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The Female Gamester A Tragedy

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ACT I. SCENE I.Mr. ANDREWS's house.Enter MARIA and THOMAS.MARIA. But why these moping, melancholy looks?Each eye observes and marks them now unseemly,Whilst every countenance but your's speaks joy,At the near wedding of our master's daughter.Sure none so well deserv'd this noble prize:And young lord Weston will be bless'd indeed.THOMAS. It has been countermanded.MARIA. What again?This is the second time. What can this mean?Then, his unusual absence, now a month,Nor any cause assign'd.THOMAS. Some accident.I know a truer flame was ne'er profess'd:A fondness which commenced in his apprenticeship,Here in this house, then but the late lord's nephew,Nor next in heirship to estate or title.MARIA. And sure all must approve his well-judg'd choice!In charms and virtues there are none surpass her.THOMAS. Heav'n grant my fears are groundless! but, Maria,To think on what of late I daily see,Afflicts my soul.MARIA. What is't your fears suggest?THOMAS. A wasted fortune and a sinking credit,With the near ruin of this worthy family;The thought materially concerns us both.MARIA. But, why again, should we distress ourselvesFor that we cannot help?THOMAS. Ungenerous thought!Duty and love and gratitude demand it.'Twas here we met each other; here we wedded,And ever have receiv'd the kindest treatment.But what disturbs me most—I have been privyTo matters which I should not have conceal'dFrom our good friend her father.MARIA. Think not of it.It is not possible to save them now.THOMAS. Would in his second marriage he had metWith one more suited to his years and rank!MARIA. But are not all things for the better alter'd?Our house fill'd often with the best of company?THOMAS. The best saidst thou? O! no, the worst of all,A shameless crew of fashionable pillagers;So that this bank house, by their nightly riot,Might rather seem a rake-frequented tavern;And ruin is their sport. Is not each servantA worn-out victim to those midnight revels,Without a sabbath's rest? (For in these times,All sanctity is scoff'd at by the great,And heaven's just wrath defy'd.) An honest master,Scarcely a month beyond his fiftieth year,(Heart-rent with trouble at these sad proceedings,)Wears to the eye a visage of fourscore:Nor to be wondered at.MARIA. You dream too much.THOMAS. O! it is seen by all. Oft through his groves,With folded arms and downcast looks he saunters,Ev'n 'midst the dank inclemency of night.MARIA. You're too severe, too scrupulous; why, man,My mistress is a perfect saint, compar'dWith some of those I formerly have serv'd.THOMAS. Her conduct has of late been foully censur'd.But I've disclos'd the whole to our kind neighboursWilson and Goodwin, his most faithful friends—MARIA. For which ten thousand blisters scald your tongue! [Aside]THOMAS. Who are resolv'd (the task howe'er ungrateful)Quickly to lay his desp'rate state before him.MARIA. But pray, why should not we as well as others,Avail ourselves of something, whilst all's going...?