« PreviousContinue »
tinues in good health, considering his advanced years. You may imagine, I am far from desiring the death of so worthy and pious a man; yet, I must own, at this time, I could wish you were in orders, as you might " then perform the ceremony of my daughter's marriage; 6 which would give me a secret satisfaction.
• Lion. No doubt, Sir, any office in my power that could be instrumental to the happines of any in your 'family, I should perform with gratitude.
Sir John. Why, really, Lionel, from the character of her intended husband,' I have no room to doubt but this match will make Clarissa happy:'to be sure the alliance is the most eligible for both families.
Lion. If the gentleman is sensible of his happiness in the alliance, Sir.
Sir John. The fondness of a father is always suspected of partiality; yet, I believe, I may venture to say, that few young women will be found more unexceptionable than my daughter : her person is agreeable, her temper sweet, her understanding good; and, with the obligations she has to your instructions
Lion. You do my endeavours too much honour, Sir; I have been able to add nothing to Miss Flowerdale's accomplishments, but a little knowledge in matters commonly accounted of small importance to a mind already so well improved.
Sir John. I do not account them such; a little knowledge, even in those matters, is necessary for woman, in whom I am far from considering ignorance as a desireable characteristic. When intelligence is not attended with impertinent affectation, it teaches them to judge with precision, and gives them a degree of solidity necessary for the companion of a sensible man.
Lion. Yonder's Mr. Jenkins : I fancy he is looking for you, Sir.
Sir John. I see him ; he is come back from Colonel Oldboy's; I have a few words to say to him, and will return to you again in a minute.
[Exit, Lion. To be a burthen to one's self, to
wage continual war with one's own passions; forced to combat, doubtful of victory! But see, she appears, whose presence turns all my sufferings into transport, and makes even misery itself delightful. Enter Clarissa, and then Jenny, who, seeing Lionel,
goes out again. Perhaps, madam, you are not at leisure now; otherwise, if you thought proper, we would resume the subject we were upon yesterday.
Clar. I am sure, Sir, I give you a great deal of trouble.
Lion. Madam, you give me no trouble; I should think my life happily employed in your service; and as this is probably the last time I shall have the satisfaction of attending you upon the same occasion
Clar. Mr. Lionel, I think myself extremely obliged to you: and shall ever consider the enjoyment of your friendship
Lion. My friendship, madam, can be of little moment to you; but, if the most perfect esteem, if the warmest wishes for your felicity, though I should never be witness of it-if these, madam, can have any merit to continue in your remembrance, a man once honoured with a share of your esteem
Clar. Hold, Sirma I think I hear somebody.
Lion. If you please, madam, we will turn over this celestial globe once more-Have you looked at the book I left you yesterday?
Clar. Really, Sir, I have been so much disturbed in my thoughts for these two or three days past, that I have not been able to look at any thing.
Lion. I am sorry to hear that, madam; I hope there was nothing particular to disturb you. The care Sir John takes to dispose of your hand in a manner suitable to your birth and fortune
Clar. I don't know, Sir-I own I am disturbed; I own I am uneasy; there is something weighs upon my heart, which I would fain disclose.
Lión. Upon your heart, madam!-did you say your heart?
Clar. I did, Sir-I
Enter Jenny. Jen. Madam! madam! Here's a coach and six drive ing up the avenue: it's Colonel Oldboy's family; and, I believe, the gentleman is in it that's coming to court you. I must run and have a peep at him out of the window.
[Exit. Lion. Madam, I'll take my leave.
Clar. Why so, Sir ?- What is the matter, Mr Lionel ?-you turn pale.
Clar. Pray speak to me, Sir-You tremble--Tell me
Of what ills I complain,
In my head, in my heart,
I invades every part,
Each effort I try,
Every med cine apply,
But, forc'd to endure,
What I mean for a cure,
Enter DLANA. Diana. My dear Clarissa-I am glad I have found you alone.-Don't let any one break in upon us and give me leave to sit down with you a little-I am in such a tremor, such a panic
Clar. Why, what has happened ?
Daina. You may remember, I told you, that when I was last winter in London, I was followed by an odious fellow, one Harman: I can't say but the wretch pleased me, though he is but a younger brother, and not worth sixpence; and-in short, when I was leaving town, I promised to correspond with him.
think that was prudent? Diana. Madness! But this is not the worst-for, what do you
think?-the creature had the assurance to write to me about three weeks ago, desiring permission to come down and spend the summer at my father's.
Clar. At your father's !
Diana. Ay, who never saw him, knows nothing of him, and would as soon consent to my marrying a horse jockey. He told me a long story of some tale he intended to invent, to make my father receive him as an indifferent person; and some gentleman in London, he said, would procure him a letter that should give it a face; and he longed to see me so, he said, he could not live without it; and if he could be permitted but to spend a week with me Clar. Well, and what answer did you
make? Diana. Oh! abused him, and refused to listen to any such thing—But, I tremble while I tell it you—Just before we left our house, he arrived there, attended by a couple of servants, and is now actually coming here with my.
father. Clar. Indeed! this is a dreadful thing.
Diana. Dreadful, my dear! I happened to be at the window as he came into the court, and I declare I had like to have fainted away.
Clar. Is not my Lady below?
Diana. Yes, and I must run down to her. You'll have
my brother here presently too; he would fain have come in the coach with mother and
father insisted on his walking with him over the fields.
Clar. Well, Diana, with regard to your affair-I think you must find some method of immediately informing this gentleman, that you consider the outrage, he has committed against you in the most heinous light, and insist upon his going away directly.
Diana. Why, I believe that will be the best way-but then he'll be begging my pardon, and asking to stay.
Clar. Why, then, you must tell him positively, you will not consent to it; and if he persists in so extravagant
a design, tell him you will never see him again as long as
Diana. Must I tell him so ?
Ah! pr’ythee, spare me, dearest creature !
In spite of reproach and command,
And at last I should give him my hand. [Exit. Clar. How easy is it to direct the conduct of others, how hard to regulate our own! I can give my friend advice :-perhaps she would say I am guilty of the same indiscretion in myself. Yet, is it criminal to know one of the most worthy, most amiable men in the world, and not to be insensible to his merit ? But my father, the kindest, best of fathers, will he approve the choice Í have made? Nay, has he not made another choice for me? And, after all, how can I be sure that the man I love, loves me againHe never told me so; but his looks, his actions, his present anxiety, sufficiently declare, what his delicacy, his generosity, will not suffer him to utter.
Hope and Fear, alternate rising,
Strive for empire oʻer my heart;
Now at ev'ry breath I start.