KNAVE, OR NOT? A COMEDY: IN FIVE ACTS.

AS PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY-LANE.

BY THOMAS HOLCROFT.

SECOND EDITION.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR G. G. AND J. ROBINSON, PATERNOSTER ROW.

MDCCXCVIII.

ADVERTISEMENT.

THE unrelenting opposition which the productions of the author of the present comedy have experienced for several years is well known, to those who pay attention to our public amuse­ments. It is not for him to pronounce how far this opposition has been merited by inability. Since the appearance of The Road to Ruin, his comedy of The Deserted Daughter only has escaped; and that, as he imagines, because it was not known on the night of its first performance by whom it was written. Love's Frailties, The Man of Ten Thousand, and Knave or Not? have sustained increasing marks of hostility: so that the efforts made to afford rational amusement to the public, emolument to the author, and improvement to morals, have been ren­dered feeble and almost ineffectual. In the last instance, one mistake appears to have pervaded the majority of the spectators. It was imagined that the author himself was as unqualified a libeller of mankind as Monrose: in which character the writer's individual sentiments were supposed to have been incorporated. Those who have read his other works surely cannot attribute to him any such indiscriminate misanthropy. The accusation that has most generally been made against him is that he thinks men capable of gradations of virtue, which others affirm they can never attain. Persons, who have made the human mind their study, have discovered that guilty men exert the whole force of their facul­ties to justify their own course of action to themselves. To this principle the writer was strictly attentive, in pourtraying the character of Monrose. His design was to draw a man of genius, misled by his passions, reasoning on his actions, systematizing them, condemning them in principle, but justifying them in practice, and heating his imagination by contemplating the crimes of others; that he might still maintain that respect for himself of which the strongest minds, even in the last stages of vice, are so tenacious. How far that spirit of faction, commo­tion, and anarchy, of which the author has long been and is still so vehemently accused, is to be traced in the present co­medy may now be seen. Sincerely desirous of giving no of­fence, the passages which were most disapproved, or to speak more accurately reprobated, on the first night, have since been omitted in representation: but they are printed between in­verted [Page iv] commas; that the cool judgment may decide whether the author could have been so insane as actually to intend to en­flame the spectators, and increase a spirit of enmity between men of different sentiments: whom, could he reconcile, he would ac­count it the most beneficial and heart consoling action of his life. The seventh scene in the fourth act is likewise omitted, in the performance: because, instead of giving pleasure, it appeared tedious. It is inserted here rather to preserve a necessary con­nection between the scenes, than to appeal from the judgment and the feelings of a whole audience.

Before the comedy appeared, all parties were anxious that no sentence or word should be spoken, which could be liable to misrepresentation. Some few passages, therefore, are commit­ted to the press, which never were spoken on the Stage: par­ticularly the concluding part of the last speech in the second act, where Monrose enquires into his qualifications for being a lord. A few years ago, this would have been common-place satire: and it is a subject of no little regret that, at present, lo­cal and temporary applications are so liable to be made where none are intended.

Truth requires it should be mentioned that, in the original sketch of this comedy, some hints were taken from IL RAG­GIRATORE, LA SERVA AMOROSA, and IL PADRE DI FAMI­GLIA, by GOLDONI: but of these, though he has not lately examined them, the author is persuaded so few traces remain that they are scarcely discoverable. They are mentioned, be­cause he considers the least concealment of such a kind as de­rogatory to that veracity which it is the peculiar duty of moral writers to inculcate.

PROLOGUE.

AMONG the various ways by wit devis'd,
To paint our faults and follies, undisguis'd,
Through every age is found of most avail
The well drawn character, and well told tale.
Hence has the Stage become the last resort
Of injured Innocence: her proper court.
"The guilty wretch," whom power and gold can screen,
"Struck to the soul," will sicken at the scene.
Vice that, with front erect and brazen eye,
In broad day pomp will pass unblushing by,
Should he be seen but "sitting at a play,"
How will his secret sins that conscious eye betray!
Pert Folly too, caprice in every freak,
Displays her feather'd head, and painted cheek;
While, "louder far than Wisdom in the street,"
She cries—"Lo! Here am I! Come, worship at my feet!"
The thoughtless crowd, thus summon'd to adore her,
Hear, stare, obey, and prostrate fall before her.
Yet let her be in all her frippery caught,
Just as she shews herself, and hither brought,
The moment here she's seen the witless elves
Laugh at their goddess, and despise—themselves.
Fantastic changeling! Catch her? Ay! But how?
Th' attempt is bending great Ulysses' bow!
And yet again we come, with random darts;
Now aiming at your heads, now at your hearts:
But all in mirth, and with no ill intent;
At Vice and Folly our few shafts are sent:
We shoot but o'er the house, or in the dark;
Hoping that you'll be pleas'd, whene'er we hit the mark.

EPILOGUE.

I AM angry!—Quite angry!—The whole of this night
I've been ready to burst with vexation and spite;
And now am come hither in haste, to disclose
Why grief swells my bosom, and reddens my nose!
In hopes a new road to your favour to find,
The mask of Thalia I lately resigned;
And, undaunted by prejudice, fashion, or scandal,
Melpomene's dagger I ventured to handle.
My heroic exertions, the truth to confess,
By the Public's indulgence were crowned with success;
For, when with distraction my bosom was seized,
I'm sure, you all seemed to be mightily pleased;
When my poniard I drew, you applauded the action;
And, whenever I murdered, showed great satisfaction.
Then is it not hard, that our Author to-night
Should have dragged me at once from my tragical height▪
My Bristol-stone dagger away has he ta'en;
He has cut off four yards of my white satin train,
And presumptuously begs, for the rest of the season,
That I'd try to amuse you with nature and reason!
This prayer, I protested, I never could grant;
I had ranted and raved, and would still rave and rant;
And I told him, this part, which for me he had planned,
Was not half enough furious, terrific, or grand.
I see not one Ghost through the whole of the part;
Cannot once find a place for a Tragedy start:
My bosom I beat not; my locks must not rend;
Nor murder one man from beginning to end!
My displeasure and anger resolved to display,
I called at the door of our Author, one day;
[Page vii] Was admitted—sat down—cleared my voice—furled my fan—
Put my critical face on, and gravely began.
Says I—"Mr. Thingummy, plainly to speak,
"Your hold on the public opinion is weak;
"For your canvas presents neither Daemons nor Witches▪
"And your Villains appear in coat, waistcoat, and breeches!
"Now let me advise you your subject to change,
"For something that's showy, terrific, and strange.
"That his Play must succeed, may the Bard safely boast,
"Who opens the piece with a Song by a Ghost;
"But in popular plaudits unbounded he revels,
"If he follows the Song with a Dance by two Devils.
"Observe too, you'll greatly increase the effect,
"If your colours with caution and taste you select:
"Thus, to make on the feelings a serious attack,
"Let your Spectres be white, and your Servants be black;
"And, to finish the whole with a striking new Scene,
"Let a Pompadour Prince wed a Coquelicot Queen.
"Give us Lightning and Thunder, Flames, Daggers and Rage;
"With events that ne'er happened, except on the Stage:
"When your Spectre departs, through a trap-door ingulph her,
"Burn under her nose too some brimstone and sulphur;
"Let Magicians and Monsters be poured on our view;
"And stick on your Villains a beard of pale blue *!"
My remonstrance was vain—He asserts, you can be
Well-pleased, when good-sense, mirth, and nature you see,
Though his Play should not leave you half dead with affright:
And I heartily pray, that the man may be right.
As for me (though I'm sorry, my part won't permit
Me to squall at a Spectre, and frighten the Pit),
I hope you'll allow this performance has merit,
And though without Ghost, think 'tis not without spirit;
Which Spirit on Monday, escaping from Styx,
Will appear in this place—at a quarter past six.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

  • Monrose,— Mr. PALMER.
  • Sir Guy Taunton,— Mr. WROUGHTON.
  • Sir Job Ferment,— Mr. SUETT.
  • Mr. Taunton,— Mr. WEWITZER.
  • Oliver,— Mr. BARRYMORE.
  • Jonas,— Mr. BANNISTER, jun.
  • Mr. Quake,— Mr. HOLLINGSWORTH.
  • Mr. Scribe,— Mr. TRUEMAN.
  • Footman.
  • Aurelia,— Miss DE CAMP.
  • Susan,— Mrs. JORDAN.
  • Lady Ferment,— Miss POPE.
  • Mrs. Clack,— Mrs. WALCOT.
  • Poor Woman,— Mrs. SPARKES.

KNAVE OR NOT? A COMEDY.

ACT I.

SCENE I.— A Lodging House.

SUSAN and MONROSE.
SUSAN.

THY argufying, Harry, is all nonsense. Don't I know that I am Susan Monrose, the poor curate of Finchcliffe's daughter; and that thee beest my brother?

MON.

Pshaw! You are a simpleton.

SUS.

Ay, ay: mayhap I may. But I won't be wicked: so don't tempt me to pertend that thee beest an outlandish lord, when I know thee to be nobody but Harry Monrose.

MON.

Be quiet; and listen to what I have to say. I have always loved you, Susan.

SUS.

Well, Harry, thee canno' deny but there's no love lost.

MON.

Though your education has been neg­lected, you are a charming girl. 'Twere a shame that so much beauty and intelligence should be buried in obscurity. I am determined to make your fortune, and my own.

SUS.
[Page 2]

Not by becoming a wicked cheat! No, Harry, that's not the way.

MON.

You mistake: that is the only way. "'Tis the common calling! For gowns, gold chains, and white wands are its rewards." From high to low 'tis all bargain and sale. And what is bargain and sale? Why to display the good side, and conceal the bad: that is, to cheat and lie!

SUS.

Oh Harry, Harry! Is all the learning fa­ther bestowed on thee come to this? He said, when thee run away, how it would be.

MON.

I have travelled, know the world, and mean to profit by my knowledge. Fools and knaves are the two grand classes: for the honest men are too insignificant, and too few, to form a class. Poverty and disgrace are got by keeping them company; and he that would thrive must shun them, as he would the plague.

SUS.

Surely, Harry, thee canno' be in down­right earnest?

MON.

Such is the world: and shall I, like a driveller, make myself its football? No; it shall be mine! And I will spurn▪ it before me with the contempt it deserves! While I despise and laugh at its prejudices, I will profit by them.

SUS.

Look thee, Harry, I canno' tell why thee beest so bitter angry wi' the world. I can truly vouch I have met wi' many good folk, and few bad. And as to go for to say that thee beest a lord, I'll do no such thing!

MON.
(Aside)

I must deceive the obstinate fool, for her own advantage—You mistake the matter. Once again, I tell you, I am a lord.

SUS.

Oh for shame, Harry! Don't I know that to be an un possable thing?

MON.

Why?

SUS.
[Page 3]

Why! As if they could make a lord out of thee! Whereof a lord is a great—unspeakable—Grandee!

MON.

Ha, ha, ha! But I am a foreign Count. Any man may be created a Count, abroad.

SUS.

Created a Count? Oh, what blasphemy! But what dost tell me about Counts, and lords? Here beest thee a kind of a school-master, to young Mr. Jonas: which be a dessunt modest call­ing enough; but not fit for a lord! It be a deuced puzzleation thing to learn to read, and spell, and put together; and I be very sure a downright lord would never take the trouble.

MON.

Well but, answer me: would it not re­joice your heart to be a lady?

SUS.

What sort of a lady? There be your lady such as I saw go on a visitation to the King's birth­day; and there be the Taylor's lady, that lives in the alley and sells red herrings.

MON.

How acute you are, hussey! Follow my advice and you shall soon be a real lady.

SUS.

What and ride in my coach?

MON.

Ay, girl.

SUS.

Keep two footmen, a parrot, a lap-dog, and a monkey?

MON.

Oh a whole menagerie of monkies.

SUS.

Wear high feathers, long gowns, short petticoats, red slippers, and clock stockings?

MON.

If you please.

SUS.

Have my bed warmed every night, lie as long as I like of a morning, eat buttered crumpets for breakfast, plumb dumplings for dinner, and oranges and sweetmeats for luncheon and supper?

MON.

Served up with sugar-candy sauce. Ha, ha, ha! Should you like it?

SUS.

Like it? How am I to get it?

MON.
[Page 4]

By getting a rich husband.

SUS.

What one of your London Squire Jemmies; with his thing'embobs down to his ancles, his hands in his pockets, his switch in his boot, his impudent stare, and his hop skip and swagger "How do you do, my dear?"

MON.

Ha, ha, ha! By my soul, Susan, thou art a jewel of a girl. I am enraptured with thy spirit of observation.

SUS.

Why look thee, brother Harry, if it be thy meaning that I should lend thee my little finger here toward the cheating of other people, thou'll be plaguily cheated thysel': so take warning. No, Harry, I love thee too well to turn my hand to tricks that shall bring thee to shame.

MON.
(Aside)

Infatuated little fool! But I have her safe.—I find, Susan, I have been mista­ken. I thought you had a kind of a liking for my young pupil? Hay? Nay, speak.

SUS.

Who dost mean?

MON.

Come, come, sister, no hypocrisy!

SUS.

May hap, Harry, thee beest joking me on account of young Mr. Jonas?

MON.

Indeed I am very serious. What if he should offer you marriage?

SUS.

Nay, brother Harry, an' if he should make me such an offer, where would be the harm? Mr. Jonas be well enough to see to: and, thof he be a bit oafish and skittish, yet, i'the main, a's good conditioned.

MON.

That is, you like him?

SUS.

No, Harry, it is no' come to that yet: 'cause why a's of rich parentage, and I of poor; whereby thee mayst take it for sartin, Harry, that I know how to keep my thoughts to mysel'. So I think nought about him.

MON.
[Page 5]

For what reason?

SUS.

Reason enough. 'Tis little likely 'at his kinsfolk should gi' consent.

MON.

Fear nothing: they shall! I have the means.

SUS.

Ay, marry! What be they?

MON.

Their own misdeeds. He that would make the rich his tool must worm out their secret vices: he then has them in his gripe, and the ty­rant becomes the slave.

SUS.

Harry, Harry, I do hugeously doubt thee beest becoming a reprobate!

MON.

Do not mistake me, girl. I love not mischief for its own sake: I act but on the defen­sive, and turn the weapons of oppression against itself. My whole plan is this: I sent for you up to town purposely to marry this headlong youth; who, if he has not the good fortune to have you, will make some cookmaid or kept mistress his wife. I have lodged you here a few weeks to teach you a little of the town manner; and have brought Jonas to see you, who is mad after every woman he meets. To day I will introduce you to his mother, Lady Ferment. Prepare yourself, and act and speak according to my instructions.

SUS.
(Sulkily)

It signifies nothing talking, Har­ry: I'll do nought but that which is upright, and downright.

MON.
(Angrily)

Zounds, girl, have done with this absurd stuff. I know what is right, you do not. If fair and direct means cannot succeed, who is to blame? Neither you nor I. Once more, obey my directions. Great events are on the eve of disclosure. Should you traverse and betray me, I will never own you for a sister more.

[Exit.

SCENE II.

SUS.

Why then I wunno' be consarned i' wick­edness, Harry, do what thee wo't! No! I wun­no'! I wunno'!

(Ready to cry.)

I do love thee dearly: wi' aw my heart and soul: and I would no' see thee come to disgrace no not to be the Queen of England! So dunno' thee expect it o' me—But then a says and declares there be no wicked­ness i' the case. May hap there be not. I hope there be not! I do hope there be not!—As to Mr. Jonas, a' be a likely lad to look to. That there be no denying: A be plaguy rumbustical to be sure: but, an it should be our good hap to wed, I guess a'd be cured o' that—I do find mysel' in a strange quandary. I be as good flesh and blood mayhap as he. I be a woman, and he be but a mon. Yea, belemmy, we be aw Adam's children: but silks and satins make the difference.

[Exit.

SCENE III.— Changes to the House of SIR JOB.

Enter AURELIA, followed by JONAS.
JON.

Upon my soul, Miss Aurelia, it is true. I think I never saw a neater turned ancle! And for a white arm, and a fine fall of the neck, there is nobody like you!

AUR.

Ha, ha, ha! I am surprised to hear all these gallant things from you, Mr. Jonas; when you yesterday confessed you were in love with your tutor's sister.

JON.

What, Miss Susan? So I was. But she is like the rest of you: if I offer to touch her, she sets up her back, and darts her sharp little fangs, just like the cat at the mastiff.

AUR.
[Page 7]

Is she a prude?

JON.

I don't know what you call prude, but I know she won't let me come at her.—You are my mother's companion.

AUR.

Ay. Heigho! Happy girl!

JON.

But I have been thinking—

AUR.

What?

JON.

You had better by half be mine.

AUR.

Why?

JON.

What does my mother want with a dear delicious—now I do.

AUR.

Why you are absolutely a rake, Mr. Jonas.

JON.

A rake? No. I'll marry you.

AUR.

Ha, ha, ha! What would Lady Ferment say?

JON.

What care I what she says?

AUR.

Indeed you are a sad rake! You are so fond of the ladies!

JON.

How can I help it? I wish they were as fond of me! Ecod there would be rare work.

AUR.

You make love to them all.

JON.

No: there's one exception.

AUR.

Who is that?

JON.

My mother. She makes love to me.

AUR.

And you treat her as you say the cat does the mastiff.

JON.

Serve her right. She should not be so fond, and foolish.

LADY FERMENT.
(Without. Calis)

Jonas!

JON.

Tch! Tch! Tch! Here she comes. Will you consent?

AUR.

I can't.

JON.

Why not?

AUR.

I dare not venture on such a seducer.

JON.

Ah! You have an eye somewhere else.

AUR.
[Page 8]

Pooh!

JON.

Yes, you have.

SCENE IV.— Enter LADY FERMENT.

LA. F.

Jonas, dear, what are you doing?

JON.

Not what I like.

LA. F.

Aurelia, child, take care of yourself! This pet boy is becoming a sad tempter!

AUR.

A very dangerous one indeed, my lady.

JON.

That's a fib, now.

LA. F.

You are, child. I am sure you are; and it becomes young women not to trust them­selves alone with you.

JON.

Ecod, you need not teach them that: they won't.

AUR.

I have been telling him what a seducer he is.

JON.

Nonsense. I am not.

LA. F.

You are, Jonas, dear.

AUR.

Ay, indeed are you! I must beware of you, Mr. Jonas.

JON.

Nah! You are all alike; with your flings and fleers.

AUR.

'Twas lucky that my lady came!

JON.

Ya, ya, ya! Ecod I'll go and kill the par­rot, set the cat at the lap-dog, and give both your muffs to the monkey!

[Exit.

SCENE V.

LA. F.

Sweet boy!—I am glad, my dear, you see your danger. Your situation, child, is a peril­ous one.

AUR.

Yes, yes, my lady, I am fully aware of my situation.

LA. F.
[Page 9]

Come with me: I want to consult you on a new dress. You have a very tolerable taste, in putting on your things; and that is a great re­quisite, in a dependent young woman. That and prudence, with a cautious tongue! Hear, see, and say nothing, is the waiting-woman's duty.

AUR.

Waiting-woman, my Lady!

LA. F.

I don't mean you, child. You are something above that: you are my companion.

AUR.

It is a new calling: your Ladyship must be kind enough to instruct me.

LA. F.

I will, I will. Come with me: I will.

[Exeunt.

SCENE VI. Enter MONROSE, and MRS. CLACK.

MRS. C.

So, as I tell you, Sir Count, I am no tattler. I don't go blabbing to this person, and chattering to that. I have no gossiping acquaint­ance to babble all my secrets to. I have put a lock upon my lips. I don't know how I came to make so free with you! But you have such a 'sinu­ating way! However, you are as close as my­self. Beside, though you are down in the world, you are a gentleman, Sir Count; and, if I tell you any thing, it is as safe as in my own bosom.

MON.

You need not doubt of that.

MRS. C.

Oh, I know it! I know it!

MON.

Well, and so—?

MRS. C.

And so, if what I am going to tell you of Sir Job and Mr. Taunton should ever be known, I believe in my conscience it would bring them to—dear! dear!

MON.

Indeed!

MRS. C.

That's my notion of the matter. But there is no danger that you should blab.

MON.
[Page 10]

You know me too well.

MRS. C.

I do! I do! And so, I will tell you. Miss Aurelia is Mr. Taunton's distant relation. She was his first wife's sister's child.

MON.

You amaze me!

MRS. C.

To my certain knowledge! And, what is more, she is, as I have heard a small bird sing, the rightful heiress to a mortal deal of money.

MON.

Aha!

MRS. C.

And, though nobody dare for the soul of them say so much, it's a crying sin she should be cheated, as she is, and robbed of her due.

MON.

Is it then known?

MRS. C.

Oh, no! except to—

MON.

To whom?

MRS. C.

Why, that—that is another secret.

MON.

Nay but, my dear Mrs. Clack, you are very well convinced you may trust me.

MRS. C.

I have trusted you with my master's secret; but this is my own. It concerns my own character; and if, at my age, I should lose that—

MON.

Can you think I would take away the character of my friend; who has generously open­ed her whole heart to me?

MRS. C.

It would be a base action in you, if you did! What can be more wicked than to tell a circumstance that should ruin one's reputa­tion; after one has escaped so many traps, and snares, with as fair an outside as any woman in the parish?

MON.

And could I, think you, be so wicked?

MRS. C.

I have lived in this family many years: in which time, as you may suppose, a number of chance accidents have happened: and if Mr. Quake—that is—Bless me! what am I say­ing?

MON.
[Page 11]

Who is Mr. Quake?

MRS. C.

Nobody: nobody at all. I was rav­ing, I believe!—Miss Aurelia was charitably edu­cated by an old lady, who—

MON.

You have told me that before. Who is Mr. Quake?

MRS. C.

Why the whole blame does not lie on Mr. Taunton: Sir Job was the other executor.

MON▪

Pshaw! I know it. Who is Mr. Quake?

MRS. C.

Why Mr. Quake—Bless me! I am so flurried!—Hush! Somebody is coming! It is my master! Don't notice me. Why, Betty! Why don't you come?

[Exit.

SCENE VII. Enter SIR JOB.

SIR J.

A word, if you please, Sir.

MON.

Certainly, Sir Job.

SIR J.

I am come to tell you, Sir, that I don't approve your proceedings.

MON.

I am sorry for that, Sir Job.

SIR J.

A fig for sorrow, Sir. I will be master of my own premises!

MON.

Who so proper?

SIR J.

What right had you to bring this Miss Aurelia into my doors?

MON.
(Aside)

Oh ho!—Lady Ferment want­ed a companion.

SIR J.

Don't companion me, Sir! You come here a stranger, you give yourself out for a foreign Count, you are received into my family as a tutor, and before you have been three months you cajole my Lady, controul me, and introduce your ma­dams as my inmates.

MON.

Moderate your anger, Sir Job.

SIR J.
[Page 12]

Sir, I will be as angry as I please. I am in my own house, Sir. A'n't I, Sir?

MON.

Do you doubt it, Sir?

SIR J.

Yes, I do doubt it, Sir. No, I don't doubt it, Sir. What do you mean by doubt it, Sir?

MON.

Was Aurelia Roland then a total stranger to you, Sir Job?

SIR J.

Sir!—What—What do you mean by that question?

MON.

Did you never hear her name mentioned?

SIR J.

I, Sir!—When?—What?—Where must I hear?

MON.

Are you wholly unacquainted with her family?

SIR J.

Sir, I—

MON.

Why should the question alarm you, Sir Job?

SIR J.

A—a—a—alarm!—What do you mean by alarm?

MON.

The Rolands, I am told, were formerly wealthy?

SIR J.

What—What is that to me?

MON.

It is possible you might have heard of such a thing.

SIR J.

Sir, I am—I do—I don't understand.

MON.
(Aside)

The old shark! But I'll give him line for the present.—She is a charming handsome girl.

SIR J.

What of that, Sir?

MON.

I know you love my Lady: Yet the most loving husbands are sometimes caught tripping.

SIR J.

Hay? What?

MON.

A city knight and alderman might have a partiality for so fine a young creature.

SIR J.

Oh! Is that it? Ha, ha, ha! What, [Page 13] you suspected—hay?—Ha, ha, ha! That is very good! I perceive, Count, you are a wag. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Heigho!

MON.

Well, well, if any secrets should have passed between you, and I can be of service—You comprehend me?

SIR J.

Hay? What secrets? How?

MON.

Any amorous follies.

SIR J.

Oh!—No. Ha, ha, ha! By my knight­hood, never.

MON.

Then you don't know Aurelia?

SIR J.

Know? I—How—Where should I—Hay?

MON.

If so, I have been misinformed.

SIR J.

How! Informed? Bless me! I—Who?—Informed?

MON.

Come, come, don't deny it, Sir Job. You know more than you like to confess.

SIR J.

No—no—n n no, I don't.

MON.

Yes, you do.

SIR J.

No, indeed; upon my veracity!

MON.

Well, well, Sir Job, you have lived long enough in the world to know its maxims. If you stand in need of any man, you are wise and will make it that man's interest to be your friend. "You are an alderman, and a magistrate, and set a pro­per value on a smug wig, a smooth chin, and a shining pair of shoes. You have learnt the trick on't; and know that justice consists in keeping gravity on the countenance, and money in the pocket. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

[Exit.

SCENE. VIII.

SIR J.

Mercy on me! What a tremble I am in! What does he mean? He half talks as if he knew Aurelia Ro—

[Page 14] Enter SIR GUY TAUNTON▪
SIR J.

Who's there?

SIR G.

What's the matter with you, Sir Job?

SIR J.

Nothing! Nothing, Sir Guy.

SIR G.

Zounds! You are in an ague! How pale you are!

SIR J.

A little qualm. It will go off.

SIR G.

Where's your son?

SIR J.

What Jonas?

SIR G.

No, your other son; the neglected Oliver.

SIR J.

I don't know. There's no peace in the house for him. Pays my Lady no respect.

SIR G.

Much more than she deserves.

SIR J.

Plays the very devil!

SIR G.

You mistake: that is her part.

SIR J.

She? Oh no! Good creature! She's all my comfort.

SIR G.

Then God help you.

SIR J.

So tender! So loving!

SIR G.

That her first husband hanged himself.

SIR J.

Ah! He was a foolish man. I know how to manage her.

SIR G.

And she knows how to manage you.

SIR J.

Oh, we are well paired! I wish you had such a wife!

SIR G.

The devil you do!

SIR J.

Such cordiality between us! Not but, if my Lady's nerves were not so weak, I should often fall in a passion.

SIR G.

You should?

SIR J.

Oh! I am plaguy hot, at times! Do you know, I am chosen Colonel of the What do you call it Associates?

SIR G.

Indeed!

SIR J.

Ay, am I! Why I am a man of war by [Page 15] birth-right. My father was army hatter, and fa­mous for inventing the Cumberland cock!

SIR G.

Tremendous!

SIR J.

And I myself was once a contractor for accoutrements, grenadiers' caps, cartouch boxes, bullets, and buff belts. Nay, I have since dealt in gunpowder.

SCENE IX. Enter LADY FERMENT.

LA. F.

What is that you talk about gunpowder▪ Sir Job? 'Tis unmannerly to mention such things before ladies.

SIR G.

Oh, he never does when your Ladyship is present.

SIR J.

Oh no! Never!

LA. F.

My deary is always kind.

(To a Ser­vant)

Go, man, and prepare your master's cho­colate.

[Exit Servant.
SIR J.

Ah! My lovy is ever thinking of me! Sir Guy called, chucky, to enquire after your health. He heard you had got a cold at the mas­querade, and was so sorry! Was not you? Has been saying the civilest things of you! Have not you?

LA. F.

Infinitely obliged to Sir Guy. Will you take a cup of chocolate, Sir, with my deary?

SIR G.

Oh no. I have just had a glass of bitters.

LA. F.

They are very good for the stomach.

SIR G.

And Sir Job knows your Ladyship is excellent at preparing them.

SIR J.

I'll match her for that with any wife in ten parishes.

LA. F.

Deary always thinks too well of me. Did you take your new-laid egg, sweet, this morn­ing?

SIR J.
[Page 16]

Surely I did! Lovy gave it me herself, with her own fair hand.

LA. F.

I have ordered your jelly at two.

SIR J.

Ah, precious!

LA. F.

Your glass of Cyprus wine and a biscuit at four.

SIR J.

Kind lambkin!

LA. F.

And some turtle soup before dinner.

SIR J.
(To Sir Guy)

Do you hear?

LA. F.

You are become a military man, Sir Job, and require a strengthening diet.

SIR J.

Very true. Ods thunder! Sweety will make a Sampson of me!

SIR G.

A Sampson!—Well, and how does your son Oliver, my Lady?

LA. F.

My son, indeed! He is no son of mine.

SIR G.

He is the son of your husband; there­fore yours.

LA. F.

Ay, indeed!

SIR G.

Unquestionably: if you have any re­gard to your character.

LA. F.

Who would dare to impeach my cha­racter?

SIR G.

I should. Every body would.

LA. F.

For a baronet and a man of breeding, Sir, you have a very strange way with you.

SIR G.

I know it. 'Tis some people's failing to tell lies: 'tis mine to tell truth. But pray what are Oliver's faults?

LA. F.

A thousand, Sir!

SIR G.

Name one.

LA. F.

I name?—Ask his own father.

SIR G.

Ay, let us hear. Come, begin▪

LA. F.

Why don't you speak, Sir?

SIR J.
(Terrified)

My dear!

LA. F.

You have no pity on my poor nerves▪

SIR J.
[Page 17]

Yes, I have, lovy.

LA. F.

Count over your graceless son's pranks. Have you lost your tongue, man?

SIR J.

No, no, deary: but you know my me­mory begins to fail.

LA. F.

My poor tender frame! Proceed, Sir Job, and don't shew yourself a savage! Paint your son in his true colours.

SIR J.

I will, I will! First he is a tall, well­made, handsome—

LA. F.

Handsome?

SIR J.

No, no! Ugly: a sort of ugly fel­low.

SIR G.

Well said, knight!

SIR J.

Has a bold, open, manly—Hem!—Insolent air. Feeds like a hungry German at a table d'hôte, and refuses to dine with the servants.

SIR G.

Oh the proud villain!

SIR J.

Aspires to keep the best company.

LA. F.

Sir!

SIR J.

The worst company: and, to maintain his extravagance, has audaciously petitioned for a hundred a year pocket money.

SIR G.

Of a father who has only a rent roll of three thousand per annum, and a plumb and a half in the funds.

SIR J.

Very little more!

SIR G.

Oliver is acquainted with your affairs▪ and methinks he might be very useful.

LA. F.

What's true, Sir Job? Have not you renounced trade?

SIR G.

But not closed his accounts.

SIR J.

No, my Lady: you know, I have not closed my accounts.

LA. F.
[Page 18]

Why will you dare, Sir Job, to talk in this style, and look me in the face?

SIR J.

No, no, my Lady! Not and look you in the face.

SIR G.

Why, knight, I think it is my Lady that deals in gun powder?

LA. F.

I see how it is! My nervous frame is not to be spared! I am to be thrown into a fit!

SIR J.

Heaven forbid, my Lady!

SIR G.

Why Sampson!

SIR J.

Her sit is coming!

SIR G.

Let it. I'll burn the feathers, and sprinkle the water.

LA. F.

I am surprised, Sir Guy, at your be­haviour.

SIR G.

Likely enough: for I am surprised at yours.

LA. F.

You are a strange person.

SIR G.

Ay▪ many people tell me so. But I hear you have a young lady come to be your companion, of whom Oliver relates wonders.

SIR J.

Oliver is a forward blockhead. Deary, I am sure, won't like her long.

LA. F.

I am sure to the contrary, Sir.

SIR G.

Ay, truly! I am glad to hear that.

LA. F.

She is a tasty person; just what I wanted. I have sent her to my milliner's; and on a few er­rands.

SIR G.

On errands?

LA. F.

One must treat these kind of people pro­perly at first, or they grow familiar.

SIR G.

If she possess the rare qualities Oliver describes, your Ladyship I guess will soon have her at a very proper distance.

SIR J.

The greater the better.

SIR G.
[Page 19]

She came recommended by your English foreign tutor?

LA. F.

By Count Monrose, Sir.

SIR G.

Oh! ay: Count. I beg [...] Countship's pardon.

LA. F.

He is a gentleman.

SIR G.

So is every sharper about town.

LA. F.

A man who returned to England loaded with honors.

SIR G.

It was all the baggage he had.

LA. F.

You have a licentious tongue, Sir Guy.

SIR G.

I know it. It is my plague; and it is a worse plague to others than it is to myself. I warn your Ladyship to beware of it, and treat Oliver like your son; or I foresee it will be busy. It is the more dangerous too because it deals in mere mat­ter of fact. What it relates is credited; for I am notoriously a stupid fellow, without a grain of in­vention. I came purposely to tell you this, in a friendly way. Sir Job, remember your new occu­pation. Think how you once dealt in grenadier's caps, cartouch boxes, bullets, and buff belts. Be a man of war: my Lady will love you the better.

LA. F.
(Half aside)

Impertinent person.

SIR J.

Nay, lovy.

LA. F.

Begone, iron-hearted wretch!

[Exeunt at different doors.

ACT II.

SCENE I. The Terrace of the House of SIR GUY, at a Village near London.

SIR GUY and MR. TAUNTON coming from the Shrubbery.
MR. TAUNTON.

NAY but why are you so pettish?

SIR G.

Because I like it.

MR. T.

An angry man, brother, rides a runaway horse. Here have you every thing that heart could wish.

SIR G.

No, I have not.

MR. T.

What do you want?

SIR G.

To be rid of you.

MR. T.

Don't be so waspish, brother.

SIR G.

I will, drone.

MR. T.

Pray let me advise you.

SIR G.

Do, that I may laugh at you.

MR. T.

Be considerate, be smooth. You are all fire and flash.

SIR G.
(Aside)

And you are all frost and fool.

MR. T.

From the wise meek replies.

SIR G.

From jackdaws foolish saws.

MR. T.

Nay but give me a reason?

SIR G.

Give you brains, you mean.

MR. T.

Why are you so snappish?

SIR G.

For the good of my health.

MR. T.

I don't understand you!

SIR G.

Who said you did?

MR. T.

How is your health concerned?

SIR G.

Would you have me, like yourself, a composition of cheese curd and cucumber, tie my­self up in a money-bag, imprison my soul in the [Page 21] circumference of a guinea, sink to inanity with hear­ing it chink, and crawl to my grave like a pullet dying of the pip?

MR. T.

Neglect a penny, and squander a pound.

SIR G.

Pshaw! An ass is a dull animal. "Put nutmeg in your drink, eat mustard, and mend."

MR. T.

Patience is a good pilot.

SIR G.

You have less brains, less life, less pro­pagation in you, than a Cheshire cheese: for that will at least breed maggots: but a miser begins and ends with himself. I wonder who the devil made you my brother! Give me a fellow that has mis­chief in his marrow.

MR. T.

Well but about this young woman, that you were talking of: you surely must be mistaken!

SIR G.

You surely must be a mule.

MR. T.

Her name cannot be Roland?

SIR G.

What impossibility has your wisdom dis­covered?

MR. T.

Sir Job would not take Aurelia Roland as a companion to his lady!

SIR G.

Why not?

MR. T.

Because—Hem!—I don't know why.

SIR G.

No? You look as if you did.

MR. T.

Sir Job has sons.

SIR G.

What then? Why is Aurelia Roland more dangerous to his sons than any other woman?

MR. T.

You just told me how Oliver praised her. But I am sure it cannot be Aurelia Roland.

SIR G.

And how the devil came you so sure?

MR. T.

Have you seen her?

SIR G.

No.

MR. T.
(Aside)

Aurelia Roland? Impossible! And yet—Well, brother, I must bid you good day.

SIR G.

It will be the better when you are gone.

MR. T.
[Page 22]

Patience is a jewel for a prince▪

SIR G.

Patience is a preaching puppy.

MR. T.

Don't go to market to buy vexation.

SIR G.

I need not go to market, I can have it brought home to me.

MR. T.

Don't burn your house to frighten away the rats.

[Exit.
SIR G.

Zounds and fire! This fellow would proverb a man to death in a fortnight.

SCENE II. Enter MR. SCRIBE.

SCR.

Stay where you are, good woman.—Where is Sir Guy? As cross but as kind hearted an old gentleman as ever breathed! He threatens the poor, as if he were their scourge: but he always relieves and feels for them, like the tenderest of fathers.

SIR G.

Well, Sir, what do you want?

SCR.

Here's another pauper brought before your worship.

SIR G.

And how comes that? Did not I ap­point you my clerk purposely to terrify the neighbourhood and drive away beggars?

SCR.

And ordered me never to pass paupers from the parish without acquainting you.

SIR G.

Why what the devil, sellow, would you have me send them away by cartloads, sick or well, and suffer them to die on the road; as is the prac­tice in other scoundrel parishes? Who is it?

SCR.

A poor woman with five small children.

SIR G.

Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Thus it is when beggarly boys and girls couple and propagate ploughmen, and weavers, and the riff-raff of the land; who all conspire together to maintain such clever fellows as myself in state!—Send her here!

SCR.
[Page 23]
(At the door)

Come this way, good wo­man.

SIR G.

How do you know she is a good woman? Is not she poor? I'll teach her better tricks, I war­rant me!

SCENE III. Enter POOR WOMAN.

SIR G.

Now, mistress! What business have you to be poor? Don't you know what a crime it is? Have you no husband?

WOM.

I had, Sir.

SIR G.

What, he is run away, I suppose?

WOM.
(With her apron to her eyes)

He is dead, Sir.

SIR G.
(During this scene, under the shew of an­ger, he repeatedly stifles his tears)

Lord, Lord!—What business had he to die? And so you have five children?

WOM.

Eight in all, Sir: five young ones at home.

SIR G.

Here's pretty doings! Here's impu­dence! Breeding of vermin at this rate, to people cabbins and commons, and multiply over moors and mountains! So that, if it were not for that politic purgative, gunpowder, by and by we should not have an acre of waste land left! Are you a­ware of your wickedness?

WOM.

I hope in time, Sir, they will all learn to work.

SIR G.

Oh, oh! What you mean to insinuate that they will grow and come to be good for some­thing?

WOM.

If they don't first starve, Sir.

SIR G.
(Tears)

Starve! To be sure! What can they expect? Here's flying in the face of au­thority! [Page 24] Where's the beadle? Pack her a­way!

WOM.
(Looking at Sir Guy)

I don't think you mean it, Sir.

SIR G.

The devil you don't! Why this is worse and worse!

(Examining her face)

When had you a good meal?

WOM.
(Energetically)

Never, since my husband's death.

SIR G.
(Tears)

Here's impertinence!

(Again more stedfastly examining)

When did you eat last?

WOM.

Not these two days.

SIR G.
(Tears: affecting great anger)

Damn me but this is insufferable!—I'll teach you! Take her away!

SCR.

Where, your Worship?

SIR G.

To the pantry, you damned villain! To the pantry!

SCR.
(Drily)

Must I pass her to her parish?

SIR G.

Do! Do! And I'll pass you to the de­vil! Give her food; go home with her; examine, dive into wretchedness, and harden your heart, scoundrel; and then give me a full and true ac­count, that I may learn to harden mine. And do you hear, you vile hussey! Let me catch you fast­ing two days again, if you dare! Let me! That's all! In the mean time take this.

(Gives money)
WOM.

The prayers and blessings of the poor be your reward, Sir.

[Exeunt Scribe and Woman.

SCENE IV.

SIR G.

Damn me but it is very unaccountable! This woman I suspect has feelings! And sensations! And thoughts! Nay I doubt whether she have not [Page 25] a heart, and a sort of a soul; and yet she is a pauper!

SCENE V. Enter MR. SCRIBE.

SCR.

Here is a person in the parlour who de­sires to know if he may be permitted to speak a word with you.

SIR G.

A person? A prig you mean.

SCR.

Why so, Sir?

SIR G.

By the impertinence and absurdity of his message. What mighty maggot am I, that a man is to ask permission to speak to me?

SCR.

You are so cross and so kind, Sir!

SIR G.

Zounds! Sir, how can I help it, if my heart be made of such vile pitiful melting materials, that it is overflowing at every instant; and I have no way of shutting and stopping up the flood gates of passion, but by being a crabbed, cankered, damned choleric scoundrel?

[Exeunt.

SCENE VI. The House of SIR JOB.

OLIVER and AURELIA.
OL.

You are a witness of the humble demeanor I am obliged to wear in my father's house. I am the son of Sir Job by a first wife. He was then poor, and I am told I have no claim upon his present wealth; but that gratitude and crouching are due for the favour of not turning me out of doors.

AUR.

It appears you feel your wrongs, but that you submit to them.

OL.

My father aids to inflict them unwillingly, and promises ultimate justice.

AUR.
[Page 26]

It is for your brother Jonas' sake that you are thus treated.

OL.

Not with his intention. He has the caprice and obstinacy of a pampered son, but his heart is open and kind.

AUR.

This impartiality is to your honor.

OL.

Our parents and seniors are in possession of their property, and the law tells them they have a right to dispose of that as they please; but the hearts and affections of the young are not in their keeping.

AUR.

Nay, nay, but every day's experience proves the contrary.

OL.

Can the cold and palsied hand of age tie the delicate knot of love?

AUR.

No: but, cold and palsied as it is, it can weave the inevitable web of misery.

OL.
(Ardently)

Be it so! Let me perish, so that I expire on the bosom of the woman I adore!

AUR.

And is there such a woman?

OL.

There is.

AUR.

Will you not tell her name?

OL.

Yes, when I can persuade myself she can sympathise with the strong and throbbing emotions of my heart.

AUR.

Heigho! Let us talk of the weather.

OL.

What are your thoughts on marriage?

AUR.

Thoughts! It is a subject on which a pennyless damsel must not cast a thought.

OL.

But if thoughts will intrude?

AUR.

Why then thoughts are very impertinent things.

OL.

Visitors which cannot be got rid of. There­fore what do you think of matrimony?

AUR.

That it is the paradise of pleasure for a [Page 27] few months, and the cave of despair for the re­mainder of life.

OL.

It is the cradle of love.

AUR.

Say the tomb: and, love being dead, jea­lousy, anger, ambition and avarice, all have full play.

OL.

What if love were vigorous enough to re­pel these ravagers?

AUR.

He then falls a victim to the petty warfare of caprice, dullness, and the desire of novelty.

OL.

What if beauty and wit be his guards?

AUR.

Alackaday! They are guards that always desert their post; and when on it are so intoxi­cated with self-admiration that they never do their duty.

OL.

It seems, they are dangerous companions.

AUR.

Ay, ay, let you and I beware of them.

OL.

I hope you do not follow the advice you give?

AUR.

If I do not follow, it will drive me.

OL.

Where?

AUR.

To—Pshaw! From this house. No, no; I don't know what I say! I shall be driven away by the arrogance of Lady Ferment, which my education does not fit me to endure.

OL.
(Taking her hand)

Then you are a stranger to love?

AUR.

Fie! Have done! We are two outcasts; but not I presume the outcasts of virtue. Her commands we must obey; and those irrevocable commands are to fly the danger we cannot face.

[Exit.
[...]
[...]

SCENE VII. Enter JONAS with a paper in his hand.

JON.

So, so, brother Nol! These are your tricks! It's my belief you are a sad dog among the girls.

OL.

And what are you, Jonas?

JON.

Me? Lord! I am nobody! They only laugh at me! But I'll begin a new course! I'll be a sad dog myself soon! You must know, I am confoundedly in love.

OL.

With whom?

JON.

Whom? Why with them all! And it's damned vexatious that I can't get one of them.

OL.

Jonas, beware: there is danger in your eagerness. Take a brother's advice, and don't indulge your appetites at the expence of your happiness.

[Exit.

SCENE VIII. Enter MONROSE.

MON.

Well, pupil, have you finished your theme?

JON.

Oh yes, I have finished my theme; and a rare theme it is! All of my own invention!

MON.

I am glad of that; it is a mark of im­provement.

JON.

Oh I shall improve apace, with your help.

MON.

Well, and what is the subject?

JON.

What is that to you?

MON.

Nay you must shew it me.

JON.

Must! When?

MON.

You should write nothing without my knowledge.

JON.

Why?

MON.

I am your governor.

JON.

Who told you so?

MON.
[Page 29]

Come, come, we will not contend for trifles. I am your friend, which is better. Let me see what you have written?

JON.

You'll shew it Sir Job?

MON.

I will not indeed.

JON.

Honor?

MON.

Depend upon me.

JON.

Nay I don't much care if you do. My mother rules the roast, and I rule my mother.—I told you I had an inkling to Miss Susan.

MON.

Ay, but—

JON.

None of your buts, or I'll play you a trick. I like her. She's no fool, and can't chuse but like me. So I have been inditing.

MON.

A love-letter?

JON.

I did it off-hand, at a smack. You shall hear.

(Reads)
My dear sweet Miss,

I am tired of being snubbed and snapped and crossed and contradicted by my fa­ther: for, though not so old, I am as tall as he. I don't like my mother a bit better; so I suppose you like your father and mother as little as I do mine: wherefore I have a proposal to make. I hate slavery; so if you'll take heart we'll be mar­ried, that we may both be free. The thought came into my head last night when you and I and the Count were at tea; so I had a mind to have told you just when I gave your knee two or three nudges, which did but make me think of it ten times the more: which is all at present.

Your loving friend till death, JONAS FERMENT.

Nota bene. An answer by the bearer is ex­pected.

MON.

Ha, ha, ha! An original composition.

JON.
[Page 30]

Will it do?

MON.

You come to the point.

JON.

Why not? I want to be my own master: so I want a wife, that I may be master of somebody else.

MON.

But you have said not a word of that.

JON.

Oh, when once we are married, she'll hear it soon enough.

SCENE IX. Enter LADY FERMENT.

LA. F.

My dear Jonas, have not you finished your morning studies yet?

JON.

Yes. I have just done.

LA. F.

I make it a particular request, Count, that you will not indulge the poor boy in severe application.

JON.

Oh leave that to me, mother.

LA. F.

Why do you always call me mother, dear?

JON.

Why a'n't you my mother?

LA. F.

Yes, my sweet boy! But mamma is more affectionate.

JON.

Very well, mamma.

(Mocking)
LA. F.

Or, now and then, madam.

JON.

I'll take care, madam.

LA. F.

And sometimes your ladyship, or my lady.

JON.

Oh to be sure, your ladyship, my lady.

LA. F.

Ah you are a saucy dear child.

JON.

Harkye, my lady your ladyship.

LA. F.

What do you say, bold face?

JON.

If I must not call you mother, don't call me child.

LA. F.

Hear him, Count! Dear impudent pet!

JON.

No, I'm too bashful by half; which makes the girls all giggle so at me.

LA. F.

Ah! Let me kiss you, brazen face.

JON.
[Page 31]

No, you shan't: I am a man, and I'll kiss somebody else.

LA. F.

Why, saucebox!

JON.

So I'll—I'll have a wife.

LA. F.

A wife?

JON.

Yes, I will; and since you won't look out for me, I have been looking out for myself.

LA. F.

Mercy! Jonas!

JON.

I tell you, I have.

LA. F.

Who?

JON.

A pretty girl.

LA. F.

Why, child!

JON.

I tell you, I am no child: I am a man, and I'll have her.

LA. F.

My dear Jonas, have pity on your poor mamma, and tell me who it is?

JON.

The Count's sister.

LA. F.

Miss Monrose?

JON.

Her neck is as white as the driven snow!

LA. F.

When have you seen her, child?

JON.

Oh, I have seen her often enough.

LA. F.

Count!—She is poor.

JON.

I like her the better.

LA. F.

Had you paid your addresses to a city heiress, indeed! Beside, you forget, child, you are to go on your travels.

JON.

What of that? She may go on her travels too. We shall have a young Jonas, and it will be a fine opportunity for him to see the world, like other travellers, before his eyes are open.

LA. F.

Oh! you dear, witty, wicked darling.

JON.

I have opened my mind to her.

LA. F.

Which way?

JON.

The right straight forward way, to be sure; by letter.

LA. F.
[Page 32]

Indeed! Count? And what answer have you received?

JON.

What do you mean by an answer, you silly woman? I have not sent it yet. What an­swer should I receive? She wants a husband, does not she? Beside, a'n't I as rich as—as—as a silver­smith's shop, or a banker's money-shovel? Which is just what I want first—so give me some.

LA. F.

Some what, child?

JON.

Cash. The ready.

LA. F.

You emptied my purse only yesterday.

JON.

What of that? I'll empty it again to­day.

LA. F.

Nay, my sweet boy, you are too extra­vagant.

JON.

I want a wife and money. You must fur­nish the last, that I may furnish myself with the first.

LA. F.

Pray, dear Jonas, spare me.

JON.

Come, come; give me the rhino, or, look you, I'll begin.

LA. F.

Begin what?

JON.

To swear.

LA. F.

Mercy, child!

JON.

I will, like ten troopers!

LA. F.

For heaven's sake, don't terrify me!

JON.

Give me the shiners then.

LA. F.

I must not.

JON.

Then I'll swear away.

LA. F.

I shall faint.

JON.

Curse my boots and shoes, but I will.

LA. F.

Jonas!

JON.

I will by—

LA. F.
(Gives her purse)

Here, here! How can you, child, be guilty of such immorality?

JON.
[Page 33]

You should bribe me to be better.

LA. F.

Money, dear, should never be got by immoral means.

JON.

Then it will never be got at all.

LA. F.

It would send us to a bad place.

JON.

Ah! There will be a deal of the best com­pany in that bad place. He that has money in his pocket is welcome every where.

[Exit.

SCENE X.

LA. F.

I must tell you, Count, your behaviour astonishes me.

MON.
(With studied humility)

Extremely sorry to have astonished your Ladyship.

LA. F.

Permit my son to visit your sister!

MON.

Your Ladyship's son did not ask my leave.

LA. F.

A youth of his fortune and connections!

MON.

True: they are so great that, by your Ladyship's own order, he is never to be contra­dicted.

LA. F.

How came he to know, Sir, you had a sister?

MON.

Very naturally, my Lady. I told him.

LA. F.

Oh you did!

MON.

I humbly hope the liberty was not un­pardonable.

LA. F.

Your hopes, Sir, are insolent!

MON.

I bow to the mildness of your Ladyship's reproof.

LA. F.

I supposed you a gentleman, or I should not have appointed you my son's tutor.

MON.

I hope my gentility will not disgrace that of your Ladyship's son.

LA. F.

Your gentility, Sir! Your title of Count [Page 34] might give an eclat as the tutor of my son: but of what real value is it?

MON.

Of very little, indeed, my Lady: it will not sell for a guinea.

LA. F.

And may be bought for a guinea where you procured it.

MON.

"Happy country!"

LA. F.

But I will instantly put an end to such proceedings.

MON.

Let me humbly entreat your Ladyship not to be rash.

LA. F.

Rash, Sir?

MON.

I may well have been to blame, since doubts are entertained whether even your Ladyship have escaped immaculate!

LA. F.

Sir!

MON.

I bend before your virtue, dangerous as the assaults are which I know it has endured!

LA. F.

You know, Sir! What is it you would insinuate?

MON.

Pardon me for having eyes and ears! Pardon their indiscretion when the gallant High­lander—

LA. F.

Sir!—The Highlander!

MON.

At the masquerade, led the scarlet do­mino so tenderly to her chair, ordered it to Clarges­street, followed muffled up—

LA. F.

I shall sink!

MON.

Shall I support your Ladyship?

LA. F.

Upon my word, upon my honor, Count—

MON.

Oh, my Lady! I will champion your honor.

LA. F.

You safely may, indeed, indeed!

MON.

I will swear it! And who shall dare to [Page 35] doubt? The only boon I ask is that my sister may be your gracious Ladyship's friend.

LA. F.

But surely, Count, not my daughter?

MON.

The Highlander, my Lady, was a re­markably handsome man!

LA. F.
(A knocking at the street door)

I suppose this is Sir Job: what will he say?

MON.

Oh▪ your Ladyship and I possess the se­cret of making Sir Job say whatever we please.

LA. F.

Indeed! Was he too at the masquerade?

MON.

He has been in masquerade a great part of his life.

LA. F.

You are an incomprehensible man, Count.

MON.

I shall find a time, my Lady, to make myself understood.

SCENE XI. Enter SERVANT.

SERVANT.

Here is a dressed up kind of country lady, that asks for her brother Harry.

MON.

Well, Sir?

SERVANT.

So not knowing her, I kept her back with my arm and—

MON.

Do not be impertinent, Sir. Show her up.

SERVANT.
(Going)

Impertinent! This foreign Count takes upon him finely!

[Exit.

SCENE XII.

MON.

'Tis my sister.

LA. F.

I will leave you alone.

MON.

Shall I not introduce her to your Lady­ship?

LA. F.

Introduce?—Oh, certainly! Certainly. I'll return in a moment.

MON.
[Page 36]
(Bowing)

I will remember your conde­scension.

LA. F.

But my honor, Count.

MON.

I am its guardian, and who shall dare impeach it? We are friends.

LA. F.

Most sincerely—I wish he was at the divle with all my heart.

[Exit.

SCENE XIII. Enter SERVANT and SUSAN.

SERVANT.

There is the Count, Madam.

SUS.

Did not I tell thee, oaf, it was brother Harry? Thou'll believe me another time, I hope.

SERVANT.

I'll take good care, Madam.

MON.
(Giving him money)

Here.

SERVANT.

Oh, oh! That alters the case.

[Exit.

SCENE XIV.

MON.

What has been the matter?

SUS.

Why, I curchied, and axt for you civilly enough: so a pulled and hauled me and made a combustibus.

MON.

You should behave like other ladies.

SUS.

Harry, Harry, I have no right to any such title.

MON.

Why not? Where is the difference be­tween Susan Monrose and a lady?

SUS.

Why that be what I canno' find out. But what mun I say now thee hast brought me here? Mun I tell how I left father in dudgeon and run­ned away i' the broad wheeled waggon?

MON.

Not for your life.

SUS.

I shall never personate mysel': I shanno' know how to demander my carriage. I shall nei­ther [Page 37] know when to speak nor when to hold my tongue.

MON.

Fear nothing; make your remarks freely on all you have heard and seen since you came to London.

SUS.

Nay then belemmy I shall have enough to talk on. But you have made me dress mysel' out in such tawdry flippets and flappets, so that I amsuch a mawx I can't abide mysel'.

MON.

They will soon hang easy on you.

SUS.

There han I sitten a long long hour while that outlandish barber, wi' his burning irons, wur a frowzling and a frizzling my top. And then, last of aw, a blinded me wi' dinging o' flour i' my face! No christian soul i' our town would know me! I do believe they'd shout and set the dogs at me!

MON.

Curse our town! Lady Ferment is com­ing. Up with your head, down with your shoul­ders, keep your arms back, talk away, and don't seem abashed.

SUS.

Well, well, dunno' be cross, and I'll do my best.

SCENE XV. Re-enter LADY FERMENT: they salute.

LA. F.

I congratulate you, madam, on your safe arrival in London.

SUS.

Yea, belemmy, we came safe and softly enough.

LA. F.

How did you travel, madam?

SUS.

Why, I came by the broad wheeled—

MON.

By the Budworth coach, my Lady. But as your Ladyship hears my sister speaks the Cheshire dialect.

SUS.
[Page 38]

Yea, belemmy, I dunno' much understand the Lunnun tongue.

LA. F.

You have been sometime in town?

SUS.

Five weeks and two days.

LA. F.

Have you seen much of it?

SUS.

Yea, marry, I ha' seen more nur any mo­dest body could for shame say.

LA. F.

Pray let me hear.

SUS.

Nay, nay, but an I dunno' take special care I know my tongue will soon get o' the wrong side o' my teeth.

LA. F.

Never fear.

MON.

Her Ladyship will allow for your country education, and I am sure will take nothing amiss.

LA. F.

Oh, by no means.

SUS.

Why then, i' my mind, as for your dress­ed up Lunnun moppets here, wi' their bare necks and painted faces! Marcy on's! They look as if—

MON.

As if what?

SUS.

I say nought.

LA. F.

You judge severely, Miss.

SUS.

Ay, ay, Miss! Every Molly now-a-days be a Miss! There be Miss Hop, and her papa the dancing-master: she be one of your high-flying tip-top Misses. Wi' her nose tossed i' the air and her trail sweeping the street. Then there be Miss Midge: her papa keeps a milk-cellar, and she be a more bedizened and a greater Miss nur t'other.

LA. F.

But, you do not think them all alike?

SUS.

No, truly: there be three sort o' folk i' Lunnun. There be they that ha' more money nur wit, they that ha' more wit nur money, and they that ha' noather t'on nor t'other.

LA. F.
[Page 39]

And of which kind do you think me?

SUS.

Why, begging pardon for my audacity, I do suppose your Ladyship may ha' more money nur wit.

MON.
(Aside)

Well said, Susan!

LA. F.

And why?

SUS.

Belike your Ladyship ha' been so busied i' spending your money you hanno' had time to learn much wit.

MON.
(Aside)

A shrewd gipsy!—What do you mean by wit, sister?

SUS.

That be a wise question! Your Lunnun fine Madams hanno' the wit to make a bed, dust a table, or darn a stocking. They canno' so much as ready their own hair, or fettle a cap; poor crea­tures! But are obligated to hire some needy body to do every varsal kind o' thing.

LA. F.

Then you think the needy have more wit than money?

SUS.

Yea, by my troth; and not much of oather.

MON.
(Aside)

Oh, the malicious little hussey!

SCENE XVI. Enter AURELIA.

LA. F.

Well, child, have you executed my commissions?

AUR.

To the best of my ability, madam.

LA. F.
(Haughtily)

Madam?

AUR.

I beg your Ladyship's pardon.

LA. F.

Oh! Remember to be more respectful.

MON.
(To Aurelia with great attention and kind­ness)

Permit me to introduce my sister.

(Aurelia and Susan salute and converse.)

SCENE XVII. Enter OLIVER.

LA. F.

Now, Sir!

OL.
(Bows. Then aside)

I hoped Aurelia had been alone.

LA. F.

What is your business?

OL.

None: or any that your Ladyship shall please to give me.

LA. F.

If you have none, Sir, your intrusion is unmannerly.

OL.

I beg pardon.

(Aside to Aurelia)

Will you walk in the Park presently?

AUR.

No.

OL.

Let me intreat you.

AUR.

Impossible.

OL.

I have something essential to say.

AUR.

We have said too much already.

LA. F.

What is all this whispering? Please, Sir, to go and see if Sir Job is come in.

[Exit Oliver intreating Aurelia by gesture, and she refusing.

SCENE XVIII.

MON.
(To Aurelia)

I hope you will be good friends.

AUR.
(Giving her hand to Susan)

With all my heart.

SUS.

And wi' aw my heart and soul too. You are a farrantly body; and I like you: that I do. I like you.

LA. F.

While you stay in town do me the favor, Miss Monrose, to accept apartments in my house. Aurelia, come with me.

[Exit.
MON.

Are you going?

AUR.
[Page 41]

I must obey: but I will tell you a secret▪ My residence here will be short.

LA. F.
(Behind)

Are you coming, child?

AUR.

You hear!

[Exit.

SCENE XIX.

MON.

Is not she a charming girl, sister?

SUS.

Yea, belemmy, she's quite a farrantly body; and I like her.

MON.

I knew you would. I must now tell you a little more of my plan.

SUS.

Hold, Harry. If it be aught against con­science dunno' tell it me! Dunno'!

Mon.

Pshaw! I must tell you, and you must act like a sister. Your aid is indispensible. Listen and guard what I shall relate as you would life. Aurelia is a rich heiress, cheated by two old har­pies; who want her out of the way.

SUS.

Marcy! Be that possable?

MON.

Literally true.

SUS.

And dunno' she know it?

MON.

No, nor suspect it.

SUS.

Marry but I'll run and tell her.

MON.
(Holding her)

Are you mad? 'Tis I must tell her.

SUS.

Nay but wo't thee, Harry?

MON.

Most certainly. But I must wait the pro­per moment. I love her, and am determined to secure her fortune and marry her.

SUS.

Ay, but what an she wunno' ha' thee, Harry?

MON.

Why should she refuse?

SUS.

She may have other likings.

MON.

I care not if she have.

SUS.

Did no' thee mind how that young spark and she just now gave one another such looks?

MON.
[Page 42]

I did. I read their meaning. They struck to my heart! But no matter: let me once have her in my power, let me secure her mine, and I warrant I will reconcile her to the disap­pointment.

SUS.

But dost thee truly and faithfully love her, Harry?

MON.

From my soul.

SUS.

And thee wo't use her like a mon?

MON.

To her heart's desire.

SUS.

Why then setting that to be the case, Harry, I'll do my best for thee.

MON.

Seek her company, work yourself into her affections, and insinuate those good qualities which you know I possess.

SUS.

I wish thee wur not a Count, Harry. Howsomdever, as far as conscience and honesty will go, I'll do my best.

[Exit.

SCENE XX.

MON.

Why ay! Success, fortune, and Aurelia shall be mine! As for fame, give me but wealth, and that will come unasked. And yet my cursed querulous conscience takes part with my sister, and upbraids me for being an impostor. Absurd! Who are not impostors? Is any man the thing he seems? And, if feign we must, is it not better to feign something that the world respects, than something that it despises? The son of a curate, I have dashed into life, met variety of adventures, visited the Continent, and assumed the airs of a foreign Count. I have certainly disgraced myself; but the world does not think so. Who would shew his naked face when a mask is so pleasant, so profitable, and so easily put on? My father gave me education, Nature gave me desires, and I have [Page 43] given myself a title. Why not? "If I am not a lord, it seems I ought to have been. I find no difficulty in being as extravagant as a lord, as proud as a lord, as idle as a lord, and as impudent as a lord. I could game like a lord, be duped like a lord, run in debt like a lord, and never pay, as naturally as if I had been born a lord. Let lords look to it, then, and reform. Let them be as superior to the poor in virtue as they are in power, and I will blush for being an impostor."

[Exit.

ACT III.

SCENE I. The House of SIR JOB.

SIR JOB and MR. TAUNTON.
SIR JOB.

MY Lady is gone out, and we are safe enough here.

MR. T.

Safe enough? In danger enough, you mean! Were you mad or drunk to admit Aurelia Roland into your house?

SIR J.

What could I do?

MR. T.

The orphan whom as executor you had robbed of her whole fortune.

SIR J.

I? It was you! You proposed the plan.

MR. T.
[Page 44]

And you carried it into effect.

SIR J.

You had one half of her property.

MR. T.

With good right! Fools catch the fish, wise men eat them.

(Half-aside)
SIR J.

My wife brought her here in spite of my teeth.

MR. T.
(Half-aside)

The wife will rule when the husband's a fool. As for me, I have proved it to you again and again that I have been her best friend.

SIR J.

Nay, then, so have I.

MR. T.

Do you think, if she had known her­self to be the heiress of a great fortune, that her behaviour would have been so modest?

SIR J.

Oh, no!

MR. T.

Her manners so winning?

SIR J.

Certainly not.

MR. T.

Her wit so keen? She may thank me, and me only, that she is not a vain, capricious, pert, prating, sprig of fashion.

SIR J.

Oh, her fortune has been no loss to her.

MR. T.

And a great gain to us.

SIR J.

We knew how to make a good use of the money.

MR. T.

And to make a good use of money is to be honest.

SIR J.

Yes: we convinced each other, at the time, that we acted like honest men.

MR. T.

And now, at present, what would she do with her wealth, if she had it?

SIR J.

Ay, and how could we do without it?

MR. T.

She would know nothing of the price of stocks.

SIR J.

She would never buy in at a proper time.

MR. T.
[Page 45]

Buy in? She would always be selling out!

SIR J.

Instead of a good mortgage, she would be for the purchase of some rake helly husband—

MR. T.

That would call us to account.

SIR J.

Cut our throats.

MR. T.

Blow us upon 'Change.

SIR J.

File bills in Chancery.

MR. T.

Deliver us over to the sword.

SIR J.

And the law.

MR. T.

"And the church."

SIR J.

And the devil.

MR. T.

She must be got rid of.

SIR J.

I have a thought.

MR. T.

What?

SIR J.

You have seen my son's tutor.

MR. T.

Yes: a keen fellow.

SIR J.

Has great influence with my wife.

MR. T.

Surely!

SIR J.

A bold, dashing, impudent—one of your swaggering genteels.

MR. T.

Certain then to be a favourite with the ladies.

SIR J.

Secure him and the business is done. But do you know, from something he said this morning—

(A noise heard without)

Bless me! what's that?

MON.
(Without)

What are you doing, Sir?

JON.
(Without)

What is that to you?

SIR J.

This way.

[Exeunt Sir Job and Mr. Taunton to an inner chamber.

SCENE II. Enter JONAS and MONROSE.

MON.

Why did you kick the servant's brushes and pail down stairs?

JON.
[Page 46]

Because I like it. It's my humour. What business had you to let me go to that cursed hazard table?

MON.

I let! Did not I struggle, and hold you; and did not you drive a pin into my arm, and break from me?

JON.

Serve you right! Why did you tell me of such a pick-pocket place?

MON.

We were passing, you read the word "Billiards," and I merely remarked it was a gam­ing-house.

JON.

Well! It's genteel. I like to game.

MON.

Then you must be content to lose.

JON.

But I don't chuse to lose. I chuse to win. You should have taken care of that.

MON.

I?

JON.

Yes, you.

(Sulkily)

My watch and all gone.

MON.

I could not stop you.

JON.

Nya! Who says you could? Do you think I am to be stopped by you?

SCENE III. Enter LADY FERMENT.

LA. F.

Jonas, dear, what is the matter?

JON.
(Continuing sulky)

Matter enough.

LA. F.

Bless me! Something has happened! What is it, Count?

MON.

I am sorry to tell your Ladyship; but the truth must be known.

LA. F.

I am ready to sink! What?

JON.

I have lost my money.

LA. F.

Is that all?

JON.

All! Yes; and enough too.

LA. F.

What a tremble you have put me in!

JON.

You always grumble to give me more. I have no watch now.

LA. F.
[Page 47]

Is that gone too? You will ruin your poor mother.

JON.

Serve her right, for having ruined her poor son. So give me twenty shiners.

LA. F.

My dear child, I have not them.

JON.

Get them, then.

LA. F.

I cannot! Indeed, Jonas, I cannot!

JON.

But you must.

LA. F.

Where? Which way?

JON.

You know the way fast enough, without my telling.

LA. F.

I can prevail on Sir Job to do any thing, except part with his money.

JON.

What signifies your wrangling? You know very well I will have them.

LA. F.

Indeed, my dear, you cannot.

JON.

Can't I? Then I'll go and throw myself into the Serpentine river.

LA. F.

Cruel boy!

JON.

"As sure as you are living, I will.

LA. F.

Hear me!

JON.

I'll go.

LA. F.

For heaven's sake stay!" You will be my death.

JON.

It's a death of your own seeking.

MON.
(Aside)

The reproof is just.

SCENE IV. Re-enter through the same door SIR JOB and MR. TAUNTON: the latter bows and passes on.

SIR J.

What, Count, have you and your pupil been walking?

MON.

Yes, Sir, we are just returned.

(Going)
SIR J.
(Aside to Monrose)

When my Lady is gone, I wish to speak with you.

MON.

I will attend you.

[Exit.

SCENE V.

JON.
(Aside to Lady Ferment)

I am going.

LA. F.
(Terrified)

Stay.

JON.

Will you tease the old one then for me?

LA. F.

You know, good for nothing, that I will.

SIR J.

Now, lapwing! Where's your brother Oliver?

JON.
(Bowing)

Can't tell, Sir Job.

SIR J.

Has he learnt better manners?

JON.

Don't know, Sir Job. If he would but have come with me, I would have taught him, Sir Job.

LA. F.

You hear, deary, what an obedient son you have got.

SIR J.

Ah! The dog can be saucy enough.

JON.
(Bowing)

So I can, Sir Job.

SIR J.

Oh! Oh! You can?

JON.

It is not good manners to contradict my papa, Sir Job.

LA. F.

You don't know, sweet, how Jonas loves you.

JON.

No, that you don't, Sir Job: nor you never shall know.

LA. F.

What a happy man my dearest is in a son and a wife!

SIR J.

Very true, lovy.

(Aside)

I guess what she wants.

LA. F.

And I indeed am the happiest of women. Yet it is in my lambkin's power to make me hap­pier still.

SIR J.

Ay truly!

(Aside)

It won't do.

LA. F.

Will you consent?

SIR J.

Certainly I can refuse my turtle nothing.

(Aside)

I foresee a storm.

LA. F.

And deary shall have his Cyprus wine, [Page 49] his turtle soup, and any thing my hands can make him.

SIR J.

Thank you, lovy! Hem!—So you know nothing about Oliver?

LA. F.

How should he, biddy? He is likely enough at some gaming table.

JON.

Oh! Five pounds to a crown at a gaming table! They are sad places—vile, damned, pick­pocket places.

SIR J.

Zounds, you dog, how dare you swear?

LA. F.

And so, deary, now to make me com­pletely happy.

SIR J.

Yes, my lambkin.

LA. F.

If you could let me have just a little loose cash.

SIR J.

I have no loose cash, deary.

LA. F.

Nah, my sweet one, if it were only fifty pounds.

SIR J.

Hem! No more, jewel?

LA. F.

I perceive, Sir Job, you are determined not to make me happy.

SIR J.
(Aside)

It is coming—I thought, lovy, that you were happy.

LA. F.

Your evasions are vain, Sir.

SIR J.
(Aside)

I wish Oliver was here—I must be going, lambkin.

LA. F.

Your miserly propensities are contemp­tible. I'll be the slave of them no longer.

SCENE VI. Enter OLIVER.

OL.

What is the matter, Sir? Why is her La­dyship so angry?

LA. F.

What is that to you, Sir?

SIR J.
(Aside to Oliver)

That's right! Stand by your father, you dog, or I'll disinherit you.

OL.
[Page 50]

Oh, Sir, you are in no need of support.

SIR J.
(Aside)

You lie, sirrah, I am.

OL.

Lady Ferment is too loving, too tender a wife—

LA. F.

To need your interference, insolent Sir.

OL.

There, Sir, I told you so.

LA. F.

This usage shall not continue, Sir Job.

SIR J.

No surely, my Lady.

(Aside to Oliver)

Don't mind what I say—Do you know, strip­ling, in whose presence you are?

(Aside)

Speak up.

OL.
(Bowing)

In the presence of Lady Fer­ment, Sir.

JON.

Oh, Nol, you are a sly fellow.

SIR. J.

Do you forget that I have a right to knock you down when I please? Bombs and gunpowder, get out of my sight.

(Aside)

You may follow me—Begone, you vile—what shall I call you?—See to the settling of that account with Paywell and Co. Five hundred nineteen seven and six in our favour. Get about your bu­siness you, you, you Saracen Turk!

LA. F.
(Following)

Why, Sir Job, I say—

JON.

I must have some money. The Serpentine river! Remember! I want pleasure, I want a wife, I want a thousand things. I will have some mo­ney.

(Follows.)

SCENE VII. (As they go off, MONROSE enters.)

MON.

What, is he gone?

(Enter SUSAN from the Door through which Sir Job and Mr. Taunton retired.)
SUS.
(Greatly affected)

Oh Harry! I am main glad I have found thee.

MON.

What is the matter?

SUS.
[Page 51]

I have overheard such base villainy!

MON.

How? Where?

SUS.

Why a bit a gone I was righting mysel' i' the little back room there; and so I had steckt the door o' th' inside; and there I heard a voice come into the next chamber and talk to somebody, and somebody gave answer in a gruff sound, and there, merciful goodness, forgive me! There did they argument over the making away with Miss Aurelia!

MON.

Making away with her!

SUS.

As I am a christian soul they did.

MON.

You mean getting her out of the way, I suppose.

SUS.

Nay, but that wur not aw, Harry, for they presently talked over thy name! They did, as I live and breathe! And mentioned of thee being consarned i' the plot! They did!

MON.

Me?

SUS.

If thee beest, Harry, if thee beest, Lord ha' mercy on thee!

MON.

Don't be frightened, fool.

SUS.

Nay but art thee, Harry?

MON.

Pshaw! No.

SUS.

Nay but art thee? I charge thee tell me verily and truly! Art thee?

MON.

Once more, no, no.

SUS.

I doubt thee, Harry, I do mortally doubt thee! Lord, lord, where is she? What wull be­come of her?

MON.

Be pacified.

SUS.

Thou art a good mon's son, Harry: think o' that. Dunno' disgrace thy parentage.

MON.
(Sternly)

Once more, girl, have done. I am as eager as you can be in Aurelia's defence. I [Page 52] only determine to share the good I mean to confer. Hark! I hear Sir Job! Begone!

SUS.
(Going)

Nay but bethink thee, Harry: say thy prayers and defy temptation. Do do, for the Lord Almighty's sake do! For I do mainly doubt the wicked one is often at thy elbow.

[Exit.
MON.

What an impassioned little fool it is!

SCENE VIII. Enter SIR JOB and MR. TAUNTON.

SIR J.

Now we are alone, Count, I wish to say a word concerning this young woman: this Aure­lia.

MON.

Alone, Sir?

SIR J.

Mr. Taunton is my friend.

MON.

Yes, and confederate.

MR. T.

Confederate, Sir?

MON.

Ay, Sir, confederate.

(Aside)

I must rouse their terrors—Are not you of opinion, gen­tlemen, that there is a deal of roguery in this world?

SIR J.

Why I—

MR. T.

Perhaps there may.

MON.

Gross villany! Legal robbers!

SIR J.

Are are are there?

MON.

That plunder the defenceless, strip the widow, and defraud the orphan: "yet assume to themselves the port of justice, and condemn wretches in rags by wholesale, ay, to the gallows, for petty three farthing thefts; while their own enormities are dressed out in authority, and law is made the guardian of great crimes and the merci­less punisher of the unprotected."

SIR J.

Are—Do do do you think so?

MON.
(To Taunton)

Have you never known an instance?

MR. T.
[Page 53]

Why I—I—Go with the crowd, if you would be kept in countenance.

MON.
(To Sir Job)

Are you acquainted with no such person?

SIR J.

I—Really you nonplus me. I don't know what to say.

MON.

Say? Why say the truth. Say that it is a depraved, oppressive, despicable world; and that he who would live in it, if he would not be trodden under foot, must be like it. Come, let us acknow­ledge ourselves knaves.

MR. T.

Knaves?

MON.

Ay, Sir, knaves; and glory in having the wit to be so. Then men will fear us, fawn on us, crouch to us, bear us on their shoulders while living, and raise altars to us when dead.

MR. T.

Hem!—Men must sell as markets go.

SIR J.

Really, Count, you you are very free. I—I—I mean severe.

MON.

You mistake, Sir. So compassionate am I that the secret you wot of hitherto rests with my­self.

MR. T.

Does it?

MON.

It does.

SIR J.

And shall it rest there?

MON.

Humph!—That—that is the point in debate. There are two old gentlemen of my ac­quaintance, and I, who resemble each other exceed­ingly.

MR. T.

Ay! In what?

MON.

They love money; so do I. They wish to get a deal of it in a short way; so do I. They have relations whom they would be glad to pro­vide for at other people's expence.

MR. T.

And so would you?

MON.
[Page 54]

If they are prudent we may come to terms: if not—

MR. T.

Let me tell you, Sir, I don't under­stand all this.

MON.

No? Then you are very dull of appre­hension.

MR. T.

Mischief hatch, mischief catch.

SIR J.
(To Taunton)

Are you mad?

MR. T.

Serpents breed in still waters. Do evil and look for the like.

MON.

Well, well. Yonder comes a Lady who may quicken your faculties.

SIR J.

Nay but hark you, Count.

MON.

Since the gentleman does not know her, I will introduce him.

SIR J.

For heaven's sake! Make your own terms! This way! Ask what you please.

MON.

Well, provided Sir Gravity have reco­vered his understanding.

SIR J.
(Hurrying Monrose off)

I will be an­swerable. This way! This way!

[Exeunt Monrose and Sir Job: Taunton follows muttering.]
MR. T.

Noisy fowlers catch no birds. Fools fish in troubled waters.

[Exit.

SCENE IX. Enter SUSAN at one Door, AURELIA at another.

SUS.
(To herself)

That be the same gruff voice! For sure they have been plotting together. Oh, Harry, Harry!—

(Enter Aurelia)

—Dear Miss, I be glad I ha' found you!

AUR.

And so am I. I am sorry to tell you, my sweet girl, that in all probability our acquaintance must soon end.

SUS.
[Page 55]

Nay but why? I like you dearly! In faith and troth I do!

AUR.

I believe it. Sympathy tells me you are sincere. But I must quit this house.

SUS.

Mun you? I be glad o' that.

AUR.

True: You are a witness of my painful situation. What! Hire myself to be obliging? Take money to be a pretty behaved hypocrite? Bribed to be silent when I ought to speak, and to speak when I ought to be silent? Submit not only to insult but to deceit? Oh no! The terrors of poverty shall not compel me to that.

SUS.

Do you know, I have a secret to tell you.

AUR.

Ay! What is it?

SUS.

Why, first of aw, brother has a liking to you.

AUR.

To me?

SUS.

A's mortaciously in love!

AUR.

Surely you mistake.

SUS.

No no, but I dunno'; a told me so himsel'.

AUR.

I am sorry for it.

SUS.

Nay but surely, surely, brother be a likely mon?

AUR.

I don't deny it.

SUS.

A made a positive declaration that a likes you desperately.

AUR.

He is to blame. Heigho!

SUS.

Mayhap your liking looks another way?

AUR.

My dear girl, I read the honest sincerity of your heart: I will therefore own there is but one man on earth—and for him I must never hope.

SUS.

So poor brother has no chance?

AUR.

Oh no, my affections are unalterable.

SUS.

A's well spoken! Well shaped! A has a mort o' learning! There be few can fellow him.

AUR.
[Page 56]

I grant you all; but my heart is gone.

SUS.

Why then, sin' it be positively so, aw's said and done. I know too sure that where one likes one likes: so do you take care o' yoursel'.

AUR.

What do you mean?

SUS.

Why I munno' tell! There be mischief hatching against you: but I munno' tell!

AUR.

Against me?

SUS.

I abominate such wickedness, but I should break my heart if any harm were to behappen him.

AUR.

Who?

SUS.

Why—No, I munno' tell!—But sin' you be for going, go. Lunnun be a wicked place! You dunno' know belike that you are what they caw a rich heir.

AUR.

I rich.

SUS.

As I am a living soul you be. But do you make haste from this house; and be sure you let me know all about you! Be sure you do, for mayhap I may see you righted yet. So pray you now dunno' forget me. I shall never forget you: and so I may happen to see you righted. Good bye. Lord Al­mighty bless you! Good bye!

[Exit in great trepidation.

SCENE X.

AUR.

What can this dear warm-hearted creature mean? She has raised a thousand tumultuous hopes and fears!—Whither can I go? To whom can I fly? Rich? An heiress? Plots against me? Is it my person or my life? I am strangely agitated! To take leave may be dangerous; and to depart secretly has the air of guilt. Fearful of others, suspecting myself, and abandoned to a world of which I am ignorant, my heart sinks at the pro­spect. [Page 57] But, like a traveller in a desert, I must pro­ceed or perish.

SCENE XI. Enter SIR GUY, followed by a Servant.

SIR G.

Hark ye, young man, I ordered my car­riage to take me up here: pray tell me when it comes.

SERVANT.

Yes, Sir.

[Exit.
AUR.

It is Sir Guy.

SIR G.

A devilish fine girl, upon my soul! Seems desirous to speak to me—Your servant, Madam.

AUR.

Sir Guy, your servant.

SIR G.

You are acquainted with me, I find: may I take the freedom to ask who you are?

AUR.

A helpless woman without a friend, and about to stray I know not whither.

SIR G.

Is it possible? Are you acquainted here?

AUR.

I came to be the companion of Lady Fer­ment.

SIR G.

Oh, oh, you are my young friend Oli­ver's angel?

AUR.

No, no, Sir Guy, mere mortal.

SIR G.

And you find your situation irksome?

AUR.

Not to be endured.

SIR G.

No wonder. What is your plan?

AUR.

I have none. I am almost tempted to cast myself on the mercy of the first human being that will protect me.

SIR G.

Will you go home with me?

AUR.

That might be rash: yet from all I have heard you have the heart of a man.

SIR G.

I don't know.

AUR.
[Page 58]

You would not inflict misery for the plea­sure of seeing it.

SIR G.

Don't be too sure.

AUR.

You would neither despise nor add to the wretchedness you could not relieve.

SIR G.

Don't presume too far.

AUR.

You would not contemn the forlorn, in­sult the feeble, nor trample on the distressed.

SIR G.

Zounds, Madam, do you know that I am a Baronet of seven thousand a year; and that I am but man? That I have raging desires, irri­tating sensations, headlong passions, and the means of gratifying them? Do you know all that?

AUR.

I am glad that you do.

SIR G.

That I cannot look on you, young beautiful and unprotected as you are, without feel­ing a mixture of emotions, some perhaps kind, some ridiculous, and some—Come, you shall go home with me.

AUR.

Would you not despise me?

SIR G.

What, for trusting me: or believing me better than I am?

AUR.

Indeed I have not an abject spirit.

SIR G.

What do you praise yourself for? Don't I tell you that your smiles have enchanted me? Come!

AUR.

Well, I will accept your protection for a short time, but not an hour longer than I can find the means without servility of supplying my own few wants.

SIR G.

Heyday! Few? The few wants of a fine lady!

AUR.

I have no pretensions to the character.

SIR G.

Hussey, hussey! By my soul I shall grow foolish. Your air, your shape, your looks, your [Page 59] sentimental prattle are so many Syrens. Come, come along.

AUR.

I am told I have dangerous enemies. Perhaps I am silly, but my fears have been alarm­ed. Suffer me to walk alone and unnoticed to the Square.

SIR G.

Nay, but why?

AUR.

I will give you my reasons in the carriage.

SIR G.

Well, well; any thing you wish. Should you ask me to marry, you are such a bewitching sorceress, curse me if I should not instantly com­ply. I am sure I should, so don't tempt me. Nor don't let my title, nor my seven thousand a year, tempt you. Sit at a proper distance, and turn your eyes t'other way, or, in spite of sixty-five, I shall be fascinated.

[Exit.

SCENE XII. Enter OLIVER.

OL.

I am happy once more to find you alone. I have been watching for it with tormenting anxiety.

AUR.

And why?

OL.

My heart is overcharged almost to burst­ing, and will have relief. Pardon the rashness with which I utter thoughts that I can no longer restrain.

AUR.

Nay, pray desist.

OL.

I have not the power. The tide of passion hurries me headlong forward; and, were death to follow like a thunderbolt, I must fall lifeless at your feet with the words trembling on my lip—I love.

AUR.

I intreat you to forbear! Think how we are situated.

OL.

Till now I knew not how heavy a curse [Page 60] poverty and dependence can inflict. But I ask nothing, hope nothing, save the assurance that you do not love another—Is that denied me?—Your silence is distracting!

AUR.

You mistake. Be pacified. Pray leave me: we may be observed.

OL.

Oh, that I could communicate but a spark of the fire that devours me! Surely the strong sympathies I feel cannot all be false; and they tell me, rapturous delusion! that our souls pair instinc­tively. The mind that animates your beauteous form, and plays in your features, so harmonizes with my own that I seem conscious only of exist­ence in your sight!

AUR.

Once more forbear. Affected coyness I despise. If I appear to fly you, 'tis the severity of my fate to force me on that which perhaps rends my heart with as keen a pang as yours can feel.—Farewel!

[Exit.
OL.
(Alarmed)

Farewel! Why farewel? Aure­lia!

[Exit following.

ACT IV.

SCENE I. The House of Mr. QUAKE.

Enter MONROSE and QUAKE, the latter alarmed.
MON.
(Speaking to persons without)

BF kind enough to stay there, Mr. Buffalo, with your assistants, and let nobody pass.

QUA.

What is the reason of this, Sir?

MON.
[Page 61]

Be patient. You'll hear soon enough. I think, Mr. Quake, you have long been the attor­ney of Mr. Taunton?

QUA.
(His alarm increasing as Monrose proceeds)

Yes.—Yes, Sir—for thirty years.

MON.

Have transacted all his secret concerns?

QUA.

I, Sir, I—I have done his business.

MON.

Nay, nay, but his secret business?

QUA.

What do you mean, Sir?

MON

Can't you guess?

QUA.

I, Sir?

MON.

Did you never hear of one Admiral Roland?

QUA.
(Aside)

Mercy!—No.

MON.

Yes, you have.

QUA.

No.

MON.

Why do you tremble?

QUA.

Me? I am a little nervous. I am very ill. I am taken I don't know how.

MON.

No; you are not taken yet: they are only waiting for you.

QUA.

For me, Sir? What have I done?

MON.

Aided and abetted in robbing an orphan.

QUA.

As I hope for mercy I never robbed any body in my life; out of the honest way of my pro­fession.

MON.

Yes, but the honest way of your profes­sion won't save your neck, though you are a lawyer, unless Aurelia Roland and her fortune too be forthcoming.

QUA.

I have not a farthing of her fortune, Sir.

MON.

Evasion is only waste of time. Aurelia Roland has been forced or lured away from the house of Sir Job.

QUA.

If she has, I have had no concern in it.

MON.
[Page 62]

But you know where she is, Goodman Quibble.

QUA.

Who could tell you that, Sir?

MON.

An intimate friend of yours, Sir; to whom you tell all your secrets. Mrs. Clack.

QUA.
(Aside)

The devil take Mrs. Clack—I happened to be passing through the Square; and there, by accident—I saw Miss Roland step into the carriage with Sir Guy Taunton.

MON.

Oh, oh! With Sir Guy! It seems then, by accident, you do know her; and, by accident, you must remain in the custody of these gentlemen without: that I may be sure of your testimony when it is wanted.

QUA.

I in custody, Sir? 'Tis a lawyer's business to put people in custody.

MON.

Or that or immediately go with me be­fore a magistrate. Your character will then be blown past all remedy. If you comply and behave prudently, you may still perhaps be suffered to wear the mask of honesty.

QUA.

Indeed, Sir, you wrong me. I am honest.

MON.

Ha, ha, ha!

QUA.

As honest as I could be, and do my duty.

MON.

Ha, ha, ha! Your duty!

QUA.

Yes, Sir; my duty. I was Mr. Taun­ton's attorney. Had I betrayed my employer, nobody would ever have trusted me again. I was guilty of no more roguery than was necessary to keep a good character in the world.

MON.

Give me thy hand, Old Logic! Thou say'st true. Thine is the current morality. That which is a man's interest is his duty. But come, decide: will you remain in custody for a short time or—?

QUA.
[Page 63]

In custody, Sir, since it must be so. Though indeed I have fingered no part of this lady's fortune.

MON.

No, Sir! Why then you have been both knave and fool.

QUA.

I fear as much.

MON.

You an attorney? Baw! You have not yet learned your rudiments. "What is a block­head? A blockhead is a poor devil. Who are men of understanding? Every one who has five thousand a year. What is a knave? He that is hanged for cheating. And what an honest man? He that gets an estate by the same means. Who are most courted? Men of wit. And who are they? Those that give good dinners, make their friends drunk with the best wines, and then pick their pockets at hazard and faro. Who are most imitated? Men of fashion. And he is a man of the first fashion who associates with stable-boys in the morning, with opera-dancers and demireps after dinner, and with a Babel mixture of bullies, bubbles, and pickpockets from midnight to sun­rise."

[Exeunt.

SCENE II. Changes to the house of SIR JOB, with a closet door.

Enter JONAS.
JON.

I can have no frolic till I get some money. Since we moved from the City, Sir Job keeps his loose cash, as he calls it, in that closet. If it were not for locks I could get at it; and then it would soon be loose enough. If I had got possession, I would make my mother give it me; and there is no harm in taking what is freely given.

(Examines and finds [Page 64] the door unlocked)

Hay! Why the door is open! Who knows? Now for good luck!

(Goes into the closet.)

SCENE III. Enter LADY FERMENT and OLIVER.

LA. F.

Are you sure, Sir, you know nothing of her?

OL.

Only that she is gone.

LA. F.

A very strange proceeding indeed! Leave my house without saying a word?

OL.

I intreated her to tell where she was going; but she refused.

LA. F.

And how came you to know she was going?

OL.

I—I questioned her.

LA. F.

Your oglings, Sir, have been remarked; and I suspect you have been her escort.

OL.
(Aside)

Would that I had!—I have been on my father's business to receive this money.

LA. F.

Well, Sir, you may leave the money with me.

OL.

Pardon me, Madam. I am accountable.

LA. F.

Impertinence! Have you seen the Count?

OL.

No, my Lady.

LA. F.

Where can Jonas be gone? Wild thing! He is never a moment in a place.

(Looks into an adjoining chamber).
OL.

My father has got the key of the closet, and I must keep this heavy bag in possession till he comes.

(Looks round)

The door is a-jar! Perhaps, knowing where I was gone, he left it open pur­posely. This is fortunate.

(Goes into the closet.)
LA. F.

I can't see him. Where is this insolent youth gone with the money?

[Page 65] (Oliver returns, and shuts the door after him).
OL.

There, there. This spring lock will keep it safe enough.—When Sir Job comes in, my Lady, be kind enough to tell him I am waiting to pay the balance for which he sent me.

[Exit.
LA. F.

That is lucky, however. He cannot now pretend he has no cash. I must get some for this dear tormenting boy.

[Exit.

SCENE IV.

JON.
(Peeping out, having overheard)

He has got some for himself.

(Tossing the guineas)

Here's pleasure! Here's frolic! Here's watches, and rings, and ribbands for Susan! Oh lord! Oh lord! I was snug in the corner: Oliver could not see me. Ha, ha, ha! I have filled up the bag with counters. Hold! I must shut the door; and then this spring lock will make all safe. Your spring lock is a kind of politician's puzzle: he that is in can easily get out; but he that is out must procure a key.

(Shaking the guineas)

Here they are! Where shall I find Susan? Here's music! Here they are!

[Exit.

SCENE V. Enter SIR JOB, OLIVER, and LADY FERMENT.

SIR J.

There is a bill below for five hundred pounds, waiting payment: have you been where I ordered you?

OL.

Yes, Sir.

SIR J.
(Aside)

It is lucky this bill is come for payment: else, knowing I had money in the house, I should have had no peace with my Lady.

OL.
(Presenting bills)

Here are four hundred and fifteen bank; and a hundred guineas in that closet.

SIR J.

Go and fetch them.

OL.
[Page 66]

You have the key, Sir.

SIR J.

Then how did you get in?

OL.

The door was open.

SIR J.

Oh, I remember.

(Gives the key)

I had no cash, as I told you, deary; so, ha, ha, ha! I was not afraid of being robbed.

(Oliver returns with the bag. Sir J. feeling)

What is here, Sir? This neither weighs nor feels like guineas.

OL.

I counted and put them in myself.

SIR J.

Indeed! Then my touch deceives me.

(Takes out a handful)

Heyday! Why, what the devil are these?

OL.

Is this witchcraft?

SIR J.

You counted them yourself!

OL.

I am thunder-struck!

LA. F.
(Aside)

Mercy! If this should be a trick of Jonas'!

OL.

Sir Job, my Lady, if the tongue of man be capable of truth, I left this bag, or one like it, with a hundred guineas in that closet not twenty minutes ago. Your Ladyship saw me go in.

SCENE VI.

SUSAN.
(Without)

Leave off!

JONAS.
(Without)

I must kiss you!

SUS.
(Entering)

I wunno' be poo'd and hawd a this'n!

Enter SUSAN and JONAS.
SIR J.

What uproar is this?

JON.
(Aside)

The sport is spoiled: I hoped there was nobody here.

SIR J.
(To Oliver)

How dare you stay in this house, you vile—I have no name bad enough for you. Get out of my doors!

JON.

What is the matter, Nol?

OL.
[Page 67]

I am charged with fraud, with robbery, brother.

JON.

Whoo!

(Lady Ferment reprimands Jonas by gestures)
OL.

I just now left a bag with a hundred gui­neas in that closet, which has been stolen, and I am to be turned adrift like a felon.

JON.

Are you?

SIR J.

Yes, Sir; he is!

JON.

Curse me if he shall. Nol is no thief.

SIR J.

How do you know, sirrah?

JON.

Nol is no thief, I say.

SIR J.

Then who stole my hundred guineas?

JON.

Why, look you—If it was stealing, I stole them.

SIR J.

You!

JON.

I.

SIR J.

And where are they, dog?

JON.

Listen! Hark!

SIR J.
(Jonas jingles them in his pocket, and slips away when Sir Job endeavours to seize him)

You impudent, confounded whelp!

JON.

Nol! Will you have a few? I know you are at short commons.

OL.

Jonas, though this is a bad trick, I am glad to find you have an honest and a generous heart. Yet consider the consequences of this thoughtless conduct. Think that a brother, whom you love, has been accused of theft; and in dan­ger of suffering all the disgrace which such a vice well deserves.

[Exeunt Oliver, Sir Job, and Lady Ferment: the two latter reprimanding Jonas by gesture.
JON.

I believe it was not quite right, but I have no time just now to be sorrowful—Harkye, Susan.

SUS.

What sayn you?

SCENE VII.

JON.

Look! What a sweet pretty robin red­breast!

SUS.
(After looking)

Where?

JON.

Look! Look! Can't you see it?

(Locks the door slily)
SUS.

Where is it?

JON.
(Shewing the key)

In its cage.

SUS.
(Aside)

Oh the cunning sly tooad!

JON.

I have her now!

SUS.

How shall I get away? A's a desperate wicked one!

JON.

Now we are fairly alone, I have a secret to tell you.

SUS.

Ay marry! What be that?

JON.

Why that I am confoundedly in love.

SUS.

In love be you?

JON.

Oh lord! Yes.

SUS.

Why, an you be got in, the best way will be to get out again.

JON.

That's just my intention, and you must help me.

SUS.
(Aside)

What i'the name of goodness shall I do?

JON.

But first tell me, what is your opinion of me?

SUS.

Of you?

JON.

Ay; what do you think of me?

SUS.

By the mackins, I think you bin a queerish kind of a youth!

JON.

You do?

SUS.

Yea, by the mass do I!

JON.

Why then there is a pair of us. But, queer as I am, could you like me?

SUS.
[Page 69]

Like you?

JON.

Ay: love me?

SUS.

Yea, belemmy.

(Jonas approaches and she pushes him back)

Best when furthest off.

JON.

Nah now—I want a wife, and I like you.

SUS.
(Aside)

An I dunno' coax'n, I shall ne'er get away. I wish I had the key.

JON.

Am I to your taste?

SUS.

I canno' tell. In our town, it's taste and try. We always bite afore we buy.

JON.
(Going to kiss her)

Oh! with all my heart!

SUS.

Nay, nay: hold a blow! Pray now did you ever play at kisses and commands?

JON.

No: but I should like to play at them ex­ceedingly.

SUS.

Well then, I'll learn you how.

JON.

Oh lord, do! That is the very game I want to be at! I would fain both kiss and com­mand.

SUS.

It's a this'n. You be to kiss when I com­mand.

JON.

That I will with all my soul!

SUS.

And I be to kiss when you command.

JON.

Oh lord! Better and better! Come, let us begin.

SUS.

Nay, nay, but you be in too much a haste. First we are to pay our forfeits: so then the game begins.

JON.

Come then pay away! Oh, it will be rare sport! Here; here. Take the guineas first.

SUS.

No. I wunno' foul my fingers wi' they.

JON.

Why I got them purposely for you!

SUS.

I tell you, I wunno' come near them.

JON.

Well, well, here's my handkerchief, and my pocket-book, and my pencil-case, and my [Page 70] knife—No; I'll not give my knife: that cuts love.

SUS.

Is that aw? Feel i'your coat pocket; for, you know, the more forfeits—

JON.

Oh, ay! The more kisses! Here! Take my gloves: two, mind, two: and the key, and—stay, stay! I'll give you my knee-buckles, and my shoe-buckles, and—

SUS.

Hold a bit. I ha' enow now. So you be to hold your hat for mine.

JON.

Here it is. Make haste!

SUS.
(Pretending to feel in her pockets)

By the mackins, i'this dowdy dress, I ha' got welly nought about me—Hold—In our town, the lasses some­times gi' the lads their mittens, and their neck­kerchiefs, and—

(Bashfulness)

And their garters.

JON.

Do they? Let me have them!

SUS.

But then the lads awways turn about, you know, wi' their▪ faces t'other way.

JON.
(Turning)

What, so?

SUS.

Yea, a that'n: but go a bit a gait.

JON.

A gait! What's that?

SUS.

More further off.

JON.

So?

SUS.
(Retreating to the door)

Nigher to the wall—Nigher yet—Now don't you turn!

JON.

What, not one peep?

SUS.

Oh, no! for an you do the game's over!

JON.

Well, make haste.

SUS.

Dunno' you look. Stand stock still. I ha' welly done.

(Having unlocked the door and gone out, she peeps in)

You may turn about, now.

JON.

Hay! What! Are these your tricks?

SUS.

Look! Look! What a pretty robin red­breast there be!

(Bangs-to the door.)

SCENE VIII.

JON.

Oh you confounded little jade, but I shall catch you! Well, it is plaguy tantalizing when one is in such a hurry to be married, to be balked so often. Oh that I had a chaise and eight now at the door, and this dear little gipsy in my arms! She would struggle: so should I. "Pray, Mr. Jonas, let me go!" I can't, my love! "Consider my blushes!" Consider my impatience! "Nay but duty, decency!" Are both drabs; a queer pair of prudes; two frumpish freakish old-fashioned tab­bies; all polite people now are ashamed of their company. So let us leave them to their favourite friends, old maids cabal and a brandy bottle, and hey for Scotland, you sweet charming—

(Going)

SCENE IX. Enter MONROSE, bringing in SUSAN by the wrist.

JON.

Again.

MON.

Leave us, Sir.

JON.

Leave you, Sir?

MON.

Yes; I can't waste time in trifling, and am in no humour for compliments. Leave us.

JON.

You might be in a humour for good man­ners, methinks.

[Exit.

SCENE X.

SUS.

The beest woundy crabbed, Harry.

MON.

What is the reason, madam, that you thus counteract me in my fairest prospects, and my dearest hopes? How dare you traverse me at the [Page 72] very moment when misery or happiness supreme depends on the event? Why did you alarm Au­relia, and advise her to fly?

SUS.

That my conscience mought no' fly i' my face, Harry, as thine will do.

MON.

Your conscience! Was it your con­science that told you to betray your brother?

SUS.

Yea belemmy wur it. But I would no' give ear to my conscience, so I said nought that could harm a hair o' thy head.

MON.

How! Did not you tell me yourself, just as we were interrupted, that you had betrayed me to her?

SUS.

No, by my troth did not I. I only towd thee how I towd she how desperately thee said thee wur in love. So she said she wur mortal sorry for it: for why? She had fixed her liking elsewhere.

MON.

Ay, ay: on this Oliver. Damned for­tune! I am her saviour. She is mine in equity, and mine she shall be.

SUS.

Then what does thee mean to do, Harry?

MON.

Secure her, win her, possess her. Ob­serve what I say, and for your life dare not this time to swerve one tittle from what I prescribe. Send for a coach, return to your lodging, and be ready to receive her. She will be there within an hour.

SUS.

That canno' be, Harry. I be mortal sure she wunno' come of her own good will.

MON.

Good-will or ill-will, come she shall; and there I tell you she will be. Prepare, therefore, to aid me, as I order you.

SUS.

Thee may'st order what the wo't, Harry; but I'll be consarned i' no such deformity.

MON.

Damnation! Am I to be eternally [Page 73] thwarted thus by a mere puppet! Once more, girl, listen and obey.

SUS.

Thee may'st fell me at thy feet, thee may'st kill me, an thee wo't, Harry; but I wunno'. I have said it, and I wunno'.

MON.

Hell and—

(Snatches out his watch, sees the hour, and hastily crosses)

Hark you, I know not how far your infernal obstinacy may lead you▪ You have already injured me deeply; but, should you venture to whisper one more treacherous word, tremble at my vengeance.

[Exit.

SCENE XI.

SUS.

Marcy keep me, what a wicked passion a be in! A'll come to no good; and my heart wull brust. What shall I do? I have no christian soul to break my mind to. A said a would bring poor Miss Aurelia to my lodging. What if I do go and some how watch? Who knows but I mought save her from ruination, and betray him from a mort o' mischief? I munno' tell ought, for then belike a wull be taken up; and what mought be­tide, oh Lord! Oh Lord! Supposing him before the justice!—I'll do't—I wull—I'll say my prayers and ventur, I'm detarmint.

(Going)

SCENE XII. Enter JONAS.

JON.

Stop! Stop a moment!

SUS.
(Angrily)

Keep a gait, then! Do.

JON.

My sweet girl, there is something the mat­ter with you. I know there is, so don't deny it. Here I am, and if I can do you any service, curse me but I shall jump out of my skin for joy.

SUS.
[Page 74]

No, no, I ha' no soul on earth to open my bosom to.

JON.

What then you dare not trust me? Damn it, I did not think you had thought so ill of me as that!

SUS.

An any harm were to befaw him

(Weeping bitterly)

I should never more be i' my right mind. I love him from my very heart's core. A's my only brother. A has tricks, but a's a fine mon. There be few like him; an if a should no' die in his bed, Lord ha' marcy upon me! I should go raving melancholy.

JON.

Dry your eyes. He shall not die at all. We'll save him. I'll manage the matter.

SUS.

Why wull you?

JON.

I hate listeners, and yet I listened and heard all.

SUS.

Did you, for sure?

JON.

I did.

SUS.

And will you be true and faithfoo'?

JON.

If I am not hate me. You have not be­trayed his secrets, mind: you have told nothing. I'll save him.

SUS.

Wull you?

JON.

I will.

SUS.

An you do, I shall love you to the longest breath I draw.

JON.

I hope so, for I shall love you longer▪ You are the sweetest, bewitching—

SUS.

Nay, but bethink you. Shall I go to the lodging house?

JON.

Do. It may prevent mischief.

SUS.

Well, and how then?

JON.

Oh, I have it! Brother Nol and old gruff Sir Guy.

SUS.

Nay, nay, but that will betray Harry!

JON.
[Page 75]

Not a bit. They are noble souls! Sound hearts! They would not hurt man, woman, or child. Do you make haste. I must fly. I shall accomplish it; and then, oh Lord, oh Lord! I shall be a happy dog!

[Exit.

SCENE XIII.

SUS.

A's a greadly lad! A's a farrantly lad! And I be welly overcome to think a has so kind a heart! An a make his words good, I do believe I shall love him ten thousand times better nur I do brother Harry!

[Exit.

ACT V.

SCENE I. The Lodgings of SUSAN. Loud knocking at the Street Door.

Enter SUSAN hastily and in much alarm.
SUSAN.

SO, so! A be come at long length.

(Knocking again)

A's in a wicked haste—There—the door opens—Now for it! What wull be the upshot on't?—Goodness, how dizzy I be!—Dear, dear, what be come to me!—I am taken all over as thof I had an ague fit—I mun bear up—I hear him—A be coming—Marcy deliver me!

(Retires.)

SCENE II. (Enter MONROSE and AURELIA, preceded by a Female Servant with Candles, which she places on the Table and departs.)

MON.

Let me intreat you to quiet your alarms, you are safe.

AUR.
[Page 76]

Safe! Insulting mockery! Why have I been forced here? What is your purpose?

MON.

Kind as your heart could wish.

AUR.

Are falsehood, artifice, and outrage kind?

MON.

Blame the depravity which not merely justifies but renders them unavoidable.

AUR.

Away! 'Tis the vulgar cant of common place vice.

MON.

You are yourself the victim of this de­pravity.

AUR.

Yes, Sir, I feel I am. I find myself en­snared, unprotected, and in your power. But if you hope to bend me to dishonest purposes, I smile at your impotence.

MON.

I am no enemy, but a determined and active friend.

AUR.

A friend!

MON.

I conjure you to conquer for a moment your suspicions and fears. Grant me an attentive hearing.

AUR.

Well, Sir, proceed.

MON.

You are an injured orphan. The heiress to great wealth, of which you have been wickedly deprived. I am blessed in being your deliverer. Pardon me for boasting, but I glory that by my efforts the iniquity has been discovered.

AUR.

If that were true, what need was there for the compulsion you have practised?

MON.

How shall I answer? How expiate a fault that perhaps is unpardonable? Yet surely my crime itself will plead some abatement in my favour! 'Tis vain in me to falter—I love.

AUR.

Love!

MON.

Ay, to distraction!—Why do you regard me with that sovereign disdain? My life, faculties, and soul, shall exhaust themselves to yield you pleasure. I petition for that which a weak or [Page 77] presumptuous man would claim as a due, but which I will hoard in my heart as the precious boon of the divinity whom I adore.

AUR.

The blandishment of words can neither disguise nor palliate unworthy actions. Had your proceedings been open and direct, no taint of sus­picion would have glanced on the professions you make, or the benefits which you say you have the power to confer, and I should have felt a bitter pang in refusal. But, were my affections free, nay, had they before been devotedly yours, the deceit you have employed, and the planned artifice of which I find you capable, would have placed an eternal barrier between us.

MON.

If you knew the firm purpose of my soul to make you happy—

(Susan watching)
AUR.

Pleading is vain.

MON.
(Seizing her hand, but falling on his knee)

I would fain prevail by soft and gentle means.

AUR.

Do you threaten?

(Susan still approaching, but with great trepidation)
MON.

When you shall find how true how tender my heart can be, you will hereafter pardon the presumption of this moment.

(Rising)

Should I lose it, you and happiness were lost for ever.

(Clasping her.)
AUR.

Stand off!

MON.

My fate—

(Sees his sister, and stamps.)

How now!

SUS.
(Falling on her knees before him with her hands clasped)

Harry!—Kill me—Put me out o' the world.

MON.
(Violently)

Get up.

SUS.

I canno'.

MON.

Leave the room.

SUS.
[Page 78]

I munno'.

(Monrose seizes her by the arm, and

SCENE III.

JONAS rushes in.)
JON.

Hold, or turn upon me.

(They collar each other.)
MON.

Boy!

Enter OLIVER.
OL.

Forbear—

JON.

No such boy, you find. I am not so easily to be shaken off. I am of the bull-dog breed. Damme I would muzzle any mad animal that should attempt to toss my sweet Susan.

(Monrose walks up the stage in violent perturbation.)
OL.

Aurelia, are you safe?

AUR.

Perfectly. Thanks to my kind and faith­ful friend here.

(To Susan.)
OL.

The chariot of Sir Guy is below: Do you, my brother, and Miss Monrose, return to my fa­ther's. Sir Guy is there. I must endeavour to bring this violent man.

AUR.

Nay but will not that be dangerous?

OL.

Fear nothing. I am calm. I am prepared; and you know my principles. His presence is ab­solutely necessary.

SUS.
(Earnestly)

Surely, surely, you dunno' mean to harm brother Harry?

OL.

Harm him? No!

SUS.

A's a good mon's son, and I hope a'll be a good mon himsel'. I do hope and trust a wull.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV. OLIVER following to the door, and MONROSE advancing lays hold of his arm.

MON.

A word with you, Sir.

OL.
[Page 79]

Willingly. Your pleasure.

MON.

You and I it seems are rivals. Time is precious, and I shall be brief. Yield your preten­sions to Aurelia.

OL.

By what right, Sir, do you make this abrupt and peremptory demand?

MON.

By the right that every man has to guard his own happiness.

OL.

And that right justifies my refusal.

MON.

Sir, I am an angry man; an injured man; a determined man. My soul is on the stretch: my spirits are flaming. Beware of me!

OL.

I am aware of you.

MON.

I have risked my all. This is the crisis of my fate; and either comply, or one of us shall never depart alive.

OL.

Your threats are impotent.

MON.

Then my deeds shall be decisive.

(Pro­duces pistols)

Take this.

OL.

For what purpose?

MON.

A gentleman need not ask.

OL.

Pshaw! Jargon!

MON.

No delay! Aurelia is yours or mine.

OL.

Are you an assassin?

MON.

Do assassins furnish their enemy with weapons?

OL.

If murder must be committed, the glory must be all your own: for never shall this arm be levelled at the life of man.

MON.

Damnation! Coward! Fire!

OL.

Fire you, madman!

MON.

Hell!

OL.

Think you I am to be bullied into what you call courage? If you are so wound up to mur­der, begin! Here is your mark! Take your level! A shot through the heart, or a bullet through the [Page 80] brain. Then vaunt of your dexterity; and again reiterate your epithet, gentleman.

MON.
(Gnashing)

To be thus baffled!

OL.

Abandon your purpose, or dispatch: for not all the arguments of hell, nor all its fiends, shall drive me to shed the blood of human being.

MON.

To be thus tamed! Oh! Idiot! I the master of accident? Fool! Fool! I am the very slave of prejudice.

OL.

What! Is an antipathy to crime, prejudice?

MON.
(Peremptorily)

Leave me, Sir—to my own contempt. I am what I despise, a braggart.

OL.

Thank heaven! There are many braggarts in vice. You are a better man than you supposed. 'Tis no uncommon character. Remember then that Aurelia requires your aid.

MON.

Peace! I will be no man's automaton: will hear no pleadings. I am the lord of my own actions, and will be self-moved.

OL.

You have a loftiness of soul which I love: pursue its dictates.

MON.
(After a pause)

It shall be so! Monrose shall yet rise on the necks of wretches that hope ere this to trample him in the dust. Follow and be­hold!

[Exeunt.

SCENE V. The House of SIR JOB.

Enter SIR GUY and MR. TAUNTON.
SIR G.

'Sdeath, snail, how came Aurelia to be creeping across fields with you at that time of night?

MR. T.

I—I—I don't know how it came.

SIR G.

Why did you not fight, and defend her?

MR. T.

I fight, indeed! Talk of guns, but don't go near them.

SIR G.

You say it was within a hundred yards of [Page 81] a house. Why did not you bawl for help? Owls can hoot; and geese can cackle.

MR. T.

Really you cross question one like an Old Bailey barrister!

SIR G.

And, really, you answer like an Old Bai­ley witness.

MR. T.

I only know that I took Aurelia out to walk; and that some ruffians rushed from behind a hedge, and carried her off.

SIR G.

It's a damned strange story; and a strange affair too!

MR. T.

I hope you don't suspect me, brother?

SIR G.

Why should you suppose I suspect you?

SCENE VI. Enter SIR JOB.

SIR G.

Now, Sampson, is there any news of them yet? Are they come back? Are they safe?

SIR J.

I hear nothing.

SIR G.

You seem to care nothing.

SIR J.
(Aside)

I wish I had no cause.

SIR G.

And pray how do you mean to provide for Oliver?

SIR J.

I? Which way must I provide?

SIR G.
(Aside)

This fellow will tempt me to cut his throat.—Marry him.

SIR J.

Why I have thought of that. A wife's fortune might do the business. But he—

SIR G.

Look at me—To a wife without a for­tune.

MR. T.
(Suspecting)

Hay? What?

SIR J.

How, Sir Guy?

SIR G.

To the richest, poorest woman in Eng­land!

MR. T.

Who is that, brother?

SIR G.

Aurelia Roland, Balaam.

MR. T.
(Alarmed)

Why, brother?

SIR J.
(In the same tone)

Sir Guy!

SIR G.
[Page 82]

Sir Job! Sir Jack a lent! What the de­vil are you both petrified?

MR. T.

How is she rich?

SIR G.

In beauty, in mind, in virtue.

MR. T.
(Aside)

Oh! Is that all?

SIR J.

They can't pay for a penny loaf.

MR. T.

She is friendless, fatherless, portionless.

SIR G.

You have told one, two, three—hem!

SIR J.

Who is her friend?

SIR G.

I am.

(Both alarmed)
SIR J.

Who is her father?

SIR G.

I am.

MR. T.

Who is her banker?

SIR G.

I am.

SIR J.

You talk in the clouds. You are not her father.

SIR G.

Who made you a judge? What do you know about fathers? He is a father that has a fa­ther's affection, and will perform a father's duties.

SIR J.

Nay but—Will you, Sir Guy?

SIR G.

Yes I will, Sir Goose!

SIR J.
(Aside to Mr. Taunton)

What shall we do? We shall be blown.

MR. T.
(To Sir Job)

I told you what would come of it. Feast with fools, and fare as they do.

SIR J.

Nay but what shall we do?

MR. T.

I don't know.

(Knocking heard, Sir Guy crosses to the door)
SIR G.

It is she! Here she comes!

SCENE VII. Enter AURELIA, SUSAN, and JONAS.

AUR.

Oh, Sir Guy!

SIR G.

My dear girl, here you are once more safe and free.

JON.
(Taking Susan's hand)

Yes, and here is her deliverer.

SIR G.
[Page 83]

Ay, indeed!

AUR.

Oh, Sir, this dear, courageous, affectionate girl is the saviour of us all. While my heart beats, she shall have a warm place in it.

JON.

She will have a warm place in other peo­ple's hearts as well as yours.

SIR G.

Oh ho!

SUS.

But are you sure though, are you deadly sure that nobody will bring brother Harry to shame?

AUR.

Most certain.

(Aside)

And yet I wish Oliver and he were returned.

MR. T.

It is time, I see, for me to be moving.

SIR G.

What, curlew, do you forebode a storm?

MR. T.

I can't tell. High winds ruin a fair harvest.

SIR G.

Stay where you are, I tell you.

MR. T.

I can't stay, and I won't stay.

SCENE VIII. Enter OLIVER and MONROSE.

MON.

Yet stay you must, Sir. Your presence is necessary in court. Here am I a bold faced knave that appear without a summons, and call on you as one of my accusers. Sir Job shall be another.

SIR J.
(Aside)

I wish I was any where but in this house.

MON.

"'Tis no uncommon case for the least criminal to be condemned by his accomplices."

MR. T.
(Aside to Monrose)

Are you mad? Why did you come here?

MON.
(Aloud)

Why not come here, Sir? I ask not you to blush for any crime of mine. Which of you sober seniors will sit as my judge?

(Turning to Sir Guy)

Your pardon, Sir, my words do not [Page 84] glance at you. Be my actions what they will, I can distinguish, ay, and can reverence virtue.

SIR G.

Go on: No apologies, I am no better than I should be.

MON.

Well then, here I stand, and put myself upon my country. "What is my crime? A so­vereign contempt for the selfishness to which ge­nius and virtue are the daily sacrifice; and, since honesty could procure me neither favor nor for­tune, a resolution to be no longer its dupe.

SIR G.

Systematic vice of all others is the most dangerous."

MON.

Fellows like me, thrown on the pave­ment, and wanting the varnish of gold and hypo­crisy, give us but a bad name, and any idiot can trace halters in every feature. But turn here! Be­hold these grey beards! How smooth is all with­out! How sanctified is all within! How sedate is every hair and wrinkle! Have sires like these their secret sins? Can they plunder the orphan, per­secute the innocent, and disturb the ashes of the dead until they rise and cry for vengeance?

SIR G.

What can this mean?

OL.

"Have patience.

MON.

Proceed then! Arraign me at your bar, class me with villains, load me with opprobrium and punishment; then contrast my actions, my character, my crimes, with these honest, these ma­gisterial men; and, having so done, raise the whip, strike, and applaud the wisdom of your laws, and the justice of your decisions.

SIR G.

Is this reality?"

MON.

Did I seek support in villany by example, think you I should want precedents?

(Taking Sir Job and Mr. Taunton each by the hand)

Stand forth, reverend iniquity! Here are we three!

SIR G.
[Page 85]

It is most strange!

(Knocking hard at the street door)

What more?

SCENE IX.— Enter LADY FERMENT.

LA. F.

What is the meaning of all this, Mr. Taunton? Here is the parlour full of Bow-street runners, keeping your attorney in custody.

SIR J.
(In great terror)

Mr. Quake?

LA. F.

Yes, Sir.

SIR J.

It's all over.

(Sir Job and Mr. Taunton are endeavouring to retire)
MON.

Nay, nay, you must not flinch. Stand to it, and if you have nerves string them! Behold this lady.

(Pointing to Aurelia)

Look at the lovely daughter of your generous mutual and confiding friend! Dying, he bequeathed the expiring mother and the helpless infant, not to your humanity but your justice. Where is the wealth he deposited in trust? Full fifty thousand pounds, with the accu­mulating stock of twenty years! Answer! Has it been husbanded well? Produce the statement.

AUR.

Good heavens!

MON.

Left to that charity which ever finds some gentle breast to hide in, here she stands, if hearts you had, with wrong enough to wring those hearts in pangs unutterable.

SIR G.

Are these things possible?

MON.

My witnesses are ready. Let him that dare deny the charge.

SIR G.

Mr. Taunton! Have you no answer?

(Short pause.)
LA. F.

Nor you, Sir Job?

(He turns away.)
SIR G.

My blood runs cold! This man my brother?

MON.

Their silence is their assent.

MR. T.
[Page 86]

The Lady shall have her due. The tree of knavery bears bitter fruit.

[Exit.

SCENE X.

SUS.

Brother is a brave mon! I knew a wur! I knew a had it about him!

SIR G.

I am choaked! I could not say a word to the fellow.

MON.
(To Sir Job)

Well, Sir, will you follow your leader's example?

SIR J.

Ay, ay; I have followed it a little too often!

MON.

What, ashamed of knavery at these years!

SIR J.

I shall never shew my face in the City.

MON.

"Ha, ha, ha! The City? Why, man, you and I are petty knaves! Console yourself: crimes of a much deeper dye no longer are a nine days wonder. Some friendly scandal, with `Bless me, who would have thought it!' and a little gross abuse, which you'll not hear, is the utmost penalty. Meanwhile bows, salutations, and grinning courtesy will be current as ever. 'Tis only the needy villain that is shunned."

SIR J.

Heigho! It is bad I find to do wrong: but it is worse to be found out.

[Exit.

SCENE XI.

AUR.

Your reproof is severe.

MON.

Why, ay. I am still a disciple of the world and its maxims; I can persecute vice in others and practise it myself like any potent Don in Christendom.

SIR G.

'Tis strange, Sir, that a fellow of your soul should class himself with knaves.

MON.
[Page 87]

Nothing is strange. Man is all a con­tradiction. I thought myself an adept, I find my­self a tyro. He that would succeed in knavery, must be wholly knave. I have compunctions and sympathies which a man must either shake off or go hide in honest obscurity.

OL.

"Are talents and genius, then, no recom­mendation?

MON.

Talents and genius are the admiration of a day: so is a calf with two heads, or any other monster."

SUS.
(With affectionate timidity)

Brother Harry—Wull thee forgi' me?

MON.

Forgive thee, girl! My soul adores thy kind and honest nature.

SUS.
(In tears)

I love thee, Harry! I love thee!

SIR G.
(Catching her feelings)

And damme but so do I!—I love you all.

AUR.

Oh, how blessed is this moment! How grateful to my heart is the little power which wealth can give!

(To Susan)

My everlasting friend.

(To Monrose and Sir Guy)

And you my saviour, you my protector.

OL.

Not a word for me?

AUR.

Will not a look suffice?

MON.
(With dejection)

You are a happy man, Sir.

AUR.
(To Monrose)

You have proved the dignity of your mind. You have gained friends that will never forsake you.

SUS.
(To Aurelia)

The Goodness bless you! I said from the first I loved you dearly.

JON.

I find I am quite left out among you!

(To Susan)

Surely you don't forget your promise?

SUS.

What wur that?

JON.
(Imitating Susan)

"I shall love you to the latest breath I draw."

SUS.
[Page 88]
(Abashed)

No, no, I hanno' forgotten.

JON.

Why then, my Lady—You know what▪

LA. F.

Well, but, my dear Jonas—

MON.

Oh, her Ladyship will freely consent, and will be happy to dance a reel at your wedding.—Well, I have hitherto lived, and fear I shall die wondering at the enormous vices, and the splendid virtues, which mingle and form the history of that motley creature man.

SIR G.

And what is it that will correct his er­rors? It is the virtue that has been exercised to day. It is purity of intention in some, benevo­lence of heart in others, and that kind, forgiving, and indulgent spirit, which ought to inhabit every human bosom.

[Exeunt Onmes.
THE END.

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