« ZurückWeiter »
very praise-worthy just so far to reform him, as to give his virtues fair play.
Laura. In short, your marriage would be as much applauded by the church, as it would be serviceable to the state. How can you suffer any inferior feelings to weigh against these important considerations.
L. Lov. Ah! you know not, Laura, how I am torn by contending emotions. These considerations, I confess, have their weight with me, but then an infidelity to the memory of Sir Thomas is so excessively painful to me, that my heart dies within me when I turn from them to reflect upon the kindness and affection of that excellent man. Laurá. How shall I shew
that dulge this impression too far. To follow with our tears those we loved and who loved us, if it were not a sacred duty and a feeling to be for ever cherished, would be venial, I should think, in the eyes of stoicism itself-would be pardoned even by the stern retired severity of Mr. E. Belford, but then we must take care that the light we burn for the dead is not taken from the living. To enforce all this
I believe here comes the best argument.
O'Neale. I am certainly the most fortunate
man in the world, and the good I do by chance is astonishing
L. Lov. What a vain wretch he is !
O'Neale. I am so constituted that I must do good whether willingly or the contrary.
L. Lov. This is his repentance, I cannot endure him.
Laura. And pray what amazing act has relieved you so suddenly from the burden of your mauvaise-honte.
O'Neale. First, I have succeeded in curing Belford of his insanity, as far as Dr. Aimwell and his companion are concerned-next, I have brought two old friends together without once conjecturing that they had ever seen each other before.
L. Lov. How so? you are very unintelli- . gible.
O'Neale. Hear then the pleasantest news that ever met your ears.
Delville is alive. L. Lov. and Laura. Indeed !
O'Neale. Perfectly well—in full health, in the full tide of spirits, aye—in England too_his ill health, his consumption, his death were all a stratagem-the rogue only wanted to see what sort of an inscription his friends would write upon his tomb, and now up he starts, covered with the honors we bestowed upon him. The snow upon his head has melted before returning life, and his brown locks have reappeared. · In short, Arundel is Delville,
Laura. Is it possible ?-how happy, how very happy the Belfords will be !
O'Neale. Delville himself.—The Belfords yet know nothing of the matter, nor should I, if I had not been present by chance at his resurrection. When Mr. Arundel left the Belfords, at their request I followed the old gentleman to his inn to invite him to pass the evening with them. I enquired for him and he was denied to me. However, with the happy active sang-froid, which your ladyship has so often laughed at, and sometimes reproved, I walked into his room, and there what should I see but the old withered East Indian casting off his shroud and emerging at once into the youthful heroic vigor of our excellent friend. I shall never forget him. His eye yet glistened with the tear, his conviction of Belford's affection and repentance had watered it with, and satisfied hope irradiated all his countenance.
Laura. What happiness ! what a blessed compensation for six years' misery and anxiety will this appear to Louisa and her brother.
L. Lov. And I hope by this time Delville is once more happy with his old friends.
O'Neale. I left him writing to Belford to tell him of his arrival and to implore his forgiveness for the painful trial he had put him to; then I made the best of my way here in order that I might have the honor of escorting you to Belford's, to witness the happiness that will prevail there.
Laura. I will accept of your arm.
L. Lov. I think I will not go-perhaps we shall only be troublesome.
O'Neale. We shall be expected—I told Delville of my intention, and my hope that I should persuade you to accompany me.
L. Lov. I'll not stir-I protest.
O'Neale. Let me add my entreaties to those of Miss Lovell.
L. Lov. Well-upon my second thoughts, I believe we may as well go.
O'Neale. It will be a spectacle, depend upon it, the recollection of which will be an everlasting pleasure to us—and my arm is always at your ladyship's service.
L. Lov. The boldness of this man is quite amazing! well-pray shew us the way.
Laura. (As they go out.) Remember the good of your country, and the pleasure and utility of working a reformation, my dear aunt. Exeunt.
SCENE II.-BELFORD's House.
E. Bel. After considering all the circumstances of your conduct, and comparing them with
the conversation you have held with my mother, I fear too frequently for her peace of mind, it is impossible for me to resist a conclusion so unfa
vorable to you.
Aim. We were in hopes, Mr. Belford, of discussing a more important topic with you than this.
E. Bel. No topic can in my mind be more important. You have acted a part totally inconsistent with any honorable feeling, or the best relations of social life. As men you should have detested the trick of impostors; as gentlemen to have practised your impositions upon a
In the common intercourse of society I should have thought no punishment too severe for such a conduct, but when I recollect your high pretensions, if individual character could be allowed to stain a great cause, I should mourn also over degraded literature.
Lamb. Is it possible that you, sir, should join the outcry of the mob in pursuing my friend's petty faults (even allowing the charges against him to be proved) while you are capable of estimating his higher merits.
E. Bel. I am not disposed to class the fault, of which I am now complaining, so low. But granting this to be the case, I confess I am so far one of the mob as to consider talents only admirable as far as they enforce morality, meliorate our manners, or contribute to innocent and correct amusement.