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Stuke. To meet you thus alone, madam, was what I wished. Unseasonable visits, when friendship warrants them, need no excuse—therefore I make none. Mrs Bev. What mean you, sir? And where is your friend ? Stuke. Men may have secrets, madam, which their best friends are not admitted to. We parted in the morning, not soon to meet again. Mrs Bev. You mean to leave us then—to leave your country too? I am no stranger to your reasons, and pity your misfortunes. Stuke. Your pity has undone you. Could Beverley do this? That letter was a false one; a mean contrivance to rob you of your jewels—I wrote it not. Mrs Bev. Impossible! Whence came it then 2 Stuke. Wronged as I am, madam, I must speak plainly. Mrs Bev. Do so, and ease me.—Your hints have troubled me. Reports, you say, are stirring—Reports of whom 2 You wished me not to credit them.— What, sir, are these reports 2 Stuke. I thought them slander, madam; and cautioned in friendship, lest from officious tongues the tale had reached you with double aggravation. Mrs Bev. Proceed, sir. Stuke. It is a debt due to my fame; due to an injured wife too.—We are both injured. Mrs Bev. How injured 2 And who has injured us? Stuke. My friend—your husband. Mrs Bev. You would resent for both then ; but know, sir, my injuries are my own, and do not need a champion. Stuke. Be not too hasty, madam. I come not in resentment, but for acquittance. You thought me poor; and to the feigned distresses of a friend gave up your jewels. Mrs Bev. I gave them to a husband. Stuke. Who gave them to a8

Mrs Bev. What? whom did he give them to ? Stuke. A mistress. Mrs Bev. No ; on my life he did not. Stuke. Himself confessed it, with curses on her avarice. Mrs Bev. I’ll not believe it—He has no mistress; or, if he has, why is it told to me? Stuke. To guard you against insults. He told me, that, to move you to compliance, he forged that letter, pretending I was ruined, ruined by him too. The fraud succeeded; and what a trusting wife bestowed in pity was lavished on a wanton. Mrs Bev. Then I am lost indeed! And my af. flictions are too powerful for me. His follies I have borne without upbraiding, and saw the approach of poverty without a tear—My affections, my strong affections, supported me through every trial. Stuke. Be patient, madam. Mrs Bev. Patient The -barbarous, ungrateful man | And does he think that the tenderness of my heart is his best security for wounding it But he shall find that injuries such as these can arm my weakness for vengeance and redress. Stuke. Ha! then I may succeed. [Aside.] Redress is in your power. Mrs Bev. What redress 2 Stuke. Forgive me, madam, if, in my zeal to serve you, I hazard your displeasure. Think of your wretched state. Already want surrounds you—Is it in patience to bear that? To see your helpless little one robbed of his birthright? A sister too, with unavailing tears, lamenting her lost fortune 2 No comfort left you, but ineffectual pity from the few, outweighed by insults from the many. Mrs Bev. Am I so lost a creature ?—Well, sir, my redress? Stuke. To be resolved is to secure it. The marriage vow, once violated, is, in the sight of Heaven, dissolved—Start not, but hear me. *Tis now the summer of your youth : time has not cropped the roses from your cheek, though sorrow long has washed them: Then use your beauty wisely, and, freed by injuries, fly from the cruellest of men, for shelter with the kindest. Mrs Bev. And who is he * Stuke. A friend to the unfortunate; a bold one too, who, while the storm is bursting on your brow, and lightening flashing from your eyes, dares tell you that he loves you, Mrs Bev. 'Would that these eyes had Heaven’s own lightening, that, with a look, thus I might blast thee! Am I then fallen so low 2 Has poverty so humbled me, that I should listen to a hellish offer, and sell my soul for bread 2 Oh, villain villain l–But now I know thee, and thank thee for the knowledge. Stuke. If you are wise, you shall have cause to thank me. Mrs Bev. An injured husband too shall thank thee. Stuke. Yet know, proud woman, I have a heart as stubborn as your own as haughty and imperious; and, as it loves, so can it hate. Mrs Bev. Mean, despicable villain! I scorn thee and thy threats. Was it for this that Beverley was false —that his too-credulous wife should, in despair and vengeance, give up her honour to a wretch? But he shall know it, and vengeance shall be his. Stuke. Why, send him for defiance then—Tell him I love his wife; but that a worthless husband forbids our union. I’ll make a widow of you, and oourt you honourably. Mrs Bev. Oh, coward, coward thy soul will shrink at him : Yet, in the thought of what may happen, I feel a woman’s fears.-Keep thy own secret, and begone. Your absence, sir, would please me. Stuke. I’ll not offend you, madam [Erit:

Mrs Bev. Why opens not the earth, to swallow such a monster? Be conscience, then, his punisher, till Heaven, in mercy, gives him penitence, or dooms him in his justice. [Exit.


STUKELY's Lodgings,

Enter Stukely and BATEs, meeting.

Bales. Where have you been 2

Stuke. Fooling my time away—playing my tricks, like a tame monkey, to entertain a woman.—No matter where—I have been vexed and disappointed.— Tell me of Beverley; how bore he his last shock?

Bates. Like one, (so Dawson says) whose senses had been numbed with misery. When all was lost, he fixed his eyes upon the ground, and stood some time, with folded arms, stupid and motionless; then snatching his sword, that hung against the wainscot, he sat him down, and, with a look of fixed attention, drew figures on the floor. At last, he started up, looked wild, and trembled; and, like a woman, seized with her sex's fits, laughed out aloud, while the tears trickled down his face—so left the room.

Stuke. Why, this was madness.
Bates. The madness of despair. -
Stuke. We must confine him then—A prison would

do well. [A Knocking at the Door.] Hark! that

knocking may be his—Go that way down. [Erit BATEs.] Who's there 2

*Enter LEwson.

Lew. An enemy—an open and avowed one. Stuke. Why am I thus broke in upon This house is mine, sir, and should protect me from insult and ill manners. Lew Guilt has no place of sanctuary; wherever found, 'tis virtue’s lawful game. The fox's hold, and tyger's den, are no security against the hunter. Stuke. Your business, sir? Lew. To tell you that I know you.-Why this confusion ? That look of guilt and terror? Is Beverley awake, or has his wife told tales 2 The man, that dares like you, should have a soul to justify his deeds, and courage to confront accusers: not, with a coward's fear, to shrink beneath reproof. Stuke. Who waits there 2 [Aloud, and in confusion. Lew. By Heaven, he dies, that interrupts us! [Shutting the Door.] You should have weighed your strength, sir; and then, instead of climbing to high fortune, the world had marked you for what you are —a little, paltry villain : Stuke. You think I fear you. Lew. I know you fear me—This is to prove it.— [Pulls him by the Sleeve..] You wanted privacy—A lady's presence took up your attention.—Now we are alone, sir.—Why, what a wretch . [Flings him from him.] The vilest insect in creation will turn when trampled on; yet has this thing undone a man —by cunning and mean arts undone him —But we have found you, sir; traced you through all your laby| 1

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