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Well, I have examind your accounts; they are not only just, as I have always found them, but regularly kept, and fairly enter'd. I commend your diligence. Method in business is the surest guide: he who neglects
it, frequently stumbles, and always wanders perplext,
uncertain, and in danger.' Are Barnwell's accounts ready for my inspection? He does not use to be the last on these occasions.
True. Upon receiving your orders he retir'd, I thought in some confusion.
If you please, I'll go and hasten him. I hope he has not been guilty of any neglect.
Thor. I am now going to the Exchange; let him know at my return I expect to find him ready. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. Another Room.
MARIA with a book, sits and reads. . Mar. How forcible is truth! The weakest mind, inspir'd with love of that, fix’d, and collected in itself, beholds with a firm quietness opposing force. Such souls are almost raised above the sense of pain, or so supported that they are able to overcome it. The martyr cheaply purchases his heaven; small are his sufferings, great is his reward. Not so the wretch who combats love with duty; whose mind, weakened and dissolved by the soft passion, feeble and hopeless, opposes his own desires- -What is an hour, a day, a year of pain, to a whole life of tortures such as these?
Enter T'RUEMAN. True. Oh, Barnwell! Oh, my friend! how art thou fallen!
Mar. Ha! Barnwell! What of him? Speak, say, what of Barnwell?
True. 'Tis not to be conceal'd: I've news to tell of him, that will afflict your generous father, yourself, and all who know him.
" sciences. The Gospel is preached among them, and the light of " truth made to shine upon those who sale in darkness and the shadow " of death. They are taught the art of arts, and the science of * sciences ; the art of holy living, and the science of salvation." Discourses, 2nd, Edn. Vol. 3. p. 75. See also a Sung on The Sea, in my Leliers to Dr. Aikin on his Volume of Vacal Poetry, p. 172.
Mar. Defend us, Heaven!
Mar. [Reads.]“ I know my absence will surprise my honoured master and yourself; and the more, when you shall understand that the reason of my withdrawing, is miy having embezzled part of the cash with which I was entrusted. After this, 'tis needless to inform you, that I intend never to return again. Though this might have' been known, by examining my accounts; yet, to prevent that unnecessary trouble, and to cut off all fruitless expectations of my return, I have left this from the lost
George Barnwell.” True. Lost indeed! Yet how he should be guilty of what he there charges himself withal, raises my wonder equal to my grief. Never had youth a higher sense of virtue. Justly he thought, and as he thought he practis'd; never was life more regular than his.-An understanding uncommon at his years, an open, generous manliness of temper, his manners easy, unaffected, and engaging.
Mar. This, and much more you might have said with truth. He was the delight of every eye, and joy of every heart that knew him.
True. Since such he was, and was my friend, can I support his loss? See, the fairest, happiest maid this wealthy city boasts, kindly condescends to weep for thy unhappy fate, poor ruin'd Barnwell!
Mar. Trueman, do you think a soul so delicate as his, so sensible of shame, can e'er submit to live a slave to vice?
True. Never, never. So well I know him, I am sure this act of his, so contrary to his disposition, must have been brought about in some way as yet quite unaccountable.
Mar. Are there no means yet to preserve him?"
True. Oh, that there were! but few men recover reputation lost, a merchant never. Nor would he, I fear, though I should find him, ever be brought to look hisinjur'd master in the face.
Nar. I fear as much, and therefore would not hare my father know it.
True. That is impossible.
True. It is considerable; I have marked it here, to shew it with the letter, to your father, at his return.
Mar. If I should supply the money, could you so dispose of that and the account, as to conceal this unhappy mismanagement from my father?
True. Nothing more easy. But, can you intend it?Will
you save a helpless wretch from ruin?-Oh, 'twere an act worthy such exalted virtue as Maria's! Sure Heaven, in mercy to my friend, inspir'd the generous thought.
Mar. Doubt not but I would purchase so great a happiness at a much dearer price. But how shall he be found ?
True. Trust to my diligence for that. In the mean time I'll conceal his absence from your father, or endeavour, as far as truth allows, to prevent the real cause being suspected.
Mar. In attempting to save from shame, one whom we hope may yet return to virtue; to Heaven, and you, -the only witnesses of this action, I appeal, whether I do any thing misbecoming to my sex and character.
True, Earth must approve the deed, and Heaven, I doubt not, will reward it.
Mar. If Heaven succeed it, I am well rewarded. A virgin's fame is sullied by suspicion's lightest breath; and, therefore, as this must be a secret from my father and the world, for Barnwell's sake, for mine, let it be so to him.
[Exeunt. SCENE III. A Room in Millwood's House.
Enter Lucy and Blunt. Lucy. Well, what do you think of Millwood's conduct now?
Blunt. I own it is surprising : I don't know which to admire most, her feign'd, or his real passion; tho’ I have sometimes been afraid that her avarice would discover her. But his youth and want of experience make it the easier to impose on him.
Lucy. No, it is his love. To do him justice, notwithstanding his youth, he don't want understanding. But you men are much easier imposed on in these affairs, than your vanity will allow you to believe. Let me see the wisest of you all as much in love with me as Barnwell is with Millwood, and I'll engage to make as great a fool of him.
• Blunt. And all circumstances consider'd, to make as much money of him too!
Lucy. I cann't answer for that." Her artifice, in making him rob his master at first, and the various stratagems by which she has obliged him to continue that course, astonish even me, who know her so well.
' Blunt. But, then, you are to consider that the. 6 money was his master's.
Lucy. There was the difficulty of it. Had it been ( his own, it had been nothing. Were the world his,
she might have it for a smile. But those golden days are done: he's ruin'd, and Millwood's hopes of farther profit there, are at an end. • Blunt. That's no more than we all expected.'
Lucy. Being called by his master to make up his accounts, he was forc'd to quit his house and service, and wisely flies to Millwood for relief and entertainment.
Blunt. • I have not heard of this before? How did she receive him?
Lucy. As you would expect. She wonder'd what he meant, was astonish'd at his impudence, and with an air of modesty, peculiar to herself, swore so heartily that she never saw him before, that she put me out of countenance.
Blunt. That's much indeed! But how did Barnwell behave?
Lucy. He griev'd; and at length, enraged at this barbarous treatment, was preparing to be gone; and making toward the door, shew'd a sum of money, which he had brought from his master's, the last she is ever likely to have from thence.
Blunt. But then, Millwood-
her old arts of lying, swearing, and dissembling: hung on his neck, wept; and swore 'twas meant in jest.The amorous youth, melted into tears, threw the money into her lap, and cried out he had rather die than think ker false. Blunt. Strange infatuation!
Lucy. But what ensued was stranger stifl. As • doubts and fears, follow'd by reconcilement, ever in
crease love where the passion is sincere; so in him it caused so wild a transport of excessive fondness, such joy, such grief, such pleasure, and such anguish, that nature seemed sinking with the weight, and his charm'd
soul disposed to quit his breast for her's.' Just then, when every passion with lawless anarchy prevail'd, and reason was in the raging tempest lost, the cruel, artful Millwood prevail'd upon the wretched youth to promise
-what I tremble but to think of. Blunt. I am amaz'd! What can it be?
Lucy. You will be more so, to hear it is to attempt the life of his nearest relation and best benefactor.
Blunt. His uncle! whom we have often heard him speak of as a gentleman of a large estate, and fair character in the country where he lives!
Lucy. The same. She was no sooner possess'd of the last dear purchase of his ruin, but her avarice, insatiate as the grave, demanded this horrid sacrifice. Barnwell's near relation, and unsuspected virtue, must give too
easy means to seize the good man's treasure;' whose blood must seal the dreadful secret, and prevent the terrors of her guilty fears.
Blunt. Is it possible she could persuade him to do an act like that? He is by nature honest, grateful, compassionate, and generous; and though his love, and
her artful persuasions, have wrought him to practise 6 what he most abhors, yet we all can witness for him, 6 with what reluctance he has still complied : so many * tears he shed o’er each offence, as might, if possible, sanctify theft, and make a merit of a crime.'
Lucy. 'Tis true, at the naming of the murder of his uncle, he started into rage; and, breaking from her arms