British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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BEV. JUN. Nor cards, nor dice.

IND. No.

BEV. JUN. Nor bottle companions.

IND. No.

BEV. JUN. Nor loose women. 330

IND. No, I'm sure he does not.

BEV. JUN. Take my word, then, if your admired hero is not liable to any of these kind of demands, there's no such pre-eminence in this as you imagine.

Nay, this way of expense you speak of is what 335
exalts, and raises him that has a taste for it; and, at the same time, his delight is incapable of satiety, disgust, or penitence.

IND. But still I insist, his having no private in

terest in the action makes it prodigious, al­ 340
most incredible.

BEY. JUN. Dear madam, I never knew you more mistaken. Why, who can be more an usurer than he who lays out his money in such valuable purchases?

If pleasure be worth purchasing, how great a 345
pleasure is it, to him who has a true taste of life, to ease an aching heart, to see the [human] countenance lighted up into smiles of joy, on the receipt of a bit of ore which is superfluous and otherwise useless in a
man's own pocket? What could a man do 350
better with his cash? This is the effect of an humane disposition where there is only a general tie of nature and common necessity. What then must it be when we serve an object of merit, of admiration!

IND. Well! the more you argue against it, 355
the more I shall admire the generosity.

BEV. JUN. Nay, nay! -- then, madam, 'tis time to fly, after a declaration that my opinion strengthens my adversary's argument. I had best hasten to

my appointment with Mr. Myrtle, and be gone 360
while we are friends and -- before things are brought to an extremity. Exit carelessly.

Enter ISABELLA.

ISAB. Well, madam, what think you of him now, pray?

IND. I protest, I begin to fear he is wholly 365
disinterested in what he does for me. On my heart, he has no other view but the mere pleasure of doing it, and has neither good or bad designs upon me.

ISAB. Ah! dear niece! don't be in fear of both!

I'll warrant you, you will know time enough 370
that he is not indifferent.

IND. You please me when you tell me so, for if he has any wishes towards me I know he will not pursue them but with honor.

ISAB. I wish I were as confident of one as 375
t'other. I saw the respectful downcast of his eye when you catched him gazing at you during the music. He, I warrant, was surprised, as if he had been taken stealing your watch. Oh, the undissem
bled, guilty look! 380

IND. But did you observe any such thing, really? I thought he looked most charmingly graceful! How engaging is modesty in a man when one knows there is a great mind within! So tender a confusion!

and yet, in other respects, so much himself, 385
so collected, so dauntless, so determined!

ISAB. Ah, niece! there is a sort of bashfulness which is the best engine1 to carry on a shameless purpose: some men's modesty serves their wicked

ness, as hypocrisy gains the respect due to pi­ 390
ety. But I will own to you, there is one hopeful symptom, if there could be such a thing as a disinterested lover. But it's all a perplexity -- till -- till -- till --

IND. Till what? 395

ISAB. Till I know whether Mr. Myrtle and Mr. Bevil are really friends or foes. And that I will be convinced of before I sleep, for you shall not be deceived.

IND. I'm sure I never shall if your fears can 400
guard me. In the mean time I'll wrap myself up in the integrity of my own heart, nor dare to doubt of his.

As conscious honor all his actions steers,

So conscious innocence dispels my fears. 405

Excunt.


ACT III

SCENE I

Scene, SEALAND'S house.

Enter TOM, meeting PHILLIS.

TOM. Well, Phillis! -- what! with a face as if you had never seen me before? -- [Aside.] What a work have I to do now? She has seen some new visitant at their house, whose airs she has catched, and is

resolved to practise them upon me. Number­ 5
less are the changes she'll dance through before she'll answer this plain question, videlicet, 'Have you delivered my master's letter to your lady?' Nay, I know her too well to ask an account of it in an ordinary way; I'll be in my airs as well as she. -- 10 (Looking steadfastly at her.) Well, madam, as unhappy as you are at present pleased to make me, I would not, in the general, be any other than what I am; I would not be a bit wiser, a bit richer, a bit
taller, a bit shorter than I am at this instant. 15

PHIL. Did ever anybody doubt, Master Thomas, but that you were extremely satisfied with your sweet self?

TOM. I am, indeed. The thing I have least reason

____________________
333]YZ those kind.
347]XX-Y humane; YZ human (variant spellings).
1
Trick, device.

-455-

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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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