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dearer to me the ruin of a sister and her ripens manhood in him, shall ripen vice tooinfant, can bear that too. I'll prove him, and lay him open to youBev. No more of this--you wring my heart. Till then be warned-I know him, and thereChar. 'Would that the misery were all your fore shun him. own! But innocence must suffer-Unthinking Beo. As I would those that wrong him.rioter!-whose home was heaven to him! an You are too busy, sir. angel dwelt there, and a little cherub, that Mrs. B. No; not too busy-Mistaken, percrown'd his days with blessings. How has he haps-That had been milder. lost this heaven, to league with devils!
Bee. Forbear, I say; reproaches come too late; they search, but cure not. And, for the fortune you demand, we'll talk to-morrow on't our tempers may be milder.
Char. Or, if 'tis gone, why farewell all. I claimed it for a sister.-But I'll upbraid no more. What heaven permits, perhaps it may ordain. Yet, that the husband, father, brother, I should be its instruments of vengeance!-'Tis grievous to know that!
Lew. No matter, madam. I can bear this, and praise the heart that prompts it-Pity such friendship should be so placed!
Bev. Again, sir! But I'll bear too - You wrong him, Lewson, and will be sorry for't. Char. Ay; when 'tis proved he wrongs him. The world is full of hypocrites.
Beo. And Stukely one-so you would infer, think.-I'll hear no more of this-my heart aches for him-I have undone him. Lew. The world says otherwise.
Beo. If you're my sister spare the remem- Beo. The world is false then-I have busibrance-it wounds too deeply. To-morrow ness with you, love. [To Mrs. Beverley] shall clear all; and when the worst is known, We'll leave them to their rancour. [Going. it may be better than your fears. Comfort my Char. No; we shall find room within fort. wife; and for the pains of absence I'll make -Come this way, sir. Lew, Another time my friend will thank Char. See where she comes!-Look cheer-me; that time is hastening too. fully upon her Affections such as hers are prying, and lend those eyes that read the soul.
Enter MRS. BEVERLEY and LEWSON. Mrs. B. My life!
Bee. My love! how fares it? I have been a truant husband.
[Exeunt Lesson and Charlotte. Bev. They hurt me beyond bearing - Is Stukely false! Then honesty has left us! 'Ïwere sinning against heaven to think so.
Mrs. B. I never doubted him.
Bev. No; you are charity. Meekness and ever-during patience live in that heart, and Mrs. B. But we meet now, and that heals love that knows no change.--Why did Í ruin all-Doubts and alarms I have had; but in you?
this dear embrace I bury and forget them. My Mrs. B. You have not ruined me. I have friend here, [Pointing to Lewson] has been no wants when you are present, nor wishes indeed a friend. Charlotte, 'tis you must thank in your absence, but to be blest with your him: your brother's thanks and mine are of return. Be but resigned to what has happened, too little value, and I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Beo. Yet what we have we'll pay. I thank Beo. My generous girl!-But memory will you, sir, and am obliged. I would say more, but be busy; still crowding on my thoughts, to that your goodness to the wife upbraids the sour the present by the past. I have another husband's follies. Had I been wise, she had pang too. not trespassed on your bounty.
The little I
Lew. Nor has she trespassed. have done acceptance overpays. Char. So friendship thinksMrs. B. And doubles obligations by striving to conceal them-We'll talk another time on't -You are too thoughtful, love,
Bev. No; I have reason for these thoughts. Char. And hatred for the cause- -'Would you had that too!
Beo. I have-The cause was avarice.
Beo. A ruined friend-ruined by too much kindness.
Mrs. B. Tell it, and let me cure it.
Bev. That friend that generous friend, whose fame they have traduced- I have undoue him too. While he had means he lent me largely; and now a prison must be his portion.
Mrs. B. No; I hope otherwise. Bee. To hope must be to act. The charitable wish feeds not the hungry-Something must be done.
Mrs. B. What?
Beo. In bitterness of heart he told me, just now he told me, I had undone him. Could hear that, and think of happiness? No, 1 have disclaimed it while he is miserable. Mrs. B. The world may mend with us, and Bee. Or if they could, those I have drained then we may be grateful. There's comfort in him of. Something of this he hinted in the that hope.
Lew. Ay, worse than ruined; stabbed in his fame, mortally stabbed-riches can't cure him.
morning-that Lewson had suspicions of him Beo, Ay, 'tis the sick man's cordial, his pro-Why these suspicions? [Angrily, mised cure; while, in preparing it, the patient Lew. At school we knew this Stukely. A dies-What now? cunning, plodding boy he was, sordid and cruel, slow at his task, but quick at shifts and tricking. He schemed out mischief, that others might be punished; and would tell his tale with so much art, that for the lash he merited, rewards and praise were given him. Show me a boy with such a mind, and time, that I'll hope so-What says he, love?
Lucy. A letter, sir. [Delivers it, and exit.
[Opens it, and reads it to himself. Mrs. B. And brings good news--at least
Bev. Why this-too much for patience. ther. The dwarf that has it shall trip the Yet he directs me to conceal it from you. giant's heels up.
[Reads. Stuke. And bind him to the ground. Why, Let your haste to see me be the only proof we'll erect a shrine for nature, and be her of your esteem for me. I have determined, oracles. Conscience is weakness; fear made since we parted, to bid adieu to England; it, and fear maintains it. The dread of shame, choosing rather to forsake my country, inward reproaches, and fictitious burnings swell than owe my freedom in it to the means out the phantom. Nature knows none of this; we talked of. Keep this a secret at home, her laws are freedom. and hasten to the ruined. R. STUKELY.
Ruined by friendship!—I must relieve or follow him.
Bates. Sound doctrine, and well delivered! Stuke. We are sincere too, and practise what we teach. Let the grave pedant say as
Mrs. B. Follow him did you say? Then I much.-But now to business-The jewels are am lost indeed! disposed of, and Beverley again worth money. Bec. Oh, this infernal vice! how has it sunk If my design succeeds, this night we finish me! A vice, whose highest joy was poor to with him-Go to your lodgings, and be busy my domestic happiness. Yet how have I pur--You understand conveyances, and can make sued it! turned all my comforts to bitterest ruin sure.
pangs, and all my smiles to tears. - Damned, Bales. Better stop here. The sale of this damned infatuation! reversion may be talked of-There's danger Mrs. B. Be cool, my life! What are the in it. means the letter talks of? Have you-have I Stuke. No, 'tis the mark I aim at. We'll those means? Tell me, and ease me. I have thrive and laugh. You are the purchaser, and no life while you are wretched. there's the payment. [Giving a Pocket-book] He thinks you rich; and so you shall be. Iaquire for titles, and deal hardly; 'twill look like honesty.
Beo. No, no; it must not be. 'Tis I alone | have sinned; 'tis I alone must suffer. You shall reserve those means, to keep my child and his wronged mother from want and wretchedness. Mrs. B. What means?
Bates. How if he suspects us?
Stuke. Leave it to me. I study hearts, and Beo. I came to rob you of them-but can- when to work upon them. Go to your lodgnot-dare not-Those jewels are your sole ings; and if we come, be busy over papers. support-I should be more than monster to Talk of a thoughtless age, of gaming and exrequest them. travagance; you have a face for't. Mrs. B. My jewels! Trifles, not worth speak- Bates. A feeling too that would avoid it. ing of, if weighed against a husband's peace; We push too far; but I have cautioned you. but let them purchase that, and the world's If it ends ill, you'll think of me—adieu. [Exit. wealth is of less value. Stuke. This fellow sins by halves; his fears Beo. How little do I seem before such virtues! are conscience to him. I'll turn these fears to Mrs. B. No more, my love. I kept them use. Rogues that dread shame will still be till occasion called to use them; now is the greater rogues to hide their guilt-Lewson occasion, and I'll resign them cheerfully. grows troublesome-We must get rid of him Beo. Why, we'll be rich in love then. But -He knows too much. I have a tale for Bevthis excess of kindness melts me. Yet for a erley; part of it truth too-He shall call Lewfriend one would do much He has denied son to account-If it succeeds, 'tis well; if me nothing. not, we must try other means-But here he Mrs. B. Come to my closet-But let him comes-I must dissemble. manage wisely. We have no more to give him. Bev. Where learned my love this excellence?
Tis heaven's own teaching: that heaven, which Look to the door there!--[In a seeming Fright] to an angel's form has given a mind more -My friend!-I thought of other visitors. lovely. I am unworthy of you, but will deserve you better.
Henceforth my follies and neglects shall cease,
SCENE I-STUKELY's Lodgings.
Bev. No; these shall guard you from them. [Offering Notes] Take them, and use them cautiously-The world deals hardly by us.
Stuke. And shall I leave you destitute? No; your wants are the greatest. Another climate may treat me kinder. The shelter of to-night takes me from this.
Bev. Let these be your support then-Yet is there need of parting? I may have means again; we'll share them, and live wisely. Stuke. No; I should tempt you on.
Stuke. So runs the world, Bates. Fools are is nature in me: ruin can't cure it. Even now the natural prey of knaves; nature designed I would be gaming. Taught by experience as them so, when she made lambs for wolves. I am, and knowing this poor sum is all that's The laws, that fear and policy have framed, left us, I am for venturing still-And say I nature disclaims: she knows but two, and those am to blame-Yet will this little supply our are force and cunning. The nobler law is wants? No; we must put it out to usury.force; but then there's danger in't; while cun- Whether 'lis madness in me, or some restless ning, like a skilful miner, works safely and impulse of good fortune, I yet am ignorant; |but
Bates. And therefore wisely. Force must Beo. Take it, and succeed then. I'll try no have nerves and sinews; cunning wants nei- more.
Stuke. Perhaps 'twere best forgotten. But
SCENE II.-BEVERLEY'S Lodgings. Enter MRS. BEVERLEY and CHARLOTTE. Char. 'Twas all a scheme, a mean one; unworthy of my brother.
Mrs. B. No, I am sure it was not-Stukely I am open in my nature, and zealous for the is honest too, I know he is.-This madness honour of my friend-Lewson speaks freely has undone them both.
Bev. Of you I know he does.
Char. My brother irrecoverable- You are too spiritless a wife-A mournful tale, mixed
Stuke. I can forgive him for't; but, for my with a few kind words, will steal away your friend, I'm angry.
Beo. What says he of me?
-He talks on't loudly.
soul. The world's too subtle for such goodness. Had I been by, he should have asked your life sooner than those jewels.
Beo. He shall be silenced then-How heard [Warmly] I live but to oblige him. She you of it?
Stuke. From many.
He questioned Bates
Mrs. B. He should have had it then. who can love and is beloved, like me, will do as much. Men have done more for mistressabout it. You must account with him, he says. es, and women for a base deluder: and shall Bev. Or he with me-and soon too. a wife do less? Your chidings hurt me, Charlotte. Stuke. Speak mildly to him. Cautions Char. And come too late; they might have are best. saved you else. How could he use you so? Mrs. B. 'Twas friendship did it. His heart was breaking for a friend.
Beo. I'll think on't-But whither go you?
hear from me.
Bev. May these be prosperous then, [Offering the Notes, which he refuses] Nay, they are yours-I have sworn it, and will have nothing-Take them, and use them.
Stuke. Singly I will not-My cares are for my friend; for his lost fortune and ruined family. All separate interests I disclaim. Together we have fallen; together we must rise. My heart, my honour, and affections, all will have it so.
Char. The friend that has betrayed him. Mrs. B. Pr'ythee don't think so. Char. To-morrow he accounts with me. Mrs. B. And fairly-I will not doubt it. Char. Unless a friend has wanted-I have no patience-Sister! sister! we are bound to curse this friend.
Mrs. B. My Beverley speaks nobly of him. Char. And Lewson truly-But I displease you with this talk.-To-morrow will instruct us. Mrs. B. Stay till it comes then-1 would not think so hardly.
Char. My Lewson will be kind too. While he and I have life and means you shall divide with us-And see, he's here.
Bev. I am weary of being fooled. Char. Nor I, but from conviction-Yet we Stuke. And so am I-Here let us part then have hope of better days. My uncle is infirm, -These bodings of good fortune shall all be and of an age that threatens hourly-Or if he stifled; call them folly, and forgot them-lives, you never have offended him; and for farewell. distresses so unmerited he will have pity. Beo. No; stay a moment-How my poor Mrs. B. I know it, and am cheerful. We heart's distracted! I have the bodings too; but have no more to lose; and for what is gone, whether caught from you, or prompted by my if it brings prudence home, the purchase was good or evil genius, I know not-The trial well made. shall determine-And yet, my wifeStuke. Ay, ay, she'll chide. Beo. No; my chidings are all here. [Pointing to his Heart. Stuke. I'll not persuade you. Bev. I am persuaded; by reason too; the We were just speaking of you. strongest reason, necessity. Oh, could I but Lew. 'Tis best to interrupt you then. Few regain the height I have fallen from, heaven characters will bear a scrutiny; and where should forsake me in my latest hour, if I again the bad outweighs the good, he's safest that's mixed in these scenes, or sacrificed the hus- least talked of. What say you, madam? band's peace, his joy, and best affections, to avarice and infamy.
Stuke. I have resolved like you; and, since our motives are so honest, why should we fear success?
Bev. Come on then-Where shall we meet? Stuke. At Wilson's - Yet if it hurts you, leave me: I have misled you often.
Beo. We have misled each other-But come! Fortune is fickle, and may be tir'd with plaguing us-There let us rest our hopes.
Stuke. Yet think a little.
Beo. I cannot-thinking but distracts me.
[To Charlove Char. That I hate scandal, though a woman therefore talk seldom of you.
Mrs. B. Or, with more truth, that though a woman, she loves to praise-therefore talks always of you. I'll leave you to decide it.
Lew. How good and amiable! I came to talk in private with you, of matters that concern you. Char. What matters?
Lew. First, answer me sincerely to what I ask.
Lew. 'Tis now a tedious twelvemonth since, with an open and kind heart, you said you loved me. And when, in consequence of such
sweet words, I pressed for marriage, you gave other. Keep what you know a secret; and a voluntary promise that you would live for me. when we meet to-morrow, more may be Char. You think me changed then? known.-Farewell. [Angrily. Char. My poor, poor sister! how would Lew. I did not say so. Time and a near this wound her! But I'll conceal it, and speak acquaintance with my faults may have brought comfort to her. change-if it be so; or for a moment, if you have wished this promise were unmade, here I acquit you of it-This is my question then; and with such plainness as I ask it, I shall entreat an answer. Have you repented of this promise?
Char. Why am I doubted?
Lew. My doubts are of myself. I have my faults, and you have observation. If, from my temper, my words, or actions, you have conceived a thought against me, or even a wish for separation, all that has passed is nothing. Char. Why now I'll answer you. Your doubts are prophecies-I am really changed. Lew. Indeed!
SCENE III.-A Room in a Gaming-house.
[Angrily. Stuke. Where we may vent our curses. Beo. Ay, on yourself, and those damned counsels that have destroyed me. A thousand fiends were in that bosom, and all let loose to tempt me-I had resisted else.
Stuke. Go on, sir-I have deserved this from you.
Beo. And curses everlasting-Time is too scanty for them-
Stuke. What have I done?
Beo. What the arch-devil of old did
Stuke. Myself unhurt; nay, pleased at your
Char. I could torment you now, as you have me; but it is not in my nature.-That I am soothed with false hopes for certain ruin. changed, I own: for what at first was inclination is now grown reason in me; and from destruction-So your words mean. Why, tell that reason, had I the world, nay, were it to the world. I am too poor to find a poorer than the poorest, and you too want- friend in't. ing bread-I would be yours, and happy.
Lew. My kindest Charlotte! [Taking her Hand] Thanks are too poor for this-and words too weak! But if we loved so, why should our union be delayed?
Char. For happier times. The present are loo wretched.
Lew. I may have reasons that press it now.
Lew. The strongest reasons; unanswerable
Char. Be quick and name them.
Lew. First promise, that to-morrow, or the next day, you will be mine for ever.
Char. I do-though misery should succeed. Lew. Thus then I seize you! And with you every joy on this side heaven!
Char. Now, sir, your secret. Lew. Your fortune's lost. Char. My fortune lost!-I'll study to be humble then. But was my promise claimed for this? How nobly generous! Where learned you this sad news?
Lew. From Bates, Stukeley's prime agent. I have obliged him, and he's grateful-He told it me in friendship, to warn me from my Charlotte.
Char. 'Twas honest in him, and I'll esteem him for it.
Beo. A friend! What's he? I had a friend.
Beo. Ay; I'll tell you of this friend. He found me happiest of the happy. Fortune and honour crowned me; and love and peace lived in my heart. One spark of folly lurked there; that too he found: and by deceitful breath blew it into flames, that have consumed me. This friend were you to me.
Stuke. A little more, perhaps-The friend, who gave his all to save you; and not succeeding, chose ruin with you. But no matter, I have undone you, and am a villain.
Beo. No; I think not-The villains are within.
Stuke. What villains?
Bev. Dawson and the rest-We have been dupes to sharpers.
Stuke. How know you this? I have had doubts as well as you; yet still as fortune changed I blushed at my own thoughts.—But you have proofs, perhaps?
Beo. Ay, damned ones. Repeated lossesNight after night, and no reverse-Chance has no hand in this.
Stuke. I think more charitably; yet I am peevish in my nature, and apt to doubt-The world speaks fairly of this Dawson; so it does of the rest. We have watched them closely Lew. He knows much more than he has told. too. But 'tis a right usurped by losers, to Char. For me it is enough. And for your think the winners knaves-We'll have more generous love, I thank you from my soul. If manhood in us. you'd oblige me more, give me a little time. Beo. I know not what to think-This night Lew. VVhy time? It robs us of our happiness. has stung me to the quick-Blasted my repChar. I have a task to learn first. The little utation too-I have bound my honour to these pride this fortune gave me must be subdued. vipers; played meanly upon credit, till I tired Once we were equal; but now 'tis otherwise; them; and now they shun me, to rifle one and for a life of obligations, I have not learned another. What's to be done? to bear it.
Stuke. Nothing. My counsels have been
Lew. Mine is that life. You are too noble. fatal.
Beo. By heaven I'll not survive this shame
Lew, To-morrow then you'll fix my hap--Traitor! 'tis you have brought it on me. piness?
Char. All that I can I will.
[Taking hold of him] Show me the means to save me, or I'll commit a murder here, and
Lew. It must be so; we live but for each next upon myself.
Stuke. Why, do it then, and rid me of in- | Mrs. B. No, my kind girl; I was not born gratitude. for it-But why do I distress thee? Thy symBec. Pr'ythee forgive this language -I speak pathizing heart bleeds for the ills of othersI know not what-Rage and despair are in What pity that thy mistress can't reward my heart, and hurry me to madness. My thee! But there's a power above, that sees home is horror to me-I'll not return to it. and will remember all. [Knocking] Hark! Speak quickly; tell me, if, in this wreck of there's some one entering. fortune, one hope remains? Name it, and be Lucy. Perhaps 'tis my master, madam. my oracle.
[Exit Stuke. To vent your curses on- -You have Mrs. B. Let him be well too, and I am bestowed them liberally. Take your own satisfied. [Goes to the Door and listens] No, counsel; and should a desperate hope present 'tis another's voice. itself, 'twill suit your desperate fortune. I'll
not advise you.
Beo. What bope? By heaven I'll catch at it, however desperate. I am so sunk in misery it cannot lay me lower.
Stuke. You have an uncle.
Stuke. Old men live long by temperance;
Stuke. That the reversion of his estate is yours; and will bring money to pay debts with-Nay more, it may retrieve what's past. Bee. Or leave my child a beggar.
Stuke, And what's his father? A dishonourable one; engaged for sums he cannot payThat should be thought of.
Bev. It is my shame-The poison that inflames me. Where shall we go? To whom? I'm impatient till all's lost.
Stuke. All may be yours again-Your man is Bates-He has large funds at his command, and will deal justly by you.
Bev. I am resolved-Tell them within we'll meet them presently; and with full purses, too-Come, follow me.
Stuke. No; I'll have no hand in this; nor do I counsel it-Use your discretion, and act from that. You'll find me at my lodgings. Beo. Succeed what will, this night I'll dare the worst;
'Tis loss of fear to be completely curst.
Re-enter Lucy, with Stukely. Lucy. Mr. Stukely, madam. [Exit. Stuke. To meet you thus alone, madani, was what I wished. Unseasonable visits, when friendship warrants them, need no excusetherefore I make none.
Mrs. B. What mean you, sir? And where is your friend?
Stuke. Men may have secrets, madam, which their best friends are not admitted to. We parted in the morning, not soon to meet again.
Mrs. B. You mean to leave us then-to leave your country too? I am no stranger to your reasons, and pity your misfortunes.
Stuke. Your pity has undone you. Could Beverley do this? That letter was a false one; a mean contrivance to rob you of your jewels I wrote it not.
Mrs. B. Impossible! Whence came it then? Stuke. Wronged as I am, madam, I must speak plainly.
Mrs. B. Do so, and ease me.— me.-Your 'hints have troubled me. Reports, you say, are stirr ing-Reports of whom? You wished me not to credit them.-What, sir, are these reports?
Stuke. I thought them slander, madam; and cautioned in friendship, lest from officious tongues the tale had reached you with double aggravation.
Mrs. B. Proceed, sir.
Stuke. It is a debt due to my fame; due to [Exit. an injured wife too.-We are both injured. Stuke. Why, lose it then for ever-Fear is Mrs. B. How injured? And who has inthe mind's worst evil: and 'tis a friendly of-jured us?
fice to drive it from the bosom-Thus far has Stuke. My friend-your husband. fortune crowned me-Yet Beverley is rich; Mrs. B. You would resent for both then; rich in his wife's best treasure, her honour but know, sir, my injuries are my own, and and affections. I would supplant him there do not need a champion.
too. Charlotte is sometimes absent. The seeds Stuke. Be not too hasty, madam. I come of jealousy are sown already. If I mistake not in resentment, but for acquittance. You not, they have taken root too. Now is the thought me poor; and to the feigned distresses time to ripen them, and reap the harvest. The of a friend gave up your jewels. softest of her sex, if wronged in love, or thinking that she's wronged, becomes a tigress in revenge - I'll instantly to Beverley's - No matter for the danger-When beauty leads us on, 'tis indiscretion to reflect, and cowardice to doubt.
SCENE IV.-BEVERLEY'S Lodgings.
Mrs. B. I gave them to a husband.
Mrs. B. No; on my life he did not. Stuke. Himself confessed it, with curses on her avarice.
Mrs. B. I'll not believe it-He has no mistress; or, if he has, why is it told to me?
Stuke. To guard you against insults. He told me, that, to move you to compliance, he Mrs. B. She looked confused, methought; forged that letter, pretending I was ruined, said she had business with her Lewson; which ruined by him too. The fraud succeeded; and when I pressed to know, tears only were her what a trusting wife bestowed in pity, lavished on a wanton.
Lucy. She seemed in haste too-Yet her return may bring you comfort.
Mrs. B. Then I am lost indeed! His follies I have borne without upbraiding, and saw the