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ACT IV.

Scene I.A Study.

Enter Lord Medway alone, reading. Lord M. There's nothing good or ill but by comparison—Confound your dry maxims, what are they good for? [He throws away the book.'] Yet there is some truth in that too.—Yesterday I thought myself an unhappy man—but what am I this morning? So much worse, that when I compare the two conditions, I now think I was happy yesterday—All is now lost; and if my son continues obstinately to refuse this match, I am irretrievably undone.

Enter Colonel Medwav. Col. M. I met Sir Anthony just going to my sister, my lord; I suppose matters are in a favourable train between them.

. Lord M. He is such an out-of-the-way fellow, there is no knowing what to make of him; he has been with me, and quite tired me with his romantic absurdity; but I think it will be a match. Your sister has at last condescended to accept of him for a husband.

Col. M. I am glad of it, my lord, since it is a thing you wished.

Lord M. I thank you, son.

Col. M. Something has ruffled you, my lord.

Lord M. I have an affair, George, that lies heavy on my spirits—'Tis in your power, and I think—I hope, at least—in your inclination, to extricate me from the greatest difficulty in which I was ever yet involved.

Col. M. My lord, you know you may command me; I am ready to hazard my life for your service, if it be any thing of that nature.

Lord M. No, no, no; lam not so old, Medway, as

to require the assistance of your sword. You mistake

my meaning quite.

Col. M. You seem moved, my lord—[loud Medway walks about.'] pray explain yourself.

Lord M. Faith, son, I am almost ashamed to tell you the distress I have brought both upon myself and you.

Col. M. Dear, my lord, don't think of me in the case.

Lord M. Last night, George, I lost two thousand pounds, which I was obliged to pay this morning, and my honour is engaged for almost as much more.

Col. M. My lord, I thought you had determined never to venture on such deep play again.

Lord M. I had so; but something happened yesterday that vexed and disconcerted me, and I went to the old set, just to amuse myself for an hour; but I

don't know how it was they drew me in for half

the night.

Col. M. My lord, I am exceedingly concerned; but -what can I do now?

Lord M. Why there's the point—I am very loth to revive a subject, that I know is disagreeable to you; but you see to what distress I am driven—there is but one way left.—You remember what we talked of yesterday; if tny curst ill fortune had not pursued me last night, I thought never to have mentioned it to you again.

Col. M. My lord, I flattered myself you never would.

Lord M. I thought I should not have occasion. I had another thing in view; but this last blow has crushed all my hopes at once.

Col. M. Is it not practicable, my lord, to devise some other way? t

Lord M. Oh, impossible! I am overwhelmed with debts, and worried like a stag at bay j but with regard to this last, for which my honour's pawned, I must be speedy in the means of payment.

Col. M. Indeed, my lord, I am exceedingly shocked at what you tell me.

Lord M. And is that all I am to expect from you? Lookye, Medway, it does not become a father to entreat a son; neither is it suitable to your age, or the character you bear in life, to be threatened, like a sniveling girl, with parental authority; mine is impotent, for I have nothing left to bestow; but as you would wish to prosper hereafter, save your father from disgrace, your mother {a good one she has been to you) from penury.

Col. M. My lord, I call heaven to witness I would give up my life to preserve you both; but you require what is infinitely more precious t

Lord M. Oh, fie! fie upon it! how like a woman this is!—Your sister, a romantic girl, could do no more than soothe me with fine speeches; I expected a more substantial proof of filial love from you.

Col. M. My lord, you wound me deeply by such a cruel charge. What have I not already done to show my duty, or, what with me was much stronger, my love for you, my lord? Have I not given up my birth right? put it wholly in your power to alienate for ever, if you please, my family inheritance, and leave me a beggar? Is not this a substantial proof? My lord, I beg your pardon; but you have wrung my very heart.

Lord M. And you have wrung mine—for, Medway, with equal grief and shame I speak it, I have made you a beggar; I have mortgaged the last foot of land I was possessed of in the'world, and the only prospect I had of redeeming it was by this lady's fortune; that would have recovered all, and restored you to the estate of your ancestors. I thought a boyish passion might have been overcome, when such important motives for it were united, as your own interest, and the honour of your family.

Col. M. As for my own interest, my lord, it is but a feather in the scale; and for the rest, I think my own honour (which you yourself taught me to prize) is more concerned in this event, than that of my family can possibly be.

Lord M. You told me you were not engaged by promise to the lady.

Col. M. I am not, my lord; but are there no ties but what the law can vindicate? Oh, my lord, you forget the lessons you have given me on other occasions!

Lord M. Well, well—I acknowledge the justness of your reproach; but it comes like a bearded arrow from a child's lips—But I have done—I give up the cause— Had this affair, on which I had set my heart, succeeded, I should perhaps have been happier than I desire to be.

I had this morning been laying down a plan

but no matter, it is all over—I am sorry your mother should be a sufferer with me—I have not been the kindest husband—but I did intend, after I had seen you and my daughter settled, to have retired into the country on a moderate annuity; and there, Medvvay, I might perhaps have led a very different life from what you have been used to see; but I must struggle with ill-fortune as well as I can—You have been a worthy son, I acknowledge it—You have done enough—You shall not charge me with making you miserable for hfe.

Col. M. Oh, my lord, I wish you had kept up your resentment; I cannot bear to hear you talk in this strain.

Lord M. Why not, man? 'tis nothing but the truth. Col. M. My lord, I would do any thing to prevent-^—

Lord M. What? Speak, George.
Col. M. I cann't, my lord.

Lord M. A father's ruin, you would say—I know the

tenderness of your nature, Medway, and therefore I will not urge you; your father is not such a tyrant; \ have always considered you as my friend.

Col. M. My lord, to deserve that title still, I must not see you unhappy. I'll give up all—even my love, to save you.

Lord M. You cannot mean it, sure!

Col. M. I'll do as you would have me.

LordM. What! marry Mrs. Knightly?

Col. M. I will, my lord.

Lord M. Give me your hand—Oh, George, what a triumph is yours!—You make me ashamed.

[Breaks aicay.

Col. M. My lord, since your affairs are urgent, I will not trust to the wavering of my own heart; I will visit her this morning; but it will be proper first to apprise poor Miss Richly of this sudden change.

Lord .).'. By all means; but take my advice, Medway, and do not trust yourself to see her. Write what you have to say, for sighs and tears are infectious things. But all, I hope, will soon blow over; and when you are married, you may then have it in your power to make her amends for the fortune she has lost.

Col. M. Oh, my lord, you little know the heart of Clara, it is not in the power of riches to heal a wounded mind! But I must not trust myself to think upon the subject; I'll write to her whilst my resolution's warm: If she lives and can forget me, 'tis all I dare to hope.

[Exit.

Lord M. Worthy creature! it almost goes against me to let him complete this match. Yet what other resource have I left? I hope this lady may make him happier than he expects—But I must haste and write to her directly, to request that as a favour, which I am ^ure she will think her greatest happiness. [Exit,

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