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sidering the consequences, may have inserted this malicious article, by way of pleasantry, as a kind of jest upon James.
Sir Rob. Nothing fo probable, Lady Rifcounter : this town swarms with such forward, frivolous puppies.
Ser. Sir, he is not within.
Lady Risc. No, my dear, perhaps only gone out with some bills for acceptance.
Sir Rob. Like enough. When will he be back?
Ser. The rest of the clerks have not seen him to-day.
Sir Rob. Not seen him to-day? what are all of them blind then ?
Lady Risc. Nay, Sir Robert, perliaps he has not been in the shop. Ser. So they say.
[Exit. Sir Rob. Then they could not fee him, indeed. Not in the shop? nay, then the businefs is clear; guilt, guilt, fight is full as bad as confeflion,
Lady Risc. It does look suspicious, I own ; but then nothing ill can happen without your daughter's concurrence, and you have not the least doubt of her.
Sir Rob. Doubt! hey!
Lady Risc. And, in fact, have nothing to fear.
Sir Rob. Fear! doubt! I hope your Ladyfhip has no more doubts than myself.
Lady Lady Rifc. Why should I? how does this affair concern me?
Sir Rob. As it concerns me, Lady Riscounter; do you suppose I should have been indifferent, if such a charge had fallen on Lucy?
Lady Risc. Such a charge can never fall upon my daughter Lucy.
Sir Rob. Full as soon as on my daughter Lydia.
Lody Risc. I am not, Sir Robert, so certain of that.
Sir Rob. Lady Riscounter, you begin to alarm me; you know more of this matter than you are willing to own.
Lady Rifc. Whatever I know, Sir Robert, I am resolved not to communicate.
Sir Rob. And why not?
Lady Risc. Whatever a mother-in-law says, the good-natured world always imputes to malice.
Sir Rob. Generally the case, I must own. But to me you may, nay, you ought to reveal.
Lady Risc. Since you are so earnest, I own fome rumours have reach'd me.
Sir Rob. Of what kind ?
Lady Risc. You will pardon me there : if you will examine your daughter's maid, Kitty; she, I am told, can satisfy all your enquiries.
Sir Rob. An artful baggage, I know. For heaven's fake, my dear, send her hither directly. Lady Rifc. But not the least mention of me.
[Exit. Sir Rob. Very well, I never observ'd the least correspondence between Lydia and James: but what of that? they would take good care, I warrant, to conceal it from me.
Enter Kitty. So, I find you were the go-between, the little infamous agent in this curs'd
Kitty. Sir Robert
Sir Rob. You must have been a volunteer ; I am sure, James was not able to bribe you, for he is as poor as a pillag'd black in Bengal.
Kitty. Really, Sir, I don't understand you.
Sir Rob. You mean, hussey, you won't : Come, you may as well tell ne all the particulars concerning Lydia and James; with the main article, you see I am already acquainted.
Kitty. Don't press me, pray Sir; I would rather die than say any thing to hurt my young mistress. Cries)
Sir Rob. Nay, pr’ythee, Kitty, don't cry, you are a good girl, and love my daughter, 'I see.
Kitty. And not without reason, for she has been the kindert, beit
Sir Kcb. Nay, till now, she was ever an amiable girl; but here, child, you will do hér a capital service.
Kitty. Indeed, Sir.
Sir Rob. For if her affections are fix'd upon James, tho' I may lament, I shall not oppose him.
Kitty. Since that is the case, I can't say, but early one morning, hearing a noise in Miss Lydia's apartment, I stepp'd down to see what was the matter.
Sir Rob. Well ?
Kitty. Just as I got at the foot of the stairs, , her door open'd, and out came Mr. James.
Sir Rob. Did he? and why did not you alarm the house and seize the villain directly?
Kitty. That, Sir, would have ruined my Lady's reputation at once.
Sir Rob. True enough, you did wisely. Did the fellow perceive you?
Kitty. Yes, Sir, and made me a sign to be silent.
Sir Rob. I don't doubt it.
Kitty. Indeed, he came to me two hours after, told me he had a passion for Miss, never could get an opportunity of disclosing his mind, and desperate, at finding his hopes on the point of being ruin’d, he had stolen that morning into her chamber, humbly, to implore her compassion and pity.
Sir Rob. He chose a fine time and place for the purpose.
Kitty. On his knees he desired, I would not disclose to any mortal what I had seen.
Sir Rob. Which you should not have done.
Kitty. He was too late in his caution; not five minutes before I had told it to Mrs. Hemshot, Miss Lucy's maid.
Sir Rob. No wonder then the story is public.
Kitty. I am certain sure, my young Mistress is innocent, for Mr. James vowed and declared he was all upon honour.
Sir Rob. The malice of mankind will never be brought to believe it; you may go. [Exit Kitty.] So the girl's reputation is gone, and a retreat from the world the only choice that is left her: all my calamities are come upon me at once; my child ruin'd, and from the general distress, my own fame and fortune on the brink of destruction: the attorney and
broker will be instantly here to contrive means for propping my tottering credit. Am I in a condition to think of expedients, or to listen
Enter Servant. Serv. A card, Sir.
[Exit, Sir Rob. [Reads.] “Sir James Biddulph's “ compliments to Sir Robert Riscounter, and « if convenient will take the liberty to wait on « him this morning.” Prepar'd, as I expected, our misfortunes have reach'd him, and he comes to break off the match; he is not to be blam'd. This rash, inconsiderate-I'll to her, and if the has the least atom of feelling, I'll-And yet, how could the poor girl help his intrusion ? the might be ignorant; and yet the fellow without encouragement, would never have dared to Yet the impudence of some men is amazing, and so indeed is the folly of women: the original fault must be his. But her after-compliance makes her equally guilty, for had the dif. approv’d, she would have reveal'd the fact to her mother or me. That, that, condemns her at once ; I will to her directly, and find out the fuil extent of her guilt.
END OF THE FIRST ACT.