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meeting, his impudence had almost put me out of temper. An obstinate, passionate, self-willed boy! Who can he take after ? This is my return for getting him before all his brothers and sisters !—for putting him, at twelve years old, into a marching regiment, and allowing him fifty pounds a year, besides his pay, ever since ! But I have done with him ; he's anybody's son for me. I never will see him more, 'nevernever-never.
Abs. (Aside, coming forward.] Now for a penitential face.
Abs. A sincere penitent. I am come, sir, to acknowledge my error, and to submit entirely to your will. Sir Anth. What's that?
Abs. I have been revolving, and reflecting, and considering on your past goodness, and kindness, and condescension to
Sir Anth. Well, sir ?
Abs. I have been likewise weighing and balancing what you were pleased to mention concerning duty, and obedience, and authority.
Sir Anth. Well, puppy ?
Abs. Why, then, sir, the result of my reflections is—a resolution to sacrifice every inclination of my own to your satisfaction.
Sir Anth. Why now you talk sense--absolute sense -I never heard anything more sensible in my life. Confound you ! you shall be Jack again.
Abs. I am happy in the appellation.
Sir Anth. Why, then, Jack, my dear Jack, I will now inform you who the lady really is. Nothing but your passion and violence, you silly fellow, prevented my telling you at first. Prepare, Jack, for wonder and rapture-prepare. What think you of Miss Lydia Languish ?
Abs. Languish! What, the Languishes of Worcestershire ?
Sir Anth. Worcestershire ! no. Did you never meet Mrs. Malaprop and her niece, Miss Languish, who came into our country just before you were last ordered to your regiment?
Abs. Malaprop ! Languish ! I don't remember ever to have heard the names before. Yet, stay, i think I do recollect something. Languish! Languish! She squints, don't she? A little red-hgired girl ?
Sir Anth. Squints! A red-haired girl! Zounds ! no.
Abs. Then I must have forgot; it can't be the same person.
Sir Anth. Jack ! Jack ! what think you of blooming, lovebreathing seventeen?
Abs. As to that, sir, I am quite indifferent. If I can please you in the matter, 'tis all I desire.
Sir Anth. Nay, but Jack, such eyes ! such eyes ! so inno cently wild ! so bashfully irresolute ! not a glance but speaks and kindles some thought of love! Then, Jack, her cheeks ! her cheeks, Jack; so deeply blushing at the insinuations of her tell-tale eyes! Then, Jack, her lips ! O Jack, lips smiling at their own discretion; and if not smiling, more sweetly pouting; more lovely in sullenness. Abs. That's she, indeed. Well done old gentleman !
[Aside. Sir Anth. Then, Jack, her neck. Jack ! Jack ! Abs. And which is to be mine, sir, the niece or the aunt?
Sir Anth. Why you unfeeling, insensible puppy, I despise you! When I was of your age, such a description would have made me fly like a rocket! The aunt, indeed! Odds life! when I ran away with your mother, I would not have touched anything old or ugly to gain an empire.
Abs. Not to please your father, sir?
Sir Anth. To please my father! zounds! not to please Oh, my father-odd so!-yes-yes; if my father indeed had desired-that's quite another matter. Though he wa'n't the indulgent father that I am, Jack.
Abs. I dare say not, sir.
Sir Anth. But, Jack, you are not sorry to find your mistress is so beautiful?
Abs. Sir, I repeat it—if I please you in this affair, 'tis all I desire. Not that I think a woman the worse for being handsome; but, sir, if you please to recollect, you before hinted something about a hump or two, one eye, and a few more graces of that kind-now, without being very nice, I own I should rather choose a wife of mine to have the usual number of limbs, and a limited quantity of back: and though one eye may be very agreeable, yet as the prejudice has always run in favour of two, I would not wish to affect a singularity in that article.
Sir Anth. What a phlegmatic sot it is! Why, sirrah, you're an anchorite !-a vile, insensible stock. You a soldier !
you're a walking block, fit only to dust the company's regimentals on! Odds life ! I have a great mind to marry the girl myself.
Abs. I am entirely at your disposal, sir ; if you should think of addressing Miss Languish yourself, I suppose you would have me marry the aunt; or if you should change your mind, and take the old lady—'tis the same to me--I'll marry the niece.
Sir Anth. Upon my word, Jack, thou'rt either a very great hypocrite, or-but, come, I know your indifference on such a subject must be all a lie - I'm sure it must-come, now-damn your demure face !-come, confess, Jack-you have been lying
-ha'n't you? You have been playing the hypocrite, hey!I'll never forgive you, if you ha'n't been lying and playing the hypocrite.
Abs. I'm sorry, sir, that the respect and duty which I bear to you should be so mistaken.
Sir Anth. Hang your respect and duty! But come along with
me; I'll write a note to Mrs. Malaprop, and you shall visit the lady directly. Her eyes shall be the Promethean torch to you-come along, I'll never forgive you, if you don't come back stark mad with rapture and impatience--if you don't, egad, I will marry the girl myself !
[Exeunt. SCENE II.-Julia's Dressing-room.
FAULKLAND discovered alone. Faulk. They told me Julia would return directly; I wonder she is not yet come! How mean does this captious, unsatisfied temper of mine appear to my cooler judgment ! Yet I know not that I indulge it in any other point : but on this one subject, and to this one subject, whom I think I love beyond my life, I am ever ungenerously fretful and madly capricious ! I am conscious of it-yet I cannot correct myself! What tender honest joy sparkled in her eyes when we met! how delicate was the warmth of her expressions! I was ashamed to appear less happythough I had come resolved to wear a face of coolness and upbraiding. Sir Anthony's presence prevented my proposed expostulations : yet I must be satisfied that she has not been so very happy in my absence. She is coming! Yes !- I know the nimbleness of her tread, when she thinks her impatient Faulkland counts the moments of her stay.
Faulk. Could I, Julia, be contented with my first welcome --restrained as we were by the presence of a third person?
Jul. O Faulkland, when your kindness can make me thus happy, let me not think that I discovered something of coldness in your first salutation.
Faulk. 'Twas but your fancy, Julia. I was rejoiced to see you—to see you in such health. Sure I had no cause for coldness?
Jul. Nay, then, I see you have taken something ill. You must not conceal from me what it is.
Faulk. Well, then-shall I own to you that my joy at hearing of your health and arrival here, by your neighbour Acres, was somewhat damped by his dwelling much on the high spirits you had enjoyed in Devonshire-on your mirthyour singing--dancing, and I know not what! For such is my temper, Julia, that I should regard every mirthful moment in your absence as a treason to constancy. The mutual tear that steals down the cheek of parting lovers is a compact, that no smile shall live there till they meet again.
Jul. Must I never cease to tax my Faulkland with this teasing minute caprice? Can the idle reports of a silly boor weigh in your breast against my tried affections ?
Faulk. They have no weight with me, Julia : No, no-I am happy if you have been so—yet only say, that you did not sing with mirth-say
that you thought of Faulkland in the dance. Jul. I never can be happy in your absence.
If I wear a countenance of content, it is to show that my mind holds no doubt of my Faulkland's truth. If I seemed sad, it were 'to make malice triumph ; and say, that I had fixed my heart on one, who left me to lament his roving, and my own credulity. Believe me, Faulkland, I mean not to upbraid you, when I say, that I have often dressed sorrow in smiles, lest my friends should guess
whose unkindness had caused my tears. Faulk. You were ever all goodness to me Oh, i am a brute, when I but admit a doubt of your true coristancy !
Jul. If ever without such cause from you, as I will not suppose possible, you find my affections veering but a point, may I become a proverbial scoff for levity and base ingratitude.
Faulk. Ah ! Julia, that last word is grating to me. I would I had no title to you, gratitude ! Search your heart, Julia ; perhaps what you have mistaken for love, is but the warm effusion of a too thankful heart.
Jul. For what quality must I love you ?
Faulk. For no quality! To regard me for any quality of mind or understanding, were only to esteem me. And for person-I have often wished myself deformed, to be convinced that I owed no obligation there for any part of your affection.
Jul. Where nature has bestowed a show of nice attention in the features of a man, he should laugh at it as misplaced. I have seen men, who in this vain article, perhaps, might rank above you ; but my heart has never asked my eyes if it were so or not.
Faulk. Now this is not well from you, Julia—I despise person in a man-yet if you loved me as I wish, though I were an Æthiop, you'd think none so fair.
Jul. I see you are determined to be unkind! The contract which my poor father bound us in gives you more than a lover's privilege.
Faulk. Again, Julia, you raise ideas that feed and justify my doubts. I would not have been more free-n0-I am proud of my restraint. Yet-yet-perhaps your high respect alone for this solemn compact has fettered your inclinations, which else had made a worthier choice. How shall I be sure, had you remained unbound in thought and promise, that I should still have been the object of your persevering love ?
Jul. Then try me now. Let us be free as strangers as to what is past: my heart will not feel more liberty !
Faulk. There now! so hasty, Julia ! so anxious to be free! If your love for me were fixed and ardent, you would not lose your hold, even though I wished it!
Jul. Oh! you torture me to the heart ! I cannot bear it.
Faulk. I do not mean to distress you. If I loved you less I should never give you an uneasy moment. But hear me. All my fretful doubts arise from this. Women are not used to weigh and separate the motives of their affections : the cold dictates of prudence, gratitude, or filial duty, may sometimes be mistaken for the pleadings of the heart. I would not boast ---yet let me say, that I have neither age, person, nor character, to found dislike on; my fortune such as few ladies could be charged with indiscretion in the match. O Julia ! when love receives such countenance from prudence, nice minds will be suspicious of its birth.
Jul. I know not whither your insinuations would tend :-but as they seem pressing to insult me, I will spare you the regret of having done so.--I have given you no cause for this !
[Exit in tears Faulk. In tears! Stay, Julia : stay but for a moment. - The