The Augustan Reprint Society
THE FINE LADY'S AIRS
With an Introduction by John Harrington Smith
Publication Number 25
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1950
H. RICHARD ARCHER, Clark Memorial Library RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles JOHN LOFTIS, University of California, Los Angeles
W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan
EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, Duke University 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 H.T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles
In the first decade of the eighteenth century, with comedy in train to be altered out of recognition to please the reformers and the ladies, one of the two talented writers who attempted to keep the comic muse alive in something like her "Restoration" form was Thomas Baker. Of Baker's four plays which reached the stage, none has been reprinted since the eighteenth century and three exist only as originally published. Of these three the best is The Fine Lady's Airs; hence its selection for the Reprints.
Baker's career in the theatre was as successful as should have been expected by any young man who after his first play attempted to swim against rather than with the current of taste. His first effort, entitled The Humour of the Age, was produced at D.L. c. February 1701, and published March 22, the author having then but reached his "Twenty First Year" (Dedication). It must have been well received, for Baker speaks of "the extraordinary Reception this Rough Draught met with." Indeed, it has in it, despite some "satire," a number of motifs which would recommend it to the audience. Railton, the antimatrimonialist and libertine of the piece, is given the wittiest lines, but his attempt to seduce Tremilia, a grave Quaker-clad beauty, is frowned on by everyone, including the author; and when the rake attempts to force the lady, Freeman, a man of sense, intervenes with sword drawn and gives him a stern lecture. In the end, when Tremilia, giving her hand to Freeman, turns out to be an heiress who had assumed the Quaker garb to make sure of getting a disinterested husband, the error of Railton's ways becomes apparent. At the same time his cast mistress, whom he had succeeded in marrying off to a ridiculous old Justice, is impressed by Tremilia's "great Example." "How conspicuous a thing is Virtue!" says she, in an aside; and she resolves to make the Justice a model wife. Despite much wit the play is thus, in its main drift, exemplary.
Baker followed with Tunbridge-Walks: Or, The Yeoman of Kent, D.L. Jan. 1703, a play good enough to pass into the repertory and to be revived many times in the course of the century. The variety of company and the holiday atmosphere of the English watering-place had inspired good comedies of intrigue, manners, and character eccentricities before this date (e.g. Shadwell's Epsom Wells and Rawlins' Tunbridge-Wells). Baker decorates his scene with such "humours" as Maiden, "a Nice Fellow that values himself upon all Effeminacies;" Squib, a bogus captain; Mrs. Goodfellow, "a Lady that loves her Bottle;" her niece Penelope, "an Heroic Trapes;" and Woodcock, the Yeoman, a rich, sharp, forthright, crusty old fellow with a pretty daughter, Belinda, whom he is determined never to marry but to a substantial farmer of her own class: her suitor, a clever ne'er-do-well named Reynard, of course tricks the old gentleman by an intrigue and a disguise. It is Reynard's sister Hillaria, however, "a Railing, Mimicking Lady" with no money and no admitted scruples, but enough beauty and wit to match when and with whom she chooses, who dominates the play; and though Loveworth, whom she finally permits to win her, is rather substantial than gay, she is gay enough for them both. The action, though somewhat farcical, has verve throughout, and the dialogue crackles. And, as regards the nature of comedy, Baker now knows where he stands. There is no character who could possibly be taken as an "example." On the contrary, whenever a pathetic or "exemplary" effect seems imminent Hillaria or Woodcock is always there to knock it on the head. Thus when Belinda goes into blank verse to lament the paternal tyranny which was threatening to separate her from Reynard,
What Noise and Discord sordid Interest breeds! Oh! that I had shar'd a levell'd State of Life, With quiet humble Maids, exempt from Pride, And Thoughts of Worldly Dross that marr their Joys, In Any Sphere, but a Distinguished Heiress, To raise me Envy, and oppose my Love. Fortune, Fortune, Why did you give me Wealth to make me wretched!
Hillaria comes in:
Belinda in Tears—Now has that old Rogue been Plaguing her—Poor Soul!... Come, Child, Let's retire, and take a Chiriping Dram, Sorrow's dry; I'le divert you with the New Lampoon, 'tis a little Smutty; but what then; we Women love to read those things in private. (Exeunt)
Within a year Baker had another play ready—An Act at Oxford, with the scene laid in the university town and some of the characters Oxford types. Whether through objections by the University authorities or not (they would perhaps have thought themselves justified in bringing pressure, for Baker certainly does not treat his alma mater with great respect) the play in this form was not acted. Baker published it in 1704, in the Dedication referring to "the most perfect Enjoyment of Life, I found at Oxford" and disclaiming any intention to give offence, he then salvaged most of the play in a revision, Hampstead Heath (D.L. Oct. 1705), with the scene changed to Hampstead. It is as non-edifying as Tunbridge-Walks. The note is struck on the first page, when Captain Smart, who has been trying to read a new comedy entitled Advice to All Parties, flings it down with expressions of ennui; shortly thereafter Deputy Driver, a member of a Reforming Society, appears on the scene to be twitted because while pretending to reform the whole world he can't keep his own wife from gadding; and matters proceed with Smart's project to trick a skittish independence-loving heiress into keeping a compact she had made to marry him, and his friend Bloom's attempts at the cagey virtue of Mrs. Driver. The latter project comes to nothing, but both hunter and hunted find pleasure in the chase while it lasts. When Mrs. D. returns to the Deputy at the end, her motive for reassuming his yoke is a sound one— she's out of funds; and her advice to him, "If you'd check my Rambling, loose my Reins," is sound Wycherleyan sense. It must be admitted that when one compares the dialogue of Hampstead Heath with that of the Act some punches are shown to have been pulled in the revision. While keeping the play comic Baker still did not wish to push the audience too far.
In December, 1708 he made his fourth and (as it proved) final try for fame and fortune in the theatre with The fine Lady's Airs, He claims that it was well received (see Dedication) and he had his third night, but D'Urfey, whose enmity Baker had incurred, says (Pref. to The Modern Prophets) that the play was "hist," and The British Apollo, which carried on a feud with Baker in August and September of 1709, makes the same assertion in several places. This, to be sure, is testimony from enemies. But obviously the play was far less liked than Tunbridge-Walks had been, and thus (to compare a small man with a great one) Baker's experience was something like Congreve's, when, after the great success of Love for Love, The Way of the World won only a tepid reception. And it is chiefly Congreve whom he takes for his model; the play is an attempt at a level of comedy higher than Baker had aimed at before. He does not always succeed: Congreve's kind of writing was not natural to Baker, and the lines sometimes labor. Still, the Bleinheim-Lady Rodomont duel has merit; and Sir Harry Sprightly (though of course he owes something to Farquhar's Wildair), Mrs. Lovejoy, and Major Bramble are all in Baker's best manner. On the whole it was a better play than the audience in 1708 deserved. Presumably Baker felt this, for he wrote no more for the stage.
Most of the account of Baker's life pulled together in the DNB article on him has a decidedly apocryphal ring to it. The statement (first made in The Poetical Register, 1719) that he was "Son of an Eminent Attorney of the City of London" sounds like something manufactured out of whole cloth by a compiler who in fact had no idea whose son Baker was. The Biographia Dramatica had "heard" that the effeminate Maiden in Tunbridge-Walks
was absolutely, and without exaggeration, a portrait of the author's own former character, whose understanding having at length pointed out to him the folly he had so long been guilty-of, he reformed it altogether ... and wrote this character, in order to ... warn others from that rock of contempt, which he had himself for some time been wrecked on.
Nothing on its face more improbable than this could well be imagined. And that Baker could have "died ... of that loathsome Distemper the Morbus Pediculosus" (sketch of him in Scanderbeg, 1747) does not sound likely, either.
A lead to more solid information is furnished by the circumstance of Baker's having been educated at Oxford. We have seen (above) that he was barely twenty-one when The Humour of the Age was printed in March of 1701. A Thomas Baker, son of John Baker of Ledbury, Hereford, was entered at Brasenose College, Oxford, on March 18, 1697, aged seventeen. The ages falling so pat, this must be our dramatist. Upon taking his B.A. at Christ Church in 1700 he must immediately have set to scribbling his first play (the Dedication says that it was "writ in two months last summer"). Perhaps at this time he lived in London in some such boarding-house as furnishes the scene for the play.
He may have been already studying law, for at least by 1709 (we cannot tell how much earlier) he was "by trade an Attorney." It seems likely that various touches in the comedies reflect his training for this calling. In The Humour of the Age, Pun and Quibble, the principal fops, are a pair of articled law-clerks who detest green-bags and (it comes out at one point) are collaborating on a play. (Readers of the present reprint will note, also, that the money which Master Totty brings with him from the country is to recompense an attorney for training him in law). Perhaps Baker could never afford to study law as those well off did: there may be a tinge of sour grapes in the observation in Tunbridge-Walks that "since the Lawyers are all turn'd Poets, and have taken the Garrets in Drury Lane, none but Beaus live in the Temple now, who have sold all their Books, burnt all their Writings, and furnish'd the Rooms with Looking-glass and China." But this is light-hearted, as becomes a man who has not yet had a setback as a stage-poet. Two years later, after the stopping of An Act at Oxford had put him to much trouble, he is souring somewhat, for the poor Oxford scholar says in Hampstead Heath that no profession nowadays offers much prospect of success for a man trained as he, and, as for poetry, one can only expect to be "two years writing a Play, and sollicit three more to get it acted; and for present Sustenance one's forc'd to scribble The Diverting Post, A Dialogue between Charing-Cross and Bow Steeple, and Elegies upon People that are hang'd."
When in December 1708 The Fine Lady's Airs gained only a moderate success Baker must have thought of a living in the Church as a pis aller, for he enrolled at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, March 8, 1709, and took an M.A. there the same year. In a final attempt to succeed with his pen he seems to have tried periodical journalism in the guise of "Mrs. Crackenthorpe" in The Female Tatler. The British Apollo, at least, pinned this on him. "The author poses as a woman," it says, in effect, "and some may thus be taken in,"
But others will swear that this wise Undertaker By Trade's an At—ney, by Name is a B—r, Who rambles about with a Female Disguise on And lives upon Scandal, as Toads do on Poyson.
Perhaps it was this which, taken quite literally, produced the Biographia Dramatica's canard as to Baker's effeminacy (see above).
After grinding out a greater or less amount of this hack-work, Baker gave up trying to write. His disappearance from the scene thereafter is accounted for by his appointment (1711) to a living in Bedfordshire, where he was Rector of Bolnhurst till his death, and (1716-31) Vicar of Ravensden. As the Bolnhurst school was founded upon a bequest from him in 1749, he presumably died in that year—but not, I should guess, of morbus pediculosus.
John Harrington Smith University of California, Los Angeles
NOTES TO INTRODUCTION
[Footnote 1: The other was William Burnaby. His plays have been given a modern editing by F.E. Budd (Scholartis Press, 1931).]
[Footnote 2: Nicoll, Early Eighteenth Century Drama, Handlist of Plays. For all subsequent statements as to dates of production I follow this source.]
[Footnote 3: It was still too lively, however, to be acted outside London. The Harvard Theatre Collection has a copy once owned by Joe Haines with "cuts" designed to soften it for playing in the provinces. Such lines as, "The Godly never go to Taverns, but get drunk every Night at one another's Houses," "Citizens are as fond of their Wives, as their Wives are of other People," and "Virtue's an Impossibility ... every Citizen's Wife pretends to't," are carefully expunged.]
[Footnote 4: E.g., Bloom to Mrs. Driver, "One moment into that Closet, if it be but to read the Practice of Piety" becomes "One Moment into that Closet, Dear, dear Creature; they say it's mighty prettily furnish'd," And in her aside, "I vow, I've a good mind; but Virtue—the Devil, I ne're was so put to't i' my Life," for the words "the Devil" are substituted the words "and Reputation."]
[Footnote 5: No. 50, Sept. 14; No. 61, Oct. 26.]
[Footnote 6: According to the impression I have of this "morbus" it was a skin-ailment particularly appropriated to beggars, who might contract it upon long exposure to filth and louse-bites. Even then, though there would doubtless be a certain amount "of discomfort about it, it would scarcely prove fatal.]
[Footnote 7: This and subsequent vital statistics as to Baker's university and clerical career are from the account of him in J. and J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, 1922 et sq.]
[Footnote 8: British Apollo, No. 49, Sept. 14, 1709.]
[Footnote 9: Ibid.]
[Footnote 10: Both Paul Bunyan Anderson, "The history and authorship of Mrs. Crackenthorpe's Female Tatler," MP, XXVIII (1931), 354-60, and Walter Graham, "Thomas Baker, Mrs. Manley, and The Female Tatler," MP, XXXIV (1937), 267-72, think that some, at least, of the F.T. is from Baker's pen, but they disagree as to what part and how much. I am considering the matter and may have an opinion to express in future.]
[Footnote 11: Victoria History of Bedfordshire, II, 181 n.; III, 128.]
THE Fine Lady's Airs: OR, AN EQUIPAGE of LOVERS. A COMEDY.
As it is Acted at the THEATRE-ROYAL IN DRURY-LANE.
Written by the Author of the Yeoman of Kent.
Printed for BERNARD LINTOTT at the Cross-Keys, between the Two Temple Gates in Fleetstreet.
Price 1s. 6d.
Sir ANDREW FONTAINE
To Address a Man of your Character, gives me greater Concern than to finish the most Elaborate Play, and support the various Conflicts which naturally attend ev'ry Author; how the Town in general will receive it.
To harangue some of the First Quality, whose Titles are the greatest Illustration we can give 'em, is a sort of Common-Place Oratory; which Poets may easily vary in copying from one another; but, when I'm speaking to the most finish'd young Gentleman any Age has produced, whose distinguish'd Merits exact the nicest Relation, I feel my inability, and want a Genius barely to touch on those extraordinary Accomplishments, which You so early, and with so much ease, have made Your self perfect Master of.
But, when I reflect on the Affability of Your Temper, the generous and obliging Reception, You always gave me, and the ingaging Sweetness of Your Conversation, I'm the more incourag'd to pay my Duty to You in this Nature, fully persuading my self, You'll lay aside the Critick, by considering, in how many Respects, Your condescending Goodness has shown You are my Friend.
The vast stock of Learning You acquir'd in Your Non-age, has manifested to the World, that a Scholar, and a fine Gentleman are not Inconsistent, and rendered You so matchless an Ornament to the University of Oxford, particularly to Christ-Church-College, where You imbib'd it.
'Tis a Misfortune that attends many of our English Gentlemen to set out for Travel without any Foundation; and wanting a Tast of Letters, and the Knowledge of their own Country, the Observations they make Abroad, to reflect no further, are generally useless and impertinent.
But You so plentifully were furnish'd with all this Kingdom afforded, that Foreign Languages became Natural to You, and the unparallell'd Perfections You accumulated Abroad, particularly Your most Judicious and Critical Collection of Antiquities, made You so eminently Conspicuous, and justly Admir'd at the Great Court of Hannover, and since Your Return, have so cordially recommended You to the good Graces of the most Discerning Nobleman in the Kingdom.
Amongst other Degrees of Knowledge, I have heard You express some value for Poetry; which, cou'd one imitate Your right Tast of those less profitable Sciences, who permit it but at some Seasons, as a familiar Companion to relieve more serious Thoughts, and prevent an Anxiety, which, the constant Application, You have always been inclin'd to give harder Studies, might probably draw on You, is an Amusement worthy the greatest Head-piece. But 'tis so deluding a Genius, Dramatick Poetry especially, that many are insensibly drawn into to it, 'till it becomes a Business. To avoid that Misfortune, I'm now almost fix'd to throw it intirely by, and wou'd fain aim at something which may prove more serviceable to the Publick, and beneficial to my self.
Cou'd I have the Vanity to hope your Approbation of this Comedy, 'twou'd be so current a Stamp to it, that none, who have the Honour to know You, wou'd pretend to dispute it's Merit; but tho' I'm satisfy'd in Your good Nature, I must be aw'd with Your Judgment; and am sensible there are Errors in it infinitely more obvious to Your Eye, than a greater Part of the Polite World; however, as it had the Fortune to be well receiv'd, and by some of the best Judges esteem'd much preferable to any of my former, and as it was highly favour'd the Third Night with as beautiful an Appearance of Nobility, and other fine Ladies, as ever yet Grac'd a Theatre. I hope, you'll in some measure Protect it, at least that you'll pardon this Presumption, since I have long pleas'd my self with the Hopes, and impatiently waited an Opportunity of publickly declaring how much I am,
Your most Devoted, and Obedient humble Servant,
Written by Mr. MOTTEUX.
_So long the solitary Stage has mourn'd, Sure now you're pleas'd to find our Sports return'd. When Warriors come triumphant, all will smile, And Love wirh Conquest crown the Toyls of_ Lille. _Tho from the Field of Glory you're no Starters, Few love all Fighting, and no Winter-Quarters. Chagrin French Generals cry_, Gens temerare _Dare to take_ Lille! _We only take the Air. No, bravely, with the Pow'rs of_ Spain _and_ France, _We will—Entrench; and stand—at a distance: We'll starve 'em—if they please not to advance. Long thus, in vain, were the Allies defy'd, But 'twas ver cold by that damn'd River Side. So as they came too late, and we were stronger, Scorn the Poltrons, we cry'd— March off;_ morbleu, _we'll stay for 'em no longer; The little Monsieurs their Disgrace may own, Now ev'n the Grand ones makes their Scandal known.
Mean while, without you half our Season's wasted. Before 'tis_ Lent _sufficiently we've fasted. No matter how our Op'ra Folks did fare, Too full a Stomach do's the Voice impair._ Nay, you your selves lost by't; for saunt'ring hither You're safe from all but Love, four Hours together. Some idle Sparks with dear damnd Stuff, call'd Wine, Got drunk by Eight, and perhaps sows'd by Nine, O'er Politicks and Smoke some rail'd some writ, The Wiser yawn'd, or nodded o'er their Wit. O'er Scandal, Tea, Cards, or dull am'rous Papers, The Ladies had the Spleen, the Beaux the Vapors. Some went among the Saints without Devotion; Nay more, 'tis fear'd went thro' a wicked Motion. But the kind Female Traders well may boast, When we're shut up, their Doors are open'd most.
I dare engage, they, by the Vint'ners back'd, Wou'd raise a Fund, so they alone might act. With them 'tis ne'er Vacation, tho' we lose, The Courts shut up, they Chamber Practice use.
Since therefore without Plays, tho' call'd a Curse, The Good grow bad, the Bad grow worse and worse, Show misled Zeal what Ills infest the Age, And truly to reform, support the_ British _Stage_.
Sir Harry Sprightly. Mr.Mills.
Brigadier Blenheim, just return'd from the Army. Mr.Wilks
Mr. Nicknack, a Beau-Merchant. Mr.Cibber.
Major Bramble, a factious old Fellow. Mr.Johnson.
Master Totty, a great Boy. Mr.Bullock.
Knapsack, an Attendant on the Collonel. Mr.Pinkethman.
Shrimp, Sir Harry's Valet. Mr.Norris.
Lady Rodomont. Mrs.Oldfield.
Lady Toss-up. Mrs.Porter.
Mrs. Lovejoy, Cousin to Lady Rodomont. Mrs.Bradshaw.
Mrs. Flimsy, Lady Toss-up's Woman. Mrs.Saunders.
Orange-Woman. Mr. Pack.
Mercer, Manto-Maker, Sempstress, Toyman, India-Woman, and other Attendants.
In the Month of December.
THE Fine Lady's Airs: OR, AN EQUIPAGE of LOVERS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Sir Harry discover'd dressing; and Shrimp attending.
Sir Har. Where had you been last Night, you drunken Dog, that you cou'dn't take care of me when I was drunk.
Shr. I happen'd, Sir, to meet with some very honest Gentlemen, that have the Honour to wait upon other Gentlemen, where Wit and Humour brighten'd to that degree, we pass'd about the Glass, 'till we lost our Senses.
Sir Har. Wit, you Rascal! Have you Scoundrels the impudence to suppose your selves reasonable Creatures?
Shr. Sir, we are as much below Learning, indeed, as our Masters are above it; but why mayn't a Servant have as good natural Parts?
Sir Har. Mend your Manners, Sirrah; or you shall serve the Queen.
Shr. Ev'ry Man ought to mend his Manners, Sir, that pretends to a Place at Court; but the Queen's mightily oblig'd to some People.—Has a Gentleman an impudent rakish Footman, not meaning my self, Sir, that wears his Linen, fingers his Money, and lies with his Mistress;—You Dog, you shall serve the Queen.—Has a Tradesman a Fop Prentice, that airs out his Horses, and heats his Wife, or an old Puritan a graceless Son, that runs to the Play-House instead of the Meeting, they are threathen'd with the Queen's Service; so that Her Majesty's good Subjects, drink her Health, wish success to her Arms, and send her all the Scoundrels i'the Nation.
Sir Har. Fellows that han't sense to value a Civil Employment are necessary to front an Army, whose thick Sculls may repulse the first Fury of the Enemy's Cannon Bullets.
Shr. I hope, then, the English are so wise to let the Dutch march foremost.—But why, Sir, shou'd you Gentlemen ingross all the Pleasures o'Life, and not allow us poor Dogs to imitate you in our own Sphere;—You wear lac'd Coats; We lac'd Liv'ries;—You play at Picquet; We at All-Fours;—You get drunk with Burgundy; We with Geneva;—You pinck Holes with your Swords; We crack Sculls with our Sticks;—You are Gentlemen; We are hang'd.
Sir Har. A fine Relation; but, methinks, the latter Part of it might deter you from such Courses.
Shr. I'm a Predestinarian, Sir; which is an Argument of a great Soul, and will no more baulk a drunken Frolick, than I would a pretty Lady that takes a Fancy to me.
Sir Har. No more of your Impertinence; attend, I hear Company (Shrimp goes to the Door) Brigadier Blenheim return'd from the Army!
Enter Collonel, and Knapsack.
Sir Har. My noblest, dearest Collonel, let me imbrace you as a Britain, and as a Friend. Ajax ne'er boasted English Valour; Ulysses ne'er such Conduct; nor Alexander such Successes. The Queen rejoices; the Parliament vote you Thanks; and ev'ry honest Loyal Heart bounds at our General's Name.
Col. Ay, Sir Harry, to be thus receiv'd, rewards the Soldier's Toils; and, faith, we have maul'd the fancy French-men, near Twenty Thousand we left fast asleep, taught the remaining few a new Minuet-step, and sent 'em home to sing Te Deum.
Knap. Ay, Sir, and if they are not satisfied, next Campaign the English shall stand still, and laugh at their Endeavours; the Dutch Snigger-snee 'em; the Scotch Cook them; and the wild Irish eat 'em.
Col. Oh! The glorious Din of War; the Energy of a good Cause, and the Emulation of a brave Confederacy.—To sound the Charge; Make a vigorous Attack, the Enemy gives ground,—To pour on fresh Vollies of a sure Destruction, and return deafn'd with shouts o' Victory, and adorn'd with glitt'ring Standards of the vanquish'd Foe.
Knap. To hang up in Westminster-Hall, and make the Lawyers stare off their Briefs;—But the Harmony of sounding a Retreat,—to hug my self with two Arms, and walk substantially upon both my Pedestals, or the health of Mind in lying sick at Amsterdam.
Col. Ay, here's a sorry Rascal, that lags always behind, and is afraid to look Death i'the Face.
Knap. Why, really, Sir, 'tisn't manners to march before the Colonel; and upon a warm Engagement, I have heard you talk musically of good Conduct. Besides, that Mr. Death is but a Hatchet-face Beau, so lean, and wither'd like an old Dutchess, or a Doctor o' Physick, I had as live see the Devil.
Sir Har. But when the Lines are forc'd, the Enemy slain, and the Placs loaded with rich Plunder.—
Knap. None so nimble, none so valiant, none so expert as your very humble Servant Nehemiah Knapsack.
Col. But, who are the raigning Beauties o'the Age? What Favours will they grant a Soldier after a hard Campaign, fatiguing Marches, desp'rate Attempts, and narrow Escapes, to preserve them from Rapine, Violence, and Slav'ry, that they may laugh away the Day in gay Diversions, and pass the silent Night in silver Slumbers on their Downy Beds?
Sir Har. Just as many Favours as you have Money or Mechlin Lace to purchase: Women apprehend not the Danger of War, and therefore have no Notion of Gratitude.
Coll. Oh! The thoughts of scatt'ring small Shot among the sparkling Tribe, to feast my Senses upon dear Variety, have ev'ry Day a new dazling Beauty, and ev'ry Hour to taste the Joys of Love.
Sir Har. Don't fancy, Collonel, because you have beat the French you must conquer all the Ladies; there are Women that dare resist you boldly, will exact your Courage beyond attacking a Fortress, and maintain a hotter Engagement.
Col. If you mean Women of the Town, some of 'em wou'd give a Man a warm Reception—Yet I long to be traversing the Park, ogling at the Play, peeping up at Windows, and ferreting the Warren o' Covent-Garden, till I seize on some skittish dapper Doxie, whose pretty black Eyes, dimpling Cheeks, heaving Breasts, and soft Caresses, wou'd melt a Man—for half a Guinea.
Knap. How I long too, to wheedle in with some Buxom Widow, that keeps a Victualling-House, to provide me with Meat, Drink, Washing and Lodging—to find out some delicious Chamber-Maid, that will pawn her best Mohair-Gown, sell even her Silver-Thimble, and rob her Mistress to shew how truly she loves me; or intrigue with some Heroick Sempstress, that will call me her Artaxerxes, her Agamemnon, and give me six new Shirts.
Sir Har. And now the tedious Summer is elaps'd, and Winter ushers in neglected Joys; Armies march home victorious from the Field, Ladies from Parks and Plains that mourn'd their absence; a Croud of Pleasures glut the varying Appetite, and Friends long absent meet with gayest Transports.
Col. Ay, Winter is the gay, the happy Season: I hate a Solitary Rural Life, as if one were at variance with the World; to walk with Arms a-cross, admire Nature's Works in Woods and Groves, talk to the Streams, and tell the Trees our Passion, while Eccho's make a Mock at all we say— Give me the shining Town, the glittering Theatres; there Nature best is seen in Beauteous Boxes, where Beaus transported with the Heavenly Sight, the little God sits pleas'd in ev'ry Eye, and Actors dart new Vigour from the Stage, supported By the Spirit of full Pay—But what great Fortunes buz about the Town; Red-Coats have carry'd off good store of Heiresses, and that's the sure, tho' not the sweetest Game; besides, Sir Harry, they talk of Peace, and we that have nothing but the Sword to trust to, ought to provide against that dreadful Day.
Knap. Really, Sir, I have had some Thoughts of Marriage too; there's nothing like being settl'd, to have a House of one's own, and Attendants about one; besides, I'm the last Male, of a very ancient Family, and shou'd I die without Children, the Knap-sacks wou'd be quite extinct.
Sir Har. The Talk, the Pride, and Envy of the Town is Lady Rodomont, whose Wit surprizes, whose Beauty ravishes, and a clear Estate of Six thousand a Year distracts the admiring Train; but the Misfortune is, she has Travell'd, had Experience, well vers'd in Gallantries of various Courts; she admits Coquets, and rallies each Pretender, so resolutely fond of Liberty, she slights the most accomplish'd of Mankind, there Collonel is a Siege to prove a Roman or a Grecian Bravery.
Col. A Roman or a Grecian, say you, bold Britains laugh at all their baubling Fights; and had Achilles, with his batt'ring Rams, felt half the Fury of an English General, Troy had ne'er bully'd out a Ten Years Siege—but Ladies are more craftily subdu'd; you mustn't storm a Nymph with Sword and Pistol, pursue her as you wou'd a tatter'd Frenchman, push her Attendants into the Danube, then seize her, and clap her into a Coach—I'll baffle her at her own Argument, swear I'd not wed a Phoenix of her Sex, and laugh at Dress and Beauty, Wit and Fortune, when purchas'd only at the Price of Liberty—then sweeten her again with ogling Smiles, look Babies in her Eyes, and vow she's handsome; and when she thinks each artful Glance has caught me, that now's the time to Conquer, and to Laugh, and with malicious Cunning mentions Marriage, I'll start, and change, and beg her not to name it, for 'tis a Thought that rouses Madness in me, 'till out of Spight and Spleen, and Woman's Curiosity, the Knot's abruptly ty'd, to prove my feign'd Resolves, and boast her Power.
Sir Har. Tis well design'd, and may the Soldier animate the Lover: For my part, I'm so devoted to my Pleasures, and so strangely bigotted to a single Life, I have sold an Estate of Two thousand a Year, to buy an Annuity of Four: I love to Rake and Rattle thro' the Town, and each Amusement, as it happens, pleases. The Ladies call me Mad Sir Harry, a Careless, Affable, Obliging Fellow, whom, when they want, they send for. I wear good Cloaths to 'Squire'em up and down; have Wit enough to Chat, and make'em Giggle, and Sense enough to keep their Favours secret—But from Romantick Love, Good Heav'n defend me. A Moment's Joy's not worth an Age's Courtship; and when the Nymph's Demure, and Dull and Shy, and Foolish and Freakish, and Fickle, there are Billiards at the Smyrna, Bowles at Marybone, and Dice at the Groom-Porter's—Are you for the Noon-Park.
Col. With all my Heart.
Sir Har. There the Beau-Monde appear in all their Splendour—Here, Shrimp, [Enters.] entertain the Collonel's Servant—An Hour hence you'll hear of us at White's. [Exeunt.
Shr. Mr. Knapsack, are you for a Dish of Bohee: My Master has been just drinking, and the Water boils— [Goes out, and returns with a Tea-Table.
Knap. Not to incommode you about it, Mr. Shrimp.
Shr. Well, Mr. Knapsack, we brave Britains conquer all before us: Why you have done Wonders this Campaign.
Knap. Ay, Mr. Shrimp, the Name of an English General Thunder-strikes the French, as much as it invigorates the Allies; for when he comes, he cuts you off Ten or Twenty thousand, with the same Ease as a Countryman wou'd mow down an Acre of Corn; tho', after all, I was in some pain for our Forces, not being able to do 'em any personal Service; for you must know, Mr. Shrimp, I am mightily subject to Convulsions, and just before ev'ry Engagement I was unluckily seiz'd with so violent a Fit, they were forc'd to carry me back to the next wall'd Town.
Shr. Are you for much Sugar in your Tea, Sir?
Knap. As much as you please, Sir.
Shr. Have you made many Campaigns, Mr. Knapsack?
Knap. This was the first, Mr. Shrimp, and I'm not positive that I shall ever make another; for next Summer, I believe, some Business of moment will confine me to this Kingdom—Pray, Mr. Shrimp, why don't you exert your self in the Service; the Gentlemen of the Army wou'd be glad of so sprightly an Officer as you among 'em.
Shr. O dear, Mr. Knapsack, I'm of so unfortunate a Stature, they'd trample me under their Feet; besides, I have no Genius to Fighting; I cou'd like a Commission in a Beau-Regiment, that always stays at home, because a Scarlet-Lac'd-Suit, a Sash and Feather command Respect, keep off Creditors, and make the Ladies fly into our Arms.
Knap. Ay, Mr. Shrimp, I don't doubt but you have good store of Mistresses. Why you look a little thin upon the matter, ha!
Shr. No, no, Mr. Knapsack, I'm as moderate at that Sport, as any Man; I must own, when a pretty Lady comes betimes in a Morning to my Master, and he, poor Gentleman, is in a dead Sleep with hard Drinking, I do now and then take her into the next Room, play the Fool with her a little till my Master wakes, then give her a Dram of Surfeit-Water, and put her to Bed to him, now there's Safety in such an Amour, for my Master hasn't his Mistresses from a profess'd Baud; I have found him out a conscientious old Gentlewoman, that's one of the sober Party, and acquainted with most Citizens Daughters, that have as much Inclination to turn Whores as a Chamber-Maid out of Place, and the old Lady is so passionately fond of my Master, because he was once so charitable to do her the Favour, she sends him the choicest of all her Ware—but to pick up a dirty Drab in the Eighteen-penny-Gallery, with a rusty black Top-knot, a little Flower in her Hair, a turn'd Smock, and no Stockings, the Jade wou'd poyson you like Eighteen-penny-Wine.
Knap. I find, Mr. Shrimp, you Gentlemens Gentlemen have all your Cues.
Shr. Ah! Mr. Knapsack, there's more goes to the finishing of a true Valet, than tying a Wig smartly, or answering a Dun genteely. I have sometimes such weighty Matters warring in my Brains, and a greater Conflict with my self how I shall manage 'em, than a Merchant's Cash-keeper, that's run away with two thousand Pounds, and can't resolve whether he shall trust the Government with it, or put it into the East India Company—I only wish it were my Fate to serve some Statesman in Business; for Pimping often tosses a Man into a Place of three hundred a Year, when Mony shall be refus'd, Merit repuls'd, and Relations thought impudent for pretending to't.—But, I believe, Mr. Knapsack, our Hour's elaps'd, for tho' our Masters may n't want us, we that are at Board-wages love to smell out where they dine.
Knap. The Motion, Mr. Shrimp, is admirable, for really the Tea begins to rake my Guts confoundedly. [Exeunt.
SCENE Changes to Lady Rodomont's.
Enter Lady Rodomont, and Mrs. Lovejoy, follow'd by a Servant.
Ser. Madam, the Mercer, the Manto-Maker, the Sempstress, the India-Woman, and the Toy-Man attend your Ladiship without.
L. Rod. Admit 'em,—this Grandeur, Cozen, which those o' Quality assume above the Populace, to have obsequious Mechanicks wait our Levee in a Morning, is not disagreeable; then they are as constant as our Menials, and the less Mony one pays 'em, the more constantly they attend.
Mrs. Lov. Those Ladies, Madam, that want Mony to pay 'em, wou'd gladly excuse their Attendance.
L. Rod. Cozen, 'tis Ill-breeding to suppose People o' Quality want Mony, they have Business, Visits, Company, and very often are not in a Humour to part with it; when we have Mony, we are easie, whether we pay it or no; and 'tis affronting the Nobility, not to observe their Decorums.
The Trades-People Enter.
[To the Mercer.] Mr. Farendine, this Silk has so glaring a Mixture of preposterous Colours, I shall be taken for a North Country Bride; and so very substantial, I believe you design'd it for my Heirs and Successours.
Mer. Madam, 'tis a very well wrought Silk.
L. Rod. So well wrought, it may serve one in a Family for twenty Generations.—Have you sold any Wedding Suits lately?
Mer. Yes, Madam, I sold a yellow and white Damask, lin'd with a Cherry and blew Sattin, and a Goslin green Petticoat to Mrs. Winifred Widgeon i'the Peak, that marry'd Squire Hog o' Darby,—'twas her Grandmother Trott's Fancy.
L. Rod. Nay, those old Governants, that were Dames of Honour to Queen Bess, make their Daughters appear as monstrous in this Age, as they themselves did in that.—Well, Mr. Farendine, when you have any thing slight and pretty, let me see it. [To the Manto-Maker] Mrs. Flounce, this Sleeve is most abominably cut.
Mant. Mak. Madam, 'tis exacly the Shape of my Lady Snipe's, and she s allow'd to be the Pink o'the Mode.
L. Rod. My Lady Snipe, who ever heard of her?
Mrs. Lov. Oh! Madam, that's the over-dress'd Lady in Fuller's Rents, the first in England, that wore Flow'rs in her Hair; She has 5000l. indeed, but they say 'tis in bad Hands, and the Town has neglected her these ten Years.
L. Rod. And wou'd you have me appear like a Turn-stile Creature? why d'you work for such Trumpery? have you not Business enough from Court.
Mant. Mak. Truly, Madam, I'm glad to accept of a Gown from any Body; for the Ladies, now-a-days, are grown so saving, they make all their Petticoats themselves.
L. Rod. Don't you work into the City too?
Mant. Mak. Yes, Madam, I have eleven Gowns to finish against Sunday, for very good Customers, and very religious People.
L. Rod. Religious People! This Creature is so employ'd by the Canaille, I shall have my Cloths cut to pieces, dear Cozen, let Buda make me a Suit with Expedition, I'll present this to the Play-House.
Semp. Does your Ladyship like your Head, Madam?
L. Rod. The Lace, Mrs. Taffety, is so course and so heavy, I'm ready to sink beneath the weight of it.
Semp. Madam, 'tis right Mechlin, cost me Six Guineas a Yard, and I bought it too of a Merchant, that has smuggl'd many a hundred Pounds worth.
L. Rod. There you please me, English People are extremely fond of what's forbid, we commonly obey our Parents, and the Government much a-like; and tho' the State prohibits Flanders Lace, French Alamodes, and India Sattins, we have 'em all by the way of Holland.—These Ruffles too are so furiously starch'd, I shall throw People down as I move along.
Semp. The Ladies, Madam, love a stiff Ruffle, for shou'd the Wind blow it aside, your Ladyship's Elbow might catch cold, but I'll slacken my Hand i'the next.—Does your Ladyship want a very fine short Apron?
L. Rod. Women o' Quality, Mrs. Taffety have left 'em off, and those Ladies that do wear 'em, generally make 'em of their old Top-knots [to the India Woman] Mrs. Japan, you are a Stranger here, I hav'n't seen you since I paid off your last Bill,
Ind. Wom. Oh, Madam! I have been at Death's Door, the Hypocondriacks have so prey'd upon my Spirits, they have destroy'd my Constitution, such Rotations i'my Head, such an Oppression at my Stomach—but I ha' brought you a Pound of Bohee, so purifying, 'twill give your Ladyship a new Mass of Blood in a Quarter of an Hour.
L. Rod. Mrs. Chince has much better.
Ind. Wom. Then will I eat Mrs. Chince.—Shall I show you some fine India Pictures?
L. Rod. I hate those Shadows o' Men half finish'd.
Ind Wom. I must own the Substance of a Man well finish'd is much better,—but here's a Set o'Japan Cups will ravish your Ladyship, a Tradesman's Wife long'd, and miscarry'd about 'em.
L. Rod. I'm overstock'd with China, and they say 'tis grown so common. I intend to sacrifice mine to my Monkey.
Ind. Wom. Nay, pray, my Lady, buy somewhat of me, you know I'm in great Tribulation, I trusted a couple of Trollops, that were turn'd out of the Play-House, for having too much Assurance for the Stage, and set up a little Shop in Spring Garden; and the bold Jades are gone a stroling Fifty Pounds in my Debt. Besides, I have just now a lazy Trull of a Daughter, that run away with a Foot Soldier, return'd big with the Lord knows what, and that's no small Charge to me, that am forc'd to pad it about for a Livelihood.
L. Rod. Well, you may leave a Pound of Powder.
Ind. Wom. [Aside.] A Pound of Powder, pox o'your Generosity, these great Ladies are grown as stingy as if they paid one ready Mony, were it not for a City-bubble now and then, I might e'en go dance with the Dogs in May-Fair.
L. Rod. [To the Toy-Man.] Mr. Gimcrack, what new Fancies have you brought this Morning?
Toy-M. A Pair of nice Genoa Gloves for your Ladyship, curiously made up in a gilt Wallnut Shell.
L. Rod A Wallnut Shell! they can't be large enough.
Toy-M. Madam, I sold six Pair to my Lady Strammell, and her Arm's nine Inches Diameter.
L. Rod. What else have you?
Toy-M. A choice Comb for your Eye-brows, Madam, an acute Pair o' Pinchers for your Hair, and a most ingenious French Knife to slice the Powder of your Ladyship's Forehead, with Tongs, Shovels, Grates, and Fenders for your Ladyship's Tea-Table.
L. Rod. Well, carry the things in, let your Bills be deliver'd to the Steward, and I'll order some part of your Mony.
All. We humbly thank your Ladyship. [Exeunt.
L. Rod. Now, Cozen, we have dispatch'd these necessary Animals; pray, tell me how the Town relishes my Appearance.
Mrs. Lov. Your Ladyship's inimitable Graces, and our vast Successes abroad are the Topicks that furnish all Conversation; one Lady cries at the gilt Chariot, another swoons at the prancing Horses; and my old Lady Lack-it, swears you have so handsom a Set of Foot-men, the dreams of nothing else; then your Ladyship's Furniture is most surprizing, ev'ry thing was so admir'd, and handl'd last Visiting-day, the Ladies left little of it behind 'em.
L. Rod. Bagatelle! Ladies steal from one another, not for the Value of the thing, but to make an Alteration in their Closets.—But what do the Malitious say, am I envy'd, Cozen, I wou'd n't ha' the Fatigue of an Estate, unless I cou'd make the World uneasie about it.
Mrs. Lov. Oh! Spleen, Spleen, Madam, to the last Degree—my Lady Testy has tore fifty Fans about you, broke all her China, and beat her Foot-man's Eye out; she says, 'tis a burning Shame, you monopolize all the Fellows in the Town; and truly, there's a Statute against ingrossing.—My Lady Prudence Maxim, cries, A fine Estate is a fine Thing, finely manag'd, but to overdo at first, to undo at last. And Mrs. Indigo, the Merchant's Wife, says, If you knew the getting on't, you wou'd n't spend it so fast.
L. Rod. I have six thousand a Year, and resolve to live single, and enjoy it; I have made the Tour of Italy and France, have given my self the Accomplishment of both Sexes, and design to Visit, Game, Revel, dust the Park, haunt the Theatres, and out-flutter e'er a Fop i'the Nation; and I know not why a Lady that has the best Estate i'the County shou'd n't represent 'em in Parliament.
Mrs. Lov. But launching out too far, Madam, may draw Reflections on your Conduct, the English Ladies are more reserv'd than Foreigners.
L. Rod. The English Ladies! Shall a Corner of Europe teach me Decorums, that have travers'd the whole. The French Ladies admire my Gayety; the Italians are ravish'd with my Grandeur, and if the English Ladies do blame my Conduct, who values the Censure of a little Island.— Oh! what Transports do I feel, to provoke the Eyes and Whispers of the Multitude,—Whose Equipage is that—My Lady Rodomont's?—Whose Visiting-day is it—My Lady Rodomont's?—Who bespoke the Play to Night— My Lady Rodomont?—But when she's once marry'd—What "Gentlewoman's that with the great Belly—Sir Marmaduke Mortgage's Wife, that's come to Town to buy Clouts, her Husband lost his Estate at Roly-poly.—She's mighty Big indeed, I'm afraid she'll ha' two. Unless one cou'd find out some Plant of a Husband, with Life and no Soul; a governable, drudging Creature, that wou'd love, honour and obey his Wife; and know so little of his own Prerogative, as to change his Name for her.
Mrs. Lov. Really, Madam, I'm o' your Opinion, I'd have Petticoat- Government pass thro' the Nation; the Ladies shou'd possess the Estates, and make their Husbands a Jointure.
L. Rod. While a Woman o' Fortune remains unmarry'd, she's a Petty-Queen; Lovers innumerable trace her Steps; each Coxcomb thinks to be the happy Man, and ev'ry were her Presence makes a Court—but when her Reason's once subdu'd by Love, and the fond, foolish Nymph resigns her Pow'r, she's but a meer Appendix to a Fellow.
No more her darling Liberty can boast, Lovers no more her quondam Beauties toast, But all her Pleasure, Pride and Charms are lost.
End of the First ACT.
SCENE, The Park.
Sir Harry, and the Collonel.
Col. Never a loose Lady tripping through the Park to whet one's Appetite this Morning?
Sir Har. Fie, Collonel, refine your Tast;——A common Woman! I'd as soon dine at a common Ordinary: Give me a Woman of Condition, there's Pride as well as Pleasure in such an Amour.
Col. Your Women of Condition, Pox on em, are like Noblemen's Dinners, all Garniture and no Meat, then, the Ceremony of Approach and Retire, palls a Man's Inclination, 'till he grows indifferent i' the Matter;— Wou'd you Charm me, give me a ruddy Country Wench to riffe on the Grass, with no other resistance than,—What a Dickens, is the Man berwattl'd, you are an impudent, bold Rogue, and I'll call my Mother: Besides, the fear of Scandal makes your great Ladies preserve a foolish kind of Virtue, their Principles wou'd fain get rid of.
Sir Har. You are deceiv'd, Collonel, Women of Quality are above Reputation.—Is it my Lady Tipple-dram's Modesty, or the effect of Ratifia, that gives her a high Colour in the Drawing-room?—Is my Lady Sluggard's Religion question'd, that has never been at Church since her Baptism, or my Lady Gamesom's Virtue suspected for admiring Collonel Sturdy's Regiment; both Sexes of Rank, now, use what Liberty they please without censuring one another, and consequently despise the tattling of Inferiours.
Col. Ha! what pert Fellow's this, that whisks it along in a Silk-Drugget Suit, with the empty Air of a Fop Mercer, or a Judge's Train-bearer?
Sir Har. Oh! 'Tis young Nicknack, a Beau Merchant, his Father dy'd lately, and left him considerably in Money, he has been bred to business, with a Liberty of Pleasure, a little vain and affected as most young Fellows are; but his Foppery is rather pretty and diverting than tiresome and impertinent. For his Father obliging him still to live in the City, and follow Business, he has turn'd Commerce into a Jest, and calls himself, The Ladies Merchant; for he imports nothing but Squirrels, Lap-dogs and Guinea piggs to insnare the Women.
Nick. Dear Sir Harry, I have been twice round the Park, in search of you.
Sir Har. Mr. Nicknack pray know the Collonel here; an intimate Friend o'mine just arriv'd from Flanders.
Nick. Sir, I kiss your Hands, I am glad to find for the Ladies sake, as well as your own, you are not the least disabl'd I wou'd give Ten Guineas, Collonel, to see an Engagement, cou'd one be secure from a Cannon Bullet.
Col. Ten Guineas to see an Engagement; wou'd you make a show of Desolation, and have Men kill one another to divert your Spleen? What shou'd any one do i'the Field, that's afraid of a Cannon Bullet?
Nic. 'Tis not impossible, Sir, in a whole Army, to find a Person as little dispos'd to swallow a Cannon Bullet as my self; but I shou'd have this preference to him, as I wou'd avoid fighting, I wou'd ask no Pay.
Col. Ha! Wit out of Cheapside, I'm afraid City Credit's at a very low Ebb.
Nick. Your Pardon, Collonel.——Sir Harry, have you seen Lady Rodomont this Morning? I have News for her will make her Heart caper, as mine did at the Death of my Father. The Bawble Friggat, Captain Gewgaw Commander, is just arriv'd laden with Parrots, Parrotkeits, Monkeys, Mamosets, Leopards, Lowries, Muscovy-Ducks, German-Geese, Danish-Dormice, Portugal-Pigs, Hannover-Hens, and all the Rarities imaginable.
Sir Har. You are a happy Man, Mr. Nicknack, that have such new ways to ingage the Ladies; if you succeed in your Addresses to Lady Rodomont, from your good Fortune, all the Beaus will turn Traders, and instead of Treats, Balls, and Serenades, we shall have Post Nights, Polices of Insurance, Factors, Agents, and Correspondents to import Niceties for their Mistresses.
Col. [aside] Ridiculous;——And d'you think a Lady of her Birth and Estate wou'd Marry a City Merchant.
Nick. A City Merchant, Collonel,——We have Creatures, indeed, that deal in Herrings from Holland, and Cod from Newfoundland; but there are degrees in Merchandizing as well as other Professions. An Officer o'the Guards is above a Captain o'the Train Bands; and, I hope, there's difference between a Gentleman that Trades to the Indies, and Merchant Rag that sends old Cloaths to Jamaica; but why, Collonel, shou'd the City be so much despis'd, that has so near an affinity to the Court; we have sense to distinguish Men and Manners, Breeding to pay a Valiant Prince homage, that ev'ry Year triumphs for his Country, and generosity to entertain him, where many a hungry Courtier has been glad to sneak in for a Dinner.
Col. [aside] The Fellow talks Reason, i'faith;—but prithee, Mr. Nicknack, what Business can a Merchant have at this end o'the Town; for a Man that's bred up in a Counting-House to pretend to Airs and Graces, is as monstrously ridiculous, as a Play-House Orange-Wench with a Gold Watch by her side.
Nick. Pardon me there Collonel; are Pleasure and Business inconsistent, must ev'ry Citizen be a Drone, that crawls among Furr Gowns, or a Cuckold that's preferr'd by the Common-Hall; pray tell me, what difference is there between a Merchant of a good Education, and a Gentleman of Two Thousand Pounds a Year, only one has Threescore Thousand Pounds clear in his Pocket, and t'other an Estate that's mortgag'd to Threescore People; I have a House in Billiter-Lane, the Air's as good as Pickadilly. Cornish makes my Cloaths, Chevalier my Periwigs, I'm courted ev'ry Day to subscribe for singing Opera's, and have had Fifteen Actresses at my Levee, with their Benefit-Tickets.
Sir Har. But, methinks, Mr. Nicknack; you that have so plentiful a Fortune, shou'd leave off Business, and reside wholly amongst Men of Figure and Estates.
Nick. My Commerce, Sir Harry, is but in Impertinences without the least prospect of Gain; for the old Gentleman, when with great Industry, he had imported an Estate of Fifty Thousand Pounds, with greater Civility exported himself into the next World and left me all. Besides, Merchandize is but a sort of Gaming, and if I like it better than Hazard or Basset, why should any Man quarrel with my Genius; but, Gentlemen, your Servant. I must find out Lady Rodomont; for I have ingros'd the whole Ship's Cargo to my self, as my Father us'd to do Raw-Silk, and design her the first choice of ev'ry Thing. [Exit.
Col. But what crabbed Don's this with the knavish Look of an old plodding Conveyancer, whose Face and Profession are enough to raise the Devil.
Sir Har. 'Tis Major Bramble, a factious, seditious old Rogue, that's neither Whig, nor Tory, but an Enemy to his own Country; he hates the Government, because the Government don't like him; repines at all our Successes; and his Bosom Friends are Minters, Owlers, Pettifoggers, Nonjurors that won't swear to the Government, and Irish Evidences that will swear to any thing.
Enter Major Bramble.
Heav'n guard the Court!—What cursed Plot's now hatching, that brings the grumbling Major to the Park?
Bram. The Government, Sir Harry, will ne'er suspect my policy at plotting, when I have no more sense than to trust a Wit with it; but the Company I keep, may with wondrous ease form a Plot past your finding out.
Sir Har. What, cowardly Bullies, tatter'd Gam'sters, and Fellows that have been twice transported, poor, unhappy scoundrels that disturb the Nation to please you rich Male-Contents, and are hang'd for their reward.
Bram. Those Gentlemen, Sir Harry, you're pleas'd to term scoundrels, I honour; he that takes sanctuary in the Fleet, has an immediate place in my Heart; the Heroes of the Mint are a formidable Body, magnanimously sowse ev'ry Fellow in a Ditch that dares to infringe their Liberties; he that's committed to Newgate is in a fair way to Immortality;—He that stands in the Pillory is exalted to a very high Station; the Observator is my very good Friend; and he that writes the Review a Person of a most incomparable Assurance.
Col. But where's the Satisfaction of admiring what's Rascally?
Bram. You're mistaken, Sir, Virtue's oppress'd; these are the only Men of worth i'the Nation, and since the World's compos'd chiefly of Knaves and Hypocrites, it behoves ev'ry honest Fellow to over-reach the World; therefore he that runs away from his Creditors is a Man of admirable Principles, and his Creditors are very great Rogues.
Col. But why d'you hate the Government, Major, what harm has that done you.
Bram. Why, Sir, I was formerly in a very good Office, was turn'd out for Bribery, and have had none giv'n me since, therefore while the Government takes no notice of me, I'll take no notice of the Government.
Sir Har. You are a Person, Major, the Government ought to take notice of, I assure you—And d'you think a Man of your Character and Conversation qualify'd for a publick Post.
Bram. Certainly, Sir Harry, who makes a better Soldier than a Midnight-Scourer; who proves a sharper Judge than a Serjeant that takes Fees on both sides; or who thumps the Cushion better than he that has thumpt all the Wives i'the Parish; therefore that am acquainted with all you call Rogues i'the Kingdom, think my self notably qualify'd for a Custom-House-Officer—but whether the Government employs us, or not, my Companions are the happiest People i'the World; we meet ev'ry Day at a House within the Rules of the Fleet, where we have fat Venison, that's Stole out of Windsor-Park; French Wine, that's Run i'the Wild o' Kent; drink Confusion to our Arms, and talk Treason, till the Vintner crys, Huzza, Drawer bring in my Bottle. And there are of our Club, Four Broken-Officers, Six Suborning-Attorneys, a Disaffected-Cobler, Two Highway-Men, and Eleven Jacobite, Outlaw'd-Parsons.
Sir Har. If you are such an Enemy to your native Country, why don't you course the World, and please your self.
Bram. Thank you, Sir Harry, but tho' things don't go as I'd have them, of all Countries, I like England the best, for 'tis the only Kingdom in the World that suffers Faction; where one may write Libels, affront the Ministry, deride the Laws, and set the whole Nation together by the Ears— but whilst I am idle, mighty Matters are at a stand; in short, my Business here is to make my Addresses to Lady Rodomont, who having lately seen Italy and France, like a true Woman, is return'd with a most horrid Contempt of her own Country, and may like my Principles better than the flutt'ring Airs of you Town-Sparks—afterwards, Gentlemen, I shall be proud of both your Companies to dine in the Press-Yard, in Newgate, with sev'ral very ingenious Persons, that coin better than they do i'the Tower. [Exit.
Col. So, Lady Rodomont's the Cry—How Divine a Creature is a Woman that has Six thousand a Year; the Town's quite mad after her.
Sir Har. And such an Estate's enough to make her mad; Women are too sanguine for such mighty Fortune; Ten thousand Pounds touches a Lady's Brain, but when they prove great Heiresses, they're—
Col. Oh! stark Staring, Raving! and we ought to have the Custody of em.
Sir Har. Let's move towards the Court, Collonel, where we shall meet her sailing down the Mall, and the Fops after her, with all the Pride of a First-Rate Man of War, that's convoying a few petty Merchant-Ships to the West-Indies.
Enter Shrimp with a Letter.
Sir Har. [reads.] By the next return of the Waggon you will receive Master Totty, who was nineteen Years last Grass, with a Box of Shrewsbury-Cakes, and a Simnel: His Grand-Mother desires you will put him Clerk to some honest Attorney, if it be possible to find one, and the Child be fit for it, or to what else the Child shall be fit for; but if you find him fit for nothing, that you'll return him with great Care to his Grand-Mother again. He is free from ev'ry Vice, having always lain with his Grand-Mother, gone no where but to visit old Ladies with his Grand-Mother, and has never been out of his Grand-Mother's sight, since he was six Weeks old—What a Pox do the Women send me their Fool to educate, they may as well send me their Heads to dress; but I shall leave him to my Servant; a Town Valet's Tutor and Companion good enough for a Country 'Squire—Shrimp, go to the Saracen's-Head-Inn, enquire for Master Totty, a Man-Child, of nineteen Years of Age, and carry him to my Lodgings. [Exeunt.
Enter Lady Toss-up, and Mrs. Flimsy.
La. Toss. Lord, Flimsy! was there ever an Assurance like my Lady Rodomont's, to engross all the Fellows to her self.
Flim. For that matter, Madam, I cou'd dispence with 'em all, and as many more; but a Lady that declares against Marriage, to suffer such a Train of Beaus, shews her self superlatively Vain-glorious.
La. Toss. A vertuous Woman, that declares against Marriage, may as well declare against Eating and Drinking; all Women have Inclinations to Love; besides, Flimsy, Marriage is an Ordinance, and to declare against it, I take to be a very wicked thing; but if she has made a Vow of Chastity, she might release her Admirers to those Ladies that are willing the World shou'd continue peopl'd. My Lady Love-gang swears she'll go live in Scotland about it; my Lady Dandler lays it so to Heart, I'm afraid she'll be silly; for my part, I bear it—not so patiently as Folks think.
Flim. They say, Madam, she has depriv'd you of some particular Lovers; I'd arrest her for 'em.
La. Toss. Sir Harry Sprightly I have danc'd with; Brigadier Blenheim too has handed me out of the Box, but when Lady Rodomont arriv'd, they both flew from me like a parcel of Fortune-hunters from a reputed City-Heiress, when her Father breaks, and can give her nothing.
Flim. Here she comes, surrounded with Beaus, and I warrant, thinks her self as good as the Queen; if I were the Queen, I'd have her taken up for thinking so. Pray Madam affront her.
Enter Lady Rodomont, and Mrs. Lovejoy, follow'd by Sir Harry, Collonel Blenheim, Mr. Nicknack, Major Bramble, several Fops and Footmen.
La. Rod. Dear Messieurs! give me Breath: Not but a Croud of Beaus are very acceptable; but to press upon one too hard, is like a new Monarch just seated on the Throne, that's stifl'd with Court Cringes—Don't you think, Sir Harry, the Italians that approach us at more distance, show greater Veneration and Respect.
Sir Har. Ladies in their High-Noon of labour'd Garniture, Are pleas'd, when we admire 'em like the Sun, Whom none directly looks at, But in the Ev'ning, as the Sun goes down, They're better pleas'd we shou'd approach 'em nearer.
La. Rod. O you malicious Creature! That Censure's from the Freedoms of the French: A Traveller shou'd humour Countries, Customs; in Spain, a modest Woman hides her Face; in France we shift our selves before our Valets; nay, shou'd much greater Freedoms there be practis'd, none but an English Clown suspects our Vertue—Collonel, you're welcome to England; you have distinguish'd your self nobly this Campaign; I hear at Audenard you acted Wonders.
Col. Madam, When Kings command their Subjects to the Field, The Swords our Calling, and we fight for pay, And lengthen out a War to raise Estates; But when a Queen, whose matchless Virtue fires us, And whose obliging Goodness courts our Valour, We march with Pride, and unresisted Force, To spread the Empire of so bright a Mistress.
La. Rod. I find, Collonel, an English Officer may be perfectly well-bred, but I attribute it to your success in War; you have taken most of the French Officers Prisoners, whose Conversation has refin'd your Manners.
Col. 'Tis granted, Madam, their Conversation's wondrous Degaugee— we'll take 'em to refine us ev'ry Year.
La. Rod. Sir Harry, what Diversions are a-foot; but England is so phlegmatick a Climate, no Carnivals, nor Midnight-Masquerades, but Two and fifty Days lost ev'ry Year for want of Balls and Operas on a Sunday.
Sir Har. Our Nation, Madam's so far gone in Parties, That Faction's even carry'd to Diversions, One Party strives for Sense, and t'other Sound; The Major here, I think opposes both.
Bram. So I do—What signifies a Comedy of Fools; han't we the Courts of Westminster to divert us; and your Tragedies, where Kings and Emperors are murder'd; in a quarter of an Hour after they are at Buxton's Coffee-House, playing at All-Fours; then your Singing-Op'ras, I hate your Italian Squaling, like a Woman in Labour; and 'fore-gad, Madam, 'tis a most miraculous thing to me, that a Lady of your Experience, who has travers'd the World, and ought to know Nature in a wonderful Perfection, shou'd admire an Eunuch.
La. Rod. You shou'd have liv'd in former Ages, Major, when odious Tilts and Tournaments were in Vogue; our Pleasures are too curious for your Taste, I fancy the Bear-Garden suits your Genius mightily.
Bram. Ay, Madam, there's Celestial Sport and Pastime; the Musick of the Dogs, the Harmony o' the Butchers, to see, a Mastiff tear a Bull by the Throat, the Bull once wounded, goring o'er the Ground, cants a fat Woman higher than the Monument—I love Reality in my Diversions; but at a Play-House I never laugh'd but once, and that was at a most agreeable Noise the Footmen made in the Upper-Gall'ry.
La. Rod. Savage Creature!
Nick. Your brutish Temper, Major, wou'd make one fancy you were born in Greenland, and suckl'd by a Wolf.
Bram. Better be suckl'd in Greenland than in Essex; a Wolf's a nobler Creature than a Calf; for now young Fellows are so nicely bred, so fondl'd, and so furbelow'd with Follies, they scarce retain the Species of a Man; for my part, I have Magick in my Looks, I have frighted a High-Priest into Quakerism; converted a Jew to no Religion at all, and possess'd Squire Lacy with a Spirit of Prophetick Lying; I can turn a Justice of Peace into a Jack-Daw, a Citizen into any tame kind of Beast, and an old fadling Judge into a fidgetting Dry-Nurse—But I find, Madam, you are got into a Beau-Chat, where my rough Language is as disagreeable, as martial Musick at White's Chocolate-House; tho', were I a Lady of a great Estate, I'd show as great Sagacity in despising the Fops, and think my Fortune prodigiously repaid in the Affections of so renown'd a Person as Major-Bramble. [Exit.
All. Ha, ha, ha.
La. Rod. Oh Mr. Nicknack! I hear the Bauble-Frigot's in the River, I'm on Tip-toes to see what's imported: Are the Catalogues out yet?
Nick. Your Ladyship is set down for the whole Cargo, to select where you please, tho' the Ladies teize me as much for new Fancies, as your good for nothing Actresses do a Poet for Parts, at the disposal of a new Comedy; and I protest Madam, I find it as difficult to get Goods fast enough, as a Woman that Lies in ev'ry Year does to get God-fathers.
La. Rod. Pray, Mr. Nicknack, what Demands have the Ladies made on you.
Nick My Lady Swine-love has bespoke a Dozen of Bermudas Pigs; my Lady Noisy a screaming Parrot; my Lady Squelch a Dutch Mastiff; my Lady Hoyden-tail a Cat o' Mountain; Mrs. Tireman a large Baboon, and Mrs. Lick-it an Italian Greyhound.
La. Rod. You have an infallible Snare for our Sex; but I wonder, Mr. Nicknack, how so refin'd a Merchant as you, can endure the smoaky Coffee-Houses, and the dirty Exchange.
Nick. Madam, I use Robin's, as nice a Coffee-House as Tom's, where no Smoaking's allow'd, but a little Betony or Colt's-foot to a few Hundred thousand Pound Men; as for the Change, I must own, Dutch-Shapes, and Jew-Faces are not so agreeable to look at, as the Beauties at Hampton-Court; and I wonder the better sort of Merchants don't walk above Stairs, that in a dead time o' Business, when we have little to employ our Thoughts, we may divert our Opticks with the pretty Sempstresses.
Sir Har. When Business is at an ebb, what occasion have you to be there.
Nick. Only the Hopes of bubling you Beau-Baronets, that come thither to show your Equipage, and laugh at Men of Business, where we invite you to Dinner at Pontack's, drink heartily about, and then draw you in for a thousand Guineas on some publick Wager,—Tho' really the greatest Misfortune that attends a Merchant is an indispensable Necessity of being ev'ry Day at Change; for shou'd the least Ill-news happen, and a Merchant absent, whip, they protest his Bills, report he's in Holland, when, poor Soul, he's gone no farther than to the Saturday's Club at Black-heath Bowling-Green.
L. Rod. I think you have Travell'd tho', Mr. Nicknack.
Nick. To Leghorne and Smirna, Madam, instead of France and Italy, where I had like to have had a Scimiter in my Guts, by an impotent old Turk, that spy'd me glancing at his Wife, when he had a hundred and fifty besides, and was past the use of one of 'em.
Col. Were you never at Virginia and Barbadoes?
Nick. Virginia and Barbadoes, Collonel, I never did any thing to deserve Transportation; perhaps, when the War's over, some of your Livery that have been us'd to Plundering abroad, and can't leave it off here, may after a Ride or two to Finchly Common have occasion to visit the Plantations. I own I have Correspondents at Barbadoes, now and then, to import a little Citron Water for Ladies that have a Coldness at their Stomach, and a Parcel of Oroonoko Tobacco, to oblige some West Country Countesses.
L. Rod. Is not that my Lady Toss-up? I shou'd hardly have known her, but by her down-right English Air—why no body minds her—Sir Harry, give the Lady a Pinch of sweet Snuff.—[Aside.] She's horridly concern'd at my Attractions, yet too proud to shew it, and looks as disconsolately gay, as a Maid of Thirty at the Wedding of her youngest Sister; how I love to mortify these Creatures.
L. Toss. [Advancing to Lady Rodomont] I find, Madam, by your Ladyship's Appearance and Conversation you have been a very great Traveller.
L. Rod. By your Ladyship's Appearance, I find you're a very great Stranger both to Conversation, and your own Country.
L. Toss. Is Travel, Madam, essential to a Lady's Education, or does it only serve to heigthen her Assurance?
L. Rot. Some Ladies, Madam, are so plentifully stock'd by Nature, they want neither Art nor Travel to improve it.
L. Toss. Tis much then your Ladyship shou'd encourage Art or Travel, where Nature has bestow'd the largest Share, but I wonder not a Lady shou'd be so studious to accomplish her self who so fondly permits a Crowd of Followers.
L. Rod. A Lady, Madam, is seldom concern'd at another's Followers, but when she laments the loss of 'em her self, and if the Fops that flutter about me, give you any Disorder, I can easily resign 'em to your Ladyship.
L. Toss. By no means, Madam, that wou'd be to rob your Ladyship's Cozen, there, who is equally entitul'd to your Cast off Lovers, and your old Cloths.
Mrs. Lov. Her Ladyship's Cozen, Madam, wou'd no more accept of any Lady's old Cloths, than of your Ladyship's Face.
L. Toss. Nay, Madam, if her Ladyship's a'ground, your Face may put both Sexes out o'Countenance. [Exeunt Lady Toss-up, and Mrs. Flimsy.
L. Rod. Tho' minor Beauties at a Venus rave, Spight her the more, the more her Charms inslave; As 'mongst the Stars the Moon maintains her Place, She Bridles in her Air, and Triumphs in her Face.
The End of the Second ACT.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Enter Mrs. Lovejoy.
Mrs. Lov. Here do I follow and caress my Lady, in hopes to steal a Spark 'mongst her Admirers; I have five hundred Pounds in the fourteen per Cent, a Gentlewoman's Fortune in past Ages, but now 'twon't buy a Haberdasher of small Ware. Sir Harry offers me a genteel Settlement; Time was, when a kept Madam elbow'd the whole Drawing-Room; but now we have a virtuous Court agen, a Lord's Mistress is almost as despicable as a Citizen's Wife.—Suppose I trick the Collonel into Marriage—To bridle at a Review in Hyde-Park, have rich Plunder brought me from Flanders, and boast in Company how much my Husband ballances the Pow'r of Europe; but then comes Peace, and Half-pay, and the Brigadier's Lady must condescend to dress Heads, make Mantoes, or vainly feed her Pride, by personating what she really was on the most renown'd Drury-Lane Theatre.—Suppose I rail at the Government, and so trap the rich Major; but then he's trapt in a Plot, some poor Lord begs his Estate, and I'm to live upon the mighty Comfort of having it again when the Pretender comes—Or what if I wheedle in with Mr. Nick-nack—To have a fine House in Billiter-Lane, prodigious great Dinners, and ready Cash for Play. And, faith, now-a-days, a rich Merchant's Wife keeps as late Hours, Games as high, and makes as bulky a Figure as e'er a Dutchess in the two united Kingdoms.
Enter Sir Harry.
Sir Har. How kind this was, my dear, pretty Mrs. Lovejoy, to leave so much good Company to meet me here alone.
Mrs. Lov. How kind you are to your self Sir Harry, in harbouring so ridiculous a Notion.
Sir Har. Are you resolv'd then, Madam, to let this gay, this proper well-set Person o' mine pine away like a green Sickness Girl, when I have so generously offer'd you two hundred Pound a Year, only to be a little whimsical with you.
Mrs. Lov. Two hundred a year! wou'd you make a Whore of me Sir Harry?
Sir Har. A Whore! have a care, Child, who you reflect upon, a Lady of two hundred a Year, a Whore; Whores are Creatures that wear Pattens and Straw-hats. I'd fain hear any body call a kept Mistress, Whore, while there's Law to be had, if I were she, I'd make 'em severely pay for't.
Mrs. Lov. But pray, Sir Harry, where's the Difference between a common Woman, and one that's kept; they have equally lost their Reputation, and no body of any Character will visit 'em.
Sir Har. Visit 'em! Ladies of different Orders shou'd converse amongst themselves, I know a Set of kept Mistresses that visit one another with all the Ceremony of Countesses, take place of one another according to the Degree of their Keepers, are call'd to one another's Labours, and live in perfect Sister-hood like the Grand Seignor's Seraglio; two of 'em indeed had a violent Quarrel t'other day, but 'twas only about State Affairs, one happening to be a Whig, and t'other a Tory.
Mrs. Lov. Good Sir Harry, what have you seen so loose in my Behaviour to attack me at this rate?
Sir Har. Why, look you, Child, do'st thee consider what an Income two hundred a Year is; some Country Gentlemen han't more to make their Elder Sons Esquires, and raise Portions for eleven awkard Daughters. Besides, my Dear, thou art but a whiffling sort of a Pinnace, I have been proffer'd lovely, large, First Rate Ladies for half the Mony. There's Winny Wag-tail in Channel Row, wou'd have left it to my Generosity; Mrs. Tippet the Furrier's Wife in Walbrook wou'd have taken five hundred Pound down, and Sufan Sigh-fort the quaking Sempstress had n't the Assurance to ask me above the rent of her Shop.——I must tell you, Love, the Nation's over stock'd with Women, I can have a hundred and fifty Furbuloe Scarf-makers for as many Silver Thimbles; and but last Long Vacation, a very considerable Pleader offer'd me his two Daughters for Six and Eight Pence a Night.
Mrs. Lov. Sir Harry, this Discourse suits not my Genius, I have a Fortune, tho' not thousands enough to keep me from that odious thing you'd tempt me to; therefore if you pursue this Humour any farther, I must acquaint my Lady with it.
Sir Har. Why, then, Madam, do I most devoutly pray to Venus there, and each kind Creature here, that the Men may avoid you, as if you had n't a Lure about you, that for madness you may turn Gam'ster, lose all your Fortune at Play, and then grow crooked for want of Mony to buy you a new Pair of Stayes. [Exit.
Mrs. Lov. Was ever any thing so impudent! he's a charming Fellow tho', and two hundred a Year is a charming Allowance too.—But Virtue! Virtue!— Oh! that I had liv'd in good King Some-body's Days.
Enter Major Bramble.
Bra. Madam Lovejoy, your most humble Servant, here's a Ring that was pawn'd to me for twenty Guineas by a Welch Knight, on his being chose High Sheriff o'the County, and the Mony not being paid in due time, it's become forfeited; I therefore entreat the Favour of you to wear it.
Mrs. Lov. Your very humble Servant, Major, they are delicate Stones indeed; but what Service must I do you in return of so great a Compliment?
Bra. Only that, Madam, of being my Advocate to Lady Rodomont, whose Beauty I have long admir'd, and whose Estate I do profoundly reverence. [Aside.] Nor can I on a just survey of my Person and Parts find the least Obstacle, why her Inclinations shou'd n't mount like mine, that without much Ceremony or foppish Courtship, we might unite Circumstances, and astonish the World at the Sight of a couple so prodigiously well pair'd.
Mrs. Lov. Were my Fortune, Major, equal to my Lady's, my Judgment wou'd be as much admir'd in such a Choice as my Happiness wou'd be envy'd; but my Lady's of so uncommon a cold Constitution so whimsically gay, and fond of new Diversions, she laughs at ev'ry serious Thought of Love.
Bra. Perhaps, Madam, my Lady never had an Offer worth her serious Notice, the Fops a course chatter and teaze the Women, but when great Statesmen condescend to Love, and while they Court, Affairs of State stand still; a Lady shou'd be proud of such an Offer; what Woman wou'd not think her self most highly honour'd to have an amorous Judge approach her with his Tipstaff.
Mrs. Lov. Ay, Major, to have the State stand still, as if a Woman were of mightier Moment wou'd sooth a Lady's Pride, 'twou'd be so pretty to adjourn the Parliament when their Mistresses send for 'em to Picquet; and were my Lady sensible how vast an Honour you design her, she certainly wou'd own an equal Passion.
Bra. [Aside] I profess a very ingenious Woman, and cou'd I but be satisfy'd, she were entirely in the French Int'rest, I I wou'd prefer her to Madam Maintenon's Cabinet Council, to consult about the next Invasion.
Nic. Oh! Mrs. Lovejoy, I have been hurry'd quite out of my Senses, three more Ships are sail'd in upon me this Morning; the Atlas Merchant Man, Captain Sunburnt Commander from the East Indies, the Dighton Gally from the musty Islands, and the Hankerchief Frigot from Smirna.
Mrs. Lov. Pray, Mr. Nicknack, when's the Sale?
Nic. Now, now, Madam, and the fat India Women from all Parts o'the Town do croud and scold like a Parcel of Fish-Wives at a Mackrel-Boat—Mrs. Trapes in Leadenhall Street is hawling away the Umbrellas for the walking Gentry, Mrs. Kanister in Hatton Garden, buys up all the course Bohee-Tea for the Holborn Ladies Breakfasts, and Mrs. Furnish at St. James's has order'd Lots of Fans, and China, and India Pictures to be set by for her, 'till she can borrow Mony to pay for 'em.——But, Madam, I ha' brought you a couple of the prettiest Parrokeets, and the charming'st Monkey for my Lady that ever was seen; a Coster-monger's Wife kiss'd it, burst into Tears, and said, 'Twas so like an only Child she had just bury'd. I thought the poor Woman wou'd ha' swoon'd away.
Mrs. Lov. Thank you good Mr. Nicknack.
Nick. But, Madam, have you told my Lady, what a violent Inflammation I have about her?
Mrs. Lov. She's now at Cards with the Collonel, and next to the new Monkey you'll be the welcom'st Creature alive to her.—Sweet Major excuse me, for I must run to my dear Parrokeets. [Exit.
Bra. Prithee, Friend, what Beau-maggot has thy Pericranium lately bred to give thee pretensions to Lady Rodomont?
Nick. And pray, Major; what prejudice have the Ladies done you, that you shou'd revenge it by offering 'em your disagreeable self? For he that murmus at so good a Queen, must certainly be disaffected to the whole Sex.
Bra. Do'st thou imagine a Woman of sense that has seen he great Court of France, and visited Madam de Trollop, Madam de Frippery, and Madam de Twangdillion, where Ladies are great Politicians, and talk of Ramparts, Bastions, and Aqueducts will prefer thy Parrots and Jack-daws to a Man of Politicks, whom the Prince of Conti consulted about the Kingdom of Poland. Monsieur Chamillard about the late Invasion.
Nick. I can't suppose, Major, a Lady of her Intellects, will fling her self away on a Grumbletonian, to have her Estate confiscated, receive Visits in the Gate-house, when her Husband's clapt up for Treason, and afterwards quarrel with the Heralds about the length of her Veil, when her Spouse made his Exit at Tyburn.
Bra. Why ha'st thou the assurance to despise Heroes that die in a State Cause, St. Charnock, and St. Gregg; these were Men that made a noise i'the World, whose Names are in ev'ry News Paper, and let the Cause be what it will, I honour People that make a noise in the World.—But prithee, Mr. Nicknack, what makes you Citizens that spring from a little Counting-house, up three Steps at the further End of a dark Ware-house, attempt Women o'Quality?
Nick. Why, Sir, I can settle Threescore Thousand Pounds upon her.
Bra. Settle Threescore Thousand Pounds upon her;—Wou'd you buy a Wife as you do Scamony and Cocheneal by Inch of Candle? If I were a Woman, I shou'd hate the sound of an Inch of Candle. I'll settle Major Bramble upon her, an inestimable Jewel, and if she has no more sense than to refuse me; for a Chocolate-house, Jelley Eater, she has travell'd to as little improvement, as some other Beau Ladies, that admire the Agility of the French, before the Stability of the Swiss Cantons; therefore you may go tire her with your Monkey tricks, to give her a true relish of my more weighty Arguments.—In the mean time, I'll step to the Tow'r, to congratulate the safe Arrival of some very great Persons out of Scotland. [Exit.
Nick. Now has this old Fellow the vanity to think his Person and Qualities are as acceptable to a fine Woman as if he had been bred at Court; but Asses will herd and bray amongst the fair Kine, like a knot of Stock-jobbing Jews that crowd Garraways Coffee-house, and fright away us Beau Merchants with the stink of Bread and Cheese Snuff. [Exit.
SCENE Changes to Covent-Garden.
Enter Matter Totty, and Shrimp.
Tot. Lord! Lord! What a hugeous Place this London is? I thank you heartily, Sir, for taking Care of me; for I shou'd ha' quite lost my self, and then, perhaps, some strange Person might ha' taken me up, and ha' kept me; but what makes People in such a hurry here, as if at Lincoln, the Mayor and Aldermen were going to a Bull-baiting; at other times Folks in the Country walk more slowly, as tho' they were going to Church.
Shr. London, Master, is the Seat of Business, People do ev'ry thing in a hurry here, except paying their Debts, and lying with their Wives; but what Notion had you of the Town before you saw it?
Tot. Why, my Grand-mother says, Tis the wicked'st Place under the Copes of Heav'n, and the Filthinesses she has seen there, have made her frigid to Mankind; she says, young Fellows are greedy after young Wenches, and make a scoff at old Folks; Men of Quality have no sense of well-doing, and Women o'Quality no sense of Self-denial; your highflown Gentry, no sense of Humility, and the Common People no sense of good Manners; mid-night Collonels, no sense of Sobriety; Vintners no sense of Honesty; City Wives, no sense of Chastity, and their Husbands, no sense at all.
Shr. You are deceiv'd, Master, People come hither for Education and Improvement: Ev'ry Merchant's Prentice now assumes an air of Wisdom, talks of Gaming, Dress, and Poetry; frequents the Hazard-Table at Lambeth, the Bowling-Green at Islington, and keeps a Race-Horse for Hackney-Marsh; has a Silver Watch double gilt, Pearl colour Silk Stockings, and a black Suit for Lent, with a couple of Drop-Locks hanging up in the Counting-house, which are occasionally hook'd on to a Spruce-Bob to Squire two Chamber-Maids to the Rival Queens.
Tot. But do People obey their Parents in London?
Shr. Never, never, Master, this is an Age of Freedom and good Humour; Fathers tope Claret with their Sons, and Mothers Rosa Solis with their Daughters; they Rake together, Intreague together, divide Estates, and persue their Inclinations; Familiarity makes young Fellows easie, and old Fellows have the happiness to live out all their Days.
Tot. O Gemini that's pure! well I always had a mighty mind to see London, because my Grand-mother would never let me; and d'you belong to Sir Harry Sprightly, say you, Sir?
Shr. I do my self the Honour to sojourn with him; Sir Harry Compliments me with adjusting some Solecisms in his Dress; we were Neighbour's Children in the Country, and always very fond of one another, he begg'd the Favour of me to meet you at the Inn, give you some refreshment, and conduct you to his Lodgings;—Oh! Here comes a Friend o'mine lately return'd from Flanders, that will be glad to associate with us; he's a Person of great Worth, I assure you, and might have had great Preferments in the Army; but his good Manners, like some other well-bred military Sparks, made him rather retreat than put himself forward.
Mr. Knapsack, your most humble Servant, an ingenious young Gentleman here, just arriv'd from the Fenns in Lincolnshire, desires to be known to you; he's at present but a rough Diamond wholly ignorant of the Town, but your Conversation will make him Brillant.
Knap. You know my Profession, Mr. Shrimp, and think you can't trespass on my modesty; but your praises are enough to put our whole Regiment out o'countenance, had we not quarter'd in Ireland.—The young Gentleman by his deportment seems to be the Darling of a Family, and Heir to a good Estate.
Tot. I shall have Five Hundred a Year, Sir, when my Grand-mother gives up the Ghost; but at present she allows me but Eighteen Pence a Week for reading the Book of Martyrs to her, copying Receipts, and supporting her about the House.
Shr. Eighteen Pence a Week! Why the Kitchin Wench gets more for her Coney Skins; but what allowance are you to have now, Master, you should have handsome Lodgings in Pall-Mall Tutors to embellish you, dress out for Whites, keep a Chair by the Week, and an impudent Footman to knock down People before you.
Tot. Ay, but my Grand-mother charg'd me on her Blessing never to go to that end o'the Town; she says, they are abominable Spendthrifts there; bid me remember the Prodigal Son, and has given me only a broad Jacobus to pay for Post Letters, and a Hundred Pound Bill upon Sir Francis to put me Clerk to an Attorney.
Shr. Clerk to an Attorney! Why the Nation swarms with 'em; so many young Fellows now are bred to that Profession, Men, and their Wives are forc'd to go to Law to find bus'ness for their Children.
Knap. Hang the Hundred Pounds; we'll spend it, Master, in showing you the Town, the Lyons, and the Tombs, the Bears, and the Morocco's, the Jew's Synagogue, and the Gyants at Guild-hall, my Lord-Mayor's great Coach, and my Lady Mayoress's great Tower.
Tot. Shan't we go to the Play-house too, and see Pinkeman, Bullock, and Jubilee Dicky?
Knap. Ay, and behind the Scenes too amongst the pretty Actresses; I must have you a smart Youth, understand the finish'd Vices o'the Town, learn to swear like a Gentleman of Ten Thousand a Year, few Men of Estates are bred to Conversation, game like a desp'rate younger Brother, several embroider'd Suits are known to live by't, drink abundantly to prevent dull-thinking, and Whore lustily to encourage the Dispensary that gives the poor Physick for nothing. Mr. Shrimp here knows the World; and, I warrant, for cogging a Die, bullying a Coward, bilking a Hackney Coachman, and storming a Nest of Whores in Drury-lane, not a Master of Arts in either University can come near him.
Tot. Fegs, so I will, they shan't think to cow me any longer; one cou'd never stir out o'the Room, but my Grand-mother was purring after a Body, and if she heard one got a little merry at T. Totum, with the Maids, she'd quaver out Totty, come, and say your Catechism;—What is the chief End of Man? And upon ev'ry little Fault, she'd lock me up to get Quarles's Emblems by heart, and threaten I shou'd lie in the great Room that's haunted, and never let one have any other diversion, than to hear the Chaplain play Jumping Joan upon the Base Viol.
Shr. Shall we adjourn to the Rose, the Drawer's my particular Friend, and will give us French Wine for Eighteen Pence a Bottle.
Tot. But lets ha' some Sack, do.
Knap. Ay, and Sugar, my brave Boy, thou shall't have any thing; we'll be merry as mony'd Sailors over a Bowl o'Rum Punch, fluster'd as their Whores, and frolicksom, 'till we have spent all, drink Confusion to all Grand-mothers, and if the old Cat pretends to Ptysick it much longer, we'll get an Act of Parliament to poyson her.
Tot. With all my Heart! they say the Parliament can do any thing. [Exeunt.
SCENE, A Drawing-Room.
Enter the Collonel, and Lady Rodomont rising from Play.
L. Rod. Fling up the Cards, good Collonel, after two Games, the Pleasure becomes a Business; like my Lady Shuffler that gits her living at 'em.
Col. Your Ladyship's a Chymist in Diversions, extracts the quintessence of ev'ry Pleasure, and leaves the drossy Part upon the World; Agreements, when too tedious pall the Fancy, when short they quicken and refine our Appetites; and the sublimest Joy to Mortals known, evaporates the Moment that 'tis tasted.
L. Rod. Variety alone supports dull Life, the light Amusements that connect and change, Spur on the creeping Circle of the Year; I love to humour an unbounded Genius, to give a lose to ev'ry spring of Fancy, to rove, to range, to sport with different Countries, and share the Revels of the Universe.
Col. My Genius fain wou'd Court superiour Blessings; those Passions are too hurrying to last; Vapours that start from a Mercurial Brain, whose wild Chimera's flush the lighter Faculties, which tir'd i'th'vain pursuit of fancy'd Pleasures; a Passion more substantial Courts our Reason, solid, persuasive, elegant, sublime, where ev'ry Sense crowds to the luscious Banquet, and ev'ry nobler Faculty's imploy'd.
L. Rod. That Passion you describe's a sleeping Potion, a lazy, stupid, lethargy of Mind, that nums our Faculties, destroys our Reason, and to our Sex the bane of all Agreements; shou'd I whom Fortune, lavish of her store, has given the means to glut insatiate Wishes, out-vie my Sex, and Lord it o'er Mankind, constrain my rambling Pleasures, check my Liberty for an insipid Cooing sort of Life, which marry'd Fools think Heav'n, and cheat each other.
Col. Are Love and Pleasure, Madam, so incongruous?—Methinks the very name of Love exhilerates; meaner delights were meant but to persuade us, Toys to provoke and heighten our desires, which Love confirms and Crowns with mightier extasie.