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Cec. My maiden name! (surprised.)
Gent. It is more properly, Madam, the name of your hus. 'band that I inean to ask. im Gec. And by what authority, Sir, do you inake these extraordinary enquiries?
Gent. I am deputed, Madam, by Mr. Eggleston, who is next heir to your uncle's estate, if you die without children, or change your name when you marry. I am authorised by letter of attorney from him to make these enquiries, and I presume, Madam, you will not deny his authority. He lias been credibly informed you are married ; and as you continue to be called Miss Beverly, he wishes to know your intentions, as he is deeply interested in knowing the truth.
Cec. This demand, Sir, is so extremely (stammering )-50
Gent. The better way, Madam, in these cases, is to keep close to the point-Are you married, or are you not ? !
Cec. This is dealing very plainly, indeed, Sir. But
Gent. It is, Macam, and very seriously too ; but it is a business of no slight concern. Mr. Eggleston has a large family and a small fortune, and that very much encuinbered. It can: not, therefore, be expected that he will see himself wronged, by your enjoying an estate to which he is entitled.
Cer. Mr. Eggleston, Sir, has nothing to fear from imposi. tion. Those with whom he has or may have any transactions in this affair, are not used to practice fraud.
Gent. I ani far from meaning any offence, Madam ; my commission from Mi'. Eggleston is simply this; to beg you will satisfy him upon what ground you now evade the will of 'your late uncle ; which, till explained, appears to be a poin much to his prejudice.
C'ec. Tell him then, Sir, that whatever he wishes to know shall be explained in about a week. At present I can give nx other answer.
Gent. Very well, Madam, he will wait till that time, I am sure ; for he does not wish to put you to any inconvenience * But when he heard the gentleman was gone abroad without owning his marriage, he thought it high time to take some no tice of the matter.
Cec. Pray, Sir, let me ask, how you came to the knowledge of this affair?
Gent, I heard it, Madam, from Mr. Eggleston himself, who has long known it.
Cec. Long, Sir ?-impossible it is not yet a fortnightnot ten days, or not more, that
Gent. That, Madam, may perhaps be disputed; for when this business comes to be settled, it will be very essential to be exact as to the time, even to the very hour; for the income of the estate is large, Madam, and if your husband keeps his own name, you must not only give up your uncle's inheritance, from the time of changing your name, but refund the profits from the very day of your marriage.
Cec. There is not the least doubt of that, nor will the least difficulty be made.
Gent. Please then to recollect, Madam, that the sum to be refunded is every hour increasing, and has been ever since last September, which made half a year to be accounted for last March. Since then there is now added i
C?c. For merey's sake, Sir, what calculations are you inak. ing out ? Do you call last week, last September?
Gent. No, Madam'; but I call last September the month in which you were married.
Cec. You will then find yourself extremely mistaken ; and Mr. Eggleston is preparing himself for much disappointment, if he supposes me so long in arrears with him. · Gent. Mr. Eggleston, Madam, happens to be well informed of this transaction, as you will find, if any dispute should arise in the case. He was the next occupier of the house you hired last September; the woman who kept it, informed him that the last person who hired it was a lady who stayed one day only, and came to town, she found, merely to be married. Unenquiry, he discovered that this lady was Miss Beverly.
Cec. You will find that all this, Sir, will end in nothing.
Gent. That, Madam, remains to be proved. If a young lady is seen--and she was seen, going into church at eight o'clock in the morning, with a young gentleman and one fe. male friend; and is afterwards seen coming out of it followed by a clergyman and one other person and is seen to get into a coach with the same young gentleman and female friend ; why, the circumstances are pretty strong!
Cec. They may seem so, Sir ; but all conclusions drawn from them will be erroneous : I was not mar ried then, upon my honor.
Gent. We have little to do, Madam, with professions; the
circumstances are strong enough to bear a trial and
Cec. A trial !
Gent. We have found many witnesses to prove a number of particulars, and eight months share of such an estate as this, is well worth a little trouble.
Cec. I am amazed, Sir, surely Mr. Eggleston never authori. zed you to make use of such language to me.
Gent. Mr. Eggleston, Madam, has behaved very honorably; though he knew the whole affair, he supposed Mr. Delvill bad good reasons for a short concealment, and expected every day when the matter would become public. He therefore did not interfere. But on hearing that Mr. Delvill had set out for the continent, he was advised to clainu his rights.
Cec. His claims, Sir, will doubtless be satisfied without threatening or law suits.
Gent. The truth is, Madam, Mr. Eggleston is a little embarrassed for want of some money. This makes it a point with him, to have the affair settled speedily, unless you chose to compromise, by advancing a particular sum, till it suits you to refund the whole that is due to him and quit the premises.
Cec. Nothing, Sir, is due to lim; at least nothing worth mentioning, I will enter into no terins ; I have no compromise to make. As to the premises, I will quit them as soon as possible. + Gent. You will do well, Madam, for the truth is, it will not be eonvenient for him to wait any longer.
[Goes out Cec. How weak and blind have I been, to form a secret plan of defrauding the heir to my uncle's estate! I am betrayedand I deserve it. Never, never more will I disgrace myself by. such an act.
SCENE BETWEEN CECILIA AND HENRIETTA, Cecili a. W HAT is the matter with my dear Henrietta?
W Who is it that has already afilicted that kind heart, which I am now compelled to afflict for myself?
Hen. No, Madam, not afflicted for you! it would be strange, if I was while I think as I now do.
Cee, I am glad you are not, for, was it possible, I would give you nothing but pleasure and joy. '
Hen. Ah, Madam, why will you say so, when you don't care What becomes of me! When you are going to cast me off! and when you will soon be too happy to think of nic more!
CH. If I am never happy till then, sad indeed will be my
life! 110, my gentlest friend, you will always have your share in my heart; and to me would always have been the welcomest guest in my house, but for those unhappy circumstances which make our separating inevitable.
Hen. Yet you suffered me, Madam, to hear from any body that you was married and going away; and all the common servants in the house knew it before me.
cec. I am amazed! How and which way can they have heard it?
Hen. The man that went to Mr. Eggleston brought the first news of it, for he said all the servants there talked of nothing else, and that their master was to come and take possesion here next Thursday,
Cec. Yet you envy me, though I am forced to leave nay house ! though I am not provided with any other! and though he for whom I relinquished it is far off, without the means of protecting me, or the power of returning home.
Hon. But you are 'married to him, Madam!
Hen. O, how differently, do the great think from the little! Was I married and so married, I should want neither house nor fine cloaths, nor riches, nor any thing I should not care where I livedEvery place would be a paradise to me!
Cec. O, Henrietta ! Should I ever repine at my situation, I will call to mind this heroic declaration of yours, and blush for my own weakness.
Scene between Dr. LYSTER, Mr. DELVILL, Mr. MORTIMER
DELVILL and CÉCilia his wife, and LADY HONORIA. Dr. Lyster. M y good friends, in the course of my long prac
W tice, I have found it impossible to study the human frame, without looking a little into the mind; and from all that I have yet been able to make out; either by observation, reflection or comparison, it appears to me at this moment, that Mr. Mortimer Delvill has got the best wife, and you, Sir, [70 Mr. Del.] the most faultless daughter-in-law, that any husband or any father-in-law in the kingdom can have or desire.
Lady Hon. When you say the best and most fault less, Dr. Lyster, you should always add, the rest of the company excepted.
Dr. Lys. Upon my word, I beg your Ladyship’s pardon; but sometimes an unguarded warmth comes across a man th ő dives ceremony from his head and makes him speak trui: before lie well knows where he is.
Lady Hon. Oh terrible ! this is sinking deeper and deeper; I had hopes the town air had taught you better things; but I find you have visited Delvill castle, till you are fit for no other place.
Dei. [offended] Whoever, lady Honorja, is fit for Delvill castle, must bc fit for every other place: though every other place may by no means be fit for him.
Lady Hon. O yes, Sir, every possible place will be fit for him if he can once bear with that. Don't you think so, Dr. Lyster?
Dr. Lys. Why, when a man has the honor to see your Ladyship, he is apt to think too much of the person to care about the place.
Lady Hon. Come, I begin to have some hopes of you, for I see, for a Doctor, you really have a very pretty notion of a compliment. Only you have one great fault still; you look the whole time as if you said it for a joke. A
Dr. Lys. Why, in fact, Madam, when a man has been a plain dealer both in word and look for fifty years, 'tis expecting too quick a reformation to demand ductility of voice and eye from him at a blow. However, give me a little time and a little encouragement, and with such a tutoress, 'twill be hard, if I do not, in a few lessons, learn the right inethod of season. ing a simper, and the newest fashion of twisting words from their meaning.
Lady Hon. But pray, Sir, always remember on these occasions to look serious. Nothing sets off a compliment so much as a long face. If you are tempted to an unseasonable laugh, think of Delvill castle; 'tis an expedient I commonly make use of myself, when I am afraid of being too frolicsome ;--and it always succeeds, for the very thought of it gives me the head. ache in a moment. I wonder, Mi. Delvill, you keep your health so good ; after living in that horrible place so long. I have expected to hear of your death at the end of every summer, and I assure you, I was once very near buying mourning,
Del. The estate which descends to a man froin his ancestors, Lady Honoria, will seldom be apt to injure his health, if he is conscious of committing no misdemeanor wliich has degraded their memory.
Lady H i sin a low voice to Cecilia] How vastly odious is Ls new father of yours! What could ever induce you to ive up your charming estate for the sake of coming into his