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Honeywood. My own sentiments, madam : friendship is a difinterested commerce between equals; love, an abject intercourse between tyrants and slaves.
Mifs RICHLAND. And, without a compliment, I know none more disinterested, or more capable of friendthip chan Mr. Honeywood.
Mrs. CROAKER. And, indeed, I know nobody that has more friends, at least among the ladies. Miss Fruzz, Miss Odbody, and Miss Winterbottom praise him in all companies. As for Miss Biddy Bundle, she's his professed admirer.
Miss RICHLAND. Indeed! an admirer! I did not know, Sir, you were such a favourite there. But is she seriously so handsome? Is the the mighty thing talked of?
HONEYWOOD. The town, madam, feldom begins to praise a lady's beauty, till she's beginning to lofe it.
(Smiling.) Mrs. ĆROAKER. But she's resolv'd never to lose it, it seems. For, as her natural face decays, her skill improves in making the artificial one. Well, nothing diverts me more than one of those fine, old, dressy things, who thinks to conceal her age, by every where exposing her person ; sticking herself up in the front of a fide
box; trailing through a minuet at Almack's; and then, in the public gardens, looking for all the world like one of the painted ruins of the place.
HoneyWOOD. Every age has its admirers, ladies. While you, perhaps, are trading among the warmer climates of youth; there ought to be some to carry on an useful commerce in the frozen latitudes beyond fifty.
Miss RichLAND. But, then, the mortifications they must suffer, before they can be fitted out for traffic. I have seen one of them fret an whole morning at her hairdresser; when all the fault was her face.
HONEYWOOD. And yet, l'11 engage,
has carried that face at laft to a very good market. This good-natur’d town, madam, has husbands, like fpectacles, to fit every age, from fifteen to fourscore.
Mrs. CROAKER. Well, you're a dear good-natur’d creature. But you know you're engaged with us this morning upon a strolling party. I want to shew Olivia the town, and the things; I believe I shall have business for you for the whole day.
HONEYWOOD. I am sorry, madam, I have an appointment with Mr. Croaker, which it is imposible to put off.
Mrs. CROaker. What! with my husband !, then I'm resolved to take no refusal. Nay, I protest you muft. You know I never laugh so much as with you.
HONEYWood. Why, if I muft, I muft. I'll swear you have put me into such spirits. Well, do you find jest, and I'll find laugh, I promise you. We'll wait for the chariot in the next room.
Enter Leontine and OLIVIA.
LEONTINE. There they go, thoughtless and happy. My deareft Olivia, what would I give to see you capable of sharing in their amusements, and as cheerful as they are?
OLIVIA. How, my Leontine, how can I be cheerful, when I have so many terrors to oppress me? the fear of being detected by this family, and the apprehensions of a censuring world, when I must be detected
LEONTINE. The world! my love, what can it fay? At worst it can only say that, being compelled by a mercenary guardian to embrace a life you disliked, you formed a resolution of flying with the man of your choice that
confided in his honour, and took refuge in my father's house ; the only one where your's could remain without censure.
OLIVIA. But confider, Leontine, your disobedience and my indiscretion : your being sent to France to bring home a fifter; and, inftead of a fifter, 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. Impossible, 'till we ourselves think proper to make the discovery. My sister, you know, has been with her aunt, at Lyons, since fhe was a child, and you find every creature in the family takes you for her.
LEONTINE. Her aunt scarce ever writes, and all my sister'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 suspicion ?
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 pf 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 suppose 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 apprehenfions; but when your merits come to be put in the balance
LEONTINE. You view them with too much partialiey. However, by making this offer, I shew 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 fubmit. And yet, my Leontine, I own, I shall 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