VAR. What right have you, pray, to take this paper from me?
O'FLAHERTY. What right have you, pray, to keep it from young Dudley? I don't know what it 55 contains, but I am apt to think it will be safer in my hands than in yours; therefore give it me without more words, and save yourself a beating: do now, you had best.
VAR. Well, sir, I may as well make a grace of 60 necessity. There! I have acquitted my conscience, at the expense of five thousand pounds.
O'FLAHERTY. Five thousand pounds! Mercy upon me! When there are such temptations in the law, can we wonder if some of the corps are a 65 disgrace to it?
VAR. Well, you have got the paper; if you are an honest man, give it to Charles Dudley.
O'FLAHERTY. An honest man! look at me, friend, I am a soldier, this is not the livery of a knave; 70 I am an Irishman, honey; mine is not the country of dishonor. Now, sirrah, begone; if you enter these doors, or give Lady Rusport the least item of what has passed, I will cut off both your ears, and rob the pillory of its due. 75
VAR. I wish I was once fairly out of his sight.
A room in STOCKWELL'S house.
STOCK. I must disclose myself to Belcour; this noble instance of his generosity, which old Dudley has been relating, allies me to him at once; concealment becomes too painful; I shall be proud to own him for my son -- But see, he's here. 5
BELCOURenters and throws himself on a sofa.
BEL. O my curst tropical constitution! Would to heaven I had been dropped upon the snows of Lapland, and never felt the blessed influence of the sun, so I had never burnt with these inflammatory passions! 10
STOCK. So, so, you seem disordered, Mr. Belcour.
BEL. Disordered, sir! why did I ever quit the soil in which I grew; what evil planet drew me from that warm sunny region, where naked nature walks without disguise, into this cold contriving artificial 15 country?
STOCK. Come, sir, you've met a rascal; what o' that? general conclusions are illiberal.
BEL. No, sir, I've met reflection by the way; I've come from folly, noise, and fury, and met a 20 silent monitor -- Well, well, a villain! 'twas not to be pardoned -- pray never mind me, sir.
STOCK. Alas! my heart bleeds for him.
BEL. And yet, I might have heard him: now plague upon that blundering Irishman for com 25 ing in as he did; the hurry of the deed might palliate the event: deliberate execution has less to plead -- Mr. Stockwell, I am bad company to you.
STOCK. Oh, sir; make no excuse. I think you have not found me forward to pry into the 30 secrets of your pleasures and pursuits; 'tis not my disposition; but there are times when want of curiosity would be want of friendship.
BEL. Ah, sir, mine is a case wherein you and I shall never think alike; the punctilious rules, by 35 which I am bound, are not to be found in your ledgers, nor will pass current in the compting-house of a trader.
STOCK. 'Tis very well, sir; if you think I can render you any service; it may be worth your 40 trial to confide in me; if not, your secret is safer in your own bosom.
BEL. That sentiment demands my confidence: pray, sit down by me. You must know, I have an affair of honor on my hands with young Dudley; 45 and though I put up with no man's insult, yet I wish to take away no man's life.
STOCK. I know the young man, and am apprised of your generosity to his father; what can have bred a quarrel between you? 50
BEL. A foolish passion on my side, and a haughty provocation on his. There is a girl, Mr. Stockwell, whom I have unfortunately seen, of most uncommon beauty; she has withal an air of so much natural modesty, that had I not had good assurance of 55 her being an attainable wanton, I declare I should as soon have thought of attempting the chastity of Diana.
Stock. Hey-day, do you interrupt us?
SERV. Sir, there's an Irish gentleman will 60 take no denial; he says he must see Mr. Belcour directly, upon business of the last consequence.
BEL. Admit him; 'tis the Irish officer that parted us, and brings me young Dudley's challenge; I should have made a long story of it, and he'll 65 tell you in three words.
O'FLAHERTY. Save you, my dear; and you, sir! I have a little bit of a word in private for you.
BEL. Pray deliver your commands; this gentleman is my intimate friend. 70
O'FLAHERTY. Why then, Ensign Dudley will be glad to measure swords with you, yonder at the London Tavern, in Bishopsgate-Street, at nine o'clock -- you know the place.
BEL. I do; and shall observe the appointment. 75____________________