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call, though one would think it was quite out of hearing.
Lucr. Ay, sir, a lady of her experience.
Lucy. O, true, sir-but then she reads so—my stars! how she will read off hand!
Sir L. 'Faith she must be very deep read, to write this way, though she is rather an arbitrary writer, too; for here are a great many poor words pressed into the service of this note, that would get their habeas corpus from any court in Christendom. However, when affection guides the pen, he must be a brute who finds fault with the style.
Lucr. Ah! Sir Lucius, if you were to hear how she talks of you!
Sir L. Oh, tell her, I'll make her the best husband in the world, and Lady O'Trigger into the bargain! But we must get the old gentlewoman's consent, and do every thing fairly.
Lucy. Nay, Sir Lucius, I thought you wa’n’t rich enough to be so nice.
Sir L. Upon my word, young woman, you have hit it: I am so poor, that I can't afford to do a dirly action. If I did not want money, I'd steal your mistress and her fortune with a great deal of pleasure. However, my pretty girl, [Giving her money] here's a little something to buy you a riband; and meet me in the evening, and I will give you an answer to this. So, hussy, take a kiss beforehand, to put you in mind.
[Kisses her. Lucy. O Lud! Sir Lucius I never see such a gemman! My lady won't like you if you are so impudent.
Sir Í. 'Faith she will, Lucy—that same-pho! what's the name of it?—modesty!--is a quality in a lover more praised by the women than liked: so, if your mistress asks you whether Sir Lucius ever gave you a kiss, tell her fifty, my dear.
Lucy. What, would you have me tell her a lie?
Sir L. Ah, then, you baggage! I'll make it a truth presently.
Lucr. For shame now; here is some one coming.
Sir L. O'faith, I'll quiet your conscience!
[Sees Fag.-Exit singing.
Fag. Come, come, Lucy, here's no one by—so a little less simplicity, with a grain or two more sincerity, if you please. You play false with us, madam. I saw you give the baronet a letter. My master shall know this; and if he don't call him out~I will.
Lucr. Ha! ha! ha! you gentlemen's gentlemen are so hasty! That letter was from Mrs. Malaprop, simpleton. She is taken with Sir Lucius's address.
Fag. How! what taste some people have! Why I suppose I have walked by her window a hundred times. But what says our young lady? - any message to my master?
Lucy. Sad news, Mr. Fag! A worse rival than Acres! Sir Anthony Absolute has proposed his son.
Fag. What, Captain Absolute?
Fag. Ha! ha! ha! very good, 'faith! Good b’ye,
you may laugh, but it is true, I assure you. [Going.] But, Mr. Fag, tell your master not to be cast down by this.
Fag. Oh, he'll be so disconsolate!
Lucy. And charge him not to think of quarrelling with young Absolute.
Fag. Never fear-never fear!
SCENE I.-The North Parade.
Enter CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE. Capt. A. 'Tis just as Fag told me, indeed! Whimsical enough, 'faith! My father wants to force me to marry the very girl I am plotting to run away with! He must not know of my connexion with her yet awhile. He has too summary a method of proceeding in these matters; however, i'll read my recantation instantly. My conversion is something sudden, indeed; but, I can assure him, it is very sincere. So, so, here he comes; he looks plaguy gruff! [Steps aside.
Enter SIR ANTHONY. Sir Anth. No-l'll die sooner than forgive him! Die, did I say! I'll live these fifty years to plague him. At our last meeting, his impudence had almost put me out of temper-an obstinate, passionate, selfwilled boy! Who can he take after? This is my return for getting him before all his brothers and sisters! for putting him at twelve years old into a marching regiment, and allowing him fifty pounds a year, besides his pay, ever since! But I have done with him-he's any body's son for me I never will see him morem never-never-never-never. Capt. A. Now for a penitential face!
[Comes forward. Sir Anth. Fellow, get out of my way! Cap. A. Sir, you see a penitent before you. Sir Anth. I see an impudent scoundre before me.
Cap. 4. A sincere penitent. I am come, sir, to acknowledge my error, and to submit entirely to your will.
Sir Anth. What's that?
Capt. A. I have been revolving, and reflecting, and considering on your past goodness, and kindness, and condescension to me.
Sir Anth. Well, sir?
Capt. A. I have been likewise weighing, and balancing, what you were pleased to mention, concerning duty, and obedience, and authority.
Sir Anth. Why, now you talk sense, absolute sense! I never heard any thing more sensible in my life. Confound you ! you shall be Jack again.
Capt. X. I am happy in the appellation.
Sir Anth Why then, Jack, my dear Jack, I will now inform you who the lady really is. Nothing but your passion and violence, you silly fellow, prevented me telling you at first. Prepare, Jack, for wonder and rapture-prepare. What think you of Miss Lydia Languish?
Cap. A. Languish! What the Languishes of Worcestershire?
Sir. Anth. Worcestershire! No. Did you never meet Mrs. Malaprop, and her niece, Miss Languish, who came into our country, just before you were last ordered to your regiment?
Cap. Å. Malaprop! Languish! I don't remember ever to have heard the names before.
Yet stay, I think I do recollect something-Languish Languish She squints, don't she? A little red-haired girl? Sir Anth. Squints! A red-haired girl! Z-ds! no!
Capt. A. Then I must have forgot! it can't be the same person.
Sir Anth. Jack! Jack! what think you of blooming, love-breathing seventeen?
Capt. A. As to that, sir, I am quite indifferent; if I can please you in the matter, 'tis all I desire.
Sir Anth. Nay, but Jack, such eyes ! such eyes! so innocently wild! so bashfully irresolute! Not a glance but speaks and kindles some thought of love! Then, Jack, her cheeks! her cheeks! Jack! so deeply blushing at the insinuations of her tell-tale eyes! Then, Jack, her lips! 0, Jack, lips, smiling at their own discretion! and, if not smiling, more sweetly poutingmore lovely in sullenness! Then, Jack, her neck! 0, Jack! Jack !
Capt. A. And which is to be mine, sir, the niece or the aunt?
Sir Anth. Why, you unfeeling insensible puppy, I despise you. When I was of your age, such a description would have made me fly like a rocket! the aunt, indeed! Odds life! when I ran away with your mother, I would not have touched any thing old or ugly to gain an empire.
Capt. A. Not to please your father, sir?
Sir Anth. To please my father-2-ds! not to please—0, my father-Odso!-yes, yes; if my father, indeed, had desired-that's quite another matter. Though he wasn't the indulgent father that I am, Jack.
Capt. A. I dare say not, sir?
Sir. Anth. But, Jack, you are not sorry to find your mistress is so beautiful?
Capt. A. Sir, I repeat it, if I please you in this affair, 'tis all I desire. Not that I think a woman the worse for being handsome; but, sir, if you please to recollect, you before hinted something about a hump or two, one eye, and a few more graces of that kind -now, without being very nice, I own I should rather choose a wife of mine to have the usual number of limbs, and a limited quantity of back; and, though one eye may be very agreeable, yet, as the prejudice has always run in favour of lwo, I would not wish to affect a singularity in that article.
Sir Anth. What a phlegmatic sot it is! Why, sirrah, you are an anchorite! A vile, insensible stock! You a soldier! you're a walking block, fit only to dust the company's regimentals on! Odds life, I have a great mind to marry the girl myself!
Capt. A. I am entirely at your disposal, sir; if you should think of addressing Miss Languish yourself, I suppose you would have me marry the aunt; or, if you should change your mind, and take the old lady, 'tis the same to me, I'll marry the niece.
Sir Anth. Upon my word, Jack, thou art either a very great hypocrite, or—but, come, I know your indifference on such a subject must be all a lic—I'm sure it must-come now, d-n your demure face; comc, confess, Jack, you have been lying-han't you? You have been playing the hypocrite, hey? I'll never forgive you, if you han't been lying and playing the hypocrite.
Capt. A. I'm sorry, sir, that thc respect and duty which I bear to you should be so mistaken.