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Surely, madam, in the condition you are in, deserted by all the world, you must have lost your senses to refuse an unexpected succor, thus offered you by one of the most generous, though whimsical and absurd men I ever met with. I have served you in your ill-fortune, and have some right to partake of the good: in short, sir, this is no time to dissemble, we are in the utmost distress; and if it had not been for our kind landlord, must have perished with cold and hunger.
My mistress concealed her condition from all those who might have been of service to us: you became acquainted with it in spite of her: in spite of herself, therefore, oblige her to accept of that which heaven hath sent her by your generous hand. O Polly, what think you my lord would say, if still he loves me?
I always pretended to him that I wanted nothing; and shall I receive a present from another, from a stranger? My dear Polly, by our sorrows I entreat you, do not let us disgrace ourselves: contrive in some way to excuse me to this strange man, who means well, though he is so rude and unpolished: tell him, when an unmarried woman accepts such presents, the world will always suspect she does it at the expense of her virtue.
O sir, something mighty ridiculous; she talks of the suspicions of the world, and that an unmarried woman—. She does not know what she says. Why am I to be suspected of a dishonest purpose, because I do an honest action? I hear, and I admire him, but am still resolved not to accept it: they would say I loved him; that villain. Wasp, would certainly report it, and I should be undone.
In love with her! So fare you well. I have a little business at present. Madam, your, servant.
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Your servant, sir, you have my esteem and my gratitude; but take your money with you, and once more spare my blushes. Here, take this purse: the gentleman left it by mistake, give it him again, I charge you; assure him of my esteem, and remember I want no assistance from any one. Freeport, I know you by this generous action; but be assured this lady means to deceive you: she is really in want of this. I will keep this money; it may be of service to her without her knowing it. My heart bleeds to see such virtue joined to such misfortunes. I feel for her too, but she is too haughty: tell her it is not right to be proud.
Well, madam, you have made a fine piece of work of it; heaven graciously offered you assistance, and you resolve to perish in indigence; I too must fall a sacrifice to your virtue, a virtue which is not without its alloy of vanity: that vanity, madam, will destroy us both. Death is all I have to wish for: Lord Murray no longer loves me; he has left me these three days; Edition: current; Page: [ 42 ] he has loved my proud and cruel rival; perhaps, he loves her still.
She seems in despair, alas! There, Polly, when I am no more, carry that letter to him—. To him who is the cause of my death. I have recommended you to him, perhaps he may comply with my last request: go, Polly, [ embracing her ] and be assured, that amongst all my misfortunes, that of not being able to recompense you as you deserve, is not the least which this wretched heart has experienced.
O my dear mistress, I cannot refrain from tears, you harrow up my soul: what is your dreadful purpose? God forbid I should ever deliver it! Perhaps so, indeed: my eyes are open now, I must have offended him: but how could I disclose my condition to the son of him who ruined my father and family? Yes, it was he who persecuted my father, had him condemned to death, deprived us of our nobility, and took away everything from us: left as I am without father, mother, or fortune, I have nothing but my reputation and my fatal love. I ought to detest the son of Murray: misfortune, that still pursues me, brought me acquainted with him.
I have loved him, and I ought to suffer for it. Help, help here! That beautiful young lady, sir, I told you of, fainted away just now: but it will be over soon. O the mere effect of vapors in young girls; they are not dangerous: what service could I be of? I thought the house must have been on fire. I had rather it were, than this sweet creature should be hurt. If Scotland has many such beauties as her, it must be a charming country.
So it seems; though I knew it but to-day: our news-writer tells me so, and he knows everything. Was ever man treated with such cruelty and injustice as I have been? Barbarous Murray, thou art dead; but thy son survives: I will have justice or revenge. O my dearest wife, my children, my daughter! I have lost all. This sword had long since ended all my cares, did not the hopes of sweet revenge force me still to bear the detestable load of life. O, sir, she has recovered her senses, and is pretty well; looks still pale, but always beautiful.
I must go out—I must run the hazard—I will. This man does not trouble himself much about young ladies that faint; but if he had seen Miss Lindon, he would not be so indifferent. This news-writer told me truth, and was in the right of it: a Scotchwoman concealed in these dangerous times! Andrew, you have got a letter from my lord, have not you? Well, and was not he most desperately in love with me when he used to write to me? Perfidious wretch! After all, where is the harm in giving a love letter designed for one woman to another? I have executed my commission, and made a pretty good hand of it too.
I know what you are, and what I owe you. I will change the face of your affairs, or perish in the attempt. My friends are zealous for you. Depend on me as on the most faithful of lovers, and one who will endeavor to prove himself worthy of your affection. This is an absolute conspiracy; there can be no doubt of it: she is a Scotchwoman, and her family ill disposed to the government. You, madam, go immediately and tell your mistress Edition: current; Page: [ 49 ] I must speak with her; she need not be afraid; I shall say nothing to her but what will be agreeable, and concerns her happiness: let her come immediately, immediately, do you hear?
What are your commands with me, madam? No: I come to make you happy. I know you are worth nothing; I am rich; I now make you an offer of one of my seats on the borders of Scotland, with all the lands belonging to it; go and live there, you and your family, if you have any; but you must immediately quit my lord forever, nor must he know of your retreat as long as you live. Rashness, madam, would ill suit with my condition; firmness and intrepidity will much better become it: my birth, madam, is as good as yours; my heart, perhaps, much better; and as to my fortune, it shall not depend on any one, much less on my rival.
It shall depend on me. I am sorry she reduces me to this extremity, and am ashamed to make use of this rascal, Wasp; but she obliges me to it. Faithless lover! I am choked with rage. I am more concerned than you can be; but you shall see me again, I assure you. So much the worse. What would she be at now?
What a difference there is betwixt her and the beautiful patient Miss Lindon! I am sorry this gentleman never saw her; I am sure he would be greatly affected with her behavior. My landlord here informs me you behaved to her in a most generous manner. What is there in it then to be wondered at? Lord Falbridge dead! Falbridge dead! O fortune, fortune, wilt thou ever persecute me? Was he your friend? I am sorry for you. Great search is being made after Lord Montross, condemned to lose his head about eleven years ago.
Just heaven! Bad news, why so? If this Miss Lindon was not so proud, I would go and ask her how she did; she is very handsome, and a very worthy creature. A young Scotchwoman seized on the very day of my arrival! O my unhappy family, my country, what will become of my unfortunate daughter!
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I never heard of young girls being seized by order of the government: I am afraid, Mr. Messenger, you are a rascal. If she is a fortune-hunter, as Wasp said, it will ruin my house; I am undone: this court lady had some reasons I see plainly—and yet she must be good and virtuous. I must have money. Good Mr. Freeport, shall I give him the five hundred pounds which she so nobly refused, and which are still in my possession?
You are astonished, sir, at Mr. There are still in the world some noble souls—what will become of me? We must take care not to let the poor young lady know anything of the danger she has been in. A young Scotchwoman is seized, a person who lives retired, and is suspected by the government. Everything conspires to awaken the memory of my sorrows, my afflictions, my misfortunes, and my resentment. One word with you, madam, are you that pretty amiable young lady, born in Scotland, who—.
Yes, sir—I, I am tolerably young, and a Scotchwoman; and as to pretty they say I am not amiss. My father was an excellent baker, as I have heard, and my mother waiting-maid to a woman of quality. O, now I understand you.
You, I suppose, are servant to that young lady I have heard so much of. I was mistaken. Yes, sir, the sweetest and most amiable of her sex, and one too who has the most fortitude in affliction. Yes, sir, and so am I: but I had rather serve her in affliction than be ever so happy. My mistress, sir, desires to remain unknown: she has no family: sir, why do you ask me these questions?
To remain unknown! Tell me, pray, how old is your mistress? I see no reason why you should make so many reflections on her age. Eighteen, and born in my country, desires to remain unknown! I cannot contain myself—by your permission I must see and talk to her immediately. O, sir, fresh griefs and calamities have torn her heart, and deprived her of her senses. She is not one of those I assure you, sire, who faint away for nothing; she is but just now come to herself, and the little rest she now enjoys is mixed with grief and bitterness. Have pity, sir, on her condition.
All you say but increases my desire. I am her countryman, and partake of her afflictions, perhaps I may be able to lessen them; permit me, I beg you, before I leave this place, to have an interview with her. You affect me deeply, sir; stay here a few minutes. It is impossible a young lady, who has just fainted away, should be able to receive visits immediately. I say, sir, they are in search of you; I cannot help interesting myself in the safety of those who lodge in my house.
They have surrounded the house, passing, and repassing, getting all the information they can. In short I shall not be surprised if in a little time they should pay you the same compliment as they did the young lady, who, it seems, is of the same country. Take my advice, sir, and get away as fast as you can; our friend, Freeport, perhaps might not be in the humor to do as much for you as for a girl of eighteen. I told you before, you would want to see her.
I assure you nothing can be more beautiful, more virtuous, or more agreeable. I must be so free as to tell you, Mr. Wasp, if I may believe all that is said of you, you would do me a favor by never coming to my house again. All that is said is generally false: what fly has stung you, Mr. You come, and write your papers here, Mr. Wasp; and my coffee-house will be looked on as a poison shop. They begin even to say you are an informer, and a scoundrel, but I am loth to believe them. A fine reputation indeed! Stop, Mr. Fabrice, if you please.
You may attack my morals, but my works—I will never suffer that. Your writings, sir, are not worth my consideration; but you are suspected of a design against the amiable Miss Lindon. Well, and suppose I had, what harm is there in being of any particular country? A lord, is it? I never love to be disturbed, so fare you well. I want to talk seriously to her—your servant. This Scotchwoman is handsome, and Edition: current; Page: [ 64 ] a good creature.
Great God, thou protector of innocence, I implore thee for her; O deign to make me an instrument in doing justice to virtue, and sheltering the unfortunate from oppression! Thanks to thy goodness, and my own endeavors, I have hopes of success. You see, sir, you were mistaken, and I have some credit still at court.
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No, sir, we are not talking about dedications: you are the person that informed my servants of the arrival of the old gentleman just come from Scotland; you described him, and made the same report to the minister of state. My lord, I return you thanks; everybody abuses me, and gives me money; I am certainly a cleverer fellow than I thought I was. An old gentleman just arrived from Scotland; Miss Lindon born in the same country! Heaven surely inspired thee, when thou toldst me, Polly, the secret of her birth.
My lord, I thank you; I am not so high spirited as my mistress, who refuses to accept of anything; and pretends to be quite at her ease, when she is absolutely starving. O my lord, not yet; she is now with an old gentleman, a very old gentleman, who is her countryman, and they are saying such tender things. Who is this old gentleman?
Would to God he were the person I wish him to be! They began to grow very serious, the gentleman seemed to wish me out of the room, and so I came away. True, madam, you are so. After a promise of marriage, wretch, after so many protestations of love! When I made those protestations I loved you, and when I promised to marry you, I meant to do so. Your character, your fiery temper and disposition: marriage was intended to make us happy, and I saw too plainly we were not made for each other. And so you have quitted me for a wandering lady errant, a poor fortune-hunter. No, madam, I leave you for softness and good-nature, for every grace, and every virtue.
But you are not yet possessed of her: know, traitor, I will be revenged, and speedily too. I know your vindictive temper, know you have more envy than jealousy, more rage than tenderness, but you will be forced to honor and respect the woman I love. I know the object of your affection, sir, better than you do; know I who she is; I know too who that stranger is, who came hither yesterday: yes sir, I am acquainted with it all, and so are they who have more power and authority than Lord Murray: that unworthy rival, for whom I am despised, shall soon be seized and taken from you.
What does this fury mean? What would she be at? To tell you the truth, my mistress has been taken up by order of the government, and I too, I believe; and if it had not been for an honest fat man, who is goodness itself, and who gave in bail for us, we had both been in prison at this very time. They had made me swear not to tell you anything of it: but how can I conceal it from you?
What do I hear? It shall not, must not triumph; do not alarm my dear girl. Try everything, do everything to save Edition: current; Page: [ 71 ] her. I fly, Polly, to serve her, and will return immediately. Tell her I have left only because I adore her. This is a strange adventure. I see this world is nothing but a perpetual contest between the virtuous and the wicked, and we poor girls are always the sufferers. Every word you utter pierces my soul: born in Lochaber!
Those sentiments, sir, perhaps are owing to my misfortunes: had I been brought up in ease and luxury, my soul, which is fortified by adversity, had been weak and vain.
O thou art worthy of a nobler fate. You acknowledge to me you are sprung from one of the proscribed families, whose blood was shed on a scaffold in our civil wars. But still you conceal from me your name and birth. Duty binds me to silence. My father himself was proscribed: they are even now in search of him, and were I to name perhaps I might destroy him. You inspire me, I own, with uncommon tenderness and respect, but I know you not, and I have everything to fear.
You see I am myself suspected, and am a prisoner here. One word might ruin me. One word perhaps might give me the greatest comfort: but tell me only what age you were of when you parted from your father, who was afterwards so unhappy? Great God, have mercy on me! O providence, do not withdraw thy goodness from me!
Go on, I conjure you: after your father had quitted his family to see it no more, how long did you remain with your mother? I was ten years old when she died in my arms, oppressed with grief and misery, and after she had heard that my brother was killed in battle. O, I faint; what a dreadful moment! O thou dear, unhappy wife, and thou more fortunate son, to die without seeing so much misery! What do I see? It is, it is your mother; and I am that unhappy father who is condemned to death, whose trembling arms now embrace thee.
Do I live? O, sir, behold me at your knees: this is the first happy moment of my life: O, my father! I tremble for you, even whilst I am thus happy in your sight. My dearest child, you know the misfortunes of our family; you know that the house of Murray, still jealous of ours, plunged us into these calamities. I have lost all: one friend alone remained, who by his interest and power might have restored me, and had promised it; but on my arrival here, I find that friend is dead, that I am searched after in Scotland, and a price put on my head.
Yes: I will avenge you and my family, or die. I only hazard a life already devoted to the scaffold. O fortune, in what new horrors dost thou involve me! O my father! My dearest daughter! O sir, I am much more unhappy than you think me: are you resolved on this fatal enterprise? O, my dear father, let me conjure you by that life which you gave me, by your misfortunes, by my own, which are, perhaps, still greater, do not expose me to the dread of losing you; have pity on me, spare your own life, and preserve mine.
Your voice reaches to my inmost soul: methinks I hear in thee, thy much-loved mother; speak, what would you? I am ready to follow you, I will accompany you, sir, to some far distant island, and there these Edition: current; Page: [ 75 ] hands shall labor to support you.
Well, I submit. Gone from hence! O my unhappy father! O if my life were not necessary to my dear father, this moment would I part from it. O my poor father! On my soul, madam, you are wrong; my lord is not false or perfidious, but one of the best of men: he loves you from his soul, and has given me convincing proofs of it. Nature should be superior to love. I know not whither I am going, or what will become of me; but certainly I can never be more miserable than I am at present.
My dear mistress, you will hear nothing; recover your spirits a little: I tell you, you are beloved. To the end of the world, madam: but hear me; you are beloved, indeed you are. Let me alone; talk no more to me of my lord: alas! My dear landlord, and you, sir, to whom I am so much indebted for your unmerited generosity, I am sorry it is not in my power to return it; but be assured I shall never, whilst I have life, forget you. What is all this, what is all this?
Freeport, the old gentleman, who it seems is her countryman, is going too. The lady wept, and he wept, at parting; and I am ready to weep too. If you go, madam, you must write to me; I shall always be glad to do you any service: perhaps we may meet again one day or other, who knows!
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Freeport is bail for you, and must lose five hundred pounds if you leave us. O heaven! I beg, madam, [ to Miss Lindon ] you will go whenever it is agreeable to you; write to me, and let me see you when you return; for I have really conceived a great esteem and affection for you. Stay you here: and do you run to the court of chancery, and bring me those parchments as soon as they are finished: go you and get things ready at my new house.
I have certainly some regard for her; but I am not in love with her. O pray, madam, no ceremony; perhaps it may affect me too much. Go, Fabrice, and help the good gentleman above. I find I have a prodigious regard for this young lady. At length once more I am happy in the sight of all I hold dear on earth. What a house is this for Miss Lindon! Believe me, when I tell you, I had rather die than merit the least of those cruel reproaches.
I absented myself but for your sake, thought of nothing but you, and have served you in spite of yourself: if, on Edition: current; Page: [ 81 ] my return here, I found that clamorous revengeful woman, could I help it? I went back again immediately to counteract her fatal designs. My God, not write to you! I see she has intercepted my letters; her baseness increases, if possible, my passion; may it recall yours!
You know me then; you know what hatred hath always divided our families: your father was the cause of mine being condemned to death; he reduced me to that wretched state which I endeavored to conceal from you; and you, his son, now dare avow a passion for me! Here is a contract of marriage; shall I hope to see it executed? I say, madam, you must not go; you are always making some desperate resolution: but I shall bring you to yourself again. My lord, you must second me. Who could inspire you with this cruel design to fly from me, to render all my cares abortive? Your father? No: by thy dear self I swear, it must not, shall not be: where is he?
My dearest lord, take care; let him not see you: he is come hither to finish his misfortunes by taking away your life, and I have consented to fly with him to divert him from this dreadful resolution. Yours is more cruel still; but be assured I fear him not, nay hope one day to make him my friend. I will go in, and return with arms that shall make his drop out of his hand.
O thou unhappy father of a more unhappy daughter, never, never will I leave you; but permit me to stay here a little longer. Indeed, sir, I am not changed: I am incapable of such baseness; I will follow you: but once more let me entreat you, stay a little while: grant but this favor to her who owes to you a life of sorrows; do not refuse me a few precious moments. They are indeed precious, and yet you would lavish them away: consider we are every moment in danger of being discovered, that you have yourself been seized, that they are even now in search of me, and that to-morrow you may see your father given up to an ignominious death.
Those words are as a clap of thunder to me. Sir, your servant; we are just going to set out, with hearts full of gratitude to you for past favors: I assure you I never met with a worthier man than yourself: you almost reconcile me to mankind. I have just now thought of something, that, perhaps, might not be disagreeable to you: pray, stay. I have at last got the pledge of my future happiness. A plague on this lord, here he is again: I hate him for being so agreeable. Come then, thou cruel son of a still more cruel father, I know thy purpose; come, and take my life. Yes, I dare—I am the son of your inveterate foe; and thus [ throwing away his sword ] I attack you.
Now, sir, with one hand strike this guilty breast, and with the other receive this paper—read, and know me. My friend, I was afraid this lady was not made for me: however, she is fallen into good hands, and I am satisfied. Philip Hombert, a peasant in the neighborhood. It is written, as we are told in the title-page, in verses of ten syllables. The absurdity of comedies in rhyme I have already remarked.
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