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gratitude, and my own inclination, to be ever your Lordship's servant.
Ld. 7. Enough -You are my friend ; I know it : Yet there has been a thing in your knowledge which has concerned me nearly, that you have concealed from me.
Mask. My Lord ! Ld. T. Nay, I excufe your friendship to my unnatural nephew thus far But I know you have been privy to his impious designs upon my wife. This evening. The has told me all: her good-nature concealed it as long as was possible, but he perfeveres fo in villainy, that the has told me even you were weary of dissuading him, tho you have once actually hindered him from forcing her.
Mask. I am sorry, my Lord, I cannot make you an answer; this is an occalion in which I would not willingly be filent.
Le T. I know you would excufe him-And I know as well that you cannot,
Mask. Indeed I was.in hopes it had been but a youth ful heat that might have soon boiled over ; but
Ld. T. Say on.
Mask, I have nothing more to say, my Lordbut to express my concern; for I think his frenzy increases daily. *Ld. T. How! give me but proof of it, ocular proof, that I may justify my, dealing with him to the world, and Thare my
tortunes. Mask. O my Lord! consider that is hard : befides, time may work upon him : then, for me to do it! I have profeffed an everlasting friendship to him.
Ld. T. He is your friend, and what am I?
Ld. T. Fear not his displeasure.; I will put you out of his and Fortune's power; and for that thou art fcrupulously honest, I will secure thy fidelity to him, and give my honour never to own any discovery that you thall make me. Can you give me a demonstrative proof? Speak 1 Mask. I wish I could not To be plain, my Lord, I intended this evening to have tried all arguments diffuade him from a delign, which I suspect; and if I had
not succeeded, to have informed your Lordship of what I knew.
Ld. T. I thank you. What is the villain's purpose ?
Mask. He has owned nothing to me of late, and what I mean now is only a bare sufpicion of my own.
If your Lordship will meet me a quarter of an hour hence there, in that lobby by my Lady's bed-chamber, I thall be able to tell you more.
Ld T. I will.
Mask. My duty to your Lordship makes me do a fevere piece of justice.
Ld. T. I will be secret, and reward your honesty beyond your tropes.
[Exeunt. SCENE opening, Mhews Lady Touchwood's chamber.
Mellefont folus. Mel. Pray Heaven my aunt keep touch with her aflig. nation. Oh, that her Lord were but sweating behind this hanging, with the expectation of what I thall seeHist, she comes Little does she think what a mine is just ready to spring under her feer. But to my poft.
[Goes behind the bangings. Enter Lady Touchwood. L. T. 'Tis eight o'clock: methinks I should have found him here~ Who does not prevent the hour of love, outstays the time ; for to be duly punctual is too slow.I was accusing you of neglect.
Mellefont absconding Mask. I confess you do reproach me when I see you here before me ; but 'tis fit I should be still behind-hand, kill to be more and more indebted to your goodness.
L. T. You can excuse a fault too well, not to have been to blame -A ready answer shews you were prepared.
Mask. Guilt is ever at a loss, and confufion waits upon it; when innocence and bold truth are always ready for expression
L. T. Not in love; words are the eak support of cold indifference; love has no language to be heard.
Mask. Excess of joy has made me ftupid! Thus may my lips be ever closed. [Killes ber.) And thus-Oh, who F 2
would not lose his speech upon condition to have joys
(Goes to the door. Mask. Afde.] That I believed ; 'twas well I left the private
passage open: L, T. So, that's safe.
Mask. And so may all your pleasures be, and secret as this kiss Mel. And may all treachery be thus discovered.
[Leaps out. L. T. Ah !
(Shrieks. Mel. Villain !
(Offers to draw. Mask. Nay then, there's but one way. [Runs out,
Mel. Say you fo, were you provided for an escape? Hold, Madam, you have no more holes to your burrow, I stand between you and this fally-port.
L. T. Thunder strike thee dead for this deceit, imme.
Mel. Be patient-
Mel. Consider I have you on the hook ; you will but founder yourself a weary, and be nevertheless my prifoner,
L. T. I'll hold my breath and die, but I'll be free.
Mel, O Madam, have a care of dying unprepared, I doubt that you have some unrepenced fins that may hang heavy, and retard your flight.
L.T, Oh! what shall I do? fay? Whither shall I turn? Has Hell no remedy?
Mel. None. Hell has served you even as Heaven has done, left you to yourself. You are in a kind of Eraf. mus Paradise ; yet if you please, you may make it a purgatory; and with a little penance and my absolution, all this may turn to a good account.
L.T. [Aide.] Hold in my passion, and fall, fall a little, thou swelling heart; let me have some intermission of this rage, and one minute's coolness to disemble.
-How can you
Mel. You have been to blame ---I like those tears, and hope they are of the purest kind-Penitential tears.
L. T. O, the scene was shifted quick before me--Iphad not time to think I was surprized to see a monster in the glass, and now I find 'tis myself: Can you have mer, cy to forgive the faults I have imagined, but never put in practice -O consider, consider how fatal you have been to me, you have already killed the quiet of this “ life.' The love of you was the first wandering fire that e'er misled my lteps, and while I had only that in view, I was betrayed into unthought-of ways of ruin.
Mel. May I believe this true ?
L. T. O be not cruelly incredulousdoubť these streaming eyes ? Keep the severest eye over all my
future conduct, and if I once relapse, let me not hope forgiveness, 'twill ever be in your power to ruin me -My Lord shall sign to your desires ; I will myself create your happiness, and Cynthia shall be this night your bride-Do but conceal my failiigs, and forgive.
Mel. Upon such terms, I will be ever yours in every Malkwell softly introduces Lord Touchwood, and retires.
Mask. I have kept my word, he is here, but I muft not be seen.
Ld. T. Hell and åmazement ! She, is in tears.
L. 1. [Kneeling.] Eternal bleffings thank you-Ha.! My Lord liftening! 0, Fortune has o'erpaid me all, all ! all's my own!
[Aside. Mel. Nay, 1 beseech you rise.
L: T. (Aloud.]. Never, never! I'll grow to the ground, be buried quick beneath it, ere I'll be confenting to so damned a lin as incest:! unnatural incest ! Mel. Ha !
L. T. O cruel man, will you not let me go I'll form .give all that's paft- Heaven, you will not ravish me!
Mel. Damnation !
(Draws and runs at Mel. is belel by Lady, Touchwood.. LT. O Heavens, my Lord! Hold, hold, for Hea. ven's fake. Mel. Confusion, my uncle ! O, te damned forcesess..
L. T. Moderate your rage, good my Lord! He's mad, alas, he's inad—Indeed he is my Lord, and knows not what he doesSee how wild he looks.
Mel. By Heaven, 'twere fenfeless not to be mad, and see such witchcraft.
L. T. My Lord, you hear him, he talks idly.
Ld. T. Hence from my fight, thou living infamy to my name : when next I see that face, I'll write villain in it with my sword's point, | Mel. Now, by my soul, I will not go 'till I have made known my wrongs Nay, 'till I have made known yours, which (if poffible) are greater-though she has all the host of Hell her servants.
L. T. Alas, he raves ! ! Talks very poetry.' For Heaven's fake away my Lord, he'll either tempt you to extravagance, or commit fome hiinfelf.
Mel. Death and furies, will you not hear me-Why, by Heaven the laughs, grins, points to your back; the forks out cuckoldom with her fingers, and you are running horn-mad after your fortune.
[-As she is going the turns back and smiles at bim. Ld. T. I fear he's mad indeed.Let's send Maskwell to him.
Mel. Send him to her. • L. T. Come, come, good my Lord, my heart achs so, I shall faint if I stay. (Exeunt Ld. and L. T.
Mel. Oh, I could curse my ftars, fate, and chance; all causes and accidents of fortune in this life! But to what purpose? Yet, 'fdeath, - for a man tò have the fruit of * all his industry grow full and ripe, ready to drop into « his mouth, and just when he holds out his hand to ga. • ther it, to have a sudden whirlwind come, tear up tree • and all, and bear away the very root and foundation of
his hopes; What temper can contain? They talk of sending Maskwell to me; I never had more need of him
-But what can he de? Imagination cannot form a fairer and more plausible design than this of his which has miscarried -O my precious aunt ! I shall never thrive without I deal with the devil, or another woman.
• Women, like flames, have a destroying pow'r, * Ne'er to be quench'd 'till they themselves devour.'
[Exit. End of the FOURTH Act.