Page images

Lofty. Oh, if you talk of modefty, madam! there I own, l'ın acceffible to praise : modefty is my foible: it I love was fo the duke of Brentford used to say of me. Jack Lofty, he used to say: no man has a finer knowledge of things; quite a man of information; and when he speaks upon his legs, by the Lord he's prodigious, he scouts them; and yet all men have their faults; too much modefty is his, fays his grace.


I take my


Mrs. Croak. And yet, I dare fay, you don't want af-furance when come to folicit for you friends. Lofty. O, there indeed I'm in Bronze. have just been mentioning Mifs Richland's tain perfonage, we must name no names. I am not to be put off, madami. No, friend by the button. A fine girl, fir; great juftice in her cafe. A friend of mine. Borough intereft. Bufiness must be done, Mr. Secretary. I fay, Mr. Secretary, her bufinefs must be done, fir. That's my way, madam. Mrs. Croak. Blefs me! you faid all this to the fecretary of ftate, did you?

Lofty. I did not say the secretary, did I? Well, curfe it, fince you have found me out I will not deny it. It was to the fecretary.

Apropos, I

cafe to a cer

When I afk

[ocr errors]

Mrs. Croak. 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 folicitor. I fuppofe. you have heard what has juft happened to him?

Mrs. Croak. Poor dear man; no accident, I hope. Lofty Undone, madam, that's all. His creditors have taken him into cuftody. A pritoner in his own house.

Mrs. Croak. A prisoner in his own house! How! At this very time! I'm quite unhappy for him.

Lofty. Why fo am I. The man, to be fure, was immenfely good-natur'd. But then I could never find that he had any thing in him.

Mrs Croak. His manner, to be fure, was exceffive harmless; fome, indeed, thought it a little dull. For my part I always conceal'd my opinion.

Lofty. It can't be concealed, madam; the man was dull, dull as the laft new comedy! A poor impracticable creature! I tried once or twice to know if he was fit for business; but he had fcarce talents to be groom-porter to an orange barrow.

Mrs. Croak. How differently does Mifs Richland think of him! For, I believe, with all his faults, the loves him.

Lofty. Loves him! does she? You should cure her of that by all means. Let me fee; what if he were fent to him this instant, in his prefent doleful fituation? My life for it, that works her cure. Diftrefs is a perfect antidote to love. Suppofe we join her in the next room? Mifs Richland is a fine girl, has a fine fortune, and must not be thrown away. Upon my honour, madam, I have a regard for Mifs Richland; and, rather than she should be thrown away, I should think it no indignity to marry her myself.



Leont. And yet, truft me, Olivia, I had every reafon to expect Mifs Richland's refufal, as I did every thing in my power to deferve it. Her indelicacy furprizes me?

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Oliv. Sure, Leontine, there's nothing fo indelicate in being fenfible of your merit. If fo, I fear, I fhall be the moft guilty thing alive.

Leont. But you mistake, my dear. The fame attention I used to advance my merit with you, I practised to leffen it with her. What more could I do?

Oliv. Let us now rather confider what's to be done. We have both diffembled too long-I have always been. ashamed-I am now quite weary of it. Sure I could never have undergone fo much for any other but you.

Leont. And you fhall find my gratitude equal to your kindest compliance. Tho' our friends fhould totally forfake us, Olivia, we can draw upon content for the deficiencies of fortune.

Oliv. Then why should we defer our scheme of humble happiness, when it is now in our power ? I may be the favourite of your father, it is true; but can it ever be thought, that his prefent kindness to a supposed child, will continue to a known deceiver?

Leont. I have many reafons to believe it will. As his attachments are but few, they are lafting. His own marriage was a private one, as ours may be. Befides, I have founded him already at a distance, and find all his answers exactly to our wifh. Nay, by an expreffion or two that dropped from him, I am induced to think he knows of this affair.

Oliv. Indeed! But that would be an happiness too great to be expected.

Leont. However it be, I'm certain you have power over him; and am perfuaded, if you informed him of our fituation, that he would be difpofed to pardon it.

Oliv. You had equal expectations, Leontine, from your laft fcheme with Mifs Richland, which you find has fucceeded moft wretchedly.

Leont. And that's the beft reafon for trying another. Oliv. If it must be fo, I fubmit.

Leont. As we could wifh, he comes this way. Now, my dearest Olivia, be refolute. I'll just retire within hearing, to come in at a proper time, either to fhare your danger, or confirm your victory.



Croak. Yes, I muft forgive her; and yet not too eafily, neither. It will be proper to keep up the decorums of - refentment a little, if it be only to imprefs her with an idea of my authority.

Oliv. How I tremble to approach him!-Might I prefume, fir-If I interrupt you-

Croak. No, child, where I have an affection, it is not a little thing can interrupt me. Affection gets over little things.


Oliv. Sir, you're too kind. I'm fenfible how ill I deferve this partiality. Yet, heaven knows, there is nothing I would not do to gain it.

Croak. And you have but too well succeeded, you little huffey you. With thofe endearing ways of yours, on my confcience, I could be brought to forgive any thing, unless it were a very great offence indeed.

Oliv. But mine is fuch an offence-When you know my guilt-Yes, you shall know it, tho' I feel the greateft pain in the confeffion.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Croak? Why then, if it be fo very great a pain, you may spare yourself the trouble; for I know every fyllable of the matter before you begin.

Oliv. Indeed! then I'm undone.

Croak. Ay, mifs, you wanted to fteal a match, without letting me know it, did you! But, I'm not worth being confulted, I suppose, when there's to be a marriage in my own family. No, I'm to have no hand in the difpofal of my own children. No, I'm nobody. I'm to be a mere article of family lumber; a piece of crack'd china to be ftuck up in a corner.

Oliv. Dear fir, nothing but the dread of your authority could induce us to conceal it from you.

Croak. No, no, my confequence is no more; I'm as little minded as a dead Ruffian in winter, just ftruck up with a pipe in his mouth till there comes a thaw-It goes to my heart to vex her.

Oliv. I was prepared, fir, for your anger, and defpaired of pardon, even while I prefumed to ask it. But your severity fhall never abate my affection, as my punishment is but juftice.

Croak. And yet you should not despair neither, Livý, We ought to hope all for the best.

Oliv. And do you permit me to hope, fir! Can I ever expect to be forgiven! But hope has too long deceived


Croak. Why then, child, it fhan't deceive you now,
for I forgive you this very moment.
I forgive you all
and now you are indeed my daughter.

Oliv. O tranfport! This kindnefs overpowers me.
Croak. I was always againft feverity to our children.


« PreviousContinue »