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Bev. Pr’ythee forgive this language-I speak I know not what Rage and despair are in my heart, and hurry me to madness. My home is horror to me-l'll not return to't. Speak quickly; tell me if, in this wreck of fortune, one hope remains ? Name it, and be my guide.
Stu. To vent your curses on-You have bestow'd them liberally. Take your own counsel: and should a desperate hope present itself, 'twill suit your desperate fortune. I'll not advise you.
Bev. What hope? I'll catch at it, however desperate. I am so sunk in misery, it cannot lay me lower.
Stu. You have an uncle.
Stu. Old men live long by temperance; while their heirs starve on expectation.
Bev. What mean you?
Stu. That the reversion of his estate is yours; and will bring money to pay debts with Nay more, it may retrieve what's past.
Bev. Or leave my child a beggar.
Stu. And what's his father? A dishonourable one: engaged for sums he cannot pay-- That should be thought of.
Bev. It is my shame - The poison that inflames me. Where shall we go? To whom? I am impatient till all's lost.
Stu. All may be your's again - Your man is Bates He has large funds at his command, and will deal justly by you.
Beo. I am resolv'd--Tell them within we'll meet them presently; and with full purses too-Come, follow me.
Stu. No; I'll have no hand in this, nor do I counsel it-Use your discretion, and act from that. You'll find me at my lodgings. i Bed. Succeed what will, this night I'll dare the worst.
[Exit Beo. Stu. Why, then, part with your fears for ever-Fear is the mind's worst evil; and 'tis a friendly office to drive it from the bosomThus far has fortune crown'd me-Yet Beverley is rich; rich in his wife's best treasure, her honour and affections. I would supplant him there too. But 'tis the mischief of thinking minds to raise up difficulties. Fools often conquer. Fearless of dangers which they see not, they press on boldly, and by persisting prosper. Yet may a tale of art do muchCharlotte is sometimes absent. The seeds of jealousy are sown already. If I mistake not, they have taken root too. Now is the time to ripen them, and reap the harvest. The softest of her sex, if wrong'd in love, or thinking that she's wrong’d, sometimes becomes a tygress in revenge I'll instantly to Beverley's No matter for the danger~-When beauty leads us on, 'tis indiscretion to reflect, and cowardice to doubt.
[Exit. SCENE IV. Beverley's Lodgings.
Enter Mrs. BEVERLEY and Lucy. Mrs. Bev. Did Charlotte tell you any thing? Lucy. No, madam.
Mrs. Bev. She look'd confus'd, methought; said she had business with her Lewson; which, when I pressd to know, tears only were her answer.
Lu. She seem'd in hastē, too-Yet her return may bring you comfort.
Mrs. Bev. No, my kind girl; I expect it not. But why do I distress thee? Thy sympathizing heart bleeds for the ills of others- What pity that thy mistress can't reward thee! but there's a Power above, that sees, and will remember all. 'Pr’ythee soothe me with the song 6 thou sung'st last night. It suits this change of fortune, and there's a melancholy in't that pleases me.* .
Lu. I fear it hurts you, madam-Your goodness too <draws tears from me-But I'll dry them and obey you.
introducing this song will, perhaps, remind the reader of that of
que situation or Mrs. Beverley in this scene and the manner of Desdemona in the third scene of the fourth act of Othello. But the modern bard has greatly the advantage in natore and delicacy of segtiment.
. When Damon languish'd at my feet,
. And I believ'd him true,
• But ah! how swist they flew !
The garden and the grove,
" He left her to complain;
6 And measure time by pain.
" In pity to despair;
May waft the spirit there.' Mrs. Bev. I thank thee, Lucy-I thank Heaven, too, ( my griefs are none of these. Yet Stukely deals in • hints—He talks of rumours—I'll urge him to speak plainly'—[Knocking.] Hark! there's someone entering. Lu. Perhaps, my master, madam.
[Exit. Mrs. Bev. Let him be well too, and I am satisfied. [Goes to the door and listens.] No; 'tis another's voice; his had been music to me. Who is it, Lucy?
Re-enter Lucy with STUKELY.
[Exit. Stu. To meet you thus alone, madam, was what I wish'd. Unseasonable visits, when friendship warrants them, need no excuse therefore I make none.
Mrs. Bed. What mean you, Sir? and where's your friend?
Stu. Men may have secrets, madam, which their best friends are not admitted to. We parted in the morning, not soon to meet again.
Mrs. Bev. You mean to leave us then? to leave your country too? I am no stranger to your reasons, and pity your misfortunes.
Stu. Your pity has undone you. Could Beverley do this? That letter was a false one; a mean contrivance to . rob you of your jewels--I wrote it not.
Mrs. Bev. Impossible! whence came it then?
Stu. Wrong'd as I am, madam, I must speak plainly
Mrs. Bev. Do so, and ease me. Your hints have troubl’d me. Reports, you say, are stirring Reports of whom? You wish'd me not to credit them. What, Sir, are these reports?
Stu. I thought them slander, madam; and caution’d you in friendship, lest frem officious tongues the tale had reach'd you with double aggravation.
Mrs. Bev. Proceed, Sir.
Stu. It is a debt due to my fame, due to an injur'd wife, toc- We both are injur’d.
Mrs. Bed. How injur'd? and who has injur'd us? Str. My friend, your husband.
Mrs. Bev. You would resent for both, then? But know, Sir, iny injuries are my own, and do not need a champion.
- Stu. Be not too hasty, madam. I come not in resentment, but for acquittance-You thought me poor; and to the feign'd distresses of a friend gave up your jewels.
Mrs. Bev. I gave them to a husband.
Stu. To guard you against insults. He told me, that to move you to a compliance, he forg'd that letter, pre. tending I was ruin'd; ruin'd by him, too. The fraud succeeded; and what a trusting wife bestow'd in pity, was lavish'd on a wanton.
Mrs. Bev. Then I am lost, indeed! and my afflictions are too powerful for me--His follies I have borne without upbraiding, and saw the approach of poverty without a
tear- My affections, my, strong affections supported me through every trial.
Stu. Be patient, madam.
Mrs. Bev. The barbarous, ungrateful'man! And does he think that the tenderness of my heart is his best security for wounding it? But he shall find that injuries such as these shall arm my mind with strength to be its own redress. Stu. Ila! then I may succeed
[ Aside. Redress is in your power.
Mrs. Bed. What redress?
Stu. Forgive me, madam, if, in my zeal to serve you, I hazard your displeasure- Think of your wretched state. Already want surrounds you. Is it in patience to bear that? to see your helpless little one robb'd of his birth-right? a sister, too, with unavailing tears, lamenting her lost fortune? no comfort left you, bnt ineffectual pity from the few, out-weigh'd by insults from the many?
Mrs. Bed. Am I so lost a creature? Well, Sir, my redress?
Stu. To be resolv'd is to secure it. The marriage vow, once violated, is in the sight of Heaven dissolv’d—Start not, but hear me! 'tis now the summer of your youth; time has not cropt the roses from your cheek, tho' sorrow long has wash'd them-Then use your beauty wisely; and freed by injuries, fly from the cruelest of men, for shelter with the kindest.
Mrs. Bed. And who is he?
Stu. A friend to the unfortunate; a bold one, too; who, while the storm is bursting on your brow, and lightning flashing from your eyes, dares tell you that he loves you.
Mrs. Bev. Am I, then, fallen so low? Has poverty so humbled me, that I should listen to a hellish offer, and sell my soul for bread? * O villain! villain! But now I know thee, and thank thee for the knowledge.
* This sentiment is so valuable and so forcibly expressed, that it cannot fail, one should hope, to make a deep impression upon the mind of every hearer of both sexes, whenever uttered on the stage.