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To Olivia, my daughter as I took her to be ; but who the devil she is, or whose daughter she is, I know no more than the man in the moon.
Sir William. Then, Sir, I can inform you ; and, though a stranger, yet you shall find me a friend to your family : it will be enough, at present, to assure you, that both in point of birth and fortune, the young lady is at least your son's equal. Being left by her father, Sir James Woodville
Sir James Woodville ! what, of the West?
Sir William. Being left by him I say, to the care of a mercenary wretch, whose only aim was to secure her fortune to himself, she was sent to France, under pretence of education; and there every art was tried to fix her for life in a convent, contrary to her inclinations. 0 this I was informed upon my arrival at Paris; and, as I had been once her father's friend, I did all in my power to frustrate her guardian's base intentions. I had even meditated to rescue her from his authority, when your son stept in with more pleasing violence, gave her liberty, and you a daughter.
Croaker. But I intend to have a daughter of my own chusing, Sir. A young lady, Sir, whose fortune, by my interest, with those who have interest, will be double what my son has a right to expect. Do you know Mr. Lofty, Sir ?
Sir William, Yes, Sir; and know that you are deceived in him. But step this way, and I'll convince you.
(Croaker and Sir William seem to confer.
Honeywood. Obstinate man, still to persist in his outrage! insulted by him, despised by all, I now begin to grow contemptible, even to myself. How have I sunk by too great an assiduity to please! How have I overtaxed all my abilities, lest the approbation of a single fool should escape me! But all is now over; I have survived my reputation, my fortune, my friendships, and nothing remains henceforward for me but solitude and repentance.
Miss Richland. Is it true, Mr. Honeywood, that you are setting off, without taking leave of your friends? The report is, that you are quitting England. Can it be?
Honeywood. Yes, madam ; and though I am so unhappy as to have fallen under your displeasure, yet, thank Heaven, I leave you to happiness; to one who loves you, and deserves your love; to one who has power to procure you affluence, and generosity to improve your enjoyment of it.
And are you sure, Sir, that the gentleman you mean is what you describe him?
Honeywood. I have the best assurances of it, his serving me. He does indeed deserve the highest happiness, and that is in your power to confer. As for me, weak and wavering as I have been, obliged by all, and incapable of serving any, what happiness can I find but in solitude? What hope but in being forgotten?
A thousand ! to live among friends that esteem you, whose happiness it will be to e permitted to oblige you.
Honeywood. No, madam, my resolution is fixed. Inferiority among strangers is easy ; but among those that once were equals, insupportable. Nay, to shew you how far my resolution can go,
I can now speak with calmness of my former follies, my vanity, my dissipation, my weakness. I will even confess, that, among the number of my other presumptions, I had the insolence to think of loving you. Yes, madam, while I was pleading the passion of another, my heart was tortur'd with its own. But it is over, it was unwolthy our friendship, and let it be forgotten.
You amaze me !
Honeywood. But you'll forgive it, I know you will; since the confession should not have come from me even now, but to convince you of the sincerity of my intention of-never mentioning it more.
Lofty. Is the coast clear? None but friends. I have followed you here with a trifling piece of intelligence ; but it goes no farther : things are not yet ripe for a discovery. I have spirits working at a certain board; your affair at the treasury will be done in less thana thousand years. Mum!
Miss Richland. Sooner, Sir, I should hope.
Lofty. Why, yes, I believe it may, if it falls into proper hands, that know where to push, and where to parry; that know how the land lies-eh, Honeywood !
It has fallen into yours.
Lofty. Well, to keep you no longer in suspense, your thing is done. It is done, I say that's all. I have just had assurances from Lord Neverout, that the claim has been examined, and found admissible. Quietus is the word, madam.
Honeywood. But how! his lordship has been at Newmarket these ten days.
Lofty. Indeed! Then Sir Gilbert Goose must have been most damnably mistaken. I had it of him. Vol. II.
Miss Richland. He! why Sir Gilbert and his family have been in the country this month.
-Sir Gilbert's letter did come to me from Newmarket, so that he must have met his lordship there; and so it came about. I have his letter about me; I'll read it to you. taking out a large bundle.) That's from Paoli of Corsica, that from the marquis of Squilachi.—Have you a mind to see a letter from Count Poniatowski, now king of Poland-Honest Pon- Searching.) 0, Sir, what are you here too? I'll tell you what, honest friend, if you have not absolutely delivered my letter to Sir William Honeywood, you may return it. The thing will do without him.
Sir William. Sir, I have delivered it; and must inform you, it was received with the most mortifying contempt.
Lofty. Let him go on, let him go on, I say. You'll find it come to something presently,
Sir William. Yes, Sir, I believe you'll be amazed, if after waiting some time in the ante-chamber, after being surveyed with insolent curiosity by the passing servants, I was at last assured, that Sir William Honeywood knew no such person, and I must certainly have been imposed upon.