British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

endure. The love of life and fear of shame, opposed by inclination strong as death or shame, like wind and tide in raging conflict met, when neither can pre

vail, keep me in doubt. How then can I de­ 150
termine?

Enter THOROWGOOD.

THOR. Without a cause assigned, or notice given, to absent yourself last night was a fault, young man, and I came to chide you for it, but hope I am pre

vented.1 That modest blush, the confusion so 155
visible in your face, speak grief and shame. When we have offended heaven, it requires no more; and shall man, who needs himself to be forgiven, be harder to appease? If my pardon or love be of moment to
your peace, look up, secure of both.160

BARN. (aside). This goodness has o'ercome me. -- O sir! you know not the nature and extent of my offence, and I should abuse your mistaken bounty to receive it. Though I had rather die than speak my

shame; though racks could not have forced the 165
guilty secret from my breast, your kindness has.

THOR. Enough, enough; whate'er it be, this concern shows you're convinced, and I am satisfied. (Aside.) How painful is the sense of guilt to an in

genuous mind -- some youthful folly which it 170
were prudent not to enquire into. When we consider the frail condition of humanity, it may raise our pity, not our wonder, that youth should go astray when reason, weak at the best opposed to inclination,
scarce formed and wholly unassisted by experi­ 175
ence, faintly contends, or willingly becomes the slave of sense. The state of youth is much to be deplored, and the more so because they see it not, being then to danger most exposed when they are least prepared
for their defence.180

BARN. It will be known, and you recall your pardon and abhor me.

THOR. I never will. Yet be upon your guard in this gay, thoughtless season of your life; when the

sense of pleasure's quick and passion high, the 185
voluptuous appetites raging and fierce demand the strongest curb; take heed of a relapse. When vice becomes habitual, the very power of leaving it is lost.

BARN. Hear me on my knees confess --

THOR. Not a syllable more upon this subject; 190
it were not mercy, but cruelty, to hear what must give you such torment to reveal.

BARN. This generosity amazes and distracts me.

THOR. This remorse makes thee dearer to me

than if thou hadst never offended. Whatever is 195
your fault, of this I'm certain; 'twas harder for you to offend than me to pardon. Exit THOROWGOOD.

BARN. Villain! villain! villain! basely to wrong so excellent a man! Should I again return to folly?

-- detested thought! -- But what of Millwood200
then? -- Why, I renounce her -- I give her up. -- The struggle's over and virtue has prevailed. Reason may convince, but gratitude compels. This unlooked-for generosity has saved me from destruc
tion.(Going.) 205

Enter a Footman.

FOOT. Sir, two ladies from your uncle in the country desire to see you.

BARN. (aside). Who should they be? -- Tell them I'll wait upon 'em. Exit Footman.

Methinks I dread to see 'em. Now every­ 210
thing alarms me. Guilt, what a coward hast thou made me! [Exit.]


SCENE II

Another room in THOROWGOOD'S house.

MILLWOODand Lucy discovered.

Enter Footman.

FOOT. Ladies, he'll wait upon you immediately.

MILL. 'Tis very well. I thank you.

Exit Footman.

Enter BARNWELL.

BARN. [aside]. Confusion! -- Millwood!

MILL. That angry look tells me that here I'm an

unwelcome guest. I feared as much -- the un­ 5
happy are so everywhere.

BARN. Will nothing but my utter ruin content you?

MILL. Unkind and cruel! Lost myself, your hap

piness is now my only care. 10

BARN. How did you gain admission?

MILL. Saying we were desired by your uncle to visit and deliver a message to you, we were received by the family without suspicion, and with much

respect conducted here.15

BARN. Why did you come at all?

MILL. I never shall trouble you more; I'm come to take my leave forever. Such is the malice of my fate. I go hopeless, despairing ever to return. This

hour is all I have left. One short hour is all I 20
have to bestow on love and you, for whom I thought the longest life too short.

BARN. Then we are met to part forever?

MILL. It must be so. Yet think not that time or

absence shall ever put a period to my grief or 25

____________________
164] O1 receive 'em.
169] O1 om. (Aside).
174] O1 best when opposed.
178] O1 not, they being.
183] O1 will; so heav'n confirm to me the pardon of my offences. Yet.
184] O1 life; now when.
189] O1 me then on.
190] O1 I will not hear a.
210-212] O1O2 transpose the last two sentences.
SCENE II. 15] O1O2 directed here.
20] O1O2MD4 left me.
25] O1 ever shall.
1
Anticipated.

-611-

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