The Augustan Reprint Society
SUSANNA CENTLIVRE THE BUSIE BODY (1709)
With an Introduction by Jess Byrd
Publication Number 19 (Series V, No. 3)
Los Angeles William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1949
* * * * *
H. RICHARD ARCHER, Clark Memorial Library RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles H.T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles
W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan
EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, University of Nebraska LOUIS I. BREDVOLD, University of Michigan CLEANTH BROOKS, Yale University JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota ERNEST MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, Queen Mary College, London
* * * * *
Susanna Centlivre (1667?-1723) in The Busie Body (1709) contributed to the stage one of the most successful comedies of intrigue of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This play, written when there was a decided trend in England toward sentimental drama, shows Mrs. Centlivre a strong supporter of laughing comedy. She had turned for a time to sentimental comedy and with one of her three sentimental plays, The Gamester (1704), had achieved a great success. But her true bent seems to have been toward realistic comedies, chiefly of intrigue: of her nineteen plays written from 1700 to 1723, ten are realistic comedies. Three of these proved very popular in her time and enjoyed a long stage history: The Busie Body (1709); The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret (1714); and A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1717). The Busie Body best illustrates Mrs. Centlivre's preference for laughing comedy with an improved moral tone. The characters and the plot are amusing but inoffensive, and, compared to those of Restoration drama, satisfy the desire of the growing eighteenth-century middle-class audience for respectability on the stage.
The theory of comedy on which The Busie Body rests is a traditional one, but Mrs. Centlivre's simple pronouncements on the virtues of realistic over sentimental comedy are interesting because of the controversy on this subject among critics and writers at this time. In the preface to her first play, The Perjur'd Husband (1700), she takes issue with Jeremy Collier on the charge of immorality in realistic plays. The stage, she believes, should present characters as they are; it is unreasonable to expect a "Person, whose inclinations are always forming Projects to the Dishonor of her Husband, should deliver her Commands to her Confident in the Words of a Psalm." In a letter written in 1700 she says: "I think the main design of Comedy is to make us laugh." (Abel Boyer, Letters of Wit, Politicks, and Morality, London, 1701, p. 362). But, she adds, since Collier has taught religion to the "Rhiming Trade, the Comick Muse in Tragick Posture sat" until she discovered Farquhar, whose language is amusing but decorous and whose plots are virtuous. This insistence on decorum and virtue indicates a concession to Collier and to the public. Thus in the preface to Love's Contrivance (1703), she reiterates her belief that comedy should amuse but adds that she strove for a "modest stile" which might not "disoblige the nicest ear." This modest style, not practiced in early plays, is achieved admirably in The Busie Body. Yet, as she says in the epilogue, she has not followed the critics who balk the pleasure of the audience to refine their taste; her play will with "good humour, pleasure crown the Night." In dialogue, in plot, and particularly in the character of the amusing but inoffensive Marplot, she fulfills her simple theory of comedy designed not for reform but for laughter.
Mrs. Centlivre followed the practices of her contemporaries in borrowing the plot for The Busie Body. The three sources for the play are: The Devil Is an Ass (1616) by Jonson; L'Etourdi (1658) by Moliere; and Sir Martin Mar-all or The Feigned Innocence (1667) by Dryden. From The Devil Is an Ass, Mrs. Centlivre borrowed minor details and two episodes, one of them the amusing dumb scene. This scene, though a close imitation, seems more amusing in The Busie Body than in Jonson's play, perhaps because the characters, especially Sir Francis Gripe and Miranda, are more credible and more fully portrayed. From the second source for The Busie Body, Moliere's L'Etourdi, I believe Mrs. Centlivre borrowed the framework for her parallel plots, the theme of Marplot's blundering, and the name and general character of Marplot. But she has improved what she borrowed. She places in Moliere's framework more credible women characters than his, especially in the charming Miranda and the crafty Patch; she constructs a more skillful intrigue plot for the stage than his subplot and emphasizes Spanish customs in the lively Charles-Isabinda-Traffick plot. Mrs. Centlivre concentrates on Marplot's blundering, whereas Moliere concentrates on the servant Mascarille's schemes. Marplot's funniest blunder, in the "monkey" scene, is entirely original as far as I know (IV, iv). But her greatest change is in the character of Marplot, who in her hands becomes not so much stupid as human and irresistibly ludicrous. Mrs. Centlivre's style is of course inferior to that of Moliere. In the preface to Love's Contrivance (1703), in speaking of borrowings from Moliere, she said that borrowers "must take care to touch the Colors with an English Pencil, and form the Piece according to our Manners." Of course her touching the "Colors with an English Pencil" meant changing the style of Moliere to suit the less delicate taste of the middle-class English audience.
A third source for The Busie Body is Dryden's Sir Martin Mar-all (1667). Since Dryden followed Moliere with considerable exactness, it would be difficult to prove beyond doubt that Mrs. Centlivre borrowed from Moliere rather than from Dryden. Yet I believe, after a careful analysis of the plays, that she borrowed from Moliere. She made of The Busie Body a comedy of intrigue based on the theme and plot used by both Moliere and Dryden, but she omitted the scandalous Restoration third plot which Dryden had added to Moliere. Her characters are English in speech and action, but they lack the coarseness apparent in Dryden's Sir Martin Mar-all. Though it is impossible to prove the exact sources of Mrs. Centlivre's borrowings, there is no doubt that she has improved what she borrowed.
Whatever the truth may be about Mrs. Centlivre's use of her sources, her play remained in the repertory of acting plays long after L'Etourdi and Sir Martin Mar-all had disappeared. The Busie Body opened at the Drury Lane Theater on May 12, 1709. Steele, who listed the play in The Tatler for May 14, 1709, does not mention the length of the run. Thomas Whincop says that the play ran thirteen nights (Scanderbeg, London, 1747, p. 190), but Genest says the play had an opening run of seven nights (Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration in 1660 to 1830, II, 419). The play remained popular throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Genest lists it as being presented in twenty-three seasons from 1709 to 1800. It was certainly presented much more frequently than this record shows, for Dougald MacMillan in The Drury Lane Calendar lists fifty-three performances from 1747-1776, whereas Genest records two performances in this period. The greatest number of performances in any season was fourteen in 1758-59, the year David Garrick appeared in the play. From the records available The Busie Body seems to have reached its greatest popularity in England in the middle and late eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth century. William Hazlitt, in the "Prefatory Remarks" to the Oxberry acting edition of 1819, says The Busie Body has been acted a "thousand times in town and country, giving delight to the old, the young, and the middle-aged."
The Busie Body enjoyed a similar place of importance in the stage history of America but achieved its greatest popularity, in New York at least, in the nineteenth century. First performed in Williamsburg on September 10, 1736, the play was presented fifteen times in New York in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century forty-five performances were given in New York in sixteen seasons from 1803 to 1885 (George Odell, Annals of the New York Stage). The Busie Body is frequently cited with The Rivals and The School for Scandal for opening seasons and for long runs by great actors.
The text here reproduced is from a copy of the first edition now in the library of the University of Michigan.
Jess Byrd Salem College
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
THE BUSIE BODY:
As it is Acted at the THEATRE-ROYAL in DRURY-LANE,
By Her Majesty's Servants.
Written by Mrs. SUSANNA CENTLIVRE.
Quem tulit ad scenam ventoso Gloria curru, Exanimat lentus Spectator, sedulus inflat. Sic Leve, sic parvum est, animum quod laudis avarum Subruit aut reficit—
Horat. Epist. Lib. II. Ep. 1.
Printed for BERNARD LINTOTT, at the Cross-Keys between the Two Temple-Gates in Fleet-street.
* * * * *
To The RIGHT HONOURABLE
JOHN Lord SOMMERS,
Lord-President of Her HAJESTY's most Honourable Privy-Council.
May it please Your Lordship,
As it's an Establish'd Custom in these latter Ages, for all Writers, particularly the Poetical, to shelter their Productions under the Protection of the most Distinguish'd, whose Approbation produces a kind of Inspiration, much superior to that which the Heathenish Poets pretended to derive from their Fictitious Apollo: So it was my Ambition to Address one of my weak Performances to Your Lordship, who, by Universal Consent, are justly allow'd to be the best Judge of all kinds of Writing.
I was indeed at first deterr'd from my Design, by a Thought that it might be accounted unpardonable Rudeness to obtrude a Trifle of this Nature to a Person, whose sublime Wisdom moderates that Council, which at this Critical Juncture, over-rules the Fate of all Europe. But then I was encourag'd by Reflecting, that Lelius and Scipio, the two greatest Men in their Time, among the Romans, both for Political and Military Virtues, in the height of their important Affairs, thought the Perusal and Improving of Terence's Comedies the noblest way of Unbinding their Minds. I own I were guilty of the highest Vanity, should I presume to put my Composures in Parallel with those of that Celebrated Dramatist. But then again, I hope that Your Lordship's native Goodness and Generosity, in Condescension to the Taste of the Best and Fairest part of the Town, who have been pleas'd to be diverted by the following SCENES, will excuse and overlook such Faults as your nicer Judgment might discern.
And here, my Lord, the Occasion seems fair for me to engage in a Panegyrick upon those Natural and Acquired Abilities, which so brightly Adorn your Person: But I shall resist that Temptation, being conscious of the Inequality of a Female Pen to so Masculine an Attempt; and having no other Ambition, than to Subscribe my self,
My Lord, Your Lordship's Most Humble and Most Obedient Servant,
By the Author of TUNBRIDGE-WALKS.
Tho' modern Prophets were expos'd of late, The Author cou'd not Prophesie his Fate; If with such Scenes an Audience had been Fir'd, The Poet must have really been Inspir'd. But these, alas! are Melancholy Days For Modern Prophets, and for Modern Plays. Yet since Prophetick Lyes please Fools o'Fashion, And Women are so fond of Agitation; To Men of Sense, I'll Prophesie anew, And tell you wond'rous things, that will prove true: Undaunted Collonels will to Camps repair, Assur'd, there'll be no Skirmishes this Year; On our own Terms will flow the wish'd-for Peace, All Wars, except 'twixt Man and Wife, will cease. The Grand Monarch may wish his Son a Throne, But hardly will advance to lose his own. This Season most things bear a smiling Face; But Play'rs in Summer have a dismal Case, Since your Appearance only is our Act of Grace. Court Ladies will to Country Seats be gone, My Lord can't all the Year live Great in Town, Where wanting Opera's, Basset, and a Play, They'll Sigh and stitch a Gown, to pass the time away. Gay City-Wives at Tunbridge will appear, Whose Husbands long have laboured for an Heir; Where many a Courtier may their Wants relieve, But by the Waters only they Conceive. The Fleet-street Sempstress—Toast of Temple Sparks, That runs Spruce Neckcloths for Attorney's Clerks; At Cupid's Gardens will her Hours regale, Sing fair Dorinda, and drink Bottl'd Ale. At all Assemblies, Rakes are up and down, And Gamesters, where they think they are not known. Shou'd I denounce our Author's fate to Day, To cry down Prophecies, you'd damn the Play: Yet Whims like these have sometimes made you Laugh; 'Tis Tattling all, like Isaac Bickerstaff. Since War, and Places claim the Bards that write, Be kind, and bear a Woman's Treat to-Night; Let your Indulgence all her Fears allay, And none but Woman-Haters damn this Play.
In me you see one _Busie-Body_ more; Tho' you may have enough of one before. With Epilogues, the _Busie-Body_'s Way, We strive to help; but sometimes mar a Play. At this mad Sessions, half condemn'd e'er try'd, Some, in three Days, have been turn'd off, and dy'd, In spight of Parties, their Attempts are vain, For like false Prophets, they ne'er rise again. Too late, when cast, your Favour one beseeches, And Epilogues prove Execution Speeches. Yet sure I spy no _Busie-Bodies_ here; And one may pass, since they do ev'ry where. Sowr Criticks, Time and Breath, and Censures waste, And baulk your Pleasure to refine your Taste. One busie Don ill-tim'd high Tenets Preaches, Another yearly shows himself in Speeches. Some snivling Cits, wou'd have a Peace for spight, To starve those Warriours who so bravely fight. Still of a Foe upon his Knees affraid; Whose well-hang'd Troops want Money, Heart, and Bread. Old Beaux, who none not ev'n themselves can please, Are busie still; for nothing—but to teize The Young, so busie to engage a Heart, The Mischief done, are busie most to part. Ungrateful Wretches, who still cross ones Will, When they more kindly might be busie still! One to a Husband, who ne'er dreamt of Horns, Shows how dear Spouse, with Friend his Brows adorns. Th' Officious Tell-tale Fool, (he shou'd repent it.) Parts three kind Souls that liv'd at Peace contented, Some with Law Quirks set _Houses_ by the Ears; With Physick one what he wou'd heal impairs. Like that dark Mob'd up Fry, that neighb'ring Curse, Who to remove Love's Pain, bestow a worse. Since then this meddling Tribe infest the Age, Bear one a while, expos'd upon the Stage. Let none but _Busie-Bodies_ vent their Spight! And with good Humour, Pleasure crown the Night!_
Sir George Airy. A Gentleman of Four Thousand a Year in Love with Miranda. Acted by Mr. Wilks.
Sir Francis Gripe. Guardian to Miranda and Marplot, Father to Charles, in Love with Miranda. Mr. Estcourt.
Charles. Friend to Sir George, in Love with Isabinda. Mr. Mills.
Sir Jealous Traffick. A Merchant that had liv'd sometime in Spain, a great Admirer of the Spanish Customs, Father to Isabinda. Mr. Bullock.
Marplot. A sort of a silly Fellow, Cowardly, but very Inquisitive to know every Body's Business, generally spoils all he undertakes, yet without Design. Mr. Pack.
Whisper. Servant to Charles. Mr. Bullock jun.
Miranda. An Heiress, worth Thirty Thousand Pound, really in Love with Sir George, but pretends to be so with her Guardian Sir Francis. Mrs. Cross.
Isabinda. Daughter to Sir Jealous, in Love with Charles, but design'd for a Spanish Merchant by her Father, and kept up from the sight of all Men. Mrs. Rogers.
Patch. Her Woman. Mrs. Saunders.
Scentwell. Woman to Miranda. Mrs. Mills.
[Transcriber's Note: The scenes within each Act are not numbered. Their descriptions are listed here for convenience:
ACT I [scene i] The Park ACT II [scene i] [Sir Francis Gripe's house] [scene ii] Sir Jealous Traffick's House [scene iii] Charles's Lodging ACT III [scene i] [outside Sir Jealous Traffick's house] [scene ii] the Street [scene iii] Sir Francis Gripe's House [scene iv] a Tavern ACT IV [scene i] the Out-side of Sir Jealous Traffick's House [scene ii] Isabinda's Chamber [scene iii] a Garden Gate open [scene iv] the House [of Sir Jealous Traffick] ACT V [scene i] [Sir Francis Gripe's house] [scene ii] the Street before Sir Jealous's Door [scene iii] Inside the House [of Sir Jealous Traffick] ]
THE BUSIE BODY.
ACT I. SCENE The Park.
Sir George Airy meeting Charles.
Cha. Ha! Sir George Airy! A Birding thus early, what forbidden Game rouz'd you so soon? For no lawful Occasion cou'd invite a Person of your Figure abroad at such unfashionable Hours.
Sir Geo. There are some Men, Charles, whom Fortune has left free from Inquietudes, who are diligently Studious to find out Ways and Means to make themselves uneasie.
Cha. Is it possible that any thing in Nature can ruffle the Temper of a Man, whom the four Seasons of the Year compliment with as many Thousand Pounds, nay! and a Father at Rest with his Ancestors.
Sir Geo. Why there 'tis now! a Man that wants Money thinks none can be unhappy that has it; but my Affairs are in such a whimsical Posture, that it will require a Calculation of my Nativity to find if my Gold will relieve me or not.
Cha. Ha, ha, ha, never consult the Stars about that; Gold has a Power beyond them; Gold unlocks the Midnight Councils; Gold out-does the Wind, becalms the Ship, or fills her Sails; Gold is omnipotent below; it makes whole Armies fight, or fly; It buys even Souls, and bribes the Wretches to betray their Country: Then what can thy Business be, that Gold won't serve thee in?
Sir Geo. Why, I'm in Love.
Cha. In Love—Ha, ha, ha, ha; In Love, Ha, ha, ha, with what, prithee, a Cherubin!
Sir Geo. No, with a Woman.
Cha. A Woman, Good, Ha, ha, ha, and Gold not help thee?
Sir Geo. But suppose I'm in Love with two—
Cha. Ay, if thou'rt in Love with two hundred, Gold will fetch 'em, I warrant thee, Boy. But who are they? who are they? come.
Sir Geo. One is a Lady, whose Face I never saw, but Witty as an Angel; the other Beautiful as Venus—
Cha. And a Fool—
Sir Geo. For ought I know, for I never spoke to her, but you can inform me; I am charm'd by the Wit of One, and dye for the Beauty of the Other?
Cha. And pray, which are you in Quest of now?
Sir Geo. I prefer the Sensual Pleasure, I'm for her I've seen, who is thy Father's Ward Miranda.
Cha. Nay then, I pity you; for the Jew my Father will no more part with her, and 30000 Pound, than he wou'd with a Guinea to keep me from starving.
Sir Geo. Now you see Gold can't do every thing, Charles.
Cha. Yes, for 'tis her Gold that bars my Father's Gate against you.
Sir Geo. Why, if he is this avaricious Wretch, how cam'st thou by such a Liberal Education?
Cha. Not a Souse out of his Pocket, I assure you; I had an Uncle who defray'd that Charge, but for some litte Wildnesses of Youth, tho' he made me his Heir, left Dad my Guardian till I came to Years of Discretion, which I presume the old Gentleman will never think I am; and now he has got the Estate into his Clutches, it does me no more good, than if it lay in Prester John's Dominions.
Sir Geo. What can'st thou find no Stratagem to redeem it?
Cha. I have made many Essays to no purpose; tho' Want, the Mistress of Invention, still tempts me on, yet still the old Fox is too cunning for me—I am upon my last Project, which if it fails, then for my last Refuge, a Brown Musquet.
Sir Geo. What is't, can I assist thee?
Cha. Not yet, when you can, I have Confidence enough in you to ask it.
Sir Geo. I am always ready, but what do's he intend to do with Miranda? Is she to be sold in private? or will he put her up by way of Auction, at who bids most? If so, Egad, I'm for him: my Gold, as you say, shall be subservient to my Pleasure.
Cha. To deal ingeniously with you, Sir George, I know very little of Her, or Home; for since my Uncle's Death, and my Return from Travel, I have never been well with my Father; he thinks my Expences too great, and I his Allowance too little; he never sees me, but he quarrels; and to avoid that, I shun his House as much as possible. The Report is, he intends to marry her himself.
Sir Geo. Can she consent to it?
Cha. Yes faith, so they say; but I tell you, I am wholly ignorant of the matter. Miranda and I are like two violent Members of a contrary Party, I can scarce allow her Beauty, tho' all the World do's; nor she me Civility, for that Contempt, I fancy she plays the Mother-in-law already, and sets the old Gentleman on to do mischief.
Sir Geo. Then I've your free Consent to get her.
Cha. Ay and my helping-hand, if occasion be.
Sir Geo. Pugh, yonder's a Fool coming this way, let's avoid him.
Cha. What Marplot, no no, he's my Instrument; there's a thousand Conveniences in him, he'll lend me his Money when he has any, run of my Errands and be proud on't; in short, he'll Pimp for me, Lye for me, Drink for me, do any thing but Fight for me, and that I trust to my own Arm for.
Sir Geo. Nay then he's to be endur'd; I never knew his Qualifications before.
Enter Marplot with a Patch cross his Face.
Marpl. Dear Charles, your's,—Ha! Sir George Airy, the Man in the World, I have an Ambition to be known to (aside.) Give me thy Hand, dear Boy—
Cha. A good Assurance! But heark ye, how came your Beautiful Countenance clouded in the wrong place?
Marpl. I must confess 'tis a little Mal-a-propos, but no matter for that; a Word with you, Charles; Prithee, introduce me to Sir George—he is a Man of Wit, and I'd give ten Guinea's to—
Cha. When you have 'em, you mean.
Marpl. Ay, when I have 'em; pugh, pox, you cut the Thread of my Discourse—I wou'd give ten Guinea's, I say, to be rank'd in his Acquaintance: Well, 'tis a vast Addition to a Man's Fortune, according to the Rout of the World, to be seen in the Company of Leading Men; for then we are all thought to be Politicians, or Whigs, or Jacks, or High-Flyers, or Low-Flyers, or Levellers—and so forth; for you must know, we all herd in Parties now.
Cha. Then a Fool for Diversion is out of Fashion, I find.
Marpl. Yes, without it be a mimicking Fool, and they are Darlings every where; but prithee introduce me.
Cha. Well, on Condition you'll give us a true Account how you came by that Mourning Nose, I will.
Marpl. I'll do it.
Cha. Sir George, here's a Gentleman has a passionate Desire to kiss your Hand.
Sir Geo. Oh, I honour Men of the Sword, and I presume this Gentleman is lately come from Spain or Portugal—by his Scars.
Marpl. No really, Sir George, mine sprung from civil Fury, happening last Night into the Groom-Porters—I had a strong Inclination to go ten Guineas with a sort of a, sort of a—kind of a Milk Sop, as I thought: A Pox of the Dice he flung out, and my Pockets being empty as Charles knows they sometimes are, he prov'd a surly North-Britain, and broke my Face for my Deficiency.
Sir Geo. Ha! ha! and did not you draw?
Marpl. Draw, Sir, why, I did but lay my Hand upon my Sword to make a swift Retreat, and he roar'd out. Now the Deel a Ma sol, Sir, gin ye touch yer Steel, Ise whip mine through yer Wem.
Sir Geo. Ha, ha, ha,
Cha. Ha, ha, ha, ha, fase was the Word, so you walk'd off, I suppose.
Marp. Yes, for I avoid fighting, purely to be serviceable to my Friends you know—
Sir Geo. Your Friends are much oblig'd to you, Sir, I hope you'll rank me in that Number.
Marpl. Sir George, a Bow from the side Box, or to be seen in your Chariot, binds me ever yours.
Sir Geo. Trifles, you may command 'em when you please.
Cha. Provided he may command you—
Marpl. Me! why I live for no other purpose—Sir George, I have the Honour to be carest by most of the reigning Toasts of the Town, I'll tell 'em you are the finest Gentleman—
Sir Geo. No, no, prithee let me alone to tell the Ladies—my Parts—can you convey a Letter upon Occasion, or deliver a Message with an Air of Business, Ha!
Marpl. With the Assurance of a Page and the Gravity of a Statesman.
Sir Geo. You know Miranda!
Marpl. What, my Sister Ward? Why, her Guardian is mine, we are Fellow Sufferers: Ah! he is a covetous, cheating, sanctify'd Curmudgeon; that Sir Francis Gripe is a damn'd old—
Char. I suppose, Friend, you forget that he is my Father—
Marpl. I ask your Pardon, Charles, but it is for your sake I hate him. Well, I say, the World is mistaken in him, his Out-side Piety, makes him every Man's Executor, and his Inside Cunning, makes him every Heir's Jaylor. Egad, Charles, I'm half persuaded that thou'rt some Ward too, and never of his getting: For thou art as honest a Debauchee as ever Cuckolded Man of Quality.
Sir Geo. A pleasant Fellow.
Cha. The Dog is Diverting sometimes, or there wou'd be no enduring his Impertinence: He is pressing to be employ'd and willing to execute, but some ill Fate generally attends all he undertakes, and he oftner spoils an Intreague than helps it—
Marpl. If I miscarry 'tis none of my Fault, I follow my Instructions.
Cha. Yes, witness the Merchant's Wife.
Marpl. Pish, Pox, that was an Accident.
Sir Geo. What was it, prithee?
Ch. Why, you must know, I had lent a certain Merchant my hunting Horses, and was to have met his Wife in his Absence: Sending him along with my Groom to make the Complement, and to deliver a Letter to the Lady at the same time; what does he do, but gives the Husband the Letter, and offers her the Horses.
Marpl. I remember you was even with me, for you deny'd the Letter to be yours, and swore I had a design upon her, which my Bones paid for.
Cha. Come, Sir George, let's walk round, if you are not ingag'd, for I have sent my Man upon a little earnest Business, and have order'd him to bring me the Answer into the Park.
Marpl. Business, and I not know it, Egad I'll watch him.
Sir Geo. I must beg your Pardon, Charles, I am to meet your Father here.
Ch. My Father!
Sir Geo. Aye! and about the oddest Bargain perhaps you ever heard off; but I'll not impart till I know the Success.
Marpl. What can his Business be with Sir Francis? Now wou'd I give all the World to know it; why the Devil should not one know every Man's Concern. (Aside.
Cha. Prosperity to't whate'er it be, I have private Affairs too; over a Bottle we'll compare Notes.
Marpl. Charles knows I love a Glass as well as any Man, I'll make one; shall it be to Night? Ad I long to know their Secrets. (Aside.
Whis. Sir, Sir, Mis Patch says, Isabinda's Spanish Father has quite spoil'd the Plot, and she can't meet you in the Park, but he infallibly will go out this Afternoon, she says; but I must step again to know the Hour.
Marpl. What did Whisper say now? I shall go stark Mad, if I'm not let into this Secret. (Aside.
Cha. Curst Misfortune, come along with me, my Heart feels Pleasure at her Name. Sir George, yours; we'll meet at the old place the usual Hour.
Sir Geo. Agreed; I think I see Sir Francis yonder. (Exit.
Cha. Marplot, you must excuse me, I am engag'd. (Exit.
Marpl. Engag'd, Egad I'll engage my Life, I'll know what your Engagement is. (Exit.
Miran. (Coming out of a Chair.) Let the Chair wait: My Servant, That dog'd Sir George said he was in the Park.
Ha! Mis Patch alone, did not you tell me you had contriv'd a way to bring Isabinda to the Park?
Patch. Oh, Madam, your Ladiship can't imagine what a wretched Disappointment we have met with: Just as I had fetch'd a Suit of my Cloaths for a Disguise: comes my old Master into his Closet, which is right against her Chamber Door; this struck us into a terrible Fright—At length I put on a Grave Face, and ask'd him if he was at leisure for his Chocolate, in hopes to draw him out of his Hole; but he snap'd my Nose off, No, I shall be busie here this two Hours; at which my poor Mistress seeing no way of Escape, order'd me to wait on your Ladiship with the sad Relation.
Miran. Unhappy Isabinda! Was ever any thing so unaccountable as the Humour of Sir Jealousie Traffick.
Patch. Oh, Madam, it's his living so long in Spain, he vows he'll spend half his Estate, but he'll be a Parliament-Man, on purpose to bring in a Bill for Women to wear Veils, and the other odious Spanish Customs—He swears it is the height of Impudence to have a Woman seen Bare-fac'd even at Church, and scarce believes there's a true begotten Child in the City.
Miran. Ha, ha, ha, how the old Fool torments himself! Suppose he could introduce his rigid Rules—does he think we cou'd not match them in Contrivance? No, no; Let the Tyrant Man make what Laws he will, if there's a Woman under the Government, I warrant she finds a way to break 'em: Is his Mind set upon the Spaniard for his Son-in-law still?
Patch. Ay, and he expects him by the next Fleet, which drives his Daughter to Melancholy and Despair: But, Madam, I find you retain the same gay, cheerful Spirit you had, when I waited on your Ladiship.—My Lady is mighty good-humour'd too, and I have found a way to make Sir Jealousie believe I am wholly in his Interest, when my real Design is to serve her; he makes me her Jaylor, and I set her at Liberty.
Miran. I know thy Prolifick Brain wou'd be of singular Service to her, or I had not parted with thee to her Father.
Patch. But, Madam, the Report is that you are going to marry your Guardian.
Miran. It is necessary such a Report shou'd be, Patch.
Patch. But is it true, Madam?
Miran. That's not absolutely necessary.
Patch. I thought it was only the old Strain, coaxing him still for your own, and railing at all the young Fellows about Town; in my Mind now, you are as ill plagu'd with your Guardian, Madam, as my Lady is with her Father.
Miran. No, I have Liberty, Wench, that she wants; what would she give now to be in this dissabilee in the—open Air, nay more, in pursuit of the young Fellow she likes; for that's my Case, I assure thee.
Patch. As for that, Madam, she's even with you; for tho' she can't come abroad, we have a way to bring him home in spight of old Argus.
Miran. Now Patch, your Opinion of my Choice, for here he comes—Ha! my Guardian with him; what can be the meaning of this? I'm sure Sir Francis can't know me in this Dress—Let's observe 'em. (They withdraw.
Enter Sir Francis Gripe and Sir George Airy.
Sir Fran. Verily, Sir George, thou wilt repent throwing away thy Money so, for I tell thee sincerely, Miranda, my Charge do's not love a young Fellow, they are all vicious, and seldom make good Husbands; in sober Sadness she cannot abide 'em.
Miran. (Peeping.) In sober Sadness you are mistaken—what can this mean?
Sir Geo. Look ye, Sir Francis, whether she can or cannot abide young Fellows is not the Business; will you take the fifty Guineas?
Sir Fran. In good truth—I will not, for I knew thy Father, he was a hearty wary Man, and I cannot consent that his Son should squander away what he sav'd, to no purpose.
Mirand. (Peeping.) Now, in the Name of Wonder, what Bargain can he be driving about me for fifty Guineas?
Patch. I wish it ben't for the first Night's Lodging, Madam.
Sir Geo. Well, Sir Francis, since you are so conscientious for my Father's sake, then permit me the Favour, Gratis.
Miran. (Peeping.) The Favour! Oh my Life! I believe 'tis as you said, Patch.
Sir Fran. No verily, if thou dost not buy thy Experience, thou wou'd never be wise; therefore give me a Hundred and try Fortune.
Sir Geo. The Scruples arose, I find, from the scanty Sum—Let me see—a Hundred Guineas— (Takes 'em out of a Purse and chinks 'em.) Ha! they have a very pretty Sound, and a very pleasing Look—But then, Miranda—But if she should be cruel—
Miran. (Peeping.) As Ten to One I shall—
Sir Fran. Ay, do consider on't, He, he, he, he.
Sir Geo. No, I'll do't.
Patch. Do't, what, whether you will or no, Madam?
Sir Geo. Come to the Point, here's the Gold, sum up the Conditions—
Sir Fran. (Pulling out a Paper.)
Miran. (Peeping.) Ay for Heaven's sake do, for my Expectation is on the Rack.
Sir Fran. Well at your own Peril be it.
Sir Geo. Aye, aye, go on.
Sir Fran. Imprimis, you are to be admitted into my House in order to move your Suit to Miranda, for the space of Ten Minutes, without Lett or Molestation, provided I remain in the same Room.
Sir Geo. But out of Ear shot—
Sir Fran. Well, well, I don't desire to hear what you say, Ha, ha, ha, in consideration I am to have that Purse and a hundred Guineas.
Sir Geo. Take it— (Gives him the Purse.
Miran. (Peeping.) So, 'tis well it's no worse, I'll fit you both—
Sir Geo. And this Agreement is to be perform'd to Day.
Sir Fran. Aye, aye, the sooner the better, poor Fool, how Miranda and I shall laugh at him—Well, Sir George, Ha, ha, ha, take the last sound of your Guineas, Ha, ha, ha. (Chinks 'em.) (Exit.
Miran. (Peeping.) Sure he does not know I am Miranda.
Sir Geo. A very extraordinary Bargain I have made truly, if she should be really in Love with this old Cuff now—Psha, that's morally impossible—but then what hopes have I to succeed, I never spoke to her—
Miran. (Peeping.) Say you so? Then I am safe.
Sir _Geo._ What tho' my Tongue never spoke, my Eyes said a thousand Things, and my Hopes flatter'd me hers answer'd 'em. If I'm lucky—if not, 'tis but a hundred Guineas thrown away. (_Miranda_ and _Patch_ come forwards._
Miran. Upon what Sir George?
Sir Geo. Ha! my Incognito—upon a Woman, Madam.
Miran. They are the worst Things you can deal in, and damage the soonest; your very Breath destroys 'em, and I fear you'll never see your Return, Sir George, Ha, ha!
Sir Geo. Were they more brittle than China, and drop'd to pieces with a Touch, every Atom of her I have ventur'd at, if she is but Mistress of thy Wit, ballances Ten times the Sum—Prithee let me see thy Face.
Miran. By no means, that may spoil your Opinion of my Sense—
Sir Geo. Rather confirm it, Madam.
Patch. So rob the Lady of your Gallantry, Sir.
Sir Geo. No Child, a Dish of Chocolate in the Morning never spoils my Dinner; the other Lady, I design a set Meal; so there's no danger—
Miran. Matrimony! Ha, ha, ha; what Crimes have you committed against the God of Love, that he should revenge 'em so severely to stamp Husband upon your Forehead—
Sir Geo. For my Folly in having so often met you here, without pursuing the Laws of Nature, and exercising her command—But I resolve e'er we part now, to know who you are, where you live, and what kind of Flesh and Blood your Face is; therefore unmask and don't put me to the trouble of doing it for you.
Miran. My Face is the same Flesh and Blood with my Hand, Sir George, which if you'll be so rude to provoke.
Sir Geo. You'll apply it to my Cheek—The Ladies Favours are always Welcome; but I must have that Cloud withdrawn. (Taking hold of her.) Remember you are in the Park, Child, and what a terrible thing would it be to lose this pretty white Hand.
Miran. And how will it sound in a Chocolate-House, that Sir George Airy rudely pull'd off a Ladies Mask, when he had given her his Honour, that he never would, directly or indirectly endeavour to know her till she gave him Leave.
Patch. I wish we were safe out. (Aside.
Sir Geo. But if that Lady thinks fit to pursue and meet me at every turn like some troubl'd Spirit, shall I be blam'd if I inquire into the Reality? I would have nothing dissatisfy'd in a Female Shape.
Miran. What shall I do? (Pause.
Sir Geo. Ay, prithee consider, for thou shalt find me very much at thy Service.
Patch. Suppose, Sir, the Lady shou'd be in Love with you.
Sir Geo. Oh! I'll return the Obligation in a Moment.
Patch. And marry her?
Sir Geo. Ha, ha, ha, that's not the way to Love her Child.
Miran. If he discovers me, I shall die—Which way shall I escape?—Let me see. (Pauses.
Sir Geo. Well, Madam—
Miran. I have it—Sir George, 'tis fit you should allow something; if you'll excuse my Face, and turn your Back (if you look upon me I shall sink, even mask'd as I am) I will confess why I have engag'd you so often, who I am, and where I live?
Sir Geo. Well, to show you I'm a Man of Honour I accept the Conditions. Let me but once know those, and the Face won't be long a Secret to me. (Aside.
Patch. What mean you, Madam?
Miran. To get off.
Sir Geo. 'Tis something indecent to turn ones Back upon a Lady; but you command and I obey. (Turns his Back.) Come, Madam, begin—
Miran. First then it was my unhappy Lot to see you at Paris (Draws back a little while and speaks) at a Ball upon a Birth-Day; your Shape and Air charm'd my Eyes; your Wit and Complaisance my Soul, and from that fatal Night I lov'd you. (Drawing back.) And when you left the Place, Grief seiz'd me so—No Rest my Heart, no Sleep my Eyes cou'd know.—
Last I resolv'd a hazardous Point to try, And quit the Place in search of Liberty. (Exit.
Sir Geo. Excellent—I hope she's Handsome—Well, Now, Madam, to the other two Things: Your Name, and where you live?—I am a Gentleman, and this Confession will not be lost upon me.—Nay, prithee don't weep, but go on—for I find my Heart melts in thy Behalf—speak quickly or I shall turn about—Not yet.—Poor Lady, she expects I shou'd comfort her; and to do her Justice, she has said enough to encourage me. (Turns about.) Ha? gone! The Devil, jilted? Why, what a Tale has she invented—of Paris, Balls, and Birth-Days.—Egad I'd give Ten Guineas to know who this Gipsie is.—A Curse of my Folly—I deserve to lose her; what Woman can forgive a Man that turns his Back.
The Bold and Resolute, in Love and War, To Conquer take the Right, and swiftest way; The boldest Lover soonest gains the Fair, As Courage makes the rudest Force obey, Take no denial, and the Dames adore ye, Closely pursue them and they fall before ye.
The End of the First ACT.
ACT the Second.
Enter Sir Francis Gripe, Miranda.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
Miran. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha; Oh, I shall die with Laughing.—The most Romantick Adventure: Ha, ha! what does the odious young Fop mean? A Hundred Pieces to talk an Hour with me; Ho, ha.
Sir Fran. And I'm to be by too; there's the Jest; Adod, if it had been in Private, I shou'd not have car'd to trust the young Dog.
Mirand. Indeed and Indeed, but you might Gardy.—Now methinks there's no Body Handsomer than you; So Neat, so Clean, so Good-Humour'd, and so Loving.—
Sir Fran. Pritty Rogue, Pritty Rogue, and so thou shalt find me, if thou do'st prefer thy Gardy before these Caperers of the Age, thou shalt out-shine the Queen's Box on an Opera Night; thou shalt be the Envy of the Ring (for I will Carry thee to Hide-Park) and thy Equipage shall Surpass, the what—d'ye call 'em Ambassadors.
Miran. Nay, I'm sure the Discreet Part of my Sex will Envy me more for the Inside Furniture, when you are in it, than my Outside Equipage.
Sir Fran. A Cunning Bagage, a faith thou art, and a wise one too; and to show thee thou hast not chose amiss, I'll this moment Disinherit my Son, and Settle my whole Estate upon thee.
Miran. There's an old Rogue now: (Aside.) No, Gardy, I would not have your Name be so Black in the World—You know my Father's Will runs, that I am not to possess my Estate, without your Consent, till I'm Five and Twenty; you shall only abate the odd Seven Years, and make me Mistress of my Estate to Day, and I'll make you Master of my Person to Morrow.
Sir Fran. Humph? that may not be safe—No Chargy, I'll Settle it upon thee for Pin-mony; and that will be every bit as well, thou know'st.
Miran. Unconscionable old Wretch, Bribe me with my own Money—Which way shall I get out of his Hands? (Aside.
Sir Fran. Well, what art thou thinking on, my Girl, ha? How to Banter Sir George?
Miran. I must not pretend to Banter: He knows my Tongue too well: (Aside.) No, Gardy, I have thought of a way will Confound him more than all I cou'd say, if I shou'd talk to him Seven Years.
Sir Fran. How's that? Oh! I'm Transported, I'm Ravish'd, I'm Mad—
Miran. It wou'd make you Mad, if you knew All, (Aside.) I'll not Answer him one Word, but be Dumb to all he says—
Sir Fran. Dumb, good; Ha, ha, ha. Excellent, ha, ha, I think I have you now, Sir George: Dumb! he'll go Distracted—Well, she's the wittiest Rogue—Ha, ha, Dumb! I can but Laugh, ha, ha, to think how damn'd Mad he'll be when he finds he has given his Money away for a a Dumb Show. Ha, ha, ha.
Miran. Nay, Gardy, if he did but know my Thoughts of him, it wou'd make him ten times Madder: Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Fran. Ay, so it wou'd Chargy, to hold him in such Derision, to scorn to Answer him, to be Dumb: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
Sir Fran. How now, Sirrah, Who let you in?
Char. My Necessity, Sir.
Sir Fran. Sir, your Necessities are very Impertinent, and ought to have sent before they Entred.
Char. Sir, I knew 'twas a Word wou'd gain Admittance no where.
Sir Fran. Then, Sirrah, how durst you Rudely thrust that upon your Father, which no Body else wou'd admit?
Char. Sure the Name of a Son is a sufficient Plea. I ask this Lady's Pardon if I have intruded.
Sir Fran. Ay, Ay, ask her Pardon and her Blessing too, if you expect any thing from me.
Miran. I believe yours, Sir Francis, in a Purse of Guinea's wou'd be more material. Your Son may have Business with you, I'll retire.
Sir Fran. I guess his Business, but I'll dispatch him, I expect the Knight every Minute: You'll be in Readiness.
Miran. Certainly! my Expectation is more upon the wing than yours, old Gentleman. [Exit.
Sir Fran. Well, Sir!
Char. Nay, it is very Ill, Sir; my Circumstances are, I'm sure.
Sir Fran, And what's that to me, Sir: Your Management shou'd have made them better.
Char. If you please to intrust me with the Management of my Estate, I shall endeavour it, Sir.
Sir Fran. What to set upon a Card, and buy a Lady's Favour at the Price of a Thousand Pieces, to Rig out an Equipage for a Wench, or by your Carelessness enrich your Steward to fine for Sheriff, or put up for Parliament-Man.
Char. I hope I shou'd not spend it this way: However, I ask only for what my Uncle left me; Your's you may dispose of as you please, Sir.
Sir Fran. That I shall, out of your Reach, I assure you, Sir. Adod these young Fellows think old Men get Estates for nothing but them to squander away, in Dicing, Wenching, Drinking, Dressing, and so forth.
Char. I think I was born a Gentleman, Sir; I'm sure my Uncle bred me like one.
Sir Fran. From which you wou'd infer, Sir, that Gaming, Whoring, and the Pox, are Requisits to a Gentleman.
Char. Monstrous! when I wou'd ask him only for a Support, he falls into these unmannerly Reproaches; I must, tho' against my Will, employ Invention, and by Stratagem relieve my self. (Aside.
Sir Fran. Sirrah, what is it you mutter, Sirrah, ha? (Holds up his Cane.) I say, you sha'n't have a Groat out of my Hands till I Please—and may be I'll never Please, and what's that to you?
Char. Nay, to be Robb'd, or have one's Throat Cut is not much—
Sir Fran. What's that, Sirrah? wou'd ye Rob me, or Cut my Throat, ye Rogue?
Char. Heaven forbid, Sir,—I said no such thing.
Sir Fran. Mercy on me! What a Plague it is to have a Son of One and Twenty, who wants to Elbow one out of one's Life, to Edge himself into the Estate.
Marpl. Egad he's here—I was afraid I had lost him: His Secret cou'd not be with his Father, his Wants are Publick there—Guardian,—your Servant Charles, I know by that sorrowful Countenance of thine. The old Man's Fist is as close as his strong Box—But I'll help thee—
Sir Fran. So: Here's another extravagant Coxcomb, that will spend his Fortune before he comes to't; but he shall pay swinging Interest, and so let the Fool go on—Well, what do's Necessity bring you too, Sir?
Marpl. You have hit it, Guardian—I want a Hundred Pound.
Sir Fran. For what?
Marpl. Po'gh, for a Hundred Things, I can't for my Life tell you for what.
Char. Sir, I suppose I have received all the Answer I am like to have.
Marpl. Oh, the Devil, if he gets out before me, I shall lose him agen.
Sir Fran. Ay, Sir, and you may be marching as soon as you please—I must see a Change in your Temper e'er you find one in mine.
Marpl. Pray, Sir, dispatch me; the Money, Sir, I'm in mighty haste.
Sir Fran. Fool, take this and go to the Cashier; I sha'n't be long plagu'd with thee. (Gives him a Note.
Marpl. Devil take the Cashier, I shall certainly have Charles gone before I come back agen. (Runs out.
Char. Well, Sir, I take my Leave—But remember, you Expose an only Son to all the Miseries of wretched Poverty, which too often lays the Plan for Scenes of Mischief.
Sir Fran. Stay, Charles, I have a sudden Thought come into my Head, may prove to thy Advantage.
Char. Ha, does he Relent?
Sir Fran. My Lady Wrinkle, worth Forty Thousand Pound, sets up for a Handsome young Husband; she prais'd thee t'other Day; tho' the Match-makers can get Twenty Guinea's for a sight of her, I can introduce thee for nothing.
Char. My Lady Wrinkle, Sir, why she has but one Eye.
Sir Fran. Then she'll see but half your Extravagance, Sir.
Char. Condemn me to such a piece of Deformity! Toothless, Dirty, Wry-neck'd, Hunch-back'd Hag.
Sir Fran. Hunch-back'd! so much the better, then she has a Rest for her Misfortunes; for thou wilt Load her swingingly. Now I warrant you think, this is no Offer of a Father; Forty Thousand Pound is nothing with you.
Char. Yes, Sir, I think it is too much; a young Beautiful Woman with half the Money wou'd be more agreeable. I thank you, Sir; but you Chose better for your self, I find.
Sir Fran. Out of my Doors, you Dog; you pretend to meddle with my Marriage, Sirrah.
Char. Sir, I obey: But—
Sir Fran. But me no Buts—Be gone, Sir: Dare to ask me for Money agen—Refuse Forty Thousand Pound! Out of my Doors, I say, without Reply.
Serv. One Sir George Airy enquires for you, Sir.
Enter Marplot Running.
Marpl.. Ha? gone! Is Charles gone, Guardian?
Sir Fran. Yes; and I desire your wise Worship to walk after him.
Marpl. Nay, Egad, I shall Run, I tell you but that. Ah, Pox of the Cashier for detaining me so long, where the Devil shall I find him now. I shall certainly lose this Secret. (Exit, hastily.
Sir Fran. What is the Fellow distracted?—Desire Sir George to walk up—Now for a Tryal of Skill that will make me Happy, and him a Fool: Ha, ha, ha, in my Mind he looks like an Ass already.
Enter Sir George.
Sir Fran. Well, Sir George, Dee ye hold in the same Mind? or wou'd you Capitulate? Ha, ha, ha: Look, here are the Guinea's, (Chinks them.) Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. Not if they were twice the Sum, Sir Francis: Therefore be brief, call in the Lady, and take your Post—if she's a Woman, and, not seduc'd by Witchcraft to this old Rogue, I'll make his Heart ake; for if she has but one Grain of Inclination about her, I'll vary a Thousand Shapes, but find it. (Aside.
Sir Fran. Agreed—Miranda. There Sir George, try your Fortune, (Takes out his Watch.)
Sir Geo. So from the Eastern Chambers breaks the Sun, Dispels the Clouds, and gilds the Vales below. (Salutes her.
Sir Fran. Hold, Sir, Kissing was not in our Agreement.
Sir Geo. Oh! That's by way of Prologue:—Prithee, Old Mammon, to thy Post.
Sir Fran. Well, young Timon, 'tis now 4 exactly; one Hour, remember is your utmost Limit, not a Minute more. (Retires to the bottom of the Stage.
Sir Geo. Madam, whether you will Excuse or Blame my Love, the Author of this rash Proceeding depends upon your Pleasure, as also the Life of your Admirer; your sparkling Eyes speak a Heart susceptible of Love; your Vivacity a Soul too delicate to admit the Embraces of decay'd Mortality.
Miran. (Aside.) Oh, that I durst speak—
Sir Geo. Shake off this Tyrant Guardian's Yoke, assume your self, and dash his bold aspiring Hopes; the Deity of his Desires, is Avarice; a Heretick in Love, and ought to be banish'd by the Queen of Beauty. See, Madam, a faithful Servant kneels and begs to be admitted in the Number of your Slaves. (Miranda gives him her Hand to Raise him.
Sir Fran. I wish I cou'd hear what he says now. (Running up.) Hold, hold, hold, no Palming, that's contrary to Articles—
Sir Geo. Death, Sir, Keep your Distance, or I'll write another Article in your Guts. (Lays his Hand to his Sword.
Sir Fran. (Going back.) A Bloody-minded Fellow!—
Sir Geo. Not Answer me! Perhaps she thinks my Address too Grave: I'll be more free—Can you be so Unconscionable, Madam, to let me say all these fine things to you without one single Compliment in Return? View me well, am I not a proper Handsome Fellow, ha? Can you prefer that old, dry, wither'd, sapless Log of Sixty-five, to the vigorous, gay, sprightly Love of Twenty-four? With Snoring only he'll awake thee, but I with Ravishing Delight wou'd make thy Senses Dance in Consort with the Joyful Minutes—ha? not yet, sure she is Dumb—Thus wou'd I steal and touch thy Beauteous Hand, (Takes bold of her Hand) till by degrees I reach'd thy snowy Breasts, then Ravish Kisses thus, (Embraces her in Extasie.
Miran. (Strugles and flings from him.) Oh Heavens! I shall not be able to contain my self. (Aside.
Sir Fran. (Running up with his Watch in his Hand.) Sure she did not speak to him—There's Three Quarters of the Hour gone, Sir George—Adod, I don't like those close Conferences—
Sir Geo. More Interruptions—You will have it, Sir. (Lays his Hand to his Sword.
Sir Fran. (Going back.) No, no, you shan't have her neither. (Aside.
Sir Geo. Dumb still—sure this old Dog has enjoyn'd her Silence; I'll try another way—I must conclude, Madam, that in Compliance to your Guardian's Humour, you refuse to answer me—Consider the Injustice of his Injunction. This single Hour cost me a Hundred Pound—and wou'd you answer me, I cou'd purchase the 24 so: However, Madam, you must give me leave to make the best Interpretation I can for my Money, and take the Indication of your Silence for the secret Liking of my Person: Therefore, Madam, I will instruct you how to keep your Word inviolate to Sir Francis, and yet Answer me to every Question: As for Example, When I ask any thing, to which you wou'd Reply in the Affirmative, gently Nod your Head—thus; and when in the Negative thus; ((Shakes his Head.) and in the doubtful a tender Sigh, thus (Sighs.
Miran. How every Action charms me—but I'll fit him for Signs I warrant him. (Aside.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha, ha, poor Sir George, Ha, ha, ha, ha. (Aside.
Sir Geo. Was it by his desire that you are Dumb, Madam, to all that I can say?
Sir Geo. Very well! she's tractable I find—And is it possible that you can love him? Miraculous! (Miran. Nods.) Pardon the bluntness of my Questions, for my Time is short; may I not hope to supplant him in your Esteem? (Miran. Sighs.) Good! she answers me as I could wish—You'll not consent to marry him then? (Miran. Sighs.) How, doubtful in that—Undone again—Humph! but that may proceed from his Power to keep her out of her Estate till Twenty Five; I'll try that—Come, Madam, I cannot think you hesitate in this Affair out of any Motive, but your Fortune—Let him keep it till those few Years are expir'd; make me Happy with your Person, let him enjoy your Wealth—(Miran. holds up her Hands.) Why, what Sign is that now? Nay, nay, Madam, except you observe my Lesson, I can't understand your meaning—
Sir Fran. What a Vengeance, are they talking by Signs, 'ad I may be fool'd here; what do you mean, Sir George?
Sir Geo. To Cut your Throat if you dare Mutter another Syllable.
Sir Fran. Od! I wish he were fairly out of my House.
Sir _Geo._ Pray, Madam, will you answer me to the Purpose? (_Miran._ shakes her Head, and points to Sir _Francis_._) What! does she mean she won't answer me to the purpose, or is she afraid yon' old Cuff should understand her Signs?—Aye, it must be that, I perceive, Madam, you are too apprehensive of the Promise you have made to follow my Rules; therefore I'll suppose your Mind and answer for you—First, for my self, Madam, that I am in Love with you is an infallible Truth. Now for you: (_Turns on her side._) Indeed, Sir, and may I believe it—As certainly, Madam, as that 'tis Day light, or that I Die if you persist in Silence—Bless me with the Musick of your Voice, and raise my Spirits to their proper Heaven: Thus low let me intreat; e'er I'm oblig'd to quit this Place, grant me some Token of a favourable Reception to keep my Hopes alive. (_Arises hastily turns of her side._) Rise, Sir, and since my Guardian's Presence will not allow me Privilege of Tongue, Read that and rest assured you are not indifferent to me. (_Offers her a Letter._) Ha! right Woman! But no (_She strikes it down._) matter I'll go on.
Sir Fran. Ha! what's that a Letter—Ha, ha, ha, thou art baulk'd.
Miran. The best Assurance I ever saw— (Aside.
Sir Geo. Ha? a Letter, Oh! let me Kiss it with the same Raptures that I would do the dear Hand that touch'd it. (Opens it.) Now for a quick Fancy and a long Extempore—What's here? (Reads.) "Dear, Sir George, this Virgin Muse I consecrate to you, which when it has receiv'd the Addition of your Voice, 'twill Charm me into Desire of Liberty to Love, which you, and only you can fix." My Angel! Oh you transport me! (Kisses the Letter.) And see the Power of your Command; the God of Love has set the Verse already; the flowing Numbers Dance into a Tune, and I'm inspir'd with a Voice to sing it.
Miran. I'm sure thou art inspir'd with Impudence enough.
Sir Geo. (Sings.) Great Love inspire him; Say I admire him. Give me the Lover That can discover Secret Devotion from silent Motion; Then don't betray me, But hence convey me.
Sir Geo. (Taking hold of Miranda.) With all my Heart, this Moment let's Retire.
(Sir Francis coming up hastily.)
Sir Fran. The Hour is expir'd, Sir, and you must take your leave. There, my Girl, there's the Hundred Pound which thou hast won, go, I'll be with you presently, Ha, ha, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. Ads Heart, Madam, you won't leave me just in the Nick, will you?
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha, she has nick'd you, Sir George, I think, Ha, ha, ha: Have you any more Hundred Pounds to throw away upon Courtship, Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. He, he, he, he, a Curse of your fleering Jests—Yet, however ill I succeeded, I'll venture the same Wager, she does not value thee a spoonful of Snuff—Nay more, though you enjoyn'd her Silence to me, you'll never make her speak to the Purpose with your self.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha, did not I tell thee thou would'st repent thy Money? Did not I say she hated young Fellow's, Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. And I'm positive she's not in Love with Age.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, no matter for that, Ha, ha, she's not taken with your Youth, nor your Rhetorick to boot, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. Whate'er her Reasons are for disliking a me, I am certain she can be taken with nothing about thee.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha; how he swells with Envy!—Poor Man, poor Man—Ha, ha; I must beg your Pardon, Sir George, Miranda will be Impatient to have her share of Mirth: Verily we shall Laugh at thee most Egregiously; Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. With all my Heart, faith—I shall Laugh in my Turn too—For if you dare marry her old Belzebub, you would be Cuckolded most Egregiously; Remember that, and Tremble—
She that to Age her Beauteous Self resigns, Shows witty Management for close Designs. Then if thou'rt grac'd with fair Miranda's Bed, Actaeon's Horns she Means, shall Crown thy Head. (Exit.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha; he is mad.
These fluttering Fops imagine they can Wind, Turn, and Decoy to Love, all Women-kind: But here's a Proof of Wisdom in my Charge, Old Men are Constant, Young Men live at Large. The Frugal Hand can Bills at Sight defray, When he that Lavish is, has Nought to pay. (Exit.
SCENE Changes to Sir Jealous Traffick's House.
Enter Sir Jealous, Isabinda, Patch following.
Sir Jeal. What in the Balcone agen, notwithstanding my positive Commands to the contrary!—Why don't you write a Bill upon your Forehead, to show Passengers there's something to be Let—
Isab. What harm can there be in a little fresh Air, Sir?
Sir Jeal. Is your Constitution so hot, Mistriss, that it wants cooling, ha? Apply the Virtuous Spanish Rules, banish your Tast, and Thoughts of Flesh, feed upon Roots, and quench your Thirst with Water.
Isab. That, and a close Room, wou'd certainly make me die of the Vapours.
Sir Jeal. No, Mistriss, 'tis your High-fed, Lusty, Rambling, Rampant Ladies—that are troubl'd with the Vapours; 'tis your Ratifia, Persico, Cynamon, Citron, and Spirit of Clary, cause such Swi—m—ing in the Brain, that carries many a Guinea full-tide to the Doctor. But you are not to be Bred this way; No Galloping abroad, no receiving Visits at home; for in our loose Country, the Women are as dangerous as the Men.
Patch. So I told her, Sir; and that it was not Decent to be seen in a Balcone—But she threaten'd to slap my Chaps, and told me, I was her Servant, not her Governess.
Sir Jeal. Did she so? But I'll make her to know, that you are her Duenna: Oh that incomparable Custom of Spain! why here's no depending upon old Women in my Country—for they are as Wanton at Eighty, as a Girl of Eighteen; and a Man may as safely trust to Asgill's Translation, as to his great Grand-Mother's not marrying agen.
Isab. Or to the Spanish Ladies Veils, and Duenna's, for the Safeguard of their Honour.
Sir Jeal. Dare to Ridicule the Cautious Conduct of that wise Nation, and I'll have you Lock'd up this Fortnight, without a Peephole.
Isab. If we had but the Ghostly Helps in England, which they have in Spain, I might deceive you if you did,—Sir, 'tis not the Restraint, but the Innate Principles, secures the Reputation and Honour of our Sex—Let me tell you, Sir, Confinement sharpens the Invention, as want of Sight strengthens the other Senses, and is often more Pernicious than the Recreation innocent Liberty allows.
Sir Jeal. Say you so, Mistress, who the Devil taught you the Art of Reasoning? I assure you, they must have a greater Faith than I pretend to, that can think any Woman innocent who requires Liberty. Therefore, Patch, to your Charge I give her; Lock her up till I come back from Change: I shall have some sauntring Coxcomb, with nothing but a Red Coat and a Feather, think, by Leaping into her Arms, to Leap into my Estate—But I'll prevent them, she shall be only Signeur Babinetto's.
Patch. Really, Sir, I wish you wou'd employ any Body else in this Affair; I lead a Life like a Dog with obeying your Commands. Come, Madam, will you please to be Lock'd up.
Isab. Ay, to enjoy more Freedom than he is aware of. (Aside. (Exit with Patch.
Sir Jeal. I believe this Wench is very true to my Interest: I am happy I met with her, if I can but keep my Daughter from being blown upon till Signeur Babinetto arrives; who shall marry her as soon as he comes, and carry her to Spain as soon as he has marry'd her; she has a pregnant Wit, and I'd no more have her an English Wife, than the Grand Signior's Mistress. (Exit.
Whisp. So, I see Sir Jealous go out; where shall I find Mrs. Patch now.
Patch. Oh Mr. Whisper, my Lady saw you out at the Window, and order'd me to bid you fly, and let your Master know she's now alone.
Whisp. Hush, Speak softly; I go, go: But hark'e Mrs. Patch, shall not you and I have a little Confabulation, when my Master and your Lady is engag'd?
Patch. Ay, Ay, Farewell. (Goes in, and shuts the Door.
Re-enter Sir Jealous Traffick meeting Whisper.
Sir Jeal. Sure whil'st I was talking with Mr. Tradewell, I heard my Door clap. (Seeing Whisper.) Ha! a Man lurking about my House; who do you want there, Sir?
Whisp. Want—want, a pox, Sir Jealous! what must I say now?— (Aside.
Sir Jeal. Ay, want; have you a Letter or Message for any Body there?—O my Conscience, this is some He-Bawd—
Whisp. Letter or Message, Sir!
Sir Jeal. Ay, Letter or Message, Sir.
Whisp. No, not I, Sir.
Sir Jeal. Sirrah, Sirrah, I'll have you set in the Stocks, if you don't tell me your Business immediately.
Whisp. Nay, Sir, my Business—is no great matter of Business neither; and yet 'tis Business of Consequence too.
Sir Jeal. Sirrah, don't trifle with me.
Whisp. Trifle, Sir, have you found him, Sir?
Sir Jeal. Found what, you Rascal.
Whisp. Why Trifle is the very Lap-Dog my Lady lost, Sir; I fancy'd I see him run into this House. I'm glad you have him—Sir, my Lady will be over-joy'd that 1 have found him.
Sir Jeal. Who is your Lady Friend?
Whisp. My Lady Love-puppy, Sir.
Sir Jeal. My Lady Love-puppy! then prithee carry thy self to her, for I know no other Whelp that belongs to her; and let me catch ye no more Puppy-hunting about my Doors, lest I have you prest into the Service, Sirrah.
Whisp. By no means, Sir—Your humble Servant; I must watch whether he goes, or no, before I can tell my Master. (Exit.
Sir Jeal. This Fellow has the Officious Leer of a Pimp; and I half suspect a Design, but I'll be upon them before they think on me, I warrant 'em. (Exit.
SCENE _Charles_'s Lodging._
Enter Charles and Marplot.
Char. Honest Marplot, I thank thee for this Supply; I expect my Lawyer with a Thousand Pound I have order'd him to take up, and then you shall be Repaid.
Marpl. Pho, pho, no more of that: Here comes Sir George Airy—
Enter Sir George.
Cursedly out of Humour at his Disappointment; see how he looks! Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Geo. Ah, Charles, I am so humbled in my Pretensions to Plots upon Women, that I believe I shall never have Courage enough to attempt a Chamber-maid agen—I'll tell thee.
Char. Ha, ha; I'll spare you the Relation by telling you—Impatient to know your Business with my Father, when I saw you Enter, I slipt back into the next Room, where I overheard every Syllable.
Sir Geo. That I said—But I'll be hang'd if you heard her Answer—. But prithee tell me, Charles, is she a Fool?
Char. I ne'er suspected her for one; but Marplot can inform you better, if you'll allow him a Judge.
Marpl. A Fool! I'll justifie she has more Wit than all the rest of her Sex put together; why she'll Rally me, till I han't one word to say for my self.
Char. A mighty Proof of her Wit truly—
Marpl. There must be some Trick in't, Sir George; Egad I'll find it out if it cost me the Sum you paid for't.
Sir Geo. Do and Command me—
Marpl. Enough, let me alone to Trace a Secret.—
Enter Whisper, and speaks aside to his Master.
The Devil! Whisper here agen, that Fellow never speaks out; is this the same, or a new Secret? Sir George, won't you ask Charles what News Whisper brings?
Sir Geo. Not I, Sir; I suppose it does not relate to me.
Marpl. Lord, Lord, how little Curiosity some People have! Now my chief Pleasure lies in knowing every Body's Business.
Sir Geo. I fancy, Charles, thou hast some Engagement upon thy Hands: I have a little Business too. Marplot, if it falls in your way to bring me any Intelligence from Miranda, you'll find me at the Thatch'd House at Six—
Marpl. You do me much Honour.
Char. You guess right, Sir George, wish me Success.
Sir Geo. Better than attended me. Adieu. (Exit.
Char. Marplot, you must Excuse me.—
Marpl. Nay, nay, what need of any Excuse amongst Friends! I'll go with you.
Char. Indeed you must not.
Marpl. No, then I suppose 'tis a Duel, and I will go to secure ye.
Char. Secure me, why you won't fight.
Marpl. What then! I can call People to part ye.
Char. Well, but it is no Duel, Consequently no Danger. Therefore prithee be Answer'd.
Marpl. What is't a Mistress then?—Mum—You know I can be silent upon occasion.
Char. I wish you cou'd be Civil too: I tell you, You neither Must nor Shall go with me. Farewel. (Exit.
Marpl. Why then—I Must and Will follow you. Exit.
The End of the Second Act.
ACT the Third
Char. Well, here's the House, which holds the Lovely Prize quiet and serene; here no noisie Footmen throng to tell the World, that Beauty dwells within; no Ceremonious Visit makes the Lover wait; no Rival to give my Heart a Pang; who wou'd not scale the Window at Midnight without fear of the Jealous Father's Pistol, rather than fill up the Train of a Coquet, where every Minute he is jostled out of Place. (Knocks softly.) Mrs. Patch, Mrs. Patch.
Patch. Oh, are you come, Sir? All's safe.
Char. So in, in then.
Marpl. There he goes: Who the Devil lives here? Except I can find out that, I am as far from knowing his Business as ever; gad I'll watch, it may be a Bawdy-House, and he may have his Throat cut; if there shou'd be any Mischief, I can make Oath, he went in. Well, Charles, in spight of your Endeavour to keep me out of the Secret; I may save your Life, for ought I know: At that Corner I'll plant my self; there I shall see whoever goes in, or comes out. Gad, I love Discoveries. (Exit.
SCENE Draws. Charles, Isabinda, and Patch.
Isab. Patch, look out sharp; have a care of Dad.
Patch. I warrant you. (Exit.
Isab. Well, Sir, if I may judge your Love by your Courage, I ought to believe you sincere; for you venture into the Lyons Den when you come to see me.
Char. If you'd consent whilst the furious Beast is abroad, I'd free you from the Reach of his Paws.
Isab. That wou'd be but to avoid one Danger, by running into another; like the poor Wretches, who fly the Burning Ship, and meet their Fate in the Water. Come, come, Charles, I fear if I consult my Reason, Confinement and Plenty is better than Liberty and Starving. I know you'd make the Frolick pleasing for a little time, by Saying and Doing a World of tender things; but when our small Substance is once Exhausted, and a Thousand Requisits for Life are Wanting; Love, who rarely dwells with Poverty, wou'd also fail us.
Char. Faith, I fancy not; methinks my Heart has laid up a Stock will last for Life; to back which, I have taken a Thousand Pound upon my Uncle's Estate; that surely will support us, till one of our Fathers relent.
Isab. There's no trusting to that my Friend, I doubt your Father will carry his Humour to the Grave, and mine till he sees me settled in Spain.
Char. And can ye then cruelly Resolve to stay till that curs'd Don arrives, and suffer that Youth, Beauty, Fire and Wit, to be sacrific'd to the Arms of a dull Spaniard, to be Immur'd and forbid the Sight of any thing that's Humane.
Isab. No, when it comes to the Extremity, and no Stratagem can Relieve us, thou shalt List for a Soldier, and I'll carry thy Knapsack after thee.
Char. Bravely Resolv'd; the World cannot be more Savage than our Parents, and Fortune generally assists the Bold; therefore Consent now: Why shou'd we put it to a future Hazard? who knows when we shall have another Opportunity?
Isab. Oh, you have your Ladder of Ropes, I suppose, and the Closet Window stands just where it did; and if you han't forgot to write in Characters, Patch will find a way for our Assignations. Thus much of the Spanish Contrivance, my Father's Severity has taught me, I thank him; tho' I hate the Nation, I admire their Management in these Affairs.
Patch. Oh, Madam, I see my Master coming up the Street.
Char. Oh the Devil, wou'd I had my Ladder now; I thought you had not expected him till Night; why, why, why, why; what shall I do, Madam?
Isab. Oh, for Heaven's sake! don't go that way, you'll meet him full in the Teeth: Oh unlucky Moment!—
Char. Adsheart, can you shut me into no Cupboard, Ram me into no Chest, ha?
Patch. Impossible, Sir, he Searches every Hole in the House.
Isab. Undone for ever! if he sees you, I shall never see you more.
Patch. I have thought on't: Run you to your Chamber, Madam; and Sir, come you along with me, I'm certain you may easily get down from the Balcone.
Char. My Life, Adieu—Lead on, Guide. (Exit.
Isab. Heaven preserve him. (Exit.
SCENE Changes to the Street.
_Enter Sir _Jealous_, with _Marplot_ behind him_._
Sir Jeal. I don't know what's the matter; but I have a strong Suspicion, all is not right within; that Fellow's sauntring about my Door, and his Tale of a Puppy, had the Face of a Lye, methought. By St. Jago, if I shou'd find a Man in the House, I'd make Mince-Meat of him—
Marpl. Ah, poor Charles—ha? Agad he is old—I fancy I might bully him, and make Charles have an Opinion of my Courage.
Sir Jeal. My own Key shall let me in; I'll give them no Warning. (Feeling for his Key.
Marpl. What's that you say, Sir. (Going up to Sir Jealous.
Sir Jeal. What's that to you, Sir. (Turns quick upon him.
Marpl. Yes, 'tis to me, Sir; for the Gentleman you threaten is a very honest Gentleman. Look to't, for if he comes not as safe out of your House, as he went in, I have half a Dozen Mirmidons hard-by shall beat it about your Ears.
Sir Jeal. Went in; what is he in then? Ah! a Combination to undo me—I'll Mirmidon you, ye Dog you—Thieves, Thieves. (Beat's Marplot all this while he cries Thieves.
Marpl. Murder, Murder; I was not in your House, Sir.
Serv. What's the matter, Sir?
Sir Jeal. The Matter, Rascals? Have you let a Man into my House; but I'll flea him Alive, follow me, I'll not leave a Mousehole unsearch'd; if I find him, by St. Jago, I'll Equip him for the Opera. (Exit.
_Marpl._ A Duce of his Cane, there's no trusting to Age—what shall I do to Relieve _Charles!_ Egad, I'll raise the Neighbourhood—Murder, Murder— (_Charles_ drops down upon him from the Balcone._) _Charles_ faith I'm glad to see thee safe out, with all my Heart.
Char. A Pox of your Bawling: How the Devil came you here?
Marpl. Here, gad I have done you a piece of Service; I told the old Thunderbolt, that the Gentleman that was gone in was—
Char. Was it you that told him, Sir? (Laying hold of him.) Z'death, I cou'd crush thee into Atoms. (Exit Charles.
Marpl. What will you choak me for my Kindness?—will my Enquiring Soul never leave Searching into other Peoples Affairs, till it gets squeez'd out of my Body? I dare not follow him now, for my Blood, he's in such a Passion—I'll to Miranda; if I can discover ought that may oblige Sir George, it may be a means to Reconcile me agen to Charles. (Exit.
Enter Sir Jealous and Servants.
Sir Jeal. Are you sure you have search'd every where?
Serv. Yes, from the Top of the House to the Bottom.
Sir Jeal. Under the Beds, and over the Beds?
Serv. Yes, and in them too, but found no Body, Sir.
Sir Jeal. Why, what cou'd this Rogue mean?
Enter Isabinda and Patch.
Patch. Take Courage, Madam, I saw him safe out. (Aside to Isab.
Isab. Bless me! what's the matter, Sir?
Sir Jeal. You know best—Pray where's the Man that was here just now?
Isab. What Man, Sir? I saw none!
Patch. Nor I, by the Trust you repose in me; do you think I wou'd let a Man come within these Doors, when you were absent?
Sir Jeal. Ah Patch, she may be too cunning for thy Honesty; the very Scout that he had set to give Warning discover'd it to me—and threaten'd me with half a Dozen Mirmidons—But I think I maul'd the Villain. These Afflictions you draw upon me, Mistress!
Isab. Pardon me, Sir, 'tis your own Ridiculous Humour draws you into these Vexations, and gives every Fool pretence to banter you.
Sir Jeal. No, 'tis your Idle Conduct, your Coquetish Flurting into the Balcone—Oh with what Joy shall I resign thee into the Arms of Don Diego Babinetto!
Isab. And with what Industry shall I avoid him! (Aside.
Sir Jeal. Certainly that Rogue had a Message from some body or other; but being baulk'd by my coming, popt that Sham upon me. Come along, ye Sots, let's see if we can find the Dog again. Patch, lock her up; D'ye hear? (Exit with Servants.
Patch. Yes, Sir—ay, walk till your Heels ake, you'll find no Body, I promise you.
Isab. Who cou'd that Scout be, which he talks of?
Patch. Nay, I can't imagine, without it was Whisper.
Isab. Well, dear Patch, let's employ all our Thoughts how to escape this horrid Don Diego, my very Heart sinks at his Terrible Name.
Patch. Fear not, Madam, Don Carlo shall be the Man, or I'll lose the Reputation of Contriving, and then what's a Chambermaid good for?
Isab. Say'st thou so, my Girl: Then— Let Dad be Jealous, multiply his Cares, While Love instructs me to avoid the Snares; I'll, spight of all his Spanish Caution, show How much for Love a British Maid can do. (Exit.
SCENE Sir Francis Gripe's House.
Sir Francis and Miranda meeting.
Miran. Well, Gardee, how did I perform my Dumb Scene?
Sir Fran. To Admiration—Thou dear little Rogue, let me buss thee for it: Nay, adod, I will, Chargee, so muzle, and tuzle, and hug thee; I will, I faith, I will. (Hugging and Kissing her.
Miran. Nay, Gardee, don't be so lavish; who wou'd Ride Post, when the Journey lasts for Life?
Sir Fran. Ah wag, ah wag—I'll buss thee agen for that.
Miran. Faugh! how he stinks of Tobacco! what a delicate Bedfellow I shou'd have! (Aside.
Sir Fran. Oh I'm Transported! When, when, my Dear, wilt thou Convince the World of thy Happy Day? when shall we marry, ha?
Miran. There's nothing wanting but your Consent, Sir Francis.
Sir Fran. My Consent! what do's my Charmer mean?
Miran. Nay, 'tis only a Whim: But I'll have every thing according to form—Therefore when you sign an Authentick Paper, drawn up by an able Lawyer, that I have your Leave to marry, the next Day makes me yours, Gardee.
Sir Fran. Ha, ha, ha, a Whim indeed! why is it not Demonstration I give my Leave when I marry thee.
Miran. Not for your Reputation, Gardee; the malicious World will be apt to say, you trick'd me into Marriage, and so take the Merit from my Choice. Now I will have the Act my own, to let the idle Fops see how much I prefer a Man loaded with Years and Wisdom.
Sir Fran. Humph! Prithee leave out Years, Chargee, I'm not so old, as thou shalt find: Adod, I'm young; there's a Caper for ye. (Jumps.
Miran. Oh never excuse it, why I like you the better for being old—But I shall suspect you don't love me, if you Refuse me this Formality.
Sir Fran. Not Love thee, Chargee! Adod I do love thee better than, than, than, better than—what shall I say? Egad, better than Money, I faith I do—
Miran. That's false I'm sure (Aside.) To prove it do this then.
Sir Fran. Well, I will do it, Chargee, provided I bring a License at the same time.
Miran. Ay, and a Parson too, if you please; Ha, ha, ha, I can't help Laughing to think how all the young Coxcombs about Town will be mortify'd when they hear of our Marriage.
Sir Fran. So they will, so they will; Ha, ha, ha.
Miran. Well, I fancy I shall be so happy with my Gardee!
Sir Fran. If wearing Pearls and Jewels, or eating Gold, as the old Saying is, can make thee happy, thou shalt be so, my Sweetest, my Lovely, my Charming, my—verily I know not what to call thee.
Miran. You must know, Gardee, that I am so eager to have this Business concluded, that I have employ'd my Womans Brother, who is a Lawyer in the Temple, to settle Matters just to your Liking, you are to give your Consent to my Marriage, which is to your self, you know: But Mum, you must take up notice of that. So then I will, that is, with your Leave, put my Writings into his Hands; then to Morrow we come slap upon them with a Wedding, that no body thought on; by which you seize me and my Estate, and I suppose make a Bonfire of your own Act and Deed.
Sir Fran. Nay, but Chargee, if—
Miran. Nay, Gardee, no Ifs—Have I refus'd three Northern Lords, two British Peers, and half a score Knights, to have you put in your Ifs?—
Sir Fran. So thou hast indeed, and I will trust to thy Management. Od, I'm all of a Fire.
Miran. 'Tis a wonder the dry Stubble does not blaze.
Sir Fran. How now! who sent for you, Sir? What's the Hundred Pound gone already?
Marpl. No, Sir, I don't want Money now.
Sir Fran. No, that's a Miracle! But there's one thing you want, I'm sure.
Marpl. Ay, what's that, Guardian?
Sir Fran. Manners, what had I no Servants without?
Marpl. None that cou'd do my Business, Guardian, which is at present with this Lady.
Miran. With me, Mr. Marplot! what is it, I beseech you?
Sir Fran. Ay, Sir, what is it? any thing that relates to her may be deliver'd to me.
Marpl. I deny that.
Miran. That's more than I do, Sir.
Marpl. Indeed, Madam, why then to proceed: Fame says, that you and my most Conscionable Guardian here, design'd, contriv'd, plotted and agreed to chouse a very civil, honourable, honest Gentleman, out of a Hundred Pound.
Miran. That I contrived it!
Marpl. Ay you—You said never a Word against it, so far you are Guilty.
Sir Fran. Pray tell that civil, honourable, honest Gentleman, that if he has any more such Sums to fool away, they shall be received like the last; Ha, ha, ha, ha, chous'd, quotha! But hark ye, let him know at the same time, that if he dare to report I trick'd him of it, I shall recommend a Lawyer to him shall shew him a Trick for twice as much; D'ye hear, tell him that.
Marpl. So, and this is the way you use a Gentleman, and my Friend.
Miran. Is the Wretch thy Friend?
Marpl. The Wretch! Look ye, Madam, don't call Names; Egad I won't take it.
Miran. Why you won't beat me, will you? Ha, ha.
Marpl. I don't know whether I will or no.
Sir Fran. Sir, I shall make a Servant shew you out at the Window if you are sawcy.
Marpl. I am your most humble Servant, Guardian; I design to go out the same way I came in. I wou'd only ask this Lady, if she do's not think in her Soul Sir George Airy is not a fine Gentleman.
Miram. He Dresses well.
Sir Fran. Which is chiefly owing to his Taylor, and Valet de Chamber.
Miran. And if you allow that a proof of his being a fine Gentleman, he is so.
Marpl. The judicious part of the World allow him Wit, Courage, Gallantry and Management; tho' I think he forfeited that Character, when he flung away a Hundred Pound upon your Dumb Ladyship.
Sir Fran. Does that gaul him? Ha, ha, ha.
Miran. So, Sir George remaining in deep Discontent, has sent you his trusty Squire, to utter his Complaint: Ha, ha, ha.
Marpl. Yes, Madam; and you, like a cruel, hard-hearted Jew, value it no more—than I wou'd your Ladyship, were I Sir George, you, you, you—
Miran. Oh, don't call Names. I know you love to be employ'd, and I'll oblige you; and you shall carry him a Message from me.
Marpl. According as I like it: What is it?
Miran. Nay, a kind one you may be sure—First tell him, I have chose this Gentleman to have, and to hold, and so forth. (Clapping her Hand into Sir Francis's.
Sir Fran. Oh the dear Rogue, how I dote on her! (Aside.
Miran. And advise his Impertinence to trouble me no more, for I prefer Sir Francis for a Husband before all the Fops in the Universe.
Marpl. Oh Lord, Oh Lord! She's bewitch'd, that's certain; Here's a Husband for Eighteen—Here's a Shape—Here's Bones ratling in a Leathern Bag. (Turning Sir Francis about.) Here's Buckram, and Canvass, to scrub you to Repentance.
Sir Fran. Sirrah, my Cane shall teach you Repentance presently.
Marpl. No faith, I have felt its Twin-Brother from just such a wither'd Hand too lately.
Miran. One thing more, advise him to keep from the Garden Gate on the left Hand; for if he dares to saunter there, about the Hour of Eight, as he used to do, he shall be saluted with a Pistol or a Blunderbuss.
Sir Fran. Oh monstrous! why Chargee; did he use to come to the Garden Gate?
Miran. The Gardner describ'd just such another Man that always watch'd his coming out, and fain wou'd have bribed him for his Entrance—tell him he shall find a warm Reception if he comes this Night.
Marpl. Pistols and Blunderbusses! Egad, a warm Reception indeed; I shall take care to inform him of your Kindness, and advise him to keep farther off.
Miran. I hope he will understand my Meaning better, than to follow your Advice. (Aside.
Sir Fran. Thou hast sign'd, seal'd, and ta'en Possession of my Heart; for ever, Chargee, Ha, ha, ha; and for you, Mr. Sauce-box, let me have no more of your Messages, if ever you design to inherit your Estate, Gentleman.
Marpl. Why there 'tis now. Sure I shall be out of your Clutches one Day.—Well, Guardian, I say no more; but if you be not as errant a Cuckold, as e're drove Bargain upon the Exchange, or paid Attendance to a Court; I am the Son of a Whetstone; and so your humble Servant. (Exit.
Miran. Don't forget the Message; Ha, ha.
Sir Fran. I am so provok'd!—'tis well he's gone.
Miran. Oh mind him not, Gardee, but let's sign Articles, and then—
Sir Fran. And then—Adod, I believe I am Metamorphos'd; my Pulse beats high, and my Blood boils, methinks— (Kissing and Hugging her.
Miran. Oh fye, Gardee, be not so violent; Consider the Market lasts all the Year—Well, I'll in and see if the Lawyer be come, you'll follow. (Exit.
Sir Fran. Ay, to the World's End, my Dear. Well, Franck, thou art a lucky Fellow in thy old Age, to have such a delicate Morsel, and Thirty Thousand Pound in love with thee; I shall be the Envy of Batchelors, the Glory of Marry'd Men, and the Wonder of the Town. Some Guardians wou'd be glad to compound for part of the Estate, at dispatching an Heiress, but I engross the whole: O! Mihi praeteritos referet si Jupiter Annos. (Exit.
SCENE Changes to a Tavern; discovers Sir George and Charles with Wine before them, and Whisper waiting.
Sir Geo. Nay, prithee don't be Grave, Charles; Misfortunes will happen: Ha, ha, ha, 'tis some Comfort to have a Companion in our Sufferings.
Char. I am only apprehensive for Isabinda, her Father's Humour is implacable; and how far his Jealousie may transport him to her Undoing, shocks my Soul to think.
Sir Geo. But since you escap'd undiscover'd by him, his Rage will quickly lash into a Calm, never fear it.
Char. But who knows what that unlucky Dog, Marplot, told him; nor can I imagine what brought him thither; that Fellow is ever doing Mischief; and yet, to give him his due, he never designs it. This is some Blundering Adventure, wherein he thought to shew his Friendship, as he calls it: A Curse on him.
Sir Geo. Then you must forgive him; what said he?
Char. Said! nay, I had more mind to cut his Throat, than hear his Excuses.
Sir Geo. Where is he?
Whisp. Sir, I saw him go into Sir Francis Gripe's just now.
Char. Oh! then he is upon your Business, Sir George; a thousand to one, but he makes some Mistake there too.
Sir Geo. Impossible, without he huffs the Lady, and makes Love to Sir Francis.
Draw. Mr. Marplot is below, Gentlemen, and desires to know if he may have Leave to wait upon ye.
Char. How civil the Rogue is when he has done a fault!
Sir Geo. Ho! Desire him to walk up. Prithee, Charles, throw off this Chagreen, and be good Company.
Char. Nay, hang him, I'm not angry with him. Whisper, fetch me Pen, Ink and Paper.
Whisp. Yes, Sir.
Char. Do but mark his sheepish Look, Sir George.
Marpl. Dear Charles, don't o'erwhelm a Man—already under insupportable Affliction. I'm sure I always intend to serve my Friends; but if my malicious Stars deny the Happiness, is the fault mine?
Sir Geo. Never mind him, Mr. Marplot, he is eat up with Spleen. But tell me, what says Miranda?
Marpl. Says—nay, we are all undone there too.
Char. I told you so; nothing prospers that he undertakes.
Marpl. Why can I help her having chose your Father for Better for Worse?
Char. So: There's another of Fortune's Strokes; I suppose I shall be Edg'd out of my Estate, with Twins every Year, let who will get 'em.
Sir Geo. What is the Woman really Possest?
Marpl. Yes with the Spirit of Contradiction, she rail'd at you most prodigiously.
Sir Geo. That's no ill Sign.
Enter Whisper, with Pen, Ink and Paper.
Marpl. You'd say it was no good Sign, if you knew all.
Sir Geo. Why, prithee?
Marpl. Hark'e, Sir George, Let me warn you, pursue your old Haunt no more, it may be dangerous. (Charles sits down to write.
Sir Geo. My old Haunt, what d'you mean?
Marpl. Why in short then, since you will have it, Miranda vows if you dare approach the Garden-Gate at Eight a Clock, as you us'd, you shall be saluted with a Blunderbuss, Sir. These were her Words; nay, she bid me tell you so too.
Sir George, Ha! The Garden-Gate at Eight, as I us'd to do! There must be a Meaning in this. Is there such a Gate, Charles?
Char. Yes, yes; it opens into the Park, I suppose her Ladyship has made many a Scamper through it.
Sir Geo. It must be an Assignation then. Ha, my Heart springs with Joy, 'tis a propitious Omen. My dear Marplot, let me embrace thee, thou art my Friend, my better Angel—
Marpl. What do you mean, Sir George?
Sir Geo. No matter what I mean. Here take a Bumper to the Garden-Gate, ye dear Rogue, you.
Marpl. You have Reason to be transported, Sir George; I have sav'd your Life.
Sir Geo. My Life! thou hast sav'd my Soul, Man. Charles, if thou do'st not pledge this Health, may'st thou never taste the Joys of Love.
Char. Whisper, be sure you take care how you deliver this (gives him the Letter) bring me the Answer to my Lodgings.
Whisp. I warrant you, Sir. (Exit.
Marpl. Whither does that Letter go?—Now dare I not ask for my Blood.
Char. Now I'm for you.
Sir Geo. To the Garden-Gate at the Hour of Eight, Charles, along, Huzza!
Char. I begin to conceive you.
Marpl. That's more than I do, Egad—to the Garden-Gate, Huzza, (Drinks.) But I hope you design to keep far enough off on't, Sir George.
Sir Geo. Ay, ay, never fear that; she shall see I despise her Frowns, let her use her Blunderbuss against the next Fool, she shan't reach me with the Smoak, I warrant her, Ha, ha, ha.
Marpl. Ah, Charles, if you cou'd receive a Disappointment thus En Cavalier, one shou'd have some comfort in being beat for you.
Char. The Fool comprehends nothing.
Sir Geo. Nor wou'd I have him; prithee take him along with thee.
Char. Enough: Marplot, you shall go home with me.
Marpl. I'm glad I'm well with him however. Sir George, yours. Egad, Charles, asking me to go home with him, gives me a shrewd suspicion there's more in the Garden-Gate, than I comprehend. Faith, I'll give him the drop, and away to Guardians, and find it out.
Sir Geo. I kiss both your Hands—And now for the Garden-Gate.
It's Beauty gives the Assignation there, And Love too powerful grows t' admit of Fear. (Exit.
The End of the Third Act.
ACT the Fourth.
SCENE the Out-side of Sir Jealous Traffick's House, Patch peeping out of Door.
Whisp. Ha, Mrs. Patch, this is a lucky Minute, to find you so readily, my Master dies with Impatience.
Patch. My Lady imagin'd so, and by her Orders I have been scouting this hour in search of you, to inform you that Sir Jealous has invited some Friends to Supper with him to Night, which gives an Opportunity to your Master to make use of his Ladder of Ropes: The Closet Window shall be open, and Isabinda ready to receive him; bid him come immediately.
Whisp. Excellent, He'll not disappoint I warrant him: But hold, I have a Letter here, which I'm to carry an Answer of: I can't think what Language the Direction is.
Patch. Pho, 'tis no Language, but a Character which the Lovers invented to avert Discovery: Ha, I hear my old Master coming down Stairs, it is impossible you shou'd have an Answer; away, and bid him come himself for that—begone we are ruined if you're seen, for he has doubl'd his Care since the last Accident.