at Nature: you must chide the sun, that was 95 vertical at my birth, and would not wink upon my nakedness, but swaddled me in the broadest, hottest glare of his meridian beams.
STOCK. Mere rhapsody; mere childish rhapsody; the libertine's familiar plea -- Nature made 100 us, 'tis true, but we are the responsible creators of our own faults and follies.
STOCK. Slave of every face you meet, some hussy has inveigled you, some handsome profligate 105 (the town is full of them); and, when once fairly bankrupt in constitution, as well as fortune, Nature no longer serves as your excuse for being vicious, necessity, perhaps, will stand your friend, and you'll reform, 110
BEL. You are severe.
STOCK. It fits me to be so -- it well becomes a Father -- I would say a friend. -- [Aside.] How strangely I forget myself -- How difficult it is to counterfeit indifference, and put a mask upon 115 the heart -- I've struck him hard; he reddens.
BEL. How could you tempt me so? Had you not inadvertently dropped the name of father, I fear our friendship, short as it has been, would scarce have held me -- But even your mistake I 120 reverence -- Give me your hand -- 'tis over.
STOCK Generous young man -- let me embrace You -- How shall I hide my tears? I have been to blame; because I bore you the affection of a father, I rashly took up the authority of one. 125 I ask your pardon -- pursue your course; I have no right to stop it -- What would you have me do with these things?
BEL. This, if I might advise; carry the money to Miss Rusport immediately; never let gener 130 osity wait for its materials; that part of the business presses. Give me the jewels; I'll find an opportunity of delivering them into her hands; and your visit may pave the way for my reception.
STOCK. Be it so: good morning to you.--Fare 135 well advice! Away goes he upon the wing for pleasure. What various passions he awakens in me! He pains, yet pleases me; affrights, offends, yet grows upon my heart. His very failings set him off -- forever trespassing, forever atoning, I almost 140 think he would not be so perfect, were he free from fault: I must dissemble longer; and yet how painful the experiment! -- Even now he's gone upon some wild adventure; and who can tell what mischief may befall him! O Nature, what it is to be a 145 father! Just such a thoughtless headlong thing was I, when I beguiled his mother into love.
Scene changes to FULMER'S house.
FULMERand his WIFE.
FULMER. I tell you, Patty, you are a fool to think of bringing him and Miss Dudley together; 'twill ruin everything, and blow your whole scheme up to the moon at once.
MRS. F. Why, sure, Mr. Fulmer, I may be 5 allowed to rear a chicken of my own hatching, as they say. Who first sprung the thought but I, pray? Who first contrived the plot? Who proposed the letter, but I, I?
FULMER. And who dogged the gentleman 10 home? Who found out his name, fortune, connection, that he was a West Indian, fresh landed, and full of cash; a gull to our heart's content; a hotbrained, headlong spark, that would run into our trap, like a wheat-ear under a turf? 15
MRS. F. Hark! he's come: disappear, march; and leave the field open to my machinations.
BELCOURenters to her.
BEL. O, thou dear minister to my happiness, let me embrace thee! Why thou art my polar star, my propitious constellation, by which I navigate my impatient bark into the port of pleasure and delight. 5
MRS. F. Oh, you men are sly creatures! Do you remember now, you cruel, what you said to me this morning?
BEL. All a jest, a frolic; never think on't, bury it forever in oblivion; thou! why thou are all 10 over nectar and ambrosia, powder of pearl and odour of roses; thou hast the youth of Hebe, the beauty of Venus, and the pen of Sappho; but in the name of all that's lovely, where's the lady? I expected to find her with you. 15
MRS. F. No doubt you did, and these raptures were designed for her, but where have you loitered? the lady's gone, you are too late; girls of her sort are not to be kept waiting like negro slaves in your sugar plantations. 20
BEL. Gone; whither is she gone? tell me that I may follow her.
MRS. F. Hold, hold, not so fast, young gentleman, this is a case of some delicacy; should Captain Dudley know that I introduced you to his 25 daughter, he is a man of such scrupulous honor --
BEL. What do you tell me! is she daughter to the old gentleman I met here this morning?
MRS. F. The same; him you was so generous to.____________________