Imatges de pàgina

morning till night in my house. My insensible crew could sleep though rocked by an earthquake, and fry beefsteaks at a volcano.

Miss Rich. But, Sir, you have alarmed them so often already; we have nothing but earthquakes, famines, plagues, and mad dogs, from year's end to year's end. You remember, Sir, it is not above a month ago, you assured us of a conspiracy among the bakers, to poison us in our bread; and so kept the whole family a week upon potatoes.

Cro. And potatoes were too good for them. But why do I stand talking here with a girl, when I should be facing the enemy without? Here, John, Nicodemus, search the house. Look into the cellars, to see if there be any combustibles below; and above, in the apartments, that no matches be thrown in at the windows. Let all the fires be put out, and let the engine be drawn out in the yard, to play upon the house in case of necessity. [Exit.

Miss Rich. (Alone.) What can he mean by all this? Yet why should I inquire, when he alarms us in this manner almost every day. But Honeywood has desired an interview with me in private. What can he mean? or rather, what means this palpitation at his approach? It is the first time he ever showed any thing in his conduct that seemed particular. Sure he cannot mean to - but he's here.


Honey. I presumed to solicit this interview, Madam, before I left town, to be permitted

Miss Rich. Indeed! Leaving town, Sir?

Honey. Yes, Madam; perhaps the kingdom. I have presumed, I say, to desire the favour of this interview, in order to disclose something which our long friendship prompts. And yet my fears

Miss Rich. His fears! What are his fears to mine! (aside). We have indeed been long acquainted, Sir; very long. If I remember, our first meeting was at the French ambassador's. Do you recollect how you were pleased to rally me upon my complexion there?

Honey. Perfectly, Madam: I presumed to reprove you for

painting; but your warmer blushes soon convinced the company that the colouring was all from nature.

Miss Rich. And yet you only meant it in your good-natured way, to make me pay a compliment to myself." In the same manner you danced that night with the most awkward woman in company, because you saw nobody else would take her out.

Honey. Yes; and was rewarded the next night, by dancing with the finest woman in company, whom every body wished to take out.

Miss Rich. Well, Sir, if you thought so then, I fear your judgment has since corrected the errors of a first impression. We generally show to most advantage at first. Our sex are like poor tradesmen, that put all their best goods to be seen at the windows. Honey. The first impression, Madam, did indeed deceive me. I expected to find a woman with all the faults of conscious, flattered beauty: I expected to find her vain and insolent. But every day has since taught me, that it is possible to possess sense without pride, and beauty without affectation.

Miss Rich. This, Sir, is a style very unusual with Mr. Honeywood; and I should be glad to know why he thus attempts to increase that vanity, which his own lessons have taught me to despise.

Honey. I ask pardon, Madam. Yet, from cur long friendship, I presumed I might have some right to offer, without offence, what you may refuse without offending.

Miss Rich. Sir! I beg you'd reflect: though, I fear, I shall scarce have any power to refuse a request of yours, yet you may be precipitate: consider, Sir.

Honey. I own my rashness; but as I plead the cause of friendship, of one who loves - Don't be alarmed, Madam - who loves you with the most ardent passion, whose whole happiness is placed

in you

Miss Rich. I fear, Sir, I shall never find whom you mean, by this description of him.

Honey. Ah, Madam, it but too plainly points him out; though he should be too humble himself to urge his pretensions, or you too modest to understand them.

Miss Rich. Well; it would be affectation any longer to pretend ignorance; and I will own, Sir, I have long been prejudiced in his favour. It was but natural to wish to make his heart mine, as he seemed himself ignorant of its value.

Honey. I see she always loved him (aside). I find, Madam, you 're already sensible of his worth, his passion. How happy is my friend, to be the favourite of one with such sense to distinguish merit, and such beauty to reward it.

Miss Rich. Your friend, Sir! What friend?
Honey. My best friend

my friend Mr. Lofty, Madam.

Miss Rich. He, Sir! Honey. Yes, he, Madam. He is, indeed, what your warmest wishes might have formed him; and to his other qualities he adds that of the most passionate regard for you.

Miss Rich. Amazement! — No more of this, I beg you, Sir. Honey. I see your confusion, Madam, and know how to interpret it. And, since I so plainly read the language of your heart, shall I make my friend happy, by communicating your sentiments?

Miss Rich. By no means.

Honey. Excuse me, I must; I know you desire it.

Miss Rich. Mr. Honeywood, let me tell you, that you wrong my sentiments and yourself. When I first applied to your friendship, I expected advice and assistance; but now, Sir, I see it is in vain to expect happiness from him, who has been so bad an economist of his own; and that I must disclaim his friendship who ceases to be a friend to himself.


Honey. How is this! she has confessed she loved him, and yet she seemed to part in displeasure. Can I have done any thing to reproach myself with? No; I believe not yet after all, these things should not be done by a third person: I should have spared her confusion. My friendship carried me a little too far. Enter CROAKER, with the letter in his hand, and Mrs. CRoaker. Mrs. Cro. Ha ha! ha! And so, my dear, it's your supreme wish that I should be quite wretched upon this occasion? ha! ha!

Cro. (Mimicking) Ha! ha! ha! And so, my dear, it's your supreme pleasure to give me no better consolation?

Mrs. Cro. Positively, my dear; what is this incendiary stuff and trumpery to me? our house may travel through the air like the house of Loretto, for aught I care, if I am to be miserable in it.

Cro. Would to Heaven it were converted into a house of correction for your benefit. Have we not every thing to alarm us? Perhaps this very moment the tragedy is beginning.

Mrs. Cro. Then let us reserve our distress till the rising of the curtain, or give them the money they want, and have done with them.

Cro. Give them my money! they to my money?

And pray, what right have

Mrs. Cro. And pray, what right then have you to my goodhumour?

Cro. And so your good-humour advises me to part with my money? Why then, to tell your good-humour a piece of my mind, I'd sooner part with my wife. Here's Mr. Honeywood, see what he'll say to it. My dear Honeywood, look at this incendiary letter dropped at my door. It will freeze you with terror; and yet lovey here can read it — can read it, and laugh!


Mrs. Cro. Yes, and so will Mr. Honeywood.

Cro. If he does, I'll suffer to be hanged the next minute in the rogue's place, that 's all.

Mrs. Cro. Speak, Mr. Honeywood; is there any thing more foolish than my husband's fright upon this occasion?

Honey. It would not become me to decide, Madam; but, doubtless, the greatness of his terrors new will but invite them to renew their villany another time.

Mrs. Cro. I told you he 'd be of my opinion.

Cro. How, Sir! do you maintain that I should lie down under such an injury, and show, neither by my tears nor complaints, that I have something of the spirit of a man in me?

Honey. Pardon me, Sir. You ought to make the loudest complaints, if you desire redress. The surest way to have redress, is to be earnest in the pursuit of it.

Cro. Ay, whose opinion is he of now?

Mrs. Cro. But don't you think that laughing off our fears is the best way?

Honey. What is the best, Madam, few can say; but I'll maintain it to be a very wise way.

Cro. But we're talking of the best. Surely the best way is to face the enemy in the field, and not wait till he plunders us in our very bed-chamber.

Honey. Why, Sir, as to the best, that— that's a very wise way too.

Mrs. Cro. But can any thing be more absurd than to double our distresses by our apprehensions, and put it in the power of every low fellow, that can scrawl ten words of wretched spelling, to torment us?

Honey. Without doubt, nothing more absurd.

Cro. How! would it not be more absurd to despise the rattle till we are bit by the snake?

Honey. Without doubt, perfectly absurd.

Cro. Then you are of my opinion?

Honey. Entirely.

Mrs. Cro. And you reject mine?

Honey. Heav'ns forbid, Madam! No sure, no reasoning can .be more just than yours. We ought certainly to despise malice if we cannot oppose it, and not make the incendiary's pen as fatal to our repose as the highwayman's pistol.

Mrs. Cro. O! then you think I'm quite right?

Honey. Perfectly right.

Cro. A plague of plagues, we can't be both right. I ought to be sorry or I ought to be glad. My hat must be on my head, or my hat must be off.

Mrs. Cro. Certainly, in two opposite opinions, if one be perfectly reasonable, the other can't be perfectly right.

Honey. And why may not both be right, Madam? Mr. Croaker in earnestly seeking redress, and you in waiting the event with good-humour? Pray, let me see the letter again. I have it. This letter requires twenty guineas to be left at the bar of the Talbot inn. If it be indeed an incendiary letter, what if you and I,

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