Page images

recommends him more. A noble birth and fortune, though they make not a bad man good, yet they are a real advantage to a worthy one, and place his virtues in the fairest iight.

Mar. I cannot answer for my inclinations, but they shall ever be submitted to your wisdom and anthority; and as you will not compel me to marry where I cannot love, so love shall never make me act contrary to my duty. Sir, have I your permission to retire?

Thor. I'll see you to your chamber. [Exeunt.


A Room in Millwood's house.

Millwood discovered at her toilet, Lucy attending. Mil. How do I look to-day, Lucy?

Lucy. Oh, killingly, madam! A little more red, and you'll be irresistible. -But why this more than ordinary care of your dress and complexion! What new conquest are you aiming at !

Mil. A conquest would be new indeed.

Lucy. Not to you who make them every day-but to me- -Well, 'tis what I am never to expect-unfortunate as I am -But


wit and beautyMil. First made me wretch, and still continue me so. Men, however generous and sincere to one another, are all selfish hypocrites in their affairs with us; we are no otherwise esteem'd or regarded by them, but as we contribute to their satisfaction.

Lucy. You are certainly, madam, on the wrong side in this argument. Is not the experice all theirs? And I am sure it is our own fault if we have not our share of the pleasure.

Mil. We are but slaves to men.

Lucy. Nay, 'tis they that are slaves most certainly, for we lay them under contribution.

Mil. Slaves have no property; no, not even in themselves : all is the victor's.

Lucy. You are strangely arbitrary in your principles, madam.

Mil. I would have my conquests complete, like those of the Spaniards in the new world; who first plundered the natives of all the wealth they had, and then condemned the wretches to the mines for life, to work for


Lucy. Well, I shall never approve of your scheme of government: I should think it much more politic, as well as just, to find my subjects an easier employment.

Mil. It is a general maxim among the knowing part of mankind, that a woman without virtue, like a man without honour or honesty, is capable of any action, though never so vile: and yet what pains will they not take, what arts not use, to seduce us from our innocence, and make us contemptible and wicked, even in their own opinion? Then is it not just the villains, to their cost, should find us so? But guilt makes them suspicious, and keeps them on their guard; therefore we can take advantage only of the young and innocent part of the sex, who having never injur'd women, apprehend no injury from them.

Lucy. That indeed gives you an advantage.

Mil. Such a one, I think, I have found. As I have pass'd through the city, I have often observ'd him receiving and paying considerable sums of money; from thence I conclude he is employ'd in affairs of consequence.

Lucy. Is he handsome?

Mil. Ay, ay, the stripling is well made, and has a good face.

Lucy. About
Mil. Eighteen.

Lucy. Innocent, handsome, and about eighteen!You'll be vastly happy. Why, if you manage well, you may keep him to yourself these two or three years.

Mil. If I manage well, I shall have done with him much sooner. Having long had a design on him, and meeting him yesterday, I made a full stop, and gazing wishfully in his face, ask'd his name. He blush'd, and bowing very low, answer’d, George Barnwell. I begged his pardon for the freedom I had taken, nd told him that he was the person I had long wish'd to see, and to

< But

[ocr errors]


whom I had an affair of importance to communicate at a proper time and place. He nam’d a tavern; 1 talk'd of honour and reputation, and invited him to my house. He swallow'd the bait, promis'd to come, and this is the time I expect him. [Knocking at the door.] Some body knocks- -D'ye hear: I am at home to nobody to-day but him. [Exit Lucy.] Less affairs must give way to those of more consequence; and I am strangely mistaken if this does not prove of great importance to me, and him too, before I have done with him. Now, after what manner shall I receive himn ? Let me consider

What manner of person am I to receive? He is young, innocent, and bashful; therefore I must take care not to put him out of countenance at first. then, if I have any skill in physiognomy, he is amorous: and, with a little assistance, will soon get the better of his modesty.' I'll e'en trust to nature, who does wonders in these matters. If to seem what one is í not, in order to be the better liked for what one really is; if to speak one thing and mean the direct contrary, be art in a woman-I know nothing of nature.' Enter BARNWELL, bowing very low. Lucy, at a

Mil. Sir, the surprise and joy-
Barn. Madam!
Mil. This is such a favour

[ Adoancing. Barn. Pardan me, madam. Mil. So unhop'd for!

[Still advances. [Barnwell bows again, and retires in confusion. To see you here- -Excuse the confusion

Barn. I fear I am too bold

Mil. Alas! Sir, I may justly apprehend you think me so. Please, sir, to sit. I am as much at a loss how to receive this honour as I ought, as I am surpris'd at your goodness in conferring it.

Barn. I thought you had expected me: I promis'd to


Mil. That is the more surprising! few men are such religious observers of their word.



Barn. All who are honest. are..

Mil. To one another; but we simple women are seldom thought of consequence enough to gain a place in their remembrance.

[Laying her hand on his, as by accident. Barn. Her disorder is so great, she don't perceive she has laid her hand on mine. How she trembles! - What can this mean?

[Aside. Mil. The interest I have in all that relates to you, (the reason of which you shall know hereafter) excites my curiosity; and were I sure you would pardon my presumption, I should desire to know your real sentiments on a very particular subject.

Barn. Madam, you may command my poor thoughts on any subject, I have none that I would conceal.

Mil. You'll think me bold.
Barn. No, indeed.
Mil. What then are your thoughts of love.?

Barn. If you mean the love of woman, I have not thought of it at all. My youth and circumstances make such thoughts improper in me yet. But if you mean the general love we owe to mankind, I think no one has more of it in his temper than myself. I do not know that person in the world, whose happiness I do not wish and would not promote, were it in my power. In an especial manner I love my uncle, and my master; but, above all, my friend.

Mil. You have a friend, then, whom you love?
Barn. As he does me, sincerely.

Mil. He is, no doubt, often bless'd with your com. pany

and conversation? Barn. We live in one house, and both serve the same worthy merchant. Mil

. Happy, happy youth! Whoe'er thou art, I envy

6 and so must all who see and know this youth.' What have I lost, by being form'd a woman! I hate my sex, myself. Had I been a man, I might, perhaps, have been as happy in your friendship as he who now enjoys it, but as it is -Oh!

Barn. I never observ'd woman before, or this is sure


the most beautiful of her sex. [Aside.] You seem disordered, madam--may I know the cause ?

Mil. Do not ask me. I can never speak it, whatever is the cause. I wish for things impossible, I would be a servant, bound to the same master, to live in one house with you.

Barr. How strange, and yet how kind, her words and actions are! And the effect they have on me is as strange. I feel desires I never knew before. I must be gone, while I have power to go. [Aside.] Madam, I humbly take my leave. Mil. You will not, sure, leave me so soon. Barn. Indeed I must.

Mil. You cannot be so cruel! I have prepar'd a poor supper, at which I promis'd myself your company.

Barn. I am sorry I must refuse the honour you design'd me: but my duty to my master calls me hence. I never yet neglected his service. He is so gentle, and so good a master, that should I wrong him, though he might forgive me, I should never forgive myself.

Mil. Am I refus'd, by the first man, the second favour I ever stoop'd to ask? Go, then, thou proud hard-hearted youth; but, know, you are the only man that could be found, who would let me sue twice for greater favours.

Barn. What shall I do? How shall I go, or stay?

Mil. Yet do not, do not leave me. I wish my sex's pride would meet your scorn; but when I look upon you, when I behold those eyes Oh! spare my tongue and let my blushes speak--this flood of tears too, that will force its way, declare -- what woman's modesty should hide.

Barn. Oh! she loves me, worthless as I am. Her looks, her words, her flowing tears confess it. And can I leave her, then? Oh, never, never! Madam, dry up your tears: you shall command me always; I will stay here for ever,

would have me. Lucy. So: she has wheedled him out of his virtue of obedience already; and will strip him of all the rest one

if you

« PreviousContinue »