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Sir Rob. Perhaps I myself am. a facrifice to thofe very arts you have recommended fo warmly. But there the mischief shall end. Men may suffer from my calamities, but they never shall by my crimes.
[Exit. Pil. Did you ever meet with such a squeamish old fool? what could he mean by fending for us?
Ref. Who can tell ? his head's turn'd, I suppose.
Pil. I thought we had him fure; but how nimbly he has slipp'd through our fingers !
Ref. Necessity will soon bring him back to our hook. He is shy for the present, but I warrant he will bite bye and bye.
Pil. Or we shall lose a capital prize.
Ref. Indeed, should his friends interposes and matters be compounded without us.
Pil. That I have a sure way to prevent. Before an hour is past, I will tear such a rent in his robe, as I defy all the bocchers in Europe to mend.
Ref. By what means ?
Pil. I know he is in the receipt of some government money; I will take care to saddle him with an extent.
Ref. That will do.
Pil. I shall only just go and take out a commillion against five macaronies, who are joint annuitants to a couple of Jews.
Ref. But how can you lug them into a stature? they are no dealers you know.
Pil. No dealers? yes, but they are.
Enter Lady Riscounter, and Sir Janses Biddulph.
Lady Risc. If you will walk in, Sir James, Sir Robert is a little busy at present, but he will wait upon you directly.
Sir James. I have no call, Madam, that prevents my attending his leisure.
Lady Risc. I fear the design of this visit; Sir James, is of a different nature from those we have lately received.
Sir James. I came, Madam, to offer my aid in detecting and punishing an infamous calumny that has made its way to the publick, this morning.
Lady Rifc. But reports of this kind, when despised and neglected, gradually die of themselves. It is a most unlucky affair, I confefs.
Sir James. Unlucky! most false and atrocious : I hope, Madam, we shall be able to discover its author.
Lady Risc. As to that, it is scarce worth the enquiry
Sir James. How, Madam!
Lady Rifc. We have family reasons, Sir James, for wishing to draw a veil over
Sir James. A veil! I am astonish'd, Lady Riscounter!
Lady Risc. The loss of your alliance, indeed, which now we dare neither expect, nor desire, has mortified us all not a little. If any other means could be found to form a connection between us, and a person of your merit and rank, there is nothing, I am sure, I should so ardently wish.
Sir James. Your ladyship is most exceedingly kind.
Lady Risc. I hope the whole family, especially myself and daughter, are not, through the error of one, to be punished with the loss of your friendship.
Sir James. You do me infinite honour.
Lady Risc. Indeed, my Lucy, upon this occasion, I felt chiefly for you ; for though perhaps not so imposing and specious, as the girl whose lapse we lament, she has great goodness of heart, and a proper sense of your worth.
Sir James. Miss Lucy is most prodigiously-
Lady Risc. But Sir Robert's door opens, and as my presence may not be so proper upon this occation, I take my leave, with the hopes of soon receiving a visita
Sir James. I shall be happy, Madam, in seizing every occasion-your ladyship's-[Exit Lady Riscounter.] What can be the meaning of this? She seems to confirm and credit the infamous story. Sir Robert, I suppose, will ex
Enter Sir Robert.
Sir Rob. Sir James, I scarce know how to accost you ; but the confusion I feel at the unhappy cause of your visit.
Sir James. Indeed, Sir Robert, I own myself greatly perplex’d. I cnter'd your house, full of the warmest resentment, and prepar'd to take every active part in my power ; but your Jady has dropp'd some hints, as if you wish'd to fifle all further enquiry. Pray, Sir Robert,
be candid and open. This, Sir, I think, I have a right to demand.
Sir Rob. Doubtless. Nor do I wish to conceal : there is room for suspicion," I own; so far Lady Riscounter is right; but yet, Lydia
Sir James. You have then seen her, Sir Robert?
Sir Rob. Not ten ininutes ago. Her furprise seem'd so sincere, and fo artless, and
Sir James. Without doubt
Sir Rob. And such strong marks of truth, both in her words, and her looks, that I confefs -perhaps it was a fatherly weakness, I could not help giving credit to all that she laid.
Sir James. You did her but justice, I am sure. I will pawn my life upon her honour and faith.
Sir Rob. But yet how to reconcile—for, Sir James, I will be impartial; some accounts I have had
Sir James. Time can only do that. Deeplaid designs are not discovered at once. If we can but get at the clue. And what steps have you taken ? have you been, or sent to the printer's?
Sir Rob. No. I did think of going, but my lady persuaded me, that the step would be wrong.
Sir James. For which she had very good reasons, no doubt. Will you give me leave to accompany you thither?
Sir Rob. If you think it right.
Sir James. The very first thing you should do.
Sir Rob. But should not we consult
lady about it?
Sir James. The very last thing you should do.
Sir Rob. And why fo?
Sir James. I must beg to conceal my reasons at present. I too, have my suspicions, Sir Robert.
Sir Rob. You have ?
Sir James. Which I fancy you will soon find to be better founded than those of
Sir Rob. Not unlikely, Sir James.
Sir James. Come, Sir, my chariot is ready. Sir Rob. I attend you, Sir James.
END OF THE SECOND ACT,