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to be some to carry on a useful commerce in the frozen latitudes beyond fifty.
Miss Rich. But, then, the mortifications they must suffer, before they can be fitted out for traffic. I have seen one of them fret a whole morning at her hair-dresser, when all the fault was her face.
Honey. And yet, I'll engage, has carried that face at last to a very good market. This good-natured town, Madam, has husbands, like spectacles, to fit every age, from fifteen to fourscore.
Mrs. Cro. Well, you're a dear, good-natured creature. But you know you 're engaged with us this morning upon a strolling party. I want to show Olivia the town, and the things; I believe I shall have business for you for the whole day.
Honey. I am sorry, Madam, I have an appointment with Mr. Croaker, which it is impossible to put off.
Mrs. Cro. What! with my husband? Then I'm resolved to take no refusal. Nay, I protest you must. You know I never laugh so much as with you.
Honey. Why, if I must, I must. I'll swear you have put me into such spirits. Well, do you find jest, and I'll find laugh, I promise you. We'll wait for the chariot in the next room.
Enter LEONTINE and OLIVIA.
Leon. There they go, thoughtless and happy. My dearest Olivia, what would I give to see you capable of sharing in their amusements, and as cheerful as they are.
Olivia. How, my Leontine, how can I be cheerful, when I have so many terrors to oppress me? The fear of being detected by this family, and the apprehensions of a censuring world, when I must be detected
Leon. The world, my love! what can it say? At worst it can only say, that, being compelled by a mercenary guardian to embrace a life you disliked, you formed a resolution of flying with the man of your choice; that you confided in his honour, and took refuge in my father's house; the only one where your's could remain without censure.
Olivia. But consider, Leontine, your disobedience and my indiscretion; your being sent to France, to bring home a sister, and, instead of a sister, bringing home
Leon. One dearer than a thousand sisters. One that I am convinced will be equally dear to the rest of the family, when she comes to be known.
Olivia. And that, I fear, will shortly be.
Leon. Impossible, till we ourselves think proper to make the discovery. My sister, you know, has been with her aunt, at Lyons, since she was a child, and you find every creature in the family takes you for her.
Olivia. But mayn't she write, mayn't her aunt write?
Leon. Her aunt scarce ever writes, and all my sister's letters are directed to me.
Olivia. But won't your refusing Miss Richland, for whom you know the old gentleman intends you, create a suspicion?
Leon. There, there's my master-stroke. I have resolved not to refuse her; nay, an hour hence I have consented to go with my father to make her an offer of my heart and fortune.
Olivia. Your heart and fortune!
Leon. Don't be alarmed, my dearest. Can Olivia think so meanly of my honour or my love, as to suppose I could ever hope for happiness from any but her? No, my Olivia, neither the force, nor, permit me to add, the delicacy of my passion, leave any room to suspect me. I only offer Miss Richland a heart I am convinced she will refuse; as I am confident, that, without knowing it, her affections are fixed upon Mr. Honeywood.
Olivia. Mr. Honeywood! You'll excuse my apprehensions; but when your merits come to be put in the balance
Leon. You view them with too much partiality. However, by making this offer, I show a seeming compliance with my father's command; and, perhaps, upon her refusal, I may have his consent to choose for myself.
Olivia. Well, I submit. And yet, my Leontine, I own I shall envy her even your pretended addresses. I consider every look, every expression of your esteem, as due only to me. This is folly, perhaps: I allow it: but it is natural to suppose, that
merit which has made an impression on one's own heart, may be powerful over that of another.
Leon. Don't, my life's treasure, don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter. At worst, you know, if Miss Richland should consent, or my father refuse his pardon, it can but end in a trip to Scotland; and
Cro. Where have you been, boy? My friend Honeywood here has been things. Ah! he's an example indeed. here.
I have been seeking you. saying such comfortable Where is he? I left him
Leon. Sir, I believe you may see him, and hear him too, in the next room; he's preparing to go out with the ladies.
Cro. Good gracious! can I believe my eyes or my ears! I'm struck dumb with his vivacity, and stunned with the loudness of his laugh. Was there ever such a transformation! (A laugh behind the scenes, CROAKER mimics it.) Ha! ha! ha! there it goes: a plague take their balderdash! Yet I could expect nothing less, when my precious wife was of the party. On my conscience, I believe she could spread a horse-laugh through the pews of a tabernacle.
Leon. Since you find so many objections to a wife, Sir, how can you be so earnest in recommending one to me?
Cro. I have told you, and tell you again, boy, that Miss Richland's fortune must not go out of the family; one may find comfort in the money, whatever one does in the wife.
Leon. But, Sir, though, in obedience to your desire, I am ready to marry her, it may be possible she has no inclination
Cro. I'll tell you once for all how it stands. A good part of Miss Richland's large fortune consists in a claim upon government, which my good friend, Mr. Lofty, assures me the treasury will allow. One-half of this she is to forfeit, by her father's will, in case she refuses to marry you. So, if she rejects you, we seize half her fortune; if she accepts you, we seize the whole, and a fine girl into the bargain.
Leon. But, Sir, if you will but listen to reason
Cro. Come, then, produce your reasons. I tell you, I'm fixed, determined; so now produce your reasons. When I'm determined, I always listen to reason, because it can then do no harm.
Leon. You have alleged that a mutual choice was the first requisite in matrimonial happiness.
Cro. Well, and you have both of you a mutual choice. She has her choice - to marry you, or lose half her fortune; and you have your choice to marry her, or pack out of doors without any fortune at all.
Leon. An only son, Sir, might expect more indulgence. Cro. An only father, Sir, might expect more obedience: besides, has not your sister here, that never disobliged me in her life, as good a right as you? He's a sad dog, Livy, my dear, and would take all from you. But he shan't, I tell you he shan't, for you shall have your share.
Olivia. Dear Sir, I wish you 'd be convinced, that I can never be happy in any addition to my fortune which is taken from his.
Cro. Well, well, it's a good child, so say no more: but come with me, and we shall see something that will give us a great deal of pleasure, I promise you; old Ruggins, the curry-combmaker, lying in state: I am told he makes a very handsome corpse, and becomes his coffin prodigiously. He was an intimate friend of mine, and these are friendly things we ought to do for each other. [Exeunt.
MISS RICHLAND, GARNET.
Olivia not his sister? Olivia not Leontine's sis
ter? You amaze me!
Garn. No more his sister than I am; I had it all from his own servant: I can get any thing from that quarter.
But how? Tell me again, Garnet.
Garn. Why, Madam, as I told you before, instead of going to Lyons to bring home his sister, who has been there with her aunt these ten years, he never went further than Paris: there he saw and fell in love with this young lady — by the bye, of a prodigious family.
Miss Rich. And brought her home to my guardian as his daughter?
Garn. Yes, and daughter she will be. If he don't consent to their marriage, they talk of trying what a Scotch parson can do. Miss Rich. Well, I own they have deceived me And so demurely as Olivia carried it too! Would you believe it, Garnet, I told her all my secrets; and yet the sly cheat concealed all this from me?
Garn. And, upon my word, Madam, I don't much blame her: she was loth to trust one with her secrets, that was so very bad at keeping her own.
Miss Rich. But, to add to their deceit, the young gentleman, it seems, pretends to make me serious proposals. My guardian and he are to be here presently, to open the affair in form. You know I am to lose half my fortune if I refuse him.
Garn. Yet, what can you do? For being, as you are, in love with Mr. Honeywood, Madam
Miss Rich. How! idiot, what do you mean? In love with Mr. Honeywood! Is this to provoke me?
Garn. That is, Madam, in friendship with him; I meant nothing more than friendship, as I hope to be married; nothing
Miss Rich. Well, no more of this. As to my guardian and his son, they shall find me prepared to receive them: I'm resolved to accept their proposal with seeming pleasure, to mortify them by compliance, and so throw the refusal at last upon them.
Garn. Delicious! and that will secure your whole fortune to yourself. Well, who could have thought so innocent a face could cover so much 'cuteness!
Miss Rich. Why, girl, I only oppose my prudence to their cunning, and practise a lesson they have taught me against themselves.