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THIS was the earliest theatrical production of Mr. Sheridan, and was first brought on the stage at Covent Garden in the year 1775, when it was disliked by the audience, and of course laid aside.
On subsequent revival, at Covent Garden and at Drury Lane, the public were highly delighted with it; and it is still looked upon as an excellent specimen of pure and just Comedy, which the judges of theatrical composition had so long deplored the want of.
Comedy proposes for its object the exposure of the follies and slighter vices cf mankind, so as to raise in the be. holders a sense of their impropriety, and to expose them to censure and laughter : it endeavours to
« Catch the manners living as they rise;"
and, in the Rivals, its judicious author has given pictures taken from among ourselves : he has satirized the reigning vices; and exhibited to the age a faithful copy of itself, with its humours, its follies, its manners, and its extravagancies.
vilish glad to see you, my lad! why, my prince
of charioteers, you look as hearty ?-but who SCENE 1.-A Street at Bath.
the deuce thought of seeing you in Bath?
Coach. Sure, master, Madam Julia, Harry, COACHMAN crosses the Stage.—Enter Fag, look- Mrs. Kate, and the postillion, be all come. ing after him.
Coach. Ay: master thought another fit of Eag. What, Thomas ! Sure, 'tis he!- the gout was coming to make him a visit, so What, Thomas, Thomas !
he'd a mind to gi't the slip,--and whip! we Coach. Hey ! odd's life! Mr. Fag; give us were all off at an hour's warning. your hand, my old fellow-servant!
Fag. Ay, ay; hasty in every thing, or it Fag. Excuse my glove, Thomas ; I'm de- I would not be Sir Anthony Absolute.
Coach. But tell us, Mr. Fag, how does young and lookye, I'll never give up mine," the law. master? Odd, Sir Anthony will stare, to see yers and doctors may do as they will. the captain here !
Fag. Well, Thomas, we'll not quarrel about Fag. I do not serve Captain Absolute now. that. But hold, mark-mark, Thomas. Coach. Why, sure!
Coach. Zooks, 'tis the captain! Is that the Fag. At present, I am employed by Ensign lady with him? Beverley:
Fag. No, no, that is Madam Lucy, my masCoach. I doubt, Mr. Fag, you ha'n't changed ter's mistress' maid ; they lodge at that house for the better.
-but I must after him, to tell him the news. Fag. I have not changed, Thomas.
Coach. Odd, he's giving her money !-Well, Coach. No! why, didn't you say, you had Mr. Fagleft young master ?
Fag. Good bye, Thomas ; I have an appointFag. No. Well, honest Thomas, I must ment in Gyde's porch, this evening, at eight; puzzle you no further ;-briefly then-Captain meet me there, and we'll make a little party. Absolute and Ensign Beverley are one and the
[Exeunt sererally. same person.
Coach. The devil they are': do tell us, Mr. SCENE II.-A Dressing-Room in Mrs. Fag, the meaning on't.
MALAPROP's Lodgings. Pag. You'll be secret, Thomas ?
LYDIA LANGUISH sitting on a Sofa, with a book Couch. As a coach horse.
in her hand; Lucy, as just returned from a fag. Why, then the cause of all this is love,
message. -love, Thomas, who has been a masquerader ever since the days of Jupiter.
Lucy. Indeed, Ma'am, I traversed half the Coach. But, pray, why does your master town in search of it: I don't believe there's a pass only for ensign?-now, if he had shammed circulating library in Bath I ha’n't been at. general, indeed
Lyd. And could not you get “ The Reward Fag. Ah, Thomas! there lies the mystery
of Constancy ?” o'the matter !-Harkye, Thomas, my master is
Lucy. No, indeed, Ma'am. in love with a lady of a very singular taste-a
Lyd. Nor “ The Fatal Connexion ?” lady, who likes him better as
Lucy. No, indeed, Ma'am. ensign, than if she knew he was son and heir
Lyd. Nor“ The Mistakes of the Heart ?" to Sir Anthony Absolute, a baronet of three Bull said, Miss Sukey Saunter had just fetched
Lucy. Ma'am, as ill luck would have it, Mr. thousand a year.
Coach. That is an odd taste, indeed! but it away. has she got the stuff, Mr. Fag? is she rich, Delicate Distress ?"
Lyd. Heigho! Did you inquire for “The eh?
Fag. Rich! why, I believe she owns half Lucy. Or, “The Memoirs of Lady Woodthe stocks! Zounds, Thomas, she could pay the ford?" Yes, indeed, Ma'am, I asked every national debt, as easily as I could my washer- where for it, and I might have brought it from woman! has a lap-dog that eats out of who had just sent it home, had so soiled and
Mr. Frederick's, but lady Slattern Lounger, gold-she feeds her parrot with small pearls, and all her thread papers are made of bank dog's-eared it, it wa'n't fit for a Christian to
read. notes ! Coach. Bravo, faith!-Odd! I warrant she
Lyd. Heigho! Yes, I always know when has a set of thousands, at least; but does she lady Slattern has been before me : She has a draw kindly with the captain ?
most observing thumb, and, I believe, cherishes
her nails for the convenience of making marFag. As fond as pigeons.
ginal notes. Couch. May one hear her name?
Well, child, what have you
brought me? Fag. Miss Lydia Languish :-But there is an old tough aunt in the way-though, by the under her cloak, and from her pockets.] This is
Lucy. Oh, here, Ma'am! [Taking looks from bye, she has never seen my, masterfor he "The Man of feeling," and this, “ Peregrine got acquainted with Miss, while on a visit in
Pickle."-Here are « The Tears of SensibilGloucestershire. Coach. Well, I wish they were once harnessed ity,” and “ Humphrey Clinker."
Lyd. Hold! here's some one coming-quick, together in matrimony. But, pray, Mr, Fag, what kind of a place is this Bath ? 'I ha' heard see who it is,(Exit Lucy. ]-Surely, 1 heard a great deal of it;-here's a mort o' merry my cousin Julia's voice ! making, eh?
Enter Lucy. Fag. Pretty well, Thomas, pretty well—'tis
Lucy. Lud, Ma'am! here is Miss Melville ! a good lounge-but, damn the place, I'm tired
Lyd. Is it possible! of it; their regular hours stupify me-not a
Enter Julia, fiddle or a card, after eleven! however, Mr. Faulkland's gentleman and I keep it up a Lyd. My dearest Julia, how delighted am little, in private parties ;-I'll introduce you I: (Embrace.] How unexpected was this hapthere, Thomas, you'll like him much.-But, piness! Thomas, you must polish a little-indeed, Jul. True, Lydia, and our pleasure is the you must:-Here, now, this wig! what, the greater ; but what has been the matter? you devil, do you do with a wig, Thomas ? none were denied to me at first. of the London whips, of any degree of ton, Lyd. Ah, Julia, I have a thousand things to wear wigs now.
tell you ! but first inform me what has conCoach. More's the pity, more's the pity, I jured you to Bath - Is Sir Anthony bere? say-Odds life! when I heard how the law. Jul. He is ; we are arrived within this hour, yers and doctors had took to their own hair, and I suppose he will be here to wait on Mrs. I thought how 'twould go next. Odd rabbit Malaprop as soon as he is dressed. it! when the fashion had got foot on the bar, Lyd. Then, before we are interrupted, let me I guessed 'twould mount to the box! but 'tis impárt to you some of my distress; I know all out of character, believe me, Mr. Fag: 1 your gentle nature will sympathize with me,
though your prudence may condemn me : My Jul. Nay, you are wrong entirely :-We letters have informed you of my whole connex- were contracted before my father's death : ion with Beverley ; but I have lost him, Julia! That, and some consequent embarrassments, -My aunt has discovered our intercourse, by have delayed what I know to be my Faulka note she intercepted, and has confined' me land's most ardent wish. He is too generous to ever since: Yet, would you believe it? she trifle on such a point ;-and, for his character, has fallen absolutely in love with a tall Irish you wrong him there too.-No, Lydia, he is baronet, she met one night, since we have too proud, too noble to be jealous; if he is been here, at lady Mac-shuffle's rout.
captious, 'tis withnut dissembling ; if fretful, Jul. You jest, Lydia.
wiihout rudeness. Unused to the fopperies of Lyd. No, upon my word :-She really car- love, he is negligent of the little duties expectries on a kind of correspondence with him, ed from a lover.—This temper, I must own, under a feigned name though, till she chooses has cost me many unhappy hours ; but I have to be known to him ;-but it is a Delia, or a learned to think myself bis debtor for those Celia, I assure you.
imperfections which arise from the ardour of Jul. Then, surely, she is now more indulgent his attachment. to her piece?
Lyd. Well, I cannot blame you for defending Lyd. Quite the contrary: since she has dis- him; but, tell me candidly, Julia-had be covered her own frailty, she is become more never saved your life, do you think you should suspicious of mine–Then I must inform you of have been attached to him as you are ? Believe another plague ; that odious Acres is to be in me, the rude blast that overset your boat was Bath to-day, so that I protest, I shall be teazed a prosperous gale of love to him. out of all spirits !
Jul. Gratitude may have strengthened my Jul. Come, come, Lydia, hope for the best :- attachment to Mr. Faulklapd, but I loved him Sir Anthony shall use bis' interest with Mrs. before be had preserved me; yet, surely, that Malaprop.
alone were an obligation sufficientLyd. But you have not heard the worst :- Lyd. Obligation!
why, a water spaniel would Unfortunately I had quarrelled with my poor have done as much !' Well, I should never Beverley, just before my aunt made the discov- think of giving my heart to a man because he ery, and I have not seen him since to makeitup. could swim !- What's here? Jul. What was his offence ?
Enter Lucy, in a hurry. Lyd. Nothing at all; but I don't know how it was, as often as we had been together, we
Lucy. O, Ma'am, here is Sir Anthony Absohad never had a quarrel ; and, somehow, I was lute, just come hume with your aunt! afraid he would never give me an opportunity;
Lyd. They'll not come here :-Lucy, do you so, last Thursday, I wrote a letter to myself, to
[Exit Lucy. inform myself that Beverley was, at that time,
Jul. Yet I must go; Sir Anthony does not paying his addresses to another woman.-I know I am here, and if we meet, he'll detain signed it, . Your friend unknown,' showed it me, to show me the town. I'll take another to Beverley, charged him with his falsehood, opportunity of paying my respects to Mrs. put myself in a violent passion, and vowed I'd Malaprop, when she shall treat me, as long as never see him more.
she chooses, with her select words, so ingeJul. And you let him depart so, and have niously, misapplied, without being mispronot seen him since?
nounced. Lyd. 'Twas the next day my aunt found the
Enter Lucy. matter out; I intended ooly to have teazed him three days and a half, and now I've lost
Lu. O lud, Ma'am ! they are both coming up him for ever.
stairs ! Juk. If he is as deserving and sincere as you dear Julia! I'm sure you are in haste to send
Lyd. Well, I'll not detain you.--Adieu, my have represented him to me, he will never give you up so. Yet consider, Lydia, you tell to Faulkland.- There—through my room you'll me he is but an ensign and you have thirty
find another staircase. thousand pounds!
(Exit Julia. Lyd. But, you know, I lose most of my for- -Quick, quick. --Fling Peregrine Pickle”,
Lyd. Here, my dear Lucy, hide these books. tune, if I marry, without my aunt's consent, till of age; and that is what I have determined under the toilet-ihrow “ Roderick Random” to do ever since I knew the penalty; nor could into the closet-put“ The Innocent Adultery" I love the man who would wish to wait a day Aimworth” under the sofa-cram“ Ovid” be
into “ The Whole Duty of Man"-thrust “ Lord for the alternative. Jul. Nay, this is caprice!
hind the bolster--there-put: The Man of Lyd. What, does Julia tax me with caprice ? Feeling” into your pocket.-Now for them! I thought her lover Faulkland had inured her
Enter MRS. MALAPROP and SIR ANTHONY to it.
ABSOLUTE Jud. I do not love even his faults.
Lyd. But à propos ! you have sent to him, I Mrs. M. There, Sir Anthony, there sits the suppose ?
deliberate simpleton, who wants to disgrace Jul. Not yet, upon my word! nor has he the her family, and lavish herself on a fellow not least idea of my being in Bath :-Sir Anthony's worth a shilling, resolution was so sudden I could not inform
Lyd. Madam, I thought
you oncehim of it.
Mrs. M. You thought, Miss ! I don't know Lyd. Well, Julia, you are your own mistress, any business you bave to think at all: thought though under the protection of Sir Anthony;| does not become a young woman. But the yet have you, for this long year, been a slave point we would request of you is, that you to the caprice, the whim, the jealousy, of this will promise to forget this fellow-to illiterate ungrateful Faulkland, who will ever delay as- him, say, from your memory. suming the right of a husband, while you suf- Lyd. Ah, Madam! our memories are indefer him to be equally imperious as a lover. pendent of our wills. It is not so easy to forget
Mrs. M. But, I say, it is, Miss! there is no-counts; and, as she grew up, I would have thing on earth so easy as to forget, if a person her instructed in geometry, that she might chooses to set about it. I'm sure I have as know something of the contagious countries. much forgot your poor dear uncle, as if he had This, Sir Anthony, is what I would have a never existed ; and I thought it my duty to do woman know; and I don't think there is a suso; and let me tell you, Lydia, these violent perstitious article in it. memories don't become a young woman. Sir A. Well, well, Mrs. Malaprop, I will
Sir A. Why, sure, she wont pretend to re- dispute the point no further with you; though member what she's ordered not! ay, this comes I must confess, that you are a truly moderate of her reading!
and polite arguer, for almost every third word Lyd. What crime, Madam, have I commit- you say is on my side of the question.-But, ted, to be treated thus ?
Mrs. Malaprop, to the more important point in Mrs. M. Now don't attempt to extirpate debate,--you say you have no objection to my yourself from the matter; you know I have proposal ? proof controvertible of it: but, tell me, will Mrs. M. None, I assure you. I am under you promise to do as you're bid? will you take no positive engagement with Mr. Acres ; and å husband of your friends' choosing ?
as I.ydia is so obstinate against him, perhaps Lyd. Madam, I must tell you plainly, that, your son may have better success. had I no preference for any one else, the Sir A. Well, Madam, I will write for the choice you have made would be my aversion. boy directly.-He knows not a syllable of this
Mrs. M. What business have you, Miss, with yet, though I have for some time had the propreference and aversion ? they don't become a posal in my head. He is at present with his young woman; and you ought to know, that, regiment. as both always wear off, 'tis safest, in matri- Mrs. M. We have never seen your son, Sir, mony, to begin with a little aversion. I am Anthony; but I hope no objection on his side. sure I hated your poor, dear uncle, before Sir A. Objection_let him object if he dare ! marriage, as if he'd been a black-a-moor; and -No, no, Mrs. Malaprop: Jack knows, that yet, Miss, you are sensible what a wife the least demur puts me in a phrenzy directly. made? and when it pleased Heaven to release My process was always very simple in their me from him, 'tis unknown what tears I shed! younger days, 'twas, “, Jack do this,"--if he But, suppose we were going to give you demurred, I knocked him down; and if he another choice, will you promise us to give grumbled at that, I always sent him out of the up this Beverley?
Lyd. Could I belie my thoughts so far as to Mrs. M. Ay, and the properest way, o'my give that promise, my actions would certainly conscience ! - Nothing is so conciliating to as far belie my words.
young people as severity.--Well, Sir Anthony, Mrs. M. Take yourself to your room; you I shall give Mr. Acres his discharge, and are fit company for nothing but your own ill prepare Lydia to receive your son's invocahumours.
tions; and I hope you will represent her to Lyd, Willingly, Ma'am; I cannot change the captain as an object not altogether illegifor the worse.
(Exit. ble. Mrs. M. There's a little intricate hussy for Sir A. Madam, I will handle the subject yon!
prudently. Well, I must leave you; and let Sir A. It is not to be wondered at, Ma'am; me beg you, Mrs. Malaprop, to enforce this all this is the natural consequence of teaching matter roundly to the girl--take my advice, girls to read. In my way hither, Mrs. Mala- keep a tight hand—if she rejects this proposal, prop, I observed your niece's maid coming clap her under lock and key; and if you
were forth from a circulating library; she had a just to let the servants forget to bring her dinbook in each hand-they were half-bound ner for three or four days,
you can't conceive volumes, with marble covers; from that mo- how she'd come about. (Exit Sir ANTHONY. ment, I guessed how full of duty I should see Mrs. M. Well, at any rate, I shall be glad her mistress!
to get her from under my intuition. She has Mrs. M. Those are vile places, indeed! somehow discovered my partiality for Sir Lu
Sir A. Madam, a, circulating library in a cius O’Trigger. Sure, Lucy can't have betown is, as an evergreen tree of diabolical trayed me !– No, the girl is such a simpleton, knowledge?-It blossoms through the year! I should have made her confess it.- Lucy! and depend on it, Mrs. Malaprop, that they Lucy! [Calls.) Had she been one of your arti. who are so fond of handling the leaves will ficial ones, I should never have trusted her. long for the fruit at last.
Enter Lucy. Mrs. M. Fię, fie, Sir Anthony! you surely speak laconically.
Laucy. Did you call, Ma'am? Sir A. Why, Mrs. Malaprop, in moderation, Mrs. M. Yes, girl.–Did you see Sir Lucius now, what would you have a woman know? while you was out?
Mrs. M. Observe me, Sir Anthony-I would Lucy. No indeed, Ma'am, not a glimpse of by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a him. progeny of learning; I don't think so much Mrs. M. You are sure, Lucy, that you never learning becomes a young woman ;--for in- mentioned stance I would never let her meddle with Lucy. O gemini! I'd sooner cut my tongue Greek, or Hebrew, or Algebra, or Simony, or out! Fluxions, or Paradoxes, or such inflammatory
Mrs. M. Well, don't let your simplicity be branches of learning: nor would it be neces- imposed on. sary for her to handle any of your mathemati- Lucy. No, Ma'am. cal, astronomical, diabolical instruments; but, Mrs. M. So, come to me presently, and I'll Sir, Anthony, I would send her, at nine years give you another letter to Sir Lucius-but old, to a boarding-school, in order to learn a mind, Lucy, if ever you betray what you are little ingenuity and artifice. Then, Sir, she intrusted with (unless it be other people's seshould have a supercilious knowledge in ac-crets to me,) you forfeit my malevolence for ever: and your being a simpleton shall be no Fag. I beg pardon, Sir–I beg pardon-But, excuse for your locality.
(Exit. with submission, a lie is nothing unless one Lucy. Ha, ha, ha! So, my dear simplicity, let supports it.--Sir, whenever I draw on my inme give you a little respite;[Altering her man- vention for a good current lie, I always forge ner.] let girls, in my station, be as fond as indorsements as well as the bill. they please of being expert and knowing in Capt. A. Well, take care you don't hurt their trusts, commend me to a mask of silli- your credit by offering too much security. Is ness, and a pair of sharp eyes for my own in- Mr. Faulkland returned ? terest under it !- Let nie see to whataccount Fag. He is above, Sir, changing his dress. have I turned my simplicity lately; (Looks at Capt. A. Can you tell whether he has been a paper.) For abetting Miss Lydia Languish in informed of Sir Anthony's and Miss Melville's a design of running away with an ensign! in arrival ? money, sundry times, twclre pound twelve- Fag. I fancy not, Sir; he has seen no one gowns, fire; hats, ruffles, caps, fc. &c. number. since he came in, but his gentleman, who was less.- From the said ensign, within this last with him at Bristol.--I think, Sir, I hear Mr. month, six guineas and a half:-About a quar- Faulkland coming downter's pay :-Item, from Mrs. Malaprop, for be- Capt. A. Go, tell him I am here. traying the young people to her, when I found Fag. Yes, Sir-[Going.) I beg pardon, Sir, matters were likely to be discovered, -tuo but should Sir Anthony call, you will do me guineas and a black padvasoy.Item, from Mr. the favour to remember that we are recruiting, Acres, for carrying divers letters—which I never if you please. delivered-two guineas and a pair of buckles.- Capt. A. Well, well. Item, from Sir Lucius O'Trigger, three crowns, Fag. And in tenderness to my character, if two gold pocket-pieces, and a silrer snuff-hor! - your honour could bring in the chairmen and Well done, simplicity! yet I was forced to waiters, I shall esteem it as an obligation ;make my Hibernian believe, that he was cor- for, though I never scruple a lie to serve my responding, not with the aunt, but with the master, yet it hurts one's conscience to be niece; for, though not over rich, I found he found out.
(Erit. had too much pride and delicacy to sacrifice Capt. A. Now for my whimsical friend :-If the feelings of a gentleman to the necessities he does not know that his mistress is here, I'll of his fortune.
[Exit. tease him a little before I tell himACT II.
Enter FAG. SCENE 1.-Captain ABSOLUTE's Lodgings.
Fug. Mr. Faulkland, Sir.
[Erit. CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE and Fag.
Enter Faulkland. Fag. Sir, while I was there, Sir Anthony came in; I told him you had sent me to inquire Capt. A. Faulkland, you're welcome to Bath after his health, and to know if he was at lei- again : you are punctual in your return. sure to see you.
Faulk. Yes ; had nothing to detain me, Capt. A. And what did he say, on hearing when I had tinished the business I went on. I was at Bath ?
Well, what news since I left you? how stand Fag. Sir, in my life, I never saw an elderly matters between you and Lydia ? gentleman more astonished !
Capt. A. 'Faith, much as they were. Capt. A. Well, Sir, and what did you say? Faulk. Nay, then you trifle too long-if you
Fag. (, I lied, Sir-I forget the precise lie, are sure of her, propose to the aunt, in your but, you may depend on't, he got no truth from own character, and write to Sir Anthony for me-Yet, with submission, for fear of blun his consent. ders in future, I should be glad to fix what Capt. A. Softly, softly, for though I am conhas brought us to Bath, in order that we may vinced my little Lydia would elope with me lie a little consistently.-Sir Anthony's ser- as Ensign Beverley, yet am I by no means cervants were curious, Sir, very curious indeed. tain that she would take me with the impedi
Capt. A. You have said nothing to them ?- ment of our friends' consent, a regular humFag. Oh, not a word, Sir, not a word; Mr. drum wedding, and the reversion of a good Thomas, indeed, the coachman (whom I take fortune on my side.-Well, but Faulkland, to be the discreetest of whips)
you'll dine with us to-day at the hotel ? Capt. A. 'Sdeath !-you rascal! you have Faulk. Indeed, I cannot; I am not in spirits not trusted him ?
to be of such a party. Fag. Oh, no, Sir-10-10-not a syllable, Capt. A. By heavens ! I shall forswear your upon my veracity !-He was, indeed, a little company. You are the most teasing, captious, inquisitive; but I was sly, Sir-devilish sly! incorrigible lover !–Do love like a man. -My master (said I) honest Thomas (you Faulk. Ah! Jack, your heart and soul are know, Sir, one says honest to one's inferiors) not, like mine, fixed immutably on one only is come to Bath to recruit-yes, Sir-I said to object.—You throw for a large stake, but losrecruit-and whether for men, money, or con- ing, you could stake and throw again; but I stitution, you know, Sir, is nothing to him, have set my sum of happiness on this cast, por any one else.
and not to succeed were to be stripped of all. Capt. A. Well-recruit will do let it be Capt. A. But, for heaven's sake,what grounds
for apprehension can your whimsical brain Fag. Oh, Sir, recruit will do surprisingly; conjure up at present? -indeed, to give the thing an air, I told Faulk. What grounds for apprehension, did Thomas, that your honour had already enlist- you say? Heavens! are there not a thousand? ed five disbanded chairmen, seven minority I fear for her spirits-her health-her life waiters, and thirteen billiard markers. 0! Jack, when delicate and feeling souls are
Capt. A. You blockhead, never say more separated, there is not a feature in the sky, than is necessary.
not a movement in the elements, not an