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OLIVLA. But consider, Leontine, your disobedience and my indiscretion : your being sent to France to bring home a fifter ; and, instead of a sister, bringing home
LEONTINE. One dearer than a thousand sisters. One that. I am convinc'd will be equally dear, to the rest of the family, when she comes to be known.
LEONTINE. Impoflible, 'till we ourselves think proper to make the discovery. My sister, you know, has been with her aunt, at Lyons, fince she was a child, and you find every creature in the family takes you for her.
LEONTINE. Her aunt scarce ever writes, and all my fifter's letters are directed to me.
OLIVIA. But won't your refusing Miss Richland, for whom -you know the old gentleman intends you, create a fufpicion ?
LEONTINE.. There, there's my master-stroke. I have resolved not to refuse her; nay, an hour hence I have consented to go with my father, to make her an offer of my heart and fortune.
OLIVIA. Your heart and fortune!
LEONTINE. Don't be alarm’d, my dearest. Can Olivia think so meanly of my honour, or my love, as to fuppose I could ever hope for happiness from any but her? No, my Olivia, neither the force, nor, permit me to add, the delicacy of my passion, leave any room to suspect me. I only offer Miss Richland an heart, I am convinc'd she will refuse ; as I am confident, that, without knowing it, her affections are fixed upon Mr. Honeywood
OLIVIA. Mr. Honeywood! You'll excuse my apprehensions; but when your merits come to be put in the balance
LEONTINE You view them with too much partiality. However, by making this offer, I Mew a seeming compliance with my father's command; and perhaps, upon her refusal, I may have his consent to chuse for myself.
OLIVIA. Well, I submit. And yet, my Leontine, I own, I fall envy her, even your pretended addresses. I consider every look, every expresion of your esteem, as due only to me. This is folly perhaps : I allow it: but it is natural to suppose, that merit which
has made an impression on one's own heart, may be powerful over that of another.
LEONTINE. Don’t, my life's treasure, don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have fo many
real ones to encounter. At worst, you know, if Miss Richland hould consent, or my father refuse his pardon, it can but end in a trip to Scotland; and
CROAKER. Where have you been, boy! I have been seeking you. My friend Honeywood here, has been saying such comfortable things. Ah! he's an example indeed. Where is he? I left him here.
LEONTINE. Sir, I believe you may see him, and hear him too in the next room: he's preparing to go out with the ladies.
CROAKER. Good gracious, can I believe my eyes or my ears ! I'm struck dumb with his vivacity, and stunr'd with the loudness of his laugh. Was there ever such a transformation! (A laugh behind the scenes, Croaker mimics it.) Ha! ha! ha! there it goes: a plague take their balderdash; yet I could expect nothing less, when my precious wife was of the party. On my conscience, l'believe, the could spread an horselaugh through the pews of a tabernacle.
LEONTINE. Since you find so many objections to a wife, fir, how can you be so earneft in recommending one to me?
CROAKER. I have told you, and tell you again, boy, that Miss Richland's fortune must not go out of the family; one may find comfort in the money, whatever one dies in the wife.
LEONTINE. But, Sir, though, in obedience to your desire, I am ready to marry her; it may be possible, he has no inclination to me.
CROAKER. I'll tell you once for all how it stands. A good part of Miss Richland's large fortune consists in a claim upon government, which my good friend, Mr. Lofty, affures me the treasury will allow. One half of this she is to forfeit, by her father's will, in case the refuses to marry you. So, if she rejects you, we seize half her fortune ; if the accepts you, we seize the whole, and a fine girl into the bargain.
LEONTINE. You have alledged that a mutual choice was the first requisite in matrimonial happiness.
CROAKER. Well, and you have both of you a mutual choice. She has her choice-to marry you, or lose half her fortune; and you
choice to marry her, or pack out of doors without any fortune at all.
LeontixE. An only son, Sir, might expect more indulgence.
CROAKER. An only father, Sir, might expect more obedience; besides, has not your sister here, that never disobliged me in her life, as good a right as you? He's a sad dog, Livy, my dear, and would take all from you. But he shan't, I tell you he shan't, for you shall have
OLIVIA. Dear Sir, I wilh you'd be convinced that I can never be happy in any addition to my fortune, which is taken from his.
CROAKER. Well, well, it's a good child, fo say no more; but come with me, and we shall see something that will give us a great deal of pleasure, I promise you ; old Ruggins, the curry-comb-maker, lying in state; I'm told he makes a very handsome corpse, and becomes his cofin prodigioully. He was an intimate friend of mine, and these are friendly things we ought to do for each other.