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Scene I.-- An Apartment in Sir William Wingrove's House.
Enter SiR WILLIAM and Miss Julia WINGROVE. Julia. Let me entreat you, sir, to hear me- -let reason be my
advocate. Sir Will. Reason, Julia !-You know 'tis my delight, my glory. What constitutes the pre-eminence of man, but his reason? 'Tis, like the sacred virtue of high blood, a natural exaltation, of which we can never lose the advantage, but by voluntary degradation, or perverse misuse—What but reason is the foundation of my preference for Lord Dartford ?-Is he not of a family as ancient even as my own?
Julia. Did Lord Dartford inherit any of the virtues, which, probably, acquired those highly valued honours of his ancestry, my father might have some cause to regret that his daughter's inclinations were at enmity with her duty.
Sir Will. And where, madam, have you learnt, that the splendour of Lord Dartford's family suffers any diminution in his own person? Julia. Where some of the happiest years
life have been passed, sir, at my dear deceased aunt's.
Sir Will. Mr. Manly, now, I dare say, had not the least share in producing this aversion to Lord Dartford.
* Julia. Mr. Manly, sir!--Mr. Manly wou'd scornnor can it ever be necessary for him to raise his own character by a useless degradation of Lord Dartford.
Sir Will. Aye, aye, now we have it-I thought what share the eloquence of your aunt had had in this apostasy from the faith of your ancestors—Mr. Manly, it seems, has contrived to make so successful a monopoly of all the virtues, that there does not remain even the leavings of an accomplishment for any other person. But since I despair of making you enter into the just views of your family, by dutifully consenting, as you ought, to marry a man for the revered merit of his blood, your brother shall try, whether your young spark be not composed of more practicable materials.
Julia. For heaven's sake, dear sir, forego this What must be the consequence of their meeting?
Sir Will. If you have any objection to the interview, you know how to prevent it.
Julia. Oh, sir, do not force me to so dreadful an alternative. I will, if you require it, bind myself by the most solemn engagements to give up all thoughts of Mr. Manly, only let me no more be persecuted with the addresses of Lord Dartford.
Sir Will. Nay, now I must believe you; for where has it been recorded that an enamoured damsel ever broke a promise to an old father, when given at the expense of a young lover?— For once, however, you must excuse me, if I am a little disobedient to the authority of precedent, and endeavour to find some better security for the honour of my family, even than your lovesick renunciation of the object of your af. fections.
Julia. Yet, sir, hear me.
Sir Will. I do hear you-But first tell me why have I preserved you, since the decease of your aunt, from all intercourse with the world, with the single exception of the friendship of Miss Herbert, whose approaching
alliance with your brother gives her a common interest in the lustre of our house ?-Why have I, like a fond parent, forbid you society ?-kept you sacred from the arts of our sex, and the more dangerous follies of your own!lock'd you up and guarded you, like the archives of my own family, that you might increase in value, as you advanced in years ? - Why? but to secure you from the contagion of a degenerate world—who feel more anxiety about the means of supporting new families, than awful reverence for the names of old ones, and would meanly thrive by plebeian industry, rather than diet on the rich recollection of their immortal ancestry.
Julia. But my dear father, just now, kindly condescended to say he would suffer me to reason with him on this subject. Can birth, alone, entitle a man to the high distinction you speak of 3-And surely Lord Dartford
Sir Will. Grant me patience, heaven! Do you call in question the prudence of my choice? Ungrateful Julia, never more will I hear you on this subject-and now attend
final determination–To-morrow you marry Lord Dartford.
Julia. To-morrow, sir !-You will not
Sir Will. Positively to-morrow-neither remonstrances, nor tears, shall sway me from
determin'd purpose. I leave you now to your reflections, and go to adjust the necessary preliminaries of a ceremony, that will recal you, inconsiderate girl, to duty and to reason.
[Erit. Julia. Is it possible !--Can my father thus shut his heart to the distresses of his Julia ?-My brother too, happy in his own affections, not only abandons me to the interested rigour of his cruel ambition, but assists and animates him in the prosecution of his views.Wretched, friendless Julia! whither wilt thou turn? -Ah, Manly, that amidst the various excellencies of thy heart there is yet a careless generosity in thy nature
-an irregular, though not ungraceful, excess in thy very virtues, which, though it neither forbids esteem, por damps affection, yet gives the alarm to delicacy, and checks the full pleasure of a fearless, unsuspecting confidence-- were it not for this, I think I could not deny myself with thee a willing asylum from the severities of this domestic persecution.
Scene II.-Sir William's Garden.
Enter YOUNG MANLY. Y. Man. Thus far I have achiev'd my purpose without discovery-what a devil of a wall have I had to scramble up to obtain even the chance of an interview
- The sulky grandeur of your ancient battlements was always the difficulty and the glory of an enamour'd hero-But what can the maddest of the most venerable lads of chivalry lay claim to, that does not to the full as reasonably belong to me? I have all their hopes with all their apprehensions—all their fears with all their confidence all their weakness with all their fortitudeSo I think it cannot be denied but that I possess as many good sound contradictions in my character as the best of them-I have not indeed the gift of waiting that those gentlemen had, for I begin already to feel impatient at Julia's delay. Would I cou'd gain but a distant glimpse of her, or hear one strain of her enchanting voice-dear melodious voice! soft as a lover's sigh embodied into music, and sweet as the inspired eloquence of a consenting smile_But soft! soft she approaches, and in tears! let me endeavour to learn the cause of them, before I make my appearance; what must he be composed of, and what does he not deserve, who has been profane enough to excite them!
[Retires behind a trea
Enter Julia, and seats herself in un alcove. Julia. Here let me rest awhile, and endeavour to collect my scattered thoughts. Could it be believed that my father, strict as his general notions of honour are, should think of forcing me to become the wife of a man whom
soul abhors ! Y. Man. Forcing thee!
Julia. When, too, he is convinc'd of my being attach'd to another.
Y. Man. To another!
Julia. He is kind and generous, capable of the most ardent and disinterested passion.
Y. Man. It must be me.
Julia. I dread the levity of his nature-Oh, Manly, Manly! why cannot I trust thee?
Y. Man. I am sure I can't tell.
Julia. How gladly cou'd I owe the relief of my present afflictions to thy kindness, but for the dread of being afterwards exposed to the severer calamity of thy indifference ! Oh why, why, Manly, cannot I confide in thee?
Y. Man. [Comes forward.] Why indeed! Dear generous Julia, banish these apprehensions, I never can injure truth, innocence, and beauty like thine.
Julia. Mr. Manly! How you have alarmed me! What a rash step is this-But fly, I conjure you; if you have any regard for my happiness—fly.
Y. Man. Fly, Julia? Yes, swifter than a lover's thought; but you must be the partner of my flight.
Julia. You cannot surely be serious.
V. Man. So serions that I shall not stir one single step without you-Julia, Julia, this is no time for trifling or for ceremony. To be candid with you, I have over