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Mifs Rich. But then the mortifications they muft fuffer before they can be fitted out for traffic. I have feen one of them fret an whole morning at her hair-dreffer, when all the fault was her face.
Honey. And yet, I'll engage, has carried that face at laft to a very good market. This good-natur'd town, madam, has husbands, like spectacles, to fit every age, from fifteen to fourscore.
Mrs. Croak. Well, you're a dear good-natur'd creature. But you know you're engaged with us this morning upon a strolling party. I want to fhew Olivia the town, and the things; I believe I shall have business for you for the whole day.
Honey. I am forry, madam, I have an appointment with Mr. Croaker, which it is impoffible to put off.
Mrs. Croak. What! with my husband! Then I'm refolved to take no refufal. Nay, I protefl you muft. You know I never laugh so much as with you.
Honey. Why, if I must, I muft. I'll fwear you have put me into such spirits. Well, do you find jest, and I'll find laugh, I promife you. We'll wait for the chariot in the next room. [Exeunt.
Enter LEONTINE and OLIVIA,
Leon. There they go, thoughtless and happy. My deareft Olivia, what would I give to see you capable of sharing in their amufements, and as cheatful as they are.
Olip. How, my Leontine, how can I be chearful, when I have so many terrors to opprefs me? The fear, of being detected by this family, and the apprehenfions of a cenfuring world, when I must be detected
Leont. The world! my love, what can it fay? At worft it can only fay that, being compelled by a mercenary guardian to embrace a life you difliked, you formed a refolution of flying with the man of your choice; that you confided in his honour, and took refuge in my fa, ther's house; the only one where your's could remain without cenfure.
Oliv. But confider, Leontine, your difobedience and my indifcretion your being fent to France to bring home a fister; and, instead of a fifter, bringing home~~ Leont. One dearer than a thousand fifters. One that I am convinc'd will be equally dear, to the rest of the family, when she comes to be known,
Oliv. And that, I fear will shortly be.
Leant. Impoffible, 'till we ourselves think proper to make the discovery. My fifter, you know, has been with her aunt, at Lyons, fince fhe was a child, and you find every creature in the family takes you for her.
Oliv. But may'nt the write, may'nt her aunt write? Leont. Her aunt scarce ever writes, and all my fifter's letters are directed to me.
Oliv. But won't your refufing Mifs Richland, for whom you know the old gentleman intends you, create a fufpicion ?
Leont. There, there's my mafter-ftroke, I have refolved not to refuse her; nay, an hour hence I have confented to go with my father, to make her an offer of my
heart and fortune.
Oliv. Your heart and fortune?"
Leont. Don't be alarmed, my dearest. Can Olivia think fo meanly of my honour, or my love as to fuppofe
I could ever hope for happiness from any but her? No, my Olivia, neither the force, nor, permit me to add, the delicacy of my paffion, leave any room to fufpect me. I only offer Mifs Richland an heart, I am convinc'd the will refuse; as I am confident, that, without knowing it, her affections are fixed upon Mr. Honeywood.
Oliv. Mr. Honeywood! You'll excufe my apprehenfions; but when your merits come to be put in the balance
Leont. You view them with too much partiality. However, by making this offer, I fhew a feeming compliance with my father's command; and perhaps, upon her refusal, I may have his confent to chufe for myself.
Oliv. Well, I fubmit. And yet, my Leontine, I own, I fhall envy her, even your pretended addreffes. I confider every look, every expreffion of your esteem, as due only to me. This is folly perhaps : I allow it; but it is natural to fuppofe, that merit which has made an impreffion on one's own heart, may be powerful over that of another.
Leont. Don't, my life's treasure, don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have fo many real ones to encounter. At worst, you know, if Mifs Richland should confent, or any father refufe his pardon, it can but end in a trip to Scotland; and—
Croak. Where have you been, boy? I have been seeking you. My friend Honeywood here, has been faying fuch comfortable things. Ah! he's an example indeed. Where is he? I left him here.
Leont. Sir, I believe you may fee him, and hear him too in the next room: he's preparing to go out with the ladies.
Croak. Good gracious, can I believe my eyes or my ears! I'm ftruck dumb with his vivacity, and flunn'd with the dnefs of his laugh. Was there ever such a transformation! (A laugh behind the scenes, Croaker mimicks it.) Ha! ha! ha! there it goes: a plague take their balderdash; yet I could expect nothing lefs, when my precious wife was of the party. On my confcience, I believe, fhe could spread an horfelaugh thro' the pews of a tabernacle.
Leont. Since you find so many objections to a wife, fir, how can you be so earnest in recommending one to me? Croak. I have told you, and tell you again boy, that Mifs Richland's fortune must not go out of the family; one may find comfort in the money, whatever one does in the wife.
Leont. But, fir, tho', in obedience to your defire, I am ready to marry her; it may be poffible, she has no incli
nation to me.
Croak. I'll tell you once for all how it stands. A good part of Mifs Richland's large fortune confifts in a claim upon government, which my good friend, Mr. Lofty, affures me the treasury will allow. One half of this she is to forfeit, by her father's will in cafe fhe refuses to marry you. So, if the rejects you, we feize half her fortune; if the accepts you, we feize the whole, and a fine girl into the bargain.
Leont. But, fir, if you will but liften to reafon
Croak. Come, then, produce your reafons. I tell you I'm fix'd, determined, fo now produce your reasons.
When I'm determin'd I always liften to reason, because it can then do no harm.
Leont. You have alledged that a mutual choice was the first requifite in matrimonial happiness.
Croak. Well, and you have both of you a mutual choice. She has her choice to marry you, or lose half her fortune; and you have your choice-to marry her, or pack out of doors without any fortune at all. Leont. An only fon, fir, might expect more indulgence. Croak. An only father, fir, might expect more obedience; befides, has not your fifter here, that never difobliged me in her life, as good a right as you ? He's a fad dog, Livy, my dear, and would take all from you. But he fhan't, I tell you he fhan't, for you fhall have your thare.
Oliv. Dear fir, I wish you'd be convinced that I can never be happy in any addition to my fortune, which is taken from his.
Croak. Well, well, it's a good child, fo fay no more; but come with me, and we fhall fee fomething that will give us a great deal of pleasure, I promise you; old Ruggins, the curry-comb-maker, lying in ftate; I'm old he makes a very handfome corpfe, and becomes his coffin prodigioufly. He was an intimate friend of mine, and these are friendly things we ought to do for each other. (Exeunt.