Bev. The world is false then. I have business
with you, love. (To
Mrs. Beverley.) We’ll leave them to their rancour.
Char. No. We shall find room within for’t.
Come this way,
Lew. Another time my friend will thank me;
that time is hastening too.
[Exit with Charlotte.
Bev. They hurt me beyond bearing. Is Stukely false? Then honesty has left us!
’Twere sinning against heaven to think so.
Mrs. Bev. I never doubted him.
Bev. No; You are charity. Meekness and ever-during patience live in that heart, and love that knows no change—Why did I ruin you?
Mrs. Bev. You have not ruined me. I have no wants when You are present, nor wishes in your absence, but to be blest with your return. Be but resigned to what has happened, and I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
Bev. My generous girl!—But memory will be busy; still crowding on my thoughts, to sour the present by the past. I have another pang too.
Mrs. Bev. Tell it, and let me cure it.
Bev. That friend, that generous friend, whose fame they have traduced—I have undone Him too. While he had means, he lent me largely; and now a prison must be his portion.
Mrs. Bev. No; I hope otherwise.
Bev. To hope must be to act. The charitable wish feeds not the hungry. Something must be done.
Mrs. Bev. What?
Bev. In bitterness of heart he told me, just now he told me, I had undone him. Could I hear that, and think of happiness? No; I have disclaimed it, while He is miserable.
Mrs. Bev. The world may mend with us, and then we may be grateful. There’s comfort in that hope.
Bev. Ay; ’tis the sick man’s cordial, his promised cure; while in preparing it, the patient dies.—What now?
Lucy. A letter, Sir.
[Delivers it, and exit.
Bev. The hand is Stukely’s.
[Opens, and reads it to himself.
Mrs. Bev. And brings good news—at least I’ll hope so—What says he, love?
Bev. Why, this—too much for patience.
Yet he directs me to conceal it from you.
Let your haste to see me be the only proof
of your esteem for
me. I have determined, since we parted, to bid adieu to England;
chusing rather to forsake my country, than to owe my freedom in
it to the means we talked of. Keep this a secret at home, and
hasten to the ruined
Ruined by friendship! I must relieve, or follow him.
Mrs. Bev. Follow him, did you say? Then I am lost indeed!