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must allow you have been in the wrong: come, my dear lord, you must allow me that now.
Lord L. How so, my dear Sir Pertinax? Sir P. Not about the boroughs, my lord; for those I do not mind of a bawbee; but about your distrust of my friendship. Why, do you think, now-I appeal till your ain breast, my lord-do you think, I say, that I should ever have slighted your lordship's nomination till these boroughs.
Lord L. Why, really, I do not think you would, Sir Pertinax; but one must be directed by one's lawyer, you know.
Sir P. Ha! my lord, lawyers are a dangerous species of animals to have any dependance upon: they are always starting punctilios and difficulties among friends. Why, my lord, it is their interest that a' mankind should be at variance; for disagreement of every kind is the vary manure with which they enrich and fatten the land of litigation; and, as they find that that constantly promotes the best crop, depend upon it, they will always be sure to lay it on as thick as they can.
Lord L. Come, come, my dear Sir Pertinax; you must not be angry with the Sergeant for his insisting so warmly on this point; for those boroughs, you know, are my sheet anchor.
Sir P. I know it, my lord; and, as an instance of my promptness to study, and of my acquaintance till your lordship's inclination, as I see that this Sergeant Etherside wishes you weel, and you of him, I think, now, he would be as guid a man to be returned for one of those boroughs as could be pitched upon: and, as such, I humbly reccommend him till your lordship's consideration.
Lord L. Why, my dear Sir Pertinax, to tell you the truth, I have already promised him. He must be in for one of them, and that is one reason why I insisted so strenuously; he must be in.
Sir P. And why not? odswunds! why not? is nae your word a flat? an will it nae be always so till me? are ye nae my friend, my patron? and are we nae, by this match of our children, to be united intill one interest?
Lord L. So I understand it, I own, Sir Pertinax. Sir P. My lord, it can nae be otherwise; then, for heaven's sake! as your lordship and I can have but one interest for the future, let us have nae mair words about these paltry boroughs, but conclude the agreement just as it stands; otherwise, there must be new writings drawn up, new consultations of lawyers; new objections and delays will arise; creditors will be impatient and impertinent; so that we shall nae finish the Lord knows when.
Lord L. You are right, you are right; say no more, Mac, say no more. Split the lawyers-you judge the point better than all Westminster-Hall could. It shall stand as it is: yes, you shall settle it your own way; for your interest and mine are the same, I see plainly.
Sir P. No doubt of it, my lord. Lord L. O! here the lawyers come. Enter COUNSELLOR PLAUSIBLE and SERGEANT EITHERSIDE.
Lord L. So, gentlemen-Well, what have you done?-How are your opinions now?
Serg. My lord, Mr Plausible has convinced me; fully convinced me.
Plaus. Yes, my lord, I have convinced him: I have laid such arguments before Mr. Sergeant as were irresistible.
Serg. He has, indeed, my lord? besides, as Sir Pertinax gives his honour that your lordship's nomination shall be sacredly observed, why, upon a nearer review of the whole matter, I think it will
be the wiser measure to conclude the agreement just as it is drawn.
Lord L. I am very glad you think so, Mr. Sergeant, because that is my opinion too: so my dear Eitherside, do you and Mr. Plausible despatch the business now as soon as possible.
Serg. My lord, every thing will be ready in less than an hour. Come, Mr. Plausible, let us go and fill up the blanks, and put the last hand to the writings on our part.
Plaus. I attend you, Mr. Sergeant.
[Exeunt Lawyers. Lord L. And, while the lawyers are preparing the writings, Sir Pertinax, I will go and saunter with the women. [presently. Sir P. Do, do, my lord; and I will come to you Lord L. Very well, my dear Mac, I shall expect you. [Exit singing.
Sir P. So; a little flattery, mixed with the finesse of a gilded promise on one side, and a gnantum sufficit of the aurum palpabile on the other, have at last made me the happiest father in Great Britain. Ha! my heart expands itself, as it were, through every part of my whole body, at the completion of this business, and feels nothing but dignity and elevation. Hauld, hauld! bide a wee, bide a wee! I have but one little matter mair in this affair to adjust; and then, Sir Pertinax, you may dictate till fortune herself, and send her to govern fools; while you shew and convince the world that wise men always govern her. Wha's there? Enter SAM,
Tell my son, Egerton, I would speak with him here in the library. [Exit Sam.] Now I have settled the grand point with my lord, this, I think, is the proper juncture to feel the political pulse of my spark; and, once for a', to set it to the exact measure that I would have it constantly beat. Enter EGERTON
Come, hither, Charles.
Eger. Your pleasure, sir. Sir P. About twa hours since, I told you, Charles, that I received a letter express, complaining of your brother's activity at an election in Scotland, against a particular friend of mine, which has given great offence; and, sir, you are mentioned in the letter as well as he: to be plain, I must roundly tell you, that on this interview depends my happiness as a father and as a man; and my affection to you, sir, as a son, for the remainder of our days.
Eger. I hope, sir, I shall never do anything either to forfeit your affection or disturb your happiness.
Sir P. I hope so, too: but to the point. The fact is this: there has been a motion made this vary day to bring on the grand affair, which is settled for Friday seven-night. Now, sir, as you are popular, have talents, and are weel heard, it is expected, and I insist upon it, that you erdeavour to atone, sir, for your late misconduct, by preparing, and taking a larger share in that question, and supporting it with a' your power.
Eger. Sir, I hope you will not so exert your influence, as to insist upon my supporting a measure by an obvious, prostituted sophistry, in direct opposition to my character and conscience.
Sir P. Conscience! why you are mad! Did you ever hear any man talk of conscience in political matters? Conscience, quotha! I have been in parliament these three and thraty years, and never heard the term made use of before. Sir, it is an unparliamentary word, and you will be laughed at for it.
Eger. Then, sir, I must frankly tell you, that
you work against my nature; you would connect me with men I despise, and press me into measures I abhor; for know, sir, that the malignant ferment which the venal ambition of the times provokes in the heads and hearts of other men I detest.
Sir P. What are you about, sir? Malignant ferment and venal ambition! Sır, every man should be ambitious to serve his country, and every man should be rewarded for it: and pray, sir, would nae you wish to serve your country? Answer me that. I say, would nae you wish to serve your country?
Eger. Only show me how I can serve my country, and my life is hers. Were I qualified to lead her armies, to steer her fleets, and to deal her honest vengeance on her insulting foes;-or could my eloquence pull down a state leviathan, mighty by the plunder of his country, black with the treasons of her disgrace, and send his infamy down to a free posterity, as a monumental terror to corrupt ambition, I would be foremost in such service, and act with the unremitting ardour of a Roman spirit. Sir P. Why, are you mad, sir? you have certainly been bit by some mad whig or other. Oh! you are young, vary young in these matters; but experience will convince you, sir, that every man in public business has twa consciences-a religious and a political conscience. Why, you see a merchant now, or a shopkeeper, that kens the science o' the world, always looks upon an oath at a custom-house, or behind the counter, only as an oath in business, a thing of course, a mere thing of course, that has nothing to do with religion; and just so it is at an election: for instance, now, I am a candidate, (pray observe,) and I gang till a periwigmaker, a hatter, or a hosier, and I give ten, twenty, or thraty guineas, for a periwig, a hat, or a pair of hose; and so on, through a majority of voters; vary weel! what is the consequence? why this commercial intercourse, you see, begets a friendship betwixt us, a commercial friendship and in a day or twa, these men gang and give their suffrages; weel! what is the inference? Pray: sir, can you, or any lawyer, divine, or casuist, ca' this a bribe? Nae, sir, in fair political reasoning, it is ainly generosity on the one side, and gratitude on the other. So, sir, let me have nae more of your ligious or philosophical refinements; but prepare, attend, and speak till the question, or you are nae son of mine. Sir, I insist upon it.
on this occasion, and tell you at once, that I can no longer dissemble the honest passion that fills my heart for another woman,
Sir P. How! another woman? and, you villain! how dare you love another woman without my leave? But what other woman? what is she? Speak, sir, speak.
Sir P. Constantia! Oh, you profligate! What, a creature taken in for charity!
Eger. Her poverty is not her crime, sir, but her misfortune: her birth is equal to the noblest; therefore, sir—
Sir P. Haud your jabbering, you villain! haud your jabbering; none of your romance nor refinement till me. I have but one question to ask you; but one question, and then I have done with you for ever for ever; therefore, think before you answer: will you marry the lady, or will you break my heart?
Eger. Sir, my presence shall not offend you any longer; but when reason and reflection take their turn, I am sure you will not be pleased with your self for this unparental passion. (Going.)
Sir P. Tarry, I command you; and I command you, likewise, not to stir till you have given me an answer-a definitive answer: will you marry the lady, or will you not?
Eger. Since you command me, sir-know, then, that I cannot, will not marry her. [Exit. Sir P. Oh! the villain has shot me through the head! he has cut my vitals! I shall run distracted! the fellow destroys a' my measures, a' my schemes: there never was sic a bargain as I have made with this foolish lord; possession of his whole estate, with three boroughs upon it-six members. Why, what an acquisition! what consequence! what dignity! what weight till the house of Macsycophant! Ó, d-n the fellow! three boroughs, only for sending down six broomsticks! O, miserable! O, miserable! ruined! undone! For these five-and-twenty years, ever since this fellow came intill the world, have I been secretly prepar ing him for ministerial dignity; and, with the fellow's eloquence, abilities, popularity, these boroughs, and proper connexions, he might cerre-tainly, in a little time, have done the deed: and sure never were times so favourable, every thing conspires, for a' the auld political post-horses are broken-winded and foundered, and cannot get on; and as till the rising generation, the vanity of surpassing one another in what they foolishly call taste and elegance, binds them hand and foot in the chains of luxury, which will always set them up till the best bidder; so that, if they can but get wherewithal to supply their dissipation, a minister may convert the political morals of a' sie voluptuaries, intill a vote that would sell the nation till Prester John, and their boasted liberties till the great Mogul. [Exit.
Sam. Sir, my lord says the writings are now ready; and his lordship and the lawyers are waiting for you and Mr. Egerton.
Sir P. Vary weel, we'll attend his lordship. [Exit Sam.] Come, sir, let us gang down and finish this business.
Eger. [Stopping Sir P. as he is going off) Sir, with your permission, I beg you will first hear a word or two upon this subject.
Sir P. Woel, sir, what would you say? Eger. I have often resolved to let you know my aversion to this match
Sir P, How, sir?
Eger. But my respect, and fear of disobliging you, have hitherto kept me silent.
Sir P. Your aversion!-your aversion, sir! How dare you use sic language to me? Your aversion! Lookye, sir; I shall cut the matter vary short: consider, my fortune is nae inheritance; a' mine ain acquisition; I can make ducks and drakes of it; so do not provoke me, but sign the articles directly.
Eger. I beg your pardon, sir, but I must be free
SCENE L-A Library.
Enter SIR PERTINAX and BETTY HINT. Sir P. Come this way, Betty; come this way: you are a guid girl, and I will reward you for this discovery. Oh, the villain! offer her marriage!
Betty. It is true, indeed, sir; I would not tell your honour a lie for the world; but, in truth, it lay upon my conscience, and I thought it my duty to tell your worship.
Sir P. You are right, you are right; it was your duty to tell me, and I'll reward you for it. But you say Maister Sidney is in love with her too; pray how came you with that intelligence?
Betty. O, sir, I know wher folks are in love, let them strive to hide it as much as they will. I know it by Mr. Sidney's eyes, when I see him stealing a sly look at her; by his trembling-his breathing short; his sighing when they are reading together. Besides, sir, he has made love-verses upon her, in praise of her virtue, and her playing upon the music. Ay; and I suspect another thing, sir; she has a sweetheart, if not a husband, not far from hence. Sir P. Wha, Constantia ?
Betty. Ay, Constantia, sir. Lord, I can know the whole affair, sir, only for sending over to Hadley, to farmer Hilford's youngest daughter, Sukey Hilford. Sir P. Then send this instant, and get me a particular account of it.
Betty. That I will, sir.
Sir P. In the meantime, keep a strict watch upon Constantia; and be sure you bring me word of whatever new matter you can pick up about her, my son, or this Hadley husband or sweetheart.
Betty. Never fear, sir.
Sir P. This love of Sidney's for Constantia is not unlikely. There is something promising in it. Yes, I think it is nae impossible to convert it into a special and immediate advantage. It is but trying. Wha's there? If it misses, I am but where I was. Enter TOMLINS. Where is Maister Sidney?
Tom. In the dining-room, Sir Pertinax.
Sir P. Tell him I would speak with him. Tomlins.] 'Tis more than probable. Spare to speak, and spare to speed. Try, try, always try the human heart; try is as guid a maxim in politics as in war. Why, suppose, this Sidney, now, should be privy till his friend Charles's love for Constantia, what then? guid trath, it is natural to think that his ain love will demand the preference; ay, and obtain it, too. Yes; self, self is an eloquent advocate on these occasions, and seldom loses his cause. I hae the general principle of human nature, at least to encourage me in the experiment; for only make it a man's interest to be a rascal, and I think we may safely depend upon his integrity-in serving himself. Enter SIDNEY.
Sid. Sir Pertinax, your servant. Mr. Tomlins told me you desired to speak with me.
Sir P. Yes, I wanted to speak with you upon a vary singular business. Maister Sidney, give me your hand. Guin it did nae look like flattery, which I detest, I would tell you, Maister Sidney, that you are an honour till your cloth, your country, and till human nature.
Sid. Sir, you are very obliging.
Sir P. Sit you down, Maister Sidney; sit you down here by me. (They sit.) My friend, I am under the greatest obligations till you for the care you have taken of Charles. The principles, religious, moral and political, that you have infused intill him, demand the warmest return of gratitude both fra him and fra me.
Sid. Your approbation, sir, next to that of my own conscience, is the best test of my endeavours, and the highest applause they can receive.
Sir P. Sir, you deserve it; richly deserve it. And now, sir, the same care that you have had of Charles, the same my wife hae taken of her favourite Constantia; and sure, never were accomplishments, knowledge, or principles, social and religious, infused intill a better nature.
Sid. In truth, sir, I think so too.
which he dissipated and melted in feastings, and friendships, and charities, and hospitalities, and sic kind of nonsense: but to the business. Maister Sidney, I love you; yes, I love you; and I have been looking out, and contriving how to settle you in the world. Sir, I want to see you comfortably and honourably fixed at the head of a respectable family; and guin you were mine ain son a thousand times, I cou'd nae make a more valuable present till you for that purpose, as a partner for life, than this same Constantia, with sic a fortune down with her as you yourself shall deem to be competent, and an assurance of every canonical contingency in my power to confer or promote.
Sid. Sir, your offer is noble and friendly; but though the highest station would derive lustre from Constantia's charms and worth, yet, were she more amiable than love could paint her in the lover's fancy, and wealthy beyond the thirst of the miser's appetite, I could not, would not wed her. (Rises.) Sir P. Not wed her! odswounds, man! you surprise me! Why so-what hinders?
Sid. I beg you will not ask a reason for my refusal; but, briefly and finally, it cannot be; nor is it a subject I can long converse upon.
Sir P. Weel, weel, weel, sir! I have done, I have done. (Sidney sits down.) Sit you down, mon; sit you down again; sit you down; I shall mention it no more: not but I must confess honestly till you, friend Sidney, that the match, had you consented to my proposal, besides profiting you, would have been of singular service till me likewise. However, you may still serve me as effectually as if you had married her.
Sid. Then, sir, I am sure I will, most heartily. Sir P. I believe it, friend Sidney; and I thank you: I have nae friend to depend upon but yourself. My heart is almost broke; I cannot help these tears. And, to tell you the fact at once, your friend Charles is struck with a most dangerous malady-a kind of insanity. You see I cannot help weeping when I think of it; in short, this Constantia, I am afraid, has cast an evil eye upon him. Do you understand me?
Sid. Not very well, sir.
Sir P. Why, he is grievously smitten with the love of her; and, I am afraid, will never be cured without a little of your assistance.
Sid. Of my assistance! pray, sir, in what manner? Sir P. In what manner? lord! Maister Sidney, how can you be so dull? Now then, my vary guid friend, guin you would but give him that hint, and take an opportunity to speak a good word for him intill the wench; and guin you would likewise cast about a little, now, and contrive to bring them together once: why, in a few days after, he would nae care a pinch of snuff for her. (Sidney starts up.) What is the matter with you, mon? What the devil gars you start, and look so astounded?
Sid. Sir, you amaze me! In what part of my mind or conduct have you found that baseness, which entitles you to entreat me with this indignity?
Sir P. Indignity! What indignity do you mean, sir? Is asking you to serve a friend with a wench an indignity? Sir, am I not your patron, and benefactor, eh?
Sid. You are, sir, and I feel your bounty at my heart; but the virtuous gratitude that sowed the deep sense of it there, does not inform me that, in return, the tutor's sacred function, or the social
Sir P. She is besides a gentlewoman, and of as virtue of the man, must be debased into the pupil's guid a family as any in this country. pander, or the patron's prostitute.
Sid. So I understand, sir.
Sir P. (Rising.) How! what, sir? do you dis
Sir P. Sir, her father had a vast estate; the pute? Are you nae my dependant, eh? and do you
hesitate about an ordinary civility, which is practis- | she has just writ a letter to her gallant, and I have ed every day by men and women of the first fashion? sent John Gardener to her, who is to carry it to Sir, let me tell you, however nice you may be, there him to Hadley. Now, sir, if your worship would is nae a client about the court that would nae jump seize it-see, see, sir; here John comes, with the at sic an opportunity to oblige his patron. letter in his hand.
Sid. Indeed, sir, I believe the doctrine of pimping for patrons, as well as that of prostituting eloquence and public trust for private lucre, may be learned in your party schools: for, where faction and public venality are taught as measures necessary to good government and general prosperity, there every vice is to be expected.
Sir P Step you out, Betty, and leave the fellow
Enter JOHN, with a packet and a letter.
Sir P. What letter is that, sir?
Sir P. Oho! oho! vara weel, vara weel; slander upon ministers! fine sedition against go-ville, at Gaffer Hodge's. vernment! O, ye villain! You-you-you are a black sheep, and I'll mark you. I am glad you shew yourself. Yes, yes; you have taken off the mask at last: you have been in my service for many years, and I never knew your principles before.
Sid. Sir, you never affronted them before; if you had, you should have known them sooner.
Sir P. It is vara weel; I have done with you. Ay, ay; now I can account for my son's conduct: his aversions till courts, till ministers, levees, public business, and his disobedience till my commands. Ah! you are a Judas-a perfidious fellow: you have ruined the morals of my son, you villain! But I have done with you. However, this I will prophecy at our parting, for your comfort, that guin you are so very squeamish about bringing a lad and a lass together, or about doing sic an a harmless, innocent job for your patron, you will never rise in the church.
Sir P. Give it me, sir.
John. An't please you, sir, it is not mine.
Sir P. Begone, rascal. This, I suppose, will let us intill the whole business.
John. (Aside.) You have got the letter, old Surly, but the packet is safe in my pocket. I'll go and deliver that, however, for I will be true to poor Mrs. Constantia in spite of you. [Exit.
Sir P. (Reading a letter.) Um-um-"and bless mine eyes with a sight of you."-Um-um-" throw myself into your dear arms." Zoons! this letter is invaluable. Aha, madam! yes, this will do; this will do, I think. Let me see how it is directed"To Mr. Melville." Vary weel.
O, Betty, you are an excellant wench; this letter is worth a million.
Betty. Is it as I suspected-to her gallant? Sir P. It is, it is. Bid Constantia pack out of the house this instant; and let them get a chaise ready to carry her wherever she pleases. But first send my wife and son hither.
Betty. I shall, sir.
Sir P. Do so; begone! [Exit Betty.] Aha, Maister Charles! I believe I shall cure you of your passion for a beggar now. I think he cannot l so enfatuated as to be a dupe. Let me see, how am I to act now? Why, like a true politician, I must pretend most sincerity where I intend most deceit.
Sid. Though my conduct, sir, should not make me rise in her power, I am sure it will in her favour; in the favour of my own conscience, too, and in the esteem of all worthy men; and that, sir, is a power and dignity beyond what patrons, or any minister can bestow. [Exit. Sir P. What a rigorous, saucy, stiff-necked rascal it is! I see my folly now; I am undone by mine ain policy. This Sidney is the last man that should have been about my son. The fellow, indeed, hath given him principles that might have done vary weel among the ancient Romans, but are d-d unfit for the modern Britons. Weel, guin I had a thousand sons, I never would suffer one of these English university-bred fellows to be about a son of mine again; for they have sic an a pride of literature and character, and sic saucy English notions of liberty continually fermenting in their thoughts, that a mon is never sure of them. But what am I to do ?-Zoons! he must nae marry this beggar; I cannot set down tamely under that. Stay! haud a wee: By the blood, I have it! yes, II find this Constantia has got hold of your heart, have hit upon it.
Enter BETTY HINT.
Betty. O, sir! I have got the whole secret out.
Betty. About Miss Constantia. I have just got all the particulars from farmer Hilford's youngest daughter, Sukey Hilford.
Sir P. Weel, weel; but what is the story? quick, quick; what is it?
Betty. Why, sir, it is certain that Mrs. Constantia has a sweetheart, or a husband; a sort of gentleman, or gentleman's gentleman, they don't know which, that lodges at Gaffer Hodges: for Sukey says she saw them together last night, in the dark walk, and Mrs. Constantia was all in tears.
Sir P. Zoons! I am afraid this is too gude news to be true,
Betty. O sir, 'tis certainly true. Besides, sir,
Enter EGERTON aud LADY MACSYCOPHANT. Weel, Charles, notwithstanding the misery you have brought upon me, I have sent for you and your mother, in order to convince you both of my affection and my readiness to forgive; nay, and even to indulge your perverse passion. Sir, since
and that your mother and you think that you can never be happy without her, why, I'll nae longer oppose your inclinations.
Eger. Dear sir, you snatch me from the sharpest misery; on my knees, let my heart thank you for this goodness.
Lady M. Let me express my thanks, too, and my joy; for, had you not consented to his marrying her, we all should have been miserable.
Sir P. Weel, I am glad I have found a way to please you both at last. But, my dear Charles, suppose, now, that this spotless vestal-this wonder of virtue-this idol of your heart, should be a concealed wanton after a'? or should have an engagement of marriage, or an intrigue with another man, and is only making a dupe of you a' this time; I say, only suppose it, Charles-what would you think of her?
Eger. I should think her the most deceitful, and
most subtle of her sex; and, if possible, would never think of her again.
Sir P. Will you give me your honour of that?
Sir P. Enough; I am satisfied: you make me
Eger. (Reads.) "I have only time to tell you, that the family came down sooner than I expected, and that I cannot bless my eyes with the sight of you till the evening. The notes and jewels, which the bearer of this will deliver to you, were presented to me since I saw you by the son of my benefactor."
Sir P. Now mark!
Eger. (Reads.) "All which I beg you will convert to your immediate use.
Sir P. Mark! I say.
Eger. (Reads.) "For my heart has no room for any wish or fortune, but what contributes to your relief and happiness."
Sir P. Oh! Charles, Charles! do you see, sir, what a dupe she makes of you? But mark what follows.
Egar. (Reads.) "In the meantime, banish all fears, and hope the best from fortune, and your ever dutiful CONSTANTIA HARRINGTON."
Sir P. There! there's a warm epistle for you! in short, the hussy, you must know, is married till Eger. Not unlikely, sir. [the fellow. Lady M. Indeed, by her letter I believe she is. Sir P. Now, madam, what amends can you make me for countenancing your son's passion for sid a strumpet? And you, sir, what have you to say for your disobedience and your frenzy? O, Charles, Charles!
Eger. Pray, sir, be patient; compose yourself a moment: I will make you any compensation in my power. [riage.
Sir P. Then instantly sign the articles of marEger. The lady, sir, has never yet been consult ed; and I have some reason to believe that her heart is engaged to another man.
Sir P. Sir, that is não business of yours. I know she will consent, and that's aw we are to consider. O! here comes my lord.
Enter TOMLINS. Tom. Sir, there is a man below that wants to speak to your honour upon particular business. Sir P. I cannot speak till any body now; he must come another ime: haud-stay-what, is he a gentleman?
Enter LORD LUMBERCOURT.
Lord L. Sir Pertinax, every thing is ready and the lawyers wait for us. [Rodolpha?
Sir P. We attend your lordship. Where is lady Lord L. Giving some female consolation to poor Constantia. Why, my lady-ha, ha, ha!-I hear your vestal has been flirting.
Sir P. Yes, yes, my lord; she's in vary guid order for any man that wants a wife and an heir till his estate intill the bargain.
Tom. He looks something like one, sir—a sort of a gentleman; but he seems to be in a kind of a passion; for when I asked his name, he answered hastily. "It is no matter, friend; go tell your master, there is a gentleman here that must speak to him directly."
Sir P. Must? ha! vary peremptory indeed: pr'ythee, let's see him, for curiosity's sake. [Exit Tom. Enter LADY RODOLPHA.
Mel. To shun disgrace, and punish baseness. Sir P. Punish baseness! what does the fellow mean? Wha are you, sir?
Mel. A man, sir; and one whose fortune once
Eger. (Reads.) "O, how I long to throw myself into your dear, dear arms; to soothe your fears, your ap-bore as proud a sway as any within this country's prehensions, and your sorrows. I have something to tell you of the utmost moment, but will reserve it till we meet this evening in the dark walk."
Sir P. In the dark walk! in the dark walk! Ah! an evil-eyed curse upon her! Yes, yes; she has been often in the dark walk, I believe. But read
Lord L. You seem to be a soldier, sir? [limits. Mel. I was, sir; and have the soldier's certificate to prove my service-rags and scars. In my heart for ten long years, in India's parching clime, I bore my country's cause, and in noblest dangers sustained it with my sword; at length, ungrateful peace has laid me down where welcome war first took me up-in poverty, and the dread of cruel creditors. Paternal affection brought me to my native land, in quest of an only child: I found her, as I thought, amiable as parental fondness could desire; but foul seduction has snatched her from me; and hither am I come, fraught with a father's anger and a soldier's honour, to seek the seducer, and glut revenge.
Lady R. O my Lady Macsycophant, I am come an humble advocate for a weeping piece of female frailty, wha begs she may be permitted to speak till your ladyship, before you finally reprobate her. Sir P. I beg your pardon, Lady Rodolpha, but it must not be; see her she shall not.
Lady M. Nay, there can be no harm, my dear, in
Lady M. Well, my dear, I have done.
Sir P. Weel, sir, what is your urgent business with me?
Lady M. Pray, sir, who is your daughter?
Mel. She is; and was the only comfort that na-
Sir P. Yes, sir, Melville.
Mel. O! would to heaven she had no crime to answer but her commerce with Melville! No, sir; he is not the man: it is your son, your Egerton, that has seduced her; and here, sir, are the evidence of his seduction.
Eger. Of my seduction!
Mel. Of yours, sir, if your name be Egerton. Eger. I am that man, sir; but pray what is your evidence?
Mel. These bills, and these gorgeous jewels; not to be had in her menial state, but at the price of