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obliged to leave you in the magic circle of Mrs. Knightly's charms: I wish you joy of your escape.

Sir A. Bran. My lord, I humbly thank you; 'tis a felicity to me, I acknowledge :> for, my lord, there never was such a Syren, such a Circe!—Sylla and Charybdis (of whom we read in fable) were harmless innocents to her !—But, heaven be praised! I am my own man

again. And now, my lord, I am come, agreeably

to the intimation I gave you before, to make a moat respectful offering of my heart to the truly deserving and fair lady, Louisa.

Lord M. Sir Anthony, I have already told you I shall 'be proud of your alliance; and my daughter, I make no doubt, is sensible of your worth!—Therefore, Sir

Anthony, the shorter we make the wooing women

are slippery things—you understand me?

Sir A. Bran. Your lordship's insinuation, though derogatory to the honour of the fair sex (which I very greatly reverence), has, I am apprehensive, a little too much veracity in it. J have found it so to my cost:— for, would you believe it, my lord, this cruel woman {Mrs. Knightly, I mean, begging her pardon for the epithet) is the eighth lady to whom I have made sincere, humble, and passionate love, within the space of these last thirteen years.

Lord M. Your lot has been a little hard, I must confess. I hope, however, that honour has been reserved by fate for my daughter. She is your ninth mistress, Sir Anthony, and that, you know, is a propitious number.

Sir A. Bran. My lord, I take the liberty of hoping so too; and that she is destined to recompense me for the disappointments and indignities I have received from the rest of womankind.

Lord M. Why then, Sir Anthony, I suppose I may now present you to her in the character of a lover?

Sir A. Bran. My lord, I pant for that happiness.

Lord M. I'll call her, Sir Anthony

Sir A. Bran. As your lordship pleases But, my

lord, this Widow Knightfy

Lord M. Was there ever such a phlegmatic blockhead! [Aside ]—What of her, Sir Anthony?

Sir A. Bran. I own I loved her better than any of her predecessors in my heart.—Matters indeed had gone further between us; for, my lord (not to injure

a lady's reputation), I must tell you a secret I have

more than once pressed her hand with these lips.

LordM. Really!

Sir A. Bran. Fact, upon my veracity: I hope your lordship don't think me vain.

Lord M. By no means, Sir Anthony; but then her ill behaviour to you

Sir A. Bran. Oh, my lord, it has blotted, and, as I may say, totally erased her image from my breast

Lord M. Well, sir, I'll bring my daughter to you, whose image, I hope, will supply hers in your breast.


Sir A. Bran. I hope this tender fair one will not be too easily won—that would debase the dignity of the passion, and deprive me of many delightful hours of languishment.—There was a time when a lover was allowed the pleasure of importuning his mistress, but our modern beauties will scarce permit a man that satisfaction. Pray heaven! my intended bride may not be one of those—If it should prove so, I tremble for the consequences; but here she comes—the condescending nymph approaches.

Enter Louisa, led in by Lord Medwat.

LordM. Louisa, you are no stranger to Sir Anthony Branville's merit.

Sir A. Bran. Oh, my lord! [Bowing Jots.

Lord M. That he is a gentleman of family and fortune, of most unblemished honour, and very uncommon endowments.

Sir A. Bran. Oh, my good lord, ordinary, slight accomplishments,

Lord M. You are therefore to think yourself happy in being his choice preferably to any other lady. And now, Sir Anthony, I'll leave you to pursue your good fortune.' [Exit Lord Medway.

Louisa. Sir, won't you please to sit?

Sir A. Bran. Miss Medway, madam—having obtained my lord your father's permission, I humbly presume to approach you, in the delightful hope, that, after having convinced you of the excess of my love

Louisa. I hope, Sir Anthony, you will allow me a reasonable time for this conviction?

Sir A. Bran. Madam, I should hold myself utterly abandoned if I were capable at the first onset (notwithstanding what passes here) of urging a lady on so nice a poiut

Louisa. I thank you, sir; but I could expect no less from a gentleman whom all the world allows to be the .very pattern of decorum.

Sir A. Bran. 'Tis a character, madam, that I have always been ambitious of supporting, whatever struggles it may cost me from my natural fervor; for let me tell you, madam, a beautiful object is a dangerous enemy to decorum.

Louisa. But your great prudence, Sir Anthony, leaves me no room to suspect

Sir A. Bran. I am obliged to call it to my aid, I do assure you, madam; for, spite of the suggestions of passion, I by no means approve of those rash and impetuous lovers, who, without regard to the delicacy of the lady, would (having obtained consent) as it. were rush at once into her arms—You'll pardon me, madam, for so grossly expressing my idea.

VOl. IV. x


Louisa. Oh, Sir Anthony, I am charmed with your notions, so refined ! so generous! and I must add (though it may appear vain) so correspondent with my own.

Sir A. Bran. Madam, I am transported to hear you say so! I am at this minute in an absolute ecstasy! Will you permit me, dear madam, the ravishing satisfaction of throwing mysell at your feet?

Louisa. By no means, Sir Anthony; I could not bear to see a gentleman of your dignity in so humble a posture; I will suppose it done if you please.

Sir A. Bran. I prostrate myself in imagination, I assure you, madam.

Louisa. Now, Sir Anthony, as you see my papa is impatient for the honour of being related to you, and that I am bound to an implicit obedience, I am afraid, unless your prudence interposes, that we shall both be hurried into wedlock, with a precipitancy very inconsistent with propriety.

Sir A. Bran. I declare, madam, I am of your ladyship's opinion, and am almost apprehensive of the same .thing

Louisa. How is this to be avoided, sir?

Sir A. Bran. Be assured, madam, I too well know what is due to virgin modesty, to proceed with that rapidity, which my lord (with whom I have not the honour of agreeing in this particular) seemeth to recommend.

Louisa. That's very noble in you, Sir Anthony

So passionate i and yet so nice—if all lovers were but like you!

Sir A. Bran. The world, I will presume to say, would be the better, madam—but then I hope your rigours will not extend too far, my dear lady—a few months or so—longer than that I should be very near tempted to call cruel, I can tell you.

Louisa. As my passionate lover seems so'well disposed to wait, I may chance to escape him. [Aside.] Your extraordinary merit, Sir Anthony, will undoubtedly shorten your time of probation—Meanwhile as I hinted to you before, that my papa is rather in haste to call you son, I would not have him imagine that I give any delay to this anion. He may call my duty in question, which he expects should keep pace with his 9wn wishes—you apprehend me, sir?

Sir A. Bran. Oh, madam, I shall convince my lord, that it is from very sublime motives I submit to postpone my felicity.

Louisa. I am much obliged to you, Sir Anthony, for this generous proof of your passionate regard to me.

Sir A. Bran. You'll find, madam, I do not love at the ordinary rate—but I must not indulge myself too long on the tender subject. 1 doubt it is not safe.

Louisa. [Rising.] Sir, I won't detain you.

Sir A. Bran. I most absolutely tear myself from you, madam, for gazing on so many charms I may grow unmindful of the danger.

Louisa. Sir, I will no longer trespass on your time.

Sir A. Bran. I must fly, madam, lest I should be tempted to transgress those rigid bounds I have pre* scribed to myself. .

Louisa. Sir, you have my consent to retire.

Sir A. Bran. I am so overpowered with transport, madam, that I hold it necessary to withdraw.

Louisa. 'Tis the best way, sir.

Sir A. Bran. Dear madam, vouchsafe one gracious smile to your adorer.

Louisa. Sir Anthony, your humble servant.

[Smiles and curtsies.

Sir A. Bran. Madam, your most devoted—oh, dawning of ecstatic bliss! [Exit.

Louisa. Ha, ha, ha! I think I may now go, and very safely assure my papa, that I am ready to take my adorer whenever he pleases—this is fortunate beyond hopes, [Exit,

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