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SANS SOUCI.

ALIAS FREE and EASY OR AN Evening's Peep into a polite Circle AN INTIRE NEW ENTERTAINMENT:

In THREE ACTS.

BOSTON: PRINTED BY WARDEN AND RUSSELL M,DCC,LXXXV.

[Page]

Dramatis Personae.

MEN.
  • Mr. IMPORTANCE,
  • JEMMY SATIRIST,
  • Doctor GALLANT,
  • Mr. BON TON,
  • YOUNG FORWARD,
  • LITTLE PERT.
  • Waiter, Servants, &c.
WOMEN.
  • Madam IMPORTANCE,
  • Madam BRILLIANT,
  • REBUBLICAN HEROINE,
  • Mrs. W—N.

SCENE—The Metropolis of the Massachusetts.

[Page 3]

SANS SOUCI, &c.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

The HALL.
YOUNG FORWARD, and LITTLE PERT.
YOUNG FORWARD.

SANS SOUCI—free and easy! This is high bon ton—Ante-revolution days—routs—drums, &c. This would do for my Lord Paxton,* that essence of Chesterfield: We want some of that Sans Souci air and address, which were so conspicuous in that great character; but however we practice very well in the school of politeness, and a few years will produce many a BEAU NASH in our modern cir­cles.

LITTLE PERT.
[Page 4]

D—n the old musty rules of decency and deco­rum—national characters—Spartan virtues—repub­lican principles—they are all calculated for rigid manners, and Cromwelian days;—they are as dis­gu [...]sting as old orthodoxy:—Fashion and etiquette are more agreeable to my ideas of life—this is the independence I aim at—the free and easy air which so distinguishes the man of fashion, from the self-formal republican—the court stile—the jê ne scai quoi—give me but this and away with all your buckram of Presbeterianism.

YOUNG FORWARD.

I find, my good friend, you have a genuine idea of taste.—From the many starched senti­ments which some of our Old Dons have endeavour­ed to instil among us by their resolves—town-meet­ings, &c. I expected we should all, at the close of the war, be obliged to be confined to our closets to learn political creeds and read political disquisiti­ons—and instead of balls, concerts and card-parties, we should be employed in writing dissertations on government:—Happy reverse! We have now worn off those old fashion sentiments, and can breathe the free air of gallantry and etiquette.

LITTLE PERT.

Can any prospect be more pleasing than the brilliant appearance of this Hall?—What a fine arrangement!—Let me see—twenty card-tables. —Behold those agreeable ladies!—what animated countenances!—How the chance of play gives new [Page 5] vivacity to their eyes!—How charming this assem­blage of flowers in this garden of beauty!—What a beautiful variety adorns this parterre!—This is an improvement of Eden, there only one fruit tempted our first parents, but here they hang in such clusters, that we are surrounded in the circle of temptations.

YOUNG FORWARD.

Not only the ladies, but I think the gentle­men appear with a particular grace.—We have the happy faculty of blending business and amuse­ments—I hate those tare and tret fellows in London, that can only make a figure in a compting house, and walk a-thrawt a room as clumsy as gross hundreds, meer avoirdupois weight;—I like to see a man throw aside his professional character, and enter a po­lite circle with the Sans Souci air of a petit maitre— and instead of plodding in a Ledger over Dr. and Cr. I like to see him versed in all the tender stile of a billet doux—not calculated solely to ballance ac­counts, but to decide with precission the arrangements of a lady's toilette.

LITTLE PERT.

When I was at New-York, among the Bri­tish, I was ashamed to acknowledge myself a Bostonian—we had such a particular character—we were always pictured as a set of canting presbeterians, who began Sundays before sun set on Saturday, and held out praying until Monday morning at sunrise— that all our diversions were singing psalms, and going to Thursday-Lectures.—But thank Heaven we can now hold up our heads amidst the most po­lite [Page 6] circle at Raneleigh, or join with full eclat the brilliant assembly at Vauxhall.

YOUNG FORWARD.

For the present we will seperate▪ as our extacies may possibly be observed by the company.

Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The DRAWING-ROOM.
Enter Madam IMPORTANCE and Madam BRILLIANT.
Madam IMPORTANCE.

PRAY waiter are there much company this evening?

WAITER.

A great deal, Madam.

Madam BRILLIANT.

Are they very brilliant in their dress?

WAITER.

Very much so, Madam.

Madam BRILLIANT.

I am sorry the ladies have been so attentive to their dress, as I am afraid this will occasion the [Page 7] breaking up this entertainment—as the gentlemen will by and bye make this a plea, after they find it is attended with so great expence.

Madam IMPOTANCE.

Don't be apprehensive on this account—this is the very thing I was in hopes would take place—this will serve to si [...]t down families, and will be the most effectual means to establish a precedency —we have for a long while been too much on a level—once a fortnight a publick assembly, will for a long time, keep up this equality— but the oftner we meet, those which cannot keep pace, will be obliged to resign their pretensions to high life, and leave a few of us to enjoy the field— for my own part, I conceive it to be the happiest plan that could have been adopted—it ensnares peo­ple in their own trap▪ which you know, Madam, is the most effectual method to ensure their destruction.

Madam BRILLIANT.

If those are your intentions, Madam, we must car­ry it much further, and instead of a few shillings, which I suppose the generality will play for, we must establish at our own table the rubbers of ten guineas at least.

Enter Mr. IMPORTANCE and Dr. GALLANT.
Doct. GALLANT.

Ladies, your servant.

LADIES.

Your servant, gentlemen.

Mr. IMPORTANCE.
[Page 8]

Ladies, shall I be permitted to hand you into the Hall?—You will be monstrously pleased with the appearance.

Madam BRILLIANT.

Are all the tables full?

Doct. GALLANT.

Mostly madam- but a few are reserved for cer­tain ladies—not to be taken up by the company, until we know whether cartain characters will be of the company for the evening.

Madam IMPORTANCE.

Very right—I am glad you have thought to make this reserve—as distinctions in all companies are ne­cessary.

Exeunt.

SCENE III.

The HALL.
Enter Mr. IMPORTANCE, JEMMY SATIRIST, and Doctor GALLANT.
JEMMY SATIRIST.

WHAT most surprises me, is, that the plan was so readily consented to—the parade of the card-table has been so long out of fashion—I did [Page 9] not think they would with so much alacrity, have in­troduced it into a publick assembly—however, we are fond of novelty, and the fascinating charms of high life have too many allurements to be resisted.— We have made a notable caveat—not to play beyond one shilling and six pence upon our HONOUR! there's the rub—Gaming is like a coy mistress, whose meer smiles we at first think a happiness—but when those become familiar, we urge forward to more substantial joys.

Mr. IMPORTANCE.

We have in our professional character, a mighty influence in carrying any plans we wish to adopt— for my own part, I endeavour to inforce every thing with the prerogative of the of the black robes, and dressed in the sable livery, can establish doctrines of etiquette, with equal decision, as our brethren of the pulpit can their articles of faith.

Doct. GALLANT.

Well it is quite right—professional characters must be supported with dignity—otherways, all dis­tinctions will be lost in the levelling spirit of repub­licanism—therefore, if we expect to support taste and stile, we must keep up this parade, and by as­suming an appearance above the commonality, we may stamp on our characters a superiority of rank.— This may appear a new doctrine—that in order to promote distinction, we must introduce all into one society— but depend upon it, a particular deportment observed at such times, more effectually secures pre­eminence than shutting ones self up from the crowd.

Mr. IMPORTANCE.
[Page 10]

Upon my word, Doctor, you have improved on Chesterfield—I have ever thought that keeping aloof, and only appearing at times, when some im­portant questions were agitated, would be most likely to secure my importance—a town-meeting harangue, (for instance) I conceived would produce wonderful effects—and then retiring with a peculiar easy air of consequence, would secure the respectful complai­sance of the whole assembly.

JEMMY SATIRIST.

No person can dispute with brother Importance his right of station in the beau monde— he soon threw off all incumbrances, and like a true disciple, forsook ALL—he had no notion of mounting the mere shadow of Pegasus, but chose rather to prance among the Muses with the nag fully caparisoned— however brother, not to be too severe—but we gen­tlemen of the — sometimes take the liberty to abuse each other, as well as our C—s—Indulgen­cies!—Indulgencies, brother!—But let us hasten a­mong the company, as the tables begin to be filled.

Exeunt.
[Page 11]

ACT II.

SCENE I.

Enter The REPUBLICAN HEROINE and Mrs. W—N.
REPUBLICAN HEROINE.

I HAVE been complimented with a Card for a new Entertaiment called Sans Souci.

Mrs. W—N.

Have you attended?

REP. HEROINE.

Upon my word, Madam, I was a long while consi­dering whether it was a real or imaginary compliment: I could scarcely believe it possible, that this country, particularly this town, whose name stands foremost in the annals of America, should so early plunge into the utmost excesses of dissipation: How will such an account read among the friends of America in Europe. I could hardly refrain from tears when I entered the Hall, to see the respectable inhabitants of this metropolis, so wantonly introducing a custom of publick card playing, even at so early a period after the war. Forgive me, Madam, my expressing my sentiments so freely; but believe me I have hi­therto indulged such pleasing ideas respecting this country, from their publick proceedings during the war, that when I find those sentiments of their virtue turn out mere chimeras of my own imagina­tion, I cannot but lament my disappointment. The [Page 12] respect that has been shewn me since my arrival, I most gratefully acknowledge, but often on my re­tiring from the parade of their entertainments. I can­not but pity their delusion. I did not carry my en­thusiasm so far as to expect to find the rigid Spartan principles practised; but I did conceive to be intro­duced into societies of frugality and oeconomy: I did expect to find a cultivation of manners some­what similar to their publick resolves; but again par­don me, Madam, when I inform you I am greatly disappointed. British gewgaws —etiquette and pa­rade, are too prevailing to be easily eradicated, un­less some immediate exertions are made to turn this destructive current: As a stranger, I cannot with propriety set up to give examples, but on ladies of established characters in the country, much ought to be expected from them.

Mrs. W—N.

I am very unhappy to find your observations are so just. I cannot but acknowledge we have too far copied the vices of that nation which we have so late­ly opposed: But however, I do not think this late entertaiment will be long continued; there are many respectable characters among them, who I am per­suaded when they consider the dangerous tendency of this assembly, will readily discountenance it. We must be convinced how dangerous to the morals of youth—how destructive to the happiness of families and individuals, an introduction of card parties has ever been; therefore though they have become of the party, which from inattention, rather than from inclination to promote a spirit of dissipation they at [Page 13] first engaged in it; they will readily give up the entertainment, and even discountenance the promoters of it.

REP. HEROINE,

I wish sincerely you may not be disappointed in your hopes; but, my dear Madam, 'Vice is a monster of so frightful mein,' &c.

Exeunt.

SCENE II.

YOUNG FORWARD, and LITTLE PERT.
YOUNG FORWARD

I HAVE been to all the Booksellers in town to purchase Hoyle; but find they have been all bought up.—There are proposals in the Drawing-Room for a new edition with improvements; also there is to be kept a minute Book for remarks on the game of whist, as many particular cases may take place in the course of play which will render it a valuable collection, as an appendix to this new e­dition; the whole are to be revised by our D-r-ct—s, and dedicated to them.

LITTLE PERT▪

A good proposal! Let me see the subscription:— To promote the work I will subscribe for 100 books. However, we are so d —d contracted in this town, we [Page 14] shall never come to a full improvement in the polite arts.—The present card party is a mere burlesque on the institution!—How ridiculous we appear!- A guinea a corner alarms one half of them:—There are but few tables here that dare hazard—I almost scar'd one fellow into panicks, and a lady into hyste­ricks, by offering to bet ten guineas on the rubber: They made answer they did not play so high.—Was there any thing ever so laughable? What the devil do they come here for? Do they come merely to shuffle a pack of cards? We might as well be in a private party;—let us be something or nothing:— A card party gingling shillings and six pences; Ha, ha, ha.—The circle of etiquette with purses of sil­ver;—this would sound high at BROOKs;—A re­publican card party; quite a political phaenomenon. However never mind it, Rome was not built in a day;—free and easy is our motto, and we are fond of consistency—perseverando.

YOUNG FORWARD.

We are often bemoaning the want of plays in this town;—this will be a considerable introduction to this entertainment; we can with the greatest pro­priety ask permission for a theatre after we have been indulged with a card party; for of two evils, plays must be considered the least;—so that we have no­thing to do, but to resign for a season our card a­musements until we can get a theatre erected, and af­ter that we can return to our present entertainment by pleading precedents; for we must hold precedents as tenacious in the polite circle, as we lawyers do authorities in our profession.

LITTLE PERT.
[Page 15]

But one essential matter I am afraid we shall be deprived of;—Graham —the celebrated Doctor Gra­ham;—the coelestial bed;—hah!—here the Cu­pids would nestle on the downy pillows: Lectures on love;—these are Evening Lectures worth attending to: I dare say he would have a thronged assembly; a full congregation—zealots—enthusiasts—high or­thodoxy—this would be a hopeful school of good breeding—all well versed in the principles of galan­try—no awkward modesty, and shame-face'd diffi­dence—but full confidence—polite amours;—never be afraid, we shall soon pave the way for this amuse­ment—lectures surely cannot be disapproved—who can object to lectures?—We could blind one half the old women in town, by telling them the cele­brated Doctor Graham intended to deliver evening lectures on various subjects—they would at least think him a second Whitfield.

YOUNG FORWARD.

You have a happy faculty at anticipation—but however let us be going, for while I attend to your rhapsody, I am losing the present amusement.

Exeunt.
[Page 16]

SCENE III.

The DRAWING-ROOM.
Enter Madam IMPORTANCE and Madam BRILLIANT.
Madam IMPORTANCE.

WHAT an awkward piece of business this is! I am really tired.—The foreign lady* who was at our table, alarmed some of our circle, by lay­ing down a purse of ten guineas. As our assembly was somewhat similar to those in England—she (I suppose) thought we did in some degree practice playing, at least to the amount of so triffling a sum— we all stared at each other—for my own part I did not like to tell her we did not play so high, or to inform her of our resolutions to the contrary, as we should make but an indifferent appearance to her, if we supposed such a sum were extravagant—how­ever, as it was late, I pretended to be fatigued, and threw up my hand, with an apology that I was in­disposed;—she even seemed surprised at my indis­position, and exclaimed—indisposed at a card-table! I therefore found my complaints were intirely foreign from etiquette—however, I still peristed in my in­disposition, and the lady observing my embarrass­ment, politely declined urging me any further.

Madam BRILLIANT.

This is a circumstance of which I was not aware, [Page 17] as we may in time expect foreigners among us▪ they will naturally suppose from so polite a circle, they may bet as at assemblies they have frequented in Europe—and being from our stations, introduced to their tables, we shall often be put to the disagreea­ble necessity of pleading indisposition — and indisposi­tion may in time, become a cant term among the polite circle for declining a bet:—Free and easy therefore is not very applicable to our present situa­tion.

Madam IMPORTANCE.

To morrow we will talk over this affair at our leisure.

Exeunt.

ACT III.

SCENE. I.

The HALL.
Enter Mr. IMPORTANCE JEMMY SATIRIST, and Doctor GALLANT.
Mr. IMPORTANCE.

HOW we can divert ourselves through the several rooms?—In one circle we can observe the most agreeable parties of ladies, seated at the several tables, which look like an assembly of Goddesses! The Graces seem here to have taken up their resi­dence—such a beautiful variety displayed in the ar­rangement [Page 18] of their dress, adds to the redundancy of their charms: Within this Hall, I would risque the reputation we have already acquired, of having as fine a collection of ladies in our assembly, as any th world can produce.—However, sometimes I can see a little anxiety in a countenance—it is a pity to ful­ly one lustre amid such a cluster of charms — but taste and etiquette must be complied with, however fatal the consequences may be to beauty.

JEMMY SATIRIST.

This is a pretty harangue, brother Importance, one would almost suppose you was fee'd by the ladies— but I am sensible you have a good cause, and may be sure of a verdict in your favour. It is a pity you had not always spoke your mind with so much safe­ty, for nothing is more fatal to a man of fashion than doing any thing reflecting on the ladies—it was ra­ther unfortunate in your first appearing on the pub­lick stage, to have such a hue and cry after you— but however, not to call to mind things past—I wish the ladies had heard this late panegyrick.

Doct. GALLANT.

While you are attending to the appearance of their persons, you do not observe the gracefulness of their dancing—T—r has a most happy faculty a [...] teaching—like a limner, he draws every grace of gentility, and blends ease and address in every fea­ture—however, let us leave this subject, and talk on some other.—Pray have you seen Doctor Price's new publication?

Mr. IMPORTANCE.
[Page 19]

Yes.

Doct. GALLANT.

Well, what do you think of it?

Mr· IMPORTANCE.

The Doctor would do to live in Carthage, Sparta, or Rome in the most rigid times; but now those sen­timents are wholly imaginary ideas of a Republican's coran— they are too antiquated—modern rebublica­nism is of a very different complexion, as contrasted as the severe countenance of Cromwell, and the pret­ty smooth face of a petit maitre—those of the Doctor's are principles of republicanism of the un­civilized kind—but now we soften them down in the school of politeness, and make them wear a more pleasing garb—the antient rebublican spirit is like the old principles of religion—staunch Calvinism— but now we have modernized them, and united them with the court stile of taste and fashion.

JEMMY SATIRIST.

The Doctor's sentiments did well enough in war times, when we were under the influence of whig principles—this mercury did very well in our politi­cal thermometer—but now we have no occasion for this blood heat—they were pleasing doctrines to preach up at that time, but now, why are we to be ding'd with national manners—national debts—oeco­nomy—industry and such disagreeable subjects?— Independence in the original is my idea—high court independence—independent of every restraint which can mar the pleasures and amusements of life.

Doct. GALLANT.
[Page 20]

I know the old Dons lift up their eyes with hor­ror, when they see what they call the old principles subsiding — they are as tenacious of their old senti­ments, as they are of their white wigs— but we know better—we act on the benevolent plan—why should we ever keep up a d—n distinction between whig and tory?—For my own part, I wish to em­brace [...]LL, and this very assembly is one means of introducing to a sociability the several parties which have been distinct through the war—let all political distinctions be buried, and let us with fraternal affec­tion embrace every one whatever may have been his principles during the war, or however inimical his conduct—these are genuine sentiments and agree­able to our modern republicanism — We must desist from our political ob [...]ervations for the present.

Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The ENTRY.—SERVANTS.
Cuffy.

WAT clok Jack?

Jack.

Pass twelbe clok.

Cuffy.

Dis be no lik ole Massa tims—ten clok, go bed—de gate shot —go prarrs—all de serbants go bed—Massa put out de fire.

Jack.

Yesse Cuffe— but you be ole fello— I [Page 21] like bery vel dis setin up—Massa and Misse brod— gate open all nite—why you fool, what optunty for serbants? But when Massa and Misse kep hom all de ebning, go bed ten clok, what time for poor ser­bants frolik.

Cuffy.

Massa and Messe come home twelbe clok, scold and hangry—poor serbants pay for all—find falt wid ebery ting—noting rite.

Jack.

You neber been Ningland Cuffe—dar fin tims—presenly Bosson lik it—masserades—pan­tons—no litle Cornshort-Hal for gentry— presenly panton—tea-trays—flambeaux—no dribe wid one poor hosse and sha— but tree serbants—no one poor deble lik youself—but libry serbants.

Cuffy.

Me be owl felo Jack—but I frad too tru—me here notin now but Sam and Susy—me dont no wat day meen—but me here dem say, we go Sam and Susy to night—d—n baboon.

Jack.

Baboon—Cuffe wat you say?—Balloon you mean.

Cuffy,

Hah, balloon—wel no mater for dat.

[Page 22]

SCENE III.

The HALL.—A Card Table.
Mr. BON TON, Madam IMPORTANCE▪ Madam BRIL­LIANT, and Dr. GALLANT
Madam BRILLIANT.

A DIAMOND led, Mr. Bon Ton.

Mr. BON TON.

I beg pardon, Madam—but there is so much laughing, whispering and talking in the room, that I am quite embarrassed in my play.

Madam IMPORTANCE.

I believe, Sir, you have not been used to play in a social circle—but rather in places where every idea is absorb'd in the game.

Mr. BON TON.

Why truly, Madam, I have imbibed the manners of Europe so far, that I cannot have ears to attend to conversation, and eyes to observe the variety of objects around me, and at the same time pay so great attention to the play as to know the disposition of the cards.

Madam IMPORTANCE.

I find, Sir, you practice wholly on the strictest principles of whist;—but we endeavour to make this game only an evening's amusement.

Mr. BON TON.
[Page 23]

Amusement, Madam, is not the principle in Eu­rope; possibly the first institutions of this kind were established on these principles and suppose the sums to be play'd for, were limited, as among us;—but the company which now visit those places of publick resort, do not go for amusement solely, but to pur­sue a regular branch of business.—They have no idea of playing to pass away a few leisure hours, but to improve the moments for their profit—they are their busy hours—the time on which depends their future prospects. Therefore no conversation while at play is admitted, but what is on the subject of the game, and a person would appear equally as ridiculous to be speaking at that time on any other subject, as to be talking of Hoyle at the tabernacle.

Madam BRILLIANT.

You have quite forgot your play, by your lengthy observations.—Hearts are trumps.

Mr. BON TON.

And have been so, Madam, ever since you entered the room.

Madam BRILLIANT.

I suppose compliments are agreeable to the rules laid down by Hoyle?

Mr. BON TON.

Yes, Madam, and are often played to great advan­tage.

Madam IMPORTANCE.
[Page 24]

I always suspect a gentleman's hand when he be­gins to compliment the lady he plays against.

Mr. BON TON.

I suppose, Madam, you conceive it a finesse;—at least for the odd trick.

Madam BRILLIANT.

I suppose you calculate by the table of chances?

Mr. BON TON.

I do, Madam, but my success depends on your smiles.

Doctor GALLANT.

Pray how are we for game?

Mr. BON TON.

Nine.

Madam BRILLIANT.

Well, Sir, we will for the present be whist, and endeavour to finish before 12 o'clock.

Mr. BON TON.

The hours pass most rapidly;—but however, Ma­dam, we must not find fault with time, for in your company eternity can be the only measure of our happiness.

Madam BRILLIANT.

I shall not answer you at present, as it is time to withdraw.

Exeunt omnes.

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