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DICK AMLET is the son of old Mrs. Amlet, a seller of all sorts of 'toilet affairs' to ladies. He is a gamester and adventurer, but passes himself off as Colonel Shapely, a man of fortune. Brass, his friend and confederate, passes for his valet. Dick Amlet, with the aid of Flippanta, her maid, designs to marry Corinna, the daughter of Gripe, a rich money-scrivener, and possessing a fortune in her own right. He imposes for a time upon Clarissa, Gripe's second wife, and her friend Araminta, but is at last exposed by Mrs. Amlet, angry at his denial of their relationship.
Corinna is silent while the others all revile him, upon which Mrs. Amlet relents, and boasts of the large fortune she can give him; and Corinna declares she will still marry him.
The Street before GRIPE's House.
Brass. Well, surely through the world's wide extent, there never appeared so impudent a fellow as my schoolfellow Dick.-Pass himself upon the town for a gentleman, drop into all the best company with an easy air, as if his natural element were in the sphere of quality; when the rogue had a kettledrum to his father, who was hanged for robbing a church, and has a pedlar to his mother-who carries her shop under her arm !—
A Room in Mrs. AMLET's House.
Enter DICK AMLET.
Dick. Where's this old woman ?-A-hey! What the devil, nobody at home! Ha! her strong box! and the key in't! 'tis so. Now Fortune be my friend. What the deuse !—not a penny of money in cash!-nor a chequer note!-nor a bank bill!—
Searches the strong box. Nor a crooked stick! nor a-mum !-here's something.-A diamond necklace, by all the gods! Oons, the old woman!-Zest!
Enter Mrs. AMLET. DICK claps the necklace in his pocket, then runs and asks her blessing. Pray, mother
Mrs. Amlet. Is it possible !—Dick upon his humble knee! Ah my dear child !-May Heaven be good unto thee.
Dick. I'm come, my dear mother, to pay my duty to you, and to ask your consent to
Mrs. Amlet. What a shape is there!
Dick. To ask your consent, I say, to marry a great fortune; for what is riches in this world without a blessing? and how can there be a blessing without respect and duty to parents?
Mrs. Amlet. What a nose he has !
Dick. And therefore, it being the duty of every good
child not to dispose of himself in marriage, without the
Mrs. Amlet. Now the Lord love thee!-Kissing him. for thou art a goodly young man. Well, Dick,—and how goes it with the lady? Are her eyes open to thy charms? does she see what 's for her own good? ha! is all sure? Hast thou broke a piece of money with her? Speak, bird, do : don't be modest and hide thy love from thy mother, for I'm an indulgent parent.
Dick. Nothing under heaven can prevent my good fortune but its being discovered I am your son
Mrs. Amlet. Then thou art still ashamed of thy natural mother-graceless! why, my reputation's as good as the best of them, you rascal you!
Dick. Lord, that is not the thing we talk of, mother; but
Mrs. Amlet. I think, as the world goes, they may be proud of marrying their daughter into a vartuous family.
Dick. Oons! Vartue is not the case
Mrs. Amlet. Where she may have a good example before her eyes.
Dick. I tell you, 'sdeath, I tell you—
Mrs. Amlet. Don't you swear, you rascal you, don't you swear ;
Dick. Why then in cool blood hear me speak to you. I tell you it's a city fortune I'm about, she cares not a fig for your vartue, she 'll hear of nothing but quality.
She has quarrelled with one of her friends for having a better complexion, and is resolved she 'll marry, to take place of her.
Mrs. Amlet. What a cherry-lip is there!
Dick. Therefore, good dear mother now, have a care and don't discover me; for if you do, all's lost. Mrs. Amlet. Dear, dear, how thy fair bride will be delighted! Go, get thee gone, go! Go fetch her home! go fetch her home, I say!
Dick. Take care then of the main chance, my dear mother; remember if you discover me
Mrs. Amlet. Go, fetch her home, I say!
Dick. You promise me then.
Mrs. Amlet. March!
Dick. But swear to me
Mrs. Amlet. Begone, sirrah!
Dick. Well, I'll rely upon you-But one kiss before I go. Kisses her heartily and runs off. Mrs. Amlet. Now the Lord love thee; for thou art a comfortable young man ! Exit.
A Room in GRIPE'S House.
BRASS, FLIPPANTA. Enter DICK.
Dick. My dear Flippanta, how many thanks have I to pay thee!
Flippanta. Do you like her style?
Dick. The kindest little rogue! there's nothing but
she gives me leave to hope. I am the happiest man the world has in its care.
Flippanta. Not so happy as you think for neither, perhaps; you have a rival, sir, I can tell you that. Dick. A rival!
Flippanta. Yes, and a dangerous one too.
Flippanta. A devilish fellow; one Mr. Amlet.
Flippanta. You know the man's mother though; you met her here and are in her favour, I can tell you. If he worst you in your mistress, you shall e'en marry her, and disinherit him.
Dick. If I have no other rival but Mr. Amlet, I believe I shan't be much disturbed in my amour. But can't I see Corinna?
Flippanta. I don't know, she has always some of her masters with her but I'll go see if she can Exit. spare you a moment, and bring you word.
Dick. I wish my old hobbling mother han't been blabbing something here she should not do.
Brass. Fear nothing, all 's safe on that side yet. But how speaks young mistress's epistle? soft and tender?
Dick. As pen can write.
Brass. So you think all goes well there?
Dick. As my heart can wish.
Brass. You are sure on't?
Dick. Sure on 't.