Char. How know him? Mere doubt and supposition!
Lew. I shall have proof soon.
Char. And what then? Would you risk your life to be his punisher?
Lew. My life, madam! Don’t be afraid. And yet I am happy in your concern for me. But let it content you that I know this Stukely. ’Twould be as easy to make him honest as brave.
Char. And what d’you intend to do?
Lew. Nothing, till I have proof. Yet my suspicions are well-grounded. But methinks, madam, I am acting here without authority. Could I have leave to call Mr. Beverley brother, his concerns would be my own. Why will you make my services appear officious?
Char. You know my reasons, and should not press me. But I am cold, you say: and cold I will be, while a poor sister’s destitute. My heart bleeds for her! and till I see her sorrows moderated, love has no joys for me. Lew. Can I be less a friend by being a brother? I would not say an unkind thing; but the pillar of your house is shaken. Prop it with another, and it shall stand firm again. You must comply.
Char. And will, when I have peace within myself. But let us change the subject. Your business here this morning is with my sister. Misfortunes press too hard upon her: yet till to day she has borne them nobly.
Lew. Where is she?
Char. Gone to her chamber. Her spirits failed her.
Lew. I hear her coming. Let what has passed with Stukely be a secret. She has already too much to trouble her.
Enter Mrs. BEVERLEY.
Mrs. Bev. Good morning, Sir. I heard your voice, and, as I thought, enquiring for me. Where’s Mr. Stukely, Charlotte?
Char. This moment gone. You have been in tears, sister; but here’s a friend shall comfort you.
Lew. Or if I add to your distresses, I’ll beg your pardon, madam. The sale of your house and furniture was finished yesterday.
Mrs. Bev. I know it, Sir. I know too your generous reason for putting me in mind of it. But you have obliged me too much already.
Lew. There are trifles, madam, which you have set a value on: those I have purchased, and will deliver. I have a friend too that esteems you; he has bought largely, and will call nothing his, till he has seen you. If a visit to him would not be painful, he has begged it may be this morning.
Mrs. Bev. Not painful in the least. My pain is from the kindness of my friends. Why am I to be obliged beyond the power of return?
Lew. You shall repay us at your own time.
I have a coach waiting at the door. Shall we
have Your company, madam?
Char. No. My brother may return soon; I’ll stay and receive him.