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Syl. I have often heard that soldiers were sincere; may I venture to believe public report?
Plume. You may, when 'tis backed by private insurance; for I swear, madam, by the honour of my profession, that whatever dangers I went upon, it was with the hope of making myself more worthy of your esteem; and if ever I had thoughts of preserving my life, ’twas for the pleasure of dying at your feet.
Syl. Well, well, you shall die at my feet, or where you will; but you know, sir, there is a certain will and testament to be made beforehand.
Plume. My will, madam, is made already, and there it is ; and if you please to open that parchment, which was drawn the evening before the battle of Hockstet, you will find whom I left my heir.
Syl. Mrs Sylvia Balance. [Opens the Will, and reads.] Well, captain, this is a handsome and substantial compliment; but I can assure you I am much better pleased with the bare knowledge of your intention, than I should have been in the possession of your legacy: but, methinks, sir, you should have left something to your little boy at the Castle.
Plume. That's home. [Aside.]—My little boy! lacka-day, madam that alone may convince you 'twas none of mine: why, the girl, madam, is my serjeant's wife, and so the poor creature gave out that I was the father, in hopes that my friends might support her in case of necessity.—That was all, madam—my boy no, no, no!
Enter a SERVANT.
Serv. Madam, my master has received some ill news from London, and desires to speak with you immediately; and he begs the captain's pardon, that he can’t wait on him, as he promised.
Plume. Ill news! Heavens avert it! nothing could touch me nearer than to see that generous, worthy gentleman afflicted. I’ll leave you to comfort him ; way serviceable to the father of my Sylvia, he shall
freely command both. •
engage me to endanger either. [Exeunt severally.
Enter BALANCE and SYLVIA.
Syl. Whilst there is life there is hope, sir; perhaps my brother may recover. Bal. We have but little reason to expect it; the doctor acquaints me here, that before this comes to my hands he fears I shall have no son.—Poor Owen but the decree is just ; I was pleased with the death of my father, because he left me an estate; and now I am punished with the loss of an heir to inherit mine. I hust now look upon you as the only hopes of my family; and I expect that the augmentation of your fortune will give you fresh thoughts and new prospects. Syl, My desire in being punctual in my obedience, requires that you would be plain in your commands, Sir. " Bal. The death of your brother makes you sole heiress to my estate, which you know is about three thousand pounds a-year; this fortune gives you a fair claim to quality and a title: you must set a just
value upon yourself, and, in plain terms, think no more of Captain Plume.
and be assured that if my life and fortune can be any
Syl. You have often commended the gentleman, Slt,
Bal. And I do so still; he’s a very pretty fellow; but though I liked him well enough for a bare son-inlaw, I don't approve of him for an heir to my estate and family. Five thousand pounds, indeed, I might trust in his hands, and it might do the young fellow a kindness; but—od’s my life! three thousand pounds a-year would ruin him, quite turn his brain—A captain of foot worth three thousand pounds a year ! 'tis a prodigy in nature .
t Enter a SERVANT.
Serv. Sir, here’s one with a letter below for your worship, but he will deliver it into no hands but your OWn.
Bal. Come, shew me the messenger.
[Ea'it with SERVANT.
Syl. Make the dispute between love and duty, and I am Prince Prettyman exactly.—If my brother dies, ah, poor brother if he lives, ah, poor sister . It is bad both ways. I’ll try it again—Follow my own inclinations, and break my father's heart; or obey his commands, and break my own 2 Worse and worse.— Suppose I take it thus: A moderate fortune, a pretty fellow, and a pad ; or a fine estate, a coach and six, and an ass.—That will never do neither.
Enter BALANCE and a SERVANT.
Bal. Put four horses to the coach. To a SERVANT, who goes out.]—Ho, Sylvial
Bal. How old were you when your mother died?
Syl. So young that I don't remember I ever had one'; and you have been so careful, so indulgent to me since, that indeed I never wanted one.
Bal. Have I ever denied you any thing you asked of me 3
Syl. Never, that I remember. Bal. Then, Sylvia, I must beg that once in your life you would grant me a favour. Syl. Why should you question it, sir? Bal. I don’t; but I would rather counsel than command. I don't propose this with the authority of a parent, but as the advice of your friend, that you would take the coach this moment, and go into the country. Syl. Does this advice, sir, proceed from the contents of the letter you received just now : Bal. No matter; I will be with you in three or four days, and then give my reasons; but before you go, I expect you will make me one solemn promise. Syl. Propose the thing, sir. Bal. That you will never dispose of yourself to any man without my consent. Syl. I promise. Bal. Very well; and to be even with you, I promise I never will dispose of you without your own consent; and so, Sylvia, the coach is ready. Farewell. [Leads her to the Door, and returns.] Now she’s gone, I’ll examine the contents of this letter a little nearer, [Reads.
My intimacy with Mr Worthy has drawn a secret from him, that he had from his friend Captain Plume so and my friendship and relation to your family oblige me to give you timely notice of it. The captain has dishonourable designs upon my cousin Sylvia. Evils of this. nature are more easily prevented than amended; and that 3ou would immediately send my cousin into the country, is the advice of,
Sir, your humble servant,
Why, the devil's in the young fellows of this age;
they are ten times worse than they were in my time: had he made my daughter a whore, and forswore it, like a gentleman, I could almost have pardoned it; but to tell tales beforehand is monstrous.-Hang it! I can fetch down a woodcock or a snipe, and why not a hat and cockade 2 I have a case of good pistols, and have a good mind to try.
Worthy, your servant. Wor. I’m sorry, sir, to be the messenger of ill IleWS. Bal. I apprehend it, sir: you have heard that my son Owen is past recovery. Wor. My letters say he's dead, sir. Bal. He's happy, and I am satisfied: the stroke of Heaven I can bear; but injuries from men, Mr Worthy, are not so easily supported. Wor. I hope, sir, you are under no apprehensions of wrong from any body. Bal. You know I ought to be. Wor. You wrong my honour, in believing I could know any thing to your prejudice, without resenting it as much as you should. Bal. This letter, sir, which I tear in pieces, to conceal the person that sent it, informs me that Plume has a design upon Sylvia, and that you are privy to it. Wor. Nay, then, sir, I must do myself justice, and endeavour to find out the author. [Takes up a Bit 1– Sir, I know the hand, and if you refuse to discover the contents, Melinda shall tell me. [Going. Bal. Hold, sir; the contents I have told you already; only with this circumstance—that her intimacy with Mr Worthy had drawn the secret from him. IWor. Her intimacy with me! Dear sir! let me pick up the pieces of this letter, 'twill give me such a