A Series of Plays in which it is attempted to delineate The Stronger Passions of the Mind, Volume One/The Tryal Act 5

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Mr. Withrington's Library. Mr. Withrington discovered seated by a table.

With. Who waits there? (Enter Servant.) Tell Miss Agnes Withrington I wish to see her. [Exit servant.) What an absurd fellow this Harwood is, to be so completely bewitched with such a girl as Agnes! If she were like the women I remember, there would indeed be some—(Agnes entering softly behind him, gives him a tap on the shoulder.)

Ag. Well, uncle, what are you grumbling about? Have you lost your wager? Harwood has just left you, I hear.

With. I believe you may buy those trinkum, trankum ornaments for Mariane whenever you please.

Ag. Pray look not so ungraciously upon the matter! But you can't forgive him, I suppose, for being such a ninny as to fall in love with a little ordinary girl, eh?

With. And so he is a ninny, and a fool, and a very silly fellow.

Ag. Do tell me what he has been saying to you.

With. Why, he confesses thou art ill-tempered, that thou art freakish, that thou art extravagant; and that of all the friends he has spoken with upon the subject, there is not one who will allow thee beauty enough to make a good looking pot-girl.

Ag. Did he say so?

With. Why, something nearly equivalent to it, Agnes. Yet, notwithstanding all this, there is something about thee so unaccountably delightful to him, that, poor as thou art, he will give up the fair hopes of opulence, and the pleasures of freedom, to watch for thee, drudge for thee, pinch himself for thee, if thou wilt have the condescension, in return, to plague and torment him for life.

Ag. Foolish enough indeed, yet heaven bless him for it! What a fortunate woman am I! I sought a disinterested lover, and I have found a most wonderful one.

With. I dare say you think yourself very fortunate.

Ag. And dont you, likewise, my good sir? but you seem displeased at it.

With. You guess rightly enough: I must speak without disguise, Agnes, I am not pleased.

Ag. Ah! his want of fortune—

With. Poo! you know very well I despise all mercenary balancing of property. It is not that which disturbs me. To be the disinterested choice of a worthy man is what every woman, who means to marry at all, would be ambitious of; and a point in regard to her marriage, which a woman of fortune would be unwilling to leave doubtful. But there are men whose passions are of such a violent over-bearing nature, that love in them, may be considered as a disease of the mind; and the object of it claims no more perfection or pre-eminence amongst women, than chalk, lime, or oatmeal may do amongst dainties, because some diseased stomachs do prefer them to all things. Such men as these, we sometimes see attach themselves even to ugliness and infamy, in defiance of honour and decency. With such men as these, women of sense and refinement can never be happy; nay, to be willingly the object of their love is disrespectable. (Pauses.) But you dont care for all this, I suppose? It does well enough for an old uncle to perplex himself with these niceties: it is you yourself the dear man happens to love, and none of those naughty women I have been talking of. So all is very right. (Pauses, and she seems thoughtful.)

Ag. (Assuming a grave and more dignified air.) No, sir, you injure me: prove that his love for me is stronger than his love of virtue, and I will—

With. What will you do, Agnes?

Ag. I will give him up for ever.

With. Ay, there spoke a brave girl! you deserve the best husband in Christendom for this.

Ag. Nay, my husband-hunting will end here. If Harwood endures not the test, I will indeed renounce him, but no other man shall ever fill his place.

With. Well, well, we shall see, we shall see. (Walks up and down. She is thoughtful.) You are very thoughtful, Agnes; I fear I have distressed you.

Ag. You have distressed me, yet I thank you for it, I have been too presumptuous, I have ventured farther than I ought. Since it is so, I will not shrink from the trial. (Pauses.) Dont you think he will go through it honourably?

With. (Shaking his head.) Indeed I know not—I hope he will.

Ag. You hope? I thank you for that word, my dear sir! I hope he will too. (She remains thoughtful: he takes a turn or two cross the stage.)

With. (Clapping her shoulder affectionately.) What are you thinking of, niece?

Ag. How to set about this business.

With. And how will you do it?

Ag. I will write a letter to Lady Fade, asking pardon for having told some malicious falsehoods of her, to a relation of whom she is dependant upon, and begging she will make up the matter, and forgive me; promising at the same time, most humbly, if she will not expose me for this time, never to offend so any more. Next time he comes I will make him direct the letter himself, that when it falls into his hands again, he may have no doubt of its authenticity. Will this do?

With. Yes, very well. If he loves you after this, his love is not worth the having.

Ag. Ah, uncle! you are very hard hearted! But you are very right: I know you are very right. Pray does not Royston lodge in the same house with Harwood?

With. He does.

Ag. I wish, by his means, we could conceal ourselves somewhere in his apartments, where we might see Harwood have the letter put into his hands, and observe his behaviour. I dont know any body else who can do this for us: do you think you could put him into good humour again?

With. I rather think I can, for he hath still a favour to ask of me.

Ag. We must give him a part to act; do you think he can do it?

With. He is a very blundering fellow, but he will be so flattered with being let into the secret, that I know he will do his best.

Enter Mariane.

Mar. What have you been about so long together?

With. Hatching a new plot, girl! and we set about it directly too.

Mar. I am very sure the plot is of your own hatching, then, for I never saw Agnes with any thing of this kind in her head, wear such a grave spiritless face upon it before.

With. You are mistaken, ma'am, it is of her own contrivance, but you shall know nothing about it. And I give you warning that this shall be the last of them, if you have got any more poor devils on your hands to torment, do it quickly; for I will have an end put to all this foolery. I will have my family put in order again, and well-dressed people to drink tea with me, as I used to have, instead of all this up and down irregular kind of livings which I abhor.

Mar. Very well, uncle, I have just been following your advice. I have discarded Sir Ullock O'Grady, and I have only now poor Opal to reward for his services. I have got a promise of marriage from him, in which he forfeits ten thousand pounds if he draws back, I shall torment him with this a little. It was an extraordinary thing to be sure for an heiress to demand, but I told him it was the fashion; and now that he has bound himself so securely, he is quite at heart's ease, and thinks every thing snug and well settled.

Enter Royston, a Servant announcing him.

With. Your servant, Mr. Royston, I am very glad to see you. Dont start at seeing the ladies with me, I know my niece, Mariane, and you have had a little misunderstanding, but when I have explained the matter to you, you will be friends with her again, and laugh at it yourself.

Roy. (coldly.) I have the honour to wish the ladies good morning.

With. Nay, cousin, you dont understand how it is; these girls have been playing tricks upon every man they have met with since they came here; and when that wild creature, (pointing to Mariane,) was only laughing at the cheat she had passed upon them all, which I shall explain to you presently, you thought she was laughing at you; shake hands, and be friends with her, cousin; nobody minds what a foolish girl does.

Roy. (With his face brightening up.) O! for that matter, I mind these things as little as any body, cousin Withrington, I have too many affairs of importance in my hands, to attend to such little matters as these. I am glad the young lady had a hearty laugh with all my soul; and I shall be happy to see her as merry again whenever she has a mind to it. I mind it! no, no, no!

Mar. I thank you, sir, and I hope we shall be merry again, when you shall have your own share of the joke.

Roy. Yes, yes, we shall be very merry. By the bye, Withrington, I came here to tell you that I have got my business with the duke put into so good a train, that it can hardly misgive.

With. I am happy to hear it.

Roy. You must know I have set very artfully about it, cousin; but I dare say you would guess as much, he, he, he! You know me of old, eh? I have got Mr. Cullyfool to ask it for me on his own account; I have bribed an old house-keeper, who is to interest a great lady in my favour; I have called eleven times on his grace's half cousin, till she has fairly promised to write to my lady dutchess upon the business; I have written to the steward, and promised his son all my interest at next election, if he has any mind to stand for our borough, you know, and I have applied by a friend—No, no, he has applied through the medium of another friend, or rather, I believe, by that friend's wife, or aunt, or some way or other, I dont exactly remember, but it is a very good channel, I know.

With. O! I make no doubt of it.

Roy. Nay, my landlady, has engaged her apothecary's wife to speak to his grace's physician about it; and a medical man, you know, sometimes asks a favour with great advantage, when a patient believes that his life is in his hands. The duke has got a most furious fit of gout, and it has been in his stomach too, ha, ha, ha, ha!—If we can't succeed without it, I have a friend who will offer a round sum for me, at last, but I hope this will not be necessary. Pray, do you know of any other good channel to solicit by?

With. 'Faith, Royston! you have found out too many roads to one place already, I fear you'll lose your way amongst them all.

Roy. Nay, nay, cousin, I won't be put off so. I have been told this morning you are acquainted with Mr. Sucksop, the duke's greatest friend and adviser. Come, come! you must use your interest for me.

With. Well, then, come into the other room, and we shall speak about it, I have a favour to ask of you too.

Roy. My dear sir, any favour in my power you may absolutely command at all times. I'll follow you, cousin. (Goes to the door with Withrington with great alacrity, but, recollecting that he has forgotten to pay his compliments to the ladies, hurries back again, and, after making several very profound bows to them, follows Withrington into another room.)

Mar. (Imitating him.) Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ag. Softly, Mariane; let us leave this room, if you must laugh, for he will overhear you.



Royston's Lodgings: enter Royston, conducting in Agnes, Mariane, and Withrington.

Roy. Now, pray compose yourselves, young ladies, and sit down a little. I'll manage every thing: dont give yourselves any trouble; I'll set the whole plot a going.

With. We depend entirely upon you, Royston.

Roy. I know you do, many a one depends upon me, cousin Withrington. I'll shew you how I'll manage it. Jonathan, come here, Jonathan! (Enter Jonathan.) Bring me that screen from the other room. (Exit Jonathan.) We'll place it here, if you please, cousin, and then you and the ladies can stand as snugly behind it, as kings and queens in a puppet-show, till your time comes to appear. (Enter Jonathan with screen.) Come hither with it, Jonathan: place it here. (Pointing.) No, no, jolter-head, nearer the wall with it. (Going behind it, and coming out again.) It will do better a little more to this side, for then it will be farther from the window.

Ag. O! it will do very well, sir, you take too much trouble.

Roy. Trouble, my dear ma'am! if it were a hundred times more trouble, I should be happy to serve you. I dont mind trouble, if I can get the thing done cleverly and completely. That's my way of doing things. No, it dont stand to please me yet, it is too near the door now, and the ladies may catch cold, perhaps.

Ag. (Very uneasy.) Indeed, it stands very well! Harwood will be here before we are ready.

Roy. to Jon. Blockhead, that thou art! can'st thou not set it up even? Now that will do. (Getting behind it.) This will do. (Coming out again.) Yes, this will do to a nicety.

Mar. (Aside.) Heaven be praised this grand matter is settled at last!

Roy. Now, he'll think it odd, perhaps, that I have a screen in my room; but I have a trick for that, ladies; I'll tell him I mean to purchase lands in Canada, and have been looking over the map of America. (Agnes looks to Withrington very uneasy.)

With. Dont do that, Royston, for then he will examine the screen.

Roy. Or, I may say, there is a chink in the wall, and I placed it to keep out the air.

Ag. No, no, that wont do. For heaven's sake, sir!

Roy. Then I shall just say, I love to have a screen in my room, for I am used to it at home.

Mar. Bless me, Mr. Royston! can't you just leave it alone, and he'll take no notice of it.

Roy. O! if he takes no notice of it, that is a different thing, Miss Withrington; but dont be uneasy, I'll manage it all: I'll conduct the whole business.

Ag. (Aside to Withrington.) O! my good sir! this fool will ruin every thing.

With. Be quiet, Agnes, we are in for it now.

Roy. Let me remember my lesson too. Here is the letter for him, with the seal as naturally broken, as if the lady had done it herself. Harwood will wonder, now, how I came to know about all this. 'Faith! I believe, he thinks me a strange diving, penetrating, kind of a genius, already, and he is not far wrong, perhaps. You know me, cousin Withrington: ha, ha, ha, ha! You know me.

Ag. O! I wish it were over, and we were out of this house again!

Roy. Dont be uneasy, ma'am. I'll manage every thing. Jonathan, (Enter Jonathan,) dont you go and tell Mr. Harwood that I have got company here.

Jon. No, no, your honour, I knows better than that; for the ladies are to be behind the screen, sir, and he must know nothing of the matter, to be sure. I'ficken! it will be rare sport!

Ag. (Starting.) I hear a knock at the door.

Roy. It is him, I dare say, run Jonathan.
[Exit, Jonathan. Ag. Come, come, let us hide ourselves. (All get behind the screen but Royston.)

Roy. Ay, ay, it will do very well. (Looking at the screen.)

Ag. (Behind.) Mariane, dont breathe so loud.

Mar. (Behind.) I dont breathe loud.

Ag. (Behind.) Do uncle draw in the edge of your coat.

With. (Behind.) Poo, silly girl! they can't see a bit of it.

Enter Colonel Hardy and Harwood.

Roy. Ha! your servant, my dear Colonel. How goes it, Harwood? I bid my man tell you I was alone, and very much disposed for your good company; but I am doubly fortunate. (Bowing to the Colonel.)

Col. Indeed, Royston, I have been pretty much with him these two days past, and I dont believe he gives me great thanks for my company. I am like an old horse running after a colt, the young devil never fails to turn now and then, and give him a kick for his pains.

Har. Nay, my good friend, I must be an ass's colt, then. I am sure, I mean it not, but I am not happy, and I fear I have been peevish with you.

Roy. (Attempting to look arch) Peevish, and all that, perhaps, the young man is in love, Colonel.

Col. No more, if you please, Royston: we are to speak of this no more.

Enter Jonathan.

Jon. Did your honour call?

Roy. No, sirrah. (Jonathan goes, as if he were looking for something, and takes a sly peep behind the screen, to see if they are all there.) What are you peeping there for? get along, you hound! Does he want to make people believe I keep rary shews behind the wainscot? (Exit, Jonathan.) But as I was a saying, Colonel, perhaps the young man is in love. He, he, he!

Col. No, no, let us have no more of it.

Roy. But 'faith, I know that he is so! and I know the lady too. She is a cousin of my own, and I am as well acquainted with her, as I am with my own dog.—But you dont ask me what kind of a girl she is. (To the Colonel.)

Col. Give over now, Royston: she is a very good girl, I dare say.

Roy. Well, you may think so, but—(Making significant faces) But—I should not say all I know of my own cousin, to be sure, but—

Har. What are all those cursed grimaces for? Her faults are plain and open as her perfections: these she disdains to conceal, and the others it is impossible.

Roy. Softly, Harwood, dont be in a passion, unless you would imitate your mistress; for she has not the gentlest temper in the world.

Har. Well, well, I love her the better for it. I can't bear your insipid passionless women: I would as soon live upon sweet curd all my life, as attach myself to one of them.

Roy. She is very extravagant.

Har. Heaven bless the good folks! would they have a man to give up the woman of his heart, because she likes a bit of lace upon her petticoat.

Roy. Well but she is——

Col. Devil take you, Royston! can't you hold your tongue about her? you see he can't bear it.

Roy. (Making signs to the Colonel.) Let me alone; I know when to speak, and when to hold my tongue, as well as another. Indeed, Harwood, I am your friend; and though the lady is my relation, I must say, I wish you had made a better choice. I have discovered something in regard to her this morning, which shews her to be a very improper one. I cannot say, however, that I have discovered any thing which surprised me, I know her too well.

Har. (Vehemently.) You are imposed upon by some damn'd falsehood.

Roy. But I have proof of what I say; the lady who is injured by her, gave me this letter to shew to Mr. Withrington. (Taking out the letter.)

Har. It is some fiend who wants to undermine her, and has forged that scrawl to serve her spiteful purpose.

Roys. I would be glad it were so, my dear friend; but Lady Fade is a woman, whose veracity has never been suspected.

Har. Is it from Lady Fade? Give it me. (Snatching the letter.)

Roy. It is Agnes's hand, is it not?

Har. It is, at least, a good imitation of it.

Roy. Head the contents, pray!

Har. Madam, what I have said to the prejudice of your ladyship's character to your relation, Mr. Worthy, I am heartily sorry for; and I am ready to beg pardon on my knees if you desire it; to acknowledge before Mr. Worthy himself, that it is a falsehood, or make any other reparation, in a private way, that you may desire. Let me, then, conjure your ladyship not to expose me, and I shall ever remain your most penitent and grateful A. Withrington.

Roy. The lady would not be so easily pacified, though; for she blackened her character, in order to make her best friend upon earth quarrel with her; so she gave me the letter to shew to her uncle. Is it forged, think you?

Har. It is possible!—I will venture to say—Nay, I am sure it is.

Roy. If it is, there is one circumstance which may help to discover the author, it is directed by a different hand on the back. Look at it.

Har. (In great perturbation.) Is it? (Turns hastily the folds of the letter, but his hand trembles so much, he can't find the back.)

Col. My dear Harwood! this is the back of the letter; and methinks the writing is somewhat like your own. (Harwood looks at it; then staggering back, throws himself into a chair, which happens to be behind him, and covers his upper face with his hand.)

Col. My dear Harwood!

Roy. See how his lips quiver, and his bosom heaves! Let us unbutton him: I fear he is going into a fit. (Agnes comes from behind the screen in a fright, and Withrington pulls her in again.)

Col. (With great tenderness.) My dear Harwood!

Har. (With a broken voice.) I'll go to mine own chamber. (Gets up hastily from his chair, and then falls back again in a faint.)

Col. He's gone off.

Roys. Help, help, here! (Running about.) Who has got hartshorn, or lavender, or water! help here. (They all come from behind the screen. Agnes runs to Harwood, and sprinkles him over with lavender, rubbing his temples, &c. whilst Colonel Hardy stares at them all in amazement.)

Ag. Alas! we have carried this too far? Harwood! my dear Harwood!

Col. to Roys. What is all this?

Roys. I thought we should amaze you, I knew I should manage it.

Col. You have managed finely indeed, to put Harwood into such a state, with your mummery,

Ag. Will he not come to himself again! get some water, Mariane—See how pale he is. (He recovers.) O! he recovers! Harwood! do you know me, Harwood?

Har. (Looking upon Agnes, and shrinking back from her.) Ha! what has brought you here? leave me! leave me! I am wretched enough already.

Ag. I come to bring you relief, my dear Harwood.

Har. No, madam, it is misery you bring. We must part for ever.

Ag. O! uncle! do you hear that? He says we must part for ever.

With. (Taking hold of Agnes.) Dont be in such a hurry about it.

Har. (Rising up.) How came you here? (to Withrington.) and these ladies?

Roys. O! it was all my contrivance.

With. Pray now, Royston, be quiet a little—Mr. Harwood, I will speak to you seriously. I see you are attached to my niece, and I confess she has many faults; but you are a man of sense, and with you she will make a more respectable figure in the world than with any other. I am anxious for her welfare, and if you will marry her I will give her such a fortune as will make it no longer an imprudent step to follow your inclinations.

Har. No, sir, you shall keep your fortune and your too bewitching niece together. For her sake I would have renounced all ambition, I would have shared with her poverty and neglect, I would have borne with all her faults and weaknesses of nature, I would have toiled, I would have bled for her, but I can never yoke myself with unworthiness.

Ag. (Wiping her eyes, and giving two skips upon the floor.) O! admirable! admirable! speak to him, uncle! tell him all, my dear uncle! for I can't say a word.

Col. (Aside to Royston.) Isn't she a little wrong in the head, Royston?

With. Give me your hand, Harwood: you are a noble fellow, and you shall marry this little girl of mine after all. This story of the letter and Lady Fade, was only a concerted one amongst us, to prove what mettle you are made of. Agnes, to try your love, affected to be shrewish and extravagant; and afterwards, at my suggestion, to try your principles, contrived this little plot, which has just now been unravelled: but I do assure you, on the word of an honest man, there is not a better girl in the kingdom. I must own, however, she is a fanciful little toad. (Harwood runs to Agnes, catches her in his arms, and runs two or three times round with her, then takes her hand and kisses it, and then puts his knee to the ground.)

Har. My charming, my delightful Agnes! Oh! what a fool have I been! how could I suppose it.

Ag. We took some pains upon you, and it would have been hard if we could not have deceived you amongst us all.

Har. And so thou art a good girl, a very good girl. I know thou art. I'll be hang'd if thou hast one fault in the world.

With. No, no, Harwood, not quite so perfect. I can prove her still to be an arrant cheat; for she pretended to be careless of you when she thought of you all the day long, and she pretended to be poor with an hundred thousand pounds, independant of any one, in her possession. She is Miss Withrington the heiress, and this lady, (pointing to Mariane,) has only been her representative, for a time, for reasons which I shall explain to you by-and-by. (Harwood lets go Agnes's hand, and steps hack some paces with a certain gravity and distance in his air.)

With. What is the matter now, Hrwood, does this cast a damp upon you?

Roys. It is a weighty distress, truly. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Col. By heaven! this is good.

Ag. (Going up to Harwood, and holding out her hand.) Do not look so distantly upon me, Harwood. You was willing to marry me as a poor woman; if there is any thing in my fortune which offends you, I scatter it to the winds.

Har. My admirable girl, it is astonishment, it is something I cannot express, which overcomes, I had almost said distresses me at present. (Presenting her to the Colonel.) Colonel Hardy, this is the woman I have raved about, this is the woman I have boasted of, this is my Agnes. And this, Miss Withrington, is Colonel Hardy, my own, and my father's friend.

Ag. (Holding out her hand to the Colonel.) He shall be mine too. Every friend of your's shall be my friend, Harwood; but the friend of your father my most respected one.

Har. Do you hear that, Colonel?

Col. I hear it, my heart hears it, and I bless you both.

Har. to With. My dear sir, what shall I say to you for all this goodness?

Ag. Tell him he is the dearest good uncle on earth, and we will love him all our lives for it. Yes, indeed, we will, uncle, (clapping his shoulder.) very, very dearly.

Roys. Now, good folks, have not I managed it cleverly?

Mar. Pray let me come from the back ground a little: and since I must quit all the splendour of heiresship, I desire, at least, that I may have some respect paid me for having filled the situation so well, as the old Mayor receives the thanks of the corporation, when the new Mayor—Bless me! here comes Opal! I have not just done with it yet.

With. Your servant, Mr. Opal.

Mar. to Op. Are not you surprised to find us all here?

Op. Harwood I know is a very lucky fellow, but I knew you were here. It is impossible, you see, to escape me. But (half aside to Mariane) I wanted to tell you Colonel Beaumont is come to Bath. Now I should like to be introduced to him on his arrival. He will be very much the fashion I dare say, and I should like to have a friendship for him. You understand me? You can procure this for me, I know.

With. Come, Mr. Opal, you must join in our good humour here, for we have just been making up a match. My niece, Agnes, with a large fortune bestows herself on a worthy man, who would have married her without one; and, Mariane, who for certain reasons has assumed her character of heiress since we came to Bath, leaves all her borrowed state, in hopes that the man who would have married with a fortune, will not now forsake her.

Op. (Stammering.) Wh—Wh—What is all this?

Roy. (Half aside to Opal.) You seem disturbed, Mr. Opal, you have not been paying your addresses to her, I hope.

Op. (Aside to Royston.) No, not paying my addresses; that is to say, not absolutely. I have paid her some attention to be sure.

Roy. (Nodding significantly.) It is well for you it is no worse.

Mar. (Turning to Opal, who looks very much frightened.) What is it you say? Dont you think I overheard it? Not paid your addresses to me! O! you false man! can you deny the declarations you have made? the oaths you have sworn? O! you false man!

Op. Upon honour, madam, we men of fashion dont expect to be called to an account for every foolish thing we say.

Mar. What you have written then shall witness against you. Will you deny this promise of marriage in your own hand-writing? (Taking out a paper.)

Roy. (Aside to Opal.) What, a promise of marriage, Mr. Opal? The devil himself could not have put it into your head to do a worse thing than this.

Op. (Very frightened, but making a great exertion.) Dont think, ma am, to bully me into the match. I can prove that promise to be given to you under the false character of an heiress, therefore your deceit loosens the obligation.

With. Take care what you say, sir, (to Opal,) I will not see my niece wronged. The law shall do her justice, whatever expence it may cost me.

Mar. Being an heiress or not has nothing to do in the matter, Mr. Opal; for you expressly say in this promise, that my beauty and perfections alone have induced you to engage yourself, and I will take all the men in court to witness, whether I am not as handsome to-day as I was yesterday.

Op. I protest there is not such a word in the paper.

Mar. (Holding out the paper.) O base man! will you deny your own writing? (Opal snatches the paper from her, tears it to pieces.)

Mar. (Gathering up the scattered pieces.) O! I can put them together again. (Opal, snatching up one of the pieces, crams it into his mouth and chews it.)

Roy. Chew fast. Opal, she will snatch it out of your mouth else. There is another bit for you. (Offering him another piece.)

Mar. (Bursting into a loud laugh, in which all the company join.) Is it very nice, Mr. Opal? You munch it up as expeditiously as a bit of plumb-cake.

Op. What the deuce does all this mean?

With. This naughty girl, Mr. Opal, has only been amusing herself with your promise, which she never meant to make any other use of; she is already engaged to a very worthy young man, who will receive with her a fortune by no means contemptible.

Op. Well, well, much good may it do him: what do I care about—(mumbling to himself.)

Roy. (Clapping Opal's shoulder.) Ha, ha, ha! dont look so foolish, man; you did not know a word of all this, now. Ha, ha, ha! how some people do get themselves into scrapes! They have no more notion of managing their affairs than if they were so many sheep. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Enter Humphry.

Humph, to Roy. I would speak a word with your honour. (Whispers to Royston.)

Roy. (In a rage.) What! given away the place! It is impossible! It is some wicked machination! it is some damn'd trick!

With. Be moderate, Royston: what has good Mr. Humphry been telling you?

Roy. O! the devil of a bite! his grace has given away the place to a poor simpleton, who had never a soul to speak for him.

With. Who told you this, Mr. Humphry?

Humph. Truly, sir, I called upon his Grace's gentleman, just to make up a kind of acquaintance with him, as his honour desired me, and he told me it was given away this morning.

Roy. What cursed luck!

Humph. Why, says I, I thought my master was to have had it, Mr. Smoothly; and so he would, says he, but one person came to the Duke after another, teazing him about Mr. Royston, till he grew quite impatient; for there was but one of all those friends, says he, winking with his eye so, who did speak at last to the purpose, but then upon Mr. Sucksop's taking up your master's interest, he shrunk back from his word, which offended his grace very much.

Roy. Blundering blockhead!

Humph. But after all, says he, it might have come round again, if the gout had not stung him so wickedly, when in came the doctor, who has promised to cure him these three weeks, and only made it so much the worse, and upon his likewise presuming to teaze him about Mr. Royston, he fell into a violent passion, and gave away the place directly to poor Mr. Drudgewell, who had no recommendation at all, but fifteen years hard service in the office.

Roy. Well, now! well, now! you see how the world goes: simpletons and ideots carry every thing before them.

With. Nay, Royston, blame yourself too. Did not I tell you, you had found out too many roads to one place, and would lose your way amongst them?

Roy. No, no, it is all that cursed perverse fate of mine! By the Lord, half the trouble I have taken for this paltry office, would have procured some people an archbishoprick. There is Harwood, now, fortune presses herself upon him, and makes him, at one stroke, an idle gentleman for life.

Har. No, sir, an idle gentleman I will never be: my Agnes shall never be the wife of any thing so contemptible.

Ag. I thank you, Harwood; I do, indeed, look for an honourable distinction in being your wife; you shall still exert your powers in the profession you have chosen: you shall be the weak ones stay, the poor man's advocate; you shall gain fair fame in recompense, and that will be our nobility.

With. Well said, my children! you have more sense than I thought you had amongst all these whimsies. Now, let us take our leave of plots and story-telling, if you please, and all go to my house to supper. Royston shall drown his disappointment in a can of warm negus, and Mr. Opal shall have something more palatable than his last spare morsel.[Exeunt.