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Bet. Yes, indeed; and indeed, ma'am he is. I saw him crossing the court-yard in his boots.
Fan. I am glad to hear it. -But pray ns., my dear Betty, be cautious. Don't mention that word again on any account. You know, we have agreed never to drop any expressions of that sort for fear of an accident. Bet. Dear ma’um, you may depend upon me.
Thiere is not a more trustier creature on the face of the earth, than I am. Though I say it, I am as secret as the grave -and if it's never told, till I tell it, it may remain untold till doomsday for Betty.
Fun. I know you are faithful_but in our circumstances we cannot be too careful,
Bet. Very true, ma'am!-and yet I vow and protest, there's more plague than pleasure with a secret; especiaily if a body may’nt mention it to four or five of one's particular acquaintance.
Fan. Do but keep this secret a little while longer, and then I hope you may mention it to any body-Mr Lovewell will acquaint the family with the nature of our situde tion as soon as possible.
Bet, The sooner the better, I believe : for if he does not tell it, there's a little tell-tale, I know of, will come and tell it for him.
Fan. Fie, Betty! [blusbing:]
Bet. Ah! you may well blush.—But you're not so sick, and so pale, and so wan, and so many qualms
Fan. Have done! I shall be quite angry with you,
Bet. Angry!--bless the dear" puppet! I am sure I shall love it, as much as if it was my own. I meant no harm, heaven knows.
Fan. Well ---say no more of this - It makes me uneasy -All I have to ask of you, is to be faithful and secret, and not to reveal this matter, till we disclose it to the family ourselves. Bet. Me reveal it !_jf I say a word, I wish I may
be burned. I would not do you any harm for the world And as for Mr Lovewell, I am sure I have loved the dear gentleman ever since got a tide-waiters place for niy brother-But let me tell you both, you must leave off your soft looks to each other, and your whispers, and your glances, and your always sitting next to one another at dinner,
and your long walks together in the evening-For my part, if I had not been in the secret, I should have known you were a pair of lovers at least, if not man and wife,
Fan. See there now! again. Pray be careful.
-Man and wife I'll say no more what I tell you is very true for all that
Love. (Calling within.) William !
Bet. I say, here comes Mr Lovewell-Mind the caution I give you l'il be u hipped now, if you are not the first person he sees or speaks to in the family However, if you chuse it, it's nothing at all to me--as you sow, you must reap—as you brew, so you must bake.--I'll e'en slip down the back stairs and leave you together.
[Exit. FANNY alone. I see, I see I shall never have a moment's ease till our marriage is made public. New distresses crowd in upon me every day. The solicitude of my mind sinks my spirits, preys upon my health, and destroys every comfort of my life. It shall be relieved, let what will be the consequence.
Enter LOVEWELL. Love. My love!-how's this? --In tears? --Indeed this is too much. You promised me to support your spirits, and to wait the determination of our fortune with patience. For my sake, for your own, be comforted ! why will you study to add to our uneasiness and perplexity ?
Fan. Oh, Mr Lovewell! The indelicacy of a secret marriage grows every day more and more shocking to me. I walk about the house like a guilty wretch; I imagine myself the object of the suspicion of the whole family; and am under the perpetual terrors of a shameful detec:ion.
Love. Indeed, indeed, you are to blame. The amiable delicacy of your temper, and your quick sensibility, only serves to make you unhappy.„To clear up this affair properly to Mr Sterling, is the continual employment of my thoughts. Every thing now is in a fair train. It begins
now to grow ripe for a discovery; and I have no doubt of its concluding to the satisfaction of ourselves, of your father, and the whole family.
Fan. End how it will, I'm reso'v'd it will end soonvery soon.
I would not live another week in this agony
mind to be mistress of the universe. Lore. Do not be too valiant neither. Do not let us disturb the joy of your sister's marriage with the tumult this matter may occasion ! I have brought letters from lord Ogleby and Sir John Melvil to Mr Sterling. - They wiil be here this evening-and, I dare say, within this hour.
Fan, I am sorry for it.
Fan. No matter-Only let us discluse our marriage immediately!
Love. As soon as possible.
Fan. Indeed, you must. -I have the most alarming reasons for it.
Love. Alarming indeed! for they alarm me, even before I am acquainted with them- What are they?
Fan. I cannot tell you.
Fan. Not at present. When all is settled, you shall be acquainted with every thing. Love. Sorry they are coming !-Must be discovered !
What can this mean? Is it possible you can have any reasons that need be concealed from me
Fan. Do not disturb yourself with conjectures-but rest assured, that though you are unable to divine the cause, the consequence of a discovery, be it what it will, cannot be attended with half the miseries of the present interval. Love. You put me upon the rack.-
I would do any thing to make you easy.—But you know your father's temper.-Money, (you will excuse my frankness) is the spring of all his actions, which nothing but the idea of
acquiring nobility or magnificence can ever make hiin furego
and these he thinks his money will purchase.- -You know too your aunt's, Mr Heidelbergs' notions of the sp end ur of high life, her contempt for every thing that does not relish of what she calls quality, and that from the vast fortune in her hands, by her late husband, she absolutely governs Mr Sterling and the whole family; now, if they should come to the knowledge of this affair too abrupte ly, they might, perhaps be incensed beyond all hopes of reconciliation,
Fun. But if they are made acqusin ed with it otherwise than by ourselves, it will be te: times worse ; and a discovery grows every Jay more probable. The whole family have long suspecied our affection. We are also in the power of a foolish maid servant; and if we may even depend on her fidelity, we cannot answer for her discretion.
Discover it therefore immediat:ly, lest soine accident should bring it to light, and involve us in additional disgrase.
Love. WellWell I meant to discover it soon; 6:16 would not do it too precipitately. I have more than onee founded Mr Sterling about it, and will attempt him more seriously the next opportunity. But my prircipa! hopes are these.--My relatiusislip to lo:d Ogleby, and his having placed me with your father, have been, you know, the first links in the ch. in of this conrection between the two families; in conse quence of which, I am at present in high favour with ail partirs: while they all remain thus weil effected to me, I propose to lay our case before the old lord; And if I can prevail on him to medita:e in this affair, I make no doubt but he will be able to appease your father; and, being a lcrd and a man of quality, I am sure he may bring Mrs Heidelberg into goud-humour at any time. Let me beg you, ilierefore, to ha e but a little
pa?" tience, as you see, we are upon the very cve of discovery; that must probably be to our advantage.
Fan. Manage it your own way: tam persuaded.
Fun. As easy as I con, I will.--We had better not remain together any longer at present. Think of this business, and let me know how you proceed.
Love, Depend on my care ! but, pray, be cheaifuba
As fbe is going out, Enter STERLING.
[Exit. Ster. Ah, Lovewell! what! always getting my foolish giri yonder into a corner --well-wellet us but once see her elder sister fast married to Sir John Melvil, we'll soor provide a good husband for Fanny, 1 warrant you.
Love Wou'd to heaven, sir, you would provide her une of my recommendation !
Ster. Yourself? eh, Lovewell!
Love. And I fatter myself, that such a proposal would Brot be very disagreeable io Miss Eainty
Ster. Beiter and better !
Sler. What! you marry Fanny !--no-10 -th it will never d.), Lovewell! -You're a good boy to be sure I have a great value for you but can't think of you for a son-in-law. There's no stuff in the case; no money, Love. well'
Lare. My pretensions to fortune, indeed. are but moderate : but tho'not equal to spiendour, sufficient to keep us above distress -Add to which, that I nope by diligence to increase it and have love, honour
Stir. But not the stuff, Loréwell! Add one Little round o to the sum tutal of your fortune, and that will be the finest thing you can say to ine. -You know I've a regard for you-would do any thing to serve you any thirg un i he footing of friendship-but
Love. If you think me worthy of your friendship, sir, be assured, that there is no instance in which I should rate your friendship so highly.
Ster. Psha! psha! that's another thing, you know. Where money or interest is concerned, friendsnip is quite vut of the question,
Love. But where the happiness of a daughter is at stake; you wou'd not scruple, sure, to sacrifice a little to her in: clinations,