JOS. SURF. Sir Peter -- notwithstanding I 500 confess that appearances are against me -- if you will afford me your patience -- I make no doubt but I shall explain everything to your satisfaction.
SIR PET. If you please --
JOS. SURF. The fact is, sir, that Lady Teazle, 505 knowing my pretensions to your ward Maria -- I say, sir, Lady Teazle, being apprehensive of the jealousy of your temper -- and knowing my friendship to the family -- she, sir, I say -- called here in order that -- I might explain those pre 510 tensions -- but on your coming-- being apprehensive -- as I said -- of your jealousy -- she withdrew -- and this, you may depend on't is the whole truth of the matter.
SIR PET. A very dear account, upon my 515 word; and I dare swear the lady will vouch for every article of it.
LADY TEAZ. (coming forward).* For not one word of it, Sir Peter!
SIR PET. How! don't you think it worth 520 while to agree in the lie?
LADY TEAZ. There is not one syllable of truth in what that gentleman has told you.
SIR PET. I believe you, upon my soul, ma'am!
JOS. SURF. (aside). 'Sdeath, madam, will 525 you betray me?
LADY TEAZ. Good Mr. Hypocrite, by your leave, I will speak for myself.
SIR PET. Aye, let her alone, sir; you'll find she'll make out a better story than you, without 530 prompting.
LADY TEAZ. Hear me, Sir Peter! -- I came here on no matter relating to your ward, and even ignorant of this gentleman's pretensions to her -- but I came, seduced by his insidious arguments, 535 at least to listen to his pretended passion, if not to sacrifice your honor to his baseness.
SIR PET. Now, I believe, the truth is coming, indeed!
JOS. SURF. The woman's mad! 540
LADY TEAZ. No, sir; she has recovered her senses, and your own arts have furnished her with the means. -- Sir Peter, I do not expect you to credit me -- but the tenderness you expressed for me, when I am sure you could not think I was a 545 witness to it, has penetrated to my heart, and had I left the place without the shame of this discovery, my future life should have spoke[n] the sincerity of my gratitude. As for that smooth-tongue hypocrite, who would have seduced the wife of his too 550 credulous friend, while he affected honorable addresses to his ward -- I behold him now in a light so truly despicable, that I shall never again respect myself for having listened to him. Exit.
JOS. SURF. Nothwithstanding all this, Sir 555 Peter, heaven knows -----
SIR PET. That you are a villain! -- and so I leave you to your conscience.
JOS. SURF. You are too rash, Sir Peter; you shall hear me. The man who shuts out con 560 viction by refusing to -----
SIR PET. Oh! --
Exeunt, JOSEPH SURFACEfollowing and speaking.
End of Act 4th.
The library [in JOSEPHS SURFACE'S house.]
Enter JOSEPH SURFACEand Servant.
JOS. SURF. Mr. Stanley! why should you think I would see him? you must know he comes to ask something.
SERV. Sir, I should not have let him in, but that Mr. Rowley came to the door with him. 5
JOS. SURF. Pshaw! blockhead! to suppose that I should now be in a temper to receive visits from poor relations! -- Well, why don't you show the fellow up?
SERV. I will, sir. -- Why, sir, it was not my fault that Sir Peter discovered my lady ----- 10
JOS. SURF. Go, fool! Exit Servant. Sure, Fortune never played a man of my policy such a trick before! My character with Sir Peter, my hopes with Maria, destroyed in a moment! I'm in a rare humor to listen to other people's distresses! 15 I shan't be able to bestow even a benevolent sentiment on Stanley. -- So! here he comes, and Rowley with him. I must try to recover myself -- and put a little charity into my face, however. Exit.
Enter SIR OLIVER SURFACE and ROWLEY.
SIR OLIV. What! does he avoid us? That was 20 he, was it not?
ROW. It was, sir -- but I doubt you are come a little too abruptly -- his nerves are so weak, that the sight of a poor relation may be too much for him. -- I should have gone first to break you to him. 25
SIR OLIV. A plague of his nerves! -- Yet this is he whom Sir Peter extols as a man of the most benevolent way of thinking!
ROW. As to his way of thinking, I cannot pretend to decide; for, to do him justice, he appears to 30 have as much speculative benevolence as any private gentleman in the kingdom, though he is seldom so sensual as to indulge himself in the exercise of it.
SIR OLIV. Yet has a string of charitable sentiments, I suppose, at his fingers' ends! 35
ROW. Or, rather, at his tongue's end, Sir Oliver;____________________