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is a very
damn it, that's unfortunate; my Lord Grig's cursed Pensacola business comes on this very hour, and I'm engaged to attend another time
Sir Will. A short letter to Sir William will do.
way of going to work; face to face, that's my way
Sir Will. The letter, Sir, will do quite as well.
Lofty. Zounds ! Sir, do you pretend to direct me ? direct me in the business of office ? Do you know me, Sir ? who am I ?
Miss Rich. Dear Mr. Lofty, this request is not so much his as mine; if my commands--but you despise my power.
Lofty. Delicate creature ! your commands could even controul a debate at midnight : to a power so constitutional, I am all obedience and tranquillity. He shall have a letter; where is my secretary! Dubardieu ! And yet, I protest I don't like this way of doing business. I think if I spoke first to Sir William—But you will have it so.
[Exit with Miss Richland. Sir Will. (alone.) Ha, ha, ha! This too is one of my nephew's hopeful associates. O vanity, thou constant deceiver, how do all thy efforts to exalt, serve but to sink us! Thy false colourings, like those employed to heighten beauty, only seem to mend that bloom which they contribute to destroy. I'm not displeased at this interview : exposing this fellow's impudence to the contempt it deserves, may be of use to my design ; at least, if he can reflect, it will be of use to himself.
Enter Jarvis. Sir Will. How now, Jarvis, where's your master, my nephew ?
Jarv. At his wit's ends, I believe: he's scarce gotten out of one scrape, but he's running his head into another.
Sir Will. How so ?
Jarv. The house has but just been cleared of the bailiffs, and now he's again engaging tooth and nail in assisting old Croaker's son to patch up a clandestine match with the young lady that passes in the house for his sister.
Sir Will. Ever busy to serve others!
Jarv. Aye, any body but himself. The young couple, it seems, are just setting out for Scotland ; and he supplies them with money for the journey.
Sir Will. Money! how is he able to supply others, who has scarce any for himself ?
Jarv. Why, there it is: he has no money, that's true; but then, as he never said no to any request in his life, he has given them a bill, drawn by a friend of his upon a merchant in the City, which I am to get changed; for you must know that I am to go with them to Scotland myself.
Sir Will. How !
Jarv. It seems the young gentleman is obliged to take a different road from his mistress, as he is to call upon an uncle of his that lives out of the way, in order to prepare a place for their reception, when they return; so they have borrowed me from my master, as the properest person to attend the young lady down.
Sir Will. To the land of matrimony! A pleasant journey, Jarvis.
Jarv. Ay, but I'm only to have all the fatigues on't.
Sir Will. Well, it may be shorter, and less fatiguing, than you imagine. I know but too much of the young lady's family and connexions, whom I have seen abroad. I have also discovered that Miss Richland is not indifferent to my thoughtless nephew; and will endeavour, though I fear, in vain, to establish that connexion. But, come, the letter I wait for must be almost finished ; I'll let you farther into my intentions, in the next room.
SCENE, CROAKER'S HOUSE. Lofty. Well, sure the devil's in me of late, for running my head into such defiles, as nothing but a genius like my own could draw me from. I was formerly contented to husband out my places and pensions with some degree of frugality ; but, curse it, of late I have given away the whole Court Register in less time than they could print the title page : yet, hang it, why scruple a lie or two to come at a fine girl, when I every day tell a thousand for nothing ? Ha! Honeywood here before me. Could Miss Richland have set him at liberty ?
Enter Honeywood. Mr. Honeywood, I'm glad to see you abroad again. I find my concurrence was not necessary in
unfortunate affairs. I had put things in a train to do your business ; but it is not for me to say what I intended doing.
Honeyw. It was unfortunate indeed, Sir. But what adds to my uneasiness is, that while you seem to be acquainted with my misfortune, I myself continue stil! a stranger to my benefactor. Lofty. How ! not know the friend that served
? Honeyw. Can't guess at the person. Lofty. Inquire.
Honeyw. I have ; but all I can learn is, that he chuses to remain concealed, and that all inquiry must be fruitless.
Lofty. Must be fruitless!
Lofty. Then I'll be damn'd if you shall ever know it from me.
Honeyw. How, Sir !
Lofty. I suppose now, Mr. Honeywood, you think my rent-roll very considerable, and that I have vast sums of money to throw away ; I know you do. The world, to be sure, says such things of me.
Honeyw. The world, by what I learn, is no stranger to your generosity. But where does this tend ?
Lofty. To nothing ; nothing in the world. The town, to be sure, when it makes such a thing as me the subject of conversation, has asserted, that I never yet patronised a man of merit.
Honeyw. I have heard instances to the contrary, even from yourself.
Lofty. Yes, Honeywood, and there are instances to the contrary, that
you shall never hear from myself. Honeyw. Ha ! dear Sir, permit me to ask you but one question.
Lofty. Sir, ask me no questions : I say, Sir, ask me no questions ; I'll be damned if I answer them.
Honeyw. I will ask no farther. My friend ! my benefactor, it is, it must be here, that I am indebted for freedom, for honour. Yes, thou worthiest of men, from the beginning I suspected it, but was afraid to return thanks; which, if undeserved, might seem reproaches.
Lofty. I protest I do not understand all this, Mr. Honeywood. You treat me very cavalierly. I do assure you, Sir-Blood, Sir, can't a man be permitted to enjoy the luxury of his own feelings, without all this parade !
Honeyw. Nay, do not attempt to conceal an action that adds to your honour. Your looks, your air, your manner, all confess it.
Lofty. Confess it, Sir! Torture itself, Sir, shall never bring me to confess it. Mr. Honeywood, I have admitted
you upon terms of friendship. Don't let us fall out; make me happy, and let this be buried in oblivion. You know I hate ostentation ; you know I do. Come, come, Honeywood, you know I always loved to be a friend, and not a patron. I beg this may make no kind of distance between us. Come, come, you and I must be more familiar-Indeed we must.
Honeyw. Heavens ! Can I ever repay such friendship? Is there any way! Thou best of men, can I ever return the obligation ?
Lofty. A bagatelle, a mere bagatelle ! But I see your heart is labouring to be grateful. You shall be grateful. It would be cruel to disappoint you.
Honeyw. How! teach me the manner.
Is there any
Lofty. From this moment you're mine. Yes, my friend, you shall know it—I'm in love.
Honeyw. And can I assist you ?
Lofty. To a lady with whom you have great interest, I assure you : Miss Richland.
Honeyw. Miss Richland !
Lofty. Yes, Miss Richland. She has struck the blow up to the hilt in my bosom, by Jupiter.
Honeyw. Heavens! was ever any thing more unfortunate! It is too much to be endured.
Lofty. Unfortunate indeed! And yet I can endure it, till
you have opened the affair to her for me. Between ourselves, I think she likes me. I'm not apt to boast, but I think she does.
Honeyw. Indeed! But, do you know the person you apply to ?