WHICH IS THE MAN? A COMEDY, AS ACTED AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL IN COVENT-GARDEN. By Mrs. COWLEY.

LONDON: Printed for C. DILLY, in the Poultry. 1783. [Price One Shilling and Sixpence]

It having been reported, that the Comedy was written by a Military Character; a Gentleman of acknowledged genius favoured the Author with the following PROLOGUE,

Spoken by MR. LEE LEWES, dressed as an Officer.
CALL'D forth Thalia's standard to display,
And here maintain her sov'reign comic sway,
As Chief—I'll reconnoitre well the ground,
To learn what hostile lines are drawn around!
[Surveys the House with a glass.
That's not a dark defile in yonder glade?—
For should it prove a treach'rous ambuscade,
No puffing miners have I here in pay,
To sap their works, or turn their covert way;
No mercenary band who have been wont
To hack and hew like pioneers, in front!
With flying shells our Engineers shall try
That well-mann'd battlement which tow'rs so high!
[Pointing to the Upper Gallery.
Beneath, our point-blank shot will surely reach,
And in yon half-moon'd battery make a breach.
[To the Second Gallery.
These lovely breast-works that adorn the field,
To Nature's gentle summons soon must yield!
[Side-Boxes, &c.
This advanc'd post the picket-guard to keep,
And that reserve, who are entrench'd chin-deep,
We hope to carry by a bold exertion,
At least amuse with some well-plann'd diversion!
[To the Pit.
My troops are vet'rans:—it has been their lot,
To form in front of service hissing-hot;
Who, when their ranks are gall'd, or put to flight,
Are sure to rally, and renew the fight,
Unless—and then no light-dragoons scour fleeter,
Their powder fails for want of true salt-petre!
Our plan's avow'd; it is from this firm station,
To gain the heights of public approbation!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

MEN.
Fitzherbert,
Mr. Henderson.
Beauchamp,
Mr. Lewis.
Belville,
Mr. Wroughton.
Lord Sparkle,
Mr. Lee Lewes.
Pendragon,
Mr. Quick.

WOMEN.
Lady Bell Bloomer,
Miss Younge.
Julia,
Miss Satchell.
Sophy Pendragon,
Mrs. Mattocks.
Clarinda,
Mrs. Morton.
Kitty,
Mrs. Wilson.
Tiffany,
Mrs. Davenett.
Mrs. Johnson,
Miss Platt.
Ladies
Miss Stewart, Mrs. Poussin, &c.
Gentlemen
Mr. Booth, Mr. Robson, &c.

Servants to Lord Sparkle, Belville, Lady Bell, &c.

[Page]WHICH IS THE MAN?

ACT I.

SCENE I.

A DRAWING-ROOM.
(Mrs. JOHNSON crosses the Stage, a Boy following.)
Mrs. Johns.

HERE, Betty, Dick! Where are ye? Don't you see my Lord Sparkle's car­riage?—I shall have my lodgers disturbed with their thun­dering.—What, in the name of wonder, can bring him here at this time in the morning?—Here he comes, look­ing like a rake as he is!

Enter LORD SPARKLE (yawning).
Spark.

Bid 'em turn; I shan't stay a moment.—So, Mrs. Johnson, I pull'd the string just to see how your Syl­vans go on.

Mrs. Johns.

As usual, my Lord; but, bless me! how early your Lordship is!

Spark.

How late, you mean.—I have not been in bed since yesterday at one!—I am going home now to rest for an hour or two, and then to the Drawing-room.—But what are the two rustics about? I have not been plagued with them these three or four days.

Mrs. Johns.

They are now out.

Spark.

I suppos'd that, or I should not have call'd.—But prithee, do they talk of returning to their native woods again?

Mrs. Johns.
[Page 2]

Oh no, Sir!—The young gentleman seems to have very different ideas:—Miss, too, has great spirits, though she seems now and then at a loss what to do with herself.

Spark.

Do with herself! Why don't you persuade her to go back to Cornwall? You should tell 'em what a vile place London is, full of snares, and debaucheries, and witch-crafts.—You don't preach to 'em, Johnson.

Mrs. Johns.

Indeed I do, my Lord; and their constant answer is, ‘"Oh, Lord Sparkle is our friend! Lord Sparkle would take it amiss if we should go; 'twould look like distrusting his Lordship."’

Spark.

Was ever man so hamper'd!—Two fools! to mistake common forms and civilities for attachments.

Mrs. Johns.

I fear, my Lord, towards the young Lady something more than forms—

Spark.
(interrupting)

Never, upon my honour!—I kissed her; so I did all the women in the parish—the septennial ceremony. The Brother I us'd to drink vile Port with, listen to his village-stories, call his vulgarity wit, and his impudence spirit. Was not that fatigue and mortification enough, but I must be bored with 'em here in Town?

Mrs. Johns.

But, Miss, Sir, talks of pressing invitations, and letters, and—

Spark.

Things of course; they had influence, and got me the borough. I, in return, said she was the most charm­ing girl in the world; that I ador'd her;—and some few things that every body says on such occasions, and nobody thinks of.

Mrs. Johns.

But it appears that Miss did think—

Spark.

Yes, 'faith: and on my writing a civil note that I should be happy to see them in Town, et caetera—which I meant to have suspended our acquaintance till the General Election—they took me at my word; and before I thought the letter had reach'd 'em, they were in my house, all joy and congratulation. I didn't chuse to be encumber'd with 'em, so placed 'em with you. The Boy was at first amu­sing, but our Circles have had him, and I must be rid of him.

Mrs. Johns.

I must say, I wish I was quit of them at present; for my constant lodger Mr. Belville came to town last night, and he wants this drawing-room to himself: he's oblig'd to share it now with Mr. Pendragon and his sister.

Spark.
[Page 3]

Hey! Belville!—'Gad, that's lucky! There is not a fellow in Town better receiv'd by the women.—Throw the girl in his way, and get quit of her at once.

Mrs. Johns.

If you mean dishonestly, my Lord, you have mistaken your person: I did not live so many years with your mother to be capable of such a thing.—Ah, my Lord, if my Lady were living—

Spark.

She would scold to little purpose,—and you may spare yourself the trouble.—I tell you, I care nothing about the girl: I merely want to get rid of her, and you must assist me.—

(Mrs. Johnson turns from him with disgust)

—Hey-dey! the nicety of your Ladyship's honour is piqued! Ha! ha! ha!—the mistress of a lodging-house!—Bien drole—Ha! ha! ha!

[Exit Mrs. Johnson.

But who is this hobbling up stairs?—Ha! old Cato the Censor, my honourable cousin!—What the devil shall I do?—No avoiding him, however.—

Enter Mr. FITZHERBERT.

I wish I had been out of the house, Fitzherbert, before you appeared! I know I shall not escape without some abuse.

Fitzh.

I never throw away reproof, where there are no hopes of amendment—your Lordship is safe.

Spark.

Am I to take that for wit?

Fitzh.

No; for then I fear you would not understand it.

Spark.

Positively, you must give me more of the felicity of your conversation: I want you to teach me some of that happy ease which you possess in your rude­ness; 'twould be to me an acquisition. I am eternally get­ting into the most horrid scrapes, merely by politeness and good-breeding.—Here are two persons now in this house, for instance—

Fitzh.
(interrupting)

Who do not know, that the lan­guage of what you call politeness, differs from that of truth and honour.—You see I know those to whom you allude.—But we only lose time!—Good day, my Lord!

Spark.

Lose time! Ha! ha! ha!—Why, of what value can time be to you? the greatest enemy you have, adding every day to your wrinkles and ill-humour. I'll prove to you now, that I have employ'd the last twelve hours to better purpose than you have. Nine of them you slept away—the last three you have been running about Town, snarling and making people uneasy with themselves;—whilst I [Page 4] have been sitting peaceably at Weltjie's, where I have won—guess what?

Fitz.

Half as much as you lost yesterday—a thousand or two guineas, perhaps.

Spark.

Guineas! Poh! you are jesting! Guineas are as scarce with us, as in the coffers of the Congress. Like them we stake with counters, and play for solid earth.

Fitz.
(impatiently)

Well!

Spark.

Bullion is a mercantile kind of wealth, passing thro' the hands of dry-salters, vinegar-merchants, and Lord-Mayors.—Our Goddess holds a cornucopia instead of a purse, from which she pours corn-fields, fruitful vallies, and rich herds. This morning she popp'd into my dice-box a snug villa, five hundred acres, arable and pasture, with the next presentation to the living of Guzzleton.

Fitz.

A church-living in a dice-box!—Well, well; I suppose it will be bestow'd as worthily as it was gain'd!—Good day, my Lord, good day!

[Turning from him.
Spark.

Good night, Crabtree—good night!

[Going off.
Enter a SERVANT.

Tell Belville I call'd to congratulate his escape from the stupid country.

[Going.
Fitz.

My Lord!

Spark.
(returning)

Sir!

Fitz.

I am going this morning to visit Lady Bell Bloomer,—I give you this intimation, that we may not risk another rencontre.

Spark.

Civilly design'd; and for the same polite reason I inform you, that I shall be there in the evening.

[Exit Lord Sparkle.
Fitz.

Your master in bed yet! What time was he in Town yesterday?

Serv.

Late, Sir.—We should have been earlier, but we met with Sir Harry Hairbrain on the road, with his new fox-hounds.—Fell in with the hunt at Bagshot—broke cover, run the first burst across the heath towards Datchet;—she then took right an end for Egham, sunk the wind upon us as far as Staines, where Reynard took the road to Oxford, and we the route to Town, Sir.

[Bowing.
Fitzh.

Very geographical indeed, Sir.—Now, pray in­form your master—Oh, here we come!

[Page 5] Enter BELVILLE in a robe de chambre.

Just risen from your pillows!—Are you not asham'd of this? A fox-hunter, and in bed at eleven!

Belv.

My dear, morose, charming, quarrelsome old friend, I am ever in character!—In the country, I defy fatigue and hardship.—Up before the lazy slut Aurora has put on her pink-coloured gown to captivate the plough-boys—scam­per over hedge and ditch. Dead with hunger, alight at a cottage; drink milk from the hands of a brown wench, and eat from a wooden platter. In Town, I am a fine gentle­man; have my hair exactly dressed; my cloaths au dernier gout; dine on made-dishes; drink Burgundy; and, in a word, am every-where the ton.

Fitz.

So much the worse, so much the worse, young man! To be the ton where Vice and Folly are the ruling deities, proves that you must be sometimes a fool, at others a—

Belv.
(interrupting)

Psha! you satirists, like moles, shut your eyes to the light, and grope about for the dark side of the human character: there is a great deal of good-sense and good-meaning in the world. As for its follies, I think folly a mighty pleasant thing; at least, to play the fool gracefully, requires more talents than would set up a dozen cynics.

Fitzh.

Then half the people I know must have wond [...]rful talents, for they have been playing the fool from sixteen to sixty.—Apropos! I found my precious kinsman Lord Sparkle here.

Belv.

Ay! there's an instance of the happy effects of total indifference to the sage maxims you recommend.

Fitz.

Happy effects do you call them?

Belv.

Most triumphant! Who so much admired? who so much the fashion?—the general favourite of the Ladies, and the common object of imitation with the men. Is not Lord Sparkle the happy man, who's to carry the rich and charming widow Lady Bell Bloomer from so many rivals?—And will not you, after quarrelling with him half your life, leave him a fine estate at the end of it?

Fitz.

No, no!—I tell you, No!

[With warmth.
Belv.

Nay, his success with the widow is certain.—He boasts his triumph every-where; and as she is such a fa­vourite of yours, every thing else will follow.

Fitzh.

No; for if she marries Sparkle, she will be no longer a favourite. Yet she receives him with a degree of [Page 6] distinction that sometimes makes me fear it; for we fre­quently see women of accomplishments and beauty, to which every heart yields homage, throw themselves into the arms of the debauched, the silly, and the vain.

Enter a SERVANT.
Serv.

Mr. Beauchamp.

[Exit.
Fitzh.

Oh! I expected him to call on you this morning. You must obtain his confidence; it will assist me in my de­signs. When I found myself disappointed in my hopes of his Lordship, I selected Beauchamp from the younger branches of my family: but of this he knows nothing, and thinks himself under high obligations to the patronage of the Peer; an error in which I wish him to continue, as it will give me an opportunity of proving them both.—But here he comes!—This way I can avoid him.

[Exit.
Enter BEAUCHAMP.
Belv.

Beauchamp!—and in regimentals!—Why, prithee, George, what spirit has seized thee now? When I saw thee last, thou wert devoted to the grave profession of the Law, or the Church; and I expected to have seen thee invelop'd in wig, wrangling at the bar; or seated in a fat benefice, receiving tythe-pigs and poultry.

Beauch.

Those, Be [...]ville, were my school-designs; but the fire of youth gave me ardors of a different sort. The heroes of the Areopagus and the Forum have yielded to those of Marathon; and I feel, that whilst my country is struggling amidst surrounding foes, I ought not to devote a life to learned indolence, that might be gloriously hazarded in her defence.

Belv.
(smiling.)

I shan't give you credit now for that fine flourish.—This sudden ardor for "the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war,"—I dare swear this heroic spirit springs from the whim of some fine Lady, who fancied you would be a smarter fellow in a cockade and gorget, than in a stiff band and perriwig.

Beauch.

If your infinuation means that my heart has not been insensible of the charms of some fair Lady, you are right; but my transformation is owing to no whim of her's: for, oh Charles! she never yet condescended to make me the object of her thoughts.

Belv.

Modest too!—Ay, you were right to give up the [Page 7] Law.—But who, pray, may this exalted Fair-one be who never condescended?

Beauch.

I never suffer my lips to wanton with the charm­ing sounds that form her name. I have a kind of miserly felicity in gloting on her dear idea, that would be impaired, should it be known to exist in my heart.

Belv.

Ha! ha! ha! who can be the nymph who has inspired so obsolete a passion!—In the days of chivalry it wou'd have been the ton.

Beauch.

I will gratify you thus far: The Lady has beauty, wit, and spirit; but, above all, a mind.—Is it possible, Charles, to love a woman without a mind?

Belv.

Has she a mind for you? That is the most im­portant question.

Beauch.

I dare not feed my passion with so presumptuous a hope; yet I would not extinguish it, if I could: for it is not a love that tempts me into corners to wear out my days in complaints: it prompts me to use them for the most important purposes:—the ardors it gives me, shall be felt in the land of our enemies; they shall know how well I love.

Belv.

Poh! poh! this is the gallantry of One Thousand One Hundred and One; the kind of passion that animated our fathers in the fields of Cressy and Poictiers.—Why, no Beauty of our age, man, will be won in this stile!—Now, suppose yourself at the Opera

(looking through his hand)

‘"Gad, that's a fine girl! Twenty thousand, you say? I think I'll have her. Yes, she'll do! I—I must have her! I'll call on her to-morrow and tell her so."’ Have you spirit and courage enough for that, my Achilles?

Beauch.

No truly.

Belv.

Then give up all thoughts of being received.

Beauch.

I have no thoughts of hazarding a reception. The pride of birth, and a few hundreds for my education, were the sole patrimony the imprudence of a father left me. My relation Lord Sparkle has procured for me a commission.—Generously to offer that and a knapsack to a Lady of five thousand a year, would be properly answered by a con­temptuous dismission.

Belv.

But suppose she should take a fancy to your knap­sack?

Beauch.

That would reduce me to the necessity of de­priving myself of a happiness I would die to obtain; for [Page 8] never can I submit to be quartered on a Wife's fortune; whilst I have a sword to carve subsistence for myself.

Belv.

That may be in the great stile; but 'tis scarcely in the polite. Will you take chocolate in my dressing-room?

Beauch.

No; I am going to take orders at my Colonel's: where shall we meet in the evening?

Belv.

'Faith, 'tis impossible to tell! I commit myself to Chance for the remainder of the day, and shall finish it as she directs.

[Exeunt at opposite sides.
Scene changes to an Apartment at CLARINDA'S.
Enter CLARINDA, reading a Catalogue, followed by TIFFANY.
Clar.

Poor Lady Squander! So Christie has her jewels and furniture at last!—I must go to the sale.—Mark that Dresden service, and the pearls. (Gives the catalogue to the Maid) It must be a great comfort to her to see her jewels worn by her friends.—Who was here last night? (sitting down, and taking some cards from the table) I came home so late, I forgot to enquire!—Mrs. Jessamy—Lady Racket—Miss Belvoir—Lord Sparkle (starting up)—Lord Sparkle here! Oh Heavens and earth! what possessed me to go to Lady Price's? I wish she and her concert of three fiddles and a flute had been playing to her kids on the We [...]ch mountains!—Why did you persuade me to go out last night?

Tiff.

Dear ma'am, you seem'd so low-spirited, that I thought—

Clar.

I missed him every where!—At four places he was just gone as I came in.—But what does it signify?—'Twas Lady Bell Bloomer he was seeking, I dare swear:—his attachment to the relict is every where the subject. Hang those widows! I really believe there's something ca­balistical in their names.—No less than fourteen fine young fellows of fortune have been drawn into the matrimonial noose by them since last February.—'Tis well they were threatened with imprisonment, or we should not have had an unmarried Infant above seventeen, between Charing-Cross and Portman-Square.

Tiff.

Well, I am sure I wish Lady Bell was married; she's always putting you out of temper.

Clar.

Have I not cause? Till she broke upon the Town, I was at the top of fashion—you know I was. My dress, my equipage, my furniture, and myself, were the criterions [Page 9] of taste; but a new French chamber-maid enabled her Ladyship at one stroke to turn the tide against me.

Tiff.

Ay, I don't know what good these Mademoi­selles—

Clar.
(interrupting)

But, Tiffany, she is to be at court to-day, out of mourning for the first time: I am resolved to be there.—No, I won't go neither, now I think on't.—If she shou'd really outshine me, her triumph will be increased by my being witness to it.—I won't go to St. James's; but I'll go to her route this evening, and, if 'tis possible, prevent Lord Sparkle's being particular to her.—Perhaps that will put her in an ill humour, and then the advantage will be on my side.

[Exit Clarinda.
Tiff.

Mercy on us! To be a chamber-maid to a Miss on the brink of Thirty requires as good politics, as being Prime Minister! Now, if she should not rise from her toilette quite in looks to-day, or if the desertion of a lover, or the victory of a rival, should happen, ten to one but I shall be forced to resign, without even a Pension to retire on.

[Exit Tiffany.
END OF THE FIRST ACT.

ACT II.

SCENE I.

An elegant Apartment at LADY BELL BLOOMER'S.
Enter JULIA, with Papers in her Hand.
Julia.

WHAT an invaluable treasure! Those dear papers, that have lain within the frigid walls of a Convent, insensible, and uninteresting to every one around them, contain for me a world of happiness. He is in England! How little he suspects that I too am here!

Enter KITTY.
Kitty.

Mr. Fitzherbert will be here immediately, Ma'am.

Julia.

Mr. Fitzherbert! Very well. Has Lady Bell finished dressing yet?

Kitty.
(speaking exceedingly fast)

No, Ma'am.—Mr. Crape the hair-dresser has been with her these three hours, and her maid is running here and there, and Mr. John flying about to milliners and perfumers, and the new vis-à-vis at the door to carry her Ladyship to court—Every thing black banished, and the liveries come home shining with silver; and the moment she is gone out, every body will be in such a delightful hurry about the route that her Ladyship is to give this evening; and they say all the world—

Julia.

Ha! ha! ha! Prithee stop! I can't wonder if Lady Bell shou'd be transported at dropping her weeds, for it seems to have turn'd the heads of the whole family.

Kitty.

Oh! dearee, Ma'am, to be sure! for now we shall be so gay! Lady Bell has such fine spirits!—And 'tis well she has; for the servants tell me, their old master would have broke her heart else.—They all adore her!—I wish you were a little gayer, Ma'am!—Somehow we are so dull!—'Tis a wonder so young and so pretty a Lady—

Julia.

Don't run into impertinence.—I have neither the taste nor talents for public life that Lady Bell Bloomer has.

Kitty.

Laws, Ma'am, 'tis all use! You are always at home; but Lady Bell knows, that wit and a fine person are not given for a fire-side at home

(drawling).

She shines every [Page 11] evening in half the houses of half-a-dozen parishes, and he next morning we have stanzas in the Bevy of Beauties, and sonnets, and billets-doux, and all the fine things that fine Ladies are so fond of.

Julia.

I can bear your freedoms no longer!—Carry these flowers with my compliments, and tell her Ladyship I sent to Richmond for them, as I know her fondness for natural bouquets; and bid Harry deny me to every body this morn­ing, except Mr. Fitzherbert.

[Exit Kitty.
Enter Mr. FITZHERBERT.
Fitz.

Happily excepted, my dear Ward! But I suppose you heard my step, and threw in my name for a douceur. I can hardly believe, that when you shut your doors on youth and flattery, you would open them to a cross old man, who seldom entertains you with any thing but your faults.

Julia.

How you mistake, Sir! You are the greatest flatterer I have: your whole conduct flatters me with esteem, and love; and as you do not squander these things—

(smiling)
Fitz.

There I must correct you.—I do squander them on few objects, indeed; and they are proportionably warmer. I feel àttachments fifty times as strong as your good-humour'd smiling people, who are every one's hum­ble servant, and every body's friend. Where is Lady Bell?

Julia.

Yet at her toilette, I believe. My dear Sir, I am every hour more grateful to you, for having given me so charming a friend.

Fitz.

So I would have you. When you came from France, I prevailed on her Ladyship to allow you her society, that you might add to the polish of elegant man­ners the graces of an elegant mind. Here she comes! her tongue and her heels keeping time.

Enter Lady BELL.

Ay, ay, if all the women in the world were prating young widows, love and gallantry would die away, and our men grow reasonable and discreet.

Lady Bell.
[Page 12]

Oh you monster! But I am in such divine spirits, that nothing you say can destroy 'em.—My sweet Julia, what a bouquet! Lady Myrtle will expire.—She was so envelop'd in flowers and ever-greens last night, that she look'd like the picture of fair Rosamond in her bower.—My dear Fitz, do you know we dined yesterday in Hill-street, and had the fortitude to stay till eleven!

Julia.

I was tired to death with the fatiguing visit.

Lady Bell.

Now, I, on the contrary, came away with fresh relish for society. The persevering civility of Sir Andrew and the maukish insipidity of his tall daughter act like olives: You can't endure them on your palate, but they heighten the gusto of your Tokay.

Fitz.

Then I advise your Ladyship to serve up Sir Andrew and his daughter at your next entertainment.

Lady Bell.

So I would, only one can't remove 'em with the dessert. But how do you like me? Did you ever see so delightful a head? Don't you think I shall make a thousand conquests to-day?

Fitz.

Doubtless, if you meet with so many fools.—But pray, which of those you have already made, will be the most flattered by all these gay insignia of your liberty?

Lady Bell.

Probably, he whom it least concerns.

Julia.

Pray tell us which is that?

Lady Bell.

Oh, Heavens! to answer that, requires more reflection than I have ever given the subject.

Julia.

Should you build a temple to your lovers, I fancy we should find Lord Sparkle's name on the altar.

Lady Bell.

Oh! Lord Sparkle!—Who can resist the gay, the elegant, the all-conquering Lord Sparkle? the most distinguished feather in the plume of fashion—with­out that barbarous strength of mind which gives impor­tance to virtues or to vices. Fashionable, because he's well drest:—Brilliant, because he's of the first Clubs, and uses his borrowed wit like his borrowed gold, as tho' it was his own.

Fitz.

Why, now, this man, whom you understand so well, you receive as tho' his tinsel was pure gold.

Lady Bell.

Aye, to be sure!—Tinsel is just as well for shew.—The world is charitable, and accepts tinsel for gold in most cases.

Fitz.

But in the midst of all this sunshine for Lord Sparkle, will you not throw a ray on the spirited, modest Beauchamp?

Lady Bell.
[Page 13]

A ray of favour for Beauchamp!—Were I so inclined, to make it welcome, I must change my fan for a spear, my feathers for a helmet, and stand forth a Thalestris.—You know his mistress is War—

(sighing, and then reco­vering).

—But why do I trifle thus?—The hour of triumph is at hand.

Fitz.

Of what?

Lady Bell.

The moment of triumph!—Anglice, the mo­ment when, having shewn myself at half the houses in St. George's, I am set down at St. James's, my fellows stand­ing on each hand, as I descend—the whisper flying thro' the croud, ‘"Who is she? Who is that sweet creature?—One of the four heiresses?"—"No; she's a foreign am­bassadress."’ —I ascend the stairs—move slowly thro' the rooms—drop my fan—incommode my bouquet—stay to adjust it, that the little gentry may have time to fix their admiration—again move on—enter the Drawing-room—throw a flying glance round the Circle, and see nothing but spite in the eyes of the women, and a thousand nameless things in those of the men.

Julia.

The very soul of giddiness!

Lady Bell.

The very soul of happiness!—Can I be less?—Think of a widow just emerg'd from her weeds for a hus­band to whom her sather, not her heart, united her—my jointure elegant—my figure charming—deny it if you dare!—Pleasure, Fortune, Youth, Health, all opening their stores before me; whilst Innocence and conscious Honour shall be my handmaids, and guide me in safety through the dangerous ordeal.

Fitz.

To your Innocence and conscious Honour add, if you have time

(archly),

a little Prudence, or your centinels may be surpris'd asleep, and you reduc'd to a disgraceful capitulation.

Lady Bell.

Oh! I'm mistress of my whole situation, and cannot be surpris'd.—But, Heav'ns! I am losing a con­quest every moment I stay!—The Loves and Pleasures have prepared their rosy garlands—my triumphal car is waiting—and [...]y proud steeds neighing to be gone.—Away to victory!—

[Exit with great spirit.
Fitz.

A charming woman, Julia!—She conceals a fine understanding under apparent giddiness; and a most sensible heart beneath an air of indifference.

Julia.

Yes, I believe her Ladyship's heart is more sensible than she allows to herself. I rally her on Lord Sparkle, but it is [Page 14] Mr. Beauchamp, whose name is never mentioned but her cheeks tell such blushing truths, as she wou'd never forgive me for observing.

Fitz.

Upon my word, you seem well acquainted with your friend's heart!—Will you be equally frank as to your own?

Julia
(in great confusion)

Sir!—my heart!

Fitz.

Yes; will you assist me in reading it?

Julia.

To be sure, Sir.

Fitz.

Then tell me, if amongst the painted, powdered, gilded moths whom your beauty or fortune have allured, is there one whom you would honour with your hand?—Aye, take time; I would not have you precipitate.

Julia
(hesitatingly)

No, Sir—not one.

Fitz.

I depend on your truth, and on that assurance in­form you, that a friend of mine is arriv'd in town, whom I mean this morning to present to you.

Julia.

As a—

Fitz.

As a lover, who has my warmest wishes that he may become your husband.

Julia.

Do I know the person for whom you are thus in­terested, Sir?

Fitz.

You do not; but I have had long intimacy with him, and 'tis the dearest wish of my heart to see him and Julia Manners united.

Julia.

I trust, Sir, you will allow—

Fitz.

Be under no apprehensions.—Much as I'm inte­rested in this union, your inclinations shall be attended to.—I am now going to your lover, and shall introduce him to you this morning.—Come, don't look so distress'd, child, at the approach of that period which will give you dignity and character in society.—The marriage-state is that in which your sex evinces its importance; and where, in the interesting circle of domestic duties, a woman has room to exercise every virtue that constitutes the Great and the Amiable.

[Exit Fitzherbert.
Julia.

The moment I so much dreaded is arrived! How shall I reveal to my Guardian, and to Lady Bell, that I am married? that I have already dared to take on me those im­portant duties? I must not reveal it—my solemn promise to my husband—But where is he?—Oh! I must write to him this moment, that I may not be left defenceless to brave the storm of offended authority, and love.

[Exit Julia.

SCENE II.

BELVILLE's Lodgings.
Enter BELVILLE new-drest.
Belv.

Let my trunks be ready, and the chaise at the door to-morrow morning by six, for I shall dine in Dover.

Fitz.

Ha! just in time, I see!—You are ready plumed for flight.

Belv.

True; but my flight wou'd have been to you.—Impatient to know the cause of your summoning me from the Dryades and Hamadryades of Berkshire, your letter reach'd me at the very instant I was setting out for Dover, in my way to Paris.

Fitz.

Paris!

Belv.

Yes.

Fetz.

Poh! poh! stay where you are, stay where you are! The great turnpike between Dover and Calais is a road de­structive to this kingdom; and I wish there were toll-gates erected on its confines, to restrain with a heavy tax the number of its travellers.

Belv.

I fear the tax would be more generally felt than the benefit; for it would restrain not only the folly-mongers and the fashion-mongers, but the rational enquirer and the travelling connoisseur.

Fitz.

So much the better! so much the better!—Our travelling philosophers have done more towards destroying the nerves of their country, than all the politics of France. Their chief aim seems to be, to establish infidelity, and to captivate us with delusive views of manners still more im­moral and licentious than our own.—Hey-dey! who's this?—Oh, the Cornish lad, I suppose, whom Lord Sparkle placed here.

Belv.
(laughing)

Yes; an odd being!—He was designed by nature for a Clodpole; but the notice of a Peer overset the little understanding he had, and so he commenced fine gentleman. He has a sister with him, who ran wild upon the commons till her father's death; but she fancies her­self a wit, and satirizes Bruin.—Here he comes.

Enter PENDRAGON.
Pen.

My dear fellow-lodger, I'm come to—Oh! your servant, Sir!

(to Fitzherbert)

—Is this gentleman a friend of yours?

Belv.

He is.

Pen.
[Page 16]

Your hand, Sir!

(passes Belville, and stands between them)

—If you are Mr. Belville's friend, you are my friend, and we are all friends; I soon make acquaintance.

Fitz.

A great happiness!

Pen.

Yes, so it is, and very polite too. I have been in the Great World almost six weeks, and I can see no diffe­rence between the Great World and the Little World, only that they've no ceremony; and so as that's the mark of good-breeding, I tries to hit it off.

Fitz.

With success.

Pen.

To convince you of that, I'll tell you a devilish good thing.—You must know—

Fitz.
(interrupting.)

Excuse me now, but I am convinc'd you will amuse me, and desire your company at dinner—they'll give you my address below. Mr. Belville, I have business of importance.

[Exit Fitzherbert and Belville.
Pen.

Gad, I'm glad he ask'd me to visit him!—He must be a Lord by his want of ceremony.

(imitating)

"Mr. Belville, I have business of importance"—and off they go.—Now in Cornwall we should have thought that damn'd rude—but 'tis easy.—"Mr. Belville, I have business of im­portance."—

(going)

Easy—easy—easy!

Enter SOPHY PENDRAGON.
Sophy.

Brother Bobby!—Brother Bobby!

Pen.
(returning.)

I desire, Miss Pendragon, you won't Brother me at this rate—making one look as if one didn't know Life.—How often shall I tell you, that it is the most ungenteel thing in the world for relations to Brother, and Father, and Cousin one another, and all that sort of thing. I did not get the better of my shame for three days, when you bawl'd out to Mrs. Dobson at Launceston Concert—"Aunt, Aunt, here's room between Brother and I, if Cousin Dick will sit closer to Father!"

Sophy.

Lack-a-day!—and where's the harm? What d'ye think one has relations given one for?—To be asham'd of 'em?

Pen.

I don't know what they were given us for; but I know no young man of fashion cares for his relations.

Sophy.

More shame for your young men of fashion; but I assure you, Brother Bobby, I shall never give in to any such unnatural, new-fangled ways. As for you, since Lord Sparkle took notice of you, you are quite another [Page 17] thing. You used to creep into the parlour, when Father had company, hanging your head like a dead partridge; steal all round the room behind their backs to get at a chair; then sit down on one corner of it, tying knots in your handkerchief; and if any-body drank your health, rise up, and scrape your foot so—"Thank you kindly, Sir!"—

Pen.

By Goles, if you—

(shaking his fist)
Sophy.

But now, when you enter a room, your hat is toss'd carelessly on a table; you pass the company with a half bend of your body; fling yourself into one chair, and throw your legs on another:—"Pray, my dear Sir, do me the favour to ring."—"John, bring Lemonade."—"Mrs. Plume has been driving me all morning in Hyde-Park, against the wind, and the dust has made my throat mere plaister of Paris."—

Pen.

Hang me, if I don't like myself at second-hand better than I thought I should!—Why, if I do it as well as you, Sophy, I shall soon be quite the thing!—And now I'll give you a bit of advice:—As 'tis very certain Lord Sparkle means to introduce you to High Life, 'tis sitting you should know how to behave; and as I have been amongst 'em, I can tell you.

Sophy.

Well!

Pen.

Why, first of all, if you should come into a draw­ing-room, and find twenty or thirty people in the circle, you are not to take the least notice of any one.

Sophy.

No!

Pen.

No!—The servant will, perhaps, give you a chair;—if not, slide into the nearest. The conversation will not be interrupted by your entrance; for they'll take as little notice of you, as you of them.

Sophy.

Psha!

Pen.

Then, be sure to be equally indifferent to the coming-in of others.—I saw poor Lady Carmine one night dying with confusion, for the vulgarity and ill­breeding of her friend, who actually rose from her chair, at the entrance of the Dutchess of Dulcet and Lady Betty Blowze.

Sophy.

Be quiet, Bobby!

Pen.

True, as I am a young man of fashion!—Then you must never let your discourse go beyond one word.—If any body should happen to take the trouble to entertain the company, you may throw in—"Charming!—Odious! [Page 18] —Capital!"—Never mount to a phrase, unless to that dear delightful one, of "all that sort of thing."—The use made of that is wonderful!—"All that sort of thing," is an apology for want of wit; it is a substitute for argu­ment; it will serve for the point of a story, or the fate of a battle.

Sophy.

Well then,—upon going away?

Pen.

Oh, you go away as you came in!—If one has a mind to give the lady of the house a nod,

(nodding)

one may; but 'tis still higher breeding to leave her with as lit­tle ceremony as I do you.

[Exit Pendragon without look­ing at her.
Sophy.

I wish I could be sure it was the fashion not to mind forms, I'd go directly and visit Lord Sparkle. I could tear my eyes out to think I was abroad to-day when he call'd on Mrs. Johnson!—In all the books I have read, I never met with a lover so careless as he is.—Sometimes I have a mind to treat him with disdain, and then I recol­lect all I have read about Ladies behaviour that break their Lovers hearts;—but he won't come near me.—Now I have been three days in a complying humour—but 'tis all one; still he keeps away. I'll be hang'd, if I don't know what he's about soon!—He sha'n't think to bring me from the Land's End to make a fool of me: Sophy Pendragon has more spirit than he thinks for.

[Exit Sophy.
Re-enter FITZHERBERT and BELVILLE.
Bel.

A Wife! Heaven's last best gift!—But—a—no—I sha'n't marry yet. I have a hundred little follies to act be­fore I do so rash a thing.

Fitz.

But I say, you shall marry.—I have studied you from eighteen, and know your character, you faults, and your virtues; and such as you are, I have pick'd you out from all the blockheads and fools about you, to take a fine girl off my hands with twenty thousand pounds.

Belv.

'Tis a bride, doubtless!—But what is the Lady; Coquet, Prude, or Vixen?

Fitz.

You may make her what you will. Treat her with confidence, tenderness, and respect, and she'll be an angel; be morose, suspicious, and neglectful, and she'll be—a woman.—The Wife's character and conduct is a comment on that of the Husband.

Belv.
[Page 19]
(gaily)

Any thing more?—

Fitz.

Yes, she is my ward, and the daughter of the friend of my youth.—I entertain parental affection for her, and give you the highest proof of my esteem in transferring to you the care of her happiness. Refuse it, if you dare.

Belv.

Dare! My dear friend, I must refuse the honour you offer me.

Fitz.

How!

Belv.

To be serious, it is not in my power to wed the Lady.

Fitz.

I understand you.—I am disappointed!—I should have mentioned this subject to you, before I had suffered it to make so strong a feature in my picture of future happi­ness.

Bel.

Would you had, that I might have informed you at once—that I am—married.

Eitz.

Married!—Where, when, how, with whom?

Belv.

Where?—In France.—When?—About eight months since.—How?—By an English clergyman.—With whom?—Ah, with such a one!—Her beauty is of the Greek kind, which pleases the mind more than the eye.—Yet to the eye nothing can be more lovely.—To this charm­ing creature add the name of Julia Manners, and you know my wife.

Fitz.

Julia Manners! Julia Manners did you say?

Belv.

Yes, Julia Manners! I first knew her at the house of a friend in Paris, whose daughters were in the same con­vent with herself. I often visited her at the grate; at length, by the assistance of Mademoiselle St. Val, prevailed on her to give me her hand, but was immediately torn from her by a summons from my uncle at Florence; whence I was dispatched to England on a ministerial affair.

Fitz.

So, so, so, very fine!

(aside)

—I suppose you had the prudence to make yourself acquainted with the Lady's family, before you married her?

Belv.

Yes: her family and fortune are elegant. She has a guardian, whese address the sweet Obstinate refused to give me, that she might herself reveal the marriage;—which I had reasons, however, to request her not to do, till we both arrived in England.

Fitz.

Then you have not seen your bride in England?

Belv.

Oh no!—My Julia is yet in her convent. I have been preparing for her reception in Berkshire, and have written to inform her, that I would meet her at Calais; but I fear my letters have missed her, and shall therefore set out [Page 20] for Paris, to conduct to England the woman who must give the point to all my felicities.

Fitz.
(aside)

And has Julia been capable of this?—Ungrateful girl! is it thus she rewards my cares?

Belv.

Your silence and your resentment, my dear friend, whilst they flatter, distress me.

Fitz.

I'm indeed offended at your marriage, but not with you:—on you I had no claims.

Belv.

I do not apprehend you.

Fitz.

Perhaps not; and at present I shall not explain my­self.

(going.)
Belv.

If you will leave me, adieu! I am going to run over the Town. My mind, impatient for the moment which carries me to my sweet bride, feels all the interme­diate time a void, which any adventure may fill up.

[Exit.
Fitz.

Spite of my displeasure, I can hardly conceal from him his happiness!—Yet I will.—Julia must be punished. To vice and folly I am content to appear severe; but she ought not to have thought me so. I have not deserved this want of confidence, and must correct it. If I don't mistake, Pendragon is a fit instrument.—I'll take him home with me.—Yes, yes, my young Lady, you shall have a lover!—Oh these headstrong girls!

[Exit.
END OF THE SECOND ACT.

ACT III.

SCENE 1.

LORD SPARKLE'S.
LORD SPARKLE and BEAUCHAMP discover'd at a Table, on which are Pens, Paper, &c. SPARKLE superbly drest.
Spark.

POOR George! and so thou wilt really be in a few days in the bosom of the Atlantic!

"Farewel to green fields and sweet groves,
"Where Chloe engag'd my fond heart"—
(rises and comes forward)
Hey for counterscarps, wounds, and victory!
Beauch.

I accept your last words for my omen; and now, in the true spirit of Homer's Heroes, should take my congé, and depart, with its influence upon me.

Spark.

First take an office which I know must charm you.—You admire Lady Bell Bloomer?

Beauch.

Admire her!—Yes, by Heaven—

(with great warmth)
Spark.
(interrupting)

No heroics, dear George—no he­roics! They are totally out now—totally out both in love and war.

Beauch.

How, my Lord!

Spark.

Indifference!—that's the rule.—We love, hate, quarrel, and even fight without suffering our tranquility to be incommoded;—nothing disturbs.—The keenest dis­cernment will discover nothing particular in the behaviour of lovers on the point of marriage, nor in the married, whilst the articles of separation are preparing.

Beauch.

Disgustful apathy!—What becomes of the energies of the heart in this wretched system? Does it annihilate your feelings?

Spark.

Oh, no!—I feel, for instance, that I must have Lady Bell Bloomer, and I feel curiosity to know her senti­ments of me, of which, however, I have very little doubt: but all my art can't make her serious; she fences admira­bly, and keeps me at the length of her foil.—To you she will be less on her guard.

Beauch.

Me I you surprise me, my Lord! How can I be of use in developing her Ladyship's sentiments?

Spark

Why, by sifting them. When you talk of me, see if she blushes. Mention some woman as one▪ whom I [Page 22] admire, and observe if she does not make some spiteful re­mark on her shape, complexion, or conduct; provoke her to abuse me with violence, or to speak of me with confu­sion—in either case, I have her.

Beauch.

Your instructions are ample, my Lord; but I do not feel myself equal to the embassy.

Spark.
(with pique)

Your pardon, Sir! You refuse then to oblige me?

Beauch.

I cannot refuse you—my obligations to your Lordship make it impossible:—but, of all mankind, I perhaps am the last you shou'd have chosen for the purpose.

Spark.

Nay, prithee don't be ridiculous! It is the last service you can do me: and you are the only man whom I could entrust with so delicate a business.

Beauch.

I accept it as a proof of your Lordship's con­fidence, and will discharge the commission faithfully.—

(aside)

It will at least give me an occasion to converse with Lady Bell, and to converse with her on love.—Oh! my heart! how wilt thou contain thy ardors in the trying moment?

[Exit Beauchamp.
Spark.

Ha! ha! ha! I am confirm'd in my suspicions, that the fellow has had the vanity to indulge a passion for Lady Bell, himself. Well, so much the better! the com­mission I have given him will sufficiently punish him for his presumption.

Enter a SERVANT.
Serv.

Mrs. Kitty is below, my Lord, Miss Manners's woman.

Spark.

Ha! Send her up—send her up.

(Exit Serv.)

I had began to give up that affair; but I think I won't neither. It will be rather a brilliant thing to have Lady Bell for a wife, and her friend for a mistress:—yes, it will be a point. I think I'll have the eclat of the thing.—

(Enter Kitty)

—Well, Kitty, what intelligence from the land of intrigue? What says the little frost-piece Julia?

Kitty.

Oh, nothing new, my Lord! She's as insensible as ever.—I makes orations all day long of your Lordship's merit, and goodness, and fondness, and—

Spark.
(staring)

Merit, and goodness, and fondness! And don't you give a parenthesis to my sobriety, and my neatness too! Ha! ha! ha! you foolish little devil, I thought you knew better!—Tell her of my fashion, my extravagance; that I play deepest at Weltjie's, am the best-drest [Page 23] at the Opera, and have half ruined myself by grant­ing annuities to pretty girls.—Goodness and fondness are baits to catch old prudes, not blooming misses.

Kitty.

What, my Lord! is spreading out your faults the way to win a fair Lady?

Spark.

Faults! Thine is chambermaid's morality, with a vengeance!—What have all my past lessons been thrown away upon thee, Innocence!—Have I not told thee, that the governing passion of the female mind is the rage of being envied? The most generous of them wou'd like to break the hearts of half-a-dozen of their friends, by the preference given to themselves. Go home again, good Kitty, and con your lessen afresh: if you can pick up any stories of extravagance and gallantry, affix my name to 'em, and repeat them to your mistress.

Kitty.

Then she'll tell 'em to Lady Bell, perhaps, for a warning—

Spark.
(drawling)

For a warning, quotha!—My de­voirs to Lady Bell are of a different kind, and we under­stand each other. I address her for a wife, because she's the fashion; and I address Julia for a mistress, because 'tis the fashion to have mistresses from higher orders than semp­stresses and mantua-makers.

Kitty.

And is that your only reason, my Lord, for bribing me so high?

Spark.

Not absolutely. I have a pique against her guardian, who, tho' he has the honour to be related to me, will not suffer me to draw on his banker for a single gui­nea. His estates, indeed, he can't deprive me of; so as it can do no harm, I'll have the eclat of affronting him with spirit.

Kitty.

Oh Gemini! I am glad to hear that! I'd do any thing to plague Mr. Fitzherbert, and can go on now with a safe conscience!—He had like to have lost me my place once, because he thought I was flighty;—but I'll be up with him, now.

Enter SERVANT.
Serv.

Mr. Belville.

[Exit.
Enter BELVILLE.
Spark.

My dear Belville!

(apart)

Go, Kitty, into that room, I'll speak to you presently.

[Exit Kitty.

[Page 24] Welcome once more to the region of business and plea­sure!

Belv.

I thank you! But pray, my Lord, don't dismiss the lady.

Spark.

The lady! Ha! ha! ha. That lady, Sir, is a Lady's gentlewoman, a'n't please ye! I suppose you have heard that I am going to marry Lady Bell Bloomer; we are the two most fashionable people in town, and in course must come together.

Belv.

A clear deduction.

Spark.

Now she has a friend, whom I mean at the same time to take for a mistress:—won't that be a stroke, eh!

Belv.

Decidedly. Your life is made up of strokes! Every thing with you, my Lord, is a hit.

Spark.

True, true! I detest a regular, mechanical mode of doing things.—Men of sense have one way of getting through life; men of genius, another.

Belv.

Doubtless; and the advantage lies with the men of genius, for to their genius are all their faults imputed; nay, their faults are considered as the graceful meanderings of a mind too ethereal to be confined to the rules of com­mon-sense and decorum;—a mighty easy way of building reputation! ha! ha! ha! You are drest with infinite malice to-day, my Lord.

Spark.

Malice! Not at all.—The women now-a-days are neither caught by finery or person!—I am drest for court.—I was going to Westminster; but I hear there is to be a presentation of Misses to-day, and I would not for the world lose the dear creatures blushes on their first ap­pearance; for, 'faith, most of them will never blush again.—Will you go?

Belv.

'Tis too late to dress: besides, I have devoted this day to adventure. I am rambling through the town, dis­covering what new stars have appeared in the Galaxy of Beauty during my absence, and a dangerous progress it is! The rays of a pair of black eyes from a chariot in Pall-mall would have annihilated me, had not at the same instant two beautiful blue ones from a window given a fil­lip to my sinking spirits. A fine-turn'd ancle, whose po­lish shone thro' its neat silk stocking, encounter'd me in St. James's-street; but I was luckily relieved by a little rosy mouth, that betray'd, with a deceitful smile, teeth most murderously white. A Galatea darted by me on the right, whilst a Helen swam along on the left:—in short, from such sweet besiegers nothing could have preserved me [Page 25] but the sweeter charms of a beloved, though absent fair-one.

(sighing.)
Spark.

Now, I never trouble my head about absentees!—I love beauty as well as any man; but it must be all in the present tense. Shall I set you down any where? I must go.

Bel.

No; but I see your writing-things are here. If you'll permit me, I'll pen a short note to Beauchamp on bu­siness I had forgot this morning, and dispatch it by a chairman.

Spark.

To be sure. I penned a note ten minutes since to my steward, to raise the poor devils rents. Upon my soul, I pity 'em! But how can it be otherwise, whilst one is obliged to wear fifty acres in a suit, and the produce of a whole farm in a pair of buckles? Adieu!

[Exit singing.
(Whilst Sparkle is speaking, Belville seats himself, and begins to write.)
Bel.
(writing)

Good morning!—My compliments to the Ladies blushes.

Enter KITTY; passes BELVILLE in the front of the Stage.
Kitty.

So, so, his Lordship has forgot me! I must go after him.

Bel.
(coming forward)

Hah! that's the confidante!—So, pretty-one, whose chattels are you?

Kitty.

My mistress's, Sir.

Belv.

And who is your mistress?

Kitty.

A Lady, Sir.

Belv.

And her name?

Kitty.

That of her father, I take it.

Belv.

Upon my word, your Lady has a very brilliant servant!—Is she as clever as you are?

Kitty.

Why, not quite, I think, or she would not keep me to eclipse her.

Belv.

Bravo! I wish I knew her! Will you tell me her name?

Kitty.

Can you spell?

Belv.

Yes.

Kitty.

Why then you'll find it in the four-and-twenty letters.

(going.)
Belv.
(catching her)

Nay, by Heaven, you have rais'd my curiosity!

Kitty.
[Page 26]

Poh! what signifies asking me? You know well enough who she is.—I heard you and Lord Sparkle talking about her. Let me go; for I am going to carry a message to Mr. Fitzherbert.

Belv.

Mr. Fitzherbert!

Kitty.

Aye, her guardian.

Belv.

Her guardian! What, Fitzherbert of Cambridge­shire?

Kitty.

Yes; and if you want to know more, he's the crossest old wretch that ever breathed. You'll find him out by that description; and so, your servant!

[Exit Kitty.
Belv.

Fitzherbert's ward! and this creature her servant! and Lord Sparkle plotting to get her for a mistress!—I am astonish'd!—the very Lady he this morning offered for my bride!—Well,—I must find Fitzherbert immediately.—Lord Sparkle will perhaps think me guilty of a breach of honour—The imputation I must incur, that I may not be really guilty of a breach of humanity, and of gratitude.

[Exit Belville.

SCENE II.

Lady BELL BLOOMER'S.
Enter FITZHERBERT, followed by a Servant.
Fitz.

Tell Miss Manners I am here. (Exit Servant.)—I cannot perhaps be seriously angry with Julia; but I must take some revenge on her disobedience, before I acquaint her with the felicity that attends her. Come in, Young Cornish, pray!

Enter PENDRAGON.
Pen.

What, does the Lady live in this fine house?

Fitz.

Yes.—but pray observe, that I don't engage she shall be smitten with you. I can go no farther than to in­troduce you; the rest must depend on the brilliancy of your manners.

Pen.

Oh leave me alone for that!—I knew how 'twould be, if I once shew'd myself in London. If she has a long purse, I'll whask her down to Cornwall, jockey Lord Sparkle, and have the Borough myself.

Fitz.

A man of spirit, I see!

Pen.

Oh, as to my spirit, that nobody ever doubted!—I have beat our Exciseman, and gone to-law with the Par­son; and to shew you that I did not leave my spirit in the [Page 27] country, since I came to London I have fined a hackney­coachman for abuse.

Fitz.

Very commendable!—But here comes the Lady!

Enter JULIA.

Mr. Pendragon, this is my ward, who, I am sure, will give your addresses all the encouragement I wish them.

Pen.

Servant, Ma'am!

(aside)

She looks plaguy glum.

Julia.

I can scarcely support myself!

(aside.)
Fitz.

Pray, my dear, speak to Mr. Pendragon! You seem greatly confused!

Pen.

Oh, Sir, I understand it! Young Ladies will look confus'd and embarrass'd, and all that sort of thing, on these occasions; but we men of the world are up to all that.

Julia.

Heavens! is it to such a Being I should have been sacrificed!

(aside.)
Pen.

I see your ward is one of the modest diffident ones: I am surprised at that—bred in high-life.

Fitz.

Oh, now and then, you find a person of that cast in the best company!—but they soon get over it.

Pen.

Yes, formerly I used to blush, and be modest, and all that sort of thing; but if any one ever catches me modest again, I'll give 'em my estate for a pilchard.

Julia.

Then it seems impossible—pardon me, Sir!

(to Fitzherbert)

that a union can take place between you and me; for I place modesty amongst the elegancies of manner, and think it absolutely necessary to the character of a gen­tleman.

Fitz.

Well done, Julia!

(aside)

—Fye upon you to treat my friend with such asperity!

Pen.

O leave her to me, Sir; she's ignorant, but I shall teach her. There are three things, Miss, only necessary to the character of a Gentleman;—a good air, good assu­rance, and good teeth.

(grinning.)
Julia.
[to Fitzherbert)

Doesn't his list want good man­ners, Sir?

Pen.

Oh, no, Ma'am! If you had said good taste, it wou'd have been nearer the thing; but even that is unne­cessary.—A Gentleman's friends can furnish his house, and chuse his books, and his pictures, and he can learn to cri­ticise them by heart.—Nothing is so easy as to criticise;—people do it continually.

Fitz.
[Page 28]

You see, Mr. Pendragon has information, Julia.—I'll leave you a few moments, that he may unfold himself to advantage; and remember, if you refuse the man I de­sign for your husband, you lose me.—Keep it up with spi­rit! I'll wait for you below

(to Pendragon).

—Now shall impertinence and disobedience correct each other!

[Exit Fitzherbert.
Pen.

Now to strike her with my superior ease!

(aside)

—So, Miss, your Guardian, I think, has a mind that we shall—in the vulgar speech—marry!

Julia.

Well, Sir; but are you not frighten'd at your approach to such a state!—Do you know what belongs to the character of a Husband?

Pen.

What belongs to it? Aye! Do you know what belongs to being a Wife?

Julia.

Yes; I guess that to your wife will belong ill-humour with you at home—shame with you abroad;—in her face forc'd smiles—in her heart hidden thorns.

Pen.

The Devil! What, you have found your tongue, Ma'am! Oh, oh, I shall have a fine time on't, I guess, when our connection begins!

Julia.

Our connection!—Pray, Sir, drop the idea!—I protest to you, that were it possible for me to become your wife, I should be the most wretched of women.

Pen.

Oh no, you woudn't! I hardly know a wife who is not wretched.

Julia.

Unfeeling man! Would you presume to enter into a state, to the happiness of which, union of soul, delicacy of sentiment, and all the elegant attentions of polish'd manners are necessary and indispensible?

Pen.

What's all that! Union of soul! sentiment! at­tentions!—That's not Life, I'm sure.

Julia.

I am not able to conceive by what witchcraft Mr. Fitzherbert has been blinded to the weakness of your head, and the turpitude of your heart.—Tell him, Sir, there is not a fate I would not prefer to that of being united to a man whose vice is the effect of folly, and whose folly is as hateful even as his vice.

[Exit Julia.
Pen.

Yes, yes, I'll tell, depend on't!—Egad, she's a spirit!—So much the better, more pleasure in taming her!—A meek wife cheats a man of his rights, and de­prives him of the pleasure of exacting her obedience.—Let me see!—Vice—folly—impudence—ignorance—Ignorance too!

[Exit Pendragon.
[Page 29] Re-enter JULIA.
Julia.

What have I done? I dare not now see my guar­dian! His displeasure will kill me. Oh Belville! where art thou! Come and shield thy unhappy bride!—What steps can I take?

Enter KITTY.
Kitty.

Dear Ma'am, I'm so griev'd to see you so unhap­py! If I had such a cross old guardian, I'd run away from him.

Julia.

The very thought which that instant presented itself to my mind!—Have you not told me, that some re­lation of your's has lodgings?

Kit.y.

Yes, Ma'am; the most elegantest in London.

Julia.

I don't want elegant apartments; but I wish for a short time to be conceal'd in some family of reputation.

Kitty.

To be sure, Ma'am, 'tis the most prudent thing you can do.

Julia.

And yet my heart fails me.

Kitty.

Oh, Ma'am, don't hesitate! I'll go and pack up a few things, and call a coach and be off, before Lady Bell comes from Court.

Julia.

I fear 'tis a wrong step; and yet what other can I take? I dare not reveal my marriage, without the per­mission of my husband; and till his arrival, I must avoid both a guardian's anger and the addresses of a lover.—The honour of Belville would be insulted, should I permit them to be repeated.

(aside.)
[Exit Julia.
Kitty.

I know not what she means, but there is some mystery, I find. So there shou'd be!—If ladies had not mysteries, a chambermaid's place would be hardly worth keeping.—I have mysteries too, and she shall have their explanation from Lord Sparkle.

[Exit.

SCENE III.

CLARINDA'S House.
Enter Lady BELL meeting CLARINDA.
L. Bell.

Ha! ha! ha! my dear creature, what an em­barras! Driving swiftly through the streets, Lady Whip­cord dash'd upon us in her flaming phaeton and six, gave a monstrous big Newmarket word to my poor fellows, and [Page 30] with infinite dexterity entangled the traces. It happen'd near your door; so I have taken shelter with you, and left her Ladyship to settle the dispute with my coachman, ha! ha! ha! But why were you not at Court to-day?

Clar.

I had a teazing head-ach; but pray, tell me what happen'd there.—

(aside)

Deuce take her, she looks as well as ever!

L. Bell.

Oh, the Ladies, as usual, brilliant—nothing so flat as the men! The horrid English custom ruins them for conversation. They make themselves members of Clubs, in the way of business; and Members of Parliament, in the way of amusement: all their passions are reserved for the first, and all their wit for the last.

Clar.

'Tis better in Paris.

L. Bell.

Oh, 'tis quite another thing! Whilst we auk­wardly copy the follies of the Parisians, we absurdly omit the charming part of their character. Devoted to elegance, they catch their opinions, their wit, and their bons mots from the mouths of the ladies.—'Tis in the drawing-room of Madame the Dutchess, the Marquis learns his politicks; whilst the sprightly Countess dispenses taste and philosophy to a circle of Bishops, Generals, and Abbés.

Clar.

All that may be just; yet I am mistaken, if you have not found one Englishman to reconcile you to the manners of the rest. Lord Sparkle, for instance—your Ladyship thinks, I'm sure, that be has wit at will.

L. Bell.

Oh yes, quite at will!—His wit, like his es­sence-bottle, is a collection of all that is poignant in a thousand flowers; and, like that, is most useful, when he himself is most insipidly vacant.

Clar.

With such sentiments, I wonder you can suffer his addresses.

L. Bell.

What can I do? The man is so much the fa­shion, and I shall be so much envied.—Why you now, my dear, for instance—you'd be inclin'd to stick a poi­soned nosegay in my bosom, if I should take him.

Clar.

Ha! ha! ha! ridiculous! Believe me, Madam, I shall neither prepare a bouquet, nor invoke a fiery shower to grace your nuptials.

L. Bell.
(aside)

No, your shower would be tears, I fan­cy.—Here be comes!

Clar.

Hah! Lord Sparkle! Your Ladyship's accident was fortunate.

(sneering.)
[Page 31] Enter LORD SPARKLE.
Spark.

Heavens! Lady Bell! your horses fly like the doves of Venus. I follow'd you from St. James's;—but my poor earth-born cattle wouldn't keep pace with yours.

Clar.

Oh, don't complain! If her Ladyship won the race, you see she stopp'd for you at the goal.

Spark.

Charming Miss Belmour, what an enliv'ning in­timation! Where was your Ladyship on Thursday? You would have found excellent food for your satire at Mrs. Olio's: We had all the Law Ladies from Lincoln's-inn, a dozen gold velvets from Bishopsgate, with the wives and daughters of half the M. D's. and L. L. D's. in town.

L. Bell.

Oh, my entertainment was quite as good as yours! We were in Brook-street, at Lady Lau­rel's, and found her surrounded by her Literati of all de­nominations.—We had Masters of Art and Misses of Sci­ence:—on one hand, an Essayist; on the other, a Mora­list:—there, a Poetaster; here, a Translator:—in that cor­ner, a Philosopher; in the oth r, a Compiler of Maga­zines.—Tropes, Epigrams, and Syllogisms flew like sky­rockets in every direction; 'till the ambition of pre-emi­nence lighted the flame of controversy, when they gave each other the lye literary with infinite spirit and decorum.

Spark.

Excellent! I'll repeat every word in a place where it will be remember'd, and the satire enjoy'd.

Clar.

In that hope your Lordship may safely knock at every door in the street:—satire is welcome every where.

L. Bell.

Yes, if it will bear a laugh—that's the grand art of conversation. They pretend we are fond of slander; but rob scandal of its laugh, and 'twould soon be banish'd to the second table, for the amusement of butlers and chambermaids.

Spark.

Indeed! Then I believe half our acquaintance wou'd go down stairs to the second table too!—they'd think their servants had the best of the dish.

(Enter a Ser­vant, gives Lord Sparkle a letter, and exit.)
Spark.
(reads it aside)

Julia! astonishing!—So sudden in your movements, Mrs. Kitty?—

(turning to the Ladies)

This vulgar thing call'd business is the greatest evil in life! It destroys our most brilliant hours, and is sit only for younger brothers and humble cousins.—Miss Belmour, I must tear myself away. Shall I attend your Ladyship to your carriage?

L. Bell.
[Page 32]

If you please!—Miss Belmour, "I must tear my­self away;"—but you'll shine upon us at night.

[Exeunt L. Sparkle and Lady Bell.
Clar.

Shine upon you at night!—That I know you are insolent enough to believe impossible.—What can I think of her sentiments for Lord Sparkle! Sometimes I believe 'tis a mere attachment of vanity on both sides.—That re­serv'd creature Beauchamp is in his confidence; but he leaves town this very day, and I shall have no opportunity of conversing with him.

(muses)

There is but one chance—going to visit him.—But how can I possibly do that? Deuce take him! If he had a library, one might go to look at his books. Well, I don't care, go I will; and if I can't invent an excuse, I'll put a good face upon the mat­ter, and go without one.

(going)

I should expire if my visit shou'd be discover'd. Poh! I must risque every thing!—To be bold, is sometimes to be right.

[Exit.
END OF THE THIRD ACT.

ACT IV.

SCENE I.

Au Apartment at LADY BELL's.
Enter LADY BELL, followed by her Maid.
L. Bell.

MISS Manners gone out in a hackney-coach, and no message left!

Maid.

No, Madam.

L. Bell.

Very strange!

Maid.

Mr. Beauchamp has been waiting almost an hour for your Ladyship's return.

L. Bell.

Mr. Beauchamp!—Here, go and put some otto of roses in that handkerchief.

(Exit Maid)

Now, shall I admit him, or not? This formal waiting looks very like formal business. Poh, I hate that!—I suppose he has at length vanquish'd his modesty, and is come to tell me that—that—Well, I vow I won't hear him.—Yes, I will. I long to know the stile in which these reserv'd men make love.—To what imprudence would my heart betray me? Yet I may surely indulge myself in hearing him speak of love; in hearing, probably for the first time, its genuine language.

(Enter Maid, and presents the handkerchief)

Tell Mr. Beauchamp I am here.

(Exit Maid)

Now, how shall I receive him? It will be intolerable to be formal.—

(Takes her fan from her pocket and traverses the stage, humming a tune.—Enter Beauchamp.)

Oh, Mr. Beauchamp, this is the luckiest thing!—I have had ten disputes to-day about the figures in my fan; and you shall decide 'em. Is that beautiful nymph a flying Daphne, or an Atalanta?

Beauch.
(looking at her fan)

From the terror of the eye, Madam, and the swiftness of her step, it must be a Deph­ne. I think Atalanta's head would be more at variance with her feet; and whilst she flies, her eye would be invitingly turn'd on her pursuers.

L. Bell.

I think you are right!—Yes—there does want the kind, inviting glance, to be sure.

Beauch.

What a misfortune to a lover! I know one to whom your Ladyship appears the disdainful Daphne.—How happy! could he behold in your eye the encourage­ment of Atalanta's!

L. Bell.
[Page 34]
(aside)

Mercy! for so bashful a man that's pret­ty plain.

Beauch.

This is probably the last visit I can make you before I leave England:—will your Ladyship permit me, before I leave it, to acquaint you that there is a man, whose happiness depends on your favour?

(agitated.)
L. Bell.

So, now he's going to be perplexing again!

(aside)

—A man whose happiness depends on me, Mr. Beauchamp!

(looking on her fan.)
Beauch.

Yes, Madam!—and—and—

(aside)

I cannot go on—Why did I accept a commission in which success would destroy me?

L. Bell.

How evidently this is the first time he ever made love!

(aside)

—The man seems to have chosen a very dif­fident advocate in you, Sir.

Beauch.

'Tis more than diffidence, Madam, my task is painful.

L. Bell.

Ay, I thought so! You have taken a brief in a cause you don't like; I could plead it better myself.

Beauch.

I feel the reproach.

L. Bell.

'Tis difficult for you, perhaps, to speak in the third person?—Try it in the first. Suppose now, ha! ha! only suppose, I say! for the jest's sake, that you yourself have a passion for me, and then try—how you can plead it.

Beauch.
(kneeling)

Thus—thus would I plead it, and swear, that thou art dear to my heart as fame, and ho­nour!—To look at thee is rapture; to love thee, tho' without hope,—felicity!

L. Bell.

Oh, I thought I should bring him to the point at last!

(aside)
Beauch.
(rising, aside)

To what dishonesty have I been betray'd▪—Thus, Madam, speaks my friend, thro' my lips;—'tis thus he pleads his passion.

L. Bell.

Provoking!

(aside)

—What friend is this, Sir, who is weak enough to use the language of another to ex­plain his heart?

Beauch.

Lord Sparkle.

L. Bell.

Lord Sparkle! Was it for him you knelt?

(he bows to her)

—Then, Sir, I must inform you, that the li­berty you have taken—

(aside)

Heavens, how do I be­tray myself!—Tell me, Sir, on your honour, do you wish to succeed in pleading the passion of Lord Sparkle?

Beauch.
[Page 35]
(hesitating)

My obligations to his Lordship—our relationship—the confidence he has repos'd in me—

L. Bell.

Stop, Sir! I too will repose confidence in you, and confess that there is a man whom I sometimes suspect not to be indifferent to me;—but 'tis not Lord Sparkle! Tell him so;—and tell him that—that—tell him what you will.

Beauch.

Heavens, what does she mean! What language is this her eye speaks?

(aside)
L. Bell.

Do you visit me this evening. Here will be ma­ny of my friends, and you shall then see me in the presence of the man my heart prefers.

(Beauchamp bows, and goes to the door; then returns, ad­vances towards Lady Bell, makes an effort to speak; finds it impossible, then bows, and exit.)

Heavens! what necessity have lovers for words? What persuasion in that bashful irresolution! Now, shall I let him quit England, or not!—What! give up a coronet and Lord Sparkle for a cockade and Beauchamp! Prepos­terous! says Vanity.—But what says Love? I don't exactly know; but I'll examine their separate claims, and settle them with all the casuistry of four-and-twenty.

[Exit.

SCENE II.

LORD SPARKLE's House.
Enter JULIA and KITTY.
Julia.

I am so agitated with this rash step, that I can hardly breathe!

(throwing herself into a chair)

Why did you confirm me in my imprudent resolution?

Kitty.

Imprudent! I'm sure, Ma'am, 'tis very prudent, and very right, that a young lady like you should not be snubb'd, and have her inclination thwarted by an ill-natur'd positive old guardian.

Julia.
(looking round)

What apartments! and the hall we came through had an air much beyond a lodging-house! 'Tis all too fine for my purpose; I want to be private.

Kitty.

Oh dear Ma'am, you may be as private here as you please!

(a rapping at the door)

There's my cousin come home, I dare say; I'll send her to you, and then you may settle terms.

[Exit.
Julia.

I feel I have done wrong, and yet I am so dis­tracted, I know not how I could have done otherwise.

(Enter Lord Sparkle)

Heavens! Lord Sparkle here!

Spark.
[Page 36]

Yes, my lovely Julia, here I am; and upon my soul, if you knew the engagements I have broke for the happiness, you would be gratified.

Julia.

Gratified! I am astonish'd! equally astonish'd at your being here, and at your strange address.

Spark.

Astonish'd at my being here! Why, to be sure, it is not usual to find a man of fashion in his own house; but when I heard that you were in my house, how could I do less than fly home?

Julia.

Home! Your own house! What can all this mean?—

Spark.

Mean! Love—Gallantry—Joy, and ever-new delights.

Julia.

Oh! I am betray'd! Where is my wicked ser­vant?

Spark.

Poh, never think of her!—Why all this flut­ter, my sweet girl! You have only chang'd guardians; and you shall find, that being ward to a young man of fashion and spirit, is a very different thing from—

Julia.

Oh Heavens! what will become of me?

Spark.

Nay, this is quite ridiculous, after having fled to my protection! I feel myself highly honour'd by your confidence, and will take care to deserve it.

Julia.

Why do I remain here an instant?

(going towards the door.)
Spark.
(holding her)

This is downright rudeness! But you young Ladies are so fickle in your resolutions—But be assured, after having chosen my house for your asylum, I shall not be so impolite as to suffer you to seek another.

Julia.

Oh wretched artifice! You know, Sir, that your house and you I would have fled from to the farthest corner of—

(Enter Beauchamp)

Oh, Mr. Beauchamp, save me!—I have been basely betray'd!—

Beauch.
(astonish'd)

Betray'd!—Miss Manners! Yes, Madam, I will protect you at every hazard.

Spark.

Come, none of your antique virtues, George, pray! This is a piece of badinage of the Eighteenth Century, and you can't possibly understand it!—Miss Man­ners chose to pay me a visit, and I desire you'll leave us.

Julia.

My Lord, how dare you thus trifle with a wo­man's honor?

Beauch.

Be not alarm'd, Madam, I will defend you.

Spark.
(taking him aside)

Poh, prithee, George, be dis­creet! This is all female artifice!—You popp'd upon us, and this is a salver for her reputation.

Beauch.
[Page 37]

Pardon me, my Lord! In believing you in op­position to the evidence of this young Lady's terrors, I may be guilty of an irremiable error.

Spark.

Nay, if you are serious, Sir, how dare you break in upon my privacy?

Beauch.

This is not a time to answer you, my Lord! The business that brought me here, I am indebted to; I should not else have prevented your base designs.

Spark.

Base designs, Mr. Beauchamp!

Beauch.

Yes, Lord Sparkle!—Shall I attend you home, Madam?

Julia.

Oh, Sir, I dare not go there! I fled from Lady Bell's, when I was betray'd into this inhuman man's pow­er.—Convey me to some place where I may have leisure to reflect.

Spark.

And do you think, Mr. Beauchamp, I shall put up with this?—Remember, Sir—

Beauch.
(interrupting)

Yes, my Lord, that, as a Man, it is my duty to protect endanger'd innocence; that, as a Soldier, it is part of the essence of my character; and, whilst I am grateful to you for the commission I have the honour to bear, I will not disgrace it, in suffering myself to be intimidated by your frowns.

[Exit Beauchamp, leading Julia.
Spark.

So!—so!—so!—an antient hero in the house of a modern man of fashion!—Alexander in the tent of Da­rius!—Scipio and the fair Parthenia! The fellow has not an idea of any morals but those in use during the Olympiads.

Enter SERVANT.
Serv.

Mr. Pendragon and his sister, my Lord.

Spark.

Who!

(with an air of disgust.)
Serv.

Mr. and Miss Pendragon.

Spark.

Then carry 'em to the Housekeeper's room!—Give 'em jellies and plumb-cake, and tell 'em—

(Enter Pen­dragon, leading Sophy)

Oh, my dear Miss Pendragon, you honour me!—But I am the most unlucky man on earth!—I am oblig'd, upon business of infinite consequence, to be at Whitehall within five minutes.

Pen.

But, first, my Lord, you must settle a little busi­ness here with Miss Pendragon.

Sophy.

I tell you, Bobby, I'll speak myself;—and as few words are best, pray, my Lord, what do you mean by treating me in this manner?

Spark.
[Page 38]

I shall be miserable beyond bearing, if any treat­ment of mine has incurr'd your displeasure.

Sophy.

Well, now you talk of being miserable, you have soften'd my heart at once! But pray, my Lord, is it fashionable for people on the terms you and I are, to keep asunder?

Spark.

What the Devil can the girl mean?

(aside.)
Sophy.

Never even write!—no billets!—no bribing the maid to slip notes into my hand!—Why you don't even complain, tho' 'tis five days since you saw me.

Spark.

Complain! I am sure I have been exceedingly wretched.

Sophy.

Then why did you not tell me so? Why, that's the very thing I wanted! If I had known you had been wretched, I should have been happy.

Pen.

Well, I see I shall lose an opportunity here!—I came to challenge you, my Lord.

Spark.

Challenge me!

Pen.

Yes!—Miss Pendragon told me she was dissatisfied:—then says I, I'll demand satisfaction:—and I didn't care if things had gone a little farther; for to call out a Lord would be a feather in my cap as long as I live.—However, you are agreed.

Sophy.

Do be quiet, Bobby!—We are not agreed:—I have heard nothing of Settlements yet; nothing of Jew­els.

Spark.

My dear Ma'am, you are pleased to amuse your­self.

Sophy.

Why, my Lord, those things must be all settled before-hand, you know.

Spark.

Before what!

Sophy.

What! Before our marriage, my Lord.

Spark.

Marriage! Ha, ha, ha!

Sophy.

Heydey! Will you pretend that you did not in­tend to marry me, when I can prove that you have courted me from twenty instances?

Spark.

Indeed!

Pen.

Ay, that she can! instances as striking as your Lordship's red heels.—Come, Miss Pendragon, your proofs? I'll support 'em.

Sophy.

Why, in the first place, my Lord, you once placed a nosegay in my bosom, and said, "Oh! I wish I were these happy roses!"—the very speech that Sir Harry Hargrave made to Miss Woodville!—Another time you [Page 39] said, "I was a most bewitching and adorable girl!"—exact­ly what Colonel Finch said to Lady Lucy Lustre!—Ano­ther time you said, "How would a Coronet become those shining tresses!"—the very speech of Lord Rosehill to Miss Danvers; and these couples were every one married.

Spark.

Married! I never heard of 'em!—Who are they? Where the Devil do they live?

Pen.
(strutting up to him)

Live!—Why in our county, to be sure.

Sophy.

No, no, Bobby, in The Reclaim'd Rake, and The Constant Lovers, and Sir Charles Grandison, and Roderic Random, and—

Pen.

Yes, Sir; they live at Random, with Sir Charles Grandison.—Now d'ye know 'em?

Spark.

Ha! ha! ha! you are a charming little Lawyer,

(to Sophy)

and might, perhaps, establish your proofs for precedents, if Sir Charles Grandison was on the Bench: yet I never heard of his being made Chief-Justice, tho' I never thought him fit for any thing else.

Pen.

What the Devil's this?—What, did not you bring all those fine proofs from fashionable life?—And are you such a fool as not to understand what we call common-place?

Sophy.

Common-place!

Pen.

Yes, we persons of elegant life use the figure Hyperbōle.—

Sophy.

Hyperbōle! What's that?

Pen.

Why, that's as much as to say, a stretch.

Sophy.

A stretch! What, then, you have been mocking me, my Lord?

Spark.

Not in the least; I shall be the happiest man ex­isting to, to—

(aside)

Egad, I must take care of my phrases!—I mean, that I shall be always, and upon all occasions, your most devoted, tres humblement serviteur.—Were there ever two such Bumpkins!

[Exit.
Sophy.

What's he gone? Oh! Villain! Monster! I am forsaken! Oh! I am rejected!—All Cornwall will know it!

(crying)
Pen.

Tin-Mines and all. But don't ye cry, Miss Pen­dragon—don't ye cry!

(sobbing)
Sophy.

Oh! I am rejected!

Pen.

I am glad on't, with all my heart! I'll challenge him yet, and they won't know in Cornwall exactly how it was.—They'll hear that a Lord fought about ye, and all [Page 40] that sort of thing; and whether for ye or against ye, 'twill be much the same.

Sophy.

But will you challenge him, really, Bobby?

Pen.

Upon honor!—I admire the claw of the thing! Egad, Sophy, I'm glad he's forsaken thee! Now my cha­racter will be finish'd. A man can't shew his face in com­pany, till he has stood shot, and fired his pistol in the air.

Sophy.

In the air! If you don't fire it thro' him—

Pen.

Oh, never fear! I'll do all that sort of thing. Come along! I'll go home directly, and practise at the hen-coop in the yard. I'll fire thro' one end, and you shall hold your calash against the other; and if I don't hit it, say I'm no marksman.

[Exit Pendragon, with Sophy under his arm.

SCENE III.

BEAUCHAMP's Lodgings.
Enter Beauchamp and Julia.
Beauch.

I intreat your pardon for conducting you to my own lodgings;—but here, Madam, you will be safe, 'till you determine how to act.—What are your commands for me?

Julia.

Oh, Mr. Beauchamp, I have no commands—I have no designs!—I have been very imprudent; I am still more unhappy.

Beauch.

Shall I acquaint Mr. Fitzherbert?

Julia.

It was to avoid him that I left Lady Bell.—I have reasons that make it impossible to see Mr. Fitzherbert now.

Beauch.

Is there no other friend?

Julia.

O yes, I have one friend!—Were he here, all my difficulties would vanish!—It may seem strange, Mr. Beauchamp, but I expect that you believe—Heavens! here's company!

(looking at the wing)

'Tis Miss Belmour—the last woman on earth whom I would trust!—Where can I go?

Beauch.

Miss Belmour! Very odd!—But pray be not uneasy!—That room, Madam, if you will condescend—

(she rushes thro' the door.)
Enter CLARINDA laughing.
Clar.

Ha! ha! ha! I expect your gravity to be amazing­ly discompos'd at so hardy a visit; but I took it very ill that you did not design to call upon me before your depar­ture; [Page 41] and so as I was passing your door, I stopp'd in mere frolic to enquire the cause.

Beauch

You do me infinite honour, Madam! I am thank­ful that I fail'd in my attention, since it has procur'd me so distinguish'd a favour.

Clar.

Oh, your most obedient!—You are going to leave England for a long while! You'll find us all in different situations, probably, on your return!—Your friend Lord Sparkle, for instance—I am inform'd that he is really to marry Lady Bell Bloomer; but I don't believe it—do you?

Beauch.

'Tis impossible, Madam, for me—

Clar.

Poh! poh! impossible! Such friends as you are I suppose keep nothing from one another.—We women can't exist without a confidante; and I dare say, you men are full as communicative. Not that it is any thing to me; but as I have a prodigious regard for Lady Bell—

Belv.
(behind)

Beauchamp! Beauchamp!

Clar.

Heaven and earth, how unlucky! Here's some man! I am the nicest creature breathing in my reputation: what will he think? I'll run into this room.

(runs toward the door.)
Beauch.
(preventing her)

Pardon me, Madam, you can­not enter there!

Clar.
(pushing at the door)

I must—Oh—oh! the door is held, Sir.

Beauch.

My dear Madam, I am infinitely sorry for the accident; but suppose—suppose, I say, Ma'am, that a friend of mine has been in a duel, and conceal'd in that room.

Clar.

Ridiculous! I saw the corner of a hoop and a white sattin petticoat:—is that the dress of your duelling friends? I will go in.—

(struggling)

So!

(flinging away spitefully)

'tis too late!

Enter BELVILLE.

So! so! so! I beg your pardon. How could you be so indiscreet, Beauchamp? Tho' a young soldier, I thought you knew enough of Generalship to be prepar'd for a sur­prize.

Clar.

Oh, so he was; but not for two surprizes.—One has happened already, and a hasty retreat the consequence.

Beau.

Believe me, Belville—I am infinitely concerned

(to Clarinda.)
Clar.
[Page 42]

Oh! I detest your impertinent concern! Keep it for the Lady in the other room.

Bel.

A Lady in the other room too! Heydey! Beauchamp, who would have suspected—

Beauch.

'Tis all a mistake! The Lady in the next room—But prithee go.—

Bel.

Only tell me if you have seen Fitzherbert. I have been seeking him this hour, on a business of the utmost consequence.

Beauch.

I have not; but about this time you'll find him at home.

Bel.

Enough! Miss Belmour, pray suffer no concern; depend on my honour.—Beauchamp

(taking him aside)

, who is the Lady in the other room?

Beauch.

Had I meant you to have known, that room would have been unnecessary.

(Belville seems still inquisitive; Beauchamp draws him towards the wing).
Clar.

Now do I die to know who it can be! Indeed, 'tis necessary for my own sake.—Whilst she has been hid, I have been exposed; and who knows what the creature may say? I'll try once more. She has my secret, and I'll have her's.

(forces open the door)
Julia.
(rushes out)

Belville!

(running towards him.)
Belv.
(starting back.)

Julia!

Clar.

Miss Manners!—Ha! ha! ha!

Julia.

Oh, Belville, throw me not from you!

Bel.

Astonishing!

Clar.

Oh charming! The modest Julia, and the reserv'd Beauchamp! Ha! ha! ha!—But Mr. Belville, how came you of this sober party? ha! ha! ha!

Julia.

Speak to me!

Clar.

Now, Mr. Beauchamp, you know the purport of my visit.—I had heard that Miss Manners has been seen to visit you, and, not being willing to trust to such a re­port, was resolved, if possible, to discover the truth.

Bel.
(to Julia)

Wretched woman!

Julia.
(to Clarinda)

Barbarous creature! Oh hear me, I conjure you!

Bel.

Hear you!—No, madam;—and if my contempt, my hatred, my—oh!—You, Sir, I must speak to in another place;—yet perhaps you were not acquainted that—What would I say!—The word which I have pro­nounced [Page 43] with rapture, choaks me. From this moment farewel!

(to Julia).
[Exit Belville.
Beauch.

What can I think of all this?

Julia.

Oh Sir!

Beauch.

Permit me, Madam, to ask i you have long known Mr. Belville?

Julia.

Yes, too long.

Clar.

Oh, oh, too long!—Aye, young ladies should be cautious how they form acquaintance. For my part—But you look ill, child!—

(taking her by the hand)

Well, I have no hard heart; I can pity your weakness, Miss;—I won't upbraid you now.—My coach waits;—shall I conduct you home?

Julia.

Yes, to Lady Bell—to Lady Bell—I am very ill!

Clar.

Adieu, Mr. Beauchamp! This has been an unlucky frolic!—'Tis amazing, you grave people can be so care­less.

[Exit Julia and Clarinda.
Beauch.

An unlucky frolick, indeed! And I am so thoroughly confounded, that I know not what judgment to form of the adventure.—I always considered Miss Man­ners as a pattern of delicacy and virtue; nor dare I now, spite of circumstances, think otherwise.

Enter LORD SPARKLE.
Spark.

So, so, Signor Quixote! What so soon lost your prize! Aye, you see quarrelling for these virtuous women, is as unprofitable as the assault of the windmills.—Have you seen Lady Bell in my behalf?

Beauch.

Lady Bell, my Lord! Why, sure, 'tis impos­sible after your attempt on Miss Manners—

Spark.

Psha! that is a stroke in my favour. Women like to receive the devoirs of those, whom others of their sex have found so dangerous. What did you discover of Lady Bell's sentiment towards me?

Beauch.

I meant to have given the intelligence softened, but the agitations of my mind make it impracticable; I must, therefore, inform you in one word, Lady Bell Bloomer's choice is made, and that choice has not fallen upon your Lordship.

Spark.

Then I must inform you in two words, that I [Page 44] am convinced you are mistaken. But your reasons, Sir, your reasons?

Beauch.

Her Ladyship furnished me with a decisive one: she acknowledged a pre-engagement; and added, if I visited her this evening, I should see her in the presence of the man her heart prefers.

Spark.
(laughing violently)

Excellent! charming ingenu­ity! Ha! ha! ha! the kindest, softest, message that ever woman fram'd; and you, like the sheep loaden with the golden fleece, bore it insensible of its value.—Ha! ha! ha! you can't see through the pretty artifice?

Bauch.

No, really.

Spark.

Why, 'tis I who am to be there; there by par­ticular invitation. You'll see her in my presence; and this was her pretty mysterious way of informing me that I am the object of her choice.

Beauch.

Indeed!

Spark.

Without a doubt! But you deep people are the dullest fellows at a hint; a man of half your parts would have seen it.—But I am satisfied, and shall go to her route in brilliant spirits.—You shall come, and see my triumph confirmed.—Come, you rogue! and see the lovely Widow in the presence of the man her heart prefers.—Poor George! You must have been cursedly stupid, not to have conceiv'd that I was the person.

[Exit.
Beauch.

Yes, I will come.—Oh vanity! I had dared to explain—Yes, I construed the sweet confusion—Oh, I blush at my own arrogance! Lord Sparkle must be right.—Well, this night decides it.—Narrowly will I watch each tone and look, to discover—Oh!—ever-blest!—he whom her heart prefers!

[Exit.
END OF THE FOURTH ACT.

ACT V.

SCENE I.

An Apartment at LADY BELL's. A Table, with Candles.
Enter LADY BELL and SERVANT.
L. Bell.

ARE the tables placed in the outer room?

Serv.

Yes, Ma'am, all but the Pharaoh-table.

L. Bell.

Then carry that there too.—I positively will not have a table in the drawing-room.—

[Exit Servant.

Those who play don't visit me, but the card-tables; and where they find them is very immaterial.—Let me see! For whist, Sir James Jennet—Lady Ponto—Mrs. Lurchem, and Lady Carmine.—For Pharaoh, Mrs. Evergreen, Lord Dangle, Sir Harry—Hey-dey!

Enter CLARINDA and JULIA.
Clar.

Come, child, don't faint!—You had more cause for terror half an hour ago.

L. Bell.

Heavens, Julia! where have you been?

Clar.

Ay, that's a circumstance you would not have known, but for an accident; and I am very sorry it fell to my lot to make the dicovery.

Lady Bell.
(taking Julia's hand)

Speak, my love!

Julia.

Miss Belmour will tell you all she knows.—I am too wretched!

Clar.

Nay, as to what I know,—I know very little.—I can tell what I saw, indeed.—Having received intimations not quite consonant to one's notions of decorum, I pretended a frolick, and called on Mr. Beauchamp, and there I found this Lady concealed.

L. Bell.

Heavens, Julia! 'Tis impossible.

Clar.

Nay, she can't attempt to deny what I myself saw.—Other discoveries had liked to have been made too; but Miss Manners may explain them herself; for I see your rooms begin to fill.—I shall report that your Ladyship is a little indisposed, as an excuse for your not immediately appearing.

[Exit Clarinda.
L. Bell.
(with a countenance of terror)

Julia! You at Mr. Beauchamp's!

Julia.
[Page 46]

Lady Bell, tho' I have acted rashly, and was in­deed found there, I am not the guilty creature you imagine.—I am married!—I will no longer conceal it!

(bursting into tears)
L. Bell.

Married! Oh Heavens!

(throws herself in a chair, with her back to Julia)
Julia.

I dared not reveal it to my guardian, and for that reason fled from your house.

L. Bell.

O Julia, and you are married! What a ser­pent have I nourished!—But forgive me!—You knew not—alas! I knew not myself, till this moment, how much—

Julia.

My dearest Madam, do not add to my afflictions!—for indeed they are severe.

L. Bell.

Ungenerous Girl! why did you conceal from me your situation?

Julia.

Good Heavens! is it destin'd that one imprudent step is to lose me every blessing! In the agonies of my heart I flew to your friendship, and you kill me with reproaches.

L. Bell.

And you have killed me by your want of confidence! Oh, Julia! had you revealed to me—

Julia.

I dared not; for when Mr. Belville prevailed on me to give him my hand—

L. Bell.
(eagerly)

Mr. Belville!—Mr. Belville, say you?

Julia.

Yes; it was in Paris we were married.

L. Bell.
(aside)

So, so, so; what a pretty mistake I made!—But it was a mistake! . . . . . . . . . . And so my sweet Julia is married! married in Paris! Sly thing! But how came you at Mr. Beauchamp's, my Love?

Julia.

In my rash flight this morning, my wicked Maid betray'd me into Lord Sparkle's house.—There Mr. Beau—champ snatch'd me from ruin, and gave me a momentary asylum in his lodgings.

L. Bell.

Did Beauchamp!—But what is his worth and his gallantry to me? Can't he do a right thing, but my heart must triumph?

(aside.)
Julia.

At Mr. Beauchamp's my husband found me;—and found me hid with so suspicious a secrecy!—Hah! Here comes Mr. Fitzherbert! How can I see him?

Enter FITZHERBERT.
Fitz.

My Julia!—My dear Julia!

Julia.

Oh Sir!—

Fitz.
[Page 47]

Come, I know all; and to relieve one cause of your distress, will tell you that the lover I shock'd you with to­day, was only my agent in the little revenge I had resolv'd to take for your having married, without my consent, the very man for whom all my cares design'd you.

Julia.
(clasping his hands)

—Is it possible!

Fitz.

At the moment he left Paris for Florence, you re­ceived my directions to return home: thus Belville's letters miss'd you, and he remain'd ignorant that you were in London.

Julia.

Oh Sir! had you reveal'd this to me this morn­ing, what evils should I have escap'd?

Fitz.

My dear girl, I decreed you a little punishment; but your own rashness has occasioned you a severer portion than you deserv'd.

L. Bell.

But where is the Bridegroom? I long to see the necromancer, whose spells can thaw the Vestal's heart, and light up flames in the cold region of a monastery.

Fitz.

He is without, satisfied from the mouth of Beau­champ of your conduct,

(to Julia)

and impatient to fold his Julia to his heart.

Julia.

Oh Sir, lead me to him!—To find my husband, and to be forgiven by you, are felicities too great.

[Exit, led by Fitzherbert.
L. Bell.

What a discovery has Julia's marriage made to me of my own heart! I have persuaded myself it knew no pas­sion but the desire of conquest; that it knew no motive to admiration but vanity; but the pangs of jealousy prov'd to me, in one moment, that all its sense is love!

[Exit L. Bell.
An elegant Apartment lighted up, Card-parties seen.—Two Servants carrying Refreshments.—A Lady enters from the Top of the Stage, and comes down in a hurry.
Lady.

I protest I have been three quarters of an hour getting from the top of the street to the door!—I really believe, when people give routes, they think more of the bustle they occasion without doors, than the company they have within.

Clar.

Oh yes! I am quite of that opinion.—The noise and racket in the streets are frequently the pleasantest part of the entertainment; and to plague one's sober neigh­bours is delightful! Ha! ha! ha! My next-door friend, Mrs. Saffron, always wheels into the country on my pub­lic [Page 48] nights,—on pretence of her delicate nerves; but the truth is, her rooms will hold but six card-tables, and mine thirteen.

1st Gent.

Well, I protest I wish the ladies would banish cards from their assemblies, and give us something in the style of the Conversaziones.

2d Gent.

Oh no, Sir Charles, that won't do on this side the Alps;—we have no knack at conversation:—we think too much to be able to talk. Good talkers ne­ver think. Sir Harry Glare, full of bons mots, never thinks.—I myself am allowed to be tolerable, yet I never think.

Clar.

Oh, that I believe all your friends will allow.—Hey-dey! here comes Lord Sparkle's borough acquaintance—Mr. Pendragon.

Enttr PENDRAGON.
Pon.

Bobs, Miss Belmour, how d'ye do? I didn't think to see you.—Mr. Fitzherbert brought me here, and I have been examining every face, to see if I knew any body; but fine ladies are so alike, that one must have long intimacy to know one's acquaintance!—Red cheeks, white necks, and smiling lips, croud every room.

Lady.

Hey-dey! a natural curiosity!—Pray, Sir, how long have you been in the world?

Pen.

How long! Just twenty years, last Lammas.

Lady.

Poh, I don't enquire into your age! How long is it since you left your native woods?—Was you ever at a route before?

Pen.

Aye, that I was, last week!—It beat this all to nothing.—'Twas at our neighbour's the Wine-Merchant's—at his country-house at Kentish-Town.

2d Lady.

Oh, lud! I wish I had been of your party! I should have enjoy'd a Kentish-Town route.

Pen.

Oh, you must have been pleased; for the rooms were so little, and the company so large, that every thing was done with one consent. We were pack'd so close, that if one party moved, all the rest were obliged to obey the motion.

Lady.

Delightful!—Well, Sir—

Pen.

We had all the fat widows, notable misses, and managing wives of the parish; so there was no scandal, for they were all there.—At length the assembly broke up.—Such clattering, and squeedging down the gangway stair­case, [Page 49] whilst the little foot-boy hawl'd from the passage, ‘"Miss Bobbin's bonnet is ready!"—"Mrs. Sugar-Plumb's lanthorn waits!"—"Mrs. Peppercorn's pattens stop the way!"’

(imitating.)
Clar.

Oh, you creature, come with me! I must exhi­bit him in the next room.

[Exit Clarinda and Pendragon.
Lady.

Oh, stay!—Take my card.—I shall have com­pany next Wednesday, and I insist on yours.—He is really amusing!—

(Enter Lord Sparkle from the top.)

But hide your diminish'd heads, ye Beaus and Witlings! for here comes Lord Sparkle.

Spark.
(speaking as he comes down)

I hope the Belles won't hide theirs; for in an age where the head is so large a part of the Lady, one should look about for the sex.

1st Gent.

Well, my Lord, you see I have obey'd your summons! I should not have been here, notwithstanding Lady Bell's invitation, had you not press'd it.

2d Gent.

Nor I! I promis'd to meet a certain Lady in the Gallery at the Opera to night,—and I regret that I did not; for I see her husband is here.—Why did you press us so earnestly to come?

Spark.

Why, 'faith, to have as many witnesses as I could to my glory!—This night is given by Lady Bell to ME.—I am the hero of the fête, and expect your gratulations. Here the dear creature comes!

LADY BELL comes down from the top, addressing the Company.
L. Bell.

How do you do?—how do you do?

(on each side)

You wicked creature, why did you disappoint me last night! Lady Harriet, I have not seen you this age! Oh, Lord Sparkle! I have been detain'd from my compa­ny by Mr. Fitzherbert, planning a scheme for your amuse­ment.

Spark.

Indeed! I did not expect that attention from him; tho' I acknowledge my obligations to your Ladyship's politeness.

L. Bell.
(aside)

That air of self-possession, I fancy, would be incommoded, if you guess'd at the entertainment.—Have you seen Mr. Beauchamp?

Spark,

For a moment.—But, charming Lady Bell,

(tak­ing her hand)

I shall make you expire with laughing. I really believe the poor fellow explained your message in his own favour, ha, ha, ha!

L. Bell.

Ridiculous! ha, ha, ha!

[Page 50] Enter BEAUCHAMP.
Beauch.

Ha! 'tis true! There they are, retired from the croud, and enjoying the privacy of lovers.

L. Bell.

See there he is! I long to have a little badinage on the subject.—Let us teaze him.

Spark.

Oh, nothing can be more delightful!—"Hither, sighing shepherd, come!"—Come, Beauchamp, take one last, one lingering look!—sha'n't he, Lady Bell?

L. Bell.

Doubtless,—if he has your Lordship's leave.

Spark.

He seems astonish'd—ha, ha, ha!—Nay, it is cruel!—If the poor youth has the misfortune to be strick­en, you know he can't resist fate.—Ixion sighed for Juno.

L. Bell.

Yes, and he was punish'd too. What punish­ment, Mr. Beauchamp, shall we decree for you?

Beauch.

I am astonish'd!—Was it for this your Lady­ship commanded me to attend you?

L. Bell.

How did I command you? Do you remember the words?

Beauch.

I do, Madam.—You bid me come this evening, that I might behold you in the presence of the man your heart prefers.

L. Bell.

Well, Sir, and now—now you see me!—

Spark.

Oh, the sweet confusion of the sweet confession!

(kissing her hand.)
Beauch.
(aside)

'Sdeath! this ostentation of felicity, Madam, is ungenerous, since you know my heart; 'tis unworthy you! But I thank you for it—I have a pang the less.

(going.)
L. Bell.

Hold, Sir, are you going?

Beauch.

This instant, Madam.—I came in obedience to your commands; but my chaise is at your door, and before your gay assembly breaks up, I shall be far from London, and in a day or two from England. I probably now see your Ladyship for the last time.—Adieu!

Lady Bell.

Stay, Mr. Beauchamp!

(agitated)
Spark.

Ay, prithee stay! I believe Lady Bell has a mind to make you her conjugal father at the wedding.

Beauch.

I forgive you, my Lord.—Excess of happiness frequently overflows into insolence, and it is the privilege of felicity to be unfeeling.—But how, Madam, has the humble passion which has so long consumed my life, ren­dered me so hateful to you, as to prompt you to this bar­barity? I have not insulted you with my love; I have [Page 51] scarcely dared whisper it to myself: how then have I deserved—

L. Bell.

O mercy, don't be so grave! I am not insen­sible to your merit, nor have I beheld your passion with disdain.—But what can I do? Lord Sparkle has so much fashion, so much elegance—so much—

Spark.

My dearest Lady Bell, you justify my ideas of your discernment: and thus I thank you for the distin­guished honour

(kneeling to kiss her hand.)
Enter SOPHY from the Wing.
Sophy.

Oh you false-hearted man!

(crying)
Spark.
(starting up)

Hey-dey!

Sophy.

Don't believe a word he says, for all you are so fine a Lady. He'll tell you of happiness and misery, and this, and that, and the other, but'tis all common-place and hyperbōlé—and all that sort of thing.

L. Bell.

Indeed! What has this young Lady claims on your Lordship?

L. Bell.

Claims! Ha! ha! ha! Surely your Ladyship can answer that in a single glance. Claims! Ha! ha! ha! Is it my fault that a little rustic does not know the language of the day? Compliments are the ready coin of conver­sation, and 'tis every one's business to understand their value.

Enter PENDRAGON.
Pen.
(clapping him on the shoulder)

True, my Lord, true;—and pray instruct me what was the value of the compliment, when you told me I should make a figure in the Guards, and that you would speak to your great friends to make me a colonel?

Spark.

Value! Why, of just as much as it would bring! You thought it so valuable then, that you got me a hun­dred extra votes on the strength of it; and you are now a little ungrateful wretch, to pretend 'twas worth nothing.

Enter FITZHERBERT, leading JULIA.
Fitz.

But here, Lord Sparkle, is a Lady who claims a right on a different foundation. She had no Election inte­rest to provoke your flatteries, yet you have not scrupled to profess love to her, whilst under the roof of her friend, whose hand you was soliciting in marriage.

Julia.
[Page 52]

Yes, I intreat your Ladyship not to fancy that you are to break the hearts of half our sex by binding Lord Sparkle in the adamantine chains of marriage.—I boast an equal right with you, and don't flatter yourself I shall re­sign him.

Spark.

Mere malice, Lady Bell! Fitzherbert's malice!—I never had a serious thought of Miss Manners in my life.

Enter BELVILLE.
Belv.

What, my Lord! and have you dared talk of love to that Lady without a serious thought?

Spark.

Hey-dey! what right have you—

Belv.

Oh, very trifling! only the right of a Husband—The Lady so honour'd by your love-making in jest is my wife; in course, all obligations to her devolve on me.

Spark.

Your wife! My dear Belville, I give you joy with all my soul! You see 'tis always dangerous to keep secrets from your friends. But is any body else coming? Have I any new crimes to be accus'd of? Any more witnesses coming to the bar?

Belv.

No; but I am a witness in a new cause, and accuse you of loading the mind of my friend Beauchamp with a sense of obligation you had neither spirit or justice to confer.

Lady Bell

A Commission, my Lord, which was sent Mr. Beauchamp under a blank cover, by one who could not bear to see his noble spirit dependent on your caprices.

Belv.

And when his sentiments pointed out your Lord­ship as his benefactor, you accepted the honour, and have laid heavy taxes on his gratitude.

Spark.

Well, and what is there in all that? Beauchamp did not know to whom he was obliged; and wou'dn't it have been a most unchristian thing to let a good action run about the world belonging to nobody?—I found it a stray orphan, and so father'd it.—But you, Fitzherbert, I see are the lawful owner of the brat; so prithee take it back, and thank me for the honour of my patronage.

Fitz.

Your affected pleasantry, Lord Sparkle, may shield you from resentment, but it will not from contempt. Your effrontery—

Spark.

Effrontery! Prithee make distinctions!—What in certain lines would be effrontery, in me is only the ease of Fashion; that delightful thing, which enables me at this moment to stand serene amidst your meditated storm.— [Page 53] Come, my dear Lady Bell, let us leave these good gentry, and love ourselves amidst the delights of fashion, and the charms of bon ton.

Lady Bell.

Pardon me, my Lord! As caprice is absolutely necessary to the character of a fine lady, you will not be surpris'd if I give an instance of it now; and, spite of your elegance, your fashion, and your wit, present my hand to this poor soldier—who boasts only worth, spirit, honour, and love.

Beauch.

Have a care, Madam!—Feelings like mine are not to be trifled with! Once already the hopes you have inspir'd—

Lady Bell.

The hour of trifling is past; and surely it can­not appear extraordinary, that I prefer the internal worth of an uncorrupted heart, to the outward polish of a mind too feeble to support itself against vice, in the seductive forms of fashionable dissipation.

Spark.

Hey-dey! what, is your Ladyship in the plot?

Fitz.

The plot has been deeper laid than you, my Lord, have been able to conceive. As I have the misfortune to be related to you, I thought it my duty to watch over your conduct. I have seen your plans, which generally tended to your confusion and disgrace; and many of them have been defeated, tho' you knew not by what means. But what fate does your Lordship design for these young people, de­coy'd by you from their native ignorance and home?

Spark.

Let them return to their native ignorance and home as fast as they can.

Pend.

No, no; hang me if I do that!—I know Life now, and Life I'll have—Hyde-Park, Plays, Operas, and all that sort of thing.—But, Old Gentleman, as you pro­mis'd to do something for me, what think ye of a Commis­sion?—The Captain there can't want his now; suppose you turn it over to me?

Fitz.

No, young man, you shall be taken care of; but the requisites of a soldier are not those of pertness and as­surance. Intrepid spirit, nice honour, generosity, and un­derstanding, all unite to form him.—It is these which will make a British soldier once again the first character in Eu­rope.—It is such soldiers who must make England once again invincible, and her glittering arms triumphant in every quarter of the globe.

Sophy.

Well, Bobby may do as he will—I'll go back to Cornwall directly, and warn all my neighbours to take spe­cial [Page 54] care how they trust to a Lord's promises at an Election again.

Spark.

Well, great attempts and great failings mark the life of a man of spirit!—There is eclat even in my disap­pointment to-night; and I am ready for a fresh set of ad­ventures to-morrow.

Fitz.

Incorrigible man!—But I have done with you.—Beauchamp has answered all my hopes, and the discernment of this charming woman, in rewarding him, merits the hap­piness that awaits her; and that I may give the fullest sanc­tion to her choice, I declare him heir to my estate. This, I know, is a stroke your Lordship did not expect.

Beauch.

And was it then to you, Sir!—The tumults of my gratitude—

Fitz.

Your conduct has compleatly rewarded me; and in adopting you—

Lady Bell.
(interrupting)

Oh, I protest against that!—Our union would then appear a prudent, sober business, and I should lose the credit of having done a mad thing for the sake of the man—my heart prefers.

Fitz.

To you I resign him with pleasure: his fate is in your hands.

Lady Bell.

Then he shall continue a soldier—one of those whom Love and his Country detain to guard her dearest, last possessions.

Beauch.

Love and my Country! Yes, ye shall divide my heart!—Animated by such passions, our forefathers were invincible; and if we wou'd preserve the freedom and independence they obtain'd for us, we must imitate their virtues.

FINIS.

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