« AnteriorContinuar »
impatience to know, if there be a letter from Langwood, and what he says.
Fram. I shall never be able to afford you the least information, upon that subjeđ, my lord.
LD. Eust. Surely, I do not understand you. You said you had secured the letters-Have you not read them?
Fram. You have a right, and none but you, to ask me such a question. My weak compliance with your first proposal relative to these letters, warrants your thinking fo . meanly of me. But know, my lord, that though my perfonal affection for you, joined to my unhappy circumstances, may have betrayed me to actions unworthy of myself, I never can forget, that there is a barrier fixed before the extreme of baseness, which honour will not let me pass.
LD. Eust, You will give me leave to tell you, Mr. Frampton, that where I lead, I think you need not halt.
FRAM. You will pardon me, my lord; the consciousness of another man's errors, can never be a justification for our · own; and poor, indeed, must that wretch be, who can be fa. tisfied with the negative merit of not being the worst man he knows.
Lo. Eust. If this discourse were uttered in a conventicle, it might have its effect; by setting the congregation to
lieep. • FRAM. It is rather meant to rouse, than lull your lordthip.
Lo. Eust. No matter what it is meant for; give me the letters, Mr. Frampton.
FRAM. Yet, excuse me. I could as soon think of arming a madman's hand, against my own life, as fuffer you to be guilty of a crime that will, for ever, wound your honour,
Lo. Eust. I fall not come to you, to heal the wound: your medicines are too rough and coarse for me.
fram. The soft poison of flattery, might, perhaps please you better.
Ld. Eust. Your conscience may, probably, have as much need of palliatives, as mine, Mr. Frampton, as I am pretty well convinced, that your course of life, has not been more regular than my own. ifram. With true contrition, my lord, I confefs part of your farcasm, to be just. Pleasure was the objec of my pursuit, and pleasure I obtained, at the expence, both of health, and fortune: but yet, my lord, I broke not in upon the peace of others ; the laws of hospitality, I never vio. lated ;. nor did I ever seek to injure, or seduce, the wife or daughter of my friend.
Lp. Eust. I care not what you did; give me the letters.
FRAM. I have no right to keep, and therefore fall surrender them, though with the utmost reluctance ; but, by our former friendship, I intreat you not to open them. . Lb.'Eust. That you have forfeited.
Fram. Since it is not in my power to prevent your committing an error, which you ought, for ever, to repent of, I will not be a witness of it. There are the letters.
LD. Eust. You may, perhaps, have cause to repent your present conduct, Mr. Frampton, as much as I do ou past attachment.
- FRAM. Rather than hold your friendship upon such terms; I resign it for ever. Farewel, ny lord.
' Re-enter FRAMPTON. · Fram. Ill treated as I have been, my lord, I find it impossible to leave you surrounded by difficulties. LD. Eust. That sentiment should have operated fooner,
Mr. Frampton. Recollection is seldom of use to our friends, though it may sometimes be serviceable to ourselves.
FRAM.' Take advantage of your own expression, my lord, and recollect yourself. Born and educated as I have been, a gentleman, how have you inju.ed both yourself and me, by admitting and uniting in the same confidence, your rafcally servant!
Lo. Eust. The exigency.of my situation is a sufficient excuse to myself, and ought to have been fo to the man who called himself my friend. · Fram. Have a care, my lord, of uttering the least doub! upon that subject; for could I think you once mean enough to suspect the fincerity of my attachment to you, it must vanish at that inftant.
Lo. Eust. The proofs of your regard have been rather painful of late, Mr. Frampton.
FRAM. When I see my friend upon the verge of a precipice, is that a time for compliment? Shall I not rudely rush forward, and drag him from it ? Just in that state you are at present, and I will strive to save you. Virtue may languish in a noble heart, and fuffer her rival, vice, to ufurp her power ; but baseness must not enter, or he fies for ever. The man who has forfeited his own esteem, thinks all the world has the same consciousness, and therefore is what he deserves to be, a wretch.
Lo. Eust. Oh, Frampton ! you have lodged a dagger in my heart,
FRAM. No, my dear Eustace, I have saved you from one, from your own reproaches, by preventing your being guilty of a meanness, which you could never have forgiven yourfelf. Lo. Eust. Can you forgive me, and be still my friend. L 2
FRAME FRAM. As firmly as I have ever been, my lord. But let us, at present, haften to get rid of the mean businefs we are engaged in, and forward the letters we have no right to detain.
SCHOOL for Rakes.
CH A P. IX.
DUKE. AJOW, my co-mates, and brothers in exile,
TV Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Come, shall we go, and kill us venison !
Lord. Indeed, my Lord,
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that;
Duke. But what said Jaques ?
LORD. O yes, into a thousand similes,