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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.
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 court 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 [Exit;
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.
ACT THE FOURTH,
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
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? 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? [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 laby1 I
rinths. If you would save yourself, fall to confession, no mercy will be shown else. Stuke. First, prove me what you think me; till then, your threatenings are in vain—And for this insult, vengeance may yet be mine. * Lew. Infamous coward I why, take it now then— [Draws, and STUKELY retires.j Alas, I pity thee!— ..Yet, that a wretch like this, should overcome a Beverley ! It fills me with astonishment!—A wretch, so mean of soul, that even desperation cannot animate him to look upon an enemy. You should not have thus soared, sir, unless, like others of your black profession, you had a sword, to keep the fools in awe your villainy has ruined. Stuke. Willainy! Twere best to curb this license of your tongue—for know, sir, while there are laws, this outrage on my reputation will not be borne with. Lew. Laws Darest thou seek shelter from the laws—those laws, which thou and thy infernal crew live in the constant violation of !. Talk'st thou of reutation too, when, under friendship’s sacred name, thou hast betrayed, robbed, and destroyed 2 Stuke. Ay, rail at gaming—’tis a rich topic, and affords noble declamation.—Go, preach against it in the city—you'll find a congregation in every tavern: If they should laugh at you, fly to my lord, and sermonize it there: he’ll thank you, and reform. Lew. And will example sanctify a vice? No, wretch; the custom of my lord, or of the cit that apes him, cannot excuse a breach of law, or make the mester’s calling reputable. Stuke. Rail on, Isay—But is this zeal for beggared Beverley? Is it for him that I am treated thus? No; he and his wife might both have groaned in prison, had but the sister’s fortune escaped the wreck, to have rewarded the disinterested love of honest Mr Lewson. Lew, How I detest thee for the thought! But thou E
art lost to every human feeling. Yet, let me tell thee, and may it wring thy heart, that, though my friend is ruined by thy snares, thou hast, unknowingly, been kind to me. Stuke. Have I? It was, indeed, unknowingly. Lew. Thou hast assisted me in love—given me the merit that I wanted; since, but for thee, my Charlotte had not known 'twas her dear self I sighed for, and not her fortune. Stuke. Thank me, and take her then. Lew. And, as a brother to poor Beverley, I will pursue the robber that has stripped him, and snatch him from his gripe. Stuke. Then know, imprudent man, he is within my gripe; and should my friendship for him be slamdered once again, the hand that has supplied him shall fall and crush him. Lew. Why, now there’s a spirit in thee! This is, indeed, to be a villain But I shall reach thee yet— Fly where thou wilt, my vengeance shall pursue thee —And Beverley shall yet be saved—be saved from thee, thou monster! nor owe his rescue to his wife's dishonour. [Exit. Stuke. [Pausing.] Then ruin has enclosed me!— Curse on my coward heart 1 I would be bravely villainous; but ’tis my nature to shrink at danger, and he has found me. Yet fear brings caution, and that, security—More mischief must be done, to hide the past—Look to yourself, officious Lewson—there may be danger stirring—How now, Bates?
Bates. What is the matter 2 'Twas Lewsom, and not Beverley, that left you—I heard him loud—You seem alarmed too.
Stuke. Ay, and with reason—We are discovered.
Bates. I feared as much, and, therefore, cautioned you; but you were peremptory,