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I should have been proud to have found in this good company, and deem both myself and him unfortunate in his being absent from it. Lady Flut. Sir Harry does not think so, I believe. [Half aside. Lord Med. Hush—hush. [Aside to her. Sir A. Bran. What does my niece Flutter say : Lady Flut. Nothing, uncle. Sir A. Bran. Pardon me; I apprehend you had uttered something. Well, my lord, I am next to inquire (though, to say the truth, I ought, in point of good breeding, to have done it first); I am next, I say, to inquire how your excellent lady does, and the fair young lady, your daughter. Lord Med. Both at your service, Sir Anthony. Sir A. Bran. May I presume to ask the Christian name of the young lady. Lord Med. I would not have Lady Medway hear you make so emphatical a distinction, Sir Anthony; ladies you know, are always young Sir A. Bran. 'Tis a privilege i know they claim, my lord, and I hope you don’t think me capable of such barbarism as to dispute it with them; but at the same time I imagine 'tis not possible in nature, but that the mother must be rather older than her daughter You'll excuse my pleasantry. Lord Med. Oh, surely, as the ladies are not by—But why do you inquire my daughter’s name, Sir An
thony Sir A. Bran. Why, my lord, there is a pretty fa
miliar tenderness in sometimes using the chris-to-an name, that is truly delightful to a lover; for such, my lord, with all due deference to the lady's high deserts, I wish myself to be considered. Lady Flut. Oh lord, oh lord, my uncle Miss Medway's lover ! I shall burst if I stay [Aside. Lord Med. Louisa, Sir Anthony, is her christian's name, which you are at liberty to use with as much familiar tenderness as you please. Sir A. Bran. My lord, I have a most lively sense of the very great honour you lordship does me ; and I can assure you my heart, [sighs] if I can with cer. tainty venture to pronounce about any thing which is in its own nature so uncertain— Lady Flut. Oh, now he has got into his parenthesis—
Sir A. Bran. My heart, I say, is endeavouring to reassume that liberty, of which it has so long been deprived, for no other purpose, than that of offering itself a willing captive again to the fair Louisa's charms.
Lady Flut. Very well, uncle; I see this visit was not all intended for me; I find you have something to say to my lord, so I won’t interrupt you.
Sir A. Bran. No, no, no, niece Flutter; upon my reputation, this visit was meant wholly for you, as I could not possibly divine that I should have found his lordship with you; to whom I intended to have paid my respects separately and apart.
Lord Med. Lady Flutter I ask a thousand pardons
—We turn you out of your apartment—Sir Anthony will you do me the favour to step into my study ? Lady Flut. No, no, indeed you sha’n’t stir! I'll go and see what the ladies are doing; I fancy they think I am lost. [Exit Lady Flutter. Lord Med. Sir Anthony, I assure you I should think myself very happy in an alliance with a gentleman of your worth. Sir A. Bran. My lord, you do me honour. Lord Med. I have mentioned you to my daughter— Sir A. Bran. Mentioned me, my lord Lord Med. Wouldn't you have had it so, Sir Anthony Sir A. Bran. My lord, the profound respect I have for your lordship, makes me unwilling to animadvert on such proceedings, as you in your wisdom (which I take to be very great) have thought expedient; but I am a man, my lord, who love method. Lord Med. Sir Anthony, I imagined it would have been agreeable to you, or it should have been very far Sir A. Bran. Conceive me right, Lord Medway; ’tis perfectly agreeable to me, and consonant to my wishes, to be looked on with a favourable eye by the
virtuous young lady your daughter; but, my lord, to tell you sincerely (and sincerity, my lord, I hold to be a virtue), my heart is at present in a fluctuating State. Lord Med. I am sorry then, sir, that the thing has been mentioned at all. I understood you were determined. What can the blockhead mean [4side. Sir A. Bran. Good, my lord, your patience: I am determined that is to say, my will is determined; but the will and the heart, your lordship knows, are two very different things. Lord Med. Sir Anthony, I should be glad we understood each other at once. I apprehended Mrs. Knightly's ill usage of you, had made you give up all thoughts of her; and as you seemed determined to marry, and declared yourself an admirer of mydaughter, who, I must say, (the article of fortune excepted) is, I think, as unobjećtionable a wife as you could choose. Sir A. Bran. Undoubtedly, my lord Lord Med. I was willing to give my consent, and thought you appeared as ready to embrace it. Sir A. Bran. True, my lord; and so I do still, most cordially. Lord Med. Why then, sir, what is your determination for a young woman of family and reputation must not be trifled with. Sir A. Bran. My lord, I believe trifling is a fault which was never yet attributed to Sir Anthony Branville My lord, I am above the imputation—and your lordship would do well to remember, that I have the misfortune to be of a warm, not to say of an impetuous disposition. Lord Med. Sir, I don’t mean to provoke your wrath. Sir A. Bran. You are the father of my mistress, my lord—that thought restrains my fury—But this woman (Mrs. Knightly I mean, for a woman I find she is, though I once thought her an angel ;) she, I say, has not yet dismissed me in form; and till that is
done, I think myself bound in honour, not to make a tender of my heart or hand to any lady whatsoever. Lord Med. Oh, Sir Anthony, I find you have still a hankering after the widow, and only want an opportunity to endeavour at getting into her good graces again—You would fain see her. Sir A. Bran. By no means my lord; not for the world l—for, as I told your lordship, I would not trust my heart with such an interview.—No, no, I know the witchcraft of her beauty too well. Lord Med. How do you mean to disengage yourself then Sir A. Bran. My design is to indite an epistle to her, and to request that she will, under her hand, in full and explicit terms, give me an absolute and final release from all the vows I have made her. Lord Med. I think you are perfectly right, Sir Anthony, and ačt agreeably to the dićtates of true honour. —I wont lose the fool if I can help it. [dside. Sir A. Bran. I would fain do so, my lord. Lord Med. I dare say you will get a full and free discharge from your sovereign lady and mistress. Sir A. Bran. 'Tis to be so presum-ed, my lord—but as for seeing her, 'twere safer, my lord, to encounter a basilisk, I assure you.
Mrs. KNIGHTLY rushes in, a Servant attending her to the door. Sir ANThony starts and draws back.
Mrs. Knight. My lord, I beg your pardon; your servant told me Lady Flutter was here. 2