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Enter Blandish, out of breath. Bland. The duel's over.
Sir C. And the parties unhurt—You are too late in your intelligence by some minutes. But I know you must rejoice, [ ronically.] from your attachment to all parties.—Miss Alscrip, your very
Miss Als. Duel!—Pray let us hear the particulars— as there is no mischief, I shall not faint. [Ironically.
Sir C. I guess it has been of the common-place kind. —Hats over the brows—glum silence—thrust—parry—
and riposte Explain and shake hands: your man of
honour never sets his friend right, till he has exchanged a shot—or a thrust: oh, a little steel recipe is a morning whet to the temper: it carries off all qualms, and leaves the digestion free for any thing that is presented to it.
Miss Als. Dear, how fortunate! Considering the pills some folks have to swallow.
Sir C. Blandish, see if the door of Clifford's room is yet unlocked, there is a person within you little expect to find, and whom it may be proper for this lady and me to interrogate together: [The door opens, and
Enter Lady Emily.
Bland. Lady Emily!
Sir C. Inexplicable, with a vengeance.
Miss Als. [Aside.] Lady Emily, shut up in Clifford's apartment! Beyond my expectation, indeed.
[With a malicious air.—Lady Emily seems pleased.
Sir C. [Dryly.] Lady Emily, I know you were always cautious whom you visited, and never gave a better proof of your discernment.
Lady E. Never. Oh ! my poor dear uncle, you little think what is going to befal you.
Sir C. Not a disappointment in love, I hope.
Lady E. No, but in something much nearer your heart—your system is threatened with a blow, that I think, and from my soul I hope, it never will recover: would you guess that the sagacious observations of your whole life are upon the point of being confounded by
Sir C. Of what?
Lady E. A woman of ingenuous discretion, and a man of unaffected integrity. Sir C. Hah!
Mrs. Bland, What can she mean?
Miss Als. Nothing good—she looks so pleasant.
Lady E. Come forth, my injured friend. Our personal acquaintance has been short, but our hearts were intimate from the first sight. [Presenting her.] Your prisoner, sir, is Miss Harriet Clifford.
Sir C. Clifford's sister!
Miss Als. What, the run-away Alton turned into a sprig of quality!
Lady E. [Disdainfully to Miss Alscrip.] The humble dependent of Alscrip house—the wanton—The paragon of fraud—the only female that can equal Clifford. [Tauntingly to Sir Clement.] She is indeed!
[ With entphasis and affection.
Bland. [Aside.] Oh, rot the source of the family fondness—I see I have no card left in my favour—but the heiress.
[Goes to her and pays court.—During this conversation, aside, Ladyemilv seems encouraging Miss Clifford.—Sir Clement musing, and by turns examining her. Sir C. [To himself'.] "Ingenuous discretion!"
Enter Clifford, and runs to his sister.
Cliff. My dearest Harriet! the joy I purposed in presenting you here, is anticipated: but, my blameless fugitive! when your story is known, my pride in you will not be a wonder.—Miss Clifford, behold your persecutor and your convert.
Enter Lord Gayville.
Lord G. [With rapture.] Her persecutor and her convert. Her virtues, which no humility could conceal, and every trial made more resplendent, discovered, disgraced, and reclaimed a libertine.
Miss Cliff. How am I distressed !—What ought I to answer?
Lord G. Impressed sentiment upon desire, gave honour to passion, and drew from my soul a vow, which heaven chastise me when I violate, to obtain her by a legal, sacred claim, or renounce fortune, family, and friends, and become a self-devoted outcast of the world.
Miss Cliff. Oh! brother, interpose.
Sir C. My lord, your fortune, family, and friends, are
much obliged to you. Your part is perfect. Mr.
Clifford, you are called upon. Miss, in strict propriety, throws the business upon her relations.—Come, finish the comedy, join one of her hands to the gallant's, while, with the other, she covers her blushes; and he, in rapture, delivers the moral—All for Love, or the World well lost. [Miss Clifford still appears agitated.
Cliff. Be patient, my Harriet, this is the school for prejudice, and the lesson of its shame is near.
Miss Als. I vow these singular circumstances give me quite a confusion of pleasure. The astonishing good fortune of my late protegee, in finding so impassioned a friendship in her brother's bed-chamber; the captivating eloquence of Lord Gayville, in winding up an eclaircissement which I admire—not for the first time— to-day—and the superlative joy Sir Clement must feel at an union, founded upon the purity of the passions,— are subjects of such different congratulation, that I hardly know where to begin.
Lady E. [Aside.'] Charming! her insolence will justify what so seldom occurs to one—a severe retort, without a possible sense of compunction.
Miss Als. But in point of fortune—don't imagine. Sir Clement, I would insinuate that the lady is destitute—oh lord, far from it. Her musical talents are a portion
Alscrip and Rightly without. Alscrip. Why, stop a moment'
Sir C. What have we here—the lawyers in dispute t Alscrip. [Entering.] You have not heard my last word yet.
Rightly. [Entering.] You have heard mine, sir. Alscrip. [Whispering.] I'll make the five thousand I offered, ten.
Rightly. Millions would not bribe me—[Comingforward.] When I detect wrong, and vindicate the sufferer, I feel the spirit of the law of England, and the pride of a practitioner.
Alscrip. Lucifer confound such practices!
[In this part of the scene, Sir Clement, Lord Gayville, Lady Emily, Clifford, and Miss Clifford, form one group.—Rightly opens a deed, and points out a part of it to Sir CleMent.—Mr. and Miss Alscrip carry on the following speeches on the side at which Alscrip has entered; and Mr. and Mrs. Blandish are further back, observing.]
Alscrip. That cursed, cursed flaw!
Miss Als. Flaw! who has dared to talk of one? Not in my reputation, sir?
Alscrip. No, but in my estate; which is a d ned
Miss Als. How? what? when? where ?—The estate that was to be settled upon me?
Alscrip. Yes, but that me turned topsy-turvy
when me broke into my room this morning, and the devil followed, to fly away with all my faculties at once.
VOl. IV.' I
—I am ruined—Let us see what you will settle upon your poor father.
Miss Als. I settle upon you?
Mrs. Bland. This is an embarrassing accident.
Miss Als. Yes, and a pretty help you are, with a drop chin, like a frontispiece to the Lamentations.
Rightly. [Co7ning forward with Sir Clement.] I stated this with some doubt this morning, but now my credit as a lawyer upon the issue.—The heiress falls short of the terms in your treaty by two thousand pounds a year—which this deed, lately and providentially discovered, entails upon the heirs of Sir William Charlton, and consequently, in right of his mother, upon thi» gentleman.
Lady E. How?
Lord G. Happy disappointment.
Sir C. [Aside.'] Two thousand a year to Clifford !— It's a pity, for the parade of disinterestedness, that he opened his designs upon Emily, before he knew his pretensions.
Lady E. [Aside.] Now, if there were twenty ceilings, and as many floors, could not I find a spot to settle my silly looks upon.
[Sm Clement observes her with his usual slyness.
Sir C. [Turning towards Alscrip.] Palm a false title upon me! I should have thought the attempt beyond the collective assurance of Westminster-hall—and he takes the loss as much to heart as if he bought the estate with his own money.
Alscrip. [With hesitation.] Sir Clement—what think you—of an amicable adjustment of all these businesses f
SirC. [Ironically.] Nothing can be more reasonable. The value of Miss Alscrip's amiable disposition, placed against the abatement of her fortune, is a matter of the most easy computation; and to decide the portion, Mr. Clifford ought to relinquish of his acquisition—Lady Emily—will you be a referee?