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SCENE I.—Beeerley's Lodgings.
Mrs. B. Ec comforted, my dear; all may be well yet. And now, me thinks, the lodgings begin to look with another face. O sister, sister! if these were all my hardships; if all I had to complain of were no more than quitting my house, servants, equipage, and show, your pity would be weakness.
Cltar. Is poverty nothing, then?
Mrs. B. Nothing in the world, if it affected only me. While we had a fortune, I was the happiest of the rich: and now, 'tis gone, give me but a bare subsistence, and my hushand's smiles, and I'll be the happiest of the poor. Why do you look at me?
Char. That I may hate my brother.
No, I —the British Drama,
Jarvis. I Mss. Beverlev
Char. Has he not undone you ?—O! this pernicious vice of gaming!—(Rises.) But, methinks, his usual hours of four or nvo in the morning might have contented him; it was misery enough to wake for him till then: need he have staid out all night? I shall learn to detest him.
Mrs. B. Not for the first fault. He never slept from me before.
Char. Stept from you! No, no, his nights have nothing to do with sleep. How has this one vice driven him from every virtne! Nay, from his affections tool The time was, sister —
Mrs. B. And is. I have no fear of his affections, 'Would I knew that he were safe. (Rises.)
Char. From ruin and his companions—but that's impossible. His poor little boy, too! What must become of him?
Mrs. B. Why, want shall teach him industry. From his fathet s mistakes he shall learn prudence, and from his mother's resignation, patience. Po
verty has no such terrors in it as you imagine. There's no condition of lite, sipknesg, and pain excepted, where happiness is excluded. The husbandman, who rises early to his labour, enjoys more welcome rest at night for it; his home happier; his family dearer; hie enjoyments surer. The sun that rouses him in the morning, sets in the evening to release him. All situations have their comforts, if sweet contentment dwell in the heart But my poor Beverley has none. The thought of having ruined those he loves, is misery for ever to him. 'Would. I could ease his mind of that!
etiar. If he alone iwtre raised, it were just he should be punished. lie is my brother, it is trne; but when I think of what he has done, of the fortune you brought fcfm, of b& OwH large estate, too, squandered away upon tbjs vilest of passions, and among tbe wlesfc of wrutehes,—O! 1 have no patience. My own little fortune is untouched, he eays. 'Wojjid t wur$ WW on't!
Mrs. B. Aiw AO yPl i may—'twould bo a sin to
am, I will be sure on't—'twas madness in ma to giva it 0 hie management. But I'll demand ft from him tfci* morning. % ha ye a melancholy oc• aasipa for &
Mrs. II. W&a* occasion?
Char. To support a sisfce&,
Mrs. B. No; I have no need on% Take It, and reward a Ipser wit}* if. Ttje gehoFOus Lewson daserres much mor#. Why won't you make him
TBI B^CftHse my sister is miserable
Mrs. It. You must not think so. I have my jewels left yet; and wU*u all is gone, these hands afeall toil for our support. The poor should be dftstrio)is.^Wi}y tiiose tears, Charloti©?
Char, They flow in pity for yea.
Mrs. B. AH may &e well yet. When he has nothing to losg, j shall fetter him in these arms again; and then, what is it to be poor?
Char. Cure him but of this destructive passion, and my uncle's death may retrieve all yet,
Mrs. B. Ay, Charlotte, could wo cure him: but the disease of play admits no cure but poverty; and the loss of another fortune would but increase his shame and his affiiction. Will Mr. Lewson call this morning?*
Char. He said So last night. He gave me hints too, that he had suspicions of our friend Stukely.
Mrs. B. Not of treachery to my hushand? That he loves play, I know; but surely he is honest.
Char. He labours to be thought so; therefore, I doubt him. Honesty needs no pains to set itself off.
Enter LUCY. Lucy. Your old steward, madam. I had not the heart to deny him admittance, the good old man begged so hard for it. (Exit. Enter JABVIS. Mrs. B. l£ this well, Jarvis? I desired yon to avoid me.
Jar. Did you, madam? I-am an old man, and had' forgot, Perhaps, too, you forbad my tears; but I am old, madam, and age vril i be forgetful.
Mrs. B. The faithful creature!
jar. I have forget these apartments, too. I remember none such in my young master's house; and yet I have lived in it these five-and-twenty years. His good father would not have dismissed me.
Mrs. B. He had no reason, Jarvis.
Jar. I was faithful to him while he lived, and
when he died, he beqneathed me to his son. I haw been faithful to him too.
Mrs. B. I know it, I know it, Jarvis.
Jar. I am an old man, madam, and have nott long time to live. I asked but to have died wft him, and he dismissed me.
Mrs. B, 'Prythee, no more of this! 'Twas bia poverty that dismissed you.
Jar. Is he indeed so poor, then? O, he was the joy of my old heart!—But must his creditors imt all? And have they sold his house too? His fathtr built it wheii be was but a prating boy. The thata that I have carried him in these arms! And Jarvis, sare he, when a beggar has asked charity of me, way should people be poor? You shanl be poor, Jarvis; if I was a king, nobody should, be poor: yet, he is poor. And then he was so brave !—t>, he was a bravo little boy! and yet so merciful, he'd not have killed the gnat that slang him.
Mrs. B. Speak to him. Charlotte; for I cannot Jar. I have a little money, madam; ft might
have been more, but I nave loved the poor. All
that I have is your*. Mrs. B. No, Jarvis; we have enough yet; I
thank you, though, and will deserve your goo>
Jar. But shall I sen my master? And will he ltt me attend him in his distresses? I'll be no license to him; and it will kuT me to tie refuse. Where is be, madam?
Mrs. B. Not at noma, Jarvis, You shall &ee bin another time.
Pkqr, To-morrow, or the nejt day—0, Jarvii! What a change is here!
Jst: A change, indeed, madam t My old heatt aches at it. And yet, metblnks^Btft here's somtthing eaming.
Enter LUCY, with STUKELY.
Lucy. Mr. Stukely, madam. [Ezil.
Stub Good morning to you, ladies, Mr. Jarvis, your servant Where's my friend, madam?
(To Mrs Bererleg.)
Mrs. B. I should have asked that qnestion ■ you. Have you seen him to-day?
Stuk. No, madam.
Char. Mor last night?
Stuk. Last night! Did he not come home, then?
Mrs. B. No. Were you not together?
Stuk. At the"beginning of the evening; but not since. Where can he have staid?
Char. You call yourself his friend, sir; why do you encourage him in this madness of gambling?
Stuk. You have asked me that qnestion befoce, madam; and I told you, my concern was that I could not save him: Mr. Beverley is a man, madam; and, if the most friendly entreaties have no efftct upon him, I have no other means. My purse hss been his, even to the injury of my fortune. If that has been encouragement, I deserve censure; but I meant it to retrieve him.
Mrs. B. I do not doubt it, sir; and I thank you. But where did yon leave him last night?
Stuk. At Wilson's, madam, if I ought to tell; in company I did not like. Possibly, he may be thece still. Mr. Jarvis knows tlie house, I believe.
Jar. Shall I go, madam?
Mrs, B. No; he may take it ilL
Char. He may go, as from himself.
Stuk. And, if he pleases, madam, without naming me: lam faulty myself, and should conceal the errors of a friend: but I can refuse nothing here.
Jar. I would fain see him, methinks.
Mrs. B. (To Jarvis.) Do so, then. But take cace how 'yon uphraid him. I have never uphraided him.
Jar. 'Would.I could bring him comfort! [Exit.
Stuk. Do not be too much alarmed, madam. Ail men have their errors, and their times of seeing them. Perhaps, my friend's time is not come yet. But he has an uncle, and old men do not live for ever. You should look forward, madam; we are taught how to valne a second fortune by the loss of a lire*. (Knocking at the door.)
Mrs. B. Hark !—No—that knocking was too rude for Mr. Beverley. Pray heaven he be well I
Stuk. Never doubt it, madam. You shall be well, too: everything shall be well.
Mrs. B. The knocking is a little loud, though.— Who waits there? Wii l none of you answer? None of you, did I say? Alas! what was I thinking of ?—I had forgot myself. (Takes a chair.)
Char. I'll go, sister.—But do not be alarmed so.
Stuk. What extraordinary accident have you to fear, madam?
Mrs. B. I beg your pardon; but it is ever thus with me, in Mr. Beverley's absence. No one knocks at the door, but I fancy it is a messenger of ill news.
Stuk. You are too fearful, madam; it was but one night of absence; and, if ill thoughts intrude, as love is always doubtful, think of your worth and beauty, and drive them from your breast.
Mrs. B. What thoughts? I have no thoughts that wrong my hushand.
Stuk. Such thoughts indeed would wrong him. The world is full of slander; and every wretch that knows himself unjust, charges his neighbour with like passions; and by the general frailty, hides his own:—if you are wise, and would bo happy, turn a deaf ear to such reports. 'Tis ruin to believe them.
Mrs. B. Ay, worse than ruin. 'Twould ho, to sin against conviction. Why was it mentioned?
Stuk. To guard you against rumour. The sport of half mankind is mischief; and, for a single error, they make men devils. If their tales reach you, disbelieve them.
Mrs. B. What tales? By whom? Why told? I have heard nothing:—or if I had, with all his errors, my Beverley's firm faith admits no doubt— it is my duty, my seat of rest and joy, while the storm threatens round me. I'll not forsake it— (Stukely sighs, and looks down.) Why turn you, sir, away? and why that sigh?
Stuk. I was attentive, madam; and sighs will come, we know not why. Perhaps, I have been too busy; if it should seem so, impute my zeal to friendship, that meant to guard you against evil tongnes. Your Beverley is wronged, slandered most vilely:—my life upon his truth.
Mrs. B. And mine too. Who Is it that doubts it? Bat no matter: I am prepared, sir. Yet, why this cantion? Yon are my hushand's friend; I think you mine too; the common friend of both. (Pauses.) —I have been unconcerned else.
Stuk. For heaven's sake, madam, be so still I I meant to guard you against suspicion, not to alarm it
Mrs. B. Nor have you, sir. Who told you of suspicion? I - ave a heart it cannot reach.
Stuk. Then I am happy: I would say more; but am prevented.
Enter CHARLOTTE. Char. What a heart has that Jarvia!—A creditor, sister. But the good old man has taken him away,
—"Do not distress his wife! Do not distress his .sister!" I could hear him say. "'Tis crnel to distress the afflicted."—And when he saw me at the door, he begged pardon that his friend had knocked so loud.
St uf.-. I wish I had known of this. Was it a large demand, madam.
Char. I heard not that; but visits such as these we must expect often. Why so distressed, sister? This is no new affliction.
Mrs. B. No, Charlotte; but I am faint with watching—quite sunk and spirit less.—Will you excuse me, sir? I'll to my chamber, and try to rest a little.
Stuk. Good thoughts go with you, madam! [Exit Mrs. B.}—(Aside.) My bait is taken, then. Poor Mrs. Beverley! how my heart grieves to see her thus.
Char. Cure her, and be a friend, then.
Stuk: How cure her, madam?
Char. Reclaim my brother.
Stuk. Ay, give him a new creation; or breathe another soul into him. I'll think on't, madam. Advice, I see, is thankless.
Char. Useless, I am sure, it Is: if, through mistaken friendship, or other motives, you feed his passion with your purse, and soothe it by example. Physicians to cure fevers, keep from the patient's thirsty lip the cup that would enfiame him: you give it to his hands. (A knocking.) Hark, sir!— These are my brother's desperate symptons.— Another creditor.
St id: (Aside.) One not so easily got rid of: 'tis Williams.—What, Lew son!
Lew. Madam, your servant—Yours sir.—I waa enquiring for you at your lodgings.
Stuk. This morning? You had business, then F
Lew. You'll call it by another name, perhaps. Where's Mr. Beverley, madam?
Char. We have sent to enquire for him.
Lew. Is he abroad, then? He did not use to go out so early.
Char. No, nor stay out so late.
Lew. Is that the case? I am sorry for it But Mr. Stukely, perhaps, may direct you to him.
Stuk. I have already, sir.—But what was your business with me?
Lew. To congratulate you upon your late successes at play. Poor Beverley!—but you are his friend: and there is a comfort in having successful friends.
St id. And what am I to understand by this?
Lew. That Beverley is a poor man with a rich friend; that's all.
Stuk. Your words would mean something, I suppose. Another time, sir, I shall desire an explanation.
Lew. And why not now? I am ne^jalertnE^ng sentences. A minute or two will do for me.
Stuk. But not for me, sir. I am slow of app, 3hension, and must have time and privacy. A lady's presence engages my attention. Another morning I may be found at home.
Lew. Another morning, then, I'll wait upon you.
Stuk. I shall expect you, sir.—Madam, your ser' vant [Exit.
Char. What mean you by this?
Lew. To hint to him that I know him.
Char. How know him? Mere doubt and supposition.
Lew. I shall have proof soon. Char. And what then? Would you risk your life to be his punisher?
Lew. My life, madam? Don't be afraid; but let it content you, that s1 know this Stukely:—'twould be as easy to make him honest as brave.
Char. And what do you intend to do?
Lew. Nothing, till I have proof. But methinks, madam, I am acting here without authority. Could I have leave to call Mr. Beverley brother, his concerns would be my own. Why will you make my services appear officious?
Char. You know my reasons, and should not press me. But I am cold, you say; and cold I will bo, while a poor sister's destitute. But let us change the subject Your business here this morning is with my sister: misfortunes press too hard upon her; yet, till this day, she has borne them nobly.
Lew. Where is she?
Char. Gone to her chamber: her spirits failed her.
Lew. I hear her coming;—let what has passed with Stukely be a secret: she has already too much to trouble her.
Enter MES. BEVEBLEY.
Mrs. B. Good morning, sir. I heard your voice: and, as I thought, enquiring for me.—Where's Mr. Stukely, Charlotte?
Char. This moment gone. You have been in tears, sister; but here's a friend shall comfort you.
Lew. Or, if I add to your distresses, I beg your pardon, madam. The sale of your house and furniture was finished yesterday.
Mrs. B. I know it, sir. I know, too, your generous reason for putting me in mind of it: but you have obliged me too much already.
Lctc. There are trifies, madam, which I know you have set a valne on; those I have purchased, and will deliver. I have a friend, too, that esteems you: he has bought largely; and will call nothing his, till he has seen you. If a visit to him would not be painful, he has begged it may be this morning.
Mrs. B. Not painful in the least. My pain is from the kindness of my friends. Why am I to be obliged beyond the power of return?
Lew. You shall repay us at your own time. I have a coach waiting at the door:—shall we have your company, madam.
Char. No:—my brother may return soon; I'll stay and receive him.
Mrs. B. He may want a comforter, perhaps. But don't uphraid him, Charlotte. We shan't be absent long.—Come, sir, I must be so obliged.
Lew. 'Tis I that am obliged. An hour, or less will be sufficient for us.—We shall find you at home, madam?
(Exeunt Lewson, Mrs. Beeerley, and Charlotte.
Sluk. That Lewson slispects me, 'tis too plain.— Yet, why should he suspect me?—I appear the friend of Beverley, as much as he.—But I am rich, it seems; and so I am: thanks to another's folly, and my own wisdom. To what Usc is wisdom, but to take advantage of the weak ? This Beverley's my fool: I cheat him, and he calls me friend. But more business must be done yet. His wife's jewels arc unsold; so is the reversion of his uncle's estate. I must have these too. And then, there's a treasure above all—I love his wife. Before she knew this Beverley, I loved her; but like a cringing fool, bowed %t a distance, while he stept in and won her. Never, never will I forgive him for it—
I must have vengeance t— Those hints this moming were well thrown in; already they have fastened on her. If jealousy should weaken her affections, want may corrupt her virtne.—My heart rejoiees in the hope!—These jewels may do much: he ahal i demand them of her; which, when mine, shall be converted to special purposes.—What now, Bates? Enter BATES.
Bates. Is it a wonder, then, to see me? The forces are all in readiness, and only wait for ordets. Where's Beverley?
Stuk. At last night's rendezvous, waiting for me. Is Dawson with you?
Bates. Dressed like a nobleman, with money in his pocket, and a set of dice that shall deceive tht devil.
Stuk. That fellow has a head to undo a natiov; but for the rest, they are such low-mannered, illlooking dogs, I wonder Beverley has not suspected them.
Bates. No matter for manners and looks: do yen supply them with money, and they are gentlemen by profession. The passion of gaming casts puch a mist before the eyes, that the nobleman shall bt surrounded with sharpers, and imagine himself in the best company.
Stuk. There's that Williams, too: it was he, I suppose, that called at Beverley's with the note this morning. What directions did yon give him?
Bates. To knock loud, and be clamorous. Bid not you see him?
Stuk. No; the fool sneaked off with Jarvis. Had he appeared within doors, as I directed, I should have discharged the note myself. I waited near en purpose. I want the women to think well of me: for Lewson is grown suspicious—he told me so himself.
Bates. What answer did you make him?
Stuk. A short one; that I would see him soen, for further explanation.
Bates. We must take care of him. But what have wo to do with Beverley? Dawson and the rest are wondering at you.
Stuk. Why, let them wonder. I have design) above their narrow reach. They see me lend him money, and they stare at me; but they are fooli I want him to believe me beggared by him.
Bates. And what then?
Stuk. Ay, there's tho qnestion: but no mattet. At night you may know more. He waits for me at Wilson's. I told the women where to find him.
Bates. To what purpose?
Stuk. To save suspicion. It looked friendly; and they thanked me. Old Jarvis was despatched to him.
Bates. And may entreat him home.
Stuk. No: he expects money from me: but HI have none. His wife's jewels must go. Women are easy creatures, and refuse nothing where they love. Follow to Wilson's; but, be sure he sees you not: you are a man of character, you know; of prudence and discretion. You will wait for me at Wilson's in an outer room ; I shall presently have employment of you. Come, sir. . Let drudging fools by honesty grow great; The shorter road to riches is deceit [£xetffi(.
SOENE I.—A Gaming-house, with two tables, t& chairs, box, diee, ltc., cards thrown about, candid nearly burnt out.
BEVEBLEY is discovered seated. Bee. Why, what a world is this! The slave Hint
digs for gold, receives his daily pittance' andsleepi contented! while those for whom he labours, convert their good to mischief, making abundance the means of want. O shame! shame! Had fortune given me but a little, that little had been still my own. What had I to do with play? I wanted nothing: my wishes and my means were equal: the poor followed me with blessings; love scattered rosea on my pillow, and morning waked me to delight. Oh, bltter thought! that leads to what I was, by what I ami I would forget both. 'Who's there?
Enter WAITER. Waiter. A gentleman, sir, enquires for you. Bev. He might have used less ceremony. Stakely, I suppose. Waiter. No, sir, a stranger.
Bev. Well, shew him in—(Exit Waiter.)—A. messenger from Stukely, then, from him that has undone met—Yet all in friendship: and now he lends me from his little, to bring back fortune to me.
Enter JARVIS. Jarvis! Why this intrusion? Your absence had been kinder.
Jar. I came in duty, air; if it be troublesome—
Bev. It is. I would be private; hid, even from myself. Who sent yon hither?
Jar. One that would persuade you home again. My mistress is not well; her tears told me so.
Bev. Go with thy duty there, then. I have no business for thee.
Jar. Yea, sir; to lead you from this place. I am your servant, still. Your prosperous fortune blessed my old age. If that has left you, I must not leave you.
Bev. Not leave me? Recall past times, then; or, through this sea of storms and darkness, shew me a star to guide me. But what can'at thou?
Jar. The little that I can, I will. You have been generous to me; I would not offend you, sir,— ■au- ■
Bev. No. Thinkest thou, I'd ruin thee too? I have enough of shame already. My wife! my wife! Wouldst thou believe it, Jarvis, I have not seen her all this long night! I, who have loved her so, that every hour of absence seemed as a gap in life. But other bonds have held me. Oh, I have played the boy; dropping my counters in the stream, and, reaching to redeem them, lost my
Jar. For pity's sake, sir! I have no heart to see this change.
Bev. Nor I to bear it How speaks the world of me, Jarvis?
Jar. As of a good man, dead: of one who, walking in a dream, fell down a precipice. The world is sorry for you.
Bev. Ay, and pities me. Says it not so? But I was born to infamy. I'll tell thee what it says: it calls me a villain: a treacherous hushand; a crnel father; a false brother; one lost to nature and her charities; or, to say all in one short word, it calls me—gamester. Go to thy mistress: I'll see her pcesently. —
Jar. And why not now? Rude people press upon ner; loud, bawling creditors; wretches, who know no pity. I met one at the door: he would have ueen my mistress. I wanted means of present payment, so promised it to-morrow. But ethers may ha pressing; and she has grief enough already. Your ansence hangs too heavy on her. Bev. Tell her I'll come then. I have a moment's ess. But what hast thou to do with my dis*? Thy honesty has left thee poor. Keep
what thou hast, lest, bclwren thee and the grave, misery steal in. I have a friend shall counsel mc: this is that friend.
Stuk. How fares it, Beverley? Honest Mr. Jarvis, well met. That vipor, Williams! was it not he that troubled you this morning?
Jar. My mistress heard him then! I am sorry that she heard him.
Bee, And Jarvis promised payment
Stuk. That must not be. Tell him I'll satisfy him.
Jar. Will you, sir? Heaven will reward you for it
Bev. Generous Stukely! Friendship, like yours, might almost balance the wrongs of fortune.
Stuk. You think too kindly of me. Make haste to Williams; his clamours may be rude else.
Jar. And my master will go home again? Alan, sir, we know of hearts there breaking for his absence. [Exit.
Bee. Would I were dead!
Stuk. Ha, ha, ha! Pr'ythee be a man, and leave dying to disease and old age. Fortune may be oura again; at least, we'll try for it
Bev. No; it has fooled us on too far.
Stuk. Ay, ruined us: and therefore we'll ?it down contented. These are the de'spondings of men without money; but, let the shining ore chiok in the pocket and folly turns to wisdom. We are fortune's children: trne, she's a fickle mother: but, shall we droop, because she's peevish? No; she has smiles in store; and these, her frowns, aro meant to brighten them.
Bev. Is this a time for levity? But you are single in the ruin, and therefore may talk lightly of it: with me it is complicated misery.
Stuk. You censure mo unjustly: I but assumed these spirits to cheer my friend. Heaven knows, he wants a comforter!
Bee. What new misfortune?
Stuk. I would have brought you money; bnt lenders want securities. What's to be done? All, that was mine, is yours already.
Bee. And there's the double weight that sinks me. I have undone my friend too; one who, to save a drowning wretch, reached out his hand, and perished with him.
Stuk. Have better thoughts.
Bev. Whence are they to proceed? I have nothing left
Stuk. Then we are indeed undone. What nothing? No moveables, nor useless trinkets? Baubles locked up in caskets, to starve their owners? I have ventured deeply for you.
Bev. Therefore this heart-ache; for I am lost beyond all hope.
Stuk, No; means may be found to save us. Jarvis is rich. Who made him so? This is no time for ceremony.
Bev. And is it for dishonesty? The good old man! Shall I rob him too? My friend would grieve for it No; let the little that ho has, buy food and clothing for him.
Stuk. Good morning, then. (Going.)
Bev. So hasty! Why, then, good morning.
Stuk. And, when we meet again, uphraid me: say, it was I that tempted you: tell Lewson so; and tell him, I have wronged you. He has suspicions of me, and will thank you.
Bev. No; we have been companions in a rash voyage, and the same storm has wrecked us both; mine shall be self-uphraldings.
Stuk. And will they feed us? Yon deal unkindly by me. I have sold and borrowed for you, whilo land or credit lasted; and now, when fortune