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Changes to Lord Medway's Study. Enter Sir ANTHoNY BRAN ville and Lord Medway, meeting.
Lord Med. Sir Anthony, I am glad to see you ; I was really in great pain for you yesterday, when I was obliged to leave you in the magic circle of Mrs. Knightly’s charms: I wish you joy of your escape. Sir A. Bran. My lord, I humbly thank you; ’tis a felicity to me, I acknowledge; for, my lord, there never was such a Syren, such a Circe!—Sylla and Charybdis (of whom we read in fable) were harmless innocents to her —but heaven be praised, I am my own man again.—And now, my lord, I am come, agreeably to the intimation I gave you before, to make a most respectful offering of my heart, to the truly deserving and fair lady, Louisa. Lord Med. Sir Anthony, I have already told you I shall be proud of your alliance, and my daughter, I make no doubt, is sensible of your worth I–There. fore, Sir Anthony, the shorter we make the wooing —women are slippery things—you understand me. Sir 4. Bran. Your lordship's insinuation, though derogatory to the honour of the fair sex (which I very greatly reverence) has, I am apprehensive, a little too much veracity in it. I have found it so to my cost:for, would you believe it, my lord, this cruel woman (Mrs. Knightly, I mean, begging her pardon for the *Pithe) is the eighth lady to whom I have made sin.
cere, humble, and passionate love, within the space of these last thirteen years. “Lord Med. You surprise me, Sir Anthony; is it “ possible that a gentleman of your figure and accom“plishments could be rejected by so many “Sir A. Bran. I do not positively affirm, my lord, “that I was rejećted by them all; no, my lord, that “would have been a severity not to be survived. * Lord Med. How was it then “Sir A. Bran. Blemishes, my lord, foibies, imper“fečtions in the fair ones, which obliged me (though “relučtantly) to withdraw my heart. “Lord Med. Ho, ho! why then the fault was yours, * Sir Anthony, not theirs. “Sir A. Bran. I deny that, my lord, with due sub* mission to your better jadgment, it was their fault; “for the truth is, I never could get any of them to “be serious. There is a levity, my lord, a kind of “ (if I may so call it) instability, which runs through “the gentler sex (whom, nevertheless, I admire) “which I assure you has thus long deterred me from 4% wedlock. “ Lord Med. Then, Sir Anthony, I find you have “ been peculiarly unfortunate in the ladies whom you * have addressed. “Sir A. Bran, Supremely so, my lord; for, not“withstanding that they all received my devoirs most go indulgently, yet I do not know how it was, in the
“long run, they either absolutely refused making me
“happy, or else were so extremely unguarded in “ their conduct, even before my face, that I thought “I could not, consistently with honour, confer the “ title of Lady Branville on any one of them.” Lord Med. Your lot has been a little hard, I must confess. I hope, however, that honour has been reserved by fate for my daughter. She is your ninth mistress, Sir Anthony, and that, you know, is a propitious number. Sir A. Bran. My lord, I take the liberty of hoping so too; and that she is destined to recompence me for the disappointments and indignities I have received from the rest of womankind. Lord Med. Why then, Sir Anthony, I suppose I may now present you to her in the character of a lover. Sir A. Bran. My lord, I pant for that happiness. Lord Med. I'll call her, Sir Anthony— Sir A. Bran. As your lordship pleases—but, my lord, this widow Knightly — Lord Med. Was there ever such a phlegmatic blockhead 1 [Aside..] What of her, Sir Anthony Sir A. Bran. I own I loved her better than any of her predecessors in my heart.—Matters indeed had gone farther between us, for, my lord, (not to injure a lady's reputation) I must tell you a secret—I have more than once pressed her hand with these lips. Lord Med. Really | Sir A. Bran. Fact, upon my veracity; I hope your lordship don't think me vain: “ and as she had in“dulged me such lengths, could I be censured for “ raising my wishes to the possession of this beauty " Lord Med. By no means, Sir Anthony; but then her ill behaviour to you Sir A. Bran. Oh, my lord, it has blotted, and, as I may say, totally erased her image from my breast— Lord Med. Well, sir, I’ll bring my daughter to you, whose image, I hope, will supply hers in your breast. [Exit. Sir A. Bran. I hope this tender fair one will not be too easily won—that would debase the dignity of the passion, and deprive me of many delightful hours of languishment.—There was a time when a lover was allowed the pleasure of importuning his mistress, but our modern beauties will scarce permit a man that satisfačtion. Pray Heaven, my intended bride may not be one of those—If it should prove so, I tremble for the consequences;—but here she comes—the condescending nymph approaches.
Enter Lou ISA, led in by Lord Medway.
Lord Med. Louisa, you are no stranger to Sir Anthony Branville's merit.
Sir A. Bran. Oh, my lord [Bowing low.
Lord Med. That he is a gentleman of family and fortune, of most unblemished honour, and very uncommon endowments.
Sir A. Bran. Oh, my good lord, ordinary, slight accomplishments,
Lord Med. You are therefore to think yourself happy in being his choice preferably to any other lady. And now, Sir Anthony, I'll leave you to pursue your good fortune. [Exit Lord Medway. Lou. Sir, won’t you please to sit Sir A. Bran. Miss Medway, madam—having ob. tained my lord your father's permission, I humbly presume to approach you in the delightful hope, that after having convinced you of the excess of my love— Leu. I hope, Sir Anthony, you will allow me area. sotable time for this conviction Sir A. Bran. Madam, I should hold myself utterly abandoned if I were capable at the first onset (notwithstanding what passes here) of urging a lady on so nice a point. Lou. I thank you, sir; but I could expect no less from a gentleman whom all the world allows to be the very pattern of decorum. Sir A. Bran. 'Tis a character, madam, that I have always been ambitious of supporting, whatever struggles it may cost me from my natural fervor; for let me tell you, madam, a beautiful object is a dangerous enemy to decorum. Lou. But your great prudence, Sir Anthony, leaves me no room to suspect Sir A. Bran. I am obliged to call it to my aid I do assure you, madam; for spite of the suggestions of passion, I by no means approve of those rash and impetuous lovers, who, without regard to the delicacy of the lady, would, (having obtained consent) as it