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Stuke. Therein you surprise me; a merchant of your eminence, and a member of the British Parliament, might surely aspire, without offence, to the daughter of a planter. In this case too, natural affection would prompt to a discovery.
Stock. Your remark is obvious; nor could I have persisted in this painful silence, but in obedience to the dying injunctions of a beloved wife. This letter, you found me reading, conveyed those injunctions to me; it was dictated in her last illness, and almost in the article of death ; (you'll spare me the recital of it) she there conjures me, in terms as solemn as they are affecting, never to reveal the secret of our marriage, or withdraw my son, while her father survived.
Stuke. But on what motives did your unhappy lady found these injunctions? ' · Stock. Principally, I believe, from apprehension on my account, lest old Belcour, on whom at her decease I wholly depended, should withdraw his protection. My judgment has not suffered by the event: old Belcour is dead, and has bequeathed his whole estate to him we are speaking of.
Stuke. Now then you are no longer bound to secresy.
Stock. True : but before I publicly reveal myself, I could wish to make some experiment of my son's disposition : this can only be done by letting his spirit take its course without restraint; by these means, I think I shall discover much more of his real character under the title of his merchant, than I should under that of his father.
Enter a Sailor, ushering in several Black SERVANTS,
carrying portmanteaus, trunks, &c. Sail. 'Save your honour! is your name Stockwell, pray? 2 2Ò2ÂòÂ?2?Â§2\/ Sail. Part of my master Belcour's baggage, an't
please you : there's another cargo not far a-stern of us; and the coxswain has got charge of the dumb creatures.
Stock. Pr’ythee, friend, what dumb creatures do you speak of; has Mr. Belcour brought over a collection of wild beasts?
Suil. No, lord love him ; no, not he; let me sèe; there's two green monkeys, a pair of grey parrots, a Jamaica sow and pigs, and a Mangrove dog; that's all.
Stock. Is that all ?
Suil. Yes, your honour: yes, that's all; bless his heart, a' might have brought over the whole island if he would ; a' didn't leave a dry eye in it.
Slock. Indeed! Stukely, show them where to bestow their baggage. Follow that gentleman. Sail. Come, bear a hand, my lads, bear a hand.
(Exit with STUKELY and SERVANTS. Stock. If the principal tallies with his purveyors, he must be a singular spectacle in this place: he has a friend, however, in this sea-faring fellow ; 'tis no bad prognostic of a man's heart, when his shipmates give him a good word.
Scene II.-A Drawing Room.
Enter HousekeePER. Housek. Why, what a fuss does our good master put himself in about this West Indian! see what a bill of fare I've been forced to draw out; seven and nine, I'll assure you, and only a family dinner, as he calls it: why, if my Lord Mayor was expected, there could'nt be a greater to-do about him.
Foot: I wish to my heart you had but seen the loads of trunks, boxes, and portmanteaus, he has sent hither. An ambassador's baggage, with all the smuggled goods of his family, does not exceed it.
Housek. A fine pickle he'll put the house into: had he been master's own son, and a christian Englishman, there could not be more rout than there is about this Creolian, as they call them.
Foot. No matter for that; he's very rich, and that's sufficient. They say, he has rum and sugar enough belonging to him, to make all the water in the Thames into punch. But I see my master's coming. (Exeunt.
Enter StockWELL, followed by a Servant. Stock. Where is Mr. Belcour? Who brought this note from him?
Sero. A waiter from the London Tavern, sir; he says, the young gentleman is just dressed, and will be with you directly.
Stock. Show him in when he arrives. • Sero. I shall, sir. I'll have a peep at him first, however; I've a great mind to see this outlandish spark. The sailor fellow says, he'll make rare doings amongst us.
[Aside. Stock. You need not wait; leave me. (Exit Servant.] Let me see.
I write to you under the hands of the hair dresser ; as soon as I have made myself decent, and slipped on some fresh clothes, I will have the honour of paying you my devoirs.
He writes at his ease; for he's unconscious to whom his letter is addressed; but what a palpitation does it throw my heart into ; a father's heart! 'Tis an affecting interview; when my eyes meet a son, whom yet they never saw, where shall I find constancy to support it? Should
he resemble his mother, I am overthrown. All the letters I have had from him, (for I industriously drew him into a correspondence with me) bespeak him of quick and ready understanding. All the reports I ever received, give me favourable impressions of his character, wild, perhaps, as the manner of his country is, but, I trust, not frantic or unprincipled.
Enter another Servant. 2 Ò2Â2â??❤L2222
Enter BeLcOUR. Stock. Mr. Belcour, I am rejoiced to see you; yon are welcome to England !
Bel. I thank you heartily, good Mr. Stockwell; you and I have long conversed at a distance; now we are met; and the pleasure this meeting gives me, amply compensates for the perils I have run through in accomplishing it.
Stock. What perils, Mr. Belcour? I could not have thought you would have made a bad passage at this time o’year.
Bel. Nor did we : courier like, we came posting to your shores, upon the pinions of the swiftest gales that ever blew ; 'tis upon English ground all my difficulties have arisen; 'tis the passage from the river side Į complain of.
Stock. Ay, indeed! What obstructions can you have met between this and the river side?
Bel. Innumerable! Your town is as full of defiles as the island of Corsica ; and, I believe they are as obstinately defended; so much hurry, bustle, and confusion, on your quays: so many sugar casks, porter butts, and common-councilmen, 'in your streets, that unless a man marched with artillery in his front, 'tis more than the labour of Hercules can effect, to make any tolerable way through your town.
Stock. I am sorry you have been so incommoded.
Bel. Why, 'faith 'twas all my own fault; accustomed to a land of slaves, and out of patience with the whole tribe of custom-house extortioners, boat-men, tidewaiters, and water-bailiffs, that beset me on all sides, worse than a swarm of musquitoes, I proceeded a little too roughly to brush them away with my rattan ; the sturdy rogues took this in dudgeon, and beginning to rebel, the mob chose different sides, and a furious scuffle ensued ; in the course of which, my person and apparel suffered so much, that I was obliged to step into the first tavern to refit, before I could make my approaches in any decent trim.
Stock. All without is as I wish ; dear nature, add the rest, and I am happy. (Aside.] Well, Mr. Belcour, 'tis a rough sample you have had of my countrymen's spirit; but, I trust, you'll not think the worse of them for it.
Bel. Not at all, not at ail; I like them the better; was I only a visitor, I might, perhaps, wish them a little more tractable; but, as a fellow-subject, and a sharer in their freedom, I applaud their spirit, though I feel the effects of it in every bone of my skin.
Stock. That's well; I like that well. How gladly I could fall upon his neck, and own myself his father!
[Aside. Bel. Well, Mr. Stockwell, for the first time in my life, here am I in England ; at the fountain head of pleasure, in the land of beauty, of arts, and elegancies. My happy stars have given me a good estate, and the conspiring winds have blown me hither to spend it.
Stock. To use it, not to waste it, I should hope; to treat it, Mr. Belcour, not as a vassal, over whom you have a wanton and a despotic power; but as a subject,