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Mrs. Ful. But, hold, I had forgot : not a word of the diamonds; leave that matter to my management.
Bel. Hell and vexation ! Get out of the room, or I shall run distracted. [Exit Mrs. FulmeR.] Of a certain, Belcour, thou art born to be the fool of woman ! sure no man sins with so much repentance, or repents with so little amendment, as I do. I cannot give away another person's property, honour forbids me; and I positively cannot give up the girl; love, passion, constitution, every thing protests against that. How shall I decide? I cannot bring myself to break a trust, and I am not at present in the humour to balk my inclinations. Is there no middle way? Let me consider--There is, there is : my good genius has presented me with one: apt, obvious, honourable, the girl shall not go without her baubles : I'll not go without the girl, Miss Rusport shan't lose her diamonds; I'll save Dudley from destruction, and every party shall be a gainer by the project.
Enter Mrs. Fulmer, introducing Miss Dudley. Mrs. Ful. Miss Dudley, this is the worthy gentleman you wish to see; this is Mr. Belcour. \2?Â§Â2Ò2Â§Â§Â§\§Â2 /222/2/2ūtiņâtiņģēņģēņģ2 ņģēmēģ2/22 streets!
[Aside. Bel. An angel, by this light! Oh, I am gone, past all retrieving!
(Aside. Lou. Mrs. Fulmer, sir, informs me, you are the gentleman from whom my father has received such civilities.
Bel. Oh, never name them.
Lou. Pardon me, Mr. Belcour, they must be both named and remembered ; and if my father was here
Bel. I am much better pleased with his representative.
Loy. That title is my brother's, sir; I have no claim to it.
Bel. I believe it.
Lou. But as neither he nor my father were fortunato enough to be at home, I could not resist the opportunity
Bel. Nor I neither, by my soul, madam: let us improve it, therefore. I am in love with you to distraction; I was charmed at the first glance; I attempted to accost you ; you fled ; I followed; but was defeated of an interview ; at length I have obtained one, and seize the opportunity of casting my person and my fortune at your feet.
Lou. You astonish me! Are you in your senses, or do you make a jest of my misfortunes ? Do you ground pretences on your generosity, or do you make a practice of this folly with every woman you meet?
Bel. Upon my life, no: as you are the handsomest woman I ever met, so you are the first to whom I ever made the like professions: as for my generosity, madam, I must refer you on that score to this good lady, who I believe has something to offer in my behalf,
Lou. Don't build upon that, sir; I must have better proofs of your generosity, than the mere divestment of a little superfluous dross, before I can credit the sin. cerity of professions so abruptly delivered. (Exit hastily. · Bel. Oh! ye gods and goddesses, how her anger animates her beauty!
[Going out. Mrs. Ful. Stay, sir; if you stir a step after her, I renounce your interest for ever; why, you'll ruin every thing.
Bel. Well, I must have her, cost what it will: I see she understands her own value though; a little superfluous dross, truly! She must have better proofs of my generosity.
Mrs. Ful. 'Tis exactly as I told you : your money she calls dross; she's too proud to stain her fingers with your coin; bait your hook well with jewels; try that experiment, and she's your own.
Bel. Take them; let them go; lay them at her feet; I must get out of the scrape as I can: my propensity is irresistible: there ; you have them; they are yours; they are hers; but, remember, they are a trust; I commit them to her keeping, till I can buy them off, with something she shall think more valuable ; now tell me when shall I meet her?
Mrs. Ful. How can I tell that? Don't you see what an alarm you have put her into ? Oh ! you're a rare one! But go your ways for this while; leave her to my management, and come to me at seven this evening ; but remember not to bring empty pockets with you Ha! ha! ha!
Scene III.-Lady Rusport's House.
[Exit SERVANT. Enter StockweLL. Stock. Madam, your inost obedient servant: I am honoured with your commands, by Captain Dudley; and have brought the money with me, as you directed; I understand the sum you have occasion for is two hundred pounds. .
Miss R. It is, sir; I am quite confounded at your taking this trouble upon yourself, Mr. Stockwell.
Stock. There is a Bank note, madam, to the amount: your jewels are in safe hands, and will be delivered to you directly. If I had been happy in being better known to you, I should have hoped you would not have thought it necessary to place a deposit in my hands for so trifling a sum as you have now required me to supply you with. I have only to request, madam, that you will allow Mr. Belcour, a young gentleman in whose happi. ness I particularly interest myself, to have the honour of delivering you the box of jewels.
Miss R. Most gladly; any friend of yours cannot fail of being welcome here.
Stock. I flatter myself you will not find him totally undeserving your good opinion ; an education not of the strictest kind, and strong animal spirits, are apt sometimes to betray him into youthful irregularities; but a high principle of honour, and an uncommon benevolence, in the eye of candour, will, I hope, atone for any faults, by which these good qualities are not impaired.
Miss R. I dare say Mr. Belcour's behaviour wants no apology: we have no right to be over strict in canvassing the morals of a common acquaintance.
Stock. I wish it may be my happiness to see Mr. Belcour in the list, not of your common, but particular acquaintance-of your friends, Miss Rusport~ I dare not be more explicit
Miss R. Nor need you, Mr. Stockwell: I shall be studious to deserve his friendship; and, though I have long since unalterably placed my affections on another, I trust, I have not left myself insensible to the merits of Mr. Belcour; and hope, that neither you nor he will, for that reason, think me less worthy your good opinion and regards.
Stock. Miss Rusport, I sincerely wish you happy: I have no doubt you have placed your affection on a deserving man; and I have no right to combat your choice.
Enter Belcour, preceded by a Servant. Sero. I ask your honour's pardon; I thought my young lady was here: who shall I inform her would speak to her?
Bel. Belcour is my name, sir; and pray beg your lady to put herself in no hurry on my account; for I'd sooner see the devil than see her face. (Exit ServANT.] In the name of all that's mischievous, why did Stockwell drive me hither in such haste? A pretty figure, truly, I shall make! an ambassador, without credentials! Blockhead that I was, to charge myself with her diamonds; officious, meddling puppy! Now they are irretrievably gone: that suspicious jade, Fulmer, wouldn't part even with a sight of them, though I would have ransomed them at twice their value. Now must I trust to my poor wits, to bring me off: a lamentable dependence. Fortune be my helper: here comes the girl-If she is noble-minded, as she is said to be, she will forgive me; if not, 'tis a lost cause; for I have not thought of one word in my excuse.
Enter Miss Rusport. Miss R. Mr. Belcour, I'm proud to see you : your friend, Mr. Stockwell, prepared me to expect this honour; and I am happy in the opportunity of being known to you.
Bel. A fine girl, by my soul! Now what a cursed hang-dog do I look like!
[Aside. Miss R. You are newly arrived in this country, sir?
Bel. Just landed, madam ; just set ashore, with a large cargo of Muscavado sugars, rum puncheons, mahogany slabs, wet sweetmeats, and green paroquets.
Miss R. May I ask you how you like London, sir?
Bel. To admiration : I think the town and the town's folk are exactly suited ; 'tis a great, rich, overgrown, noisy, tumultuous place: the whole morning is a bustle to get money, and the whole afternoon is a hurry to spend it.
Miss R. Are these all the observations you have made ?
Bel. No, madam ; I have observed the women are . very captivating, and the men very soon caught.