you say: well, be it so; I must not complain. Did you see the broker about the insurance of my life?
CHARLES. There again I am the messenger of ill news; I can raise no money, so fatal is the climate: 20 alas! that ever my father should be sent to perish in such a place!
MISS DUDLEYenters hastily.
DUDLEY. Louisa, what's the matter? you seem frighted.
LOUISA. I am, indeed: coming from Miss Rusport's, I met a young gentleman in the streets, who has beset me in the strangest manner. 5
CHARLES. Insufferable! Was he rude to you?
LOUISA. I cannot say he was absolutely rude to me, but he was very importunate to speak to me, and once or twice attempted to lift up my hat: he followed me to the corner of the street, add there 10 I gave him the slip.
DUDLEY. You must walk no more in the streets, child, without me or your brother.
LOUISA. O Charles! Miss Rusport desires to see you directly; Lady Rusport is gone out, and she 15 has something particular to say to you.
CHARLES. Have you any commands for me, sir?
DUDLEY. None, my dear; by all means wait upon Miss Rusport. Come, Louisa, I shall desire you to go up to your chamber, and compose yourself. 20
BELCOURenters, after peeping in at the door.
BEL. Not a soul, as I'm alive. Why, what an odd sort of a house is this! Confound the little jilt, she has fairly given me the slip. A plague upon this London, I shall have no luck in it: such a crowd, and such a hurry, and such a number of 5 shops, and one so like the other, that whether the wench turned into this house or the next, or whether she went up stairs or down stairs, (for there's a world above and a world below, it seems) I declare, I know no more than if I was in the Blue Moun 10 tains.1 In the name of all the devils at once, why did she run away? If every handsome girl I meet in this town is to lead me such a wild goose chase, I had better have stayed in the torrid zone: I shall be wasted to the size of a sugar cane: what shall 15 I do? Give the chase up: hang it, that's cowardly: shall I, a true-born son of Phœbus, suffer this little nimble-footed Daphne to escape me? -- 'Forbid it honor, and forbid it love.'2 Hush! hush! here she comes! Oh! the devil! What tawdry thing 20 have we got here?
MRS. FULMERenters to him.
MRS. FULMER. Your humble servant, sir.
BEL. Your humble servant, madam.
MRS. F. A fine summer's day, sir.
BEL. Yes, ma'am, and so cool, that if the cal 25 endar didn't call it July, I should swear it was January.
MRS. F. Sir!
MRS. F. Do you wish to speak to Mr. Fulmer, 30 sir?
BEL. Mr. Fulmer, madam? I haven't the honor of knowing such a person.
MRS. F. No, I'll be sworn, have you not; thou art much too pretty a fellow, and too much 35 of a gentleman to be an author thyself, or to have anything to say to those that are so. 'Tis the Captain, I suppose, you are waiting for.
BEL. I rather suspect it is the Captain's wife.
MRS. F. The Captain has no wife, sir. 40
BEL. No wife? I'm heartily sorry for it; for then she's his mistress; and that I take to be the more desperate case of the two: pray, madam, wasn't there a lady just now turned into your house? 'Twas with her I wished to speak. 45
MRS. F. What sort of a lady, pray?
BEL. One of the loveliest sort my eyes ever beheld; young, tall, fresh, fair; in short, a goddess.
MRS. F. Nay, but dear, dear sir, now I'm sure you flatter; for 'twas me you followed into the 50 shop door this minute.
BEL. You! No, no, take my word for it, it was not you, madam.
MRS. F. But what is it you laugh at?
BEL. Upon my soul, I ask your pardon; but it 55 was not you, believe me; be assured it wasn't.
MRS. F. Well, sir, I shall not contend for the honor of being noticed by you; I hope you think you wouldn't have been the first man that noticed me in the streets; however, this I'm positive of, 60 that no living woman but myself has entered these doors this morning.
BEL. Why then I'm mistaken in the house, that's all; for 'tis not humanly possible I can be so far out in the lady. (Going.) 65
MRS. F. Coxcomb! But hold -- a thought occurs; as sure as can be he has seen Miss Dudley. A word with you, young gentleman; come back.
BEL. Well, what's your pleasure?
MRS. F. You seem greatly captivated with 70 this young lady; are you apt to fall in love thus at first sight?
BEL. Oh, yes: 'tis the only way I can ever fall in love; any man may tumble into a pit by surprise, none but a fool would walk into one by choice. 75____________________