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Poland-Honest Pon—(Searching.) O, Sir, what, are you here too? I'll tell you what, honest friend, if you have not absolutely delivered my letter to Sir William Honeywood, you may return it. The thing will do without him.
Sir Will. Sir, I have delivered it; and must inform you, it was received with the most mortifying contempt.
Croak. Contempt! Mr. Lofty, what can that mean?
Lofty. Let him go on, let him go on, I say. You'll find it come to something presently.
Sir Will. Yes, Sir, I believe you'll be amazed, if after waiting some time in the anti-chamber, after being surveyed with insolent curiosity by the passing servants, I was at last assured, that Sir William Honeywood knew no such person, and I must certainly have been imposed upon.
Lofty. Good ; let me die; very good. Ha ! ha! ha!
Croak. Now, for my life, I can't find out half the goodness of it.
Lofty. You can't. Ha ! ha!
Croak. No, for the soul of me! I think it was as confounded a bad answer as ever was sent from one private gentleman to another.
Lofty. And so you can't find out the force of the message? Why, I was in the house at that
time. На ! ha! It was I that sent that very answer to my own letter.. Ha ! ha!
Croak. Indeed! How? why?
Lofty. In one word, things between Sir William and me must be behind the curtain. A party has many eyes. He sides with Lord Buzzard, I side with Sir Gilbert Goose. So that unriddles the mystery.
Croak. And so it does, indeed ; and all my suspicions
Lofty. Your suspicions! What, then, you have been
It's over ;
suspecting, you have been suspecting, have you? Mr. Croaker, you and I were friends; we are friends no longer. Never talk to me.
it's over. Croak. As I hope for your favour I did not mean to offend. It escaped me. Don't be discomposed.
Lofty. Zounds! Sir, but I am discomposed, and will be discomposed. To be treated thus! Who am I! Was it for this I have been dreaded both by ins and outs ? Have I been libelled in the Gazetteer, and praised in the St. James's ? have I been chaired at Wildman's, and a speaker at Merchant-Tailors' Hall ? have I had my hand to addresses, and my head in the print-shops; and talk to me of suspects ?
Croak. My dear Sir, be pacified. What can you have but asking pardon ?
Lofty. Sir, I will not be pacified—Suspects! Who am I! To be used thus ! Have I paid court to men in favour to serve my
friends ; the lords of the treasury, Sir William
; Honeywood, and the rest of the gang, and talk to me of suspects! Who am I, I say, who am I!
Sir Will. Since, Sir, you are so pressing for an answer, I'll tell you who you are. A gentleman, as well acquainted with politics as with men in power; as well acquainted with persons of fashion as with modesty ; with lords of the treasury as with truth ; and with all, as you are with Sir William Honeywood. I am Sir William Honeywood. [Discovering his ensigns of the Bath.
Croak. Sir William Honeywood !
(Aside.) Lofty. So then, my confounded genius has been all this time only leading me up to the garret, in order to fling me out of the window.
Croak. What, Mr. Importance, and are these your works! Suspect you? You, who have been dreaded by the ins and outs : you, who have had your hand to
addresses, and your head stuck up in print-shops. If you were served right, you should have your head stuck up in a pillory.
Lofty. Aye, stick it where you will ; for by the Lord, it cuts but a very poor figure where it sticks at present.
Sir Will. Well, Mr. Croaker, I hope you now see how incapable this gentleman is of serving you, and how little Miss Richland has to expect from his influence.
Croak. Aye, Sir, too well I see it; and I can't but say I have had some boding of it these ten days. So I'm resolved, since my son has placed his affections on a lady of moderate fortune, to be satisfied with his choice, and not run the hazard of another Mr. Lofty in helping him to a better.
Sir Will. I approve your resolution; and here they come to receive a confirmation of your pardon and consent.
Enter Mrs. Croaker, Jarvis, Leontine, and Olivia. Mrs. Croak. Where's my husband! Come, come, lovey, you must forgive them. Jarvis here has been to tell me the whole affair; and I say, you must forgive them. Our own was a stolen match, you know, my dear; and we never had any reason to repent of it.
Croak. I wish we could both say so. However, this gentleman, Sir William Honeywood, has been beforehand with you in obtaining their pardon. So, if the two poor fools have a mind to marry, I think we can tack them together without crossing the Tweed for it.
[Joining their hands. Leont. How blest and unexpected! What what can we say to such goodness ? But our future obedience shall be the best reply. And as for this gentleman, to whom
Sir Will. Excuse me, Sir, if I interrupt your thanks, as I have here an interest that calls me. (Turning to Honeywood.) Yes, Sir, you are surprised to see me; and I own that a desire of correcting your follies led me hither. I saw with indignation the errors of a mind that only sought applause from others; that easiness of disposition, which though inclined to the right had not courage to condemn the wrong. I saw with regret those splendid errors, that still took name from some neighbouring duty ; your charity, that was but injustice; your benevolence, that was but weakness; and your friendship, but credulity. I saw with regret great talents and extensive learning only employed to add sprightliness to error, and encrease your perplexities. I saw your mind with a thousand natural charms : but the greatness of its beauty served only to heighten my pity for its prostitution.
Honeyw. Cease to upbraid me, Sir : I have for some time but too strongly felt the justice of your reproaches. But there is one way still left me. Yes, Sir, I have determined this very hour to quit for ever a place where I have made myself the voluntary slave of all, and to seek among strangers that fortitude which may give strength to the mind, and marshal all its dissipated virtues. Yet ere I depart, permit me to solicit favour for this gentleman; who, notwithstanding what has happened, has laid me under the most signal obligations. Mr. Lofty
Lofty. Mr. Honeywood, I'm resolved upon a reformation as well as you. I now begin to find that the man who first invented the art of speaking truth was a much cunninger fellow than I thought him. And to prove that I design to speak truth for the future, I must now assure you, that
you owe your late enlargement to another; as, upon my soul, I had no hand in the matter. So now, if any of the company has a mind for preferment, he may take my place, I'm determined to resign.
Honeyw. How have I been deceived !
Sir Will. No, Sir, you have been obliged to a kinder, fairer friend for that favour—to Miss Richland. Would she complete our joy, and make the man she has honoured by her friendship happy in her love, I should then forget all, and be as blest as the welfare of my dearest kinsman can make me.
Miss Rich. After what is past it would be but affectation to pretend to indifference. Yes, I will own an attachment, which I find was more than friendship. And if my intreaties cannot alter his resolution to quit the country, I will even try if my hand has not power to detain him.
[Giving her hand. Honeyw. Heavens ! how can I have deserved all this? How express my happiness, my gratitude ! A moment like this overpays an age of apprehension.
Croak. Well, now I see content in every face; but heaven send we be all better this day three months !
Sir Will. Henceforth, nephew, learn to respect yourself. He who seeks only for applause from without, has all his happiness in another's keeping.
Honeyw. Yes, Sir, I now too plainly perceive my errors; my vanity in attempting to please all by fearing to offend any; my meanness in approving folly lest fools should disapprove. Henceforth, therefore, it shall be my study to reserve my pity for real distress; my friendship for true merit ; and my love for her, who first taught me what it is to be happy.