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thing in my power to deserve it. Her indelicacy surprises me !
Olivia. Sure, Leontine, there's nothing so indelicate in being sensible of your merit. If so, I fear I shall be the most guilty thing alive.
Leon. But you mistake, my dear. The same attention I used to advance my merit with you, I practised, to lessen it with her, What more could I do?
Olivia. Let us now rather consider what's to be done. We have both dissembled too long—I have always been ashamed—I am now quite weary of it. Sure I could never have undergone so much for any other but you.
Leon, And you shall find my gratitude equal to your kindest compliance. Though our friends should totally forsake us, Olivia, we can draw upon content for the deficiencies of fortune.
Olivia. Then why should we defer our scheme of humble happiness, when it is now in our power? I may be the favourite of your father, it is true; but can it ever be thought, that his present kindness to a supposed child, will continue to a known deceiver?
Leon. I have many reasons to believe it will. As his attachments are but few, they are lasting. His own marriage was a private one, as ours may be. Besides, I have sounded him already at a distance, and find all his answers exactly to our wish. Nay, by an expression or two that dropped from him, I am induced to think he knows of this affair.
Olivia. Indeed! But that would be a happiness too great to be expected.
Leon. However it be, I'm certain you have power over him; and am persuaded, if you informed him of our situation, that he would be disposed to pardon it.
Olivia. You had equal expectations, Leontine, from your last scheme with Miss Richland, which you find has succeeded most wretchedly.
Leon. And that's the best reason for trying another:
Olivia. If it must be so, I submit.
Now my dearest Olivia, be resolute. I'll just retire within hearing, to come in at a proper time, either to share your danger, or confirm your victory. [Exit.
Enter CROĄKER, Croak. Yes, I must forgive her; and yet not too easily neither. It will be proper to keep up the decorums of resentment a little, if it be only to impress her with an idea of my authority.
Olivia. How I tremble to approach him!-Might I presume, sir-If I interrupt you—.
Croak. No, child, where I have an affection, it is not a little thing can interrupt mę.
Affection gets over little things.
Olivia. Sir, vou're too kind. I'm sensible how ill I deserve this partiality. Yet, Heaven knows, there is nothing. I would not do to gain it,
Croak. And you have but too well succeeded, you little bussy, you. With those endearing ways of yours, on my conscience, I could be brought to forgive any thing, unless it were a very great offence indeed.
Olivia. But mine is such an offence— When you know my guilt-Yes, you shall know it, though I feel the greatest pain in the confession.
Croak. Why, then, if it be so very great a pain, you may spare yourself the trouble, for I know every syllable of the matter before you begin.
Olivia. Indeed! Then I'm undone.
Croak. Ay, miss, you wanted to steal a match, without letting me know it, did you ? But I'm not worth being consulted, I suppose, when there's to be a marriage in my own family. No, I'm to have no hand in the disposal of my own children.—No, I'm nobody.—I'm to be a mere article of family lumberpiece of cracked china, to be stuck up in a corner,
Olivia. Dear sir, nothing but the dread of thority, could induce us to conceal it from you.
Croak. No, no, my consequence is no more; I'm as little minded as a dead Russian in winter, just stuck up with a pipe in his mouth, till there comes a thaw. It goes to my heart to vex her.
Olivia. I was prepared, sir, for your anger, and despaired of pardon, even while I presumed to ask it. But your severity shall never abate my affection, as my punishment is but justice.
Croak. And yet, you should not despair, neither, Livy. We ought to hope all for the best.
Olivia. And do you permit me to hope, sir ? Can I ever expect to be forgiven? But hope has too long deceived me.
Croak. Why, then, child, it sha'n't deceive you now, for I forgive you this very moment. I forgive you all; and now you are indeed my daughter.
Olivia. This kindness overpowers me.
Croak. I was always against severity to our children. We have been young and giddy ourselves, and we can't expect boys and girls to be old before their time.
Olivia. What generosity! But can you forget the many falsehoods, the dissimulation
Croak. You did indeed dissemble, you urchin, you ; but where's the girl that won't dissemble for a husband! My wife and I had never been married, if we had not dissembled a little before-hand.
Olivia. It shall be my future care never to put such generosity to a second trial. And, as for the partner of my offence and folly, from his native honour, and the just sense he has of his duty, I can answer for him that
Enter Leontine. Leon. Permit him thus, to answer for himself. [Kneeling.) Thus, sir, let me speak my gratitude for this unmerited forgiveness. Yes, sir, this even exceeds all your former tenderness : I now can boast the most indulgent of fathers. The life he gave, compared to this, was but a trifling blessing.
Croak. And, good sir, who sent for you, with that fine tragedy face, and Aourishing manner? I don't know what we have to do with your gratitude upon this occasion.
Leon. How, sir, is it possible to be silent when se much obliged! Would you refuse me the pleasure of being grateful! of adding my thanks to my Olivia's ! Of sharing in the transports that you have thus occasioned.
Croak. Lord, sir, we can be happy enough, without your coming in to make up the party. I don't know what's the matter with the boy all this day; he has got into such a rhodomontade manner all the morning!
Leon. But, sir, I that have so large a part in the benefit, is it not my duty to show my joy? Is the being admitted to your favour so slight an obligation? Is the happiness of marrying my Olivia so small a blessing?
Croak. Marrying, Olivia! marrying Olivia! marrying his own sister! Sure the boy is out of his senses. His own sister!
Leon. My sister!
[Aside. Croak. What does the booby mean? or has he any meaning ? Eh, what do you mean, you blockhead,
Leon. Mean, sir-why, sir-only when my sister is to be married, that I have the pleasure of marrying her, sir; that is, of giving her away, sir I have made a point of it.
Croak. O, is that all. Give her away. You have made a point of it. Then you had as good make a point, of first giving away yourself, as I'm going to prepare the writings between you and Miss Richland this very minute. What a fuss is here about nothing! Why, what's the matter now? I thought I had made you at least as happy as you could wish.
Olivia. O! yes, sir, very happy.
Croak. Do you foresee any thing, child? You look as if you did. I think if any thing was to be foreseen, i have as sharp a look-out as another: and yet I foresee nothing.
[Exit. Oliviu. What can it mean?
Leon. He knows something, and yet for my life I can't tell what.
Olivia. It can't be the connexion between us, I'm pretty certain.
Leon. Whatever it be, my dearest, I'm resolved to put it out of fortune's power to repeat our mortification. I'll haste, and prepare for our journey to Scotland this very evening. My friend Honeywood has promised me his advice and assistance. I'll go to him, and repose our distresses on his friendly bosom: and I know so much of his honest heart, that if he can't relieve our uneasinesses, he will at least share them.