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SCENE VL-Sir John Loverule's House.
Nell. What pleasant dreams I have had to-night! Methought I was in Paradise, upon a bed of violets and roses, and the sweetest husband by my side! Ha! bless me! where am I now? What sweets are these? No garden in the spring can equal them. Am I on a bed? The sheets are sarcenet, sure; no linen ever was so fine. What a gay silken robe have I got. O heaven! I dream. Yet, if this be a dream, I would not wish to wake again. Sure I died last night, and went to heaven, and this is it.
and ruffles! Sure I am awake! Oh! I remember the cunning man, now.
Lucy. Did your ladyship speak?
Nell. Ay, child; I'll wear the same I did yesterday. Lucy. Mercy upon me! Child! Here's a miracle. (Aside.)
Lucy. Now must I awake an alarum that will not lie still again till midnight at soonest; the first greeting I suppose will be jade, or slut. (Aside.) Madam! madam!
What dost say,
Nell. O gemini! who's this? sweetheart?
Lucy. Sweetheart! O lud, sweetheart! The best names I have had these three months from her, have been slut or jade. (Aside.) What gown and ruffles will your ladyship wear to-day?
Nell. What does she mean? Ladyship! gown
Let. Is my lady awake? Have you had her shoe or her slipper at your head yet? (Apart to Lucy) Lucy. Oh, no, I'm overjoyed: she's in the kindest humour! Go to the bed, and speak to her. Now is your time. (Apart to Let.)
Let. Now's my time! what, to have another tooth beat out? (Apart.) Madam.
Nell. What dost say, my dear? O father! What would she have?
Le. What work will your ladyship please to have done to-day?
Nell. Work, child! 'tis holyday; no work to-day. Let. Oh, mercy! Am I, or thee awake? or do we both dream? Here's a blest change! (Apart to Lucy.)
Lucy. If it continues we shall be a happy family. (Apart to Lettice.)
Let. Your ladyship's chocolate is ready.
Nell. Mercy on me! what's that? Some garment, I suppose. (Aside.) Put it on then, sweetheart.
Let. Put it on, madam? I have taken it off; 'tis ready to drink.
Nell. I mean put it by; I don't care for drinking now.
Cook. Now I go like a bear to the stake, to know her scurvy ladyship's commands about dinner. How many rascally names must I be called? (Aside.)
Let. Oh, John Cook! you'll be out of your wits to find my lady in so sweet a temper. (Apart to Cook.) Cook. What a devil are they all mad? (Apart to Lettice.)
Lucy. Madam, here's the cook come about dinner. Nell. Oh! there's a fine cook! He looks like one of your gentlefolks. (Aside.)-Indeed, honest man, I'm very hungry now; pray get me a rasher upon the coals, a piece of milk cheese, and some white bread.
Cook. Hey! what's to do here? my head turns round. Honest man! I looked for rogue and rascal, at least. She's strangely changed in her diet, as well as her humour. (Aside.) I'm afraid, madam, cheese and bacon will sit very heavy on your ladyship's stomach in a morning. If you please, madam, I'll toss you up a white fricassee of chickens in a trice, madam; or what does your ladyship think of a veal sweetbread?
Nell. Even what you will, good cook. Cook. Good cook! good cook? Ah! 'tis a sweet lady. (Apart.)
Oh! kiss me, chip, I am out of my wits. We have the kindest, sweetest lady. (Apart to the Butler.)
But. You shamming rogue, I think you are out of your wits, all of ye: the maids look merrily, too. (Apart to Cook.)
Lucy. Here's the butler, madam, to know your ladyship's orders.
Nell. Oh! pray, Mr. Butler, let me have some small beer when my breakfast comes in.
But. Mr. Butler! Mr. Butler! I shall be turned
into stone with amazement. (Aside.) Would not your ladyship rather have a glass of Frontiniac, or Monte-pulchianco.
Nell. O dear! what hard names are there; but
Re-enter SIR JOHN LOVERULE.
Nell. O gemini! this fine gentleman my husband! (Aside.)
I must not betray myself. (Aside.) Well, which thus transported with ecstacy, which you occa Sir J. My dear, I am overjoyed to see my family you please, Mr. Butler! sioned.
But. Go, get you in, and be rejoiced as I am. (Apart to Coachman.)
Coach. The cook has been making his game I know not how long. What, do you banter, too? (Apart to Butler.)
Lucy. Madam, the coachman.
Coach. I come to know if your ladyship goes out to-day, and which you'll have, the coach or chariot. Nell. Good lack-a-day! I'll ride in the coach, if you please.
Coach. The sky will fall, that's certain.
Nell. I can hardly think I am awake yet. How well-pleased they all seem to wait upon me! Oh, notable cunning man! My head turns round! I am quite giddy with my own happiness.
Nell. Sir, I shall always be proud to do every thing that may give you delight, or your family satisfaction.
Sir J. By heaven, I am charmed! Dear creature, if thou continuest thus, I had rather enjoy theo than the Indies. But can this be real? May I believe my senses?
Nell. All that's good above can witness for me, I am in earnest. (Kneels.)
Sir J. Rise, my dearest. Now am I happy indeed.
DUET.-SIR JOHN LOVERULE and NELL
But. Oh, sir! here's the rarest news!
Was ever man possess'd of
All the good I can boast of,
Give me thy lips.
First let me, dear sir, wipe 'em.
Was ever so sweet a wife?
Thank you, dear sir.
Again, and again, my dearest
O may it last for life! What joy thus to enfold thee! What pleasure to behold thee! Inclined again to kiss!
How ravishing the bliss!
Lucy. There never was the like, sir! You'll be overjoyed and amazed!
Sr J. What, are ye mad? What's the matter with ye? How now? here's a new face in my family! What's the meaning of all this?
But. Oh, sir! the family's turned upside down! We are almost distracted; the happiest people! Lucy. Ay, my lady, sir; my ladySir J. What, is she dead?
But. Dead! heaven forbid! O! she's the best woman; the sweetest lady!
Sir J. This is astonishing! I must go and inquire into this wonder. If this be true, I shall rejoice indeed.
But. Tis true, sir, upon my honour. Long live Sir John and my lady! Huzza! [Exeunt.
Nell. I well remember the cunning man warned me to bear all out with confidence, or worse, he
said, would follow. I am ashamed, and know not what to do with all this ceremony! I am amazed and out of my senses! I looked in the glass, and saw a gay, fine thing I knew not! Methought my face was not at all like that I have seen at home in
a piece of looking-glass fastened upon the cupboard. But great ladies, they say, have flattering glasses, that shew them far unlike themselves; whilst poor folks' glasses represent them even just as they are.
But. Lady! Here, turn this mad-woman out of Lady L. You rascal; take that, sirrah. (Flings a glass at him.)
Foot. Have a care, hussy; there's a good pump without; we shall cool your courage for you.
Lady L. You, Lucy, have you forgot me, too, you minx?
Lucy. Forgot you, woman! Why, I never remember'd you; I never saw you before in my life. Lady L. Oh, the wicked slut! I'll give you causo to remember me; I will, hussy. (Pulls her head clothes off.)
Lucy. Murder! murder! help!
Re-enter SIR JOHN LOVERULE and NELL
Lucy. Oh, madam! here's my master just re- won't you know me neither? (Strikes her) turned from hunting.
Let. Help! help!
Sir J. What's to do there?
But. Why, sir, here's a mad woman calls herself my lady, and is beating and cuffing us all round. Sir J. Thou my wife? poor creature, I pity thee. I never saw thee before. (To Lady Loverule.) Lady L. Then it is in vain to expect redress from thee, thou wicked contriver of all my misery. Nell. How am I amazed! Can that be I there, in my clothes, that have made all this disturbance? and yet, I am here to my thinking, in these fine clothes. How can this be? I am so confounded and affrighted, that I begin to wish I was with Zekel Jobson again. (Aside.)
Lady L. To whom shall I apply myself, or whither can I fly? Heaven! what do I see? Is not that I yonder, in my gown and petticoat I wore yesterday? How can it be? I cannot be at two places
Sir J. Poor wretch! she's stark mad.
Lady L. What, in the devil's name, was I here before I came ? let me look in the glass. Oh heavens, I am astonished! I don't know myself, If this be I that the glass shews me, I never saw myself before.
Sir J. What incoherent madness is this?
Lady L. There, that's the devil in my likeness, who has robb'd me of my countenance. He here, too?
Job. Ay, hussy; and here's my strap, you
Nell. O, dear! I am afraid my husband will beat me! that man on t'other side the room there.
Job. I hope your honours will pardon her; she was drinking with a conjurer last night, and has been mad ever since, and calls herself my Lady Loverule.
Sir J. Poor woman; take care of her; do not hurt her; she may be cured of this.
Job. Yes, and please your worship, you shall see me cure her presently. Hussy, do you see this?
Nell. O pray, Zekel, don't beat me.
Sir J. What says my love? Does she infect thee with madness, too?
Nell. I am not well; pray lead me in. [Exeunt Nell and Maids. Job. I beseech your worship, don't take it ill of me; she shall never trouble you more.
Sir J. Take her home, and use her kindly.
[Exeunt Jobson and Lady Loverule.
Foot. Sir, the Doctor who called here last night, desires you will give him leave to speak a word or two with you, upon very earnest business. Sir J. What can this mean? bring him in. Enter Doctor.
Doc. Lo! on my knees, sir, I beg forgiveness for what I have done, and put my life into your hands.
Sir J. Inform me what you have done.
Doc. I have transformed your lady's face, so that she seems the cobbler's wife, and have charmed her face into the likeness of my lady's: and last night, when the storm arose, my spirits conveyed them to each other's bed.
Sir J. Oh, wretch, thou has undone me! I am fallen from the height of all my hopes, and must still be cursed with a tempestuous wife, a fury whom I never knew quiet since I had her.
Doc. If that be all, I can continue the charm for both their lives.
Sir J. Let the event be what it will, I'll hang you, if you do not end the charm this instant.
Doc. I will, this minute, sir; and perhaps you'll find it the luckiest of your life: I can assure you your lady will prove the better for it.
Sil J. Hold, there's one material circumstance I'd know.
Doc. Your pleasure, sir?
Sir J. Perhaps the cobler has--you understand
Doc. I do assure you, no; for e'er she was conveyed to his bed, the cobbler was got up to work, and he has done nought but beat her ever since; and you are like to reap the fruits of his labour. He'll be with you in a minute: here he comes. Re-enter JOBSON,
Sir J. So, Jobson, where's your wife? Job. And please your worship she's here at the door; but indeed I thought I had lost her just now: for as she came into the hall, she fell into such a swoon, that I thought she would never come out on't again; but a tweak or two by the nose, and half a dozen straps, did the business at last. Here, where are you, hussy?
Re-enter LADY LOVERULE.
But. (Holds up the candle, but lets it fall when he sees her.) O heaven and earth! is this my lady? Job. What does he say? My wife changed to my lady?
Cook. Ay, I thought the other was too good for our lady.
Lady L. Sir, you are the person I have most offended, and here confess I have been the worst of wives in everything, but that I always kept myself chaste. If you can vouchsafe once more to take me to your bosom, the remainder of my days shall joyfully be spent in duty and observance of your will.
Sir J. Rise, madam; I do forgive you; and if you are sincere in what you say, you'll make me happier than all the enjoyments in the world without you could do.
Job. What a plague! am I to lose my wife thus ? Re-enter LUCY and LETTICE.
Lucy. Oh, sir, the strangest accident has happened-it has amazed us! My lady was in so great a swoon, we thought she had been dead. Let. And when she came to herself, she proved another woman.
Job. Ha, ha, ha! A bull! a bull!
Nell. My head turns round; I must go home. O, Zekel, are you there?
Job. O lud! is this fine lady my wife? Egad, I'm afraid to come near her. What can be the meaning of this?
Sir J. This is a happy change, and I'll have it celebrated with all the joy I proclaimed for my late short-lived vision.
Lady L. To me 'tis the happiest day I ever knew. Sir J. Here, Jobson, take thy fine wife. Job. But one word, sir-Did not your worship make a buck of me, under the rose?
Lady L. Most freely. The joy of this blessed change sets all things right again.
Sir J. Let us forget everything that is past, and think of nothing now but joy and pleasure.
Sir J. No, upon my honour, nor ever kissed her lips till I came from hunting; but since she has been the means of bringing about this happy change, I'll give thee five hundred pounds with her, to buy Lady L. Let ev'ry face with smiles appear,
a stock of leather.
Job. Brave boys! I'm a prince-the prince_of cobblers! Come hither and kiss me, Nell; I'll never strap thee more.
Nell. Indeed, Zekel, I have been in such a dream Sir J. that I'm quite weary of it. Forsooth, madam, will you please to take your clothes, and let me have mine again. (To Lady Loverule.)
Job. Hold your tongue, you fool, they'll serve you Job. to go to church. (Apart to Nell.)
Lady L. No; thou shalt keep them, and I'll preserve thine as relics.
Job, And can your ladyship forgive my strapping your honour so very much?
Be joy in ev'ry breast,
We now are truly blest.
May no remembrance of past time
I hope you'll give me leave to speak,
Nought but the devil, and this good strap,
A MUSICAL DRAMA, IN TWO ACTS.-BY SAMUEL BIRCH.
Clara.-"IT IS HE AGAIN."-Act ii, scene 1.
SCENE I-An old Hall in Milford Castle.
Enter RECORD and LUCY.
CLARA LUCY JANNETTE NELL
upon their large horses, and the wind whistles all night as loud as thunder along the gallery; and to be all alone too! Or if I do see any body, is it not you, Mr. Record?
Rec. Well; and is there anything so frightful in me, most insulting! Whom would you see?
Lucy. Why something human, something like myself, that I could talk to. O! when shall we have a master and mistress come to this place?
Rec. You must put up with me as master; and as to a mistress, if I can do very well without one, surely you may. Our old gentleman's relations are on their road from Spa, and we shall soon be all alive again.
Lucy. What, will not Sir Edmund come back again?
Rec. Never! but thank heaven, my accounts are all clear enough: his old complaint; but his relations have one consolation left, however.