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Cro. I'll hold you a guinea of that, my dear.
Mrs. Cro. A letter; and as I knew the hand, I ventured to open it.
Cro. And how can you expect your breaking open my letters should give me pleasure?
Mrs. Cro. Poo! it's from your sister at Lyons, and contains good news; read it,
Cro. What a Frenchified cover is here! That sister of mine has some good qualities, but I could never teach her to fold a letter. Mrs. Cro. Fold a fiddlestick! Read what it contains.
CROAKER, reading. "DEAR NICK,
“An English gentleman, of large fortune, has for some time made private, though honourable proposals to your daughter Olivia. They love each other tenderly; and I find she has consented, without letting any of the family know, to crown his addresses. As such good offers don't come every day, your own good sense, his large fortune, and family considerations, will induce you to forgive her.
“RACHAEL CROAKER." My daughter Olivia privately contracted to a man of Jarge fortune! This is good news, indeed. My heart never forotold me of this. And yet, how slily the little baggage has carried it since she came home. Not a word on't to the old ones for the world. Yet, I thought I saw something she wanted to conceal.
Mrs. Cro. Well, if they have concealed their amour, they shan't conceal their wedding; that shall be public, I'm resolved.
Cro. I tell thee, woman, the wedding is the most fool.
ish part of the ceremony. I can never get this woman to think of the more serious part of the nuptial engage ment.
Mrs. Cro. What! would you have me think of their funeral? But come, tell me, my dear, don't you owe more to me than you care to confess? Would
have ever been made known to Mr. Lofty, who has undertaken Miss Richland's claim at the treasury, but for me? 'Who was it first made him an acquaintance at Lady Shabbaroon's tout? Who got him to promise us his interest? Is not he a back-stairs favourite, one that can do what he pleases with those that do what they please? Is not he an acquaintance that all your groaning and lamentation could never have got us? Cro. He is a man of importance, I grant you.
And yet, what amazes me is, that while he is giving away places to all the world, he can't get one for himself.
Mrs. Cro. That perhaps may be owing to his nicety. Great men are not easily satisfied.
Enter FRENCH SERVANT. Ser. An expresse from Monsieur Lofty. He vil be vait upon your honour's instrammant.
He be only giving four five instruction, read two tree memorial, call upon von ambassadeur. He vil be vid you in one tree minutes.
Mrs. Cro. You see now, my dear. What an extensive department! Well, friend, let your master know, that we are extremely honoured by this honour. Was there any thing ever in a higher style of breeding? All messages among the great are now done by express.
Cro. To be sure; no man does little things with more salemnity, or claims more respect than he. But he's in
the right on't. In our bad world, respect is given, where respect is claimed.
Mrs. Cro. Never mind the world, my dear; you were never in a pleasanter place in your life. Let us now think of receiving him with proper respect; sa loud rapping at the door,) and there he is, by the thundering rap.
Cro. Ay, verily, there he is! as close upon the heels of his own express, as an indorsement upon the back of a bill. Well, I'll leave you to receive him, whilst I go to chide my little Olivia for intending to steal a marriage without mine or her aunt's consent. I must scem to be angry, or she too may begin to despise my authority.
[Erit. Enter Lofty, speaking to his servant L.of. “ And if the Venetian ambassador, or that teasing creature the Marquis, should call, I'm not at home. Dam’me, I'll be pack-horse to none of them.” My dear madam, I have just snatched a moment—"And if the expresses to his Grace be ready, let them be sent off: they're of importance.” Madam, I ask a thousand pardons.
Mrs. Cro. Sir, this honour
Lof: “ And, Dubardieu! if the person calls about the commission, let him know that it is made out. As for Lord Cumbercourt's stale request, it can keep cold: you understand me." Madam, I ask ten thousand pardons.
Mrs. Cro. Sir, this honour
Lof. “And, Dubardieu! if the man comes from the Cornish borough, you must do him; you must do him, I say.” Madam, 1 ask ten thousand pardons. “ And, if the Russian-ambassador calls: but he will scarce call to-day, I believe.” And now, madam, I have just got
time to express my happiness in having the honour of being permitted to profess myself your most obedient humble servant.
Mrs. Cro. Sir, the happiness and honour are all mine; and yet, I'm only robbing the public while I detain you.
Lof. Sink the public, madam, when the fair are to be attended. Ah, could all my hours be so charmingly devoted! Sincerely, don't you pity us poor creatures in affairs? Thus it is eternally; solicited for places here, teased for pensions there, and courted every where. I know you pity me. Yes, I see you do.
Mrs. Cro. Excuse me, sir, “toils of empires pleasures are,” as Waller says.
Lof. Waller, Waller; is he of the house?
Lof. Oh, a modern! We men of business despise the moderns; and as for the ancients, we have no time to read them. Poetry is a pretty thing enough for our wives and daughters; but not for us. Why now, here I stand that know nothing of books. I say, madam, I know nothing of books; and yet, I believe, upon a landcarriage fishery, a stamp act, or a jag-hire, I can talk my two hours without feeling the want of them.
Mrs. Cro. The world is no stranger to Mr. Lofty's eminence in every capacity.
Lof. I vow to gad, madam, you make me blush. I'm nothing, nothing, nothing in the world; a mere obscure gentleman. To be sure, indeed, one or two of the present ministers are pleased to represent me as a formidable man.
I know they are pleased to be-spatter me at all their little dirty levees. Yet, upon my soul, I wonder what they see in me to treat me so! Measures, not
men, have always been my mark; and I vow, by all that's honourable, my resentment has never done the men, as mere men, any manner of harm—that is as mere men.
Mrs. Cro. What importance, and yet what modesty!
Lof. Oh, if you talk of modesty, madam! there, I own, I'm accessible to praise: modesty is my foible: it was so, the Duke of Brentford used to say of me. "I love Jack Lofty,” he used to say: "no man has a finer knowledge of things: quite a man of information; and when he speaks upon his legs, by the Lord he's prodi. gious, he scouts them: and yet all men have their faults; too much modesty is his," says his Grace.
Mrs. Cro. And yet, I dare say, you don't want assur. ance when you come to solicit for your
friends. Lof. Oh, there indeed I'm in bronze. Apropos! I have just been mentioning Miss Richland's case to a certain personage; we must name no names. When I ask, I'm not to be put off, madam. No, no, I take my friend by the button. A fine girl, sir; great justice in her case. A friend of mine, Borough interest. Business must be done, Mr. Secretary. I say, Mr. Secretary, her business must be done, sir. That's my way, madam.
Mrs. Cro. Bless me! you said all this to the secretary of state, did you?
Lof. I did not say the secretary, did I? Well, curse it, since you have found me out, I will not deny it. It was to the secretary.
Mrs. Cro. This was going to the fountain head at once, not applying to the understrappers, as Mr. Honeywood would have had us.
Lof. Honeywood! he! he! He was, indeed, a fine solicitor. I
suppose you have heard what has just hap. pened to him?