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Bel. Now, may every blessing that can crown your virtues, and reward your beauty, be showered upon you! May you meet admiration without envy, love without jealousy, and old age without malady! May the man of your heart be ever constant, and you never meet a less penitent or less grateful offender than myself!
Enter Servant, who delivers a Letter.
Serv. I was bade to give it into your own hands, madam.
Char. From Charles Dudley, I see-Have I your permission ? Good Heaven, what do I read! Mr. Belcour, you are concerned in this Dear Char. lotte, in the midst of our distress, Providence has cast a benefactor in our way, after the most unexpected manner: a young West Indian, rich, and with a warmth of heart peculiar to his climate, has rescued my father from his troubles, satisfied his wants, and enabled him to accomplish his exchange : when I relate to you the manner in which this was done, you will be charmed; I can only now add, that it was by chance we found out that his name is Belcour, and that he is a friend of Mr. Stockwell's. I lose not a moment's time, in making you acquainted with this fortunate event, for reasons which delicacy obliges me to suppress; but, perhaps, if you have not received the money on your jewels, you will not think
it necessary now to do it. I have the honour to be,
Charles Dudley. Is this your doing, sir? Never was generosity so worthily exerted.
Bel. Or so greatly overpaid.
Char. After what you have now done for this no. ble, but indigent family, let me not scruple to unfold the whole situation of my heart to you. Know then, sir (and don't think the worse of me for the frank. ness of my declaration), that such is my attachmerit to the son of that worthy officer, whom you relieved, that the moment I am of age, and in possession of my fortune, I should hold myself the happiest of women to share it with young Dudley. .
Bel. Say you so, madami then let me perish if I don't love and reverence you above all woman-kind; and, if such is your generous resolution, never wait till you're of age; life is too short, pleasure too fugi. tive; the soul grows narrower every hour; I'll equip you for your escape ; l'll convey you to the man of your heart, and away with you then to the first hospi. table parson that will take you in,
Char. O blessed be the torrid zoné for ever, whose rapid vegetation quickens nature into such benignity! These latitudes are made for politics and philosophy; friendship has no root in this soil. But, had I spirit to accept your offer, which is not improbable, wou'dn't it be a mortifying thing for a fond girl to find herself mistaken, and sent back to her home like a vagranti-and such, for what I know, might be my case.
Bel. Then he ought to be proscribed the society of mankind for ever- Ay, ay, 'tis the sham sister that makes him thus indifferent; 'ıwill be a meritorious of. fice to take that girl out of the way.
Char. What's the matter, Mr. BelcourAre you frighted at the name of a pretty girl ? 'Tis the sister of him we were speaking of Pray admit her.
Bel. The sister | So, so; he has imposed on her toomThis is an extraordinary visit, truly. Upon my soul, the assurance of some folks is not to be accounted for.
Char. I insist upon your not running away; you'll be charmed with Louisa Dudley.
Bel. Oh, yes, I am charmed with her.
Char. Why, you answer as if you was in a court of justice. O my conscience, I believe you are caught: I've a notion she has tricked you out of your heart.
Bel. I believe she has, and you out of your jewels; for, to tell you the truth, she's the very person I gave *ein to.
Char. You gave her my jewels! Louisa Dudley my jewels : Admirable 1 inimitable ! Oh, the sly! little jade! But hush, here she comes; I don't know how I shall keep my countenance.
Enter LOUISA. My dear, I'm rejoiced to see you: how d'ye do? I beg leave to introduce Mr. Belcour, a very worthy friend of mine: I believe, Louisa, you have seen him before.
Lou. I have met the gentleman,
Char. You have met the gentleman: well, sir, and you have met the lady: in short, you have met each other; why then don't you speak to each other? How you both stand! tongue-tied, and fixed as sta. tues- Ha, ha, ha! Why you'll fall asleep by-and. by. · Lou. Fye upon you, fye upon youl is this fair ;
Bel. Upon my soul, I never looked so like a fool in my life : the assurance of that girl puts me quite down.
[Aside. Char. Sir-Mr. Belcour—Was it your pleasure to advance any things Not a syllable. Come, Louisa, women's wit, they say, is never at a loss- Nor you
neither? Speechless bothW hy, you was merry enough before this lady came in.
Lou. I am sorry I have been any interruption to your happiness, sir.
Char. Madam | Is that all you can say : But come, my dear girl, I won't tease you. Apropos, I must shew you what a present this dumb gentleman has made me: are not these handsome diamonds ?
Lou. Yes, indeed, they seem very fine; but I am no judge of these things.
Char. Oh, you wicked little hypocrite, you are no judge of these things, Louisa ; you have no dia. monds, not you,
Lou. You know I hav'n't, Miss Rusport : you know those things are infinitely above my reach.
Char. Ha, ha, ha!
Bel. She does tell a lie with an admirable countenance, that's true enough.
Lou. What ails you, Charlotte ? What imperti nence have I been guilty of, that you should find it necessary to humble me at such a rate: If you are happy, long may you be so; but, surely, it can be no addition to it to make me miserable.
Char. So serious ! There must be some mystery in this- Mr. Belcour, will you leave us together? You see I treat you with all the familiarity of an old acquaintance already.
Bel. Oh, by all means, pray command me. Miss Rusport, I'm your most obedient. By your conde.