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Just. F. I do; he's a house-breaker. We shall all have our throats cut before morning. He'll pay me the next visit; but I'll be prepared for him — I'll certainly be prepared for him.
Sparr. Why, what the devil ails you ? An impudent half-witted fellow pays me a strange visit, and you're as much frightened as if the French were landed.
Just. F. French — you are right — I did'nt think of that; he's a spy; he went to take an inventory of your effects: what became of him — which way went he? - when -- how-where--why
Sparr. Zounds! I've no patience with you. Where's your daughter?
Just. F. I'll send her; I'll go and send her; I'lldon't you think he look'd like a spy?
Sparr. Where's your daughter?
Just. F. I'll go and send her; and do now, when she comes, don't stand shilly shally, make the most of your time -- do make the most of your time.
Sparr. Let me alone.
Just. F. You know I shall be in an agitation till the affair is settled. Press her home, now do press her home; they're all alike, they only take a little pressing
Sparr. I beg your pardon, some of them take a great deal.
Just. F. Well, well, I'll go and send her — I'll go and send her; and do make the most of your time. Mercy on us, I shan't sleep till this fellow's taken.
(Aside, and Exit. Sparr. (solus.) My friend Fidget is like the magnetic needle, he never does any thing but tremble. His daughter's a fine girl though : something mysterious about her, too: she has an uncommon aversion to all kinds of exercise. Ask her to ride, riding doesn't agree with her; to dance -- she abhors dancing. I begin to suspect she has clumsy legs, for now I recollect, I could never prevail upon her to let me help her over a style: then she wears her petticoats at least six inches longer than the fashion: something wrong, I'm afraid. But she comes.
Enter Sophia. Soph. I wait on you, sir, in obedience to my father's commands.
Sparr. And why not, loveliest of women, in obedience to your own wishes? Your father has, no doubt, informed you of my proposals; and may I hope that, forgetting your former passion
Soph. I will be sincere, sir: that I once loved Mr. Constant 'twould be uncandid to deny ; but if you knew how he treated me
Sparr. Bad enough, I dare say; he almost broke his father's heart. The old gentleman would have cut him off from the entail of the estate, if he could ; but de mortuis, you know — we won't disturb the ashes of the dead. And may I then presume
Soph. Oh, sir, pardon my confusion, whilst I confess, the gallantry of your air and manner — Sparr. Something smart about me, certainly.
(Aside.) Soph. The generosity of your proposals
Sparr. A thousand a year jointure, and an handsome equipage.
Soph. Have stolen so imperceptibly upon my heart —
Sparr. Speak on, thou enchantress! The wax is warm, and now's the time to fix the impression.
(Aside.) Soph. That it owns you for its lawful sovereign. Sparr. I shall expire with rapture. Soph. Oh, sir, there begins my misery. Sparr. The devil it does !
Soph. I shall never be able to reveal it: yet how can I deceive one who has acted so noble a part ? Sparr. What means my angel ?
Soph. Nay, sir, call me not angel.
Sparr. Not an angel? Isn't every thing about you heavenly? Your eyes, constellations! Your lips, dropping manna! And your whole shape formed and turned by the Graces and the Loves! I should like to see her legs though.
(Aside.) Soph. Oh, no, sir; for — how shall I reveal it - I never can reveal it — I shall die with confusion.
Sparr. And I with suspence.
Soph. Then you must know, sir I shall never be able to tell it, if you look me in the face.
Sparr. Well, you'll excuse me for turning my back upon you. (Turns his chair round.)
Soph. Certainly. .
Soph. You know the pear tree, sir, at the bottom of our garden?
Sparr. Very well.
Soph. One day I climb'd it, to get some of the green fruit, but happening to reach too far, I fell down, and broke my right leg.
Sparr. So, so: a surgeon was called in of course? Soph. Yes, sir, for amputation became necessary. Sparr. What, was it cut off?
Soph. Yes, sir, and I had another made of cork.
Soph. Thinking you might find it out if we were married
Sparr. Most probably.
Soph. I thought it best to reveal it at once. And now, sir, let me entreat you, by the affection you bear me, to conceal your knowledge of this event from my father, whilst I retire to recover from my confusion.
[Exit. Sparr. (solus.) A cork leg! So this is the mystery of the long petticoats. Any thing else might have been overlooked, but I never heard of a man's marrying a woman with a cork leg; there's no precedent for it, and I never do any thing without a precedent. Though I am but a limb of the law myself, I must have a wife complete in all her branches. Here comes that old rogue her father; I don't wonder he was in such a hurry for the match. I'll banter him.
Enter the Justice. Just. F. Well, shall I give you joy -- shall I give you joy? Have you struck her ?
Sparr. Struck her — yes, and she has struck me too ? Just. F. What, with admiration ?