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Silent, and shy.
What is it that molests you?
Edw. No, Caroline, in that you do me wrong;
Car. All true. But sure our servitude is gentle;
More as his children than as servants treats us.
Nor pine for that which may not make us happier.
Car. Who can obtain the rose without the thorn? How many, Edward, must endure the wound
And ne'er enjoy the flower!
Edw. (aside.) What I feel here.
Could she but know (lays his hand on his bosom.)
O think what we have suffer'd!
How blest am I to sit beside you thus,
To work with you, and share with you my hire. (He rises and comes to her.)
Edw. Thanks, my dear Caroline, a thousand thanks.
But could we gain some other livelihood,
Or in some other house, I should be pleased.
Car. Edward, what is there here that you dislike?
Much has Sir Robert done already for us,
He has to me
Shown many tokens of the purest friendship-
Edw. Henry, you think, has some affection for you?
The like before your marriage?
And had he not
True, he had;
But then his love was of another kind.
Edw. (aside.) Now this is what I never can believe.
As that most true and virtuous gentleman.
(He returns to the desk, and begins to write.)
Tho. Our master, Mr. Edward, calls for you.
Sir Robert, sure. Did not you know
That Master Henry's to the country gone
On some affair of the estate.
Tho. Well go, Sir Robert waits.
I want but two lines to complete this copy.
I have a huge suspicion of this knave.
Tho. (softly.) I have a secret for you, Caroline.
Car. Pray tell it me.
• Edw. (aside.)
No, not just now.
Tho. This is fine linen truly, and these shirts
Are for Sir Robert?
No; but for my husband.
Edw. (aside.) What can he mean by this sly whispering? Car. I am all anxious, Sir, to hear this secret.
Tho. (to Edward.) Pray do make haste; master will be impatient.
Edw. Why do you press me so?-what is't to you? Car. Go, my dear Edward, when Sir Robert calls. It is not wise to make him wait for you.
Edw. But I have yet to make out this account.
Car. (to Thomas.) Make you it for him.
With the greatest pleasure.
Where is th' account?
Edw. There: be so good(aside.) I must dissemble
Tho. What is the matter with your spouse to-day?
Car. He suffers much that still his father writes not.
But what is it that you have got to tell?
Tho. A thing of very serious import.
But to this ancient honorable house
No, to neither;
Of great concern, for it affects the heir.
Car. I thought it something that affected us.Then why not tell it me in Edward's hearing?
Thom. I say it freely that I much esteem him,
Car. Think you not, Edward—
Yes, I like him greatly.
Car. But what is this important mystery?
Thom. Give me your word not to divulge it then.
True; therefore I trust you.
But pledge your word of honor to me first.
Car. Then by my honor I will not divulge.
Thom. You know there is a match, of rich account, Afoot, between Sir Robert and a widow,
For master Henry.
Well, and what of it?
Thom. And you must know that a sad breach impends;
For master Henry has plung'd deep in love
O'er head and ears, with a young fair-fac'd madam.
Car. It is but natural for youth to love,
And to be loth to marry with old age.
Thom. But here the sorrow is, that this, his passion, Is for his rank a most misplac'd attachment.
Car. I guess now who it is, the stranger lady; She whom he rescued from the highwayman? Who-what is she?
No one can tell me that.
She came to town alone, no one knows wherefrom,
Nor how she lives, nor what she does in town:
She visits no one, and no one admits
But only Henry, and save with himself
A night or two to see the theatres,
She never stirs abroad. In sooth to say,
She is a marvellous romantic damsel.
Car. It grieves my very heart: I did not think
That Henry ever could have sunk to this.
Fear you that he will marry? What's her name?
I have a letter from him for her here.
Car. Will you deliver it?
No, that I wont,
The love I bear him, and this worthy house,
Good! and what says he?
Thom. I cannot tell, for it is all outlandish.
Car. Let me look at it? It is writ in French.
Thom. I thought so. Now as you can read it, do.
Car. But how is this, it is address'd to no one?
Thom. It was sent under cover.
Thom. There he was prudent, lest it had been lost.
But here he speaks to me plainly enough:
This is, you see, his own free penmanship.
Car. It is so. While I read, look no one comes.
Their love, indeed, is far advanc'd.
But how shall it be thwarted?-out upon't-
Be you attentive, and apprise me duly
you have learnt that he is come to her.
[she lays the letter on the table.]