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Mrs. Croaker. Bless me! you said all this to the secretary of state, did you ?
Lofty. I did not say the secretary, did I? Well, curse it, since you have found me out I will not deny it. It was to the secretary.
Mrs. Croaker. This was going to the fountain head at once, not applying to the understrappers, as Mr. Honeywood would have had us.'
Lofty. Honeywood ! he! he! He was, indeed, a fine solicitor. I suppose you have heard what has just happened to him?
- Lofty. Undone, madam, that's all. His creditors have taken him into custody. A prisoner in his own house.
A prisoner in his own house! How! At this very time! I'm quite unhappy for him.
Lofty. Why so am I. The man, to be sure, was immensely good-natur’d. But then I could never find that he had any thing in him.
Mrs. Croaker. His manner, to be sure, was excessive harmless; some, indeed, thought it a little dull. For my part, I always concealed my opinion.
Lofty. It can't be concealed, madam; the man was dull, dull as the last new comedy! a poor impracticable creature! I tried once or twice to know if he was fit for business ; but he had scarce talents to be groomporter to an orange barrow.
Mrs. Croaker. How differently does Miss Richland think of him! For, I believe, with all his faults, she loves him.
Lofty. Loves him! Does she? You should cure her of that by all means. Let me see ; what if she were sent to him this instant, in his present doleful situation? My life for it, that works her cure. Distress is a perfect antidote to love. Suppose we join her in the next room? Miss Richland is a fine girl, has a fine fortune, and must not be thrown away. Upon my honor, madam, I have a regard for Miss Richland; and rather than she should be thrown away, I should think it no indignity to marry her myself.
Enter Olivia and LEONTINE.
Leontine. And yet, trust me, Olivia, I had every reason to expect Miss Richland's refusal, as I did every thing in my power to deserve it. Her indelicacy surprises me.
Olivia. Sure, Leontine, there's nothing so indelicate in being sensible of your merit. If so, I fear, I shall be the most guilty thing alive.
Leontine. But you mistake, my dear. The same attention I used to advance my merit with you, I practised to lessen it with her. What more could I do?
Olivia. Let us now rather consider what is to be done. We have both dissembled too long I have always been ashamed-I am now quite weary of it. Sure I could never have undergone so much for any other but you.
Leontine. And you shall find my gratitude equal to your kindest compliance. Though our friends should totally forsake us, Olivia, we can draw upon content for the deficiencies of fortune. -
Olivia. Then why should we defer our scheme of humble happiness, when it is now in our power? I may be the favorite of your father, it is true ; but can it ever be thought, that his present kindness to a supposed child, will continue to a known deceiver?
tachments are but few, they are lasting. His own marriage was a private one, as ours may be. Besides, I have sounded him already at a distance, and find all his answers exactly to our wish. Nay, by an expression
or two that dropped from him, I am induced to think' he knows of this affair.
Olivia. Indeed! But that would be an happiness too great to be expected.
Leontine. However it be, I'm certain you have power over him; and am persuaded, if you informed him of our situation, that he would be disposed to pardon it.
Olivia. You had equal expectations, Leontine, from your last scheme with Miss Richland, which you find has succeeded most wretchedly.
Leontine. As we could wish, he comes this way. Now, my dearest Olivia, be resolute. I'll just retire within hearing, to come in at a proper time, either to share your danger, or confirm your victory. [Exit.
Croaker. Yes, I must forgive her; and yet not too easily, nei. ther. It will be proper to keep up the decorums of resentment a little, if it be only to impress her with an idea of my authority.
Olivia. How I tremble to approach him !_Might I presume, Sir-If I interrupt you
Croaker. No, child, where I have an affection, it is not a little thing that can interrupt me. Affection gets over little things.
Olivia. Sir, you're too kind. I'm sensible how ill I deserve this partiality. Yet, heaven knows, there is nothing I would not do to gain it.
Croaker. And you have but too well succeeded, you little hussey, you. With those endearing ways of yours, on my conscience, I could be brought to forgive any thing, unless it were a very great offence indeed.
Olivia. But mine is such an offence-When you know my guilt-Yes, you shall know it, though I feel the greatest pain in the confession.
Croaker. Why, then, if it be so very great a pain, you may spare yourself the trouble ; for I know every syllable of the matter before you begin.
Croaker. Ay, miss, you wanted to steal a match, without letting me know it, did you? But I'm not worth being