Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Speed the Plough - A Comedy, In Five Acts; As Performed At The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
Author: Morton, Thomas, 1764-1838
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Speed the Plough - A Comedy, In Five Acts; As Performed At The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: SPEED THE PLOUGH

ASHFIELD--DICKENS AND DAISES! WHAT A GENTLEMAN
YOU WOU'D BE TO SHEW AT A FAIR!

ACT I SCENE II

PAINTED BY SINGLETON PUBLISH'D BY LONGMAN & CO. ENGRAVED BY FITTLER

1806]



SPEED THE PLOUGH;
A COMEDY,
IN FIVE ACTS;

AS PERFORMED AT THE
THEATRE ROYAL, COVENT GARDEN.

BY THOMAS MORTON, ESQ.

PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MANAGERS FROM THE PROMPT BOOK.

WITH REMARKS
BY MRS. INCHBALD.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORME,
PATERNOSTER ROW.

SAVAGE AND EASINGWOOD,
PRINTERS, LONDON.



REMARKS.


This comedy excites that sensation, which is the best security for the
success of a drama--curiosity. After the two first acts are over, and
pleasantly over, with the excellent drawn characters of Ashfield and his
wife, and the very just satire which arises from Sir Abel's propensity
to modern improvements--the acts that follow excite deep interest and
ardent expectation; both of which are so highly gratified at the
conclusion of the play, that, from the first night of its performance,
it has ranked among the best of the author's productions, and in the
first class of modern comedies.

The various characters of this play are admirably designed, but not so
happily finished as the author meant them to be--witness, Bob Handy, who
begins a self-conceited coxcomb, and ends a tragedy confidant.

But the good intentions of an author are acceptable: execution will not
always follow conception; and the last may often give as much
instruction, though not equal delight with the former: as an instance,
who does not see the folly of attempting to _do every thing_ in Handy,
though he is more the shadow, than the substance of a character.

Notwithstanding there are some parts, not so good as others, in this
comedy, there is no one character superior to the rest, nor any one in
particular, which makes a forcible impression on the memory:--this
proves, (in consequence of the acknowledged merit of the play) the fable
to be a good one, and that a pleasing combination has been studied and
effected by the author, with infinite skill, however incompetent to his
own brilliant imagination.

The plot, and serious characters of this comedy, are said to be taken
from a play of Kotzebue's, called, "The Duke of Burgundy,"--if they are,
Mr. Morton's ingenuity of adapting them to our stage has been equal to
the merit he would have had in conceiving them; for that very play
called, "The Duke of Burgundy," by some verbal translator,--was
condemned or withdrawn at Covent Garden Theatre, not very long before
"Speed the Plough" was received with the highest marks of admiration.

The characters of Sir Philip Blandford, his brother, and his nephew, may
have been imported from Germany, but surely, all the other personages of
the drama are of pure English growth.

The reception of this play, when first performed, and the high station
it still holds in the public opinion, should make criticism cautious of
attack--but as works of genuine art alone are held worthy of
investigation, and as all examinations tend to produce a degree of
censure, as well as of praise, "Speed the Plough" is not exempt from the
general lot of every favourite production.

An auditor will be much better pleased with this play, than a reader;
for though it is well written, and interspersed with many poetical
passages, an attentive peruser will find inconsistencies in the
arrangement of the plot and incidents, which an audience, absorbed in
expectation of final events, and hurried away by the charm of scenic
interest, cannot easily detect.

The most prominent of these blemishes are:--Miss Blandford falls in love
with a plough-boy at first-sight, which she certainly would not have
done, but that some preternatural agent whispered to her, he was a young
man of birth. But whether this magical information came from the
palpitation of her heart, or the quickness of her eye, she has not
said.--A reader will, however, gladly impute the cause of her sudden
passion to magic, rather than to the want of female refinement.

The daughter has not less decorum in love, than the father in
murder.--That a character, grave and stern, as Sir Philip Blandford is
described, should entrust any man, especially such a man as Bob Handy,
with a secret, on which, not only his reputation, but his life depended,
can upon no principle of reason be accounted for; unless the author took
into consideration, what has sometimes been observed,--that a murderer,
in contrivance to conceal his guilt, foolishly fixes on the very means,
which bring him to conviction.



PERSONS REPRESENTED.

SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD      _Mr. Pope._
MORRINGTON                _Mr. Murray._
SIR ABEL HANDY            _Mr. Munden._
BOB HANDY                 _Mr. Fawcett._
HENRY                     _Mr. H. Johnston._
FARMER ASHFIELD           _Mr. Knight._
EVERGREEN                 _Mr. Davenport._
GERALD                    _Mr. Waddy._
POSTILLION                _Mr. Abbot._
YOUNG HANDY'S SERVANT     _Mr. Klanert._
PETER                     _Mr. Atkins._

MISS BLANDFORD            _Mrs. H. Johnston._
LADY HANDY                _Mrs. Dibdin._
SUSAN ASHFIELD            _Miss Murray._
DAME ASHFIELD             _Mrs. Davenport._



SPEED THE PLOUGH.


ACT THE FIRST.


SCENE I.

_In the fore ground a Farm House.--A view of a Castle at a distance._

FARMER ASHFIELD _discovered at a table, with his jug and pipe._

_Enter_ DAME ASHFIELD, _in a riding dress, and a basket under her arm._

_Ash._ Well, Dame, welcome whoam. What news does thee bring vrom market?

_Dame._ What news, husband? What I always told you; that Farmer Grundy's
wheat brought five shillings a quarter more than ours did.

_Ash._ All the better vor he.

_Dame._ Ah! the sun seems to shine on purpose for him.

_Ash._ Come, come, missus, as thee hast not the grace to thank God for
prosperous times, dan't thee grumble when they be unkindly a bit.

_Dame._ And I assure you, Dame Grundy's butter was quite the crack of
the market.

_Ash._ Be quiet, woolye? aleways ding, dinging Dame Grundy into my
ears--what will Mrs. Grundy zay? What will Mrs. Grundy think--Canst thee
be quiet, let ur alone, and behave thyzel pratty?

_Dame._--Certainly I can--I'll tell thee, Tummas, what she said at
church last Sunday.

_Ash._ Canst thee tell what parson zaid? Noa--Then I'll tell thee--A'
zaid that envy were as foul a weed as grows, and cankers all wholesome
plants that be near it--that's what a' zaid.

_Dame._ And do you think I envy Mrs. Grundy indeed?

_Ash._ Why dant thee letten her aloane then--I do verily think when thee
goest to t'other world, the vurst question thee ax 'il be, if Mrs.
Grundy's there--Zoa be quiet, and behave pratty, do'ye--Has thee brought
whoam the Salisbury news?

_Dame._ No, Tummas: but I have brought a rare wadget of news with me.
First and foremost I saw such a mort of coaches, servants, and waggons,
all belonging to Sir Abel Handy, and all coming to the castle--and a
handsome young man, dressed all in lace, pulled off his hat to me, and
said--"Mrs. Ashfield, do me the honour of presenting that letter to your
husband."--So there he stood without his hat--Oh, Tummas, had you seen
how Mrs. Grundy looked!

_Ash._ Dom Mrs. Grundy--be quiet, and let I read, woolye? [_Reads._] "My
dear farmer" [_Taking off his hat._] Thankye zur--zame to you, wi' all
my heart and soul--"My dear farmer"--

_Dame._ Farmer--Why, you are blind, Tummas, it is--"My dear father"--Tis
from our own dear Susan.

_Ash._ Odds dickens and daizeys! zoo it be, zure enow!--"My dear
feyther, you will be surprized"--Zoo I be, he, he! What pretty writing,
bean't it? all as straight as thof it were ploughed--"Surprized to hear,
that in a few hours I shall embrace you--Nelly, who was formerly our
servant, has fortunately married Sir Abel Handy Bart."--

_Dame._ Handy Bart.--Pugh! Bart. stands for Baronight, mun.

_Ash._ Likely, likely,--Drabbit it, only to think of the zwaps and
changes of this world!

_Dame._ Our Nelly married to a great Baronet! I wonder, Tummas, what
Mrs. Grundy will say?

_Ash._ Now, woolye be quiet, and let I read--"And she has proposed
bringing me to see you; an offer, I hope, as acceptable to my dear
feyther"--

_Dame._ "And mother"--

_Ash._ Bless her, how prettily she do write feyther, dan't she?

_Dame._ And mother.

_Ash._ Ees, but feyther first, though----"As acceptable to my dear
feyther and mother, as to their affectionate daughter--Susan
Ashfield."--Now bean't that a pratty letter?

_Dame._ And, Tummas, is not she a pretty girl?

_Ash._ Ees; and as good as she be pratty--Drabbit it, I do feel zoo
happy, and zoo warm,--for all the world like the zun in harvest.

_Dame._ Oh, Tummas, I shall be so pleased to see her, I shan't know
whether I stand on my head or my heels.

_Ash._ Stand on thy head! vor sheame o' thyzel--behave pratty, do.

_Dame._ Nay, I meant no harm--Eh, here comes friend Evergreen the
gardener, from the castle. Bless me, what a hurry the old man is in.

_Enter_ EVERGREEN.

_Everg._ Good day, honest Thomas.

_Ash._ Zame to you, measter Evergreen.

_Everg._ Have you heard the news?

_Dame._ Any thing about Mrs. Grundy?

_Ash._ Dame, be quiet, woolye now?

_Everg._ No, no--The news is, that my master, Sir Philip Blandford,
after having been abroad for twenty years, returns this day to the
castle; and that the reason of his coming is, to marry his only daughter
to the son of Sir Abel Handy, I think they call him.

_Dame._ As sure as two-pence, that is Nelly's husband.

_Everg._ Indeed!--Well, Sir Abel and his son will be here immediately;
and, Farmer, you must attend them.

_Ash._ Likely, likely.

_Everg._ And, mistress, come and lend us a hand at the castle, will
you?--Ah, it is twenty long years since I have seen Sir Philip--Poor
gentleman! bad, bad health--worn almost to the grave, I am told.---What
a lad do I remember him--till that dreadful--[_Checking himself._] But
where is Henry? I must see him--must caution him--[_A gun is discharged
at a distance._] That's his gun, I suppose--he is not far then--Poor
Henry!

_Dame._ Poor Henry! I like that indeed! What though he be nobody knows
who, there is not a girl in the parish that is not ready to pull caps
for him--The Miss Grundys, genteel as they think themselves, would be
glad to snap at him--If he were our own, we could not love him better.

_Everg._ And he deserves to be loved--Why, he's as handsome as a peach
tree in blossom; and his mind is as free from weeds as my favourite
carnation bed. But, Thomas, run to the castle, and receive Sir Abel and
his son.

_Ash._ I wool, I wool--Zo, good day. [_Bowing._] Let every man make his
bow, and behave pratty--that's what I say.--Missus, do'ye show un Sue's
letter, woolye? Do ye letten see how pratty she do write feyther.
                                                                [_Exit._

_Dame._ Now Tummas is gone, I'll tell you such a story about Mrs.
Grundy--But come, step in, you must needs be weary; and I am sure a mug
of harvest beer, sweetened with a hearty welcome, will refresh you.
                                               [_Exeunt into the house._


SCENE II.

_Outside and gate of the Castle--Servants cross the stage, laden with
different packages._

_Enter_ ASHFIELD.

_Ash._ Drabbit it, the wold castle 'ul be hardly big enow to hold all
thic lumber.

_Sir Abel Handy._ [_Without._] Gently there! mind how you go, Robin.
                                                             [_A crash._

_Ash._ Who do come here? A do zeem a comical zoart ov a man--Oh, Abel
Handy, I suppoze.

_Enter_ SIR ABEL HANDY.--SERVANT _following._

_Sir Abel._ Zounds and fury! you have killed the whole county, you dog!
for you have broke the patent medicine chest, that was to keep them all
alive!--Richard, gently!--take care of the grand Archimedian
corkscrews!--Bless my soul! so much to think of! Such wonderful
inventions in conception, in concoction, and in completion!

_Enter_ PETER.

Well, Peter, is the carriage much broke?

_Peter._ Smashed all to pieces. I thought as how, sir, that your
infallible axletree would give way.

_Sir Abel._ Confound it, it has compelled me to walk so far in the wet,
that I declare my water-proof shoes are completely soaked through.
[_Exit_ PETER.] Now to take a view with my new invented glass!
                                                 [_Pulls out his glass._

_Ash._ [_Loud and bluntly._] Zarvent, zur! Zarvent!

_Sir Abel._ [_Starting._] What's that? Oh, good day.--Devil take the
fellow?                                                        [_Aside._

_Ash._ Thankye, zur; zame to you with all my heart and zoul.

_Sir Abel._ Pray, friend, could you contrive _gently_ to inform me,
where I can find one Farmer Ashfield.

_Ash._ Ha, ha, ha! [_Laughing loudly._] Excuse my tittering a bit--but
your axing mysel vor I be so domm'd zilly [_Bowing and laughing._]--Ah!
you stare at I beceas I be bashful and daunted.

_Sir Abel._ You are very bashful, to be sure. I declare I'm quite weary.

_Ash._ If you'll walk into the castle, you may zit down, I dare zay.

_Sir Abel._ May I indeed? you are a fellow of extraordinary civility.

_Ash._ There's no denying it, zur.

_Sir Abel._ No, I'll sit here.

_Ash._ What! on the ground! Why you'll wring your ould withers--

_Sir Abel._ On the ground--no, I always carry my seat with me [_Spreads
a small camp chair._]--Here I'll sit and examine the surveyor's account
of the castle.

_Ash._ Dickens and daizeys! what a gentleman you wou'd be to shew at a
vair!

_Sir Abel._ Silence fellow, and attend--"An account of the castle and
domain of Sir Philip Blandford, intended to be settled as a marriage
portion on his daughter, and the son of Sir Abel Handy,--by Frank
Flourish, surveyor.--Imprimis--The premises command an exquisite view of
the Isle of Wight."--Charming! delightful! I don't see it though
[_Rising._]--I'll try with my new glass--my own invention--[_He looks
through the glass._] Yes, there I caught it--Ah! now I see it
plainly--Eh! no--I don't see it, do you?

_Ash._ Noa, zur, I doant--but little zweepy do tell I he can zee a bit
out from the top of the chimbley--zoa, an you've a mind to crawl up you
may zee un too, he, he!

_Sir Abel._ Thank you--but damn your titter. [_Reads._]--"Fish ponds
well stocked"--That's a good thing, Farmer.

_Ash._ Likely, likely--but I doant think the vishes do thrive much in
theas ponds.

_Sir Abel._ No! why?

_Ash._ Why, the ponds be always dry i'the zummer; and I be tould that
bean't wholesome vor the little vishes.

_Sir Abel._ Not very, I believe--Well said surveyor! "A cool summer
house."

_Ash._ Ees, zur, quite cool--by reason the roof be tumbled in.

_Sir Abel._ Better and better--"the whole capable of the greatest
improvement."--Come, that seems true however--I shall have plenty to do,
that's one comfort--I have such contrivances! I'll have a canal run
through my kitchen.--I must give this rustic some idea of my
consequence. [_Aside._] You must know, Farmer, you have the honour of
conversing with a man, who has obtained patents for tweezers,
tooth-picks, and tinder boxes--to a philosopher, who has been consulted
on the Wapping docks and the Gravesend tunnel; and who has now in hand
two inventions which will render him immortal--the one is, converting
saw dust into deal boards, and the other is, a plan of cleaning rooms by
a steam engine--and, Farmer, I mean to give prizes for industry--I'll
have a ploughing match.

_Ash._ Will you, zur?

_Sir Abel._ Yes; for I consider a healthy young man, between the handles
of a plough, as one of the noblest illustrations of the prosperity of
Britain.

_Ash._ Faith and troth! there be some tightish hands in theas parts, I
promize ye.

_Sir Abel._ And, Farmer, it shall precede the hymeneal festivities--

_Ash._ Nan!

_Sir Abel._ Blockhead! The ploughing match shall take place as soon as
Sir Philip Blandford and his daughter arrive.

_Ash._ Oh, likely, likely.

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Sir Abel, I beg to say, my master will be here immediately.

_Sir Abel._ And, sir, I beg to ask who possesses the happiness of being
your master?

_Serv._ Your son, sir, Mr. Robert Handy.

_Sir Abel._ Indeed! and where is Bob?

_Serv._ I left him, sir, in the belfrey of the church.

_Sir Abel._ Where?

_Serv._ In the belfrey of the church.

_Sir Abel._ In the belfrey of the church! What was he doing there?

_Serv._ Why, Sir, the _natives_ were ringing a peal in honour of our
arrival--when my master finding they knew nothing of the matter, went up
to the steeple to instruct them, and ordered me to proceed to the
Castle--Give me leave, Sir Abel, to take this out of your way. [_Takes
the camp chair._] Sir, I have the honour--             [_Bows and Exit._

_Sir Abel._ Wonderful! My Bob, you must know, is an astonishing
fellow!--you have heard of the _admirable Crichton_, may be? Bob's of
the same kidney! I contrive, he executes--Sir Abel _invenit_, Bob
_fecit_. He can do everything--everything!

_Ash._ All the better vor he. I zay, zur, as he can turn his head to
everything, pray, in what way med he earn his livelihood?

_Sir Abel._ Earn his livelihood!

_Ash._ Ees, zur;--How do he gain his bread!

_Sir Abel._ Bread! Oh, he can't earn his bread, bless you! he's a
genius.

_Ash._ Genius! Drabbit it, I have got a horze o' thic name, but dom' un,
he'll never work--never.

_Sir Abel._ Egad; here comes my boy Bob!--Eh! no--it is not! no.

_Enter_ POSTBOY, _with a round hat and cane._

Why, who the devil are you?

_Postb._ I am the postboy, your honour, but the gem'man said I did not
know how to drive, so he mounted my horse, and made me get inside--Here
he is.

_Enter_ HANDY, jun. _with a postboy's cap and whip._

_Handy, jun._ Ah, my old Dad, is that you?

_Sir Abel._ Certainly! the only doubt is, if that be you?

_Handy, jun._ Oh, I was teaching this fellow to drive--Nothing is so
horrible as people pretending to do what they are unequal to--Give me my
hat--That's the way to use a whip.

_Postb._ Sir, you know you have broke the horses' knees all to pieces.

_Handy, jun._ Hush, there's a guinea.                          [_Apart._

_Sir Abel._ [_To_ ASHFIELD.] You see, Bob can do everything. But, sir,
when you knew I had arrived from Germany, why did you not pay your duty
to me in London?

_Handy, jun._ Sir, I heard you were but four days married, and I would
not interrupt your honeymoon.

_Sir Abel._ Four days! oh, you might have come.              [_Sighing._

_Handy, jun._ I hear you have taken to your arms a simple rustic,
unsophisticated by fashionable follies--a full blown blossom of nature.

_Sir Abel._ Yes!

_Handy, jun._ How does it answer?

_Sir Abel._ So, so!

_Handy, jun._ Any thorns?

_Sir Abel._ A few.

_Handy, jun._ I must be introduced--where is she?

_Sir Abel._ Not within thirty miles; for I don't hear her.

_Ash._ Ha, ha, ha!

_Handy, jun._ Who is that?

_Sir Abel._ Oh, a pretty behaved tittering friend of mine.

_Ash._ Zarvent, zur--No offence, I do hope--Could not help tittering a
bit at Nelly--when she were zarvent maid wi' I, she had a tightish
prattle wi' her, that's vor zartain.

_Handy, jun._ Oh! so then my honoured mamma was the servant of this
tittering gentleman--I say, father, perhaps she has not lost the
tightish prattle he speaks of.

_Sir Abel._ My dear boy, come here--Prattle! I say did you ever live
next door to a pewterer's?--that's all--you understand me--did you ever
hear a dozen fire-engines full gallop?--were you ever at Billingsgate in
the sprat season?--or----

_Handy, jun._ Ha, ha!

_Sir Abel._ Nay, don't laugh, Bob.

_Handy, jun._ Indeed, sir, you think of it too seriously. The storm, I
dare say, soon blows over.

_Sir Abel._ Soon! you know what a trade wind is, don't you, Bob? why,
she thinks no more of the latter end of her speech, than she does of the
latter end of her life--

_Handy, jun._ Ha! ha!

_Sir Abel._ But I won't be laugh'd at--I'll knock any man down that
laughs! Bob, if you can say any thing pleasant, I'll trouble you; if
not, do what my wife can't--hold your tongue.

_Handy, jun._ I'll shew you what I can do--I'll amuse you with this
native.                                                        [_Apart._

_Sir Abel._ Do--do--quiz him--at him, Bob.

_Handy, jun._ I say, Farmer, you are a set of jolly fellows here, an't
you?

_Ash._ Ees, zur, deadly jolly--excepting when we be otherwise, and then
we bean't.

_Handy, jun._ Play at cricket, don't you?

_Ash._ Ees, zur; we Hampshire lads conceat we can bowl a bit or
thereabouts.

_Handy, jun._ And cudgel too, I suppose?

_Sir Abel._ At him, Bob.

_Ash._ Ees, zur, we sometimes break oon another's heads, by way of being
agreeable, and the like o'that.

_Handy, jun._ Understand all the guards? [_Putting himself in an
attitude of cudgelling._]

_Ash._ Can't zay I do, zur.

_Handy, jun._ What! hit in this way, eh? [_Makes a hit at_ ASHFIELD,
_which he parries, and hits young_ HANDY _violently._]

_Ash._ Noa, zur, we do hit thic way.

_Handy, jun._ Zounds and fury!

_Sir Abel._ Why, Bob, he has broke your head.

_Handy, jun._ Yes; he rather hit me--he somehow----

_Sir Abel._ He did indeed, Bob.

_Handy, jun._ Damn him--The fact is, I am out of practice.

_Ash._ You need not be, zur; I'll gi' ye a belly full any day, wi' all
my heart and soul.

_Handy, jun._ No, no, thank you--Farmer, what's your name?

_Ash._ My name be Tummas Ashfield--any thing to say against my name?
                                                         [_Threatening._

_Handy, jun._ No, no--Ashfield! shou'd he be the father of my pretty
Susan--Pray have you a daughter?

_Ash._ Ees, I have--any thing to zay against she?

_Handy, jun._ No, no; I think her a charming creature.

_Ash._ Do ye, faith and troth--Come, that be deadly kind o'ye
however--Do you zee, I were _frightful_ she were not agreeable.

_Handy, jun._ Oh, she's extremely agreeable to me, I assure you.

_Ash._ I vow, it be quite pratty in you to take notice of Sue. I do
hope, zur, breaking your head will break noa squares--She be a coming
down to theas parts wi' lady our maid Nelly, as wur--your spouse, zur.

_Handy, jun._ The devil she is! that's awkward!

_Ash._ I do hope you'll be kind to Sue when she do come, woolye, zur?

_Handy, jun._ You may depend on it.

_Sir Abel._ I dare say you may. Come, Farmer, attend us.

_Ash._ Ees, zur; wi' all respect--Gentlemen, pray walk thic way, and
I'll walk before you.                                           [_Exit._

_Sir Abel._ Now, that's what he calls behaving pretty. Damn his pretty
behaviour.                                                    [_Exeunt._


SCENE III.

_A Grove._

[MORRINGTON _comes down the stage, wrapped in a great coat--He looks
about--then at his watch, and whistles--which is answered._]

_Enter_ GERALD.

_Mor._ Here, Gerald! Well, my trusty fellow, is Sir Philip arrived?

_Ger._ No, sir; but hourly expected.

_Mor._ Tell me, how does the castle look?

_Ger._ Sadly decayed, sir.

_Mor._ I hope, Gerald, you were not observed.

_Ger._ I fear otherwise, sir; on the skirts of the domain I encountered
a stripling with his gun; but I darted into that thicket, and so avoided
him.

[HENRY _appears in the back ground, in a shooting dress, attentively
observing them._]

_Mor._ Have you gained any intelligence?

_Ger._ None: the report that reached us was false--The infant certainly
died with its mother--Hush! conceal yourself--we are observed--this way.

                                      [_They retreat_--HENRY _advances._

_Henry._ Hold! as a friend, one word!

                           [_They exeunt, he follows them, and returns._

Again they have escaped me--"_The infant died with its mother_"--This
agony of doubt is insupportable.

_Enter_ EVERGREEN.

_Everg._ Henry, well met.

_Henry._ Have you seen strangers?

_Everg._ No!

_Henry._ Two but now have left this place--They spoke of a lost
child--My busy fancy led me to think I was the object of their search--I
pressed forward, but they avoided me.

_Everg._ No, no; it could not be you; for no one on earth knows but
myself, and----

_Henry._ Who? Sir Philip Blandford?

_Everg._ I am sworn, you know, my dear boy; I am solemnly sworn to
silence.

_Henry._ True, my good old friend; and if the knowledge of who I am can
only be obtained at the price of thy perjury, let me for ever remain
ignorant--let the corroding thought still haunt my pillow, cross me at
every turn, and render me insensible to the blessings of health and
liberty--yet, in vain do I suppress the thought--who am I? why thus
abandoned? perhaps the despised offspring of guilt--Ah! is it so?
                                               [_Seizing him violently._

_Everg._ Henry, do I deserve this?

_Henry._ Pardon me, good old man! I'll act more reasonably--I'll deem
thy silence mercy.

_Everg._ That's wisely said.

_Henry._ Yet it is hard to think, that the most detested reptile that
nature forms, or man pursues, has, when he gains his den, a parent's
pitying breast to shelter in; but I----

_Everg._ Come, come, no more of this.

_Henry._ Well!----I visited to-day that young man who was so grievously
bruised by the breaking of his team.

_Everg._ That was kindly done, Henry.

_Henry._ I found him suffering under extreme torture, yet a ray of joy
shot from his languid eye--for his medicine was administered by a
father's hand--it was a mother's precious tear that dropped upon his
wound--Oh, how I envied him!

_Everg._ Still on the same subject--I tell thee, if thou art not
acknowledged by thy race, why, then become the noble founder of a new
one.--Come with me to the castle, for the last time.

_Henry._ The last time!

_Everg._ Aye, boy; for, when Sir Philip arrives, you must avoid him.

_Henry._ Not see him! where exists the power that shall prevent me?

_Everg._ Henry, if you value your own peace of mind--if you value an old
man's comfort, avoid the castle.

_Henry._ [_Aside._] I must dissemble with this honest creature--Well, I
am content.

_Everg._ That's right--that's right,--Henry--Be but thou resigned and
virtuous, and He, who clothes the lily of the field, will be a parent to
thee.                                                         [_Exeunt._



ACT THE SECOND.


SCENE I.

_A Lodge belonging to the Castle._

_Dame Ashfield discovered making lace._

_Enter_ HANDY, _jun._

_Handy, jun._ A singular situation this my old dad has placed me in;
brought me here to marry a woman of fashion and beauty, while I have
been professing, and I've a notion feeling, the most ardent love for the
pretty Susan Ashfield--Propriety says, take Miss Blandford--Love says,
take Susan--Fashion says, take both--but would Susan consent to such an
arrangement?--and if she refused, would I consent to part with her?--Oh,
time enough to put that question, when the previous one is disposed
of--[_Seeing_ DAME.] How do you do? How do you do?--Making lace, I
perceive--Is it a common employment, here?

_Dame._ Oh, no, sir? nobody can make it in these parts but myself!--Mrs.
Grundy, indeed, pretends--but, poor woman! she knows no more of it than
you do.

_Handy, jun._ Than I do! that's vastly well;--My dear madam, I passed
two months at Mechlin for the express purpose.

_Dame._ Indeed!

_Handy, jun._ You don't do it right--now I can do it much better than
that. Give me leave, and I'll shew you the true Mechlin method [_Turns
the cushion round, kneels down, and begins working._] First you see,
so--then, so--

_Enter_ SIR ABEL, _and_ MISS BLANDFORD.

_Sir Abel._ I vow, Miss Blandford, fair as I ever thought you, the air
of your native land has given additional lustre to your
charms!--[_Aside._] If my wife looked so--Ah! but where can Bob be?--You
must know, miss, my son is a very clever fellow! you won't find him
wasting his time in boyish frivolity!--no; you will find him--
                                                            [_Sees him._

_Miss B._ Is that your son, sir?

_Sir Abel._ [_Abashed._] Yes, that's Bob!

_Miss B._ Pray, sir, is he making lace, or is he making love?

_Sir Abel._ Curse me if I can tell. [_Hits him with his stick._] Get up,
you dog! don't you see Miss Blandford?

_Handy, jun._ [_Starting up._] Zounds! how unlucky! Ma'am, your most
obedient servant. [_Endeavours to hide the work._] Curse the cushion!
                                                       [_Throws it off._

_Dame._ Oh! he has spoiled my lace!

_Handy, jun._ Hush! I'll make you a thousand yards another time--You
see, ma'am, I was explaining to this good woman--what--what need not be
explained again--Admirably handsome, by Heaven!                [_Aside._

_Sir Abel._ Is not she, Bob?

_Handy, jun._ [_To_ MISS B.] In your journey from the coast, I conclude
you took London in your way? Hush!                           [_To_ DAME.

_Miss B._ Oh no, sir, I could not so soon venture into the _beau monde_;
a stranger just arrived from Germany--

_Handy, jun._ The very reason--the most fashionable introduction
possible! but I perceive, sir, you have here imitated other German
importations, and only restored to us our native excellence.

_Miss B._ I assure you, sir, I am eager to seize my birthright, the pure
and envied immunities of an English woman!

_Handy, jun._ Then I trust, madam, you will be patriot enough to agree
with me, that as a nation is poor, whose only wealth is
importation--that therefore the humble native artist may ever hope to
obtain from his countrymen those fostering smiles, without which genius
must sicken and industry decay. But it requires no _valet de place_ to
conduct you through the purlieus of fashion, for now the way of the
world is, for every one to pursue their own way; and following the
fashion is differing as much as possible from the rest of your
acquaintance.

_Miss B._ But, surely sir, there is some distinguishing feature, by
which the votaries of fashion are known?

_Handy, jun._ Yes; but that varies extremely--sometimes fashionable
celebrity depends on a high waist--sometimes on a low
carriage--sometimes on high play, and sometimes on low breeding--last
winter it rested solely on green peas!

_Miss B._ Green peas!

_Handy, jun._ Green peas--That lady was the most enchanting, who could
bring the greatest quantity of green peas to her table at Christmas! the
struggle was tremendous! Mrs. Rowley Powley had the best of it by five
pecks and a half, but it having been unfortunately proved, that at her
ball there was room to dance and eat conveniently--that no lady received
a black eye, and no coachman was killed, the thing was voted decent and
comfortable, and scouted accordingly.

_Miss B._ Is comfort then incompatible with fashion?

_Handy, jun._ Certainly!--Comfort in high life would be as preposterous
as a lawyer's bag crammed with truth, or his wig decorated with
coquelicot ribbons! No--it is not comfort and selection that is sought,
but numbers and confusion! So that a fashionable party resembles
Smithfield market,--only a good one when plentifully stocked--and ladies
are reckoned by the score, like sheep, and their husbands by droves,
like horned cattle!

_Miss B._ Ha, ha! and the conversation--

_Handy, jun._ Oh! like the assembly--confused, vapid, and abundant; as
"How do, ma'am!--no accident at the door?--he, he!"--"Only my carriage
broke to pieces!"--"I hope you had not your pocket picked!"--"Won't you
sit down to faro?"--"Have you many to-night?"--"A few, about six
hundred!"--"Were you at Lady Overall's?"--"Oh yes; a delicious crowd,
and plenty of peas, he, he!"--and thus runs the fashionable race.

_Sir Abel._ Yes; and a precious run it is--full gallop all the way:
first they run on--then their fortune is run through--then bills are run
up--then they are run hard--then they've a run of luck--then they run
out, and then they run away!--But I'll forgive fashion all its follies
in consideration of one of its blessed laws.

_Handy, jun._ What may that be!

_Sir Abel._ That husband and wife must never be seen together.

_Enter_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Miss Blandford, your father expects you.

_Miss B._ I hope I shall find him more composed.

_Handy, jun._ Is Sir Philip ill?

_Miss B._ His spirits are extremely depressed, and since we arrived here
this morning his dejection has dreadfully increased.

_Handy, jun._ But I hope we shall be able to laugh away despondency.

_Miss B._ Sir, if you are pleased to consider my esteem as an object
worth your possession, I know no way of obtaining it so certain as by
your shewing every attention to my dear father.    [_As they are going,_

_Enter_ ASHFIELD.

_Ash._ Dame! Dame! she be come!

_Dame._ Who? Susan! our dear Susan?

_Ash._ Ees--zo--come along--Oh, Sir Abel! Lady Nelly, your spouse, do
order you to go to her directly!

_Handy, jun._ Order! you mistake--

_Sir Abel._ No, he don't--she generally prefers that word.

_Miss B._ Adieu! Sir Abel.
                            [_Exeunt_ MISS BLANDFORD _and_ HANDY, _jun._

_Sir Abel._ Oh! if my wife had such a pretty way with her mouth.

_Dame._ And how does Susan look?

_Ash._ That's what I do want to know, zoa come along--Woo ye
though--Missus, let's behave pratty--Zur if you pleaze, Dame and I will
let you walk along wi' us.

_Sir Abel._ How condescending! Oh, you are a pretty behaved fellow!
                                                              [_Exeunt._


SCENE II.

_Farmer_ ASHFIELD'S _Kitchen._

_Enter_ LADY HANDY _and_ SUSAN.

_Susan._ My dear home, thrice welcome!--What gratitude I feel to your
ladyship for this indulgence!

_Lady H._ That's right, child!

_Susan._ And I am sure you partake my pleasure in again visiting a
place, where you received every protection and kindness my parents could
shew you, for, I remember, while you lived with my father--

_Lady H._ Child! don't put your memory to any fatigue on my account--you
may transfer the remembrance of who I was, to aid your more perfect
recollection of who I am.

_Susan._ Lady Handy!

_Lady H._ That's right, child!--I am not angry.

_Susan._ [_Looking out._] Ah! I see my dear father and mother coming
through the garden.

_Lady H._ Oh! now I shall be caressed to death; but I must endure the
shock of their attentions.

_Enter_ FARMER _and_ DAME, _with_ SIR ABEL.

_Ash._ My dear Susan!                              [_They run to_ SUSAN.

_Dame._ My sweet child! give me a kiss.

_Ash._ Hald thee! Feyther first though--Well, I be as mortal glad to zee
thee as never war--and how be'st thee? and how do thee like Lunnun town?
it be a deadly lively place I be tuold.

_Dame._ Is not she a sweet girl?

_Sir Abel._ That she is.

_Lady H._ [_With affected dignity._] Does it occur to any one present,
that Lady Handy is in the room?

_Sir Abel._ Oh, Lud! I'm sure, my dear wife, I never forget, that you
are in the room.

_Ash._ Drabbitit! I overlooked Lady Nelly, sure enow; but consider,
there be zome difference between thee and our own Susan! I be deadly
glad to zee thee, however.

_Dame._ So am I, Lady Handy.

_Ash._ Don't ye take it unkind I han't a buss'd thee yet--meant no
slight indeed.                                            [_Kisses her._

_Lady H._ Oh! shocking!                                        [_Aside._

_Ash._ No harm I do hope, zur.

_Sir Abel._ None at all.

_Ash._ But dash it, Lady Nelly, what do make thee paint thy vace all
over we rud ochre zoo? Be it vor thy spouse to knaw thee?--that be the
way I do knaw my sheep.

_Sir Abel._ The flocks of fashion are all marked so, Farmer.

_Ash._ Likely! Drabbit it! thee do make a tightish kind of a ladyship
zure enow.

_Dame._ That you do, my lady! you remember the old house?

_Ash._ Aye; and all about it, doant ye? Nelly! my lady!

_Lady H._ Oh! I'm quite shock'd--Susan, child! prepare a room where I
may dress before I proceed to the castle.                 [_Exit_ SUSAN.

_Enter_ HANDY, _jun._

_Handy, jun._ I don't see Susan--I say, Dad, is that my mamma?

_Sir Abel._ Yes--speak to her.

_Handy, jun._ [_Chucking her under the chin_] A fine girl, upon my soul!

_Lady H._ Fine girl, indeed! Is this behaviour!

_Handy, jun._ Oh! beg pardon, most honoured parent. [_She
curtsies._]---that's a damned bad curtsey, I can teach you to make a
much better curtsey than that!

_Lady H._ You teach me, that am old enough to--hem!

_Handy, jun._ Oh! that toss of the head was very bad indeed--Look at
me!--That's the thing!

_Lady H._ Am I to be insulted? Sir Abel, you know I seldom condescend to
talk.

_Sir Abel._ Don't say so, my lady, you wrong yourself.

_Lady H._ But, when I do begin, you know not where it will end.

_Sir Abel._ Indeed I do not.                                   [_Aside._

_Lady H._ I insist on receiving all possible respect from your son.

_Handy, jun._ And you shall have it, my dear girl!--Madam, I mean.

_Lady H._ I vow, I am agitated to that degree--Sir Abel! my fan.

_Sir Abel._ Yes, my dear--Bob, look here, a little contrivance of my
own. While others carry swords and such like dreadful weapons in their
canes, I more gallantly carry a fan. [_Removes the head of his cane, and
draws out a fan._] A pretty thought, isn't it? [_Presents it to his
lady._]

_Ash._ Some difference between thic stick and mine, beant there, zur?
                                                     [_To_ HANDY, _jun._

_Handy, jun._ [_Moving away._] Yes, there is.--[_To Lady H._] Do you
call that fanning yourself? [_Taking the fan._] My dear ma'am, this is
the way to manœuvre a fan.

_Lady H._ Sir, you shall find [_To_ HANDY, _jun._] I have power enough
to make you repent this behaviour, severely repent it--Susan!
                                               [_Exit followed by_ DAME.

_Handy, jun._ Bravo! passion becomes her; she does that vastly well.

_Sir Abel._ Yes, practice makes perfect.

_Enter_ SUSAN.

_Susan._ Did your ladyship call?--Heavens! Mr. Handy!

_Handy, jun._ Hush! my angel! be composed! that letter will explain.
[_Giving a letter, noticed by_ ASHFIELD.] Lady Handy wishes to see you.

_Susan._ Oh, Robert!

_Handy, jun._ At present, my love, no more.
                                  [_Exit_ Susan, _followed by_ ASHFIELD.

_Sir Abel._ What were you saying, sir, to that young woman?

_Handy, jun._ Nothing particular, sir. Where is Lady Handy going?

_Sir Abel._ To dress.

_Handy, jun._ I suppose she has found out the use of money.

_Sir Abel._ Yes; I'll do her the justice to say she encourages
trade.--Why, do you know, Bob, my best coal pit won't find her in white
muslins--round her neck hangs an hundred acres at least; my noblest oaks
have made wigs for her; my fat oxen have dwindled into Dutch pugs, and
white mice; my India bonds are transmuted into shawls and otto of roses;
and a magnificent mansion has shrunk into a diamond snuff-box.

_Enter_ COUNTRYMAN.

_Coun._ Gentlemen, the folks be all got together, and the ploughs be
ready--and----

_Sir Abel._ We are coming.                              [_Exit_ SERVANT.

_Handy, jun._ Ploughs?

_Sir Abel._ Yes, Bob, we are going to have a grand agricultural meeting.

_Handy, jun._ Indeed!

_Sir Abel._ If I could but find a man able to manage my new-invented
_curricle_ plough, none of them would have a chance.

_Handy, jun._ My dear sir, if there be any thing on earth I can do, it
is that.

_Sir Abel._ What!

_Handy._ I rather fancy I can plough better than any man in England.

_Sir Abel._ You don't say so! What a clever fellow he is! I say, Bob, if
you would--

_Handy, jun._ No! I can't condescend.

_Sir Abel._ Condescend! why not?--much more creditable, let me tell you,
than gallopping a maggot for a thousand, or eating a live cat, or any
other fashionable achievement.

_Handy, jun._ So it is--Egad! I will--I'll carry off the prize of
industry.

_Sir Abel._ But should you lose, Bob.

_Handy, jun._ I lose! that's vastly well!

_Sir Abel._ True, with my curricle plough you could hardly fail.

_Handy, jun._ With my superior skill, Dad--Then, I say, how the
newspapers will teem with the account.

_Sir Abel._ Yes.

_Handy, jun._ That universal genius, Handy, junior, with a plough----

_Sir Abel._ Stop--invented by that ingenious machinist, Handy, senior.

_Handy, jun._ Gained the prize against the first husbandmen in
Hampshire--Let our Bond-street butterflies emulate the example of Handy,
junior.--

_Sir Abel._ And let old city grubs cultivate the field of science, like
Handy, senior--Ecod! I am so happy!

_Lady H._ [_Without._] Sir Abel!

_Sir Abel._ Ah! there comes a damper.

_Handy, jun._ Courage! you have many resources of happiness.

_Sir Abel._ Have I? I should be very glad to know them.

_Handy, jun._ In the first place you possess an excellent temper.

_Sir Abel._ So much the worse; for if I had a bad one, I should be the
better able to conquer hers.

_Handy, jun._ You enjoy good health--

_Sir Abel._ So much the worse; for if I were ill, she wouldn't come near
me.

_Handy, jun._ Then you are rich--

_Sir Abel._ So much the worse; for had I been poor, she would not have
married me. But I, say, Bob, if you gain the prize, I'll have a patent
for my plough.

_Lady H._ [_Without._] Sir Abel! I say--

_Handy, jun._ Father, could not you get a patent for stopping that sort
of noise?

_Sir Abel._ If I could, what a sale it would have!--No, Bob, a patent
has been obtained for the only thing that will silence her--

_Handy, jun._ Aye--What's that?

_Sir Abel._ [_In a whisper._] A coffin! hush!--I'm coming, my dear.

_Handy, jun._ Ha, ha, ha!                                     [_Exeunt._


SCENE III.

_A Parlour in_ ASHFIELD'S _House._

_Enter_ ASHFIELD _and Wife._

_Ash._ I tell ye, I zee'd un gi' Susan a letter, an I dan't like it a
bit.

_Dame._ Nor I: if shame should come to the poor child--I say, Tummas,
what would Mrs. Grundy say then?

_Ash._ Dom Mrs. Grundy; what would my poor wold heart zay? but I be
bound it be all innocence.

_Enter_ HENRY.

_Dame._ Ah, Henry! we have not seen thee at home all day.

_Ash._ And I do zomehow fanzie things dan't go zo clever when thee'rt
away from farm.

_Henry._ My mind has been greatly agitated.

_Ash._ Well, won't thee go and zee the ploughing match?

_Henry._ Tell me, will not those who obtain prizes be introduced to the
Castle?

_Ash._ Ees, and feasted in the great hall.

_Henry._ My good friend, I wish to become a candidate.

_Dame._ You, Henry!

_Henry._ It is time I exerted the faculties Heaven has bestowed on me;
and though my heavy fate crushes the proud hopes this heart conceives,
still let me prove myself worthy of the place Providence has assigned
me.--[_Aside._] Should I succeed, it will bring me to the presence of
that man, who (I know not why) seems the dictator of my fate.--[_To
them._] Will you furnish me with the means?

_Ash._ Will I!--Thou shalt ha' the best plough in the parish--I wish it
were all gould for thy zake--and better cattle there can't be noowhere.

_Henry._ Thanks, my good friend--my benefactor--I have little time for
preparation--So receive my gratitude, and farewell.             [_Exit._

_Dame._ A blessing go with thee!

_Ash._ I zay, Henry, take Jolly, and Smiler, and Captain, but dan't ye
take thic lazy beast Genius--I'll be shot if having vive load an acre on
my wheat land could please me more.

_Dame._ Tummas, here comes Susan reading the letter.

_Ash._ How pale she do look! dan't she?

_Dame._ Ah! poor thing!--If----

_Ash._ Hauld thy tongue, woolye?                         [_They retire._

_Enter_ SUSAN, _reading the letter._

_Susan._ Is it possible! Can the man to whom I've given my heart write
thus!--"I am compelled to marry Miss Blandford; but my love for my Susan
is unalterable--I hope she will not, for an act of necessity, cease to
think with tenderness on her faithful Robert."----Oh man! ungrateful
man! it is from our bosoms alone you derive your power; how cruel then
to use it, in fixing in those bosoms endless sorrow and
despair!----"Still think with tenderness"--Base, dishonourable
insinuation--He might have allowed me to esteem him. [_Locks up the
letter in a box on the table, and exit weeping._]

[ASHFIELD _and_ DAME _come forward._]

_Ash._ Poor thing!--What can be the matter--She locked up the letter in
thic box, and then burst into tears.                [_Looks at the box._

_Dame._ Yes, Tummas; she locked it in that box sure enough.
                       [_Shakes a bunch of keys that hangs at her side._

_Ash._ What be doing, Dame? what be doing?

_Dame._ [_With affected indifference._] Nothing; I was only touching
these keys.              [_They look at the box and keys significantly._

_Ash._ A good tightish bunch!

_Dame._ Yes; they are of all sizes.              [_They look as before._

_Ash._ Indeed!--Well--Eh!--Dame, why dan't ye speak? thou canst chatter
fast enow zometimes.

_Dame._ Nay, Tummas--I dare say--if--you know best--but I think I could
find----

_Ash._ Well, Eh!--you can just try you knaw [_Greatly agitated._] You
can try, just vor the vun on't: but mind, dan't ye make a noise. [_She
opens it._] Why, thee hasn't opened it?

_Dame._ Nay, Tummas! you told me!

_Ash._ Did I?

_Dame._ There's the letter!

_Ash._ Well, why do ye gi't to I?--I dan't want it, I'm sure. [_Taking
it--he turns it over--she eyes it eagerly--he is about to open
it._]--She's coming! she's coming! [_He conceals the letter, they
tremble violently._] No, she's gone into t'other room. [_They hang their
heads dejectedly, then look at each other._] What mun that feyther an
mother be doing, that do blush and tremble at their own dater's coming.
[_Weeps._] Dang it, has she desarv'd it of us--Did she ever deceive
us?--Were she not always the most open hearted, dutifullest,
kindest--and thee to goa like a dom'd spy, and open her box, poor thing!

_Dame._ Nay, Tummas----

_Ash._ You did--I zaw you do it myzel!--you look like a thief, now--you
doe--Hush!--no--Dame--here be the letter--I won't reead a word on't; put
it where thee vound it, and as thee vound it.

_Dame._ With all my heart.         [_She returns the letter to the box._

_Ash._ [_Embraces her._] Now I can wi' pleasure hug my wold wife, and
look my child in the vace again--I'll call her, and ax her about it; and
if she dan't speak without disguisement, I'll be bound to be shot--Dame,
be the colour of sheame off my face yet?--I never zeed thee look ugly
before----Susan, my dear Sue, come here a bit, woollye?

_Enter_ SUSAN.

_Susan._ Yes, my dear father.

_Ash._ Sue, we do wish to give thee a bit of admonishing and parent-like
conzultation.

_Susan._ I hope I have ever attended to your admonitions.

_Ash._ Ees, bless thee, I do believe thee hast, lamb; but we all want
our memories jogg'd a bit, or why else do parson preach us all to sleep
every Zunday--Zo thic be the topic--Dame and I, Sue, did zee a letter
gi'd to thee, and thee--bursted into tears, and lock'd un up in thic
box--and then Dame and I--we--that's all.

_Susan._ My dear father, if I concealed the contents of that letter from
your knowledge, it was because I did not wish your heart to share in the
pain mine feels.

_Ash._ Dang it, didn't I tell thee zoo?                  [_To his wife._

_Dame._ Nay, Tummas, did I say otherwise?

_Susan._ Believe me, my dear parents, my heart never gave birth to a
thought my tongue feared to utter.

_Ash._ There, the very words I zaid?

_Susan._ If you wish to see the letter, I will shew it to you.
                                            [_She searches for the key._

_Dame._ Here's a key will open it.

_Ash._ Drabbit it, hold thy tongue, thou wold fool? [_Aside._] No,
Susan. I'll not zee it--I'll believe my child.

_Susan._ You shall not find your confidence ill-placed--it is true the
gentleman declared he loved me; it is equally true that declaration was
not unpleasing to me--Alas! it is also true, that his letter contains
sentiments disgraceful to himself, and insulting to me.

_Ash._ Drabbit it, if I'd knaw'd that, when we were cudgelling a bit, I
wou'd ha' lapt my stick about his ribs pratty tightish, I wou'd.

_Susan._ Pray, father, don't you resent his conduct to me.

_Ash._ What! mayn't I lather un a bit?

_Susan._ Oh, no! I've the strongest reasons to the contrary!

_Ash._ Well, Sue, I won't--I'll behave as pratty as I always do--but it
be time to go to the green, and zee the fine zights--How I do hate the
noise of thic dom'd bunch of keys--But bless thee, my child--dan't
forget that vartue to a young woman be vor all the world
like--like--Dang it, I ha' gotten it all in my head; but zomehow--I
can't talk it--but vartue be to a young woman what corn be to a blade
o'wheat, do you zee; for while the corn be there it be glorious to the
eye, and it be called the staff of life; but take that treasure away,
and what do remain? why nought but thic worthless straw that man and
beast do tread upon.                                          [_Exeunt._


SCENE IV.

_An extensive view of a cultivated country--A ploughed field in the
centre, in which are seen six different ploughs and horses--At one side
a handsome tent--A number of country people assembled._

_Enter_ ASHFIELD _and_ DAME.

_Ash._ Make way, make way for the gentry! and, do ye hear, behave pratty
as I do--Dang thee, stond back, or I'll knack thee down, I wool.

_Enter_ SIR ABEL, _and_ MISS BLANDFORD, _with Servants._

_Sir Abel._ It is very kind of you to honour our rustic festivities with
your presence.

_Miss B._ Pray, Sir Abel, where is your son?

_Sir Abel._ What! Bob? Oh, you'll see him presently--[_Nodding
significantly._]--Here are the prize medals; and if you will condescend
to present them, I'm sure they'll be worn with additional pleasure.--I
say, you'll see Bob presently.--Well, Farmer, is it all over?

_Ash._ Ees, zur; the acres be plough'd and the ground judg'd; and the
young lads be coming down to receive their reward--Heartily welcome,
miss, to your native land; hope you be as pleased to zee we as we be to
zee you, and the like o'that.--Mortal beautizome to be sure--I declare,
miss, it do make I quite warm zomehow to look at ye. [_A shout
without._] They be coming--Now, Henry!

_Sir Abel._ Now you'll see Bob!--now my dear boy, Bob!--here he comes.
                                                               [_Huzza._

_Enter_ HENRY _and two young Husbandmen._

_Ash._ 'Tis he, he has don't--Dang you all, why dan't ye shout? Huzza!

_Sir Abel._ Why, zounds, where's Bob?--I don't see Bob--Bless me, what
has become of Bob and my plough?     [_Retires and takes out his glass._

_Ash._ Well, Henry, there be the prize, and there be the fine lady that
will gi' it thee.

_Henry._ Tell me who is that lovely creature?

_Ash._ The dater of Sir Philip Blandford.

_Henry._ What exquisite sweetness! Ah! should the father but resemble
her, I shall have but little to fear from his severity.

_Ash._ Miss, thic be the young man that ha got'n the goulden prize.

_Miss B._ This! I always thought ploughmen were coarse, vulgar
creatures, but he seems handsome and diffident.

_Ash._ Ees, quite pratty behaved--it were I that teach'd un.

_Miss B._ What's your name?

_Henry._ Henry.

_Miss B._ And your family?

[HENRY_, in agony of grief, turns away, strikes his forehead, and leans
on the shoulder of_ ASHFIELD.]

_Dame._ [_Apart to_ MISS B.] Madam, I beg pardon, but nobody knows about
his parentage; and when it is mentioned, poor boy! he takes on sadly--He
has lived at our house ever since we had the farm, and we have had an
allowance for him--small enough to be sure--but, good lad! he was always
welcome to share what we had.

_Miss B._ I am shock'd at my imprudence--[_To_ HENRY.] Pray pardon me; I
would not insult an enemy, much less one I am inclined to
admire--[_Giving her hand, then withdraws it._]--to esteem--you shall go
to the Castle--my father shall protect you.

_Henry._ Generous creature! to merit his esteem is the fondest wish of
my heart--to be your slave, the proudest aim of my ambition.

_Miss B._ Receive your merited reward. [_He kneels--she places the medal
round his neck--the same to the others._]

_Sir Abel._ [_Advances._] I can't see Bob: pray, sir, do you happen to
know what is become of my Bob?

_Henry._ Sir?

_Sir Abel._ Did not you see a remarkable clever plough, and a young
man----

_Henry._ At the beginning of the contest I observed a gentleman; his
horses, I believe, were unruly; but my attention was too much occupied
to allow me to notice more.                         [_Laughing without._

_Handy, jun._ [_Without._] How dare you laugh?

_Sir Abel._ That's Bob's voice!                       [_Laughing again._

_Enter_ HANDY, jun. _in a smock frock, cocked hat, and a piece of a
plough in his hand._

_Handy, jun._ Dare to laugh again, and I'll knock you down with
this!--Ugh! how infernally hot!                          [_Walks about._

_Sir Abel._ Why, Bob, where have you been?

_Handy, jun._ I don't know where I've been.

_Sir Abel._ And what have you got in your hand?

_Handy, jun._ What! All I could keep of your nonsensical ricketty
plough.                            [_Walks about_, SIR ABEL _following._

_Sir Abel._ Come, none of that, sir.--Don't abuse my plough, to cover
your ignorance, sir? where is it, sir? and where are my famous
Leicestershire horses, sir?

_Handy, jun._ Where? ha, ha, ha! I'll tell you as nearly as I can, ha,
ha! What's the name of the next county?

_Ash._ It be called Wiltshire, zur.

_Handy, jun._ Then, dad, upon the nicest calculation I am able to make,
they are at this moment engaged in the very patriotic act of ploughing
Salisbury plain, ha ha! I saw them fairly over that hill, full gallop,
with the curricle plough at their heels.

_Ash._ Ha, ha! a good one, ha ha!

_Handy, jun._ But never mind, father, you must again set your invention
to work, and I my toilet:--rather a deranged figure to appear before a
lady in. [_Fiddles._] Hey day! What! are you going to dance?

_Ash._ Ees, zur; I suppose you can sheake a leg a bit?

_Handy, jun._ I fancy I can dance every possible step, from the _pas
ruse_ to the war-dance of the Catawbaws.

_Ash._ Likely.--I do hope, miss, you'll join your honest neighbours;
they'll be deadly hurt an' you won't gig it a bit wi' un.

_Miss B._ With all my heart.

_Sir Abel._ Bob's an excellent dancer.

_Miss B._ I dare say he is, sir? but on this occasion, I think I ought
to dance with the young man, who gained the prize--I think it would be
most pleasant--most proper, I mean; and I am glad you agree with
me.--So, sir, if you'll accept my hand--              [HENRY _takes it._

_Sir Abel._ Very pleasantly settled, upon my soul!--Bob, won't you
dance?

_Handy, jun._ I dance!--no, I'll look at them--I'll quietly look on.

_Sir Abel._ Egad now, as my wife's away, I'll try to find a pretty girl,
and make one among them.

_Ash._ That's hearty!--Come, Dame, hang the rheumatics!--Now, lads and
lasses, behave pratty, and strike up.                        [_A dance._

[HANDY, jun. _looks on a little, and then begins to move his legs--then
dashes into the midst of the dance, and endeavours to imitate every one
opposite to him; then being exhausted, he leaves the dance, seizes the
fiddle, and plays 'till the curtain drops._]



ACT THE THIRD.


SCENE I.

_An Apartment in the Castle._

SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD _discovered on a couch, reading_, SERVANTS
_attending._

_Sir Philip._ Is not my daughter yet returned?

_Serv._ No, Sir Philip.

_Sir Philip._ Dispatch a servant to her.                [_Exit_ SERVANT.

_Re-enter_ SERVANT.

_Serv._ Sir, the old gardener is below, and asks to see you.

_Sir Philip._ [_Rises and throws away the book._] Admit him instantly,
and leave me.-- [_Exit_ SERVANT.

_Enter_ EVERGREEN, _who bows, then looking at_ SIR PHILIP, _clasps his
hands together, and weeps._

Does this desolation affect the old man?--Come near me--Time has laid a
lenient hand on thee.

_Everg._ Oh, my dear master! can twenty years have wrought the change I
see?

_Sir Philip._ No; [_Striking his breast._] 'tis the canker here that
hath withered up my trunk;--but are we secure from observation?

_Everg._ Yes.

_Sir Philip._ Then tell me, does the boy live?

_Everg._ He does, and is as fine a youth--

_Sir Philip._ No comments.

_Everg._ We named him--

_Sir Philip._ Be dumb! let me not hear his name. Has care been taken he
may not blast me with his presence?

_Everg._ It has, and he cheerfully complied.

_Sir Philip._ Enough! never speak of him more. Have you removed every
dreadful vestige from the fatal chamber? [EVERGREEN _hesitates._]--O
speak!

_Everg._ My dear master! I confess my want of duty. Alas! I had not
courage to go there.

_Sir Philip._ Ah!

_Everg._ Nay, forgive me! wiser than I have felt such terrors.--The
apartments have been carefully locked up; the keys not a moment from my
possession:--here they are.

_Sir Philip._ Then the task remains with me. Dreadful thought! I can
well pardon thy fears, old man.--O! could I wipe from my memory that
hour, when--

_Everg._ Hush! your daughter.

_Sir Philip._ Leave me--we'll speak anon.             [_Exit_ EVERGREEN.

_Enter_ MISS BLANDFORD.

_Miss B._ Dear father! I came the moment I heard you wished to see me.

_Sir Philip._ My good child, thou art the sole support that props my
feeble life. I fear my wish for thy company deprives thee of much
pleasure.

_Miss B._ Oh no! what pleasure can be equal to that of giving you
happiness? Am I not rewarded in seeing your eyes beam with pleasure on
me?

_Sir Philip._ 'Tis the pale reflection of the lustre I see sparkling
there.--But, tell me, did your lover gain the prize?

_Miss B._ Yes, papa.

_Sir Philip._ Few men of his rank--

_Miss B._ Oh! you mean Mr. Handy?

_Sir Philip._ Yes.

_Miss B._ No; he did not.

_Sir Philip._ Then, whom did _you_ mean?

_Miss B._ Did you say lover? I--I mistook.--No--a young man called Henry
obtained the prize.

_Sir Philip._ And how did Mr. Handy succeed?

_Miss B._ Oh! It was so ridiculous!--I will tell you, papa, what
happened to him.

_Sir Philip._ To Mr. Handy?

_Miss B._ Yes; as soon as the contest was over Henry presented himself.
I was surprised at seeing a young man so handsome and elegant as Henry
is.--Then I placed the medal round Henry's neck, and was told, that poor
Henry--

_Sir Philip._ Henry!--So, my love, this is your account of Mr. Robert
Handy!

_Miss B._ Yes, papa--no, papa--he came afterwards, dressed so
ridiculously, that even Henry could not help smiling.

_Sir Philip._ Henry again!

_Miss B._ Then we had a dance.

_Sir Philip._ Of course you danced with your lover?

_Miss B._ Yes, papa.

_Sir Philip._ How does Mr. Handy dance?

_Miss B._ Oh! he did not dance till--

_Sir Philip._ You danced with your lover?

_Miss B._ Yes--no papa!--Somebody said (I don't know who) that I ought
to dance with Henry, because--

_Sir Philip._ Still Henry! Oh! some rustic boy. My dear child, you talk
as if you loved this Henry.

_Miss B._ Oh! no, papa--and I am certain he don't love me.

_Sir Philip._ Indeed!

_Miss B._ Yes, papa; for, when he touched my hand, he trembled as if I
terrified him; and instead of looking at me as you do, who I am sure
love me, when our eyes met, he withdrew his and cast them on the ground.

_Sir Philip._ And these are the reasons, which make you conclude he does
not love you?

_Miss B._ Yes, papa.

_Sir Philip._ And probably you could adduce proof equally convincing
that you don't love him?

_Miss B._ Oh, yes--quite; for in the dance he sometimes paid attention
to other young women, and I was so angry with him! Now, you know, papa,
I love you--and I am sure I should not have been angry with you had you
done so.

_Sir Philip._ But one question more--Do you think Mr. Handy loves you?

_Miss B._ I have never thought about it, papa.

_Sir Philip._ I am satisfied.

_Miss B._ Yes, I knew I should convince you.

_Sir Philip._ Oh, love; malign and subtle tyrant, how falsely art thou
painted blind! 'tis thy votaries are so; for what but blindness can
prevent their seeing thy poisoned shaft, which is for ever doomed to
rankle in the victim's heart.

_Miss B._ Oh! now I am certain I am not in love; for I feel no rankling
at my heart. I feel the softest, sweetest sensation I ever experienced.
But, papa, you must come to the lawn. I don't know why, but to-day
nature seems enchanting; the birds sing more sweetly, and the flowers
give more perfume.

_Sir Philip._ [_Aside._] Such was the day my youthful fancy
pictured!--How did it close!

_Miss B._ I promised Henry your protection.

_Sir Philip._ Indeed! that was much. Well I will see your rustic here.
This infant passion must be crushed. Poor wench! some artless boy has
caught thy youthful fancy.--Thy arm, my child.                [_Exeunt._


SCENE II.

_A Lawn before the Castle._

_Enter_ HENRY _and_ ASHFIELD.

_Ash._ Well! here thee'rt going to make thy bow to Sir Philip. I zay, if
he should take a fancy to thee, thou'lt come to farm, and zee us
zometimes, wo'tn't, Henry?

_Henry._ [_Shaking his hand._] Tell me, is that Sir Philip Blandford,
who leans on that lady's arm?

_Ash._ I don't know, by reason, d'ye zee, I never zeed'un. Well, good
bye! I declare thee doz look quite grand with thic golden prize about
thy neck, vor all the world like the lords in their stars, that do come
to theas pearts to pickle their skins in the zalt zea ocean! Good b'ye,
Henry!                                                          [_Exit._

_Henry._ He approaches! why this agitation? I wish, yet dread, to meet
him.

_Enter_ SIR PHILIP _and_ MISS BLANDFORD, _attended._

_Miss B._ The joy your tenantry display at seeing you again must be
truly grateful to you.

_Sir Philip._ No, my child; for I feel I do not merit it. Alas! I can
see no orphans clothed with my beneficence, no anguish assuaged by my
care.

_Miss B._ Then I am sure my dear father wishes to show his kind
intentions. So I will begin by placing one under his protection [_Goes
up the stage, and leads down_ HENRY. SIR PHILIP, _on seeing him, starts,
then becomes greatly agitated._]

_Sir Philip._ Ah! do my eyes deceive me! No, it must be him! Such was
the face his father wore.

_Henry._ Spake you of my father?

_Sir Philip._ His presence brings back recollections, which drive me to
madness!--How came he here?--Who have I to curse for this?

_Miss B._ [_Falling on his neck._] Your daughter.

_Henry._ Oh sir! tell me--on my knees I ask it! do my parents live!
Bless me with my father's name, and my days shall pass in active
gratitude--my nights in prayers for you. [SIR PHILIP _views him with
severe contempt._] Do not mock my misery! Have you a heart?

_Sir Philip._ Yes; of marble. Cold and obdurate to the world--ponderous
and painful to myself--Quit my sight for ever!

_Miss B._ Go, Henry, and save me from my father's curse.

_Henry._ I obey: cruel as the command is, I obey it--I shall often look
at this, [_Touching the medal._] and think on the blissful moment, when
your hand placed it there.

_Sir Philip._ Ah! tear it from his breast.          [SERVANT _advances._

_Henry._ Sooner take my life! It is the first honour I have earned, and
it is no mean one; for it assigns me the first rank among the sons of
industry! This is my claim to the sweet rewards of honest labour! This
will give me competence, nay more, enable me to despise your tyranny!

_Sir Philip._ Rash boy, mark! Avoid me, and be secure.--Repeat this
intrusion, and my vengeance shall pursue thee.

_Henry._ I defy its power!--You are in England, sir, where the man, who
bears about him an upright heart, bears a charm too potent for tyranny
to humble. Can your frown wither up my youthful vigour? No!--Can your
malediction disturb the slumbers of a quiet conscience? No! Can your
breath stifle in my heart the adoration it feels for that pitying angel?
Oh, no!

_Sir Philip._ Wretch! you shall be taught the difference between us!

_Henry._ I feel it now! proudly feel it!--You hate the man, that never
wronged you--I could love the man, that injures me--You meanly triumph
o'er a worm--I make a giant tremble.

_Sir Philip._ Take him from my sight! Why am I not obeyed?

_Miss B._ Henry, if you wish my hate should not accompany my father's,
instantly begone.

_Henry._ Oh, pity me!                                           [_Exit._

[MISS BLANDFORD _looks after him_--SIR PHILIP, _exhausted, leans on his
servants._

_Sir Philip._ Supported by my servants! I thought I had a daughter!

_Miss B._ [_Running to him._] O you have, my father! one that loves you
better than her life!

_Sir Philip._ [_To_ SERVANT.] Leave us. [_Exit_ SERVANT. Emma, if you
feel, as I fear you do, love for that youth--mark my words! When the
dove wooes for its mate the ravenous kite; when nature's fixed
antipathies mingle in sweet concord, then, and not till then, hope to be
united.

_Miss B._ O Heaven!

_Sir Philip._ Have you not promised me the disposal of your hand?

_Miss B._ Alas! my father! I didn't then know the difficulty of
obedience!

_Sir Philip._ Hear, then, the reasons why I demand compliance. You think
I hold these rich estates--Alas, the shadow only, not the substance.

_Miss B._ Explain, my father!

_Sir Philip._ When I left my native country, I left it with a heart
lacerated by every wound, that the falsehood of others, or my own
conscience, could inflict. Hateful to myself, I became the victim of
dissipation--I rushed to the gaming table, and soon became the dupe of
villains.--My ample fortune was lost; I detected one in the act of
fraud, and having brought him to my feet, he confessed a plan had been
laid for my ruin; that he was but an humble instrument; for that the
man, who, by his superior genius, stood possessed of all the mortgages
and securities I had given, was one Morrington.

_Miss B._ I have heard you name him before. Did you not know this
Morrington?

_Sir Philip._ No; he, like his deeds, avoided the light--Ever dark,
subtle, and mysterious. Collecting the scattered remnant of my fortune,
I wandered, wretched and desolate, till, in a peaceful village, I first
beheld thy mother, humble in birth, but exalted in virtue. The morning
after our marriage she received a packet, containing these words: "The
reward of virtuous love, presented by a repentant villain;" and which
also contained bills and notes to the high amount of ten thousand
pounds.

_Miss B._ And no name?

_Sir Philip._ None; nor could I ever guess at the generous donor. I need
not tell thee what my heart suffered, when death deprived me of her.
Thus circumstanced, this good man, Sir Abel Handy, proposed to unite our
families by marriage; and in consideration of what he termed the honour
of our alliance, agreed to pay off every incumbrance on my estates, and
settle them as a portion on you and his son. Yet still another wonder
remains.--When I arrive, I find no claim whatever has been made, either
by Morrington or his agents. What am I to think? Can Morrington have
perished, and with him his large claims to my property? Or, does he
withhold the blow, to make it fall more heavily?

_Miss B._ 'Tis very strange! very mysterious! But my father has not told
me what misfortune led him to leave his native country.

_Sir Philip._ [_Greatly agitated._] Ha!

_Miss B._ May I not know it?

_Sir Philip._ Oh, never, never, never!

_Miss B._ I will not ask it--Be composed--Let me wipe away those drops
of anguish from your brow.--How cold your cheek is! My father, the
evening damps will harm you--Come in--I will be all you wish--indeed I
will.                                                         [_Exeunt._


SCENE III.

_An Apartment in the Castle._

_Enter_ EVERGREEN.

_Everg._ Was ever any thing so unlucky! Henry to come to the Castle and
meet Sir Philip! He should have consulted me; I shall be blamed--but,
thank Heaven, I am innocent.

[SIR ABEL _and_ LADY HANDY _without._]

_Lady H._ I will be treated with respect.

_Sir Abel._ You shall, my dear. [_They enter._

_Lady H._ But how! but how, Sir Abel? I repeat it--

_Sir Philip._ [_Aside._] For the fiftieth time.

_Lady H._ Your son conducts himself with an insolence I won't endure;
but you are ruled by him, you have no will of your own.

_Sir Abel._ I have not, indeed.

_Lady H._ How contemptible!

_Sir Abel._ Why, my dear, this is the case--I am like the ass in the
fable; and if I am doomed to carry a packsaddle, it is not much matter
who drives me.

_Lady H._ To yield your power to those the law allows you to govern!--

_Sir Abel._ Is very weak, indeed.

_Everg._ Lady Handy, your very humble servant; I heartily congratulate
you, madam, on your marriage with this worthy gentleman--Sir, I give you
joy.

_Sir Abel._ [_Aside._] Not before 'tis wanted.

_Everg._ Aye, my lady, this match makes up for the imprudence of your
first.

_Lady H._ Hem!

_Sir Abel._ Eh! What!--what's that--Eh! what do you mean?

_Everg._ I mean, sir--that Lady Handy's former husband--

_Sir Abel._ Former husband!--Why, my dear, I never knew--Eh!

_Lady H._ A mumbling old blockhead!--Didn't you, Sir Abel? Yes; I was
rather married many years ago; but my husband went abroad and died.

_Sir Abel._ Died, did he?

_Everg._ Yes, sir, he was a servant in the Castle.

_Sir Abel._ Indeed! So he died--poor fellow!

_Lady H._ Yes.

_Sir Abel._ What, you are sure he died, are you?

_Lady H._ Don't you hear?

_Sir Abel._ Poor fellow! neglected perhaps--had I known it, he should
have had the best advice money could have got.

_Lady H._ You seem sorry.

_Sir Abel._ Why, you would not have me pleased at the death of your
husband, would you?--a good kind of man?

_Everg._ Yes; a faithful fellow--rather ruled his wife too severely.

_Sir Abel._ Did he! [_Apart to_ EVERGREEN.] Pray do you happen to
recollect his manner!--Could you just give a hint of the way he had?

_Lady H._ Do you want to tyrannize over my poor tender heart?--'Tis too
much!

_Everg._ Bless me! Lady Handy is ill--Salts! salts!

_Sir Abel._ [_Producing an essence box._] Here are salts, or aromatic
vinegar, or essence of--

_Everg._ Any--any.

_Sir Abel._ Bless me, I can't find the key!

_Everg._ Pick the lock.

_Sir Abel._ It can't be picked, it is a patent lock.

_Everg._ Then break it open, sir.

_Sir Abel._ It can't be broke open--it is a contrivance of my own--you
see, here comes a horizontal bolt, which acts upon a spring, therefore--

_Lady H._ I may die, while you are describing a horizontal bolt. Do you
think you shall close your eyes for a week for this?

_Enter_ SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD.

_Sir Philip._ What has occasioned this disturbance?

_Lady H._ Ask that gentleman.

_Sir Abel._ Sir, I am accused--

_Lady H._ Convicted! convicted!

_Sir Abel._ Well, I will not argue with you about words--because I must
bow to your superior practice--But, Sir--

_Sir Philip._ Pshaw! [_Apart._] Lady Handy, some of your people were
inquiring for you.

_Lady H._ Thank you, sir. Come, Sir Abel.                       [_Exit._

_Sir Abel._ Yes, my lady--I say [_To_ EVERGREEN.] cou'dn't you give me a
hint of the way he had--

_Lady H._ [_Without._] Sir Abel!

_Sir Abel._ Coming, my soul!                                    [_Exit._

_Sir Philip._ So! you have well obeyed my orders in keeping this Henry
from my presence.

_Everg._ I was not to blame, master.

_Sir Philip._ Has Farmer Ashfield left the Castle?

_Everg._ No, sir.

_Sir Philip._ Send him hither. [_Exit_ EVERGREEN.] That boy must be
driven far, far from my sight--but where?--no matter! the world is large
enough.

_Enter_ ASHFIELD.

--Come hither. I believe you hold a farm of mine.

_Ash._ Ees, zur, I do, at your zarvice.

_Sir Philip._ I hope a profitable one?

_Ash._ Zometimes it be, zur. But thic year it be all t'other way as
'twur--but I do hope, as our landlords have a tightish big lump of the
good, they'll be zo kind hearted as to take a little bit of the bad.

_Sir Philip._ It is but reasonable--I conclude then you are in my debt.

_Ash._ Ees, zur, I be--at your zarvice.

_Sir Philip._ How much?

_Ash._ I do owe ye a hundred and fifty pounds--at your zarvice.

_Sir Philip._ Which you can't pay?

_Ash._ Not a varthing, zur--at your zarvice.

_Sir Philip._ Well, I am willing to give you every indulgence.

_Ash._ Be you, zur? that be deadly kind. Dear heart! it will make my
auld dame quite young again, and I don't think helping a poor man will
do your honour's health any harm--I don't indeed, zur--I had a thought
of speaking to your worship about it--but then, thinks I, the gentleman,
mayhap, be one of those that do like to do a good turn, and not have a
word zaid about it--zo, zur, if you had not mentioned what I owed you, I
am zure I never should--should not, indeed, zur.

_Sir Philip._ Nay, I will wholly acquit you of the debt, on condition--

_Ash._ Ees, zur.

_Sir Philip._ On condition, I say, you instantly turn out that boy--that
Henry.

_Ash._ Turn out Henry!--Ha, ha, ha! Excuse my tittering, zur; but you
bees making your vun of I, zure.

_Sir Philip._ I am not apt to trifle--send him instantly from you, or
take the consequences.

_Ash._ Turn out Henry! I do vow I shou'dn't knaw how to zet about it--I
should not, indeed, zur.

_Sir Philip._ You hear my determination. If you disobey, you know what
will follow--I'll leave you to reflect on it.                   [_Exit._

_Ash._ Well, zur, I'll argufy the topic, and then you may wait upon me,
and I'll tell ye. [_Makes the motion of turning out._]--I shou'd be
deadly awkward at it, vor zartain--however, I'll put the case--Well! I
goes whiztling whoam--noa, drabbit it! I shou'dn't be able to whiztle a
bit, I'm zure. Well! I goas whoam, and I zees Henry zitting by my wife,
mixing up someit to comfort the wold zoul, and take away the pain of her
rheumatics--Very well! Then Henry places a chair vor I by the vire zide,
and says---"Varmer, the horses be fed, the sheep be folded, and you have
nothing to do but to zit down, smoke your pipe, and be happy!" Very
well! [_Becomes affected._] Then I zays--"Henry, you be poor and
friendless, zo you must turn out of my houze directly." Very well! then
my wife stares at I--reaches her hand towards the vire place, and throws
the poker at my head. Very well! then Henry gives a kind of aguish
shake, and getting up, sighs from the bottom of his heart--then holding
up his head like a king, zays--"Varmer, I have too long been a burden to
you--Heaven protect you, as you have me--Farewell! I go." Then I says,
"If thee doez I'll be domn'd!" [_With great energy._] Hollo! you Mister
Sir Philip! you may come in.--

_Enter_ SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD.

Zur, I have argufied the topic, and it wou'dn't be pratty--zo I can't.

_Sir Philip._ Can't! absurd!

_Ash._ Well, zur, there is but another word--I wont.

_Sir Philip._ Indeed!

_Ash._ No, zur, I won't--I'd zee myself hang'd first, and you too,
zur--I wou'd indeed.                                          [_Bowing._

_Sir Philip._ You refuse then to obey.

_Ash._ I do, zur--at your zarvice.                            [_Bowing._

_Sir Philip._ Then the law must take its course.

_Ash._ I be zorry for that too--I be, indeed, zur, but if corn wou'dn't
grow I cou'dn't help it; it wer'n't poison'd by the hand that zow'd it.
Thic hand, zur, be as free from guilt as your own.

_Sir Philip._ Oh!                                     [_Sighing deeply._

_Ash._ It were never held out to clinch a hard bargain, nor will it turn
a good lad out into the wide wicked world, because he be poorish a bit.
I be zorry you be offended, zur, quite--but come what wool, I'll never
hit thic hand against here, but when I be zure that zumeit at inside
will jump against it with pleasure. [_Bowing._] I do hope you'll repent
of all your zins--I do, indeed, zur; and if you shou'd, I'll come and
zee you again as friendly as ever--I wool, indeed, zur.

_Sir Philip._ Your repentance will come too late.               [_Exit._

_Ash._ Thank ye, zur--Good morning to you--I do hope I have made myzel
agreeable--and so I'll go whoam.                                [_Exit._



ACT THE FOURTH.


SCENE I.

_A room in_ ASHFIELD'S _House._

_Dame_ ASHFIELD _discovered at work with her needle,_ HENRY _sitting by
her._

_Dame._ Come, come, Henry, you'll fret yourself ill, child. If Sir
Philip will not be kind to you, you are but where you were.

_Henry._ [_Rising._] My peace of mind is gone for ever. Sir Philip may
have cause for hate;--spite of his unkindness to me, my heart seeks to
find excuses for him--oh! that heart doats on his lovely daughter.

_Dame._ [_Looking out._] Here comes Tummas home at last. Heyday what's
the matter with the man! He doesn't seem to know the way into his own
house.

_Enter_ ASHFIELD, _musing, he stumbles against a chair._

Tummas, my dear Tummas, what's the matter?

_Ash._ [_Not attending._] It be lucky vor he I be's zoo pratty behaved,
or dom if I--                                      [_Doubling his fist._

_Dame._ Who--what?

_Ash._ Nothing at all; where's Henry?

_Henry._ Here, farmer.

_Ash._ Thee woultn't leave us, Henry, wou't?

_Henry._ Leave you! What, leave you now, when by my exertion I can pay
off part of the debt of gratitude I owe you? oh, no!

_Ash._ Nay, it were not vor that I axed, I promise thee; come, gi'us thy
hand on't then. [_Shaking hands._] Now, I'll tell ye. Zur Philip did
send vor I about the money I do owe 'un; and said as how he'd make all
straight between us----

_Dame._ That was kind.

_Ash._ Ees, deadly kind. Make all straight on condition I did turn Henry
out o'my doors.

_Dame._ What!

_Henry._ Where will his hatred cease?

_Dame._ And what did you say, Tummas?

_Ash._ Why I zivelly tould un, if it were agreeable to he to behave like
a brute, it were agreeable to I to behave like a man.

_Dame._ That was right. I wou'd have told him a great deal more.

_Ash._ Ah! likely. Then a' zaid I shou'd ha' a bit a laa vor my pains.

_Henry._ And do you imagine I will see you suffer on my account? No--I
will remove this hated form---- [_Going._]

_Ash._ No, but thee shat'un--thee shat'un--I tell thee. Thee have givun
me thy hand on't, and dom'me if thee sha't budge one step out of this
house. Drabbit it! what can he do? he can't send us to jail. Why, I have
corn will zell for half the money I do owe'un--and han't I cattle and
sheep? deadly lean to be zure--and han't I a thumping zilver watch,
almost as big as thy head? and Dame here a got----How many silk gowns
have thee got, dame!

_Dame._ Three, Tummas--and sell them all--and I'll go to church in a
stuff one--and let Mrs. Grundy turn up her nose as much as she pleases.

_Henry._ Oh, my friends, my heart is full. Yet a day will come, when
this heart will prove its gratitude.

_Dame._ That day, Henry, is every day.

_Ash._ Dang it! never be down hearted. I do know as well as can be, zome
good luck will turn up. All the way I comed whoam I looked to vind a
purse in the path. But I didn't though. [_A knocking at the door._]

_Dame._ Ah! here they are, coming to sell I suppose--

_Ash._ Lettun--lettun zeize and zell; we ha gotten here [_Striking his
breast._] what we won't zell, and they can't zell. [_Knocking again._]
Come in--dang it, don't ye be shy.

_Enter_ MORRINGTON _and_ GERALD.

_Henry._ Ah! the strangers I saw this morning. These are not officers of
law.

_Ash._ Noa!--Walk in, gemmen. Glad to zee ye wi' all my heart and zoul.
Come, dame, spread a cloth, bring out cold meat, and a mug of beer.

_Gerald._ [_To_ MORRINGTON.] That is the boy. [MORRINGTON _nods._]

_Ash._ Take a chair, zur.

_Mor._ I thank, and admire your hospitality. Don't trouble yourself,
good woman.--I am not inclined to eat.

_Ash._ That be the case here. To-day none o'we be auver hungry:
misfortin be apt to stay the stomach confoundedly--

_Mor._ Has misfortune reached this humble dwelling?

_Ash._ Ees, zur. I do think vor my part it do work its way in every
where.

_Mor._ Well, never despair.

_Ash._ I never do, zur. It is not my way. When the sun do shine I never
think of voul weather, not I; and when it do begin to rain, I always
think that's a zure zign it will give auver.

_Mor._ Is that young man your son?

_Ash._ No, zur--I do wish he were wi' all my heart and zoul.

_Gerald._ [_To_ MORRINGTON.] Sir, remember.

_Mor._ Doubt not my prudence. Young man, your appearance interests
me;--how can I serve you?

_Henry._ By informing me who are my parents.

_Mor._ That I cannot do.

_Henry._ Then, by removing from me the hatred of Sir Philip Blandford.

_Mor._ Does Sir Philip hate you?

_Henry._ With such severity, that even now he is about to ruin these
worthy creatures, because they have protected me.

_Mor._ Indeed! misfortune has made him cruel. That should not be.

_Ash._ Noa, it should not, indeed, zur.

_Mor._ It shall not be.

_Ash._ Shan't it, zur? But how shan't it?

_Mor._ I will prevent it.

_Ash._ Wool ye faith, and troth? Now, dame, did not I zay zome good luck
would turn up?

_Henry._ Oh, sir, did I hear you rightly? Will you preserve my
friends?--will you avert the cruel arm of power, and make the virtuous
happy? my tears must thank you.                      [_Taking his hand._

_Mor._ [_Disengaging his hand._] Young man, you oppress me--forbear! I
do not merit thanks--pay your gratitude where you are sure 'tis due--to
Heaven. Observe me--here is a bond of Sir Philip Blandford's for
1000_l_.--do you present it to him, and obtain a discharge for the debt
of this worthy man. The rest is at your own disposal--no thanks.

_Henry._ But, sir, to whom am I thus highly indebted?

_Mor._ My name is Morrington. At present that information must suffice.

_Henry._ Morrington.

_Ash._ [_Bowing._] Zur, if I may be so bold--

_Mor._ Nay, friend----

_Ash._ Don't be angry, I hadn't thanked you, zur, nor I won't.--Only,
zur, I were going to ax, when you wou'd call again. You shall have my
stamp note vor the money, you shall, indeed, zur. And in the mean time,
I do hope you'll take zomeit in way of remembrance as 'twere.

_Dame._ Will your honour put a couple of turkies in your pocket?

_Ash._ Or pop a ham under your arm? don't ye zay no, if it's agreeable.

_Mor._ Farewell, good friends, I shall repeat my visit soon.

_Dame._ The sooner the better.

_Ash._ Good bye to ye, zur,--Dame and I wool go to work as merry as
crickets. Good bye, Henry.

_Dame._ Heaven bless your honour--and I hope you will carry as much joy
away with you, as you leave behind you--I do indeed.
                                          [_Exeunt_ ASHFIELD _and Dame._

_Mor._ Young man, proceed to the Castle, and demand an audience of Sir
Philip Blandford. In your way thither, I'll instruct you further.--Give
me your hand.                 [_Exeunt_ MORRINGTON, _looking stedfastly_
                                         _on_ HENRY, GERALD _following._


SCENE II.

_An Apartment in the Castle._

SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD _discovered_--MISS BLANDFORD _reading._

_Miss B._ Shall I proceed to the next essay?

_Sir Philip._ What does it treat of?

_Miss B._ Love and friendship.

_Sir Philip._ A satire?

_Miss B._ No, father;--an eulogy.

Sir _Philip._ Thus do we find, in the imaginations of men, what we in
vain look for in their hearts.--Lay it by. [_A knocking at the door._]
Come in--

_Enter_ EVERGREEN.

_Everg._ My dear master, I am a petitioner to you.

_Sir Philip._ [_Rises._] None possesses a better claim to my
favour--ask, and receive.

_Everg._ I thank you, sir. The unhappy Henry--

_Miss B._ What of him?

_Sir Philip._ Emma, go to your apartment.

_Miss B._ Poor Henry!

_Sir Philip._ Imprudent man!

_Everg._ [SIR PHILIP _turns from hint with resentment._] Nay, be not
angry; he is without, and entreats to be admitted.

_Sir Philip._ I cannot, will not, again behold him.

_Everg._ I am sorry you refuse me, as it compels me to repeat his words:
"If," said he, "Sir Philip denies my humble request, tell him, I demand
to see him."

_Sir Philip._ Demand to see me! well, his _high_ command shall be obeyed
then [_Sarcastically_]. Bid him approach.             [_Exit_ EVERGREEN.

_Enter_ HENRY.

_Sir Philip._ By what title, sir, do you thus intrude on me?

_Henry._ By one of an imperious nature, the title of a creditor.

_Sir Philip._ I _your_ debtor!

_Henry._ Yes; for you owe me justice. You, perhaps, withhold from me the
inestimable treasure of a parent's blessing.

_Sir Philip._ [_Impatiently._] To the business that brought you hither.

_Henry._ Thus then--I believe this is your signature.
                                                    [_Producing a bond._

_Sir Philip._ Ah! [_Recovering himself._] it is--

_Henry._ Affixed to a bond of 1000_l_. which, by assignment, is mine. By
virtue of this I discharge the debt of your worthy tenant Ashfield! who,
it seems, was guilty of the crime of vindicating the injured, and
protecting the unfortunate. Now, Sir Philip, the retribution my hate
demands is, that what remains of this obligation may not be now paid to
me, but wait your entire convenience and leisure.

_Sir Philip._ No! that must not be.

_Henry._ Oh, sir! why thus oppress an innocent man?--why spurn from you
a heart, that pants to serve you? No answer, farewell.         [_Going._

_Sir Philip._ Hold--one word before we part--tell me--I dread to ask it
[_Aside._]--How came you possessed of this bond?

_Henry._ A stranger, whose kind benevolence stepped in and saved--

_Sir Philip._ His name?

_Henry._ Morrington.

_Sir Philip._ Fiend! tormenter! has he caught me!--You have seen this
Morrington?

_Henry._ Yes.

_Sir Philip._ Did he speak of me?

_Henry._ He did--and of your daughter. "Conjure him," said he, "not to
sacrifice the lovely Emma, by a marriage her heart revolts at. Tell him,
the life and fortune of a parent are not his own; he holds them but in
trust for his offspring. Bid him reflect, that, while his daughter
merits the brightest rewards a father can bestow, she is by that father
doomed to the harshest fate tyranny can inflict."

_Sir Philip._ Torture! [_With vehemence._] Did he say who caused this
sacrifice?

_Henry._ He told me you had been duped of your fortune by sharpers.

_Sir Philip._ Aye, he knows that well. Young man, mark me:--This
Morrington, whose precepts wear the face of virtue, and whose practice
seems benevolence, was the chief of the hellish banditti that ruined me.

_Henry._ Is it possible?

_Sir Philip._ That bond you hold in your hand was obtained by robbery.

_Henry._ Confusion!

_Sir Philip._ Not by the thief who, encountering you as a man, stakes
life against life, but by that most cowardly villain, who, in the moment
when reason sleeps, and passion is roused, draws his snares around you,
and hugs you to your ruin.

_Henry._ On your soul, is Morrington that man?

_Sir Philip._ On my soul, he is.

_Henry._ Thus, then, I annihilate the act--and thus I tread upon a
villain's friendship.                               [_Tearing the bond._

_Sir Philip._ Rash boy! what have you done?

_Henry._ An act of justice to Sir Philip Blandford.

_Sir Philip._ For which you claim my thanks?

_Henry._ Sir, I am thanked already--here. [_Pointing to his heart._]
Curse on such wealth! compared with its possession, poverty is
splendour. Fear not for me--I shall not feel the piercing cold; for in
that man, whose heart beats warmly for his fellow creatures, the blood
circulates with freedom--My food shall be what few of the pampered sons
of greatness can boast of, the luscious bread of independence; and the
opiate, that brings me sleep, will be the recollection of the day passed
in innocence.

_Sir Philip._ Noble boy!--Oh Blandford!

_Henry._ Ah!

_Sir Philip._ What have I said?

_Henry._ You called me Blandford.

_Sir Philip._ 'Twas error--'twas madness.

_Henry._ Blandford! a thousand hopes and fears rush on my heart.
Disclose to me my birth--be it what it may, I am your slave for ever.
Refuse me, you create a foe, firm and implacable as----

_Sir Philip._ Ah! am I threatened? Do not extinguish the spark of pity
my breast is warmed with.

_Henry._ I will not. Oh! forgive me.

_Sir Philip._ Yes, on one condition--leave me.--Ah! some one approaches.
Begone, I insist--I entreat.

_Henry._ That word has charmed me! I obey: Sir Philip, you may hate, but
you shall respect, me. [_Exit._

_Enter_ HANDY, _jun._

_Handy, jun._ At last, thank Heaven, I have found somebody. But, Sir
Philip, were you indulging in soliloquy?--You seem agitated.

_Sir Philip._ No, sir; rather indisposed.

_Handy, jun._ Upon my soul, I am devilish glad to find you. Compared
with this castle, the Cretan labyrinth was intelligible; and unless some
kind Ariadne gives me a clue, I shan't have the pleasure of seeing you
above once a-week.

_Sir Philip._ I beg your pardon, I have been an inattentive host.

_Handy, jun._ Oh, no; but when a house is so devilish large, and the
party so very small, they ought to keep together; for, to say the truth,
though no one on earth feels a warmer regard for Robert Handy than I
do--I soon get heartily sick of his company--whatever he may be to
others, he's a cursed bore to me.

_Sir Philip._ Where's your worthy father?

_Handy, jun._ As usual, full of contrivances that are impracticable, and
improvements that are retrograde; forming, altogether, a whimsical
instance of the confusion of arrangement, the delay of expedition, the
incommodiousness of accommodation, and the infernal trouble of
endeavouring to save it--he has now a score or two of workmen about him,
and intends pulling down some apartments in the east wing of the Castle.

_Sir Philip._ Ah! ruin!--Within there!--Fly to Sir Abel Handy--Tell him
to desist! order his people, on the peril of their lives, to leave the
Castle instantly! Away!

_Handy, jun._ Sir Philip Blandford, your conduct compels me to be
serious.

_Sir Philip._ Oh, forbear! forbear!

_Handy, jun._ Excuse me, sir,--an alliance, it seems, is intended
between our families, founded on ambition and interest. I wish it, sir,
to be formed on a nobler basis, ingenuous friendship and mutual
confidence. That confidence being withheld, I must here pause; for I
should hesitate in calling that man father, who refuses me the name of
friend.

_Sir Philip._ [_Aside._] Ah! how shall I act?

_Handy, jun._ Is my demand unreasonable?

_Sir Philip._ Strictly just--But oh!--you know not what you ask--Do you
not pity me?

_Handy, jun._ I do.

_Sir Philip._ Why then seek to change it into hate?

_Handy, jun._ Confidence seldom generates hate--Mistrust always.

_Sir Philip._ Most true.

_Handy, jun._ I am not impelled by curiosity to ask your friendship. I
scorn so mean a motive. Believe me, sir, the folly and levity of my
character proceed merely from the effervescence of my heart--you will
find its substance warm, steady, and sincere.

_Sir Philip._ I believe it from my soul.--Yes, you shall hear my story;
I will lay before your view the agony, with which this wretched bosom is
loaded.

_Handy, jun._ I am proud of your confidence, and am prepared to receive
it.

_Sir Philip._ Not here--let me lead you to the eastern part of the
castle, my young friend--mark me: This is no common trust I repose in
you; for I place my life in your hands.

_Handy, jun._ And the pledge I give for its security is, what alone
gives value to life, my honour.                               [_Exeunt._


SCENE III.

_A gloomy Gallery in the Castle--in the centre a strongly barred
door.--The gallery hung with portraits._

HENRY _discovered examining a particular portrait, which occupies a
conspicuous situation in the gallery._

_Henry._ Whenever curiosity has led me to this gallery, that portrait
has attracted my attention--the features are peculiarly interesting. One
of the house of Blandford--Blandford---my name--perhaps my father. To
remain longer ignorant of my birth, I feel impossible. There is a point
when patience ceases to be a virtue--Hush! I hear footsteps--Ah! Sir
Philip and another in close conversation. Shall I avoid them?--No--Shall
I conceal myself, and observe them?--Curse on the base suggestion!--No--

_Enter_ SIR PHILIP _and_ HANDY, _jun._

_Sir Philip._ That chamber contains the mystery.

_Henry._ [_Aside._] Ah!

_Sir Philip._ [_Turning round._] Observe that portrait. [_Seeing_
HENRY--_starts._] Who's there?

_Handy, jun._ [_To_ HENRY.] Sir, we wish to be private.

_Henry._ My being here, sir, was merely the effect of accident. I scorn
intrusion. [_Bows._] But the important words are spoken--that chamber
contains the mystery.                                   [_Aside.--Exit._

_Handy, jun._ Who is that youth?

_Sir Philip._ You there behold his father--my brother--[_Weeps._]--I've
not beheld that face these twenty years.--Let me again peruse its
lineaments. [_In an agony of grief._] Oh, God! how I loved that man!--

_Handy, jun._ Be composed.

_Sir Philip._ I will endeavour. Now listen to my story.

_Handy, jun._ You rivet my attention.

_Sir Philip._ While we were boys, my father died intestate. So I, as
elder born, became the sole possessor of his fortune; but the moment the
law gave me power, I divided, in equal portions, his large possessions,
one of which I with joy presented to my brother.

_Handy, jun._ It was noble.

_Sir Philip._ [_With suppressed agony._] You shall now hear, sir, how I
was rewarded. Chance placed in my view a young woman of superior
personal charms; my heart was captivated--Fortune she possessed not--but
mine was ample. She blessed me by consenting to our union, and my
brother approved my choice.

_Handy, jun._ How enviable your situation!

_Sir Philip._ Oh! [_Sighing deeply._] On the evening previous to my
intended marriage, with a mind serene as the departing sun, whose
morning beam was to light me to happiness, I sauntered to a favourite
tree, where, lover-like, I had marked the name of my destined bride,
and, with every nerve braced to the tone of ecstasy, I was wounding the
bark with a deeper impression of the name--when, oh, God!----

_Handy, jun._ Pray proceed.

_Sir Philip._ When the loved offspring of my mother, and the woman my
soul adored--the only two beings on earth, who had wound themselves
round my heart by every tie dear to the soul of man, placed themselves
before me; I heard him--even now the sound is in my ears, and drives me
to madness--I heard him breathe vows of love, which she answered with
burning kisses--He pitied his poor brother, and told her he had prepared
a vessel to bear her for ever from me.--They were about to depart, when
the burning fever in my heart rushed upon my brain--Picture the young
tiger, when first his savage nature rouses him to vengeance--the knife
was in my gripe--I sprang upon them--with one hand I tore the faithless
woman from his damned embrace, and with the other--stabbed my brother to
the heart.

_Handy, jun._ The wretched woman----

_Sir Philip._ Was secretly conveyed here--even to that chamber.--She
proved pregnant, and in giving birth to a son, paid the forfeit of her
perjury by death. My task being ended, yours begins.

_Handy, jun._ Mine!

_Sir Philip._ Yes, that chamber contains evidence of my shame; the fatal
instrument, with other guilty proofs, lie there concealed--can you
wonder I dread to visit the scene of horror--can you wonder I implore
you, in mercy, to save me from the task? Oh! my friend, enter the
chamber, bury in endless night those instruments of blood, and I will
kneel and worship you.

_Handy, jun._ I will.

_Sir Philip._ [_Weeps._] Will you? [_Embraces him._] I am unused to
kindness from man, and it affects me. Oh! can you press to your
guiltless heart that bloodstained hand!

_Handy, jun._ Sir Philip, let men without faults condemn--I must pity
you.                         [_Exeunt_ HANDY, jun. _leading_ SIR PHILIP.



ACT THE FIFTH.


SCENE I.

_A wooded view of the country._

_Enter_ SUSAN ASHFIELD, _who looks about with anxiety, and then comes
forward._

_Susan._ I fear my conduct is very imprudent.--Has not Mr. Handy told me
he is engaged to another? But 'tis hard for the heart to forego, without
one struggle, its only hope of happiness; and, conscious of my honour,
what have I to fear? Perhaps he may repent of his unkindness to me--at
least I'll put his passion to the proof; if he be worthy of my love,
happiness is for ever mine; if not, I'll tear him from my breast, though
from the wound my life's blood should follow. Ah! he comes--I feel I am
a coward, and my poor alarmed heart trembles at its approaching
trial--pardon me, female delicacy, if for a moment I seem to pass thy
sacred limits.                                  [_Retires up the stage._

_Enter_ HANDY, _jun._

_Handy, jun._ By Heavens! the misfortunes of Sir Philip Blandford weigh
so heavily on my spirits, that--but confusion to melancholy! I am come
here to meet an angel, who will, in a moment, drive away the blue devils
like mist before the sun. Let me again read the dear words; [_Reading a
letter._] "I confess, I love you still;" [_Kisses the letter._] but I
dare not believe their truth till her sweet lips confirm it. Ah! she's
there--Susan, my angel! a thousand thanks. A life of love can alone
repay the joy your letter gave me.

_Susan._ Do you not despise me?

_Handy, jun._ No; love you more than ever.

_Susan._ Oh! Robert, this is the very crisis of my fate.----From this
moment we meet with honour, or we meet no more. If we must part,
perhaps, when you lead your happy bride to church, you may stumble over
your Susan's grave. Well, be it so.

_Handy, jun._ Away with such sombre thoughts!

_Susan._ Tell me my doom--yet hold--you are wild, impetuous--you do not
give your heart fair play--therefore promise me (perhaps 'tis the last
favour I shall ask), that before you determine whether our love shall
die or live with honour, you will remain here alone a few moments, and
that you will give those moments to reflection.

_Handy, jun._ I do--I will.

_Susan._ With a throbbing heart I will wait at a little distance. May
virtuous love and sacred honour direct his thoughts!    [_Aside.--Exit._

_Handy, jun._ Yes, I will reflect, that I am the most fortunate fellow
in England. She loves me still--what is the consequence?--that love will
triumph--that she will be mine--mine without the degradation of
marriage--love, pride, all gratified--how I shall be envied when I
triumphantly pass the circles of fashion! One will cry, "Who is that
angel?"--another, "Happy fellow!" then Susan will smile around--will she
smile? oh yes--she will be all gaiety--mingle with the votaries of
pleasure, and--what! Susan Ashfield the companion of licentious
women!--Damnation!--no! I wrong her--she would not--she would rather
shun society--she would be melancholy--melancholy! [_Sighs, and looks at
his watch._]--would the time were over!--Pshaw! I think of it too
seriously--'Tis false--I do not.--Should her virtue yield to love, would
not remorse affect her health? should I not behold that lovely form
sicken and decay--perhaps die?--die! then what am I?--a villain, loaded
with her parents' curses and my own.--Let me fly from the dreadful
thought.--But how fly from it?--[_Calmly._]--By placing before my
imagination a picture of more honourable lineaments.--I make her my
wife.--Ah! then she would smile on me--there's rapture in the
thought;--instead of vice producing decay, I behold virtue emblazoning
beauty; instead of Susan on the bed of death, I behold her giving to my
hopes a dear pledge of our mutual love. She places it in my arms--down
her father's honest face runs a tear--but 'tis the tear of joy. Oh, this
will be luxury! paradise!--Come, Susan!--come, my love, my soul--my
_wife_.

_Enter_ SUSAN--_she at first hesitates--on hearing the word_ wife, _she
springs into his arms._

_Susan._ Is it possible?

_Handy, jun._ Yes, those charms have conquered.

_Susan._ Oh! no; do not so disgrace the victory you have gained--'tis
your own virtue that has triumphed.

_Handy, jun._ My Susan! how true it is that fools alone are vicious. But
let us fly to my father, and obtain his consent. On recollection, that
may not be quite so easy. His arrangements with Sir Philip Blandford
are--are--not mine, so there's an end of that. And Sir Philip, by
misfortune, knows how to appreciate happiness. Then poor Miss
Blandford--upon my soul I feel for her.

_Susan._ [_Ironically._] Come, don't make yourself miserable. If my
suspicions be true, she'll not break her heart for your loss.

_Handy, jun._ Nay, don't say so; she will be unhappy.

_Ash._ [_Without._] There he is. Dame, shall I shoot at un?

_Dame._ No.

_Susan._ My father's voice.

_Ash._ Then I'll leather un wi' my stick.

_Enter_ ASHFIELD _and_ DAME.

_Ash._ What do thee do here with my Sue, eh?

_Handy, jun._ With your Sue!--she's mine--mine by a husband's right.

_Ash._ Husband! what, thee Sue's husband?

_Handy, jun._ I soon shall be.

_Ash._ But how tho'?--What! faith and troth?--What! like as I married
Dame?

_Handy, jun._ Yes.

_Ash._ What! axed three times!

_Handy, jun._ Yes; and from this moment I'll maintain, that the real
temple of love is a parish church--Cupid is a chubby curate--his torch
is the sexton's lantern--and the according pæan of the spheres is the
profound nasal thorough bass of the clerk's Amen.

_Ash._ Huzza! only to think now--my blessing go with you, my children!

_Dame._ And mine.

_Ash._ And Heaven's blessing too. Ecod, I believe now, as thy feyther
zays, thee canst do every thing!

_Handy, jun._ No; for there is one thing I cannot do--injure the
innocence of woman.

_Ash._ Drabbit it! I shall walk in the road all day to zee Sue ride by
in her own coach.

_Susan._ You must ride with me, father.

_Dame._ I say, Tummas, what will Mrs. Grundy say then?

_Ash._ I do hope thee will not be asham'd of thy feyther in laa, wool
ye?

_Handy, jun._ No; for then I must also be ashamed of myself, which I am
resolved not to be again.

_Enter_ SIR ABEL HANDY.

_Sir Abel._ Heyday, Bob! why an't you gallanting your intended bride?
but you are never where you ought to be.

_Handy, jun._ Nay, sir, by your own confession I _am_ where I ought to
be.

_Sir Abel._ No! you ought to be at the Castle--Sir Philip is there, and
Miss Blandford is there, and Lady Handy is there, and therefore--

_Handy, jun._ You are _not_ there. In one word, I shall not marry Miss
Blandford.

_Sir Abel._ Indeed! who told you so?

_Handy, jun._ One who never lies--and, therefore, one I am determined to
make a friend of--my conscience.

_Sir Abel._ But zounds! sir, what excuse have you?

_Handy, jun._ [_Taking_ SUSAN'S _hand._] A very fair one, sir--is not
she?

_Sir Abel._ Why, yes, sir, I can't deny it--but, 'sdeath, sir, this
overturns my best plan!

_Handy, jun._ No, sir; for a parent's best plan is his son's happiness,
and that it will establish. Come, give us your consent. Consider how we
admire all your wonderful inventions.

_Sir Abel._ No, not my plough, Bob--but 'tis a devilish clever plough.

_Handy, jun._ I dare say it is. Come, sir, consent, and perhaps, in our
turn, we may invent something that may please you.

_Sir Abel._ He! he! he! well--but hold--what's the use of my consent
without my wife's--bless you! I dare no more approve, without--

_Enter_ GERALD.

_Gerald._ Health to this worthy company!

_Sir Abel._ The same to you, sir.

_Handy, jun._ Who have we here, I wonder?

_Gerald._ I wish to speak with Sir Abel Handy.

_Sir Abel._ I am the person.

_Gerald._ You are married?

_Sir Abel._ Damn it! he sees it in my face.--Yes, I have that happiness.

_Gerald._ Is it a happiness?

_Sir Abel._ To say the truth--why do you ask?

_Gerald._ I want answers, not questions--and depend on't 'tis your
interest to answer me.

_Handy, jun._ An extraordinary fellow this!

_Gerald._ Would it break your heart to part with her!

_Sir Abel._ Who are you, sir, that----

_Gerald._ Answers--I want answers--would it break your heart, I ask?

_Sir Abel._ Why, not absolutely, I hope. Time, and philosophy, and----

_Gerald._ I understand--what sum of money wou'd you give to the man, who
would dissolve your marriage contract?

_Handy, jun._ He means something, sir.

_Sir Abel._ Do you think so, Bob?

_Gerald._ Would you give a thousand pounds?

_Sir Abel._ No!

_Handy, jun._ No!

_Sir Abel._ No; I would not give one; but I would give five thousand
pounds.

_Gerald._ Generously offered--a bargain--I'll do it.

_Sir Abel._ But, an't you deceiving me?

_Gerald._ What should I gain by that?

_Sir Abel._ Tell me your name?

_Gerald._ Time will tell that.

_Lady H._ [_Without._] Sir Abel, where are you?

_Gerald._ That's your wife's voice--I know it.

_Sir Abel._ So do I.

_Gerald._ I'll wait without--Cry, "Hem!" when you want me.

_Sir Abel._ Then you need not go far--                   [_Exit_ GERALD.

I dare not believe it--I should go out of my wits--and then if he fail,
what a pickle I shall be in! Here she is.

_Enter_ LADY HANDY.

_Lady H._ So, sir, I have found you at last?

_Handy, jun._ My honoured mamma, you have just come in time to give your
consent to my marriage with my sweet Susan.

_Lady H._ And do you imagine I will agree to such degradation?

_Ash._ Do'e, Lady Nelly, do'e be kind hearted to the young
loviers.--Remember how I used to let thee zit up all night a
sweethearting.

_Lady H._ Silence! and have you dared to consent?        [_To_ SIR ABEL.

_Sir Abel._ Oh, no, my Lady!

_Handy, jun._ Sir, you had better cry--"Hem."

_Sir Abel._ I think it's time, Bob--Hem!

_Handy, jun._ Hem!

_Lady H._ What do you mean by--Hem!

_Sir Abel._ Only, my dear, something troublesome I want to get rid
of--Hem!

_Enter_ GERALD.

There he is--never was so frightened in all my life.

[GERALD _advances._]

_Lady H._ [_Shrieks and exclaims._] Gerald!

_Gerald._ Yes.

_Lady H._ An't you dead, Gerald? Twenty years away and not dead?

_Gerald._ No, wife.

_Sir Abel._ Wife! did you say, wife?

_Gerald._ Yes.

_Sir Abel._ Say it again.

_Gerald._ She is my wife.

_Sir Abel._ Once more.

_Gerald._ My lawful, wedded wife.

_Sir Abel._ Oh, my dear fellow!--Oh, my dear boy! Oh, my dear
girl!--[_Embraces_ GERALD _and the rest._] Oh, my dear! [_Running to_
MRS. GERALD.] No--yes, now she an't my wife, I will--well--how will you
have the five thousand? Will you have it in cash, or in bank notes--or
stocks, or India bonds, or lands, or patents, or----

_Gerald._ No--land will do--I wish to kill my own mutton.

_Sir Abel._ Sir, you shall kill all the sheep in Hampshire.

_Gerald._ Sir Abel, you have lost five thousand pounds, and with it,
properly managed, an excellent wife, who, though I cannot condescend to
take again as mine--you may depend on't shall never trouble you. Come!
this way [_Beckoning to_ MRS. GERALD.]--important events now call on me,
and prevent my staying longer with this company. Sir Abel, we shall meet
soon. Nay, come, you know I'm not used to trifle; Come, come--[_She
reluctantly, but obediently, crosses the stage, and runs off_--GERALD
_follows._]

_Sir Abel._ [_Imitating._] Come, come--That's a damn'd clever fellow!
Joy, joy, my boy! Here, here, your hands--The first use I make of
liberty, is to give happiness--I wish I had more imitators--Well, what
will you do? [_Walks about exultingly._] Where will you go? I'll go any
where you like--Will you go to Bath, or Brighton, or Petersburgh, or
Jerusalem, or Seringapatam? all the same to me--we single fellows--we
rove about--nobody cares about us--we care for nobody.

_Handy, jun._ I must to the Castle, father.

_Sir Abel._ Have with you Bob. [_Singing._] "I'll sip every flower--I'll
change every hour."--[_Beckoning._]--Come, come--[_Exeunt_ SIR ABEL,
HANDY, _jun. and_ SUSAN. SUSAN _kisses her hand to_ ASHFIELD _and_
DAME.]

_Ash._ Bless her! how nicely she do trip it away with the gentry!

_Dame._ And then, Tummas, think of the wedding.

_Ash._ [_Reflecting._] I declare I shall be just the zame as ever--may
be I may buy a smartish bridle, or a zilver backy stopper, or the like
o' that.

_Dame._ [_Apart._] And, then, when we come out of church, Mrs. Grundy
will be standing about there--

_Ash._ I shall shake hands agreeably wi' all my friends. [_Apart._]

_Dame._ [_Apart._] Then I just look at her in this manner.

_Ash._ [_Apart._] How dost do, Peter--Ah, Dick,--glad to zee thee wi'
all my zoul. [_Bows towards the centre of the stage._]

_Dame._ [_Apart._] Then, with a kind of half curt'sy, I shall--[_She
advances to the centre also, and their heads meet._]

_Ash._ What an wold fool thee be'st, Dame--Come along, and behave
pratty, do'e.                                                 [_Exeunt._


SCENE II.

_The same as act fourth, scene third._

_Enter_ HANDY, _jun. with caution, bearing a light, and a large key._

_Handy, jun._ Now to fulfil my promise with Sir Philip
Blandford--by--entering that chamber, and removing--'Tis rather awful--I
don't half like it, somehow, every thing is so cursedly still. What's
that? I thought I heard something--no--why, 'sdeath, I am not
afraid--no--I'm quite su--su--sure of that--only every thing is so
cursedly hush, and--[_A flash of light, and a tremendous explosion takes
place._] What the devil's that? [_Trembling._] I swear I hear some
one--lamenting--who's there?

_Enter_ SIR ABEL HANDY.

Father? [_Trembling._]

_Sir Abel._ [_Trembling._] Bob!

_Handy, jun._ Have you seen any thing!

_Sir Abel._ Oh, my dear boy!

_Handy, jun._ Damn it, don't frighten one--

_Sir Abel._ Such an accident! Mercy on us!

_Handy, jun._ Speak!

_Sir Abel._ I was mixing the ingredients of my grand substitute for
gunpowder, when somehow it blew up, and set the curtains on fire, and--

_Handy, jun._ Curtains! zounds, the room's in a blaze.

_Sir Abel._ Don't say so, Bob.

_Handy, jun._ What's to be done? Where's your famous preparation for
extinguishing flames?

_Sir Abel._ It is not mixed.

_Handy, jun._ Where's your fire escape?

_Sir Abel._ It is not fixed.

_Handy, jun._ Where's your patent fire engine?

_Sir Abel._ 'Tis on the road.

_Handy, jun._ Well, you are never at a loss.

_Sir Abel._ Never.

_Handy, jun._ What's to be done?

_Sir Abel._ I don't know. I say, Bob, I have it--perhaps it will go out
of itself!

_Handy, jun._ Go out! it increases every minute--Let us run for
assistance--Let us alarm the family.                            [_Exit._

_Sir Abel._ Yes--dear me! dear me!

_Servant._ [_Without._] Here, John! Thomas! some villain has set fire to
the Castle. If you catch the rascal, throw him into the flames.
                         [SIR ABEL _runs off, and the alarm bell rings._


SCENE III.

_The Garden of the Castle--The effects of the fire shown on the foliage
and scenery._

_Enter_ HENRY, _meeting_ EVERGREEN.

_Henry._ The Castle in flames! What occasioned it?

_Everg._ Alas! I know not!

_Henry._ Are the family in safety?

_Everg._ Sir Philip is.

_Henry._ And his daughter?

_Everg._ Poor lady! I just now beheld her looking with agony from that
window!

_Henry._ Ah! Emma in danger!--Farewell!

_Everg._ [_Holding him._] Are you mad? the great staircase is in flames.

_Henry._ I care not! Should we meet no more, tell Sir Philip I died for
his daughter!

_Everg._ Yet reflect.

_Henry._ Old man, do not cling to me thus--'Sdeath! men will encounter
peril to ruin a woman, and shall I hesitate when it is to save one?
                                                                [_Exit._

_Everg._ Brave, generous boy! Heaven preserve thee!

_Enter_ SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD.

_Sir Philip._ Emma, my child, where art thou?

_Everg._ I fear, sir, the Castle will be destroyed.

_Sir Philip._ My child! my child! where is she? speak!

_Everg._ Alas! she remains in the Castle!

_Sir Philip._ Ah; then will I die with her! [_Going._

_Everg._ Hold, dear master! if human power can preserve her, she is
safe--The bravest, noblest of men has flown to her assistance.

_Sir Philip._ Heaven reward him with its choicest blessings!

_Everg._ 'Tis Henry.

_Sir Philip._ Henry! Heaven will reward him--I will reward him!

_Everg._ Then be happy; Look, sir!

_Sir Philip._ Ah! dare I trust my eyes!

_Everg._ He bears her safe in his arms.

_Sir Philip._ Bountiful Creator, accept my thanks!

_Enter_ HENRY, _bearing_ EMMA _in his arms._

_Henry._ There is your daughter.

_Sir Philip._ My child! my Emma, revive!

_Henry._ [_Apart._] Aye--now to unfold the mystery--The avenue to the
eastern wing is still passable--the chamber not yet in flames--the
present moment lost, and all is closed for ever. I will be satisfied, or
perish.                                                         [_Exit._

_Miss B._ Am I restor'd to my dear father's arms?

_Sir Philip._ Yes, only blessing of my life! In future thy wishes shall
be mine--thy happiness my joy.

_Enter_ HANDY, _jun. and_ SUSAN.

_Handy, jun._ My dear friend safe! and the lovely Emma in his arms! Then
let the bonfire blaze.

_Sir Philip._ But, Emma, where is your Henry? I wish to be just to
him--I wish to thank him.

_Miss B._ He has withdrawn, to avoid our gratitude.--

_Everg._ No--he again rushed into the Castle, exclaiming, "I will
penetrate that chamber, or perish in the attempt."

_Sir Philip._ Then all is discovered.

_Handy, jun._ Hush, for Heaven's sake collect yourself!

_Enter_ HENRY, _in great agitation._

_Miss B._ Ah! [_Shrieks._] Thank Heaven, he's safe! What urged you,
Henry, again to venture in the Castle?

_Henry._ Fate! the desperate attempt of a desperate man!

_Sir Philip._ Ah!

_Henry._ Yes; the mystery is developed. In vain the massy bars, cemented
with their cankerous rust, opposed my entrance--in vain the heated
suffocating damps enveloped me--in vain the hungry flames flashed their
vengeance round me! What could oppose a man struggling to know his fate?
I forced the doors, a firebrand was my guide, and among many evidences
of blood and guilt, I found--these! [_Produces a knife and bloody
cloth._]

_Sir Philip._ [_Starts with horror, then, with solemnity._] It is
accomplished! Just Heaven, I bend to thy decree!--Blood must be paid by
blood! Henry, that knife aimed by this fatal hand, murdered thy father!

_Henry._ Ah! [_Grasping the knife._]

_Miss B._ [_Placing herself between him and her father._] Henry! [_He
drops his hand._] Oh, believe him not! 'Twas madness! I've heard him
talk thus wildly in his dreams! We are all friends! None will repeat his
words--I'm sure none will! My heart will break!--Oh, Henry! will you
destroy my father?

_Henry._ Would I were in my grave!

_Enter_ GERALD.

_Sir Philip._ Ah, Gerald here! How vain concealment! Well, come you to
give evidence of my shame?

_Gerald._ I come to announce one, who for many years has watched each
action of your life.

_Sir Philip._ Who?

_Gerald._ Morrington.

_Sir Philip._ I shall then behold the man who has so long avoided me----

_Gerald._ But ever has been near you--he is here.

_Enter_ MORRINGTON, _wrapped up in his cloak._

_Sir Philip._ Well, behold your victim in his last stage of human
wretchedness! Come you to insult me;

                             [MORRINGTON _clasps his hands together, and
                                hides his face._]

Ah! can even you pity me? Speak--still silent--still mysterious--Well,
let me employ what remains of life, in thinking of
hereafter--[_Addressing Heaven._] Oh, my brother! we soon shall meet
again--And let me hope, that, stripped of those passions which make men
devils, I may receive the heavenly balm of thy forgiveness, as I, from
my inmost soul, do pardon thee.

                              [MORRINGTON _becomes convulsed with agony,
                                 and falls into_ GERALD'S _arms._]

Ah! what means that agony? He faints! give him air!

                                  [_They throw open his cloak and hat._]

[_Starts._] Angels of mercy! my brother! 'tis he! he lives! Henry,
support your father!

_Henry._ [_Running to_ MORRINGTON.] Ah, my father! he revives!

_Sir Philip._ Hush!

                              [MORRINGTON _recovers--seeing his brother,
                                 covers his face with shame, then falls
                                 at his feet._]

_Mor._ Crawling in the dust, behold a repentant wretch!--

_Sir Philip._ [_Indignantly._] My brother Morrington!

_Mor._ Turn not away--in mercy hear me!

_Sir Philip._ Speak!

_Mor._ After the dreadful hour that parted us, agonized with remorse, I
was about to punish home what your arm had left unaccomplished; when
some angel whispered--"Punishment is life, not death--Live and atone!"

_Sir Philip._ Oh! go on!

_Mor._ I flew to you--I found you surrounded by sharpers--What was to be
done? I became Morrington! littered with villains! practised the arts of
devils! braved the assassin's steel! possessed myself of your large
estates--lived hateful to myself, detested by mankind--to do what? to
save an injured brother from destruction, and lay his fortune at his
feet! [_Places parchments before_ SIR PHILIP.]

_Sir Philip._ Ah! is it possible!

_Mor._ Oh, is that atonement? No--By me you first beheld her mother!
'Twas I that gave her fortune! Is that atonement? No--But my Henry has
saved that angel's life--Kneel with me, my boy--lift up thy innocent
hands, with those of thy guilty father, and beg for mercy from that
injured saint. [HENRY _kneels with him._]

_Sir Philip._ O God! How infinite are thy mercies! Henry, forgive
me--Emma, plead for me--There--There. [_Joining their hands._]

_Henry._ But my father----

_Sir Philip._ [_Approaching._] Charles!

_Mor._ Philip!

_Sir Philip._ Brother, I forgive thee.

_Mor._ Then let me die--blest, most blest!

_Sir Philip._ No, no. [_Striking his breast._] Here--I want thee
here--Raise him to my heart.

                   [_They raise_ MORRINGTON--_in the effort to  embrace,
                      he falls into their arms exhausted._]

Again! [_They sink into each other's arms._]

_Handy, jun._ [_Comes forward._] If forgiveness be an attribute which
ennobles our nature, may we not hope to find pardon for our
errors--_here?_

[_The Curtain falls._]



THE END.


[Transcriber's Note: The following corrections have been made to the
original text.

In Act I, Scene III, a missing period has been added to the sentence "I
pressed forward, but they avoided me."

In Act II, Scene I, a missing quotation mark has been added to the
sentence, "Were you at Lady Overall's?"

In Act II, Scene III, the attribution of the line "What! mayn't I lather
un a bit?" has been corrected from Susan to Ashfield.

In Act IV, Scene I, a comma has been changed to a period in the sentence
"That is the boy."]





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Speed the Plough - A Comedy, In Five Acts; As Performed At The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home