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sent to him this instant, in his present doleful litu, ation ? My life for it, that works her cure. Disa tress is a perfect antidote to love. Suppose we join her in the next room? Miss Richland is a fine girl, _has a fine fortune, and must not be thrown away, Upon my honour, madam, I have a regard for Miss Richland; and rather than she should be thrown away, I should think it no indignity to marry her myself.
Enter OLIVIA and LEONTINE.
LEONTINE. And yet, trust me Olivia, I had every reason to expect Miss Richland's refusal, as I did every thing in my power to deserve it. Her indelicacy surprises me!
Sure, Leontine, there's nothing so indelicate in being sensible of your merit. If so, I fear, I shall be the most guilty thing alive.
LEONTINE. But you mistake, my dear. The same attention I used to advance my merit with you, I practised to lessen it with her. What more could I do?
Olivia. Let us now rather consider what is to be done. We have both dissembled too long--I have always been ashamed I am now quite weary of it. Sure
I could never have undergone so much for any other but you.
And you shall find my gratitude equal to your kindelt compliance. Though our friends should totally forsake us, Olivia, we can draw upon content for the deficiencies of fortune.
OLIVIA. Then why should we defer our scheme of humble happiness, when it is now in our power? I may be the favourite of your father, it is true ; but can it ever be thought, that his present kindness to a supposed child, will continue to a known deceiver ?
Leonti'N B. I have many reasons to believe it will. As his attachments are but few, they are lasting. His own marriage was a private one, as ours may be. Befides, I have founded him already at a distance, and find all his answers exactly to our wish. Nay, by an expression or two that dropped from him, I am induced to think he knows of this affair.
Olivia. Indeed! But that would be an happiness too great to be expected.
Leontine. However it be, I'm certain you have power over him; and am persuaded, if you informed him of our situation, that he would be disposed to pardon
OLIVIA. You had equal expectations, Leontine, from your last scheme with Miss Richland, which you find has succeeded most wretchedly.
Leontine. As we could wish, he comes this way. Now, my dearest Olivia, be resolute. I'll just retire withia hearing, to come in at a proper time, either to Mare your danger, or confirm your victory. (Exit,
CROAKER. Yes, I must forgive her; and yet not too easily, neither. It will be proper to keep up the decorums of resentment a little, if it be only to impress her with an idea of my authority.
Olivia. How I tremble to approach him!-Might I prefume, Sir-If I interrupt you
CROAKER. No, child, where I have an affection, it is not a little thing that can interrupt me. Affection gets over little things.
OLIVIA. Sir, you're too kind. I'm sensible how ill I deserve this partiality. Yet, heaven knows, there is nothing I would not do to gain it.
CROAKER. And you have but too well succeeded, you little husley, you. With those endearing ways of yours, on my conscience, I could be brought to forgive any thing, unless it were a very great offence in. deed.
OLIVIA. But mine is such an offenceWhen you know my guilt-Yes, you shall know it, though I feel the greatest pain in the confeffion.
CROAKER. Why then, if it be so very great a pain, you may spare yourself the trouble ; for I know every fylla. ble of the matter before you begin.
: : OLIVIA. Indeed! Then I'm undone.
CROAKER. Ay, miss, you wanted to steal a match, without letting me know it, did you? But I'm not worth being consulted, I suppose, when there's to be a marriage in my own family. No, I'm to have no hand in the disposal of my own children. No, I'm nobody. I'm to be a mere article of family lumber; a piece of crack'd china to be stuck up in a corner,
OLIVIA. Dear Sir, nothing but the dread of your authority could induce us to conceal it from you.
CROAKER. No, no, my consequence is no more; I'm as little minded as a dead Russian in winter, just stuck up with a pipe in his mouth till there comes a thaw It goes to my heart to vex her. (Aside.)
OLIVIA. I was prepar’d, Sir, for your anger, and despair'd of pardon, even while I presum'd to ak it. But your severity shall never abate my affection, as my punishment is but justice.
OLIVIA. And do you permit me to hope, Sir ? Can I ever expect to be forgiven? But hope has too long. deceived me,
CROAKER. Why then, child, it shan't deceive you now, for I forgive you this very moment. I forgive you all; and now you are indeed my daughter.