British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview

my old acquaintance. Now unless Aimwell has made good use of his time, all our fair machine goes

souse into the sea like the Eddystone.1Exit. 110


[SCENE IV]

Scene changes to the gallery in the same house.

Enter AIMWELLand DORINDA.

DOR. Well, well, my lord, you have conquered; your late generous action will, I hope, plead for my easy yielding; though I must own, your lordship had a friend in the fort before.

AIM. The sweets of Hybla2 dwell upon her 5
tongue! -- Here, doctor --

Enter FOIGARD, with a book.

FOI. Are you prepared, boat?

DOR. I'm ready. But first, my lord, one word. I have a frightful example of a hasty marriage in my

own family; when I reflect upon't, it shocks me. 10
Pray, my lord, consider a little --

AIM. Consider! Do you doubt my honor or my love?

DOR. Neither. I do believe you equally just as

brave; and were your whole sex drawn out for 15
me to choose, I should not cast a look upon the multitude if you were absent. But, my lord, I'm a woman; colors, concealments may hide a thousand faults in me -- therefore know me better first. I
hardly dare affirm I know myself in anything 20
except my love.

AIM. (aside). Such goodness who could injure! I find myself unequal to the task of villain; she has gained my soul, and made it honest like her own.

I cannot, cannot hurt her. -- Doctor, retire. -- 25
(Exit FOIGARD.) Madam, behold your lover and your proselyte, and judge of my passion by my conversion! I'm all a lie, nor dare I give a fiction to your arms; I'm all counterfeit, except my passion.

DOR. Forbid it, heaven! a counterfeit! 30

AIM. I am no lord, but a poor needy man, come with a mean, a scandalous design to prey upon your fortune. But the beauties of your mind and person have so won me from myself that, like a trusty

servant, I prefer the interest of my mistress to 35
my own.

DOR. Sure I have had the dream of some poor mariner, a sleepy image of a welcome port, and wake involved in storms! -- Pray, sir, who are you?

AIM. Brother to the man whose title I 40
usurped, but stranger to his honor or his fortune.

DOR. Matchless honesty! -- Once I was proud, sir, of your wealth and title, but now am prouder that you want it; now I can show my love was justly

levelled, and had no aim but love. --Doctor, 45
come in.

Enter FOIGARD at one door, GIPSEY at another, who whispers DORINDA.

[To FOIGARD.] Your pardon, sir, we sha'not [want] you now. -- [To AIMWELL.) Sir, you must excuse me. I'll wait on you presently. Exit with GIPSEY.

FOI. Upon my shoul, now, dis is foolish. 50

Exit.

AIM. Gone! and bid the priest depart! -- It has an ominous look.

Enter ARCHER.

ARCH. Courage, Tom! Shall I wish you joy?

AIM. No.

ARCH. 'Oons, man, what ha' you been doing? 55

AIM. O Archer! my honesty, I fear, has ruined me.

ARCH. How?

AIM. I have discovered myself.

ARCH. Discovered! and without my consent?

What! have I embarked my small remains in the 60
same bottom with yours, and you dispose of all without my partnership?

AIM. O Archer! I own my fault.

ARCH. After conviction -- 'tis then too late for pardon. You may remember, Mr. Aimwell, 65
that you proposed this folly -- as you begun, so end it. Henceforth I'll hunt my fortune single. So farewell!

AIM. Stay, my dear Archer. but a minute.

ARCH. Stay! what, to be despised, exposed, 70
and laughed at! No, I would sooner change conditions with the worst of the rogues we just now bound, than bear one scornful smile from the proud knight that once I treated as my equal.

AIM. What knight? 75

ARCH. Sir Charles Freeman, brother to the lady that I had almost -- but no matter for that; 'tis a cursed night's work, and so I leave you to make the best on't. (Going.)

AIM. Freeman! -- One word, Archer. Still 80
I have hopes; methought she received my confession with pleasure.

ARCH. 'Sdeath! who doubts it?

AIM. She consented after to the match; and still

I dare believe she will be just. 85

ARCH. To herself, I warrant her, as you should have been.

AIM. By all my hopes, she comes, and smiling comes!

Enter DORINDA, mighty gay.

DOR. Come, my dear lord -- I fly with im- 90

____________________
47-48] QIC Your pardon, sir, we sha'not; won't you now, sir? you must.
1
The 'great storm' of 1703 destroyed the first Eddystone lighthouse, an engineering marvel of its day.
2
Mt. Hybla, in Sicily, was famous for its honey.

-383-

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