with them, pass by. Alas! alas! it is a sad thing to walk. O
fortune! fortune!

_Tom._ What! a sad thing to walk? Why, Madam Phillis, do you wish
yourself lame?

_Phil._ No, Mr. Tom, but I wish I were generally carried in a coach
or chair, and of a fortune neither to stand nor go, but to totter, or
slide, to be short-sighted, or stare, to fleer in the face, to look
distant, to observe, to overlook, yet all become me; and, if I was
rich, I could twire[123] and loll as well as the best of them. Oh, Tom!
Tom! is it not a pity that you should be so great a coxcomb, and I so
great a coquet, and yet be such poor devils as we are?

_Tom._ Mrs. Phillis, I am your humble servant for that—-

_Phil._ Yes, Mr. Thomas, I know how much you are my humble servant, and
know what you said to Mrs. Judy, upon seeing her in one of her lady’s
cast manteaus: That any one would have thought her the lady, and that
she had ordered the other to wear it till it sat easy; for now only it
was becoming. To my lady it was only a covering, to Mrs. Judy it was
a habit. This you said, after somebody or other. Oh, Tom! Tom! thou
art as false and as base as the best gentleman of them all; but, you
wretch, talk to me no more on the old odious subject–don’t, I say.

_Tom._ I know not how to resist your commands, madam. [_In a submissive
tone, retiring._

_Phil._ Commands about parting are grown mighty easy to you of late.

_Tom._ Oh, I have her; I have nettled and put her into the right temper
to be wrought upon and set a-prating. [_Aside._]–Why, truly, to be
plain with you, Mrs. Phillis, I can take little comfort of late in
frequenting your house.

_Phil._ Pray, Mr. Thomas, what is it all of a sudden offends your
nicety at our house?

_Tom._ I don’t care to speak particulars, but I dislike the whole.

_Phil._ I thank you, sir, I am a part of that whole.

_Tom._ Mistake me not, good Phillis.

_Phil._ Good Phillis! Saucy enough. But however—-

_Tom._ I say, it is that thou art a part, which gives me pain for the
disposition of the whole. You must know, madam, to be serious, I am a
man, at the bottom, of prodigious nice honour. You are too much exposed
to company at your house. To be plain, I don’t like so many, that would
be your mistress’s lovers, whispering to you.

_Phil._ Don’t think to put that upon me. You say this, because I wrung
you to the heart when I touched your guilty conscience about Judy.

_Tom._ Ah, Phillis! Phillis! if you but knew my heart!

_Phil._ I know too much on’t.

_Tom._ Nay, then, poor Crispo’s[124] fate and mine are one. Therefore
give me leave to say, or sing at least, as he does upon the same
occasion–

“Se vedette,” &c. [_Sings._]

_Phil._ What, do you think I’m to be fobbed off with a song? I don’t
question but you have sung the same to Mrs. Judy too.

_Tom._ Don’t disparage your charms, good Phillis, with jealousy of so
worthless an object; besides, she is a poor hussy, and if you doubt the
sincerity of my love, you will allow me true to my interest. You are a
fortune, Phillis.

_Phil._ What would the fop be at now? In good time, indeed, you shall
be setting up for a fortune!

_Tom._ Dear Mrs. Phillis, you have such a spirit that we shall never
be dull in marriage when we come together. But I tell you, you are a
fortune, and you have an estate in my hands. [_He pulls out a purse,
she eyes it._

_Phil._ What pretence have I to what is in your hands, Mr. Tom?

_Tom._ As thus: there are hours, you know, when a lady is neither
pleased or displeased; neither sick or well; when she lolls or loiters;
when she’s without desires–from having more of everything than she
knows what to do with.

_Phil._ Well, what then?

_Tom._ When she has not life enough to keep her bright eyes quite open,
to look at her own dear image in the glass.

_Phil._ Explain thyself, and don’t be so fond of thy own prating.

_Tom._ There are also prosperous and good-natured moments: as when a
knot or a patch is happily fixed; when the complexion particularly
flourishes.

_Phil._ Well, what then? I have not patience!

_Tom._ Why, then–or on the like occasions–we servants who have skill
to know how to time business, see when such a pretty folded thing as
this [_Shows a letter._] may be presented, laid, or dropped, as best
suits the present humour. And, madam, because it is a long wearisome
journey to run through all the several stages of a lady’s temper, my
master, who is the most reasonable man in the world, presents you this
to bear your charges on the road. [_Gives her the purse._

_Phil._ Now you think me a corrupt hussy.

_Tom._ O fie, I only think you’ll take the letter.

_Phil._ Nay, I know you do, but I know my own innocence; I take it for
my mistress’s sake.

_Tom._ I know it, my pretty one, I know it.

_Phil._ Yes, I say I do it, because I would not have my mistress
deluded by one who gives no proof of his passion; but I’ll talk more
of tips as you see me on my way home. No, Tom, I assure thee, I take
this trash of thy master’s, not for the value of the thing, but as it
convinces me he has a true respect for my mistress. I remember a verse
to the purpose–

They may be false who languish and complain,
But they who part with money never feign.
[_Exeunt._

SCENE II. BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._

BEVIL, JUN., _reading._

_Bev. Jun._ These moral writers practise virtue after death. This
charming vision of Mirza![125] Such an author consulted in a morning
sets the spirit for the vicissitudes of the day better than the glass
does a man’s person. But what a day have I to go through! to put on
an easy look with an aching heart! If this lady my father urges me to
marry should not refuse me, my dilemma is insupportable. But why should
I fear it? Is not she in equal distress with me? Has not the letter I
have sent her this morning confessed my inclination to another? Nay,
have I not moral assurances of her engagements, too, to my friend
Myrtle? It’s impossible but she must give in to it; for, sure, to be
denied is a favour any man may pretend to. It must be so–Well, then,
with the assurance of being rejected, I think I may confidently say to
my father, I am ready to marry her. Then let me resolve upon, what I am
not very good at, though it is an honest dissimulation.

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Sir John Bevil, sir, is in the next room.

_Bev. Jun._ Dunce! Why did not you bring him in?

_Tom._ I told him, sir, you were in your closet.

_Bev. Jun._ I thought you had known, sir, it was my duty to see my
father anywhere. [_Going himself to the door._

_Tom._ The devil’s in my master! he has always more wit than I have.
[_Aside._

BEVIL, JUN., _introducing_ SIR JOHN.

_Bev. Jun._ Sir, you are the most gallant, the most complaisant of all
parents. Sure, ’tis not a compliment to say these lodgings are yours.
Why would you not walk in, sir?

_Sir J. Bev._ I was loth to interrupt you unseasonably on your
wedding-day.

_Bev. Jun._ One to whom I am beholden for my birth-day might have used
less ceremony.

_Sir J. Bev._ Well, son, I have intelligence you have writ to your
mistress this morning. It would please my curiosity to know the
contents of a wedding-day letter; for courtship must then be over.

_Bev. Jun._ I assure you, sir, there was no insolence in it upon the
prospect of such a vast fortune’s being added to our family; but much
acknowledgment of the lady’s greater desert.

_Sir J. Bev._ But, dear Jack, are you in earnest in all this? And will
you really marry her?

_Bev. Jun._ Did I ever disobey any command of yours, sir? nay, any
inclination that I saw you bent upon?

_Sir J. Bev._ Why, I can’t say you have, son; but methinks in this
whole business, you have not been so warm as I could have wished you.
You have visited her, it’s true, but you have not been particular.
Everyone knows you can say and do as handsome things as any man; but
you have done nothing but lived in the general–been complaisant only.

_Bev. Jun._ As I am ever prepared to marry if you bid me, so I am ready
to let it alone if you will have me.

[HUMPHRY _enters, unobserved._

_Sir J. Bev._ Look you there now! why, what am I to think of this so
absolute and so indifferent a resignation?

_Bev. Jun._ Think? that I am still your son, sir. Sir, you have been
married, and I have not. And you have, sir, found the inconvenience
there is when a man weds with too much love in his head. I have been
told, sir, that at the time you married, you made a mighty bustle
on the occasion. There was challenging and fighting, scaling walls,
locking up the lady, and the gallant under an arrest for fear of
killing all his rivals. Now, sir, I suppose you having found the ill
consequences of these strong passions and prejudices, in preference of
one woman to another, in case of a man’s becoming a widower—-

_Sir J. Bev._ How is this?

_Bev. Jun._ I say, sir, experience has made you wiser in your care of
me; for, sir, since you lost my dear mother, your time has been so
heavy, so lonely, and so tasteless, that you are so good as to guard
me against the like unhappiness, by marrying me prudentially by way of
bargain and sale. For, as you well judge, a woman that is espoused for
a fortune, is yet a better bargain if she dies; for then a man still
enjoys what he did marry, the money, and is disencumbered of what he
did not marry, the woman.

_Sir J. Bev._ But pray, sir, do you think Lucinda, then, a woman of
such little merit?

_Bev. Jun._ Pardon me, sir, I don’t carry it so far neither; I am
rather afraid I shall like her too well; she has, for one of her
fortune, a great many needless and superfluous good qualities.

_Sir J. Bev._ I am afraid, son, there’s something I don’t see yet,
something that’s smothered under all this raillery.

_Bev. Jun._ Not in the least, sir. If the lady is dressed and ready,
you see I am. I suppose the lawyers are ready too.

_Humph._ This may grow warm if I don’t interpose. [_Aside._]–Sir, Mr.
Sealand is at the coffee-house, and has sent to speak with you.

_Sir J. Bev._ Oh! that’s well! Then I warrant the lawyers are ready.
Son, you’ll be in the way, you say.

_Bev. Jun._ If you please, sir, I’ll take a chair, and go to Mr.
Sealand’s, where the young lady and I will wait your leisure.

_Sir J. Bev._ By no means. The old fellow will be so vain if he sees—-

_Bev. Jun._ Ay; but the young lady, sir, will think me so indifferent.

_Humph._ Ay, there you are right; press your readiness to go to the
bride–he won’t let you. [_Aside to_ BEV. JUN.

_Bev. Jun._ Are you sure of that? [_Aside to_ HUMPH.

_Humph._ How he likes being prevented. [_Aside._

_Sir J. Bev._ No, no. You are an hour or two too early. [_Looking on
his watch._

_Bev. Jun._ You’ll allow me, sir, to think it too late to visit a
beautiful, virtuous young woman, in the pride and bloom of life, ready
to give herself to my arms; and to place her happiness or misery, for
the future, in being agreeable or displeasing to me, is a—-Call a
chair.

_Sir J. Bev._ No, no, no, dear Jack; this Sealand is a moody old
fellow. There’s no dealing with some people but by managing with
indifference. We must leave to him the conduct of this day. It is the
last of his commanding his daughter.

_Bev. Jun._ Sir, he can’t take it ill, that I am impatient to be hers.

_Sir J. Bev._ Pray let me govern in this matter; you can’t tell how
humorsome old fellows are. There’s no offering reason to some of
’em, especially when they are rich.–If my son should see him before
I’ve brought old Sealand into better temper, the match would be
impracticable. [_Aside._

_Humph._ Pray, sir, let me beg you to let Mr. Bevil go.–See whether he
will or not. [_Aside to_ SIR JOHN]–[_Then to_ BEV.] Pray, sir, command
yourself; since you see my master is positive, it is better you should
not go.

_Bev. Jun._ My father commands me, as to the object of my affections;
but I hope he will not, as to the warmth and height of them.

_Sir J. Bev._ So! I must even leave things as I found them; and in
the meantime, at least, keep old Sealand out of his sight–Well,
son, I’ll go myself and take orders in your affair. You’ll be in the
way, I suppose, if I send to you. I’ll leave your old friend with
you–Humphry, don’t let him stir, d’ye hear?–Your servant, your
servant. [_Exit_ SIR JOHN.

_Humph._ I have a sad time on’t, sir, between you and my master. I
see you are unwilling, and I know his violent inclinations for the
match.–I must betray neither, and yet deceive you both, for your
common good. Heaven grant a good end of this matter.–But there is a
lady, sir, that gives your father much trouble and sorrow.–You’ll
pardon me.

_Bev. Jun._ Humphry, I know thou art a friend to both, and in that
confidence I dare tell thee, that lady is a woman of honour and virtue.
You may assure yourself I never will marry without my father’s consent.
But give me leave to say, too, this declaration does not come up to a
promise that I will take whomsoever he pleases.

_Humph._ Come, sir, I wholly understand you. You would engage my
services to free you from this woman whom my master intends you, to
make way, in time, for the woman you have really a mind to.

_Bev. Jun._ Honest Humphry, you have always been a useful friend to my
father and myself; I beg you continue your good offices, and don’t let
us come to the necessity of a dispute; for, if we should dispute, I
must either part with more than life, or lose the best of fathers.

_Humph._ My dear master, were I but worthy to know this secret, that
so near concerns you, my life, my all should be engaged to serve you.
This, sir, I dare promise, that I am sure I will and can be secret:
your trust, at worst, but leaves you where you were; and if I cannot
serve you, I will at once be plain and tell you so.

_Bev. Jun._ That’s all I ask. Thou hast made it now my interest to
trust thee. Be patient, then, and hear the story of my heart.

_Humph._ I am all attention, sir.

_Bev. Jun._ You may remember, Humphry, that in my last travels my
father grew uneasy at my making so long a stay at Toulon.

_Humph._ I remember it; he was apprehensive some woman had laid hold of
you.

_Bev. Jun._ His fears were just; for there I first saw this lady.
She is of English birth: her father’s name was Danvers–a younger
brother of an ancient family, and originally an eminent merchant of
Bristol, who, upon repeated misfortunes, was reduced to go privately
to the Indies. In this retreat, Providence again grew favourable to
his industry, and, in six years’ time, restored him to his former
fortunes. On this he sent directions over that his wife and little
family should follow him to the Indies. His wife, impatient to obey
such welcome orders, would not wait the leisure of a convoy, but took
the first occasion of a single ship, and, with her husband’s sister
only, and this daughter, then scarce seven years old, undertook the
fatal voyage–for here, poor creature, she lost her liberty and life.
She and her family, with all they had, were, unfortunately, taken by
a privateer from Toulon. Being thus made a prisoner, though as such
not ill-treated, yet the fright, the shock, and cruel disappointment,
seized with such violence upon her unhealthy frame, she sickened,
pined, and died at sea.

_Humph._ Poor soul! O the helpless infant!

_Bev._ Her sister yet survived, and had the care of her. The captain,
too, proved to have humanity, and became a father to her; for having
himself married an English woman, and being childless, he brought home
into Toulon this her little country-woman, presenting her, with all her
dead mother’s movables of value, to his wife, to be educated as his own
adopted daughter.

_Humph._ Fortune here seemed again to smile on her.

_Bev._ Only to make her frowns more terrible; for, in his height of
fortune, this captain, too, her benefactor, unfortunately was killed at
sea; and dying intestate, his estate fell wholly to an advocate, his
brother, who, coming soon to take possession, there found (among his
other riches) this blooming virgin at his mercy.

_Humph._ He durst not, sure, abuse his power?

_Bev._ No wonder if his pampered blood was fired at the sight of
her–in short, he loved; but when all arts and gentle means had failed
to move, he offered, too, his menaces in vain, denouncing vengeance on
her cruelty, demanding her to account for all her maintenance from her
childhood; seized on her little fortune as his own inheritance, and
was dragging her by violence to prison, when Providence at the instant
interposed, and sent me, by miracle, to relieve her.[126]

_Humph._ ‘Twas Providence, indeed. But pray, sir, after all this
trouble, how came this lady at last to England?

_Bev._ The disappointed advocate, finding she had so unexpected a
support, on cooler thoughts, descended to a composition, which I,
without her knowledge, secretly discharged.

_Humph._ That generous concealment made the obligation double.

_Bev._ Having thus obtained her liberty, I prevailed, not without some
difficulty, to see her safe to England; where, no sooner arrived,
but my father, jealous of my being imprudently engaged, immediately
proposed this other fatal match that hangs upon my quiet.

_Humph._ I find, sir, you are irrecoverably fixed upon this lady.

_Bev._ As my vital life dwells in my heart–and yet you see what I do
to please my father: walk in this pageantry of dress, this splendid
covering of sorrow–But, Humphry, you have your lesson.

_Humph._ Now, sir, I have but one material question—-

_Bev._ Ask it freely.

_Humph._ Is it, then, your own passion for this secret lady, or hers
for you, that gives you this aversion to the match your father has
proposed you?

_Bev._ I shall appear, Humphry, more romantic in my answer than in all
the rest of my story; for though I dote on her to death, and have no
little reason to believe she has the same thoughts for me, yet in all
my acquaintance and utmost privacies with her, I never once directly
told her that I loved.

_Humph._ How was it possible to avoid it?

_Bev._ My tender obligations to my father have laid so inviolable a
restraint upon my conduct that, till I have his consent to speak, I am
determined, on that subject, to be dumb for ever.

_Humph._ Well, sir, to your praise be it spoken, you are certainly the
most unfashionable lover in Great Britain.

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Sir, Mr. Myrtle’s at the next door, and, if you are at leisure,
will be glad to wait on you.

_Bev._ Whenever he pleases—-hold, Tom! did you receive no answer to
my letter?

_Tom._ Sir, I was desired to call again; for I was told her mother
would not let her be out of her sight; but about an hour hence, Mrs.
Lettice said, I should certainly have one.

_Bev._ Very well. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Humph._ Sir, I will take another opportunity. In the meantime, I only
think it proper to tell you that, from a secret I know, you may appear
to your father as forward as you please, to marry Lucinda without the
least hazard of its coming to a conclusion–Sir, your most obedient
servant.

_Bev._ Honest Humphry, continue but my friend in this exigence, and
you shall always find me yours. [_Exit_ HUMPH.]–I long to hear how my
letter has succeeded with Lucinda–but I think it cannot fail; for, at
worst, were it possible she could take it ill, her resentment of my
indifference may as probably occasion a delay as her taking it right.
Poor Myrtle, what terrors must he be in all this while? Since he knows
she is offered to me, and refused to him, there is no conversing or
taking any measures with him for his own service.–But I ought to bear
with my friend, and use him as one in adversity–

All his disquiets by my own I prove,
The greatest grief’s perplexity in love.
[_Exit._

ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE I.–BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ BEVIL, JUN. _and_ TOM.

_Tom._ Sir, Mr. Myrtle.

_Bev. Jun._ Very well, do you step again, and wait for an answer to my
letter. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Enter_ MYRTLE.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, Charles, why so much care in thy countenance? Is
there anything in this world deserves it? You, who used to be so gay,
so open, so vacant!

_Myrt._ I think we have of late changed complexions. You, who used to
be much the graver man, are now all air in your behaviour.–But the
cause of my concern may, for aught I know, be the same object that
gives you all this satisfaction. In a word, I am told that you are this
very day–and your dress confirms me in it–to be married to Lucinda.

_Bev. Jun._ You are not misinformed.–Nay, put not on the terrors of
a rival till you hear me out. I shall disoblige the best of fathers
if I don’t seem ready to marry Lucinda; and you know I have ever told
you you might make use of my secret resolution never to marry her for
your own service as you please; but I am now driven to the extremity
of immediately refusing or complying unless you help me to escape the
match.

_Myrt._ Escape? Sir, neither her merit or her fortune are below your
acceptance–Escaping do you call it?

_Bev. Jun._ Dear sir, do you wish I should desire the match?

_Myrt._ No; but such is my humorous and sickly state of mind since it
has been able to relish nothing but Lucinda, that though I must owe my
happiness to your aversion to this marriage, I can’t bear to hear her
spoken of with levity or unconcern.

_Bev. Jun._ Pardon me, sir, I shall transgress that way no more. She
has understanding, beauty, shape, complexion, wit—-

_Myrt._ Nay, dear Bevil, don’t speak of her as if you loved her neither.

_Bev. Jun._ Why, then, to give you ease at once, though I allow Lucinda
to have good sense, wit, beauty, and virtue, I know another in whom
these qualities appear to me more amiable than in her.

_Myrt._ There you spoke like a reasonable and good-natured friend. When
you acknowledge her merit, and own your prepossession for another, at
once you gratify my fondness and cure my jealousy.

_Bev. Jun._ But all this while you take no notice, you have no
apprehension, of another man that has twice the fortune of either of us.

_Myrt._ Cimberton![127] hang him, a formal, philosophical, pedantic
coxcomb; for the sot, with all these crude notions of divers things,
under the direction of great vanity and very little judgment, shows his
strongest bias is avarice; which is so predominant in him that he will
examine the limbs of his mistress with the caution of a jockey, and
pays no more compliment to her personal charms than if she were a mere
breeding animal.

_Bev. Jun._ Are you sure that is not affected? I have known some women
sooner set on fire by that sort of negligence than by—-

_Myrt._ No, no; hang him, the rogue has no art; it is pure, simple
insolence and stupidity.

_Bev. Jun._ Yet, with all this, I don’t take him for a fool.

_Myrt._ I own the man is not a natural; he has a very quick sense,
though very slow understanding. He says, indeed, many things that want
only the circumstances of time and place to be very just and agreeable.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, you may be sure of me if you can disappoint him; but
my intelligence says the mother has actually sent for the conveyancer
to draw articles for his marriage with Lucinda, though those for mine
with her are, by her father’s orders, ready for signing; but it seems
she has not thought fit to consult either him or his daughter in the
matter.

_Myrt._ Pshaw! a poor troublesome woman. Neither Lucinda nor her father
will ever be brought to comply with it. Besides, I am sure Cimberton
can make no settlement upon her without the concurrence of his great
uncle, Sir Geoffry, in the west.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, sir, and I can tell you that’s the very point that
is now laid before her counsel, to know whether a firm settlement can
be made without his uncle’s actual joining in it. Now, pray consider,
sir, when my affair with Lucinda comes, as it soon must, to an open
rupture, how are you sure that Cimberton’s fortune may not then tempt
her father, too, to hear his proposals?

_Myrt._ There you are right, indeed; that must be provided against. Do
you know who are her counsel?

_Bev. Jun. Yes,_ for your service I have found out that, too. They are
Serjeant Bramble and Old Target–by the way, they are neither of them
known in the family. Now, I was thinking why you might not put a couple
of false counsel upon her to delay and confound matters a little;
besides, it may probably let you into the bottom of her whole design
against you.

_Myrt._ As how, pray?

_Bev. Jun._ Why, can’t you slip on a black wig and a gown, and be Old
Bramble yourself?

_Myrt._ Ha! I don’t dislike it.–But what shall I do for a brother in
the case?

_Bev. Jun._ What think you of my fellow, Tom? The rogue’s intelligent,
and is a good mimic. All his part will be but to stutter heartily, for
that’s old Target’s case. Nay, it would be an immoral thing to mock him
were it not that his impertinence is the occasion of its breaking out
to that degree. The conduct of the scene will chiefly lie upon you.

_Myrt._ I like it of all things. If you’ll send Tom to my chambers, I
will give him full instructions. This will certainly give me occasion
to raise difficulties, to puzzle or confound her project for a while at
least.

_Bev. Jun._ I’ll warrant you success.–So far we are right, then. And
now, Charles, your apprehension of my marrying her is all you have to
get over.

_Myrt._ Dear Bevil, though I know you are my friend, yet when I
abstract myself from my own interest in the thing, I know no objection
she can make to you, or you to her, and therefore hope—-

_Bev. Jun._ Dear Myrtle, I am as much obliged to you for the cause of
your suspicion, as I am offended at the effect; but, be assured, I am
taking measures for your certain security, and that all things with
regard to me will end in your entire satisfaction.

_Myrt._ Well, I’ll promise you to be as easy and as confident as I can,
though I cannot but remember that I have more than life at stake on
your fidelity. [_Going._

_Bev. Jun._ Then depend upon it, you have no chance against you.

_Myrt._ Nay, no ceremony, you know I must be going. [_Exit_ MYRT.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, this is another instance of the perplexities which
arise, too, in faithful friendship. We must often in this life go on
in our good offices, even under the displeasure of those to whom we
do them, in compassion to their weaknesses and mistakes.–But all
this while poor Indiana is tortured with the doubt of me. She has no
support or comfort but in my fidelity, yet sees me daily pressed to
marriage with another. How painful, in such a crisis, must be every
hour she thinks on me! I’ll let her see at least my conduct to her
is not changed. I’ll take this opportunity to visit her; for though
the religious vow I have made to my father restrains me from ever
marrying without his approbation, yet that confines me not from seeing
a virtuous woman that is the pure delight of my eyes and the guiltless
joy of my heart. But the best condition of human life is but a gentler
misery–

To hope for perfect happiness is vain,
And love has ever its allays of pain. [_Exit._

SCENE II.–INDIANA’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ ISABELLA _and_ INDIANA.

_Isab._ Yes, I say ’tis artifice, dear child. I say to thee again and
again ’tis all skill and management.

_Ind._ Will you persuade me there can be an ill design in supporting me
in the condition of a woman of quality? attended, dressed, and lodged
like one; in my appearance abroad and my furniture at home, every way
in the most sumptuous manner, and he that does it has an artifice, a
design in it?

_Isab._ Yes, yes.

_Ind._ And all this without so much as explaining to me that all about
me comes from him!

_Isab._ Ay, ay, the more for that. That keeps the title to all you have
the more in him.

_Ind._ The more in him! He scorns the thought—-

_Isab._ Then he–he–he—-

_Ind._ Well, be not so eager. If he is an ill man, let us look into
his stratagems. Here is another of them. [_Showing a letter._] Here’s
two hundred and fifty pounds in bank notes, with these words: “To pay
for the set of dressing-plate which will be brought home to-morrow.”
Why, dear aunt, now here’s another piece of skill for you, which I own
I cannot comprehend; and it is with a bleeding heart I hear you say
anything to the disadvantage of Mr. Bevil. When he is present I look
upon him as one to whom I owe my life and the support of it; then,
again, as the man who loves me with sincerity and honour. When his eyes
are cast another way, and I dare survey him, my heart is painfully
divided between shame and love. Oh! could I tell you—-

_Isab._ Ah! you need not; I imagine all this for you.

_Ind._ This is my state of mind in his presence; and when he is absent,
you are ever dinning my ears with notions of the arts of men; that his
hidden bounty, his respectful conduct, his careful provision for me,
after his preserving me from utmost misery, are certain signs he means
nothing but to make I know not what of me.

_Isab._ Oh! You have a sweet opinion of him, truly.

_Ind._ I have, when I am with him, ten thousand things, besides my
sex’s natural decency and shame, to suppress my heart, that yearns to
thank, to praise, to say it loves him. I say, thus it is with me while
I see him; and in his absence I am entertained with nothing but your
endeavours to tear this amiable image from my heart; and in its stead,
to place a base dissembler, an artful invader of my happiness, my
innocence, my honour.

_Isab._ Ah, poor soul! has not his plot taken? don’t you die for him?
has not the way he has taken, been the most proper with you? Oh! oh! He
has sense, and has judged the thing right.

_Ind._ Go on then, since nothing can answer you; say what you will of
him. Heigh! ho!

_Isab._ Heigh! ho! indeed. It is better to say so, as you are now,
than as many others are. There are, among the destroyers of women,
the gentle, the generous, the mild, the affable, the humble, who all,
soon after their success in their designs, turn to the contrary of
those characters. I will own to you, Mr. Bevil carries his hypocrisy
the best of any man living, but still he is a man, and therefore a
hypocrite. They have usurped an exemption from shame for any baseness,
any cruelty towards us. They embrace without love; they make vows
without conscience of obligation; they are partners, nay, seducers to
the crime, wherein they pretend to be less guilty.

_Ind._ That’s truly observed. [_Aside._]–But what’s all this to Bevil?

_Isab._ This it is to Bevil and all mankind. Trust not those who will
think the worse of you for your confidence in them; serpents who lie
in wait for doves. Won’t you be on your guard against those who would
betray you? Won’t you doubt those who would contemn you for believing
’em? Take it from me, fair and natural dealing is to invite injuries;
’tis bleating to escape wolves who would devour you! Such is the
world–[_Aside._] and such (since the behaviour of one man to myself)
have I believed all the rest of the sex.

_Ind._ I will not doubt the truth of Bevil, I will not doubt it. He has
not spoke of it by an organ that is given to lying. His eyes are all
that have ever told me that he was mine. I know his virtue, I know his
filial piety, and ought to trust his management with a father to whom
he has uncommon obligations. What have I to be concerned for? my lesson
is very short. If he takes me for ever, my purpose of life is only to
please him. If he leaves me (which Heaven avert) I know he’ll do it
nobly, and I shall have nothing to do but to learn to die, after worse
than death has happened to me.

_Isab._ Ay, do, persist in your credulity! flatter yourself that a man
of his figure and fortune will make himself the jest of the town, and
marry a handsome beggar for love.

_Ind._ The town! I must tell you, madam, the fools that laugh at
Mr. Bevil will but make themselves more ridiculous; his actions are
the result of thinking, and he has sense enough to make even virtue
fashionable.

_Isab._ O’ my conscience he has turned her head.–Come, come, if he
were the honest fool you take him for, why has he kept you here these
three weeks, without sending you to Bristol in search of your father,
your family, and your relations?

_Ind._ I am convinced he still designs it, and that nothing keeps him
here, but the necessity of coming to a breach with his father in regard
to the match he has proposed him. Beside, has he not writ to Bristol?
and has not he advice that my father has not been heard of there almost
these twenty years?

_Isab._ All sham, mere evasion; he is afraid, if he should carry you
thither, your honest relations may take you out of his hands, and so
blow up all his wicked hopes at once.

_Ind._ Wicked hopes! did I ever give him any such?

_Isab._ Has he ever given you any honest ones? Can you say, in your
conscience, he has ever once offered to marry you?

_Ind._ No! but by his behaviour I am convinced he will offer it, the
moment ’tis in his power, or consistent with his honour, to make such a
promise good to me.

_Isab._ His honour!

_Ind._ I will rely upon it; therefore desire you will not make my life
uneasy, by these ungrateful jealousies of one, to whom I am, and wish
to be, obliged. For from his integrity alone, I have resolved to hope
for happiness.

_Isab._ Nay, I have done my duty; if you won’t see, at your peril be it!

_Ind._ Let it be–This is his hour of visiting me.

_Isab._ Oh! to be sure, keep up your form; don’t see him in a
bed-chamber–[_Apart._] This is pure prudence, when she is liable,
wherever he meets her, to be conveyed where’er he pleases.

_Ind._ All the rest of my life is but waiting till he comes. I live
only when I’m with him. [_Exit._

_Isab._ Well, go thy ways, thou wilful innocent!–[_Aside._] I once had
almost as much love for a man, who poorly left me to marry an estate;
and I am now, against my will, what they call an old maid–but I will
not let the peevishness of that condition grow upon me, only keep up
the suspicion of it, to prevent this creature’s being any other than a
virgin, except upon proper terms. [_Exit._

_Re-enter_ INDIANA, _speaking to a Servant._

_Ind._ Desire Mr. Bevil to walk in–Design! impossible! A base
designing mind could never think of what he hourly puts in practice.
And yet, since the late rumour of his marriage, he seems more reserved
than formerly–he sends in too, before he sees me, to know if I am
at leisure–such new respects may cover coldness in the heart; it
certainly makes me thoughtful–I’ll know the worst at once; I’ll lay
such fair occasions in his way, that it shall be impossible to avoid
an explanation, for these doubts are insupportable!–But see, he comes,
and clears them all.

_Enter_ BEVIL.

_Bev._ Madam, your most obedient–I am afraid I broke in upon your rest
last night; ’twas very late before we parted, but ’twas your own fault.
I never saw you in such agreeable humour.

_Ind._ I am extremely glad we were both pleased; for I thought I never
saw you better company.

_Bev._ Me, madam! you rally; I said very little.

_Ind._ But I am afraid you heard me say a great deal; and, when a woman
is in the talking vein, the most agreeable thing a man can do, you
know, is to have patience to hear her.

_Bev._ Then it’s pity, madam, you should ever be silent, that we might
be always agreeable to one another.

_Ind._ If I had your talent or power, to make my actions speak for me,
I might indeed be silent, and you pretend to something more than the
agreeable.

_Bev._ If I might be vain of anything in my power, madam, ’tis that
my understanding, from all your sex, has marked you out as the most
deserving object of my esteem.

_Ind._ Should I think I deserve this, ’twere enough to make my vanity
forfeit the very esteem you offer me.

_Bev._ How so, madam?

_Ind._ Because esteem is the result of reason, and to deserve it from
good sense, the height of human glory. Nay, I had rather a man of
honour should pay me that, than all the homage of a sincere and humble
love.

_Bev. Jun._ You certainly distinguish right, madam; love often kindles
from external merit only.

_Ind._ But esteem rises from a higher source, the merit of the soul.

_Bev. Jun._ True–And great souls only can deserve it. [_Bowing
respectfully._

_Ind._ Now I think they are greater still, that can so charitably part
with it.

_Bey. Jun._ Now, madam, you make me vain, since the utmost pride and
pleasure of my life is, that I esteem you as I ought.

_Ind._ [_Aside._] As he ought! still more perplexing! he neither saves
nor kills my hope.

_Bev. Jun._ But, madam, we grow grave, methinks. Let’s find some other
subject–Pray how did you like the opera last night?

_Ind._ First give me leave to thank you for my tickets.

_Bey. Jun._ Oh! your servant, madam. But pray tell me, you now, who
are never partial to the fashion, I fancy must be the properest judge
of a mighty dispute among the ladies, that is, whether _Crispo_ or
_Griselda_[128] is the more agreeable entertainment.

_Ind._ With submission now, I cannot be a proper judge of this question.

_Bev._ How so, madam?

_Ind._ Because I find I have a partiality for one of them.

_Bev. Jun._ Pray which is that?

_Ind._ I do not know; there’s something in that rural cottage of
Griselda, her forlorn condition, her poverty, her solitude, her
resignation, her innocent slumbers, and that lulling _dolce sogno_
that’s sung over her; it had an effect upon me that–in short I never
was so well deceived, at any of them.

_Bev. Jun._ Oh! Now then, I can account for the dispute. Griselda, it
seems, is the distress of an injured innocent woman, Crispo, that only
of a man in the same condition; therefore the men are mostly concerned
for Crispo, and, by a natural indulgence, both sexes for Griselda.

_Ind._ So that judgment, you think, ought to be for one, though fancy
and complaisance have got ground for the other. Well! I believe you
will never give me leave to dispute with you on any subject; for I own,
Crispo has its charms for me too. Though in the main, all the pleasure
the best opera gives us is but mere sensation. Methinks it’s pity the
mind can’t have a little more share in the entertainment. The music’s
certainly fine, but, in my thoughts, there’s none of your composers
come up to old Shakespeare and Otway.

_Bev._ How, madam! why if a woman of your sense were to say this in a
drawing-room—-

_Enter a_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Sir, here’s Signor Carbonelli[129] says he waits your commands
in the next room.

_Bev._ Apropos! you were saying yesterday, madam, you had a mind to
hear him. Will you give him leave to entertain you now?

_Ind._ By all means; desire the gentleman to walk in. [_Exit_ SERVANT.

_Bev._ I fancy you will find something in this hand that is uncommon.

_Ind._ You are always finding ways, Mr. Bevil, to make life seem less
tedious to me.

_Enter_ MUSIC MASTER.

When the gentleman pleases.

[_After a Sonata is played,_ BEVIL _waits on the Master to the door,
etc._]

_Bev._ You smile, madam, to see me so complaisant to one whom I pay
for his visit. Now, I own, I think it is not enough barely to pay
those whose talents are superior to our own (I mean such talents as
would become our condition, if we had them). Methinks we ought to
do something more than barely gratify them for what they do at our
command, only because their fortune is below us.

_Ind._ You say I smile. I assure you it was a smile of approbation;
for, indeed, I cannot but think it the distinguishing part of a
gentleman to make his superiority of fortune as easy to his inferiors
as he can.–Now once more to try him. [_Aside._]–I was saying just
now, I believed you would never let me dispute with you, and I daresay
it will always be so. However, I must have your opinion upon a subject
which created a debate between my aunt and me, just before you came
hither; she would needs have it that no man ever does any extraordinary
kindness or service for a woman, but for his own sake.

_Bev._ Well, madam! Indeed I can’t but be of her mind.

_Ind._ What, though he should maintain and support her, without
demanding anything of her, on her part?

_Bev._ Why, madam, is making an expense in the service of a valuable
woman (for such I must suppose her), though she should never do him any
favour, nay, though she should never know who did her such service,
such a mighty heroic business?

_Ind._ Certainly! I should think he must be a man of an uncommon mould.

_Bev._ Dear madam, why so? ’tis but, at best, a better taste in
expense. To bestow upon one, whom he may think one of the ornaments
of the whole creation, to be conscious, that from his superfluity, an
innocent, a virtuous spirit is supported above the temptations and
sorrows of life! That he sees satisfaction, health, and gladness in
her countenance, while he enjoys the happiness of seeing her (as that I
will suppose too, or he must be too abstracted, too insensible), I say,
if he is allowed to delight in that prospect; alas, what mighty matter
is there in all this?

_Ind._ No mighty matter in so disinterested a friendship!

_Bev._ Disinterested! I can’t think him so; your hero, madam, is no
more than what every gentleman ought to be, and I believe very many
are. He is only one who takes more delight in reflections than in
sensations. He is more pleased with thinking than eating; that’s the
utmost you can say of him. Why, madam, a greater expense than all this,
men lay out upon an unnecessary stable of horses.

_Ind._ Can you be sincere in what you say?

_Bev._ You may depend upon it, if you know any such man, he does not
love dogs inordinately.

_Ind._ No, that he does not.

_Bev._ Nor cards, nor dice.

_Ind._ No.

_Bev._ Nor bottle companions.

_Ind._ No.

_Bev._ Nor loose women.

_Ind._ No, I’m sure he does not.

_Bev._ Take my word then, if your admired hero is not liable to any
of these kind of demands, there’s no such pre-eminence in this as you
imagine. Nay, this way of expense you speak of is what exalts and
raises him that has a taste for it; and, at the same time, his delight
is incapable of satiety, disgust, or penitence.

_Ind._ But still I insist his having no private interest in the action,
makes it prodigious, almost incredible.

_Bev._ Dear madam, I never knew you more mistaken. Why, who can be more
a usurer than he who lays out his money in such valuable purchases? If
pleasure be worth purchasing, how great a pleasure is it to him, who
has a true taste of life, to ease an aching heart; to see the human
countenance lighted up into smiles of joy, on the receipt of a bit of
ore which is superfluous and otherwise useless in a man’s own pocket?
What could a man do better with his cash? This is the effect of a human
disposition, where there is only a general tie of nature and common
necessity. What then must it be when we serve an object of merit, of
admiration!

_Ind._ Well! the more you argue against it the more I shall admire the
generosity.

_Bev._ Nay, nay–Then, madam, ’tis time to fly, after a declaration
that my opinion strengthens my adversary’s argument. I had best hasten
to my appointment with Mr. Myrtle, and begone while we are friends, and
before things are brought to an extremity. [_Exit, carelessly._

_Enter_ ISABELLA.

_Isab._ Well, madam, what think you of him now, pray?

_Ind._ I protest, I begin to fear he is wholly disinterested in what he
does for me. On my heart, he has no other view but the mere pleasure of
doing it, and has neither good or bad designs upon me.

_Isab._ Ah! dear niece! don’t be in fear of both! I’ll warrant you, you
will know time enough that he is not indifferent.

_Ind._ You please me when you tell me so; for, if he has any wishes
towards me, I know he will not pursue them but with honour.

_Isab._ I wish I were as confident of one as t’other. I saw the
respectful downcast of his eye, when you caught him gazing at you
during the music. He, I warrant, was surprised, as if he had been taken
stealing your watch. Oh! the undissembled guilty look!

_Ind._ But did you observe any such thing, really? I thought he looked
most charmingly graceful! How engaging is modesty in a man, when one
knows there is a great mind within. So tender a confusion! and yet,
in other respects, so much himself, so collected, so dauntless, so
determined!

_Isab._ Ah! niece! there is a sort of bashfulness which is the best
engine to carry on a shameless purpose. Some men’s modesty serves their
wickedness, as hypocrisy gains the respect due to piety. But I will own
to you, there is one hopeful symptom, if there could be such a thing as
a disinterested lover. But it’s all a perplexity–till–till–till—-

_Ind._ Till what?

_Isab._ Till I know whether Mr. Myrtle and Mr. Bevil are really friends
or foes.–And that I will be convinced of before I sleep; for you shall
not be deceived.

_Ind._ I’m sure I never shall, if your fears can guard me. In the
meantime I’ll wrap myself up in the integrity of my own heart, nor dare
to doubt of his.

As conscious honour all his actions steers,
So conscious innocence dispels my fears. [_Exeunt._

ACT THE THIRD.[130]

SCENE.–SEALAND’S _House._

_Enter_ TOM, _meeting_ PHILLIS.

_Tom._ Well, Phillis! What, with a face as if you had never seen me
before!–What a work have I to do now? She has seen some new visitant
at their house whose airs she has caught, and is resolved to practise
them upon me. Numberless are the changes she’ll dance through before
she’ll answer this plain question: videlicet, have you delivered my
master’s letter to your lady? Nay, I know her too well to ask an
account of it in an ordinary way; I’ll be in my airs as well as she.
[_Aside._]–Well, madam, as unhappy as you are at present pleased to
make me, I would not, in the general, be any other than what I am. I
would not be a bit wiser, a bit richer, a bit taller, a bit shorter
than I am at this instant. [_Looking steadfastly at her._

_Phil._ Did ever anybody doubt, Master Thomas, but that you were
extremely satisfied with your sweet self?

_Tom._ I am, indeed. The thing I have least reason to be satisfied with
is my fortune, and I am glad of my poverty. Perhaps if I were rich I
should overlook the finest woman in the world, that wants nothing but
riches to be thought so.

_Phil._ How prettily was that said! But I’ll have a great deal more
before I’ll say one word. [_Aside._

_Tom._ I should, perhaps, have been stupidly above her had I not been
her equal; and by not being her equal, never had opportunity of being
her slave. I am my master’s servant for hire–I am my mistress’s from
choice, would she but approve my passion.

_Phil._ I think it’s the first time I ever heard you speak of it with
any sense of the anguish, if you really do suffer any.

_Tom._ Ah, Phillis! can you doubt, after what you have seen?

_Phil._ I know not what I have seen, nor what I have heard; but since I
am at leisure, you may tell me when you fell in love with me; how you
fell in love with me; and what you have suffered or are ready to suffer
for me.

_Tom._ Oh, the unmerciful jade! when I am in haste about my master’s
letter. But I must go through it. [_Aside._]–Ah![131] too well I
remember when, and how, and on what occasion I was first surprised.
It was on the 1st of April, 1715, I came into Mr. Sealand’s service; I
was then a hobbledehoy, and you a pretty little tight girl, a favourite
handmaid of the housekeeper. At that time we neither of us knew what
was in us. I remember I was ordered to get out of the window, one pair
of stairs, to rub the sashes clean; the person employed on the inner
side was your charming self, whom I had never seen before.

_Phil._ I think I remember the silly accident. What made ye, you oaf,
ready to fall down into the street?

_Tom._ You know not, I warrant you–you could not guess what surprised
me. You took no delight when you immediately grew wanton in your
conquest, and put your lips close, and breathed upon the glass, and
when my lips approached, a dirty cloth you rubbed against my face, and
hid your beauteous form! When I again drew near, you spit, and rubbed,
and smiled at my undoing.

_Phil._ What silly thoughts you men have!

_Tom._ We were Pyramus and Thisbe–but ten times harder was my fate.
Pyramus could peep only through a wall; I saw her, saw my Thisbe
in all her beauty, but as much kept from her as if a hundred walls
between–for there was more: there was her will against me. Would she
but yet relent! O Phillis! Phillis! shorten my torment, and declare you
pity me.

_Phil._ I believe it’s very sufferable; the pain is not so exquisite
but that you may bear it a little longer.

_Tom._ Oh! my charming Phillis, if all depended on my fair one’s
will, I could with glory suffer–but, dearest creature, consider our
miserable state.

_Phil._ How! Miserable!

_Tom._ We are miserable to be in love, and under the command of others
than those we love; with that generous passion in the heart, to be
sent to and fro on errands, called, checked, and rated for the meanest
trifles. Oh, Phillis! you don’t know how many china cups and glasses my
passion for you has made me break. You have broke my fortune as well as
my heart.

_Phil._ Well, Mr. Thomas, I cannot but own to you that I believe your
master writes and you speak the best of any men in the world. Never was
woman so well pleased with a letter as my young lady was with his; and
this is an answer to it. [_Gives him a letter._

_Tom._ This was well done, my dearest; consider, we must strike out
some pretty livelihood for ourselves by closing their affairs. It will
be nothing for them to give us a little being of our own, some small
tenement, out of their large possessions. Whatever they give us, it
will be more than what they keep for themselves. One acre with Phillis
would be worth a whole county without her.

_Phil._ O, could I but believe you!

_Tom._ If not the utterance, believe the touch of my lips. [_Kisses
her._

_Phil._ There’s no contradicting you. How closely you argue, Tom!

_Tom._ And will closer, in due time. But I must hasten with this
letter, to hasten towards the possession of you. Then, Phillis,
consider how I must be revenged, look to it, of all your skittishness,
shy looks, and at best but coy compliances.

_Phil._ Oh, Tom, you grow wanton, and sensual, as my lady calls it; I
must not endure it. Oh! foh! you are a man–an odious, filthy, male
creature–you should behave, if you had a right sense or were a man of
sense, like Mr. Cimberton, with distance and indifference; or, let me
see, some other becoming hard word, with seeming in-in-inadvertency,
and not rush on one as if you were seizing a prey.–But hush! the
ladies are coming.–Good Tom, don’t kiss me above once, and be gone.
Lard, we have been fooling and toying, and not considered the main
business of our masters and mistresses.

_Tom._ Why, their business is to be fooling and toying as soon as the
parchments are ready.

_Phil._ Well remembered, parchments; my lady, to my knowledge, is
preparing writings between her coxcomb cousin, Cimberton, and my
mistress, though my master has an eye to the parchments already
prepared between your master, Mr. Bevil, and my mistress; and, I
believe, my mistress herself has signed and sealed, in her heart, to
Mr. Myrtle.–Did I not bid you kiss me but once, and be gone? But I
know you won’t be satisfied.

_Tom._ No, you smooth creature, how should I? [_Kissing her hand._

_Phil._ Well, since you are so humble, or so cool, as to ravish my hand
only, I’ll take my leave of you like a great lady, and you a man of
quality. [_They salute formally._

_Tom._ Pox of all this state. [_Offers to kiss her more closely._

_Phil._ No, prithee, Tom, mind your business. We must follow that
interest which will take, but endeavour at that which will be most for
us, and we like most. Oh, here is my young mistress! [TOM _taps her
neck behind, and kisses his fingers._] Go, ye liquorish fool. [_Exit_
TOM.

_Enter_ LUCINDA.

_Luc._ Who was that you were hurrying away?

_Phil._ One that I had no mind to part with.

_Luc._ Why did you turn him away then?

_Phil._ For your ladyship’s service–to carry your ladyship’s letter to
his master. I could hardly get the rogue away.

_Luc._ Why, has he so little love for his master?

_Phil._ No; but he hath so much love for his mistress.

_Luc._ But I thought I heard him kiss you. Why did you suffer that?

_Phil._ Why, madam, we vulgar take it to be a sign of love–We
servants, we poor people, that have nothing but our persons to bestow
or treat for, are forced to deal and bargain by way of sample, and
therefore as we have no parchments or wax necessary in our agreements,
we squeeze with our hands and seal with our lips, to ratify vows and
promises.

_Luc._ But can’t you trust one another without such earnest down?

_Phil._ We don’t think it safe, any more than you gentry, to come
together without deeds executed.

_Luc._ Thou art a pert merry hussy.

_Phil._ I wish, madam, your lover and you were as happy as Tom and your
servant are.

_Luc._ You grow impertinent.

_Phil._ I have done, madam; and I won’t ask you what you intend to
do with Mr. Myrtle, what your father will do with Mr. Bevil, nor
what you all, especially my lady, mean by admitting Mr. Cimberton as
particularly here as if he were married to you already; nay, you are
married actually as far as people of quality are.

_Luc._ How is that?

_Phil._ You have different beds in the same house.

_Luc._ Pshaw! I have a very great value for Mr. Bevil, but have
absolutely put an end to his pretensions in the letter I gave you for
him. But my father, in his heart, still has a mind to him, were it not
for this woman they talk of; and I am apt to imagine he is married to
her, or never designs to marry at all.

_Phil._ Then Mr. Myrtle—-

_Luc._ He had my parents’ leave to apply to me, and by that he has won
me and my affections; who is to have this body of mine without them,
it seems, is nothing to me. My mother says ’tis indecent for me to let
my thoughts stray about the person of my husband; nay, she says a
maid, rigidly virtuous, though she may have been where her lover was a
thousand times, should not have made observations enough to know him
from another man when she sees him in a third place.

_Phil._ That is more than the severity of a nun, for not to see when
one may is hardly possible; not to see when one can’t is very easy. At
this rate, madam, there are a great many whom you have not seen who—-

_Luc._ Mamma says the first time you see your husband should be at that
instant he is made so. When your father, with the help of the minister,
gives you to him, then you are to see him; then you are to observe and
take notice of him; because then you are to obey him.

_Phil._ But does not my lady remember you are to love as well as obey?

_Luc._ To love is a passion, it is a desire, and we must have no
desires.–Oh, I cannot endure the reflection! With what insensibility
on my part, with what more than patience have I been exposed and
offered to some awkward booby or other in every county of Great Britain!

_Phil._ Indeed, madam, I wonder I never heard you speak of it before
with this indignation.

_Luc._ Every corner of the land has presented me with a wealthy
coxcomb. As fast as one treaty has gone off, another has come on, till
my name and person have been the tittle-tattle of the whole town. What
is this world come to?–no shame left–to be bartered for like the
beasts of the field, and that in such an instance as coming together
to an entire familiarity and union of soul and body. Oh! and this
without being so much as well-wishers to each other, but for increase
of fortune.

_Phil._ But, madam, all these vexations will end very soon in one for
all. Mr. Cimberton is your mother’s kinsman, and three hundred years
an older gentleman than any lover you ever had; for which reason, with
that of his prodigious large estate, she is resolved on him, and has
sent to consult the lawyers accordingly; nay, has (whether you know it
or no) been in treaty with Sir Geoffry, who, to join in the settlement,
has accepted of a sum to do it, and is every moment expected in town
for that purpose.

_Luc._ How do you get all this intelligence?

_Phil._ By an art I have, I thank my stars, beyond all the
waiting-maids in Great Britain–the art of listening, madam, for your
ladyship’s service.

_Luc._ I shall soon know as much as you do; leave me, leave me,
Phillis, begone. Here, here! I’ll turn you out. My mother says I must
not converse with my servants, though I must converse with no one else.
[_Exit_ PHIL.]–How unhappy are we who are born to great fortunes! No
one looks at us with indifference, or acts towards us on the foot of
plain dealing; yet, by all I have been heretofore offered to or treated
for I have been used with the most agreeable of all abuses–flattery.
But now, by this phlegmatic fool I’m used as nothing, or a mere thing.
He, forsooth, is too wise, too learned to have any regard for desires,
and I know not what the learned oaf calls sentiments of love and
passion–Here he comes with my mother–It’s much if he looks at me, or
if he does, takes no more notice of me than of any other movable in the
room.

_Enter_ MRS. SEALAND, _and_ MR. CIMBERTON.

_Mrs. Seal._ How do I admire this noble, this learned taste of yours,
and the worthy regard you have to our own ancient and honourable house
in consulting a means to keep the blood as pure and as regularly
descended as may be.

_Cim._ Why, really, madam, the young women of this age are treated with
discourses of such a tendency, and their imaginations so bewildered
in flesh and blood, that a man of reason can’t talk to be understood.
They have no ideas of happiness, but what are more gross than the
gratification of hunger and thirst.

_Luc._ With how much reflection he is a coxcomb! [_Aside._

_Cim._ And in truth, madam, I have considered it as a most brutal
custom that persons of the first character in the world should go as
ordinarily, and with as little shame, to bed as to dinner with one
another. They proceed to the propagation of the species as openly as to
the preservation of the individual.

_Luc._ She that willingly goes to bed to thee must have no shame, I’m
sure. [_Aside._

_Mrs. Seal._ Oh, cousin Cimberton! cousin Cimberton! how abstracted,
how refined is your sense of things! But, indeed, it is too true there
is nothing so ordinary as to say, in the best governed families, my
master and lady have gone to bed; one does not know but it might have
been said of one’s self. [_Hiding her face with her fan._

_Cim._ Lycurgus, madam, instituted otherwise; among the Lacedæmonians
the whole female world was pregnant, but none but the mothers
themselves knew by whom; their meetings were secret, and the amorous
congress always by stealth; and no such professed doings between the
sexes as are tolerated among us under the audacious word, marriage.

_Mrs. Seal._ Oh, had I lived in those days and been a matron of Sparta,
one might with less indecency have had ten children, according to
that modest institution, than one, under the confusion of our modern,
barefaced manner.

_Luc._ And yet, poor woman, she has gone through the whole ceremony,
and here I stand a melancholy proof of it. [_Aside._

_Mrs. Seal._ We will talk then of business. That girl walking about
the room there is to be your wife. She has, I confess, no ideas, no
sentiments, that speak her born of a thinking mother.

_Cimb._ I have observed her; her lively look, free air, and disengaged
countenance speak her very—-

_Luc._ Very what?

_Cimb._ If you please, madam–to set her a little that way.

_Mrs. Seal._ Lucinda, say nothing to him, you are not a match for him;
when you are married, you may speak to such a husband when you’re
spoken to. But I am disposing of you above yourself every way.

_Cimb._ Madam, you cannot but observe the inconveniences I expose
myself to, in hopes that your ladyship will be the consort of my better
part. As for the young woman, she is rather an impediment than a help
to a man of letters and speculation. Madam, there is no reflection, no
philosophy, can at all times subdue the sensitive life, but the animal
shall sometimes carry away the man. Ha! ay, the vermilion of her lips.

_Luc._ Pray, don’t talk of me thus.

_Cimb._ The pretty enough–pant of her bosom.

_Luc._ Sir! madam, don’t you hear him?

_Cimb._ Her forward chest.

_Luc._ Intolerable!

_Cimb._ High health.

_Luc._ The grave, easy impudence of him!

_Cimb._ Proud heart.

_Luc._ Stupid coxcomb!

_Cimb._ I say, madam, her impatience, while we are looking at her,
throws out all attractions–her arms–her neck–what a spring in her
step!

_Luc._ Don’t you run me over thus, you strange unaccountable!

_Cimb._ What an elasticity in her veins and arteries!

_Luc._ I have no veins, no arteries.

_Mrs. Seal._ Oh, child! hear him, he talks finely; he’s a scholar, he
knows what you have.

_Cimb._ The speaking invitation of her shape, the gathering of herself
up, and the indignation you see in the pretty little thing–Now, I am
considering her, on this occasion, but as one that is to be pregnant.

_Luc._ The familiar, learned, unseasonable puppy! [_Aside._

_Cimb._ And pregnant undoubtedly she will be yearly. I fear I shan’t,
for many years, have discretion enough to give her one fallow season.

_Luc._ Monster! there’s no bearing it. The hideous sot! there’s no
enduring it, to be thus surveyed like a steed at sale.

_Cimb._ At sale! She’s very illiterate–But she’s very well limbed too;
turn her in; I see what she is. [_Exit_ LUCINDA, _in a rage._

_Mrs. Seal._ Go, you creature, I am ashamed of you.

_Cimb._ No harm done–you know, madam, the better sort of people, as I
observed to you, treat by their lawyers of weddings [_Adjusting himself
at the glass._]–and the woman in the bargain, like the mansion house
in the sale of the estate, is thrown in, and what that is, whether good
or bad, is not at all considered.

_Mrs. Seal._ I grant it; and therefore make no demand for her youth and
beauty, and every other accomplishment, as the common world think ’em,
because she is not polite.

_Cimb._ Madam, I know your exalted understanding, abstracted, as it is,
from vulgar prejudices, will not be offended, when I declare to you,
I marry to have an heir to my estate, and not to beget a colony, or
a plantation. This young woman’s beauty and constitution will demand
provision for a tenth child at least.

_Mrs. Seal._ With all that wit and learning, how considerate! What an
economist! [_Aside._]–Sir, I cannot make her any other than she is;
or say she is much better than the other young women of this age, or
fit for much besides being a mother; but I have given directions for
the marriage settlements, and Sir Geoffry Cimberton’s counsel is to
meet ours here, at this hour, concerning this joining in the deed,
which, when executed, makes you capable of settling what is due to
Lucinda’s fortune. Herself, as I told you, I say nothing of.

_Cimb._ No, no, no, indeed, madam, it is not usual; and I must depend
upon my own reflection and philosophy not to overstock my family.

_Mrs. Seal._ I cannot help her, cousin Cimberton; but she is, for aught
I see, as well as the daughter of anybody else.

_Cimb._ That is very true, madam.

_Enter a_ Servant, _who whispers_ MRS. SEALAND.

_Mrs. Seal._ The lawyers are come, and now we are to hear what
they have resolved as to the point whether it’s necessary that Sir
Geoffry should join in the settlement, as being what they call in the
remainder. But, good cousin, you must have patience with ’em. These
lawyers, I am told, are of a different kind; one is what they call a
chamber counsel, the other a pleader. The conveyancer is slow, from
an imperfection in his speech, and therefore shunned the bar, but
extremely passionate and impatient of contradiction. The other is as
warm as he; but has a tongue so voluble, and a head so conceited, he
will suffer nobody to speak but himself.

_Cimb._ You mean old Serjeant Target and Counsellor Bramble? I have
heard of ’em.

_Mrs. Seal._ The same. Show in the gentlemen. [_Exit_ Servant.

_Re-enter_ Servant, _introducing_ MYRTLE _and_ TOM _disguised as_
BRAMBLE _and_ TARGET.

_Mrs. Seal._ Gentlemen, this is the party concerned, Mr. Cimberton;
and I hope you have considered of the matter.

_Tar._ Yes, madam, we have agreed that it must be by
indent—-dent—-dent—-dent—-

_Bram._ Yes, madam, Mr. Serjeant and myself have agreed, as he is
pleased to inform you, that it must be an indenture tripartite,[132]
and tripartite let it be, for Sir Geoffry must needs be a party;
old Cimberton, in the year 1619, says, in that ancient roll in Mr.
Serjeant’s hands, as recourse thereto being had, will more at large
appear—-

_Tar._ Yes, and by the deeds in your hands, it appears that—-

_Bram._ Mr. Serjeant, I beg of you to make no inferences upon what is
in our custody; but speak to the titles in your own deeds. I shall not
show that deed till my client is in town.

_Cimb._ You know best your own methods.

_Mrs. Seal._ The single question is, whether the entail is such that my
cousin, Sir Geoffry, is necessary in this affair?

_Bram._ Yes, as to the lordship of Tretriplet, but not as to the
messuage of Grimgribber.

_Tar._ I say that Gr–gr–that Gr–gr–Grimgribber, Grimgribber is
in us; that is to say the remainder thereof, as well as that of
Tr–tr–Triplet.

_Bram._ You go upon the deed of Sir Ralph, made in the middle of the
last century, precedent to that in which old Cimberton made over the
remainder, and made it pass to the heirs general, by which your client
comes in; and I question whether the remainder even of Tretriplet is
in him–But we are willing to waive that, and give him a valuable
consideration. But we shall not purchase what is in us for ever, as
Grimgribber is, at the rate, as we guard against the contingent of Mr.
Cimberton having no son–Then we know Sir Geoffry is the first of the
collateral male line in this family–yet—-

_Tar._ Sir, Gr—-gr—-ber is—-

_Bram._ I apprehend you very well, and your argument might be of force,
and we would be inclined to hear that in all its parts–But, sir, I see
very plainly what you are going into. I tell you, it is as probable a
contingent that Sir Geoffry may die before Mr. Cimberton, as that he
may outlive him.

_Tar._ Sir, we are not ripe for that yet, but I must say—-

_Bram._ Sir, I allow you the whole extent of that argument; but that
will go no farther than as to the claimants under old Cimberton. I am
of opinion that, according to the instruction of Sir Ralph, he could
not dock the entail, and then create a new estate for the heirs general.

_Tar._ Sir, I have not patience to be told that, when
Gr—-gr—-ber—-

_Bram._ I will allow it you, Mr. Serjeant; but there must be the word
heirs for ever, to make such an estate as you pretend.

_Cimb._ I must be impartial, though you are counsel for my side of
the question. Were it not that you are so good as to allow him what
he has not said, I should think it very hard you should answer him
without hearing him–But, gentlemen, I believe you have both considered
this matter, and are firm in your different opinions. ‘Twere better,
therefore, you proceeded according to the particular sense of each of
you, and gave your thoughts distinctly in writing. And do you see,
sirs, pray let me have a copy of what you say in English.

_Bram._ Why, what is all we have been saying? In English! Oh! but I
forget myself, you’re a wit. But, however, to please you, sir, you
shall have it, in as plain terms as the law will admit of.

_Cimb._ But I would have it, sir, without delay.

_Bram._ That, sir, the law will not admit of. The Courts are sitting at
Westminster, and I am this moment obliged to be at every one of them,
and ‘twould be wrong if I should not be in the hall to attend one of
’em at least; the rest would take it ill else. Therefore, I must leave
what I have said to Mr. Serjeant’s consideration, and I will digest his
arguments on my part, and you shall hear from me again, sir. [_Exit_
BRAMBLE.

_Tar._ Agreed, agreed.

_Cimb._ Mr. Bramble is very quick; he parted a little abruptly.

_Tar._ He could not bear my argument; I pinched him to the quick about
that Gr—-gr—-ber.

_Mrs. Seal._ I saw that, for he durst not so much as hear you. I shall
send to you, Mr. Serjeant, as soon as Sir Geoffry comes to town, and
then I hope all may be adjusted.

_Tar._ I shall be at my chambers, at my usual hours. [_Exit._

_Cimb._ Madam, if you please, I’ll now attend you to the tea table,
where I shall hear from your ladyship reason and good sense, after all
this law and gibberish.

_Mrs. Seal._ ‘Tis a wonderful thing, sir, that men of professions
do not study to talk the substance of what they have to say in the
language of the rest of the world. Sure, they’d find their account in
it.

_Cimb._ They might, perhaps, madam, with people of your good sense; but
with the generality ‘twould never do. The vulgar would have no respect
for truth and knowledge, if they were exposed to naked view.

Truth is too simple, of all art bereaved:
Since the world will–why let it be deceived.
[_Exeunt._

ACT THE FOURTH.

SCENE I.–BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._[133]

BEVIL, JUN., _with a letter in his hand; followed by_ TOM.

_Tom._ Upon my life, sir, I know nothing of the matter. I never opened
my lips to Mr. Myrtle about anything of your honour’s letter to Madam
Lucinda.

_Bev._ What’s the fool in such a fright for? I don’t suppose you did.
What I would know is, whether Mr. Myrtle shows any suspicion, or asked
you any questions, to lead you to say casually that you had carried any
such letter for me this morning.

_Tom._ Why, sir, if he did ask me any questions, how could I help it?

_Bev._ I don’t say you could, oaf! I am not questioning you, but him.
What did he say to you?

_Tom._ Why, sir, when I came to his chambers, to be dressed for the
lawyer’s part your honour was pleased to put me upon, he asked me if
I had been at Mr. Sealand’s this morning? So I told him, sir, I often
went thither–because, sir, if I had not said that he might have
thought there was something more in my going now than at another time.

_Bev._ Very well!–The fellow’s caution, I find, has given him this
jealousy. [_Aside._]–Did he ask you no other questions?

_Tom._ Yes, sir; now I remember, as we came away in the hackney coach
from Mr. Sealand’s, Tom, says he, as I came in to your master this
morning, he bade you go for an answer to a letter he had sent. Pray did
you bring him any? says he. Ah! says I, sir, your honour is pleased to
joke with me; you have a mind to know whether I can keep a secret or no?

_Bev._ And so, by showing him you could, you told him you had one?

_Tom._ Sir—-[_Confused._

_Bev._ What mean actions does jealousy make a man stoop to! How poorly
has he used art with a servant to make him betray his master!–Well!
and when did he give you this letter for me?

_Tom._ Sir, he writ it before he pulled off his lawyer’s gown, at his
own chambers.

_Bev._ Very well; and what did he say when you brought him my answer to
it?

_Tom._ He looked a little out of humour, sir, and said it was very well.

_Bev._ I knew he would be grave upon’t; wait without.

_Tom._ Hum! ‘gad, I don’t like this; I am afraid we are all in the
wrong box here. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Bev._ I put on a serenity while my fellow was present; but I have
never been more thoroughly disturbed. This hot man! to write me a
challenge, on supposed artificial dealing, when I professed myself his
friend! I can live contented without glory; but I cannot suffer shame.
What’s to be done? But first let me consider Lucinda’s letter again.
[_Reads._

“SIR,

“I hope it is consistent with the laws a woman ought to impose upon
herself, to acknowledge that your manner of declining a treaty of
marriage in our family, and desiring the refusal may come from me, has
something more engaging in it than the courtship of him who, I fear,
will fall to my lot, except your friend exerts himself for our common
safety and happiness. I have reasons for desiring Mr. Myrtle may not
know of this letter till hereafter, and am your most obliged humble
servant,

“LUCINDA SEALAND.”

Well, but the postscript–[_Reads._

“I won’t, upon second thoughts, hide anything from you. But my reason
for concealing this is, that Mr. Myrtle has a jealousy in his temper
which gives me some terrors; but my esteem for him inclines me to hope
that only an ill effect which sometimes accompanies a tender love, and
what may be cured by a careful and unblameable conduct.”

Thus has this lady made me her friend and confident, and put herself,
in a kind, under my protection. I cannot tell him immediately the
purport of her letter, except I could cure him of the violent and
untractable passion of jealousy, and so serve him, and her, by
disobeying her, in the article of secrecy, more than I should by
complying with her directions.–But then this duelling, which custom
has imposed upon every man who would live with reputation and honour in
the world–how must I preserve myself from imputations there? He’ll,
forsooth, call it or think it fear, if I explain without fighting.–But
his letter–I’ll read it again–

“SIR,

“You have used me basely in corresponding and carrying on a treaty
where you told me you were indifferent. I have changed my sword since
I saw you; which advertisement I thought proper to send you against
the next meeting between you and the injured

“CHARLES MYRTLE.”

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Mr. Myrtle, sir. Would your honour please to see him?

_Bev._ Why, you stupid creature! Let Mr. Myrtle wait at my lodgings!
Show him up. [_Exit_ TOM.] Well! I am resolved upon my carriage to him.
He is in love, and in every circumstance of life a little distrustful,
which I must allow for–but here he is.

_Enter_ TOM, _introducing_ MYRTLE.

Sir, I am extremely obliged to you for this honour.–[_To_ TOM.] But,
sir, you, with your very discerning face, leave the room. [_Exit_
TOM.]–Well, Mr. Myrtle, your commands with me?

_Myrt._ The time, the place, our long acquaintance, and many other
circumstances which affect me on this occasion, oblige me, without
farther ceremony or conference, to desire you would not only, as you
already have, acknowledge the receipt of my letter, but also comply
with the request in it. I must have farther notice taken of my message
than these half lines–“I have yours,” “I shall be at home.”

_Bev._ Sir, I own I have received a letter from you in a very unusual
style; but as I design everything in this matter shall be your own
action, your own seeking, I shall understand nothing but what you are
pleased to confirm face to face, and I have already forgot the contents
of your epistle.

_Myrt._ This cool manner is very agreeable to the abuse you have
already made of my simplicity and frankness; and I see your moderation
tends to your own advantage and not mine–to your own safety, not
consideration of your friend.

_Bev._ My own safety, Mr. Myrtle?

_Myrt._ Your own safety, Mr. Bevil.

_Bev._ Look you, Mr. Myrtle, there’s no disguising that I understand
what you would be at; but, sir, you know I have often dared to
disapprove of the decisions a tyrant custom has introduced, to the
breach of all laws, both divine and human.

_Myrt._ Mr. Bevil, Mr. Bevil, it would be a good first principle,
in those who have so tender a conscience that way, to have as much
abhorrence of doing injuries, as—-

_Bev._ As what?

_Myrt._ As fear of answering for ’em.

_Bev._ As fear of answering for ’em! But that apprehension is just or
blameable according to the object of that fear. I have often told you,
in confidence of heart, I abhorred the daring to offend the Author
of life, and rushing into his presence–I say, by the very same act,
to commit the crime against Him, and immediately to urge on to His
tribunal.

_Myrt._ Mr. Bevil, I must tell you, this coolness, this gravity, this
show of conscience, shall never cheat me of my mistress. You have,
indeed, the best excuse for life, the hopes of possessing Lucinda. But
consider, sir, I have as much reason to be weary of it, if I am to lose
her; and my first attempt to recover her shall be to let her see the
dauntless man who is to be her guardian and protector.

_Bev._ Sir, show me but the least glimpse of argument, that I am
authorised, by my own hand, to vindicate any lawless insult of this
nature, and I will show thee–to chastise thee hardly deserves the name
of courage–slight, inconsiderate man!–There is, Mr. Myrtle, no such
terror in quick anger; and you shall, you know not why, be cool, as you
have, you know not why, been warm.

_Myrt._ Is the woman one loves so little an occasion of anger? You
perhaps, who know not what it is to love, who have your ready, your
commodious, your foreign trinket, for your loose hours; and from your
fortune, your specious outward carriage, and other lucky circumstances,
as easy a way to the possession of a woman of honour; you know nothing
of what it is to be alarmed, to be distracted with anxiety and terror
of losing more than life. Your marriage, happy man, goes on like common
business, and in the interim you have your rambling captive, your
Indian princess, for your soft moments of dalliance, your convenient,
your ready Indiana.

_Bev._ You have touched me beyond the patience of a man; and I’m
excusable, in the guard of innocence (or from the infirmity of human
nature, which can bear no more), to accept your invitation, and observe
your letter–Sir, I’ll attend you.

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Did you call, sir? I thought you did; I heard you speak aloud.

_Bev._ Yes; go call a coach.

_Tom._ Sir–master–Mr. Myrtle–friends–gentlemen–what d’ye mean? I
am but a servant, or—-

_Bev._ Call a coach. [_Exit_ TOM.]–[_A long pause, walking sullenly by
each other._]–[_Aside._] Shall I (though provoked to the uttermost)
recover myself at the entrance of a third person, and that my servant
too, and not have respect enough to all I have ever been receiving
from infancy, the obligation to the best of fathers, to an unhappy
virgin too, whose life depends on mine? [_Shutting the door._]–[_To_
MYRTLE.] I have, thank Heaven, had time to recollect myself, and shall
not, for fear of what such a rash man as you think of me, keep longer
unexplained the false appearances under which your infirmity of temper
makes you suffer; when perhaps too much regard to a false point of
honour makes me prolong that suffering.

_Myrt._ I am sure Mr. Bevil cannot doubt but I had rather have
satisfaction from his innocence than his sword.

_Bev._ Why, then, would you ask it first that way?

_Myrt._ Consider, you kept your temper yourself no longer than till I
spoke to the disadvantage of her you loved.

_Bev._ True; but let me tell you, I have saved you from the most
exquisite distress, even though you had succeeded in the dispute. I
know you so well, that I am sure to have found this letter about a
man you had killed would have been worse than death to yourself–Read
it.–[_Aside._] When he is thoroughly mortified, and shame has got the
better of jealousy, when he has seen himself throughly, he will deserve
to be assisted towards obtaining Lucinda.

_Myrt._ With what a superiority has he turned the injury on me, as the
aggressor? I begin to fear I have been too far transported–A treaty
in our family! is not that saying too much? I shall relapse.–But I
find (on the postscript) something like jealousy. With what face can I
see my benefactor, my advocate, whom I have treated like a betrayer?
[_Aside._]–Oh! Bevil, with what words shall I—-

_Bev._ There needs none; to convince is much more than to conquer.

_Myrt._ But can you—-

_Bev._ You have o’erpaid the inquietude you gave me, in the change I
see in you towards me. Alas! what machines are we! thy face is altered
to that of another man; to that of my companion, my friend.

_Myrt._ That I could be such a precipitant wretch!

_Bev._ Pray, no more.

_Myrt._ Let me reflect how many friends have died, by the hands of
friends, for want of temper; and you must give me leave to say again,
and again, how much I am beholden to that superior spirit you have
subdued me with. What had become of one of us, or perhaps both, had you
been as weak as I was, and as incapable of reason?

_Bev._ I congratulate to us both the escape from ourselves, and hope
the memory of it will make us dearer friends than ever.

_Myrt._ Dear Bevil, your friendly conduct has convinced me that there
is nothing manly but what is conducted by reason, and agreeable to the
practice of virtue and justice. And yet how many have been sacrificed
to that idol, the unreasonable opinion of men! Nay, they are so
ridiculous in it, that they often use their swords against each other
with dissembled anger and real fear.

Betrayed by honour, and compelled by shame,
They hazard being, to preserve a name:
Nor dare inquire into the dread mistake,
Till plunged in sad eternity they wake. [_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–_St. James’s Park._

_Enter_ SIR JOHN BEVIL _and_ MR. SEALAND.

_Sir J. Bev._ Give me leave, however, Mr. Sealand, as we are upon a
treaty for uniting our families, to mention only the business of an
ancient house. Genealogy and descent are to be of some consideration in
an affair of this sort.

_Mr. Seal._ Genealogy and descent! Sir, there has been in our family a
very large one. There was Galfrid the father of Edward, the father of
Ptolomey, the father of Crassus, the father of Earl Richard, the father
of Henry the Marquis, the father of Duke John.

_Sir J. Bev._ What, do you rave, Mr. Sealand? all these great names in
your family?

_Mr. Seal._ These? yes, sir. I have heard my father name ’em all, and
more.

_Sir J. Bev._ Ay, sir? and did he say they were all in your family?

_Mr. Seal._ Yes, sir, he kept ’em all. He was the greatest cocker[134]
in England. He said Duke John won him many battles, and never lost one.

_Sir J. Bev._ Oh, sir, your servant! you are laughing at my laying any
stress upon descent; but I must tell you, sir, I never knew anyone but
he that wanted that advantage turn it into ridicule.

_Mr. Seal._ And I never knew any one who had many better advantages put
that into his account.–But, Sir John, value yourself as you please
upon your ancient house, I am to talk freely of everything you are
pleased to put into your bill of rates on this occasion; yet, sir, I
have made no objections to your son’s family. ‘Tis his morals that I
doubt.

_Sir J. Bev._ Sir, I can’t help saying, that what might injure a
citizen’s credit may be no stain to a gentleman’s honour.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir John, the honour of a gentleman is liable to be tainted
by as small a matter as the credit of a trader. We are talking of a
marriage, and in such a case, the father of a young woman will not
think it an addition to the honour or credit of her lover that he is a
keeper—-

_Sir J. Bev._ Mr. Sealand, don’t take upon you to spoil my son’s
marriage with any woman else.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir John, let him apply to any woman else, and have as many
mistresses as he pleases.

_Sir J. Bev._ My son, sir, is a discreet and sober gentleman.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir, I never saw a man that wenched soberly and discreetly,
that ever left it off; the decency observed in the practice hides,
even from the sinner, the iniquity of it. They pursue it, not that
their appetites hurry ’em away, but, I warrant you, because ’tis their
opinion they may do it.

_Sir J. Bev._ Were what you suspect a truth–do you design to keep your
daughter a virgin till you find a man unblemished that way?

_Mr. Seal._ Sir, as much a cit as you take me for, I know the town and
the world; and give me leave to say, that we merchants are a species
of gentry that have grown into the world this last century, and are
as honourable, and almost as useful, as you landed folks, that have
always thought yourselves so much above us; for your trading, forsooth,
is extended no farther than a load of hay or a fat ox. You are
pleasant people, indeed, because you are generally bred up to be lazy;
therefore, I warrant you, industry is dishonourable.

_Sir J. Bev._ Be not offended, sir; let us go back to our point.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh! not at all offended; but I don’t love to leave any
part of the account unclosed. Look you, Sir John, comparisons are
odious, and more particularly so on occasions of this kind, when we
are projecting races that are to be made out of both sides of the
comparisons.

_Sir J. Bev._ But, my son, sir, is, in the eye of the world, a
gentleman of merit.

_Mr. Seal._ I own to you, I think him so.–But, Sir John, I am a man
exercised and experienced in chances and disasters. I lost, in my
earlier years, a very fine wife, and with her a poor little infant.
This makes me, perhaps, over cautious to preserve the second bounty of
providence to me, and be as careful as I can of this child. You’ll
pardon me, my poor girl, sir, is as valuable to me as your boasted son
to you.

_Sir. J. Bev._ Why, that’s one very good reason, Mr. Sealand, why I
wish my son had her.

_Mr. Seal._ There is nothing but this strange lady here, this
_incognita_, that can be objected to him. Here and there a man falls in
love with an artful creature, and gives up all the motives of life to
that one passion.

_Sir J. Bev._ A man of my son’s understanding cannot be supposed to be
one of them.

_Mr. Seal._ Very wise men have been so enslaved; and, when a man
marries with one of them upon his hands, whether moved from the demand
of the world or slighter reasons, such a husband soils with his wife
for a month perhaps–then good be w’ye, madam, the show’s over–Ah!
John Dryden points out such a husband to a hair, where he says,–

“And while abroad so prodigal the dolt is,
Poor spouse at home as ragged as a colt is.”

Now, in plain terms, sir, I shall not care to have my poor girl turned
a-grazing, and that must be the case when—-

_Sir J. Bev._ But pray consider, sir, my son—-

_Mr. Seal._ Look you, sir, I’ll make the matter short. This unknown
lady, as I told you, is all the objection I have to him; but, one way
or other, he is, or has been, certainly engaged to her. I am therefore
resolved, this very afternoon, to visit her. Now from her behaviour, or
appearance, I shall soon be let into what I may fear or hope for.

_Sir J. Bev._ Sir, I am very confident there can be nothing inquired
into relating to my son, that will not, upon being understood, turn to
his advantage.

_Mr. Seal._ I hope that as sincerely as you believe it.–Sir John
Bevil, when I am satisfied, in this great point, if your son’s conduct
answers the character you give him, I shall wish your alliance more
than that of any gentleman in Great Britain; and so your servant.
[_Exit._

_Sir J. Bev._ He is gone in a way but barely civil; but his great
wealth, and the merit of his only child, the heiress of it, are not to
be lost for a little peevishness.

_Enter_ HUMPHRY.

Oh! Humphry, you are come in a seasonable minute. I want to talk to
thee, and to tell thee that my head and heart are on the rack about my
son.

_Humph._ Sir, you may trust his discretion; I am sure you may.

_Sir J. Bev._ Why, I do believe I may, and yet I’m in a thousand
fears when I lay this vast wealth before me; when I consider his
prepossessions, either generous to a folly, in an honourable love, or
abandoned, past redemption, in a vicious one; and, from the one or the
other, his insensibility to the fairest prospect towards doubling our
estate: a father, who knows how useful wealth is, and how necessary,
even to those who despise it–I say a father, Humphry, a father cannot
bear it.

_Humph._ Be not transported, sir; you will grow incapable of taking any
resolution in your perplexity.

_Sir J. Bev._ Yet, as angry as I am with him, I would not have him
surprised in anything. This mercantile rough man may go grossly into
the examination of this matter, and talk to the gentlewoman so as to—-

_Humph._ No, I hope, not in an abrupt manner.

_Sir J. Bev._ No, I hope not! Why, dost thou know anything of her, or
of him, or of anything of it, or all of it?

_Humph._ My dear master, I know so much that I told him this very day
you had reason to be secretly out of humour about her.

_Sir J. Bev._ Did you go so far? Well, what said he to that?

_Humph._ His words were, looking upon me steadfastly: “Humphry,” says
he, “that woman is a woman of honour.”

_Sir J. Bev._ How! Do you think he is married to her, or designs to
marry her?

_Humph._ I can say nothing to the latter; but he says he can marry no
one without your consent while you are living.

_Sir J. Bev._ If he said so much, I know he scorns to break his word
with me.

_Humph._ I am sure of that.

_Sir J. Bev._ You are sure of that–well! that’s some comfort. Then I
have nothing to do but to see the bottom of this matter during this
present ruffle–Oh, Humphry—-

_Humph._ You are not ill, I hope, sir.

_Sir J. Bev._ Yes, a man is very ill that’s in a very ill-humour. To
be a father is to be in care for one whom you oftener disoblige than
please by that very care–Oh! that sons could know the duty to a father
before they themselves are fathers–But, perhaps, you’ll say now that I
am one of the happiest fathers in the world; but, I assure you, that of
the very happiest is not a condition to be envied.

_Humph._ Sir, your pain arises, not from the thing itself, but your
particular sense of it. You are overfond, nay, give me leave to say,
you are unjustly apprehensive from your fondness. My master Bevil never
disobliged you, and he will, I know he will, do everything you ought to
expect.

_Sir J. Bev._ He won’t take all this money with this girl–For ought I
know, he will, forsooth, have so much moderation as to think he ought
not to force his liking for any consideration.

_Humph._ He is to marry her, not you; he is to live with her, not you,
sir.

_Sir J. Bev._ I know not what to think. But, I know, nothing can be
more miserable than to be in this doubt–Follow me; I must come to some
resolution. [_Exeunt._

SCENE III.–BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ TOM _and_ PHILLIS.

_Tom._ Well, madam, if you must speak with Mr. Myrtle, you shall; he is
now with my master in the library.

_Phil._ But you must leave me alone with him, for he can’t make me a
present, nor I so handsomely take anything from him before you; it
would not be decent.

_Tom._ It will be very decent, indeed, for me to retire, and leave my
mistress with another man.

_Phil._ He is a gentleman, and will treat one properly.

_Tom._ I believe so; but, however, I won’t be far off, and therefore
will venture to trust you. I’ll call him to you. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Phil._ What a deal of pother and sputter here is between my mistress
and Mr. Myrtle from mere punctilio! I could, any hour of the day, get
her to her lover, and would do it–but she, forsooth, will allow no
plot to get him; but, if he can come to her, I know she would be glad
of it. I must, therefore, do her an acceptable violence, and surprise
her into his arms. I am sure I go by the best rule imaginable. If she
were my maid, I should think her the best servant in the world for
doing so by me.

_Enter_ MYRTLE _and_ TOM.

Oh sir! You and Mr. Bevil are fine gentlemen to let a lady remain under
such difficulties as my poor mistress, and no attempt to set her at
liberty, or release her from the danger of being instantly married to
Cimberton.

_Myrt._ Tom has been telling—-But what is to be done?

_Phil._ What is to be done–when a man can’t come at his mistress! Why,
can’t you fire our house, or the next house to us, to make us run out,
and you take us?

_Myrt._ How, Mrs. Phillis?

_Phil._ Ay; let me see that rogue deny to fire a house, make a riot, or
any other little thing, when there were no other way to come at me.

_Tom._ I am obliged to you, madam.

_Phil._ Why, don’t we hear every day of people’s hanging themselves for
love, and won’t they venture the hazard of being hanged for love? Oh!
were I a man—-

_Myrt._ What manly thing would you have me undertake, according to your
ladyship’s notion of a man?

_Phil._ Only be at once what, one time or other, you may be, and wish
to be, or must be.

_Myrt._ Dear girl, talk plainly to me, and consider I, in my condition,
can’t be in very good humour–you say, to be at once what I must be.

_Phil._ Ay, ay; I mean no more than to be an old man; I saw you do
it very well at the masquerade. In a word, old Sir Geoffry Cimberton
is every hour expected in town, to join in the deeds and settlements
for marrying Mr. Cimberton. He is half blind, half lame, half deaf,
half dumb; though, as to his passions and desires, he is as warm and
ridiculous as when in the heat of youth.

_Tom._ Come to the business, and don’t keep the gentleman in suspense
for the pleasure of being courted, as you serve me.

_Phil._ I saw you at the masquerade act such a one to perfection. Go,
and put on that very habit, and come to our house as Sir Geoffry.
There is not one there but myself knows his person; I was born in
the parish where he is Lord of the Manor. I have seen him often and
often at church in the country. Do not hesitate, but come hither; they
will think you bring a certain security against Mr. Myrtle, and you
bring Mr. Myrtle. Leave the rest to me; I leave this with you, and
expect–They don’t, I told you, know you; they think you out of town,
which you had as good be for ever, if you lose this opportunity–I must
be gone; I know I am wanted at home.

_Myrt._ My dear Phillis! [_Catches and kisses her, and gives her money._

_Phil._ O fie! my kisses are not my own; you have committed violence;
but I’ll carry ’em to the right owner. [TOM _kisses her._]–Come, see
me downstairs [_To_ TOM.], and leave the lover to think of his last
game for the prize. [_Exeunt_ TOM _and_ PHILLIS.

_Myrt._ I think I will instantly attempt this wild expedient. The
extravagance of it will make me less suspected, and it will give me
opportunity to assert my own right to Lucinda, without whom I cannot
live. But I am so mortified at this conduct of mine towards poor Bevil.
He must think meanly of me–I know not how to reassume myself, and be
in spirit enough for such an adventure as this; yet I must attempt it,
if it be only to be near Lucinda under her present perplexities; and
sure—-

The next delight to transport, with the fair,
Is to relieve her in her hours of care. [_Exit._

ACT THE FIFTH.

SCENE I.–SEALAND’S _House._

_Enter_ PHILLIS, _with lights, before_ MYRTLE, _disguised like old_
SIR GEOFFRY; _supported by_ MRS. SEALAND, LUCINDA, _and_ CIMBERTON.

_Mrs. Seal._ Now I have seen you thus far, Sir Geoffry, will you excuse
me a moment while I give my necessary orders for your accommodation?
[_Exit_ MRS. SEAL.

_Myrt._ I have not seen you, cousin Cimberton, since you were ten years
old; and as it is incumbent on you to keep up our name and family,
I shall, upon very reasonable terms, join with you in a settlement
to that purpose. Though I must tell you, cousin, this is the first
merchant that has married into our house.

_Luc._ Deuce on ’em! am I a merchant because my father is? [_Aside._

_Myrt._ But is he directly a trader at this time?

_Cimb._ There’s no hiding the disgrace, sir; he trades to all parts of
the world.

_Myrt._ We never had one of our family before who descended from
persons that did anything.

_Cimb._ Sir, since it is a girl that they have, I am, for the honour
of my family, willing to take it in again, and to sink her into our
name, and no harm done.

_Myrt._ ‘Tis prudently and generously resolved–Is this the young thing?

_Cimb._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ Good madam, don’t be out of humour, but let them run to the
utmost of their extravagance.–Hear them out. [_To_ LUC.

_Myrt._ Can’t I see her nearer? My eyes are but weak.

_Phil._ Beside, I am sure the uncle has something worth your notice.
I’ll take care to get off the young one, and leave you to observe what
may be wrought out of the old one for your good. [_To_ LUC. _Exit._

_Cimb._ Madam, this old gentleman, your great uncle, desires to be
introduced to you, and to see you nearer!–Approach, sir.

_Myrt._ By your leave, young lady. [_Puts on spectacles._]–Cousin
Cimberton! She has exactly that sort of neck and bosom for which my
sister Gertrude was so much admired in the year sixty-one, before the
French dresses first discovered anything in women below the chin.

_Luc._ [_Aside._] What a very odd situation am I in! though I cannot
but be diverted at the extravagance of their humours, equally
unsuitable to their age–Chin, quotha–I don’t believe my passionate
lover there knows whether I have one or not. Ha! ha!

_Myrt._ Madam, I would not willingly offend, but I have a better glass.
[_Pulls out a large one._

_Enter_ PHILLIS.

_Phil._ [_To_ CIMBERTON.] Sir, my lady desires to show the apartment to
you that she intends for Sir Geoffry.

_Cimb._ Well, sir! by that time you will have sufficiently gazed and
sunned yourself in the beauties of my spouse there.–I will wait on you
again. [_Exit_ CIMB. _and_ PHIL.

_Myrt._ Were it not, madam, that I might be troublesome, there is
something of importance, though we are alone, which I would say more
safe from being heard.

_Luc._ There is something in this old fellow, methinks, that raises my
curiosity. [_Aside._

_Myrt._ To be free, madam, I as heartily contemn this kinsman of mine
as you do, and am sorry to see so much beauty and merit devoted by your
parents to so insensible a possessor.

_Luc._ Surprising!–I hope, then, sir, you will not contribute to the
wrong you are so generous as to pity, whatever may be the interest of
your family.

_Myrt._ This hand of mine shall never be employed to sign anything
against your good and happiness.

_Luc._ I am sorry, sir, it is not in my power to make you proper
acknowledgments; but there is a gentleman in the world whose gratitude
will, I am sure, be worthy of the favour.

_Myrt._ All the thanks I desire, madam, are in your power to give.

_Luc._ Name them and command them.

_Myrt._ Only, madam, that the first time you are alone with your lover,
you will, with open arms, receive him.

_Luc._ As willingly as his heart could wish it.

_Myrt._ Thus, then, he claims your promise. O Lucinda!

_Luc._ Oh! a cheat! a cheat! a cheat!

_Myrt._ Hush! ’tis I, ’tis I, your lover, Myrtle himself, madam.

_Luc._ O bless me! what a rashness and folly to surprise me so–But
hush–my mother.

_Enter_ MRS. SEALAND, CIMBERTON, _and_ PHILLIS.

_Mrs. Seal._ How now! what’s the matter?

_Luc._ O madam! as soon as you left the room my uncle fell into a
sudden fit, and–and–so I cried out for help to support him and
conduct him to his chamber.

_Mrs. Seal._ That was kindly done! Alas! sir, how do you find yourself?

_Myrt._ Never was taken in so odd a way in my life–pray lead me! Oh! I
was talking here–(pray carry me)–to my cousin Cimberton’s young lady.

_Mrs. Seal._ [_Aside._] My cousin Cimberton’s young lady! How zealous
he is, even in his extremity, for the match! A right Cimberton.
[CIMBERTON _and_ LUCINDA _lead him, as one in pain._

_Cimb._ Pox! Uncle, you will pull my ear off.

_Luc._ Pray, uncle! you will squeeze me to death.

_Mrs. Seal._ No matter, no matter–he knows not what he does.–Come,
sir, shall I help you out?

_Myrt._ By no means! I’ll trouble nobody but my young cousins here.
[_They lead him off._

_Phil._ But pray, madam, does your ladyship intend that Mr. Cimberton
shall really marry my young mistress at last? I don’t think he likes
her.

_Mrs. Seal._ That’s not material! Men of his speculation are above
desires–but be as it may. Now I have given old Sir Geoffry the trouble
of coming up to sign and seal, with what countenance can I be off?

_Phil._ As well as with twenty others, madam. It is the glory and
honour of a great fortune to live in continual treaties, and still to
break off: it looks great, madam.

_Mrs. Seal._ True, Phillis–yet to return our blood again into the
Cimbertons is an honour not to be rejected–But were not you saying
that Sir John Bevil’s creature, Humphry, has been with Mr. Sealand?

_Phil._ Yes, madam; I overheard them agree that Mr. Sealand should go
himself and visit this unknown lady that Mr. Bevil is so great with;
and if he found nothing there to fright him, that Mr. Bevil should
still marry my young mistress.

_Mrs. Seal._ How! nay, then, he shall find she is my daughter as well
as his. I’ll follow him this instant, and take the whole family along
with me. The disputed power of disposing of my own daughter shall be
at an end this very night. I’ll live no longer in anxiety for a little
hussy that hurts my appearance wherever I carry her: and for whose sake
I seem to be at all regarded, and that in the best of my days.

_Phil._ Indeed, madam, if she were married, your ladyship might very
well be taken for Mr. Sealand’s daughter.

_Mrs. Seal._ Nay, when the chit has not been with me, I have heard the
men say as much. I’ll no longer cut off the greatest pleasure of a
woman’s life (the shining in assemblies) by her forward anticipation
of the respect that’s due to her superior. She shall down to
Cimberton-Hall–she shall–she shall.

_Phil._ I hope, madam, I shall stay with your ladyship.

_Mrs. Seal._ Thou shalt, Phillis, and I’ll place thee then more about
me–But order chairs immediately; I’ll be gone this minute. [_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–_Charing Cross._

_Enter_ MR. SEALAND _and_ HUMPHRY.

_Mr. Seal._ I am very glad, Mr. Humphry, that you agree with me that it
is for our common good I should look thoroughly into this matter.

_Humph._ I am, indeed, of that opinion; for there is no artifice,
nothing concealed, in our family, which ought in justice to be known. I
need not desire you, sir, to treat the lady with care and respect.

_Mr. Seal._ Master Humphry, I shall not be rude, though I design to be
a little abrupt, and come into the matter at once, to see how she will
bear upon a surprise.

_Humph._ That’s the door, sir; I wish you success.–[_While_ HUMPHRY
_speaks,_ SEALAND _consults his table book._]–I am less concerned what
happens there, because I hear Mr. Myrtle is well lodged as old Sir
Geoffry; so I am willing to let this gentleman employ himself here,
to give them time at home; for I am sure ’tis necessary for the quiet
of our family Lucinda were disposed of out of it, since Mr. Bevil’s
inclination is so much otherwise engaged. [_Exit._

_Mr. Seal._ I think this is the door. [_Knocks._] I’ll carry this
matter with an air of authority, to inquire, though I make an errand,
to begin discourse. [_Knocks again, and enter a foot-boy._] So young
man! is your lady within?

_Boy._ Alack, sir! I am but a country boy–I dant know whether she is
or noa; but an you’ll stay a bit, I’ll goa and ask the gentlewoman
that’s with her.

_Mr. Seal._ Why, sirrah, though you are a country boy, you can see,
can’t you? You know whether she is at home, when you see her, don’t you?

_Boy._ Nay, nay, I’m not such a country lad neither, master, to think
she’s at home because I see her. I have been in town but a month, and I
lost one place already for believing my own eyes.

_Mr. Seal._ Why, sirrah! have you learnt to lie already?

_Boy._ Ah, master! things that are lies in the country are not lies at
London. I begin to know my business a little better than so–But an you
please to walk in, I’ll call a gentlewoman to you that can tell you for
certain–she can make bold to ask my lady herself.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh! then, she is within, I find, though you dare not say so.

_Boy._ Nay, nay! that’s neither here nor there: what’s matter whether
she is within or no, if she has not a mind to see anybody?

_Mr. Seal._ I can’t tell, sirrah, whether you are arch or simple; but,
however, get me a direct answer, and here’s a shilling for you.

_Boy._ Will you please to walk in; I’ll see what I can do for you.

_Mr. Seal._ I see you will be fit for your business in time, child; but
I expect to meet with nothing but extraordinaries in such a house.

_Boy._ Such a house! Sir, you han’t seen it yet. Pray walk in.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir, I’ll wait upon you. [_Exeunt._

SCENE III.–INDIANA’S _House._

_Enter_ ISABELLA.

_Isab._ What anxiety do I feel for this poor creature! What will be
the end of her? Such a languishing unreserved passion for a man that
at last must certainly leave or ruin her! and perhaps both! Then the
aggravation of the distress is, that she does not believe he will–not
but, I must own, if they are both what they would seem, they are made
for one another, as much as Adam and Eve were, for there is no other of
their kind but themselves.

_Enter_ BOY.

So, Daniel! what news with you?

_Boy._ Madam, there’s a gentleman below would speak with my lady.

_Isab._ Sirrah! don’t you know Mr. Bevil yet?

_Boy._ Madam, ’tis not the gentleman who comes every day, and asks for
you, and won’t go in till he knows whether you are with her or no.

_Isab._ Ha! that’s a particular I did not know before. Well! be it who
it will, let him come up to me.

[_Exit_ BOY; _and re-enters with_ MR. SEALAND; ISABELLA _looks amazed._

_Mr. Seal._ Madam, I can’t blame your being a little surprised to see a
perfect stranger make a visit, and—-

_Isab._ I am indeed surprised!–I see he does not know me. [_Aside._

_Mr. Seal._ You are very prettily lodged here, madam; in troth you seem
to have everything in plenty–A thousand a year, I warrant you, upon
this pretty nest of rooms, and the dainty one within them. [_Aside, and
looking about._

_Isab._ [_Apart._] Twenty years, it seems, have less effect in the
alteration of a man of thirty than of a girl of fourteen–he’s almost
still the same; but alas! I find, by other men, as well as himself, I
am not what I was. As soon as he spoke, I was convinced ’twas he; how
shall I contain my surprise and satisfaction! He must not know me yet.

_Mr. Seal._ Madam, I hope I don’t give you any disturbance; but
there is a young lady here with whom I have a particular business to
discourse, and I hope she will admit me to that favour.

_Isab._ Why, sir, have you had any notice concerning her? I wonder who
could give it you.

_Mr. Seal._ That, madam, is fit only to be communicated to herself.

_Isab._ Well, sir! you shall see her.–[_Aside._] I find he knows
nothing yet, nor shall from me. I am resolved I will observe this
interlude, this sport of nature and of fortune.–You shall see her
presently, sir; for now I am as a mother, and will trust her with you.
[_Exit._

_Mr. Seal._ As a mother! right; that’s the old phrase for one of those
commode ladies, who lend out beauty for hire to young gentlemen that
have pressing occasions. But here comes the precious lady herself. In
troth a very sightly woman—-

_Enter_ INDIANA.

_Ind._ I am told, sir, you have some affair that requires your speaking
with me.

_Mr. Seal._ Yes, madam, there came to my hands a bill drawn by Mr.
Bevil, which is payable to-morrow; and he, in the intercourse of
business, sent it to me, who have cash of his, and desired me to send a
servant with it; but I have made bold to bring you the money myself.

_Ind._ Sir! was that necessary?

_Mr. Seal._ No, madam; but to be free with you, the fame of your
beauty, and the regard which Mr. Bevil is a little too well known to
have for you, excited my curiosity.

_Ind._ Too well known to have for me! Your sober appearance, sir, which
my friend described, made me expect no rudeness, or absurdity, at
least—-Who’s there?–Sir, if you pay the money to a servant, ’twill
be as well.

_Mr. Seal._ Pray, madam, be not offended; I came hither on an innocent,
nay, a virtuous design; and, if you will have patience to hear me, it
may be as useful to you, as you are in a friendship with Mr. Bevil, as
to my only daughter, whom I was this day disposing of.

_Ind._ You make me hope, sir, I have mistaken you. I am composed again;
be free, say on–[_Aside._]–what I am afraid to hear.

_Mr. Seal._ I feared, indeed, an unwarranted passion here, but I did
not think it was in abuse of so worthy an object, so accomplished a
lady as your sense and mien bespeak; but the youth of our age care not
what merit and virtue they bring to shame, so they gratify—-

_Ind._ Sir, you are going into very great errors; but as you are
pleased to say you see something in me that has changed at least the
colour of your suspicions, so has your appearance altered mine, and
made me earnestly attentive to what has any way concerned you to
inquire into my affairs and character.

_Mr. Seal._ How sensibly, with what an air she talks!

_Ind._ Good sir, be seated, and tell me tenderly; keep all your
suspicions concerning me alive, that you may in a proper and prepared
way acquaint me why the care of your daughter obliges a person of your
seeming worth and fortune to be thus inquisitive about a wretched,
helpless, friendless—-[_Weeping._] But I beg your pardon; though I am
an orphan, your child is not; and your concern for her, it seems, has
brought you hither.–I’ll be composed; pray go on, sir.

_Mr. Seal._ How could Mr. Bevil be such a monster, to injure such a
woman?

_Ind._ No, sir, you wrong him; he has not injured me. My support is
from his bounty.

_Mr. Seal._ Bounty! when gluttons give high prices for delicates, they
are prodigious bountiful.

_Ind._ Still, still you will persist in that error. But my own fears
tell me all. You are the gentleman, I suppose, for whose happy daughter
he is designed a husband by his good father, and he has, perhaps,
consented to the overture. He was here this morning, dressed beyond his
usual plainness–nay, most sumptuously–and he is to be, perhaps, this
night a bridegroom.

_Mr. Seal._ I own he was intended such; but, madam, on your account,
I have determined to defer my daughter’s marriage till I am satisfied
from your own mouth of what nature are the obligations you are under to
him.

_Ind._ His actions, sir; his eyes have only made me think he designed
to make me the partner of his heart. The goodness and gentleness of his
demeanour made me misinterpret all. ‘Twas my own hope, my own passion,
that deluded me; he never made one amorous advance to me. His large
heart, and bestowing hand, have only helped the miserable; nor know I
why, but from his mere delight in virtue, that I have been his care and
the object on which to indulge and please himself with pouring favours.

_Mr. Seal._ Madam, I know not why it is, but I, as well as you, am
methinks afraid of entering into the matter I came about; but ’tis the
same thing as if we had talked never so distinctly—-he ne’er shall
have a daughter of mine.

_Ind._ If you say this from what you think of me, you wrong yourself
and him. Let not me, miserable though I may be, do injury to my
benefactor. No, sir, my treatment ought rather to reconcile you to his
virtues. If to bestow without a prospect of return; if to delight in
supporting what might, perhaps, be thought an object of desire, with
no other view than to be her guard against those who would not be so
disinterested; if these actions, sir, can in a careful parent’s eye
commend him to a daughter, give yours, sir, give her to my honest,
generous Bevil. What have I to do but sigh, and weep, and rave, run
wild, a lunatic in chains, or, hid in darkness, mutter in distracted
starts and broken accents my strange, strange story!

_Mr. Seal._ Take comfort, madam.

_Ind._ All my comfort must be to expostulate in madness, to relieve
with frenzy my despair, and shrieking to demand of fate why–why was I
born to such variety of sorrows.

_Mr. Seal._ If I have been the least occasion—-

_Ind._ No, ’twas Heaven’s high will I should be such; to be plundered
in my cradle! tossed on the seas! and even there an infant captive! to
lose my mother, hear but of my father! to be adopted! lose my adopter!
then plunged again into worse calamities!

_Mr. Seal._ An infant captive!

_Ind._ Yet then, to find the most charming of mankind, once more to
set me free from what I thought the last distress, to load me with his
services, his bounties, and his favours; to support my very life in a
way that stole, at the same time, my very soul itself from me.

_Mr. Seal._ And has young Bevil been this worthy man?

_Ind._ Yet then, again, this very man to take another! without leaving
me the right, the pretence of easing my fond heart with tears! For,
oh! I can’t reproach him, though the same hand that raised me to this
height now throws me down the precipice.

_Mr. Seal._ Dear lady! Oh, yet one moment’s patience: my heart grows
full with your affliction.–But yet there’s something in your story
that—-

_Ind._ My portion here is bitterness and sorrow.

_Mr. Seal._ Do not think so. Pray answer me: does Bevil know your name
and family?

_Ind._ Alas! too well! Oh, could I be any other thing than what I
am—-I’ll tear away all traces of my former self, my little ornaments,
the remains of my first state, the hints of what I ought to have
been—-

[_In her disorder she throws away a bracelet, which_ SEALAND _takes
up, and looks earnestly on it._

_Mr. Seal._ Ha! what’s this? My eyes are not deceived! It is, it is
the same! the very bracelet which I bequeathed to my wife at our last
mournful parting.

_Ind._ What said you, sir? Your wife? Whither does my fancy carry me?
What means this unfelt motion at my heart? And yet, again my fortune
but deludes me; for if I err not, sir, your name is Sealand; but my
lost father’s name was—-

_Mr. Seal._ Danvers; was it not?

_Ind._ What new amazement? That is, indeed, my family.

_Mr. Seal._ Know, then, when my misfortunes drove me to the Indies, for
reasons too tedious now to mention, I changed my name of Danvers into
Sealand.

_Enter_ ISABELLA.

_Isab._ If yet there wants an explanation of your wonder, examine well
this face (yours, sir, I well remember), gaze on and read in me your
sister, Isabella.

_Mr. Seal._ My sister!

_Isab._ But here’s a claim more tender yet—-your Indiana, sir, your
long-lost daughter.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh, my child! my child!

_Ind._ All gracious Heaven! is it possible! do I embrace my father?

_Mr. Seal._ And I do hold thee.–These passions are too strong for
utterance. Rise, rise, my child, and give my tears their way.–Oh, my
sister! [_Embracing her._

_Isab._ Now, dearest niece, my groundless fears, my painful cares no
more shall vex thee. If I have wronged thy noble lover with too much
suspicion, my just concern for thee, I hope, will plead my pardon.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh! make him, then, the full amends, and be yourself the
messenger of joy. Fly this instant! tell him all these wondrous turns
of Providence in his favour! Tell him I have now a daughter to bestow
which he no longer will decline; that this day he still shall be a
bridegroom; nor shall a fortune, the merit which his father seeks,
be wanting. Tell him the reward of all his virtues waits on his
acceptance. [_Exit_ ISAB.] My dearest Indiana! [_Turns and embraces
her._

_Ind._ Have I, then, at last, a father’s sanction on my love? His
bounteous hand to give, and make my heart a present worthy of Bevil’s
generosity?

_Mr. Seal._ Oh, my child! how are our sorrows past o’erpaid by such a
meeting! Though I have lost so many years of soft paternal dalliance
with thee, yet, in one day to find thee thus, and thus bestow thee, in
such perfect happiness, is ample, ample reparation!–And yet, again,
the merit of thy lover—-

_Ind._ Oh! had I spirits left to tell you of his actions! how strongly
filial duty has suppressed his love; and how concealment still has
doubled all his obligations; the pride, the joy of his alliance, sir,
would warm your heart, as he has conquered mine.

_Mr. Seal._ How laudable is love when born of virtue! I burn to embrace
him—-

_Ind._ See, sir, my aunt already has succeeded, and brought him to your
wishes.

_Enter_ ISABELLA, _with_ SIR JOHN BEVIL, BEVIL, JUN., MRS. SEALAND,
CIMBERTON, MYRTLE, _and_ LUCINDA.

_Sir J. Bev._ [_Entering._] Where, where’s this scene of wonder? Mr.
Sealand, I congratulate, on this occasion, our mutual happiness—-Your
good sister, sir, has, with the story of your daughter’s fortune,
filled us with surprise and joy. Now all exceptions are removed; my son
has now avowed his love, and turned all former jealousies and doubts to
approbation; and, I am told, your goodness has consented to reward him.

_Mr. Seal._ If, sir, a fortune equal to his father’s hopes can make
this object worthy his acceptance.

_Bev. Jun._ I hear your mention, sir, of fortune, with pleasure only
as it may prove the means to reconcile the best of fathers to my love.
Let him be provident, but let me be happy.–My ever-destined, my
acknowledged wife! [_Embracing_ INDIANA.

_Ind._ Wife! Oh, my ever loved! My lord! my master!

_Sir J. Bev._ I congratulate myself, as well as you, that I had a son
who could, under such disadvantages, discover your great merit.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh, Sir John! how vain, how weak is human prudence! What
care, what foresight, what imagination could contrive such blest
events, to make our children happy, as Providence in one short hour has
laid before us?

_Cimb._ [_To_ MRS. SEALAND.] I am afraid, madam, Mr. Sealand is a
little too busy for our affair. If you please, we’ll take another
opportunity.

_Mrs. Seal._ Let us have patience, sir.

_Cimb._ But we make Sir Geoffry wait, madam.

_Myrt._ O, sir, I am not in haste.

[_During this,_ BEV., JUN., _presents_ LUCINDA _to_ INDIANA.

_Mr. Seal._ But here! here’s our general benefactor! Excellent young
man, that could be at once a lover to her beauty and a parent to her
virtue.

_Bev. Jun._ If you think that an obligation, sir, give me leave to
overpay myself, in the only instance that can now add to my felicity,
by begging you to bestow this lady on Mr. Myrtle.

_Mr. Seal._ She is his without reserve; I beg he may be sent for.
Mr. Cimberton, notwithstanding you never had my consent, yet there
is, since I last saw you, another objection to your marriage with my
daughter.

_Cimb._ I hope, sir, your lady has concealed nothing from me?

_Mr. Seal._ Troth, sir, nothing but what was concealed from
myself–another daughter, who has an undoubted title to half my estate.

_Cimb._ How, Mr. Sealand? Why, then, if half Mrs. Lucinda’s fortune is
gone, you can’t say that any of my estate is settled upon her. I was
in treaty for the whole; but if that is not to be come at, to be sure
there can be no bargain. Sir, I have nothing to do but take my leave
of your good lady, my cousin, and beg pardon for the trouble I have
given this old gentleman.

_Myrt._ That you have, Mr. Cimberton, with all my heart. [_Discovers
himself._

_All._ Mr. Myrtle!

_Myrt._ And I beg pardon of the whole company that I assumed the
person of Sir Geoffry, only to be present at the danger of this lady
being disposed of, and in her utmost exigence to assert my right to
her; which, if her parents will ratify, as they once favoured my
pretensions, no abatement of fortune shall lessen her value to me.

_Luc._ Generous man!

_Mr. Seal._ If, sir, you can overlook the injury of being in treaty
with one who has meanly left her, as you have generously asserted your
right in her, she is yours.

_Luc._ Mr. Myrtle, though you have ever had my heart, yet now I find I
love you more, because I bring you less.

_Myrt._ We have much more than we want; and I am glad any event has
contributed to the discovery of our real inclinations to each other.

_Mrs. Seal._ Well! however, I’m glad the girl’s disposed of, anyway.
[_Aside._

_Bev._ Myrtle, no longer rivals now, but brothers!

_Myrt._ Dear Bevil, you are born to triumph over me! but now our
competition ceases; I rejoice in the pre-eminence of your virtue, and
your alliance adds charms to Lucinda.

_Sir J. Bev._ Now, ladies and gentlemen, you have set the world a fair
example: your happiness is owing to your constancy and merit; and the
several difficulties you have struggled with evidently show–

Whate’er the generous mind itself denies,
The secret care of Providence supplies.
[_Exeunt._

EPILOGUE.

By MR. WELSTED.

_Intended to be spoken by_ INDIANA.

Our author, whom entreaties cannot move,
Spite of the dear coquetry that you love,
Swears he’ll not frustrate (so he plainly means)
By a loose Epilogue, his decent scenes.
Is it not, sirs, hard fate I meet to-day,
To keep me rigid still beyond the play?
And yet I’m saved a world of pains that way.
I now can look, I now can move at ease,
Nor need I torture these poor limbs to please;
Nor with the hand or foot attempt surprise,
Nor wrest my features, nor fatigue my eyes:
Bless me! what freakish gambols have I played!
What motions tried, and wanton looks betrayed!
Out of pure kindness all! to over-rule
The threatened hiss, and screen some scribbling fool.
With more respect I’m entertained to-night:
Our author thinks I can with ease delight.
My artless looks while modest graces arm,
He says, I need but to appear, and charm.
A wife so formed, by these examples bred,
Pours joy and gladness round the marriage bed;
Soft source of comfort, kind relief from care,
And ’tis her least perfection to be fair.
The nymph with Indiana’s worth who vies,
A nation will behold with Bevil’s eyes.