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Cro. Well, well, it's a good child, so say no more; but come with me, and we shall see something that will give us a great deal of pleasure, I promise you; old Ruggins, the curry-comb maker, lying in state; I'm told he makes a very handsome corpse, and becomes his coffin prodi. giously. He was an intimate friend of mine, and these are friendly things we ought to do for each other.
Scene, CROAKER's House.
Miss RICHLAND, GARNET. Miss Rich. OLIVIA not his sister! Olivia not Leontine's. sister! You amaze me!
Gar. No more his sister than I am; I had it all from his own servant; I can get any thing from that quarter.
Miss Rich. But how? Tell me again, Garnet.
Gar. Why, madam, as I told you before, instead of going to Lyons, to bring home his sister, who has been there with her aunt these ten years, he never went further than Paris; there he saw and fell in love with this young lady, by the by, of a prodigious family.
Miss Rich. And brought hier home to my guardian, as his daughter?
Gar. Yes, and his daughter she will be. If he don't consent to their marriage, they talk of trying what a Scotch parson can do.
Miss Rich. Well, I own they have deceived me and so demurely as Olivia carried it too!-Would you believe it, Garnet, I told her all my secrets; and yet tho sly cheat concealed all this from me?
Gar. And, upon my word, madam, I don't much blame her: she was loth to trust one with her secrets, that was so very bad at keeping her own.
Miss Rich. But, to add to their deceit, the young gentleman, it seems, pretends to make me serious proposals. My guardian and he are to be here presently, to be open the affair in form. You know I am to lose half my fortune if I refuse him.
Gar. Yet, what can you do? For being, as you are, in love with Mr. Honeywood, madam
Miss Rich. How! idiot; what do you mean? In love with Mr. Honeywood! this to provoke me?
Gar. That is, madam, in friendship with him; I meant nothing more than friendship, as I hope to be married; nothing more.
Miss Rich. Well, no more of this. As to my guardian, and his son, they shall find me prepared to receive them; I'm resolved to accept their proposal with seeming pleasure, to mortify them by, compliance, and so throw the refusal at last upon them.
Gar. Delicious! and that will secure your whole fortune to yourself. Well, who could have thought so innocent a face could cover so much cuteness!
Miss Rich. Why, girl, I only oppose my prudence to their cunning, and practise a lesson they have taught me against themselves.
var. Then you're likely not long to want employment, for here they come, and in close conference.
Enter CROAKER, and LEONTINE, Leon. Excuse me, sir, if I seem to hesitate upon the point of putting to the lady so important a question.
Cro. Lord! good sir, moderate your fears; you're - so plaguy shy, that one would think you had changed sexes. I tell you, we must have the half or the whole. Come, let me see with what spirit you begin. Well, why don't you? Eh! What? Well, then-I must, it seems—Miss Richland, my dear, I believe you guess at our business; an affair which my son here comes to open, that nearly concerns your happiness.
Miss Rich. Sir, I should be ungrateful not to be please ed with any thing that comes recommended by you.
Cro. How, boy, could you desire a finer opening? Why don't you begin, I say?
[To Leon. Leon. 'Tis true, madam, my father, madam, has some intentions—hem-of explaining an affair-which-himself-can best explain, madam.
Cro. Yes, my dear, it comes entirely from my son; all a request of his own, madam; and I will permit him to make the best of it.
Leon. The whole affair is only this, madam: my father has a proposal to make, which he insists none but himself shall deliver.
Cro. My mind inisgives me, the fellow will never be brought on. [ Aside.] In short, madam, you see before you, one that loves you; one whose whole happiness is all
Miss Rich. I never had any doubts of your regard, sir; and I hope you can have none of my duty.
Cro. That's not the thing, my little sweeting; my love! No, no! another guess lover than I; there he stands, madam, his very looks declare the force of his passion--, Call up a look, you dog. [Aside.] But then, had you seen him, as I have, weeping, speaking soliloquies and blank verse, sometimes melancholy, and sometimes ab
Miss Rich. I fear, sir, he's absent now, or such a declaration would have come most properly from himself.
Cro. Himself! madam, be. would die before he could make such a confession; and if he had not a channel for his passion through me, it would ere now have drowned his understanding.
Miss Rich. I must grant, sir, there are attractions in modest diffidence above the force of words. A silent address is the genuine eloquence of sincerity.
Cry. Madam, he has forgot to speak any other language;
silence is become his mother tongue. Miss Rich. And it must be confessed, sir, it speaks very powerfully in his favour. And yet I shall be thought too forward in making such a confession: shan't I, Mr. Leontine?
Leon. Confusion! my reserve will undo me. But if modesty attracts her, impudence might disgust her. I'N try. [Aside.) Don't imagine from my silence, madam, that I want a due sense of the honour and happiness intended me. My father, madam, tells me, your humble servant is not totally indifferent to you. He admires you; I adore you; and when we come together, upon my soul I believe we shall be the happiest couple in all St. James's.
Miss Rich. If I could flatter myself you thought as you speak, sir-.
Leon. Doubt my sincerity, madam? By your dear self, I swear. Ask the brave if they desire glory? ask 'cowards if they covet safety
Cro. Well, well, no more questions about it.
Leon. Ask the sick if they long for health? ask misers if they love money? ask.
Cro. Ask a fool if he can talk nonsense! What's come over the boy? What signifies asking, when there's not a soul to give you an answer? If you would ask to the purpose; ask this lady's consent to make you happy.
Miss Rich. Why indeed, sir, his uncommon ardour almost compels me—forces me to comply. And yet I'm afraid he'll despise a conquest ained with too much ease: won't you, Mr. Leontine?
Leon. Confusion! [ Aside.] Oh, by no means, madam, by no means. And yet, madam, you talked of force. There is nothing I would avoid so much as compulsion in a thing of this kind. No, madam, I will still be generous, and leave you at liberty to refuse.
Cro. But I tell you, sir, the lady is not at liberty. It's a match. You see she says nothing. Silence gives consent.
Leon. But, sir, she talked of force. Consider, sir, the cruelty of constraining her inclinations.
Cro. But I say there's no cruelty. Don't you know, blockhead, that girls have always a round-about way of saying yes before company? So get you both gone together into the next room, and bang him that interrupts the tender explanation. Get you gone, I say, I'll not hear a word.
Leon. But, sir, I must beg leave to insist
Cro, Get off, you puppy, or I'll beg leave to insist upon knocking you down. Stupid whelp! But I don't wonder--the boy takes entirely after his mother.
[Exeunt Miss Rich, and Leon.
Enter Mrs. CROAKER.. Mrs. Cro. Mr. Croaker, I bring you something, my dear, that I believe will make you smile.