tremely fond of her, I am sure. You can't imagine how happy I was in her company. Poor Charles! she soon made a conquest of him, and no wonder. She has so many elegant accomplishments! such an infinite fund of cheerfulness, and good 90 humor! Why, she's the darling of the whole country.
MRS. OAK. Lord! you seem quite in raptures about her.
OAK. Raptures! not at all. I was only telling you the young lady's character. I thought you 95 would be glad to find that Charles had made so sensible a choice, and was so likely to be happy.
MRS. OAK. O, Charles! True, as you say, Charles will be mighty happy.
OAK. Don't you think so? 100
MRS. OAK. I am convinced of it. Poor Charles! I am much concerned for him. He must be very uneasy about her. I was thinking whether we could be of any service to him in this affair.
OAK. Were you, my love? that is very good 105 of you. Why, to be sure, we must endeavor to assist him. Let me see! how can we manage it? Gad, I have hit it! The luckiest thought! and it will be of great service to Charles.
MRS. OAK. Well, what is it? (Eagerly.) 110 You know I would do anything to serve Charles, and oblige you. (Mildly.)
OAK. That is so kind! Lord, my dear, if you would but always consider things in this proper light, and continue this amiable temper, we 115 should be the happiest people --
MRS. OAK. I believe so. But what's your proposal?
OAK. I am sure you'll like it. Charles, you know, may perhaps be so lucky as to meet with this 120 lady.
MRS. OAK. True.
OAK. Now I was thinking, that he might, with your leave, my dear --
MRS. OAK. Well? 125
OAK. Bring her home here.
MRS. OAK. How!
OAK. Yes, bring her home here, my dear! It will make poor Charles's mind quite easy; and you may take her under your protection, till her 130 father comes to town.
MRS. OAK. Amazing! this is even beyond my expectation.
OAK. Why, what --
MRS. OAK. Was there ever such assurance! 135 Take her under my protection! What! would you keep her under my nose?
OAK. Nay, I never conceived -- I thought you would have approved --
MRS. OAK. What! make me your con 140 venient woman? no place but my own house to serve your purposes?
OAK. Lord, this is the strangest misapprehension! I am quite astonished.
MRS. OAK. Astonished! Yes; confused, de 145 tected, betrayed by your vain confidence of imposing on me. Why, sure you imagine me an idiot, a driveller. Charles, indeed! Yes, Charles is a fine excuse for you. The letter this morning, the letter, Mr. Oakly! 150
OAK. The letter! why, sure that --
MRS. OAK. Is sufficiently explained. You have made it very clear to me. Now I am convinced. I have no doubt of your perfidy. But I thank you for some hints you have given me, and you may 155 be sure I shall make use of them. Nor will I rest till I have full conviction, and overwhelm you with the strongest proofs of your baseness towards me.
OAK. Nay, but -- 160
MRS. OAK. Go, go! I have no doubt of your falsehood. Away! Exit.
[ OAK.] Was there ever anything like this? Such unaccountable behavior! Angry I don't know why! jealous of I know not what! pretending to be 165 satisfied merely to draw me in, and then creating imaginary proofs out of an innocent conversation! Hints! hints I have given her! What can she mean?
[Enter] TOILET crossing the stage.
Toilet! where are you going? 170
TOIL. To order the porter to let in no company to my lady to-day. She won't see a single soul, sir.
OAK. What an unhappy woman! Now will she sit all day, feeding on her suspicions, till she has convinced herself of the truth of them. 175
[Enter] JOHN crossing the stage.
Well, sir, what's your business?
JOHN. Going to order the chariot, sir. My lady's going out immediately. Exit.
OAK. Going out! what is all this? But every way she makes me miserable. Wild and ungovern 180 able as the sea or the wind! made up of storms and tempests! I can't bear it; and, one way or other, I will put an end to it. Exit.
Enter LADY FREELOVEwith a card. Servant following.
L. FREE. (reading as she enters). 'And will take the liberty of waiting on her ladyship en cavalier, as____________________