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been more, but I have loved the poor. All that I have is yours. Mrs Bev. No, Jarvis; we have enough yet. I thank you though, and will deserve your goodness. Jar. But shall I see my master And will he let me attend him in his distresses; I’ll be no expence to him; and 'twill kill me to be refused.—Where is he, madam : Mrs Bev. Not at home, Jarvis. You shall see him another time. Char. To-morrow, or the next day—Oh, Jarvis! what a change is here ! Jar. A change indeed, madam I my old heartaches at it. And yet, methinks—But here's somebody coming.
Enter Lucy, with STUKELY.
Lucy. Mr Stukely, madam. [Exit.
Stuke. Good morning to you, ladies. Mr Jarvis, your servant. Where's my friend, madam?
- [To MRs BEveRLEY.
Mrs Bev. I should have asked that question of you. Have you seen him to-day
Stuke. No, madam.
Char. Nor last night?
Stuke. Last night! Did he not come home then 2
Mrs Bev. No.—Were you not together?
Stuke. At the beginning of the evening, but not Since.—Where can he have staid :
Char. You call yourself his friend, sir—why do you encourage him in this madness of gaming?
Stuke. You have asked me that question before, madam; and I told you my concern was that I could not save him; Mr Beverley is a man, madam; and if the most friendly entreaties have no effect upon him, I have no other means. My purse has been his, even to the injury of my fortune, If that has been encouragement I deserve censure; but I meant it to retrieve him. Mrs Bev. I don’t doubt it, sir, and I thank you— But where did you leave him last night? Stuke. At Wilson’s, madam, if I ought to tell, in company I did not like. Possibly he may be there still. Mr Jarvis knows the house, I believe. Jar. Shall I go, madam? Mrs Bev. No, he may take it ill. Char. He may go as from himself. Stuke. And if he pleases, madam, without naming me. I am faulty myself, and should conceal the errors of a friend. But I can refuse nothing here. [Bowing to the Ladies. Jar. I would fain see him, methinks. Mrs Bev. Do so, then, but take care how you upbraid him—I have never upbraided him. Jar. Would I eould bring him comfort [Exit. Stuke. Don’t be too much alarmed, madam. All men have their errors, and their times of seeing them. Perhaps my friend’s time is not come yet. But he has an uncle; and old men don’t live for ever. You should look forward, madam; we are taught how to value a second fortune by the loss of a first. [Knocking at the Door. Mrs Bev. Hark!—No—that knocking was too rude for Mr Beverley. Pray Heaven he be well! Stuke. Never doubt it, madam. You shall be well too—Every thing shall be well. [Knocking again. Mrs Bev. The knocking is a little loud though— Who waits there * Will none of you answer?—None of you, did I say?—Alas, what was I thinking of: I had forgot myself. Char. I’ll go, sister—But don’t be alarmed so. [Exit. Sluke. What extraordinary accident have you to fear, madam :
Mrs Bev. I beg your pardon; but 'tis ever thus with me in Mr Beverley's absence. No one knocks at the door, but I fancy it is a messenger of ill news. Stuke. You are too fearful, madam; ’twas but one night of absence; and if ill thoughts intrude (as love is always doubtful,) think of your worth and beauty, and drive them from your breast. Mrs Bev. What thoughts? I have no thoughts that wrong my husband. Stuke. Such thoughts indeed would wrong him. The world is full of slander; and every wretch that knows himself unjust charges his neighbour with like passions, and by the general frailty hides his own— If you are wise, and would be happy, turn a deaf ear to such reports. 'Tis ruin to believe them. Mrs Bev, Ay, worse than ruin. 'Twould be to sin against conviction. Why was it mentioned 2 Stuke. To guard you against rumour. The sport of half mankind is mischief; and for a single error they make men devils. If their tales reach you, disbelieve them. Mrs Bev. What tales 2 I have heard nothing—or, if I had, with all his errors, my Beverley's firm faith admits no doubt—It is my safety, my seat of rest and joy, while the storm threatens round me. I’ll not forsake it. [STUKELY sighs, and looks down.] Why turn you, sir, away ? and why that sigh 2 Stuke. I was attentive, madam; and sighs will come, we know not why. Perhaps I have been too busy— If it should seem so, impute my zeal to friendship, that meant to guard you against evil tongues. Your Beverley is wronged, slandered most vilely—My life upon his truth. Mrs Bev. And mine too. Who is't that doubts it 2 But no matter—I am prepared, sir—Yet why this caution ?—You are my husband’s friend; I think you mine too; the common friend of both. [Pauses.] I had been unconcerned else. o
Stuke. For Heaven’s sake, madam, be so still I meant to guard you against suspicion, not to alarm it.
Mrs Bev, Nor have you, sir. Who told you of suspicion? I have a heart it cannot reach.
Stuke. Then I am happy—I would say more—but am prevented.
Enter CHARLott E.
Char. What a heart has that Jarvis!—A creditor, sister. But the good old man has taken him away —“Don’t distress his wife—Don’t distress his sister,” I could hear him say. “”Tis cruel to distress the afflicted”—And when he saw me at the door, he begged pardon that his friend had knocked so loud. Stuke. I wish I had known of this. Was it a large demand, madam * Char. I heard not that; but visits such as these we must expect often—Why so distressed, sister? This is no new affliction. Mrs Bev. No, Charlotte; but I am faint with watching—quite sunk and spiritless—Will you excuse me, sir? I'll to my chamber, and try to rest a little. Stuke. Good thoughts go with you, madam. My bait is taken then. [Aside.]—Poor Mrs Beverley ! How my heart grieves to see her thus 1 Char. Cure her, and be a friend then. Stuke. How cure her, madam? Char. Reclaim my brother. Stuke. Ay, give him a new creation, or breathe another soul into him. I’ll think on’t, madam. 'Advice, I see, is thankless. Char. Useless I am sure it is, if, through mistaken friendship, or other motives, you feed his passion with your purse, and sooth it by example. Physicians, to cure fevers, keep from the patient’s thirstylip the cup that would inflame him. You give it to his hands. [A Knocking.] Hark, sir!—These are my brother's desperate symptoms—Another creditor.
Stuke. One not so easily got rid of—What, Lewgon 1
Lew. Madam, your servant—Yours, sir. I was enquiring for you at your lodgings. Stuke. This morning ! You had business then 2 Lew. You'll call it by another name, perhaps. Where's Mr Beverley, madam? Char. We have sent to enquire for him. Lew. Is he abroad then He did not use to go out so early. Char. No, nor stay out so late. Lew. Is that the case ? I am sorry for it. But Mr Stukely, perhaps, may direct you to him. Stuke. I have already, sir. But what was your business with me? Lew. To congratulate you upon your late successes at play. Poor Beverley !—But you are his friend; and there's a comfort in having successful friends. Stuke. And what am I to understand by this 2 Lew. That Beverley's a poor man, with a rich friend; that’s all. Stuke. Your words would mean something, I suppose. Another time, sir, I shall desire an explanation. Lew. And why not now 2 I am no dealer in long sentences. A minute or two will do for me. Stuke. But not for me, sir. I am slow of apprehension, and must have time and privacy. A lady's presence engages my attention. Another morning I may be found at home. Lew. Another morning, them, I’ll wait upon you. Stuke. I shall expect you, sir, Madam, your serVant. [Exit.