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scension in accepting these poor trifles, I am under eternal obligations to you - To you, Miss Dudley, I shall not offer a word on that subject : you despise finery ; you have a soul above it; I adore your spirit; I was rather unprepared for meeting you here; but I shall hope for an opportunity of making myself better known to you.
CHARLOTTE and LOUISA. Char. Louisa Dudley, you surprise me; I never saw you act thus before : cann't you bear a little inpocent raillery before the man of your heart? - Lou. The man of my heart, madam? Be assured I never was so visionary to aspire to any man whom Miss Rusport honours with her choice.
"Char. My choice, my dear? Why we are playing at cross-purposes : how enter'd it into your head that Mr. Belcour was the man of my choice? : Lou. Why, didn't he present you with those diaa monds?
Char. Well, perhaps he did— and pray, Louisa, have you no diamonds ? * Lou. I diamonds, truly! Who should give me diamonds ?
Char. Who, but this very gentleman apropos, here comes your brother.
Enter Charles. I insist upon referring our dispute to him : your sister and I, Charles, have a quarrel; Belcour, the hero of your letter, has just left us-some how or other, Louisa's bright eyes have caught him; and the poor fellow's fallen desperately in love with her (don't interrupt me, hussy)— Well, that's excusable enough, you'll say; but the jest of the story is, that this hair-brain'd spark, who does nothing like other people, has given her the very identical jewels which you pledged for me to Mr. Stockwell; and will you believe that this little demure slut made up a face, and squeezed out three or four hypocritical tears, be. cause I rallied her about it.
Charles. I'm all astonishment! Louisa, tell me, without reserve, has Mr. Belcour given you any diamonds ?
Lou. None, upon my honour.
Lou. He has; but altogether in a stile so whimsical and capricious, that the best which can be said of them is to tell you, that they seem'd more the result of good spirits than good manners.
Char. Ay, ay, now the murder's out; he's in love with her, and she has no very great dislike to him ; trust to my observation, Charles, for that: as to the diamonds, there's some mistake about them, and you
must clear it up: three minutes conversation with him will put every thing in a right train ; go, go, Charles, 'tis a brother's business ; about it instantly; ten to one you'll find him over the way at Mr. Stock. well's.
Charles. I confess I'm impatient to have the case clear'd up; I'll take your advice, and find him out: good bye to you.
Char. Your servant; my life upon it you'll find Belcour a man of honour. Come, Louisa, let us ad. journ to my dressing-room; I've a little private bu. siness to transact with you, before the old lady comes up to tea and interrupts us.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
FULMER's House. Enter FulmeR and Mrs. FULMER.
Mrs. Ful. He was; and is now shut up in my chamber, in high expectation of an interview with Miss Dudley : she's at present with her brother, and 'twas with some difficulty I persuaded my hot-headed spark to wait till he has left her.
Ful. Well, child, and what then?
Mrs. Ful. Why then, Mr. Fulmer, I think it will be time for you and me to steal a march, and be gone.
Ful. So, this is all the fruit of your ingenious pro- jest ; a shameful overthrow, or a sudden Alight. & Mrs. Ful. Why, my project was a mere impromptu,
and can at worst but quicken our departure a few days; you know, we had fairly outliv'd our credit here, and a trip to Boulogne is no ways unseasonable. Nay, never droop, man. Hark! Hark! here's enough to bear charges.
[Skewing a purse. i Ful. Let me see, let me see : this weighs well; this
is of the right sort: why your West Indian bled freely.
Mrs. Ful. But that's not all : look here! Here are the sparklers! [Shewing the jewels.] Now what d'ye think of my performances ? Heh I a foolish scheme, isn't it-a silly woman
Ful, Thou art a Judith, a Joan of Are, and I'll march under thy banners, girl, to the world's end. Come, let's begone; I've little to regret; my cre. ditors may share the old books amongst them; they'll have occasion for philosophy to support their loss; they'll find enough upon my shelves: the world is my library; I read mankind-Now, Patty, lead the way. Mrs. Ful. Adieu, Belcour!
Enter Charles DUDLEY and LOUISA. Charles. Well, Louisa, I confess the force of what you say: I accept Miss Rusport's bounty; and, when you see my generous Charlotte, tell her- but have a care, there is a selfishness even in gratitude, when it is too profuse; to be over-thankful for any one favour, is in effect to lay out for another; the best return I cou'd make my benefactress wou'd be never to see her more.
Lou. I understand you.
Charles. We that are poor, Louisa, shou'd be cau. tious : for this reason, I wou'd guard you against Belcour; at least till I can unravel the mystery of Miss Rusport's diamonds. I was disappointed of find. ing him at Mr. Stockwell's, and am now going in search of him again : he may intend honourably; but, I confess to you, I am stagger'd; think no more of him, therefore, for the present : of this be sure, while I have life, and you have honour, I will protect you, or perish in your defence.
[Exit. Lou. Think of him no more! Well, I'll obey; but if a wand'ring uninvited thought should creep by chance into my bosom, must I not give the harmless wretch a shelter: Oh! yes; the great artificer of the human heart knows every thread he wove into its fa. bric, nor puts his work to harder uses than it was made to bear: my wishes then, my guiltless ones, I mean, are free : how fast they spring within me at that sentence! Down, down, ye busy creatures! Whither wou'd you carry me? Ah! there is one amongst you, a forward, new intruder, that, in the likeness of an offending, generous man, grows into favour with my heart. Fye, fye upon it! Belcour