British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

would he, I fear, though I should find him, ever be brought to look his injured master in the face.

MA. I fear as much -- and therefore would never have my father know it.

TR. That's impossible. 110

MA. What's the sum?

TR. 'Tis considerable. I've marked it here, to show it, with the letter, to your father, at his return.

MA. If I should supply the money, could you so

dispose of that, and the account, as to conceal 115
this unhappy mismanagement from my father?

TR. Nothing more easy. But can you intend it? Will you save a helpless wretch from ruin? Oh! 'twere an act worthy such exalted virtue as Maria's.

Sure, heaven in mercy to my friend inspired the 120
generous thought!

MA. Doubt not but I would purchase so great a happiness at a much dearer price: -- but how shall he be found?

TR. Trust to my diligence for that. In the 125
meantime, I'll conceal his absence from your father, or find such excuses for it that the real cause shall never be suspected.

MA. In attempting to save from shame one whom

we hope may yet return to virtue, to heaven 130
and you, the only witnesses of this action, I appeal, whether I do anything misbecoming my sex and character.

TR. Earth must approve the deed, and heaven, I

doubt not, will reward it. 135

MA. If heaven succeeds it, I am well rewarded. A virgin's fame is sullied by suspicion's lightest breath; and therefore as this must be a secret from my father and the world, for Barnwell's sake, for mine,

let it be so to him! Exeunt. 140


SCENE II

[A room in MILLWOOD'S house.]

Enter Lucy and BLUNT.

LUCY. Well! what do you think of Millwood's conduct now?

BLUNT. I own it is surprising; I don't know which to admire most, her feigned or his real passion --

though I have sometimes been afraid that her 5
avarice would discover her. But his youth and want of experience make it the easier to impose on him.

LUCY. No, it is his love. To do him justice, notwithstanding his youth, he don't want understand

ing; but you men are much easier imposed on in 10
these affairs than your vanity will allow you to believe. Let me see the wisest of you all as much in love with me as Barnwell is with Millwood, and I'll engage to make as great a fool of him.

BLUNT. And all circumstances considered, to 15
make as much money of him too?

LUCY. I can't answer for that. Her artifice in making him rob his master at first, and the various stratagems by which she has obliged him to con

tinue that course, astonish even me, who know 20
her so well.

BLUNT. But then you are to consider that the money was his master's.

LUCY. There was the difficulty of it. Had it been

his own, it had been nothing. Were the world 25
his, she might have it for a smile. But those golden days are done; he's ruined, and Millwood's hopes of farther profits there are at an end.

BLUNT. That's no more than we all expected.

LUCY. Being called by his master to make up 30
his accounts, he was forced to quit his house and service, and wisely flies to Millwood for relief and entertainment.

BLUNT. I have not heard of this before! How did

she receive him? 35

LUCY. As you would expect. She wondered what he meant; was astonished at his impudence; and, with an air of modesty peculiar to herself, swore so heartily that she never saw him before, that she put

me out of countenance. 40

BLUNT. That's much, indeed! But how did Barnwell behave?

LUCY. He grieved, and, at length, enraged at this barbarous treatment, was preparing to be gone;

when, making toward the door, he showed a sum 45
of money which he had brought from his master's -- the last he's ever like to have from thence.

BLUNT. But then Millwood?

LUCY. Ay, she, with her usual address, returned

to her old arts of lying, swearing, and dissem­ 50
bling -- hung on his neck, wept, and swore 'twas meant in jest, till the amorous youth melted into tears, threw the money into her lap, and swore he had rather die than think her false.

BLUNT. Strange infatuation! 55

LUCY. But what followed was stranger still. As doubts and fears, followed by reconcilement, ever increase love where the passion is sincere, so in him it caused so wild a transport of excessive fondness,

such joy, such grief, such pleasure, and such an­ 60
guish, that nature in him seemed sinking with the weight, and the charmed soul disposed to quit his breast for hers. Just then, when every passion with lawless anarchy prevailed, and reason was in the rag

____________________
131] O1O2 the judges of.
132] O1 I have done anything.
136] O1 succeed.
137] O1O2 slightest.
SCENE II. s.d.] O1O2 MILLWOOD'S house; MD4O7 A room in MILLWOOD'S house; D5D6 Another room in THOROWGOOD'S house.
19-20] O1O2 continue in that.
45] O1O2 and, making.
45] D6O7 towards.
45] O1O2 door, showed.
45-46] O1 a bag of money, which he had stolen from his master.
51] O1O2MD4 neck, and wept.
52] O1 the easy fool, melted; O2MD4 the amorous youth, melted.

-615-

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