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LordM. So! I perceive you know their history.
Col. M. I do, my lord. Poor Miss Richly's part of it is a melancholy one; for her father was so partial to his eldest daughter, that he left her by much the greatest portion of his estate; and what the youngest had to her share, she had the misfortune to lose, by the breaking of a merchant, in whose hands her money lay.
Lord M. You are better informed than I am, I find. 'Well, but what do you think of TOrs. Knightly?
Col. M. Think, my lord! I really don't know what to think. The lady is very deserving, but'
Lord M. But! Oh, those d—ned buts! Am I to be butted by you all, one after the other? There's your mother first, to be sure she is very ready to acquiesce in every thing that I approve, but she thinks it hard a young creature should have any force put on her inclinations, though it be for her own good. Then,
Miss Louisa—she is all obedience and submission— but, alas! she has given away her heart already' And you, you too are perfectly disposed to oblige me; but you will choose for yourself, I presume, notwithstanding.
Col. M. My lord, you really distress me, by entertaining the least doubt of that reverence I ever have borne towards you, and ever wilt bear; but in a case like this (pardon me, my lord) I cannot at once give up all that I have now left, or can claim a right in the disposal of, my honour and my love.—I own I love Miss Richly, have loved her long; and if virtue, beauty, and unaffected innocence, deserve a heart, my lord, she has a claim to mine, and is, I confess, entire mistress of it; yet I wish the evil (since it is one) had stopped there—but
Lord M. But what?
Col. M. My lord, she loves me too.
Lord M. I am sorry for it Oh, son, son! a pretty face will not redeem our acres.
Col. M. I never till now lamented her want of fortune, which I knew indeed from the beginning; but still hoped that I might one day be in a condition to support her as her own merit and my rank required. I even flattered myself that I should obtain your consent.
Lord M. What! to marry a beggar, Medway?
Col. M. I beg, my lord, you will not use so harsh a word. She is worthy of higher, much higher dignity, than ever I could raise her to.—What is a title, my lord, stripped as I am of every thing besides?
Lord M. That reproach is ungenerous, Medway; but I have deserved it.
Col. M. Forgive me, my lord, I meant it not as such.
Lord M. If you had, I could forgive it—but we will say no more on the subject, I will not urge you on so tender a point.
Col. M. My lord, I thank you.
Lord M. Answer me but one question: Are you under a promise to marry Miss Richly?
Col. 31. No, my lord; her generosity would not suffer her to let me bind myself by any other tie than that of inclination, as I insisted on her being free.
Lord M. That's well—Then I do not see how your honour is so much concerned; as for your love, when I was of your age, Medway, I had so many loves, that it was hard to tell which of them had the best claim.
Col. M. My lord, you were so kind as to promise you would insist no further on the subject.
Lord M. Well, well, I have done—I'll detain you no longer. Some? business calls me out at present; I shall see you in the evening.
Col. M. My lord, I'll attend you. [Bows, and exit.
Lord M. The firmness of this young man's virtue awes me. I know in point of interest with regard to himself at least, it will be impossible to prevail on him to think of this marriage—and the obligations he has already laid me under, will not suffer me to make, on my own account, so severe a trial of the tenderness and generosity of his heart—Let it go; I'll think no more of it. [Exit.
Scene I.—A Dressing-room. Sir Harry Flutter, as just dressed, a Servant attending.
Sir H. Flut. Is your lady come in, can you tell? Serv. My lady did not go out at all, sir. Sir H. Flut. Not at all! Why, I understood she dined abroad.
Serv. No, sir; I believe she only ordered Mrs. Betty to say so for an excuse, because she had no mind to come down to dinner.
Sir H. Flut. Was that all ?—Then do you step to her, and tell her I desire to speak with her—On very particular business, tell her. [Exit Servant.] Now to put
my lesson in practice If I can but hit on the manner
—I'll pretend not to see her at first—But if she should not come now—'egad, that would disconcert the whole
plan Yes, faith, here she is; her curiosity, nothing
else, I am sure, has brought her.
Enter Lady Flutter, with knetting in her hand. Lady Flut. [Sullenly.] What do you want with me, Sir Harry?
Sir H. Flut. I want with you. Lady Flutter! I never wanted any thing with you in my life, that I know of.
Ladj Flut. Why, didn't you send for me this minute, and say you had particular business? I should not have been so ready to come else, I assure you.
Sir H. Flut. [Aside.] 'Egad, I believe, I am wrong at setting out; it should have all been" done as if bychance. What shall I say to her now! How do you
like this suit of clothes, my dear? Don't you think it very elegant?
Lady Flut. Was that all the business you had with me? [She offers to go.
Sir H. Flut. Ma'am, I insist on your not going till you answer my question, just how you please now, civilly or uncivilly; I am prepared for either, I can tell you.
Lady Flut. And so, Sir Harry, I suppose you think, with those airs, to carry off your behaviour to me this morning, do you?
Sir H, Flut. Ye gods, ye gave io me a wife,
[He walks about.
Lady Flut. But I can tell you, sir, I won't bear such treatment, to be drawn off and on like your glove.
Sir H. Flut. Are you speaking to me, ma'am?
Lady Flut. To whom else should I speak?
SirH. Flut. I protest I did not know you were in the room, child.
Lady Flut. Oh, ridiculous affectation Child! I'll
.Sir H. Flut. [Aside.] Oh, now it begins to work, if I «an but keep cool.
But if your providence divine
For greater bliss design her,
Tm ready to resign her.
Lady Flut. Absurd!
Sir H. Flut. [Going up close to her.] To resign her, to resign her.
Lady Flut. [Pushing him from her.] Stupid!
Sir H. Flut. Retire to your chamber, madam, directly, instantly; and let me inform you, once for all, that you are not to take the liberty of coming into my dressingroom A man's serious hours are not to be broke in
upon by female impertinence.
Lady Flut. A man's? Ha, ha, ha!
Sir H. Flut. Those flippant airs don't become you in the least, ma'am; but I don't think a silly girl worth my serious resentment—Retire with your trumpery work—I choose to be alone.
Lady Flut. Then I'll stay to vex you.
Sir H. Flut. Then, ma'am, I must teach you the obedience that is due to the commands of a husband.
lady Flut. A husband! Oh, gracious! defend me from such a husband.—A battledore and shuttlecock would be fitter for you than a wife, I fancy.
Sir H. Flut. And let me tell your pertness, a doll would be properer for you than a husband—there's for you, miss.
Lady Flut. You'll be a boy all your life, Sir Harry. Sir H. Flut. And you'll be a fool all your life, Lady Snap.
Lady Flut. I shall be the fitter company for you, then.
Sir H. Flut. Tchou, tchou, tchou. [Jeering her.
Lady Flut. You are vastly polite, sir—Did you ever see Lord Medvvay behave thus to his lady f
Sir H. Flut. And did you ever see Lady Medway behave thus to her lord, if you go to that? Rat me, but a man had better be a galley-slave, than married to a simpleton that ought to be sewing her sampler.
Lady Flut. And I'll swear a woman had better be a ballad-singer, than joined to a jack-a-dandy, that ought to have a satchel at his back.
Sir H. Flut. Devil take me, but I have a good mind to break every bit of the china you bought this morning.
Lady Flut. Do, do, do—and make taws of them to play with.