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Lady T. Indeed, Sir Oliver, 'twas well we came in to rescue you.
Row. Truly, it was; for I perceive, Sir Oliver, the character of old Stanley was no protection to you.
Sir O. Nor of Premium either; the necessities of the former could not extort a shilling from that benevolent gentleman; and with the other, I stood a chance of faring worse than my ancestors, and being knocked down without being bid for.
Joseph S. Charles!
Sir O. Sir Peter, my friend, and Rowley too--look on that elder nephew of mine. You know what he has already received from my bounty; and you also know how gladly I would have regarded half my fortune as held in trust for him: judge then my disappointment in discovering him to be destitute of truth, charity, and gratitude.
Sir P. Sir Oliver, I should be more surprised at this declaration, if I had not myself found him to be selfish, treacherous, and hypocritical.
Lady T. And if the gentleman pleads not guilty to these, pray let him call me lo his character.
Sir P. Then, I believe, we need add no more: if he knows himself, he will consider it as the most perfect punishment, that he is known to the world.
Charles S. If they talk this way to honesty, what will they say to me, by and bye?
[ Aside. [Sir Peter, Lady Teazle, and Maria, retire. Sir O. As for that prodigal, his brother, there
Charles S. Ay, now comes my turn: the damned family pictures will ruin me.
[A side. Joseph S. Sir Oliver-uncle, will you honour me
Charles S. Now if Joseph would make one of his long speeches, I might recollect myself a little. [A side.
Sir 0. I suppose you would undertake to justify yourself.
with a hearing?
Joseph S. I trust I could.
Sir O. Nay, if you desert your roguery in its distress, and try to be justified-you have even less principle than I thought you had. [To Charles.] Well, sir! you could justify yourself too, I suppose ?
Charles S. Not that I know of, Sir Oliver.
Sir O. What!-Little Premium has been let too much into the sccret, I suppose ?
Charles S. True, sir; but they were family secrets, and should not be mentioned again , you know.
Row. Come, Sir Oliver, I know you cannot speak of Charles's follies with anger.
Sir O. Odds heart, no more I can; nor with gravity either. Sir Peter, do you know, the rogue bargained with me for all his ancestors; sold me judges and generals by the foot, and maiden aunts as cheap as broken china.
Charles S. To be sure, Sir Oliver, I did make a little free with the family canvass, that's the truth on't. My ancestors may certainly rise up in judgment against me; there's no denying it; but believe me sincere when I tell you—and upon my soul I would not say so if I was not-that if I do not appear mortified at the exposure of my follies, it is because I feel at this moment the warmest satisfaction in seing you, my liberal benefactor.
Sir 0. Charles, I believe you; give me your hand again: the il-looking little fellow over the settee has made your peace.
Charles S. Then, sir, my gratitude to the original is still increased.
Lady T. [Advancing.] Yet, I believe, Sir Oliver, here is one whom Charles is still more anxious to be reconciled to.
Sir (). Oh, I have heard of his attachment there; and, with the young lady's pardon, if I construe right
Maria. Sir, I have little to say, but that I shall rejoice to hear that he is happy; for mewhatever
claim I had to his attention, I willingly resign to one who has a better title.
Charles S. How, Maria !
Sir P. Hey day! what's the mystery now?-while he appeared an incorrigible rake, you would give your hand to no one else; and now that he is likely to reform , I'll warrant you won't have him.
Maria. His own heart and Lady Sneerwell know the cause
Charles S. Lady Sneerwell!
Joseph S. Brother, it is with great concern I am obliged to speak on this point, but my regard to justice compels me, and Lady Sneerwell's injuries can no lon ger be concealed.
[Opens the door. Enter LADY SNEERWELL. Sir P. So! another French milliner! Egad, he has one in every room in the house, I suppose.
Lady S. Ungrateful Charles! Well may yon be surprised, and feel for the indelicate situation your perfidy has forced me into.
Charles S. Pray, uncle, is this another plot of yours? For, as I have life, I don't understand it.
Joseph S. I believe, sir, there is but the evidence of one person more necessary to make it extremely clear.
Sir P. And that person, I imagine, is Mr. Snake. Rowley, you were perfectly right to bring him with
and pray let him app.ar. Row. Walk in , Mr. Snake.
Enter SNAKE. I thought his testimony might be wanted: however, it happens unluckily, that he comes to confront Lady Sneerwell, not to support her.
Lady S. A villain! Treacherous to me at last !Speak, fellow; have you, too, conspired against me ?
Snake. I beg your ladyship ten thousand pardons : you paid me extremely liberally for the lie in question ; but I, unfortunately, have been offered double to speak the truth.
Sir P. Plot and counter plot! I wish your ladyship joy of your negociatiou.
Lady S. The torments of shame and disappointment on you all!
Lady T. Hold, Lady Sneerwell: before you go, let me thank you for the trouble you and that gentleman have taken, in writing letters from me to Charles, and answering them yourself; and let me also request you to make my respects to the scandalous college, of which you are president, and inform them, that Lady Teazle, licentiate, begs leave to return the diploma they granted her, as she leaves off practice, and kills characters no longer.
Lady S. You, too, madam-provoking-insolent. May your husband live these fifty years ! [Exit.
Šiř P. Oons! what a fury !
Joseph S. Sir, I am so confounded, to find that Lady Sneerwell could be guilty of suborning Mr Snake in this manner, to impose on us all, that I know now what to say : however, lest her revengeful spirit should prompt her to injure my brother, I had better follow her directly. For the man who attempts to
[Exit. Sir P. Moral to the last!
Sir O. Ay, and marry her, · Joseph, if you can Egad ! you'll do very well together.
Row. I believe we have no more occasion for Mr. Snake, at present.
Snake. Before I go, I beg pardon once for all, for whatever uneasiness I have been the humble instrument of causing to the parties present.
Sir P. Well, well, you have made atonement by a good deed at last.
Snake. But I must request of the company, that it shall never be known.
Sir P. Hey-What the plague! Are you ashamed of having done a right thing once in your life?
Snake. Ah, sir, consider, -I live by the badness of my character; and if it were once known that I had been betrayed into an honest action, I should lose every friend I have in the world.
[Exit. Sir O. Well, well; we'll not traduce you by saying any thing in your praise, never fear.
Lady T. See, sir Oliver, there needs no persuasion now to reconcile your nephew and Maria.
Sir O. Ay, ay, that's as it should be; and, egad, we'll have the wedding to morrow-morning.
Charles S. Thank you, dear uncle !
Sir P. What, you rogue! don't you ask the girl's consent first!
Charles S. Oh, I have done that a long time-aminute ago--and she has looked yes.
Maria. For shame, Charles !-1 protest , sir Peter, there has not been a word.
Sir P. Well, then, the fewer the better ;-may your love for each other never know abatement !
Sir P. And may you live as happily together as Lady Teazle and I intend to do!
Charles S. Rowley, my old friend, I am sure you congratulate me; and I suspect that I owe you much.
Sir P. Ay, honest Rowley always said you would reform.
Charles S. Why, as to reforming, sir Peter, I'll make no promises, and that I take to be a proof that I intend to set about it; but here shall be my monitor-my gentle guide-Ah! can I leave the virtuous path those eyes illumine?
Though thou, dear maid , should’st wave thy beauty's
[To the audience. You can, indeed, each anxious fear remove, For even Scandal dies, if you approve.