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Plays, &c., printed for Longman and Rees.

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What Is She?


A Comedy,
In Five Acts,
As Performed at the

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.


By Mrs. Charlotte (Turner) Smith 17491749――18061806


London:

Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees, No. 39,
Paternoster-Row

17991799. Price two shillings.

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Dedication.


To Thomas Harris, Esq.

Sir,


The formal Dedication of so trifling a
Performance, may, I fear, have the Appearance
of Vanity; and I am perfectly
aware, that the Suffrage of an Anonymous
Author, is of small Value, where the Esteem
of the World has already been so amply and
so justly bestowed: but my Object in this
Address is, I trust, more laudable than the
Indulgence of Literary Egotism, and more
reasonable than the Hope that such Praise
as mine can be of Consequence. I wish to
persuade Writers of better Talents, who have
a Turn for Dramatic Compostion, that the
formidable and repulsive Tales of Delay and
Difficulty, incident to a Communication
with Managers, are not always to be credited;dited; A3v
and that, judging from my own Experience,
I venture to assure them, they
will, in you, Sir, find an encouraging Candor
and Politeness, which the timid and inexperienced
Dramatist will feel how to appreciate,
better than any Language can
suggest. Such a Motive will, I hope, plead
my Excuse, and however I may fail in being
useful to others, I have the highest Gratification
myself in an Opportunity of expressing
those Sentiments of Respect and
Esteem, with which I am,


Sir,
Your most obedient,
And very humble Servant,

The Author.

1799-05-17May I7th, I799.
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Prologue,

Spoken by Mr. Betterton.

’Twas said, long since, by sev’ral moral sages,

That man’s short life comprises diff’rent ages;

From childhood first, to manhood we attain,

And then, alas! to childhood sink again.

The same progressions mark Dramatic taste,

When manhood ’twixt two infancy’s is plac’d.

When first the scene, the moral world display’d,

The Muses limp’d without Mechanic Aid:

Then Bards and Monsters labour’d side by side,

And equal fame, and equal gains divide.

Together Actors, Carpenters rehearse,

And the wing’d Griffin helps the hobbling verse.

The saddest tale demands (the heart to seize)

Confed’rate lightning, and the show’r of peas;

Nor wit, nor pathos Audiences require,

But quaint conceits, with dragons, storms, and fire.

At length Taste’s manhood came, the Stage improv’d,

Without a Storm Monimia’s sorrows mov’d;

Then Love and Valentine could charm the Fair,

Tho’ not one Cupid dangled in the Air;

To Scenic Monsters Bevil was preferr’d,

Nor found a rival in some fierce Blue-Beard.

Th’ empassion’d verse, Wit’s pointed moral aim,

The Audience charm’d, and fix’d the Author’s fame.

But all must change—behold the Muses mourn,

And, drooping, see Taste’s infancy return;

Again the Bard calls forth red stocking’d legions,

And show’rs of fire from the infernal regions;

Again, storms darken the Theatric sky,

And strung on ropes the fearful Cupids fly:

Again pale ghosts stalk tunefully along,

And end their visit, just as ends the song.

The siege, th’ explosion, nightly concourse draws,

And castles burn and fall—with vast applause!

To-night a female Scribe, less bold, appears,

She dreads to pull the house about your ears;

Her inexperienc’d Muse no plan durst form,

To raise the Spectre, or direct the Storm;

And if her pen no genuine plaudits steal,

From ears—to eyes she offers no appeal;

Her Muse, tho’ humble, scorns extrinsic art,

And asks her meed—from judgment to the heart.

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Dramatis Personæ.

Sir Caustic Oldstyle Mr. Munden.

Belford (Lord Orton) Mr. Holman.

Bewley Mr. H. Johnston.

Period Mr. Lewis.

Jargon Mr. Fawcett.

Ap-Griffin Mr. Townsend.

Gurnet Mr. Emery.

Glib Mr. Farley.

Servant.

Mrs. Derville Mrs. Pope.

Lady Zephyrine Mutable Miss Betterton

Mrs. Gurnet Mrs. Davenport.

Winifred Mrs. Litchfield.

SceneCarnarvonshire.
The TimeFrom the Morning of one Day, till the
Evening of the next.

The words between inverted commas are omitted in the
representation.
Br

What is She?

Act I.

Scene I. A small House with a Garden before
it, and a Seat on which Winifred is discovered
Spinning.—In the Front of the Stage a
River and a Bridge.—In the back Ground the
Abbey, Mansion-House, and a distant View of
the Welch Mountains.

Winifred

singing

“She thank’d him, and said, she could very well walk, For should she keep a coach, how the neighbors would talk.”

Heigho! I believe the dismal buz, buzzing
of this wheel gets from my ears to my heart. Perhaps,
after all, ’tis Mrs. Derville’s fault—She is
too good, or, at least, too silent for one to be
comfortable with her. What signifies her good
humour, if she never talks enough to shew it?
Ah! if she was but like my poor dear late mistress,
Mrs. Everclack! to be sure she died of a consumption;
but while she did live, it did one
good to hear her—so lively, such a charming
larum from morning till night. B Enter Bv 2 Enter Lord Orton (as Mr. Belford.)
Well, my Lord, I’m glad you’re returned.

Belford.

Hush, hush, good Winifred! You
will certainly forget yourself, and call me by this
title in Mrs. Derville’s presence. But tell me,
how has she been in my absence?

Winif.

Bad enough, I can assure your Lordship
Mr. Belford, I mean.

Belford.

You make one miserable, Winifred.
What has happened, is she ill? is she unhappy?

anxiously.

Winif.

Oh, worse! there are remedies for bad
health and bad spirits; but that sort of neither
one thing or other like feel, I believe the first
doctors, or the merriest bells in Caernarvonshire,
can’t cure it. Lord, we’ve been as dull as the
black mountains.

Belford.

You surprize me. Why, I thought
Mrs. Derville had been elegant cheerfulness personified;
every smile on her countenance seems
to declare war against melancholly.

Winif.

Mrs. Derville cheerful! Good lack,
good lack, what hypocrites we women are!

Belford.

Surely, Winifred, you cannot mean
Mrs. Derville, she is not—

in an accent of alarm
and suspicion

Winif.

Yes, but I say she is; and no more
like what she seems than I am to Edward the
Black Prince
.

Belford.

You distract me—Have you perceived
any thing improper in Mrs. Derville’s conduct?


still in a tone of interest

Winif.

To be sure I have; every moment she
passes alone, she grieves, and pines, and sings
such woe-begone ditties, ’twou’d make a Turk yearn B2r 3
yearn to hear her. Yet, when she leaves her
room, she is as sprightly as the river Dee; smiles
like the vale of Glamorgan—in short, she is just
what your Lordship has been pleased to fall in
love with, and to woo in masquerade.

Belford.

Extraordinary! And has she always
been thus?

Winif.

Always—from the moment I entered
her service on the death of my late mistress at
Leghorn, till this blessed morning, I have never
seen her wear a smile, but as a mere holiday dress
to meet the world in.

Belford.

Incomprehensible woman! Her situation,
her mind, every thing about her, is mysterious.
Yet my heart mocks at the doubts of my
reason, and I have scarcely courage to wish them
satisfied—yet I must know more of her, or endeavour
to forget that I have known her at all.

Winif.

Aye, my Lord, you’re quite rightone
can bear to see one’s friends miserable; but
not to know why, is too much for christian patience.
Dear me, how I stand talking here, and
have forgot to tell your Lordship the news.

Belford.

What news! does it concern me;
does it relate to Mrs. Derville?

Winif.

Why, as to concerning my mistress, I
can’t say; but I’m sure it concerns your Lordship
to know, that since you left the village, your
sister Lady Zephyrine Mutable, Mr. Deputy Gurnet,
her guardian, and a mort of company are
arrived at the Abbey.

Belford.

Arrived at the Abbey! This is, indeed,
unlucky: ’tis impossible, then, I can remain
long undiscovered. Yet hold—You are
certain you never communicated my secret to any
one, and that I am not suspected in the village?

B2 Winif. B2v 4

Winif.

Oh, quite sure—I can keep a secret
myself, though I own I do like to know other
people’s. Not a doubt is entertained of your
being any thing more than what I have introduced
you for to my mistress; that is, as Mr. Belford,
a relation of my own, who has met with misfortunes
in trade, and is come here to live cheap, and
to seek employment.

Belford.

I may yet then remain till I can satisfy
my doubts, and come to some explanation with
your charming mistress. My sister, Lady Zephyrine,
was brought up here in Wales, with her grandmother,
and I have been so much abroad, that
we have not met since we were children, and
should now scarcely recollect each other.

Winif.

Yes; but then her guardian, Mr.
Deputy Gurnet
.

Belford.

I know he used to transact moneymatters
for my father, but I have never seen him;
and then as for tenants or servants, you know this
estate has lately descended to me, and I have
never seen it but in the assumed character of Mr.
Belford. But tell me, have you observed nothing
which can lead to a discovery of Mrs. Derville’s
real situation?

Winif.

No; nor do I know why you persist in
believing her higher born than she says she is.
I’m sure now, my mistress isn’t half so smart as
farmer Gloom, or farmer Hoard-grain’s daughters.

Belford.

’Tis the simplicity of Mrs. Derville’s
dress and manners which distinguishes her from the
vulgar. Then such active, and yet discriminating
benevolence—such unobtrusive sorrow, such a
love of retirement—all mark at least an elegant
and cultivated mind, if not a noble birth. Unaccountableaccount- B3r 5
woman! Then her aversion to marriage,
her hatred to mankind——

Winif.

Why, to be sure, my Lord, as I tell
her, that’s the most unnatural thing—Indeed, I
know of nothing more so, except your Lordship’s
expecting my mistress to fall in love with you,
under the character of my relation.

Belford.

This reserve and mystery of Mrs. Derville,
and her avowed hatred of men and marriage,
made it impossible to assail her heart in
any way but by interesting her benevolence.
She would have feared and avoided me as Lord
Orton
; but to the poor and unfortunate Belford
she listens with kindness.

Winif.

Yes, with kindness enough to satisfy
any reasonable man; and I don’t see why your
Lordship should persist in this project of trying
my mistress’s sentiments—Love and a cottage
against a coach and a coronet. Oh! ’tis too
much for poor woman’s frailty, and I declare
nothing but the gratitude I owe your Lordship
for saving my father’s life would persuade me to
become your accomplice. But I hear my mistress.
Pray retire a minute.

Belford retires. Mrs. Derville enters, musing and disturbed.

Mrs. Derv.

as she enters Yes, Marry—be
as miserable as you please—but I will neither
be accessary to your folly, nor witness to your
repentance. You shall leave me.

Winif.

What can be the matter? You seem
angry, Madam.

Mrs. Derv.

Oh! nothing unusual—only a
pair of idiots conspiring against the peace of their whole B3v 6
whole lives.—There’s Alice says she’s going to
marry.

with painful recollection

Winif.

Lord, Ma’am, and if she does why
should that make you angry? I’m sure it’s quite
natural.

Mrs. Derv.

So the vicious will tell you are
their vices; but our reason was given us to correct
them.

Winif.

I’m sure, Ma’am, I never heard that
people’s reason was given them to prevent their
marrying, though it might assist them to repent.

Mrs. Derv.

Once more, I’ll have no marrying
in my house.

Winif.

Was ever any thing so barbarous!

Mrs. Derv.

I’ll not have my rest disturbed by
the eves-dropping of your amorous clowns, who
will swear and deceive you as systematically as a
rake of quality.—But I wonder Belford does not
return—Heigho!

Winif.

I’m glad, ma’am, you make some distinction
in your hatred of the sex, however.

Mrs. Derv.

Belford, you know, is useful to
us; besides, he is your relation, and unfortunate;
and I invent little services as a plea for assisting,
without wounding him. in a tender melancholly
accent
Poor Belford has every claim—his
manners are superior to his condition; and what is
yet more rare, his mind is superior to adversity.

while speaking, Winifred goes into the house, and Belford enters.


Well, sir, may I congratulate you? Have you
succeeded in obtaining the employment you went
in search of? or, if you have not found fortune in 1 quitting B4r 7
quitting our village, I hope at least you have found
amusement.

recovering her gaiety

Belford.

I am indebted to you, Ma’am, for
your good wishes; but I return with the unwilling
independence of poverty; and for amusement, surely
it is not a pursuit for the unhappy.

in a humble
and dependent tone

Mrs. Derv.

gaily Ah! there, Sir, you mistake.
What fills the haunts of dissipation, routs,
balls, theatres? What crowds auctions with those
who have no money, or exhibitions, with those
who have no taste? What are the overflowing
audiences of speaking puppets, and dumb-show
dramas, what but refugees from the misery of their
own reflections?

Belford.

Yes, Madam; and I believe amusement
is as often furnished by the unhappy, as
sought by them. Lord Cornuto’s last fête, now,
was given only to convince the world, that the
honours of his head did not make his heart ache:
and Mrs. Forestall’s great public breakfast by
moon-light, was merely to ward off the crash of
an unlucky monopoly.—Yes, Ma’am, the great
secret of modern life is appearance—there would
be no living without concealing our miseries more
cautiously than our vices.

forgetting his disguise,
and assuming an easy gaiety

Mrs. Derv.

I fear, Sir, your severity is no more
than justice; yet, for a person who has not been
in an elevated station, you are well acquainted
with the follies of one.

Belford.

recollecting himself Who so likely,
Madam, to see the follies of the great, as the
tradesman, who makes a fortune by their profusion,
or is ruined by trusting them?—Oh! there is a
great deal of fashionable knowledge to be acquired between B4v 8
between the first humble solicitation for the honour
of giving credit, and putting an execution
in the house to recover the debt. Enter Glib.
What a rencontre! By all that’s unlucky, a servant
of my father’s, who must recollect me.

Glib.

Good morning to you, Mrs. Winifred.
seeing Mrs. Derville I beg pardon, Ma’am;
but hearing the ladies at the Abbey talk of rambling
this way, I thought you would like to have
notice. Lady Zephyrine, Ma’am, and seeing
Belford
Lord Orton!!

Mrs. Derv.

I understood his lordship was
abroad.

not perceiving Glib’s surprize

Glib.

Hem! I thought so too. to Winifred
But, if I may believe my eyes, I see——

Winif.

Well, and what do you see? My brother’s
wife’s first cousin, Mr. Belford. Is that any
thing to gape at?

Belford.

And now, I recollect, this is Mr. Glib.
Nothing can be more lucky. Your mother’s brother’s
wife, at her death, left you a trifling legacy,
giving Glib a purse which I am very
happy in having the honour to remit to you, Mr.
Glib
.

Glib.

Faith, I’m my dead cousin’s very humble
servant, aside and my gratitude——

Belford.

Oh, pray let your gratitude be silent.


significantly Mrs. Derville goes to another part of the
stage, so as to hear, without joining the
conversation.
Winif. Cr 9

Winif.

Well; but what company are arrived at
the Abbey? I find there’s to be great doings tomorrow
on Lady Zephyrine’s coming of age.

Glib.

Why, at present, there’s only Mrs. Gurnet;
and the Deputy, come down to enjoy himself,
as he calls it, though he’s more tired of the
country already, than ever he was of ’Change after
dinner-time. Then he fancies, because he’s a
citizen, that every man who lives west of Temple-
Bar
has designs on his wife, and that all the morality
in the kingdom centres in the city. ’Twas
but yesterday he quarrelled with Mr. Jargon for
picking up Mrs. Gurnet’s glove.

Winif.

Why, I thought he was an admirer of
Lady Zephyrine’s.

Belford.

with impatience Is it possible Lady
Zephyrine
can admit such an admirer? Surely
her birth——

Glib.

Her birth!—Lord, Sir, you talk like one
of Queen Elizabeth’s maids of honour! Nobody
minds these distinctions now. Money—money’s
your only master of the ceremonies, your usher of
black rods, and white wands: the Stock Exchange
is the Herald’s office.—A well-timbered estate supercedes
all the genealogical trees in the principality;
and a French cook and a turtle shall bring
together the peer of sixteen quarterings, and his
own shoemaker. It has, however, been reported,
her ladyship’s complaisance in admitting Mr. Jargon’s
visits, arises from her having lost a considerable
sum to him at play.

Belford.

with suppressed agitation Distraction!
—that my sister— aside and that the necessity
of this fellow’s secrecy should oblige me to
hear his impertinence. turning to Glib I thank C you, Cv 10
you, Sir, for your very agreeable communications.
But, pray, don’t let us detain you.

Glib.

Oh! I shall vanish.—Has your lordship
any commands for the Abbey?

aside, but with a
tone of impertinence.

Belford.

aside to Glib Yes, Sir—Silence, and
a place in my service, or the indulgence of your
tongue, and a tour through the horse pond. You
understand me?

Glib.

turning to Winifred Oh dear! yes—I
have the readiest comprehension.—And you, my
fair manufacturer of goat’s whey, have you any
commands?

Winif.

Yes—silence, and my hand at the parish
church; or a box on the ear—You understand
be?

Glib.

Oh, yes—But——

Winif.

What are you debating between then—
my lord’s service and the horse-pond?

Glib.

No, no—certainly not.

Winif.

What, between matrimony and the box
o’ the ear?

Glib.

Well, well—matrimony first, and the rest
will follow of course.—But meet me by and bye at
the next style, and we’ll deliberate on the choice
of evils.

Exeunt Winifred and Glib separately. Mrs. Derville, who during the last part of the
scene has sat down, comes forward.

Mrs. Derv.

This man’s freedom seems to distress
you, Mr. Belford.

Belford.

No, Madam; I was only reflecting,
that probably the lady at the Abbey was not very
unjustly pourtrayed by this smart gentleman; for this C2r 11
this is one of the cases, where the manners of the
artist vouch for the likeness of the picture.

Mrs. Derv.

with gaiety and spirit Perhaps
not altogether. Lady Zephyrine has beauty, vivacity,
and elegance. Yet a votary to whatever is
fashionable, anxious for the reputation of singularity;
placing her vanity, not in being admired,
but in being stared at; and wanting courage to
avoid the follies herself, which she laughs at in
others. But, with all this, generous and amiable,
when she suffers her natural character to prevail
over her assumed one.

Belford.

She is fortunate, Madam, in an apologist:
would it were possible to render you as favourable
to our sex as you are to your own.

Mrs. Derv.

seriously, and then assuming an
air of melancholy
Be satisfied, Mr. Belford, that
I do justice to your worth as an individual; but
do not expect me to become the panegyrist of
your whole sex.—Alas! does the wrecked mariner
describe, with a flattering pencil, the rock where
his hopes perished?

Belford.

with warmth and interest Wrecked
at the very beginning of life’s voyage!—Oh! Eugenia!
correcting himself Madam!—Mrs. Derville!
—would you but deign to confirm your good
opinion of me, by explaining the mystery which
hangs about you, perhaps the friendship that
would participate your sorrows, might alleviate
them.

Mrs. Derv.

’Tis mere vulgar affliction which is
relieved by communication: but you take this too
seriously, resuming her gaiety. Come, you
know you promised me to superintend our little
harvest—I am as yet but a novice, and could as
soon navigate a ship as regulate a farm.

C2 Belford. C2v 12

Belford.

with embarrassed earnestness I wish
my time were of more value, that I might have
more merit in devoting it to your service. Tell
me, may I, in return, ask one hour’s serious conversation?

Mrs. Derv.

An hour!—impossible!—unconscionable!
Have I not too many serious hours already?
—So, call our reapers together—scold the
clowns—and pray, do not take it into your head
that I am some princess tending goats incognita. Exit. (singing) “Venus, now, no more behold me.”

Belford.

’Tis thus she ever eludes any discovery
of her real situation; and all I gain by the attempt,
is a confirmation of that mystery which fills
me with doubt and apprehension. I wish Period
were arrived—our strategem will, at least, assure me
of her disinterestedness. Yet, he is so whimsical
with his double profession of lawyer and author,
that I almost fear he may defeat the purpose of his
disguise by his absurdities. Yet, if Mrs. Derville’s
mind is vain, or interested, the temptations of title
and fortune will not be diminished by a little of the
ridicluous in the possessor of them.

Exit.

End of Act I.

Act II. C3r 13

Act II.

Scene I.—A Saloon.

Lady Zephyrine, Mutable, Gurnet, and
Mrs. Gurnet.

Lady Zeph.

’Twas delightful!—scoured the
road, forded a river, took two hedges and a garden-gate,
while all the male animals were left behind,
gaping as though they had seen a centaur.

Gurnet.

Aye, you make my bones ache with
the thoughts on’t. I warrant your ladyship shall
never get me on a hunter again. Lost my wig,
frigtened away my appetite—dogs yelping, puppies
sneering—A plague of such sport, where all
the glory is, who shall break their necks first.

Lady Zeph.

Why, I thought, Mr. Deputy, you
told me you had hunted before.

Gurnet.

So I have; but not o’ horseback. I
have been twice at the Ball-fac’d Stag on Easter
Monday
.

Lady Zeph.

What, in a gig, I suppose, crammed
with Mrs. Gurnet, all the children, and a
plentiful provision of cold ham and cheesecakes.

Gurnet.

And very snug too. And, let me tell
your ladyship, much more becoming than your
mettlesome horse, dragoon caps, and rivalship
with your grooms.

Mrs. Gur.

I beg, Mr. Gurnet, you won’t expose
us by your vulgarity. The Bald-fac’d Stag
in Epping Forest indeed! ’Tis a martyrdom to a
person of sentiment to hear you.

Gurnet. C3v 14

Gurnet.

And yet I remember, my dear, when
you used to make one of five, stuffed in a little
old chariot of the shape and dimensions of your
father’s till—and when the hunt was over, you
wou’d squeeze down country-dances at the Mansion-House,
till your face was hardly distinguishable
from your best red sattin gown.

Lady Zeph.

Now really, Mr. Gurnet, you have
the most uncivil memory. Nobody remembers
any thing now, further back than the last year’s
almanack. Nothing makes more confusion in
society than a retrospective head.

Mrs. Gur.

Ah, Lady Zephyrine, my nerves
were very robust then; but poetry, and the Minerva
press
, refine the nervous system more than
the whole college. I’m become a mere sensitiveplant
—pure aether.

Gurnet.

Like enough; but if your nerves have
kept pace with your size or years, they’re not
much of the cobweb kind now; and as for
aether—in my mind you partake more of the
Dutch fog.

Mrs. Gur.

Dutch fog!—Heavens! Mr. Gurnet!
will nothing purify the grossness of your
ideas? Was it for this that I addressed my ode to
Ignorance, to you, in one of the morning papers?
And didn’t I strive to correct you, by drawing
your character as a jealous German Baron in my
romance of The Horrid Concavity, or The
Subterraneous Phantoms?
But all my refinement
is lost on you, Mr. Gurnet.

Gurnet.

No, no! I wish it was, Mrs. Gurnet, I
shouldn’t care who found it. But I tell you, Mrs.
Gurnet
, I’m come here with my ward, to enjoy
the country, and to breathe the fresh air; and its
enough to be awoke in the night with your starting1 ing C4r 15
up to scrawl your ideas, as you call ’em, without
having my head stunn’d with your slights by
day. ’Slife! one might as well be in the Stock
Exchange.

Lady Zeph.

Come, come, you must consider
the sublimity of Mrs. Gurnet’s genius.

Gurnet.

What business have women with any
genius at all? Have I any genius at all? Let her
consider my poor head. I am sure I never argue
with her, but I have a whizzing in my ears for
four and twenty hours after, as though I had been
in the heat of a battle. But now I think on’t,
how came your spark, Mr. Jargon, not to dine
with us to-day?

Lady Zeph.

Oh, fie!—he has, indeed, under
pretext of visiting his uncle, followed me here;
but we don’t ask such people to our tables.

Gurnet.

Not ask one to your dining-table,
whom you admit every night to your card-table?
Gad, that’s comical enough!

Lady Zeph.

If you had ever regarded my instructions,
Mr. Gurnet, you wou’d have known
that persons of fashion play cards with people at
night, they are ashamed to speak to in the morning.

Gurnet.

Then I say they’re people of bad fashion.
In the city, now, we eat with any body,
but we play cards only with our friends.

Lady Zeph.

Oh! mere Bank and Change notions.
People of fine feelings are delicate in their
society; but there’s no society in a card-table:
and the rouleau of his Grace is neither brighter
nor heavier than that of a gambler, or——

Gurnet.

Or a swindler. And let me tell your
ladyship, that your people of fine feelings, are
people of coarse morals. And I hope I shall never win C4v 16
win a guinea that wasn’t honestly got, or elbow a
man round a table, whom I cannot shake by the
hand in the street.

Lady Zeph.

archly Why, really then, your
card-parties must be on a small scale—No gambling;
only now and then a snug job in the Alley.
No gambling there, guardian, eh?

Gurnet.

Your ladyship’s a wag—we only speculate;
that’s not gambling, you know.

Enter Jargon.

Jargon.

Ladies, your devoted—I should have
darted in upon you earlier—if I had supposed your
ladyship ventured to encounter the horrors of the
morning’s fun.

Lady Zeph.

Then you must have darted very
soon; for we were out with the hounds before
seven—wer’n’t we, Mr. Gurnet?

Gurnet.

Yes! oh yes! we were out. to Jargon
Do you understand any thing of surgery? Can you
set a few limbs?

Jargon.

What, hunter a little too sprightly?
None of your bowling-green work—Faith! your
ladyship’s a wonder. Every thing in every plac.
Why, I have seen you tremble at a bit of a gale
in the Park, and swoon after a walk from the
auction-room in Bond-street to Mrs. Puffabout’s,
your milliners.

Lady Zeph.

Why, you wou’dn’t have one bring
one’s opera-house languishings to Caernarvonshire:
besides, ’tis Gothic to be delicate in the country.
Lady Amazonia Suremark, who wou’d go into
hysterics at the sight of a lame sparrow in Hanover-
square
, will kill you a couple of brace of birds before
breakfast in Yorkshire.

Mrs. Dr 17

Mrs. Gur.

Elegant! What a subject for a sonnet
in the manner of Petrarch!

Jargon.

Gad, I like the idea. We’ll adopt it,
we’ll propagate it. It shall be a system, and we’ll
call it “Localism”.

Lady Zeph.

Do you know, Mr. Jargon, when
you came in, we were discussing two of the most
interesting topics——

Jargon.

Afflict me with stupidity, but they must
be eating or money.

Lady Zeph.

You are very near it. Eating and
cards.

Gurnet.

Yes; and I was saying, that eating’s
the bond of society, and cards the bane of it.

Jargon.

Yes; but does your ladyship know we
begin not to countenance eating—don’t patronize
eating much now—we don’t feed voraciously—’tis
out.

Gurnet.

Here’s a fellow! Eating out!—Pray,
Sir, do you eat in partnership? for I observe you
seem to speak in the firm of the house.

Lady Zeph.

Oh! don’t you know—Mr. Jargon
belongs to the order of ridicules?

Gurnet.

What, is there more of them? Faith, I
thought he’d been the only one of the sort.

Jargon.

No—we’re very numerous—I’ll introduce
you.

Gurnet.

Introduce me to a society where eating’s
out! I’d as soon be a capuchin.

Jargon.

Our business is to push fashions, oaths,
phrases, shrugs, and gestures. Let a mode be ever
so ridiculous, stamp it with the name of one of
our order, and it passes current. Absurdity, absurdity
is the grand secret to which we owe our
success. The first three weeks we sport a thing, D its Dv 18
its laugh’d at; the fourth its abused, and the fifth
becomes general.

Gurnet.

But are you never, now, subject to
little accidents, such as hooting, pelting, and such
sort of familiarities?

Jargon.

Why, they do quiz us now and then;
but assurance does our business. If we were penetrable
only five minutes, we should be scouted.
So, we never trust dashing a new thing to a member
who is not flare-proof. Our propagandists are
all bronzed. Face—face is our motto—its your
only system.

Gurnet.

Aye, and a very proper one too; for,
egad, I believe you’re all face—and have neither
brains, nor hearts. But, odso, Lady Zephyrine,
what’s become of the young man your father used
to praise so? Why, he hasn’t been here yet. Is
he of the order of ridicules too?

Lady Zeph.

You mean Mr. Bewley. aside,
and sighing
Alas! poor Bewley! That, Sir, has
been over long since. affecting to recover her
gaiety
Oh! It’s ridiculous enough. You must
know, when I first left Carnarvonshire, at my
grandmother’s death, the gentle swain followed
me to town; and for the first fortnight, we were
the Damon and Pastora of all our acquaintance;
but I grew ashamed of being laugh’d at, and
the gentleman grew angry with me for being
so. And because I happen’d to go two nights in
a week to Lady Rook’s, he scolded, pouted, and
set off for the country, to weave willows, and sigh
to the winds.

Gurnet.

Nay, I don’t wonder he shou’dn’t like
to trust his dove in Lady Rook’s nest.

Jargon.

Sighs and winds—tears and streams—
Gad, ’tis quite new—It won’t take, though. Your 5 great D2r 19
great passions are not the system now. We don’t
patronize the violent passions. sings “To the
winds, to the waves”
――But we must see this
Damon of your’s—a famous subject for quizzing.

Lady Zeph.

with a tone of tenderness and
dignity
I doubt, Sir, if Mr. Bewley will renew
his visits here. If he does, perhaps it may be
charity to warn you that he has courage enough
to make his virtues respected, even by those who
are too vicious to appreciate them.

Jargon.

aside Whew! what, comedy on the
stilts of sublime sentiments!—All in the wrong
system here.

Lady Zeph.

to Gurnet Come, Sir, you know
you were to attend us on a ramble to the pretty
cottagers.

Gurnet.

Aye, perhaps I may just step in, and
take a syllabub.

Mrs. Gurnet.

Well, now I think there’s something
most romantically interesting in a young woman’s
living in a farm here by herself, and nobody
to know who she is, or whence she came. I’m sure
there’s some mystery.

Lady Zeph.

’Tis vulgar to be curious—and I
really know no more, than that she is very young,
very pretty, and very prudent, and doesn’t seem
accustomed to the state she is in.

Jargon.

What, some farm-yard beauty, fresh
from Marybone, come to retrieve. I’ll wait on
you, ladies, though gallantry’s not the existing
system—But I love to scamper the rustics.

Exeunt Lady Zephyrine, Mrs. Gurnet, and
Jargon.
D2 Gurnet. D2v 20

Gurnet.

If I had the making of laws, I think I
could twist a system that should scamper you and
your fraternity from Old North Wales to New
South Wales
.—Mr. Jargonyawns—Well, ’tis
vastly pretty, and rural here. Rooks cawing, and
lambs bleating—yawns—I don’t know how ’tis
though, but the stillness of the night here prevents
me from sleeping. Somehow, when one’s
in London, the rumbling of the late hackneycoaches
and early stages, the jingling of the clocks,
and the bawling of watchmen, does so lull one,
as it were!—looks up—Yes, wind’s fair for the
West India fleet——hope sugars won’t fall
though. Bad place for business this too—looks at
his watch
—But when one’s come into the country
to enjoy one’s self, one shou’dn’t be thinking
of business. No, I’ll have done with Garlic-hill—
I’ll retire, and end my days in the calm delights
of a farm and a dairy—yawns—Now, if Alder-
man Credulous
would but pop in, and let one
know how things go on in the Alley—yawns
Nothing like rural retirement.

Exit, yawning.

Scene II.—A Room at Ap-Griffin’s House.

Enter Ap-Griffin, with a letter in his hand.

Ap-Grif.

Here’s a pretty spark for you! His
father mortgaged his estate twenty years ago, and
now the law gives me possession, he writes to me
about generosity. Aye, aye, when a man gets
poor, he always talks a great deal about generosity.
But, would generosity have built me this
house? Would generosity have raised me from
sweeping an office to be the master of one? Would generosity D3r 21
generosity have rained a shower of diamonds on
my head?—takes out a cake of diamonds
There, now, was a lucky stroke! Comes an old
fellow from the world’s end, and before a soul
could know who he was, or what was his business,
dies suddenly in my house with these glitterers in
his pocket. Now, if I cou’d get rid of them!—
Were either of my nephews honest, like myself——
But no, Jargon’s a rogue, and will cheat me; and
Tim Period’s an author and a fool, and will let
others cheat him.—Ah! here comes Mr. Generosity.

Enter Bewley.

Bewley.

I have called once more, Sir, to request
I may remain in Bewley Hall a month longer.

Ap-Grif.

It can’t be, Sir—law must have its
course. Zounds! hav’n’t you had time enough?
Hav’n’t you appealed, reply’d, demurred, rebutted?
—Why, you’re the first man that ever
thought a Chancery suit too short.

Bewley.

And you are the first attorney that
ever thought one long enough. But you know
I have for some time been in expectation of hearing
from my uncle in India; and I still hope,
through the kindness of my relations there, to be
able to redeem my estate.

Ap-Grif.

Why, you don’t want to redeem your
estate contrary to law?—Hav’n’t we a decree in
our favour? Besides, one great estate always requires
another to keep it up; and if we hadn’t
foreclosed, possession would have ruin’d you. So,
the law only turns you out a little sooner than
you’d have turn’d out yourself—I’m for the just
thing—Always respect the law.

Bewley. D3v 22

Bewley.

Hark you, Sir—I’m no more bound
by the law to tolerate your impertinence, than you
are to possess gratitude or humanity—Therefore
——

Ap-Grif.

I’m gone, Sir—off the premises in an
instant, though they’re my own. So, Sir, to avoid
ceremony about precedence, here’s one door for
me, and there’s another for you.

Exit.

Bewley.

Well said, old Quitam. This fellow,
now, was the son of my father’s coachman, and
used to crop the terriers, catch moles, and scare
the crows off the corn. But, hang him, he’s beneath
contempt. Heigho! what avails wealth to
one who has lost the hope of happiness? Oh,
Zephyrine!—But I lose time: I will at least make
one effort to preserve her, if not for myself. With
her lofty and volatile spirit, expostulation will be
useless. No, I’ll pique her—alarm her pride by
impertinence—excite her jealousy by neglect—
and who knows but she, who abandoned me as a
rational and tender lover, may take a fancy to me
as a rake and a coxcomb?—“Allons! La feinte
par amour.”

Exit.

SCENE III.—Before Mrs. Derville’s House.

Enter Lady Zephyrine, Mrs. Gurnet, and
Jargon.

Jargon.

Really, now, ’twas atrocious and abominable
in your ladyship to quit Cheltenham so
early.

Lady Zeph.

I can assure you, neither the atrocity
or abomination of quitting Cheltenham in a
ludicrous tone, in imitation, but not absolutely
mimicking Jargon
is imputable to my inclination.tion. D4r 23
But you know my rich uncle, Sir Caustic
Oldstyle
, after a family quarrel of twenty years
standing, has just emerged from his Cornish estate,
and is coming to visit us. My father and Sir
Caustic
, though nearly of the same age, had the
difference of a century in their manners. Lord
Orton lived like his contemporaries—my uncle like
his ancestors; and I believe nothing but the death
of Sir Caustic’s only son would ever have reconciled
him to relations, who are so degenerate as
to think and act like other people.

Jargon.

What a loss he has inflicted on the fashionable
world!—Why, your ladyship has scarce
time to systemize the summer costume.

Lady Zeph.

Oh, yes—as soon as the Dog-days
began, I took care to introduce the Kamschatka
robe, the Siberian wrapper, and the Lapland
scratch.

Mrs. Gurnet.

Well, I declare your ladyship has
the most elegant imagination; though it sometimes
a little at variance with our climate.

Jargon.

O, no woman of spirit ever thinks about
climate or seasons—gauzes, muslins, cobwebs, in
winter—furs, gold lace, and velvets, in summer—
’tis the system.

Lady Zeph.

Ha, ha!—don’t you rememeber
how poor old Mrs. Parchment mimicking the
appearance of a person cold
used to be shivering
through a frosty night, and a thin opera, in a silver
muslin, with her arms squeez’d to her sides, and
the natural crabbedness of her features improved
by angular contractions, till she gave one the idea
of a petrified mummy?

Jargon.

Yes; and when the cold drew tears
from her eyes, she pretended it was the effect of
music on her sensibility.

Lady D4v 24

Lady Zeph.

Then, there was poor Lady Lovemode
got a quinzy by going to see the skaters in
Hyde-Park in an Otaheite chemise.

Jargon.

But where’s this queen of curds and
whey? This is the door, I suppose. Come, let’s
scatter the country folks. I love to make the
hobnails stare. knocks at Mrs. Derville’s door
Holloa! here—Cuddy—Bumpkin! Is nobody at
home?

Mrs. Derville comes out.

Mrs. Derv.

Lady Zephyrine, I hope nothing’s
the matter—your servant has so alarmed me——

Jargon.

Servant! Faith, that’s queer enough.
Why, what the devil ails me? I hope I’m not such
a quiz as to be ashamed.

Apart

Lady Zeph.

You must excuse my friend, Mr.
Jargon, here; he’s a little rude; but its his—
system.

Mrs. Derv.

At least, Madam, ’tis systematic;
for when gentlemen adopt the dress of their grooms,
’tis very natural the manners of the stable should
accompany the wardrobe.

Jargon.

Aside, while Mrs. Derville talks to
Lady Zephyrine
Severe enough that! Bright
eyes, sarcastic style—just the thing for a Farotable.
Now, if I could but take her to town,
puff her, patronize her, she’ll make me famous
in a week.

Mrs. Gurnet.

To Mrs. Derville, in a romantic
tone
Well, but really, young woman, I can’t
think you were born for the station you appear in.
I shou’d like to hear your history. Nay, if you
will, I’ll write—four volumes, interspersed with
pieces of poetry—call it translated from the German
—’twill be delightful. I have a moonlight scene, Er 25
scene, a dungeon, and a jealous husband—all ready
done.

Mrs. Derv.

gaily Oh! my history, Madam,
is the history of every body; and for that reason,
nobody wou’d read it. ironically ’Tis so common
for men to be base, and the follies of the other,
are subjects for jests and bon-mots rather than
history.

Jargon.

Faith, this girl’s an original. I’ll negociate
with her, take her to town, and bring her
into fashion.

Lady Zeph.

Hush! what young man’s that
crossing the field?

Mrs. Derv.

’Tis Mr. Bewley, Ma’am.

Jargon.

By all that’s queer the weeping lover,
the willow-weaver!—Come, Lady Zephyrine, a
compassionate glance at least. sings “Ah well a day, my poor heart!”

Mrs. Gurnet.

I shall like to see him of all
things. I do so doat on a melancholy lover.

Lady Zeph.

Poor Bewley! how shall I sustain
his sighs, his reproachful looks, his despair?—
Would I could avoid him.

Enter Bewley, singing negligently, as if he did
not percieve Lady Zephyrine.

Bewley.

“Merrily, merrily shall I live now!”
to Mrs. Derville, with an airy volubility; and
an affectation of fashionable ease
—What, my
charming neighbour!—La belle voisine!—Ah!
Lady Zephyrine!—I beg pardon—I didn’t see
you. The sun, you know, is apt to dazzle one’s
vision. I fear I am not en regle. I ought to
have left my card at the Abbey; but the very E morning Ev 26
morning your ladyship arrived, I had promised to
give the Miss Strongbows a lesson on the kettledrum,
and they have kept me at the Lodge ever
since. ’Tis the very palace of Armida, the grotto
of Calypso—no escaping.

Jargon.

aside Pha! here’s pining and willowweaving!
Lucky enough though—clenches my
business with her ladyship.

Lady Zeph.

with an air of pique I confess,
Sir, the Abbey would have been a gloomy exchange
for an enchantress’s palace.

Bewley.

Nay, ’pon honour now, you wrong me.
I was absolutely dying to leave my name with your
ladyship’s porter; but these country belles, when
they get hold of a man that’s a little follow’d—
conceitedly—not that I pretend—they’re quite
unconscionable.

Jargon.

What, you are a favourite here! a
sylvan deity! and all the Welch Daphnes pulling
caps for hur, look you!—mimicking the Welch
dialect
—This is better than sighing to the winds,
Lady Zephyrine.—Come, Mrs. Gurnet, you doat
upon a melancholy lover—Here’s your man.

Bewley.

Fie! fie! shou’dn’t boast—for its no
sooner known that a couple of dear creatures are
civil to one, than one’s besieged by a whole bevy.
Apropos! did you see my little Marquise at Cheltenham?
I’m a downright inconstant there.—
Lady Zephyrine, you must make my peace for
me. You know, a little inconstancy is but venial
in the code of gallantry.

Lady Zeph.

apparently mortified Oh, Sir!
I’m too much a stranger, both to your gallantries,
and yourself, to be a competent mediator.

Bewley.

A stranger! your ladyship’s pleasant.
I thought we had been old acquaintance. Lady E2r 27

Lady Zeph.

coldly Sir, you are so unlike the
Mr. Bewley I once knew——

Bewley.

As your ladyship is to your former self.
But you’re quite right—nothing so stupid as the
sameness and constancy of an old-fashioned lover.
Why, there’s more variety in the imagination of
a Dutch poet.

Jargon.

Gad, you’re correct—exactly correct—
we scout it—its quite out.

Bewley.

Yet, here’s Mrs. Derville would tempt
one to forego the doctrine. One might be her
slave till constancy became the mode.

Lady Zeph.

aside I can support this no
longer. Mrs. Derville, it grows cool—we’ll bid
you good evening—Mrs. Gurnet, Mr. Jargon, will
you accompany me?

Mrs. Gurnet.

I’ll glide after you in an instant—
I have just finished a sonnet to the screech-owl,
and ’tis the most pathetic thing——

Exeunt all
but Bewley, Mrs. Derville attending them.

Bewley.

alone Thank Heaven, the task is so
far over. But Mrs. Derville is too amiable to be
trifled with. I’ll after her, and explain my conduct.
Oh, Zephyrine! how much has it cost me
to wound even your pride? Yet, if I can, by this
innocent artifice, awaken her to a sense of her own
dignity, and snatch her from the abyss of this
ruinous dissipation, whatever fate awaits myself, I
will meet it without repining.

Exit.

End of Act II.

E2 Act E2v 28

Act III.

Scene, Lady Zephyrina’s Dressing-Room.

Lady Zephyrnia and Mirror discovered.

Mrs. Mirror.

It is very lucky your cousin left
these clothes here, they fit your Ladyship exactly.

Lady Zeph.

You think, then, Mrs. Derville
will not discover me.

Mrs. Mirror.

That she won’t, if your Ladyship
does but talk loud, stare at people, yet pretend
not to see them, and behave rude; there’s
no fear but she’ll take you for a modern fine
gentleman.

Lady Zeph.

Yes, I cannot doubt but this
village wonder, this Mrs. Derville, is some adventurer,
perhaps plac’d here by Mr. Bewley,
at any rate the object of his attention; and under
this disguise, and the assumed title of my brother
Lord Orton, I hope, by professing a passion for
her, at least to ascertain her sentiments with regard
to him.

Mrs. Mirror.

Ah, my Lady! I remember
when poor Mr. Bewley began courting your
Ladyship in the nursery, by teaching your birds
to sing, and though your Ladyship being rich has
a right to be fickle minded, I can’t think that
Mr. Bewley——

Lady Zeph.

Yet his visit last night was plainly
intended for Mrs. Derville—he hung on her looks
while he scarcely deign’d to regard mine.—But
have I not deserv’d this, and is not my present
meanness less excusable than my past folly.—Oh, Bewley! E3r 29
Bewley! how easily might I have avoided the
errors I find it so difficult to retrieve.

Exit.

Scene II. Mrs. Derville’s House.

Mrs. Derville at a Table, drawing—On one
side of the Stage a Closet, with a Door, and
a Window projecting into the Room.

Mrs. Derville.

throwing down the pencil It
doesn’t signify—’tis in vain to attempt any thing
new—this obstinate pencil of mine is continually
multiplying the same resemblance—profile-—
three-quarter full face—still the same features—
yet ’tis singular—such animation—such sensibility
—a poor relation of Winifred’s too——“Heigho!
—I believe the house is now quiet, and I may
venture to try the effect of my harp in dissipating
a melancholy of which I dare not ask
myself the cause.”
enters the closet

Song. (Written to a French Air.)

Je crus tous mes beau jours.

Heart, I thought thy peace was flown,

Joy and hope for ever gone;

Reason’s help I ask’d in vain;

Time, friendly healing,

Softens each feeling,

And peace and hope return again.

Tranquil hours! how short your stay!

Sorrow still hung o’er your way;

Time his aid but lent in vain:

Love softly stealing,

Points new each feeling,

And sighs and tears return again.

While D3v 30 While Mrs. Derville is singing, Belford
enters with Papers in his Hand.

Belford.

Enchanting woman! Still do I hover
about her; still live but in her presence, who perhaps
beholds me with indifference, or confounds me
with the objects of her hatred. “Yet, no; she
who inspires a passion like mine, cannot herself
be insensible.—Oh, Eugenia! if I am not deceived
—if I am happy enough to have created
an interest in your heart, I swear, whatever
your fate, nothing shall separate it from minemy
hand—my rank—but she comes.”
to
Mrs. Derville
I have executed your little commission,
Madam, and have brought you the
papers you desired.

Mrs. Derv.

You are very exact, Mr. Belford
gives Belford some papers; he appears agitated
—Shall I trouble you, Sir, to look over
these accounts—I am so ignorant of business—
Heavens! what’s the matter? You seem ill—
You seem disordered!

Belford.

I confess it—I am at this moment so
agitated, that I own I am incapable of obeying you.

Mrs. Derv.

in an accent of kindness Nay,
’tis of no consequence—compose yourself, Mr.
Belford
, I entreat you—I asked your assistance as
a friend, and surely didn’t mean to impose a task
on you—Speak, Sir, you alarm me!

Belford.

still agitatedMadam—Eugenia.

Mrs. Derv.

Tell me-what means this agitation?
Have you any thing to impart to me?

Belford.

Oh, I have indeed, if——

Mrs. Derv.

with eagerness Speak, then—
am I not—your friend?

Belford.

aside How shall I begin?

1 Mrs. E4r 31

Mrs. Derv.

to herself Oh, my fluttering
heart!

Belford.

aside Yet, should I be deceived—
Let me dissemble a moment if it be possible
recovering himself I wished, Madam, to consult
you on a subject, which distresses me more
than I can describe.—You have been so kind,
have appeared to take such an interest in my
fate, that I venture to intrude on you a confidence
——

Mrs. Derv.

anxiously Go on, I entreat
you.

Belford.

The old relation you have heard me
speak of, and on whom I depend to retrieve my
affairs———

Mrs. Derv.

Well, and——

Belford.

Has persecuted me to marry.

Mrs. Derv.

tremulously To marry! You to
marry.

Belford.

Yes, Madam; me.

Mrs. Derv.

with an air of pique And so
you are come to consult me about it?

Belford.

Yes, Madam; I thought, perhaps—

Mrs. Derv.

resentfully, yet affecting indifference
Oh, Heavens! in these cases, people
have nothing to do but to take their own
counsel. with volubility and assumed pleasantry
I dare say now your uncle has discovered you
have a fancy for some farmer’s daughter—very
young, very blooming, very silly, and very credulous,
whom you will adore the first month, neglect
the second, and abandon the third.—’Tis
all in the usual course of things—nothing extraordinary
in it; and I wonder you should come to
consult me about such trifles.

Belford.

Yet hear me.

Mrs. E4v 32

Mrs. Derv.

rapidly, with a tone of irritation
Oh! it seems the very daemon of matrimony
possesses the whole principality—Every body
talks of marrying. Marry, marry then, I beg
you, Sir, and leave me in peace.

Belford.

Reflect a little, Madam, that if I
were so entirely decided, I should not consult
you. Believe me, far from desiring such a marriage,
I have ever opposed it, and my unwillingness
originates in a passion, which is, at once,
the delight and torment of my life—A passion I
have never yet dared to disclose.

Mrs. Derv.

more composed That, indeed,
is different—You love, then, my friend?

Belford.

passionately Yes, I love, Madam;
ardently love a woman that I do not yet know;
but who, by being known, can only be more
adored. Mrs. Derville listens with agitation A
woman, whose sense and sweetness would have
captivated my heart, though it had not already
been subdued by her personal attractions—A
woman, all charming, in whom there is nothing
to regret, but the profound mystery which envelopes
her—A mystery, which might appear suspicious,
did not the circumspection of her conduct
bid defiance to calumny—“did she not
nourish a prejudice against mankind, which,
while it guards her own reputation, is the despair
of those who aspire to touch her heart—
A prejudice, of which I am, myself, the first
and most unfortunate victim.”

Mrs. Derv.

half gaily Do you know, Sir,
that you are an orator? absolutely eloquent.

Belford.

Oh! I could speak still better, would
the woman I love but deign to answer me.

Mrs. Fr 33

Mrs. Derville.

confused Perhaps the answers
which reach the ear, are not always the most expressive.

Belford.

taking her hand Doubtless not—and
if I dared to believe—to hope——

Mrs. Derv.

half archly Come, release my
hand, and tell me—Is this fair one that won’t
answer, rich?

Belford.

She is for me—And it is this consideration
which restrains me—Alas! my ruined
fortunes are unworthy of her.

Mrs. Derv.

feelingly You deceive yourself.
Our sex are naturally tender and generous.—And
I know those, to whom a lover sincere and affectionate,
and unhappy, would be more formidable
than the splendid homage of the first prince in the
world—But, alas!

Belford.

Proceed, I conjure you.

Mrs. Derv.

with an accent of depression But
where find such a lover, such sincerity? Where
is the man that has not to reproach himself with
the misery of woman? Is there a female who has
not, some time in her life, been the victim of
her sensibility?—becomes impassioned as she proceeds,
and ends almost in tears.
“Yet, you
wonder that we become false, dissipated coquettes,
and sometimes worse. Warm, enthusiastic,
we fancy life a path strewed with
roses. We expect to find nothing but happiness
and integrity.”
---At an age when our
hearts are tender, and our reason weak, we make
that choice which is to fix our destiny for ever――
and she who, perhaps, might have lived in the
bosom of peace and virtue, had she been fortunate
in her first affections, irritated and degraded by
the conduct of a seducer, devotes herself to all
the vices which his example has taught her— F and Fv 34
and thus revenges her own wretchedness whereever
her charms procure her dupes, or victims.

Belford.

alarm’d Oh, misery! is it possible
you can have been exposed to these horrors—

Mrs. Derv.

with dignity No, Sir; I have
nothing to reproach myself with. ’Tis this consoling
idea of my own innocence, which has supported,
and still supports me under my misfortunes.
feelingly Yet, the deceit, neglect, ingratitude,
I have experienced—Oh, Sir! you
know not what I have suffer’d.

Belford.

Speak then—deposit in the bosom of
friendship this sorrow so inconceivable to all the
world. Never will I——

Mrs. Derv.

I believe you; this dislike to society
—this gay misanthropy, to which, however,
I owe the little repose I have long felt, yields to
the tender interest you have inspired. Learn,
then, I am not what I appear.—I was once——

Enter Winifred.

Belf.

Cursed interruption! at such a moment
too!

Winif.

Dear Ma’am, here is Lord Orton just
arrived from abroad; he’s been strolling about
among the tenants, and desires to see you. aside
to Belford
It’s your friend, Counsellor Period, I
suppose, in masquerade.

Mrs. Derv.

Surely there’s no necessity for my
admitting him. What can his business be here?
am I ever to be persecuted?

Winif.

Oh, he’s your Landlord, you know,
Ma’am, and Lady Zephyrine’s brother. I must
ask him in.

1 Mrs. F2r 35

Mrs. Derv.

Well, well, if I must—— Exit Winifred.
But, pray, Mr. Belford, do you entertain his
Lordship while I compose myself a little, our
conversation has so agitated me.

Exit.

Belf.

alone How unlucky that Period shou’d
come at this juncture, and without apprising me
of his arrival. Our stratagem too, now seems
unnecessary, doubtfully I am—at least, I think
I am, nay, I ought to be satisfied—Mrs. Derville
—is every with the air of a man endeavouring
to believe what he wishes
thing I can desire—
Why, then,—Yet, as Period is here, he shall
make this one trial, and then—I bid adieu to
doubt for ever. Enter Lady Zephyrine, as Lord Orton.
Confusion! with a gesture of surprise Why—
What! this is not Period—’Sdeath! what can it
mean? Oh! I have it—Some friend, I suppose,
whom he thinks will act the part better than
himself. Yes, yes; it must be so. Mrs. Derville,
Sir, will be here in an instant.

Lady Zeph.

confused Sir, I—I—

Belf.

I say, Sir, Mrs. Derville will wait on you
immediately. with a tone of intelligence But
how is it that Mr. Period has entrusted our
scheme to you? Is he arrived? Is he in the village?

Lady Zeph.

perplexed Really, Sir, I don’t
understand you. A scheme—Mr. Period—Upon
my word, I know no such person—I presume
you are informed my name is Orton?

Belford.

Yes, yes; A Peer of my friend Period’s
making. You see I know the whole plot— F2 However, F2v 36
However, I find you can keep a secret; but
there’s no occasion to keep a man’s secrets from
himself. You understand what I mean?

Lady Zeph.

surprised How the deuce shou’d
I? What, do you take me for a necromancer, a
conjuror?

Belford.

Why, I tell you, I know the whole
story. You have assumed the title of Lord Orton,
and are come in this disguise to discover
Mrs. Derville’s real character and sentiments—
Now are you satisfied?

Lady Zeph.

alarm’d and confused Heavens!
I am discover’d. Well, Sir, as you seem acquainted
with my disguise, you, perhaps, would
not advise me to proceed. Shall I—ought I?

Belford.

By all means—As you’ve gone so far,
make this one trial. But you are sure you have
all the story? Remember, you fell in love with
her at Florence, followed her to Leghorn, surprised
to find her here—Be sure you act your part
well.

Lady Zeph.

Why, the man’s certainly mad—
Either a poet, or a speculator—But I’ll e’en profit
by his instructions. Oh, don’t fear—nothing so
easy to imitate as a modern beau. You know it
requires no talents.

Belford.

Take care tho’ not to shew we have
any intelligence together.

Lady Zeph.

archly Certainly—certainly—
She shall not suspect any intelligence between us.
Besides, you may contrive to quarrel with me.

Belford.

Hush! here she comes—Now, don’t
forget Florence, Leghorn, and the little Marquis.

Enter F3r 37 Enter Mrs. Derville. Belford retires a little in the back ground.

Mrs. Derville.

with a serious, but easy manner
To what, my Lord, am I indebted for the
honour of this visit? Has your Lordship any directions
to give concerning the farm?

Lady Zeph.

affecting surprise Excuse me,
Madam, this rencontre is so unexpected, so transporting,
so superlatively fortunate; so, so surprising,
that I am unable to explain, but another
time, a more favourable moment——

Mrs. Derv.

looking attentively at Lady Zephyrine,
discovers her
Yes—the voice, the features
—I can’t be mistaken—This is some trick of
Lady Zephyrine’s—Nay, then, her Ladyship shall
for once in her life, hear a little truth. turning
to Lady Zephyrine
I can assure your Lordship
I am not a little suprised myself at your sudden
arrival—I believe it was quite unexpected, tho’
long, very long necessary.

Lady Zeph.

How, Madam! I hav’n’t heard of
any accident.

Mrs. Derv.

seriously Yes, my Lord, the
worst of accidents. The peace, the reputation of
a sister is in danger.

Lady Zeph.

In danger! I thought the character
of Lady Zephyrine

Mrs. Derv.

Yes; perhaps the same rank which
renders her imprudence conspicuous, may protect
her reputation; but what shall secure her peace—
A worthy youth deserted—her fortune the prey
of a gambler, or, fatally redeemed by her hand.
Oh! Lord Orton, what have you not to answer
for, in having selfishly sought your own amusement,ment, F3v 38
while destruction has hover’d over those
most dear to you.

Lady Zeph.

Yes; I confess the conduct of
Lady Zephyrine has been culpable—Oh, how
much so! But surely the character of her brother,
Lord Orton, confused, as forgetting herself
that—that is, of myself, is without reproach.

Mrs. Derv.

“It is not enough; my Lord, for
the great to be without reproach, they should
deserve praise. Fortune has given the world a
claim on them; and the very virtues of the indolent
are pernicious.”

Lady Zeph.

“You preach so charmingly, that
I believe you’ll make me a convert—And I’ll
engage, that whenever I reform, Lady Zephyrine
will do so too. gaily Heaven knows she
needs it.”

Belford.

comes forward Of the actions of
Lord Orton, I am not qualified to judge; but
Lady Zephyrine shall not be attack’d by a male
slanderer, tho’ he were her brother.

Lady Zeph.

aside, as supposing his anger to
be feigned, to promote the deception
Very well
indeed! You act passion admirably.

Belford.

’Sdeath, Sir, I am serious. Another
time your calumnies shall not pass.

Lady Zeph.

still supposing his passion affected
When you please, Sir—Sword or pistol—I’m
your man—hit you a side curl at fifty yards.

Belford.

aside A few hours hence, and nothing
shall restrain me. to Lady Zephyrine Sir,
you shall repent this.

Lady Zeph.

aside to Belford Admirable!
never saw passion better acted—Now an oath or
two.

Mrs. F4r 39

Mrs. Derv.

with an air of piqueBelford so
zealous a champion for her Ladyship—nay, then,
I’ll punish him—There’s no consistency in man.
in a coquettish manner Come, my Lord—I entreat
you, drop the matter. Your Lordship’s
existence is too valuable to be risk’d for or against
trifles.

Belford.

Furies! she’s coquetting with him!
to Mrs. Derville I’ll endure this no farther,
formally Madam, have you any farther commands?

Mrs. Derv.

No, Sir: and really, his Lordship
is so pleasant——

Belford.

That you wish for no additional society.
I’m gone, Madam. at the side of the
stage, while going off
Sorceress! But an hour
ago such fascinating tenderness! such angelic candour!
And now coquetting with a coxcomb before
my face. Yes, I rejoice that I did not discover
myself—Oh, Woman! Woman!

Exit Belford.

Lady Zeph.

in a romantic tone Ah, Madam,
you see before you the most miserable of
mankind! the most faithful, the most ardent, the
most sentimental, the most—

Mrs. Derv.

aside Ridiculous! how shall I
contain myself?

Lady Zeph.

kneels Madam, I have so long
adored you, aside bless me, I forgot to ask how
long—Then, hav’n’t I pursued you from—aside
(Heavens! I have forgot where) Oh! from Florence
to Leghorn—from Leghorn to England,
and from—

Mrs. Derv.

agitatedAlas! then I am betray’d!

Lady F4v 40

Lady Zeph.

Oh, no, Ma’am—indeed I’ll never
betray you.

Mrs. Derv.

But, by what means came you acquainted
——?

Lady Zeph.

Oh! I’m acquainted with all—
not forgetting the little Marquis—archly

Mrs. Derv.

I conjure you, my Lord, in pity,
tell me who informed you of all this?

Lady Zeph.

aside Truly, that’s more than I
know myself. How shall I get off? turning to
Mrs. Derville
Excuse me—I dare not enter into
explanations at present. I have the most powerful
reasons for avoiding it. But meet me near
the Hermitage about seven, and you shall be
satisfied. In the mean while, tell me, I conjure
you, have I not a rival? Is not Mr. Bewley a
favourite rival?

Mrs. Derv.

aside Ah! now the mystery of
her Ladyship’s visit is out. to Lady Zephyrine
No, my Lord—Mr. Bewley is, I fear, too, too
firmly attached to one, who, having deserved to
lose his heart by her folly, may, perhaps, expect
to regain it by unworthy artifices, and——

A noise and voices are heard without

Lady Zeph.

to Mrs. Derville I hear voices
at the door—Permit me to escape on this side the
village. I have particular reasons.

Mrs. Derv.

This way, then, my Lord.

Mrs. Derville goes out with Lady Zephyrine

Scene III.—Near Mrs. Derville’s House.

Enter Sir Caustic Oldstyle, and Period, in
travelling dresses—Period with a port-folio.

Period.

Why, I tell you, Sir, its the luckiest
event of my whole Tour between London and
Carnarvonshire.

Old Gr 41

Sir Caustic.

Lucky, you verbose coxcomb. petulantly
Hav’n’t we been overturn’d; wasn’t I
jamm’d under you and your Port-folio, and your
bag of Briefs, till I can’t feel the difference between
my flesh and my bones? mimicking And
now you tell me its lucky—its the very thing you
wish’d.

Period.

And so I did, to be sure. Here I’m
come on a tour from London to North Wales,
and hav’n’t yet met with a single anecdote, not
even one accident; no, not so much as a spoil’d
dinner, or a sprained ankle—Nothing to describe,
but turnpikes and sign-posts—Hav’n’t I a hundred
pages, all as dull as a great dinner? Then,
you know we may indict the road.

Sir Caustic.

No, puppy, we can’t—The road
was good enough—Wasn’t it Molasses the great
West-Indian’s chaise and four overset us, as he
was scow’ring along to bid for the estate that Sir
Plinlimmon Pedigree
lost last week at the hazard
table?

Period.

And what signifies? You were only
overturn’d a quarter of a mile on this side the
Abbey, instead of driving up to the door—Then,
’twill make such a figure in my travels back again.
Why, here’s a farm house; nothing ever was so
fortunate—we go in, sit down to dinner—eggs
and bacon—barn-door fowl and greens just ready;
coarse, but clean cloth; sentimental farmer’s
wife; tears of sensibility on our part; curtsies and
sympathy on hers.—Where’s my pencil? Such
language, such style! Thank ye, Mr. Molasses
’tis the luckiest circumstance for a travelling
author to be overturned.

Sir Caustic.

Here’s a flourishing rascal! There
happened to be but one pair of horses at the last G stage, Gv 42
stage, and finding we were going the same road,
I offer him a place in my chaise without knowing
even his name; and now we’ve nearly got our
necks broke, he tells me ’tis the luckiest circumstance.
Aye, aye; this comes of your modern
improvements—in my time people travelled with
dignity and sobriety—none of your nick-nack
springs and prancing steeds.

Period.

Yes; then the vehicle resembled the
lac’d waistcoat of the owner, large, rich, and
heavy; while the very horses seemed to feel their
importance, and moved like elephants in a procession.
But then there were no tours or tourists,
nothing but poor stupid selfish people, who only
travell’d about their business, instead of being
philanthropists like myself, and travelling to amuse
the whole world.—Ah! yonder’s my friend Belford
—I’ll just speak to him, look to the baggage,
and be with you in an instant. In the mean
while repose yourself at this farm house, and
don’t forget the barn-door fowl, and the sentimental
hostess. Oh! I’ll describe them in such
a style!

Exit.

Sir Caustic.

always in a tone of petulance And
what should they travel for; to write nonsense,
and set other blockheads a gadding after them.—
A plague of your new-fangled notions and refinements!
A fellow, now, that ought to be nail’d
to his compting-house, from one year to another,
like a sheet almanack, jumps into a carriage,
kills horses, and breaks people’s necks, that he
may get in an hour sooner to an opera dancer, or
a gaming table.

Exit into Mrs. Derville’s.
“Scene G2r 43

Scene —A Room in Mrs. Derville’s House.

Enter Sir Caustic, Mrs. Derville, and
Winifred.

Mrs. Derv.

I hope you’re not hurt, Sir—

Sir Caustic.

Why, no; I believe the trunk
and limbs of the old tree have escaped safely,
and I have been weather-beaten about the
world too long to mind a little scratching on
the bark.

Mrs. Derv.

I’m sure, Sir, you must have
been greatly alarm’d, let me prevail on you to
take some refreshment.

Sir Caustic.

looking at her attentively I
thank you—I thank you—I hav’n’t had so
much civility without paying for it since I
left Cornwall.

Mrs. Derv.

with warmth Then I’m sure,
Sir, you have not before had occasion for it—
Never did misfortune appeal in vain to the
hearts of my countrymen.—If you are rich and
prosperous, perhaps you may have met with
imposition, flattery, or selfishness; but had
you been a poor and friendless stranger, a thousand
hands had open’d to relieve you—a thousand
hearts have given you the tribute of
sympathy and compassion.

Sir Caustic.

Well, I’m glad to hear you say
so; I know in my time we were a generous
nation; but I see such changes, such carving
and gilding, such polish and ornament, that I
hav’nt yet been able to examine whether the
good old oak remains sound at heart.—I’m not,
you see, of the newest cut either inside or
out, and I can only tell you I love kindness,
and not the less for being set off by a pretty G2 “face.—” G2v 44
face.—Surely I think I have seen you before;
were you ever in Cornwall?

Mrs. Derv.

No, Sir.

Sir Caustic.

Then I’m mistaken—for you are
too young even to have been born before I
retir’d there.—May I ask your name, young
gentlewoman?

Mrs Derv.

Derville, Sir.

Sir Caustic.

And your situation.

Mrs. Derv.

Not affluent, Sir; but equal to
my wishes.—I rent this small farm under Lord
Orton
.

Sir Caustic.

Why then you can tell me a
little about my niece; is she worth an old
man’s travelling from the land’s end to see?

Winifred.

Lord, Sir, she is——

Mrs. Derv.

Hush!---Lady Zephyrine, Sir,
is young, gay, and elegant---a little lively, but
I’ll answer for the goodness of her heart.

Sir Caustic.

with warmth and severity Yes,
but do you mean a good heart, as good
hearts us’d to be fifty years ago---now women
may betray their husbands, abandon their
children---yet have delicate feelings; shrink
from the name of vice, and have the best
hearts in the world.

Mrs. Derv.

You mistake me, Sir—Lady
Zephyrine
——

Sir Caustic.

Yes, yes; I know your modern
ethics, your splendid vices—your good hearts
that ruin more tradesmen than all the swindlers
between Hyde Park and Whitechapel—They
won’t do for me, I tell you.

Mrs. Derv.

Do not let your prejudices make
you unjust, Sir—in spite of the gaiety of Lady Zephy- G3r 45
Zephyrine’s
manners—her feelings—her sensibility

Sir Caustic.

There again—her feelings—her
sensibility——in a tone of petulance—What, I
suppose she sighs over the distresses of a novel—
wipes her eyes while a ghost in an opera comes
out of his tomb to accompany the orchestra;
but is shock’d too much at real misery to suffer
its approach, and avoids sickness and poverty as
though she herself were not human—These fine
feelings won’t do for me—has my niece benevolence
and common sense? I want none of your
foil and tinsel qualities.

Mrs. Derv.

Indeed, Sir, you’ll find her very
amiable.

Sir Caustic.

Nay, I own I have seen a picture
of her, and have left her half my fortune,
merely on the credit of her simple dress and
modest countenance---her grandmother wrote me
word two years ago, that she was the only young
woman in the principality uncorrupted by
modern modes, and London manners.—But
come, I’m now sufficiently recover’d, and if you’ll
let your damsel shew me the way, I can reach
the Abbey—thank you, fair lady, for your kindness,
and if you’ll permit an old man’s visits――

Mrs Derv.

I do not often mix in society,
Sir, but the respect I feel for you—This way,
Sir, let us assist you.

[Exeunt Mrs. Derville and Winifred,
shewing Sir Caustic out.

Scene III.In the Country, near the Village.

Belford and Period in Conversation.

Belford.

And you absolutely know nothing of
this coxcomb, who personated me at Mrs.
Derville’s
?

Period. G3v 46

Period.

Not a syllable, my Lord, nor did I
intend any coxcomb but myself should have that
honour. Why, an action will lie at common
law, and I’ll so exhibit the fellow in my tour——

Belford.

A truce with your law and your
literature, and devise what’s to be done. I dare
not think of it, yet is there too great cause for
suspecting that Mrs. Derville is herself in concert
with the impostor, and that he is a favour’d
rival.

Period.

If she has promised you marriage, you
may bring an action against her as soon as the
wedding is over---you may be revenged by a
satire---and in either case, the Court of Common
Pleas, or the Court of Parnassus---I’m your man.

Belford.

Torment and furies! Will you be
serious for a moment?

Period.

Havn’t I been serious my whole tour?
Havn’t I been reduced to transcribe doggrel from
the country church yards, and dates from the
doors of alms houses? and now you tell me I’m
not serious.

Belford.

I wish then your tongue were as barren
of words as your head of ideas. Once more,
can you suggest how we may discover this adventurer,
this pretended Lord Orton?

Period.

Really I can think of no better plan
than for me to personate his Lordship, as we first
proposed. Say that my letters and baggage have
been stolen, and insist upon it that the thief
must be the impostor she received at her house.

Belford.

But what purpose will this answer?

Period.

Why, I shall judge by her manner if
she is really privy to the deception.

Belford.

You are right. Nay, you shall get
yourself installed at the Abbey---pretend a passionsion G4r 47
for her as we originally plann’d, and if she
stands the test, and clears up the mystery of her
conduct, I will offer her my hand, and throw
aside my doubts for ever.

Period.

And I’ll draw up the marriage articles,
and relate the whole history in my travels. For
if you know any little secret history of a friend,
always publish it, nothing sells like private anecdote.

Belford.

O, sell as many anecdotes as you
will; all I desire is, not to be favoured with them
gratis---So, meet me at my lodgings an hour
hence, and I’ll give you farther instructions for
your reception at the Abbey.

Period.

Yes; but will it be possible to impose
on Lady Zephyrine and Sir Caustic?

Belford.

On Lady Zephyrine perhaps not――
but I’ll give you letters, in which, without explaining
my reasons, I shall apprize her of my
return, and engage her for a few hours to favour
the deception. You must, however, take care
to see her alone on your first arrival—As for Sir
Caustic
, as I have never seen him, with her
Ladyship’s assistance, it will be very easy to prevent
any suspicion on his part.

Period.

There’s one thing, my Lord, I had
forgot. I’ve an old uncle in the next village,
and if I meet him we shall be discovered.

Belford.

Oh! your peerage will not last so
long as you might be making your maiden speech
—and it’s not likely he will see you at the
Abbey, still less at Mrs. Derville’s. Yet stay,
a thought has just struck me, but ’tis mean,
detestable.—But then does not the mystery, nay,
the conduct of Mrs. Derville justify me.—No
matter—if she loves me, love will plead my pardon;don; G4v 48
if not, even her anger will scarcely add to
my wretchedness. By means of my intelligence
with Winifred, I can get concealed during your
first interview.

Period.

’Tis eaves dropping, my Lord, and
liable to an action. However, as you please, and
I think your Lordship is authorised to take down
the evidence in short hand.

Belford.

Adieu! In an hour I shall expect
you. My doubts and anxiety are worse than
conviction: and I can endure this suspense no
longer.

Exit.

Period.


taking papers out of his portfolio

And now for my notes—Saw---yes---saw trees by
the road side---whether oaks or apples, not quite
sure.—Saw between—Zounds! ’tis very hard,
when a man travels on purpose to write, that he
can see nothing but what other people have seen
before him! Hold, though—Ap-Griffin enters
and listens behind
—Saw between Cum-Gumfred
and Aberkilliguen, young goats, an old fox, and
a Welsh ass.

Ap-Grif.

Eh! my nephew Period! How the
devil came you to be ass hunting in Wales, when
you should have been braying yourself at Westminster
Hall
. What business have you to be
engrossing here by the road side, when you should
be taking notes at the Old Baily.

Period.

Why, now, don’t be choleric uncle,
don’t irritate the blood of the Ap-Griffins---I’m
only aside ’Slife! what shall I say? I’m on the
circuit---I’m on a tour---I’m going to publish
Travels in North Wales, and I thought
(though it isn’t absolutely necessary) I might
just as well take a peep at the country, before I
gave an account of it.

Ap- Hr 49

Ap-Grif.

Zooks! hav’n’t you done with your
nonsense yet? Why, when I was in London, your
chambers were beset with printer’s devils, bringing
proof sheets, as you call’d them, of your
Tour to Wandsworth; with Remarks during
a voyage to Battersea.
Ads-death! is this the
way to rise at the Bar? to advertise youself running
about on a Tom-fool’s errand, as if nobody
could see mile-stones and church-steeples but
yourself.

Period.

Why, if I have but a name, what
signifies how?

Ap-Grif.

Yes, yes; I see you’r incorrigible――
just as you were when you carried your briefs and
your tours in the same bag to the Old Bailey,
and astonished the court by beginning a flowery
description of Botany Bay, instead of a defence
petty larceny.

Period.

I tell you, a professional man’s nothing
if he he doesn’t write---Don’t all the physicians
who have nothing to do at home, travel abroad,
and write themselves into practice? Don’t the
clergy write themselves into livings? and don’t
the lawyers write plays and pamphlets till they
get briefs?

Ap-Grif.

Eh, Jackanapes! Did Hale ever rise
by scribbling farces and tours, eh?

Period.

Hale! dry---dry; dull as the bon mots of
a news-paper.---Language, Sir—nothing will do
now but style. Only---only let me be Lord
Chancellor, and you shall see Hale, and Bacon,
and Littleton, and Coke, as much out of fashion
as their own wigs and whiskers.

Ap-Grif.

You reprobate, I shall see you hangman
first.

H Period. Hv 50

Period.

Oh! I’ll so reform the dissonant language
of the law---then you shall see reports
measured into blank verse---Briefs like the descriptions
of the moon in modern romance, and
chancery suits in the style of Gibbon.

Ap-Grif.

Here’s an unnatural coxcomb!
Here’s a profane rascal! wants to violate the
venerable obscurity of the law.

Period.

Then I’ll have none of your John Does
and Richard Roes---your Nokes and your Styles.
Law shall be a comment on history and poetry.
As thus---Brutus versus Caesar---Pan versus
Apollo
---or in a conspiracy, Menelaus and
others versus Paris
---I’ll explain the rest another
time. Bye, uncle.

Ap-Grif.

How I could twist the profligate’s
neck! Why, sirrah, you’re not leaving the country
without letting me know how you came, and
where you are going, and―

Period.


aside

An inquisitive old blockhead,
plague of him! If I tell him I’m going to the
Abbey he’ll follow me, and spoil our scheme. I
won’t hear him.

going

Ap-Grif.

Why, sirrah, I say, how came you
here? Where are you going?

Period.

I havn’t time to tell you now. I’m
in haste. I must be brief---Good bye, uncle,
good bye!

Ap-Grif.

What, you keep me here an hour,
prating with your Pans and your Caesars, and
now you’re in haste---I must be brief, uncle,
mimicking him I must be brief---Answer me,
I say, or I’ll crack—No, your skull’s crack’d
already---but I’ll beat you, till you shall be of as
many colours as a mildew’d parchment.

Period. H2r 51

Period.

Psha!---tiresome! You must know,
then, that I came here with an old gentleman that’s
rich enough to buy the principality. I’m now
going to dine with him at the next town, and
then we set off in a chaise and four, for---for――
for the Chester assizes.

Ap-Grif.

Rich, did you say? And do you
know him?

Period.

Oh, yes! We’ve been hand and glove
these three, ay, these seven years. He’s the most
comical old fellow---continually in a passion
through pure benevolence; and is out of humour
with all the world, merely because he thinks it
neither so good nor so happy as it was fifty years
ago.

Ap-Griffin debating with himself, and
standing between Period and the way he was
going

Ap-Grif.

Gad, a notion is just come into
my head—Now, if I could but trust him, perhaps
this rich stranger would buy the diamonds,
and I do so long to get rid of them. Then, if this
fellow here should cheat me—but no; the whelp’s
honest—A little wrong above pointing to his
head
but sound enough below pointing to his
heart
Nay! I’ll e’en trust him. altering his
tone
Well, Tim, I believe I must forgive thee,
thy tours, and thy whims. I’m sure thee art an
honest lad after all.

Period.

What does the old crocodile mean now?

Ap-Grif.

Dear Tim, its just come into my head
that you can do a little job for me—can you be
secret?

Period.

As a chamber counsel.

Ap-Grif.

Can you be honest?

Period.

Ah! thankye, am I not your nephew?

H2 Ap- H2v 52

Ap-Grif.

Hum—Nay, I don’t doubt your
honesty—even a lawyer, you know, shouldn’t cheat
his own flesh and blood. Always do the just
thing, Tim, when its not against the law. Why,
I’ve got some jewels here to dispose of for a
client—mind, they’re not my own—Now, don’t
you think your rich fellow-traveler might purchase
them. Here they are.

takes out the jewels
and gives them to Period

Period.

They’re rich enough for the great
Mogul. The gentleman’s old, and, perhaps,
may not care for them; but I’ll try, if you
will——

Ap-Grif.

Do then, my good lad in a doubtful
wheedling tone
I know, Tim, thou’lt be
honest.

Period.

Oh, if you doubt it!

Ap-Grif.

No, no; I don’t doubt. But I may
as well go along with you to the gentleman.

Period.

’Twill be too far, Sir—Pray don’t
attempt it.

Ap-Grif.

No, no, it won’t—I can walk, Tim
my, I can walk.

Period.


aside

Zounds! what an old torment.
it is! Indeed, Sir, ’tis too far, so if you can’t trust
me, take the diamonds again.

Ap-Grif.

Why the deuce can’t you let me go
with you. If you won’t, I’ll follow you, and
offer them to the gentleman myself.

Period.

’Sdeath! what shall I do? I must even
tell him partly the truth—only, instead of an
innocent frolic, I’ll say I’m engag’d in a bit of
roguery, and then he’ll be sure to keep my
secret.

Ap-Grif.

What are you muttering? Come,
let’s set out. I thought you were in a hurry.

Period. H3r 53

Period.

So I am; but——

Ap-Grif.

But what?

Period.

Ha, ha! its comical enough too—it
will make you laugh. Why, you must know,
I’m going to the Abbey with the gentleman I
have been telling you of, and I have pass’d myself
upon him for Lord Orton. Nobody here knows
his Lordship’s person; so I’m to marry, in his
name, a great heiress that’s just come down on a
visit. Isn’t it a special project? Isn’t it a good
thing?

Ap-Grif.


alarmed

Oh, yes; a devilish good
thing. aside I wish I had my diamonds again
though, honest Tim.—to Period Udso, I had
forgot—give me the case—there’s a ring wanting.

Period.

Give it me, then, and I’ll wear it—
as I am to personate a Lord, you know.

Ap-Grif.

But now I think on’t, I don’t know
what to ask; so I’ll stay till Ephraim Lacker,
the Jew, comes this way.

Period.

No, uncle, no; I understand diamonds,
and I understand you—You’re afraid to trust me,
but I’m a very honest fellow, though I’m your
newphew. I shan’t, however, part with the jewels;
for, now you have my secret, I’ll keep them as
hostages, for your secrecy; so come to the Abbey
this evening, enquire for Lord Orton, and
you shall have either the diamonds or the value
of them.

Ap-Grif.

Well, then, I’ll keep your secret—
but remember now, Tim, honesty’s the best
policy—always do the just thing. Hark ye,
though, what new freak’s this? I see you’ve got
a cockade in your hat.

Period.

To be sure—why, I’m in the volunteers.
Who so fit to fight for the laws as those
who live by them.

Exit Period. H3v 54

Ap-Grif.

If I had known, though, that this
fool had improv’d so much by my counsels as to
be such a proficient in knavery, I woud’nt have
trusted him—A little roguery’s a vey good engine
to employ against others, but we always view
it with virtuous indignation when it may be
turn’d against ourselves.

Exit.

End of Act III.

Act H4r 55

ACT IV.

Scene I. A Music Room at the Abbey.

Through Doors. Period as Lord Orton,
Sir Caustic Oldstyle.

Sir Caustic.

And why the deuce didn’t you tell
me on the road, that you were my nephew?

Period.

And how shou’d I know I was your
nephew, unless you had told me you were my
uncle- To say truth, however, I did suspect it,
and only had a mind to surprize you agreeably.

Sir Caustic.


ironically

Yes, yes—I’m very
agreeably surpriz’d. I wish I was in Cornwall
again, tho’ ’twere at the bottom of a tin-mine.
The transition from soft sea breezes to the keen
air of these Welch mountains, would throw some
people in a consumption; now I plainly perceive
it will give me the jaundice—I hadn’t been here
an hour before one begins ringing rhymes in my
ear, till she’s as hoarse as a drill serjeant. Another
stuns me with enquiries, about the price of turtle
and consols. Yet my own niece is not visible, as
they call it.

Period.

Sir, it’s the custom amongst people of
rank to——

Sir Caustic.

What to be visible every where, and
to every body, but at home, and to their own relations.
A plague o’ such customs.

Period.

They’re very necessary, Sir, for people
in a certain style—myself, for example. Were
husband and wife, father and son, uncles and
nephews, to have free access to each other, twou’d 1 occasion H4v 56
occasion more practice than we shou’d get thro’,
if Courts of Justice were as numerous as gaminghouses,
and term to last all the year.

Sir Caustic.

Get thro’ in the Courts, I don’t
understand you.

Period.

For instance now—there was a Crim.
Con. cause, where I pleaded for defendant.

Sir Caustic.

You pleaded!

Period.

Yes—recollecting himself—in the
house you know, as a Peer.

Sir Caustic.

Plead for the defendant in a Crim.
Con. cause!! Here’s morality!

Period.

But hold—I had forgot my commission.
You old fashion’d people love magnificence
more than convenience. Now, if you are fond
of diamonds, and want to make a purchase, here
are some. Do look at ’em—they’re the prettiest
rings.

Sir Caustic.

Not I—A man should be asham’d
to wear a diamond on his finger, while there’s an
industrious hand wants employment, or a disabled
one, relief. But let’s see ’em; perhaps my niece
may have a fancy to some bawbles. taking them
Why sure—No, it can’t. Why, yes—They are
the very family jewels lately sent me by one of
my friends, now abroad, for his nephew, young
Bewley. Tell me how you came by them.

Period.


aside

Here’s an anecdote! What
the devil shall I do? Old Nunc has certainly
stole them. to Oldstyle Sir, ’tis a commission
of delicacy, and we never betray a client’s, that
is, a friend’s secrets.

Sir Caustic.

Yes, but I must know—there’s
some villainy in this business.

Period.

I’ll warrant there is.

Sir Caustic. Ir 57

Sir Caustic.

These diamonds were certainly consigned
to me by my old friend, as a present to
his nephew, and for the purpose of redeeming a
family estate out of the claws of an old rogue of
an attorney.

Period.


Aside

Aye, aye, that’s uncle sure
enough.

Sir Caustic.

When I left Cornwall, having some
enquiries to make in London about my deceased
son, and the case being urgent, I dispatch’d a
trusty agent with the diamonds, but notwithstanding
my repeated enquiries, I have never
heard of either diamonds or messenger. All that
I know is, that the young man, who was then
from home, never received them.

Period.

I assure you, Sir, they came fairly
into my hands, whatever roguery they may have
encountered before; but do you keep them,
and——

Sir Caustic.

Yes, but the person who entrusted
them to you!!!

Period.

He’ll be here this evening, and you
shall see him. aside Get the old shark off tho’
if I can.

Enter Lady Zephyrine and Gurnet. (thro’
Doors).
Lady Zephyrine dressed in the extreme of
the fashion.

L. Zeph.

You’re welcome to the Abbey, Sir.
Believe me, I am rejoiced to see you well, and in
this country.

Sir Caustic.

Thank you, thank you, Ma’am. I
suppose my niece will be here by and bye- tho’
methinks she’s not over civil.

I Gurnet. Iv 58

Gurnet.

Why this is my ward.

Period.

Yes, Sir, this is my sister.

Sir Caustic.

It isn’t, nor it can’t, nor it shan’t
be. You, my niece Zephyrine Mutable. What!
this, I suppose, is one of your agreeable surprizes
too?

to Period

L. Zeph.

Really, Sir, this is so strange!

Sir Caustic.

Strange! Aye, strange indeed. Let
me see. looking in his pockets, takes out a picture,
returns it, and takes out another
No!
that’s not it—Oh! Here it is—Here’s a picture
of my niece, done only two years ago; and you’re
no more like her than I am to Tippoo Saib.

L. Zeph.

The miniature, I presume, Sir, which
was sent you to Cornwall before my grandmother’s
death?

Period.

Oh, the want of likeness, Sir, is nothing.
These cursed painters only think of making
what they call a good picture, and whether
it resembles you or your horse, is no concern of
theirs. Why, you might have had what they
call a portrait of Lord Orton only three months
ago, and it mightn’t be like me the least in the
world—I appeal to Lady Zephyrine.

Sir Caustic.

Zooks, Sir, but did you ever know
black ringlets change to auburn? Then, instead
of the clear brown lively complexion of my
niece, a dead white stucco; looking at the picture
and for the cheeks, egad the amateur has outdone
the artist, and the rosebud is become a
downright piony.

L. Zeph.

Perhaps, Sir, my exterior may deserve
this censure; yet, I trust, I have a heart
which will not be found unworthy of your affection.

I Sir I2r 59

Sir Caustic.

Why then, I wish pretty women
with worthy hearts wou’dn’t deform the index to
them.

L. Zeph.

But fashion, Sir—

Sir Caustic.

Don’t talk to me of fashion. Will
you, or any woman in these days, ever be as
handsome as your grandmother? And did she
rouge, and varnish, or wear a red wig? I detest
your modern whim whams.

Period.

Modern, Sir! Why the ladies all dress
now à l’antique—Gone back two thousand years
at least. Nothing but Portias and Lucretias,
from St. James’s Square to St. George’s Fields.

Sir Caustic.

Aye, aye; as absurd as they are licentious,
and they hav’n’t even discernment to
see, that their follies are a satire on their vices.
There’s Mrs. Gadfly, who gets rid of her children
to a nurse as soon as they’re born, and to a
boarding school as soon as they can speak, trusses
and twists her head up to imitate the mother of
the Gracchi!

Period.

Faith, it’s very true—Then, there’s
the fat, giggling widow, who married her butler
three weeks after her husband’s death, wears a
black wig à la Niobe.

L. Zeph.

Come, Sir, forgive me for not being
so old, or so handsome as my grandmother;
and let me shew you our improvements.

Sir Caustic.

I’ve seen too many of your improvements
already; however, I’ll accompany you, because,
in my time, attention to women was the
fashion.

Period.


aside

Now if I cou’d borrow this miniature
of Lady Zephyrine, it wou’d certainly convince
Mrs. Derville of my being the real Lord Orton.
Sir Caustic will you oblige me with Lady Zephyrine’sI2 rine’s I2v 60
picture for a few hours? I’ve a friend hard
by, who copies admirably.

Sir Caustic.


gives the picture

Here—But hark
ye. Hadn’t your friend better just take a peep
at the red wig?

going

Period.

Stay, Sir Caustic, you have lately received
letters from India. Cou’dn’t you now assist
me with some little domestic anecdote of the
Bengal tyger, or the amours of Tippoo Saib, or
some secret history of a Nabob, just to embellish
my tour.

Sir Caustic.

Tippoo Saib, Nabobs, and Bengal
tygers, in a tour to Carnarvonshire! Why what
the devil shou’d they do here?

Period.

Introduce them—perfectly apropos.
I see a palace by the road side newly built—half
a dozen farms turn’d into a park—immorality
plenty; provisions scarce. I conclude, of course,
I am in the vicinage of a Nabob; then pop comes
in the secret history, and Tippoo Saib, and the
Bengal tyger, by way of episode.

Sir Caustic.

Why, if you cou’d make this rambling
mania serve to expose the danger of overgrown,
ill-spent, fortunes, perhaps I might be
tempted to take a frolic with you myself.

Exit, leading Lady Zephyrine.

Period.

And now for my attack on the fair
cottager. Sorry to leave you, Deputy, but if
you want amusement, I’ll lend you my manuscript,
or my tour to Wandsworth.

Gurnet.

No, I thank your Lordship; I’m just
going to take a peep in the butler’s pantry, and
I can’t say I’m much of a reader—never buy any
books. I gave sixpence once for a Treatise on
Corn Cutting, and instead of finding any thing to I3r 61
to the purpose, there were politicks enough to
crack the clearest head in Lombard-street.

Period.

Yes, it’s our way. When we want to
push a subject, we give it a taking title; no matter
whether the book contains a word that answers
to it, or not.

Exit Period.

Gurnet.

A pretty sample of nobility this:
begins making love to my wife, before he’d got
his boots off; and I’ve already found ’em twice
closetted together from poetical sympathy, as
Mrs. Gurnet calls it. Just now too, I overheard
them make an appointment, under pretence of
reading their productions in the Park; but I’ll
after them—prevention is better than remedy.
These whirligig chaps think if a man lives east of
Charing-cross, he’s made for nothing but cuckoldom
and gluttony, tho’ egad the line of demarcation
has long been past, and I don’t see,
but horns and turtle are as much the fashion in
the west as in the east.

Exit.

Scene II. A Parlour at Mrs. Derville’s.—

Winifred pushing Belford into a Closet
at the Extremity of the Scene.

Winif.

There, there, you’ll be safe enough;
my mistress never uses this closet; and to make
sure, I’ll lock it, and take the key—I wish tho’
my Lord had done with his trials and disguises;
he’ll certainly get me into some scrape at last.
Oh! how your people of fine notions torment
themselves.

Exit. Enter I3v 62 Enter Period as Lord Orton, and Mrs.
Derville
.

Mrs. Derv.

Nay, then, I acknowledge my
Lord, that I do know the person who assumed
your name; but as I am certain he cou’d have
no concern in the theft of your letters and baggate,
you must excuse my betraying him.

Period.


affecting passion

Alas! Madam,
these are trifling considerations; but if you knew
how deeply I am interested in discovering an impostor,
who, I fear, is a fortunate rival— —

Mrs. Derv.

Rival, my Lord! If you have no
further commands, permit me——

Period.

Commands, Madam! No! I have to
supplicate, to tell you, that I have long admir’d,
long ador’d you. Did you but know how I have
pursued you; from Florence to Leghorn; from
Leghorn to London; and from London to Carnarvon;
but you’ll know it all when you read
my tour, and I’m sure you’ll admire the style,
and pity the author.

Mrs. Derv.


ironically

Why, I must confess,
your Lordship seems in a state deserving of
pity. How you became acquainted with these
circumstances, I am at a loss to guess; but if
this is not some new artifice, and you are really
Lord Orton, I trust you will not avail yourself of
a situation, you perhaps know, is unfortunate, to
insult me.

Period.

I insult you, Ma’am! I never insulted
any one in my life, except a coffee-house critic.
Surely you cannot suspect my honour, or doubt
my rank. I have this moment left the Abbey.
Then there’s my sister’s picture. giving her the
picture
Let that convince you—have compassion on I4r 63
on my sufferings Madam—I’ll draw you up such
a settlement—I’ll dedicate my work to you-
I’ll——

Mrs. Derville takes the picture carelessly,
but on looking at it, nearly faints

Mrs. Derv.

Tell me, my Lord—I conjure you
by your dearest hopes. Tell me how you came
by this picture?

Period.

’Sdeath! what’s all this? That picture
Ma’am—that picture. Why, Ma’am, to say the
truth, it’s not mine; it’s my uncle’s, who is now
at the Abbey.

Mrs. Derv.

Permit me to keep it a few hours.
It was once mine, and is not the portrait of Lady
Zephyrine
. Look at it, shewing the picture
it’s of the utmost importance that I shou’d see
the owner.

Period.

Now I recollect, I saw the old gentleman
with two pictures, and he has by mistake
given me the wrong one. looking at the miniature
No, no, this is certainly not the lady
with the red wig, and——

Enter Winifred.

Winif.

Ma’am, here’s Mr. Jargon, Lady Zephyrine’s
suitor, at the door, and he’s so rude, he
protests he must see you, and have an answer to
his letter.

Period.


aside

Zounds, what that rascal, my
cousin Jargon! Nay, then, I must vanish. Will
you give me leave Ma’am, just to flip up the
chimney, or out at the house top, or into the
clock case, or under a cheese press; I have such
reasons, ’sdeath, I wou’dn’t, for my peerage, be
seen by this fellow.

5 Mrs. I4v 64

Mrs. Derv.

Well, you may go this way, my
Lord, I shall be releas’d from him at any rate.
shews Period Yes, this Jargon sent me an impertinent
letter this morning, and I’ll see him;
for ’tho Lady Zephyrine’s conduct towards me
has been unworthy, yet, if I can, by convincing
her of the baseness of her pretended lover, save
her from the ruin of such an union, it will repay
me for the momentary indignity of his addresses.
Winifred, you may shew Mr. Jargon in. Exit Win.
Alas! I had hoped the situation I have chosen,
wou’d have serv’d me from being thus persecuted.
Belford too, so warm an advocate for Lady Zephyrine,
and so long absent—Heigho!

Enter Jargon and Winifred.

Jargon.

Faith Ma’am, you’re so snug, and
as difficult of access as a poet in debt; I’ve
been arguing with the tongue and the claws of
your Welch dragon here this half hour.

Winif.

Dragon, indeed! A conceited, ugly
fellow.

Exit.

Jargon.

Well, what say you my little original?
What do you think of my proposal? A house in
Marybone, a black boy, and a curricle—None
of your old-fashion’d mysterious work; nobody
now do any thing they’re asham’d of, or at least
are not asham’d of any thing they do—an opera
box next my wife (that is to be) Lady Zephyrine
—a faro table—then our whole order in your
train—puff you in the papers—takes out a glass
stare you into notice at the Theatre, you’ll make
such a blaze.

Mrs. Derv.

aside

Oh! patience—But I’ll
have my revenge, and for Lady Zephyrine’s sake. ‘Tis Kr 65
’Tis impossible, Sir, for me to treat your generosity
as it deserves, till I have had a little time to reflect.
But if you’ll meet me at eight this evening in the
Hermitage, you shall receive my answer. This
key, which the steward lends me during the absence
of the family, will admit you. At present,
I must entreat you to depart.

Jargon.

Oh, oh! she parleys—Yes, yes, Ma’am—
give you time—all fair, that I see you understand
business. No Philandering—’tis not our way.
Negociate—dispute terms—offer our ultimatum—
sign the treaty, and heigh for the Black Boy and
Curricle!

Mrs. Derv.

I must beg, Sir, at present, that
you’ll retire.

Jargon.

I’m gone. Won’t interrupt your reflections.
Oh! I’m a made, a completely made
man. Such a decoy for a Faro-bank!

Exit. Enter Mrs. Gurnet.

Mrs. Gurnet.


in a flippant familiar manner

Pray, excuse this intrusion, my dear. A countryman
told me just now I shou’d find Lord Orton
here, and we are going to have the most delightful
literary ramble in the Park.

Gurnet entering with Winifred.

Gurnet.

I tell you, they’re both here; I watch’d
’em in. Why, you rural Go-between, I’ll have
you put in the stocks—sent to the house of correction.
So, so, Mrs. Muse, I’ve found you,
have I? This comes of your sentiments—your
odes—your pastorals—But I’ll search out your
Apollo—I’ll have a divorce, if it’s only to warn K other Kv 66
other men of the danger of rhyming wives, and the
iniquity of travelling authors, and tour—mongers.

Mrs. Gurnet.

Mr. Gurnet, you make me blush,
for the coarseness of your ideas. You ought to
know, that the little platonic attachment between
me and Lord Orton does you honour.

Gurnet.

Oh! what assurance reading and writing
gives a woman! If you hadn’t been a poet,
and an author, you’d have had some shame—
Shan’t escape though. I’ll ferret out your platonic
Apollo, I warrant—looks about, and stops
before the closet where Belford is
—Aye, I have
him—here he is. Open the door, I say.

Mrs. Derv.

Sir, this violence——

Gurnet.

Out of the way, thou village handmaid
of iniquity! Where’s the key? I’ll have
him out.

Mrs. Derv.

Open the door, Winifred, that I
may be releas’d from these insults. I assure you,
Sir——

Winif.


aside

Blessed St. David! what shall I
do? Lord, Ma’am, I can’t find the key; and
the gentleman ought to be asham’d to make such
an outcry in a modest house. Why, there’s nothing
in the closet but wool.

Gurnet.

—l
shews a part of Belford’s coat Then
the wool has manufactur’d itself into cloth; for
I’ll swear here’s a piece of a man’s coat between
the door. Now what say you, Mrs. Modesty?

Winif.

Then I’m sure the Fairies have been
here.

Mrs. Derv.

What can this mean? Let the door
be opened this instant.

Winif.

Well, if I must—I believe, for my part,
the house is haunted.

Winifred opens the closetdoor,
and discovers Belford.
Enter K2r 67 Enter Sir Caustic Oldstyle. who speaks from
within
The surprize and confusion of Mrs. Derville
should appear as the effect of shame at detection.
Belford turns against the scene
in agitation.

Mrs. Derv.

Heavens! Mr. Belford!

Mrs. Gurnet.

Why, this is the most mysterious
event!!!

Gurnet.

What’s this one of your Welch Fairies?
or is it another of your platonic attachments, Mrs.
Gurnet
?

Mrs. Derv.

Cruel, ungenerous Belford!

Sir Caustic.

What, a man hid in my pretty cottager’s
closet! I came here to thank you for your
kindness this morning, and to escape for a moment
the dissipation of a fashionable family in retirement;
but I see licentiousness is not confined
to the mansions of wealth. Adieu, young woman.
I had hoped to find, in you, one who had preserved,
with modern elegance of manners, a simple
and uncorrupted heart. Perhaps the time may
come, when you may grow tir’d of that vice for
which you do not seem intended; and in the hours
of sorrow, and the pangs of repentance—remember
—you have a friend!

Exit.

Mrs. Derv.

Stop, Sir.—Oh! how shall I survive
this humiliation!—to Gurnet—For you,
Sir——

Mrs. Gurnet.

Yes, you indelicate monster!—
This comes of your gross suspicions. But I’ll
write a romance on purpose to expose you. I’ll
make you an epitome of all the German Barons,
and Italian Counts. I’ll——

Exit. K2 Gurnet. K2v 68

Gurnet.

And I’ll secure myself from a platonic
cuckoldom in future. “I’ll take you to Garlichill,
and there you shall fast from pens, ink,
and paper, as long as you live. So come along,
and let’s get out of rural felicity and the delights
of retirement.”

Exit Mr. Gurnet.

Belford.

Before you go, Sir, let me exculpate—
’Sdeath! they’re gone, Madam! I feel too much
the cause you have for resentment, to attempt any
justification. Yet, be assur’d, the conduct to
which I have descended is punish’d, cruelly
punish’d, by the fatal conviction, that I am
doom’d to love where I cannot esteem.

Exit.

Mrs. Derv.


after a moment of agitation, turns
to Winifred

Treacherous, ungrateful girl! you
who have witness’d my hours of sorrow and seclusion,
have seen with what solicitude I have
avoided mankind. If your heart is not entirely
corrupted, you will feel with remorse the complicated
disgrace and wretchedness in which you have
involv’d me.

Winif.

I’m sure, Ma’am, I didn’t mean——

Mrs. Derv.

Well, I shall not reproach you:
but my resolution is taken. The only further
service I require of you, is to prepare for my leaving
this place to-morrow morning.

Winif.

Oh! Ma’am, surely you won’t leave
the farm, and the stock, and the cows, and the
poultry?

Mrs. Derv.

Argue not, but obey me. I’ll now
keep my appointment with Lady Zephyrine, that
I may at least explain my own conduct, if not
reform her’s. Did you send my note to Mr.
Bewley
?

Winif.

Yes, Madam—he reciev’d it two hours
ago.

Mrs. K3r 69

Mrs. Derv.

Then this picture—I’ll see the
stranger at the Abbey, learn how it came into his
possession, and then bid adieu for ever to a scene
in which my innocence could not protect me from
shame and misery. Oh! never let the humble
votary of retirement seek it near the contagious
abode of riches and dissipation.

Exeunt.

End of Act IV.

Act K3v 70


Act V.

Scene I.— A Park or Pleasure Ground.

Enter Belford.

Belford.

Yes, this is the place—I can’t have
mistaken. Jargon must pass this way to the hermitage;
and if he is not as cowardly as he is base,
I shall at once revenge the perfidy of Mrs. Derville,
and prevent his designs on my sister. Oh!
Eugenia, thou hast made my life of so little value,
that I do not hesitate to risk it, even against
that of a coxcomb—But I hear footsteps.

retires
as behind the trees.
Enter Lady Zephyrine.

Lady Zeph.

Well, if she does but come, I
shall enjoy her confusion at finding her gallant peer
dwindled into a spinster; she’s here—And now
for my triumph over this little prude with her heroic
sentiments and her closetted heroes. Enter Mrs. Derville.
You seem in search of somebody, ma’am.

Mrs. Derv.


distinctly, and with dignity

I
am, madam; I came in search of a female who
was once a model of feminine excellence—As
lovely in her mind as her person; but who, seduced
by dissipation, dazzled by splendour, and
perverted by vanity, abandoned the object of her first K4r 71
first affections, degrades her family, and sullies
her reputation by becoming the dupe, and the
victim of—a gambler.

Lady Zeph.


confused

Enough, madam—
Hold! I—

Mrs. Derv.

Nay, this is not all. In the wantonness
of an unfeeling prosperity, either curious,
or jealous, forgetting the dignity of her rank, and
the delicacy of her sex, she came, in a mean disguise,
to assail with the temptations of affluence
and vice the integrity of an—inferior.

Lady Zeph.


mortified.

Oh! spare me, spare
me, I entreat you.

Mrs. Derv.

And if unaware of the artifice,
dazzled by the title she assumed, or allured by
the offered prospect of wealth and pleasure, the
rectitude she attack’d, had proved too weak for
the combat—O ungenerous, unworthy triumph!
to have found that a poor, friendless, unprotected
woman had yielded to the same temptations
which, under all the advantages of birth, fortune,
and surrounding friends have alienated the affections,
and corrupted the heart of Lady Zephyrine
Mutable
——

Lady Zeph.

Forgive me, you have taught me
a lesson which that heart will never forget. From
this moment I relinquish my assumed follies, and
dare to be myself.

Mrs. Derv.

Yes, Lady Zephyrine, I’m persuaded
you were designed by nature for something
better than a fashionable coquette.

Lady Zeph.


gaily

I dare say I was; for I
feel already as if I had just put off my great
grandfather’s coat of armour; why, do you know,
that though I play on the tambourine, I hate the
sound of it; and, though I boast of being a good 5 shot, K4v 72
shot, the touch of fire-arms gives me an ague;
and, as for cards, in my grandmother’s time, I
have gone to sleep with three honors in my hand
at the most critical point of a rubber. But
fashion, my dear Mrs. Derville, fashion!—one
doesn’t like to be different from other people.

Mrs. Derv.

Ah, Lady Zephyrine, don’t deceive
yourself. It is not the desire of resembling
other people, but that of being distinguished
from them, is the source of your errors. Believe
me, the trifling and vicious characters whom
you have been so zealous to imitate, are few,
compar’d to those, among your rank, who
behold a conduct like yours with regret and censure

Lady Zeph.

Nay, I am sure I would never
have endured the labour of making myself ridiculous,
if I hadn’t thought it fashionable.

Mrs. Derv.

No, no, thank heaven, neither
vice nor folly are yet fashionable. And, tho’
both are but too much tolerated, the example
of domestic virtues, conspicuous in the highest
station in the kingdom, will, I trust, long preserve
our national manners from that last state of
depravation which erects vice into a model.

Lady Zeph.


archly

You preach charmingly.
Pray was all this eloquence taught you by the
closet orator?

Mrs. Derv.

I understand your raillery, and
when I acknowledge that this young man is the
secret object of my affections, I hope you will
credit me, when I assure you, I am yet to learn
the motives of his concealment. But no matter.
To-morrow, Lady Zephyrine, I quit this
country for ever.

Lady Zeph.

For ever?

Mrs. Lr 73

Mrs. Derv.

Yes; but before I go, I have a
communication to make, which, if you do not
love Mr. Jargon

Lady Zeph.

Love him! I won’t say I hate
him, because he’s too contemptible for hatred;
but I hate myself for the folly which obliges me
to listen to him.

Mrs. Derv.

How has your Ladyship forfeited
the best privilege of rank? that of repelling impertinence?

Lady Zeph.

Why, as I have confided my follies
to you, you may as well know the consequences
of them. This vile Jargon has won of
me impossible sums; I am no arithmetician, I
can’t recollect and multiply the items; but I have
been obliged to give him a note for—four of the
six thousands which are my whole fortune, independent
of my brother.

Mrs. Derv.

Fatal imprudence! read this letter.

Lady Zephyrine reads—at first to herself.

Lady Zeph.


reading

“Accept my terms—
my marriage with the little idol of the Abbey,
shall not prevent my adoring you with the
most perfect, and unimaginable devotion—
Jargon.”

Well, the wretch is no hypocrite; for he scarcely
takes the trouble of professing a passion for me.
However, if you’ll give me this letter, tho’ I
don’t expect a cold, systematic coxcomb should
be susceptible of shame for the commission of a
base action, he may of the ridicule to which he is
exposed by detection. He’ll be at the Abbey
this evening.

Mrs. Derv.

I fancy we shall find him without
going so far. Come this way, and I’ll explain to
you as we go along.

L Lady Zeph. Lv 74

Lady Zeph.


taking her hand

My fair monitress,
I came here in expectation of a triumph,
which, I trust, my heart would, hereafter, have
reproached me for; but to you I am indebted for
the best of triumphs, the triumph over my own
follies.

Exeunt.

Scene II.—Before the door of the Hermitage.

Lady Zephyrine and Mrs. Derville,
following each other cautiously.

Mrs. Derv.

I’ve exceeded my time, and,
perhaps, my spark’s patience. He’s not here.

Lady Zeph.


softly

I’ll just peep in at the
hermitage window. looks in Well, my dear,
if you are not the object of his waking thoughts,
I dare say you are of his dreams, for there he is,
fast asleep.

Mrs. Derv.

I suppose he has sacrificed so
freely to your Ladyship’s birth-day, that he has
forgotten both me and himself.

Lady Zeph.

O, don’t suppose a gamester
ever forgets himself.looks in at the window
I dare say now, he has been calculating chances.
Look, there’s his pocket book and pencil down
by him.

Mrs. Derv.

I wish we cou’d take it without
waking him, and write both our names in it—
if he is yet susceptible of shame.

Lady Zeph.

A gamester susceptible of shame!
O, you know nothing of the world.

Mrs. Derv.

Have you the master key of
the grounds?

Lady Zeph.

Luckily I have—here it is—
but—

“Mrs. Derv. L2r 75

Mrs. Derv.

Hush! stay! goes in cautiously,
and brings out the book
Here’s the
book—will your Ladyship write your name first
—quick! I tremble so.

Lady Zephyrine taking the book from Mrs
Derville
, a paper drops out of it.

Lady Zeph.

Heavens, what’s this? My
note, which, thro’ fear of being exposed to
my uncle, I renewed on my coming of age this
morning.

Mrs. Derv.

Surely, what has been so basely
obtained, might, without blame, be cancelled.
Decide—perhaps a moment—

Lady Zeph.


after some agitation

No,
tho’ this wretch has no honor, mine shall be
sacred. The loss of my fortune is the just
punishment of my folly,—and I will abide by
it. Replace the Book.

Mrs. Derv.

As you please. aside, takes
the note unperceived by Lady Zephyrine, and
returns with the book cautiously.
But, by
your Ladyship’s leave, the point of honor shall
be determined by your uncle, In the mean
while I’ll secure the point of law. You seem
agitated.

Lady Zeph.

I am—I have had a little
struggle between love and integrity---.ah, Eugenia!
with that little sum I could have retired
with Bewley, but now.

Enter Bewley, gaily.

Bewley.

What, again, Lady Zephyrine. Why,
I am become the very favourite of Fortune. Let
her throw her acres to fools, and her dross to
knaves—“here’s metal more attractive!”

Lady Zeph.

You are gay, Sir!

L2 Bewley. L2v 76

Bewley.

Yes, gay as your Ladyship’s smiles.
Why not? why shou’dn’t a man without a care
left be gay? Others are the slaves of Fortune,
or of Love; but for me, I’m a free man---I’ve
lost my estate by the folly of my ancestors, and
I’ve lost my mistress by—

Lady Zeph.


archly

By her own, eh?

Bewley.

Hem—no matter—One smile from
Lady Zephyrine to night, one adieu to-morrow,
and heigh for London.

Lady Zeph.


timidly

For London, Sir?

Bewley.

Yes. Isn’t London the place for a
man of spirit without sixpence? Are there not
hazard tables, and faro banks, where those who
have nothing become rich; and those who are
rich become nothing? So, Cupid, take winghonesty,
avaunt, and heigh for London!

Lady Zeph.


with volubility and spirit

I
commend your resolution. Ah, the bewitching
joys of the gaming table, and the society of dear
friends impatient to ruin you, the animating
suspence between hope and fear, while Avarice,
with sanguine eye, and dilated palm, seizes in
imagination its devoted sacrifice.---Oh---glorious!
heigh for London! turning suddenly to Bewley
Will you draw straws with me for a couple of
thousands?

Bewley.

No, Madam---your stake’s too high
for a ruin’d man.

Lady Zeph.

Just the contrary---why, if you’re
ruin’d already, you know you can’t lose. But,
come, if you won’t draw straws for the two thousands,
will you take them without?

Bewley.

No, Madam. I—I—

surprized

Lady Zeph.

Why, what an untractable mortal
it is! Then, will you take me and the two thousandsand L3r 77
together?—She stops short, and then lays
her hand on his arm with a tender frankness

Oh, Bewley! this levity of your’s is assumed—’tis
in vain to deny it. I know you love me. My
heart is yet—nay, it ever has been your’s. Will
you accept my hand along with it?

Bewley.


after some agitation

Believe me,
Lady Zephyrine, were that heart what I once
thought it, the gift you offer, though it were accompanied
by slavery, poverty, and a thousand
ills, should be received with transport. But now,
forgive me, had I been rich, love might have
tempted me to forget the conduct I have so long
deplored; as it is, it shall not be said, that I was
bribed by the fortune of the wife to overlook the
errors of the mistress.

Exit in disorder.

Lady Zeph.

Here’s an obstinate wretch! But
he shall take me, errors and all, yet.

During the foregoing scene Belford enters,
and talks in the back-ground with Mrs
Derville
, in an air of supplication.
Mrs. Derville coming forward with Belford.

Mrs. Derv.

The passion you profess, Sir, is no
excuse for your degrading its object. From this
moment we part; and let our separation be accompanied
by this remembrance, that your misfortunes
have not prevented your creating the
tenderest interest in that heart which you have
overwhelm’d with shame and affliction.

Exeunt Mrs. Derville and Lady Zephyrine.

Belford.

Dear, generous Eugenia! Yet still the
mystery of her appearance—But away with suspicion.
I’ll now to the Abbey, discover myself to Sir L3v 78
Sir Caustic Oldstyle, and, by a candid explanation
of my conduct to Mrs. Derville, plead my pardon:
“For doubts caus’d by passion she never can blame;They are not ill-founded, or she feels the same.”

Exit.

Scene III.—A Room at the Abbey.

Sir Caustic Oldstyle and Period.

Period.

Then we’ve hung the cloisters and
statues with artificial flowers. The space between
is made into a temporary room, in imitation of a
grotto. How I shall shine in describing it!

Sir Caustic.

I hate your paltry imitations of nature,
while nature herself is neglected. You’ll
run from the shade of your villa to see a canvas
grove at the Opera-house—or only advertise that
the Pantheon is converted into an Esquimeaux
hut, and all the drawing-rooms shall be deserted.

Period.

A proof, Sir, of our love of simplicity.

Sir Caustic.

Yes, as you eat dry biscuits after a
luxurious dinner. No, its mere wantonness, and
rage for novelty. ’Twas but just now I met a
fellow with a rule and pencil, estimating how
much ’twou’d cost to pull down this venerable
pile, and erect some Italian gimrack on the
scite.

Period.

What, Mr. Stucco, the great architect,
you mean? Yes, he’s to run up a smart villa,
convert the chapel into a private theatre, the
kitchen into an ice-house, and then he’s to make
the completest ruin in the park.

Sir Caustic.

Yes, yes; I dare say you’ll not want
for ruins, if you’ve sent for a great architect. But, 1 mark L4r 79
mark me, I’ll have nothing to do with your extravagances.
I never obtained my wealth by disgracing
my country, nor shall it be spent in corrupting
it. No—I’ll adopt the first blockhead
that comes in my way, provided he’s not one of
our own family.

Period.


aside

Now, if the old gentleman would
but keep his word, then how I would write—such
paper, such a type!—Ah! didn’t you say, Sir,
you were looking out for a blockhead of an heir?
There’s a very honest fellow, a friend of mine, Tim
Period
, a sort of a crackbrain—he’s your man,
Sir—Adso, you’ll have the merriest heir in christendom.

takes down a tambourine, and plays

Sir Caustic.

Ah! what, you’re going to have a
dance? Well, as ’tis my niece’s birth-day, egad,
if old Twang, the harper, were alive, I don’t know
but I might foot it a bit myself.

Period.

I dare say, Sir, Lady Zephyrine will,
to oblige you, just——

imitates the action of
playing

Sir Caustic.

Zounds, sirrah!—why, she’s not
turned drummer?

Period.

Not absolutely beat the drum, Sir;
but this little elegant instrument—still imitating
—Such grace! such attitudes!

Sir Caustic.

Mercy on us! what has a modest
woman to do with attitudes? Does she dance on
the rope too? But I’ll have done with her—I’ll cut
a passage through Snowdon, make a tunnel under
the Irish Channel, build churches of porcelaine,
and erect bridges of pearl—I’ll die a beggar.

Enter a Servant.

Serv.

Here’s young Squire Bewley, my Lord;
he says your Lordship desired to see him.

Period. L4v 80

Period.

Shew him into my office—recollecting
himself
—Psha! my dressing—room, I mean.—
Will you go with me, Sir? You know you sent
for him about the diamonds.

Sir Caustic.

Aye, I’ll follow you. Exeunt Period and Servant.
This Bewley, too, I suppose, is some puppy, who
has been running a match between his fortune and
his constitution, and the latter happens to have
held out longest. Aye, aye, his uncle’s prodigality
to him will only be the means of his starting
again on the same course. But this is the
way—a man scorches five and twenty years abroad,
or abridges all the comforts of his life at home,
as I have done, only to acquire a fortune for a
son who turns jockey, and breaks his neck; on a
nephew, who turns author, and loses his wits; or
a niece, who beats the drum, and wears a red wig.
But I’ll game, build, die a beggar—*mdash. Enter a Servant, shewing in Mrs. Derville.
Well, young gentlewoman!—There’s another
disappointment too—Who would have thought—
But the whole sex are syrens—crocodiles! I presume
your business isn’t with me—You want the
young spark within, I suppose?

Mrs. Derv.

Your pardon, Sir; but if you are
the uncle of Lord Orton——

Sir Caustic.

Not I—I am uncle to nobody in the
world. I have neither nephews nor nieces. No,
no—thank Heaven, I have done with them.—
There’s a couple of modern youngsters within, indeed,
who write tours, and beat the drum—But
mind, they don’t belong to me.

Mrs. Mr 81

Mrs. Derv.

I thought, Sir, you had been the
gentleman from whom Lord Orton received a
miniature, that——

Sir Caustic.

Aye, ’twas a fancy picture—not
like any body in the world—never had an original.
If you want to enquire about the painter, Lady
Zephyrine
will tell you; and if you don’t want to
put me in a passion, don’t say another word about
it.

Mrs. Derv.

This is the strangest old gentleman!
—I will not, then, trouble you, Sir, with this
enquiry; yet, as I leave this country to-morrow,
never to return, give me leave to justify myself
from the suspicions which the extraordinary scene
you were witness to——

Sir Caustic.

What, the closet scene? But I’ll
not hear a word—I’ll not believe a syllable. There
has been neither truth nor simplicity in any woman
these fifty years.

Mrs. Derv.

It is not, then, for an unhappy
stranger, like myself, to contend against your prejudices;
and I must, though with regret, depart
unjustified in your opinion.

Sir Caustic.

Eh! what! who told you to depart?
How should I know you were unhappy?
Who are you? Where are you going?

Mrs. Derv.

Alas! Sir, I can scarcely tell—If
possible, where I shall be no longer liable to the
persecution of man.

Sir Caustic.

Then you’ll travel far enough.
But what the deuce, don’t you know where you
are going? You belong to somebody—you came
from somewhere—you didn’t drop from the
clouds—ride through the air in a whirlwind, or
pop out of the sea on a wave. Then there’s that
addle-brain, Lord Orton, in love with you—why, M if Mv 82
if you cou’d explain the spark in the closet, and
were not of mean birth, why, as women go——

Mrs. Derv.


with dignity

My birth, Sir, could
not be the obstacle, were there not other reasons.
It is at least equal to his own—a distinguished
name, a fortune—But why do I dwell on past
misery? Why suffer——

Sir Caustic.


looking earnestly at her

If, after
searching so long in vain, I should have stumbled
at once—Yes, the very features—you interest me,
young woman. You are too pretty to be wand’ring
about the world without protection. Confide
in me—I’m no gallant—no seducer. Thank
Heaven, I’m not old enough yet to run away with
a girl of twenty.

Mrs. Derv.

Your frankness is to me, Sir, more
valuable than compliment; and if the relation of
my misfortunes will gratify you——

Sir Caustic.

Proceed—proceed. You women
allow nobody to have any curiosity but yourselves.
Go on.

Mrs. Derv.

I have already confessed, Sir, that
my birth was elevated; my fortune large. At an
early age I was deprived of my parents, and left to
the guardianship of an uncle, whose bigotry and
avarice suggested to him the design of burying the
claimant of a fortune, to which he was next kin,
in a convent. Aware of his design—averse to a
cloister, and irritated by persecution, I accepted
of the assistance of a young Englishman, whom
chance threw in my way, and eloped from the
convent where I was placed.

Sir Caustic.

An Englishman!—the convent!—
Oh! go on.

Mrs. Derv.

My deliverer, I found, was poor;
and, e’er I had time to consult my heart, with all the M2r 83
the enthusiasm of gratitude at sixteen, I gave him
my hand.

Sir Caustic.

It is—it must be! Conclude, I beseech
you!!

Mrs. Derv.

My fortune being left me on the
day of marriage, for some months we lived in a
constant round of gaiety and expence. But, ere two
years were passed, my husband’s unbounded dissipation
first corrupted, and at length hardened his
heart. Deprived of his affection, abandoned,
neglected, I lived, scarcely certain, even of his
existence; till, at the end of the third year after
our marriage, he was brought to me, mangled by
a fall from his horse, senseless, and expiring.

Sir Caustic.

Unfortunate girl!

Mrs. Derv.

My fortune dissipated, alone, unprotected,
awakened to a sense of my early imprudence,
and weaned from an attachment which
I had in a thoughtless moment rendered a duty,
I now felt all the horrors of my situation—My
heart wounded by injuries, my spirit embittered
by ingratitude, I beheld the world with disgust,
mankind with horror, and at nineteen I fancied
myself a misanthropist. With the scattered remains
of my fortune I retired, under a borrow’d
name, to a convent; but the disappointed avarice
of my guardian pursued me to my retreat, and
obliged me to escape from Florence to Leghorn.
Public events again removed me to England; and
by the assistance of an English servant I at length
settled in my present situation.

Sir Caustic.

And your name is Harcourt, the
wife, the generous wife of my unhappy boy. Oh,
Eugenia! how shall I reward you for the miseries
you have suffered?

M2 Mrs. M2v 84

Mrs. Derv.

The father of Harcourt! Then
this picture is——

Sir Caustic.

Is mine. It was sent me by my son
on his marriage; and while he was soliciting pardon
for errors, which had occasioned his banishment
from his family.

Mrs. Derv.

Ah, dear Sir, had I known—but
the name of Oldstyle, of Orton, had never been
mentioned to me.

Sir Caustic.

The title is recently descended to my
nephew, and the name of Oldstyle I adopted on
an acquisition of fortune from my late wife’s father.
But come, retire to a less public apartment,
keep this discovery secret a few minutes,
and, in the mean while, dear, injured girl, remember
you have found a parent.

Exit, leading Mrs. Derville.

Scene IV. Cloisters on each Side of the Stage,
illuminated and ornamented with Flowers at
the Extremity.—Statues and Trees ornamented
in the same Manner.—Music.

Enter Mr. and Mrs. Gurnet, and Lady Zephyrine
after.—Jargon.—Then Bewley
from a different side of the Stage; and at
last, Sir Caustic, Belford, and Period,
as in Conversation.—Music ceases.—Lady Zephyrine
approaches Sir Caustic, and he
addresses her.—Belford and Period appear
to talk together till the Denouement.

Sir Caustic.

Aye, aye, I forgive the drum and
the wig. I’m in so good a humour, I could forgive
any thing. Come, niece, as this is your
birth-day, and as young women of one-andtwentytwenty M3r 85
begin to look about ’em, I ought to inform
you, that the bulk of my fortune is only at
my disposal, in case my late son’s wife should
never appear; but, subject to this proviso, why
I think a few score thousands for a wedding gown,
won’t hurt me.

Lady Zeph.

Believe me, Sir, if the discovery of
the claimant you mention, contributes to your
happiness, I shall not regret the retraction of your
bounty.

Sir Caustic.

Why, that’s noble, that’s an old
sentiment, which even a new-fashioned outside
cannot diminish the value of. I’m glad to see
you are capable of receiving generously the daughter
whom my good fortune has restored to me.


goes on one side of the scene, and leads in Mrs.
Derville

All.

Mrs. Derville!!

Sir Caustic.

Come, no sentimental overflowings
now. Eugenia, my poor boy, was but a sorry
helpmate. You chose ill for yourself. What say
you to a husband of my fancy, to my nephew,
Lord Orton?

pointing to Period

Mrs. Derv.

Ah, pardon me, Sir, if I decline.
There is——

Sir Caustic.

What, the closet spark, I suppose.
I know the whole business; but I must have you
a Countess—Perhaps, in a more humble rank,
you might yourself be equally happy; but the
distinctions of society, which render virtue conspicuous,
are a benefit to the world. So if you
won’t have my old fellow-traveller, honest Tim
Period
, why you must even take a Peer of my
creation. Come, nephew, is your delicacy satisfied
now; or has your Lordship any more disguises
and experiments?

1 Mrs. Derv. M3v 86

Mrs. Derv.

What, Belford.

Lady Zeph.

Yes, this is, indeed, my brother.

Belford.


embracing her

Dear Zephyrine!
Eugenia! taking her hand my beloved Eugenia!
Can you, will you pardon the deception?

Sir Caustic.

No, I warrant she won’t. Women
never pardon any deceptions except their own.
But I am too old to wait the usual fopperies of
your penitence and her coquetry; and as this is
one of the few deceptions which explanation will
not make worse, why, you shall marry first, and
you’ll have time enough to explain hereafter,――
And now, my pretty rake, if some sober subject
of the old school would take you off my hands――
Your fortune, indeed, is reduc’d; but then you
can shoot flying, and beat the drum, you know.

Gurnet.

Aye, and a wife may make worse
noises than that. Isn’t the sound of a drum
better than the rumbling of an ode---What say
you, Mr. Jargon, to my ward and her six thousand?
There, ’tis all right and fair---India, Bank,
Consols---I’ve turn’d it for her.

Sir Caustic.

Hey! why, here’s a lover for you,
humming and lounging—that’s modern too, I
suppose.

Jargon.

Lady Zephyrine’s accomplishments,
Sir, are too brilliant to be set in any thing but
gold; and six thousand isn’t a month’s pin-money
(powder and shot money I shou’d say) for a
woman of spirit. So, Sir, with your permission,
I limit my claim to four only, of the six thousand.

Lady Zeph.

What, relinquish, “The little
Idol of the Abbey?”

Mrs. Derv.

And disappoint me of the black
boy and curricle?

Jargon. M4r 87

Jargon.

’Sdeath! I’ve lost the note! I see,
ladies, you’re inclin’d to be merry, and as mirth
is vulgar, and I hate family parties, why, I leave
you to the reigning system.

going

Period.

Hark ye, my honest cousin, don’t
depend much on your four thousand—or a note
obtained by a little dexterity at the gaming
table, take the thing snugly—Magistrates in
town are active, Judges uncivil, and the toleration
of artists of your description is no longer
the—reigning system—So, snug’s the word.

Exit Jargon.

Lady Zeph.

So, you see, good folks, I’m
abandoned by one swain, and it isn’t two hours
ago since I was rejected by another; but as you
are determined, Sir, not to be troubled with me,
perhaps Mr. Bewley here, to oblige you, not on
my account though, I declare.

Bewley.

Even I refused your offered hand,
dear Lady Zephyrine, I was a beggar.—The bounty
of my uncle, and Mr. Period’s integrity, have
now enabled me to accept, with honour, a gift it
cost me so much pain to refuse.—Will you again
renew——

Lady Zeph.

Well, if I do condescend to forgive
you, mind, ’tis purely to oblige my uncle.

Sir Caustic.

Come, I think we shall be able to
add enough to the six thousand for a sober pair
of bays and a chariot—but none of your wildfire
equipages to run over quiet people, and make
anecdotes for my friend Period’s travels.

Ap-Griffin (within).

Ap-Grif.

I say, I must see him.---Eh, Timmy!
Hast sold the diamonds? got the cash?

“Period. M4v 88

Period.

Yes, I’ve dispos’d of ’em.—Won’t
cheat my own relations. gives him a paper
I’ll give you all I received.

Ap-Grif.


reads

“Recieved of Humphery
Ap-Griffin
, by the hands of Mr. Timothy
Period
, the under-mentioned diamonds, entrusted
to the care of the said Ap-Griffin――
Edwin Mansel.”
Why, you rascal, you unnatural
rogue, I’l hang, I’ll quarter you.

Period.

Hush! hush! uncle—“Honesty,
you know’s, the best policy---always do the
just thing.”

Ap-Grif.

A plague of your memory---But
I’ll be reveng’d; I’ll take out a statute of
lunacy against you, and you shall scribble tours
on the walls of Bedlam as long as you live.

Exit.

Period.

And now, my Lord, I resign my peerage
for a character, I hope ever to maintain, that
of your friend, honest Tim Period.

Belford.

We shall not forget your services; you
shall be retained in all the family suits of the
whole principality. We’ll purchase a dozen editions
of your tour.

Period.

Ah, my Lord, I’d rather you’d praise
it. And if this good company should but approve
the first edition; my gratitude will last
till I travel to that “bourne, from whence no
tourist returns.”
But as I’m in no hurry to go
there at present, let me hope, in the mean while,
for permission to travel this way again.

The End.

M5r


Epilogue,


Spoken by Miss Betterton.

No more the quizzish Bewley’s destin’d wife,

And yet the Votary of modish life;

Om Fashion’s rounds again my fame to seek,

In Air an Amazon, in dress a Greek,

I come, a Heroine, with destructive aim,

To beat yon Covert for the Critic Game;

The Season’s late; but Birds of prey none fear

To shoot without a licence—all the Year:

Behold me then—piece levell’d with my eye,

Prepar’d at flocks of Critics to let fly—

Yet stay—for in a random shot, who knows

But the same blow may wound both friends and foes.

Suppose then, e’er I take a hostile station,

I try the system—of conciliation;

And still, tho’ folly may the truth disguise,

Woman’s best weapons are her tongue and eyes.

First that gaunt Critic clad in Iron Grey,

Who seems to frown perdition on our Play,

Would he but smile!—do, Ma’am, make him look up,

Oh ho! he’s harmless—but in haste to sup.

The Spark above, just come with eager stride,

Bespurr’d, bebooted—express from Cheapside;

His alter’d eye bodes us no hostile fit,

A Maiden Aunt has spy’d him from the Pit;

In vain you shirk your damsel, and look shy,

Friend Tom, you’ll have a lecture by and by.

What says that Beau? a Crop—but don’t deride it,

His three-cock’t hat is big enough to hide it;

Tho’ nightly here—’tis not the Play’s his hobby,

He only criticises in the Lobby.

Ye martial youths, who decorate our rows,

Who menace nothing but your Country’s foes;

No Female vainly can your suffrage crave,

You must be merciful, because your’e brave—

And M5v

And last, and loudest, you, my friends above,

Some by our Play led here, and some by love;

Your honest fronts—seek not behind to hide,

I see you all—your Sweethearts by your side,

No low’ring Critics brows ’mongst you I find,

But John at Betty smirks, and looks so kind:

Don’t, Betty, cheer him with one smile to-night,

’Till he applaud our Play with all his might.

That jolly Tar, by Kate from Rotherhithe brought—

With Bard or Critic ne’er disturbs his thought,

He only comes to make the Gallery ring

With Rule Britannia, and God save the King;

Oh! may those patriot strains long echo here,

The sweetest music to a British ear.

Yet, while on well known kindness I presume,

Our Authoress, trembling, waits from you her doom.