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Faulk. What, is he much acquainted in the family?
Capt. A. Oh, very intimate; he is likewise a rival of mine
-that is, of my other self's, for he does not think his friend, Captain Absolute, ever saw the lady in question; and is ridiculous enough to hear him complain to me of one Beverley, a conceited, skulking rival, whoFaulk. Hush !-He's here!
Enter ACRES. Acres. Hah! my dear friend, noble captain, and honest Jack, how dost thou? just arrived , 'faith, as you see.-Sir, your humble servant. Warm work on the roads, Jack-odds whips and wheels! I've travelled like a comet, with a tail of dust all the way as long as the Mall.
Capt. A. Ah! Bob, you are indeed an eccentric planet, but we know your attraction hither; give me leave to introduce Mr. Faulkland to you; Mr. Faulkland, Mr. Acres,
Acres. Sir, I am most heartily glad to see you: sir, I solicit your connexions.--Hey, Jack-what this is Mr. Faulkland, who
Capt. A. Ay, Bob, Miss Melville's Mr. Faulkland.
Acres. Ah! Mr. Faulkland, you are indeed a happy man!
Faulk. I have not seen Miss Melville yet, sir; I hope she enjoyed full health and spirits in Devonshire!
Acres. Never knew her better in my life, sir: never better. Odds blushes and blooms! she has been as healthy as the German Spa.
Faulk. Indeed! I did hear that she had been a little indisposed.
Acres. False, false, sir; only said to vex you: quite the reverse, I assure you.
Faulk. There, Jack, you see she has the advantage of me; I had almost fretted myself ill. Capt. A. Now are you angry
your mistress for not having been sick.
Faulk. No, no, you misunderstand me: ycl surely hey?
a little trifling indisposition is not an unnatural consequence of absence from those we love. Now confess—isn't there something unkind in this violent, robust, unfeeling health?
Capt. A. Oh, it was very unkind of her to be well in your absence, to be sure!
Acres. Good apartments, Jack.
Faulk. Well, sir, but you were saying that Miss Melville has been so exceedingly well-whal then, she has been merry and gay, I suppose ?-always in spirits,
Acres. Merry! odds crickets! she has been the belle and spirit of the company wherever she has been-so lively and entertaining! so full of wit and humour!
Faulk. By my soul! there is an innate levity in woman that nothing can overcome!—What! happy, and I away!
Capt. Å. Just now, you were only apprehensive for your mistress's spirits.
Faulk. Why, Jack, have I been the joy and spirit of the company?
Capt. A. No, indeed, you have not. Faulk. Have I been lively and entertaining? Capt. A. Oh! upon my word, I acquit you. Faulk. Have I been full of wit and humour? Capt. A. No, 'faith, to do you justice, you have been confoundedly stupid indeed.
Acres. What's the matter with tre gentleman?
Capt. A. He is only expressing his great satisfaction at hearing that Julia has been so well and happythat's all-hey, Faulkland?
Faulk. Yes, yes, she has a happy disposition !
Acres. That she has, indeed—then she is so accomplished--so sweet a voice-o expert at her harpsichord-such a mistress of flat and sharp; squallante, rumblante, and quiverante!-there was this time month-odds minums and crochets! how she did chirrup at Mrs. Piano's concert! [Sings.] My heart's my own, my will is free. That's very like her.
Faulk. Fool! fool that I am! to fix all my happi
ness on such a trifler! 'Sdeath! to make herself the pipe and ballad-monger of a circle! to soothe her light heart with catches and glees! What can you say to this, sir?
Capt. A. Why, that I should be glad to hear my mistress had been so merry, sir.
Faulk. Nay, nay, nay—I'm not sorry that she has been happy; no, I am glad of that but she has been dancing too, I doubt not.
Acres. What does the gentleman say about dancing?
Capt. A He says the lady we speak of dances as well as she sings.
Acres. Ay, truly does she—there was at our last race ball
Faulk. Hell and the devil! There! there—I told you so! I told you so! óh! she thrives in my absence ! Dancing!
Capt. A. For heaven's sake, Faulkland, don't expose yourself so! Suppose she has danced, what then? does not the ceremony of society often oblige
Faulk. Well, well, I'll contain myself-perhaps, as you say—for form's sake. I say Mr.--Mr.What's his d-d name?
Capt. A. Acres, Acres.
Faulk. O ay, Mr. Acres, you were praising Miss Melville's manner of dancing a minuet-hey?
Acres. Oh, I dare insure her for that-but what I was going to speak of, was her country dancing: odds swimmings! she has such an air with her!
Faulk. Now, disappointment on her! defend this, Absolute! why don't you defend this? country dances! jigs and reels! am I to blame now! A minuet I could have forgiven-I should not have minded that I say, I should not have regarded a minuet-but country dances! 2–ds, had she made one in a cotillionbelieve I could have forgiven even that but to be monkey-led for a night! to run the gauntlet through a string of amorous palming puppies! to shew paces, like a managed filly! Oh, Jack, there never can be but one man in the world whom a truly modest and deli
cate woman ought to pair with in a country dance; and, even then, the rest of the couples should be her great uncles and aunts!
Capt. A. Ay, to be sure! grandfathers and grandmothers!
Faulk. If there be but one vicious mind in the set, it will spread like a contagion—the action of their pulse beats to the lascivious movement of the jigtheir quivering, warm breathed sighs impregnate the airthe atmosphere becomes electrical to love, and each amorous spark darts through every link of the chain! -I must leave you-Iown I am somewhat flurried and that confounded looby has perceived it.
[Going Capt. A. Nay, but stay, Faulkland, and thank Mr. Acres for his good news. Faulk. D-n his news!
[Exit. Capt. A. Ha! ha! ha! poor Faulkland! Five minutes since— nothing on earth could give him a moment's uneasiness!"
Acres. The gentleman wasn't angry at my praising his mistress, was he?
Capt. A. A little jealous, I believe, Bob.
Acres. You don't say so? Ha! ha! jealous of me? that's a good joke!
Capt. A. There's nothing strange in that, Bob; let me tell you, that sprightly grace and insinuating manner of yours will do some mischief among the girls here.
Acres. Ah! you joke-ha! ha! mischief-ha! ha! but you know I am not my own property! my dear Lydia has forestalled me. She could never abide me in the country, because I used to dress so badly—but, odds frogs and tambours! I shan't take matters so here—now ancient madam has no voice in it-I'll make my old clothes know who 's master-I shall straightway cashier the hunting-frock, and render my leather breeches incapable-My hair has been in training some time. Capt. A. Indeed !
Acres. Ay—and tho's the side-curls are a little restive, my hind part takes it very kindly.
Capt. A. Oh, you 'll polish, I doubt not.
Acres. Absolutely I propose so-then if I can find out this Ensign Beverley, odds triggers and flints! I'll make him know the difference o't.
Capt. A. Spoke like a man—but pray, Bob, I observe you have got an odd kind of a new method of swearing
Acres. Ha! ha! you've taken notice of it—'tis genteel, isn't it?-I didn't invent it myself though; but a commander in our militia, a great scholar, I assure you, says that there is no meaning in the common oaths, and that nothing but their antiquity makes them respectable; because, he
says, the ancients would never stick to an oath or two, but would say, by Jove! or by Bacchus ! or by Mars! or by Venus ! or by Pallas! according to the sentiment;—so that to swear with propriety, says my little major, the ‘oath should be an echo to the sense, and this we call the oath referential, or sentimental swearing--ha! ha! ha! 'tis genteel, isn't it?
Capt. A. Very genteel and very new indeed—and I dare say will supplart all other figures of imprecation.
Acres. Ay, ay, the best terms will grow obsoleteDamns have had their day.
Enter Fag. Fag. Sir, there is a gentleman below desires to see you-Shall I shew him into the parlour ?
Capt. A. Ay—you may.
Capt. A. You puppy, why didn't you shew him up directly?
[Exit Fag. Acres. You have business with Sir Anthony - expect a message from Mrs. Malaprop, at my lodgings, I have sent also to my dear friend, Sir Lucius O’Trigger.-Adieu, Jack, we must meet at night, when you shall give me a dozen bumpers to little Lydia. [Exit.