Seduction: a comedy: As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. By Thomas Holcroft.

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SEDUCTION: A COMEDY.

AS IT IS PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL IN DRURY-LANE.

BY THOMAS HOLCROFT.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR G. G. J. AND J. ROBINSON▪ PATERNOSTER-ROW.

M. DCC. LXXXVII.

PROLOGUE.

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AMONG the tawny ſons of Indian lands,
The Hero, who aſpires to lead their bands,
Muſt proof afford, ere he his cauſe can gain,
Of reſolution, and contempt of pain:
Ere they'll confeſs him fit for them to die,
Whips, ſtings, and fire, his fortitude muſt try!
Aſſembled Chiefs the deſp'rate conteſt view,
Inflict the torture, and the pang renew!
And, ſhould he, while the flames his reins embrace,
Heave one poor ſigh, or even breathe apace,
With ſcorn and ignominy, he's expell'd;
By boys and women in deriſion held!
But if, to pain ſuperior, he comes forth
Equal to heroes of acknowledg'd worth,
Applauding ſhouts re-echo to the ſkies,
And all hearts claim him as his country's prize!
Severe the taſk!—Who would to fame aſpire
In lands like theſe, where Virtue's try'd by fire?
Scarce leſs ſevere his taſk who pants for fame,
Scorch'd by the ardour of Poetic flame;
While fable, diction, pathos, wit and taſte,
Like ſcorpion whips, and racks, are round him plac'd:
For, while to conquer each defect he tries,
"On the ſtrong torture of the mind he lies!"
Raſhly reſolv'd to dare impending fate,
To-night comes forth a hardy candidate.
The Critic laſh, the more than mortal ſtings,
When Obloquy the Poet's boſom wrings,
When Diſappointment gnaws his bleeding heart,
And mad Reſentment hurls her venom'd dart,
When angry Noiſe, Diſguſt, and Uproar rude,
Damnation urge, and ev'ry hope exclude,
Theſe, dreadful tho' they are, can't quite repel
Th' aſpiring mind, that bids the man excel.
Tho' rules, alone, would yield a barren fame,
Such praiſe as rules can merit he may claim.
Each unity's preſerv'd, nor knows the play
A lapſe of time beyond the cloſe of day;
[Page] No change of ſcene denotes a chang'd abode,
Nor has he dar'd indulge one epiſode.
But rules of art no native tints beſtow;
Art never taught the beauteous roſe to blow:
If nurtur'd not by dews, and heav'n-born fire,
The half-blown bud muſt droop, the plant expire.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

  • Sir Frederic Faſhion, Mr. PALMER.
  • Lord Morden, Mr. KEMBLE.
  • General Burland, Mr. AICKIN.
  • Lapelle, Mr. BATES.
  • Bailiff, Mr. CHAPLIN.
  • Mr. Wilmot, Mr. KING.
  • Lady Morden, Miſs FARREN.
  • Harriet, Mrs. WILSON,
  • Emily, Mrs. BRERETON.
  • Mrs. Pinup, Miſs TIDSWELL.
  • Mrs. Modely, Miſs POPE.

The time within twelve hours. The ſcene is the houſe of Lord Morden, and does not change; and the ſtage is never vacant, but at the end of an act. The action is ſingle.

PREFACE.

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THE immortal Author of Hudibras affirms, the hardeſt taſk in the world is to write a play; it is, therefore, no wonder that writers of plays are prone to regard their labours with fondneſs, even to partiality; or that they ſhould perceive with regret the light eſteem in which a part of the literary world have lately affected to hold them. Works of rudiment, of diſquiſition, nay, even, of mere compilation, are often treated by criticiſm with a reſpect which a comedy, or tragedy, where wit, invention, genius, and all the higheſt faculties of the mind have, or ought to have, been employed, ſeldom meets. The theatre, however it may be debaſed by the nightly intruſion of unhappy and improper perſons, has a moſt powerful and good influence on morals, which increaſes with induſtry, and as the means of gaining admiſſion among the lower claſs increaſe. Much time is there ſpent to the beſt, the nobleſt, of purpoſes; the body's fatigues are forgotten, the mind is beguiled of its cares, the ſad heart is made merry, fictitious ſorrow obliterates real, and the ſoul, imbibing virtuous and heroic principles, is rouſed and impelled to actions that honour not only individuals but nations, and give a dignity to human nature. Thoſe who can doubt this are to be pitied. And it is piteous, moſt piteous, that, not only the learned, but, the political world ſhould treat the ſtage with neglect; nay, with contempt: [Page vi] that they do not combine, and employ the high powers they poſſeſs to the encouragement and perfection of an art which, being, in its own nature, ſo delightful, ſo faſcinating, is capable of contributing, ſo infinitely, to the happineſs, as well as to the pleaſure, of mankind.

Theſe ideas have long, and often, occurred to my mind, where they have acted with increaſing force. If I have written a comedy which, perfectly moral in its tendency, and counteracting a faſhionable vice that is in danger of becoming a vulgar one, has charms ſufficient to attract ſpectators, I am of opinion I have done my country an eſſential ſervice. That ſome who read this may call me vain or preſumptuous is, to me, totally indifferent. The theatre is a ſubject of ſuch conſequence to virtue, happineſs, and man, that I cannot forbear ſpeaking of it with a ſenſe of feeling which, I fear, I cannot impart.

I muſt now undertake a taſk of a very different and painful nature; the cauſe of my undertaking it ſhall be given, when I have told my ſtory.

In the ſummer of 1785, I wrote the Opera of the Choleric Fathers, and the Comedy of Seduction. They were both put into the hands of Mr. Harris, on certain conditions; the ſubſtance of which was that, if, after reading, he ſhould approve the pieces, they were both to be played, during the enſuing ſeaſon, the firſt in November, and the latter in January, [Page vii] or the beginning of February, 1786. They were read by Mr. Harris, and both accepted, on theſe conditions; and ſo preciſe, ſo perfectly explained, were they that they were reduced to writing. However, certain objections ariſing, on the part of Mr. Harris, concerning benefit nights (not the time of performing the pieces, for that remained determined) I, myſelf, tore the written agreement; ſaying, I thought it improbable men, who meant honeſtly and honourably, ſhould differ in trifles; and that each other's word was ſufficient.

When Mr. Harris had read Seduction, though he objected to parts, he was, yet, ſo well pleaſed with the whole, that he ſaid, with evident, and peculiar, ſatisfaction, I had given the theatre a comedy which, he thought, would do it no harm.

Having made his objections, alterations were agreed on, and the comedy taken back. Further to prove how fully the word of Mr. Harris was engaged, how perfectly he underſtood himſelf pledged to abide by his agreement, while the Opera of the Choleric Fathers was preparing for repreſentation, Mr. Harris ſent to me, to make a new propoſal, which, according to him, would highly benefit the theatre. This was that, inſtead of January, I ſhould ſuffer the comedy to be brought out before Chriſtmas, becauſe he had a new pantomime (Omai) that would, in all probability, be greatly beneficial to the theatre, after Chriſtmas, and that his ſeaſon would then [Page viii] be filled up, and, probably, exceedingly productive. That my intereſt might not ſuffer by this arrangement, he promiſed, in compenſation, to ſuffer the new pantomime to be played for my third benefit, and, if the comedy ran a certain number of nights, for my fourth. When he made this propoſition I deſired time to conſider, and conſult my friends; and, at laſt, from a ſincere wiſh to oblige Mr. Harris, and ſerve the theatre, acquieſced. This project, however, was deranged; not by me, or Mr. Harris; but by an event highly vexatious to both, and which I ſhall not relate now; perhaps never.

In the mean time, the play had received ſome alterations, and the inſertion of a character ſo atrocious, yet ſo frequent, in this town, as to make, in the opinion of Mr. Harris, the repreſentation of it dangerous. Accordingly, this was to be expunged, ſtill further alterations were undertaken, and the comedy, a third time, delivered, as it is at preſent played, about the beginning of December, 1785. It will be neceſſary to remark that, before this, the Choleric Fathers had been performed, and did not take that run which Mr. Harris expected, and I had hoped; and that, knowing the changeable diſpoſition of Mr. Harris, I cautioned him againſt ſuffering this mediocrity of ſucceſs to influence, and prejudice, his mind againſt the comedy. He aſſured me it ſhould not.

I muſt likewiſe ſtate that, ſo ſelf-denying [Page ix] was I, and deſirous of promoting the welfare of the theatre, when Mr. Harris informed me, by Mr. Lewis, he had no further hopes from the Opera, which had then been played ſeven nights, and that he would allow me the eighth inſtead of the ninth night, but adding he doubted whether I ſhould clear expences; I, though there was no probability of loſs, and, certainly, ſome of gain, gave up my third night to the theatre; telling Mr. Lewis I would not deprive Mr. Harris of a night, under ſuch circumſtances.

The Comedy remained with Mr. Harris, who, I was told, was gone out of town, till the beginning of January, without my receiving any information of its being preparing for rehearſal. I began to be alarmed; and, unable to obtain an interview, or even diſcover where Mr. Harris was, I wrote a letter to him, expreſſive of theſe alarms. I need not deſcribe what my feelings were, a few days after, on receiving the comedy back, with a letter from Mr. Harris, in which theſe feelings were indeed little reſpected, informing me it could not ſucceed. The manner of ſending it back was, almoſt, as extraordinary as the act. It was brought, looſely tied up with packthread, in a bit of dirty brown paper, unſealed, by the ſervant of Mr. O'Keefe. I mean not to inſinuate any poſſible diſadvantage to the character of Mr. O'Keefe: far to the contrary. I have often heard him honourably mentioned. Neither can I ſay how [Page x] it came into his hands, or that he knew what it was; but this is no palliation of Mr. Harris's conduct. I returned no anſwer; it would have been exceedingly wrong to have truſted the irritated mind at ſuch a moment.

I will now give my reaſons for relating this tranſaction to the world. To pretend I did not feel all the indignation which conduct like this muſt kindle, would be to aſſume an apathy contrary to nature; and, even, to virtue. This, however, has worn off: I act coolly, at preſent, and from a ſenſe of duty, not revenge. As far as relates to myſelf, I would wiſh the affair might never more be remembered; but, if men in ſimilar ſituations might act thus always with impunity, as they too often do, what means could the weak and unprotected find of obtaining redreſs; what ſecurity in their dealings with a man, who, regardleſs of probity, and yielding to the caprice of opinion, the dictates of pride, or the narrow motives of ſelf-intereſt, does not ſcruple to break his word, ſo pledged, and engagements thus formal?

This narrative will ſcarcely be more diſagreeable to Mr. Harris to read than it has been to me to write: it is not my own cauſe I plead, for that was gained in the ſucceſs of my Comedy; but the cauſe of the weak againſt the ſtrong; the cauſe of hereafter genius againſt hereafter injuſtice; the cauſe of the man, who, endowed with gifts of which Nature herſelf is proud, but deprived of every [Page xi] benefit of Fortune, ſhall devote his days and nights to ſtudy, and ſuffer every abſtinence with reſignation, and, even with delight, cheered by the ſweet hope of being ſome time known for what he is. There is a momentary intoxication, a delirium of ſoul, in this hope, which not the daily privation of pleaſures, the diſappointments of years, the labours of a life, nor injuſtice itſelf can counterbalance. It is this godlike ſenſation which has given the mind an impetus, and made it produce works ſo various, and ſo vaſt, that, glancing at their amplitude and ſublimity, it ſtands confounded at its own powers!

That I may avoid all appearance of mingling flattery with an appeal to juſtice, I ſhall forbear deſcribing the conduct of the Proprietors of Drury-Lane; except ſaying, they have behaved to me like Gentlemen, and men of honour.

My heart will not, however, ſuffer me to be equally reſerved, and ſilent, concerning Mr. King. The moment he was convinced the producing of this Comedy would probably ſerve, not injure, the Theatre, his zeal and activity, in my cauſe, were indefatigable: how very eſſentially his powers, as an actor, have contributed to its ſucceſs is too public for me (had I a wiſh ſo ſelfiſh) to conceal. But this is not the firſt debt of gratitude from me to Mr. King; his friendſhip, or his philanthropy, while I was ſtruggling into notice, and combating with adverſe fortune, did me a generous [Page xii] kindneſs which never can, nor ever ought to be forgotten.

The Town have beheld, with delight and ſurpriſe, the increaſing excellence of Miſs Farren; and, thinking ſhe had attained perfection, have been aſtoniſhed, when they ſaw her next, at their own miſtake. In the preſent inſtance, her exertions, and even the very manner of them, have been as pleaſing to me, as they were beneficial to the Comedy. I can only add, ſhe has excelled herſelf; and, though that thought be old, it never was more properly applied.

Having mentioned theſe, it were injuſtice to the reſt of the performers not to thank them; both for the diſplay of talents, the merits of which are well known, and the ardour, I may ſay the anxiety, they teſtified for my ſucceſs. Yes, I moſt ſincerely thank them all; and only forbear to name them, individually, becauſe I cannot find expreſſions, various and warm enough, to convey my thoughts, without making true and well deſerved praiſe aſſume the form of laboured panegyric.

1. SEDUCTION: A COMEDY.

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1.1. ACT I.

1.1.1. SCENE I.

[A ſuperb Drawing-room in the Houſe of Lord MORDEN, with ſeveral Doors-leading to other Apartments.]
LAPELLE, from Lord Morden's dreſſing-room, looking at his watch.

TWENTY minutes paſt ten!—a ſhameful time of the morning for a gentleman's gentleman to be diſturbed.—My Lord has loſt his money, can't ſleep himſelf, and won't ſuffer others to take their natural reſt.

1.1.2. SCENE II. LAPELLE, Mrs. PINUP, from Lady Morden's dreſſing-room.

Mrs. Pinup. I declare, upon my honour, this is a moſt monſtrous time of night for a lady's [Page 2] gentlewoman to be kept up; dozing over a dull novel, or nodding in an antichamber and an arm chair, while others are taking their pleaſure, and loſing their eſtates, among their friends.
Lapelle. Good morrow, Mrs. Pinup.
Mrs. Pinup. Good morrow, Mr. Lapelle! Good night, you mean.—I have not been in bed yet!
Lapelle. No!
Mrs. Pinup. That vile bedſide bell!—They'll wear me haggard before I am old! Knew I ſhould not reſt long, ſo threw myſelf down in my clothes; and, juſt as I was got into a ſound ſleep, tingle, tingle, tingle; up I muſt get, to dreſs my lady, who, for my part, I believe, never ſleeps at all.
Lapelle. Why, yes; your faſhionable folks are a kind of ghoſts, that walk of nights, and greatly trouble the repoſe of valets and lady's maids—and late hours, like white paint, are excellent promoters of crack'd complexions.
Mrs. Pinup. I declare, upon my honour, I am as tired as—as—
Lapelle. A hackney coach horſe, on a rainy Sunday.
Mrs. Pinup. Yes—and as drowſy as—
Lapelle. An alderman at an oratorio—Your Lady had a deal of company at her rout—Was Sir Frederick Faſhion there?
Mrs. Pinup. To be ſure.
Lapelle. He is a prodigious favourite with your Lady, I think.
Mrs. Pinup. Favourite!—There are ſtrange doings in this world!—Staid I know not how long, after every body elſe was gone!
Lapelle. What, alone, with your Lady?
Mrs. Pinup. Alone, with my Lady!
[Page 3] Lapelle. Indeed!—Was Mrs. Modely at the rout?
Mrs. Pinup. Yes—but don't aſk me any queſtions; it's impoſſible I ſhould ſay ten words more: I am talking in my ſleep now.—When I get up, in the morning, that is, about three o'clock in the afternoon, I'll tell you all; ſo good night.

1.1.3. SCENE III.

Lapelle. A wonderful change in a ſhort time!—Lady Morden, young, handſome, and full of ſpirits, was, not a month ago, reſerved in her conduct, fond of her huſband, contented with home, and, indeed, a miraculous kind of exception among wives of quality. Whereas, now, ſhe has ſuddenly turned fantaſtical in dreſs, capricious in temper, free of ſpeech, and, what we half-bred folks ſhould call, light of carriage. She games with the women, coquettes with the men, and ſeems, in every reſpect, ambitious to become—a woman of faſhion. As for my Lord—why—he is a man of faſhion.

1.1.4. SCENE IV. GENERAL BURLAND, LAPELLE.

Gen. Burland. Is your Lady up, Mr. Lapelle?
Lapelle. Yes, Sir—I believe ſhe has never been in bed.
Gen. Burland. Who—what do you mean?
Lapelle. My Lady had a rout laſt night.
Gen. Burland. A rout—and never in bed? Impoſſible!
Lapelle. Yes! but it's very true, Sir.
[Page 4] Gen. Burland. Lady Morden! She whom, but a few weeks ſince, I left ſo ſingular, ſo eminent an example of ſimplicity, and purity of manners!
Lapelle. Sir Frederick Faſhion was here.
Gen. Burland. Sir Frederick Faſhion!
Lapelle. He ſtaid after every body elſe had retired.
Gen. Burland. What! alone, with Lady Morden?
Lapelle. So her Ladyſhip's woman, who is ſcarcely yet undreſſed, informed me.
Gen. Burland. [after a pauſe of aſtoniſhment] Why, then, all hopes of goodneſs, in this world, are vaniſhed!—Go—bid my daughter, my Emily, come to me.
Lapelle. She is not ſtirring, I fancy, Sir.
Gen. Burland. But I fancy ſhe is, Sir; I am ſure ſhe is.—What, Sir, ſhe had not a rout, to keep her up all night!
Lapelle. She was of my Lady's party, I believe, Sir.
Gen. Burland. [after a pauſe of great anxiety] Go—go—pray, go, and do as I bid you.

1.1.5. SCENE V.

Gen. Burland. What will this town, this world, come to! The only perfectly amiable, the only enchantingly virtuous woman I knew, faſcinated at laſt, and ſinking into the gulph of depravity!—She will drag down my Emily too!—No! I'll hide her in a foreſt, ſeclude her in a cave, rather than ſuffer her to be infected by the peſtiferous breath of this contagious town.—But is ſhe not already tainted?—Of my Lady's party!—She that I left her with as a pattern, [Page 5] commanded her to obſerve, to ſtudy, to imitate, in all things!

1.1.6. SCENE VI. GENERAL BURLAND, LAPELLE.

Gen. Burland. Well, where is my daughter?
Lapelle. I have called her woman, and ſhe will call Miſs Emily.
Gen. Burland. I'll call her myſelf—and it ſhall be the moſt ungentle call ſhe has long heard from me.

1.1.7. SCENE VII. LAPELLE, HARRIET, in the dreſs of a Croat.

Lapelle. Who comes here? Some foreign ſharper, I dare ſay—One of my Lord's morning duns for laſt night's debts.
Harriet. [with the brogue] Hark you, young man; may I be aſking you where I will find my Lord Morden?
Lapelle. He is not come down, Sir.
Harriet. Oh, that, I ſuppoſe, is becaſe he is not up.
Lapelle. My Lord told me he expected a gentleman, or two, would call—but he has had ſo many calls lately—
Harriet. That he is a little ſlow in anſwering?
Lapelle. Rather—Riches, regularity, and roaſt beef, will ſoon, I fear, take their leave of our houſe.
Harriet. Faidth, and that may viry will be; for they are all three become great vagabonds. Riches is turned Amirican pedlar, Regularity a Pruſſian grenadier, and as for Roaſt Beef, why, the Frinch are now ſo fond of good ould Engliſh [Page 6] faſhions, that poor Roaſt Beef is tranſported alive to Paris.
Lapelle. My Lord, I believe, is a little out of caſh, at preſent.
Harriet. Will, now, that is viry prudent of him to put it out: for, whin a man finds he can't keep his caſh himſelf, he is viry right to lit odther people keep it for him.
Lapelle. Nay, then, I don't know a more careful gentleman.
Harriet. Careful? Why, ſure, always whin a a man of ſpirit begins to take care of his money, 'tis becaſe he has none.
Lapelle. Well, Sir, if you will pleaſe to leave your card, his Lordſhip, I ſuppoſe, will know who has called.
Harriet. Indeed and he won't.
Lapelle. How ſo, pray, Sir?
Harriet. Faidth, for a viry good raiſon—He niver ſaw me in his life.
Lapelle. Who then ſhall I ſay?—
Harriet. And is it my name you would know?
Lapelle. If you pleaſe.
Harriet. Let me ſee—What the white divle is my name now?—Oh!—Char-les Phelim O'Fireaway; an Iriſhman by accident, a gintleman by policy, and a captain of Croats, in the Auſtrian ſarvis, by deſign.—Do you underſtand that riddle now?
Lapelle. Not clearly.
Harriet. I did not intind you ſhould—What time can I ſee my Lord?
Lapelle. Moſt likely, about one.
Harriet. Will, then, give him this litter, and inform his Lordſhip I will take the liberty of calling, this afternoon, to bid him a good-morrow.

1.1.8. SCENE VIII. LAPELLE, LORD MORDEN.

[Page 7]
Lord Morden. [in his morning gown and ſlippers, and calling as he enters] Lapelle!
Lapelle. So! here he comes, already. [anſwering] My Lord.
Lord Morden. What time is it?
Lapelle. Eleven o'clock, my Lord.
Lord Morden. What a damn'd night have I paſſed!—Is my coffee ready?
Lapelle. I'll go and ſee, my Lord.

1.1.9. SCENE IX. LORD MORDEN.

[Throws himſelf on the ſofa] This head ache!—No reſt!—Oh for half an hour's ſleep!—A curſed ſilly courſe of life, mine!—But there is no accounting in the morning for the conduct of over-night.

1.1.10. SCENE X. LORD MORDEN, LAPELLE with coffee.

Lord Morden. This is not half ſtrong enough—get me ſome as ſtrong as poſſible.—Any meſſage? [riſes].
Lapelle. This letter, my Lord.

1.1.11. SCENE XI. LORD MORDEN.

From Lady Weſtbrook, I ſee. [reads]—‘Um—A young lady in diſguiſe!—um—Will relate her own ſtory!—um—um—Rely on your honour to keep her ſecret, and ſerve her cauſe! [Page 8] —Would have addreſſed myſelf to Lady Morden, but for reaſons which you ſhall know hereafter!—’

1.1.12. SCENE XII. LORD MORDEN, LAPELLE, with more coffee.

Lord Morden. Who brought this letter?
Lapelle. An Iriſh gentleman, in a foreign dreſs.
Lord Morden. A gentleman!
Lapelle. Said he would call about one, my Lord.
Lord Morden. Shew him into my room, and inform me the inſtant he comes.
Lapelle. General Burland is here.
Lord Morden. [aſide] General Burland! Zounds!
Lapelle. Came to town late laſt night, my Lord.
Lord Morden. Tell him I am come down.

1.1.13. SCENE XIII. LORD MORDEN.

Muſt not let him ſee the preſent temper of my mind—My guardian once, he is determined never to think me of age—I need not his reproof to increaſe my preſent chagrin; my own follies, and Lady Morden's unexpected, unaccountable reverſe of conduct, are ſufficient—He will lay it all to me; and, perhaps, with reaſon!—Heigho!—Here he comes—Really, one of theſe very prudent, plain-ſpoken friends is a very diſagreeable perſon, in theſe our moments of folly.—Well, I muſt aſſume a cheerfulneſs I don't feel, and ward off his wiſdom with raillery.

1.1.14. SCENE XIV. LORD MORDEN, GENERAL BURLAND.

[Page 9]
Gen. Burland. Good morrow, my Lord.
Lord Morden. General, good morrow.
Gen. Burland. You ſeem ſcarcely awake.
Lord Morden. [ſtretching] Slept ill—troubled with the night-mare.
Gen. Burland. Your troubles, I am afraid, are rapidly increaſing.
Lord Morden. How ſo, General?
Gen. Burland. Lady Morden had a rout, laſt night!
Lord Morden. Oh! and forgot to ſend you a card, I ſuppoſe.—Is that my fault?
Gen. Burland. You are merry, my Lord; but he who drinks poiſon, out of a frolic, will ſoon be glad to ſend for a phyſician, out of fear; and the chances are the doctor will come too late.
Lord Morden. Trope and figure!
Gen. Burland. My Lord! my Lord! this levity is unſeaſonable: bluſhes, and ſhame, would better become you.
Lord Morden. Pff! They are out of faſhion.
Gen. Burland. Yes, you leave your friends to bluſh for your faults.
Lord Morden. My friends are very good; nay, indeed, generous; for, were they but to ſpare a ſingle bluſh for each of their own faults, they would have none to beſtow on mine.
Gen. Burland. Fie! The mirth of a mad-man is ſport only to boys—I was your guardian, I wiſhed to prove myſelf your friend. 'Twas I firſt diſcovered that, then, angelic woman who is, now, Lady Morden; I was the cauſe of her [Page 10] union with you; and I am, therefore, accountable to myſelf, to her, and to ſociety, for her conduct.
Lord Morden. That is, you are a kind of ſecond-hand ſponſor—Godfather-in-law, as it were.
Gen. Burland. Very well, Sir! proceed! deſpiſe reproof! ridicule advice!
Lord Morden. Nay, good doctor, you really wrong me; 'tis not the advice, but the phyſic, I hate—At leaſt, I hate the form under which it is adminiſtered—But, pray, tell me; when laſt you ſaw Lady Morden, did you perceive any ſymptoms of that degeneracy, in her Ladyſhip, you, now, complain ſo loudly of?
Gen. Burland. None! I thought it impoſſible!
Lord Morden. And is it not rather extraordinary, then, that my example ſhould, ſo ſuddenly, ſubdue what, within this month, ſeemed ſo invulnerable?
Gen. Burland. [Great ſurpriſe and energy] It is extraordinary, my Lord! moſt extraordinary! but not leſs true; and, had you any ſenſe of your duty to yourſelf, your family, or ſociety, the truth of it would make you tremble!
Lord Morden. See how differently different people underſtand things! My acquaintance are, every day, wiſhing me joy of her Ladyſhip's reformation; and telling me how ſurpriſingly ſhe has retrieved her character, in the world.
Gen. Burland. [ſarcaſtically] And Sir Frederic Faſhion, no doubt, among the reſt!
Lord Morden. [endeavouring to conceal his feelings] Hem!—yes—yes. He is one of our very firſt men, you know; and he is quite in [Page 11] raptures with her—ſwears ſhe was born to lead and outſhine us all.
Gen. Burland. [with continued irony] The approbation of ſo great an adept muſt give you vaſt pleaſure!
Lord Morden. Hem!—a—infinite!—Not but this ſudden change has, rather, ſurpriſed me.
Gen. Burland. How ſo?
Lord Morden. Juſt as you left town, her Ladyſhip's melancholy ſeemed increaſing—wandering over the houſe, like a perturbed ſpirit, as the play ſays, mournfully clanking her chains, and frightening the gentle ſmiles and pleaſures from her, ſhe ſeemed to way-lay me, and, with moving look, and melting eye, intreat compaſſion; till, egad, I, really, at laſt, began to pity her.
Gen. Burland. You did!
Lord Morden. Yes—But, ſuddenly forſaking the—penſeroſo, ſhe broke in upon me, one morning, and, with an air of levity and good humour, and a ſmall tincture of reproach, then, and there, read me a very pretty, wifelike, remonſtrance.
Gen. Burland. To which you liſtened with a truly picktooth inſenſibility.
Lord Morden. Yes—You know my way.
Gen. Burland. And what was the ſubject of her diſcourſe?
Lord Morden. Why, chapter the firſt was a recapitulation of my agreeable follies, and her own perverſe virtues.—She was no partaker in my pleaſures—I had forgot every endearment—She was left to dine, ſup, and ſleep, by herſelf—I dined, ſupped, and ſlept, nobody knew where.—She more recluſe than the abbeſs of a convent: [Page 12] I more uncertain than the price of ſtocks, or the place of prime miniſter.
Gen. Burland. [with earneſt concern] And what did you ſay to this?
Lord Morden. [aſide] I muſt face it out. [aloud] Say? What could I ſay to ſuch a ſimple woman?
Gen. Burland. You did not attempt to deny the charge, then?
Lord Morden. What ſhould I deny? 'Twas every ſyllable true; and every ſyllable in my praiſe.
Gen. Burland. [ſighs] Humph!—Then you do not think, the ſweets of affection ought, ſometimes, to alleviate the bitterneſs of neglect.
Lord Morden. Sweets! pſhaw! they are too cloying to the ſtomach, and ought to be taken ſparingly.—I am fond of ſweet muſic, but too much of it ſets me to ſleep.—Beſides, a wife, like a barrel organ, can only play one ſet of tunes.
Gen. Burland. [ſighs] Well, Sir, but the concluſion?
Lord Morden. A very unexpected one, I aſſure you—I miſunderſtood this for a declaration of war; and, with a ſmile, was very obligingly about to intreat her Ladyſhip would hatch her melancholy into miſchief her own way: when, turning ſhort upon me, ſhe curtſied, ſeemed abaſhed, began to apologize, applaud my conduct, ridicule the ſillineſs of her own, and promiſed to become as faſhionable a Lady as I, or any Lord in Chriſtendom, could wiſh.
Gen. Burland. Your increaſe of happineſs is, then, prodigious?
Lord Morden. Hem!—a—unſpeakable.—Lady Morden, I own, was, certainly, a kind of— [Page 13] Demi-Angel, tho' my wife—but, then, her—her goodneſs ſeemed to throw one at ſuch a diſtance—ſo much in the back ground that there was only one figure noticed in the picture!
Gen. Burland. 'Tis well, Sir, you are ſo perfectly ſatisfied.
Lord Morden. Nay, General, I will own, I have often felt a kind of inclination, a ſort of wiſh, as it were, to become very prudent, and wiſe, and—and all that—but, really, one has ſo much to do that one does not know where to begin.—Beſides, you very good kind of people, you—upon my honour, you are, in many reſpects, the moſt queer, preciſe, particular, ſpecies of beings, and have ſuch ſtrange notions!—Inſtead of taking one's pleaſure, and doing juſt what one likes beſt, which, you know, is ſo natural, one muſt live for the good of one's country, love one's wife and children, pay tradeſmen, look over accounts, reward merit, and a thouſand other of the—the moſt ridiculous whims—and what nobody, abſolutely, nobody does.
Gen. Burland. Intolerable profligacy!—I have liſtened to you, my Lord, with grief, vexation, aſtoniſhment, and pity!—Your mind is degraded; and the more dangerouſly ſo becauſe you believe your worſt vices to be your greateſt merits! You have had honour, happineſs, and pleaſure, of the moſt perfect kind, within your power; and you have rejected them, to claſp their ſhadows! To merit pity by miſconduct is humiliating; but, by miſconduct to incur contempt is, to a manly ſpirit, inſupportable; and the latter will, I fear, be ſuddenly your Lordſhip's fate. Did not the remembrance of your noble father affect me, I ſhould look upon your approaching puniſhment [Page 14] with apathy; becauſe you wilfully have plunged to perdition: but, for your Lady, if I cannot retrieve, if I cannot ſave her, I ſhall mourn indeed!

1.1.15. SCENE XV.

Lord Morden. Faith, this good general is, like a cuckoo, always in a tune. [ſighs] He has reaſon!—I have laboured to laugh at my own follies; but the farce is over, the forced jeſt forgotten, and the ſorcereſs Recollection conjures up the ugly phantom Diſguſt!—Why, what a child am I!—Oh! Lady Morden—pſhaw!—abſurd!—I will not make myſelf the butt, and by-word, of my acquaintance—I—I—I will laugh—ha, ha, ha!—laugh at my Lady's gallantries.—I jealous!—I!—that have daily made jealouſy a ſtanding jeſt; the criterion of an ill-bred, vulgar, mind!—No, no, no. [Sees Lady Morden, and Sir Frederic Faſhion, coming; and is ſeized with a ſuſpicious anxiety, which he endeavours to conceal.]

1.1.16. SCENE XVI. LORD MORDEN, LADY MORDEN, in an undreſs, SIR FREDERIC FASHION.

Lady Morden. [entering] No, no, Sir Frederic; you are partial.
Sir Frederic. Not in the leaſt, Madam.
Lady Morden. Yes, you are—good morrow to your Lordſhip—yes, you are.—I feel, I ſtill retain a leaven of former ſilly prejudices; but a little colliſion, among you people of ſuperior faſhion, will ſoon wear theſe aſperities ſmooth, and bring them to bear a proper poliſh.
[Page 15] Sir Frederic. Ah! Madam, you have a leaven of ſomething celeſtial; which we inferior people wonder at, but cannot imitate!
Lord Morden. [aſide] So!
Lady Morden. [taps Sir Frederic with her fan] Fie! flatterer!—but you are always ſaying civil things; and that, I fancy, makes you ſo agreeable.
Sir Frederic. [ſerious and ardent] No, Lady Morden; you wrong me—my tongue is forced to give utterance to the effuſions of my heart—By heaven, you are an angel! and I am, involuntarily, obliged to repeat, and repeat, and repeat, that you are an angel!—You muſt not be angry with me, for I cannot help it.
Lady Morden. No, no—angry! no—Tho', I really believe, I do improve—don't I, my Lord?
Lord Morden. Certainly, Madam, certainly!
Lady Morden. Yes—I have diſcovered that one of my moſt capital errors, formerly, was being too ſenſible of my own defects.—I find that to wear, on one's countenance, an open, and avowed, conſciouſneſs that one poſſeſſes every grace and perfection, is the grand ſecret of really poſſeſſing them: or, at leaſt, of perſuading the world one really does, which is the ſame thing.
Sir Frederic. Your Ladyſhip is very right; nothing can put a face of real faſhion out of countenance: the placid features are all fixed.
Lady Morden. Oh, immoveable!—Like the owner's names, cut in braſs and nailed to their doors.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! Charming!
Lady Morden. Do but obſerve one of our well-bred beaus, at a public aſſembly, and you will ſee him enter, plant himſelf in a ſpot, elevate [Page 16] his eye-brows, fix his eyes, half open his mouth, and ſtand like an automaton, with its head turning on a pivot. [mimicks the manner.]
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! Charming! Charming!
Lord Morden. [ſmiling] But, don't you think this a little tending to the ridiculous, Madam?
Lady Morden. Oh dear, no!—Nothing can be ridiculous that's faſhionable.
Sir Frederic. Oh, no, impoſſible!
Lady Morden. Formerly, I ſhould have bluſhed if ſtared at; but, now, I find, the only way is to ſtare again—without looking—that is, without betraying the leaſt indication of knowing whether one is looking towards the man, or the wall—thus.
Lord Morden. [with forced pleaſantry] Ha, ha, ha! your Ladyſhip is very right: modeſty—modeſty is an obſolete bugbear.
Lady Morden. Yes, and, like the—the ghoſt in the tragedy, has been ſtared out of doors.
Sir Frederic. Oh, the very quakers deſpiſe it, at preſent.
Lady Morden. Yes—'tis a ſhabby fellow, whoſe acquaintance every body wiſhes to drop.—To be ſure, I was a moſt abſurd creature: was not I, my Lord?
Lord Morden. I—upon my honour, Madam—I—you—no—no—not abſurd—no.
Lady Morden. Oh fie—not abſurd—why, do you know, Sir Frederic—ha! ha! ha!—I—ha! ha! ha! I was, downright, in love with his Lordſhip.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! in love with his Lordſhip?
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha! upon my honour, 'tis true!—is it not, my Lord?
[Page 17] Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha!—ye—ye—yes—Madam, yes.
Lady Morden. Thought him the moſt charming man in—in—in the whole world!
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! Is that poſſible?
Lady Morden. Why, it—it is ſcarcely credible!—But—but ſuch is the fact—Nay! I doated on him—and continually reproached myſelf, for wanting power, and attractions, to obtain my Lord's affection!—For I never blamed him—Ha, ha, ha!—I—ha, ha, ha!—I uſed to ſit whole nights, while my Lord was out, watching and weeping; and whole days ſtudying which way I could regain his love!
Sir Frederic. Regain, Lady Morden!—Why, was his Lordſhip ever ſo unfaſhionable as—as—?
Lady Morden. As to love his wife—Why, yes, really—I—I do believe he was ſo ſingular, for—for a whole fortnight.
Sir Frederic. Why! ha, ha, ha! Why, were you, Lord Morden?
Lord Morden. [forcing a laugh] Ha, ha, ha!—I—I— [with a little ſpleen] I don't know, Sir, what I was.
Lady Morden. Nay, don't be out of countenance, my Lord! You hear, I have the juſtice to relate my own foibles, as well as your Lordſhip's—and mine—mine were infinitely the greateſt.—It is exceedingly ſtrange, but, ſo—faſcinated—was I that, ha, ha, ha!—I—ha, ha, ha! [ſuddenly becoming very ſerious]—I am verily perſuaded, I could have died, with pleaſure, to have inſured his affection.
Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha!— [aſide, and turning away] I cannot bear it.
[Page 18] Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! Theſe things are unaccountable.
Lady Morden. [reſuming her levity] Ay, one wonders how one could be ſo weak!—Oh, Sir Frederic! I am going to Chriſtie's. There is a painting I have a mind to purchaſe. They tell me 'tis very fine.
Sir Frederic. What is the ſtory, Madam?
Lady Morden. The Metamorphoſis of Actaeon.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! A faſhionable ſubject.
Lady Morden. Yes—that—tha—that is the very reaſon I wiſh to have it.—Poor Actaeon is taken at the preciſe moment when the—the change is taking place.
Sir Frederic. In his forehead?
Lady Morden. Yes. I am going down there, now; will you go with me, Sir Frederic?
Sir Frederic. With pleaſure, Madam—Ha, ha, ha! poor Actaeon!
Lady Morden. Ay, poor Actaeon!—Adieu, my Lord.

1.1.17. SCENE XVII.

Lord Morden. Madam! [following, ſtops ſhort] 'Sdeath! what am I about? Shall I, at laſt, ſink into one of the vulgar; and become jealous?—Wretched about a—oh, no! Actaeon! [ſtriking his forehead] Sure all men are ideots, and never know the value of that moſt ineſtimable jewel, a lovely and a loyal wife, till in danger of having it purloined. [Lord Morden retires into his dreſſing-room].
END OF THE FIRST ACT.

1.2. ACT II.

[Page 19]

1.2.1. SCENE I. LAPELLE (coming from the door of the antichamber, as if he had been liſtening).

SO, Mr. Iriſhman, by accident! A lady, in diſguiſe! That's the riddle, is it?—But, huſh!

1.2.2. SCENE II. LORD MORDEN, dreſſed, HARRIET, (from the antichamber.)

Lord Morden [to Lapelle.] Leave the room—I am ſorry we were diſturbed; your ſtory, Madam, has intereſted me deeply: though too reprehenſible for the irregularities of my own conduct, I cannot but condemn the licentious libertiniſm of this Sir Frederic—Indeed, I—I have reaſon, perhaps, to dread it.
Harriet. A man of honour, among men, the ruin of woman he thinks as neceſſary to his fame as to his pleaſure; and, like too many others of your cruel ſex, holds it no crime to make war upon thoſe who cannot defend themſelves.
Lord Morden. But what do you propoſe, by this diſguiſe, Madam?
Harriet. There is a contract, which I, indeed, refuſed, but which he forced upon me, to demonſtrate, as he ſaid, the purity of his intentions, [Page 20] wherein he bound himſelf, in a penalty of ten thouſand pounds, to marry me within a month: for, in his fictitious raptures, he proteſted no ſum, no proofs, could ſufficiently expreſs the ardour, and ſanctity, of his affection.
Lord Morden. And have you this contract?
Harriet. Oh, no! The day preceding that on which it was my good fortune to diſcover his real deſigns, he aſked to ſee, and artfully exchanged it, for a counterfeit copy.
Lord Morden. This contract you wiſh to regain?
Harriet. If poſſible; or ſome other unequivocal means of detection.
Lord Morden. And force him to marry you?
Harriet. Oh, no—To own the truth, I have a generous and a conſtant lover, who, perhaps, has been a little ill uſed.
Lord Morden. As moſt generous and conſtant lovers are.
Harriet. 'Tis too true.—To avenge him, and humble the pride of one who thinks himſelf too cunning for our whole ſex, is my determination.
Lord Morden. Well, Madam, ours is a common cauſe—But, as we have both been imprudent, and invited misfortune, we muſt both endeavour to conceal our true feelings, maſk our ſuſpicions, and—Huſh! Here he comes; and with him a lady, whoſe principles are as free as his own; but who has had the art ſo well to conceal her intrigues, and preſerve appearances, that ſhe is every where received in ſociety.—I will introduce you, in your aſſumed character.
Harriet. Not now; let us withdraw—when he is alone. The fewer eyes are on me, the leſs liable I ſhall be to a diſcovery.
[Page 21] (Lord Morden and Harriet return to the antichamber juſt as Mrs. Modely and Sir Frederic appear.)

1.2.3. SCENE III. MRS. MODELY and SIR FREDERIC.

Mrs. Modely. Really, Sir Frederic, there is no accounting for the ſtrangeneſs of your preſent taſte!—I pity you!—I foreſee the downfall of your reputation!—What, you! who have vanquiſhed ſo many elegant coquettes, and driven ſo many happy lovers mad; you! who were the very ſoul of our firſt ſocieties, and whoſe preſence made palpitate the hearts of belles and beaux; the firſt with hope and delight, the latter with fear and envy; you! ſighing at the feet of a prude, and become the rival of a huſband!
Sir Frederic. [laughing] Deplorable!
Mrs. Modely. Have not you, for this month paſt, buried yourſelf in Lady Morden's ſober ſociety, and dozed over crown whiſt with her, night after night?—Nay, have not you attended her even to church; and, there, with a twang, joined the amen chorus of charity-children, paupers, and pariſh-clerks; ſitting with your face drawn as long as its ſhadow at ſun-ſet; and a look as demure and diſmal—
Sir Frederic. As poor Doctor Fauſtus, waiting for the Devil to come and fetch him—Ha, ha, ha!—Granted.
Mrs. Modely. And what do you think has been ſaid of you, mean while, in the polite circles you have abandoned?—Your very beſt friends have been the very firſt to condemn you.
Sir Frederic. That's natural—When we are guilty of any folly, our very beſt friends are always [Page 22] the very firſt to condemn us; to ſhew they neither adviſe nor countenance us.
Mrs. Modely. I thought the gay, young, beauty, beſieged by pleaſures, ſurrounded by flatteries, who believes herſelf the goddeſs ſhe is painted, to fix her wandering fancy, to humble and bring her to a ſenſe of frailty; or, to ſupplant the happy, the adored, lover, while yet the breath is warm that vows eternal conſtancy; theſe, I imagined, were the only atchievements worthy Sir Frederic Faſhion!
Sir Frederic. Theſe have their eclat. But, to initiate a youthful, beauteous, wife, who, from her childhood, has been accuſtomed to ſay her prayers, believe in virtue, and rank conjugal infidelity among the moſt heinous of the ſeven deadly ſins; to teach her to doubt, fear, wiſh, tremble, and venture; to be a witneſs, afterward, of her repentance; her tears involuntarily falling, her eyes motionleſs, her form fixed, and the ſevere ſaint transformed to a ſtatue of weeping ſin; to read her fall in the public papers; be praiſed, reproached, admired, and curſt, in every family in England; in ſhort, to be for ever immortalized, in the annals of gallantry, and the hero of the tea-table for a whole month, for this will be no common vulgar wonder, this were glory equal to my ambition! And this glory I am determined to acquire: nay, it is, already, within my graſp.—This day, or, rather, this night, this very, bleſſed, ecſtatic, night, ſhall I gain the greateſt of all my victories!
Mrs. Modely. Inſulting!
Sir Frederic. Nay, my dear Mrs. Modely, you know my enthuſiaſin, and muſt not take exceptions—Nor can I, ſurely, be blamed. Lady [Page 23] Morden is a concealed hoard of native ſweets, that delights the ſenſes: while the made-up beauties we commonly meet, like artificial flowers, are all ſhew, and no fragrance.
Mrs. Modely, Raptures!
Sir Frederic. Inferior to her, in form and perfection, as the Venus of a Dutch image-hawker to the genuine Grecian Antique!
Mrs. Modely. It matters not waſting your rhetoric on this topic; for I will not give my conſent to your purſuing this affair any further, Sir Frederic.
Sir Frederic. You will not?
Mrs. Modely. I will not.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! Don't provoke me, my dear Mrs. Modely; don't provoke me.
Mrs. Modely. Nay, no threatening.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!—Well—To arms then—War is the word.
Mrs. Modely. The choice remains with you.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!
Mrs. Modely. Lady Morden is my relation; and, though I deſpiſe prudery, and know the world—
Sir Frederic [aſide.] That you do, indeed!
Mrs. Modely. Yet—you can hardly ſuppoſe I will ſilently acquieſce in her ruin!
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! You—you forget yourſelf, dear Madam—Theſe qualms would do vaſtly well, in ſome places; but, to me!—
Mrs. Modely. And why not to you, Sir!—Though I do allow myſelf a little liberty of conſcience—
Sir Frederic. Not a little. [aſide.]
Mrs. Modely. And though you—you—know I do, muſt I—In ſhort, I have another favourite [Page 24] project, which I am determined not to give up.
Sir Frederic [aſide.] Oh ho! But it will be beſt to avoid a rupture.— [aloud] May I aſk what this favourite project may be?
Mrs. Modely. You know the public affront General Burland gave me, laſt winter; and you cannot ſuppoſe I have forgotten it.
Sir Frederic [aſide.] No; I know you better.— [aloud] Oh! the General is an eccentric mortal; licenſed to ſay any thing; and, inſtead of being liſtened to, is laughed at.
Mrs. Modely. Yes; but I am determined he ſhall be puniſhed.
Sir Frederic. Which way?
Mrs. Modely. His daughter, Emily, is a pretty, ſimple, girl—I mean, untutored, in the world.
Sir Frederic. [conceiving her deſign] True!
Mrs. Modely. To ſee her married to a man of faſhion would, at leaſt, break his heart.
Sir Frederic. [laughs] Infallibly!
Mrs. Modely. Your fortune, I believe, Sir Frederic, like your family ſeat, begins to want repairs; and ſhe is a rich heireſs, with twenty thouſand pounds at her own diſpoſal, beſide the General's eſtate, which muſt be hers—Why do you laugh ſo?
Sir Frederic. Oh! the delights of anticipation!
Mrs. Modely. An—an—anticipation!
Sir Frederic. [ſtill laughing] It is a part of my plan to carry her off, I mean, to let her carry me off, this very night.
Mrs. Modely. Who? Emily?
Sir Frederic. Emily.
Mrs. Modely. To night!
[Page 25] Sir Frederic. This active, this important, this bliſsful, night!
Mrs. Modely. Lend me your eau de luce, you divle!
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!—This ſurpriſe from you, Mrs. Modely, is the ſupreme of panegyric.
Mrs. Modely. And have you made any advances to Emily?
Sir Frederic. Yes, yes—Ha, ha, ha!—I made advances to her, and ſhe made advances to me—The conqueſt was too eaſy—Were it not for the circumſtance of the elopement, which will give the ſauce a flavour the food wants, it would ſcarcely invite my appetite.
Mrs. Modely. But Lady Morden—
Sir Frederic. Is mine, whenever I pleaſe to make my final attack. I am no bad orator, in general; but, in company with her, I ſeem inſpired—am, abſolutely, aſtoniſhed at my own eloquence!—Nay, I have ſeveral times ſpoken with ſuch energy, enthuſiaſm, and momentary conviction, in praiſe of virtue, that I have, actually, been in imminent danger of making a convert of myſelf!
Mrs. Modely. In praiſe of virtue?
Sir Frederic. In praiſe of virtue. There is no making one of theſe virtuous viſionaries rational, but by flattering their bigotry, and pretending to adore their idol; by purſuing which method, I have inured her to, and made her as familiar with, what is prudiſhly called vice, and vicious ſentiments, as ſhe is with her own thoughts.
Mrs. Modely. Yes, yes, vile rake: but, remember, I'll have no concern in this affair!—I—
Sir Frederic. Oh, poh! Ay, ay, that is underſtood—You [Page 26] wink—and know nothing of the matter.
Mrs. Modely. Nay, but I, here, publicly proteſt againſt your proceedings!
Sir Frederic. [aſide] And will privately do your utmoſt to promote them.
Mrs. Modely. I exclaim againſt ſuch licentiouſneſs!
Sir Frederic. I know you do—But, if you are thus tender of her Ladyſhip's reputation, you will feel no repugnance at aſſiſting me to irritate hi [...] Lordſhip's ſenſibility.
Mrs. Modely. What do you mean?
Sir Frederic. To confeſs the truth, I am a little piqued at Lord Morden's want of feeling—I wiſh I could make him jealous.
Mrs. Modely. Jealous! Fie! He is too well bred.
Sir Frederic. That's unfortunate.—The antics of a jealous huſband add highly to the enjoyment, as well as the reputation, of an amour.—The poor man is ſo injured, ſo enraged, ſo diſtreſſed, ſo induſtrious to publiſh his calamity, and is ſo ſincerely pitied, and laughed at—muſt, poſitively, rouſe my Lord to a ſenſe of his misfortune; or it will want poignancy—A turtle feaſt without French wines!
Mrs. Modely. Well, ſhould I find any opportunity of aiding you—
Sir Frederic. Ay, ay; I have no doubt of your zeal in the cauſe.
Mrs. Modely. Nay, but, don't miſtake me—I only mean as far as teazing his Lordſhip is concerned.
Sir Frederic. Oh! Certainly—certainly.
Mrs. Modely. If his Lordſhip had any real [Page 27] cauſe for jealouſy, I ſhould, for Lady Morden's ake, be the—the—the—the—the moſt miſerable creature upon earth.
Sir Frederic. To be ſure.
Mrs. Modely. But you ſeem mighty ſecure of your conqueſt.
Sir Frederic. I am no novice; I can tell when a woman's time is come.—Beſides, her Ladyſhip has granted me a rendezvous.
Mrs. Modely. When?
Sir Frederic. Why, this very evening, to be ſure.
Mrs. Modely. Where?
Sir Frederic. Here, in this very houſe.
Mrs. Modely. Since you are ſo very certain, how came you not to take advantage of being alone with her, after the rout?
Sir Frederic. I did: that is, ſhould have done, had we not been interrupted.
Mrs. Modely. By whom?
Sir Frederic. A new footman—an odd kind of—Oh! here the very fellow comes.

1.2.4. SCENE IV. MRS. MODELY, SIR FREDERIC, GABRIEL, loitering and leering.

Mrs. Modely. What does the rude lout peer at?
Sir Frederic. Country curioſity.
Gabriel. [attempting to go once or twice, then pauſing and turning back] Did—did—did your Ladyſhip's honour call?
Mrs. Modely. No.
Gabriel. [again going and turning] I—I thought, mayhap, you wanted my Lord.
Mrs. Modely. What ſhould I want your Lord for, think you, friend?
[Page 28] Gabriel. Nay, marry, that's more nur I can tell.
Sir Frederic. What is your name?
Gabriel. Gabriel, an't pleaſe you.—In my laſt place, they uſed to call me the Sly Simpleton.
Mrs. Modely. And who did you live with laſt?
Gabriel. Why, you an heard of my Lady's brother, the rich nabob, that be juſt come over fro' th' Eaſtern Indies?
Sir Frederic. Mr. Wilmot?
Gabriel. Ees.—I do come fro' his eſtate, out o' Staffordſhire.
Sir Frederic. You are part of the live ſtock?
Gabriel. Anon!
Mrs. Modely. Were you in his ſervice?
Gabriel. [heſitates] N—E—Ees.
Mrs. Modely. How long?
Gabriel. Better nur a week.
Sir Frederic. What ſort of a man is he?
Gabriel. Humph!—A be well enough, when a's pleaſed—tho' I canno' ſay as I do like him much, for a meaſter.
Mrs. Modely. Why ſo?
Gabriel. Becauſe a'l neither let a ſervant tell lies nur take money.
Sir Frederic. Indeed!
Gabriel. No—A'wonnot—whereof, here, I find, I canno' pleaſe my Lady, if I donna tell lies; and, I am ſure, I canno' pleaſe myſelf, if I donna take money.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!
Mrs. Modely. Ha, ha, ha! So, he did not ſuit you?
Gabriel. No.—A's too high flown, as 'twere, in's notions—
Sir Frederic. Which way?
[Page 29] Gabriel. A makes a great caſe o' what a calls friendſhip, and honour, and honeſty, and ſuch like; and, you know, if a poor ſarvant gis heed to that there ſort o'ſtuff—a's not likely to get rich.
Mrs. Modely. Upon my word!
Sir Frederic. So Mr. Wilmot's head is full of ſuch nonſenſe, is it?
Gabriel. Oh! a's brimful of ſuch nonſenſe—and ſo were I, while I lived wi' he; which wur the reaſon, as I do ſuppoſe, that they called me a Simpleton—but I am not ſo ſimple as folk think me.
Sir Frederic. [aſide to Mrs. Modely] My dear Mrs. Modely, leave me, for a moment, with this fellow.—You'll be upon the watch, to throw in any hints, or aids, you happen to ſee neceſſary, and apropos?
Mrs. Modely. Yes, yes—that is, for Emily, and the elopement—but, be cautious; a defeat would turn the tables upon us, and make us the jeſt of the whole town, friends and enemies.
Sir Frederic. How can you fear it?
Mrs. Modely. Nay, I do not; I know my ſex, and I know you.

1.2.5. SCENE V. SIR FREDERIC, GABRIEL.

Sir Frederic. Gabriel is your name, you ſay?
Gabriel. Ees.
Sir Frederic. You ſeem a ſharp kind of fellow, and one that underſtands his own intereſt.
Gabriel. Ees—I underſtand my own intereſt.
Sir Frederic. Are you, if occaſion ſhould offer, willing to do me a piece of ſervice?
Gabriel. Humph!—What will you gi' me?
[Page 30] Sir Frederic. I ſee you are a ſenſible fellow▪ and come to the point, at once.
Gabriel. Ees.—I love to come to the point.
Sir Frederic. And you would not betray me, to any body?
Gabriel. Why—not unleſs ſomebody were to pay me better.
Sir Frederic. Upon my honour, thou art the honeſteſt rogue I ever met with.
Gabriel. Ees—that I be.
Sir Frederic. Here—here is money for thee—and, obſerve, as thou ſeemeſt perfectly to underſtand a bargain, thou ſhalt have more, in proportion to thy fidelity and capacity; and, moreover—Canſt thou read and write?
Gabriel. Ees.
Sir Frederic. Well, then, be faithful, and I will get thee a place in the exciſe—And, now, obſerve—I—I have a—very great reſpect—and friendſhip for your Lady.
Gabriel. Ees, ees—As we ſen ith' country, you have more nur a month's mind to her.
Sir Frederic. How, ſirrah!—Dare you ſuppoſe I have?—
Gabriel. Nay, now, belike, you think me a ſimpleton too!—Your great folk ſuppoſen a ſarvant has neither ears nor eyes—But, lord, they are miſtaken!—Ecod, their ears are often plaguy long.—What, mun, I wur no' ſo faſt aſleep as you thought me, i' the paſſage, this morning.
Sir Frederic. [aſide] The raſcal!
Gabriel. Belike, becaſe I be a country lad, you reckon I ſhould think it ſtrange, like, that one gentleman ſhould teak a liking to another gentleman's wife; but, lord, I know, well [Page 31] enough, that's nought, here—I ha' learned a little o' what's what—
Sir Frederic. Nay, friend Gabriel, I am more and more convinced, thou art a clever, acute, fellow.
Gabriel. Lord, mun, your worſhip need no' be ſo ſhy, like—You do know, you ha' promiſed me a place—an places that are no' bought one way—mun be bought another.
Sir Frederic. Well ſaid, friend Gabriel.
Gabriel. An, as for keeping o' family ſecrets, donno' you fear me; becaſe why, I do find they be a ſarvant's beſt parkizites—For, an it wur na for family ſecrets, how ſhould ſo many poor country Johns ſo very ſoon become gentlemen?
Sir Frederic. [aſide] This fellow's thoughts run all in one channel; his ruling paſſion is money; the love of that ſharpens his intellects, and opens his eyes and ears.—Well, Gabriel, you ſhall find me generous as a Prince, provided—Here's ſomebody coming—go into the next room; I'll ſpeak with you preſently.
Gabriel. Ees.—But I do hope your honour's worſhip wunna forget the place, like?
Sir Frederic. Never fear.
[Gabriel goes into Lady Morden's dreſſing Room.]

1.2.6. SCENE VI. SIR FREDERIC, EMILY.

Sir Frederic. My angel! My life!—
Emily. Huſh!—My papa is coming, and wants to take me away with him, home.
Sir Frederic. Away!
Emily. Yes—huſh—take no notice.

1.2.7. SCENE VII. GENERAL BURLAND, SIR FREDERIC, EMILY.

Gen. Burland. Come, Emily; are you ready?
[Page 32] Emily. I am always ready, and happy, to obey my dear papa; but, ſurely, Sir, you will not let me leave Lady Morden, without ſo much as bidding her adieu?
Gen. Burland. I'll write a card of thanks to her Ladyſhip, with your reſpects, and as many compliments as you pleaſe.
Emily. Nay, but, dear Sir, conſider—it will ſeem too abrupt. Lady Morden is ſo good, ſo kind—I would not give her a moment's pain for the world.—Beſides, I have ſo many obligations to her Ladyſhip.
Gen. Burland. I begin to be afraid, child, left you ſhould have too many obligations to her Ladyſhip.
Emily. Let me only ſtay to-night, and to-morrow morning I will go, with all my heart, and as early as you pleaſe, if you deſire me.
Sir Frederic. [aſide] I proteſt ſhe is bantering him!—Oh! the charming malicious little angel! [aloud]—Ay, General, let Emily ſtay to-night; I will anſwer for her, ſhe will go to-morrow morning, as ſoon as you pleaſe, if you deſire her.
Gen. Burland. You will anſwer for her!—
Sir Frederic. Yes—Won't you permit me, Emily?
Emily. [curtſies] My dear papa knows I never attempt to break my word.
Gen. Burland. Yes, my child; I do know, you have, hitherto, been unſpotted, and pure, as the morn blown lily; and my anxiety that you ſhould remain ſo makes me thus deſirous of your quitting this houſe.—When I brought you here, theſe doors did not, ſo eaſily, fly open, at [Page 33] the approach of ſuch fine, ſuch accompliſhed, gentlemen as Sir Frederic Faſhion.
Sir Frederic. [with vaſt pleaſure] By heavens, he anticipates his misfortunes! [aſide]
Emily. [takes the General's hand] Do, my dear papa, conſent only for to-day; I don't aſk any longer.
Sir Frederic. [aſide] I could hug the charming hypocrite!
Gen. Burland. Well, well, Emmy; you know, I never deny you any thing: for, indeed, you never yet aſked any thing that could give the moſt anxious and affectionate father a moment's pain.
Emily. [kiſſes his hand] I thank you, dear, dear Sir; you have made me happy.
Sir Frederic. By my life, I ſhall find this a much more agreeable affair than I hoped!—Yes, General—you—you are a very good papa.
Gen. Burland. You think ſo?
Sir Frederic. Yes—I do, upon my ſoul.
Gen. Burland. Then I am what you, I am afraid, will never be.

1.2.8. SCENE VIII. SIR FREDERIC.

Ha, ha, ha! He does not ſuſpect we are ſo ſoon to be ſo nearly related—Ha, ha, ha! I ſhould like to be preſent when he firſt hears the news—He—he will foam and bounce like a cork from a bottle of champaigne.

1.2.9. SCENE IX. SIR FREDERIC, LORD MORDEN, from the Anti-chamber.

Lord Morden. Well, Sir Frederic, is her Ladyſhip returned?
[Page 34] Sir Frederic. Yes; ſhe is dreſſing for dinner.—She bought the Actaeon.
Lord Morden. She did?
Sir Frederic. Oh, yes.—She is a charming woman!—the eyes of the whole room were upon her. There were ſome ſmart things ſaid—One obſerved a likeneſs between me and Actaeon; another thought it bore a far greater reſemblance to your Lordſhip.
Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha! About the head, no doubt?
Sir Frederic. For my part, I ſaid, I thought the likeneſs was very capable of being improved.
Lord Morden. You were very kind.
Sir Frederic. Oh, pray, have you heard that Sir Peter Pry is going to ſue for a bill of divorce?
Lord Morden. No.
Sir Frederic. 'Tis very true. I ſhould not have ſuſpected Sir Peter of ſuch vulgar revenge; but, I find, our married men of faſhion are far leſs liberal in their ſentiments than the Ladies.
Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Yes; they often want a woman's philoſophy in theſe matters.
Sir Frederic. Yes—they are waſps, that fly and feed wherever they can find honey, but retain a ſting for any marauder that ſhall approach their neſts.
Lord Morden. Somewhat ſelfiſh, I own.
Sir Frederic. Much more liable to be jealous than the women—and jealouſy, your Lordſhip knows, is the moſt ridiculous, ill-bred, contemptible thing in nature!
Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Yes, yes—ha, ha, ha! Perfectly deſpicable.
Sir Frederic. Oh, nothing ſo laughable as the [Page 35] vagaries of a jealous huſband: no creature ſuffers ſo much, or is pitied ſo little.
Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Ay—the thefts of love are applauded, not puniſhed.
Sir Frederic. Yes, and the poor robb'd huſband, watchman like, twirls his rattle, alarms the neighbourhood, and collects aſſiſtants, who never fail to aid the thief, and laugh at him and his loſs.
Lord Morden. Ye—ye—yes. Ha, ha, ha!—A huſband is a very ſtrange, ignominious animal.
Sir Frederic. A jealous huſband!
Lord Morden. A paltry, mechanical—
Sir Frederic. Without an idea of life, or manners!
Lord Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Very true—But, come with me; there's a young gentleman, in the anti-chamber, of a good family, who wiſhes to be introduced to you—A very pretty fellow—Has an ambition to do ſomething which ſhall give him eclat, and is, therefore, deſirous of being known to us men of the world.
Sir Frederic. Well! I am yours for a few minutes; but I muſt attend Lady Morden at her toilette, preſently.
END OF THE SECOND ACT.

1.3. ACT III.

[Page 36]

1.3.1. SCENE I. GENERAL BURLAND, LORD MORDEN, meeting: GABRIEL introduces GENERAL BURLAND.

Gen. Burl. WELL, my Lord, is Lady Morden to be ſeen?
Gabriel. Oh! Ees, your worſhip, hur will be, anon; for yonder is Sir Frederic, helping the maid to dreſs her ladyſhip.
Gen. Burland. Helping to dreſs her Ladyſhip?
Gabriel. Ees—They ſent me for ſome milk of roſes, here— [ſhewing the phial] and, would you believe it, I wur ſich an oaf, I had never heard, before, that roſes gave milk.
Gen. Burland. Ah!—You are ſome half-taught country booby.
Gabriel. Why, ſo I do find; for, in the country, the folk do only clear-ſtarch their aprons and ruffles; but, here, ecod, they clear-ſtarch their faces.
Gen. Burland. Well, go, carry in your milk; and inform her Ladyſhip I am waiting her leiſure— [laughing within]
Gabriel. Ecod, here they all come, your honour; and rare and merry they be. But you [...] Londoneers do lead a rare, ranting, life!

1.3.2. SCENE II. GENERAL BURLAND, LORD MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC, LADY MORDEN, MRS. MODELY. The three laſt from Lady Morden's Dreſſing-Room, laughing.

[Page 37]
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha!—Oh! You whimſical toad! You—Ha, ha, ha!—You have half-killed me!—I am glad to ſee you in town, General—We have been drawing the characters of our acquaintance, and Mrs. Modely, and Sir Frederic Faſhion, have been ſo droll, and ſo ſatirical!
Gen. Burland. Ah! No doubt.
Lady Morden. I could not have thought there was ſo much ſatisfaction in remembering the failings of one's friends.
Mrs. Modely. Oh! It makes one ſo cheerful!
Sir Frederic. And keeps one ſo charmingly in countenance!
Gen. Burland. [aſide.] Which you ſtand in very great need of.
Sir Frederic. I aſſure your Ladyſhip, you have an exquiſite turn for ſatire; you cut with exceſſive keenneſs; and, yet, with a dexterity that makes the very patient tingle with pleaſure.
Lady Morden. You are partial, ‘A little more experience will make theſe things quite familiar; but habit only can give one perfect eaſe.’
Sir Frederic. ‘Oh! Habit—Habit is a wonderful thing!—Have you heard the anecdote of the Newmarket-Jockey?’
[Page 38] Lady Morden. ‘No; what is it?’
Sir Frederic. ‘Why, a Jockey, having had a bad run at the laſt October meeting, was willing to correct the errors of Fortune by turning his lead to gold; accordingly, on Epping Foreſt, he ſtopped Major Warboys, and bade him deliver; to which the Major, being one of thoſe ſingular officers who think it ſome diſgrace to be robb'd, replied by firing his piſtol—The ball happened to be fatal—the horſe ſet off—and, to ſhew the effect of habit, the body of the Jockey kept its ſeat as far as the ſtable door, and there deliberately tumbled off; nay, ſome go ſo far as to aſſert it was ſeen to riſe in the ſtirrups; but that, I believe, wants confirmation.’
Lord Morden. ‘Ha, ha, ha!’
Mrs. Modely. ‘Ha, ha, ha!’
Lady Morden. ‘Pſhaw! You tragi-comic wretch!’
Lord Morden. I think you had not much company laſt night.
Lady Morden. Your Lordſhip was ſo well bred, and made your viſit ſo ſhort, elſe you would have found a great deal.
Mrs. Modely. Oh, yes, they poured in, from all quarters.
Sir Frederic. Sir Nathan Neaptide, the yellow admiral, came.
Lord Morden. An agreeable gueſt!
Mrs. Modely. Oh! rude as his own boatſwain.
Sir Frederic. ‘Would teach a ſtarling blaſphemy, rather than want good converſation.—’
Lady Morden. ‘He attempts ſatire.’
Lord Morden. ‘But utters abuſe.’
[Page 39] Mrs. Modely. That makes him ſo much reſpected.
Lady Morden. Yes; like a chimney-ſweeper in a crowd, he makes his way by being dirty.
Sir Frederic. I proteſt, your Ladyſhip is prodigiouſly brilliant to-day!
Lady Morden. No, no—Though I am a vaſt admirer of wit. A perſon of wit has one very peculiar, and enviable, advantage.
Lord Morden. What is that, madam?
Lady Morden. Long life.
Lord Morden. Long life!
Lady Morden. Yes. A wit has more ideas, conſequently lives longer, in one hour than a fool in ſeven years.
Sir Frederic. For which reaſon, your Ladyſhip is, already, three times the age of old Par.
Lady Morden. Dear, Sir Frederic, that is ſo gallant.
Mrs. Modely. And ſo new.
Gen. Burland. Why, yes—This is the firſt time I ever heard a Lady told ſhe was old, and receive it as a compliment!
Lord Morden. But, your viſitors—Who had you next?
Mrs. Modely. There was Sir Jeremy Still-life.
Lady Morden. [mimics] And his bouquet. He primmed himſelf up in one corner, and ſeemed to think that, like the image of a Saint on a holyday, he was powdered and painted on purpoſe to be adored.
Mrs. Modely. He was not ſingular in that.
Lady Morden. Oh, no; there was a whole row of them that, like jars and mandarins on a mantle-piece, look'd vaſtly ornamental, and ſerved charmingly to fill up vacancies.
[Page 40] Gen. Burland. Every trifle has its uſe.
Mrs. Modely. Lord Index came, and ſtalk'd round the rooms, as if he had been loaded with the wiſdom of his whole library.
Lady Morden. Yes, he look'd as ſolemn as a monkey after miſchief.
Sir Frederic. [mimicking his ſolemnity] And drew up his face in form, like a writ of inquiry into damages, with a Take-notice engroſſed in front.
Lord Morden. He would not ſtay late, for his Lordſhip is as careful of his health as he is vain of his underſtanding.
Lady Morden. And, yet, he is but a kind of ruſh-candle; he may glimmer a long while, but will never give much light.
Lord Morden. It ſeems ſtrange that your people, who have acquired a little knowledge, always think they poſſeſs an infinite deal; while thoſe, who are the beſt informed, appear continually conſcious of wanting more.
Gen. Burland. Not ſtrange at all, my Lord. Amaſſing knowledge is like viewing the ſun through a teleſcope; you enlarge the object, but you deſtroy the glare.
Mrs. Modely. Did not you obſerve that, notwithſtanding the pearl-powder, my Lady Bloom's neck looked remarkably ſallow?
Lord Morden. Oh! As a Jew's face under a green umbrella.
Sir Frederic. The widow Twinkle, as uſual, talked a vaſt deal about reputation.
Lady Morden. One is apt to admire a thing one wants.
Lord Morden. She always takes infinite pains to place her reputation, like broken china in a buffet, with the beſt ſide outward.
[Page 41] Lady Morden. She may plaiſter, and cement, but will never bring it to bear handling.
Mrs. Modely. Mr. Penſive, the poet, came in, too.
Sir Frederic. Yes, but as nobody took any notice of him, he preſently went out again.
Gen. Burland. A great proof of his good ſenſe.
Sir Frederic. Your poets, and ſheriff's-officers, are a kind of people every body has heard of, but that nobody chooſes to know.
Lady Morden. Or, if you are under the neceſſity of receiving a private call from them, now and then, it would be quite diſgraceful to be ſeen with them in public.
Lord Morden. Your Ladyſhip uſed to be very partial to Mr. Penſive.
Gen. Burland. Yes, her Ladyſhip uſed to have many ſingular partialities. She was once partial to merit and virtue, wherever ſhe found them: ſhe had a partiality for order, oeconomy, and domeſtic duties, likewiſe: nay, ſhe even went ſo far as to cheriſh a partiality for your Lordſhip!
Lady Morden. Ha! ha! ha! Odious partialities!
Sir Frederic. Ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. Modely.  
Lord Morden. Ma—Ma—Madam!—Odious?
Lady Morden. Ha! ha! ha! To—to be ſure, Sir!—Is it not odious to be unfaſhionable?
Mrs. Modely. Certainly—Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!—I proteſt, General, you—Ha, ha, ha! You are too ſevere.
Gen. Burland. Am I?
[Page 42] (all together)
Sir Frederic. Ha! ha! ha! You are, really.
Mrs. Modely. Ha! ha! ha! Yes, you are, indeed, General.
Lady Morden. Ha! ha! ha! Yes, yes, you abſolutely are.
Gen. Burland. Humph—Why don't you laugh, my Lord?
Lord Morden. I do. Ha! ha! ha!—I—I—I do, General—Though, as to ſeverity, I own I—I don't ſee it in that light.
Gen. Burland. No!
Lord Morden. No—I cannot accuſe myſelf of any fault; unleſs the love of pleaſure be one.
Gen. Burland. Hah! [ſighs] And your catalogue of pleaſures, I fancy, is pretty extenſive.
Lord Morden. Not half ſo extenſive as one could wiſh.
Gen. Burland. A dice-box, for inſtance, is one.
Lord Morden. A very principal one.
Lady Morden. My ſhort experience hardly entitles me to venture an opinion, but I find a wonderful ſimilarity between gaming and a cold bath—You have a—a tremor—a—a heſitation, at firſt; but, having once plunged in, you are thrown into the moſt delightful glow!
Lord Morden. Oh, an ardent tingling—
Gen. Burland. Beware, Sir, that a ſhivering fit does not ſucceed.
Mrs. Modely. Ha! ha! ha!
Lady Morden.  
Sir Frederic. Ha! ha! ha!—You really have no mercy, General—You hit ſo often, and ſo hard, egad!
Lord Morden. I'm vaſtly—happy—to ſee you [Page 43] all ſo merry—Tho'—upon my honour—I can't find out the jeſt.
Gen. Burland. That is ſtrange, when you yourſelf make it.
Lady Morden. Not in the leaſt—There is many a profeſſed joker who does not underſtand his own wit.
Gen. Burland. [half aſide] I am tired, diſguſted, with this mixture of folly and wickedneſs— [aloud] May I intrude ſo far upon your Ladyſhip as to obtain half an hour's private converſation?
Lady Morden. Why—Upon my word—General—I—I have ſo many affairs on hand, to day, that I muſt beg you—to excuſe me:—Tomorrow, you may command me, for as long as you pleaſe.
Sir Frederic. Ay, do, General, have the complaiſance to wait till to-morrow, when my Lady will be more at leiſure.
Gen. Burland. [deeply affected] Well, madam▪ I did not uſe to be thought an intruder, by your Ladyſhip, and will not begin now—But, ſince I cannot have the honour to tell you privately, I ſtill think myſelf bound to do my duty, and inform you, publicly, you are in the hands of ſharpers, "who will filch from you your good name"— [with great anxiety] Nay, perhaps, you are on the very eve of deſtruction!—Oh guile!—Can it be!—My heart is full!—I— [goes up to her, and moſt affectionately takes and preſſes her hand] Lady Morden—I have no utterance—But, if there be ſuch a thing as ſympathy, ſome ſmall portion of the horror I now feel will communicate itſelf to you.

1.3.3. SCENE III. LORD MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC, LADY MORDEN, MRS. MODELY.

[Page 44]
(Lady Morden ſeems affected, Lord Morden deeply ſo, Sir Frederic and Mrs. Modely diſconcerted.)
A PAUSE.
Lady Morden. [endeavouring to recover herſelf] The—the General—has the—ſtrangeſt way of—affecting—and—harrowing—Has not he, my Lord?
Lord Morden. Ye—yes—Upon my honour, he—he—I don't know how— [putting his hand to his heart].
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!—The General—The General is a true Don Quixote. He firſt creates giants, and then kills them.
Lady Morden. Yes. Ha! ha! ha!—His head is full of—of windmills to grind moral ſentiments—But, come, Mrs. Modely, you have not ſeen my new purchaſe.
Mrs. Modely. Oh, what the Actaeon?
Sir Frederic. Is it come home?
Lady Morden. Oh, yes—I could not reſt till I had it. [talking as they are going off.]
Mrs. Modely. Come, my Lord—I long to ſee it!
Lady Morden. The tints are charming!
Mrs. Modely. So I hear—The grouping excellent!
Lady Morden. Oh, delightful!

1.3.4. SCENE IV. HARRIET, from the Anti-chamber, SIR FREDERIC.

[Page 45]
Harriet. Hiſt!—Sir Frederic!
Sir Frederic. [turning back] Oh!—Well, Sir, how proceeds your amour? I thought you had been buſied in ſchemes about that affair.
Harriet. Faidth, and I am ſo—But I don't believe I can ſucceed, without your aſſiſtance.
Sir Frederic. Perhaps, you are a little ſcrupulous about the means.
Harriet. Me!—Indeed and you have miſtaken your man—Why, you don't think, Sir Frederic, I regard the complaints or tears of women!—You and I, ſure, ſeek our own gratification, not their happineſs—For, if the love of man ſought only the happineſs of woman, faidth, there would be nothing but dull marriages, fond huſbands, and legitimate children; and we ſhould loſe all the ſatisfaction of ſeducing wives, ruining daughters, and of bringing ſo many fine, ſweet, innocent, craters upon the town!
Sir Frederic. Oh, it would ſtrangely reverſe the order of things.
Harriet. Order!—Faidth, and it would occaſion a bliſſed confuſion—in Doctor's Commons.
Sir Frederic. For my part, preſent pleaſure is my purſuit; I never diſturb my imagination with diſmal conjectures, on future conſequences.
Harriet. Faidth, and you are right—For, as you ſay, it would be diſmal enough to trace theſe conſequences into—into ſtreets, and hoſpitals, and—places that the imagination ſickens at.
Sir Frederic. Marriage, you ſay, is not your object.
[Page 46] Harriet. Oh, no! I don't like that ſaid matrimony muſic.
Sir Frederic. A mortgaged rent-roll, only, can make it ſupportable. A wife is like a child's whiſtle, which every breath can play upon, but which no art can make melodious.
Harriet. Faidth, and you have viry proper notions about wives. So, whin the dare crater gave a marriage hint, why, I told her a dale of boiſter, conſarning an old croſs fadther, and being under age, and that I could not marry theſe three months. For, you know, one does not ſtand for a good double handful of oaths, and lies, whin one wants to ruin a ſweet, kind, angel, that one loves.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!—Suppoſe you were to make a ſham marriage.
Harriet. A ſham marriage?—Faidth, and I would make that, if there were not a parcel of low raſcals, that make halters.
Sir Frederic. Pſhaw! That's a paltry, mechanical, fear.
Harriet. But, you—you were telling me, you know, of—a—ſcheme—
Sir Frederic. Oh! The contract.
Harriet. Ay, faidth! The contract. You ſaid you would ſhew it me.
Sir Frederic. I will—I have brought it for that purpoſe [feeling for his pocket-book]. I, lately, found it an efficacious expedient.
Harriet. And ſucciſsful?
Sir Frederic. Would have been, but for an unlucky accident.
Harriet. But there is one ſmall impidimint.
Sir Frederic. What is that?
Harriet. Weſtminſter hall.
[Page 47] Sir Frederic. Baw! A houſe of cards.
Harriet. Oh, and that it is; for 'tis ſupported by knaves, and full of tricks.
Sir Frederic. Here—here is the very contract I myſelf gave.
Harriet. Ay! [endeavouring to conceal her eagerneſs.]
Sir Frederic. And here a counterfeit copy, with a few ſlight, but eſſential, alterations.
Harriet. I underſtand—To put the change upon her. [with an anxious eye, continually, toward the contract.]
Sir Frederic. Which you may eaſily take, or make, an opportunity to do.
Harriet. [with affected indifference] Will, thin, lind them both to me; and, faidth, you ſhall ſee fine divarſion.
Sir Frederic. No—I—I'll have them copied for you. This is ſigned, and ſealed
Harriet. Arrah, what of that?—Ha! ha! ha! Sure, you are not afraid you would be obliged to marry a man?
Sir Frederic. No—The only danger, in truſting them to you, is that of loſing them. And, even then, there could be no ill conſequence; except by falling into the hands of one who is far enough from London.
Harriet. Ay, ay, lit me have them—I give you my honour to make a proper uſe of them.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! You are a promiſing youth, and it would be a pity ſuch talents ſhould be baulked—So, here—here.
Harriet. Promiſing? Oh, faidth, and I hope to ſurpriſe even you, yourſilf. You ſhall priſently hear of the ſucciſs of your ſchaimes.

1.3.5. SCENE V. SIR FREDERIC, GABRIEL.

[Page 48]
Gabriel. [looking after Harriet] There a' goes—Hop, ſtep, and jump!— (Pauſe)—Ecod, ſhe does it featly!
Sir Frederic. She! What's that you ſay?
Gabriel. How a' ſkipp'd into the carriage!—There! Off it drives! Whur-r-r-r! Rattling away!
Sir Frederic. What does the fellow mean?—S'death!—Sure!—Who are you talking of?
Gabriel. Why, of that Iriſh, gentleman-like, Lady.
Sir Frederic. Lady!
Gabriel. I wur coming ſtraight to tell you—There is a plot, mun, againſt you!
Sir Frederic. A plot! [runs toward the door.]
Gabriel. Nay, you are too late!—A's gone!—Three ſtreets off by this.
Sir Frederic. Confuſion!
Gabriel. Ees—She means to breed a confuſion.
Sir Frederic. Who?
Gabriel. Miſs Harriet.
Sir Frederic. Harriet!—By heavens 'tis ſhe!—
Gabriel. Ees—'tis ſhe.
Sir Frederic. Secure fool! Ineffable ideot!—And, yet, in that diſguiſe, Lucifer himſelf could not have diſcovered her!—And who told you?
Gabriel. Why, his worſhip's gentleman, Mr. Lapelle—A' o'erheard her tell my Lord aw her plot.
Sir Frederic. What courſe ſhall I take?
Gabriel. Suppoſe I wur to watch, and, when ſhe comes back, let your worſhip know?
[Page 49] Sir Frederic. Do ſo—But be very careful—And be very ſecret.
Gabriel. Ees, ees; I remember the place, mun.
Sir Frederic. Away—be watchful and be rewarded.

1.3.6. SCENE VI. SIR FREDERIC.

This is a thunder ſtroke!—Lord Morden in the plot, too!—It will come to Lady Morden's ears, I ſhall be blown, all my plans diſconcerted, myſelf laughed at, and my reputation eternally ruined!— [walks about] Ha!—There is one way to prevent the miſchief, yet—By heavens, it cannot fail!—I will go to Lady Morden, and, with feigned penitence, tell her every circumſtance, myſelf; only making her believe I knew Harriet, when I returned the contract. She wiſt admire my candour, think my contrition real▪ and thus will I turn this ſeeming diſaſter to excellent account, by making it an additional proof of ſincerity, and affection for her Ladyſhip!—Dear Wit, I thank thee; thou never forſakeſt me at a criſis!—Indeed!—My Lord! And my young Lady!—Ah, ha!—But you ſhall find one, perhaps, who can plot, as deeply as yourſelves.

END OF THE THIRD ACT.

1.4. ACT IV.

[Page 50]

1.4.1. SCENE I. LORD MORDEN, LAPELLE.

Lord Morden. INTO what an abyſs of evils have I plunged, through inexperience, want of reflection, and an abſurd imitation of faſhionable follies!—Lapelle.
Lapelle. My Lord.
Lord Morden. Is the young—young gentleman returned?
Lapelle. [ſignificantly] No, my Lord.
Lord Morden. I am on the rack!—The liberties in which Lady Morden permits this Sir Frederic are inſupportable!—Unable to be ſilent, and aſhamed to complain, I am tortured, by contending paſſions.—Lapelle—Let me know the inſtant—the—the young gentleman comes back.
Lapelle. [going] Yes, my Lord.
Lord Morden. Stay— [to himſelf] What if I were to inform Lady Morden of this affair?—Surely, ſhe could not ſhut her eyes againſt ſuch a palpable, ſuch an unprincipled, attempt at ſeduction!— [aloud] Go, and tell your Lady, I beg to ſpeak with her, a moment.

1.4.2. SCENE II. LORD MORDEN.

[Page 51]

What an abſurd being is man!—Not a fortnight ago, Lady Morden was totally indifferent to me; and, now I am in danger of loſing her, I find I love her—To diſtraction love her!—Yet to ſink into a civil, ſober, domeſtic, man—To become the ſtanding jeſt of all thoſe highſpirited companions whoſe ſociety I have courted, whoſe maxims I have pretended to admire!—

1.4.3. SCENE III. LORD MORDEN, LADY MORDEN.

Lady Morden. So, my Lord, in melancholy contemplation; and at home, too!
Lord Morden. Yes, madam.
Lady Morden. Lud! I wonder how your Lordſhip can endure home! Of all places, in the world, home is, certainly, the moſt diſagreeable.
Lord Morden. Did not your Ladyſhip meet Lapelle?
Lady Morden. Lapelle! no.
Lord Morden. I—I wiſhed to ſee your Ladyſhip.
Lady Morden. To ſee me! What can your Lordſhip poſſibly want with me?
Lord Morden. To ſpeak to you.
Lady Morden. Speak to me!—You perfectly ſurpriſe me.
Lord Morden. On a ſubject which—I—I ſcarcely know how to begin.
Lady Morden. Ha! ha! ha! What can have made your Lordſhip ſo ſerious? Ha! ha! ha! [Page 52] I declare, I never ſaw you look ſo grave before!—This muſt be ſome very important ſecret, that can occaſion your Lordſhip to look ſo very diſmal!—I vow, I am quite impatient—Come, my Lord—Why don't you proceed?
Lord Morden. I—I begin to find—I have been very fooliſh.
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Is that the ſecret?
Lord Morden. I—I feel I have been to blame.
Lady Morden. To blame, my Lord! How? Which way?—Or, if you have, how does it concern me?
Lord Morden. Your Ladyſhip uſed to think our intereſts inſeparable.
Lady Morden. For which your Lordſhip always laughed at me. And, I freely own, I was a very ſilly—out of the way woman.
Lord Morden. Perhaps not, madam.
Lady Morden. How, my Lord!—Not?—Your Lordſhip is very polite, but you know very well I was.
Lord Morden. Lady Morden, you once loved me—You yourſelf, not long ſince, kindly owned you did.
Lady Morden. Very true, my Lord; but why—why now ſhould you reproach me with my follies?
Lord Morden. I feel the ſeverity of your reproof—It is no more than I merit!
Lady Morden. [with affected ſurpriſe] I, really, don't underſtand your Lordſhip!—I—I meant no reproof—We loved each other as long as it was agreeable to us, and, if my paſſion happened to out-laſt your Lordſhip's, that was none of your fault. Theſe are the principles of—of all rational people, you know, my Lord.
[Page 53] Lord Morden. They are principles, madam, that, from my ſoul, I wiſh I had never heard!
Lady Morden. Upon my honour, you aſtoniſh me!—Have not I learnt them from you, yourſelf?
Lord Morden. Unjuſtifiable, madam, as my conduct may have been, I never carried them to the ſame exceſs as Sir Frederic Faſhion.
Lady Morden. [with an air of pique] Sir Frederic Faſhion may, perhaps, be as capable [...] reformation as your Lordſhip.
Lord Morden. Your Ladyſhip may—may [...] partial.
Lady Morden. Partial!
Lord Morden. Who ſo great a libertine as [...] Sir Frederic?
Lady Morden. Has been—He has [...] enough to confeſs it.
Lord Morden. Has been!—Madam, [...] exiſts a preſent proof of deliberate ſeduction!—An injured Lady!—
Lady Morden. [ſmiling] Oh! What the— [...] the Croat.
Lord Morden. Madam!
Lady Morden. What's your ſurpriſe, my Lo [...] ▪ Don't I tell you he has confeſſed all his follie [...] [...] me?
Lord Morden. But, madam, did he menti [...] the contract?
Lady Morden. To be ſure! And the— [...] counterfeit copy—With the generous manne [...] [...] which he, juſt now, returned Harriet the origin [...] ▪ though ſhe thought he did not know her.
Lord Morden. I am petrified!—Lady M [...] den—I perceive, I have loſt your affections.
[Page 54] Lady Morden. My Lord—I am above diſſimulation. Yes—I own I have a paſſion, too permanent to be ſhaken; and the ſatisfaction of a ſelf-aſſurance that he who, at preſent, poſſeſſes my heart, will not, ſo ſoon, be weary of me, as he who had it before.
Lord Morden. You cut me to the ſoul!—Did you know what I feel!
Lady Morden. Feel, my Lord! Ha, ha, ha! Oh fie!—Your Lordſhip is a man of faſhion, not of feeling.
Lord Morden. Hovering miſchief, madam, has quickened benumbed nature in me. [kneels and takes her hand] Oh! let me conjure you, Lady Morden, to reflect on your preſent ſituation! I have conducted you to the horrid precipice of guilt, and deſtruction! Oh ſuffer me to ſave, to ſnatch, you from danger!
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha!

1.4.4. SCENE IV. LORD MORDEN, LADY MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC.

Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! How now, my Lord! Ha, ha, ha! Making love to your wife?
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Oh! Sir Frederic, if you had but come a little ſooner, you would have heard the moſt delightful morality!
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! Morality from my Lord?
Lord Morden. Yes, Sir, morality from my Lord!
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha! Nay, I aſſure you, he is quite ſerious. [retires coquetting with Sir Frederic.]
[Page 55] Lord Morden. Rejected! Ridiculed! Deſpiſed! Their ſport! Their ſcorn!—Their ſubject for open ſarcaſm, laughter, and contempt! Oh! Inſupportable. [Lord Morden retires into his own room.]

1.4.5. SCENE V. LADY MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC.

Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha! My Lord has a mind to fall in love with me, once more.
Sir Frederic. Nobody, but my Lord, madam, would ever have ceaſed, a moment, to love you!
Lady Morden. Well, Sir Frederic, and may I, then, at laſt, flatter myſelf I have found that ſympathy of ſoul, for which I ſo long have ſighed?
Sir Frederic. Alas, madam, I dare not rank myſelf your equal!—No, I dare not!—There is ſuch infinitude of perfection in your every thought, look, and expreſſion, that to merit you were to be, as you are, ſomething celeſtial!—Yet, ſuch virtue as mere humanity may arrive at, I will exhauſt nature with endeavours, and weary heaven with prayers, to acquire!
Lady Morden. There is, ſurely, ſome ſecret charm in your words.
Sir Frederic. Did I think the gratification of any ſiniſter paſſion influenced my preſent conduct; were it not my hope to remove you from the cold embrace of ſatiated apathy, to the ſwee and endleſs tranſports of love, founded on, permit me to ſay, on a congeniality of ſoul and ſenriment; did I not feel an innate conviction that there, already, ſubſiſts, between us, a tie of the moſt indiſſoluble nature, an immaculate tie, a [Page 56] marriage of the mind, ſuperior infinitely to all human inſtitutions; did I not think, and feel, thus, I would, inſtantly, dreadful as the image is [...] thought, renounce that heaven which I have had the preſumption to contemplate, nay aſpire to poſſeſs!
Lady Morden. And if, after all this, you ſhould prove falſe, Sir Frederic!
Sir Frederic. Falſe, madam!—Oh! Let me conjure you to inflict any puniſhment on me, rather than that of ſuſpecting my ſincerity!—Thus, [...]eeling, on this angelic hand, I vow—

1.4.6. SCENE VI. LADY MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC, LORD MORDEN.

Lord Morden. I cannot reſiſt the impulſe which—How!—Sir Frederic!
Sir Frederic. [riſing] My Lord. [with per [...] indifference.]
Lord Morden. So, madam!
Lady Morden. So, Sir.
Lord Morden. You can liſten to morality from [...]ers, madam, if not from me!
Lady Morden. Oh! I—I have no diſlike to a [...]non, when I—admire the preacher.
Lord Morden. Madam—If you have no reſpect [...] my honour, you might have ſome for my feelings, and—
Lady Morden. [interrupting him] A, a—Hold, [...]ld, my Lord—You are beginning your diſ [...]ſe again; but I am in a hurry, and will hear [...] draw your concluſions ſome other opportu [...]
Lord Morden. Madam—
Lady Morden. Nay, I will, upon my honour.

1.4.7. SCENE VII. LORD MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC.

[Page 57]
Lord Morden. Hold, Sir; a word with you, if you pleaſe.
Sir Frederic. With me, my Lord?
Lord Morden. With you.
Sir Frederic. Willingly. Your Lordſhip ſeems in ſo pleaſant a humour—
Lord Morden. Sir, I am in a humour neither to be trifled with nor ſneered at.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! I can aſſure your, Ha, ha, ha! your Lordſhip, no man is happier to ſee you in your preſent temper than I am.
Lord Morden. Look you, Sir Frederic, you and I have been too long of the ſame ſchool for me to be ignorant of your principles. But I begin to deteſt them!
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!
Lord Morden. They are now, at this very moment, rending my heart. They have planted a neſt of adders in my boſom.—In ſhort, Sir—You muſt forbear your viſits to Lady Morden.
Sir Frederic. My Lord—
Lord Morden. I am ſerious—determined.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! When her Ladyſhip gives me this advice, it may—perhaps—be followed.
Lord Morden. It muſt and ſhall be followed, Sir, when I give it.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha!
Lord Morden. Ridiculous as it may appear, to you, and ſuch as you, I feel, and will aſſert, a huſband's rights.
Sir Frederic. Ha, ha, ha! I congratulate your [Page 58] Lordſhip, on the keenneſs, and delicacy, of your feelings; they give me great pleaſure; infinite pleaſure, upon my ſoul. Ha, ha, ha!—As to—a huſband's rights, I—have no doubt, you will—very ſhortly—be in full poſſeſſion of them all.
Lord Morden. Sir, I will have you know, I am, at preſent, in full poſſeſſion of them all.
Sir Frederic. May be ſo, egad!
Lord Morden. And can no longer forbear telling you, I believe you to be a villain.
Sir Frederic. Ah, now, your Lordſhip is perfectly explicit. [draw and fight.]

1.4.8. SCENE VIII. LORD MORDEN, SIR FREDERIC, GABRIEL, who runs fearleſs between them, and looks firſt at one, then at the other.

Lord Morden. How now, ſirrah! How dare you take this liberty?
Gabriel. Nay, ecod, there do ſeem to be ſome danger in it; an I had not dared to dare, but that I thought that your Lordſhip wou'd na ſtick I.
Lord Morden. Be gone, ſirrah!
Gabriel. Nay, but my Lady ſent me, and would be glad to ſpeak wi' your honour's worſhip.
Lord Morden. With me?
Gabriel. Oh no! Not wi' your Lordſhip's honour's worſhip; but wi' his worſhip's honour, Sir Frederic Faſhion.
Sir Frederic. This is no place, my Lord: we'll ſettle this buſineſs to-morrow—To-morrow, my Lord—To-morrow—

1.4.9. SCENE IX. LORD MORDEN, GABRIEL.

[Page 59]
Lord Morden. Damnation!—Torture!—To-morrow?—He has ſome concealed meaning—‘A thouſand little circumſtances tell me, ſome miſchief is brooding—I could not have believed Lady Morden ſo confirmed, ſo far gone, in guilt.—The behaviour of them all, their dark alluſions, their ſarcaſms, pointed at me, convince me, they are acting in conjunction, to hold me up’—How now, ſirrah! What do you ſtand gaping at?—How durſt you come between us?
Gabriel. Why, ecod, I knew that, wi' us, i'th country, murder would have been againſt the commandements; and I had forgot that, here, in town, you have no commandements.
Lord Morden. This fool can ſee the exceſſes of paſſion in their true light.
Gabriel I'm ſorry 'at I angered your Lordſhip's worſhip; becaſe as why, I wur determined to do like the reſt of my neighbours; for, ſartinly, wur a body to keep the commandements, while every body elſe is breaking them—a'd be a poor devil, indeed. [Lord Morden walks about] Belike, your Lordſhip be a bit jealouſy, like?
Lord Morden. How, ſirrah!
Gabriel. Nay, I ſhould no' a' wondered an you wur—An I had no' been told that your Londoneers be never jealouſy, like.
Lord Morden. Should not have wondered!—Why not, ſirrah?
Gabriel. Nay, ecod, I munna tell!
Lord Morden. Tell what?
Gabriel. Nay, that's it—As I ſaid, I munna tell!
[Page 60] Lord Morden. [puts his hand to his ſword] Speak all you know, inſtantly, or—
Gabriel. [with half ſerious half ſulky reproof] Nay, nay, donna be in a paſſion, your worſhip—I be no gooſe, you munna ſpit me.
Lord Morden. Speak, I ſay—I'll have your ſecret, or your ſoul.
Gabriel. Ecod, I believe, your worſhip will be puzzled to find either—Tho' that Sir Frederic be an old fox—A's uſed to ſteal chicken.
Lord Morden. Be explicit; what has he done?
Gabriel. Done—Oh!—A's—
Lord Morden. What?
Gabriel. Promiſed me a place!
Lord Morden. Zounds!
Gabriel. And, moreover, a' ga' me a purſe; which is better ſtill: for, your worſhip's grace do know that, an egg, in hand, is better nur a hen, in expectation.
Lord Morden. Suppoſe, ſirrah, I give you my purſe, too.
Gabriel. Nay, ecod, an you gi' it me—I b'lieve, I ſhall—I ſhall take it.
Lord Morden. There, Sir.
Gabriel. Thank your worſhip's Lordſhip.— [Gabriel puts up the purſe, and walks leiſurely into Lady Morden's Dreſſing-Room.]

1.4.10. SCENE X. LORD MORDEN, HARRIET.

Lord Morden. [following Gabriel] Why, hark you, ſirrah!—Come back!—Why, raſcal!
Harriet. [calling] St! My Lord! My Lord!
Lord Morden. [looking back to Harriet, and then recollecting Gabriel] Aſtoniſhing effrontery!
Harriet. My Lord!
[Page 61] Lord Morden. [returning] Oh! Madam, I am diſtracted.
Harriet. Have patience, but for one quarter of an hour, and I hope to rid you of all your fears, and inflict that puniſhment, on the author of them, which he dreads moſt.
Lord Morden. How, Madam?
Harriet. By expoſing him; making him what he delights to make others, a ſubject of laughter and contempt.
Lord Morden. Which way, Madam?
Harriet. We may be overheard; ſtep with me into the antichamber, and I'll inform you.

1.4.11. SCENE XI. GABRIEL, SIR FREDERIC.

Gabriel. [peeping after Lord Morden and Harriet, and then calling] Sir Frederic!—Sir Frederic!
Sir Frederic. Well, what's the matter? How cameſt thou off with his Lordſhip?
Gabriel. Off? Ecod, I—I wiſh you may come off as well.
Sir Frederic. I!
Gabriel. Ees.—Why, mun, there be the bailiffs, below!
Sir Frederic. Bailiffs!
Gabriel. Ees—Sent by the Iriſh gentleman, lady I mean, a'ter your worſhip!—Ecod, hur is detarmined to ha' you, ſafe!
Sir Frederic. The Devil! What's to be done!—Is ſhe with them?
Gabriel. No; hur be come back, and is gone into the antichamber, wi' my Lord.
Sir Frederic. And has not ſeen them?
Gabriel. Likely not.
[Page 62] Sir Frederic. Here, quick, change clothes with me, and tell them you are Sir Frederic Faſhion.
Gabriel. Me!—Ecod, thank you for that—No, no—I would na' be in your coat, for fifty pound!
Sir Frederic. Fool! they durſt not detain you.
Gabriel. I'll take care they ſhan't.
Sir Frederic. S'death! What's to be done?
Gabriel. Ecod—Suppoſe—Suppoſe I wur to go, and tell the Iriſh gentleman ſomebody wanted hur; and ſo make 'em arreſt ſhe?
Sir Frederic. Ha! Exquiſite fellow! I conceive—Away, ſend her inſtantly!

1.4.12. SCENE XII. SIR FREDERIC, TWO BAILIFFS.

Bailiff. Is your name Sir Frederic Faſhion, Sir?
Sir Frederic. No, Sir; but Sir Frederic will be here, directly; if you have any buſineſs with him.
Bailiff. [aſide to his companion] Have your handkerchief ready, ſhould he make any noiſe, for fear of a reſcue—This is a very ſerious affair. [to Sir Frederic] Pray, Sir, what kind of perſon is Sir Frederic?
Sir Frederic. Um—a handſome—agreeable little gentleman, and very young.
Bailiff. May I aſk, Sir, how he is dreſſed?
Sir Frederic. [aſide] Gad! well remember'd.— [to the bailiffs] Dreſſed, oh! he is dreſſed for—for the maſquerade—Here he comes. [the Bailiffs retire a little upon the watch.]

1.4.13. SCENE XIII. SIR FREDERIC, BAILIFFS, HARRIET.

[Page 63]
Sir Frederic. [to Harriet] Well, Sir Frederic! Ha, ha, ha! How goes your ſcheme.
Harriet. Oh, ho!—Faidth, and are you ſo jocular?
Sir Frederic. I have been thinking this is a dangerous buſineſs, and would adviſe you not to give the girl that contract—It may bring you into trouble.
Bailiff. [aſide to his companion] You hear!
Harriet. Oh! Faidth, and ſhe has it ſafe enough.
Bailiff. [advances] Sir Frederic Faſhion [touches Harriet on the ſhoulder], you are my priſoner, Sir,—I have a ſpecial writ againſt you.
Harriet. Ha, ha, ha! Againſt me!—Arrah, frind, but you are making a bit of a bull here.
Bailiff. We know what we are about, Sir; my carriage is below; you ſhall be treated like a gentleman; but we muſt beg you to go with us, inſtantly, and without noiſe.
Harriet. [alarmed and forgetting the brogue] I tell you, friend, you miſtake the perſon.

1.4.14. SCENE XIV. SIR FREDERIC, HARRIET, BAILIFFS, GABRIEL.

Gabriel. [goes up to Harriet] Here, Sir Frederic; here be a card, from Colonel Caſtoff, wi' his compliments.
Harriet. Sirrah! Me!
Gabriel. [with pretended aſtoniſhment] Ees, to be ſure!
[Page 64] Bailiff. Sir, we muſt be gone.
Harriet. This is a concerted trick—Here— [as ſoon as Harriet begins to call, the bailiffs clap the handkerchief over her mouth, and hurry off with her.]

1.4.15. SCENE XV. GABRIEL, SIR FREDERIC.

Gabriel. Did not I do it rarely?
Sir Frederic. Do!—I could wonder and worſhip thee! In half a year, thou would'ſt make an aſs of Machiavel!—Oh that I could but retrieve that curſed contract.
Gabriel. I do think I could get it.
Sir Frederic. Ay!—Nay, I do, almoſt, begin to believe in miracles! Which way?
Gabriel. No matter for that—What will you gi' me?
Sir Frederic. Whatever thou canſt wiſh—A hundred guineas—
Gabriel. And the place in the Exciſe?
Sir Frederic. Any thing, every thing!—Run, try, fly!—Think, ſucceed, and I'll make an Emperor of thee!
Gabriel. Ees—I'll be Emperor of Exciſe-men.

1.4.16. SCENE XVI. SIR FREDERIC, MRS. MODELY, EMILY.

Sir Frederic. The ſhrewdneſs, and abilities, of this fellow are amazing!
Mrs. Modely. [entering] Yes, my ſweet little Emily, the greateſt beauty in London would be envied, had ſhe made ſuch a conqueſt.
Emily. Ah!—▪You ſay ſo.—
Mrs. Modely. Say! Why, to-morrow morning, the whole town will be in a flame!
[Page 65] Emily. Well, that will be pure!
Mrs. Modely. Oh! Sir Frederic—
Sir Frederic. [runs to Emily] My life! My ſoul! My tranſport!
Emily. [to Mrs. Modely] What ſweet words!
Mrs. Modely. You are very much obliged to me, I aſſure you.—I have been ſpeaking to my ſweet, dear, little Emily, here, in your behalf.
Sir Frederic. Then, Madam, I am, inexpreſſibly, obliged to you!
Emily. Yes, Mrs. Modely is very much your friend, and very much my friend—A'n't you, Mrs. Modely?
Mrs. Modely. Yes, my little dear; I am, indeed, very much your friend: and, if I had not the beſt opinion in the world of Sir Frederic, would not have ſpoken as I have.
Emily. Well, Sir Frederic, have you ordered the chaiſe and four?
Sir Frederic. [pretending to be afraid Mrs. Modely ſhould overhear]. Yes!—Huſh!
Emily. Nay, you may ſay any thing before Mrs. Modely. I have told her all; for, you know, ſhe is my friend.
Mrs. Modely. Yes, yes, Sir Frederic; be aſſured, I will not betray any ſecret, the keeping of which will make my dear Emily ſo happy!
Emily. Yes, we ſhall be ſo happy!—You know, Sir Frederic, you ſwear to marry me.
Sir Frederic. Solemnly! [all through the ſcene he looks anxiouſly round, at intervals, fearful of being ſurpriſed.]
Emily. Well, but, ſwear it again; now, before Mrs. Modely.
Sir Frederic. By all the ſaints!
[Page 66] Emily. Saints! Pſhaw! You ſhould ſwear by—by my bright eyes, that dim the ſtars.
Sir Frederic. Oh! By thoſe bright eyes, that dim the blazing Sun.
Emily. And—and, my beauties, that eclipſe the bluſhing Moon!
Sir Frederic. Ay, by thoſe, and all your burning charms, I ſwear.
Emily. To marry me, the moment we come to Scotland?
Sir Frederic. The moment we come to Scotland.
Emily. And, if we are purſued—
Sir Frederic. To fight for you! Die for you!
Emily. Oh! That will be delightful!—
Sir Frederic. [aſide] The Devil it will!
Emily. Come, let us ſet off!—My bandbox is ready!
Sir Frederic. That is impoſſible, my angel!
Emily. Impoſſible?
Sir Frederic. I have not ordered the chaiſe, till ten o'clock.
Emily. Oh dear! What, two whole hours longer!
Sir Frederic. They are two ages, I grant— [looking round] Forgive my fears, my deareſ Emily; but, tho' the pleaſure of your company is the moſt precious thing on earth—a—a—yet—
Emily. What, you want me gone?
Sir Frederic. Rather than you ſhould think ſo unkindly, I will run the hazard of being ſurpriſed, and eternally ſeparated from you.
Emily. Will you! I am ſure you don't love me then—However, I'll go.—You will be ſure to be ready, the moment the clock ſtrikes ten.

1.4.17. SCENE XVII. SIR FREDERIC, MRS. MODELY.

[Page 67]
Sir Frederic. Time is precious—Here have been ſuch plots, againſt me!
Mrs. Modely. Plots!
Sir Frederic. Oh! I have eſcaped Scylla and Charybdis! But wind and tide are, now, both with me—Lady Morden is to meet me, here, in half an hour. Thro' that door is her chamber.
Mrs. Modely. Oh, you vile creature!
Sir Frederic. What prude, to-morrow, will dare pretend that woman, and education, are a match for man, and nature?
Mrs. Modely. And ſo you will perſiſt in your wickedneſs, in ſpite of my perſuaſions!
Sir Frederic. Lady Morden has, ſtill, all the rhodomontade of love, in her brain—Thinks of nothing but cooing-conſtancy, and eternal raptures!
Mrs. Modely. Simple woman!
Sir Frederic. Except, indeed, tormenting her huſband; which ſeems to give the ſin a double ſweetneſs.
Mrs. Modely. Or ſhe would be no wife!
Sir Frederic. So, as ſoon as I am gone off with Emily, I will have a conſolatory epiſtle delivered to her.
Mrs. Modely. Compaſſionate toad!
Sir Frederic. Here it is, ready written; and, if I don't flatter myſelf, a maſter-piece.
Mrs. Modely. Let me ſee! Let me ſee!
Sir Frederic. No, you ſhall hear. [reads] ‘Dear Madam, Tho' you are an angel, if there are other angels, am I to blame?’
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not.
[Page 68] Sir Frederic. [reads] ‘If man is naturally inconſtant, and if I am a man—am I to blame?’
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not.
Sir Frederic. [reads] ‘If nature has made variety the higheſt enjoyment—am I to blame?’
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not.
Sir Frederic. [reads] ‘If, ſince happineſs is the purſuit of us all, I am happy as often as I can—am I to blame?’
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not.
Sir Frederic. [reads] ‘Farewell, Madam; circumſtances, as you will find, force me, thus ſuddenly, from your arms, in which, I own, I found heaven centered: but, if you ſhould call me cruel, perjured, and ungrateful, becauſe I act naturally, and therefore rationally—am I to blame?’
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not!—Well, as I live, this is a maſter-ſtroke! Perfectly as I thought I knew you, you have aſtoniſhed me!
Sir Frederic. Yes; 'tis the true Socratic mode—But, now, my dear Mrs. Modely, go you to Emily, prevent her diſturbing us, and keep her in readineſs.
Mrs. Modely. Well! remember, every thing is at ſtake, and be yourſelf.
Sir Frederic. Fear me not; that preſcience, which, they ſay, is the forerunner of all great events, gives me a happy aſſurance of ſucceſs: a confidence, that makes ſucceſs certain.
END OF THE FOURTH ACT.

1.5. ACT V.

[Page 69]

1.5.1. SCENE I.

General Burland. I Cannot keep from this houſe!—There is a foreboding of miſchief, which haunts, and perturbs, my imagination!—And, I fear, with reaſon!—The malignant joy, the ſmothered exult, the obſcure, ironical, ſatire, which ran through the diſcourſe of that Sir Frederic, were not without a meaning.—I wiſh I had not conſented to let Emily ſtay—He ſneered, I remember, at the moment: nay, it ſeemed the ſneer of triumph!—I wiſh ſhe were ſafe, at my own houſe.—Poor Lady Morden!—And, is it poſſible?—Such rectitude of heart!—Such purity of ſentiment!—I wiſh Emily were at home—Should my child, my darling fall, I were a wretch indeed!

1.5.2. SCENE II. GENERAL, LORD MORDEN.

Lord Morden. [wildly] I am miſerable! diſtracted! racked!—The thunderbolt has ſtruck before I heard it!—Oh that its exterminating power had been final! But it has maimed, and deformed, and left a full feeling of wretchedneſs!
Gen. Burland. How now, my Lord?
[Page 70] Lord Morden. General!—I am a wretch!—An irretrievable, eternal, wretch!
Gen. Burland. What, and are you come to a ſenſe of this, now it is too late?
Lord Morden. There's the miſery!—The curſe is accompliſhed, and hope is fled!
Gen. Burland. Why, ay! Such is the infatuation of folly, and vice, they will not believe vengeance has an arm, till its fatal gripe is felt!
Lord Morden. I cannot ſupport theſe tortures!—Oh that it were poſſible!—
Gen. Burland. What?
Lord Morden. To reclaim Lady Morden.
Gen. Burland. What then? Another month and Sir Frederic Faſhion, or any other libertine of faſhion, might take her.
Lord Morden. Never!—Never!—Were her affections once again mine, the ſtroke of death, only, ſhould ſeparate us!
Gen. Burland. [with deep compaſſion] Well, my Lord, if you are, at laſt, convinced of the immenſity of your loſs—I pity you!
Lord Morden. Oh, would you could relieve!
Gen. Burland. Would I could!—But, you were a witneſs how ineffectual my endeavours were. However, walk with me, into the antichamber, and let us conſult what is beſt to be done.—Her principles, I fear, are ſhaken; the only rock on which virtue can ſtand ſecure.
Lord Morden. Sapped, deſtroyed!—She avows her intents! Unbluſhingly avows them! And, recapitulating my errors, my crimes, dares me to complain of, or notice, hers! Scorns and contemns me, and juſtly too, that ſuch a thing as I [Page 71] ſhould pretend to repeat, or reſpect, the word virtue!
Gen. Burland. It is what every huſband, every father of a family, muſt expect! His ſmalleſt foibles will ſtand as precedents for a ſwarm of follies; and, if he has any vices, they will propagate a hideous brood, that ſhall extirpate his name from the earth, or overwhelm it with obloquy!

1.5.3. SCENE III. GABRIEL, SIR FREDERIC.

Gabriel. [peeping after Lord Morden, and the General] Come, mun!—Your worſhip, come!
Sir Frederic. Are they gone?
Gabriel. Ees.
Sir Frederic. Well, what haſt thou done?—Where is Harriet?
Gabriel. Oh, I ha' her ſafe.
Sir Frederic. Thou!
Gabriel. Ees, mun—For, when the Bailiffs found out a wur a woman, they wur parfitly ravenous!
Sir Frederic. And let her go?
Gabriel Ees.
Sir Frederic. S'death!
Gabriel. But, I ſecured her.
Sir Frederic. Secured! Impoſſible! How?
Gabriel. Nay, never do you mind how—I tell'ee, I ha' her ſafe.
Sir Frederic. But where are the Bailiffs?
Gabriel. In this houſe.
Sir Frederic. The devil they are!
Gabriel. Ees, they be—waiting for your worſhip.
[Page 72] Sir Frederic. Death and deſtruction!
Gabriel. But what o'that? I a'got the contract, mun.
Sir Frederic. Haſt thou?
Gabriel. Ees, here it is.
Sir Frederic. Precious fellow! I could worſhip thee!—Give it me.
Gabriel. [putting his hand behind him.] Nay, hold there!—I wunna do that.
Sir Frederic. Won't!
Gabriel. No—I wunna.
Sir Frederic. Pſhaw! Make no words, but deliver it—and, here—here is—
Gabriel. Nay, put up your paper, for I wunna part wi' mine.
Sir Frederic. S'death, fellow!
Gabriel. Nay, be mild tempered—ſtand where you be; for an you ſtir another ſtep, I'll call the Bailiffs.
Sir Frederic. [aſide] Cunning ſcoundrel!—He has me in his power, and time preſſes.—Well, Gabriel, be faithful, and, depend on't, I'll make thee a clever fellow.
Gabriel. Why, ecod, I think I am like a Monmouth-ſtreet coat—ready made.
Sir Frederic. Thou remembereſt the inſtructions I gave thee?
Gabriel. Parfitly.
Sir. Frederic. The chaiſe is to wait, at the corner of the ſtreet.
Gabriel. Ees.
Sir Frederic. Thou art to convey Emily's bandbox away, privately; and, if any queſtions are aſked, to ſay it is Lady Morden's.
Gabriel. Ees.
Sir Frederic. Haſt thou taken care of the letter, I gave thee?
[Page 73] Gabriel. Care! Ees, ees; I a' ta'en good care on't.
Sir Frederic. Obſerve, thou art to deliver, it to Lady Morden, half an hour after we are departed.
Gabriel. Half an hour before you are departed.
Sir Frederic. Zounds! No, half an hour after, man.
Gabriel. Oh! Ees, ees; half an hour after.
Sir Frederic. Now begone.
Gabriel. But—but, how will your worſhip get by the Bailiffs?
Sir Frederic. S'death, that's true!—Is there no diſguiſe?
Gabriel. Why—ees—there be a long greatcoat i'th' hall.
Sir Frederic. Ay, true!—Bring it me.
Gabriel. Nay, nay—I'll put it on firſt, and let 'em ſee me—ſo, then, when they ſee you, they'll think it be I—
Sir Frederic. Excellent! Where are Lord Morden, and the General?
Gabriel. I'th' t'other chamber.
Sir Frederic. Unlucky! I wiſh they were any where elſe.
Gabriel. Oh!—an that be all, I'll ſoon make 'em budge.
Sir Frederic. How?
Gabriel. Nay!—Lord, you're ſo quiſitive!—I tell you, I'll do't—I'll ſaunter thro' this door, lock it, and ſend 'em packing thro' t'other.
Sir Frederic. Thou art the prince of plotters—Away, be vigilant.
Gabriel. Oh! never do you fear me!
[Goes into the antichamber.]

1.5.4. SCENE IV. SIR FREDERIC, LADY MORDEN.

[Page 74]
Sir Frederic. This fellow would outwit a whole conclave of Cardinals!
Lady Morden. Well, Sir Frederic! here I am, you ſee; punctual to my promiſe.
Sir Frederic. [with vaſt inſinuation, ſeeming ſincerity, and humble rapture, all through the ſcene.] Oh, Madam, how can I repay this bounty!—this condeſcenſion!—Never!—My life were a poor ſacrifice, to ſuch ſweetneſs and ſuch charms!
Lady Morden. Sir Frederic, this is a trying, a deciſive moment! I am going to be either the moſt happy or the moſt wretched of women! You tell me, it is your wiſh, your reſolution, to be no longer that general lover, that man of the world, you have, hitherto, been thought.
Sir Frederic. Say not, dear Lady, it is either my wiſh or reſolution! Heaven can teſtify, I have not the power to be any thing, but what it ſhall pleaſe you to make me!
Lady Morden. I have owned to you that, the levity I have lately affected is not natural to me▪ that my heart ſighs for an acquaintance, a mate▪ that, like itſelf, is ſubject to all the ſweet emotions of ſenſibility!—Yes, it was the firſt wiſh of my ſoul to find this correſpondent heart! A heart beating with the ſame ardour, vibrating to the ſame ſenſations, panting for the ſame pleaſures, ſhrinking from the ſame pangs; pliant, yet firm; gentle, yet aſpiring; paſſionate, yet pure!—Such I once thought Lord Morden's—Should I, a ſecond time, be deceived!
[Page 75] Sir Frederic. I am poor in proofs of ſincerity! I have none to offer!—My former errors are preſent puniſhments! To deny or even palliate them would imply intentional deceit; and this is a moment in which I would wiſh for men and gods to be witneſſes of my truth!—I have had, I own, moſt libertine opinions of your gentle ſex; but theſe I, now, ſolemnly renounce!—Had I, before, met with a Lady Morden, I ſhould, before, have made this renunciation!—But, perhaps, the women it has been my misfortune to know deſerved, in part, the light eſteem in which I held them.—Never, till now, did I find one who could mutually inſpire ſuch paſſion and reſpect! Such agitated, burning, hopes! Such excruciating fears, or thoughts ſo ſanctified, as thoſe I, this moment, feel!
Lady Morden. Yet, Sir Frederic, I cannot help obſerving your converſation, in ſociety, ſeems ſtill tinged with the impurity of your former libertine principles.
Sir Frederic. I own, Lady Morden, with confuſion own, I have not hitherto had the courage, or, perhaps, I have wanted ſtrength to ſtem the torrent: but, aided by you, I feel, I dare promiſe any thing!
Lady Morden. I confeſs, Sir Frederic, the mind finds ſome difficulty in rooting out fears, planted in it by reiterated accuſations. The ſtories the world tells of you are dreadful! And, yet, there is ſuch heartfelt conviction attends your preſent words that, to me, it is impoſſible to liſten and retain a doubt.
Sir Frederic. This generous confidence tranſports me, fills me with gratitude, and inſpires [Page 76] rapturous hope! [claſps her round the waiſt.] Oh, gently ſuffer me to conduct you, where love lies, in panting, breathleſs, ecſtaſy—

1.5.5. SCENE V.

To them GABRIEL, abruptly, in a Great-coat, ſtands fixed, ſtaring.
Sir Frederic. [ſternly] How now!
Gabriel. [deliberately] Belike—You dunna want company?
Sir Frederic. No, Sir.
Gabriel. I thought as much—
Sir Frederic. [laying hold of him] Begone, inſtantly!
Gabriel Nay! Hands off! [throws him from him] I ſhan't ſtir, till I have delivered my meſſage.
Sir Frederic. What meſſage? What have you to ſay?
Gabriel. [aloud] Why the chaiſe and four be come.
Sir Frederic. How?
Gabriel. [ſtill louder] The bandbox ready.
Sir Frederic. Infernal booby!
Gabriel. Miſs Emily waiting.
Sir Frederic. [violently] Begone, I ſay.
Gabriel. Gone!—Nay, ſartinly, you would no' ha' I run away wi' her.
Lady Morden. [with contempt] Ha, ha, ha!
Sir Frederic. Lady Morden!
Lady Morden. Ha, ha, ha!—Why, ſurely, you! The never failing victor! The fertile-brained Sir Frederic Faſhion! who knows not defeat, and who never, yet, was at a loſs for ſtratagems! [Page 77] Though you are taken ſomewhat unawares, you cannot want invention!
Sir Frederic. You'll pardon me, Madam, if I want underſtanding to comprehend your meaning.
Lady Morden. Indeed!—Well, if you are ſo very dull of apprehenſion—am I to blame?
Sir Frederic. Madam!
Lady Morden. Oh!—Do you recollect—this letter?
Sir Frederic. How!—Faithleſs fiend! [goes to aſſault Gabriel, who throws back his great-coat and appears dreſſed as a gentleman.]
Gabriel. Keep off, or dread the chaſtiſement I am prompted, inſtantaneouſly, to inflict!
Sir Frederic. Chaſtiſement!—What is this?—Who are you?
Gabriel. A man!—You are—
Lady Morden. For heaven's ſake, brother!—
Sir Frederic. Brother!
Gabriel. Gabriel Wilmot; whoſe head is ſo full of the nonſenſe of friendſhip, honour, and honeſty!
Sir Frederic. I'll be revenged, however.
[attacks Mr. Wilmot again.]

1.5.6. SCENE VI.

To them LORD MORDEN and GENERAL
Lord Morden. Turn, wretch, and receive your puniſhment from this arm! [Sir Frederic turns on Lord Morden.]
Gen. Burland. [beating down their ſwords] Oh, for ſhame!—Look to the Lady—
Lady Morden. Oh, General!—Oh, my Lord! [runs to Lord Morden and falls on his neck.]
[Page 78] Lord Morden. My life! My ecſtaſy! My ſaviour!

1.5.7. SCENE VII.

To them MRS. MODELY and EMILY.
Mrs. Modely. Bleſs me, what uproar—Hey day!— [aſide] So, ſo! Here is a very pretty denouement to our plot, indeed!— [aloud] I ſee, good folks, you are all embroiled here; and, as it is a very diſagreeable thing to be preſent at family diſputes, I'll— [is going; the General plants himſelf againſt the door]
Gen. Burland. Pray, Madam, ſtay, and receive the compliments of the company—Mine, and your friend Emily's, in particular.
Mrs. Modely. Oh, with pleaſure!
Lord Morden. Mr. Wilmot! My beſt brother!—Though you have, in part, acquainted me with what is paſt, yet, it is ſo ſudden—And you! my deareſt Lady! To find you ſtill the ſame is joy unſpeakable!
Lady Morden. The taſk of making you ſuppoſe I had effectually become what I ſeemed, was, indeed, moſt painful; but the loſs of your affection were not pain! 'Twere horror!—I told you my paſſion was too permanent to be ſhaken—Ah! how could you imagine I meant another? Or think it poſſible I ever could forget that chaſte, that ardent, that eternal, love, I have ſo repeatedly vowed?
Lord Morden. Oh for words!—I am all love! gratitude! rapture! and amazement!
Gen. Burland. And ſo is Sir Frederic, apparently—Nay, even you, Madam, ſeem a little ſurpriſed.
[Page 79] Mrs. Modely. Me! Oh dear, no.
Lady Morden. [to Sir Frederic] Dear Sir, though you are a deep and excellent plotter, if there have been counterplots—am I to blame? [curtſies.]
Mrs. Modely. [with affected candour] Certainly not.
Lady Morden. If man is ſometimes vain, preſumptuous, and unprincipled, and if you are a man—am I to blame?
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not.
Mr. Wilmot. If I aſſumed a mean diſguiſe, that I might aid a ſiſter, to detect, and expoſe, the mean machinations of Seduction—am I to blame?
Mrs. Modely. Certainly not.
Emily. If, following the advice of this dear Lady [to Lady Morden] ſimplicity has made cunning outwit itſelf—am I to blame? [curtſying firſt to Sir Frederic, and then to Mrs. Modely.]
Gen. Burland. [with vaſt pleaſure] Certainly not.
Lady Morden. If, ſince happineſs is the purſuit of us all, I wiſh to be as happy as poſſible— [moſt affectionately taking Lord Morden's hand] am I to blame?
Omnes. Certainly not.
Sir Frederic. [with affected eaſe] Certainly not—So, the catechiſm being ended, the ſcholars may depart.
Mr. Wilmot. Certainly not.
Sir Frederic. Sir!
Mr. Wilmot. You forget the bailiffs.
Lady Morden. Beſides, Sir Frederic, before you go, you muſt give me leave to introduce you to—

1.5.8. SCENE THE LAST.

[Page 80]
To them HARRIET in woman's clothes preſented by Lady Morden.

—This Lady.

Sir Frederic. Harriet!
Harriet. Yes, Sir—that Harriet, whom, hearing ſhe had happineſs in view, and proportioning your ideal triumph to the weight of miſery you might entail, you raiſed heaven and earth to bring to wretchedneſs, and ruin.
Mrs. Modely. Upon my honour, you—you are a ſad man, Sir Frederic!—A very ſad man!
[The company by their looks ſhew they underſtand Mrs. Modely's real character.]
Harriet. But your vanity is humbled—you, now, ſtand detected; and, inſtead of envied, you will be ſneered at by the depraved, pitied by the good, and, henceforth, avoided by the credulous young creatures you, ſo manfully, have delighted to involve in guilt, and deſtruction!
Mrs. Modely. A very dangerous man, indeed, Sir Frederic!
General. [ironically] Ay! beware of him, Madam.
Mrs. Modely. Oh! I—I will!
Harriet. Yes, Sir, the finger of ſcorn points where it ought: you are expoſed, and my reſentment is appeaſed.
Sir Frederic. Then, Madam—the—the contract—
Harriet. There it is, Sir. [returns it] I never meant to make any other uſe of it than what has [Page 81] been better effected, by different means. [curtſying to Lady Morden and Mr. Wilmot.]
Sir Frederic. Madam!—
Harriet. No thanks, Sir.
Gen. Burland. No; they would ſit a little awkwardly.
Lady Morden. And now, Sir Frederic, if, after this leſſon, you ſhould ſtill retain your former principles, and practices, and, hereafter, receive a ſtill ſeverer puniſhment, I hope you will acknowledge—we are not to blame.
Exeunt Omnes.
[Page 80] [...] [Page 81] [...]

EPILOGUE.

[Page]
IN former times—'tis long ago, I own—
Man, ſeated on the haughty huſband's throne,
The wife by ſuch abſurd reſtraints enclos'd,
Not one gallant had ſhe—as he ſuppos'd:
But, modeſt, meek, his jealous doubts appeas'd,
And ſooth'd her lord and maſter—when ſhe pleas'd.
Then, women led ſuch exemplary lives,
Daughters, almoſt, as humble were—a—as wives!
"A ſavage Salick law the men maintain'd;
"O monſtrous! We were ſlaves! and huſband's reign'd."—
Strange were theſe cuſtoms, obſolete; but we
Conſolidate our cuſtoms—and, you ſee,
Such wiſe deſigns no oppoſition find:
A fair free trade is good for all mankind.
The lib'ral ſpirit of our lib'ral beauties
Has quite annull d prohibitory duties.
The Ciciſbeo, and the chere amie,
On the broad baſe of reciprocity,
Are exports now, and imports, duty free.
As for this Lady Morden's motley merit,
With her half-ancient, her half-modern ſpirit,
You'll imitate the part you moſt approve;
Her modiſh licence, or her maukiſh love!
Of that no more—The ſubject of my ſpeech,
The doctrine I came, purpoſely, to teach,
(Nay, look not low'ring, man of mighty ſenſe)
Is rival woman's ſuper-eminence—*
"Yes, we have proofs where wit, where taſte combin'
"To deck, with blended charms, the female mind.
"Say, ſhall not we, with conſcious pride, proclaim
"A female critic rais'd—ev'n Shakeſpear's Fame!
"Yes, lordly man—look ſurly if you pleaſe,
"But women beat you out and out, with eaſe!
"In tales of fancy, tenderneſs, diſtreſs,
"If you dare doubt us—ſtudy The Receſs.
"And oft l [...]t ſoft Cecilia win your praiſe;
"While Reaſon guides the clue, in Fancy's maze.
[Page] "In tragedy our triumph all atteſt;
"Your tears the genuine proof who acts the beſt—
"In comedy—But hold—I dread to ſay
"How much, of late, ev'n there, you've loſt the day."
No, I'll not humble your proud ſex ſo far,
Till you no more remember—SUCH THINGS ARE.
Gladly our author owns, all this is true;
Nor thinks he's robb'd, when others have their due:
Yet, owning, hopes you've kindly heard his cauſe;
Hopes to participate your juſt applauſe.
And, ſhould your hands ſome grateful wreath combine,
And ſhould that wreath his anxious brow entwine,
The prize moſt precious mem'ry holds in ſtore,
It there ſhall bloom—'till mem'ry is no more! 1
Notes
1.

* The verſes, between inverted commas, were requeſted from, and written by, a gentleman whoſe literary abilities are great, and well known; and the following were, conſequently, omitted.

Is rival woman's ſuper-eminence
In wit, as well as beauty! Proofs I could
But will not cite, to make th' aſſertion good.
Why ſhould I ſpeak, what's known to Fame and you,
Young André's woes; the wrongs of old Peru?
Why the Belle's Stratagem, or Percy name;
Or ſweet Cecilia's never ending fame?
Our comic, or our tragic, triumphs quote;
Or tell how Siddons acted, Burney wrote?
No, I'll not humble, &c.