Stu. Old men live long by temperance; while their heirs starve on expectation.
Bev. What mean you?
Stu. That the reversion’s yours; and will bring money to pay debts with—nay, more; it may retrieve what’s past.
Bev. Or leave my child a beggar.
Stu. And what’s his father? A dishonourable one; engaged for sums, he cannot pay. That should be thought of.
Bev. It is my shame; the poison that inflames me. Where shall we go? To whom? I am impatient till all’s lost.
Stu. All may be yours again. Your man is Bates. He has large funds at his command, and will deal justly by you.
Bev. I am resolved—Tell them, within, we’ll meet them presently; and with full purses too—Come, follow me.
Stu. No. I’ll have no hand in this; nor do I counsel it. Use your discretion, and act from that. You’ll find me at my lodgings.
Succeed what will, this night I’ll dare the worst—
’Tis loss of fear, to be compleatly curs’d.
Stu. Why, lose it then for ever. Fear
is the mind’s worst evil; and ’tis a friendly
office to drive it from the bosom. Thus far has
fortune crowned me—Yet Beverley is rich;
rich in his wife’s best treasure; her honour
and affections. I would supplant him there too.
But ’tis the curse of thinking minds, to raise
up difficulties. Fools only conquer women:
fearless of dangers which they see not, they press
on boldly, and by persisting, prosper. Yet may
a tale of art do much. Charlotte is sometimes
absent. The seeds of jealousy are sown already:
If I mistake not, they have taken root too. Now
is the time to ripen them, and reap the harvest.
The softest of her sex, if wronged in love, or thinking
that she’s wronged, becomes a tygress in revenge.
I’ll instantly to Beverley’s—No
matter for the danger—When beauty leads
us on, ’tis indiscretion to reflect, and cowardice
SCENE VI. changes to BEVERLEY’S_ lodgings._
Enter Mrs. BEVERLEY, and Lucy_._
Mrs. Bev. Did Charlotte tell you any thing?
Lucy. No, madam.
Mrs. Bev. She looked confused methought; said she had business with her Lewson; which, when I pressed to know, tears only were her answer.
Lucy. She seemed in haste too: yet her return may bring you comfort.
Mrs. Bev. No, my kind girl; I was not born for’t. But why do I distress thee? Thy sympathizing heart bleeds for the ills of others. What pity that thy mistress can’t reward thee! But there’s a power above, that sees, and will remember all. Prithee, sooth me with the song thou sung’st last night: it suits this change of fortune; and there’s a melancholy in’t that pleases me.
Lucy. I fear it hurts you, madam. Your goodness too draws tears from me: but I’ll dry them, and obey you.