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Enter SQUIRE RICHARD and MYRTILLA, in
Squire R. What, is this the doctor's chamber?
Myr. Yes, yes; speak softly.
Squire R. Well, but where is he?
Myr. He'll be ready for us presently, but he says he can't do us the good turn without witnesses: so, when the count and your sister come, you know he and you may be fathers for one another.
Squire R. Well, well, tit for tat! ay, ay, that will be friendly.
Myr. And see, here they come!
Enter COUNT BASSET and MISS JENNY, in
Count B. So, so, here's your brother and his bride before us, my dear.
Count B. Oh, here he comes, I believe.
Enter MYRTILLA, with a Constable. Const. Well, madam, pray which is the party that wants a spice of my office here? Myr. That's the gentleman. [Pointing to the Count Count B. Hey-day! what, in masquerade, doctor?
Const. Doctor! sir, I believe you have mistaken your man: but if you are called count Basset, I have a billet-doux in my hand for you, that will set you right presently.
Count B. What the devil's the meaning of all this?
Const. Only my lord chief justice's warrant against you, for forgery, sir.
Count B. Blood and thunder!
Const. And so, sir, if you please to pull Jenny. Well, I vow, my heart's at my off your fool's frock there, I'll wait upon you mouth still! I thought I should never have to the next justice of peace immediately. got rid of mamma; but while she stood gaping upon the dance, I gave her the slip! Lawd, do but feel how it beats here!
Count B. Oh, the pretty flutterer! I protest, my dear, you have put mine into the same palpitation!
Jenny. Ay, you say so-but let's see now -Oh, lud! I vow it thumps purely-well, well, I see it will do; and so where's the parson?
Count B. Mrs. Myrtilla, will you be so good as to see if the doctor's ready for us?
Myr. He only staid for you, sir; I'll fetch him immediately. [Exit. Jenny. Pray, sir, am not I to take place of mamma, when I'm a countess?
Count B. No doubt on't, my dear.
Jenny. Oh, lud! how her back will be up then, 1) when she meets me at an assembly; or you and I in our coach and six at Hydepark together!
Count B. Ay, or when she hears the boxkeepers at an opera, call out-"The countess of Basset's servants!"
[Sir Francis and Manly advance. Jenny. Oh, dear me, what's the matter? [Trembling. Count B. Oh, nothing, only à masquerading frolic, my dear. Squire R. Oh, ho, is that all! Sir F. No, sirrah! that is not all.
[Sir Francis Wronghead coming softly
behind the Squire, knocks him down with his Cane.
Squire R. Oh, lawd! Oh, lawd! he has beaten my brains out.
Man. Hold, hold, sir Francis; have a little mercy upon my poor godson, pray, sir. Sir F. Wounds, cousin, I ha'nt patience. Count B. Manly! nay then I'm blown to [Aside. Squire R. Oh, my head! my head!
Enter LADY WRONGHEAD, dressed as a
Lady W. What's the matter here, gentlemen? For heaven's sake! What, are you
Jenny. Well, I say it, that will be deli- murdering my children?
cious! And then mayhap to have a fine gentle- Const. No, no, madam; no murder; only man, with a star and a what-d'ye-call-um a little suspicion of felony, that's all. riband, lead me to my chair, with his hat Sir F. [To Jenny] And for you, Mrs. Hotunder his arm all the way! "Hold up," says upon't, I could find in my heart to make you the chairman; "and so, says I, "my lord, wear that habit as long as you live, you jade your humble servant."-"I suppose, madam," you. Do you know, hussy, that you were says he, we shall see you at my lady Qua- within two minutes of marrying a pickpocket? drille's?"-"Ay, ay, to be sure, my lord,"
Count B. So, so, all's out I find! [Aside. Jenny. Oh, the mercy! why pray, papa, not the count a man of quality then? Sir F. Oh, yes, one of the unhanged ones, it seems.
says I.. So in swops me, with my hoop
Lady W. Married! Oh, the confident thing! There was his urgent business then-slighted for her! I han't patience!—and, for aught I know, I have been all this while making a Jenny. Well, well, do you find equipage, friendship with a highwayman. [Aside and I'll find airs, I warrant you. Man. Mr. Constable, secure there. Squire R. Troth! I think this masquerading's Sir F. Ah, my lady! my lady! this comes the merriest game that ever I saw in my life! of your journey to London: but now I'll have Tho'f in my mind, and there were but a little a frolic of my own, madam; therefore pack wrestling, or cudgel-playing naw, it would help up your trumpery this very night; for the it hugely. But what a-rope makes the parson moment my horses are able to crawl, you stay so? and your brats shall make a journey into the country again.
1) An allusion to the manner in which the cats draw up their backs, when they are attacked by a dog, etc.
Lady W. Indeed, you are mistaken, sir
Francis-I shall not stir out of town yet, I chaplain you expected is still within call. promise you.
Sir F. Not stir? Waunds, madamMan. Hold, sir!—if you'll give me leave a little-I fancy I shall prevail with my lady to think better on't.
Myr. Come, sir, don't repine: marriage is at worst but playing upon the square.
Count B. Ay, but the worst of the match too, is the devil.
Man. Well, sir, to let you see it is not Sir F. Ah, cousin, you are a friend indeed! so bad as you think it; as a reward for her Man. [Apart to Lady Wronghead] Look honesty, in detecting your practices, instead you, madam, as to the favour you designed of the forged bill you would have put upon me, in sending this spurious letter enclosed her, there's a real one of five hundred pounds, to my lady Grace, all the revenge I have to begin a new honeymoon with. taken, is to have saved your son and daughter from ruin.-Now if you will take them fairly and quietly into the country again, I will save your ladyship from ruin.
Lady W. What do you mean, sir?
[Gives it to Myrtilla. Count B. Sir, this is so generous an act— Man. No compliments, dear sir-I am not at leisure now to receive them. Mr. Constable, will you be so good as to wait upon this
Man. Why, sir Francis-shall never know gentleman into the next room, and give this what is in this letter; look upon it. How it lady in marriage to him? Const. Sir, I'll do it faithfully.
shall know at leisure.
[Exit. Lady W. Ha! my billet-doux to the count! Count B. Well, five hundred will serve to and an appointment in it! I shall sink with make a handsome push with, however. And confusion! I am not the first of the fraternity who has run his head into one noose, to keep it out of another-Come, spouse.
Man. What shall I say to sir Francis, madam? Lady W. Dear sir, I am in such a trembling! preserve my honour, and I am all obedience. [Apart to Man.
Man. Sir Francis-my lady is ready to receive commands for her journey, whenever you please to appoint it.
Sir F. Ah, cousin, I doubt I am obliged to you for it.
Man. Come, come, sir Francis, take it as you find it. Obedience in a wife is a good thing, though it were never so wonderful!
Myr. Yes, my life.
[Exeunt Myrtilla, Count Basset, and Constable.
Sir F. And that I may be sure my family's rid of him for ever-come, my lady, let's even take our children along with us, and be all witness of the ceremony.
SCENE II-A dressing Room.
And now, sir, we have nothing to do but to LADY TOWNLY discovered as just up; MRS.
dispose of this gentleman.
Count B. Mr. Manly; sir, I hope you won't ruin me!
Man. Did not you forge this note for five hundred pounds, sir?
Mrs. T. Dear madam, what should make your ladyship so ill?
Lady T. How is it possible to be well, where one is killed for want of sleep?
Mrs. T. Dear me! it was so long before you rung, madam, I was in hopes your ladyship had been finely composed.
Count B. Sir-I see you know the world, and therefore I shall not pretend to prevaricate-But it has hurt nobody yet, sir; I beg you will not stigmatize me; since you have Lady T. Composed! why I have lain in an spoiled my fortune in one family, I hope you inn here; this house is worse than an inn won't be so cruel to a young fellow, as to with ten stage coaches: what between my lord's put it out of my power, sir, to make it in impertinent people of business in a morning, another, and the intolerable thick shoes of footmen at noon, one has not a wink all night.
Man. Look you, sir, I have not much time to waste with you: but if you expect mercy yourself, you must show it to one you have been cruel to.
Count B. Cruel, sir?
Man. Have you not ruined this young woman?
Mrs. T. Indeed, madam, it's a great pity my lord can't be persuaded into the hours of people of quality-though I must say that, madam, your ladyship is certainly the best matrimonial manager in town.
Lady T. Oh, you are quite mistaken, Trusty! Man. I know you have-therefore you can't I manage very ill; for, notwithstanding all blame her, if, in the fact you are charged the power I have, by never being over fond with, she is a principal witness against you. of my lord-yet I want money infinitely ofHowever, you have one, and only one chance to get off with. Marry her this instant-and you take off her evidence.
Man. No words, sir; a wife or a mittimus. Count B. Lord, sir! this is the most un- that I am undone, Trusty? merciful mercy!
Lady T. Oh, don't talk of it! Do you know.
Man. A private penance or a public one oneConstable!
Mrs. T. Mercy forbid, madam!
Count B. Hold, sir, since you are pleased to give me my choice, I will not make so ill a compliment to the lady, as not to give her the world-What is to be done, Trusty? the preference.
Mrs. T. Truly, I wish I were wise enough Man. It must be done this minute, sir; the to tell you, madam: but may be your ladyship
may have a run of better fortune upon some this time-the man's now writing a receipt of the good company that comes here to-night. below for it.
Lady T. But I have not a single guinea to Mrs. T. No matter; my lady says you must try my fortune.
Mrs. T. Ha! that's a bad business indeed, madam-Adad, I have a thought in my head, madam, if it is not too late
Lady T. Out with it quickly then, I be
Mrs. T. Has not the steward something of fifty pounds, madam, that you left in his hands to pay somebody about this time?
Lady T. Oh, ay; I had forgot—'twas to a— what's his filthy name?
Mrs. T. Now I remember, madam, 'twas to Mr. Lutestring, your old mercer, that your ladyship turned off about a year ago, because he would trust you no longer.
not pay him with that money; there's not enough, it seems-there's a pistole and a guinea that is not good in it-besides, there is a mistake in the account too-[Twitching the Bag from him] But she is not at leisure to examine it now: so you must bid Mr. Whatd'y e-callum call another time.
Lady T. What is all that noise there? Pound. Why, and it please your ladyship— Lady T. Pr'ythee don't plague me now; but do as you were ordered.
Pound. Nay, what your ladyship pleases, madam. [Exit. Mrs. T. There they are, madam-[Pours the money out of the Bag] The pretty things Lady T. The very wretch! If he has not were so near falling into a nasty tradespaid it, run quickly, dear Trusty, and bid man's hands, I protest it made me tremble him bring it hither immediately. [Exit Trusty] for them!-I fancy your ladyship had as good Well, sure mortal woman never had such give me that bad guinea, for luck's_sakefortune! five, five and nine, against poor se- thank you, ma'am [Takes a Guinea. ven, for ever!-No, after that horrid bar of Lady T. Why, I did not bid you take it. my chance that lady Wronghead's fatal red Mrs. T. No; but your ladyship looked as if fist upon the table, I saw it was impossible you were just going to bid me; and so I was ever to win another stake-Sit up all night-willing to save you the trouble of speaking, lose all one's money-dream of winning thou- madam.
sands-wake without a shilling! and then- Lady T. Well, thou hast deserved it; and How like a hag I look!-In short-the plea-so, for once- -[Noise without] But hark! don't sures of life are not worth this disorder. If I hear the man making a noise yonder? it were not for shame now, I could almost Mrs. T. I'll listen. think lady Grace's sober scheme not quite so ridiculous-If my wise lord could but hold his tongue for a week, 'tis odds but I should hate the town in a fortnight-But I will not be driven out of it, that's positive.
Enter MRS. TRUSTY.
Lady T. Pr'ythee do.
Mrs. T. [Goes to the Door] Ay, they are at it, madam-he's in a bitter passion with poor Poundage-Bless me! I believe he'll beat him.
[A Man's Voice without] I won't swear, but damn me if I don't have my money. Mrs. T. Mercy on us, how the wretch swears! Lady T. And a sober citizen too! that's shame.
Mrs. T. Oh, madam, there's no bearing of it! Mr. Lutestring was just let in at the door, as I came to the stair foot; and the steward a is now actually paying him the money in the hall.
Mrs. T. Ha! I think all's silent, of a sudden-may be the porter has knocked him Lady T. Run to the staircase head again-down-I'll step and see. and scream to him that I must speak with him this instant.
[Mrs. Trusty runs out, and speaks. Mrs. T. [Within] Mr. Poundage!-a hem! Mr. Poundage, a word with you quickly! Pound. [Within] I'll come to you presently. Mrs. T. Within] Presently won't do, man; you must come this minute.
Pound. [Within] I am but just paying a little money here.
Mrs. T. Within Odds my life, paying money! Is the man distracted? Come here, tell you, to my lady, this moment-quick!
Re-enter MRS. TRUSTY.
Lady T. Will the monster come, or no? Mrs. T. Yes, I hear him now, madam; he is hobbling up as fast as he can.
Lady T. Don't let him come in-for he will keep such a babbling about his accounts-my brain is not able to bear him.
[Poundage comes to the Door, with a Money-bag in his Hand, Mrs. T. Oh, it's well you are come, sir! where's the fifty pounds.
Pound. Why here it is: if you had not been in such haste, I should have paid it by
Lady T. These tradespeople are the troublesomest creatures! No words will satisfy them!
Re-enter MRS. TRUSTY.
Mrs. T. Oh, madam! undone! undone! My lord has just bolted out upon 1) the man, and is hearing all his pitiful story over-If your ladyship pleases to come hither, you may hear him yourself.
Lady T. No matter; it will come round presently; I shall have it from my lord, without losing a word by the way, I'll warrant you. Mrs. T. Oh lud, madam! here's my lord just coming in!
Lady T. Do you get out of the way, then. [Exit Mrs. Trusty] I am afraid I want spirits; but he will soon give them me.
Enter LORD TOWNLY.
Lord T. How comes it, madam, that a tradesman dares be clamorous in my house, for money due to him from you?
Lady T. You don't expect, my lord, that I should answer for other people's impertinence! Lord T. I expect, madam, you should answer for your own extravagancies, that are the oc1) Slang for, to come suddenly upon a person.
casion of it; I thought I had given you money, Lady T. Your style, my lord, is much of three months ago, to satisfy all these sort the same delicacy with your sentiments of of people.
Lady T. Yes; but you see they never are to be satisfied.
Lord T. Nor am I, madam, longer to be abused thus-what's become of the last five hundred I gave you?
Lady T. Gone.
Lord T. Gone! what way, madam?
Lady T. Half the town over, I believe, by this time.
Lord T. Madam, madam, this is no time for compliments-I have done with you.
Lady T. Done with me! If we had never met, my lord, I had not broke my heart for it-but have a care; I may not, perhaps, be so easily recalled as you may imagine. Lord T. Recalled! Who's there?
Lord T. 'Tis well; I see ruin will make no Desire my sister and Mr. Manly to walk up. impression, till it falls upon you. [Exit Williams. Lady T. In short, my lord, if money is Lady T. My lord, you may proceed as you always the subject of our conversation, I shall please; but pray what indiscretions have I make you no answer. committed, that are not daily practised by a hundred other women of quality?
Lord T. Madam, madam, I will be heard, and make you answer.
Lord T. 'Tis not the number of ill wives, Lady T. Make me! Then I must tell you, madam, that makes the patience of a husband my lord, this is a language I have not been less contemptible; and though a bad one may used to, and I won't bear it. be the best man's lot, yet he'll make a better Lord T. Come, come, madam, you shall figure in the world, that keeps his misforbear a great deal more, before I part with you. tunes out of doors, than he that tamely keeps Lady T. My lord, if you insult me, you them within.
will have as much to bear on your side, I Lady T. I don't know what figure you may can assure you. make, my lord; but I shall have no reason to Lord T. Pooh! your spirit grows ridicu- be ashamed of mine, in whatever company I lous!-you have neither honour, worth, or may meet you. innocence to support it.
Lord T. Be sparing of your spirit, madam;
Lady T, You'll find at least I have resent- you'll need it to support you.
ment; and do you look well to the provocation. Lord T. After those you have given me,
Enter LADY GRACE and MANLY.
Man. Then pray make none, my lord, that may have the greater merit in obliging you. Lord T. Sister, I have the same excuse to entreat of you too.
madam, 'tis almost infamous to talk with you. Mr. Manly, I have an act of friendship to beg Lady T. I scorn your imputation and your of you, which wants more apologies than menaces. The narrowness of your heart is words can make for it. your monitor-'tis there, there, my lord, you are wounded; you have less to complain of than many husbands of an equal rank to you, Lord T. Death, madam! do you presume upon your corporeal merit, that your person's Lady G. To your request, I beg, my lord. less tainted than your mind? Is it there, there Lord T. Thus then-As you both were alone, an honest husband can be injured? present at my ill-considered marriage, I now Have you not every other vice that can de- desire you each will be a witness of my debase your birth or stain the heart of woman? termined separation-I know, sir, your good Is not your health, your beauty, husband, nature, and my sister's, must be shocked at fortune, family disclaimed-for nights con- the office I impose on you; but as I don't sumed in riot and extravagance? The wanton ask your justification of my cause, so I hope does no more-if she conceals her shame, you are conscious that an ill woman can't does less; and sure the dissolute avowed, as reproach you, if you are silent on her side. sorely wrongs my honour and my quiet.' Man. My lord, I never thought, till now,
Lady T. I see, my lord, what sort of wife it could be difficult to oblige you. might please you. Lord T. For you, my lady Townly, I need Lord T. Ungrateful woman! could you have not here repeat the provocations of my partseen yourself, you in yourself had seen her- ing with you-the world, I fear, is too well I am amazed our legislature has left no prece-informed of them-For the good lord, your dent of a divorce, for this more visible in- dear father's sake, I will still support you as jury, this adultery of the mind, as well as his daughter. As the Lord Townly's wife, that of the person! When a woman's whole you have had every thing a fond husband heart is alienated to pleasures I have no share could bestow, and, to our mutual shame I in, what is it to me, whether a black ace, or speak it, more than happy wives desire-But a powdered coxcomb, has possession of it? those indulgencies must end-state, equipage, Lady T. If you have not found it yet, my and splendour, but ill become the vices that lord, this is not the way to get possession of misuse them-The decent necessaries of life mine, depend upon it. shall be supplied, but not one article to luxury Lord T. That, madam, I have long despaired-not even the coach, that waits to carry you of; and, since our happiness cannot be mu- from hence, shall you ever use again. Your tual, 'tis fit that, with our hearts, our persons tender aunt, my Lady Lovemore, with tears, too should separate.-This house you sleep no this morning, has consented to receive you; more in; though your content might grossly where, if time and your condition bring you upon the dishonour of a husband, yet my to a due reflection, your allowance shall be desires would starve upon the features of a wife. increased-but if you still are lavish of your
little, or pine for past licentious pleasures, father's firm commands enjoined me to make that little shall be less; nor will I call that choice of one, I even there declined the liberty soul my friend that names you in my hearing. he gave, and to his own election yielded up -Oh, Manly, look there! turn back thy thoughts my youth-his tender care, my lord, directed with me, and witness to my growing love.-him to you. Our hands were joined, but still There was a time, when I believed that form my heart was wedded to its folly. My only incapable of vice or of decay; there I proposed joy was power, command, society, profuseness, the partner of an easy home; there I for ever and to lead in pleasures.-The husband's right hoped to find a cheerful companion, a faithful to rule I thought a vulgar law, which only friend, a useful helpmate, and a tender mother the deformed or meanly spirited obeyed.-I -but, oh, how bitter now the disappointment! knew no directors but my passions, no master Man. The world is different in its sense of but my will.-Even you, my lord, sometime happiness; offended as you are, I know you o'ercome by love, were pleased with my dewill still be just. lights; nor then foresaw this mad misuse of Lord T. Fear me not. your indulgence. And though I call myself Man. This last reproach, I see, has struck ungrateful while I own it, yet as a truth it her! [Aside. cannot be denied, that kind indulgence has Lord T. No, let me not (though I this mo- undone me; it added strength to my habitual ment cast her from my heart for ever), let failings, and, in a heart thus warm in wild, me not urge her punishment beyond her unthinking life, no wonder if the gentler sense crimes I know the world is fond of any tale of love was lost. that feeds its appetite of scandal; - and as I am conscious severities of this kind seldom fail of imputations too gross to mention, I here, before you both, acquit her of the least sus[Apart. picion raised against the honour of my bed. Lady T. What I have said, my lord, is not Therefore, when abroad her conduct may be my excuse, but my confession; my errors questioned, do her fame that justice. (give them, if you please, a harder name) Lady T. Oh, sister! cannot be defended-No, what's in its nature
Lord T. Oh, Manly! where has this creature's heart been buried? [Apart. Man. If yet recoverable, how vast the trea
[Turns to Lady Grace, weeping. wrong, no words can palliate-no plea can Lord T. When I am spoken of, where, alter! What then remains in my condition, without favour, this action may be canvassed, but resignation to your pleasure? Time only relate but half my provocations, and give me can convince you of my future conduct: thereup to censure. Going. fore, till I have lived an object of forgiveness, Lady T. Support me-save me-hide me I dare not hope for pardon-The penance of from the world! a lonely, contrite life, were little to the inno[Falling on Lady Grace's Neck. cent; but, to have deserved this separation, Lord T. [Returning] I had forgot me- will strew perpetual thorns upon my pillow. You have no share in my resentment, there--Sister, farewell! [Kisses her] Your virtue fore, as you have lived in friendship with her, needs no warning from the shame that falls your parting may admit of gentler terms than on me; but when you think I have atoned my suit the honour of an injured husband. follies past, persuade your injured brother to [Offers to go out. forgive them.
Man. [Interposing] My lord, you must Lord T. No, madam! your errors, thus re
not, shall not, leave her thus!-One moment's nounced, this instant are forgotten! So deep, stay can do your cause no wrong. If looks so due a sense of them has made you what can speak the anguish of her heart, I'll an- my utmost wishes form'd, and all my heart swer, with my life, there's something labouring has sigh'd for.-Long parted friends, that pass in her mind, that, would you bear the hear- through easy voyages of life, receive but coming, might deserve it. mon gladness in their meeting; but, from a Lord T. Consider-since we no more can shipwreck saved, we mingle tears with our meet, press not my staying to insult her. embraces. [Embraces Lady Townly. Lady T. Yet stay, my lord-the little I would Lady T. What words - what love what say will not deserve an insult; and, undeserv-duty can repay such obligations? ed, I know your nature gives it not. But as Lord T. Preserve but this desire to please, you've called in friends to witness your re-your power is endless. sentment, let them be equal hearers of my last Lady T. Oh! till this moment never did I reply. [be it so. know, my lord, I had a heart to give you! Lord T. I shan't refuse you that, madam- Lord T. By heaven! this yielding hand, Lady T. My lord, you ever have complained when first it gave you to my wishes, presented I wanted love; but as you kindly have allowed not a treasure more desirable! — Oh, Manly! I never gave it to another, so, when you hear sister! as you have often shared in my disthe story of my heart, though you may still quiet, partake of my felicity-my new-born complain, you will not wonder at my coldness. joy! See here, the bride of my desires! This Lord T. Proceed-I am attentive.
may be called my wedding-day.
Lady T. Before I was your bride, my lord, Lady G. Sister (for now, methinks, that the flattering world had talked me into beauty; name is dearer to me than ever), let me conwhich, at my glass, my youthful vanity con- gratulate the happiness that opens to you. firmed. Wild with that fame, I thought man- Man. Long, long, and mutual, may it flow! kind my slaves- I triumphed over hearts, while Lord T. To make our happiness complete, all my pleasure was their pain: yet was my my dear, join here with me to give a hand, own so equally insensible to all, that, when a that amply will repay the obligation.