Char. See where she comes!—Look chearfully upon her. Affections, such as hers, are prying; and lend those eyes that read the soul.
Enter Mrs. BEVERLEY, and LEWSON.
Mrs. Bev. My life!
Bev. My love! How fares it? I have been a truant husband.
Mrs. Bev. But we meet now, and that heals all. Doubts and alarms I have had; but in this dear embrace I bury and forget them. My friend here (pointing to Lewson) has been indeed a friend. Charlotte, ’tis You must thank him: your brother’s thanks and mine are of too little value.
Bev. Yet what we have, we’ll pay. I thank, you, Sir, and am obliged. I would say more, but that your goodness to the wife, upbraids the husband’s follies. Had I been wise, She had not trespassed on your bounty.
Lew. Nor has she trespassed. The little I have done, acceptance over-pays.
Char. So friendship thinks—
Mrs. Bev. And doubles obligations, by striving to conceal them—We’ll talk another time on’t. You are too thoughtful, love.
Bev. No; I have reason for these thoughts.
Char. And hatred for the cause. Would you had that too!
Bev. I have. The cause was avarice.
Char. And who the tempter?
Bev. A ruined friend. Ruined by too much kindness,
Lew. Ay, worse than ruined; stabbed in his fame; mortally stabbed. Riches can’t cure him.
Bev. Or if they could, those I have drained
him of. Something of this he hinted in the morning—that
Lewson had suspicions of him—Why these
Lew. At school we knew this Stukely. A cunning plodding boy he was, sordid and cruel. Slow at his talk, but quick at shifts and tricking. He schemed out mischief, that others might be punished; and would tell his tale with so much art, that for the lash he merited, rewards and praise were given him. Shew me a boy with such a mind, and time that ripens manhood in him, shall ripen vice too. I’ll prove him, and lay him open t’you. Till then be warned. I know him, and therefore shun him.
Bev. As I would those that wrong him. You are too busy, Sir.
Mrs. Bev. No, not too busy—Mistaken perhaps—That had been milder.
Lew. No matter, madam. I can bear this, and praise the heart that prompts it. Pity such friendship should be so placed!
Bev. Again, Sir!—But I’ll bear too. You wrong him, Lewson, and will be sorry for’t.
Char. Ay, when ’tis proved he wrongs him. The world is full of hypocrites.
Bev. And Stukely one—So you’d infer, I think. I’ll hear no more of this—My heart akes for him—I have undone him.
Lew. The world says otherwise.