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for the last time (pray observe that, madam, for the last time) to grant me the favour.
- [He advances, bowing low, shefiirts from him, and he catches hold of her Sleeve.
Mrs. Knight. Bless me! Why sure, Sir Anthony, you would not offer to kiss me!
Sir A. Bran. Oh, heavens, madam, kiss you! Madam, let me take the liberty to inform you, that since I could distinguish between virtue and vice, I never took so unwarrantable a freedom with any lady upon the face of the earth.
Enter Lady Flutter.
Lady Flut. My goodness! what's all this about ? Mrs. Knightly, my dear, what's the matter?
Mrs. Knight. I protest, my dear, your uncle is so very amorous, that it is not safe to stay alone with him.
Sir A. Bran. Madam, madam, I blush for you; humbly asking your pardon for being so free as to say so.
Mrs. Knight. Blush for yourself, Sir Anthony, you have most cause.
Lady Flut. What, in the name of wonder, is all this about?
Mrs. Knight. Oh, Lady Flutter, I am ashamed to tell you his behaviour!
Lady Flut. My uncle's behaviour, madam!
Sir A. Bran. Madam, I hope my niece Flutter has too good an opinion of the propriety of my conduct, upon all occasions, to be prejudiced by your uncharitable insinuations. And now, madam, I demand, in the presence of my niece aforesaid, that you will give me a full and formal acquittal of all my vows and promises to you.
Lady Flut. That I dare say. [Aside.] Well, I cannot for my life understand all this,
Mrs. Knight. Oh, he's a rebel in his heart, that's plain, and only wants a pretence to forfeit his allegiance; but I won't give him that satisfaction.
Sir A. Bran. Then, madam, since you urge me to it, in one word, I here cancel all my vows
Mrs. Knight. It is not in your power.
Sir A. Bran. Renounce your empire, madam
Mrs. Knight. I defy you.
Sir A. Bran. And utterly disclaim your favour.
Mrs. Knight. Stubborn traitor!
Sir A. Bran. And now, madam, I will withdraw my person and my heart
Mrs. Knight. Not your heart, Sir Anthony!
Sir A. Bran. Both, both, madam, I do aver it to you; and will make an offering of them where they will be more honourably, and more gratefully entertained. And so, madam, I am, with proper respect, your most obedient (though rejected) humble servant. Niece Flutter, I have the pleasure of wishing you a very good evening.
[Exit Sir Anthony, bowing, both ladies burst out a laughing.
Mrs. Knight. [Imitating his manner, looking after him, and curtsying very low.] And I return you my very unfeigned acknowledgments for ridding me of your most insipid solemnity, my dear Sir Anthony. Ha, ha, ha, poor soul! to whom is he going to offer his Platonic adorations, do you know, my dear?
Lady Flut. Why, by what I gathered just now from the conversation between my lord and him (for it was a secret to me before) I find Miss Medway is likely to supplant you.
Mrs. Knight. Supplant me, my dear creature! why, sure you cannot suppose I had ever any serious thoughts of the poor man; humbly begging your pardon, as he says, for taking such a liberty with your uncle.
Lady Flut. I should wonder if you had, I own ; I am sure nothing but his fortune could have made my lord think of him for a son-in-law.
Mrs. Knight. Does Miss Medway approve of the thing? she is a sober sort of a girl, I think.
Lady Flut. Oh, intolerably so; I hardly ever converse with her, though under the same roof. She is for ever poring over a book or a needle.——Yet I don't suppose she likes him either; I have heard it whispered that she loves my cousin Branville, who, I hear, is expected home every hour.
Mrs. Knight. If I thought so, I would keep Sir Anthony dangling this twelvemonth, out of mere compassion to the poor girl. For, notwithstanding his threats, I know he is still devoted to me.
Lady Flut. But how would that square with your views in regard to Colonel Medway?
Mrs. Knight. Oh, my sweet friend, that question has made me serious all at once. I can laugh at Sir Anthony no more; indeed I have not lately had spirits enough to be diverted with him, and, for that reason, tried to shake him off. I don't know what to think of the colonel. I came here this evening on purpose to consult you. My lord, who, I perceive, is a man of the world, and full of design, dropped some hints to me about his son, by which I find the thing would at least be very agreeable to him; yet the colonel has not been near me since. I wish I knew his sentiments.
Lady Flut. I am sure I cannot inform you. There is none of the family very communicative, but my lord; he is the best of them, that is certain.
Enter Sm Harry Flutter.
Sir H. Flut. Ha, Mrs. Knightly! my adorable! I kiss your hands.
Mrs. Knight. Oh, Sir Harry, you have missed such an entertainment! Here has been Sir Anthony
Sir H. Flut. Well, and what did uncle parenthesis say to you?
Mrs. Knight. Oh, he has abandoned me I am
doomed to wear the willow garland.
Sir H. Flut. Oh, you cruel devil, you—'tis you who have abandoned him, I dare say. What, Lady Flutter! I am amazed to find you here; I thought you had abandoned me, as Mrs. Knightly says, and that by this time you had taken post for Oxfordshire, in order to tell papa, that Sir Harry was such a naughty boy, he would not give it its way in every thing.—Mrs. Knightly, when I went out this evening, she was going to elope, absolutely bent upon running away from her husband.
Lady Flut. And you see, ma'am, the return he makes me for my good nature in not doing so. I think, Sir Harry, after the provocation I received from you, - if I changed my mind, you ought to be very much obliged to me.
Sir H. Flut. My dear, if the changing your mind be an obligation, I own my obligations to you on that score are innumerable.
Lady Flut. I suppose you think that witty, now.
Mrs. Knight. Pray, pray, good people, am I to be left out of the conversation?
Sir H. Flut. Oh, ma'am, my Lady Flutter is so extremely quick in her repartees, that you will find it very hard to put in a word, I assure you.
Lady Flut. And Sir Harry is so immoderately fond of hearing himself talk, that he does not desire either of us to give him any interruption, I assure you.
Sir H. Flut. Not your ladyship, I acknowledge.
Mrs. Knight. Well, I vow, Sir Harry, if you were my husband, I should hate you, for all you are such a handsome toad.
Sir H. Flut. Indeed you would not.
Mrs. Knight. Indeed I should.
YOl. IV. T
Sir H. Flut. Go, you little hypocrite——
Mrs. Knight. Get you gone, you rattlepate, I don't
mind what you say. Come, Lady Flutter, will you
go with me to the opera, my dear?
Lady Flut. With all my heart. Any where, rather than stay at home.
Sir H. Flut. You see, ma'am, what a happy man I am in domestic felicity! But here, Lady Flutter, yon must give me leave to interpose a little of my lawful authority; and therefore I desire, if it be not too great an honour, that you will oblige me with your company at home this evening.
Lady Flut. Indeed I sha'nt, Sir Harry.
Sir H. Flut. Then, ma'am, I say, indeed you shall.
Mrs. Knight. Bless me, Sir Harry, you a'n't serious, sure! I am vastly sorry I proposed the thing at all. I won't go the opera, for my part—I'll stay and chat with you, if you will give me leave—or—suppose we had a pool at piquet.
'Sir H. Flut. By no means, ma'am. Why should you deprive yourself of your entertainment for her childishness?—I'll attend you to the opera myself.
Mrs. Knight. Indeed you sha'n't, for I won't go. Sir if. Flut. Indeed you shall, and I'll go with you. Mrs. Knight. I vow you shall neither of you go, and so good bye to you. [Buns out.
Lady Flut. So, Sir Harry, you have exposed yourself prettily!
Sir H. Flut. Not in the least, my dear; I have only shown you to advantage.
Lady Flut. It is well one of us has a little discretion.
Sir if. Flut. Meaning your wise self, I presume; but, to show you that I have a small share too, I will enter into no further disputes with you; but, leaving you to your agreeable contemplations, follow my charming Mrs. Knightly to the op«ra, who, I fancy, will prefer my company to your ladyship's. \Exit.