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Leon. Hear you, Sir! to what purpose? I now see through all your low arts; your ever complying with every opinion; your never refusing any request: your friendship 's as common as a prostitute's favours, and as fallacious; all these, Sir, have long been contemptible to the world, and are now perfectly so to me. Honey. Ha! contemptible to the world! that reaches me.
[Aside. Leon. All the seeming sincerity of your professions, I now find, were only allurements to betray; and all your seeming regret for their consequences, only calculated to cover the cowardice of your heart. Draw, villain!
Enter CROAKER, out of breath. Cro. Where is the villain ? Where is the incendiary? (Seizing the Postboy.) Hold him fast, the dog: he has the gallows in his face. Come, you dog, confess; confess all, and hang yourself
Post. Zounds! master, what do you throttle me for?
Post. Zounds, master, I'm not he; there's the man that we thought was the rogue, and turns out to be one of the company.
Honey. Mr. Croaker, we have all been under a strange mistake here; I find there was nobody guilty; it was all an error; entirely an error of our own.
Cro. And I say, Sir, that you 're in an error; for there 's guilt and double guilt; a plot, a damned jesuitical, pestilential plot, and I must have proof of it.
Honey. Do but hear me.
Cro. What, you intend to bring 'em off, I suppose? I'll hear nothing.
Honey. Madam, you seem at least calm enough to hear reason.
Honey. Will nobody hear me? Was there ever such a set, so blinded by passion and prejudice! (To the Postboy) My good friend, I believe you 'll be surprised when I assure you
Post. Sure me nothing I'm sure of nothing but a good beating.
Cro. Come then, you, Madam, if you ever hope for any favour or forgiveness, tell me sincerely all you know of this affair.
Olivia. Unhappily, Sir, I'm but too much the cause of your suspicions: you see before you, Sir, one that with false pretences has stept into your family to betray it; not your daughter
Cro. Not my daughter!
Olivia. Not your daughter — but a mean deceiver — who support me, I cannot
Honey. Help, she 's going; give her air.
Cro. Ay, ay, take the young woman to the air; I would not hurt a hair of her head, whosesoever daughter she may be not so bad as that neither.
[E:xeunt all but CROAKER. Cro. Yes, yes, all 's out; I now see the whole affair : my son is either married, or going to be so, to this lady, whom he imposed upon me as his sister. Ay, certainly so; and yet I don't find it afflicts me so much as one might think. There's the advantage of fretting away our misfortunes before-hand, we never feel them when they come.
Enter Miss RiCHLAND and Sir WILLIAM. Sir Wm. But how do you know, Madam, that my nephew intends setting off from this place?
Miss Rich. My maid assured me he was come to this inn; and my own knowledge of his intending to quit the kingdom suggested the rest. But, what do I see! my guardian here before us! Who, my dear Sir, could have expected meeting you here? to what accident do we owe this pleasure ?
Cro. To a fool, I believe.
Dow I am here; and my son is going to be married to I don't know who, that is here: so now you are as wise as I am.
Miss Rich. Married! to whom, Sir?
Cro. To Olivia, my daughter, as I took her to be; but who the devil she is, or whose daughter she is, I know no more than the man in the moon.
Sir Wm. Then, Sir, I can inform you; and, though a stranger, yet you shall find me a friend to your fainily. It will be enough, at present, to assure you, that both in point of birth and fortune the young lady is at least your son's equal. Being left by her father, Sir James Woodville
Cro. Sir James Woodville! What, of the west?
Sir Wm. Being left by him, I say, to the care of a mercenary wretch, whose only aim was to secure her fortune to himself, she was sent to France, under pretence of education; and there every art was tried to fix her for life in a convent, contrary to her inclinations. Of this I was informed upon my arrival at Paris; and, as I had been once her father's friend, I did all in my power to frustrate her guardian's base intentions. I had even meditated to rescue her from his authority, when your son stepped in with more pleasing violence, gave her liberty, and you a daughter.
Cro. But I intend to have a daughter of my own choosing, Sir. A young lady, Sir, whose fortune, by my interest with those who have interest, will be double what my son has a right to expect. Do you know Mr. Lofty, Sir?
Sir Wm. Yes, Sir; and know that you are deceived in him. But step this way, and I'll convince you.
[CROAKER and Sir WILLIAM seem to confer.
Enter HONEYW001). Honey. Obstinate man, still to persist in his outrage! Insulted by him, despised by all, I now begin to grow contemptible even to myself. How have I sunk by too grcat an assiduity to please! How have I over-taxed all my abilities, lest the approbation of a single fool should escape me!
But all is now over; I have survived my reputation, my fortune, my friendships, aud nothing remains henceforward for me but solitude and repentance. Miss Rich. Is it true, Mr. Honeywood, that you are setting off, without taking leave of your friends? The report is, that you are quitting England. Can it be?
Honey. Yes, Madam; and though I am so unhappy as to have fallen under your displeasure, yet, thank Heaven! I leave you to happiness; to one who loves you, and deserves your love: to one who has power to procure you affluence, and generosity to improve your enjoyment of it.
Miss Rich. And are you sure, Sir, that the gentleman you mean is what you describe him?
Honey. I have the best assurances of it — his serving me. He does indeed deserve the highest happiness, and that is in your power to confer. As for me, weak and wavering as I have been, obliged by all, and incapable of serving any, what happiness can I find but in solitude? what hope, but in being forgotten ?
Miss Rich. A thousand! to live among friends that esteem you, whose happiness it will be to be permitted to oblige you.
Honey. No, Madam, my resolution is fixed. Inferiority among strangers is easy; but among those that once were equals, insupportable. Nay, to show you how far my resolution can go, I can now speak with calmness of my former follies, my vanity, my dissipation, my weakness. I will even confess, that, among the number of my other presumptions, I had the insolence to think of loving you. Yes, Madain, while I was pleading the passion of another, my heart was tortured with its own. But it is over; it was unworthy our friendship, and let it be forgotten.
Miss Rich. You amaze me!
Honey. But you 'll forgive it, I know you will; since the confession should not have come from me even now, but to convince you of the sincerity of my intention of — never mentioning it more.
[Going. Miss Rich. Stay, Sir, one moment - Ha! he here
Enter LOFTY. Lofty. Is the coast clear? None but friends? I have followed you here with a trifling piece of intelligence; but it goes no further; things are not yet ripe for a discovery. I have spirits working at a certain board; your affair at the treasury will be done in less than a thousand years. Mum! Miss Rich. Sooner, Sir, I should hope.
Lofty. Why, yes, I believe it may, if it falls into proper hands, that know where to push and where to parry; that know how the land lies - eh, Honeywood ?
Miss Rich. It has fallen into yours.
Lofty. Well, to keep you no longer in suspense, your thing is done. It is done, I say that 's all. I have just had assurances from Lord Neverout, that the claim has been examined, and found admissible. Quietus is the word, Madam.
Honey. But how? his lordship has been at Newmarket these ten days.
Lofty. Indeed! Then Sir Gilbert Goose must have been most danınably mistaken. I had it of him.
Miss Rich. He! why Sir Gilbert and his family have been in the country this month.
Lofty. This month! it must certainly be so Sir Gilbert's letter did come to me from Newmarket, so that he must have met his lordship there; and so it came about. I have his letter about me; I'll read it to you (Taking out a large bundle). That 's from Paoli of Corsica; that from the Marquis of Squilachi. a mind to see a letter from Count Poniatowski, now King of Poland? — Honest Pon — (Searching). 0, Sir, what are you here too? I'll tell you what, honest friend, if you have not absolutely delivered my letter to Sir William Honeywood, you may return it. The thing will do without him.
Sir Wm. Sir, I have delivered it; and must inform you, it was received with the most mortifying contempt.
Cro. Contempt! Mr. Lofty, what can that mean?
Lofty. Let him go on, let him go on, I say. You 'll find it come to something presently.
Sir Wm. Yes, Sir; I believe you 'll be amazed, if after waiting sonie time in the anti-chamber; after being surveyed with insolent curiosity by the passing servants, I was at last assured, that Sir William Honeywood kuew no such person, and I must certainly have been imposed upon.