« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
if he wants more money, as he certainly will, let him have children by my daughter or no, I shall have his whole estate in a pet for the benefit of my family. Well; thus it is, that the children of citizens, who have acquired fortunes, prove persons of fashion ; and thus it is, that persons of fashion, who have ruined their fortunes, reduce the next generation to cits.
BELCOUR AND STOCKWELL.
Stock. Mr. Belcour, I am rejoiced to see you; you are welcome to England.
Bel. I thank you heartily, good Mr. Stockwell; you and I have long conversed at a distance; now we are met, and the pleasure this meeting gives me, amply compensates for the perils I have run through in accomplishing it.
Stock. What perils, Mr. Belcour? I could not have thought you would have met a bad passage at this time o’year.
Bel. Nor did we: courier-like, we came posting to your shores upon the pinions of the swiftest gales that ever blew; it is upon English ground all my difficulties have arisen ; it is the passage from the river side I complain of.
Stock. Ay, indeed! What obstructions can you have met between this and the river side ?
Bel. Innumerable! Your town's as full of defiles as the island of Corsica ; and, I believe, they are as obstinately defended; so much hurry, bustle, and confusion, on your quays; so many sugar-casks, porter-butts, and commoncouncil men in your streets; that unless a man marched with artillery in his front, it is more than the labour of a Hercules can effect, to make any tolerable way through your town.
Stock. I am sorry you have been so incommoded. Bel. Why, faith, it was all my own fault; accustomed to a land of slaves, and out of patience with the whole tribe of customhouse extortioners, boatmen, tidewaiters, and water
bailiffs, that beset me on all sides, worse than a swarm of moschettoes. I proceeded a little too roughly to brush them away with my rattan; the sturdy rogues took this in dudgeon, and beginning to rebel, the mob chose different sides, and a furious scuffle ensued; in the course of which my person and apparel suffered so much, that I was obliged to step into the first tavern to refit, before I could make my approaches in any decent trim.
Stock. Well, Mr. Belcour, it is a rough sample you have had of my countrymen's spirit; but, I trust, you will not think the worse of them for it.
Bel. Not at all; not at all; I like them the better: were I only a visitor, I might, perhaps, wish them a little more tractable ; but as a fellow-subject, and a sharer in their freedom, I applaud tlieir spirit, though I feel the effect of it in every bone in my skin.-Well, Mr. Stockwell, for the first time in my life bere. am I in England; at the fountain-head of pleasure, in the land of beauty, of arts, and elegancies. My happy stars have given me a good estate, and the conspiring winds have blown me hither to spend it.
Stock. To use it, not to waste it, I should hope ; to treat it, Mr. Belcour, not as a vassal, over whom you have a wanton despotic power; but as a subject, which you are bound to govern with a temperate and restrained authority.
Bel. True, Sir; most truly said ; mine's a commission, not a right: I am the offspring of distress, and every child of sorrow is my brother. While I have hands to hold, therefore, I will hold them open to mankind : but, Sir, my passions are my masters; they take me where they will; and oftentimes they leave to reason and virtue nothing but my wishes and my sighs.
Stock. Come, come, the man who can accuse, corrects himself.
Bel. Ah! that is an office I am weary of ; I wish a friend would take it up: I would to Heaven you had leisure for the employ! but, did you drive a trade to the four corners of the world, you would not find the task so toilsome as to keep me free from faults.
Stock. Well, I am not discouraged, this candour tells me I should not have the fault of self-conceit to combat ; that, at least, is not among the number.
Bd. No; if I knew that man on earth, who thought more humbly of me than I do of myself, I would take up his opinion, and forego my own.
Stock. And, were I to choose a pupil, it should be one of your complexion; so if you will come along with me, we will agree upon your admission, and enter upon a course of lectures directly. Bel. With all
LORD EUSTACE AND FRAMPTON.
Ld. Eust. Well, my dear Frampton, have you secured the letters ?
Fram. Yes, my lord; for their rightful owners.
Ld. Eust. As to the matter of property, Frampton, we will not dispute much about that." Necessity, you know, may sometimes render a trespass excusable.
Fram. I am not casuist sufficient to answer you upon that subject; but this I know, that you have already trespassed against the laws of hospitality and honour, in your conduct toward sir William Evans and his daughter-And, as your friend and counsellor both, I would advise you, to think seriously of repairing the injuries you have committed, and not increase your offence by a farther violation.
Ld. Eust. It is actually a pity you were not bred to the bar, Ned; but I have only a moment to stay, and am all impatience to know if there be a letter from Langwood, and
what he says.
Fram. Í shall never be able to afford you the least information upon that subject, my lord.
Ld. Eust. Surely I do not understand you. You said you had secured the letters—Have you not read them?
Fram. You have a right, and none but you, to ask me such a question. My weak compliance with your first proposal relative to these letters warrants your thinking so meanly of me. But know, my lord, that though my personal affection for you, joined to my unhappy circumstances,
may have betrayed me to actions unworthy of myself, I never can forget, that there is a barrier fixed before the extreme of baseness, which honour will not let me pass.
Ld. Eust. You will give me leave to tell you, Mr. Frampton, that where I lead, I think you need not halt.
Fram. You will pardon me, my lord; the consciousness of another man's errours can never be a justification for our own; and poor indeed must that wretch be, who can be satisfied with the negative merit of not being the worst man he knows.
Ld. Eust. If this discourse were uttered in a conventicle, it might have it's effect, by setting the congregation to sleep.
Fram. It is rather meant to rouse than lull sbip.
Ld. Eust. No matter what it is meant for; give me the letters, Mr. Frampton.
Fram. Yet, excuse me. I could as soon think of arming a madman's hand against his own life, as suffer you to be guilty of a crime, that will for ever wound your honour.
Ld. Eust. I shall not come to you to heal the wound; your medicines are too rough and coarse for me.
Fram. The soft poison of flattery might, perhaps, please
Ld. Eust. Your conscience may, probably, have as much need of palliatives, as mine, Mr. Frampton; as I am pretty well convinced, that your course of life has not been more regular than my own.
Fram. With true contrition, my lord, I confess part of your sarcasm to be just. Pleasure was the object of my pursuit : and pleasure I obtained, at the expense both of health and fortune: but yet, my lord, I broke not in upon the peace of others; the laws of hospitality I never violated; nor did I ever seek to injure or seduce the wife or daughter of my friend.
Ld. Eust. I care not what you did; give me the letters.
Fram. I have no right to keep, and therefore shall surrender them, though with the utmost reluctance : but, by our former friendship, I entreat you not to open
them. Ld. Eust. That
you have forfeited.
Since it is not in my power to prevent your committing an errour, which you ought for ever to repent of, I will not be a witness of it. There are the letters.
-L4. Eust. You may, perhaps, have cause to repent your present conduct, Mr. Frampton, as much as I do our past attachment.
Fram. Rather than hold your friendship upon such terms, 1 resign it for ever. Farewell, my lord.
Reenter FRAMPTON. Fram. Ill-treated as I have been, my lord, I find it impossible to leave you surrounded by difficulties.
Ld. Eust. That sentiment should have operated sooner, Mr. Frampton. Recollection is seldom of use to our friends, though it may sometimes be serviceable to ourselves.
Fram. Take advantage of your own expressions, my lord, and recollect yourself. Born and educated, as I have been, a gentleman, how have you injured both yourself and me, by admitting and uniting, in the same confidence, your rascally servant!
Ld. Eust. The exigency of my situation is a sufficient excuse to myself, and ought to have been so to the man who called himself my friend.
Fram. Have a care, my lord, of uttering the least doubt upon that subject; for could I think you once mean enough to suspect the sincerity of iny attachinent to you, it must vanish at that instant:
Ld. Eust. The proofs of your regard have been rather painful of late, Mr. Frampton. Fram. When I see my friend
verge cipice, is that a time for compliment ? Shall I not rudely rush forward and drag him from it? Just in that state you are at present, and I will strive to save you. languish in a noble heart, and suffer her rival, Vice, to usurp her power; hut Baseness must not enter, or she flies for ever. The man who has forfeited his own esteem thinks all the world has the same consciousness, and therefore is, what he deserves to be, a wretch.
Ld. Eust. Oh, Frampton! you have lodged a dagger in my heart! Fram. No, my dear Eustace, I have saved
from one, from your own reproaches, by preventing your being
of a pre