« AnteriorContinuar »
pable this gentleman is of serving you, and how little Miss Richland has to expect from his influence.
Cro. Ay, Sir, too well I see it; and I can't but say I have had some boding of it these ten days. So, I'm resolved, since my son has placed his affections on a lady of moderate fortune, to be satisfied with his choice, and not run the hazard of another Mr. Lofty in helping him to a better.
Sir WM. I approve your resolution; and here they come to receive a confirmation of your pardon and consent.
Enter Mrs. CROAKER, JARVIS, LEONTINE, and OLIVIA. Mrs. Cro. Where's my husband? Come, come, lovey, you must forgive them. Jarvis here has been to tell me the whole affair ; and I say you must forgive him. Our own was a stolen match, you know, my dear; and we never had any reason to repent of it.
Cro. I wish we could both say so. However, this gentleman, Sir William Honeywood, has been beforehand with you in obtaining their pardon. So, if the two poor fools have a mind to marry, I think we can tack them together without crossing the Tweed for it.—[Joining their hands.
LEON. How blest and unexpected! What, what can we say to such goodness? But our future obedience shall be the best reply. And as for this gentleman, to whom we owe
Sir Wm. Excuse me, Sir, if I interrupt your thanks, as I have here an interest that calls me.-(Turning to HONEYWOOD.) Yes, Sir, you are surprised to see me: and I own that a desire of correcting your follies led me hither. I saw with indignation the errors of a mind that only sought applause from others; that easiness of disposition which, though inclined to the right, had not courage to condemn the wrong. I saw with regret those splendid errors, that still took name from some neighboring duty; your charity, that was but injustice ; your benevolence,
that was but weakness; and your friendship, but credulity. I saw with regret great talents and extensive learning only employed to add sprightliness to error, and increase your perplexities. I saw your mind with a thousand natural charms; but the greatness of its beauty served only to heighten my pity for its prostitution.
HONEY. Cease to upbraid me, Sir: I have for some time but too strongly felt the justice of your reproaches. But there is one way still left me. Yes, Sir, I have determined this very hour to quit for ever a place where I have made myself the voluntary slave of all, and to seek among strangers that fortitude which may give strength to the mind, and marshal all its dissipated virtues. Yet ere I depart, permit me to solicit favor for this gentleman; who, notwithstanding what has happened, has laid me under the most signal obligations. Mr. Lofty
LOFTY. Mr. Honeywood, I'm resolved upon a reformation as well as you. I now begin to find that the man who first invented the art of speaking truth, was a much cunninger fellow than I thought him. And to prove that I design to speak truth for the future, I must now assure you, that you owe your late enlargement to another; as, upon my soul, I had no hand in the matter. So now, if any of the company has a mind for preferment, he may take my place; I'm determined to resign.
[Exit. HONEY. How have I been deceived !
Sir Wm. No, Sir, you have been obliged to a kinder, fairer friend, for that favor—To Miss Richland. Would she complete our joy, and make the man she has honored by her friendship happy in her love, I should then forget all, and be as blest as the welfare of my dearest kinsman can make me.
Miss Rich. After what is past it would be but affectation to pretend to indifference. Yes, I will own an attachment, which I find was more than friendship. And if my entreaties cannot
alter his resolution to quit the country, I will even try if my hand has not power to detain him.
[Giving her hand. HONEY. Heavens! how can I have deserved all this? How express my happiness, my gratitude ? a moment like this overpays an age of apprehension.
Cro. Well, now I see content in every face; but Heaven send we be all better this day three months !
Sir WM. Henceforth, nephew, learn to respect yourself. He who seeks only for applause from without, has all his happiness in another's keeping.
HONEY. Yes, Sir, I now too plainly perceive my errors; my vanity, in attempting to please all by fearing to offend any; my meanness, in approving folly lest fools should disapprove. Henceforth, therefore, it shall be my study to reserve my pity for real distress; my friendship for true merit; and my love for her, who first taught me what it is to be happy.*
* (For the Epilogue, see p. 150.]
[The first representation of this comedy took place at Covent Garden Theatre, on the 15th of March 1773; between which and the conclusion of the season, in consequence of holidays and benefits, no more than twelve nights, including three for the author, remained to the managers: these, however, were occupied by the new comedy, and the house closed with it on the 31st of May. The leading incident of the piece, the mistaking a gentleman's house for an inn, is said to have been borrowed from a blunder of the author himself, while travelling to school at Edgeworthstown. “It is remarkable enough," says Sir Walter Scott, in his Biographical Notices of Goldsmith, “that we ourselves are acquainted with another instance of the kind, which took place, however, in the middle rank of life.” Speaking of “She Stoops to Conquer," Dr. Johnson said, “I know of no play, for many years, that has answered so much the great end of comedy-making an audience merry."-See Life, ch. xxii.]