i A1v

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

ii A2r


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
#rule
17991799. Price two shillings.

iii A2v iv A3r

Dedication.

#rule 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; v A3v dited; 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.
vi A4r

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.

vii A4r

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. #rule

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.
1 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 2 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 Lord— ſhip—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 3 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. 4 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- 5 B3r 5 accountable 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 6 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 7 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 8 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. 9 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, 10 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 11 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. 12 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. 13 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. 14 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 15 C4r 15 ing 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 16 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. 17 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 18 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 19 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. 20 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 21 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. 22 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. 23 D4r 23 tion. 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 24 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, 25 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 26 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 27 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 28 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! 29 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 diſſi pating pating 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 30 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 de ceived—if ceived—if I am happy enough to have created an intereſt in your heart, I ſwear, whatever your fate, nothing ſhall ſeparate it from mine my my 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. Belfordgives 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. 31 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. 32 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 de ſpair ſpair 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. 33 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 co quettes, and ſometimes worſe. Warm, en thuſiaſtic, thuſiaſtic, we fancy life a path ſtrewed with roſes. We expect to find nothing but hap pineſs pineſs 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 34 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. 35 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, 36 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 37 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, 38 F3v 38 ment, 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 in dolent dolent 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 Zephy rine rine 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. 39 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 40 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 41 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, 42 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 43 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 thou ſand hands had open’d to relieve you—a thou ſand ſand 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.—” 44 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- 45 G3r 45 Zephyrine’s manners—her feelings—her ſenſi bility— bility—

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 benevo lence lence 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 pic ture ture 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 kind neſs, neſs, 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. 46 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 47 G4r 47 ſion 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; 48 G4v 48 don; 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- 49 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. 50 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. 51 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- 52 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, Timmy, 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. 53 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. 54 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 55 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 56 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. 57 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. 58 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 59 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 60 I2v 60 rine’s 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 61 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 62 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 63 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. 64 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 65 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 cor— rection. 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 66 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 writ— ing 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 pla— tonic 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 67 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. 68 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 compli— cated 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. 69 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 70 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 her— mitage; 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 71 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, 72 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. 73 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. 74 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. 75 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. 76 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 77 L3r 77 ſand 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 ſuſpi— cion. I’ll now to the Abbey, diſcover myſelf to Sir 78 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 79 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. 80 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, in— deed, who write tours, and beat the drum—But mind, they don’t belong to me.

Mrs. 81 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 82 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 83 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. 84 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 85 M3r 85 twenty 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. 86 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. 87 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. 88 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.

89 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 90 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.

91