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CROAKER. And so your good humour advises me to part with my money? Why then, to tell your good humour a piece of my mind, I'd sooner
wife. Here's Mr. Honeywood, see what he'll say to it. My dear Honeywood, look at this incendiary letter dropped at my door. It will freeze you with terror; and yet lovey here can read it can read it, and laugh.
CROAKER. If he does, I'll suffer to be hanged the next minute in the rogue's place, that's all.
Mrs. CROAKER. Speak, Mr. Honeywood; is there any thing more foolish than my husband's fright upon this occafion ?
HoneyWood. It would not become me to decide, madam; but doubtless, the greatness of his terrors, now, will but invite them to renew their villainy another time.
CROAKER. How, Sir! do you maintain that I should lie down under such an injury, and thew, neither by my tears, or complaints, that I have something of the spirit of a man in me?
HONEYwood. Pardon me, Sir. You ought to make the loudest complaints, if you desire redress. The surest way to have redress, is to be earnest in the pursuit of it.
Mrs. CROAKER. But don't you think that laughing off our fears is the best way!
Honeywood. What is the best, madam, few can say? but I'll maintain it to be a very wise way.
CROAKER. But we're talking of the best. Surely the best way is to face the enemy in the field, and not wait till he plunders us in our very bed-chamber.
HONEYWOOD. Why, Sir, as to the best, that-that's a very wise
Mrs. CROAKER, But can any thing be more absurd, than to double our diftreffes by our apprehensions, and put it in the power of every low fellow, that can scrawl ten words of wretched spelling, to torment us?
HONEYWOOD. Without doubt, nothing more absurd.
CROAKER. How! would it not be more absurd to despise the rattle till we are bit by the snake ?
HONEYWOOD. Heavens forbid, madam! No, sure, no reasoning can be more just than yours. We ought certainly to despise malice if we cannot oppose it, and not make the incendiary's pen as fatal to our repose as the highwayman's pistol.
CROAKER. A plague of plagues, we can't be both right. ought to be forry, or I ought to be glad. My hat must be on my head, or my hat must be off.
Mrs. CROAKER. Certainly, in two opposite opinions, if one be perfectly reasonable, the other can't be perfectly right.
HONEYWOOD. And why may not both be right, madam ? Mr. Croaker in earnestly seeking redress, and you in waiting the event with good humour ? Pray let me VOL. II. H
see the letter again. I have it. This letter requires twenty guineas to be left at the bar of the Talbot inn. If it be indeed an incendiary letter, what if you and I, Sir, go there; and, when the writer comes to be paid his expected booty, seize him ?
CROAKER. My dear friend, it's the very thing; the very thing. While I walk by the door, you shall plant yourfelf in ambush near the bar; burst out upon the miscreant like a masqued battery ; extort a confeffion at once, and so hang him up by surprise.
HoneyWOOD. Yes; but I would not chuse to exercise too much severity. It is my maxim, Sir, that crimes generally punish themselves.
CROAKER. Well, but we may upbraid him a little, I fuppose?
[Ironically. Honeywood. Aye, but not punish him too rigidly.
CROAKER. Well, well, leave that to my own benevolence.
HONEYWOOD. Well, I do: but remember that universal benevolence is the first law of nature.
[Exeunt Honeywood and Mrs. Croaker.
CROAKER. Yes; and my universal benevolence will hang the dog, if he had as many necks as a hydra.
A CT THE
Scene, an Inn.
Enter OLIVIA, JARVIS.
OLIVIA. Well, we have got safe to the Inn, however. Now, if the post-chaise were ready
JARVIS. The horses are just finishing their oats ; and, as they are not going to be married, they choose to take their own time.
OLIVIA, You are for ever giving wrong motives to my impatience.
JARVIS. Be as impatient as you will, the horses must take their own time; besides, you don't consider, we have got no answer from our fellow-traveller yet. If we hear nothing from Mr. Leontine, we have only one way left us.