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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.
Char. What a heart has that Jarvis 1–A creditor, sister. But the good old man has taken him awa —“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 2 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. Char. What mean you by this 2 Lew. To hint to him that I know him. Char. How know him 2 Mere doubt and supposition : Lew. I shall have proof soon. Char. And what then * Would you risk your life to be his punisher? Lew. My life, madam I Don’t be afraid. But let it content you that I know this Stukely—’Twould be as easy to make him honest as brave. Char. And what do you intend to do Lew. Nothing, till I have proof–But, methinks, madam, I am acting here without authority. Could I have leave to call Mr Beverley brother, his concerns would be my own. Why will you make my services appear officious? Char. You know my reasons, and should not press me. But I am cold, you say; and cold I will be while a poor sister's destitute.—Misfortunes press too hard upon her; yet, till to-day, she has borne them nobly. Lew. Where is she 2 Char. Gone to her chamber. Her spirits failed her. Lew. I hear her coming. Let what has passed with Stukely be a secret—She has already too much to trouble her. -
Enter Mas BEVERLEY.
Mrs Bev. Good morning, sir; I heard your voice, and, as I thought, enquiring for me. Where's Mr Stukely, Charlotte 2
Char. This moment gone—You have been in tears, sister; but here’s a friend shall comfort you.
Lew, Or, if I add to your distresses, l’ll beg your
pardon, madam. The sale of your house and furniture was finished yesterday. Mrs Bev. I know it, sir; I know too your generous reasons for putting me in mind of it. But you have obliged me too much already. Lew. There are trifles, madam, which I know you have set a value on; those I have purchased, and will deliver. I have a friend too, that esteems you—He has bought largely, and will call nothing his, till he has seen you. If a visit to him would not be painful, he has begged it may be this morning. Mrs Bev. Not painful in the least. My pain is from the kindness of my friends. Why am I to be obliged beyond the power of return ? Lew, You shall repay us at your own time. I have a coach waiting at the door–Shall we have your company, madam? [To CHARLoTTE. Char, No; my brother may return soon; I’ll stay and receive him. Mrs Bev. He may want a comforter, perhaps. But don’t upbraid him, Charlotte. We sha’n’t be absent long. Come, sir, since I must be so obliged. Lew, 'Tis I that am obliged. An hour, or less, will be sufficient for us. We shall find you at home, madam : [To CHARLoTTE-Exeunt.
Enter STUkely. o Stuke. That Lewson suspects me, ’tis too plain. Yet why should he suspect me?—I appear the friend of Beverley as much as he. But I am rich, it seems; and so I am, thanks to another's folly and my own wisdom. To what use is wisdom, but to take advantage of the weak 2 This Beverley’s my fool; I cheat him, and he calls me friend. But more business must be done yet—His wife's jewels are unsold; so is the reversion of his uncle’s estate: I must have these too. And then there’s a treasure above all—I love his wife—Before she knew this Beverley I loved her; but, like a cringing fool, bowed at a distance, while he stepped in and won her Never, never will I forgive him for it. My pride, as well as love, is wounded by this conquest. Those hints this morning were well thrown in-Already they have fastened on her. If jealousy should weaken her affections, want may corrupt her virtue; my heart rejoices in the hopes—These jewels may do much—He shall demand them of her; which, when mine, shall be converted to special purposes—What now, Bates?
Bates. Is it a wonder then to see me? The forces are all in readiness, and only wait for orders. Where's Beverley
Stuke. At last might's rendezvous, waiting for me Is Dawson with you ?