網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

able to you; for I am commissioned to tell you, positively, you must accept of him for a husband.

Louisa. But, madam, he has never spoken a word to me on the subject—I have seen him but a few times, and—in short, I can't bear him.

Lady M. Shall I tell your papa what you say? He, no doubt, will be perfectly satisfied with this determination.

Louisa. Dear madam! sure you will not. Save me from my papa's anger; you know I dare not open my heart to him. You (except in your maternal tenderness) are more like a companion to me than a parent. The authority of the mother is melted down in the kindness of the friend; my papa's severity had else been insupportable.

Lady M. Louisa, you are not to give so harsh a name to your father's solicitude for your happiness. He is not to be shaken in his resolution. I have already exerted my utmost influence over him, and that, I am sorry to say, is less, much less, than it ought to be. Hist!—I hear your father's voice below; he is coming up to you. I beg, my dear, you will let him see by your obedience, that my interposition has had its proper effect. I'll give you the opportunity to talk to him alone.

Louisa. Dear madam, don't leave me—my papa is so stern.

Lady M. I go to avoid ungrateful appeals from him. Consent with a good grace, Louisa, for 'tis certain you have no choice left. [Exit Lady Medway.

Louisa, Heavens, what will become of me!

[Site stands musing. Scene IV. .

Lord Medway enters, stops at the door, and look* at her, she not observing him.

Lord M. [Repeating affectedly.]
On every hill, in every grove,

Along the margin of each stream,
Dear conscious scenes of former love
I mourn, and Damon is my theme.

What is your pretty tender heart ruminating upon?
Your Damon, I suppose.—Were not you thinking of
Mr. Branville?

Louisa. No, my lord.

Lord M. I believe you don't tell truth, my lady—

look up, girl Ah, Louisa, Louisa, that conscioui

blush! But 'tis well you have the grace to be ashamed.

Louisa. My lord, if I do blush, I am not conscious of any cause, unless the fear of offending you.

Lord M. Pretty innocent! all obedience too, I

warrant. I hate hypocrisy from my very soul; you know that you are a rebel in the bottom of your heart. Speak honestly now, would not you run away with Branville this very night, if it were in your power?

Louisa. My lord, I—I

LordM. My lord, I—I—, speak out, mistress.

Louisa. If I had your permission, my lord, I own I should be—inclined to prefer him to—any other.

LordM. Thou prevaricating monkey—dissemblers, too, from the very egg. And without my permission, miss; what answer does your modesty and filial piety suggest to that?

Louisa. That without it, I will never marry any one.

Lord M. I don't believe one syllable of that; but I take you at your word; and now I tell you, that you never shall have it to marry him.—How does your lovesick heart relish that?

Louisa. My lord, I am resigned to your pleasure.

[She curtsies, and offers to go; he bows, and lets her walk to the door.

Lord M. Now, ma'am—walk back, if you please— for I have not done with you yet. [She comes back.'] What does the fool hang her head for? Sit down

there What, you are going to faint, I hope—Oh,

I d—i—e! I ex-pire—Branville, take my last adieu

Here, Betty, some hartshorn for the despairing nymph, quickly—your lady is dying for love.—So, so, so, the sluice is let out at last

So lilies look, surcharg'd with morning dew!

You really look very pretty when you cry, Louisa; I had a mind to see how it would become you.

Louisa. Indeed, my lord, you are too hard upon me.

Lord M. How now, mistress! how dare you speak thus? What do you call a hardship? Love makes some timorous animals bold, they say; it makes women so with a vengeance.

Louisa. My lord, I beg your permission to withdraw.

Lord M. Stay where you are, madam.—When I condescend to talk with you, methinks you ought to know, 'tis your duty to attend to what I have to say. You know my mind already in regard to young Branville.— But observe what I say; I forbid you to think, but even to think, of Branville. That is the first, and perhaps the hardest part of my command. The next is, that you resolve immediately to accept of Sir Anthony for your husband. And now, miss, you may, if you please, retire to your chamber, and, in plaintive strains, either in verse or prose, bemoan your hard fate; and be sure you complain to your waiting-woman what a tyrant you have to your father.—Go, get you gone.

[Exit Louisa.

This is the plague of having daughters; no sooner out of their leading-strings than in love, forsooth!

Scene V.

Enter Colonel Medway. Oh, George, I am glad you are come; that foolish girl has ruffled me so, I want relief from my own thoughts.

Col. M. I met my sister in tears I hope, my lord,

she has done nothing to disoblige you.

Lord M. Oh, a mere trifle—only confessed a passion for a fellow not worth sixpence, but what depends on the caprice of a relation, and, like a prudent, as well as dutiful child, has shown a thorough dislike of her father's choice.

Col. M. My lord, she will consider better of it; I am sure my sister will willingly obey you in every thing.

Lord M. To what purpose is a father's solicitude for the welfare of his children, if a perverse silly girl will counteract all his projects?—You, Medway, have ever shown yourself an affectionate, as well as an obedient son, to a parent who confesses himself, with regard to you, not one of the most provident—I wish I could make you amends.

Col. M. My lord, the tenderness you have always shown me, deserved every return I could make you.— I wish for no other amends, but to see you easy in your mind and in your circumstances.

Lord M. That's well said! but I expected as much from you. Suppose, now, that it were in your power to make me easy in both, and at the same time effectually to serve yourself.

Col. M. I wish it were, my lord, you should see my readiness to embrace the opportunity.—But I am afraid there is nothing now in my power.

LordM. Oh, you are mistaken; there are ways and means to retrieve all; and it was on this subject I wanted to talk with you.—There is a certain lady of Fortune, son—What! droop at the very mention of her? that's an ill omen.

. Col. M. My lord, I doubt my fortune never can be mended by those means.

Lord M. No! Suppose the Widow Knightly, with a real estate of three thousand a year, and a personal one of fifty thousand pounds, should have taken a fancy to you, would not that be a means ?—You blush? perhaps you arS already acquainted with the lady's passion.

Col. M. My lord, I am glad to see you so pleasant.

Lord M. I am serious, I assure you.—Why, is there any thing so extraordinary in a woman's falling in love with a handsome young fellow?

Col. M. My lord, if the lady has really done me that honour, 'tis more than I deserve; for I never made the least advances.

Lord M. Well; but how do you like her?

Col. M. She is genteel, I think—I really never examined her features.

Lord M. That's strange! Why, you visit her sometimes, I find.

Col. M. I go to her house, my lord; but 'tis her younger sister whom I visit.

Lord M. Umph—What sort of a damsel is she?

Col. M. A most angelic creature!

Lord M. Ay! then it seems you have examined her features?

Col. M. My lord, I have known her long. Miss Richly, who, as well as her sister, was born abroad, was sent hither some years since for her education, and I became acquainted with her in the house of a friend of mine, with whom she lived. Mrs. Knightly, who had married an English merchant, was then settled at Lisbon, and knew but little of her sister till lately; when, having lost her husband, she came- to England, and took the young lady under her own care.

VOl. IV. R

« 上一頁繼續 »