The Clandestine Marriage/Act III
ACT III.SCENE I.
Enter a ſervant leading in Serjeant Flower, and Counſellors Traverſe and Trueman—all booted.
Servant. THIS way, if you pleaſe, gentlemen! my maſter is at breakfaſt with the family at preſent—but I'll let him know, and he will wait on you immediately.
Flower. Mighty well, young man, mighty well.
Servant. Pleaſe to favour me with your names, gentlemen.
Flower. Let Mr. Sterling know, that Mr. Serjeant Flower, and three other gentlemen of the bar, are come to wait on him according to his appointment.
Servant. I will, Sir. [going.
Flower. And harkee, young man! [ſervant returns.] Deſire my ſervant—Mr. Serjeant Flower's ſervant—to bring in my green and gold ſaddle-cloth and piſtols, and lay them down here in the hall with my portmanteau.
Servant. I will, Sir. [Exit.
Flower. Well, gentlemen! the ſettling theſe marriage articles falls conveniently enough, almoſt juſt on the eve of the circuits.—Let me ſee—the Home, the Midland, Oxford, and Weſtern,—ay, we can all croſs the country well enough to our ſeveral deſtinations.—Traverſe, when do you begin at Abingdon?
Traverſe. The day after to-morrow.
Flower. That is commiſſion-day with us at Warwick too.—But my clerk has retainers for every cauſe in the paper, ſo it will be time enough if I am there the next morning.—Beſides, I have about half a dozen caſes that have lain by me ever ſince the ſpring aſſizes, and I muſt tack opinions to them before I ſee my country-clients again—ſo I will take the evening before me—and then currente calamo, as I ſay—eh, Traverſe!
Traverſe. True, Mr. Serjeant.
Flower. Do You expect to have much to do on the Home circuit theſe aſſizes?
Traverſe. Not much niſi prius buſineſs, but a good deal on the crown ſide, I believe.—The goals are brimfull—and ſome of the felons in good circumſtances, and likely to be tolerable clients.—Let me ſee! I am engag'd for three highway robberies, two murders, one forgery, and half a dozen larcenies, at Kingſton.
Flower. A pretty decent goal-delivery!—Do you expect to bring off Darkin, for the robbery on Putney-Common? Can you make out your alibi?
Traverſe. Oh, no! the crown witneſſes are ſure to prove our identity. We ſhall certainly be hanged: but that don't ſignify.—But, Mr. Serjeant, have you much to do?—any remarkable cauſe on the Midland this circuit?
Flower. Nothing very remarkable,—except two rapes, and Rider and Weſtern at Nottingham, for crim. con.—but, on the whole, I believe a good deal of buſineſs.—Our aſſociate tells me, there are above thirty venires for Warwick.
Traverſe. Pray, Mr. Serjeant, are you concerned in Jones and Thomas at Lincoln?
Flower. I am—for the plaintiff.
Traverſe. And what do you think on't?
Flower. A nonſuit.
Traverſe. I thought ſo.
Flower. Oh, no manner of doubt on't—luce clarius—we have no right in us—we have but one chance.
Traverſe. What's that?
Flower. Why, my Lord Chief does not go the circuit this time, and my brother Puzzle being in the commiſſion, the cauſe will come on before him.
Trueman. Ay, that may do, indeed, if you can but throw duſt in the eyes of the defendant's council.
Flower. True.—Mr. Trueman, I think you are concerned for Lord Ogleby in this affair? [to Trueman.
Trueman. I am, Sir—I have the honour to be related to his Lordſhip, and hold ſome courts for him in Somerſetſhire,—go the Weſtern circuit—and attend the ſeſſions at Exeter, merely becauſe his Lordſhip's intereſt and property lie in that part of the kingdom.
Flower. Ha!—and pray, Mr. Trueman, how long have you been called to the bar?
Trueman. About nine years and three quarters.
Flower. Ha!—I don't know that I ever had the pleaſure of ſeeing you before.—I wiſh you ſucceſs, young gentleman!
Sterl. Oh, Mr. Serjeant Flower, I am glad to ſee you—Your ſervant, Mr. Serjeant! gentlemen, your ſervant!—Well, are all matters concluded? Has that ſnail-paced conveyancer, old Ferret of Gray's Inn, ſettled the articles at laſt? Do you approve of what he has done? Will his tackle hold? tight and ſtrong?—Eh, maſter Serjeant?
Flower. My friend Ferret's ſlow and ſure, Sir—But then, ſerius aut citius, as we ſay,—ſooner or later, Mr. Sterling, he is ſure to put his buſineſs out of hand as he ſhould do.—My clerk has brought the writings, and all other inſtruments along with him, and the ſettlement is, I believe, as good a ſettlement as any ſettlement on the face of the earth!
Sterl. But that damn'd mortgage of 60,000 l.—There don't appear to be any other incumbrances, I hope?
Traverſe. I can anſwer for that, Sir—and that will be cleared off immediately on the payment of the firſt part of Miſs Sterling's portion—You agree, on your part, to come down with 80,000 l.—
Sterl. Down on the nail.—Ay, ay, my money is ready to-morrow if he pleaſes—he ſhall have it in India-bonds, or notes, or how he chuſes.—Your lords, and your dukes, and your people at the court-end of the town ſtick at payments ſometimes—debts unpaid, no credit loſt with them—but no fear of us ſubſtantial fellows—eh, Mr. Serjeant!—
Flower. Sir John having laſt term, according to agreement, levied a fine, and ſuffered a recovery, has thereby cut off the entail of the Ogleby eſtate for the better effecting the purpoſes of the preſent intended marriage; on which above-mentioned Ogleby eſtate, a jointure of 2000 l. per ann. is ſecured to your eldeſt daughter, now Elizabeth Sterling, ſpinſter, and the whole eſtate, after the death of the aforeſaid earl, deſcends to the heirs male of Sir John Melvil on the body of the aforefaid Elizabeth Sterling lawfully to be begotten.
Traverſe. Very true—and Sir John is to be put in immediate poſſeſſion of as much of his Lordſhip's Somerſetſhire eſtate, as lies in the manors of Hogmore and Cranford, amounting to between two and three thouſands per ann. and at the death of Mr. Sterling, a further ſum of ſeventy thouſand——
Enter Sir John Melvil.
Sterl. Ah, Sir John! Here we are—hard at it—paving the road to matrimony—We'll have no jolts; all upon the nail, as eaſy as the new pavement.—Firſt the lawyers, then comes the doctor—Let us but diſpatch the long-robe, we ſhall ſoon ſet Pudding-ſleeves to work, I warrant you.
Sir John. I am ſorry to interrupt you, Sir—but I hope that both you and theſe gentlemen will excuſe me—having ſomething very particular for your private ear, I took the liberty of following you, and beg you will oblige me with an audience immediately.
Sterl. Ay, with all my heart—Gentlemen, Mr. Serjeant, you'll excuſe it—Buſineſs muſt be done, you know.—The writings will keep cold till to-morrow morning.
Flower. I muſt be at Warwick, Mr. Sterling, the day after.
Sterl. Nay, nay, I ſhan't part with you to-night, gentlemen, I promiſe you—My houſe is very full, but I have beds for you all, beds for your ſervants, and ſtabling for all your horſes.—Will you take a turn in the garden, and view ſome of my improvements before dinner? Or will you amuſe yourſelves in the green, with a game of bowls and a cool tankard?—My ſervants ſhall attend you—Do you chuſe any other refreſhment?—Call for what you pleaſe;—do as you pleaſe;—make yourſelves quite at home, I beg of you.—Here,—Thomas, Harry, William, wait on theſe Gentlemen!—[follows the lawyers out, bawling and talking, and then returns to Sir John.] And now, Sir, I am entirely at your ſervice.—What are your commands with me, Sir John?
Sir John. After having carried the negotiation between our families to ſo great a length, after having aſſented ſo readily to all your propoſals, as well as received ſo many inſtances of your chearful compliance with the demands made on our part, I am extremely concerned, Mr. Sterling, to be the involuntary cauſe of any uneaſineſs.
Sterl. Uneaſineſs! what uneaſineſs?—Where buſineſs is tranſacted as it ought to be, and the parties underſtand one another, there can be no uneaſineſs. You agree, on ſuch and ſuch conditions to receive my daughter for a wife; on the ſame conditions I agree to receive you as a ſon-in-law; and as to all the reſt, it follows of courſe, you know, as regularly as the payment of a bill after acceptance.
Sir John. Pardon me, Sir; more uneaſineſs has ariſen than you are aware of. I am myſelf, at this inſtant, in a ſtate of inexpreſſible embarraſſment; Miſs Sterling, I know, is extremely diſconcerted too; and unleſs you will oblige me with the aſſiſtance of your friendſhip, I foreſee the ſpeedy progreſs of diſcontent and animoſity through the whole family.
Sterl. What the deuce is all this? I don't underſtand a ſingle ſyllable.
Sir John. In one word then—it will be abſolutely impoſſible for me to fulfill my engagements in regard to Miſs Sterling.
Sterl. How, Sir John? Do you mean to put an affront upon my family? What! refuſe to—
Sir John. Be aſſured, Sir, that I neither mean to affront, nor forſake your family.—My only fear is, that you ſhould deſert me; for the whole happineſs of my life depends on my being connected with your family by the neareſt and tendereſt ties in the world.
Sterl. Why, did not you tell me, but a moment ago, that it was abſolutely impoſſible for you to marry my daughter?
Sir John. True.—But you have another daughter, Sir——
Sir John. Who has obtained the moſt abſolute dominion over my heart. I have already declared my paſſion to her; nay, Miſs Sterling herſelf is alſo apprized of it, and if you will but give a ſanction to my preſent addreſſes, the uncommon merit of Miſs Sterling will no doubt recommend her to a perſon of equal, if not ſuperior rank to myſelf, and our families may ſtill be allied by my union with Miſs Fanny.
Sterl. Mighty fine, truly! Why, what the plague do you make of us, Sir John? Do you come to market for my daughters, like ſervants at a ſtatute-fair? Do you think that I will ſuffer you, or any man in the world, to come into my houſe, like the Grand Signior, and throw the handkerchief firſt to one, and then to t'other, juſt as he pleaſes? Do you think I drive a kind of African ſlave-trade with them? and——
Sir John. A moment's patience, Sir! Nothing but the exceſs of my paſſion for Miſs Fanny ſhou'd have induced me to take any ſtep that had the leaſt appearance of diſreſpect to any part of your family; and even now I am deſirous to atone for my tranſgreſſion, by making the moſt adequate compenſation that lies in my power.
Sterl. Compenſation! what compenſation can you poſſibly make in ſuch a caſe as this, Sir John?
Sir John. Come, come, Mr. Sterling; I know you to be a man of ſenſe, a man of buſineſs, a man of the world. I'll deal frankly with you; and you ſhall ſee that I do not deſire a change of meaſures for my own gratification, without endeavouring to make it advantageous to you.
Sterl. What advantage can your inconſtancy be to me, Sir John?
Sir John. I'll tell you, Sir.—You know that by the articles at preſent ſubſiſting between us, on the day of my marriage with Miſs Sterling, you agree to pay down the groſs ſum of eighty thouſand pounds.
Sir John. Now if you will but conſent to my waving that marriage——
Sterl. I agree to your waving that marriage? Impoſſible, Sir John!
Sir John. I hope not, Sir; as on my part, I will agree to wave my right to thirty thouſand pounds of the fortune I was to receive with her.
Sterl. Thirty thouſand, d'ye ſay?
Sir John. Yes, Sir; and accept of Miſs Fanny with fifty thouſand, inſtead of fourſcore.
Sterl. Fifty thoufand—[pauſing.
Sir John. Inſtead of fourſcore.
Sterl. Why,—why,—there may be ſomething in that.—Let me ſee; Fanny with fifty thouſand inſtead of Betſey with fourſcore—But how can this be, Sir John?—For you know I am to pay this money into the hands of my Lord Ogleby; who, I believe—between you and me, Sir John,—is not overſtocked with ready money at preſent; and threeſcore thouſand of it, you know, is to go to pay off the preſent incumbrances on the eſtate, Sir John.
Sir John. That objection is eaſily obviated.—Ten of the twenty thouſand, which would remain as a ſurplus of the fourſcore, after paying off the mortgage, was intended by his Lordſhip for my uſe, that we might ſet off with ſome little eclat on our marriage; and the other ten for his own.—Ten thouſand pounds therefore I ſhall be able to pay you immediately; and for the remaining twenty thouſand you ſhall have a mortgage on that part of the eſtate which is to be made over to me, with whatever ſecurity you ſhall require for the regular payment of the intereſt, 'till the principal is duly diſcharged.
Sterl. Why—to do you juſtice, Sir John, there is ſomething fair and open in your propoſal; and ſince I find you do not mean to put an affront upon the family—
Sir John. Nothing was ever farther from my thoughts, Mr. Sterling.—And after all, the whole affair is nothing extraordinary—ſuch things happen every day—and as the world has only heard generally of a treaty between the families, when this marriage takes place, nobody will be the wiſer, if we have but diſcretion enough to keep our own counſel.
Sterl. True, true; and ſince you only transfer from one girl to the other, it is no more than transferring ſo much ſtock, you know.
Sir John. The very thing.
Sterl. Odſo! I had quite forgot. We are reckoning without our hoſt here. There is another difficulty—
Sir John. You alarm me. What can that be?
Sterl. I can't ſtir a ſtep in this buſineſs without conſulting my ſiſter Heidelberg.—The family has very great expectations from her, and we muſt not give her any offence.
Sir John. But if you come into this meaſure, ſurely ſhe will be ſo kind as to conſent—
Sterl. I don't know that—Betſey is her darling, and I can't tell how far ſhe may reſent any ſlight that ſeems to be offered to her favourite neice.—However, I'll do the beſt I can for you.—You ſhall go and break the matter to her firſt, and by that time that I may ſuppoſe that your rhetorick has prevailed on her to liſten to reaſon, I will ſtep in to reinforce your arguments.
Sir John. I'll fly to her immediately: you promiſe me your aſſiſtance?
Sterl. I do.
Sir John. Ten thouſand thanks for it! and now ſucceſs attend me! [going.
Sterl. Harkee, Sir John!
Sir John returns.
Sterl. Not a word of the thirty thouſand to my ſiſter, Sir John.
Sir John. Oh, I am dumb, I am dumb, Sir. [going.
Sterl. You remember it is thirty thouſand.
Sir John. To be ſure I do. [going.
Sterl. But Sir John!—one thing more. [Sir John returns.] My Lord muſt know nothing of this ſtroke of friendſhip between us.
Sir John. Not for the world.—Let me alone! let me alone! [offering to go.
Sterl. [holding him]—And when every thing is agreed, we muſt give each other a bond to be held faſt to the bargain.
Sir John. To be ſure. A bond by all means! a bond, or whatever you pleaſe. [Exit haſtily.
I ſhould have thought of more conditions—he's in a humour to give me every thing—Why, what mere children are your fellows of quality; that cry for a plaything one minute, and throw it by the next! as changeable as the weather, and as uncertain as the flocks.—Special fellows to drive a bargain! and yet they are to take care of the intereſt of the nation truly!—Here does this whirligig man of faſhion offer to give up thirty thouſand pounds in hard money, with as much indifference as if it was a china orange.—By this mortgage, I ſhall have a hold on his Terra-firma, and if he wants more money, as he certainly will,—let him have children by my daughter or no, I ſhall have his whole eſtate in a net for the benefit of my family.—Well; thus it is, that the children of citizens, who have acquired fortunes, prove perſons of faſhion; and thus it is, that perſons of faſhion, who have ruined their fortunes, reduce the next generation to cits.
SCENE changes to another apartment.
Enter Mrs. Heidelberg, and Miſs Sterling.
Miſs Sterl. This is your gentle-looking, ſoft-ſpeaking, ſweet-ſmiling, affable Miſs Fanny for you!
Mrs. Heidel. My Miſs Fanny! I diſclaim her. With all her arts ſhe never could inſinuat herſelf into my good graces—and yet ſhe has a way with her, that deceives man, woman, and child, except you, and me, neice.
Miſs Sterl. O ay; ſhe wants nothing but a crook in her hand, and a lamb under her arm, to be a perfect picture of innocence and ſimplicity.
Mrs. Heidel. Juſt as I was drawn at Amſterdam, when I went over to viſit my huſband's relations.
Miſs Sterl. And then ſhe's ſo mighty good to ſervants pray, John, do this—pray, Tom, do that—thank you, Jenny—and then ſo humble to her relations—to be ſure, Papa!—as my Aunt pleaſes—my Siſter knows beſt—But with all her demurneſs and humility ſhe has no objection to be Lady Melvil, it ſeems, nor to any wickedneſs that can make her ſo.
Mrs. Heidel. She Lady Melville? Compoſe yourſelf, Niece! I'll ladyſhip her indeed:—a little creepin, cantin—She ſhan't be the better for a farden of my money. But tell me, child, how does this intriguing with Sir John correſpond with her partiality to Lovewell? I don't ſee a concatunation here.
Miſs Sterl. There I was deceived, Madam. I took all their whiſperings and ſtealing into corners to be the mere attraction of vulgar minds; but, behold! their private meetings were not to contrive their own inſipid happineſs, but to conſpire againſt mine.—But I know whence proceeds Mr. Lovewell's reſentment to me. I could not ſtoop to be familiar with my father's clerk, and ſo I have loſt his intereſt.
Mrs. Heidel. My ſpurrit to a T.—My dear child! [kiſſing her.]—Mr. Heidelberg loſt his election for member of parliament, becauſe I would not demean myſelf to be ſlobbered about by drunken ſhoemakers, beaſtly cheeſemongers, and greaſy butchers and tallow-chandlers. However, Niece, I can't help diffuring a little in opinon from you in this matter. My experunce and ſagucity makes me ſtill ſuſpect, that there is ſomething more between her and that Lovewell, notwithſtanding this affair of Sir John—I had my eye upon them the whole time of breakfaſt.—Sir John, I obſerved, looked a little confounded, indeed, though I knew nothing of what had paſſed in the garden. You ſeemed to ſit upon thorns too: but Fanny and Mr. Lovewell made quite another-gueſs ſort of a figur; and were as perfet a pictur of two diſtreſt lovers, as if it had been drawn by Raphael Angelo.—As to Sir John and Fanny, I want a matter of fact.
Miſs Sterl. Matter of fact, Madam! Did not I come unexpectedly upon them? Was not Sir John kneeling at her feet, and kiſſing her hand? Did not he look all love, and ſhe all confuſion? Is not that matter of fact? And did not Sir John, the moment that Papa was called out of the room to the lawyer-men, get up from breakfaſt, and follow him immediately? And I warrant you that by this time he has made propoſals to him to marry my ſiſter—Oh, that ſome other perſon, an earl, or a duke, would make his addreſſes to me, that I might be revenged on this monſter!
Mrs. Heidel. Be cool, child! you ſhall be Lady Melvil, in ſpite of all their caballins, if it coſts me ten thouſand pounds to turn the ſcale. Sir John may apply to my brother, indeed; but I'll make them all know who governs in this fammaly.
Miſs Sterl. As I live, Madam, yonder comes Sir John. A baſe man! I can't endure the ſight of him. I'll leave the room this inſtant. [diſordered.
Mrs. Heidel. Poor thing! Well, retire to your own chamber, child; I'll give it him, I warrant you; and by and by I'll come, and let you know all that has paſt between us.
Miſs Sterl. Pray do, Madam! —[looking back.]—A vile wretch!
[Exit in a rage.
Enter Sir John Melvil.
Sir John. Your moſt obedient humble ſervant, Madam! [bowing very reſpectfully.
Mrs. Heidel. Your ſervant, Sir John! [dropping a half-curtſy, and pouting.
Sir John. Miſs Sterling's manner of quitting the room on my approach, and the viſible coolneſs of your behaviour to me, Madam, convince me that ſhe has acquainted you with what paſt this morning.
Mrs. Heidel. I am very ſorry, Sir John, to be made acquainted with any thing that ſhould induce me to change the opinon, which I could always wiſh to entertain of a perſon of quallaty. [pouting.
Sir John. It has always been my ambition to merit the beſt opinion from Mrs. Heidelberg; and when ſhe comes to weigh all circumſtances, I flatter myſelf——
Mrs. Heidel. You do flatter yourſelf, if you imagine that I can approve of your behaviour to my niece, Sir John.—And give me leave to tell you, Sir John, that you have been drawn into an action much beneath you, Sir John; and that I look upon every injury offered to Miſs Betty Sterling, as an affront to myſelf, Sir John. [warmly.
Sir John. I would not offend you for the world, Madam! but when I am influenced by a partiality for another, however ill-founded, I hope your diſcernment and good ſenſe will think it rather a point of honour to renounce engagements, which I could not fulfil ſo ſtrictly as I ought; and that you will excuſe the change in my inclinations, ſince the new object, as well as the firſt, has the honour of being your niece, Madam.
Mrs. Heidel. I diſclaim her as a niece, Sir John; Miſs Sterling diſclaims her as a ſiſter, and the whole fammaly muſt diſclaim her, for her monſtrus baſeneſs and treachery.
Sir John. Indeed ſhe has been guilty of none, Madam. Her hand and heart are, I am ſure, entirely at the diſpoſal of yourſelf, and Mr. Sterling.
Enter Sterling behind.
And if you ſhould not oppoſe my inclinations, I am ſure of Mr. Sterling's conſent, Madam.
Mrs. Heidel. Indeed!
Sir John. Quite certain, Madam.
Sterl. [behind.] So! they ſeem to be coming to terms already. I may venture to make my appearance.
Mrs. Heidel. To marry Fanny? [Sterling advances by degrees.
Sir John. Yes, Madam.
Mrs. Heidel. My brother has given his conſent, you ſay?
Sir John. In the moſt ample manner, with no other reſtriction than the failure of your concurrence, Madam.—[ſees Sterling.]—Oh, here's Mr. Sterling, who will confirm what I have told you.
Mrs. Heidel. What! have you conſented to give up your own daughter in this manner, brother?
Sterl. Give her up! no, not give her up, ſiſter; only in caſe that you—Zounds, I am afraid you have ſaid too much, Sir John. [apart to Sir John.
Mrs: Heidel. Yes, yes. I ſee now that it is true enough what my niece told me. You are all plottin and caballin againſt her.—Pray, does Lord Ogleby know of this affair?
Sir John. I have not yet made him acquainted with it, Madam.
Mrs. Heidel. No, I warrant you. I thought ſo.—And ſo his Lordſhip and myſelf truly, are not to be conſulted 'till the laſt.
Sterl. What! did not you conſult my Lord? Oh fie for ſhame, Sir John!
Sir John. Nay, but Mr. Sterling—
Mrs. Heidel. We, who are the perſons of moſt conſequence and experunce in the two fammalies, are to know nothing of the matter, 'till the whole is as good as concluded upon. But his Lordſhip, I am ſure, will have more generoſaty than to countenance ſuch a perceeding—And I could not have expected ſuch behavour from a perſon of your quallaty, Sir John.—And as for you, brother—
Sterl. Nay, nay, but hear me, ſiſter!
Mrs. Heidel. I am perfetly aſhamed of you—Have you no ſpurrit? no more concern for the honour of our fammaly than to conſent—
Sterl. Conſent?—I conſent!—As I hope for mercy, I never gave my conſent. Did I conſent, Sir John?
Sir John. Not abſolutely, without Mrs. Heidelberg's concurrence. But in caſe of her approbation—
Sterl. Ay, I grant you, if my ſiſter approved.—But that's quite another thing, you know.—
[to Mrs. Heidelberg.
Mrs. Heidel. Your ſiſter approve, indeed!—I thought you knew her better, brother Sterling!—What! approve of having your eldeſt daughter returned upon your hands, and exchanged for the younger?—I am ſurprized how you could liſten to ſuch a ſcandalus propoſal.
Sterl. I tell you, I never did liſten to it.—Did not I ſay that I would be governed entirely by my ſiſter, Sir John?—And unleſs ſhe agreed to your marrying Fanny—
Mrs. Heidel. I agree to his marrying Fanny? abominable! The man is abſolutely out of his ſenſes.—Can't that wiſe head of yours foreſee the conſequence of all this, brother Sterling? Will Sir John take Fanny without a fortune? No.—After you have ſettled the largeſt part of your property on your youngeſt daughter, can there be an equal portion left for the eldeſt? No.—Does not this overturn the whole ſyſtum of the fammaly? Yes, yes, yes. You know I was always for my niece Betſey's marrying a perſon of the very firſt quallaty. That was my maxum. And, therefore, much the largeſt ſettlement was of courſe to be made upon her.—As for Fanny, if ſhe could, with a fortune of twenty or thirty thouſand pounds, get a knight, or a member of parliament, or a rich common-council-man for a huſband, I thought it might do very well.
Sir John. But if a better match ſhould offer itſelf, why ſhould not it be accepted, Madam?
Mrs. Heidel. What! at the expence of her elder ſiſter! Oh fie, Sir John!—How could you bear to hear of ſuch an indignaty, brother Sterling?
Sterl. I! nay, I ſhan't hear of it, I promiſe you.—I can't hear of it indeed, Sir John.
Mrs. Heidel. But you have heard of it, brother Sterling. You know you have; and ſent Sir John to propoſe it to me. But if you can give up your daughter, I ſhan't forſake my niece, I aſſure you. Ah! if my poor dear Mr. Heidelberg, and our ſweet babes had been alive, he would not have behaved ſo.
Sterl. Did I, Sir John? nay ſpeak!—Bring me off, or we are ruined. [apart to Sir John.
Sir John. Why, to be ſure, to ſpeak the truth—
Mrs. Heidel. To ſpeak the truth, I'm aſhamed of you both. But have a care what you are about, brother! have a care, I ſay. The lawyers are in the houſe, I hear; and if every thing is not ſettled to my liking, I'll have nothing more to ſay to you, if I live theſe hundred years.—I'll go over to Holland, and ſettle with Mr. Vanderſpracken, my poor husband's firſt couſin; and my own fammaly ſhall never be the better for a farden of my money, I promiſe you.
Manent Sir John, and Sterling.
Sterl. I thought ſo, I knew ſhe never would agree to it.
Sir John. 'Sdeath, how unfortunate! What can we do, Mr. Sterling?
Sir John. What! muſt our agreement break off, the moment it is made then?
Sterl. It can't be helped, Sir John. The family, as I told you before, have great expectations from my ſiſter; and if this matter proceeds, you hear yourſelf that ſhe threatens to leave us.—My brother Heidelberg was a warm man; a very warm man; and died worth a Plumb at leaſt; a Plumb! ay, I warrant you, he died worth a Plumb and a half.
Sir John. Well; but if I—
Sterl. And then, my ſiſter has three or four very good mortgages, a deal of money in the three per cents. and old South-Sea annuities, beſides large concerns in the Dutch and French funds.—The greateſt part of all this ſhe means to leave to our family.
Sir John. I can only ſay, Sir—
Sterl. Why, your offer of the difference of thirty thouſand, was very fair and handſome to be ſure, Sir John.
Sir John. Nay, but I am even willing to—
Sterl. Ay, but if I was to accept it againſt her will, I might loſe above a hundred thouſand; ſo, you ſee, the ballance is againſt you, Sir John.
Sir John. But is there no way, do you think, of prevailing on Mrs. Heidelberg to grant her conſent?
Sterl. I am afraid not.—However, when her paſſion is a little abated—for ſhe's very paſſionate—you may try what can be done: but you muſt not uſe my name any more, Sir John.
Sir John. Suppoſe I was to prevail on Lord Ogleby to apply to her, do you think that would have any influence over her?
Sterl. I think he would be more likely to perſuade her to it, than any other perſon in the family. She has a great reſpect for Lord Ogleby. She loves a lord.
Sir John. I'll apply to him this very day.—And if he ſhould prevail on Mrs. Heidelberg, I may depend on your friendſhip, Mr. Sterling?
Sterl. Ay, ay, I ſhall be glad to oblige you, when it is in my power; but as the account ſtands now, you ſee it is not upon the figures. And ſo your ſervant, Sir John.
Sir John Melvil alone.
What a ſituation am I in!—Breaking off with her whom I was bound by treaty to marry; rejected by the object of my affections; and embroiled with this turbulent woman, who governs the whole family.—And yet oppoſition, inſtead of ſmothering, increaſes my inclination. I muſt have her. I'll apply immediately to Lord Ogleby; and if he can but bring over the aunt to our party, her influence will overcome the ſcruples and delicacy of my dear Fanny, and I ſhall be the happieſt of mankind.