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I hate her, lothe her, pity her, am sorry for her, and love her still. I must expel this weakness: I will think no more of her: and yet Brush! Brush !-I may as well see her letter too: only to try what her cunning can suggest.
[Exit. Bev. Now, what varnish will she put upon the matter!
[Reads. The false gaiety of my heart, through which my dear Beverley might have read my real anguish at our last meeting, has now subsided. If you will come to me, I will not laugh at your inquietude of temper, but will clear all your doubts, and show you how much I am, my dearest Beverley, unalterably yours,
BELINDA BLANDFORD. Pshaw! poh! satisfy my doubts! I have no doubts; I am convinced. These arts prevail no more. Ha ! ha! (Laughs peevishly.]—My dear Beverley—[Reads, and tears the letter by degrees.]-real anguish—ha! ha! (Tears another piece.]-inquietude of temper-[Another piece.]-clear all your doubts-Poh! poh! poh !-ha! ha!-d-nation !—I'll think no more of her—[Tears another bit.]-Ha! ha!-dearest Beverley-ha! ha!artful woman!-unalterably yours-false ! false ! false ! [Tears another piece.]—I'll not make myself uneasy about her. Perfidy! treachery! and ingratitude !
[Fixes his eye, looks uneasy, and tears the letter
in a violent passion.
Enter CLARISSA and BellMỌNT.
Beo. No, not I. I am in very good spirits.
Clar. Ha! ha! my dear brother, that is seen through: you are now upon the rack.
Bev. What, about a woman ! a false, ungrateful woman!
Bell. Whom you still admire.
Clar. To whom you'll be upon your knees in five minutes.
beo. You are mistaken: I am going out of town.
Beo. She has; and there,—there you see the effect of her letter. You will see that I shall maintain a proper firmness on the occasion.
Bell. My dear Beverley, have done with this mockery: you deceive yourself.
Beo. You want to deceive me, sir: but it is in vain. What, plead for treachery, for falsehood, for deceit?
Clar. No, sir; but for my friend, my lovely friend, for Belinda, for truth, for innocence.
Beo. You don't know all the circumstances.
Clar. But we do know all the circumstances; and, my dear brother, you have behaved very ill.
Bev. Heaven knows, I have not; and yet, heaven knows, I should be glad to be convinced I have.
Clar. I will be your friend, and give you a hint. We women are soft and compassionate in our nature; go to her without delay, fall at her feet, beg her pardon, drop a tear or two, and all will be well again.
Bco. Do you come to make sport of me? May contempt and beggary attend me; may all the calamities of life befal me; may shame, confusion, and disquiet of heart for ever sting me, if I hold further intercourse with her; if I do not put her from my thoughts for ever! Did you leave her at home?
Clar. We did.
Beo. Well, let her stay there : it is of no consequence to me. How did she bear what passed between us ?
Clar. Like a sweet girl as she is: she behaved like an angel : I shall love her better than ever for her good humour.
Beo. Oh! I don't doubt her good humour. She has smiles at command. Let her smile or not smile, 'tis all alike to me: did she say any thing?
Clar. She told us the whole story, and told it in tears too.
Beo. Ay, them she can command too ! But I have no curiosity about her: was she in tears ? :
Clar. She was, and wept bitterly. How could you, brother, behave so rashly to so amiable a girl? Have you a pleasure in being the cause of her uneasiness?
Beo. I the cause ?-you wrong me, by heaven you wrong me: my Lady Restless was the cause. She told me such things; she planted daggers in my very heart.
Clar. You planted daggers in Belinda's heart. And it was barbarous. What! because a lady has not strength enough to bear up against a father, who is resolved to give her away to another, and because she faints, out of excessive tenderness for you, and in that distress meets accidental relief from Sir John Restless, at his own door?
Beo. How !
Clar. And because my Lady Restless sees this out of her window, and has a perverse talent of misinterpreting appearances into realities, to her own disadvantage; you must therefore fill your head with ungenerous suspicions ? Oh! for shame, brother; how could you ?
Beo. But, is all this true?-is it really the case ?
Bell. How can you doubt it? You know Belinda tog well.
Bed. Why, if what you say can be made to appear
but then she'll never forgive my past behaviour. Clar. Poh! you talk as if you were wholly unletter'd in the tempers of women. My dear brother, you know, you men can do what you please with us, when you have once gained an interest in our hearts. Go to her, I say; go to her, and make your peace.
Beo. May I depend upon what you say?
Beo. Then I'll fly to her this instant, humble myself to her, and promise by all my future life to atone for this brutal injury.
Beo. You may put up again; I sha’n't go out of town.
Brush. No, sir !
Bev. No-ha! ha! you may put up, and let me have the chariot directly. Brush, Yes, sir; I knew it would come to this.
[Exit. Bev. My dear sister, I am for ever obliged to you; and, Bellmont, I thank you too. How could I wrong her so? I shall behold her once again. I cannot help laughing at my own rashness. Is the chariot ready? I won't stay for it; I am on the wing, my dear Belinda, to implore forgiveness. And so she fainted away in the Park, and my Lady Restless saw Sir John afford her relief?-Ha! ha! ha!-whimsical enough. Ha! ha! ha! what a strange construction her crazy temper put upon it? Ha! ha! how could the woman be so foolish? My dear Belinda, I will fly to you this moment-ha! ha! (Going, returns.] Sir John shall give me back the picture, and, on my knees, I will once more present it to her.
Scene II.-An Apartment at Belinda's.
Enter Belinda. Belin. This rash, unaccountable man! how could he entertain such a suspicion ! Ungrateful Beverley! he almost deserves I should never see him again. Tippet! I sha'n't be easy till I hear from him. Tippet!
Belin. I wonder what keeps him. I am upon thorns till I see the dear, ungenerous man, and explain every thing to him. Oh, Mr. Beverley ! how could you treat me so ? But I was partly to blame; my Lady Restless inflamed his mind, and I should not have trifled with his passion. Is the other servant returned from Sir John Restless?
Tip. He is, madam.
Tip. Sir John will wait upon you himself, madam, directly.
Belin. Very well! I must get him to set every thing in its true light, and justify my conduct to Mr. Beverley. And yet the uncertainty of Beverley's temper alarms me strangely. His eternal suspicions! but there is nothing in that: my future conduct, my regard for him, will cure that disease, and then- .
Tip. I dare be sworn it will, ma'am.
Belin. Yes, I think it will : when he knows me better, he will learn to think generously of me. On my part, I think I can be sure he will meet with nothing but open, unsuspecting love.