with me, we'll agree upon your admission, and enter on a course of lectures directly.
BEL. With all my heart. Exeunt. 95
Scene changes to a room in LADY RUSPORT'S house.
LADY RUSPORTand CHARLOTTE.
LADY RUSPORT. Miss Rusport, I desire to hear no more of Captain Dudley and his destitute family: not a shilling of mine shall ever cross the hands of any of them: because my sister chose to marry a beggar, am I bound to support him and his 5 posterity?
CHARLOTTE. I think you are.
LADY R. You think I am; and pray where do you find the law that tells you so?
CHARLOTTE. I am not proficient enough to 10 quote chapter and verse; but I take charity to be a main clause in the great statute of Christianity.
LADY R. I say charity, indeed! And pray, miss, are you sure that it is charity, pure charity, which moves you to plead for Captain Dudley? 15 Amongst all your pity, do you find no spice of a certain anti-spiritual passion, called love? Don't mistake yourself, you are no saint, child, believe me; and, I am apt to think the distresses of old Dudley, and of his daughter into the bargain, 20 would never break your heart, if there was not a certain young fellow of two and twenty in the case; who, by the happy recommendation of a good person, and the brilliant appointments of an ensigncy, will, if I am not mistaken, cozen you out of a 25 fortune of twice twenty thousand pounds, as soon as ever you are of age to bestow it upon him.
CHARLOTTE. A nephew of your ladyship's can never want any other recommendation with me; and, if my partiality for Charles Dudley is ac 30 quitted by the rest of the world, I hope Lady Rusport will not condemn me for it.
LADY R. I condemn you! I thank heaven, Miss Rusport, I am no ways responsible for your conduct; nor is it any concern of mine how you dispose 35 of yourself; you are not my daughter; and, when I married your father, poor Sir Stephen Rusport, I found you a forward spoiled miss of fourteen far above being instructed by me.
CHARLOTTE. Perhaps your ladyship calls this 40 instruction.
LADY R. You're strangely pert; but 'tis no wonder: your mother, I'm told, was a fine lady; and according to the modern style of education you was brought up. It was not so in my 45 young days; there was then some decorum in the world, some subordination, as the great Locke expresses it. Oh! 'twas an edifying sight, to see the regular deportment observed in our family: no giggling, no gossiping was going on there; my 50 good father, Sir Oliver Roundhead, never was seen to laugh himself, nor ever allowed it in his children.
CHARLOTTE. Ay; those were happy times, indeed.
LADY R. But, in this forward age, we have coquettes in the egg-shell, and philosophers in 55 the cradle; girls of fifteen that lead the fashion in new caps and new opinions, that have their sentiments and their sensations, and the idle fops encourage 'em in it. O' my conscience, I wonder what it is the men can see in such babies. 60
CHARLOTTE. True, madam; but all men do not overlook the maturer beauties of your ladyship's age, witness your admirer Major Dennis O'Flaherty; there's an example of some discernment; I declare to you, when your ladyship is by, the Major 65 takes no more notice of me than if I was part of the furniture of your chamber.
LADY R. The Major, child, has travelled through various kingdoms and climates, and has more enlarged notions of female merit than falls to 70 the lot of an English home-bred lover; in most other countries, no woman on your side forty would ever be named in a polite circle.
CHARLOTTE. Right, madam; I've been told that in Vienna they have coquettes upon crutches 75 and Venuses in their grand clima[c]teric; a lover there celebrates the wrinkles, not the dimples, in his mistress's face. The Major, I think, has served in the imperial army.
LADY R. Are you piqued, my young madam? 80 Had my sister Louisa yielded to the addresses of one of Major O'Flaherty's person and appearance, she would have had some excuse: but to run away, as she did, at the age of sixteen too, with a man of old Dudley's sort-- 85
CHARLOTTE. Was, in my opinion, the most venial trespass that ever girl of sixteen committed; of a noble family, an engaging person, strict honor, and sound understanding, what accomplishment was there wanting in Captain Dudley, 90 but that which the prodigality of his ancestors had deprived him of?
LADY R. They left him as much as he deserves; hasn't the old man captain's half-pay? And is not the son an ensign? 95
CHARLOTTE. An ensign! Alas, poor Charles! Would to heaven he knew what my heart feels and suffers for his sake.
SERV. Ensign Dudley to wait upon your ladyship. 100____________________