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Fanny. Hush! hush! for heaven's sake, my dear Lovewell; don't be so warm ! your generosity gets the better of your prudence; you will be heard, and we shall be discovered. I am satisfied-indeed I am. Excuse this weakness, this delicacy, this what you will.
My mind's at peace-indeed it is--think no more of it, if you love me!
Lode. That one word has charmed me, as it always does, to the most implicit obedience: it would be the worst of ingratitude in me to distress you a moment.
[Kisses her. Enter Betty. Betty. [In a low voice.] I'm sorry to disturb you. Fanny. Ha! what's the matter? Love. Have you heard any body?
Betty. Yes, yes, I have; and they have heard you too, or I'm mistaken--if they had seen you too, we should have been in a fine quandary.
Fanny. Pr'ythee don't prate now, Betty!
Betty. I was preparing myself, as usual, to take me a little nap
Love. A nap!
Betty. Yes, sir, a nap; for I watch much better so than wide awake; and when I had wrapped this handkerchief round my head, for fear of the ear-ache from the key-hole, I thought I heard a kind of a sort of a buzzing, which I first took for a gnat, and shook my head two or three times, and went so with my hand.
Fanny. Well-well--and so
Betty. And so, madam, when I heard Mr. Lovewell a little loud, I heard the buzzing louder too---and pulling off my handkerchief softly, I could hear this sort of noise
[Makes an indistinct sort of noise, like speaking. Fanny. Well, and what did they say?
Betty. 0! I could not understand a word of what was said.
Love. The outward door is lock'd ?
Fanny. Why did you? they must have heard you, if they were near.
Betty. And I did it on purpose, madam, and cough'd a little too, that they might not hear Mr. Lovewell's voice—when I was silent, they were silent, and so I came to tell you.
Fanny. What shall we do?
Love. Fear nothing; we know the worst; it will only bring on our catastrophe a little too soon-but Betty might fancy this noise--she's in the conspiracy, and can make a man a mouse at any time.
Betty. I can distinguish a man from a mouse as well as my betters I'm sorry you think so ill of me, sir.
Fanny. He compliments you, don't be a fool !Now you have set her tongue a running, she'll mutter for an hour. [TO LOVEWELL.] I'll go and hearken myself.
[Exit. Betty. I'll turn my back upon no girl for sincerity and service.
[Half aside, and muttering. Love. Thou art the first in the world for both; and I will reward you soon, Betty, for one and the other.
Betty. I am not mercenary neither-I can live on a little, with a good carreter.
Enter Fanny. Funny. All seems quiet.-Suppose, my dear, you go to your own room-I shall be much easier then-and to-morrow we will be prepared for the discovery.
Betty. You may discover, if you please; but for my part, I shall still be secret. [Half aside, and muttering.
Love. Should I leave you now, if they still are upon the watch, we shall lose the advantage of our delay. Besides, we should consult upon to-morrow's business.
shalocommand met eve
Let Betty go to her own room, and lock the outward door after her; we can fasten this; and when she thinks all safe, she may return and let me out as usual.
Betty. Shall I, madam?
Fanny. Do let me have my way to-night, and you shall command me ever after.
Love. I live only to oblige you, my sweet Fanny ! I'll be gone this moment.
[Going Fanny. Let us listen first at the door, that you may not be intercepted. Betty shall go first, and if they lay hold of her
Betty. They'll have the wrong sow by the ear, I can tell them that.
[Going hastily. Fanny. Softly-softly-Betty! don't venture out, if you hear a noise. Softly, I beg of you! See, Mr. Lovewell, the effects of indiscretion ! Love. But love, Fanny, makes amends for all.
[Exeunt, all softly.
Scene II.-A Gallery, which leads to several Bed
chambers. Enter Miss Sterling, leading Mrs. Heidelberg in a
- night-cap. Miss Sterl. This way, dear madam, and then I'll tell you all.
Mrs. Heidel. Nay, but niece-consider a littledon't drag me out this figure ; let me put on my flycap !-If any of my lord's fammaly, or the counsellors at law should be stirring, I should be perdigus disconcerted.
Miss Sterl. But, my dear madam, a moment is an age, in my situation. I am sure my sister has been plotting my disgrace and ruin in that chamber_ 0! she's all craft and wickedness.
Mrs. Heidel. Well, but softly, Betsy !-you are all in emotion-your mind is too much flustrated-you can neither eat, nor drink, nor take your natural restcompose yourself, child ; for if we are not as warisome as they are wicked, we shall disgrace ourselves and the whole fammaly.
Miss Sterl. We are disgraced already, madam. Sir John Melvil has forsaken me; my lord cares for nobody but himself; or if any body, it is my sister : my father, for the sake of a better bargain, would marry me to a 'Change broker: so that if you, madam, don't continue my friend if you forsake me-if I am to lose my best hopes and consolation-in your tenderness—and affections—I had better—at once-give up the matter—and let my sister enjoy-the fruits of her treachery-trample with scorn upon the rights of her elder sister-the will of the best of aunts—and the weakness of a too interested father.
[She pretends to be bursting into tears during
this speech. Mrs. Heidel. Don't, Betsy-keep up your spurrit, I hate whimpering—I am your friend-depend upon me in every particular.—But be composed, and tell me what new mischief you have discovered.
Miss Sterl. I had no desire to sleep, and would not undress myself, knowing that my Machiavel sister would not rest till she had broke my heart :- I was so uneasy that I could not stay in my room, but when I thought that all the house was quiet, I sent my maid to discover what was going forward ;—she immediately came back and told me, that they were in high consultation ; that she had heard only, for it was in the dark, my sister's maid conduct Sir John Melvil to her mistress, and then lock the door.
Mrs. Heidel. And how did you conduct yourself in this dilemma?
Miss Sterl. I returned with her, and could hear a man's voice, though nothing that they said distinctly ;
and you may depend upon it, that Sir John is now in that room, that they have settled the matter, and will run away together before morning, if we don't prevent them.
Mrs. Heidel. Why, the brazen slut! she has got her sister's husband (that is to be) lock'd up in her chamber! at night too ! I tremble at the thoughts!
Miss Sterl. Ilush, madam! I hear something!
Mrs. Heidel. You frighten me-let me put on my fly-cap-I would not be seen in this figur for the world.
Miss Sterl. 'Tis dark, madam; you can't be seen.
Mrs. Heidel. I protest there's a candle coming, and a man too!
Miss Sterl. Nothing but servants ; let us retire a moment!
[They retire, Enter Brush, half drunk, laying hold of the CAAMBER
MAID, who has a candle in her hand. Cham. Be quiet, Mr. Brush ; I shall drop down with terror!
Brush. But my sweet, and most amiable Chambermaid, if you have no love, you may hearken to a little reason; that cannot possibly do your virtue any harm.
Cham. But you may do me harm, Mr. Brush, and a great deal of harm, too ;-pray let me go; I am ruiped if they hear you; I tremble like an asp.
Brush. But they sha'n't hear us; and if you have a mind to be ruined, it shall be the making of your fortune, you little slut, you! therefore, I say it again, if you have no love, hear a little reason !
Cham. I wonder at your impurence, Mr. Brush, to use me in this manner; this is not the way to keep me company, I assure you. You are a town-rake, I see, and now you are a little in liquor, you fear nothing.
Brush. Nothing, by heavens! but your frowns, most amiable Chambermaid ; I am a little electrified, that's the truth on't; I am not used to drink port, and your