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know, that his fortune is by no means equal to mine, there. fore
Riv. Sir Harry, let me ask you one question before you make your consequence.
SIR HAR. A thousand, if you please, Sir.
you observed in me or my conduct, that you desire me fo familiarly to break my word ? I thought, Sir, you considered me as a man of honour.
SIR HAR. And so I do, Sir; a man of the nicest ho
Riv. And yet, Sir, you ask me to violate the fanctity of my word ; and tell me directly, that it is my interest to be a rascal..
Sir Har. I really don't understand you, Colonel : I thought when I was talking to you, I was talking to a man who knew the world: and as you have not yet signed-
Riv. Why, this is mending matters with a witness? And so you think because I am not legally bound, I am under no neceflity of keeping my word! Sir Harry, laws were never made for men of honour; they want no bond but the rectitude of their own sentiments, and laws are of no use but to bind the villains of society. SIR HAR. Well! but
dear Colonel, if regard for me, thew fome little regard for your daughter,
Riv. I fhew the greatest regard for my daughter, by giving her to a man of honour: and I must not be insulted with any farther repetition of your propofals.
Sır Har. Insult you, Colonel ! is the offer of my allir ance an insult? Is my readiness to make what fettiomen's you think
Riv. Sir Harry, I should consider the offer of a kingdom an insult, if it was to be purchased by the violation of my
word: Besides, though my daughter shall never go a beggar to the arms of her husband, I would rather see her happy than rich; and if she has enough to provide handfomely for a young family, and something to spare for the exigences of a worthy friend, I shall think her as affluent as if she was mistress of Mexico.
SiR HAR. Well, Colonel, I have done; but I believe
Riv. Well, Sir Harry, and as our conference is done, we will if you please, retire to the ladies : I shall be always glad of your acquaintance, though I cannot receive you as a sonin-law;
for a union of interests I look upon as a union of dishonour, and consider a marriage for money, at best, but a legal prostitution.
C H AP. VI.
Sir JOHN MELVIL AND STERLING.
STERL. HAT ?
Sir John. After having carried the negociation between our families to so great a length, after having assented so readily to all your proposals, as well as received fo may instances of your cheerful compliance with the demands made on our part, I am extremely concerned, Mr. Sterling, to be the involuntary cause of any uneafiness.
STERL. Uneasiness ! what uneasiness? Where bufiness is transacted as it ought to be, and the parties understand one another, there can be no uneasiness: You agree, on such and fuch conditions, to receive my daughter for a wife ; on the dame conditions I agree to receive you as a son-in-law; and
as to all the rest, it follows of course, you know, as regularly as the payment of a bill after acceptance.
Sir John. Pardon me, Sir; more uneasiness has arisen than you are aware of. I am myself, at this instant, in a ftate of inexpreslible embarrassment; Miss Sterling, I know, is extremely disconcerted too; and unless you will oblige me with the assistance of your friendship, I foresee the speedy progress of discontent and animosity through the whole family.
STERL. What the deuce is all this? I do not understand a single syllable.
Sir John. In one word then, it will be absolutely imposible for me to fulfil my engagements in regard to Miss Sterling
ST RL. How, Sir John ? Do you mean to put an affront upon my family? What refuse to
Sir John. Be assured, Sir, that I neither mean to affront, nor forsake your family. My only fear is that you should desert me; for the whole happiness of my life depends on my being connected with your family by the nearest and tenderest ties in the world..
Sterk. Why did not you tell me, but a moment ago, it was absolutely impossible for you to marry my daughter?
SIR JOHN. True: But you have another daughter, SirSTERL. Well ?
Sir Joh'n. Who has obtained the most absolute dominion over my heart. I have already declared my passion to her ; nay, Miss Sterling herself is also apprised of it ; and if you will but give a sanction to my present addresses, the uncommon merit of Miss Sterling will no doubt recommend her to a person of equal, if not superior rank to myself, and our families
STERL. Mighty fine, truly! Why what the plague do you make of us, Sir John. Do you come to market for my daughters, like servants at a statute-fair? Do you think that I will suffer you, or any man in the world to come into my house, like the Grand Seignior, and throw the handkerchief first to one, and then to t’other, jutt as he pleases? Do you think I drive a kind of African flave-trade with them and
SIR JOHN. A moment's patience, Sir! Nothing but the excess of my passion for Miss Fanny should have induced me to take any step that had the least appearance of disrefpect to any part of your family, and even now I am defiroas to atone for my transgression, by making the most adequate compensation that lies in my power.
Sterl. Compensation ! what compensation can you possibly make in such a case as this, Sir John ?
Sir John. Come, come, Mr. Sterling; I know you to be a man of sense, and a man of business, a man of the world. I will deal frankly with you : and you shall see that I do not desire a change of measures for my own gratification, without endeavouring to make it advantageous to you.
STERL. What advantage can your inconftancy be to me, Sir John?'
Sir John, I will tell you, Sir. You know that by the articles at present subfisting between us, on the day of my marriage with Miss Sterling, you agree to pay down the gross sum of eighty thousand pounds.
Sir John. Now if you will but consent to my waving that marriage
STERL.I agree to your waving that marriage? Impossible, Sir John !
Sir John. I hope not, Sir: as on my part,
agree to wave my right to thirty thousand pounds of the fortune I was to receive with her.
STERL. Thirty thousand, do you say?
SIR John: Yes, Sir; and accept of Miss Fanny, with fifty thousand, instead of fourscore.
STERL. Fifty thousand-
STERL. Why, why, there may be something in that. Let me see; Fanny with fifty thousand instead of Betsey, with fourscore. But how can this be, Sir John? For you know I am to pay this money into the hands of my Lord Ogleby; who, I believe, betwixt you and me, Sir John, is not over-stocked with ready money at present; and threescore thousand of it, you know, is to go to pay off the present incumbrances on the estate, Sir John. ·
SIR JOHN. That objection is easily obviated. Ten of the twenty thousand, which would remain as a surplus of the fourscore, after paying off the mortgage, was intended by his lordship for my use, that we might set off with some little eclat on our marriage; and the other ten for his own. Ten thousand pounds therefore I shall be able to pay you . immediately; and for the remaining twenty thousand you shall have a mortgage on that part of the estate which is to be made over to me, with whatever security you
shall require for the regular payment of the interest, till the principal is dely discharged.
STERL. Why, to do you justice, Sir John, there is something fair and open in your proposal; and since I find you do not mean to put an affront upon the family
SIR JOnn. Nothing was ever farther from my thoughts, Mr. Sterling. And after all, the whole affair is nothing ex