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should be tried, and my heart whispers me success, I am deserted—turned loose to beggary; while you have hoards.
Bee. What hoards? Name them, and take them.
Bev. And shall this thriftless hand seize them too? My poor, poor wife! must she lose all? I would not wound her so.
Stuk. Nor I, but from necessity. One effort more, and fortune may grow kind. I have unusual hopes.
Bee. Think of some other means, then.
Stuk. I have; and you rejected them.
Bev. Pr'ythee, let me be a man.
Stuk. Ay, and your friend a poor one. But I have done. And for these trinkets of a woman, why, let her keep them to deck out pride with, and shew a laughing world she has finery to starve in.
Bev. No; she shall yield up all: my friend demands it But needs he have talked lightly of her? The jewels that she valnes are truth and. innocence; those will adorn her ever: for the rest, she wore them for a hushand's pride, and to his wants will give them. You know her not Where shall we meet?
Stuk. No matter. I have changed my mind. Leave me to a prison; 'tis the reward of friendship.
Bee. Perish mankind first I Leave you to a prison? No; fallen as you see me, I am not that wretch: nor would'! change this heart, o'ercharged as It is with folly and misfortune, for one most prudent and most happy, if callous to a friend's distresses.
Stuk. You are too warm.
Bee. In such a cause, not to be warm is to be frozen. Farewell. I'll meet you at your lodgings.
Stuk. Refiect a little; the jewels may be lost: better not hazard them. I was too pressing.
Bee. And I ungrateful. Refiection tabes up time: I have no leisure for it Within an hour expect me. [Exit.
Stuk. The thoughtless, shallow prodigal! We shall have sport at night, then. But hold:—the jewels are not ours yet; the lady may refuse them; the hushand may relent too; 'tis more than probable. I'll write a note to Beverley, and the contents, shall spur him to demand them. Bates and the rest think me this rogne through avarice. No; I have warmer motives—lovo and revenge. Ruin the hushand, and the wife's virtne may be bld for.
Enter BATES. Look to your men, Bates; there's money stirring. We meet to-night upon this spot Hasten, and tell them so. Beverley calls upon me at my lodgings, and we return together. Hasten, I say; the rognes will scatter else.
Bates. Not till their leader blds them.
.still:. Give them the word, and follow me; I must advise with you. This is a day of business.
SCENE II.—Beeerley's Lodgings.—Tables and chairs. En'er BEVERLEY and CHARLOTTE.
Char. Your looks are changed too; there's wildxiess in them. My wretched sister! How will it grieve her to see you thus!
Bee. No, no; a little rest will ease me. And for your Lewson's kindness to her, it has my thanks; I have no more to give him.
Char. Yes: a sister and her fortune. I trifie with him, and he complains. My looks, he says, are cold upon him. Ho thinks toot—
Btc. That I have lost your fortune! He dares not think so.
Char. Nor does he. You are too quick at guei . sing. He cares not if you had: that care is mine. I lent tt you to hushand; and now I claim it
Bee. You have suspicions, then!
Char. Cure them, and give it me.
Bee. To stop a sister's chiding?
Char. To vindicate her brother.
Bev. How, if he need no vindication?
Char. I fain would hope so.
Bee. Ay, would, and cannot Leave it to tima then; it will satisfy all doubts.
Char. Mine are already satisfied.
Bev. It is well. And when the subject is cenewed, speak to me like a sister, and I will answtt like a brother.
Char. To tell me I am a beggar: why, tell it now. I that can bear the ruin of those dearet to me, the ruin of a sister and her infant, can ben that too.
Bee. No more of this; yon wring my heart!
Char. 'Would that the misery were all you own! But innocence must suffer. Unthinking rioter!whose home was heaven to him: an angel dwelt there, and a little cheruh, that crowned his days with blessings! how he has lost this heaven to leagne with devils!
Bee. Forbear, I say: reproaches come too latt; they search, but cure not. And, for the fortnc? you demand, we'll talk to-morrow on it; our tempers may be milder.
Char. Or, if 'tis gone, why, farewell all! But I'll uphraid no more. What heaven permits, pethaps, it may ordain; and sorrow then is sinful Yet that the hushand, father, brother, should be its instruments of vengeance! 'tis grievous to know that
Btc. If you are my sister, spare the remembrance; it wounds too doeply. To-morrow shall elear all; and, when the worst is known, it maybt better than your fears. Comfort my wife; and fot the pains of absence I'll make atonement
(A knocking at the door-)
Cliar. Hark! she comes! Look cheerfully upen her. Affections, such as hers, are prying, and lend those eyes, that read the soul.
Enter MRS. BEVERLEY and LEWSON.
Mrs. B. My life!
Bev. My love! How fares it? I have been a truant hushand.
Mrs. B. But we meet now, and that heals allDoubts and alarms I have had; but, in this deat embrace, I bury and forget them. My friend hece has been, indeed, a friend, Charlotte, 'tis you must thank him : your brother's thanks and mine ace of too little valne.
Bee. Yet, what we have, we'll pay. I thank yen, sir, and am obliged. I would say more, but that your goodness to tho wife uphraids the husbind' follies. Had Ibeen wise, she bad not trespasseden your bounty.
Lew. Nor has she trespassed. The little I haw done, acceptance overpays. . -
Char. So friendship thinks—
Mrs. B. And doubles obligations, by striving to conceal them. We'll talk another time on't Y°u are too thoughtful, love.
Bee. No; 1 have reason for these thoughts.
Char. And hatred for the cause?—Would yen had that tool
Bee. I have: the cause was avarice.
Char. Aud you tho tempter?
Bev. A ruined friond—ruined by too much kindness.
Lea. Ay, worse than ruined: stabbed in his tamo, mortally stabbed; riches cannot cure him.
Btxi. Or if they could, those I have drained him of. Something of this he hinted in the morning,— that Lewson had. Why these suspicions?
Lew. At school we knew this Stukely. A cunning, plodding boy he was, sordid and crnel' Stow at his task, but quick at shifts and tricking. He sehemed 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. Shew me a boy with such a mind, and time, that ripens manhood in him, shall ripen vice loo. I'll prove him, and lay him open to you; till then, be warned; I know him, and therefore shun him.
Bee. As I would, those that wrong him. You are too busy, sir.
Mrs. A No; not too busy;—mistaken,perhaps; that had been milder.
Lew. No matter, madam; 1 can bear this, and praise the heart that prompts it Pity such friendship should be so misplaced!
Bev. Again, sir? But I'll bear too. You wrong him, Lewson, and will be sorry for it.
Char. Ay, when 'tis proved he wrongs him. The world is full of hypocrites.
Bev. And Stukeley one! so you'd infer, I think; m hear ne more of [this: my heart aches for him; I have undone him.
Lew. The world says otherwise.
Bev. The world is false, then I I have business with you, love. We'll leave them to their rancour. (Going.)
Char. No; we shall find room enough within for it This way, sir.
Lew. Another time my friend will thank me:— that time is hastening too.
[Exeunt Charlotte and Lewson.
Set. They hurt me beyond bearing. Is Stukely false? then honesty has loft us. 'Twere sinning against heaven to think so.
Mrs. & I never doubted him.
Bee. No 5 you are charity. Meekness and everduring patience live in that heart, and love, that knows no change. Why did I ruin you?
Mrs. B. You have not mined me. I have no wants when yon are present, no wishes in your absence, but to be blest with your return. Be but resigned to what has happened, and I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.;
Bee. My generous girl! But memory will be busy; stjjl crowding on my thoughts, to sour the present by the past I have another pang too.
Mrs. B. Tell it, and let me cure it.
Bec. That friend, that generous friend, whose fame they have traduced: I have undone him too. While he had means, he lent me largely, and now, a prison must be hls.'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?
Bev. In bltterness of heart he told me, just now he told me I had undone him! Could I hear that and think of happiness? No! I have disclaimed it, while he is miserable.
Mrs. B. The world may mend witH us, and then we may be grateful; there's comfort in that hope.
Bev. Ay; 'tis the sick man's cordial, his promised'eure: while, in preparing it. the patient dies. Enter LUCY.
Lucy. A letter, sir. [Exit. Bee. The band is Stukely's. (Opens and reads il to himself.)
Mrs. B. And brings good news; at least I'll hope so. What says he, love?
Bee. Why this, too much for patlenco: yet ho (ilrects me to conceal it from you. (Redds.)
"Let pour haste to see me be the only proof of your esteem for me. I have determined, sinve we patted, to bid adieu to England, choosing rather to forsake my country, than to owe my fceedom in it to the means we talked of. Keep this a secret at home, and hasten to the ruined It. Stukelt."
Ruined by friendship! I must relieve or follow him.
Mrs. B. Follow him, did you say? Then I am lost indeed!
Bes. 0, this infernal vice! how has It sunk me! A vice, whose highest joy was poof to my domestic happiness. Yet, how nave I pursned it! turned all my comforts to the hitterest pangs, and all thy smiles to tears,—D—d! d—d ittfatuation!
Mrs. B. Bo cool, my life, what are the means the letter talks of? Have you—have I those means? Tell me, and ease me. I hate no life, while you are wretched.
Bee. No, no; It must no* be. 'Tis I alone have sinned; 'tis I alone must sbffer. You shall reserve those means to keep my child and his wronged mother from want and wretchedness.
Mrs. B. What means?
Bee. I came to rob you of theffl, but cannot— dare not: those jewels are yOiir sole support: I sbould be more than monster to reqnest them.
Mrs. B. My jewels! Trifies, not worth the speaking of, if weighed against a hushand's peace: but let them purchase that, and the world's wealth is of less valne.
Bee. How little 4o I seem before such virtues!
Mrs. B. No more, my love. I kept them, till occasion called to use them : now is the occasion, and I'll resign them cheerfully.
Bee. Why, we'll be rich in love, then.
Mrs. B. Come to my closet. But let him manage wisely: we have no more to give him.
Bee. Where learnt my love this excellence ?— Tis heaven's own teaching: that heaven, which-to an angel's form has given a mind more lovely, i am unworthy of you, but will deserve you better.
Henceforth my follies and neglects shall cease,
And all to come be penitence and peace:
Vice shall no more attract me with her charms.
Nor pleasure reach me, but in these dear arms.
Stuk, So runs the world, Bates. Fools are the natural prey of knaves; nature designed them so, when she made lambs for wolves. The laws that fear and policy have framed, nature disclaims : she knows but two ; and those are force and cunning. The nobler law is force i bnt then there is danger in It; while cunning, like a skilful miner, works safely and unseen.
Bates. And therefore wisely. Force must have nerves and sinews; cunning wants neither. The dwarf that has it shall trip me giant's heels up.
Stuk. And blnd Ifim to the groand. Wny "*we will erect a shrine for nature, and be her oracles. Conscience is weakness; fear made it, and fear maintains it. The dread of shame, inward reproaches, and fictitious burnings, swell out the phantom. Nature knows none of this: her laws are freedom.
Bates, Sound doctrine, and well delivered.
Sink. We are sincere too. and practise what we teach. Let the grave pedant say as much.—But now to business. The jewels are disposed of; and Beverley again worth, money. He waits to count his gold out, and then comes hither. If my design succeed, this night we finish, with him. Go to your lodgings, and bo busy. You understand conveyances, and can make ruin sure.
Bates. Better stop here. The sale of this reversion may be talked of: there is danger in it
Stuk, No, it is the mark I aim at. We will thrive and laugh. You are the purchaser, and there is the payment—(Giving a pocket-book.)—He thinks you rich; and so you shall be. Enquire for titles, and deal hardly: it will look like honesty.
Bates. How if he suspect us?
Stuk. Leave it to me: I study hearts, and when to work upon them. Go to your lodgings; and, iif wo come, be busy over papers. Talk of a thoughtless age, of gaming, and extravagance: you have a fave for it.
Bates, (Aside.) A feeling too, that would avoid it We push too far.—But I have cautioned you: if it end ill, you will think of mo: and so, adieu.
Stuk. This fellow sins by halves; his fears are conscience to him: I'll turn these fears to use. Rognes that dread shame, will still be greater rognes, to hido their guilt This shall be thought of. Lewson grows troublesome: we must get rid of him: he knows too much. I have a tale for Beverley; part of it truth too; he shall call Lewson to account. If it succeed, it is well; if not, we must try other means.—(Knocking at the door.)—But here lie comes:—I must dissemble.
Enter BEVERLEY. Look to the door there!—(In a seeming fright.)—My friend?—I thought of other visitors.
Bee. No; these shall guard you from them:— (Offering him notes.)—take them, and uso them cautiously. The world deals hardly by us.
Stuk. 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..
Bee. Let these be your support then. Yet is there need of parting? I may again have means; we will share them, and live wisely.
Stuk. No. I should tempt you on. Habit is nature in me; ruin cannot cure it. Even now I would be gaming: taught by experience as I am, and knowing tiiis poor sum is all that is left us, I am for venturing stilL And say, I am to blame: yet will this little supply our wants? No, we must put it out to usury. Whether it is madness in me, or some resistless impulse of good fortune, I yet am ignorant; but—
Bee. Take it, and succeed then: I will try no more.
Stuk. It is surely impulse; it pleads so strongly. But you arc cold. We will even part here then.— And for this last reserve, keep it for better uses; I will have none of it I thank you though, and will seek fortune singly. One thing I had forgot—
Bee. What is it?
Stuk. Perhaps it were best forgotten. But I am open in my nature, and zealous for the honour of my friend. Lewson speaks freely of you.
Bee. Of you, I know ho does.
Stuk. I can forgive him for it: but for my friend. I am angry.
Bee. Why says he of me?
Stuk. That Charlotte's fortune la embezzled: ho talks of it;loudly.
Bee. He shall be silenced then. How heard yov of it?
Stuk. From many: he qnestioned Bates about it: you must account with him, he says.
Bee. Or he with me; and soon, too.
Stuk. Speak mildly to him. Cautions are best
Bee. I'll think on't—But whither go you?
Stuk. From poverty and prisons:—No matter whither. If fortune change, you may hear from me.
Bee. May theso be prosperous, then.—(Offering (hp, notes, which Stukely refuses.)—Nay, they ace yours:—I have sworn it, and will have nothing:— take them, and use them.
Stuk. Singly, I will not My cares are for mv friend; for his lost fortune, and ruined family: all separate interests l disclaim. Together we have fallen; together wo must rise. My heart, nay honour, and affections, all will have it so.
Bee. I am weary of being fooled.
Stuk. And so am I.—Here let us part then: these bodings of good fortune shall all be stified; I'll call them folly, and forget them. This one embraee, and then farewell. (Going to embraee Beeerley.)
Bee. No; stay a moment I have these bodings too; but, whether caught from you, or prompted by my good or evil genins, I know not: the trial shall determine. And yet, my wife! A Stuk. Ay, ay, she will chide.
Bee. No; my chidings are all hera
Stuk. I will not persuade you.
Bee. I am persuaded; by reason, too,—the strongest reason—necessity. O! could I but regain the height I have fallen from, heaven should forsake me in my latest hour, if I again mixed in these scenes, or sacrificed the hushand's peace, his joy and best affections, to avarice and infamy.
Stus. I have resolved like you; and, siace oar motives are eo honest, why should we fear success?
Bee. Come on then. Where shall we moet?
Stuk. At Wilson's. Yet, if it hurt you, leave me: I have misled you often.
Bee. We have misled each other. But come! Fortune is fickle, and may be tired with plaguing us;—there let us rest our hopes.
Stuk, Yet think a little.
Bee. I cannot; thinking but distracts me. When desperation leads, all thoughts are vain; Reason would lose, what rashness may obtain.
SCENE IL—Beeerley's lodgings.
Enter CHARLOTTE and MRS. BEVERLEY.
Cfiar. It was all a scheme, a mean one; unworthy of my brother.
Mrs. B. No, I am sure it was not Stukely is honest too; I know he is, This madness has undone them both.
Char. My brother irrecoverably.—Yon are too spiritless a wife: a mournful tale, mixed with a few kind words, will steal away your soul. The world is too subtle for such goodness. Had I been by, he should have asked your life sooner than those jewels.
Mrs. B. He should have had it then. I lived bat to oblige him. She who can love, and is beloved like mo, will do as much. Men have done moce for mistresses, and women for a base dcluder And shall a wife dd less? Your chidings hurt me, Charlotte.
Char. And come too late; they might have saved you else. How could he use you so?
Mrs. B. It was friendship did it His heart was breaking for a friend.
Char. The friend that has betrayed him.
Mrs. B. 'Pr'ythee, do not 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. I would not think so hardly.
Char. Nor I, but from conviction. Yet we have hope of better days. My uncle is infirm, and of an age that threatens hourly:—or if he live, you never have offended him; and for distresses so unmerited he will have pity"
Mrs. B. I know it, and am cheerful.
Char. My Lewson will he kind, too. While he and I bave life and means, you shall divide with us.—And see, he is here.
Mrs. B. We were just speaking of you.
Lew. It is best to interrupt you, then. Pew characters will bear a scrutiny; and, where the bad outweighs the good, he is safest that is least talked of. What say you, madam?
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 yon.—I'll leave you to decide it. [Exit.
Lew. I come, to talk in private with you, of matters that concern you.
Char. What matters?
Lew. First, answer me sincerely to what I ask.
Char. Propose your qnestion.
Lew. It is now a tedious twelve-month, since with an open and kind heart you said, you loved me: and wben, in conseqnence of such sweet words, I pressed for marriage, you gave a voluntary promise that you would live for me.
Char. You think me changed, then?
Lew. I did not say so. This is my qnestion; 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 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 bas passsd is nothing.
Char. Why, now I'll answer you; your doubts are prophecies, I am really changed.
Char. I could torment you now, as you have me; bnt it is not in my nature. That I am changed, I own: for what at first was inclination, is now grown reason in me; and from that reason had I the world—nay, were I poorer than the poorest, and you too wanting bread—I would be yours, and happy.
Lew. My kindest Charlotte!—(Takes her hand.)— Thanks are too poor for this, and words too weak! —Bat if we love so, why should our union any longer be delayed?
Char. For happier times: the present are too wretched.
Lew. I may have reasons that press it now.
Lew. The strongest reasons; unanswerable ones.
Char, Be quick, and name them.
Lew. First, promise that to-morrow, or Iho 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 is lost
Char. My fortune lost!—Where learnt you this sad news?
Lew. From Bates, Stukely's prime agent: I have obliged him, and he is grateful: he told it me in friendship, to warn me from my Charlotte.
Char. It was honest in him, and I'll esteem him for it.
Lew. This is the time I am to meet him again.— He knows much more than he has told.
Char. For me it is enough; and, for your generous love, I thank you from my soul.
Lew. To-morrow, then, yon fix my happiness.
Char. All that I can, I wilL
Lew. It must be so; we live but for each other.— Keep what you know a secret; and, when we meet to-morrow, more may be known.—'Till then, farewell! - [Exeunt Lewson and Charlotte.
SCENE ILL—A Gaming House. Enter STUKELY, BEVERLEY, and six Gentlemen, through door in ventre.
Dee. Whither would you lead me?
Stuk. Where we may vent our curses.
Bee. Ay, on yourself, and those d—d counsels that have destroyed ma Ten thousand fieuds were in that bosom, and all let loose to tempt me, —I had resisted else.
Stuk. Go on, sir:—I have deserved this from you.
Bee. And curses everlasting:—time is too scanty for them.
Stuk. What have I done?
Bev. What the arch fiend of old did,—soothed with false hopes, for certain ruin.
Stuk. Myself unhurt; nay, pleased at your destruction:—so your words mean. Why, tell it to the world: I am too poor to find a friend in it.
Bev. A friend! What is he? I had a friend.
Stuk. And have one stilL
Bee. 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 to fiameii that have consumed me. This friend were you to me.
Stuk. 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.
Bev. No; I think not:—the villains are within.
Stuk. What villains?
Bee. Dawson, and the rest.—We have been dupes to sharpers.
Stuk. 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.
Bee. Ay, d—d ones; — repeated losses,—night after night,—and no reverse:—chance has no hand in this.
Stuk. I think more charitably; yet I am peevish in my nature, and apt to doubt—The world speaks fairly of this Dawson; so does It of the rest; wa have watched them elcmely, too.—Bat it ia a right
usurped by losers, to think the winners knaves.— We'll have more manhood in us.
Bee. I know not what to think. This night has stung me to the quick:—blasted my reputation too: I have bound my honour to these vipers; played meanly upon credit, until I tired them; and now they shun me, to rifie one another. What ia to be done?
Stuk. Nothing: my counsels have been fatal.
Bev. By heaven, I'll not survive this shame.— Traitor! it is you have brought it on me;—(Seizing him.)—Shew me the means to save me; or I'll commit a murder here, and next upon myself.
Sink. Why do it, then, and rid me of ingratitude.
Bee. 'Pr'ythee forgive this language:—I speak I know not what—Rage and despair are in my heart, and hurry me to madness. My home is horror to me—I'll not return to it Speak quickly j tell me if in this wreck of fortune one hope remains? Name it, and be my oracle.
Stuk. To vent your curses on: you have bestowed them liberally.—Take your own counsel: and, should a desperate hope present itself, it will suit your desperate fortune. I'll not advise you.
Bee. What hope? By heaven, I'll catch at it however desperate. I am so sunk in misery, it cannot lay me lower.
Stuk. You have an uncle.
Bee. Ay, what of him?
Stuk. Old men live long by temperance; while their heirs starve on expectation. Bee. What mean you?
Stuk. That the reversion of his estate is yours; and will bring money to pay debts with;—nay more, it may retrieve what is past
Bev. Or leave my child a beggar.
Stuk. And what is his father? A dishonourable one; engaged for sums he cannot pay.—That should be thought of.
Bee. It is my shame, the poison that infiames me. Where shall we go? To whom? I am impatient, till all's lost
Stuk. 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.
Stuk. 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. [worst:
Bev. Succeed what wilt, this night I'll dare the 'Tis loss of fear, to be completely curs'd. [Exit
Stuk. Why, lose it, then, for ever. Fear is the mind's worst evil; and 'tis a friendly office to drive it from the bosom.—Thus far has fortune crowned me.—Yet Beverley is rich; rich in his wife's best treasure, her honour and affections: I would supplant him there too.—A tale of art may do much.— Charlotte is sometimes absent. The seeds of jealousy are sown already. If I mistake not, they have taken root too. Now is the time to ripen them, and reap the harvest The 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 refiect, and cowardice to doubt [Exit,
SCENE IV.—Beeerley's Lodgings. Enter MBS. BEVERLEY and LUCY. Mrs. B. Did Charlotte tell you anything? Lucy. No, madam.
Mrs. B. She looked confused, methought; said, she had business with her Lewson; which' when! pressed to know, tears only were her answer.
Lucy. She seemed in haste too;—yet her retum may bring you comfort
Mrs. B. No, my good girl; I was not born for it—But why do I distress thee? Thy kind hean bleeds for the ills of others.—What pity that thy mistress can't reward thee ! But mere's a powet above, that sees, and will remember alL—(Knocking at the door.)—Hark! there's some one entering
Lucy. Perhaps, my master, madam. [Exit
Mrs. B. Let him be well too, and I am satisfied —(Goesto the door, and listens.)--No; 'tis another's voice.
Enter LUCY and STUKELY.
Lucy. Mr. Stukely, madam. [Exit.
Stuk. To meet you thus alone, madam, was what I wished. Unseasonable visits, when friendship warrants them needs no excuse:—therefore I make none. [your friend f
Mrs. B. What mean you, sir? And where'i
Stuk. Men may have secrets, madam, which their best friends are not admitted to. We parted in the morning, hot 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 yout misfortunes.
Stuk. Your pity has undone you. Could Beverley do this? That letter was a forged one; a mean contrivance to rob you of your jewelsI wrote it not
Mrs. B. Impossible'!—Whence came it, then?
Stuk. Wronged as I am, madam, I must speak plainly,-^—
Mrs. B. Do so, and ease me. Your hints have troubled me. Reports, you say, are stirring.—Reports of whom? You wished me not to credit them. What, sir, are these reports?
Stuk. I thought 'em slander, madam; and cautioned you in friendship; lest from officious tongnes the tale has reached you with double aggravation.
Mrs. B. Proceed, sir.
Stuk. It is a debt dne to my fame, dne to an injuted wife too: We both are injured.
Mrs. B. How injured! and who has injured us?
Stuk. My friend, your hushand.
Mrs. B, You would resent for both, then? But know, sir, my injuries are my own, and do not need a champion.
Stuk. Be not too hasty, madam. I come not in resentment, madam, but for acquittance. Yon thought me poor; and to the feigned distresses of a friend, gave up your jewels
Mrs. A I gave them to a hushand.
Stuk. Who gave them to a——
Mrt. B. What? Whom did he give them to?
Stuk. A mistress.
Mrs. B. No; on my life, he did not [avarice.
Stuk. Himself confessed it with curses on her
Mrs. B. I'll not believe it He has no mistress; or, if he has, why is it told to me?
Stuk. To guard you against insults. He told me that, to move you to compliance, he forged that letter, pretending I was mined, ruined by him too. The fraud succeeded; and what a trusting wife bestowed in pity, was lavished on a wanton.
Mrs. B. Then I am lost indeed, and my affiictions are too powerful for me. His follies I hate borno without uphraiding, and saw the approach of poverty without a tear. My affection, my strong affection, supported me through every trial.
Sink. Be patient madam.
Mrs, B. Patient! The barbarous ungrateful man!