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Sir Luke. Was it my fault? What could I do? Put yourself in my place; I must have been more, or less, than man to resist.
Serj. Your fault, sir Luke, no, no--you did but your duty—but as to my wife
Sir Luke. She's a diabolical fiend, I shall hate her as long as I live.
Serj. And I too.
Sir Luke. Only think of her forcing me, as it were with a sword at my breast, to play such a trick; you, my dear Serjeant, the best, truest friend I have in the world.
[Weeps.] Serj. [Weeping.) Dry your tears, dear sir Luke; I shall erer gratefully acknowledge your confidence in trusting me with the secret-(taking him forward.] But I think it might be as well kept from the rest of the world.
Sir Luke. My dear soul, do you think I would tell it to any mortal but you ? No, no, not to my brother himself-You are the only man upon earth I would trust.
Serj. Ten thousand thanks, my dear friend! sure there is no comfort, no balsam in life like a friend--but I shall make madam Circuit remember
Sir Luke. We neither of us ought to forgive her-were I you, I'd get a divorce.
Serj. So I will-provided you will promise not to marry her after.
Sir Luke. Me! I'll sooner be torn to pieces by wild horses-no, my dear friend, we will retire to my house in the country together, and there, in innocence and simplicity, feeding our pigs and pigeons, like Pyramus and Thisbe, we will live paragons of the age.
Serj. Agreed, we will be the whole earth to each other; for, as Shakespeare says,
“ The friend thou hast and his adoption tried Clasp to thy soul, and quit the world beside."
Sir Luke. Zounds, here comes madam Serjeant herself.
Enter Mrs. Circuit. Mrs. Circ. So, gentlemen! a sweet tète-à-tête you have been holding-but I know it all, not a syllable you have said has been lost.
Sir Luke. Then, I hope you have been well entertained, Mrs. Circuit.
Mrs. Circ. And you, you mean-spirited, dastardly wretch, to lend a patient ear to his infamous improbable tales, equally shameful both to you and me.
Serj. How madam ! have you the assurance
Mrs. Circ. Yes, sir, the assurance that innocence gives; there is not a soul, I thank heaven, that can lay the least soil, the least spot, on my virtue ; nor is there a man on earth but yourself would have sat and silently listen'd to the fictions and fables of this intemperate sot.
Serj. Why to be sure the knight is overtaken a little ; very near drunk.
Sir Luke. I hope he believes it is a lie. [Aside.]
Mrs. Circ. Do me instant justice on this defamer, this liar, or never more expect to see me in
Serj. I begin to find out the fraud, this is all a flam of the knight's.
Mrs. Circ. I'll drive this instant to a friend of mine in the Commons, and see if no satisfaction can be had, for blasting the reputation of a woman like me—and hark you, sir, what inducement, what devil could prompt?
Serj. Ay; what devil could prompt
Mrs. Circ. But I guess at your motive; you flatter'd yourself, that by marrying Charlotte, and discarding of me, you should engross all his affec, tions and
Serj. True, true---stop, my life, let me come at
him, a little : hark you, Mr. Knight, I begin to discover that you are a very sad dog.
Sir Luke. Et tu Brute !
Serj. Brute !—you'll find I am not the brute you would have me believe I have consider'd both sides of the question.
Sir Luke. Both sides of the question ?
Serj. Both: if your story is true, you are a scoundrel to debauch the wife of your friend, and if it is false, you are an infamous liar.
Sir Luke. "Well argued.
Serj. Troop. I tell you, and never again enter these walls-you have libelled my wife, and I will see you no more.
Sir Luke. Was there ever such a
Serj. March! and as to my daughter, I would as soon marry her to a forma pauperis client.
[Serjeant pushes sir Luke off. Mrs. Circ. Do you consider, Mr. Circuit, where you are pushing the fellow ?- That chamber is Charlotte's.
Enter sir Luke, Woodford, Charlotte, and Jack.
Sir Luke. Heyday! who the deuce have we here?-Pray walk in, my good folks—your servant, miss Charlotte ; your servant, Mr. What-d'ye-callum.-Mr. Serjeant, you need not trouble yourself to cater for miss ; your family you see can provide for themselves.
Serj. Heyday! What the deuce is all this ! Who are you, sir, and how came you here?
[To Woodford. Jack. It was I, father, that brought him. Serj. How, sirrah! Sir Luke. Well said, my young limb of the law.
Jack. Come, let us have none o'your—though I brought Mr. Woodford, you could not persuade me to do the same office for you—father, never stir if he did not make me the proffer, if I would let him into the house the night you was at Kingston, of a new pair of silk stockings, and to learn me a minuet.
Sir Luke. Me! I should never have got you to turn out your toes.
Jack. Ay, and moreover you made me push out my chest, and do so with my fingers, as if I was taking two pinches of snuff.
Sir Luke. You see, Mr. Serjeant, what a fondness I have for every twig of your family, Serj. I shall thank you hereafter-but from
you, Charlotte, I expected other guess
Char. When, sir, you hear this whole matter explain'd, you will acquit me, I am sure.
Woodf. Indeed, sir, I am wholly to blame ; my being here was as much a surprize upon miss Charlotte as Serj. · But now you are here, pray
Jack. O! father, I can acquaint you with that he wanted me to bring a love-letter to Charlotte, so I told him he might bring it himself, for that I would not do any such thing for never so muchi, for fear of offending of you.
Serj. You mended the matter indeed—but after all, who, and what are you?
Jack. It's the young gentleman that lives over our heads, to whom Mr. Fairplay is guardian.
Serj. Who, Woodford ?
Serj. And are you, young man, in a situation to think of a wife?
Woodf. Iam flattered, sir, that as justice is with me, I shall one day have no contemptible fortune to throw at her feet.
Serj. Justice is!—What significs justice --Is the law with you, you fool?
may be in
Woodf. With your help, sir, I should hope for their union, upon this occasion at least.
Serj. Well, sir, I shall re-consider your papers, and, if there are probable grounds, I duced to hear your proposals.
Woodf. Nay then, sir, the recovering my paternal possessions makes me anxious indeed Could I hope that the young lady's good wish would attend me!
Char. I have a father, and can have no will of my own.
Sir Luke. So then it seems poor Pil Garlick here is discarded at once.
Serj. Why, could you have the impudence, after what has happen'd, to hope that
Mrs. Circ. He has given wonderful proofs of his modesty.
Sir Luke. Be quiet, Mrs. Circuit.-Come, good folks, I will set all matters to rights in a minute ; and first, Mr. Serjeant, it becomes me to tell you, that I never intended to marry your daughter.
Serj. How! never !
Sir Luke. Never. She is a fine girl I allow; but would it now, Mr. Serjeant, have been honest in me, to have robb’d the whole sex of my person, and confin'd my favours to her?
Sir Luke. No! I was struck with the immorality of the thing; and therefore to make it impossible that you should ever give me your daughter, I invented the story I told you concerning Mrs. Circuit and me.
Sir Luke. Truth, upon my honour.--Your wife there will tell you the whole was a lie.
Serj. Nay, then indeed.-But with what face can I look up to my dear? I have injured her beyond the hopes of forgiveness. Would you, lovee, but pass an act of oblivion