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- should I vex myself? I am no worse off than every fa
ther may be, if an opportunity offers.' What do you stand gaping and staring at, you impudent dogs ? are you laughing at me? I'll teach you to be merry at my expence.
I set her on horsebrock, and, no sooner mounted,
[ruin. But there let her go,
She's beggar'd, undone ;
Ah what could possess me to marry!
And further my mis'ry to carry,
SCENE II. Clarissa's Dressing-Room; on the table is
a cushion with bobins for making lace, and near it a
small frame for embroidery, with chairs. CLARISSA enters melancholy, with a book in her hand,
followed by JENNY. 6 Clar. Jenny, set my work here.
Jen. Yes, ma'am, and my own, too. I'm sure I've been very idle this week, and I am in no very good working humour, at present.'
Clur. Where have you been, Jenny? I was inquiring for you why will you go out, without letting me know?
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-Quality, indeed !-I say, quality !-Pray madam, do you think that I looks any ways like an immodest person ?-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.
Clar. Jenny, take away this book.
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 ?
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 scarcely condescended to cast a look at me, nor given me an answer when I spoke to him, but with coldness and reserve.
Jen. Then he is a barbarous, unhuman brute.
Jen. Your fault, madam! I wish I was to hear such a word come out of his mouth: if he was to say such a thing, and I by, I'd tell him it was false, upon the spot.
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 [Going to Clar. How now?
the door. 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 ?
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 in the balcony a few minutes for a little air.
Jen. Do so, dear madam, for your eyes are as red as
ferrets : you are ready to faint, too-Dear! Dear!-for what do you grieve and rex yourself?_ If I was as you
[Exit. Clar. Oh!
Why with tears my eyes o'er flow;
Mute involuntary woe.
Vent'rous tempts the inconstant seas,
Shrinks at every rising breeze, [Exit. Enter Sir Jonn FLOWERDALE, and 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 ?
Jen. My niece, sir, is in her young lady's secrets, and true enough, she had little design to betray them; but having remarked some odd expressions of hers 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 told her I had some business with you, (as you know, Sir, I had), and desired her to carry the letter to Colonel Oldboy's herself, while I came up hither.
Sir John. And they are mutually promised to each other, and that promise was exchanged yesterday?
Jen. 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 delicate sentiments
Sir John. I thought so once, Jenkins.
Jen. And think so still : 0, 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 poor 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, Jenkinstheir hypocrisy, their hypocrisy wounds me.
Jen. Call their silence and reserve to you by a gentler name, Sir-modesty on her part, apprehension on his. Have they spoken any falsehood to you.
Sir John. I cannot charge them with that. Opportu. nities do you say ?* I had so firm a reliance on Lionel's honour and gratitude.
Jen. Sir, I can never think that gracious countenance of his, the mask of a corrupt heart. .
Sir John. How! do not 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 Oldboy, to desire the family would come here again to.
Jen. 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 say they will be here presently; suppose we were to step into that closet, and overhear their conversation ?
Sir John. What, Jenkins, after having lived so many years in confidence with my child, shall I become an eaves-dropper, to detect her? No, Jenkins, no. [Exit.
Jen. Go, my worthy master! But I have a scheme of my own. I shall, as a friend to all sides, make bold to listen. If I should hear what is wrong, I would make bold also to intrude and tell them my mind. But I shall hear no such thing. What they have to say to one another,
* Here the original has “ what opportunities have they had :they were never together but when my sister or myself made one of the company ; besides,”. But as po sister has appeared, and as we have seen that they had opportunities, I have omitied the passage.
whatever it be, will, if I do not greatly mistake, do · them credit; and, for their credit, shall it go to my master.
[Exit. Enter CLARISSA and LIONEL. Clar. Sir, you desired to speak to me; I need not tell you the present situation of my heart; it is full. Whatever you have to say, I beg you will explain yourself; and, if possible, rid me of the anxiety under which I have laboured for some hours.
Lion. Madam, your anxiety cannot be greater than mine— I come, indeed, to speak to you; and yet, I know not how, I come to advise you—shall I say, as a friend ?-yes! as a friend to your fame, your felicitydearer to me than my life.
Clar. Go on, Sir.
Lion. Sir John Flowerdale, madam, is such a father as few are blessed with; his care, his prudence has provided for you a match-Your refusal renders him inconsolable.- Listen to no suggestions that would pervert you from your duty; but consider maturely whether the proposed match be really inconsistent with your happiness, whether you might not accept it without making that severe sacrifice, which, I own, cannot be justly required even by the most deserving of fathers.
Clar. How, Sir, after what passed between us yesterday evening, can you advise me to marry Mr. Jessamy?
Lion. I would advise you to marry any one, madam, rather than a villain.
Clar. A villain, Sir?
Lion. I could'merit no better appellation, madam, were I to solicit you for my own happiness (howsoever great) to refuse a compliance with your kind father's wishes. Received into this house as an asylum, and loaded with repeated benefits, in me such conduct would be treachery and ingratitude.
Clar. Say no more, Sir; say no more; I see my error too late ; I have parted from the rules prescribed to my sex: I have mistaken indecorum for a laudable sincerity : and it is just I should meet with the treatment my im. prudence deserves.