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Miss Alton. Dear madam, Isee you dwell upon my indiscretion in flying to London; but remember the safeguardl expected to find here. How cruel was the disappointment! how dangerous have been the consequences ! I thought the chance happy that threw a retired lodging in my way : I was upon my guard against the other sex, but for my own to be treacherous to an unfortunate—coulrl I expect it P
ll’Irs. Sagrly. Suspect every body, if you would be safe—but most of all suspect yourself. Ah, my pretty truant—the heart, that is so violent in its aversions, is in sad danger of being the same in its affections, depend upon it.
llliss Alton. Let them spring from ajust esteem, and you will absolve me: my aversion was to the character of the wretch I was threatened with—can you reprove me?
Mrs. Sagely. And tell me truly now; do you feel the same detestation for this worse character you have made acquaintance with ? This rake—this abominable Heartly? Ah, child, your look is suspicious.
Miss Alton. Madam, I have not a thought, that I will not sincerely lay open to you. Mr. Heartly is made to please, and to be avoided; I resent his attempts, and desire never to see him more—his discovery of me here; his letters, his offers have greatly alarmed me. I conjure you lose not an hour in placing me under the sort of protection I solicited.
Mrs.SagcIy. If you are resolved, I believe I can serve you. Miss Alscrip, the great heiress, (you may have heard of the name in your family) has been inquiring among decayed gentry for a companion. She is too fine a lady to bear to be alone, and perhaps does not look to a husband's company as a certain dependence. Your musical talents will be a great recommendation—She is already apprized, and a line from me will introduce yo_u.
zlliss Alton. Iwill avail myself of your kindness immediately.
Prompt. [Wit/’|0ut.] I tell you I have business with Mrs. Sagely—I must come in.
Mrs. Sagely. As I live here is an impudent fellow forcing himself into the passage !
Miss Alton. Oh Heaven! if Mr. Heartly should be behind !
Mrs. Sagely. Get into the back parlour; be he who he will, l'll warrant I protect you.
[Exit Miss Arron.
Enter PROMPT. [Looking about.]
Mrs. Sagely. Who are you, sir? What are you looking for? ' ‘
Prompt. Madam, I was looking ing—-for you.
Mrs. Sagel . Well, sir, and what do you want.
Prompt. [ till prying about.] Madam, I want—-I want—Iwant—
Mrs. Sagely. To rob the house, perhaps.
Prompt. Just the contrary, Madam—to see that all is safe within it.—You have a treasure in your possession that I“would not have lost for the world —A young lady
Mrs. Sagely. Indeed !—begone about your business, friend—there are no young ladies to be spoke with here. .
Prompt. Lord, madam, I don't desire to speak with her—My attentions go to ladies of the eldersort —I come to make proposals to you alone.
Mrs. Sagely. You make proposals to me ? Did you know my late husband, sir? ' —
Prompt. Husband ! My good Mrs. Sagely—be at ease—I have no more views upon you, that way, than upon my grandmother--My proposals are of a quite different nature.
I was look
lllrs. Sage/y. Of a different nature? Why you an. dacious varlet! I-lerc, calla constable—
Prompt. Dear madam, how you continue to misunderstand me—I have a respect for you, that will set at nought all the personal temptations about you, depend upon it, powerful as they are--And as for the young lady, my purpose is only that you shall guard her safe.—I would offer you a pretty snug house in a pleasant quarter of the town, where you two would be much more commodiously lodged— the furniture new, and in the prettiest taste—A neat little sideboard of plate—-a black boy, with a turban to wait upon you—
.Mrs. Sagely. And for what purpose am I to be bribed? I am above it, sirrah. Ihave but a pittance, ’tis true, and heavy outgoings—M y husband's decayed bookkeeper to maintain, and poor old Smiler, that so many years together drew our whole family in a chaise—Heavy charges—but by cutting off my luxuries, and stopping up a few windows, I can jog on, and scorn to be beholden to you, or him that sent you. [Pnoiwrr tries at the Door, and peeps through the Key-hole.] What would the impertinent fellow be at now? Keep the door bolted, and don't stand in sight.
Prompt. [Aside] Oh! oh !—She is here I find, and that's enough. My good Mrs. Sagely—-your humble servant—I would fain be better acquainted with you—in a modest way—but must wait, I see, a more happy hour. [Aside, going out.] When honesty and poverty do happen to meet, they grow so fond of each other's company, it is labour lost to try to separate them.
.Mrs.Sagely. Shut the street door after him, and
never let him in again.
Enter M rss ALTON, from the inner Room. Miss Alton. For mercy, madam, let me begone
immediately. I am very uneasy—I am certain Mr. Heartly is at the bottom of this.
lllrs. Sagely. I believe it, my dear, and now see the necessity of your removal. I'll write your letter -—-and Heaven protect you. Remember my warning, suspect yourself. [Exit . ' llliss Allan. In truth I will. l'll forget the forbearance of this profligate, and remember only his intentions. And is gratitude then suspicious? Painful
lesson‘! A woman must not think herself secure be-' cause she has no bad impulse to fear: she must be
upon her guard, lost her very best should betray her.
ACT THE SECOND.
An Apartment in Sm CLEMENT FL1n"r's House. LADY EMILY GAYVILLE and CnrFFoan at Chess.
Sm CLEMENT sitting at a Distance, pretending to read a Parchment, but slily observing thcm.
Lad E. Check—If you do not take care, you are gone t e next move. _
Clifl". I confess, Lady Emily, you are on the point of complete victory.
Lady E. Pooh, I would not give a farthiug for victory without a more spirited defence.
Cliff. Then you must engage with those (if those there are) that do not find you irresistible.
Lady E. Icould find a thousand such; but I'll engage with none whose triumph I could not submit to with pleasure.
Sir C. [Apart.] Pretty significant on both sides. I wonder how much farther it will go.
Lady E. Uncle, did you speak?
Sir C. [Reading to himself.] “And the parties to this iudenture do farther covenant and agree, that all and every the said lands, tenements,-and hereditaments—um—um.”-—~~ How useful sometimes is ambiguity. [Loud enough to be heard.
C/if. A very natural observation of Sir Clement's upon that long parchment.
[Pauscs again upon the Chess-board. [LADY EMILY looking pensively at his Face.
Clifi'. To what a dilemma have you reduced me, Lady Emily! If I advance, Iperish by my temeri
ty; and it is out of my power to retreat.
Sir C. [Apart] Better and better! To talk in cipher is a curious faculty.
Sir C. [Still reading.] “ In witness whereof the said parties have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals, this um—um—day of—um
um . Lady B. [Resuming an Air of Viracifi/.] Come, I trifle with you too long ' grace Uncle, I have conquered. [Both rising from the Table. Sir C. Niece, I do not doubt it and in the -style of the great proficients, without looking upon the board. Clifford, was not your mother's name Charlton ? [Folding up the Parchment, and rising. (.'l[1f. It was, sir.