DUDLEY. It is. 5
BEL. You command a company, I think, Captain Dudley?
DUDLEY. I did: I am now upon half-pay.
BEL. You've served some time?
DUDLEY. A pretty many years; long enough 10 to see some people of more merit, and better interest than myself, made general officers.
BEL. Their merit I may have some doubt of; their interest I can readily give credit to; there is little promotion to be looked for in your profes 15 sion, I believe, without friends, Captain?
DUDLEY. I believe so too. Have you any other business with me, may I ask?
BEL. Your patience for a moment. I was informed you was about to join your regiment 20 in distant quarters abroad.
DUDLEY. I have been soliciting an exchange to a company on full-pay, quartered at James's Fort, in Senegambia; but, I'm afraid, I must drop the undertaking. 25
BEL. Why so, pray?
DUDLEY. Why so, sir? 'Tis a home question for a perfect stranger to put; there is something very particular in all this.
BEL. If it is not impertinent, sir, allow me 30 to ask you what reason you have for despairing of success.
DUDLEY. Why really, sir, mine is an obvious reason for a soldier to have -- want of money; simply that. 35
BEL. May I beg to know the sum you have occasion for?
DUDLEY. Truly, sir, I cannot exactly tell you on a sudden; nor is it, I suppose, of any great consequence to you to be informed; but I should 40 guess, in the gross, that two hundred pounds would serve.
BEL. And do you find a difficulty in raising that sum upon your pay? 'Tis done every day.
DUDLEY. The nature of the climate makes it 45 difficult; I can get no one to insure my life.
BEL. Oh! that's a circumstance may make for you, as well as against: in short, Captain Dudley, it so happens, that I can command the sum of two hundred pounds: seek no farther; I'll accom 50 modate you with it upon easy terms.
DUDLEY. Sir! do I understand you rightly? -- I beg your pardon; but am I to believe that you are in earnest?
BEL. What is your surprise? Is it an un 55 common thing for a gentleman to speak truth; or is it incredible that one fellow creature should assist another?
DUDLEY. I ask your pardon -- May I beg to know to whom? Do you propose this in the 60 way of business?
BEL. Entirely: I have no other business on earth.
DUDLEY. Indeed! you are not a broker, I'm persuaded.
BEL. I am not. 65
DUDLEY. Nor an army agent, I think?
BEL. I hope you will not think the worse of me for being neither; in short, sir, if you will peruse this paper, it will explain to you who I am, and upon what terms I act; while you read it, I will step 70 home, and fetch the money; and we will conclude the bargain without loss of time. In the meanwhile, good day to you. Exit hastily.
DUDLEY. Humph! there's something very odd in all this -- let me see what we've got here -- 75 This paper is to tell me who he is, and what are his terms: in the name of wonder, why has he sealed it! Hey-day! what's here? Two bank notes, of a hundred each! I can't comprehend what this means. Hold; here's a writing; perhaps that will show 80 me. 'Accept this trifle; pursue your fortune, and prosper.' -- Am I in a dream? Is this a reality?
Enter MAJOR O'FLAHERTY.
MAJOR. Save you, my dear! Is it you now that are Captain Dudley, I would ask? -- Whuh! What's the hurry the man's in? If 'tis the lad that run out of the shop you would overtake, you might as well stay where you are, by my soul, he's as 5 nimble as a Croat, you are a full hour's march in his rear -- Ay, faith, you may as well turn back, and give over the pursuit; well, Captain Dudley, if that's your name, there's a letter for you. Read man, read it; and I'll have a word with you, after 10 you've done.
DUDLEY. More miracles on foot! So, so, from Lady Rusport.
O'FLAHERTY. You're right, it is from her ladyship.
DUDLEY. Well, sir, I have cast my eye over it; 15 'tis short and peremptory; are you acquainted with the contents?
O'FLAHERTY. Not at all, my dear, not at all.
DUDLEY. Have you any message from Lady Rusport? 20
O'FLAHERTY. Not a syllable, honey; only when you've digested the letter, I've a little bit of a message to deliver you from myself.
DUDLEY. And may I beg to know who yourself is?
O'FLAHERTY. Dennis O'Flaherty, at your 25 service; a poor major of grenadiers, nothing better.
DUDLEY. So much for your name and title, sir; now be so good to favor me with your message.
O'FLAHERTY. Why, then, Captain, I must tell you I have promised Lady Rusport you shall do 30 whatever it is she bids you to do in that letter there.
DUDLEY. Ay, indeed; have you undertaken so