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Val. And they meet, I suppose, with a suitable return of affection from my children?
Bone. I believe they do.
Val. And you are entirely willing to have this double match go forward?
Bone. I am desirous of it, earnestly desirous.
Val. So that my consent alone is wanting?
Bone. Even so.
Val. It will require great consideration.
Val. Mr. Boncour, I have always had the greatest respect for you and your family; there is nothing in my power which I would not do to serve you; consider, Sir, I have but two children, a boy and a girl, they are my all, and the disposal of them is a matter of great weight; you cannot expect me to be so hasty in taking any measures leading to it.
Bone. Why, what objections can you apprehend?
Val. I don't know: I have not yet considered enough of the matter.—You will excuse me, Mr. Boncour, but treaties of this nature oblige us to enquire a little into one another's affairs: why, that estate now of your's in Hampshire, is a very ill timber'd estate.
Bone. Sir, I am in no doubt but that my estate will be able to answer your demands.
Val. They will not be unreasonable, Mr. Boncour; I shall act in a most generous manner; I have always despised those who have used any art in their actions: I shall be glad if it happens to fall within my power to oblige you; but, truly, this affair requires great consideration.
Bone. Well, Sir, I will leave you to it; in the afternoon I shall expect your answer.
VaL Mr. Boncour, you shall have my answer this very evening; be assured, if possible, I will comply with your desires.
Bone. I shall expect you this afternoon.
Val. I will wait on you, and hope there will be no difficulty.
Bone. There shall be none on my side. [Exit.
Val. This is beyond my utmost expectation;—but I must not appear forward, that I may make the better bargain;—nothing is so foolish as leaping eagerly at an advantageous proposal.
Enter Young Valence.
So, son, where have you been? I have wanted you; is it impossible for you to stay at home with money in your pocket?
Young Val. Sir, if I had known you would have
Val. But you are not to know always: I don't know myself, you must keep in the way; young fellows nowa-days mind nothing but their pleasures.
Young Val. Sir, you will have no reason to complain of that, for to please you is my greatest pleasure.
Val. And so it ought to be, for I think my generosity to you this morning shews you that I have a pleasure in pleasing you.
Young Val. O, Sir, if my happiness can give you pleasure, it is in your power to make me so happy!
Val. So, something else is wanted, I see; but, whatever it be, I may thank myself for it: bestowing one favour is giving right to ask a second; the first is a gift, the rest are payments.
Young Val. If a son hath any right to ask, it is the favour I shall ask of you; and if any son could hope to obtain, I must; since the only reason which prompts a father to deny is in my favour, and the lady on whom I have placed my affection is my superior in fortune.
Val. Ay! perhaps, he means my friend's daughter, and then my prudent backwardness will be finely rewarded (aside). Who is the lady?
Young Val. One whose person, family, and fortune, are not unknown to you; but why should I fear to name her? Miss Boncour.
Young Val. Miss Boncour; sure you can have no objections.
Val. What a way is that of talking? You are sure I can have no objections? How can you tell what objections I may make? Are you to dictate to me? This is the consequence of my generosity to you this morning; this all arises from my foolish prodigality.
Young Val. Sir, I own my obligations, and am sorry I used an unguarded expression, by which I meant no more than that I hoped her fortune would be agreeable to you.
Val. I don't know that.
Young Val. I thought, Sir, so long an acquaintance with her father
Val. And pray, why have you thought that my long acquaintance with her father must let me into the knowledge of his circumstances? Mr. Boncour has the reputation of a weak man, but notwithstanding that, I know he has a little low cunning in him, which makes it more difficult to see through his affairs than those of a wiser man; so let me give you a little advice: if you have an affection for this girl, don't let her father see it; I hate deceit, and love to act openly and honestly with mankind; but still with some prudence towards such a cunning knave as Boncour.
Young Val. Sir, I shall pay an exact observance to your orders.
Val. Well, well, perhaps you might have settled your affections worse; I don't know, I don't promise anything, but if matters appear exactly to my mind
Young Val. Sir, you are the best and most indulgent of fathers.
Val. Remember, I promise nothing.
Young Val. You are the kindest of men, and I the happiest.
Val. Observe my advice.
Young Val. I should be unworthy, indeed, were I to neglect it.
Val. Go, send your sister to me, remember I promise nothing.
Young Val. Sir, you are the best of fathers. [Exit.
Val. This is the effect of severity; severity is, indeed, the whole duty of a parent—now for my daughter—a little caution would suffice with her; for women of their own accord are apt enough to practise deceit, and now, I think, I have my old neighbour's fortune at my disposal.
Enter Miss Valence.
Miss Val. My brother told me, Sir, you had sent for me.
Val. Yes, Sophy, I did; Come hither, I have not very lately given you any pocket money.
Miss Val. Sir, it is not my business to keep an account where I have no demand, but from the generosity of the giver.
Val. But I think I have not lately, that is, very lately, given you much.
Miss Val. No, really, Sir, I don't remember to have had any thing of you, since you gave me a ticket for the opera, and that is almost a year ago.
Val. Well, well, there are a couple of pieces for you; be a good housewife, and you shan't want money.
Miss Val. I give you a thousand thanks, Sir.
VOL. IV. D
Val. Now, Sophy, look me full in the face, and tell me what you think of young Boncour.
Miss Val. Why should you ask me what I think of him, Sir?
Val. What an impertinent question is that! You give me "fine encouragement to be generous to you; why should I ask you? I have reason, no doubt of it, but your cheeks answer me better than your lips; that blush sufficiently assures me what you think of him.
Miss Val. If I blush'd, Sir, it was at your suspicion, for I am sure Mr. Boncour is no more to me than another man.
Val. But suppose I have a desire he should be more to you?
Miss Val. I shall be dutiful to you in all things.
Val. I believe it will be an easy piece of duty; you are all very dutiful when you are ordered to follow your inclinations; but, young lady, what I insist on at present is, that if this gentleman has your affections you will be so good as to conceal them.
Miss Val. Pray, Sir, why should you think he has my affections?
Val. Again at your why's! Madam, I tell you I expect you to behave with discretion; that is, in other words, to deal as dishonestly with your lover as you do with your father; I am sure you can never repine at such easy commands; so this afternoon I desire you will put on all your reserve, all your airs and indifference: but, perhaps you have given him encouragement already, perhaps you have dutifully intended to marry him without consent or approbation of mine.
Miss Val. Indeed, Sir, you have no reason
Val. How, have I no reason! a pretty compliment to your father; go to your chamber, Madam, and stay there till you have learnt a more respectful behaviour.