« PreviousContinue »
A mischief possess`d me to marry ;
Changes to CLARISSA's Dressing-room; CLARISSA enters melancholy, with a Book in her Hand, followed by JENNY.
Clar. Where have you been, Jenny? I was enquiring for you—why will you go out without letting me know?
331 Jen. Dear Ma'am, never any thing happened so unlucky; I am sorry you wanted me But I was sent to Colonel Oldboy's with a letter; where I have been so used —Lord have mercy upon me-quality indeed
-I say, quality-pray, Madam, do you think that I looks any ways like an immodest parson-to be sure I have a gay air, and I can't help it, and I loves to appear a little genteelish, that's what I do.
339 Clar. Jenny, take away this book. Jen. Heaven preserve me, Madam, you are crying. Clar. O my dear Jenny! Jen. My dear mistress, what's the matter? Clar. I am undone. Jen. No, Madam; no, Lord forbid!
Clar. I am indeed—I have been rash enough to discover my weakness for a man, who treats me with contempt. Jen. Is Mr. Lionel ungrateful, then?
349 Clar. I have lost his esteem for ever, Jenny. Since last night, that I fatally confessed what I should have kept a secret from all the world, he has scarce condescended to cast a look at me, nor given me an answer when I spoke to him, but with coldness and reserve.
Fen. Then he is a nasty, barbarous, inhuman brute. Clar. Hold, Jenny, hold; it is all my fault.
357 Jen. Your fault, Madam! I wish I was to hear such a word come out of his mouth: if he was a minister to-morrow, and to say such a thing from his pulpit, and I by, I'd tell him it was false upon the spot. 361
Clar. Somebody's at the door ; see who it is.
Jen. You in fault indeed—that I know to be the most virtuousest, nicest, most delicatest
Clar. How now?
Jen. Madam, it's a message from Mr. Lionel. If you are alone, and at leisure, he would be glad to wait upon you : I'll tell him, Madam, that you are busy. Clar. Where is he, Jenny ?
370 Jen. In the study, the man says.
Clar. Then go to him, and tell him I should be glad to see him: but do not bring him up immediately, because I will stand upon the balcony a few minutes for a little air.
Jen. Do so, dear Madam, for your eyes are as red as ferret's, you are ready to faint too; mercy on us ! for what do you grieve and vex yourself—if I was as you
Why with sighs my heart is swelling;
Who to winds and waves a stranger,
Sir John FLOWERDALE, JENKINS. Sir John. So then, the mystery is discovered :—but is it possible that my daughter's refusal of Colonel Oldboy's son should proceed from a clandestine engagement, and that engagement with Lionel ?
Jenk. My niece, Sir, is in her young Lady's secrets, and Lord knows she had little design to betray them; but having remarked some odd expressions of her's yesterday, when she came down to me this morning with the letter, I questioned her; and, in short, drew the whole affair out ; upon which I feigned a recollection of some business with you, and desired her to carry the letter to Colonel Oldboy's herself, while I came up hither.
401 Sir John. And they are mutually promised to each other, and that promise was exchanged yesterday?
Jenk. Yes, Sir, and it is my duty to tell you ; else I would rather die than be the means of wounding the heart of my dear young lady; for if there is one upon earth of truly noble, and delicate sentiments
Sir John. I thought so once, Jenkins.
Jenk. And think so still : (), good Sir John, now is the time for you to exert that character of worth and gentleness, which the world, so deservedly, has given you. You have, indeed, cause to be offended; but, consider, Sir, your daughter is young, beautiful, and amiable; the popr youth unexperienced, sensible, and
at a time of life when such temptations are hard to be resisted : their opportunities were many, their cast of thinking, the same.
Sir John. Jenkins, I can allow for all these things; but the young hypocrites, there's the thing, Jenkins; their hypocrisy, their hypocrisy wounds me. 420
Jenk. Call it by a gentler name, Sir, modesty on her part, apprehension on his.
Sir John. Then, what opportunity have they had ? They never were together but when my sister or myself made one of the company; besides, I had so firm a reliance on Lionel's honour and gratitude
Jenk. Sir, I can never think that nature stamped that gracious countenance of his, to mask a corrupt heart.
429 Sir John. How! at the very time that he was conscious of being himself the cause of it, did he not shew more concern at this affair than I did ? Nay, don't I tell you that last night, of his own accord, he offered to be a mediator in the affair, and desired my leave to speak to my daughter? I thought myself obliged to him, consented; and, in consequence of his assurance of success, wrote that letter to Colonel Old. boy, to desire the family would come here again today.
439 Jenk. Sir, as we were standing in the next room, I heard a message delivered from Mr. Lionel, desiring leave to wait upon your daughter: I dare swear they will be here presently ; suppose we were to step into that closet, and overhear their conversation ?