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Croak. How, Sir! do you maintain that I should lie down, under such an injury, and shew, neither by my tears nor complaints, that I have something of the spirit of a man in me ?
Honeyw. Pardon me, Sir. You ought to make the loudest complaints, if you desire redress. The surest way to have redress, is to be earnest in the pursuit of it.
Croak. Aye, whose opinion is he of now ?
Mrs. Croak. But don't you think that laughing-off our fears is the best way ?
Honeyw. What is the best, madam, few can say ; but I'll maintain it to be a very
Croak. But we're talking of the best. Surely the best way is to face the enemy in the field, and not wait till he plunders us in our very bed-chamber.
Honeyw. Why, Sir, as to the best, that—that's a very wise way
too. Mrs. Croak. But can any thing be more absurd, than to double our distresses by our apprehensions, and put it in the power of every low fellow, that can scrawl ten words of wretched spelling, to torment us ?
Honeyw. Without doubt, nothing more absurd.
Croak. How ! would it not be more absurd to despise the rattle till we are bit by the snake ?
Honeyw. Without doubt, perfectly absurd.
Honeyw. Heavens forbid, madam ! reasoning can be more just than yours. We ought certainly to despise malice if we cannot oppose it, and not make the incendiary's pen as fatal to our repose as the highwayman's pistol.
Mrs. Croak. O! then you think I'm quite right?
Croak. A plague of plagues, we can't be both right. I ought to be sorry, or I ought to be glad. My hat must be on my head, or my hat must be off.
Mrs. Croak. Certainly, in two opposite opinions, if one be perfectly reasonable, the other can't be perfectly right.
Honeyw. And why may not both be right, madam ? Mr. Croaker in earnestly seeking redress, and you in waiting the event with good humour ? Pray let me see the letter again. I have it. This letter requires twenty guineas to be left at the bar of the Talbot Inn. If it be indeed an incendiary letter, what if you and I, Sir, go there ; and, when the writer comes to be paid his expected booty, seize him?
Croak. My dear friend, it's the very thing; the very thing. While I walk by the door, you shall plant yourself in ambush near the bar; burst out upon the miscreant like a masqued battery ; extort a confession at once, and so hang him up by surprise.
Honeyw. Yes, but I would not chuse to exercise too much severity. It is my maxim, Sir, that crimes generally punish themselves. Croak. Well, but we may upbraid him a little, I sup
[Ironically. Honeyw. Aye, but not punish him too rigidly. Croak. Well, well, leave that to my own benevolence.
Honeyw. Well, I do; but remember that universal benevolence is the first law of nature.
[Exeunt Honeywood and Mrs. Croaker. Croak. Yes; and my universal benevolence will hang the dog, if he had as many necks as a hydra.
SCENE, AN INN.
Enter Olivia, Jarvis. Oliv. Well, we have got safe to the Inn, however. Now, if the post-chaise were ready
Jarv. The horses are just finishing their oats; and, as they are not going to be married, they chuse to take their own time.
Oliv. You are for ever giving wrong motives to my impatience.
Jarv. Be as impatient as you will, the horses must take their own time; besides, you don't consider, we have got no answer from our fellow-traveller yet. If we hear nothing from Mr. Leontine, we have only one way left us.
Oliv. What way?
and nothing shall induce me to break it.
Jarv. Aye; resolutions are well kept, when they jump with inclination. However, I'll go hasten things without. And I'll call, too, at the bar, to see if any thing should be left for us there. Don't be in such a plaguy hurry, madam, and we shall go the faster, I promise you.
[Exit Jarvis. Enter Landlady. Land. What! Solomon, why don't you move ? Pipes and tobacco for the Lamb there.--Will nobody answer? To the Dolphin ; quick. The Angel has been outrageous this half hour. Did your ladyship call, madam ?
Oliv. No, madam.
Land I find, as you're for Scotland, madam-But that's no business of mine ; married, or not married, I
ask no questions. To be sure we had a sweet little couple set off from this two days ago for the same place. The gentleman, for a tailor, was, to be sure, as fine a spoken tailor, as ever blew froth from a full pot. And the young lady so bashful, it was near half an hour before we could get her to finish a pint of rasberry between us.
Oliv. But this gentleman and I are not going to be married,
assure you. Land. May be not. That's no business of mine; for certain, Scotch marriages seldom turn out well. There was, of my own knowledge, Miss Macfag, that married her father's footman.—Alack-a-day, she and her husband soon parted, and now keep separate cellars in Hedge-lane. Oliv. A very pretty picture of what lies before me !
Leont. My dear Olivia, my anxiety, till you were out of danger, was too great to be resisted. I could not help coming to see you set out, though it exposes us to a discovery.
Oliv. May every thing you do prove as fortunate. Indeed, Leontine, we have been most cruelly disappointed. Mr. Honeywood's bill upon the City has, it seems, been protested, and we have been utterly at a loss how to proceed.
Leont. How! an offer of his own too. Sure, he could not mean to deceive us.
Oliv. Depend upon his sincerity; he only mistook the desire for the power of serving us. But let us think no more of it. I believe the post-chaise is ready by this.
Land. Not quite yet: and, begging your ladyship’s pardon, I don't think your ladyship quite ready for the postchaise. The north-road is a cold place, madam. I have a drop in the house of as pretty rasberry as ever was
tipt over tongue. Just a thimblefull to keep the wind off your stomach. To be sure, the last couple we had here, they said it was a perfect nosegay. Ecod, I sent them both away as good-natured.-Up went the blinds, round went the wheels, and drive away post-boy, was the word.
Enter Croaker. Croak. Well, while my friend Honeywood is upon the post of danger at the bar, it must be my business to have an eye about me here. I think I know an incendiary's look; for wherever the devil makes a purchase, he never fails to set his mark. Ha ! who have we here ? My son and daughter! What can they be doing here !
Land. I tell you, madam, it will do you good ; I think I know by this time what's good for the north-road. It's a raw night, madam-Sir
Leont. Not a drop more, good madam. I should now take it as a greater favour, if you hasten the horses, for I am afraid to be seen myself.
Land. That shall be done. Wha, Solomon ! are you all dead there? Wha, Solomon, I say ! [Exit bawling.
Oliv. Well! I dread, lest an expedition begun in fear, should end in repentanoe.-Every moment we stay increases our danger, and adds to my apprehensions.
Leont. There's no danger, trust me, my dear; there can be none. If Honeywood has acted with honour, and kept my father as he promised, in employment till we are out of danger, nothing can interrupt our journey.
Oliv. I have no doubt of Mr. Honeywood's sincerity, and even his desires to serve us. My fears are from your father's suspicions. A mind so disposed to be alarmed without a cause, will be but too ready when there's a
Leont. Why, let him when we are out of his power. But believe me, Olivia, you have no great reason to dread