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Sir Edw. Why, you are in a bad way indeed! Have you no mental resources? Nothing to excite love or friendship, or—
Major. Don't talk, of it:—I have an adopted child; but —
Sir Edw. But what?
Major. She's undu'tiful tome, ungrateful to my sister here, Miss Stoic, and I'm sorry for it. Her story interested me, it cut me lo the heart; and though I adopted Olivia without feeing her, yet I pictured to myself a lovely, helpless orphan, bidding me welcome by the name of father—benefactor—But, now, look ye, Sir Edward, if time don't make his clocks strike months instead of hours, my leave of absence will extend much beyond this world; for I can find no peace-or comfort but in war, battle, and general uproar*
Sir Edw. Undutiful, and ungrateful, do you fay? How! in what manner?
Major.. How! why, when her best friend, there, my sister (pointing to Hermitage) finding her mind untutored, and her manners awkward, wished her to remove from her present negligent governess, Miss Olivia refused to comply forsooth—But I've done with her—As soon as I can find a house to place her in, she shall bid adieu to this neighbourhood for ever; and to me, and my friendship, and —no, hang it, aster all, perhaps, if I must have employment, I can't pass rime much better than in, now and then, fending a bank note to a poor, abandoned orphan.
Sir Edw. Right, Major! do not quite forsake her—and as you're such a stranger here, if I can be of service—My aunt, for instance, has a house, a few miles off, and will, I'm sure, be ready to receive her.
Major. Indeed !. that's the very thing; for I promised my sister she should be sent away tonight, night, and I'll go tell her directly. But, I say, who is to conduct her? For, tho' I've the highest opinion of your character, Sir Edward
Sir Kdw.. 'Sdcath, fir! if you doubt that I'm a man of honour!
Major. . Qfa! no; not at all.—But, begging your pardon, it is poffible'now.-a-days to be a man of very great honour, and yet be a very fad rascal: for, seducing the wife or daughter 0/ your friend, and, afterwards shooting him in a duel, don't in the least deprive you of the fashionable appellation. Yet, seriously, Sir Edward, you rank so high in every good man's praise, that I safely may trust you.
Sir Edtv. You may depend on't.—I see you would avoid Olivia.—I will inform her of your wishes.
Major. Do ;—directly—while I prepare an attendant (going towards the Hermitage). Look! what a miserable hole am I going into! My. sister has a strong, enlighten'd mind, and can support solitude; but I'm so little of the hermit—Hark ye! come back as fast as you can, and I'll take a . peep with you, at all the pretty faces in the public walks; for, tho' Mils Stoic hates our sex, I'm very fond of hers; and if I find I can't manage time any other way, i'cod I'll take a wife.
Sir Edw. Do.
Major. I will; for, next to war, I know nothing more likely to give a gentleman ample em* ploy me nt.
[Exit into Hermitage.
Sir Edw. Bravo! Sir Edward! You have won the prize—and yet, shan't lose each good man's praise; for here's the stalking-horse, to cloak my guilt; here is the desperate and convenient friend, that is to answer for his patron's crimes.
Enter the DELiNauENT.
Why what's the matter? What agitates you?
Delin. That, which gives joy to you, the sight of England, of your native land—No friendly, kindred smile hails my return; and I, who once was welcom'd, and lov'd Jike you, now, if I'm known, I'm known to be destroyed.
Sir Edw. Be patient, and remember well— Tis but a year ago since, in a poor Italian inn, I found you almost perishing for want.
Delin. You did; at Luce a—and I repeat what then I told you, much as my life is worth, so much I owe you. (IVith sullen pride)
Sir Edw. Remember, too, I knew you at first fight. Knew you were the man, who had so wrong'd, and so deceiv'd my father; but, burying in oblivion all past injuries, ofter'd to protect you.
Delin. You have; and what are your commands? I fee you have in view some daring, desperate service; and I am bound, and pledg'd to undertake it.
Sir Edw. Why, then, in brief, here, at the neighbouring school, there is a lovely girl, and none can thwart me in my plans, but her suspicious governess. You understands—she must be someway silene'd, and yet my name kept secret.
Delin. Aiid mine proclaimed—Well, be it so ; yet
Sir Edtv. No remonstrance: be it yours; be it yours to execute my wishes; no hesitation, or
Delhi. And do I hesitate? No; yet think a little, Sir Edward—you can, as yet, look into yourself: can see a spotless and untainted heart \ and if, expanding with its pangs, hereafter it would
burst burst its bonds, as mine would now, how will you curse the selfishness of him who joined to "screen you from the world's reproaches, but left you tortured by your own.
Sir Edw. Farewell! I have not leisure for this busy, dull advice. You'll wait for me at home— and, mind, tho' I've the power to overwhelm you, it is my wish to serve, and to befriend you.
Delin. Still, still must I smother in my proud breast all feeling of a man.—Must I, who once was equal to this worldly youth, in power, and wealth, and fame, still must I submit to be menaced and commanded? better the penalty of my delinquency were death at once, than to endure this daily respite from perdition (going); yet, no; death robs me of the hope of finding that, for which alone I ventured to revisit England; and, could I clasp the long lost treasure to my heart!— Oh! that tender thought recalls me to my former self; and, when I think of what I was Distraction! when, when will merciful forgetfulness yield that repose which cruel men, and too severe a destiny, deny me.
SCENE Yl.—A Room at Mrs. Aubrey's.
Enter Mrs. Aubrey.
Mrs. Aub. 'Tis very strange! Olivia not returned! Oh! she little thinks each .minute seems an age 1 And, much I wish her generous benefactor would arrive, for I suspect I am her only friend, and friendship, such as mine, alas! is but of poor avail.
Enter • Enters Olivia.'
• Olivia. Ob, my dear madam! what do you think? I'm afraid you'll be so angry; for I've loft something, indeed I have—something you've had possession of ever since I first saw you.
Mrs. Aub. Speak! what is it, Olivia?
Olivia. My heart—nothing less than my heart. I took it out with me, but somehow I dropt it on the sea-shore, and who should pick it up but such a sweet, rude, delightful—Do you know when I ask'd him for it again, he downright refused me, and so I told him to give me another—and he did, very civilly ; he gave me his own; and they beat in such unison, that I don't think either of us will be sorry for the change as long as we exist.
Mrs. Aub. Heavens! who is it? Not Sir Edward Specious?
Olivia. Oh! no j the confident creature only arrived just time enough to see me insulted by two intoxicated coxcombs j so flying to my assistance, and forcing them to acknowledge they had both got drunk and forgot themselves: "Get drunk again," fays he, "for you can't do better than forget what's so little worth remembering.*' —Lord! ma'am, tho' you don't like Sir Edward, I do verily believe we shall quite quarrel, and pull caps about this gentleman.
Mrs. Aub. Olivia, yours is the age of danger; and, judging by your own of other's merits, man has with you no art, the world no vice; but, after seven long years of tenderness and care j* now, when I hoped to reap the harvest of my toils, think, (hould I see it blighted and despoiled by insects, venomous as vile ?—
Olivia. I thought, as 'twas holiday time, and