THE GENTLEMAN

The date of this fragment, which Nichols named _The Gentleman_, is
uncertain; it was first printed in 1809, together with _The School for
Scandal_. The autograph MS. is in the British Museum (Add. MS. 5145c).
Steele had written of high life below stairs in the _Spectator_ (No.
88), where he says that menservants “are but in a lower degree what
their masters themselves are; and usually affect an imitation of their
manners: And you have in liveries, beaux, fops, and coxcombs, in as
high perfection as among people that keep equipages. It is a common
humour among the retinue of people of quality when they are in their
revels, that is when they are out of their master’s sight, to assume in
a humorous way the names and titles of those whose liveries they wear.”
He then describes their behaviour at an ordinary at Westminster, where
he “heard the maid come down and tell the landlady at the bar that my
Lord Bishop swore he would throw her out at window if she did not bring
up more mild beer, and that my Lord Dick would have a double mug of
purl.” When news arrived that the House of Lords was rising, “down came
all the company together, and away!” Servants were wont to congregate
at the entrance to Hyde Park, while the gentry were at the Ring. “There
are men of wit in all conditions of life; and mixing with those people
at their diversions, I have heard coquets and prudes as well rallied,
and insolence and pride exposed (allowing for their want of education),
with as much humour and good sense as in the politest companies.” (See
page 281.)

_THE GENTLEMAN._

_Enter_ TOM DIMPLE _and_ SIR HARRY SEVERN.

_Tom._ I’ll serve you very faithfully in this particular, since you
have a curiosity to pry into the affairs of us poor servants.

_Sir Har._ I think you are happier than we masters. But how do you
contrive it, to be at a ball and masquerade of your own, all the time
we are at ours, and yet be in readiness to attend when we break up or
want you?

_Tom._ Sir, we leave sentries at all the places where you come out.
All of us cannot expect to be at the diversion every night; but the
forty or fifty who are to stay about the playhouse, or the person of
quality’s who entertains, send frequent expresses to us. Besides, I
own to you, sir, that we find means to have tickets of our own, and
can send in among you, by the help of them, when we please, and have
warning enough of your motions. If we are a little too tardy, the
coachmen can, when they think it convenient, make stops so as no one
can stir, and keep everything in a ferment till all troops are come
together.

_Sir Har._ You put me in mind of a great many things that have been
till now unaccountable. Why, then, the sudden motion when we have
been all locked fast, tearing and swearing, coachmen lashing, footmen
bawling, and link-boys offering help to call chairs or coaches, and
striving to lead or light you, is usually a hurry contrived and made up
on purpose; and the sudden getting loose of one another, is only that
the word is given, “all are come,” “all is right”!

_Tom._ It is nothing else in the world.

_Sir Har._ But, then, how do you do for your habits and your music, and
all the rest of the conveniences?

_Tom._ You have been so good and kind a master, that I’ll hide nothing
that may contribute to your diversion. We are in fee with the wardrobe
keepers at the playhouses; and when the play is over, and all the
parties concerned are disposed of, as you are at your diversions, the
whole stock of clothes are in their hands; and they let them out for so
many hours, and pack [them] up again with great order, and no harm done.

_Sir Har._ Well, well, now there is no mystery; there is nothing
so easy, as all is safe without possibility of disappointment or
surprise.–But as to what is to be done to-night—-

_Tom._ This alehouse, where we all meet, is joining to a great
house very well furnished; and the care of letting it is committed
to our landlord. He has broken down a partition, which he can, in
a day or two, make up again; and we have noble apartments for our
entertainments, not inferior to those wherein our masters themselves
are received.

_Sir Har._ You divert me extremely with this new scene of pleasure.

_Tom._ We shall be in our tip-top jollity to-night; all the lower world
[will] be together in as much pleasure as ever the upper themselves
enjoyed.

_Sir Har._ What have you extraordinary at this time more than any other?

_Tom._ Our landlord is giving up[142] his business, and marries his
daughter, Mrs. Jenny, my Lady Dainty’s chambermaid, to the favourite
footman of Sir John Plover, who is a great leader among us, and will
keep and increase the custom of the house. But the humour is, no one is
to know which is the bridegroom; for none but the girl herself [knows]
which of the company is Sir John.

_Sir Har._ How! Sir John?

_Tom._ I should have told you that we always call one another by the
names of our masters; and you must not be surprised at hearing me
answer to your honour’s to all who call to me; for, as I am a manager,
and to be barefaced, I cannot disguise that _I_ am _you_.

_Sir Har._ It is no matter if they will take me as readily for your
fellow-servant.

_Tom._ They’ll never suspect you for my master.–But here comes my
landlord.

_Landlord._ Come, Sir Harry, Sir Harry, ’tis past nine o’clock; the
company is coming–they have put all in at the masquerade and the
assemblies.

_Tom._ [_Whispering_ SIR HARRY.] As I am barefaced, you can come to me
when you please, when you are at a loss.–But you see I must attend my
charge.

_Sir Har._ I beg your pardon; I’ll interrupt you no more; but if I
like–you understand.

_Tom._ You know my skill and diligence, my good master; but
adieu.–Landlord, you see the house fills; let all the waiters be
ready; pipes, tobacco, bread, cheese and the like, for those who are in
habits proper for such coarse fare. What! none of the stewards ready
but myself?

_Enter three others with wands, barefaced._

_2nd Steward._ Ay, ay, here we are–here we are.

_3rd Steward._ We stayed only till we saw some quality figures coming
in.

_2nd Steward._ Look you, how we are overrun with nymphs and
shepherds!–But look, look! there is some sense in those stalking
things, which move like pageants, and are not of human shape.

_1st Steward._ Right, they cannot be out in their parts–there are no
such things in nature–but patched-up beings, out of mere fancy and
imagination.

_3rd Steward._ But have a care, ladies, shepherdesses, nymphs; run,
run–Here, here is a dragon that devours virgins, as a pike does small
fish.

_2nd Steward._ Have a care–here he comes, here he come–he eats all
virgins without mercy, but will touch nobody else.

_Several women’s voices together._

Let him come, let him come.

_An old withered_ MAID, _crying out._

_Old Maid._ Have a care, have a care, have a care; let me get off, let
me get off; oh me–oh me! [_Running off._

_Figure of St. George_–DICKY, _borne on a war-horse._

_Dicky._ Fear not, fair one, fear not. I am St. George, I’ll save thee.

DRAGON _and_ ST. GEORGE _fight._

_The crowd cry out._ Ho-boy, St. George! Ho-boy, dragon!–there’s the
knight of the world.

_1st Masquer._ Hear, hear, the knight is going to speak. As he’s stout,
he’s merciful. He is going to give the dragon his life–no, no, he’s
going to speak to him.

_Constable._ Hold, hold, sir knight; the dragon’s my neighbour–he’s a
tailor in my neighbourhood.

_2nd Masquer._ Open the dragon; open the dragon; keep the peace; take
out the tailor.

_Lawyer Masquer._ Take care what you do; take care what you do. If he
is a denizen, the law is very severe.–Though there are nine to make up
a man, by a fiction of law it is murder to kill any one of them: the
law supposes him a whole man.

_1st Steward._ Ho! Mr. Fly-flap, Mr. Wardrobe-keeper, give the company
an account of the knight and of his horse.

_Wardrobe-keeper._ This is the poet’s horse that trod down all the
persons who have been killed in tragedy ever since I came to the house.
The gentleman that rides him has some verses about him, if he would
speak them.

_Many Masquers._ Hear, hear!–Hear the verses!

_St. George._ On this bold steed, with this dead-doing arm,
Without art magic, help of draught or charm,
Crowds have I slain, and routed from the field,
Or made, as captives, to my mercy yield.
My horse and me none could escape by flying,
But saved their lives by well dissembled dying.

_Cobbler Masquer._ Very well, very well, i’faith. Look ye, look ye,
gentlemen, I know the humour of that. I live just by in Vinegar Yard,
and I know the humour of that. You must know he means by that–that by
pretending to be dead, the men whom the valiant man in the play rides
over, or cuts down, are carried [off] safe and sound. Why, I have been
called in, when there has been a great battle in the house, to help to
carry off the dead; and I have brought a man off dead over-night, and
mended his shoes next morning.

_4th Masquer._ Ho, brave Crispin!–that’s a good jest, i’faith.

_Cobbler._ But my wife said a very good thing upon that. “Look thee,
Will,” said she, for you must know my name is William, “we shall never
make anything of this, if we are to wait for dead men’s shoes.”

_4th Masquer._ Ho-boy, Crispin! Thou art a merry rogue, Crispin!

* * * * *

APPENDIX.[143]

I.

STEELE _v._ RICH.

(Pages xxviii–xxx.)

_PLAINTIFF’S BILL._[144]

3° die Julii 1707.

_To the right hon^{rble} William Lord Cowper Baron of Wingham Lord high
Chancellor of Great Brittaine_

Humbly Complaining, Sheweth unto y^r Lordship your Orator Richard
Steele of Westm^{er} Gent That your Orat^{or} haveing writt Severall
Comedyes & Playes at the request of & for Christopher Rich Esq^r for
the use of the Theater or Playhouse in or near Bridges Street in Covent
Garden in the County of Middx of which playhouse the said Christopher
Rich was & is cheife Patentee or has an assignm^t or some other
Conveyance of the Patent thereof or otherwise hath the cheife Interest
therein and the profitts ariseing from the acting of Playes there
He the said Christopher Rich to induce your Orator to write further
for him on or about the Month of December in the year of our Lord one
Thousand seaven hundred & two advanced & payd to your Orat^{or} the
Summe of Seaventy & two pounds upon this Agreement then or about that
time made between them That your Orator should bring to him the said
Christopher Rich & for his use the next Comedy your Orator Should be
the Author of and out of the Profitts when the same should come to be
acted that belonged to your Orator as the Author according to the Usage
and Custome in such Cases he the said Christopher Rich was to deduct
& pay himself for the said seaventy & two pounds and Interest thereof
and in the meane time for the said Christopher Rich’s security your
Orator was prevailed with to give and accordingly did give his bond of
one hundred forty and four pounds penalty condiconed for the payment
of the said seaventy two pounds and alsoe a Warrant of Attorney to
enter up Judgment on the said bond to him the said Christopher Rich And
afterwards (viz.) sometime in or about the Month of Aprill in the Year
of our Lord one thousand seaven hundred & four[145] your Orator being
the Author of the Comedy called the Tender Husband he did bring to and
deliver into the hands of the said Christopher Rich the said Comedy
being the next Comedy your Orator was author of and it being then in
an ill season of the Year and your Orator being therefore unwilling to
have it then acted the said Christopher Rich promised to & agreed with
your Orator that it should not be to your Orator’s losse or Detriment
but that your Orator should have assigned to him the profitts of Two
Nights made by acting of the said Play the next following Winter in
Lieu of his Two dayes Profitts according to the Usage & Custome in
such case And the said Christopher Rich did cause the said Comedy or
Play to be acted on the said Theatre in or about the Month of Aprill &
year one thousand seaven hundred & four aforesaid And severall dayes
in the Autumne or Winter following which proved very successefull and
the said Christopher Rich made & received great profitt thereby And by
the Agreement aforesaid and accordinge to Usage & Custome in the like
Cases your Orator was to have the whole profitts of the first third
day it was acted in Autumne or Winter aforesaid without any diduccon
of Charges of Acting and alsoe of the second third day or Sixth day it
was acted on as aforesaid diducting only the charges of Acting Which
profitts of the said two dayes came to the hands of & was received
by the said Christopher Rich and was more than sufficient to pay &
satisfye the said Seaventy two pounds & Interest Whereupon your Orator
expected as he had reason that the said Christopher Rich would have
delivered up to your Orator the said bond & acknowledged satisfaccon on
the Record of the Judgment which the said Christopher Rich had caused
to be Entred upon Record against your Orator and would have payd your
Orator what was over & above the said seaventy Two pounds & Interest
thereof–But now soe it is May it please your Lordship That the said
Christopher Rich minding to oppresse your Orator and extort great
summes of Mony from him refuses to allowe your Orator the profitts of
the said two dayes Acting in Autumne or Winter following according to
his Agreement or any dayes profitts or any other profitt whatsoever
in consideracon of the said Comedy or Play but threatens to Sue your
Orator on the said Judgment & take your Orator in Execucon for the
same and hath caused a Scire facias or some other Suite or accon to
be commenced against your Orator on the said Judgment[146] In Tender
Consideracon of all which premisses & for as much as your Orator can
have noe releife therein save in a Court of Equity and for that your
Orator’s witnesses who could prove all & singular the premisses are
either dead or in parts beyond the Seas or in other parts remote & to
your Orator unknown To the end therefore that the said Christopher
Rich may true & perfect answare make to all and singular the premisses
as if here againe particularly interrogated and charged and in a more
particular manner sett forth & discover what Playes your Orator hath
brought & delivered to him & for his use And whether he did not advance
& pay your Orator the said summe of seaventy two pounds upon such
Agreement as aforesaid or upon what other Termes or Agreement and
whether your Orator did not bring and deliver to him for his use the
said Comedy or Play called the Tender Husband and when the same was
soe given or delivered as aforesaid & whether he & your Orator did not
come to such agreement for your Orator’s share of the profitts of the
said play as aforesaid and what other Agreement was made between him
and your Orator about itt and how often the same play was acted in the
summer of the said Year one thousand seaven hundred & four & how often
in the autumne or Winter of that year and whether your Orator was not
to have been allowed all or any and what profitts of any & what days
and what & how much he the said Christopher Rich hath received of the
said profitts and that the said Christopher Rich may come to an account
with your Orator and that the said bond may be delivered up to your
Orator and the said Christopher Rich may acknowledge satisfacion of
Record on the said Judgment and your Orator may have what is over and
above the payment of the said seaventy two pounds and Interest payd
to him and may be further relieved in all & singular the premisses
according to Equity & good Conscience & that in the Meantime all his
vexatious proceedings att Law against your Orator may be stayed by the
Injuncon of this hon^{rble} Court May it please your Lordship to grant
unto your Orator her Maj^{tyes} most gracious writt of Spa to the said
Christopher Rich directed therein & thereby commanding him personally
to be & appeare before your Lordship in this hon^{rble} Court at a
certaine day & place therein to be limited & appointed to true &
perfect answare make to all & singular the premisses and further to
stand to abide & obey such Order & Decree as your Lordship shall think
fitt to make touching the premisses And your Orator shall ever pray etc.

JN^O SQUIBB.

Rawling.

_DEFENDANT’S ANSWER._

Jurat 9 die Novembris 1707 Coram me Jo: Edisbury.

_The Answere of Christopher Rich Esq^r Deft to the bill of Complaynt of
Richard Steele gent Complaynant._

This deft now & att all times hereafter saveing & receiving to himselfe
all & all manner of Benefitt & advantage of Exeption that may be had or
taken to the manyfold Errors untruthes unsufficiencies & Imperfections
in the Complaynant’s said Bill of Complaynt conteyned ffor answere
thereunto or unto as much thereof as this Defend^t is advised is any
wise materiall for him this Deft to make answere unto Hee this Deft
answereth and sayth That this Deft being one of the Assignees of the
patents of the Theatre or Playhouse in or neare Bridges Street in
Covent Garden as the Complt’s Bill menconed and of one other Theatre
or Playhouse in Dorsett Garden London and owner of part of the shares
or profitts arising by acting (if any) To his owne use the Complaynant
in or about the month of October in the yeare of our Lord One thousand
seaven hundred and one brought a Comedy or play to this Defend^t which
he the Complaynant alleadged he had written and stiled the ffunerall
for which he the Complaynant came to an Agreement with this Defend^t
in writing on about the Ninth day of October Anno Dni 1701 and thereby
for the Consideracon therein menconed sold the same to this Deft to be
acted by the Actors under this Deft’s Government as soone as they could
conveniently which Comedy was soone after acted in pursueance of the
said Agreement and the said Complaynant was paid and satisfyed in full
according to the Conditions and the tenor and true Intent of the said
Agreement and to the Content and Satisfaccon of him the Complt as he
acknowledged and declared and this Deft is informed and beleiveth that
he the Complt gave a Receipt to M^r Zachary Baggs[147] the then and
now Treasurer of the said Company for his the Complayn^{t’s} profitts
arising by acting of the said Comedy by vertue of the Agreement
aforesaid And this Defend^t further sayth that the Complayn^t in or
about the month of January Anno Dni 1702[148] inforeming this Defend^t
that he had neare finished another Comedy which he intended to call
the Election of Goatham he proposed to sell the same to this Deft and
accordingly in or by a certaine writing or Agreement beareing date
on or about the Seaventh of January Anno Dni 1702-3 signed by the
Complaynant in Consideracon of one shilling to him the Complt then
paid by this deft and for the Consideracon therein and herein after
menconed he the said Complaynant did sell or is therein or thereby
menconed to sell unto this Defend^t his heires and assignes A Certaine
Comedy which he the Complayn^t was then writing called the Election
of Goatham and which he was to deliver to this Defend^t on or about
the Twentyeth day of ffebruary then next in order to be acted by the
Company of Actors under this Defend^{t’s} Governm^t assoone as they
could conveniently[149] In Consideracon whereof the said Complayn^t
was to have all the Receipts of the third day on which the said play
should be acted Hee the Complt paying out of the same all the Charges
of the house both constant and Incident But if the Receipts on the
ffourth day should double the Charges thereof then the Charges of the
third should be returned to him and he thereby obliged himselfe to
make good the Charges of the second day out of the profitts of the
third day in case the Charges of the second day should not arise to soe
much Item if the Receipts on the ffourth day of acting the said play
should amount to fforty pounds or upwards the said Company was to act
it the ffifth day and if the ffifth dayes Receipts should be fforty
pounds Then they were to act it the sixth day for the Benefitt of the
Complayn^t Hee paying out of the same the Charges of that day But if
att any time there should appeare Reason to doubt whether the play
would bring Chardges or not Then the Company should not be obliged to
act it the next day unlesse he the Complayn^t would oblige himselfe
to make good the full charges And lastly the Complaynant was not to
print the said play untill a month should be expired from the ffirst
day it should be acted and three of the printed Books in Marble paper
Covers and Gilt edges were to be delivered into the office for the use
of the patentees assoone as the same should bee printed (As in and by
the said Agreem^t in Writing last menconed under the hand of the said
Complayn^t and to which this Defend^t for more Certainty referreth
himselfe ready to be produced to this honoble Court may appeare) And
this deft sayth that there being a ffreindship contracted between him
the Complt and this Deft and the Complt expressing greate kindnesse
to this Deft and telling him of his the Complts want of Money and of
his being likely to be arrested for moneys oweing by him prevayled
with this Deft to advance lend and pay to him the Complt and to his
use the Summe of Seaventy and Two pounds And he the Complaynant in
or by one Bond or Obligacon bearinge date on or about the Seaventh
day of January Anno Dni 1702[150] became bound unto this Defen^t in
the penall Sume of One Hundred fforty and ffower pounds Conditioned
for the payment of the said Seaventy and two pounds with Interest on
the Eighth day of March then next And alsoe he the Complt executed
a Warrant of Attorney to confesse a Judgem^t upon the said Bond in
the Court of Queen’s Bench att Westm^r which Judgement was Entred up
accordingly as by the said Bond Warrant of Attorney and the Record
of the said Judgement and to which this Defend^t referreth himselfe
may appeare And this defend^t sayth that he the Complt Steele as an
Additional Security for the better payment of the said Debt did by a
writing under his hand beareing date the Seaventh day of January Anno
Dni 1702[151] assigne and sett over or is therein menconed to assigne
and sett over unto this Deft all the Money and profitts which was or
were to come to him the Complt for his play intended to be called the
Eleccon of Goatham by the Agreem^t therein before written upon this
Condition That if the said debt should not be paid unto this Deft
before the acting of the said play That then this deft his Executors or
assignes might retaine and apply such profitts for or towards paym^t
of the said debt of Seaventy and two pounds with damages But if such
profitts should amount to more moneys then should be due to this Deft
or his assignes att the time of acting such play then the Overplus of
the moneys and profitts arising due to the Complaynant on his play by
the agreem^t aforesaid was to goe to the use of the Complt and his
assignes after payment of the aforesaid debt with damages to this deft
and his assignes as by an Agreement in writing under the hand of the
Complt bearing date the said Seaventh day of January Anno Dni 1702[152]
ready to be produced to this honoble Court and to which this deft alsoe
referreth himselfe may appeare And this deft sayth that the Complt did
not pay or cause to be paid unto this deft the said debt of seaventy
and two pounds or any part thereof or any Interest for the same
according to the Condition of the said recited Bond on the Eighth day
of March next after the date thereof nor hath he ever since paid the
said debt or any part thereof or any Interest for the same to this deft
And this deft sayth that he the Complt did not deliver to this deft
the said Comedy sold as aforesaid to this deft by the writing before
menconed to beare date the seaventh of January Anno Dni 1702-3 on the
twentyeth of ffebruary then next as thereby was mentioned nor hath
he the Complt ever since that time delivered to this deft any Comedy
called the Election of Goatham altho this deft very often requested
him the Complt for the same But this deft confesseth that the Complt
about the latter end of March Anno Dni 1705 brought a Comedy to this
deft which he stiled or called the Tender Husband or the accomplished
ffooles & desired and urged this deft and his cheife Actors that the
same might be acted by them with all speed which he the Complt said
was in leiu and in stead of the said play which he intended to have
called the Election of Goatham and the same was the next and onely
play or Comedy which the Complt has brought sold and delivered to this
deft since the lending of the said Seaventy Two pounds as aforesaid
And this deft Beleiveth that his this defts Company of Actors did
according to his the Complts desire gett up the said Comedy called the
Tender Husband with all the speed they could and acted the same the
first time on the three & twentyeth of Aprill 1705 and acted the same
the second time the next day after and the third time on Wednesday the
five and twentyth of the same month of Aprill for the Benefitt of the
Complt the Author according to the same Conditions in the said ffirst
and second Agreements menconed and acted the same the ffourth time on
the next day after being Thursday the sixth and twentyeth of Aprill
1705; on which day the Receipts being but Twenty Six pounds and Eleaven
shillings as this deft beleives the same was thirteen pounds and Nine
shillings short or wanting of fforty pounds the contingent in the said
agreement menconed This deft was not obliged by the said Articles or
any Agreement to cause the same to be acted on the Sixth day or any
more for the Benefitt of the Complayn^t save as hereinafter is menconed
And this deft sayth that the said Mr Baggs the Treasurer computing
each dayes charge of acting the said play called the Tender Husband to
amount to Thirty Eight pounds ffifteen shillings and Ten pence and the
Receipts of the third day being Sixty one pounds and six shillings &
noe more as this deft beleives out of which the said Summe of Thirty
Eight pounds ffifteen shillings and ten pence being deducted there
then rested two and twenty pounds ten shillings and two pence as this
Deft computes the summe But the Receipts of the second day of acting
the same play amounting to but twenty and six pounds and ffourteen
shillings being deficient Twelve pounds one shilling and ten pence to
make up the charge of that day which twelve pounds one shilling and
Ten pence being deducted out of the said two and twenty pounds and
ten shillings the Residue of Neate and cleere profitts to come to the
Complt pursueant to the Agreement aforesaid amounted to Ten pounds
Eight shillings and two pence and noe more as this Deft is informed
and beleives with which this deft beleives the Complt was acquainted
and that he was well contented and satisfyed with the account given to
him the Complt of the Receipts and Charges of and for the said play
called the Tender Husband for the ffower ffirst dayes of acting thereof
And this Deft sayth that the profitt accrewing due to the Complaynant
being soe small the Complaynant applyed himselfe to this deft and
alsoe to the principall Actors under this deft’s Government That he
the Complt would waive his profitt by the said play being Ten pounds
Eight shillings and two pence as aforesaid and permitt the same to goe
to the use of the Company provided they would act the said play the
then next Winter one day for his the said Complt’s Benefit instead of
the third day aforesaid he paying or allowing out of the Receipts on
such day in Winter the constant and incident charge thereof and alsoe
what money the Receipts on the said second day of acting the said play
wanted to make up the full charge for that day being Twelve pounds one
shilling and ten pence as aforesaid which this deft as well as most of
the Cheife Actors Consented to or to such effect And thereupon the said
Treasurer made the full Receipts on the third day of acting the said
play called the Tender Husband to be charged for the use of the Company
without chargeing any part thereof paid to the Complaynant in regard
the Complaynant refused to receive the profitts due to him for that day
But chose to have a day in Winter in Leiu thereof as aforesaid And this
deft sayth that in pursueance of such Request made by the Complt to
this deft and the Cheife actors as aforesaid a day was appoynted in the
winter following according as the Complaynant desired and Bills were
sett up the day before it was to have been acted and it was ordered by
this deft to be geven out that Night and Bills putt up for the same to
be acted the next day for the Author’s Benefitt; But a little before
it was to have been given out the Complt forbidd the same to be given
out on the Stage or putt into the Bills for his Benefitt saying that he
did not thinke there would be such an Audience att it as would please
him or used words to some such or the like Effect But how ever the
same play was acted on the then next day and the whole Receipts that
day being Thursday the Twentyeth of November[153] one thousand seaven
hundred and ffive amounted to sixty ffower pounds three shillings and
Six pence and noe more (as this deft beleives & is informed by the said
Treasurer) which was about two pounds seaventeen shillings more then
the Receipts came to on the said third day that the same play was
acted as aforesaid which two pounds seaventeen shillings and Six pence
this deft and the said principal Actors were willing should be paid
to the said Complt as well as the summe of Ten pounds Eight shillings
and two pence before menconed And this deft sayth that as to the Ten
pounds Eight shillings and two pence which was due to the Complt out of
the Receipts of the said third day according to the Agreement before
menconed this deft never received the same or any part thereof nor the
said two pounds seaventeen shillings and six pence But both the said
Summes remaine in the said Treasurers hands for the use of the Complt
as this deft beleives And this deft gave order to the said M^r Baggs
the Treasurer to pay the same to the Complaynant amounting together to
Thirteen pounds ffive shillings and Eight pence as this deft computes
the same And this deft beleives that M^r Baggs hath severall times
offered to pay the same to the Complt and is still ready to doe the
same But that he the Complt hath neglected or refused to receive the
same as the said Treasurer has informed this deft And this deft denyeth
that the said play called the Tender Husband was acted att any time in
the yeare one thousand seaven Hundred and ffower either in the Summer
or Winter as in the Complt’s Bill is suggested But the first time the
same was acted was on the said three & twentyeth of Aprill Anno Dni
1705 as this Deft verily Beleives and as is before sett forth And this
deft denyeth that he this deft ever made any other agreement with the
Complt touching or concerning the Comedyes or Playes before menconed
or either of them other than as is herein before sett forth And this
deft denyeth that he lent the said Seaventy two pounds upon any other
agreement then as aforesaid and Sayth that he this deft did never agree
to stay for the said debt untill the Complt should bring the said play
called the Eleccon of Goatham or any other play to this deft And this
deft denyes that he was or is minded to Oppresse the Complt and extort
greate Summes of money from him and not allow the Complt any profitt
whatsoever in Consideracon of the said Comedy called the tender Husband
which Comedy as this deft hath been informed and beleives hath been
severall times acted in the last yeare by the Company of Actors in
the playhouse in the Hay Markett[154] without this deft’s consent or
direccion & in Opposition to this deft’s Interest which this deft has
reason to beleive was soe done by the Incouragement or att least the
Conniveance of the Complt But what Benefitt or profitt the Complt hath
had from thence for the same this deft doth not know And this deft
Confesseth that the Complt haveing for a long time delayed the payment
of the said debt of seaventy two pounds with Interest and Damages to
this deft and not keeping his promises touching the same this deft
hath caused prosecucon to be made against Complt for Recovery of the
said debt with Interest & damages which this deft humbly insists was
& is lawfull for him to doe and humbly hopes this honoble Court will
not hinder him therein & this deft denyeth all and manner of unlawfull
combinacon & Confederacy for any the ends or purposes in the Complt’s
Bill menconed without that that [_sic_] there is any other matter
or thing Clause Sentence or allegacon in the Complt’s said Bill of
Complaynt conteyned materiall & effectual in the Law for him this deft
to make answere unto and not herein and hereby well and sufficiently
answered unto confessed or avoyded traversed or denyed is true to the
knowledge of this Deft all which matters & things this Deft is and
shall be ready to averre justifye maintaine and prove as this honoble
Court shall direct & humbly prayes to be hence dismissed with his
Reasonable Costes & Charges in this behalfe most wrongfully susteyned

TURNER

JOHN METCALFE

II.

STEELE _v._ WILBRAHAM, &c., 1722.

(Page liii.)

Steele’s bill,[155] after referring to the Letters Patent of the 14th
January 1714-15, and to the agreement then made by Steele with Wilks,
Cibber, and Booth, proceeds to state that in or about 1713 Steele had
contracted an acquaintance with Edward Minshull, Esq., of the parish of
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, who professed great friendship, and offered
to help Steele to money to supply his then urgent occasions. The offer
being accepted, Minshull became bound with Steele to one Cox for £500
or thereabouts, and to one Aston[156] for £400 or thereabouts, and
to some other persons, of whom he borrowed, as he pretended, money
to lend Steele; and he lent Steele at several times some small sums,
and about the 24th July 1716 desired Steele to give him some security
for the money he had lent to and stood engaged to pay for Steele, all
which he then pretended to compute at £1500 and more; and particularly
he desired that a security might be made to him of Steele’s fifth
part of the Letters Patent and of the clothes, scenes, &c., and of
the profits of the Theatre in Drury Lane; and Steele having a good
opinion of Minshull’s integrity, and believing the account made out to
be true, readily agreed to make such security, whereupon Minshull got
and prepared an assignment of Steele’s share to him, his executors and
assigns, dated the said 24th July 1716, the consideration whereof was
expressed to be the sum of £1500 paid to Steele; but in truth there was
not any sum then paid to Steele, nor were the debts for which Minshull
was bound then paid, nor was any account then drawn out or settled
between Steele and Minshull. And at the same time Minshull signed a
defeasance to Steele, that upon payment of the £1500 and interest at a
day therein mentioned the said assignment should be void; and Steele
thereupon directed Castleman, Treasurer of the Theatre, to pay his
share to Minshull or his order. And there having been great dealings
between Minshull and Charles Gery, Esq., of London, of whom Minshull
had at times borrowed several sums on several securities, and Minshull
proposing to assign over the security from Steele, Gery insisted that
Steele should join in the assignment; but Minshull declared there was
no occasion for it, and that Steele should make affidavit that he
had no otherwise encumbered his share in the Theatre; and Gery being
satisfied with this, Minshull told Steele that he was much pressed
for the payment of the debts to Cox and Aston, and that he must raise
money on Steele’s assignment to discharge those debts, and that for
that purpose the affidavit must be made, to which Steele consented.
And some time afterwards, as Steele had been lately informed, Minshull
assigned the security to Gery, but Steele could not discover what money
was paid by Gery. Minshull endorsed Steele’s note to Castleman, and
gave it to Gery, who received several sums from Castleman. Minshull
and Gery formed at that time a design to get Steele’s share of the
scenes, clothes, and profits; and Minshull undertook to purchase the
same absolutely of Steele for £4000, which it was agreed between
Minshull and Gery should be for their joint and equal benefit; but the
£4000 was to be paid by Gery, and £2000 repaid by Minshull as he could
raise the same out of his moiety of the profits; and this agreement was
marked in the assignment made by Minshull to Gery, or in some other
deed or writing between them. Minshull then often requested Steele to
sell his share, but being unsuccessful he said he perceived Steele
was in straits for money, and that it would be proper for Steele to
raise a considerable sum at once, and professed that he would advance
a further sum of £2500 upon the security of the said premises, and
allow Steele two years for the payment thereof. This Steele accepted,
and Minshull being in daily expectation, as he pretended, of receiving
£3000, or some such sum, directions were given by him to Mr. Ralph
Wilbraham, his attorney, to draw up an assignment to him of Steele’s
share, which Wilbraham accordingly got drawn up and engrossed. It was
dated on or about the 31st January 1716[-7], and was made absolute,
Minshull undertaking to give Steele a defeasance thereof in payment of
the said £4000 and interest within two years of the date thereof. And
this assignment being drawn and engrossed, Minshull and Wilbraham came
to Steele, who was then attending the service of his country in the
House of Commons, and carried him to the Horn Tavern, in the Palace
Yard, Westminster, and after the assignment was read over, Minshull,
speaking with Steele in another room, said that, being disappointed of
money, he could not pay Steele any part of the said £2500, but would in
a few days, and in the meantime would give a note for the money, and
that for Steele’s security the assignment should remain in Wilbraham’s
hands till the sum was paid, and that he (Minshull) would execute a
proper defeasance to Steele. Steele, being ignorant of matters of law,
spoke to Wilbraham, who assured him that he would receive no prejudice
thereby, adding that he (Wilbraham) was obliged to take extraordinary
care that Steele should not suffer because Steele put such great
confidence in him.[157] Steele was thus, at the earnest request of
Minshull and Wilbraham, induced to sign the assignment of the 31st
January 1717, and to sign a receipt endorsed on the back of the paper
for the sum of £4000 as the consideration thereof; and Wilbraham was a
witness that Steele executed this assignment and signed the receipt,
well knowing that not one penny was advanced as the consideration
thereof, and that the same was only to be security for the £1500 for
which the former assignment was given, and the £2500 when the same
should be paid to Steele, and for which Minshull then gave Steele a
receipt, Wilbraham being a witness; and Wilbraham assured Steele that
this receipt would screen him from any prejudice by signing the receipt
for £4000, and that if the £2500 were not paid to Steele, by virtue of
the said receipt for £2500, Steele would be entitled to an allowance
thereof out of the £4000. By agreement between Steele and Minshull the
assignment of the 31st January 1717 was then deposited in the hands
of Wilbraham as a common trustee between them, until the £2500 should
be paid to Steele and a proper defeasance executed by Minshull; and
until that was done no use was to be made of the assignment, and then
Steele’s former assignment for £1500 was also to be delivered up to
him. And Steele requiring some further memorandum from Wilbraham of
such trust, Wilbraham wrote a short memorandum, acknowledging that he
had received the indenture of the 31st January, purporting a sale from
Steele to Minshull of the fifth part of the Letters Patent, scenes,
clothes, &c., and profits in consideration of £4000, which Deed was
deposited in his hands in order that in case Steele, his executors,
&c., should redeem the same within two years, the same should be
delivered up to be cancelled and destroyed; and this he promised to
do, unless the Deed were lost by fire or other unavoidable accident.
Wilbraham and Minshull witnessed this memorandum by affixing their
signatures; and Steele depended upon Minshull’s Note, and Wilbraham’s
memorandum, and Wilbraham’s privity to and knowledge of the whole
affair, and the Deed being kept by Wilbraham, so that there should
be no prejudice to Steele, that the £2500 would have been paid, and
the former assignment delivered up; and he therefore then delivered
his counterpart and defeasance thereof to Minshull. And Minshull, or
Gery at his order, continued by virtue of the first assignment of
July 1716 to receive Steele’s fifth part of the profits; but Minshull
never paid Steele the £2500, to the very great disappointment of
Steele, who, depending upon the same, was reduced to great straits,
and therefore desired Minshull would supply him with some part of it;
this Minshull agreed to do if Steele would consent that the agreement
in Wilbraham’s hands should remain as security for such further sums as
Minshull should advance beyond the £1500 for which the first security
was given. Steele consented, being desirous that whatever money was
really advanced to him should be repaid with interest; and thereupon
Minshull supplied several sums and paid several sums for Steele; and
Gery received out of Steele’s share of the profits £2398 16s. 10d.,
or some such sum; and Steele’s share was received by Minshull, or his
order, Gery, for the years 1716 and 1717, to the amount of £1418.
Having paid to Minshull by one Mr. Paterson £400, Steele desired
Minshull, on or about the 22nd October, to state accounts with him,
which Minshull did, and notwithstanding the debt of Aston was included
in the first security for £1500, yet Minshull charged Steele with
the sum of £47 8s. for the costs thereof, and also with several sums
over and above the £1500, the total of one account amounting to £768
19s. 9d., and the total of the other to £712 5s. 10d., so that on the
whole Minshull charged Steele as debtor for £3029 3s. 7d., and at the
same time gave Steele credit for £1418 received of Castleman and £400
received of Paterson, whereby there was a balance of £1211 3s. 7d. due
from Steele to Minshull, as will appear by the said account signed
by Minshull and Steele; and Gery was privy to the stating of this
account, and continued by virtue of Steele’s note endorsed by Minshull
to receive Steele’s share of the profits until the 24th January 1719,
and received thereby £348. There remained then due to Minshull for
principal and interest only £886 16s. 6d. or thereabouts, but Steele
tendered to Minshull £900, and demanded the assignment for £4000, and
also the assignment for £1500, which Minshull pretended he had long
before redeemed, and often promised to deliver to Steele, and had
received back the defeasance and counterpart from Steele, and also
Steele’s note to Castleman. Minshull sent to Wilbraham’s house for the
said assignment, but Wilbraham being out of town or from home, Minshull
desired the matter might be put off to another opportunity, and that
in the meantime he might continue to receive the profits belonging to
Steele, the same to be afterwards deducted out of the said £886 16s.
6d. To this Steele agreed; and on the 4th February 1719 paid Minshull
the further sum of £300. And afterwards, on or about the 26th November
1719, Gery, by virtue of Steele’s note, received the further sum of
£238; but Minshull had in the meantime paid to and for Steele some
other sums, so that, on the 11th December 1719, there remained due
from Steele to Minshull £596 2s. 9d.; and thereupon Minshull by a
writing dated the said 11th December declared that Steele before the
expiration of two years from the 31st January 1717 tendered to him
full satisfaction for the consideration money mentioned to be advanced
to Steele by the said deed of sale, but that he (Minshull) could not
then come at the deed by reason of Wilbraham not being at home when
he sent for it, and therefore he desired Wilbraham by this writing to
deliver up to Steele or his order the deed dated 31st January 1717 on
payment of the sum of £596 2s. 9d., that being all the money then due
to Minshull. Steele sent this writing to Wilbraham, offering to pay
the £596 2s. 9d., and well hoped the deed would have been delivered up
to him, and that the other assignment of the 24th July 1716, and the
order to Castleman, would have been delivered up by Minshull. But now
Minshull, Wilbraham, and Gery, combining together, and with William
Woolley, Esq., of the county of Derby, and with others as yet unknown,
to defraud Steele of his share in the Theatre, Wilbraham utterly
refused to deliver up the deed of assignment of the 31st January 1717,
but threatened to deliver it to Gery, with whom he entered into an
agreement for that purpose; and Gery insisted that there was due to him
from Steele £2500 or some such great sum, and that Steele’s fifth share
ought to be charged therewith; and to cover these unjust proceedings he
pretended that he advanced £1500 to Minshull upon Minshull assigning
over to him Steele’s security of the 24th July 1716, and that on the
31st January 1717 he advanced to Minshull the further sum of £2500, and
that Minshull paid the same to Steele; and that by a deed poll dated
on or about the 31st January 1717, Minshull declared that the £4000
mentioned to be the consideration money of the said deed of sale of
that date was the proper money of Gery, Minshull’s name being used
only in trust for Gery; and by means of this pretended deed poll of
trust Minshull and Gery endeavoured to charge Steele with the whole
£4000, although for £1500, part thereof, they or one of them had a
former assignment, which was never delivered up, and no part of the
residue, £2500, was paid until long after, and then only some part
thereof in small sums, and, as Steele had reason to believe, raised
out of the very share of the profits belonging to him; and in truth
no such sum of £2500 was advanced by Gery at that time upon the said
security, nor was the said declaration of trust executed till long
afterwards, when there were various accounts between Minshull and
Gery, and Gery was apprehensive that he should lose money by Minshull;
nor did Gery till lately inform Steele of the said declaration of
trust, and Steele apprehended he had nothing to do with any person
but Minshull, as Minshull often informed him; and he looked upon Gery
only as the order of Minshull, and accountable to Minshull for what
he received; nor did Gery ever oppose or forbid Steele paying money
to Minshull. And if any such trust were fairly declared for Gery, yet
he ought only to stand in the place of Minshull as to what was due to
Minshull on the 31st January 1717, and which he long since received
with interest and a great overplus; and Wilbraham, in whose custody the
assignment for £4000 was left, ought to have acquainted Gery that no
part of the £4000 was advanced except the £1500 secured by Steele for
the assignment; or at least Gery would have received such information
if he had inquired of Wilbraham or Steele. And at other times Gery
pretended he had assigned his interest in the premises to Woolley, and
would not concern himself about the same, although he well knew that
since the 11th December 1719, he had received of Castleman at several
times the further sum of £394, so that upon a fair account there now
remained due from Steele to Minshull or his order only about £220,
which sum Steele was willing to pay to Minshull or Gery or Woolley, as
the Court should ordain, upon the cancelling of the several securities
entered into by Steele to Minshull. But Minshull, Gery, and Woolley
most unreasonably insisted upon charging Steele with the whole £4000
and interest from the 31st January, 1717, and nevertheless refused
to discover when or how this £4000 was advanced or paid by Gery to
Minshull, or what they knew or had been informed, or what interest
Woolley had therein. All which being contrary to equity, Steele prayed
that writs of subpœna might be directed to Minshull, Gery, Wilbraham,
and Woolley, commanding them to answer the matters contained in this
Bill.

Wilbraham’s answer, dated 17th March 1721[-2], is the only one
existing. It states that some short time before the 31st January 1717
Minshull gave Wilbraham directions for preparing such assignment or
sale from Steele to Minshull of Steele’s fifth part in the Theatre, as
was mentioned in Steele’s Bill, and two parts of such assignment were
engrossed, leaving a blank for the consideration money; and Wilbraham
said that to the best of his remembrance he carried the engrossments to
Steele’s then house in St. James’s Street, and not to the Horn Tavern;
and Wilbraham read over the assignment, and then Steele and Minshull
retired to another room, as he apprehended to converse together upon
the subject-matter of the assignment. When they returned, a proposal
was made by one or both of them, that inasmuch as the assignment was
drawn absolute and without any clause of redemption, and yet it was
intended to be redeemable and to be only in the nature of a mortgage,
the assignment, when executed by Steele, should be deposited in
Wilbraham’s hands as a common trustee, and that he should give to
Minshull a note that the deed was in his custody, and that he would
deliver it up to Steele upon Steele’s redeeming the same within two
years’ time from the date of the deed. Steele particularly asked
Wilbraham whether, in case the deed was deposited in his hands, the
note would be sufficient to make the deed a mortgage, and Wilbraham
said that it would, if the note were attested and witnessed by
Minshull. Steele then acquiesced in the proposal, and did not in
Wilbraham’s hearing require any other defeasance of the deed; and
Wilbraham was ordered to fill up the blank, and make the consideration
£4000. The engrossed copies were then signed, and Steele gave a
receipt for £4000, which was endorsed on the deed executed by him, and
Wilbraham added his signature as witness. The deed was then handed to
Wilbraham, who gave a receipt–as mentioned in Steele’s Bill–which
was attested by Minshull. Wilbraham was of opinion that Steele, like
himself, then believed Minshull to be a man of substance. Wilbraham
did not remember to have seen any money paid by Minshull to Steele,
but believed Minshull gave Steele a note or receipt for £2500, for
which sum Minshull promised to be accountable to Steele, and Wilbraham
believed he added his signature as witness. Wilbraham denied that he
assured Steele that this note or receipt would effectually secure him
from any prejudice which might arise to him by his signing the receipt
for £4000, or that he told Steele that if the £2500 were not paid him
he would, by virtue of the note or receipt for £2500, be entitled to
an allowance thereof out of the £4000, or that Steele asked him any
questions relating thereto. He also denied that the deed was placed
in his hands as a common trustee until the £2500 should be paid to
Steele and a proper defeasance executed, or that until the same was
done no use was to be made of the deed, or that then Steele’s former
assignment for £1500 was to be delivered up to Steele; and he also
denied that the deed was given to him upon any other terms than those
set forth in the note which he gave; nor did he use any persuasion to
induce Steele or Minshull to entrust the deed to him, or to induce
Steele to sign the deed or the receipt thereon endorsed, or to accept
Minshull’s note or receipt for £2500; nor was he any way privy to or
acquainted with the reasons which induced Steele to do the same, save
that he knew the £1500 was or was mentioned to be the consideration
of a former deed of sale of Steele’s fifth share, dated about 24th
July 1716. And Wilbraham had heard that Gery had, before the 31st
January 1717, advanced £1500 to Minshull upon the credit of Steele’s
first assignment, and that Minshull had assigned over to Gery Steele’s
first assignment as security; but he did not then apprehend that Gery
had advanced to Minshull, or was to advance, £2500, and therefore he
understood himself to be only a trustee as between Steele and Minshull.
But some time afterwards Minshull and Gery came to Wilbraham and told
him that Gery had advanced a further sum of £2500, and that the whole
£4000 was therefore, in truth, Gery’s money. Wilbraham then drew up a
declaration of trust to that effect, dated 31st January 1717, which was
duly executed by Minshull in the presence of one Mr. William Aspin and
Wilbraham, witnesses. But Wilbraham admitted that this deed was not
executed on the 31st January 1717, as dated, but some time afterwards,
though he could not remember the particular time. After the execution
of this last deed Wilbraham considered himself as a common trustee
between Steele and Gery. After all this, when, as Wilbraham believed,
Minshull had failed in answering Steele’s drafts of money upon him,
Steele sent to Wilbraham and offered him thirty guineas to deliver
up the deed of assignment of the 31st January, and said Minshull was
consenting thereto; but Wilbraham answered that Minshull’s consent
would not indemnify him for so doing, because he knew that the money
intended to be secured by the assignment was not then Minshull’s but
Gery’s, and that he must have Gery’s consent; he therefore refused to
deliver up the deed. And he believed Minshull sent to him when he was
not at home, as narrated in Steele’s Bill; and he from time to time
acquainted Gery with the proceedings of Steele and Minshull; but he
denied that he had threatened to give the deed to Gery, or had entered
into any engagement with Gery for that purpose. The deed was still
in his hands or power. He was never taken into council by Steele and
Minshull, except that he paid, subsequently to the assignment of the
31st January 1717, £70 to Hugh Reason, Esq.,[158] for Steele by order
of, and with the money of, Minshull, and had also seen several notes
which Steele drew on Minshull, which he believed were paid by Minshull.

There is no record of this case having ever come before the Court, and
there are no answers to Steele’s Bill from Minshull, Gery, or Woolley.
Fresh arrangements were entered into in 1723, as will be seen below.

III.

STEELE AND SCURLOCK

_v._

WILKS, CIBBER, BOOTH, CASTLEMAN, AND WOOLLEY, 1725-8.

(Page lxviii.)

In their bill, dated 4th September 1725, the complainants,[159] after
describing the Indenture Quadrupartite of June 3, 1724,[160] the
Articles of Agreement of September, 1721,[161] the Indenture between
Steele and Woolley of June 17, 1723, and the note to Castleman of July
17, 1723,[162] said that they well hoped they should have had the
benefit of the assignment and letter of attorney to Scurlock for the
payment of Steele’s debts and incumbrances, and that Wilks, Cibber,
and Booth would have ordered the treasurer of the theatre to have paid
and duly accounted with Scurlock weekly, and for all arrears due to
Steele at the time of the assignment, as in all justice and equity they
ought to have done, the rather because Woolley had been long since
paid the £900 due to him, together with all interest thereupon. But
Wilks, Cibber, and Booth, confederating together with Castleman, their
treasurer, and with Woolley and others, to defraud the complainants
of their just right, and to elude the force of the assignment made
by Steele for the benefit of his creditors, refused to come to any
account with the complainants touching the profits, pretending that the
charges they had been put to in finding clothes, scenes, &c., had been
so great that they had made little or no clear profit, and yet they at
the same time refused to disclose their expenses; and at other times
they pretended that Steele by himself or his agents had from time to
time received his full share of the profits; whereas the complainants
expressly charged that the profits, over and above all expenses, had
been very great, and that neither Steele nor any person acting by his
order had received any but a very small and inconsiderable part of his
share of the profits since the time of his entering into partnership
with Wilks, Cibber, and Booth, and that there was now a very great
sum owing to him. And at other times the defendants, and especially
Woolley, pretended that the £900 secured for Woolley was not yet paid,
and that until that was paid the provisions for the other creditors
could not and ought not to take place; but the complainants expressly
charged that this £900 was and ought long since to have been paid out
of the profits of the fourth part belonging to Steele; and Woolley and
the others refused to inform Steele how much had been paid to Woolley.
And at other times Wilks, Cibber, and Booth pretended that they, on
the 24th January 1719[-20], were, together with Steele, suspended
by the Lord Chamberlain from further acting, and that from the time
of this suspension (whatever licence they afterwards obtained for
proceeding therein), they were not answerable to Steele for any part
of the profits; whereas Steele expressly charged that the suspension
lasted only two days or thereabouts, neither could the Lord Chamberlain
or any other person thereby or otherwise except by due course of law
deprive him of his share of the profits, wherein he had a just freehold
during his life by the Grant and Letters Patent from His Majesty; and
therefore Wilks, Cibber and Booth ought to pay and be accountable to
him for his just share as if no such suspension had been. And at other
times the defendants pretended that by some provision in the aforesaid
Articles of Agreement it was provided that neither of the parties
thereto should at any time sell, mortgage, part with or incumber his
or their share without the consent in writing of the rest of the said
parties, and it was pretended that Wilks, Cibber, and Booth never gave
such assent to the assignment made by Steele to Scurlock; whereas
Steele and Scurlock declared that Wilks, Cibber, and Booth were well
aware of the assignment before it was made, and had copies of it
delivered to them severally afterwards, and although they did not
give their consent in writing, yet they did not oppose or forbid the
same; and if they had, yet the same being for the payment of Steele’s
creditors, it ought to be supported and made good by the Honourable
Court, or at least it could not debar Steele from having an account of
his share of the profits. Yet upon these and the like pretences the
defendants not only refused to pay Scurlock, on behalf of Steele’s
creditors, but likewise refused to come to an account with Steele.
Sometimes they pretended that they were entitled to a dividend of £10
a piece each week, or some such considerable sum, out of the profits,
in consideration of their extraordinary trouble in the management
of the theatre and their playing their several parts, previous to
and exclusive of the dividend to be made under the Articles between
them and Steele, and they had accordingly ever since the date of the
said Articles appropriated these sums, regardless of Steele’s share
or interest. And they pretended to be entitled to the whole of the
money given by His Majesty or any of the Royal Family when they were
graciously pleased to be present at any performances, and they had kept
such moneys; whereas the complainants declared that Steele had a right
to his share of all profits whatsoever. And the defendants pretended
that they had a right to, and had set aside for their own use, £20 a
night or some greater sum under the name of several constant charges,
contingencies, and bills, and pretended that Steele had no right to
share therein; and Steele charged that in favour of Mrs. Oldfield,
Mrs. Porter, and Mrs. Booth, three of the actresses at Drury Lane, on
their respective benefit nights the defendants had forborne to deduct
the necessary expenses of the house out of the profits of the night,
as they ought to have done, but had placed the same to the account
of the partnership, whereby Steele had been charged a fourth part of
those expenses without any profit whatever; and on the benefit nights
allowed to under-officers and others of the theatre, they had deducted
each night, which they had shared and divided, without admitting Steele
to any share. And sometimes the defendants pretended that Steele had
no colour to call them to account touching any of these deductions
or allowances to themselves, because he had from time to time passed
and allowed these accounts without objection, and agreed to the said
deductions, &c.; but this he never did; if he had passed accounts
without objection, it was through want of knowledge or oversight.
And Wilks, Cibber, and Booth had in other ways defrauded Steele; it
was therefore prayed that writs of subpœna be issued to compel them,
together with Castleman and Woolley, to answer these premises.

The “joint and several answers” of Wilks, Cibber, Booth, and Castleman
are dated October 13, 1725. Long before the Letters Patent to Steele,
Wilks, Cibber, and Booth had, as they said, a licence to act at Drury
Lane, and were acting there at the Queen’s death, and had scenes, &c.,
there of great value; and a short time after the Queen’s death, they,
looking upon Steele as a person who had a great acquaintance, and who
was fit and able to promote the interest of the theatre, did, for these
reasons, and out of friendship and kindness to Steele, invite him to
come into a share and benefit of the theatre, for which he seemed
very thankful; and it was agreed he should apply for a new licence,
which he obtained, and which was afterwards, by agreement with them,
changed for a Patent. The application for the Patent was to be in
Steele’s name only, but upon the express trust that Wilks, Cibber,
and Booth should have an equal share in it; and when Steele applied,
he informed these defendants that he could not obtain a reference to
the Attorney and Solicitor-General for having such a Patent without
first having their consent, as they shared with him in the licence; and
they thereupon gave their written consent to Steele, to whom a Patent
was then granted. And some time afterwards Steele agreed to give them
£1200 as a consideration for the fourth part of the scenes, clothes,
&c., belonging to them, and did pay to each of them £400, as appears
from the receipts. Then came the Articles Quadrupartite of September
1721. By acting under the Letters Patent the defendants had received
large sums, which had been entered in books and kept by Richard
Castleman, their treasurer and cashier. Divers sums had been paid to
great numbers of persons weekly and otherwise, as they were entitled
to receive the same; and the accounts had been at sundry times stated
and settled by the defendants and Steele, and Steele had received his
share; on the 18th June 1723, in particular, he gave his receipt as
follows: “Received of Richard Castleman £708 8s. 2d., being so much due
to me arising from the profits of the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, I
say received in full to this day, RICHARD STEELE.” This was a stated
account, and ought not to be ravelled into. From June 18, 1723, to June
25, 1725, divers other considerable sums had been received and paid on
account of the theatre; and Steele, or persons lawfully authorised by
him, had received his share thereof. On June 25, 1725, Richard Eadnell
received of Castleman, by virtue of a letter of attorney executed
to him by Steele, £52 10s. 3d., as Eadnell’s receipt showed: “I say
received for Sir Richard Steel’s use ballance due for the year 1725,
£471 13s. 2d., being a fourth part of the clear profits,” &c.; and
these defendants acknowledged that they had each of them received to
their own use from the 18th June, 1723, £1 13s. 4d. for every day upon
which a play had been acted, exclusive of Steele. This they claimed
as a consideration for their acting and the extraordinary charge they
were put to in respect thereof, for which they had no allowance in the
said accounts; and they said that Steele never made any objection to
the same to their knowledge till the filing of this bill. There had
been from time to time paid to other actors more than £1 13s. 4d. a
day for acting. On the 18th June last the defendants left off acting
under the Letters Patent, and so discontinued until the 4th September
last, during which interval no profits did or could arise; and since
the 4th September they had acted seventeen nights and no more up to
the time of putting in this answer, and the clear profits of those
seventeen nights could not at present be set forth, because tradesmen’s
bills were not sent in; but as soon as they could the defendants were
ready to account for the same and to share all just allowances. They
denied that they had deducted or claimed £10 a week for management or
acting, or any sum other than as above mentioned, nor had they set
apart or divided among themselves £20 a night or other sum on pretence
of incidental charges, &c., exclusive of Steele, nor had they taken
to their own use, exclusive of Steele, any part of such bounty money
as His Majesty or any members of the Royal Family had given. And they
said that Mrs. Oldfield, Mrs. Porter, and Mr. Mills had plays once in
every year acted for their respective benefit, without any sums being
deducted for the charge of the house, which was the best agreement
the defendants could make with them; no other actors had the like
privilege of having benefit plays without deduction for the charges of
the house; and these defendants denied that they had had any benefit
thereby, exclusive of Steele. And they said that, finding by long
experience that the profits grew less towards the end of the spring
and until June or July, the time of leaving off acting, £5 for every
acting night was and had been kept back in order to make up the charges
of the house in case the money received should not be sufficient for
that purpose,–which often happened about the latter end of the season;
but when they left off acting the said sum of £5 was always brought
to account, and what remained after the charges were paid was divided
among these defendants and Steele equally. And these defendants said
that they had great ground to expect that Steele would not, contrary to
his own express agreement with them in writing, have sold, parted with,
or encumbered his property in the Patent, clothes, scenes, and profits
to any one without the defendants’ consent in writing, especially
because that to accommodate Steele and at his particular request (he
being indebted to Edward Minshull, Esq., in the sum of £200, by whom
the debt was assigned to Mr. Gery, and by him to Mr. Woolley) these
defendants consented and agreed with Steele and Woolley that Castleman
should pay to Woolley £200 a year out of Steele’s share till the debt,
with interest, should be paid. There was now £500 of the debt unpaid,
and no interest had been paid. By Articles Quadrupartite, dated 19th
September 1721,[163] between Steele, Wilks, Cibber, and Booth, reciting
the aforesaid Articles, and also that the then Lord Chamberlain did
some time since by his order direct that Steele should not be paid his
fourth part, Steele did, for himself, his executors, &c., agree that
if at any time the King, Lord Chamberlain, or other person authorised
by the King should order that Steele be not paid his share, but
should direct that Steele’s share should be paid to any other person,
that Steele’s share should cease to be paid to him, and he should be
debarred from demanding his share during the continuance of such order;
and so with any proportion of Steele’s share. Steele had some time
since been suspended, but the defendants denied that they ever took
advantage thereof. They were strangers to the several demands made by
persons named in the complainants’ bill as creditors of Steele, and
conceived they were in nowise concerned therein. Castleman denied that
he refused to let Steele see the books.

Richard Eadnell, of the Inner Temple, Gent., solicitor to Steele and
Scurlock, made oath on the 27th October, that on Wednesday the 20th
October he applied to Castleman, treasurer at the old playhouse in
Drury Lane, on behalf of the complainants, and told him that he had
occasion to look in the books of accounts kept for Steele and the
defendants, and that he, the deponent, would wait on Castleman for
that purpose when convenient. But Castleman said he could show no
books or give any information without an order to do so from the
other defendants. And on the 21st Eadnell applied to Wilks, Cibber,
and Booth, but they utterly refused to give an order to Castleman,
saying that no one should inspect the books or papers save Steele
himself. Notice was subsequently given to the defendants’ solicitor
that the Court would be asked to make an order that these books could
be examined by Steele or his solicitor;[164] and the order was duly
granted. On the 2nd February 1726 Eadnell made oath that by virtue
of this order he had looked over the books, and by them it appeared
that Wilks, Cibber, and Booth had each received of Castleman £480
10s. (_sic_) for clear profits from the beginning of that season till
Saturday, 15th January last, and Castleman had received the like sum
of £487 10s. for the use of Steele, out of which he had paid £200
to Woolley, as arranged; but Castleman refused to pay Eadnell the
remaining £287 10s. without the consent of Wilks, Cibber, and Booth.
Eadnell thereupon applied to them, and gave them a copy of a letter
of attorney duly executed by Steele and Scurlock, empowering him to
receive and give discharges for such money as should become due to
them from the theatre; but Wilks, Cibber, and Booth absolutely refused
to direct Castleman to pay Eadnell, unless Eadnell would give them
discharges for £30 which they received weekly on pretence of acting
exclusive of Steele, and which was now in dispute in that Court. Wilks,
Cibber, and Booth had received this £10 apiece weekly over and above
the £487 10s. since the commencement of the winter season, and still
intended to receive the same, as they informed Eadnell, notwithstanding
the same was in dispute. And it appeared that over and above the £487
10s. and the £30 weekly, the sum of £30 a week was kept in the hands
of the treasurer under the name of contingencies, in case there should
be occasion to advance any money at any time on account of any new
performances or otherwise.[165]

The defendants having put in their answer, Steele’s counsel obtained
leave, on the 12th February, to amend the complainants’ bill.[166] The
answer of Wilks, Cibber, and Booth to this amended bill is dated 15th
June 1726. The defendants said they never refused to disclose to Steele
the expenses incurred for scenes, clothes, &c.; those charges were
entered in books which Steele could examine, and which they had reason
to believe he had often inspected. In accordance with the order of the
Court of the 28th October last, Eadnell had often examined the books,
and was never denied the same. They submitted, therefore, whether they
need do more than refer to the books as regards the particular sums
laid out in clothes, scenes, &c. They never denied that Steele might
controvert the accounts, but they apprehended he had no reason to do
so, for the allowances they demanded were reasonable, and were for the
daily and extraordinary labour and expenses in acting their several
parts not otherwise charged for. If they had not taken upon themselves
to look after and manage the theatre, they and Steele, instead of being
gainers, would have lost by it; and if Steele had been as active on his
part in the management as they (which he ought to have been by their
Agreement), the same would have been an addition to the clear profits
of the theatre, at least one fourth part.

In the meantime, Wilks, Cibber, and Booth had commenced a cross action
against Steele.[167] In their bill, dated 11th January 1725-26, they
said that Swiney and Collier had both constantly attended the business
of the theatre, and much benefit had resulted therefrom; Collier
solicited persons of quality, and drew audiences to the theatre. When
Steele was invited to come into partnership, he faithfully promised
to attend the meetings and consultations of the Company, and to
write plays and other performances, and to use his utmost endeavour
to support the interest thereof; and he did continue to attend the
business of the Company until 28th January 1719-20, since when he had
altogether absented himself. From that date they had each taken to
their own use £1 13s. 4d. a day, and Steele was so conscious that they
deserved a much greater sum that he allowed the accounts wherein the
same was charged. The scope of this cross bill, therefore, was that
Wilks, Cibber, and Booth might be quieted in receiving the said £1 13s.
4d. apiece exclusive of Steele, and might have such allowance as the
Court should think reasonable for the expense they were at in clothes,
periwigs, laces, and linen, and for their trouble in instructing the
actors and overseeing artificers, &c., and might be indemnified in
paying the £1200 and interest to Woolley, and be relieved.

Steele’s answer to this bill was taken by commission by Alexander
and Theophilus Scurlock on June 23, 1726. He denied that on entering
into the partnership he promised to attend meetings or instruct young
actors, not being qualified or required to appear as an actor; but he
believed he did in general promise to write plays, and to promote the
interests of the theatre, and this he had done to the utmost of his
power, as the managers had often admitted; see, for example, Cibber’s
dedication to him of _Ximena. The Conscious Lovers_ “brought more
money to the House than any play was ever known to do;” and he was at
that time preparing, as fast as his health would permit, a new Comedy,
which, God willing, he hoped to finish by the next season, the plot of
which play was formed for the reformation of the theatre, and restoring
the credit and good sense of theatrical entertainments, which he was
sadly sensible was never more wanted. He had done and was doing as
much as his health would permit. He had entered into an agreement on
the 4th September 1721, and then or shortly before, when accounting
for his share during the time of the pretended suspension by the Lord
Chamberlain, the other managers had urged that they had lost much in
1720 in connection with the South Sea scheme, and that Steele had
not borne his share of the cost of scenes; and he then, out of pure
friendship and good-will, forgave them £1,200, which he believed was
due to him. Steele insisted that he was not obliged to make Wilks,
Cibber, and Booth any allowance for their managing and acting, as they
were by the Articles obliged to do their duty in consideration of the
three fourth parts they received; but he denied that he had pretended
they ought not to be allowed for clothes, &c., used on the stage,
he being willing to allow his share out of the joint stock; and he
believed they had frequently taken out of the joint stock for their own
private clothes, which they brought to the joint account; all which
Steele allowed without objection. He admitted he asked permission to
assign his share, and, being refused, assigned his interest without
such consent to Scurlock, and he hoped that what he did through the
need of satisfying his creditors would not in equity be a breach of
his covenant. He did not know of the deduction of £1 13s. 4d. a day
till the beginning of 1724[-5], when he brought his bill to be relieved
against it; and he hoped that notwithstanding his signing the receipt
of the 18th June 1723, he should be at liberty to call the managers to
an account touching the said deduction.

The original cause was before the Court several times in August and
October 1726.[168] Leave was given to Wilks, Cibber, and Booth to
examine Castleman, a material witness for their case, and in no way
concerned in point of interest in the matters in question; and upon
application that Castleman should pay Steele £468 4s., which was found
to be his share of the clear profits for 1725, it was ordered, by
consent, that Castleman should pay Steele £200, subject to the order
which should be made upon the hearing of the cause. In December leave
was given to Steele and Scurlock to examine Castleman as a witness for
them. The “answer of William Woolley, Esqre., one of the Defendants to
the Bill of Complaint” of Steele and Scurlock, was not put in until
the 20th October 1726.[169] It contains nothing fresh of importance.
Woolley said he had received £600 of the £900 due to him from Steele,
and that £300 was still due, besides interest; and he urged that he
was entitled to his £200 a year in preference to all other creditors
mentioned in Steele’s bill. On the 21st November, Wilks, Cibber, and
Booth obtained leave to amend their bill in the case in which they
were complainants; and Alexander and Theophilus Scurlock were again
commissioned to take Steele’s answer.[170] In this answer to the
amended bill, which was not sworn until the 11th May 1727, Steele said
it was true that he had declared that Cibber’s zeal for the _Conscious
Lovers_ was an obliging favour and friendship to him, but he was
referring to Cibber’s care in instructing the actors, &c. Cibber did
make several alterations in the play before it was acted, but to its
disadvantage, and therefore he did not pay Cibber anything for his
meddling. The piece ran eighteen nights, and brought £2,536 3s. 6d.
to the house, but how much was paid for charges and how much to him
Steele could not say, save £329 5s. or thereabouts, which he received
for three author’s benefit nights. He could not set forth particular
passages altered by Cibber; if he did, it might run him, in vindication
of his own performance, into a sort of criticism very improper, as he
apprehended, for the entertainment of that Honourable Court.

In October and November 1727, publication in the original cause was
twice enlarged, upon the petition of the defendants, and on the 3rd
February 1728, upon the original cause coming before the Court, the
defendants’ counsel alleged that the counter action was ready for
hearing, but that as Steele lived at Carmarthen the plaintiffs in that
action had not had time to serve him with a subpœna to hear judgment;
and they said that both causes were proper to be heard together.
Whereupon it was ordered that the original cause should stand over to
the fourth day of causes after the term, and that judgment should then
be pronounced in both causes.[171] The combined suits accordingly came
to a hearing before Sir Joseph Jekyll, Master of the Rolls, on Saturday
night, the 17th February 1728, at the Rolls Chapel,[172] when Cibber
addressed the Court, acting upon the advice of his counsel, who pointed
out that he could speak better upon the question of the business of a
manager than the most learned lawyer. Two of the counsel for Steele
afterwards held the post of Lord Chancellor, and Cibber professes to
have almost broken down with nervousness; but he succeeded, with the
help of notes, in making a successful speech of an hour’s length, which
he has printed at length in the sixteenth chapter of his _Apology_.
He maintained that Steele was as much obliged to do the duty and
business of a manager as either Wilks, Booth, or Cibber; and the reason
why he had ceased to take any part in the management was, that he was
annoyed at his fellow-managers, who had often helped him when he was
in want of money, but who found it necessary at last to peremptorily
refuse to advance another shilling until it was due to him. After
that Steele not only absented himself, but made an assignment of his
share, without the consent of the others, in breach of their Agreement,
thereby exposing them to the chance of trouble and inconvenience. His
absence, too, had led to more than proportionate loss, because his
rank, and figure in the world, and the ready access which he had at
Court, had been of great service; that was, in fact, the very end and
consideration of his share in the profits. Cibber proceeded to argue
that he, Wilks, and Booth had been justified in charging £1 13s. 4d. a
day for their extraordinary labour, in Steele’s absence, by graphically
describing the multitude of duties and disagreeable tasks which fell
to a manager’s lot. Steele had not written plays for nothing, and
though, said Cibber, in writing _The Conscious Lovers_, “he had more
assistance from one of the managers than becomes me to enlarge upon, of
which evidence has been given upon oath by several of our actors, yet,
Sir, he was allowed the full and particular profits of that play as an
author, which amounted to three hundred pounds, besides about three
hundred more which he received as a joint sharer of the general profits
that arose from it.” Cibber adds, in another place, that when they
told Steele of the salary they meant to take for themselves in future,
Steele only remarked that he had no reason to doubt of their doing him
justice, and he never complained for nearly three years; indeed it was
not until his affairs were put into the hands of lawyers and trustees
that his lawyer thought that here was a fair field for an action in
Chancery, in which, whatever the result might be, his bill would be
paid.

After hearing Cibber, and the counsel on both sides,–the proceedings
lasted five hours,–the Master of the Rolls declared that he saw no
good cause for breaking through the account dated 18th June 1723, or
for varying the allowances of £1 13s. 4d. which had been made at that
time to each of the defendants, Wilks, Cibber, and Booth. He therefore
ordered that the account dated the 18th June 1723 should stand, and
that it should be referred to Mr. Bennett to take an account of the
profits of the theatre from that time; the defendants were to produce
before the said Master upon oath all books of account, &c., and to be
examined as the Master should direct; and in taking the account the
Master was to make to the defendants all just allowances. His Honour
declared he conceived the allowance of £1 which had been already made
to each of the defendants for management every night was a reasonable
allowance, and that they ought to have this allowance continued to them
until Steele should come into the management of the theatre; but the
Master must determine what the defendants respectively deserved for
their charges for wigs, lace, and linen, for which Steele admitted by
his answer that an allowance should be made; and he was also to take
an account of what was due to Woolley for principal and interest on
his mortgage, and to tax Woolley’s costs in this suit. The Master was
also to ascertain what would be coming to Steele for his fourth part of
the profits on the balance of the account, and from what was certified
as due to Steele, Wilks, Cibber, and Booth should pay to Woolley what
was reported due to him in the first place for principal, interest,
and costs as aforesaid, and should pay the remainder to Scurlock for
the uses mentioned in the deed of assignment from Steele to Scurlock,
or to whoever Scurlock should authorise to receive the same; and
Wilks, Cibber, and Booth were hereby indemnified for so doing; and they
were to continue to pay Steele’s fourth part of the growing profits,
under such allowances as aforesaid, to Steele or to whoever he should
authorise to receive the same. And it was further ordered that Steele
and Scurlock’s bill against Castleman be dismissed out of the court;
and that no costs be paid to either of the said parties, except to
Woolley.

The Master’s Report is dated July 10, 1728.[173] Mr. Bennett said that
the plaintiffs’ solicitors having allowed Wilks, Cibber, and Booth 13s.
4d. apiece for every day a play was acted, from the 18th June 1723,
as the same had been allowed up to that time, he had taken an account
of Steele’s fourth part of the profits from the said 18th June to the
present time, and found that that fourth part amounted to £2,692 3s.
3d., in discharge whereof he found that the said defendants had paid to
Steele or order several sums, amounting to £1,601 3s. 3d., leaving due
to Steele £1,091. And the clerk in court for Woolley had admitted that
Woolley had been already paid off and discharged all the principal and
interest due to him on Steele’s account; and the Master had already, by
his Report of the 5th instant, taxed Woolley’s bill of costs at £29 2s.
10d., which sum he appointed Wilks, Cibber, and Booth to pay Woolley
out of the said sum of £1,091 in their hands, and the residue, £1,061
17s. 2d., they were to pay to Scurlock, as directed by the order of the
17th February. On the following day, July 11, 1728, upon motion made
by the counsel for the defendants in the original cause, this Report
and all contained therein was confirmed by order and decree of the
Court.

Continue Reading

THE SCHOOL OF ACTION

_The School of Action_ was the play which Steele was endeavouring to
finish in 1723-5. The fragment which we have would have required a
great deal of revising before it could have been put upon the stage.
The MS., from which the piece was printed by Nichols, is in the British
Museum (Add. MS., 5145c). It is not in Steele’s writing, and the first
few leaves are now wanting. I have restored the original reading in
several instances in which Nichols made unnecessary alterations. There
are several memoranda on the subject among the Blenheim MSS. Here is
one of them:–

“Minutes for the play itself.–First Act. The beginning as I have it
at Home in y^e Scheme between Brainwell and Lightfoot; after y^t y^e
calling over y^e House w^{th} the actors, and y^e severall purposes y^t
y^e Playhouse might be usefull for signified.–Act 2^{d.} The Country
family wait as in an Inn at the playhouse; all that can be done by
the playhouse to terrifie y^e Attorney and his Wife, and all that can
delight y^e young Lady by Theatricall Powers is exposed and explained.
A Critick upon various Actions.–Act 3^{d.} The Electra of Sophocles,
where Mrs. Porter is to be the Queen, and y^e Tragedy of Sophocles to
be made y^e Moddle is thoroughly set forth in a way attempted to be
truly sublime.–Act 4^{th.} The Country Family, knowing of the Murder
done there, resolved to bear Witness of it and prosecute it according
to Law.” And again, “Let Booth be Orestes, with all the prepossession
and love of His Mother with the necessity upon Him of killing Her,
and resolving upon it all of a sudden from passion to passion in an
Hurry,–yet commanding all his Resentments to execute His design.–His
regard for His sister and her urging Him.” The following are other
rough notes:–“Jenky to be instructed to be a ghost and torment His
Brother–not to be y^t of Hamlet. Johnson to be the false Brother–Mrs.
Willis, His Wife, urging to give up.–They miss the young lady for
2^{d.} Act–but don’t value so y^t Her fortune is safe in His hands….
Let Pinsars ramble from place to place, and getting clear of the Play
House–where he meets Evill Constable (?) and His Mirmidons.–Then
Buntho’s Ghost and all the other incidents possible–appears still
in y^e House, and gives up to Severn, &c.” And again:–“Introduce a
Woman, Drunk, to be acted by Cibber, to talk at beginning Lewdly in
a Mask, y^e rest in Whisper. Let Pinsars be assisted by an Army of
y^e Playhouse to fight his way out; he and his man Ralph and his Wife
Striking all in earnest, assisted by the Constable…. Let Him Threaten
to demolish the Whore of Babylon–Speak of the Dragon and all the Cant
of the Presbyterian Zeal against Plays, &c., but fight…. For the
Prologue take notice of this play as a _Posthumous Work_ according to
Dr. Partridge’s freinds. Spider and Dotterell’s Quality: Beasts made
before men–Therefore the Dotterells must give way, for they were made
before Spiders were in being, and not made before they were men.”

The following notes evidently refer to another piece:–“To take the
play y^t Lyes in loose parts in my Scrutoire and lay it together for
the Stage: To ridicule y^e whole Mechanick of Dr. Faustus, &c., and
all things of that kind for y^e Theatre–make persons to play tricks,
break necks, and the like…. There is no true nobility but in the
practise of Vertue and right reason, where there is nothing can be
little…. Make him go to his certain Ruin for want of knowledge in
a Circumstance he might know if he had looked into a letter w^{ch}
contains a secret Contrived against him, but he cannot pry into because
it comes into his Hands unwarrantably: make this y^e great Incident of
his distress…. To ridicule our Slavery to Italian Musick, to have an
ode of Anacreon set in Greek performed. To observe upon y^e absurdity
of making distresses and mirth for y^e Vulgar out of y^e Accidents y^t
befall the body, as in the play of _The Chances_: The old Woman in her
Colick pains toothless and defective through age is exposed as a Jest.”

_DRAMATIS PERSONÆ._

Mr. SEVERN, a barrister, lover of Miss DOLLY.

Mr. HUMBER, his friend.

Mr. PINCERS, an old wealthy country Attorney, guardian to DOLLY.

RALPH, his Man.

Mr. DOTTERELL,
Mr. SPIDER,
Comedians.

Mr. GWILLYN,
BUSKIN,
TRAGEDIAN,
GENERAL,
Candidates for the Stage.

Mrs. PINCERS.

Miss DOLLY, Ward to PINCERS.

Mrs. UMBRAGE, an Actress.

Mrs. FENNELL.

Her DAUGHTER, a Candidate for the Stage.

Barber, Constable, Waiter, Servants, Rabble, &c.

_THE SCHOOL OF ACTION._

ACT THE FIRST.

_Enter_ MR. SEVERN _and_ MR. HUMBER.

_Sev._ The world is much more easily imposed upon, than you studious
and modest men imagine.

_Hum._ Dear Severn, if such superficial qualifications as you talk of
will accomplish gentlemen and ladies, I own to you, hard has been our
fate, in having suffered pains and penalties (fit only for malefactors)
in great schools, and been immured in college the best years of life,
to acquire learning and attain to sciences that are all useless when we
come into the world.

_Sev._ Pardon me, dear Humber, I did not say useless; I only argue that
you had better, to make your fortune, have ordinary qualifications,
such as a good mien, common understanding, and an easy address, than
great faculties and talents under the oppression of bashfulness,
rusticity, or—-

_Hum._ Or knowledge.

_Sev._ It shall be or knowledge if you please–if you mean knowledge
kept to a man’s self, or in a man’s keeping, that is afraid or ashamed
to exert it.

_Hum._ Well, be it as you propose; go on.

_Sev._ I say, then, your taste for books and fine writing, your
judgment in the faculties of the soul, my town education, and skill in
the airs, motions, graces, and abilities of the body, will enable us to
carry on this our design of supporting a new playhouse, and keeping a
School of Action.

_Hum._ Well, if we break–I can go down again to my fellowship at
Oxford, and laugh and be laughed at among a parcel of worthy and
ingenious men, whom I will entertain with my adventures; and I think
the undertaking cannot but introduce at least matter of humour and
mirth: if it does not advance our fortunes, it will heighten our
conversation.–But to your School of Action.

_Sev._ As all that reside in inns of court and universities, though
they do not enter into any of the learned professions, are yet better
accomplished for any other ways of life by having the same education
with those who go into them; so will all who come to our School of
Action be better qualified in their own characters, by being instructed
among players, who are taught to become any part which shall be imposed
upon them.

_Hum._ Thou art a rare sanguine fellow to think this will do. But I
have observed confidence in a man’s self that he shall perform a thing,
helps him forward better than any other quality about him–Well, hang
it, in order to make this experiment, I will be as enterprising and
confident as you.

_Sev._ Let me, then, observe one thing, for fear of your relapsing
into your academic shyness; that you must beware of standing as if you
were a thinking statue, a case for a spirit to reflect in, and not
a mind and body acting together. You improve the soul only in your
colleges–you neglect the body.

_Hum._ Thou art in the right: I have studied eloquence till I am dumb.

_Sev._ I am glad you see your want and infirmity. If you will speak,
I know you will talk well. I know when you are unreservedly familiar
you talk very well, as you did t’other night concerning the principles
of motion and rest. Suppose, as you are resolved to talk, you would
resolve also to move, and practise a little local motion. Give me
leave to show you how you perform it. Go to the other side of the
stage. [_He walks thither._] Thus you walked–thus your shoulders–thus
your legs–thus your breast–thus your hips.–Pray adventure back
again–thus–

_Hum._ Pish! I am a little hurt, and grow peevish with this mimicry;
though I believe you are right enough.

_Sev._ Well, I only show you: it is not necessary you should, as to the
present purpose, be jaunty; you are to mind more important matters. You
are censor, observe, upon the sense and spirit of what is said; leave
the manner of doing it to me, the prompter.

_Hum._ But, as you are picking up people from all quarters, are the old
gentleman and his lady, the young girl, and the maid and man, who came
hither last night, all to be players? and why are they accommodated
here in the tiring-room, as if it were an ordinary lodging?

_Sev._ You shall know all in due time and order. Ho!–Harry!–Who waits
there? [_Enters a_ SERVANT.] Is the whole house come?

_Serv._ They are all here, sir, except the thunderer and the
candle-snuffer; they say it is a mistake, and that they are never
required to come to rehearsal.

_Sev._ Tell them they shall forfeit; the thunderer shall pay two
groats; they–they shall be fined a day’s pay. [_Exit_ SERVANT.]–My
dear friend, while the company is assembling in the several
apartments, I will explain further: You are to know that old master
Pincers is a rich northern attorney, who understands the law much
better as it is the business of it to punish offenders, than as it is
to protect the innocent. The young girl is a ward left under his care,
and has a very considerable estate in that country. He has brought her
up to town to settle her.

_Hum._ In the playhouse?

_Sev._ Pray, hear. In the playhouse? no. Of all things in nature,
stage-plays (as he calls them) are his aversion. But they are no less
Miss Dolly’s delight. As I had my education, that is to say, ate and
drank, conversed and lay some years every night at Gray’s Inn, I made
a notable pleader before our bench of justices in Cumberland, and grew
very intimate with Mr. Pincers. He took such a fancy to my promising
parts–for, you must know, I pretended to be a rogue to gain his
good-will–that, with a hint of five hundred pounds reward for my share
in the transaction, he communicated to me a design of disposing of this
young lady by way of sale.

_Hum._ Good–and thought you a proper broker to find out a husband, or
rather a purchaser.

_Sev._ Right. “Mr. Severn,” said he, “you know there is nothing more
common than to observe that orphans are a prey, by reason of their
great wealth, and marry unhappily.”

_Hum._ And therefore—-

_Sev._ And therefore he would have a receipt for _all_ her fortune,
for delivering _half_ of it to the man who should marry her–“which,”
said he, “shall be no fraud to the gentleman; for he shall settle only
an equivalent for ten thousand pounds, which is the moiety. By this
means,” continued my conscientious friend, “I shall observe how he
behaves to this poor girl; and can, if he deserves it, leave the other
moiety to them by my will.”

_Hum._ And what did you say to this hopeful project?

_Sev._ I fell in with it, and promised to find him a right young fellow
for his purpose.

_Hum._ Did you so, sir? [_As going._]

_Sev._ Now you grow a mere scholar again.

_Hum._ An honest gentleman is a mere scholar where a sharper is a
wit–I will leave your accursed town to-night.

_Sev._ I will convince you that there is nothing mean or dishonourable
on my part; but a lucky incident I should be stupid not to take hold of.

_Hum._ Say it; but your prologue is so long, you seem to know that the
plot of your play is not easily to be defended.

_Sev._ You cannot say that till you know it. I agreed with him to find
a young gentleman suitable to her, who shall bring as good an estate as
she shall, and settle all upon her and the children of the marriage.

_Hum._ Well–who is the gentleman whom you have thought of to do this?
On whom will you bestow the poor innocent girl who has never injured
you?

_Sev._ Why, I have been thinking that over and over; and it is so hard
to look into another’s breast, that one may, after all appearances, be
mistaken; and, therefore, I have resolved upon the only man who I was
sure was honest–even my own proper self.

_Hum._ You are most conscientiously impartial and disinterested.

_Sev._ I think myself conscientious, though neither impartial nor
disinterested. I consider that he would certainly sell her elsewhere on
his own terms, without regard to her happiness. In my hands she will
have her estate her own, with the incumbrance only of a man who loves
her, and whom I believe she loves, and who may increase that estate for
her. Consider, he would do what he designed, whether I would or not.

_Hum._ I consider you will do what you design, whether I will or not.
Nay, further, I cannot but own the circumstances much alleviate the
guilt on your part. Nay, if you fairly get the girl’s good-will, I will
allow your attempt not only excusable, but praiseworthy.

_Sev._ There spoke my good genius.–In the country, as much as he
trusted me in the secret of cheating her, he never let me see her
alone, or without witnesses; his wife, the maid, or man, or all of
them, were constantly present. But, as she is a great lover and reader
of plays, and of a great deal of wit and humour, we could speak one
language and look another, above their knowledge or observation. I sent
for him to town in order to marry her, insisting on my five hundred
pounds; for he would not trust me, did he not know my price. I have
lodged all here, whence they shall never go out till dear miss implores
it of me, or has justice done her by me or somebody to her liking.

_Hum._ There you justify all the art you can use for yourself. And may
you win and wear her, since you plot her redemption though yourself
should not succeed!

_Sev._ Well, we have done talking; let us to action. My business is
to review my forces, and not neglect my main plot, but consider my
playhouse and my mistress at the same time; and, while I am preparing
the one, make love to the other.–Here, Jack, call all the actors–let
the whole house march.–Tragedy drums and trumpets, fifes, kettledrums
and clarions shall wake my country lodgers, fright my old parchment,
and charm my little northern pilgrim–my dear refugee–I will
understand her no other. Beat, sound, and play. Make all people be in
their posts round the stage, and answer in all parts to the stage.–All
shall be done that can be to make her pass her time pleasantly. She
shall always expect to see me, but not see me till I have abundant
convincing proofs that I am in her favour. Thus if I can save her,
and save her for myself, it will be an exquisite happiness; if not,
to save her from this rascal is but my duty. Oh! I should have told
you that when Miss Dolly came in, I conveyed a letter into her pocket,
intimating where she was, that she may be surprised at nothing; for I
love the dear thing so tenderly that I could not give her the shortest
uneasiness, to purchase the most lasting good or pleasure to myself.
[_Here begins the march._] Hist!

_Pin._ [_Within._] Ho! chamberlain, bring me my boots–where is the
chamberlain?–What is the noise?—-

_Ralph_ [_Within._] The drums.

_Pin._ What is the matter?

_Ralph._ The train-bands, belike, master.

_Pin._ Ho! chamberlain!

_Hum._ While the rest of the country family are thus deceived, Dolly is
let into the whole matter, and won’t be surprised at anything. If she
humours the deceit it is a good symptom on your side.–This must be a
fruitful circumstance of mirth.

_Sev._ Nymphs, shepherds, ghosts, angels, and demons, shall tease the
old rascal; and all the while Miss Dolly see and hear nothing but
according to the notice I have given her.

_Hum._ While you are thus busied about your people, and managing your
design, which I have not much taste for (I want that mercury about me),
I will go about the house and view the accommodations–they say it is
the most convenient one in the world.

_Sev._ Sir, take your humour; I will pursue mine, and call you when
the circumstance is above my reach. [_Exit_ HUMBER.] Well, march by;
let the kings take place of all the people, next them bishops, then
judges–no, we had as good not to discompose their dresses. [_Among the
march of the actors he observes_ WILL DOTTERELL.] Ho! Mr. Dotterell,
Mr. Dotterell.

_Dot._ Sir! Your most humble servant, good Mr. Severn. What, have you a
part for me in your new play? It was you that first thought of making
an actor of me, and I have gained some reputation; and, harkee, you
have made a deal of me, I can tell you.

_Sev._ Ay, ay, I know thou art a town favourite–thy name is not
spoken of but it raises mirth. Let us see, what parts have you acted?
You have acted all manner of things as well as persons. You began, I
think, a flower-pot, in _Dioclesian_[135]; then you have performed
another ingenious part, been a chair, I think, at another opera; you
have represented all the appetites–as I take it, you do hunger best,
you are a fine fellow at a cold chicken–Then you have been all sorts
of trades, but you shine most in the tailor in _Epsom Wells_[136], you
beat your wife most successfully.

_Dot._ It was thought I laid her on as well as another, for you may
remember she was a bitter one, and she provoked me some six or seven
drubs beyond what the poet writ for her.

_Sev._ Well, look you, Will, I design greater things for you than any
poet of them all; why, you shall act a ghost in the ensuing play.

_Dot._ A ghost of me! No, it can never be.

_Sev._ Yes, yes, you oaf, you shall be a country ghost. You shall come
to the country gentleman who lay here last night in the figure of his
deceased brother, a fat justice of the peace, who left all his money
in his hands–and he cheats him. Why, I don’t know but you may be the
luckiest ghost that ever appeared. Who knows but the old rascal may
repent and pay you? If he does I’m sure you’ll take it.

_Dot._ Nay, nay, there’s no doubt of that. What has the poor money
done? I will take it, as you say.

_Sev._ Look you there: when you have done this part you are a most
accomplished player, you have gone through all the degrees of action.
You came out of the parsley-bed, as they say to the children; you have
been everything—-

_Dot._ A ghost! I shall never be sober enough. What if it be a country
ghost–yet every man is serious after his death. I shall certainly
laugh, and discover all.

_Sev._ Well, bid him they call Dicky come to me.

_Dot._ Dicky, Dicky, come to me; come, Dicky, come to Mr. Severn. I am
not a ghost yet; you need not be afraid.

_Enter_ SPIDER.

_Sev._ Mr. Spider, I have a part for you; but I am afraid you have too
good an air, too much dignity in your person, to do it well.

_Spi._ Oh, I warrant you they never put me to act anything in tragedy,
though my genius and temper is altogether for great and sublime things.

_Sev._ No doubt on’t, Mr. Spider, but you must be content at present to
do me a courtesy, and still keep in comedy; for you are to be a tapster.

_Spi._ What! when Mr. Dotterell (as I apprehend) is to be a ghost, am I
to be but a tapster?

_Sev._ Why, you are to be a tapster to the inn in which he is to be a
ghost, so that he’s in a manner in your keeping. All the ghosts in inns
are kept there by the tapster or chamberlain; now you are to be both in
this inn that I imagine.

_Spi._ Oh! oh! I begin to conceive you. I am to be a live tapster, and
Mr. Dotterell is to be the ghost of a dead man that died in the inn and
left a power of money behind, and so haunts the house because his own
cousin had not–I understand it very well–Look you, Mr. Dotterell,
it was I and my master contrived to kill this gentleman for the great
bag of money he brought into our house. Come, come, we’ll go in and
consider how to act these parts, without giving Mr. Severn any more
trouble about it.

_Sev._ But there is another thing that, I fear, will go much against
you; and that is, you are to be excessively saucy.

_Spi._ No, I shall make no scruple of that if he proves an unmannerly
guest, I’ll warrant you.–But, Mr. Dotterell, let us go and lay our
heads together.

_Sev._ Now, gentlemen, you are going out in your own persons, and no
man living can tell which of you should take place. Certainly, Mr.
Spider, you are somebody or other; and, Mr. Dotterell, so are you. Now
I would fain know which of you is to take place.

_Spi._ Pray, good Mr. Dotterell.

_Dot._ Nay, nay, Mr. Spider, I’ll never be outdone in civility; you
must pardon me, indeed, sir.

_Spi._ Nay, sir.

_Dot._ Nay, sir.

_Spi._ Nay, sir.

_Dot._ Nay, nay, nay, sir, if you go to that. [_Turns aside._

_Spi._ Nay, but, good sir–excuse me, sir. [_Turning another way._

_Dot._ Oh, Mr. Spider, your servant for that, sir. [_Takes him up in
his arms._

_Spi._ Sir, you conquer me beyond expression; sir, you run away with me.

_Dot._ Indeed, sir, I must say you are a very easy gentleman; you are
carried away with the least civility, look you, sir; for—-[_Carrying
him backwards and forwards._

_Spi._ Plague on’t, what a misfortune it is to be a little fellow!
Though I have a soul as great as Hercules, this fellow can deal with me.

_Dot._ Oh, my dear little Dicky Spider! [_Exit, kicking him in his
arms._

_Sev._ [_Solus_]. Here’s a great piece of difficulty adjusted; but I
observe very few difficulties of ceremony of much greater moment than
this, and wish they were all to be so ended. Well, now have I the
hardest task in all my affair to pursue: To persuade a woman who is
young, pleasant, and agreeable, to act a part for me to another; to
make love for me, instead of receiving love made to her; and there is
no way of obtaining of ’em but by making love to them. They are used to
no other language, and understand no other.–Ho! who waits there?

_Enter_ WAITER.

_Waiter._ Sir; do you call, sir?

_Sev._ Pray, sir, call Mrs. Umbrage hither. If she be in the
green-room, tell her I beg to speak with her–I must form myself into
all the good humour I can to entertain her, or I shall never get her to
come into it.

_Enter_ MRS. UMBRAGE.

Oh, here she comes.–Well, madam, I have cast parts for you, and named
you to many, but never so very nice a one as I am to desire of you to
undertake at present. To overlook yourself and deliver the application
made to another which had been more rightly directed to yourself, is a
greatness of mind–is a candour, to be found only in Mrs. Umbrage.

_Umb._ Well, Mr. Severn, you have waved your cap sufficiently; you have
done homage and made your acknowledgments; pray proceed to the matter.

_Sev._ The northern young lady you have often heard me talk of, is in
town, and lay in this house last night.

_Umb._ That has been the conversation of the green-room.–But what do
you design in all this you are going to let me into?

_Sev._ I would be well with that young lady. Nay, I think I am so.

_Umb._ A man may often be mistaken in those points, as knowing as you
are.

_Sev._ I grant it, madam; I have a mind to know it more explicitly, and
have the most evident proofs of it; which I will not desire till I have
given her sufficient testimony of a disinterested zeal and service for
her.

_Umb._ That is, indeed, the noblest and the surest way to approach a
sensible spirit, as I have heard you describe hers to be. Pray let me
hear what argument you have for thinking she has a disposition towards
you; for you know we naturally are too apt to believe what we wish.

_Sev._ A good opinion is in a man’s own power to create. I took care
to appear in the best manner where she was; to be always in great
good humour, and show a wonderful deference to her in all my actions;
which I constantly expressed by my eye only, as afraid of notice and
observation. She had her eyes as attentive to mine, and she never lost
the least expression that I made to her, but turned away her eyes when
mine grew too familiar.–But give me leave to tell you one particular
occasion wherein I plainly think she declared herself to me.

_Umb._ That will be worth hearing indeed; I shall be glad to hear the
language of the eyes translated by the tongue. [_Smiling._

_Sev._ You are to know, madam, that there happened one day in the
north, a great Quaker’s wedding at which she and I were present.
They went with the greatest gravity and decorum through the whole
circumstance of it. But at night she was invited, so was I, to see the
bride and bridegroom put to bed. Several of her maidens attended her;
several of their young men him. It is the nature of their superstition
to keep their passions bridled, restrained, and formally dissembled.
They have none of those flights, palpitations, gambols, and follies,
which divert the mind and break it from its main object.

_Umb._ You are going into a fine story; but I must trust your
discretion.

_Sev._ Madam, you may. [_Bowing._] To be sure, the bridegroom is laid
by his bride; the company stands in the most profound silence, as
contemplating the objects before them; he a young man of twenty-five,
she a young woman of twenty; he wishing our absence; she fearing it.
The eyes of everyone of us spectators naturally searching the object
with which they could best be pleased in the same condition, my eyes
met Miss Pincers’, in which there was such a sweet compliance, such a
revel invitation, immediately checked when observed and answered by
me, that I have ever since concluded that she had something more than
goodwill for me.

_Umb._ Well, if she has it, I shall be far from lessening it; but will,
as you seem to desire, accompany her, and improve it.

_Sev._ I form great hopes of success from that declaration; but as the
lady is mighty theatrically disposed, I beseech you to show her the
pleasure and beauties of the house.

_Umb._ All that is in my power; all that is not I must leave to you.

_Sev._ I will not doubt of success.

To gain a she, a sure she-friend provide;
For woman is to woman the best guide.

ACT THE SECOND.

PINCERS _and his_ WIFE _discovered with_ MISS DOLLY, RALPH, _and_
MARGERY.

_Pin._ Fie, Miss Dolly; do you say you heard no manner of noise when I
was knocking my heart out?

_Dolly._ None in the least. In the country they talked of the rattling
of coaches here in London. I heard nothing of it; I can hardly think I
am yet in the City.

_Mrs. Pin._ Why, Miss Dolly, you won’t say so, sure! Did you hear no
drums nor trumpets?

_Dolly._ Not in the least.

_Mrs. Pin._ O gemini! Then, to be sure, the house is haunted, and
the man of the inn has killed some traveller, and hid him behind the
hangings, and we are all disturbed for it–’tis so to be sure.

_Ralph._ It is no otherwise. I wonder Counsellor Severn would bring
master to such an inn as this is, so I do.

_Pin._ Chamberlain! why, chamberlain!

_Enter_ SPIDER (_as_ Chamberlain).

_Spi._ Do you call, sir?

_Pin._ Do you call, sir? Ay, marry do I, sir. What has been doing in
the inn here, or in the streets, with trumpets and kettle-drums?

_Spi._ Trumpets and kettle-drums! Poor gentleman!

_Pin._ Poor gentleman! no, no poor gentleman.–I am afraid this house
is no better than it should be.

_Spi._ Has not your worship lain warm? The bed is as good a bed as any
in the house. A man of fifteen hundred a-year lay in it, and slept all
night. He came to town to be fluxed. He was very much a gentleman, and
owned he slept very well; and his bones ached but little in that easy
bed.

_Pin._ Rogue! put honest folks, that have been man and wife these
twenty years, into a p—- bed together!

_Mrs. Pin._ In a p—- bed, husband! Take the law of him.

_Pin._ Sirrah! has not Counsellor Severn been here this morning? Go,
sirrah, bring me some water and a towel; I’ll go to the Counsellor’s
chambers immediately. I’ll trounce this house. [_Exit_ SPIDER.

_Dolly._ [_Aside._] I’ll look over my letter again. [_Reads._] “Be
afraid of nothing; but know, that the disagreeable shapes Mr. Pincers
is entertained with are not to appear to you; and when you know this,
you may partake of that diversion of tormenting those who attempt
only to sell and betray you. What you see are persons and appearances
belonging to the several plays which are acted in this house.”–Oh me!
how pure is all this!

_Re-enter_ SPIDER, _with a_ Barber.

_Spi._ Here is the water and towel, and here is a barber if you want
him. [_Exit._

_Pin._ Harkee, Mr. Barber; you look like an honest man, put on your
trimming cloths about me. I’ll inquire of you what sort of people live
in this house–Ha! what’s this here?

“To MR. PINCERS, Esq.”

[_A letter has come down from the air with this direction._]

“Sir, repent of the ill you are contriving before it be too late. I
shall appear to you and your wife only. In hopes of justice, I remain,

“Your dead and buried brother,

“RALPH PINCERS.”

_Enter_ SPIDER, _as_ Tapster.

_Spi._ Sir, do you call for nothing this morning? are not you dry, nor
your wife neither, ha, old dry-boots?

_Pin._ What does this mean? A letter come directed to me out of the
air–and my brother coming! Wife! Margery, do you see that letter? What
can it mean? Look you, sauce-box; good man, Tapster, I shall take a
course with you, sirrah, I shall.

_Spi._ You are a sneaking country bumpkin, sir.

_Enter_ DOTTERELL, _dressed like a Country Squire._

_Pin._ Bless us! there comes on my brother, in his old boots and grey
riding-coat. ‘Tis he: I ha’n’t the heart to speak to it.

_Dot._ [_Aside._] A country ghost! I shall laugh out. How frightened
the dog is! I’ll warrant the rogue has a great sum of money of mine.
I’ll make him give it me.–[_To_ PINCERS.] Repent, and don’t cheat your
brother, and break your word with a man that is dead and buried.–I
shall laugh before the old put has refunded—-[_Aside._

_Mrs. Pin._ There is the justice come to fetch us away with him–he’s
come for Dolly’s portion.–You know I was always for giving it all to
her since Nancy’s death.

_Dot._ Give me my money–give me my money.

_Pin._ Oh! how I tremble! yet dare not speak to him. [_He comes
nearer._

_Dot._ Show my last will and testament. Give me my money.

_Pin._ I cannot speak to him, to tell him I’ll do everything.

_Dot._ I will haunt thee, and tear thy wife from the fell—-

_Mrs. Pin._ He presents the figure of the poor child we had to cheat
Dolly with! Oh, husband, he’ll have me to punish thy sins! Oh, he
has me, now, now, husband! [_They both sink with the_ Barber _at a
trap-door._]

_Ralph._ “He presents the figure of the poor child we had to cheat
Dolly with!” How shall I get off this ground. [_Going away, fearfully._

_Marg._ Oh, Ralph! can you leave me? [_They meet trembling, as if they
found the place open._]

_Ralph._ Let us keep together, and not go underground in a strange
place.

_Marg._ Tell me, Ralph, whether there was anything between you and Nan?

_Ralph._ Ask no questions, ask no questions, good Margery. [_Exeunt._

_Dolly._ Whither shall I go, or where will this adventure end? Sure,
Mr. Severn will—-

[_Four leaves of the MS. are here missing._]

* * * * *

_Umb._ The pretty good-natured absurdity! [_Aside._]–But, madam,
you forgot Lorenzo that you mentioned just now: you must see
his–[_Whistle. Scene changes._] there, madam, there’s the place he
spoke those charming words in. But I forget, madam, you are a country
lady, and delight rather in airy prospects, tracts of land, and
beauteous lawns. [_Scene changes to the Park._

_Dolly._ Is this the Park? Pray, madam, where is the Birdcage Walk,
where lovers meet for intrigue?

_Umb._ You shall see it in due time; for I have a thousand other things
to tell you of. You must understand human life, and what passes in the
world, before you give yourself away.–But I must not inform you of it
abruptly and hastily.

_Dolly._ It will be charitable in you, madam, to do so.

_Umb._ I know you must be an admirer of poetry and good sense, without
which music is insipid, or at least but half-informed.

_Dolly._ I have wished myself at London a thousand times, to see
operas; but I would not have them sing nonsense.

_Umb._ Therefore, madam, I hope you’ll like the poetry which Mr. Severn
has ordered for the stage in celebration of two faithful lovers: they
were persons in an humble condition, and no ways conspicuous but
by their passion for each other; indeed, just what they should be
conspicuous for—-

AN INSCRIPTION AND EPITAPH IN A COUNTRY CHURCH.[137]

“Near this place lie the bodies of John Hewett and Sarah Drew, an
industrious young man and a virtuous maiden of this parish, who,
having been contracted in marriage, and being with many others at
harvest-work, were both in one instant killed by lightning on the last
day of July, 1718.”

_Dolly._ Oh! but the poetry–what a sad thing ‘twould have been if one
of them had been left alive–But pray let’s see the poetry.

_Umb._ Have but patience and we will have convenience, miss, to sit
down and hear it. [_Scene changes to a bower._

“Think not with rigorous judgment seized,
A pair so faithful could expire;
Victims so pure Heaven saw well pleased,
And snatched them in celestial fire.
Live well, and fear not sudden fate;
When death calls virtue to the grave,
Alike ’tis justice soon or late,
Mercy alike to kill or save.
Virtue alike can hear the call,
And face the flash that melts the ball.”

But let us take our places, and carry it gravely, suitable to your
fortune and merit. [_Here it is performed._

ACT THE THIRD.

_Enter_ SEVERN _and_ HUMBER.

_Sev._ I have often begged you to let me shift for myself, let my
character sink or swim. Every man who attempts any new thing must allow
mankind to talk of him as they please. I do not regard what the world
says, but what they should say.

_Hum._ It is very odd that we have never happy moments but at midnight,
so different are our tempers; and we are made to keep together from
no other rule, but that we never expostulate upon past mistakes; to
meet again after a misunderstanding, contains in itself all manner of
apology, all expostulation; but, if I might, I would complain that the
business of the house is neglected while you are attending your amours.

_Sev._ No; there is a present leisure to attend anything of that kind,
to hear any person or persons that pretend to the stage, to examine
scenes or goods to be shown or exhibited there, and give them their
answers.–Let us take our places accordingly.

_Hum._ It is wondrous to consider the folly of mankind, that think so
lightly and so meanly of the faculties of a player.–Roscius had three
thousand scholars, and but one only fit for the purpose.

_Sev._ There’s no arguing mankind out of their humour or their taste;
they may be gained upon by skill and labour, but that must be felt
before it’s seen.

_Hum._ Now you begin to philosophise: but let us hear the people, in
spite of vernacular dialect or tone, attempting to represent the most
difficult characters of state. Mr. Duntaxat, if you please, we will now
sit down and hear them. [_They sit down at table accordingly._] Mr.
Severn, you see he consents to take out places. [_Rings the bell._] Who
waits?

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Servant._ A great many people, sir; but none so importunate to be
admitted as the Welsh gentleman, who offers to act the character of
Hamlet for his own pleasure.

_Hum._ Plague on him, whose pleasure will it be besides?

_Sev._ Oh, all the world will like him; let us admit him by all means.

_Hum._ He, in his vernacular tone, will disparage a scene forever by
repeating it; but do as you will.

_Sev._ Pray desire the gentleman to walk in: pray, gentlemen, keep your
countenance, for he is no fool; or if he is, he is a valiant one, and
hath a great estate half-way up the atmosphere.

_Enter_ MR. GWILLYN.

[_They all rise from their seats._]

Sir, we understand the high obligation you lay upon us (pray sit down,
sir) in condescending to tread the stage in the character of the
Prince of Denmark; in which, sir, you are so far right, that he was a
prince of a very ancient family, and not unworthy a gentleman of your
character to represent.

_Gwil._ I have a respect for him, both for his plutt and his prains,
and think I could do him justice.

_Sev._ There is no doubt of it, good sir; and if you please to
pronounce the sentence, “To be and not to be,” you’ll mightily raise
these gentlemen’s expectations and gratitude to you for the favour you
intend them.

_Gwil._ Sir, that will I do, if the gentlemen please to hear it. [_They
all rise, and come forward with him._

_Gwil._ “To pee and not to pee,” &c.[138]

_Sev._ Most admirably spoke, sir. Be pleased to give us time to concert
measures what day to act this play. Let our tailor wait upon you to
adjust the shape and all things necessary. [_Exit_ GWILLYN.

_Hum._ It’s well we have got well clear of this humorous exceptious
gentleman; but I was in terrible pain lest he should have observed your
inclination to laugh.–But let us not lose time, but go on to answer
other persons. [_Rings the bell._

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Hum._ Who waits without?

_Servant._ Very many people, sir; but the lady with her daughter says
she has been here so often that she will be next admitted.

_Sev._ She will! she insists to see us altogether and makes a
difficulty even to show her daughter’s face. Now that is so
preposterous and humourous, that I could not answer her civilly and in
general, and so put her off.

_Hum._ Let her come in, however, and have her answer from us all.

_Enter_ MRS. FENNELL, _with her_ DAUGHTER.

_Hum._ Madam, what are your commands here?

_Mrs. Fen._ Gentlemen, I am a gentlewoman of a very ancient family.

_Sev._ Very likely, madam; but, indeed, madam, we sit here to provide
for the stage, and not to hear pedigrees. If you are of a house of
yesterday, and please to-day–you’ll pardon me, madam—that is what we
are to mind chiefly; but pray, madam, break into your business.

_Mrs. Fen._ Why, gentlemen, this young lady in a mask with me is my
daughter, and I propose her for the stage; for I am reduced, and starve
or beg we must not.

_Sev._ But, madam, please to show us how your daughter will help to
keep us from wanting. Madam, we have a great charge already.

_Mrs. Fen._ Why, you see, gentlemen, her height is very well; she is
neither tall nor short.

_Sev._ We allow it, madam; but that is not all: she must speak with a
good air and grace.–Won’t she unmask? Must not we see more than thus
much of her?

_Mrs. Fen._ No, no, gentlemen, we must come to some manner of agreement
before you see any further. To be a maid of honour, a waiting lady on
your Statiras and Roxanas,[139] or any of your theatrical princesses,
she’ll deserve twenty shillings a week for mere dumb show–and I’ll
have assurance of that in case you like her face; or else it shan’t be
said she was offered to the playhouse.

_Sev._ Well, but, madam, that is not all; for let her be for dumb show
only, her face is not all; she must be well limbed [_They whisper and
confer._]–she may sometimes be in a boy’s dress–a Cupid, a young heir
to a great family, a page, or a gentleman-usher.

_Mrs. Fen._ Why, I was aware of the objection, and have had a model
taken of her legs, which you shall see, gentlemen. There they are;
as fine a straight leg and as proper a calf–you shall seldom see a
woman’s leg so well made.–I don’t question, gentlemen, but you have
seen great choice, gentlemen, in your posts; are well acquainted with
the symmetry of parts, and correspondence of limbs.

_Sev._ Well, madam, you speak of your goods so advantageously, and set
them off so reasonably, that if the lady pleases to show her face, we
shall give twenty shillings a week, certain.

_Mrs. Fen._ She is your servant, and shall constantly attend
rehearsals. [DAUGHTER _unmasks._

_Sev._ On my word, a very surprising face.–Pray, madam, may I beg the
favour to see those pretty lips move?

_Daughter._ Yes, sir.

_Sev._ Pray, madam, raise your voice a note higher.

_Mrs. Fen._ Gentlemen, I beg she may be kept wholly for tragedy, for
she takes prodigiously after me. She can act only an haughty part; I
was prodigiously haughty in my youth. She will never act naturally
anything but what’s cruel and unnatural, as the men call it.

_Sev._ But, madam, can’t she repeat any verses, any parts of a play?
It’s strange she should have an inclination to the stage, and yet
nothing by heart.

_Mrs. Fen._ Oh, I have inured her to get as many things as possible
to arm her against the wiles of men; as those concerning Sir Charles
Sedley–Say on, good Betty.

_Daughter._ “Sedley has that prevailing gentle art,
That can with a resistless charm impart
The loosest wishes to the chastest heart.”[140]

_Sev._ “The loosest wishes!”–I fancy somebody or other has seen her
legs otherwise than by a model–she speaks so sensibly! [_Aside._

_Daughter._ “Raise such a conflict, kindle such a fire
Between declining virtue and desire,
Till the poor vanquish’d maid dissolves away,
In dreams all night, in sighs and tears all day.”

_Sev._ Well, madam, pluck up a spirit; and let us hear you grace it,
and do it with an air. Speak it politely, with a side face; you are
to imagine an audience though there is none; and pray speak it with
courage–

“Sedley has that prevailing,” &c.

_Hum._ Madam, you may be sure of all the encouragement and care your
beauty and merit deserve. [_Exeunt_ MRS. FENNELL _and_ DAUGHTER.

Well, now, let us look into some scenes that are under examination,
whether proper to be exhibited or not. Let the scene of Mr. Buskin come
on.

[_Trumpets sound, and drums beat a march._]

_Enter_ BUSKIN.

_Busk._ “In vain has conquest waited on my sword,
In vain th’ obedient waves have wafted o’er
The bark in which I sailed; as if the gods
Had ordered nature to preserve her course
With gentle clime and season, to convey
In safety me, their instrument of fate.”

_Hum._ Ho! brave, ho! brave. What’s to come after that?

_Busk._ “All this was vain, since Clidiamira’s eyes
Have met with mine–and stopped my race of glory.
Oh, Clidiamira–Oh! oh! oh! let all
The elements break loose–”

_Hum._ Ay, ay, to be sure, they can do no less, if Clidiamira’s really
angry; but not so fast, not so fast, if you please.

_Busk._ Pray, sir, give me leave–Oh, Mr. Humber, is it you? Your
humble servant.–I submit–I know you are a critic.

_Hum._ To be free, sir, you must know this way of blustering is a
stage legerdemain; a trick upon the eyes and ears of the audience. Look
you, sir, this is a time of licentiousness; and we must examine things,
now we are setting up to strip you, to know whether what you say is
good or not.

_Busk._ How, strip me!

_Hum._ Ay, strip you–for if it be not sense in your doublet, it is not
in your long robe. High heels on your shoes, or the feathers on your
beaver, cannot exalt you a tittle. No; you must know, good folks, this
is all a cheat. Such stuff as this is only a tragedy of feathers–it is
only lace and ribbon in distress; undress the actor, and the speech is
spoiled.

_All._ Strip him–strip him! [_They pull off his clothes._

_Hum._ Now speak, now speak.

_Busk._ Give me my truncheon at least; I got it by heart with a stick
in my hand.

_Many._ Ha, ha, ha; let him have his truncheon–let him have his
truncheon.

_Busk._ Nay–pray, gentlemen and ladies, let me come on the same
board.–Nay–

_Hum._ You shall do that.–Well, but begin.

_Busk._ “In vain has conquest”–shan’t I have a little of the trumpet?

_All._ No, no, no.

_Busk._ Then the drum only?

_All._ No, no.

_Busk._ “Oh, Clidiamira–oh! oh! oh!”–It won’t do; one can’t follow
either love or honour without some equipage.

_Hum._ Well then, master, to keep you in countenance, you shall take
up your things, and in your doublet speak that sentiment in the play
called _The Patriot_,[141] wherein the great lord speaks to his
friend, who applauds the bestowing of his bounty. The friend, taking
notice of his conveying secretly relief to a distress’d person of great
merit, and thinking to please him, tells him that the man obliged has
found out who sent it, and said it was a God-like action. To which the
answer:
“God-like indeed, could one bestow unseen!
Thanks are too large returns, from soul to soul,
For anything that we can handle thus:
Heaven has no more for giving us our all.
The means of sustenance man owes to man,
As angels give each other thought for thought.”
Mr. Buskin, your most humble servant; mingle with the company.–Take
your things. Say that in a doublet, cap, or waistcoat, with or without
shoes, and make it little if you can. [_The crowd takes in_ BUSKIN.

_Hum._ But I see you grow uneasy, to be diverted from your main design;
I’ll only trouble you with two circumstances, which to me appear
very magnificent, tragical, and great: the one is a great favourite
in a court, a man of consummate honour, who was surrounded with many
difficulties and enemies. They got the better of him so far, as that
he must be sacrificed unless he would open a letter which came by an
error into his hand, but was directed to his enemy. He comes on in a
soliloquy, but chooses to preserve his honour and abstain from opening
it, and goes on to his ruin. He says but a word or two; but let him
come.

_Enter a_ TRAGEDIAN, _with a letter in his hand._

_Tragedian._ “Here is my fate: ’tis put into my hands;
‘Tis in my hands to take or to refuse;
I cannot open it but with loss of honour–
Be it for ever closed.
I cannot escape death; that will come soon or late;
‘Tis in my power to make it find me innocent.” [_Exit._

_Hum._ You observe, Mr. Severn, here’s no noise, no eclat, no bustle,
but simple and calm greatness.–The next circumstance for which I beg
your patience is that of a great English general, who, observing the
confederate horse seized with a panic fear, and all, to a man, in the
utmost disorder, assumes himself and mounts an eminence, and says he
would stand there to revive the army. He did so; the enemies soon
observed so remarkable an object, and cannonaded it. He stood the fury
of their cannon while the army marched–But he comes on.

[_Drums and trumpets to precede his march._]

_Enter_ GENERAL.

_Gen._ “Nothing, but seeing me meet all they fear,
Can avert the same contagion from the troops.
Let them behold me die; or, what is more,
Let them behold how I expect to die!” [_Exit._

_Hum._ It is allowable to help great thoughts, and alarm the audience
with warlike instruments, to give the inattentive a sense of what is
truly sublime. But I won’t detain you longer; let us go in; but as we
are going off a stage, let me repeat to you a couple of verses.

Would you reform an heedless guilty age,
Adorn with virtuous characters the stage.

ACT THE FOURTH.

_Enter_ MR. PINCERS, _and_ BARBER, _and_ CONSTABLE.

_Pin._ How do you say, sir? All this is a delusion! an imposition!

_Barb._ Perfectly so, sir; no otherwise, indeed, sir; and they have
seized Mr. Constable there, my neighbour, who came into the house to
keep the peace, when they were waging war in it.

_Pin._ What, lay hold upon a constable! detain the constable! Do they
know what they do?

_Barb._ Ay, they know very well; but they don’t care what they do.

_Pin._ And was the ghost a cheat, and calling this an inn all
imposition?

_Barb._ Yes, sir; but here Mr. Constable has found below stairs an
inlet into the house, and whence he can let in all the people of Drury
Lane and the parts adjacent.

_Pin._ I have heard of Drury Lane in the country; but they will do as
well as any for this purpose.

_Barb._ That is most excellent good luck; we will swing them for false
imprisonment, and that of so great an officer as a constable.

_Constable._ But, sir, I want a warrant to do what I would on this
occasion.

_Pin._ There need none, sir; you have the law, which will uphold you in
it; the recovery of your liberty, and my liberty, as well as that of
the barber, will support you. There is in your person the liberty of
every man in England. As you are a constable concerned, I am a lawyer.
I’ll stand by you, I warrant you. But let’s be silent before you bring
in the _posse_. Take these deeds in your care and custody. [_Giving him
deeds._] Observe, Mr. Barber, I deliver them to him; and now let us go,
or him go, and let in his people. [_Exit_ CONSTABLE.] What a prodigious
villainy was here, Mr. Barber! I placed such a confidence in this Mr.
Severn, and took counsel with him for the disposal of my niece, and
thus he has served me; but I have put my deeds relating to her into the
constable’s hand; and if he can let his _posse_ into the house, I’ll
warrant you we will recover all.

[_A noise of people_:–“Beat down the doors; deliver the lady.”]

_Barb._ Hark, hark! he has got them in, I warrant ye the _posse_ is
raised; I’ll warrant we shall have the whole city and country on our
side.

_Pin._ The whole matter is, how to conduct it legally. Let me be but of
the council, and we will knock them all o’ the head, and not transgress
the law at all; we will murder the dogs, I would say the rogues. Why,
what is there in it? they are no people, they are nobody in law; and
if they are no people, to kill them is to kill nobody; for to fire at
_fera natura_, creatures by nature wild–those animals are lawful game,
and any man that has so much a year may kill them; so, Mr. Barber,
any man may fire upon these fellows; these stage-players, who are no
persons, have no right in themselves; and therefore any man may kill
them.

[_A noise without_:–“Deliver the lady; give her to her guardian; give
her to her uncle.”]

_Barb._ They are just a-coming in; I know the neighbourhood and the
constable; you shall direct us all.

_Pin._ Nay, I’ll warrant you all shall be safely and legally done.

[_Enter a crowd of people._]

_Rabble._ Where is the gentleman? where is the gentleman?

_Barb._ Here he is, gentlemen; and the players have taken his niece
from him; and, for aught we know, they have ravished her; but, let it
be so or no, we’ll indict them for it. Harkee, Mr. Pincers, will an
indictment for a rape lie in Drury Lane?

_Pin._ Lookee, gentlemen, we will fall upon them for taking her and her
clothes; and then afterwards come upon them for the body, as we shall
see cause; but we must find this body before we can do anything.

_Barb._ We will bear all down before us but we will find her. Down with
all their sham heavens, their counterfeit seas; down with their false
unsafe lands; down with their windmills and their dragons; burn their
barns; and when we have got the lady, fire the house.–Come, follow the
gentleman.

_All._ Ay, ay.

_Pin._ Huzza, huzza!

_All._ Huzza, huzza! [_Dog barks._

_1st Rabble._ Don’t mind their great dog; he barks a sham. He is no
true dog. Unkennel the dog within. Harkee, neighbour, keep up your
dogs–keep your dogs. Halloo, halloo!

_2nd Rabble._ Keep your dogs, gentlemen butchers; keep the dogs to
charge their house. I’ll warrant we’ll spoil their battling, and
rioting and fighting, and decoying all our daughters and nieces to see
sights, and never mind their business. Ho! the lady, the lady–we’ll
have the lady.

_Barb._ We’ll make this young lady as famous as Helen of Troy was.
We’ll burn all before us for her sake. Come, let us hunt, let’s see
what’s about this house in all its parts–halloo, hunt.

_Pin._ Let the constable march first; there’s our safety, that’s our
security.–Take notice, I declare before all this company, it is in
defence of this honest—-

Continue Reading

THE CONSCIOUS LOVERS

“Illud genus narrationis, quod in personis positum est, debet habere
sermones festivitatem, animorum dissimilitudinem, gravitatem,
lenitatem, spem, metum, suspicionem, desiderium, dissimulationem,
misericordiam, rerum varietates, fortunæ commutationem, insperatum
incommodum, subitam letitiam, jucundum exitum rerum.”[103]–CICERO,
Rhetor. ad Herenn. Lib. i.

_The Conscious Lovers_, a Comedy which had been long in preparation,
was acted at Drury Lane Theatre on November 7, 1722, “with new scenes
and all the characters new drest,” and with Booth (who had acted the
part of Pamphilus–the prototype of young Bevil–at Westminster with
great success), Wilks (Myrtle), Cibber (Tom), Mills (Sir John Bevil),
Mrs. Oldfield (Indiana), and Mrs. Younger (Phillis) in the principal
parts. The play ran for eighteen nights, and was a great success. It
was often revived between 1722 and 1760, and was acted at Covent Garden
in 1810, and at Bath in 1818. Phillis was Peg Woffington’s second
speaking character in Dublin, and she took that part on March 9, 1741,
during her first season in London. The play was published by Tonson on
December 1, 1722, with the date 1723 on the title-page. The general
idea of the piece is taken from Terence’s _Andria_, but the original
is widely departed from after the opening scenes. Colley Cibber lent
material aid in preparing the play for representation. It was attacked
by John Dennis in two pamphlets, and defended by Benjamin Victor and
others.

_To_

THE KING.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,

After having aspired to the highest and most laudable ambition, that
of following the cause of liberty, I should not have humbly petitioned
your Majesty for a direction of the theatre, had I not believed success
in that province an happiness much to be wished by an honest man, and
highly conducing to the prosperity of the commonwealth. It is in this
view I lay before your Majesty a Comedy which the audience, in justice
to themselves, has supported and encouraged, and is the prelude of
what, by your Majesty’s influence and favour, may be attempted in
future representations.

The imperial mantle, the royal vestment, and the shining diadem are
what strike ordinary minds; but your Majesty’s native goodness,
your passion for justice, and her constant assessor mercy, is what
continually surrounds you in the view of intelligent spirits, and
gives hope to the suppliant, who sees he has more than succeeded in
giving your Majesty an opportunity of doing good. Our King is above the
greatness of royalty, and every act of his will which makes another
man happy has ten times more charms in it than one that makes himself
appear raised above the condition of others. But even this carries
unhappiness with it; for calm dominion, equal grandeur, and familiar
greatness do not easily affect the imagination of the vulgar, who
cannot see power but in terror; and as fear moves mean spirits, and
love prompts great ones to obey, the insinuations of malcontents are
directed accordingly; and the unhappy people are ensnared, from want
of reflection, into disrespectful ideas of their gracious and amiable
sovereign, and then only begin to apprehend the greatness of their
master when they have incurred his displeasure.

As your Majesty was invited to the throne of a willing people,
for their own sakes, and has ever enjoyed it with contempt of the
ostentation of it, we beseech you to protect us who revere your title
as we love your person. ‘Tis to be a savage to be a rebel, and they who
have fallen from you have not so much forfeited their allegiance as
lost their humanity. And, therefore, if it were only to preserve myself
from the imputation of being amongst the insensible and abandoned, I
would beg permission in the most public manner possible to profess
myself, with the utmost sincerity and zeal,

Sire,

Your Majesty’s

Most devoted subject

And servant,

RICHARD STEELE.

THE PREFACE.[104]

This Comedy has been received with universal acceptance, for it was in
every part excellently performed; and there needs no other applause
of the actors but that they excelled according to the dignity and
difficulty of the character they represented. But this great favour
done to the work in acting renders the expectation still the greater
from the author, to keep up the spirit in the representation of the
closet, or any other circumstance of the reader, whether alone or in
company; to which I can only say that it must be remembered, a play is
to be seen, and is made to be represented with the advantage of action,
nor can appear but with half the spirit without it. For the greatest
effect of a play in reading is to excite the reader to go to see it;
and when he does so, it is then a play has the effect of example and
precept.

The chief design of this was to be an innocent performance, and the
audience have abundantly shown how ready they are to support what is
visibly intended that way. Nor do I make any difficulty to acknowledge
that the whole was writ for the sake of the scene of the Fourth Act,
wherein Mr. Bevil evades the quarrel with his friend, and[105] hope
it may have some effect upon the Goths and Vandals that frequent the
theatres, or a more polite audience may supply their absence.

But this incident, and the case of the father and daughter, are
esteemed by some people no subjects of comedy; but I cannot be of their
mind, for anything that has its foundation in happiness and success
must be allowed to be the object of comedy; and sure it must be an
improvement of it to introduce a joy too exquisite for laughter, that
can have no spring but in delight, which is the case of this young
lady. I must, therefore, contend that the tears which were shed on that
occasion flowed from reason and good sense, and that men ought not to
be laughed at for weeping till we are come to a more clear notion of
what is to be imputed to the hardness of the head and the softness
of the heart; and I think it was very politely said of Mr. Wilks, to
one who told him there was a General[106] weeping for Indiana, “I’ll
warrant he’ll fight ne’er the worse for that.” To be apt to give way to
the impressions of humanity, is the excellence of a right disposition
and the natural working of a well-turned spirit. But as I have suffered
by critics who have got no farther than to inquire whether they ought
to be pleased or not,[107] I would willingly find them properer matter
for their employment, and revive here a song which was omitted for
want of a performer, and designed for the entertainment of Indiana.
Signor Carbonelli,[108] instead of it, played[109] on the fiddle, and
it is for want of a singer that such advantageous things are said of an
instrument which were designed for a voice. The song is the distress
of a love-sick maid, and may be a fit entertainment for some small
critics[110] to examine whether the passion is just or the distress
male or female.

I.
From place to place forlorn I go,
With downcast eyes a silent shade,
Forbidden to declare my woe;
To speak till spoken to, afraid.

II.
My inward pangs, my secret grief,
My soft consenting looks betray.
He loves, but gives me no relief;
Why speaks not he who may?

It remains to say a word concerning Terence, and I am extremely
surprised to find what Mr. Cibber told me prove a truth:[111] that what
I valued myself so much upon–the translation of him[112]–should be
imputed to me as a reproach. Mr. Cibber’s zeal for the work, his care
and application in instructing the actors and altering the disposition
of the scenes, when I was, through sickness, unable to cultivate such
things myself, has been a very obliging favour and friendship to
me. For this reason I was very hardly persuaded[113] to throw away
Terence’s celebrated funeral, and take only the bare authority of the
young man’s character; and how I have worked it into an Englishman, and
made use of the same circumstances of discovering a daughter when we
least hoped for one, is humbly submitted to the learned reader.

PROLOGUE.

_By_ MR. WELSTED.[114]

_Spoken by_ MR. WILKS.

To win your hearts and to secure your praise,
The comic writers strive by various ways;
By subtle stratagems they act their game,
And leave untried no avenue to fame.
One writes the spouse a beating from his wife,
And says each stroke was copied from the life.
Some fix all wit and humour in grimace,
And make a livelihood of Pinkey’s[115] face.
Here, one gay show and costly habits tries,
Confiding to the judgment of your eyes;
Another smuts his scene (a cunning shaver),
Sure of the rakes’ and of the wenches’ favour.
Oft have these arts prevailed, and one may guess,
If practised o’er again, would find success.
But the bold sage–the poet of to-night–
By new and desperate rules resolved to write;
Fain would he give more just applauses rise,
And please by wit that scorns the aids of vice;
The praise he seeks from worthier motives springs,
Such praise as praise to those that give it brings.

Your aid most humbly sought, then, Britons lend,
And liberal mirth like liberal men defend.
No more let ribaldry, with licence writ,
Usurp the name of eloquence or wit;
No more let lawless farce uncensured go,
The lewd dull gleanings of a Smithfield show.[116]
‘Tis yours with breeding to refine the age,
To chasten wit, and moralise the stage.

Ye modest, wise and good, ye fair, ye brave,
To-night the champion of your virtues save;
Redeem from long contempt the comic name,
And judge politely for your country’s fame.

_DRAMATIS PERSONÆ._

Sir JOHN BEVIL.

Mr. SEALAND.

BEVIL, JUN., in love with INDIANA.

MYRTLE, in love with LUCINDA.

CIMBERTON, a Coxcomb.

HUMPHRY, an old Servant to Sir JOHN.

TOM, Servant to BEVIL, JUN.

DANIEL, a Country Boy, Servant to INDIANA.

MRS. SEALAND, second Wife to SEALAND.

ISABELLA, Sister to SEALAND.

INDIANA, SEALAND’S Daughter, by his first Wife.

LUCINDA, SEALAND’S Daughter, by his second Wife.

PHILLIS, Maid to LUCINDA.

SCENE.–LONDON.

_THE CONSCIOUS LOVERS._

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.–SIR JOHN BEVIL’S _House._

_Enter_ SIR JOHN BEVIL _and_ HUMPHRY.

_Sir J. Bev._ Have you ordered that I should not be interrupted while I
am dressing?

_Humph._ Yes, sir; I believed you had something of moment to say to me.

_Sir J. Bev._ Let me see, Humphry; I think it is now full forty years
since I first took thee to be about myself.

_Humph._ I thank you, sir, it has been an easy forty years; and I have
passed ’em without much sickness, care, or labour.

_Sir J Bev._ Thou hast a brave constitution; you are a year or two
older than I am, sirrah.

_Humph._ You have ever been of that mind, sir.

_Sir J. Bev._ You knave, you know it; I took thee for thy gravity and
sobriety, in my wild years.

_Humph._ Ah, sir! our manners were formed from our different fortunes,
not our different age. Wealth gave a loose to your youth, and poverty
put a restraint upon mine.

_Sir J. Bev._ Well, Humphry, you know I have been a kind master to you;
I have used you, for the ingenuous nature I observed in you from the
beginning, more like an humble friend than a servant.

_Humph._ I humbly beg you’ll be so tender of me as to explain your
commands, sir, without any farther preparation.

_Sir J. Bev._ I’ll tell thee, then: In the first place, this wedding of
my son’s in all probability–shut the door–will never be at all.

_Humph._ How, sir! not be at all? for what reason is it carried on in
appearance?

_Sir J. Bev._ Honest Humphry, have patience; and I’ll tell thee all in
order. I have, myself, in some part of my life, lived (indeed) with
freedom, but, I hope, without reproach. Now, I thought liberty would be
as little injurious to my son; therefore, as soon as he grew towards
man, I indulged him in living after his own manner. I knew not how,
otherwise, to judge of his inclination; for what can be concluded from
a behaviour under restraint and fear?[117] But what charms me above all
expression is, that my son has never, in the least action, the most
distant hint or word, valued himself upon that great estate of his
mother’s, which, according to our marriage settlement, he has had ever
since he came to age.

_Humph._ No, sir; on the contrary, he seems afraid of appearing to
enjoy it, before you or any belonging to you. He is as dependent and
resigned to your will as if he had not a farthing but what must come
from your immediate bounty. You have ever acted like a good and
generous father, and he like an obedient and grateful son.

_Sir J. Bev._ Nay, his carriage is so easy to all with whom he
converses, that he is never assuming, never prefers himself to others,
nor ever is guilty of that rough sincerity which a man is not called
to, and certainly disobliges most of his acquaintance; to be short,
Humphry, his reputation was so fair in the world, that old Sealand, the
great India merchant, has offered his only daughter, and sole heiress
to that vast estate of his, as a wife for him. You may be sure I made
no difficulties, the match was agreed on, and this very day named for
the wedding.

_Humph._ What hinders the proceeding?

_Sir J. Bev._ Don’t interrupt me. You know I was last Thursday at the
masquerade; my son, you may remember, soon found us out. He knew his
grandfather’s habit, which I then wore; and though it was the mode, in
the last age, yet the masquers, you know, followed us as if we had been
the most monstrous figures in that whole assembly.

_Humph._ I remember, indeed, a young man of quality in the habit of a
clown, that was particularly troublesome.

_Sir J. Bev._ Right; he was too much what he seemed to be. You remember
how impertinently he followed and teased us, and would know who we were.

_Humph._ I know he has a mind to come into that particular. [_Aside._

_Sir J. Bev._ Ay, he followed us till the gentleman who led the lady
in the Indian mantle presented that gay creature to the rustic, and
bid him (like Cymon in the fable) grow polite by falling in love, and
let that worthy old gentleman alone, meaning me. The clown was not
reformed, but rudely persisted, and offered to force off my mask; with
that, the gentleman, throwing off his own, appeared to be my son, and
in his concern for me, tore off that of the nobleman; at this they
seized each other; the company called the guards, and in the surprise
the lady swooned away; upon which my son quitted his adversary, and
had now no care but of the lady. When raising her in his arms, “Art
thou gone,” cried he, “for ever?–forbid it, Heaven!” She revived at
his known voice, and with the most familiar, though modest, gesture,
hangs in safety over his shoulder weeping, but wept as in the arms of
one before whom she could give herself a loose, were she not under
observation; while she hides her face in his neck, he carefully conveys
her from the company.

_Humph._ I have observed this accident has dwelt upon you very strongly.

_Sir J. Bev._ Her uncommon air, her noble modesty, the dignity of her
person, and the occasion itself, drew the whole assembly together; and
I soon heard it buzzed about she was the adopted daughter of a famous
sea-officer who had served in France. Now this unexpected and public
discovery of my son’s so deep concern for her—-

_Humph._ Was what, I suppose, alarmed Mr. Sealand, in behalf of his
daughter, to break off the match?

_Sir J. Bev._ You are right. He came to me yesterday and said he
thought himself disengaged from the bargain; being credibly informed
my son was already married, or worse, to the lady at the masquerade. I
palliated matters, and insisted on our agreement; but we parted with
little less than a direct breach between us.[118]

_Humph._ Well, sir; and what notice have you taken of all this to my
young master?

_Sir J. Bev._ That’s what I wanted to debate with you. I have said
nothing to him yet–but look you, Humphry, if there is so much in this
amour of his, that he denies upon my summons to marry, I have cause
enough to be offended; and then by my insisting upon his marrying
to-day, I shall know how far he is engaged to this lady in masquerade,
and from thence only shall be able to take my measures. In the meantime
I would have you find out how far that rogue, his man, is let into his
secret. He, I know, will play tricks as much to cross me, as to serve
his master.

_Humph._ Why do you think so of him, sir? I believe he is no worse than
I was for you, at your son’s age.

_Sir J. Bev._ I see it in the rascal’s looks. But I have dwelt on these
things too long; I’ll go to my son immediately, and while I’m gone,
your part is to convince his rogue, Tom, that I am in earnest.–I’ll
leave him to you. [_Exit_ SIR JOHN BEVIL.

_Humph._ Well, though this father and son live as well together as
possible, yet their fear of giving each other pain is attended with
constant mutual uneasiness. I’m sure I have enough to do to be honest,
and yet keep well with them both. But they know I love ’em, and that
makes the task less painful however. Oh, here’s the prince of poor
coxcombs, the representative of all the better fed than taught. Ho! ho!
Tom, whither so gay and so airy this morning?

_Enter_ TOM, _singing._

_Tom._ Sir, we servants of single gentlemen are another kind of people
than you domestic ordinary drudges that do business; we are raised
above you. The pleasures of board-wages, tavern dinners, and many a
clear gain; vails, alas! you never heard or dreamt of.

_Humph._ Thou hast follies and vices enough for a man of ten thousand a
year, though ’tis but as t’other day that I sent for you to town to put
you into Mr. Sealand’s family, that you might learn a little before I
put you to my young master, who is too gentle for training such a rude
thing as you were into proper obedience. You then pulled off your hat
to everyone you met in the street, like a bashful great awkward cub as
you were. But your great oaken cudgel, when you were a booby, became
you much better than that dangling stick at your button, now you are a
fop. That’s fit for nothing, except it hangs there to be ready for your
master’s hand when you are impertinent.

_Tom._ Uncle Humphry, you know my master scorns to strike his servants.
You talk as if the world was now just as it was when my old master and
you were in your youth; when you went to dinner because it was so much
o’clock, when the great blow was given in the hall at the pantry door,
and all the family came out of their holes in such strange dresses and
formal faces as you see in the pictures in our long gallery in the
country.

_Humph._ Why, you wild rogue!

_Tom._ You could not fall to your dinner till a formal fellow in a
black gown said something over the meat, as if the cook had not made it
ready enough.

_Humph._ Sirrah, who do you prate after? Despising men of sacred
characters! I hope you never heard my good young master talk so like a
profligate.

_Tom._ Sir, I say you put upon me, when I first came to town, about
being orderly, and the doctrine of wearing shams to make linen last
clean a fortnight, keeping my clothes fresh, and wearing a frock within
doors.

_Humph._ Sirrah, I gave you those lessons because I supposed at that
time your master and you might have dined at home every day, and cost
you nothing; then you might have made a good family servant. But the
gang you have frequented since at chocolate houses and taverns, in a
continual round of noise and extravagance–

_Tom._ I don’t know what you heavy inmates call noise and extravagance;
but we gentlemen, who are well fed, and cut a figure, sir, think it a
fine life, and that we must be very pretty fellows who are kept only to
be looked at.

_Humph._ Very well, sir, I hope the fashion of being lewd and
extravagant, despising of decency and order, is almost at an end, since
it has arrived at persons of your quality.

_Tom._ Master Humphry, ha! ha! you were an unhappy lad to be sent up to
town in such queer days as you were. Why, now, sir, the lackeys are the
men of pleasure of the age, the top gamesters; and many a laced coat
about town have had their education in our party-coloured regiment. We
are false lovers; have a taste of music, poetry, billet-doux, dress,
politics; ruin damsels; and when we are tired of this lewd town, and
have a mind to take up, whip into our masters’ wigs and linen, and
marry fortunes.

_Humph._ Hey-day!

_Tom._ Nay, sir, our order is carried up to the highest dignities and
distinctions; step but into the Painted Chamber,[119] and by our titles
you’d take us all for men of quality. Then, again, come down to the
Court of Requests, and you see us all laying our broken heads together
for the good of the nation; and though we never carry a question nemine
contradicente, yet this I can say, with a safe conscience (and I wish
every gentleman of our cloth could lay his hand upon his heart and say
the same), that I never took so much as a single mug of beer for my
vote in all my life.

_Humph._ Sirrah, there is no enduring your extravagance; I’ll hear you
prate no longer. I wanted to see you to enquire how things go with your
master, as far as you understand them; I suppose he knows he is to be
married to-day.

_Tom._ Ay, sir, he knows it, and is dressed as gay as the sun; but,
between you and I, my dear, he has a very heavy heart under all that
gaiety. As soon as he was dressed I retired, but overheard him sigh in
the most heavy manner. He walked thoughtfully to and fro in the room,
then went into his closet; when he came out he gave me this for his
mistress, whose maid, you know—-

_Humph._ Is passionately fond of your fine person.

_Tom._ The poor fool is so tender, and loves to hear me talk of the
world, and the plays, operas, and ridottos[120] for the winter, the
parks and Belsize[121] for our summer diversions; and “Lard!” says she,
“you are so wild, but you have a world of humour.”

_Humph._ Coxcomb! Well, but why don’t you run with your master’s letter
to Mrs. Lucinda, as he ordered you?

_Tom._ Because Mrs. Lucinda is not so easily come at as you think for.

_Humph._ Not easily come at? Why, sirrah, are not her father and my
old master agreed that she and Mr. Bevil are to be one flesh before
to-morrow morning?

_Tom._ It’s no matter for that; her mother, it seems, Mrs. Sealand, has
not agreed to it; and you must know, Mr. Humphry, that in that family
the grey mare is the better horse.

_Humph._ What dost thou mean?

_Tom._ In one word, Mrs. Sealand pretends to have a will of her own,
and has provided a relation of hers, a stiff, starched philosopher, and
a wise fool, for her daughter; for which reason, for these ten days
past, she has suffered no message nor letter from my master to come
near her.

_Humph._ And where had you this intelligence?

_Tom._ From a foolish fond soul that can keep nothing from me; one that
will deliver this letter too, if she is rightly managed.

_Humph._ What! her pretty handmaid, Mrs. Phillis?

_Tom._ Even she, sir; this is the very hour, you know, she usually
comes hither, under a pretence of a visit to your housekeeper,
forsooth, but in reality to have a glance at—-

_Humph._ Your sweet face, I warrant you.

_Tom._ Nothing else in nature; you must know, I love to fret and play
with the little wanton.

_Humph._ Play with the little wanton! What will this world come to!

_Tom._ I met her this morning in a new manteau and petticoat, not a bit
the worse for her lady’s wearing; and she has always new thoughts and
new airs with new clothes–then she never fails to steal some glance or
gesture from every visitant at their house; and is, indeed, the whole
town of coquets at second-hand. But here she comes; in one motion she
speaks and describes herself better than all the words in the world can.

_Humph._ Then I hope, dear sir, when your own affair is over, you will
be so good as to mind your master’s with her.

_Tom._ Dear Humphry, you know my master is my friend, and those are
people I never forget.

_Humph._ Sauciness itself! but I’ll leave you to do your best for him.
[_Exit._

_Enter_ PHILLIS.[122]

_Phil._ Oh, Mr. Thomas, is Mrs. Sugar-key at home? Lard, one is almost
ashamed to pass along the streets! The town is quite empty, and nobody
of fashion left in it; and the ordinary people do so stare to see
anything, dressed like a woman of condition, as it were on the same
floor with them, pass by. Alas! alas! it is a sad thing to walk. O
fortune! fortune!

_Tom._ What! a sad thing to walk? Why, Madam Phillis, do you wish
yourself lame?

_Phil._ No, Mr. Tom, but I wish I were generally carried in a coach
or chair, and of a fortune neither to stand nor go, but to totter, or
slide, to be short-sighted, or stare, to fleer in the face, to look
distant, to observe, to overlook, yet all become me; and, if I was
rich, I could twire[123] and loll as well as the best of them. Oh, Tom!
Tom! is it not a pity that you should be so great a coxcomb, and I so
great a coquet, and yet be such poor devils as we are?

_Tom._ Mrs. Phillis, I am your humble servant for that—-

_Phil._ Yes, Mr. Thomas, I know how much you are my humble servant, and
know what you said to Mrs. Judy, upon seeing her in one of her lady’s
cast manteaus: That any one would have thought her the lady, and that
she had ordered the other to wear it till it sat easy; for now only it
was becoming. To my lady it was only a covering, to Mrs. Judy it was
a habit. This you said, after somebody or other. Oh, Tom! Tom! thou
art as false and as base as the best gentleman of them all; but, you
wretch, talk to me no more on the old odious subject–don’t, I say.

_Tom._ I know not how to resist your commands, madam. [_In a submissive
tone, retiring._

_Phil._ Commands about parting are grown mighty easy to you of late.

_Tom._ Oh, I have her; I have nettled and put her into the right temper
to be wrought upon and set a-prating. [_Aside._]–Why, truly, to be
plain with you, Mrs. Phillis, I can take little comfort of late in
frequenting your house.

_Phil._ Pray, Mr. Thomas, what is it all of a sudden offends your
nicety at our house?

_Tom._ I don’t care to speak particulars, but I dislike the whole.

_Phil._ I thank you, sir, I am a part of that whole.

_Tom._ Mistake me not, good Phillis.

_Phil._ Good Phillis! Saucy enough. But however—-

_Tom._ I say, it is that thou art a part, which gives me pain for the
disposition of the whole. You must know, madam, to be serious, I am a
man, at the bottom, of prodigious nice honour. You are too much exposed
to company at your house. To be plain, I don’t like so many, that would
be your mistress’s lovers, whispering to you.

_Phil._ Don’t think to put that upon me. You say this, because I wrung
you to the heart when I touched your guilty conscience about Judy.

_Tom._ Ah, Phillis! Phillis! if you but knew my heart!

_Phil._ I know too much on’t.

_Tom._ Nay, then, poor Crispo’s[124] fate and mine are one. Therefore
give me leave to say, or sing at least, as he does upon the same
occasion–

“Se vedette,” &c. [_Sings._]

_Phil._ What, do you think I’m to be fobbed off with a song? I don’t
question but you have sung the same to Mrs. Judy too.

_Tom._ Don’t disparage your charms, good Phillis, with jealousy of so
worthless an object; besides, she is a poor hussy, and if you doubt the
sincerity of my love, you will allow me true to my interest. You are a
fortune, Phillis.

_Phil._ What would the fop be at now? In good time, indeed, you shall
be setting up for a fortune!

_Tom._ Dear Mrs. Phillis, you have such a spirit that we shall never
be dull in marriage when we come together. But I tell you, you are a
fortune, and you have an estate in my hands. [_He pulls out a purse,
she eyes it._

_Phil._ What pretence have I to what is in your hands, Mr. Tom?

_Tom._ As thus: there are hours, you know, when a lady is neither
pleased or displeased; neither sick or well; when she lolls or loiters;
when she’s without desires–from having more of everything than she
knows what to do with.

_Phil._ Well, what then?

_Tom._ When she has not life enough to keep her bright eyes quite open,
to look at her own dear image in the glass.

_Phil._ Explain thyself, and don’t be so fond of thy own prating.

_Tom._ There are also prosperous and good-natured moments: as when a
knot or a patch is happily fixed; when the complexion particularly
flourishes.

_Phil._ Well, what then? I have not patience!

_Tom._ Why, then–or on the like occasions–we servants who have skill
to know how to time business, see when such a pretty folded thing as
this [_Shows a letter._] may be presented, laid, or dropped, as best
suits the present humour. And, madam, because it is a long wearisome
journey to run through all the several stages of a lady’s temper, my
master, who is the most reasonable man in the world, presents you this
to bear your charges on the road. [_Gives her the purse._

_Phil._ Now you think me a corrupt hussy.

_Tom._ O fie, I only think you’ll take the letter.

_Phil._ Nay, I know you do, but I know my own innocence; I take it for
my mistress’s sake.

_Tom._ I know it, my pretty one, I know it.

_Phil._ Yes, I say I do it, because I would not have my mistress
deluded by one who gives no proof of his passion; but I’ll talk more
of tips as you see me on my way home. No, Tom, I assure thee, I take
this trash of thy master’s, not for the value of the thing, but as it
convinces me he has a true respect for my mistress. I remember a verse
to the purpose–

They may be false who languish and complain,
But they who part with money never feign.
[_Exeunt._

SCENE II. BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._

BEVIL, JUN., _reading._

_Bev. Jun._ These moral writers practise virtue after death. This
charming vision of Mirza![125] Such an author consulted in a morning
sets the spirit for the vicissitudes of the day better than the glass
does a man’s person. But what a day have I to go through! to put on
an easy look with an aching heart! If this lady my father urges me to
marry should not refuse me, my dilemma is insupportable. But why should
I fear it? Is not she in equal distress with me? Has not the letter I
have sent her this morning confessed my inclination to another? Nay,
have I not moral assurances of her engagements, too, to my friend
Myrtle? It’s impossible but she must give in to it; for, sure, to be
denied is a favour any man may pretend to. It must be so–Well, then,
with the assurance of being rejected, I think I may confidently say to
my father, I am ready to marry her. Then let me resolve upon, what I am
not very good at, though it is an honest dissimulation.

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Sir John Bevil, sir, is in the next room.

_Bev. Jun._ Dunce! Why did not you bring him in?

_Tom._ I told him, sir, you were in your closet.

_Bev. Jun._ I thought you had known, sir, it was my duty to see my
father anywhere. [_Going himself to the door._

_Tom._ The devil’s in my master! he has always more wit than I have.
[_Aside._

BEVIL, JUN., _introducing_ SIR JOHN.

_Bev. Jun._ Sir, you are the most gallant, the most complaisant of all
parents. Sure, ’tis not a compliment to say these lodgings are yours.
Why would you not walk in, sir?

_Sir J. Bev._ I was loth to interrupt you unseasonably on your
wedding-day.

_Bev. Jun._ One to whom I am beholden for my birth-day might have used
less ceremony.

_Sir J. Bev._ Well, son, I have intelligence you have writ to your
mistress this morning. It would please my curiosity to know the
contents of a wedding-day letter; for courtship must then be over.

_Bev. Jun._ I assure you, sir, there was no insolence in it upon the
prospect of such a vast fortune’s being added to our family; but much
acknowledgment of the lady’s greater desert.

_Sir J. Bev._ But, dear Jack, are you in earnest in all this? And will
you really marry her?

_Bev. Jun._ Did I ever disobey any command of yours, sir? nay, any
inclination that I saw you bent upon?

_Sir J. Bev._ Why, I can’t say you have, son; but methinks in this
whole business, you have not been so warm as I could have wished you.
You have visited her, it’s true, but you have not been particular.
Everyone knows you can say and do as handsome things as any man; but
you have done nothing but lived in the general–been complaisant only.

_Bev. Jun._ As I am ever prepared to marry if you bid me, so I am ready
to let it alone if you will have me.

[HUMPHRY _enters, unobserved._

_Sir J. Bev._ Look you there now! why, what am I to think of this so
absolute and so indifferent a resignation?

_Bev. Jun._ Think? that I am still your son, sir. Sir, you have been
married, and I have not. And you have, sir, found the inconvenience
there is when a man weds with too much love in his head. I have been
told, sir, that at the time you married, you made a mighty bustle
on the occasion. There was challenging and fighting, scaling walls,
locking up the lady, and the gallant under an arrest for fear of
killing all his rivals. Now, sir, I suppose you having found the ill
consequences of these strong passions and prejudices, in preference of
one woman to another, in case of a man’s becoming a widower—-

_Sir J. Bev._ How is this?

_Bev. Jun._ I say, sir, experience has made you wiser in your care of
me; for, sir, since you lost my dear mother, your time has been so
heavy, so lonely, and so tasteless, that you are so good as to guard
me against the like unhappiness, by marrying me prudentially by way of
bargain and sale. For, as you well judge, a woman that is espoused for
a fortune, is yet a better bargain if she dies; for then a man still
enjoys what he did marry, the money, and is disencumbered of what he
did not marry, the woman.

_Sir J. Bev._ But pray, sir, do you think Lucinda, then, a woman of
such little merit?

_Bev. Jun._ Pardon me, sir, I don’t carry it so far neither; I am
rather afraid I shall like her too well; she has, for one of her
fortune, a great many needless and superfluous good qualities.

_Sir J. Bev._ I am afraid, son, there’s something I don’t see yet,
something that’s smothered under all this raillery.

_Bev. Jun._ Not in the least, sir. If the lady is dressed and ready,
you see I am. I suppose the lawyers are ready too.

_Humph._ This may grow warm if I don’t interpose. [_Aside._]–Sir, Mr.
Sealand is at the coffee-house, and has sent to speak with you.

_Sir J. Bev._ Oh! that’s well! Then I warrant the lawyers are ready.
Son, you’ll be in the way, you say.

_Bev. Jun._ If you please, sir, I’ll take a chair, and go to Mr.
Sealand’s, where the young lady and I will wait your leisure.

_Sir J. Bev._ By no means. The old fellow will be so vain if he sees—-

_Bev. Jun._ Ay; but the young lady, sir, will think me so indifferent.

_Humph._ Ay, there you are right; press your readiness to go to the
bride–he won’t let you. [_Aside to_ BEV. JUN.

_Bev. Jun._ Are you sure of that? [_Aside to_ HUMPH.

_Humph._ How he likes being prevented. [_Aside._

_Sir J. Bev._ No, no. You are an hour or two too early. [_Looking on
his watch._

_Bev. Jun._ You’ll allow me, sir, to think it too late to visit a
beautiful, virtuous young woman, in the pride and bloom of life, ready
to give herself to my arms; and to place her happiness or misery, for
the future, in being agreeable or displeasing to me, is a—-Call a
chair.

_Sir J. Bev._ No, no, no, dear Jack; this Sealand is a moody old
fellow. There’s no dealing with some people but by managing with
indifference. We must leave to him the conduct of this day. It is the
last of his commanding his daughter.

_Bev. Jun._ Sir, he can’t take it ill, that I am impatient to be hers.

_Sir J. Bev._ Pray let me govern in this matter; you can’t tell how
humorsome old fellows are. There’s no offering reason to some of
’em, especially when they are rich.–If my son should see him before
I’ve brought old Sealand into better temper, the match would be
impracticable. [_Aside._

_Humph._ Pray, sir, let me beg you to let Mr. Bevil go.–See whether he
will or not. [_Aside to_ SIR JOHN]–[_Then to_ BEV.] Pray, sir, command
yourself; since you see my master is positive, it is better you should
not go.

_Bev. Jun._ My father commands me, as to the object of my affections;
but I hope he will not, as to the warmth and height of them.

_Sir J. Bev._ So! I must even leave things as I found them; and in
the meantime, at least, keep old Sealand out of his sight–Well,
son, I’ll go myself and take orders in your affair. You’ll be in the
way, I suppose, if I send to you. I’ll leave your old friend with
you–Humphry, don’t let him stir, d’ye hear?–Your servant, your
servant. [_Exit_ SIR JOHN.

_Humph._ I have a sad time on’t, sir, between you and my master. I
see you are unwilling, and I know his violent inclinations for the
match.–I must betray neither, and yet deceive you both, for your
common good. Heaven grant a good end of this matter.–But there is a
lady, sir, that gives your father much trouble and sorrow.–You’ll
pardon me.

_Bev. Jun._ Humphry, I know thou art a friend to both, and in that
confidence I dare tell thee, that lady is a woman of honour and virtue.
You may assure yourself I never will marry without my father’s consent.
But give me leave to say, too, this declaration does not come up to a
promise that I will take whomsoever he pleases.

_Humph._ Come, sir, I wholly understand you. You would engage my
services to free you from this woman whom my master intends you, to
make way, in time, for the woman you have really a mind to.

_Bev. Jun._ Honest Humphry, you have always been a useful friend to my
father and myself; I beg you continue your good offices, and don’t let
us come to the necessity of a dispute; for, if we should dispute, I
must either part with more than life, or lose the best of fathers.

_Humph._ My dear master, were I but worthy to know this secret, that
so near concerns you, my life, my all should be engaged to serve you.
This, sir, I dare promise, that I am sure I will and can be secret:
your trust, at worst, but leaves you where you were; and if I cannot
serve you, I will at once be plain and tell you so.

_Bev. Jun._ That’s all I ask. Thou hast made it now my interest to
trust thee. Be patient, then, and hear the story of my heart.

_Humph._ I am all attention, sir.

_Bev. Jun._ You may remember, Humphry, that in my last travels my
father grew uneasy at my making so long a stay at Toulon.

_Humph._ I remember it; he was apprehensive some woman had laid hold of
you.

_Bev. Jun._ His fears were just; for there I first saw this lady.
She is of English birth: her father’s name was Danvers–a younger
brother of an ancient family, and originally an eminent merchant of
Bristol, who, upon repeated misfortunes, was reduced to go privately
to the Indies. In this retreat, Providence again grew favourable to
his industry, and, in six years’ time, restored him to his former
fortunes. On this he sent directions over that his wife and little
family should follow him to the Indies. His wife, impatient to obey
such welcome orders, would not wait the leisure of a convoy, but took
the first occasion of a single ship, and, with her husband’s sister
only, and this daughter, then scarce seven years old, undertook the
fatal voyage–for here, poor creature, she lost her liberty and life.
She and her family, with all they had, were, unfortunately, taken by
a privateer from Toulon. Being thus made a prisoner, though as such
not ill-treated, yet the fright, the shock, and cruel disappointment,
seized with such violence upon her unhealthy frame, she sickened,
pined, and died at sea.

_Humph._ Poor soul! O the helpless infant!

_Bev._ Her sister yet survived, and had the care of her. The captain,
too, proved to have humanity, and became a father to her; for having
himself married an English woman, and being childless, he brought home
into Toulon this her little country-woman, presenting her, with all her
dead mother’s movables of value, to his wife, to be educated as his own
adopted daughter.

_Humph._ Fortune here seemed again to smile on her.

_Bev._ Only to make her frowns more terrible; for, in his height of
fortune, this captain, too, her benefactor, unfortunately was killed at
sea; and dying intestate, his estate fell wholly to an advocate, his
brother, who, coming soon to take possession, there found (among his
other riches) this blooming virgin at his mercy.

_Humph._ He durst not, sure, abuse his power?

_Bev._ No wonder if his pampered blood was fired at the sight of
her–in short, he loved; but when all arts and gentle means had failed
to move, he offered, too, his menaces in vain, denouncing vengeance on
her cruelty, demanding her to account for all her maintenance from her
childhood; seized on her little fortune as his own inheritance, and
was dragging her by violence to prison, when Providence at the instant
interposed, and sent me, by miracle, to relieve her.[126]

_Humph._ ‘Twas Providence, indeed. But pray, sir, after all this
trouble, how came this lady at last to England?

_Bev._ The disappointed advocate, finding she had so unexpected a
support, on cooler thoughts, descended to a composition, which I,
without her knowledge, secretly discharged.

_Humph._ That generous concealment made the obligation double.

_Bev._ Having thus obtained her liberty, I prevailed, not without some
difficulty, to see her safe to England; where, no sooner arrived,
but my father, jealous of my being imprudently engaged, immediately
proposed this other fatal match that hangs upon my quiet.

_Humph._ I find, sir, you are irrecoverably fixed upon this lady.

_Bev._ As my vital life dwells in my heart–and yet you see what I do
to please my father: walk in this pageantry of dress, this splendid
covering of sorrow–But, Humphry, you have your lesson.

_Humph._ Now, sir, I have but one material question—-

_Bev._ Ask it freely.

_Humph._ Is it, then, your own passion for this secret lady, or hers
for you, that gives you this aversion to the match your father has
proposed you?

_Bev._ I shall appear, Humphry, more romantic in my answer than in all
the rest of my story; for though I dote on her to death, and have no
little reason to believe she has the same thoughts for me, yet in all
my acquaintance and utmost privacies with her, I never once directly
told her that I loved.

_Humph._ How was it possible to avoid it?

_Bev._ My tender obligations to my father have laid so inviolable a
restraint upon my conduct that, till I have his consent to speak, I am
determined, on that subject, to be dumb for ever.

_Humph._ Well, sir, to your praise be it spoken, you are certainly the
most unfashionable lover in Great Britain.

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Sir, Mr. Myrtle’s at the next door, and, if you are at leisure,
will be glad to wait on you.

_Bev._ Whenever he pleases—-hold, Tom! did you receive no answer to
my letter?

_Tom._ Sir, I was desired to call again; for I was told her mother
would not let her be out of her sight; but about an hour hence, Mrs.
Lettice said, I should certainly have one.

_Bev._ Very well. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Humph._ Sir, I will take another opportunity. In the meantime, I only
think it proper to tell you that, from a secret I know, you may appear
to your father as forward as you please, to marry Lucinda without the
least hazard of its coming to a conclusion–Sir, your most obedient
servant.

_Bev._ Honest Humphry, continue but my friend in this exigence, and
you shall always find me yours. [_Exit_ HUMPH.]–I long to hear how my
letter has succeeded with Lucinda–but I think it cannot fail; for, at
worst, were it possible she could take it ill, her resentment of my
indifference may as probably occasion a delay as her taking it right.
Poor Myrtle, what terrors must he be in all this while? Since he knows
she is offered to me, and refused to him, there is no conversing or
taking any measures with him for his own service.–But I ought to bear
with my friend, and use him as one in adversity–

All his disquiets by my own I prove,
The greatest grief’s perplexity in love.
[_Exit._

ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE I.–BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ BEVIL, JUN. _and_ TOM.

_Tom._ Sir, Mr. Myrtle.

_Bev. Jun._ Very well, do you step again, and wait for an answer to my
letter. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Enter_ MYRTLE.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, Charles, why so much care in thy countenance? Is
there anything in this world deserves it? You, who used to be so gay,
so open, so vacant!

_Myrt._ I think we have of late changed complexions. You, who used to
be much the graver man, are now all air in your behaviour.–But the
cause of my concern may, for aught I know, be the same object that
gives you all this satisfaction. In a word, I am told that you are this
very day–and your dress confirms me in it–to be married to Lucinda.

_Bev. Jun._ You are not misinformed.–Nay, put not on the terrors of
a rival till you hear me out. I shall disoblige the best of fathers
if I don’t seem ready to marry Lucinda; and you know I have ever told
you you might make use of my secret resolution never to marry her for
your own service as you please; but I am now driven to the extremity
of immediately refusing or complying unless you help me to escape the
match.

_Myrt._ Escape? Sir, neither her merit or her fortune are below your
acceptance–Escaping do you call it?

_Bev. Jun._ Dear sir, do you wish I should desire the match?

_Myrt._ No; but such is my humorous and sickly state of mind since it
has been able to relish nothing but Lucinda, that though I must owe my
happiness to your aversion to this marriage, I can’t bear to hear her
spoken of with levity or unconcern.

_Bev. Jun._ Pardon me, sir, I shall transgress that way no more. She
has understanding, beauty, shape, complexion, wit—-

_Myrt._ Nay, dear Bevil, don’t speak of her as if you loved her neither.

_Bev. Jun._ Why, then, to give you ease at once, though I allow Lucinda
to have good sense, wit, beauty, and virtue, I know another in whom
these qualities appear to me more amiable than in her.

_Myrt._ There you spoke like a reasonable and good-natured friend. When
you acknowledge her merit, and own your prepossession for another, at
once you gratify my fondness and cure my jealousy.

_Bev. Jun._ But all this while you take no notice, you have no
apprehension, of another man that has twice the fortune of either of us.

_Myrt._ Cimberton![127] hang him, a formal, philosophical, pedantic
coxcomb; for the sot, with all these crude notions of divers things,
under the direction of great vanity and very little judgment, shows his
strongest bias is avarice; which is so predominant in him that he will
examine the limbs of his mistress with the caution of a jockey, and
pays no more compliment to her personal charms than if she were a mere
breeding animal.

_Bev. Jun._ Are you sure that is not affected? I have known some women
sooner set on fire by that sort of negligence than by—-

_Myrt._ No, no; hang him, the rogue has no art; it is pure, simple
insolence and stupidity.

_Bev. Jun._ Yet, with all this, I don’t take him for a fool.

_Myrt._ I own the man is not a natural; he has a very quick sense,
though very slow understanding. He says, indeed, many things that want
only the circumstances of time and place to be very just and agreeable.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, you may be sure of me if you can disappoint him; but
my intelligence says the mother has actually sent for the conveyancer
to draw articles for his marriage with Lucinda, though those for mine
with her are, by her father’s orders, ready for signing; but it seems
she has not thought fit to consult either him or his daughter in the
matter.

_Myrt._ Pshaw! a poor troublesome woman. Neither Lucinda nor her father
will ever be brought to comply with it. Besides, I am sure Cimberton
can make no settlement upon her without the concurrence of his great
uncle, Sir Geoffry, in the west.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, sir, and I can tell you that’s the very point that
is now laid before her counsel, to know whether a firm settlement can
be made without his uncle’s actual joining in it. Now, pray consider,
sir, when my affair with Lucinda comes, as it soon must, to an open
rupture, how are you sure that Cimberton’s fortune may not then tempt
her father, too, to hear his proposals?

_Myrt._ There you are right, indeed; that must be provided against. Do
you know who are her counsel?

_Bev. Jun. Yes,_ for your service I have found out that, too. They are
Serjeant Bramble and Old Target–by the way, they are neither of them
known in the family. Now, I was thinking why you might not put a couple
of false counsel upon her to delay and confound matters a little;
besides, it may probably let you into the bottom of her whole design
against you.

_Myrt._ As how, pray?

_Bev. Jun._ Why, can’t you slip on a black wig and a gown, and be Old
Bramble yourself?

_Myrt._ Ha! I don’t dislike it.–But what shall I do for a brother in
the case?

_Bev. Jun._ What think you of my fellow, Tom? The rogue’s intelligent,
and is a good mimic. All his part will be but to stutter heartily, for
that’s old Target’s case. Nay, it would be an immoral thing to mock him
were it not that his impertinence is the occasion of its breaking out
to that degree. The conduct of the scene will chiefly lie upon you.

_Myrt._ I like it of all things. If you’ll send Tom to my chambers, I
will give him full instructions. This will certainly give me occasion
to raise difficulties, to puzzle or confound her project for a while at
least.

_Bev. Jun._ I’ll warrant you success.–So far we are right, then. And
now, Charles, your apprehension of my marrying her is all you have to
get over.

_Myrt._ Dear Bevil, though I know you are my friend, yet when I
abstract myself from my own interest in the thing, I know no objection
she can make to you, or you to her, and therefore hope—-

_Bev. Jun._ Dear Myrtle, I am as much obliged to you for the cause of
your suspicion, as I am offended at the effect; but, be assured, I am
taking measures for your certain security, and that all things with
regard to me will end in your entire satisfaction.

_Myrt._ Well, I’ll promise you to be as easy and as confident as I can,
though I cannot but remember that I have more than life at stake on
your fidelity. [_Going._

_Bev. Jun._ Then depend upon it, you have no chance against you.

_Myrt._ Nay, no ceremony, you know I must be going. [_Exit_ MYRT.

_Bev. Jun._ Well, this is another instance of the perplexities which
arise, too, in faithful friendship. We must often in this life go on
in our good offices, even under the displeasure of those to whom we
do them, in compassion to their weaknesses and mistakes.–But all
this while poor Indiana is tortured with the doubt of me. She has no
support or comfort but in my fidelity, yet sees me daily pressed to
marriage with another. How painful, in such a crisis, must be every
hour she thinks on me! I’ll let her see at least my conduct to her
is not changed. I’ll take this opportunity to visit her; for though
the religious vow I have made to my father restrains me from ever
marrying without his approbation, yet that confines me not from seeing
a virtuous woman that is the pure delight of my eyes and the guiltless
joy of my heart. But the best condition of human life is but a gentler
misery–

To hope for perfect happiness is vain,
And love has ever its allays of pain. [_Exit._

SCENE II.–INDIANA’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ ISABELLA _and_ INDIANA.

_Isab._ Yes, I say ’tis artifice, dear child. I say to thee again and
again ’tis all skill and management.

_Ind._ Will you persuade me there can be an ill design in supporting me
in the condition of a woman of quality? attended, dressed, and lodged
like one; in my appearance abroad and my furniture at home, every way
in the most sumptuous manner, and he that does it has an artifice, a
design in it?

_Isab._ Yes, yes.

_Ind._ And all this without so much as explaining to me that all about
me comes from him!

_Isab._ Ay, ay, the more for that. That keeps the title to all you have
the more in him.

_Ind._ The more in him! He scorns the thought—-

_Isab._ Then he–he–he—-

_Ind._ Well, be not so eager. If he is an ill man, let us look into
his stratagems. Here is another of them. [_Showing a letter._] Here’s
two hundred and fifty pounds in bank notes, with these words: “To pay
for the set of dressing-plate which will be brought home to-morrow.”
Why, dear aunt, now here’s another piece of skill for you, which I own
I cannot comprehend; and it is with a bleeding heart I hear you say
anything to the disadvantage of Mr. Bevil. When he is present I look
upon him as one to whom I owe my life and the support of it; then,
again, as the man who loves me with sincerity and honour. When his eyes
are cast another way, and I dare survey him, my heart is painfully
divided between shame and love. Oh! could I tell you—-

_Isab._ Ah! you need not; I imagine all this for you.

_Ind._ This is my state of mind in his presence; and when he is absent,
you are ever dinning my ears with notions of the arts of men; that his
hidden bounty, his respectful conduct, his careful provision for me,
after his preserving me from utmost misery, are certain signs he means
nothing but to make I know not what of me.

_Isab._ Oh! You have a sweet opinion of him, truly.

_Ind._ I have, when I am with him, ten thousand things, besides my
sex’s natural decency and shame, to suppress my heart, that yearns to
thank, to praise, to say it loves him. I say, thus it is with me while
I see him; and in his absence I am entertained with nothing but your
endeavours to tear this amiable image from my heart; and in its stead,
to place a base dissembler, an artful invader of my happiness, my
innocence, my honour.

_Isab._ Ah, poor soul! has not his plot taken? don’t you die for him?
has not the way he has taken, been the most proper with you? Oh! oh! He
has sense, and has judged the thing right.

_Ind._ Go on then, since nothing can answer you; say what you will of
him. Heigh! ho!

_Isab._ Heigh! ho! indeed. It is better to say so, as you are now,
than as many others are. There are, among the destroyers of women,
the gentle, the generous, the mild, the affable, the humble, who all,
soon after their success in their designs, turn to the contrary of
those characters. I will own to you, Mr. Bevil carries his hypocrisy
the best of any man living, but still he is a man, and therefore a
hypocrite. They have usurped an exemption from shame for any baseness,
any cruelty towards us. They embrace without love; they make vows
without conscience of obligation; they are partners, nay, seducers to
the crime, wherein they pretend to be less guilty.

_Ind._ That’s truly observed. [_Aside._]–But what’s all this to Bevil?

_Isab._ This it is to Bevil and all mankind. Trust not those who will
think the worse of you for your confidence in them; serpents who lie
in wait for doves. Won’t you be on your guard against those who would
betray you? Won’t you doubt those who would contemn you for believing
’em? Take it from me, fair and natural dealing is to invite injuries;
’tis bleating to escape wolves who would devour you! Such is the
world–[_Aside._] and such (since the behaviour of one man to myself)
have I believed all the rest of the sex.

_Ind._ I will not doubt the truth of Bevil, I will not doubt it. He has
not spoke of it by an organ that is given to lying. His eyes are all
that have ever told me that he was mine. I know his virtue, I know his
filial piety, and ought to trust his management with a father to whom
he has uncommon obligations. What have I to be concerned for? my lesson
is very short. If he takes me for ever, my purpose of life is only to
please him. If he leaves me (which Heaven avert) I know he’ll do it
nobly, and I shall have nothing to do but to learn to die, after worse
than death has happened to me.

_Isab._ Ay, do, persist in your credulity! flatter yourself that a man
of his figure and fortune will make himself the jest of the town, and
marry a handsome beggar for love.

_Ind._ The town! I must tell you, madam, the fools that laugh at
Mr. Bevil will but make themselves more ridiculous; his actions are
the result of thinking, and he has sense enough to make even virtue
fashionable.

_Isab._ O’ my conscience he has turned her head.–Come, come, if he
were the honest fool you take him for, why has he kept you here these
three weeks, without sending you to Bristol in search of your father,
your family, and your relations?

_Ind._ I am convinced he still designs it, and that nothing keeps him
here, but the necessity of coming to a breach with his father in regard
to the match he has proposed him. Beside, has he not writ to Bristol?
and has not he advice that my father has not been heard of there almost
these twenty years?

_Isab._ All sham, mere evasion; he is afraid, if he should carry you
thither, your honest relations may take you out of his hands, and so
blow up all his wicked hopes at once.

_Ind._ Wicked hopes! did I ever give him any such?

_Isab._ Has he ever given you any honest ones? Can you say, in your
conscience, he has ever once offered to marry you?

_Ind._ No! but by his behaviour I am convinced he will offer it, the
moment ’tis in his power, or consistent with his honour, to make such a
promise good to me.

_Isab._ His honour!

_Ind._ I will rely upon it; therefore desire you will not make my life
uneasy, by these ungrateful jealousies of one, to whom I am, and wish
to be, obliged. For from his integrity alone, I have resolved to hope
for happiness.

_Isab._ Nay, I have done my duty; if you won’t see, at your peril be it!

_Ind._ Let it be–This is his hour of visiting me.

_Isab._ Oh! to be sure, keep up your form; don’t see him in a
bed-chamber–[_Apart._] This is pure prudence, when she is liable,
wherever he meets her, to be conveyed where’er he pleases.

_Ind._ All the rest of my life is but waiting till he comes. I live
only when I’m with him. [_Exit._

_Isab._ Well, go thy ways, thou wilful innocent!–[_Aside._] I once had
almost as much love for a man, who poorly left me to marry an estate;
and I am now, against my will, what they call an old maid–but I will
not let the peevishness of that condition grow upon me, only keep up
the suspicion of it, to prevent this creature’s being any other than a
virgin, except upon proper terms. [_Exit._

_Re-enter_ INDIANA, _speaking to a Servant._

_Ind._ Desire Mr. Bevil to walk in–Design! impossible! A base
designing mind could never think of what he hourly puts in practice.
And yet, since the late rumour of his marriage, he seems more reserved
than formerly–he sends in too, before he sees me, to know if I am
at leisure–such new respects may cover coldness in the heart; it
certainly makes me thoughtful–I’ll know the worst at once; I’ll lay
such fair occasions in his way, that it shall be impossible to avoid
an explanation, for these doubts are insupportable!–But see, he comes,
and clears them all.

_Enter_ BEVIL.

_Bev._ Madam, your most obedient–I am afraid I broke in upon your rest
last night; ’twas very late before we parted, but ’twas your own fault.
I never saw you in such agreeable humour.

_Ind._ I am extremely glad we were both pleased; for I thought I never
saw you better company.

_Bev._ Me, madam! you rally; I said very little.

_Ind._ But I am afraid you heard me say a great deal; and, when a woman
is in the talking vein, the most agreeable thing a man can do, you
know, is to have patience to hear her.

_Bev._ Then it’s pity, madam, you should ever be silent, that we might
be always agreeable to one another.

_Ind._ If I had your talent or power, to make my actions speak for me,
I might indeed be silent, and you pretend to something more than the
agreeable.

_Bev._ If I might be vain of anything in my power, madam, ’tis that
my understanding, from all your sex, has marked you out as the most
deserving object of my esteem.

_Ind._ Should I think I deserve this, ’twere enough to make my vanity
forfeit the very esteem you offer me.

_Bev._ How so, madam?

_Ind._ Because esteem is the result of reason, and to deserve it from
good sense, the height of human glory. Nay, I had rather a man of
honour should pay me that, than all the homage of a sincere and humble
love.

_Bev. Jun._ You certainly distinguish right, madam; love often kindles
from external merit only.

_Ind._ But esteem rises from a higher source, the merit of the soul.

_Bev. Jun._ True–And great souls only can deserve it. [_Bowing
respectfully._

_Ind._ Now I think they are greater still, that can so charitably part
with it.

_Bey. Jun._ Now, madam, you make me vain, since the utmost pride and
pleasure of my life is, that I esteem you as I ought.

_Ind._ [_Aside._] As he ought! still more perplexing! he neither saves
nor kills my hope.

_Bev. Jun._ But, madam, we grow grave, methinks. Let’s find some other
subject–Pray how did you like the opera last night?

_Ind._ First give me leave to thank you for my tickets.

_Bey. Jun._ Oh! your servant, madam. But pray tell me, you now, who
are never partial to the fashion, I fancy must be the properest judge
of a mighty dispute among the ladies, that is, whether _Crispo_ or
_Griselda_[128] is the more agreeable entertainment.

_Ind._ With submission now, I cannot be a proper judge of this question.

_Bev._ How so, madam?

_Ind._ Because I find I have a partiality for one of them.

_Bev. Jun._ Pray which is that?

_Ind._ I do not know; there’s something in that rural cottage of
Griselda, her forlorn condition, her poverty, her solitude, her
resignation, her innocent slumbers, and that lulling _dolce sogno_
that’s sung over her; it had an effect upon me that–in short I never
was so well deceived, at any of them.

_Bev. Jun._ Oh! Now then, I can account for the dispute. Griselda, it
seems, is the distress of an injured innocent woman, Crispo, that only
of a man in the same condition; therefore the men are mostly concerned
for Crispo, and, by a natural indulgence, both sexes for Griselda.

_Ind._ So that judgment, you think, ought to be for one, though fancy
and complaisance have got ground for the other. Well! I believe you
will never give me leave to dispute with you on any subject; for I own,
Crispo has its charms for me too. Though in the main, all the pleasure
the best opera gives us is but mere sensation. Methinks it’s pity the
mind can’t have a little more share in the entertainment. The music’s
certainly fine, but, in my thoughts, there’s none of your composers
come up to old Shakespeare and Otway.

_Bev._ How, madam! why if a woman of your sense were to say this in a
drawing-room—-

_Enter a_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Sir, here’s Signor Carbonelli[129] says he waits your commands
in the next room.

_Bev._ Apropos! you were saying yesterday, madam, you had a mind to
hear him. Will you give him leave to entertain you now?

_Ind._ By all means; desire the gentleman to walk in. [_Exit_ SERVANT.

_Bev._ I fancy you will find something in this hand that is uncommon.

_Ind._ You are always finding ways, Mr. Bevil, to make life seem less
tedious to me.

_Enter_ MUSIC MASTER.

When the gentleman pleases.

[_After a Sonata is played,_ BEVIL _waits on the Master to the door,
etc._]

_Bev._ You smile, madam, to see me so complaisant to one whom I pay
for his visit. Now, I own, I think it is not enough barely to pay
those whose talents are superior to our own (I mean such talents as
would become our condition, if we had them). Methinks we ought to
do something more than barely gratify them for what they do at our
command, only because their fortune is below us.

_Ind._ You say I smile. I assure you it was a smile of approbation;
for, indeed, I cannot but think it the distinguishing part of a
gentleman to make his superiority of fortune as easy to his inferiors
as he can.–Now once more to try him. [_Aside._]–I was saying just
now, I believed you would never let me dispute with you, and I daresay
it will always be so. However, I must have your opinion upon a subject
which created a debate between my aunt and me, just before you came
hither; she would needs have it that no man ever does any extraordinary
kindness or service for a woman, but for his own sake.

_Bev._ Well, madam! Indeed I can’t but be of her mind.

_Ind._ What, though he should maintain and support her, without
demanding anything of her, on her part?

_Bev._ Why, madam, is making an expense in the service of a valuable
woman (for such I must suppose her), though she should never do him any
favour, nay, though she should never know who did her such service,
such a mighty heroic business?

_Ind._ Certainly! I should think he must be a man of an uncommon mould.

_Bev._ Dear madam, why so? ’tis but, at best, a better taste in
expense. To bestow upon one, whom he may think one of the ornaments
of the whole creation, to be conscious, that from his superfluity, an
innocent, a virtuous spirit is supported above the temptations and
sorrows of life! That he sees satisfaction, health, and gladness in
her countenance, while he enjoys the happiness of seeing her (as that I
will suppose too, or he must be too abstracted, too insensible), I say,
if he is allowed to delight in that prospect; alas, what mighty matter
is there in all this?

_Ind._ No mighty matter in so disinterested a friendship!

_Bev._ Disinterested! I can’t think him so; your hero, madam, is no
more than what every gentleman ought to be, and I believe very many
are. He is only one who takes more delight in reflections than in
sensations. He is more pleased with thinking than eating; that’s the
utmost you can say of him. Why, madam, a greater expense than all this,
men lay out upon an unnecessary stable of horses.

_Ind._ Can you be sincere in what you say?

_Bev._ You may depend upon it, if you know any such man, he does not
love dogs inordinately.

_Ind._ No, that he does not.

_Bev._ Nor cards, nor dice.

_Ind._ No.

_Bev._ Nor bottle companions.

_Ind._ No.

_Bev._ Nor loose women.

_Ind._ No, I’m sure he does not.

_Bev._ Take my word then, if your admired hero is not liable to any
of these kind of demands, there’s no such pre-eminence in this as you
imagine. Nay, this way of expense you speak of is what exalts and
raises him that has a taste for it; and, at the same time, his delight
is incapable of satiety, disgust, or penitence.

_Ind._ But still I insist his having no private interest in the action,
makes it prodigious, almost incredible.

_Bev._ Dear madam, I never knew you more mistaken. Why, who can be more
a usurer than he who lays out his money in such valuable purchases? If
pleasure be worth purchasing, how great a pleasure is it to him, who
has a true taste of life, to ease an aching heart; to see the human
countenance lighted up into smiles of joy, on the receipt of a bit of
ore which is superfluous and otherwise useless in a man’s own pocket?
What could a man do better with his cash? This is the effect of a human
disposition, where there is only a general tie of nature and common
necessity. What then must it be when we serve an object of merit, of
admiration!

_Ind._ Well! the more you argue against it the more I shall admire the
generosity.

_Bev._ Nay, nay–Then, madam, ’tis time to fly, after a declaration
that my opinion strengthens my adversary’s argument. I had best hasten
to my appointment with Mr. Myrtle, and begone while we are friends, and
before things are brought to an extremity. [_Exit, carelessly._

_Enter_ ISABELLA.

_Isab._ Well, madam, what think you of him now, pray?

_Ind._ I protest, I begin to fear he is wholly disinterested in what he
does for me. On my heart, he has no other view but the mere pleasure of
doing it, and has neither good or bad designs upon me.

_Isab._ Ah! dear niece! don’t be in fear of both! I’ll warrant you, you
will know time enough that he is not indifferent.

_Ind._ You please me when you tell me so; for, if he has any wishes
towards me, I know he will not pursue them but with honour.

_Isab._ I wish I were as confident of one as t’other. I saw the
respectful downcast of his eye, when you caught him gazing at you
during the music. He, I warrant, was surprised, as if he had been taken
stealing your watch. Oh! the undissembled guilty look!

_Ind._ But did you observe any such thing, really? I thought he looked
most charmingly graceful! How engaging is modesty in a man, when one
knows there is a great mind within. So tender a confusion! and yet,
in other respects, so much himself, so collected, so dauntless, so
determined!

_Isab._ Ah! niece! there is a sort of bashfulness which is the best
engine to carry on a shameless purpose. Some men’s modesty serves their
wickedness, as hypocrisy gains the respect due to piety. But I will own
to you, there is one hopeful symptom, if there could be such a thing as
a disinterested lover. But it’s all a perplexity–till–till–till—-

_Ind._ Till what?

_Isab._ Till I know whether Mr. Myrtle and Mr. Bevil are really friends
or foes.–And that I will be convinced of before I sleep; for you shall
not be deceived.

_Ind._ I’m sure I never shall, if your fears can guard me. In the
meantime I’ll wrap myself up in the integrity of my own heart, nor dare
to doubt of his.

As conscious honour all his actions steers,
So conscious innocence dispels my fears. [_Exeunt._

ACT THE THIRD.[130]

SCENE.–SEALAND’S _House._

_Enter_ TOM, _meeting_ PHILLIS.

_Tom._ Well, Phillis! What, with a face as if you had never seen me
before!–What a work have I to do now? She has seen some new visitant
at their house whose airs she has caught, and is resolved to practise
them upon me. Numberless are the changes she’ll dance through before
she’ll answer this plain question: videlicet, have you delivered my
master’s letter to your lady? Nay, I know her too well to ask an
account of it in an ordinary way; I’ll be in my airs as well as she.
[_Aside._]–Well, madam, as unhappy as you are at present pleased to
make me, I would not, in the general, be any other than what I am. I
would not be a bit wiser, a bit richer, a bit taller, a bit shorter
than I am at this instant. [_Looking steadfastly at her._

_Phil._ Did ever anybody doubt, Master Thomas, but that you were
extremely satisfied with your sweet self?

_Tom._ I am, indeed. The thing I have least reason to be satisfied with
is my fortune, and I am glad of my poverty. Perhaps if I were rich I
should overlook the finest woman in the world, that wants nothing but
riches to be thought so.

_Phil._ How prettily was that said! But I’ll have a great deal more
before I’ll say one word. [_Aside._

_Tom._ I should, perhaps, have been stupidly above her had I not been
her equal; and by not being her equal, never had opportunity of being
her slave. I am my master’s servant for hire–I am my mistress’s from
choice, would she but approve my passion.

_Phil._ I think it’s the first time I ever heard you speak of it with
any sense of the anguish, if you really do suffer any.

_Tom._ Ah, Phillis! can you doubt, after what you have seen?

_Phil._ I know not what I have seen, nor what I have heard; but since I
am at leisure, you may tell me when you fell in love with me; how you
fell in love with me; and what you have suffered or are ready to suffer
for me.

_Tom._ Oh, the unmerciful jade! when I am in haste about my master’s
letter. But I must go through it. [_Aside._]–Ah![131] too well I
remember when, and how, and on what occasion I was first surprised.
It was on the 1st of April, 1715, I came into Mr. Sealand’s service; I
was then a hobbledehoy, and you a pretty little tight girl, a favourite
handmaid of the housekeeper. At that time we neither of us knew what
was in us. I remember I was ordered to get out of the window, one pair
of stairs, to rub the sashes clean; the person employed on the inner
side was your charming self, whom I had never seen before.

_Phil._ I think I remember the silly accident. What made ye, you oaf,
ready to fall down into the street?

_Tom._ You know not, I warrant you–you could not guess what surprised
me. You took no delight when you immediately grew wanton in your
conquest, and put your lips close, and breathed upon the glass, and
when my lips approached, a dirty cloth you rubbed against my face, and
hid your beauteous form! When I again drew near, you spit, and rubbed,
and smiled at my undoing.

_Phil._ What silly thoughts you men have!

_Tom._ We were Pyramus and Thisbe–but ten times harder was my fate.
Pyramus could peep only through a wall; I saw her, saw my Thisbe
in all her beauty, but as much kept from her as if a hundred walls
between–for there was more: there was her will against me. Would she
but yet relent! O Phillis! Phillis! shorten my torment, and declare you
pity me.

_Phil._ I believe it’s very sufferable; the pain is not so exquisite
but that you may bear it a little longer.

_Tom._ Oh! my charming Phillis, if all depended on my fair one’s
will, I could with glory suffer–but, dearest creature, consider our
miserable state.

_Phil._ How! Miserable!

_Tom._ We are miserable to be in love, and under the command of others
than those we love; with that generous passion in the heart, to be
sent to and fro on errands, called, checked, and rated for the meanest
trifles. Oh, Phillis! you don’t know how many china cups and glasses my
passion for you has made me break. You have broke my fortune as well as
my heart.

_Phil._ Well, Mr. Thomas, I cannot but own to you that I believe your
master writes and you speak the best of any men in the world. Never was
woman so well pleased with a letter as my young lady was with his; and
this is an answer to it. [_Gives him a letter._

_Tom._ This was well done, my dearest; consider, we must strike out
some pretty livelihood for ourselves by closing their affairs. It will
be nothing for them to give us a little being of our own, some small
tenement, out of their large possessions. Whatever they give us, it
will be more than what they keep for themselves. One acre with Phillis
would be worth a whole county without her.

_Phil._ O, could I but believe you!

_Tom._ If not the utterance, believe the touch of my lips. [_Kisses
her._

_Phil._ There’s no contradicting you. How closely you argue, Tom!

_Tom._ And will closer, in due time. But I must hasten with this
letter, to hasten towards the possession of you. Then, Phillis,
consider how I must be revenged, look to it, of all your skittishness,
shy looks, and at best but coy compliances.

_Phil._ Oh, Tom, you grow wanton, and sensual, as my lady calls it; I
must not endure it. Oh! foh! you are a man–an odious, filthy, male
creature–you should behave, if you had a right sense or were a man of
sense, like Mr. Cimberton, with distance and indifference; or, let me
see, some other becoming hard word, with seeming in-in-inadvertency,
and not rush on one as if you were seizing a prey.–But hush! the
ladies are coming.–Good Tom, don’t kiss me above once, and be gone.
Lard, we have been fooling and toying, and not considered the main
business of our masters and mistresses.

_Tom._ Why, their business is to be fooling and toying as soon as the
parchments are ready.

_Phil._ Well remembered, parchments; my lady, to my knowledge, is
preparing writings between her coxcomb cousin, Cimberton, and my
mistress, though my master has an eye to the parchments already
prepared between your master, Mr. Bevil, and my mistress; and, I
believe, my mistress herself has signed and sealed, in her heart, to
Mr. Myrtle.–Did I not bid you kiss me but once, and be gone? But I
know you won’t be satisfied.

_Tom._ No, you smooth creature, how should I? [_Kissing her hand._

_Phil._ Well, since you are so humble, or so cool, as to ravish my hand
only, I’ll take my leave of you like a great lady, and you a man of
quality. [_They salute formally._

_Tom._ Pox of all this state. [_Offers to kiss her more closely._

_Phil._ No, prithee, Tom, mind your business. We must follow that
interest which will take, but endeavour at that which will be most for
us, and we like most. Oh, here is my young mistress! [TOM _taps her
neck behind, and kisses his fingers._] Go, ye liquorish fool. [_Exit_
TOM.

_Enter_ LUCINDA.

_Luc._ Who was that you were hurrying away?

_Phil._ One that I had no mind to part with.

_Luc._ Why did you turn him away then?

_Phil._ For your ladyship’s service–to carry your ladyship’s letter to
his master. I could hardly get the rogue away.

_Luc._ Why, has he so little love for his master?

_Phil._ No; but he hath so much love for his mistress.

_Luc._ But I thought I heard him kiss you. Why did you suffer that?

_Phil._ Why, madam, we vulgar take it to be a sign of love–We
servants, we poor people, that have nothing but our persons to bestow
or treat for, are forced to deal and bargain by way of sample, and
therefore as we have no parchments or wax necessary in our agreements,
we squeeze with our hands and seal with our lips, to ratify vows and
promises.

_Luc._ But can’t you trust one another without such earnest down?

_Phil._ We don’t think it safe, any more than you gentry, to come
together without deeds executed.

_Luc._ Thou art a pert merry hussy.

_Phil._ I wish, madam, your lover and you were as happy as Tom and your
servant are.

_Luc._ You grow impertinent.

_Phil._ I have done, madam; and I won’t ask you what you intend to
do with Mr. Myrtle, what your father will do with Mr. Bevil, nor
what you all, especially my lady, mean by admitting Mr. Cimberton as
particularly here as if he were married to you already; nay, you are
married actually as far as people of quality are.

_Luc._ How is that?

_Phil._ You have different beds in the same house.

_Luc._ Pshaw! I have a very great value for Mr. Bevil, but have
absolutely put an end to his pretensions in the letter I gave you for
him. But my father, in his heart, still has a mind to him, were it not
for this woman they talk of; and I am apt to imagine he is married to
her, or never designs to marry at all.

_Phil._ Then Mr. Myrtle—-

_Luc._ He had my parents’ leave to apply to me, and by that he has won
me and my affections; who is to have this body of mine without them,
it seems, is nothing to me. My mother says ’tis indecent for me to let
my thoughts stray about the person of my husband; nay, she says a
maid, rigidly virtuous, though she may have been where her lover was a
thousand times, should not have made observations enough to know him
from another man when she sees him in a third place.

_Phil._ That is more than the severity of a nun, for not to see when
one may is hardly possible; not to see when one can’t is very easy. At
this rate, madam, there are a great many whom you have not seen who—-

_Luc._ Mamma says the first time you see your husband should be at that
instant he is made so. When your father, with the help of the minister,
gives you to him, then you are to see him; then you are to observe and
take notice of him; because then you are to obey him.

_Phil._ But does not my lady remember you are to love as well as obey?

_Luc._ To love is a passion, it is a desire, and we must have no
desires.–Oh, I cannot endure the reflection! With what insensibility
on my part, with what more than patience have I been exposed and
offered to some awkward booby or other in every county of Great Britain!

_Phil._ Indeed, madam, I wonder I never heard you speak of it before
with this indignation.

_Luc._ Every corner of the land has presented me with a wealthy
coxcomb. As fast as one treaty has gone off, another has come on, till
my name and person have been the tittle-tattle of the whole town. What
is this world come to?–no shame left–to be bartered for like the
beasts of the field, and that in such an instance as coming together
to an entire familiarity and union of soul and body. Oh! and this
without being so much as well-wishers to each other, but for increase
of fortune.

_Phil._ But, madam, all these vexations will end very soon in one for
all. Mr. Cimberton is your mother’s kinsman, and three hundred years
an older gentleman than any lover you ever had; for which reason, with
that of his prodigious large estate, she is resolved on him, and has
sent to consult the lawyers accordingly; nay, has (whether you know it
or no) been in treaty with Sir Geoffry, who, to join in the settlement,
has accepted of a sum to do it, and is every moment expected in town
for that purpose.

_Luc._ How do you get all this intelligence?

_Phil._ By an art I have, I thank my stars, beyond all the
waiting-maids in Great Britain–the art of listening, madam, for your
ladyship’s service.

_Luc._ I shall soon know as much as you do; leave me, leave me,
Phillis, begone. Here, here! I’ll turn you out. My mother says I must
not converse with my servants, though I must converse with no one else.
[_Exit_ PHIL.]–How unhappy are we who are born to great fortunes! No
one looks at us with indifference, or acts towards us on the foot of
plain dealing; yet, by all I have been heretofore offered to or treated
for I have been used with the most agreeable of all abuses–flattery.
But now, by this phlegmatic fool I’m used as nothing, or a mere thing.
He, forsooth, is too wise, too learned to have any regard for desires,
and I know not what the learned oaf calls sentiments of love and
passion–Here he comes with my mother–It’s much if he looks at me, or
if he does, takes no more notice of me than of any other movable in the
room.

_Enter_ MRS. SEALAND, _and_ MR. CIMBERTON.

_Mrs. Seal._ How do I admire this noble, this learned taste of yours,
and the worthy regard you have to our own ancient and honourable house
in consulting a means to keep the blood as pure and as regularly
descended as may be.

_Cim._ Why, really, madam, the young women of this age are treated with
discourses of such a tendency, and their imaginations so bewildered
in flesh and blood, that a man of reason can’t talk to be understood.
They have no ideas of happiness, but what are more gross than the
gratification of hunger and thirst.

_Luc._ With how much reflection he is a coxcomb! [_Aside._

_Cim._ And in truth, madam, I have considered it as a most brutal
custom that persons of the first character in the world should go as
ordinarily, and with as little shame, to bed as to dinner with one
another. They proceed to the propagation of the species as openly as to
the preservation of the individual.

_Luc._ She that willingly goes to bed to thee must have no shame, I’m
sure. [_Aside._

_Mrs. Seal._ Oh, cousin Cimberton! cousin Cimberton! how abstracted,
how refined is your sense of things! But, indeed, it is too true there
is nothing so ordinary as to say, in the best governed families, my
master and lady have gone to bed; one does not know but it might have
been said of one’s self. [_Hiding her face with her fan._

_Cim._ Lycurgus, madam, instituted otherwise; among the Lacedæmonians
the whole female world was pregnant, but none but the mothers
themselves knew by whom; their meetings were secret, and the amorous
congress always by stealth; and no such professed doings between the
sexes as are tolerated among us under the audacious word, marriage.

_Mrs. Seal._ Oh, had I lived in those days and been a matron of Sparta,
one might with less indecency have had ten children, according to
that modest institution, than one, under the confusion of our modern,
barefaced manner.

_Luc._ And yet, poor woman, she has gone through the whole ceremony,
and here I stand a melancholy proof of it. [_Aside._

_Mrs. Seal._ We will talk then of business. That girl walking about
the room there is to be your wife. She has, I confess, no ideas, no
sentiments, that speak her born of a thinking mother.

_Cimb._ I have observed her; her lively look, free air, and disengaged
countenance speak her very—-

_Luc._ Very what?

_Cimb._ If you please, madam–to set her a little that way.

_Mrs. Seal._ Lucinda, say nothing to him, you are not a match for him;
when you are married, you may speak to such a husband when you’re
spoken to. But I am disposing of you above yourself every way.

_Cimb._ Madam, you cannot but observe the inconveniences I expose
myself to, in hopes that your ladyship will be the consort of my better
part. As for the young woman, she is rather an impediment than a help
to a man of letters and speculation. Madam, there is no reflection, no
philosophy, can at all times subdue the sensitive life, but the animal
shall sometimes carry away the man. Ha! ay, the vermilion of her lips.

_Luc._ Pray, don’t talk of me thus.

_Cimb._ The pretty enough–pant of her bosom.

_Luc._ Sir! madam, don’t you hear him?

_Cimb._ Her forward chest.

_Luc._ Intolerable!

_Cimb._ High health.

_Luc._ The grave, easy impudence of him!

_Cimb._ Proud heart.

_Luc._ Stupid coxcomb!

_Cimb._ I say, madam, her impatience, while we are looking at her,
throws out all attractions–her arms–her neck–what a spring in her
step!

_Luc._ Don’t you run me over thus, you strange unaccountable!

_Cimb._ What an elasticity in her veins and arteries!

_Luc._ I have no veins, no arteries.

_Mrs. Seal._ Oh, child! hear him, he talks finely; he’s a scholar, he
knows what you have.

_Cimb._ The speaking invitation of her shape, the gathering of herself
up, and the indignation you see in the pretty little thing–Now, I am
considering her, on this occasion, but as one that is to be pregnant.

_Luc._ The familiar, learned, unseasonable puppy! [_Aside._

_Cimb._ And pregnant undoubtedly she will be yearly. I fear I shan’t,
for many years, have discretion enough to give her one fallow season.

_Luc._ Monster! there’s no bearing it. The hideous sot! there’s no
enduring it, to be thus surveyed like a steed at sale.

_Cimb._ At sale! She’s very illiterate–But she’s very well limbed too;
turn her in; I see what she is. [_Exit_ LUCINDA, _in a rage._

_Mrs. Seal._ Go, you creature, I am ashamed of you.

_Cimb._ No harm done–you know, madam, the better sort of people, as I
observed to you, treat by their lawyers of weddings [_Adjusting himself
at the glass._]–and the woman in the bargain, like the mansion house
in the sale of the estate, is thrown in, and what that is, whether good
or bad, is not at all considered.

_Mrs. Seal._ I grant it; and therefore make no demand for her youth and
beauty, and every other accomplishment, as the common world think ’em,
because she is not polite.

_Cimb._ Madam, I know your exalted understanding, abstracted, as it is,
from vulgar prejudices, will not be offended, when I declare to you,
I marry to have an heir to my estate, and not to beget a colony, or
a plantation. This young woman’s beauty and constitution will demand
provision for a tenth child at least.

_Mrs. Seal._ With all that wit and learning, how considerate! What an
economist! [_Aside._]–Sir, I cannot make her any other than she is;
or say she is much better than the other young women of this age, or
fit for much besides being a mother; but I have given directions for
the marriage settlements, and Sir Geoffry Cimberton’s counsel is to
meet ours here, at this hour, concerning this joining in the deed,
which, when executed, makes you capable of settling what is due to
Lucinda’s fortune. Herself, as I told you, I say nothing of.

_Cimb._ No, no, no, indeed, madam, it is not usual; and I must depend
upon my own reflection and philosophy not to overstock my family.

_Mrs. Seal._ I cannot help her, cousin Cimberton; but she is, for aught
I see, as well as the daughter of anybody else.

_Cimb._ That is very true, madam.

_Enter a_ Servant, _who whispers_ MRS. SEALAND.

_Mrs. Seal._ The lawyers are come, and now we are to hear what
they have resolved as to the point whether it’s necessary that Sir
Geoffry should join in the settlement, as being what they call in the
remainder. But, good cousin, you must have patience with ’em. These
lawyers, I am told, are of a different kind; one is what they call a
chamber counsel, the other a pleader. The conveyancer is slow, from
an imperfection in his speech, and therefore shunned the bar, but
extremely passionate and impatient of contradiction. The other is as
warm as he; but has a tongue so voluble, and a head so conceited, he
will suffer nobody to speak but himself.

_Cimb._ You mean old Serjeant Target and Counsellor Bramble? I have
heard of ’em.

_Mrs. Seal._ The same. Show in the gentlemen. [_Exit_ Servant.

_Re-enter_ Servant, _introducing_ MYRTLE _and_ TOM _disguised as_
BRAMBLE _and_ TARGET.

_Mrs. Seal._ Gentlemen, this is the party concerned, Mr. Cimberton;
and I hope you have considered of the matter.

_Tar._ Yes, madam, we have agreed that it must be by
indent—-dent—-dent—-dent—-

_Bram._ Yes, madam, Mr. Serjeant and myself have agreed, as he is
pleased to inform you, that it must be an indenture tripartite,[132]
and tripartite let it be, for Sir Geoffry must needs be a party;
old Cimberton, in the year 1619, says, in that ancient roll in Mr.
Serjeant’s hands, as recourse thereto being had, will more at large
appear—-

_Tar._ Yes, and by the deeds in your hands, it appears that—-

_Bram._ Mr. Serjeant, I beg of you to make no inferences upon what is
in our custody; but speak to the titles in your own deeds. I shall not
show that deed till my client is in town.

_Cimb._ You know best your own methods.

_Mrs. Seal._ The single question is, whether the entail is such that my
cousin, Sir Geoffry, is necessary in this affair?

_Bram._ Yes, as to the lordship of Tretriplet, but not as to the
messuage of Grimgribber.

_Tar._ I say that Gr–gr–that Gr–gr–Grimgribber, Grimgribber is
in us; that is to say the remainder thereof, as well as that of
Tr–tr–Triplet.

_Bram._ You go upon the deed of Sir Ralph, made in the middle of the
last century, precedent to that in which old Cimberton made over the
remainder, and made it pass to the heirs general, by which your client
comes in; and I question whether the remainder even of Tretriplet is
in him–But we are willing to waive that, and give him a valuable
consideration. But we shall not purchase what is in us for ever, as
Grimgribber is, at the rate, as we guard against the contingent of Mr.
Cimberton having no son–Then we know Sir Geoffry is the first of the
collateral male line in this family–yet—-

_Tar._ Sir, Gr—-gr—-ber is—-

_Bram._ I apprehend you very well, and your argument might be of force,
and we would be inclined to hear that in all its parts–But, sir, I see
very plainly what you are going into. I tell you, it is as probable a
contingent that Sir Geoffry may die before Mr. Cimberton, as that he
may outlive him.

_Tar._ Sir, we are not ripe for that yet, but I must say—-

_Bram._ Sir, I allow you the whole extent of that argument; but that
will go no farther than as to the claimants under old Cimberton. I am
of opinion that, according to the instruction of Sir Ralph, he could
not dock the entail, and then create a new estate for the heirs general.

_Tar._ Sir, I have not patience to be told that, when
Gr—-gr—-ber—-

_Bram._ I will allow it you, Mr. Serjeant; but there must be the word
heirs for ever, to make such an estate as you pretend.

_Cimb._ I must be impartial, though you are counsel for my side of
the question. Were it not that you are so good as to allow him what
he has not said, I should think it very hard you should answer him
without hearing him–But, gentlemen, I believe you have both considered
this matter, and are firm in your different opinions. ‘Twere better,
therefore, you proceeded according to the particular sense of each of
you, and gave your thoughts distinctly in writing. And do you see,
sirs, pray let me have a copy of what you say in English.

_Bram._ Why, what is all we have been saying? In English! Oh! but I
forget myself, you’re a wit. But, however, to please you, sir, you
shall have it, in as plain terms as the law will admit of.

_Cimb._ But I would have it, sir, without delay.

_Bram._ That, sir, the law will not admit of. The Courts are sitting at
Westminster, and I am this moment obliged to be at every one of them,
and ‘twould be wrong if I should not be in the hall to attend one of
’em at least; the rest would take it ill else. Therefore, I must leave
what I have said to Mr. Serjeant’s consideration, and I will digest his
arguments on my part, and you shall hear from me again, sir. [_Exit_
BRAMBLE.

_Tar._ Agreed, agreed.

_Cimb._ Mr. Bramble is very quick; he parted a little abruptly.

_Tar._ He could not bear my argument; I pinched him to the quick about
that Gr—-gr—-ber.

_Mrs. Seal._ I saw that, for he durst not so much as hear you. I shall
send to you, Mr. Serjeant, as soon as Sir Geoffry comes to town, and
then I hope all may be adjusted.

_Tar._ I shall be at my chambers, at my usual hours. [_Exit._

_Cimb._ Madam, if you please, I’ll now attend you to the tea table,
where I shall hear from your ladyship reason and good sense, after all
this law and gibberish.

_Mrs. Seal._ ‘Tis a wonderful thing, sir, that men of professions
do not study to talk the substance of what they have to say in the
language of the rest of the world. Sure, they’d find their account in
it.

_Cimb._ They might, perhaps, madam, with people of your good sense; but
with the generality ‘twould never do. The vulgar would have no respect
for truth and knowledge, if they were exposed to naked view.

Truth is too simple, of all art bereaved:
Since the world will–why let it be deceived.
[_Exeunt._

ACT THE FOURTH.

SCENE I.–BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._[133]

BEVIL, JUN., _with a letter in his hand; followed by_ TOM.

_Tom._ Upon my life, sir, I know nothing of the matter. I never opened
my lips to Mr. Myrtle about anything of your honour’s letter to Madam
Lucinda.

_Bev._ What’s the fool in such a fright for? I don’t suppose you did.
What I would know is, whether Mr. Myrtle shows any suspicion, or asked
you any questions, to lead you to say casually that you had carried any
such letter for me this morning.

_Tom._ Why, sir, if he did ask me any questions, how could I help it?

_Bev._ I don’t say you could, oaf! I am not questioning you, but him.
What did he say to you?

_Tom._ Why, sir, when I came to his chambers, to be dressed for the
lawyer’s part your honour was pleased to put me upon, he asked me if
I had been at Mr. Sealand’s this morning? So I told him, sir, I often
went thither–because, sir, if I had not said that he might have
thought there was something more in my going now than at another time.

_Bev._ Very well!–The fellow’s caution, I find, has given him this
jealousy. [_Aside._]–Did he ask you no other questions?

_Tom._ Yes, sir; now I remember, as we came away in the hackney coach
from Mr. Sealand’s, Tom, says he, as I came in to your master this
morning, he bade you go for an answer to a letter he had sent. Pray did
you bring him any? says he. Ah! says I, sir, your honour is pleased to
joke with me; you have a mind to know whether I can keep a secret or no?

_Bev._ And so, by showing him you could, you told him you had one?

_Tom._ Sir—-[_Confused._

_Bev._ What mean actions does jealousy make a man stoop to! How poorly
has he used art with a servant to make him betray his master!–Well!
and when did he give you this letter for me?

_Tom._ Sir, he writ it before he pulled off his lawyer’s gown, at his
own chambers.

_Bev._ Very well; and what did he say when you brought him my answer to
it?

_Tom._ He looked a little out of humour, sir, and said it was very well.

_Bev._ I knew he would be grave upon’t; wait without.

_Tom._ Hum! ‘gad, I don’t like this; I am afraid we are all in the
wrong box here. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Bev._ I put on a serenity while my fellow was present; but I have
never been more thoroughly disturbed. This hot man! to write me a
challenge, on supposed artificial dealing, when I professed myself his
friend! I can live contented without glory; but I cannot suffer shame.
What’s to be done? But first let me consider Lucinda’s letter again.
[_Reads._

“SIR,

“I hope it is consistent with the laws a woman ought to impose upon
herself, to acknowledge that your manner of declining a treaty of
marriage in our family, and desiring the refusal may come from me, has
something more engaging in it than the courtship of him who, I fear,
will fall to my lot, except your friend exerts himself for our common
safety and happiness. I have reasons for desiring Mr. Myrtle may not
know of this letter till hereafter, and am your most obliged humble
servant,

“LUCINDA SEALAND.”

Well, but the postscript–[_Reads._

“I won’t, upon second thoughts, hide anything from you. But my reason
for concealing this is, that Mr. Myrtle has a jealousy in his temper
which gives me some terrors; but my esteem for him inclines me to hope
that only an ill effect which sometimes accompanies a tender love, and
what may be cured by a careful and unblameable conduct.”

Thus has this lady made me her friend and confident, and put herself,
in a kind, under my protection. I cannot tell him immediately the
purport of her letter, except I could cure him of the violent and
untractable passion of jealousy, and so serve him, and her, by
disobeying her, in the article of secrecy, more than I should by
complying with her directions.–But then this duelling, which custom
has imposed upon every man who would live with reputation and honour in
the world–how must I preserve myself from imputations there? He’ll,
forsooth, call it or think it fear, if I explain without fighting.–But
his letter–I’ll read it again–

“SIR,

“You have used me basely in corresponding and carrying on a treaty
where you told me you were indifferent. I have changed my sword since
I saw you; which advertisement I thought proper to send you against
the next meeting between you and the injured

“CHARLES MYRTLE.”

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Mr. Myrtle, sir. Would your honour please to see him?

_Bev._ Why, you stupid creature! Let Mr. Myrtle wait at my lodgings!
Show him up. [_Exit_ TOM.] Well! I am resolved upon my carriage to him.
He is in love, and in every circumstance of life a little distrustful,
which I must allow for–but here he is.

_Enter_ TOM, _introducing_ MYRTLE.

Sir, I am extremely obliged to you for this honour.–[_To_ TOM.] But,
sir, you, with your very discerning face, leave the room. [_Exit_
TOM.]–Well, Mr. Myrtle, your commands with me?

_Myrt._ The time, the place, our long acquaintance, and many other
circumstances which affect me on this occasion, oblige me, without
farther ceremony or conference, to desire you would not only, as you
already have, acknowledge the receipt of my letter, but also comply
with the request in it. I must have farther notice taken of my message
than these half lines–“I have yours,” “I shall be at home.”

_Bev._ Sir, I own I have received a letter from you in a very unusual
style; but as I design everything in this matter shall be your own
action, your own seeking, I shall understand nothing but what you are
pleased to confirm face to face, and I have already forgot the contents
of your epistle.

_Myrt._ This cool manner is very agreeable to the abuse you have
already made of my simplicity and frankness; and I see your moderation
tends to your own advantage and not mine–to your own safety, not
consideration of your friend.

_Bev._ My own safety, Mr. Myrtle?

_Myrt._ Your own safety, Mr. Bevil.

_Bev._ Look you, Mr. Myrtle, there’s no disguising that I understand
what you would be at; but, sir, you know I have often dared to
disapprove of the decisions a tyrant custom has introduced, to the
breach of all laws, both divine and human.

_Myrt._ Mr. Bevil, Mr. Bevil, it would be a good first principle,
in those who have so tender a conscience that way, to have as much
abhorrence of doing injuries, as—-

_Bev._ As what?

_Myrt._ As fear of answering for ’em.

_Bev._ As fear of answering for ’em! But that apprehension is just or
blameable according to the object of that fear. I have often told you,
in confidence of heart, I abhorred the daring to offend the Author
of life, and rushing into his presence–I say, by the very same act,
to commit the crime against Him, and immediately to urge on to His
tribunal.

_Myrt._ Mr. Bevil, I must tell you, this coolness, this gravity, this
show of conscience, shall never cheat me of my mistress. You have,
indeed, the best excuse for life, the hopes of possessing Lucinda. But
consider, sir, I have as much reason to be weary of it, if I am to lose
her; and my first attempt to recover her shall be to let her see the
dauntless man who is to be her guardian and protector.

_Bev._ Sir, show me but the least glimpse of argument, that I am
authorised, by my own hand, to vindicate any lawless insult of this
nature, and I will show thee–to chastise thee hardly deserves the name
of courage–slight, inconsiderate man!–There is, Mr. Myrtle, no such
terror in quick anger; and you shall, you know not why, be cool, as you
have, you know not why, been warm.

_Myrt._ Is the woman one loves so little an occasion of anger? You
perhaps, who know not what it is to love, who have your ready, your
commodious, your foreign trinket, for your loose hours; and from your
fortune, your specious outward carriage, and other lucky circumstances,
as easy a way to the possession of a woman of honour; you know nothing
of what it is to be alarmed, to be distracted with anxiety and terror
of losing more than life. Your marriage, happy man, goes on like common
business, and in the interim you have your rambling captive, your
Indian princess, for your soft moments of dalliance, your convenient,
your ready Indiana.

_Bev._ You have touched me beyond the patience of a man; and I’m
excusable, in the guard of innocence (or from the infirmity of human
nature, which can bear no more), to accept your invitation, and observe
your letter–Sir, I’ll attend you.

_Enter_ TOM.

_Tom._ Did you call, sir? I thought you did; I heard you speak aloud.

_Bev._ Yes; go call a coach.

_Tom._ Sir–master–Mr. Myrtle–friends–gentlemen–what d’ye mean? I
am but a servant, or—-

_Bev._ Call a coach. [_Exit_ TOM.]–[_A long pause, walking sullenly by
each other._]–[_Aside._] Shall I (though provoked to the uttermost)
recover myself at the entrance of a third person, and that my servant
too, and not have respect enough to all I have ever been receiving
from infancy, the obligation to the best of fathers, to an unhappy
virgin too, whose life depends on mine? [_Shutting the door._]–[_To_
MYRTLE.] I have, thank Heaven, had time to recollect myself, and shall
not, for fear of what such a rash man as you think of me, keep longer
unexplained the false appearances under which your infirmity of temper
makes you suffer; when perhaps too much regard to a false point of
honour makes me prolong that suffering.

_Myrt._ I am sure Mr. Bevil cannot doubt but I had rather have
satisfaction from his innocence than his sword.

_Bev._ Why, then, would you ask it first that way?

_Myrt._ Consider, you kept your temper yourself no longer than till I
spoke to the disadvantage of her you loved.

_Bev._ True; but let me tell you, I have saved you from the most
exquisite distress, even though you had succeeded in the dispute. I
know you so well, that I am sure to have found this letter about a
man you had killed would have been worse than death to yourself–Read
it.–[_Aside._] When he is thoroughly mortified, and shame has got the
better of jealousy, when he has seen himself throughly, he will deserve
to be assisted towards obtaining Lucinda.

_Myrt._ With what a superiority has he turned the injury on me, as the
aggressor? I begin to fear I have been too far transported–A treaty
in our family! is not that saying too much? I shall relapse.–But I
find (on the postscript) something like jealousy. With what face can I
see my benefactor, my advocate, whom I have treated like a betrayer?
[_Aside._]–Oh! Bevil, with what words shall I—-

_Bev._ There needs none; to convince is much more than to conquer.

_Myrt._ But can you—-

_Bev._ You have o’erpaid the inquietude you gave me, in the change I
see in you towards me. Alas! what machines are we! thy face is altered
to that of another man; to that of my companion, my friend.

_Myrt._ That I could be such a precipitant wretch!

_Bev._ Pray, no more.

_Myrt._ Let me reflect how many friends have died, by the hands of
friends, for want of temper; and you must give me leave to say again,
and again, how much I am beholden to that superior spirit you have
subdued me with. What had become of one of us, or perhaps both, had you
been as weak as I was, and as incapable of reason?

_Bev._ I congratulate to us both the escape from ourselves, and hope
the memory of it will make us dearer friends than ever.

_Myrt._ Dear Bevil, your friendly conduct has convinced me that there
is nothing manly but what is conducted by reason, and agreeable to the
practice of virtue and justice. And yet how many have been sacrificed
to that idol, the unreasonable opinion of men! Nay, they are so
ridiculous in it, that they often use their swords against each other
with dissembled anger and real fear.

Betrayed by honour, and compelled by shame,
They hazard being, to preserve a name:
Nor dare inquire into the dread mistake,
Till plunged in sad eternity they wake. [_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–_St. James’s Park._

_Enter_ SIR JOHN BEVIL _and_ MR. SEALAND.

_Sir J. Bev._ Give me leave, however, Mr. Sealand, as we are upon a
treaty for uniting our families, to mention only the business of an
ancient house. Genealogy and descent are to be of some consideration in
an affair of this sort.

_Mr. Seal._ Genealogy and descent! Sir, there has been in our family a
very large one. There was Galfrid the father of Edward, the father of
Ptolomey, the father of Crassus, the father of Earl Richard, the father
of Henry the Marquis, the father of Duke John.

_Sir J. Bev._ What, do you rave, Mr. Sealand? all these great names in
your family?

_Mr. Seal._ These? yes, sir. I have heard my father name ’em all, and
more.

_Sir J. Bev._ Ay, sir? and did he say they were all in your family?

_Mr. Seal._ Yes, sir, he kept ’em all. He was the greatest cocker[134]
in England. He said Duke John won him many battles, and never lost one.

_Sir J. Bev._ Oh, sir, your servant! you are laughing at my laying any
stress upon descent; but I must tell you, sir, I never knew anyone but
he that wanted that advantage turn it into ridicule.

_Mr. Seal._ And I never knew any one who had many better advantages put
that into his account.–But, Sir John, value yourself as you please
upon your ancient house, I am to talk freely of everything you are
pleased to put into your bill of rates on this occasion; yet, sir, I
have made no objections to your son’s family. ‘Tis his morals that I
doubt.

_Sir J. Bev._ Sir, I can’t help saying, that what might injure a
citizen’s credit may be no stain to a gentleman’s honour.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir John, the honour of a gentleman is liable to be tainted
by as small a matter as the credit of a trader. We are talking of a
marriage, and in such a case, the father of a young woman will not
think it an addition to the honour or credit of her lover that he is a
keeper—-

_Sir J. Bev._ Mr. Sealand, don’t take upon you to spoil my son’s
marriage with any woman else.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir John, let him apply to any woman else, and have as many
mistresses as he pleases.

_Sir J. Bev._ My son, sir, is a discreet and sober gentleman.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir, I never saw a man that wenched soberly and discreetly,
that ever left it off; the decency observed in the practice hides,
even from the sinner, the iniquity of it. They pursue it, not that
their appetites hurry ’em away, but, I warrant you, because ’tis their
opinion they may do it.

_Sir J. Bev._ Were what you suspect a truth–do you design to keep your
daughter a virgin till you find a man unblemished that way?

_Mr. Seal._ Sir, as much a cit as you take me for, I know the town and
the world; and give me leave to say, that we merchants are a species
of gentry that have grown into the world this last century, and are
as honourable, and almost as useful, as you landed folks, that have
always thought yourselves so much above us; for your trading, forsooth,
is extended no farther than a load of hay or a fat ox. You are
pleasant people, indeed, because you are generally bred up to be lazy;
therefore, I warrant you, industry is dishonourable.

_Sir J. Bev._ Be not offended, sir; let us go back to our point.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh! not at all offended; but I don’t love to leave any
part of the account unclosed. Look you, Sir John, comparisons are
odious, and more particularly so on occasions of this kind, when we
are projecting races that are to be made out of both sides of the
comparisons.

_Sir J. Bev._ But, my son, sir, is, in the eye of the world, a
gentleman of merit.

_Mr. Seal._ I own to you, I think him so.–But, Sir John, I am a man
exercised and experienced in chances and disasters. I lost, in my
earlier years, a very fine wife, and with her a poor little infant.
This makes me, perhaps, over cautious to preserve the second bounty of
providence to me, and be as careful as I can of this child. You’ll
pardon me, my poor girl, sir, is as valuable to me as your boasted son
to you.

_Sir. J. Bev._ Why, that’s one very good reason, Mr. Sealand, why I
wish my son had her.

_Mr. Seal._ There is nothing but this strange lady here, this
_incognita_, that can be objected to him. Here and there a man falls in
love with an artful creature, and gives up all the motives of life to
that one passion.

_Sir J. Bev._ A man of my son’s understanding cannot be supposed to be
one of them.

_Mr. Seal._ Very wise men have been so enslaved; and, when a man
marries with one of them upon his hands, whether moved from the demand
of the world or slighter reasons, such a husband soils with his wife
for a month perhaps–then good be w’ye, madam, the show’s over–Ah!
John Dryden points out such a husband to a hair, where he says,–

“And while abroad so prodigal the dolt is,
Poor spouse at home as ragged as a colt is.”

Now, in plain terms, sir, I shall not care to have my poor girl turned
a-grazing, and that must be the case when—-

_Sir J. Bev._ But pray consider, sir, my son—-

_Mr. Seal._ Look you, sir, I’ll make the matter short. This unknown
lady, as I told you, is all the objection I have to him; but, one way
or other, he is, or has been, certainly engaged to her. I am therefore
resolved, this very afternoon, to visit her. Now from her behaviour, or
appearance, I shall soon be let into what I may fear or hope for.

_Sir J. Bev._ Sir, I am very confident there can be nothing inquired
into relating to my son, that will not, upon being understood, turn to
his advantage.

_Mr. Seal._ I hope that as sincerely as you believe it.–Sir John
Bevil, when I am satisfied, in this great point, if your son’s conduct
answers the character you give him, I shall wish your alliance more
than that of any gentleman in Great Britain; and so your servant.
[_Exit._

_Sir J. Bev._ He is gone in a way but barely civil; but his great
wealth, and the merit of his only child, the heiress of it, are not to
be lost for a little peevishness.

_Enter_ HUMPHRY.

Oh! Humphry, you are come in a seasonable minute. I want to talk to
thee, and to tell thee that my head and heart are on the rack about my
son.

_Humph._ Sir, you may trust his discretion; I am sure you may.

_Sir J. Bev._ Why, I do believe I may, and yet I’m in a thousand
fears when I lay this vast wealth before me; when I consider his
prepossessions, either generous to a folly, in an honourable love, or
abandoned, past redemption, in a vicious one; and, from the one or the
other, his insensibility to the fairest prospect towards doubling our
estate: a father, who knows how useful wealth is, and how necessary,
even to those who despise it–I say a father, Humphry, a father cannot
bear it.

_Humph._ Be not transported, sir; you will grow incapable of taking any
resolution in your perplexity.

_Sir J. Bev._ Yet, as angry as I am with him, I would not have him
surprised in anything. This mercantile rough man may go grossly into
the examination of this matter, and talk to the gentlewoman so as to—-

_Humph._ No, I hope, not in an abrupt manner.

_Sir J. Bev._ No, I hope not! Why, dost thou know anything of her, or
of him, or of anything of it, or all of it?

_Humph._ My dear master, I know so much that I told him this very day
you had reason to be secretly out of humour about her.

_Sir J. Bev._ Did you go so far? Well, what said he to that?

_Humph._ His words were, looking upon me steadfastly: “Humphry,” says
he, “that woman is a woman of honour.”

_Sir J. Bev._ How! Do you think he is married to her, or designs to
marry her?

_Humph._ I can say nothing to the latter; but he says he can marry no
one without your consent while you are living.

_Sir J. Bev._ If he said so much, I know he scorns to break his word
with me.

_Humph._ I am sure of that.

_Sir J. Bev._ You are sure of that–well! that’s some comfort. Then I
have nothing to do but to see the bottom of this matter during this
present ruffle–Oh, Humphry—-

_Humph._ You are not ill, I hope, sir.

_Sir J. Bev._ Yes, a man is very ill that’s in a very ill-humour. To
be a father is to be in care for one whom you oftener disoblige than
please by that very care–Oh! that sons could know the duty to a father
before they themselves are fathers–But, perhaps, you’ll say now that I
am one of the happiest fathers in the world; but, I assure you, that of
the very happiest is not a condition to be envied.

_Humph._ Sir, your pain arises, not from the thing itself, but your
particular sense of it. You are overfond, nay, give me leave to say,
you are unjustly apprehensive from your fondness. My master Bevil never
disobliged you, and he will, I know he will, do everything you ought to
expect.

_Sir J. Bev._ He won’t take all this money with this girl–For ought I
know, he will, forsooth, have so much moderation as to think he ought
not to force his liking for any consideration.

_Humph._ He is to marry her, not you; he is to live with her, not you,
sir.

_Sir J. Bev._ I know not what to think. But, I know, nothing can be
more miserable than to be in this doubt–Follow me; I must come to some
resolution. [_Exeunt._

SCENE III.–BEVIL, JUN.’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ TOM _and_ PHILLIS.

_Tom._ Well, madam, if you must speak with Mr. Myrtle, you shall; he is
now with my master in the library.

_Phil._ But you must leave me alone with him, for he can’t make me a
present, nor I so handsomely take anything from him before you; it
would not be decent.

_Tom._ It will be very decent, indeed, for me to retire, and leave my
mistress with another man.

_Phil._ He is a gentleman, and will treat one properly.

_Tom._ I believe so; but, however, I won’t be far off, and therefore
will venture to trust you. I’ll call him to you. [_Exit_ TOM.

_Phil._ What a deal of pother and sputter here is between my mistress
and Mr. Myrtle from mere punctilio! I could, any hour of the day, get
her to her lover, and would do it–but she, forsooth, will allow no
plot to get him; but, if he can come to her, I know she would be glad
of it. I must, therefore, do her an acceptable violence, and surprise
her into his arms. I am sure I go by the best rule imaginable. If she
were my maid, I should think her the best servant in the world for
doing so by me.

_Enter_ MYRTLE _and_ TOM.

Oh sir! You and Mr. Bevil are fine gentlemen to let a lady remain under
such difficulties as my poor mistress, and no attempt to set her at
liberty, or release her from the danger of being instantly married to
Cimberton.

_Myrt._ Tom has been telling—-But what is to be done?

_Phil._ What is to be done–when a man can’t come at his mistress! Why,
can’t you fire our house, or the next house to us, to make us run out,
and you take us?

_Myrt._ How, Mrs. Phillis?

_Phil._ Ay; let me see that rogue deny to fire a house, make a riot, or
any other little thing, when there were no other way to come at me.

_Tom._ I am obliged to you, madam.

_Phil._ Why, don’t we hear every day of people’s hanging themselves for
love, and won’t they venture the hazard of being hanged for love? Oh!
were I a man—-

_Myrt._ What manly thing would you have me undertake, according to your
ladyship’s notion of a man?

_Phil._ Only be at once what, one time or other, you may be, and wish
to be, or must be.

_Myrt._ Dear girl, talk plainly to me, and consider I, in my condition,
can’t be in very good humour–you say, to be at once what I must be.

_Phil._ Ay, ay; I mean no more than to be an old man; I saw you do
it very well at the masquerade. In a word, old Sir Geoffry Cimberton
is every hour expected in town, to join in the deeds and settlements
for marrying Mr. Cimberton. He is half blind, half lame, half deaf,
half dumb; though, as to his passions and desires, he is as warm and
ridiculous as when in the heat of youth.

_Tom._ Come to the business, and don’t keep the gentleman in suspense
for the pleasure of being courted, as you serve me.

_Phil._ I saw you at the masquerade act such a one to perfection. Go,
and put on that very habit, and come to our house as Sir Geoffry.
There is not one there but myself knows his person; I was born in
the parish where he is Lord of the Manor. I have seen him often and
often at church in the country. Do not hesitate, but come hither; they
will think you bring a certain security against Mr. Myrtle, and you
bring Mr. Myrtle. Leave the rest to me; I leave this with you, and
expect–They don’t, I told you, know you; they think you out of town,
which you had as good be for ever, if you lose this opportunity–I must
be gone; I know I am wanted at home.

_Myrt._ My dear Phillis! [_Catches and kisses her, and gives her money._

_Phil._ O fie! my kisses are not my own; you have committed violence;
but I’ll carry ’em to the right owner. [TOM _kisses her._]–Come, see
me downstairs [_To_ TOM.], and leave the lover to think of his last
game for the prize. [_Exeunt_ TOM _and_ PHILLIS.

_Myrt._ I think I will instantly attempt this wild expedient. The
extravagance of it will make me less suspected, and it will give me
opportunity to assert my own right to Lucinda, without whom I cannot
live. But I am so mortified at this conduct of mine towards poor Bevil.
He must think meanly of me–I know not how to reassume myself, and be
in spirit enough for such an adventure as this; yet I must attempt it,
if it be only to be near Lucinda under her present perplexities; and
sure—-

The next delight to transport, with the fair,
Is to relieve her in her hours of care. [_Exit._

ACT THE FIFTH.

SCENE I.–SEALAND’S _House._

_Enter_ PHILLIS, _with lights, before_ MYRTLE, _disguised like old_
SIR GEOFFRY; _supported by_ MRS. SEALAND, LUCINDA, _and_ CIMBERTON.

_Mrs. Seal._ Now I have seen you thus far, Sir Geoffry, will you excuse
me a moment while I give my necessary orders for your accommodation?
[_Exit_ MRS. SEAL.

_Myrt._ I have not seen you, cousin Cimberton, since you were ten years
old; and as it is incumbent on you to keep up our name and family,
I shall, upon very reasonable terms, join with you in a settlement
to that purpose. Though I must tell you, cousin, this is the first
merchant that has married into our house.

_Luc._ Deuce on ’em! am I a merchant because my father is? [_Aside._

_Myrt._ But is he directly a trader at this time?

_Cimb._ There’s no hiding the disgrace, sir; he trades to all parts of
the world.

_Myrt._ We never had one of our family before who descended from
persons that did anything.

_Cimb._ Sir, since it is a girl that they have, I am, for the honour
of my family, willing to take it in again, and to sink her into our
name, and no harm done.

_Myrt._ ‘Tis prudently and generously resolved–Is this the young thing?

_Cimb._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ Good madam, don’t be out of humour, but let them run to the
utmost of their extravagance.–Hear them out. [_To_ LUC.

_Myrt._ Can’t I see her nearer? My eyes are but weak.

_Phil._ Beside, I am sure the uncle has something worth your notice.
I’ll take care to get off the young one, and leave you to observe what
may be wrought out of the old one for your good. [_To_ LUC. _Exit._

_Cimb._ Madam, this old gentleman, your great uncle, desires to be
introduced to you, and to see you nearer!–Approach, sir.

_Myrt._ By your leave, young lady. [_Puts on spectacles._]–Cousin
Cimberton! She has exactly that sort of neck and bosom for which my
sister Gertrude was so much admired in the year sixty-one, before the
French dresses first discovered anything in women below the chin.

_Luc._ [_Aside._] What a very odd situation am I in! though I cannot
but be diverted at the extravagance of their humours, equally
unsuitable to their age–Chin, quotha–I don’t believe my passionate
lover there knows whether I have one or not. Ha! ha!

_Myrt._ Madam, I would not willingly offend, but I have a better glass.
[_Pulls out a large one._

_Enter_ PHILLIS.

_Phil._ [_To_ CIMBERTON.] Sir, my lady desires to show the apartment to
you that she intends for Sir Geoffry.

_Cimb._ Well, sir! by that time you will have sufficiently gazed and
sunned yourself in the beauties of my spouse there.–I will wait on you
again. [_Exit_ CIMB. _and_ PHIL.

_Myrt._ Were it not, madam, that I might be troublesome, there is
something of importance, though we are alone, which I would say more
safe from being heard.

_Luc._ There is something in this old fellow, methinks, that raises my
curiosity. [_Aside._

_Myrt._ To be free, madam, I as heartily contemn this kinsman of mine
as you do, and am sorry to see so much beauty and merit devoted by your
parents to so insensible a possessor.

_Luc._ Surprising!–I hope, then, sir, you will not contribute to the
wrong you are so generous as to pity, whatever may be the interest of
your family.

_Myrt._ This hand of mine shall never be employed to sign anything
against your good and happiness.

_Luc._ I am sorry, sir, it is not in my power to make you proper
acknowledgments; but there is a gentleman in the world whose gratitude
will, I am sure, be worthy of the favour.

_Myrt._ All the thanks I desire, madam, are in your power to give.

_Luc._ Name them and command them.

_Myrt._ Only, madam, that the first time you are alone with your lover,
you will, with open arms, receive him.

_Luc._ As willingly as his heart could wish it.

_Myrt._ Thus, then, he claims your promise. O Lucinda!

_Luc._ Oh! a cheat! a cheat! a cheat!

_Myrt._ Hush! ’tis I, ’tis I, your lover, Myrtle himself, madam.

_Luc._ O bless me! what a rashness and folly to surprise me so–But
hush–my mother.

_Enter_ MRS. SEALAND, CIMBERTON, _and_ PHILLIS.

_Mrs. Seal._ How now! what’s the matter?

_Luc._ O madam! as soon as you left the room my uncle fell into a
sudden fit, and–and–so I cried out for help to support him and
conduct him to his chamber.

_Mrs. Seal._ That was kindly done! Alas! sir, how do you find yourself?

_Myrt._ Never was taken in so odd a way in my life–pray lead me! Oh! I
was talking here–(pray carry me)–to my cousin Cimberton’s young lady.

_Mrs. Seal._ [_Aside._] My cousin Cimberton’s young lady! How zealous
he is, even in his extremity, for the match! A right Cimberton.
[CIMBERTON _and_ LUCINDA _lead him, as one in pain._

_Cimb._ Pox! Uncle, you will pull my ear off.

_Luc._ Pray, uncle! you will squeeze me to death.

_Mrs. Seal._ No matter, no matter–he knows not what he does.–Come,
sir, shall I help you out?

_Myrt._ By no means! I’ll trouble nobody but my young cousins here.
[_They lead him off._

_Phil._ But pray, madam, does your ladyship intend that Mr. Cimberton
shall really marry my young mistress at last? I don’t think he likes
her.

_Mrs. Seal._ That’s not material! Men of his speculation are above
desires–but be as it may. Now I have given old Sir Geoffry the trouble
of coming up to sign and seal, with what countenance can I be off?

_Phil._ As well as with twenty others, madam. It is the glory and
honour of a great fortune to live in continual treaties, and still to
break off: it looks great, madam.

_Mrs. Seal._ True, Phillis–yet to return our blood again into the
Cimbertons is an honour not to be rejected–But were not you saying
that Sir John Bevil’s creature, Humphry, has been with Mr. Sealand?

_Phil._ Yes, madam; I overheard them agree that Mr. Sealand should go
himself and visit this unknown lady that Mr. Bevil is so great with;
and if he found nothing there to fright him, that Mr. Bevil should
still marry my young mistress.

_Mrs. Seal._ How! nay, then, he shall find she is my daughter as well
as his. I’ll follow him this instant, and take the whole family along
with me. The disputed power of disposing of my own daughter shall be
at an end this very night. I’ll live no longer in anxiety for a little
hussy that hurts my appearance wherever I carry her: and for whose sake
I seem to be at all regarded, and that in the best of my days.

_Phil._ Indeed, madam, if she were married, your ladyship might very
well be taken for Mr. Sealand’s daughter.

_Mrs. Seal._ Nay, when the chit has not been with me, I have heard the
men say as much. I’ll no longer cut off the greatest pleasure of a
woman’s life (the shining in assemblies) by her forward anticipation
of the respect that’s due to her superior. She shall down to
Cimberton-Hall–she shall–she shall.

_Phil._ I hope, madam, I shall stay with your ladyship.

_Mrs. Seal._ Thou shalt, Phillis, and I’ll place thee then more about
me–But order chairs immediately; I’ll be gone this minute. [_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–_Charing Cross._

_Enter_ MR. SEALAND _and_ HUMPHRY.

_Mr. Seal._ I am very glad, Mr. Humphry, that you agree with me that it
is for our common good I should look thoroughly into this matter.

_Humph._ I am, indeed, of that opinion; for there is no artifice,
nothing concealed, in our family, which ought in justice to be known. I
need not desire you, sir, to treat the lady with care and respect.

_Mr. Seal._ Master Humphry, I shall not be rude, though I design to be
a little abrupt, and come into the matter at once, to see how she will
bear upon a surprise.

_Humph._ That’s the door, sir; I wish you success.–[_While_ HUMPHRY
_speaks,_ SEALAND _consults his table book._]–I am less concerned what
happens there, because I hear Mr. Myrtle is well lodged as old Sir
Geoffry; so I am willing to let this gentleman employ himself here,
to give them time at home; for I am sure ’tis necessary for the quiet
of our family Lucinda were disposed of out of it, since Mr. Bevil’s
inclination is so much otherwise engaged. [_Exit._

_Mr. Seal._ I think this is the door. [_Knocks._] I’ll carry this
matter with an air of authority, to inquire, though I make an errand,
to begin discourse. [_Knocks again, and enter a foot-boy._] So young
man! is your lady within?

_Boy._ Alack, sir! I am but a country boy–I dant know whether she is
or noa; but an you’ll stay a bit, I’ll goa and ask the gentlewoman
that’s with her.

_Mr. Seal._ Why, sirrah, though you are a country boy, you can see,
can’t you? You know whether she is at home, when you see her, don’t you?

_Boy._ Nay, nay, I’m not such a country lad neither, master, to think
she’s at home because I see her. I have been in town but a month, and I
lost one place already for believing my own eyes.

_Mr. Seal._ Why, sirrah! have you learnt to lie already?

_Boy._ Ah, master! things that are lies in the country are not lies at
London. I begin to know my business a little better than so–But an you
please to walk in, I’ll call a gentlewoman to you that can tell you for
certain–she can make bold to ask my lady herself.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh! then, she is within, I find, though you dare not say so.

_Boy._ Nay, nay! that’s neither here nor there: what’s matter whether
she is within or no, if she has not a mind to see anybody?

_Mr. Seal._ I can’t tell, sirrah, whether you are arch or simple; but,
however, get me a direct answer, and here’s a shilling for you.

_Boy._ Will you please to walk in; I’ll see what I can do for you.

_Mr. Seal._ I see you will be fit for your business in time, child; but
I expect to meet with nothing but extraordinaries in such a house.

_Boy._ Such a house! Sir, you han’t seen it yet. Pray walk in.

_Mr. Seal._ Sir, I’ll wait upon you. [_Exeunt._

SCENE III.–INDIANA’S _House._

_Enter_ ISABELLA.

_Isab._ What anxiety do I feel for this poor creature! What will be
the end of her? Such a languishing unreserved passion for a man that
at last must certainly leave or ruin her! and perhaps both! Then the
aggravation of the distress is, that she does not believe he will–not
but, I must own, if they are both what they would seem, they are made
for one another, as much as Adam and Eve were, for there is no other of
their kind but themselves.

_Enter_ BOY.

So, Daniel! what news with you?

_Boy._ Madam, there’s a gentleman below would speak with my lady.

_Isab._ Sirrah! don’t you know Mr. Bevil yet?

_Boy._ Madam, ’tis not the gentleman who comes every day, and asks for
you, and won’t go in till he knows whether you are with her or no.

_Isab._ Ha! that’s a particular I did not know before. Well! be it who
it will, let him come up to me.

[_Exit_ BOY; _and re-enters with_ MR. SEALAND; ISABELLA _looks amazed._

_Mr. Seal._ Madam, I can’t blame your being a little surprised to see a
perfect stranger make a visit, and—-

_Isab._ I am indeed surprised!–I see he does not know me. [_Aside._

_Mr. Seal._ You are very prettily lodged here, madam; in troth you seem
to have everything in plenty–A thousand a year, I warrant you, upon
this pretty nest of rooms, and the dainty one within them. [_Aside, and
looking about._

_Isab._ [_Apart._] Twenty years, it seems, have less effect in the
alteration of a man of thirty than of a girl of fourteen–he’s almost
still the same; but alas! I find, by other men, as well as himself, I
am not what I was. As soon as he spoke, I was convinced ’twas he; how
shall I contain my surprise and satisfaction! He must not know me yet.

_Mr. Seal._ Madam, I hope I don’t give you any disturbance; but
there is a young lady here with whom I have a particular business to
discourse, and I hope she will admit me to that favour.

_Isab._ Why, sir, have you had any notice concerning her? I wonder who
could give it you.

_Mr. Seal._ That, madam, is fit only to be communicated to herself.

_Isab._ Well, sir! you shall see her.–[_Aside._] I find he knows
nothing yet, nor shall from me. I am resolved I will observe this
interlude, this sport of nature and of fortune.–You shall see her
presently, sir; for now I am as a mother, and will trust her with you.
[_Exit._

_Mr. Seal._ As a mother! right; that’s the old phrase for one of those
commode ladies, who lend out beauty for hire to young gentlemen that
have pressing occasions. But here comes the precious lady herself. In
troth a very sightly woman—-

_Enter_ INDIANA.

_Ind._ I am told, sir, you have some affair that requires your speaking
with me.

_Mr. Seal._ Yes, madam, there came to my hands a bill drawn by Mr.
Bevil, which is payable to-morrow; and he, in the intercourse of
business, sent it to me, who have cash of his, and desired me to send a
servant with it; but I have made bold to bring you the money myself.

_Ind._ Sir! was that necessary?

_Mr. Seal._ No, madam; but to be free with you, the fame of your
beauty, and the regard which Mr. Bevil is a little too well known to
have for you, excited my curiosity.

_Ind._ Too well known to have for me! Your sober appearance, sir, which
my friend described, made me expect no rudeness, or absurdity, at
least—-Who’s there?–Sir, if you pay the money to a servant, ’twill
be as well.

_Mr. Seal._ Pray, madam, be not offended; I came hither on an innocent,
nay, a virtuous design; and, if you will have patience to hear me, it
may be as useful to you, as you are in a friendship with Mr. Bevil, as
to my only daughter, whom I was this day disposing of.

_Ind._ You make me hope, sir, I have mistaken you. I am composed again;
be free, say on–[_Aside._]–what I am afraid to hear.

_Mr. Seal._ I feared, indeed, an unwarranted passion here, but I did
not think it was in abuse of so worthy an object, so accomplished a
lady as your sense and mien bespeak; but the youth of our age care not
what merit and virtue they bring to shame, so they gratify—-

_Ind._ Sir, you are going into very great errors; but as you are
pleased to say you see something in me that has changed at least the
colour of your suspicions, so has your appearance altered mine, and
made me earnestly attentive to what has any way concerned you to
inquire into my affairs and character.

_Mr. Seal._ How sensibly, with what an air she talks!

_Ind._ Good sir, be seated, and tell me tenderly; keep all your
suspicions concerning me alive, that you may in a proper and prepared
way acquaint me why the care of your daughter obliges a person of your
seeming worth and fortune to be thus inquisitive about a wretched,
helpless, friendless—-[_Weeping._] But I beg your pardon; though I am
an orphan, your child is not; and your concern for her, it seems, has
brought you hither.–I’ll be composed; pray go on, sir.

_Mr. Seal._ How could Mr. Bevil be such a monster, to injure such a
woman?

_Ind._ No, sir, you wrong him; he has not injured me. My support is
from his bounty.

_Mr. Seal._ Bounty! when gluttons give high prices for delicates, they
are prodigious bountiful.

_Ind._ Still, still you will persist in that error. But my own fears
tell me all. You are the gentleman, I suppose, for whose happy daughter
he is designed a husband by his good father, and he has, perhaps,
consented to the overture. He was here this morning, dressed beyond his
usual plainness–nay, most sumptuously–and he is to be, perhaps, this
night a bridegroom.

_Mr. Seal._ I own he was intended such; but, madam, on your account,
I have determined to defer my daughter’s marriage till I am satisfied
from your own mouth of what nature are the obligations you are under to
him.

_Ind._ His actions, sir; his eyes have only made me think he designed
to make me the partner of his heart. The goodness and gentleness of his
demeanour made me misinterpret all. ‘Twas my own hope, my own passion,
that deluded me; he never made one amorous advance to me. His large
heart, and bestowing hand, have only helped the miserable; nor know I
why, but from his mere delight in virtue, that I have been his care and
the object on which to indulge and please himself with pouring favours.

_Mr. Seal._ Madam, I know not why it is, but I, as well as you, am
methinks afraid of entering into the matter I came about; but ’tis the
same thing as if we had talked never so distinctly—-he ne’er shall
have a daughter of mine.

_Ind._ If you say this from what you think of me, you wrong yourself
and him. Let not me, miserable though I may be, do injury to my
benefactor. No, sir, my treatment ought rather to reconcile you to his
virtues. If to bestow without a prospect of return; if to delight in
supporting what might, perhaps, be thought an object of desire, with
no other view than to be her guard against those who would not be so
disinterested; if these actions, sir, can in a careful parent’s eye
commend him to a daughter, give yours, sir, give her to my honest,
generous Bevil. What have I to do but sigh, and weep, and rave, run
wild, a lunatic in chains, or, hid in darkness, mutter in distracted
starts and broken accents my strange, strange story!

_Mr. Seal._ Take comfort, madam.

_Ind._ All my comfort must be to expostulate in madness, to relieve
with frenzy my despair, and shrieking to demand of fate why–why was I
born to such variety of sorrows.

_Mr. Seal._ If I have been the least occasion—-

_Ind._ No, ’twas Heaven’s high will I should be such; to be plundered
in my cradle! tossed on the seas! and even there an infant captive! to
lose my mother, hear but of my father! to be adopted! lose my adopter!
then plunged again into worse calamities!

_Mr. Seal._ An infant captive!

_Ind._ Yet then, to find the most charming of mankind, once more to
set me free from what I thought the last distress, to load me with his
services, his bounties, and his favours; to support my very life in a
way that stole, at the same time, my very soul itself from me.

_Mr. Seal._ And has young Bevil been this worthy man?

_Ind._ Yet then, again, this very man to take another! without leaving
me the right, the pretence of easing my fond heart with tears! For,
oh! I can’t reproach him, though the same hand that raised me to this
height now throws me down the precipice.

_Mr. Seal._ Dear lady! Oh, yet one moment’s patience: my heart grows
full with your affliction.–But yet there’s something in your story
that—-

_Ind._ My portion here is bitterness and sorrow.

_Mr. Seal._ Do not think so. Pray answer me: does Bevil know your name
and family?

_Ind._ Alas! too well! Oh, could I be any other thing than what I
am—-I’ll tear away all traces of my former self, my little ornaments,
the remains of my first state, the hints of what I ought to have
been—-

[_In her disorder she throws away a bracelet, which_ SEALAND _takes
up, and looks earnestly on it._

_Mr. Seal._ Ha! what’s this? My eyes are not deceived! It is, it is
the same! the very bracelet which I bequeathed to my wife at our last
mournful parting.

_Ind._ What said you, sir? Your wife? Whither does my fancy carry me?
What means this unfelt motion at my heart? And yet, again my fortune
but deludes me; for if I err not, sir, your name is Sealand; but my
lost father’s name was—-

_Mr. Seal._ Danvers; was it not?

_Ind._ What new amazement? That is, indeed, my family.

_Mr. Seal._ Know, then, when my misfortunes drove me to the Indies, for
reasons too tedious now to mention, I changed my name of Danvers into
Sealand.

_Enter_ ISABELLA.

_Isab._ If yet there wants an explanation of your wonder, examine well
this face (yours, sir, I well remember), gaze on and read in me your
sister, Isabella.

_Mr. Seal._ My sister!

_Isab._ But here’s a claim more tender yet—-your Indiana, sir, your
long-lost daughter.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh, my child! my child!

_Ind._ All gracious Heaven! is it possible! do I embrace my father?

_Mr. Seal._ And I do hold thee.–These passions are too strong for
utterance. Rise, rise, my child, and give my tears their way.–Oh, my
sister! [_Embracing her._

_Isab._ Now, dearest niece, my groundless fears, my painful cares no
more shall vex thee. If I have wronged thy noble lover with too much
suspicion, my just concern for thee, I hope, will plead my pardon.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh! make him, then, the full amends, and be yourself the
messenger of joy. Fly this instant! tell him all these wondrous turns
of Providence in his favour! Tell him I have now a daughter to bestow
which he no longer will decline; that this day he still shall be a
bridegroom; nor shall a fortune, the merit which his father seeks,
be wanting. Tell him the reward of all his virtues waits on his
acceptance. [_Exit_ ISAB.] My dearest Indiana! [_Turns and embraces
her._

_Ind._ Have I, then, at last, a father’s sanction on my love? His
bounteous hand to give, and make my heart a present worthy of Bevil’s
generosity?

_Mr. Seal._ Oh, my child! how are our sorrows past o’erpaid by such a
meeting! Though I have lost so many years of soft paternal dalliance
with thee, yet, in one day to find thee thus, and thus bestow thee, in
such perfect happiness, is ample, ample reparation!–And yet, again,
the merit of thy lover—-

_Ind._ Oh! had I spirits left to tell you of his actions! how strongly
filial duty has suppressed his love; and how concealment still has
doubled all his obligations; the pride, the joy of his alliance, sir,
would warm your heart, as he has conquered mine.

_Mr. Seal._ How laudable is love when born of virtue! I burn to embrace
him—-

_Ind._ See, sir, my aunt already has succeeded, and brought him to your
wishes.

_Enter_ ISABELLA, _with_ SIR JOHN BEVIL, BEVIL, JUN., MRS. SEALAND,
CIMBERTON, MYRTLE, _and_ LUCINDA.

_Sir J. Bev._ [_Entering._] Where, where’s this scene of wonder? Mr.
Sealand, I congratulate, on this occasion, our mutual happiness—-Your
good sister, sir, has, with the story of your daughter’s fortune,
filled us with surprise and joy. Now all exceptions are removed; my son
has now avowed his love, and turned all former jealousies and doubts to
approbation; and, I am told, your goodness has consented to reward him.

_Mr. Seal._ If, sir, a fortune equal to his father’s hopes can make
this object worthy his acceptance.

_Bev. Jun._ I hear your mention, sir, of fortune, with pleasure only
as it may prove the means to reconcile the best of fathers to my love.
Let him be provident, but let me be happy.–My ever-destined, my
acknowledged wife! [_Embracing_ INDIANA.

_Ind._ Wife! Oh, my ever loved! My lord! my master!

_Sir J. Bev._ I congratulate myself, as well as you, that I had a son
who could, under such disadvantages, discover your great merit.

_Mr. Seal._ Oh, Sir John! how vain, how weak is human prudence! What
care, what foresight, what imagination could contrive such blest
events, to make our children happy, as Providence in one short hour has
laid before us?

_Cimb._ [_To_ MRS. SEALAND.] I am afraid, madam, Mr. Sealand is a
little too busy for our affair. If you please, we’ll take another
opportunity.

_Mrs. Seal._ Let us have patience, sir.

_Cimb._ But we make Sir Geoffry wait, madam.

_Myrt._ O, sir, I am not in haste.

[_During this,_ BEV., JUN., _presents_ LUCINDA _to_ INDIANA.

_Mr. Seal._ But here! here’s our general benefactor! Excellent young
man, that could be at once a lover to her beauty and a parent to her
virtue.

_Bev. Jun._ If you think that an obligation, sir, give me leave to
overpay myself, in the only instance that can now add to my felicity,
by begging you to bestow this lady on Mr. Myrtle.

_Mr. Seal._ She is his without reserve; I beg he may be sent for.
Mr. Cimberton, notwithstanding you never had my consent, yet there
is, since I last saw you, another objection to your marriage with my
daughter.

_Cimb._ I hope, sir, your lady has concealed nothing from me?

_Mr. Seal._ Troth, sir, nothing but what was concealed from
myself–another daughter, who has an undoubted title to half my estate.

_Cimb._ How, Mr. Sealand? Why, then, if half Mrs. Lucinda’s fortune is
gone, you can’t say that any of my estate is settled upon her. I was
in treaty for the whole; but if that is not to be come at, to be sure
there can be no bargain. Sir, I have nothing to do but take my leave
of your good lady, my cousin, and beg pardon for the trouble I have
given this old gentleman.

_Myrt._ That you have, Mr. Cimberton, with all my heart. [_Discovers
himself._

_All._ Mr. Myrtle!

_Myrt._ And I beg pardon of the whole company that I assumed the
person of Sir Geoffry, only to be present at the danger of this lady
being disposed of, and in her utmost exigence to assert my right to
her; which, if her parents will ratify, as they once favoured my
pretensions, no abatement of fortune shall lessen her value to me.

_Luc._ Generous man!

_Mr. Seal._ If, sir, you can overlook the injury of being in treaty
with one who has meanly left her, as you have generously asserted your
right in her, she is yours.

_Luc._ Mr. Myrtle, though you have ever had my heart, yet now I find I
love you more, because I bring you less.

_Myrt._ We have much more than we want; and I am glad any event has
contributed to the discovery of our real inclinations to each other.

_Mrs. Seal._ Well! however, I’m glad the girl’s disposed of, anyway.
[_Aside._

_Bev._ Myrtle, no longer rivals now, but brothers!

_Myrt._ Dear Bevil, you are born to triumph over me! but now our
competition ceases; I rejoice in the pre-eminence of your virtue, and
your alliance adds charms to Lucinda.

_Sir J. Bev._ Now, ladies and gentlemen, you have set the world a fair
example: your happiness is owing to your constancy and merit; and the
several difficulties you have struggled with evidently show–

Whate’er the generous mind itself denies,
The secret care of Providence supplies.
[_Exeunt._

EPILOGUE.

By MR. WELSTED.

_Intended to be spoken by_ INDIANA.

Our author, whom entreaties cannot move,
Spite of the dear coquetry that you love,
Swears he’ll not frustrate (so he plainly means)
By a loose Epilogue, his decent scenes.
Is it not, sirs, hard fate I meet to-day,
To keep me rigid still beyond the play?
And yet I’m saved a world of pains that way.
I now can look, I now can move at ease,
Nor need I torture these poor limbs to please;
Nor with the hand or foot attempt surprise,
Nor wrest my features, nor fatigue my eyes:
Bless me! what freakish gambols have I played!
What motions tried, and wanton looks betrayed!
Out of pure kindness all! to over-rule
The threatened hiss, and screen some scribbling fool.
With more respect I’m entertained to-night:
Our author thinks I can with ease delight.
My artless looks while modest graces arm,
He says, I need but to appear, and charm.
A wife so formed, by these examples bred,
Pours joy and gladness round the marriage bed;
Soft source of comfort, kind relief from care,
And ’tis her least perfection to be fair.
The nymph with Indiana’s worth who vies,
A nation will behold with Bevil’s eyes.

Continue Reading

Oportet ut is qui audiat cogitet plura quam videat

Steele’s third play, _The Tender Husband: or, the Accomplished Fools, a
Comedy_, was given to Rich, of the Theatre Royal, in March, 1705, and
was produced on April 23, when it ran for five nights, “with several
entertainments of singing by Mrs. Tofts, and dancing”; and again in May
and June. The profits were but small. The play was published by Tonson
on the 9th of May. It was acted several times nearly every year between
1705 and 1736, and occasionally afterwards. In 1760, Garrick appeared
as Sir Harry Gubbin, and in 1802, Charles Kemble and Mrs. Jordan
acted in the piece. Mills (Clerimont, Sen.), Wilks (Capt. Clerimont),
Estcourt (Pounce), Bullock (Sir Harry Gubbin), Pinkethman (Humphry
Gubbin), Norris (Tipkin), Mrs. Powell (Aunt), and Mrs. Oldfield
(Niece), were in the original cast. Steele was indebted for some ideas
in the fourth Act to Molière’s _Sicilien: ou, l’Amour Peintre_, and
possibly to Cibber’s _Careless Husband_, which had recently appeared.
In No. 555 of the _Spectator_ he said that “many applauded strokes” in
the piece were from Addison’s hand. Fielding, Goldsmith, and Sheridan
had Steele’s play in view when they created the characters of Squire
Western, Tony Lumpkin, and Lydia Languish. The phrase “accomplished
fools” had been used by Steele in the _Lying Lover_ (p. 148).

_To_

MR. ADDISON.[78]

SIR,

You’ll be surprised, in the midst of a daily and familiar conversation,
with an address which bears so distant an air as a public dedication.
But to put you out of the pain which I know this will give you, I
assure you I do not design in it, what would be very needless, a
panegyric on yourself, or what, perhaps, is very necessary, a defence
of the play. In the one I should discover too much the concern of an
author, in the other too little the freedom of a friend.

My purpose in this application is only to show the esteem I have for
you, and that I look upon my intimacy with you as one of the most
valuable enjoyments of my life. At the same time I hope I make the
Town no ill compliment for their kind acceptance of this Comedy, in
acknowledging that it has so far raised my opinion of it, as to make me
think it no improper memorial of an inviolable friendship.

I should not offer it to you as such, had I not been very careful to
avoid everything that might look ill-natured, immoral, or prejudicial
to what the better part of mankind hold sacred and honourable.

Poetry, under such restraints, is an obliging service to human society;
especially when it is used, like your admirable vein, to recommend more
useful qualities in yourself, or immortalise characters truly heroic in
others. I am here in danger of breaking my promise to you, therefore
shall take the only opportunity that can offer itself of resisting my
own inclinations, by complying with yours. I am,

SIR,

Your most faithful,

Humble Servant,

RICHARD STEELE.

PROLOGUE.

_Written by_ MR. ADDISON.

_Spoken by_ MR. WILKS.[79]

In the first rise and infancy of farce,
When fools were many, and when plays were scarce,
The raw, unpractised authors could, with ease,
A young and unexperienced audience please;
No single character had e’er been shown,
But the whole herd of fops was all their own;
Rich in originals, they set to view,
In every piece, a coxcomb that was new.

But now our British theatre can boast
Drolls of all kinds, a vast unthinking host!
Fruitful of folly and of vice, it shows
Cuckolds, and cits, and bawds, and pimps, and beaux;
Rough-country knights are found of every shire,
Of every fashion gentle fops appear;
And punks of different characters we meet,
As frequent on the stage as in the pit.
Our modern wits are forced to pick and cull,
And here and there by chance glean up a fool;
Long ere they find the necessary spark,
They search the Town and beat about the Park;
To all his most frequented haunts resort,
Oft dog him to the Ring,[80] and oft to Court;
As love of pleasure or of place invites,
And sometimes catch him taking snuff at White’s.[81]

However, to do you right, the present age
Breeds very hopeful monsters for the stage,
That scorn the paths their dull forefathers trod,
And won’t be blockheads in the common road.
Do but survey this crowded house to-night–
Here’s still encouragement for those that write.

Our author, to divert his friends to-day,
Stocks with variety of fools his play;
And that there may be something gay and new,
Two ladies errant has exposed to view;
The first a damsel, travelled in romance,
The t’other more refined–she comes from France.
Rescue, like courteous knights, the nymph from danger,
And kindly treat, like well-bred men, the stranger.

A SONG.

_Designed for the Fourth Act, but not set._

I.
See, Britons, see, with awful eyes,
Britannia from her seas arise!
Ten thousand billows round me roar,
While winds and waves engage,
That break in froth upon my shore,
And impotently rage.
Such were the terrors which of late
Surrounded my afflicted state;
United fury thus was bent
On my devoted seats,
Till all the mighty force was spent
In feeble swells, and empty threats.

II.
But now, with rising glory crowned,
My joys run high, they know no bound;
Tides of unruly pleasure flow
Through every swelling vein,
New raptures in my bosom glow,
And warm me up to youth again.
Passing pomps my streets adorn;
Captive spoils, in triumph borne,
Standards of Gauls, in fight subdued,
Colours in hostile blood embrued,
Ensigns of tyrannic might,
Foes to equity and right,
In courts of British justice wave on high,
Sacred to law and liberty.
My crowded theatres repeat,
In songs of triumph, the defeat.
Did ever joyful mother see
So bright, so brave a progeny!
Daughters with so much beauty crowned,
Or sons for valour so renowned!

III.
But oh, I gaze and seek in vain
To find, amidst this warlike train,
My absent sons, that used to grace
With decent pride this joyous place:
Unhappy youths! how do my sorrows rise,
Swell my breast, and melt my eyes,
While I your mighty loss deplore?
Wild, and raging with distress
I mourn, I mourn my own success,
And boast my victories no more.
Unhappy youths! far from their native sky,
On Danube’s banks interred they lie.
Germania, give me back my slain,
Give me my slaughtered sons again.
Was it for this they ranged so far,
To free thee from oppressive war?
Germania, &c.

IV.
Tears of sorrow while I shed
O’er the manes of my dead,
Lasting altars let me raise
To my living heroes’ praise;
Heaven give them a longer stay,
As glorious actions to display,
Or perish on as great a day.

_DRAMATIS PERSONÆ._

Sir HARRY GUBBIN, brother-in-law to Mr. TIPKIN.

HUMPHRY GUBBIN, son of Sir HARRY GUBBIN, and suitor to BIDDY TIPKIN,
his cousin.

Mr. TIPKIN, a banker, BIDDY TIPKIN’S uncle.

CLERIMONT, SEN.

Capt. CLERIMONT, brother of CLERIMONT, SEN.

Mr. POUNCE, a lawyer, FAINLOVE’S brother.

Mrs. CLERIMONT.

AUNT (Mrs. TIPKIN).

NIECE (BIDDY TIPKIN), Mr. TIPKIN’S niece.

FAINLOVE, mistress to CLERIMONT, SEN.

JENNY, maid to Mrs. CLERIMONT.

SCENE.–LONDON.

_THE TENDER HUSBAND: OR, THE ACCOMPLISHED FOOLS._

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.–CLERIMONT, SEN.’S _House._

_Enter_ CLERIMONT, SEN. _and_ FAINLOVE.

_Cler. Sen._ Well, Mr. Fainlove, how do you go on in your amour with my
wife?

_Fain._ I am very civil and very distant; if she smiles or speaks, I
bow and gaze at her; then throw down my eyes, as if oppressed by fear
of offence, then steal a look again till she again sees me. This is my
general method.

_Cler. Sen._ And it is right. For such a fine lady has no guard to her
virtue but her pride; therefore you must constantly apply yourself
to that. But, dear Lucy, as you have been a very faithful but a very
costly wench to me, so my spouse also has been constant to my bed, but
careless of my fortune.

_Fain._ Ah! my dear, how could you leave your poor Lucy, and run into
France to see sights, and show your gallantry with a wife? Was not that
unnatural?

_Cler. Sen._ She brought me a noble fortune, and I thought she had a
right to share it; therefore carried her to see the world, forsooth,
and make the tour of France and Italy, where she learned to lose her
money gracefully, to admire every vanity in our sex, and contemn every
virtue in her own, which, with ten thousand other perfections, are the
ordinary improvements of a travelled lady. Now I can neither mortify
her vanity, that I may live at ease with her, or quite discard her,
till I have catched her a little enlarging her innocent freedoms, as
she calls ’em. For this end I am content to be a French husband, though
now and then with the secret pangs of an Italian one; and therefore,
sir, or madam, you are thus equipped to attend and accost her ladyship.
It concerns you to be diligent. If we wholly part–I need say no more.
If we do not–I’ll see thee well provided for.

_Fain._ I’ll do all I can, I warrant you, but you are not to expect
I’ll go much among the men.

_Cler. Sen._ No, no; you must not go near men; you are only (when
my wife goes to a play) to sit in a side box with pretty fellows. I
don’t design you to personate a real man, you are only to be a pretty
gentleman; not to be of any use or consequence in the world, as to
yourself, but merely as a property to others; such as you see now and
then have a life in the entail of a great estate, that seem to have
come into the world only to be tags in the pedigree of a wealthy house.
You must have seen many of that species.

_Fain._ I apprehend you; such as stand in assemblies, with an indolent
softness and contempt of all around them; who make a figure in public
and are scorned in private; I have seen such a one with a pocket glass
to see his own face, and an effective perspective to know others.
[_Imitates each._

_Cler. Sen._ Ay, ay, that’s my man–thou dear rogue.

_Fain._ Let me alone; I’ll lay my life I’ll horn you–that is, I’ll
make it appear I might if I could.

_Cler. Sen._ Ay, that will please me quite as well.

_Fain._ To show you the progress I have made, I last night won of her
five hundred pounds, which I have brought you safe. [_Giving him bills._

_Cler. Sen._ Oh the damned vice! That women can imagine all household
care, regard to posterity, and fear of poverty, must be sacrificed to
a game at cards! Suppose she had not had it to pay, and you had been
capable of finding your account another way?

_Fain._ That’s but a suppose–

_Cler. Sen._ I say, she must have complied with everything you asked.

_Fain._ But she knows you never limit her expenses.–I’ll gain him from
her for ever if I can. [_Aside._

_Cler. Sen._ With this you have repaid me two thousand pounds, and if
you did not refund thus honestly, I could not have supplied her. We
must have parted.

_Fain._ Then you shall part–if t’other way fails–[_Aside._]–However,
I can’t blame your fondness of her, she has so many entertaining
qualities with her vanity. Then she has such a pretty unthinking air,
while she saunters round a room, and prattles sentences.

_Cler. Sen._ That was her turn from her infancy; she always had a great
genius for knowing everything but what it was necessary she should. The
wits of the age, the great beauties, and short-lived people of vogue,
were always her discourse and imitation. Thus the case stood when she
went to France; but her fine follies improved so daily, that though I
was then proud of her being called Mr. Clerimont’s wife, I am now as
much out of countenance to hear myself called Mrs. Clerimont’s husband,
so much is the superiority of her side.

_Fain._ I am sure if ever I gave myself a little liberty, I never found
you so indulgent.

_Cler. Sen._ I should have the whole sex on my back, should I pretend
to retrench a lady so well visited as mine is. Therefore I must bring
it about that it shall appear her own act, if she reforms; or else I
shall be pronounced jealous, and have my eyes pulled out for being
open. But I hear my brother Jack coming, who, I hope, has brought yours
with him–Hist, not a word.

_Enter_ CAPTAIN CLERIMONT _and_ POUNCE.

_Cler._ I have found him out at last, brother, and brought you the
obsequious Mr. Pounce; I saw him at a distance in a crowd, whispering
in their turns with all about him. He is a gentleman so received, so
courted, and so trusted—-

_Pounce._ I am very glad if you saw anything like that, if the
approbation of others can recommend me (where I much more desire it) to
this company.

_Cler._ Oh, the civil person–But, dear Pounce, you know I am your
professed admirer; I always celebrated you for your excellent skill and
address, for that happy knowledge of the world, which makes you seem
born for living with the persons you are with, wherever you come. Now
my brother and I want your help in a business that requires a little
more dexterity than we ourselves are masters of.

_Pounce._ You know, sir, my character is helping the distressed, which
I do freely and without reserve; while others are for distinguishing
rigidly on the justice of the occasion, and so lose the grace of the
benefit. Now ’tis my profession to assist a free-hearted young fellow
against an unnatural long-lived father; to disencumber men of pleasure
of the vexation of unwieldy estates; to support a feeble title to an
inheritance; to—-

_Cler. Sen._ I have been well acquainted with your merits, ever since
I saw you with so much compassion prompt a stammering witness in
Westminster Hall, that wanted instruction. I love a man that can
venture his ears with so much bravery for his friend.

_Pounce._ Dear sir, spare my modesty, and let me know to what all this
panegyric tends.

_Cler. Sen._ Why, sir, what I would say is in behalf of my brother, the
Captain, here, whose misfortune it is that I was born before him.

_Pounce._ I am confident he had rather you should have been so than any
other man in England.

_Cler._ You do me justice, Mr. Pounce, but though ’tis to that
gentleman, I am still a younger brother, and you know we that are so,
are generally condemned to shops, colleges, or inns of court.

_Pounce._ But you, sir, have escaped ’em, you have been trading in the
noble mart of glory.

_Cler._ That’s true. But the general makes such haste to finish the
war, that we red coats may be soon out of fashion; and then I am a
fellow of the most easy indolent disposition in the world! I hate all
manner of business.

_Pounce._ A composed temper, indeed!

_Cler._ In such a case I should have no way of livelihood, but calling
over this gentleman’s dogs in the country, drinking his stale beer to
the neighbourhood, or marrying a fortune.

_Cler. Sen._ To be short, Pounce–I am putting Jack upon marriage, and
you are so public an envoy, or rather plenipotentiary, from the very
different nations of Cheapside, Covent Garden, and St. James’s; you
have, too, the mien and language of each place so naturally, that you
are the properest instrument I know in the world, to help an honest
young fellow to favour in one of ’em, by credit in the other.

_Pounce._ By what I understand of your many prefaces, gentlemen, the
purpose of all this is, that it would not in the least discompose this
gentleman’s easy indolent disposition to fall into twenty thousand
pounds, though it came upon him never so suddenly.

_Cler._ You are a very discerning man; how could you see so far through
me, as to know I love a fine woman, pretty equipage, good company, and
a clean habitation?

_Pounce._ Well, though I am so much a conjurer–what then?

_Cler. Sen._ You know a certain person, into whose hands you now and
then recommend a young heir, to be relieved from the vexation of
tenants, taxes, and so forth—-

_Pounce._ What! My worthy friend and city patron Hezekiah Tipkin,
banker in Lombard Street; would the noble Captain lay any sums in his
hands?

_Cler._ No; but the noble Captain would have treasure out of his hands.
You know his niece?

_Pounce._ To my knowledge ten thousand pounds in money.

_Cler._ Such a stature, such a blooming countenance, so easy a shape!

_Pounce._ In jewels of her grandmother’s five thousand.

_Cler._ Her wit so lively, her mien so alluring!

_Pounce._ In land a thousand a year.

_Cler._ Her lips have that certain prominence, that swelling softness
that they invite to a pressure; her eyes that languish, that they give
pain, though they look only inclined to rest; her whole person that one
charm—-

_Pounce._ Raptures! Raptures!

_Cler._ How can it, so insensibly to itself, lead us through cares it
knows not, through such a wilderness of hopes, fears, joys, sorrows,
desires, despairs, ecstasies and torments, with so sweet, yet so
anxious vicissitude!

_Pounce._ Why, I thought you had never seen her?

_Cler._ No more I han’t.

_Pounce._ Who told you then of her inviting lips, her soft sleepy eyes?

_Cler._ You yourself.

_Pounce._ Sure you rave, I never spoke of her afore to you.

_Cler._ Why, you won’t face me down–Did you not just now say she had
ten thousand pounds in money, five in jewels, and a thousand a year?

_Pounce._ I confess my own stupidity and her charms. Why, if you were
to meet, you would certainly please her, you have the cant of loving;
but pray, may we be free–that young gentleman.

_Cler._ A very honest, modest gentleman of my acquaintance, one that
has much more in him than he appears to have. You shall know him
better, sir; this is Mr. Pounce; Mr. Pounce, this is Mr. Fainlove; I
must desire you to let him be known to you and your friends.

_Pounce._ I shall be proud. Well then, since we may be free, you must
understand, the young lady, by being kept from the world, has made a
world of her own. She has spent all her solitude in reading romances,
her head is full of shepherds, knights, flowery meads, groves, and
streams, so that if you talk like a man of this world to her, you do
nothing.

_Cler._ Oh, let me alone–I have been a great traveller in fairy-land
myself, I know Oroondates; Cassandra, Astræa and Clelia[82] are my
intimate acquaintance.

Go my heart’s envoys, tender sighs make haste,
And with your breath swell the soft zephyr’s blast;
Then near that fair one if you chance to fly,
Tell her, in whispers, ’tis for her I die.

_Pounce._ That would do, that would do–her very language.

_Cler. Sen._ Why then, dear Pounce, I know thou art the only man living
that can serve him.

_Pounce._ Gentlemen, you must pardon me, I am soliciting the marriage
settlement between her and a country booby, her cousin, Humphry Gubbin,
Sir Harry’s heir, who is come to town to take possession of her.

_Cler. Sen._ Well, all that I can say to the matter is, that a thousand
pounds on the day of Jack’s marriage to her, is more than you’ll get by
the despatch of those deeds.

_Pounce._ Why, a thousand pounds is a pretty thing, especially when
’tis to take a lady fair out of the hands of an obstinate ill-bred
clown, to give her to a gentle swain, a dying enamoured knight.

_Cler. Sen._ Ay, dear Pounce, consider but that–the justice of the
thing.

_Pounce._ Besides, he is just come from the glorious Blenheim![83] Look
ye, Captain, I hope you have learned an implicit obedience to your
leaders.

_Cler._ ‘Tis all I know.

_Pounce._ Then, if I am to command, make not one step without me. And
since we may be free, I am also to acquaint you, there will be more
merit in bringing this matter to bear than you imagine. Yet right
measures make all things possible.

_Cler._ We’ll follow yours exactly.

_Pounce._ But the great matter against us is want of time, for the
nymph’s uncle, and ‘squire’s father, this morning met, and made an end
of the matter. But the difficulty of a thing, Captain, shall be no
reason against attempting it.

_Cler._ I have so great an opinion of your conduct, that I warrant you
we conquer all.

_Pounce._ I am so intimately employed by old Tipkin, and so necessary
to him, that I may, perhaps, puzzle things yet.

_Cler. Sen._ I have seen thee cajole the knave very dexterously.

_Pounce._ Why, really, sir, generally speaking, ’tis but knowing what
a man thinks of himself, and giving him that, to make him what else
you please. Now Tipkin is an absolute Lombard Street wit, a fellow
that drolls on the strength of fifty thousand pounds. He is called on
‘change, Sly-boots, and by the force of a very good credit, and very
bad conscience, he is a leading person. But we must be quick, or he’ll
sneer old Sir Harry out of his senses, and strike up the sale of his
niece immediately.

_Cler._ But my rival, what’s he?

_Pounce._ There’s some hopes there, for I hear the booby is as averse
as his father is inclined to it. One is as obstinate as the other is
cruel.

_Cler. Sen._ He is, they say, a pert blockhead, and very lively out of
his father’s sight.

_Pounce._ He that gave me his character called him a docile dunce, a
fellow rather absurd, than a direct fool. When his father’s absent,
he’ll pursue anything he’s put upon. But we must not lose time. Pray
be you two brothers at home to wait for any notice from me, while that
pretty gentleman and I, whose face I have known, take a walk and look
about for ’em–So, so, young lady. [_Aside to_ FAINLOVE.] [_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–_St. James’s Park._

_Enter_ SIR HARRY GUBBIN _and_ TIPKIN.

_Sir Har._ Look ye, brother Tipkin, as I told you before, my business
in town is to dispose of an hundred head of cattle, and my son.

_Tip._ Brother Gubbin, as I signified to you in my last, bearing date
September 13th, my niece has a thousand pounds per annum, and because
I have found you a plain-dealing man (particularly in the easy pad
you put into my hands last summer), I was willing you should have
the refusal of my niece, provided that I have a discharge from all
retrospects while her guardian, and one thousand pounds for my care.

_Sir Har._ Ay, but brother, you rate her too high, the war has fetched
down the price of women; the whole nation is overrun with petticoats;
our daughters lie upon our hands, Brother Tipkin; girls are drugs, sir,
mere drugs.

_Tip._ Look ye, Sir Harry, let girls be what they will, a thousand
pounds a year, is a thousand pounds a year; and a thousand pounds a
year is neither girl nor boy.

_Sir Har._ Look ye, Mr. Tipkin, the main article with me is, that
foundation of wive’s rebellion, and husband’s cuckoldom, that cursed
pin-money. Five hundred pounds per annum pin-money!

_Tip._ The word pin-money, Sir Harry, is a term.

_Sir Har._ It is a term, brother, we never had in our family, nor
ever will. Make her jointure in widowhood accordingly large, but four
hundred pounds a year is enough to give no account of.

_Tip._ Well, Sir Harry, since you can’t swallow these pins, I will
abate to four hundred pounds.

_Sir Har._ And to mollify the article, as well as specify the uses,
we’ll put in the names of several female utensils, as needles,
knitting-needles, tape, thread, scissors, bodkins, fans, play-books,
with other toys of that nature. And now, since we have as good as
concluded on the marriage, it will not be improper that the young
people see each other.

_Tip._ I don’t think it prudent till the very instant of marriage, lest
they should not like one another.

_Sir Har._ They shall meet–As for the young girl, she cannot dislike
Numps; and for Numps, I never suffered him to have anything he liked in
his life. He’ll be here immediately; he has been trained up from his
childhood under such a plant as this, in my hand–I have taken pains in
his education.

_Tip._ Sir Harry, I approve your method; for since you have left
off hunting you might otherwise want exercise, and this is a subtle
expedient to preserve your own health and your son’s good manners.

_Sir Har._ It has been the custom of the Gubbins to preserve severity
and discipline in their families: I myself was caned the day before my
wedding.

_Tip._ Ay, Sir Harry, had you not been well cudgelled in your youth,
you had never been the man you are.

_Sir Har._ You say right, sir, now I feel the benefit of it. There’s
a crab-tree near your house which flourishes for the good of my
posterity, and has brushed our jackets from father to son, for several
generations.

_Tip._ I am glad to hear you have all things necessary for the family
within yourselves.

_Sir Har._ Oh, yonder, I see Numps is coming–I have dressed him in the
very suit I had on at my own wedding; ’tis a most becoming apparel.

_Enter_ HUMPHRY GUBBIN.

_Tip._ Truly, the youth makes a good marriageable figure.

_Sir Har._ Come forward, Numps; this is your uncle Tipkin, your
mother’s brother, Numps, that is so kind as to bestow his niece upon
you.–Don’t be so glum, sirrah, don’t bow to a man with a face as if
you’d knock him down, don’t, sirrah. [_Apart._

_Tip._ I am glad to see you, cousin Humphry.–He is not talkative, I
observe already.

_Sir Har._ He is very shrewd, sir, when he pleases.–Do you see
this crab-stick, you dog? [_Apart._]–Well, Numps, don’t be out of
humour.–Will you talk? [_Apart._]–Come, we’re your friends, Numps;
come, lad.

_Hump._ You are a pure fellow for a father. This is always your tricks,
to make a great fool of one before company. [_Apart to his father._

_Sir Har._ Don’t disgrace me, sirrah, you grim, graceless
rogue–[_Apart._]–Brother, he has been bred up to respect and silence
before his parents. Yet did you but hear what a noise he makes
sometimes in the kitchen, or the kennel–he’s the loudest of ’em all.

_Tip._ Well, Sir Harry, since you assure me he can speak, I’ll take
your word for it.

_Hump._ I can speak when I see occasion, and I can hold my tongue when
I see occasion.

_Sir Har._ Well said, Numps–Sirrah, I see you can do well, if you
will. [_Apart._

_Tip._ Pray walk up to me, cousin Humphry.

_Sir Har._ Ay, walk to and fro between us with your hat under your
arm.–Clear up your countenance. [_Apart._

_Tip._ I see, Sir Harry, you han’t set him a-capering under a French
dancing-master. He does not mince it. He has not learned to walk by a
courant or a boree.[84] His paces are natural, Sir Harry.

_Hump._ I don’t know, but ’tis so we walk in the West of England.

_Sir Har._ Ay, right, Numps, and so we do. Ha! ha! ha! Pray, brother,
observe his make, none of your lath-backed wishy-washy breed. Come
hither, Numps–Can’t you stand still? [_Apart._]
[_Measuring his shoulders._

_Tip._ I presume this is not the first time, Sir Harry, you have
measured his shoulders with your cane.

_Sir Mar._ Look ye, brother, two foot and a-half in the shoulders.

_Tip._ Two foot and a-half? We must make some settlement on the younger
children.

_Sir Har._ Not like him, quotha’!

_Tip._ He may see his cousin when he pleases.

_Hump._ But harkee, uncle, I have a scruple I had better mention before
marriage than after.

_Tip._ What’s that? What’s that?

_Hump._ My cousin, you know, is akin to me, and I don’t think it lawful
for a young man to marry his own relations.[85]

_Sir Har._ Harkee, harkee, Numps, we have got a way to solve all
that.–Sirrah! Consider this cudgel! Your cousin! suppose I’d have you
marry your grandmother; what then? [_Apart._

_Tip._ Well, has your father satisfied you in the point, Mr. Humphry?

_Hump._ Ay, ay, sir, very well. I have not the least scruple remaining;
no, no–not in the least, sir.

_Tip._ Then harkee, brother, we’ll go take a whet and settle the whole
affair.

_Sir Har._ Come, we’ll leave Numps here: he knows the way–Not marry
your own relations, sirrah! [_Apart._ [_Exeunt._

_Hump._ Very fine, very fine! How prettily this park is stocked with
soldiers, and deer, and ducks, and ladies!–Ha! where are the old
fellows gone? where can they be tro’—-I’ll ask these people.

_Enter_ POUNCE _and_ FAINLOVE.

_Hump._ Ha, you pretty young gentleman, did you see my father?

_Fain._ Your father, sir?

_Hump._ A weazel-faced cross old gentleman with spindle-shanks?

_Fain._ No, sir.

_Hump._ A crab-tree stick in his hand?

_Pounce._ We han’t met anybody with these marks; but sure I have seen
you before–Are not you Mr. Humphry Gubbin, son and heir to Sir Henry
Gubbin?

_Hump._ I am his son and heir–but how long I shall be so I can’t tell,
for he talks every day of disinheriting me.

_Pounce._ Dear sir, let me embrace you–Nay, don’t be offended if I
take the liberty to kiss you. Mr. Fainlove, pray [FAINLOVE _kisses_]
kiss the gentleman–Nay, dear sir, don’t stare and be surprised, for I
have had a desire to be better known to you ever since I saw you one
day clinch your fist at your father when his back was turned upon you;
for I must own I very much admire a young gentleman of spirit.

_Hump._ Why, sir, would it not vex a man to the heart to have an old
fool snubbing a body every minute afore company?

_Pounce._ Oh fie, he uses you like a boy.

_Hump._ Like a boy! He lays me on now and then as if I were one of his
hounds. You can’t think what a rage he was in this morning because I
boggled a little at marrying my own cousin.

_Pounce._ A man can’t be too scrupulous, Mr. Humphry–a man can’t be
too scrupulous.

_Hump._ Sir, I could as soon love my own flesh and blood; we should
squabble like brother and sister; do you think we should not?
Mr.—-Pray, gentlemen, may I crave the favour of your names?

_Pounce._ Sir, I am the very person that has been employed to draw up
the articles of marriage between you and your cousin.

_Hump._ Ay, say you so? Then you can inform me in some things
concerning myself–Pray, sir, what estate am I heir to?

_Pounce._ To fifteen hundred pounds a year, an entailed estate.

_Hump._ I am glad to hear it with all my heart; and can you satisfy me
in another question–Pray how old am I at present?

_Pounce._ Three-and-twenty last March.

_Hump._ Why, as sure as you are there, they have kept me back. I have
been told by some of the neighbourhood that I was born the very year
the pigeon-house was built, and everybody knows the pigeon-house is
three-and-twenty. Why! I find there have been tricks played me. I have
obeyed him all along, as if I had been obliged to it.

_Pounce._ Not at all, sir; your father can’t cut you out of one acre of
fifteen hundred pounds a year.

_Hump._ What a fool have I been to give him his head so long!

_Pounce._ A man of your beauty and fortune may find out ladies enough
that are not akin to you.

_Hump._ Look ye, Mr. what d’ye call–as to my beauty, I don’t know but
they may take a liking to that. But, sir, mayn’t I crave your name?

_Pounce._ My name, sir, is Pounce, at your service.

_Hump._ Pounce, with a P?

_Pounce._ Yes, sir, and Samuel, with an S.

_Hump._ Why, then, Mr. Samuel Pounce, do you know any gentlewoman that
you think I could like? For, to tell you truly, I took an antipathy to
my cousin ever since my father proposed her to me; and since everybody
knows I came up to be married, I don’t care to go down and look balked.

_Pounce._ I have a thought just come into my head–Do you see this
young gentleman? He has a sister, a prodigious fortune. ‘Faith, you two
shall be acquainted.

_Fain._ I can’t pretend to expect so accomplished a gentleman as Mr.
Humphry for my sister, but being your friend, I’ll be at his service in
the affair.

_Hump._ If I had your sister, she and I should live like two turtles.

_Pounce._ Mr. Humphry, you shan’t be fooled any longer; I’ll carry you
into company. Mr. Fainlove, you shall introduce him to Mrs. Clerimont’s
toilet.

_Fain._ She’ll be highly taken with him; for she loves a gentleman
whose manner is particular.

_Pounce._ What, sir, a person of your pretensions, a clear estate,
no portions to pay! ‘Tis barbarous, your treatment.–Mr. Humphry,
I’m afraid you want money. There’s for you–What, a man of your
accomplishments! [_Giving a purse._

_Hump._ And yet you see, sir, how they use me. Dear sir, you are the
best friend I ever met with in all my life. Now I am flush of money,
bring me to your sister, and I warrant you for my behaviour–A man’s
quite another thing with money in his pocket, you know.

_Pounce._ How little the oaf wonders why I should give him money!
[_Aside_].–You shall never want, Mr. Humphry, while I have it, Mr.
Humphry; but dear friend, I must take my leave of you; I have some
extraordinary business on my hands. I can’t stay; but you must not say
a word.

_Fain._ But you must be in the way half-an-hour hence, and I’ll
introduce you at Mrs. Clerimont’s.

_Pounce._ Make ’em believe you are willing to have your cousin Bridget,
till opportunity serves. Farewell, dear friend. [_Exit_ POUNCE _and_
FAIN.

_Hump._ Farewell, good Mr. Samuel Pounce.–But let’s see my cash–
’tis very true, the old saying, a man meets with more friendship from
strangers than his own relations–Let’s see my cash: 1, 2, 3, 4, there
on that side; 1, 2, 3, 4, on that side; ’tis a foolish thing to put
all one’s money in one pocket; ’tis like a man’s whole estate in one
county–These five in my fob–I’ll keep these in my hand, lest I should
have a present occasion.–But this town’s full of pickpockets; I’ll go
home again. [_Exit whistling._

ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE.–_The Park._

_Enter_ POUNCE, _and_ CAPTAIN CLERIMONT _with his arm in a scarf._

_Pounce._ You are now well enough instructed both in the aunt and niece
to form your behaviour.

_Cler._ But to talk with her apart is the great matter.

_Pounce._ The antiquated virgin has a mighty affectation for youth,
and is a great lover of men and money–One of these, at least, I am
sure I can gratify her in, by turning her pence in the annuities, or
the stocks of one of the companies; some way or other I’ll find to
entertain her, and engage you with the young lady.

_Cler._ Since that is her ladyship’s turn, so busy and fine a gentleman
as Mr. Pounce must needs be in her good graces.

_Pounce._ So shall you too–but you must not be seen with me at first
meeting; I’ll dog ’em, while you watch at a distance. [_Exeunt._

_Enter_ AUNT _and_ NIECE.

_Niece._ Was it not my gallant that whistled so charmingly in the
parlour before he went out this morning? He’s a most accomplished
cavalier.

_Aunt._ Come, niece, come; you don’t do well to make sport with your
relations, especially with a young gentleman that has so much kindness
for you.

_Niece._ Kindness for me! What a phrase is there to express the darts
and flames, the sighs and languishings, of an expecting lover!

_Aunt._ Pray, niece, forbear this idle trash, and talk like other
people. Your cousin Humphry will be true and hearty in what he says,
and that’s a great deal better than the talk and compliment of romances.

_Niece._ Good madam, don’t wound my ears with such expressions; do you
think I can ever love a man that’s true and hearty? What a peasant-like
amour do these coarse words import! True and hearty! Pray, aunt,
endeavour a little at the embellishment of your style.

_Aunt._ Alack-a-day, cousin Biddy, these idle romances have quite
turned your head.[86]

_Niece._ How often must I desire you, madam, to lay aside that familiar
name, cousin Biddy? I never hear it without blushing–Did you ever meet
with a heroine in those idle romances, as you call ’em, that was termed
Biddy?

_Aunt._ Ah! cousin, cousin, these are mere vapours, indeed; nothing but
vapours.

_Niece._ No, the heroine has always something soft and engaging in
her name; something that gives us a notion of the sweetness of her
beauty and behaviour; a name that glides through half-a-dozen tender
syllables, as Elismonda, Clidamira, Deidamia, that runs upon vowels
off the tongue; not hissing through one’s teeth, or breaking them with
consonants. ‘Tis strange rudeness those familiar names they give us,
when there is Aurelia, Sacharissa, Gloriana, for people of condition;
and Celia, Chloris, Corinna, Mopsa, for their maids and those of lower
rank.

_Aunt._ Look ye, Biddy, this is not to be supported. I know not where
you learned this nicety; but I can tell you, forsooth, as much as you
despise it, your mother was a Bridget afore you, and an excellent
house-wife.

_Niece._ Good madam, don’t upbraid me with my mother Bridget, and an
excellent house-wife.

_Aunt._ Yes, I say she was; and spent her time in better learning
than you ever did–not in reading of fights and battles of dwarfs and
giants, but in writing out receipts for broths, possets, caudles, and
surfeit-waters, as became a good country gentlewoman.

_Niece._ My mother, and a Bridget!

_Aunt._ Yes, niece, I say again, your mother, my sister, was a Bridget!
the daughter of her mother Margery, of her mother Sisly, of her mother
Alice.

_Niece._ Have you no mercy? Oh, the barbarous genealogy!

_Aunt._ Of her mother Winifred, of her mother Joan.

_Niece._ Since you will run on, then I must needs tell you I am not
satisfied in the point of my nativity. Many an infant has been placed
in a cottage with obscure parents, till by chance some ancient servant
of the family has known it by its marks.

_Aunt._ Ay, you had best be searched–That’s like your calling the
winds the fanning gales, before I don’t know how much company; and the
tree that was blown by it had, forsooth, a spirit imprisoned in the
trunk of it.

_Niece._ Ignorance!

_Aunt._ Then a cloud this morning had a flying dragon in it.

_Niece._ What eyes had you, that you could see nothing? For my part I
look upon it to be a prodigy, and expect something extraordinary will
happen to me before night.–But you have a gross relish of things. What
noble descriptions in romances had been lost, if the writers had been
persons of your goût?

_Aunt._ I wish the authors had been hanged, and their books burnt,
before you had seen ’em.

_Niece._ Simplicity!

_Aunt._ A parcel of improbable lies.

_Niece._ Indeed, madam, your raillery is coarse—-

_Aunt._ Fit only to corrupt young girls, and fill their heads with a
thousand foolish dreams of I don’t know what.

_Niece._ Nay, now, madam, you grow extravagant.

_Aunt._ What I say is not to vex, but advise you for your good.

_Niece._ What, to burn Philocles, Artaxeres, Oroondates, and the rest
of the heroic lovers, and take my country booby, cousin Humphry, for a
husband!

_Aunt._ Oh dear, oh dear, Biddy! Pray, good dear, learn to act and
speak like the rest of the world; come, come, you shall marry your
cousin and live comfortably.

_Niece._ Live comfortably! What kind of life is that? A great heiress
live comfortably! Pray, aunt, learn to raise your ideas–What is, I
wonder, to live comfortably?

_Aunt._ To live comfortably is to live with prudence and frugality, as
we do in Lombard Street.

_Niece._ As we do! That’s a fine life, indeed, with one servant of each
sex. Let’s see how many things our coachman is good for–He rubs down
his horses, lays the cloth, whets the knives, and sometimes makes beds.

_Aunt._ A good servant should turn his hand to everything in a family.

_Niece._ Nay, there’s not a creature in our family that has not two or
three different duties. As John is butler, footman, and coachman, so
Mary is cook, laundress, and chamber-maid.

_Aunt._ Well, and do you laugh at that?

_Niece._ No, not I; nor at the coach-horses, though one has an
easy trot for my uncle’s riding, and t’other an easy pace for your
side-saddle.

_Aunt._ And so you jeer at the good management of your relations, do
you?

_Niece._ No, I’m well satisfied that all the house are creatures of
business; but, indeed, was in hopes that my poor little lap-dog might
have lived with me upon my fortune without an employment; but my uncle
threatens every day to make him a turn-spit, that he too, in his
sphere, may help us to live comfortably.

_Aunt._ Hark ye, cousin Biddy.

_Niece._ I vow I’m out of countenance when our butler, with his careful
face, drives us all stowed in a chariot drawn by one horse ambling
and t’other trotting, with his provisions behind for the family, from
Saturday night till Monday morning, bound for Hackney–then we make a
comfortable figure, indeed.

_Aunt._ So we do, and so will you always, if you marry your cousin
Humphry.

_Niece._ Name not the creature.

_Aunt._ Creature! What, your own cousin a creature!

_Niece._ Oh, let’s be going. I see yonder another creature that does my
uncle’s law business, and has, I believe, made ready the deeds–those
barbarous deeds!

_Aunt._ What, Mr. Pounce a creature too! Nay, now I’m sure you’re
ignorant. You shall stay, and you’ll learn more wit from him in an
hour, than in a thousand of your foolish books in an age—-Your
servant, Mr. Pounce.

_Enter_ POUNCE.

_Pounce._ Ladies, I hope I don’t interrupt any private discourse.

_Aunt._ Not in the least, sir.

_Pounce._ I should be loth to be esteemed one of those who think they
have a privilege of mixing in all companies, without any business but
to bring forth a loud laugh or vain jest.

_Niece._ He talks with the mien and gravity of a Paladin. [_Aside._

_Pounce._ Madam, I bought the other day at three and a-half, and sold
at seven—-

_Aunt._ Then pray sir, sell for me in time. Niece, mind him; he has an
infinite deal of wit.

_Pounce._ This that I speak of was for you. I never neglect such
opportunities to serve my friends.

_Aunt._ Indeed, Mr. Pounce, you are, I protest without flattery, the
wittiest man in the world.

_Pounce._ I assure you, madam, I said last night, before an hundred
head of citizens, that Mrs. Barsheba Tipkin was the most ingenious
young lady in the Liberties.

_Aunt._ Well, Mr. Pounce, you are so facetious–But you are always
among the great ones; ’tis no wonder you have it.

_Niece._ Idle! Idle!

_Pounce._ But, madam, you know Alderman Grey-Goose, he’s a notable
joking man. Well, says he, here’s Mrs. Barsheba’s health; she’s my
mistress.

_Aunt._ That man makes me split my sides with laughing, he’s such a
wag.–Mr. Pounce pretends Grey-Goose said all this, but I know ’tis his
own wit, for he’s in love with me. [_Aside._

_Pounce._ But, madam, there’s a certain affair I should communicate to
you. [_Apart._

_Aunt._ Ay, ’tis certainly so–he wants to break his mind to me.
[_Aside._]

[CAPTAIN CLERIMONT _passing._

_Pounce._ Oh, Mr. Clerimont, Mr. Clerimont—-Ladies, pray let me
introduce this young gentleman; he’s my friend, a youth of great virtue
and goodness, for all he’s in a red coat.

_Aunt._ If he’s your friend we need not doubt his virtue.

_Cler._ Ladies, you are taking the cool breath of the morning.

_Niece._ A pretty phrase. [_Aside._

_Aunt._ That’s the pleasantest time this warm weather.

_Cler._ Oh, ’tis the season of the pearly dews and gentle zephyrs.

_Niece._ Ay! pray mind that again, aunt. [_Aside._

_Pounce._ Shan’t we repose ourselves on yonder seat? I love improving
company, and to communicate.

_Aunt._ ‘Tis certainly so. He’s in love with me, and wants opportunity
to tell me so [_Aside._]–I don’t care if we do–He’s a most ingenious
man. [_Aside._ [_Exeunt_ AUNT _and_ POUNCE.

_Cler._ We enjoy here, madam, all the pretty landscapes of the country
without the pains of going thither.

_Niece._ Art and nature are in a rivalry, or rather a confederacy, to
adorn this beauteous park with all the agreeable variety of water,
shade, walks, and air. What can be more charming than these flowery
lawns?

_Cler._ Or these gloomy shades—-

_Niece._ Or these embroidered valleys—-

_Cler._ Or that transparent stream—-

_Niece._ Or these bowing branches on the banks of it, that seem to
admire their own beauty in the crystal mirror?

_Cler._ I am surprised, madam, at the delicacy of your phrase. Can such
expressions come from Lombard Street?

_Niece._ Alas, sir! what can be expected from an innocent virgin that
has been immured almost one-and-twenty years from the conversation of
mankind, under the care of an Urganda[87] of an aunt?

_Cler._ Bless me, madam, how have you been abused! Many a lady before
your age has had an hundred lances broken in her service, and as many
dragons cut to pieces in honour of her.

_Niece._ Oh, the charming man! [_Aside._

_Cler._ Do you believe Pamela was one-and-twenty before she knew
Musidorus?[88]

_Niece._ I could hear him ever. [_Aside._

_Cler._ A lady of your wit and beauty might have given occasion for a
whole romance in folio before that age.

_Niece._ Oh, the powers! Who can he be?–Oh, youth unknown–But let
me, in the first place, know whom I talk to, for, sir, I am wholly
unacquainted both with your person and your history. You seem, indeed,
by your deportment, and the distinguishing mark of your bravery which
you bear, to have been in a conflict. May I not know what cruel beauty
obliged you to such adventures till she pitied you?

_Cler._ Oh, the pretty coxcomb! [_Aside._]–Oh, Blenheim, Blenheim! Oh,
Cordelia, Cordelia!

_Niece._ You mention the place of battle. I would fain hear an exact
description of it. Our public papers are so defective; they don’t so
much as tell us how the sun rose on that glorious day–Were there not a
great many flights of vultures before the battle began?

_Cler._ Oh, madam, they have eaten up half my acquaintance.

_Niece._ Certainly never birds of prey were so feasted; by report, they
might have lived half-a-year on the very legs and arms our troops left
behind ’em.

_Cler._ Had we not fought near a wood we should never have got legs
enough to have come home upon. The joiner of the Foot Guards has made
his fortune by it.

_Niece._ I shall never forgive your General. He has put all my ancient
heroes out of countenance; he has pulled down Cyrus and Alexander, as
much as Louis-le-Grand–But your own part in that action?

_Cler._ Only that slight hurt, for the astrologer said at my nativity,
nor fire, nor sword, nor pike, nor musket shall destroy this child, let
him but avoid fair eyes—-But, madam, mayn’t I crave the name of her
that has so captivated my heart?

_Niece._ I can’t guess whom you mean by that description; but if you
ask my name, I must confess you put me upon revealing what I always
keep as the greatest secret I have–for would you believe it, they have
called me–I don’t know how to own it, but they have called me–Bridget.

_Cler._ Bridget?

_Niece._ Bridget.

_Cler._ Bridget?

_Niece._ Spare my confusion, I beseech you, sir; and if you have
occasion to mention me, let it be by Parthenissa,[89] for that’s the
name I have assumed ever since I came to years of discretion.

_Cler._ The insupportable tyranny of parents, to fix names on helpless
infants which they must blush at all their lives after! I don’t think
there’s a surname in the world to match it.

_Niece._ No! What do you think of Tipkin?

_Cler._ Tipkin! Why, I think if I was a young lady that had it I’d part
with it immediately.

_Niece._ Pray, how would you get rid of it?

_Cler._ I’d change it for another. I could recommend to you three very
pretty syllables–What do you think of Clerimont?

_Niece._ Clerimont! Clerimont! Very well–but what right have I to it?

_Cler._ If you will give me leave, I’ll put you in possession of it. By
a very few words I can make it over to you, and your children after you.

_Niece._ O fie! Whither are you running? You know a lover should sigh
in private, and languish whole years before he reveals his passion; he
should retire into some solitary grove, and make the woods and wild
beasts his confidants. You should have told it to the echo half-a-year
before you had discovered it, even to my handmaid. And yet besides–to
talk to me of children! Did you ever hear of a heroine with a big belly?

_Cler._ What can a lover do, madam, now the race of giants is extinct?
Had I lived in those days there had not been a mortal six foot high,
but should have owned Parthenissa for the paragon of beauty, or
measured his length on the ground—-Parthenissa should have been
heard by the brooks and deserts at midnight, the echo’s burden and the
river’s murmur.

_Niece._ That had been a golden age, indeed! But see, my aunt has left
her grave companion and is coming toward us—-I command you to leave
me.

_Cler._ Thus Oroondates, when Statira[90] dismissed him her presence,
threw himself at her feet, and implored permission but to live.
[_Offering to kneel._

_Niece._ And thus Statira raised him from the earth, permitting him to
live and love. [_Exit_ CLER.

_Enter_ AUNT.

_Aunt._ Is not Mr. Pounce’s conversation very improving, niece?

_Niece._ Is not Clerimont a very pretty name, aunt?

_Aunt._ He has so much prudence.

_Niece._ He has so much gallantry.

_Aunt._ So sententious in his expressions.

_Niece._ So polished in his language.

_Aunt._ All he says is, methinks, so like a sermon.

_Niece._ All he speaks savours of romance.

_Aunt._ Romance, niece? Mr. Pounce! what savours of romance?

_Niece._ No, I mean his friend, the accomplished Mr. Clerimont.

_Aunt._ Fie, for one of your years to commend a young fellow!

_Niece._ One of my years is mightily governed by example! You did not
dislike Mr. Pounce.

_Aunt._ What, censorious too? I find there is no trusting you out of
the house–A moment’s fresh air does but make you still the more in
love with strangers, and despise your own relations.

_Niece._ I am certainly by the power of an enchantment placed among
you, but I hope I, this morning, employed one to seek adventures, and
break the charm.

_Aunt._ Vapours, Biddy, indeed! Nothing but vapours. Cousin Humphry
shall break the charm.

_Niece._ Name him not–Call me still Biddy rather than name that brute.
[_Exeunt_ AUNT _and_ NIECE.

_Enter_ CAPTAIN CLERIMONT _and_ POUNCE.

_Cler._ A perfect Quixote in petticoats! I tell thee, Pounce, she
governs herself wholly by romance–it has got into her very blood. She
starts by rule, and blushes by example. Could I but have produced one
instance of a lady’s complying at first sight, I should have gained her
promise on the spot. How am I bound to curse the cold constitutions of
the Philocleas and Statiras? I am undone for want of precedents.

_Pounce._ I am sure I laboured hard to favour your conference, and
plied the old woman all the while with something that tickled either
her vanity or her covetousness; I considered all the stocks, Old and
New Company, her own complexion and youth, partners for sword-blades,
Chamber of London, banks for charity, and mine adventures, till she
told me I had the repute of the most facetious man that ever came to
Garraway’s[91]–For you must know public knaves and stock-jobbers pass
for wits at her end of the town, as common cheats and gamesters do at
yours.

_Cler._ I pity the drudgery you have gone through; but what’s next to
be done towards getting my pretty heroine?

_Pounce._ What should next be done in ordinary method of things? You
have seen her; the next regular approach is that you cannot subsist a
moment without sending forth musical complaints of your misfortune by
way of serenade.

_Cler._ I can nick you there, sir. I have a scribbling army friend that
has writ a triumphant, rare, noisy song in honour of the late victory,
that will hit the nymph’s fantasque to a hair. I’ll get everything
ready as fast as possible.

_Pounce._ While you are playing upon the fort, I’ll be within and
observe what execution you do, and give you intelligence accordingly.

_Cler._ You must have an eye upon Mr. Humphry while I feed the vanity
of Parthenissa; for I am so experienced in these matters that I know
none but coxcombs think to win a woman by any desert of their own–No,
it must be done rather by complying with some prevailing humour of your
mistress, than exerting any good quality in yourself.

‘Tis not the lover’s merit wins the field,
But to themselves alone the beauteous yield.

ACT THE THIRD.

SCENE I.–MRS. CLERIMONT’S _Room._

_Enter_ MRS. CLERIMONT, FAINLOVE _(carrying her lap-dog), and_ JENNY.

_Jen._ Madam, the footman that’s recommended to you is below, if your
ladyship will please to take him.

_Mrs. Cler._ O fie; don’t believe I’ll think on’t. It is impossible
he should be good for anything–The English are so saucy with their
liberty–I’ll have all my lower servants French. There cannot be a good
footman born out of an absolute monarchy.

_Jen._ I am beholden to your ladyship for believing so well of the
maidservants in England.

_Mrs. Cler._ Indeed, Jenny, I could wish thou wert really French; for
thou art plain English in spite of example. Your arms do but hang
on, and you move perfectly upon joints; not with a swim of the whole
person–But I am talking to you, and have not adjusted myself to-day:
What pretty company a glass is, to have another self! [_Kisses the
dog._] To converse in soliloquy! To have company that never contradicts
or displeases us! The pretty visible echo of our actions! [_Kisses the
dog._] How easy, too, it is to be disencumbered with stays, where a
woman has anything like shape; if no shape, a good air–But I look best
when I’m talking. [_Kisses the lap-dog in_ FAINLOVE’S _arms._

_Jen._ You always look well.

_Mrs. Cler._ For I’m always talking, you mean so; that disquiets thy
sullen English temper; but I don’t really look so well when I am
silent. If I do but offer to speak, then I may say that–Oh, bless me,
Jenny, I am so pale, I am afraid of myself–I have not laid on half red
enough–What a dough-baked thing was I before I improved myself, and
travelled for beauty! However, my face is very prettily designed to-day.

_Fain._ Indeed, madam, you begin to have so fine an hand, that you are
younger every day than other.

_Mrs. Cler._ The ladies abroad used to call me Mademoiselle Titian, I
was so famous for my colouring; but prithee, wench, bring me my black
eyebrows out of the next room.[92]

_Jen._ Madam, I have ’em in my hand.

_Fain._ It would be happy for all that are to see you to-day, if you
could change your eyes, too.

_Mrs. Cler._ Gallant enough–no, hang it, I’ll wear these I have on;
this mode of visage takes mightily. I had three ladies last week came
over to my complexion. I think to be a fair woman this fortnight, till
I find I’m aped too much–I believe there are an hundred copies of me
already.

_Jen._ Dear madam, won’t your ladyship please to let me be of the next
countenance you leave off?

_Mrs. Cler._ You may, Jenny; but I assure you it is a very pretty piece
of ill-nature, for a woman that has any genius for beauty to observe
the servile imitation of her manner, her motion, her glances, and her
smiles.

_Fain._ Ay, indeed, madam, nothing can be so ridiculous as to imitate
the inimitable.

_Mrs. Cler._ Indeed, as you say, Fainlove, the French mien is no more
to be learned than the language, without going thither. Then, again, to
see some poor ladies who have clownish, penurious, English husbands,
turn and torture their old clothes into so many forms, and dye ’em into
so many colours, to follow me–What say’st, Jenny? What say’st? Not a
word?

_Jen._ Why, madam, all that I can say—-

_Mrs. Cler._ Nay, I believe, Jenny, thou hast nothing to say any more
than the rest of thy country-women. The splenatics speak just as
the weather lets ’em; they are mere talking barometers. Abroad the
people of quality go on so eternally, and still go on, and are gay and
entertain. In England discourse is made up of nothing but question
and answer. I was t’other day at a visit, where there was a profound
silence, for, I believe, the third part of a minute.

_Jen._ And your ladyship there?

_Mrs. Cler._ They infected me me with their dulness; who can keep up
their good humour at an English visit? They sit as at a funeral,
silent in the midst of many candles. One, perhaps, alarms the
room–“‘Tis very cold weather”–then all the mutes play their fans till
some other question happens, and then the fans go off again.

_Boy._ Madam, your spinet-master is come.

_Mrs. Cler._ Bring him in; he’s very pretty company.

_Fain._ His spinet is; he never speaks himself.

_Mrs. Cler._ Speak, simpleton! What then; he keeps out silence,
does not he?–Oh, sir, you must forgive me; I have been very idle.
Well, you pardon me. [_Master bows._] Did you think I was perfect in
the song? [_Bows_]–but pray let me hear it once more. Let us see
it—-[_Reads._

SONG.

With studied airs, and practised smiles,
Flavia my ravished heart beguiles;
The charms we make, are ours alone,
Nature’s works are not our own;
Her skilful hand gives every grace,
And shows her fancy in her face.
She feeds with art an amourous rage,
Nor fears the force of coming age.

You sing it very well; but, I confess, I wish you’d give more in to the
French manner–Observe me hum it à-la-Française.

“With studied airs,” &c.

The whole person, every limb, every nerve sings. The English way is
only being for that time a mere musical instrument, just sending forth
a sound without knowing they do so. Now I’ll give you a little of it,
like an Englishwoman: You are to suppose I’ve denied you twenty times,
looked silly, and all that–then, with hands and face insensible–I
have a mighty cold.

“With studied airs” &c.

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Ser._ Madam, Captain Clerimont and a very strange gentleman are come
to wait on you.

_Mrs. Cler._ Let him and the very strange gentleman come in.

_Fain._ Oh! madam, that’s the country gentleman I was telling you of.

_Enter_ HUMPHRY _and_ CAPTAIN CLERIMONT.

_Fain._ Madam, may I do myself the honour to recommend Mr. Gubbin, son
and heir to Sir Harry Gubbin, to your ladyship’s notice?

_Mrs. Cler._ Mr. Gubbin, I am extremely pleased with your suit; ’tis
antique, and originally from France.

_Hump._ It is always locked up, madam, when I’m in the country. My
father prizes it mightily.

_Mrs. Cler._ ‘Twould make a very pretty dancing suit in a masque. Oh!
Captain Clerimont, I have a quarrel with you.

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Ser._ Madam, your ladyship’s husband desires to know whether you see
company to-day or not?

_Mrs. Cler._ Who, you clown?

_Ser._ Mr. Clerimont, madam.

_Mrs. Cler._ He may come in.

_Enter_ CLERIMONT, SEN.

_Mrs. Cler._ Your very humble servant.

_Cler. Sen._ I am going to take the air this morning in my coach, and
did myself the honour, before I went, to receive your commands, finding
you saw company.

_Mrs. Cler._ At any time when you know I do, you may let me see
you. Pray, how did you sleep last night?–If I had not asked him
that question they might have thought we lay together. [_Aside.
Here_ FAINLOVE, _looking through a perspective, bows to_ CLERIMONT,
SEN.]–But captain, I have a quarrel with you–I have utterly forgot
those three coupees[93] you promised to come again and show me.

_Cler. Sen._ Then, madam, you have no commands this morning?

_Mrs. Cler._ Your humble servant, sir–But, oh! [_As she is going to be
led by the Captain._] Have you signed that mortgage to pay off my Lady
Faddle’s winnings at ombre?

_Cler. Sen._ Yes, madam.

_Mrs. Cler._ Then all’s well; my honour’s safe. [_Exit_ CLERIMONT,
SEN.] Come, captain, lead me this step, for I’m apt to make a false
one; you shall show me.

_Cler._ I’ll show you, madam; ’tis no matter for a fiddle; I’ll give
you ’em the French way, in a teaching tune. Pray, more quick–Oh,
mademoiselle, que faites-vous?–A moi–There again–Now slide, as it
were, with and without measure–There you outdid the gipsy; and you
have all the smiles of the dance to a tittle.

_Mrs. Cler._ Why, truly, I think that the greatest part. I have seen an
English woman dance a jig with the severity of a vestal virgin.

_Hump._ If this be French dancing and singing, I fancy I could do it.
Haw! haw! [_Capers aside._

_Mrs. Cler._ I protest, Mr. Gubbin, you have almost the step, without
any of our country bashfulness. Give me your hand. Haw! haw! So, so;
a little quicker. That’s right, haw!–Captain, your brother delivered
this spark to me, to be diverted here till he calls for him. [_Exit_
CLERIMONT.

_Hump._ This cutting so high makes one’s money jingle confoundedly. I’m
resolved I’ll never carry above one pocketful hereafter.

_Mrs. Cler._ You do it very readily; you amaze me.

_Hump._ Are the gentlemen in France generally so well bred as we are in
England? Are they, madam, ha?–But, young gentleman, when shall I see
this sister? Haw! haw! haw! Is not the higher one jumps the better?

_Fain._ She’ll be mightily taken with you, I’m sure. One would not
think ’twas in you–you’re so gay, and dance so very high.

_Hump._ What should ail me? Did you think I was wind-galled? I can
sing, too, if I please; but I won’t till I see your sister–This is a
mighty pretty house.

_Mrs. Cler._ Well, do you know that I like this gentleman extremely? I
should be glad to inform him–But were you never in France, Mr. Gubbin?

_Hump._ No; but I’m always thus pleasant, if my father’s not by.–[_To_
FAINLOVE.] I protest I’d advise your sister to have me: I’m for
marrying her at once. Why should I stand shilly-shally, like a country
bumpkin?

_Fain._ Mr. Gubbin, I daresay she’ll be as forward as you; we’ll go in
and see her. [_Apart._

_Mrs. Cler._ Then he has not yet seen the lady he is in love with! I
protest very new and gallant–Mr. Gubbin, she must needs believe you a
frank person–Fainlove, I must see this sister, too, I’m resolved she
shall like him.

There needs not time true passion to discover;
The most believing is the most a lover.

SCENE II.–NIECE’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ NIECE.

_Niece._ Oh, Clerimont! Clerimont! To be struck at first sight! I’m
ashamed of my weakness; I find in myself all the symptoms of a raging
amour. I love solitude, I grow pale, I sigh frequently, I call upon the
name of Clerimont when I don’t think of it–His person is ever in my
eyes, and his voice in my ears–Methinks I long to lose myself in some
pensive grove, or to hang over the head of some warbling fountain, with
a lute in my hand, softening the murmurs of the water.

_Enter_ AUNT.

_Aunt._ Biddy, Biddy; where’s Biddy Tipkin?

_Niece._ Whom do you inquire for?

_Aunt._ Come, come; he’s just a-coming at the Park door.

_Niece._ Who is coming?

_Aunt._ Your cousin Humphry. Who should be coming? Your lover, your
husband that is to be–Pray, my dear, look well, and be civil for your
credit, and mine too.

_Niece._ If he answers my idea, I shall rally the rustic to death.

_Aunt._ Hist–Here he is.

_Enter_ HUMPHRY.

_Hump._ Aunt, your humble servant. Is that–ha! Aunt?

_Aunt._ Yes, cousin Humphry, that’s your cousin Bridget–Well, I’ll
leave you together. [_Exit_ AUNT. _They sit._

_Hump._ Aunt does as she’d be done by, cousin Bridget, does not she,
cousin? Ha! What, are you a Londoner, and not speak to a gentleman?
Look ye, cousin, the old folks resolving to marry us, I thought it
would be proper to see how I liked you, as not caring to buy a pig in a
poke, for I love to look before I leap.

_Niece._ Sir, your person and address bring to my mind the whole
history of Valentine and Orson.[94] What, would they marry me to a wild
man? Pray answer me a question or two.

_Hump._ Ay, ay; as many as you please, cousin Bridget.

_Niece._ What wood were you taken in? How long have you been caught?

_Hump._ Caught!

_Niece._ Where were your haunts?

_Hump._ My haunts!

_Niece._ Are not clothes very uneasy to you? Is this strange dress the
first you ever wore?

_Hump._ How?

_Niece._ Are you not a great admirer of roots, and raw flesh? Let me
look upon your nails–Don’t you love blackberries, haws, and pig-nuts,
mightily?

_Hump._ How?

_Niece._ Can’st thou deny that thou wert suckled by a wolf? You have
not been so barbarous, I hope, since you came among men, as to hunt
your nurse, have you?

_Hump._ Hunt my nurse? Ay, ’tis so, she’s distracted, as sure as a gun.
Hark ye, cousin, pray will you let me ask you a question or two?

_Niece._ If thou hast yet learned the use of language, speak, monster.

_Hump._ How long have you been thus?

_Niece._ Thus! What would’st thou say?

_Hump._ What’s the cause of it? Tell me truly, now; did you never love
anybody before me?

_Niece._ Go, go, thou’rt a savage. [_Rises._

_Hump._ They never let you go abroad, I suppose.

_Niece._ Thou’rt a monster, I tell thee.

_Hump._ Indeed, cousin, though ’tis a folly to tell thee so–I am
afraid thou art a mad woman.

_Niece._ I’ll have thee carried into some forest.

_Hump._ I’ll take thee into a dark room.

_Niece._ I hate thee.

_Hump._ I wish you did–There’s no hate lost, I assure you, cousin
Bridget.

_Niece._ Cousin Bridget, quoth’a! I’d as soon claim kindred with a
mountain bear–I detest thee.

_Hump._ You never do any harm in these fits, I hope.–But do you hate
me in earnest?

_Niece._ Dost thou ask it, ungentle forester?

_Hump._ Yes; for I’ve a reason, look ye. It happens very well if you
hate me and are in your senses, for, to tell you truly, I don’t much
care for you; and there is another fine woman, as I am informed, that
is in some hopes of having me.

_Niece._ This merits my attention. [_Aside._

_Hump._ Look ye, d’ye see–as I said, since I don’t care for you,
I would not have you set your heart on me; but if you like anybody
else let me know it, and I’ll find out a way for us to get rid of one
another, and deceive the old folks that would couple us.

_Niece._ This wears the face of an amour.–There is something in that
thought which makes thy presence less insupportable.

_Hump._ Nay, nay, now you’re growing fond; if you come with these
maid’s tricks, to say you hate at first and afterwards like me, you’ll
spoil the whole design.

_Niece._ Don’t fear it–When I think of consorting with thee, may the
wild boar defile the cleanly ermine; may the tiger be wedded to the
kid.

_Hump._ When I of thee, may the pole-cat caterwaul with the civet.

_Niece._ When I harbour the least thought of thee, may the silver
Thames forget its course.

_Hump._ When I like thee, may I be soused over head and ears in a
horsepond–But do you hate me?

_Enter_ AUNT.

_Niece._ For ever; and you me?

_Hump._ Most heartily.

_Aunt._ Ha! I like this. They are come to promises and protestations.
[_Aside._

_Hump._ I am very glad I have found a way to please you.

_Niece._ You promise to be constant?

_Hump._ Till death.

_Niece._ Thou best of savages!

_Hump._ Thou best of savages! Poor Biddy.

_Aunt._ Oh! the pretty couple, joking on one another–Well, how do you
like your cousin Humphry now?

_Niece._ Much better than I thought I should. He’s quite another thing
than what I took him for–We have both the same passion for one another.

_Hump._ We wanted only an occasion to open our hearts, aunt.

_Aunt._ Oh, how this will rejoice my brother and Sir Harry! we’ll go to
’em.

_Hump._ No, I must fetch a walk with a new acquaintance, Mr. Samuel
Pounce.

_Aunt._ An excellent acquaintance for your husband; come, niece, come.

_Niece._ Farewell, rustic.

_Hump._ Bye, Biddy.

_Aunt._ Rustic! Biddy! Ha! ha! pretty creatures. [_Exeunt._

ACT THE FOURTH.

SCENE.–_A Street._

_Enter_ CAPTAIN CLERIMONT _and_ POUNCE.

_Cler._ Does she expect me then, at this very instant?

_Pounce._ I tell you, she ordered me to bring the painter at this very
hour, precisely, to draw her niece; for, to make her picture peculiarly
charming, she has now that downcast pretty shame, that warm cheek,
glowing with the fear and hope of to-day’s fate, with the inviting, coy
affection of a bride, all in her face at once. Now I know you are a
pretender that way.

_Cler._ Enough, I warrant, to personate the character on such an
inspiring occasion.

_Pounce._ You must have the song I spoke of performed at this window,
at the end of which I’ll give you a signal. Everything is ready for
you; your pencil, your canvas stretched, your—-Be sure you play
your part in humour. To be a painter for a lady, you’re to have the
excessive flattery of a lover, the ready invention of a poet, and the
easy gesture of a player.

_Cler._ Come, come, no more instructions, my imagination out-runs all
you can say. Be gone, be gone! [_Exit_ POUNCE.

A SONG.

I.
Why, lovely charmer, tell me why,
So very kind, and yet so shy?
Why does that cold forbidding air
Give damps of sorrow and despair?
Or why that smile my soul subdue,
And kindle up my flames anew?

II.
In vain you strive with all your art,
By turns to freeze and fire my heart:
When I behold a face so fair,
So sweet a look, so soft an air,
My ravished soul is charmed all o’er,
I cannot love thee less nor more.

[_After the song_ POUNCE _appears beckoning the_ CAPTAIN.]

_Pounce._ Captain, captain. [_Exit_ CAPTAIN.

SCENE II.–NIECE’S _Lodgings; two chairs and a table._

_Enter_ AUNT _and_ NIECE.

_Aunt._ Indeed, niece, I am as much overjoyed to see your wedding day
as if it were my own.

_Niece._ But why must it be huddled up so?

_Aunt._ Oh, my dear, a private wedding is much better; your mother had
such a bustle at hers, with feasting and fooling. Besides, they did not
go to bed till two in the morning.

_Niece._ Since you understand things so well, I wonder you never
married yourself.

_Aunt._ My dear, I was very cruel thirty years ago, and nobody has
asked me since.

_Niece._ Alas-a-day!

_Aunt._ Yet, I assure you, there was a great many matches proposed
to me: There was Sir Gilbert Jolly, but he, forsooth, could not
please; he drank ale and smoked tobacco, and was no fine gentleman,
forsooth–But then, again, there was young Mr. Peregrine Shapely, who
had travelled, and spoke French, and smiled at all I said; he was a
fine gentleman–but then he was consumptive. And yet again, to see how
one may be mistaken; Sir Jolly died in half-a-year, and my Lady Shapely
has by that thin slip eight children, that should have been mine–but
here’s the bridegroom.–So, cousin Humphry!

_Enter_ HUMPHRY.

_Hump._ Your servant, ladies. So, my dear—-

_Niece._ So, my savage–

_Aunt._ O fie, no more of that to your husband, Biddy.

_Hump._ No matter, I like it as well as duck or love; I know my cousin
loves me as well as I do her.

_Aunt._ I’ll leave you together; I must go and get ready an
entertainment for you when you come home. [_Exit._

_Hump._ Well, cousin, are you constant? Do you hate me still?

_Niece._ As much as ever.

_Hump._ What an happiness it is, when peoples’ inclinations jump! I
wish I knew what to do with you. Can you get nobody, d’ye think, to
marry you?

_Niece._ Oh! Clerimont, Clerimont! Where art thou? [_Aside._

_Enter_ AUNT _and_ CAPTAIN CLERIMONT, _disguised._

_Aunt._ This, sir, is the lady whom you are to draw. You see, sir, as
good flesh and blood as a man would desire to put in colours–I must
have her maiden picture.

_Hump._ Then the painter must make haste. Ha, cousin!

_Niece._ Hold thy tongue, good savage.

_Cler._ Madam, I’m generally forced to new-mould every feature, and
mend nature’s handiwork; but here she has made so finished an original,
that I despair of my copies coming up to it.

_Aunt._ Do you hear that, niece?

_Niece._ I don’t desire you to make graces where you find none.

_Cler._ To see the difference of the fair sex! I protest to you, madam,
my fancy is utterly exhausted with inventing faces for those that sit
to me. The first entertainment I generally meet with, are complaints
for want of sleep; they never looked so pale in their lives, as when
they sit for their pictures. Then so many touches and retouches, when
the face is finished. That wrinkle ought not to have been, those eyes
are too languid, that colour’s too weak, that side-look hides the mole
on the left cheek. In short, the whole likeness is struck out–But in
you, madam, the highest I can come up to will be but rigid justice.

_Hump._ A comical dog this!

_Aunt._ Truly, the gentleman seems to understand his business.

_Niece._ Sir,[95] if your pencil flatters like your tongue, you are
going to draw a picture that won’t be at all like me–Sure I have heard
that voice somewhere. [_Aside._

_Cler._ Madam, be pleased to place yourself near me; nearer still,
madam, here falls the best light. You must know, madam, there are three
kinds of airs which the ladies most delight in: There is your haughty,
your mild, and your pensive air. The haughty may be expressed with
the head a little more erect than ordinary, and the countenance with
a certain disdain in it, so as she may appear almost, but not quite,
inexorable. This kind of air is generally heightened with a little
knitting of the brows–I gave my lady Scornwell the choice of a dozen
frowns before she could find one to her liking.

_Niece._ But what’s the mild air?

_Cler._ The mild air is composed of a languish, and a smile–But, if
I might advise, I’d rather be a pensive beauty; the pensive usually
feels her pulse, leans on one arm, or sits ruminating with a book in
her hand; which conversation she is supposed to choose rather than the
endless importunities of lovers.

_Hump._ A comical dog!

_Aunt._ Upon my word he understands his business well; I’ll tell you,
niece, how your mother was drawn: she had an orange in her hand,[96]
and a nosegay in her bosom, but a look so pure and fresh-coloured you’d
have taken her for one of the Seasons.

_Cler._ You seem indeed, madam, most inclined to the pensive. The
pensive delights also in the fall of waters, pastoral figures, or any
rural view suitable to a fair lady who, with a delicate spleen, has
retired from the world, as sick of its flattery and admiration.

_Niece._ No; since there is room for fancy in a picture, I would be
drawn like the amazon Thalestris, with a spear in my hand, and an
helmet on a table before me. At a distance behind let there be a dwarf,
holding by the bridle a milk-white palfrey.

_Cler._ Madam, the thought is full of spirit, and if you please, there
shall be a Cupid stealing away your helmet, to show that love should
have a part in all gallant actions.

_Niece._ That circumstance may be very picturesque.

_Cler._ Here, madam, shall be your own picture, here the palfrey, and
here the dwarf–The dwarf must be very little, or we shan’t have room
for him.

_Niece._ A dwarf cannot be too little.

_Cler._ I’ll make him a blackamoor to distinguish him from the other
too powerful dwarf [_Sighs_]–the Cupid–I’ll place that beauteous boy
near you, ’twill look very natural–He’ll certainly take you for his
mother Venus.

_Niece._ I leave these particulars to your own fancy.

_Cler._[97] Please, madam, to uncover your neck a little; a little
lower still–a little, little lower.

_Niece._ I’ll be drawn thus, if you please, sir.

_Cler._ Ladies, have you heard the news of a late marriage between a
young lady of great fortune and a younger brother of a good family?

_Aunt._ Pray, sir, how is it?

_Cler._ This young gentleman, ladies, is a particular acquaintance of
mine, and much about my age and stature (look me full in the face,
madam); he accidentally met the young lady, who had in her all the
perfections of her sex (hold up your head, madam, that’s right);
she let him know that his person and discourse were not altogether
disagreeable to her. The difficulty was how to gain a second interview
(your eyes full upon mine, madam); for never was there such a sigher
in all the valleys of Arcadia as that unfortunate youth, during the
absence of her he loved.

_Aunt._ Alack-a-day! poor young gentleman!

_Niece._ It must be he–what a charming amour is this! [_Aside._

_Cler._ At length, ladies, he bethought himself of an expedient; he
dressed himself just as I am now, and came to draw her picture (your
eyes full upon mine, pray, madam).

_Hump._ A subtle dog, I warrant him.

_Cler._ And by that means found an opportunity of carrying her off, and
marrying her.

_Aunt._ Indeed, your friend was a very vicious young man.

_Niece._ Yet perhaps the young lady was not displeased at what he had
done.

_Cler._ But, madam, what were the transports of the lover when she made
him that confession?

_Niece._ I daresay she thought herself very happy when she got out of
her guardian’s hands.

_Aunt._ ‘Tis very true, niece; there are abundance of those headstrong
young baggages about town.

_Cler._ The gentleman has often told me, he was strangely struck at
first sight, but when she sat to him for her picture, and assumed all
those graces that are proper for the occasion, his torment was so
exquisite, his passion so violent, that he could not have lived a day,
had he not found means to make the charmer of his heart his own.

_Hump._ ‘Tis certainly the foolishest thing in the world to stand
shilly-shally about a woman, when one has a mind to marry her.

_Cler._ The young painter turned poet on the subject; I believe I have
the words by heart.

_Niece._ A sonnet! pray repeat it.[98]

I.
While gentle Parthenissa walks,
And sweetly smiles, and gaily talks,
A thousand shafts around her fly,
A thousand swains unheeded die.

II.
If then she labours to be seen,
With all her killing air and mien;
From so much beauty, so much art,
What mortal can secure his heart?

_Hump._ I fancy if ’twas sung, ‘twould make a very pretty catch.

_Cler._ My servant has a voice; you shall hear it. [_Here it is sung._

_Aunt._ Why this is pretty! I think a painter should never be without
a good singer, it brightens the features strangely–I profess I’m
mightily pleased. I’ll but just step in, and give some orders, and be
with you presently. [_Exit._

_Niece._ Was not this adventurous painter called Clerimont?

_Cler._ It was Clerimont, the servant of Parthenissa; but let me
beseech that beauteous maid to resolve, and make the incident I feigned
to her a real one. Consider, madam, you are environed by cruel and
treacherous guards, which would force you to a disagreeable marriage;
your case is exactly the same with the princess of the Leontines in
_Clelia_.

_Niece._ How can we commit such a solecism against all rules? What, in
the first leaf of our history to have the marriage? You know it cannot
be.

_Cler._ The pleasantest part of the history will be after marriage.

_Niece._ No! I never yet read of a knight that entered tilt or
tournament after wedlock; ’tis not to be expected: when the husband
begins, the hero ends; all that noble impulse to glory, all the
generous passion for adventures, is consumed in the nuptial torch; I
don’t know how it is, but Mars and Hymen never hit it.

_Hump._ [_Listening._] Consumed in the nuptial torch! Mars and Hymen!
What can all this mean? I am very glad I can hardly read. They could
never get these foolish fancies into my head, I had always a strong
brain [_Aside._]–Hark ye, cousin, is not this painter a comical dog?

_Niece._ I think he’s very agreeable company.

_Hump._ Why then I tell you what: marry him–a painter’s a very genteel
calling. He’s an ingenious fellow, and certainly poor. I fancy he’d be
glad on’t; I’ll keep my aunt out of the room a minute or two, that’s
all the time you have to consider. [_Exit._

_Cler._ Fortune points out to us this only occasion of our happiness:
Love’s of celestial origin, and needs no long acquaintance to be
manifest. Lovers, like angels, speak by intuition; their souls are in
their eyes.

_Niece._ Then I fear he sees mine. [_Aside._]–But I can’t think
of abridging our amours, and cutting off all farther decoration of
disguise, serenade, and adventure.

_Cler._ Nor would I willingly lose the merit of long services, midnight
sighs, and plaintive solitudes, were there not a necessity.

_Niece._ Then to be seized by stealth!

_Cler._ Why, madam, you are a great fortune, and should not be married
the common way. Indeed, madam, you ought to be stolen, nay, in
strictness, I don’t know but you ought to be ravished.

_Niece._ But then our history will be so short.

_Cler._ I grant it; but you don’t consider there’s a device in
another’s leading you instead of this person that’s to have you; and,
madam, though our amours can’t furnish out a romance, they’ll make a
very pretty novel–Why smiles my fair?

_Niece._ I am almost of opinion that had Oroondates been as pressing
as Clerimont, Cassandra had been but a pocket-book[99]; but it looks
so ordinary, to go out at a door to be married. Indeed, I ought to be
taken out of a window, and run away with.

_Enter_ HUMPHRY _and_ POUNCE.

_Hump._ Well, cousin, the coach is at the door. If you please I’ll lead
you.

_Niece._ I put myself into your hands, good savage; but you promise to
leave me.

_Hump._ I tell you plainly, you must not think of having me.

_Pounce._ [_To_ CLER.] You’ll have opportunity enough to carry her off;
the old fellows will be busy with me. I’ll gain all the time I can, but
be bold and prosper.

_Niece._ Clerimont, you follow us.

_Cler._ Upon the wings of love.

ACT THE FIFTH.

SCENE I.–CLERIMONT, SEN.’S _House._

_Enter_ CLERIMONT, SEN. _and_ FAINLOVE.

_Cler. Sen._ Then she gave you this letter, and bid you read it as a
paper of verses?

_Fain._ This is the place, the hour, the lucky minute. Now am I rubbing
up my memory, to recollect all you said to me when you first ruined me,
that I may attack her right.

_Cler. Sen._ Your eloquence would be needless; ’tis so unmodish to need
persuasion: Modesty makes a lady embarrassed; but my spouse is above
that, as for example [_Reading her letter_]–

“Fainlove, you don’t seem to want wit; therefore I need say no more
than that distance to a woman of the world is becoming in no man but a
husband: an hour hence come up the back stairs to my closet.

“Adieu, Mon Mignon.”

I am glad you are punctual; I’ll conceal myself to observe your
interview.–O torture! but this wench must not see it. [_Aside._

_Fain._ Be sure you come time enough to save my reputation.

_Cler. Sen._ Remember your orders, “distance becomes no man but a
husband.”

_Fain._ I am glad you are in so good humour on the occasion; but you
know me to be but a bully in love, that can bluster only till the
minute of engagement–but I’ll top my part, and form my conduct by my
own sentiments. If she grows coy, I’ll grow more saucy–’twas so I was
won myself.

_Cler. Sen._ Well, my dear rival, your assignation draws nigh; you are
to put on your transport, your impatient throbbing heart won’t let you
wait her arrival. Let the dull family-thing and husband, who reckons
his moments by his cares, be content to wait; but you are a gallant,
and measure time by ecstasies.

_Fain._ I hear her coming–To your post–good husband, know your duty,
and don’t be in the way when your wife has a mind to be in private–To
your post, into the coal-hole.

_Enter_ MRS. CLERIMONT.

Welcome, my dear, my tender charmer, oh! to my longing arms–feel
the heart pant, that falls and rises as you smile or frown. Oh, the
ecstatic moment!–I think that was something like what has been said to
me. [_Aside._

_Mrs. Cler._ Very well, Fainlove.–I protest I value myself for my
discerning. I knew you had fire through all the respect you showed me;
but how came you to make no direct advances, young gentleman? Why was I
forced to admonish your gallantry?

_Fain._ Why, madam, I knew you a woman of breeding, and above the
senseless niceties of an English wife. The French way is, you are to
go so far, whether you are agreeable or not. If you are so happy as
to please, nobody that is not of a constrained behaviour is at a loss
to let you know it–Besides, if the humble servant makes the first
approaches, he has the impudence of making a request, but not the
honour of obeying a command.

_Mrs. Cler._ Right; a woman’s man should conceal passion in a familiar
air of indifference. Now there’s Mr. Clerimont; I can’t allow him the
least freedom, but the unfashionable fool grows so fond of me he cannot
hide it in public.

_Fain._ Ay, madam, I have often wondered at your ladyship’s choice of
one that seems to have so little of the beau monde in his carriage,
but just what you force him to, while there were so many pretty
gentlemen—-[_Dancing._

_Mrs. Cler._ Oh, young gentleman, you are mightily mistaken, if you
think such animals as you, and pretty Beau Titmouse, and pert Billy
Butterfly, though I suffer you to come in, and play about my rooms, are
any ways in competition with a man whose name one would wear.

_Fain._ O madam! then I find we are—-

_Mrs. Cler._ A woman of sense must have respect for a man of that
character; but alas! respect–what is respect? Respect is not the
thing. Respect has something too solemn for soft moments–you things
are more proper for hours of dalliance.

_Cler. Sen._ [_Peeping._] How have I wronged this fine lady! I find I
am to be a cuckold out of her pure esteem for me.

_Mrs. Cler._ Besides, those fellows for whom we have respect have none
for us. I warrant on such an occasion Clerimont would have ruffled a
woman out of all form, while you—-

_Cler. Sen._ A good hint–now my cause comes on. [_Aside._

_Fain._ Since then you allow us fitter for soft moments, why do we
misemploy ’em? Let me kiss that beauteous hand and clasp that graceful
frame.

_Mrs. Cler._ How, Fainlove! What, you don’t design to be
impertinent–But my lips have a certain roughness on ’em to-day, han’t
they?

_Fain._ [_Kissing._] No, they are all softness; their delicious
sweetness is inexpressible. Here language fails; let me applaud thy
lips, not by the utterance, but by the touch of mine.

_Enter_ CLERIMONT, SEN., _drawing his sword._

_Cler. Sen._ Ha, villain! Ravisher! Invader of my bed and honour! draw.

_Mrs. Cler._ What means this insolence–this intrusion into my privacy?
What, do you come into my very closet without knocking? Who put this
into your head?

_Cler. Sen._ My injuries have alarmed me, and I’ll bear no longer, but
sacrifice your bravado, the author of ’em.

_Mrs. Cler._ Oh! poor Mr. Fainlove! Must he die for his complaisance
and innocent freedoms with me? How could you, if you might? Oh! the
sweet youth! What, fight Mr. Fainlove? What will the ladies say?

_Fain._ Let me come at the intruder on ladies’ private hours. The
unfashionable monster! I’ll prevent all future interruption from
him–Let me come. [_Drawing his sword._

_Mrs. Cler._ Oh the brave pretty creature! Look at his youth and
innocence–he is not made for such rough encounters. Stand behind
me–Poor Fainlove!–There is not a visit in town, sir, where you shall
not be displayed at full length for this intrusion. I banish you for
ever from my sight and bed.

_Cler. Sen._ I obey you, madam, for distance is becoming in no man but
a husband [_Giving her the letter, which she reads, and falls into a
swoon._]–I’ve gone too far–[_Kissing her._]–The impertinent was
guilty of nothing but what my indiscretion led her to. This is the
first kiss I’ve had these six weeks–but she awakes. Well, Jenny, you
topped your part, indeed. Come to my arms, thou ready, willing, fair
one. Thou hast no vanities, no niceties; but art thankful for every
instant of love that I bestow on thee. [_Embracing her._

_Mrs. Cler._ What, am I then abused? Is it a wench then of his? Oh me!
Was ever poor abused wife, poor innocent lady, thus injured! [_Runs and
seizes_ FAINLOVE’S _sword._]

_Cler. Sen._ Oh the brave pretty creature! Hurt Mr. Fainlove! Look at
his youth, his innocence–Ha! ha! [_Interposing._

_Fain._ Have a care, have a care, dear sir–I know by myself she’ll
have no mercy.

_Mrs. Cler._ I’ll be the death of her; let me come on. Stand from
between us, Mr. Clerimont–I would not hurt you. [_Pushing and crying._

_Cler. Sen._ Run, run, Jenny. [_Exit_ JENNY.] [_Looks at her
upbraidingly before he speaks._] Well, madam, are these the innocent
freedoms you claimed of me? Have I deserved this? How has there been
a moment of yours ever interrupted with the real pangs I suffer? The
daily importunities of creditors, who became so by serving your profuse
vanities: did I ever murmur at supplying any of your diversions, while
I believed ’em (as you call ’em) harmless? Must, then, those eyes that
used to glad my heart with their familiar brightness hang down with
guilt? Guilt has transformed thy whole person; nay, the very memory of
it—-Fly from my growing passion!

_Mrs. Cler._ I cannot fly, nor bear it. Oh! look not—-

_Cler. Sen._ What can you say? Speak quickly. [_Offering to draw._

_Mrs. Cler._ I never saw you moved before. Don’t murder me impenitent;
I’m wholly in your power as a criminal, but remember I have been so in
a tender regard.

_Cler. Sen._ But how have you considered that regard?

_Mrs. Cler._ Is it possible you can forgive what you ensnared me into?
Oh, look at me kindly! You know I have only erred in my intention, nor
saw my danger, till, by this honest art, you had shown me what ’tis to
venture to the utmost limit of what is lawful. You laid that train, I’m
sure, to alarm, not to betray, my innocence. Mr. Clerimont, scorn such
baseness! Therefore I kneel–I weep–I am convinced. [_Kneels._

[_Takes her up, embracing her._

_Cler. Sen._ Then kneel, and weep no more, my fairest–my reconciled!
Be so in a moment, for know I cannot (without wringing my own heart)
give you the least compunction. Be in humour. It shall be your own
fault if ever there’s a serious word more on this subject.

_Mrs. Cler._ I must correct every idea that rises in my mind, and learn
every gesture of my body anew–I detest the thing I was.

_Cler. Sen._ No, no; you must not do so. Our joy and grief, honour and
reproach, are the same; you must slide out of your foppery by degrees,
so that it may appear your own act.

_Mrs. Cler._ But this wench!

_Cler. Sen._ She is already out of your way; you shall see the
catastrophe of her fate yourself. But still keep up the fine lady till
we go out of town; you may return to it with as decent airs as you
please.–And now I have shown you your error, I’m in so good humour as
to repeat you a couplet on the occasion–

They only who gain minds, true laurels wear:
‘Tis less to conquer, than convince, the fair.
[_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–TIPKIN’S _House._

_Enter_ POUNCE _with papers; a table, chairs, pen, ink, and paper._

_Pounce._ ‘Tis a delight to gall these old rascals, and set ’em at
variance about stakes, which I know neither of ’em will ever have
possession of.

_Enter_ TIPKIN _and_ SIR HARRY.

_Tip._ Do you design, Sir Harry, that they shall have an estate in
their own hands, and keep house themselves, poor things?

_Sir Har._ No, no, sir, I know better; they shall go down into the
country, and live with me, not touch a farthing of money; but, having
all things necessary provided, they shall go tame about the house, and
breed.

_Tip._ Well, Sir Harry, then considering that all human things are
subject to change, it behoves every man that has a just sense of
mortality to take care of his money.

_Sir Har._ I don’t know what you mean, brother. What do you drive at,
brother?

_Tip._ This instrument is executed by you, your son, and my niece,
which discharges me of all retrospects.

_Sir Har._ It is confessed, brother; but what then?

_Tip._ All that remains is, that you pay me for the young lady’s twelve
years’ board, as also all other charges, as wearing-apparel, &c.

_Sir Har._ What is this you say? Did I give you my discharge from all
retrospects, as you call it? and after all do you come with this and
t’other, and all that? I find you are–I tell you, sir, to your face–I
find you are—-

_Tip._ I find too what you are, Sir Harry.

_Sir Har._ What am I, sir? What am I?

_Tip._ Why, sir, you are angry.

_Sir Har._ Sir, I scorn your words; I am not angry. Mr. Pounce is my
witness; I am as gentle as a lamb. Would it not make any flesh alive
angry, to see a close hunks come after all with a demand of—-

_Tip._ Mr. Pounce, pray inform Sir Harry in this point.

_Pounce._ Indeed, Sir Harry, I must tell you plainly, that Mr. Tipkin,
in this, demands nothing but what he may recover. For though this case
may be considered _multifariam_–that is to say, as ’tis usually,
commonly, _vicatim_, or vulgarly expressed–yet, I say, when we only
observe that the power is settled as the law requires, _assensu
patris_, by the consent of the father, that circumstance imports you
are well acquainted with the advantages which accrue to your family by
this alliance, which corroborates Mr. Tipkin’s demand, and avoids all
objections that can be made.

_Sir Har._ Why then, I find you are his adviser in all this.

_Pounce._ Look ye, Sir Harry, to show you I love to promote among my
clients a good understanding; though Mr. Tipkin may claim four thousand
pounds, I’ll engage for him, and I know him so well, that he shall take
three thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight pounds, four shillings and
eightpence farthing.

_Tip._ Indeed, Mr. Pounce, you are too hard upon me.

_Pounce._ You must consider a little, Sir Harry is your brother.

_Sir Har._ Three thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight pounds, four
shillings and eightpence farthing! For what, I say? For what, sir?

_Pounce._ For what, sir! for what she wanted, sir; a fine lady is
always in want, sir–her very clothes would come to that money in half
the time.

_Sir Har._ Three thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight pounds, four
shillings and eighteenpence farthing for clothes! Pray how many suits
does she wear out in a year?

_Pounce._ Oh! dear sir, a fine lady’s clothes are not old by being
worn, but by being seen.

_Sir Har._ Well, I’ll save her clothes for the future, after I have got
her into the country. I’ll warrant her she shall not appear more in
this wicked town, where clothes are worn out by sight–And as to what
you demand, I tell you, sir, ’tis extortion.

_Tip._ Sir Harry, do you accuse me of extortion?

_Sir Har._ Yes, I say extortion.

_Tip._ Mr. Pounce, write down that; there are very good laws provided
against scandal and calumny–Loss of reputation may tend to loss of
money.

_Pounce._ Item, “for having accused Mr. Tipkin of extortion.”

_Sir Har._ Nay, if you come to your items–look ye, Mr. Tipkin, this
is an inventory of such goods as were left to my niece, Bridget, by
her deceased father, and which I expect shall be forthcoming at her
marriage to my son: Imprimis, “a golden locket of her mother’s, with
something very ingenious in Latin on the inside of it”; item, “a couple
of muskets, with two shoulder-belts and bandoleers”; item, “a large
silver caudle-cup, with a true story engraven on it.”

_Pounce._ But, Sir Harry—-

_Sir Har._ Item, “a bass viol, with almost all the strings to it, and
only a small hole on the back.”

_Pounce._ But nevertheless, sir—-

_Sir Har._ This is the furniture of my brother’s bedchamber that
follows:–“A suite of tapestry hangings, with the story of Judith and
Holofernes, torn only where the head should have been off; an old
bedstead, curiously wrought about the posts, consisting of two load of
timber; a hone, a basin, three razors, and a comb-case”–Look ye, sir,
you see I can item it.

_Pounce._ Alas, Sir Harry, if you had ten quire of items, ’tis all
answered in the word retrospect.

_Sir Har._ Why then, Mr. Pounce and Mr. Tipkin, you are both rascals.

_Tip._ Do you call me rascal, Sir Harry?

_Sir Har._ Yes, sir.

_Tip._ Write it down, Mr. Pounce, at the end of the leaf.

_Sir Har._ If you have room, Mr. Pounce, put down “villain, son of a
whore, curmudgeon, hunks, and scoundrel.”

_Tip._ Not so fast, Sir Harry, he cannot write so fast; you are at the
word “villain”; “son of a whore,” I take it, was next–You may make the
account as large as you please, Sir Harry.

_Sir Har._ Come, come, I won’t be used thus. Hark ye, sirrah,
draw–what do you do at this end of the town without a sword? Draw, I
say–

_Tip._ Sir Harry, you are a military man, a colonel of the Militia.

_Sir Har._ I am so, sirrah, and will run such an extorting dog as you
through the guts, to show the Militia is useful.

_Pounce._ O dear, O dear! How am I concerned to see persons of your
figure thus moved–The wedding is coming in, we’ll settle these things
afterwards.

_Tip._ I am calm.

_Sir Har._ Tipkin, live these two hours, but expect–

_Enter_ HUMPHRY, _leading_ NIECE; MRS. CLERIMONT, _led by_ FAINLOVE;
CAPTAIN CLERIMONT _and_ CLERIMONT, SEN.

_Pounce._ Who are these? Hey-day, who are these, Sir Harry? Ha!

_Sir Har._ Some frolic, ’tis wedding-day; no matter.

_Hump._ Haw! haw! father, master uncle, come, you must stir your
stumps, you must dance–Come, old lads, kiss the ladies.

_Mrs. Cler._ Mr. Tipkin, Sir Harry, I beg pardon for an introduction so
malapropos; I know sudden familiarity is not the English way. Alas, Mr.
Gubbin, this father and uncle of yours must be new modelled; how they
stare, both of them!

_Sir Har._ Hark ye, Numps, who is this you have brought hither? is it
not the famous fine lady, Mrs. Clerimont? What a pox did you let her
come near your wife?

_Hump._ Look ye, don’t expose yourself, and play some mad country prank
to disgrace me before her; I shall be laughed at, because she knows I
understand better.

_Mrs. Cler._ I congratulate, madam, your coming out of the bondage of
a virgin state. A woman can’t do what she will properly till she’s
married.

_Sir Har._ Did you hear what she said to your wife?

_Enter_ AUNT, _before a service of Dishes._

_Aunt._ So, Mr. Bridegroom, pray take that napkin, and serve your
spouse to-day, according to custom.

_Hump._ Mrs. Clerimont, pray know my aunt.

_Mrs. Cler._ Madam, I must beg your pardon; I can’t possibly like all
that vast load of meat that you are sending in to table, besides, ’tis
so offensively sweet, it wants that haut-goût we are so delighted with
in France.[100]

_Aunt._ You’ll pardon it, since we did not expect you–Who is this?
[_Aside._

_Mrs. Cler._ Oh, madam, I only speak for the future; little saucers
are so much more polite. Look ye, I’m perfectly for the French way;
where’er I’m admitted, I take the whole upon me.

_Sir Har._ The French, madam, I’d have you to know—-

_Mrs. Cler._ You’ll not like it at first, out of a natural English
sullenness, but that will come upon you by degrees. When I first went
into France I was mortally afraid of a frog, but in a little time I
could eat nothing else, except salads.

_Aunt._ Eat frogs! have I kissed one that has ate frogs? Paw! paw!

_Mrs. Cler._ Oh, madam, a frog and a salad are delicious fare; ’tis
not long come up in France itself, but their glorious monarch has
introduced the diet which makes ’em so spiritual. He eradicated all
gross food by taxes, and, for the glory of the monarch, sent the
subject a-grazing–but I fear I defer the entertainment and diversion
of the day.

_Hump._ Now father, uncle, before we go any further, I think ’tis
necessary we know who and who’s together; then I give either of you two
hours to guess which is my wife–and ’tis not my cousin; so far I’ll
tell you.

_Sir Har._ How! What do you say? But oh! you mean she is not your
cousin now, she’s nearer akin; that’s well enough. Well said, Numps;
ha! ha! ha!

_Hump._ No, I don’t mean so; I tell you I don’t mean so–My wife hides
her face under her hat. [_All looking at_ FAINLOVE.

_Tip._ What does the puppy mean? His wife under a hat!

_Hump._ Ay, ay, that’s she, that’s she–A good jest, ‘faith!

_Sir Har._ Hark ye, Numps, what dost mean, child? Is that a woman, and
are you really married to her?

_Hump._ I am sure of both.

_Sir Har._ Are you so, sirrah? then, sirrah, this is your wedding
dinner, sirrah–Do you see, sirrah, here’s roast meat.

_Hump._ Oh, oh! what, beat a married man! Hold him, Mr. Clerimont,
Brother Pounce, Mr. Wife; nobody stand by a young married man! [_Runs
behind_ FAINLOVE.

_Sir Har._ Did not the dog say Brother Pounce? what, is this Mrs.
Ragout? this Madam Clerimont? Who the devil are you all? but especially
who the devil are you two? [_Beats_ HUMPHRY _and_ FAINLOVE _off the
Stage, following._

_Tip._ [_To_ POUNCE.] Master Pounce, all my niece’s fortune will be
demanded now–for I suppose that red coat has her. Don’t you think you
and I had better break?

_Pounce._ [_To_ TIPKIN.] You may as soon as you please, but ’tis my
interest to be honest a little longer.

_Tip._ Well, Biddy, since you would not accept of your cousin, I hope
you han’t disposed of yourself elsewhere.

_Niece._ If you’ll for a little while suspend your curiosity, you shall
have the whole history of my amour to this my nuptial day, under the
title of the loves of Clerimont and Parthenissa.

_Tip._ Then, madam, your portion is in safe hands.

_Cler._ Come, come, old gentleman, ’tis in vain to contend; here’s
honest Mr. Pounce shall be my engineer, and I warrant you we beat you
out of all your holds.

_Aunt._ What then, is Mr. Pounce a rogue?–He must have some trick,
brother, it cannot be; he must have cheated t’other side, for I’m sure
he’s honest. [_Apart to_ TIPKIN.

_Cler. Sen._ Mr. Pounce, all your sister has won of this lady she has
honestly put into my hands; and I’ll return it her, at this lady’s
particular request.

_Pounce._ And the thousand pounds you promised in your brother’s
behalf, I’m willing should be hers also.

_Cler. Sen._ Then go in, and bring ’em all back to make the best of an
ill game; we’ll eat the dinner and have a dance together, or we shall
transgress all form.

_Re-enter_ FAINLOVE, HUMPHRY, _and_ SIR HARRY.

_Sir Har._ Well, since you say you are worth something, and the boy has
set his heart upon you, I’ll have patience till I see further.

_Pounce._ Come, come, Sir Harry, you shall find my alliance more
considerable than you imagine; the Pounces are a family that will
always have money, if there’s any in the world–Come, fiddles.

[_A Dance here._]

_Cler. Sen._

You’ve seen th’ extremes of the domestic life,
A son too much confined–too free a wife;
By generous bonds you either should restrain,
And only on their inclinations gain;
Wives to obey must love, children revere,
While only slaves are governed by their fear.

EPILOGUE.

_Spoken by_ MR. ESTCOURT.[101]

Britons, who constant war, with factious rage,
For liberty against each other wage,
From foreign insult save this English stage.
No more th’ Italian squalling tribe admit,
In tongues unknown; ’tis popery in wit.[102]
The songs (theirselves confess) from Rome they bring,
And ’tis high mass, for ought you know, they sing.
Husbands take care, the danger may come nigher,
The women say their eunuch is a friar.

But is it not a serious ill to see
Europe’s great arbiters so mean can be;
Passive, with an affected joy to sit,
Suspend their native taste of manly wit;
Neglect their comic humour, tragic rage,
For known defects of nature, and of age?
Arise, for shame, ye conquering Britons rise,
Such unadorned effeminacy despise;
Admire (if you will dote on foreign wit)
Not what Italians sing, but Romans writ.
So shall less works, such as to-night’s slight play,
At your command with justice die away;
Till then forgive your writers, that can’t bear
You should such very tramontanes appear,
The nations which contemn you to revere.

Let Anna’s soil be known for all its charms;
As famed for liberal sciences, as arms:
Let those derision meet, who would advance
Manners or speech, from Italy or France.
Let them learn you, who would your favour find,
And English be the language of mankind.

Continue Reading

Hæc nôsse salus est adolescentulis

The Lying Lover: or the Ladies’ Friendship_, a Comedy, was acted at
Drury Lane Theatre on December 2, 1703, and ran for six nights. It was
published by Bernard Lintot on January 26, 1704. Wilks (Bookwit, jun.),
Mills (Lovemore), Cibber (Latine), Pinkethman (Storm), and Bullock
(Charcoal), together with Mrs. Oldfield (Victoria), and Mrs. Rogers
(Penelope), acted in this piece, which, so far as is known, has been
revived only once (April 4, 1746) since it was originally produced. The
plot was taken from _Le Menteur_, by Corneille, who had borrowed from
Ruiz de Alarcon’s _Verdad Sospechosa_. Steele is, of course, solely
responsible for the scenes in Newgate towards the end of the piece.
Samuel Foote afterwards made much use of Steele’s play in his _Liar_.

_To His Grace the_

DUKE OF ORMOND.[39]

MY LORD,

Out of gratitude to the memorable and illustrious patron of my
infancy,[40] your Grace’s grandfather, I presume to lay this Comedy
at your feet. The design of it is to banish out of conversation
all entertainment which does not proceed from simplicity of mind,
good-nature, friendship, and honour. Such a purpose will not, I hope,
be unacceptable to so great a lover of mankind as your Grace; and if
your patronage can recommend it to all who love and honour the Duke of
Ormond, its reception will be as extensive as the world itself.

‘Twas the irresistible force of this humanity in your temper that has
carried you through the various successes of war, with the peculiar and
undisputed distinction that you have drawn your sword without other
motive than a passionate regard for the glory of your country; since
before you entered into its service, you were possessed of its highest
honours, but could not be contented with the illustrious rank your
birth gave you, without repeating the glorious actions by which it was
acquired.

But there cannot be less expected from the son of an Ossory, than to
contemn life, to adorn it, and with munificence, affability, scorn
of gain, and passion for glory, to be the honour and example to the
profession of arms; all which engaging qualities your noble family has
exerted with so steadfast a loyalty, that in the most adverse fortune
of our monarchy, popularity, which in others had been invidious, was a
security to the Crown, when lodged in the House of Ormond.

Thus your Grace entered into the business of the world with so great
an expectation, that it seemed impossible there could be anything left
which might still conduce to the honour of your name. But the most
memorable advantage your country has gained this century was obtained
under your command; and Providence thought fit to give the wealth of
the Indies into his hands, who only could despise it; while, with
a superior generosity, he knows no reward but in opportunities of
bestowing. The great personage whom you succeed in your honours, made
me feel, before I was sensible of the benefit, that this glorious bent
of mind is hereditary to you. I hope, therefore, you will pardon me,
that I take the liberty of expressing my veneration for his remains, by
assuring your Grace that I am,

My Lord,

Your Grace’s most obedient

And most devoted

Humble Servant,

RICHARD STEELE.

THE PREFACE.

Though it ought to be the care of all Governments that public
representations should have nothing in them but what is agreeable to
the manners, laws, religion, and policy of the place or nation in which
they are exhibited; yet is it the general complaint of the more learned
and virtuous amongst us, that the English stage has extremely offended
in this kind. I thought, therefore, it would be an honest ambition
to attempt a Comedy which might be no improper entertainment in a
Christian commonwealth.

In order to this, the spark of this play is introduced with as much
agility and life as he brought with him from France, and as much humour
as I could bestow upon him in England. But he uses the advantages of a
learned education, a ready fancy, and a liberal fortune, without the
circumspection and good sense which should always attend the pleasures
of a gentleman; that is to say, a reasonable creature.

Thus he makes false love, gets drunk, and kills his man; but in the
fifth Act awakes from his debauch, with the compunction and remorse
which is suitable to a man’s finding himself in a gaol for the death of
his friend, without his knowing why.

The anguish he there expresses, and the mutual sorrow between an only
child and a tender father in that distress, are, perhaps, an injury
to the rules of comedy, but I am sure they are a justice to those of
morality. And passages of such a nature being so frequently applauded
on the stage, it is high time that we should no longer draw occasions
of mirth from those images which the religion of our country tells us
we ought to tremble at with horror.

But her Most Excellent Majesty has taken the stage into her
consideration;[41] and we may hope, by her gracious influence on
the Muses, wit will recover from its apostasy; and that, by being
encouraged in the interests of virtue, it will strip vice of the gay
habit in which it has too long appeared, and clothe it in its native
dress of shame, contempt, and dishonour.

PROLOGUE.

All the commanding powers that awe mankind
Are in a trembling poet’s audience joined,
Where such bright galaxies of beauty sit,
And at their feet assembled men of wit:
Our author, therefore, owns his deep despair
To entertain the learned or the fair;
Yet hopes that both will so much be his friends,
To pardon what he does, for what he intends;
He aims to make the coming action move
On the dread laws of friendship and of love;
Sure then he’ll find but very few severe,
Since there’s of both so many objects here.
He offers no gross vices to your sight,
Those too much horror raise for just delight;
And to detain the attentive knowing ear,
Pleasure must still have something that’s severe.[42]
If then you find our author treads the stage
With just regard to a reforming age;
He hopes, he humbly hopes, you’ll think there’s due
Mercy to him, for justice done to you.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

OLD BOOKWIT.

YOUNG BOOKWIT, the “Lying Lover.”

LOVEMORE, in love with PENELOPE.

FREDERICK, Friend to LOVEMORE.

LATINE, Friend to YOUNG BOOKWIT.

STORM, a Highwayman.

CHARCOAL, an Alchemist and Coiner.

SIMON, Servant to PENELOPE.

PENELOPE.

VICTORIA, Friend to PENELOPE.

BETTY, VICTORIA’S Woman.

LETTICE, PENELOPE’S Woman.

Constables, Watch, Turnkey, Cookmaid, and several Gaol-birds.

SCENE–LONDON.

_THE LYING LOVER: OR, THE LADIES’ FRIENDSHIP._

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.–_St. James’s Park._

_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT _and_ LATINE.

_Latine._ But have you utterly left Oxford?

_Y. Book._ For ever, sir, for ever; my father has given me leave to
come to town, and I don’t question but will let my return be in my own
choice. But Jack, you know we were talking in Maudlen Walks last week
of the necessity, in intrigues, of a faithful, yet a prating servant.
We agreed, therefore, to cast lots who should be the other’s footman
for the present expedition. Fortune, that’s always blind, gave me the
superiority.

_Lat._ She shall be called no more so, for that one action. And I am,
sir, in a literal sense, your very humble servant.

_Y. Book._ Begin, then, the duty of a useful valet, and flatter me
egregiously. Has the fellow fitted me? How is my manner? my mien? Do I
move freely? Have I kicked off the trammels of a gown? or does not the
tail on’t seem still tucked under my arm, where my hat is, with a pert
jerk forward, and little hitch in my gait like a scholastic beau? This
wig, I fear, looks like a cap.

_Lat._ No, faith, it looks like a cap and gown too; though at the same
time you look as if you ne’er had worn either.

_Y. Book._ But my sword, does it hang careless? Do I look bold,
negligent, and erect? that is, do I look as if I could kill a man
without being out of humour? I horridly mistrust myself. Am I military
enough in my air? I fancy people see I understand Greek. Don’t I pore
a little in my visage? Han’t I a down bookish lour, a wise sadness? I
don’t look gay enough and unthinking, I fancy.

_Lat._ I protest you wrong yourself. You look very brisk and very
ignorant.

_Y. Book._ O fie! I am afraid you flatter me.

_Lat._ I don’t indeed; I’ll be hanged if my tutor would know either of
us. But, good master, to what use do you design to put the noble arts
and sciences he taught us? The conduct of our lives, the government of
our passions, were his daily talk to us, good man!

_Y. Book._ Good man! Why I’ll obey his precepts, but abridge ’em. For
as he used to advise me, I’ll contract my thoughts, as I’ll tell you,
Jack:–for the passions, I’ll turn ’em all into that one dear passion,
love; and when that’s the only torture of my heart, I’ll give that
tortured heart quite away; deny there’s any such thing as pain, and
turn stoic a shorter way than e’er thy tutor taught thee. This is the
new philosophy, you rogue you.

_Lat._ But you would not in earnest be thought wholly illiterate?

_Y. Book._ No; for as when I walk, I’d have you know by my motion I can
dance; so when I speak, I’d have you see I read: yet would ordinarily
neither cut capers nor talk sentences. But you prate as if I came to
town to get an employment. No; hang business, hang care; let it live
and prosper among the men; I’ll ne’er go near the solemn ugly things
again. I’ll keep company with none but ladies–bright ladies. O London!
London! O woman! woman! I am come where thou livest, where thou shinest.

_Lat._ Hey day! why, were there no women in Oxford?

_Y. Book._ No, no; why, do you think a bed-maker’s a woman?

_Lat._ Yes, and thought you knew it.

_Y. Book._ No, no, ’tis no such thing. As he that is not honest or
brave is no man; so she that is not witty or fair is no woman. No, no,
Jack, to come up to that high name and object of desire, she must be
gay and chaste, she must at once attract, and banish you. I don’t know
how to express myself, but a woman, methinks, is a being between us and
angels. She has something in her that at the same time gives awe and
invitation; and I swear to you I was never out in’t yet, but I always
judged of men as I observed they judged of women. There’s nothing shows
a man so much as the object of his affections.–But what do you stare
at so considerately?

_Lat._ Faith, sir, I am wondering at you–how ’tis possible you could
be so jaunty a town-spark in a moment, and have so easy a behaviour. I
look, methinks, to you, as if I were really your footman.

_Y. Book._ Why, if you’re serious in what you say, I owe it wholly to
the indulgence of an excellent father, in whose company I was always
free and unconstrained. But what’s this to ladies, Jack, to ladies?
I was going to tell you I had studied ’em, and know how to make my
approaches to ’em by contemplating their frame, their inmost temper. I
don’t ground my hopes on the scandalous tales and opinions your wild
fellows have of ’em–fellows that are but mere bodies, machines–which
at best can but move gracefully. No; I draw my pretences from
philosophy–from nature.

_Lat._ You’ll give us by-and-by a lecture over your mistress: you can
dissect her.

_Y. Book._ That I can, indeed, and have so accurately observed on
woman, that I can know her mind by her eye as well as her doctor shall
her health by her pulse; I can read approbation through a glance of
disdain; can see when the soul is divided by a sparkling tear that
twinkles and betrays the heart. A sparkling tear’s the dress and livery
of love–of love made up of hope and fear, of joy and grief.

_Lat._[43] But what have the wars to do with all this? Why must you
needs commence soldier all of a sudden?

_Y. Book._ Were’t not a taking compliment with my college face and
phrase to accost a lady:–“Madam, I bring your ladyship a learned
heart, one newly come from the University. If you want definitions,
axioms, and arguments, I am an able schoolman. I’ve read Aristotle
twice over, compared his jarring commentators too, examined all
the famous peripatetics, know where the Scotists and the Nominals
differ:”–this, certainly, must needs enchant a lady.

_Lat._ This is too much on th’ other side.

_Y. Book._ The name of soldier bids you better welcome. ‘Tis valour and
feats done in the field a man should be cried up for; nor is’t so hard
to achieve.

_Lat._ The fame of it, you mean?

_Y. Book._ Yes; and that will serve. ‘Tis but looking big, bragging
with an easy grace, and confidently mustering up an hundred hard names
they understand not: Thunder out Villeroy, Catinat, and Boufflers;
speak of strange towns and castles, whose barbarous names, the harsher
they’re to the ear, the rarer and more taking; still running over
lines, trenches, outworks, counterscarps, and forts, citadels, mines,
countermines, pickeering, pioneers, sentinels, patrols, and others,
without sense or order; that matters not, the women are amazed, they
admire to hear you rap ’em out so readily; and many a one that went no
farther for it, retailing handsomely some warlike terms, passes for a
brave fellow. Don’t stand gaping, but live and learn, my lad. I can
tell thee ten thousand arts to make thee known and valued in these
regions of wit and gallantry–the park, the playhouse.

_Lat._ Now you put me in mind where we are. What have we to do here
thus early, now there’s no company?

_Y. Book._ Oh! sir, I have put on so much of the soldier with my red
coat, that I came here to observe the ground I am to engage upon. Here
must I act, I know, some lover’s part, and therefore came to view this
pleasant walk. I privately rambled to town last November. Here, ay
here, I stood and gazed at high Mall, till I forgot it was winter, so
many pretty shes marched by me. Oh! to see the dear things trip, trip
along, and breathe so short, nipt with the season! I saw the very air
not without force leave their dear lips. Oh! they were intolerably
handsome.

_Lat._ You’ll see, perhaps, such to-day; but how to come at ’em?

_Y. Book._ Ay, there’s it, how to come at ’em.

_Lat._[44] Are you generous?

_Y. Book._ I think I am no niggard.

_Lat._ You must entertain them high, and bribe all about them. They
talk of Ovid and his Art of Loving; be liberal, and you outdo his
precepts. The art of love, sir, is the art of giving. Be free to women,
they’ll be free to you. Not every open-handed fellow hits it neither.
Some give by lapfulls, and yet ne’er oblige. The manner, you know, of
doing a thing is more than the thing itself. Some drop a jewel, which
had been refused if bluntly offered.

_Y. Book._ Some lose at play what they design a present.

_Lat._ Right; the skill is to be generous, and seem not to know it of
yourself, ’tis done with so much ease; but a liberal blockhead presents
his mistress as he’d give an alms.

_Y. Book._ Leaving such blockheads to their deserved ill-fortune, tell
me if thou know’st these ladies?

_Lat._ No, not I, sir; they are above an academic converse many
degrees. I’ve seen ten thousand verses writ in the University on
wenches not fit to be either of their handmaids. I never spoke to
such a fine thing as either in my whole life–I’m downright asleep o’
sudden. I must fall back, and glad it is my place to do so; yet I can
get you intelligence perhaps. I’ll to the footman.

_Y. Book._ Do you think he’ll tell?

_Lat._ He would not to you, perhaps, but to a brother footman. Do but
listen at the entrance of the Mall at noon, and you’ll have all the
ladies’ characters in town among their lackeys. You know all fame
begins from our domestics.

_Y. Book._ That was a wise man’s observation. Follow him, and know what
you can. [_Exit_ LATINE.

_Enter_ PENELOPE, VICTORIA, SIMON, _and_ LETTICE.

_Pen._ A walk round would be too much for us; we’ll keep the Mall.–But
to our talk: I must confess I have terrors when I think of marrying
Lovemore. He is, indeed, a man of an honest character. He has my good
opinion, but love does not always follow that. He is so wise a fellow,
always so precisely in the right, so observing and so jealous; he’s
blameless indeed, but not to be commended. What good he has, has no
grace in it; he’s one of those who’s never highly moved, except to
anger. Give me a man that has agreeable faults rather than offensive
virtues.

_Vict._ Offensive virtues, madam?

_Pen._ Yes, I don’t know how–there’s a sort of virtue, or prudence, or
what you’ll call it, that we can but just approve. That does not win
us. Lovemore wants that fire, that conversation-spirit I would have.
They say he’s learned as well as discreet, but I’m no judge of that.
I’m sure he’s no woman’s scholar; his wisdom he should turn into wit,
and his learning into poetry or humour.

_Vict._ Well, I’m not so much of your mind; I like a sober passion.

_Pen._ A sober passion! you took me up just now when I said an
offensive virtue.–Bless me! [_Stumbling almost to a fall._

_Y. Book._[45] [_Catching her._] How much am I indebted to an accident,
that favours me with an occasion of this small service! for ’tis to me
an happiness beyond expression thus to kiss your hand.

_Pen._ The occasion, methinks, is not so obliging, nor the happiness
you mention worth that name, sir.

_Y. Book._ ‘Tis true, madam, I owe it all to fortune; neither your
kindness nor my industry had any share in’t. Thus am I still as
wretched as I was, for this happiness I so much prize had doubtless
been refused my want of merit.

_Pen._ It has very soon, you see, lost what you valued in it; but I
find you and I, sir, have a different sense; for, in my opinion, we
enjoy with most pleasure what we attain with least merit. Merit is
a claim, and may pretend justly to favour; when without it what’s
conferred is more unexpected, and therefore more pleasing.

_Y. Book._ You talk very well, madam, of an happiness you can’t
possibly be acquainted with, the enjoying without desert. But indeed
you have done me a very singular good office, in letting me know myself
very much qualified for felicity.

_Vict._ I swear he’s a very pretty fellow, and how readily the thing
talks! I begin to pity Lovemore, but I begin to hate Penelope. How he
looks! he looks at her!

_Y. Book._[46] But judge, madam, what the condition of a passionate man
must be, that can approach the hand only of her he dies for, when her
heart is inaccessible.

_Pen._ ‘Tis very well the heart lies not so easily to be seized as the
hand–I find—-Pray, sir–I don’t know what there is in this very odd
fellow: I’m not angry, though he’s downright rude–but I must—-

_Y. Book._ But your heart, madam, your heart–[_Pressingly._

_Pen._ You seemed, sir, I must confess, to have shown a ready civility
when I’d like to fall just now, for which I could not but thank you,
and permit you to say what you pleased on that occasion–“But your
heart, madam!” ’tis a sure sign, sir, you know not me; or, if you are
what indeed you seem–a gentleman–sure you forget yourself, or rather
you talk, by memory, a form or cant which you mistake for something
that’s gallant.

_Y. Book._ Madam, I very humbly beg your pardon, if I pressed too far
and too abruptly. I forgot, indeed, that I broke through decencies, and
that though you have been long a familiar to me, I am a stranger to you.

_Pen._ Pray, familiar stranger, what can you mean? I never saw you
before this instant, nor you me, I believe.

_Y. Book._[47] Perhaps not, that you know of, madam, for your humility,
it seems, makes you so little sensible of your own perfection, that
you overlook your conquest; nor have you e’er observed me, though I
hover day and night about your lodging, haunt you from place to place,
at balls, in the park, at church. I gave you all the serenades you’ve
had, yet never till this minute could I find you, and this minute an
unfortunate one–But this is always my luck when I’m out of the field.

_Vict._ You’ve travelled then, and seen the wars, sir?

_Y. Book._ I–madam–I–all that I know of the matter is, that Louis
the Fourteenth mortally hates me. They talk of French gold–what heaps
have I refused! Yet to be generous even to an enemy, I must allow
that Prince has reason for his rancour to me. There has not been a
skirmish, siege, or battle since I bore arms, I made not one in; no,
nor the least advantage got of the enemy, but I had my share, though
perhaps not all my share of the glory. You’ve seen my name, though you
don’t know it, often in the _Gazette_.

_Pen._ I never read news.

_Enter_ LATINE.

_Lat._ What tale’s he telling now, tro’?

_Y. Book._ You’ve never heard, I suppose, of such names as Ruremonde,
Kaiserswerth, and Liege? nor read of an English gentleman left dead by
his precipitancy upon a parapet at Venloo? I was thought so indeed,
when the first account came away. Every man has his failings; rashness
is my fault.

_Lat._ Don’t you remember a certain place called Oxford among your
towns, sir?

_Y. Book._ Pshaw, away–Oh! oh!–I beg your pardon, ladies, this fellow
knows I was shot in my left arm, and cannot bear the least touch, yet
will still be rushing on me.

_Lat._ He has a lie, I think, in every joint. [_Aside._

_Pen._ Do you bear any commission, sir?

_Y. Book._ There’s an intimate of mine, a general officer, who has
often said, Tom, if thou would’st but stick to any one application,
thou might’st be anything. ‘Tis my misfortune, madam, to have a mind
too extensive. I began last summer’s campaign with the renowned Prince
Eugene, but was forced to fly into Holland for a duel with that rough
Captain of the Hussars, Paul Diack. They talk of a regiment for me,
but those things–besides, it will oblige me to attend it, and then I
can’t follow honour where’er she’s busiest, but must be confined to
one nation; when indeed ’tis rather my way of serving with such of our
allies as most want me.

_Pen._ But I see you soldiers never enjoy such a thing as rest: You but
come home in winter to turn your valour on the ladies–’tis but just a
change of your warfare.

_Y. Book._ I had immediately returned to Holland, but your beauties at
my arrival here disarmed me, madam, made me a man of peace, or raised
a civil war within me rather. You took me prisoner at first sight, and
to your charms I yielded up an heart, till then unconquered. Martial
delights (once best and dearest to me) vanished before you in a moment,
and all my thoughts grew bent to please and serve you.

_Lett._ Lovemore’s in the walk, madam; he’ll be in a fit.

_Y. Book._ Rob me o’ the sudden thus of all my happiness! Yet ere you
quite forsake me, authorise my passion, license my innocent flames, and
give me leave to love such charming sweetness.

_Pen._ He that will love, and knows what ’tis to love, will ask no
leave of any but himself. [_Exeunt_ Ladies, _etc._

_Y. Book._ Follow ’em, Jack.

_Lat._ I know as much of ’em already as needs: the footman was in his
talking vein. The handsomer of the two, says he, I serve, and she lives
in the Garden.

_Y Book._ What Garden?

_Lat._ Covent Garden; the other lies there too. I did not stay to ask
her name, but I shall meet him again; I took particular notice of the
livery.

_Y. Book._ Ne’er trouble thyself to know which is which, my heart and
my good genius tell me, ’tis she, that pretty she I talked to.

_Lat._ If, with respect to your worship’s opinion, I might presume to
be of a contrary one, I should think the other the handsomer now.

_Y. Book._ What, the dumb thing,[48] the picture?–No, love is the
union of minds, and she that engages mine must be very well able to
express her own. But I suppose some scolding landlady has made you
thus enamoured with silence. But here are two of the dearest of my old
comrades–they seem amazed at something by their action.

_Enter_ LOVEMORE _and_ FREDERICK.

_Fred._[49] How! a collation on the water, and music too?

_Love._ Yes, music and a collation.

_Fred._ Last night?

_Love._ Last night too.

_Fred._ An handsome treat?

_Love._ A very noble one.

_Fred,_ Who gave it?

_Love._ That I’m yet to learn.

_Y. Book._ How happy am I to meet you here!

_Love._ When I embrace you thus, no happiness can equal mine.
[_Saluting._

_Y. Book._ I thrust myself intrudingly upon you; but you’ll pardon a
man o’erjoyed to see you.

_Love._ Where you’re always welcome you never can intrude.

_Y. Book._ What were you talking of?

_Love._ Of an entertainment.

_Y. Book._ Given by some lover?

_Love._ As we suppose.

_Y. Book._ That circumstance deserves my curiosity; pray go on, and let
me share the story.

_Love._ Some ladies had the fiddles last night.

_Y. Book._ Upon the water, too, methought you said?

_Love._ Yes, ’twas upon the water.

_Y. Book._ Water often feeds the flame.

_Love._ Sometimes.

_Y. Book._ And by night too?

_Love._ Yes, last night.

_Y. Book._ He chose his time well–The lady is handsome?

_Love._ In most men’s eyes she is.

_Y. Book._ And the music?

_Love._ Good, as we hear.

_Y. Book._ Some banquet followed?

_Love._ A sumptuous one, they say.

_Y. Book._ And neither of you all this while know who gave this treat?
ha! ha!

_Love._ D’ye laugh at it?

_Y. Book._ How can I choose, to see you thus admire a slight
divertisement I gave myself?

_Love._ You?

_Y. Book._ Even I!

_Love._ Why, have you got a mistress here already?

_Y. Book._ I should be sorry else. I’ve been in town this month or
more, though for some reasons I appear but little yet by day. I’ the
dark o’ the evening I peep out, and incognito make some visits. Thus
had I spent my time but ill, were not–

_Lat._ [_To_ Y. BOOK.] Do you know what you say, sir? Don’t lay it on
so thick.

_Y. Book._ [_To_ LAT.] Nay, you must be sure to take care to be in the
way as soon as they land, to shew upstairs–I beg pardon, I was giving
my fellow some directions about receiving some women of quality that
sup with me to-night incog—-but you’re my dearest friends, and shall
hear all.

_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] How luckily your rival discovers himself!

_Y. Book._ I took five barges, and the fairest kept for my company; the
other four I filled with music of all sorts, and of all sorts the best;
in the first were fiddles, in the next theorbo, lutes, and voices.
Flutes and such pastoral instruments i’ th’ third.
Loud music from the fourth did pierce the air.
Each concert vied by turns,
Which with most melody should charm our ears.
The fifth, the largest of ’em all, was neatly hung,
Not with dull tapestry, but with green boughs,
Curiously interlaced to let in air,
And every branch with jessamines, and orange posies decked;
In this the feast was kept.
Hither, with five other ladies, I led her whose beauty alone governs
my destiny. Supper was served up straight; I will not trouble you
with our bill of fare, what dishes were best liked, what sauces most
recommended; ’tis enough I tell you this delicious feast was of six
courses, twelve dishes to a course.

_Lat._ That’s indeed enough of all conscience. [_Aside._

_Love._ Oh, the torture of jealousy! [_Aside_]–But, sir, how seemed
the lady to receive this entertainment? We must know that.

_Y. Book._ Oh! that was the height on’t. She, I warrant you, was quite
negligent of all this matter. You know their way, they must not seem to
like–no, I warrant it would not so much as smile to make the fellow
vain, and believe he had power to move delight in her–ha, ha!

_Love._ But how then?

_Y. Book._ Why you must know my humour grew poetic. I pulled off my
sword-knot, and with that bound up a coronet of ivy, laurel, and
flowers; with that round my temples, and a plate of richest fruits
in my hand, on one knee I presented her with it as a cornucopia, an
offering from her humble swain of all his harvest–to her the Ceres of
our genial feast and rural mirth. She smiled; the ladies clapped their
hands, and all our music struck sympathetic rapture at my happiness;
while gentle winds, the river, air, and shore echoed the harmony in
notes more soft than they received it. Methought all nature seemed to
die for love like me. To all my heart and every pulse beat time. Oh,
the pleasures of successful love! ha, Lovemore! ha! What, hast thou got
a good office lately? you’re afraid I should make some request. Prithee
ben’t so shy, I have nothing to ask but of my mistress–What’s the
matter?

_Love._ I only attend, sir, I only attend–

_Y. Book._ Then I’ll go on. As soon[50] as we had supped, the fireworks
played. Squibs of all sorts were darted through the skies, whose
spreading fires made a new day. A flaming deluge seemed to fall from
Heaven, and with such violence attacked the waves, you would have
thought the fiery element had left his sphere, to ruin his moist
enemy. Their contest done, we landed, danced till day, which hasty
Sol disturbed us with too soon. Had he taken our advice, or feared my
anger, he might in Thetis’s lap have slept as long as at Alcmena’s
labour he’s reported. But steering not as we would have prescribed, he
put a period to our envied mirth.

_Love._ Trust me, you tell us wonders, and with a grace as rare as the
feast itself, which all our summer’s mirth can’t equal.

_Y. Book._ My mistress took me o’ the sudden; I had not a day’s warning.

_Love._ The treat was costly though, and finely ordered.

_Y. Book._ I was forced to take up with this trifle. He that wants time
can’t do as he would.

_Love._ Farewell, we shall meet again at more leisure.

_Y. Book._ Number me among your creatures.

_Love._ Oh jealousy! Thou rack, jealousy!

_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] What reason have you to feel it? the circumstances
of the feast nothing agree.

_Love. [To_ FRED.] In time and place they do; the rest is nothing.
[_Exeunt_ FRED. _and_ LOVE.

_Lat._[51] May I speak now, sir, without offence?

_Y. Book._ ‘Tis in your choice now to speak or not, but before company
you’ll spoil all.

_Lat._ Do you walk abroad and talk in your sleep? or do you use to tell
your dreams for current truth?

_Y. Book._ Dull brain!

_Lat._ Why, you beat out mine with your battles, your fireworks, your
music, and your feasts. You’ve found an excellent way to go to the
wars, and yet keep out of danger. Then you feast your mistresses at the
cheapest rate that ever I knew! Why d’ye make ’em believe you ha’ been
here these six weeks?

_Y. Book._ My passion has the more growth, and I the better ground to
make love.

_Lat._ You’d make one believe fine things, that would but hearken to
you; but this lady might soon have found you out.

_Y. Book._ Some acquaintance I have got, however; this is making love,
scholar, and at the best rate too.

_Lat._ To speak truth, I’m hardly come to myself yet; your great supper
lies on my stomach still. I defy Pontack[52] to have prepared a better
o’ the sudden. Your enchanted castles, where strangers found strange
tables strangely furnished with strange cates, were but sixpenny
ordinaries to the fifth barge; you were an excellent man to write
romances, for having feasts and battles at command, your Quixote in
a trice would over-run the world; revelling and skirmishing cost you
nothing; then you vary your scene with so much ease, and shift from
court to camp with such facility–

_Y. Book._ I love thus to outvie a newsmonger; and as soon as I
perceive a fellow thinks his story will surprise, I choke him with a
stranger, and stop his mouth with an extempore wonder. Did’st thou but
know what a pleasure ’tis to cram their own news down their throats
again!

_Lat._ ‘Tis fine, but may prove dangerous sport, and may involve us in
a peck of troubles. Prithee, Tom, consider that I am of quality to be
kicked or caned by this l—-

_Y. Book._ Hush, hush, call it not lying; as for my waging war, it is
but just I snatch and steal from fortune that fame which she denies
me opportunity to deserve. My father has cramped me in a college,
while all the world has been in action. Then as to my lying to my
mistress, ’tis but what all the lovers upon earth do. Call it not then
by that coarse name, a lie. ‘Tis wit, ’tis fable, allegory, fiction,
hyperbole–or be it what you call it, the world’s made up almost of
nothing else. What are all the grave faces you meet in public? mere
silent lies, dark solemn fronts, by which they would disguise vain
empty silly noddles. But after all, to be serious, since I am resolved
honestly to love, I don’t care how artfully I obtain the woman I pitch
upon; besides, did you ever know any of them acknowledge they loved as
soon as they loved? No, they’ll let a man dwell upon his knees–whom
they languish to receive into their arms. They’re no fair enemy.
Therefore ’tis but just that–

We use all arts the fair to undermine,
And learn with gallantry to hide design. [_Exeunt._

ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE I.–PENELOPE’S _Lodgings, Covent Garden._

_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT, PENELOPE, _and_ LETTICE.

_Old Book._ Mistress Penelope, I have your father’s leave to wait
upon you, madam, and talk to you this morning; nay, to talk to you of
marriage.

_Pen._ To talk to me of marriage, sir?

_O. Book._ Yes, madam, in behalf of my son, Tom Bookwit.

_Pen._ Nay, there may perhaps be something said to that. [_Aside._

_O. Book._[53] I sent for him from Oxford with that design. He came
to town but yesterday; and, if a father can judge, he brings from a
college the mien and air of a court. I love my son entirely, and hope,
madam, you take my thoughts as to you, to be no want of respect to you.

_Pen._ ‘Twere want of sense, sir, to do that.

_O. Book._ If I can remember my style to my mistress of old, I’ll ease
Tom’s way, and raise her expectation of my son. [_Aside._]–Madam, had
I my hat, my feather, pantaloons, and jerkin on, as when I wooed your
humble servant’s mother, I would deliver you his errand. I married her
just such a young thing as you; her complexion was charming, but not
indeed with all your sweetness.

_Pen._ Oh! sir!

_O. Book._ Her neck and bosom were the softest pillows; her shape was
not of that nice sort. Some young women suffer in shapes of their
mother’s making, by spare diet, straight lacing, and constant chiding.
But ’twas the work of nature, free, unconstrained, healthy, and—-But
her charms had not all that emanation which yours have.

_Pen._ O fie! fie!

_O. Book._ Not those thousand thousand graces, that soft army of loves
and zephyrs, millions of airy beings that attend around you, and appear
only to the second sight of lovers.

_Pen._ O fie! Pray, good sir, you’ll leave nothing for your son to say.

_O. Book._ I did not think I had such a memory. I find the women are
now certainly daughters of the women before ’em: Flattery still does
it. [_Aside._]–Tom is my only son, and I extremely desire to have him
settled. I own I think him of much merit.

_Pen._ He would derogate from his birth were he not much a gentleman.
But to receive a man in the character of a pretender at first sight—-

_O. Book._ I’ll walk him by and by before your window, where your own
eyes shall judge. I think there’s nothing above his pretences but
yourself; but when one of so many excellent qualities bestows herself,
it must be condescension. You shall not answer–Farewell, daughter; we
are but too apt to believe what we wish. [_Exit_ OLD BOOK.

_Pen._ ‘Tis as you said, Lettice, Old Bookwit came to propose his son.

_Lett._ I overheard the old gentleman talk of it last night. But,
madam, you han’t heard the song that was made on you. Oh! ’tis mighty
pretty! The gentleman is dying for you, he says it. Pure, pure verses.

_Pen,_ Whoever writ ’em, he’s not the first poet I have made. They may
talk, and say nature makes a poet, but I say love makes a poet. Don’t
you see elder brothers, who are by nature born above wit, shall fall in
love, and write verses: nay, and pretty good ones, considering they can
tag ’em to settlements. But let’s see.

[_Reading._] “TO CELIA’S SPINET.

“Thou soft machine that dost her hand obey,
Tell her my grief in thy harmonious lay.”

Poor man!

“To shun my moan to thee she’ll fly;
To her touch be sure reply,
And, if she removes it, die.”

The device is just and truly poetical.

“Know thy bliss–”

Ay, ay, there I come in.

“Know thy bliss, with rapture shake,
Tremble o’er all thy numerous make;
Speak in melting sounds my tears,
Speak my joys, my hopes, my fears–”

Which all depend upon me.

“Thus force her, when from me she’d fly,
By her own hand, like me, to die.”

Well, certainly nothing touches the heart of woman so much as poetry.
I suppose the master is in the next room. ‘Tis his hour; desire him to
walk in. ‘Twill make one’s ears tingle, a song on one’s self!

[_Here the song is performed to a spinet._

Well, dost think, Lettice, my grave lover writ this fine thing–say’st
thou?

_Lett._ No, madam, nobody writes songs on those they are sure of.

_Pen._ Sure of me! the insolent!

_Lett._ Nay, I know no more but that he said he’d turn me away as soon
as he had married you.

_Pen._ ‘Tis like enough; that’s the common practice of your
jealous-headed fellows. Well, I have a good mind to dress myself anew,
put on my best looks, and send for him to dismiss him. I know he loves
me.

_Lett._ I never knew him show it but by his jealousy.

_Pen._ As you say, a jealous fellow love! ’tis all mistake–’tis only
for himself he has desires; nor cares what the object of his wishes
suffers so he himself has satisfaction.–No, he has a gluttony, an
hunger for me.

_Lett._ An hunger for you! I protest, madam, if you’d let me be his
cook, and make you ready, I’d poison him. But I’m glad Simon disobeyed
you, and told the gentleman’s servant who you were, and your lodging.

_Pen._ Did the rogue do so? Call him hither.

_Lett._ Simon, why Simon!

_Enter_ SIMON.

_Pen._ Sirrah, I find I must at last turn you off, you saucy fellow.
Don’t stand staring and dodging with your feet, and wearing out your
livery hat with squeezing for an excuse, but answer me, and that
presently.

_Sim._ I will, madam, as soon as you ask me a question.

_Pen._ Not afore then–Mr. Pert, don’t you know, you told the
gentleman’s footman in the park who I was, against my constant order,
when I walk early. Come, sirrah, tell all that passed between you.

_Sim._ Why, madam, the gentleman’s gentleman came up to me very
civilly, and said his master was in discourse with my lady, he
supposed; then he fell into talk about vails[54]–about profits in a
service; at last, after a deal of civil discourse between us—-

_Pen._ Come, without this preamble, what he asked you, impertinence;
tell that, do.

_Sim._ He asked about you, and Madam Victoria. I said the handsomest of
the two is my lady.

_Pen._ Speak on boldly, Simon; I’m never angry at a servant that speaks
truth.

_Sim._ He told me he should be very proud of my acquaintance. Indeed,
madam, the man was very well spoken, and showed a great deal of respect
for me, on your ladyship’s account. He is a mighty well spoken man, and
said he found I was a smart gentleman; said he’d come again.

_Pen._ Go, you have done your business. Go down. [_Exit._

_Lett._ Well, after all, madam, I did not think that gentleman
displeased you.

_Pen._[55] Had but young Bookwit his mien and conversation, how easily
would he exclude Lovemore!

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Ser._ Mr. Lovemore is coming up, madam.

_Pen._ He has not heard, sure, of this new proposal!

_Lett._ ‘Tis possible he may, and come to rant or upbraid your
ladyship. I wonder you endure him on these occasions.

_Pen._ I’ll rack his very heart-strings. He shall know all that man
e’er suffered for his native mistress, woman.

_Lett._ His father, madam, has been so long coming out of
Suffolk—There are strange tricks in the world, but ’tis not my place
to speak.

_Pen._ However, his father, may come at last. I will not wholly lose
him; as bad as he is, he’s better than no husband at all. Stay in the
room; I’ll talk to you as if he were not present.

_Enter_ LOVEMORE.

_Love._[56] Ah! Penelope! inconstant, fickle Penelope!

_Pen._ But, Lettice, you don’t tell me what the gentleman said. Now
there’s nobody here, you may speak.

_Love._ Now there’s nobody here? Then I am a thing, a utensil! I am
nobody, I have no essence that I am sensible of! I think ’twill be so
soon!–This ingrate–this perjured!

_Pen._ Tell me, I say, how the match happened to break off?

_Love._ This is downright abuse! What! don’t you see me, madam?

_Lett._ He had the folly, upon her being commonly civil to him, to
talk of directing her affairs before his time. In the first place, he
thought it but necessary her maid, her faithful servant, Mrs. Betty,
should be removed.

_Love._ Her faithful servant, Mrs. Betty? Her betrayer, her whisperer,
Mrs. Lettice! Madam, would you but hear me? I will be heard!

_Pen._ Prithee step, Lettice, and see what noise is that without.

_Love._ The noise is here, madam; ’tis I that make what you call noise.
‘Tis I that claim aloud my right and speak to all the world the wrongs
I suffer.

_Pen._ Cooling herbs, well steeped–a good anodyne at night, made of
the juice of hellebore, with very thin diet, may be of use in these
cases. [_Both looking at him as disturbed._

_Love._ Cases! what cases? I shall downright run mad with this damned
usage! Am I a jest?

_Lett._ A jest? No, faith, this is far from a merry madness. Ha! ha! ha!

_Love._ Harkee, Lettice, I’ll downright box you. Hold your tongue,
gipsy.

_Lett._ Dear madam, save me! Go you to him.

_Pen._ Let him take you.–Bless me, how he stares! Take her.

_Lett. Pen._ Take her. [_Running round each other._

_Love._ Very fine!–No, madam, your gallant, your spark last night;
your fine dancer, entertainer, shall take you. He that was your swain;
and you, I warrant, a fantastic nymph of the flood or forest. Ha! ha!
ha! To be out all night with a young fellow! Oh! that makes you change
your countenance, does it so? Fine lady–you wonder how I came to
know. Why, choose a discreeter the next time–he told me all himself.
Swoon–die for shame at hearing of these words–do!

_Pen._ I am, indeed, downright ashamed for him that speaks ’em. Whence
this insolence, if not from utter distraction, under this roof?

_Love._ Oh, the ingrate! Have not I, madam, two long years, two ages,
with humblest resignation, depended on your smile? and shall I suffer
one of yesterday’s to treat you, to dance all night with you?

_Pen._[57] Speak softly; my father’s coming down.

_Love._ Thy father’s coming down! Faithless! Thou hast no father–But
to cross me by night upon the water!

_Pen._ Well, by night upon the water; what then?

_Love._ Yes, all night.

_Pen._ What of that?

_Love._ Without blushing when you hear of ‘t!

_Pen._ Blush for what? What do you drive at?

_Love._ Can you, then, coolly ask what ’tis I mean, thou reveller, thou
rambler? A fine young lady, with your midnight frolics! But what do I
pretend to? I know not how with bended knees to call you Ceres; make
you an offering of summer fruits, and deify your vanity! Thou art no
goddess; thou’rt a very woman, with all the guile! Your barges! your
treats! your fireworks!

_Pen._ What means the insolent? You grow insufferable!

_Love._ Oh, Penelope! that look, that disdainful look has pierced my
soul, and ebbed my rage to penitence and sorrow. I own my fault; I’m
too rash—-

_Pen._ The imaginary enemies you raise are but mere forms of your
sickly brain: so I think, and scorn ’em. A diffident, a humorous, and
ungenerous man, who, without grounds, calls me inconstant, shall surely
find me so. She will be very happy that takes a constant man with
twenty thousand humours.

_Love._ Is it a fault my life’s bound up in thee,
That all my powers change with thy looks,
That my eyes gloat on thee when thou’rt present,
And ache and roll for light when thou’rt absent?

_Pen._ A little ill-usage, I see, improves a lover. I never heard him
speak so well in my life before. [_Aside._

_Love._ Of you I am not jealous:
‘Tis my own indesert[58] that gives me fears,
And tenderness forms dangers where they’re not;
I doubt and envy all things that approach thee:
Not a fond mother of a long-wished-for only child beholds with such
kind terrors her infant offspring, as I do her I love. She thinks its
food, if she’s not by, unwholesome; and all the ambient air made up of
fevers and of quartan agues, except she shrouds it in her arms. Such is
my unpitied, anxious care for you; and can I see another—-

_Pen._ What other?

_Love._ Nay, if you make a secret of your meeting, there’s all that I
suspect in it. Another? Young Bookwit is another—-

_Pen._ I never saw his face. Young Bookwit?

_Love._ What! not though he solicited a glance, with symphonies of
charming note, with sumptuous dishes? Not when the flying meteors from
the earth made a new day? Not see him? Oh, that was hard; that was
unkind! Not one look for all this gallantry?–But love is blind. You
can be all night with the son, all day with the father, and never see
either. His father was here this morning.–Seek not to excuse: I find
your arts, and see their aim too. Go, go, take your Bookwit; forget
your lover, as he now must you. [_Going._

_Pen._ Hear but three words.

_Love._ What shall they be?

_Pen._ Prithee hear me.

_Love._ No, no, your father’s coming down.

_Pen._ He’s not coming, nor can he overhear us. There’s time and
privacy enough to disabuse you.

_Love._ I’ll hear nothing unless you will be married; unless you give
me, as a present earnest of yourself, three kisses, and your word for
ever.

_Pen._ To give way to my satisfaction, then, and be friends again, you
would, Mr. Lovemore, have three kisses—-

_Love._ Three kisses, your faith and hand.

_Pen._ Nothing else? Will you be so contented?

_Love._ I’ll expect higher terms if you accept not these–Quickly, then.

_Pen._ Well, then–no, my father’s coming. Ha! ha! ha!

_Love._ Laugh at my sufferings! slight my anger!
Is this your base requital of my love?–
Revenge, revenge! I’ll print on thy favourite in his heart’s blood my
revenge. Our swords–our swords shall dispute our pretences, rather
than he enjoy what my long services entitle me to, which is to do
myself right for what he intends an injury; though perhaps what we
shall dispute for is better lost.

_Pert._ Mr. Lovemore, you have taken very great liberties. You say I
have injured you in my regard to another. Is your opinion, then, of
what you say you will dispute for, such as you just now said–better
lost?

_Love._ Look you, madam–so–therefore–as to that–this is such–for
that it–You don’t consider what you said to me.

_Pen._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Love._ You shall by all that’s–you shall repent this. [_Flings out._

_Pen._ This is all we have for ‘t, a little dominion beforehand. These
are the creatures that are born to rule us; who creep, who flatter,
and servilely beseech our favour; which obtained, they grow sullen,
proud, and insolent; pry into the gift, the manner of bestowing, with
all the little arts the ungrateful use to hide, or kill their sense and
conscience of a benefit.

_Lett._ Ay, ay, madam, ’tis so. I had a sweetheart once, a lady’s
butler, to whom I gave a lock of my hair, and the villain, when we
quarrelled, told me half of them were grey.

_Pen._ Ha! ha! ha! the ingrate–the faithless, as Lovemore says.

_Lett._ And yet, madam, the rogue stole a letter out of a book to ask
me for it, as my next suitor found out.

_Pen._ However, I am sure ’tis in my fate to be subject to one of them
very suddenly.

_Lett._ Ah! madam! the gentleman this morning—-

_Pen._ The fellow’s very well, and I am mightily mistaken if my cousin
Victoria did not think so.

_Lett._ And so do you heartily. [_Aside._

_Pen._ Yet I wish I had seen this young Bookwit before Lovemore came
to-day.

_Lett._[59] I’ll tell you how, madam. Victoria has ne’er a lover, and
is your entire friend. Now, madam, suppose you got her to write a
letter to this young gentleman in her own name. You meet him under that
name incognito; then, if an accident should happen, both you and she
will be safe, and puzzle the truth: you never writ to him, she never
met him.

_Pen._ A lucky thought–step to her immediately. I’ll come to her, or
she to me.

_Lett._ I fly, I fly. [_Exit._

_Pen._ This is, indeed, a lucky hint of the wench, in which I have
another drift, too. Now shall I sift my friend Victoria, and perfectly
understand whether she likes that agreeable young fellow; for if her
reserved humour easily falls in with this design on Bookwit, she’s
certainly smitten with the other, and suspects me to be so too–What
is this dear, this sudden intruder, love, that Victoria’s long and
faithful friendship, Lovemore’s anxious and constant passion, both
vanish before it in a moment? Why are our hearts so accessible at our
eyes?–My dear—-

_Enter_ VICTORIA _and_ LETTICE.

_Vict._ Dear Pen, I ran to you. Well, what is it?

_Pen._ Set chairs, and the bohea tea, and leave us. [_Exit_ LETT.] Dear
Victoria, you have always been my most intimate bosom friend; your wary
carriage and circumspection have often been a safety against errors to
me–I must confess it. [_Filling her tea._

_Vict._ But, my dear, why this preface to me? To the matter–

_Pen._ You know all that has passed between me and Mr. Lovemore.

_Vict._ I have always approved him, and do now more than ever; for ’tis
not a mien and air that makes that worthy creature, a kind husband;
but—-

_Pen._ True, but here was old Bookwit this morning, with my father’s
authority to talk to me of the subject of love.

_Vict._ Nay, madam, if so, and you can resolve to obey your father–I
contend not for Lovemore; for though the young men of this age are so
very vicious, so expensive, both of their health and fortune—-

_Pen._ How zealous she is to put me out of her way! False creature!
[_Aside._]–But, my dear friend, you don’t take me; your friendship
outruns my explanation. ‘Twas for his son at Oxford he came to me: He
is to walk with him before the door that I may view him, by-and-by.

_Vict._ Nay, as one must obey their parents wholly, I think a raw
young man that never saw the town is better than an old one that has
run through all its vices. I congratulate your good fortune. There’s a
great estate; and he knows nothing–just come to town. The furniture
and the horse-cloths will be all your own device for the wedding, and
the horses when and where you please. He knows no better.

_Pen._ But one shall be so long teaching a raw creature a manner.

_Vict._ Never let him have one; ’twill make him like himself, and think
of making advances elsewhere: You’d better have him a booby.–How could
I think of the old fellow for you! Look you, Pen, old age has its
infirmities, and ’tis a sad prospect for an honest young woman to be
sure of being a nurse, and never of being a mother.

_Pen._ Oh, that I had but your prudence! But, my dear, I have a request
to make to you, and that is that you would write him an assignation
this evening in the Park. I’ll obey the appointment, and converse with
him under that disguise; for the old people will clap up a match before
I know anything of the real man. And if one don’t know one’s husband,
how can one manage him–that is to say, obey him?

_Vict._ Oh! pray, my dear, do you think I don’t understand you? Oh! and
there’s another thing–a scholar makes the best husband in the world.

_Pen._ Because they are the most knowing?

_Vict._ No, because they are the least knowing.–But I’ll go
immediately and obey your commands. I wish you heartily well, my dear,
in this matter. [_Kissing her._

_Pen._ I thank you, dearest; I don’t doubt it indeed.

_Vict._ Where are you going now, my dear? O fie! this is not like a
friend–Do I use you so, dear madam?

_Pen._ Nay, indeed, madam, I must wait on you.

_Vict._ Indeed you shan’t–indeed you shan’t. [PEN. _follows_ VICT.

_Pen._ Well, madam, will you promise, then, to be as free with
me?–Thus does she hope to work me out of my lover, by being made my
confident–but that baseness has been too fashionable to pass any more.
I have not trusted her, the cunning creature. I begin to hate her
so–I’ll never be a minute from her. [_Exit._

SCENE II.–_Covent Garden._

_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT, YOUNG BOOKWIT, _and_ LATINE.

_O. Book._ Well, Tom, where have you sauntered about since I saw you?
Is not the town mightily increased since you were in it?

_Y. Book._ Ay, indeed, I need not have been so impatient to have left
Oxford. Had I stayed a year longer, they had builded to me.

_O. Book._ But I don’t observe you affected much with the alterations.
Where have you been?

_Y. Book._ No, faith, the New Exchange[60] has taken up all my
curiosity.

_O. Book._ Oh! but, son, you must not go to places to stare at women!
Did you buy anything?

_Y. Book._ Some baubles. But my choice was so distracted among the
pretty merchants and their dealers, I knew not where to run first.
One little, lisping rogue–“Ribbandths, gloveths, tippeths”–“Sir,”
cries another, “will you buy a fine sword-knot?” Then a third pretty
voice and curtsey–“Does not your lady want hoods, scarfs, fine green
silk stockings?”[61] I went by as if I had been in a seraglio, a
living gallery of beauties, staring from side to side–I bowing, they
laughing–so made my escape, and brought your son and heir safe to
you, through all these darts and glances, to which indeed my breast is
not impregnable. But I wonder whence I had this amorous inclination?

_O. Book._ Whoever you had it from, sirrah, ’tis your business to
correct it, by fixing it upon a proper object–But, Tom, you know I
am always glad to hear you talk with the gaiety before me that you
do elsewhere. But I have now something of consequence (that sudden,
serious look was so like me). [_Aside._]–What I am going to say now, I
tell you is extraordinary.

_Y. Book._ I could not indeed help some seeming extravagancies I have
been forced to. But—-

_O. Book._ I do not grudge you your expenses, I was not going to speak
on it. For I decay, and so do my desires, while yours grow still upon
you. Therefore, what may be spared from mine, I heartily give you to
supply yours; ’tis but the just order of things. I scorn to hoard
what I only now can gaze at, while your youth and person want those
entertainments you may become and taste. All your just pleasures are
mine also; in you my youth and gayer years methinks I feel repeated.

_Y. Book_ Then what can give you, sir, uneasiness?

_O. Book._ Your affectation of a soldier’s dress; makes me think you
bent upon a dangerous though noble course; that you’ll expose a life,
that’s dearer to your father than yourself, to daily hazards. I,
therefore, have resolved to settle thee,[62] and chosen a young lady,
witty, prudent, rich, and fair—-

_Y. Book._ Oh, Victoria! [_Aside._]–You cannot move too slowly in such
a business.

_O. Book._ Nay, ’tis no sudden thing. Her father and I have been
old acquaintance, and I was so confident of her worth, and your
compliance, that I can’t with honour disengage myself.

_Y. Book._ How, sir! when honour calls me to the field, where I may
perpetuate your name by some brave exploit—-

_O. Book._ You may do it much better, Tom, at home, by a brave boy.
Come, come, it must be so—-

_Y. Book._ What shall I do for some invention? [_Aside._

_O. Book._ Let it be so, dear Tom; it must be so.

_Y. Book._ What if it be impossible?

_O. Book._ Impossible! as how?

_Y. Book._ Upon my knees I beg your pardon, sir; I am—-

_O. Book._ What?

_Y. Book._ At Oxford—-

_O. Book._ What art thou at Oxford? Rise and tell me.

_Y. Book._ Why I am married there, since you needs must know.

_O. Book._ Married, without my consent!

_Y. Book._ There was a force upon me; you’ll easily get all annulled if
you desire it. It was the crossest, most unhappy accident. Yet, indeed,
she is an excellent creature!

_Lat._ How could he conceal this all this while from me? But I remember
he used to be out of the college whole nights, we knew not where.
[_Aside._

PENELOPE _and_ VICTORIA _at the window._

_Pen._ [_Aside._] The very man we met this morning; and I employ my
rival to write to him! How confidently she stares at the fellow, and
observes his action!

_Vict._ Betty, do you see with what intent and with what fire in her
eyes Penelope gazes yonder? But take you that letter and give it when
the old gentleman’s gone. Goodness! how concerned she seems! Well, some
women!—-[_Exeunt Ladies from above._

_O. Book._ Let that pass, since the business is irrevocable. What is
her name?

_Y. Book._ Matilda, and her father’s, Newtown.

_O. Book._ They’re names I never heard before; but go on.

_Y. Book._ This lady, sir, I saw in a public assembly; at the first
sight she made me hers for ever. From that instant I languished, nor
had vital heat out of her presence. The sun to me shed influence in
vain; he rose and set both unobserved, nor was to any living this human
life so much a dream as me. All this she observed, but not untouched
observed. She shewed a noble gratitude to a noble passion; favours I
soon received, but severely modest ones.

_Lat._ Oh! that’s pre-supposed; you, to be sure, would ne’er desire any
other. [_Aside._

_Y. Book._ We had contrived to meet o’nights,
The sweetest hours of love; and there was I
One evening in her lodging–‘Twas, as I remember,
Yes, ’twas on the second of December;
That’s the very night I was caught—-

_Lat._ ‘Tis strange, a fellow of his wit to be trepanned into a
marriage—-[_Aside._

_Y. Book._ Her father supped abroad that night, which made us think
ourselves secure. But coming home by accident sooner than we expected,
we heard him at the door. How did that noise surprise us! She hid me
behind the bed, then lets him in.

_O. Book._ I tremble for the poor young lady.–Pray go on. How did she
recover herself?

_Y. Book._ She fell into the prettiest artful little tales to divert
him and hide her discomposure–which he interrupted by telling her she
must be married suddenly to one proposed to him that evening. This was
to me daggers.

_O. Book._ But she!—-

_Y. Book._ She, by general answers, in that case managed it so well
that he was going down, when instantly my watch in my pocket struck
ten. He turns him short on his amazed daughter, asked where she had it.
She cried her cousin Martha sent it out of the country to be mended
for her. He said he would take care on’t. She comes to me, but as I
was giving it her the string was so entangled in the cock of a pistol
I always had about me on those occasions, that my haste to disengage
it fired it off. My mistress swoons away. The father ran out, crying
out murder. I thought her dead, feared his return, which he soon did
with two boisterous rogues, his sons, and his whole family of servants.
I would have made my escape, but they opposed me with drawn swords. I
wounded both; but a lusty wench, with a fireshovel, at one blow struck
down my sword, and broke it all to pieces.

_O. Book._ But still, the poor young lady!—-

_Y. Book._ Here was I seized. Meantime, Matilda wakes from her trance,
beholding me held like a ruffian, both her brothers bleeding. She
was returning to it. What should I do? I saw the hoary father in
the divided sorrow, for his sons’ lives and daughter’s honour, of
both which he thought me the invader. She, with pitying, dying and
reproaching looks, beseeched me, and taught me what I owed her constant
love. I yielded, sir, I own I yielded to the just terror of their
family resentment, and to my mistress’s more dreadful upbraiding. Thus
am I, sir, the martyr of an honest passion—-

_O. Book._ That I most blame is, that you concealed it from your best
friend. I’ll instantly to Penelope’s father, and make my apology. He is
my friend. [_Exit._

_Lat._ This marriage strangely surprised me.

_Y. Book._ Why, did you believe it, too, as well as the old gentleman?
Why, then, I did it excellently. Ha! ha! ha!

_Lat._ What,[63] the watch! The pistol! Lady swooning! Her pitying,
upbraiding look! All chimera?

_Y. Book._ Nothing but downright wit, to keep myself safe for Victoria.

_Lat._ May I desire one favour?

_Y. Book._ What can I deny thee, my privado?

_Lat._ Only that you’d give me some little secret hint when next you
l—-are going to be witty. But to jumble particulars so readily! ‘Tis
impossible you could, I believe, at the beginning of your tale know the
ending–Yet—-

_Y. Book._ These are gifts, child, mere gifts; ’tis not to be
learnt–the skill of lying–except humour, wit, invention, presence of
mind, retention, memory, circumspection, etc., were to be obtained by
industry. You must not hum, nor haw, nor blush for’t—-

_Lat._ Who have we got here?

BETTY _entering._

_Bet._ May I be so bold as to crave the liberty to ask your name?

_Y. Book._ My bright handmaid, my little she Ganymede–thou charming
Hebe–you may ask me my name, for I won’t tell it you–till you do;
because I’d have the more words with you.

_Bet._ Are not you Mr. Bookwit?

_Y. Book._ The very same, my dear.

_Bet._ There, then [_Giving him letter._] He’s a mighty pretty man.
[_Exit_ BETTY.

_Y. Book._ [_Reading._] “You may wonder–your person and
character–this evening, near Rosamond’s Pond, on the other side the
Park.–VICTORIA.”

Oh, the happiness! What is become of the girl? Oh! Latine! Latine! ask
me fifty questions all at once! What ails me? Why this joy? Who is this
from? Oh, I could die, methinks, this moment, lest there should be in
fate some future ill to dash my present joy! Why, Jack, why dost not
ask me what’s the matter?

_Lat._ If you’d but give me leave—-

_Y. Book._ No; do not speak. Let me talk all; I fain would celebrate my
fair one’s praise, her every beauty! but the mind’s too full to utter
anything that is articulate, and will give way to nothing but mere
names and interjections. O Victoria! Victoria! Victoria! O my Victoria!
Read there.

_Lat._ Well, I own this subscribed “Victoria”–but still I am afraid of
mistakes.

_Y. Book._ No–kneel down and ask forgiveness. You don’t believe that
she that would not speak to me would write.–But after all raptures
and ecstasies–prithee step after the maid, learn what you can of
her fortune, and so forth. Get interest to be admitted another time.
[_Exit_ LATINE.

_Enter_ FREDERICK.

_Fred._ Sir, your servant

_Y. Book._ Yours, sir; have you business with me?

_Fred._ This paper speaks it.

_Y. Book._ [_Reading._] “Of a friend you’ve made me your mortal enemy.
With your sword I expect satisfaction to-morrow morning at six in Hyde
Park.–LOVEMORE.” Do you know the contents of this letter?

_Fred._ Yes, sir, it is a challenge from Lovemore.

_Y. Book._ Are you to be his second?

_Fred._ I offered it, but he will meet you single.

_Y. Book._ The fewer the better cheer.

_Fred._ You’re very pleasant, sir.

_Y. Book._ My good humour was ever challenge-proof. I will be very
punctual. [_Exit_ FRED.]–I fall into business very fast. There, thou
dear letter of love; be there, thou of hatred. There; men of business
must sort their papers.–I fear he saw me put up two letters.

_Enter_ LATINE.

Oh, Jack, more adventures, another lady has writ.

_Lat._ Let’s see it.

_Y. Book._ No; always tender of rep.–she is of quality–a gentleman
usher came with it. I can’t believe there’s anything in that old whim
of being wrapt in one’s mother’s smock to be thus lucky; I suppose I
was used like other children. They clapped me on a skull-cap, swathed
me hard, played me in arms, and shewed me London. But however it comes
about I have strange luck with the women.

_Lat._ But let us see this letter.

_Y. Book._ [_Reading._] “No, no–A woman of condition to go so
far–But, indeed, your passion, your wit–My page–at the back
‘stairs–secrecy, and your veracity—-”

_Lat._ There her ladyship nicked it. Pox, I’ll be as humourous and
frolic as you. You pert fellows are the only successful—-

_Y. Book._ Well said, lad; and, as Mr. Bayes says,[64] now the plot
thickens upon us we’ll spend our time as gaily as the best of ’em, and
all of it in love–

For since through all the race of man we find,
Each to some darling passion is inclined,
Let love be still the bias of my mind. [_Exeunt._

ACT THE THIRD.

SCENE I.–VICTORIA’S _Lodgings, Covent Garden._

_Enter_ VICTORIA _and_ BETTY.

_Vict._ This was, indeed, Betty, a very diverting accident, that I
should be employed to write to her lover. Now, I can’t but think
how angry my cousin Pen is. She frets, I warrant, at her very
looking-glass, which used to be her comforter upon all occasions.

_Bet._ I would not be in poor Mrs. Lettice’s place for all the world.
Nothing, to be sure, can please to-day; did you mind how she nestled
and fumed inwardly to see your ladyship look so well? Nay, indeed,
madam, you were in high beauty.

_Vict._ Yet I must confess I was myself a little discomposed. I was
ashamed for my friend, and then to see her show such a regard for a
fellow!

_Bet._ But I swear, were I to have my will, you should be always angry
at me. It gives your ladyship such a pretty fierceness, and quick
spirit to your features–not that you want it–yet it adds—-

_Vict._ There are some people very unhappily pretend to fire and life;
there’s poor, stupid, insipid Lady Fad, has heard of the word spleen,
and distaste, and sets up for being out of humour, with that unmeaning
face of hers.

_Bet._ You’re in a fine humour, madam.

_Vict._ Her ladyship’s physician prescribed anger to her; upon which
she comes in public with her eyes staringly open. This she designs for
vivacity, and gapes about like a wandering country lady. She pretends
to be a remarker, and looks at everybody; but, alas, she wants it here,
and knows not that to see, is no more to look, than to go is to walk.
For you must know, Betty, every child can see, but ’tis an observing
creature that can look; as every pretty girl can go, but ’tis a fine
woman that walks.

_Both._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Vict._ But, by the way, there’s Mrs. Penelope, methinks, does neither;
I have a kindness for her, but she has no gesture in the least. My
dear—-

_Enter_ PENELOPE.

_Pen._ Well, my dear—-

_Bet._ How civilly people of quality hate one another. [_Aside._

_Pen._ Well, my dear, were not you strangely surprised to see that this
young Bookwit should be the soldier we met this morning?

_Vict._ The confident lying creature! Indeed, I wondered you’d suffer
him to entertain you so long.

_Pen._ You must know, madam, he’s married too at Oxford.

_Vict._ The ugly wretch! I think him downright disagreeable.–But
perhaps this is a fetch of hers; he had no married look. [_Aside._

_Pen._ Yet I am resolved to go to your assignation, if it be but to
confront the coxcomb, and laugh at his lie. Such fellows should be
made to know themselves, and that they’re understood.

_Vict._ I’ll wait upon you, my dear.–She’s very prettily dressed.
[_Aside._]–But indeed, my dear, you shan’t go with your hood
so; it makes you look abominably, with your head so forward.
There–[_Displacing her head_]; that’s something. You had a fearful,
silly blushing look; now you command all hearts.

_Pen._ Thank you, my dear.

_Vict._ Your servant, dearest.

_Pen._ But alas, madam, who patched you to-day? Let me see. It is the
hardest thing in dress–I may say, without vanity, I know a little of
it. That so low on the cheek pulps the flesh too much. Hold still,
my dear, I’ll place it just by your eye.–Now she downright squints.
[_Aside._

_Vict._ There’s nothing like a sincere friend, for one is not a judge
of one’s self. I have a patch-box about me. Hold, my dear, that gives
you a sedate air, that large one near your temples.

_Pen._ People, perhaps, don’t mind these things. But if it be true, as
the poet finely sings, that “all the passions in the features are,” we
may show or hide ’em, as we know how to affix these pretty artificial
moles—-

_Vict._ And so catch lovers, and puzzle physiognomy.

_Pen._ ‘Tis true; then pray, my dear, let me put a little disdain in
your face: for we’ll plague this fop. There–that on your forehead does
it.

_Vict._ Hold, my dear; I’ll give indifference for him, a patch just at
the point of your lip exactly shows it–and that you’re dumb to all
applications.

_Pen._ You wish I would be. [_Aside._

_Vict._ There, my dear.

_Pen._ But, dear madam, your hair is not half powdered. Betty, bring
the powder-box to your lady. It gives one a clean look (though your
complexion does not want it) to enliven it.

_Vict._ Oh! fie, this from you! But I know you won’t flatter me, you’re
too much my friend.

_Pen._ Now, madam, you shall see. [_Powders her._]–Now she looks like
a sprite. [_Aside._

_Vict._ Thank you, my dear; we’ll take an hack. Our maids shall go with
us. Come, dear friend. [_Exeunt arm in arm._

_Bet._ Pray, Madam Lettice, be pleased to go on.

_Lett._ Indeed, Madam Betty, I must beg your pardon.

_Bet._ I am at home, dear Madam Lettice.

_Lett._ Well, madam, this is unkind. I don’t use you with this
ceremony. [_Exeunt._

SCENE II._–Covent Garden._

_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT _and_ LATINE _after a flourish._

_Y. Book._ Victoria! Victoria! Victoria!

_Lat._ Make way, make way. By your leave. Stand by. Victoria!
“_Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas._”[65]

_Y. Book._ Well said, Jack. Let me see any of your sparks besides
myself keep such an equipage. I don’t question but in a little time I
shall be a finer fop than the town has yet seen. All my lackeys shall
be linguists as thou art. While thus I ride immortal steeds–how my
horses stare at me! They see I am a very new sort of beau.

_Lat._ This is rare–the having this noise of music. But won’t it be
reckoned a disturbance?

_Y. Book._ No, no; it is a usual gallantry here. But the vocal
is an elegance hardly known before me here–who am the founder of
accomplished fools, of which I’ll institute an order. All coxcombs
of learning and parts shall after me be called Bookwits–a sect will
soon be more numerous, and in more credit, than your Aristotelians,
Platonists, and Academics.

_Lat._ Sir, ’twill be extraordinary, and you are really a wise
person–you put your theory of philosophy into practice; ’tis not with
you a dead letter.

_Y. Book._ Oh! sir, no. The design of learning is for the use of life;
therefore I’ll settle a family very suddenly, and show my literature in
economy.

_Lat._ As how, pray?

_Y. Book._ I’ll have four peripatetic footmen, two followers of
Aristippus for valets de chambre, and an epicurean cook–with an
hermetical chemist (who are good only at making fires) for my scullion;
and then I think all is disposed. But, methinks this fair one takes
state upon her. But I am none of your languishers; I am not known in
town, and if I misbehave, ’tis but being sent back again to my small
beer and three-halfpenny commons; and I, like many another beau, only
blazed and vanished—-

_Lat._ But you know I love music immoderately. How do you dispose your
entertainment? Let ’em begin.

_Y. Book._ Well, give me but leave. The fiddles will certainly
attract the ladies, I mean the nymphs who have grottos round this
enchanted forest. In the first place, you intelligences that move this
vehicle–how the fellows stare!

_Chair._ Good your honour, speak to us in English.

_Y. Book._ Why then, you chairmen, wherever I move, you are to follow
me; for I mean to strut, shine through the dusk of the evening, and
look as like a lazy town-fool as I can, to charm ’em.

_Lat._ Well, but the music?

_Y. Book._ But remember, ye sons of Phœbus, brethren of the string
and lyre, that is to say, ye fiddlers–Let me have a flourish as I
now direct. When I lift up my cane, let it be martial. If I but throw
myself just forward on it, or but raise it smoothly, sigh all for love,
to show, as I think fit, that I would die or fight for her you see me
bow to. Well, then, strike up:–

_Song, by_ MR. LEVERIDGE.[66]

I.
Venus has left her Grecian isles,
With all her gaudy train
Of little loves, soft cares and smiles,
In my larger breast to reign.

II.
Ye tender herds and list’ning deer,
Forget your food, forget your fear,
The bright Victoria will be here.

III.
The savages about me throng,
Moved with the passion of my song,
And think Victoria stays too long.

_Y. Book._ There’s for you, Jack; is not that like a fine gentleman
that writes for his own diversion?

_Lat._ And nobody’s else.

_Y. Book._ Now I warrant one of your common sparks would have stamped,
fretted, and cried, what the devil! fooled! jilted! abused!–while I,
in metre, to show you how well nothing at all may be made to run–

The savages about me throng,
Moved with the passion of my song,
And think Victoria stays too long.

_Lat._ I begin to be one of those savages.

_Enter_ VICTORIA, PENELOPE, LETTICE, _and_ BETTY.

_Vict._ We had better have stayed where we were, and listened to that
charming echo, than have come in search of that liar.

_Lat._ Do you see yonder?

_Y. Book._ [_Gives the sign and sings himself._] Thus, madam, have I
spent my time almost ever since I saw you, repeated your name to the
woods, the dales, and echoing groves.

_Pen._ Prithee observe him. Now he begins.

_Y. Book._ I had not time to carve your name on every tree, but that’s
a melancholy employment, not for those lovers that are favoured with
assignation.

_Vict._ Prithee, cousin, do you talk to him in my name. I’ll be silent
till I see farther.[67]

_Pen._ The spring is now so forward, that it must indeed be attributed
to your passion that you are not in the field.

_Y. Book._ You do me justice, madam, in that thought, for I am
strangely pestered to be there. Well, the French are the most
industrious people in the world. I had a letter from one of their
generals, that shall be nameless (it came over by the way of Holland),
with an offer of very great terms, if I would but barely send my
opinion in the use of pikes, about which he tells me their Prince and
generals have lately held a grand court martial.

_Both._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Lat._ These cunning things keep still together to puzzle us.–I’ll
alarm him.–Sir, one word—-

_Vict._ Come, come, we’ll have no whispering, no messages at present.
Some other ladies have sent, but they shan’t have you from us.

_Both._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Y. Book._ I hold myself obliged to be of the same humour ladies are
in–ha! ha! ha! Now pray do me the favour to tell me what I laughed at.

_Pen._[68] Why, you must know, your talking of the French and war put
us in mind of a young coxcomb that came last night from Oxford, calls
himself soldier, treats ladies, fights battles, raises jealousies with
downright lies of his own inventing–ha! ha! ha!

_Y. Book._ That must be an impudent young rascal certainly–ha! ha! ha!

_Vict._ Nay, this is beyond comparison—-

_Y. Book._ I can’t conceive how one of those sneaking academics could
personate such a character; for we, bred in camps, have a behaviour
that shows we are used to act before crowds.

_Pen._ ‘Tis certainly so; nay, he has been confronted with it, as
plainly as I speak to you, and yet not blushed for it, but carried it
as if he knew not the man—-

_Y. Book._ That may be; ’tis want of knowing themselves makes those
coxcombs so confident.

_Pen._ The faithless! shameless! Well, then, to see, if possible, such
a one may be brought to that sense, I tell you, this worthy hero two
days ago was in hanging-sleeves at Oxford, and is called Mr. Bookwit.
Ha! ha!

_Y. Book._ Well, was it not well enough carried? Pooh, I knew you well
enough, and you knew me, before you writ to me for Mr. Bookwit’s son.
But I fell into that way of talking purely to divert you. I knew you
a woman of wit and spirit, and that acting that part would at least
show I had fire in me, and wished myself what I would be half an age to
serve and please you–suffer in camps all the vicissitudes of burning
heats and sharp afflicting colds–

_Vict._ Look you, sir, I shall tell Mrs. Matilda Newtown, your spouse
at Oxford, what you are saying to another lady.

_Pen._ Prithee cousin, never give yourself the trouble to meddle in
such a work; one hardly knows how to speak it to a gentleman, but don’t
touch the affairs of so impudent a liar.

_Y. Book._ Ha! ha! ha!–Why, madam, have they told you of the marriage
too? Well, I was hard put to it there. I had like to have been
gravelled, faith. You were more beholden to me for that than anything.
Had it not been for that, they had married me to Mrs. Penelope, old
Getwel’s granddaughter, the great fortune; but I refused her for
you–who are a greater. [_Aside._

_Lat._ Sir! sir! pray sir, one word—-

_Pen. and Vict._ Stand off, sirrah.

_Vict._ You shan’t come near him; none of your dumb signs.

_Pen._ Then you have refused Penelope, though a great fortune! What
could you dislike in her?

_Y. Book._ The whole woman. Her person, nor carriage please me. She
is one of those women of condition, who do and say what they please
with an assured air, and think that’s enough, only to be called fine
mistress such-a-one’s manner.

_Pen._ This is not to be endured.–I do assure you, sir, Mrs. Penelope
has refused your betters.

_Y. Book._ I don’t much value my betters in her judgment, but am sorry
to see you concerned for her. When I have been at church, where I first
saw you, I’ve seen the gay giddy thing in a gallery watching eyes to
make curtsies. She is indeed a very ceremonious churchwoman, and never
is guilty of a sin of omission to any lady of quality within eye-shot.
In short, I don’t like the woman, and would go to Tunis or Aleppo for a
wife before I’d take her.

_Vict._ I cannot bear this of my friend; if you go on, sir, at this
rate, Tunis or Aleppo are the properest places for you to show your
gallantry in; ’twill never be received by any here–I hope she believes
me. [_Aside._

_Pen._ The lady’s in the right on’t; who can confide in a known common
impostor?

_Y. Book._[69] Ah, madam! how can you use a man that loves you so
unjustly? But call me what you will, liar, cheat, impostor–do but add,
your servant, and I am satisfied. I have, indeed, madam, ran through
many shifts in hopes to gain you, and could be contented to run through
all the shapes in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, could I but return to this on
my bended knees, of my fair one’s humble servant.

_Vict._ Prithee let us leave him, as you told me; I wonder you can
suffer him to entertain you so long. Leave him, let him kneel to the
trees and call to the woods if he will.–Oh, I could brain him–how
ugly he looks kneeling to her! [_Aside._

_Pen._ No, I’ll stay to plague him more.–But what opinion can I
have of this sudden passion? You hardly know me, I believe, or my
circumstances?

_Y. Book._ No, no, not I; I don’t know you. Your mother was not
Alderman Sterling’s daughter; your father, Mr. Philips, of Gray’s Inn,
who had an estate and never practised? You had not a brother killed at
Landen? Your sister Diana is not dead? nor you are not co-heiress with
Miss Molly? No, madam, I don’t know you; no, nor love you.

_Pen._ I wish I had taken her advice in going; he means her all this
while [_Aside._]–Pshaw, this is downright fooling. Let’s go, my
dear; leave him to the woods, as you say–I wish ’twas full of bears.
[_Aside._

_Vict._ No; now I’ll stay to plague him.

_Pen._ No, you shan’t stay.–Sir, we have given ourselves the diversion
to see you, and confront you in your falsehoods; in which you have
entangled yourself to that degree, you know not even the woman you
pretend to; and therefore, sir, I so far despise you, that if you
should come after me with your fiddles, I’ll have a porter–ready to
let you in. [_Aside._

_Vict._ I don’t know how to threaten a gentleman in that manner, but
I’m sure I shall never entertain any man that has disobliged my friend,
while my name’s Victoria! [_Exeunt arm in arm._

_Lat._ Master, methinks these ladies don’t understand wit. They were
very rough with you.

_Y. Book._ Ay, they were somewhat dull. But really Victoria discovered
herself at her going, methinks, agreeably enough.

_Lat._ I believe they are irrecoverably lost. Pox on’t, when I gave you
so many signs, too.

_Y. Book._ Well, hang thinking. Let’s to the tavern, and in every glass
name a new beauty, till I either forget, or am inspired with some new
project to attain her.

While in a lovely bowl I drown my care,
She’ll cease to be, or I to think her, fair. [_Exeunt._

ACT THE FOURTH.

SCENE I.–_Covent Garden._

_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT _and_ LATINE.

_Young Book._ This Roebuck has almost done my business. Rigby’s an
honest fellow, and would not poison us. The wine had good-humour,
mirth, and joy in it. My blood beats high and frolic. What says my dear
lackey? Ha!

_Lat._ Why, sir, I say, sir, that I am in so noble, so exalted a
condition, that I almost forget I am your honour’s footman.

_Y. Book._ Do but your business well to-night.

_Lat._ Who says the tongue stutters, legs falter, and eyes fail with
drink? ‘Tis false, my dear master, my tongue runs faster than ever;
my legs so brisk and nimble, that I can’t stand still; and my eyes
are better than ever they were; for I see everything double–But the
letter, the letter, I warrant I give it her.

_Y. Book._ Here, here, Jack, take it.

_Lat._ Let’s come nearer the lamp. This is the foul copy of it that
’tis wrapped in. Let me judge. Now I’ll be sedate. Let me read it again.

_Y. Book._ But you look cursedly fluttered; they’ll say you’re drunk.
Let’s see, I must comb your wig a little.

_Lat._ I shall be kicked for this letter here about the middle. You
should not talk of joys so soon; you should write miserable a fortnight
or three weeks longer–I shall be kicked.

_Y. Book._ What then? what then? A man of your philosophy must needs
remember, the body’s but the mere organ of the mind. Kicks come under
the topic of things without. What shall I do for powder for this smart
bob? [_Combs out his own wig into_ LAT’S.

_Lat._ ‘Tis no matter, sir; powder comes under the notion of things
without.

_Y. Book._ Oh! but ladies are no philosophers; but as to being drubbed
(these stockings too), you must fix your imagination upon some other
object, and you may, by force of thought, suspend your feeling.
The body is but the instrument of the mind, and you may command an
instrument.

_Lat._ No, sir, I’ll have you to know, I’ll save my carcass by mere
dint of eloquence. You have no other orders?

_Y. Book._ No; but may persuasion, grace, and elocution hang on thy
lips. But if you can come in to Victoria, she and the wine you’ve drank
will inspire you. Farewell. [_Exit._

_Lat._ This is the enchanted castle which the lady fair inhabits. Ha!
Mr. Simon, sir, I am your most humble servant. My dear friend—-

_Enter_ SIMON.

_Sim._ Your servant, good sir; my lady is with Madam Victoria at cards.
She’ll lie here to-night–but all’s ruined; they are both huge angry
with your master. But Lettice, having taken a fancy to you, Mr. John,
spoke up rarely, that she did indeed.

_Lat._ Can’t one come to the speech of her?

_Sim._ I was ordered to have a strict eye to the door, and let nobody
in whatever. I don’t care for going up, because she’ll see I have made
a cap of one of the finest napkins, for which she’ll make a plaguy
noise.

_Lat._ Nay, nay, you are exactly of my mind; I love to avoid anger.

_Sim._ You are a little disguised in drink, though, Mr. John–but
I ain’t seen you, not I. Go straight up: Mrs. Lettice is in the
ante-chamber.

_Lat._ I thank you, dear friend. My master bids me upon these
occasions—-[_Gives him money._

_Sim._ I beg your pardon, good Mr. John.

_Lat._ Look you, I am a servant as well as you; what do you mean, Mr.
Simon? Come, come, time’s precious. When your lady’s married, all these
vails will end.

_Sim._ Nay, I said behind your back, Mr. John, that you were very well
spoken. Well, put up briskly. I’ll stand your friend as much as one
servant can to another, against all masters and mistresses whatever.

_Lat._ Thanks, good Mr. Simon. [_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–PENELOPE’S _Lodgings._

LETTICE, _discovered reading, by a small candle; two large ones by her
unlighted._

_Lett._ ‘Tis a most sad thing, one dare not light a large candle except
company’s coming in, and I scarce can see to read this piteous story.
Well, in all these distresses and misfortunes, the faithful Argalus was
renowned all over the plains of Arca–Arca–Arcadia–for his loyal and
true affection to his charming paramour, Parthenia.[70] Blessings on
his heart for it; there are no such suitors nowadays. [_Weeping._] But
I hope they’ll come together again at the end of the book, and marry,
and have several children. Oh! Bless me! A man here! [_Turns over the
leaves._]–The gentleman’s pretty man—-[_Aside._

_Enter_ LATINE.

I wonder by what means, with that impudence, you could offer to come
upstairs at this time of the night, and my lady in the next room. I
protest I’ll cry out. [_In a low voice all._

_Lat._ Dear Mrs. Lettice, my love to you. [_Aloud._

_Lett._ Hist, hist! I am, methinks, however, loth to discover you,
because servants must do as they’re bid; for I know it was not to see
me, but some message from your master you came about.

_Lat._ I offered to bring a letter from him, in hopes to see you, my
dearest. I’ll not give it at all; I don’t care, my dearest. [_Kisses
her hand._

_Lett._ Pho! pho! now you are rude, because you know one dare not
discover you. You do what you will.–How he kisses one’s hand: I
warrant he has kissed his betters. [_Aside._]–Pray, did you never live
in a lady’s service?

_Lat._ No; nor do I value any of the sex but your dear self, Mrs.
Lettice.–I would be discovered. [_Aside._]–I’m in a rapture! in a
flame!

_Pen._ [_Within._] Who’s there?

_Lett._ Hist, hist! could not you have forced a kiss quietly?–Madam!
madam!–Hold me fast. Show the letter, my lady’s coming.–I tell you,
sir, she will receive no message at all. Get you downstairs, you
impudent!–Hold me faster yet; she loves your master. [_Softly aside
to_ LATINE.

_Enter_ PENELOPE _and_ VICTORIA.

_Pen._ What can this mean? What fellow’s that has seized the wench?

_Lett._ Madam, madam, here’s Mr. Bookwit’s footman drunk, and has
directly stole upstairs with some ill design, I fear, on me–but has a
letter from his master to your ladyship.

_Pen._ Call up the servants: Simon, William, Kate, Alf! I’ll have
the rascal well basted for his insolence–served just as his master
deserves.

_Lat._ [_Kneeling._] Let not those lips, more sweet than labour of
Hyblæan bees, utter a sentence, as if a Libyan lioness on a mountain
gave thee suck, and thou wert the obdurate offspring of a rock.

_Vict._ Hyblæan! Libyan! Obdurate! Ridiculous. The fellow has got his
master’s cant! Ha! ha! ha!

_Pen._ I’ll put him out of it, I’ll warrant you. What, will no one come
up there?

_Enter_ Servants _with brooms, &c._

_Lat._ Oh! for the force of eloquence to allay and reconcile the
passion of this angry mansion!–I had like to have said plain house,
which had been against the laws of buskin, in which I would at present
talk. [_Aside._

_Pen._ Did you ever hear anything like this? Ha! ha!

_Maid._ Madam, shall I beat him?

_Lat._ Ah! culinary fair, compose thy rage; thou whose more skilful
hand is still employed in offices for the support of nature, descend
not from thyself, thou bright cookmaid—-There! sunk again!
[_Aside._]–With heightened gusts and quickening tastes, by you what
would be labour else is made delight. Thou great robust, let not thy
hand all red assault a life it rather should preserve.

_Maid._ Good madam, excuse me, I can’t touch him—-I have bowels for
him. [_Weeping._

_Sim._ I wish I had his learning. I’ll warrant he buys in everything
wherever he lives.

_Lat._ This, madam, this faithful paper tells you the passions of the
tenderest heart that ever bled for cruel maid. Oh, Victoria! did you
but hear his sighs, his restless hours!–how often he repeats Victoria!

_Lett._ Victoria! Then I find this is none on’t meant to my lady–nor
to me neither; the master and man are both rogues. [_Aside._

_Pen._ Receive your seasonable epistle now at midnight!

_Vict._ He can’t mean me—-To you he all along addressed.–Would I
could read it without her. [_Aside._

_Pen._ To show you I value neither author nor bearer of it–kick the
fellow down!

_Lat._ Nay, madam, since matters must come to extremities, I’d rather
have the honour of your ladyship’s command to be cudgelled by your good
family than have it from my master. A disappointed lover in his rage
will strike stone walls and things inanimate, much more a poor live
footman; therefore I must deliver my message. I’ll read it to you,
ladies, for I see you are friends.

_Pen._ Away with him.

_Lat._ “If the sincerity of my intentions were not—-”

_Lett._ Get out, false wretch.

_Lat._ “Demonstrable, in spite of—-”

_Maid._ Take that—-

_Lat._ “These accidents in which I have been involved, I should not
dare to tell you how alternately joys, raptures, ecstasies, miseries,
doubts, and anxieties do attack a breast devoted to you.”

Whither shall injured virtue fly for shelter,
When love and honour suffer thus in me?
Oh! I could rage, call elements about me, spout cataracts–
Must I be drubbed with broom-staves? [_Exit._ LAT.

_Pen._ Come in, my dear, again. The night is cold. [_Exeunt._

SCENE III.–_Covent Garden._

_Enter_ LOVEMORE _and_ FREDERICK.

_Love._ It is so pleasant a night that I will see you over the Garden
to your lodgings.

_Fred._ That compliment won’t pass upon me. Your reason for sauntering
this way is that ’tis near Penelope’s.

_Love._ I come for her sake! No; should she write, beseech, kneel to
me, I think I ne’er should value her more. No, I’ll be no longer her
tool, her jest; she shall not dally with a passion she deserves not.

_Fred._ ‘Twere very well were this resolution in your power; but
believe me, friend, one smile, one glance that were but doubtful
whether favourable, would conquer all your indignation.

_Love._ Faith, I’m afraid what you say is true.

_Fred._ Then strive not to be rationally mad, which you attempt if you
think you can at once be at your own command and at another’s. Would
you be master of yourself and have a mistress?

_Love._ But I can rebel against that mistress.

_Fred._ Do if you can. Nay, I’m sure ’tis in your power, because
to-morrow morning you are to fight a rival for her–because though
you know she lies backwards, and you can’t so much as see her chamber
window, you must needs walk hither. Well, I protest I’m of your mind;
there is, me thinks, now a particular, amiable gloom about that
house–though, perhaps, to ordinary beholders it is exactly like the
others.

_Love._ You are very witty, I must confess, at your friend’s follies,
Mr. Frederick.

_Fred._ I won’t then any longer disturb your meditation, but e’en go
home like a dull rogue as I am, and without love enough to any woman,
or hatred enough to any man, to keep me awake, fall fast asleep–I was
going to wish you rest, but you are above all that. If it should rain,
I’d advise you not to forget it does, but go into the Piazza. [_Exit._

_Love._ ‘Tis very well, I’m deservedly laughed at. But the door
opens–Bookwit’s footman! [LATINE _crosses the stage._] The master, I
suppose, is there too. I’ll watch for his coming out—-The morning
approaches too slowly. He shall not sleep to-night except it be for
ever—-Oh, revenge! Oh, jealousy!

_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT, _with bottle and glass, singing._[71]

_Y. Book._

Since the day of poor man,
That little, little span,
Though long it can’t last,
For the future and past
Is spent with remorse and despair.

With such a full glass
Let that of life pass,
‘Tis made up of trouble,
A storm though a bubble,
There’s no bliss but forgetting your care.

I wonder what’s become of poor Latine. I wish he had a bumper of
this—-[_Drinks._

_Love._ I have no patience to observe his insolent jollity; how
immoderately joyful my misery has made him!–Bookwit!

_Y. Book._ Lovemore!

_Love._ What, sir! are you diverting the thought of to-morrow morning’s
business with midnight riot? Or is it an assignation keeps you out of
bed thus late?

_Y. Book._ An hour or two till morning is not much in either of our
lives; therefore I must tell you now, sir, I am ready for your message.

_Love._ That conscious light and stars are witnesses of—-

_Y. Book._ I want no witnesses. I have a sword, as you bid me meet you.
[_They draw and fight._

_Love._ You’ve done my business. [_Falls._

_Y. Book._ Then I’ve done what you desired me. But this is no place for
me. [_Exit._

_Enter_ CONSTABLE _and_ WATCHMEN.

_Const._ Where, where was this clashing of swords? So-ho! So-ho! You,
sir, what, are you dead? Speak, friend; what are you afraid of? If you
are dead, the law can’t take hold of you.

_Watch._ I beg your pardon, Mr. Constable, he ought by the law to be
carried to the Round-house for being dead at this time of night.

_Const._ Then away with him, you three—-And you, gentlemen, follow me
to find out who killed him. [_Exeunt._

_Enter_ SIMON.

_Sim._ What’s the matter, good gentlemen, what’s the matter? Oh, me!
Mr. Lovemore killed! Oh, me! My mind gives me that it must be about our
young lady.

_Watch._ Does it so, sir? Then you must stay with us. [_Some hold_
SIMON, _whilst others carry_ LOVEMORE _off._

_Sim._ I stay with you! Oh, gemini! Indeed, I can’t—-They can’t be
without me at our house.

_Watch._ But they must, friend—-Harkee, friend–I hope you’ll be
hanged. [_Whispers him._

_Sim._ I hanged! Pray, sir, take care of your words. Madam Penelope’s,
our young lady’s servant, hanged! Take care what you say.

_Enter_ LATINE.

_Lat._ Whither can this Bookwit be gone?

_Sim._ Oh! Mr. John, Mr. Lovemore is killed just now, since you went
out of our house; and you and your master must have an hand in it.

_Lat._ How? Lovemore killed! [_They seize_ LATINE.

_Enter others with_ YOUNG BOOKWIT.

_Y. Book._ Hands off, you dirty midnight rascals. Let me go, or—-

_Const._ Sir, what were you running so fast for? There’s a man killed
in the Garden, and you’re a fine gentleman, and it must be you–for
good honest people only beat one another—-

_Lat._ Nay, nay, we are all in a fair way to be fine gentlemen, Mr.
Simon and all.

_Const._ Hands off, rascals, you said just now–do you know what a
constable is?

_Y. Book._ The greatest man in the parish when all the rest are asleep.

_Const._ Come, come, I find they are desperate fellows; we’ll to the
justice, and commit ’em immediately. I’ll teach rascals to speak
high-treason against a petty constable—-[_Exeunt._[72]

_Enter_ FREDERICK _and_ OLD BOOKWIT.

_O. Book._ You well may be surprised at my waiting here for your coming
home. But you’ll pardon me, since it is to ease me of an anxiety that
keeps me waking.

_Fred._ I shall be very glad if I am capable of doing that.

_O. Book._[73] You knew my Tom at Oxford, and I believe were not so
hard a student, but you made some acquaintance in the town–therefore,
pray tell me, do you know Mr. Newtown there–his family, descent, and
fortune?

_Fred._ What Newtown?

_O. Book._ I’ll tell you, sir, what you young fellows take most notice
of old ones for–a token that you needs must know him by–he’s the
father of the fair Matilda, your celebrated beauty of that town.

_Fred._ I assure you, sir, I never heard of the father or daughter till
this instant; therefore I’m confident there’s no such beauty.

_O. Book._ Oh, sir, I know your drift–you’re tender of informing me
for my son’s sake! He told me all himself. I know all the progress of
his love with the young lady; how he was taken in the night in her
bedchamber by his pistol going off, the family disturbance that was
raised upon it, which he composed by marrying–I know it all.

_Fred._ Is Tom Bookwit then married at Oxford?

_O. Book._ He is, indeed, sir; therefore our affairs are now so linked
that ’twill be an ill office both to the Newtowns and to us to conceal
anything from me that relates to them.

_Fred._ A man can’t be said to conceal what he does not know—-But it
seems it was Mr. Bookwit gave you this account himself.

_O. Book._ Yes, sir; I told you, sir, I had it from himself.

_Fred._ Then I’m sure there was nothing left out; he never tells a
story by halves.

_O. Book._ Why, then, you think my son’s a liar.

_Fred._ Oh fie, sir, but he enlivens a mere narration with variety of
accidents; to be plain, his discourse gains him more applause than
credit. You could not, I believe, have married your son to a less
expensive lady in England than this Mrs. Matilda. I’ll be sworn you’ll
avoid all the charge of gay dress, high play, and stately childbirth.
You understand me, sir?

_O. Book._ I never could see anything in my son that’s disingenuous, to
put his aged father to this shame.

_Fred._ Never fret or grieve for it. He told Lovemore this morning such
a relation of his feasting ladies, and I know not what, that he has
brought a tilt upon his hands to-morrow morning; therefore keep him at
home. I’ll to his adversary, so we’ll convince him of a fault which has
so ill (though not intended) consequences.

_O. Book._ You’ll highly oblige me, sir; I’ll trouble you no longer.
[_Exeunt._

SCENE IV.–_Newgate._

YOUNG BOOKWIT, LATINE, SIMON, STORM, _with the crowd of Gaol-birds._

_Storm._ I apprehend, sir, by Mr. Turnkey, the gentleman there with a
broken nose, that you’re brought in for murder. I honour you, sir; I
don’t question but ’twas done like a gentleman.

_Y. Book._ I hope it will appear so.

_Storm._ I come, I fear, sir, to your acquaintance with some prejudice,
because you see me thus in irons. But affliction is the portion of the
virtuous and the gallant.

_Y. Book._ It does not depress, sir, but manifest the brave.

_Storm._ Right, sir, I find you’re noble. You may, perhaps, have heard
of me. My name is Storm. This person, my friend, who is called Faggot,
and myself, being exposed by an ungrateful world to feel its cruelty
and contempt of ragged virtue, made war upon it, and in open day
infested their high road.

_Y. Book._ Your humble servant, gentlemen, I do conceive you. Your
spirits could not stoop to barter on the change, to sneer in courts, to
lie, to flatter, or to creep for bread. You, therefore, chose rather to
prey like lions, then betray like crocodiles, or fawn like dogs. You
took upon you to interrupt the commerce of a cheating world, to unload
the usurer of his anxious pelf, and save the thoughtless landed boy he
travelled to undo, with a thousand such good actions; by which means
you two are infamous, for what two millions of you had been glorious.

_Storm._ Right, sir; I see you’re knowing, sir, and learned in
man. This gentleman, Mr. Charcoal, the chemist, was our secret
correspondent, and as we never robbed a poor man, so he never cheated a
fool, but still imposed on your most sprightly wits and genius–fellows
of fire and metal, whose quick fancies and eager wishes formed reasons
for their undoing. He is a follower of the great Raimundus Lullius; the
public think to frighten him into their own purposes. But he’ll leave
the ungrateful world without the secret.

_Char._ You know, sir, he that first asserted the Antipodes died for
that knowledge; and I, sir, having found out the melioration of metals,
the ignorant will needs call it coining; and I am to be hanged for it,
would you think it?

_Y. Book._ When, pray sir, are you to be immortal?

_Char._ On Friday next. I’m very unhappy our acquaintance is to be
short. I’m very sorry your business is not over, sir, that, if it must
be, we might go together.

_Y. Book._ I’m highly obliged to you, sir.

_Char._ Yet let me tell you, sir, because by secret sympathy I’m yours,
I must acquaint you, if you can obtain the favour of an opportunity and
a crucible, I can show projection–directly Sol, sir, Sol, sir, more
bright than that high luminary the Latins called so–wealth shall be
yours; we’ll turn each bar about us into golden ingots.[74] Sir, can
you lend me half-a-crown?

_Y. Book._ Oh, sir, a trifle between such old acquaintance.

_Storm._ You’ll be indicted, sir, to-morrow. I would advise you, when
your indictment’s read, to one thing: that is, don’t cavil at false
Latin; but if by chance there should be a word of good, except to that,
and puzzle the whole court.

_Y. Book._ Sir, I’m obliged—-

_Storm._ I defy the world to say I ever did an ill thing; I love my
friend. But there is always some little trifle given to prisoners they
call garnish; we of the road are above it, but o’ t’other side of the
house, silly rascals that came voluntarily hither—-such as are in
for fools, signed their own mittimus, in being bound for others,–may
perhaps want it. I’ll be your faithful almoner.

_Y. Book._ Oh, by all means, sir. [_Gives him money._

_Storm._ Pray, sir, is that your footman?

_Y. Book._ He is my friend, sir.

_Storm._ Look you, sir, the only time to make use of a friend is in
extremity. Do you think you could not hang him and save yourself? Sir,
my service to you; your own health.

_1st Pris._ Captain, your health. [_Gives it to the next prisoner._

_2nd Pris._ Captain, your health.

_Storm._ But perhaps the captain likes brandy better. So-ho! brandy
there. [_Drinks._] But you don’t, perhaps, like these strong liquors.
Cider, ho! [_Drinks to him in it._] Gentlemen all! But, captain, I
see you don’t love cider neither. You and I will be for claret then.
Ay, marry! I knew this would please [_Drinks_] you. [_Drinks again._]
Faith, we’ll make an end on’t; I’m glad you like it.

_Turn._ I’m sorry, Captain Storm, to see you impose on a gentleman, and
put him to charge in his misfortune. If a petty larceny fellow had done
this—-but one of the road!

_Storm._ I beg your pardon, sir, I don’t question but the captain
understands there is a fee to you for going to the keeper’s side.
[BOOK. _and_ LATINE _give him money. Exeunt with_ TURNKEY, SIMON
_following._] Nay, nay, you must stay here.

_Sim._ Why, I am Simon, Madam Penelope’s man.

_Storm._ Then Madam Penelope’s man must strip for garnish.[75] Indeed,
Master Simon, you must.

_Sim._ Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!

_Storm._ Thieves! Thieves! Why, you senseless dog, do you think there’s
thieves in Newgate? Away with him to the tap-house. [_Pushes him off._]
We’ll drink his coat off. Come, my little chemist, thou shalt transmute
this jacket into liquor; liquor that will make us forget the evil day.
And while day is ours, let us be merry.

For little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state.
[_Exeunt._

ACT THE FIFTH.

SCENE I.–_Newgate._

YOUNG BOOKWIT _discovered on a couch asleep_, LATINE _looking on him._

_Lat._ How quietly he rests! Oh that I could,
By watching him, hanging thus over him,
And, feeling all his care, protract his sleep!
Oh, sleep! thou sweetest gift of Heaven to man,
Still in thy downy arms embrace my friend,
Nor loose him from his inexistent trance
To sense of yesterday and pain of being;
In thee oppressors soothe their angry brow,
In thee the oppressed forget tyrannic power,
In thee—-
The wretch condemned is equal to his judge,
And the sad lover to his cruel fair;
Nay, all the shining glories men pursue,
When thou art wanted, are but empty noise.
Who then would court the pomp of guilty power,
When the mind sickens at the weary show,
And dies to temporary death for ease;
When half our life’s cessation of our being—-
He wakes—-
How do I pity that returning life,
Which I could hazard thousand lives to save!

_Y. Book._ How heavily do I awake this morning! Oh, this senseless
drinking! To suffer a whole week’s pain for an hour’s jollity! Methinks
my senses are burning round me. I have but interrupted hints of the
last night—-Ha! in a gaol! Oh, I remember, I remember. Oh, Lovemore!
Lovemore! I remember—-

_Lat._ You must have patience, and bear it like a man.

_Y. Book._ Oh, whither shall I run to avoid myself?
Why all these bars? These bolted iron gates?
They’re needless to secure me—-Here, here’s my rack,
My gaol, my torture—-
Oh, I can’t bear it. I cannot bear the rushing of new thoughts;
Fancy expands my senses to distraction,
And my soul stretches to that boundless space
To which I’ve sent my wretched, wretched friend.
Oh, Latine! Latine! Is all our mirth and humour come to this?
Give me thy bosom, close in thy bosom hide me
From thy eyes; I cannot bear their pity or reproach.

_Lat._ Dear Bookwit, how heartily I love you–I don’t know what to say.
But pray have patience.

_Y. Book._ If you can’t bear my pain that’s but communicated by your
pity, how shall I my proper inborn woe, my wounded mind?

_Lat._ In all assaults of fortune that should be serene,
Not in the power of accident or chance—-

_Y. Book._ Words! words! all that is but mere talk.
Perhaps, indeed, to undeserved affliction
Reason and argument may give relief,
Or in the known vicissitudes of life
We may feel comfort by our self-persuasion;
But oh! there is no taking away guilt:
This divine particle will ache for ever.
There is no help but whence I dare not ask;
When this material organ’s indisposed
Juleps can cool and anodynes give rest;
But nothing mix with this celestial drop,
But dew from that high Heaven of which ’tis part.

_Lat._ May that high Heaven compose your mind,
And reconcile you to yourself.

_Y. Book._ How can I hope it?
No—-I must descend from man,
Grovel on earth, nor dare look up again!
Oh, Lovemore! Lovemore! Where is he now?
Oh, thinking, thinking, why didst thou not come sooner?
Or not now!—-
My thoughts do so confuse me now–as my folly and pleasures did before
this fatal accident–that I cannot recollect whence Lovemore was
provoked to challenge me.

_Lat._ You know, dear Bookwit, I feared some ill from a careless way of
talking. But alas! I dreamt not of so great—-

_Y. Book._ Ay, there it was; he was naturally a little jealous.
Heavens, do I say he was? I talked to him of ladies, treats, and he
might possibly believe ’twas where he had engaged—-I remember his
serious behaviour on that subject. Oh, this unhappy tongue of mine!

Thou lawless, voluble, destroying foe,
That still run’st on, nor wait’st command of reason,
Oh, I could tear thee from me—-

_Lat._ Did you not expostulate before the action?

_Y. Book._ He would have don’t; but I, flushed with the thoughts of
duelling, pressed on—-Thus for the empty praise of fools, I’m solidly
unhappy.

_Lat._ You take it too deeply. Your honour was concerned.

_Y. Book._ Honour! The horrid application of that sacred word to
a revenge against friendship, law, and reason is a damned last
shift of the damned envious foe of human race. The routed fiend
projected this, but since the expansive glorious law from Heaven came
down—-Forgive.[76]

_Enter_ TURNKEY.

_Turn._ Gentlemen, I come to tell you that you have the favour to be
carried in chairs to your indictment, to which you must go immediately.

_Lat._ We are ready, sir,

_Y. Book._ How shall I bear the eyeshot of the crowd in court?
[_Exeunt._

SCENE II.–FREDERICK’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ LOVEMORE, _in a serjeant’s gown, and_ FREDERICK.

_Love._ Mankind is infinitely beholden to this noble styptic, that
could produce such wonderful effects so suddenly. But though my wound
was very slight, I’m weak by the effusion of so much blood.

_Fred._ Yet after all, you have not lost enough to cool your passion.
Your heart still beats, Penelope, Penelope—-But in this disguise you
have opportunity for observation. You’ll see whether you ought still to
value her or not. I’m glad you thought of being brought hither as soon
as you came to yourself. I expect old Bookwit every moment here—-

_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT.

There he is—-

_O. Book._ Oh, Mr. Frederick! too late, too late was our care; they
met last night, and then the fatal act was done. You’ll excuse, sir, a
father’s sorrow—-I can’t speak much, but you may guess what I hope
from you.

_Fred._ You may depend upon ingenuous usage in the prosecution. I’m
going instantly to Penelope’s with this learned gentleman, to know what
she can say to this matter. I desired you, in the note I sent you, to
purchase the favour of your son’s being brought thither, where he and
you may be witnesses of what shall pass. I seek not his blood, nor
would neglect a justice to my deceased friend.

_O. Book._ I believe my son and the rest are going thither ere this;
and I desire this worthy serjeant’s favour and advice, since we both
mean the same thing–only to act with honour, if his life may be saved.

_Love._ I’ll do what’s just to the deceased and the survivor.

_O. Book._ I’ll leave you, but will take care to come in just afore the
criminals arrive. [_Exit._

_Love._ The poor old gentleman! Prithee, let’s go; I long to see my
lovely torment, Penelope.

_Fred._ I’ll but leave word within. [_Exeunt._

SCENE III.–PENELOPE’S _Lodgings._

_Enter_ PENELOPE _and_ VICTORIA.

_Pen._ It seems Simon lay out all night, and was carried away by the
watch with some gentlemen in a quarrel.

_Vict._ I fancy the men who are always for showing their valour are
like the women who are always talking of their chastity, because they
are conscious of their defect in it.

_Pen._ Right; for we are not apt to raise arguments but about what we
think is disputable.

_Vict._ Ay, ay, they whose honour is a sore part are more fearful of
being touched than they in whom ’tis only a tender one. But tell me
honestly, Penelope, should poor Lovemore be in this rencounter, and
that for your sake, would it have no effect upon you in his favour?

_Pen._ I don’t know how to answer you; but I find something in that
reflection which acquaints me ’tis very hard for one to know one’s own
heart. [_Sighs._

_Vict._ However, let your heart answer me one question more, as well as
it can. Does it love me as well as ever it did?

_Pen._ Does not, madam, that question proceed from a change in your own?

_Vict._ It does, Penelope; I own it does—-I had a long conflict with
myself on my pillow last night.

_Pen._ What were your thoughts there?

_Vict._ That I owed it to our friendship to acknowledge to you that all
the pleasure I once had in you is vanished. Ah, Penelope! I’m sorry for
every good quality you have.

_Pen._ Since you are so frank, I must confess to you something very
like this. But however I envied that sprightly, ingenuous, native
beauty of yours, I see it now so much the figure of your mind that I
can conquer, I think I can, any inclination in myself that opposes the
happiness of so sincere a friend.

_Vict._ Explain yourself, my dear.

_Pen._ I’ll discountenance this Bookwit’s ambiguous addresses; and if
Lovemore can forgive my late ill-usage—-I need say no more.

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Mr. Frederick below desires to see you on some extraordinary
business.

_Vict._ I have not time, my dearest friend, to applaud or thank you,
but must run in—-He comes from Lovemore—-remember. [_Exit._

_Pen._ Let him come up—-Now can’t I for my life forbear a little
tyranny.

_Enter_ FREDERICK _and_ LOVEMORE.

_Pen._ Good morrow, sir. I believe I know your business: you’re
officious for your friend—-But I am deaf.

_Fred._ I know you are, and have been; but I come only to do him a last
office. He’ll trouble you no more, but I must conjure you to read this,
and inform this learned gentleman what you know of this misfortune.

_Pen._ [_Reading._] “Your cruelty provoked me to desire the favour of
dying by Mr. Bookwit’s hand, since he had taken from me more than life
in robbing me of you—-farewell for ever—-I direct Frederick not
to give you this till I am no more.” Writ in his blood! “Till I am no
more!” Lovemore no more! Thou shalt not be no more—-thou shalt live
here for ever. Here, thou dearest paper, mingle with my life’s stream;
either the paper bleeds anew, or my eyes weep blood. So let ’em do
forever—-Oh, my Lovemore! did the vanity of a prating boy banish thy
solid services and manly love?

_Fred._ This is no reparation to him for his lost life, nor me for
my lost friend. Yet when you please to receive ’em, I am obliged to
deliver you some papers, wherein he has given you all the fortune he
could bestow, nor would revoke it, even thus injured as he was.

_Pen._ Curse on all wealth and fortune! He–he is gone who only
deserved all, and whose worth I know too late!

_Love._ [_To_ FRED.] Oh, ecstasy! Why was I angry at her rejoicing at
my sorrow, when hers to me is such a perfect bliss? ‘Tis barbarous not
to discover myself.

_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] Do, and be used barbarously—-But, madam, you
must be composed. Your life, for ought I know, is at stake; for there
is no such thing as accessories in murder; and it can be proved you
knew of Lovemore’s threatening to fight Bookwit. You must either take
your trial yourself, or be Mr. Bookwit’s witness.

_Pen._ I his witness! No, I’ll swear anything to hang him.

_Fred._ Ah, madam, you must consider yourself, however—-Pray, sir,
read her indictment to her.

_Love._ [_Reading._] “That on the said third day of April the said
Penelope, of the parish of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, spinster,
without fear before her eyes, but by the instigation of the devil, and
through an evil pride of heart—-”

_Pen._ ‘Tis too true—-[_Weeping._

_Love._ “Did contrive, abet, and consent to the death of John Lovemore,
Esq., of the age of twenty-eight years, or thereabouts.”

_Fred._ I can’t hear the mention of him without tears. He was the
sincerest friend.

_Love._ I think I have seen him. He was, I’ve heard, a man of honesty,
but of something a disagreeable make.

_Pen._ Oh, sir, you never saw him if you think so—-His person was as
free as his mind was honest, nor had he imperfection, but his love of
me. [_Weeps._

_Love._ [_To_ FRED.] I tremble I shall disoblige her too much.

_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] You shan’t discover yourself, you shall go through
her soul, now ’tis moved on our side. Win her now, or see my face no
more; I’ll not have my wine spoiled every night with your recitals of
love, and asking advice, though you never mean to take it, like a true
lover.

_Pen._ When did that best of men expire, good Mr. Frederick?

_Fred._ This morning. But should I speak the manner? With a faint,
dying voice he called me to him. I went in tenderness to take my long
farewell. He, in a last effort of nature, pressed me to his breast,
and, with the softest accent, sighed in death–“Penelope.”

_Pen._ Oh, the too generous man! Ungrateful I!
Curses on him first flattered with his tongue,
On her that first dissembled in her silence—-
What miseries have they entailed on life
To bring in fraud and diffidence of love!
Simplicity’s the dress of honest passion,
Then why our arts, why to a man enamoured,
That at her feet effuses all his soul,
Must woman cold appear, false to herself and him?

_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] Do you see there? You’d have spoke before she
considered that.

_Pen._ Oh, could I see him now, to press his livid lips,
And call him back to life with my complaints,
His eyes would glare upon my guilt with horror,
That used to gloat and melt in love before me.
Let mine for ever then be shut to joy,
To all that’s bright and valuable in man!
I’ll to his sacred ashes be a wife,
And to his memory devote my life. [_Exit._

_Love._ This is worth dying for indeed. I’ll follow her.

_Fred._ No, you shan’t; let her go in, throw herself upon her bed,
and hug, and call her pillow “Lovemore.” ‘Tis but what you’ve done a
thousand times for her.

_Love._ That’s true too.

_Fred._ Let her contemplate on the mischief of her vanity. She shall
lament till her glass is of our side–till its pretty eyes be all
blubbered; its heart must heave and pant with perfect anguish before
’twill feel the sorrow of another’s. Don’t you know, pride, scorn,
affectation, and a whole train of ills must be sobbed away before a
great beauty’s mortified to purpose?

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Old Mr. Bookwit enquires for you here, Mr. Frederick.

_Fred._ Pray, let him come up.

_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT.

_Love._ What’s the matter? You seem more discomposed than you were at
Mr. Frederick’s. Something still new?

_O. Book._ I saw the boy a-coming in a chair; he looks so languid and
distressed, poor lad! He has all his mother’s softness, by nature of
the sweetest disposition. Oh, gentlemen, you know not what it is to be
a father! To see my only child in that condition—-My grief quickened
at the sight of him. I thought I could have patience till I saw him.

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ There are two or three in chairs desire admittance by
appointment.

_O. Book._ ‘Tis right, sir.

_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT, LATINE, _and_ GAOLER.

Oh, my dear child! Oh, Tom! are all thy aged father’s hopes, then, come
to this, that he can’t see thee, his only son, but guarded by a gaoler?
Thy mother’s happy that lived not to see this day. Is all the nurture
that she gave thy infancy, the erudition she bequeathed thy youth, thus
answered? Oh, my son! my son! rise and support thy father! I sink with
tenderness, my child; come to my arms while thou art mine.

_Y. Book._ Oh, best of fathers!
Let me not see your tears,
Don’t double my afflictions by your woe—-
There’s consolation when a friend laments us, but
When a parent grieves, the anguish is too native,
Too much our own to be called pity.
Oh, sir, consider; I was born to die.
‘Tis but expanding thought, and life is nothing.
Ages and generations pass away,
And with resistless force, like waves o’er waves,
Roll down the irrevocable stream of time
Into the insatiate ocean for ever—-Thus we are gone.
But the erroneous sense of man–’tis the lamented
That’s at rest, but the survivor mourns.
All my sorrows vanish with that thought,
But Heaven grant my aged father patience!

_O. Book._ Oh, child! [_Turning away._

_Y. Book._ Do not torment yourself, you shall promise not to grieve.
What if they do upbraid you with my death?
Consider, sir, in death that our relation ceases;
Nor shall I want your care, or know your grief.
It matters not whether by law, or nature, ’tis I die.
What, won’t my father hear me plead to him?
Don’t turn from me—-
Yet don’t look at me with your soul so full.

_O. Book._ Oh, my child! my child! I could hear thee ever.
‘Twas that I loved thee that I turn away;
To hear my son persuade me to resign him,
I can’t, I can’t. The grief is insupportable.

_Y. Book._ You make a coward of me with your anguish.
I grow an infant, scarce can weep with silence;
But let me keep some decency in my distress.

_O. Book._ If we might be apart–
[_Looking at the company._
But that’s too much to hope.

_Gaol._ No, no, we’ll leave you to yourselves. [_Exeunt._

_O. Book._ I have too much upon me, child, to speak–and, indeed, have
nothing to say, but to feed my eyes upon thee e’er we part for ever, if
tears would let me. When you have slept in your cradle, I have waked
for you–and was it to this end! Oh, child, you’ve broke your father’s
heart. [_Swoons._

_Y. Book._ Good Heav’n forbid it–guard him and protect him.
He faints, he’s cold, he’s gone; [_Running to him._
He’s gone, and with his last breath called me parricide.
“You’ve broke your father’s heart!” Oh, killing sound!
I’m all contagion; to pity me is death:
My griefs to all are mortal but myself.
“You’ve broke your father’s heart!” If I did so,
Why thus serene in death, thou smiling clay?
Why that calm aspect to thy murderer?
Oh, big unutterable grief—-merciful Heaven!
I don’t deserve this ease of tears to melt
With penitence–Oh, sweet, sweet remorse;
Now all my powers give way
To my just sorrow, for the best of fathers. [_Aloud._
Thou venerable fountain of my life,
Why don’t I also die, derived from thee?
Sure you are not gone–Is the way out of life
Thus easy, which you so much feared in me?
[_Takes him by the hand._
Why stay I after? But I deserve to stay,
To feel the quick remembrance of my follies.
Yet if my sighs, my tears, my anguish can atone—-

_Re-enter_ FREDERICK, LOVEMORE, LATINE, GAOLER, VICTORIA, _and_
PENELOPE.

_Fred._ What is the matter? What—-

_Y. Book._ Behold this sight! I am the guilty wretch–

_Fred._ Keep aside a little, sir, he only swoons, I hope. I think he
breathes–yes, he returns. You must compose yourself.

_Lat._ Poor Bookwit! how utterly he seems distressed!

_O. Book._ I will be calm–resign to Heaven–and hear you patiently.

_Fred._ You, sir, his favourite servant, pray speak honestly the truth
of what you know to this learned gentleman, who is counsel in this case.

_Y. Book._ Sir, he is not—-

_Love._ Pray, sir, give the servant leave first.

_Lat._ Know, then, I am not what I seem, but a gentleman of a plentiful
fortune. I am thus dressed to carry on such gay pursuits as should
offer in this town. Not to detain you, Mr. Bookwit sent me late last
night with a letter to one of these ladies. Coming from thence, as I
crossed, I saw Lovemore in the Garden. He stopped me, and, after some
questions concerning my message to this house, to which he did not like
my answers, he struck me. We fought–I left him dead upon the spot; of
which this gentleman is guiltless.

_O. Book._ How! was it you, then, that killed Mr. Lovemore?

_Lat._ ‘Twas this unhappy hand gave him his death, but so provoked–

_Y. Book._ Who could believe that any pleasing passion
Could touch a breast loaded with guilt like mine?
But all my mind is seized with admiration
Of thy stupendous friendship. What then–
Could’st thou hold thy innocent hand up at a bar
With felons, to save thy friend?
How shall I chide or praise thy brave imposture?
Ah, sir, believe him not! He cannot bear the loss of me whom he
o’ervalues; therefore with highest gallantry he offers a benefit which
’twere the meanest baseness to receive.
But death’s more welcome than a life so purchased.

_Lat._ We all know you can talk, and gild things as you please, but the
lady’s servant knows I was taken near the body when you—-

_Y. Book._ Sir, do but hear me–[_Pushing away_ LAT.

_Lat._ I’ll easily convince you–[_Pushing away_ BOOK.

_Y. Book._ Pray mind him not, his brain is touched–

_Lat._ I am the man, he was not near the place—-

_Love._ I can hold out no longer.–Lovemore still lives to adore
your noble friendship, and begs a share in’t. Be not amazed! but
let me grasp you both, who, in an age degenerate as this, have such
transcendent virtue–

_Y. Book._ Oh, Lovemore! Lovemore! how shall I speak my joy at thy
recovery–
I fail beneath the too ecstatic pleasure.
What help has human nature from its sorrows,
When our relief itself is such a burthen?

_O. Book._ Oh, the best burthen upon earth!–I beg your pardon, sir–I
never was so taken with a man in my life at first sight. [_Kisses_
LOVE.] Let me be known to you too. [_To_ LAT.

_Lat._ Sir, you do me honour.

_O. Book._ But you, ladies, are the first cause of the many errors we
have been in, and you only can extricate us with satisfaction. Such
is the force of beauty. The wounds the sword gave this gentleman were
slight, but you’ve transfixed a vital and a noble part–his heart. Had
I known his pretences, I had not interposed for my son.

_Fred._ Come, madam, no more of the cruel–go on, Lovemore; o’ my
conscience, the man’s afraid ’tis impudence to be alive again. You see
him now, madam; now you may press his livid lips, and call him back to
life with your complaints.

_Love._ I stand, methinks, on the brink of fate, in an ambiguous
interval of life, and doubt to accept of being till you smile. In every
human incident besides
I am superior, and can choose or leave;
But in minutest things that touch my love,
My bosom’s seized with anguish or with transport.

_Pen._ You’ve shown your passion to me with such honour that if I am
confused, I know I should not be, to say I approve it; for I know no
rules should make me insensible of generous usage. My person and my
mind are yours for ever.

_Love._ Then doubts, and fears, and anxious cares be gone,
All ye black thoughts that did corrode my breast;
Here enter faith, and confidence, and love!
Love that can’t live with jealousy, but dwells
With sacred marriage, truth, and mutual honour.
I knew not where you would bestow your vows,
But never doubted of your faith when given.
[_Kissing her hand._

_O. Book._ You see, my son, how constancy’s rewarded!
You have from nature every quality
To make you well become what fortune gave you;
But neither wit nor beauty, wealth nor courage,
Implicitly deserve the world’s esteem;
They’re only in their application good.
How could you fight a man you knew not why?
You don’t think that ’tis great merely to dare?
‘Tis that a man is just he should be bold.
Indeed you’ve erred.

_Lat._ You give my friend, methinks, too much compunction for a little
levity in his actions–when he’s too severe in his own reflections on
’em.

_Pen._ Well, Victoria, you see I take your advice at last in choice of
Lovemore.

_Vict._ I congratulate your missing of the other.

_Pen._ I heartily believe you, my dear friend.

_O. Book._ But we best guide our actions by hopes of reward. Could
but my son have such a glorious prospect as this fair one. [_To_
VICTORIA.] I doubt not but his future carriage would deserve her.

_Vict._ I believe I may safely promise to approve of all the truth he
tells me.

_Y. Book._ You’ve promised, then, to like all I shall say.

_O. Book._ These unexpected good events deserve our celebration with
some mirth and fiddles.

_Fred._ I foresaw this happy turn, therefore have prepared ’em. Call in
the dancers.

_Song, by_ MR. LEVERIDGE.

I.
The rolling years the joys restore,
Which happy, happy Britain knew,
When in a female age before
Beauty the sword of justice drew.

II.
Nymphs and fawns, and rural powers,
Of crystal floods and shady bowers,
No more shall here preside;
The flowing wave and living green,
Owe only to their present queen
Their safety and their pride.

III.
United air and pleasures bring,
Of tender note and tuneful string,
All your arts devoted are
To move the innocent and fair.
While they receive the pleasing wound,
Echo repeats the dying sound.

_Y. Book._ Since such deserved misfortunes they must share,
Who with gay falsehoods entertain the fair;
Let all with this just maxim guide their youth,
There is no gallantry in love but truth. [_Exeunt._

EPILOGUE.

Our too advent’rous author soared to-night
Above the little praise, mirth to excite,
And chose with pity to chastise delight.
For laughter’s a distorted passion, born
Of sudden self-esteem and sudden scorn;
Which, when ’tis o’er, the men in pleasure wise,
Both him that moved it and themselves despise;
While generous pity of a painted woe
Makes us ourselves both more approve and know.
What is that touch within which nature gave
For man to man e’er fortune made a slave?
Sure it descends from that dread Power alone,
Who levels thunder from His awful throne,
And shakes both worlds–yet hears the wretched groan.
‘Tis what the ancient sage could ne’er define,
Wondered–and called part human, part divine;
‘Tis that pure joy which guardian angels know,
When timely they assist their care below,
When they the good protect, the ill oppose;
‘Tis what our sovereign feels when she bestows,
Which gives her glorious cause such high success,
That only on the stage you see distress.

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