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Mrs. Oak. I have not merited this kindness, but it shall hereafter be my study to deserve it. Away with all idle jealousies ! And since my suspicions have hitherto been groundless, I am resolved for the future never to suspect at all.
Scerc I.-A Merchant's Compting House. In an inner room, set off by glass-doors, are discovered
several Clerks, employed at their desks. A writing table in the front room. Stockwell is discovered, reading a letter ;-STUKELY comes gently out of the back room, and observes him some time before he speaks.
Stuke. He seems disordered: something in that letter; and, I'm afraid, of an unpleasant sort.--He has many ventures of great account at sea : a ship richly freighted for Barcelona; another for Lisbon ; and others expected from Cadiz, of still greater value. Besides these, I know he has many deep concerns in foreign bottoms, and underwritings to a vast amount. I'll accost him-SirMr. Stockwell!
Stock. Stukely !-Well, have you shipped the cloths ?
Stuke. I have, sir; here's the bill of lading, and copy of the invoice; the assortments are all compared : Mr. Traffic will give you the policy upon 'Change.
Stock. 'Tis very well-lay these papers by; and no more of business for awhile. Shut the door, Stukely; I have had long proof of your friendship and fidelity to me; a matter of most intimate concern lies on my mind, and 'twill be a sensible relief to unbosom myself to you; I have just now been informed of the arrival of the young West Indian I have so long been expecting -you know whom I mean?
Stuke. Yes, sir; Mr. Belcour, the young gentleman who inherited old Belcour's great estate in Jamaica.
Stock. Hush ! not so loud; come a little nearer this way. This Belcour is now in London ; part of his baggage is already arrived, and I expect him every minute. Is it to be wondered at, if his coming throws me into some agitation, when I tell you, Stukely, he is my son ?
Stuke. Your son!
Stock. Yes, sir, my only. son. Early in life, I accompanied his grandfather to Jamaica as his clerk; he had an only daughter, somewhat older than myself; the mother of this gentleman: it was my chance (call it good or ill) to engage her affections; and, as the inferiority of my condition made it hopeless to expect her father's consent, her fondness provided an expedient, and we were privately married ; the issue of that concealed engagement is, as I have told you, this Belcour.
Stuke. That event surely discovered your connexion.
Stock. You shall hear. Not many days after our marriage, old Belcour set out for England; and, during his abode here, my wife was, with great secresy, delivered of this son. Fruitful in expedients to disguise her situation without parting from her infant, she contrived to have it laid and received at her door as a foundliny. After some time her father returned, having left me here; in one of those favourable moments that decide the fortunes of prosperous men, this child was introduced; from that instant he treated him as his own, gave him his name, and brought him up in his family.
Stuke. And did you never reveal this secret, either to old Belcour, or your son ?