Bev. What is it?
Stu. Perhaps, ’twere best forgotten. But I am open in my nature, and zealous for the honour of my friend—Lewson speaks freely of you.
Bev. Of You I know he does.
Stu. I can forgive him for’t; but for my friend I’m angry.
Bev. What says he of me?
Stu. That Charlotte’s fortune is embezzled. He talks on’t loudly.
Bev. He shall be silenced then—How heard you of it?
Stu. From many. He questioned Bates about it. You must account with him, he says.
Bev. Or He with Me—and soon too.
Stu. Speak mildly to him. Cautions are best.
Bev. I’ll think on’t—But whither go you?
Stu. From poverty and prisons—No matter whither. If fortune changes you may hear from me.
Bev. May these be prosperous then. (Offering the notes, which he refuses) Nay, they are yours; I have sworn it, and will have nothing. Take them and use them.
Stu. Singly I will not. My cares are for my friend; for his lost fortune, and ruined family. All separate interests I disclaim. Together we have fallen; together we must rise. My heart, my honour, both will have it so.
Bev. I am weary of being fooled.
Stu. And so am I. Here let us part then.
These bodings of good-fortune shall be stifled; I’ll
call them folly, and forget them. This one embrace,
and then farewel.
[Offering to embrace.
Bev. No; stay a moment—How my poor heart’s distracted! I have these bodings too; but whether caught from You, or prompted by my good or evil genius, I know not—The trial shall determine—And yet, my wife—
Stu. Ay, ay, she’ll chide.
Bev. No; My chidings are all here.
[Pointing to his heart.
Stu. I’ll not persuade you.
Bev. I am persuaded; by reason too; the strongest reason—necessity. Oh! could I once regain the height I have fallen from, heaven should forsake me in my latest hour, if I again mixed in these scenes, or sacrificed the husband’s peace, his joy and best affections to avarice and infamy!
Stu. I have resolved like You; and since our motives are so honest, why should we fear success?
Bev. Come on then. Where shall we meet?
Stu, At Wilson’s—Yet if it hurts you, leave me: I have misled you often.
Bev. We have misled each other—But come! Fortune is fickle, and may be tired with plaguing us. There let us rest our hopes.
Stu. Yet think a little.
Bev. I cannot—Thinking but distracts me.
When desperation leads, all thoughts are vain; Reason would lose, what rashness may obtain.