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Cliff. [Aside.] Astonishing! Have I hit upon the moment when her fancy outruns her art! But are you really the young lady, that's admitted into this family as companion to Miss Alscrip?
Tiff. Sir, if you mean the young lady, who, however undeservingly, is flatteringly called the flower of this family—who sometimes extracts notice from these windows; and, to be sure, has been followed home by gentlemen against her inclinations—sir, you are not mistaken.
Cliff. [Aside.] Sure it has been Gayville's madness or amusement, then, to describe her by contraries.
Tiff. I hope, sir, you are not offended? I would not be impertinent, though I am not so tasteless as to be shy.
Cliff. Offended, my dear? I am quite charmed, I assure you. And so, without further shyness on either part, let us be free upon the subject I had to talk over with you. You surely are not looking to lasting connections?
Tiff. [With airs.] Sir, I don't understand you—I am not what you suppose, I assure you—Connections, indeed! I should never have thought of that—my character—my behaviour: connections—I don't know what the word signifies.
Sir C. [Without.] Clifford—are you ready?
Cliff. I am at your orders, sir.
Tiff. [Aside.] Deuce take this interruption!
Sir C. [Without.] I shall not wait for Mr. Alscrip any longer.
Tiff. [Aside.] Lud, lud, he gives me no time to come round again. [Runs up to him confusedlj/.] It's very true, sir, I would not do such a thing for the world; but you are a man of honour, and I am sure would not give bad advice to a poor girl who is but a novice—and so, sir, [Hears Sir Clement entering.] put your proposal in writing, and you may depend on having an answer.
[Runs out. Enter Sir Clement.
Sir C. Well, Clifford, what do you think of her?
Cliff. Make yourself perfectly easy, sir: this girl, when known, can make no impression on Lord Gay. ville's mind; and I doubt not but a silk gown and a lottery ticket, had they been offered as an ultimatum, would have purchased her person.
Sir C. [With a dry sneer.] Don't you sometimes, Clifford, form erroneous opinions of people's pretensions? Interest and foolish passion inspire strange notions—as one or the other prevails, we are brought to look so low, or so high
Cliff. [With emotion.] That we are compelled to call
reason and honour to our aid
Sir C. And then
Cliff. We lose the intemperance of our inclinations in the sense of what is right.
Sir C. [Aside.] Sententious impostor!—[To him.] But to the point.
Cliff. Sir, I would please you if I could—I am thinking of a scheme to restore Lord Gayville to his senses, without violence or injury to any one of the parties.
Sir C. Let me hear it.
Cliff. Why, the wench being cut short of marketing by word of mouth, desired me to write proposals. I am inclined to do so. We will show the answer to Lord Gayville, and, depend upon it, there will be character enough displayed to cure him of the sentimental part of his attachment.
Sir C I like your idea—Sit down, and put it into
execution immediately * [clifford writes.] [To
himself.] He is quick at invention—"-has a pretty turn at profession—A proud and peremptory show of honour would overpower prejudices. Thank heaven, my opinions of knavery are convictions!
Cliff. [Writing.] I am sorry to detain you, sir.
Sir C. [Looking at the furniture.] Oh! I am amusing myself better than you think—Indulging an edifying contemplation among the tombs of departed estates— [Looking round the furniture, viz. closets, that show old writings, tied up; slielves with boxes, labelled mortgages, lease and release, SfcJ] W hat mouldered skins, that will never see day-light again, and that, with a good herald, would vie with Westminster Abbey in holiday entertainment. For instance, now, what have we here?— Hah! The last remains of Fatland Priory—Once o great monastic importance: a proverb of pride, sloth, and hypocrisy. After the Reformation, the seat of old English hospitality and benevolence—In the present century, altered, adorned, pulled down, and the materials sold by auction.
Cliff'. Edifying, indeed, sir; your comments are not lost.
Sir C. Here lie, undisturbed, in dust, the relics of Court Baron Castle, granted, at the Conquest, to the family of Loftiinount. The last of this ancient race, having won twenty-seven king's plates, and represented the county in six parliaments, after many struggles, died of the pistol fever. A disconsplate annuitant inscribed this box to his memory.—Well, Clifford, have you done?
Cliff. Yes, sir. [Reads, as if to himself.
You have captivated a young man of rank and fortune, but you are discovered, and his ruin and yours would be the consequence of pursuing any designs, that could impede his proposed marriage with 3'iss Alscrip.—Throw yourself upon the generosity of his family, and your fortune's made.—Send your artswer (and let it be immediate) to me, at Sir Clement Hint's house.
Yours, fyc. SfC
[clifford folds the letter.
Sir C. Our French friend is the man to deliver it, and to bring the answer. I am going home; you'll overtake me.
[Exit. Enter CHIGNON. Clif. [Sealing the letter.] You come apropos, monsieur. [Gides the letter with an air of mystery.] Have the goodness to put this letter into Miss Alton's own hands.
Chignon. (To himself.] Mademoiselle Alton! Peste ! My trick has not passed.
Cliff. To Miss Alton by herself-I am in all the secret.
Chignon. (To himself.] Devil take Tiffany, for making you so wise.
Cliff. And you serve your lady, when you serve me with Miss Alton-Monsieur, an answer as quick as possible-You will find me at Sir Clement Flints—it is only in the next street-and-you understand me[Shaking his purse.)-Alerte, monsieur.
(Exit. Chignon. Understand you !-Oui da! you talk de language universal. [Imitating his shaking the purse.] J'entre vois, I begin to see something-By gad, I vill give de letter, and try de inclination of Mademoiselle la Musicienne-if dis be de duette she vill play, it take her out of the vay of Alscrip, of Gayville, and of myself also—Voila le malheur--there-de misfortune-eh bień -When love and interest come across—alway prefer de interest for to-day, and take de chance of de love tomorrow_dat is de humour of France.
Scene II.-Sir Clement Flint's House.
Enter LORD GAYVILLE and Sir CLEMÉNT. Lord G. I am resolved to see Miss Alscrip no more.
Sir C. And I hope you are prepared with arguments to justify the cause of this breach, to me, and to the world.
Lord G. For my reconciliation with you, I hope your former partiality will return tom)7 aid; and as for the world, I despise it. The multitude look at happiness through the false glare of wealth and pomp: I have discovered it, though yet at a distance, through the only true medium, that of mutual affection.
Sir C. No common-place book, formed from a whole library of plays and novels, could furnish a better sentence. Your folly would shame a school-boy—even of the last age—In the present, he learns the world with his grammar, and gets a just notion of the worthlessness of the other sex, before he is of an age to be duped by their attractions.
Lord G. Sir, your prejudices——
Sir C. My prejudices?—will you appeal to Clifford r—here he comes—your friend—your other self.
Lord G. And will Clifford condemn the choice of the heart?
iliff. Never, my lord, when justly placed—In the case I perceive you are arguing, I am ready to blush for you—nay, don't look grave—I am acquainted with your enchantress.
Lord G. You acquainted with her?
Cliff. Yes ; and, if I don't deceive myself, shall make her break her own spell. I am in correspondence with her.
Lord G. You in correspondence with Miss Alton !— when? where? What am I to think of this?
(liff. My dear lord, that she is the most arrant coquette, the most accomplished jilt, the most ready trafficker of her charms
Lord G. Phrensy and profanation!
Sir C. Come, Gayville, I'll be plain with you; you have sillily let the girl raise her price upon you—but,