페이지 이미지
PDF

Mrs Bev. And so you may—’twould be a sin to doubt it. Char. I will be sure on’t—’twas madness in me to give it to his management. But I’ll demand it from him this morning. I have a melancholy occasion for it. Mrs Bev. What occasion 2. Char. To support a sister. Mrs. Bev. No; I have no need on’t. Take it, and reward a lover with it.—The generous Lewson deserves much more.—Why won’t you make him happy? Char. Because my sister's miserable. Mrs Bev. You must not think so. I have my jewels left yet. And when all’s gone, these hands shall toil for our support. The poor should be industrious—Why those tears, Charlotte : Char. They flow in pity for you. Mrs Bev. All may be well yet. When he has nothing to lose, I shall fetter him in these arms again; and then what is it to be poor 2 Char. Cure him but of this destructive passion, and my uncle’s death may retrieve all yet. Mrs Bev. Ay, Charlotte, could we cure him!— But the disease of play admits no cure but poverty; and the loss of another fortune would but increase his shame and his affliction.—Will Mr Lewson call this morning 2 Char. He said so last night. He gave me hints too, that he had suspicions of our friend Stukely. Mrs Bev. Not of treachery to my husband 2 That he loves play I know, but surely lie’s honest. Char. He would fain be thought so;-therefore I doubt him. Honesty needs no pains to set itself off.

Enter LUCY.

Lucy. Your old steward, madam. I had not the heart to deny him admittance, the good old man begg’d so hard for’t. [Erit Lucy.

Enter JARv1s.

Mrs Bev. Is this well, Jarvis 2 I desired you to avoid me. Jar. Did you, madam 2 I am an old man, and had forgot. Perhaps, too, you forbade my tears; but I am old, madam, and age will be forgetful. Mrs Bev. The faithful creature ; how he moves me! [To CHARLoTTE. Jar. I have forgot these apartments too. I remember mone such in my young master’s house; and yet I have lived in’t these five-and-twenty years. His good father would not have dismissed me. Mrs Bev. He had no reason, Jarvis. Jar. I was faithful to him while he lived, and when he died he bequeathed me to his son. I have been faithful to him too. Mrs Bev. I know it, Jarvis, I know it. Jar. I am an old man, madam, and have not a long time to live. I asked but to have died with him, and he dismissed me. Mrs Bev. Pr’ythee no more of this ' 'Twas his poverty that dismissed you. Jar. Is he indeed so poor, then 2–Oh I he was the joy of my old heart—But must his creditors have all? –And have they sold his house too? His father built it when he was but a prating boy. The times that I have carried him in these arms And, Jarvis, says he, when a beggar has asked charity of me, why should people be poor You sha’n’t be poor, Jarvis; if I were a king nobody should be poor. Yet he is poor. ...And then he was so brave!—Oh, he was a brave little boy! And yet so merciful, he’d not hav killed the gnat that stung him. Mrs Bev. Speak to him, Charlotte, for I cannot. Jar. I have a little money, madam; it might have 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 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 might! 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 2

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. Stuke. 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 2 and why that sigh: 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? 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. B

« 이전계속 »