Mrs. Bev. Not for the first fault. He never slept from me before.
Char. Slept from you! No, no; his nights have nothing to do with sleep. How has this one vice driven him from every virtue! nay, from his affections too!—The time was, sister—
Mrs. Bev. And is. I have no fear of his affections. Would I knew that he were safe!
Char. From ruin and his companions. But that’s impossible. His poor little boy too! What must become of Him?
Mrs. Bev. Why, want shall teach him industry. From his father’s mistakes he shall learn prudence, and from his mother’s resignation, patience. Poverty has no such terrors in it as you imagine. There’s no condition of life, sickness and pain excepted, where happiness is excluded. The needy peasant, who rises early to his labour, enjoys more welcome rest at night for’t. His bread is sweeter to him; his home happier; his family dearer; his enjoyments surer. The sun that rouses him in the morning, sets in the evening to release him. All situations have their comforts, if sweet contentment dwell in the heart. But my poor Beverley has none. The thought of having ruined those he loves, is misery for ever to him. Would I could ease his mind of That!
Char. If He alone were ruined, ’twere just he should be punished. He is my brother, ’tis true; but when I think of what he has done; of the fortune You brought him; of his own large estate too, squandered away upon this vilest of passions, and among the vilest of wretches! O! I have no patience! My own little fortune is untouched, he says: would I were sure on’t!
Mrs. Bev. And so you may; ’twould be a sin to doubt it.
Char. I will be sure on’t. ’Twas madness in me to give it to his management. But I’ll demand it from him this morning. I have a melancholy occasion for’t.
Mrs. Bev. What occasion?
Char. To support a sister.
Mrs. Bev. No; I have no need on’t. Take it, and reward a lover with it. The generous Lewson deserves much more. Why won’t you make him happy?
Char. Because my sister’s miserable.
Mrs. Bev. You must not think so. I have my jewels left yet. I’ll sell them to supply our wants; and when all’s gone these hands shall toil for our support. The poor should be industrious—Why those tears, Charlotte?
Char. They flow in pity for you.
Mrs. Bev. All may be well yet. When he has nothing to lose, I shall fetter him in these arms again; and then what is it to be poor?
Char. Cure him but of this destructive passion, and my uncle’s death may retrieve all yet.
Mrs. Bev. Ay, Charlotte, could we cure him. But the disease of play admits no cure but poverty; and the loss of another fortune would but encrease his shame and his affliction. Will Mr. Lewson call this morning?