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Honey I have no apprehenfions for the ladies I af
Croak. May be not. Indeed what fignifies whether they be perverted or no? The women in my time were good for fomething. I have seen a lady dreft from top to toe in her own manufactures formerly. But nowa-days the devil a thing of their own manufactures about them, except their faces.
Honey. But, however thefe faults may be practised abroad, you don't find them at home, either with Mrs. Croaker, Olivia, or Mifs Richland.
Croak The best of them will never be canoniz'd for a faint when he's dead. By the bye, my dear friend, I don't find this match between mifs Richland and my fon much relifh'd, either by one fide or t'other. Honey. I thought otherwise.
Croak. Ah, Mr. Honeywood, a little of your fine serious advice to the young lady might go far: I know fhe has a very exalted opinion of your understanding.
Honey. But would not that be ufurping an authority that more properly belongs to yourself?
Croak. My dear friend, you know but little of my authority at home. People think, indeed, because they see me come out in a morning thus, with a pleasant face, and to make my friends merry, that all's well within. But I have cares that would break an heart of ftone. My wife has fo encroach'd upon every one of my privileges, that I'm now no more than a mere lodg er in my own house.
Honey. But a little spirit exerted on your fide might, perhaps, reftore your authority,
Croak. No, though I had the fpirit of a lion! I do rouze fometimes. But what then! Always haggling and haggling. A man is tired of getting the better before his wife is tired of lofing the victory.
Honey. It's a melancholy confideration indeed, that our chief comforts often produce our greateft anxieties, and that an increase of our poffeffions is but an inlet to new difquietudes.
Croak Ah, my dear friend, these were the very words of poor Dick Doleful to me not a week before he made away with himself. Indeed, Mr. Honeywood, I never fee you but you put me in mind of poor-Dick. Ah there was merit neglected for you! and fo true a friend lov'd each other for thirty years, and he yet never asked me to lend him a fingle farthing.
Honey. Pray what could induce him to commit fo rafh an action at laft?
Croak. I don't know, fome people were malicious enough to say it was keeping company with me; becaule we us'd to meet now and then and open our hearts to each other. To be fure I lov'd to hear him talk, and he lov'd to hear me talk; poor dear Dick. He us'd to fay, that Croaker rhim'd to joker; and so we us'd to laugh-Poor Dick. (Going to cry.)
Honey. His fate affects me.
Croak. Ay, he grew fick of this miferable life, where we do nothing but eat and grow hungry, drefs and undrefs, get up and lie down; while reafon, that fhould watch like a nurse by our fide, falls as fast asleep as we do.
Honey. To fay truth, if we compare that part of life which is to come, by that which we have paft, the prospect is hideous.
Croak. Life at the greatest and best is but a froward child, that must be humour'd and coax'd a little till it falls afleep, and then all the care is over.
Honey. Very true, fir, nothing can exceed the vanity of our existence, but the folly of our purfuits. We wept when we came into the world, and every day tells us why.
Croak. Ah, my dear friend, it is a perfect fatisfaction. to be miferable with you. My fon Leontine fhan't lofe the benefit of fuch fine converfation. I'll just step: home for him. I am willing to fhew him fo much feriousness in one scarce older than himfelf-And what if I bring my last letter to the Gazetteer on the encrease. and progrefs of earthquakes? It will amufe us I promite you. I there prove how the late earthquake is coming round to pay us another vifit from London to Lisbon,. from Lisbon to the Canary Islands, from the Canary Iflands to Palmyra, from Palmyra to Conftantinople, and ↑ fo from Conftantinople back to London again.
[ExitHoney. Poor Croaker! his fituation deferves the utmoft pity. I fhall fcarce recover my spirits these three days. Sure to live upon fuch terms is worse than death itself. And yet, when I confider my own fituation, a broken fortune, an hopelefs paffion, friends in diftrefs;: the wifh but not the power to ferve them- -(paufing. ' and fighing.) ..
Butler. More company below, fir: Mrs. Croaker and Mifs Richland; fhall I fhew them up? But they're fhewing up themselves. [Exit.
Enter MRS. CROAKER and MISS RICHLAND.
Mifs Rich. You're always in fuch spirits. Mrs. Croak. We have juft come, my dear Honeywood, from the auction. There was the old deaf dowager, as ufual, bidding like a fury, against herself. And then fo curious in antiques! herself the moft genuine piece of antiquity in the whole collection.
Honey. Excufe me, ladies, if fome uneafinefs from friendship makes me unfit to fhare in this good hrumour ; I know you'll pardon me.
Mrs. Croak. I vow he feems as melancholy as if he had taken a dofe of my husband this morning. Well, if Richland here can pardon you, I must.
Mifs Rich. You would feem to infinuate, madam, that I have particular reasons for being difposed to refufe it.
Mrs. Croak. Whatever I infinuate, my dear, don't be fo ready to with an explanation.
Mifs Rich. I own I fhould be forry, Mr. Honeywood's long friendship and mine fhould be misunderftood.
Honey. There's no answering for others, madam. But I hope you'll never find me prefuming to offer more than the most delicate friendship may readily allow.
Mifs Rich. And I fhall be prouder of fuch a tribute from you than the moft paffionate profeffions from
Honey. My own fentiments, madam: friendship is an difinterested commerce between equals; love, an abject intercourse between tyrants and flaves.
Mifs Rich. And, without a compliment, I know none difinterefted or more capable of friendship than Mr. Honeywood.
Mrs. Croak. And, indeed, I know nobody that has more friends, at least among the ladies. Mifs Fruzz, Mifs Odbody, and Mifs Winterbottom praife him in all companies. As for Mifs Biddy Bundle, fhe's his profeffed admirer.
Mifs Rich. Indeed! an admirer! I did not know, fir, you were fuch a favourite there. But is the feriously so handsome? Is the the mighty thing talked of?
Honey. The town, madam, seldom begins to praise a lady's beauty, till she's beginning to lofe it. (Smiling.)
Mrs. Croak. But he's refolved never to lose it, it feems. For, as her natural face decays, her skill improves in making the artificial one. Well, nothing diverts me more than one of those fine, old, dreffy things, who thinks to conceal her age, by every where expofing her perfon; fticking herself up in the front of a fidebox; trailing through a minuet at Almack's; and then, in the public gardens, looking for all the world like one of the painted ruins of the place.
Honey. Every age has its admirers, ladies. While you, perhaps are trading among the warmer climates of youth, there ought to be fome to carry on an useful commerce in the frozen latitudes beyond fifty.