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Porter. What, madam ?
Har. He does not understand you.-[To Miss Woo BURN.]-Come, will you go back?
Porter. Do, my lady, and call in the morning.
Miss W. By that time he may be totally insensible, and die without knowing how much I am attached to him.
Mrs. P. And my husband may die without knowing how angry I am with him! Mr. Harmony, never mind this foolish man, but force your way into the next
Porter. Indeed, sir, you must not. Pray, Mr. Harmony, pray, ladies go away.
Miss W. Yes, must go from my husband's house for ever, never to see that or him again!
[Faints on MR. HARMONY. Mrs. P. She is fainting-open the windows--give her air.
Porter. Pray go away :-there's plenty of air in the streets, ma'am.
Har. Scoundrel! Your impertinence is insupportable. Open these doors; I insist on their being opened. [He thrusts a door in the centre of_the_stage; it opens, and discovers SIR ROBERT and MR. PLACID at a table, surrounded by a company of gentlemen.]
Sir R. A song-a song-another song-[Miss WooBURN, all astonishment, is supported by MR. HARMONY and MRS. PLACID.-The PORTER runs off, L.] Ah! what do I see !-Women !-Ladies !-Celestial beings we were talking of!-Can this be real ?-[SIR ROBERT and MR. PLACID come forward.-SIR ROBERT perceiving it is MISS WOOBURN, turns himself to the company.]-Gentlemen, gentlemen, married men and single men, hear me thus publicly renounce every woman on earth but this; and swear henceforward to be devoted to none but my own wife. [Goes to her in raptures.
Placid. [Looking at MRS. PLACID, then turning to the company.] Gentlemen, gentlemen, married men and single men, hear me thus publicly declare, I will henceforth be master; and from this time forward will be obeyed by my wife.
[SIR ROBERT waves his hand, and the door is closed on the company of gentlemen.
Mrs. P. Mr. Placid-Mr. Placid, are you not afraid? Placid. No, madam, I have consulted my friends, I
have drank two bottles of wine, and I never intend to be afraid again.
Miss W. [To SIR ROBERT.] Can it be that I see you without a wound?
Sir R. No, my life, that you do not; for I have a wound through my heart, which none but you can cure. But in despair of your aid, I have flown to wine, to give me a temporary relief by the loss of reflection.
Mrs. P. Mr. Placid you will be sober in the morning. Placid. Yes, my dear; and I will take care that you shall be dutiful in the morning.
Har. For shame! how can you treat Mrs. Placid thus? You would not, if you knew what kind things she has been saying of you; and how anxious she was, when I told her you were wounded in a duel. Mrs. P. Was not I, Mr. Harmony?
[Bursting into tears. Placid. [Aside to HARMONY and SIR ROBERT.] I did not know she could cry: I never saw it before, and it has made me sober in an instant.
Miss W. Mr. Placid, I rely on you to conduct me immediately from this house.
Sir R. That I protest against; and will use even violent measures to prevent him.
Enter WILLIAM, L.
Will. Lord Norland.
Enter LORD NORLAND, L.
Miss W. He will protect me.
Sir R. Who shall protect you in my house but myself? My lord, she is under my protection; and if you offer to take her from me, I'll exert the authority of a husband, and lock her up.
Lord N. [To MISS WOOBURN.] Have you been deluded hither, and wish to leave the place with me? Tell me instantly, that I may know how to act.
Miss W. My lord, I am ready to go with you, but― Har. But you find she is inclined to stay; and do have some compassion upon two people, that are so fond of you.
Enter MR. SOLUS, L. dressed in a suit of white clothes. Solus. I am married! I am married! Wish me joy! I am married!
Sir R. I cannot give you joy, for envy.
Solus. Nay, I do not know whether you will envy me much when you see my spouse. I cannot say she was exactly my choice. However, she is my wife now; and that is a name so endearing, that I think I love her better since the ceremony has been performed.
Mrs. P. And pray when did it take place?
Solus. This moment. We are now returning from a friend's house, where we have been joined by a special licence; and I felt myself so happy, I could not pass Sir Robert's door without calling to tell him of my good fortune. And, as I see your lady here, Sir Robert, I guess you are just married too; and so I'll hand my wife out of the carriage, and introduce the two brides to each other.-I'm married! [Exit, L.
Sir R. You see, my lord, what construction Mr. Solus has put on Miss Wooburn's visit to me: and, by heaven, if you take her away, it will be said, that she came and offered herself to me, and that I rejected her! Miss W. Such a report would kill me.
Re-enter SOLUs, leading on MISS SPINSTER, L. Solus. Mistress Solus. [Introducing her. Har. [Starting.] My relation!-Dear madam, by what strange turn of fortune do I see you become a wife?
Miss S. Mr. Harmony, it is a weakness, I acknowledge; but you can never want an excuse for me, when you call to mind the scarcity of provisions.
Solus. Mr. Harmony, I have loved her ever since you told me she spoke so well of me behind my back.
Enter WILLIAM, L. and whispers MR. HARMONY, who follows him off.
Lord N. I agree with you, Mr. Solus, that this is a most excellent proof of a person's disposition; and in consideration, Sir Robert, that throughout all our many disagreements you have still preserved a respect for my character in my absence, I do at last say to that lady, she has my consent to trust you again.
Sir R. And she will trust me: I see it in her smiles Oh! unexpected ecstacy!
Re-enter MR. HARMONY, L.
Har. [Holding a letter in his hand.] Amidst the
bright prospects of joy which this company are contemplating, I come to announce an event that ought to cloud the splendour of the horizon. A worthy, but an ill-fated man, whom you are all acquainted with, has just breathed his last.
Lord N. Do you mean the husband of my daughter?
Sir R. And my old acquaintance?
Har. Did Mr. Irwin possess all those titles you have given him, gentlemen? Was he your son?-[TO LORD NORLAND. -Your nephew?-[ To SOLUS. -Your friend?-[To MR. PLACID.]-And your old acquaintance?-[To SIR ROBERT.]-How strange he did not know it!
Placid. He did know it.
Har. Still more strange, that he should die for want, and not apply to any of you!
Solus. What !-die for want in London! Starve in the midst of plenty !
Har. No: but he seized that plenty where law, where honour, where every social and religious tie forbade the trespass; and, in punishment of the guilt, has become his own excutioner.
Lord N. Then my daughter is wretched, and her boy involved in his father's infamy!
Solus. The fear of his ghost haunting me, will disturb the joys of my married life.
Placid. Mrs. Placid, Mrs. Placid, my complying with your injunctions, in respect to Mr. Irwin, will make me miserable for ever.
Miss W. I wish he had applied to me.
Sir R. And, as I refused him his request, I would give half my estate that he had not applied to me.
Har. And a man who always spoke so well of you all behind your backs !-I dare say that, in his dying moments, there was not one of you whom he did not praise for some virtue.
Solus. No, no-when he was dying, he would be more careful of what he said.
Lord N. Sir Robert, good day. Settle your marriage as you and your lady shall approve; you have my good wishes. But my spirits have received too great a shock, to be capable of any other impression at pre
Miss W. [Holding him.] Nay, stay, my lord.
Solus. And, Mrs. Solus, let me hand you into your carriage, to your company; but excuse my going home with you. My spirits have received too great a shock, to be capable of any other impression at present.
Har. [Stopping SOLUS.] Now, so loth am I to see any of you, only for a moment, in grief, while I have the power to relieve you, that I cannot help-yes, my philanthropy will get the better of my justice.-[Goes to the door and leads in LADY ELEANOR, IRWIN, and EDWARD, L.
Lord N. [Runs to IRWIN, and embraces him.] My son!-[IRWIN falls on his knees.]-I take a share in all your offences.-The worst of accomplices, while I impelled you to them.
İrwin. [On his knees.] I come to offer my returning reason; to offer my vows, that, while that reason continues, so long will I be penitent for the phrensy which put your life in danger.
Lady E. [Moving timidly to her father, leading EDWARD by the hand.] I come to offer you this child, this affectionate child; who, in the midst of our caresses droops his head, and pines for your forgiveness. Lord N. Ah! there is a corner of my heart left to receive him. [Embraces him. Edw. Then, pray, my lord, suffer the corner to be large enough to hold my mother too.
Lord N. My heart is softened and receives you all. [Embraces LADY ELEANOR, who falls on her knees; he then turns to HARMONY.]-Mr. Harmony, I thank you, I most sincerely thank you, for this, the most joyful moment of my life. I not only experience release from misery, but a return to happiness.
Har. [Goes hastily to SOLUS, and leads him to IRWIN; then turns to MR. and MRS. PLACID.]-And now that I see you are all reconciled, I can say there are not two enemies, in the whole circle of my acquaintance, that I have not, within these three days, made friends.
Sir R. Very true, Harmony: for we should never have known half how well we all love another, if you had not told us.
Har. And yet, my good friends, notwithstanding the merit you may attribute to me, I have one most tremendous fault; and it weighs so heavy on my conscience, I would confess what it is, but that you might hereafter call my veracity in question.