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Sir W. You are right: I'll attend you.—Now, George, this will explain every thing. [Aside.] Come, Mr. Blandford, this may be an escape: young birds will wing their flight. .
Bland. Well, well, say no more, we shall see how it is. Come, Sir William, it is but a step. . [Exit.
Bell. [To Tupper.] Where is Clarissa ?
Bell. I follow you, sir. [Exit Sir William.] Clarissa is not gone, I hope. • Tip. Gone, sir !-She is writing, and crying, and wiping her eyes, and tearing her paper, and beginning again, and in such a piteous way. · Bell. I must see her: she must come with us. If Lady Restless persists in her story, who knows what turn this affair may take? Come, Mrs. Tippet, show me the way.
Scene Il.-The Hall in the House of Sir John Restless : a
loud Rap at the Door.
Enter Robert. Rob. What a hurry you are in there?- This is my lady, I suppose. Where can she have been ?-Now for more confusion. If she finds Madam Belinda with Sir John, we are all blown up again.
Sir John. [Peeping in.] Robert, Robert: is that your lady?
Rob. Mercy on us! She is coming, I believe, sir. (Looks out.] I see her chair; it is my lady.
Sir John. Don't let her know that Belinda is in the house.
Rob. Not if I can help it. Trust to me, sir. [Exit Sir John.] Here she comes. What has she been about ?
A Chair is brought into the Hall. Lady R. (Coming out of the chair.] Is Sir John at home ?
Rob. I fancy he is, my lady.
Rob. He has been all alone, writing letters in his study: he desired not to be interrupted.
Lady R. I shall not interrupt him, I promise him. You never will tell me any thing, Robert: I don't care who comes after him. To-morrow I shall quit this house, and then he may riot in licentious pleasure. If he asks for me, I am not well; I am gone to my own apartment: I hope to see no more of him. [Going.
Chair. Shall your ladyship want the chair any more to-night?
Lady R. I don't know what I shall want. Leave the chair there : you may wait.
[Exit. Chair. Ay! always a waiting job.
[Puts the chair aside; Exeunt CHAIRMAN and
Enter Sir John and BELINDA. Belin. If you will but permit me to say a word to her
Sir John. Excuse me for the present: I beg you will.
Belin. A short interview with Lady Restless might clear up all my doubts : what objection can you have?
Sir John. A million of objections. You do not know the consequence of being seen in this house. She will interpret every thing her own way. I am unhappy, madam, while you stay.
Belin. There is more cruelty in your refusal than you can imagine. Mr. Beverley's character is in question : it is of the last importance to me to know the whole truth.
Sir John. You know it all, madam. Mr. Beverley's character is too clear. Proofs thicken, and grow stronger every hour. Since the visit I paid you this very day, I have made another discovery. I found him lurking here in my house.
Belin. Found him here, sir?
Belinther amorod bim here.
Sir John. Found him here. He was lying in ambush for another amorous meeting.
Belin. If there is no mistake in this business —
Sir John. Mistake? May I trust my own eyes ? I saw him ; I spoke to him; I taxed him with his guilt. He was concealed in her closet : does that amount to proof? Her maid Tattle stationed him there. My lady was privy to it: she favoured the stratagem. Are you satisfied now, madam ?
Belin. The particulars of this discovery, Sir John, may convince me: tell me all, sir; you will oblige me.
Sir John. Inquire no more for the present. You will oblige me, madam. Robert shall see you safe home. I would not have my lady find us together: I think I hear her: no, no. In a day or two the particulars will be known to the wide world. Where is Robert ? He shall conduct you home. My peace and happiness require it.
Belin. My peace and happiness are destroyed for ever. If your story be true
Sir John. It is too true : I wish you a good night. I am miserable while you are here.-Robert!
Belin. Deliver me! I am ruined. I hear my father's voice : what brings him hither? I am undone if he finds me. Let me retire into that room.
Sir John. That room will not do: you will be seen there. Belin. Can't I go up stairs ?
[Going Sir John. No; I am ruined if you go that way.Hell and distraction !-My Lady Restless coming down! Here, madam, here; into that chair. You will be concealed there : nobody will suspect you.
Belin. Any where, sir : put me any where, to avoid this impending storm.
[Goes into the chair. Sir John. (Shutting the chair.] This is lucky. I am safe now. Let my lady come as soon as she will.
Enter Lady Restless.
Enter BLANDFORD. Bland. Sir John, I am obliged to intrude: I am told my daughter is here. · Lady R. There! he has heard it all. · Bland. I have heard that Belinda came to your house : on what business I do not know. I hope, Sir John, that you do not harbour the girl, to disturb the peace and happiness of a father.
Sir John. That imputation, sir-
Lady R. I know he does. He has ruined your daughter; he has injured. you, sir, as well as me, in the most essential point.
Sir John. She raves; she is mad. If you listen to her
Enter Sir William and BEVERLEY... Bland. I am glad you are come, Sir William. This is more than I expected. • Sir John. And more than I expected. There, madam, there is your favourite again!
Ber. My visit is public, sir. I come to demand, in the presence of this company, an explanation of the mischief you have done me.
Sir John. You need not be so public, sir. The closet is ready for you : Tattle will turn the key, and you will there be very safe.
Lady R. How can you persist in such a fallacy? He knows, he perfectly well knows, it was an accident; a mere blunder of the servant, entirely unknown to me.
Sir John. She was privy to the whole.
Bland. This is beside my purpose. I came hither in quest of my daughter : a father demands her. Is she here? Is she in the house?
Sir John. In this house, sir? Our families never visited. I am not acquainted with her.
Lady R. He is acquainted with her. I saw him clasp her in his arms.
Bland. In his arms! When? Where? Tell me all.
Sir John. When you have accounted for your actions, madam
Lady R. Render an account to the lady's father, sir.
Bland. Yes, to her father. Account with me, sir. When and where was all this?
Lady R. This very day; at noon; in the Park.
Bev. But in the eyes of the whole world: I know Belinda: I can acquit her.
Sir John. And I proclaim her innocence. We can both acquit her.
[Goes up to Beverley. Lady R. You are both in a plot : both combined.
Sir John. It was all harmless; all inoffensive. Was not it, Mr. Beverley?
Bev. Yes, all, all.
Sir W. If you all talk together, we shall never understand.
Bev. I understand it all.—Mr. Blandford, you met Belinda in the Park this morning ?
Bland. I did, sir.
Beo. You accosted her violently: the harshness of your language overpowered her spirits : she was ready to faint: Sir John was passing by : she was going to drop down: Sir John assisted her: that is the whole of the story. Injured as I am, I must do justice to Belinda's character. She may treat me with the caprice and pride of insolent beauty; but her virtue claims respect.
Sir John. There now; there! that is the whole of the story.