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ACT THE SECOND.
Enter Miss Rich LAND and GARNET.
Miss R. Olivia not his sister? Olivia not Leontine's sister? You amaze me!
Gar. No more his sister than I am ; I had it all from his own servant; I can get any thing from that quarter.
Miss R. But how? Tell me again, Garnet.
Gar. Why, madam, as I told you before, instead of going to Lyons to bring home his sister, who has been there with her aunt these ten years, he never went further than Paris? there he saw, and fell in love with this young lady; by the bye, of a prodigious family.
Miss R. And brought her home to my guardian, as his daughter?
Gar. Yes, and daughter she will be. If he don't consent to their marriage, they talk of trying what a Scotch parson can do.
Miss R. Well, I own they have deceived me-And so demurely as Olivia carried it too!-Would you believe it, Garnet, I told her all my secrets; and yet the sly cheat concealed all this froin me.
Gar. And, upon my word, madam, I don't much blame her; she was loath to trust one with her secrets, that was so bad at keeping her own.
Miss R. But, to add to their deceit, the yourg
gentleman, it seems, pretends to make me serious proposals. My guardian and he are to be here presently, to open the affair in form. You know I am to lose half my fortune, if I refuse him.
Gar. Yet what can you do? For being, as you are, in love with Mr. Honeywood, madam
Miss R. How ! Ideot; what do you mean? In love with Mr. Honeywood! Is this to provoke me?
Gar. That is, madam, in friendship with him-I meant nothing more than friendship, as I hope to be married—nothing more.
Miss R. Well, no more of this ! As to my guardian, and his son, they shall find me prepared to receive them; I'm resolved to accept their proposal with sceming pleasure, to mortify them by compliance, and so throw the refusal at last
them. Gar. Delicious! and that will secure your whole fortune to yourself. Well, who could have thought so innocent a face could cover so much cuteness !
Miss R. Why, girl, I only oppose my prudence to their cunning, and practise a lesson, they have taught me, against themselves.
Gar. Then you're likely not long to want employment, for here they come, and in close conference.
Enter CROAKER and LEONTINE. Leon. Excuse, me sir, if I seem to hesitate upon the point of putting the lady so important a question.
Croak. Lord! good sir, moderate your fears; you're so plaguy shy, that one would think you had changed
I tell you we must have the half or the whole. Come, let me see with what spirit you begin. Well, why don't you? Eh! What ? Well then I must, it
-Miss Richland, my dear, I believe you guess at our business; an affair which my son here comes to open, that nearly concerns your happiness.
Miss R. Sir, I should be ungrateful not to be pleased with any thing that comes recommended by you.
Croak. How, boy ! could you desire a finer opening? Why don't you begin, I say? [To LEONTINE.
Leon. "Tis true, madam---my father, madam, has some intentions_hem-of explaining an affairwhich--himself-can best explain, madam.
Croak. Yes, my dear; it comes entirely from my son; it's all a request of his own, madam. And I will permit him to make the best of it.
Leon. The whole affair is only this, madam; my father has a proposal to make, which he insists none but himself shall deliver.
Croak. My mind misgives me, the fellow will never be brought on-[ Aside.]-- In short, madam, you see before you one that loves you; one, whose whole happiness is all in you.
Miss R. I never had any doubts of your regard, sir ; and I hope you can have none of my duty.
Croak. That's not the thing, my little sweeting; my love! No, no, another guess lover than I ; there he stands, madam-his very looks declare the force of his passion-Call up a look, you dog—But then, had you seen him, as I have, weeping, speaking soliloquies and blank verse, sometimes melancholy, and sometimes absent
Miss R. I fear, sir, he's absent now; or such a declaration would have come more properly from himself.
Croak. Himself, madam ! he would die before he could make such a confession ; and if he had not a channel for his passion through me, it would, ere now, have drowned his understandiny.
Miss R. I must grant, sir, there are attractions in modest diffidence, above the force of words. A silent address is the genuine eloquence of sincerity.
Croak. Madam, he has forgot to speak any other language; silence is become his mother tongue.
Miss R. And it must be confessed, sir, it speaks very powerfully in his favour. And yet, I sliall be
thought too forward in making such a confession; Sha'n't I, Mr. Leontine?
Leon. Confusion! my reserve will undo me. But, if modesty attracts her, impudence may disgust her. I'll try. [Aside.] Don't imagine from my silence, madam, that I want a due sense of the honour and happiness intended me. My father, madam, tells me, your humble servant is not totally indifferent to you. He linires you; I adore you; and when we come together,, upon my soul, I believe we shall be the happiest couple in all St. James's.
Miss R. If I could flatter myself, you thought as you speak, sir,
Leon. Doubt my sincerity, madam ? By your dear self, I swear. Ask the brave, if they desire glory ask cowards, if they covet safety
Croak. Well, well, no more questions about it.
Leon. Ask the sick, if they long for health-ask misers, if they love money--ask
Croak. Ask a fool, if he can talk nonsense! What's come over the boy ?-What signifies asking, when there's not a soul to give you an answer? Ify you
would ask to the purpose, ask this lady's consent to make you happy.
Miss R. Why, indeed, sir, his uncommon ardour almost compels me—forces me to comply: And yet, I'm afraid he'll despise a conquest gained with too much ease ; won't you,
Mr. Leontine? Leon, Confusion! [Aside.] O by no means, madam, by no means. And yet, madam, you talked of force. There is nothing I would avoid so much as compulsion in a thing of this kind. No, madam, I will still be generous, and leave you at liberty to refuse.
Croak. But I tell you, sir, the lady is not at liberty. It's a match. You see she says nothing-Silence gives consent.
Leon. But, sir, she talked of force. Consider, sir, the cruelty of constraining her inclinations.
Croak. But I say there's no cruelty. Don't you know, blockhead, that girls have always a roundabout way of saying yes before company? So get you both gone together into the next room, and hang him that interrupts the tender explanation. gone, I say; I'll not hear a word.
Leon. But, sir, I must beg leave to insist
Croak. Get off, you puppy, or I'll beg leave to insist upon knocking you down. Stupid whelp! But I don't wonder—the boy takes entirely after his mother.
[Exeunt Miss Rich and LEONTINE,
Enter MRS. CROAKER. Mrs. C. Mr. Croaker, I bring you something, my dear, that I believe will make
smile. Croak. I'll hold you a guinea of that, my dear.
Mrs. C. A letter; and, as I knew the hand, I ventured to open it.
Croak, And how can you expect your breaking open my letters should give me pleasure ?
Mrs. C. Poo! its from your sister at Lyons, and contains good news :-read it.
Croak. What a Frenchified cover is here! That sister of mine has some good qualities, but I could never teach her to fold a letter.
Mrs. C. Fold a fiddlestick! Read what it contains, Croak. [Reading.)
Dear Nick, An English gentleman, of large fortune, has, for some time, made private, though honourable, proposals to your daughter Olivia. They love each other tenderly, and I find she has consented, without letting any of the family know, to crown his addresses. As such good offers don't come every day, your own good sense,