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FARQUHAR

BORN 1678.

DIED 1707.

FARQUHAR is perhaps inferior, but not by much, in the qualities

of good dialogue to Congreve, Wycherley, and Farquhar. There is not, to my thinking, quite the same high quality of comedy in his utterance. He is less high-bred, but he is as sprightly as, and more good-natured than any of them. He had travelled, served in the army, and seen more than the narrow world of coffee-houses and theatres. He extended the list of the comic dramatic personages of the day, and his Captain Plume, the fine gentleman officer, Boniface, the innkeeper, Cherry, his lively daughter, Scrub, the country servant who guesses they are talking of him, 'for they laughed consumedly,' and above all the inimitable recruiting officer, Sergeant Pike-are all invaluable additions to our stock of comedy characters. His plots are simpler and better than those of his brother playwrights, they have more life and movement, and the episodes succeed each other in an unforced way which must have made his pieces very pleasant to audiences. The excellent scene quoted from the Recruiting Officer' is very characteristic of this author's heartiness and rollicking humour. It seems drawn from the life, and tradition says that Captain Plume was none other than Captain Farquhar himself.

The scene from the 'Inconstant '-also here quoted-affords an excellent example of the true comic treatment of a very strong'situation,' as opposed to its melodramatic treatment. There may be a little sacrifice of truth to nature in Mirabell's light-heartedness while he is in the hands of the bravoes, and in his humorous turning of the tables upon them afterwards when the rescue comes, but there is more than a compensating gain in genuine comedy, and, over and above the comedy, there is a touch of genuiue human feeling which never comes amiss.

FARQUHAR

THE BEAUX' STRATAGEM

AIMWELL and his friend Archer are two young gentle

men whom lack of funds has caused to leave London under pretence of going to Brussels. They arrive at Lichfield, Archer passing for Aimwell's footman, and put up at an inn kept by Boniface and his daughter Cherry, intending by a judicious expenditure of their last two hundred pounds to attract the notice of some country heiress.

Aimwell is soon remarked by Dorinda, daughter of Lady Bountiful, and sister-in-law of Mrs. Sullen. She sends Scrub, their servant, to discover who he is, but he can obtain no information about him. After many adventures Aimwell succeeds in marrying Dorinda, and Archer weds Mrs. Sullen, who gets divorced from her drunken and brutal husband, Squire Sullen.

A Room in BONIFACE'S Inn.
Enter BONIFACE, running.

Boniface. Chamberlain ! maid! Cherry! daughter Cherry! all asleep? all dead?

Enter CHERRY, running.

Cherry. Here, here! why d'ye bawl so, father? d'ye think we have no ears?

Boniface. You deserve to have none, you young minx! The company of the Warrington coach has stood in the hall this hour, and nobody to show them to their chambers.

Cherry. And let 'em wait, father; there's neither red-coat in the coach nor footman behind it.

Boniface. But they threaten to go to another inn to-night.

Cherry. That they dare not, for fear the coachman should overturn them to-morrow.-Coming! coming! -Here's the London coach arrived.

Enter Coach-passengers, with trunks, bandboxes, and other luggage, and cross the stage.

Boniface. Welcome, ladies!

Cherry. Very welcome, gentlemen! Chamberlain, show the Lion and the Rose.

Exit with the company.

Enter AIMWELL and ARCHER, the latter carrying a portmanteau.

Boniface. This way, this way, gentlemen.

Aimwell. To ARCHER. Set down the things; go

to the stable, and see my horses well rubbed.

Archer. I shall, sir.

Aimwell. You're my landlord, I suppose?

Boniface. Yes, sir, I'm old Will Boniface, pretty well known upon this road, as the saying is.

Exit.

Aimwell. O Mr. Boniface, your servant!

Boniface. O sir !—What will your honour please to drink, as the saying is?

Aimwell. I have heard your town of Lichfield much famed for ale; I think I'll taste that.

Boniface. Sir, I have now in my cellar ten tun of the best ale in Staffordshire; 'tis smooth as oil, sweet as milk, clear as amber, and strong as brandy; and will be just fourteen year old the fifth day of next March, old style.

Aimwell. You're very exact, I find, in the age of your ale.

Boniface. As punctual, sir, as I am in the age of my children. I'll show you such ale !-Here, tapster, broach number 1706, as the saying is.-Sir, you shall taste my Anno Domini.—I have lived in Lichfield, man and boy, above eight-and-fifty years, and, I believe, have not consumed eight-and-fifty ounces of

meat.

Aimwell. At a meal, you mean, if one may guess your sense by your bulk.

Boniface. Not in my life, sir, I have fed purely upon ale; I have eat my ale, drank my ale, and I always sleep upon ale.

Enter Tapster with a bottle and glass, and exit.

Now, sir, you shall see!
Pours out a glass.
Your worship's health.-Ha! delicious, delicious!

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