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Rob. Then why will you not think generously, sir, of the person you love? My lady, I dare be sworn
Sir John. Is false to me. That embitters my whole life. I love her, and she repays me with ingratitude, with perfidy, with falsehood, with
Rob. I dare be sworn, sir, she is a woman of honour.
Sir John. Robert, I have considered you as a friend in my house : don't you betray me too: don't attempt to justify her.
Rob. Dear sir, if you will but give me leave: you have been an indulgent master to me, and I am only concerned for your welfare. . You married my lady for love. · Sir John. Yes, I married her for love. When first I saw her, I was not so much struck with her beauty as with that air of an ingenuous mind that appeared in her countenance; her features did not so much charm me with their symmetry, as that expression of sweetness, that smile that indicated affability, modesty, and compliance. But, honest Robert, I was deceived: I was not a month married, when I saw her practising those very smiles at her glass : I was alarmed; I resolved to watch her from that moment, and I have seen such things!
Rob. Upon my word, sir, I believe you wrong her, and wrong yourself: you build on groundless surmises; you make yourself unhappy, and my lady too ; and by being constantly uneasy, and never showing her the least love,-you'll forgive me, sir,-you fill her mind with strange suspicions, and so the mischief is done.
Sir John. Suspicions, Robert?
Rob. Yes, sir, strange suspicions !—My lady finds herself treated with no degree of tenderness; she infers that your inclinations are fixed elsewhere, and so she is become-you will pardon my blunt honesty, she is become downright jealous,—as jealous as yourself, sir.
Sir John. Oh! Robert, you cannot see, that all her pretences to suspect me of infidelity are merely a counterplot to cover her own loose designs: it is but a gauze covering, though; it is seen through, and only serves to show her guilt the more.
Rob. Upon my word, Sir John, I cannot see
Sir John. No, Robert, I know you can't ; but I can. Her suspicions of me all make against her; they are female stratagems, and yet it is but too true that she still is near my heart. Oh! Robert, Robert, when I have watched her at a play, or elsewhere; when I have counted her oglings, and her whisperings, her stolen glances, and her artful leer, with the cunning of her sex, she has pretended to be as watchful of me: dissembling, false, deceitful woman!
Rob. And yet, I dare assure you
Sir John. No more; I am not to be deceived ; I know her thoroughly, and now-now-has not she escaped out of my house, even now ? .
Rob. But with no bad design.
Sir John. I am the best judge of that: which way did she go?
Rob. Across the Park, sir; that way, towards the Horse Guards.
Sir John. Towards the Horse Guards!- there,there,—there, the thing is evident: you may go in, Robert.
Rob. Indeed, sir, I-
. .. [Exit. Sir John. Gone towards the Horse Guards! my head aches; my forehead burns; I am cutting my horns. Gone towards the Horse . Guards !--I'll pursue her thither; if I find her, the time, the place, all will inform against her. Sir John! Sir John! you were a madman to marry such a woman.
Enter Beverley and BellMONT, at opposite sides.
Beo. Ha! my dear Bellmont! A fellow sufferer in love is a companion well met.
Bell. Beverley! I rejoice to see you.
Beo. Well ! I suppose the same cause has brought us both into the Park: both come to sigh our amorous vows in the friendly gloom of yonder walk. Belinda keeps a perpetual war of love and grief, and hope and fear, in my heart: and let me see-[Lays his hand on BELL, MONT's breast.]-how fares all here? I fancy my sister is a little busy with you.
Bell. Busy ! she makes a perfect riot there. Not one wink the whole night. Oh! Clarissa, her form so animated! her eyes so
Beo. Priythee, truce; I have not leisure to attend to her praise : a sister's praise too! the greatest merit I ever could see in Clarissa is, that she loves you freely and sincerely.
Bell. And to be even with you, sir, your Belinda, upon my soul, notwithstanding all your lavish praises, her highest perfection, in my mind, is her sensibility to the merit of my friend. Bed. Oh, Bellmont! such a girl!
Scarce can I to heav'n excuse
Unto that adored dame ! But tell me honestly, now; do you think she has ever betrayed the least regard for mę? .
Bell. How can you, who have such convincing proofs, how can you ask such a question? That un. easiness of yours, that inquietude of mind
Bev. Pr’ythee, don't fix that character upon me.
Bell. It is your character, my dear Beverley: instead of enjoying the object before you, you are ever looking back to something past, or conjecturing about some. thing to come, and are your own self-tormentor.
Beo. No, no, no; don't be so severe : I hate the very notion of such a temper: the thing is, when a man loves tenderly, as I do, solicitude and anxiety are natural; and when Belinda's father opposes my warmest wishes
Bell. Why, yes, the good Mr. Blandford is willing to give her in marriage to me.
Bed. The senseless old dotard !
Bell. Thank you for the compliment! and my father, the wise Sir William Bellmont
Bev. Is a tyrannical, positive, headstrong
Bell. There again I thank you. But, in short, the old couple, Belinda's father and mine, have both agreed upon the match. They insist upon compliance from their children; so that, according to their wise heads, I am to be married off-hand to Belinda, and you and your sister, poor Clarissa, are to be left to shift for yourselves.
Beo. Racks and torment!
Bell. Racks and torment!-Seas of milk and ships of amber, man!-We are sailing to our wished-for harbour, in spite of their machinations. I have settled the whole affair with Clarissa.
Beo. Have you ? Bell. I have; and to-morrow morning makes me possessor of her charms.
Beo. My dear boy, give us your hand : and then, thou dear rogue, and then Belinda's mine! Loll-tollloll
Bell. Well may you be in raptures, sir; for here, here, here, they both come.
Enter Belinda and Clarissa.
In every gesture dignity and love. . Belin. A poetical reception truly!-But can't your
passion inspire you to a composition of your own, Mr. Beverley?
Beo. It inspires me with sentiments, madam, which I can't find words to express. Suckling, Waller, Landsdown, and all our dealers in love verses, give but a faint image of a heart touched like mine.
Belin. Poor gentleman! what a terrible taking you are in! But if the sonneteers cannot give an image of you, sir, have you had recourse to a painter, as you promised me
Beo. I have, Belinda, and here, --here is the humble portrait of your adorer.
Belin. (Takes the picture.] Well! there is a likeness; but, after all, there is a better painter than this gentleman, whoever he be.
Bed. A better!- now she is discontented. (Aside.] Where, madam, can a better be found ?- If money can purchase him
Belin. Oh! sir, when he draws for money he never succeeds. But when pure inclination prompts him, then his colouring is warm indeed. He gives a portrait that endears the original
Beo. Such an artist is worth the Indies !
Belin. You need not go so far to seek him: he has done your business already. The limner I mean is a .certain little blind god, called Love, and he has stamped such an impression of you here
Beo. Madam, your most obedient; and I can tell you, that the very same gentleman has been at work for you too
Belt. [Who had been talking apart with CLARISSA.] Oh! he has bad a world of business upon his hands, for we two have been agreeing what hayoc he has made with us.
Clar. Yes, but we are but in a kind of fool's paradise here: all our schemes are but mere castle-building, which your father, Mr. Bellmont, and, my dear