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Jos. Surf. A curious dilemma, truly, my politics have run me into! I wanted, at first, only to ingratiate myself with Lady Teazle, that she might not be my enemy with Maria; and I have, I don't know how, become her serious lover. Sincerely I begin to wish I had never made such a point of gaining so very good a character, for it has led me into so many cursed rogueries that I doubt I shall be exposed at last.
SCENE III.-A ROOM IN SIR PETER TEAZLE'S HOUSE
Enter SIR OLIVER SURFACE and ROWLEY.
Sir Oliv. Ha! ha! ha! so my old friend is married, hey? --- a young wife out of the country. Ha! ha! ha! that he should have stood bluff to old bachelor so long, and sink into a husband at last !
Row. But you must not rally him on the subject, Sir Oliver; 't is a tender point, I assure, though he has been married only seven months.
Sir Oliv. Then he has been just a half year on the stool of repentance ! Poor Peter! But you say he has entirely given up Charles
never sees him, hey?
Row. His prejudice against him is astonishing, and I am sure greatly increased by a jealousy of him with Lady Teazle, which he has industriously been led into by a scandalous society in the neighbourhood, who have contributed not a little to Charles's ill name. Whereas the truth is, I believe, if the lady is partial to either of them, his brother is the favourite.
Sir Oliv. Ay, I know there are a set of malicious, prating, prudent gossips, both male and female, who murder characters to kill time, and will rob a young fellow of his good name before he has years to know the value of it. But I am not to be prejudiced against my nephew by such, I promise you! No, no; if Charles has done nothing false or mean, I shall compound for his extravagance.
Row. Then, my life on't, you will reclaim him. Ah, sir, it gives me new life to find that your heart is not turned against him, and that the son of my good old master has one friend, however, left.
Sir Oliv. What! shall I forget, Master Rowley, when I was at his years myself? Egad, my brother and I were neither of us very prudent youths; and yet, I believe, you have not seen many better men than your old master was?
Row. Sir, 't is this reflection gives me assurance that Charles may yet be a credit to his family. But here comes Sir Peter.
Sir Oliv. Egad, so he does ! Mercy on me! he's greatly altered, and seems to have a settled married look! One may read husband in his face at this distance !
Enter SIR PETER TEAZLE.
Sir Pet. Ha ! Sir Oliver my old friend! Welcome to England a thousand times !
Sir Oliv. Thank you, thank you, Sir Peter ! and i' faith I am glad to find you well, believe me !
Sir Pet. Oh! 't is a long time since we met — fifteen years, I doubt, Sir Oliver, and many a cross accident in the time.
Sir Oliv. Ay, I have had my share. But, what! I find you are married, hey, my old boy? Well, well, it can't be helped ; and so I wish you joy with all my heart !
Sir Pet. Thank you, thank you, Sir Oliver. Yes, I have entered into the happy state ; but we'll not talk of that now.
Sir Oliv. True, true, Sir Peter; old friends should not begin on grievances at first meeting. No, no, no.
Row. [ Aside to SIR OLIVER.] Take care, pray, sir.
Sir Pet. Wild! Ah! my old friend, I grieve for your disappointment there; he's a lost young man, indeed. However, his brother will make you amends; Joseph is, indeed, what a youth should be everybody in the world speaks well of him.
Sir Oliv. I am sorry to hear it; he has too good a character to be an honest fellow. Everybody speaks well of him! Psha! then he has bowed as low to knaves and fools as to the honest dignity of genius and virtue.
Sir Pet. What, Sir Oliver! do you blame him for not making enemies?
Sir Oliv. Yes, if he has merit enough to deserve them.
Sir Pet. Well, well — you'll be convinced when you know him. 'T is edification to hear him converse ; he professes the noblest sentiments.
Sir Oliv. Oh, plague of his sentiments! If he salutes me with a scrap of morality in his mouth, I shall be sick directly. But, however, don't mistake me, Sir Peter; I don't mean to defend Charles's
errors: but, before I form my judgment of either of them, I intend to make a trial of their hearts; and my friend Rowley and I have planned something for the purpose.
Row. And Sir Peter shall own for once he has been mistaken.
Sir Oliv. Well — come, give us a bottle of good wine, and we'll drink the lads' health, and tell you our scheme.
Sir Pet. Allons, then !
Sir Oliv. And don't, Sir Peter, be so severe against your old friend's son. Odds
my life! I am not sorry that he has run out of the course a little : for my part, I hate to see prudence clinging to the green suckers of youth ; 't is like ivy round a sapling, and spoils the growth of the tree.
SCENE I. -A ROOM IN SIR PETER TEAZLE'S HOUSE
Enter SIR PETER TEAZLE, SIR OLIVER SURFACE, and ROWLEY. IR PET. Well, then, we will see this fellow first, and have our
wine afterwards. But how is this, Master Rowley? I don't
see the jet of your scheme. Row. Why, sir, this Mr. Stanley, whom I was speaking of, is nearly related to them by their mother. He was once a merchant in Dublin, but has been ruined by a series of undeserved misfortunes. He has applied, by letter, since his confinement, both to Mr. Surface and Charles : from the former he has received nothing but evasive promises of future service, while Charles has done all that his extravagance has left him power to do; and he is, at this time, endeavoring to raise a sum of money, part of which, in the midst of his own distresses, I know he intends for the service of poor Stanley.
Sir Oliv. Ah! he is my brother's son.
Row. Why, sir, I will inform Charles and his brother that Stanley has obtained permission to apply personally to his friends; and, as they have neither of them ever seen him, let Sir Oliver assume his character, and he will have a fair opportunity of judging, at least, of the benevolence of their dispositions : and believe me, sir, you will
find in the youngest brother, one who, in the midst of folly and dissipation, has still, as our immortal bard expresses it, —
“... a heart to pity, and a hand,
Open as day, for melting charity.” Sir Pet. Psha! What signifies his having an open hand or purse either, when he has nothing left to give? Well, well, make the trial if you please. But where is the fellow whom you brought for Sir Oliver to examine, relative to Charles's affairs ?
Row. Below, waiting his commands, and no one can give him better intelligence - This, Sir Oliver, is a friendly Jew, who, to do him justice, has done everything in his power to bring your nephew to a proper sense of his extravagance.
Sir Pet. Pray let us have him in.
Sir Pet. But, pray, why should you suppose he will speak the truth?
Row. Oh, I have convinced him that he has no chance of recovering certain sums advanced to Charles but through the bounty of Sir Oliver, who he knows is arrived ; so that you may depend on his fidelity to his own interests. I have also another evidence in my power, one Snake, whom I have detected in a matter little short of forgery, and shall shortly produce to remove some of your prejudices, Sir Peter, relative to Charles and Lady Teazle.
Sir Pet. I have heard too much on that subject.
Enter MOSES. This is Sir Oliver. Sir Oliv. Sir, I understand you have lately had great dealings with my nephew Charles.
Mos. Yes, Sir Oliver, I have done all I could for him : but he was ruined before he came to me for assistance.
Sir Oliv. That was unlucky, truly; for you have had no opportunity of showing your talents.
Mos. None at all; I hadn't the pleasure of knowing his distresses till he was some thousands worse than nothing.
Sir Oliv. Unfortunate, indeed! But I suppose you have done all in your power for him, honest Moses?
Mos. Yes, he knows that. This very evening I was to have brought
him a gentleman from the city, who does not know him, and will, I believe, advance him some money.
Sir Pet. What, one Charles has never had money from before? Mos. Yes, Mr. Premium, of Crutched Friars, formerly a broker.
Sir Pet. Egad, Sir Oliver, a thought strikes me ! — Charles, you say, does not know Mr. Premium ?
Mos. Not at all.
Sir Pet. Now then, Sir Oliver, you may have a better opportunity of satisfying yourself than by an old romancing tale of a poor relation: go with my friend Moses, and represent Premium, and then, I'll answer for it, you'll see your nephew in all his glory.
Sir Oliv. Egad, I like this idea better than the other, and I may visit Joseph afterwards as old Stanley.
Sir Pet. True, so you may.
However, Moses, you understand Sir Peter, and will be faithful ?
Mos. You may depend upon me. [Looks at his watch.] This is near the time I was to have gone.
Sir Oliv. I'll accompany you as soon as you please, Moses But hold! I have forgot one thing — how the plague shall I be able to pass for a Jew?
Mos. There's no need - the principal is Christian.
Sir Oliv. Is he? I'm very sorry to hear it. But, then again, an't I rather too smartly dressed to look like a moneylender?
Sir Pet. Not at all; 't would not be out of character if you went in your own carriage would it, Moses?
Mos. Not in the least.
Sir Oliv. Well, but how must I talk? there's certainly some cant of usury and mode of treating that I ought to know.
Sir Pet. Oh, there's not much to learn. The great point, as I take it, is to be exorbitant enough in your demands. Hey, Moses?
Mos. Yes, that's a very great point.
Sir Oliv. I'll answer for 't I'll not be wanting in that. I'll ask him eight or ten per cent on the loan, at least.
Mos. If you ask him no more than that you'll be discovered immediately.
Sir Oliv. Hey! what, the plague ! how much then?