WIVES AS THEY WERE, AND MAIDS AS THEY ARE, A COMEDY, IN FIVE ACTS. PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, COVENT-GARDEN.

BY MRS. INCHBALD.

DUBLIN: PRINTED FOR P. WOGAN, OLD-BRIDGE. 1797.

PROLOGUE,

I COME not to announce a bashful maid
Who ne'er has try'd the drama's doubtful trade,
Who sees with flutt'ring hope the curtain rise,
And scans with timid glance your critic eyes;
My client is a more experienc'd dame,
Tho' not a Veteran, not unknown to Fame,
Who think your favours are an honest boast,
Yet fears to forfeit what she values most;
Who has, she trusts, some character to lose,
E'en tho' the woman did not aid the Muse;
Who courts with modest aim the public smile,
That stamp of merit, and that meed of toil.
At Athens once (our author has been told)
The Comic Muse, irregularly bold,
With living calumny profan'd her stage,
And forg'd the frailties of the faultless sage.
Such daring ribaldry you need not fear,
We have no Socrates to libel here.
Ours are the follies of an humbler flight,
Offspring of manners volatile and light;
Our gen'ral satire keeps more knaves in awe,
Our court of conscience comes in aid of law.
Here scourg'd by wit, and pilloried by fun,
Ten thousand coxcombs blush instead of one.
If scenes like these could make the guilty shrink,
Could teach unfeeling Folly how to think,
Check Affectation's voluble career,
And from cold Fashion force the struggling tear,
Our author would our loudest praise forego,
Content to feel within "what passes show,"
"But since" (she says) "such hopes cannot be mine,
"Such bold pretensions I must needs resign,
"Tell these great judges, of dramatic laws,
"Their reformation were my best applause;
"Yet if the heart my proud appeal withstands,
"I ask the humbler suffrage of their hands."

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

MEN.
  • Lord PRIORY Mr. Quick.
  • Sir WILLIAM DORRILLON Mr. Munden.
  • Sir GEORGE EVELYN Mr. Pope.
  • Mr. BRONZELY Mr. Lewis.
  • Mr. NORBERRY Mr. Waddy.
  • OLIVER Mr. Fawcett.
  • NABSON Mr. Thompson.
WOMEN.
  • Lady PRIORY Miss Chapman.
  • Lady MARY RAFFLE Mrs. Mattocks.
  • Miss DORRILLON Miss Wallis.

Several Servants, &c.

SCENE, London.

WIVES AS THEY WERE. AND MAIDS AS THEY ARE.

ACT I.

SCENE I. An Apartment at Mr. NORBERRY's

Enter Sir WILLIAM DORRILLON, and Mr. NOR­BERRY.
Mr. NORBERRY.

WHY blame me?—Why blame me?—My sister had the sole management of your daughter by your own authority; from the age of six years, till within eight months of the present time, when, in consequence of my sister's death, she was trans­ferred to my protection.

Sir Wil.

Your sister, Mr. Norberry, was a pru­dent, good woman—she never could instruct her in all this vice.

Mr. Nor.

Depend upon it, my dear friend, that Miss Dorrillon, your daughter, came to my house just the same heedless woman of fashion you now see her.

Sir Wil.
impatiently.

Very well—'Tis very well.—But, when I think on my disappointment—

Mr. Nor.

There is nothing which may not be repaired. Maria, with you for a guide—

Sir Wil.

Me! She turns me into ridicule—laughs at me! This morning, as she was enumerating some of her frivolous expences, she observed me lift up my hands and sigh; on which she named fifty other extravagances she had no occasion to men­tion, merely to enjoy the pang which every solly of her sends to my heart.

Mr. Nor.
[Page 2]

But do not charge this conduct of your daughter to the want of filial love:—did she know you were sir William Dorrillon, did she know you were her father, every word you uttered, every look you glanced, would be received with gentle­ness and submission:—but your present rebukes from Mr. Mandred (as you are called), from a perfect stranger, as she supposes, she considers as an imper­tinence which she has a right to resent.

Sir Wil.

I wish I had continued abroad. And yet, the hope of beholding her, and of bestowing upon her the riches I acquired, was my sole support through all the toils by which I gained them.

Mr. Nor.

And, considering her present course of life, your riches could not come more opportunely.

Sir Wil.

She shall never have a farthing of them. Do you think I have encountered the perils of almost every climate, to squander my hard-earned fortune upon the paltry vicious pleasures in which she de­lights? No.—I have been now in your house ex­actly a month—I will stay but one day longer—and then, without telling her who I am, I will leave the kingdom and her for ever—Nor shall she know that this insignificant merchant whom she despises, was her father, till he is gone, never to be recalled.

Mr. Nor.

You are offended with some justice, but, as I have often told you, your excessive delica­cy and respect for the conduct of the other sex, de­generate into rigour.

Sir Wil.

True—for what I see so near perfection as woman, I want to see perfect. We, Mr. Norber­ry, can never be perfect; but surely women, wo­men, might easily be made angels!

Mr. Nor.

And if they were, we should soon be glad to make them into women again.

Sir William
inattentive to Mr. Norberry.

—She sets the example. She gives the fashion!—and now your Whole house, and all your visitors, in imitation of her, treat me with levity, or with contempt.—But I'll go away to-morrow.

Mr. Nor.
[Page 3]

Can you desert your child in the mo­ment she wants your protection? That exquisite beauty just now become mature—

Sir Wil.

There's my difficulty!—There's my struggle!—If she were not so like her mother, I could leave her without a pang—cast hey off, and think no more of her.—But that shape! that face! those speaking looks! Yet, how reversed!—Where is the diffidence, the humility—where is the simpli­city of my beloved wife? Buried in her grave.

Mr. Nor.

And, in all this great town, you may never see even its apparition.

Sir Wil.

I rejoice, however, at the stratagem by which I have gained a knowledge of her heart: de­prived by the means of searching it in her early years, had I at present come as her father, she might have deceived me with counterfeit manners, till time dis­closed the imposition.—Now at least, I am not imposed upon.

Enter Servant.
Ser.

Lord Priory.

Exit.
Sir Wil.

Lord Priory!

Mr. Nor.

An old acquaintance of mine, though we seldom meet. He has some singularities; and yet, perhaps—

Enter Lord Priory.
Mr. Nor.

My dear Lord, I am glad to see you. Mr. Mandred

introducing Sir Willian.

My Lord, I hope I see you in perfect health.

Lord Pri.

Yes: but in very ill humour. I came to London early this morning with my family for the winter, and found my house, after going through only a slight repair, so damp, that I dare not sleep in it: and so I am now sending and going all over the town to seek for lodgings.

Mr. Nor.

Then seek no farther, but take up your lodgings here.

Lord Pri.

To be plain with you, I called in hopes you would ask me; for I am so delicately scrupulous in respect to lady Priory, that I could not bear the thought of taking her to an hotel.

Mr. Nor.
[Page 4]

Then pray return home, and bring her hither immediately, with all your luggage.

Lord Pri.

I am most extremely obliged to you

very fervently

; for into no one house belonging to any of my acquaintance would I take my wife, so soon as into yours. I have now been married eleven years, and during all that time I have made it a rule never to go on a visit, so as to domesticate, in the house of a married man.

Sir Wil.

May I enquire the reason of that?

Lord Pri.

It is because I am married myself; and having always treated my wife according to the anci­ent mode of treating wives, I would rather she should never be an eye-witness to the modern house­hold management.

Sir Wil.

The ancients, I believe, were very affec­tionate to their wives.

Lord Pri.

And they had reason to be so; for their wives obeyed them. The ancients seldom gave them the liberty to do wrong: but modern wives do as they like.

Mr. Nor.

And don't you suffer Lady Priory to do as she likes?

Lord Pri.

Yes, when it is what I like too. But never, never else.

Sir Wil.

Does not this draw upon you the cha­racter of an unkind husband?

Lord Pri.

That I am proud of. Did you never observe, that seldom a breach of fidelity in a wise is exposed where the unfortunate husband is not said to be "the best creature in the world! Poor man, so good-natured!—Doatingly fond of his wife!—Indulged her in every thing!—How cruel in her to serve him so!" Now, if I am served so, it shall not be for my good-nature.

Mr. Nor.

But I hope you equally disapprove of every severity.

Lord Pri.
rapidly.

What do you mean by seve­rity?

Mr. Nor.

You know you used to be rather vio­lent in your temper.

Lord Pri.

So I am still—apt to be hasty and passi­onate [Page 5] —but that is rather of advantage to me as a husband—it causes me to be obeyed without hesi­tation—no liberty for contention, tears, or repin­ing. I insure conjugal sunshine, by now and then introducing a storm; while some husbands never see any thing but a cloudy sky, and all for the want of a little domestic thunder to clear away the vapours.

Sir Wil.

I have long conceived indulgenee to be the bane of female happiness.

Lord Pri.

And so it is.—I know several wo­men of fashion who will visit six place of different amusement on the same night, have company at home besides, and yet, for want of something more, they'll be out of spirits: my wife never goes to a public place, has scarce ever company at home, and yet is always in spirits.

Sir Wil.

Never visits operas, or balls, or routs?

Lord Pri.

How should she? She goes to bed every night exactly at ten.

Mr. Nor.

In the name of wonder, how have you been able to bring her to that?

Lord Pri.

By making her rise every morning at five.

Mr. Nor.

And so she becomes tired before night.

Lord Pri.

Tired to death. Or, if I see her eyes completely open at bed-time, and she asks me to play one game more at piquet, the next morning I jog her elbow at half after four.

Mr. Nor.

But suppose she does not reply to the signal?

Lord Pri.

Then I turn the key of the door when I leave the chamber; and there I find her when I come home in the evening.

Sir Wil.

And without her having seen a creature all day?

Lord Pri.

This is in my favour; for not having seen a single soul, she is rejoiced even to see me.

Mr. Nor.

And will she speak to you after such usage?

Lord Pri.

If you only considered how much a woman longs to speak after being kept a whole day silent, you would not ask that question.

Mr. Nor.
[Page 6]

Well! this is the most surprising me­thod!

Lord Pri.

Not at all. In ancient days, when man­ners were simple and pure, did not wives wait at the table of their husbands? and did not angels witness the subordination? I have taught Lady Priory to practise the same humble docile obedience—to pay respect to her husband in every shape and every form, no careless inattention to me—no smiling politeness to others in preference to me——no putting me up in a corner—in all assemblies, she considers her husband as the first person.

Sir Wil.

I am impatient to see her.

Lord Pri.

But don't expect a fine lady with high feathers; and the et caetera of an Eastern concubine; you will see a modest plain English woman, with a cap on her head, a handkerchief on her neck, and a gown of our own manufacture.

Sir Wil.

My friend Norberry, what a contrast must there be between Lady Priory and the ladies in this house!

Lord Pri.
starting.

Have you ladies in this house?

Mr. Nor.

Don't be alarmed; they are both sin­gle, and can give Lady Priory no ideas concerning the marriage state.

Lord Pri.

Are you sure of that? Some single women are more informed than their friends believe.

Mr. Nor.

For these ladies, notwithstanding a few (what you would call) excesses, I will answer.

Lord Pri.

Well, then, I and my wife will be with you about nine in the evening; you know we go to-bed at ten.

Mr. Nor.

But remember you bring your own ser­vants to wait on you at five in the morning.

Lord Pri.

I shall bring but one—my old servant Oliver, who knows all my customs so well, that I never go any where without him.

Mr. Nor.

And is that old servant your valet still?

Lord Pri.

No, he is now a kind of gentleman in waiting. I have had no employment for a valet [Page 7] since I married:—my wife, for want of dissipati­on, has not only time to attend upon herself, but upon me. Do you think I could suffer a clumsy man to tie on my neckcloth, or comb out my hair, when the soft, delicate, and tender hands of my wife are at my command?

Exit.
Sir Wil.

After this amiable description of a woman, how can I endure to see her, whom reasons bids me detest; but whom nature still—

Mr. Nor.

Here she comes; and her companion in folly along with her.

Sir Wil.

There's another woman! that Lady Mary Raffle? How can you suffer such people in your house?

Mr. Nor.

She is only on a visit for a few months—she comes every winter, as her family and mine have long been intimately connected.

Sir Wil.

Let us go. Let us go. I can't bear the sight of them.

Going.
Mr. Nor.

Stay, and for once behave with polite­ness and good humour to your daughter—do—and I dare venture my life, she will neither insult nor treat you with disrespect. You know you al­ways begin first.

Sir Wil.

Have not I a right to begin first?

Mr. Nor.

But that is a right of which she is ig­norant.

Sir Wil.

And deserves to be so, and ever shall be so. I stay and treat her with politeness and good hu­mour?’ No—rather let her kneel and implore my pardon.

Mr. Nor.

Suffer me to reveal who you are, and so she will.

Sir Wil.

If you expose me only by the insinuati­on to her knowledge, our friendship is that moment at an end.

Mr. Nor.
Firmly.

I have already given you my promise on that subject; and you may rely upon it.

Sir. Wil.

I thank you—I believe you—and I thank you.

Exeunt Sir William and Mr. Norberry.
[Page 8] Enter Lady Mary Raffle and Miss Dorrillon.
Miss Dor.
Stealing on as Mr. Norberry and Sir William leave the stage.

They are gone. Thank heaven they are gone out of this room, for I expect a dozen visiters; and Mr. Norberry looks so gloomy upon me, he puts me out of spirits: while that Mandred's peevishness is not to be borne.

Lady M.

Be satisfied; for you were tolerably se­vere upon him this morning in your turn.

Miss Dor.

Why, I am vext—and I, don't like to be found fault with in my best humour, much less when I have so many things to tease me.

Lady M.

What are they?

Miss Dor.

I have now lost all my money, and all my jewels, at play; it is almost two years since I have received a single remittance from my father; and Mr. Norberry refuses to advance me a shilling more.—What I shall do to discharge a debt which must be paid either to-day or to-morrow, heaven knows!—Dear Lady Mary, you could lend me a small sum, could you?

Lady M.

Who? I!

with surprise

—My dear creature, it was the very thing I was going to ask of you: for when you have money, I know no one so willing to disperse it among her friends.

Miss Dor.

Am not I?—I protest I love to part with my money; for I know with what pleasure I receive it myself, and I like to see that joy sparkle in another's eye, which has so often brightened my own. But last night ruined me—I must have mo­ney somewhere—As you can't assist me, I must ask Mr. Norberry for his carriage, and immediately go in search of some friend that can lend me four, or five, or six, or seven hundred pounds. But the worst is, I have lost my credit—Is not that dread­ful?

Lady M.

Yes, yes, I know what it is.

Shaking her head.
Miss Dor.

What will become of me?

Lady M.

Why don't you marry, and throw all misfortunes upon your husband?

Miss Dor.
[Page 9]

Why don't you marry? For you have as many to throw.

Lady M.

But not so many lovers who would be willing to receive the load. I have no Sir George Evelyn with ten thousand pounds a year—no Mr. Bronzely.

Miss Dor.

If you have not now, you once had; for I am sure Bronzely once paid his addresses to you.

Lady M.

And you have the vanity to suppose you took him from me?

Miss Dor.

Silence.—Reserve your anger to de­fend, and not to attack me. We should be allies by the common ties of poverty: and 'tis time to arm; for here's the enemy.

Enter Sir William with Mr. Norberry.
Sir Wil.

They are here full.

Aside to Mr. Nor­berry, and offering to go back.
Mr. Nor.
Preventing him.

No, no.

Miss Dor.

I have been waiting here, Mr. Norber­ry, to ask a favour of you.

He and Sir William come forward.

Will you be so kind as to lend me your carriage for a couple of hours?

Mr. Nor.

Mr. Mandred

pointing to Sir William

asked me for it to take him into the city.

Lady M.

Oh, Mr. Mandred will give it up to Miss Dorrillon, I am sure: he can defer his business till to-morrow.

Sir Wil.

No, Madam, she may as well put off hers. I have money to receive, and I can't do it.

Miss Dor.

I have money to pay, and I can't do it.

Lady M.

If one is going to receive, and the other to pay money, I think the best way is for you to go together; and then, what deficiency there is on one side, the other may supply.

Miss Dor.

Will you consent, Mr. Mandred?—Come, do; and I'll be friends with you.

Sir Wil.

"She'll be friends with me!"

Miss Dor.

Will you?

Sir Wil.

No.

Miss Dor.
[Page 10]

Well, I certainly can ask a favour of Mr. Mandred better than I can of any person in the world.

Mr. Nor.

Why so, Maria?

Miss Dor.

Because, instead of pain, I can see it gives him pleasure to refuse me.

Sir Wil.

I never confer a favour, of the most tri­vial kind, where I have no esteem.

Miss Dor.
proudly.

Nor would I receive a fa­vour, of the most trivial kind, from one who has not liberality to esteem me.

Mr. Nor.

Come, Miss Dorrillon, do not grow se­rious; laugh as much as you please, but say nothing that—

Sir Wil.
To her impatiently.

From whom then can you ever receive favours, except from the vain, the idle, and the depraved?—from those whose lives are passed in begging them of others?

Miss Dor.

They are the persons who know best how to be on them: for my part, had I not some­times felt what it was to want a friend, I might never have had humanity to be the friend of another.

Enter Servant.
Ser.

Sir George Evelyn.

Mr. Nor.

And pray, my dear, whose friend have you ever been?—

Enter Sir George Evelyn.

—Not Sir George Evelyn's, I am sure; and yet he of all others deserves your friendship most.

Miss Dor.

But friendship will not content him: as soon as he thought he had gained that.—

Sir Geo.

He aspired to the supreme happiness of your love.

Miss Dor.

Now you talk of "supreme happiness," have you provided tickets for the fête on Thursday?

Sir Geo.

I have: provided you have obtained Mr. Norberry's leave to go.

Mr. Nor.

That I cannot grant.

Miss Dor.

Nay, my dear Sir, do not force me to go without it.

Sir Wil.
with violence.

Would you dare?

Miss Dor.
[Page 11]
looking with surprise.

"Would I dare," Mr. Mandred!—and what have you to say if I do?

Sir Wil.
Recollecting himself.

I was only going to say, that if you did, and I were Mr. Norberry—

Miss Dor.

And if you were Mr. Norberry, and treated me in the manner you now do, depend upon it I should not think your approbation or disappro­bation, your pleasure or displeasure, of the slightest consequence.

Sir Wil.
greatly agitated.

I dare say not—I dare say not. Good morning, Sir George—I dare say not.—Good morning, Mr. Norberry.

Going.
Mr. Nor.

Stop a moment.—Maria, you have offended Mr. Mandred.

Miss Dor.

He has offended me.

Sir Wil.
at the door going off.

I shan't offend you long.

Mr. Norberry
going to him and taking him by the arm.

Stay, Mr. Mandred; Miss Dorrillon, make an apology: Mr. Mandred is my friend, and you must not treat him with this levity.

Lady M.

No, no apology.

Miss Dor.

No, no apology. But I'll tell you what I'll do.

Goes up to Sir William

——If Mr. Mandred likes, I'll shake hands with him—and we'll be good friends for the future. But then don't find fault with me—I can't bear it. You don't like to be found fault with yourself—You look as cross as any thing every time I say the least word a­gainst you. Come, shake hands; and don't let us see one another's failings for the future.

Sir Wil.

There is no future for the trial.

Miss Dor.

How do you mean?

Mr. Nor.

Mr. Mandred sets off again for India to-morrow.

Miss Dor.

Indeed! I thought he was come to live in England! I am sorry you are going.

Sir Wil.
with earnestness.

Why sorry?

Miss Dor.

Because we have so frequently quarrel­led. I am always unhappy when I am going to be parted from a person with whom I have disagreed; [Page 12] I often think I could part with less regret from a friend.

Sir G.

Not, I suppose, if the quarrel is for­given?

Miss Dor.

Ah! but Mr. Mandred does not for­give! no! in his looks I can always see resent­ment.—Sometimes indeed I have traced a spark of kindness, and have gently tried to blow it to a little flame of friendship, when, with one hasty puff I have put it out.

Sir Wil.

You are right. It is—I believe—extin­guished.

Exit; Mr. Norberry following.
Sir Geo.

A very singular man.

Lady M.

Oh! If he was not rich, there would be no bearing him—Indeed he seems to have lost all his friends; for during the month he has been here, I never found he had any one acquaintance out of this house.

Miss Dor.

And what is very strange, he has taken an aversion to me.—But it is still more strange, that although I know he has, yet in my heart I like him. He is morose to an insufferable degree; but then, when by chance he speaks kind, you cannot imagine how it soothes me.—He wants compassion and all the tender virtues; and yet, I frequently think, that if any serious misfortune were to befall me, he would be the first person to whom I should fly to com­plain.

Lady M.

Then why don't you fly and tell him of your misfortune last night.

Sir Geo.
starting.

What misfortune?

Miss Dor.
to lady Mary.

Hush!

Lady M.

A loss at play—

To Miss Dor.

—I beg your pardon, but it was out before you said hush.

Sir Geo.

Ah! Maria, will you still risk your own and my happiness?

Miss Dor.

Your happiness and mine, Sir!—I beg you will not place them so near to each other.

Sir Geo.

Mine is so firmly fixed on you, it can only exist in yours.

Lady M.
[Page 13]

Then, when she is married to Mr. Bronzely, you will be happy because she will be so?

Sir Geo.

Bronzely! has he dared?

Miss Dor.

Have not you dared, Sir?

Lady M.

But I believe Mr. Bronzely is the most daring of the two—

aside to Sir Geo

—take care of him.

Exit.
Sir Geo.

Miss Dorrillon, I will not affront you by supposing that you mean seriously to receive the ad­dresses of Mr. Bronzely; but I warn you against giving others, who know you less than I do, occasion to think so.

Miss Dor.

I never wish to deceive any one—I do admit of Mr. Bronzely's addresses.

Sir Geo.

Why, he is the professed lover of your friend Lady Mary! or granting he denies it, and that I even pass over the frivolity of the coxcomb, still he is unworthy of you.

Miss Dor.

He says the same of you; and half a dozen more say exactly the same of each other. If you like, I'll discard every one of you as unworthy; but if I retain you, I will retain the rest. Which do you choose?

Sir Geo.

I submit to any thing rather than the to­tal loss of you—But remember, that your feli­city—

Miss Dor.

"Felicity! felicity!"—ah! that is a word not to be found in the vocabulary of my sen­sations!—

sighing.
Sir Geo.

I believe you, and have always regarded you with a compassion that has augmented my love. In your infancy deprived of the watchful eye and anxious tenderness of a mother; the manly caution and authority of a father: misled by the brilliant vapour of fashion; surrounded by enemies in the garb of friends—Ah! do you weep? blessed, blessed be the sign!—Suffer me to dry those tears I have caused, and to give you a knowledge of true felicity.

Miss Dor.
recovering.

I am very angry with myself.—Don't, I beg, tell Mr. Norberry or Mr. Mandred you saw me cry—they'll suppose I have [Page 14] been move indiscreet

stifling her tears

than I really have. For in reality I have nothing—

Sir Geo.

Do not endeavour to conceal from me, what my tender concern for you has given me the means to become acquainted with. I know you are plunged in difficulties by your father neither sending nor coming, as you once expected: I know you are still deeper plunged by your fondness for play.

Miss Dor.

Very well, Sir! proceed.

Sir Geo.

Thus, then—Suffer me to send my ste­ward to you this morning; he shall regulate your accounts, and place them in a state that shall pro­tect you from further embarrassment till your fa­ther sends to you; or protect you from his re­proaches, should he arrive.

Miss Dor.

Sir George, I have listened to your de­tail of vices, which I acknowledge, with patience, with humility—but your suspicion of those which I have not, I treat with pride, with indignation.

Sir Geo.

How! suspicion!

Miss Dor.

What part of my conduct, Sir, has made you dare to suppose I would extricate myself from the difficulties that surround me, by the influ­ence I hold over the weakness of a lover?

Exeunt separately.

ACT II.

SCENE I. Another Apartment at Mr. Norberry's.

Enter two Porters from an upper Entrance, bringing in Trunks; Lord Priory and Mr. Norberry follow­ing.
Mr. NORBERRY.

HERE, Stephens, why are you out of the way? Shew the men with these boxes into the dress­ing-room appointed for my Lord Priory.

A Servant enters on the opposite side, and the Por­ters follow him off at the lower entrance on that side.
[Page 15] Enter Sir William Dorrillon.
Sir Wil.

My Lord, I hope I see you well this evening.

Lord Pri.

Yes Sir—and you find I have literal­ly accepted Mr. Norberry's invitation, and am come to him with all my luggage.

Enter Oliver with a small box in each hand.
Lord Pri.

Follow those men with the trunks, Oli­ver.

Mr. Nor.

Ah, Mr. Oliver, how do you do?

Oli.

Pretty well—tolerably well, I thank you, Sir.

Exit.
Enter Servant.
Ser.

Lady Priory.

Enter Lady Priory.
L [...] Pri.
to her.

Mr. Norberry, our worthy host; and Mr. Mandred.

She curtsies.
Mr. Nor.

I hope your ladyship will find my house so little inconvenient to you, as to induce you to make no very short visit.

Lady Pri.

I have no doubt, Sir, but I shall find, from your friendship, every comfort in this house which it is possible for me to enjoy out of my own.

Enter Lady Mary Raffle and Miss Dorrillon.
Mr. Nor.
introducing them

Lady Priory—La­dy Mary Raffle—Miss Dorrillon—Lord Pri­ory.

Lady M.

Permit me, Lady Priory, to take you to the next room: we are going to have tea immediate­ly.

Lady Pri.

I have drank tea, Madam.

Miss Dor.

Already! It is only nine o'clock.

Lady Pri.

Then it is near my hour of going to bed.

Lord Priory, Sir William, and Mr. Norberry retire to the back of the stage, and talk apart.
[...]
[...]
Lady M.
[Page 16]

Go to bed already! In the name of won­der, what time did you rise this morning?

Lady Pri.

Why, I do think it was almost six o'clock.

Lady M.
in amaze

And were you up at six this morning?

Lady Pri.

Yes.

Miss Dor.

At six in the month of January!

Lady M.

It is not light till eight; and what good, now, could you possibly be doing for two hours by candle-light?

Lady Pri.

Pray, Lady Mary, at what time did you go to bed?

Lady M.

About three this morning.

Lady Pri.

And what good could you possibly be doing for eleven hours by candle-light?

Lady M.

Good! It's as much as can be expected from a woman of fashion, if she does no [...]

Lady Pri.

But I should fear you woul [...] [...] deal of harm to your health, your spirits, and the tranquillity of your mind.

Mr. Norberry goes off—Lord Priory and Sir William come forward.
Lady M.

Oh, my Lord Priory, I really find all the accounts I have heard of your education for a wife to be actually true!—and I can't help laugh­ing to think, if you and I had chanced to have mar­ried together, what a different creature you most likely would have made of me, to what I am at pre­sent.

Lord Pri.

Yes! and what a different creature you most likely would have made of me, to what I am at present.

Sir Wil.

Lady Priory, I am not accustomed to pay compliments or to speak my approbation, even when praise is a just tribute; but your virtues compel me to an eulogium. That wise submission to a husband who loves you, that chearful smile so expressive of content, and that plain dress which indicates the ele­gance as well as the simplicity, of your mind, are all symbols of a heart so unlike to those which the present fashion of the day has misled———

Miss Dor.
[Page 17]

Why look so stedfastly on me, Mr. Mandred? Do you pretend to see my heart?

Sir Wil.

Have you any?

Miss Dor.

Yes; one large enough to hold—even my enemy.

Enter Servant.
Ser.

Mr. Bronzely.

Miss Dor.

Shew him into the other room.

Exit Servant.

Come, Lady Priory, we must introduce you to Mr. Bronzely: he is one of the most fashionable, agreeable, pleasant, whimsical, unthink­ing, and spirited creatures in all the world: you'll be charmed—

Lady Pri.

I dare say it's near ten o'clock. I am afraid I shan't be able to keep awake.

Miss Dor.

You must—We are going to have a little concert—'Twill be impossible to sleep.

Exit Miss Dorrillon, leading off Lady Priory.
Lady M.

Upon my word, my Lord, your plan of management has made your wife unfit for com­pany.

Lord Pri.

So much more sit to be a wife.

Lady M.

She is absolutely fatigued with hard la­bour—for shame!—How does household drud­gery become her hand?

Lord Pri.

Much better than cards and dice do yours.

Exit Lady Mary followed by Lord Priory—Sir William is left on the stage alone.
Sir Wil.

She "has a heart large enough to receive her enemy."—And by that enemy she means her father.

He sits down, and shews marks of inquietude.
Enter Sir George Evelyn.
Sir Geo.

I beg your pardon Mr. Mandred—I hope I don't interrupt you—I only wished to speak to Miss Dorrillon.

Sir Wil.

She is just gone into the next room.

Sir Geo.

To the concert?

Sir Wil.

Are not you invited?

Sir Geo.
[Page 18]

Yes; but before I go in, I wish to know who are the company—Can you tell whe­ther—a Mr. Bronzeley is there?

Sir Wil.

I know he is.

Sir Geo.

Are you acquainted with him?

Sir Wil.

I have met him here frequently.

Sir Geo.

And are you certain he is here at present?

Sir Wil.

I have reason to be certain.

Sir Geo.

Any particular reason?

Sir Wil.

Your mistress, when his name was an­nounced, went out to him, exclaiming, "he was the most charming and accomplished man in the world."

Sir Geo.
greatly agitated.

She loves him, Sir—I have reason to believe—to know she loves him. Thus she gives up my happiness and her own, to gratify the vanity of a man who has no real re­gard for her; but whose predominant passion is to enjoy the villainous name of a general seducer.

Sir Wil.
rising.

Why do you suffer it?

Sir Geo.

Hush! Don't repeat what I have said, or I lose her for ever. I am at present under her resentment; and have just sent into the next room, to ask, if she were there, to speak with her.

Enter Miss Dorrillon.
Miss Dor.

And is it possible I was sent for by you?

Sir Geo.

Don't be offended, that I should be un­easy, and come to atone—

Miss Dor.

I can't forgive you, Sir; 'tis impossi­ble.

Going.
Sir Geo.

You pardon those, Maria, who offend you more.

Sir Wil.

But an ungrateful mind always prefers the unworthy.

Miss Dor.

Ah! Mr. Mandred, are you there?

playfully

And have you undertaken to be sir George's counsel? If you have I believe he must lose his cause. To sit you for the tender task of ad­vocate in love,—have you ever been admitted an honourable member of that court! Have you, with all that solemn wisdom of which you are master, [Page 19] studied Ovid, as our great lawyers study Blackstone? If you have—shew cause—why plaintiff has a right to defendant's heart.

Sir Wil.

A man of fortune, of family, and of character, ought at least be treated with respect, and with honour.

Miss Dor.

You mean to say, ‘That if A is belov­ed by B, why should not A be constrained to re­turn B's love?’ Counsellor for defendant—‘Because, moreover, and besides B who has a claim on defendant's heart, there are also C, D, E, F, and G; all of whom put in their separate claims—and what in this case can poor A do? She is willing to part and divide her love, share and share alike; but B will have all or none: so poor A must remain A by herself A.

Sir Geo.

Do you think I would accept a share of your heart?

Miss Dor.

Do you think I could afford to give it you all? "Besides," says defendant's counsellor, ‘I will prove that plaintiff B has no heart to give defendant in return—he has, indeed a pulsation on the left side; but as it never beat with any thing but suspicion and jealousy; in the laws of love, it is not termed, admitted, or considered a heart.’

Going.
Sir Geo.

Where are you going?

Miss Dor.

To the music-room, to be sure: and if you follow me, it shall be to see me treat every person there better than yourself—and Mr. Bronzely, whom you hate, to see me treat him best of all.

Exit.
Sir Geo.

I must follow you though to death.

Exit.
Sir Wil.

Fool! And yet am I nearly as weak as he is? Else why do I linger in this house? Why feed my hopes with some propitious moment to wak­en her to repentance? Why still anxiously wish to ward off some dreaded fate?—If we would marry Sir George, now—if she would give me only one proof of discretion, I think I would endeavour to take her to my heart.

[Page 20] Enter Mr. Bronzely, in great haste.
Bron.

My dear Sir, will you do me the greatest fa­vour in the world?—you must do it in an instant too. Do, my dear Sir, ask no question; but lend me your coat for a single moment, and take mine—only for a moment—I cannot explain my reasons, now, my impatience is so great;—but, the instant you have complied, I will inform you of the whole secret; and you will for ever rejoice that you granted my request.

Pulling off his coat.
Sir Wil.
aside, with great scorn.

And this very contemptible fellow is the favoured lover of my daughter!—I'll—

after a struggle

—yes—I'll make myself master of his secret—it may possibly concern her—my child—my child's safety may depend upon it.

Bron.

Dear Mr. Mandred, no time is to be lost!

Sir Wil.

This is rather a strange request, Mr. Bronzely. However, your fervency convinces me you must have some very forcible reason.—There's my coat, Sir,

Gives it him.
Bron.

Thank you, dear Sir,—a thousand times.—This goodness I shall ever remember—this binds me to you for ever!—

putting it on.

Thank you, Sir, a thousand times!

Bowing dressed and compos­ed.
Sir Wil.
after putting on the other coat.

And now. Sir, explain the cause of this metamorphosis—let me have the satisfaction to know what advan­tage will accrue from it; and in what I have to re­joice.

Bron.

Will you promise me not to reveal the se­cret, if I trust you with it?

Sir Wil.

Would you add conditions after the bargain is made? I must know your secret instantly.

Threatening.
Bron.

Then I will disclose it to you voluntarily; and rely on your honour to keep it.

Sir Wil.
attentively.

Well, Sir.

Bron.

Hark! I thought I heard somebody coming!

Offers to go.
Sir Wil.
[Page 21]

I insist upon the information.

Laying hold of him
Bron.

Well, then Sir—well—you shall—you shall.—Then, Sir—in the small gallery, which separates the music-room from the rest of these apartments—in that little gallery, the lamp is just unfortunately, gone out.—I was (as unfor­tunately) coming along, when the whisking of a wo­man's gown made me give a sudden start!—I found a person was in the gallery with me, and in the dark.

Sir Wil.

Well, Sir!

Bron.

And so, confidently assuring myself, that it was Miss Dorrillon's waiting-maid, or Lady Mary's waiting-maid, I most unluckily clasped my arms around her, and took one kiss.

Sir Wil.

Only one?

Bron.

Th [...]re might be half a dozen! I w [...]n't [...] [...]end to swear [...] dozen, be­fore I knew who she was. My rapidity would not let her breathe at first, and she was fairly speechless.—But the moment she recovered her breath, she cry'd, "Villian! whoever you are, you shall repent this:"—I found it was the voice of a lady to whom I had just been introduced in the concert-room▪ one Lady Priory! It seems she [...] to bed at the tune we unhappily met.

Sir Wil.

But what has this to do with your coat?

Bron.

A great deal, Sir—you will find a great deal.—As I perceived she did not know me, I carefully held my tongue—but she with her pru­dish notions, called "Help, and murder!" On which I flew to the door, to get away before the lights could be brought—she slew after me: and, as I went out, exclaimed, ‘Don't hope to conceal your­self; I shall know you among the whole concert-room; for I carry scissors hanging at my side, and I have cut a piece off your coat.’

Sir William looks hastily at his coal—on which Bronzely holds up the part cut.

—And, sure enough, so she had!

Sir Wil.
in anger

And what, Sir, am I to have the disgrace——

Bron.
[Page 22]

Either you or I must.

Sir Wil.

And do you dare—

Bron.

Consider, my dear Sir, how much less the fault is, if perpetrated by you, than by me! This is the first offence of the kind which, I dare say, you have committed this many a year; and it will be overlooked in you. But I have been suspected of two or three things of the same sort within a very short time; and I should never be forgiven.

Sir Wil.

Nor ought you to be forgiven—It would be scandalous in me to connive—

Bron.

But would it not be more scandalous to re­veal the secret of a person who confided in you?—who flew to you in distress, as his friend, the part­ner of his cares?

Sir Wil.

Your impertinence to me, but more your offence to a woman of virtue, deserves punishment. Yet I think the punishment of death, in the way that a man of my Lord Priory's temper might inflict it, much too honourable for you deserts; so I save your life for some less creditable end. I lend you my coat, to disgrace you by existence; and will go to my chamber, and put on another myself.

Passes Bronzely, in order to retire to his chamber.
Enter Lord Priory, meeting him. Sir William starts.
Bron.
going up to Lord Priory.

Ah, my Lord! is the concert over? charming music! that solo was divine.

Sir William steals to a chair, and sits down to hide his coat.
Lord Priory
after looking inquisitively at Bronzely's dress.

It is time the concert should be over—it had been better it had never begun; for there have been very improper persons admitted.

In great an­ger.
Bron.
affecting surprise.

Indeed!

Lord Pri.
trembling with rage.

I am at a loss how to act.

Draws a chair with violence, and pla­ces himself down by Sir William—Sir William ap­pears disconcerted and uneasy.

But if I could find the man to whom this piece of cloth belongs—

Bron.
[Page 23]

What! this small piece of woollen cloth?

Lord Pri.

Yes, then I should know how to act. In the mean time, Mr. Mandred, as I know you are a great admirer of my wife

Sir William starts

, and a grave prudent man of honour, I come to ask your advice, how I am the most likely to find out the villain who has dared to insult her; for a gross insult she has received from one of Mr. Norberry's visitor's wearing a coat of which this is a part.

Bron.

The villain, no doubt, stole out of the house immediately.

Lord Pri.

I ordered the street door to be guarded that instant—and you Mr. Bronzely, are now the last man whose habit I have examined.

Bron.

And you see I am perfectly whole.

Turning round.
Lord Pri.

I do see—I do see.

Sir William moves about on his chair, and appears greatly embar­rassed. Lord Priory starts up in a violent passion—Sir William starts up with him.
Lord Pri.

I'll find him out if he is on earth—I'll find him out if—My passion carries me away—I have not coolness to detect him myself—I'll employ another—I'll send Oliver in search. Oliver!

calling

Oliver! here Oliver! Why don't you answer when you are called, you stupid, dull, idle, forgetful, blundering, obstinate, careless, self-sufficient.—

Exit in a fury.
Sir Wil.
rising with great dignity

And now, Mr. Bronzely, how do you think you are to repay me, for having felt one transitory moment of shame? Understand, Sir, that shame is one of the misfor­tunes to which I have never—

Enter Lady Mary.
Bron.
aside to Sir William.

Sit down, sit down, sit down—hold your tongue, and sit down.

Sir William reluctantly retires to his chair.
Lady M.

Well, I do most cordially rejoice, when peevish, suspicious, and censorious people, meet with humiliation! I could die with laughing at the [Page 24] incident which has put both my Lord and my Lady Priory in the greatest terror, grief, and rage.

Sir Wil.
rising.

I am out of all patience. The malicious depravity of persons in a certain sphere of life is not to be borne.

With firmness and solem­nity.

Lady Mary—Mr. Bronzely—

Bron.
in a half whisper to him.

Go away—don't expose yourself—steal out the room—take my advice, and go to-bed—hide yourself. So great is my respect for you, I would not have you detected for the world.

Sir Wil.

I am going to retire, Sir. I would not throw my friend's house into confusion and broils; therefore I am as well pleased not to be detected as you can be.

Goes to the door, then turns.

But before I quit the room, I am irresistibly impelled to say—Mr. Bronzely! Lady Mary! while you continue to ridicule all that is virtuous, estimable, dignified, your vices most assuredly will plunge you into that very disgrace—

Enter Oliver, and places the piece of cloth against Sir William's coat.
Oli.

'Tis as exact a match as ever was—it fits to a thread. Ha, ha, ha!—Ha, ha, ha!

Sir Wil.

Rascal!

Bron.

Did not I entreat you to go to bed?

Lady M.

Oh! this is the highest gratification I ever knew. My Lord! my Lord.

calling.
Bron.

Hush, hush?—hold, for heavens sake.

Oli.

But mercy and goodness defend us! who would have thought of this grave gentleman? Ha, ha, ha!—I can tell you what, Sir; my Lord will be in a terrible passion with you. This house won't hold you both; and I am sure I hate to make mischief.—Mum—I'll say nothing about it.

clapping Sir William on the shoulder

And so make yourself easy.

Bron.
on the other side of Sir William.

Yes, make yourself easy.

Oli.

A good servant should sometimes be a peace­maker—for my part, I have faults of my own, [Page 25] and so, I dare say, has that gentlewoman. But of ail the birds in the wood, how came you to make up to my Lady? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Bron.

No jests—no jests. Mr. Mandred is my friend—my very good friend—and he is not so much to blame as you think, for—Good night, my dear Sir. Heaven bless you. I thank you a thousand times. Good night.

Shaking hands with Sir William, and leading him towards the door.
Sir Wil.
with steady composure

Good night.—Good night, Lady Mary.

Exit.
Oli.

Why, he never so much as once said he was obliged to me.

Lady M.

I am sure, if you do not discover this to your master, I will.

Oli.

Oh! as that old gentleman had not manner to say "thank you for your kindness," I'll go tell my Lord directly.

Exit
Bron.
running after him

No, no, no—stop Oliver. He is gone!

Lady M.

What makes you thus anxious and con­cerned, Bronzely? Now, I wish I may suffer death, if, till I came into this room, I did not think you were the offender.

Bron.

I! I indeed!—No, if I could have been tempted to offend any woman in this house in a simi­lar manner, it could have been none but you.

Bowing.
Lady M.

No, Bronzely, no; I have been too par­tial to you, to have any remaining claims.—Hark! don't I hear Lord Priory's voice in a dread­ful rage?

Bron.

Then Oliver has accused him. What shall I do to prevent mischief? Dear Lady Mary, as it is not proper for me to stay here any longer uninvited, do you run and try to pacify my Lord Priory. Tell him Mandred does not sleep here to-night; and in the morning you are sure he will make an apology.

Lady M.

I will do as you desire—but I know Mr. Mandred so well, that I am sure he will not.

Exit.
Bron.
[Page 26]

Then I will for him. Early in the morn­ing, I'll wait on Lady Priory, and beg pardon in his name without his knowing it. Yes, I have got poor Mandred into a difficulty, and it is my duty to get him out of it. And then I shall not only serve him, but have one interview more with that heavenly wo­man.

Exit.

ACT III.

SCENE I. An Apartment at Mr. NORBERRY's.

Enter Mr. Bronzely followed by a Servant.
BRONZELY
Looking at his watch.

I AM early, I know: but Lady Priory is the only person I wish to see. Is my Lord with her?

Ser.

No, Sir, Lord Priory sat up very late, and is in bed yet.

Bron.

Acquaint Lady Priory, a person comes on urgent business, begs to speak with her. If she asks my name you know it.

Exit Servant.

Pray hea­ven she may bless me with her sight! Never was so enchanted by a woman in my life! and never was played such a trick in my life. I am half inflamed by love, and half by spite, once more to attempt her.

Enter Lady Priory—he bows most respectfully—she curtsies.
Bron.

Lady Priory, I am come—I am come up­on rather an aukward, yet a very serious business; it was my misfortune to be among that company yes­terday evening, where an unworthy member of it had the insolence to offer an affront to your resplend­ent virtue—

Lady Pri.
[Page 27]

——I have some household accounts to arrange, and breakfast to make for my Lord as soon as he leaves his chamber: therefore, if you please, Sir, proceed to the business on which you came, without thinking it necessary to interrupt it by any compliment to me.

Bron.

I will be concise, Madam.—In a word, I wait upon you from Mr. Mandred, with the most humble apology for his late conduct, which he acknow­ledges to have been indecorous and unwarrantable; but he trusts, that in consequence of the concession which I now make for him, the whole matter will, from this hour, be buried in oblivion.

Lady Pri.
going to the side of the scene, and speak­ing.

If my Lord is at leisure, tell him there is a gentleman would be glad to speak with him.—

to Bronzely

I am sorry, Sir, you should know so lit­tle of the rules of our family, as to suppose that I could give an answer upon any subject in which my husband condescends to be concerned.

Going.
Bron.

Lady Priory, stop. You can at least use your power to soften Lord Priory's resentment; and unless this apology is accepted, a challenge must fol­low, and possibly he may fall.

Lady Pri.

Possibly.

Sighing.
Bron.

You are interested for your husband's life?

Lady Pri.

Certainly. But I set equal value on his reputation.

Going.
Bron.

Hear me one sentence more.—I cannot part from her.

Aside.

Oh! I have something of such importance to communicate to you—and yet—I know not how!

Lady Pri.

Then tell it to my husband.

Bron.

Hem, hem.

Aside.

Oh! Lady Priory, if the insult of last night has given you offence, should you not wish to be informed of a plan laid for yet greater violence?

She starts.
Lady Pri.

Good heaven!

Bron.

This is neither time nor place to disclose what I wish to say—nor do I know how to find an opportunity to speak with you alone, free from the possibility of intrusion; where I could reveal a [Page 28] secret to you, which is connected with your happi­ness, with your future peace.

Lady Pri.

You alarm me beyond expression. I am going to my own house about twelve o'clock, for a couple of hours—follow me there.

Bron.

And I shall be admitted?

Lady Pri.

Certainly—for you have excited my curiosity, and I am all impatience to hear what you have to communicate that so much concerns me.

Bron.

Promise then, no person but yourself shall ever know of it.

She hesitates.

Unless you pro­mise this, I dare not trust you.

Lady Pri.
after a second hesitation.

I do promise, I promise faithfully.

Bron.

Your word is sacred, I rely.

Lady Pri.

Most sacred.

Bron.

And you promise that no one but yourself shall know of the appointment we have made now at your house, nor of the secret which I will then disclose to you.

Lady Pri.

I promise faithfully that no one but myself shall ever know of either.

Bron.

Remember then to be there alone, exactly—

Lady Pri.

At one o'clock.

Bron.

And that your servants have orders to shew me to you.

Lady Pri.

I am too much interested to forget one circumstance.

Bron.

Go now then to Lord Priory with Mr. Mandred's apology—and urge his acceptance of it, with all that persuasion by which you are formed to govern, while you appear to obey.

Lady Pri.

I will present the apology as I received it from you; but do not imagine I dare give my opi­nion upon it, unless I am desired.

Bron.

But if you are desired, you will then say—

Lady Pri.

Exactly what I think.

Exit.
Bron.

I'll do a meritorious act this very day. This poor woman lives in slavery with her husband. I'll give her an opportunity to run away from him. When we meet, I'll have a post-chaise waiting a few doors from her house; boldly tell her that I [Page 29] love her; and—

Enter Miss Dorrillon.

—My dear Miss Dorrillon, I could not sleep all night, but am come thus early on purpose to complain of your treatment of me during the whole of yesterday even­ing. Not one look did you glance towards me—and there I sat in miserable solitude up in one cor­ner, the whole time of the concert.

Miss Dor.

I protest I did not see you!—and, stran­ger still! never thought of you.

Bron.

You then like another better than you do me?

Miss Dor.

I do.

Bron.

Do you tell him so?

Miss Dor.

No.

Bron.

You tell him you like me the best.

Miss Dor.

Yes.

Bron.

Then I will believe what you say to him, not what you say to me—And though you charge me with inconstancy, yet I swear to you, my belov­ed Maria,

taking her hand

that no woman, no wo­man but yourself—

Enter Sir William, and starts at seeing his Daughter in such close conversation with Bronzely.
Sir Wil.
aside.

How familiar!—my eyes could not be shocked with a sight half so wounding to my heart as this!

Bron.
apart to Miss Dorrillon.

Hush! you have heard the story; but don't laugh at him now. He is in a devilish ill humour, and it will all fall on me. Go away.—It's a very good story, but laugh at him another time.

Miss Dor.

I don't believe a word of the story; yet, as a received opinion, it is a charming weapon for an enemy, and I long to use it.

Bron.

Not now, not now—because I have some business with him, and 'twill put him out of tem­per.

He hands her to the door.

Exit Miss Dor­rillon.
Sir Wil.
looking stedfastly after her.

Poor girl! poor girl! I am not yet sufficiently enraged against her, not to compassionate her for her choice!—Is [Page 30] this the man who is to be, for life, her companion, her protector?

Bron.

Well, Mr. Mandred, I believe I have set­tled it.

Sir Wil.

Settled what

anxiously.
Bron.

At least I have done all in my power to serve you: perhaps you don't know that Mr. Oliver divulged the whole affair. But I have waited on my Lady Priory, and I do believe I have settled it with her, to manage it so with my Lord, that every thing shall be hushed up. You may expect a few jests among your female acquaintance, and a few epigrams in the news-papers; but I verily believe every thing material is safe.—Is there any farther satisfaction which you demand from me?

Sir Wil.

Not at present—a man is easily satisfied who possesses both courage and strength to do him­self right, whenever he feels his wrongs oppressive. I have as yet found but little inconvenience from the liberties you have taken with me; and what, just at this time far more engages my attention than revenge, is, an application to you for intelligence. Without farther preface, do you pay your addresses to the young lady who lives in this house?

Bron.

Yes I do, Sir—I do.

Sir Wil.

You know, I suppose, which of the two ladies I mean?

Bron.

Which ever you mean, Sir, 'tis all the same, for I pay my addresses to them both.

Sir W.
starting.

To them both!

Bron.

I always do.

Sir Wil.

And pray, which of them do you love?

Bron.

Both, Sir——upon my word, both—I as­sure you, both.

Sir Wil.

But you don't intend to marry both?

Bron.

I don't intend to marry either: and indeed, the woman whom I love best in the world, has a husband already. Do you suppose I could confine my affections to Lady Mary or Miss Dorrillon, af­ter Lady Priory appeared? do you suppose I did not know who it was I met last night in the dark? wherever I visit, Mr. Mandred, I always make love [Page 31] to every woman in the house: and I assure you they all expect it—I assure you, Sir, they all expect it.

Sir William walks about in anger.
Bron.

Have you any further commands for me?

Sir Wil.

Yes, one word more.—And you really have no regard for this girl who parted from you as I came in?

Bron.

Oh yes, pardon me—I admire, I adore, I love her to distraction: and if I had not been so long acquainted with my Lady Mary, nor had seen my Lady Priory last night, I should certainly call Sir George Evelyn to an account for being so per­petually with her.

Sir Wil.
anxiously.

Do you think he loves her?

Bron.

Yes, I dare say, as well as I do.

Sir Wil.

Do you think she likes him?

Bron.

I think she likes me.

Sir Wil.

But, with your method of affection, she may like him too.

Bron.

She may, she may.—In short, there is no answering for what she likes—all whim and fligh­tiness—acquainted with every body—coquetting with every body—and in debt with every body. Her mind distracted between the claims of lovers, and the claims of creditors,—the anger of Mr. Norberry, and the want of intelligence from he father!

Sir Wil.

She is in a hopeful way.

Bron.

Oh, it would be impossible to think of marrying her in her present state—for my part, I can't—and I question whether Sir George would.—But if her father comes home, and gives her the fortune that was once expected, why then I may possibly marry her myself.

Sir Wil.
firmly.

She will never have any for­tune—I come from India lately, you know; and you may take my word her father is not coming over, nor will he ever come.

Bron.

Are you sure of that?

Sir Wil.

Very sure.

Bron.

Then keep it a secret—don't tell her so [Page 32] —poor thing! it would break her heart. She is doatingly fond of her father.

Sir Wil.

Hah! how!—oh no, she can have no remembrance of him.

Bron.

Not of his person, perhaps: but he has constantly corresponded with her; sent her presents, and affectionate letters—and you know a wo­man's heart is easily impressed.

Sir Wil.

I never heard her mention her father.

Bron.

Not to you—but to us who are kind to her, she talks of him continually. She cried bit­terly the other day when the last ship came in, and there was no account of him.

Sir Wil.

Did she? did she?

eagerly.

Aye, I suppose she is alarmed lest he should be dead, and all his fortune lost.

Bron.

No, I believe her affection for him is to­tally unconnected with any interested views. I have watched her upon that head, and I believe she loves her father sincerely.

Sir Wil.
wiping a tear from his eye.

I believe it does not matter whom she loves!

Bron.

By the bye, she hates you.

Sir Wil.

I thought so.

Bron.

Yes, you may be satisfied of that. Yes, she even quarrelled with me the other day for speak­ing in your favour: you had put her in a passion, and she said ‘no one that loved her, ought to have any respect for you.’

Sir Wil.

I am much obliged to her—very much obliged to her. Did she say nothing more?

Bron.

Only ‘that you were ill-natured, dogma­tic, cruel and insolent.’ Nothing more.—And say what she will against you, you know you can be even with her.

Sir Wil.

Yes, I can be even with her, and I will be even with her.

Enter Lord Priory, and takes Bronzely on one side
Lord Pri.

I have accepted this man's apology:—I will not call him to a serious account; but he shall not escape every kind of resentment.—I am re­solved [Page 33] to laugh at him; to turn the whole affair into mirth and good humour; at the same time to gall him to the heart. Good morning, Mr. Man­dred?—Let me go,

violently to Bronzely

I must joke with him.

Bron.

But neither your voice nor your looks agree with your words.

Lord Pri.

Mr. Mandred, I did intend to be angry—but it would give too respectable an air to a base act on—and so I am come to laugh at you.

Enter Lady Mary.

And I am sure Lady Mary, will join even me, in laughing at this man of gal­lantry.

Lady M,

Oh! I am absolutely afraid to come near the Tarquin!

Sir Wil.

You need not, Lady Mary; for there can be no Tarquin without a Lucretia.

Lord Pri.

However, Mr. Mandred, it is proper I should tell you, I accept the apology you have made: but at the same time—

Sir Wil.
hastily

What do you mean, my Lord? I have made no apology.

Bron.

Yes, yes, you have—I called and made one for you.

Sir Wil.

Made an apology for me! You have just gone one step too far then I insist—

Bron.
Drawing Sir William on one side.

I will—I will—I will set every thing to rights. It would be base in me if I did not; and I will.

Turns to Lord Priory and Lady Mary.

Yes, Mr. Mandred, I will retrieve your character at the ex­pence of my own. I am more able to contend with the frenzy of a jealous husband than you are.—

En­ter Miss Dorrillon and Sir George Evelyn.

—I am happy to see you—you are just come in time to hear me clear the grave, the respectable charac­ter of my friend Mr. Mandred, and to stigmatise my own.—My Lord, vent all your anger and your sa­tire upon me. It was I (pray believe me, I beg you will; don't doubt my word), it was I who com­mitted the offence of which my friend, the man I [Page 34] respect and reverence, stands accused—It was I who offended my Lady Priory, and then—

Lord Pri.

It can't be——I won't believe you.

Lady M.

But how generous and noble in him to take it upon himself!

Bron.
to Sir William.

There! what can I do more? You see they won't believe me;—Tell me what I can do more? Can I do any thing more?—My feelings are wounded on your account, more than on my own, and compel me, though reluctant­ly, to quit the room.

Exit.
Sir Geo.

I am at a loss which to admire most, the warmth of Mr. Bronzely's friendship, or the coldness of Mr. Mandred's gratitude!

Lady M.

Oh! if it were not for that happy stea­diness of feature, he could not preach rectitude of conduct as he does.

Lord Pri.
going up to Sir William.

Eloquent admonisher of youth!

Miss Dor.
going to him.

Indeed, my rigid mo­nitor, I cannot but express admiration, that, under those austere looks, and that sullen brow, there still should lurk—

Sir Wil.

Have a care—don't proceed—stop where you are—dare not you complete a sentence that is meant to mock me.—I have borne the im­pertinence of this whole company with patience, with contempt; but dare you to breathe an accent suspicious of my conduct, and I will instantly teach you how to respect me, and to shrink with horror from yourself.

She stands motionless in surprise.
Lord Pri.

What a passion he is in! Compose yourself, Mr. Mandred.

Miss Dor.

I protest, Mr. Mandred—

Sir Wil.
Raising his voice.

Dare not to address yourself to me.

Lady M.

Did you ever hear the like?—And I vow she looks awed by him!

Lord Pri.

How strange, that a man can't com­mand his temper!

Sir Geo.

Mr. Mandred, permit me to say, I have ever wished to treat you with respect—nor would [Page 35] I be rash in laying that wish aside.—Yet, I must now take upon me to assure you, that if you think to offend every lady in this house with impunity, you are mistaken.

Sir Wil.

Sir George, if you mean to frighten me by your threats, I laugh at you—but if your warmth is really kindled, and by an attachment to that unworthy object,

pointing to Miss Dorrillon

I only pity you.

Sir Geo.

Insufferable!—

going up to him.

—Instantly make an atonement for what you have said, or expect the consequence!

Sir Wil.

And pray, Sir George, what atonement does your justice demand?

Sir Geo.

Retract your words—Acknowledge you were grossly deceived, when you said Miss Dor­rillon was unworthy.

Sir Wil.

Retract my words!

Sir Geo.

Were they not unjust?—Is it a reproach, that, enveloped in the maze of fashionable life, she has yet preserved her virtue unsuspected? That, en­cumbered with the expences consequent to her con­nections, she has proudly disdained even from me the honourable offer of pecuniary aid? that her fond hope still fixes on the return of an absent pa­rent, whose blessing she impatiently expects? and that I should have watched her whole conduct with an eye of scrutinizing jealousy, and yet have only beheld that which makes me aspire, as the summit of earthly happiness to become her husband?

Sir Wil.

Young man, I admire your warmth

with great fervour and affection

There is much compassion, and benevolence, and charity, in some­times mistaking the vicious for the virtuous; and if in the heat of contention I have said a word reflect­ing on your character, I am ready to avow my error, and before this company to beg your pardon.

Sir Geo.

That is not enough, Sir—

taking Miss Dorrillon by the hand and leading her forward

—you must ask this lady's pardon.

Sir William starts and turns his face away, strongly impressed.
Sir Wil.
[Page 36]

Ask her pardon! Though I forgive some insults, I will not this.—Ask her pardon?—

Miss Dor.

Nay, nay, Sir George, you have no business with Mr. Mandred's quarrels and mine—Reserve your heroic courage for some nobler purpose than a poor woman's reputation.

Sir Geo.

Point out a nobler, and I'll give up this.

Lady M.

There is none so noble! And I wish, Sir George, you would undertake to vindicate mine.

Lord Pri.

Come, Lady Mary, let us retire, and leave these two irritable men to themselves.

Lady M.

Come Maria, let us leave them alone. He'll teach Mr. Mandred to be civil for the future.

Miss Dor.
in great agitation.

Dear madam, I would not leave them alone for the world!

Lady M.

Then, my Lord, you and I will; they have no offensive weapons; so we may venture to leave them.

Lord Pri.

This comes of being too warm in con­versation! This comes of being in a passion!

Exeunt Lord Priory and Lady Mary.
Sir Geo.

While there is a female present, I have only to say—good morning, Mr. Mandred.

Going.
Miss Dor.
catching hold of him.

For once I give up my pride to soften yours, Come do not look thus determined!—I am sure Mr. Mandred did not mean to offend me; the words he made use of fell from his lips by accident.

Sir Wil.

They did not—I meant them—I mean them still—and I repeat them.

Miss Dor.
to Sir William.

Now, how can you be so provoking?—Nay, hold, Sir George,

he offers to go

you shall not go away with that frown­ing brow.

She draws him gently towards Sir Wil­liam, then takes Sir William's hand.

Nor you, with yours.—Come, shake hands for my sake.—Now, as I live Sir George, Mr. Mandred's hand feels warmer and kinder than yours—he tries to draw it back, but he has not the heart.

Sir Wil­liam snatches it away as by compulsion.

—Thou art a strange personage!—thou wilt not suffer me ei­ther to praise or dispraise thee.—Come, Sir George, [Page 37] make up this difference—for if you were to fight and Mr. Mandred was to fall—

Sir Wil.

What then?

Miss Dor.

Why, "I could better spare a better man."

Sir Wil.

How!

Miss Dor.

I see you are both sullen, both obsti­nate, and I have but one resource.—Sir George, if you aspire to my hand, dare not to lift your's against Mr. Mandred. He and I profess to be ene­mies; but if I may judge of his feelings by my own, we have but passing enmities.—I bear him no malice, nor he me, I dare be sworn. Therefore, Sir, lift but your arm against him, or insult him with another word, and our intercourse is for ever at an end.

Exit.
Sir George and Sir William stand for some time silent.
Sir Geo.

Why is it in the power of one woman to make two men look ridiculously?

Sir Wil.

I am at a loss to know, Sir, whether you and I part friends or enemies.—However, call on me in the way you best like, and you will find me ready to meet you either as an enemy, or as a friend.

Exeunt separately.

ACT IV.

SCENE I. A Hall in Lord Priory's.

Two Servants discovered sitting—Another enters.
First SERVANT.

DO you hear, Mr. Porter, you are to admit no person but Mr. Bronzely.

2d. Ser.

Mr. Bronzely—very well—

a loud rapping

—and there I suppose he is.

1st. Ser.
[Page 38]
looking through the window.

Yes; that I believe is his carriage.—

To third Ser.

—Let my Lady know.

Exit third Sir.
Enter Bronzely.
Bron.

You are sure Lady Priory is at home?

1st. Ser.

Yes. Sir, and gave orders to admit nobody but you.

Bron.

Has she been some time at home?

1st. Ser.

Yes, Sir; I dare say my Lady came from Mr. Norberry's half an hour ago.

Bron.

Waiting for me half an hour—

aside

—Shew me to her instantly.

Exit, following the servant hastily.

SCENE II. An Apartment at Lord Priory's.

Enter Bronzely and Lady Priory on opposite sides.
Bron.

My dear Lady Priory, how kind you are not to have forgotten your promise.

Lady Pri.

How was it possible I should? I have been so anxious for the intelligence you have to communicate, that it was pain to wait till the time arrived.

Bron.

Thus invited, encouraged to speak, I will speak boldly—and I call heaven to witness, that what I am going to say——

Lady Pri.

No, stay a moment longer—don't tell me just yet—

listening towards the side of the scenes

—for I wish him to hear the very beginning?

Bron.

Who, hear the very beginning?

Enter Lord Priory—Bronzely starts.
Lord Pri.

I have not kept you waiting, I hope. My Lawyer stopt me on business, or I should have been here sooner.—My dear Mr. Bronzely—

go­ing up to him

—I thank you a thousand times for the interest you take in my concerns; and I come prepared with proper coolness and composure to hear the secret with which you are going to entrust us.

Bron.

The secret!—yes, Sir—The secret which I was going to disclose to my Lady Priory— [Page 39] Ha, Ha, ha!—But, my Lord, I am afraid it is of too frivolous a nature for your attention.

Lord Pri.

I account nothing frivolous which con­cerns my wife.

Bron.

Certainly, my Lord, certainly not.

Lord Pri.

Besides; she told me it was of the ut­most importance. Did not you?

angrily.
Lady Pri.

He said so.

Bron.

And so it was—it was of importance then—just at the very time I was speaking to Lady Priory on the subject.

Lady Pri.

You said so but this very moment.

Lord Pri.

Come, come, tell it immediately, what­ever it is. Come, let us hear it.—

after waiting some time

Why, Sir, you look as if you were ashamed of it! What can be the meaning of this?

Bron.

To be plain, my Lord, my secret will dis­close the folly of a person for whom I have a sincere regard.

Lord Pri.

No matter—let every fool look like a fool, and every villain be known for what he is—Tell your story.

Lady Pri.

How can you deprive me of the plea­sure you promised? You said it would prevent every future care.

Lord Pri.

Explain, Sir. I begin to feel myself not quite so composed as I expected. You never, perhaps, saw me in a passion—she has—and if you were once to see me really angry—

Bron.

Then, my Lord, I am apt to be passionate too—and I boldly tell you, that what I had to reveal, though perfectly proper, was meant for La­dy Priory alone to hear. I entreated your Ladyship not to mention to my Lord that I had any thing to communicate, and you gave me a solemn promise you would not.

Lady Pri.

Upon my honour, during our whole conversation upon that subject, you never named my Lord Priory's name.

Bron.

I charged you to keep what I had to tell you a profound secret.

Lady Pri.
[Page 40]

Yes; but I thought you understood could have no secrets from my husband.

Bron.

You promised no one should know it but yourself.

Lady Pri.

He is myself.

Lord Pri.

How, Mr. Bronzely, did you suppose she and I were two? Perhaps you did, and that we wanted a third. Well, I quite forgive you for your silly mistake, and laugh at you, ha, ha, ha! as I did at Mandred.—

seriously

—Did you suppose, Sir, we lived like persons of fashion of the modern time? Did you imagine that a woman of her cha­racter could have a wish, a desire, even a thought, a secret from her husband?

Bron.

It is amazing to find so much fidelity the reward of tyranny!

Lady Pri.

Sir—I speak with humility—I would not wish to give offence—

timidly

—But to the best of my observation and understanding, your sex, in respect to us, are all tyrants. I was born to be the slave of some of you—I make the choice to obey my husband.

Lord Pri.

Yes, Mr. Bronzely; and I believe it is more for her happiness to be my slave, than your friend—to live in fear of me, than in love with you—Lady Priory, leave the room.

Exit Lady Priory.
Lord Pri.

Do you see—Did you observe the glow of truth and candour which testifies that wo­man's faith? and do you not blush at having at­tempted it? Call me a tyrant! Where are the signs? Oh, if every married man would follow my system in the management of his wife, every impertinent lover would look just as foolish as you!

Bron.

This is all boasting, my Lord—you live in continual fear—for (without meaning any of­fence to Lady Priory's honour) you know you dare not trust her for one hour alone with any man under sixty.

Lord Pri.

I dare trust her at any time with a coxcomb

Bron.

That is declaring I am not one—for I am certain you dare not trust her alone with me.

Lord Pri.
[Page 41]
in a passion.

Yes, with fifty such.

Bron.

But not with one—you are right—it might be dangerous.

Lord Pri.
angrily.

No, it would not.

Bron.
significantly.

Yes, it would.

Lord Pri.

Have not you had a trial?

Bron.

But you were present. You constantly fol­low all her steps, watch all she says and does. But I believe you are right—wives are not to be trusted.

Lord Pri.

Mine is.

Bron.

No, my dear Lord Priory, you must first become gentle, before you can positively confide in her affection—before you can trust her in a house, or in any place, alone.

Lord Pri.
hastily.

To prove you are mistaken, I'll instantly go back to my friend Norberry's, and leave you here to tell her the secret you boasted. Pay your addresses to her, if that is the secret—You have my free consent.

Bron.

My dear friend, I'll accept it.

Lord Pri.

Ay, I see you have hopes of supplant­ing me, by calling me your friend.—But can you conceive now that she'll Men to you?

Bron.

You have given me leave to try, and can't recall it.

Lord Pri.

But depend upon it, you will meet with some terrible humiliation.

Bron.

Either you or I shall.

Lord Pri.

I shall laugh to hear you tumbled down stairs.

Bron.

You are not to remain on the watch here; you are to return to Mr. Norberry's.

Lord Pri.

Was that the bargain?

Bron.

Don't you remember? you said so.

Lord Pri.

Well, if that will give you any satis­faction—

Bron.

—It will give me great satisfaction.

Lord Pri.

Heaven forgive me, but your confidence makes me laugh. Ha, ha, ha!

Bron.

And yours makes me laugh. Ha, ha, ha!

[Page 42] Enter Oliver.
Lord Pri.

Hah! What brings you here, Oliver? Lady Priory and I are only come home for a few hours.

Oli.

I know it, my Lord. I thought nevertheless I might be wanted.

Bron.

And so you are, good Mr. Oliver. Your Lord desires you to conduct me to your Lady in the next room, and acquaint her it is with his permission I am come to conclude the conversation which was just now interrupted.—Is not that right, my Lord? Are not those words exactly corresponding with your kind promise?

Lord Pri.

I believe they are.

Oli.

I am "to take Mr. Bronzely to my la­dy, and tell her you sent him."

Exit Oliver.
Bron.

Now this is a perfect fashion: and while I step to Lady Priory, do you go and comfort my in­tended wife, Lady Mary.

Lord Pri.

I hate the fashion—and were I not sure you would now be received in a very unfashion­able manner—

Bron.

No rough dealings, I hope?

Lord Pri.

Oh, you begin to be afraid do you?

Bron.

No——but I have met with an accident or two lately—and I am not so well acquainted with ancient usages as to know in what manner a man of my pursuits would have been treated in former times.

Lord Pri.

A man of your pursuits, Mr. Bronzely, is of a very late date; and to be shamed out of them by a wife like mine.

Bron.

Then we shall all be three old-fashioned.

Exit, following Oliver,
Lord Pri.
returning and looking anxiously after Bronzely.

I am passionate—I am precipitate—I have no command over my temper.—However, if a man cannot govern himself, yet he will never make any very despicable figure, as long as he knows how to govern his wife.

Exit.

SCENE III. Sir William's Apartment at Mr. Norberry's.—Several trunks and travelling box­es.—Sir William discovered, packing writings into a port-folio.

Sir Wil.

And here is the end of my voyage to England!—a voyage, which, for years, my mind has dwelt on with delight!—I pictured to myself my daughter grown to womanhood, beautiful! and so she is.—Accomplished! and so she is.—Virtu­ous! and so she is.—Am I of a discontented na­ture then, that I am not satisfied?—Am I too nice?—Perhaps I am.—Soothing thought!—I will for a moment cherish it, and dwell with some little gratitude upon her late anxiety for my safety.

He walks about in a thoughtful musing man­ner.
A loud thrusting and rapping is heard at his cham­ber door.
Enter Miss Dorrillon hastily and in affright.
Miss Dor.

Oh Mr. Mandred, I beg your pardon—I did not know this was your apartment. But suffer me to lock the door:

she locks it

and conceal me for a moment, for heaven's sake.

Sir Wil.

What's the matter? Why have you locked my door?

Miss Dor.
trembling.

I dare not tell you.

Sir Wil.

I insist upon knowing.

Miss Dor.

Why then—I am pursued by a——I cannot name the horrid name—

Nab.
Without.

She went into this room.

Miss Dor.
to Sir William.

Go to the door, and say I did not.

Sir Wil.

How!

Nab.
without

Please to open the door.

Miss Dor.

Threaten to beat him if he won't go away.

Sir Wil.

Give me the key, and let me see from whom you want to hide.—

commandingly

—Give me the key.

Miss Dor.
[Page 44]
collecting firmness.

I will not.

Sir Wil.
starting.

"Will not"—"Will not," when I desire you!

Miss Dor.

No—since you refuse me protection, I'll protect myself.

Sir Wil.

But you had better not have made use of that expression to me—you had better not. Re­call it by giving me the key.

Miss Dor.

If I do, will you let me conceal myself behind that book-case, and say I am not here?

Sir Wil.

Utter a falsehood?

Miss Dor.

I would for you.

A hammering at the door.
Sir Wil.

They are breaking open the door.—Give me the key, I command you.

Miss Dor.

"Command me!" "command me!" However, there it is.

Gives it him.

And now, if you are a gentleman, give me up if you dare!

Sir Wil.

"If I am a gentleman!" Hem, hem—"if I am a gentleman!" "Dares" me too!

Going slowly towards the door.
Miss Dor.

Yes. I have now thrown myself upon your protection; and if you deliver me to my ene­mies—

Sir Wil.

What enemies? What business have you with enemies?

Miss Dor.

'Tis they have business with me.

Sir Wil.
to them without.

I am coming. The door shall be opened.

Miss Dor.
follows and lays hold of him.

Oh, for heaven's sake, have pity on me—they are merciless creditors—I shall be dragged to a prison. Do not deliver me up—I am unfortunate—I am overwhelmed with misfortune—have compassion on me!

She falls on her knees.
Sir Wil.
in great agitation.

Don't kneel to me!—I don't mean you to kneel to me!—What makes you think of kneeling to me? I must do my duty.

He unlocks the door.
Enter Nabson—Miss Dorrillon steal behind the book-case.
Sir Wil.

What did you want, Sir?

Nab.
[Page 45]

A lady, that I have just this minute made my prisoner; but she ran from me, and locked her­self in here.

Sir Wil.
with surprise

Arrested a lady!

Nab.

Yes, Sir; and if you mean to deny her be­ing here, I must make bold to search the room.

Sir Wil.

Let me look at your credentials.—

takes the writ.

—"Elizabeth Dorrillon for six hundred pounds." Pray, Sir, is it customary to have female names on pieces of paper of this denomination?

Nab.

Oh yes, Sir, very customary. There are as many ladies who will run into tradesmen's books, as there are gentlemen; and when one goes to take the ladies, they are a thousand times more slippery to catch than the men.

Sir Wil.

Abominable?—Well Sir, your present prisoner shall not slip through your hands, if I can prevent it. I scorn to defend a worthless woman, as much as I should glory in preserving a good one: and I give myself joy in being the instrument of your executing justice.—

He goes and leads Miss Dorrillon from the place where she was concealed—she casts down her head.

—What! do you droop? Do you trem­ble? You, who at the ball to-night would have danced lightly, though your poor creditor had been perishing with want! You, who never asked your­self if your extravagance might not send an indus­trious father of a family to prison, can you feel on the prospect of going thither yourself?

Miss Dor.

For what cause am I the object of your perpetual persecution?

Nab.

Lor! Madam, the gentleman means to bail you after all: I can see it by his looks.

Sir Wil.

How, rascal, dare you suppose, of ima­gine, or hint, such a thing?

going up to him in anger.
Miss Dor

That's right, beat him out of the house.

Sir Wil.

No, Madam, he shall not go out of the house without taking you along with him. Punish­ment may effect in your disposition what indulgence has no hope of producing.—There is your prison­er

handing her over to him

—and you may take my word, that she will not be released by me, or by any [Page 46] one: and it will be only adding to a debt she can never pay, to take her to any place previous to a prison.

with emotion of resentment, yet deep sorrow.
Nab.

Is that true, my Lady?

Miss Dor.
after a pause.

Very true, I have but one friend—but one relation in the world—and he is far away.

weeps.

Sir William wipes his eyes.
Nab.

More's the pity.

Sir Wil.

No, Sir, no—no pity at all—for if fewer fine ladies had friends, we should have fewer examples of profligacy.

She walks to the door, then turns to Sir William.
Miss Dor.

I forgive you.

Exit with Nabson.
Sir Wil.
looking after her.

And perhaps I could forgive you. But I must not. No, this is justice—this is doing my duty——this is strength of mind—this is fortitude—fortitude.

He walks proudly, then throws his head into his handkerchief, going off.
Enter Lady Mary—a man following.
Lady M.

Mr. Mandred, Mr. Mandred.

He turns.

Sir—Mr. Mandred—Sir,—

in a sup­plicating tone

I presume—I presume, Sir—

Sir Wil.

What, Madam? what?

Lady M.

I came, to request a favour of you.

Sir Wil.

So it should seem by that novel deport­ment.

Lady M.

If you would for once consider with le­nity, the frailty incidental to a woman who lives in the gay world—

Sir Wil.

Well, Madam!

Lady M.

—How much she is led away by the temptation of fine cloaths, fine coaches, and fine things.

Sir Wil.

Come, to the business.

Lady M.

You are rich we all know, though you endeavour to disguise the truth.

Sir Wil.

I can't stay to hear you, if you don't proceed.

Lady M.

My request is—save from the dreadful horrors of a jail, a woman who has no friend near her [Page 47] —a woman who may have inadvertently offended you, but who never—

Sir Wil.

'Tis in vain for you to plead on her ac­count—she knows my sentiments upon her conduct—she knows the opinion I have formed of her; and you cannot prevail on me to change it.

Lady M.

Do you suppose I come to plead for Miss Dorrillon?

Sir Wil.

Certainly.

Lady M.

No, I am pleading for myself. I am unfortunately involved in similar circumstances—I have a similar debt to the self-same tradesman, and we are both at present in the self-same predicament.

Sir Wil.

And upon what pretence did you suppose I would be indulgent to you, move than to her?

Lady M.

Because you have always treated me with less severity; and because I overheard you just now say, you ‘should glory in delivering from difficul­ty a good woman.’

Sir Wil.

And so I should.

Lady M.

How unlike the world!

Sir Wil.

No whatever the discontented may please to say, the world is affectionate, is generous, to the good; more especially to the good of the female sex; for it is only an exception to a general rule, when a good woman is in pecuniary distress.

Exit Sir William.
Enter Lord Priory humming a tune, but with a very serious face: he pulls out his watch with evident marks of anxiety—coughs—rubs his forehead—and gives various other marks of discontent and agitation.
Lady Mary observes him with attention, then sidles up to him.
Lady M.

By the good humour you appear in, my Lord, I venture to mention to you my distresses. I know the virtues of Lady Priory make my failings conspicuous; but then consider the different modes to which we have been habituated—she excluded from temptation—

Lord Pri.
[Page 48]

No—she shuns temptation. Has she not in this very house been compelled to make exer­tions? Has she not detected and exposed both Mr. Mandred and Mr. Bronzely?

Lady M.

Bronzely! Bronzely! How!

Aside.

Another rival?

Lord Pri.

She has not done with him yet, I be­lieve; for, to tell the truth, he is now with her at my house in Park-street. He taxed me with being jealous of my wife—to prove in what contempt I held the accusation, I left them together, and bid him make love to her.

Lady M.

Is that possible?

Lord Pri.

I can't say I would have done so rash an action, had I been married to some women—to you, for instance—but I have not a doubt of Lady Pri­ory's safety: her mind, I know, is secure; and I have servants in the house to protect her from per­sonal outrage. The only fear is, lest he should have received one; for it is now near two hours

looking at his watch.

since I came away, and I have neither seen nor heard any thing of either of them!—But to your Ladyship's concerns.

Lady M.

I am this instant, my Lord, in the pow­er of an implacable creditor; and without a friend who will give bond for a certain sum, I must—I blush to name it—be taken to a prison.

Lord Pri.

I am not at all surprised at the circum­stance, Madam; but it amazes me that you should apply to me for deliverance. You have a brother in town; why not send to him?

Lady M.

He was my friend the very last time a distress of this kind besell me.

weeps.
Lord Pri.

Ask Mr. Norberry.

Lady M.

He was my friend the time before.

Lord Pri.

Mr. Bronzely, then.

Lady M.

And Bronzely the time before that.

Enter Oliver.
Lord Pri.

Ah, Oliver! I am glad to see you, my good fellow. Hah! what have you done with Mr. Bronzely.

Oli.
[Page 49]

Nay, my Lord, that I can't tell. I can't tell what he has done with himself.

Lord Pri.

How long has he been gone from my house?

Oli.

He is not gone yet as I know of; for none of the servants let him out.

Lord Pri.

Not gone! and you can't tell where he is!

Oli.

No, that we can't: we have looked in every room for him, and can't find him any where.

Lord Pri.

Not find him!

recollecting himself.

Ho! ho! I thought how it would be—I thought he'd have some trick played him. Where's your Lady?

Oli.

That I can't tell neither. We have looked in every room, and can't find her.

Lord Pri.

How!

Oli.

'Tis as sure as I am alive. I and the butler, two footmen, and all the maids, have been looking in parlours, chambers and garrets, every crick and corner, and no where can we find either Mr. Bronze­ly or my Lady; but, wherever they are, there's no doubt but they are together. Ha, ha, ha, ha ha!

Lady M.

Ha, ha, ha! No doubt at all. Mr. Oliver.

Lord Pri.

Together! together! and not in my house! You tell a falsehood. I'll go myself and find them.

Oli.

You must look sharp, then.

Lord Pri.

How came you to miss them?

Oli.

I chanced to go into the next room, to see if there was a proper fire to get it well aired; I know I had taken Mr. Bronzely to my Lady in the inner room, and I had heard them both laughing not a quarter of an hour before; but now, all on a sud­den, there was neither laughing nor talking, nor any noise at all—every thing was so quiet, you might have heard a pin drop.

Lord Pri.
anxiously.

Well!

Oli.

And so I thought to myself, thought I, I'll sit down here; for my Lady will be ringing soon: however, there was no ringing for a whole half-hour, [Page 50] and so then I thought I would e'en rap at the door; but nobody called "Come in." So then I went in of my own accord; and there I found—

Lord Pri.

What?

Oli.

Nobody! not a soul to be seen!

Lord Pri.

Oh! she has been playing Bronzely some trick! She has been hiding him; and in some miserable place!

Oli.

But why need she hide herself along with him?

Enter Mr. Norberry.
Mr. Nor.

My dear friend, my dear Lord Priory, let me speak with you alone.—I come upon busi­ness that—

Lord Pri.

You look pale! What is your busi­ness? Tell it me at once.

Mr. Nor.

It is of so delicate a nature—

Lord Pri.

I know my wife is with Mr. Bronzely, I left them together. I know he is a licentious man; but I know she is an innocent woman.—Now, what have you to tell me?

Mr. Nor.

What I have just learned from one of your servants. About a quarter of an hour after you left them, they stole softly out at the back of your house, ran to a post-chaise and four that was in wait­ing, and drove off together full speed.

Lord Pri.

Gone! eloped! run away from me! left me! left the tenderest, kindest, and most indulgent husband, that ever woman had!

Lady M.

That we can all witness.

Lord Pri.

I was too fond of her—my affection ruined her—women are ungrateful—I did not exert a husband's authority—I was not strict enough—I humoured and spoiled her!—Bless me! what a thick mist is coming over my eyes!

Lady M.

No, my Lord, it is clearing away.

Lord Pri.

Lead me to my room.

He is led off by Mr Norberry, exhausted with grief and anger.
Oliver l [...]ks after Lord Priory, then takes out his handkerchief, and fellows him off, crying.
Lady M.

Ha, ha, ha! Oh, how I enjoy this dis­tress! Ha, ha, ha!

[Page 51] The officer who has attended her during the scene, and kept at the farther part of the stage, now comes forward, and bows to her. She starts on seeing him—takes out her handkerchief, and goes Crying off at the opposite side.

ACT V.

SCENE I. An Apartment at Mr. Bronzely's.

Enter Housekeeper and Footman.
Housekeeper.

DINNER enough for twelve, and only two to sit down to it! Come home without one preparation—not a bed aired or the furniture uncovered.

Foot.

This is not the first time he has done so.

House.

No: but 'tis always thus when a woman's in the case. Well, I do say that my own sex are—

Foot.

Hush! here they are. Run away.

Exeunt.
Enter Lady Priory and Mr. Bronzely.
Lady Pri.

Only twelve miles from London?

Bron.

No more, be assured.

Lady Pri.

And you avow that I did not come hi­ther by the commands of my husband, but was deceived into that belief by you.

Bron.

Still it was by his commands your servant introduced me to you; and, upon an errand, which I feared to deliver till I arrived at a house of my own.

Lady Pri.

What is the errand?

Bron.

To tell you that—I love you.

Lady Pri.

Do you assert, Lord Priory sent you to me for this?

Bron.

I assert, that, in triumph at your betraying to him our private appointment, he gave me leave to have a second trial. If, then, you have ever har­boured one wish to revenge, and forsake a churlish ungrateful partner, never return to him more—but remain with me.

Lady Pri.
[Page 52]

And what shall I have gained by the exchange, when you become churlish, when you be­come ungrateful? My children's shame! the world's contempt! and yours!

Smiling

Come, come; you are but jesting, Mr. Bronzely! You would not affront my little share of common sense by making the serious offer of so bad a bargain▪ Come, own the jest, and take me home immediately.

Bron.

Is it impossible for me to excite your ten­derness?

Lady Pri.

Utterly impossible.

Bron.

I will then rouse your terror.

Lady Pri.

Even that I defy.

Bron.

Lady Priory, you are in a lonely house of mine, where I am sole master, and all the servants slaves to my will.

Lady Priory calmly takes out her knitting, draws a chair, and sits down to knit a pair of stockings.
Bron.
aside.

This composure is worse than re­proach—a woman who meant to yield would be outrageous.—

Goes to speak to her, then turns away

—By heaven she looks so respectable in that em­ployment, I am afraid to insult her.

After a strug­gle with himself

Ah! don't you fear me?

Lady Pri.

No—for your fears will protect me—I have no occasion for my own.

Bron.

What have I to fear?

Lady Pri.

You fear to lounge no more at routs, at balls, at operas, in Bond-street; no more to dance in circles, chat in side boxes, or roar at taverns: for you have observed enough upon the events of life to know—that an atrocious offence like violence to a woman, never escapes condign punishment.

Bron.

Oh! for once, let your mind be feminine as your person—hear the vows——

he seizes her hand—she rises——he starts back.
Lady Pri.

Ah! did not I tell you, you were afraid? 'Tis you who are afraid of me.

He looks abashed.

Come, you are ashamed, too—I see you are, and I pardon you.—In requital, suffer me to return home immediately.

He shakes his head.

—How! are not you ashamed of yourself?

Bron.
[Page 53]

I was not this moment—But now you mention it, I think I am.

Lady Pri.

Repent your folly then, and take me home.

hastily.
Bron.

Can you wish to go back to the man who has made this trial of your fidelity, and not resent his conduct?

Lady Pri.

Most assuredly I wish to return. But if you deliver me safe, perfectly safe from farther insult, it will be impossible for me not to shew re­sentment to Lord Priory.

Bron.

Why only in that case?

Lady Pri.

Because only in that case, you will make an impression on my heart—and I will resent his having exposed me to such a temptation.

Bron.

Oh! Ill take you home directly——this moment.—I make an impression on your heart. William!—

calling

—I'll take you home di­rectly. Here, John, Thomas, William—

cal­ling.

But, upon my life, it will be a hard task—I cannot do it—I am afraid—I cannot—Be­sides what are we to say when we go back?—No matter what, so you will but think kindly of me.

En­ter Servant.

—Order the horses to be put to the chaise; I am going back to London immediately. Quick! quick! Bid the man not be a moment, for fear I should change my mind.

Ser.

The chaise is ready now, Sir; for the post-boy was going back without unharnessing his horses.

Bron.

Then tell him he must perform his journey in half an hour—If he is a moment longer, my resolution will stop on the road.

Exit Ser­vant.

I feel my good designs stealing away already—now they are flying rapidly.

Take Lady Prio­ry's hand

—Please to look another way—I shall certainly recant if I see you.

Going.

—And now should I have the resolution to take you straight to your husband, you will have made a more contempt­rible figure of me by this last trick, than by any one you have played me.

Exeunt.
Bron.
without

Tell the post-boy he need not wait—I have changed my mind—I sha'n't go to London to-night.

SCENE II. A Room in a Prison.

Enter Miss Dorrillon and Mr. Norberry.
Mr. Nor.

You ought to have known it was in vain to send for me. Have not I repeatedly declared, that, till I heard from your father, you should re­ceive nothing more from me than a bare subsistence? I promise to allow you thus much, even in this mi­serable place: but do not indulge a hope that I can release you from it.

She weeps—he goes to the door—then returns.

I forgot to mention, that Mr. Man­dred goes on board to-morrow for India; and, little as you may think of his sensibility, he seems con­cerned at the thought of quitting England without just bidding you farewell. He came with me hither,—shall I send him up?

Miss Dor.

Oh! no: for heaven's sake! Deliver me from his asperity, as you would save me from distraction.

Mr. Nor.

Nay, 'tis for the last time—you had better see him. You may be sorry, perhaps, you did not, when he is gone.

Miss Dor.

No, no: I shan't be sorry.—Go, and excuse me—Go, and prevent his coming. I cannot see him.

Exit Mr. Norberry

This would be aggravation of punishment, to shut me in a prison, and yet not shelter me from the insults of the world!

Enter Sir William.—
She starts.
Sir Wil.

—I know you have desired not to be troubled with my visit; and I come with all humi­lity—I do not come, be assured, to reproach you.

Miss Dor.

Unexpected mercy!

Sir Wil.

No; though I have watched your course with anger, yet I do not behold its end with triumph.

Miss Dor.

It is not to your honour, that you think it necessary to give this statement of your mind.

Sir Wil.

May be—but I never boasted of per­fection, though I can boast of grief that I am so far beneath it. I can boast too, that though I fre­quently give offence to others, I could never part [Page 55] with any one for ever (as I now shall with you,) without endeavouring to make some atonement.

Miss Dor.

You acknowledge, then, your cruelty to me?

Sir Wil.

I acknowledge I have taken upon me to advise, beyond the liberty allowed by custom to one who has no apparent interest or authority.—But, not to repeat what has passed, I come, with the ap­probation of your friend Mr. Norberry, to make a proposal to you for the future.

he draws chairs, and they sit.
Miss Dor.

What proposal?—What is it?

eagerly.
Sir Wil.

Mr. Norberry will not give either his money or his word to release you—But as I am rich—have lost my only child—and wish to do some good with my fortune, I will instantly lay down the money of which you are in want, upon certain con­ditions.

Miss Dor.

Do I hear right? Is it possible I can find a friend in you?—a friend to relieve me from the depth of misery! Oh Mr. Mandred!

Sir Wil.

Before you return thanks, hear the con­ditions on which I make the offer.

Miss Dor.

Any conditions—What you please!

Sir Wil.

You must promise, never, never to re­turn to your former follies and extravagancies.

She looks down.

Do you hesitate? Do you refuse?—Won't you promise?

Miss Dor.

I would, willingly—but for one rea­son.

Sir Wil.

And what is that?

Miss Dor.

The fear, I should not keep my word.

Sir Wil.

You will, if your fear be real.

Miss Dor.

It is real—It is even so great, that I have no hope.

Sir Wil.

You refuse my offer then, and dismiss me?

Rises.
Miss. Dor.
rising also.

With much reluctance.—But I cannot, indeed I cannot make a promise, unless I were to feel my heart wholly subdued; and my mind entirely convinced that I should never break it.—Sir, I am most sincerely obliged to you for the [Page 56] good which I am sure you designed me; but do not tempt me with the proposal again—do not place me in a situation, that might add to all my other af­flictions, the remorse of having deceived you.

Sir Wil.
after a pause.

Well, I will dispense with this condition—but there is another I must sub­stitute in its stead.—Resolve to pass the remainder of your life, some few ensuing years at least, in the country.

She starts.

Do you start at that?

Miss Dor.

I do not love the country. I am always miserable while I am from London. Besides, there are no follies or extravagancies in the country.—Dear Sir, this is giving me up the first condition, and then forcing me to keep it.

Sir Wil.

There, Madam,

taking out his pocket­book

I scorn to hold out hopes, and then destroy them. There is a thousand pounds free of all con­ditions

she takes it

—extricate yourself from this situation, and be your own mistress to return to it when you please.

Going.
Miss Dor.

Oh, my benefactor, bid me farewell at parting—do not leave me in anger.

Sir Wil.

How! will you dictate terms to me, while you reject all mine?

Miss Dor.

Then only suffer me to express my gra­titude—

Sir Wil.

I will not heat you.

going.
Miss Dor.

Then hear me on another subject: a subject of much importance—indeed it is.

Sir Wil.

Well!

Miss Dor.

You are going to India immediately—It is possible that there, or at some place you will stop at on your way, you may meet with my fa­ther.

Sir Wil.

Well!

Miss Dor.

You have heard that I have expected him home for some time past, and that I still live in hopes—

Sir Wil.

Well!—

anxiously.
Miss Dor.

If you should see him, and should be in his company—don't mention me.

Sir Wil.

Not mention you?

Miss Dor.
[Page 57]

At least, not my indiscretions—Oh! I should die, if I thought he would ever know of them.

Sir Wil.

Do you think he would not discover them himself, should he ever see you?

Miss Dor.

But he would not discover them all at once—I should be on my guard when he first came—My ill habits would steal on him progressively, and not be half so shocking, as if you were to voci­ferate them all in a breath.

Sir Wil.

To put you out of apprehension at once—your father is not coming home—nor will he ever return to his own country.

Miss Dor.
starting.

You seem to speak from certain knowledge—Oh! heavens! is he not living?

Sir Wil.

Yes, living—but under severe afflicti­on—fortune has changed, and all his hopes are blasted.

Sir Wil.

"Fortune changed!"—In poverty?—my father in poverty?—

weeping.

—Oh, Sir, excuse, what may perhaps appear an ill com­pliment to your bounty; but to me, the greatest re­verence I can pay to it.—You are going to that part of the world where he is; take this precious gift back, search out my father, and let him be the object of your beneficence.—

Forces it into his hand.

—I shall be happy in this prison, indeed I shall, so I can but give a momentary relief to my dear, dear father.—

Sir William takes out his handkerchief.

—You weep!—This present, per­haps, would be but poor alleviation of his sufferings—perhaps he is in sickness; or a prisoner! Oh! if he is, release me instantly, and take me with you to the place of his confinement.

Sir Wil.

What! quit the joys of London?

Miss Dor.

On such an errand, I would quit them all without a sigh—And here I make a solemn promise to you—

kneeling.
Sir Wil.

Hold, you may wish to break it.

Miss Dor.

Never—exact what vow you will on this occasion, I will make, and keep it.—

Enter Mr. Norberry.—She rises.

—Oh! Mr. Nor­berry, [Page 58] he has been telling me such things of my fa­ther—

Mr. Nor.

Has he? Then kneel again—call him by that name—and implore him not to disown you for his child.

Miss Dor.

Good heaven!—I dare not—I dare not do as you require.

She faints on Norberry.
Sir Wil.
going to her.

My daughter! my child!

Mr. Nor.

At those names she revives.—

She raises her head, in great agitation.

—Come, let us quit this wretched place—she will be better then. My carriage is at the door. You will follow us.

Exeunt leading off Miss Dorrillon.
Sir Wil.

Follow you!—Yes, and I perceive that, in spite of philosophy, justice or resolution, I could follow you all the world over.

Exit.

SCENE III. Another Room in the Prison.

Lady Mary discovered sitting in a dejected posture, at a miserable table.
Lady M,

Provoking! not an answer to one of my pathetic letters!—nor a creature to come and con­dole with me!—Oh that I could but regain my li­berty before my disgrace is announced in the public prints—I could then boldly contradict every para­graph that asserted it—by ‘We have authority to say, no such event took place.’

Enter a Man belonging to the prison.
Man.

One Sir George Evelyn is here, Madam; he will not name your name, because it sha'n't be made public; but he desires you will permit him to come and speak a few words to you, provided you are the young lady from Grosvenor-street, with whom he has the pleasure of being acquainted.

Lady M.

Yes, yes, I am the young lady from Gros­venor-street—my compliments to Sir George, I am that lady; intimately acquainted with him; and entreat he will walk up.

Exit the man.

This is a most fortunate incident in my tragedy! Sir George no doubt takes me for Miss Dorrillon; yet I am sure [Page 59] he is too much the man of gallantry and good breed­ing to leave me in this place, although he visits me by mistake.

Sir George Evelyn
speaking as he enters.
Sir Geo.

Madam, you are free—the doors of the prison are open—my word is passed for the—

He stops in surprise.
Lady M.
curtsying.

Sir George, I am under the most infinite obligation! Words are too poor to convey the sense I have of this act of friendship—but I trust my gratitude will for ever—

Sir Geo.
confused.

Madam—really—I ought to apologise for the liberty I have taken.

Lady M.

No liberty at all, Sir George—at least no apology is necessary—I insist on hearing no ex­cuses. A virtuous action requires no preface, no prologue, no ceremony—and surely, if one action be more noble and generous than another, it must be that one, where an act of benevolence is conferred, and the object, an object of total indifference to the liberal benefactor.—Generous man, good evening. Call me a coach.

going.
Sir Geo.

Stay, Madam—I beg leave to say—

Lady M.

—Not a word—I won't hear a word—my thanks shall drown whatever you have to say.

Enter the former Man.
Sir Geo.

Pray, Sir, did not you tell me, you had a very young lady under your care?

Man.

Yes, Sir, so I had—but she, it seems, has just been released,, and is gone away with the gen­tleman who paid the debt.

Lady M.

Do you mean Miss Dorrillon?

Man.

I mean the other lady from Grosvenor street.

Sir Geo.

Who can have released her?

Lady M.

Some friend of mine, I dare say, by mistake—Well, if it is so, she is extremely welcome to the good fortune which was designed for me. For my part, I could not submit to an obligation from every one—scarcely from any one—and from no one with so little regret as I submit to it from Sir George Evelyn.

Exit, curtsying.
Sir Geo.
[Page 60]

Distraction! the first disappointment is nothing to this second! to the reflection that Miss Dorrillon has been set at liberty by any man on earth except myself.

Exit.

SCENE IV. An Apartment at Mr. Norberry's.

Enter Lord Priory.
Lord Pri.

What a situation is mine! I cannot bear solitude, and am ashamed to see company! I cannot bear to think on the ungrateful woman, and yet I can think of nothing else! It was her conduct which I imagined had alone charmed me; but I per­ceive her power over my heart, though that conduct is changed!

Enter Mr. Norberry, Sir William, and Miss Dor­rillon.
Mr. Nor.

My dear Lord Priory, exert your spi­rits to receive and congratulate a friend of mine. Sir William Dorrillon

presenting him

father to this young woman, whose failings he has endeavoured to correct under the borrowed name of Mandred.

Sir Wil.

And with that fictitious name, I hope to disemburthen myself of the imputation of having ever offered an affront to my Lord Priory.

He takes Lord Priory aside, and they talk together.
Enter Sir George Evelyn.
Sir Geo.

Is it possible what I have heard is true? was it Mr. Mandred who has restored Miss Dorril­lon to the protection of Mr. Norberry?

Sir Wil.
coming forward.

No, Sir George, I have now taken her under my own protection.

Sir Geo.

By what title, Sir?

Sir Wil.

A very tender one—don't be alarmed—I am her father.

Sir Geo.

Sir William Dorrillon?

They talk apart.
Enter Lady Mary.
Lady M.

Has there been any intelligence of my Lady Priory yet?

sees Miss Dorrillon.

My dear [Page 61] Dorrillon, a lover of yours has done the civilest thing by me!—As I live, here he is. How do you do, Sir George? I suppose you have all heard the news of Bronzely running away with—

Miss Dor.

Hush!—Lord Priory is here.

Lady M.

Oh, he knows it—and it is not im­proper to remind him of it—it will teach him hu­mility.

Lord Pri.

I am humble, Lady Mary, and own I have had a better opinion of your sex than I ought to have had.

Lady M.

You mean, of your management of us; of your instructions, restrictions, and corrections.

Enter Servant.
Ser.

Lady Priory and Mr. Bronzely.

Lady M.

What of them?

Ser.

They are here.

Lord Pri.

I said she'd preserve her fidelity! Did not I always say so? Have I wavered once? Did I not always tell you all that she was only making game of Bronzely? Did I not tell you all so?

Enter Bronzely and Lady Priory.
Bron.

Then, indeed, my Lord, you said truly; for I return the arrantest blockhead—

Lord Pri.

I always said you would! But how is it? Where have you been? What occasion for a post-chaise? Instantly explain, or I shall forfeit that dignity of a husband to which, in those degenerate times, I have almost an exclusive right.

Bron.

To reinstate you, my Lord, in those ho­nours, I accompany Lady Priory; and beg public pardon for the opinion I once publicly professed, of your want of influence over her affections.

Lord Pri.

Do you hear? Do you all hear? Lady Mary, do you hear?

Bron.

Taking advantage of your permission to call on her, by stratagem I induced her to quit your house, lest restraint might there act as my enemy.—But your authority, your prerogative, your honour [Page 62] attached to her under my roof. She has held those rights sacred, and compelled even me to revere them.

Lord Pri.

Do you all hear? I was sure it would turn out so!

Lady M.

This is the first time I ever knew the gallant's word taken for a woman's honour.

Lord Pri.

I will take her own word—the tongue which for eleven years has never in the slightest in­stance deceived me, I will believe upon all occasions. My dear wife, boldly pronounce before this company that you return to me with the same affection and respect, and the self-same contempt for this man—

to Bronzely

—you ever had.

A short pause.
Lady M.

She makes no answer.

Lord Pri.

Hush! Hush! She is going to speak.—

Another pause.

—Why, why don't you speak?

Lady Pri.

Because I am at a loss what to say.

Lady M.

Hear, hear, hear—do you all hear?

Lord Pri.

Can you be at a loss to declare you hate Mr. Bronzely?

Lady Pri.

I do not hate him.

Lady M.

I was sure it would turn out so.

Lord Pri.

Can you be at a loss to say you love me?

She appears embarrassed.
Lady M.

She is at at a loss.

Lord Pri.

How! Don't you fear me?

Lady Pri.

Yes.

Lady M.

She speaks plainly to that question.

Lord Pri.

You know I love truth—speak plainly to all their curiosity requires.

Lady Pri.

Since you command it then, my Lord—I confess that Mr, Bronzely's conduct towards me has caused a kind of sentiment in my heart——

Lord Pri.

Hah! What!

Lady M.

You must believe her—"she has told you truth for eleven years."

Lady Pri.

A sensation which—

Lord Pri.

Stop—any truth but this I could have borne.—Reflect on what you are saying—Consider what you are doing—Are these your primitive manners?

Lady Pri.
[Page 63]

I should have continued those manners, had I known none but primitive men. But to pre­serve ancient austerity, while by my husband's consent, I am assailed by modern gallantry, would be the task of a Stoic, and not of his female slave.

Lady M.

Do you hear? Do you all hear? My Lord, do you hear?

Lord Pri.

I do—I do—and though the sound distracts me, I cannot doubt her word.

Lady Pri.

It gives me excessive joy to hear you say so, because you will not then doubt me when I add that gratitude, for his restoring me so soon to you, is the only sentiment he has inspired.

Lord Pri.

Then my management of a wise is right after all!

Mr. Nor.

Mr. Bronzely, as your present behavi­our has in great measure atoned for your former ac­tions, I will introduce to your acquaintance my friend Sir William Dorrillon.

Bron.

Mandred, Sir William Dorrillon!

Sir Wil.

And considering, Sir, that upon one or two occasions I have been honoured with your confi­dence—you will not be surprised, if the first com­mand I lay upon my daughter, is—to take refuge from your pursuits, in the protection of Sir George Evelyn.

Sir Geo.

And may I hope, Maria?

Miss Dor.

No—I will instantly put an end to all your hopes.

Sir Geo.

How!

Sir Wil.

By raising you to the summit of your wishes, Alarmed at my severity, she has owned her readiness to become the subject of a milder govern­ment.

Sir Geo.

She shall never repine at the election she has made.

Lord Pri.

But, Sir George, if you are a prudent man, you will fix your eyes on my little domestic state, and guard against a rebellion.

Lady Pri.

Not the rigour of its laws has ever in­duced me to wish them abolished.

Bron.
[Page 64]
to Lady Pri.

Dear Lady, you have made me think with reverence on the matrimonial compact—and I demand of you, Lady Mary—if, in con­sequence of former overtures, I should establish a le­gal authority over you, and become your chief ma­gistrate—would you submit to the same controul to which Lady Priory submits.

Lady M.

Any controul, rather than have no chief magistrate at all.

Sir Geo.
to Miss Dor.

And what do you say to this?

Miss Dor.

Simply one sentence—A maid of the present day shall become a wife like those—of for­mer times.

The scene closes—She comes forward.

ADDRESS,

WELL, female critics, what's the sentence, say—
Can you with kindness treat this saucy play,
That gives to ancient dames the wreath of praise
And boldly censures those of modern days?
Bring up good husbands first, and, on my life,
For every one we'll shew as good a wife.
Whate'er the errors in the nuptial state,
Man sets th' example to his passive mate;
While all the virtues the proud sex can claim
From female influence caught the gen'rous flame.
Nay, though our gallant rulers of the main
With force resistless crush the pride of Spain
'Tis Woman triumphs—that inspiring charm
With tenfold vigour nerves the hero's arm:
For King and Country though they nobly bleed,
The smile of Beauty is their dearest meed,
And valiant tars should still be Beauty's care

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