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CLARISSA's Dressing Room.
Enter CLARISSA, with a Book in her Hand, followed by
JENNY. Clar. Where have you been, Jenny? I was inquiring for you-why will you go out, without letting me know?
Jenny. Dear ma'am, never any thing happened so unlucky! I am sorry you wanted me em But I was sent to Colonel Oldboy's with a letter; where I have been so used—Lord have mercy upon me-quality indeed -I say, quality-pray, madam, do you think that I looks any ways like an immodest parson-to be sure I have a gay air, and I can't help it, and I loves to appear a little genteelish, that's what I do.
Clar. Jenny, take away this book.
Jenny. Heaven preserve me, madam! you are crying ! Clar. O, my dear Jenny! Jenny. My dear mistress, what's the matter? Clar. I am undone. Jenny. No, madam ; no, Lord forbid !
Clar. I am indeed -I have been rash enough to discover my weakness for a man, who treats me with contempt.
Jenny. Is Mr. Lionel ungrateful, then?
Clar. I have lost his esteem for ever, Jenny. Since last night, that I fatally confessed what I should have kept a secret from all the world, he has scarce condescended to cast a look at me, nor given me an answer when I spoke to him, but with coldness and re
Jenny. Then he is a nasty, barbarous, inhuman brute.
Clar. Hold, Jenny, hold; it is all my fault.
Jenny. Your fault, madam! I wish I was to hear such a word come out of his mouth; if he was a minister to-morrow, and to say such a thing from his pulpit, and I by, I'd tell him it was false, upon the spot. Clar. Somebody's at the door ; see who it is.
[Tapping at the Door. Jenny. You in fault indeed—that I know to be the most virtuousest, nicest, most delicatest
Clar. How now?
Jenny. Madam, it's a message from Mr. Lionel. If you are alone, and at leisure, he would be glad to wait upon you: I'll tell him, madam, that you are busy.
Clar. Where is he, Jenny ?
Clar. Then go to him, and tell him I should be glad to see him : but do not bring him up immediately, because I will stand upon the balcony a few minutes for a little air. Jenny. Do
So, dear madam, for your eyes are as red as ferret's; you are ready to faint too; mercy on us ! for what do you grieve and vex yourself—if I was as you
[Exit. Clar. Oh!
Why with sighs my heart is swelling,
Who to winds and waves a stranger,
Enter Sir John FLOWERDALE and JENKINS.
Sir J. F. So, then, the mystery is discovered :-but is it possible that my daughter's refusal of Colonel Oldboy's son should proceed from a clandestine engagement, and that engagement with Lionel ?
Jenk. My niece, sir, is in her young lady's secrets; and Lord knows she had little design to betray them; but having remarked some odd expressions of her's yesterday, when she came down to me this morning with the letter, I questioned her; and, in short, drew the whole affair out; upon which I feigned a recol. lection of some business with you, and desired her to carry the letter to Colonel Oldboy's herself, while I came up hither. Yes, sir, and it is my duty to tell you; else I would rather die than be the means of wounding the heart of my dear young lady; for if there is one upon earth of truly noble, and delicate sentiments
Sir J. F. I thought so once, Jenkins.
Jenk. And think so still: Oh, good Sir John, now is the time for you to exert that character of worth and gentleness, which the world, so deservedly, has given you. You have, indeed, cause to be offended ; but, consider, sir, your daughter is young, beautiful, and amiable; the poor youth unexperienced, sensible, and at a time of life when such temptations are hard to be resisted: their opportunities were many, their cast of thinking, the same.-
Sir J. F. Jenkins, I can allow for all these things; but the young hypocrites, there's the thing, Jenkins; their hypocrisy, their hypocrisy wounds me.
Jenk. Call it by a gentler name, sir, modesty on her part, apprehension on his.
Sir J. F. Then what opportunity have they had ? They never were together but when my sister or myself made one of the company: besides, I had so firm a reliance on Lionel's honour and gratitude
Jenk. Sir, as we were standing in the next room, I heard a message delivered from Mr. Lionel, desiring leave to wait upon your daughter: I dare swear they will be here presently; suppose we were to step into that closet, and overhear their conversation?
Sir J. F. What, Jenkins, after having lived so many years in confidence with my child, shall I become an eves-dropper, to detect her?
Jenk. It is necessary at present.—Come in, my dear master, let us only consider that we were once young like them; subject to the same passions, the same indiscretions; and it is the duty of every man to pardon errors incident to his kind.
Enter CLARISSA and LIONEL.
Clar. Sir, you desired to speak to me; I need not tell you
the present situation of my heart; it is full. Whatever you have to say, I beg you will explain yourself; and, if possible, rid me of the anxiety under which I have laboured for some hours.
Lionel. Madam, your anxiety cannot be greater than mine; I come, indeed, to speak to you; and yet, I know not how ; I come to advise you, shall I say, as a friend ? yes, as a friend to your glory, your felicity; dearer to me than my lifc.
Clar. Go on, sir.
Lionel. Sir John Flowerdale, madam, is such a father as few are blessed with ; his care, his prudence has provided for you a match-Your refusal renders him inconsolable. Listen to no suggestions that would pervert you from your duty, but make the worthiest of men happy by submitting to bis will.
Clar. How, sir, after what passed between us yesterday evening, can you advise me to marry Mr. Jes
Lionel. I would advise you to marry any one, madam, rather than a villain.
Clar. A villain, sir.
Lionel. I should be the worst of villains, madam, was I to talk to you in any other strain : Nay, am I not a villain, at once treacherous and ungrateful. Received into this house as an asylum, what have I done! Betrayed the confidence of the friend, that trusted me; endeavoured to sacrifice his peace, and the honour of his family, to my own unwarrantable desires.
Clar. Say no more, sir; say no inore; I see my error too late; I have parted from the rules prescribed to my sex ; I have mistaken indecorum for a laudable sincerity; and it is just I should meet with the treatment my imprudence deserves.
Lionel. Oh, my Clarissa ! my heart is broke; hateful to myself, for loving you ;-yet, before I leave you I will once more touch that lovely hand -indulge my fondness with a last look-pray for your health and prosperity..
Clar. Can you forsake me?-Have I then given my affections to a man who rejects and disregards them?
- Let me throw myself at my father's feet: he is generous and compassionate :- He knows
worthLionel. Mention it not—were you stripped of fortune, reduced to the meanest station, and I a monarch of the globe, I should glory in raising you to universal empire; but as it is
O dry those tears, like melted ore,
Fast dropping on my heart they fall :
The mem'ry of past scenes recall.
I split upon the fatal shelf ;
And now I wish to lose myself: