391 CC4r

A Bold Stroke For a Husband.

A Comedy.

392 CC4v 392

The Author had hitherto confined herself within the range of English manners; but now, for Variety, she takes her flight to other realms, and customs differing from our own.

This play came out in the year 17831783. Its schemes are so numerous, that almost every Character forms a plot. It has certainly considerable whim and fancy, to give an air of Probablility to which, distance of Time or distance of Place was requisite; the Author has chosen the latter, and the Scene is laid in Spain, where to the romantic the mind readily gives credit.

It was intended that Victoria, amiably employed in reclaiming her Husband, and Carlos should be the Leading Characters in this Drama, the vivacious adventures of Julio and Olivia enlivening the serious business in which the Moral of the Play is enforced. This is clear from the Prologue, and from the Play itself. On the Stage the Author’s intention ought to be fulfilled; but, from the way in which the Comedy is sometimes cast, that intention is controuled, the piece is thrown into the class of comedies merely lively, and deprived of half its Strength.

This arises from the frequent custom, whilst the most brilliant talents of the theatre are called forth in Julio Olivia and Minette, of allotting Carlos Victoria and Laura to inferior performers. Yet there are situations enough of great Interest, throughout the adventures of Carlos and Victoria, to bear out any talents that may be exerted in them. And no inferior performer can do Justice to the strongly drawn character 393 CC5r 393 of the degraded Laura; particularly in the first scene of the Fifth Act, at the moment when she is deluded to destroy the Deed, and thereby to preserve Victoria and her Children from destruction.

At the Theatre generally the Third Scene of the Third Act, to the end of the act, is omitted for brevity, and Don Cæsar, in the Second Scene of the Fourth Act, comes in without Marcella, and commences with the fifth speech. Marcella, who is only introduced by the author in these two scenes, in the latter of which she speaks but once, and Vasquez her Father who is only introduced in the first of them, form thus no part of the Dramatis Personæ on the Stage. But this causes no Confusion; for the Letter in the Second Scene of the Fourth Act explains to the audience every thing contained in the matter omitted. And though old Vasquez and Marcella his Daughter are not unentertaining in the closet, at the Theatre their absence is advantageous; because, on account of the slight importance of the characters, none but very inferior performers can be expected in them, by whom the current of the action is checked.

In their absence the adventures of Olivia and her Lovers proceed, as they should to give them their full effect, in one unbroken current of Vivacity

394 CC5v 394

Prologue.

By all my sanguine hopes, our Author cries,

Whilst expectation sparkles in her eyes,

I see none here to dread, be fear resigned,

Each man seems candid, and each woman kind.

But still, a word or two I’ll briefly say

The Bold Acts vindicating of our Play.

Of human conduct, in each varied scene,

Th’ extreme succeeds beyond the patient mean;

If eminence in Rank your bosom fires,

If merit to Preferment bold aspires,

Be not contented with the formal part,

But—snatch a Grace beyond the Rules of art.

Bold Strokes, by powerful Genius firmly struck,

Attract success that governs turns of Luck.

’Tis thus, we see, still England’s genius breathes,

And numerous brows are deck’d with Laurel wreathes,

Bold Hits in War are England’s loftiest pride,

View how our Heroes live—how other Heroes died!

In Vice, ’tis true Bold Hits may close renown;

The Spendthrift turned a Swindler on the town,

When Cheating fails, performs a bolder part,

And steals a Purse—a Bold Stroke for the Cart!

The Gamester, careless of each tender tie,

His last Purse ventures on a single die,

And ruined, quite impatient of the evil,

Destroys himself—a Bold Hit for the Devil!

Shall Spirit to the vicious be confined?

Shall Virtue live inactive in the mind?

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Our Play shall show Recovery of a heart

By one Bold Hit of female virtuous art.

A female pen calls female virtue forth,

And fairly shews to man her sex’s worth.

Did men all know what Woman’s sense can do,

How apt their wit, their constancy how true,

The Marriage vow no more would rakes revile,

To Vice, from virtue, hoping to beguile.

Husbands, beware! from Satire not exempt,

You’ll find exposed your vices to contempt;

Our sanction’d aim, to rectify the age

By bringing rising folly on the stage.

396 CC6v

Characters.

Don Cæsar,Mr. Quick.

Olivia, His Daughter.Mrs. Mattocks.

――Don Julio,Mr. Lewis.

―― Don Vincentio, Her Lovers.Mr. Edwin.

――Don Garcia,Mr. Whitfield.

Minette,Olivia’s Servant.Mrs. Wilson.

Don Carlos,Mr. Wroughton.

Victoria, His Wife.Mrs. Robinson.

Inis, Her Servant.Miss Platt.

Laura,Mrs. Whitfield.

Pedro, Mr. Stevens.

Her Servants.

Sancha, Mrs. Davenett.

Gaspar, Don Cæsar’s Steward.Mr. Wilson.

Vasquez,Mr. Fearon.

Marcella, His Daughter.Miss Morris.

Scene.—Madrid.
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A Bold Stroke For a Husband.

Act the First.

Scene I.

A street in Madrid. Sancha comes out of a House, advances, then runs back and beckons to Pedro within.

Sancha

Hist! Pedro! PedroEnter Pedro. there he is—dost see him? just turning by St. Antony in the Corner. Now, do you tell him that your mistress is not at home; and, if his jealous Donship should insist on searching the house, as he did yesterday, say that somebody is ill—that the Black has got a fever, or that—

Ped.

Pho! pho! get you in. Dont I know that the Duty of a Lacquey in Madrid is to lie with a good grace? I have been from the Country a whole week, and have been studying nothing else the whole 398 CC7v 398 time—I’ll defy Don or Devil to surprise me into a Truth. Get you in, I say—here he comes. Exit Sancha. Enter Carlos.

Ped.

strutting up to himDonna Laura is not at home, Sir!

Car.

Come, Sir, what have you received for telling that Lie?

Ped.

Lie! lie!—Signor!

Car.

It must be a lie by your Eagerness to deliver it. An undesigning Varlet would have waited till he was asked; but thou bawlest that she may hear how well thou obeyest her—Donna Laura is not at home, Sir!

Ped.

Hear!—what from the Grotto to the Street! I’m no fool!—

Car.

Ah! seizes him Sir, your ears shall soon have more than even their natural length—if you dont tell me who is with her in the Grotto.

Ped.

The Grotto, Sir—the Grotto Sir!—I only meant—

Car.

Fool! dost trifle with me?—who is with her? Pinching his Ear.

Ped.

Oh!—why nobody, Sir—Cries out—only the pretty young Gentleman’s Valet waiting for an answer to a Letter he brought.—There! I have saved my ears at the expense of my Place! I have worn this fine coat but a week, and shall be turned off as a very bad Servant, for not being able to lie completely!

Car.

If thou wilt promise to be faithful to me, I’ll not betray thee; nor at present enter the house.

Ped.

Oh, very well Sir, then I must change my Ally, that’s all.

Car.

How often does the pretty young Gentleman visit her? 399 CC8r 399

Ped.

Every day, Sir; if he misses, Madam’s stark wild.

Car.

Where does he live?

Ped.

Truly—I know not, Sir!

Car.

How!—menacing.

Ped.

Indeed I dont—but she calls him Florio.

Car.

You must acquaint me when he is next here.

Ped.

But now—Conscience misgives me, Sir— suppose blood should be spilt!

Car.

Promise!—or I’ll lead you by the Ears to the Grotto.

Ped.

I promise—I promise—Oh!

Car.

There—gives him money take that. If thou art faithful, I’ll treble it. Now, go in and be a good lad, and—d’ye hear?—you may tell lies to every body else, but remember, you must always speak Truth to me.

Ped.

I will Sir—I will—upon my Conscience!

Exit— looking at the money.

Car.

’Tis well my Passion is extinguished, I can now act with coolness. I’ll wait patiently for Discovery—but, if ever I trust to Woman more, may every—eh! why surely here comes my quondam friend Julio. Enter Julio.

Julio.

Don Carlos? Yes, by all the sober gods of Matrimony! Why what business—goodman Gravity —canst thou have in Madrid? I understood you were married, and quietly settled with your family in your pastures, and—ha! ha! the instructive Companion of Country Vine dressers.

Car.

I have forsworn the Country—left my family—and run away from my Wife!

Julio.

What then, really, Matrimony has not totally destroyed thy Free-will?

Car.

’Tis with Difficulty I have preserved it though; for Women thou knowest are most unreasonable400 CC8v 400 sonable beings. As soon as I had exhausted my Stock of love tales, which, with management, lasted beyond the honey-moon, Madam grew sullen. I found home dull, and amused myself in the neighbourhood:—worse and worse! we had now nothing but Faintings, Tears, and Hysterics, for four and twenty honey-moons more. So, one morning, I gave her in her sleep a farewell salute, to comfort her when she should awake, and, posting to Madrid— escaped from thraldom to bound in Freedom.

Julio.

Were it not for the clog at your heel!

Car.

Unfortunately musing in my state of Freedom, I have contrived to hobble into a Scrape. In that house is a woman of Beauty—who pretends to Character and Fortune. She appeared devoted to me—but has proved perfidious.

Julio.

Perfidious! give her to the winds.

Car.

Ah! but she holds me by Bonds Julio! I have been a fool—a Woman’s fool. In a state of Intoxication she wheedled, or rather cheated, me out of a Settlement.

Julio.

Pshaw! is that all?

Car.

Oh! but you know not its extent!—a settlement of lands that both Honour and Gratitude ought to have preserved sacred from such base alienation. In short, if I cannot recover them I am a ruined man!

Julio.

Why, in your attempt at Freedom, you have got a worse clog than t’other!—Poor Carlos! so bewived and be—

Car.

Prithee have compassion! Enter Servant with a Letter to Julio, who reads it, and nods to the Servant, who goes out.

Car.

An Appointment I’ll be sworn, by that double air of Mystery and Satisfaction. Come, be friendly, and communicate. 401 DD1r 401

Julio.

Putting up the Letter You are married Carlos!—that’s all I have to say—you are married.

Car.

Pho! that’s past, and ought to be forgotten.

Julio.

The time has been, when thou might’st have been entrusted with such a dear secret: when I might have opened the billet, and feasted thee with the sweet meandering lines at the bottom which form her name, when—

Car.

What, ’tis from a Woman then?

Julio.

It is.

Car.

Handsome?

Julio.

Humph! not absolutely handsome; but she’ll pass with one who has not had his taste spoilt by—Matrimony.

Car.

Malicious dog!—Is she young?

Julio.

Why—under twenty—fair Complexion, azure eyes, red lips, teeth of pearl, polished neck, fine turn’d shape, graceful—

Car.

Hold, Julio, if thou lov’st me!—Is it possible she can be so bewitching a creature?

Julio.

’Tis possible for any thing I know to the contrary; for I never saw her. But, Hope is in me so vivid—that I could fancy that, and ten times more.

Car.

What star does she inhabit?

Julio.

Irradiate, thou should’st have said, after such a description;—but, in truth, I know not. My orders are to be in waiting at Eight at the Prado.

Car.

Prado! Why Julio can’t you take me with you? for, though I have forsworn the sex myself, yet I may be of use to you, against some jealous Rival, you know.

Julio.

Why as you are a poor woe-begone married mortal, I’ll have compassion and suffer thee to come.

Car.

Then, I am a man again! Wife, avaunt! Mistress, farewell!—At Eight you say?

Julio.

Exactly.

Car.

The Ghost of what I was—I’ll meet thee at Philippi!

Exeunt, severally.
Vol. I. DD 402 DD1v 402

Scene II.

A spacious garden, belonging to Don Cæsar. Enter Minette, and Inis.

Min.

There, will that do, Inis? My Lady sent me to make up a Nosegay. The Orange flowers, how sweet?

Inis.

Poh! What signifies wearing sweets outside her Bosom, unless they could sweeten her Temper within? ’Tis amazing you can be so much at your ease; one might think your Lady’s tongue, Minette, was a Lute, and her morning scolds an agreeable serenade.

Min.

So they are—Custom you know. I have been used to her music now these two years, and I dont believe I could relish my breakfast without it.

Inis.

I would rather never break my fast, than do it on such terms.—What a difference between your mistress and mine! Donna Victoria is as much too gentle, as her cousin is too harsh.

Min.

Aye, and you see what she gets by it. Had she been more spirited, her husband would not have forsaken her.—Men enlisted into matrimony, like those in the King’s service, will now and then run away—if Fear does not keep them in dread of desertion.

Inis.

If making a husband afraid is the way to keep him faithful, I believe your Lady will be the happiest wife in Spain.

Min.

Ha! ha! ha!—how people may be deceived! —nay, how people are deceived!—but time will discover all things.

Inis.

What!—what is there a Secret in the business Minette? if there is—hang time, let’s have it immediately. 403 DD2r 403

Min.

Now, if I dared tell you—lud! lud! how I could surprise ye— Going.

Inis.

Stopping her.—Dont go!

Min.

I must! I am on the very brink of betraying my Mistress. I must leave you. Mercy upon me! it rises like new bread.

Inis.

If you stir till I know all—I hope it will choak ye!

Min.

Will you never breathe a Syllable?

Inis.

Never!

Min.

Will you strive to forget it the moment you have heard it?

Inis.

To forget it shall be constantly in my Memory!

Min.

You are sure you will not let me stir from this spot, until you know the whole?

Inis.

Not so far as a thrush hops.

Min.

So!—now then—in one word here it goes. Though every body supposes my Lady an errant Scold, she’s no more a— Don Cæsar. (Without.)

Cæs.

Shame to her—shame to her—an incessant Scold!

Min.

Oh, St. Jerome, here’s her Father, and his Privy Counsellor Gaspar. I can never communicate a Secret in quiet. Well! come to my chamber, for, now my Tongue’s set, you shall have the whole.—I wouldn’t keep it another day, to be Confidante to an Infanta! Exeunt. Enter Don Cæsar, and Gaspar.

Gasp.

Take Comfort, Sir—take Comfort!

Cæs.

Take it! Why I am very ready to take it, if I can get it. Say, take Physic Sir, and take Poison Sir, they are to be had; but what signifies bidding DD2 404 DD2v 404 me take Comfort, when I can neither beg it, buy it, nor steal it?

Gasp.

But, Patience will bring it you, Sir.

Cæs.

’Tis false, Sirrah. Patience is a Cheat, and the man that ranked her with the Cardinal Virtues was a fool. I have had Patience these three long years, but, as to her introducing Comfort, she has never prevailed upon her to look in upon me with a single—Cheer up!

Gasp.

Aye Sir, but you know the Wise-ones say, the twin Sister of Comfort is Good-humour. Now, if you would but entertain Good-humour, her Sister Comfort will soon follow in her train.

Cæs.

Then let my Daughter discard perverse humour; ’tis a more certain bar to marriage than ugliness or folly. My death is hastened by the idea that The Honours of my Family will be extinct.—How many have laid siege to her! but that Temper of her’s, of late, since she is grown up to womanhood, is as impreganble to every man in Spain—as the Rock of Gibraltar!

Gasp.

Aye, well, though Troy held out ten years, let her once tell her Beads over, unmarried, at five and twenty, and, my life on it, she ends the rosary with a hearty prayer for a good husband.

Cæs.

And am I to wait, in hopes the horrors of Old-Maidenism will frighten her into Civility? No, no; I’ll shut her up in a Convent, and marry myself. There’s my neighbour Don Vasquez’s Daughter, she is to be sure but Nineteen, but—

Gasp.

I was just turning such an adventure in my mind, Sir! You are but a young gentleman I take it of Sixty Three; and a husband of Sixty three, who marries a wife of nineteen, will lead a life of rare mental comfort take my word for it.

Cæs.

Do you joke, Sirrah!

Gasp.

Why, Sir, I really think it would be one of the pleasantest things in the world.—Madam would bring a new Stile into the Family; and when you 405 DD3r 405 are above stairs in the Gout, the music of her Concerts, and the spirit of her Converzationes, would reach your sick bed, and be a thousand times more enlivening than flannels and panada.

Cæs.

Aye, I understand ye. But, this daughter of mine—I shall give her but two chances more. Don Garcia, and Don Vincentio, will both be here to day, and, if she plays over the old game—I’ll marry tomorrow morning, if I hang myself the next.

Gasp.

You reason consequentially, Signor, the natural alliance of the two events should always be considered.

Cæs.

There’s Don Garcia!—there he is, coming through the Portico. Run to my daughter, and bid her remember what I have said—Exit Gaspar though she has had her lesson, another memento mayn’t be amiss. A young Gipsey! pretty and witty and rich—a match for a Prince, and yet—but hist! not a word to my young man; if I can but keep him in ignorance until he is married, he must make the best of his bargain afterwards, as other honest men have done before him— Enter Garcia. Welcome, Don Garcia! Why you are rather before your time.

Gar.

Gallantry forbid I should not be, when a fair Lady is concerned. Should Donna Olivia welcome me as frankly as you do, I shall think I have been tardy.

Cæs.

When you made your overtures, Signor, I understood it was from inclination to be allied to my family; not from any particlar passion for my daughter. Have you ever seen her?

Gar.

But once—that transiently; yet sufficiently to convince me she is charming.

Cæs.

Why yes, though I say it, there are few prettier women in Madrid; and she has enemies 406 DD3v 406 amongst her own sex accordingly—who pretend to say that—I say, Sir, they have reported that she is not blessed with that kind of Docility and Gentleness that a—now though she may not be so very insipid as some young women, yet, upon the whole—

Gar.

O, fie Sir! not a word. A Beauty cannot be ill-tempered; gratified Vanity keeps her in good humour with herself and every body about her.

Cæs.

Yes, as you say—Vanity is a prodigious sweetner; and Olivia, considering how much she has been humoured, is gentle and pliant as— Enter Minette.

Min.

Oh, Sir, shield me from my Mistress! She is in one of her old Tempers—the whole house is in an uproar. I cant support it!

Cæs.

Hush!!

Min.

No, sir, I cant hush—a Saint could not bear it. I am tired of her tyranny—and must quit her Service.

Cæs.

Then quit it in a moment—go to my Steward and receive your wages—go—begone!—’Tis a Cousin of my Daughter’s she is speaking of.

Min.

A Cousin, Sir!—No ’tis Donna Olivia, your Daughter—my Mistress. Oh, Sir! you seem to be a sweet tender-hearted young Gentleman—’twould move you to Pity if—

Cæs.

I’ll move you, hussy, to some purpose, if you dont move off!

Gar.

I am really confounded—can the charming Olivia

Cæs.

Spite, Sir—mere Malice! My daughter has refused her some cast gown, or some— Olivia, without.

Oliv.

Where is she!—Where is Minette?

Cæs.

Oh, ’tis all over!—the Tempest is coming! 407 DD4r 407 Enter Olivia.

Oliv.

Oh, you vile creature!—to speak to me! to answer me!—am I made to be answered?

Cæs.

Daughter!—Daughter! During the following conversation, he shows the most anxious impatience.

Oliv.

Because I threw my work-bag at her, forsooth she had the Insolence to complain; and, on my repeating it, said—she would not bear it.— Servants chuse what they shall bear!

Min.

When you’re married, Ma’am, I hope your Husband will bear your humour more patiently than I have done.

Oliv.

My Husband!—dost think my husband shall deprive me of my Will? I long to set a Pattern to those milky wives, whose mean compliances degrade the sex.

Gar.

Aside. Vastly opportune, this!

Oliv.

The only husband on record who knew how to behave to a Wife was Socrates; and, though Zantippe his Lady was a Grecian, I have reason to believe that some of a Colony of her Descendants matched into our family—and never shall my tame Submission disgrace my Ancestry.

Gar.

Wonderful! Why have you never curbed this intemperate Spirit Don Cæsar?

Oliv.

Starting Curbed Sir! talk thus to your Groom.—Curbs and Bridles for a Woman’s tongue!

Gar.

Not for your’s Lady truly! ’tis too late. The torrent, now so over-bearing, should have been taken at its spring, it might then perhaps have been stem’d, and turned in gentle streamlets at the Master’s pleasure.

Oliv.

A Mistake, friend!—my Spirit, at its spring, was too overwhelming to be meanly master’d.

Gar.

Indeed! Perhaps, gentle Catherine, you may meet with a Petruchio yet.

Oliv.

But no gentle Catherine will he find me, believe408 DD4v 408 lieve me.—Why, she had not the Firmness of a roasted chesnut; a few big words, an empty oath, and a scanty Dinner, made her as submissive as a Spaniel. —My Lofty Spirit shall resist big words, oaths, or starving.

Min.

I believe so, indeed. Help the poor Gentleman, I say, to whose lot you fall!

Gar.

Don Cæsar, Adieu! The resentment I should otherwise feel at your endeavouring to deceive me into such a marriage, my Commiseration of your Fate subdues!

Oliv.

Marriage!—Oh Mercy, is this Don Garcia? Apart to her Father.

Cæs.

Yes, Termagant!

Oliv.

What a Misfortune! Why did you not tell me it was the gentleman you designed to marry me to?—Oh, Sir, all that has passed was in sport; a contrivance between my Maid and me. I have no spirit at all—I am patient as Poverty.

Gar.

This mask sits not easily on your features fair Lady. I have seen you without Disguise, and rejoice in your ignorance of my Name, since, but for that, my peaceful home might have become the seat of perpetual discord.

Min.

Aye, Sir, you would never have known what a quiet hour—

Oliv.

Slaps her on the shoulder Impertinence!— Indeed, Sir, I can be as gentle and forbearing as a Pet Lamb.

Gar.

I cannot doubt, Madam, what you give such striking Proofs of. But—adieu—though I shall pray for your conversion—rather than have the honour of it, I’d turn Dominican, and condemn myself to perpetual celibacy. Exit.

Cæs.

Now Hussy!—now Hussy!—what do you expect?

Oliv.

Dear me, how can you be so unreasonable! Did ever Daughter do more to oblige a father? I absolutely begged the man to have me! 409 DD5r 409

Cæs.

Yes, Vixen! after you had made him detest you. What, I suppose he didn’t hit your Fancy Madam—though there’s not in all Spain a man of prettier conversation.

Oliv.

Why, he has a convenient kind of conversation enough—’tis like a Parenthesis.

Cæs.

Like a parenthesis!

Oliv.

Yes, it might be all left out—and no loss of Sense the consequence. However, I really think him a likely young man, and that he would have made a good sort of a husband; for, notwithstanding his Blustering, had I been his Wife, in three months he should have been as complaisant as—

Cæs.

Aye, there it is—there it is! That Spirit of your’s, Hussy, you can neither conquer nor conceal; but—I’ll find a way to tame it, I’ll warrant me! Exit. Olivia, and her Maid, watch him out, and then burst into a Laugh.

Min.

Well, Ma’am, I give you Joy! had other Ladies as much Success in gaining Lovers, as you in getting rid of them, what smiling faces we should see!

Oliv.

But, to what purpose do I get rid of them, whilst they rise in Succession like monthly pinks? Was there ever any thing so provoking?—After some quiet, and believing the men had ceased to trouble themselves about me, no less than two proposals have been made to my inexorable father this very day.— What will become of me?

Min.

Why what should become of you? You’ll chuse one from the pair I hope.—Believe me, Ma’am, the only way to get rid of the impertinence of Lovers is to take one of them for a Husband—and make him a Scare-crow to all the rest.

Oliv.

Oh—but I cannot!—Invention, assist me this one day!

Min.

Upon my word, Ma’am, Invention is not in 410 DD5v 410 arrear to you; I’m afraid you can draw on it no longer. You must trust to the effect of your established character of Vixen.

Oliv.

But, that wont frighten them all, you know, though it did the business of sober Don Gracia. The brave General Antonio would have captured me, in spite of every thing, had I not luckily discovered his antipathy to Cats, and so scared a Hero—by pretending an immoderate passion for young Kittens!

Min.

Yes, but you was more resolutely beset by the Castilian Count, with his engraved Genealogy from Noah.

Oliv.

Oh, he would have kept his post—as immoveably as the Griffins at his Gate, had I not very seriously imparted to him, in confidence, that my Mother’s Great Uncle sold Oranges in Arragon.— Ha! ha! ha! and my little Spark too, who washes in Rose water, and whose dress is scented with violets, would never have dismissed himself, notwithstanding all my scoldings, had I not mixed Asafœtida with my Mareschall Powder!

Min.

And pray, Ma’am, if I may be so bold, who is the next Gentleman?

Oliv.

Oh, Don Vincentio, who distracts every body with his Skill in Music. He ought to be married to a Viol de Gamba.—I thank my stars that I have never had a Miser in my list;—on such a Character all Art would be lost—nothing but an Earthquake to swallow up my estate could save me!

Min.

Well, if some one did but know!—how happy would some one be, that, for his sake—

Oliv.

Now dont be impertinent, Minette! You have several times attempted to slide yourself into a secret which I am resolved to keep to myself. Continue faithful, and suppress your Curiosity! Exit.

Min.

Suppress my Curiosity, Madam! Why—I’m a Chambermaid! and a sorry one too it should seem, to be in your confidence two years, and never have 411 DD6r 411 got the Master-Secret yet! I never was six weeks in a family before, but I knew every secret they had had in it for three generations. Aye, and I’ll know this too, or I’ll blow up all her plans, and declare to the world, that she is no more a Vixen—than other fine Ladies.

412 DD6v 412

Act the Second.

Scene I.

An apartment at Donna Laura’s. Enter Laura, followed by Carlos.

Car.

Nay, Madam, you may as well stay where you are; for I will follow you into every apartment until you hear me. Seizing her hand.

Lau.

This constant intrusion is not to be endured; within my own walls to be thus—

Car.

The time has been, when within your house I might be Master.

Lau.

Yes, for you were then master of my Heart; that gave you a right which—

Car.

You have now transferred to another. Flinging away her hand.

Lau.

Well Sir!

Car.

Well Sir!—Unblushing acknowledgment!

Lau.

This complaint is merely because I have the start of you! In a few weeks I should have been the Accuser, and you the false and fickle.

Car.

Oh, what you prudently looked out in time for another Lover forsooth—merely to secure yourself from Disgrace!

Lau.

Your Sneer is excusable, Sir, for you are mortified.

Car.

Mortified!

Lau.

Yes, mortified to the Soul; for the vainest female, Carlos, in the hour of her exultation and 413 DD7r 413 power, is still out-done by man in Vanity;—it is more your ruling passion than our’s. It is wounded Vanity that makes you thus tremble with rage at being deserted!

Car.

Madam! Madam!

Lau.

Instead of this Rage, you would have been all cool insolence, had I waited for your change—the crime which now appears so black in me. Then, if, with all my sex’s weakness, I had knelt at your feet, and reproached you only with my tears, how composed would have been your feelings! Scarcely would you have deigned to form for me a phrase of pity; would have bid me forget a man no longer worthy of my attachment, and recommended me to Hartshorn and my Women.

Car.

Has any hour of my existence given cause for such unjust—

Lau.

Yes Carlos, I bring thee to the test!—You saw me, you loved me; was no fond trusting woman deserted for the transient passion? Yes, one blest even with beauty, gentleness, and youth; one, who made thee rich, and whom thou mad’st thy Wife!

Car.

My Wife!—here’s a turn! So, to revenge the quarrels of my Wife—

Lau.

No. To the list of my demerits I will not add Hypocrisy. What I have done was determined on without more regard to her feelings, than you had for them. I, like you, thought but of myself.

Car.

And you dare avow to my face that you have a passion for another?

Lau.

I do, without disguise. I confess, so tender is my love for Florio, it has scarcely left a trace of that I once avowed for Carlos.

Car.

Well Madam, if I hear this without brooding vengeance, thank the annihilation of that passion, whose remembrance is as dead in my bosom as in your’s. Let us, then, part Friends—and with a mutual acquittal of every obligation. The natural consequence is, that you give up the Settlement of 414 DD7v 414 that Estate, the conveyance of which left me almost a beggar.

Lau.

Give it up!—ha! ha! No, Carlos; you consigned me that estate as a proof of real love. Do not imagine I’ll give up the only result of our intimacy of which I am not ashamed.

Gar.

Base Woman! You know it was not a voluntary gift; after having in vain practised upon my Fondness, you prevailed on me, whilst in a state of intoxication, to sign the Deed which you had artfully prepared for the purpose;—you must restore it.

Lau.

Never—never.

Car.

That word is ruin! Call it back, Madam— or I’ll be revenged on thee through thy heart’s dearest object—thy minion Florio!—he shall not riot on my fortune.

Lau.

Ha! ha! ha! Florio is safe. In another country we shall enjoy the blessings of thy fond passion, whilst thou indulgest but in Hatred and Execration. Exit.

Car.

Following. My vengeance shall first fall on her—No, he shall be the first victim, or ’twill be incomplete. Reduced to Poverty, I cannot live.— Folly whither are flown the gilded prospects of my guiltless youth? Had I—’tis too late to look back, remorse attends the past;—in looking onward—I shrink with horror from the scene of ruin!

Exit.

Scene II.

Don Cæsar’s. Victoria enters, perusing a Letter. Enter Olivia.

Oliv.

speaking as entering To be sure. If my father should enquire for me, tell him I am in Donna Victoria’s apartment.—Smiling I protest! my dear gloomy Victoria, whence have you obtained that sun-shiny look? 415 DD8r 415

Vict.

It is but an April sunshine I fear; but, who could resist such an excitement to smile?—a Letter from Donna Laura, my husband’s Mistress, stiling me her dearest Florio! her Life! her Soul! and complaining of a twelve hour’s absence, as of the bitterest misfortune.

Oliv.

Ha! ha! ha! Most doughty Don! pray let us see you in your Feather and Doublet! As a Cavaleiro, it seems you are striking. So suddenly to have robbed your husband of his Charmer’s heart you must have used some Witchery!

Vict.

Yes, powerful Witchery—the knowledge of my sex.

Oliv.

Oh, I suppose, Flattery of her Person not being necessary as the Creature is not ugly—you praised her Understanding, was captivated by her Wit, and absolutely struck dumb by the amazing beauties of—her Mind.

Vict.

Oh, no,—that’s the mode prescribed by the Essayists on the female heart—ha! ha! ha! How many are there who, from fifteen to fifty, would not rather have a compliment to the tip of their ear, than a volume in praise of their intellects?

Oliv.

So Flattery paid to her Charms then is your boasted Nostrum.

Vict.

No, that’s only an occasional ingredient; but, ’tis in vain to attempt a Description—of what changed its nature with every moment. I was now attentive—now gay—then tender—then careless. I strove rather to convince her that—I was charming, than that I myself was charmed; and whenever I saw Love’s arrow quivering in her heart, instead of attentive assiduity, I sang a triumphant air—and remembered a sudden engagement.

Oliv.

But, can all this be worth while, merely to defeat a fickle husband with one woman, whilst he is setting his feather perhaps at others?

Vict.

Merely to defeat him was not my first motive. As the Portuguese robbed me of his heart, I 416 DD8v 416 concluded her mind had fascinations which were unpossessed by me. It was impossible to visit her as a Woman; I have therefore assumed the character of a Cavalier of shattered fortunes who offers her Marriage, that, in my visits I may so study her as to imitate the perfections he found in her, and lure him from the degrading situation of remaining within the power of such a being—seeking for happiness where there is the absence of all Principle.

Oliv.

Pretty humble creature!

Vict.

But, I have another object of the uttermost import to my Children! My (what Dishonour and what Cruelty!)—my husband has given this woman an Estate, almost all that his dissipations had left us.

Oliv.

Indeed!

Vict.

To make it more culpable, it was my estate! it was that fortune which my lavish Love had made his without restriction.

Oliv.

How could you be so improvident?

Vict.

Alas! without restraint I trusted him with my Heart, with my Happiness. Should I have shown a greater solicitude for lesser objects?

Oliv.

Why the Event proves that Advice should have been sought from the experienced.—But pray how, under all circumstances, can you be thus passive? having assumed the Man, I dont know whether I should not make him feel a man’s resentment.

Vict.

Oh, Olivia! what resentment could I wish to gratify against him I have vow’d to honour; and whom both my Duty and my Heart compel me yet to love?

Oliv.

Why, really now—I think;—positively there’s no thinking about these arcana of married life.

Vict.

You, who know me, can judge how I have suffered in prosecuting my plan! I have discarded, for a season, the natural reserve of my sex, and have worn the mask of love—to the destroyer of my Felicity!417 EE1r 417 city! But, the Object is too great to be abandoned —nothing less than to save my Husband from Ruin, and to restore him to me and to his Children.

Oliv.

Well Victoria, I hardly know whether most to blame or praise you; but, with the rest of the world—I suppose the Result will determine me. Enter Gaspar.

Gasp.

to Olivia Pray, Madam, are your wedding shoes ready?

Oliv.

Insolence!

Apart.

—I can scarcely ever keep up the Vixen to this fellow.

Gasp.

You’ll want them tomorrow morning Ma’am, that’s all;—so I came to prepare ye.

Oliv.

I want wedding shoes tomorrow! If you are kept on water gruel till I marry—that strange face of your’s will be chap-fall’n I believe.

Gasp.

Yes truly I believe so too. Lackaday, did you suppose I came to bring you News of your own wedding? no such glad tidings for you, Lady, believe me. You married! I am sure the man who allies himself to you, ought, like a Salamander, to be able to live in fire.

Oliv.

What marriage then is it you do me the honour to inform me of?

Gasp.

Why, your Father’s marriage! You’ll have a Mother in law tomorrow, and then having, like a dutiful daughter, danced at the wedding, will be immured in a Convent for Life.

Oliv.

Immured in a Convent! then I’ll raise Sedition in the Sisterhood, depose the Abbess, and turn the Confessor’s chair into a Go-cart.

Gasp.

So, the threat of the Mother-in-Law then, which I thought would be worse than that of the Abbess, does not frighten you!

Oliv.

No, because my father dares not give me one.—Marry without my consent! no, no, he’ll never think of it, depend on’t. However, lest the fit Vol. I. EE 418 EE1v 418 should grow strong upon him, I’ll go and administer my Volatiles to keep it under. Exit.

Gasp.

Administer them cautiously then—too strong a dose of your volatiles would make the fit stubborn.—Who’d think that pretty arch look belonged to a Termagant? What a Pity! ’twould be worth a thousand Ducats to cure her.

Vict.

Has Inis told you I wanted to converse with you in private, Gaspar?

Gasp.

Oh, yes, Madam; and I took particular notice that it was to be in private. Sure, says I, Mrs. Inis, Madam Victoria has not taken a fancy to me; determined on a Divorce, can she be going to break her mind?

Vict.

Whimsical!—ha! ha! Suppose I should Gaspar?

Gasp.

Why, then, Madam, I should say Fortune had used you scurvily, to give me both Grey-Locks and a Livery.—Some young Ladies have given themselves to Grey Locks in a gilt Coach, and others have descended to worsted-lace, in each case the Objects of their choice had their excuse; but, if you were to form an alliance with me—pardon me, Madam, I could not stand the ridicule.

Vict.

Well, will you perform a much greater service for me?

Gasp.

Any thing you’ll order, Madam, except capering a fandango.

Vict.

You have seen my rich old Uncle in the Country?

Gasp.

What, Don Sancho, who, with two thirds of a Century in his face, affects the misdemeanors of youth; conceals his baldness with amber locks; and complains of the tooth-ache—to make you believe that the two rows of Ivory he carries in his head grew there?

Vict.

Oh, you know him, I find. You already resemble him in some degree, could you personate him for an hour, and make love for him? Since he can 419 EE2r 419 make himself so ridiculous, he excites no Respect to prevent us from making free with his Character.— You know it must be in the stile of Don Roderigo the First.

Gasp.

Hang it! I am rather too near his own age. Distinctly to perceive the degree, in which those are ridiculous who have grown old in Absurdity, requires the clearness of youthful perception.

Vict.

Pho! You might pass for Juan’s Grandson!

Gasp.

Nay, if you condescend to flatter me, you secure me.

Vict.

Then follow me; for Don Cæsar is approaching. In the Garden I’ll make you acquainted with my Plan, and impress on your mind Don Sancho’s Character. If you can hit him off, the Arts of Laura shall be foiled and Carlos be again Victoria’s! Exit. Enter Don Cæsar, followed by Olivia.

Cæs.

No, no, ’tis too late—no Coaxings; I am resolved I say.

Oliv.

But it is not too late; and you shan’t be resolved I say. Indeed now, I’ll be upon my Guard with the next Don—what’s his name? not a trait of the Xantippe left;—I’ll study to be charming.

Cæs.

Nay, you need not study it, ’tis only of late that your temper has sour’d; you are always charming, if you will but hold your tongue.

Oliv.

Do you think so? then, to the next Lover I wont open my lips. I’ll answer every thing he says with a Smile, and, if he asks me to have him—drop a curtesy of thankfulness.

Cæs.

Pshaw! that’s too much ’tother way; you are always either below perfection, or guilty of Excess. You must talk, but talk with Goodhumour. Cant you look gently and prettily now—as I do? and say —speaks fast.Yes, Sir, and No, Sir.—’Tis very fine weather, Sir.—Pray Sir, were you at the Ball last night?—I caught a sad Cold the other evening; and EE2 420 EE2v 420 Bless me! I hear Lucinda has run away with a footman; and Don Philip has married his house-maid. That’s the way fine Ladies talk—you never hear any thing else!

Oliv.

Ha! ha! Well then—You shall see me exactly as agreeable as the best of them, if you wont give me a Mother-in-law to snub me, and set me tasks, and take up all the fine apartments, and send up your poor little Livy to lodge next the stars.

Cæs.

Aye, if thou wert but always thus soft and good-humour’d, no Mother-in-law in Spain, though she brought the Castiles for her portion, should have power to snub thee. But, Livy, the trial’s at hand, for, at this moment, do I expect Don Vincentio to visit you. He is but just returned from England, I have never seen him; probably he has yet only heard of your Beauty and Fortune—I hope it is not from you that he will learn the rest of your Character.

Oliv.

This moment expect him! two new Lovers in one day? impatiently.

Cæs.

Beginning already, as I hope to live! Aye, I see ’tis in vain; I’ll send him an excuse, and marry Marcella to-morrow.

Oliv.

Oh, no! upon my Obedience, I promise to be—just the soft civil creature you have described to a Word! Enter Servant.

Ser.

Don Vincentio is below, Sir.

Cæs.

I’ll wait upon him. Well, go and collect all your Smiles and your Simpers, and remember all I have said to you. Be gentle, and talk pretty small talk to him, d’ye hear; and if you please him you shall have the portion of a Dutch Burgomaster’s daughter, and the Pinmoney of a Princess, you Gipsey you. Aside. I think at last I have done it; the fear of this Mother-in-law will keep down the fiend in her if any thing can.)

Exit. 421 EE3r 421

Oliv.

Ah! my poor Father, your Anxieties will never end, until you bring Don Julio! Command me to surrender my Petulance, my Liberty, to him, and Iphigenia herself could not be a more willing sacrifice. But what shall I do with this Vincentio? —I hear he is so perfectly harmonized, that to put him into an ill temper will be impracticable. I’ll try however; if it is possible to find a Discord in him I’ll touch the string.

Exit.

Scene III.

Another apartment. Enter Vincentio and Cæsar.

Vin.

Presto! presto, Signor! where is Olivia? Not a Second to spare. I have been in all the Fury of Composition; Minums and Crotchets have been battling it through my head the whole day, until, trying a Semibreve in G. Sharp, I fell into thorough flat.

Cæs.

Sharp and Flat!—trying a Semibreve!—oh —excuse me Sir—I had like not to have understood you! But, a Semibreve is part of a Demi-culverin I take it, and you have been practising the Art Military.

Vin.

Art Military Sir!—are you unacquainted with Music!

Cæs.

Music! Oh I ask Pardon! then you are fond of Music— (Aside.—’Ware of Discords!)

Vin.

Fond of it! devoted to it. I composed a thing to day in all the Gusto of Sachini, and the Sweetness of Gluck.—But, this recreant Finger fails me in compassing a passage in Octaves: if it does not gain more elastic vigour in a week, I shall be tempted to have it amputated—and supply the Shake with a Spring.

Cæs.

Amputate a Finger to supply a Shake! 422 EE3v 422

Vin.

Oh, that’s a Trifle in the road to Reputation; to be talked of is the Summum Bonum of this life. A young man of Rank should not glide through the world without a distinguished Rage, or as they call it in England—a Hobby Horse.

Cæs.

A Hobby Horse!

Vin.

Yes; that is, every man of Figure in that land of Liberty freely determines, on setting out in life, in what way to ruin himself—and that choice is called his Hobby Horse. One, makes a Race- Ground his scene of action; another drives his Phaeton so as to peep into his Neighbour’s Garret-windows; and a third rides his Hobby-Horse in that Parliament of their’s that you have heard of, where it jerks him sometimes on one Side, and sometimes on the other, sometimes in, and sometimes out, until at length his steadiness is overset, and his Constituents are jerked out of their Welfare.

Cæs.

What! do those ride Hobby-Horses, who outride all the World in the race of Glory!—I wish we had a few of ’em to jerk Spain into some consideration!

Vin.

This is all Contabile; nothing to do with Donna Olivia—the Subject of the piece. Pray, give me the Key-Note of her Heart.

Caes.

Upon my word, Signor, to speak in your own Phrase, I believe that Note has never yet been sounded.—Ah! here she comes!—look at her! isn’t she a charming Girl?

Vin.

Touching!—Musical I’ll be sworn—her very Walk is an harmonious Passage!

Cæs.

(Aside. I wish thou may’st get one from her Tongue!)— Enter Olivia, makes a low curtesy to each. Daughter, receive Don Vincentio. His Rank, Fortune, and Merit, entitle him to the Heiress of a Grandee;—he is contented to become my Son-inLaw—if423 EE4r 423 Law—if you can be pleasing in his eyes! she curtesies again.

Vin.

Pleasing! she entrances me! Her presence thrills me like a Cadenza of Pachierotti, and every Nerve vibrates to the Music of her looks—

Her step andante true to art,

Pianos glance from either eye;

Oh! how largetto were the Heart

That Charms so forté. could defy!

Donna Olivia! will you be pleased to note me as your Lover?

Olivia.

curtesying Yes Sir—No Sir!

Vin.

Yes Sir, no Sir—bewitching Timidity!

Cæs.

Yes, Sir, she’s remarkably timid. (Aside. — She’s in the right cue now I see!)

Vin.

’Tis clear you have never travelled; had you been in the Country from whence I arrive—England, your Timidity would have been banished; you would have acquired a marked Character, and maintained it at all Hazards.

Oliv.

’Tis a very fine day, sir. Speaking very fast.

Vin.

Madam!

Oliv.

I caught a sad cold the other evening.— Pray, Sir, were you at the Ball last night?

Vin.

What Ball, fair Lady?

Oliv.

Bless me! they say Lucinda has run away with a footman, and Don Philip has married his house-maid! (Apart to Cæsar.

Now am I not as agreeable as other Fine Ladies?

Cæs.

Oh, such perverse obedience!

Vin.

Really, Madam, I have not the Honour to know Don Philip and Lucinda—nor am I happy enough entirely to comprehend you.

Oliv.

No!—I only meant to be agreeable! But— looking at her Father I am afraid we are mistaken in your taste for pretty little small-talk! 424 EE4v 424

Vin.

Pretty little small-talk!

Oliv.

But—a marked Character you may perhaps admire—oh, very well, so do I, I doat on it.—I would not resemble the rest of the world in any thing.

Vin.

My Taste to the fiftieth division of a Crotchet! —We shall accord admirably when we are married.

Oliv.

Ah, how charmingly then we shall be unlike the rest of the world! (Aside. I must carry my Particularity to great Excess, I see.)

Cæs.

Aside. It will do! I have hit her Humour at last—Why didn’t this young dog offer himself before?

Oliv.

I believe I have the Honour to carry my Taste for particularity farther than you, Don Vincentio. Pray, now, what is your usual Stile in living?

Vin.

My Winters I spend in Madrid, as other people do. My Summers I drawl through at my Castle—

Oliv.

As other people do! and pretend to Singularity—ha! ha! ha! Good Don Vincentio, never talk of a marked Character again.—Go into the Country in July to smell Roses and Woodbines—when every body regales on their fragrance! Now I would rusticate only in Winter; and my bleak Castle should be decorated with Verdure and Flowers—amidst the Zephyrs of January.

Cæs.

(Aside. —Oh!—she’ll go too far!)

Oliv.

I would hang artificial foliage on the leafless trees—my rose shrubs and myrtles should be scented by Perfumers.

Vin.

Oh, charming!—You beat me where I thought myself the strongest.—Would they but paragraph our Singularites in the Newspapers here as they do abroad, we should be the most envied couple in Spain.

Cæs.

(Aside. —By St. Anthony, he is as mad as she is!)

425 EE5r 425

Vin.

What say you, Don Cæsar? Olivia and her Winter-Garden, and I and my Music?

Oliv.

(Aside. —Music!—thanks for another topic —there are hopes we may yet differ!) Music did you say! Music! I am peculiar in my attachment to it.

Cæs.

Aside. She has saved my Life!—I thought she was going to knock his Hobby Horse on the head.

Vin.

You enchant me! I have the finest Band in Madrid. My first Violin draws a longer bow than Giardini; my Clarinets, my Viol de Gamba—Oh, you shall have such Concerts!

Oliv.

Concerts! Pardon me there—that’s in the common routine.—My passion is a Solo.

Vin.

That is singular! I love a Crash; so does every body of goût.

Oliv.

My Taste you know, isn’t like every body’s! My Nerves are so particularly fine that more than a Solo overpowers them. (Aside.I must contrive to name something monstrously absurd now—or I am ruined!)

Vin.

Charming Olivia, which is the object of your preference? I will study to become its master that I may woo you with its music—Is it the Guitar? the Piano forté? the Harp—

Oliv.

—You have it—you have it!—a Harp—yes. But then it is a particular Species of Harp, of which perhaps you have not yet been fond; my peculiar Taste is—a Jew’s-Harp.—How delightful the charming h-r-r-r-m of its Bass! running on the ear like the distant rumble of a Stage-coach. It presents the Ideas of Vastness and Weight to the mind. I’ll give you my hand—the moment you are its Master.

Vin.

Da Capo, Madam, da Capo!—a Jew’s-Harp!!

Oliv.

Bless me, Sir—dont I tell you so? Violins chill me—Clarinets by Sympathy hurt my Lungs; and, instead of maintaining a Band under my roof, I 426 EE5v 426 would not keep a Servant who knew a Bassoon from a Flute, or could tell whether he heard a Jigg or a Canzonetta.

Cæs.

In great Agitation Thou perverse one! you know you love Concerts, you know you do!

Oliv.

I love them! It is indiscriminate Custom that attaches people to the Jumble of fifty different instruments at once; ’twould be as well to hold a Conversation in fifty different languages. A Band! ’tis a mere Chaos of sound—I had rather listen to a three stringed Guitar—serenading a Sempstress in a neighbouring Garret.

Cæs.

Oh you!—Don Vincentio, this is nothing but Perverseness.—Hussy! didn’t you shake when you mentioned a Garret! didn’t Bread and Water, and a Step-mother, come into your head at the instant?

Vin.

Piano, piano, good Sir! Spare yourself all further trouble. Should the Princess of Guzzarat with all her diamond-mines offer herself, I would not accept them in lieu of my Band—a Band to collect which has half effected my Ruin. I would have allowed your daughter a blooming Garden in Winter —I would even have procured Barrenness and Snow for her in the Dog-days; but—to have my Band insulted!—to have my knowledge in Music slighted! —to be brought down from all the Energies of Composition by the D-r-o-n-e of a Jew’s-Harp!—I cannot breathe under the Idea.

Cæs.

Then—then you refuse her, Sir?

Vin.

I cannot utter a sound so harsh!—we are arrived at our Finale! Adieu Madam, I leave you to enjoy your Solos—whilst I betake myself to the Raptures of a Crash! Exit. Don Cæsar goes up to her, and looks fiercely in her face. Then goes out without speaking.

Oliv.

Mercy! that silent Anger is terrifying—I 427 EE6r 427 read a young Mother-in Law, and an old Lady Abbess, in every line of his face— Enter Victoria. Well, you heard the whole I suppose—heard poor unhappy me scorned and rejected!

Vict.

I heard you in imminent Danger; and expected Signor Da Capo would snap you up, in spite of your caprice and extravagance.

Oliv.

Oh they charmed, instead of scaring him. —I soon found, that my only chance was, to fall across his Caprice. Where is the Philosopher who could withstand that!

Vict.

But what, my dear Olivia, does all this lead to?

Oliv.

I dare say you can guess! Penelope had never cheated her Lovers with a never ending web, but— for her Ulysses.

Vict.

Her Ulysses? what, are you married?

Oliv.

Oh no, not yet! But, believe me, my design is not to lead apes; nor is my heart absolutely an Icicle! If you choose to know more, put on your veil, and slip with me through the Garden to the Prado.

Vict.

I can’t indeed. I am this moment going to dress en homme, to visit the impatient Portuguese.

Oliv.

Send an excuse, for positively you go with me. I want a Chaperon—for I’m going to meet a man! whom I have been fool enough to think of these three years, and I dont know that ever he thought of me in his Life!

Vict.

Three years in discovering that?

Oliv.

He has been abroad. The only time I ever saw him was at the Dutchess of Medina’s. There were a thousand people—and he was so careless, so elegant, so interesting amidst them—In a word, though he went off for France the next morning, by some Witchcraft or other—he has been before my 428 EE6v 428 eyes ever since! and has made my heart adamant to every Lover!

Vict.

Was the impression mutual?

Oliv.

He hardly noticed me. I was then a trembling Miss, just out of a Convent, and shrinking from observation.

Vict.

Why, how is it then that you are going to meet him!

Oliv.

How! why I sent him this morning a command to be at the Prado! My object in this is to find out whether his heart is engaged, and if it is—

Vict.

You’ll cross your arms, and crown your brow with Willows!

Oliv.

No positively, not whilst we have Myrtles. ’Tis but with him that I at present feel my Heart could share all the sacred ties of Marriage, I therefore prefer Julio, as a duty, to all his sex. But, if he is stupid enough to be insensible to me, I shall not for that reason pine and die of silliness! No no, in that case I shall form a new plan, and treat future Lovers with more civility.

Vict.

You are the only woman in Love that I ever heard talk reasonably!

Oliv.

Come, prepare for the Prado!

Exeunt.
429 EE7r 429

Act the Third.

Scene I.

A long street. Julio and Garcia enter from the further end of it. As they come down, Vincentio meets them from the Side.

Vin.

Julio, Garcia, congratulate me!—Such an Escape!

Julio.

What have you escaped?

Vin.

Matrimony!

Gar.

Nay then our Congratulations may be mutual —I have had a matrimonial escape too, this very day. Happily the Ladies, though they veil their faces, cannot always veil their Tempers! I was almost on the brink of the Ceremony with the veriest Xantippe!

Vin.

Oh, that was not my case—mine was a sweet creature, all life, all Elegance!

Julio.

Then, where’s the cause of Congratulation?

Vin.

Cause—why she’s ignorant of Music! prefers a Jigg to a Canzonetta, and—faith whether I ought to believe my own ears startles me—a Jew’s-Harp to a Pentachord!

Julio.

Jew’s-Harp! Poh, prithee.

Gar.

Had my Nymph no other fault, I would pardon that, for she is rich and lovely.

Vin.

Mine too is rich and lovely, and I’ll be sworn 430 EE7v 430 too as ignorant of Scolding as of the Gamut. But— not to know Music!

Julio.

Gentle, lovely, and rich,—and ignorant only of Music?

Gar.

A venial crime indeed! If the sweet creature will marry me, she shall be as regularly followed by a Jew’s-Harp in her Train, as a Scotch Signor is said to be by his Player on Bagpipes. I wish you’d give me your Interest.

Vin.

Oh, most willingly, if thou hast so tasteless an Inclination. I’ll name thee as a dull-soul’d largo fellow to her Father—Don Cæsar.

Gar.

Cæsar! what Don Cæsar?

Vin.

De Zuniga.

Gar.

Impossible!

Vin.

So much is De Zuniga her Father—that he does not know a Semibreve from a Culverin.

Gar.

The Name of the Lady?

Vin.

Olivia.

Gar.

Why you must be mad—that’s my Termagant!

Vin.

Termagant! ha! ha! ha! Thou hast certainly some vixen of a Mistress, who infects thy ears towards the whole sex.—Olivia is elegant and timid.

Gar.

By Juno, there never existed such a Scold.

Vin.

By Orpheus, there never was a gayer temper’d creature. Spirit enough to be charming that’s all. If she understood Music—I’d marry her to-morrow.

Julio.

Ha! ha! what a ridiculous Jangle! ’Tis evident you speak of two different women.

Gar.

I speak of Donna Olivia—Heiress to Don Cæsar de Zuniga.

Vin.

I speak of the Heiress of Don Cæsar de Zuniga—her name Donna Olivia.

Gar.

Sir, I perceive you mean to insult me!

Vin.

Your perceptions are very rapid—but, if you chuse to think so, I’ll settle that point Sir with you immediately. But—for fear of Consequences, I’ll 431 EE8r 431 fly home, add the last bar to my Concerto—and then meet you where you chuse.

Julio.

Poh! this is evidently Misapprehension. To clear the Matter up, I’ll visit the Lady, if you’ll introduce me Vincentio. But you shall both promise to be governed in this dispute by my decision.

Vin.

I’ll introduce you with Joy—if you’ll persuade her of the charms of Harmony.

Gar.

She’ll need that—You’ll find her all Jar.

Julio.

Come, no more Garcia;—thou art but a sort of Male-Vixen thyself.—Melodious Vincentio, when shall I expect you?

Vin.

This Evening.

Julio.

Not this evening; I have engaged to meet a Goldfinch in a Grove—then, I shall have Music, you rogue.

Vin.

It never sings in the evening.

Julio.

Why then I’ll wait ’till morning, and hear it pour out its Matins to the rising sun.—Call on me tomorrow, I’ll then attend you to Donna Olivia, and declare, faithfully, the Impression her Character makes on me.—Come Garcia, I must not leave you together, lest his Minums and your Crotchets should fall into a Crash of Discords!

Exeunt opposite sides.

Scene II.

The Prado. Enter Carlos.

Car.

All hail to the powers of Burgundy! Three flasks to my own share.—What sorrows can resist three flasks of Burgundy? This morning I was a mere melancholy fellow, going to shoot myself to get rid of my troubles—Where are my troubles now?—gone to the moon to look for my Wits. And there I hope they’ll remain together—if one cannot come back 432 EE8v 432 without the other. But where is this indolent dog, Julio? He fit to receive appointments from Ladies! —Surely I have not missed the hour—No—but Eight yet—looking at his Watch Eight’s the hour by all the Joys of Burgundy! The rogue must be here— let’s reconnoitre. Enter Victoria and Olivia from the top, veiled.

Oliv.

Positively, mine’s a pretty spark, to let me be first at the place of appointment. I have half resolved to go home again, to punish him.

Vict.

I’ll answer for it that it is but half resolved— to fully resolve would be to punish yourself.—There’s a solitary man—is not that he?

Oliv.

I think not. But if he would please to turn this way—

Vict.

That’s impossible whilst the load-stone is the other. He is looking at some one in the next walk. Can’t you disturb him?

Oliv.

Screams Oh! a frightful frog! Carlos turns.

Vict.

Heaven! ’tis my Husband.—I cannot speak to him, though my Soul greets him!

Oliv.

Ah! what, is that then your truant Knight? —Judging from his Appearance he has more taste and feeling than his conduct gains him credit for. He moves this way.

Car.

Pray, Lady, what occasioned that pretty Scream—was it a decoy cry?

Oliv.

Decoy! ha! ha! what—for you!

Car.

Why not, Madam? one with three flasks of Burgundy in his head, and—his perception—not— over clear! may be worth the chance of decoying.

Oliv.

Unless he happens to be already decoyed! ’tis about two years since you was caught I take it. Do keep further off from me good Married Man; perhaps the other Lady will think more favorably of you—than you merit! 433 FF1r 433

Car.

Hey-dey! Is it posted up under every Saint in Madrid that I am married?

Oliv.

No, you carry the Look about you;—that rueful Phiz could never belong to a Bachelor!

Car.

By all the Thorns of matrimony—if—

Oliv.

Poor man! how natural to swear by what one feels—Ha! ha!—but why were you in such Haste to encounter them? Bless us! had you but looked about a little, what a market might have been made of that engaging air of your’s.

Car.

Confound thee, confound thee! If thou art a Wife, may thy husband plague thee with jealousies, and if thou art a maiden—may’st thou be an old one. —Going. Meets Julio Oh Julio, look not that way —there’s a Tongue will stun thee!

Julio.

Oh, I greet it—I love female prattle. A Woman’s tongue can never scare me!—a female without prattle is like Burgundy without Spirit. From which of these two Goldfinches comes the sweet Music?

Car.

Taking Victoria’s hand—This is as silent as a Turtle, only coos now and then—

Pensive as the plaint of Dove

Calling on her absent Love.

perhaps you dont hate a Married Man, sweet one?

Vict.

Ah! you have guessed right—I love a married man!

Car.

Ah, say’st thou so?—wilt thou love me?

Vict.

Are you sure you will let me?

Car.

Let thee, my Charmer!—how I’ll cherish thee for it.—What would I not give for thy Heart!

Vict.

I demand a price you cannot give; I ask Love unbounded—but you have a Wife!

Car.

Will you assist my Efforts to forget her?

Vict.

Will you never love another, and love me ever?

Car.

Ever! yes ever, till we find each other dull Vol. I. FF 434 FF1v 434 company, and yawn, and talk of our Neighbours for Amusement.

Vict.

Farewell! I suspect your heart is divided! Going.

Car.

Nay—but move this way; I am fearful of that Wood-pecker at your elbow. Should she begin again, her Noise will scare all the pretty loves that are playing about my heart. He Leads her to the back of the Stage.

Julio.

I really believe, though you deny it, that you are the Destiny that fated me hither. See, is not this your Mandate? Taking the Letter from his pocket.

Oliv.

Oh, delightful! the scrawl of some Chambermaid, or, perhaps of your Valet, to give you an air. What is the signature—Marriatornes?—Tomasa?

Julio.

Since you abuse it, I am convinced the Letter is your’s. So you may as well confess.

Oliv.

Suppose I should—you cant be sure that I do not deceive you.

Julio.

True; but there is one respect in which I will not be deceived; therefore the Preliminary is that you throw off your Veil!

Oliv.

My Veil!

Julio.

Positively! If you reject this Article, our Negotiation ends.

Oliv.

Nay, if you offer Articles, you admit yourself conquered.

Julio.

I own myself in danger of capture; but, I have a right to make the best Terms I can. Do you accede to the demand?

Oliv.

Certainly not.

Julio.

You had better.

Oliv.

I protest I will not.

Julio.

(Aside. My Life upon it I make you!) Why, Madam, how absurd this is—’tis reducing us to the situation of Pyramus and Thisbe talking through a wall. Yet—’tis of no consequence—I know your features as well as though as I saw them. 435 FF2r 435

Oliv.

How can that be?

Julio.

I judge of what you veil, by what I see. I could draw your Picture!

Oliv.

Charming! Pray begin the Portrait.

Julio.

Imprimis, a broad high Forehead, rounded at the top—like the Arch of an old-fashioned Gateway.

Oliv.

Oh, horrid!

Julio.

Little grey Eyes, sharp Nose, and Hair—the colour of rusty Prunella.

Oliv.

Odious!

Julio.

Pale Cheeks, thin Lips and—

Oliv.

Hold, hold thou vilifier. throws off her veil, he sinks on one knee. Yes, yes, kneel, in Contrition for your malicious Slanders.

Julio.

Oh no, in adoration!—What a charming creature!

Oliv.

Now—for lies on the other side!

Julio.

A Forehead formed by the Graces; hair, which Cupid would be stealing for his Bow-strings, were he not engaged, in shooting through those sparkling hazel circlets which nature has given you for Eyes; Lips! ’twere a sin to call them so—they are fragrant rose-leaves.

Oliv.

Is that extemporaneous, or ready cut for every woman that takes off her veil?

Julio.

It is not absolutely new; Nature, as she finished you, formed the Sentiment in my heart, where it has lain dormant—until you called it into Words.

Oliv.

Suppose I were to understand, from all this, that you have a mind to fall in Love with me; wouldn’t you at last be finely caught?

Julio.

Charmingly caught! if you’ll let me understand, at the same time, that you have a mind to fall in love with me.

Oliv.

In love with a man! I never loved any thing but a Squirrel! FF2 436 FF2v 436

Julio.

Let me be your Squirrel! I’ll put on your Chain—and gambol and play for ever around you!

Oliv.

But suppose you should have a mind to break the chain?

Julio.

Then loosen it; if once that humour seizes me restraint wont banish it. Let me spring and bound at liberty, and, when I return to my lovely rightful owner, tired of all but her, fasten me again to my chain, and kiss me whilst you chide!

Oliv.

By way of Reward, I suppose, for playing Truant. Carlos is seen struggling for Victoria’s veil in the back ground—she unveils.

Julio.

Why so silent?

Oliv.

I am debating whether to be pleased, or displeased, at what you have said.

Julio.

Well?

Oliv.

You shall know when I have determined. My friend and your’s are approaching this way; she is a woman of honour, and this moment is of the highest Importance to her, they must not be interrupted.

Julio.

’Twould be barbarous—we’ll retire as far off as you please.

Oliv.

But, we retire separately, Sir. To draw you however from them, you may conduct me hence, on condition that you leave me instantly! Exeunt. Carlos advances, followed by Victoria.

Car.

Looking back on her.—My Wife!

Vict.

I will veil myself again! I will hide my face for ever, if you will now feast my ear with those vows, which a moment since you poured forth so earnestly.

Car.

My Wife!—making Love to my own Wife!

Vict.

Why should one of the dearest moments of my life be to you so displeasing?

Car.

So, I am caught in this snare—by way of pleasing Surprise I suppose. 437 FF3r 437

Vict.

Would you could think so.

Car.

But, ’tis a surprise fatal to every hope with which you may have flattered yourself.—What, am I to be followed, haunted, watched!

Vict.

Not to upbraid you—I followed you but because our Domain, without you, seemed a dreary Desart. It was not to—I never will—upbraid you.

Car.

Generous assurance!—Never upbraid me?— I’ll take care you never shall!— (Aside.—Though she has touched my Soul, I dare not yield to the impression.—Her tenderness is worse than Death to me!)

Vict.

Would I could find words to please you!

Car.

You cannot; therefore suffer me to go without attempting to follow.

Vict.

Is it possible you can be so barbarous?

Car.

Do not expostulate; your first vow’d duty is Obedience—that word so grating to your sex.

Vict.

To me, it was never grating—to obey has been my Joy; even now I will not dispute your Will, though I feel, for the first time, obedience hateful. Going—turns back Oh, Carlos!—my dear Carlos! I go—but my mind rests upon you. Exit.

Car.

This is dreadful!—yet, had I not enforced relief from her presence, my perturbation must have destroyed me; for—how could I tell her that I have made her a Beggar! Better she should hate, detest me, than that my tenderness should give vain hopes of felicity—which now she can never taste. Ah! where is now the Bravado with which Wine inspired me?—Distraction return to me again—for Reason presents me nothing but Despair! Enter Julio.

Julio.

Carlos, in the name of all Wonder, who can they be? my charming inflexible little witch was quite inscrutable—I hope your’s was more communicative.

Car.

Folly! Nonsense! Exit. 438 FF3v 438

Julio.

Folly Nonsense—a pretty woman’s smile? ha! ha! ha!—it has more Persuasion, and therefore more Reason than Logic; but these married fellows lose all Taste.—Humph!—suppose my Fair-one should want to bring me into such a state!—she cant have so much tyranny in her disposition. And, yet, if she should? pho! it wont bear thinking about. —If I dare so mad a thing, it must be as cowards fight—without venturing to reflect on the danger.

Scene III.

An apartment in the house of Don Vasquez, Marcella’s father. Enter Cæsar and Vasquez.

Cæs.

Well, Don Vasquez, and—you—then I say —you have a mind that I should marry your Daughter?

Vas.

It is sufficient, Signor, that you have signified to us your intention;—my daughter shall prove her Gratitude, in her attention to your Felicity.

Cæs.

(Aside. —Hem! My Fate, for the remnant of my days, seems at its Crisis!) but just Nineteen you say.

Vas.

Exactly, the eleventh of last month.

Cæs.

Pity it was not Twenty.

Vas.

Why a year can make no great difference, I should think.

Cæs.

Oh yes it does, a Year’s a great deal; they are so wild at Nineteen.

Vas.

Marcella is very grave, and a pretty little fair—

Cæs.

Aye, fair, again! Pity she isn’t brown or olive. I like your Olives!

Vas.

Brown, and olive! you are very whimsical my old friend. 439 FF4r 439

Cæs.

Why these fair girls are so stared at by the men; and the young fellows, now-a-days, have a very impudent stare with them! very abashing.

Vas.

Come I’ll send Marcella to you, and she will—

Cæs.

No, no, Stay my good Friend—you are in a violent hurry!

Vas.

Why, truly, Signor, at my time of Life I have no time to lose.

Cæs.

Why, that’s very true—and so— (Aside. St. Anthony! this is an anxious moment!—but— there can be no harm in just looking at her—a Look wont bind us for better for worse!)—Well, then, if you have a mind, I say you may let me see her. Exit Vasquez.

Cæs.

Puts on his Spectacles. Aye, here she comes, I hear her—trip trip trip! I dont like that Step! a Woman should always tread gracefully, with Pride and Dignity, it awes the Men. Enter Vasquez, leading Marcella.

Vas.

There, Marcella, behold your future Husband; and remember, your Attention to him will be the test of your Duty to me! Exit.

Mar.

(Aside. Ah! how shall I support this Interview!)

Cæs.

Somehow, I’m afraid to look round.

Mar.

Surely, he does not know that I am here. coughs gently.

Cæs.

So! she knows how to give a hint, I find.

Mar.

Signor, what are your Commands for me?

Cæs.

Humph!—not non-plus’d at all. Looks round Oh! that eye, I dont like that eye.

Mar.

My Father commanded me—

Cæs.

Yes, I know—I know. (Aside.Why now I look again, there is a sort of a modest—Oh that Smile! that Smile will never do.)

Mar.

I understand, Signor, that you have demanded my hand in Marriage. 440 FF4v 440

Cæs.

(Aside. Upon my word—plump to the point!) Yes, I did a sort of—I cant say but what I did—

Mar.

I am not insensible of the Honour, Sir, but —but—

Cæ.

But!—What, dont you like the thoughts of the Match?

Mar.

Sir, I ought to. (Aside.I dare not say no!)

Cæs.

What, perhaps, Child your head is full of Jewels, and Finery and Equipage!

Mar.

No indeed, Sir.—Oh pardon me! my situation constrains me to repose in you, that my Heart is secretly pledged to another;—if I obey my Father, and marry you Sir—indeed I shall be most wretched!

Cæs.

Say that again!—shall you indeed? pleased.

Mar.

There is not a Fate I should not prefer— ah! pardon me!

Cæ.

Go on, go on—I never was better pleased!

Mar.

Pleased at my Reluctance! what may this mean?

Cæs.

Never, never better pleased in all my life. So you had really now, you young Baggage, rather have me for a Grand-Father than for a Husband?

Mar.

Forgive my Frankness Sir—a thousand times!

Cæs.

My dear Girl, let me kiss your hand. You’ve let me off charmingly. I was frightened out of my wits, lest you should have taken as violent an inclination to the match as your Father.

Mar.

Dear Sir!—you charm me now.

Cæs.

But hark ye. You’ll certainly incur your Father’s anger if I dont take the refusal entirely on myself; which I will do, upon condition that you assist me in a little Scheme I have in hand.

Mar.

Any thing to show my Gratitude.

Cæs.

You must know I cannot prevail upon my Daughter to marry any one. There’s nothing on earth will compel her, but the dread of a Motherin-law. Now, if you will let it appear to her that 441 FF5r 441 you and I are in the regular course to Matrimony— I believe that will do. What say you? shall we be Lovers in play?

Mar.

If you are sure it will be only in play.

Cæs.

Oh, depend on it. But we must be very fond you know!

Mar.

To be sure—ha! ha! exceedingly tender!

Cæs.

You must smile upon me now and then cunningly, and let me take your hand when we are sure she sees us.

Mar.

Nay, all that cant be necessary.

Cæs.

Why I begin to take a fancy to your rogue’s face—now I’m in no danger. May’nt we salute once or so, to make the courtship seem regular?

Mar.

Never! Such an attempt would make me fly off at once!

Cæs.

Well, you must be Lady Governess in this business. I’ll go home, and fret Madam about her young Mother-in-law!—By’e Sweeting!

Mar.

By’e charmer.

Cæs.

Oh, bless its pretty eyes! Exit.

Mar.

Bless its pretty Spectacles! ha! ha! ha!— Enter into a league with a cross old Father against a Daughter! why how could he suspect me of such treachery? I could not answer it to my conscience. No, no, I’ll write to Donna Olivia and impart the Plot to her, and, as in duty bound—we’ll turn our arms against Don Cæsar!

Exit.
442 FF5v 442

Act the Fourth.

Scene I.

Donna Laura’s. Enter Laura and Pedro.

Lau.

Well, Pedro, hast thou seen Don Florio?

Ped.

Yes, Donna.

Lau.

How did he look when he read my Letter?

Ped.

Mortal well, I never spied him looking better, for he’d got on a new cloak, and a—

Lau.

Pho, Blockhead! did he look pleased? was it warmly received?

Ped.

It seem’d so—it was put into the fire.

Lau.

How!

Ped.

Yes—but then it was read first;—but when I spoke he started with an air as though he did not know that I was by. Upon that says he, go home and tell Donna Laura I’m coming to her instantly. She waves her hand for him to go.Exit.

Lau.

So contemptuously destroy the Letter in which my whole Heart overflowed with tenderness? But, why do I question it? has he ever treated me but with the most mortifying Coldness even whilst pretending to be sensible to my charms?—I feel myself on the brink of Hatred. Conscience tells me that my Mind has at length become but a change of Passions—without the intermediate reign of Principle443 FF6r 443 ciple or Judgment. By all the Agonies I have felt, should Revenge be once aroused—How idly I talk! he is here, and his very voice changes my Will.— But, I dare not meet his eye in this state of Agitation. Exit. Enter Victoria, in a Spanish Male Dress, preceded by Sancha.

Sanc.

I will inform my mistress that you are here, Don Florio; I thought she had been in this apartment. Exit.

Vict.

Now must I, with a mind torn by Anxieties, once more assume the character of the Lover of my husband’s mistress—of the woman who has robbed me of his heart, his Children of their Fortune. My task is hard!—Oh Love—married Love! assist me. If I can, by any Finesse, obtain from her that fatal Deed—I shall save my little ones from ruin! and then—But I hear her step—Pressing her hand on her bosom in agitation—There! I have hid my Griefs within my heart; and now, for all the Boldness of an accomplished Cavalier? Sings an Air, and arranges at the Glass the Feather in her Hat. Dances a few steps, ;c; then runs to Laura and seizes her hand.

Vict.

My lovely Laura!

Lau.

That look speaks Laura loved as well as lovely.

Vict.

To be sure! His Laura Petrarch immortalized by his Verse, and mine shall be immortal in my Passion.

Lau.

Pray how keep you alive this immortal passion during our long absences?

Vict.

By thinking of you, and reading your Letters, and—

Lau.

My Letters! Pray how often read you them?

Vict.

A dozen times an hour! As my lip sips 444 FF6v 444 Chocolate, with my eye I drink each dear line, and place them every night under my pillow.

Lau.

Unless you have first—thrown them into the Fire!

Vict.

Madam!

Lau.

Oh, Florio, what deceit! I know not what enchantment binds me to thee.

Vict.

Playing carelessly with her Feather. Me, my dear, all this to me?

Lau.

Yes, Ingrate, thee!

Vict.

Positively, Laura, you have these extravagances so often, I wonder my Passion can stand them. It was by these you cured Don Carlos of his love.

Lau.

Cured Don Carlos! Oh, Florio! did’st thou but love as he does!

Vict.

eagerly Why, you dont pretend he loves you still, after all your treatment of him?

Lau.

Yes most ardently and truly.

Vict.

Ah!

Lau.

If thou wouldst persuade me that thy passion is real, borrow his Words, his Looks;—be a hypocrite one dear moment, and speak to me in all the frenzy of that love which warms the heart of Carlos.

Vict.

The heart of Carlos!

Lau.

(Aside. —Ah! that seemed a jealous pang— it gives my hopes new life!) Yes, Florio, he indeed does love. For me he forsook a beauteous Wife; and with me would forsake his Country.

Vic.

Ah! is this so!

Lau.

Nay, let no jealous feeling distress you thus; —Carlos I despise—he is the weakest of mankind.

Vict.

Laura! you cannot despise him—Carlos the weakest of mankind! Persuasion springs from his lips, and love, almighty love, is triumphant in his eyes.

Lau.

This is strange! you speak of your Rival with the admiration of a Mistress.

Vict.

What!—why—it is the fate of Jealousy, as 445 FF7r 445 well as of Love, to see the Charms of its object increased and heightened.—I am jealous—really jealous to distraction of Don Carlos! and cannot in truth taste peace, unless you determine never to see him more. (Aside.How nearly had I been betrayed!)

Lau.

I vow joyfully never to behold or speak to him again.—When shall we retire dear youth for our Marriage in Portugal? we are not safe here.

Vict.

You know I am not rich. Observing her with earnestness. You must first, you know, sell the Lands my Rival gave you!

Lau.

Oh! I have found a purchaser; and tomorrow the transfer will be finished.

Vict.

(Aside. Ah! then I have now nothing to trust to, but the ingenuity of Gaspar!) There is— perhaps—be not too much alarmed—reason to fear that Don Carlos had no Title to that estate, of which you suppose yourself safely possessed.

Lau.

No Title! what can have given you such a suspicion?

Vict.

In a conversation between Juan his Steward and me, he agreed to a statement that his master never had an estate in Leon.

Lau.

Never! what not by marriage?

Vict.

You hear what Juan says.

Lau.

Ah! how my frame is chilled! Can I have taken pains to deceive myself—could I believe this, I should be mad!

Vict.

These Doubts may soon be annihilated—or confirmed to Certainty.—I have lately seen Don Sancho, the Uncle of Victoria; perhaps you may soon see him in Madrid. You have told me that many years ago he was very much inclined to fall in love with you.

Lau.

Oh, to excess; but, I had another object.

Vict.

Have you conversed with him much?

Lau.

I never saw him nearer than from my Balcony, as he used to ogle me through a Glass suspended446 FF7v 446 pended by a ribbon like an Order of Knighthood. He is weak enough to fancy it gives him an air of Distinction—ha! ha!—But, where can I find him? I must see him.

Vict.

Write him a Billet, I will take care it shall be conveyed.

Lau.

Instantly! Exit.

Vict.

Base woman! How can I pity thee, or regret the steps which my Duty obliges me to take? Yet, even against such a one as thee, I would not surround myself with the shadows of Deceit merely for myself.—But, for my Children! Is there a Parent’s heart that will not pardon me?

Exit.

Scene II.

Don Cæsar’s. Enter Olivia and Minette.

Oliv.

Well, here we are in private. What is this charming Intelligence of which thou art so full this morning?

Min.

Why, Ma’am, as I was in the Balcony that overlooks Don Vasquez’s garden, Donna Marcella told me that Don Cæsar had last night been to pay her a visit previous to their marriage, but—

Oliv.

Their Marriage! How can you give me the intelligence with such a look of Joy? Their Marriage! ’tis ruin to me.

Min.

Dear Ma’am! if you’ll but have patience.— She says that Don Cæsar and she are perfectly agreed—

Oliv.

Still with that smirking face! I cannot have patience.

Min.

Then, Ma’am, if you wont let me tell the story, please to read—here’s a Letter from Donna Marcella herself.

Oliv.

Why did you not give it me at first—reads 447 FF8r 447 —Oh! Minette! I give you leave to continue your smirking—listen—I am more terrified at the idea of becoming your father’s Wife, than you are in the expectation of a Mother-in-law; and Don Cæsar would be as loth as either of us. He only means to frighten you into Matrimony, and I have on certain conditions, agreed to assist him; but, whatever you may hear or see, be assured that nothing is so impossible as that he should become the husband of— Donna Marcella. Oh delightful Girl! how I love her for this.

Min.

Yes Ma’am, and if you’d had patience, I should have told you that they are now in grave debate how to begin the attack which must force you to take shelter with a Husband.

Oliv.

Ah, let them amuse themselves in raising batteries, my reserved fire shall tumble them about their ears in the very moment when my poor father is ready to shout his Victory. But—here he comes. Enter Don Cæsar, leading Marcella.

Cæs.

(Apart. H-r-r-mph! Madam looks very placid —we shall discompose her, or I am mistaken.) So Olivia, here’s Donna Marcella come to visit you— though, as matters are, that respect was due from you.

Oliv.

I am sensible of the condescension—my dear Madam how very good this is! Taking her hand.

Cæs.

(Aside. —Yes, you’ll think yourself wonderfully obliged, when you know all!) Pray, Donna Marcella, what do you think of these Apartments? the furniture and decorations are my Daughter’s taste; would you wish them to remain, or will you give Orders to have them changed?

Mar.

Changed undoubtedly! of course I shall wish that nobody’s taste may govern my apartments but my own. 448 FF8v 448

Cæs.

You understand Olivia I suppose, by this time, how every thing is determined upon between Donna Marcella and me.

Oliv.

Yes Sir! and I assure you I have great Pleasure in understanding it!

Cæs.

Eh! pleasure!

Oliv.

Pleasure, Sir!

Cæs.

Hey-dey!—aye that wont do—that wont do! —You cant hide it; you are frightened out of your wits at the thoughts of a Mother-in-law, especially a young gay handsome one.

Oliv.

Pardon me, Sir, the thought of a Motherin-law was disagreeable, but her being young and gay qualifies it;—we have been very dull—we shall now have Balls, and the most spirited Parties!

Cæs.

Eh, eh, eh? what’s the meaning of all this? Why, Hussy, dont you know you’ll have no apartment but the Garret?

Oliv.

’Tis charming to sleep in an elevated situation; by mending my Health—it will benefit my Complexion!

Cæs.

Here! here’s an obstinate plague!

Oliv.

Bless me Sir, are you angry that I look forward to your Marriage without murmuring?

Cæs.

Yes I am—yes I am—you ought to murmur, and you ought to—to—to—

Oliv.

Dear me! I find Love, taken up late in life, has a bad effect on the temper—I wish my dear Papa, you had been inspired by Donna Marcella’s charms somewhat sooner.

Cæs.

You do! you do!—why this must be all put on. This cant be real.

Oliv.

Indeed now I protest your engagement with that Lady has given more pleasure than I have tasted ever since you began to teaze me about a Husband. You seem determined to have a marriage in the family; and I hope now I shall live in quiet with my dear, sweet, young, Mother-in-law.

Cæs.

Oh—oh! walking about Was there ever— Not to care for a Mother-in-law! 449 GG1r 449

Oliv.

Surely my Fate is very peculiar; that being pleased with your choice, and submitting with humble Duty to your will, should be the source of offence!

Cæs.

Hussy! I dont want you to be pleased with my choice—I dont want you to submit with humble duty to my will. Where I do want you to submit, you rebel—You are—you are—But I’ll mortify that wayward Spirit yet! Exit Don Cæsar and Marcella.

Min.

Well truly Don Cæsar is in a piteous passion —he seems more angry at your liking his marriage, than at your refusing to be married yourself. Wouldn’t it have been better, Madam, to have affected discontent?

Oliv.

To what purpose? but to lay myself open to fresh solicitations to get rid, by my own marriage, of the evil I pretended to dread.—Oh! nothing can be more easy than for my father to be gratified, if he were but lucky enough to chuse the right Lover.

Min.

As much as to say, Ma’am, that there is—

Oliv.

Why, yes, as much as to say—I see you are resolved to have my secret Minette, and so— Enter Servant.

Serv.

There is a Gentleman at the door, Madam, called Don Julio de Melessina. He waits on you from Don Vincentio.

Oliv.

Who? Don Julio! it cannot be;—art thou sure of his name?

Serv.

The Servant repeated it twice. He is in a splendid carriage, and seems to be a Noble.

Oliv.

Conduct him hither. Exit, Servant. (Aside.I am astonished! I cannot see him. I would not have him know the Incognita to be Olivia!—There is but one way—) Minette, ask no questions, but do as I order you. Receive Don Julio in my name, pass yourself off for the Heiress of Don Cæsar, and Vol. I. GG 450 GG1v 450 on no account suffer him to believe that you are not so. Turning from her. I am amazed and confused! It is impossible that he can have discovered me.— Perhaps, without having recognized me, he too comes with offers to my Father, in the common routine;— then my interview of last night did not give him those Impressions I hoped:—I am jealous of myself! If it is so, his Incognita never shall pardon Addresses to—the daughter of Don Cæsar! Exit.

Min.

So then! this is some new Lover in whom she is determined to create disgust, and fancies that making me pass for her will effect it! Perhaps her wisdom may be mistaken though. Looking through the door Upon my word, a charming man! Oh law, my heart beats with the very Idea of his making Love to me even though he takes me for another. Arranges her Dress. Stay, I think he sha’nt find me here; standing in the middle of the room gives one’s appearance no Effect. I’ll enter upon him with an easy Swim, or an engaging trip, or a something that shall strike—the first Glance is every thing! Exit. Enter Julio, preceded by a Servant, who retires.

Julio.

Not here! This ridiculous dispute between Garcia and Vincentio must now be determined—it gives me irresistible curiosity!—Though, if she is the character Garcia describes, I expect to be cuff’d for my Impertinence—Here she comes!—a pretty smiling girl, in truth, for a Vixen. Enter Minette, very affectedly.

Min.

Sir, your most obedient humble Servant. You are Don Julio de Melessina. I am extremely glad to see you, Sir.

Julio.

(Aside. A very courteous reception!) You honour me infinitely Donna Olivia.—I must apologize for waiting on you without a better Introduction.451 GG2r 451 tion. Don Vincentio promised to attend me, but a Concert called him to another part of the Town at the moment I prepared to come hither.

Min.

A Concert—yes, Sir, he is very fond of Music.

Julio.

He is, Madam; and you, I suppose, have a Passion for that charming science?

Min.

Oh yes—I love it mightily.

Julio.

(Aside. This is lucky!) But, I think I have heard, Donna Olivia, that your taste that way is peculiar—you are fond of a (Aside.I can hardly speak it!) —of a—Jew’s Harp. Smothering a Laugh.

Min.

A Jew’s-Harp! Mercy! What, do you think a person of my Birth and Figure can have such fancies as that? No, Sir, I love Fiddles, French-horns, Tabors, and all the chearful noisy instruments in the world.

Julio.

(Aside. Vincentio must have been mad; and I as mad as he to mention it.) Then, you are fond of Concerts, Madam?

Min.

Doat on ’em! (Aside.I wish he’d offer me a Ticket!)

Julio.

Aside.Vincentio, is clearly wrong. Now, to prove how far the other was right in supposing her a Vixen.

Min.

There is a Grand Public Concert, Sir, to be tomorrow. Pray do you go?

Julio.

I believe I shall have that pleasure, Madam.

Min.

My Father, Don Cæsar, wont let me purchase a Ticket. I think its very hard.

Julio.

(Aside. Oh, now for it!) Pardon me, I think it perfectly right.

Min.

Right! what to refuse me a trifling expence that would procure me a great pleasure?

Julio.

Yes, doubtless. Ladies are too fond of Dissipation. I think Don Cæsar a pattern for Fathers.

Min.

Law, Sir, you’d think it very hard, if you GG2 452 GG2v 452 were me, to be locked up all your life, and know nothing of the world but what you could catch through the bars of your balcony.

Julio.

Perhaps I might. But, as a Man, I am convinced ’tis right; Daughters and Wives should be equally excluded from the destructive haunts of dissipation. Let them keep to their Embroidery, nor ever presume to show their faces but at their own fire sides. (Aside.This will bring out the Xantippe, surely!)

Min.

Well, Sir, I dont know—to be sure Home, as you say, is the fittest place for Women; for my part, I could live for ever at Home if I was married. (Aside.I am determined he shall have his own way; who knows what may happen!)

Julio.

(Aside. By all the powers of Caprice, Garcia is as wrong as the other!)

Min.

I delight in nothing so much as in sitting by my Father, and hearing his tales of Old Times—and I fancy, when I have a Husband, I shall be quite as happy to sit and listen to his stories of present times.

Julio.

Perhaps your husband, fair lady, might not be inclined to while time away with you. Men have a thousand avocations that call them abroad, and probably your chief amusement would be counting the hours of his absence, and giving a tear to each as it passed.

Min.

Well, he should never see them, however. I would always smile when he entered, and, if he found my eyes red, I’d say I’d been weeping over the history of the unfortunate Damsel, whose truelove hung himself at sea, and appeared to her afterwards in a jacket covered with salt sea-water.— (Aside.Surely this will catch him!)

Julio.

I am every moment more astonished! Pray, Madam, permit me a Question—Are you really— yet I cannot doubt it—are you really Donna Olivia, the daughter of Don Cæsar, to whom Don Garcia 453 GG3r 453 and Don Vincentio, had lately the honour of paying their addresses?

Min.

Am I Donna Olivia!—ah! ah! ah! what a Question! Pray, Sir, is this my Father’s house? are you Don Julio?

Julio.

I beg your pardon; but, to confess, I had heard you described—as a lady who had not quite so much Sweetness, and—

Min.

Oh, what you had heard that I was a Termagant I suppose.—’Tis all Slander, Sir!—There is not in Madrid, though I say it, a sweeter Temper than my own; and, though I have refused a good many Lovers, yet, if one was to offer that I could like—

Julio.

You would take Pity, and reward his passion. Lovely Donna Olivia, how enchanting is this frankness! Aside.’Tis a little odd though!)

Min.

Why I believe I should take pity; for it always seemed to me to be a very hard-hearted thing, cruelly to refuse to accept a Lover that one likes.

Julio.

(Aside. What Enigma is all this! is this Garcia’s sour fruit?)

Cæsar.

Without.Olivia! Olivia!

Min.

Bless me, I hear Don Cæsar! Now, Sir, I have a peculiar Fancy that you should not tell him, in this first visit, your design.

Julio.

Madam! my design! They rise.

Min.

Yes, that you will not speak out, till we have had a little further conversation, of which I’ll take care to give you an opportunity very soon.—He’ll be here in a moment; now pray Don Julio go; if he should meet you, and ask you who you are, you can say that you are—you may say that you came on a visit to his Daughter’s Maid you know! Exit.

Julio.

Aloud. I thank you Madam— (Aside. for your Departure!) I never was in such Peril in my life.—I believe she has a Licence in her pocket, a Priest in her closet, and the Ceremony by heart!

Exit.
454 GG3v 454

Act the Fifth.

Scene I.

An apartment in the house of Don Carlos. Carlos, discovered writing.

Car.

Tearing paper, and rising. It is in vain! Language cannot furnish me with terms to soften to Victoria the ruinous transaction! Could she see the compunctions of my soul, her gentle heart would pity me!—But what then?—she is ruined! my Children are undone! Ah! the Artifices of a base woman, and my villainy to a most amiable one, have made me unfit to live—I am a wretch that ought to be driven from Society. Enter Pedro, hastily.

Ped.

Sir, Sir!

Car.

Well!

Ped.

Sir, I have just met Don Florio; he asked if my mistress was at home, so I surmise he is going to our house; and so I ran to let you know—for I love to keep my word!—Though I think some mischief will follow!

Car.

You have done well. Go home, wait for me at the door, and admit me without noise. Exit Pedro.At least I shall have the pleasure of Revenge! I’ll punish her by sacrificing her paramour before her face—and then—what sickening prospect then!

Exit.
455 GG4r 455

Scene II.

Donna Laura’s. Enter Laura with precipitation, followed by Victoria.

Lau.

’Tis Don Sancho’s Carriage!—How succesful was my Letter! This, my Florio, is a most important moment.

Vict.

It is indeed! and I will leave you, to secure the result of it. If I am present, I must witness conduct in you that I shall not be able to endure, though I know it to be but affected— (Aside.Now Gaspar, play thy part well, and save Victoria!)

Lau.

This tender Jealousy is grateful to me! Stay without in the Saloon. Exit Victoria. Here comes the Dotard! Enter Gaspar, dressed as an Old Beau. Two Servants follow, and take off a rich Cloak.

Gasp.

Take my cloak; and, d’ye hear Ricardo, go home and bring the eider-down cushions for the Coach, and tell the fellow not to hurry me post through the streets of Madrid. I have been jolted from side to side like a Pippin in a Mill-stream! Drive a man, of my Rank, as he would a city vintner and his fat wife going to a Bull-fight!――Aye, there she is! looking through a Glass suspended by a Ribbon—there she is! Charming Donna Laura, let me thus at the shrine of your beauty—makes an effort to kneel, and falls on his face; Laura assists him in rising—Fie, fie, these new shoes! they have made me skate all day like a Dutchman on a canal; and now—well you see how profound my adoration is 456 GG4v 456 Madam—When common lovers would but kneel, I was prostrate.

Lau.

You do me infinite honour. (Aside.Disgusting Wretch!)

Gasp.

But, how could you be so barbarous; to leave me at Valencia, without granting me one interview nearer than your Balcony!

Lau.

Ah! you dont understand woman’s artifice! I knew you would follow; and, could I resist the triumph of shewing that I led in my train the illustrious Don Sancho?

Gasp.

Oh, you dear, charming—But stay—searching his Pockets Bless me, what a careless fellow I am! I had a Casket with some Diamonds in it—a Necklace, and a few trifles which I meant to have had the honour to—Left it at home—Oh, my giddy pate!

Lau.

You are always elegant I have no doubt Don Sancho—I’ll send my Servant—Pedro! calling.

Gasp.

No, no, tomorrow. It will be an excuse for me to come tomorrow.

Lau.

My wishes might be your excuse; but, tomorrow be it then. You look thinner to me now than when I saw you from my window, Don Sancho. —I protest, now I observe you, you are much altered.

Gasp.

Aye, Madam—Fretting! Your absence raised rather a fever that lowered my bloom. You see, I begin to look almost a middle aged man, now.

Lau.

No really; far from it, I assure you! (Aside.The Fop is as wrinkled as a baboon.)

Gasp.

My health was disturbed too by a strange report, that Victoria’s husband Don Carlos was my Rival. If this has been, I take my leave—My blade will hardly keep in its scabbard when I think of him.

Lau.

Think no more of him. I merely permitted him to have hopes of favour, until I had preserved what would have been squander’d on others. I wonder you gave your Niece to him with such a Fortune! 457 GG5r 457

Gasp.

Gave! Donna Victoria gave herself; and as to Fortune, she had not a Pistole from me.

Lau.

’Twas indeed unnecessary, with so fine an Estate as she had in Leon.

Gasp.

My Niece an Estate in Leon! Not enough to give shelter to a field mouse; and, if he has told you so, he is a Braggart.

Lau.

Told me so—I have the Writings; he has made over the lands to me.

Gasp.

Made over the lands to you—Oh a deceiver! Ah! here’s a plot. Pray, let me see this extraordinary Deed—She runs to a Cabinet a plot, I’ll be sworn.

Lau.

Here is the Deed which made that Estate mine for ever—No, Sir, I will intrust it in no hand but my own—Yet look over me, and read the description of the Lands.

Gasp.

Reading through his Glass. H-r-r-r in the vicinage of Rosalva, bounded on the West by the river—h-r-r-r—on the East by the forest Oh, treacherous dog! I need read no further; I see how the thing is.

Lau.

How, Sir!—but hold.—Stay a moment—I am breathless with fear.

Gasp.

Nay, Madam, dont be afraid! The estate is not his—that’s all;—he pretend the Castle is his! the very Castle where his Uncle was born! and which I never did, nor ever will, bestow on any Don in the two Castiles.—Contriving rogue! Bribe you with a title to that estate—ha! ha!

Lau.

Vengeance follow him! The villain I employed must have been his creature—his reluctance all Art—his anxiety to get the deeds into his hands again must have been but from a wish to cancel the proofs of his fraud.

Gasp.

Could you suppose I’d give Carlos such an estate for running away with Victoria? No, no, the Vineyards, and the Corn fields, and the Woods of Rosalva are not his.—I’ve somebody else in my eye 458 GG5v 458 —in my eye, observe me—to give my Right in them to—cant you guess who it is?—Looks through his Glass.

Lau.

No, indeed!— (Aside.He gives me a glimmering that saves me from Despair!)

Gasp.

I wont tell you, unless you’ll bride me. I wont indeed kisses her cheek There, now I’ll tell you—All my estate shall be your’s.—I’ll give you Deeds—I am uneasy that you possess the others! The sooner you get rid of fictitious titles the better— they are dangerous!

Lau.

Can you be serious?

Gasp.

I’ll sign and seal within an hour if you require it. Seats himself.

Lau.

Noble Don Sancho!—Thus then I annihilate the proof of his Perfidy, and of my Weakness! Thus, I tear to Atoms his detested name—destroys the Deeds—and as I tread on these—so would I on his Heart! Victoria. (Rushing in.)

Vict.

Transporting moment! my Children then are saved!

Lau.

Apart. Oh, Florio, ’tis as thou said’st— Carlos was a villain and deluded me. Ah! why this strange air?—I see the cause!—you think me ruin’d —thou wouldst abandon me! I perceive it by thy averted face—thou darest not meet my eyes—If I misjudge thee, speak!

Vict.

I cannot. You little guess the Emotions of my heart—Heaven knows I pity you!

Lau.

Pity! Villain—and has thy Love already sunk to Pity! Carlos (without.)

Car.

Stand off, quit your weak hold. I am come for Vengeance!—Enters, his sword drawn. where 459 GG6r 459 is this youth? where is this blooming rival? Hold me not base woman!—Victoria retires to the back of the Stage in vain the stripling flies me, for my sword shall within his bosom—atchieve my revenge!

Vict.

Advancing takes off her hat, and drops on her knee. Strike, strike here! Plunge it deep into that bosom already pained by a hundred wounds keener than your sword can give;—for there is the corroding anguish of Love betrayed, there are felt the pangs of disappointed hope—hope sanctified by holiest Vows written in the book of Heaven!—Ah! he sinks!—He seems faint, she springs towards him —Oh! my Carlos! My beloved! my Husband!— forgive my too severe reproaches—thou art dear, yet dear as ever, to Victoria’s heart!

Car.

You know not what you do—or what you are! Oh, Victoria, you are now—a beggar!

Vict.

No, we are rich, we are happy! See there the fragments of that fatal Deed; had that not been cancelled, we had indeed been undone, yet still not wretched—could my Carlos think so!

Car.

The fragments of the Deed! the Deed which that base woman—

Vict.

Speak not so harshly.—Madam, notwithstanding my Duties as Wife and Mother, I am uneasy at having practiced Artifice, and will make you amends.—Be not afraid of poverty; a Woman has deceived, but she will hope your reform, and will not desert you!

Lau.

Is all this real? Can I be awake!

Vict.

May’st thou indeed awake to Virtue! You have talents; be no longer unworthy of such precious gifts, by exerting them but to atchieve dishonour. Virtue is our first, our awful Duty; bow, Laura, bow to her dictates, and deeply mourn that you e’er forgot her heaven-sent precepts.

Lau.

And so! by a smooth speech on Virtue, you 460 GG6v 460 think to drive from my memory the Injuries I sustain! —Thou know’st not to appreciate my mind! Love is less sweet to my heart than Revenge!—and, if there is a Law in Spain to gratify that passion, your Virtue shall have another field for exercise. Exit.

Gasp.

Calls after her You’ll find no help in the Law of Spain—Charmer!

Car.

My hated rival—and my charming Wife!— how many sweet Mysteries have you to unfold. Oh Victoria! my soul thanks thee; but I dare not yet say I love, ’till acts of watchful tenderness have proved how deeply the sentiment is engraved in my heart.

Vict.

Can it be true that I have been unhappy? But the Mysteries, my Carlos, are already explained to you—Gaspar’s resemblance to my Uncle—

Gasp.

Yes, Sir, I was always apt at resemblances. In our plays at home I am always Queen Cleopatra— you know she was but a Gypsy Queen, and I hit her off to a nicety.

Car.

My Victoria! To gaze on thee, to love, and to listen to thee, seems a foretaste of the bliss of repentent sinners—to whom cheering angels minister! Exit with Victoria.

Gasp.

Their wits help ’em—how easily are Women taken in!—Here’s a wild rogue has plagued her heart these two years; and a whip syllabub about ministering Angels clears scores! ’Tis a pity that a little masculine mental strength—though now I think on’t, the number of such gentle Fair-ones is not over large! —if it were at all lessened—the mind masculine would be nearly universal!

Exit.
461 GG7r 461

Scene III.

The Prado. Enter Minette, in a Mantle.

Min.

Ah! after I have been sauntering in sight of his lodgings these two hours, here comes the man at last. Now, if my Scheme takes, how happy shall I be! Surely, as I was Donna Olivia before, to please my Lady, I may be Donna Olivia now, to please myself. I’ll address him as the maid of a Lady who wishes to try his heart—convey him to our house— then retire, come in again, and, with vast Confusion, confess my tenderness, and that I sent my Servant. If he should dislike my forwardness, the censure will fall on my Lady’s character; if he should be pleased, the advantage will be mine. But, perhaps he is here on some frolic or other—I’ll watch him at a distance before I speak. Exit. Enter Julio.

Julio.

—Not here! though she gave me last night but a faint refusal, which I had a right, by all the rules of gallantry, to construe into Assent!—then she’s a jilt. Hang her, I feel I am uneasy! The first woman that ever gave me pain. I feel with shame that this spot has attractions for me because it was here I conversed with her. ’Twas here the attractive Syren, conscious of her Charms, unveiled her fascinating face. ’Twas here— Enter Garcia and Vincentio.

Vin.

’Twas here—that Julio, leaving Champaigne 462 GG7v 462 untasted, and Songs unheard, came to talk to the whistling branches!

Gar.

’Twas here—that Julio, flying from the young and the gay, was found in doleful meditation—on Love for a hundred ducats!

Vin.

Who is she?

Julio.

Not Donna Olivia Gentlemen—not Donna Olivia!

Vin.

We have been seeking you, to ask—without listeners—the event of your visit to her.

Julio.

The event has proved that you have been most grossly duped.

Gar.

I knew that—ha! ha! ha!

Julio.

And you likewise—ha! ha! ha!—The fair lady, so far from being a Vixen, is the very Essence of Gentleness. To me, so much Sweetness in a wife —would be downright maukish. I like the little Poignancies which flow from quick Spirits and a consciousness of Power!—one may as well marry a looking glass, as a woman who constantly reflects back one’s own sentiments and whims.

Vin.

Well, but what say you to an ear—that can listen to a Jew’s-harp!

Julio.

Detests it; it would as soon listen to a Jew.

Gar.

Poh, poh! this is a game at Cross-purposes; let us all go to Don Cæsar’s together, and settle opinions on the spot.

Julio.

I shall go then with a Grace—as the only man of the Sett not imposed upon! All going, arm in arm. Enter Minette, veil’d.

Min.

Gentlemen, my Lady has sent me for one of you; pray which is it?

Julio.

Returning Me, without doubt, child.

Vin.

I dont know that yet.

Gar.

Look at me, my dear, dont you think I am the man? 463 GG8r 463

Min.

To Garcia Let me see—a good air, and well formed, you are the man for a Dancer. To Vincentio Well dressed, and nicely made up—you are the man for a bandbox. To Julio Handsome spirited and graceful—you are the man for my Lady.

Julio.

My dear little Iris—here’s all the Gold in my pocket.—Gentlemen, your most obedient— humble—stalking by them, with his arm round Minette.

Gar.

Pho, prithee, dont be a fool. Are you not going to Donna Olivia?

Julio.

Donna Olivia must wait, my dear boy; we can decide upon her tomorrow. Come along, my little dove of Venus! Exit.

Gar.

What a rash fellow it is! Ten to one but he’ll be robbed and murdered;—they take him for a Stranger.

Vin.

Let’s follow, and see where she leads him.

Gar.

That’s hardly fair; however, as there seems to be Danger, we’ll venture!

Exeunt.

Scene IV.

An apartment at Don Cæsar’s. Enter Olivia, and Servant.

Oliv.

Bring my veil, and follow me to the Prado. Exit Servant. Julio will certainly be there; his knowledge of the world ensures that he is too well acquainted with the facility with which Spanish manners admit of a Veiled adventure, not to translate my denial into assent;—at least I must convince myself. If I see him compleatly vanquished, I can drop a chance card with my Name, and my Father hears of him of course tomorrow. Exit. 464 GG8v 464 Enter Minette and Julio.

Min.

There Sir—please to sit down ’till my Lady is ready to wait on you—she wont be long. (Aside.—I’m sure she’s out, and I may effect much before she returns.) Exit.

Julio.

Now, what species of adventure am I likely to have? Is it some young Miss who takes advantage of the Sanction of which the freedom of our Duenna adventures admits, to let me know I may ask her Papa?—or some different species of female, grown bold in her Guilt?—Through fifty back Lanes, a long Garden, and a narrow stair-case, into a superb apartment—all that’s in the regular way.—One adventure is sadly like another! most probably presently in comes a stately dame with a Veil on, tells me she fears I have but a slight opinion of her virtue, I make her an answer about her Beauty, and, after a dozen or two of entreaties and denials off comes the veil— a fat Dame perhaps of Forty! The Freedoms of life produce but a maukish sort of life, that’s the truth on’t; if enlivened, it is but by being obliged to leap from a window, or crawl like a cat along the Gutters!—Ah, ah! but this promises Novelty—looking through the door a young girl and an old man— wife or daughter?—they are coming this way.—My lovely Incognita by all that’s propitious! Why did not some kind Spirit whisper to me my happiness! but hold—she cant mean to treat the old Gentleman with a sight of me! Goes behind the Sofa. Enter Cæsar and Olivia.

Cæs.

No no Madam, no going out!—give me the Veil;—that will be useless till you put it on for Life! There Madam, this is your Apartment, your House, your Garden, your Assembly, till you go to your Convent! Why, how impudent you are to look thus unconcerned—hardly forbearing to laugh in my face! 465 HH1r 465 —Very well—very well! Exit, double locking the door.

Oliv.

Ha, ha, ha! I’ll be even with you my dear father, though you treble lock it. I’ll stay here two days, without once asking for my Liberty, and you’ll come the third, with tears in your eyes, to take me out. He has forgot that door leading to the garden —but I vow I’ll stay; sitting down on the Sopha I can make the time pass pleasantly enough.

Julio.

I hope so! Looking over the back of the Sopha.

Oliv.

Screams. How is this? I am all amazement!

Julio.

My dear creature, why are you so alarmed? —am I here before you expected me? Coming round.

Oliv.

Expected you!

Julio.

Oh, this pretty Surprise! Come, let us sit down—your Father was very obliging to lock us in together.

Oliv.

Calling at the door Sir! Sir! my Father!

Cæs.

Without Aye, ’tis all in vain—I wont come near you. There you are, and there you may stay. Make as much Noise as you will, I shan’t return.

Julio.

Why are you not ashamed, that your Father has so much more consideration for your Guest than you have!

Oliv.

My Guest! (Aside.How is it possible he can have come hither!)

Julio.

Pho! this is carrying Reserve further than is useful—if there were a third person here it might be prudent.

Oliv.

Why this Assurance, Don Julio, is really—

Julio.

The thing in the world you are the most ready to pardon.

Oliv.

Upon my word, I dont know how to treat you.

Julio.

Consult your Heart.

Oliv.

I shall consult Delicacy and Reserve. Vol. I. HH 466 HH1v 466

Julio.

Very pretty words; but really, when spoken with that very grave face, after having sent your Maid to bring me hither, they are rather more than I expected. I shall be in an ill humour presently—I wont stay if you treat me thus!

Oliv.

Well, this exceeds all preceding Impudence! I have heard that men will, privately to each other, slander women, but to utter it to one’s face!—I sent for you, did I!

Julio.

Ha! ha! ha! Well, if it obliges you, I will fancy that you did not send for me, that your Maid did not conduct me hither, nay, that I have not now the supreme happiness—catching her in his Arms. Enter Minette, re-dressed, screams, and runs out.

Julio.

Donna Olivia de Zuniga!—by what Enchantment came she here?

Oliv.

(Aside. That’s lucky!) Olivia, my dear friend, why do you run away? Minette re-enters. Apart to her. Keep the Character I charge you. Be still Olivia!

Min.

Oh! dear Madam, I was—I was so frighten’d when I saw that Gentleman.

Oliv.

Oh, my dear, it is the merriest kind of Gentleman in the world—he pretends that I sent my Maid for him—ha! ha!

Julio.

Aye, always tell a thing your own way, if you wish it not to be believed.

Min.

It is an ingenious pretence, under which to intrude on a Lady, however! (Aside.—It must not be discovered that I know any thing of the matter!)

Oliv.

Now I think it a miserably poor one; he has certainly not had occasion to invent reasons for such Impertinences often. (Apart.

Tell me that he has made love to you, to day! 467 HH2r 467

Min.

I fancy he has had occasion to excuse impertinences very often;—his impertinence to me to day—

Julio.

To you Madam?

Min.

Making Love to me, my dear, all the morning;—could hardly get him away when Don Cæsar was coming in, he was so very desirous to speak to him for me.—Nay, Sir, I dont care for your impatience.

Oliv.

Nay, then, this accidental meeting is fortunate. Pray, Don Julio, dont let my presence prevent your conversing about any marriage settlements you intend to offer to my friend—I should leave you together?

Julio.

Apart. To contradict a Lady on such an assertion would be too gross; but, upon my honour, Donna Olivia is the last woman upon earth who could inspire me with a tender thought! Find an excuse to send her away, my Angel, I entreat you. I have a thousand things to say, and the moments are too precious to be given to her.

Oliv.

One can’t be rude, you know! Come, my dear, sit down. Seating herself Have you brought your work? They sit.

Julio.

Distraction! what can she mean? placing himself between them. Donna Olivia, I am sorry to be obliged to inform you that my Physician has just been sent for to your Father Don Cæsar—The poor Gentleman is seized with a Vertigo.

Oliv.

Vertigo! Oh, dont go, he has one frequently you know.

Min.

Yes, and he always then drives me from his sight!

Julio.

Really, Madam, I cannot comprehend—

Cæs.

Without It is impossible—impossible, Gentlemen! Don Julio, cannot be here.— unlocks the door.

Julio.

Ah! who’s that? 468 HH2v 468 Enter Cæsar, Garcia, and Vincentio.

Gar.

There! did we not tell you so? We saw him enter a Garden with which we were unacquainted, and led, with an alarming mystery, by one unknown to us and veiled. Olivia looks at Minette.

Cæs.

What can be the meaning of all this? a Man in my Daughter’s apartment! Attempts to draw.

Gar.

Prevents him. Hold Sir! Don Julio is of the first rank in Spain, and will unquestionably be able to satisfy your Honour, without troubling your Sword.— (Apart.

We have done mischief Vincentio!

Julio.

To Olivia. They have been unaccountably impertinent! but never fear, I’ll bring you off by pretending a Passion for your busy Friend there!

Cæs.

Satisfy me in a moment! speak one of you.

Julio.

I came here, Sir, by some accident. The Garden door was open, and—I can hardly tell how I was led to this Apartment—I knew not it was your Daughter’s. You came in a moment after, and, very civilly, lock’d me in with this Lady!

Cæs.

Lock’d you in! why then did you not, like a Man of Honour, cry out?

Julio.

The Lady cried out, Sir, and you refused to relieve her. But, when Donna Olivia de Zuniga entered—for whom I have conceived a most serious Passion—

Cæs.

A Passion for her! You may as well entertain a passion for domesticating an untameable Hyæna! I’ll hear of no more Addresses to her.

Gar.

There Vincentio! what think you now? Xantippe, or not!

Vin.

I am afraid you are right—but so am I! Pray Don Cæsar satisfy Garcia—has not the Lady a fond passion for the tone of—a—particular species of —Harp? 469 HH3r 469

Cæs.

Fond! She’s fond of nothing but playing the Vixen, there is not another such Fury upon earth!

Julio.

(Aside. All these are odd Liberties though, with a person that doesn’t belong to him!)

Cæs.

I’ll play the Hypocrite to get her off no more; the World shall know her true Character, they shall know—but, ask her Maid there! Pointing to Minette.

Julio.

Her Maid!

Min.

Why—yes—Sir, to say Truth, after all—I am but Donna Olivia’s Maid!

Oliv.

(Apart.

Dear Minette! speak for me, or I am ruined!

Min.

I will Madam! I must confess Sir going up to Julio. there never was so bitter a temper’d creature as my Lady is. I have borne her tempers for two years—Olivia pulls her sleeve—I will, I will! to Olivia. and this I am sure of, that if you marry her, you’ll rue the day every hour the first month, and hang yourself the next!— (Aside.I have done it roundly now!) Exit.

Oliv.

(Aside. I am caught in my own Snare!)

Cæs.

After this true character of my Daughter, I suppose Signor we shall hear no more of your Vows; so let us depart, and leave Madam to begin her Penance! Going.

Julio.

My ideas are in the utmost Chaos! My IncognitaDonna Olivia de Zuniga! and the person I took for you, your Maid! something too flattering darts across my mind!

Cæs.

Oh, if you have any Marriage Settlements to propose to her Maid, I have nothing further to say; but as to that violent creature—

Julio.

Oh! do not profane her thus! Where is that boisterous Spirit you tell me of? Is it that which speaks in those conscious blushes on her cheeks? is it that which bends her lovely eyes to Earth?

Cæs.

Aye, they are only bent on how to afflict me 470 HH3v 470 with some new Obstinacy—she’ll break out in some new character in a moment.

Julio.

It cannot be—are you, enchanting Being, such a creature?

Oliv.

To all men—but one. Looking down.

Julio.

But one! Oh, might that excepted one be me!

Oliv.

Would you not fear to trust your fate, with her you have cause to think so hateful?

Julio.

No, I should hold in grateful remembrance the hour that made my fate and her’s one. Permit me, Sir, to pay my vows to this fair Vixen?

Cæs.

Are you so bold a man! But, if you are, ’twill be only lost time. She’ll contrive, some way or other, to return your vows upon your hands.

Oliv.

If they have your Sanction Sir, I will return them—only with my own.

Cæs.

What’s that! what did she say? my head is giddy with Surprise!

Julio.

And mine with rapture! Catching her hand.

Cæs.

Dont make a Fool of me, Olivia.—Wilt marry him?

Oliv.

If you command me, Sir!

Cæs.

My dear Don Julio thou art my guardian angel!—Shall I have a Son-in-Law at last? Garcia, Vincentio, could either of you have foreseen this?

Gar.

Sir, if we had, we should have saved that Lady much trouble; ’tis pretty clear now, why she was a Vixen.

Vin.

Yes, yes, all is clear enough. I beg your pardon, Madam, for the share of trouble I gave you. The only favor I have now to ask is that you will tell me your sincere Opinion of the Science to which I am devoted?

Oliv.

I love Music, Don Vincentio, I admire your Skill, and you will delight me when you give me a Concert! 471 471

Vin.

Marrying me would have enchanted me less! I am satisfied with a union in Taste—and congratulate Julio. Enter Carlos and Victoria.

Oliv.

Ah!—here comes Victoria and her Carlos.— My friend, you are happy—’tis in your looks, we need not ask the event.

Cæs.

Don Carlos, you come in a happy hour!

Car.

I do indeed, for I am most happy.

Julio.

Why Carlos! what has made thee thus since morning?

Car.

A Wife! Marry, Julio, marry!

Julio.

This Advice from you?

Car.

Yes, and when you have married an Angel, when that angel shall have done for you so much, as to make your Gratitude almost equal to your Love, you may then guess something of what I feel in calling this angel mine.

Oliv.

So, Don Julio, I suppose if I should bestow on you the honour of my hand, you will, on this hint, behave with cruelty, that I, like my exemplary Cousin—

Vict.

Hold, Olivia! It is not necessary that a Husband should be faulty to make a Wife’s character exemplary;—your gratitude displayed for his tender watchfulness will give you sufficient Graces, whilst the purity of your Manners, and the nice Honour of your life, will gain you applause—where Approbation is Fame.

Oliv.

Pretty and matronly! thank you my Dear! We have each made a bold hit to day; your’s has been to reclaim a Husband, mine to gain one.—Shall we venture now to make a bold claim—on the Approbation of our Judges!

End of the First Volume.