Spelling as in the original has been preserved.
William Dunlap is considered the father of the American Theatre, and anyone who reads his history of the American Theatre will see how firmly founded are his claims to this title. But the first American play to be written by a native, and to gain the distinction of anything like a "run" is "The Contrast," by Royall Tyler. Unfortunately for us, the three hundred page manuscript of Tyler's "Life," which is in possession of one of his descendants, has never been published. Were that document available, it would throw much valuable light on the social history of New England. For Tyler was deep-dyed in New England traditions, and, strange to say, his playwriting began as a reaction against a Puritanical attitude toward the theatre.
When Tyler came to New York on a very momentous occasion, as an official in the suppression of Shays's Rebellion, he had little thought of ever putting his pen to paper as a playwright, although he was noted from earliest days as a man of literary ambition, his tongue being sharp in its wit, and his disposition being brilliant in the parlour. It was while in what was even then considered to be the very gay and wicked city of New York, that Royall Tyler went to the theatre for the first time, and, on that auspicious occasion, witnessed Sheridan's "The School for Scandal." We can imagine what the brilliancy of that moment must have been to the parched New England soul of our first American dramatist.
Two days afterwards, inspiration began to burn, and he dashed off, in a period of a few weeks, the comedy called "The Contrast," not so great a "contrast," however, that the literary student would fail to recognize "The School for Scandal" as its chief inspiration.
Our young dramatist, whose original name, William Clark Tyler, was changed, by act of Court, to Royall, was born in Boston on July 18, 1757, near the historic ground of Faneuil Hall. His father was one of the King's Councillors, and figured in the Stamp Act controversy. From him, young Tyler inherited much of his ability. The family was wealthy and influential. Naturally, the father being a graduate of Harvard, his son likewise went to that institution. His early boyhood, when he was at the grammar school, was passed amidst the tumult of the Stamp Act, and the quartering of troops in Boston. When he entered Harvard as a freshman, on July 15, 1772, three days before he was fifteen years old, he was thoroughly accustomed to the strenuous atmosphere of the coming Revolution.
There were many students in his class, who afterwards won distinction as chief justices, governors and United States senators, but at that time none of them were so sedate as to ignore the usual pranks of the college boy. Tyler's temperament is well exhibited by the fact that he was one of the foremost instigators in a fishing party from his room window, when the students hooked the wig of the reverend president from his head one morning as that potentate was going to chapel.
Tyler graduated with a B.A. degree from Harvard in July, 1776, the Valedictorian of his class; and was similarly honoured with a B.A. by Yale (1776). Three years after, he received an M.A. from Harvard and, in later life (1811), from the University of Vermont. He read law for three years with the Hon. Francis Dana, of Cambridge, and the Hon. Benjamin Hichbourne, of Boston, during that time being a member of a club which used to meet at the rooms of Colonel John Trumbull, well known to all students as a soldier and painter. Unfortunate for us that the life-size canvas of Royall Tyler, painted by Trumbull, was destroyed by fire. We are assured by Trumbull, in his "Reminiscences," that during those long evenings, they "regaled themselves with a cup of tea instead of wine, and discussed subjects of literature, politics and war." In 1778, Tyler found himself by the side of Trumbull, fighting against the British and serving a short while under General Sullivan.
In 1779, he was admitted to the bar, and there followed a long succession of activities, in which he moved from place to place, finally associating himself definitely with the early history of Vermont, and Brattleboro in particular.
There is much interesting data in existence relating to Royall Tyler's literary activities, as a writer of witty articles, sprightly verse and autobiographical experiences—in a style which, while lacking in distinction, is none the less a measure of the sprightliness of the author's disposition. It is not my purpose to enter into a discussion of anything but Royall Tyler as the author of "The Contrast." He wrote several other plays besides, one dealing with the wild-cat land speculation in Georgia. But the play under discussion is fully representative of his dramatic ability, an ability which would scarcely be worthy of too much commendation were it not for the fact that Tyler may be regarded as the creator of the Yankee type in American drama.
In 1787, Shays's Rebellion brought Tyler once more under the command of Major-General Benjamin Lincoln, with whom he had served in the Revolutionary War. As an aide, he was required to go into the State of New York, and arrange for the pursuit and capture of Shays. It was, as I have said, while on this mission in New York City that he went to the theatre for the first time. He witnessed Sheridan's "The School for Scandal," and in the audience on the occasion there very probably sat George Washington. The latter was a constant frequenter of the little John Street Theatre, where Wignell was the chief comedian. Apart from Jonathan's description of this "Colonial" Playhouse, as it looked after the Revolution, we have Seilhamer's impression (i, 212), as follows:
"... the theatre in John Street ... for a quarter of a century was to New York what the Southwark Theatre was to Philadelphia. Both houses were alike in appearance, but the New York Theatre stood back about sixty feet from the street, with a covered way of rough wooden materials from the sidewalk to the doors. It was principally of wood and was painted red. It had two rows of boxes, and a pit and gallery, the capacity of the house when full being about eight hundred dollars. The stage was sufficiently large for all the requirements of that theatrical era, and the dressing-rooms and green room were in a shed adjacent to the theatre."
This was, it seems, the first time Tyler had ever left New England. His manuscript was finished in three weeks, and shortly after handed over to the American Company for production. So loath was he to have his name connected with it, that, when he gave the manuscript to Wignell, he consigned also to that actor the copyright, with the instruction that, when the play was published, on the title-page, the piece should be credited to the authorship of "a citizen of the United States." Of all the productions which came from his pen, the very prosaic and doubtfully authoritative Vermont Law Reports is the only publication bearing his name on the title-page.
"The Contrast" was produced on April 16, 1787, at the John Street Theatre, in New York, by the American Company, the original cast including Mr. Henry and Mr. Hallam as the rival lovers, and Mr. Wignell in the part of Jonathan, the first stage Yankee. Anyone who has read the play will quite understand why it is that the honours so easily fell to Mr. Wignell rather than to Mr. Henry or to Mr. Hallam, and it is no surprise, therefore, to find, after the initial performance, that jealousy began to manifest itself between these three gentlemen,—so much so, indeed, that, when the time arrived for the Company to go to Philadelphia, in December, 1787, Mr. Wignell was unable to present "The Contrast" in the theatre, and had to content himself with a reading, because it was "impracticable at this time to entertain the public with a dramatic representation." The Notice continued: Mr. Wignell, "in compliance with the wishes of many respectable citizens of Philadelphia, proposes to read that celebrated performance at the City Tavern on Monday evening, the 10th inst. The curiosity which has everywhere been expressed respecting this first dramatic production of American genius, and the pleasure which it has already afforded in the theatres of New York and Maryland, persuade Mr. Wignell that his excuses on this occasion will be acceptable to the public and that even in so imperfect a dress, the intrinsic merit of the comedy will contribute to the amusement and command the approbation of the audience." Of Wignell and his associates, an excellent impression may be had from a first hand description by W. B. Wood, in his "Personal Recollections."
Whether the intrinsic merits of the play would contribute to the amusement of audiences to-day is to be doubted, although it is a striking dramatic curio. The play in the reading is scarcely exciting. It is surprisingly devoid of situation. Its chief characteristic is "talk," but that talk, reflective in its spirit of "The School for Scandal," is interesting to the social student. When the ladies discuss the manners of the times and the fashions of the day, they discuss them in terms of the Battery, in New York, but in the spirit of London. The only native product, as I have said, is Jonathan, and his surprise over the play-house, into which he is inveigled, measures the surprise which must have overwhelmed the staid New England conscience of Royall Tyler, when he found himself actually in that den of iniquity,—the theatre. For the first time in the American Drama, we get New England dialogue and some attempt at American characterization. Wignell, being himself a character actor of much ability, and the son of a player who had been a member of Garrick's Company in London, it is small wonder that he should have painted the stage Yankee in an agreeable and entertaining and novel manner.
But, undoubtedly, the only interest that could attach itself to this comedy for the theatre-going audience of to-day would be in its presentment according to the customs and manners of the time. In fact, one would be very much entertained were it possible to make Letitia and Charlotte discuss their social schemes and ambitions in a parlour which reflected the atmosphere of New York in 1787. As a matter of fact, however, the audience that crowded into the little John Street Theatre, on the opening night of "The Contrast," was treated to an interior room, which was more closely akin to a London drawing-room than to a parlour in Manhattan. According to the very badly drawn frontispiece, which Wignell used in the printed edition of the play, and which William Dunlap executed, we see a very poor imitation of the customs, costumes, and situations which Tyler intended to suggest.
Indeed, we wonder whether Dunlap, when he drew this picture, did not have a little malice in his heart; for there is no doubt that he showed jealousy over the success of "The Contrast," when, after a three years' stay in London, under the tutelage of Benjamin West, he returned to America to find "The Contrast" the talk of the town. Both he and Seilhamer who, however prejudiced they may be in some of their judgments and in some of their dates, are nevertheless the authorities for the early history of the American Theatre, try their best to take away from the credit due Tyler as an American dramatist. They both contend that "The Contrast," though it was repeated several times in succession—and this repetition of a native drama before audiences more accustomed to the English product must have been a sign of its acceptance,—was scarcely what they would consider a success. As evidence, Seilhamer claims that, just as soon as Royall Tyler handed over the copyright of his play to Wignell, the latter advertised the printed edition whenever the subscribers' list was sufficiently large to warrant the publication. It was not, however, until several years after this advertisement, that the play was actually published, the subscribers being headed by the name of President George Washington, and including many of Washington's first cabinet, four signers of the Declaration of Independence, and several Revolutionary soldiers. According to Seilhamer, the American dramatists of those days were very eager to follow the work of their contemporary craftsmen, and, in the list of subscribers, we find the names of Dunlap, Peter Markoe, who wrote "The Patriot Chief" (1783), Samuel Low, author of "The Politician Out-witted" (1789), and Colonel David Humphreys, who translated from the French "The Widow of Malabar; or, The Tyranny of Custom" (1790).
We are told by some authorities that Royall Tyler was on friendly terms with the actors of this period, a fact accentuated all the more because his brother, Col. John S. Tyler, had become manager of the Boston Theatre. In many ways he was a great innovator, if, on one hand, he broke through the New England prejudices against the theatre, and if, on the other hand, during his long career as lawyer and as judge of the Supreme Court of Vermont, he broke through the traditional manner of conducting trials, as is evidenced by many human, amusing anecdotes, illustrative of his wit and quick repartee. He was married to Mary Palmer, in 1794, and brought up a family of eleven children, a number of whom won distinction in the ministry, but none of whom followed their father's taste for playwriting. He mingled with the most intellectual society of the time, being on intimate terms with the Adams family, the Quincys and Cranchs, and identifying himself very closely with the literary history of the country.
In a record of New England periodicals, his name will figure constantly as contributing editor. We have letters of his, descriptive of his home life in Brattleboro, Vermont, filled with a kindly benevolence and with a keen sense of humour. It was there that he died on August 16, 1826. But, all told, we fear that even though Royall Tyler has the distinction of being one of the first American dramatists, he came into the theatre purely by accident. "The Contrast" is not, strictly speaking, a very dramatic representation.
When, in June, 1912, Brattleboro celebrated its local history with a pageant, a production of "The Contrast" was rehearsed and given in a little hall, fitted up to represent the old John Street Theatre. A scene from the play was given at an American Drama Matinee, produced by the American Drama Committee of the Drama League of America, New York Centre, on January 22 and 23, 1917,—the conversation between Jonathan and Jenny. In Philadelphia, under the auspices of the Drama League Centre, and in cooeperation with the University of Pennsylvania, the play, in its entirety, was presented on January 18, 1917, by the "Plays and Players" organization. A revival was also given in Boston, produced in the old manner, "and the first rows of seats were reserved for those of the audience who appeared in the costume of the time."
The play in its first edition is rare, but, in 1887, it was reprinted by the Dunlap Society. The general reader is given an opportunity of judging how far Jonathan is the typical Yankee, and how far Royall Tyler cut the pattern which later was followed by other playwrights in a long series of American dramas, in which the Yankee was the chief attraction.
 The/Contrast,/a/Comedy;/In Five Acts:/Written By a/Citizen of the United States;/Performed with Applause at the Theatres in New-York,/Philadelphia, and Maryland;/and published (under an Assignment of the Copy-Right) by/Thomas Wignell./Primus ego in patriam/ Aonio—deduxi vertice Musas./Virgil./(Imitated.)/ First on our shores I try Thalia's powers,/And bid the laughing, useful Maid be ours./Philadelphia:/From the Press of Prichard & Hall, in Market Street:/Between Second and Front Streets./M. DCC. XC. [See Frontispiece.]
 For example, "The Duelists," a Farce in three acts; "The Georgia Spec; or, Land in the Moon" (1797); "The Doctor in Spite of Himself," an imitation of Moliere; and "Baritaria; or, The Governor of a Day," being adventures of Sancho Panza. He also wrote a libretto, "May-day in Town; or, New York in an Uproar." (See Sonneck: "Early Opera in America.")
 The song which occurs in the play under the title, "Alknomook," had great popularity in the eighteenth century. Its authorship was attributed to Philip Freneau, in whose collected poems it does not appear. It is also credited to a Mrs. Hunter, and is contained in her volume of verse, published in 1806. It appears likewise in a Dublin play of 1740, "New Spain; or, Love in Mexico." See also, the American Museum, vol. I, page 77. The singing of "Yankee Doodle" is likewise to be noted (See Sonneck's interesting essay on the origin of "Yankee Doodle," General Bibliography), not the first time it appears in early American Drama, as readers of Barton's "Disappointment" (1767) will recognize.
The Subscribers (to whom the Editor thankfully professes his obligations) may reasonably expect an apology for the delay which has attended the appearance of "The Contrast;" but, as the true cause cannot be declared without leading to a discussion, which the Editor wishes to avoid, he hopes that the care and expence which have been bestowed upon this work will be accepted, without further scrutiny, as an atonement for his seeming negligence.
In justice to the Author, however, it may be proper to observe that this Comedy has many claims to the public indulgence, independent of its intrinsic merits: It is the first essay of American genius in a difficult species of composition; it was written by one who never critically studied the rules of the drama, and, indeed, had seen but few of the exhibitions of the stage; it was undertaken and finished in the course of three weeks; and the profits of one night's performance were appropriated to the benefit of the sufferers by the fire at Boston.
These considerations will, therefore, it is hoped, supply in the closet the advantages that are derived from representation, and dispose the reader to join in the applause which has been bestowed on this Comedy by numerous and judicious audiences, in the Theatres of Philadelphia, New-York, and Maryland.
Written by a young gentleman of New-York, and spoken by Mr. Wignell.
Exult, each patriot heart!—this night is shewn A piece, which we may fairly call our own; Where the proud titles of "My Lord! Your Grace!" To humble Mr. and plain Sir give place. Our Author pictures not from foreign climes The fashions or the follies of the times; But has confin'd the subject of his work To the gay scenes—the circles of New-York. On native themes his Muse displays her pow'rs; If ours the faults, the virtues too are ours. Why should our thoughts to distant countries roam, When each refinement may be found at home? Who travels now to ape the rich or great, To deck an equipage and roll in state; To court the graces, or to dance with ease, Or by hypocrisy to strive to please? Our free-born ancestors such arts despis'd; Genuine sincerity alone they priz'd; Their minds, with honest emulation fir'd, To solid good—not ornament—aspir'd; Or, if ambition rous'd a bolder flame, Stern virtue throve, where indolence was shame.
But modern youths, with imitative sense, Deem taste in dress the proof of excellence; And spurn the meanness of your homespun arts, Since homespun habits would obscure their parts; Whilst all, which aims at splendour and parade, Must come from Europe, and be ready made. Strange! we should thus our native worth disclaim, And check the progress of our rising fame. Yet one, whilst imitation bears the sway, Aspires to nobler heights, and points the way. Be rous'd, my friends! his bold example view; Let your own Bards be proud to copy you! Should rigid critics reprobate our play, At least the patriotic heart will say, "Glorious our fall, since in a noble cause. The bold attempt alone demands applause." Still may the wisdom of the Comic Muse Exalt your merits, or your faults accuse. But think not, 'tis her aim to be severe;— We all are mortals, and as mortals err. If candour pleases, we are truly blest; Vice trembles, when compell'd to stand confess'd. Let not light Censure on your faults offend, Which aims not to expose them, but amend. Thus does our Author to your candour trust; Conscious, the free are generous, as just.
COL. MANLY, Mr. Henry. Mr. Hallam. DIMPLE, Mr. Hallam. Mr. Harper. VAN ROUGH, Mr. Morris. Mr. Morris. JESSAMY, Mr. Harper. Mr. Biddle. JONATHAN, Mr. Wignell. Mr. Wignell.
CHARLOTTE, Mrs. Morris. Mrs. Morris. MARIA, Mrs. Harper. Mrs. Harper. LETITIA, Mrs. Kenna. Mrs. Williamson. JENNY, Miss Tuke. Miss W. Tuke.
N.B. The lines marked with inverted commas, "thus", are omitted in the representation.
SCENE I. An Apartment at CHARLOTTE'S.
CHARLOTTE and LETITIA discovered.
LETITIA. And so, Charlotte, you really think the pocket-hoop unbecoming.
CHARLOTTE. No, I don't say so: It may be very becoming to saunter round the house of a rainy day; to visit my grand-mamma, or to go to Quakers' meeting: but to swim in a minuet, with the eyes of fifty well-dressed beaux upon me, to trip it in the Mall, or walk on the Battery give me the luxurious, jaunty, flowing bell-hoop. It would have delighted you to have seen me the last evening, my charming girl! I was dangling o'er the battery with Billy Dimple; a knot of young fellows were upon the platform; as I passed them I faltered with one of the most bewitching false steps you ever saw, and then recovered myself with such a pretty confusion, flirting my hoop to discover a jet black shoe and brilliant buckle. Gad! how my little heart thrilled to hear the confused raptures of—"Demme, Jack, what a delicate foot!" "Ha! General, what a well-turned—"
LETITIA. Fie! fie! Charlotte [Stopping her mouth.]. I protest you are quite a libertine.
CHARLOTTE. Why, my dear little prude, are we not all such libertines? Do you think, when I sat tortured two hours under the hands of my friseur, and an hour more at my toilet, that I had any thoughts of my aunt Susan, or my cousin Betsey? though they are both allowed to be critical judges of dress.
LETITIA. Why, who should we dress to please, but those who are judges of its merits?
CHARLOTTE. Why, a creature who does not know Buffon from Soufle—Man!—my Letitia—Man! for whom we dress, walk, dance, talk, lisp, languish, and smile. Does not the grave Spectator assure us that even our much bepraised diffidence, modesty, and blushes are all directed to make ourselves good wives and mothers as fast as we can? Why, I'll undertake with one flirt of this hoop to bring more beaux to my feet in one week than the grave Maria, and her sentimental circle, can do, by sighing sentiment till their hairs are grey.
LETITIA. Well, I won't argue with you; you always out-talk me; let us change the subject. I hear that Mr. Dimple and Maria are soon to be married.
CHARLOTTE. You hear true. I was consulted in the choice of the wedding clothes. She is to be married in a delicate white satin, and has a monstrous pretty brocaded lutestring for the second day. It would have done you good to have seen with what an affected indifference the dear sentimentalist [turned over a thousand pretty things, just as if her heart did not palpitate with her approaching happiness, and at last made her choice and] arranged her dress with such apathy as if she did not know that plain white satin and a simple blond lace would shew her clear skin and dark hair to the greatest advantage.
LETITIA. But they say her indifference to dress, and even to the gentleman himself, is not entirely affected.
LETITIA. It is whispered that if Maria gives her hand to Mr. Dimple, it will be without her heart.
CHARLOTTE. Though the giving the heart is one of the last of all laughable considerations in the marriage of a girl of spirit, yet I should like to hear what antiquated notions the dear little piece of old-fashioned prudery has got in her head.
LETITIA. Why, you know that old Mr. John-Richard-Robert-Jacob-Isaac- Abraham-Cornelius Van Dumpling, Billy Dimple's father (for he has thought fit to soften his name, as well as manners, during his English tour) was the most intimate friend of Maria's father. The old folks, about a year before Mr. Van Dumpling's death, proposed this match: the young folks were accordingly introduced, and told they must love one another. Billy was then a good-natured, decent-dressing young fellow, with a little dash of the coxcomb, such as our young fellows of fortune usually have. At this time, I really believe she thought she loved him; and had they then been married, I doubt not they might have jogged on, to the end of the chapter, a good kind of a sing-song, lack-a-daysaical life, as other honest married folks do.
CHARLOTTE. Why did they not then marry?
LETITIA. Upon the death of his father, Billy went to England to see the world and rub off a little of the patroon rust. During his absence, Maria, like a good girl, to keep herself constant to her nown true-love, avoided company, and betook herself, for her amusement, to her books, and her dear Billy's letters. But, alas! how many ways has the mischievous demon of inconstancy of stealing into a woman's heart! Her love was destroyed by the very means she took to support it.
CHARLOTTE. How?—Oh! I have it—some likely young beau found the way to her study.
LETITIA. Be patient, Charlotte; your head so runs upon beaux. Why, she read Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa Harlow, Shenstone, and the Sentimental Journey; and between whiles, as I said, Billy's letters. But, as her taste improved, her love declined. The contrast was so striking betwixt the good sense of her books and the flimsiness of her love-letters, that she discovered she had unthinkingly engaged her hand without her heart; and then the whole transaction, managed by the old folks, now appeared so unsentimental, and looked so like bargaining for a bale of goods, that she found she ought to have rejected, according to every rule of romance, even the man of her choice, if imposed upon her in that manner. Clary Harlow would have scorned such a match.
CHARLOTTE. Well, how was it on Mr. Dimple's return? Did he meet a more favourable reception than his letters?
LETITIA. Much the same. She spoke of him with respect abroad, and with contempt in her closet. She watched his conduct and conversation, and found that he had by travelling acquired the wickedness of Lovelace without his wit, and the politeness of Sir Charles Grandison without his generosity. The ruddy youth, who washed his face at the cistern every morning, and swore and looked eternal love and constancy, was now metamorphosed into a flippant, palid, polite beau, who devotes the morning to his toilet, reads a few pages of Chesterfield's letters, and then minces out, to put the infamous principles in practice upon every woman he meets.
CHARLOTTE. But, if she is so apt at conjuring up these sentimental bugbears, why does she not discard him at once?
LETITIA. Why, she thinks her word too sacred to be trifled with. Besides, her father, who has a great respect for the memory of his deceased friend, is ever telling her how he shall renew his years in their union, and repeating the dying injunctions of old Van Dumpling.
CHARLOTTE. A mighty pretty story! And so you would make me believe that the sensible Maria would give up Dumpling Manor, and the all-accomplished Dimple as a husband, for the absurd, ridiculous reason, forsooth, because she despises and abhors him. Just as if a lady could not be privileged to spend a man's fortune, ride in his carriage, be called after his name, and call him her nown dear lovee when she wants money, without loving and respecting the great he-creature. Oh! my dear girl, you are a monstrous prude.
LETITIA. I don't say what I would do; I only intimate how I suppose she wishes to act.
CHARLOTTE. No, no, no! A fig for sentiment. If she breaks, or wishes to break, with Mr. Dimple, depend upon it, she has some other man in her eye. A woman rarely discards one lover until she is sure of another. Letitia little thinks what a clue I have to Dimple's conduct. The generous man submits to render himself disgusting to Maria, in order that she may leave him at liberty to address me. I must change the subject. [Aside, and rings a bell.
Frank, order the horses to.——Talking of marriage, did you hear that Sally Bloomsbury is going to be married next week to Mr. Indigo, the rich Carolinian?
LETITIA. Sally Bloomsbury married!—why, she is not yet in her teens.
CHARLOTTE. I do not know how that is, but you may depend upon it, 'tis a done affair. I have it from the best authority. There is my aunt Wyerly's Hannah (you know Hannah; though a black, she is a wench that was never caught in a lie in her life); now, Hannah has a brother who courts Sarah, Mrs. Catgut the milliner's girl, and she told Hannah's brother, and Hannah, who, as I said before, is a girl of undoubted veracity, told it directly to me, that Mrs. Catgut was making a new cap for Miss Bloomsbury, which, as it was very dressy, it is very probable is designed for a wedding cap. Now, as she is to be married, who can it be to, but to Mr. Indigo? Why, there is no other gentleman that visits at her papa's.
LETITIA. Say not a word more, Charlotte. Your intelligence is so direct and well grounded, it is almost a pity that it is not a piece of scandal.
CHARLOTTE. Oh! I am the pink of prudence. Though I cannot charge myself with ever having discredited a tea-party by my silence, yet I take care never to report any thing of my acquaintance, especially if it is to their credit,—discredit, I mean,—until I have searched to the bottom of it. It is true, there is infinite pleasure in this charitable pursuit. Oh! how delicious to go and condole with the friends of some backsliding sister, or to retire with some old dowager or maiden aunt of the family, who love scandal so well that they cannot forbear gratifying their appetite at the expence of the reputation of their nearest relations! And then to return full fraught with a rich collection of circumstances, to retail to the next circle of our acquaintance under the strongest injunctions of secrecy,—ha, ha, ha!—interlarding the melancholy tale with so many doleful shakes of the head, and more doleful "Ah! who would have thought it! so amiable, so prudent a young lady, as we all thought her, what a monstrous pity! well, I have nothing to charge myself with; I acted the part of a friend, I warned her of the principles of that rake, I told her what would be the consequence; I told her so, I told her so."—Ha, ha, ha!
LETITIA. Ha, ha, ha! Well, but, Charlotte, you don't tell me what you think of Miss Bloomsbury's match.
CHARLOTTE. Think! why I think it is probable she cried for a plaything, and they have given her a husband. Well, well, well, the puling chit shall not be deprived of her plaything: 'tis only exchanging London dolls for American babies.—Apropos, of babies, have you heard what Mrs. Affable's high-flying notions of delicacy have come to?
LETITIA. Who, she that was Miss Lovely?
CHARLOTTE. The same; she married Bob Affable of Schenectady. Don't you remember?
SERVANT. Madam, the carriage is ready.
LETITIA. Shall we go to the stores first, or visiting?
CHARLOTTE. I should think it rather too early to visit, especially Mrs. Prim; you know she is so particular.
LETITIA. Well, but what of Mrs. Affable?
CHARLOTTE. Oh, I'll tell you as we go; come, come, let us hasten. I hear Mrs. Catgut has some of the prettiest caps arrived you ever saw. I shall die if I have not the first sight of them.
SCENE II. A Room in VAN ROUGH'S House.
MARIA [sitting disconsolate at a table, with books, &c.].
The sun sets in night, and the stars shun the day; But glory remains when their lights fade away! Begin, ye tormentors! your threats are in vain, For the son of Alknomook shall never complain.
Remember the arrows he shot from his bow; Remember your chiefs by his hatchet laid low: Why so slow?—do you wait till I shrink from the pain? No—the son of Alknomook will never complain.
Remember the wood where in ambush we lay; And the scalps which we bore from your nation away: Now the flame rises fast, you exult in my pain; But the son of Alknomook can never complain.
I go to the land where my father is gone; His ghost shall rejoice in the fame of his son: Death comes like a friend, he relieves me from pain; And thy son, O Alknomook! has scorn'd to complain.
There is something in this song which ever calls forth my affections. The manly virtue of courage, that fortitude which steels the heart against the keenest misfortunes, which interweaves the laurel of glory amidst the instruments of torture and death, displays something so noble, so exalted, that in despite of the prejudices of education, I cannot but admire it, even in a savage. The prepossession which our sex is supposed to entertain for the character of a soldier is, I know, a standing piece of raillery among the wits. A cockade, a lapell'd coat, and a feather, they will tell you, are irresistible by a female heart. Let it be so. Who is it that considers the helpless situation of our sex, that does not see that we each moment stand in need of a protector, and that a brave one too? [Formed of the more delicate materials of nature, endowed only with the softer passions, incapable, from our ignorance of the world, to guard against the wiles of mankind, our security for happiness often depends upon their generosity and courage:—Alas! how little of the former do we find!] How inconsistent! that man should be leagued to destroy that honour upon which solely rests his respect and esteem. Ten thousand temptations allure us, ten thousand passions betray us; yet the smallest deviation from the path of rectitude is followed by the contempt and insult of man, and the more remorseless pity of woman; years of penitence and tears cannot wash away the stain, nor a life of virtue obliterate its remembrance. [Reputation is the life of woman; yet courage to protect it is masculine and disgusting; and the only safe asylum a woman of delicacy can find is in the arms of a man of honour. How naturally, then, should we love the brave and the generous; how gratefully should we bless the arm raised for our protection, when nerv'd by virtue and directed by honour!] Heaven grant that the man with whom I may be connected—may be connected!—Whither has my imagination transported me—whither does it now lead me? Am I not indissolubly engaged, [by every obligation of honour which my own consent and my father's approbation can give,] to a man who can never share my affections, and whom a few days hence it will be criminal for me to disapprove—to disapprove! would to heaven that were all—to despise. For, can the most frivolous manners, actuated by the most depraved heart, meet, or merit, anything but contempt from every woman of delicacy and sentiment?
[VAN ROUGH without: Mary!]
Ha! my father's voice—Sir!—
Enter VAN ROUGH.
VAN ROUGH. What, Mary, always singing doleful ditties, and moping over these plaguy books.
MARIA. I hope, sir, that it is not criminal to improve my mind with books; or to divert my melancholy with singing, at my leisure hours.
VAN ROUGH. Why, I don't know that, child; I don't know that. They us'd to say, when I was a young man, that if a woman knew how to make a pudding, and to keep herself out of fire and water, she knew enough for a wife. Now, what good have these books done you? have they not made you melancholy? as you call it. Pray, what right has a girl of your age to be in the dumps? hav'n't you every thing your heart can wish; an't you going to be married to a young man of great fortune; an't you going to have the quit-rent of twenty miles square?
MARIA. One hundredth part of the land, and a lease for life of the heart of a man I could love, would satisfy me.
VAN ROUGH. Pho, pho, pho! child; nonsense, downright nonsense, child. This comes of your reading your story-books; your Charles Grandisons, your Sentimental Journals, and your Robinson Crusoes, and such other trumpery. No, no, no! child, it is money makes the mare go; keep your eye upon the main chance, Mary.
MARIA. Marriage, sir, is, indeed, a very serious affair.
VAN ROUGH. You are right, child; you are right. I am sure I found it so, to my cost.
MARIA. I mean, sir, that as marriage is a portion for life, and so intimately involves our happiness, we cannot be too considerate in the choice of our companion.
VAN ROUGH. Right, child; very right. A young woman should be very sober when she is making her choice, but when she has once made it, as you have done, I don't see why she should not be as merry as a grig; I am sure she has reason enough to be so. Solomon says that "there is a time to laugh, and a time to weep." Now, a time for a young woman to laugh is when she has made sure of a good rich husband. Now, a time to cry, according to you, Mary, is when she is making choice of him; but I should think that a young woman's time to cry was when she despaired of getting one. Why, there was your mother, now: to be sure, when I popp'd the question to her she did look a little silly; but when she had once looked down on her apron-strings, as all modest young women us'd to do, and drawled out ye-s, she was as brisk and as merry as a bee.
MARIA. My honoured mother, sir, had no motive to melancholy; she married the man of her choice.
VAN ROUGH. The man of her choice! And pray, Mary, an't you going to marry the man of your choice—what trumpery notion is this? It is these vile books [Throwing them away.]. I'd have you to know, Mary, if you won't make young Van Dumpling the man of your choice, you shall marry him as the man of my choice.
MARIA. You terrify me, sir. Indeed, sir, I am all submission. My will is yours.
VAN ROUGH. Why, that is the way your mother us'd to talk. "My will is yours, my dear Mr. Van Rough, my will is yours;" but she took special care to have her own way, though, for all that.
MARIA. Do not reflect upon my mother's memory, sir—
VAN ROUGH. Why not, Mary, why not? She kept me from speaking my mind all her life, and do you think she shall henpeck me now she is dead too? Come, come; don't go to sniveling; be a good girl, and mind the main chance. I'll see you well settled in the world.
MARIA. I do not doubt your love, sir, and it is my duty to obey you. I will endeavour to make my duty and inclination go hand in hand.
VAN ROUGH. Well, well, Mary; do you be a good girl, mind the main chance, and never mind inclination. Why, do you know that I have been down in the cellar this very morning to examine a pipe of Madeira which I purchased the week you were born, and mean to tap on your wedding day?—That pipe cost me fifty pounds sterling. It was well worth sixty pounds; but I over-reach'd Ben Bulkhead, the supercargo: I'll tell you the whole story. You must know that—
SERVANT. Sir, Mr. Transfer, the broker, is below. [Exit.
VAN ROUGH. Well, Mary, I must go. Remember, and be a good girl, and mind the main chance. [Exit.
How deplorable is my situation! How distressing for a daughter to find her heart militating with her filial duty! I know my father loves me tenderly; why then do I reluctantly obey him? [Heaven knows! with what reluctance I should oppose the will of a parent, or set an example of filial disobedience;] at a parent's command, I could wed awkwardness and deformity. [Were the heart of my husband good, I would so magnify his good qualities with the eye of conjugal affection, that the defects of his person and manners should be lost in the emanation of his virtues.] At a father's command, I could embrace poverty. Were the poor man my husband, I would learn resignation to my lot; I would enliven our frugal meal with good humour, and chase away misfortune from our cottage with a smile. At a father's command, I could almost submit to what every female heart knows to be the most mortifying, to marry a weak man, and blush at my husband's folly in every company I visited. But to marry a depraved wretch, whose only virtue is a polished exterior; [who is actuated by the unmanly ambition of conquering the defenceless; whose heart, insensible to the emotions of patriotism, dilates at the plaudits of every unthinking girl;] whose laurels are the sighs and tears of the miserable victims of his specious behaviour—Can he, who has no regard for the peace and happiness of other families, ever have a due regard for the peace and happiness of his own? Would to heaven that my father were not so hasty in his temper! Surely, if I were to state my reasons for declining this match, he would not compel me to marry a man,—whom, though my lips may solemnly promise to honour, I find my heart must ever despise.
End of the First Act.
Enter CHARLOTTE and LETITIA.
CHARLOTTE [at entering].
Betty, take those things out of the carriage and carry them to my chamber; see that you don't tumble them. My dear, I protest, I think it was the homeliest of the whole. I declare I was almost tempted to return and change it.
LETITIA. Why would you take it?
CHARLOTTE. [Didn't Mrs. Catgut say it was the most fashionable?
LETITIA. But, my dear, it will never fit becomingly on you.
CHARLOTTE. I know that; but did not you hear Mrs. Catgut say it was fashionable?
LETITIA. Did you see that sweet airy cap with the white sprig?
CHARLOTTE. Yes, and I longed to take it; but,] my dear, what could I do? Did not Mrs. Catgut say it was the most fashionable; and if I had not taken it, was not that awkward, gawky Sally Slender ready to purchase it immediately?
LETITIA. [Did you observe how she tumbled over the things at the next shop, and then went off without purchasing any thing, nor even thanking the poor man for his trouble? But, of all the awkward creatures, did you see Miss Blouze endeavouring to thrust her unmerciful arm into those small kid gloves?
CHARLOTTE. Ha, ha, ha, ha!]
LETITIA. Then did you take notice with what an affected warmth of friendship she and Miss Wasp met? when all their acquaintance know how much pleasure they take in abusing each other in every company.
CHARLOTTE. Lud! Letitia, is that so extraordinary? Why, my dear, I hope you are not going to turn sentimentalist. Scandal, you know, is but amusing ourselves with the faults, foibles, follies, and reputations of our friends; indeed, I don't know why we should have friends, if we are not at liberty to make use of them. But no person is so ignorant of the world as to suppose, because I amuse myself with a lady's faults, that I am obliged to quarrel with her person every time we meet: believe me, my dear, we should have very few acquaintances at that rate.
SERVANT enters and delivers a letter to CHARLOTTE, and—[Exit.
CHARLOTTE. You'll excuse me, my dear.
[Opens and reads to herself.
LETITIA. Oh, quite excusable.
CHARLOTTE. As I hope to be married, my brother Henry is in the city.
LETITIA. What, your brother, Colonel Manly?
CHARLOTTE. Yes, my dear; the only brother I have in the world.
LETITIA. Was he never in this city?
CHARLOTTE. Never nearer than Harlem Heights, where he lay with his regiment.
LETITIA. What sort of a being is this brother of yours? If he is as chatty, as pretty, as sprightly as you, half the belles in the city will be pulling caps for him.
CHARLOTTE. My brother is the very counterpart and reverse of me: I am gay, he is grave; I am airy, he is solid; I am ever selecting the most pleasing objects for my laughter, he has a tear for every pitiful one. And thus, whilst he is plucking the briars and thorns from the path of the unfortunate, I am strewing my own path with roses.
LETITIA. My sweet friend, not quite so poetical, and a little more particular.
CHARLOTTE. Hands off, Letitia. I feel the rage of simile upon me; I can't talk to you in any other way. My brother has a heart replete with the noblest sentiments, but then, it is like—it is like—Oh! you provoking girl, you have deranged all my ideas—it is like—Oh! I have it—his heart is like an old maiden lady's band-box; it contains many costly things, arranged with the most scrupulous nicety, yet the misfortune is that they are too delicate, costly, and antiquated for common use.
LETITIA. By what I can pick out of your flowery description, your brother is no beau.
CHARLOTTE. No, indeed; he makes no pretension to the character. He'd ride, or rather fly, an hundred miles to relieve a distressed object, or to do a gallant act in the service of his country; but, should you drop your fan or bouquet in his presence, it is ten to one that some beau at the farther end of the room would have the honour of presenting it to you before he had observed that it fell. I'll tell you one of his antiquated, anti-gallant notions. He said once in my presence, in a room full of company,—would you believe it?—in a large circle of ladies, that the best evidence a gentleman could give a young lady of his respect and affection was to endeavour in a friendly manner to rectify her foibles. I protest I was crimson to the eyes, upon reflecting that I was known as his sister.
LETITIA. Insupportable creature! tell a lady of her faults! If he is so grave, I fear I have no chance of captivating him.
CHARLOTTE. [His conversation is like a rich, old-fashioned brocade,—it will stand alone; every sentence is a sentiment. Now you may judge what a time I had with him, in my twelve months' visit to my father. He read me such lectures, out of pure brotherly affection, against the extremes of fashion, dress, flirting, and coquetry, and all the other dear things which he knows I dote upon, that I protest his conversation made me as melancholy as if I had been at church; and, heaven knows, though I never prayed to go there but on one occasion, yet I would have exchanged his conversation for a psalm and a sermon. Church is rather melancholy, to be sure; but then I can ogle the beaux, and be regaled with "here endeth the first lesson," but his brotherly here, you would think had no end.] You captivate him! Why, my dear, he would as soon fall in love with a box of Italian flowers. There is Maria, now, if she were not engaged, she might do something. Oh! how I should like to see that pair of pensorosos together, looking as grave as two sailors' wives of a stormy night, with a flow of sentiment meandering through their conversation like purling streams in modern poetry.
LETITIA. Oh! my dear fanciful—
CHARLOTTE. Hush! I hear some person coming through the entry.
SERVANT. Madam, there's a gentleman below who calls himself Colonel Manly; do you choose to be at home?
CHARLOTTE. Shew him in. [Exit SERVANT.] Now for a sober face.
Enter COLONEL MANLY.
MANLY. My dear Charlotte, I am happy that I once more enfold you within the arms of fraternal affection. I know you are going to ask (amiable impatience!) how our parents do,—the venerable pair transmit you their blessing by me—they totter on the verge of a well-spent life, and wish only to see their children settled in the world, to depart in peace.
CHARLOTTE. I am very happy to hear that they are well. [Coolly.] Brother, will you give me leave to introduce you to our uncle's ward, one of my most intimate friends?
MANLY [Saluting LETITIA.]. I ought to regard your friends as my own.
CHARLOTTE. Come, Letitia, do give us a little dash of your vivacity; my brother is so sentimental and so grave, that I protest he'll give us the vapours.
MANLY. Though sentiment and gravity, I know, are banished the polite world, yet I hoped they might find some countenance in the meeting of such near connections as brother and sister.
CHARLOTTE. Positively, brother, if you go one step further in this strain, you will set me crying, and that, you know, would spoil my eyes; and then I should never get the husband which our good papa and mamma have so kindly wished me—never be established in the world.
MANLY. Forgive me, my sister,—I am no enemy to mirth; I love your sprightliness; and I hope it will one day enliven the hours of some worthy man; but when I mention the respectable authors of my existence,—the cherishers and protectors of my helpless infancy, whose hearts glow with such fondness and attachment that they would willingly lay down their lives for my welfare,—you will excuse me if I am so unfashionable as to speak of them with some degree of respect and reverence.
CHARLOTTE. Well, well, brother; if you won't be gay, we'll not differ; I will be as grave as you wish. [Affects gravity.] And so, brother, you have come to the city to exchange some of your commutation notes for a little pleasure.
MANLY. Indeed you are mistaken; my errand is not of amusement, but business; and as I neither drink nor game, my expences will be so trivial, I shall have no occasion to sell my notes.
CHARLOTTE. Then you won't have occasion to do a very good thing. Why, here was the Vermont General—he came down some time since, sold all his musty notes at one stroke, and then laid the cash out in trinkets for his dear Fanny. I want a dozen pretty things myself; have you got the notes with you?
MANLY. I shall be ever willing to contribute, as far as it is in my power, to adorn or in any way to please my sister; yet I hope I shall never be obliged for this to sell my notes. I may be romantic, but I preserve them as a sacred deposit. Their full amount is justly due to me, but as embarrassments, the natural consequences of a long war, disable my country from supporting its credit, I shall wait with patience until it is rich enough to discharge them. If that is not in my day, they shall be transmitted as an honourable certificate to posterity, that I have humbly imitated our illustrious WASHINGTON, in having exposed my health and life in the service of my country, without reaping any other reward than the glory of conquering in so arduous a contest.
CHARLOTTE. Well said heroics. Why, my dear Henry, you have such a lofty way of saying things, that I protest I almost tremble at the thought of introducing you to the polite circles in the city. The belles would think you were a player run mad, with your head filled with old scraps of tragedy; and, as to the beaux, they might admire, because they would not understand you. But, however, I must, I believe, venture to introduce you to two or three ladies of my acquaintance.
LETITIA. And that will make him acquainted with thirty or forty beaux.
CHARLOTTE. Oh! brother, you don't know what a fund of happiness you have in store.
MANLY. I fear, sister, I have not refinement sufficient to enjoy it.
CHARLOTTE. Oh! you cannot fail being pleased.
LETITIA. Our ladies are so delicate and dressy.
CHARLOTTE. And our beaux so dressy and delicate.
LETITIA. Our ladies chat and flirt so agreeably.
CHARLOTTE. And our beaux simper and bow so gracefully.
LETITIA. With their hair so trim and neat.
CHARLOTTE. And their faces so soft and sleek.
LETITIA. Their buckles so tonish and bright.
CHARLOTTE. And their hands so slender and white.
LETITIA. I vow, Charlotte, we are quite poetical.
CHARLOTTE. And then, brother, the faces of the beaux are of such a lily-white hue! None of that horrid robustness of constitution, that vulgar corn-fed glow of health, which can only serve to alarm an unmarried lady with apprehensions, and prove a melancholy memento to a married one, that she can never hope for the happiness of being a widow. I will say this to the credit of our city beaux, that such is the delicacy of their complexion, dress, and address, that, even had I no reliance upon the honour of the dear Adonises, I would trust myself in any possible situation with them, without the least apprehensions of rudeness.
MANLY. Sister Charlotte!
CHARLOTTE. Now, now, now, brother [Interrupting him.], now don't go to spoil my mirth with a dash of your gravity, I am so glad to see you, I am in tiptop spirits. Oh! that you could be with us at a little snug party. There is Billy Simper, Jack Chaffe, and Colonel Van Titter, Miss Promonade, and the two Miss Tambours, sometimes make a party, with some other ladies, in a side-box, at the play. Everything is conducted with such decorum,—first we bow round to the company in general, then to each one in particular, then we have so many inquiries after each other's health, and we are so happy to meet each other, and it is so many ages since we last had that pleasure, [and if a married lady is in company, we have such a sweet dissertation upon her son Bobby's chin-cough;] then the curtain rises, then our sensibility is all awake, and then, by the mere force of apprehension, we torture some harmless expression into a double meaning, which the poor author never dreamt of, and then we have recourse to our fans, and then we blush, and then the gentlemen jog one another, peep under the fan, and make the prettiest remarks; and then we giggle and they simper, and they giggle and we simper, and then the curtain drops, and then for nuts and oranges, and then we bow, and it's Pray, ma'am, take it, and Pray, sir, keep it, and, Oh! not for the world, sir; and then the curtain rises again, and then we blush and giggle and simper and bow all over again. Oh! the sentimental charms of a side-box conversation! [All laugh.]
MANLY. Well, sister, I join heartily with you in the laugh; for, in my opinion, it is as justifiable to laugh at folly as it is reprehensible to ridicule misfortune.
CHARLOTTE. Well, but, brother, positively I can't introduce you in these clothes: why, your coat looks as if it were calculated for the vulgar purpose of keeping yourself comfortable.
MANLY. This coat was my regimental coat in the late war. The public tumults of our state have induced me to buckle on the sword in support of that government which I once fought to establish. I can only say, sister, that there was a time when this coat was respectable, and some people even thought that those men who had endured so many winter campaigns in the service of their country, without bread, clothing, or pay, at least deserved that the poverty of their appearance should not be ridiculed.
CHARLOTTE. We agree in opinion entirely, brother, though it would not have done for me to have said it: it is the coat makes the man respectable. In the time of the war, when we were almost frightened to death, why, your coat was respectable, that is, fashionable; now another kind of coat is fashionable, that is, respectable. And, pray, direct the tailor to make yours the height of the fashion.
MANLY. Though it is of little consequence to me of what shape my coat is, yet, as to the height of the fashion, there you will please to excuse me, sister. You know my sentiments on that subject. I have often lamented the advantage which the French have over us in that particular. In Paris, the fashions have their dawnings, their routine, and declensions, and depend as much upon the caprice of the day as in other countries; but there every lady assumes a right to deviate from the general ton as far as will be of advantage to her own appearance. In America, the cry is, What is the fashion? and we follow it indiscriminately, because it is so.
CHARLOTTE. Therefore it is, that when large hoops are in fashion, we often see many a plump girl lost in the immensity of a hoop-petticoat, whose want of height and en-bon-point would never have been remarked in any other dress. When the high head-dress is the mode, how then do we see a lofty cushion, with a profusion of gauze, feathers, and ribband, supported by a face no bigger than an apple; whilst a broad, full-faced lady, who really would have appeared tolerably handsome in a large head-dress, looks with her smart chapeau as masculine as a soldier.
MANLY. But remember, my dear sister, and I wish all my fair countrywomen would recollect, that the only excuse a young lady can have for going extravagantly into a fashion is because it makes her look extravagantly handsome.—Ladies, I must wish you a good morning.
CHARLOTTE. But, brother, you are going to make home with us.
MANLY. Indeed I cannot. I have seen my uncle and explained that matter.
CHARLOTTE. Come and dine with us, then. We have a family dinner about half-past four o'clock.
MANLY. I am engaged to dine with the Spanish ambassador. I was introduced to him by an old brother officer; and instead of freezing me with a cold card of compliment to dine with him ten days hence, he, with the true old Castilian frankness, in a friendly manner, asked me to dine with him to-day—an honour I could not refuse. Sister, adieu—madam, your most obedient—
CHARLOTTE. I will wait upon you to the door, brother; I have something particular to say to you.
LETITIA [alone]. What a pair!—She the pink of flirtation, he the essence of everything that is outre and gloomy.—I think I have completely deceived Charlotte by my manner of speaking of Mr. Dimple; she's too much the friend of Maria to be confided in. He is certainly rendering himself disagreeable to Maria, in order to break with her and proffer his hand to me. This is what the delicate fellow hinted in our last conversation.
SCENE II. The Mall.
Positively this Mall is a very pretty place. I hope the cits won't ruin it by repairs. To be sure, it won't do to speak of in the same day with Ranelagh or Vauxhall; however, it's a fine place for a young fellow to display his person to advantage. Indeed, nothing is lost here; the girls have taste, and I am very happy to find they have adopted the elegant London fashion of looking back, after a genteel fellow like me has passed them.—Ah! who comes here? This, by his awkwardness, must be the Yankee colonel's servant. I'll accost him.
JESSAMY. Votre tres-humble serviteur, Monsieur. I understand Colonel Manly, the Yankee officer, has the honour of your services.
JESSAMY. I say, sir, I understand that Colonel Manly has the honour of having you for a servant.
JONATHAN. Servant! Sir, do you take me for a neger,—I am Colonel Manly's waiter.
JESSAMY. A true Yankee distinction, egad, without a difference. Why, sir, do you not perform all the offices of a servant? do you not even blacken his boots?
JONATHAN. Yes; I do grease them a bit sometimes; but I am a true blue son of liberty, for all that. Father said I should come as Colonel Manly's waiter, to see the world, and all that: but no man shall master me: my father has as good a farm as the Colonel.
JESSAMY. Well, sir, we will not quarrel about terms upon the eve of an acquaintance from which I promise myself so much satisfaction;—therefore, sans ceremonie—
JESSAMY. I say I am extremely happy to see Colonel Manly's waiter.
JONATHAN. Well, and I vow, too, I am pretty considerably glad to see you; but what the dogs need of all this outlandish lingo? Who may you be, sir, if I may be so bold?
JESSAMY. I have the honour to be Mr. Dimple's servant, or, if you please, waiter. We lodge under the same roof, and should be glad of the honour of your acquaintance.
JONATHAN. You a waiter! by the living jingo, you look so topping, I took you for one of the agents to Congress.
JESSAMY. The brute has discernment, notwithstanding his appearance.—Give me leave to say I wonder then at your familiarity.
JONATHAN. Why, as to the matter of that, Mr.——; pray, what's your name?
JESSAMY. Jessamy, at your service.
JONATHAN. Why, I swear we don't make any great matter of distinction in our state between quality and other folks.
JESSAMY. This is, indeed, a levelling principle.—I hope, Mr. Jonathan, you have not taken part with the insurgents.
JONATHAN. Why, since General Shays has sneaked off and given us the bag to hold, I don't care to give my opinion; but you'll promise not to tell—put your ear this way—you won't tell?—I vow I did think the sturgeons were right.
JESSAMY. I thought, Mr. Jonathan, you Massachusetts-men always argued with a gun in your hand. Why didn't you join them?
JONATHAN. Why, the Colonel is one of those folks called the Shin—Shin—dang it all, I can't speak them lignum vitae words—you know who I mean—there is a company of them—they wear a China goose at their button-hole—a kind of gilt thing.—Now the Colonel told father and brother,—you must know there are, let me see—there is Elnathan, Silas, and Barnabas, Tabitha—no, no, she's a she—tarnation, now I have it—there's Elnathan, Silas, Barnabas, Jonathan, that's I—seven of us, six went into the wars, and I stayed at home to take care of mother. Colonel said that it was a burning shame for the true blue Bunker-Hill sons of liberty, who had fought Governor Hutchinson, Lord North, and the Devil, to have any hand in kicking up a cursed dust against a government which we had, every mother's son of us, a hand in making.
JESSAMY. Bravo!—Well, have you been abroad in the city since your arrival? What have you seen that is curious and entertaining?
JONATHAN. Oh! I have seen a power of fine sights. I went to see two marble-stone men and a leaden horse that stands out in doors in all weathers; and when I came where they was, one had got no head, and t' other wer'n't there. They said as how the leaden man was a damn'd tory, and that he took wit in his anger and rode off in the time of the troubles.
JESSAMY. But this was not the end of your excursion.
JONATHAN. Oh, no; I went to a place they call Holy Ground. Now I counted this was a place where folks go to meeting; so I put my hymn-book in my pocket, and walked softly and grave as a minister; and when I came there, the dogs a bit of a meeting-house could I see. At last I spied a young gentlewoman standing by one of the seats which they have here at the doors. I took her to be the deacon's daughter, and she looked so kind, and so obliging, that I thought I would go and ask her the way to lecture, and—would you think it?—she called me dear, and sweeting, and honey, just as if we were married: by the living jingo, I had a month's mind to buss her.
JESSAMY. Well, but how did it end?
JONATHAN. Why, as I was standing talking with her, a parcel of sailor men and boys got round me, the snarl-headed curs fell a-kicking and cursing of me at such a tarnal rate, that I vow I was glad to take to my heels and split home, right off, tail on end, like a stream of chalk.
JESSAMY. Why, my dear friend, you are not acquainted with the city; that girl you saw was a—[Whispers.]
JONATHAN. Mercy on my soul! was that young woman a harlot!—Well! if this is New-York Holy Ground, what must the Holy-day Ground be!
JESSAMY. Well, you should not judge of the city too rashly. We have a number of elegant fine girls here that make a man's leisure hours pass very agreeably. I would esteem it an honour to announce you to some of them.—Gad! that announce is a select word; I wonder where I picked it up.
JONATHAN. I don't want to know them.
JESSAMY. Come, come, my dear friend, I see that I must assume the honour of being the director of your amusements. Nature has given us passions, and youth and opportunity stimu late to gratify them. It is no shame, my dear Blueskin, for a man to amuse himself with a little gallantry.
JONATHAN. Girl huntry! I don't altogether understand. I never played at that game. I know how to play hunt the squirrel, but I can't play anything with the girls; I am as good as married.
JESSAMY. Vulgar, horrid brute! Married, and above a hundred miles from his wife, and think that an objection to his making love to every woman he meets! He never can have read, no, he never can have been in a room with a volume of the divine Chesterfield.—So you are married?
JONATHAN. No, I don't say so; I said I was as good as married, a kind of promise.
JESSAMY. As good as married!—
JONATHAN. Why, yes; there's Tabitha Wymen, the deacon's daughter, at home; she and I have been courting a great while, and folks say as how we are to be married; and so I broke a piece of money with her when we parted, and she promised not to spark it with Solomon Dyer while I am gone. You wou'dn't have me false to my true-love, would you?
JESSAMY. Maybe you have another reason for constancy; possibly the young lady has a fortune? Ha! Mr. Jonathan, the solid charms: the chains of love are never so binding as when the links are made of gold.
JONATHAN. Why, as to fortune, I must needs say her father is pretty dumb rich; he went representative for our town last year. He will give her—let me see—four times seven is—seven times four—nought and carry one,—he will give her twenty acres of land—somewhat rocky though—a Bible, and a cow.
JESSAMY. Twenty acres of rock, a Bible, and a cow! Why, my dear Mr. Jonathan, we have servant-maids, or, as you would more elegantly express it, waitresses, in this city, who collect more in one year from their mistresses' cast clothes.
JONATHAN. You don't say so!—
JESSAMY. Yes, and I'll introduce you to one of them. There is a little lump of flesh and delicacy that lives at next door, waitress to Miss Maria; we often see her on the stoop.
JONATHAN. But are you sure she would be courted by me?
JESSAMY. Never doubt it; remember a faint heart never—blisters on my tongue—I was going to be guilty of a vile proverb; flat against the authority of Chesterfield. I say there can be no doubt that the brilliancy of your merit will secure you a favourable reception.
JONATHAN. Well, but what must I say to her?
JESSAMY. Say to her! why, my dear friend, though I admire your profound knowledge on every other subject, yet, you will pardon my saying that your want of opportunity has made the female heart escape the poignancy of your penetration. Say to her! Why, when a man goes a-courting, and hopes for success, he must begin with doing, and not saying.
JONATHAN. Well, what must I do?
JESSAMY. Why, when you are introduced you must make five or six elegant bows.
JONATHAN. Six elegant bows! I understand that; six, you say? Well—
JESSAMY. Then you must press and kiss her hand; then press and kiss, and so on to her lips and cheeks: then talk as much as you can about hearts, darts, flames, nectar, and ambrosia—the more incoherent the better.
JONATHAN. Well, but suppose she should be angry with I?
JESSAMY. Why, if she should pretend—please to observe, Mr. Jonathan—if she should pretend to be offended, you must—But I'll tell you how my master acted in such a case: He was seated by a young lady of eighteen upon a sofa, plucking with a wanton hand the blooming sweets of youth and beauty. When the lady thought it necessary to check his ardour, she called up a frown upon her lovely face, so irresistibly alluring, that it would have warmed the frozen bosom of age; remember, said she, putting her delicate arm upon his, remember your character and my honour. My master instantly dropped upon his knees, with eyes swimming with love, cheeks glowing with desire, and in the gentlest modulation of voice he said: My dear Caroline, in a few months our hands will be indissolubly united at the altar; our hearts I feel are already so; the favours you now grant as evidence of your affection are favours indeed; yet, when the ceremony is once past, what will now be received with rapture will then be attributed to duty.
JONATHAN. Well, and what was the consequence?
JESSAMY. The consequence!—Ah! forgive me, my dear friend, but you New-England gentlemen have such a laudable curiosity of seeing the bottom of everything;—why, to be honest, I confess I saw the blooming cherub of a consequence smiling in its angelic mother's arms, about ten months afterwards.
JONATHAN. Well, if I follow all your plans, make them six bows, and all that, shall I have such little cherubim consequences?
JESSAMY. Undoubtedly.—What are you musing upon?
JONATHAN. You say you'll certainly make me acquainted?—Why, I was thinking then how I should contrive to pass this broken piece of silver—won't it buy a sugar-dram?
JESSAMY. What is that, the love-token from the deacon's daughter?—You come on bravely. But I must hasten to my master. Adieu, my dear friend.
JONATHAN. Stay, Mr. Jessamy—must I buss her when I am introduced to her?
JESSAMY. I told you, you must kiss her.
JONATHAN. Well, but must I buss her?
JESSAMY. Why kiss and buss, and buss and kiss, is all one.
JONATHAN. Oh! my dear friend, though you have a profound knowledge of all, a pugnency of tribulation, you don't know everything.
Well, certainly I improve; my master could not have insinuated himself with more address into the heart of a man he despised. Now will this blundering dog sicken Jenny with his nauseous pawings, until she flies into my arms for very ease. How sweet will the contrast be between the blundering Jonathan and the courtly and accomplished Jessamy!
End of the Second Act.
SCENE I. DIMPLE'S Room.
DIMPLE [discovered at a toilet, reading].
"Women have in general but one object, which is their beauty." Very true, my lord; positively very true. "Nature has hardly formed a woman ugly enough to be insensible to flattery upon her person." Extremely just, my lord; every day's delightful experience confirms this. "If her face is so shocking that she must, in some degree, be conscious of it, her figure and air, she thinks, make ample amends for it." The sallow Miss Wan is a proof of this. Upon my telling the distasteful wretch, the other day, that her countenance spoke the pensive language of sentiment, and that Lady Wortley Montague declared that, if the ladies were arrayed in the garb of innocence, the face would be the last part which would be admired, as Monsieur Milton expresses it, she grin'd horribly a ghastly smile. "If her figure is deformed, she thinks her face counterbalances it."
Enter JESSAMY with letters.
DIMPLE. Where got you these, Jessamy?
JESSAMY. Sir, the English packet is arrived.
DIMPLE [opens and reads a letter enclosing notes].
"I have drawn bills on you in favour of Messrs. Van Cash and Co. as per margin. I have taken up your note to Col. Piquet, and discharged your debts to my Lord Lurcher and Sir Harry Rook. I herewith enclose you copies of the bills, which I have no doubt will be immediately honoured. On failure, I shall empower some lawyer in your country to recover the amounts.
"I am, sir,
"Your most humble servant, "JOHN HAZARD."
Now, did not my lord expressly say that it was unbecoming a well-bred man to be in a passion, I confess I should be ruffled. [Reads.] "There is no accident so unfortunate, which a wise man may not turn to his advantage; nor any accident so fortunate, which a fool will not turn to his disadvantage." True, my lord; but how advantage can be derived from this I can't see. Chesterfield himself, who made, however, the worst practice of the most excellent precepts, was never in so embarrassing a situation. I love the person of Charlotte, and it is necessary I should command the fortune of Letitia. As to Maria!—I doubt not by my sang-froid behaviour I shall compel her to decline the match; but the blame must not fall upon me. A prudent man, as my lord says, should take all the credit of a good action to himself, and throw the discredit of a bad one upon others. I must break with Maria, marry Letitia, and as for Charlotte—why, Charlotte must be a companion to my wife.—Here, Jessamy!
DIMPLE folds and seals two letters.
DIMPLE. Here, Jessamy, take this letter to my love. [Gives one.
JESSAMY. To which of your honour's loves?—Oh! [Reading.] to Miss Letitia, your honour's rich love.
DIMPLE. And this [Delivers another.] to Miss Charlotte Manly. See that you deliver them privately.
JESSAMY. Yes, your honour. [Going.
DIMPLE. Jessamy, who are these strange lodgers that came to the house last night?
JESSAMY. Why, the master is a Yankee colonel; I have not seen much of him; but the man is the most unpolished animal your honour ever disgraced your eyes by looking upon. I have had one of the most outre conversations with him!—He really has a most prodigious effect upon my risibility.
DIMPLE. I ought, according to every rule of Chesterfield, to wait on him and insinuate myself into his good graces.—Jessamy, wait on the Colonel with my compliments, and if he is disengaged I will do myself the honour of paying him my respects.—Some ignorant, unpolished boor—
JESSAMY goes off and returns.
JESSAMY. Sir, the Colonel is gone out, and Jonathan his servant says that he is gone to stretch his legs upon the Mall.—Stretch his legs! what an indelicacy of diction!
DIMPLE. Very well. Reach me my hat and sword. I'll accost him there, in my way to Letitia's, as by accident; pretend to be struck with his person and address, and endeavour to steal into his confidence. Jessamy, I have no business for you at present.
JESSAMY [taking up the book].
My master and I obtain our knowledge from the same source;—though, gad! I think myself much the prettier fellow of the two. [Surveying himself in the glass.] That was a brilliant thought, to insinuate that I folded my master's letters for him; the folding is so neat, that it does honour to the operator. I once intended to have insinuated that I wrote his letters too; but that was before I saw them; it won't do now: no honour there, positively.—"Nothing looks more vulgar [Reading affectedly.], ordinary, and illiberal than ugly, uneven, and ragged nails; the ends of which should be kept even and clean, not tipped with black, and cut in small segments of circles."—Segments of circles! surely my lord did not consider that he wrote for the beaux. Segments of circles! what a crabbed term! Now I dare answer that my master, with all his learning, does not know that this means, according to the present mode, to let the nails grow long, and then cut them off even at top. [Laughing without.] Ha! that's Jenny's titter. I protest I despair of ever teaching that girl to laugh; she has something so execrably natural in her laugh, that I declare it absolutely discomposes my nerves. How came she into our house! [Calls.] Jenny!
JESSAMY. Prythee, Jenny, don't spoil your fine face with laughing.
JENNY. Why, mustn't I laugh, Mr. Jessamy?
JESSAMY. You may smile; but, as my lord says, nothing can authorize a laugh.
JENNY. Well, but I can't help laughing.—Have you seen him, Mr. Jessamy? ha, ha, ha!
JESSAMY. Seen whom?
JENNY. Why Jonathan, the New-England colonel's servant. Do you know he was at the play last night, and the stupid creature don't know where he has been. He would not go to a play for the world; he thinks it was a show, as he calls it.
JESSAMY. As ignorant and unpolished as he is, do you know, Miss Jenny, that I propose to introduce him to the honour of your acquaintance?
JENNY. Introduce him to me! for what?
JESSAMY. Why, my lovely girl, that you may take him under your protection, as Madame Ramboulliet did young Stanhope; that you may, by your plastic hand, mould this uncouth cub into a gentleman. He is to make love to you.
JENNY. Make love to me!—
JESSAMY. Yes, Mistress Jenny, make love to you; and, I doubt not, when he shall become domesticated in your kitchen, that this boor, under your auspices, will soon become un amiable petit Jonathan.
JENNY. I must say, Mr. Jessamy, if he copies after me, he will be vastly, monstrously polite.
JESSAMY. Stay here one moment, and I will call him.—Jonathan!—Mr. Jonathan! [Calls.]
JONATHAN [Within.]. Holla! there.—[Enters.] You promise to stand by me—six bows you say. [Bows.]
JESSAMY. Mrs. Jenny, I have the honour of presenting Mr. Jonathan, Colonel Manly's waiter, to you. I am extremely happy that I have it in my power to make two worthy people acquainted with each other's merits.
JENNY. So, Mr. Jonathan, I hear you were at the play last night.
JONATHAN. At the play! why, did you think I went to the devil's drawing-room?
JENNY. The devil's drawing-room!
JONATHAN. Yes; why an't cards and dice the devil's device, and the play-house the shop where the devil hangs out the vanities of the world upon the tenter-hooks of temptation. I believe you have not heard how they were acting the old boy one night, and the wicked one came among them sure enough, and went right off in a storm, and carried one quarter of the play-house with him. Oh! no, no, no! you won't catch me at a play-house, I warrant you.
JENNY. Well, Mr. Jonathan, though I don't scruple your veracity, I have some reasons for believing you were there; pray, where were you about six o'clock?
JONATHAN. Why, I went to see one Mr. Morrison, the hocus-pocus man; they said as how he could eat a case knife.
JENNY. Well, and how did you find the place?
JONATHAN. As I was going about here and there, to and again, to find it, I saw a great crowd of folks going into a long entry that had lantherns over the door; so I asked a man whether that was not the place where they played hocus-pocus? He was a very civil, kind man, though he did speak like the Hessians; he lifted up his eyes and said, "They play hocus-pocus tricks enough there, Got knows, mine friend."
JONATHAN. So I went right in, and they shewed me away, clean up to the garret, just like meeting-house gallery. And so I saw a power of topping folks, all sitting round in little cabins, "just like father's corn-cribs;" and then there was such a squeaking with the fiddles, and such a tarnal blaze with the lights, my head was near turned. At last the people that sat near me set up such a hissing—hiss—like so many mad cats; and then they went thump, thump, thump, just like our Peleg threshing wheat and stampt away, just like the nation; and called out for one Mr. Langolee,—I suppose he helps act[s] the tricks.
JENNY. Well, and what did you do all this time?
JONATHAN. Gor, I—I liked the fun, and so I thumpt away, and hiss'd as lustily as the best of 'em. One sailor-looking man that sat by me, seeing me stamp, and knowing I was a cute fellow, because I could make a roaring noise, clapt me on the shoulder and said, "You are a d——d hearty cock, smite my timbers!" I told him so I was, but I thought he need not swear so, and make use of such naughty words.
JESSAMY. The savage!—Well, and did you see the man with his tricks?
JONATHAN. Why, I vow, as I was looking out for him, they lifted up a great green cloth and let us look right into the next neighbour's house. Have you a good many houses in New-York made so in that 'ere way?
JENNY. Not many; but did you see the family?
JONATHAN. Yes, swamp it; I see'd the family.
JENNY. Well, and how did you like them?
JONATHAN. Why, I vow they were pretty much like other families;—there was a poor, good-natured curse of a husband, and a sad rantipole of a wife.
JENNY. But did you see no other folks?
JONATHAN. Yes. There was one youngster; they called him Mr. Joseph; he talked as sober and as pious as a minister; but, like some ministers that I know, he was a sly tike in his heart for all that: He was going to ask a young woman to spark it with him, and—the Lord have mercy on my soul!—she was another man's wife.
JESSAMY. The Wabash!
JENNY. And did you see any more folks?
JONATHAN. Why, they came on as thick as mustard. For my part, I thought the house was haunted. There was a soldier fellow, who talked about his row de dow, dow, and courted a young woman; but, of all the cute folk I saw, I liked one little fellow—
JENNY. Aye! who was he?
JONATHAN. Why, he had red hair, and a little round plump face like mine, only not altogether so handsome. His name was—Darby;—that was his baptizing name; his other name I forgot. Oh! it was Wig—Wag—Wag-all, Darby Wag-all,—pray, do you know him?—I should like to take a sling with him, or a drap of cyder with a pepper-pod in it, to make it warm and comfortable.
JENNY. I can't say I have that pleasure.
JONATHAN. I wish you did; he is a cute fellow. But there was one thing I didn't like in that Mr. Darby; and that was, he was afraid of some of them 'ere shooting irons, such as your troopers wear on training days. Now, I'm a true born Yankee American son of liberty, and I never was afraid of a gun yet in all my life.
JENNY. Well, Mr. Jonathan, you were certainly at the play-house.
JONATHAN. I at the play-house!—Why didn't I see the play then?
JENNY. Why, the people you saw were players.
JONATHAN. Mercy on my soul! did I see the wicked players?—Mayhap that 'ere Darby that I liked so was the old serpent himself, and had his cloven foot in his pocket. Why, I vow, now I come to think on't, the candles seemed to burn blue, and I am sure where I sat it smelt tarnally of brimstone.
JESSAMY. Well, Mr. Jonathan, from your account, which I confess is very accurate, you must have been at the play-house.
JONATHAN. Why, I vow, I began to smell a rat. When I came away, I went to the man for my money again; you want your money? says he; yes, says I; for what? says he; why, says I, no man shall jocky me out of my money; I paid my money to see sights, and the dogs a bit of a sight have I seen, unless you call listening to people's private business a sight. Why, says he, it is the School for Scandalization.—The School for Scandalization!—Oh! ho! no wonder you New-York folks are so cute at it, when you go to school to learn it; and so I jogged off.
JESSAMY. My dear Jenny, my master's business drags me from you; would to heaven I knew no other servitude than to your charms.
JONATHAN. Well, but don't go; you won't leave me so.—
JESSAMY. Excuse me.—Remember the cash. [Aside to him, and—Exit.]
JENNY. Mr. Jonathan, won't you please to sit down. Mr. Jessamy tells me you wanted to have some conversation with me. [Having brought forward two chairs, they sit.]
JENNY. Pray, how do you like the city, sir?
JENNY. I say, sir, how do you like New-York?
JENNY. The stupid creature! but I must pass some little time with him, if it is only to endeavour to learn whether it was his master that made such an abrupt entrance into our house, and my young mistress' heart, this morning. [Aside.] As you don't seem to like to talk, Mr. Jonathan—do you sing?
JONATHAN. Gor, I—I am glad she asked that, for I forgot what Mr. Jessamy bid me say, and I dare as well be hanged as act what he bid me do, I'm so ashamed. [Aside.] Yes, ma'am, I can sing—I can sing Mear, Old Hundred, and Bangor.
JENNY. Oh! I don't mean psalm tunes. Have you no little song to please the ladies, such as Roslin Castle, or the Maid of the Mill?
JONATHAN. Why, all my tunes go to meeting tunes, save one, and I count you won't altogether like that 'ere.
JENNY. What is it called?
JONATHAN. I am sure you have heard folks talk about it; it is called Yankee Doodle.
JENNY. Oh! it is the tune I am fond of; and, if I know anything of my mistress, she would be glad to dance to it. Pray, sing!
Father and I went up to camp, Along with Captain Goodwin; And there we saw the men and boys, As thick as hasty-pudding. Yankee doodle do, &c.
And there we saw a swamping gun, Big as log of maple, On a little deuced cart, A load for father's cattle. Yankee doodle do, &c.
And every time they fired it off It took a horn of powder, It made a noise—like father's gun, Only a nation louder. Yankee doodle do, &c.
There was a man in our town, His name was—
No, no, that won't do. Now, if I was with Tabitha Wymen and Jemima Cawley down at father Chase's, I shouldn't mind singing this all out before them—you would be affronted if I was to sing that, though that's a lucky thought; if you should be affronted, I have something dang'd cute, which Jessamy told me to say to you.
JENNY. Is that all! I assure you I like it of all things.
JONATHAN. No, no; I can sing more; some other time, when you and I are better acquainted, I'll sing the whole of it—no, no—that's a fib—I can't sing but a hundred and ninety verses: our Tabitha at home can sing it all.—[Sings.]
Marblehead's a rocky place, And Cape-Cod is sandy; Charlestown is burnt down, Boston is the dandy. Yankee doodle, doodle do, &c.
I vow, my own town song has put me into such topping spirits that I believe I'll begin to do a little, as Jessamy says we must when we go a-courting.—[Runs and kisses her.] Burning rivers! cooling flames! red-hot roses! pig-nuts! hasty-pudding and ambrosia!
JENNY. What means this freedom? you insulting wretch. [Strikes him.]
JONATHAN. Are you affronted?
JENNY. Affronted! with what looks shall I express my anger?
JONATHAN. Looks! why as to the matter of looks, you look as cross as a witch.
JENNY. Have you no feeling for the delicacy of my sex?
JONATHAN. Feeling! Gor, I—I feel the delicacy of your sex pretty smartly [Rubbing his cheek.], though, I vow, I thought when you city ladies courted and married, and all that, you put feeling out of the question. But I want to know whether you are really affronted, or only pretend to be so? 'Cause, if you are certainly right down affronted, I am at the end of my tether; Jessamy didn't tell me what to say to you.
JENNY. Pretend to be affronted!
JONATHAN. Aye, aye, if you only pretend, you shall hear how I'll go to work to make cherubim consequences. [Runs up to her.]
JENNY. Begone, you brute!
JONATHAN. That looks like mad; but I won't lose my speech. My dearest Jenny—your name is Jenny, I think?—My dearest Jenny, though I have the highest esteem for the sweet favours you have just now granted me—Gor, that's a fib, though; but Jessamy says it is not wicked to tell lies to the women. [Aside.] I say, though I have the highest esteem for the favours you have just now granted me, yet you will consider that, as soon as the dissolvable knot is tied, they will no longer be favours, but only matters of duty and matters of course.
JENNY. Marry you! you audacious monster! get out of my sight, or, rather, let me fly from you. [Exit hastily.
JONATHAN. Gor! she's gone off in a swinging passion, before I had time to think of consequences. If this is the way with your city ladies, give me the twenty acres of rock, the bible, the cow, and Tabitha, and a little peaceable bundling.
SCENE II. The Mall.
It must be so, Montague! and it is not all the tribe of Mandevilles that shall convince me that a nation, to become great, must first become dissipated. Luxury is surely the bane of a nation: Luxury! which enervates both soul and body, by opening a thousand new sources of enjoyment, opens, also, a thousand new sources of contention and want: Luxury! which renders a people weak at home, and accessible to bribery, corruption, and force from abroad. When the Grecian states knew no other tools than the axe and the saw, the Grecians were a great, a free, and a happy people. The kings of Greece devoted their lives to the service of their country, and her senators knew no other superiority over their fellow-citizens than a glorious pre-eminence in danger and virtue. They exhibited to the world a noble spectacle,—a number of independent states united by a similarity of language, sentiment, manners, common interest, and common consent, in one grand mutual league of protection. And, thus united, long might they have continued the cherishers of arts and sciences, the protectors of the oppressed, the scourge of tyrants, and the safe asylum of liberty. But when foreign gold, and still more pernicious, foreign luxury had crept among them, they sapped the vitals of their virtue. The virtues of their ancestors were only found in their writings. Envy and suspicion, the vices of little minds, possessed them. The various states engendered jealousies of each other; and, more unfortunately, growing jealous of their great federal council, the Amphictyons, they forgot that their common safety had existed, and would exist, in giving them an honourable extensive prerogative. The common good was lost in the pursuit of private interest; and that people who, by uniting, might have stood against the world in arms, by dividing, crumbled into ruin;—their name is now only known in the page of the historian, and what they once were is all we have left to admire. Oh! that America! Oh! that my country, would, in this her day, learn the things which belong to her peace!
DIMPLE. You are Colonel Manly, I presume?
MANLY. At your service, sir.
DIMPLE. My name is Dimple, sir. I have the honour to be a lodger in the same house with you, and, hearing you were in the Mall, came hither to take the liberty of joining you.
MANLY. You are very obliging, sir.
DIMPLE. As I understand you are a stranger here, sir, I have taken the liberty to introduce myself to your acquaintance, as possibly I may have it in my power to point out some things in this city worthy your notice.
MANLY. An attention to strangers is worthy a liberal mind, and must ever be gratefully received. But to a soldier, who has no fixed abode, such attentions are particularly pleasing.