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Title: A Will and No Will or A Bone for the Lawyers. (1746) The New Play Criticiz'd, or the Plague of Envy (1747)
Author: Macklin, Charles, 1697?-1797
Language: English
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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.

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THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY


CHARLES MACKLIN


_A WILL AND NO WILL_,
OR _A Bone for the Lawyers_.

(1746)


_THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZ'D_,
OR _The Plague of Envy_.

(1747)


_Introduction by_
JEAN B. KERN


PUBLICATION NUMBERS 127-128
WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
1967

GENERAL EDITORS

George Robert Guffey, _University of California, Los Angeles_
Maximillian E. Novak, _University of California, Los Angeles_
Robert Vosper, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

    ADVISORY EDITORS

    Richard C. Boys, _University of Michigan_
    James L. Clifford, _Columbia University_
    Ralph Cohen, _University of Virginia_
    Vinton A. Dearing, _University of California, Los Angeles_
    Arthur Friedman, _University of Chicago_
    Louis A. Landa, _Princeton University_
    Earl Miner, _University of California, Los Angeles_
    Samuel H. Monk, _University of Minnesota_
    Everett T. Moore, _University of California, Los Angeles_
    Lawrence Clark Powell, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_
    James Sutherland, _University College, London_
    H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., _University of California, Los Angeles_

    CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

    Edna C. Davis, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_



Transcriber's Note: Footnote markers are missing for notes 9, 10, and
11 in the Notes to the Plays.



INTRODUCTION


The manuscript copies of these two plays by Charles Macklin, A WILL
AND NO WILL, OR A BONE FOR THE LAWYERS (1746) and THE NEW PLAY
CRITICIZ'D, OR THE PLAGUE OF ENVY (1747), are in the Larpent
Collection of the Huntington Library along with a third afterpiece
_The Covent Garden Theatre, or Pasquin Turn'd Drawcansir_ (1752)
already reproduced in facsimile as Number 116 of the Augustan Reprint
Society.[1] Since the introduction to _Covent Garden Theatre_ (ARS
116) already gives general biographical information on this
actor-playwright, Charles Macklin, as well as an indication of the
revived interest in his plays, this introduction will be limited to
the two afterpieces here reproduced.

A WILL AND NO WILL, OR A BONE FOR THE LAWYERS (Larpent 58) was first
produced in 1746 and revived many times up to March 29, 1756, unlike
_The Covent Garden Theatre_ which was given only one performance in
1752. The Larpent manuscript 58 copy of A WILL AND NO WILL bears the
handwritten application of James Lacy to the Lord Chamberlain for
permission to perform the farce for Mrs. Macklin's benefit. It was
first performed at the Drury Lane Theatre April 23, 1746, following
_Humours of the Army_.[2] Sometimes advertised with a different
subtitle as A WILL AND NO WILL, OR A NEW CASE FOR THE LAWYERS,[3] it
was revived March 22, 1748, for Macklin's own benefit and apparently
was more popular in the revival since it was repeated five more times
on March 29, 31 and April 11, 21, 22.[4] The last performance listed
in _The London Stage_, Part 4, II, 535, was for Macklin's daughter's
benefit on March 29, 1756.

Macklin's two-act farce, A WILL AND NO WILL, is based on Regnard's
five-act comedy _le Legetaire Universel_ (1707), which is itself a
composite of Italian comedy with echoes of Molière, moving from scene
to scene with little effort at logical consistency or structure but
treating each scene autonomously for its own comic value.[5] Macklin
condensed and tightened Regnard's five-act plot into a two-act
afterpiece; the role of the apothecary is greatly reduced into the
stock London-stage Frenchman, du Maigre, who can barely speak English;
the servant Lucy is more the English maid than the French _bonne_ of
the Regnard play who gave orders to her master; and the satire of
Macklin's afterpiece is directed not only at lawyers and physicians,
as in the Regnard play, but at Methodist itinerant preachers. Finally
Macklin's plot was both complicated and tightened by having the
lawyers summoned to draw up the marriage contract, also take down the
will of the supposed Skinflint, thus making the marriage a condition
of the will.

The rather long Prologue to A WILL AND NO WILL (11 pages of
manuscript) makes fun of the convention of the eighteenth century
prologues by the familiar dodge of having two actors chatting as
though they were in the Pit waiting for the actors in the main play to
dress for the afterpiece. The conversation of the Prologue is
enlivened by the appearance of an Irish lawyer come to see the play
about lawyers. His impossibly long name,
Laughlinbulhuderry-Mackshoughlinbulldowny, contains hints of Macklin's
own name, and this is also one of Macklin's wonderful Irishmen who
never acted except in school where he spoke the Prologue, he says, of
one of Terence's tragedies when the play was over. His
mispronunciations and inaccuracies put him at the head of the list of
stage Irishmen whom Macklin, an Irishman himself, could portray with
delight and authority.

Another feature of the long Prologue to this farce is Macklin's
reference to the failure of his own tragedy _Henry VII_ (1745), for
Snarlewit proclaims that he never had so much fun in his life as at
Macklin's "merry Tragedy." The ability to laugh at his own failure to
construct a tragedy hastily in time to capitalize on the invasion
attempt of 1745, together with his reference to his own name in his
caricature of the Irish lawyer undoubtedly help explain the success of
this farcical afterpiece.

Occasional marks of the Licenser on the manuscript, most notably
opposite Shark's lines about statesmen at the end of Act I, are all
underscored in the typescript of the play.

The second afterpiece here reproduced, THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZ'D, OR THE
PLAGUE OF ENVY (Larpent 64), is an amusing bit of dramatic criticism
of Benjamin Hoadly's _The Suspicious Husband_ which had opened at the
Covent Garden Theatre on February 12, 1747, and was given many times
including performances on March 21, 24 and April 28, 30 of the same
year.[6] Again the title page of the Macklin afterpiece bears the
handwritten request of James Lacy, dated March 17, 1747, for the Lord
Chamberlain's permission to perform the play for Macklin's benefit at
Drury Lane on March 24. Both performances, then, of Macklin's closely
related afterpiece, THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZ'D, were given at Drury Lane
on nights when Hoadly's _The Suspicious Husband_ was also being
performed at the rival theatre, March 24 and April 30, 1747. It was
even possible for a spectator to see Hoadly's play at Covent Garden
and then catch Macklin's related farcical afterpiece at the Drury Lane
Theatre on the same night. Or if that required too difficult a change
of _locus_, it was still possible to see _The Suspicious Husband_ on
March 21 or April 28 and THE SUSPICIOUS HUSBAND CRITICIZ'D (as
Macklin's play is entitled in James T. Kirkman's _Memoirs of the Life
of Charles Macklin, Esq._, II, 443) a few days later on March 24 or
April 30; such was the immediacy of the appeal of Macklin's
afterpiece.

While Macklin was capitalizing on the popularity of a new play, he
also, in THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZ'D, gave ironic portraits of rival
playwrights who damned a play out of envy (note the subtitle, THE
PLAGUE OF ENVY) for such trivial faults as the use of _suspicious_
instead of _jealous_ in the title, or for the lacing of Ranger's hat.
Macklin's satiric portraits of such envious scribblers who were ready
to attack any new author in Journals, Epigrams, and Pamphlets are
lively records of mid-eighteenth century subjective criticism. Canker,
the envious playwright in the afterpiece, calls Ranger "a Harlequin"
and Mr. Strickland, "Columbine's husband." Canker objects to the
escapes, scenes in the dark, and the rope ladder, though the young
lovers, Heartly and Harriet in Macklin's afterpiece, vow the ladder is
a device they themselves will use if Harriet is forced by her aunt to
marry Canker. Again an Irishman, Sir Patrick Bashfull, enlivens the
farce by his pretense of being a Frenchman, Fitzbashfull, "of Irish
distraction." Bashfull's literal criticism of Hoadly's play serves as
a good foil for the carping criticism of the envious playwrights:
Plagiary, Grubwit, and Canker; or the nonsense of the foolish critics:
Nibble and Trifle. The farce ends with Canker completely routed and
Heartly's suggestion that their hour's conversation would make a
_petit piece_ in itself if Lady Critick would only write it down.

The limited appeal of this kind of related, topical afterpiece
probably explains why it was performed only twice, following a
performance of _Hamlet_ on March 24, 1747, for Macklin's benefit, and
following _Julius Caesar_ on April 30, 1747, for the benefit of
Garrick who had appeared as Ranger in the original cast of Hoadly's
play. The separate Prologue to Macklin's afterpiece is addressed to
Mr. Macklin in Bow Street, Covent Garden, and attributed to Hely
Hutcheson, Provost of Trinity College by William Cooke's _Memoirs of
Charles Macklin, Comedian_ (1804), p. 152.

These two afterpieces, A WILL AND NO WILL (1746) and THE NEW PLAY
CRITICIZ'D (1747) along with _Covent Garden Theatre_ (1752), ARS 116,
bring up to date the publication of Charles Macklin's unpublished
work. It is to be hoped that a definitive critical edition of his
writing for the eighteenth-century stage will soon follow.

A word should be added about the editor's changes of these two plays
in the typescript. From the facsimile edition of Macklin's _Covent
Garden Theatre_ (ARS 116) it should already be evident that Macklin's
scribes in these three plays in the Larpent Collection were
inconsistent both in spelling and punctuation. The _Covent Garden
Theatre_ appeared in facsimile in response to requests for an
eighteenth-century facsimile for use in graduate seminars, because of
the clarity of its handwriting. The other two plays are here
reproduced in typescript since the condition of the manuscripts made
facsimile reproduction unfeasible. In the preparation of the
typescript for these remaining two plays, certain problems had of
necessity to be decided arbitrarily. Wherever it was possible, the
manuscript spelling has been preserved. Punctuation and capitals had
to be altered where sentences were run together or new sentences began
with small letters. The number of capital letters was reduced since
these followed no consistent pattern for emphasis and varied between
the scribes of the manuscripts. Nouns were left capitalized to
preserve the eighteenth-century flavor. Proper names have been
corrected to a recognizable form (Ranelagh for Renelagh, Zoilus for
Ziolus, for example); French phrases have been left in the manuscript
spelling for those characters who misuse French, such as Sir Patrick
Bashfull in THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZ'D. The occasional confusions of
characters or speakers have been corrected, with separate notes
explaining each change. All marks of the Licenser are in italics; all
words or letters interpolated by the editor are in brackets; all stage
directions are in parentheses. Applications by the Theatre Manager,
James Lacy, for permission to perform the plays, appear in notes.

Coe College



NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION


[1] As indicated in the Introduction to _The Covent Garden Theatre, or
Pasquin Turn'd Drawcansir_, Number 116, Augustan Reprint Society, the
author is indebted to the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino,
California, both for a Research Fellowship in the summer of 1963 and
for permission to reproduce the three Macklin plays in the Larpent
Collection (Larpent 58, 64 and 96) which had not previously been
printed.

[2] Arthur H. Scouten, _The London Stage_ (Carbondale, Ill., 1961),
Part 3, II, 1235.

[3] James T. Kirkman, _Memoirs of the Life of Charles Macklin, Esq._
(London, 1799), II, 443, lists this subtitle in an appendix of
Macklin's unprinted plays.

[4] George Winchester Stone, _The London Stage_ (Carbondale, Ill.,
1962), Part 4, 1, 38, 40, 41, 43, 47, 48.

[5] Cf. Alexandre Calame, _Regnard sa vie et son oeuvre_ (Paris,
1960), pp. 323-333.

[6] See _The London Stage_, Part 3, II, 1287-90, 1297, 1298, 1308,
1309 for the dates when Hoadly's _The Suspicious Husband_ and
Macklin's THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZ'D were performed close together.



A WILL AND NO WILL:

OR

A BONE FOR THE LAWYERS[1]

PROLOGUE


DRAMATIS PERSONAE for the Prologue


    RATTLE
    SMART
    DULLMAN
    IRISHMAN
    SNARLEWIT


(_The Curtain rises and discovers the Stage disposed in the Form of a
Pit and crowded with Actors who make a great Noise by Whistling and
Knocking for the Farce to begin_)

_Rattle._ Consume them, why don't they begin?

_Smart._ I suppose some of them that were in the Play are dressing for
the Farce.

_Rattle._ Psha! damn the Farce! They have had time enough to dress
since the Play has been over.

_Smart._ Dick Rattle, were you at the Boxing Match yesterday?

_Rattle._ No, my Dear, I was at the breakfasting at Ranelagh.--Curse
catch me, Jack[2], if that is not a fine Woman in the upper Box there,
ha!

_Smart._ So she is, by all that's charming,--but the poor Creature's
married; it's all over with her.

_Rattle._ Smart, do you go to Newmarket this meeting,--upon my Soul
that's a lovely Woman on the right hand. But what the Devil can this
Prologue be about, I can't imagine. It has puzzled the whole Town.

_Smart._ Depend upon it, Dick, it is as I said.

_Rattle._ What's that?

_Smart._ Why one of the Fransique's, the French Harlequin's Jokes; you
will find that one of the Players come upon the Stage presently, and
make a[n] Apologie that they are disappointed of the Prologue, upon
which Macklin, or some other Actor is to start up in the Pit, as one
of the Audience, and bawl out that rather than so much good Company
should be disappointed, he will speak a Prologue himself.

_Rattle._ No, no, no, Smart. That's not it. I thought of that and have
been looking carefully all over the Pit, and there is not an Actor in
it. Now I fancy it is to be done like the Wall or the Man in the Moon
in Pyramus and Thisbe; Macklin will come in dressed like the Pit and
say:

    _Ladies and Gentlemen, I am the Pit
    And a Prologue I'll speak if you think fit._

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Smart._ By Gad, Rattle, I fancy you have hit it. What do you think,
Mr. Dullman?

_Omnes._ Ay, let us have Mr. Dullman's Opinion of it.

_Dull._ Why really, Gentlemen, I have been thinking of it ever since I
first read it in the Papers--and I fancy--though to be sure, it was
very difficult to find out--but at last, I think I have hit upon it.

_Smart._ Well, well, my dear Dullman, communicate.

_Dull._ I suppose there is some Person here among us whose name is
Pit, and that he will get up presently and speak a Prologue.

_Omnes._ O, O, O, O, O, Shocking! Shocking! Well conjectured, Dullman.

_Rattle._ Harkee, Jack, [let's] bam the Irishman. Ask him if he knows
anything of it.

_Smart._ Don't you laugh then; he'll smoak us if you do; keep your
Countenance, and I'll engage I'll pitch-kettle him. Pray Sir, do you
know anything of this Prologue?

_Irish._ Who, me? Not upon my Honour. I know no more of it than he
that made it.

_Smart._ A Gentleman was saying just before the Play was over that you
were to be the Pit and to speak the Prologue; is there any truth in
it, Sir?

_Irish._ No indeed, Sir, _it is as false as the Gospel_. I do assure
you, Sir, I never spoke a Pit or Prologue in my Life--but once when I
was at School, you must know, Sir,--we acted one of Terence's
Tragedies there, so when the Play was over I spoke the Prologue to it.

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha! ha!

_Smart._ I remember your Face very well. Pray Sir, don't you belong to
the Law?

_Irish._ Yes, at your Service, Sir--and so did my Father and
Grandfather before me, and all my Posterity. I myself solicit Cause at
the old Bailey and Hick's Hall, so I am come to see this BONE FOR THE
LAWYERS, because they say it is a Pun upon us Gentlemen of the long
Robe.

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Rattle._ He is a poor ridiculous Fellow, Jack (_aside_); he is as
great a Teague as Barrington himself.

_Smart._ Hush! Hush! Pray Sir, may I crave your name?

_Irish._ Yes you may indeed and welcome, Sir. My name is
Laughlinbullruderrymackshoughlinbulldowny, at your Service. And if you
have any Friend who is indicted for Robbery or Murder at any time or
has any other Law Suits upon his Hands at the old Bailey or Hick's
Hall, I should be proud to serve you and to be concerned in the Cause
likewise.

_Smart._ Whenever I have a Friend in such Circumstances, you may
depend upon being retained.

_Irish._ Sir, I'll assure you no megrim. England understands the
Practice of those Courts better than myself. I know my Croaker upon
all the _In res_ and for an Evidence, the Devil a Man in Westminster
Hall can tell an Evidence what to say better than I that shits here;
or hark you, if you should happen to want a Witness upon Occasion, I
believe, Sir, I could serve you.

_Smart._ I am infinitely obliged to you. (_Bowing_)

_Irish._ Sir, I am your most obsequious. (_Bowing_)

_Rattle._ But pray Sir, what kind of Prologue do you think we shall
have tonight?

_Irish._ Why I believe it will be a kind of Prologue that will be
spoken by the Pit.

_Rattle._ Ay, that we suppose but in what Manner?

_Irish._ Why I am come here on purpose to know that, but I suppose it
will be in the manner of--a--a--by my Shoul I don't know how it will
be.

_Smart._ Upon my word, Sir, I think you give a very clear Account of
it.

_Rattle._ Jack, yonder's Snarlewit, the Poet and intimate Friend of
Macklin's; you are acquainted with him. Prithee call him; ten to one
but he can give us the History both of the Prologue and the Farce.

_Smart._ Hiss, Mr. Snarlewit, we have Room for you here, if you will
come and set by us; do you know Snarlewit, Dick?

_Rattle._ He is a devilish odd Fellow; he is one that never speaks
well of any Man behind his back nor ill of him to his Face and is a
most terrible Critick.

(SNARLEWIT _steps over the Benches and sits down between_ RATTLE _and_
SMART)

_Snarle._ Mr. Smart, your Servant. How do you do, Mr. Rattle? What,
you are come to hear the Pit speak the Prologue, I suppose. Ha!
Macklin's fine Conceit.

_Smart._ Ay, we are so; do you know anything of it?

_Snarle._ Psha! psha! a parcel of Stuff! a ridiculous Conceit of the
Blockhead's in imitation of a French writer who stole it from one of
the Greek Comic Poets.

_Smart._ But in what manner is it to be done? Is it in Prose or in
Verse, or upon the Stage, or really in the Pit?

_Snarle._ Lord, Sir, the Blockhead brings the Pit upon the Stage; and
the supposed Conversation there between the Play and the Farce is to
be the Prologue,--a French Conceit calculated merely to raise
Curiosity and fill the House, that's all.

_Smart._ Ay, and enough too, if it answers his purpose.

_Irish._ But pray, Sir, with humble Submission, if he brings the Pit
up on the Stage, how shall we be able to see the Farce unless we go up
into the Gallery?

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Rattle._ Very well observed, Sir.

_Snarle._ Why this Fellow's an Idiot.

_Smart._ No, no, he is only a Teague. But Mr. Snarlewit, do you think
this Prologue will be liked?

_Snarle._ Psha! psha! liked, impossible! So it is for his Wife's
Benefit and meant as a Puff to fill her House, why perhaps the Town
may be so indulgent as to let it pass--but it is damned Trash! I
advised the Fool against it. But he persisted. He said he was sure it
would be better liked than the modern dull way of Prologue Writing
which for many years has been only to give the Audience an Historical
Account of the Comic Stoick or the Tragic Buskin, or a dull detail of
the piece they were to see with the Age and Circumstances of the
Author, and how long he was writing his Play. Now, says Macklin, my
Prologue, Sir, if it has nothing else, it has Novelty on its side; and
as Bays says it will elevate and surprize and all that. And if they
don't laugh at it as a good Prologue, I am sure, says he, they will
laugh at me for its being a bad one--so that either way they will have
their Joke.

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Smart._ Ay, ay, there I think he was right; for the Audience will
laugh, I make no doubt of it, but it will be at him.

_Omnes._ Right! Right!

_Snarle._ So I told him but he would persist.

_Smart._ But Mr. Snarlewit, how will he answer to the Critics his
making the Stage represent the Pit?

_Snarle._ Psha! psha! he is below Criticism; they will never trouble
themselves about that. Besides I think he may be defended very justly
in that, for if the Stage has a Right to represent Palaces and
Countries, nay, and Heaven and Hell, surely it may be allowed to
exhibit the Pit.

_Smart._ Do you know anything of the Farce?

_Snarle._ Yes, I have read it.

_Smart._ It is a very odd Title, a Bone for the Lawyers; who is the
Author, pray? Is it known?

_Snarle._ Why Macklin gives out that some Gentleman, a Friend of his,
has made him a Present of it, but I shrewdly suspect it to be his own.

_Rattle._ Whose! Macklin's?

_Snarle._ Ay!

_Rattle._ Why, can he write?

_Snarle._ Write? Ay, and damnably too, I assure you, ha! ha! He writ a
Tragedy this Winter, but so merry a Tragedy was never seen since the
first night of Tom Thumb the Great.

_Smart._ I was at it and a merry Tragedy it was and a merry Audience!

_Snarle._ I never laughed so heartily at a Play in my Life; if his
Farce has half so much Fun in it as his Tragedy had, I'll engage it
succeeds.

_Smart._ Come, come. There was some tolerable Things in his Tragedy.

_Snarle._ Psha! psha! Stuff! Stuff! damned Stuff! Pray Sir, what do
you think of Lady Catherine Gordon's Letter to her Father, Lord
Huntley, that begun honoured Papa, hoping you are in good Health as I
am at this present Writing. There was a Stile for Tragedy!

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Smart._ Well, I wish his Farce may succeed, however.

_Snarle._ O so do I upon my word, Sir.--I have a great Regard for
Macklin--but to be sure he is a very egregious Blockhead ever to think
of writing; that I believe everybody will allow.

_Omnes._ Ay, ay, there's nobody will dispute that with you, Mr.
Snarlewit.

_Snarle._ Notwithstanding he is such a Blockhead, I assure you, Mr.
Smart, I have an Esteem for him.

_Smart._ Do you know what Characters or Business he has in his Farce?

_Snarle._ I think his chief Character is an old Fellow, one Sir Isaac
Skinflint, who is eaten up with Diseases, and who promises everybody
Legacies, but dreads making a Will, for the Instant he does that he
thinks he shall die.

_Rattle._ That's a very common Character; my Uncle was just such a
superstitious Wretch.

_Snarle._ And the Business of the Farce is to induce this old Fellow
to disinherit all his Relations, except a Nephew who wants to be his
sole Heir, which according to the Rules of Farce, you may suppose it
to be brought about by a Footman who upon these Occasions always has
more Wit than his Master.

_Smart._ But when is the Prologue to begin?

_Snarle._ Why as soon as the Curtain is drawn up you will see the
Stage disposed in the Form of a Pit, and that you are to imagine the
Prologue, and when they let the Curtain down, why then you must
suppose it to be ended.

_Smart._ I wonder what the Audience will say when it is over.

_Snarle._ What? Why some will stare and wonder what the Actors have
been about, and will still be expecting the Prologue; others will
chuckle at their Disappointment, and cry--they knew how it would be;
and some will judiciously observe--what better could be expected from
a Prologue to be written and spoken by the Pit. But upon the whole, I
dare say, ninety nine in a hundred will conclude it to be a parcell of
low Stuff--and that its only Merit was the quaintness of the Conceit
[which] raised the People's Curiosity and helped to fill the House;
and so ends the Prologue--and now let us make a Noise for the Farce.

(_The Curtain is let down_)



DRAMATIS PERSONAE

for

A WILL AND NO WILL:

OR A BONE FOR THE LAWYERS

    SIR ISAAC SKINFLINT
    LADY LOVEWEALTH
    BELLAIR
    HARRIET
    DOCTOR LEATHERHEAD
    LUCY
    COUNCELLOUR CORMORANT
    MR. LITTLEWIT
    MONSIEUR DU MAIGRE
    MR. DEATH
    SHARK
    SERVANT



ACT I

          (_Enter_ SHARK _and_ LUCY--_meeting_)


_Shark._ Good morrow, Lucy.

_Lucy._ Good morrow, Shark.

_Shark._ Give me a Kiss, Hussy. (_Kisses her_)

_Lucy._ Psha--prithee don't touzle and mouzle a Body so; can't you
salute without rumpling one's Tucker and spoiling one's Things? I hate
to be tumbled. (_Adjusting herself_)

_Shark._ Ay, as much as you do Flattery or a looking Glass.

_Lucy._ Well, what's your Business this Morning? Have you any Message?

_Shark._ Yes, the old one: my Master's Duty to his gracious Uncle, Sir
Isaac Skinflint, and he hopes he rested well last night--that is, to
translate it out of the Language of Compliment into that of Sincerity,
he hopes the old Huncks has made his Will, my Master his sole Heir,
that he has had a very bad Night, and is within a few Hours of giving
up the Ghost and paying a Visit to his old friend Belzebub.

_Lucy._ We were afraid he would have gone off last night; he has had
two of his Epileptic Feasts.

_Shark._ Why sure the old Cannibal would not offer to make his Exit
without making his Will; that would ruin us all.

_Lucy._ Nay it would be a considerable Loss to me should he die
without a Will: for you know he has promised me a handsome Legacy.

_Shark._ And so he has to Thousands, my Dear; why, Child, I don't
believe he has spent thirty Shillings upon himself in Food for these
thirty years; all gratis, all upon the Spunge. Ay, ay, let Sir Isaac
Skinflint alone for mumping a Dinner. There has not been a
Churchwarden's or an Overseer's Feast these twenty years but what he
has been at. And when he is not at these Irish meals, he is preying
upon his Friends and Acquaintances, and promises them all Legacies.
"Well," he says, after he has filled his Paunch,--"I shall not forget
you. I shall remember all my Friends. I have you down in my Will."
Then he claps his hand upon the Servant's Head as he is going out--"I
shall think of you too, John. You are my old Friend"--but the Devil a
Louse he gives him; an old gouty Rogue! I'll warrant the old Hypocrite
has promised more Legacies than the Bank of England is able to pay.
Has he made any mention lately of his Nephew and Niece in the Country,
Sir Roger Bumper and his Sister?

_Lucy._ He expects them in Town today, or tomorrow at farthest, and I
believe he intends to make them joint Heirs with your Master.

_Shark._ He may intend it, but shall not accomplish it, take my word;
if he does I'll never plot again. You say he has never seen neither
the Nephew nor the Niece since they were Children?

_Lucy._ Never.

_Shark._ Then he shall see them in my proper Person before he sleeps,
and if I don't make him disinherit them, say I am a Fool and know
nothing of Mankind.

_Lucy._ Here your Master comes.

_Shark._ He's welcome.

          (_Enter_ BELLAIR)

_Bell._ O Lucy, we are all undone.

_Lucy._ Bless us; what's the matter, Sir?

_Bell._ I am just come from my Lady Lovewealth's, who, to my great
Surprize, has assured me that my Addresses to her Daughter for the
future will be highly improper, for that my Uncle had not only refused
to make such a Settlement on me as she liked, but had resolved to
marry Harriet himself.

_Lucy._ Pray Sir, what says the young Lady to all this?

_Bell._ She seems to comply with her Mother's avaricious Temper, but
has vowed to me privately that should matters be brought to an
Extremity, she will never consent.

_Lucy._ You, Sir, must act the same part; seem to approve of the
Marriage by all means, for the more you oppose, the more violent they
will be. Trust the affair to Shark and me, and I'll engage we bring
you together in spite of Age and Avarice. I'll give the young Lady a
hint or two, which I believe will cure the old Fellow of his Lovefit!
Shark, go you and prepare your Disguises; do you act the Nephew and
the Niece well and I'll warrant everything else shall thrive.
          (_Exit Shark_)

_Bell._ Dear Girl, the moment my Affairs are brought to bear, you may
depend upon the five hundred pounds I promised you.--Is my Uncle up
yet?

_Lucy._ He has been up this Hour--here he comes; be sure you comply
with him, let him say what he will.

          (_Enter_ SKINFLINT _dressed in a Nightgown, a fur Nightcap,
          his hands muffled in Flannel, his feet in gouty Shoes_)

_Bell._ A good morning to you, Sir.

_Skin._ A good morning to you, Nephew. Auh! auh!

_Bell._ I am sorry to hear, Sir, you have had so bad a Night.

_Skin._ I had indeed, Nephew; I was afraid it was all over. Such
another Fit would carry me off. Auh! auh!

_Bell._ But you are pretty well this morning, I hope, Sir.

_Skin._ Something better but very weak--very faint indeed, Nephew!
O--o--o, very faint.

_Bell._ You should take something comfortable, Sir--Cordials to repair
the breaches you Illness hath made.

_Skin._ Lord, Nephew, it would require such a monstrous deal of Money,
and really these Syringe Carriers and Glyster Baggs and Doctors give
themselves such Airs, that a Man can't have their Assistance, nor any
of their Druggs and Slops under their Weight in Gold; therefore, I
think, Nephew, since we are to dye we had better save our Money.

_Bell._ I grant you, Sir, the Fees of Surgeons and Physicians are
exorbitant,--yet as Health and Life are our most valuable Blessings,
we might lay a little out in Support of them--I mean in Cases of very
great Danger.

_Skin._ No, no, the--auh, auh!--the Tenement is not worth the
Repairs--auh--auh--I am like an old House that is ready to drop--the
first high Wind, down I shall go--the next fit will carry me off.

_Bell._ Heaven forbid, Sir.

_Skin._ Therefore, I am resolved--auh! to settle my Affairs this very
day. You know, Nephew, you were talking of Harriet, my Lady
Lovewealth's Daughter; but my Lady truly will not consent to the
Match, unless I make you my sole Heir, which you know, Child, cannot
be, as I have another Nephew and a Niece, Sir Roger Bumper and his
Sister, whom I intend to provide for.

_Bell._ Very true, Sir.

_Skin._ And so--Harry--as my Lady and I could not hit it off in regard
to you--she hath persuaded me to marry the Girl myself; what is your
Judgment of it, Nephew? ha!

_Bell._ If you like it, Sir, there can be no Objection to it.

          (_Enter a_ SERVANT)

_Serv._ Sir, there is Mr. Littlewit, the Proctor, come to know your
Commands.

_Skin._ Desire him to walk in.          (_Exit Servant_)

          (_Enter Mr._ LITTLEWIT)

So Mr. Littlewit, I have sent for you upon a Business which will
perhaps surprize you; it is to draw up my marriage Articles.

_Little._ What between you and Death, I suppose. Ha! Your Will, I
reckon you mean.

_Skin._ Dear Mr. Littlewit, your Jest is very ill timed; I mean, Sir,
my marriage Articles with Harriet Lovewealth, and at the same time I
intend to make my Will too; here are the Directions in this Paper for
both; and let them be drawn up as soon as possible and looked over by
my old Friend, Doctor Leatherhead; and pray bring him with you this
Afternoon.

_Little._ Sir, your Directions shall be observed with Punctuality and
Expedition.          (_Exit_)

_Skin._ So you approve of my Marriage, you say, Nephew?

_Bell._ I think it the best thing you can do, Sir.

_Skin._ Why, Nephew, notwithstanding--I am so shattered with Age--and
Infirmities--I assure you I have more Vigour than People imagine; what
think you, Lucy?

_Lucy._ Your Eyes, Sir, look very sparkling and lively--but I think
a--um--your other parts are not quite so brisk.

_Skin._ Why ay, 'tis true, my other parts are a little--a little
morbific or so, as the Doctors say; but Harriet is very young, and
she will be a charming Bedfellow. Besides, Nephew, I have a great
Satisfaction in Disappointing my Crew of Relations, who have been like
as many Undertakers for these twenty years past, enquiring not after
my Health but my Death; but I'll be revenged on them. I will have the
Pleasure of sending for 'em all, one by one, and assuring them I will
not leave a single Shilling among them.

          (_Enter a_ SERVANT)

_Serv._ Sir, My Lady Lovewealth and her Daughter are come to wait on
you.

_Skin._ Odso. I did not expect them so soon--Stay, stay, Boy; don't
shew them up yet; my Mistress must not find me in this Pickle. Go you
down, Lucy, and shew them into the Parlour, but return directly and
help to dress me. (_Exeunt Lucy and Servant_) Come, Nephew, help me
off with this Gown and Cap; let me make myself as agreeable as I can
for my Mistress. Gently, gently, Child, have a care, have a care of my
Hand (_pulling off the Gown_)! Oh! Oh! Oh! you have touched my gouty
Finger. (_Enter Lucy_) Come hither, Lucy, do you dress me; you are
most used to it. Are my Flannels warm?

_Lucy._ Here, here, all roasted--they have been at the Fire these
three Hours. (_Lucy and Bellair dress him up like a ridiculous old
man; they put a heap of Flannels on him, then his Clothes, and a
ridiculous Tye Wig_)

_Skin._ Well, how do I look now? Pretty well, ha?

_Bell._ Very well, Sir, and very genteel.

_Skin._ Now shew the Ladies up, Lucy. I protest this dressing hath
fatigued me, auh! auh! auh! (_coughing_)

_Lucy._ (_To Bellair as she goes out_) I have hinted something to
Harriet which I believe will break off the Match infallibly.
          (_Exit_)

_Skin._ Nephew, notwithstanding, auh!--This Marriage, I shall make a
handsome Provision for you.

_Bell._ Sir, your Health and Happiness are my chiefest Blessings.

          (_Enter Lady_ LOVEWEALTH, HARRIET _and_ LUCY)

_Lad._ Sir Isaac Skinflint, I am glad to see you up and dressed this
morning. We had a report in our Neighbourhood that you died last
Night.

_Skin._ Ay, Madam, Envious Wretches who expect Legacies--and who wish
me in my Grave--spread it abroad--'tis true I was a little out of
order last Night, but I'm mighty well today. Auh! Auh! Extremely well.
Auh! Auh! Lucy, give me a little of that Hartshorn.

_Bell._ Upon my word, Sir, I never saw you look better. Pray young
Lady, what do you think?

_Har._ Indeed, Sir, I think the Gentleman looks extremely gay and
healthy.

_Skin._ I should be very ill indeed, Madam, if such powerful Eyes as
yours could not give me new Life. (_Bowing very low_)

_Har._ O Sir, your Servant. (_Curtsying very low_)

_Lad._ Very gallant indeed, Sir.

_Skin._ Yes, Madam, you will be a Medea's Kettle to me from [whence] I
shall receive new Vigour. Your Charms will be a vivifying Nostrum to
the morbific parts, which Infirmity and Age have laid hold of. You
will be an Inlap to my Heart--and my Marriage will be an infallible
Specific which I shall take as my last Remedy.--Give me a little of
that Cordial.

_Har._ Sir, whatever commands my Lady thinks proper to lay on me, I
shall think it my Duty to give them an implicit Obedience. (_She
curtsies all the while. Skin. bows_)

_Lad._ You see, Sir Isaac, my Daughter is entirely directed by my
Will; so if you are ready to fulfill the Agreement, that is to settle
a thousand pounds a year on her during your own Life, and your whole
Fortune in Reversion upon your Decease, she is ready to marry you.

_Skin._ Madam, I am as ready as she, and have given orders to my
Lawyer to draw up the Articles for that purpose with the utmost
Expedition, and I expect them to be brought every moment ready to
sign.

_Lad._ Then, Harriet, I will leave you here, Child, while I call
upon my Lawyer in Lincoln's Inn, who is to peruse the Writings.--Mrs.
Lucy, pray will you let one of your Men order my Coach up to the Door.
          (_Exit Lucy_)

Sir Isaac Skinflint, your Servant. Mr. Bellair, yours.       (_Exit_)

_Skin._ [To Harriet] Come Madam, let not these naughty Flannels
disgust you; I can pull 'em off upon--um--ahu--certain Occasions. I
shall look better in a few days.

_Har._ Better! That's impossible, Sir, you can't look better.

_Skin._ O Lord, Madam! (_Bowing_)

_Har._ (_Takes him by the hand_) There, there's a Figure; do but view
him. Sir, I never saw a finer Figure for a Shroud and Coffin in my
Life.

_Skin._ Madam! (_starting_)

_Har._ I say, Sir, you are a most enchanting Figure for a Shroud and
Coffin.

_Skin._ Shroud and Coffin! (_He walks off! She after him_)

_Har._ Well I can't help admiring your Intrepidity, Sir Isaac; o' my
Conscience, you have more Courage than half the young Fellows in Town.
Why what a Don Quixot are you to venture that shattered, shabby, crazy
Carcass of yours into a Marriage Bed with a hale Constitution of
Nineteen!

_Skin._ Why really, Madam----

_Har._ Why really, Sir, you'll repent it.

_Skin._ I believe it, I believe it, Madam.

_Har._ What you, who are a gouty, cholicky, feverish, paralytick,
hydropic, asthmatic, and a thousand Diseases besides, venture to light
Hymen's Torch! Why, Sir, it is perfect Madness; it is making but one
Step from your Wedding to your Grave. Pray Sir, how long do you expect
to live?

_Skin._ Not long I am sure if I marry you.

_Har._ You are in the right on't, Sir; it will not be consistent with
my Pleasure or my Interest that you should live above a Fortnight;
um--ay, in about a Fortnight I can do it. Let me see; ay, it is but
pulling away a Pillow in one of your coughing Fits--or speaking
properly to your Apothecary--a very little Ratsbane or Laudanum will
do the Business!

_Skin._ O monstrous!

_Bell._ Madam, this is a behaviour unbecoming the Daughter of Lady
Lovewealth, and what I am confident her Ladyship will highly resent.

_Har._ You are mistaken, Sir; my Lady has consented to his Death in a
Fortnight after our Marriage.

_Skin._ O lud! O lud!

_Har._ She begged hard for a Month, but I could not agree to it; so
now the only Dispute between us is whether he shall be poisoned or
strangled.

_Skin._ O horrid! O terrible! So then it was agreed between you that I
should be sent out of the World one way or t'other.

_Har._ Yes Sir. What other Treatment could you expect, you who are a
mere walking Hospital! an Infirmary! O shocking! Ha! ha! There's a
Figure to go to bed with. (_Pointing at him and bursting into a
Laugh_)

_Skin._ I shall choke with Rage. Auh! Auh!

_Bell._ Madam, I cannot stand by and see this Treatment.--If you use
him thus before Marriage, what ought he to expect after it?

_Har._ What? Why I have told him, Death! Death! Death!

_Skin._ Ay, you have indeed, Madam, and I thank you for it, but it
shall never be in your Power, either to strangle or poison me. Auh!
Auh! I would as soon marry a she Dragon; Nephew, I beg you will turn
her out--see her out of the House, pray.

_Bell._ Madam, let me beg you will shorten your Visit.

_Har._ O Sir, with all my Heart; I see you are a Confederate with your
Uncle in this Affair, but I shall insist upon his Promise of Marriage;
I can prove it, and assure yourself, Sir, if there be Law in
Westminster Hall or Doctors Commons, you shall hear from me, and so
your Servant, Sir. (_Goes off in a Passion_)

_Skin._ Dear Nephew, see her out of the House; she has almost
worried me to Death. (_Sits down_)          (_Exit Bellair_)

          (_Enter_ LUCY)

_Skin._ O Lucy, give me a little Inlap or Hartshorn or something to
raise my Spirits. Had ever Man so happy an Escape?

_Lucy._ Ay, Sir, you'd say it was a happy Escape indeed, if you knew
all; why Sir, it is whispered everywhere that she had an Intrigue last
Summer at Scarborough with a Captain of Horse.

_Skin._ I don't in the least doubt it; she who could give Ratsbane or
Laudanum to her Husband, I believe would not hesitate at a little
Fornication.

(SHARK _without, dressed like a Fox Hunter, drunk, knocking very loud
and hollowing_)

_Shar._ Haux, haux, haux, my Honies, Heyhe! House, where the Devil are
you all?

_Skin._ Bless us, who is it knocks so? ([_knocking_] _within_)

_Lucy._ The Lord knows, Sir, some Madman I believe--It is Shark, I
suppose. (_Aside_)

          (_Enter_ SHARK)

_Shar._ Hey House! Family! Where are you all?

_Lucy._ What do you want, Sir?

_Shar._ What's that to you, Hussy? Where's Skinflint?

_Lucy._ Skinflint!

_Shar._ Ay, Skinflint.

_Lucy._ There is my Master, Sir Isaac Skinflint, in that great Chair.

_Shar._ (_Going up to him looking in his Face and laughing_) A damned
odd Sort of a Figure: a cursed queer old Fellow to look at. Is your
name Skinflint?

_Skin._ It is, Sir.

_Shar._ Then give me you Hand, old Boy. (_Shakes him by the Flannels_)

_Skin._ Hold, hold, Sir, you'll kill me if you han't a Care.

_Shar._ So much the better; the sooner you die the better for me.

_Skin._ For you? Pray, Sir, who are you?

_Shar._ Your Nephew who has rid a hundred Miles on purpose to take
Possession of your Estate.

_Skin._ Are you my Nephew?

_Shar._ Yes, Sir.

_Skin._ I am sorry for it.

_Shar._ My Name is Bumper; my Father, Sir Barnaby Bumper, took to Wife
a Lady who as I have been told was your Sister; which said Sister,
Sir, brought me into the World in less than four Months after her
Marriage.

_Skin._ In four Months?

_Shar._ Yes, Sir, My Father was a little displeased with it at first;
but upon his being informed that such forward Births were frequent in
your Family, he was soon reconciled to it.

_Skin._ They belied our Family, Sir--for our Family----

_Shar._ Hush! hush! Don't expose them. They were always a damned
whoring Family; I must confess I have frequently blushed at the
quickness of my Mother's conception, for it has often been thrown in
my Teeth; but since it has made me your Heir, that will set me above
the Disgrace.

_Skin._ My Heir!

_Shar._ Ay, your Heir, Sir. I am come to Town on purpose to take
Possession. We had an Account in the Country that you were dead.

_Skin._ And I suppose you are not a little mortified to find the
Report is false, ha?

_Shar._ Why, I am sorry to find you alive, I must confess. I was in
hopes to have found you stretched out and ready for the black
Gentleman to say Grace over you.

_Skin._ Sir, your Servant.

_Shar._ May the strawberry Mare knock up the next hard Chace if I have
not ridden as hard to be at your Earthing as ever I did to be in at
the Death of a Fox.

_Skin._ It was most affectionately done of you, Nephew, and I shall
remember you for it.--A Villain! I'll not leave him a Groat. (_Aside_)

_Shar._ However since you are alive, Uncle, I am glad to see you look
so ill.

_Skin._ I am very much obliged to you, Nephew. (_Aside to Lucy_) Was
there ever such a Reprobate, Lucy?

_Shar._ They tell me you have a damned deal of money that you have got
by Extortion and Usury and Cheating of Widows and Orphans to whom you
have been Guardian and Executor, ha--but I suppose you intend every
Grig of it for me, ha! Old Boy, I'll let it fly. I'll release the
yellow Sinners from their Prisons; they shall never be confined by me.

_Skin._ I believe you, Nephew.

_Shar._ But harkee you, Uncle, my Sister is come to Town too, and she
thinks to come in for Snacks--but not a Grig--d'ye hear--not a Grig--I
must have every Souse--Cousin Bellair too, that Prig, I hear, is
looking out Sharp--But if you leave a Denier to any of them without my
Consent you shall be buried alive in one of your own iron Chests, and
sent as a present to your old Friend Belzebub.

_Skin._ To be sure, Nephew, you are so very dutiful and affectionate
that I shall be entirely directed by you. Lucy, (_Aside to Lucy_) I am
afraid this Villain is come to murder me; step in and call Bellair
this Instant. (_Exit Lucy_) Pray Nephew, how long have you been in
Town?

_Shar._ I came to Town late last Night--and hearing you were alive, I
was resolved I would not sleep 'till I had seen you. So I went amongst
the Coffee Houses at Covent Garden where I made a charming Riot; I
fought a Duel, beat the Watch, kicked the Bawds, broke their Punch
Bowls, clapt an old Market Woman upon her Head in the middle of a
Kennel, bullied a Justice, and made all the Whores as drunk----

_Skin._ As yourself, I suppose. Upon my word, Nephew, you have made
good use of your time since you have been in Town.

_Shar._ Ay, han't I, old Skinflint? Zounds I love a Riot; don't you
love a Riot, Uncle?

_Skin._ O most passionately.

_Shar._ Give me your Hand. (_Slaps him upon the Shoulder_) Old Boy, I
love you for that.

_Skin._ O, O, O, O, he has killed me; I am murdered.

_Shar._ Rot your old crazy Carcass, what do you cry out for, ha?

_Skin._ O, O, O, I can't bear to be touched.

_Shar._ O, O, Oh! Damn you, why don't you die then? Harkee Uncle, how
long do you intend to live? Ha! I'll allow you but three days, and if
you don't die in that time, dead or alive, I'll have you buried. For I
am resolved not to stir out of Town 'till I see that Bag of Bones of
yours, that old rotten Carcass pailed up between four substantial Elms
and laid twenty foot deep in the Earth, and then light lie the Turf,
and flourish long Bow. Toll, loll, de doll, ha! ha! Uncle, I'll take
care of your safe Passage to Pluto, never fear.

_Skin._ Had ever Man such a Reprobate Relation? O the Villain!

          (_Enter Mr._ DEATH)

_Shar._ O Mr. Death, your Servant.

_Death._ I am come, Sir, according to your Commands; pray which is the
Gentleman I am to take Measure of?

_Shar._ That old Prig in the Chair there.

_Death._ Sir, your humble Servant.

_Skin._ Sir, your Servant. What are your Commands with me?

_Death._ Sir, my Name is Death.

_Skin._ Death!

_Death._ Yes Sir, at your Service, Dismal Death of--pretty well known
in this City.

_Skin._ And pray Mr. Dismal Death, what do you want with me?

_Death._ I am come to take measure of you for a Coffin.

_Skin._ What! How!

_Shar._ Yes you old Prig, I ordered him to take Measure of you and
Measure he shall take this Instant; do you hear, Mr. Death, measure
him, measure the old Prig; I'll hold him fast.

(SHARK _lays hold of him while Mr._ DEATH _measures him_)

_Skin._ Are you going to murder me? You Villain! Here Lucy, Nephew,
Murder!

          (_Enter_ LUCY _and_ BELLAIR)

_Bell._ How now, what's the matter? Are you going to rob my Uncle?

_Death._ No, no, Sir, we are only taking Measure of him for a Coffin.

_Skin._ O Nephew, they have almost killed me! Here is your cousin
Bumper come to take Possession of my Fortune whether I will or no; and
[he] has brought a frightful Fellow to take Measure of me for a Coffin
and Shroud, and swears he will bury me within these three days, dead
or alive.

_Bell._ Are not you ashamed, Cousin Bumper, to use our Uncle so
inhumanly?

_Shar._ Damn you Prig, have you a mind to resent it? If you have, lug
out, and I'll soon dispatch you. (_Draws_)

_Skin._ Was there ever such a bloody minded Villain? Dear Nephew, come
in with me; I'll do his Business for him in a more effectual way than
fighting. I'll swear the Peace against him and make my Will, without
leaving him a Shilling.          (_Exit with Bellair_)

_Shar._ So far the Plow speeds. I think we have done Mr. Bumper's
Business for him. That Obstacle is pretty well removed--We have
nothing to do now but to provide for his Sister the Widow, and then to
contrive some means to frighten the old Fellow into a Will in favour
of my Master.

_Lucy._ Ay, Shark, that is the chiefest Difficulty, the Masterpiece,
and unless you accomplish that you do nothing.

_Shar._ I know it, my Dear; here, here (_pointing to his head_), here,
here--the Embryo is here, and will come forth perfect in less than ten
Minutes. Why Lucy, I have a Genius to Deceit, and wanted nothing but
an Opportunity to shew it.

_Lucy._ I think you have a very fair one now.

_Shar._ I have so, and never fear, Girl, I'll engage I make a proper
use of it. Lord, how many great Men have been lost for want of being
thrown into a proper light? On my Conscience, had I been bred in a
Court, I believe I should have made as great a Figure as ever Cromwell
did, for

    _The Stateman's Skill like mine is all Deceit_
    _What's Policy in him--in me's a Cheat._
    _Titles and Wealth reward his noble Art,_
    _Cudgels and Bruises mine--sometimes a Cart._
    _Twas, is and will he, to the End of Time,_
    _That Poverty not Fraud creates the Crime._

          (_Exeunt_)



ACT II

          (_Enter_ BELLAIR _and_ LUCY)


_Bell._ What Coach was that stopt at the Door?

_Lucy._ My Lady Lovewealth's, Sir. I told her Miss Harriet was gone
home, and that my Master was gone out in a Chair to some of his
Lawyers, for I could not let her see Sir Isaac.

_Bell._ You were right, Lucy. Where is Shark?

_Lucy._ In my Room, Sir, dressing for the Widow.

(SKINFLINT _within_)

_Skin._ Lucy, why Lucy, ugh, ugh, where are you, Wench?

_Bell._ I'll leave you with my Uncle, Lucy, while I step up and hasten
Shark.          (_Exit_ [_Bellair_])

          (_Enter_ SKINFLINT)

_Skin._ Here, Lucy, tye up me Affairs; they are loose and falling
about my Heels.

_Lucy._ They are always loose, I think.

_Skin._ Lucy, did not I send for Monsieur du Maigre, the Apothecary?

_Lucy._ Yes Sir, and he will be here presently. (_Knocking_) Hark,
this is he I suppose.

_Skin._ Go see; if it is, send him up. (_Exit Lucy_) What an
insupportable Vexation Riches are; all my Relations are watching and
hovering about me like so many Crows about a dead Carrion; even
Bellair, who behaves the best of them all, has a Hawk's Eye, I see,
after my Will and advises me in a sly indirect manner to the making of
it. A Parent is used by an Heir just as a Virgin is by a Rake; before
we have parted with our Treasure, we are adored, we are Gods and
Goddesses, but as soon as that is over, we become as troublesome to
them as an evil Conscience. I'll keep my money to save my poor Soul,
for to be sure I have got a great deal of it in an unfair manner;
therefore in order to make my Peace hereafter, I'll leave it to build
an Almshouse.

          (_Enter_ LUCY)

_Lucy._ Sir, there's a Lady in deep Mourning below, who says she is
your Niece.

_Skin._ If she is such a Canary Bird as her Brother that was here
today, she may go to the Devil; however shew her up.   (_Exit Lucy_)

She may be the reverse of him; we ought not to condemn a whole Family
for one bad Person.

          (_Enter_ LUCY, _showing in_ SHARK _who is
          dressed in Weeds_)

_Lucy._ Madam, this is your Uncle.

_Shar._ Sir, I have not the Honour to be known to you, but the Report
of your Death has brought me to Town, to testify the Duty and
Affection of an unworthy Niece for the best of Uncles.

_Skin._ A good well bred kind of a Woman. (_Aside to Lucy_) Ay, this
is something like a Relation.

_Lucy._ I shall hear you sing another tune presently. (_Aside_)

_Skin._ Pray Niece, give me leave to salute you. You are welcome to
London. (_Kisses him_) My Eyes are but bad--yet I think I can discover
a strong Resemblance of my Sister in you. (_Peering in his Face_)

_Shar._ Yes Sir, I was reckoned very like my Mama before I was
married, but frequent Child bearing you know, Sir, will alter a Woman
strangely for the worse.

_Skin._ It will so, Niece; you are a Widow I perceive.

_Shar._ Yes Sir, an unfortunate Widow (_Weeps_). I never had a dry Eye
since my Husband died.

_Skin._ Pray Niece, what did your Husband die of?

_Shar._ He broke his Neck a Fox Hunting.

_Skin._ Good lack, good lack! That was dreadful.

_Shar._ Ay Sir, and tho' I was but one and twenty when he died, he
left me both a Widow and a Mother; so early a Grief you may be sure
must have robbed me of my Bloom and has broke me mightily.

_Skin._ As you were a Widow, Niece, at one and twenty, I don't suppose
your Husband left you many Children.

_Shar._ Fifteen, Sir.

_Skin._ Fifteen, Niece! (_Starting_)

_Shar._ Ay, fifteen, Sir; I was married at fourteen.

_Skin._ That was very young, Niece.

_Shar._ It was so, Sir; but young Girls can't keep now adays, so I ran
away with him from the Boarding School. I had two Children by him
every ten months for six Years, and I had three by him the seventh.

_Skin._ Upon my word you are a very good Breeder.

_Shar._ Yes Sir, I was always accounted so; besides, Sir, I have had
two by him since his Death.

_Skin._ How, Madam, since his Death.

_Shar._ Yes Sir, and I am afraid I shall have some more, for a Word in
your Ear, Sir--I find I am coming again, Sir.[3]

_Skin._ O Fye, Niece, O fye, fye--why Lucy, this Woman is as bad as
her Brother.

_Lucy._ Indeed Sir, I am afraid so. (_Aside_)

_Skin._ But I'll try her a little further. Pray Niece, who has been
your Companion _and Bedfellow_ for these two years past? For I presume
you have not lain alone.

_Shar._ O Lord, Sir, not for the World! You must know, Uncle, I am
greatly addicted to be afraid of Spirits, Ghosts, Witches, and
Fairies, and so to prevent terrifying Dreams and Apparitions, _I took
a Religious Gentleman, a very good Man to bed with me--an Itinerant
Methodist, one Doctor Preach Field_.

_Skin._ Doctor Preach Field. I have heard of him.

_Shar._ O he's a very good man, Uncle, I assure you, _and very full of
the Spirit_.

_Skin._ Lucy, have not I got a hopeful parcel of Relations? (_Aside_)

_Lucy._ Indeed Sir, I think this Lady is not extremely modest.
(_Aside_)

_Skin._ Why she ought to be whipped at the Cart's Tail (_Aside_); pray
Niece, have not you a Brother in Town?

_Shar._ Yes Sir; he and I beat the Watch last night at Tom Kings.

_Skin._ O Monstrous! beat the Watch, Madam!

_Shar._ Yes Sir, and broke all the Lamps in the Parish.

_Skin._ Very pretty Employment for a Lady truly, and so, Madam, you
came to Town merely to shew your Duty and Affection to me.

_Shar._ Yes Sir, and in hopes to be your Heir; we had a Report in the
Country that you was Defunct; and I was in hopes to have found it
true.

_Skin._ I am obliged to you, Madam.

_Shar._ There is another thing we have very current in the Country. I
do not know how true it is.

_Skin._ What is it, I pray?

_Shar._ I have been told, Uncle, and from very good Hands, that you
are little better than a Thief.

_Skin._ Madam!

_Shar._ And that you got all your Fortune by biting and sharping,
extortion and cheating.

_Skin._ Harkee Madam, get out of my House this Minute, or I will order
somebody to throw you out of the Window.

_Shar._ I have heard too that for several years past, you have been an
old Fornicator, and that you have led a most wicked Life with this
Girl.

_Lucy._ With me, Madam?

_Shar._ Yes, you naughty Creature, and _that your Fornication would
have had carnal symptoms, but that he took most unnatural methods to
prevent your Pregnancy_.

_Skin._ Get out of my Doors this Minute.

_Shar._ Sir, you are an uncivil Gentleman to bid me get out, but I
find you are as great a Rogue as the most malicious Report can make
you.

_Skin._ Get out of my House, I say!

_Shar._ Well, I'll go, Sir, but depend upon it you shall not live many
Days after this. I'll be the Death of you, if there are no more Uncles
in the World.

_Lucy._ Slip up the back stairs to my Room and I'll come and undress
you. (_Aside to him as she thrusts him off_) Get you out, you wicked
Woman, get you out.          (_Exit Shark_)

_Skin._ Was ever Man so hope up with such a parcel of Relations! Make
them my Heirs! I would as soon leave my Money to a Privateer's Crew;
and I verily believe they would be as thankful and make as good a use
of it.--I have been so worried and teazed by them all, that I am not
able to support any longer--I must go in and lye down. Support me,
Lucy, or I shall fall; I am quite faint. Oh, oh!          (_Exeunt_)

          (_Enter_ BELLAIR)

_Bell._ So! Thus far all goes well. Shark has been as successful
in his Widow as his Fox. We have routed the Family of the Bumpers.
There is nothing now to apprehend from that Quarter. But the main
Difficulty is yet behind, which is to induce him to make his Will, for
without that my Lady Lovewealth's Avarice never will consent to make
my dearest Harriet mine.

          (_Enter_ LUCY)

_Lucy._ O Sir, we are all undone!

_Bell._ Why what's the matter?

_Lucy._ Your Uncle, Sir, is dead.

_Bell._ Dead!

_Lucy._ Ay, dead, Sir! Shark with his Tricks and Rogueries has so
teazed him that having with much ado got into his Chamber, down he
fell upon the Bed, and there he lies without either Motion, Voice,
Sense, Pulse or Understanding.

_Bell._ The very means I took to succeed have infallibly ruined me.

          (_Enter_ SHARK)

_Shar._ Is he gone? Is the coast clear?

_Bell._ So Villain, your Schemes and Plots have a fine Conclusion,
Rascal.

_Shar._ A fine Conclusion, Rascal! I don't know what conclusion they
have, but I am sure it can't be worse than this Reward; pray Sir, what
has happened?

_Bell._ Why you have killed my Uncle, Villain, and ruined me forever.

_Shar._ What! Is the old Fellow dead?

_Bell._ Yes, Rascal, and without a Will.

_Shar._ This is now an Instance of the Judgment and Gratitude of
Mankind; if I had succeeded, I should have been a second Machiavel,
and my dear Shark, I shall be ever obliged to you--but now I am a
Rascal and a Son of a Whore, a Blockhead and deserve my Bones broke.

_Bell._ Well Sir, no upbraiding now, but tell what is to be done.

_Shar._ What's to be done? What should be done, Sir. Break open his
Coffers, his Cabinet, his Strong Box, seize upon his Mortgage Deeds,
and Writings, but above all take a particular Care of the Bank Bills,
and the ready Cash. I have a great Veneration for them; they will tell
no tales to your Fellow Heirs, and as the old Man has bit you, why do
you plunder them. Do you take Possession and I'll engage I procure a
Lawyer who shall prove it to be something more than eleven points of
the Law.

_Bell._ But then my Harriet, Shark! Without her the Wealth of Mexico
is useless and insipid.

_Shar._ Upon my Soul, Sir, begging your Pardon, you make as ridiculous
a Figure in this Business as a disappointed Lover in a Play; why Sir,
our Farce is now in the very Height of the Plot, and it is impossible
you can have your Mistress 'till it be ended.

_Bell._ Nor then either I am afraid.

_Shar._ Lord, Sir, you are too hasty. You are like the ignorant part
of an Audience the first night of a new Play; you will have things
brought about before their time. Go and take Possession of the Assets,
I tell you, and leave the rest to the Devil and the Law. Get them on
our side, and I'll engage you prosper in any Roguery.

_Bell._ Well, I'll go--but I see no glimmering of hope from it.
          (_Exit Bellair_)

_Shar._ Lucy, do you shut up all the Windows and lock up the door.

_Lucy._ That's impossible, for Mr. Littlewit and Doctor Leatherhead
are below with the Marriage Articles.

_Shar._ O the Devil! Then we are all ruined again. Hold--ha--ay--I
have a thought. Lucy, do the Lawyers know of the old Man's Death?

_Lucy._ Not a word. They are but this minute come in.

_Shar._ Then keep it an entire Secret--I'll clinch the whole Affair
this Instant.--Get me the old Man's Gown--and Cap--his Slippers, his
Pillow, his Flannels and all his Trumpery.

_Lucy._ Here they all are upon the Table where he shifted.

_Shar._ Give 'em me, quick, quick--ask no questions--so--now my
Cap--my gouty Slippers, my Flannels for my hands, here, here, pin them
on, pin them on, quick--quick, so! And now my great Chair--and now I
am damnable ill--O sick, sick,--Auh--Auh--Auh! Go and tell my Master
how I am transmogrified, do you hear, and bid him not be surprized let
what will happen, but first send up the Lawyers. (_Exit Lucy_) Lawyers
have often made false Wills for their own Interests, and I see no
reason now why they mayn't make one for mine. I am sure I have as good
a Title to be a Rogue as any of them all, for my Father was an Irish
Solicitor, my Mother a Yorkshire Gipsy, I was begotten in Wales, born
in Scotland, and brought up at that famous University of St. Giles
pound, and now he who has a better Right to be a Rogue than me, let
him put in his Claim. Tho' I believe nobody will dispute it with me,
it is all my own today; when I come to Westminster Hall I'll resign.

          (_Enter_ BELLAIR, LUCY, _Doctor_ LEATHERHEAD, _and Mr._
          LITTLEWIT, [_with_] _Pens, Ink, Papers, Candles, etc.,
          etc._)

_Shar._ So Gentlemen, when I sent for you in the Morning, I was
foolish enough to think of Marriage, but Heaven pardon me, I must now
think of Death, of my poor precious Soul. I must desire you to get my
Will ready as soon as possible, for I fear my poor fleeting Life is
not worth half an Hour's purchase.

_Doct._ The sooner it is done, the better; it may procure you Ease and
Consolation of mind.

_Shar._ Dear Doctor Leatherhead, hold your Tongue; the less you talk,
the more it will be to the purpose, I am sure. Nephew, draw near.
Lucy, take those Candles out of my Eyes, and shut that Door.

_Lucy._ Sir, my Lady Lovewealth has sent her Daughter to wait on you,
and my Lady will be here herself immediately.

_Shar._ Very well, let my wife that was to be come up--and let her
know how Affairs are, Lucy. (_Aside to Lucy_)          (_Exit Lucy_)

_Little._ (_At the Table writing_) Um, um, Sir Isaac Skinflint of the
Parish of um--sound sense--um weak in Body--uncertainty of human
Life--um--last Will and Testament--Now Sir, we are ready; I have
finished the Preamble.

_Doct._ But Sir Isaac, should not this Will be made in Private? We
always choose to have as few Witnesses by as possible.

_Shar._ I believe you, Doctor Leatherhead, that they may produce the
more Law Suits. Ay, ay, Doctor, I know the tricks of the Law; the more
Grist, the more Toll for the Miller--but you shall not fill your Bags
out of my Sack, you Harpies, you Cormorants, you Devourers! O you
Bloodsuckers! Auh, auh!

_Doct._ I find Sir Isaac still the same Man.

_Little._ No matter, Doctor; as it is the last Business we shall do
for him, he shall pay swingingly.

_Shar._ I will make my Will simple and plain, and before many
Witnesses.

          (_Enter_ HARRIET)

So Harriet, you are come to see the last of the old Man--well I
forgive you your Raillery today--come kiss me, Hussy, or I'll
disinherit you. (_Kisses her_) You had better kiss me as a dying
Uncle, Hussy, than a living Husband, for I shall give you to my
Nephew--and now Gentlemen of the Black Robe, who protect our
properties for us, the first thing you are to do is to fill up the
blank in the Marriage Articles with my Nephew's name instead of mine,
for he I fancy, he will be much properer to manage the young Lady's
Concerns than me. It is over with me; what think you, Harriet? Don't
you think he'll do it better than me, ha? Ah the young Jade, how she
smiles. She knows what I mean, but Gentlemen, before I make my Will, I
have one thing to observe, which is that I am a very whimsical old
Rogue! You all know that, I believe.

_Doct._ Why you are a little whimsical, Sir Isaac, sometimes, I know.

_Shar._ And therefore I desire a Bond may immediately be prepared for
me to give my Nephew, which will put it out of my power to revoke the
Will I shall now make in these Presents; for I am so odd a Fellow,
that it is a hundred to one, I shall want to go from it tomorrow.

_Doct._ I am afraid, Sir Isaac, such a Bond will not be good in Law.

_Little._ O yes, Doctor, very good. Doctor, you will hurt the Practice
with your Scruples; what is it to us whether it be a good Bond or not;
it is a new Case, and will be a Bone of Contention to us. The Gown
will get by it, let who will lose. (_Aside to the Doctor_)

_Doct._ I believe, Sir Isaac, upon second Thoughts it will be a good
Bond.

_Shar._ Then draw it up, and now Gentlemen, as to my Will--Inprimis,
let all my Debts be discharged.

_Doct._ That I believe, Sir Isaac, will be soon done; for I don't
suppose you owe any.

_Shar._ Yes I owe for the nursing of a Bastard Child at Wandsor.

_Doct._ Is it possible you ever had a Bastard?

_Shar._ Several, Doctor, but they were all dropt upon different
Parishes, except that One. Then there are some few dribbling Debts at
Alehouses and Taverns where I used to meet my Wenches--in all about
twenty Pounds.

_Doct._ I find, Mr. Littlewit, the old Gentleman has been a Cock of
the Game in his time, Good Blood.

_Little._ Really, Doctor Leatherhead, I think so.

_Shar._ Item, I do constitute my Nephew Bellair whole and sole
Executor of this my last Will and Testament.

_Bell._ O my dear Uncle, shall I lose you. (_Cries_)

_Shar._ Good natured Boy, how he weeps, disinheriting and cutting off
all other Persons whatsoever--saving those hereafter mentioned.

_Lucy._ O my dear generous Master. (_Cries_)

_Shar._ Poor Girl, she weeps too; I suppose for the same Reason, to
put me in Mind of her; never fear, Lucy. I'll not forget you; you have
been a good Girl and managed my Concerns with great Skill and Decency.

_Doct._ Proceed, Sir.

_Shar._ Unto Harriet Lovewealth my Niece that shall be, I do
give--(_Lucy, you know where they are_) a set of Diamond Bracelets
which were mortgaged to me and forfeited by the Welch Lady that used
to game so much.

_Lucy._ I have them in this Casket, Sir.

_Shar._ Give them to me--there--I give them Harriet, but first kiss
me, Hussy--I will have a Kiss for them. (_Kisses her and gives her the
bracelets_)

_Bell._ Impudent Rascal!

_Shar._ Item, to Lucy who for many years has served me faithfully--and
who used to flatter me in all my little Foibles.

_Lucy._ Sure never was so generous and grateful a Master. (_Cries_)

_Shar._ To her I bequeath, when she marries, one thousand pounds,
provided it be with that honest Lad Shark, not a Farthing else.

_Bell._ How Sir, a thousand Pounds; it is too much.

_Shar._ Not at all, Nephew.

_Bell._ Here's a Dog. (_Aside_) Consider, Sir, she's a low bred poor
Person.

_Shar._ Poor is she? Why then, Mr. Littlewit, if the Girl is poor, put
her down another Hundred, but with a Proviso still that she marries
Shark.

_Bell._ I presume, Sir, you have done now.

_Shar._ Done! The Gods of Gratitude and Generosity forbid; no I must
remember poor Shark. I must not forget him--Item, to that honest
Fellow Shark, auh, auh!

_Bell._ O the Rascal; he'll give half the Estate to himself and Lucy.

_Shar._ To Shark, I say, for his faithful Services.

_Bell._ Why, Sir, he's the most idle, drunken----

_Shar._ Hold your Tongue, Nephew, you are deceived in the young
Man--you don't know him so well as I. I have known him many Years; he
is a sober honest Fellow, and has a great Regard for you, and for that
Reason, I leave him two hundred pounds per Annum.

_Bell._ Two hundred pounds, Sir----

_Shar._ Pray be silent, Nephew; I know his Virtues and good Qualities;
therefore, Mr. Littlewit, I think you may as well make it two hundred
and fifty.

_Bell._ Sir! Per Annum! Sir!

_Shar._ Ay, per Annum, for ten Annums if I please, Sir. Why sure I can
do what I will with my own.

_Bell._ I beg your Pardon, Sir, it is a great deal too much, I think.

_Shar._ I think not, and I believe at this Juncture my Thoughts are
more to the purpose than yours.

_Bell._ But consider, Sir, what can he do with so much money; such a
low poor Fellow that has no Friends.

_Shar._ No Friends?

_Bell._ No Sir, a low Friendless Fellow.

_Shar._ Nay if he is poor--set him down another hundred, Mr.
Littlewit. He shall not want a Friend while I am alive; for he is an
honest Lad, and loves a Bottle and a Wench as well as myself.

_Bell._ Was there ever such a tricking exorbitant Rascal? (_Aside_)
Sir, I beg you'll alter that Article that relates to Shark.

_Shar._ Sir, I beg you'll hold your Tongue. Say another word and I'll
give him a thousand pounds per Annum.

_Bell._ Sir, I humbly beg Pardon. (_Bowing very low_)

_Shar._ Well, beg Pardon and be satisfied. I think you have
reason--here I shall have you Master of six or seven thousand pounds
per Annum, as you call it, and almost a Plumb and a half in ready
Cole, and you are not satisfied; say one Word more and I'll tear my
Will, or leave every Shilling to the Inhabitants of Bedlam or to the
Man that finds out the Longitude.

_Bell._ I have done, Sir.

_Shar._ Pray then have done, Sir, and don't fret me.

_Bell._ An impudent Rogue, but I must not contend with him now.
(_Aside_)

_Shar._ Lord, it is as much trouble to give away an Estate as to get
it.

_Doct._ Mr. Bellair, you should not interrupt the Testator; at such a
time his Mind should not be disturbed.

_Shar._ You are in the right, Doctor Leatherhead. Let me see, have I
no Friend that I care to oblige with two or three thousand--I am in
such a generous Temper that I don't care to leave off yet. I have a
great Mind to give Shark a handful over, but----

_Bell._ Sir!

_Shar._ No, I believe I have done.

_Doct._ Will you please to sign then?

_Shar._ That I would with all my Heart, but that the Gout and Palsy
prevent me.

_Doct._ Then we must observe, Mr. Littlewit, that the said Testator
does declare his inability to write.

_Shar._ Is the Bond to my Nephew ready?

_Little._ Yes Sir.

_Shar._ But is it strong, and so well drawn that the old Nick himself
should he turn Pettyfogger could not reverse it?

_Doct._ It is, Sir.

_Shar._ Very well.

_Doct._ There if you please to make your mark by touching the Pen.
(_Shark touches the Pen_) So, and put the Watch over his Hand, and let
him take off the Seal--so, very well, Sir, you publish and declare
this to be your last Will and Testament, and desire Doctor Leatherhead
and Mr. Littlewit to be Witnesses thereunto?

_Shar._ I do.

(_All the ceremony of signing and sealing and delivering is
performed_)

_Doct._ Very well, Sir Isaac, I will take care they shall be properly
registered.

_Shar._ I beg, good Folks, that you will slip into the next Room for a
few Moments while I compose myself after this intolerable Fatigue;
Nephew, pray shew them in, and do the Honours of my House in the
genteelest Manner.

_Bell._ I shall, Sir.--Doctor Leatherhead, Mr. Littlewit--will you
walk in, Gentlemen?

_Doct._ Sir, your Servant, Sir.

_Little._ Your's; we wish you better.

_Shar._ Your Servant, your Servant, Gentlemen. Auh, auh--quick, quick.
(_Coughs_) (_Exeunt all but Lucy and Shark_) Lucy, off with my
Roguery, and let me appear in my native honesty. I have had Gibbets
and Halters in my Mind a hundred Times, passing and repassing, since I
began this Business. I am horridly afraid that the Devil and Sir
Isaac, for I suppose they are met by this time, will contrive some
means to counterplot us. Tho' I think I shall be a Match for them, if
we can keep the Law on our side, let me but secure that and I defy the
Devil and all his Works. There, there they are, the precious Robes of
Deceit. (_Throws down the old Man's Gown and Cap_) I think there has
been transacted as ingenious a Scene of Iniquity in that Gown, within
the short space of half an Hour, as in any Gown that has been trapesed
in Westminster Hall since the ingenious Mr. Wreathcock was
transported--Now my dear Lucy, after all this Fatigue and Bustle
(_Throws down the old Man's dress_) I think it would not be amiss for
you and I to relieve _and solace ourselves in the lawful State of
Procreation_.

_Lucy._ Time enough, Fool. Consider Matrimony is a long Journey.

_Shar._ True, Lucy; therefore the sooner we set out the better; for
Love, my Dear, like Time must be taken by the Forelock.

_Lucy._ Come, come, this is no time for prating and fooling. Do you
join the Company to avoid Suspicion, and tomorrow Morning put me in
Mind of it. If I am in Humour, I may perhaps walk towards Doctors
Commons and venture at a great Leap in the Dark with you, for so I
think marriage may be justly called.

_Shar._ Why ay, this is speaking like one that has a mind to Deal.
_Here's my hand; it shall stand on my side._

_Lucy._ And here's my hand. If I can help it, it shall not fail on
mine.

_Shar._ Touch--Buss--I like the Sample and _am resolved to purchase
the whole Commodity_.          (_Exit Shark_)

(_Monsieur_ DU MAIGRE _within_)

_Maigre._ Mistress Lucy! Mistress Lucy! why you no come when your
Maitre Janie be so very much bad--where be you?

_Lucy._ Who have we here? Our Apothecary, Monsieur du Maigre! Pray
Heaven the old Man is not come to Life again.

          (_Enter Monsieur_ DU MAIGRE)

_Maigre._ O Mistress Lucy for shame! Pardie, why you no come to your
Maitre! He be dead this one half quartre de Hour, and you no come; by
Gar, he wanta his Gown and his Cap.

_Lucy._ What, is he alive?

_Maigre._ Yes; he was dead, but I bring him to Life; I bleed a him,
and so he comes from the dead Man to de Life. But come, allons, vite,
vite, he want a de Gown. (_Takes up the Gown and Cap_)

_Lucy._ So we have been making a Will to a fine Purpose.

_Maigre._ Allons, vite, vite, Mistress Lucy, he be very bad
indeed--and he want a you ver much, allons.          (_Exeunt_)

          (_Enter_ BELLAIR _and_ SHARK)

_Shar._ Well, Sir, now who is the Fool? the Blockhead? Did not I tell
you we should succeed?

_Bell._ Yes but, Scoundrel, how did you dare to make such a Will?

_Shar._ In what respect, Sir?

_Bell._ In what, Rascal! To Lucy and yourself, how dare you leave so
much money between you?

_Shar._ For the best reason in the World, Sir, because I knew nobody
dared to contradict me. And had I thought you would have been angry at
it--I assure you, Sir--I should have left as much more. Why Sir, if
you will consider the Affair impartially, you will find I had a right
to be Co-heir with you.

_Bell._ How so, Sir?

_Shar._ By the Laws of Roguery, Sir--in which it is a fundamental
Maxim that in Cheats of this Kind, all people are upon a par, and have
a right to an equal Snack.

_Bell._ Impudent Rascal!

_Shar._ But if you think, Sir, that I have behaved in this Affair
selfishly or unbecoming a Rogue of Honour, I will send in for Doctor
Leatherhead and Mr. Littlewit, for they are still in the next Room,
and cancel the Will directly.

_Bell._ No, Rascal, you know my Love to Harriet will not let me
consent to that.

_Shar._ This is just the way of the great World--the poor Rogues are
Men of parts and do all the Business--and the rich ones not only
arrogate the Merit to themselves, but are for running away with all
the Plunder.

          (_Enter_ LUCY)

_Lucy._ O Sir!

_Bell._ What's the matter?

_Lucy._ Oh! Oh! Oh! I can't speak--but your Uncle's alive--that's all.
(_Sets down a great Chair_)

_Shar._ And that's enough to hang one, I'm sure.

_Bell._ Alive!

_Lucy._ Ay, alive, Sir.

_Shar._ This comes of your begrudging me my Snack of the Spoil, Sir.

_Bell._ Why I thought you saw him senseless and dead.

_Lucy._ I thought so too; but it seems while we were about the Will,
Monsieur du Maigre, the Apothecary, came in and bled him in an
Instant, which has unfortunately recovered him. He is within with him
now, and one Councellour Cormorant who is come upon some Law Business
to him--O here they all come.

_Bell._ What a malicious turn of Fortune this is.

_Shar._ Why Sir, if you will not be ungrateful, now I believe I can
secure a Retreat and such a one as the greatest General in Europe in
our Situation would not be ashamed of.

_Bell._ Dear Shark, I will do anything thou wilt.

_Shar._ Ay, now it is dear Shark, but know, Sir, you have to deal with
an Englishman, and a Man of Honour who scorns to put an Enemy to Death
when he begs for Quarter--tho' you have been an ungenerous Ally as
ever vowed Fidelity to the Crown of England--but no matter, I'll serve
you still and completely.

_Bell._ But how, dear Shark?

_Shar._ I won't tell you--and I defy you to guess now--or anybody else
that's more--I must step into the next Room for a Moment and whisper
the Lawyers, and in the meantime, do you persist in your Uncle's
having made a Will; that's all.--Don't you be like an ignorant Thief
before a noisy Magistrate, confess and hang yourself. And you, Madam,
do you embronze your Countenance, and keep up your Character to the
last.          (_Exit_)

          (_Enter_ SKINFLINT _supported by Councellour_ CORMORANT
          _and Monsieur_ DU MAIGRE, LUCY _settling his great Chair_)

_Skin._ Auh! auh! gently, gently. Let me down gently, pray. Oh, oh,
oh. (_Sits down_) O Nephew, how could you let me lie for dead so long
and never come near me?

_Bell._ Really, Sir, I never heard a word that you were in any Danger
of Dying.

_Skin._ And Lucy, how could you be so cruel to neglect me so long?

_Lucy._ Me! Lord, Sir, I never knew anything of it 'till Monsieur du
Maigre informed me.

_Maigre._ No, Pardie, she not have any knowledge 'till dat me make her
de Intelligence.

_Lucy._ I thought you were in a sound Sleep, Sir, and was extremely
glad of it.

_Bell._ And so was I, I do assure you, Sir.

_Skin._ I am obliged to you Nephew, but I had like to have slept my
last.

_Maigre._ It is very true indeed upon my word. But dat Monsieur la
avocat--here--Monsieur la what is your name, si'l vous plait--I always
forget.

_Coun._ Cormorant, Sir.

_Maigre._ Mais oui Monsieur la Cormorant--but dat he and I come in
together, just after one another; I believe I come in one, two Minute
before you, Monsieur la Cormorant--I say but dat me come in the Nick
upon a my word, Sir Isaac, you be defunct.--And then I lose my Annuity
upon your Life, and by Gar, dat be very bad for Monsieur du Maigre.

_Skin._ I am obliged to you, Monsieur--are the Lawyers come, Lucy? Mr.
Littlewit and Doctor Leatherhead?

_Lucy._ Yes Sir, they have been here a considerable time.

_Skin._ Desire them to walk in.

_Lucy._ So now the Murder's coming out.          (_Exit Lucy_)

_Skin._ Nephew, I am at last resolved to make my Will; I shall make a
proper provision for you in it. But as our Soul is the immortal part
of us,[4] I must take Care of that the first thing I do. Therefore I
am resolved to appropriate so much of my Fortune as will be sufficient
for that purpose to the building of an Almshouse.

          (_Enter Doctor_ LEATHERHEAD, _Mr._ LITTLEWIT, _Lady_
          LOVEWEALTH, [HARRIET,] SHARK _and_ LUCY)

_Skin._ So Gentlemen! I have altered my Mind, Mr. Littlewit, since I
saw you last.

_Little._ Concerning what, Sir?

_Skin._ My Will, Sir.

_Little._ It is now too late, Sir; you have put it out of your Power.

_Skin._ Out of my Power?

_Doct._ Ay, and out of the Power of Westminster Hall! Sir Isaac, you
know I gave you my Opinion upon it before you made it.

_Skin._ What, is the man mad?

_Doct._ No, Sir, I am not mad; and I would advise you not to be
foolish and whimsical as you owned about half an hour since you were
subject to.

_Skin._ Why the men are drunk or mad, I think.

_Maigre._ Pardie, somebody be drunk or mad among you, for by gar, me
no understand your Vards.

_Skin._ Why Gentlemen, I sent for you to make my Will.

_Doct._ You did so, Sir, and you have made it. And it is registered.
And there is the Copy. Ask your Nephew, and these Ladies, and your
maid Lucy, and the Footman here.

_Shar._ No pray, Sir, don't bring me into it; I was not here.

_Doct._ You are right, Friend, I believe you were not here, but ask
all the rest.

_Skin._ Nephew, do you know anything of all this?

_Bell._ Upon my word, Sir, what the Doctor says is true.

_Skin._ How! True, Lucy?

_Lucy._ Indeed, Sir, you did make a Will before you had your fit, but
you have forgot it, I suppose.

_Skin._ Why this is all a Contrivance, a Conspiracy, a--pray when did
I make this Will?

_Doct._ Why, Sir, it is not ten minutes since you signed it, and all
these are Witnesses. (_Pointing on their own side of the room_)

_Shar._ No pray, Sir, leave me out. I will be sworn in any Court in
Westminster, Sir Isaac, that I know nothing of the matter.

_Maigre._ By Gar, this Doctor Leatherhead be one ver great
Fripon.--Harkee, Sir, you say he make de Signature to the Will in
these ten a Minute.

_Doct._ Yes Sir.

_Maigre._ By Gar, dat cannot be, fo[r] Monsieur Cormorant and myself
be vid him above thirteen, and he make no Will in that time, Jarnie
bleu.

_Coun._ It is very true, Gentlemen, that we can attest.

_Skin._ Pray Doctor, let me see this Will; read it if you please.

_Doct._ Sir Isaac Skinflint being seated in his great Chair--um
underwritten--Sound Senses tho' infirm in Body.

_Skin._ No matter for the Preamble.

_Doct._ Um, um, um, committed to writing his underwritten Will, in
Manner and Form following; Imprimis, I will that all my Debts be paid.

_Skin._ Debts! I do not owe one Shilling in the World.

_Doct._ You forget, Sir Isaac, you owe for the Nursing of a Bastard
Child at Wandsor, and several little dribbling Debts where you used to
meet your Wenches.

_Skin._ How a Bastard; why I never had a Bastard in my Life--but
once--and that was forty years ago with a great red Hair Wench, a Maid
that my Father had--but it was when I was a Lad and I did not know
what I was about.

_Doct._ Item, I do constitute my Nephew Bellair whole and sole
Executor, disinheriting and cutting off all other Persons.

_Skin._ This is a scene of Villainy.

_Doct._ Saving those hereafter mentioned-unto Harriet Lovewealth my
Niece that shall be, I do bequeath the set of Diamond
Bracelets--Mortgaged by the----

_Skin._ This is all a Robbery.

_Coun._ Let 'em go on, Sir Isaac, you have your Remedy.

_Skin._ This is all a Robbery.

_Doct._ To my Maid Lucy, one thousand pounds.

_Skin._ O monstrous; I never intended to give her a Farthing.

_Doct._ Item, to that honest Fellow Slipstring Shark.

_Shar._ That is me, Sir Isaac, and I humbly thank your Honour.

_Doct._ I bequeath him three hundred pounds per Annum during his
natural Life, to be paid out of that part of my Estate he shall think
proper.

_Shar._ O blessings on your generous Heart. It was always fond of
rewarding Merit.

_Skin._ Read no more--I'll have every one of you indicted for
Forgery--and Conspiracy and--first take Notice, Councellour Cormorant
and Monsieur du Maigre, that I deny that Will to be any Act of
mine--and that I cancel it to all Intents and Purposes.

_Doct._ That you can't do, Sir--for by way of Marriage Articles
between Bellair and Harriet Lovewealth you have signed a Deed
conformable to this Will.

_Skin._ Why this is such a piece of Villainy as the Records of
Westminster Hall cannot match.

_Coun._ Do not be uneasy Sir Isaac, you have one, and one certain way
of oversetting all their Villainy; and that is by confessing that you
made this Will, and proving that you were out of your Senses when you
did it, which may easily be done by proper Witnesses. (_Aside_)

_Skin._ I'll confess that or anything--to get my money again, and to
hang them all--Doctor Leatherhead, I begin now to remember something
of the making of this Will,--but I can prove I was lightheaded and out
of my Senses when I did it.

_Doct._ Sir Isaac, it is no Affair of mine.--It is your Nephew's
Concern; if he is willing to let such Chicane pass upon him, he may;
but if he has a Mind to insist upon the Will, I'll undertake to prove
you were in your Senses as perfectly as ever you were in your Life.

_Skin._ And will you insist, Nephew?

_Bell._ It is not in my Power to be off it, Sir, for in consequence
that you were sincere when you made this Will, my Lady Lovewealth here
has given me her Daughter, and her own Chaplain has just now put the
finishing hand to the Business in the next Room, before all these
Witnesses.

_Skin._ So you won't resign?

_Bell._ I can't, Sir.

_Skin._ Come along, Mr. Cormorant, I'll hamper them all--I'll prove
myself out of my Senses before I sleep.          (_Exit Skinflint and
Cormorant_)

_Maigre._ By gar, dis be all ver great, much Surprize upon me, van,
pardie, pardie make the Man make a de Vill veder he will or no, and de
Man say he will prove dat he be Lunatic and lightheaded--by gar, me
never hear de like in France, pardie, etc. etc.          (_Exit_)

_Shar._ Well I believe this Affair is over for tonight; and upon my
Word, I am heartily glad of it, for I have been in very sweating
Circumstances ever since it began, but especially since Sir Isaac came
to Life. I was afraid that single incident would have damned our whole
Intrigue; but thanks to the Gentlemen of the Gown, I now begin to
have some hopes we shall succeed. I have done my Master's Business
completely, and as Executors go, I do not think that I have been too
partial to myself--I believe there are several honest Gentlemen who
walk the 'Change and go to Church constantly [who] would have thought
they acted very generously if they had given Bellair even an equal
Dividend--but I beg Pardon--you are to judge, not I, and unless you
approve the Deed, I shall denounce my Share of the Legacy.

    _For should our Will in Westminster be tried
    The Right, I fear, would fall on t'other side.
    Here you are absolute; confirm my Cause.
    If you approve--a Figg for Courts and Laws!_


FINIS



THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZED:

OR

THE PLAGUE OF ENVY[5]

PROLOGUE[6]


    Of all good Printing it is hardest sure
    To form a perfect Piece in Miniature.
    The Genius and the Pencil when confined
    Cramp both the Painter's Hand and Poet's Mind.
    Let then the Author claim a kinder Fate
    Whose Compass little,--yet his Subject great.
    Thus for our Petit Piece we crave your Favour,
    And if she bear one Sketch of Nature, save her--
    _Let not your Wrath against the Author rise,
    If he to Flight presumes to criticize.
    Our humble Wren attempts to mount and sing,
    Beneath the Shelter of his Eagle's Wing._

    Envy's a general Vice from which we see
    No Country, Sex, no Time or Station free;
    Not e'en the Stage; for entre nous I fear
    Our Emulation is meer Envy here.
    Whatever the Pursuits our Thoughts engage,
    Envy's the ruling Passion of the Stage.
    Yet here our Friends the Poets much surpass us;
    Envy's a Weed that almost choaks Parnassus.
    And what amazes most is often found
    Mixt in the Harvest of the richest Ground.
    While Poets railed and ruined in each Page,
    We took it all for pure poetick Rage.
    While ev'ry little Slip was made the Handle,
    And Satire's specious Name concealed the Scandal,
    We thought that Virtue did this Warmth impart,
    Nor saw low Envy lurking in the Heart.
    Our Indignation into Grief was turned,
    E'en those, who felt the Smart, admired and mourned.
    The scribbling unsuccessful envious Fool
    Is the fit Subject for our Ridicule.
    Those Sons of Dulness here in Crowds resort,
    Tho' Dunces on the Record of this Court.
    As they were wounded, so they wish to wound,
    And strive to deal their own Damnation round.
    To blast young Merit all their Powers they bring,
    And set their little Souls upon the thing.
    Yet still the wretched Fool comes off a Loser,
    Dulness, like Conscience, is its own Accuser.
    And Tyrant Envy can at once impart
    Sneers to the Face and Vultures to the Heart.

    Then from this Subject which tonight we chuse,
    At least confess it is an honest Muse.
    A Foe to ev'ry Party, ev'ry Faction;
    For lo, she draws her Pen against Detraction.

P.S. You may send it to the Barbers.



DRAMATIS PERSONAE


    CANKER
    LADY CRITICK
    HEARTLY
    HARRIET
    SIR PATRICK BASHFULL
    MRS. CHATTER
    NIBBLE
    TRIFLE
    PLAGIARY
    GRUBWIT
    BUMPKIN
    FOOTMAN

_Scene in Lady_ CRITICK's _House_

The Time an hour after the New Play on the first Night



THE NEW PLAY CRITICIZED:

OR

THE PLAGUE OF ENVY

          (_Enter_ CANKER _and_ FOOTMAN)


_Cank._ Is not my Man come in yet?

_Foot._ No, Sir.

_Cank._ Pray will you oblige me by letting one of your Servants step
to Covent Garden Playhouse to look for him.

_Foot._ I'll go myself, Sir; for I shan't be wanted 'till my Lady
comes from the Play.          (_Exit_)

_Cank._ Let me see (_pulling out his Watch_) 'tis now half an hour
after Seven. By this time the Fate of the Suspicious Husband is
determined; applauded to the Skies; or damned beyond Redemption; its
Author crowned with Laurel, or covered with Shame. Sure they can't
approve it! And yet the Stings I felt at the reading [of] it give me
presaging Pangs of its Success. (_Sighs deeply_) It has its Beauties I
must confess. Why should I thus grieve at a young Author's approaching
Fame? His Throes and Pangs lest it should fail have been far short of
mine lest it should succeed; nor would the Author's Joy for its kind
Reception equal my secret Rapture at its irretrievable Disgrace. What
is this that like a slow but infallible Poison corrodes my Vitals and
destroys my Peace of Mind? Emulation? (_Shakes his head and sighs_) I
am afraid the World will call it Envy. All Mankind has some, but
Authors most; and we can better brook a Rival in our Love than in our
Fame. What can detain this Rascal? I am upon the Rack to know how it
goes on--let me see, in what Manner would I have it treated? In the
first Act I would have them applaud it violently,--in the second and
third be coldly attentive,--in the fourth begin to groan, horse laugh
and whistle,--and in the fifth just before the Catastrophe, one and
all cry aloud, off, off, off! The Epilogue! The Epilogue! O that would
be delightful! Exquisite!

          (_Enter_ FOOTMAN)

So Sir! You Blockhead, how came you to stay so long? But first tell me
how the Play was received; whereabouts did they begin to hiss?

_Foot._ Hiss! he, he, he, Lard, Zir, why they did not hiss at all.

_Cank._ You lye, you Rascal! (_Gives him a box_)

_Foot._ Zir!

_Cank._ I say they did hiss.

_Foot._ Hiss quotha!--I am zure you have made my Ear hiss--and zing
too, I think; why pray Zir, what did'st give me such a Wherrit var?

_Cank._ How shamefully I expose my weakness to my Servant. I would
know the truth, but I cannot bear to hear it. (_Aside_) Come, Sir,
tell me (_Sits down in a great Chair_) how was it received? But first
what made you stay so long? Did I not order you to hearken at the Pit
Door and bring me Word at the end of every Act how it went on?

_Foot._ Yes Zir; you did zo, Zir; but the Vauk zhut the Door, and then
I could zee nothing at all o' the Matter.--Zo I begged them to open
the door as I might zee through it; but they were zo ztout that they
would do no zuch thing, they zaid. Zo then I went up to the Lobby--and
there I met with an auld Vellow Zervant out of Zomersetshire. Zo he
and I went up to the Footman's Gallery that I might give my Vardie of
the matter to your Honour when I came Home.

_Cank._ And why did you not come away at the End of the first Act?

_Foot._ Why faith to tell your Honour the truth it made me laugh zo I
could not vind in my Heart to leave it.

_Cank._ Rascal, how dare you tell me it made you laugh? (_Strikes
him_)

_Foot._ No indeed, Zir, it was a mistake of mine; I mean it made me
cry zo I could not leave it.

_Cank._ Leave your blundering, you blockhead, and tell me how it was
received; did they hiss it?

_Foot._ Yes Zir, yes Zir, there was as much hizzing as when your
Tragedy was acted.

_Cank._ Rascal, how dare you mention that, hissed. (_Strikes him_)

_Foot._ Why what the Devil would you have a Man zay. You be'ent
pleased when I tell you it was clapt, nor you be'ent pleased when I
tell you it was hissed. (_Cries_) But whether you are pleased or no, I
tell you it was clapt very much and was ten times comicaller than your
Tragedy, and made the People laugh more.

(_Runs off for fear of being beat_)

_Cank._ How this ignorant Rascal has teized me by his Account! I can't
tell whether it was damned or saved; he said it was clapt--but he said
afterwards it was hissed--it may be so for _it is impossible mere
Incidents_, which are the chief Merit of this Piece, should make it
succeed! Were I sure of that, would I had gone myself! O what a secret
Rapture should I have had in the hypocritical Exertion of my seeming
good Nature in the Author's behalf. When I was sure it would not serve
him, I would have stabbed and wounded his Fame by my pity for his ill
Success, 'till I had made both him and his Play as contemptible as
Vanity and Dullness, but the Fear of being martyred by its Applause
was insupportable. I could never have survived it.

          (_Enter Mr._ HEARTLY)

_Heart._ Mr. Canker, your most humble Servant.

_Cank._ Mr. Heartly, yours.

_Heart._ Are the Ladies come home from the Play?

_Cank._ Not yet, Sir; weren't you there, Mr. Heartly?

_Heart._ No, Sir, I had some Business of Consequence which prevented
me. _I hear there were prodigious Crowds there and that the House was
full by four o'clock._

_Cank._ I am surprized at that, for I think that this Author has never
writ for the Stage before.

_Heart._ That may be the Reason why he excites such Curiosity now; for
the People look upon every new Author as a Candidate for publick Fame
or Disgrace; and as the Right of Election is vested in them, each
Man's Friendship, Vanity, or Envy prompts him to exert his Authority
the first Night, lest he should never have an Opportunity afterwards.

_Cank._ Well I wish this Gentleman well of his Election. _I knew him
at School and College_, and have some small Acquaintance with him now;
a--a--as a Man I like him extremely, but--as--an--a--a--a--a--an
Author, a, um,--I wish he had not writ, that's all.

_Heart._ Why so Sir, I think there is not a Gentleman in Britain but
might be proud of being the Author of a well wrote Play.

_Cank._ Ha, ha, Lord, Mr.--sure you can't call his a Play. _It is
rather a Pantomime, a thing stuffed with Escapes, Pursuits, Ladders of
Ropes and Scenes in the Dark, all a parcel of Pantomimical Finesses
such as you see every Night at Rich's Entertainments. Ranger is really
the Harlequin and Mr. Strictland Colombine's Husband; though the
Author is an Acquaintance and a Man whom I respect, notwithstanding I
have so contemptible an Opinion of the Play, I heartily wish he may
succeed._

_Heart._ This is a very strange way of showing your Respect, Mr.
Canker.

_Cank._ Sir, I assure you my Censure of the Piece arises from my
Esteem of the Author. I would have him exploded now, that he may not
expose himself by writing again. Besides I have some Concern for the
Publick; it should not be overrun with every Fool _who mistakes
Inclination for Genius_.

_Heart._ Nor plagued with every invidious Wretch who mistakes Envy for
Judgment and Assurance for Parts. If the Suspicious Husband has Merit,
the Publick will reward it; if not they will condemn it.

_Cank._ The Publick! ha, ha, ha, Mr. Heartly, ask any Man of real
Taste and Learning what he thinks of publick Judgment.

_Heart._ 'Tis true they have been often in the wrong, but then it is
always on the good Natured Side. They have sometimes applauded where
perhaps they should have censured, _but there never was an Instance
where they condemned unjustly_.

_Cank._ Yes Sir, they condemned several of my pieces unjustly and
shamefully, and _if they applaud such a piece as the Suspicious
Husband_, I say they have lost all Taste of good Writing and true
Comedy.

_Heart._ O here is my Lady's Woman, Mrs. Chatter: she has been at the
Play and can give us the whole Account of it.

          (_Enter Mrs._ CHATTER _and_ FOOTMAN)

_Mrs. Chat._ Pray Mr. Thomas, be so good as to get me a Glass of
Water.

_Foot._ Yes ma'm. (_Going_)

_Chat._ And pray give this Capuchin and Fan to the Chambermaid.

_Foot._ Yes ma'm.          (_Exit_)

_Chat._ Gentlemen, I beg ten thousand Pardons, but I must sit down a
bit, I am so immensely fatigued.

_Heart._ Pray Mrs. Chatter, what it is Matter?

_Chat._ Matter! The Devil fetch the new Play for me, and the Play-House,
and the Players, and all of them together, for I was never so chagrinned
since I was born.

_Cank._ What you did not like the Play, I suppose, Mrs. Chatter, nor
the Acting.

_Chat._ O quite the contrary, Sir, I never saw a prettier Play in all
my Life, and I think Mr. Ranger the Templer is a charming Fellow! O
lud! I protest I should not care to trust myself with him in his
Chambers--well he made me laugh a thousand times tonight, with his
going up the Ladder of Ropes, and then into the Lady's Chamber, and
his dropping his Hat, and his going to ravish Jacyntha, and a thousand
comical things--but he brings all off at last. (_Enter Footman with a
Glass of Water_) O Mr. Thomas, I thank you. (_Drinks, gives him the
Glass, Footman is going off_) O Mr. Thomas.

_Foot._ Madam.

_Chat._ I vow I am over Shoes and Boots with walking home from the
Playhouse; there was neither Chair nor Coach to be had for Love or
Money; pray will you tell the Chambermaid to leave out some clean
things for me in my Lady's dressing Room.

_Foot._ I shall, Madam. (_Going_)

_Chat._ O one thing more--pray Mr. Thomas, let the Monkey and the
Parrot be removed out of my Lady's dressing Room, for I know she won't
care to converse with them tonight.--The new Comedy I suppose will
engross our Chat for one week at least.

_Foot._ A pox on these Monkeys and Parrots and these second hand
Quality; they require more Attendance than our Ladies.      (_Exit_)

_Heart._ Pray Mrs. Chatter, if you were pleased with the Play and the
Acting, from whence arises your Distress?

_Chat._ From the oddest Accident in the World, Mr. Heartly. You must
know, Mr. Canker, that I am a vast Admirer of the Belles Lettres as my
Lady calls 'em, and never miss the first Night of a new thing--I am as
fond of a new thing as my Lady is and I assure you she often takes my
Judgment upon any new Play or Opera, and the Actors and Actresses. For
you must know, Mr. Canker, I am thought a very tolerable Judge.

_Cank._ Well, but how did the Play succeed?

_Chat._ O immensely.

_Cank._ Was it hissed?

_Chat._ Not once.

_Heart._ Was it applauded?

_Chat._ To an immensity.

_Cank._ Psha! impossible! She knows nothing of the Matter.

_Chat._ No to be sure, Mr. Canker, I know nothing of the Matter
because I did not like your Play; but I would have you to know, Sir,
that my Lady and I know a good Play when we see or read it as well as
you for all your Aristotle and your Cook upon Littleton, and all your
great Criticks.          (_Exit_)

_Cank._ Psha! an ignorant Creature, Mr. Heartly, your Servant; I'll go
and see for the Ladies.

_Heart._ So you have nettled him, Mrs. Chatter.

_Chat._ O hang him, he can't abide me upon your Account and Miss
Harriet's; a conceited envious Wretch; he will allow nobody to have
Judgment but himself.

_Heart._ But pray what was your Distress, Mrs. Chatter?

_Chat._ Why as soon as I had dropped my Lady, away went I to the Play,
and so, Sir, I mobbed it into the Pit--for you must know I admire the
Humour of the Savages in the Pit upon these Occasions of all things;
so, so, Sir, as I was saying my Lady Ramble's Woman who is the most
ignorant Animal in the Creation of the Belles Lettres [and] knows no
more of them than a Welch Attorney, well she and I and my Lord Pride's
Gentleman went together and we had immense fun, ha, ha, ha; we made
the Musick play twenty comical Tunes, and a hundred things besides. I
saw all our Ladies in the side Box and we pantomimed all Night long at
one another, and were immensely merry, and liked the Play vastly well.
There was an infinite [ly] pretty Dance at the End of it--and the
sweetest Epilogue--We encored the Dance--but they begged they might
speak the Epilogue first, so then we clapt immensely, ha, ha.

_Heart._ But I thought, Mrs. Chatter, you were going to give me an
Account of your Distress.

_Chat._ I was so, but I protest I quite forgot it--hark! is not that
our Coach stopped! Yes 'tis they--then--I beg pardon, Mr. Heartly, but
I can't possibly stay to tell you the Story now, for I must run to my
Lady.          (_Exit_)

          (_Enter_ HARRIET)

_Har._ O Mr. Candid, your Servant; you're a gallant Gentleman not to
come to us. O you Clown! You have lost such a Night, such Diversion----

_Heart._ I am glad you were so well entertained, Madam, but you know
it was impossible for me to have the Pleasure of waiting upon you, as
I was obliged to attend my Uncle. Besides, Madam, I had your leave to
be absent. I am glad to hear the Play had such Success; pray how does
my Lady like it?

_Har._ O immoderately!

_Heart._ How happened that? She went prejudiced against it, I am sure.

_Har._ O Canker did insinuate a most villainous character of it to us
all, that's the truth on't; but _Sir Charles Stanza who is a great
Friend of the Author's_ came into our Box and sat there all Night with
us; and what with his Encomiums and the Merit of the Piece, we are all
become most Violent Converts; and now my Lady like a true Proselyte is
for persecuting everybody with the Brand of Idiotism who is out of the
Pale of her Ladyship's Judgment.

_Heart._ A true mark of Biggotry and Ignorance.

_Har._ You know she is as fond of a New Wit, as a City Esquire who is
setting up to be one himself; so she begged Sir Charles would
introduce her to the Author, and he was so very obliging as to promise
to bring him here to sup this very Night.

_Heart._ That was a high Compliment indeed to a Lady of her Fondness
for Authors.

_Har._ O it has won her Heart; she's distracted with it.

_Heart._ But dear Harriet, now to our Affairs. You see there is no
getting the better of this Fellow Canker; he has got the entire
Possession of your Aunt, and she is resolved by Marriage Contract to
give you to him this very Night. What's to be done?

_Har._ What's to be done? Why twenty things; I'll have the Vapours,
Hystericks, Cholick and Madness rather than consent, and at last if my
Aunt does persist, as I am afraid she will, why, like Jacyntha in the
new Play, it is but providing a Ladder of Ropes and a pair of
Breeches, and then the Business is done.

_Heart._ Dear Girl, you have eased my anxious Heart; thus let me pay
my soft Acknowledgment.

_Har._ Thus let me pay my soft Acknowledgment. Ha, ha, ha! (_Mimicking
him_) Upon my Word and Honour you make as ridiculous a Figure as a
whining Lover in a Farce. Prithee let us have done with this
theatrical Cant.

_Heart._ No, Harriet, I can never have done Loving you.

_Har._ Why I don't desire you to have done loving me; I only bid you
have done telling me so--if you would please me, love me more and tell
me less.

_Heart._ Dear kind Creature! (_Kissing her Hand_) Pray what's become
of my Lady?

_Har._ Apropos, do you know that the Irish Beau that we laughed at so
immoderately the other Night at the Opera, came into our Box and set
there all the Play?

_Heart._ Who, Sir Patrick Bashfull?

_Har._ The same. The Rogue has plagued me to Death with his
Civilities, his Compliments and his Blunders; he is the most fulsome
Fellow sure that ever pretended to Politeness.

_Heart._ Yes but the best Jest is that the Rogue is ashamed of his
Country and says he was born in France.

_Har._ Well after sighing and making doux yeux at me all play time, he
would hand me to the Coach; but the Fellow squeezed me so as we went
along, that I was obliged to cry out and pull my hand away; when we
were in the Coach, I thought we had got rid of him, but the Instant
the Footman knocked at our Door, to our great Surprize who should we
find at the Coach side ready to hand us out but our Irish Gallant. We
could not avoid asking him in; he made a Million of Apologies for his
Assurance, but his chief one was that he observed two suspicious
Fellows dogging the Coach, so he followed us home to prevent our being
insulted.

_Heart._ Ha, ha, ha, I think it was a good Irish Excuse; and pray
where is he now?

_Har._ I left him below with my Lady overwhelming her with
Civilities--See here they both come.

          (_Enter Lady_ CRITICK _and Sir_ PATRICK BASHFULL)

_Lady._ Sir Patrick, we are immensely obliged to you for the Trouble
you have taken, and be assured, Sir, we shall languish to perpetuity
'till time shall produce a favourable opportunity of my making a
suitable Return.

_Sir Pat._ O dear Madam, every Man of Gallantry must esteem the bare
Serving of your Ladyship an unmentionable Honour, which ought to be
held in the highest Estimation; and I protest to you, if this Accident
happens to be productive of a Friendly Intimation betwixt a Personage
of your Ladyship's Wit and Politeness and your humble Slave, I shall
from thence date the Era of my past and future happiness tho' I was to
live an Age of Misery afterwards.

_Heart._ O the blundering fulsome Rogue! (_Aside to Harriet_)

_Lady._ Really I am at a Loss how to return this great Civility.

_Sir Pat._ O Lord, Madam, not in the least--You are only pleased to
compliment.          (_They compliment in dumbshew apart_)

_Har._ See, see, Sir Patrick and my Lady what pains they take to shew
their Politeness.

_Lady._ And I shall be proud of the Honour of a Visit whenever it
suits the Inclination and Conveniency of Sir Patrick Bashfull.

_Sir Pat._ Madam, je suis votre tres humble.

_Lady._ O dear Sir Patrick, you are infinitely polite. (_Turning about
to Heartly and Harriet_) O Mr. Heartly, I am sorry you did not come to
us; I pity you, you have lost such a Night.

_Heart._ I am glad to hear your Ladyship was so agreeably entertained.

_Lady._ Immensely! _It is the highest Entertainment the Age has
produced._

_Sir Pat._ By my Integrity, Madam, I have the Honour to be of your
Ladyship's Opinion. It is the prettiest Entertainment I have seen upon
the English Theatre, except Orpheus and Eurydice, where the Serpent
is--(_Going up to Heartly_) Sir, I have not the Pleasure of being
known to you--but I should be proud to have the Honour of an Intimacy
with a Gentleman of your polite Parts and Understanding.

_Heart._ Sir, I am greatly obliged to you.

_Sir Pat._ You must know, Sir, I am but just come into the Kingdom of
London, and as I am an entire Stranger here, I should be glad to be
acquainted with everybody in the Beau Monde, but with none so soon as
a Gentleman of Mr.--pray Sir, what's your Name?

_Heart._ Sir, my Name is Heartly.

_Sir Pat._ Sir, I am your most obedient humble Servant, and your
sincere Friend and Acquaintance likewise--tho' I have the Honour only
to be a Stranger to you as yet.

_Heart._ Sir, your humble Servant.

_Lady._ What a well bred Manner he has.

_Sir Pat._ I hope, Sir, you will excuse my Modesty on this Occasion.

_Heart._ O dear Sir, your Modesty I dare answer for it will never
stand in need of any Excuse.

_Sir Pat._ O your very--Sir, I hope you will likewise pardon my
Neglect of not introducing myself sooner to your Acquaintance, but I
assure you, Sir, the Reason was because I never saw you before.

_Heart._ Sir, your Reason is unanswerable; your Name I think is
Bashfull, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ Sir Patrick Bashfull at your Service.

_Heart._ Of the Bashfulls of Ireland I presume, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ No Sir, I am originally descended from the Fitz-Bashfulls
of France--tho' indeed our Family was of Irish Distraction first of
all.

_Heart._ Your Title is of Ireland I suppose, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ And most Courts of Europe, Sir; I have an intimate Interest
with them all, and should be proud to do you any Service with any of
them from the Court of Versailles down to the distressed State of
Genoa.

_Heart._ Sir, you are infinitely obliging.

_Lady._ Well but, Mr. Heartly, you will go with us tomorrow Night?

_Heart._ By all means, Madam.

_Lady._ I have taken a Box for twenty Night; don't you think it will
run so long, Sir Patrick?

_Sir Pat._ Indeed I believe it will, my Lady, and twenty days too--for
it is a charming thing. Pray Madam, is it not one of Shakespear's?

_Lady._ O Lud no, Sir--it is entirely new, never was acted before.

_Sir Pat._ _I protest, Madam, it is so very fine I took it for one of
Shakespear's--for you must know, Madam, that I am a great Admirer of
Shakespear and Milton's Comedies--they are very diverting. O they have
fine long Soliloquies in them--to be or not to be, that's the
Dispute--Don't you think, Madam, that's a charming fine Play--that
Hamlet Prince of Dunkirk, and Othello Moor of Venus they say is a very
deep Comedy, but I never saw it acted._

_Lady._ To be sure Shakespear was a very tolerable Author for the
time, Sir Patrick, he writ in, but--a--he was excessively incorrect.
Don't you think he was, Mr. Heartly?

_Heart._ Extremely so, my Lady.

_Lady._ Well this Comedy is quite Aristotelian, with an infinity of
Plot--quite tip top--You will like it immensely; it is quite a high
thing.

_Heart._ To be sure nobody has a more elegant Taste of Works of Genius
than your Ladyship, particularly of the Drama.

_Lady._ Why really, Mr. Heartly, I think I have some tolerable Ideas
of the finer Arts. Mr. Canker, who is allowed to have more critical
Learning than any man since Zoilus, says I have an Exquisite Taste of
Dramatick Rules--I have given him several hints in his Plays--and have
sometimes writ an Entire Scene for him.

_Heart._ To be sure, Madam, your Knowledge is indisputable--but I am
afraid Mr. Canker will call your Judgment in question about this New
Play, for he rails at it excessively.

_Lady._ He did abuse it to an infinite Degree before it came out; but
he will soon be convinced when he hears my Judgment of it, and to tell
you a Secret, Mr. Heartly, I am a little picqued at him for speaking
so ill of it--for I have a great Regard for the Author. Sir Charles
Stanza is to bring him to sup tonight, and we are to be immensely
intimate, and there is nothing I like so much as an Acquaintance with
a new Author.

          (_Enter_ FOOTMAN)

_Foot._ Mr. Advocate the Lawyer is come to wait on your Ladyship.

_Lady._ O he has brought the Marriage Articles; Harriet, I hope all
your Objections to Mr. Canker are removed, for this Night he is to
declare his Passion either for you or your Sister, and if you should
be his Choice, I desire as you have any regard for me that you will
receive him with Respect and Esteem. He has an immense deal of Wit,
and a most refined Understanding; as you are at my disposal, I expect
an implicit Acceptance of the Person I shall recommend.

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Honour, my Lady, tho' I know nothing at all of the
Matter, I think you talk very reasonably. Shall I have the Honour of
your Ladyship's Hand?          (_Exit Sir Patrick and Lady Critick_)

_Har._ Well Sir, Matters are brought to a Crisis.

_Heart._ They are so, and I see no Remedy but the old one.

_Har._ Pray Sir, what is that?

_Heart._ What you resolved on just now--Jacyntha's----

_Har._ What, running away? No, no, Sir, I don't think that quite so
necessary to our Plot as it was to theirs; it will be time enough to
put that Scheme in Execution when every thing else fails.

_Heart._ But dear Harriet, what's to be done? You see that Canker
pretends a Passion for you, and your Aunt is fully determined on the
Match--I will openly avow my Love----

_Har._ Not for your Life. That would infallibly ruin us. Let my Lady
and Canker still imagine you are fond of my Sister. You and she have
dissembled it so well hitherto, that they are convinced of it; let
them continue in their Error, for if Canker gets the least Suspicion
of your Tendre for me, so inveterate is his Envy, that he would though
he loved another, infallibly make me his Choice.

_Heart._ I am convinced.

_Har._ The Wretch loves me, his Behaviour at least makes me think so;
if he does, I will probe his Heart and raise such a Conflict in it
between Love and Envy as shall soon decide which is his most
predominant Passion. See here [he] comes; be gone. [_Exit Heartly_] He
must not see us together.

          (_Enter_ CANKER)

_Har._ O Mr. Canker, your Servant; we are infinitely obliged to you
for your Company at the New Play.

_Cank._ Madam, I beg a Million of Pardons for disappointing you. I had
an intolerable Head Ache which rendered me incapable of the Happiness
of waiting on you.

_Har._ Nay that won't pass for an Excuse; being there would have cured
your Head Ache; the clapping and laughing would have diverted and
drove it away.

_Cank._ Yes into my Heart. (_Aside_) Madam, I have often tried and
found that kind of Noise increased my Disorder.

_Har._ I fancy, Mr. Canker, because you are sure of my Aunt's Consent
that you begin to exert the Husband already and are ashamed to be seen
with me in Publick.

_Cank._ Madam, you wrong me; the Husband shall be lost in the Lover.
My Heart knows no Sensation but from your heavenly Image.

_Har._ O dear Mr. Canker, you had better keep this Poetic Nonsense
'till you write a Tragedy--It may pass then--But in such a Scene as
ours your Brother Criticks will certainly laugh at it; besides, you
have said all these fine things to me a thousand times; it is now time
to drop them, and instead of Fustian speak plain Common Sense. My Aunt
has promised and vowed in my Name, and this Night by Contract resolved
to make up a Conjugal Match between you and I, but before we play for
so large a Stake as Matrimony, is it not proper to have a good Opinion
and a thorough Knowledge of the Skill and Integrity of our Partners
that we are to play with?

_Cank._ Sure Madam, you cannot doubt the sincerity of my Heart?

_Har._ Um--why you Men are a kind of Sharpers in Love; you lose
trifles to us in Courtship in order to make us the greater Bubbles in
Marriage; therefore, like fair Gamesters, let us play upon the Square
by letting each other know what they have to trust to.

_Cank._ Madam, my Heart is open to your Dictates; write your own Laws
in it.

_Har._ If you will let me write them in my Marriage Articles, Sir, I
shall think my Obligation to you much greater.

_Cank._ With all my Heart, Madam. Name your own Conditions; I will
subscribe to them.

_Har._ Generous indeed, Mr. Canker; know then that I shall insist upon
an entire Change not only in your Conduct but even in your way of
thinking which will make you more agreeable to yourself and less
hateful to everybody else.

_Cank._ Madam!

_Har._ It is a general Observation behind your back, however
complaisant People may be to your Face, that Envy is your predominant
Passion and directs in all you say or do. "As ill natured and as
Envious as Canker" is a common Simile among your Friends; and may in
time grow into a Proverb, Sir, unless you change your Conduct.

_Cank._ Madam, when the Ignorant presume to judge of the finer Arts----

_Har._ Sir, your Satire is ill Nature--and your Judgment Envy.
Therefore if you have any hopes of me, you must reverse your Temper
and come into the following Treaty: In the first place instead of
making it the Business of your Life to wound the Reputation of your
Scribblers on all Occasions and explode their Plays, you must
endeavour to support them; what if you think their Productions bad,
good or bad, you must approve.--Item, I insist that you look upon me
as your Minerva, and that for the future you never presume to
Scribble, Applaud, or Condemn without first consulting me.

_Cank._ Madam, I have a better Opinion of your Understanding than to
think you mean all this seriously.

_Har._ Upon my Honour, then you are mistaken; I shall not marry any
Man who dares refuse to comply with these Articles--So, Sir, if you
think well of them, I desire you will give me an Instance of your
Obedience and Sincerity by going with me to the new Comedy tomorrow
Night, and publickly expressing the highest Applause at it.

_Cank._ Madam, you may with as much Justice ask me to reverse my
Affections, to love what I loath, and detest what I admire. No Madam,
Posterity shall never say such a wretched Performance as the
Suspicious Husband had the _sanction of Francis Canker_.

_Har._ Then, Sir, your humble Servant--I am glad I know your Mind. Our
Treaty ends here. (_Going, he holds her_)

_Cank._ Dear Harriet, stay! Why will you urge me to a Behaviour so
contrary to my Nature? Consider, Madam, how ridiculous it will make me
appear to the World. Why People will think me mad.

_Har._ You are mistaken, Sir; they will only think that your good
Nature has at last got the better of your Envy.

_Cank._ Well but Madam----

_Har._ Well but Sir, I insist that you clap and laugh, nay and that
you cry too.

_Cank._ Cry, Madam?

_Har._ Ay, cry, Sir--as soon as you see Mr. Strictland acknowledge his
Error and sue to be reconciled to his Wife; if you have one humane
particle in your Composition, I insist upon your Sympathizing with his
conscious Heart by dropping a manly Tear along with him.

_Cank._ Madam, I can't come into all you command but what I can I
will. When other People laugh, I'll cry, and when they cry, I'll
laugh. Will that content you?

_Har._ O mighty well, Sir! Mighty well! I see you turn my Proposals
into ridicule.          (_Exit Harriet_)

_Cank._ What shall I do? Was ever Man laid under such a Restraint by a
_trifling_ Woman! The Bawble and Gewgaw of the Creation! Made for
Man's Conveniency, his Slave not his Tyrant! To part with my right of
Censuring, my Judgment, my Understanding! S'Death, I would as soon
part with my----

          (_Enter a_ SERVANT)

_Serv._ Zir, here's Master Grubwit come to zeek you.

_Cank._ Desire him to walk in.

          (_Enter_ GRUBWIT)

_Cank._ Dear Grubwit, how came you to stay so long? You need not tell
me of the Success! I have been sufficiently mortified with it already!
Where is Plagiary?

_Grub._ Talking with my Lady Critick and the rest of the Company.

_Cank._ Did you call in at the Coffee House?

_Grub._ Yes, or we should have been with you sooner.

_Cank._ Well, and what's the Opinion there?

_Grub._ Um--why faith, I am sorry to say it--but it is--generally
liked; there is Trifle and a few more of his Size of Understanding in
Rapture about it; he avers Antiquity never produced so correct nor so
entertaining a Piece, and in his extravagant Manner, returns Jupiter
thanks for his having lived in a time when such a Comedy was written.

_Cank._ Blockheads! Fools! Idiots! what signifies Taste or Learning if
such Wretches are suffered to have Sway in the Commonwealth of Letters!

          (_Enter_ PLAGIARY)

_Plag._ A blundering Blockhead! He pretend to give his Judgment upon
Writing!

_Cank._ What's the matter, Plagiary?

_Plag._ Why there's that staring Irish Baronet blundering out such
fulsome Praise upon the New Play as is enough to make a sensible Man
sick--I did but offer an Objection or two and my Lady Critick and the
whole Knot opened upon me like a Pack of Hounds--I was forced to quit
the Room.

_Cank._ I am amazed at my Lady Critick's liking it but I will soon
convince her of her Error. But dear Plagiary, was there no
Opportunity, nor no Attempt to hinder its Success?

_Plag._ _Not after it begun; before indeed, there was as promising a
Spirit in the Pit as ever made an Author's Heart ache. They whistled,
hollowed and catcalled and interrupted the Prologue for above ten
Minutes._

_Cank._ Ay! That looked charming!

_Plag._ O delightful!--I would not have given Sixpence to have secured
its Destruction--everybody around me concluded it a gone Play.

_Grub._ And so the[y] did about me I assure you.

_Plag._ If they had been possessed with the Spirit of Zoilus, they
could not have behaved better before the Prologue was spoke; but the
Instant the Curtain was drawn up, their Clamour changed to a fixed
Attention, and their Prejudice to burst of Applause which made the
Ring.

_Cank._ What, no hissing at all?

_Plag._ No, Sir!

_Cank._ Nor Catcalling?

_Plag._ None.

_Cank._ Nor groaning?

_Plag._ Not one, Sir.

_Cank._ Well if such Plays go down----

_Plag._ I pulled out my Handkerchief and blowed--and coughed--and
hawked--and spit, a hundred times I believe, (_Makes a noise by
blowing in his Handkerchief_) but was constantly interrupted with
"Silence--pray, Sir, be silent--let us hear."

_Grub._ I heard you from the other side of the Pit and did the same
but was interrupted too by the Fools about me.

_Cank._ To see the partiality of Audiences--Idiots--damn 'em, they
never would attend to a Play of mine.

_Grub._ Nor mine.

_Plag._ No nor mine.

_Cank._ They always begun with me in the first Act by calling for the
Epilogue. Dear Plagiary, do you think this thing will run?

_Plag._ I am afraid so.

_Cank._ _Why then your Tragedy cannot come out this year_----

_Plag._ No Sir, nor your Comedy.

_Grub._ Nor my Mask.

_Cank._ Isn't it monstrous that the Publick must be deprived of such
an excellent performance as your Mask is, which is preferable to
anything Milton ever wrote for such a wretched _flimsy piece of
Stuff_?

_Grub._ Upon my word, Sir, I think the Publick is much worse used in
respect of your Comedy, which has the Art and Character of Johnson,
the Ease and Elegance of Etheridge, the Wit of Congreve, and the happy
ridiculum of Moliere; and is indisputably the best that has been
written in our Language.

_Plag._ Was there ever such Injustice shewn in a Theatre as the
setting aside my Tragedy _which has the Approbation of all the Judges
in England_?

_Cank._ It is severe Treatment no Doubt on't for your Piece stands in
the first Class of Tragedy; it is written according to the strictest
French Rules, and for the true Sublime as far beyond Shakespear as
Banks is beneath him. But what signifies the Excellence of a Piece?
Neither your Tragedy, my Comedy, nor your Mask can come on. The Stage
is quite monopolized for this Year if this Thing, I can't call it a
Play, is suffered to run.

_Plag._ Ay, and what is worse, if some means is not found out to check
it, ten to one but we shall be plagued with another next year.

_Grub._ Well, what's to be done?

_Cank._ Why Gentlemen, it is a Common Cause, and requires an active
Opposition. We must try fairly to hunt it down by Journals, Epigrams
and Pamphlets;--you must attack the Characters,--you the Sentiments
and Dialogue, while I expose the Moral and the Fable.

_Plag._ With all my Heart.

_Grub._ Agreed. And now let us join the Company and try if we can't
bring them over to our Party; for tho' the most of them are Idiots,
yet they will serve to fill up the Cry, which you know is the present
Test of Right and Wrong.          (_Exit_)

_Plag._ Pray did you ever read his Mask?

_Cank._ I attempted to read it several times but could never get
through it.

_Plag._ It is the vilest Thing sure that ever dullness produced.
And yet the Fools are as fond of it as if Apollo and the Nine
had approved it. Amazing that Men can be so blind to their own
Foibles.          (_Exit_)

_Cank._ I am sure if you were not as great a Stranger to your own
Dullness as you are to Apollo and the Nine, as you quaintly call
them, you would never think of writing a Tragedy. But most Writers
are such vain, envious Coxcombs, and busy themselves so continually
in the pleasing Search of other People's Faults, that they never
have time to look into their own. For this Blockhead now, who has
no more Imagination than a Dutch Burgomaster, because he can common
place Corneille and Racine, sets up for the Euripides of the Age,
and has the Vanity to prefer his sleepy, lumpish Tragedy to my Comedy
which has that Viscomica, that fine Ridiculum of Human Nature which
Caesar so lauded in the Greek and so regretted the Want of in the
Roman Poet.          (_Exit_)

          (_Enter_ HARRIET _and_ HEARTLY)

_Har._ O I have teazed the Wretch 'till his Envy shook him like the
Ague fit.

_Heart._ And I have praised the Play and flattered my Lady's Judgment
to such a Degree of Pride and Obstinancy as will never bear
Contradiction again. No successful Poet after his Ninth Night was ever
so brimfull of Vanity as I have made her Ladyship. She run[s] over
with folly.

_Har._ Let me tell you, Sir, Trifle makes a pretty ridiculous Figure
upon this Occasion.

_Heart._ And indeed upon any Occasion; he never departs from his
Character. I left him, and that other Coxcomb Nibble, in the most
ridiculous dispute about the Rules of Criticism, and what was high,
and what was low Comedy, and what was Farce, that ever was heard. Sir
Patrick, he got into the Squabble with them, and did so contradict
himself and them, and did so flounder and blunder that they had all
gone to Loggerheads if my Lady hadn't stepped in and pre-emptorily
decided the point.

_Har._ O delightful! I should have liked that of all things. See here
the Knight comes; let us play him off a little.

_Heart._ With all my Heart.

          (_Enter Sir_ PATRICK)

_Heart._ Sir Patrick, your humble Servant, have you settled the
Argument between Nibble and Trifle at last?

_Sir Pat._ Yes, yes, I settled it as dead as a Door Nail betwixt them.

_Heart._ Which way, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ Why I told them they were both wrong and knew nothing at
all of the Matter, but they did not believe me so they went to it
again, and there I left them.--(_Seeing Harriet, addresses her_)
Madam, I am your most obedient Slave and humble Servant! 'Till death
do us part.

_Har._ O Sir Patrick, you are superlatively obliging. (_Curtzying very
low_) I am afraid, Sir Patrick, that is more than my short
Acquaintance with you can merit.

_Sir Pat._ O Madam, you merit more than human Nature can bestow upon
you. You are all perfection, beautiful as Venus, and as wise as
Medusa.

_Both._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Heart._ Medusa! Ha, ha, ha, Minerva I believe you mean.

_Sir Pat._ Faith I believe so too; but one may easily mistake; you
know they are so very much alike, especially as they are both Heathen
Gods too.

_Both._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Heart._ Very true, Sir.

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Honour, Madam, I have travelled over several of the
Terrestial Globes both by Land and Sea and I never saw so fair a
Creature as your Ladyship, but one, and she was an Indian Queen and
black as a Raven.

_Har._ Pray Sir, in all your Travels were you never in Ireland?

_Sir Pat._ I was in Paris, Madam; I lived there all my Life. Parlez
vous Francois?

_Har._ Sir, I don't understand your speaking French very well.

_Sir Pat._ Oui, Madamoiselle, je le parle Francois, but I cannot speak
a word of Irish tho' I was often taken for an Irish Gentleman when I
was abroad--because you must know I used to converse very much with
them.

_Har._ And pray, Sir, in all your Travels through the Terrestial
Globes by Land and Sea, are you sure you never were in Ireland?

_Sir Pat._ No, Madam, I can't say positively--Stay--let me remember if
I can--Ireland--Ireland--tho' to tell you the Truth, Madam, _I have a
very bad Memorandum_.

_Both._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Sir Pat._ Faith, Madam, I can't find by my Brain that ever I was so
happy as to visit that Kingdom.

_Har._ I wonder at that, Sir, for all Gentlemen of Taste visit Ireland
in their Travels. It's famous for not having venemous Creatures in it,
I think.

_Sir Pat._ Not one, Madam, from the beginning of the World to the
Creation. For I remember there was a Toad brought over there once, and
as soon as ever he died. Madam, upon my Honour, they could not bring
it to Life again.

_Har._ No! That was very surprizing, ha, ha.

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Word and Honour, Madam, 'tis as true as the Alcorn,
for I stood there with these two Eyes and saw it.

_Har._ Then I find you have been in Ireland, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ In Ireland, Madam. (_Aside_--What the Devil have I said.
Now I am afraid I have committed a Blunder here.) Yes, Madam, now I
remember I was there once about two or three Months ago--I went over
with a Lady for my Diversion--She went there to travel so I went to
shew her the Country because we were both Strangers in it. But really,
Madam, it was so long ago that I quite forgot it, and as I told you
before, Madam, I have a very treacherous Heart at remembering Things
when once I forgot them.

_Har._ You are to be excused, Sir, for to be sure a Gentleman that has
travelled so much as you have done must have a very treacherous Heart
at remembering things. For it is common Observation that Travellers
always have bad Memories.

_Sir Pat._ O the worst in the World, Madam, for they go into so many
Inns and Taverns upon the Road, and into so many Towns and Villages
and Steeples and Churches, that it is impossible to Memorandum all the
Kingdoms a Man travels through.

_Heart._ Ha, ha, ha. Pray Sir, in your Travels in Ireland, if your
heart will let you recollect it, what sort of usage did you meet with?

_Sir Pat._ O the best behaved usage that ever I met with in all the
born days of my Life, Sir--I'll tell you what, Madam, now if you were
a strange Gentleman and travelling there and happened to come within a
Mile of a Gentleman's House when you were benighted so that you could
not find your way to it, upon my Honour you might lie there all Night
and not cost you a halfpenny, tho' you had never a farthing of Money
in your Pocket.

_Both._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Heart._ That is very hospitable, I must confess, to let one lie
within a Mile of their House.

_Sir Pat._ Lord, Madam, there are not so hospitable and good natured
People in the World.

_Heart._ I think, Sir, the Irish are reckoned very great Scholars.

_Sir Pat._ O dear, Madam, yes indeed, very great Scholars. They play
Back Gammon the best of any Men in the World, _better than all the
Bishops in England_.

_Har._ Then you have several good Poets in Ireland.

_Sir Pat._ Yes to be sure, Sir, there is hardly a Gentleman there but
knows every one of the Ninety Nine Muses, and can speak all the
Mechanical Sciences by Heart, and most of the liberal Languages except
Irish and Welch.

_Har._ And how happens it that they don't speak their own Language?

_Sir Pat._ Because, Madam, they are ashamed of it; it has such a
rumbling Sound with it. Now when I was upon my Travels I liked the
Language so well that I learned it. Madam, if it won't be over and
above encumbersome to your sweet Ladyship, I will sing you an Irish
Song I learnt there--it was made upon a beautiful young Creature that
I was in Love wi[th] there, one Mrs. Gilgifferaghing.

_Har._ Not at all encumbersome; I dare swear it will be very
entertaining.

_Sir Pat._ Hem, hem, hem. (_Sings an Irish Song_)

_Har._ I protest, Sir, you have a great deal of very diverting Humour;
and upon my Word you sing extremely well. For my part, I think Irish
singing is as diverting as Italian.

_Sir Pat._ O Madam, that is more my Deserts than your Goodness to say
so.

_Both._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Har._ I am surprized the Directors of the Opera do not send over to
Ireland for a Set of Irish Singers.

_Sir Pat._ O no, Madam, it would never do; the Irishmen would never
make good Singers.

_Har._ Why so, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ Lord, Madam, as soon as ever they would come to England,
the English Ladies would be so very fond of them that it would spoil
their Voices--besides, Madam, they are not so well qualified for it as
the Italians.

_Har._ We are generally speaking very fond of the Irish Gentlemen to
be sure, but there is no avoiding it,--they have so much Wit and
Assurance and are such agreeable handsome Fellows.

_Sir Pat._ O Lord, Madam, we Gentlemen of Ireland look upon ourselves
to be the handsomest men in England.

_Heart._ Then you are an Irish Man, Sir?

_Sir Pat._ An Irish Man,--poh, what the Devil shall I say now?
(_Aside_) No my Life, I am no Irishman at all, not I upon my
Honour--but my Mother was one--and so I call that my Country sometimes
out of a Joke--that's all--I an Irishman--no, no--no, I'faith you may
know by my Tongue that I am no Irishman.

_Har._ O then it is your Mother that was an Irishman?

_Sir Pat._ Yes, Madam, she was born and bred in Ireland all the Days
of her Life, but she was educated in England.

_Heart._ Ha, ha, ha, this is more than one in Reason could have
expected. This Fellow is more diverting and more blundering than his
Countryman in the Committee. [_Aside_]

_Har._ See, here come Mr. Nibble and Mr. Trifle in warm debate;
prithee let us leave them to themselves and go see how my Lady and
Canker have agreed in their Judgments about this New Play.

_Sir Pat._ With all my Heart, Madam; for really I am tired with these
two Gentlemen before they come near us, they are so very
silly--(_Pushing between Harriet and Heartly_) I beg Pardon, Mr.
Heartly, but I must do the Lady the Honour to give her the Acceptation
of my Hand. I hope you will excuse my bashfullness, Madam, that I did
not do it sooner.

_Har._ Sir Patrick, you are the most courteous well bred Knight that
ever broke Spear in a Lady's Defence.

_Sir Pat._ Faith I am of your Opinion in that, Madam, for I think I am
a clever loose Fellow.          (_Exeunt_)

          (_Enter_ NIBBLE _and_ TRIFLE)

_Trif._ Dear Nibble, don't let you and I quarrel which we certainly
must if you persist in crying down so admired a Piece. For Dullness
seize me if I don't defend it to the last Extremity of critical
Obstinancy.

_Nib._ Dear Tim: don't call it critical, but fashionable Obstinancy,
for you know very well that Judgment and you are old Antagonists.

_Trif._ Ha, ha, ha, give me your Hand for that, Nibble; faith that was
not said amiss--But as I have some regard for you, don't persist in
shewing your weakness lest you oblige me to draw my parts upon you,
and if I do, expect no Quarter; by all that's witty, I'll pink the
Midriff of your Ignorance as a friendly cure to your sickly
Understanding.

_Nib._ Tim Trifle, I defy your Parts; they are as blunt and as dull as
a Welch Pedant's. I do and shall persist in, asserting to the last
Extremity of my critical Judgment that the Piece has glaring
Faults--monstrous.

_Trif._ What Faults? What Faults? Prithee name one!

_Nib._ Why in the first place I insist upon it, and I will prove it up
to mathematical Demonstration, that the Title of it is quite expotic.

_Trif._ Expotic?

_Nib._ Ay, immensely expotic! so expotic that the Play ought to have
been hissed for it. The Suspicious Husband! Is not that an egregious
Error? I am sure every Person who has the least Taste of the Drama
must allow it to be an unpardonable Fault--quite a
Misnomer--absolutely expotic.

_Trif._ Now by Aristotle's Beard, I think there could not have been so
happy a Title found out of the Alphabet.

_Nib._ Nay prithee now, Tim[7] Trifle, what do you understand by the
word Suspicion?

_Trif._ Dear Nick, every Mortal knows what Suspicion means; Suspicion
comes from Suspicio, that is when any Person suspects another.

_Nib._ Well I won't dispute your Definition but upon my Honour I think
it should have been the Jealous Husband.

_Trif._ He, he, lud, Nibble, that would have been the most absurd
Title in the Creation. Well Nick, have you anything else in the Play
to find fault with?

_Nib._ Yes, I think Ranger's Dress is another egregious Fault in it.

_Trif._ His Dress a Fault in the Play?

_Nib._ Ay, and intolerable one.

_Trif._ Nay don't say that, Nick--because if you do I must laugh at
you. Why all the World admires his Dress. _That is thought one of the
best things in the Play._

_Nib._ Well now I will mention a Criticism which I defy the warmest of
Words to defend.

_Trif._ Well, prithee what's that, Nibble?

_Nib._ Why you know Ranger's hat is laced; that I think you must
allow; that is obvious to everybody.

_Trif._ Well, well, granted, my dear Nibble, it is laced.

_Nib._ Why then I aver by all the Rules of Criticism to make the
improbability out of imposing upon Mr. Strickland, that Jacyntha's Hat
ought to be laced too, and by all that is absurd it is a plain one.

_Trif._ Well come, there is something in that; that is a Fault I must
confess, that is a Fault by gad.

_Nib._ O an unpardonable one; I assure you Jack Wagwit and a parcel of
us was going to hiss the whole Scene upon that Account.

_Trif._ No, no, that would have been cruel; you know Homer himself
sometimes nodded. Don't take any Notice of it to anybody, and it shall
be altered tomorrow Night. I'll speak to the Author about it--O here's
my Lady and Mr. Canker--now for a thorough Criticism upon it.

          (_Enter Lady_ CRITICK, CANKER, HEARTLY, HARRIET _and
          Sir_ PATRICK)

_Lady._ Well, I protest Mr. Canker, I am surprized at your Judgment.
You will certainly be laughed at by all the Polite part of the World.

_Cank._ Madam, I hold the Vulgar in as much Contempt as I do the
Rabble in the Shilling Gallery; both Herds are ignorant, and praise
and condemn, or censure or applau[d], not from a Judgment in the Art,
which should be the Director, but from the ignorant Dictates of
Nature: mere Affection, like Moliere's old Woman.

_Heart._ Well, for my Part, I shall always prefer the irregular Genius
who from mere Affection compels me to laugh or cry, to the regular
Blockhead who makes me sleep according to Rule.

_Cank._ Have a Care, Mr. Heartly, none but the Ignorant ever despised
Rules.

_Heart._ Nor none but the ill natured or the envious ever judged by
the Extremity of Rules. And the laws of Criticism like the Penal Laws
should be explained in a favourable Sense lest the Critick like the
Judge should be suspected of Cruelty or Malice against the Criminal.

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Honour, Sir, I think you talk mighty reasonably. I
think there should be no Law [at] all, and then everybody might do
what they please.

_Trif._ Right, right, Sir Patrick! Liberty and Property, I say--demme
I am not for Criticks--your Homers and your Virgils--and your Coke
upon Littleton, and a parcel of Fellows--who talk of Nothing but Gods
and Goddesses--and a Story of a Cock and a Bull--as hard to be
understood as a Welch Pedigree.

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Honour, so they are very hard! And that Milton's a
strange Fellow too--_he has got a devilish sight of Devils along with
him that nobody knows any thing of but himself_--the Devil a one of
'em all I know but one--and that was old Belzebub--you know we have
often heard of him, for he was Lucifer's Wife.

_Trif._ For my Part I assure you I never could understand Milton.

_Sir Pat._ Nor I, upon my Honour, Mr. Trifle--tho' I admire him
greatly, him and Shakespear are my Favourites, but I could never
understand them.

_Trif._ O Shakespear--old Shakespear--O Shakespear is a clever Fellow,
ay, ay,--I admire Shakespear to the Skies--I understand him very well,
Sir Patrick.

_Lady._ Mr. Canker, finding fault in general is unfair.

_Cank._ Madam, if you will hear me, I will come to particulars and if
I don't convince you, and all the Company that it is void of Plot,
Character, Wit, Humour, Manners, and Moral, I will ever after submit
to be thought as ignorant as I now think those Criticks are who so
much admire it.

_Nib._ As to his want of Manners, that I think is as obvious as
Mathematical Demonstration--was there ever anything so rude as to
bring the Character of our Friend Jack Maggot on the Stage, who is a
young Fellow of Family and Fortune, and as well known about Town as I
am, and is as good natured and as inoffensive a Creature as ever
travelled. I vow as soon as ever I saw him come upon the Stage, I was
shocked.--It was vastly unpolite to introduce a young Fellow of his
Figure in Life upon a publick Theatre--I suppose he will bring some of
our Characters on the Stage in his next Play--if he does I protest
I'll make a party to hiss it.

_Lady._ You may be mistaken, Mr. Nibble, i[t] may be a general and not
a particular Character that is meant by Mr. Maggot.

_Cank._ Madam, Mr. Nibble's Observation is just, and it is impossible
he can be mistaken. For my part, I know Jack Maggot as well as I do
myself, or as I do who is meant by Mr. Strictland.

_Heart._ Mr. Canker, this is most invidious Criticism and what the
best Writers from Fools and Knaves are most liable to. But instead of
injuring, it serves an Author with the Judicious; for it only proves
the Copies to be so highly finished that Ignorance and Malice
compliment them as known Originals.

_Lady._ I protest, Mr. Heartly, I think you quite right in your
Answer, and if Mr. Canker has nothing more Material to offer against
the Play, he will be very Singular in his Censure.

_Cank._ Pray what does your Ladyship think of his Ladder of Ropes?

_Lady._ Why lookee, Mr. Canker, he may have transgressed probability
by it, I grant you--but I will forgive an Author such Transgressions
at any time when it is productive of so much Mirth.

_Heart._ Judiciously observed, my Lady.

_Trif._ Well, by gad, I like the Ladder of Ropes of all things.

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Honour so do I.

_Nib._ Well, I vow I think they are vastly absurd. Pray what do you
think, Miss Harriet?

_Har._ I think it is a very simple and a very probable Machine, and
productive of many happy Incidents, every one of which naturall[y]
arise[s] out of each other, and have this peculiar Beauty, which other
Incidents upon the Stage have not, that each of them begins with a
Surprize that raises your Anxiety and ends with a turn the least
unexpected, which could you have foreseen, would have been what you
would have wished.

_Lady._ Very nicely distinguished, Harriet; I protest that is the
greatest Encomium I have heard of the Play yet.

_Heart._ And the justest, Madam.

_Cank._ O intolerable! Monstrous! Shocking! Such Ignorance! (_Aside_)
Pray Madam, not to mention the improbability, where was the Necessity
for a Ladder of Ropes?

_Sir Pat._ What Necessity? Arra why do you ask such a foolish
Question? I'll tell you what Necessity--Why it was put there for the
young Man, the Templer, to go up Stairs into the House.

_Omnes._ Ha, ha, ha, ha!

_Heart._ Very well explained, Sir Patrick; it is a proper Answer.

_Cank._ But pray, Ladies--I speak to you in particular, who best know
the Nature of the Question I am going to ask--how can you justify the
impoliteness of making Clarinda, a Lady of Fashion and Fortune, in
full dress trudge the streets at twelve o'Clock at Night in
Contradiction to all Reason, Probability, and Politeness?

_Sir Pat._ Poo, poo! That's foolish now. Why what has a Stage Play to
do with Reason and Probability? If a Tragedy makes you laugh and a
Comedy makes you cry, as Mr. Heartly said just now, what would you
have more?

_Omnes._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Sir Pat._ And as to the young Lady's going home a Foot, that is
easily answered. You are to suppose it was a rainy Night and that she
walked home to save Chair hire, because there was never a Coach to be
had.

_Omnes._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Sir Pat._ I am sure it is very natural to walk. I have done so a
hundred times.

_Omnes._ Ha, ha, ha.

_Trif._ My dear Sir Patrick, give me your Hand! Thou art the top
Critick of the Age, let me perish.

_Nib._ Ignorant Wretches!

_Cank._ Was ever Man so tortured with such Fools! (_Aside_)--I hope,
Mr. Heartly, you will not offer to vindicate the Dialogue. There is
not one Attempt to Wit all through the Play, but that about the
Gravestone; the Characters all speak like People in common
Conversation.

_Heart._ I thought that was a Beauty, Mr. Canker.

_Cank._ Yes just as barrenness is in Land. Don't you see, Sir, what
Whicherly and Congreve have done in their Comedies?

_Heart._ Yes Sir, and I know what their Masters, Terence, Plautus,
Moliere, and our own Johnson have done, who thought themselves most
excellent in their Dialogue when they could make their Characters
speak, not what was most witty, but what was most proper to Time,
Place, Character, and Circumstance.

_Lady._ Upon my Word, Mr. Heartly, you are a very accurate Critick,
and I am entirely of your Judgment.

_Cank._ Well, but allowing it all [it] deserves, why must it be
praised so very much?

_Heart._ Because, Sir, Praise is the food, and too often the only
Reward of Merit; and none deny it but the ill natured and the envious.

_Cank._ And none give it but the Ignorant or the Fulsome.

_Heart._ Sir, that is not very Complaisant--pray Sir, who do you mean
by the Ignorant?

_Trif._ Ay, Sir, who is't you mean?

_Sir Pat._ Ay, Sir, who do you mean? I hope you don't mean me.

_Cank._ You, and all of you who like this Piece--You are Men, Fops in
Understanding, catch your Judgments from each other as you do your
Dress, not because they are right, but that they are the Fashion, _and
you make as ridiculous a Figure in Criticism as an Ape in human
Cloathing_.

_Lady._ Give me leave to tell you, Mr. Canker, that you want
Politeness.

_Cank._ Madam, I am sorry your Ladyship obliges me to tell you that
you want Judgment.

_Lady._ Not to see into you, Sir--Your Envy shall never be rude or
troublesome to any of my Family again, I assure you, Sir.

_Cank._ Nor shall your Ignorance or your Niece's ever be troublesome
to me again; I would as soon Match into a Family of Hottentots.

_Lady._ O mighty well, Sir!--Harriet, I desire you will never think of
Mr. Canker more.

_Har._ I shall obey your Commands, Madam.

_Lady._ Want Judgment! A Family of Hottentots!

_Sir Pat._ Upon my Honour that was unpolite--and you might as well say
I want Judgment.

_Trif._ Ay, by Gad, or I.

_Cank._ You are those kind of Judges who are brought into the Channel
of Criticism by the Springtide of Fashion, part of the Rubbish which
helps to swell it above the Mark of Truth, and with its Ebb, return as
precipitately as you came in, and are never heard of more.

_Trif._ Dullness seize me! If I understand what you mean by your
Springtide, your Fashion, and your Rubbish--I insist upon the Play,
[it] is a good Play--quite tip top, the best Play in life, split me!

_Sir Pat._ Faith, so it is, Mr. Trifle, a very good Play, for the
Author told me so himself--and you know it must be good when I had it
from his own Mouth.

_Lady._ Did you ever see the Author, Sir Patrick?

_Sir Pat._ No, Madam, but I had it at second hand, from a third
Parson, and that's the same thing, you know.

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

          (_Enter a_ FOOTMAN)

_Foot._ Mr. Advocate the Lawyer is come; he bid me inform your
Ladyship that the Writings are ready.

_Lady._ Very well. (_Exit Footman_) We shall [have] no Occasion for
them tonight nor never in regard to Mr. Canker.

_Heart._ I protest, Madam, this Hour's Conversation and its
Circumstances, tolerably handled, would make, a la mode a Francaise,
an agreeable Petit Piece.

_Lady._ Not a bad thought, I vow, Mr. Heartly.

_Heart._ Shall I recommend it to your Ladyship? I know your Talents
for the Drama, and I'll answer for its Success.

_Trif._ And so will I by Jupiter; my Lady, we'll make a party on
purpose to support it.

_Sir Pat._ And so will I by all the Gods in Virgil's Iliad! O I'll
come alone with a hundred Catcalls of my Acquaintance to support it.

_Heart._ Shall we prevail on your Ladyship?

_Lady._ Upon my Honour, I don't dislike the Whim, if you will promise
your Assistance, Mr. Heartly.

_Heart._ Your Ladyship does me Honour; you may command me and Mr.
Canker shall be the Hero.

_Lady._ Really I am afraid his Character is so very high that the
Audience will never allow it to be natural.

_Heart._ That part of the Audience who would know the Copy by
themselves might condemn it through Policy as being exaggerated, but
the Candid and Judicious who could not be hurt by it and who know the
Nature of Envy would approve it. Besides Farce will admit of
Characters being a little outre.

_Lady._ I protest you are a mighty good Critick, Mr. Heartly, but I am
afraid we shall want Plot in our Petit Piece, Mr. Heartly.

_Heart._ Not at all, my Lady! There is no great Demand for Plot in a
Farce, but to please the Criticks we'll have a little. The main
Business must be the exposing an envious Author, and the Plot must be
to provoke his Envy to neglect his Mistress and to quarrel with your
Ladyship, the Poetical Justice of which must be your breaking off the
intended Match, and giving me his Mistress, who am to be his Rival;
and as the Piece is to be a temporary thing, I dare say the Audience
will make reasonable Allowances.

_Lady._ I vow I like the Contrivance mightily, and I think there's
something very Singular and very Novel.

_Trif._ And pray, Heartly, what part shall I have in it?

_Heart._ You shall be the Jack Maggot of the Farce, which shall be so
trifling that you may be either kept in or left out.

_Sir Pat._ And what part shall I have in your Play, Mr. Heartly?

_Heart._ Really, Sir Patrick, I know no Business you can have in it,
unless it be to make the Audience laugh.

_Sir Pat._ Faith then I have a good Hand at that--for I am so very
witty that I always make Company laugh wherever I come.

_Nib._ Mr. Heartly, give me leave to tell you your Farce will never
succeed, for your Characters will be too high for that Species of the
Drama, and not half ridiculous enough.

_Heart._ To remedy that, Sir, we will bring in your Character at the
End of the Farce as a Satyr upon all Criticks who find fault with
Trifles.

_Trif._ Ha, ha, admirable! That will be delightful! Quite tip top or
may I perish, ha.

_Lady._ Pray what shall we call our little Piece, Mr. Heartly?

_Heart._ Why really, Madam, I can't think of any Title better at
present than the New Play Criticized, or the Plague of Envy.

          (_Enter_ FOOTMAN)

_Foot._ Sir Charles Stanza and another Gentleman are come to wait on
your Ladyship.

_Lady._ Come Gentlemen, let us go and tell Sir Charles and the Author
of our Design; so if you please, Mr. Canker, you may go along with us
and be by at the Planning of our little Piece--No, I know his Envy
won't suffer him to hear us compliment the Author. That would be out
of Character, so we will leave him to consider of an Epilogue for our
Farce.


    Rough Draft of an EPILOGUE

    (_Enter a_ POET _shabbily dressed_)

    Hissed, catcalled, and exploded to a man
    By those who cannot write, and those who can,
    How shall a recreant bard in nature's spight
    Save one poor piece, and live a second night?
    What--shall he try the arts of low grimace,
    Rant like old Bayes, and with a begging face
    Implore the patient monarchs of the Pit
    To let dull farce pass off for sterling Wit?
    No faith--his brother critics most he fears,
    And wisely waves the privilege of Peers--
    Nor disapproves he less the threadbare plea
    Of wit in rags, and learned Poverty--
    If, like a son of those bright nymphs, the Nine
    He e'er pr[o]fer a prayer at Phoebus' shrine,
    Ask him to dart one genial beam on Earth
    To hatch the Nothing of his Brain to birth,
    That prayer or never comes, or comes too late;
    The Nine still hold him illegitimate.--
    In this Distress where next his application?
    Where, but to thee thou darling Goddess, Fashion!
    Fashion, the reigning Genius of today
    Whose verdict speaks the fate of each new play,
    Whose _mandate_ gives the power to save or kill,
    Lends Amoret her eyes and Ward his pill;
    If Fashion, mighty arbiter of merit,
    Allows it, right or wrong, some wit and spirit,
    Then shall this farce like other farces too
    Run eighteen nights or more and still be new;
    Each different night, a different audience meet,
    And Hawkers cry it up in evr'y Street.

NB. This will damn the piece![8]



NOTES TO THE PLAYS


 1. Larpent ms 58 is dated April, 1746, in another hand and bears the
following note to the Licenser: "April 15th, 1746. Sir, I have given
Mrs. Macklin leave to act this farce for her Benefit provided it meets
with the Approbation of my Lord Chamberlain. Your humble Servant. J.
Lacy."

 2. Smart is addressed as Dick in this speech in the ms. Three
speeches later Rattle is addressed as Jack. Elsewhere in the ms. it
is Jack Smart and Dick Rattle.

 3. The following line, "You may feel it if you please." is crossed
out in the ms.

 4. The following phrase, "and most liable to be hurt" is crossed out
in the ms.

 5. Larpent ms 64 is dated "March 17th, 1746/7" and bears the
following note to the Licenser: "Sir--I have given Mr. Macklin leave
to perform this Piece at His Benefit at my Theatre, provided it meets
with the Approbation of my Lord Chamberlain, from your most obedient
Humble Servant, J. Lacy."

 6. A "Prologue to the Plague of Envy" addressed in another hand to
"Mr. Macklin in Bow Street, Covent Garden," is included with Larpent
ms. 64. The Prologue is preceded by the following note: "The following
is taken from the Title of the Farce; the Writer for the Subject on
the Stage; and hopes his Ignorance of the Manner in which you treat
it, will excuse any Want of Approbation that may be in it."

 7. Spelled _Tom_ in the ms. Elsewhere Trifle is addressed as _Tim_
Trifle.

 8. The Epilogue, in a different hand than that of the play's scribe,
appears similar to the handwriting of the Prologue. Cf. n.6

 9. Larpent ms 96 is dated 1752 and bears the following note to the
Licenser: "Sir, This piece called Covent Garden Theatre or Pasquin
turned Drawcansir Mr. Macklin designs to have performed at his Benefit
Night with the permission of his Grace the Duke of Grafton. I am Sir
your humble Servant, Jno. C. Rich. To William Chetwyne Esq."

10. This character, spelled "Romp" in the ms, is probably meant to be
the Prompter who does not appear in the Dramatis Personae but speaks
twice offstage in this act.

11. Although Hic and Haec Scriblerus appear in the Dramatis Personae,
this is his only speech and his entrance on stage is never indicated.



  THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY
  WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY
  UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. LOS ANGELES


PUBLICATIONS IN PRINT


1948-1949

 16. Henry Nevil Payne, _The Fatal Jealousie_ (1673).

 18. Anonymous, "Of Genius," in _The Occasional Paper_, Vol. III,
No. 10 (1719), and Aaron Hill, _Preface to The Creation_ (1720).


1949-1950

 19. Susanna Centlivre, _The Busie Body_ (1709).

 20. Lewis Theobald, _Preface to the Works of Shakespeare_ (1734).

 22. Samuel Johnson, _The Vanity of Human Wishes_ (1749), and two
_Rambler_ papers (1750).

 23. John Dryden, _His Majesties Declaration Defended_ (1681).


1950-1951

 26. Charles Macklin, _The Man of the World_ (1792).


1951-1952

 31. Thomas Gray, _An Elegy Wrote in a Country Churchyard_ (1751), and
_The Eton College Manuscript_.


1952-1953

 41. Bernard Mandeville, _A Letter to Dion_ (1732).


1962-1963

 98. _Select Hymns Taken Out of Mr. Herbert's Temple_ (1697).


1963-1964

104. Thomas D'Urfey, _Wonders in the Sun; or, The Kingdom of the
Birds_ (1706).


1964-1965

110. John Tutchin, _Selected Poems_ (1685-1700).

111. Anonymous, _Political Justice_ (1736).

112. Robert Dodsley, _An Essay on Fable_ (1764).

113. T. R., _An Essay Concerning Critical and Curious Learning_
(1698).

114. _Two Poems Against Pope_: Leonard Welsted, _One Epistle to Mr. A.
Pope_ (1730), and Anonymous, _The Blatant Beast_ (1742).


1965-1966

115. Daniel Defoe and others, _Accounts of the Apparition of Mrs.
Veal_.

116. Charles Macklin, _The Covent Garden Theatre_ (1752).

117. Sir George L'Estrange, _Citt and Bumpkin_ (1680).

118. Henry More, _Enthusiasmus Triumphatus_ (1662).

119. Thomas Traherne, _Meditations on the Six Days of the Creation_
(1717).

120. Bernard Mandeville, _Aesop Dress'd or a Collection of Fables_
(1704).


1966-1967

122. James MacPherson, _Fragments of Ancient Poetry_ (1760).

123. Edmond Malone, _Cursory Observations on the Poems Attributed to
Mr. Thomas Rowley_ (1782).

124. Anonymous, _The Female Wits_ (1704).

125. Anonymous, _The Scribleriad_ (1742). Lord Hervey, _The Difference
Between Verbal and Practical Virtue_ (1742).

126. _Le Lutrin: an Heroick Poem, Written Originally in French by
Monsieur Boileau: Made English by N. O._ (1682).


Subsequent publications may be checked in the annual prospectus.

Publications #1 through 90, of the first fifteen years of Augustan
Reprint Society, are available in bound units at $14.00 per unit of
six from:

  KRAUS REPRINT CORPORATION
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Publications in print are available at the regular membership rate of
$5.00 yearly. Prices of single issues may be obtained upon request.


William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: University of California, Los
Angeles

THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

_General Editors_: George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los
Angeles; Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles;
Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.

_Corresponding Secretary_: Mrs. Edna C. Davis, William Andrews Clark
Memorial Library.


The Society's purpose is to publish reprints (usually facsimile
reproductions) of rare seventeenth and eighteenth century works. All
income of the Society is devoted to defraying costs of publication and
mailing.

Correspondence concerning memberships in the United States and Canada
should be addressed to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library,
2520 Cimarron St., Los Angeles, California. Correspondence concerning
editorial matters may be addressed to any of the general editors at
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a year in the United States and Canada and 30/- in Great Britain and
Europe. British and European prospective members should address B. H.
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PUBLICATIONS FOR 1967-1968

127-128. Charles Macklin, _A Will and No Will, or a Bone for the
Lawyers_ (1746). _The New Play Criticiz'd, or The Plague of Envy_
(1747). Introduction by Jean B. Kern.

129. Lawrence Echard, Prefaces to _Terence's Comedies_ (1694) and
_Plautus's Comedies_ (1694). Introduction by John Barnard.

130. Henry More, _Democritus Platonissans_ (1646). Introduction
by P. G. Stanwood.

131. John Evelyn, _The History of ... Sabatai Sevi ... The Suppos'd
Messiah of the Jews_ (1669). Introduction by Christopher W. Grose.

132. Walter Harte, _An Essay on Satire, Particularly on the Dunciad_
(1730). Introduction by Thomas B. Gilmore.


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Next in the series of special publications by the Society will be a
volume including Elkanah Settle's _The Empress of Morocco_ (1673) with
six plates; _Notes and Observations on the Empress of Morocco_ (1674)
by John Dryden, John Crowne and Thomas Shadwell; _Notes and
Observations on the Empress of Morocco Revised_ (1674) by Elkanah
Settle; and _The Empress of Morocco. A Farce_ (1674) by Thomas Duffet,
with an Introduction by Maximillian E. Novak. Already published in
this series are reprints of John Ogilby's _The Fables of Aesop
Paraphras'd in Verse_ (1668), with an Introduction by Earl Miner and
John Gay's _Fables_ (1727, 1738), with an Introduction by Vinton A.
Dearing. Publication is assisted by funds from the Chancellor of the
University of California, Los Angeles. Price to members of the
Society, $2.50 for the first copy and $3.25 for additional copies.
Price to non-members, $4.00.


  THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY
  William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
  2520 CIMARRON STREET AT WEST ADAMS BOULEVARD, LOS ANGELES,
    CALIFORNIA 90018

Make check or money order payable to THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA.





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