« VorigeDoorgaan »
still but a man and virtue may strive, but nature will be uppermost. I love you then, madam.
Lady Lamb. Hold, sir!--suppose I now should let my husband, your benefactor, know the favour you design him. · Dr. Cant. You cannot be so cruel !
Lady Lamb. Nor will, on this condition: that you instantly renounce all claim and title to Charlotte, and use your utmost interest with Sir John, to give her, with her fall fortune, to Mr. Darnley. 1 COLONEL LAMBERT advances between them
Col. Lamb. Villain ! monster ! perfidious and ungrateful traitor! Your hypocrisy, your false zeal is discovered; and I am sent here by the hand of insulted heaven, to lay you open to my father, and expose you to the world. Dr. Cant. Ha !
[Rising. ; Lady Lamb. O unthinking colonel ! (Rising.
Col. Lamb. Well, sir, what have you to say for yourself?
Dr. Cant. I have nothing to say to you, colonel, nor for you-but you shall have my prayers.
Col. Lamb. Why you profligate hypocrite! do you think to carry off your villainy with that sanctified air ?
Dr. Cant. I know not what you mean, sir; I have been in discourse here with my good lady, by permission of your worthy father.
Col. Lamb. Dog! did my father desire you to talk of love to my lady?
Dr. Cant. Call me not dog, colonel : I hope we a e both brother christians.--Yes, I will own I did beg leave to talk to her of love ; for, alas ! I am but a man; yet if my passion for your dear sister, which I cannot controul, be sinful
Lady Lamb. Your noise, I perceive, is bringing up Sir John: manage with him as you will at present: I will withdraw, for I have an after-game to play, which may yet put this wretch effectually into our power.
[Exit R. Enter SIR JOHN LAMBERT. L. Sir J. Lamb. (L.) What uproar is this?
Col. Lamb. (l. č.) Nothing, sir; nothing ; only a little broil of the good doctor's here--You are well rewarded for your kindnesses : and he would fain pay it back with a triple interest to your wife: in short, sir, I took him here in the very fact of making a criminal declaration of love to my lady.
Dr. Cant. (c.). Why, why, Sir John, would you not let me leave your house? I knew some dreadful method would be taken to drive me hence-0, be not angry, good colonel : but indeed, and indeed, you use me cruelly.
Sir J. Lamb. (L. C.) Horrible, wicked creature! Doctor, let me hear it from you?
Dr. Cant. Alas, sir! I am in the dark as much as you; but it should seem, for what purpose he best knows, your son hid himself somewhere hereabouts ; and while I was talking to my lady, rushed in upon usyou know the subject, sir, on which I was to entertain her; and I might speak of my love to your daughter, with more warmth than perhaps I ought; which the colonel overhearing inight probably imagine I was addressing my lady herself; for I will not suspect, no; heaven forbid ! I will not suspect that he would intentionally forge a falsehood to dishonour me.
Sir J. Lamb. Now, vile detractor of all virtue; is your outrageous malice confounded-what he tells you is true; he has been talking to my lady by my consent; and what he said, he said by my orders—good man, be not concerned; for I see through their vile design-Here, thou curse of my life, if thou art not lost to conscience, and all sense of honour, repair the injury you have at. tempted, by confessing your rancour and throwing yourself at his feet.
Dr. Cant. Oh, Sir John! for my sake- I will throw myself at the colonel's feet; nay, if that will please him, he shall tread on my neck.
Sir J. Lamb. What, mute, defenceless, hardened in thy malice?
Col. Lamb. (L.) I scorn the imputation, sir; and with the same repeated honesty avow (however cunningly he may have devised this gloss) that you are deceived—what I tell you, sir, is true these eyes, these ears, were witnesses of his audacious love, without the mention of my sister's name ; directly, plainly, grossly tending to abuse the honour of your bed.
Sir J. Lamb. Villain! this instant leave my sight, my house, my family, for ever.
Dr. Cant. Hold, good Sir John: I am now recovered from my surprise ; let me then be an humble mediator -on my account, this must not be ;-I grant it possible, your son loves me not: but you must grant it too as possible, he might mistake me; to accuse me then, was but the error of his virtue: you ought to love him, and thank him for his watchful care.
Sir J. Lamb. Hear this, perverse and reprobate! Oh! could you wrong such more than mortal virtue ?
Col. Lamb. Wrong him !--the hardened impndence of this painted charity
Şir J. Lamb, Peace, graceless infidel !
Col. Lamb. [Crossing to R.] No, sir; though I would hazard life to gain you from the clutches of that wretch, I could die to reconcile my duty to your favour; yet on the terms his villainy offers, it is merit to refuse it-but, sir, I'll trouble you no more ; to-day is his, to-morrow may be mine,
[Erit, R. Šir J. Lamb. Come, my friend; we'll go this instant, and sign the settlement-for that wretch ought to be punished, who, I now see, is incorrigible, and given over to perdition.
Dr. Cant. And do you think I take your estate with such views?—no, sir-I receive it, that I may have an opportunity to rouse his mind to virtue, by showing him an instance of the forgiveness of injuries ; the return of good for evil !
Sir J. Lamb. 0, my dear friend'; my stay and my guide! I am impatient till the affair is concluded.
Dr. Cant. The will of heaven be done in all things. Sir J. Lamb. Poor, dear man.
END OF ACT III.
SCENE I.-A Parlour in Sir John Lambert's House,
Enter Charlotte and SEYWARD, L. Charl. You were a witness, then ? Seyw. I saw it signed, sealed, and delivered, madam.
Charl. (c.) And all passed without the least suspicion?
Seyw. (L. c.) Sir John signed it with such earnestness, and the doctor received it with such a seeming reluctance, that neither had the curiosity to examine a line. of it.
Charl. Well, Mr. Seyward, whether it succeeds to our ends or not, we have still the same obligation to you. You saw with what friendly warmth my brother heard your story ;, and I don't in the least doubt his being able to do something for you.
Seyw. What I have done, my duty bound me to; but pray, inadam, give me leave, without offence, to ask you one innocent question.,
Charl. Freely, Seyw. Have you never suspected, that, in all this affair, I have had some secret, stronger motives than barely duty ?
Charl. Yes. But have you been in no apprehensions I should discover that motive ?
Seyw. Pray, pardon me; I see already I have gone too far.
Charl. Not at all; it loses you no merit with me; nor is it in my nature to use any one ill that loves me, unless I loved that one again : then, indeed, there might be danger. Come, don't look grave; my inclinations to another shall not hinder mé paying every one what's due to their merit: I shall, therefore, always think myself obliged to treat your misfortunes and your modesty with the utmost tenderness.
Seyw. - Your good opinion is all I aim at.
Charl. Ay; but the more I give it you, the better you'll think of me still; and then I must think the better of you again ; and then you the better of me, upon that too; and so at last I shall think seriously, and you'll begin to think ill of me. But I hope, Mr. Sey
your good sense will prevent all this. Seyw. I see my folly, madam, and blush at my presumption. Madam, I humbly take my leave. (Exit, L.
Charl. Well, he's a pretty young fellow, after all, and the very first sure that ever heard reason against himself with so good an understanding. Lord, how one may live and learn !-I could not believe that modesty in a young fellow could have been so amiable. And though I own there is, I know not what, of dear deright in indulging one's vanity with them; yet upon se
rious reflection, we must confess, that truth and sincerity have a thousand charms beyond it. I believe I had as good confess all this to Darnley, and e’en make up the bustle with him, too ; but then he will so tease one for instances of real inclination. O gar!-- I can't bear the thought on't; and yet we must come together too, Well, nature knows the way to be sure, and so I'll e'en trust to her for it.
Enter Lady LAMBERT, L. Lady Lamb. Dear Charlotte, what will become of us?
Charl. Pray explain, madam. Lady Lamb. In spite of all I could urge, he has consented that the doctor shall this minute come, and be his own advocate with you.
Charl. I'm glad on't; for the beast must come like a bear to the stake. I'm sure he knows I shall bait him.
Lady Lamb. No matter for that : he presses it, to keep Sir John still blind to his wicked design upon me.
- Therefore I come to give you notice, that you might be prepared to receive him.
Charl. I'm obliged to your ladyship. Our meeting will be a tender scene, no doubt on't.
Lady Lamb. But I think I hear the doctor coming up stairs. My dear girl, at any rate keep your temper. I shall expect you in my dressing-room, to tell me the particulars of your conduct.
[Exit, R. Charl. He must have a great deal of impudence to come in this manner to me.
Enter Betty, introducing Dr, CantWell, L. Betty. Dr. Cantwell desires to be admitted, madam. Charl. Let him come in. Your servant, sir. Give us chairs, Betty, and leave the room.-[Exit Betty, L.] Sir, there's a seat. What can the ugly cur say to me? he seems a little puzzled.
[Humming a tune. Dr. Cant. [ They sit.] Look ye, young lady, I am afraid, notwithstanding your good father's favour, i am not the man you would desire to be alone with upon this occasion.
Charl. Your modesty is pleased to be in the right.
Dr. Cant. I'm afraid, too, notwithstanding all my endeavours to the contrary, that you entertain a pretty bad opinion of me.
Charl. A worse, sir, of no mortal breathing!