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« Or, a gentleman, did wed
Thus gave at once the bards of Greece
The poets now take diff'rent ways :
Yet Farce and Title, one to t'other
to serve you ; my brother knew that he might command my service-Be comforted, I beseech you, Madam.
Flo. You cannot wonder, Madam, that I fhould be fhocked, extremely shocked, at the cruel neceffity of appearing before you in so indelicate a disguise.
Em. Indeed you need not : there is something in your manner, which convinces me, that
action of your life carries its apology along with it ; though I will not venture to inquire into the particulars of your story till your mind is more at ease.
Flo. Alas, Madam, it is my interest to make you ac- quainted with my story. I am the daughter of Monsieur Florival, a French phyfician, in the island of Belleille. An English officer, who had been desperately wounded, was, after the capitulation, for the sake of due attend-ance, taken into my father's house; and as I, in the very early part of my life, had refided in England, he took some pleasure in my conversation. In a word, he won my affections, and asked me of my father in mar... riage : but he, alas! too much influenced by the narrow prejudices so common between the two nations, forbad the officer his house, but not before we were, by: the moft folemn engagements, fecretly contracted to each other.
Em. May I ask the officer's name?
Flo. Excuse me, Madam. Till I see or hear from bim once more, my prudence, vanity, or call it what you will, will scarce suffer me to mention it. Your broen ther, indeed, is acquainted with
Em. I beg your pardon-I hope, however, you have no reason to think yourself neglected or forgot-ten? - Flo. Oh no; far from it. He was foon, recalled by. orders from England; and on my father's pressing me . to consent to another match, my paffion- -I blush to own it-transported me so far, as to depart abruptly. from Belleiste. I came over in an English fhip to Portsmouth, where I expected, according to letters he had contrived to fend me, to find the officer. But, judge of my disappointment, when I learnt that he embarked but three days before for the fiege of the Havannah.
Em. The Havannah !--You touch me nearlyPray go on. Flo. In a frange kingdon-alone--and a woman...
what could I do? In order to defeat inquiries after me, I disguised myself in this habit, and mixt with the officers of the place ; but your brother foon discovered my uneasiness, and saw through my disguise. I frankly confessed to him every particular of 'my story : in consequence of which, he has thus generously recommended me to your protection.
Em. And you may depend on my friendship Your fituation affects me ftrangely.
Flo. Oh, Madam, it is impossible to tell you half its miseries ; especially fince your brother has convinced me, that I am so liable to be discovered.
Em. You shall throw off that dress as soon as possible, and then I will take you into the house with me and my fifter - In the mean time, let me see you every day-every hour. I shall not be afraid that your visits will affect my reputation. Flo. You are too good to me.
[Weeping Em. Nay, this is too much. It overcomes me. Pray be cheerful !
Fl. I humbly take my leave.
[Exit. Em. (alone) Poor woman! I' thought my own uncasiness almost insupportable ; and yet how much must her anxiety exceed mine!
Enter Bell. So, fister ! I met your fine gentleman. Upon my word, the young spark must be a favourite You have had a téte-a-téte of above balf an hour together.
Em. How d’ye like him?
Bell. Not at all : a soft lady-like gentleman, with a white hand, a mincing step, and a smooth chin. Where does this pretty master come from?
Em. From my brother. Bell. Who is he? Em. A present to you. Bell. A esent to me! What d'ye mean? Em. Why, did not my brother promise to take care of you before he went abroad? Bell. Well! and what then?
If I was
En. What then! Why, he has taken care of
you fent you a pretty fellow for a husband-Could he poffibly take better care of you?
Bell. A husband !-a puppet, a doll, a-
Bell. A fine soldier, indeed!—I can't bear to see a. red coat cover any thing but a man, sifter.-Give me a foldier, that looks as if he cou'd love me and protect me; ay, and tame me too, if I deserv'd it.to have this thing for a husband, I wou'd set him at the top of my India-cabinet with the China figures, and bid the maid take care she did not break him. Em. Well, well; if this is the case, I don't know
brother will say to you. Here's his letter! read it, and send him an answer yourself.
Bell. (reads.) “ Dear sister, the bearer of this letter “ is a lady!”-So, so ! your servant, madam !--and your's too, fifter !-" whose case is truely compassionate, " and whom I most earnestly recommend to your pro“ tection,”-Um-um-um-" take care of her”. Um-um-um—" not too many questions”-Um-um um—“in town in a few days.". -I'll be whipt now, if this is not some mistress of his.
En. No, no, Bell, I know her whole hiftory. It is quite a little novel. She is a Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Florival, run away from her father at Belleifle, and dying for an English gentleman at the Havannah.
Bel. The Havannah !. Not for Colonel Tamper, I hope, fifter.
Em. If Colonel Tamper had been at the taking of Belleille too, I thould have been frighted out of my
wits about it.
Bel. Suppose I should bring you some news of him?
your visitor was here, there
came a card from Major Belford ; and I took the liberty of sending an answer to it.
Em. Let me see it! Dear Bell, let me see it!
defiring to have the honour of waiting on you any “ time this morning from Colonel Tamper."
Em. From Colonel Tamper!-What can this mean? I am ready to fink with fear-Why does he not come himself?
Bell. He's not arrived not come to town yet, I suppose.
Em. Oh, Bell! I could suppose twenty things that terrify me to death.
Bell. I think now, such a message ought to put you quite out of your pain : he could not come from Colonel Tamper, if there was no such person in being.
Em. Ay, but suppose any accident should have happened to him! Heaven forbid! How unfortunate is it to doat upon a man, whose profession exposes him hourly to the risk of his life! Bell
. Lord, Emily, how can you torment yourself with such horrid imaginations ? Besides, should the worst come to the worst- it is but a lover loft; and that is a lofs easily repaired, you know.
Em. Go, you mad-cap! but you'll pay for all this one day, I warrant you. When you come' to be hear- . tily in for it yourself, Bell, you will know, that when a pure and disinterested passion fills the breast, when once a woman has set her heart upon a man, nothing in the world but that very man will ever make her happy.
Bell. I admire your setting your heart, as you call it, of all things. Your love, my dear Emily, is not so romantic. You pitch upon a man of figure and fortune, handsome, sensible, good-natured, and well-bred; of rank in life, and credit in his profession ; a man that half the women in town would pull caps for; and then you talk, like a fly prude, of your pure and disinterested pafsion.
Em. Why, then, I declare, if he had not a friend on earth, or a shilling in the world- --if he was as miserable as the utmost malice of ill fortune could make