The modish wife, a comedy: performed with uninfluenced applause at the Theatre-Royal, Haymarket. To which is prefixed a summary view of the stage, as it has been, is, and ought to be. With biographical anecdotes of Messrs. Mossop, Dexter, Derrick, and the author, ...

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THE MODISH WIFE, A COMEDY.

[PRICE TWO SHILLINGS.]

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THE MODISH WIFE, A COMEDY, PERFORMED WITH UNINFLUENCED APPLAUSE AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL, HAYMARKET.

‘Laudatur et Alget.’

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE STAGE, As it has been, is, and ought to be.

With biographical Anecdotes of Meſſrs. MOSSOP, DEXTER, DERRICK, and the AUTHOR, School-fellows, and public Cotemporaries.

LONDON: Sold by T. EVANS, Paternoſter-Row; and J. BELL, near Exeter-Change, in the Strand.

A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE ENGLISH, SCOTS, and IRISH STAGES.

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THE utility and dignity of the Stage, when properly conducted, has never been diſputed in any age or nation, by men of liberal ſentiments in church or ſtate; ſome exclamatory blaſts of enthuſiaſm have indeed, at different times, made virulent, yet feeble attacks, ſome faint remains of theſe now and then iſſue officially from Tottenham-court-road and Moorfields inſtructors; but even they only utter invectives to preſerve cuſtom and affected ſanctity, while their hearers, as well as themſelves, laugh at the unneceſſary frivolous deluſion: the ſtage ſhould not complain of this abuſe, as every inſtitution may be, and certainly is, miſconducted as well as miſrepreſented; indeed as to the ſcandalous, irrational, and moſt illiberal Roman act, adopted ridiculouſly by our legiſlature, which ſtigmatizes performers, while not only the matter and manner of their performances have been, and are legally authorized and univerſally encouraged, it deſerves general reprobation and theatrical contempt.

Roſcius, Cicero's idol, if his profeſſion could be originally deemed bad, ſhould receive no credit from excellence in purſuing an infamous path; as well might a dexterous highwayman claim praiſe for excelling in actions totally unſufferable.

Some three years ſince, I publickly invited a bigotted preacher in Scotland, to bring one text of ſcripture in corroboration of his rigid opinions; I aſked, if dramatic compoſitions were inconſiſtent with ſtrict chriſtianity, why Saint Paul ſhould have quoted from a Greek author in that ſphere? with ſome other pinching interrogations, which appeared unanſwerable, and occaſioned, what I did not wiſh or mean, the defection of many ſubſcribers to this perſon's preaching, a manifeſt temporal injury to him.

In the courſe of what I have to offer I ſhall be deſultory, conſequently unmethodical; I ſhall produce nothing which does not, in my idea, deſerve notice; but as to arrangement I ſhall let circumſtances and anecdotes fall in as they may, the [Page 2] more to ſport with and amuſe attention; I ſhall endeavour to purſue Othello's rule, and "nothing extenuate," even reſpecting myſelf, "nor ought let down in malice," concerning others: while impartiality is my guide I wiſh to be [...], the moment I paſs that line may contempt be my portion, the ſame contempt I have ever entertained for envy, malevolence, and adulation, three common attendants upon [...], actors, and every degree of public life. A ſtr [...]ng ſymptom of pride may appear in this declaration, but a ſtrict attenti [...]n to the ſeveral degrees of human nature, with many ſevere [...]ubs, ſome gleams of ſunſhine, many ſelf-deluſions, more relative ones, and rigid inſpection into ſocial connections, have made me, I preſume, a tolerable judge of the ſubject I now enter upon.

From every hiſtorical circumſtance, we have reaſon to believe that ſuch entertainments as a theatre affords, could not be in a ſtate of regularity or elegance for many years after their exiſtence: the reformation in its infancy, the grand Spaniſh invaſion, not only threatened but proſecuted; theſe, and other ſucceeding circumſtances, all contributed to prevent that juſtice of exhibition for Shakeſpeare's inimitable productions which they deſerved; no amendment could be expected in the quibbling, ſanctified, pedantic, witch-hunting period of James the Firſt; as to the miſerable monarch his ſon Charles, his time of royalty was ſo perplexed, ſo turbulent, and ſo fatal to himſelf, nothing gentle, elegant, amuſing, or inſtructive could poſſibly prevail: Cromwell's prevalence, though a glorious aera for the nation, was very unfavourable, and neceſſarily ſo to the drama after the interregnum, if I may ſo call an admirable and ſpirited adminiſtration of government.

A volatile, and we may add politic monarch came forward, who perceiving a ſettled gloom on the nation, determined to work a change by introducing the levity of wit, the glare of ſhow, the ba [...]t of gallantry, and a general plan of diſſipation, to ſhake off attention from matters of ſerious concern; if ever the ſtage was proſtituted it was at this time, amidſt a flow of great, of original powerful genius. Dryden may ſtand a proof of the whole, who ranted pompouſly, enthuſiaſtically in his tragedies, and deſcended to the loweſt, moſt fulſome ſtuff in his comedies: however in this reign we may commence the firſt degree of theatrical excellence as to performers; and upon a retroſpect, we find great uniformity in the caſt of plays, as it is phraſed, every one, like a good ſoldier, kept his place, and by not being miſplaced, we may conclude, made a good figure; nay, from the beſt accounts, we are taught to believe ſo, even the printed dramas ſtrengthen this opinion; and this is one of the beſt methods to judge by, both comparatively and deciſively, as in examining the preſent ſtage hereafter [Page 3] I will clearly demonſtrate. From this period compoſition and repreſentation have, ſave the comedies of C [...]ve, [...], and Farquhar, with Rowe's tragedies, been improving, I mean as approaching nearer nature; I do not contend for ſpirit, character, or invention in favour of the preſent age, but a claim to ſuperior propriety may b [...] juſtly maintained upon compari [...]on.

The aera of Wilkes, Booth, and Cibber, has been highly blazened, and there is reaſon to credit tradition in many points; but from the imitators of them I have ſeen (who though they had by no means equal execution, certainly poſſeſſed their manner) it was offenſive to chaſte criticiſm; thus Quin's turgid ſwell was derived from Booth, who catched his from Betterton; young Cibber's caricature grimace, and ſnip-ſnap expreſſion, were but the remnants of his father's oddity; and the late Mr. Giffard's genteel comedy, which he valued himſelf upon, was but a coſtive retail of that formal gentility, which obtained for Mr. Wilkes (when full-bottomed wigs, mechanic utterance and ſtiff deportment were in faſhion) general applauſe.

From their time to Mr. Garrick's introduction of nature upon the ſtage, dramatic entertainments were miſerably mangled amidſt wretched anarchy and moſt diſgraceful management.

The Iriſh ſtage, till Mr. Sheridan's aſſuming the reins of direction, was, from all I have been able to learn, ſcarce worth mention; in my own remembrance, four Elrington's, the moſt deplorable manglers of dialogue, ſerious or comic, that ever diſgraced a Theatre-Royal, monopolized all the principal characters; the women were perfect mop-ſqueezers, and the decorations mere puppet-ſhow trumpery: Mr. Sheridan laboured for, and in a great meaſure effected, a reformation; if his execution as an actor had been equal to his judgement, and his general ſucce [...]s as a manager been equal to his liberality [...] ſpirit, his condeſcenſion to performers, and his zeal for the ſtage, he would have made ere now a very genteel fortune; but being in ſome points capricious, and rather too fond of rigid exerciſe of authority, he incurred, at various times, very prejudicial public reſentment; and though ſupported by many friends, he was frequently attacked both by public and private foes, 'till at length from a r [...]iculous attachment to court principles, (for he was wonderfully fond of a ſmile at the caſtle levees) he drew upon himſelf a ſtorm which blighted all his faireſt hopes, and b [...]re away with it the fruit of much labour and ſeveral favourable harveſts.

To this gentleman (for whom I ſhall always entertain a proper degree of reſpect) I ſtand indebted for an introduction to the ſtage, an introduction more like that of a friend than a manager, from whom, had I choſen to ſtay in his theatre, I [Page 4] had reaſon to expect the moſt l [...]beral encouragement. Here, to anticipate any biographical manufacturer, who might in future, as actor or author, gibbet me up to the view of poſterity, I ſhall give an impartial narrative of my coming into, and general progreſs thro' life, which will naturally take in, by connexions, ſome ſchool-fellows and public cotemporaries, whom I wiſh to preſerve from miſrepreſentation as much as I do myſelf.

Without any boaſt of parentage, ſuffice it to ſay my father had the general repute of an honeſt man, who, without any brilliance of parts, poſſeſſed a ſhare of ſenſe to command reſpect, he had ſeen much of the world, and from thence laid in a ſtock of liberal notions; by forty years ſervice in the army, during which time he had ſeen many coxcombs of fortune, titles, or intereſt, put over his head, he obtained a Captain's commiſſion; in this ſtation, moſt unfortunately for me, he died when I was but ſeventeen, he was bleſſed with a wife, and I with a mother, who by invariable conduct proved herſelf a worthy pattern of both characters.

The 23d of October, 1728, gave me to this mortal ſtage; my ſtate of infancy was moſt affectionately attended to, and by unremitting care, an imperfect conſtitution rendered very ſtrong; at ten, or a little after, I was put under the care of Mr. Butler, a clergyman, who kept a grammar-ſchool in Digges-ſtreet, Dublin; here my firſt acquaintance and intimacy began with Meſſrs. Moſſop and Dexter, both within a year of my age; Mr. Moſſop's father reſiding at his rectory, his ſon Henry was ſent to the care of an uncle, who then kept a bookſeller's ſhop, this uncle put him to Mr. Butler's ſchool, and lodged him at an obſcure butcher's in an obſcure market, as I preſume for cheapneſs ſake; not very happy in his ſituation, he frequently, by leave, paſſed a few days at my father's with me, and being of a grave caſt was much liked by all the family as well as myſelf.

During the ſpace of five years we were inſeparable, and, as I thought, that kind of eſteem daily grew upon us which ſeldom terminates but with life. At fifteen I had the misfortune to obtain a commiſſion in the ſame regiment with my father, the inconveniency of which ſtation I did not experience till the death of my beſt friend brought it to light; indeed before that melancholy event I began to diſlike the ſchool of Mars, which was then, and I am afraid is too much ſo ſtill, a ſcene of diſſipation and exceſs, exceedingly dangerous for a young unformed mind poſſeſſed of warm paſſions.

In the year of the rebellion, a camp of 5000 men was formed at Bennet's-bridge, near Kilkenny, which tho' a pleaſing ſhow, was certainly an idle affair, diſcipline being in a moſt relaxed ſtate; our marchings and counter-marchings, our [Page 5] ſweatings and our ſwimmings, were almoſt as laughable as Major S [...]urgeon's expedition to Acton, Ealing, &c. however we furniſhed many important paragraphs for the Dublin newspapers▪ one of which I well remember, though we were but fifty miles from the capital, killed 500 of us by an epidemical diſtemper, which had never been heard of in the camp; a ſtrong proof of what authentic intelligence thoſe political vehicles convey.

From Bennet's-bridge we returned to Dublin duty, here I found Meſſrs. Moſſop and Dexter members of Trinity-college; the former complained grievouſly at the narrowneſs of his allowance; lamenting his diſcontent, in a romantic fit of friendſhip, I gave him my commiſſion, purpoſing to accompliſh myſelf for the church; this circumſtance he has often mentioned, as I have been informed, however he had not intereſt to get the tran [...]fer ratified by government. From Dublin we were ordered into ſeparate quarters, the company I belonged to was deſtined for Caſhell, neither the Captain nor Lieutenant attending —a pretty circumſtance in time of war! the care of a hundred men fell to my ſhare; the route pointed out our way, and we purſued it with commendable regularity, ſave, as I ſuſpected, the plunder of ſome hen-rooſts; on our arrival at Caſhell, a well ſituated, pleaſant, plentiful city, I received a complimentary meſſage from the new mayor, who was that day giving a feaſt on commencing magiſtracy, to partake of the feſtivity.—I attended, was received with moſt polite hoſpitality, and found myſelf immediately acquainted with near thirty leading gentlemen; thus far was well, but it being a kind of cuſtom in that county to drink a viſiter's ſenſes away, I ſuſtained a moſt formidable attack, ſurrounded by ſeaſoned veterans; at length my prudence, head, and heels gave way, and I fell a ſacrifice to Bacchus, but not till three Aldermen and two Parſons had previouſly fallen proſtrate.

This was rather an unfavourable commencement; but during my ſtay in the place afterwards, I kept rather aloof, and was better enabled thereto by paſſing much time in the family of a gentleman who had three very agreeable daughters, one of whom, tho' at leaſt twelve years older than myſelf, had rearly captivated me; however, Cupid perhaps thinking me a trifling conqueſt, let me for that time eſcape. Dr. Price, then Archbiſhop of the ſee, was another ſtrong motive of prevention from exceſs, for as that liberal-minded prelate very condeſcendingly gave me a general invitation to his palace, and to ride with him, which took place every fair morning. I was edifyingly drawn from the company of thoſe who prefer hunting and the bottle to every mental enjoyment.

I was not above four months in this very agreeable, and I may add, profitable ſituation, till my party was ordered to Kinſale, [Page 6] where a large number of French priſoners were rather refractory. At Corke I found two hundred of thoſe gently waiting to be conducted to Kinſale by me, I took them in charge, but never recollected, till we had marched eight miles, that there was not a grain of ammunition in the whole party; however nothing amiſs happened.

At Kinſale diſcipline took place, and the young officers were commendably attentive, but being altogether in a meſs we miſled one another abominably, both as to expences and conſtitutions; our propenſity to diſſipation was conſiderably increaſed by the good-natured volatility of Capt. Henry Boyle Walſingham, ſon of the then Speaker of the Houſe of Commons, whoſe unbounded good-nature, and uncommon flow of ſpirits, rendered him amiably deluſive; and perſons who had little but their pay, endeavouring to aſſociate with him, ran into difficulties, which however his generoſity, having a large income beſides a captain's commiſſion, often removed.

I cannot pay a juſt tribute to the merits of this young gentleman, taken out of life too ſoon, as with a few more years, and reflection, he would have been a very compleat ornament of ſociety, and a moſt valuable friend to his country.

While we were at Kinſale together, an account reached us that liberty was given to raiſe two regiments for the Dutch ſervice; being tired of a life ſo inactive in the military view as ours then was, we determined to apply for commiſſions of an advanced rank in one of thoſe regiments, he promiſed to take me by the hand, which would have inſured me ſucceſs, and even offered to aſſiſt with money if any thing of that kind ſeemed neceſſary. The Dutch deſign being dropped on a view of peace, I was fooliſh enough to give a hundred guineas for advance of rank in the ſame regiment, without conſidering it took me from a ſtation wherein I ſtood ſecure from reduction, and placed me in one of the four additional companies, which about eight months after were reduced; here I found myſelf within the penurious limits of half-pay; I had a right to ſome freehold property, but being under age could not diſpoſe of it, and was cheated out of the rent, all but a trifle, by a knaviſh tenant.

Here I flew to the ſtage, without any great affection for it as a performer, and found a moſt gentleman-like reception from Mr. Sheridan, who judiciouſly recommended Aboan, in O [...]oon [...]ko, for my trial, in which, notwithſtanding a moſt unconſequential figure, and uncommon timidity, I ſucceeded beyond my moſt ſanguine expectations; but this did by no means reconcile me to the back of the curtain, as the ſpirit of malevolence, envy, and ſcandal, was hourly invading my ears. A ſeaſon and a half paſſed without one ſymptom of ambition to urge for parts, and at a time when Mr. Sheridan had [Page 7] marked out a very reputable caſt for me I declined; ſo precipitate a retreat was in a great meaſure occaſioned by receiving a letter, that an uncle of mine, till then totally unknown to me even by name, had died in the Eaſt-Indies, and left me 800 l. this gave me a turn for domeſtic life, as the ſale of my little freehold was likely, excluſive of a 500 l. mortgage, to produce me 700 l. more. When of age, I was adviſed, that on coming to London, or by ſending proper authority, I might receive my Indian legacy; deſirous of ſeeing the Engliſh capital I ſet out.

Here I ſhall return a little.—During my connection with the Dublin theatre, I received a letter from Mr. Moſſop, then in London, that he had been drawn from Ireland by the invitation of an uncle, who, as he ſaid, would do nothing material for him; that he had offered himſelf to Mr. Garrick and Mr. Rich, who both (the latter is not ſurpriſing) deemed him unworthy acceptance, and therefore requeſted I would mention him to Mr. Sheridan; I did, and was informed that a Mr. Marſhall, with whom we were both intimate, had previouſly mentioned the matter; I was aſked ſome queſtions, which I anſwered with all the friendſhip and impartiality (my ever favourite principle) would allow. Mr. Sheridan, always above envy, gave him a cordial invitation; he came over and had his choice of parts, he very judiciouſly choſe Zanga, in the Revenge, and diſplayed in it an aſtoniſhing degree of beautiful wildneſs; his amazing powers of voice were clearly perceived and unanimouſly approved; his action was what in a great meaſure it ever remained, forced, aukward, and unpictureſque; his emphaſis mechanical and laborious; however, a whole pit full of collegians terrified criticiſm from any exertion for two nights; and indeed, his merit went ſo far before his faults, that the encouragement, tho' enthuſiaſtic, was right.

The ſame week which produced Mr. Moſſop to public view, furniſhed the ſtage with another very conſiderable ornament, Mr. Digges, who had been an officer; a young gentleman furniſhed with very agreeable and eſſential requiſites, ſuch as a graceful perſon, a comely countenance, marking eyes, and a full-toned, diſtinct, tho' not harmonious voice.

Theſe two competitors ſet off in the race of fame nearly together, and emulated with becoming ſpirit; however, Mr. Moſſop, both in diligence and powers, rather outſtripped his competitor, tho' Mr. Digges has ſince ſhown himſelf a much more general performer. By ſo powerful a reinforcement Mr. Sheridan had a brilliant ſeaſon, nor did he, as has been practiſed ſince, bind riſing merit to a kind of an apprenticeſhip, upon penurious terms, he rewarded them liberally, and brought them forward with rapid ſpeed.

[Page 8] A ludicrous inſtance of Mr. Moſſop's capricious haughtineſs may, out of many, be produced; after performing the part of Zanga three nights, he choſe Richard for a fourth appearance, and moſt unaccountably dreſſed the character in puckered white ſattin; Mr. Sheridan, very juſtly obſerving that it had a moſt coxcombly appearance, the remark reached Mr. Moſſop's ear, who next morning went to the manager's room, and moſt emphatically addreſſed him thus: ‘"Mr. She—ri—dan, I hear you ſaid I dreſſed Richard like a cox—comb; that is an af—front; you wear a ſword, pull it out of the ſcab—bard, I'll draw mine, and thruſt it into your bel—ly."’ This furious attack was ſmiled off, and had an amicable concluſion.

A circumſtance here ſtrikes recollection painfully, which is, that ſucceſs, in leſs than a month, raiſed my ſchool-fellow ſo high on tragedy-ſtilts, that a moſt ungracious reſerve prevailed in his deportment, and even to me he was the great man tho' civil. Tho' I ever admired merit, and reſpected pre-eminence, I never did, nor never will, idolize either; this he wanted in both reſpects; I would not flatter, my friendſhip forbad it; he grew ſhy according to the dictates of his pride; thus fell gradually into decay, what I wiſhed, a permanent friendſhip. I may have been too ready to catch offence, but he certainly was too ready to furniſh cauſe; I was rather concerned at ſuch a divorce of an early regard, yet I believe we ſtill entertained good wiſhes for each other, and am willing to ſtile it the jarring of two oddities, who had not forbearance ſufficient for each others foibles.

This ſuppoſed defection of a friend haſtened my expedition to England; I reached Cheſter at a time when Mr. Macklin had brought an excellent company to that city, knowing ſeveral of the members, and wiſhing to know others, I protracted my journey a matter of three months, which paſſed pleaſantly and rationally, ſave too great expence, loſs of time, and a near chance of matrimony, which would then have been peculiarly indiſcreet. One leading defect of my diſpoſition has been procraſtination, which has operated moſt powerfully; however I was not totally idle, for during my ſtay I altered Ben Johnſon's Sejanus, which I ſhall ſpeak of in future. Juſt previous to ſetting off for London, Mr. Derrick, another early acquaintance, purſued my ſteps, not liking the avocation he was placed to, viz. that of a linen-draper; very bare of caſh, and little acquainted, I was obliged to ſtand forth for him, which I had great pleaſure in doing.

Soon after coming to London, for ſake of better air, I took lodgings at Richmond, Mr. Derrick remained with me there near a year, and was moſt of the time uſing his admirable talents for puſhing into an extenſive acquaintance, while I, waited with philoſophic patience, tho' not proper oeconomy, [Page 9] for my expected legacy, paſſed moſt of my time in reading [...] the employment of my pen. A ſtrong degree of theatrical frenzy having ſeized poor Derrick, who, contrary to [...] ſenſe, and void of every executive requiſite, would make a ſtage attempt; in friendly compaſſion I prevailed on him to aſſume a character wherein his diminutive and deformed figure would not be ſo laughable; he, in conſequence murdered Gloſter in Jane Shore, and I believe convinced himſelf, a well as the audience, that he could never be bearable, for I recollect no ſimilar attempt—well for the ſtage if many others had followed ſo ſenſible an example!

During my ſtay at Richmond I publiſhed the alteration of Johnſon's Sejanus, and from a connection my father had with the Orrery family, I dedicated it to the late Earl John, whoſe literary abilities, and extreme liberal turn of mind, reflected honour on nobility, and even on the name of Boyle; being ever of a diſtant nature in matters of this ſort, I referred preſentation of the copy to Mr. Derrick, who never was better pleaſed than when employed in this manner; he brought me a verbal account that my piece was politely received, and that his Lordſhip wiſhed to ſee me at his houſe, then in Leiceſter-fields; I obeyed the ſummons, and never experienced more affability or good ſenſe than at this interview: he was pleaſed to ſay that I had given ſome marks of genius, but feared, if I ſhould in future ſhew much improved abilities, they would be but of little advantage, for (as he emphatically obſerved) the fountain-head of critical taſte was frozen and benumbed; if you have a turn for politics, continues his Lordſhip, and will proſtitute principle to profit, either for or againſt adminiſtration, ſome lucrative conſequences will doubtleſs enſue; but if you are an honeſt principled writer, ten to one but laudatur & alget is a proper motto for you: how far I have found this veri [...]ied I won't pretend to ſay, but heartily wiſh I had been fated to uſe an awl and end ſooner than the pen, for nothing but a penſioned defender of government, a ſycophant to managers, or a ſlave to bookſellers, can do any thing more than crawl.

In about a week after I had ſeen Lord Orrery, I received from him a letter, with an order on Mr. Hoare, his banker, for twenty guineas, and an obſervation, ‘"that he wiſhed more ſubſtantial approbation to attend every future production of mine."’ After this (the only profit from dedication I ever experienced, and indeed did not expect) I never ſaw his Lordſhip.

However, Mr. Derrick made ſuch good uſe of his firſt viſit, that he purſued, and at length—miraculous to think!—drew his Lordſhip, as well as ſome other diſtinguiſhed characters, [Page 10] [...]nto a cordial epiſtolary correſpondence. A little after this period, I was ſaluted with an account that my legacy was arrived and payable; but how was I ſurprized to find, that three honeſt lawyers here, had, upon peruſing my uncle's will, explained away 600l. out of the 800l. I expected; this diſagreeable ſtroke precipitated me into freſh diſſipation, which ſhortly narrowed my circumſtances much, and occaſio [...]ed me to accept an engagement for Mr. Simpſon's theatre at Bath.

Before my expedition thither (under the gothic management of one Mr. Phillip's, an old theatrical coxcomb, vain of playing, and covetous of money) I had the pleaſure to ſee both town houſes in a very reputable ſtate of performance; but as to tragedy (ſave ſome of Mr. Garrick's peculiar parts, if I may ſo ſpeak) Covent-garden was much ſuperior, in comedy Drury-lane claimed manifeſt precedence; there never was a more maſterly performance than Every Man in his Humour, from Kitely to Caſh, every part was ſupported with a proportional degree of pleaſant propriety.

Mr. Moſſop, who had reached the Engliſh ſtage, had the Dublin audiences approbation cordially, therefore eſſentially confirmed here; yet though he poſſeſſed undoubted merit, ſome ſhare of what may be ſtiled good fortune, attended him in both places, for what the Iriſh Collegians began with, animation, the London Templars finiſhed with zeal; would he had been as friendly to himſelf as the public was to his endeavours. Here, as in Dublin, too much ill-concerted expence attended his pride, yet I cannot recollect his circumſtances were, at this period, ſo much reduced as thoſe of ſome other ſucceſsful knights-errant of the ſtage I have known; no intimacy prevailed between us, conſiderably owing, I believe, to my rigid remembrance of his ſudden contemptible exaltation of deportm [...]nt, and unfriendly preciſion of converſation, below the idea of a liberal education, and much more ſo of a liberal mind; however, before leaving town, I paid him a complimentary viſit, when he wiſhed me, and I believe with friendly meaning, all poſſible ſucceſs.

When arrived at Bath, where the campaign was begun, I found a very imperfect odd jumbled crew, and according to many of the undertakings I was forced upon, moſt of my endeavours only tended to make the groupe more ridiculous; for being chiefly in a much varied capital line, I muſt neceſſarily have been often capitally wrong; however, in the moſt unjuſtifiable attempts, I always met with forbearance, without the aid of a ſingle puff, or any ſupport from perſonal acquaintances, for I neither ſought, [...] obtained, above twelve during eight months reſidence, multiplicity of acquaintance, and eſpecially upon an intereſted plan, I ever deſpiſed.

[Page 11] So many repetitions of ſelf are diſagreeable, but as they are unavoidable, and as what I ſhall advance can be corrobolated o [...] contradicted, by many perſons living, egotiſm becomes leſs painful, and may be the more credible. Amidſt the ſtudy of a multiplicity of parts, I wrote the Suita [...], a tragedy, which was well received, though weakly performed; even Mr. Quin vouchſafed to ſay, it was a tolerable thing, but the male performers were mere ſprats of muſſulmen; a remark not amiſs, for there were ſeveral light figures: however, that gentleman, with more than uſual condeſcenſion, gave me, on my night, two guineas for a ticket, wiſhing me a better trade than a Bath author or actor, ‘"for, ſays he, the people of faſhion come here only to tipple water, or game; and as to the town's people they underſtand little ſave extortion;"’ two points I found amply confirmed.

The ſecond ſeaſon I produced Zaphira, a tragedy, on the ſame ſtory of Dr. Brown's Barbaroſſa, but performed before that gentleman's piece came out at Drury-lane, it was better repreſented, and better received than the Sultan, though with leſs profit to me. The ſame ſeaſon I fitted up an alteration of Shakeſpeare's Richard the Second, which, though incumbered with too many characters of importance, to be adequately ſupported by a country company (for ſuch Bath might then be called) was alſo very well received; indeed the performance of one Miſs Ibbot, the beſt declamatory actreſs I ever heard, contributed much to the piece's reputation. The manuſcripts of theſe two tragedies have, I know not how, been purloined from me.

During ſummer, between the ſecond and third ſeaſons at Bath, I came to London, and found Mr. Derrick ſtudying law and practical philoſophy in that agreeable academy the [...], where his ſituation would have been painfully exigent, had not the late Sir Francis Delaval, Mr. Foote, a Dr. Thompſon, and, through their aſſiſtance, other gentlemen, liberally ſubſcribed for his ſupport, the me [...]ns of which was placed in Mr. Vailla [...] 's hands, from whom he received it weekly.

Luckily when this ſupply was near exhauſted, I recommended his ſituation to the notice of a moſt benevolent gentlem [...]n, who ſerved him eſſentially, as he has me on many occaſions. Mr. C—not only raiſed him twenty pounds ſubſcription to a volume of poems, but by means of the late Serjeant H [...]d, got him out of confinement; this pleaſing point [...]d, I went to Bath, and there ſound the company under the direction of Mr. King, whoſe ſpirited performances drawing better audiences than ever had been known there before, and whoſe regular, yet mild and gentleman-like management, rendered the theatre much more agreeable than to me it ever had been, and to the proprietors much more prof [...]t.

[Page 12] Departing from Bath, I ſhall omit ſeveral excurſions made to places of leſs note, and only obſerve, that during a year's vacation from dramatic connections, I had an opportunity to ſee the London ſtages in their meridian glory, and a very noble emulation carried on with great ſpirit and ability on each ſide; the uniformity of each caſt, filled by perſons devoted to a particular department, was now ſtrictly adhered to; the managers did not then play the game of croſs and pile as they do now, nor make what is head one night tail another; the policy of this ſcheme I ſhall preſently elucidate, as alſo endeavour at ſhowing its manifeſt detriment to the ſtage in general, and hackney'd drudges in particular.

Having received an invitation from Edinburgh, I went thither, and met there, on my arrival, an extreme diſagreeable diſappointment; Mr. Digges and Mrs. Ward, two very popular favourites, inſtead of joining the company, as was expected, decamped to Dublin, leaving nothing to apologize for them, and reduced me to the ſame diſadvantageous ſtate I was firſt in at Bath, obliging me to take a porter's load on a ſchool-boy's back. Judge of my regret when I was obliged to march on, with a very inſignificant figure, the firſt night in Othello, and the ſecond in Hotſpur, parts I would ever have wiſhed to decline; after all I met indulgence, and the ſeaſon for ſix weeks, during which time I had the misfortune to be acting manager— a moſt diſagreeable ſtation!—went ſmoothly on; at length, conſidering ſome friends I had brought to the company (and without whom it would have been truly deplorable) ill uſed, I reſigned, with ſecret joy, the reins of painful government, painful, except where a thirſt of power, even in a pageant ſtate, ſtifles delicacy of feeling. Several theatrical manoeuvres were practiſed to make me uneaſy, but finding me vulnerable only thro' the ſides of my friends, I was ſo cloſely attacked that way, that an entire breach enſued; and at the end of the ſeaſon I parted with the managers, as they ſtiled themſelves, on terms not the moſt polite, however I was well pleaſed to get rid of ſuch a diſagreeable ſhuffling connection, and wiſhing to ſee Glaſgow, a city I had heard much of, I went thither without any public view.

The place, upon examination, anſwered the deſcription I had heard of it, in the diſpoſal of ſtreets, and elegance of buildings, as well as in briſkneſs of trade and opulence of merchants. I was unexpectedly invited, by ſome gentlemen who had ſeen me in Edinburgh, to ſtay a few months, and aſſiſt ſome perſons of reſpectable families in the proper pronunciation of Engliſh; ſome gentlemen of the univerſity ſoon after applied to me for the ſame purpoſe; I undertook the taſk with ſome reluctance, but at length went through it pleaſingly and profitably. Juſt before my departure, it was intimated to me, [Page 13] by perſons of ſome influence, that if I would ſettle there, it was more than probable, that a profeſſorſhip for Engliſh oratory might be obtained for me, with a ſettled ſalary, and the advantage of pupils, which I make no doubt would have turned out a comfortable eſtabliſhment; yet, ſtrange is the mind of man, tho' from early years I had wiſhed for a calm retreat, now a very eligible and practicable one appeared, a ſudden wandering ſeized my brain, and I would ſet off for London; but not without returning warm and grateful acknowledgements for favours received, and thoſe propoſed.

From Glaſgow I went to Carliſle, over a country rather wild, but good road rendered it agreeable; at Carliſle, which is a pretty little agreeable city, peopled with genteel affable inhabitants, but not much enriched with trade, I expected a remittance from Ireland thro' London; I waited a fortnight with patience, then received information that my draft had been evaded; highly chagrined at this, and being ever more prone to revenge injuries on myſelf than other people, I precipitately, in the heat of vexation, joined a company of Theſpians, then exhibiting there. This is the only ſcene of real theatrical wretchedneſs, both as to performance and finances I ever met, indeed from the former nothing of the latter could be expected; however I was only a pitying ſpectator of ſurrounding woes, for ſome remains of caſh, and a tolerable benefit, brought me through bareably.

By means of the philoſophy I always poſſeſſed, upon a little reflection, time would have paſſed agreeably enough here, had not ſympathetic feelings for the penury around me rather encumbered it; two men of the company were rational and well behaved, my landlord Boniface had a ſmart prattling agreeable daughter, and there was lodged in the houſe a very affable young French priſoner; by theſe, with two or three honeſt blades of Cumberland, my mind, though not improved, was innocently, and often chearfully, relaxed.

At the end of five weeks, I received an invitation from Mr. Whitley, whom I heard of as, and found to be, a reputable, buſtling, judicious manager, alſo a good actor in his line, out of which the ſtate of his company often forced him, and perhaps ſometimes inclination; yet this admitted, it is only what much greater performers have been guilty of; many conſiderable towns have been, and are much indebted to him for regularity, good dreſſes, and as ſuitable decorations as they could expect; he alſo deſerves praiſe for ſuſtaining the ſtage with ſpirited reſolution againſt much malevolence and many oppreſſive attacks.

I took the road to Scarbro', which place, as I ſtaid there only a week, I ſhould not now have mentioned but for the following ludicrous affair:

[Page 14] On my road thither, I ſet up at a ſmall houſe, in a ſmall village called Kirkleatham, here I fell in, for want of better company, with half a dozen farmers, and ſome ſervants of Mr. Turner, lord of the manor; as it has been always an invariable rule with me to conform to the humours of every ſtrange company, as one method of knowing the general diſpoſition of mankind, I ſaid as they did; this conformity, pleaſing even to brutes, with ſome compliments on Mr. Turner, obtained me the titles of honeſt fellow, hearty cock, &c. accompanied by ſeveral ſlaps on the ſhoulder, and ſqueezes by the hand, which, from their roughneſs, I would moſt gladly have excuſed; however this ſocial ſunſhine did not laſt long, for happening to pull out my handkerchief, a piece of paper dropped, on which a perſon had traced out my road from Carliſle, and ſpecified the towns, to prevent my miſtaking a due direction; from Sunderland, to the place I have mentioned, is all on the ſea-coaſt.

Happening to go out of the room, this paper was picked up by one who, for a miracle, could read; they had, while I ſaw my horſe diſpatch a feed of oats, laid their politic noddles together, and, as I found, had diſcovered me to be a French Spy. On coming in I perceived looks of great diſtance, conſequence, and curioſity; ſilence reigned for about a minute, when my making the trite obſervation that it was a right Engliſh meeting; ‘"Look ye there, ſays the one-eyed clerk of the pariſh, did not I tell ye, neighbours, there are French Papiſtes about;"’ ‘"ay, ſays another, turning to his right-hand man, I told thee, Giles, the pig-tail was ſuſpicious, and doſt ſee what a ſkeleton it is—he never eat beef or plum-pudding in his life."’

Not by any means comprehending theſe disjointed remarks, I applied to my landlord for an explanation; who ſaid, ‘"we all ſuſpect thee to be a French Spy, tho', for my part. I can't ſay but you have called for ſupper like an Engliſhman, and drank like one; but our pariſh clerk and ſchool-maſter, and the reſt of the neighbours, ſuſpect you to be what I have ſaid; now as I am conſtable and magiſtrate, d'ye ſee, in his worſhip's abſence, who is gone to Richmond races, I muſt look ſharp;"’ ‘"Right, Mr. Conſtable, ſays a ſmart prig in a green coat and coachman-like wig, 'tis time to be wigilance, I was born a cockney, and know that there man is as ſure French as I ſit at this here table; I have a right to be cunning; a'ant I groom to a Juſtice of Peace? and was'nt I whipper-in to the Lord Chancellor? ſure I ſhould know law."’ In warmth I exclaimed, whip the Lord Chancellor and 'Squire too, for having ſuch fools as you about them.

[Page 15] High treaſon was now echoed thro' the room, for calling, a [...] ſaid, the Chancellor and 'Squire fools; the wiſe and patriotic company here, after giving ſolemn charge of me to my h [...], retired with no ſmall apprehenſions in their countenances. My ſupper now approached, and rather laughing upon recollection at ſo ridiculous an affair, I ſat down to it with good appetite, aſking my landlord to partake, who, with the reſolution of a Caeſar, joined me in the attack, declaring he did not think I would do him any harm.

My room being guarded all night by a couple of ſtout labourers, who firſt ſearched my pockets, and pilfered, as I found afterwards, two very good razors; in the morning I was conducted on horſeback, for there was no juſtice nearer than eight miles: this was the firſt, and indeed the laſt time, I was ever admired by females for my beauty, but they, I ſuppoſe, thinking the rope about my neck, where e'er we paſſed, pitifully exclaimed, ‘"he's a likely weel far'd mon; its a pity of him, I hope as how may get off;"’ on our road too, the tender-hearted conſtable, with a moſt ſolemn face, told me it was a pity that men ſhould be hanged, but it could not be helped, and adviſed me to prepare for the worſt; I have a regard for you, ſays he, for you made me a good reckoning.

When we came before the juſtice, at a place called Ayton, or vulgarly Yatton, the matter was ſettled at once, by my ſhowing ſome letters I had about me, particularly one from a gentleman whoſe perſon and hand-writing he both knew. After a ſharp rebuff, and ſome ſevere ſtrictures from his worſhip, upon the conſtable's ill-timed activity, we departed; Mr. Longſtaff, with all the penitence and politeneſs which defeated vermin of the law are capable of, declared that we muſt not part till we had drank friends, I rather declined this ceremony, but complied to ſave worſe trouble; half a crown's worth of punch was called for, with ſome cold beef, &c. &c. ſeveral ludicrous obſervations paſſed from my companions, among the reſt, my landlord declared, ‘"that unleſs I would drink a glaſs of forgiveneſs to the pariſh clerk, who had cauſed all this, he knew the poor man ſo well, his conſcience would not let him ſleep for putting an innocent man in the way of hanging; for, continues he, if his worſhip had been as fooliſh as we folks of Kirkleatham, who knows what might have happened?"’

Our repaſt over, and a general forgiveneſs both for ſoul and body offered on my ſide, my rejoiced conductor paid the reckoning; I offered to be Yorkſhire club, but, with a ſide inſinuation, he told me, it was not out of his pocket, the pariſh ſhould pay it, ay, and his time, the attendants, horſe-hi [...]e, &c. which, when we have another half-crown's worth, ſays he, [Page 16] will make up about forty ſhillings—I know how to make up a conſtable's bill. After two glaſſes of the ſecond bowl I departed, without a grain of reſentment, and I dare ſay my friends ſtaid, at the pariſh expence, till they were as happy as princes.

Having obſerved that I ſhould, at preſent, only make bare mention of Scarbro', let us paſs at once to Mancheſter, and open to view a convenient, though not an elegant theatre, with a very good apparatus, and a tolerable company: the ſeaſon was ſucceſsful beyond my expectation, the performers were cordial, (eaſy circumſtances promote good humour) the town's people were affable and ſocial; indeed I never met with more eaſe amidſt opulence, more induſtry with leſs ſelfiſhneſs, or more critical taſte with ſteady judgement, than in this flouriſhing mart of trade; (the great capital excepted) the audiences are liberal without levity, and good-natured without weakneſs.

During the ſeaſon I produced a dramatic ſatire called the Mentaliſt, which thro' the uncommonly excellent performance of Mr. Ryder (now a reſpectable manager, and deſerving actor, in one of the Dublin theatres) met a truly favourable reception, and rendered me pecuniary advantage.

By the ſcandalous artifices of a perſon whom I had eſſentially ſerved at Bath, by tittle-tattle miſrepreſentations carried to both ſides, near the cloſe of the ſeaſon, a difference, ſomewhat ſerious in its nature, aroſe between Mr. Whitley and me; from what I ſoon diſcovered, I found, and acknowledged then, as I do now, that he behaved with ſpirit and candour, while I proceeded with cenſurable impetuoſity, though I believe no animoſity remained on either ſide. At the concluſion of the ſeaſon I left his party, determining again for London.

I ſhall now, for ſome time, drop myſelf, to purſue Mr. Moſſop, and the general circumſtances of the ſtage.—In the theatre both male and female performers are, in general, the moſt diſcontented mortals breathing, the top want to be higher, and the bottom want to be top; I know a performer of diſtinguiſhed abilities (no matter for his name) who, four and twenty years ago, lamentingly told me, that he had but one guinea and a half per week; ‘"now, continues he, if I could but riſe to four guineas I ſhould reach my utmoſt ambition."’ This ſame perſon, by ſome happy requiſites, and about ſeven years practice, without a grain of diligence, attained to twice the extent of his wiſh, yet was then as poor, or poorer than when he firſt complained; he has ſince trebled the advantages of his firſt idea, yet though he may live more luxuriantly, I cannot learn that he either has, or ever had, much money to ſpare.

[Page 17] Diſcontent is the moſt irrational, yet the moſt common, perturbation of human nature; it inva [...]es the wiſeſt as well as the weakeſt, and wherever admitted turns philoſophy headlong out of doors; ſomewhat of this having invaded Mr. Moſſop, and occaſioned him, when well eſtabliſhed with the London audience, when poſſeſſed of a ſalary, and other emolum [...]nt, more than ſufficient for every reaſonable, and ſome refin'd enjoyment of life, conſidering him as a ſingle man, without one matrimonial wiſh in his heart; when treated, as he ſince told me, with great gentility by Mr. Garrick, tranſported himſelf, I may juſtly ſo phraſe it, to Ireland. Let it be obſerved, that Mr. Barry and Mr. Woodward acted on the ſame wiſe plan; but as the latter exhibited his penitence publickly, and the former, I am told, recollects his ſplendid but impoveriſhing reign, with ſincere inward compunction, we'll caſt a ſhade over the whole laviſh blunder: Dublin was never made for two theatres, nor ever will properly ſupport that number, one real good company rather bears hard on the theatrical finances of that metropolis, for what avails general ſpirit without money to ſupport that ſpirit.

Hence Meſſrs. Barry and Woodward who had money to loſe, loſt it; and my old ſchool-fellow, who had little more than public merit and private character to ſacrifice, impaired both very much. During the greateſt part of his mock monarchy he was but ruler of a crew not much above the mendicant tribe; if he had pompous dreſſes for himſelf, an unlimited round of characters, ſome quality acquaintance, (who ſtripped him of more by private gaming than they ſerved him in public) and the free exerciſe of his own infallible opinion he was happy, though hourly ſolicited by ſtarving actors, and daily watched by keen-ſcented bailiffs; he proſtituted native honeſty, which I am ſure he poſſeſſed, to inſuperable pride and immoveable obſtinacy. When the diſpoſal of parts was in his own power, thinking the king's name a tower of defence, he undertook as many things out of his way as he did in it, hence, in the general view, he reſembled a man who wears a ſuit of cloaths of contraſt materials, look at his right ſide he is velvet and elegance, turn to his left, he is coarſe frize, which tho' warm and convenient is offenſively miſplaced.

For ſome ſeaſons this unhappy, and in the main, great man, maintained painful, unprofitable, and perturbed authority; he was all through an entire ſlave to his paſſions, and moſt part of the time a priſoner to his circumſtances; and he who thought one half, if not all mankind, beneath him, could, for occaſional forbearance, bribe and truckle to the moſt contemptible raſcally ſet of the human ſpecies—need the word bailiffs be added

[Page 18] However paradoxical this may appear, it is certainly true, and ſhows how very contradictory the human heart is often to itſelf; after toiling through much more than I am able, or think neceſſary to relate (outlines of miſery are ſufficient) he was ſeized with a malignant fever, which, unfortunately for himſelf, and I may add for all his well-wiſhers, did not take him off, yet ſhattered his conſtitution ſo much, that, to my immediate knowledge, he could never have made in public a figure equal to his original abilities; of this I ſhall mention more, and more properly hereafter.

My next trip from Mancheſter, was to join a company, as it was called, of kidnapped comedians, picked up from London, Dublin, &c. led by one Bardin, a noted adventurer, who, without any conſent obtained from the magiſtrates, moſt ignorantly and impudently intruded himſelf and unhappy Co. upon the town of Liverpool; where the wiſe Mayor had, at that time, conceived a wiſe prejudice againſt theatrical performances, why or wherefore he knew not, but power is power however uſed. A ſet of people, who innocent with regard to their general intentions, were decoyed there by threats of proſecution, curiouſly fabricated in the chicanery of law; the performers were not only intimidated, but their finances were ſo much reduced, that they neither knew how to return, or how to ſtay upon honeſt principles; indeed, I believe two or three were capable of any retreat, not poſſeſſing the laſt-mentioned ingredient.

The principle of ſelf-defence, in the firſt place, and a ſocial concern for perſons trepanned into a premunire, made me ſtrike out a rational evaſion of that childiſh, or rancorous law, which makes that in common proſecutable, which a Royal Patent can ſanctify; my ſcheme was, to ſtile, and to occupy the theatre as a ſchool of Oratory, for the explanation of moral and practical philoſophy, both according to the ancients and moderns; to render this plauſible, and indeed incontrovertible, as to both law, equity, and common ſenſe, I gave before each of the pieces, a ſhort introductory lecture upon the general ſubject and tendency of the play; a point not amiſs to be practiſed here, inſtead of farcical unmeaning prologues.

For ſix or ſeven nights that we performed, our little hovel was filled, and every thing bore a pleaſing proſpect as to profit, nor did any ſtorm immediately threaten our quiet; but Mr. Mayor—a wonderful man! thinking the territory of his juriſdiction was invaded, determined (ſenſe or no ſenſe) to ſuppreſs the ſame kind of entertainment in winter, which, at a moſt improper ſeaſon (the ſummer) he was an encourager of: to ſay a diſagreeable truth, it was, on good authority, reported that the London company, who had been excluded that ſummer, had interpoſed to effect our excluſion, which took place [Page 19] accordingly, but not in the ungenteel tyranical manner deſigned by our adverſaries; for ſorry am I to ſay, that the late Mr. Holland, going from Mancheſter to London, took Liverpool in his way, and offered liberally to lay a gentleman, who told me of it, live guineas, that the itenerants—what was he at the time? would all be ſhop'd (his polite phraſe) in leſs than a week. He was deceived in this point, and would have been in the whole of his expectations, had not a miſerable illiterate wretch, who has ſince played at Drury-lane, on being interrogated how he lived, anſwered, by the ſtage; which was equally mean and falſe, mean as he had been inſtructed otherwiſe, and falſe, as it was impoſſible he could live by what he in no ſhape underſtood.

On the day before our defeat (from the above paltry explanation) took place, our valorous manager, ever renowned for being the firſt in, and the firſt out of a ſcrape, ſecreted himſelf, as I was credibly informed, in a coal-houſe; and a perſon, who now fancies himſelf the paragon of actors—oh dire neceſſity of the ſtage!—ſculked out of town, accompanied by a flimzy female, his then wife.

The noble group of heroes and heroines diſſolved, ſome ſcrambled back to London, with this ſmall difference of carriage, that ſeveral who came down in the coach were glad to return in the baſket; others ſwam upon credit to Dublin; while Mr. Hurſt, of Drury-lane, and I remained; we gave two or three lectures, were indulged with genteel audiences, and put ſome eſſential pounds in our pockets: I alſo delivered two for ſervants, as they are ſtiled, of the company, who I underſtood to be pennyleſs; they were, by this effort, to my very great ſatisfaction, decently relieved; thus ended an expedition, well conceived, miſerably conducted, and pitifully marred.

From this mingled ſcene of laughter and woe I went to Cheſter, where I again met Mr. Whitley; having ſeveral cordial and reſpectable friends in the city, I reſolved to paſs ſome time there as a private viſiter. At my leiſure hours I wrote the Modiſh Wife, and though I had no connection with, or emolument from the company, I gave my manuſcript to the manager to uſe it he choſe it; he received the offer politely, and got the piece up with care; it was very well performed, and moſt kindly received for four nights, though full three quarters of an hour longer of performance than in its preſent ſtate; Mr. Hurſt, who did a material part, can teſtify this.

During my ſtay I alſo pieced together a little interlude, calculated for an admirable ſet of children, called the Fairy Court; this trifle was ſo excellently preſented, ſo indeſcribably ſupported by the little ones, eſpecially by one Miſs Wheeler, [Page 20] not then eight years of age, that it ran fifteen nights ( [...] benefits) a circumſtance ſcarce ever known in a country town, ſave in the caſe of the Beggar's Opera, when it find came out; I don't mention this any further in praiſe of myſelf, than in furniſhing ideas which the children ſo aptly conceived, and ſo excellently expreſſed; beſides, I had novelty on my ſide, as ſo very young a dramatis perſonae had never been ſeen there.

At this period, being near Dublin, I was much inclined to viſit my native ſoil, but a freſh and material diſappointment irritated me to a new theatrical expedition, to which I was the more readily induced by the formation of a new company, ſet on foot by two perſons I wiſhed extremely well; I joined the infant ſociety, which was very regular, [...], and reſpectable in private, though the [...]e was not much ſtage merit to boaſt of; I made a tour of twelve months, and though ſome rubs interrupted us, yet I had the pleaſure, at parting, to know that my friend Mr. Bates, then ſole proprietor, was, if not quite, very near eſtabliſhed, indeed a few mon [...]hs proved the matter; he has ſince maintained a very advantageous circuit in Yorkſhire, wherein from his complacent diſpoſition, good regulations, and punctual honeſty, he has acquired univerſal eſteem, and I heartily hope a c [...]mfortable competency, no man deſerves it better, either as a conductor of a theatre or as a member of ſociety.

It may ſeem odd that I make particular mention of perſons little, it at all known here, but I ſhall always be glad of acknowledging worth when and wherever I find it.

Having, by my own deſire, and on the utmoſt terms of friendſhip, quitted this connection juſt when profits began to be conſiderable, I went from Scarbro' (a place like Bath) made up in the ſummer of fantaſtical people of quality, and ravenous tradeſmen, who prey on them, let me except however the ſea-faring part, who are blunt, hoſpitable, and ſincere.

I now went, once more ſick of public life, to an agreeable and reaſonable market-town, about twenty miles from York, called Malton, remained there a year, and married a moſt deſerving female—excuſe a ſigh and tear to her loved memory— I remained in this domeſtic retreat four years, and experienced from the inhabitants (ſave one with whom I had ſome dealings in the bill way) very kind friendly treatment, as alſo from ſome leading gentlemen in the neighbourhood. During my reſidence here, I wrote a thing in two volumes, called a Trip to the Moon, which had uncommon praiſe in that part of the world, and was not ſeverely treated by thoſe critical dictators, the Monthly Reviewers, yet the ſucceſs of that publication was no way conſiderable.

[Page 21] My pen was next employed, by advice of a gentleman, conſequ [...] [...]n fortune and connexions, in compoſing a ſet of fables for his ROYAL HIGHNESS the PRINCE of WALES; the work was peruſed and approved by ſeveral acknowledged judges; it was corrected and publiſhed under the inſpection of a gentleman here, whom I ſhould think it an honour to name, were ſuch freedom conſiſtent with delicacy; it was dedicated, by permiſſion, to his ROYAL HIGHNESS, was preſented and graciouſly received: I had, in conſequence a very polite letter from a Lady of Quality, eminent in her ſtation at court—but further on this point we ſay not.

After this moonſhine gleam of advantage had paſſed over, a [...]ſh proſpect, the more agreeable as unexpected, ſtarted up, I mean the patronage of that juſtly and generally lamented friend of his country the late Marq [...]ſs of Granby. A gentleman, who knew my father's and my former [...]ation, recommended me to his Lordſhip, ſhewing him, at the ſame time, ſome of my productions; the conſequence was, that he would provide comfortably for me, a promiſe I had afterwards from the Marquiſs's own mouth. Near twelve months I waited in pleaſing expectation, then came to town, and had not been above a quarter of a year, when death, my frequent friend in ſuch caſes, before and ſince, robbed me of my foremoſt hope, and a favourite ſon in the ſ [...]m day.

With eſſential philoſophy I looked forward and endeavoured to avoid caſting a glance behind, notwithſtanding a peeviſh ſtate of circumſtances urged perturbation; at this time I waited on Mr. Foote, who had the following comedy (recommended by the late Sir Francis Delaval) two years in his poſſeſſion; he waved bringing it out, pleading the inſufficiency of his company to do a five act piec [...].

In lieu of rejecting my piece, Mr. Foote very kindly, and then conveniently for me, offered a ſummer engagement, which I gratefully accepted, played, and was, without any agreement, gratified by Mr. F [...]ote's generoſity, with a [...]al [...]y, which according to the ſtate of his theatre, and the little trouble performers have there, beyond my own opinion. With this gentleman I paſſed three agreeable and advantageous ſummers, an expedition to Edinburgh, one of the intervening winters was, though pleaſant, rather a ballance againſt me, as I took no benefit; however renewing ſome valuable acquaintanceſhips, and having the pleaſure to ſee a great improvement, not only in the city, but in cuſtoms, manners, and critical taſk, I by no means lamented pecuniary deficiencies. During my connection with the Haymarket I fabricated two after pieces, the [...]oba [...]miſt and Cupid's Revenge, which were exceedingly well received, yet again P [...]l G [...]rlick received but trifling advantage. March 1773 moſt fatally deprived me of a companion [Page 22] equal to every idea of matrimonial happineſs, whoſe loved memory no revolutions, fortunate or adverſe, will ever eraze; great indeed have been the prejudices of mind and circumſtances, accruing from this very fatal and moſt unexpected cataſtrophe, health, recollection, and every mental exertion were for ſome months thrown into abſolute confuſion.

About a fortnight before Mr. Foote's theatre began, I was ſtruck with an information that he had no more occaſion for my aſſiſtance; this, at a time of peculiar embarraſſment, embarraſſment known to the manager, was what I could not at that time account for, nor have I to the preſent moment a ſingle idea of explanation.

Notwithſtanding I was thus unaccountably detached from a place my warm wiſhes, and utmoſt endeavours were attached to, I wrote intentionally for Mr. Weſton, the Panthe [...]nites; how that piece, written in four days, and ſent into the world without a procured friend to ſupport it ſucceeded, is too recent a circumſtance to repeat; here I cannot help remarking on a ridiculous cuſtom of authors reading their pieces to the performers, this is giving a falſe conſequence in general to the former, and is making mere machines of the latter, unleſs ſuch inſtructors as Mr. Garrick and Mr. Foote ſtep forth; the former from his extreme intimacy with nature, and from adequate power of expreſſion, muſt give uſeful ſtriking ideas even to the happieſt natural conceptions; the latter, having a very bold ſingular caricature imagination of character, is indiſpenſibly neceſſary for the exhibition of his own pieces; but after all, it is to be wiſhed that the inſtructed did not catch up the peculiarities inſtead of the beauties of the inſtructors: it may be advanced that an author beſt knows his own ideas, I grant it intellectually, but expreſſively makes a wide difference; I have known ſome write very tolerably who could not read decently, and I have heard parſons preach very good borrowed ſermons, who could not write a paragraph fit for a ſchool-boy's theme.

The ſeaſon before my ſeparation from Mr. Foote, I was aſtoniſhed by a moſt friendly line from Mr. Moſſop, wiſhing to ſee me at an appointed hour, at Foreſt's Coffee-houſe, Charing-croſs; though ſo long at a diſtance I punctually and cheerfully attended; he received me like and I hope as a friend, talked of his theatre in Dublin, aſked my connection and ſalary with Mr. Foote; I gave him faithful information; he ſounded my inclination for Dublin in a theatrical capacity; and ſuggeſted not only my aſſiſtance to raiſe recruits but to accept the ſtile of manager-depute; I declined all but the recommendation of ſome performers, and even there told him I ſuppoſed they would expect collateral ſecurity for payment of their ſalaries; here the great man broke out in the ſyllabled utterance of the word ſe—cu—ri—ty; however I ſent two of diligence and [Page 23] merit to him, warning them of his ſituation, as I never choſe nor ever will be a kidnapper in any ſhape; his being arreſted put an end to the negociation. Two days before he got into ſalva cuſtodia (a circumſtance I very ſincerely lamented) in a tete a tete, I aſked him why he did not cloſe with one houſe or the other here? he obſerved that Mrs. Yates was the only theatrical lady who could play conſonantly with him, that ſhe was then at Covent-garden, and as there was a particular reaſon why he could not properly be where Mr. Colman was manager (the reaſon I don't chuſe to [...]elate) he was indifferent about engaging: I then ſuggeſted his obtaining, which he certainly might have done, licence for ſix nights at Mr. Foote's, after the ſeaſon, by which I told him he might at leaſt get 500l. and if his original powers remained, by preſenting himſelf to public view, might oblige the managers of either houſe to comply with his terms.

Whether conſcious of that natural inward decay, I plainly ſaw, or rather more plainly heard, or whether through native pride, he replied thus, ‘"old ſchool-fellow and friend, I would not appear at Mr. Foote's theatre in London to clear 1000l. in the time you mention."’ —here is a great light thrown on character. After the circumſtance of his bankruptcy I ſaw him not, but heard that he paſſed his time dependantly in the ſouth of France—diſmal ſituation for a proud man! when he returned here I know not, nor did I know of his precipitate decline, however of his penury and obſcure death I painfully heard too ſoon; Mr. Garrick, I am informed, offered to bury him, but an uncle, moſt generouſly, took that enormous taſk to himſelf. Here we place to reſt an actor of as great natural powers as ever graced the ſtage for tragedy, and as great defects as ever caſt a damp on merit even in that ſtile—ſhall we, in oppoſition to that charitable maxim, de mortuis nil niſi bonum, enter a little into private character, as I wiſh to be done by myſelf, ſo will I do in this caſe, with truth and brevity.

As a ſchool-boy he was diligent in ſtudy, good-natured, and ſtrictly honeſt, but rather abſtracted; as a member of the college he was tolerably oeconomical, free from debauchery and equally attentive as at ſchool; tranſplanted to the ſtage he almoſt inſtantaneouſly grew ſelf-ſufficient and arrogant, having very little money to command before, and ruſhing into what I may call a profuſion for him, he forgot not only h [...]s early friends but even himſelf, was in ſhort a Baſhaw off as well as on the ſtage; on coming to London his arrogance rather abated, but ſucceſs ſtill cheriſhed pride.

As to his connections with the female ſex I will ſay no more than this, that at the age of eighteen he had, as far as I could judge, a juſt and generous idea of their influence; but commencing [Page 24] a great man he was intimidated at marriage, fearing any invaſion of lordly rule; however, by credible informations he was a dupe to artful females, eſpecially an old noble lady in Dublin, who uſed to make a tolerable audience for her dear Harry, as ſhe ſtiled him, and after the play ſtripped him at her route of twice what her intereſt had procured; thus ſtarving actors were deprived of their ſalaries, and the daped imperious manager was worn out of all circumſtances.

Of his management it may be ſaid, he never conſulted any thing but ſelf, not ſo much for gain as ſelfiſh vanity; from the whole it may be collected that he had original integrity ſtrongly planted in his breaſt, that he was by nature a gentleman, by opportunity and aſſiduity a ſcholar, by uncommon requiſites a great actor, and by particular failings a very reprehenſible man; I arde [...]tly wiſh to caſt a veil over the dark ſhades, but as I profeſs myſelf real [...]y an enthuſiaſt of impartiality, I cannot diſguiſe or varniſh; that ſo little reſpect was paid by the theatrical word to ſuch an ornament is a reproach to the communities of both houſes, ſave thoſe who attended; but he who lived rich in abilities, went to the grave poor in commemoration, very little conſ [...]quence to the de [...]d, but ſhameful to the living.

Great [...]hings were propoſed reſpecting the amiable worthy Dr. Goldſmith, but the great folks dropped off, and he went to his grave (to their diſgrace) ſilently, as a common ballad-ſinger after tu [...]s were at an end.

Oh life what are thy ſtrange variations! the idol of to day, either as a man of power or of genius, when breath departs, and that power or genius operates no more, is neglected not only by the multitude, but alſo by perſons who plume themſelves on ſuperior, or perhap inferior abilities; this is an i [...] refragabl [...] proof that all worldly applauſe, more than a man can conſcientiouſly approve, is contemptible and highly below ſenſible regard.

Having left Mr. Moſſop in that final ſtate of liberation from ſublunary cares, which we muſt all by one means or other reach, I ſhall proceed to a general view of the London ſtages, from my arrival in town ſix years ago to the preſent time.

After ten years abſence, I found a moſt dreadful declenſion of tragic merit, comedy indeed has not ſuffered ſo much; I both [...]eard and judged without prejudice, and grieved I was to find ſo little room for approbation, moſt of the faults I had formerly diſcovered appeared now in an enlarged ſtate, and few ver [...] few of the beauties remained; though it would be peeviſh criticiſm to deny Mr. Holland and Mr. Powell capital merit in ſome views, yet it muſt be acknowledged [...]hat both were very confined; the former ſhould never have uttered a tender ſentiment, the latter ſhould have been entirely limited to pathetic and generous characters; Mr. Powell's Macbeth was [Page 25] boyiſh to the laſt degree, and Mr. Holland making love was totally prepoſterous; yet were theſe two the main props of the ſtage in a variety of inconſiſtent lights; death letting fall the curtain of mortality cloſed their ſcenes of action.

What remained? Mr. Garrick ever excepted, and Mr. Barry alſo, while he has half a leg to ſtand or hop on.—Mr. Reddiſh ſteps forth in Alexander when Lyſimachus is as far, as with credit to himſelf, or juſtice to the public, he ſhould go in that play; Mr. Smith did every thing at the other houſe, and every thing the ſame way; Mr. Cantherley, another capital actor, has figured away in Hamlet when Laertes would rather overload him; Mr. Brereton has—I won't mention for his ſake what he has done; Mr. Benſley went to ſchool or college, as I have been informed, with Mr. Colman, ſo of neceſſity muſt be as exquiſite in acting as the late manager was, [...]nd may be in writing: to ſay truth, abſurd elevation has reduced very good ſecond and third rate actors, into miſerable apologies for the firſt ſtile, and drawn upon them frequent cenſures they might otherwiſe have reputably eſcaped.

I promiſed to give ſome light into the managerical artifice in making actors ſo exceedingly ridiculous and metamorphoſable; an actor really capital is miſſed by the audience, and therefore will have adequate terms, without being under ſlaviſh ſubjection to the manager; if therefore an hungry appetite for ſeeing plays, however mangled, prevails through the public, and a man for ſeven or eight pounds per week is ſent on to bungle through principal parts, which, properly ſuſtained, would deſerve twice that ſum, ſo much is really, or ſuppoſed to be, ſaved; beſides a ſtop-gap of this kind, ſhould he aſſume any importance, is immediately removed, becauſe next ours may ſucceed him without any public complaint; thus actors and audiences are brought effectually into the gripe of pattentees.

Let us only view comparatively the caſt of one play as I have ſeen it done, the Orphan; Caſtalio Mr. Barry, Polydore Mr. Sheridan, Chamont Mr. Garrick; the other view—oh lamentable! Caſtalio Mr. Reddiſh, Polydore Mr. Cantherley, Chamont Mr. Brereton; after ſeveral inſtances, nearly equal to this, can complaint be unjuſt or cenſure cruel?

It i [...] ſomewhat odd tha [...] female merit keeps much nearer its predeceſſors than that of the males; M [...]s. Barry, Mrs Yates, and Miſs Younge in tragedy; Mrs. Abington—herſelf [...]lone— Mrs. Bul [...]el [...]y, Miſs Pope, Mrs. Mattocks, and Mrs. Green in comedy, with the excelle [...]t ſupport of Meſſ [...]s. King, particularly Woodward, Shuter, Weſton, Quick, Dodd, Parſons [...]n the ſoc [...], deſerve a large ſhare of approbation; how could imagination accept, even in moſt uncommon abilities, ſuch contraſte tranſitions as follow; one night we ſee Mr. Palmer, who has conſiderable merit properly applied, exhibiting Dioniſyus, a bluſtering [Page 26] tyrant, the next Bruſh, a coxcombly valet, now Tamerlane, a cool philoſophical declaimer, then Wilding, a rhapſodical, pert, incoherent, volatile young fellow; obſerve Mr. Clinch at Covent-garden, one night ſtuck up for Alexander, and the next ſtuck up for Pylades; I grant the latter much more within his compaſs than the former; this is annihilating the real talents of performers, it is ſetting a waggon-horſe to run a race, and yoking a galloper into a cart.

Let us ſuppoſe Mrs. Yates put into comedy chamber-maids, and Miſs Pope into tragedy heroines, would not the former promote ſleep and the latter laughter? beyond doubt—why then ſhould the men be made butts of ridicule? Mr. Reddiſh kept from all violent paſſions, might be extremely reſpectable; Mr. Smith, more applied to comedy, muſt be more pleaſing; and Mr. Palmer, freed from [...]umbling parts, which he is apt to overdo, might, in his proper place, be a theatrical ornament.

Here a remark occurs—after Mr. Moſſop quitted the Engliſh ſtage, his original part of Barbaroſſa, which he ſhone exceedingly in, was ſupplied by Mr. Branſby, a worthy man, and very decent actor in his road; Mr. Moſſop, with the conſequence I have already mentioned, aſked an acquaintance in Dublin, if he could think ‘"who was his ſucceſſor in one of his principal parts?"’ receiving no anſwer, he imperiouſly, but ſatirically continued, ‘"the frigid Branſby NOW repreſents Barbaroſſa;"’ incapable politicians have expoſed themſelves as miniſters of ſtate, and why not actors vainly, miſtakenly, or compulſively, render themſelves, or be rendered pitiable and contemptible objects.

I could point out a number of faults in decorum and enunciation, but preſuming I ſhall be deemed rather ſevere for ſaying ſo much as I have done, I ſhall contract myſelf on theſe points, and only obſerve, that in reſpect of the former, I have frequently and lately, ſeen the ſide wings of a chamber continued three or four minutes through a grove, a garden ſcene, &c. I have ſeen gothic pillars leading to a ſummer-houſe, and wood wings to a hall; I have obſerved attendant lords and ladies pay no more attention or reſpect to their principals, than if they were merely leading puppets; I have obſerved friends aſſiſt Oreſtes in his madneſs without a gleam of concern in their countenances; and even pages neglect the trains of queens, though ſpreading thoſe royal ornaments is the only purpoſe they are ſent on for, and indeed neceſſary for a dignified diſplay of figure.

In point of enunciation the blunders are innumerable, and as to emphaſis the miſapplication incredible, take one inſtance for all; from head to foot it is now become faſhionable, if the words thou or thy are uttered, to mark them ſtrongly without [Page 27] any doubt of meaning; as for inſtance, our preſent tragedy orators, in ſaying, give me thy hand, though no hand but one is meant, childiſhly, or rather pedantically, pronounce thy hand—thou art a villain; this, without compariſon, ſhould be directly oppoſite, thou art a villain; but theſe, and many other eſſentials, are below the notice of all accompliſhed infallible performers, who are as repugnant to the tickling of criticiſm, as a country girl to the approaches of her lover in early hours of cour [...]ſhip.

Action, one moſt graceful and expletive ornament, is almoſt totally neglected as to correctneſs; a needleſs extravagant miſplaced expanſion of arms, is ſubſtituted for that deſcriptive and impreſſive diſpoſition of limbs, which renders the meaning more obvious and delights the view; if the wings of a paper kite (an emblem of ſome arms on the ſtage) did not move ſo invariably, even they would be more diverting.

Among the heroines, a ſtrange exertion of maſculine geſtures take places, which though it may enforce expreſſion, deſtroys eſſential delicacy; there is alſo a dreadful miſapplication here, ſuch as pointing to the ground, or depreſſing the hand when elevation of the heart or mind is expreſſed.

Standing further back than where the curtain falls, is another conſtant and very prejudicial error, as in that ſituation the voice is devoured, and the features are obſcured, nay, ſometimes rendered ſcarce diſtinguiſhable, it is alſo very objectionable for thoſe who do, or apologize for, capital parts, to monopolize what they think the moſt favourable points of view; thus a great man ſtands full fronted to the pit, while another character, perhaps of conſ [...]quence, is obliged to ſpeak with his back three parts to the audience, forming a picture rude and unſatisfactory; characters too, in general, pay too little at [...]ention to each other, male and female acquaintances in pit or boxes, too often call off eyes that ſhould be rivetted to the ſubject and buſineſs of the ſtage.

I have freely, and perhaps it will be thought ſeverely, as I have determined to ſacrifice all other feelings at the ſhrine of truth, expoſed the lamentable declenſion of capital merit, it behoves me to give ſome reaſon: muſical pieces have been a moſt detrimental alternative, and pantomime, with luxuriant ſcenery, have nearly ſwallowed up all regard for intrinſic genius, and ſmothered every generous, uſeful ſympathetic feeling.

Before I quit this part of my ſubject, a part diſagreeably inſiſted on, I think it a duty to congratulate the public, the patentees, and the performers, that ſo diſpaſſionate a regulator is appointed at Covent-garden, as Mr. Hall, whoſe head and heart, from particular knowledge, I can farely pronounce capable of ornamenting any ſtation, except that of a politician, there impartiality and liberal feelings are an obſtacle; I [Page 28] ſincerely wiſh, for the credit of the ſtage, that every performer either would, or was obliged to keep ſo uniformly within their powers as this gentleman does; I cannot be unreaſonable enough to wiſh every ſon of the buſkin to underſtand his author ſo well, that never was nor can be.

Of Mr. Garrick's management, the policy and ſucceſs have been ſo long and ſo univerſally known, that it will ſuffice as a proof of his generalſhip to ſay, that he has often, particularly of late, gained conqueſts without many front rank men; ſorry are all true lovers of the drama, that he has condeſcended to call upon, as mercenaries or allies, the patched coat, wooden ſword, Fete Champetre, &c. there is not a ſingle article of that ſort but renders capital acting merit unneceſſary; ſuffer a mourning friend of the ſtage to utter this lamentable truth with emphatic feeling.

Mr. Foote's inſtitution, extremely peculiar in its nature, is ſcarce deſcribable, I believe he does not wiſh it ſo; if in his temple of Momus, local characters, temporary ſarcaſms, and biting witticiſms, enriched with caricature features and grimace, will do, the whole end is anſwered; and indeed no place of public exhibition ever anſwered the purpoſe ſo well; let me not here be ſuppoſed ſcanty or churl [...]ſh of praiſe, ſince, according to my own opinion, there is more wit, ſatire, ſentiment, and pleaſantry, in the comic productions in this ſwallow ſeaſon theatre, than either of the winter ones, conſidering the quantity of matter produced.

The Engliſh, Scots, and Iriſh ſtages, viewed as to critical taſte, a very ſhort opinion will let in ſufficient light upon the whole.

In London the audience are judicious, forbearing, and fond of catching beauties, ready to make every allowance, ſlow to find fault, keen to ſeize all occaſions of applauſe, tardy to reſentment, yet treated properly eaſy to forgive; they know beſt what is right, and yet will ſooneſt forgive what is wrong; they are prone to the dignity, but not the malevolence of criticiſm.

In Scotland they well know bad performance, and bear it with inconceivable ſufferance in public, yet are ſure to remember it in private; and if a public conviction generally takes place it is rigorouſly enforced: the point of criticiſm in which they are moſt judicious is declamation, here judgement holds a very nice ſcale, and among them would ſooner gain applauſe for a cool deliberate ſentiment, well delivered, than for all the enthuſiaſtic rants of Lee, poured forth with force; their idea of players, in a private capacity, has been much, but juſtly vitiated by the miſconduct of individuals, who, under public favour and great emoluments, for that place, have ſhamefully evaded the engagements of honeſty, I could name [Page 29] particulars but wiſh to be excuſed; however, be it enough to ſay, that thoſe who ſhould have preſerved the ſtage from ſhame in that part of the world, and had it moſt in their power, have laboured moſt for its reprobation.

As to the Dublin ſtage, which has been a moſt excellent nurſery for this metropolis, a variety of ſtorms has aſſailed it; ſome owing to proud obſtinate managers, others to proud luxuriant managers, and ſeveral to proud ignorant managers; to ſay truth, though they are excellent critics in the Hibernian metropolis, yet the warmth of paſſion occaſions unwarrantable prejudice and ſavage oppoſition; ſupport is equally violent, and a ſtranger has exceeding fair hoſpitable play: they, as well as we here, have been, from vic [...]ſſitudes and want of leading genius, moſt miſerably off for ſome ſeaſons, inſomuch th [...]t not a performer has been thought worth importing but Mr. Lewis, who we freely admit a pleaſant comedian—keep him out of tragedy his and our good ſtars!

The taſte of Bath, in and out of the theatre, is frippery, governed by coxcombly faſhion; people of conſequence there think dramatic entertainments mere time killing amuſement: the box cuſtomers are inattentive and inſolent; the pit and galleries, made up of their domeſtics or tradeſmen, are ſubmiſſive and ignorant; if a Lady of Quality commands, (a caſe common there) that play muſt be liked. As a proof of profound judgement, a Royal Perſonage, in my remembrance, beſpoke Shakeſpeare's As You Like It, there was a very pleaſant Roſalind, and a good Touchſtone, the reſt could not be much out of the way; ſcarce a creature appear [...]d in the boxes till—the glorious farce of Chronon [...]otonthologos was beginning, th [...]n came the grande [...]s—oh wonderful!—Lord Cheſterfield among the reſt! but it may be eaſily conceived he politely ſacrificed to folly, though it never could be his favou [...]e. What I have advanced of Bath may ſerve all the watering places in the kingdom.

Mancheſter I have already mentioned as a place of opulence, affability, and ſpirit, the upper claſs are not very keen, yet they are very ſenſible and very candid critics; th [...]y would rather praiſe than fin [...] fault, yet they expect ſomewhat more than bare decency; attention is the chiefeſt put of their applauſe, and indeed the beſt any audience can give; that cannot be obtain [...]d by puffing; the lower claſs, freed from their induſtrious avocations, are willing to receive relaxation in the moſt agreeable manner.

At Cheſter, having had many excellent companies from London, and many of the inhabitants going frequently to Dublin, there is a capricious opinion prevails, and they are rather to be t [...]ken with a Theatre Royal name, than real merit without that very honourable addition; there is much politeneſs, [Page 30] hoſpitality, and friendſhip in this city, but too much affectation in their criticiſm.

York is good-naturedly dull; audiences there are remarkable for fixing public regard on individuals, whom they pronounce incomparable; they are a kind of parents to ſuch actors, and maintain them from youth to grey hairs, even againſt judgement; private character, much to the city's honour, is peculiarly conſidered, and, when good, is ſure to be patronized. Mr. Wilkinſon, the preſent pattentee, has given, in a few years, much ſpirit both to the theatre, performers and frequenters of it.

Thus much for the ſtage—My ſchool fellows Deuter and Derrick paid the debt of nature under the age of thirty; the former was placid in public and private life, gave no particular offence or pleaſure on or off the ſtage; he was liberal, a gentleman, and a ſcholar; an unhappy matrimonal connection breaking his temper broke his heart.

Mr. Derrick, when aſtoniſhingly choſen maſter of the ceremonies at Bath, without a ſingle requiſite for the place, promiſed a grateful return, and actually began to make it; but being involved amongſt ladies of eaſy virtue, he ſoon forgot his friend, and ſacrificed his unhappy life to the ſhrine of Venus.

As to myſelf I am ſtill ſcrambling on the ſurface of exiſtence, "with more offences at my beck, &c." as to them let ſome future commemorator ſet them down, and, if I have any good qualities, join them; from my heart I wiſh to be treated with the ſame honeſt veritable freedom with which I have treated others; if anatomizing my mind, even while living, and anatomizing my body when dead, can render any public uſe, I freely ſubſcribe to both; one favourable circumſtance only, I ſhall advance, and venture to maintain, that I would in no caſe, nor upon any view, flatter a monarch, or inſult a beggar.

[Page]

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE COUNTESS OF MEXBOROUGH, AS A DISTINGUISHED CONTRASTE TO THE MODISH WIFE: AS A LIBERAL AND JUDICIOUS ENCOURAGER OF THE DRAMA; AND AS AN ORNAMENT, NOT ONLY OF NOBILITY, BUT OF DOMESTIC LIFE; THE FOLLOWING COMEDY, IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED, BY HER LADYSHIP'S VERY OBEDIENT SERVANT,

The AUTHOR.

1. DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

[Page]
Sir SCRAPEALL,
Mr. FOLLET.
Sir CHARLES PRUDENT,
Mr. DAVIS.
COLONEL,
Mr. CRESSWICK.
STARBOARD
Mr. WILLIAMS.
CRAMBO,
Mr. HAMILTON.
TIMOTHY,
Mr. LOYD.
FUSEE,
Mr. FEARON.
Lady BRAINLESS,
Mrs. WILLIAMS.
Lady CHARLOTTE,
Mrs. GREVILLE.
Mrs. BUSY,
Mrs. ROCHE.
EMMELINE,
RUELLE,
Miſs ATKINSON.

SCENE LONDON.

2. THE MODISH WIFE.

[Page]

2.1. ACT I.

2.1.1. SCENE I.

ENTER COLONEL PARAPET meeting FUSEE.

HAVE you deliver'd the cards as I order'd?

Fuſee. Yes, Sir—but the one for Lady Brainleſs could hardly gain admittance.
Col. How ſo?
Fuſee. Why, that formal cautious domeſtic, Mr. Timothy, ſaid he would introduce me to his maſter, but that honour, from a knowledge of Sir Barnaby, I prudently declin'd.
Col. For what reaſon?
Fuſee. Becauſe, Sir, I have no great affection for bruiſed fleſh, or broken bones.
Col. Ha! ha! ha! a pretty fellow for a ſoldier, truly, to be afraid of a feeble old citizen.
Fuſee. Ah, Sir, you dont know the force and activity of his crab-tree crutch; beſides, this love ſilences every other conſideration; and runs us into as many hazards as war—do you forget our midnight adventure, when the great tan-yard dog eaſed your coat of a ſkirt, and was very near pruning my body of a leg?
[Page 2] Col. All the better, as in war ſo in love, dangers and difficulties beget glory and pleaſure.
Fuſee. Very likely, Sir, but to hazard life and limb without hopes of a penſion, is to be mere knights-errant.
Col. Patience and perſeverance may gain a penſion beyond thy utmoſt wiſhes.
Fuſee There, Sir, you ſpeak to the purpoſe; and I hope your honour wont think me the worſe ſervant for having an eye to the main chance; as every day ſhows us that intereſt rules all ranks, from the general to the centinel; from the dutcheſs to the chamber-maid.
Col. True; and you have a right to all the favour I can ſhow, for reſcuing me from thoſe whiſker'd huſſars at Warbourg:—what think you therefore of being provided with a good wife?
Fuſee. And a good fortune too, Sir.
Col. Certainly: ſuppoſe Sir Scrapeall's ſiſter, old mother Buſy?
Fuſee. And a ſad ſuppoſition, too Sir, I think, for if ſhe had lived in Scotland, ſome century ago, her looks would have brought her to the faggot for a witch.
Col. What I ſuppoſe nothing will go down with you but the roſes and lillies of youth? don't you know, numſcull, that beauty is one of the moſt fading and periſhable commodities in the world? now old Buſy, having received moſt of the injuries that time can do human nature, will be as engaging at laſt as at firſt: beſides, you need not fear a rival.
Fuſee Really I believe not, Sir, unleſs the devil himſelf turns gallant.
Col. Beſides, ſhe has five hundred a year jointure.
Fuſee Has ſhe ſo, Sir? that makes a very great alteration, why ſhe is not half ſo diſagreeable as ſhe was—your honour's humble ſervant is not ſo nice, [Page 3] but he can find roſes and lillies in the ſolemn hue of old gold, and the harmony of the ſpheres from chinking of guinea; sbut, Sir, there's one rub ſtill, if I ſhould make prize of this old crazy galleon, I muſt try to keep her above water, as the cargo is to ſink with her; if I could but keep the gold, and ſend her to the bottom, it would be making a good cruiſe of it.
Col. I warrant ſhe has an old cheſt that will afford good ſpoil, and I have no doubt of your ſucceſs.
Fuſee Ah, Sir, I muſt be a dull ſcholar, indeed, not to have learned from you how to tickle female ears; and the view of a ſnug retreat, will make me encounter wrinkled cheeks, ſunk eyes, toothleſs gums, and grey hairs, with as much alacrity as if youth and beauty were the prize.
Col. On that will depend your ſucceſs—mother Sly ſhall prepare the way for a proper introduction.
Fuſee But, Sir; there's another rub we had like to forget—your honour knows that I have been forced to make ſome advances to Mrs. Ruelle, Lady Brainleſs's woman; now what ſhall I do to quiet her? ſhe is a good friend, and may be a bitter foe.
Col. Well obſerved, ſhe is a neceſſary agent, and muſt not be loſt; ſhould ſhe know you in your diſguiſe, you muſt have recourſe to your old method of lying; and if that won't prevail, my purſe ſhall produce ſome irreſiſtable arguments; ſhe is a politic jade, and ſeems to know the value of a few guineas extremely well.
Fuſee Yes, truly, I believe ſhe does, Sir, and tho' poſſeſſed of a nimble tongue, can always be ſilent when intereſt tips her the wink.
Col. Retire, I ſee Sir Charles—I ſhall furniſh you with neceſſary materials, and full inſtruction after dinner. Exit Fuſee.
[Page 4] ENTER SIR CHARLES PRUDENT.
Sir Char. Colonel, good-morrow, is not my viſit unfaſhionably early?
Col. Not at all, Sir Charles; an agreeable companion can never come unſeaſonably, ſave a wench in the caſe; as to faſhion, ſhe is a capricious jade, and below the regard of a ſenſible man.
Sir Char. How can that be? when no body, in general, pays a ſtricter regard to her rules than my friend?
Col. you muſt not imagine that every cuſtom I conform to commands my approbation; but as peculiarities, however rational, are rather offenſive to the general eye, why ſhould a man render himſelf diſagreeably wiſer than his neighbours; it is a peeviſh characteriſtic of age, to idolize the modes of its youth, for my part, I think revolutions in taſte neceſſary; and cannot ſuppoſe, that either the morals, or underſtandings of mankind are injured by a ſocial conformity.
Sir Char. Moſt certainly they are not.
Col. So far then I am the voluntary ſubject, but never can become the ſlave of faſhion.
Sir Char. To be free, Colonel, does not this ſenſible compliance proceed chiefly from the influence of the ladies.
Col. To confeſs the truth I believe it may; and among us ſoldiers it is no more than duty; by our commiſſions we are ranked under the banners of fame and beauty, to render the cauſe of the former ſervice, and the dictates of the latter obedience.
Sir Char. In which light, you have happily diſtinguiſhed yourſelf; and if report ſpeaks true, the ladies have not prov'd inſenſible to your merit; what fame may do—
Col. Gives me very little concern; ſhe is, an empty airy glittering bubble, as the ſong ſays; when [Page 5] my country calls, my beſt endeavours are at her ſervice, but for a miſtreſs, let me have warm fleſh and blood; lips to melt, and eyes to fire the heart.
Sir Char. Like thoſe of Emmeline Fairlove.
Col. Right, my friend; what were the glory of an Alexander to poſſeſſion of ſuch charms?
Sir Char. A mere aerial phantoms but prithee Frank, has that lady had the power to touch your heart in reality?
Col. Touch, why ſhe has ſhot it through and through with Cupid's arrows; made a perfect riddle of it, and, notwithſtanding my love of freedom, I begin to think that matrimony alone can work its cure.
Sir Char. Ha! ha! ha! what the gay, gallant, and univerſal lover Colonel Parapet monopolized by a ſingle happy fair one? after all, my friend, I am afraid that roving, diſſipated heart of thine will hardly bear limitation.
Col. Why ſo, Sir Charles; when that limitation proceeds from choice; gallantry is a pretty agreeable amuſement for ſome years, at a man's firſt entrance into life; but like other light appendages of youth, ſhould give place to more ſerious enjoyments.
Sir. Char. So then you have at laſt determin'd to become a grave, city-like fellow.
Col. Not that neither; a huſband may have ſpirit without running at large; and a wife gaiety without indiſcretion.
Sir Char. Dear Colonel, you have perfectly expreſſed preſſed my opinion; ſhould one happy day give Lady Charlotte to my arms, and Emmeline to yours, I have no more to aſk of fortune.
Col. Nor I; but you, my friend, have much the nearer proſpect: however, fortune favours the bold; and having laid ſiege I am determined to carry on my operations with vigour; could I but [Page 6] ſecure the outworks I ſhould have no doubt of the town.
Sir Char. By the outworks, I preſume, you mean Lady Brainleſs and the amiable Mrs. Buſy?
Col. You are right—and ſure no mortal had ever greater contraſt's to deal with; as to the former, being young, handſome, ſprightly, and good natured, it is not a diſagreeable point to flatter her vanity; but the old beldam is quite intolerable: however I have warm hopes of getting her off my hands immediately.
Sir Char. By what means?
Col. That you ſhall know hereafter—the hour calls me at my agent's to ſign ſome accounts; if you'll take a place in my chariot, and accompany me thither, I ſhan't detain you above five minutes, then I am yours as you pleaſe?
Sir Char. With all my heart.
Col. Allons. Exeunt.

2.1.2. SCENE II.

LADY CHARLOTTE meeting EMMELINE.
L. Charlo Good morning to my dear Emmeline.
Emme. Lady Charlotte, your ſervant.
L. Charlo. Oh, Emmy, I begin to think quality a ſad incumbrance; ſo much ceremony, ſuch fatigue, and ſo little ſociety; that inexhauſtable ſpirits, and very pliant reaſon are neceſſary to go through the whimſical round, why laſt night, now, at Lady Ombre's route, was I obliged to ſtay till the tell-tale ſun rendered flambeaux unneceſſary; and had not your Colonel gallanted me moſt pleaſantly, I ſhould have made a very humdrum, pitiful figure.
Emme. My Colonel!
L. Charlo. Nay, nay, don't change colour, child, every honeſt heart, like yours, ſpeaks through the [Page 7] eyes, therefore you may as well confeſs; but you are diffident, and require help in theſe caſes, ſo let me ſay for you, that Colonel Parapet is a pretty fellow.
Emme. Dear Lady Charlotte, your cordial regard commands my utmoſt confidence, and obliges me to acknowledge I have always thought him a man of merit.
L. Charlo. Very well my dear, and when a woman of ſenſe, in the ſingle ſtate, allows a batchelor merit, take my word for it, love is not far off; but I hope you have not betrayed your good opinion to his knowledge; for the men, like us, Emmy, grow vain upon being admired.
Emme. I hope, and believe, no word or action has revealed my opinion.
L. Charlo. So much the better; hope kept at a diſtance, in the affairs of love, cauſes a more eager purſuit; there's my ſwain, Sir Charles Prudent, has paid his addreſſes to me theſe twelve months; yet has arrived at no point of certainty; nor do I know when he will; notwithſtanding he has an exalted place in my eſteem.
Emme. Your Ladyſhip's caution is the effect of good ſenſe, and I flatter myſelf with conſiderable advantage from ſo prudent an example—oh, I ſee my agreeable tutoreſs approaching.
L. Charlo. Mercy deliver us from the nauſeous wretch.
ENTER MRS. BUSY.
Mrs. B. My dear Lady Charlotte, your very obedient humble ſervant; I profeſs it is ſuch an age ſince I had the pleaſure of ſeeing your Ladyſhip, that I quite languiſh'd to ſalute you.
L. Charlo. You are infinitely obliging madam— odious creature. (aſide.)
Mrs. B. Emmeline, your ſiſter deſires to ſee [Page 8] you— [Ex [...]t Emme.] and how does your good Ladyſhip; our little family is never ſo happy as when graced with your preſence.
L. Charlo. Such a profuſion of compliments, madam, prevents all reply.
Mrs. B. Your Ladyſhip flatters me, how ſhould ſuch a one as me that has never been at court but once to taſte the Queen's caudle, cope with dear Lady Charlotte; tho' we ſee ſome good things in the city—when Mr Alderman Buſy was alive I never miſſ'd the ball on Lord Mayor's day, and I danced with ſuch an air, that Mr. Deputy Stiffrump always choſe me for his partner—I might have been a Lady too, if my huſband had my ſpirit—but its no matter, there are ſo many paltry creatures with titles now a-days, I give myſelf very little concern about it.
L. Charlo. You are certainly right, madam, it is better to deſerve a title, than to wear one without merit.
Mrs B. Moſt infinitely polite—I warrant your Ladyſhip hears a great deal of news, at the court end of the town
L. Charlo. Really, madam, I ſeldom bend my attention that way.
Mrs B No! ſuprizing! we in the city always love to know what ſtirring—now I talk of ſtirrings, has your Ladyſhip heard that Sir John Rampant, carried off ſukey Tallow- [...]akes?
L. Ch [...]rlo. Fulſome goſſip (aſide) no, madam.
Mrs. B. Why I believe it has been in the news paper —I d [...]nt love to ſpeak ill of any one; but I always ſaid Sukey was a forward minx—I am ſorry for the mother, bec [...]uſe ſhe is a nieghbour [...]d friend—tho', between ourſelves, there was odd [...] of talk about her, when ſhe was a girl—as [...] dont [...]ovet [...]ttle-tattle ſcand I—let other [...] [...]nſwer for themſelves—but one muſt hear [Page 9] when things are talked of—ah, there are ſad doings in the world—would your Ladyſhip believe it, a couſin of my own over the way—but I ſhant ſay all I know neither.
L. Charlo. You are perfectly right, madam, your humanity does not at all check my curioſity.
Mrs. B. Nay its no ſecret, only one does not love to repeat ſuch things but—well—I could have as ſoon ſuſpected myſelf, never did ſhe miſs church, of prayer days, and twice of a Sunday: yet for all this ſanctity 'tis not a week ſince a gallant was found—as I live; found in her bedchamber.
L. Charlo. Intolerable tormentor (aſide) perhaps, madam, there may be more ſcandal than truth in the ſtory.
Mrs. B. No, no, its true enough—I thought I ſaw ſomething ſuſpicious a long time paſt; but I am good natured, and think the beſt; beſides, being a relation, your Ladyſhip knows that—
L. Charlo. I muſt change the ſubject (aſide) pray, madam, has Colonel Parapet viſited here lately?
Mrs. B. Oh dear, yes—we could not do without the Colonel; he is here three or four times a week, and is always pleaſed to ſay he finds more charms here, then throughout the whole circle of his acquaintance beſides: oh he's a moſt engaging ſenſible man—ſo grave, ſo prudent—none of your feather-ſculled fops: I aſſu [...]e your Ladyſhip, the Colonel and I have many a trate a trate converſation, as the French call it.
L. Charlo. I ſhall laugh in her ignorant face— oh, Emmeline comes happily to my relief. (aſide)
ENTER EMMELINE.
Emmi. Lady Charlotte, my ſiſter begs to ſee you at her toilette.
[Page 10] L. Charlo. I attend her—madam, your humble ſervant.
Mrs. B. Dear Lady Charlotte your moſt obedient —may I hope to ſee your Lad ſhip ſoon again?
L. Charlo. With the firſt conve [...]ience, madam.
Mrs. B. I ſhall inſiſt upon it—I ſhall be quite unhappy till then, as there is not a perſon upon earth, I more reſpect than dear, dear, dear, Lady Charlotte.
L. Charlo. You quite overwhelm me, madam.
Mrs. B. Nothing equal to your ladyſhip's deſerts.
L. Charlo. You oblige me to fly—beſides Lady Brainleſs expects me.
Mrs. B. Since we muſt part ſo ſoon, I am your Ladyſhip's moſt obedient humble ſervant (curtſies after Lady Charlotte to the door) what a proud conceited piece of ſtuff it is—dont you think ſo Emmeline?
Emme. No, really madam.
Mrs. B. That's ſo ſtange now—becauſe madam has got ſome quality blood in her veins, and wears ſome trinkumbob jewels, there's no-body ſo good as her I warrant; but for ought I know ſhe is no better than her neighbours—it is not for nothing that Sir Charles Prudent has dangled after her, and a ſwarm of fellows beſides; but as the proverb ſays, a blot's no blot till it is hit.
Emme. Nay, madam, ſuch innuendo's are too ſevere; for the world allows Lady Charlotte wit, beauty and virtue.
Mrs. B. The world—what world pray? and how come you to know the world; mind your needle child, that becomes you better than to contradict your elders—her Ladyſhip, I ſuppoſe, would make you as great a rantipole as herſelf, and bring fellows about you, there's her virtue; but I'll take care my brother ſhall look ſharp—go—order a pen and ink to my chamber (Exit Emme.) I'll [Page 11] write to the Colonel, ſuch a dear man is not to be miſſed; and when I get him faſt, I'll ſhew the young gill-flirts that I can hold my head as high as the beſt of them. Exit. SIR SCRAPEALL diſcover'd peruſing Accompts. Hum—hum—hum let me ſee, gain'd by variations of ſtocks within the laſt ſix months, five thouſand pounds—ah, a good, a very good article that: this ſame Change-Alley, to men of true knowledge, is a ſecond Mexico or Peru, what are your Oxford's and Cambridge's to it for education —what, indeed,—but to go on—loſt by cargo of the ſhip Luckleſs coming to a bad market— fifteen hundred pounds—a terrible article—yet, mercy on us, what are the loſſes in trade to matrimonial cares—ever ſince I married this fine, faſhionable wife of mine, neither my head, my heart, nor my purſe have had any reſt— viſiters diſtract my ears, cuckoldom haunts my ſleep, and, while I am awake, my forehead feels a conſtant pain, as if it was breeding horns—well, I have no body to blame for it but myſelf; I could not be ſatisfied while I was well, and now—mercy on us!—repentance comes too late — ENTER TIMOTHY. now, Timothy, what has all this knocking at the door been about this morning?
Ti. About compliments to her Ladyſhip, an like your worſhip; and here is a pack of cards they have left her.
Sir Scr. Pox on their compliments and cards too—gilt edges!— extravagant wretches!— like themſelves—fine without—nothing within; eh Timothy?
Ti. To be ſure, an like your worſhip—all that glitters is not gold, as the old proverb ſays.
[Page 12] Sir Scr. Right, Timothy, right— ah thoſe old proverbs—they are as much beyond your modern wit as—let's ſee—let's ſee what nonſenſical ſtuff is written on them—umph!—ay—Lady Fuſſoc's compliments to Lady Brainleſs; begs to be excuſed from her engagement, having got cold returning from the King's Theatre in the Haymarket laſt night—I'm glad of it—I'm glad of it; and I wiſh my hopeful wife had got one too, that would confine her to the houſe theſe three months—eh Timothy?
Ti. Yes, Sir, that would do rarely, tho', lack aday, Sir, there would be ſuch a croud of nurſes, and viſiters, and doctors, and ſurgeons, and apothecaries, that—
Sir Scr. Say no more, Timothy, the horrid catalogue thrills through my blood, like the cold fit of an intermitting—no, no, we'll have no pills, draughts and bolus's, in this houſe: ſo heav'n preſerve her health—or take her all together—eh Timothy?
Ti. A very good prayer an like your worſhip.
Sir Scr. Come, let's ſee another—Colonel Parapet offers compliments, and—how! what! have I got the military ſo near my citadel?
Ti. Oh, Sir, that muſt be the handſome, ſprightly young gentleman, in ſcarlet and gold, that comes here ſo often.
Sir. Scr. A handſome, ſprightly young gentleman, in ſcarlet and gold—three dangerous articles in the way of five and twenty, wedded to ſuch a huſband as I am—eh Timothy,
Ti. Very true, Sir—and I am afraid there is ſomething more than common; for laſt week, as he was going out, I ſaw him give Mrs Ruelle, my Lady's woman, half a guinea—ay I ſaw him kiſs her, and ſlip it into her hand at the ſame time.
[Page 13] Sir Scr. Did you ſo, Timothy?—then there's fine work in this family of mine; ah, theſe confounded red coats—they ſtrip our pockets of money, our wives of honeſty, and our hearts of reſt—eh Timothy?
ENTER LADY BRAINLESS.
L. Brain. Ruelle, ſee if the chariot be almoſt ready—ſo my dear, you and your prime miniſter, Timothy, have been in cloſe conſultation—ha! ha! ha!—never was maſter and man better paired; ſo much wiſdom, ſuch gravity; and then for appearance, our ſagacious domeſtic might make a good figure amongſt the curioſities of the Antiquarian Society; ha! ha! ha!
Sir Scr. I wiſh, madam, I had been as prudent in the choice of all my family, as I was in taking this domeſtic, as you call him.
L. Brain. So my dove, that's a compliment for me—well, certainly no woman ever had a more poliſhed lord and maſter than mine; and that too, after eighteen comfortable months of marriage.
Sir. Scr. Eighteen months of ſlavery I ſay— galloping abroad or rioting at home is all the buſineſs of the female part of this family—here now are a parcel of nonſenſical meſſages enough to fright reaſon out of doors. [gives her the cards]
L. Brain. Nay, but Sir Scrapeall, in compaſſion to thoſe delicate features of your's don't frown— Mrs. Rattlers compliments—I ſuppoſe my love you have been peruſing theſe little billets; now was that ſo polite when they are addreſſed to me? do I peep into your papers? do I ſcrutinize your affairs?
Sir Scr. No truly, madam, my purſe is the only affair of mine you dive into.
L. Brain. Well, Sir, and that I do for your credit, you love to get money and I to ſpend it▪ [Page 14] how could you expect to make a figure in the world, if I was not to give ſome ſhining proofs abroad, of your induſtry at home?
Sir Scr. Very hopeful reaſoning indeed.
L. Brain. Moſt certainly my dear, you act with oeconomy, I with ſpirit; ſo that our affairs ſhine forth with reſpect and brilliance: but I know this is a ſubject you are not fond of, therefore to ſhow myſelf a polite wife, I ſhall give it up and peruſe my cards. [ſhe reads]
Sir Scr. Mighty condeſcending truly—ſo all my comfort for becoming a beggar is that I am made one politely—ay, now madam is in her element— there—ſmile; that muſt be from the handſome young fellow in ſcarlet and gold.
L Brain. Do you know Colonel Parapet, Sir Scrapeall?
Sir Scr. Ay, I thought as much (aſide) no, not I.
L Brain. Oh dear its a great pity, he's one of the moſt ſenſible, polite, gallant young fellows about town; a little converſation with him would be of infinite ſervice, and ſo poliſh your contracted city notions—poſitively you ſhall be acquainted with him.
Sir Scr. Poſitively but I will not, madam.
L. Brain. Nay, that's ſo unkind, when the Gentleman is impatient to be intimate with you.
Sir Scr. A cuckold making ſon of a whore— (aſide) look you, my lady, few words are beſt, ſo in plain terms, I wont have ſuch doings nor ſuch viſiters in my houſe; fleſh and blood can't bear them, ſo determine upon a reformation, or madam— madam—
L. Brain. There is really too much of the ſpirituoſo in your expreſſion, Sir Scrapeall, it wounds my ear: had you politely attended our opera's, you would have attained a more melodious modulation; but ſince you are obſtinate, and won't go [Page 15] to public places; what think you my dove if I ſhould engage ſome of the beſt hands and voices, to perform once a week in our own room: you know as the poet ſays—
Muſic has charms to ſooth a ſavage breaſt,
To ſoften rocks and bend the knotted oak.
and who knows what effect it may have upon you, my Adonis, ha! ha! ha! ha!
Sir Scr. I am very much obliged to your ladyſhip, and am glad to ſee you ſo merry; but I'll have no tweedledum, tweedledum, in my houſe; if I catch any of the catgut tribe within my doors, I'll try which, their empty noddles or my cane is hardeſt.
L. Brain. I never knew before that cudgel-playing was an accompliſhment for a city knight, ha! ha! ha!
Sir Scr. Very well, madam, very well; but I'll do as I ſay for all your yah, yah, yah,—muſic, quotha! if you are ſo fond of that can't you go to church, and hear three or four tunes upon the organ for nothing.
L. Brain Church muſic! barbarous! worſe than the ſermon! and as bad as the humſtrum of a ruſtic [...]iddle at a country wake—what a ſoleciſm in taſte to mention it!
ENTER RUELLE.
Ruelle. Madam, the chariot is ready—and the Counteſs of Rantipole is at the door in her ſedan; and deſires to ſpeak three words to your ladyſhip.
L. Brain. Oh dear, I'll wait on her inſtantly. [Exit Ruelle] Let me ſee, I have ten viſits to pay, beſides calling at Grogram the mercer's, and Dreſden the millener's; ſo that I can't dine 'till five o'clock—I know that's ſomething late for your city appetite, Sir Scrapeall; but if you can't wait, your right-hand man, Timothy, can help you to a ſlice in your own polite way—I have a world of [Page 16] buſineſs, and that muſt apologize for leaving ſuch delightful company, ha! ha! ha! Exit.
Sir Scra. Buſineſs!—pretty buſineſs, truly!— ten viſits, beſides calling at Grogram's the mercer, and Dreſden's the millener; why at this rate my horſes will never come home alive, eh Timothy?
Tim. Why an they don't, Sir, its no great matter, your worſhip need not buy any more, ſo there will be keeping and a coachman ſaved.
Sir Scra. Right—admirably ſaid. Timothy!— ſo let her rattle them out as ſoon as ſhe pleaſes— but five o'clock to dinner—well, that's not amiſs neither, for a late dinner may ſave a ſupper—then this Colonel, this Colonel; I ſhall have ſwords flaſhing in my eyes, and drums beating in my ears conſtantly; every colour will turn ſcarlet before me; and tormenting imagination will fortify my head with horns—ah, Timothy, Timothy, what a terrible blunder did I make; ‘How did I ſtudy to procure a curſe,—’
Tim. The day you ſaid, for better and for worſe.
END of the FIRST ACT.

2.2. ACT II.

[Page 17]

2.2.1. SCENE I.

SIR SCRAPEALL and TIMOTHY.
Sir Scr. SO, Timothy, by this letter I find I am like to have another plague ſhortly.
Tim. Marry, heaven forbid, Sir!
Sir Scra. You ſhall hear, Timothy, you ſhall hear (Reads) ‘"Brother Brainleſs, this is to let you know, that after a voyage of twelve weeks, from Jamaica, I caſt anchor this morning at Deptford, where I am lying too at the punch houſe; when I have knocked off a cann or two of my old landlady's grog, I'll ſtretch right a-head with a merry gale, for Thames-ſtreet; and ſalute you, old heart of oak, with a broadſide of affection, which is all at preſent from your brother, till death, Dick Starboard."’
Tim. Mercy deliver us, Sir! this is the Weſt-India captain that uſed to drink three bottles of rum at a ſitting, when he was here laſt; and gave your worſhip the gout for three months, by cutting a caper on your great toe.
Sir Scra. Ay, ay, the very ſame;—and now, I ſuppoſe, out of friendſhip he intends to finiſh me.
Starb.
within
Who's a board, yo ho.
Tim. Strait forward, Sir, ſtrait forward.
ENTER STARBOARD.
What cheer, what cheer, brother [...] Spring my bowſprit he ſeems in a [...] back your ſails, heave out an anchor, and bring too with your head to the ſea, or you'll be upon the ſhallows next trip.
[Page 18] Sir Scra. Oh, brother Starboard, I did not ſee you.
Starb. You might have heard me then, for I hail'd you loud enough for a league's diſtance; but you land-lubbers are always in one d [...]ſtreſs or another; now we at ſea mind nothing while we have beef, biſcuit, and ſlip, but a ſtrong gale, a heavy tide, and a lee-ſhore.
Sir Scra. Ah, you are happy mortals.
Starb. Meſs, and ſo we are—but how are your timbers? not crazy, I hope; for I hear as how you have made a matrimonial voyage ſince I ſaw you; and ſtrike my flag that ſtation requires a ſound bottom, good rigging, an able ſtee [...]ſman, and a ſtout helm.
Sir Scra. Yes, yes, I am married.
Starb. Well, and what ſort of a frigate have you got? is ſhe French or Dutch built? crank or broad bottomed? will ſhe ride out a ſquall of flattery, or is ſhe apt to turn keel upwards? have you found out her trim?
Sir Scra. No, truly; but ſhe has found out mine, and trimmed me with a vengeance.
Star. And who's fault's that? you was old enough to be your own pilot, wan't you?
Sir Scra. Ay, very true—I have nobody to blame but myſelf—why juſt now I had an impudent, bag-wigg'd villain, came to demand five hundred pounds ſhe had loſt to him at cards.
Starb. Say you ſo? board me an ſhe makes many more ſuch trips to the land of the Four Kings, you'll be ſtranded on the ſhore of poverty.
Sir Scra. Ay, it muſt be ſo; yet what can I do —adviſe me, brother, pray do adviſe me (a loud ſquall of women) Mercy deliver us! what's that?
Starb. Burſt my guns, it ſeems the ſignal for ſ [...]ri [...]ing on a rock, and eight feet water in the hold.
[Page 19] ENTER TIMOTHY paſſing acroſs.
Sir Scra. Timothy, why this haſte?
Tim. I am going for half a dozen doctors. Exit
Sir Scra. Half a dozen doctors!—why Timothy, —Ruelle.
RUELLE
running acroſs.
I can't ſtop a moment, Sir. Exit.
Sir Scra. Not ſtop a moment—why?—how— I am in ſuch confuſion I know not what to think (Ruelle returns acroſs) Ruelle—Ruelle—not a word —what in the name of wonder can poſſeſs them all—oh, I ſee my hopeful wife.
Starb. What is that there your pleaſure-barge? Strike my ſlag ſhe ſhows a ſnug built thing, and only wants an able ſeaman to navigate her—ſhe carries a ſignal of diſtreſs in her poop tho'.
ENTER LADY BRAINLESS, ſupported by RUELLE and another maid, all three weeping.
L. Brain. Reach me a chair—this unexpected ſtroke has quite en [...]eebled me.
Sir Scr. What ſtroke, pray, madam?
L Brain. Oh, Sir Scrapeall, the moſt fatal—
Sir Scr. What is Zorobabel run away?
L Brain. Oh worſe, worſe, the moſt irreparable accident.
Sir Scr How! worſe! is the government bankrupt?
L. Brain. More dreadful ſtill—let one of theſe, whoſe hearts are not ſo ſuſceptible of tender impreſſions, nor ſo nearly intereſted as mine, relate the diſmal tale, while I indulge my tears—oh— oh—oh (the three women cry)
Starb. Harkee, brother, the ſquall can't laſt long with ſuch ſhowers.
Sir Scr. If I am kept a moment longer in ſuſpenſe [Page 20] I ſhall run diſtracted—tell me, Ruelle, tell me, thi [...] dr [...]dful accident, and make me cry too.
Starb. Cry!—hark [...]e, young woman, could not you toſs up a tankard of punch for brother Brainleſs and I, we ſhall weather the gale better.
Sir Scr. Don't talk ſo, don't talk ſo, when perhaps I am ruined.
Ruelle. Oh, Sir, we are all ruined; a heart of [...]int would melt at ſo pitiful a caſe—I have ſcarce power to tell you; but my lady's, Sir—my lady's —la—la—lap dog's dead—oh—h—h—h (the three women cry again).
Starb. A lap-dog—ho! ho! ho!
Sir Scr. La, lal, laral, lal derol—poſitively we'll have the punch, brother.
L. Brain. Oh, cruel wretch, to make my grief your ſport—poor little charmer—the ſprightlieſt companion, the politeſt of the four-footed kind; then ſo delicate, he could not drink his tea unſweetened, nor eat bread without butter—was not he a moſt engaging creature, Ruelle?
Ruelle. Ye—ye—yes, madam, I'm ſure I ſhall never forget him, becauſe I think the pretty rogue broke his heart for love.
L. Brain. Do you really think ſo, Ruelle?
Ruelle. I do indeed, madam; for the ſweet creature has never been himſelf ſince lady Doublechin took away her Dido.
L. Brain. Ah, cruel Dido—barbarous Doublechin—well, I am reſolved that Meagre, the phyſician, and Julep, the apothecary, ſhall never come near me again, ſince they could not ſave little charmer.
Si [...] Scr. How! a doctor and an apothecary! would they were buried with their patient, and their bi [...]l along with them.
L. Brain. You have often complained of my lit [...]le favourite, Sir Scrapeall, but he'll trouble [Page 21] you no more—he's out of this troubleſome world; however, in reſpect of his merits, I muſt deſire to have an epitaph, and a neat marble monument dedicated to his dear memory.
Sir Scra. What! an epitaph! and a marble monument for a dog!—Did you ever hear the like, brother?
L, Brain. What, Sir Scrapeall, is that man your brother?
Starb. Yes, woman, that man is his brother; I'm ſure I took his ſiſter in tow a voyage of ſeven years, and as good a ſea-boat ſhe was as ever cut water, till death ſtarted a plank and ſunk her.
L. Brain. What jargon the creature utters; why, friend, you are as rough and boiſt'rous as the element you belong to.
Starb. And what then? mayhap, miſtreſs, though I have no palaver, nor flippaty flappets about me, I'm better than your painted butterflies, that only live while the ſun ſhines; now all weather's alike to me.
L. Brain. Keep a little farther off—your tar's offenſive, friend.
Starb. My tar's better than your muſk; and if you can't bear me along-ſide, you muſt ſtrike; no frenchified engagements for me, yard-arm and yard-arm's Dick Starboard's trim, I can tell you.
Sir. Scr. Ah, well ſaid, brother—give her a little more of it—ſhe talks too faſt for me.
L. Brain. Well, Sir Scrapeall, I congratulate you upon having a relation equally polite with yourſelf; but that we may not lay aſide all decency, I change the ſubject—Ruelle, you muſt aſſiſt me to lay the plan of charmer's funeral.
Starb. Funeral! ſmite his limbs, give him a ſea funeral; ſtitch up his carcaſs in the reef of an old hammock, clap in ſome ballaſt, and heave him overboard into the next horſe-pond.
[Page 22] Sir Scr. Ay, and too good for him—ah, brother, if ſhe would but liſten to your advice, if you would undertake to direct her, ſome good might be expected.
L. Brain. What! ſuch a porpuſs direct me!
Starb. Avaſt, miſtreſs, avaſt, I don't like the birth ſo well—ſtrike my flag, brother, I had rather navigate my ſhip, the Charming Kate, to Jamaica, without compaſs or helm, than go maſter of her for a month—but what proviſions have you got— I have taken in nothing but two red herrings, and three tankards of grog ſince I came on ſhore; ſo bear a hand. [pulls Sir Scra [...]a [...]l and exit]
L. Brain. So, there g [...] a hopeful [...]; a moſt natural alliance: by the he [...]p of this ſea-brute. I ſuppoſe, Sir Scrap [...]all intends to uſu [...]p an au [...]hority; yet, weak as I am, they ſhall find ſome h [...]dſhip in attaining a ſuperiority—oh I ſee the Col [...]nel coming moſt luckily to relieve my fatigued ſp [...]rit: Ruelle and you retire. Ex [...]unt.
ENTER COLONEL PARAPIT.
Col. Madam your moſt obedient ſervant.
L. Brain. Oh, Colonel, you are come in happy time to my relief; do you know that I have juſt now been in the condition of poor Androm [...]da; on the point of being devour'd by a ſea-monſter.
Col, A ſea-monſter, madam!
L. Brain. Yes, truly, the polite brother-in-law of my polite huſband: I aſſure you, Colonel, the brute threw me into a horrid palpitation.
Col. I preſume it was the perſon I met with Sir Scrapeall, madam, who talked ſomewhat of a raſher on the coals, and a bucket of flip as he paſſed by.
L. Brain. The very ſame.
Col. Truly an uncouth appearance to addreſs to a Lady; but perhaps, madam, his externals injure [Page 23] conceal'd merit: intrinſic value lies often hid under ſuch rough outſide.
L. Brain. Well, Colonel, I muſt ſay your good nature and delicacy are remarkable for reconciling inconſiſtencies, and placing perſons, or things, in the moſt amiable light. But, Colonel—I have met a moſt melancholly accident ſince I ſaw you—ſure poor charmer is dead.
Col. Indeed! I am perfectly concern'd that your Ladyſhip ſhould loſe ſuch an engaging little animal.
L. Brain. Ay, Colonel, you know, and valued his amiable qualifications—well, ſince his fate was inevitable, it is ſome comfort to find ſuch genteel ſympathy in the breaſt of a friend; but that care is not ſingle, Sir Scrapeall takes pains to mortify my concerns.
Col. Truly, madam, I have often blamed fortune in private, which could laviſh ſuch a profuſion of beauty and merit, as you are poſſeſſed of, upon avarice and inſenſibility—
L. Brain. Oh, Sir, you are infinitely obliging.
C [...]l. And have been ſorry to think, that your Ladyſhip ſhould be exiled into a kind of matrimonial Siberia.
L. Brain. 'Tis too true, Colonel; but you know my condition, and charitably ſooth it with agreeable converſation.
Col. Rather ſay, madam, I do myſelf both honour and pleaſure, when I render you the ſmalleſt ſatisfaction.
L. Brain. Sir, ſo refin'd a compliment would prove my inability of return, but that my ſiſter-in-law's ap [...]r [...]ch ſaves me.
Col. The devil [...]t does (aſ [...]de)
L. Brain. She will amuſe you, Colonel, for ſome minutes, while I give Ruell [...] directions about poor Charmer; which done I ſhall return to aſſiſt you againſt the violence of a never-ceaſing tongue.
[Page 24] Col. Madam, you are particularly obliging— (exit L. Brain.) I muſt endeavour to retreat tho' before ſhe returns, for it would be almoſt an impoſſibility to pleaſe ſuch contrarieties at once; and, on Emmeline's account, I muſt, if poſſible, keep fair with both.
ENTER MRS. BUSY.
Mrs. B. Colonel, your moſt obedient humble ſervant—I profeſs you are grown a great ſtranger: methinks it is an age ſince your laſt viſit, and yet I believe it is but three days neither; but expectation makes time long, as the ſaying is, and you have particular good wiſhes from this family, I aſſure you, Colonel.
Col. It is the pride and pleaſure of my heart, madam, to deſerve them.
Mrs. B. Moſt elegantly expreſſed—was not that my ſiſter left the room as I came in?
Col. Yes, madam, it was her ladyſhip.
Mrs. B. Her Ladyſhip! humph! theſe feathers in the cap make people hold their heads ſo high, forſooth; but you and I, Colonel, know better.
Col. Moſt certainly, madam; as you ſay, titles are mere feathers.
Mrs. B. And pray now, Colonel, do you really think this ſiſter of mine, ſo fine a woman as the world ſays?
Col. Really, madam, it is hard to ſay; beauty is not univerſal; and that which pleaſes one [...]ye palls upon another; Lady Brainleſs is not without her attractions; but I muſt confeſs there are charms in this houſe, of milder, ſteddier natu [...], which more powerfully command my approbation.
Mrs. B. Infinitely diſcreet I profeſs—ah, Colonel, if every fine Gentleman was as prudent, we ſhould not have ſo many minx preſume upon their doll-douſy faces.
[Page 25] Col. Very true, madam.
Mrs. B. Good houſwifery would then take place of rambling and cards; and idle routes give way to the dear ſociety of kind, ſober huſbands.
Col. And if all the fine ladies had ſuch prudential notions as yours, madam, ſenſe, as well as paſſion, muſt own their influence.
Mrs. B. How happy do I eſteem myſelf, Colonel, that my notions ſo particular agree with yours; I wiſh her Ladyſhip was here to be convinced, I am not quite ſo ignorant as ſhe is pleaſed to imagine.
Col. Heav'n forbid, till I am gone however. aſide
Mrs. B. And here ſhe comes, I profeſs—now for it, Colonel.
Col. Would I were gone, I ſhall moſt certainly diſoblige one of them. (aſide)
ENTER LADY BRAINLESS.
L. Brain. Well, Colonel, I have ſettled poor Charmer's funeral proceſſion; he's to be interred under a roſe tree, and I am to be chief mourner.
Mrs. B. Lord, ſiſter, I am amazed you can be ſo unpolite as to trouble the Colonel with that little ugly creature.
L. Brain. Really, madam, I did not come into the city to learn politeneſs.
Mrs. B. If your Ladyſhip had, perhaps you might have met ſome uſeful inſtructions—
Col. So, ſo, now it begins. (aſi [...]e.)
Mrs. B. And perſons who would have informed you, that prudence is preferable to all the finical airs of quality.
L. Brain. Prudence—ha! ha! ha! really, madam, you oblige me to treſpaſs upon my preſent concern, and laugh at your mechanical notions— ha! ha! ha! ha!
Mr [...]. B. Mechanical notions—if your Ladyſhip [Page 26] is confident of your cauſe, what if we refer ourſelves to the Colonel.
Col. Ay now it comes. (aſide)
L. Brain. You could not have propoſed a more agreeable judge; I know he muſt deſpiſe the wretch. (aſide)
Col. Your ladyſhip's good opinion does me honour.
Mrs. B. Then madam, we are both pleaſed— for I know he'll be of my ſide. (aſide)
L. Brain. Now then, Colonel, pleaſe to let us know if you was to chuſe a lady, which you would have her, polite or prudent, according to our opinions of thoſe terms.
Col. Oons! what ſhall I ſay? (aſide) undoubtedly, madam, politeneſs is one of the moſt agreeable qualifications of human nature.
L. Brain. What ſay you to that, madam?
Mrs. B. But, Colonel, did not you ſay that a prudent behaviour was the moſt amiable?
Col. Ye—ye—yes, madam, I did, to be ſure; and I think ſo ſtill—that is—I think—bleſs me! I'm afraid we ſhan't have time for the neceſſary diſquiſition—I was to have met Sir Charles Prudent, and I find I have ſlip'd my time a quarter of an hour—therefore if you pleaſe ſome other opportunity (going)
L. Brain. No, no, Colonel, you ſhall determine now.
Mrs. B. Ay, ay, poſitively you ſhan't go.
Col. Then I muſt ſtand buff I find; I'll try to confuſe and ſo eſcape (aſide) why then, ladies, ſince you inſiſt upon it, I ſhall endeavour to clear up the point—politeneſs—ay, we'll conſider that firſt— politeneſs is a vivifying ray, which animates and enlightens ſocial intercourſe; facilitating expreſſion, harmonizing temper, and regulating deportment: as the natural ſun influences and animates [Page 27] the vegetable world, ſo this beautous child of art, poliſhes, adorns, and dignifies ſociety.
L. Brain. Infinitely fanciful: what think you now madam?
Mrs. B. Proceed, Sir.
Col. Prudence, I take to be that kind and gentle moderator, whom reaſon deputes to aſſiſt us againſt the impulſe of irregular paſſions; a cool friend, an infallible guide, to lead with ſafety through the labyrinth of life.
Mrs. B. And pray what does your ladyſhip think now?
Col. Nay, ladies, I abſolutely declare againſt any pre-eminence; being throughly convinced that they are highly eſſential to each other, by ſeeing them ſo happily united before me. [bows to each of the ladies.]
L. Brain. Delicately complaiſant—his look gave me the preference. (aſide)
Mrs. B. Charming man—his eyes ſpoke in my favour. (aſide)
ENTER RUELLE.
Ruelle. Colonel, one of your ſervants deſires to ſpeak with you.
Col. In lucky time (aſide) very well— (Ruelle whiſpers Mrs. Buſy and gives her a letter) your Ladyſhip might obſerve I was cautious of putting the old Lady out of temper. (to Lady Brainleſs)
L. Brain. I did obſerve, and commend your humanity. (Ruelle goes and whiſpers Lady Brainleſs)
Col. I was obliged, madam, to favour her Ladyſhip's opinion ſomewhat; to prevent appearing too particular. (to Mrs. Buſy)
Mrs. B. Moſt engagingly diſcreet—I perceived and admired your caution. exit. Ruelle.
Col. Ladies, you find I am under a neceſſity of forcing myſelf from your agreeable company. going
L. Brain. It's we, Sir, that are the ſufferers.
[Page 28] Mrs. B. Yes, Colonel, 'tis we that are unhappy.
Col. I wiſh I was gone (aſide) oh ladies— (going)
L. Brain. Your Ladyſhip may ſpare that trouble, for I'll ſee the Colonel down ſtairs.
Col. Heav'ns! you overwhelm me ladies!
Mrs. B. I muſt and will wait upon you, Colonel.
L. Brain. Conſider, madam, you are the elder, and not ſo fit to bear fatigue.
Col. Nay, then, 'tis time to fly (exit Lady Brainleſs after him)
Mrs. B. The elder! an impudent young minx, to twit me with age—and before the Colonel too— I'll ſee if I can't take madam a peg lower, with her taunts, and her ſneers—but he's my own for all her— I ſee the dear man loves me—I'll take a chair and go to mother Sly's this inſtant—ſhe's a notable contriver in ſuch matters, and ſince I have determined to marry, why ſhould I loſe the opportunity of a handſome, ſweet, agreeable young fellow: no, no.
Unpractis'd girls, indeed, with bliſs may dally,
But ſprightly widows ne'er ſtand ſhilly, ſhally.
END of the SECOND ACT.

2.3. ACT III.

2.3.1. SCENE I.

FUSEE dreſs'd as CAPTAIN SPONTOON.

WELL, if what I have heard the Colonel ſay be true, that the outſide of a man is moſtly conſidered, I am in a fair way of being as much reſpected as my betters: ſo Monmouth-Street I thank thee for this gaudy title page; I wiſh the volume of my brain, like many modern pieces, may not fall ſhort of what is promiſed—if that ſhould be the caſe, [Page 29] I ſhall be ſtill the more like a fine gentleman, and at worſt may make a brazen front ſtand for the unfurniſhed inſide, that's ſome comfort, however; and has been the road to preferment of many an enterpriſing blade,—Soft, let me recollect my inſtructions, for what is a military man without his plan of operations.—Fuſee, ſays my maſter, I know women, and he that courts a widow muſt throw aſide modeſty—I know that too, Sir, ſays I, for I have courted, ah, and married, ſeveral of your honours oceaſional widows.—Well, no matter for that, Fuſee, this mother Buſy muſt be taken off at all events; ſhe has received a letter to prepare her for your reception; praiſe her beauty, be very fond, and the buſineſs is done—ay, and when it is done, a hopeful bargain I ſhall have; there will be no need of any death's head but her face; I ſhall never ſee it in a morning but it will put me in mind of the other world; and, to ſay the truth, I have not much inclination to think that way yet; but, damn it, the hopes of plunder have made many a man run his head againſt cannon balls; then why ſhould I be afraid of a witch? ſo moſt engaging, glib-tongued ancient Lady—have at you.

Exit Fuſee.

2.3.2. SCENE II.

COLONEL PARAPET meeting SIR CHARLES.
Col. Well met, Sir Charles—why this unuſual anxiety in your countenance? It is not philoſophical I aſſure you.
Sir Char. Nay, Frank, all our reſolution, natural and ſpeculative, muſt give way upon particular occaſions—I am miſerable.
Col. Marry! heaven forbid!—why, man, your acres are not ſwallowed up by an earthquake.
[Page 30] Sir Char. Pſhaw! that were a trifle—I could bear any thing calmly but the diſappointment of my heart.—I fear Lady Charlotte has a tincture of that inconſtancy which is charged againſt her ſex in general.
Col. How ſo? whence your ſuſpicion? has ſhe ſtarted a rival to amuſe you?
Sir Char. Not that I know of, tho' I may fear it—I was to have paid her a viſit as this hour, but calling at her houſe, a ſervant told me ſhe had ſet off for her brother's, the Earl of Greenhill's, two hours ago; and that without leaving any apology, or the ſlighteſt hint of return.
Col. And this is the mighty ſource of care! oh love, love, what a capricious deity are thou, who can ſo turn our wits the ſeamy ſide without, as Shakeſpeare has it.—Prithee, my friend, don't take trifles to heart; this flight of Lady Charlotte's is only the whim of a fine lady, who has the prerogative of cuſtom to give herſelf as many affected and inconſiſtent airs as ſhe pleaſes.
Sir Char. Nay, dear Colonel, don't be too ſevere; I can't think her good ſenſe deſcends to ſo trifling a character as you mean, by a fine Lady; ſhe has ſpirits without wildneſs, good-nature without weakneſs, dignity without affectation, and humility without meanneſs: therefore this unaccountable behaviour ſurprizes me the more.
Col. Unaccountable behaviour! not at all— your gravity is an excellent ſubject for wit and vivacity to play upon—come, come, Sir Charles, reſt aſſured, that he who ſo palpably devotes himſelf to a ſingle object, will be liable to ſuch rubs; I love one, yet gallant half a dozen at a time; had you taken the ſame courſe, ten to one but her volat [...]le ladyſhip had long, ere now, flown into your arms upon the wings of jealouſy.
Sir Char. Well Frank, I acknowledge your ſuperiority [Page 31] in the affairs of love; what then would you adviſe upon the preſent caſe?
Col. Faith, Sir Charles, there ſeems to be but a limited choice of proceedings; you have an excellent ſet of nags, and if you wiſh for an immediate ecclairciſſement, e'en purſue, and tell her you won't be treated with ſuch indifference for the future; or rather take no notice of the matter 'till her ladyſhip chuſes to come back, which, if I am any judge of woman, ſhe very ſhortly will.
Sir Char. Your latter opinion ſhall guide me— her ſervant mentioned the arrival of Lord Frederic Bloom, her younger brother, could I obtain an intimacy with him it might be uſeful.
Col. Moſt certainly, as you would thereby know the motions of the enemy.
ENTER a SERVANT.
Serv. Lord Frederic Bloom's compliments, and this letter, Sir.
Col. Very well, wait a moment—Lord Frederic's compliments! this is ſomewhat odd, as I never knew any of the family but Lady Charlotte— eh, what have we here?—Charlotte Bloom!—ſuppoſe this ſhould be a love-letter?—upon my honour, Sir Charles, I never made any advances.
Sir Char. Dear Colonel, you have alarmed my curioſity; and if the purport is not very particular, your communication will oblige me.
Col. Purport—gad you ſhall have it all—you ſhall read it, kiſs it, and take it as a relique for adoration if you will—there.
Sir Char. (Reads) ‘"Sir, meeting my brother, Lord Frederic, on the road, and knowing after three years travel, commenced upon his leaving the univerſity, that he muſt be rather deficient of acquaintance; I have taken the liberty of introducing him to you as a gentleman highly [Page 32] deſerving his obſervation and regard. Your moſt, &c. Charlotte Bloom."’ —This may be a lucky hit for me, Colonel.
Col. Right, Sir Charles; my intereſt may be of ſome uſe, as the lady honours me with ſo kind an opinion—here, friend,—is his Lordſhip at Lady Charlotte's?
Serv. He is, Sir, and deſires to know what time will be moſt convenient for his Lordſhip to wait on you?
Col. Oh, my compliments, and I'll ſave the trouble, by waiting upon him immediately (Exit Servant) Well, my friend, I am a notable ſpy, I aſſure you; and if any thing falls in my way you may depend upon diligence.
Sir Char. I can never doubt or repay your friendſhip; but as I know your diſpoſition, I ſhall refer you to the delicate pleaſure which reſults to a generous mind from good-natured actions—I won't detain you from this viſit—when it is over ſhall I ſee you at my houſe?
Col. You ſhall; ſo adieu—but harkee, Charles, in the mean time, I deſire, for philoſophy's ſake, that you'll ſigh as little as you poſſibly can.
Exeunt ſeverally.
ENTER LADY CHARLOTTE
(dreſſed as Lord Frederic)
and EMMELINE.
Emme. Well, Lady Charlotte, there is ſomewhat ſo unexpected, and ſo romantic in this metamorphoſe of yours, that poſitively I can't help laughing, even at the expence of good manners— ha! ha! ha! ha!—you'll excuſe me.
L. Charlo. Excuſe, ha! ha! ha! I'll laugh with you, my dear; I am never better pleaſed than when laughing at myſelf; and certainly I was never a better ſubject for it than at preſent—but come, give me your opinion, don't I make a tolerable [Page 33] ſmart figure in this maſculine outſide?—a little upon the coxcomb or ſo—eh?
Emme. Not at all; you have a much better right to the title of a fine gentleman, than many who claim it—but, after all, to what extraordinary purpoſe have you done this? is it merely to torment poor Sir Charles—bleſs us what confuſion the poor man ſeemed in, on hearing you had left town ſo abruptly.
L. Charlo. Why ay, I grant you Sir Charles has all the appearance of an Arcadian ſwain, and I believe him ſincere; but this is only ſurmiſe; and when all the happineſs of life depends upon a ſingle choice, that one ſhould certainly be well grounded; my diſguiſe is an endeavour at this, and for my friend Emmeline's ſake, as well as my own.
Emme. For my ſake! in what ſhape pray?
L. Charlo. In ſhort, child, I want to ſee you a happy wife as well as myſelf; and to be plain, I have always imagined your Colonel to be as ſuſpicious a piece of gallantry, as any within the ſphere of my obſervation; now in this form I ſhall be able to ſound the very bottom of his heart, which is more than you could ever be able to do, until it was perhaps too late.
Emme. I have always thought myſelf under infinite obligations to dear Lady Charlotte's good-nature; but this extraordinary inſtance of friendſhip, makes gratitude bluſh for its poverty.
L. Charlo. Not at all, Emmeline, you would put on a pair of breeches to oblige me, and then the account is ballanced.
ENTER a SERVANT.
Colonel Parapet to wait on your Lordſhip.
L. Charlo. Very well—conduct him up (Exit. Servant) So, his complaiſance anticipates my intention of viſiting him; and I am glad of it, for [Page 34] if you'll ſtep into my dreſſing room, there you may hear how I play my part. (Exit. Emmeline) I hope this Colonel may ſtand proof for poor Emmeline's ſake; however, at any rate, 'fore knowledge is better than late repentance.
ENTER COLONEL.
Col. My Lord, your moſt obedient humble ſervant.
L. Charlo. Colonel, your ſervant, I am extremely concerned to give you this trouble.
Col. 'Tis a pleaſure, my Lord, to wait upon ſo near a relation to Lady Charlotte; and I hope to merit the very favourable opinion her Ladyſhip has indulged me with.
L. Charlo. When there is ſo much prepoſſeſſion as I feel, a ſmall ſhare of attention muſt certainly effect that; beſides I know my ſiſter is not apt to flatter—but come, Colonel, as I have been upon my travels theſe three years, I muſt treſpaſs upon you for ſome account of matters here at home.
Col. Faith, my Lord, I imagine them to be juſt the ſame they always were; and the uncharitable ſpirit of ridicule, as prevalent among perſons of different diſpoſitions as ever; ſcarce any thing ſpoken of but the follies and vices of our neighbours; while the cenſors themſelves are hourly committing greater enormities than thoſe they ſtigmatize; as to the polite and trading world, the firſt are endeavouring to ruin each other at cards and horſe-racing; and the latter are ſtudying to over-reach one another by deceitful bargains and paper-currency: in ſhort, reputations and circumſtances are a general prey for ſcandal and knavery to hunt through the world, while poor honeſty is thrown out of the chace.
L. Charlo. A very comfortable proſpect truly; but I preſume, Colonel, you are more attached to, [Page 35] and better acquainted with the ſphere of gallantry than any other?
Col. Why, my Lord, it is part of a ſoldier's profeſſion; the indulgence of peace for his fatigues in war, and it would be ungrateful to reject the bleſſing; beſides, Mars and Venus ſhould never be divorced; for whatever may be ſaid of glory's charms, I believe there is more courage derived from the influence of corporeal beauty, than from the love of fame; nor can any better reaſon be offered, why Britons are the braveſt of men, than that nature has bleſſed them with the faireſt of women.
L. Charlo. The ladies are obliged to you, Colonel; and ſince we have touched upon them, pray do you know Emmeline Fairlove, Sir Scrapeall Brainleſs's ward?
Col. Yes, my Lord, I have ſeen the lady very often.
L. Charlo. I am glad of it, ſince I muſt preſume you are a better judge of female merit than my ſiſter; but ſhe has poſſeſſed me with ſo high an idea of the lady, that I am in love with her before I ſee her.
Col. The devil! (aſide) in love with her, my Lord?
L. Charlo. Yes, truly; and if ſhe anſwers the deſcription my ſiſter gave of her, I really don't know how far I may go in the road to matrimony.
Col. Confuſion! a rival! and a Lord too!—I muſt throw ſome rubs in the way if poſſible (aſide) Matrimony! ha! ha! ha! I preſume your Lordſhip will hardly drop ſo ſoon into a domeſtic life.
L. Charlo. Why 'tis ſomewhat early, as you obſerve, Colonel, but beauty and merit joined, are irreſiſtable; therefore I am quite impatient to hear your opinion; and I don't doubt its being impartial, as I flatter myſelf with your friendſhip.
Emme. (liſtening) Now for it.
[Page 36] Col. Your queſtion, my Lord, is ſomewhat peculiar; however, to be ingenuous, I think the Lady might make a tolerable decent kind of a citizen's wife; but I am afraid that quality would ſit very aukwardly upon her.
Emme. A very hopeful beginning, truly.
L. Charlo. You ſurprize me, Colonel!
Col. Beſides, ſhe lives in ſuch a queer odd ſort of a family, that your Lordſhip would find any approaches very diſagreeable, unleſs there was a much greater ſhare of beauty to reward your pains.
Emme. Beyond bearing! deceitful villain!
L. Charlo. So then ſhe's not handſome?
Col. But very middling, I aſſure your Lordſhip.
Emme. Perfidious—blind wretch!
L. Charlo. How could my ſiſter be ſo egregiouſly miſtaken?
Col. So the bait will take, I hope; (aſide) why, my Lord, I imagine Lady Charlotte's good-nature, here got the better of her judgement; I have heard her profeſs a ſtrict friendſhip for Emmeline; beſides, your Lordſhip knows that beauty is not a recommendation of one female to another.
Emme. Still complimenting.
L. Charlo. Well, Colonel, as the caſe is ſo, I ſhall juſt pay her a ceremonious viſit to deliver my ſiſter's letter.
Col. Oons! if he ſees her all's over (aſide) letter, my Lord?
L. Charlo. Yes, one of introduction—if you will favour me with your company to her guardians, Colonel, I ſhall get away the ſooner?
Col. To her guardian's—to be ſure, my Lord— you honour me—but then, as I told your Lordſhip, it is ſuch a motley, unaccountable family, that you'll undoubtedly meet a very unpolite reception.
[Page 37] L. Charlo. Pray what are they who compoſe this extraordinary family?
Col. Why, my Lord, there's the old knight, made up of avarice, jealouſy, and rudeneſs—his Lady, Emmeline's ſiſter, a ſcatter-brained piece of inconſiſtent affectation—
Emme. So, ſo, my ſiſter has her ſhare too.
Col. And, ha! ha! ha! ha! an old widow, Sir Scrapeall's ſiſter, who fancy's herſelf a blooming beauty, and torments every thing in breeches that goes near the houſe; tho' ſhe's more like an antiquated tapeſtry figure than any animal of the preſent age.
L. Charlo. Ha! ha! ha! ha! a moſt hopeful ſociety indeed.
Col. So that I believe, if your Lordſhip would ſend Lady Charlotte's letter, it would do better than a viſit.
L. Charlo. Oh, by no means, for I promiſed to deliver it; beſides, I love curioſities—I preſume the citizen won't ſet his great dog at me, as to any thing elſe I can enjoy it for once—here—get the chariot ready.
Col. So, I have been lying ſo long to no purpoſe —this affair muſt end in a ſcrape, I ſee (aſide)
L. Charlo. Well, Colonel, ſhall I have the honour of your company to Sir Scrapeall's?
Col. I muſt beg your Lordſhip's excuſe; I am to call upon Sir Charles Prudent about this hour.
L. Charlo. Sir Charles Prudent—if I don't miſtake, I have heard of that gentleman's paying his addreſſes to my ſiſter; if he is ſeriouſly in love with her I pity him; for ſhe is now gone into the country upon a treaty of marriage.
Col. A treaty of marriage!
L. Charlo. Yes; and I believe it is entirely ſettled.
[Page 38] Col. So here's comfort for my friend too (aſide) my Lord I'll take my leave.
L. Charlo. Well, Colonel, I ſhall depend upon ſeeing you often.
Col. Certainly, my Lord—but it muſt not be as a rival. (aſide)
L. Charlo. Give me leave to wait on you Colonel.
Col. 'Tis needleſs ceremony, my Lord.
L. Charlo. Nay, I inſiſt upon it. Exit.
EMMELINE ſola.
Falſe man! how unguarded, how credulous are we women to take in the poiſon of flattery—this diſcovery of his baſeneſs, unexpected, and mortifying as it is, I muſt eſteem fortunate.
ENTER LADY CHARLOTTE.
Well, Emily, what think you of the Colonel now?
Emme. Think! why that he's like all men, treacherous and baſe.
L. Charlo. Come, child, I ſee this trial has put your heart into a horrid palpitation; but be comforted, I entertain a better opinion of your favourite than I did.
Emme. How, Lady Charlotte! after he could treat me ſo diſreſpectfully, ſo rudely; and in every article contradict what he has a thouſand times vowed and ſwore to me.
L. Charlo. Come, you muſt not judge unfavourably; if I can read countenances right, the thoughts of a rival alarm'd him more than a battery of cannon would.
Emme. But what could be the cauſe of his treating me ſo lightly?
L. Charlo. A ſtroke of policy to ſecure you to himſelf; 'tis very common in thoſe affairs, as well as thoſe of love, to affect an indifference for, or [Page 39] even to diſpraiſe thoſe things we like beſt—but come, I muſt be an aſſiduous lover of yours, ſo make haſte home, that I may viſit you in form— keep good ſpirits, and fear nothing.
Emme. My lord, your moſt obedient.
L. Char. Madam, your devoted ſlave—nay I muſt gallant you to your chair.
Emme. Ha! ha! ha! ha! Exeunt.
ENTER SIR SCRAPEALL and TIMOTHY.
Sir Scr. Four bottles of rum in punch, already! you aſtoniſh me Timothy!
Tim. And well I may, an like your worſhip, but, lackaday, Sir, how can it be otherwiſe, when that black fellow, the captain's mate, knocked off three pints of punch at a tip, as he called it.
Sir Scr. Would he had been tip'd into the ſea before he came here—but where's my wife—eh Timothy?
Tim. In the drawing-room, an like your worſhip, and has a poor, thin, ſhabby fellow in black with her.
Sir Scr. A poor, thin ſhabby fellow in black; what the miſchief buſineſs can ſhe have with him; by the deſcription, he's neither a gameſter, nor a horn-planter—eh Timothy?
Tim. Marry, I believe not Sir; but whatever the man is I fancy he's a little mad, for when I opened the door, the hinges creeking for want of oil, he ſtarted thus—
Sir. Scr. Take care of my gout, Timothy.
Tim.
Stared in my face wildly, and cried, hark!
Hark! how the grating hinges croak deſpair!
Sir Scr. Hinges and deſpair!—mad indeed!— and what has ſuch a creature to do here? we are all mad enough without him—eh Timothy?
Tim. Ah, Sir, it was not ſo in my good old Lady's time—no ſuch rantipole-doings; we might [Page 40] go to bed then at ten o'clock, and mind church twice of a Sunday, beſides all holidays; but now we are up five nights a week, and never ſee a church; I am made a ſlave in my old days, and am deſtroying both ſoul and body in your worſhip's ſervice; but you are a kind indulgent maſter, and if my old mi—mi—miſtreſs had lived—I ca—ca—cant help weeping when I think of her—oh—h—h.
Sir Scr. It is very true Timothy, very true; and tho' I did not ſhed a tear when Cicely died, I ca— ca—cant help it now oh—h—h—but what does all this ſignify; while we are weeping for grief, the cormorants, on ev'ry ſide, are devouring me up—eh—what fellow's this Timothy?
Tim. Oh, 'tis the madman, an like your worſhip.
ENTER CRAMBO.
Cram. Mirror of knighthood I am trebly yours.
Sir Scr. Quite lunatic, Timothy; well honeſt friend, what would you ſay to me?
Cram. That royal ſword ne'er dubb'd a worthier knight.
Sir Scr. Very likely, friend, very likely.
Cram. In ſhort, Sir, as common converſation ſounds more natural in proſe than blank verſe, though not ſo lofty; I ſhall give reſpite to the muſe, and tell you, Sir, in plain Engliſh, that I am a poet.
Sir Scr. A poet!—what's that friend?
Cram. How, Sir! don't you know what a poet is?
Sir Scr. No truly—do you Timothy?
Tim. Lackaday, Sir, not I.
Cram. Aſtoniſhing! then pray Sir what is it you do know!
Sir Scr. Why the nine figures, friend, the nine figures.
Cram. Low and mechanical, what are the nine [Page 41] figures to the nine muſes, from whom a poet deſcends? a poet, who gives life to inanimate things; harmonizes language; realizes ideas; calls back paſt time; conſtitutes heroes; immortalizes fame; deſtroys thouſands, rattles drums, ſounds trumpets, points ſpears, whets ſwords, ſprings mines, ſtorms towns, rouſes tempeſts, wrecks fleets, launches thunder, wings lightening— (during this rhapſody Sir Scrapeall and Timothy traverſe the ſtage, Crambo purſuing.)
Sir Scr. Stand between us, Timothy—the fit's on him.
Cram. In ſhort Sir, a poet is—is the moſt complicate, comprehenſive, and exalted character upon earth; and, Sir, I am the greateſt poet of the preſent age.
Sir Scr. If that is the caſe, I ſee plainly by your dreſs, what kind of a trade it is.
Cram. Ah, nothing at all, Sir; the immortal Homer begged his bread, yet is richer in fame than the opulent Croeſus—but to my buſineſs here, Sir; having been informed that a fav'rite domeſtic of your Lady's died lately, and that ſhe wiſhed to have an epitaph—
Sir Scr. How! an epitaph!
Cram. Yes, Sir, and I aſſure you it was originally written for a very promiſing young nobleman; but his avaricious parents not chuſing to pay the proper price, I have adapted it to Lady Brainleſs's domeſtic.
Sir Scr. Domeſtic! why I have had no death in my family theſe ſeven years, but a lap-dog.
Cram. And he, Sir, is the ſubject of my piece— her Ladyſhip approves it highly—I'll read it to you.
Sir Scr. You need not trouble yourſelf, friend— I wiſh he was gone, Timothy.
Tim. And I too, Sir.
Cram. Let me ſee—here—no that's my poem for [Page 42] the firſt ſon of Lord Stately, when he happens to be born—and this is my copy of verſes on beau Feathertop's miſtreſs, to paſs as his own—oh, here, here's the epitaph—now, now, Sir, be pleas'd to mind.
Stop paſſenger, who e'er thou art,
And taſte of grief the bitter ſmart;
While to your wounded ears I tell,
(mind, Sir, Proſopopoeia, the monument ſpeaks)
That Charmer's dead—of dogs the belle!
Truly pathetic!
Of niceſt judgement—pureſt taſte,
With every canine virtue graced;
The deſart world now cannot boaſt,
Such merit as in him is loſt.
there, Sir, there's an epitaph, might ſerve the greateſt man in the land, and the price no more than five guineas.
Sir. Scr. How! what! five guineas!
Cram. Yes, Sir, and it's richly worth twenty; nor would I take leſs, but that I hope to have the honour of writing epitaphs for you, Sir, and all your family.
Sir Scr. How! before we are dead!
Cram. Oh, Sir, nothing commoner; we never wait for events—we are prepar'd for every thing; I have occaſional panagerics by me to ſerve all the victories, heroes, beauties, and patriots of a whole century; I have an excellent ſtock I aſſure you.
Sir. Scr. Go, go, I have no buſineſs for a ſcribbler.
Cram. A ſcribbler! ha!—oh moſt indignant term.
Sir Scr. Timothy, ſhew the man out.
Cram.
Is this for one, that treads Parnaſſus hill?
That quaffs of Helicon's inſpiring ſtreams?
Melpomene, Apollo, and Calliope;
[Page 43] Urania: all the tuneful tribe, unite
In juſt revenge of your inſulted bard.
Sir Scr. Hey day! Parnaſſus hill! that I ſuppoſe is a cant phraſe for Ludgate hill, where they pick pockets; and theſe are his accomplices who are to cut our throats, perhaps—a terrible dog— Timothy, turn him out.
Tim. He'll mind your worſhip moſt; beſides, Sir, ſuppoſe he ſhould bite, and make a poet of me too.
Sir Scr. Then call brother Starboard, he'll do it at once—and that will bring him from the punch too.
Cram.
Say ſhall the guineas be produced or not?
Tremble, Sir Knight, at an incenſed muſe,
That brandiſhes a pen full fraught with gall.
Sir Scr. Ay, ay, 'tis ſo; I thought the fellow wanted to rob me.
ENTER STARBORD (ſinging) with a punch bowl.
Early in the morning, the ninetenth of may,
For ever be recorded the glorious ninety-two:
yo, ho; what ſquall now, brother Brainleſs?
Sir Scr. Why here's an impudent fellow won't go out of my houſe, and I want you to turn him out.
Starb. What this here weather-beaten thing?— ſtrike my topſails he looks as if he had been on ſhort allowance a whole Weſt-India voyage: why you would not have me give ſuch a crazy yawl as this a broadſide? that would be juſt the ſame, as thof a firſt rate ſhould fire into a dung-boat.
Sir Scr. Ah, he's a terrible fellow for all that.
Starb. Say you ſo? meſs then he muſt have ſomething concealed under hatches; he muſt depend upon cloſe quarters, like a Newcaſtle cat; he has nothing above board but the enſigns of [Page 44] poverty: I'll hail him—yo, ho, what cheer, what cheer, meſs-mate.
Cram.
Who e'er thou art, moſt inconſid'rate man,
By thus intruding on my reverie,
Thou haſt depriv'd me of the nobleſt thought.
Starb. What thought—ſpring my bowſprit I never think at all; but here's brother Brainleſs ſays as how you loom like one of thoſe ſmall craft, that lie under the land to ſee what they can ſurprize.
Sir Scra. Ay, I do ſay ſo; now tell brother Starboard what and who you are?
Cram.
Truth cannot hurt where innocence defends
And the foul breath of ſcandal I defy,
Though belch'd from Erebus and Stygian gloom;
Therefore be told, ſince you deſire to know,
Crambo's my name, and poetry my trade.
Starb. Zoons! brother! don't make ſo many tacks when you may ſail right a-head—Poetry, that's writing of ghoſts, bloody murthers, and ballads.
Cram. In lyric verſes I have written ſongs.
Starb. Say you ſo; ſlice me but I like a good ſong; I had a poet on board my ſhip once, I can't ſay he was able, for he could ſcarce hand, reef, and ſteer; but he was a damn'd rum duke: ſo we uſed to clap him on the capſtern, as they do monkeys on board Eaſt-India ſhips, to play tricks and make us merry—here, meſs-mate, ſtow in ſome punch.
Cram. Punch is the earthly nectar that I like.
drinks.
Sir Scra. So, ſo, here's fine work, another cormorant introduced. (aſide)
Starb. Hark you, brother poet, could not you make a good joculous ſong upon my fat landlady [Page 45] at the punch-bowl? or upon my ſhip the Charming Kate?
Cram. It may be done, altho' a barren theme.
Starb. Enough, enough, put it upon the ſtocks, rigg it with a merry tune, and we'll launch it in ten gallons of flip, to waſh down ſome good beef and biſcuit, or a diſh of bubble and ſqueek: what ſay you to that, heart of oak? meſs, you ſeem to want ſome ballaſt in your hold—go to brother Brainleſs's locker, and take in ſome, or you'll overſet the firſt ſharp gale.
Cram. The epitaph, Sir Knight, you will not have?
Sir. Scr. Begone, ſirrah, you and your balderdaſh together.
Starb. Avaſt, avaſt, what epitaph?
Sir Scr. Why truly one for my wife's lap-dog; and the unconcionable knave would have five guineas for it.
Starb. Five guineas! meſs, that's top and top-gallant—no, no, brother, muſt not carry too much head-ſail neither;—however, if you can make it ſerve my wife, who lies at anchor in Stepney church-yard, and me, when I ſteer to the ſame port, I'll tip you one piece towards getting a better main-ſheet, than this here tattered piratical flag.
Cram.
To what an ebb, oh genius art thou come?
It ſhall be done—what is thy conſort's name?
Starb. Conſort, prithee keep thy helm ſteady, and don't veer out more cable than needs: my wife's name was Margery, and mine Dick Starboard.
Cram.
Horridly diſſonant—to-morrow's ſun
Shall not to Thetis liquid lap deſcend,
Ere you receive the epitaph and ſong. going
Starb. Harkee, bring too at the pantry, and take in ſome ſea-ſtore—yo ho, Timothy, here fill the bucket again—but not ſo much water—Sblood, [Page 46] if this laſt tift had been in Greenland, we ſhould have had nothing to ſwallow but gobbets of ice in five minutes.
Sir Scr. Oh, mercy upon me! (aſide)
Starb. Come, brother, ſteer this courſe; we'll make a Virginia trip, take in ſome pipes of tobacco; touch at Jamaica for a few gallons of rum, and then make ſail for the land of Nod.—I expect my boatſwain here in leſs than half a glaſs; he ſhall crack ſome forecaſtle jeſts, and haul up our hearts with a bowling of ſea-wit to the top-gallant maſt of jocularity—come, you being a heavy ſailer I'll take you in tow. [Pulls Sir Scrapeal]
Sir Scr. Softly, ſoftly, good brother Starboard, I'll follow.
Starb. Nay, nay, an we don't make way a-head we ſhall loſe the tide—ſo bear a hand. Exit.
Sir Scr. I ſhall have no head, hand, heart, or any thing elſe to bear ſoon, at this rate—ay, I have it of all ſides—my precious wife is faſhion mad, my doating ſiſter courting mad, my ſea brother punch mad, my ward husband mad, and I myſelf horn mad—ſure as pretty a ſet as ever met in one family; and for our comforts, I believe all incurable: lackaday what a miſerable wretch am I!—I want nothing to compleat me but poverty and the tooth-ach.
END of the THIRD ACT.

2.4. ACT IV.

[Page 47]

2.4.1. SCENE I.

SIR CHARLES and the COLONEL.

DEAR Colonel, this unexpected rival of yours adds to my own perplexity; but from the idea I have of your miſtreſs, I think your happineſs in no danger.

Col. There it is; every man thinks his own caſe worſt; miſchief on it, I am chiefly vexed, that after ſuch experience I ſhould let any attachment have power to perplex me—however I threw what objections I could in the way.
Sir Char. How ſo?
Col. Why I gave as unfavourable an idea as I could of the family—nay, went ſo far as to contradict my heart in regard of Emmeline's beauty and merit—but, Sir Charles, in my confuſion I had forgot to tell you that Lady Charlotte's expedition into the country is upon a treaty of marriage.
Sir Char. A treaty of marriage! with who?
Col. That his Lordſhip did not particularize, but ſaid the affair was ſettled.
Sir Char. Sdeath! it cannot be! what, after permitting my addreſſes with moſt engaging condeſcenſion; after intimating I was not diſagreeable to her, and giving delicate hopes of a happy iſſue; after all this to change without the ſmalleſt pretext of offence, or aſſigning the ſlighteſt reaſon.
Col. So, my friend, it appears at preſent—you know the brother could not have any view, and he mentioned it with a tender ſenſe of your diſappointment.
Sir Charl. My diſappointment! he ſhould rather have felt for his ſiſter's moſt egregious falſhood [Page 48] —if ſhe has jilted me I'll expoſe her publickly.
Col. I am afraid, Sir Charles, that revenge will light upon yourſelf—faſhion and ſpirit will only laugh at your ſincere eaſy diſpoſition.
Sir Char. Shall I therefore tamely bear ſuch an inſult to my heart and affections? if I can't prevent the match I'll at leaſt render it as diſagreeable as may be; I'll take poſt for the Earl's tomorrow morning, lay my previous claim before him, upbraid her inconſtancy, and, if the new lover ſhould have ſpirit enough to appear, convince him I am not that commodious paſſive utenſil ſhe would make of me.
Col. I applaud your reſolution; and if you have any occaſion for an auxiliary ſword you know where to find it: in the mean time I think you had better find Lord Frederic and receive fuller information from him; beſides, if you can detain him for the evening it may be of ſingular ſervice to me.
Sir Char. The latter motive alone is ſufficient to excite my diligence; for, reſt aſſured, dear Colonel, that whatever my croſs ſtars deſign for me, I heartily wiſh your affairs may feel the influence of a propitious planet.
Col. And be ſatisfied, Sir Charles, my happineſs muſt be incomplete without yours; therefore let us hope the beſt on both ſides. Exeunt ſeverally.
RUELLE conducting FUSEE.
Ruelle. Pleaſe to come this way, Sir, and Mrs. Buſy will wait on you immediately.
Fuſee. Very well, I ſhall attend the lady's leiſure, child, la, la, la, (ſings)
Ruelle. What an impudent fellow is this (aſide) your honour won't be angry if I aſk a queſtion?
Fuſee. No, not at all, my dear.
[Page 49] Ruelle. Pray did your honour ever hear of a brother of mine, one Thomas Ruelle, a ſoldier?
Fuſee. No, child; nor was it at all likely I ſhould, unleſs he had been in my own company; we officers ſeldom know any thing of the private, but that they are men, or look like ſuch; we who bear commiſſions are entirely among ourſelves, my dear, la, la, la, la (ſings)
Ruelle. Ha! ha! ha! ha! I can hold no longer— well ſaid captain Fuſee; why, ſirrah, could you imagine that fine cloaths, a bag wig, and quality airs, could hide that ſweet gunpowder face from my knowledge?
Fuſee. Pox o'this diſcerning jade, I ſhall infallibly be blown up (aſide)
Ruelle. Bleſs me, Captain! does your well-tried aſſurance fail you—pray what ſcheme, what military trick is your honour upon in this diſguiſe?
Fuſee. Since 'tis in vain to diſſemble, I'll e'en tell you—my maſter wanting to get the old lady of this houſe off his hands, has put me into maſquerade —I have had but one conference, and yet, by the help of mother Sly, want nothing but a parſon to finiſh the affair.
Ruelle. Mighty well! and what then becomes of all your fine ſpun proteſtations to me, Mr. Saucebox?
Fuſee. Why you know, Mrs. Ruelle, Pyramus and Thiſbe never loved ſo well; but you was allways throwing dependance and poverty in my teeth, ſo I thought it high time to mend myſelf.
Ruelle. A very fine come-off indeed; but I'll ſpoil your maſter's project, and your's, Mr. Impudence, I will, and diſcover all this moment.
Fuſee. Nay, dear Ruelle, don't be ſo cruel as that neither.
Ruelle. Dear Ruelle—not ſo much familiarity, puppy, you and your maſter are a couple of deceitful [Page 50] forſworn rakehells, and ought to be expoſed.
Fuſee. What will nothing pacify you? nothing bridle that harmonious tongue?
Ruelle. No, wretch—not all the eloquence you have.
Fuſee. Why then let my maſter ſpeak—he deſired me to preſent his compliments and this (gives a purſe) the firſt I had no ſcruple to give, but the latter I thought to have ſaved.
Ruelle. Very honeſt indeed, noble captain, and like the reſt of your tricks—let me ſee—hum— hum—ten guineas! why ah, theſe are compliments worth receiving, and ſhows the Colonel knows how to ſpeak moſt feelingly—Yet, after all, muſt I not only loſe ſo ſweet a ſwain, but, as I have read in ſome play, be made myſelf the inſtrument? muſt I not only die, but plunge the dagger in my heart myſelf? this is indeed refining on calamity.
Fuſee. Tender loving ſoul—I never thought her ſo fond as this—poor pretty ſoft rogue, let me kiſs off thy tears.
Ruelle. Tears!—ha! ha! ha! ha! not ſo fooliſh as that neither, good Mr. Captain; and ſince your ſincerity is brought to light, I'll ſhow you that I was prepared againſt it.
Fuſee. What does the jade mean?
Ruelle. Mean, why I mean there's a ſea captain, worth ten thouſand pounds, my maſter's brother-in-law, whoſe heart I have ſo engaged, by helping him to ſome bowls of punch more than Sir Scrapeall allowed, that he has given me ſeveral kind glances, ſqueezed my hands almoſt to a jelly; and ſworn, if I have a mind, he'll get a parſon to ſplice us together to-morrow morning.
Fuſee. Oh, ſnap him by all means; and when we have made the double match, you and I can be on better terms than ever, Mrs, Ruelle.
[Page 51] Ruelle. Stand off, jackanapes, and learn a proper diſtance to your betters—you and your old madam, muſt not put yourſelf on a footing with a real Captain's Lady; for my meſs-mate, as he calls himſelf, though he's but a ſcurvy original, has the recommendation of a fine gilded frame to ſet him off—I ſhall ſo gall madam Fuſee by taking place of her—for I am reſolved, when once Mrs Starboard, to hold my own; to pay as many viſits, to wear as fine cloaths, and have as grand a route as any city lady of them all.
Fuſee Hoity toity! what whirligigs fortune has planted in the wench's head already.
Ruelle. Captain, to your arms, the General's at hand. Exit.
Fuſee. Sblood! this miſtreſs of mine has the ſame effect upon me that a labelled bottle has upon the ſtomach of a ſick man;—but I muſt take the doſe to cure the conſumptive ſtate of my pockets.
ENTER MRS. BUSY.
Captain, your very moſt humble ſervant.
Fuſee. Madam, your eternal ſlave.
Mrs. B. Lard, Captain, I am moſt infinitely concerned at the rudeneſs of having made you wait ſo long, and ſcarce know how to apologize; but my poor neighbour, Mrs. Dolefull, who has a ſad fellow of a huſband, came to conſult me, and would not let me ſtir.
Fuſee. Madam, though your abſence to me is worſe than riding the wooden horſe, ſtanding upon the picket, being tied up to the halberts, or even running the gantelope, upon ſo good-natured an occaſion of delay as comforting a diſtreſſed neighbour, I muſt be not only ſatisfied, but pleaſed alſo at the beauty of your mind, as much as I am captivated with the beauty of your perſon, madam.
[Page 52] Mrs. B. Bleſs me, Sir, the force and delicacy of your compliment, makes me bluſh; I profeſs it does—yet who would ever truſt a man after what my good friend Mrs. Sly related of the Colonel.
Fuſee. Oh, name him not, madam, the young fellow is indeed plauſible enough, but nothing of a ſoldier except the title—good friends, no merit; and as to gallantry, I know he makes it his buſineſs to boaſt of favours from the ladies.
Mrs. B. Nay, Sir, I defy him there, he could never boaſt of favours from me but in an honourable way—I don't flaunt about with profligate young fellows—no—I act with diſcretion—I have an unſullied character to ſupport—ay, ay—if ſome forward flirting minx's of the age, would take half ſo much care of reputations as they do of complexions, there would not be ſuch wicked and ſenſual doings.
Fuſee. Very true, madam—raviſhing ſentiments —killing eyes—let me ſwear by the horrors of war, that though I have had my hat taken off by a four and twenty pounder; though my beard has been cloſe ſinged by the flaſh of a cannon; tho' my teeth have been picked with bayonets; though a whole platoon of muſquet balls has paſſed thro' my body; and though I have been three times blown up on the forlorn hope; yet never did my heart feel ſuch palpitation as thoſe charms have cauſed.
Mrs. B. Oh dear, that's a moſt powerful impreſſion —well, military gentlemen undergo great hardſhip—and I preſume you are forced to kill people in your own defence, Sir?
Fuſee. Certainly, madam—why now in the battle of—of—pſhaw, pox, I have been in ſo many I don't know which it was—but this ſingle arm demoliſhed two French Marqui's, four Counts, [Page 53] and above a dozen rank and file; but ſuch bloody deeds are at an end; the promiſe of your fair hand, madam, has made me determine to throw up my commiſſion.
Mrs B. Obliging and tender to the laſt degree.
Fuſee. But I ſhan't quit the ſervice of my country entirely; I have a borough waiting for me, and I believe I ſhall accept of it—but, madam, ſay when ſhall the ſpecial licence, I have obtained, take effect.
Mrs. B. You are ſo zealous, Sir, but ſince you are determined e'en when you pleaſe.
Fuſee. To-morrow morning then, my fair, the chaplain of our regiment ſhall attend, and I'll fly upon the wings of love to give you notice.
Mrs. B. Dear Sir, you are ſo irreſiſtably perſuading —I ſhall certainly attend your call.
Fuſee. Tranſporting ſound!
Mrs. B. Bleſs me, I hear ſomebody coming; and I would keep all ſnug till things are done.
Fuſee. Madam your words plant ſilence on my lips—ten thouſand ſoft adieus.
Mrs. B. The ſame let me return—remember to-morrow Exeunt ſeverally.
LADY BRAINLESS meeting the COLONEL.
L. Brain. Colonel you are welcome.
Col. Your Ladyſhip's moſt obedient—pray, madam, was not that Lord Frederic who parted from you juſt now?
L. Brain. The ſame, Sir.
Col. So then here's anticipation againſt me. (aſide)
L. Brain. I profeſs, Colonel, your coming has given me great pleaſure; I began to almoſt deſpair of you; and my route would have been as inſipid in your abſence as a humdrum ſociety of country-folks ſet to cards in a winter's evening.
[Page 54] Col. Your Ladyſhip does me particular honour.
L. Brain. Well, after all this matrimony is a very ſad thing — Siberia, I think you called it, did not you, Colonel?—notwithſtanding which, my ſiſter I believe will ſhortly travel to that deſart clime—well, I hope ſhe may find it a pleaſanter ſpot than I have done.
Col. Your ſiſter, madam!
L. Brain. Yes, truly—Lord Frederic, tho' his firſt viſit, I find has hinted ſomething that way, and my ſiſter ſeems to have no objection.
Col. 'Sdeath! 'tis as I feared (aſide) —this is a very ſudden affair indeed, madam; but perhaps the match may not be ſo agreeable to Sir Scrapeall, and ſhe can't marry without his conſent.
L. Brain. That's true, as you ſay, Colonel; but I believe his generous worſhip conſiders her as a ſaleable piece of goods, and would be glad to make a profitable affair of his conſent.
Col. That hint may be of uſe to me (aſide) I ſhould hardly have ſuppoſed your Ladyſhip's ſiſter capable of ſo precipitate a compliance.
L. Brain. Why its a little out of the common courſe, but the impreſſions of love are lightning-winged, and very variable in their flight—witneſs thoſe tender expreſſions, and the profuſion of regard you have laviſhed upon me, Colonel— though any woman might be vain of the conqueſt, yet I never ſought it: however I am really concerned you ſhould be ſo much in love with me; but what can I poſſibly do?
Col. A hopeful theme for my perplexity (aſide) I am much debtor to your Ladyſhip's humanity, and muſt be content to ſigh away my paſſion in abſence.
L. Brain. Abſence; nay that looks like abſolute deſpair —and deſpair is a very ſad thing—I ſhould grieve to be the cauſe of it—come, who [Page 55] knows, Colonel, my agreeable lord and maſter can't live always, and when he's gone—
Col. I wiſh I was gone with all my heart (aſide) your Ladyſhip is ſo much in the right, that hope, tho' ever ſo diſtant, beams cheering rays; but if Lord Frederic ſhould prevail, and blaſt—
L. Brain. Lord Frederic! why you know Colonel, he addreſſes my ſiſter.
Col. True, madam—he does ſo—I—I miſtook —you'll excuſe my confuſion.
L. Brain. Poor man, I proteſt I pity him, I never ſaw him ſo much affected before, but I can't help the bewitching power of my eyes (aſide) — nay, Colonel, be comforted, within the bounds of honour you may command me.
Col. I can't in the leaſt doubt your Ladyſhip's goodneſs, but ardent love is impatient of delay and fearful of defeat, therefore if your ſiſter ſhould reſolve to check my wiſhes and favour a rival.
L. Brain. My ſiſter—you don't imagine ſhe ſhall direct my choice.
Col. No, madam—I did not mean that—but then in caſe—I ſay that if your Ladyſhip—a— oons, I don't know what to ſay.
L. Brain. I ſee my ſtaying does but perplex him the more—humanity inſtructs me to withdraw that he may have time to recover—well, Colonel, perhaps the company will compoſe your ſpirits and baniſh the train of impertinent thoughts which ſo buſily intrude upon your quiet—I'll leave you with Lord Frederic till we ſit down to cards, and I muſt poſitively inſiſt upon your being of my party. Exit.
Col. Pox o'party, cards, and company; every moment till I ſee Emmeline is torture.
ENTER LADY CHARLOTTE.
L. Charlo. Well, Colonel, I muſt ſay you are a gentleman of very difficult taſte, for, as I remember, [Page 56] you told me that Emmeline was very middling in point of beauty, now I think her exquiſite [...]y charming.
Col. It may be ſo, my Lord.
L. Charlo. may be ſo—nay it is ſo, Colonel— I profeſs myſelf the Lady's champion, my ſword is devoted to her ſervice as well as my heart, and I ſhall eſteem any inſinuation againſt her charms as high treaſon againſt the queen of beauty.
Col. Your Lordſhip is very rapturous upon the occaſion, and I don't doubt but your ſword is as ready as you ſpeak it; however, ſince matters are come ſo far, I muſt take the liberty to inform you that the Lady does not ſtand in need of your knight errantry, for I have profeſſed my ſervice, which having been accepted, I cannot now decline.
L. Charlo. Hey day! why certainly we are got to croſs purpoſes; what a perſon of Colonel Parapet's taſte interfere with ſuch an odd family as this, and devote himſelf to a young Lady who can only make a tolerable citizen's wife, on whom quality would ſit very aukwardly? ha! ha! ha! ha! now I ſhall take the pains to poliſh this rough diamond.
Col. Your Lordſhip is facetious, but to daſh your lordſhip's hopes, know that a previous claim to the Lady's favour has been made by me, and countenanced by her, which I preſume, my Lord, will put an end to your pretenſions.
L. Charlo. Put an end to my pretenſions! as ſoon to my life, Colonel.
Col. If that be your reſolution, my Lord, I know but of one deciſion—you have, in appearance, an excellent ſword, and I cannot doubt either your Lordſhip's ſkill or courage in the uſe of it.
L. Charlo. A very rational method of argument, truly; right military logic, and in regard of us young fellows may be ſalutary, our conſtitutions are too ſanguine, and breathing a vain muſt be [Page 57] uſeful, ſo I ſhan't baulk your reſolution—come Sir. (draws.)
Col. Spoke with the generous pleaſantry of true courage, and ſtrict honour, it will be ſome pleaſure, if I ſhould fall, to fall by ſo brave a hand (draws)
L. Charlo. Let me warn you, Colonel, to keep at a diſtance; for there is not a man in England could ſtand long before me at cloſe quarters.
Col. You are particularly generous, my Lord, but I am prepared for all events.
L. Charlo. Very well, Sir—come on then—yet hold—two points we have forgot: it won't be ſo decent to throw the family into confuſion with our private animoſity, and if in this combat the Lady's favourite, which ever it is, ſhould fall, the conqueror will have no cauſe for trumph; ſo that being ſomewhat between hawk and buzzard, I think the Lady ſhould be conſulted; and if ſhe declines an explanation we can but appeal to our ſwords at laſt.
Col. True, my Lord, and on that footing let me have the honour to call myſelf your Lordſhip's friend.
L. Charlo. I cordially embrace your propoſal, and here the Lady comes moſt opportunely; if you'll open the caſe you ſhall have all the juſtice imaginable.
ENTER EMMELINE.
Emme. Colonel, your humble ſervant.
Col. Madam, your moſt obedient—I am ſorry there ſhould be any occaſion to deſire an explanation of what, for particular reaſons, I have endeavoured to conceal; but his Lordſhip informing me of acl [...] he either has or intends to put in for your favour, I am under the neceſſity, madam, of requeſting that you will do juſtice to the previous right I aſſert.
[Page 58] Emme. Right! Colonel!—I proteſt you aſtoniſh me! I am an entire ſtranger to the meaning of this formal addreſs.
Col. A ſtranger, madam!
Emme. Quite ſo I aſſure you, Sir—you talk of right, and favour, and juſtice; but upon what cauſe, and between what parties I really cannot conceive.
Col. How, madam!
Emme. And if I did, not having been uſed to the law 'tis very probable I might not be able to decide; however the curioſity incident to my ſex, induces me to requeſt an explanation.
Col. I am thunderſtruck!—is it poſſible, madam, you can need an explanation?
L. Charlo. Come, come, Colonel, this affected ſurpriſe, and theſe diſtant inſinuations are unfair, I'll deal more candidly, and ſet the Lady right at onee—you muſt know, madam, that happening to mention the impreſſion your charms have made upon my heart, this gentleman, my friend, declared that he had already preferred his addreſſes—
Emme. What! his addreſſes to me!
L. Char. Yes, madam, and that you had received them moſt favourably.
Emme. Favourably—is it poſſible you could advance this, Colonel!
Col. Why, madam, did you not?
L. Charlo. So upon this ſuppoſition, the colonel very kindly propoſed his cutting my throat, or my cutting his; and if you had not appeared, madam, like the dove with the olive branch, I know not what might have been the conſequence, for our reſolutions ſeemed very terrible on both ſides.
Col. Your Lordſhip is very fanciful and merry; but I am not in a mood of temper to bear ſneers at preſent.
L. Charlo. Nay now, Colonel, you are quite [Page 59] too ſevere, that you'll neither allow me to love p [...]attle nor laugh, ha! ha! ha! ha!
Col. Fire and fury!
Emme. So, ſo, ſo, now the myſtery begins to clear up; and I perceive that what appeared rudeneſs is merely the unhappy effects of frenzy.
Col. Sdeath! madam! frenzy?
Emm [...]. Moſt certainly; could any thing elſe have introduced ſuch romantic chimaer [...]s, my Lord?
Col. Madam, this affected ignorance of what you too well know, may prove inſincerity, but cannot add to the reputation of candor and judgement —choice is undoubtedly free; but that choice once fixed, does not admit of alteration without ſome material reaſon.
Emme. Ay, there, Sir, I entirely come in with your opinion had any ſuch choice been made: but I ſee you are quite too violent for argument, therefore I think it will be moſt prudent to retire.
Col. Hold, madam.
L. Charlo. Nay, no violence.
Col. Sdeath! Sir, dare you interpoſe? (draws)
Emme. Ah! (ſcreams)
L. Charlo. Sheath your ſword, Colonel, I ſhan't fight a lunatic, poſitively.
ENTER LADY BRAINLESS and MRS BUSY haſtily.
L. Brain. Bleſs me what was the reaſon of that ſcream? —a ſword drawn—ah, I ſhall certainly faint.
Mrs. B. The Colonel—my blood boils at the fellow.
Col. So, I ſhall have the whole crew upon me, (aſide)
L. Brain. For heav'ns ſake, Emmeline, what is the meaning of all this?
Emme. Only the Colonel, ſiſter, who becauſe I [Page 60] would not confeſs being in love with him, very heroically intended to murther his Lordſhip.
L. Brain. What! you in love with him?
Emme. Yes, truly, and talks of having paid his addreſſes in form; aſſerts they were favourably received; and charges me with inſincerity.
L. Brain. What were his profeſſions to make a cat's paw of me—my pride is hurt (aſide)
Mrs. B. Ah, have a care child—he's a moſt dangerous fellow, he would have impoſed upon me if he could.
Col Yes, I ſhall have it now, and ſoundly too. (aſide)
L. Brain. How, Sir! did you make love to my ſiſter?
Col. To your ſiſter, madam—
Mrs. B. Did not you ſigh, and vow, and ſwear to me perjur'd wretch?
Col. To you!—
L. Brain. What was that your delicate taſte?
Mrs. B. Where was your diſcretion.
Col. Oons! I had no diſcretion to run myſelf into ſuch a—
L. Brain. Such a what, Sir?
Mrs. B. Ay, Sir, ſuch a what?
Col. Why, ſuch, ſuch—'ſdeath! no words can paint my condition.
L. Brain. Have not you attempted to aſperſe my ſiſter?
Mrs. B. Did you not ſtrive to delude me?
L. Charlo. I find you are a general lover, Colonel, ha! ha! ha! ha!
Col. And what then, my Lord?
L. Brain Why then you are a deceitful treacherous hypocrite.
Mrs. B. A baſe, deſigning, ſcurvy fellow.
Col. I am infinitely obliged to you, ladies.
L. Brain. You are an inveigler of hearts.
[Page 61] Mrs. B. A breaker of vows.
L. Brain. A vile betrayer.
Mrs B. A monſter of prey.
Col. Mighty well, mighty well, truly; I have brought myſelf to a fine paſs here; bubbled of my miſtreſs, jeer'd by a coxcomb, baited like a bear by a couple of—well ladies I hope your lungs may be the better for this breathing whatever my ears may have ſuffered; for you, madam, who have ſo very ſhort a memory, or ſuch a weathercock heart, I have only to repent the knowledge of ſo much beauty and falſhood; his facetious Lordſhip I may meet in a fitter time and place. (going.)
Mrs. B. Hold, hold, Sir.
Col. What for you to begin again! 'ſdeath! I'd ſooner ſtand at the mouth of a charged cannon with a lighted match at the touch-hole. runs off.
L. Brain. Poſitively he ſhan't eſcape ſo eaſy. Exit.
Mrs. B. Eaſy; no, no, he ſhall have t'other ſaſarara before he gets off. Exit.
L. Charlo. Ha! ha! ha! ha! let's follow and have a little more of it.
Emme. With all my heart—tho' I almoſt begin to pity him. Exeunt.
ENTER STARBOARD, RUELLE leading him,
Ruelle. Bleſs me, Sir! have a care—I'm afraid you'll fall.
Starb. No, no, my little pilot—you know the ſong—ſteddy, boys, ſteddy—thof I do carry too much canvas, and ſail gunwale too, in a rolling ſea I ſhall weather the gale—but ſtrike my topſails, what are all theſe freſh-water paſſengers that are come aboard our ſhip, we ſha'nt have ſtowage for them.
Ruelle. You mean, Sir, the company that are coming to my Lady's route.
[Page 62] Starb. Route what's that?
Ruelle. Why, Sir, a great many ladies and gentlemen who meet to play at cards all night.
Starb. An that be their trim, ſpring my bowſprit, if I were maſter of the veſſel but I'd heave all ſuch live lumber overboard—but what ſay you, my little pinace, to that ſame voyage I was talking about? an you like it I'll heave out a hawſer of love, and take you in tow for the port of matrimony.
Ruelle. La, Sir, I am afraid you only want to delude me; I have heard ſuch ſtrange things of you gentlemen.
Starb. Gentlemen! ſtrike my flag not ſo bad as that neither—I'm a ſailor, my heart of gold, not like one of your land pirates, who fight under falſe colours, and trade to horn-fair; we at ſea ſtick to our ſweethearts as we do to our ſhips, as long as they can ſwim—ſo if you like to ſwing in my hammock ſay the word; I'll cruize for a parſon tomorrow morning, that ſhall ſplice us faſt together as if we were at moorings with the beſt bower and cable of a firſt—
Ruelle. To be ſure, Sir, you are very good; and I muſt own have won my heart; but I am afraid that Sir Scrapeall will be angry.
Starb. And what then? think you he's to have ſteering of me?—blow me up, Dick Starboard has not been ſo many leagues on the ſalt ſea to be commanded by any land-lubber of them all.
Ruelle. Yes, Sir, but your family may think it ſuch a diſgrace; and I would not have it ſaid for the whole world—you know, Sir, I am but a waiting-woman.
Starb. A waiting-woman! and what then? board me I was but a ſwabber myſelf, ſo there's family for family, ho! ho! ho!—meſs 'tis not always ſafe to ſail in your gilded ginger-bread pleaſure-boats [Page 63] —I like your model and trim; and look, d'ye ſee, if you'll chuſe me maſter, I'll navigate you while there's compaſs, helm, and ſea-ſtore.
Ruelle. Indeed, Sir, I don't know what to ſay to you; you are ſo fond, and ſo engaging, and ſo ſincere, that, excuſe my bluſhes—I can't poſſibly refuſe you any thing.
Starb. Why that's well ſaid—this ſeals my commiſſion (kiſſes her and ſtumbles forward) avaſt, avaſt, meſs I ſhipp'd a head-ſea on my poop there, and had much ado to come to rights again—well, my little frigate, I'll clear out of the canonical cuſtomhouſe, and ſteer away with you for Merryland to-morrow morning—wind and weather permitting —meſs thou ſhalt be rigg'd as fine, and ſwagger with any quality yacht of them all; and ſo, d'yee ſee, if you'll toſs me up ſuch another can of flip as I had juſt now, and make a trip with it to my hammock, when its my watch I'll do the ſame for you.
Ruelle. Sir, I thought you might want ſomething, ſo I kept the keys; Sir Scrapeall ordered Timothy to take them to bed, but I inſiſted on having them.
Starb. Well ſaid, again, my little trimmer— run me aſhore an it had not been for thee I might have lived on rope's ends and four ſmall beer in this here ſhip; but choak my pumps, and ſcuttle my bottom, an ſhe'll ſwim long—ſo many maſters and never a ſteerſman, ſhe'll ſoon be on the ſhallows. (going joſtles the ſide wing) So, ſo, bring the land marks to bear Dick Starboard, and double the head-lands, ſeaman like.
Ruelle. There, Sir, you are at your chamber-door.
Starb. Enough, enough, enough, I'll caſt anchor [Page 64] in Slumber-bay in leſs than half a glaſs.—Yo, ho, meſs-mate, bear a hand, and don't forget the flip, d'ye hear. Exit.
END of the FOURTH ACT.

2.5. ACT V.

2.5.1. SCENE I.

SIR CHARLES and the COLONEL.

HA! ha! ha! ha! a pretty ſituation you had got into among the females; however, my diſcovery of the pretended Lord Frederic, has occaſioned a conſiderable revolution in your countenance, Colonel.

Col. Ay, and in my heart too, Sir Charles; but I am impatient to know the method of your diſcovery.
Sir Cha. Know then I went in ſearch of Lord Frederic, and being told he was gone to Lady Brainleſs's route, I followed; where I was ſo thoroughly mortified with an account of Lady Charlotte's marriage, that to collect my ſpirits, I retired and took a moon-light turn in the garden.
Col. A proper place, and fit ſeaſon, for melancholy reflection.
Sir Cha. I had not been long there when her maſquerading Ladyſhip, and Emmeline, came down a neighbouring walk, enjoying aloud the perplexity they had given us; encouraged by the ſubject, I drew near, and received conviction that your rival is no other than my miſtreſs, who concluded with remarking, that ſhe thought they had played upon us ſufficiently.
Col. Yes, truly, I think they have; ſo long that I began to be moſt horridly out of tune—but [Page 65] prithee what could be at the bottom of this Quixote ſcheme?
Sir Cha. To gain ſome aſſurance of our ſincerity, which, after laughing at us a little, they ſeemed ſatisfied with.
Col. Dear Sir Charles, let me embrace you, ſo prudent and ſpirited a deſign makes the little gipſies ten times dearer than ever—did you let them know the diſcovery?
Sir Cha. Not for the world—I haſtened from the garden, joined the company ſome minutes before them, ſhook off all concern, was unuſually gay, and gallanted Lady Betty Ombre ſo warmly, that poor Lord Charles was, in his turn, utterly diſcontented.
Col. Ha! ha! ha! ha! braviſſimo! that was turning the tables upon them with ſtrict juſtice; and I think it would not be amiſs to have a little more of it
Sir Char. By all means, I ſought you for that purpoſe, I am to call at Sir Scrapeall's this morning, and would have you drop in occaſionally; for as the politicians play'd a double game into each others hands, it is but fit we ſhould return like for like.
Col. With all my heart, it will be notable revenge; miſchief on't had your diſcovery been made a little ſooner it might have ſaved me five thouſand pounds for ought I know.
Sir Char. What mean you?
Col. Why in the heat of my paſſion, I went to the Knight, made known my paſſion for Emmeline, and offered half her fortune for his conſent.
Sir Char. Ha!—a ſubſtantial compliment to the Lady, Colonel, but we muſt try to ſettle matters otherwiſe—but come the hour calls me to the citizen's —I'll lead the van, do you bring up the rear.
Col. Fear not, I am ever punctual to my orders.
Exeunt.
[Page 66] ENTER LADY CHARLOTTE and EMMELINE.
Emme. Dear Lady Charlotte, I am concerned to ſee your natural vivacity ſo much diſconcerted by a ſlight ſuppoſition.
L. Charlo. Slight ſuppoſition! alas, Emmeline, in your caſe you don't ſee with the eyes of love, elſe you would put another conſtruction upon Sir Charles's behaviour.
Emme. I admit there was ſomething extraordinary; but the feelings he confeſſed when you told him of the intended marriage were ſtrong and ſincere; the gaiety he afterwards aſſumed was, if I judge right, a ſlight veil occaſionally thrown over a gloomy heart.
L. Brain. I can't think ſo—forced ſpirits are eaſily ſeen through, and ſuch could never have carried him ſo far as to gallant that forward ſhallow piece of coquetry, Lady Betty.
Emme. There, I muſt acknowledge, he was ſomewhat myſterious.
L. Charlo. Would I had not taken this diſguiſe, though it has been ſo far uſeful as to prove the ſincerity of your lover, it has only purchaſed pain for me—I cannot blame Sir Charles—the fault is mine—I have acted like a fooliſh boy, who plays with and teizes a favourite bird, till breaking bondage, it takes wing never to be recalled; dear friend what ſtep ſhall I take?
Emme. I would hope the beſt: ſtill you know by appointment he will ſoon be here, ſound him a little further and I dare believe he will yet fulfill my good opinion of him.
L. Charlo. I would indulge that hope, but ſtrong doubts preſs forward to exclude it.
Emme. I ſee him coming, and ſhall leave you to a private conference. Exit.
[Page 67] ENTER SIR CHARLES.
L. Charlo. Sir Charles good morning—I have, according to promiſe, prepared a letter for my ſiſter Charlotte, wherein I have enlarged upon your previous pretenſions as much as poſſible.
Sir Char. I am infinitely obliged to your Lordſhip; but upon ſecond thought, I have determined not to offend Lady Charlotte by a viſit.
L. Charlo. Your reſolution ſo warmly urged is very ſoon changed, Sir.
Sir Char. Why, my Lord, upon cool deliberation, I think it better not to proceed any further in the affair; 'tis poſſible I might have interpreted the Lady's good nature too partially in my own favour; and as freedom of choice is undoubtedly juſt, it would be rude and cruel to interrupt her preſent ſcheme of happineſs.
L. Charlo. You are of a very happy diſpoſition, Sir Charles, that can ſo ſoon, and ſo coolly, reconcile an affair which ſeemed ſo intereſting—
Sir Cha. Yes, my Lord, I am tolerably philoſophical in theſe matters; beſides, to own the truth, I had, amongſt other converſation, talked ſo much of love to Lady Charlotte that I fancied our hearts engaged when there was nothing meant, I believe, but a little faſhionable gallantry.
L. Charlo. Then all my fears are true; (aſide) but ſuppoſe, Sir, my ſiſter's affection ſhould have been ſeriouſly engaged.
Sir Char. Nay, my Lord, ſhe's too much a fine Lady to be in any danger that way—
ENTER COLONEL.
Colonel Parrapet your moſt humble ſervant.
Col. Sir Charles, yours: my Lord I kiſs your hand.
L. Char. Sir, I don't think your behaviour and our laſt parting admit of ſuch familiarity.
[Page 68] Col. Nay, my Lord, I came on purpoſe to ſolicit pardon; too free a glaſs had fluſtered my temper without the leaſt intention of offence; acknowledgement of error is, I know, ſufficient to a man of honour, but I muſt confeſs myſelf a little puzzled for an apology to this Lady.
ENTER EMMELINE.
Emme. Sir Charles, your ſervant—oh! the Colonel —may we hope that night and reflection, Sir, have given your thoughts a calm?
Col. Moſt certainly, madam, and I hope your good nature will grant indulgence to unlimited confeſſion, eſpecially as I am come to make all attonement poſſible by offering any aſſiſtance wh [...]ch may promote his Lordſhip's happineſs and yours.
L. Charlo. So this ſwain is changed about too.
(aſide)
Emme. Your condeſcenſion is very forward, Sir, but I preſume his Lordſhip can take care of his own happineſs without your aſſiſtance.
Col. Doubtleſs, madam—but if I could any way contribute—
Emme. Oh, Sir, you are exceeding liberal and courtly in your profeſſions and promiſes, I can witneſs that.
Col. How ſo madam? for by your own declaration I never had the honour of promiſing or profeſſing to you —
Emme. 'Tis no matter, Sir, but I believe if you had, you are very capable of forſwearing it.
Col. Oh dear madam, I am ſorry you have ſo terrible an opinion of me; but I perceive this ſubject grows too intereſting—adſo, I had almoſt forgot to tell you, Sir Charles, that I met Lady Betty Ombre juſt now, and to uſe her own phraſe, ſhe dies till ſhe ſees you.
[Page 69] L. Charlo. I ſhall go diſtracted. (aſide)
Sir Char. Colonel I am obliged to you for delivering ſo kind a meſſage; and from ſo accompliſhed a Lady; when your match with her ſiſter Lady Frances is compleated; of friends we ſhall become brothers.
Emme. Confident! faith [...]eſs wretches! (aſide)
Col. That will be double pleaſure; pray, madam, are you intimate with the family of the Ombre [...]s
Emme. I don't know, I can't tell—inſolent tormenting man. (aſide)
Col. Your Lordſhip will be happy in an acquaintance there—Sir Charles will introduce you, and if your Lordſhip's choice was not already fixed upon this Lady, there is a third ſiſter who has a moſt bewitching pair of eyes.
L. Charlo. I can hold no longer.
Sir Char. A very dangerous pair of ſparklers, indeed, my Lord.
L. Charlo. Sir, you are a villain.
Emme. And, Sir, you are the worſt of villains.
Sir Char. Amazing!
Col. Wonderful!
Emme. Oh that I were a man for juſtice ſake.
L. Charlo. And I too.
Sir Char. And I too—what ſelf betrayed, ha! ha! ha! ha! this is more than I expected, and haſtens the comedy to a concluſion—what think you ladies, have we ballanced the account of perplexity or not?
L. Charlo. Ladies!
Emme. What do you mean, Sir?
Sir Char. Nay, never look ſtrange; your ſcheme was well laid, and had not chance directed me to a moon-light walk in the garden laſt night, we might have continued food for mirth at the expence of our peace.
[Page 70] Emme. I am glad its no worſe. (aſide)
L. Charlo. I am ſo confus'd and ſo pleas'd, I know not what to ſay. (aſide)
Sir Char. The palpitation of our hearts will, I hope, ladies, make this treſpaſs on your patience appear excuſable.
L. Charlo. Well, gentlemen, ſince it is in vain to deny, I admit your diſcovery, and cannot but acknowledge your treatment has been founded on ſtrict juſtice.
Col. Spoke with your uſual candour and generoſity, lady Charlotte, and hence let mutual confidence enſue; as to you, madam, I have Sir Scrapeall's promiſe to make you mine.
L. Charlo. So! ſo! Here's counter-working— was it fair to undermine me; but pray how did you prevail upon the knight.
Col. By the rhetoric of five thouſand pounds; that is, offering to ſurrender half the Lady's fortune.
Emme. Generous indeed!
Col. And had it been twenty times as much I ſhould have only thought it a fit ſacrifice to ſo much merit.
L. Charlo. An excellent proof of diſintereſted love, Colonel—but you are outbid, for I propoſed to take the Lady without any fortune at all; and am to have the honeſt Citizen's written conſent within.
Col. Contemptible reptile!
Sir Cha. Ha! ha! ha! ha! upon my honour, Colonel, you have been fairly outſoldiered, beat at your own weapons.
Emme. And poor I ſet up at auction to the beſt bidder.
L. Charlo. Ha! ha! ha! even ſo, Emmeline; but all for the better, I hope—oh! I ſee Lady Brainleſs, I have ſome buſineſs with her in my [Page 71] Lordly capacity and ſhall beg of you to retire.
Sir Cha. You command us madam.
Exeunt Emme. Sir Cha. and Col.
L. Charlo. Now muſt I play a part ſeverely kind in hopes of good effects, your Ladyſhip's moſt obedient.
ENTER LADY BRAINLESS.
My Lord, your humble ſervant,
L. Charlo. Your Ladyſhip had a bad run at cards laſt night.
L. Brain. Oh terrible! my Lord! it ſeemed as if fortune had determined to croſs me.
L. Charlo. Were not ſuch things common, madam, in matters of chance, they would preſs hard upon patience—I think your Ladyſhip loſt fifteen hundred pounds? one thouſand to me, and five hundred to Lord Robert Whiſt?
L. Brain. Thereabouts, I believe, my Lord.
L. Charlo. I am ſorry to urge your Ladyſhip; but being myſelf a good deal out of caſh at preſent, and having a bill of eight hundred to pay this forenoon, ſhould be obliged to you for the trifle depending between us.
L. Brain. Really, my Lord, your demand takes me rather at a diſadvantage.
L. Charl. You know, madam, it is not like the impertinent bill of a troubleſome mechanic for work done, or goods delivered, it is a debt of honour; and ſuch you know, takes place of all other payments among people of faſhion.
L. Brain. That's very true, my Lord, and I would always act up to the faſhion, but inclination muſt give way where ability is totally wanting; and though Sir Scrapeall deals in caſh I am almoſt as bare as if he was not worth a ſingle ſhilling.
L. Charl. If this be the caſe I find I ventured real againſt imaginary ſums, and muſt therefore be more cautious of my company.
[Page 72] L. Brain. Really, my Lord, there is much leſs politeneſs in that inuendo than I ſhould have expected from a man of faſhion.
L. Charlo. Politeneſs, madam, is very well upon particular occaſions; but in gaming there is no ſuch thing, we win of whom and when we can; like death, it cuts off all diſtinction of rank, relations and friends, and ſtakes muſt be paid, or perſons expoſed; but as your Ladyſhip is a fine woman matters ſhould be made as eaſy as poſſible, and if—
L. Brain. If what, my Lord!
L. Charlo. I preſume there could not be much love in your match with Sir Scrapeall—I have conceived a paſſion, give it ſuitable return, and let the thouſand pounds—
L. Brain. Inſolent man, no more; what part of my conduct, tho' perhaps ungarded, could encourage ſo groſs an inſult—gratify your malice, expoſe the ſum due, and ſet me up the ſport of laughing libertines, I'll bear all patiently, as the fruit and puniſhment of my own indiſcretion, ſecure in this pleaſing reflection, that tho' you publiſh my poverty you cannot taint my virtue.
L. Charlo. Come, come, madam, Colonel Parapet would have received a gentler anſwer.
L. Brain. No, my Lord, there you are miſtaken alſo; for though that gentleman may have been allowed a particular intimacy, and may have improved or miſconſtrued appearances, he muſt be a conſumate villain if ever he dropped a prejudicial inſinuation; for let me ſay to you, to him, and all the world, that however I have dipped into follies, the vices of life could never make me a proſelyte.
L. Charlo. 'Tis as I always thought, dear Lady Brainleſs, theſe juſt and noble ſentiments force off falſe appearances, and reveal me, inſtead of a gaming [Page 73] Lord, your diſintereſted and inviolable friend Charlotte Bloom.
L. Brain. Lady Charlotte! why then this diſguiſe! or why would friendſhip alarm ſuch painful ſenſations.
L. Charlo. As to the motive of this appearance you ſhall know in due time—why I have wounded your delicate feeling was to awaken a ſenſe of what you juſtly call follies, which have long obſcured many valuable qualifications, and ſubjected you to the reproach of ſeveral who have l [...]ſs real merit, but more external caution.
L. Brain. Dear Lady Charlotte, I ſhall be ever debtor to your kind opinion and friendly deſign; reflection tells me I have given too juſt cauſe for cenſure, yet not without ſome plea of juſtification.
L. Charlo. I am certain of it, your moſt diſproportionate marriage, if not an entire excuſe, is at leaſt a powerful palliation.
L. Brain. Marriage; there you have ſaid all at once, thoſe who ſhould have ſtudied and judged better for my future happineſs warmly urged the match; young and unexperienced I was, allured by the hopes of a title, and unlimited command; ever ſince I have been almoſt hourly rendered unhappy by the ſelfiſh and perverſe temper of Sir Scrapeall, which has occaſioned me to deſpiſe and croſs him in every particular; and moſt of my extravagncies have been more calculated for killing time, than any pleaſure—pity me, dear Charlotte, for I find my ſcheme of life widely different from what I wiſh, and yet in ſelf defence I am obliged to follow it; when avarice, jealouſy, and diſcord prevail at home, peace muſt be ſought abroad.
L. Charlo. I have no reaſon to doubt your friendſhip —but tell me, did the Colonel uſe any freedom with my character?
[Page 74] L. Charlo. No, upon my honour, what I hinted was from obſervation laſt night; and repeated to alarm you, tho' I ſincerely believe you meant nothing.
L. Brain. Your interpretation, my friend, is kind and juſt; I own my horrid ſituation made me fond of his engaging converſation; and female vanity was flattered in ſome compliments he paſſed upon me, nothing more, I aſſure you, and yet, now I look back, ſuch gallant trifling is like ſporting on the unſtedfaſt margin of a lucid ſtream, where while we admire the beautiful reflection in its liquid boſom, one falſe ſtep hurries us to certain deſtruction.
L. Charlo. Your ſimilitude, my friend, is fancifully juſt; but we are too grave, Sir Charles, the Colonel and Emmeline are but in the next room, ſhall we join them and prattle away gloomy ideas.
L. Brain. Excuſe me for the preſent, dear Lady Charlotte, the reflections you have awakened render my ſpirits unfit for converſation, therefore give me leave to retire—think for me, gentle friend, and if any means can be found to free from, or alleviate my bondage, I promiſe that future conduct ſhall prove my errors the effect of diſagreeable circumſtances; of a tormented, but not a diſhoneſt heart. Exit.
L. Charlo. How good a heart may inadvertently be led into unfavourable appearance?
ENTER SIR CHARLES COLONEL and EMMELINE.
Emme. Knowing your deſign. Lady Charlotte, I ventured to make theſe gentlemen ear witneſſes of the work of reformation, and they admire it vaſtly.
L. Charlo. I am glad of it; and hope you will all join to ſet her Ladyſhip free.
Col. Sdeath! if there be no other method I'll chuck old cent. per cent. out of the window and [...]her [...] [...]t liberty that way.
[Page 75] L. Charlo. Come, come, I hope to effect it by ſome leſs furious means—I'll ſlep to him for a few minutes. Exit.
Sir Char. Hey-day! what have we here?
Col. As I live, mother Buſy, and my man Fuſee —married, I hope.
ENTER MRS. BUSY and FUSEE.
Mrs. B. Sir Charles, your moſt humble ſervant —Emmeline, how doſt do child?
Col. And pray, madam, why am I left out of the catalogue of compliments.
Mrs. B. You! marry come up! indeed I wonder you have aſſurance to look me in the face after ſuch behaviour, I ſhould have been prettily off, indeed, if I had depended upon your fine ſpeeches and palav'ring—I ſhould have been a fine laughing truly, for all the coxcombs and gill flirts; but I'd have you know, Mr. Colonel, grown birds are not to be catched with chaff, no, no, I ſaw through all your deſigns.
Col. Deſigns! madam! what could you ſee but the moſt faithful, the moſt ardent paſſion; but I ſuppoſe you tax me with inconſtancy to juſtify your own falſhood, and will give yourſelf away to blaſt all my hopes.
Mrs. B. Ah, that wheedling tongue, and that deceitful fa [...]e, if my virtue had not been impregnable, if I had not been as cold as ice to unlawful love, I don't know what might have been the conſequence; but as I am not to be impoſed upon; I know the world, and the difference of people— Captain Spontoon, my huſband, has heard your baſeneſs.
Col. How! huſband!—ah cruel fair—are you then married.
Mrs. B. Yes, truly, Sir—perhaps you thought I could not get a match; but the Captain has diſcernment [Page 76] —you might have made your market, Sir, but now 'tis too late.
Col. Then, animoſity aſide, I wiſh you joy with all my heart; and hope Fuſee may make you a good huſband.
Sir. Char. and Emme. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. B. Fuſee! and who's that pray?
Col. A very honeſt fellow I aſſure you, madam, my ſervant that was, and your lord and maſter that is—how long have you been a Captain, Fuſee?
Fuſee. Not much above four and twenty hours, Sir.
Sir Char. Col. and Emme. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Mrs B. What can all this mean?—how, Sir! are you no Captain?
Fuſee No truly, not at preſent—but I will be one if you'll buy me a commiſſion, my charming dear.
Mrs. B. Buy you a halter, my roguiſh dear.
Sir Char. Col. and Emme. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. B. What am I tricked then? has neighbour Sly impoſied on me?
Emme. Oh no, madam, you are not to be impoſed upon—you know the world, and the difference of people, ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. B. Hold your tongue, huſſy, muſt ſuch a minx as you ſet up your face?
Col. Nay, good madam, don't be in a paſſion, it diſcompoſes your beauty—a bride, and frown —oh fie.
Sir Char and Emme. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. B They provoke me ſo I don't know what to ſay or do—married to his ſervant! well you are pleaſed to be mighty merry, good folks— but I am not the firſt that has been deceived, nor ſh [...]n't be the laſt—as for you, Colonel, I'll let your character be known; and this fellow I can be revenged of at any time; for if I throw myſelf into the river my jointure goes with me, ſo there's tit for tat, and bite for bite, he! he! he! runs off
[Page 77] Col. Follow your Lady, Fuſee, ſhe'll come too when ſhe can't help herſelf.
Fuſee. I'll do what I can, Sir, for ſake of the money; but if ſhe ſhould reſolve upon a lover's leap e'en let her go, for truly I begin to think her ſervice will prove harder duty than the brown muſket and ſix-pence a day. Exit.
Col. Well, madam, I think her inſolence to you is pretty well repaid.
Emme. Thoroughly, as I could wiſh.
Sir Char. Nothing but ſtrict juſtice on your own account, for ſhe was moſt abominably troubleſome —here comes Lady Charlotte and the Knight.
ENTER SIR SCRAPEALL and LADY CHARLOTTE.
Sir Scr. Well, my Lord, upon ſigning the paper I ſent you to peruſe; you ſhall have my conſent to marry her in writing.
Col. Sir Scrapeall, your very humble ſervant.
Sir Scr. How! my ſcarlet friend! what ſhall I ſay to him? (aſide) your ſervant, Sir.
Col. Well, Sir Scrapeall, the young Lady agrees to your conſent in my favour.
Sir Scr. Conſent, Sir! ay, but—
L. Charlo. How, Sir! have you been in treaty with another?
Sir Scr. In treaty!
Col. Another▪ why, Sir, did not you promiſe me your conſent on abating half the Lady's fortune?
L. Char. Nay, Colonel, but I abate the whole of her fortune.
Emme. Hey day! guardian! have you ſet me up to public ſale?
Col. I ſhall depend upon your word, Sir Scrapeall.
L. Charlo. And I ſhall poſitively inſiſt upon my claim.
Sir Scr. You are very peremptory, gentlemen; but [Page 78] ſuppoſe I won't conſent to either, what then—as to you, Colonel, I don't think your fortune ſufficient, and for you my Lord—keep our bargain and you ſhall have my conſent to run away with her to Scotland. (aſide)
L. Char. Ha! ha! ha! a very honeſt and generous propoſal, indeed, Sir Knight, but—a word in your ear, I have more occaſion for a huſband than a wife.
Sir Scr. What! a huſband!
Sir Char. Yes Sir, that I'll teſtify.
Sir Scr. How! are not you a Lord then?
L. Charlo. No Sir, but I am a Lady by courteſy.
Sir Scr. What the miſchief, women turned into men; I have long ſcrupled to believe my ears, and now I ſhan't chuſe to truſt my eyes—well, Colonel, I ſhall conſider your propoſals.
L Charlo. Nay, Sir, it ſhall be ſettled now, and—draw this way—not only give your conſent but the Lady's whole fortune, or I'll make you repent it.
Sir Scr. make me repent it—I defy you, Sir— madam, I mean.
L Charlo. Softly, Sir, you ſent me a paper to peruſe.
Sir rcr. And what then?
L Charlo. You thought it was a releaſe for that Lady's fortune; but liſten to the title—directions for John Ringbolt, maſter of the ſhip Peggy, to run her aſhore, ſhe being inſured at treble value—
Sir Scr. Oh that blundering dog, my clerk aſide well, Colonel, ſince I believe you'll make the girl a good huſband, and ſhe is willing, I ſhall give my conſent.
L. Charlo. Ay, Sir, but it muſt be done in due form; and now as your Lady has many juſt cauſes of complaint, to prevent the trouble, ſcandal, and expence of a public divorce, ſhe propoſes a voluntary ſeparation.
[Page 79] Sir Scr. With all my heart, I'll reſign all title to her—let her march as ſoon as ſhe pleaſes.
L. Charlo. And take her whole fortune with her.
Sir Scra. No, no, I did not ſay that neither.
L. Charlo. What I muſt conſult the inſurers, muſt I. (aſide)
Sir Scra. Oh—h—h—no, I'll do what you have a mind.
L. Charlo. Well gentlemen and ladies, I call upon you as witneſſes, that Sir Scrapeall agrees to a ſeparation propoſed by his Lady, and is ſo generous as to return her whole fortune.
Sir Scra. Ay, all but the two thouſand pounds her extravagance coſt me.
L. Charlo. Oh, the inſurers ſhall ſettle that point.
(aſide.)
Sir Scra. I ſhall certainly run mad—ſtark ſtaring mad—if it was not for the hopes that brother Starboard will drink himſelf dead in a month, and make me his heir, I could never hold out.
Starb (without) Who's aboard, yo, ho.
Sir Cha. What naval greeting's that?
Emme. By the harmony of expreſſion it ſhould be Sir Scrapeall's delicate brother-in-law.
ENTER STARBOARD and RUELLE, arm in arm.
Starb. (ſinging) And Moll, and Kate, and Nancy ſhall roll in loui's d'ors.—What cheer, what cheer, meſſmates? why brother Brainleſs, your poop always carries a ſignal of diſtreſs; what have you been in a gard gale ſince I ſaw you? meſs, I have ſailed through the channel of courtſhip twelve knots an hour, and made the harbour of matrimony with my little ſnow half a glaſs ſince.
Sir Scra. How! what! not married, I hope?
Starb. I don't know what you call married, but I ſhowed the parſon a cocquet to clear out of the canonical cuſtom-houſe; he clapped on his uniform, [Page 80] read grace, ſpliced our hands, and launched us off to ſwing in a hammock together.
Sir Cha. Bravely ſaid, honeſt captain.
Emme. Mrs. Ruelle I heartily wiſh you joy.
Ruelle. I am obliged to you, madam.
Starb. Ay, ay, thank you, thank you, young woman, the ſame to you when you ſteer the like courſe.
Sir Scra. I profeſs I am aſtoniſhed!
Starb. And why ſo, forſooth? is not ſhe a tight built thing?
Sir Scra. Well, ſince it is ſo, I deſire you to pay me for the punch and eatables you and your followers have devoured, and the things you have broke.
Starb. Pay! blow me up then this here ſhip of yours is no better than a bum-boat; ſo d'ye ſee, order us a good bucket of rumbo, make your bill, and we'll pay all together—a l [...]ght heart, &c. (ſings)
Goes off with Ruelle.
Sir Scra. Oh mercy on me! I muſt follow the mad bear to ſee he does no more miſchief. Exit.
Sir Cha. Ha! ha! ha! what a rueful condition is the poor Knight in.
Col. Deſervedly—madam you have negotiated and diſtributed juſtice with moſt commendable impartiality.
L. Charlo. The pleaſing effects are amply rewarded, Colonel.
Sir Cha. And now, my friend, it remains to perfect our own happineſs, which has coſt us ſo much anxiety in the purſuit.
Col. But will, in the hands of theſe ladies, more than repay it all; for how pleaſing ſoever the irregular ſallies of diſſipation may be, I doubt not but we ſhall be perfectly and happily convinced
That human kind no equal bliſs can prove,
To the chaſte raptures of connubial love.
FINIS.