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Fanny. And should you too severely judge of a rash action which passion prompted, and modesty has long concealed
Lord 0. (Taking her hand.] Thou amiable creature, command my heart, for it is vanquished. Speak but thy virtuous wishes, and enjoy them.
Fanny. I cannot, my lord ; indeed, I cannot. Mr. Lovewell must tell you my distresses; and when you know them, pity and protect me. [Exit in tears.
Lord 0. How the devil could I bring her to this? Itit is too much too much, I can't bear it-I must give way to this amiable weakness. [Wipes his eyes.] My heart overflows with sympathy, and I feel every tenderness I have inspired. [Stifles a tear.] Can I be a man, and withstand it? No-I'll sacrifice the whole sex to her. But here comes the father, quite apropos. I'll open the matter immediately, settle the business with him, and take the sweet girl down to Ogleby-House tomorrow morning. But what the devil! Miss Sterling too! What mischief's in the wind now?
Enter Mr. Sterling and Miss STERLING. Sterl. My lord, your servant! I am attending my daughter here upon rather a disagreeable affair. Speak to his lordship, Betsy.
Lord 0. Your eyes, Miss Sterling, for I always read the eyes of a young lady, betray some little emotion. What are your commands, madam?
Miss Sterl. I have but too much cause for my emotion, my lord ! :
Lord 0. I cannot commend my kinsman's behaviour, madam. He has behaved like a false knight, I must confess. I have heard of his apostasy. Miss Fanny has informed me of it.
Miss Sterl. Miss Fanny's baseness has been the cause - of Sir John's inconstancy.
Lord 0. Nay, now, my dear Miss Sterling, your passion transports you too far. Sir John may have entertained a passion for Miss Fanny, but beliere me, my dear Miss Sterling, believe me, Miss Fanny has no passion for Sir John. She has a passion, indeed, a most tender passion. She has opened her whole soul to me, and I know where her affections are placed.
[Conceitedly. Miss Sterl. Not upon Mr. Lovewell, my lord; for I have great reason to think, that her seeming attachment to him is, by his consent, made use of as a blind to cover her designs upon Sir John.. .
Lord 0. Lovewell! No, poor lad ! she does not think of him.
[Smiling. Miss Sterl. Have a care, my lord, that both the families are not made the dupes of Sir John's artifice, and my sister's dissimulation ! You don't know her; indeed, my lord, you don't know her; a base, insinuat. . ing, perfidious !- It is too much-She has been beforehand with me, I perceive. Such unnatural behaviour to me! but since I see I can have no redress, I am resolved that some way or other I will have revenge.
[Exit. Sterl. This is foolish work, my lord !
Lord O. I have too much sensibility to bear the tears of beauty.
Sterl. It is touching indeed, my lord ; and very moving for a father.
Lord 0. To be sure, sir! You must be distressed beyond measure! Wherefore, to divert your too exquisite feeling, suppose we change the subject, and proceed to business.
Sterl. With all my heart, my lord.
Lord 0. You see, Mr. Sterling, we can make no union in our families by the proposed marriage. I
Sterl. And I am very sorry to see it, my lord.
Lord O. Have you set your heart upon being allied to our house, Mr. Sterling?
Sterl. 'Tis my only wish at present, my omnium, as I may call it.
Lord 0. Your wishes shall be fulfilled.
Lord 0. You throw me into a cold sweat, Mr. Sterling. No, not your sister; but your daughter.
Sterl. My daughter!
Sterl. What, you, my lord, marry my Fanny! Bless me! what will the folks say?
Lord 0. Why, what will they say ?
Lord 0. Mr. Sterling, this may be city wit, for aught I know. Do you court my alliance ?
Sterl. To be sure, my lord,
Lord 0. Then I'll explain—My nephew won't marry your eldest daughter ; nor I neither.--Your youngest daughter won't marry him; I will marry your youngest daughter.
Sterl. What! with a youngest daughter's fortune, my lord ?
Lord 0. With any fortune, or no fortune at all, sir. Love is the idol of my heart, and the demon Interest sinks before him. So, sir, as I said before, I will marry your youngest daughter; your youngest daughter will marry me.
Sterl. Who told you so, my lord ?
Lord 0. Yes, sir; our affection is mutual; your advantage double and treble; your daughter will be
a countess directly-I shall be the happiest of beings; and you'll be father to an earl instead of a baronet.
Sterl. But what will my sister say ? and my daughter?
Lord 0. I'll manage that matter; nay, if they won't consent, I'll run away with your daughter in spite of
Sterl. Well said, my lord ! your spirit's good ; I wish you had my constitution ; but if you'll venture, I have no objection, if my sister has none.
Lord O. I'll answer for your sister, sir. Apropos; the lawyers are in the house. I'll have articles drawn, and the whole affair concluded to-morrow morning.
Sterl. Very well ! and I'll despatch Lovewell to London immediately for some fresh papers I shall want ; you must excuse me, my lord, but I can't help laughing at the match.-He, he, he! what will the folks say?
(Exit. Lord O. What a fellow am I going to make a father of? He has no more feeling than the post in his warehouse-But Fanny's virtues tune me to rapture again, and I won't think of the rest of the family.
Enter LOVEWELL, hastily. Love. I beg your lordship’s pardon ; are you alone, my lord ?
Lord O. No, my lord, I am not alone; I am in company, the best company.
Love. My lord !
Lord 0. I never was in such exquisite enchanting company since my heart first conceived, or my senses tasted, pleasure.
Love. Where are they, my lord? (Looking about.
[Smiling Lord O. My own ideas, sir, which so crowd upon my imagination, and kindle in it such a delirium of ecstasy, that wit, wine, music, poetry, all combined, and each in perfection, are but mere mortal shadows of my felicity.
Love. I see that your lordship is happy, and I rejoice at it.
Lord 0. You shall rejoice at it, sir; my felicity shall not selfishly be confined, but shall spread its influence to the whole circle of my friends. I need not say, Lovewell, that you shall have your share of it,
Love. Shall I, my lord ?-then I understand you; you have heard ; Miss Fanny has informed you
Lord O. She has ; I have heard, and she shall be happy ; 'tis determined.
Lode. Then I have reached the summit of my wishes. And will your lordship pardon the folly?
Lord 0. O yes, poor creature, how could she help it? 'Twas unavoidable-Fate and necessity.
Love. It was indeed, my lord. Your kindness distracts me.
Lord 0. And so it did the poor girl, faith.
Love. She trembled to disclose the secret, and declare her affections ?
Lord 0. The world, I believe, will not think her affections ill placed.
Love. [Bowing. ] You are too good, my lord. And do you really excuse the rashness of the action?
Lord 0. From my very soul, Lovewell. : Love. [Bowing.) I was afraid of her meeting with a cold reception. Lord 0. More fool you then.
Who pleads her cause with never failing beauty,
Here finds a full redress. [Strikes his breast. She's a fine girl, Lovewell.
Love. Her beauty, my lord, is her least merit. She has an understanding
Lord 0. Her choice convinces me of that.