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BAILIFF. Madam, you are a gentlewoman, and I will make the matter out. This here question is about severity and justice, and pardon, and the like of they. Now to explain the thing
HONEYWOOD. O! curse your explanations.
SERVANT. Mr. Leontine, Sir, below, desires to speak with you upon earnest business.
HONEYWOOD. That's lucky. (Alide.) Dear madam, you'll excuse me and my good friends here, for a few minutes. There are books, madam, to amuse you. Come, gentlemen, you know I make no ceremony with such friends. After you, Sir.
Excuse nie. Well, if I must. But I know your natural politeness.
BAILIFF. Before and behind, you
FOLLOWER. Ay, ay, before and behind, before and behind. [Exeunt Honeywood, Bailiff, and Follower.
Mifs RICHLAND. What can all this mean, Garnet ?
GARNET. Mean, madam! why, what should it mean, but what Mr. Lofty sent you here to see! These peo
ple he calls officers are officers sure enough: Merif's officers; bailiffs, madam.
Miss RICHLAND. Ay, it is certainly so. Well, though his perplexities are far from giving me pleasure, yet I own there's something very ridiculous in them, and a just punishment for his diffimulation.
GARNET. And so they are. But I wonder, madam, that the lawyer you just employed to pay his debts, and set him free, has not done it by this time. He ought at least to have been here before now. But lawyers are always more ready to get a man into troubles, than out of them.
Enter Sir WILLIAM.
Sir WILLIAM. For Miss Richland to undertake setting him free, I own, was quite unexpected. It has totally unhinged my schemes to reclaim him. Yet, it gives me pleasure to find, that, among a number of worthless friendships, he has made one acquisition of real value; for there must be some softer passion on her side that prompts this generofity. Ha ! here before me : I'll endeavour to found her affections. Madam, as I am the person that have had some demands upon the gentleman of this house, I hope you'll excuse me, if, before I enlarged him, I wanted to see yourself.
Miss RICHLAND. The precaution was very unnecessary, Sir. I suppose your wants were only such as my agent had power to satisfy
Sir WILLIAM. Partiy, madam. But, I was also willing you hould be fully apprized of the character of the gentleman you intended to serve.
Miss RichLAND. It must come, fir, with a very ill grace from you. To censure it, after what you have done, would look like malice; and, to speak favourably of a character you have oppreffed, would be impeaching your own.
And sure, his tenderness, his humanity, his universal friendship, may atone for many faults.
Sir WILLIAM. That friendship, madam, which is exerted in too wide a sphere, becomes totally useless. Our bounty, like a drop of water, disappears when diffused too widely. They, who pretend most to this univerfal benevolence, are either deceivers, or dupes. Men who desire to cover their private ill-nature, by a pretended regard for all; or, men who, reasoning themselves into falfe feelings, are more earnest in pursuit of splendid, than of useful virtues.
Miss RICHLAND. I am surprised, Sir, to hear one, who has probably been a gainer by the folly of others, so severe in his censure of it.
Miss Rich LAND.
Miss Richland. Sir, I'm infinitely obliged to your intentions. But my guardian has employed another gentleman who assures him of success.
Sir WILLIAM. Who, the important little man that visits here? Trust me, madam, he's quite contemptible among men in power, and utterly unable to serve you, Mr. Lofty's promises are much better known to people of fashion, than his person, I assure you.
Miss RICHLAND. How have we been deceived ! As fure as can be, here he comes.
Sir WILLIAM. Does he! Remember I'm to continue unknown. My return to England has not as yet been made public. With what impudence he enters !
LOFTY. Let the chariot-let my chariot drive off; I'll visit to his grace's in a chair. Miss Richland here before me ! Punctual, as usual, to the calls of humanity. I'm very sorry, madam, things of this kind fhould happen, especially to a man I have shewn every where, and carried amongst us as a particular acquaintance.
Miss RICHLAND. I find, Sir, you have the art of making the misfortunes of others your own.