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money. But tell me, child, how does this intriguing with Sir John correspond with her partiality to Lovewell? I don't see a concatunation here.
Miss Sterl. There I. was deceived, madam. I took all their whisperings and stealings into corners to be the mere attraction of vulgar minds; but, behold! their private meetings were not to contrive their own insipid happiness, but to conspire against mine. But I know whence proceeds Mr. Lovewell's resentment to me. I could not stoop to be familiar with my father's clerk, and so I have lost his interest.
Mrs. Heidel. My spurit to a T.-My dear child ! [Kisses her. ]-Mr. Heidelberg lost his election for member of Parliament, because I would not demean myself to be slobbered about by drunken shoemakers, beastly cheesemongers, and tallow-chandlers. However, niece, I can't help diffuring a little in opinion from you in this matter. My experunce and sagucity makes me still suspect, that there is something more between her and that Lovewell, notwithstanding this affair of Sir John. I had my eye upon them the whole time of breakfast. Sir John, I observed, looked a little confounded, indeed, though I knew nothing of what had passed in the garden. You seemed to sit upon thorns too: but Fanny and Mr. Lovewell made quite another-guess sort of a figur; and were as perfect a pictur of two distsest lovers, as if it had been drawn by Raphael Angelo. As to Sir John and Fanny, I want a matter of fact.
Miss Sterl. Matter of fact, madam! Did not I come unexpectedly upon them? Was not Sir John kneeling at her feet, and kissing her hand? Did not he look all Jove, and she all confusion ? Is not that matter of fact? and did not Sir John, the moment that papa was called out of the room to the lawyer-men, get up from breakfast, and follow him immediately? And I warrant you that by this time he has made proposals to him to marry my sister Oh, that some other person, an earl, or a duke, would make his addresses to me, that I might be revenged on this monster!
Mrs. Heidel. Be cool, child ! you shall be Lady Melvil, in spite of all their caballins, if it costs me ten thousand pounds to turn the scale. Sir John may apply to my brother indeed; but I'll make them all know who governs in this fammaly.
Miss Sterl. As I live, madam, yonder comes Sir John. A base man! I can't endure the sight of him. I'll leave the room this instant.
[Disordered, Mrs. Heidel. Poor thing! Well, retire to your own chamber, child; I'll give it him, I warrant you; and by and by I'll come and let you know all that has past between us.
Miss Sterl. Pray do, madam.—[ Looking back.]--A yile wretch !
[Exit in a rage. Enter Sir John Melvil. Sir John. Your most obedient humble servant, madam.
[Bowing very respectfully, Mrs. Heidel. Your servant, Sir John.
[Dropping a half curtsey, and pouting. Sir John. Miss Sterling's manner of quitting the room on my approach, and the visible coolness of your behaviour to me, madam, convince me that she has acquainted you with what passed this morning.
Mrs. Heidel. I am very sorry, Sir John, to be made acquainted with any thing that should induce me to change the opinion which I would always wish to entertain of a person of qualaty.
Pouting. Sir John. It has always been my ambition to merit the best opinion from Mrs. Heidelberg; and when she comes to weigh circumstances, I flatter myself
Mrs. Heidel. You do flatter yourself, if you imagine that I can approve of your behaviour to my niece, Sir John.- Aud give me leave to tell you, Sir John, that
you have been drawn into an action much beneath you, Sir John; and that I look upon every injury offered to Miss Betty Sterling, as an affront to myself, Sir John.
[Warmly. Sir John. I would not offend you for the world, madam; but when I am influenced by a partiality for another, however ill-founded, I hope your discernment and good sense will think it rather a point of honour to renounce engagements, which I could not fulfil so strictly as I ought; and that you will excuse the change in my inclinations, since the new object, as well as the first, has the honour of being your niece, madam.
Mrs. Heidel. I disclaim her as a niece, Sir John; Miss Sterling disclaims her as a sister, and the whole fammaly must disclaim her, for her monstrous baseness and treachery.
Sir John. Indeed she has been guilty of none, madam. Her hand and her heart are, I am sure, entirely at the disposal of yourself and Mr. Sterling. And if you should not oppose my inclinations, I am sure of Mr. Sterling's consent, madam.
Mrs. Heidel. Indeed !
Enter STERLING.. Sterl. [Behind.] So! they seem to be coming to terms - already. I may venture to make my appearance. Mrs. Heidel. To marry Fanny ?
. (STERLING advances by degrees. Sir John. Yes, madam. Mrs. Heidel. My brother has given his consent, you say?
Sir John. In the most ample manner, with no other restriction than the failure of your concurrence, madam. [Sees STERLING.]—Oh, here's Mr. Sterling, who will confirm what I have told you.
Mrs. Heidel. What! have you consented to give up your own daughter in this manner, brother?
Sterl. Give her up! Heaven forbid, no, not give her up, sister; only in case that you- Zounds, I am afraid you have said too much, Sir John. [Apart to Sir John.
Mrs. Heidel. Yes, yes. I see now that it is true enough what my niece told me. You are all plottin and caballin against her. Pray, does Lord Ogleby know of this affair?
Sir John. I have not yet made him acquainted with it, madam.
A rs. Heidel. No, I warrant you. I thought so. And so his lordship and myself, truly, are not to be consulted till the last.
Sterl. What! did not you consult my lord? Oh, fic for shạme, Sir John!
Sir John. Nay, but Mr. Sterling
Mrs. Heidel. We, who are the persons of most consequence and experunce in the two fammalies, are to know nothing of the matter, till the whole is as good as concluded upon. But his lordship, I am sure, will have more generosaty than to countenance such a perceding. And I could not have expected such behaviour from a person of your qualaty, Sir John.—And as for you, brother
Sterl. Nay, nay, but hear me, sister.
Mrs. Heidel. I am perfectly ashamed of you. Have you no spurrit ? no more concern for the honour of our fammaly then to consent
Sterl. Consent ! I consent! As I hope for mercy, I never gave my consent.-- Did I consent, Sir John?
Sir John. Not absolutely, without Mrs. Heidelberg's concurrence. But in case of her approbation
Sterl. Ay, in case I grant you, that is, if my sister approved But that's quite another thing, you know
[To MRS. HEIDELBERG.
Mrs. Heidel. Your sister approve, 'indeed !--I thought you knew her better, brother Sterling! What! approve of having your eldest daughter returned upon your hands, and exchanged for the younger :I am surprised how you could listen to such a scandalous proposal.
Sterl. I tell you, I never did listen to it.--Did not I say, that I would be entirely governed by my sister, Sir John? — And unless she agreed to your marrying Fanny
Mrs. Heidel. I agree to his marrying Fanny ! abominable ! The man is absolutely out of his senses. - Can't that wise head, of yours foresee the conse. quence of all this, brother Sterling? Will Sir John take Fanny without a fortune ?-No!- After you have settled the largest part of your property on your youngest daughter, can there be an equal portion left for the eldest ?-No! Does not this overturn the whole systum of the fammaly?-Yes, yes, yes!— You know I was always for my niece Betsy's marrying a person of the very first qualaty. That was my maxum : - and, therefore, much the largest settlement was, of course, to be made upon her. As for Fanny, if she could, with a fortune of twenty or thirty thousand pounds, get a knight,, or a member of parliament, or a rich common council-man, for a husband, I thought it might do very well. · Şir John. But if a better match should offer itself, why should it not be accepted, madam?
Mrs. Heidel. What, at the expense of her elder sister!-O fie, Sir John!-How could you bear to hear such an indignaty, brother Sterling?
Sterl. I! Nay, I sha'n't hear of it, I promise you. I can't hear of it, indeed, Sir John.
Mrs. Heidel. But you have heard of it, brother Sterling- You know you have, and sent Sir John to propose it to me. But if you can give up your daughter,