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Riv. Sir Harry, I should confider the offer of a kingdom an infult, if it was to be purchased by the violation of my word: Befides, though my daughter fhall never go a beggar to the arms of her husband, I would rather fee her happy than rich; and if she has enough to provide handfomely for a young family, and fomething to spare for the exigencies of a worthy friend, I fhall think her as affluent as if fhe was miftrefs of Mexico.
SIR HAR. Well, Colonel, I have done; but I believeRiv. Well, Sir Harry, and as our conference is done, we will, if you please, retire to the ladies: I fhall be always glad of your acquaintance, though I cannot receive you as a fon-in-law; for a union of interest I look upon as a union of dishonour, and confider a marriage for money, at beft, but a legal prostitution.
SIR JOHN MELVIL AND STERLING.
HAT are your commands with me, Sir
SIR JOHN. After having carried the negociation between our families to fo great a length, after having affented fo readily to all your propofals, as well as received fo many inftances of your cheerful compliance with the demands made on our part, I am extremely concerned, Mr. Sterling, to be the involuntary cause of any uneafiness.
STERL. Uneafinefs! what uneafinefs? Where business is transacted as it ought to be, and the parties understand one another, there can be no uneasiness. You agree, on fuch and fuch conditions, to receive my daughter for a wife; on the fame conditions I agree to receive you as a fon-in-law; and
as to all the reft, it follows of course, you know, as regularly as the payment of a bill after acceptance.
SIR JOHN. Pardon me, Sir; more uneafinefs has arisen than you are aware of. I am myself, at this inftant, in a state of inexpreffible embarraffment; Mifs Sterling, I know, is extremely difconcerted too; and unless you will oblige me with the affiftance of your friendship, I foresee the fpeedy progrefs of difcontent and animofity through the whole family.
STERL. What the deuce is all this? I do not understand a fingle fyllable.
SIR JOHN. In one word then, it will be abfolutely impoffible for me to fulfil my engagements in regard to Mifs Sterling.
STERL. How, Sir John? Do you mean to put an af front upon my family? What! refuse to
SIR JOHN. Be affured, Sir, that I neither mean to affront, nor forfake your family. My only fear is, that you should defert me; for the whole happiness of my life depends on my being connected with your family by the nearest and tendereft ties in the world.
STERL. Why, did not you tell me, but a moment ago, it was abfolutely impoffible for you to marry my daughter? SIR JOHN. True; But you have another daughter, SirSTERL. Well?
SIR JOHN. Who has obtained the moft abfolute dominion over my heart. I have already declared my paffion to her; nay, Mifs Sterling herself is also apprised of it, and if you will but give a fanction to my present addresses, the uncommon merit of Mifs Sterling will no doubt recommend her to a perfon of equal, if not fuperior rank to myfelf, and our families may ftill be allied by my union with Mifs Fanny,
STERL. Mighty fine, truly! Why, what the plague do you make of us, Sir John? Do you come to market for my daughters, like fervants at a ftatute-fair? Do you think that I will fuffer you, or any man in the world to come into my houfe, like the Grand Signior, and throw the handkerchief first to one, and then to t'other, juft as he pleases? Do you think I drive a kind of African flave-trade with them? and
SIR JOHN. A moment's patience, Sir! Nothing but the excess of my paffion for Miss Fanny fhould have induced me to take any step that had the leaft appearance of difrefpect to any part of your family; and even now I am defirous to atone for my tranfgreffion, by making the most adequate compenfation that lies in my power.
STERL. Compenfation! what compenfation can you poffibly make in fuch a cafe as this, Sir John?
SIR JOHN. Come, come Mr. Sterling; I know you to be a man of fenfe, and a man of bufinefs, a man of the world. I will deal frankly with you; and you shall see that I do not defire a change of measures for my own gratification, without endeavouring to make it advantageous to you.
STERL. What advantage can your inconftancy be to me, Sir John?
SIR JOHN. I will tell you, Sir. You know that by the articles at present fubfifting between us, on the day of my marriage with Mifs Sterling, you agree to pay down the grofs fum of eighty thoufand pounds.
SIR JOHN. Now if you will but confent to my waving that marriage
STERL. I agree to your waving that marriage? Impofible, Sir John!
SIR JOHN. I hope not, Sir; as on my part, I will agree to wave my right to thirty thousand pounds of the fortune I was to receive with her.
STERL. Thirty thousand, do you say?
SIR JOHN. Yes, Sir; and accept of Mifs Fanny with fifty thousand, instead of fourfcore.
STERL. Fifty thousand
SIR JOHN. Inftead of fourfcore.
STERL. Why, why, there may be fomething in that. Let me fee; Fanný with fifty thousand instead of Betfey with fourfcore. 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 over-stocked with ready money at prefent; and threefcore thousand of it, you know, is to go to pay off the prefent incumbrances on the eftate, Sir John.
SIR JOHN. That objection is easily obviated. Ten of the twenty thousand, which would remain as a furplus of the fourfcore, after paying off the mortgage, was intended by his Lordship for my ufe, that we might fet off with fome little eclat on our marriage; and the other ten for his own. Ten thousand pounds therefore I fhall be able to pay you immediately; and for the remaining twenty thoufand you fhall have a mortgage on that part of the estate which is to be made over to me, with whatever fecurity you shall require for the regular payment of the intereft, till the principal is duly discharged.
STERL. Why to do you justice, Sir John, there is fomething fair and open in your propofal; and fince I find you do not mean to put an affront upon the family
SIR JOHN. Nothing was ever farther from my thoughts, Mr. Sterling. And after all, the whole affair is nothing ex
traordinary; fuch things happen every day; and as the world had only heard generally of a treaty between the families, when this marriage takes place, no body will be the wifer, if we have but difcretion enough to keep our own counfel.
STERL. True, true; and fince you only transfer from one girl to the other, it is no more than transferring fo much stock, you know.
SIR JOHN. The very thing.
STERL. Odfo! I had quite forgot. We are reckoning without our hoft here. There is another difficultySIR JOHN. You alarm me. What can that be? STERL. I cannot ftir a step in this business without confulting my fifter 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, furely fhe will be fo kind as to confent
STERL. I do not know that. Betfey is her darling, and I cannot tell how far fhe may refent any flight that feems to be offered to her favourite niece. However, I will do the best I can for you. You-fhall go and break the matter to her firit, and by the time that I may fuppofe that your rhetoric has prevailed on her to listen to reason, I will ftep in to reinforce your arguments.
SIR JOHN. I will fly to her immediately: you promise me your affiftance?
STERL. I do.
SIR JOHN. Ten thoufand thanks for it! and now fuccefs attend me!
STERL. Harkee, Sir John !Not a word of the thirty thousand to my fifter, Sir John.
SIR JOHN. Oh, I am dumb, I am dumb, Sir.