PRES. What is the matter? Rise, my son. Your hand burns, and trembles!
FERD. (wildly). Forgive my ingratitude, father! I am a lost man! I have misinterpreted your kindness! Your meaning was so truly--truly paternal!--Oh! you had a prophetic soul!--Now it is too late!--Pardon! pardon'-- our blessing, my dear father!
PRES. (feigning astonishment). Arise, my son! Recollect that your words to me are riddles!
FERD. This Louisa, dear father-----Oh! You understand mankind!--Your anger was so just, so noble, so truly the zeal of a father!--Had not its very earnestness led you to mistake the way--This Louisa!
PRES. Spare me, dear boy! Curses on my severity! I come to entreat your forgiveness-----
FERD. Forgiveness from me!--Curse me rather--Your disapproval was wisdom!--Your severity was heavenly mercy. --This Louisa, father-----
PRES. Is a noble, a lovely girl!--I recall my too rash suspicions!--She has won my entire esteem!
FERD. (starting up). What? You too?--Father, even you?--And is she not, father, the very personification of innocence?--And is it not so natural to love this maiden?
PRES. Say rather, 'twere a crime not to love her.
FRED. Incredible! wonderful!--And you, too, who can so thoroughly see through the heart! And you, who saw her faults with the eyes of hatred!--Oh unexampled hypocrisy! --This Louisa, father!-----
PRES. Is worthy to be my daughter! Her virtues supply the want of ancestry, her beauty the want of fortune. My prudential maxims yield to the force of your attachment.--
Louisa shall be yours!
FRED. Nought but this was wanting!--Father!--Farewell! (Rushes out of the apartment.)
PRES. (following him). Stay, my son, stay!--Whither do you fly?-----
Enter LADY MILFORD and SOPHIA.
LADY M. You have seen her then? Will she come?