Q2r

The Belle’s Stratagem.

A Comedy.

Q2 Q2v 228


This Comedy was brought out at Covent Garden in
the year 17801780; it has been constantly on the stage
since, and was performed before the Royal Family once
every season as long as they frequented the Theatres.


A Critic, in language somewhat florid, has said of
Letitia Hardy that were Venus and Minerva to make
a descent to the Earth, their united powers would be
requisite to a perfect exhibition of the character. Her
adventures are certainly the most brilliant, though rather
fanciful. Davies, who gives some pages of praise to
this Comedy, in his Life of Garrick, pronounces that
Letitia’s adventures could have occurred only to the
Imagination of a Lady.


Perhaps the adventures of Sir George and Lady
Frances
are the most touching. His jealousy is not
the common jealousy of the Stage—that of distrust, but
that of precaution, in a Husband who is still a Lover,
devoting himself to his new found Happiness, and withdrawing
in a tremor from the mixed circle of Fashion.
The Moral of the play is enforced, with great life and
spirit, in the defeat of the scouted and exiled libertine
Courtall.


Some Speeches of deeper Thought stand prominent,
amidst the general current of vivacious language; for
instance—the half ironical excuse for employing foreign
servants, and the justification of foreign Tours, in the
third scene of the first act; the descriptions of a Woman
of Fashion in the first scene of the second act; and
Letitia’s description of a woman devoted to her husband,
towards the close of the Masquerade scene in the fourth
act. The original Letitia (Miss Younge afterwards
Mrs. Pope) it is said was always too much agitated to
be able to suppress a real tear, when, in terror for the
result, she took off her Mask and discovered herself to
Doricourt at the end of the Play.

Q3r 229


Dedication,
by Permission.


To
the Queen.


Madam,


In the following Comedy, my purpose
was to draw a female character that, with the
most lively Sensibility, fine Understanding, and elegant
Accomplishments, should in her natural character
unite that graceful Reserve and Delicacy,
which, veiling those charms, render them still more
interesting. In delineating such a Character my
Heart naturally dedicated it to your Majesty, and
formed a wish for Permission to lay it at your feet.
Your Majesty’s graciously allowing me this high
Honour is the point to which my hopes aspired,
and a Reward, of which I may indeed be proud.


Madam,


With the warmest wishes for the continuance
of your Majesty’s Felicity,
I am

Your Majesty’s


Most devoted
and most dutiful Servant,

Hannah Cowley.

Q3v 230


Characters.


Men.

Doricourt.

Hardy.

Sir George Touchwood.

Flutter.

Saville.

Courtall.

Silvertongue.

First Gentleman.

Second Gentleman.

Mountebank.

French Valet.

Dick.

Gibson.


Women.

Letitia Hardy.

Mrs. Rackett.

Lady Frances Touchwood.

Miss Ogle.

Kitty Willis.

Q4r 231

The Belle’s Stratagem.

Act the First.

Scene I.

Lincoln’s Inn.
Enter Saville, at a distance, looking round as if at a
loss, followed by a Servant.

Sav.

Lincoln’s-Inn, well. But where to find him,
now I am in Lincoln’s-Inn? Where did he say his
Master was?

Serv.

He only said in Lincoln’s-Inn, Sir.

Sav.

And your wisdom never enquired at whose
Chambers?

Serv.

Sir, you spoke to the Servant yourself!

Sav.

If I was too impatient to ask questions, you
ought to have taken directions Blockhead!—
Enter Courtall.
Ha! Courtall!—Bid him keep the horses in motion,
and do you enquire at all the Chambers round—
Exit Servant. What adventure brings you to this
part of Town?—Have any of the long Robes
handsome Sisters or Daughters?

Court.

Perhaps they have—but, I came on a different
errand; and had thy good fortune brought
thee here sooner I’d have given thee such a treat! Q4v 232

Sav.

I am sorry I missed it—what was it?

Court.

I was informed that my Cousins Fallow were
come to Town, and desired earnestly to see me at
their Lodgings in Warwick Court Holborn. Away
drove I, painting them all the way as so many Hebes.
They came from the furthest part of Northumberland,
had never been in Town, and of course were, as I
concluded, made up of Rusticity and Beauty.

Sav.

Well!

Court.

After waiting thirty minutes, during which
there was a violent bustle above, in burst five sallow
damsels; four of them Maypoles. Nature, to introduce
her various lines, midst so many strait ones
made the fifth a Curve, in the Æsop stile. Like
hounds on a fresh scent, they all opened—at once:
“Oh, Cousin Courtall!—How do you do Cousin
Courtall! in different voices Lord Cousin, I’m
glad you’re come! We want you to go with us to
the Park, and the Plays, and the Opera, and all
the fine places!”
You may send for your Country
Suitors, thought I, my dears to attend you, for I am
sure I wont.—However, I heroically staid an hour
with them, and discovered that the Misses were all
come to Town with the hopes of leaving it—Wives;
—their heads full of Amiable Baronets, and Fops,
and Adventures.

Sav.

But, how could you get off?

Court.

Oh, pleaded Engagements.—However Conscience
twitched—so I breakfasted with them this
morning, and ’squired them to the Gardens here, as
the most private place in Town; then, took a sorrowful
leave, complaining of my hard, hard, fortune, that
obliged me—ha! ha! ha! to set off immediately for
Dorsetshire.

Sav.

I congratulate you on your Escape.—Courtall
at the Opera with five awkward Country Cousins,
ha! ha! ha! Why, your existence as a man of
Fashion could not have survived it.

Court.

The Plagues! had they come to Town, like Q5r 233
the Rustics of the last age, to see St. Paul’s, the
Lions, and the Waxwork, at their Service; but, the
Cousins of our day come up Ladies—and, with the
knowledge they glean from Pocket-books and Magazines
Fine Ladies; laugh at the Bashfulness of their
grandmothers, and boldly demand their entrées into
the first Circles.

Sav.

Looks round. Where can this fellow be!
Come, give me some News—I have been at war with
woodcocks and partridges, and am a stranger to all
that has passed out of their region.

Court.

News! More than in three Gazettes. The
Mamas, with female families, are going to petition
for a Bill—to compel Bachelors to marry!

Sav.

They’ll succeed! For, the majority of our
Lawgivers—being themselves caught—will enforce
a Maxim of Legislation—that every man shall be
equally burthened!

Court.

Ha! ha! But prithee Saville, how came
you in Town whilst the country is over-run with
Hares and Foxes?

Sav.

I came to meet my friend Doricourt, who,
you know, is lately arrived from Rome.

Court.

Arrived! Aye, and has driven us all out!
His Carriages, his Liveries, his Dress, Himself, are
the Rage of the day! His first appearance set the
whole town in a Ferment, and his Valet is beseiged
by Levées of Taylors and other ministers of Fashion
to gratify the Impatience of their customers for becoming
à la Doricourt. Nay, the beautiful Lady
Frolic ’tother night, with two Sister Countesses, insisted
upon his waistcoat for muffs; and their snowy
arms now bear it in triumph about Town, to the heartrending
affliction of all our Beaux Garçons.

Sav.

Indeed! Well, those little gallantries will soon
be over; he’s on the point of Marriage.

Court.

Marriage! Doricourt on the point of
Marriage!—the happiest tidings you could have Q5v 234
given, next to his being hanged. Who is the Bride
elect?

Sav.

Miss Hardy, the rich Heiress. She is come
to Town à propos with her father, who is arrived to
attend his duty in Parliament. The match was made
by the Parents, and the Courtship began on the
nurse’s knees; Master used to crow at Miss, and
Miss used to chuckle at Master.

Court.

Then, by this time, they care no more for
each other—than I do for my country cousins.

Sav.

I don’t know that; they have never met since
—thus high; and so, at least have no disregard for
each other.

Court.

Never met! odd!

Sav.

A Whim of Mr. Hardy’s; he thought his
daughter’s charms, in making a sudden, would make
a more forcible impression, if her Lover remained in
ignorance of them till he had made the Grand Tour.
His gift of Foreknowledge, on which you know how
incessantly he piques himself, told him all this.
Enter Saville’s Servant.

Serv.

Mr. Doricourt Sir has been at Counsellor
Pledell’s—and has been gone about five minutes.

Sav.

Five minutes! ’Tis precisely the time I have
been too late all my life!—Good morrow, Courtall, I
must pursue him. going

Court.

Promise to dine with me to day; I have
some honest fellows. Going off, on the opposite side.

Sav.

Cant promise; perhaps I may.—See there—
there’s a bevy of female Patagonians coming down
upon us!

Court.

By the memory of Brodignag they must be
my strapping Cousins!—I dare not look behind me—
Run, man, run!


Exeunt, same side.
Q6r 235

Scene II.

A hall at Doricourt’s.
Enter the french Valet, and other foreign Servants,
and some Tradesmen.

Tradesm.

Well then, you have overhauled to us all
his Honour’s Wardrobe.

Valet.

All, en verité, Messieurs! you avez seen
every ting. Serviteur, serviteurExeunt Tradesmen.
Ah! here comes vun autre curious Englishman,
and dat’s vun autre guinee pour moi
Enter Saville.
Allons, Monseiur, dis way; I vill shew you tings,
such tings you never see in England!—Velvets by
Le Mosse, Suits cut by Verdue, trimmings by Grossette,
embroidery by Detanville

Sav.

Puppy! where is your Master?
Enter Porter.

Port.

You chattering, frog-eating, dunderhead
dress-monger—learn to know when you see a Gentleman.
’Tis Mr. Saville.

Valet.

Monsieur Saville! Je suis mort de peur!—
Ten Tousand pardones! Excusez mon erreur, and
permit me to conduct you to Monsieur Doricourt;
he be too happy à vous voir.


Exeunt.
Scene III. Q6v 236

Scene III.

An apartment at Doricourt’s.
Enter Doricourt.

Doric.

Speaking to a Servant behind. I shall be
too late for St. James’s; bid him come immediately.
Enter Valet and Saville.

Valet.

Monsieur Saville. Exit.

Doric.

Most fortunate! My dear Saville, let the
warmth of my salutation speak the pleasure of my
heart.

Sav.

This is some Comfort, after the scurvy reception
I met with in your Hall.—I prepared my
mind, as I came up the stairs, for a —bon jour—a grimace
—and an Adieu!

Dor.

Why so?

Sav.

Judging of the Master from the rest of the
family.—Wherefore that flock of Foreigners below,
with their parchment faces and snuffy whiskers?
What! cant an Englishman stand behind your carriage,
or put on your Coat!

Dor.

Stale, my dear Saville, stale! Englishmen
make the best Artizans, Soldiers, and Philosophers
in the world—but, the very worst Footmen. I keep
French fellows and Germans, as the Romans kept
slaves, because their own countrymen had minds too
enlarged and haughty to descend, with a Grace, to
the duties of such a station.

Sav.

A good excuse for a bad practice.

Dor.

On my honor, Experience would convince
you of its Truth. A Frenchman neither hears, sees,
or breathes—but as his Master directs; and his whole
system of conduct is comprised in one short word—
Obedience! An Englishman looking grave reasons, Q7r 237
forms opinions, cogitates, and disputes; the
one, is the mere creature of your Will; the other, a
being believing himself of equal importance in the
universal scale with yourself; and is therefore your
Judge whilst he wears your Livery, and decides on
your actions with the freedom of a Censor.

Sav.

And all this in defence of a custom I have
heard you execrate—together with all the adventitious
manners imported by our travelled gentry!

Dor.

Aye, but that was at Eighteen; we are always
very wise at eighteen!—But, for the sake of higher
objects than Servants, quarrel not with Travel.—We
go into Italy, where the sole business of the people
is to improve the powers of Music, we yield to the
fascination, and grow Enthusiasts in the charming
science. We travel over France, and see the whole
kingdom composing Ornaments and inventing
Fashions, we condescend to avail ourselves of their
industry, and to adopt their modes. To England we
return, and find the Nation intent on the most important
objects; Polity, Commerce, War, with all
the Liberal Arts, employ her sons. The latent sparks
glow afresh within our bosoms, with faculties enlarged,
we have learnt, by Contrast, the value of our
home, the amusing follies of the Continent imperceptibly
slide away, and Senators, Statesmen, Patriots,
and Heroes, emerge from the virtú of Italy, and the
frippery of France.

Sav.

I may as well give it up! You had always
the art of placing your faults in the most favorable
light; but I cant help liking you, faults and all, so,
to start a subject which must please you—when do
you expect Miss Hardy?

Dor.

The Zest of expectation is past. She is
arrived, and I this morning had the Honour of an
interview at Pledell’s. The writings were ready,
and, in obedience to Mr. Hardy, we met to sign and
seal. Q7v 238

Sav.

Was your heart elate, or sunk, when you beheld
your Mistress?

Dor.

Neither one or the other! she’s a fine girl, as
far as mere Person goes――But—

Sav.

But what?

Dor.

Why, she’s only a fine girl—Complexion,
Shape, and Features,—nothing more!

Sav.

Are not they enough?

Dor.

No! She should have Spirit! Fire! l’air
enjoué!
that Naiveté—something, nothing, which
every body sensates, and which nobody can describe,
in the resistless charmers of Italy and France.

Sav.

Thanks! to the parsimony of my father which
kept me from Travel! I would not have been without
my admiration of true unaffected English beauty
—to have been quarrelled for by all the Belles of Versailles
and Florence!

Dor.

Pho! thou hast no Taste—English beauty!
’tis Insipidity;—it wants Zest, it wants Poignancy.
Frank! I have known a Frenchwoman, indebted to
Nature for no present but a pair of decent Eyes,
reckon in her suite as many Comtes, Marquisses, and
Petites Maîtres, as would satisfy the Vanity of three
dozen of our first-rate Toasts. I have known an Italian
Marquisina make ten conquests in stepping from
her Carriage, and carry her slaves from one city to
another, whose real intrinsic Beauty would have
yielded to half the little Grisettes that pace your
Park on a Sunday.

Sav.

And, has Miss Hardy nothing of this?

Dor.

If she has, she was pleased to keep it to herself.
I was in the room half an hour before I could
catch the colour of her eyes, and every attempt to
draw her into Conversation occasioned so cruel an
embarrassment, that I was reduced to conversation
with her Father, on News, French fleets, and Spanish
Captures. However, I have engaged myself.

Sav.

So Miss Hardy with only Beauty, Modesty, Q8r 239
and Merit, is doomed to a husband who will despise
her.

Dor.

You are unjust. Though she has not inspired
me with violent Passion—my Honor secures her Felicity!

Sav.

Come, come, Doricourt, you know very well
that when the Honor of a husband is locum-tenens
for his Heart, his wife must be as indifferent as himself,
if she is not unhappy.

Dor.

Pho! never moralize without Spectacles.
But, as we are on the tender subject, how did you
bear Touchwood’s carrying Lady Frances?

Sav.

You know I looked up to her only with
humble hope, and Sir George is every way worthy
of her. Disappointed in a sweet partial tie—why, I
thus have the more leisure to run about and make
myself useful—to the World at large.

Dor.

A la Mode anglaise, a Philosopher—even in
Love!

Sav.

I am going to call in at Hardy’s. I detain
you; you seem dressed at all points—and of course
have an engagement.

Dor.

To St. James’s. I shall be at the Masquerade
in the Evening; but, breakfast with me tomorrow,
and we’ll talk of our old companions—for,
I pledge myself to you, Saville, the air of the Continent
has not effaced one youthful prejudice or attachment.

Sav.

——Except, as to Ladies and Servants!

Doric.

True; there I plead guilty;—but, I have
never yet found any Man whom I could cordially
take to my heart, and call Friend, who was not born
beneath a British Sky, and whose Heart and Manners
were not truly English.

Exeunt
Scene IV. Q8v 240

Scene IV.

An apartment at Mr. Hardy’s.
Flutter, seated on a Sopha, tossing over some
Books.

Flut.

What have we here?—The Authentic History
of Lapland
—Oh, that may be dipped into,
for the mind quarrels not with Romance in Lapland
—H-r-r-r reads.
Enter Saville.

Sav.

Ah! Flutter at Study! What a dearth must
there be of News and Scandal! Have you seen Mrs.
Rackett
? Miss Hardy, I find, is not at home.

Flut.

I have not seen the Widow yet. I have been
near the North Pole whilst she has been at her Toilette.
Flinging away the book, and yawning.

Sav.

Have any events occurred in the World,
since yesterday?

Flut.

Oh, yes; I stopped at the Sale of Hunters
as I came, and found Lord James Jessamy, Sir William
Wilding
, and Mr. What’s his name?—When the
first Hunter was brought out――But, now I think of
it, you shant know a syllable of the matter; for I
have been informed that you never believe more than
half of what I say!

Sav.

My dear fellow, somebody has been egregiously
incorrect!—Half?—Why I never believe one
tenth—that is according to the plain and literal Expression;
but, as I understand you, your intelligence
is amusing.

Flut.

Why all this is very hard now! I never related
a falsity in my life, unless I stumbled upon it by mistake,
and, if it were otherwise, you dull matter-offact
people are infinitely obliged to those warm R1r 241
Imaginations which, to amuse, soar into Fiction.
The actual Events of this little dirty world are not
worth talking about, unless you embellish them!
—ah! here comes Mrs. Rackett—Adieu to Weeds I
see—all Life!—
Enter Mrs. Rackett.
Enter, Madam, in all your Charms! Saville has been
impatient with your Toilette for keeping you so long;
but, I think we are much obliged to it—and so are
you!

Mrs. R.

How so pray?—Good morning to you
both—here, here’s a hand a-piece for you.
They kiss her hands.

Flut.

How so!—Because to your Toilette you owe
so many Beauties!

Mrs. R.

Delightful Compliment!—What do you
think of that, Saville?

Sav.

That he and his Compliments are alike—
showy but wont bear examining. So you brought
Miss Hardy to Town last night?

Mrs. R.

Yes, I should have brought her before, but
I had a fall from my horse that confined me a week.
I suppose, in her heart, she a dozen times an hour
half wished it had been fatal to me.

Flut.

Why?

Mrs. R.

Had she not an expecting Lover in Town
all the time? She is gone to meet him this morning
at the Lawyer’s. I hope she’ll charm—she’s the
sweetest girl in the world.

Sav.

Like murder—Vanity will out; you have convinced
me you think yourself more charming.

Mrs. R.

How!

Sav.

Oh, you know, no woman praises another, unless,
in the very perfection she allows, she thinks
herself superior.

Flut.

And, unless he is conscious he deserves their
hatred, no man ever rails at the Sex. Vol. I. R R1v 242

Mrs. R.

Thank ye, Flutter, I owe ye a Bouquet
for that. I am going to visit the new married Lady
Frances Touchwood.—Who knows her Husband?

Flut.

Every body.

Mrs. R.

Is there not something odd in his character?

Sav.

Why—Yes! he is passionately fond of his
Wife.—But, so petulant is his love, that he opened
the Cage of a favorite Bullfinch and sent it to catch
Butterflies, because she rewarded its song with a
kiss!

Mrs. R.

Intolerable Monster! He deserves—

Sav.

Nay nay, nay nay, this is your Sex now. Give
a woman but one trait of Character, off she goes,
sees the whole Being, marks him for an Angel or
a Devil, and so exhibits him to all her acquaintance.
This Monster! is one of the worthiest fellows upon
earth; has sound sense in a liberal mind; but doats
on his wife to such excess, that he quarrels with every
thing she admires, and is jealous of her Tippet and
Nosegay.

Mrs. R.

Oh, less Love for me, kind Cupid! I can
see no reason for preferring the torment of such an
Affection to Tyranny.

Flut.

Oh, pardon me, inconceivable difference, I
see an inconceivable difference as clear as your bracelet.
The Tyrant says—“Heyday Madam, do you
suppose that my table, and my house, and my pictures!”
—Apropos—Pictures! speaks very fast
There was the divinest Plague of Athens sold yesterday
in Pall Mall—the dead figures so natural you
would have sworn they were alive. Lord Carmine
bid five hundred—a Thousand said Ingot the Nabob
—down went the hammer! A rouleau for your bargain
said Sir Jeremy Jingle—and what answer do
you think Ingot made him?

Mrs. R.

Why, took the offer.

Flut.

Sir!—my children have got Whittington and R2r 243
his Cat in the Nursery—just this Size; and they’ll
make a good match!

Mrs. R.

Ha! ha! ha! That’s just the course now;
—the Nabobs and their Wives outbid at every sale,
yet, the Strangers have no more Taste—

Sav.

There, off you go again on Character! You
forget that this story is told by Flutter, who always
remembers every thing but the Persons and the Circumstances:
—’twas Ingot the Nabob who offered a
Rouleau for the bargain, and Sir Jeremy who made
the Reply.

Flut.

Eh!—I believe you are right—but the
story’s as good one way as ’tother. Good morning;
in my way back I shall make my bow at Sir George
Touchwood’s
. Going.

Sav.

I’ll venture every figure in your taylor’s bill,
you make some Blunder in your first three words
there.

Flut.

turning back Done!—My Taylor’s bill has
not been paid these three years; and I’ll open my
mouth with as much Care as Mrs. Bridget, who
wears a cork plumper in each cheek, and never hazards
more than two words, for fear of display!
Exit.

Mrs. R.

’Tis a good-natured insignificant creature!
let in every where, and cared for no where—
Ah! Miss Hardy returned from the Lawyer’s—she
seems rather flurried.

Sav.

Then I leave you to your communications— Enter Letitia, followed by her Maid.
Adieu! I am rejoiced to see you so well Miss
Hardy
—I must tear myself away.

Let.

Dont vanish in a Moment.

Sav.

Oh, I beg quarter! you are the two most
dangerous women in Town.—Staying to be shot at
by four such eyes, is equal to a Rencontre with Paul R2 R2v 244
Jones.—(Aside.—They’ll swallow the Nonsense, for
the sake of the Compliment!) Exit.

Let.

Gives her cloak to her Maid. Order Du
Quesne
never to come again, positively he shall dress
my hair no more. Exit Maid And this odious
Dress, how unbecoming it is! I was bewitched to
chuse it! throwing herself on a Sopha, and viewing
herself in a Pocket Glass, Mrs. Rackett staring at her

Did you ever see such a Fright as I am to day!

Mrs. R.

Why I have seen you look――rather
worse.

Let.

How can you be so provoking? If I do not
look this morning worse than ever I looked in my
life, I am naturally a Fright. You shall have it
which way you will.

Mrs. R.

Just as you please; but, pray what is the
meaning of all this?

Let.

rising Men are all Dissemblers! Flatterers!
Deceivers! Have I not heard a thousand times of my
Air, my Eyes, my Shape—all made for Victory! and
to day, when I bent my whole Heart on one conquest,
I have proved that those imputed charms are
nothing, for—Doricourt saw them unmoved!—A
husband of fifteen months could not have examined
me with more cutting indifference.

Mrs. R.

Why then return it, like a Wife of fifteen
months; and be as indifferent as he.

Let.

Ah! there’s the sting! The blooming boy
who left his Image in my young heart, is at four and
twenty improved in every Grace that fixed him there.
It is the same face that my memory, or my fancy,
constantly painted—its Expression more heightened,
its Graces more finished. How mortifying, to feel
myself at the same moment his slave, and an object
of thorough indifference.

Mrs. R.

How are you certain that is the case?
Did you expect him to kneel down to make Oath of
your Beauty, before your father, the Lawyer, and
his Clerk! R3r 245

Let.

No; but, he should have looked as if a suddun
Ray had pierced him! He should have been
breathless speechless—for, oh! Caroline all this
was I.

Mrs. R.

I am sorry you was such a Fool. Can
you expect a man who has seen half the fine women
in Europe, to feel like a young Master who has just
left boarding school? He is the most interesting
fellow you have seen, and bewilders your imagination;
but, he has seen a thousand pretty Women
child before he saw you, and his romantic fancies
have been over long ago.

Let.

Your Raillery distresses me.—I am determined
to touch his heart or never to be his wife.

Mrs. R.

If you have no reason to believe his heart
pre-engaged, be satisfied; if he is a man of Honour,
you’ll have nothing to complain of in his conduct.

Let.

Nothing to complain of! Shall I marry the
man I adore, with such an expectation as that?

Mrs. R.

And, when you have fretted yourself
pale, my dear, you will have mightily heightened
your chance of Success!

Let.

pausing—Yet, I have one Hope!—If there
is any Power whose peculiar care is faithful love,
that power I invoke to aid me! Enter Mr. Hardy.

Hardy.

Well now, wasn’t I right? Eh, Letty?
Eh, Cousin Rackett? wasn’t I right? I knew ’twould
be so. He was all agog to see her before he went
abroad; and, if he had, I foresaw he’d have thought
no more of her face, may be, than his own.

Mrs. R.

May be, not half so much!

Hardy.

Aye, may be so: but, I see things before
hand. I foresaw exactly then, that to day ha!
ha! he would fall desperately in Love with the
wench.

Let.

Indeed Sir!—how did you perceive it? R3v 246

Hardy.

That’s a pretty Question! How do I perceive
every thing? How did I forewarn Parson
Homily
that, if he did not contrive to have more
Votes than Merit, he would lose the Lectureship?
Did not the House receive, with Acclamations of
Chearfulness, my foreseeing that, if war arose, the
funds would fall!—and the Change of Ministry, and
the rise of Taxes! How did I—but what Whim makes
you so dull Letitia? I thought to have found you
popping about as brisk as the jacks of your harpsichord.

Let.

Surely, Sir, ’tis a very serious occasion!

Hardy.

Poh! Poh! girls should never be grave
before Marriage. How was you, Cousin, before-hand
—eh?

Mrs. R.

Why exceedingly full of Care. I could
not sleep for thinking of my Coach and my Liveries.
The Taste of the Clothes I should be presented in
distracted me for a week; and, whether I should
be married in White or Lilac, gave me the utmost
Anxiety.

Let.

And, is it possible that you had no other
care?

Hardy.

And pray, what may your cares be Mrs.
Letitia
? I foresee now it will turn out that you have
taken a Dislike to Doricourt!

Let.

Indeed, Sir—I have not.

Hardy.

Then what’s all this Melancholy about?
Are not you going to be married? and, what’s more,
to a handsome sensible man? What’s all this melancholy
for I say?

Mrs. R.

Why, only because she is over head and
ears in love with him; which, it seems, your foreknowledge
had not told you a word of.

Let.

Fie, Caroline!

Hardy.

Well, come, tell me what’s the matter
then? If you dont like him, hang signing and sealing,
he shant have you—and yet I cant say that either;
for, you know, that Estate that cost his father and R4r 247
me upwards of four score thousand pounds, must go
all to him if you wont have him: if he wont have
you, indeed, ’twill be all your’s. All that’s clearly
engrossed on parchment—nay—I dont know what
to say about its being clear—however they tell me,
there it is; and the poor dear man set his hand to it
whilst he was a dying— “So, said I, I foresee you’ll
never live to see them married!”
—But come, what
is the matter? Do you really not like him?

Let.

I fear, Sir—if I must speak—I fear――I was
less agreeable in Mr. Doricourt’s eyes than he appeared
in mine.

Hardy.

There you must be mistaken; for I asked him
—and he told me he liked you very well. Dont you
think he must have taken a Fancy to my Letitia?

Mrs. R.

Why really I think so, as――I was not
present!

Let.

My dear Sir—I am convinced he has not.
But, if there is Spirit or Invention in Woman—he
shall!

Hardy.

Right, Girl!—so away to your Toilette.

Let.

Oh! it is not my Toilette that can serve me;
but a Plan has struck me, which, if you will not
oppose it, flatters me with hopes of brilliant success.

Hardy.

Oppose! not I indeed! I’m not fond of
Opposition—so what is it?

Let.

Why Sir—it may, at first, seem a little paradoxical;
—but, as he does not like me enough, I want
him to like me still less—and will, at our next interview,
endeavour to heighten his Indifference into
Dislike!

Hardy.

What Conjurer could have foreseen that!

Mrs. R.

Is this Love-witchery! Letitia—are you
serious?

Let.

As serious, as the most important event of
my life demands!

Mrs. R.

Why endeavour to make him dislike you?

Let.

Because, ’tis much easier to convert a sentiment R4v 248
into its Opposite, than to transform indifference
into tender passion.

Mrs. R.

Let me see;—a Quality may be changed,
but Nothing cannot be turned into Something.—
Well, that may be good Philosophy; but, I am afraid
you’ll find it like other Philosophy—a bad practical
Speculation.

Let.

I have the strongest Confidence in it. I am
inspired with unusual Spirits! and on this Hazard
willingly stake my Chance for Happiness—I am impatient
to begin! Exit.

Hardy.

Can you forsee the End, Cousin?

Mrs. R.

No Sir, nothing less than your penetration
can; and I cant stay now to consider it. I am
going to call on Miss Ogle, and then on Lady Frances
Touchwood
, and then to an Auction, and then—I
dont know where;—but, I shall be at home time
enough to witness their next extraordinary Interview
—Good-bye! Exit.

Hardy.

Well—’tis odd;—I cant understand it—
but, I foresee Letty will have her way, and so I shant
give myself the useless trouble of disputing it.

Exit.
R5r 249

Act the Second.

Scene I. Sir George Touchwood’s.

Enter Doricourt, and Sir George.

Dor.

Married! ha! ha! ha! you, whom I heard in
Paris say such things of the Sex, are in London—a
married man!

Sir Geo.

The Sex is still what it has ever been, since
La petite Morale banished substantial Virtues; and,
rather than have given my Name to one of your thorough-bred
Fashionable Dames, I’d have ventured
across the globe in a fire-ship—and married a Japanese.

Dor.

Yet, you have married an english Beauty;
yea—and a Beauty born in High Life.

Sir Geo.

True; but, she has the Simplicity of
heart and manners that would have become the fair
Hebrew damsels toasted by the Patriarchs.

Dor.

Ha! ha!—Why thou art a downright matrimonial
Quixote! My life on it, she becomes as mere
a town Lady in six months as though she had been
bred to the mystery.

Sir Geo.

Common—common! No, Sir; Lady Frances,
from the Ideas I have given her, despises High
Life so much, that she’ll live in it like a salamander
in fire. R5v 250

Dor.

Oh, that the Circle dans la place Victoire
could witness thy extravagance! I’ll send thee off to
St. Evreux this night—drawn at full length, and
coloured after nature.

Sir Geo.

Tell them then, to add to the Ridicule,
that Touchwood glories in the name of Husband!
that he has found, in one Englishwoman, more Beauty
than frenchmen every saw, and more Goodness than
frenchwomen can form an Idea of.

Dor.

Well—enough of Description! Introduce
me to this Phoenix—I came on purpose.

Sir Geo.

Introduce—oh—aye to be sure――I believe
Lady Frances is engaged just now, but—another
time. (Aside.—How handsome the dog looks
to day!)

Dor.

Another time! But I have no other time—
this is the only hour I can command this fortnight.

Sir Geo.

(Aside.—I’m very glad to hear it!)—So
then you cant dine with us to day? That’s very unlucky.

Dor.

—Dinner――why yes, dinner?――yes, I can,
I believe, contrive to dine with you to day.

Sir Geo.

Pshaw!—I meant Supper. You cant sup
with us?

Dor.

Supper?—dinner alone made me hesitate,
Supper will be convenient. But, you are fortunate,
if you had asked me any other night I could not
have come.

Sir Geo.

To night! What a Blunderer I am! now
I recollect—we are particularly engaged this evening
—But tomorrow—

Dor.

Why look ye, Sir George, ’tis very plain you
have no inclination to let me see your wife at all;
so, here I sit throws himself on a sopha—there’s
my hat, and here are my legs. Now I shant stir
till I have seen her; I have no engagements—I’ll
breakfast dine and sup with you every day this week!

Sir Geo.

Was there ever such a provoking wretch!
But, to be plain with you Doricourt, you are an inconveniently R6r 25I
agreeable fellow, and the women, I observe,
always simper when you appear. For these
reasons, in truth, I had rather, when you meet me
with Lady Frances, that you should forget that we
are acquainted—further than a Nod, a Smile, or a
How—are ye?

Dor.

What next!

Sir Geo.

It is not merely yourself in propria persona
that I object to; but, if you are intimate here, you’ll
make my house still more the Fashion than it is;
and it is already so much so, that my Doors are of
no use to me! I married Lady Frances to engross
her thoughts, yet, such is the freedom of modern
manners, that, spite of me, her eyes, thoughts, and
conversation, are continually divided amongst all the
Flirts and Coxcombs of Fashion.

Dor.

To be sure I confess that kind of freedom is
carried too far. ’Tis hard one cant have a Jewel in
one’s cabinet, but the whole Town must be gratified
with viewing its lustre—(Aside.—He shant preach
me out of seeing his Wife though!)

Sir Geo.

Well now, that’s reasonable. When you
take time to reflect, Doricourt, I observe you always
decide right, and therefore I hope— Enter Servant.

Serv.

Sir, my Lady desires—

Sir Geo.

I am particularly engaged now!

Dor.

Oh! let that be no excuse I beg! springing
from the Sopha
Lead the way John, I’ll wait on your
Lady. Exit, following the Servant.

Sir Geo.

What evil Genius possessed me to talk
about her! here Doricourt! runs out after him
Doricourt! Enter R6v 252 Enter Mrs. Rackett, and Miss Ogle.
Followed by a Servant.

Mrs. R.

Acquaint your Lady, that Mrs. Rackett
and Miss Ogle are here. Exit Servant.

Miss Ogle.

I shall hardly know Lady Frances, ’tis
so long since I was in Shropshire.

Mrs. R.

And I’ll be sworn you never saw her out
of Shropshire.—Her father kept her locked up with
his Caterpillars and Shells, and loved her beyond any
thing—but a blue Butterfly and a petrified Frog!

Miss Ogle.

Ha! ha! ha!—Well, ’twas a cheap way
of breeding her;—you know, though a Lord, he was
poor; and very high-spirited, though a Virtuoso.
Her Operas, and Robes de Cour, in Town, would
have consumed his Sea-weeds, Moths, and Monsters,
in one Season. Sir George, I find, thinks his wife a
most extraordinary creature:—but, his greatest boast
is, that he has taught her to despise every thing like
Fashionable Life.

Mrs. R.

Has he so! There’s great Impertinence
in all that—we must do ourselves Justice! Let us,
in spite to him, immediately try to give her a Taste
for that high life—which merits not such treatment.

Miss Ogle.

Agreed! ’tis just what I wish. She
comes! Enter Lady Frances.

Lady F.

I beg a thousand pardons my dear Mrs.
Rackett
Miss Ogle, I rejoice to see you.—I should
have come to you sooner, but I was detained in conversation
by Mr. Doricourt.

Mrs. R.

Pray, make no apology. I am quite
happy that we have your Ladyship in Town at last—
what stay do you make?

Lady F.

A short one! Sir George talks with Regret R7r 253
of the scenes we have left, and, as the Ceremony
of Presentation is over, will, I believe, soon return.

Miss Ogle.

He cant be so cruel! Does your Ladyship
wish to return so soon?

Lady F.

I have not the Habit of consulting my
own wishes; but I think, if they were to decide—
we should not return immediately. I have yet hardly
formed an Idea of London!

Mrs. R.

I shall quarrel with your Lord and Master,
if he dares think of depriving us of you so soon!
How do you dispose of yourself to day?

Lady F.

Sir George is going with me this morning
to the Mercer’s to chuse a Silk; and then—

Mrs. R.

Chuse a Silk!—ha! ha! ha! Sir George
chuses your Laces too I hope—your Gloves, and
your Pincushions!

Lady F.

Madam!

Mrs. R.

I am glad however that you blush, my
dear. Lady Frances—these are strange home-spun
ways! If you act thus, pray keep it secret. Suppose
the Town were to know, that your Husband chuses
your Gowns!

Miss Ogle.

You are very young, my Lady—and
have been brought up in Solitude. The Maxims
you learned amongst Wood-Nymphs wont pass current
here, I assure you.

Mrs. R.

Why, my dear creature, you look quite
frightened! Come, you shall go with us to drop a
few Cards—then to an Auction Room—then we’ll
drive to Kensington. We shall be at home by Five
to dress; and, in the Evening, I’ll attend you to
the Masquerade.

Lady F.

I shall be very happy, if Sir George has
no Engagements, to be of your party.

Mrs. R.

What! Do you stand so low in your own
opinion, that you dare not trust yourself without Sir
George
? You should have staid in the Country if
you chuse to play Darby and Joan my Dear! ’tis an
exhibition not calculated for London I assure you. R7v 254

Miss Ogle.

I suppose, my Lady, you and Sir
George
will be seen pacing it comfortably round the
Green-Park—arm-in-arm; and then, go lovingly into
the same Carriage—dine tête-à-tête, spend the evening
at Piquet, and retire at Eleven! Such a snug
plan may do for an Attorney and his Wife; but—
for Lady Frances Touchwood!—’tis as unsuitable
as Linsey-woolsey, or a black bonnet at the Opera!

Lady F.

These are rather new doctrines to me!
But, my dear Mrs. Rackett, you and Miss Ogle
judge better than I can. As you observe—I am but
young, and may have caught absurd opinions—but,
here is Sir George! Enter Sir George.

Sir Geo.

aside. Death! another room full!

Lady F.

My Love! Mrs. RackettMiss Ogle.

Mrs. R.

Give you Joy, Sir George.—We came to
rob you of Lady Frances for a few hours.

Sir Geo.

A few Hours!

Lady F.

Oh Yes! I am going to make Calls, and
to an Auction-Room, and to the Park, and a hundred
places!—It is quite ridiculous, I find, for married
people to be always together—We shall be
laughed at!

Sir Geo.

I am astonished!—Mrs. Rackett, what
does the dear creature mean?

Mrs. R.

Mean, Sir George—what she says, I suppose.

Miss Ogle.

Why, you know Sir, as Lady Frances
had the Misfortune to be bred entirely in the Country
—she cant be supposed to be versed in Fashionable
Life.

Sir Geo.

Heaven forbid she should! If she had
been, Madam, she never would have been my Wife!

Mrs. R.

—Can you be serious!

Sir Geo.

Perfectly so. I should never have had
Courage enough to have married—a Fine Lady. R8r 235

Miss Ogle.

Pray, Sir, what do you take a Fine
Lady to be, that you express such Fear of her!
Sneering.

Sir Geo.

A Being easily described Madam, for
she is seen every where—but in her own house. She
sleeps at home, but she lives—all over the town. In
her mind every sentiment gives place to the Passion
for Conquest, and the Vanity of being particular.
The feelings of Wife and Mother—are lost in the
whirl of Dissipation. If she continues virtuous—
she is fortunate; if she brings not ruin on her husband,
’tis by her dexterity at the Card-table.—Such
a woman I take to be a perfect Fine-Lady!

Mrs. R.

And you I take to be a slanderous Cynic
of Two-and-thirty; twenty years hence one might
have forgiven such Defamation! Now, Sir, hear my
definition of a Fine Lady:—She is a creature for
whom Nature has done much—and Education more;
she has Taste, Elegance, Spirit, Understanding. In
her Manner free—in her Morals she is nice. Her
behaviour is undistinguishingly polite to her Husband,
and to all others; her Sentiments are for their
hours of retirement. In a word—a Fine Lady is the
Life of conversation—the Spirit of society—the Joy
of the public! Pleasure follows wherever she appears
—the kindest wishes attend her through life.—My
dear Lady Frances, to force your husband to acknowledge
the correctness of my picture—make haste to
adopt the character.

Lady F.

’Tis a delightful one! How can you dislike
it, Sir George?—You placed Fashionable Life
in a light so disgusting, that I hated what, on a
nearer view, seems charming! I have hitherto lived
in Obscurity—’tis time I should be a Woman of the
World. I long to begin—my heart pants with expectation
and delight!

Mrs. R.

Let us then begin directly. I am impatient
to introduce you to that Society which you
were born to ornament and charm. R8v 256

Lady F.

Adieu—my Love!—We shall meet again
at dinner. Going.

Sir Geo.

I am in a dream.—Fanny!

Lady F.

Sir George?

Sir Geo.

Will you go without me!

Mrs. R.

Will you go without me! Ha! ha! ha!
what a pathetic address! Why, you would not be seen
side by side always—like two beans on a stalk. Are
you afraid to trust Lady Frances with me, Sir?

Sir Geo.

Why, where can a man select a discreet
protectress for his wife, in the present state of society?
Formerly, there were Distinctions amongst
ye—every class of females had its particular Description;
Grandmothers were pious, Aunts circumspect,
Old Maids censorious—But now! Aunts, Grandmothers,
Girls, and Maiden-Gentlewomen, are all
the same creature—a Wrinkle more or less is the sole
difference between ye.

Miss Ogle.

That Maiden-Gentlewomen have lost
their Censoriousness is surely not in your catalogue
of grievances!

Sir Geo.

Indeed it is—and ranked amongst the
grievances the most serious. Things went well, Madam,
when the tongues of three or four Old Maids
kept all the wives and Daughters of a parish in Awe!
They were the dragons that guarded the Hesperian
fruit;—and I wonder they have not been obliged by
Act of Parliament to resume their function.

Mrs. R.

Ha! ha! ha! and pensioned I suppose,
for making strict enquiries into the lives and conversations
of their Neighbours.

Sir Geo.

With all my heart, and impowered to
oblige every woman to confirm her conduct to her
real Situation. You, for instance, are a Widow;
your air should be sedate, your dress grave, your deportment
matronly, in all things an Example to the
young women growing up around you!—Instead of
which—you are dressed for Conquest, and think of
nothing but of ensnaring hearts—are a Wit and A
Fine Lady. S1r 257

Mrs. R.

Bear witness!—a Wit! and a Fine Lady!
Who would have expected an Eulogy from such an
ill-natured mortal! Valour to a Soldier, Wisdom to a
Judge, or Glory to a Prince, are not more than such
a character to a Woman.

Miss Ogle.

Sir George, I see, languishes for the
charming society of a Century and a half ago; when
a grave Squire, and a still graver Dame, surrounded
by a sober family, formed a stiff group in a mouldy
old house in the corner of a Park.

Mrs. Rack

Delightful Serenity! Undisturbed by
any noise, but the cawing of Rooks, and the quarterly
rumbling of an old family coach on a state visit;
with the happy intervention of a friendly call from
the parish Apothecary; or the Curate’s wife—with
her formal Curtsey—and her “How do you do
Ma’am!”
Curtesying stiffly.

Sir Geo.

And what is the Society of which you
boast?—a mere Chaos; in which all distinction of
Rank is lost—in a ridiculous Affectation of Ease,
and every different Order of beings is huddled together.
In the same select party, you will often
find the wife of a Bishop and of a Sharper, of an
Earl and of a Fiddler. In short, ’tis one universal
masquerade, but where all assume the same disguise
of dress and manners.
Enter Servant.

Serv.

Mr. Flutter. Exit.

Sir Geo.

—Here comes an illustration. Now I defy
you to tell, from his appearance, whether Flutter is
a Privy Counsellor or a Mercer—a Lawyer or a
Grocer’s Apprentice. Enter Flutter.

Flut.

Oh, just which you please, Sir George
so you dont make me a Lord Mayor. Ah, Mrs. Vol. I. S S1v 258
Rackett!—Lady Frances, your most obedient; you
look—now hang me if that’s not provoking! had
your Gown been of another Colour, I should have
said the prettiest thing you ever heard in your life.

Miss Ogle.

Pray give it us!

Flut.

I was yesterday at Mrs. Bloomer’s. She was
dressed all in green; no other colour to be seen, but
that of her Face and Neck. So says I— my dear
Mrs. Bloomer—you look like a Carnation just beginning
to burst its green pod.

Sir Geo.

And what said her husband?

Flut.

Her husband! Why he dully said—a Cucumber
would have been a happier Simile.

Sir Geo.

But there are husbands, Sir, who, rather
than have amended your comparison, would have
considered it as an impertinence.

Flut.

What harm can there be in Compliments—
they keep up the Spirits! You, Sir George, cannot
fear they may be mischievous, who, of all people
breathing, have reason to be convinced of your Lady’s
attatchment—every body talks of it;—that little Bird
there, that she killed out of Jealousy, the most extraordinary
instance of Affection that ever was given.

Lady F.

I kill a Bird through Jealousy! Mr. Flutter,
how can you impute such a cruelty to me?

Sir Geo.

I could have forgiven you if you had!

Flut.

What a blundering fool am I!—No, no—
now I remember—’twas your bird Lady Frances
that’s it—your Bullfinch, which Sir George, in one
of the Refinements of his passion, sent into the wide
world to seek its fortune.—He took it for a Knight
in disguise.

Lady Fran.

Is it possible! Oh, Sir George, could
I have imagined that it was you who deprived me of
a creature I was so fond of!

Sir Geo.

Mr. Flutter, you are one of those busy,
idle, meddling people, who, from mere vacuity of
mind, are the most dangerous inmates in a family;
—who have neither feelings nor opinions of their S2r 259
own, but, like an Echo convey those of every blockhead
who comes in their way; thinking themselves
excused because they mean no harm, though broken
friendships, discords, or murder, are the consequences
of their indiscretion.

Flut.

taking out his Pocket Book Vacuity of
Mind!—what was next? I’ll write down this sermon,
’tis the first I’ve heard since my Grandmother’s
funeral.

Miss Ogle.

Come, Lady Frances, you see what a
cruel creature your loving husband can be—so let us
leave him.

Sir Geo.

Madam—Lady Frances shall not go!

Lady Fran.

Shall not, Sir George!—This is the
first time such an expression— weeping.

Sir Geo.

My Love! my Life!

Lady Fran.

Dont imagine I’ll be treated like a
child! denied what I wish, and then pacified by sweet
words.

Miss Ogle.

apart The Bullfinch!—that’s an excellent
subject; never let it down.

Lady F.

I see plainly you would deprive me of
the pleasures of Society, as well as of my sweet bird,
out of pure Love!—Barbarous Man!

Sir Geo.

’Tis well Madam; your resentment of
that circumstance proves to me, what I did not before
suspect—that you are deficient both in Tenderness
and Understanding.—Tremble to think the
hour approaches in which you would give the world
for such a proof of my Love! Go, Madam, give yourself
to the public, abandon your heart to Dissipation,
and see if, in the scenes of Gaiety and Folly that
await you, you can find a recompense for the lost affection
of a doating husband! Exit.

Flut.

What a fine thing it is to have the gift of
Speech! Your great Speakers, sooner or later, always
gain their Object—save and except being overpowered
at Home notwithstanding.

Lady F.

He is really angry—I cannot go. S2 S2v 260

Mrs. R.

Not go! Foolish creature! you are arrived
at the moment which, some time or other, was sure
to arrive;—and every thing depends upon the use
you make of it.

Miss Ogle.

Come Lady Frances! dont hesitate—
the minutes are precious!

Lady F.

I could find in my heart—and yet I wont
give up! If I should in this instance, he’ll expect it
for ever. Exeunt Lady F. and Mrs. Rackett.

Miss Ogle.

There, you act now like a woman of
Spirit! Exit.

Flut.

A fair tug—between Inclination and Duty.
But Inclination, as of old, leads off in Triumph!

Exit.

Scene II.

An auction room. Pictures, Busts, &c. &c. Silvertongue in the pulpit; with his Clerk, and a
Croud.

Silv.

Going!—for Seventy Guineas—three Coins
—undoubted Originals—genuine—brass—for Seventy
Guineas only—nobody bid more!—going—
gone!

Gent.

Mr. Silvertongue, are these Medals genuine?

Silv.

Infallibly so, Sir—I know the Age of a coin
by the taste, and can fix the birth-day of a medal,
Anno Mundi, or Anno Domini, though the green rust
should have eaten up every Character.

Another Gent.

My Taste is for Pictures: pray
what have you to give us in that way?

Silv.

Your taste is for Pictures, Sir,—Oh, we have
every thing, and every body—I have Parmegiano,
Sal Rosa, Metzu, Tarbaek, and Vandermeer, in the S3r 261
different rooms. You may perceive the Relief of
Woovermans, the Spirit of Teniers, the Colouring of
the Venetian school, and the Correctness of the Roman.
Claude you’ll discover by his Sheep, and Ruysdael
by his Water. Here the Rapidity of Tintoret’s
pencil strikes at the first glance, there the Harmony
of Vandyk, and the Glow of Corregio, point out
their Masters. Enter Lady Frances, Mrs. Racket, and Miss
Ogle
,
And come down from the back of the Stage, looking at
Pictures, &c.

Silv.

Come, this is nearly the last Lot—the Model
of a City, in Wax.

Gent.

The Model of a City! what City?

Silv.

That I have not been able to discover; but,
call it Rome, Pekin, or London—’twill be all the
same: you’ll find in it the same jarring Interests,
the same Passions, Virtues, and Vices, whatever the
Name.

Another Gent.

You may as well present us with a
Map of Terra Incognita.

Silv.

Oh—pardon me—pardon me, Sir! Imagination
may convert this into endless Amusement:—for
instance, the house on the Right, who shall say there
are no prudes there, anxious about the reputations of
—their Neighbours. This elegant mansion, on the
Left, decorated with Corinthian Pillars, who wants
proof that it is the habitation of a Statesman, of
course of—Patriotism and Wisdom? Here, is a Hall
of some Commercial Company, and, near it, a Workhouse
—how comfortable the idea that the rich
steams from the one encrease the nourishment in the
other!—I perceive, Sir, that you are considering
whether the city is English? Here is a Church—
we’ll pass over that—the doors are shut; the Parsonage-house S3v 262
—catches the eye; could we take a peep,
we might perhaps discover the Doctor asleep upon a
volume of The Fathers, and his Lady—rouging for
a Masquerade; it would, Sir, establish the point—
that it is a foreign city.—Who buys the City? Lady Frances and Miss Ogle come forward, followed
by Courtall.

Lady F.

I wish Sir George were here. This man
follows me about, and stares at me in such a way,
that I am quite uneasy.

Miss Ogle.

He has travelled, and is heir to an immense
estate, so—is assumptive by Privilege.

Court.

You are very cruel Ladies. Miss Ogle
you will not let me speak to you! As to this scornful
Beauty, she has frowned me dead fifty times.

Lady F.

Sir—I am a married woman.

Court.

’Twould be a shame if such a charming
woman were not married. But, I see you are a
Daphne—just come from your Sheep, and your Meadows,
your Crook, and your Water-fall. Pray now,
who is the happy Damon to whom you have vowed
eternal truth and constancy?

Miss Ogle.

Mr. Courtall—’tis Lady Frances Touchwood
to whom you are speaking.

Court.

Lady Frances! (Aside, that’s Saville’s old
flame!) I beg your Ladyship’s pardon—I ought at
once to have known your name—for I have long
heard that it is that of the finest woman in England. Mrs. Rackett comes forward.

Lady F.

Apart My dear Mrs. Rackett—I am
frightened! Here’s a man making love to me, though
he knows I am married.

Mrs. R.

Oh, dont mind him. Was you at the
Concert last night, Mr. Courtall?

Court.

I looked in. ’Twas impossible to stay— S4r 263
no body there but Antiques. You’ll be at Lady
Brilliant
’s Masquerade to night, doubtless?

Mrs. R.

Yes, I go with Lady Frances.

Lady F.

to Miss Ogle Bless me, I did not know
this Gentleman was acquainted with Mrs. Rackett.
I behaved so rude to him!

Mrs. R.

Come looking at her watch ’tis past
three. I protest if we dont fly to Kensington, we
shall not find a soul there.

Lady F.

Wont this Gentleman go with us?

Court.

looking surprised To be sure—you make
me happy beyond expression!

Mrs. R.

Oh, never mind him; he’ll follow.
Exeunt Lady F. Mrs. R. and Miss Ogle.

Court.

Hur-r-r-m—your reserved Ladies are like
Ice—no sooner begin to soften than they melt.

Following.
Act S4v 264

Act the Third.

Scene I. Mr. Hardy’s. Letitia seated.

Enter Mrs. Rackett.

Mrs. R.

Come prepare, prepare—your Lover is
coming!

Let.

My Lover! Confess now that my absence
from Dinner was a Mortification to him.

Mrs. R.

I am not absolutely sure that it spoiled
his appetite; he ate as if he was hungry, and drank
his wine as though he liked it.

Let.

What was the Apology?

Mrs. R.

That you was indisposed;—but, I gave
him a Hint that your extreme Bashfulness could not
support his Eye!

Let.

If I can comprehend him, Awkwardness is
no less than Bashfulness one of the last faults he
can pardon—so, expect to see me transformed into
the veriest Maukin, as a new source of dislike.

Mrs. R.

You persevere then?

Let.

Certainly. I know the scheme is rash, and
the Event important;—it either makes Doricourt
mine by all the tenderest ties of passion, or deprives
me of him for ever; but—never to be his wife will
afflict me less, than to be his wife and not be beloved.
S5r 265

Mrs. R.

Then you wont trust to the good old
Maxim—“Marry first, and Love will follow”?

Let.

As readily as I would venture my last Guinea,
that Good Fortune might follow. The woman
that has not touched the Heart before she is led to
the Altar, has scarcely a chance of charming it when
security prevents her value from being raised by the
risk of losing her—But here he comes! I’ll disappear
for a moment—Dont spare me!

Mrs. R.

Oh, I’ll do you all the mischief you wish!
Exit Letitia.
Enter Doricourt
Without seeing Mrs. Rackett.

Dor.

So! looking up at a picture this is my mistress
I presume; sur ma foi! the painter has hit her
off. The downcast eye—the blushing cheek—timid
—apprehensive—bashful—A Prayer-book and a Tear
would have made her La Bella MagdalenaGive me a Fair-one in whose touching mienA Mind, a Soul, a polish’d Art, are seen,Whose Gesture speaks, beams intellectual fire,She, speeds the darts which endless Love inspire!—

Mrs. R.

Is that an Impromptu? touching him on
the shoulder with her Fan.

Dor.

Starting.――.Madam!――Aside. Finely
caught!)—Not absolutely, I was trying it during the
Dessert, as a Motto for your Picture.

Mrs. R.

Gallantly turned! but, wasn’t it for Miss
Hardy’s
? I suspect however that her charms have
made no violent impression—and who can wonder?
the poor Girl’s defects are so obvious.

Dor.

Defects—

Mrs. R.

Merely those of Education. Her father’s
mismanagement ruined her—mauvaise honte S5v 266
conceit—and ignorance—all unite in the Charmer
you are to marry!

Dor.

Marry?—I marry such a woman! Your picture
I hope is overcharged;—I ally myself with mauvaise
honte
, pertness, and ignorance!

Mrs. R.

Thank Hymen that ugliness and ill temper
are not added to the list. You allow she is handsome?

Dor.

Half her personal Beauty would be sufficient;
but, were the Medicean Venus animated for me, and
with a vulgar soul, as she awoke to life I should
change to marble and become the Statue.

Mrs. R.

Bless us—we are in a hopeful way then!

Dor.

(Aside. But there must be some Envy in the
Widow’s description)—Ha! ha! I must allow for a
Lady’s painting! Miss Hardy, I have been assured,
though not spirited, is elegant and accomplished.

Mrs. R.

(Aside. I’ll be even with him for that.)—
Ha! ha! I protest I had no design upon you myself
Doricourt—I only meant to encrease the éclat of her
appearance—Here comes the Lady, she will herself
announce her Elegance and Accomplishments! Enter Letitia, running.

Let.

La! Cousin—do you know that our John
oh, dear heart! I didn’t see you, Sir! hanging down
her head, and hiding behind Mrs. Rackett.

Mrs. R.

Fie Letitia! Mr. Doricourt thinks your
manners elegant; stand forward, and confirm his
opinion.

Let.

No, no, let me skulk; he’s my Sweetheart—
and ’tis impudent to look one’s Sweetheart in the
face, you know!

Mrs. R.

apart You’ll allow in future for a Lady’s
painting, Sir, Ha! ha! ha!

Dor.

I am astonished!

Let.

pretending to whisper Well, hang it, I must
take heart at last! Why he is but a man you know S6r 267
Cousin; and I’ll let him see I wasn’t born in a wood,
and yet to be scared by an Owl! Advances, and
looks at him through her fingers
He! he! he! Goes
up to him, and makes an awkward formal curtesy. He
bows.
You have been a great Traveller, Sir, they
tell me!

Dor.

I have travelled, Madam.

Let.

Then I wish you’d tell us about the fine Sights
you saw, when you went over-Sea.—I have read, in
a Book, that there are some countries where the men
and women are all Horses—did you ever see ’em?

Mrs. R.

Mr. Doricourt is not prepared, my dear,
I fancy, for these enquiries. He is reflecting on the
sagacity of the question, and will answer you when
—he can.

Let.

Why! he’s as slow in speech as Aunt Margery
when she is labouring through Thomas Aquinas;—
look!—how he stands gaping, like mum-chance.

Mrs. R.

A little Discretion! Miss Hardy; or
your Lover may not perceive your accomplishments
and your elegance!

Let.

Hold your tongue!—sure I may say what I
please before I am married, if I cant afterwards.
D’ye think a body doesn’t know how to talk to a
Sweetheart—it isn’t the first I have had.

Dor.

Indeed!

Let.

O lud—he speaks! runs from him. Why,
you must know there was the Curate at home—
when Papa was a-hunting he used to come a suitoring,
and making speeches to me out of books. No
body knows what a mort of fine things he used to
say to me—and call me Venis, and Jubah, and Dinah!

Dor.

And pray, fair lady, how did you answer
him?

Let.

Why I used to say—Look ye Mr. Curate,
dont think for to manage me with your Flim-flams;
—for a better man than ever trod in your shoes, is
coming over-Sea to marry me.—But, ifags! I begin S6v 268
to think I was out—Parson Dobbins was the sprightfuller
man of the two!

Dor.

Surely, this cannot be really Miss Hardy!

Let.

Laws! why dont you know me—you saw me
to day! But I was daunted before my Father, and
the Lawyer, and all them, and I did not care to
speak out—so may be you thought I couldn’t!—but,
I can talk as fast as any body, when the ice is broke;
and, having shown my Qualifications I hope you’ll
like me the better! Enter Hardy.

Har.

But, I foresee this wont do! Mr. Doricourt
—mayhap you take my daughter for a Fool, but you
are mistaken, she is a sensible Girl—as any in England.

Dor.

She has an uncommon Understanding, Sir.
(Aside—I did not think he had been such a Blockhead.)

Let.

(Aside.—My father will undo the whole.)
Laws! Papa—how can you think he could take me for
a fool, when every body knows I beat the Potecary
at Conundrums last Christmas-time? And, didn’t I
make a string of names, all Riddles, for the Ladies
Diary?—There was—what a Lamb says—that was Ba;
and three letters—k, e, r, ker—Baker. There was—

Har.

Dont stand ba-a-ing here. You’ll make me
mad! I tell you Sir that, for all that, she’s peculiarly
sensible.

Dor.

Sir, I give all possible credit to your assertion.

Let.

Laws! Papa—do go along! If you stand
watching, how can my Sweetheart break his mind,
and tell me how he admires me?

Dor.

It is difficult indeed, Madam.

Har.

I tell you Letty, I’ll have no more of this.—
I foresee well enough— S7r 269

Let.

Laws! Dont snub me before my Husband
that is to be—You’ll teach him to snub me too;—I
believe, by his Looks, he’d like to begin now! so
come and talk with me Papa. Cousin—you may tell
the Gentleman what a Genusgenius I have—how I can cut
out watch-papers, and work cat-gut.
Exeunt Hardy and Letitia.

Mrs. R.

What think you of my Painting now?

Dor.

Outline, Madam! The Original outdoes the
Sketch.

Mrs. R.

How does she strike you altogether?

Dor.

Like a good Design spoilt by adventitious
circumstances. I observed an Expression in her eye
incongruous with the folly of her lips.

Mrs. R.

Aye—but—at her age, when education
has stopped, and Manner is become Nature—hopes
of Improvement—

Dor.

Would be as rational as hopes of restoring
spoiled wine. But if Doricourt has a wife incapable
of improvement, it must be—because there is no
room for it.

Mrs. R.

Well, I may congratulate you, on perceiving
no melancholy in your air from the adventure!

Dor.

No. So benign were the stars at the hour
of my birth, that, though misfortunes go plump to
the bottom of my heart, yet, as when pebbles sink in
water, the surface is soon unruffled. I shall set off
for the other world—or for Bath, to-night; whether
to the one in a chaise and four, or to the other in a
tangent from the aperture of a Pistol, deserves consideration.
Going.

Mrs. R.

Whichsoever of the journies you take, I
entreat you postpone until tomorrow! You must be
at the Masquerade to night.

Dor.

Masquerade!

Mrs. R.

Why not? Even though you should
resolve to visit the other world, you may as well, you
know, take leave of this pleasantly. S7v 270

Dor.

Well, Ladies are the best Philosophers! Expect
me at the Masquerade. Exit.

Mrs. R.

He’s a charming fellow—I think Letitia
shant have him! Going. Enter Hardy.

Har.

What’s he gone?

Mrs. R.

Yes; and I am glad he is—you would
have ruined us. Now I beg, Mr. Hardy, you wont
interfere in this business, it is a little out of your way.
Exit.

Har.

Hang me if I dont though. I foreknow very
clearly what will be the end of it if I leave ye to
yourselves. I’ll follow him to the Masquerade, and
tell him all.—Let me see, what shall my Dress be—
A Great Mogul? No.—I foresee the Laugh would
be at me!—An Ambassador? No—he is all open
Honour! my aim is Deception—I’ll go as a Jew.


Exit.

Scene II.


Courtall’s. Enter Courtall, Saville, and three others, from an
apartment at the back of the Stage, the last three
tipsy.

Court.

You shant go yet—Another Bottle, and
another Catch!

First Gent.

If you get any more wine into me—
I’ll give you leave to hang the Bottle.—Why, I am
going to the Masquerade; Jack—you know who I
mean—is to meet me, we are to have a leap at the
new Lustres.

Second Gent.

And I am going too—as Harlequin; S8r 271
hiccups—my Zig Zags will do for the Harlequinades.
Come, where are our Dominos? we must disguise.

Third Gent.

We are already disguised I think—bid
them draw up! Exeunt the three Gentlemen.

Sav.

Thy skull, Courtall, is an Egg-shell!

Court.

Nay, then you are gone too! Such matterof-fact
men as you never aspire to Similes—but in
your cups.

Sav.

No, no; I am tolerably steady—but the
fumes of wine pass directly through thy Eggshell,
and leave thy brain as cool as――Hey! I must
be quite sober, for my Similes fail me.

Court.

Then we’ll sit down here, and have one
sober bottle—John! Wine brought.

Sav.

I’ll not swallow another drop, though the
juice should be the true Falernian.

Court.

By the bright eyes of her you love—you
shall drink her health.

Sav.

Ah! sitting down her I loved is gone! sighing
she is married.

Court.

Then, bless your stars you are not her husband!
I would be husband to no woman in England,
who was not rich and ugly.

Sav.

Wherefore ugly?

Court.

Because she could not have the conscience
to exact that Admiration which a Pretty Wife expects;
—or, if she should, her resentments would not
make me uneasy.

Sav.

Thou art a most licentious fellow!

Court.

Still, I have a great respect for Wives—so
—here’s to the prettiest Wife in EnglandLady
Frances Touchwood
!

Sav.

Lady Frances Touchwood! I rise to drink
her. drinks How came Lady Frances into your
head? I never knew you give a woman of high
Character before.

Court.

Ah!—the Wine works again—you are a
Wag!—for you have heard me give full half a dozen S8v 272
Women of Fashion. But, what do you take a woman
of High Character to be? sneering.

Sav.

Such a woman as Lady Frances Touchwood,
Sir.

Court.

Oh, I remember, you was an Adorer of
her’s!—Why didn’t you marry her?

Sav.

I had not the arrogance to look so high. Had
my Fortune been worthy of her, she should not have
been ignorant of my Admiration.

Court.

Precious Fellow! What, I suppose you
would not dare to tell her that you admire her, now?

Sav.

No—nor you.

Court.

By Cupid—I have told her so.

Sav.

Have!—impossible.

Court.

Ha! ha! ha!—is it so?

Sav.

Why, how did she receive the declaration?

Court.

Why, in the old way; blushed, and frowned,
and said—she was married.

Sav.

What amazing things thou art capable of!—
A Roman would sooner have breathed vows to a
Vestal, than I have prophaned her ears with such a
declaration.

Court.

I shall meet her at Lady Brilliant’s to-night
—where I shall repeat it; and I have no doubt—
under a Mask—she’ll hear it without a blush or a
frown.

Sav.

You wrong her, Sir, rising—she will not.

Court.

She will! rising Nay, I’d venture to lay
a round sum that I will prevail on her to trust herself
with me—all in honorable confidence! I mean.

Sav.

Preposterous Vanity! From this moment I
am convinced that the other victories you boast are
as slanderous—as your pretended influence with Lady
Frances
.

Court.

Pretended! Why how should such a fellow
as you now, who never soared beyond compliments
to a cherry-cheeked daughter of a Ploughman in
Norfolk, judge of the influence of a man of my Figure T1r 273
and Stile? I could shew thee a list, in which there
are names to shake thy faith in the whole sex! and,
to that list I have no doubt of adding the name of
Lady—

Sav.

Hold Sir! My ears cannot bear the prophanation.
You cannot—dare not—approach her!
For your life, you would not dare mention Love to
her!—her Look would chill the word, whilst it
hovered on thy licentious lips!

Court.

Whu! whu! Well, we shall see! This evening,
by Jupiter, the trial shall be made.

Sav.

I think thou darest not! But, my life, my
honour, on her Purity. Exit.

Court.

Hot-headed fool!—But, since he has brought
it to this point—I’ll try what can be done with her
Ladyship—musing But softly!—softly—a moment
—cries Conscience! Wilt thou attempt to blemish
her character for Virtue—merely to keep up thy own
for Vice!—a Qualm! on such a subject! Pshaw, I have
no time to muse on any thing—but the Means.
Pauses, then rings. She’s frost-work, and the prejudices
of education yet strong—ergo—passionate
professions will only inflame her pride, and put her
on her guard. For other Arts then!
Enter Dick.
Dick, do you know any of the servants at Sir George
Touchwood’s
?

Dick.

Yes Sir; I knows the Groom, and one of the
Housemaids: for the matter-o’-that, she’s my own
Cousin, and it was my Mother that holped her to the
place.

Court.

Do you know Lady Frances’s maid?

Dick.


I cant say as how I am acquainted with she.

Court.

Do you know Sir George’s Valet?

Dick.


No Sir. But Sally is very thick with Mr.
Gibson
Sir George’s Gentleman.

Court.

Then go there directly, and employ Sally Vol. I. T T1v 274
to discover whether her Master goes to Lady Brilliant’s
this evening; and, if he does, the name of the
shop that sold his Habit.

Dick.


Yes, Sir.

Court.

Be exact in your intelligence, and come to
me at White’s. Exit Dick. If I cannot otherwise
succeed, I will, in the dress of her husband, beguile
her to trust herself with me.—So fine a woman—the
triumph over Saville—are each a sufficient motive;
united, they are irresistible.

Exit.

Scene III.

the street. Enter Saville.

Sav.

The Air has recovered me. But what have
the wine fumes made me do! Perhaps my Petulance
may be the Cause of insult, to her whose honour I
asserted. His Vanity is piqued—and, where Women
are concerned, Courtall can be a Villain—
Enter Dick. Bows, and passes hastily.

Sav.

Ha! I believe that’s his Servant—Dick!

Dick.


returning Sir.

Sav.

Where are you going, Dick?

Dick.


Going. I am going, Sir, where my Master
bid me.

Sav.

Well answered;—but I have a particular
reason for my enquiry, and you must tell me.

Dick.


Why then Sir I am going to the next street,
to call upon a Cousin of mine that lives at Sir George
Touchwood’s
.

Sav.

Very well.—There gives him money you
must make your Cousin drink my health—What are
you going about? T2r 275

Dick.


Why, Sir, I believe ’tis no harm, or elseways,
I’m sure I wouldn’t blab. I’m only going to
ax if Sir George Touchwood goes to the Masquerade,
and what Dress he wears.

Sav.

Enough. I am going to call there this instant
myself Dick, but, though I have a reason for
wishing to know how both will be dressed, I cannot
well make the enquiry myself. If you’ll call when
you’ve learnt, and acquaint me with your Cousin’s
intelligence, I’ll double the trifle I have given you.

Dick.


Oh, I’ll find out, and let you know Sir never
fear—You may trust my Honor! Exit.

Sav.

Surely the Occasion may justify the Means.
I cannot venture to inform Sir George, or, in endeavouring
to prevent uncertain, I shall cause certain,
mischief. It is doubly my Duty to be, and I will be,
Lady Frances’s guardian. Courtall, I see, is planning
an artful scheme—but Saville shall out-plot him!

Exit.

Scene IV.

Sir George Touchwood’s.
Enter Sir George and Saville.

Sav.

Why, Sir George, as you quitted Lady Frances
I perceived tears in her eyes—no severe affliction, I
trust, has—

Sir Geo.

’Tis I am afflicted—at the departure of
my Dream of happiness! Lady Frances and I are
disunited.

Sav.

Presto! Why you have been in Town but ten
days; deeds of separation follow your arrival with
more even than their usual Celerity!

Sir Geo.

Pho! I mean our Minds are disunited;
she no longer places her whole delight in me—she
has yielded herself to the World! T2 T2v 276

Sav.

Why did’nt you bring her to Town in a Cage
—then she might have had no more than a Peep at
it. But, after all, what has the World done so to
offend you! A twelvemonth since, you was the gayest
fellow in it.—If any body asked who dressed best?
Sir George Touchwood.—Who the most given to
Dissipation? Sir George Touchwood.—And, now,
Sir George is metamorphosed into a sour Censor, and
talks of fashionable life with as much bitterness as
the crabbed Censor of old in Rome.

Sir Geo.

Society wore a different complexion the
moment I became possessed of such a jewel as Lady
Frances
; that, in which I lived with so much éclat,
became the object of my terror; and, I now think
of the manners of polite-life—as I do of the atmosphere
of a Pest-house. My wife is already infected;
she was set upon this morning by Maids, Widows,
and Bachelors, who carried her off, in spite of my
displeasure, in triumph!

Sav.

Had there been no opposition, there would
have been no triumph. I have heard the whole story
from Mrs. Rackett, and I assure you Lady Frances
did not enjoy the morning at all,—she wished for you
fifty times.

Sir Geo.

Indeed!

Sav.

Here she comes to receive your Apology. If
she is a mere Woman, her Displeasure will rise in
proportion to your Contrition. However I’ll leave
you—matrimonial duets are seldom pleasing to auditors.
Exit.
Enter Lady Frances.

Sir Geo.

The sweet sorrow that glitters in these
eyes I cannot bear embracing her Look chearfully
you Rogue!

Lady F.

I cannot look otherwise, if you are pleased
with me.

Sir Geo.

Well, Fanny, to day you made your entrée T3r 277
into the fashionable world; tell me honestly the Impression
you received.

Lady F.

Indeed, Sir George, I was so hurried
from place to place, that I had not time to scrutinize
what my impressions were.

Sir Geo.

That’s the very Spirit of the life you have
chosen.

Lady F.

Every body about me seemed as though
they hoped to be happy elsewhere.

Sir Geo.

And you like this?

Lady F.

One must like what the rest of the world
likes.

Sir Geo.

Pernicious maxim!

Lady F.

But, my dear Sir George, you have not
promised to go with me to the Masquerade!

Sir Geo.

’Twould be a shocking Indecorum to be
seen together, you know.

Lady F.

Oh, no; I asked Mrs. Rackett, and she
told me we might be seen together at the Masquerade
without being laughed at.

Sir Geo.

Really!

Lady F.

Indeed, I wish it was the Fashion for
married people to be always in each other’s society.
I have more heartfelt satisfaction in an hour of converse
with you, than a month of amusement could
give me without you.

Sir Geo.

My sweet Creature!—how that confession
charms me! Let us begin the Fashion.

Lady F.

Oh! impossible. We should not gain
a single proselyte;—you cant conceive what spiteful
things would be said of us. At Kensington to day a
Lady, whom we saw at Court when we were presented,
met us; she lifted up her hands in amazement!
—Bless me! said she—here’s Lady Frances
without Sir Hurlo! My dear Mrs. Rackett, consider
what an important charge you have—take her home
again! or some Enchanter, on a flying dragon, will
descend and carry her off. Oh, said another, you
may depend upon it she has a clue at her heel, like T3v 278
the peerless Rosamond; her tender Swain would never
have trusted her so far, without means of discovering
her.

Sir Geo.

Heaven! How shall Innocence preserve
its Lustre amidst manners so corrupt?—My dear
Fanny, I feel a sentiment for thee at this moment
tenderer than Love—more animated than passion. I
view thy progress through the infectious regions of
fashion—with anxious terror!
Enter Gibson.

Gib.

You talked, Sir, something about going to
the Masquerade?

Sir Geo.

Well!

Gib.

Isn’t it? haven’t you? I thought, Sir, you
had forgot to order a Dress. Aside. What, now,
can it signify to Sal, what his dress is to be?)

Lady F.

Well considered Gibson.—Come, will
you be Jew, Turk, a Chinese Emperor, or a Balladsinger!

Sir Geo.

Neither, my Love. I cant take the trouble
to support a Character.

Lady F.

You’ll wear a Domino then:—I saw a
pink one trimmed with blue, at the shop where I
bought my Habit—would you like it?

Sir Geo.

Any thing—any thing.

Lady F.

Go about it directly, Gibson.—A pink
Domino, trimmed with blue, and a hat of the same.
Exit Gibson. You have not seen my Dress yet, it
is most beautiful, I long to have it on!

Exeunt.
T4r 279

Act the Fourth.

Scene I. A masquerade.

Music. A Party of Masqueraders, dancing in front.
A variety of Characters pass and repass.
Enter Folly—with his Cap and Bells.

Mask.

Hey! Tom Fool! What Business have you
here?

Folly.

What Slave! Affront a Prince surveying—
his own Dominions!
Struts through the Crowd.
A Mountebank advances, followed by his Merry
Andrew
who continues playing tricks around him.

Merry Andrew.

Here! here! here!—who’ll buy
my Master’s Nostrums—who’ll buy?

Mount.

Nostrums! Ladies and Gentlemen, most
excellent Nostrums—who’ll buy?

Masks.

What are they? what are they?
They all come round him.

Mount.

Different sorts—for different Customers.
Here’s an excellent Powder for Ladies, quenches the
rage for Gaming by making them――sleep at Night.
Husbands! here’s an Eye-water thickens the visual
membrane, prevents its seeing every cobweb――good T4v 280
for Jealousy. Here’s a Narcotic for Members of
Parliament, produces Repose――in every state of
the Conscience! Here—here’s a Corroborant for the
Clergy, provided they effect an advantageous――
Change of Living! Projectors! here’s a Decoction
dissipates Airy Castles, by rectifying the Fumes――
of empty stomachs! Here—but where shall I find it
—Oh! here’s a Quieting-draught for Lawyers!――
a great promoter of Modesty.

A. Mask.

Mr. Mountebank! have you no Anodyne
for young Heirs, whose Uncles and Fathers are
healthy?

Mount.

An Anodyne for young Heirs—no. But, I
have an Alterative, produces Abstinence in Creditors,
when Gentlemen plead their Privilege—of breaking
a Promise!

First Mask.

Come along—come along;—here are
Customers for your whole cargo. Conducts him in Front, between the masqueraders
and the Audience; and they pass behind, Music.
Enter Hardy, dressed as a Jew.

Hardy.

Why, isn’t it a Shame to see so many stout
well-built young fellows, masquerading and cutting
capers to Music here at home—instead of making
the French cut capers to a tune from our Cannon—
or exercising the Spaniards in an English fandango.
—I foresee the end of all this!

1st Mask.

Why, thou testy Israelite, back to
Duke’s Place! and preach thy Tribe into a Subscription
for the good of the land—on whose milk
and honey ye fatten. Where are your Joshuas and
your Gideons—eh! What—all dwindled into Stockbrokers,
Pedlars, and Ragmen?

Har.

Vat shure—not all! Shum of us have
dwindled into—Men of Fashion! (Aside. Ha! here
are Cousin Rackett and her Party; they shant know
me.) Music. T5r 281 Enter Mrs. Rackett, Lady Frances, Sir George,
and Flutter.

Mrs. R.

Look at this swarthy Jew! he must be a
real Levite by his Figure. You have surely practised
the flesh-hook a long time friend, to have raised that
goodly presence.

Har.

Vy, about ash long, my brisk Vidow, ash you
have been angling for a second Hushband! My hook
ish better baited than your’sh, you catch I shee only
Gudgeon! pointing at Flutter.

Flut.

Oh! what we have here some Genius our
Hostess has hired, to entertain the company with
accidental sallies.—Let me look at your Common-
Place book friend,—I want a few good things—

Har.

I know it! but you vilsh spoil dem in repeating!
Or, if not, dey vilsh gain you no reputation
—nobody vilsh believe dey are your own!

Sir Geo.

He knows ye Flutter! The bustling
Gentleman fancies himself a Wit I see.

Har.

Dares no depending upon vatsh you shee;
—de eyes of de shellous are not to be trushted! Try
to shee clear vensh you look after your Ladee!

Flut.

He knows you, Sir George!

Sir Geo.

Aside.—What!—am I the Town-talk?

Har.

Aside. I can neither see Doricourt nor
Letty. I must find them out. Exit.

Mrs. R.

Well, Lady Frances, is not all this charming?
Could you have conceived such a brilliant assemblage
of objects?

Lady F.

Delightful!—The days of Enchantment
are restored! The Columns glow with Sapphires and
Rubies. Emperors and Fairies, Beauties and Dwarfs,
meet me at every step.

Sir Geo.

How lively are first impressions on sensible
minds! In two hours—Vapidity and Languor
will take place of that exquisite sense of Joy that
flutters thy susceptible heart.

Mrs. R.

What an inhuman creature! Fate has not T5v 282
allowed us these Sensations above ten times in the
whole course of our lives;—and would you have us
suppress them by Anticipation?

Flut.

Oh! your wise men are the greatest fools
upon earth! whilst they reason about enjoyments,
and develope the Philosophy of pleasure, the Essence
escapes.—Look, Lady Frances, do you see that figure
strutting in the dress of an Emperor? he has stolen
a march upon the servants at the door—his father
sells Oranges in Botolph Lane. That Gypsey—is a
Maid of Honour; and that Undertaker, a Physician!

Lady F.

Why, you know every body.

Flut.

Oh, every creature—a Mask is nothing at
all to me.—I can give you the history of half the
people here. In the next apartment there is a whole
family who, to my knowledge, have lived on Watercresses
this month, to make a figure here to night.
To make up for that however, they’ll cram their
pockets with cold ducks and chickens—for a Carnival
tomorrow.

Lady F.

Oh! I should like to see this provident
family.

Flut.

Honour me with your arm. Ex. Flutter and Lady Frances.

Mrs. R.

Come, Sir George, you shall be my Beau.
We’ll make the tour of the rooms, and meet them.
Oh! your pardon, you must follow Lady Frances, or
the Wit and Graces of Mr. Flutter may drive you
out of her head. Ha! ha! ha! Exit.

Sir George.

I was about to follow her, but, now
I dare not! How can I be such a Fool as to be governed
by the fear of the very ridicule which I despise!
Exit. Music. Enter Doricourt, meeting a Pilgrim.

Dor.

Ha! my Lord!—I thought you had been engaged
in the House this important night.

Pilg.

So I am—I slipt out as soon as Lord Trope
got upon his legs; I can badiner here an hour or T6r 283
two, and be back again before he is down. Here’s a
fine Figure from which I shall not run—
Enter Letitia.
Charity, fair Lady! Charity for a poor Pilgrim!

Let.

Charity! If you mean my prayers—heaven
grant thee Wit, Pilgrim.

Pilg.

Blessings I should ask from a Devotee;—but
from you I ask the charities Beauty should bestow
—soft looks, sweet words.

Let.

Alas! I am bankrupt of these, and forced to
turn beggar myself— Doricourt advances.
(Aside.—There he is! something striking must catch
his Attention!)

Pilg.

Do you beg too! Come, we’ll proceed together
then through the world—if you’ll accept my
hand?

Let.

(Aside—Fortunate question!) I’ll make you
my Partner, not for Life, but through the soft mazes
of a Minuet—Dare you Dance?

Dor.

Some Spirit in that!

Pilg.

I dare any thing you command.

Dor.

Do you know her, my Lord?

Pilg.

No! Such a woman would formerly have
been known in any disguise; but, Beauty is now
common,—Venus seems to lend her Cestus through
the whole sex! They dance a Minuet.

Dor.

Doricourt expresses Delight throughout. She
dances divinely――charming!
The Minuet closes.Exit Letitia.
Somebody must know her, let us enquire who she is!Exit. T6v 284
Saville advances with Kitty Willis, habited like
Lady Frances.

Sav.

Though he endeavoured to keep himself concealed,
I have discovered Courtall habited as Sir
George
.—Go and seat yourself in the Tea Room,
and on no account discover your face. Remember
too, Kitty, that the woman you are to personate—is
a woman of Virtue.

Kitty.

Such a part is sometimes, I suppose, not
kept up in a Masquerade even by a woman of Character.

Sav.

Of that you can be no judge!—Follow my
directions, and you shall be rewarded. Exit Kitty.
Enter Doricourt, hastily.

Dor.

Ha! Saville!—did you see a Lady dance
just now?

Sav.

No.

Dor.

Very odd, I have enquired every where, nobody
knows her!

Sav.

Where is Miss Hardy?

Dor.

Oh, I know nothing of her—cutting watchpapers,
and making Conundrums, I suppose.

Sav.

What do you mean?

Dor.

Faith, I hardly know. Mrs. Rackett tells
me she is not here—I asked no further!

Sav.

Your Indifference seems encreased.

Dor.

Quite the reverse; I have advanced thirtytwo
degrees towards Hatred!

Sav.

You are jesting?

Dor.

Then it must be with a very ill Grace my
dear Saville, for I never was in a mood more serious.
—Do you know the creature’s almost an Ideot?

Sav.

What!

Dor.

An Ideot. To force Hardy to cancel the
Engagement, I have some thoughts of feigning myself
—downright mad. T7r 285

Sav.

I must leave you;—you are mysterious, and
I cant stay to unravel you! I came here to watch
over Innocence and Beauty.

Dor.

At three and twenty, the Guardian of innocence
and beauty! Is there not a cloven foot under
that black gown, Saville?

Sav.

No, faith. Courtall is here on a most detestable
design. I have brought here, to personate
the Lady, a Girl whose reputation cannot be hurt.
You shall know the result to-morrow! Adieu! Exit.

Dor.

Advancing forward, and musing.Yes, I
think that will do! I actually will feign myself mad
—fee the Doctor to pronounce me incurable—and
when the parchments are destroyed—

As he stands, in a musing posture, Letitia enters,
and sings

Letitia Hardy[Speaker label not present in original source]

Song.

Wake! Thou son of Dullness, wake!

From thy drowsy Senses shake

All the Spells that Care employs

Cheating mortals of their Joys.

Light wing’d Spirits hither haste!

Who prepare for mortal taste

All the gifts that pleasure sends,

Every bliss that youth attends.

Touch his feelings, rouse his Soul,

Whilst the sparkling moments roll

Bid them teem with new Delight

Crown the Magic of the night!

Dor.

Heaven!—the same sweet creature!

Let.

You have chosen an unfit situation for Study!
Fashion and Taste preside in this spot, they throw
their Spells around you, a thousand Delights spring T7v 286
up at their command;—and you, a Stoic! a being
without Senses, are lost to all this in Reflection!

Dor.

But you, the most charming of beings,
awake me to Admiration! Did you come from the
Stars!

Let.

Yes, and shall re-ascend in a moment!

Dor.

Pray, show me your face before you go.

Let.

Why?

Dor.

That I may fall in Love with it.

Let.

Is there no honorable Engagement in the
way!

Dor.

Aside Ah! There’s the rub!

Let.

She to whom you are devoted will be angry—
but perhaps there is none.

Dor.

Yes, yes—such a one!

Let.

What! is she old?

Dor.

No.

Let.

Ugly?

Dor.

No.

Let.

What then?

Dor.

Pho! dont talk about her—but shew me
your face!

Let.

My Vanity forbids;—’twould frighten you.

Dor.

Impossible! Your Shape is graceful; your
Air bewitching; your Face—your chin would tempt
me to kiss it if I did not see, half mask’d, a pouting
red lip above it that demands—

Let.

You grow too free!

Dor.

Your face then—only half a Glance!

Let.

Not for Worlds!

Dor.

What! you will have a little gentle force?
attempts to seize her mask.

Let.

I am gone for ever! Exit.

Dor.

’Tis false. I’ll follow you for ever. Exit. Music. Flutter, Lady Frances, and Saville dressed as an
Enchanter, advance.

Lady F.

How can you be thus interested for a
Stranger? T8r 287

Sav.

Goodness interests because it is a Stranger;
—its home is Heaven, on earth ’tis an assailed
Wanderer. Imprudent Lady! why have you left
the side of your proper protector? Where is your
husband?

Flut.

Why, what’s that to him?

Lady F.

It cannot be merely his Habit—There is
something that awes me!

Flut.

Pho! ’tis only his grey beard.—I know him;
he keeps a Lottery Office on Cornhill!

Sav.

My power as an Enchanter lays open every
secret to me. Lady! there are Dangers abroad—
beware!Exit.

Lady F.

I cannot account for it—but his manner
has made me tremble! Let us seek Sir George.

Flut.

He is coming towards us. Courtall advances masked, and habited like Sir
George
.

Court.

Aside.—There she is! If I can but disengage
her from that fool Flutter—crown me ye
schemers with immortal wreaths!

Lady F.

O my dear Sir George! I rejoice to meet
you;—an old Conjuror has been alarming me by Prophecies.
Where is Mrs. Rackett?

Court.

Presses his Mask on his mouth In the outer
Dancing room.—I promised to send you to her Mr.
Flutter
.

Flut.

Oh she wants me to dance!—With all my
heart.Exit.

Lady F.

Why do you keep on your mask?—’tis
too warm.

Court.

’Tis very warm—I want air—let us go.

Lady F.

You seem quite agitated. Shall we not
bid our friends adieu?

Court.

No, no; forms will be inconvenient now!
I’ll just give directions about the Carriage, and be T8v 288
with you in a moment. going—steps back Put on
your Mask, I have a particular reason for it.
Exit Courtall. Lady F. masks. Saville advances; with Kitty masked.

Sav.

Now Kitty, you know your Lesson. Lady
Frances
! takes off his Mask let me lead you to
your Husband.

Lady F.

Most unexpected! is Mr. Saville the Conjurer?
Sir George is just stepp’d to the door to give
directions. We are going immediately—

Sav.

You are deceived! See Sir George, unmasked,
yonder.

Lady F.

Good Heaven!—what means this?

Sav.

Be not alarmed!—you have escaped the
Snare. Exeunt Saville and Lady Frances. Enter Courtall, and seizes Kitty’s hand.

Court.

Now! come—my Angel! hurries out with
her on the other side.
Music. Doricourt follows Letitia backwards and forwards
through the Crowd. They come forward.

Dor.

I never was charmed till now! English
Beauty—french Vivacity, Wit, Elegance. Your
name, my Angel! though you persist in concealing
your face—tell me your name!

Let.

My name has a powerful Spell in it!

Dor.

You are all Charm!

Let.

But, my name revealed—the Charm is broke.

Dor.

I’ll answer for its undiminished force.

Let.

Suppose it Harriet, or Charlotte, or Maria
or—

Dor.

Away with Harriet, and Charlotte, and Maria
—the name you inherit from your father? U1r 289

Let.

Oh, that’s of no worth;—’tis so transient!

Dor.

Why must it be transient?

Let.

After Marriage, only, I would have it unchangeable.

Dor.

Marriage! Oh—its Chains are too heavy and
vulgar for such a spirit as your’s.—The Flowery
Wreaths of Cupid are the only bands you should
wear.

Let.

They may be the lightest;—but, ’tis possible
to wear those of Marriage with Ease, throw them
gracefully round, and twist them in a True-Lovers’
knot for the Bosom.

Dor.

You are an Angel! But, what will you be
when a Wife?

Let.

But a woman. If my husband should prove
a Churl, a Gamester, a Coxcomb, or a Tyrant, I’ll
squander his Fortune, treat him with neglect, break
his heart—and return the sneer of the world with
scorn, whilst my Feelings prey upon my Life!

Dor.

What spirit—what Animation! But—your
conduct if he be worthy of your love?

Let.

Why then, I would be any thing—or all; Grave,
Gay, Capricious,—the soul of Whim, the spirit of
Variety. Live with him in the eye of Fashion, or in
the shade of Retirement. Change my country, my
sex. Feast with him in an Esquimaux hut, or in a
Persian pavilion. Join him in the victorious Wardance
on the borders of Lake Ontario, or sleep to the
soft breathings of the flute in the Cinnamon Groves
of Ceylon. Dig with him in the Mines of Golconda,
or enter the dangerous precincts of the gorgeous Palace
of the Mogul, cheat him of his wishes—and
overturn his empire! to restore the Husband of my
heart to the blessings of Liberty and Love!

Dor.

Delightful wildness! Oh, that I could catch
and cage thee for ever! attempting to clasp her.

Let.

Hold, Sir! Though Cupid may tempt to the
snare, ’tis Hymen must draw the Net to catch me. Vol. I. U U1v 290

Dor.

In vain you assume airs of coldness—Fate
has ordained you mine!

Let.

How do you know?

Dor.

I feel it in my Heart. I never met with a
woman so perfectly to my fancy; I wont believe it
formed you so only to tantalize me.

Let.

Aside. This moment is worth a whole existence!

Dor.

Come, shew me your face—and confirm your
empire!

Let.

Tomorrow you shall be satisfied.

Dor.

Tomorrow! Oh, let it be now!

Let.

No.

Dor.

Where then shall I see you tomorrow?—
When?

Let.

You shall see me in an hour when you least
expect me!

Dor.

Why all this Mystery?

Let.

I chuse to be mysterious. At present, be
content to know that I am a woman of Family and
Fortune.—Farewell! Hardy comes through the crowd, and advances a little.

Har.

Aside. Farewell!—Then I am come at the
fag end.

Dor.

Let me see you to your Carriage.

Let.

As you value knowing who I am, stir not a
step. If I am followed, you see me no more! Exit.

Dor.

Barbarous creature—she’s gone!—What, and
is this really serious—am I in Love!—Pho! it cant
be. Oh, Flutter—this is lucky—I want you—do
you know that charming creature? Enter Flutter.

Flut.

What charming creature? I pass’d a thousand.

Dor.

She went out at that door, as you entered. U2r 291

Flut.

Oh, yes;—I know her very well—I know
every body.

Dor.

Do you, my dear fellow? Who is she?

Flut.

Oh, Lord George Jennett has intruded the
creature in disguise—she is kept by him.

Har.

Aside Impudent Scoundrel!

Dor.

Kept!

Flut.

Yes; Colonel Gorget had her first—then—
I forget exactly to how many she sunk;—at last,
she’s Lord George’s. Talks to other Masks.

Dor.

I’ll murder Gorget, poison Lord George, and
shoot myself!

Har.

comes forward I foresee I have hit the time
to clear up the whole.—Mr. Doricourt—I say—
Flutter as usual has misled—I can tell you correctly
whom you are in Love with.

Dor.

A strange rencontre!—Who?

Har.

Why, my Letty!

Dor.

I understand the Rebuke, Sir;—’tis however
too soon to assume the Father-in-law.

Har.

Whu! what do you mean by that? I tell you
that the Lady you admire—is Letitia Hardy.

Dor.

I am glad you are so well satisfied with the
state of my heart.—I wish I was! Exit.

Har.

Stop a moment—stop I say!—You wont!
very well, I’ll trick you for this; I’ll join Letty’s
plot, hang me if I dont. There’s something in my
head shall tingle in your heart!—He shall have a
lesson on impatience, which I predict he’ll be the
better for as long as he lives! Exit. Saville comes forward, with other Masks.

Sav.

Flutter, you love Variety, come with us; we
are going to Courtall’s to raise—a Laugh at Vice!—
Come along, I’ll explain as we go

Flut.

With all my heart—“Live to think” was
My father’s Motto:—“Live to laugh” is mine!

Exeunt, with two or three others.
U2 U2v 292

Scene II.

Courtall’s. Enter Kitty and Courtall, masked.

Kitty.


Where have you brought me Sir George?
this is not my home!

Court.

Beautiful Lady Frances! kneels and unmasks
—’tis my home. Oh, forgive the ardent
Passion which has compelled me to deceive you.

Kitty.


Oh! Mr. Courtall—what will become of
my Character!

Court.

Say but that you pardon the wretch who
adores you! Did you but know the agonizing tortures
of my heart since I have had the felicity of
conversing with you this morning—or the despair
that now— a knock.

Kitty.


Oh! I am undone!

Court.

Confusion!—my dear Lady Frances! I’m
not at home—Rascal! do you hear? Let nobody in;
I am not at home!

Serv.

Without Sir, I told the Gentlemen so!

Court.

Some Spirit thwarts me!—They are coming
up—step adorable creature into this room one
moment!—I’ll throw them out of the window, if
they stay three. Exit Kitty through a door at the back of the stage. Enter Saville, Flutter, and other Masks.

Flut.

Oh, Gemini?—beg the petticoat’s pardon—
just saw a corner of it!

1st Mask.

No wonder you was denied. I thought
you took us for Bailiffs!

Court.

Upon my Veracity I am inexpressibly glad
to see you Gentlemen—but, you perceive how I am
circumstanced—excuse me at this moment. U3r 293

Flut.

Tell us who it is then?

Court.

Oh, fie!

Flut.

Come, we wont blab.

Court.

I cant, upon honour.—Thus far—She’s a
woman of the first character and rank! Saville takes
him aside
have I influence, or have I not!

Sav.

Why, surely, you dont insinuate—

Court.

No, not insinuate, but swear, that she’s now
closeted! by Cupid, I dont deceive you. There’s
Generalship! you Rogue. Such an humble, distant,
sighing fellow as thou art, at the end of a six
months siege, would have boasted of a kiss on her
glove.—I only give the signal and—pop! she is with
me.

Sav.

What, Lady Fran

Court.

Hush!! You shall see her name, on some
other occasion, in red letters at the end of my list.
Gentlemen, you must excuse me now—But—

Sav.

With an air of Mystery Oh, we must go,
out of respect to the Lady:—’tis a person of Rank!

Flut.

Then I’ll have a peep at her—runs to the
door.

Court.

This is too much, Sir.
Trying to prevent him.

1st Mask.

By Jupiter—we’ll all have a peep!

Court.

Gentlemen! consider—for Character sake
—a Lady of Quality—the Earl her father—the consequences
between me and her husband—How can
you make amends?

Flut.

Why, you’ll have your throat cut—but I’ll
write your Elegy!—So, now for the door! whilst
part hold Courtall, the rest open the door
Beg your
Ladyship’s pardon. Whoever you are—Leads her
out
emerge from darkness, and, like the glorious
Sun, dissipate obscurity by your charms takes off
her mask.

Sav.

Kitty Willis!—ha! ha! ha!

All.

Ha! ha! ha! Kitty Willis! ha! ha! ha! Kitty
Willis
! Kitty Willis! U3v 294

1st Mask.

Why, what a fellow you are Courtall,
to attempt imposing on your Friends in this manner!
—ha! ha! ha! A Lady of Quality—an Earl’s Daughter
—ha! ha! ha!—Your Ladyship’s most obedient!

Sav.

Courtall calls him aside—pretending to whisper
have you Influence, or have you not?

Flut.

The man’s moon-struck!

Court.

The Furies seize you all together!

Kitty.


What! me too Mr. Courtall? me, whom
you have knelt to, prayed to, and adored! runs
round the stage after him.

Flut.

That’s right, Kitty; give him a little more!

Sav.

to Kitty—You may now depart.
Exit Kitty.

Court.

Disappointed—laughed at—

Sav.

—And despised! I have fulfilled my Design,
which was—to expose Presumption and Profligacy
with all their blandishments to Laughter and Contempt!
Adieu Sir;—pause before you again boast
of influence with women of Rank. When you next
flatter yourself with hopes of success in Vice—look
not to the virtuous and the Noble! Exit.

Flut.

And Courtall—d’ye hear! before you closet
a Lady again—look under her mask! Exit with the other Masks all laughing.

Court.

There’s no bearing this! Tarnished in Character
I cannot remain here—I’m off for Paris!

Act U4r 295

Act the Fifth.

Scene I. Hardy’s.

Enter Hardy, and Mrs. Rackett.

Mrs. R.

Oh! in what a whimsical situation is poor
Doricourt! Dying for her, and hates her; believes
her a Fool—and a woman of Brilliant Understanding!

Har.

Do you know, out of downright goodnature,
at the Masquerade I went up to him to explain
matters; but my Gentleman whips round upon
his heel, and snapt me as short—as if he had been
Overseer of the Poor, and I—an old Woman with
six small children! You are sure of me now in all
your plots.

Mrs. R.

Here comes the Wonder-worker, Enter Letitia.
here comes The Enchantress of the Masquerade—
who can sing and dance a man out of his Wits! But
pray, have we Morning masquerades?

Let.

Oh no—but I am so enamoured of this allconquering
Dress, that I could not resist putting it
on the moment I had breakfasted. I shall wear it
on the day I am married, and then lay it by in
spices, like the miraculous robes of St. Bridget.

Har.

Aye, Letty, the attractions that help to catch U4v 296
a husband are laid by, one after another, till the
Lady grows—a downright Wife; and then—as I always
foresee—she runs crying to her Mother, because
she has transformed her Lover into a downright
Husband.—As for Doricourt, Plots against him so
quickly drove one another out of my head all night,
that, giddy as a Goose—I could make nothing of
them in the morning. Cousin Racket, do contrive
something.

Mrs. R.

I have—I have it! You shant undeceive
him Letitia, until he is your Husband! Marry him
under the impressions he has of Miss Hardy—and
when you are his Wife—

Let.

Oh!—I see the whole—’tis an enchanting
scheme!

Har.

But—I foresee the End of it—it will
not succeed;—you know the Wedding is not to take
place this week or more—and my Letty will never
be able to play the fool so long.

Mrs. R.

Oh, the knot shall be tied to day! I
have it all in my brain. Feign yourself seriously ill
to Hardy, send for Doricourt, and tell him you
cant go out of the world in peace, unless you first
see the ceremony performed.

Har.

I feign myself quitting the World from a serious
illness—I could as soon feign myself a retiring
Minister! Why, as I never called in a Doctor, I
never had an illness in my life that went beyond a
Cold!

Mrs. R.

Oh, it is not of you that I have fears!
But, what says Letitia? are you willing to make the
irrevocable vow, to day?

Let.

Oh—I—I—’tis so exceedingly sudden, that
really—

Mrs. R.

That really you are frighten’d out of your
wits—lest it should be impossible to contrive it. But,
I’ll manage it.—Come, put off your conquering Dress,
and recover all your awkward airs. Go to Mr. U5r 297
Hardy
to bed directly! Your room shall be crammed
with Phials, and all the other Apparatus of
Death.

Har.

Well by and by! looks at his Watch The
Budget’s to be opened this evening—I must first just
step down to the House.

Mrs. R.

What, Sir! wont your attendance be excused
by a mortal sickness!

Har.

Why, I believe Cousin Rackett there are
rogues who, on that plea, would willingly excuse
many of us, with a view to the health of the Nation.
But—

Mrs. R.

But—you must not stir out, Sir; stay
and practise a few Groans—and I’ll answer for the
plot.

Let.

Married in jest! the idea is most extraordinary
—But, the Spirit of Venture is on me!
Exit, with Mrs. Rackett.

Har.

In truth, I’d rather go any where, out of
the way of this Scheme;—I’m half afraid! I foresee
some Ill happening from this making believe to die
before one’s time.—But, hang it――a-hem! I’m a
stout man yet; only Fifty-six.—And what’s that?
in the last Yearly Bill there were three lived to
above an hundred. Fifty-six!—Whu!—that’s not
Old-age now!

Exit.

Scene II.

Doricourt’s. Doricourt in his Robe de Chambre. Enter Saville.

Sav.

Undressed so late?

Dor.

I went to bed late—I was not able to sleep
—’twas late when I rose—Do you know Lord George
Jennett
?

Sav.

Yes.

Dor.

Has he a Mistress? U5v 298

Sav.

Yes.

Dor.

What sort of a creature is she?

Sav.

Why, she spends him Three Thousand a year
with the Ease of a Duchess, and entertains his friends
with the air of a Ninon—ergo, she is handsome,
lively, and impudent. Doricourt stamps and walks
about disordered
—In the name of Caprice, what ails
you?

Dor.

You have hit it—elle est mon Caprice; the
Mistress of Lord George—insufferable!

Sav.

What, you saw her at the Masquerade?

Dor.

Saw her!—loved her, was dying for her, without
knowing who she was. And now—torture!—I
cannot hate her.

Sav.

Ridiculous enough! all this distress about a
Kept Woman, who will sink to any one, I dare
swear, in a fortnight.

Dor.

The sentiment I have conceived for the witch
is so unaccountable, that this is the very idea which
I cannot endure. Was she a Woman of Honour, as
a Wife I could adore her—but, I really believe, if
she were to send me an assignation, I should hate
her.

Sav.

Hey-dey! This sounds like Love! What is
to become, pray, of poor Miss Hardy?

Dor.

Her name gives me an Ague! Dear Saville,
how shall I contrive to make old Hardy cancel the
engagement! The moiety of the estate which she
will forfeit shall be her’s the next moment, by deed
of gift.

Sav.

Let me see—Cant you get it insinuated that
you are a wild fellow, attached to Gaming, and so
forth?

Dor.

Oh, such a Character might have disgusted,
three Centuries back. But, what timorous being
will it frighten now? I positively must pursue my
scheme of feigned Madness at last—there, will that
do for a Grin?

Sav.

Ridiculous!—But, how are you certain that U6r 299
the woman who so bewilders you is but the creature
of Lord George?

Dor.

Flutter told me so.

Sav.

Fifty to One against the intelligence, of
course.

Dor.

It must be true;—there was a strange Mystery
about her, for which nothing else can account
a violent rap—Who can this be?
Saville looks out.

Sav.

The Proverb is your answer—’tis Flutter
himself. Tip him a scene of the Madman—to see
how it takes!

Dor.

I will;—a good way to send it about Town.
Shall it be of the melancholy kind—or the raving?

Sav.

Oh! let it be Rant!—downright Rant!—
he comes.

Dor.

Talk not to me—who can pull Comets by
the Beard, and overset an Island!—
Enter Flutter.
There! This is he!—this is he, who hath sent my
poor soul, without Coat or Waistcoat, to be tossed
about in Æther like a duck-feather!—Villain—give
me my Soul again!

Flut.

Upon my soul I have’nt got it.
Exceedingly frightened.

Sav.

Oh! Mr. Flutter, what a melancholy sight!
—I little thought to have seen my poor friend reduced
to this.

Flut.

Mercy defend me! What’s he mad?

Sav.

You see how it is. An abandoned Italian
Lady—Jealousy—gave him a drug—and every full
of the Moon—

Dor.

Moon! Who dares talk of the Moon? the
patroness of Genius—the rectifier of Wits—the—
Ah! here she is!—I feel her—she tugs at my Brain
—she has it—she has it—she runs away with it—
Exit. U6v 300

Flut.

This is dreadful! exceedingly dreadful I
protest. Have you had the mad Doctor?

Sav.

Not yet. The worthy Miss Hardy—what a
Misfortune!

Flut.

Aye very true.――Do they know it?

Sav.

Oh, no; the Paroxysm seized him but this
morning.

Flut.

Adieu—I must go and tell!—I can’t stay.
going hastily.

Sav.

But you must holding him stay and assist
me; perhaps he’ll return again in a moment, and,
when he is in this way, his Strength is prodigious.

Flut.

Can’t indeed—can’t upon my soul—can’t.
In great haste.

Sav.

Flutter!—Dont mistake now;—remember,
’tis Doricourt that’s mad.

Flut.

turning back Yes—you mad.

Sav.

No, no;—Doricourt.

Flut.

That I may be quite sure I make no mistake
—I’ll say you’re both mad!

Exeunt, severally.

Scene III.

Sir George Touchwood’s. Enter Sir George, and Lady Frances.

Sir Geo.

The delinquent is escaped—Courtall is
gone to France.

Lady F.

What! is it possible that you have been
to seek him?

Sir Geo.

It was impossible to avoid it.

Lady F.

I should have been too much afraid of
Consequences ever to have told you his name—how
did you learn it?

Sir Geo.

Oh, in the first Coffee-Room I entered.
—Every body is full of the story.

Lady F.

Thank Heaven he’s gone! Let us give U7r 301
our minds to a pleasanter subject.—The Hardy family
are forming a plot against your friend Doricourt, and
we are expected in the evening to assist.

Sir Geo.

With all my heart, my Angel; but I cant
stay to hear it explained. They told me Mr. Saville
would be at home in half an hour, I am impatient to
see him. The adventure of last night—

Lady F.

Think of it only with Gratitude; the
danger I was in has overset a new System of conduct
that, perhaps, I was too much inclined to adopt.
But, henceforth, my dear Sir George, you shall be
my constant companion and Guard. And, when
they ridicule the unfashionable creatures, the felicity
of our hearts will have rendered them impenetrable
by their Satire.

Sir Geo.

Charming Angel! you almost reconcile
me to Courtall. Hark! here is Company goes to
the door
’tis your lively Widow—I’ll away to Saville.
Exit.
Enter Mrs. Rackett.

Mrs. R.

Oh, Lady Frances! I am shocked to
death. Have you received a Card from us?

Lady F.

Yes; within this half hour.

Mrs. R.

Aye, ’tis of no consequence.—’Tis all
over—Doricourt is mad!

Lady F.

Mad!

Mrs. R.

My poor Letitia! Just as we were enjoying
ourselves in the prospect of a Scheme that was
planned for their mutual happiness, in came Flutter,
breathless with the Intelligence. I flew hither to
know whether you had heard it.

Lady F.

No—indeed—and I hope it is one of Mr.
Flutter
’s dreams—
Enter Saville.
Oh! we shall be informed. Mr. Saville, I rejoice to U7v 302
see you; Sir George will be disappointed, he is gone
to your Lodgings.

Sav.

I should have been happy to have prevented
Sir George. I hope your Ladyship’s adventure last
night did not disturb your dreams?

Lady F.

No Dreams were disturbed, for the thoughts
of my escape, and of my obligations to you, prevented
my sleeping a moment. But, we have just had
shocking intelligence—Is it true that Doricourt is
mad?

Sav.

(Aside. So! the business is done!)—I have
just been a witness of his furious ravings!

Mrs. R.

Flutter told us the whole history. Some
Italian Princess gave him a drug, in a box of sweetmeats
sent to him by her own page; and it renders
him Lunatic exactly one week every month. Poor
Miss Hardy! I never felt so much on any occasion
in my life.

Sav.

As a great Secret, I will inform you Madam
that she is less to be pitied on account of this malady
than you imagine—Doricourt did not love Miss
Hardy
.

Mrs. R.

He did love Miss Hardy, Sir, and would
have been the happiest of men.

Sav.

Pardon me, Madam, his heart was not only
free from that Lady’s chains, but absolutely captivated
by another; but—if you know better than he
does—

Mrs. R.

Why I do know better than he does,
Sir;—it was Miss Hardy herself who captivated him
at the Masquerade—she charmed him in disguise.
He professed the most violent passion for her; and
a plan was laid, this evening to cheat him into happiness
—by marrying him to the unrecognized object of
his Love.

Sav.

Ha!—ha! excellent!—most exhilarating News!
Why then, though I have not eaten of the Italian
Princess’s box of sweetmeats, sent by her own Page,
I am quite as mad as Doricourt is! U8r 303

Mrs. R.

So it appears.—What can all this mean?

Sav.

Why that he has never been out of his perfect
senses; though he will lose them through Joy when
I tell him what I have learnt. Why, the madness
was only a Feint, to avoid marrying Miss Hardy, ha!
ha!—I’ll carry the intelligence instantly. going.

Mrs. R.

In the name of Revenge—no!—revenge
for what he has made us to suffer. Divulge not a Syllable!
when he is summoned to Mr. Hardy, prevail
upon him to come—Madness and all!

Lady F.

Pray do. Now I am in the Secret, I
should like to see him shewing off!

Sav.

Why, ’tis inhuman to conceal his happiness.
Yet, let me consider, his Joy will eventually be the
greater;—besides, the Plot and Counterplot will
hasten the Catastrophe—

Mrs. R.

The what!

Sav.

The—will hasten the Marriage! Bows.

Mrs. R.

Beware! I know with marriage you are
out of humour now; to break your heart for which I
may perhaps, some six years hence, have you myself.

Sav.

Well then, if ever I should be tired of Life
—but, dont make love to me foolish Hussey; but set
me down as you go, and tell me, by the way, your
whole scheme against Doricourt. Leading her out.

Mrs. R.

You wont fail us?
Exeunt Saville and Mrs. Rackett.

Lady F.

No. Depend on us.

Exit. Scene IV. U8v 304

Scene IV.

An apartment at Doricourt’s.
Doricourt seated, reading.

Dor.

flings away the book. What effect can the
Advice of Fourscore have on a youthful mind agitated
by Passion! Musing—Can it then be possible
for such a soul as her’s to support itself in a situation
so humiliating?—a kept Woman! rising.
Enter Saville.

Sav.

What a happy dog you are, Doricourt! I
might have been mad, have beggar’d, or pistol’d
myself, without its being mentioned—But you forsooth!
the whole female World is concerned for. I
reported the state of your brain to five different
women:—the lip of the first trembled; the white
bosom of the second heaved a Sigh; the third blessed
—herself; the fourth, whilst she pinned a curl, said
“Well, now, perhaps, he’ll be a lively companion,
his insipidity was intolerable;”
—and the fifth? why
the eyes of the fifth dropped—upon her pocket glass.

Dor.

Envy! sheer Envy by the smiles of Hebe!
There are not less than forty pair of the brightest
eyes in Town will drop crystals when their owners
hear of my supposed misfortune.

Sav.

Well, but I have News for you:—Poor Hardy
is confined to his bed; they say he is going out of
the World, and that he wants to settle whether you
are to have his Daughter, before he goes.

Dor.

Ill?—so ill! I am really sorry for it. He is
a worthy little fellow—if he had not the gift of foreseeing
so confoundedly.

Sav.

Well, you must go and take leave. X1r 305

Dor.

What! act the Lunatic in a dying man’s
chamber.

Sav.

You will thus attain your object, for his last
commands you may suppose will be, that you are not
to marry his Daughter!

Dor.

Why that’s true, and tempts me—and yet—
impose upon a poor fellow at so serious a moment—I
cant do it.

Sav.

I am answerable for your appearance, though
it should be in a strait waistcoat. I assure you he is
acquainted with the state of your mind, and is the
more anxious to see you!

Dor.

I dont like encountering Rackett;—she’s an
arch little devil, and will discover the cheat.

Sav.

There’s a fellow!—Escaped ninety-nine women,
and afraid of the hundredth.

Dor.

And with reason—that hundredth is a Widow!


Exeunt.

Scene V.

Hardy’s.
Enter Mrs. Rackett and Miss Ogle.

Miss Ogle.

And so Miss Hardy is to be married
immediately?

Mrs. R.

If Fate does not thwart her. You are
apprised of the scheme.

Miss Ogle.

(Aside.—The Plague! she is six years
younger than I am.) Mr. Doricourt is handsome.

Mrs. R.

Handsome, rich, and generous! There’s
a husband—Isn’t he worth pulling caps for?

Miss Ogle[Speaker label not present in original source]


(Aside.In my conscience the widow
speaks as though, after the loss of her cap, he might
have her ear.) I wonder you did’nt try for this
Wonder, Mrs. Rackett.

Mrs. R.

Really, Miss Ogle, I had not time. Besides,Vol. I. X X1v 306
when I marry, so many fellows will hang themselves
that, to prevent so much mischief, I shall postpone
it for a few years. (Aside. This will cost her a
new lace—I heard it crack!)
Enter Sir George and Lady Frances.

Sir Geo.

Well, here we are. But where is the
Knight of the fierce countenance?
Enter Flutter.

Flut.

Here he comes! Here he comes! I ran up
as fast as I could as soon as I saw him alight from
his Carriage!

Lady F.

Then Miss Hardy’s fate is at its Crisis.
—She plays a hazardous game, and I tremble for her.

Sav.

Without Come, let me guide you; this way
my poor friend! Why are you so furious?

Dor.

Without. The house of Death—to the house
of Death—
Enter Doricourt and Saville.
Ah! ’tis the very spot!

Lady F.

How wild, and fiery, he looks!

Mrs. R.

Now, I think, he looks terrified at us.

Flut.

Poor creature!—how his eyes work!

Mrs. R.

I never saw a Madman before.—Let me
examine him—will he bite?

Sav.

Pray, keep out of his reach Ladies—You dont
know your danger. He’s like a Wild Cat if a sudden
fancy seizes him.

Sir Geo.

You talk like a Keeper of wild-creatures.
—How much do you demand for showing the Monster?

Dor.

(Apart.—I dont like this—I must arouse
their Sensibility!) There! there she darts through
the air in liquid flames!—Down again!—oh—oh! X2r 307
—now I have her. Ah! she burns, she scorches!
she eats into my very heart!

All.

Ha! ha! ha!

Mrs. R.

’Tis the apparition of the wicked Italian
Princess!

Flut.

Keep her Highness fast, Doricourt.

Miss Ogle.

Give her a pinch, before you let her go.

Dor.

I am laughed at!

Mrs. R.

Laughed at—to be sure;—you cant
escape. Why I could play the Madman better than
you.—“There! there she darts—Now I have her!”
—ha! ha! ha! (Aside. I must go and learn whether
Mr. Hardy is ready.) Exit.

Dor.

I knew that Widow would discover me. I am
overpowered by Confusion—I’ll leave the house!
Going.

Sir Geo.

Stay Sir—You must not go. Doricourt!
’twas poorly done, to affect Madness rather than fulfil
your engagements.

Dor.

Affect!—Saville, what can I do?

Sav.

Why—since you’re discovered—like other
rogues—confess.

Miss Ogle.

Aye, plead guilty, and pray for Mercy.

Dor.

Well—I avow the Scheme! I cannot love
Miss Hardy, and I never—

Sav.

Hold my dear Doricourt, be not rash! What
will the World say to such—

Dor.

What care I for the World!—The World
wont care for my loss of Peace! Must I, to please
the world, sacrifice my Happiness?

Sir Geo.

Yes, every thing—rather than be branded
with Dishonour.

Lady F.

Though our arguments should fail, there
is a pleader whom you surely cannot resist—Mr.
Hardy
who you have heard is dying, supplicates you
not to foresake his child!

All.

The dying Mr. Hardy! X2 X2v 308
Enter Mrs. Rackett.

Mrs R.

The dying Mr. Hardy requests you to
grant him a moment’s interview Mr. Doricourt!
Let me conduct you to his room.

Dor.

Oh, aye, any where, to the Antipodes —I
care not what becomes of me!
Ex. Doricourt, Mrs. Rackett, and Miss Ogle.

Sir Geo.

How Mortification proves itself a specific
against Stubbornness!

Flut.

Ladies, Ladies, have the charity to take me
with you, that I may make no blunder! Exit.

Lady F.

Sir George, you dont know Mr. Saville. Exit.

Sir Geo.

A thousand pardons—but I will not
pardon myself for not observing you. I have been at
your door twice to day.

Sav.

I am concerned that you had so much trouble
Sir George.

Sir Geo.

Trouble! what a word from you who
have preserved Lady Frances!—And yet—you have
wrested from me my dearest privilege. Start not, Sir
George
, to protect Lady Frances was my Right.

Sav.

I hardly know how to answer such a reproach.

Sir Geo.

There is but one method by which my
feelings can be satisfied—I cannot endure that my
wife should be so indebted to any man who is less
than my Brother.

Sav.

Explain yourself.

Sir Geo.

I have a Sister, Saville, who is amiable—I
shall give her a commission to steal your Heart, out
of revenge for what you have done.

Sav.

I am infinitely honoured, Sir George, but—

Sir Geo.

I will not listen to a Sentence which begins
with so unpromising a word. You must go with us
into Hampshire. I know no one to whose Heart I
would so readily commit the care of my Sister’s
happiness.

Sav.

I will attend you with pleasure, provided it X3r 309
is not on your scheme of Retirement. Society has
Claims on Lady Frances.

Sir Geo.

Claims Saville!

Sav.

Yes, Claims. Lady Frances was born to be
the ornament of Courts. She is sufficiently alarmed,
by the danger through which I fortunately watched
her, not to wander in future beyond the reach of her
natural protector. And, from the British Court, the
most tenderly anxious Husband could not wish to
banish his Wife. Let her keep in her eye the bright
Example who presides there; the splendor of whose
Rank yields to the superior lustre of her Virtue!

Sir Geo.

I am conquered by your argument.—But,
here they come—all intelligence!
Enter Mrs. Rackett, Lady Frances, Miss Ogle,
and Flutter.

Mrs. R.

Oh! what a Scene! do you know—

Flut.

Let me tell the Story;—As soon as Doricourt

Mrs. R.

I protest you shan’t!—Said Mr. Hardy

Flut.

No—’twas Doricourt spoke first—Says he—
No, ’twas the Parson—Says he—

Mrs. R.

Stop his mouth Sir George—he’ll spoil
the story of course.

Sir Geo.

Never heed Circumstances—the Result
—the Result.

Mrs. R.

No, no; you shall have it in Form.—Mr.
Hardy
performed the sick man like an Angel.—He
sat up in bed, and talked so pathetically, that the
tears stood in Doricourt’s eyes.

Flut.

Aye, stood—they did not drop, but stood—
in future I shall be very exact. ’Twas a good moment,
the Parson seized it—such opportunities you
know they never miss.

Mrs. R.

Make haste! said Doricourt—if you leave
me time to reflect, poor Hardy may die unhappy. X3v 310

Flut.

When we slipt out of the room, they were
proceeding with the Marriage surprisingly.

Sir Geo.

Then, by this time, they have reached
“Amazement,” which every body knows is the end
of the ceremony of Matrimony.

Mrs. R.

Aye, the framers of the Ceremony closed
with that word, as a hint to the Bride of the Amazement
which awaits her, on finding the Lover lost in
the Husband—

Sir Geo.

Because she has perhaps, brisk Widow,
remitted after Marriage some of those skilful attractions
by which she enchanted before.

Lady F.

Here the Bridegroom comes!
Enter Doricourt, with folded arms and melancholy air.
Exit Saville.

All.

Joy! joy! joy!

Miss Ogle.

If he is a sample of Bridegrooms, keep
me single!—A younger brother, from the funeral of
his father, could not carry a more distressed countenance.

Flut.

Oh!—Now, I suppose, he’s melancholy mad.

Lady F.

You do not consider the Importance of
the occasion!

Sir Geo.

Nor, how shocking it is for a man to be
forced into marriage with one woman, whilst his
heart is devoted to another.

Mrs. R.

Well Mr. Doricourt! now ’tis over, I
confess ’twas a most ridiculous piece of Quixotism to
give up the happiness of a whole life, to please a man
who perhaps has but a few moments to be sensible of
the sacrifice.

Flut.

So it appeared to me. But, thought I, Mr.
Doricourt
has studied man in different climates—he
knows best.

Dor.

Desperation!—Did ye not all set upon me?
Didn’t ye talk of Honour—Compassion—Justice? X4r 311

Sir Geo.

Very true—and, as you have acted according
to their dictates, I believe the utmost felicity
of the Marriage State will reward you!

Dor.

Never, Sir George! To Felicity I bid adieu
—but, I will endeavour to be content. Where is my
—I must speak it, where is my—Wife?
Enter Letitia, masked. Led by Saville.

Sav.

Mr. Doricourt, this Lady was pressing to be
introduced to you.

Dor.

Ah!—starting.

Let.

I told you, last night, you should see me at
a time when you least expected me—I keep my
promise!

Sir Geo.

Whoever you are, Madam, you could not
have arrived at a happier moment—Mr. Doricourt is
just married.

Let.

Married! but a few hours since, he swore
eternal love to me! I believed him, gave him a heart
in which no other man had ever obtained an interest
—and now—

Dor.

In which no other ever had an Interest!
Lady, my fate yet wants that torture! Nothing but
the conviction that such was not your state could
have made me think one moment of my present
marriage. This visit is as barbarous as unexpected
—for it is now my Duty to forget you; which, spite
of your degraded Situation, I shall find but too
difficult!

Let.

My——what situation? (Aside. What can
he mean!)

Dor.

I must apologize for such an explanation
here—but, I am not ignorant—it is the only circumstance
that can give me peace—that you are the
Companion of Lord George Jennett.

Let.

Ridiculous pretence! No, Sir, know that my
Name, my Heart, my Honour are unspotted—as
her’s you have married; my Birth and Fortune equal X4v 312
to your own.—I might have been your’s—But, Sir,
farewell! Going.

Dor.

Oh! stay a moment—runs and seizes Flutter
by the Collar.
Rascal! is she not—

Flut.

Who, she? Oh dear no—’Twas quite a different
person that I meant. I dont know that I ever
before saw that Lady.

Dor.

And never shalt thou see her more.
Shakes him most violently.

Mrs. R.

Have mercy upon the poor man—he’ll
murder him!

Dor.

Murder him! Yes, you, myself, and all mankind.
Sir GeorgeSavilleyou have thus thrust
me on the precipice—you have driven me from Joy,
Felicity, and Life.

Mrs. R.

There! Now how well he acts the Madman!
—This is something like! I knew he would do
it well enough, when the proper time came.

Dor.

Hard-hearted Woman! enjoy my Ruin—riot
in my wretchedness—
Hardy bursts in.

Har.

This is too much! How dare you, the husband
of my Daughter, show all this passion for this
Woman?

Dor.

Alive!

Har.

Alive? aye, and merry! Here, wipe off the
flour from my face—never in better health, or in
higher Spirits, in my life. Why, my illness was
only a fetch—which I foresaw would make you
marry my Letty.

Dor.

Cruel and ungenerous! Well Sir, you are
gratified; the possession of my Heart was no object
either with you or your daughter—my Fortune, and
my Name, were all you desired, and these—I leave
ye. My native England I shall quit, nor ever behold
you more. But, Lady! that—in my exile—I X5r 313
may have one consolation, grant me the favour you
last night denied;—let me behold all that mask conceals,
that your Image may be fully impressed upon
my heart, and chear my distant solitary hours.

Let.

――This is the most awful moment of my
Life! She turns aside in great Agitation.――Oh
Doricourt! The slight act of taking off my Mask,
makes me the most blest—or the most miserable of
Women!

Dor.

What can this mean? Reveal your Face, I
conjure you.

Let.

unmasks—Behold it!

Dor.

Rapture! Transport! Heaven!

Mrs R.

Now for a touch of the happy Madman!
—This scheme was mine.

Let.

I will not allow that. This Strategem originated
from my disappointment in not having made
the impression on you I wished. The timidity of
the english character threw over me a veil which you
did not penetrate. You have forced me to emerge,
in some degree, from my natural reserve, and throw
aside the veil that hid me.

Dor.

My spirits are still in a delerium of pleasure
—I cannot answer you.—Speak on sweet Angel!

Let.

You see I can be any thing; chuse then my
character—your taste shall fix it. Shall I be an
English wife?—or, breaking from the bonds of Nature
and Education, step forth to the world in all the
striking glare of foreign manners?

Dor.

Nothing can be captivating that you are not;
you shall be nothing but—yourself. Your penetration
discovered that you won not my Heart at the
first interview; but, you now have my whole Soul—
your person, your face, your Mind, I would not exchange
for those of any other woman breathing.

Har.

The Rogue! how well he makes up for past
slights!

Let.

Congratulate me, my dear friends, can you
conceive my Happiness? X5v 314

Flut.

No, congratulate me, that I have escaped
with Life; and give me some sticking plaister—this
wild-cat has torn the skin from my throat.

Sir Geo.

I expect to be amongst the first who are
congratulated—for, whilst Doricourt has gained one
Enchantress—I have preserved another.

Har.

I say I’ll be congratulated first, for I am
the happiest! Cousin Rackett, I wish you a good
Husband with all my heart. Mr. Flutter, I’ll believe
every word you say—this fortnight. The long
train of Felicity, which I foresee, inspires me――I
never was so merry in all my life—Whu! I believe
I can dance! footing.

Dor.

Charming, charming creature! It was a
strange perversion of Taste that led me to consider
delicate Timidity as proof of an uninformed Mind
and inelegant Manners! I now feel that it is to that
innate Modesty, English Husbands owe a felicity—
the married men of other nations are strangers to.
It is a protecting Veil to your charms; it is the
surest bulwark of your husband’s honour—may the
hour never arrive, in which British Ladies shall
sacrifice to foreign Glare—the Grace of Modesty!

X6r 315

Epilogue.

Nay, cease, and hear me!—I am come to ask

Why pleased at conquest gain’d behind a Mask!

Is’t strange? Why, pray what Lady Bab, or Grace,

E’er won a Lover—in her natural face?

Mistake me not! french red and blanching creams

I stoop not to—for these are hackneyed themes;

The Arts I mean are harder to detect,

Easier put on, displayed to more effect.

Do Pride or Envy by their horrid lines

Destroy th’ effect of nature’s sweet designs?

The mask of Softness is at once applied,

And gentlest Manners decorate the Bride!

Does Heart in Love inspire the Vestal’s eye,

Or point the glance, or prompt the struggling sigh?

Not Dian’s brows more rigid frowns disclose,

And timid hues appear, where passion glows.

And you, my gentle sirs, wear Vizors too,

But I’ll unmask you, and expose to view

Your hidden features.—First I point at you!

That well-stuff’d waistcoat, and that ruddy cheek,

That ample forehead, and that skin so sleek,

Point out Goodnature and a generous Heart—

Tyrant! stand forth, and, conscious, own thy part,

Thy Wife, thy Children, tremble in thy eye,

And Peace is banished—when the father’s nigh!

X6v 316

Sure ’tis Enchantment! See, on every side

Your Masks fall off!—In Charity I hide

The monstrous features rushing to my view—

Fear not there, Grand-Papa—nor you—nor you,

For, should I show your features to each other,

Not one be known would by his Friend or Brother.

’Tis plain, in real life, from Youth to Age,

All wear their Masks. Here, only, on the Stage,

You see us as we are; here trust your eyes,

Our Wish to please cannot be mere Disguise!