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sand pounds of the fortune I was to receive
Sterl. Thirty thousand, do you say?
Sir John. Yes, Sir; and accept of Miss Fanny, with fifty thousand instead of four
Sterl. Fifty thousand
Sir John. Instead of fourscore.
Sterl. Why, why, there may be something in that. Let me see; Fanny with fifty thousand, instead of Betsey with fourscore. But how can this be, Sir John? For you know I am to pay this money into the hands of my Lord Ogleby; who I believe, betwixt you and me, Sir John, is not overstocked with ready money at present; and threescore thousand of it, you know is to go to pay off the present incumbrances on the estate, Sir John.
Sir John. That objection is easily obviated. --Ten of the twenty thousand, which would remain as a surplus of the fourscore, after paying off the mortgage, was intended by his Lordship for my use, that we might set off with some little eclat on our marriage; and the other ten for his own. Ten thousand pounds, therefore, I shall be able to pay you immediately; and for the remaining twenty thousand you shall have a mortgage on that part of the estate which is to be made over to me with whatever security you shall require for the regular payment of the interest, till the principal is duly discharged.
Sterl. Why to do you justice, Sir John, there is something fair and open in your proposal; and since I find you do not mean to put an affront upon the family-
Sir John. Nothing was ever farther from
Book v. my thoughts, Mr. Sterling. And after all, the whole affair is nothing extraordinary; such things happen every day; and as the world had only heard generally of a treaty between the families, when this marriage takes place, nobody will be the wiser; if we have but discretion enough to keep our own counsel.
Sterl. True, true; and since you only transfer from one girl to another it is no more than transferring so much stock you know. Sir John. The very thing.
Sterl. Odso! I had quite forgot --We are reckoning without our host here. There is another difficulty-
Sir John. You alarm me--What can that be! Sterl. I cannot stir a step in this business without consulting my sister Heidelberg. The family has very great expectations from her, and we must not give her any offence.
Sir John. But if you come into this measure, surely she will be so kind as to consent-
Sterl. I do not know that. Betsey is her darling; and I cannot tell how far she may resent any slight that seems to be offered to her favourite neice. However I will do the best I can for you. You shall go and break the matter to her first, and by the time that I may suppose that your rhetoric has prevailed on her to listen to reason, I will step in to reinforce your . arguments.
Sir John. I will fly to her immediately: you promise me your assistance ?
Sterl. I do.
Sir John. Ten thousand thanks for it; and now success attend me !
Sterl. Harkee, Sir John !--Not a word of the thirty thousand to my sister, Sir John.
197 Sir John. Oh, I am dumb, I am dumb, Sir.. Sterl. You remember it is thirty thousand. Sir John. To be sure I do.
Sterl. But Sir John! one thing more. My Lord must know nothing of this stroke of friendship between us.
Sir John. Not for the world. Let me alone! Let me alone!
Sterl. And when every thing is agreed, we must give each other a bend to be held fast to the bargain.
Sir John. To be sure. A bond by all means! a bond, or whatever you please.
(Exit Sir John. Sterl. I should have thought of more conditions, he is in a humour to give me every thing. Why, what mere children are your fellows of quality, that cry for a plaything one minute, and throw it by the next! as changeable as the weather, and as uncertain as the stocks. Special fellows to drive a bargain and yet they are to take care of the interests of the nation truly! Here does this whirligig man of fashion offer to give up thirty thousand pounds in hard money, with as much indifference as if it were a china orange. By this mortgage, I shall have a hold on his Terra Firma; and if he wants more money, as he certainly will, let him have childre by my daughter or no, I shall have his whole estate in a net for the benefit of my family. Well, thus it is, that the children of citizens who have acquired fortunes, prove persons of fashion; and thus it is, that persons of fashion, who have ruined their fortunes, reduce the next generation to cits.
Belcour and Stockwell.
Stock. MR. Belcour, I am rejoiced to see
you; you are welcome to England.
Bel. I thank you heartily, good Mr. Stockwell; you and I have long conversed at a distance; now we are met, and the pleasure this meeting gives me, amply compensates for the perils I have run thro' in accomplishing it.
Stock. What perils, Mr. Belcour? I could not have thought you would have met a bad passage at this time o'year.
Bel. Nor did we : courier-like, we came posting to your shores, upon the pinions of the swiftest gales that ever blew; it is upon English ground all my difficulties have arisen; it is the passage from the river-side I complain of.
Stock. Ay, indeed! what obstructions can you have met between this and the river-side?
Bel. Innumerable! your town's as full of defiles as the Island of Corsica; and, I believe, they are as obstinately defended; so much hurry, bustle, and confusion, on your quays; so many sugar-casks, porter-buts, and common council-men in your streets ; that unless a màn marched with artillery in his front, it is more than the labour of a Hercules can effect to make any tolerable way through your town.
Stock. I am sorry you have been so incommoded.
Bel. Why, faith, it was all my own fault; accustomed to a land of slaves, and out of patience with the whole tribe of custom-hous extortionners, boat-men, tide-waiters and w
199 ter-bailiffs, that beset me on all sides, worse than a swarm of musquetoes, I proceeded a little too roughly to brush them away with my rattan; the sturdy rogues took this in dudgeon and beginning to rebel, the mob chose different sides, and a furious scuffle ensued; in the course of which, my person and apparel suffered so much, that I was obliged to step into the first tavern to refit, before I could make my approaches in any decent trim.
Stock. Well, Mr. Belcour, it is a rough sample you have had of my countrymen's spirit; but, I trust you will not think the worse of them for it.
Bel. Not at all, not at all; I like them the better was I only a visitor, I might perhaps wish them a little more tractable; but as a fellow subject, and a sharer in their freedom, I applaud their spirit, though I feel the effects of it in every bone of my skin. -- Well, Mr. Stockwell, for the first time in my life, here am I in England; at the fountain head of pleasure, in the land of beauty, of arts, and elegancies. My happy stars have given me a good estate, and the conspiring winds have blown me hither to spend it.
Stock. To use it, not to waste it, I should hope; to treat it, Mr. Belcour, not as a vassal, over whom you have a wanton despotic power, but as a subject, which you are bound to govern with a temperate and restrained authority.
Bel. True, Sir, most truly said; mine's a commission, not a right: I am the offspring of distress, and every child of sorrow is my brother; while I have hands to hold, therefore, I will hold them open to mankind; but, Sir, my passions are my masters; they take me where