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Belin. Well, I declare, I don't know what is become of this odious picture.
Beo. This odious picture ! how she expresses it !
Bev. I know you have not, ma'am; and though you may imagine
Belin. Imagine! what do you mean? - ]magine what? · Bev. Don't imagine, that I am to be led blindfold as you please.
Belin. Heavens! with what gravity that was said !
Eev. Oh! you may think to pass it off in raillery: but that picture I have this day seen in the hands of another; in the hands of the very gentleman to whom you gave it.
Belin. To whom I gave it? -Have a care, sir; this is another symptom of your jealous temper.
Bev. But I tell you, madam, I saw it in his hand.
Bev. His name, madam !-'Sdeath! I forgot that circumstance. Though I don't know his name, madam, I know his person; and that is sufficient.
Belin. Go on, sir: you are making yourself very ridiculous in this matter.-Ha! ha!
Beo. You may laugh, madam ; but it is no laughing matter, that let me assure you.
Belin. Oh, brave !—follow your own notions. I gave it away: I have scorned your present. Ha! ha!Poor Mr. Beverley !
Beo. I don't doubt you, ma'am : I believe you did give it away.
Belin. Mighty well, sir; think so, if you please. I shall leave you to your own imagination : it will find wherewithal to entertain you. Ha! ha! the self-tormenting Beverley! yonder I see Clarissa and Mr. Bellmont. I will join them this instant. Your servant, sir. Amuse yourself with your own fancies--ha! ha! [Exit,
Bev. Plague and distraction !-I can't tell what to make of this. She carries it off with an air of confidence. And yet if that be my picture, which I saw this morning, then it is plain I am only laughed at by her.-I will know the bottom of it. That's the house the gentleman went into. I'll wait on him directly : but they are watching me. I'll walk another way, to elude their observation. Ay! ay! you may laugh, ma'am, but I shall find out all your artifices. [Exit.
Scene II.-An Apartment at Sir John's.
Enter Lady Restless, meeting Robert.
Rob. To my master's room, madam, to leave these clothes there.
Lady R. Stay, sir; stay a moment. [Searches the pockets.] Where are his letters ?
Rob. Letters, my lady! I know of no letters: I never touch his pockets.
Lady R. I guessed you would say so. You are Sir John's agent; the conductor of his schemes.
Rob. I, madam! . .
Lady R. You, sir; you are his secretary for love affairs.
Rob. I collect his rents, my lady, and
Lady R. Oh! sir, I am not to be deceived. I know you are my enemy.
Rob. Enemy, my lady! I am sure, as far as a poor servant dare, I am a friend to both.
Lady R. Then tell me honestly, have not you conveyed his letters out of my way?
Rob. Indeed, madam, not I. VOL. III.
Lady R. Then he has done it himself. Artful man! I never can find a line after him. Where did you go for him this morning?
Rob. This morning!
Lady R. Ay! this morning. I know he sent you somewhere. Where was it?
Rob. Upon my word, my lady
Lady R. Very well, sir: I see how it is. You are all bent against me. I shall never be at rest till every servant in this house is of my own choosing. Is Tattle come home yet?
Rob. No, madam.
Lady R. Where can she be gadding? Hark! I hear a rap at the door. This is Sir John, I suppose. Stay, let me listen. I don't know that voice. Who can it be? Some of his libertine company, I suppose.
Rob. My lady, if you will believe me
Lady R. Hold your tongue, man: let me hear. You , want to hinder me, do you?
Rob. Indeed, madam
Lady R. Hold your tongue, I say! won't you hold your tongue? Go about your business, sir-ġo about your business. What does he say? [Listening:) I can't hear a word. Who is below there?
Enter Tattle, with a capuchin on.
Lady R. And where have you been, mistress? How dare you go out without my leave?
Tat. Dear my lady, don't be angry with me. I was so terrified about what happened in the morning; and your ladyship was in such a perilous taking about it, that I went to desire Mrs. Marmalet would justify herself and me.
Lady R. Oh! very well, Mrs. Busy-Body. You have been there, have you? You have been to frame a story
among yourselves, have you, and to hinder me from discovering? But I'll go to my Lady Conquest myself. I have had no answer to my letter, and 'tis you have occasioned it. Thanks to your meddling!
Tat. Dear my lady, if you will but give me leave :I have been doing you the greatest piece of service. I believe, in my conscience, there is something in what you suspect about Sir John.
Lady R. Do you? why? how?
Tat. I have seen Mrs. Marmalet, and I have made such a discovery!
Lady R. Have you, Tattle? Well! What? speak, tell me; what is it?
Tat. Robert has been there, madam, with a message from Sir John, who wants to see her in the evening; and he has desired
Lady R. Blessings on you, Tattle: well; go on; tell me all.
Enter a Servant. What do you want, sir? Who called you? Go about your business.
Sero. Madam, there is a gentleman wants to speak with Sir John, about a picture.
Lady R. I had forgot me. It was he rapped at the door, I suppose.
Serv. Yes, madam.
Lady R. About a picture !—This may lead to some further discovery. Desire the gentleman to step up stairs. [Exit Servant. And so, Tattle, Robert has been there?
Tat. Yes, ma'am.
Lady . And Sir John wants to speak with Mar. malet in the evening, and has desired What has he desired ?
Tat. He has desired, ma'am, the poor girl does not know what to make of it-She is very sober and
discreet, I assure you, ma'am-He has desired, ma'am, in the dusk of the evening, that Mrs. Marmalet will come and
Lady R. How unlucky this is! The gentleman is coming. I have a mind not to see him: and yet I will too. Tattle, do you step to my room ; as soon as he goes, I will come to you, and hear all in private. [Erit Tattle ] In the dusk of the evening, he desires to see her: abandoned wretch !
Enter BEVERLEY. Beo. Madam
(Bows. Lady R. Pray walk in, sir.
[Curtsies. Bev. I wanted a word with Sir John Restless, madam.
Lady R. About a picture?
Bev. Yes, madam, a picture I had given to a lady; and however insignificant in itself, it is to me of the highest consequence, as it may conduce to the explana. tion of an affair, in which the happiness of my life is concerned.
Lady R. The lady is young?
Bev. In the highest degree; my heart is devoted to her; and I have reason to suspect, that a present from me is not of so much value as I could wish. To be plain, ma'am, I imagine she has given the picture away.
Lady R. As I guessed: my suspicions are just.
Bev. Your suspicions, madam! Did you suspect it was given to Sir John Restless ?
Lady R. What I know of the matter shall be no secret to you.-Pray, sir, have you spoke to the lady on this subject?
Bev. I have, but she knows nothing of the matter; she has lost it, she has mislaid it, she can give no ac, count of it.