THE WEST INDIAN
BY RICHARD CUMBERLAND
A merchant's compting-house.
In an inner room, set off by glass doors, are discovered
several clerks, employed at their desks. A writing
table in the front room. STOCKWELLis discovered
reading a letter; STUKELYcomes gently out of the
back room, and observes him some time before
STUKELY. He seems disordered: something in
that letter; and I'm afraid of an unpleasant sort.
He has many ventures of great account at sea; a
ship richly freighted for Barcelona; another for
greater value. Besides these, I know he has many
deep concerns in foreign bottoms, and underwritings
to a vast amount. I'll accost him. Sir! Mr. Stockwell!
|Lisbon; and others expected from Cadiz of still ||5|
shipped the cloths?
| STOCKWELL. Stukely! -- Well, have you ||10|
STUKELY. I have, sir; here's the bill of lading, and
copy of the invoice: the assortments are all compared: Mr. Traffick will give you the policy upon
STOCK. 'Tis very well; lay these papers by; and
no more, of business for a while. Shut the door,
Stukely; I have had long proof of your friendship
and fidelity to me; a matter of most intimate concern
to unbosom myself to you; I have just now been
informed of the arrival of the young West Indian,
I have so long been expecting; you know who
|lies on my mind, and 'twill be a sensible relief ||20|
gentleman, who inherited old Belcour's great estates
| STUKELY. Yes, sir; Mr. Belcour, the young ||25|
STOCK. Hush, not so loud; come a little nearer
this way. This Belcour is now in London; part of
every minute. Is it to be wondered at, if his coming
throws me into some agitation, when I tell you,
Stukely, he is my son?
|his baggage is already arrived; and I expect him ||30|
STUKELY. Your son!
accompanied his grandfather to Jamaica as his clerk;
he had an only daughter, somewhat older than
myself; the mother of this gentleman: it was my
chance (call it good or ill) to engage her affections:
| STOCK. Yes, sir, my only son; early in life I ||35|
hopeless to expect her father's consent, her fondness
provided an expedient, and we were privately
married; the issue of that concealed engagement is,
as I have told you, this Belcour.
|and, as the inferiority of my condition made it ||40|
| STUKELY. That event, surely, discovered ||45|
STOCK. You shall hear. Not many days after
our marriage old Belcour set out for England; and,
during his abode here, my wife was, with great
dients to disguise her situation, without parting
from her infant, she contrived to have it laid and
received at her door as a foundling. After some
time her father returned, having left me here; in
|secrecy, delivered of this son. Fruitful in expe ||50|
the fortunes of prosperous men, this child was
introduced; from that instant, he treated him as
his own, gave him his name, and brought him up
in his family.
|one of those favorable moments that decide ||55|
secret, either to old Belcour, or your son?
| STUKELY. And did you never reveal this ||60|
STUKELY. Therein you surprise me; a merchant
of your eminence, and a member of the British
to the daughter of a planter. In this case too,
natural affection would prompt to a discovery.
|parliament, might surely aspire, without offence, ||65|
STOCK. Your remark is obvious; nor could I have
persisted in this painful silence, but in obedience
letter you found me reading conveyed those injunctions to me; it was dictated in her last illness, and
almost in the article of death (you'll spare me the
recital of it); she there conjures me, in terms as
|to the dying injunctions of a beloved wife. The ||70|
the secret of our marriage, or withdraw my son,
while her father survived.
|solemn as they are affecting, never to reveal ||75|
STUKELY. But on what motives did your unhappy
lady found these injunctions?
hension on my account, lest old Belcour, on whom
at her decease I wholly depended, should withdraw
his protection: in part from consideration of his
repose, as well knowing the discovery would deeply
| STOCK. Principally, I believe, from appre ||80|
and unforgiving: and lastly, in regard to the interest____________________
|affect his spirit, which was haughty, vehement, ||85|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan.
Contributors: George Henry Nettleton - Editor, Arthur Eillicot Case - Editor.
Publisher: Boston ; Houghton Mifflin company,..
Place of publication: Boston; New York.
Publication year: 1939.
Page number: 723.
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