BEL. Hell and vexation! Get out of the room, or I shall run distracted. Exit MRS. FULMER. Of a certain, Belcour, thou art born to be the fool of woman: sure no man sins with so much 145 repentance, or repents with so little amendment, as I do. I cannot give away another person's property, honor forbids me; and I positively cannot give up the girl; love, passion, constitution, everything protests against that. How shall 150 I decide? I cannot bring myself to break a trust, and I am not at present in the humor to balk my inclinations. Is there no middle way? Let me consider -- There is, there is: my good genius has presented me with one; apt, obvious, honor- 155 able: the girl shall not go without her baubles, I'll not go without the girl, Miss Rusport shan't lose her diamonds, I'll save Dudley from destruction, and every party shall be a gainer by the project.
MRS. FULMERintroducing MISS DUDLEY.
MRS. F. Miss Dudley, this is the worthy gentleman you wish to see; this is Mr. Belcour.
LOUISA (aside). As I live, the very man that beset me in the streets.
BEL. (aside). An angel, by this light! Oh I 5 am gone past all retrieving!
LOUISA. Mrs. Fulmer, sir, informs me you are the gentleman from whom my father has received such civilities.
BEL. Oh! never name 'em. 10
LOUISA. Pardon me, Mr. Belcour, they must be both named and remembered; and if my father was here --
BEL I am much better pleased with his representative. 15
LOUISA. That title is my brother's, sir; I have no claim to it.
BEL. I believe it.
LOUISA. But as neither he nor my father were fortunate enough to be at home, I could not 20 resist the opportunity --
BEL. Nor I neither, by my soul, madam: let us improve it, therefore. I am in love with you to distraction; I was charmed at the first glance; I attempted to accost you; you fled; I followed; 25 but was defeated of an interview; at length I have obtained one, and seize the opportunity of casting my person and my fortune at your feet.
LOUISA. You astonish me! Are you in your senses, or do you make a jest of my misfortunes? 30 Do you ground pretences on your generosity, or do you make a practice of this folly with every woman you meet?
BEL. Upon my life, no: as you are the handsomest woman I ever met, so you are the first to whom 35 I ever made the like professions: as for my generosity, madam, I must refer you on that score to this good lady, who I believe has something to offer in my behalf.
LOUISA. Don't build upon that, sir; I must 40 have better proofs of your generosity than the mere divestment of a little superfluous dross, before I can credit the sincerity of professions so abruptly delivered. Exit hastily.
BEL. Oh! ye gods and goddesses, how her 45 anger animates her beauty! (Going out.)
MRS. F. Stay, sir; if you stir a step after her, I renounce your interest forever; why you'll ruin everything.
BEL. Well, I must have her, cost what it will: 50 I see she understands her own value though; a little superfluous dross, truly! She must have better proofs of my generosity.
MRS. F. 'Tis exactly as I told you; your money she calls dross; she's too proud to stain her 55 fingers with your coin; bait your hook well with jewels; try that experiment, and she's your own.
BEL. Take 'em; let 'em go; lay 'em at her feet; I must get out of the scrape as I can; my propensity is irresistible: there! you have 'em; they are 60 yours; they are hers; but remember they are a trust; I commit them to her keeping till I can buy 'em off with something she shall think more valuable; now tell me when shall I meet her?
MRS. F. How can I tell that? Don't you see 65 what an alarm you have put her into? Oh, you're a rare one! But go your ways for this while; leave her to my management, and come to me at seven this evening; but remember not to bring empty pockets with you -- Ha! ha! ha! 70
LADY RUSPORT'S house.
MISS RUSPORTenters, followed by a Servant.
CHARLOTTE. Desire Mr. Stockwell to walk in.
STOCK. Madam, your most obedient servant: I am honored with your commands, by Captain Dudley; and have brought the money with me as you directed: I understand the sum you have 5 occasion for is two hundred pounds.
CHARLOTTE. It is, sir; I am quite confounded at your taking this trouble upon yourself, Mr. Stockwell.
STOCK. There is a bank-note, madam, to the 10____________________