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Strict. Oh, your servant, madam! Here, I have received a letter from Mr Bellamy, wherein he desires I would once more hear what he has to say. You know my sentiments; nay, so does he.

Jac. For Heaven's sake, consider, sir, this is no new affair, no sudden start of passion; we have known each other long. My father valued, and loved him; and, I am sure, were he alive, I should have his consent.

Strict. Don't tell me. Your father would not have you marry against his will; neither will I against mine: I am your father now.

Jac. And you take a fatherly care of me. Strict. I wish I had never had any thing to do with you.

Jac. You may easily get rid of the trouble. Strict. By listening, I suppose, to the young gentleman's proposals?

Jac. Which are very reasonable, in my opi


Strict. Oh, very modest ones truly! and a very modest gentleman he is, that proposes them! A fool, to expect a lady of thirty thousand pounds fortune, should, by the care and prudence of her guardian, be thrown away upon a young fellow not worth three hundred a-year! He thinks being in love is an excuse for this; but I am not in love: what does he think will excuse me?

Mrs Strict. Well; but, Mr Strictland, I think the gentleman should be heard.

Strict. Well, well; seven o'clock's the time, and, if the man has had the good fortune, since I saw him last, to persuade somebody or other to give him a better estate, I give him my consent, not else. His servant waits below: you may tell him I shall be at home.-[Erit JACINTHA. But where is your friend, your other half, all this while? I thought you could not have breathed a minute, without your Clarinda.

Mrs Strict. Why, the truth is, I was going to see what makes her keep her chamber so long.

Strict. Look ye, Mrs Strictland; you have been asking me for money this morning. In plain terms, not one shilling shall pass through these fingers, till you have cleared my house of this Clarinda.

Mrs Strict. How can her innocent gaiety have offended you? She is a woman of honour, and has as many good qualities

Strict. As women of honour generally have.— I know it, and therefore am uneasy.

Mrs Strict. But, sir

Strict. But, madam-Clarinda, nor e'er a rake of fashion in England, shall live in my family, to debauch it.

Mrs Strict. Sir, she treated me with so much civility in the country, that I thought I could not do less than invite her to spend as much time with me in town as her engagements would per

mit. I little imagined you could have been displeased at my having so agreeable a companion. Strict. There was a time, when I was company enough for leisure hours.

Mrs Strict. There was a time, when every word of mine was sure of meeting with a smile; but those happy days, I know not why, have long been over.

Strict. I cannot bear a rival, even of your own sex. I hate the very name of female friends.No two of you can ever be an hour by yourselves, but one or both are the worse for it.

Mrs Strict. Dear Mr Strictland-
Strict. This I know, and will not suffer.

Mrs Strict. It grieves me, sir, to see you so much in earnest: but, to convince you how willing I am to make you easy in every thing, it shall be my request to her to remove immediately.

Strict. Do it-hark ye-Your request !-Why yours? 'Tis mine-my command-tell her so. I will be master of my own family, and I care not who knows it.

Mrs Strict. You fright me, sir! But it shall be as you please.—[In tears.] [Goes out. Strict. Ha! Have I gone too far? for I am not master of myself. Mrs Strictland!-[She returns.]—Understand me right. I do not mean, by what I have said, that I suspect your innocence; but, by crushing this growing friendship all at once, I may prevent a train of mischief which you do not foresce. I was, perhaps, too harsh; therefore, do it in your own way: but let me see the house fairly rid of her.


Mrs Strict. His earnestness in this affair amazes me; I am sorry I made this visit to Clarinda; and yet I'll answer for her honour. What can I say to her? Necessity must plead in my excuse-for, at all events, Mr Strictland must be obeyed. [Exit.

SCENE III.-St James's Park.

Enter BELLAMY and FRANKLY. Frank. Now, Bellamy, I may unfold the secret of my heart to you with greater freedom; for, though Ranger has honour, I am not in a humour to be laughed at. I must have one that will bear with my impertinence, sooth me into hope, and, like a friend indeed, with tenderness advise me.

Bel, I thought you appeared more grave than usual.

Frank. Oh, Bellamy! My soul is full of joy, of pain, hope, despair, and ecstacy, that no word but love is capable of expressing what I feel!

Bel. Is love the secret Ranger is not fit to hear? In my mind, he would prove the more able counsellor. And is all the gay indifference of my friend at last reduced to love?

Frank. Even so-Never was a prude more re

solute in chastity and ill-nature, than I was fixed in indifference; but love has raised me from that inactive state, above the being of a man.

Bel. Faith, Charles, I begin to think it has: but, pray, bring this rapture into order a little, and tell me regularly, how, where, and when.

Frank. If I was not most unreasonably in love, those horrid questions would stop my mouth at once; but, as I am armed against reason-I answer-at Bath, on Tuesday, she danced and caught me.

Bel. Danced! And was that all? But who is she? What is her name? Her fortune? Where does she live?

Frank. Hold! Hold! Not so many hard questions. Have a little mercy. I know but little of her, that's certain; but all I do know, you shall have. That evening was the first of her appearing at Bath; the moment I saw her, I resolved to ask the favour of her hand; but the easy freedom with which she gave it, and her unaffected good humour during the whole night, gained such a power over my heart, as none of her sex could ever boast before. I waited on her home; and the next morning, when I went to pay the usual compliments, the bird was flown; she had set out for London two hours before, and in a chariot and six, you rogue!

Bel. But was it her own, Charles?

Frank. That I don't know; but it looks better than being dragged to town in the stage.That day and the next I spent in inquiries. I waited on the ladies who came with her; they knew nothing of her. So, without learning either her name or fortune, I e'en called for my boots, and rode post after her.

Bel. And how do you find yourself after your journey?

Frank. Why, as yet, I own, I am but on a cold scent: but a woman of her sprightliness and gentility, cannot but frequent all public places; and, when once she is found, the pleasure of the chase will overpay the pains of rousing her. Oh, Bellamy! There was something peculiarly charming in her, that seemed to claim my further acquaintance; and if, in the more familiar parts of life, she shines with that superior lustre, and at last I win her to my arms, how shall I bless my resolution in pursuing her!

Bel. But if, at last, she should prove unworthy

Frank. I would endeavour to forget her. Bel. Promise me that, Charles,-[Takes his hand.]-and I allow-But we are interrupted. Enter JACK MEGGOT.

J. Meg. Ha! Whose that? Frank. A friend of mine. Mr Bellamy, this is Jack Meggot, sir; as honest a fellow as any in life.

J. Meg. Pho! Prithee! Pox! CharlesDon't be silly-Sir, I am your humble: any one who is a friend of my Frankly's, I am proud of embracing.

Bel. Sir, I shall endeavour to deserve your civility.

J. Meg. Oh, sir! Well, Charles; what, dumb? Come, come; you may talk, though you have nothing to say, as I do. Let us hear, where have you been?

Frank. Why, for this last week, Jack, I have been at Bath.

J. Meg. Bath! the most ridiculous place in life! amongst tradesmen's wives that hate their husbands, and people of quality that had rather go to the devil than stay at home. People of no taste; no gout; and, for devertimenti, if it were not for the puppet-show, la vertu would be dead amongst them. But the news, Charles; the ladies-I fear your time hung heavy on your hands, by the small stay you made there.

Frank. Faith, and so it did, Jack; the ladies are grown such idiots in love. The cards have so debauched their five senses, that love, almighty love himself, is utterly neglected.

J. Meg. It is the strangest thing in life, but it is just so with us abroad. Faith, Charles, to tell you a secret, which I don't care if all the world knows, I am almost surfeited with the services of the ladies; the modest ones, I mean. The vast variety of duties they expect, as dressing up to the fashion, losing fashionably, keeping fashionable hours, drinking fashionable liquors, and fifty other such irregular niceties, so ruin a man's pocket and constitution, that, 'foregad, he must have the estate of a duke, and the strength of a gondolier, who would list himself into their service.

Frank. A free confession, truly, Jack, for one of your coat!

Bel. The ladies are obliged to you.

Enter BUCKLE, with a letter to BELLAMY.

J. Meg. Oh, Lard, Charles! I have had the greatest misfortune in life since I saw you; poor Otho, that I brought from Rome with me, is dead!

Frank. Well, well; get you another, and all will be well again.

J. Meg. No; the rogue broke me so much china, and gnawed my Spanish leather shoes so filthily, that, when he was dead, I began not to endure him.

J. Meg. Whom have we here? My old friend Frankly! Thou art grown a mere antique since I Bel. Exactly at seven! run back and assure saw thee. How hast thou done these five hun-him I will not fail.-[Erit BUCKLE.]-Dead! dred years?

Frank. Even as you see me; well, and at your service ever,

Pray, who was the gentleman?

J. Meg. The gentleman was my monkey, sir; an odd sort of a fellow, that used to divert me,

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J. Meg. Pho! Pox! Charles, you shall go.My aunts think you begin to neglect them; and old maids, you know, are the most jealous creatures in life.

Frank. Ranger swears they cannot be maids, they are so good-natured. Well, I agree, on condition I may eat what I please, and go away just when I will.

J. Meg. Ay, ay, you shall do just what you will. But how shall we do? My post chaise won't carry us all.

Frank. My chariot is here; and I will conduct Mr Bellamy.

Bel. Mr Meggot, I beg pardon; I cannot possibly dine out of town; I have an engagement early in the evening.

J. Meg. Out of town! No, my dear, I live just by. I see one of the dillettanti, I would not miss speaking to for the universe. And so I expect you at three. [Exit. Frank. Ha, ha, ha! and so you thought you had at least fifty miles to go post for a spoonful of macaroni?

Bel. I suppose, then, he is just come out of the country?

Frank. Nor that neither. I would venture a wager, from his own house hither, or to an auction or two of old dirty pictures, is the utmost of his travels to-day; or he may have been in pursuit, perhaps, of a new cargo of Venetian toothpicks.

Bel. A special acquaintance I have made to


Frank. For all this, Bellamy, he has a heart worthy your friendship. He spends his estate freely, and you cannot oblige him more, than by shewing him how he can be of service to you.

Bel. Now you say something. It is the heart, Frankly, I value in a man.

Frank. Right-and there is a heart even in a woman's breast, that is worth the purchase, or my judgment has deceived me. Dear Bellamy, I know your concern for me; see her first, and then blame me, if you can.

Bel. So far from blaming you, Charles, that, if my endeavours can be serviceable, I will beat the bushes with you.

Frank. That, I am afraid, will not do. For you know less of her than I: but if, in your walks, you meet a finer woman than ordinary, let her not escape till I have seen her. Wheresoever she is, she cannot long be hid.



SCENE I.-St James's Park.

Cla. I care not how soon. I long to meet with such a fellow. Our modern beaux are such

Enter CLARINDA, JACINTHA, and MRS STRICT-joint-babies in love, they have no feeling; they


Jac. Ay, ay; we both stand condemned out of our own mouths.

Cla. Why, I cannot but own, I never had a thought of any man that troubled me but him.

Mrs Strict. Then, I dare swear, by this time, you heartily repent your leaving Bath so soon. Cla. Indeed, you are mistaken. I have not had one scruple since.

Jac. Why, what one inducement can he have ever to think of you again?

Cla. Oh, the greatest of all inducements, curiosity: let me assure you, a woman's surest hold over a man, is to keep him in uncertainty. As soon as ever you put him out of doubt, you put him out of your power; but, when once a woman has awaked his curiosity, she may lead him a dance of many a troublesome mile, without the least fear of losing him at last.

Jac. Now do I heartily wish he may have spirit enough to follow, and use you as you deserve. Such a spirit, with but a little knowledge of our sex, might put that heart of yours into a strange flutter.

are entirely insensible either of pain or pleasure, but from their own dear persons; and, according as we flatter, or affront their beauty, they admire or forsake ours: they are not worthy even of our displeasure; and, in short, abusing them is but so much ill-nature merely thrown away. But the man of sense, who values himself upon his high abilities, or the man of wit, who thinks a woman beneath his conversation- to see such the subjects of our power, the slaves of our frowns and smiles, is glorious indeed!

Mrs Strict. No man of sense or wit either, if he be truly so, ever did, or ever can, think a woman of merit beneath his wisdom to converse with.

Jac. Nor will such a woman value herself upon making such a lover uneasy.

Cla. Amazing! Why, every woman can give ease. You cannot be in earnest.

Mrs Strict. I can assure you she is, and has put in practice the doctrine she has been teach


Cla. Impossible! Who ever heard the name of love mentioned without an idea of torment? But, pray let us hear.

Jac. Nay, there is nothing to hear that I know | immediately-I see my chair: and so, ladies of. both, adieu.

Cla. So I suspected, indeed. The novel is not likely to be long, when the lady is so well prepared for the denouement.

Jac. The novel, as you call it, is not so short as you may imagine. I and my spark have been long acquainted as he was continually with my father, I soon perceived that he loved me; and the manner of his expressing that love, was what pleased and wounded me most.

Cla. Well; and how was it? the old bait, flattery; dear flattery, I warrant ye.

Jac. No, indeed; I had not the pleasure of hearing my person, wit, and beauty painted out with forced praises; but I had a more sensible delight, in perceiving the drift of his whole behaviour was to make every hour of my time pass away agreeably.

Cla. The rustic! what, did he never say a handsome thing of your person?

Mrs Strict. He did, it seems, what pleased her better; he flattered her good sense, as much as a less cunning lover would have done her beauty.

Cla. On my conscience, you are well matched. Jac. So well, that if my guardian denies me happiness (and this evening he is to pass his final sentence), nothing is left but to break my prison, and fly into my lover's arms for safety.

Cla. Hey-day! O' my conscience thou art a brave girl. Thou art the very first prude that ever had honesty enough to avow her passion for

a man.

Jac. And thou art the first finished coquette who ever had any honesty at all.

Mrs Strict. Come, come; you are both too good for either of those characters.

Cla. And my dear Mrs Strictland, here, is the first young married woman of spirit who has an ill-natured fellow for a husband, and never once thinks of using him as he deserves-Good Heaven! If I had such a husband

Mrs Strict. You would be just as unhappy as I am.

Cla. But come now, confess-do not you long to be a widow ?

Mrs Strict. Would I were any thing but what

I am!

[Exit. Jac. Come, Mrs Strictland, we shall but just have time to get home before Mr Bellamy comes. Mrs Strict. Let us return, then, to our common prison. You must forgive my ill-nature, Jacintha, if I almost wish Mr Strictland may refuse to join your hand where your heart is given. Jac. Lord, madam, what do you mean? Mrs Strict. Self-interest only, child. Methinks your company in the country would soften all my sorrows, and I could bear them patiently.

Re-enter CLARINDA.

Cla. Dear Mrs Strictland-I am so confused, and so out of breath

Mrs Strict. Why, what's the matter?
Jac. I protest you fright me.

Cla. Oh! I have no time to recover myself, I am so frightened, and so pleased. In short, then, the dear man is here.

Mrs Strict. Here--Lord-Where?

Cla. I met him this instant; I saw him at a distance, turned short, and ran hither directly.— Let us go home. I tell you he follows me.

Mrs Strict. Why, had you not better stay, and let him speak to you?

Cla. Ay! But then--he won't know where I live, without my telling him.

Mrs Strict. Come, then. Ha, ha, ha! Jac. Ay, poor Clarinda!Allons donc. [Exeunt.


Fran. Sure that must be she! her shape and easy air cannot be so exactly copied by another. Now, you young rogue, Cupid, guide me directly to her, as you would the surest arrow in your quiver. [Exit.

SCENE II-Changes to the street before MR STRICTLAND's door.



Cla. Then, go the nearest way about it. I'd Cla. Lord!-Dear Jacintha- -for Heabreak that stout heart of his in less than a fort-ven's sake make haste: he'll overtake us before night. I'd make him know

Mrs Strict. Pray, be silent. You know my


Cla. I know you have no resolution.

we get in.

Juc. Overtake us! why, he is not in sight. Cla. Is not he? Ha! Sure I have not dropt my twee-I would not have him lose sight of me [Aside.

Mrs Strict. You are a mad creature, but I neither. forgive you.

Cla. It is all meant kindly, I assure you. But, since you won't be persuaded to your good; I will think of making you easy in your submission, as soon as ever I can. I dare say, I may have the same lodging I had last year: I can know

Mrs Strict. Here he isCla. In-In- -In, then. Jac. [Laughing.] What, without your twee? Cla. Pshaw! I have lost nothing- -In, in, I'll follow you.

[Exeunt into the house, CLARINDA last.


Frank. There is nothing, madam, which could take off from the gaiety with which your preFrank. It is impossible I should be deceived. sence inspires every heart, but the fear of losing My eyes, and the quick pulses at my heart, as-you. How can I be otherwise than as I am, sure me it is she. Ha! 'tis she, by Heaven! when I know not but you may leave London as and the door left open too-A fair invitation, by abruptly as you did Bath? all the rules of love.


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Enter CLARINDA, FRANKLY following her. Frank. I hope, madam, you will excuse the boldness of this intrusion, since it is owing to your own behaviour that I am forced to it.

Cla. To my behaviour, sir!

Frank. You cannot but remember me at Bath, madam, where I so lately had the favour of your hand

Cla. I do remember, sir; but I little expected any wrong interpretation of my behaviour from one who had so much the appearance of a gentleman.

Frank. What I saw of your behaviour was so just, it would admit of no misrepresentation. I only feared, whatever reason you had to conceal your name from me at Bath, you might have the same to do it now; and though my happiness was so nearly concerned, I rather chose to venture thus abruptly after you, than be impertinently inquisitive.

Cla. Sir, there seems to be so much civility in your rudeness, that I can easily forgive it; though I don't see how your happiness is at all concerned.

Frank. No, madam! I believe you are the only lady, who could, with the qualifications you are mistress of, be sensible of the power they give you over the happiness of our sex.

Cla. How vain should we women be, if you gentlemen were but wise! If you did not all of you say the same things to every woman, we should certainly be foolish enough to believe some of you were in earnest.

Frank. Could you have the least sense of what I feel whilst I am speaking, you would know me to be in earnest, and what I say to be


Luc. Madam, the tea is ready, and my mistress waits for you.

Cla. Very well, I come- -[Erit LUCETTA.] You see, sir, I am called away: but I hope you will excuse it, when I leave you with an assurance, that the business, which brings me to town, will keep me here some time.

Frank. How generous it is in you thus to ease the heart, that knew not how to ask for such a favour!-I fear to offend-But this house, I suppose, is yours?

Cla. You will hear of me, if not find me here.
Frank. I then take my leave. [Exit FRANK.
Cla. I'm undone !He has me!


Mrs Strict. Well; how do you find yourself? Cla. I do find that, if he goes on as he has begun, I shall certainly have him without giving him the least uneasiness.

Mrs Strict. A very terrible prospect, indeed! Cla. But I must tease him a little- -Where is Jacintha? how will she laugh at me, if I become a pupil of hers, and learn to give ease! No; positively I shall never do it.

Mrs Strict. Poor Jacintha has met with what I feared from Mr Strictland's temper; an utter denial. I know not why, but he really grows more and more ill-natured.

Cla. Well; now do I heartily wish my affairs were in his power a little, that I might have a few difficulties to surmount: I love difficulties; and yet, I don't know-it is as well as it is.

Mrs Strict. Ha, ha, ha! Come, the tea waits. [Exeunt.

Enter MR STRICTLAND. Strict. These doings in my house distract me.

the dictates of a heart that admires you; may II met a fine gentleman: when I inquired who not say that

Cla. Sir, this is carrying the

he was, why, he came to Clarinda. I shall not be easy till she is decamped. My wife had the Frank. When I danced with you at Bath, I was character of a virtuous woman-and they have charmed with your whole behaviour, and felt the not been long acquainted: but then they were same tender admiration! but my hope of seeing by themselves at Bath-That hurts that you afterwards, kept in my passion till a more hurts--they must be watched, they must; I proper time should offer. You cannot, therefore, know them, I know all their wiles, and the best blaine me now, if, after having lost you once, of them are but hypocrites-la!-[LUCETTA I do not suffer an inexcusable modesty to passes over the stage.] Suppose I bribe the maid: prevent my making use of this second oppor-she is of their council, the manager of their tunity. secrets it shall be so; money will do it, and I shall know all that passes. Lucetta! Luc. Sir. Strict. Lucetta!

Cla. This behaviour, sir, is so different from the gaiety of your conversation then, that I am at a loss how to answer you.


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