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General: but as we now understand one another so perfectly, you will give me leave to retire.
Gen. One word, my dear creature, and no more; I shall wait on you, some time to-day, about the necessary settlement.
Miss Wal. You must do as you please, general; you are invincible in every thing;
Gen. And if you please, we will keep every thing a profound secret till the articles are all settled, and the definitive treaty ready for execution.
Miss Wal. You may be sure that delicacy will not suffer me to be communicative on the subject, sir.
Gen. Then you leave every thing to my management.
Gen. The day is my own, (sings) Britons strike home; strike home.
Scene between GENERAL Savage, CAPTAIN SAVAGE, Miss Wal
SINGHAM, and TORRINGTON, a lawyer ; in which the General discovers his mistake.
Capt. Sav. Nay, but my dearest Miss Walsingham, the extenuation of my conduct to Belville made it absolutely necessary for me to discover my engagements with you; and as happiness is now so fortunately in our reach, I flatter myself that you will be prevailed upon to forgive an error which proceeded only from extravagance of love.
Miss Wul. To think me capable of such an action, Captain Savage ! I am terrified at the idea of an union with you; and it is better for a woman, at any time, to sacrifice an insolent lover; than to accept of a suspicious husband.
Capt. In the happiest union, my dearest creature, there must always be something to overlook on both sides.
Miss Wal. Very civil, truly.
Capt. Pardon me, my life, for this frankness; and recollect, that if the lover' has ihrough misconception been unhappily guilty, he brings a husband altogether reformed to your hands.
Miss. Wal. Well, I see I must forgive you at last ; so I may as well make a merit of necessity, you provoking creature.
Capt. And may I indeed hope for the blessing of this hand.
Miss Wal. Why, you wretch, would you have me force it upon you? I think, after what I have said, a soldier might venture to take it without further ceremony,
Capt. Angelic creature! thus I seize it, as my lawful prize. Miss Wal. Well, but now you have obtained this inestimable prize, captain, give me leave again to ask, if you have bad a certain explanation with the general ?
Capt. How can you doubt it?
Miss Wal. And is he really impatient for our marriage ?
Miss Wal. What ! did he tell you of his interview with me this evening, when he brought Mr. Torrington ?
Capt. He did.
Capt. If a shadow of doubt remains, here he comes to remove it. Joy, my dear sir, joy a thousand tinies !
Enter General Savage and Torrington. Gen. What, my dear boy, have you carried the day?
Miss Wal. I have been weak enough to indulge him with a victory, indeed, General.
Gen. Fortune favors the brave, Torrington.
Gen. This had nearly proved a day of disappointment, but the stars have fortunately turned it in my favor, and now I reap the rich reward of my victory.
Capt. And here I take her from you, as the greatest good which heaven can send me.
Miss Wal. O captain !
Gen. You take her as the greatest good which heaven can send you, sirrah! I take her as the greatest good which heaven can send me; and now what have you to say to her?
Miss. Wal. General Savage !
Gen. What mistakes can have happened now, sweetest, you delivered up your dear hand this moment !
Miss Wal. True, sir ; but I thought you were going to bestow my dear hand upon this dear gentleman.
Gen. How! that dear gentleman? Capt. I am thunderstruck! Tor. Fortune favors the brave, general, none but the brave. [Laughingly.]
Gen. So the covert way is cleared at last; and you have all along imagined that I was negotiating for this fellow, when I was gravely soliciting for myself.
Miss Wal. No other idea, sir, ever entered my imagination.
Tor. General, noble minds should never despair. (Laughingly.]
Gen. Well, my hopes are all blown up to the moon at once ; and I shall be the laughing-stock of the whole town.
SCENE BETWEEN MRS. BELVILLE, MISS WALSINGHAM,
AND LADY RACHEL MILDEW.-ON DUELING. Mrs. Belv. [alone.] Where is the generosity, where is the sense, where is the shame of men, to find pleasure in pursuits which
they cannot remember without the deepest horror; which they cannot follow without the meanest fraud; and which they can. not effect without consequences the most dreadful ? The greatest triumph which a libertine can ever experience, is too despicable to be envied; 'tis at best nothing but a victory over humanity; and if he is a husband, he must be doubly tortured on the wheel of recollection.
Enter Miss Walsingham, and Lady Rachel Mildew. Miss Wal. My dear Mrs. Belville, I am extremely unhappy to see you so distressed.
Lady Rach. Now I am extremely glad to see her so; for if she were not greatly distressed, it would be monstrously un. natural.
Mrs. Bel. O Matilda ! my husband! my children!
Miss Wal. Don't weep, my dear, don't weep! pray be comforted; all may end happily. Lady Rachel, beg of her not to cry so.
Lady Rach. Why, you are crying yourself, Miss Walsingham. And though I think it out of character to encourage her tears, I cannot help keeping you company.
Mrs. Bel. O, why is not some effectual method contrived to prevent this horrible practice of dueling!
Lady Rach. I'll expose it on the stage, since the law now a-days kindly leaves the whole cognizance of it to the theater.
Miss Wal. And yet if the laws against it were as well enforced as the laws against destroying the game, perhaps it would be equally for the benefit of the kingdom.
Mrs. Bel. No law will ever be effectual till the custom is rendered infamous. Wives must shriek! mothers must agonize! orphans must be multiplied ! unless some blessed hand strip the fascinating glare from honorable murder, and bravely expose the idol who is worshiped thus in blood. While it is disreputable to obey the laws, we cannot look for reformation. But if the duelist is once banished from the presence of his sovereign; if he is for life excluded the confidence of his country; if a mark of indelible disgrace is stamped upon him; the sword of public justice will be the sole chastiser of wrongs; trifles will not be punished with death, and offenses really mériting such punishment, will be reserved for the only proper revenge, the common executioner.
Lady Rach. I could not have expressed myself better on this subject, my dear; but till such a hand as you talk of, is found, the best will fall into the error of the times.
Miss Wal. Yes, and butcher each other like madmen, for fear their courage should be suspected by fools.