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Sir William. What signifies his affection to me; or how can I be proud of a place in a heart, where every sharper and coxcomb find an easy entrance.
Jarvis. I grant you that he is rather too good-natur'd; that he is too much every man's man; that he laughs this minute with one, and cries the next with another: but whose instructions may he thank for all this?
Sir William. Not mine, sure? My letters to him during my employment in Italy, taught him only that Xphilosophy which might prevent, not defend his errors.
Jarvis. Faith, begging your honor's pardon, I'm sorry they taught him any philosophy at all; it has only serv'd to spoil him. This samne philosophy is a good horse in a stable, but an arrant jade on a journey. For my own part, whenever I hear him mention the name on't, I'm always sure he's going to play the fool.
Sir William. Don't let us ascribe his faults to his philosophy, I entreat you. No, Jarvis, his good nature arises rather from his fears of offending the importunate, than his desire of making the deserving happy:
Jarvis. What it rises from, I don't know. But, to be sure, every body has it, that asks it.
Ay, or that does not ask it. I have been now for some time a concealed spectator of his follies, and find them as boundless as his dissipation.
Jarvis. And yet, faith, he has some fine name or other for them all. He calls his extravagance, generosity; and his trusting every body, universal benevolence. It was but last week he went security for a fellow whose face he scarce knew, and that he called an act of exalted mu-mu-munificence ; ay, that was the name he gave it.
Sir William. And upon that I proceed, as my last effort, though with very little hopes to reclaim him. That very fellow has just absconded, and I have taken up the security. Now, my intention is to involve him in fictitious distress, before he has plunged himself into real calamity. To arrest him for that very debt, to clap an officer upon him, and then let him see which of his friends will come to his relief.
Jarvis. Well, if I could but any way see him thoroughly vexed, every groan of his would be music to me; yet, faith, I believe it impossible. I have tried to fret him myself every morning these three years, but, instead of being angry, he sits as calmly to hear me scold, as he does to his hair-dresser.
Sir William. * We must try him once more, however, and I'll go this instant to put my scheme into execution ; and I don't despair of succeeding, as, by your means
I can have frequent opportunities of being about him, without being known. What a pity it is, Jarvis, that any man's good-will to others should produce so much neglect of himself, as to require correction ? Yet, we must touch his weakness with a delicate hand. There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence, that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.
Jarvis. Well, go thy ways, Sir William Honeywood. It is not without reason that the world allows thee to be the best of men. But here comes his hopeful nephew; the strange good-natur’d, foolish, open-heartedAnd yet, all his faults are such that one loves him the better for them.
Honeywood. Well, Jarvis, what messages from my friends this morning ?
Jarvis. (Pulling out bills.) A few of our usual cards of compliment, that's all. This bill from your taylor; this from your mercer; and this from the little broker in Crooked-lane. He says he has been at a great deal of trouble to get back the money you borrowed.
Honeywood. That I don't know ; but I'm sure we were at a great deal of trouble in getting him to lend it.
Jarvis. There's that ten guineas you were sending to the · poor gentleman and his children in the Fleet. I be
lieve that would stop his mouth, for a while at least.
Honeywood. Ay, Jarvis, but what will fill their mouths in the mean time? Must I be cruel because he happens to be importunate ; and, to relieve his avarice, leave them to insupportable distress?
Jarvis. 'Sdeath! Sir, the question is now how to relieve yourself. Yourself—Hav’nt I reason to be out of my senses, when I see things going at sixes and sevens ?
Honeywood. Whatever reason you may have for being out of your senses, I hope you'll allow that I'm not quite unreasonable for continuing in mine.
Jarvis. You're the only man alive in your present situation that could do so~Every thing upon the waste. There's Miss Richland and her fine fortune gone already, and upon the point of being given to your rival. .
Honeywood. I'm no man's rival.
Jarvis. Your uncle in Italy preparing to disinherit you ; your own fortune almost spent; and nothing but pressing creditors, false friends, and a pack of drunken servants that your kindness has made unfit for any other family.
Honeywood. Then they have the more occasion for being in mine.
Jarvis. Soh! What will you have done with him that I caught stealing your plate in the pantry ? In the fact; I caught him in the fact.
Honeywood. In the fact? If so, I really think we should pay him his wages and turn him off.
Jarvis. He shall be turn'd off at Tyburn, the dog ; we'll hang him, if it be only to frighten the rest of the faa mily,
Honeywood. No, Jarvis : it's enough that we have lost what he has stolen, let us not add to it the loss of a fellowa creature!
Jarvis. Very fine ; well, here was the footman just now, to complain of the butler; he says he does most work; and ought to have most wages.