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MAID OF THE MILL.
ACT THE FIRST.
A rural Prospect, with a Mill at work. Several people
employed about it; on one side, a House, Patty reading at the Window ; on the other, a Barn, where FANNY. sits mending a net; some GIPSIES. GILES appears, at a Distance, in the Mill; FAIRFIELD and Ralph taking sacks from a Cart.
The great folks are noble, and proud let them be,
Of title, of honour, of wealth;
Lads, stop the mill;
The work is done.
Though, in summer, I copied the provident ant,
For winter some grains to provide ; Yet what I could spare to a friend, when in want, I ne'er was the friend who denied.
Lads stop the mill, &c. Fair. Well done, well done; 'tis a sure sign work goes on merrily, when folks sing at it. Stop the mill there; and, dost hear, son Ralph ? hoist your sacks of flour
upon this cart, lad, and drive it up to Lord Aimworth’s; coming from London last night, with strange company, no doubt, there are calls enough for it by this time. Ralph, why don't you go, and do the things I bid you?
Ralph. Ay, feither, there's no doubt but you'll find enow for a body to do.
Fair. What, dost mutter? Is't not a strange plague that thou canst never go about any thing with a good will ? murrain take it, what's come o'er the boy? So then, thou wilt not set a hand to what I have desired thee?
Ralph. Why don't you speak to suster Pat to do something then ? I thought when she came home to us, after my old lady's death, she was to have been of some use in the house; but, instead of that, she sits there all day, reading outlandish books, dressed like a fine, madumasel, and the never a word you
says to she.
Fair. Sirrah! don't speak so disrespectfully of thy sister; thou wilt never have the tithe of her deserts.
Ralph. Why, I'll read and write with her, for what she dares; and as for playing on the hapsicols, I thinks her rich godmother might have learned her something properer, seeing she did not remember to leave her a legacy at last. A farmer's wife painting pictures, and playing on the hapsicols! why, I'll be hanged now, for all as old as she is, if she knows any more about milking a cow, than I do of sewing a petticoat.
Fair. Ralph, thou hast been drinking this morn
· Ralph. Well, if so be as I have, it's nothing out of your pocket, nor mine's neither.
Fair. Who has given thee liquor, sirrah ?
Ralph. Yes, a gentleman that's come piping hot from London: he is below, at the Cat and Bagpipes— Icod, he rides a choice bit of a nag; I dare to say, she'd fetch as good as forty pound, at ever a fair in all England.
Fair. A fig's end for what she'd fetch! mind thy business, or by the lord Harry
Ralph. Why, I won't do another hand's turn today now; so that's flat.
Fair. Thou wilt not
Ralph. Why, no, I won't ; so what argufies your putting yourself in a passion, feyther? I've promised to go back to the gentleman ; and I don't know but what he's a lord too, and mayhap he may do more for me than you thinks of.
Fair. Well, son Ralph, run thy gait; but, remember, I tell thee, thou wilt repent this untowardness.
Ralph. Why, how shall I repent it? Mayhap, you'll turn me out of your service; a match, with all hearts--Icod, I don't care three brass pins.
If that's all you want, who the plague will be sorry? 'Twere telter, by half, to dig stones in a quarry;
For my share, I'm weary of what is got by it: S'flesh, here's such a racket ! such scolding and coiling! You 're never content but when folks are a-toiling,
And drudging, like horses, from morning till night,
You think I'm afraid, but the dif"rence to show you, First, yonder's your shovel ; your sacks too, I throw you;
Henceforward, take care of your matters who will ; They're welcome to slave for your wages who need’em; Tol, lol de rol lol, I have purchased my freedom,
And never, hereafter, shall work at the mill. [Exit.
Fair. Dear heart, dear heart! I protest, this un• gracious boy puts me quite beside myself! Patty, my dear, come down into the yard a little, and keep me company; and you, thieves, vagabonds, gipsies, out here! 'tis you debauch my son.
[Exit, driving out the Gipsies.
Enter Patty, from the Mill.
In love to pine and languish,
Yet know your passion vain ;
Yet fear to tell your pain,
Can sharpen pangs like these?
Yield not a moment's ease.
Fair. Well, Patty, Master Goodman, my lord's steward, has been with me just now, and I find we are like to have great doings : his lordship has brought down Sir Harry Sycamore, and his family, and there is more company expected in a few days.
Patty. I know Sir Harry very well: he is, by marriage, a distant relation of my lord's.
Fair. Pray, what sort of a young body is the daughter there? I think she used to be with you at the castle, three or four summers ago, when my young lord was out upon his travels.
Patty. Oh, very often ; she was a great favourite of my lady's: pray, father, is she come down?
Fair. By what I can learn, she is; and there is likely to be a nearer relationship between the families, ere long. It seems, his lordship was not over willing for the match, but the friends, on both sides, in London, pressed it so hard !—then there's a swinging fortune! Master Goodman tells me, a matter of twenty or thirty thousand pounds.
Patty. If it was a million, father, it would not be more than my Lord Aimworth deserves : I suppose the wedding will be celebrated here, at the mansion house.
Fair. So it is thought, as soon as things can be properly prepared—And now, Patty, if I could but see thee a little merry-Come, bless thee, pluck up thy spirits-To be sure, thou hast sustained, in the death of thy lady, a heavy loss; she was a parent to thee; nay, and better, inasmuch as she took thee when thou wert but a babe, and gave thee an education which thy natural parents could not afford to do.
Patly. Ah! dear father, don't mention what, perhaps, has been my greatest misfortune.
Fair. Nay, then, Patty, what's become of all thy sense, that people talk so much about ?-But I have something to say to thee, which I would have thee consider seriously—There is our neighbour, Farmer Giles: he is a sober, honest, industrious young fellow, and one of the wealthiest in these parts; he is greatly taken with thee, and it is not the first time I have told thee, I should be glad to have him for a son-in-law.
Patty. And I have told you as often, father, I