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he is as old as one of the patriarchs, with his beard down to his breeches; they can never mean him.
Lady Risc. Poo! that's too absurd to suppose: but stay, are there no other distinguishing marks ? um, um,"JS, clerk of her father's.” I own that passage escaped me.
Sir Rob. Hey! what did you say ? and me, too, one of my clerks! who can that be? J-s, the two letters belonging to a sur
Lady Risc. So I should imagine.
Sir Rob. An impudent, eternal, damn'd son of a bitch! this is the consequence of taking beggars into your bofoin.
Lady Risc. But, Sir Robert
Sir Rob. Don't mention it, Madam; was not he the thirteenth fon of a itary'd Curate in Effex, ragged as their colts, and knew about as much as one of their calves did not I feed, cloath, take him into my house, treat him as if he had been-and, in return, the villian to dishonour my child !
Lady Risc. You are too impatient, Sir Robert; why should you fix all at once upon James? I have observed the lad's behaviour to be discreet and modeft; nay, indeed, rather shy and reserv’d.
Sir Rob. That is true enough, I must own. I never remark'd the boy to be presumptuous and forward, like some of our pert prigs of the city, but, as your la:lyship observes, rather
bashful and shy. No, no, it can never be him.
Lady Risc. Not but I have known people with that specious outside appearance, carry minds as malignant and daring-
Sir Rob. The cursedest sy dogs upon earth: hypocrisy is the finest veil for a villian. I always suspected there was something bad behind his folemn sanctified look: I don't believe the scoundrel ever swore an oath since he came into the house. There is a villian for you, my dear.
Lady Risc. Nay, but my dear, let us conclude nothing rafhly. Suppose you send for James up, and fift him a little ?
Sir Rob. That may’nt be amniss—who's there?
Lady Risc. Not that I believe he will be ever brought to confess.
Sir Rob. He! no, no, curse him. Him! you will never catch him at that: you might as well hope to extract sugar from falt. I may as well let him alone. Lady Risc. Let us see him, however.
Enter a Servant. Sir Rob. True. Let James know that I want him, but don't tell the fellow I am angry, and fo get him to skulk out of the way.
Ser. I did not know that your worship was angry, 'till you told me your
Sir Rob. I tell you! my dear, did I say any such thing? You prying, impertinent Go, and do as you are bid. [Exit Servant.
Lady Risc. I don't think it unlikely, Sir Robert, but some idle acquaintance, without con
fidering fidering the consequences, may have inserted this malicious article, by way of pleasantry, as a kind of jeft upon James.
Sir Rob. Nothing to probable, Lady Rifcounter: this town fwarms 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 Rifc. Nay, Sir Robert, perhaps he has not been in the shop. Ser. So they say.
[Exit. Sir Rob. Then they could not see him, indeed. Not in the shop? nay, then the businets is clear; guilt, guilt, fight is full as bad as confeffion.
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 Risc. 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.
Lady Rifc. I am not, Sir Robert, fo 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 Risc. Whatever I know, Sir Robert, I am resolved not to cominunicate.
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 some rumours have reach'd me.
Sir Rob. Of what kind ?
Lady Risc. You will pardon me there: ir you will examine your daughter's maid, Kitty; The, I am told, can satisfy all your enquiries.
Sir Rob. An ariful baggage, I know. For heaven's fake, my dear, send her hither directly. Lady Risc. 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 froin 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 me 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 kindeft, best
Sir Rob. Nay, till now, she was ever an ainiable girl; but here, child, you will do her 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.