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THE GOOD-NATURED MAN.
SCENE—An Apartment in Young HONEYWOOD's House.
Enter Sir WILLIAM HONEYWOOD, JARVIS. Sir WM. Good Jarvis, make no apologies for this honest bluntness. Fidelity, like yours, is the best excuse for every freedom.
Jarv. I can't help being blunt, and being very angry too, when I hear you talk of disinheriting so good, so worthy a young gentleman as your nephew, my master. All the world loves him.
Sir WM. Say rather, that he loves all the world; that is his fault.
Jarv. I am sure there is no part of it more dear to him than you are, though he has not seen you since he was a child.
Sir WM. What signifies his affection to me; or how can I be proud of a place in a heart, where every sharper and coxcomb find an easy entrance ?
JARV. I grant you that he is rather too good-natured ; that he's too much every man's man; that he laughs this minute with one, and cries the next with another : but whose instructions may he thank for all this?
Sir WM. Not mine, sure? My letters to him during my employment in Italy, taught him only that philosophy which might prevent, not defend his errors.
Jarv. Faith, begging your honor's pardon, I'm sorry they taught him any philosophy at all; it has only served to spoil him. This same philosophy is a good horse in the stable, but an arrant jade on a journey. For my own part, whenever I hear him mention the name on't, I'm always sure he's going to play the fool.
Sir WM. Don't let us ascribe his faults to his philosophy, I entreat you. No, Jarvis, his good-nature arises rather from his fears of offending the importunate, than his desire of making the deserving happy
Jarv. What it arises from, I don't know. But to be sure, every body has it, that asks it.
Sir WM. Ay, or that does not ask it. I have been now for some time a concealed spectator of his follies, and find them as boundless as his dissipation.
Jarv. And yet, faith, he has some fine name or other for them all. He calls his extravagance, generosity; and his trusting every body, universal benevolence. It was but last week he went security for a fellow whose face he scarce knew, and that he called an act of exalted mu-mu-munificence; ay, that was the name he gave it.
Sir Wm. And upon that I proceed, as my last effort, though with very little hopes to reclaim him. That very fellow has just absconded, and I have taken up the security. Now, my intention is to involve him in fictitious distress, before he has plunged himself into real calamity: to arrest him for that very debt; to clap an officer upon him, and then let him see which of his friends will come to his relief.
Jarv. Well, if I could but any way see him thoroughly
vexed, every groan of his would be music to me; yet faith, I believe it impossible. I have tried to fret him myself every morning these three years; but instead of being angry, he sits as calmly to hear me scold, as he does to his hair-dresser.
Sir Wm. We must try him once more, however, and I'll go this instant to put my scheme into execution : and I don't despair of succeeding, as, by your means, I can have frequent opportunities of being about him without being known. What a pity it is, Jarvis, that any man's good will to others should produce so much neglect of himself, as to require correction! Yet we must touch his weaknesses with a delicate hand. There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence, that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue. [Excit.
Jarv. Well, go thy ways, Sir William Honeywood. It is not without reason, that the world allows thee to be the best of men. But here comes his hopeful nephew; the strange goodnatured, foolish, open-hearted—And yet, all his faults are such that one loves him still the better for them.
Enter HONEYWOOD. HONEY. Well, Jarvis, what messages from my friends this morning?
Jarv. You have no friends.
Jarv. (Pulling out bills.) A few of our usual cards of compliment, that's all. This bill from your tailor; this from your mercer; and this from the little broker in Crooked-lane. He
says he has been at a great deal of trouble to get back the money you borrowed.
HONEY. That I don't know; but am sure we were at a great deal of trouble in getting him to lend it.
Jarv. He has lost all patience.