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Lady Flut. What were you saying, my lord? Lord M. I believe I was saying, or at least I was thinking, that you are Lady Flut. What now?
Lord M. A charming woman—taking you all together
Lady Flut. Poh! fiddle faddle
Lord M. Indeed you are!
Lady Flut. Well, that is nothing to the purpose— What would you advise me to do with this foolish boy; for I would not have my discretion called in question, neither? I am sure if he had but the sense to talk to me as you have done, he might do just what he pleased with me..
Lord M. Amiable creature! Well, whatever you
do, don't think of parting from him, for that would only be making mirth for all the spiteful old maids in town; who have already prophesied, that miss and master would quarrel before a month was at an end, and each run home crying to their several mamma's.
Lady Flut. Do the malicious creatures say so!
Well, I'll disappoint them in that But what can I
do, my lord, he is so intolerably conceited and pert?
Lord M. Oh, don't mind him, and it will wear off by degrees! But, my dear Lady Flutter, are there not other pleasures with which a fine woman could make herself amends, for the ill-humour of her husband?
Lady Flut. Not that I know of, my lord [Sighs.
Lord M. I could name you some, if you would give me leave
Lady Flut. You have my leave, indeed, my lord— My stars, what a charming thing good sense and good nature is! Your conversation has, I don't know how, soothed me so, that, though I am not happy, yet I don't find myself so much out of temper as I was a while ago.
Lord M. Oh, that Sir Harry and I could change situations, then would the loveliest woman in England be the happiest. [He kisses her hand.
Lady Flut. Lard! my lord, what's that for?
Enter a Servant.
Serv. Sir Anthony Brariville, madam, comes to wait on your ladyship.
Lady Flut. Oh, I am glad of that—show him up.
Lord M. So am not I. [Aside.
Lady Flut. You know, my lord, it will save me the trouble of going to his house this evening.'
Lord M. Let me beg of you, my dear Lady Flutter, not to mention to your uncle any thing that has passed between you and Sir Harry. I'll give you many good reasons for it another time. Have I so much influence over you?
Lady Flut. Well, my lord, to oblige you, I won't. Lord M. Sweet condescending creature! Lady Flut. But you must tell me what you promised. Lord M. Not now, my dear ma'am—some other opportunity I will tell you such things
Enter Sir Anthony Branville, he bows very low to both, without speaking.
Lady Flut. Uncle, your servant.
Lord M. Sir Anthony, your most obedient.
Sir A. Bran. My lord (without a compliment) I esteem myself extremely happy, in the agreeable hope, that I now see your lordship in perfect health.
Lord M. I thank you, good Sir Anthony, pretty well. Heavens! what a circumlocution, to ask a man how he does! [Aside.
Sir A. Bran. And you, niece, I assure you, have a very proper proportion (as undoubtedly your merit claims) of my unfeigned esteem and good wishes; as likewise hath my worthy nephew, Sir Harry; whom I should have been proud to have found in this good
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company, and deem both myself and him unfortunate in his being absent from it.
Lady Flut. Sir Harry does not think so, I believe.
Lord M. Hush——hush. [Aside to her.
Sir A. Bran. What does my niece Flutter say?
Sir A. Bran. Pardon me; I apprehend you had uttered something. Well, my lord, I am next to inquire (though, to say the truth, I ought, in point of good breeding, to have done it first); I am next, I say, to inquire how your excellent lady does, and the fair young lady, your daughter.
Lord M. Both at your service, Sir Anthony.
Sir A. Bran. May I presume to ask the christian name of the young lady.
Lord M. I would not have Lady Mcdway hear you make so emphatical a distinction, Sir Anthony; ladies, you know, are always young
Sir A. Bran. 'Tis a privilege I know they claim, my lord, and I hope you don't think me capable of such barbarism as to dispute it with them; but at the same time I imagine 'tis not possible in nature, but that the mother must be rather older than her daughter— You'll excuse my pleasantry.
Lord M. Oh, surely, as the ladies are not by—But why do you inquire my daughter's name, Sir Anthony?
Sir A. Bran. Why, my lord, there is a pretty familiar tenderness in sometimes using the chris-ft'-an name, that is truly delightful to a lover; for such, my lord, with all due deference to the lady's high deserts, I wish myself to be considered.
Lady Flut. Oh lord, oh lord, my uncle Miss Medway's lover! I shall burst if I stay [Aside.
Lord M. Louisa, Sir Anthony, is her christian name, which you are at liberty to use with as much familiar tenderness as you please.
Sir A. Bran. My lord, I have a most lively sense of the very great honour your lordship does me ; and I can assure you my heart, [Sig/w.] if I can with certainty venture to pronounce about any thing which is in its own nature so uncertain——
Lady Flut. Oh, now he has got into his parenthesis [Aside.
Sir A. Bran. My heart, I say, is endeavouring to reassume that liberty, of which it has so long been deprived, for no other purpose, than that of offering itself a willing captive again to the fair Louisa's charms.
Lady Flut. Very well, uncle; I see this visit was not all intended for me; I find you have something to say to my lord, so I won't interrupt you.
Sir A. Bran. No, no, no, niece Flutter; upon my reputation, this visit was meant wholly for you, as I could not possibly divine that I should have found his lordship with you; to whom I intended to have paid my respects separately and apart.
Lord M. Lady Flutter! I ask a thousand pardons— We turn you out of your apartment—Sir Anthony will you do me the favour to step into my study?
Lady Flut. No, no, indeed you sha'n't stir! I'll go and see what the ladies are doing; I fancy they think I am lost. [Exit Lady Flutter.
Lord M. Sir Anthony, I assure you I should think myself very happy in an alliance with a gentleman of your worth.
Sir A. Bran. My lord, you do me honour.
Lord M. I have mentioned you to my daughter
Sir B. Bran. Mentioned me, my lord!
Lord M. Wouldn't you have had it so, Sir Anthony?
Sir A. Bran. My lord, the profound respect I have for your lordship, makes me unwilling to animadvert on such proceedings, as you in your wisdom (which I take to be very great) have thought expedient; but I am a man, my lord, who love method.
Lord M. Sir Anthony, I imagined it would have been agreeable to you, or it should have been very far .
Sir A. Bran. Conceive me right, Lord Med way; 'tis perfectly agreeable to me, and consonant to my wishes, to be looked on with a favourable eye by the virtuous young lady your daughter; but, my lord, to tell you sincerely (and sincerity, my lord, I hold to be a virtue), my heart is at present in a fluctuating state.
Lord M. I am sorry then, sir, that the thing has been mentioned at all. I understood you were determined. What can the blockhead mean? [Aside.
Sir A. Bran. Good, my lord, your patience: I am determined! that is to say, my will is determined; but the will and the heart, your lordship knows, are two very different things.
Lord M. Sir Anthony, I should be glad we understood each other at once. I apprehend Mrs. Knightly's ill usage of you, had made you give up all thoughts of her; and as you seemed determined to marry, and declared yourself an admirer of my daughter, who, I must say, (the article of fortune excepted) is, I think, as unobjectionable a wife as you could choose.
Sir A. Bran. Undoubtedly, my lord
Lord M. I was willing to give my consent, and thought you appeared as ready to embrace it.
Sir A. Bran. True, my lord; and so I do still, most cordially.
Lord M. Why then, sir, what is your determination? for a young woman of family and reputation must not be trifled with.
Sir A. Bran. My lord, I believe trifling is a fault which was never yet attributed to Sir Anthony Bran
ville My lord, I am above the imputation—and
your lordship would do well to remember, that I have the misfortune to be of a warm, not to say of an impetuous disposition.