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Fanny. [Recovering.] 0, Lovewell!-even supported by thee, I dare not look my father nor his lordship in the face.
Sterl. What now? did not I send you to London, sir?
Lord O. Eh ! -What! How's this? By what right and title have you been half the night in that lady's bed-chamber?
Love. By that right which makes me the happiest of men! and by a title which I would not forego, for any the best of kings could give.
Betty. I could cry my eyes out to hear his magnimity. Lord 0. I am annihilated !
Sterl. I have been choked with rage and wonder; but now I can speak.—Lovewell, you are a villain ! You have broke your word with me.
Fanny. Indeed, sir, he has not-you forbade him to think of me, when it was out of his power to obey you-we have been married these four months.
Sterl. And he sha’n't stay in my house four hours. What baseness and treachery! As for you, you shall repent this step as long as you live, madam!
Fanny. Indeed, sir, it is impossible to conceive the tortures I have already endured in consequence of my disobedience. My heart has continually upbraided me for it; and though I was too weak to struggle with affection, I feel that I must be miserable for ever with out your forgiveness.
Sterl. Lovewell, you shall leave my house directly ! and you
shall follow him, madam ! Lord 0. And if they do, I will receive them into mine. Lookye, Mr. Sterling, there have been some mistakes, which we had all better forget for our own sakes; and the best way to forget them, is to forgive the cause of them; which I do from my soul.- Poor girl ! I swore to support her affection with my life and fortune; 'tis a debt of honour, and must be paid.
You swore as much too, Mr. Sterling ; but your laws in the city will excuse you, I suppose; for you never strike a balance without-errors excepted.
Sterl. I am a father, my lord; but for the sake of all other fathers, I think I ought not to forgive her, for fear of encouraging other silly girls, like herself, to throw themselves away without the consent of their parents.
Love. I hope there will be no danger of that, sir. Young ladies, with minds like my Fanny's, would startle at the very shadow of vice; and when they know to what uneasiness only an indiscretion has exposed her, her example, instead of encouraging, will rather serve to deter them.
Mrs. Heidel. Indiscretion, quotha ! a mighty pretty delicat word to express obedience!
Lord 0. For my part, I indulge my own passions too much to tyrannize over those of other people. Poor souls! I pity them. And you must forgive them, too. Come, come, melt a little of your flint, Mr. Sterling!
Sterl. Why, why, as to that, my lord-to be sure, he is a relation of your's, my lord- -What say you, sister Heidelberg ? Mrs. Heidel. The girl's ruin'd, and I forgive her.
Sterl. Well-so do I, then. Nay, no thanks-[ To LovEwell and FanNY, who seem preparing to speak.)there's an end of the matter.
Lord O. But, Lovewell, what makes you dunib all this while ?
Love. Your kindness, my lord I can scarce believe my own senses-they are all in a tumult of fear, joy, love, expectation, and gratitude; I ever was, and am now more bound in duty to your lordship.For you, Mr. Sterling, if every moment of my life, spent gratefully in your service, will in some measure compensate the want of fortune, you perhaps will not repent your goodness to me. . And you, ladies, I flatter myself, will not for the future suspect me of artifice and
intrigue-I shall be happy to oblige and serve you.— As for you, Sir John
Sir John. No apologies to me, Lovewell ; I do not deserve any.
All I have to offer in excuse for what has happened, is my total ignorance of your situation. Had you dealt a little more openly with me, you
would have saved me, yourself, and that lady, (who, I hope, will pardon my behaviour) a great deal of uneasiness. Give me leave, however, to assure you, that light and capricious as I may have appeared, now my infatuation is over, I have sensibility enough to be ashamed of the part I have acted, and honour enough to rejoice at your happiness.
Love. And now, my dearest Fanny, though we are seemingly the happiest of beings, yet all our joys will be damped, if his lordship’s generosity, and Mr. Sterling's forgiveness, should not be succeeded by the indulgence, approbation, and consent of these our best benefactors.
[To the audience.