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Title: A Bold Stroke for a Husband - A Comedy in Five Acts
Author: Cowley, Hannah
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Bold Stroke for a Husband - A Comedy in Five Acts" ***

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  CLAYTON'S EDITION.


  A

  BOLD STROKE FOR A HUSBAND

  A Comedy, in Five Acts;

  BY MRS. COWLEY.


  As Performed at the

  THEATRE ROYAL, COVENT GARDEN,

  AND

  PARK THEATRE, NEW-YORK.


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

  With Remarks,
  BY MRS. INCHBALD.


  New-York:

  PUBLISHED BY E. B. CLAYTON,
  No. 9 Chambers-Street.

  1831.



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.


                       _Covent Garden._   _Park_, 1830.

  _Don Cæsar_        Mr. Munden              Mr. Barnes.
  _Don Julio_        Mr. Lewis               Mr. Simpson.
  _Don Carlos_       Mr. Cooke               Mr. Barry.
  _Don Vincentio_    Mr. Fawcet              Mr. Richings.
  _Don Garcia_       Mr. Brunton             Mr. Woodhull.
  _Don Vasquez_      Mr. Simmons             Mr. Foot.
  _Gasper_           Mr. Blanchard           Mr. Blakeley.
  _Pedro_            Mr. Harley              Mr. Nexsen.
                                            {Mr. Hayden.
  _Servants_                                {Mr. Bissett.

  _Donna Olivia_     Mrs. Glover             Miss Fisher.
  _Donna Victoria_   Mrs. Litchfield         Mrs. Hilson.
  _Donna Laura_      Mrs. Dibdin             Mrs. Durie.
  _Minette_          Mrs. Gibbs              Mrs. Wheatley.
  _Marcella_         Miss Waddy              Mrs. Godey.
  _Sancha_           Mrs. Whitmore           Miss Turnbull.
  _Inis_             Mrs. Beverly            Miss Jessup.

SCENE--_Spain_.



STAGE DIRECTIONS.


EXITS AND ENTRANCES.

R. means _Right_; L. _Left_; F. _the Flat, or Scene running across the
back of the Stage_; D. F. _Door in Flat_; R. D. _Right Door_; L. D.
_Left Door_; S. E. _Second Entrance_; U. E. _Upper Entrance_; C. D.
_Centre Door_.


RELATIVE POSITIONS.

R. means _Right_; L. _Left_; C. _Centre_; R. C. _Right of Centre_; L. C.
_Left of Centre_.

  R.    RC.    C.    LC.    L.

_The Reader is supposed to be on the Stage, facing the Audience._



REMARKS.


Although "The Bold Stroke for a Husband," by Mrs. Cowley, does not equal
"The Bold Stroke for a Wife," by Mrs. Centlivre, either in originality
of design, wit, or humour, it has other advantages more honourable to
her sex, and more conducive to the reputation of the stage.

Here is contained no oblique insinuation, detrimental to the cause of
morality--but entertainment and instruction unite, to make a pleasant
exhibition at a theatre, or give an hour's amusement in the closet.

Plays, where the scene is placed in a foreign country, particularly when
that country is Spain, have a license to present certain improbabilities
to the audience, without incurring the danger of having them called
such; and the authoress, by the skill with which she has used this
dramatic permittance, in making the wife of Don Carlos pass for a man,
has formed a most interesting plot, and embellished it with lively,
humorous, and affecting incident.

Still there is another plot, of which Olivia is the heroine, as Victoria
is of the foregoing; and this more comic fable, in which the former is
chiefly concerned, seems to have been the favourite story of the
authoress, as from this she has taken her title.

But if Olivia makes a bold stroke to obtain a husband, surely Victoria
makes a still bolder, to preserve one; and there is something less
honourable in the enterprises of the young maiden, in order to renounce
her state, than in those of a married woman to avert the dangers that
are impending over hers.

Whichever of those females becomes the most admired object with the
reader, he will not be insensible to the trials of the other, or to the
various interests of the whole dramatis personæ, to whom the writer has
artfully given a kind of united influence; and upon a happy combination
it is, that sometimes, the success of a drama more depends, than upon
the most powerful support of any particularly prominent, yet insulated,
character.

The part of Don Vincentio was certainly meant as a moral satire upon the
extravagant love or the foolish affectation, of pretending to love, to
extravagance--music. This satire was aimed at so many, that the shaft
struck none. The charm of music still prevails in England, and the folly
of affected admirers.

Vincentio talks music, and Don Julio speaks poetry. Such, at least, is
his fond description of his mistress Olivia, in that excellent scene in
the third act, where she first takes off her veil, and fascinates him at
once by the force of her beauty.

In the delineation of this lady, it is implied that she is no termagant,
although she so frequently counterfeits the character. This insinuation
the reader, if he pleases, may trust--but the man who would venture to
marry a good impostor of this kind, could not excite much pity, if his
helpmate was often induced to act the part which she had heretofore,
with so much spirit, assumed.

The impropriety of making fraud and imposition necessary evils,
to counteract tyranny and injustice, is the fault of all Spanish
dramas--and perhaps the only one which attaches to the present comedy.



A Bold Stroke for a Husband.



ACT I.


SCENE I.--_A Street in Madrid._

_Enter_ SANCHA _from a House_, R. D. _She advances, then runs back, and
beckons to_ PEDRO _within_.


_San._ Hist! Pedro! Pedro!

      _Enter_ PEDRO, R. D.

There he is: dost see him? just turning by St. Antony in the corner.
Now, do you tell him that your mistress is not at home; and if his
jealous donship should insist on searching the house, as he did
yesterday, say that somebody is ill--the black has got a fever, or
that----

_Ped._ Pho, pho, get you in. Don't I know that the duty of a lacquey in
Madrid is to lie with a good grace? I have been studying it now for a
whole week, and I'll defy don or devil to surprise me into a truth. Get
you in, I say--here he comes. [_Exit_ SANCHA, R. D. F.

      _Enter_ CARLOS, L.

[PEDRO _struts up to him_.] Donna Laura is not at home, sir.

_Car._ Not at home!--come, sir, what have you received for telling that
lie?

_Ped._ Lie!--lie!--Signior!--

_Car._ It must be a lie, by your promptness in delivering it.--What a
fool does your mistress trust--A clever rascal would have waited my
approach, and, delivering the message with easy coolness, deceived
me--_thou_ hast been on the watch, and runnest towards me with a face of
stupid importance, bawling, that she may hear through the lattice how
well thou obeyest her,--"Donna Laura is not at home, sir."

_Ped._ Hear through the lattice--hah! by'r lady, she must have long
ears, to reach from the grotto in the garden to the street.

_Car._ Hah! [_Seizes him._] Now, sir, your ears shall be longer, if you
do not tell me who is with her in the grotto.

_Ped._ In the grotto, sir!--did I say any thing about the grotto? I----I
only meant that----

_Car._ Fool!--dost thou trifle with me? who is with her? [_Pinching his
ear._]

_Ped._ Oh!--why, nobody, sir--only the pretty young gentleman's valet,
waiting for an answer to a letter he brought. There! I have saved my
ears at the expense of my place. I have worn this fine coat but a week,
and I shall be sent back to Segovia for not being able to lie, though I
have been learning the art six days and nights.

_Car._ Well--come this way--if thou wilt promise to be faithful to me, I
will not betray thee: nor at present enter the house.

_Ped._ Oh, sir, blessings on you!

_Car._ How often does the pretty young gentleman visit her?

_Ped._ Every day, sir--If he misses, madam's stark wild.

_Car._ Where does he live?

_Ped._ Truly, I know not, sir.

_Car._ How! [_Menacing._]

_Ped._ By the honesty of my mother, I cannot tell, sir. She calls him
Florio;--that's his christian name--his heathen name I never heard.

_Car._ You must acquaint me when they are next together.

_Ped._ Lord, sir, if there should be any blood spilt!

_Car._ Promise,--or I'll lead thee by the ears to the grotto.

_Ped._ I promise, I promise.

_Car._ There, take that, [_Gives money._] and if thou art faithful,
I'll treble it. Now go in and be a good lad--and, d'ye hear?--you may
tell lies to every body else, but remember you must always speak truth
to me.

_Ped._ I will, sir,--I will. [_Exit, looking at the money_, R. D. F.

_Car._ 'Tis well my passion is extinguished, for I can now act with
coolness; I'll wait patiently, for the hour of their security, and take
them in the softest moments of their love. But if ever I trust to woman
more--may every----

      _Enter two_ WOMEN, _veiled, followed by_ JULIO, R.

_Julio._ Fie, ladies! keep your curtains drawn so late! The sun is
up--'tis time to look abroad--[_Tries to remove the veils._] Nay, if you
are determined on night and silence, I take my leave. A woman without
prattle, is like burgundy without spirit.--Bright eyes, to touch me,
must belong to sweet tongues. [_Going_, R. _Ladies exit_ L.

_Car._ Sure, 'tis Julio. Hey!

_Julio._ [_Returning._] Don Carlos? Yes, by all the sober gods of
matrimony!--Why, what business, goodman gravity, canst thou have in
Madrid? I understand you are married--quietly settled in your own
pastures--father of a family, and the instructive companion of country
vine dressers--ha! ha!

_Car._ 'Tis false, by Heaven!--I have forsworn the country--left my
family, and run away from my wife.

_Julio._ Really! then matrimony has not totally destroyed thy free will.

_Car._ 'Tis with difficulty I have preserved it though; for women,
thou knowest, are most unreasonable beings! as soon as I had exhausted
my stock of love tales, which, with management, lasted beyond the
honey-moon, madam grew sullen,--I found home dull, and amused myself
with the pretty peasants of the neighbourhood----Worse and worse!--we
had nothing now but faintings, tears and hysterics, for twenty-four
honey-moons more.--So one morning I gave her in her sleep a farewell
kiss, to comfort her when she should awake, and posted to Madrid; where,
if it was not for the remembrance of the clog at my heel, I should bound
o'er the regions of pleasure, with more spirit than a young Arabian on
his mountains.

_Julio._ Do you find this clog no hindrance in affairs of gallantry?

_Car._ Not much.--In that house there--but, damn her, she's
perfidious!--in that house is a woman of beauty, with pretensions to
character and fortune, who devoted herself to my passion.

_Julio._ If she's perfidious, give her to the winds.

_Car._ Ah, but there is a rub, Julio, I have been a fool--a woman's
fool!--In a state of intoxication, she wheedled me, or rather cheated
me, out of a settlement.

_Julio._ Pho! is that----

_Car._ Oh! but you know not its nature. A settlement of lands, that both
honour and gratitude ought to have preserved sacred from such base
alienation. In short, if I cannot recover them, I am a ruined man.

_Julio._ Nay, this seems a worse clog than t'other--Poor Carlos! so
bewived and be----

_Car._ Pr'ythee, have compassion.

      _Enter a_ SERVANT, R. _with a letter to_ JULIO; _he reads it,
      and then nods to the_ SERVANT, _who exits_, R.

_Car._ An appointment, I'll be sworn, by that air of mystery and
satisfaction--come, be friendly, and communicate.

_Julio._ [_Putting up the letter._] You are married, Carlos;--that's all
I have to say--you are married.

_Car._ Pho! that's past long ago, and ought to be forgotten; but if a
man does a foolish thing once, he'll hear of it all his life.

_Julio._ Ay, the time has been when thou might'st have been intrusted
with such a dear secret,--when I might have opened the billet, and
feasted thee with the sweet meandering strokes at the bottom, which form
her name, when----

_Car._ What, 'tis from a woman then?

_Julio._ It is.

_Car._ Handsome?

_Julio._ Hum--not absolutely handsome, but she'll pass, with one who has
not had his taste spoiled by--matrimony.

_Car._ Malicious dog!--Is she young?

_Julio._ Under twenty--fair complexion, azure eyes, red lips, teeth of
pearl, polished neck, fine turned shape, graceful----

_Car._ Hold, Julio, if thou lov'st me!--Is it possible she can be so
bewitching a creature?

_Julio._ 'Tis possible--though, to deal plainly, I never saw her: but I
love my own pleasure so well, that I could fancy all that, and ten times
more.

_Car._ What star does she inhabit?

_Julio._ 'Faith, I know not; my orders are to be in waiting, at seven,
at the Prado.

_Car._ Prado!--hey!--gad! can't you take me with you? for though I have
forsworn the sex myself, and have done with them for ever, yet I may be
of use to you, you know.

_Julio._ 'Faith, I can't see that--however, as you are a poor wo-begone
married mortal, I'll have compassion, and suffer thee to come.

_Car._ Then I am a man again! Wife, avaunt! mistress, farewell!--At
seven, you say!

_Julio._ Exactly.

_Car._ I'll meet thee at Philippi! [_Exeunt_, JULIO, L. CARLOS, R.


SCENE II.--_A spacious Garden, belonging to_ DON CÆSAR.

_Enter_ MINETTE _and_ INIS, R. 2d E.


_Min._ There, will that do! My lady sent me to make her up a nosegay;
these orange flowers are delicious, and this rose, how sweet?

_Inis._ Pho! what signifies wearing sweets in her bosom, unless they
would sweeten her manners?--'tis amazing you can be so much at your
ease; one might think your lady's tongue was a lute, and her morning
scold an agreeable serenade.

_Min._ So they are--Custom, you know. I have been used to her music now
these two years, and I don't believe I could relish my breakfast without
it.

_Inis._ I would rather never break my fast, than do it on such terms.
What a difference between your mistress and mine! Donna Victoria is as
much too gentle, as her cousin is too harsh.

_Min._ Ay, and you see what she gets by it; had she been more spirited,
perhaps her husband would not have forsaken her;--men enlisted under the
matrimonial banner, like those under the king's, would be often tempted
to run away from their colours, if fear did not keep them in dread of
desertion.

_Inis._ If making a husband afraid is the way to keep him faithful, I
believe your lady will be the happiest wife in Spain.

_Min._ Ha! ha! ha! how people may be deceived!--nay, how people are
deceived!--but time will discover all things.

_Inis._ What! what, is there a secret in the business, Minette? if there
is, hang time! let's have it directly.

_Min._ Now, if I dared but tell ye--lud! lud! how I could surprise
ye!----[_Going._]

_Inis._ [_Stopping her._] Don't go.

_Min._ I must go; I am on the very brink of betraying my mistress,--I
must leave you--mercy upon me!--it rises like new bread.

_Inis._ I hope it will choke ye, if you stir till I know all.

_Min._ Will you never breathe a syllable?

_Inis._ Never.

_Min._ Will you strive to forget it the moment you have heard it?

_Inis._ I'll swear to myself forty times a-day to forget it.

_Min._ You are sure you will not let me stir from this spot till you
know the whole?

_Inis._ Not as far as a thrush hops.

_Min._ So! now, then, in one word,--here it goes. Though every body
supposes my lady an arrant scold, she's no more a----[_Looking out._]
_Don Cæsar._ [_Without_, L.] Out upon't e--h--h!

_Min._ Oh, St. Gerome!--here is her father, and his privy counsellor,
Gasper. I can never communicate a secret in quiet. Well! come to my
chamber, for, now my hand's in, you shall have the whole.--I would not
keep it another day to be confidant to an infanta. [_Exeunt_, R.

      _Enter_ DON CÆSAR _and_ GASPER, L.

_Gasp._ Take comfort, sir; take comfort.

_Cæsar._ Take it;--why, where the devil shall I find it? You may say,
take physic, sir, or, take poison, sir----they are to be had; but what
signifies bidding me take comfort, when I can neither buy it, beg it,
nor steal it?

_Gasp._ But patience will bring it, sir.

_Cæsar._ 'Tis false, sirrah.--Patience is a cheat, and the man that
ranked her with the cardinal virtues was a fool. I have had patience at
bed and board these three long years, but the comfort she promised, has
never called in with a civil how d'ye?

_Gasp._ Ay, sir, but you know the poets say that the twin sister and
companion of comfort is good humour. Now if you would but drop that
agreeable acidity, which is so conspicuous----

_Cæsar._ Then let my daughter drop her perverse humour; 'tis a more
certain bar to marriage than ugliness or folly; and will send me to my
grave, at last, without male heirs. [_Crying._] How many have laid
siege to her! But that humour of hers, like the works of Gibraltar, no
Spaniard can find pregnable.

_Gasp._ Ay, well--Troy held out but ten years----Let her once tell over
her beads, unmarried at five-and-twenty, and, my life upon it, she ends
the rosary, with a hearty prayer for a good husband.

_Cæsar._ What, d'ye expect me to wait till the horrors of old maidenism
frighten her into civility? no, no;--I'll shut her up in a convent,
marry myself, and have heirs in spite of her. There's my neighbour Don
Vasquez's daughter, she is but nineteen----

_Gasp._ The very step I was going to recommend, sir. You are but a young
gentleman of sixty-three, I take it; and a husband of sixty-three, who
marries a wife of nineteen, will never want heirs, take my word for it.

_Cæsar._ What! do you joke, sirrah?

_Gasp._ Oh no, sir--not if you are serious. I think it would be one of
the pleasantest things in the world--Madam would throw a new life into
the family; and when you are above stairs in the gout, sir, the music
of her concerts, and the spirit of her converzationes, would reach your
sick bed, and be a thousand times more comforting than flannels and
panada.

_Cæsar._ Come, come, I understand ye.--But this daughter of mine--I
shall give her but two chances more.----Don Garcia and Don Vincentio
will both be here to-day, and if she plays over the old game, I'll marry
to-morrow morning, if I hang myself the next.

_Gasp._ You decide right, signor; at sixty-three the marriage noose and
the hempen noose should always go together.

_Cæsar._ Why, you dog you, do you suppose--There's Don Garcia--there he
is coming through the portico. Run to my daughter, and bid her remember
what I have said to her. [_Exit_ GASPER, R.] She has had her lesson--but
another memento mayn't be amiss--a young slut! pretty, and witty, and
rich--a match for a prince, and yet--but hist!----Not a word to my young
man; if I can but keep him in ignorance till he is married, he must
make the best of his bargain afterwards, as other honest men have done
before him.

      _Enter_ GARCIA, L.

Welcome, Don Garcia! why, you are rather before your time.

_Gar._ Gallantry forbid that I should not, when a fair lady is
concerned. Should Donna Olivia welcome me as frankly as you do, I shall
think I have been tardy.

_Cæsar._ When you made your overtures, signor, I understood it was from
inclination to be allied to my family, not from a particular passion to
my daughter. Have you ever seen her?

_Gar._ But once--that transiently--yet sufficient to convince me that
she is charming.

_Cæsar._ Why, yes, though I say it, there are few prettier women in
Madrid; and she has got enemies amongst her own sex accordingly. They
pretend to say that----I say, sir, they have reported that she is not
blessed with that kind of docility and gentleness that a----now, though
she may not be so very placid, and insipid, as some young women, yet,
upon the whole--

_Gar._ Oh, fie, sir!--not a word--a beauty cannot be ill-tempered;
gratified vanity keeps her in good humour with herself, and every body
about her.

_Cæsar._ Yes, as you say--vanity is a prodigious sweetener; and Olivia,
considering how much she has been humoured, is as gentle and pliant
as----

      _Enter_ MINETTE, R.

_Min._ Oh, sir! shield me from my mistress--She is in one of her old
tempers--the whole house is in an uproar.--I cannot support it!

_Cæsar._ Hush!

_Min._ No, sir, I can't hush--a saint could not bear it. I am tired of
her tyranny, and must quit her service.

_Cæsar._ Then quit it in a moment--go to my steward, and receive your
wages--go--begone. 'Tis a cousin of my daughter's she is speaking of.

_Min._ A cousin, sir!--No, 'tis Donna Olivia, your daughter--my
mistress. Oh, sir! you seem to be a sweet, tender-hearted young
gentleman--'twould move you to pity if----[_To_ GARCIA.]

_Cæsar._ I'll move you, hussy, to some purpose, if you don't move off.

_Gar._ I am really confounded--can the charming Olivia----

_Cæsar._ Spite, sir--mere malice! my daughter has refused her some cast
gown, or some--

_Olivia._ [_Without_, R.] Where is she?--Where is Minette?

_Cæsar._ Oh, 'tis all over!--the tempest is coming.

      _Enter_ OLIVIA, R.

_Oliv._ Oh, you vile creature!--to speak to me!--to answer me!--am I
made to be answered?

_Cæsar._ Daughter! daughter!

_Oliv._ Because I threw my work-bag at her, she had the insolence to
complain; and, on my repeating it, said she would not bear it.--Servants
choose what they shall bear!

_Min._ When you are married, ma'am, I hope your husband will bear your
humour less patiently than I have done.

_Oliv._ My husband!--dost think my husband shall contradict my will? Oh,
I long to set a pattern to those milky wives, whose mean compliances
degrade the sex.

_Gar._ Opportune! [_Aside._]

_Oliv._ The only husband on record who knew how to treat a wife was
Socrates; and though his lady was a Grecian, I have some reason to
believe her descendants matched into our family; and never shall my tame
submission disgrace my ancestry.

_Gar._ Heavens! why have you never curbed this intemperate spirit, Don
Cæsar? [R. _of_ OLIVIA.]

_Oliv._ [_Starting._] Curbed, sir! talk thus to your groom--curbs and
bridles for a woman's tongue!

_Gar._ Not for yours, lady, truly! 'tis too late. But had the torrent,
not so overbearing, been taken at its spring, it might have been
stemmed, and turned in gentle streamlets at the master's pleasure.

_Oliv._ A mistake, friend!--my spirit, at its spring, was too powerful
for any master.

_Gar._ Indeed!--perhaps you may meet a Petruchio, gentle Catherine, yet.

_Oliv._ But no gentle Catherine will he find me, believe
it.----Catherine! why, she had not the spirit of a roasted chestnut--a
few big words, an empty oath, and a scanty dinner, made her as
submissive as a spaniel. My fire will not be so soon extinguished--it
shall resist big words, oaths, and starving.

_Min._ I believe so, indeed; help the poor gentleman, I say, to whose
fate you fall! [_Returns up._]

_Gar._ Don Cæsar, adieu! My commiseration for your fate subdues the
resentment I should otherwise feel at your endeavouring to deceive me
into such a marriage. [_Crosses_, L.]

_Oliv._ Marriage! oh, mercy!--Is this Don Garcia! [_Apart to_ CÆSAR.]

_Cæsar._ Yes, termagant!

_Oliv._ O, what a misfortune! Why did you not tell me it was the
gentleman you designed to marry me to?--Oh, sir! all that is past was in
sport; a contrivance between my maid and me: I have no spirit at all--I
am as patient as poverty.

_Gar._ This mask fits too ill on your features, fair lady: I have seen
you without disguise, and rejoice in your ignorance of my name, since,
but for that, my peaceful home might have become the seat of perpetual
discord.

_Min._ Ay, sir, you would never have known what a quiet hour----
[_On_ R. _of Olivia_.]

_Oliv._ [_Strikes her._] Impertinence! Indeed, sir, I can be as gentle
and forbearing as a pet lamb.

_Gar._ I cannot doubt it, madam; the proofs of your placidity are very
striking--But adieu! though I shall pray for your conversion, rather
than have the honour of it--I'd turn Dominican, and condemn myself to
perpetual celibacy. [_Exit_, L.

_Cæsar._ Now, hussy!--now, hussy!--what do you expect?

_Oliv._ Dear me! how can you be so unreasonable! did ever daughter do
more to oblige a father! I absolutely begged the man to have me.

_Cæsar._ Yes, vixen! after you had made him detest ye; what, I suppose,
he did not hit your fancy, madam; though there is not, in all Spain, a
man of prettier conversation.

_Oliv._ Yes he has a very pretty kind of conversation; 'tis like a
parenthesis.

_Cæsar._ Like a parenthesis!

_Oliv._ Yes, it might be all left out, and never missed. However, I
thought him a modest kind of a well-meaning young man, and that he would
make a pretty sort of a husband--for notwithstanding his blustering, had
I been his wife, in three months he should have been as humble and
complaisant as----

_Cæsar._ Ay, there it is--there it is!--that spirit of yours, hussy, you
can neither conquer nor conceal; but I'll find a way to tame it, I'll
warrant me.

      [_Exit_, R. OLIVIA _and_ MINETTE _follow him with their eyes,
      and then burst into a laugh_.

_Min._ Well, madam, I give you joy! had other ladies as much success in
getting lovers, as you have in getting rid of yours, what contented
faces we should see!

_Oliv._ But to what purpose do I get rid of them, whilst they rise in
succession like monthly pinks? Was there ever any thing so provoking?
After some quiet, and believing the men had ceased to trouble themselves
about me, no less than two proposals have been made to my inexorable
father this very day--What will become of me?

_Min._ What should become of you? You'll chuse one from the pair, I
hope. Believe me, madam, the only way to get rid of the impertinence of
lovers, is to take one, and make him a scarecrow to the rest.

_Oliv._ Oh, but I cannot!--Invention assist me this one day!

_Min._ Upon my word, madam, invention owes you nothing; and I am afraid
you can draw on that bank no longer.--You must trust to your established
character of vixen.

_Oliv._ But that won't frighten them all, you know, though it did its
business with sober Don Garcia. The brave General Antonio would have
made a property of me, in spite of every thing, had I not luckily
discovered his antipathy to cats, and so scared the hero, by pretending
an immoderate passion for young kittens.

_Min._ Yes, but you was still harder pushed by the Castilian Count, and
his engraved genealogy from Noah.

_Oliv._ Oh, he would have kept his post as immovably as the griffins at
his gate, had I not very seriously imparted to him, that my mother's
great uncle sold oranges in Arragon.

_Min._ And pray, madam, if I may be so bold, who is the next gentleman?

_Oliv._ Oh, Don Vincentio, who distracts every body with his skill in
music. He ought to be married to a Viol de Gamba. I bless my stars I
have never yet had a miser in my list--on such a character all art would
be lost, and nothing but an earthquake, to swallow up my estate, could
save me.

_Min._ Well, if some one did but know, how happy would some one be, that
for his sake----

_Oliv._ Now, don't be impertinent, Minette. You have several times
attempted to slide yourself into a secret, which I am resolved to keep
to myself. Continue faithful, and suppress your curiosity. [_Exit_, R.

_Min._ Suppress my curiosity, madam!--why, I am a chambermaid, and a
sorry one too, it should seem, to have been in your confidence two
years, and never have got the master-secret yet. I never was six weeks
in a family before, but I knew every secret they had in it for three
generations; ay, and I'll know this too, or I'll blow up all her plans,
and declare to the world, that she is no more a vixen than other fine
ladies----they have most of them a touch on't. [_Exit_, R.



ACT II.


SCENE I.--_An Apartment at_ DONNA LAURA'S.

_Enter_ LAURA, _followed by_ CARLOS, L.


_Car._ Nay, madam, you may as well stop here, for I'll follow you
through every apartment, but I will be heard. [_Seizing her hand._]

_Laura._ This insolence is not to be endured; within my own walls to be
thus----

_Car._ The time has been, when within your walls I might be master.

_Laura._ Yes, you were then master of my heart; that gave you a right
which----

_Car._ You have now transferred to another. [_Flinging away her hand._]

_Laura._ Well, sir!

_Car._ "Well, sir!"--Unblushing acknowledgement! False, fickle woman!

_Laura._ Because I have luckily got the start of you; in a few weeks I
should have been the accuser, and you the false and fickle.

_Car._ And to secure yourself from that disgrace, you prudently looked
out in time for another lover.

_Laura._ I can pardon your sneer, because you are mortified.

_Car._ Mortified!

_Laura._ Yes, mortified to the soul, Carlos!

_Car._ [_Stamping._] Madam! madam!

_Laura._ This rage would have been all cool insolence had I waited for
your change--Scarcely would you have deigned to form a phrase of pity
for me; perhaps have bid me forget a man no longer worthy my attachment,
and recommended me to hartshorn and my women.

_Car._ Has any hour, since I have first known you, given you cause for
such unjust----

_Laura._ Yes, every hour--Now, Carlos I bring thee to the test!--You
saw, you liked, you loved me; was there no fond trusting woman whom you
deserted, to indulge the transient passion? Yes, one blessed with
beauty, gentleness, and youth; one, who more than her own being loved
thee, who made thee rich, and whom thou madest thy wife.

_Car._ My wife!--here's a turn! So to revenge the quarrels of my
wife----

_Laura._ No, do not mistake me--what I have done was merely to indulge
myself, without more regard to your feelings, than you had to hers.

_Car._ And you dare avow to my face, that you have a passion for
another?

_Laura._ I do, and--for I am above disguise, I confess, so tender is my
love for Florio, it has scarcely left a trace of that I once avowed for
Carlos.

_Car._ Well, madam, if I hear this without some sudden vengeance on the
tongue which speaks it, thank the annihilation of that passion, whose
remembrance is as dead in my bosom as in yours. Let us, however, part
friends, and with a mutual acquittal of every obligation--so give up the
settlement of that estate, which left me almost a beggar.

_Laura._ Give it up!--ha! ha!----no, Carlos, you consigned me that
estate as a proof of love; do not imagine, then, I'll give up the only
part of our connexion of which I am not ashamed.

_Car._ Base woman! you know it was not a voluntary gift--after having in
vain practised on my fondness, whilst in a state of intoxication, you
prevailed on me to sign the deed, which you had artfully prepared for
the purpose--therefore you must restore it.

_Laura._ Never, never.

_Car._ Ruin is in the word!----Call it back, madam, or I'll be revenged
on thee in thy heart's dearest object--thy minion, Florio!----_he_ shall
not riot on my fortune.

_Laura._ Ha! ha! ha! Florio is safe--your lands are sold, and in another
country we shall enjoy the blessing of thy fond passion, whilst that
passion is indulging itself in hatred and execrations. [_Exit_, R.

_Car._ My vengeance shall first fall on her. [_Following._] No, he shall
be the first victim, or 'twill be incomplete.--Reduced to poverty, I
cannot live;----Oh, folly! where are now all the gilded prospects of my
youth? Had I----but 'tis too late to look back,--remorse attends the
past, and ruin--ruin waits me in the future! [_Exit_, L.


SCENE II.--DON CÆSAR'S.

VICTORIA _enters_ L., _perusing a letter; enter_ OLIVIA, R.


_Oliv._ [_Speaks as entering._] If my father should inquire for me, tell
him I am in Donna Victoria's apartment.--Smiling, I protest! my dear
gloomy cousin, where have you purchased that sun-shiny look?

_Vict._ It is but April sunshine, I fear; but who could resist such a
temptation to smile? a letter from Donna Laura, my husband's mistress,
styling me her dearest Florio! her life! her soul! and complaining of a
twelve hours absence, as the bitterest misfortune.

_Oliv._ Ha! ha! ha! most doughty Don! pray, let us see you in your
feather and doublet; as a Cavaleiro, it seems, you are formidable. So
suddenly to rob your husband of his charmer's heart! you must have used
some witchery.

_Vict._ Yes, powerful witchery--the knowledge of my sex. Oh! did the men
but know us, as well as we do ourselves;--but, thank fate they do
not--'twould be dangerous.

_Oliv._ What, I suppose, you praised her understanding, was captivated
by her wit, and absolutely struck dumb by the amazing beauties of--her
mind.

_Vict._ Oh, no,--that's the mode prescribed by the essayists on the
female heart--ha! ha! ha!--Not a woman breathing, from fifteen to fifty,
but would rather have a compliment to the tip of her ear, or the turn of
her ancle, than a volume in praise of her intellects.

_Oliv._ So, flattery, then, is your boasted pill?

_Vict._ No, that's only the occasional gilding; but 'tis in vain to
attempt a description of what changed its nature with every moment. I
was now attentive--now gay--then tender, then careless. I strove rather
to convince her that I was charming, than that I myself was charmed; and
when I saw love's arrow quivering in her heart, instead of falling at
her feet, sung a triumphant air, and remembered a sudden engagement.

_Oliv._ [_Archly._] Would you have done so, had you been a man?

_Vict._ Assuredly--knowing what I now do as a woman.

_Oliv._ But can all this be worth while, merely to rival a fickle
husband with one woman, whilst he is setting his feather, perhaps, at
half a score others?

_Vict._ To rival him was not my first motive. The Portuguese robbed me
of his heart; I concluded she had fascinations which nature had denied
to me; it was impossible to visit her as a woman; I, therefore, assumed
the Cavalier, to study her, that I might, if possible, be to my Carlos,
all he found in her.

_Oliv._ Pretty humble creature?

_Vict._ In this adventure I learnt more than I expected;--my (oh,
cruel!) my husband has given this woman an estate, almost all that his
dissipations had left us.

_Oliv._ Indeed!

_Vict._ To make him more culpable, it was my estate; it was that fortune
which my lavish love had made his, without securing it to my children.

_Oliv._ How could you be so improvident?

_Vict._ Alas! I trusted him with my heart, with my happiness, without
restriction. Should I have shown a greater solicitude for any thing,
than for these?

_Oliv._ The event proves that you should; but how can you be thus
passive in your sorrow? since I had assumed the man, I'd make him feel a
man's resentment for such injuries.

_Vict._ Oh, Olivia! what resentment can I show to him I have vowed to
honour, and whom, both my duty and my heart compel me yet to love.

_Oliv._ Why, really now, I think--positively, there's no thinking about
it; 'tis among the arcana of the married life, I suppose.

_Vict._ You, who know me, can judge how I suffered in prosecuting my
plan. I have thrown off the delicacy of sex; I have worn the mask of
love to the destroyer of my peace--but the object is too great to be
abandoned--nothing less than to save my husband from ruin, and to
restore him, again a lover, to my faithful bosom.

_Oliv._ Well, I confess, Victoria, I hardly know whether most to blame
or praise you; but, with the rest of the world, I suppose, your success
will determine me.

      _Enter_ GASPER, L.

_Gasp._ Pray, madam, are your wedding shoes ready? [_To_ OLIVIA.]

_Oliv._ Insolence!----I can scarcely ever keep up the vixen to this
fellow. [_Apart to_ VICTORIA.]

_Gasp._ You'll want them, ma'am, to-morrow morning, that's all--so I
came to prepare ye.

_Oliv._ I want wedding shoes to-morrow! if you are kept on water gruel
till I marry, that plump face of yours will be chap-fallen, I believe.

_Gasp._ Yes, truly, I believe so too. Lackaday, did you suppose I came
to bring you news of your own wedding? no such glad tidings for you,
lady, believe me.--You married! I am sure the man who ties himself to
you, ought to be half a salamander, and able to live in fire.

_Oliv._ What marriage, then, is it, you do me the honour to inform me
of?

_Gasp._ Why, your father's marriage. You'll have a mother-in-law
to-morrow, and having, like a dutiful daughter, danced at the wedding,
be immured in a convent for life.

_Oliv._ Immured in a convent! then I'll raise sedition in the
sisterhood, depose the abbess, and turn the confessor's chair to a
go-cart.

_Gasp._ So, the threat of the mother-in-law, which I thought would be
worse than that of the abbess, does not frighten ye?

_Oliv._ No, because my father dares not give me one.--Marry, without my
consent! no, no, he'll never think of it, depend on't; however, lest the
fit should grow strong upon him, I'll go and administer my volatiles to
keep it under. [_Exit_ L. H.]

_Gasp._ Administer them cautiously then: too strong a dose of your
volatiles would make the fit stubborn. Who'd think that pretty arch look
belonged to a termagant? what a pity! 'twould be worth a thousand ducats
to cure her.

_Vict._ Has Inis told you I wanted to converse with you in private,
Gasper?

_Gasp._ Oh, yes, madam, and I took particular notice, that it was to be
in private.----Sure, says I, Mrs. Inis, Madam Victoria has not taken a
fancy to me, and is going to break her mind.

_Vict._ Whimsical! ha! ha! suppose I should, Gasper?

_Gasp._ Why, then, madam, I should say, fortune had used you devilish
scurvily, to give you a gray-beard in a livery. I know well enough, that
some young ladies have given themselves to gray-beards, in a gilded
coach, and others have run away with a handsome youth in worsted lace;
they each had their apology; but if you run away with me--pardon me,
madam, I could not stand the ridicule.

_Vict._ Oh, very well; but if you refuse to run away with me, will you
do me another favour?

_Gasp._ Any thing you'll order, madam, except dancing a fandango.

_Vict._ You have seen my rich old uncle in the country?

_Gasp._ What, Don Sancho, who, with two thirds of a century in his face,
affects the misdemeanors of youth; hides his baldness with amber locks,
and complains of the tooth-ache, to make you believe, that the two rows
of ivory he carries in his head, grew there?

_Vict._ Oh, you know him, I find; could you assume his character for an
hour, and make love for him? you know, it must be in the style of King
Roderigo the First.

_Gasp._ Hang it! I am rather too near his own age; to appear an old man
with effect, one should not be above twenty; 'tis always so on the
stage.

_Vict._ Pho! you might pass for Juan's grandson.

_Gasp._ Nay, if your ladyship condesends to flatter me, you have me.

_Vict._ Then follow me; for Don Cæsar, I hear, is approaching--in the
garden I'll make you acquainted with my plan, and impress on your mind
every trait of my uncle's character. If you can hit him off, the arts of
Laura shall be foiled, and Carlos be again Victoria's. [_Exeunt_, R.

      _Enter_ DON CÆSAR, _followed by_ OLIVIA, L.

_Cæsar._ No, no, 'tis too late--no coaxings; I am resolved, I say.

_Oliv._ But it is not too late, and you shan't be resolved, I say.
Indeed, now, I'll be upon my guard with the next Don--what's his name?
not a trace of the Xantippe left.--I'll study to be charming.

_Cæsar._ Nay, you need not study it, you are always charming enough, if
you would but hold your tongue.

_Oliv._ Do you think so? then to the next lover I won't open my lips;
I'll answer every thing he says with a smile, and if he asks me to have
him, drop a courtesy of thankfulness.

_Cæsar._ Pshaw! that's too much t'other way; you are always either above
the mark or below it; you must talk, but talk with good humour. Can't
you look gently and prettily, now, as I do? and say, yes, sir, and no,
sir; and 'tis very fine weather, sir; and pray, sir, were you at the
ball last night? and, I caught a sad cold the other evening; and bless
me! I hear Lucinda has run away with her footman, and Don Philip has
married his housemaid?--That's the way agreeable ladies talk; you never
hear any thing else.

_Oliv._ Very true; and you shall see me as agreeable as the best of
them, if you won't give me a mother-in-law to snub me, and set me tasks,
and to take up all the fine apartments, and send up poor little Livy to
lodge next the stars.

_Cæsar._ Ha! if thou wert but always thus soft and good-humoured, no
mother-in-law in Spain, though she brought the Castiles for her portion,
should have power to snub thee. But, Livy, the trial's at hand, for at
this moment do I expect Don Vincentio to visit you. He is but just
returned from England, and, probably, has yet heard only of your beauty
and fortune; I hope it is not from you he will learn the other part of
your character.

_Oliv._ This moment expect him! two new lovers in a day?

_Cæsar._ Beginning already, as I hope to live! ay, I see 'tis in vain;
I'll send him an excuse, and marry Marcella before night.

_Oliv._ Oh, no! upon my obedience, I promise to be just the soft, civil
creature, you have described.

      _Enter a_ SERVANT, L.

_Ser._ Don Vincentio is below, sir. [_Exit_, L.

_Cæsar._ I'll wait upon him----well, go and collect all your smiles and
your simpers, and remember all I have said to you;--be gentle, and talk
pretty little small talk, d'ye hear, and if you please him, you shall
have the portion of a Dutch burgomaster's daughter, and the pin-money of
a princess, you jade, you. I think at last, I have done it; the fear of
this mother-in-law will keep down the fiend in her, if any thing can.
[_Exit_, L.

_Oliv._ Hah! my poor father, your anxieties will never end till you
bring Don Julio. But what shall I do with this Vincentio?--I fear he
is so perfectly harmonized, that to put him in an ill temper will be
impracticable.--I must try, however; if 'tis possible to find a discord
in him, I'll touch the string. [_Exit_, R.


SCENE III.--_Another Apartment._

_Enter_ CÆSAR _and_ VINCENTIO, L.


_Vin._ Presto, presto, signior! where is the Olivia?--not a moment to
spare. I left off in all the fury of composition; minums and crotchets
have been battling it through my head the whole day, and trying a
semibreve in G sharp, has made me as flat as double F.

_Cæsar._ Sharp and flat!--trying a semibreve!--oh--gad, sir! I had
like not to have understood you; but a semibreve is something of a
demi-culverin, I take it; and you have been practising the art military.

_Vin._ Art military!--what, sir! are you unacquainted with music?

_Cæsar._ Music! oh, I ask pardon: then you are fond of music----'ware of
discords! [_Aside._]

_Vin._ Fond of it! devoted to it.--I composed a thing to-day, in all the
gusto of Sacchini, and the sweetness of Gluck. But this recreant finger
fails me in composing a passage in E octave; if it does not gain more
elastic vigour in a week, I shall be tempted to have it amputated, and
supply the shake with a spring.

_Cæsar._ Mercy! amputate a finger, to supply a shake!

_Vin._ Oh, that's a trifle in the road to reputation--to be talked of,
is the summum bonum of this life.--A young man of rank should not glide
through the world, without a distinguished rage, or, as they call it in
England--a hobby-horse.

_Cæsar._ A hobby horse!

_Vin._ Yes; that is, every man of figure determines on setting out in
life, in that land of liberty, in what line to ruin himself; and that
choice is called his hobby-horse. One makes the turf his scene of
action--another drives about tall phaetons, to peep into their
neighbour's garret windows; and a third rides his hobby-horse in
parliament, where it jerks him sometimes on one side, and sometimes on
the other; sometimes in, and sometimes out; till at length, he is jerked
out of his honesty, and his constituents out of their freedom.

_Cæsar._ Ay! Well, 'tis a wonder, that with such sort of hobby-horses as
these, they should still outride all the world, to the goal of glory.

_Vin._ This is all cantabile; nothing to do with the subject of the
piece, which is Donna Olivia;--pray give me the key note to her heart.

_Cæsar._ Upon my word, signor, to speak in your own phrase, I believe
that note has never yet been sounded.--Ah! here she comes! look at
her.--Isn't she a fine girl?

_Vin._ Touching! Musical, I'll be sworn! her very air is harmonious!

_Cæsar._ [_Aside._] I wish thou may'st find her tongue so.

      _Enter_ OLIVIA, _courtesies profoundly to each_. R.

Daughter, receive Don Vincentio--his rank, fortune, and merit, entitle
him to the heiress of a grandee; but he is contented to become my
son-in-law, if you can please him. [_Crosses_, R. OLIVIA _courtesies
again_.

_Vin._ Please me! she entrances me! Her presence thrills me like a
cadenza of Pachierotti's, and every nerve vibrates to the music of her
looks.

  _Her step andante gently moves,_
    _Pianos glance from either eye;_
  _Oh how larghetto is the heart,_
    _That charms so forté can defy!_

Donna Olivia, will you be contented to receive me as a lover?

_Oliv._ Yes, sir--No, sir.

_Vin._ Yes, sir! no, sir! bewitching timidity?

_Cæsar._ Yes, sir, she's remarkably timid,--She's in the right cue, I
see. [_Aside._]

_Vin._ 'Tis clear you have never travelled.--I shall be delighted to
show you England.--You will there see how entirely timidity is banished
the sex. You must affect a marked character, and maintain it at all
hazards.

_Oliv._ 'Tis a very fine day, sir.

_Vin._ Madam!

_Oliv._ I caught a sad cold the other evening.--Pray, was you at the
ball last night?

_Vin._ What ball, fair lady?

_Oliv._ Bless me! they say, Lucinda has run away with her footman, and
Don Philip has married his house-maid. Now, am I not very agreeable?
[_Apart to_ DON CÆSAR.]

_Cæsar._ O, such perverse obedience!

_Vin._ Really, madam, I have not the honour to know Don Philip and
Lucinda--nor am I happy enough, entirely to comprehend you.

_Oliv._ No! I only meant to be agreeable--but, perhaps, you have no
taste for pretty little small talk!

_Vin._ Pretty little small talk!

_Oliv._ A marked character you admire; so do I, I dote on it.--I would
not resemble the rest of the world in any thing.

_Vin._ My taste to the fiftieth part of a crotchet!--We shall agree
admirably when we are married!

_Oliv._ And that will be unlike the rest of the world, and therefore,
charming!

_Cæsar._ [_Aside._] It will do! I have hit her humour at last. Why
didn't this young dog offer himself before?

_Oliv._ I believe, I have the honour to carry my taste that way, farther
than you, Don Vincentio. Pray, now, what is your usual style in living?

_Vin._ My winters I spend in Madrid, as other people do. My summers I
drawl through at my castle----

_Oliv._ As other people do!--and yet you pretend to taste and
singularity, ha! ha! ha! Good Don Vincentio, never talk of a marked
character again. Go into the country in July, to smell roses and
woodbines, when every body regales on their fragrance! Now, I would
rusticate only in winter, and my bleak castle should be decorated with
verdure and flowers, amidst the soft zephyrs of December.

_Cæsar._ [_Aside._] Oh, she'll go too far!

_Oliv._ On the leafless trees I would hang green branches--the labour of
silk worms, and therefore, natural; whilst my rose shrubs and myrtles
should be scented by the first perfumers in Italy. Unnatural, indeed,
but, therefore, singular and striking.

_Vin._ Oh, charming! You beat me, where I thought myself the
strongest. Would they but establish newspapers here, to paragraph
our singularities, we should be the most envied couple in Spain!

_Cæsar._ [_Aside._] By St. Antony, he is as mad as she is!

_Vin._ What say you, Don Cæsar? Olivia, and her winter garden, and I and
my music.

_Oliv._ Music, did you say? Music! I am passionately fond of that!

_Cæsar._ She has saved my life! I thought she was going to knock down
his hobby-horse. [_Aside._]

_Vin._ You enchant me! I have the finest band in Madrid--My first
violin draws a longer bow than Giardini; my clarionets, my viol de
gamba----Oh, you shall have such concerts!

_Oliv._ Concerts! Pardon me there--My passion is a single instrument.

_Vin._ That's carrying singularity very far indeed! I love a crash; so
does every body of taste.

_Oliv._ But my taste isn't like every body's; my nerves are so
particularly fine, that more than one instrument overpowers them.

_Vin._ Pray tell me the name of that one: I am sure it must be the most
elegant and captivating in the world.--I am impatient to know it.--We'll
have no other instrument in Spain, and I will study to become its
master, that I may woo you with its music. Charming Olivia! tell me, is
it a harpsichord? a piano forte? a pentachord? a harp?

_Oliv._ You have it, you have it; a harp--yes, a Jew's-harp is, to me,
the only instrument. Are you not charmed with the delightful h--u--m of
its base, running on the ear, like the distant rumble of a state coach?
It presents the idea of vastness and importance to the mind. The moment
you are its master--I'll give you my hand.

_Vin._ Da capo, madam, da capo! a Jew's-harp!

_Oliv._ Bless me, sir, don't I tell you so? Violins chill me;
clarionets, by sympathy, hurt my lungs; and, instead of maintaining a
band under my roof, I would not keep a servant, who knew a bassoon from
a flute, or could tell whether he heard a jigg, or a canzonetta.

_Cæsar._ Oh thou perverse one! you know you love concerts--you know you
do. [_In great agitation._]

_Oliv._ I detest them! It's vulgar custom that attaches people to the
sound of fifty different instruments at once; 'twould be as well to talk
on the same subject, in fifty different tongues. A band; 'tis a mere
olio of sound! I'd rather listen to a three-stringed guitar serenading a
sempstress in some neighbouring garret.

_Cæsar._ Oh you----Don Vincentio, [_Crosses_, C.] this is nothing but
perverseness, wicked perverseness. Hussy!--didn't you shake, when you
mentioned a garret? didn't bread and water, and a step-mother, come into
your head at the same time?

_Vin._ Piano, piano, good sir! Spare yourself all farther trouble.
Should the Princess of Guzzarat, and all her diamond mines, offer
themselves, I would not accept them, in lieu of my band--a band, that
has half ruined me to collect. I would have allowed Donna Olivia a
blooming garden in winter; I would even have procured barrenness and
snow for her in the dog-days; but, to have my band insulted!--to have my
knowledge in music slighted!--to be roused from all the energies of
composition, by the drone of a Jew's-harp, I cannot breathe under the
idea.

_Cæsar._ Then--then you refuse her, sir!

_Vin._ I cannot use so harsh a word--I take my leave of the
lady.--Adieu, madam--I leave you to enjoy your solos, whilst I fly to
the raptures of a crash. [_Exit_, L.

      [CÆSAR _goes up to her, and looks her in the face; then goes off
      without speaking_, L.

_Oliv._ Mercy; that silent anger is terrifying: I read a young
mother-in-law, and an old lady abbess, in every line of his face.

      _Enter_ VICTORIA, R.

Well, you heard the whole, I suppose--heard poor unhappy me scorned and
rejected.

_Vict._ I heard you in imminent danger; and expected Signor Da Capo
would have snapped you up, in spite of caprice and extravagance.

_Oliv._ Oh, they charmed, instead of scaring him. I soon found, that my
only chance was to fall across his caprice. Where is the philosopher who
could withstand that?

_Vict._ But what, my good cousin, does all this tend to?

_Oliv._ I dare say you can guess. Penelope had never cheated her lovers
with a never-ending web, had she not had an Ulysses.

_Vict._ An Ulysses! what, are you then married?

_Oliv._ O no, not yet! but, believe me, my design is not to lead apes;
nor is my heart an icicle. If you choose to know more, put on your veil,
and slip with me through the garden, to the Prado.

_Vict._ I can't, indeed. I am this moment going to dress _en homme_ to
visit the impatient Portuguese.

_Oliv._ Send an excuse; for, positively, you go with me. Heaven and
earth! I am going to meet a man! whom I have been fool enough, to dream
and think of these two years, and I don't know that ever he thought of
me in his life.

_Vict._ Two years discovering that?

_Oliv._ He has been abroad. The only time I ever saw him was at the
Duchess of Medina's--there were a thousand people; and he was so
elegant, so careless, so handsome!--In a word, though he set off for
France the next morning, by some witchcraft or other, he has been before
my eyes ever since.

_Vict._ Was the impression mutual?

_Oliv._ He hardly noticed me. I was then a bashful thing just out of a
convent, and shrunk from observation.

_Vict._ Why, I thought you were going to meet him.

_Oliv._ To be sure; I sent him a command this morning, to be at the
Prado. I am determined to find out if his heart is engaged, and if it
is----

_Vict._ You'll cross your arms, and crown your brow with willows?

_Oliv._ No, positively; not whilst we have myrtles. I would prefer
Julio, 'tis true, to all his sex; but if he is stupid enough to be
insensible to me, I shan't for that reason, pine like a girl, on chalk
and oatmeal.--No, no; in that case, I shall form a new plan, and treat
my future lovers with more civility.

_Vict._ You are the only woman in love, I ever heard talk reasonably.

_Oliv._ Well, prepare for the Prado, and I'll give you a lesson against
your days of widowhood. Don't you wish this the moment, Victoria? A
pretty widow at four-and-twenty has more subjects, and a wider empire,
than the first monarch upon earth. I long to see you in your weeds.

_Vict._ Never may you see them! Oh, Olivia! my happiness, my life,
depend on my husband. The fond hope of still being united to him, gives
me spirits in my affliction, and enables me to support even the period
of his neglect with patience. [_Exeunt_, R.



ACT III.


SCENE I.--_A long Street._

JULIO _enters from a Garden Gate in flat, with precipitation; a_
SERVANT, _within, fastens the Gate_.


_Julio._ Yes, yes, bar the gate fast, Cerberus, lest some other curious
traveller should stumble on your confines.--If ever I am so caught
again--

      GARCIA _enters_ L.; _going hastily across_, JULIO _seizes him_.

Don Garcia, never make love to a woman in a veil.

_Gar._ Why so, pr'ythee? Veils and secrecy are the chief ingredients in
a Spanish amour; but in two years, Julio, thou art grown absolutely
French.

_Julio._ That may be; but if ever I trust to a veil again, may no
lovely, blooming beauty ever trust me. Why dost know, I have been an
hour at the feet of a creature, whose first birth-day must have been
kept the latter end of the last century, and whose trembling, weak
voice, I mistook for the timid cadence of bashful fifteen!

_Gar._ Ha! ha! ha! What a happiness to have seen thee in thy raptures,
petitioning for half a glance only, of the charms the envious veil
concealed!

_Julio._ Yes; and when she unveiled her Gothic countenance, to render
the thing completely ridiculous, she began moralizing; and positively
would not let me out of the snare, till I had persuaded her she had
worked a conversion, and that I'd never make love--but in an honest way,
again.

_Gar._ Oh, that honest way of love-making is delightful, to be sure! I
had a dose of it this morning; but, happily, the ladies have not yet
learned to veil their tempers, though they have their faces.

      _Enter_ DON VINCENTIO, R.

_Vin._ Julio! Garcia! congratulate me!--Such an escape! [_Crosses to_ C.

_Julio._ What have you escaped?

_Vin._ Matrimony.

_Gar._ Nay, then our congratulations may be mutual. I have had a
matrimonial escape too, this very day. I was almost on the brink of the
ceremony with the veriest Xantippe!

_Vin._ Oh, that was not my case--mine was a sweet creature, all
elegance, all life.

_Julio._ Then where's the cause of congratulation?

_Vin._ Cause! why she's ignorant of music! prefers a jig to a
canzonetta, and a Jew's-harp to a pentachord.

_Gar._ Had my nymph no other fault, I would pardon that, for she was
lovely and rich.

_Vin._ Mine, too, was lovely and rich; and, I'll be sworn, as ignorant
of scolding, as of the gamba!--but not to know music!

_Julio._ Gentle, lovely, and rich! and ignorant only of music?

_Gar._ A venial crime indeed! if the sweet creature will marry me, she
shall carry a Jew's-harp always in her train, as a Scotch laird does his
bagpipes. I wish you'd give me your interest.

_Vin._ Oh, most willingly, if thou hast so gross an inclination; I'll
name thee as a dull-souled, largo fellow, to her father, Don Cæsar.

_Gar._ Cæsar! what Don Cæsar?

_Vin._ De Zuniga.

_Gar._ Impossible!

_Vin._ Oh, I'll answer for her mother. So much is Don Zuniga, her
father, that he does not know a semibreve from a culverin!

_Gar._ The name of the lady?

_Vin._ Olivia.

_Gar._ Why you must be mad--that's my termagant!

_Vin._ Termagant!--ha! ha! ha! Thou hast certainly some vixen of a
mistress, who infects thy ears towards the whole sex. Olivia is timid
and elegant.

_Gar._ By Juno, there never existed such a scold!

_Vin._ By Orpheus, there never was a gayer tempered creature!--Spirit
enough to be charming, that's all. If she loved harmony, I'd marry her
to-morrow.

_Julio._ Ha! ha! what a ridiculous jangle! 'Tis evident you speak of two
different women.

_Gar._ I speak of Donna Olivia, heiress to Don Cæsar de Zuniga.

_Vin._ I speak of the heiress of Don Cæsar de Zuniga, who is called
Donna Olivia.

_Gar._ Sir, I perceive you mean to insult me.

_Vin._ Your perceptions are very rapid, sir, but if you choose to think
so, I'll settle that point with you immediately: But for fear of
consequences, I'll fly home, and add the last bar to my concerto, and
then meet you where you please. [_Crosses_, L.

_Julio._ Pho! this is evidently misapprehension. [_Crosses_, C.] To
clear the matter up, I'll visit the lady, if you'll introduce me,
Vincentio;--but you shall both promise to be governed in this dispute,
by my decision.

_Vin._ I'll introduce you with joy, if you'll try to persuade her of the
necessity of music, and the charms of harmony.

_Gar._ Yes, she needs that----You'll find her all jar and discord.

_Julio._ Come, no more, Garcia; thou art but a sort of male vixen
thyself. Melodious Vincentio, when shall I expect you?

_Vin._ This evening.

_Julio._ Not this evening; I have engaged to meet a goldfinch in a
grove--then I shall have music, you rogue!

_Vin._ It won't sing at night.

_Julio._ Then I'll talk to it till the morning, and hear it pour out its
matins to the rising sun. Call on me to-morrow; I'll then attend you to
Donna Olivia, and declare faithfully the impression her character makes
on me.--Come, Garcia, I must not leave you together, lest his crotchets
and your minums should fall into a crash of discords. [_Exeunt_,
VINCENTIO, L., JULIO _and_ GARCIA, R.


SCENE II.--_The Prado._

_Enter_ DON CARLOS, R.


_Car._ All hail to the powers of burgundy! Three flasks to my own share!
What sorrows can stand against three flasks of burgundy? I was a damned
melancholy fellow this morning, going to shoot myself, to get rid of my
troubles.--Where are my troubles now? Gone to the moon, to look for my
wits; and there I hope they'll remain together, if one cannot come back
without t'other. But where is this indolent dog, Julio? He fit to
receive appointments from ladies! Sure I have not missed the hour--No,
but seven yet--[_Looking at his watch._]--Seven's the hour, by all the
joys of burgundy! The rogue must be here--let's reconnoitre. [_Retires_,
R.

      _Enter_ VICTORIA _and_ OLIVIA, _veiled_, L. U. E.

_Oliv._ Positively, mine's a pretty spark, to let me be first at the
place of appointment. I have half resolved to go home again, to punish
him.

_Vict._ I'll answer for its being but half a resolution--to make it
entire, would be to punish yourself.--There's a solitary man--is not
that he?

_Oliv._ I think not. If he'd please to turn his face this way----

_Vict._ That's impossible, while the loadstone is the other way. He is
looking at the woman in the next walk. Can't you disturb him?

_Oliv._ [_Screams._] Oh! a frightful frog!

      [CARLOS _turns on_ R.

_Vict._ Heavens, 'tis my husband!

_Oliv._ Your husband! Is that Don Carlos?

_Vict._ It is indeed.

_Oliv._ Why, really, now I see the man, I don't wonder that you are in
no hurry for your weeds. He is moving towards us.

_Vict._ I cannot speak to him, and yet my soul flies to meet him.

_Car._ Pray, lady, what occasioned that pretty scream? I shrewdly
suspect it was a trap.

_Oliv._ A trap! ha! ha! ha!--a trap for you!

_Car._ Why not, madam? Zounds, a man near six feet high, and three
flasks of burgundy in his head, is worth laying a trap for.

_Oliv._ Yes, unless he happens to be trapped before. 'Tis about two
years since you was caught, I take it--do keep farther off!--Odious! a
married man!

_Car._ The devil! is it posted under every saint in the street, that I
am a married man?

_Oliv._ No, you carry the marks about you; that rueful phiz could never
belong to a bachelor. Besides, there's an odd appearance on your
temples--does your hat sit easily?

_Car._ By all the thorns of matrimony, if----

_Oliv._ Poor man! how natural to swear by what one feels--but why were
you in such haste to gather the thorns of matrimony? Bless us! had you
but looked about you a little, what a market might have been made of
that fine, proper, promising person of yours.

_Car._ Confound thee, confound thee! If thou art a wife, may thy husband
plague thee with jealousies, and thou never be able to give him cause
for them; and if thou art a maid, may'st thou be an old one! [_Going_,
R. _meets_ DON JULIO.] Oh, Julio, look not that way; there's a tongue
will stun thee!

_Julio._ Heaven be praised! I love female prattle. A woman's tongue can
never scare me. Which of these two goldfinches makes the music?

_Car._ [_Crosses to_ VICTORIA.] Oh, this is as silent as a
turtle--[_Taking_ VICTORIA'S _hand_.]--only coos now and then,--Perhaps
you don't hate a married man, sweet one?

_Vict._ You guess right; I love a married man.

_Car._ Hah, say'st thou so? wilt thou love me?

_Vict._ Will you let me?

_Car._ Let thee, my charmer! how I'll cherish thee for't. What would I
not give for thy heart!

_Vict._ I demand a price, that, perhaps, you cannot give--I ask
unbounded love; but you have a wife.

_Car._ And, therefore, the readier to love every other woman; 'tis in
your favour, child.

_Vict._ Will you love me ever?

_Car._ Ever! yes, ever; till we find each other dull company, and yawn,
and talk of our neighbours for amusement.

_Vict._ Farewell! I suspected you to be a bad chapman, and that you
would not reach my terms. [_Going._]

_Car._ Nay, I'll come to your terms, if I can;--but move this way;
[_Crosses_, L.] I am fearful of that woodpecker at your elbow--should
she begin again, her noise will scare all the pretty loves that are
playing about my heart. Don't turn your head towards them; if you like
to listen to love tales, you'll meet fond pairs enough in this walk.
[_Forcing her gently off._

_Julio._ I really believe, though you deny it, that you are my
destiny--that is, you fated me hither. See, is not this your mandate?
[_Taking a letter from his pocket._

_Oliv._ Oh, delightful! the scrawl of some chambermaid: or, perhaps, of
your valet, to give you an air. What is it signed? Marriatornes? Tomasa?
Sancha?

_Julio._ Nay, now I am convinced the letter is yours, since you abuse
it: so you may as well confess?

_Oliv._ Suppose I should, you can't be sure that I do not deceive you.

_Julio._ True; but there is one point in which I have made a vow not to
be deceived; therefore, the preliminary is, that you throw off your
veil.

_Oliv._ My veil!

_Julio._ Positively! if you reject this article, our negotiation ends.

_Oliv._ You have no right to offer articles, unless you own yourself
conquered.

_Julio._ I own myself willing to be conquered, and have, therefore, a
right to make the best terms I can. Do you accede to the demand?

_Oliv._ Certainly not.

_Julio._ You had better.

_Oliv._ I protest I will not.

_Julio._ [_Aside._] My life upon't, I make you. Why, madam, how absurd
this is!--yet, 'tis of no consequence, for I know your features, as well
as though I saw them.

_Oliv._ How can that be?

_Julio._ I judge of what you hide, by what I see--I could draw your
picture.

_Oliv._ Charming! pray begin the portrait.

_Julio._ Imprimis, a broad high forehead, rounded at the top, like an
old-fashioned gateway.

_Oliv._ Oh, horrid!

_Julio._ Little gray eyes, a sharp nose, and hair, the colour of rusty
prunella.

_Oliv._ Odious!

_Julio._ Pale cheeks, thin lips, and----

_Oliv._ Hold, hold, thou vilifier! [_Throws off her veil; he sinks on
one knee._] There! yes, kneel in contrition for your malicious libel.

_Julio._ Say, rather, in adoration. What a charming creature!

_Oliv._ So, now for lies on the other side.

_Julio._ A forehead formed by the graces; hair, which cupid would steal
for his bow-strings, were he not engaged in shooting through those
sparkling hazel circlets, which nature has given you for eyes; lips!
that 'twere a sin to call so; they are fresh gathered rose leaves, with
the fragrant morning dew still hanging on their rounded surface.

_Oliv._ Is that extemporaneous, or ready cut, for every woman who takes
off her veil to you?

_Julio._ I believe, 'tis not extemporaneous; for Nature, when she
finished you, formed the sentiment in my heart, and there it has been
hid, till you, for whom it was formed, called it into words.

_Oliv._ Suppose I should understand, from all this, that you have a mind
to be in love with me; would not you be finely caught?

_Julio._ Charmingly caught! if you'll let me understand, at the same
time, that you have a mind to be in love with me.

_Oliv._ In love with a man! Heavens! I never loved any thing but a
squirrel!

_Julio._ Make me your squirrel--I'll put on your chain, and gambol and
play for ever at your side.

_Oliv._ But suppose you should have a mind to break the chain?

_Julio._ Then loosen it; for, if once that humour seizes me, restraint
won't cure it. Let me spring and bound at liberty, and when I return to
my lovely mistress, tired of all but her, fasten me again to your
girdle, and kiss me while you chide.

_Oliv._ Your servant--to encourage you to leave me again?

_Julio._ No; to make returning to you, the strongest attraction to my
life. Why are you silent?

_Oliv._ I am debating, whether to be pleased or displeased, at what you
have said.

_Julio._ Well?

_Oliv._ You shall know when I have determined. My friend and yours are
approaching this way, and they must not be interrupted.

_Julio._ 'Twould be barbarous--we'll retire as far off as you please.

_Oliv._ But we retire separately, sir; that lady is a woman of honour,
and this moment of the greatest importance to her. You may, however,
conduct me to the gate, on condition that you leave me instantly.

_Julio._ Leave her instantly--oh, then I know my cue. [_Exit together_,
R. U. E.

      _Enter_ CARLOS L., _followed by_ VICTORIA, _unveiled_.

_Car._ [_Looking back on her._] My wife!

_Vict._ Oh, Heavens! I will veil myself again. I will hide my face for
ever from you, if you will still feast my ears with those soft vows,
which, a moment since, you poured forth so eagerly.

_Car._ My wife!--making love to my own wife!

_Vict._ Why should one of the dearest moments of my life be to you so
displeasing?

_Car._ So, I am caught in this snare, by way of agreeable surprise, I
suppose.

_Vict._ 'Would you could think it so!

_Car._ No, madam! by Heaven, 'tis a surprise fatal to every hope with
which you may have flattered yourself. What! am I to be followed,
haunted, watched!

_Vict._ Not to upbraid you. I followed you because my castle, without
you, seemed a dreary desert. Indeed, I will never upbraid you.

_Car._ Generous assurance! never upbraid me--no, by Heavens! I'll take
care you never shall. She has touched my soul, but I dare not yield to
the impression. Her softness is worse than death to me! [_Aside._]

_Vict._ 'Would I could find words to please you!

_Car._ You cannot; therefore leave me, or suffer me to go, without
attempting to follow me.

_Vict._ Is it possible you can be so barbarous?

_Car._ Do not expostulate; your first vowed duty is obedience--that word
so grating to your sex.

_Vict._ To me it was never grating; to obey you has been my joy; even
now, I will not dispute your will, though I feel, for the first time,
obedience hateful. [_Going, and then turning back._] Oh, Carlos! my
dear Carlos! I go, but my soul remains with you. [_Exit_, L.

_Car._ Oh, horrible! had I not taken this harsh measure, I must have
killed myself; for how could I tell her that I have made her a beggar?
better she should hate, detest me, than that my tenderness should give
her a prospect of felicity, which now she can never taste. Oh,
wine-created spirit! where art thou now? Madness, return to me again!
for reason presents me nothing but despair.

      _Enter_ JULIO, _from the top_, R. U. E.

_Julio._ Carlos, who the devil can they be? my charming little witch was
inflexible. I hope yours has been more communicative.

_Car._ Folly! Nonsense!

_Julio._ Folly! Nonsense! What, a pretty woman's smile!--but you married
fellows have neither taste nor joy.

_Car._ Pshaw! [_Crosses, and exit_, R.

_Julio._ Pshaw! that's a husband! Humph--suppose my fair one should want
to debase me into such an animal; she can't have so much villany in her
disposition: and yet, if she should? pho! it won't bear thinking about.
If I do so mad a thing, it must be as cowards fight, without daring to
reflect on the danger. [_Exit_, R.


SCENE III.--_An Apartment in the house of_ DON VASQUEZ, MARCELLA'S
_Father_.

_Enter_ DON CÆSAR _and_ DON VASQUEZ, L.


_Cæsar._ Well, Don Vasquez, and a----you----then I say, you have a mind
that I should marry your daughter?

_Vasq._ It is sufficient, signor, that you have signified to us your
intention--my daughter shall prove her gratitude, in her attention to
your felicity.

_Cæsar._ Egad, now it comes to the push! [_Aside._] hem, hem!--but just
nineteen, you say?

_Vasq._ Exactly, the eleventh of last month.

_Cæsar._ Pity it was not twenty.

_Vasq._ Why, a year can make no difference, I should think.

_Cæsar._ O, yes it does; a year's a great deal; they are so skittish at
nineteen.

_Vasq._ Those who are skittish at nineteen, I fear, you won't find much
mended at twenty. Marcella is very grave, and a pretty little, plump,
fair----

_Cæsar._ Ay, fair again! pity she isn't brown, or olive--I like your
olives.

_Vasq._ Brown and olive! you are very whimsical, my old friend!

_Cæsar._ Why, these fair girls are so stared at by the men; and the
young fellows, now-a-days, have a damned impudent stare with them--'tis
very abashing to a woman--very distressing!

_Vasq._ Yes, so it is; but happily their distress is of that nature,
that it generally goes off in a simper. But come, I'll send Marcella to
you, and she will--[_Crosses_, R.]

_Cæsar._ No, no; stay, my good friend. [_Gasping._] You are in a violent
hurry!

_Vasq._ Why, truly, signor, at our time of life, when we determine to
marry, we have no time to lose.

_Cæsar._ Why, that's very true, and so--oh! St. Antony, now it comes to
the point--but there can be no harm in looking at her--a look won't bind
us for better for worse. [_Aside._] Well, then, if you have a mind, I
say, you may let me see her. [_Exit_ VASQUEZ, R.

[_Cæsar puts on his spectacles._] Ay, here she comes--I hear her--trip,
trip, trip! I don't like that step. A woman should always tread
steadily, with dignity, it awes the men.

      _Enter_ VASQUEZ, _leading_ MARCELLA, R.

_Vasq._ There, Marcella, behold your future husband; and remember,
that your kindness to him will be the standard of your duty to me.
[_Exit_, R.

_Mar._ Oh, Heavens! [_Aside._]

_Cæsar._ Somehow, I am afraid to look round.

_Mar._ Surely he does not know that I am here! [_Coughs gently._]

_Cæsar._ So, she knows how to give an item, I find.

_Mar._ Pray, signor, have you any commands for me?

_Cæsar._ Hum!--not nonpluss'd at all! [_Looks around._] Oh! that eye, I
don't like that eye.

_Mar._ My father commanded me----

_Cæsar._ Yes, I know--I know. [_To her._] Why, now I look again, there
is a sort of a modest--Oh, that smile; that smile will never do.
[_Aside._]

_Mar._ I understand, signor, that you have demanded my hand in marriage.

_Cæsar._ Upon my word, plump to the point! [_Aside._] Yes, I did a sort
of--I can't say but that I did----

_Mar._ I am not insensible of the honour you do me, sir, but--but----

_Cæsar._ But!--What, don't you like the thoughts of the match?

_Mar._ Oh, yes, sir, yes--exceedingly. I dare not say no. [_Aside._]

_Cæsar._ Oh, you do--exceedingly! What, I suppose, child, your head is
full of jewels, and finery, and equipage? [_With ill humour._]

_Mar._ No, indeed, sir.

_Cæsar._ No, what then? what sort of a life do you expect to lead, when
you are my wife? what pleasures d'ye look forward to?

_Mar._ None.

_Cæsar._ Hey!

_Mar._ I shall obey my father, sir; I shall marry you; but I shall be
most wretched! [_Weeps._]

_Cæsar._ Indeed!

_Mar._ There is not a fate I would not prefer;--but pardon me!

_Cæsar._ Go on, go on, I never was better pleased.

_Mar._ Pleased at my reluctance!

_Cæsar._ Never, never better pleased in my life;--so you had really,
now, you young baggage, rather have me for a grandfather, than a
husband?

_Mar._ Forgive my frankness, sir--a thousand times!

_Cæsar._ My dear girl, let me kiss your hand.--Egad! you've let me off
charmingly. I was frightened out of my wits, lest you should have taken
as violent an inclination to the match, as your father has.

_Mar._ Dear sir, you charm me.

_Cæsar._ But harkye!--you'll certainly incur your father's anger, if I
don't take the refusal entirely on myself, which I will do, if you'll
only assist me in a little business I have in hand.

_Mar._ Any thing to show my gratitude.

_Cæsar._ You must know, I can't get my daughter to marry; there's
nothing on earth will drive her to it, but the dread of a mother-in-law.
Now, if you will let it appear to her, that you and I are driving to the
goal of matrimony, I believe it will do--what say you? shall we be
lovers in play?

_Mar._ If you are sure it will be only in play.

_Cæsar._ Oh, my life upon't--but we must be very fond, you know.

_Mar._ To be sure--exceedingly tender; ha! ha! ha!

_Cæsar._ You must smile upon me, now and then, roguishly; and slide your
hand into mine, when you are sure she sees you, and let me pat your
cheek, and----

_Mar._ Oh, no farther, pray; that will be quite sufficient.

_Cæsar._ Gad, I begin to take a fancy to your rogue's face, now I'm in
no danger; mayn't we--mayn't we salute sometimes, it will seem
infinitely more natural.

_Mar._ Never! such an attempt would make me fly off at once.

_Cæsar._ Well, you must be lady governess in this business. I'll go
home now, and fret madam, about her young mother-in-law--by'e, sweeting!

_Mar._ By'e, charmer!

_Cæsar._ Oh, bless its pretty eyes! [_Exit_, L.

_Mar._ Bless its pretty spectacles! ha! ha! ha! enter into a league with
a cross old father against a daughter! why, how could he suspect me
capable of so much treachery? I could not answer it to my conscience.
No, no, I'll acquaint Donna Olivia with the plot: and, as in duty bound,
we'll turn our arms against Don Cæsar. [_Exit_, R.



ACT IV.


SCENE I.--DONNA LAURA'S.

_Enter_ DONNA LAURA _and_ PEDRO, R.


_Laura._ Well, Pedro, hast thou seen Don Florio?

_Ped._ Yes, Donna.

_Laura._ How did he look when he read my letter?

_Ped._ Mortal well; I never see'd him look better--he'd got a new cloak,
and a----

_Laura._ Pho, blockhead! did he look pleased? did he kiss my name? did
he press the billet to his bosom with all the warmth of love?

_Ped._ No, he didn't warm in that way; but he did another, for he put it
into the fire.

_Laura._ How!

_Ped._ Yes, when I spoke, he started, for, I think, he had forgot that I
was by--So, says he, go home and tell Donna Laura, I fly to her
presence.

      [_She waves her hand for him to go._

_Laura._ Is it possible? so contemptuously to destroy the letter, in
which my whole heart overflowed with tenderness! Oh, how idly I talk! he
is here: his very voice pierces my heart! I dare not meet his eye, thus
discomposed! [_Exit_, R.

      _Enter_ VICTORIA, L., _in men's clothes, preceded by_ SANCHA.

_San._ I will inform my mistress that you are here, Don Florio; I
thought she had been in this apartment. [_Exit_, L.

_Vict._ Now must I, with a mind torn by anxieties, once more assume the
lover of my husband's mistress--of the woman, who has robbed me of his
heart, and his children of their fortune. Sure, my task is hard. Oh,
love! Oh, married love, assist me! If I can, by any art, obtain from her
that fatal deed, I shall save my little ones from ruin, and then--But I
hear her step. [_Agitated, pressing her hand on her bosom._]--There! I
have hid my griefs within my heart, and, now for all the impudence of an
accomplished cavalier! [_Sings an air, sets her hat in the glass, dances
a few steps, &c. then runs to_ LAURA, R., _and seizes her hand._] My
lovely Laura!

_Laura._ That look speaks Laura loved, as well as lovely.

_Vict._ To be sure! Petrarch immortalized his Laura by his verses, and
mine shall be immortal in my passion.

_Laura._ Oh, Florio, how deceitful! I know not what enchantment binds me
to thee.

_Vict._ Me! my dear! is all this to me? [_Playing carelessly with the
feather in her hat._

_Laura._ Yes, ingrate, thee!

_Vict._ Positively, Laura, you have these extravagancies so often, I
wonder my passion can stand them. To be plain, those violences in your
temper may make a pretty relief in the flat of matrimony, child, but
they do not suit that state of freedom which is necessary to my
happiness. It was by such destructive arts as these you cured Don Carlos
of his love.

_Laura._ Cured Don Carlos! Oh, Florio! wert thou but as he is?

_Vict._ Why, you don't pretend he loves you still? [_Eagerly._]

_Laura._ Yes, most ardently and truly.

_Vict._ Hah!

_Laura._ If thou wouldst persuade me that thy passion is real, borrow
his words, his looks: be a hypocrite one dear moment, and speak to me in
all the frenzy of that love which warms the heart of Carlos!

_Vict._ The heart of Carlos!

_Laura._ Hah, that seemed a jealous pang--it gives my hopes new life.
[_Aside._] Yes, Florio, he, indeed, knows what it is to love. For me he
forsook a beauteous wife; nay, and with me he would forsake his country.

_Vict._ Villain! Villain!

_Laura._ Nay, let not the thought distress you thus--Carlos I
despise--he is the weakest of mankind.

_Vict._ 'Tis false, madam, you cannot despise him. Carlos the weakest of
mankind! Heavens! what woman could resist him? Persuasion sits on his
tongue, and love, almighty love, triumphant in his eyes!

_Laura._ This is strange; you speak of your rival with the admiration of
a mistress.

_Vict._ Laura! it is the fate of jealousy as well as love, to see the
charms of its object, increased and heightened. I am jealous--jealous to
distraction, of Don Carlos; and cannot taste peace, unless you'll swear
never to see him more.

_Laura._ I swear, joyfully swear, never to behold or speak to him again.
When, dear youth, shall we retire to Portugal?--We are not safe here.

_Vict._ You know I am not rich.--You must first sell the lands my rival
gave you. [_Observing her with apprehension._

_Laura._ 'Tis done--I have found a purchaser, and to-morrow the transfer
will be finished.

_Vict._ [_Aside._] Ah! I have now, then, nothing to trust to but the
ingenuity of Gasper. There is reason to fear Don Carlos had no right in
that estate, with which you supposed yourself endowed.

_Laura._ No right! what could have given you those suspicions?

_Vict._ A conversation with Juan, his steward, who assures me his master
never had an estate in Leon.

_Laura._ Never! what, not by marriage?

_Vict._ Juan says so.

_Laura._ My blood runs cold; can I have taken pains to deceive
myself?--Could I think so, I should be mad!

_Vict._ These doubts may soon be annihilated, or confirmed to
certainty.--I have seen Don Sancho, the uncle of Victoria; he is now in
Madrid.--You have told me that he once professed a passion for you.

_Laura._ Oh, to excess; but at that time I had another object.

_Vict._ Have you conversed with him much?

_Laura._ I never saw him nearer than from my balcony, where he used
to ogle me through a glass, suspended by a ribbon, like an order
of knighthood; he is weak enough to fancy it gives him an air of
distinction--Ha! ha! But where can I find him? I must see him.

_Vict._ Write him a billet, and I will send it to his lodgings.

_Laura._ Instantly--Dear Florio, a new prospect opens to me--Don Sancho
is rich and generous; and, by playing on his passions, his fortune may
be a constant fund to us.--I'll dip my pen in flattery. [_Exit_, R.

_Vict._ Base woman! how can I pity thee, or regret the steps which my
duty obliges me to take? For myself, I would not swerve from the nicest
line of rectitude, nor wear the shadow of deceit. But, for my
children!--Is there a parental heart that will not pardon me?
[_Exit_, R.


SCENE II.--DON CÆSAR'S.

_Enter_ OLIVIA _and_ MINETTE, R.


_Oliv._ Well, here we are in private--what is this charming
intelligence of which thou art so full this morning?

_Min._ Why, ma'am, as I was in the balcony that overlooks Don Vasquez's
garden, Donna Marcella told me, that Don Cæsar had last night been to
pay her a visit previous to their marriage, and--

_Oliv._ Their marriage! How can you give me the intelligence with such a
look of joy? Their marriage!--what will become of me?

_Min._ Dear ma'am! if you'll but have patience.--She says that, Don
Cæsar and she are perfectly agreed--

_Oliv._ Still with that smirking face?--I can't have patience.

_Min._ Then, madam, if you won't let me tell the story, please to read
it----Here's a letter from Donna Marcella.

_Oliv._ Why did you not give it me at first? [_Reads._]

_Min._ Because I didn't like to be cut out of my story. If orators were
obliged to come to the point at once, mercy on us! what tropes and
figures we should lose!

_Oliv._ Oh, Minette! I give you leave to smirk again--listen. [_Reads._]
_I am more terrified at the idea of becoming your father's wife, than
you are in expectation of a stepmother; and Don Cæsar would be as loath
as either of us.--He only means to frighten you into matrimony, and I
have, on certain conditions, agreed to assist him; but, whatever you may
hear, or see, be assured that nothing is so impossible, as that he
should become the husband of Donna Marcella._--Oh, delightful girl! how
I love her for this!

_Min._ Yes, ma'am; and if you'd had patience, I should have told you
that she's now here with Don Cæsar, in grave debate how to begin the
attack; which must force you to take shelter in the arms of a husband.

_Oliv._ Ah, no matter how they begin it. Let them amuse themselves in
raising batteries; my reserved fire shall tumble them about their ears,
in the moment my poor father is singing his Io's for victory.--But here
come the lovers--Well, I protest now, sixteen and sixty is a very comely
sight.--'Tis contrast gives effect to every thing.--Lud! how my father
ogles! I had no idea he was such a sort of man. I am really afraid he
isn't quite so good as he should be!

      _Enter_ DON CÆSAR, _leading_ MARCELLA, L.

_Cæsar._ H--um! Madam looks very placid; we shall discompose her, or I
am mistaken. [_Apart._] So, Olivia, here's Donna Marcella come to visit
you--though, as matters are, that respect is due from you.

_Oliv._ I am sensible of the condescension. My dear ma'am, how very good
this is! [_Taking her hand._]

_Cæsar._ Yes, you'll think yourself wonderfully obliged, when you know
all! [_Aside._] Pray, Donna Marcella, what do you think of these
apartments?--The furniture and decorations are my daughter's taste;
would you wish them to remain, or will you give orders to have them
changed?

_Mar._ Changed, undoubtedly; I can have nobody's taste govern my
apartments but my own.

_Cæsar._ Ah that touches!--See how she looks!--[_Apart._] They shall
receive your orders.--You understand, I suppose, from this, that every
thing is fixed on between Donna Marcella and me?

_Oliv._ Yes, sir; I understand it perfectly; and it gives me infinite
pleasure.

_Cæsar._ Eh! pleasure?

_Oliv._ Entirely, sir----

_Cæsar._ Tol-de-rol! Ah, that wont do--that wont do! You can't hide
it.--You are frightened out of your wits at the thoughts of a
mother-in-law; especially a young, gay, handsome one.

_Oliv._ Pardon me, sir; the thought of a mother-in-law was indeed
disagreeable; but her being young and gay qualifies it.----I hope,
ma'am, you'll give us balls, and the most spirited parties. [_Crosses_,
C.] You can't think how stupid we have been. My dear father hates those
things; but I hope now--

_Cæsar._ Hey! hey! hey! what's the meaning of all this? Why, hussy,
don't you know you'll have no apartment but the garret?

_Oliv._ That will benefit my complexion, sir, by mending my health. 'Tis
charming to sleep in an elevated situation.

_Cæsar._ Here! here's an obstinate perverse slut!

_Oliv._ Bless me, sir, are you angry that I look forward to your
marriage without murmuring?

_Cæsar._ Yes, I am--yes, I am; you ought to murmur; and you ought
to--to--to----

_Oliv._ Dear me! I find love, taken up late in life, has a bad effect on
the temper.--I wish, my dear papa, you had felt the influence of Donna
Marcella's charms somewhat sooner.

_Cæsar._ You do! you do! why this must be all put on.--This can't be
real.

_Oliv._ Indeed, indeed it is; and I protest, your engagement with this
lady has given me more pleasure than I have tasted ever since you began
to tease me about a husband. You seem determined to have a marriage in
the family; and I hope, now, I shall live in quiet, with my dear, sweet,
young mother-in-law.

_Cæsar._ Oh! oh! [_Walking about._] Was there ever--[_Crosses_, C.] She
doesn't care for a mother-in-law!--Can't frighten her!

_Oliv._ Sure, my fate is very peculiar; that being pleased with your
choice, and submitting, with humble duty, to your will, should be the
cause of offence.

_Cæsar._ Hussy! I don't want you to be pleased with my choice--I don't
want you to submit with humble duty to my will.--Where I do want you to
submit, you rebel: you are a--you are----But I'll mortify that wayward
spirit, yet. [_Exit_ DON CÆSAR _and_ MARCELLA, R.

_Min._ Well, really, my master is in a piteous passion; he seems more
angry at your liking his marriage, than at your refusing to be married
yourself.----Wouldn't it have been better, madam, to have affected
discontent?

_Oliv._ To what purpose, but to lay myself open to fresh solicitations,
in order to get rid of the evil I pretended to dread? Bless us! nothing
can be more easy than for my father to be gratified, if he were but
lucky in the choice of a lover.

_Min._ As much as to say, madam, that there is--

_Oliv._ Why, yes, as much as to say--I see you are resolved to have my
secret, Minette, and so--

      _Enter_ SERVANT, L.

_Serv._ There is a gentleman at the door, madam, called Don Julio de
Melessina. He waits on you from Don Vincentio.

_Oliv._ Who? Don Julio! it cannot be--art thou sure of his name?

_Serv._ The servant repeated it twice. He is in a fine carriage, and
seems to be a nobleman.

_Oliv._ Conduct him hither. [_Exit_ SERVANT, L.] I am astonished! I
cannot see him! I would not have him know the incognita to be Olivia,
for worlds!--There is but one way. [_Aside._] Minette, ask no questions;
but do as I order you.--Receive Don Julio in my name; call yourself the
heiress of Don Cæsar; and on no account suffer him to believe that you
are any thing else. [_Exit_, R.

_Min._ So, then, this is some new lover she is determined to disgust;
and fancies, that making me pass for her will complete it. Perhaps her
ladyship may be mistaken though.--[_Looking through the wing._]--Upon my
word a sweet man! Oh, lud! my heart beats at the very idea of his making
love to me, even though he takes me for another! Stay! I think he shan't
find me here. Standing in the middle of a room gives one's appearance no
effect. I'll enter upon him with an easy swim, or an engaging trip, or
a--something that shall strike--the first glance is every thing.
[_Exit_, R.

      _Enter_ DON JULIO, L., _preceded by a_ SERVANT, _who retires_,
      R.

_Julio._ Not here! The ridiculous dispute between Garcia and Vincentio
gives me irresistible curiosity; though, if she is the character Garcia
describes, I expect to be cuffed for my impertinence.--Here she
comes!--A pretty, smiling girl, 'faith, for a vixen!

      _Enter_ MINETTE, R., _very affectedly_.

_Min._ Sir, your most obedient humble servant.--You are Don Julio de
Melessina. I am extremely glad to see you, sir.

_Julio._ [_Aside._] A very courteous reception!--You honour me
infinitely, madam. I must apologize for waiting on you without a better
introduction. Don Vincentio promised to attend me; but a concert called
him to another part of the town, at the moment I prepared to come
hither.

_Min._ A concert--Yes, sir, he is very fond of music.

_Julio._ He is, madam:--You, I suppose, have a passion for that charming
science?

_Min._ Oh, yes, I love it mightily.

_Julio._ [_Aside._] This is lucky! I think I have heard, Donna Olivia,
that your taste that way is peculiar; you are fond of a----'faith, I can
hardly speak it, [_Aside._]--of a----Jew's-harp. [_Smothering a laugh._]

_Min._ A Jew's-harp! Mercy! What, do you think a person of my birth and
figure, can have such fancies as that?----No, sir, I love fiddles,
French horns, tabors, and all the cheerful, noisy instruments in the
world.

_Julio._ [_Aside._] Vincentio must have been mad; and I as mad as he, to
mention it. Then you are fond of concerts, madam?

_Min._ Dote on them! I wish he'd offer me a ticket. [_Aside._]

_Julio._ [_Aside._] Vincentio is clearly wrong.--Now to prove how far
the other was right, in supposing her a vixen.

_Min._ There is a grand public concert, sir, to be to-morrow. Pray, do
you go?

_Julio._ I believe I shall have that pleasure, madam.

_Min._ My father, Don Cæsar, won't let me purchase a ticket: I think
it's very hard.

_Julio._ Pardon me--I think it's perfectly right.

_Min._ Right! what, to refuse me a trifling expense, that would procure
me a great pleasure?

_Julio._ Yes, doubtless--the ladies are too fond of pleasure: I think
Don Cæsar is exemplary.

_Min._ Lord, sir! you'd think it very hard, if you were me, to be locked
up all your life; and know nothing of the world but what you could catch
through the bars of your balcony.

_Julio._ Perhaps I might; but, as a man, I am convinced 'tis right.
Daughters and wives should be equally excluded those destructive haunts
of dissipation. Let them keep to their embroidery, nor ever presume to
show their faces but at their own firesides.----This will bring out the
Xantippe, surely! [_Aside._]

_Min._ Well, sir, I don't know--to be sure, home, as you say, is the
fittest place for women. For my part, I could live for ever at home. I
am determined he shall have his way; who knows what may happen?
[_Aside._]

_Julio._ [_Aside._] By all the powers of caprice, Garcia is as wrong as
the other!

_Min._ I delight in nothing so much as in sitting by my father, and
hearing his tales of old times; and I fancy, when I have a husband, I
shall be more happy to sit and listen to his stories of present times.

_Julio._ Perhaps your husband, fair lady, might not be inclined so to
amuse you. Men have a thousand delights that call them abroad; and
probably your chief amusements would be counting the hours of his
absence, and giving a tear to each as it passed.

_Min._ Well, he should never see them, however. I would always smile
when he entered; and if he found my eyes red, I'd say, I had been
weeping over the history of the unfortunate damsel, whose true love
hung himself at sea, and appeared to her after wards in a wet
jacket.--Sure, this will do! [_Aside._]

_Julio._ I am every moment more astonished. Pray, madam, permit me a
question. Are you, really--yet I cannot doubt it--are you, really, Donna
Olivia, the daughter of Don Cæsar, to whom Don Garcia and Don Vincentio
had lately the honour of paying their addresses?

_Min._ Am I Donna Olivia! ha! ha! ha! what a question! Pray, sir, is
this my father's house?--Are you Don Julio?

_Julio._ I beg your pardon; but, to confess, I had heard you described
as a lady who had not quite so much sweetness, and----

_Min._ Oh! what, you had heard that I was a termagant, I suppose.--'Tis
all slander, sir: there is not in Madrid, though I say it, a sweeter
temper than my own; and though I have refused a good many lovers, yet,
if one was to offer himself that I could like--

_Julio._ You would take pity, and reward his passion.

_Min._ I would.

_Julio._ Lovely Donna Olivia, how charming is this frankness!--'Tis a
little odd, though! [_Aside._]

_Min._ Why, I believe I should take pity: for it always seemed to me to
be very hard-hearted, to be cruel to a lover that one likes, because, in
that case, one should--a--you know, sir, the sooner the affair is over,
the better for both parties.

_Julio._ What the deuce does she mean?--Is this Garcia's sour fruit?

_Cæsar._ [_Without_, R.] Olivia! Olivia!

_Min._ Bless me, I hear my father! Now, sir, I have a particular fancy
that you should not tell him, in this first visit, your design.

_Julio._ Madam, my design!

_Min._ Yes, that you will not speak out, till we have had a little
further conversation, which I'll take care to give you an opportunity
for very soon. He'll be here in a moment: now, pray, Don Julio, go. If
he should meet you, and ask who you are, you can say, that you are--you
may say, that you came on a visit to my maid, you know. [_Exit_, R.

_Julio._ I thank you, madam, [_Aloud._] for my dismission. [_Aside._] I
never was in such a peril in my life. I believe she has a license in her
pocket, a priest in her closet, and the ceremony by heart. [_Exit._



ACT V.


SCENE I.--DON CARLOS'S.

DON CARLOS _discovered writing_.


_Car._ [_Tearing paper, and rising._] It is in vain!--Language cannot
furnish me with terms, to soften to Victoria the horrid transaction.
Could she see the compunctions of my soul, her gentle heart would pity
me. But what then?--She's ruined! my children are undone! Oh! the
artifices of one base woman, and my villany to another most amiable one,
have made me unfit to live. I am a wretch, who ought to be blotted from
society.

      _Enter_ PEDRO, _hastily_, L.

_Ped._ Sir--sir!

_Car._ Well!

_Ped._ Sir, I have just met Don Florio; he asked if my mistress was at
home; so I guesses he is going to our house, and so I run to let you
know--for I loves to keep my promises, though I am deadly afraid of some
mischief.

_Car._ You have done well.--Go home, and wait for me at the door, and
admit me without noise. [_Exit_ PEDRO, L.] At least, then, I shall have
the pleasure of revenge; I'll punish that harlot, by sacrificing her
paramour in her arms; and then--Oh! [_Exit_, L.


SCENE II.--DONNA LAURA'S.

_Enter_ LAURA, L., _with precipitation, followed by_ VICTORIA.


_Laura._ 'Tis his carriage!--How successful was my letter! This, my
Florio, is a most important moment.

_Vict._ It is, indeed; and I will leave you to make every advantage of
it. [_Crosses_, R.] If I am present, I must witness condescensions from
you, that I shall not be able to bear, though I know them to be but
affected.--Now, Gasper, [_Aside._] play thy part well, and save
Victoria! [_Exit_, R.

      _Enter_ GASPER, L. _dressed as an old Beau; two_ SERVANTS
      _follow him, and take off a rich cloak_.

_Gasp._ Take my cloak; and, d'ye hear, Ricardo, go home and bring the
eider-down cushions for the coach, and tell the fellow not to hurry me
post through the streets of Madrid. [_Exeunt_ SERVANTS, L.] I have been
jolted from side to side, like a pippin in a mill stream. Drive a man of
my rank, as he would a city vintner and his fat wife, going to a bull
fight! Ha, there she is! [_Looking through a glass, suspended by a red
ribbon._]--there she is! Charming Donna Laura! let me thus at the shrine
of your beauty--[_Makes an effort to kneel, and falls on his face_;
LAURA _assists him to rise_.] Fie, fie, those new shoes!--they have made
me skate all day, like a Dutchman on a canal; and now--Well, you see how
profound my adoration is, madam. Common lovers kneel; I was prostrate.

_Laura._ You do me infinite honour.----Disgustful wretch!--You are
thinner than you were, Don Sancho: I protest, now I observe you, you are
much altered!

_Gasp._ Ay, madam--fretting. Your absence threw me into a fever, and
that destroyed my bloom:--You see, I look almost a middle-aged man, now.

_Laura._ No, really; far from it, I assure you.----The fop is as
wrinkled as a baboon! [_Aside._]

_Gasp._ Then jealousy--that gave me a jaundice.--My niece's husband, I
hear, Don Carlos, has been my happy rival. Oh, my blade will hardly keep
in its scabbard, when I think of him.

_Laura._ Think no more of him--he has been long banished my thoughts, be
assured. I wonder you gave your niece to him, with such a fortune.

_Gasp._ Gave! she gave herself; and, as to fortune, she had not a
pistole from me.

_Laura._ 'Twas, indeed, unnecessary, with so fine an estate as she had
in Leon.

_Gasp._ My niece an estate in Leon! Not enough to give shelter to a
field-mouse; and if he has told you so, he is a braggart.

_Laura._ Told me so--I have the writings; he has made over the lands to
me.

_Gasp._ Made over the lands to you!--Oh, a deceiver! I begin to suspect
a plot. Pray, let me see this extraordinary deed. [_She runs to a
Cabinet_, D. F.] A plot, I'll be sworn!

_Laura._ Here is the deed which made that estate mine for ever. No, sir,
I will intrust it in no hand but my own. Yet look over me, and read the
description of the lands.

_Gasp._ [_Reading through his glass._] H--m--m--. _In the vicinage of
Rosalvo, bounded on the west by the river----h--m--m, on the east by the
forest_----Oh, an artful dog! I need read no further; I see how the
thing is.

_Laura._ How, sir!--but hold----Stay a moment--I am breathless with
fear.

_Gasp._ Nay, madam, don't be afraid! 'Tis my estate--that's all; the
very castle where I was born; and which I never did, nor ever will,
bestow on any Don in the two Castiles. Dissembling rogue! Bribe you with
a fictitious title to my estate--ha! ha! ha!

_Laura._ [_Aside._] Curses follow him! The villain I employed must have
been his creature; his reluctance all art; and, whilst I believed myself
undoing him, was duped myself!

_Gasp._ Could you suppose I'd give Carlos such an estate for running
away with my niece? No, no; the vineyards, and the cornfields, and the
woods of Rosalvo, are not for him.--I've somebody else in my eye--in my
eye, observe me--to give those to:--Can't you guess who it is?

_Laura._ No, indeed!--He gives me a glimmering that saves me from
despair! [_Aside._]

_Gasp._ I won't tell you, unless you'll bribe me--I won't indeed.
[_Kisses her cheek._] There, now I'll tell you--they are all for you.
Yes, this estate, to which you have taken such a fancy, shall be
yours.--I'll give you the deeds, if you'll promise to love me, you
little, cruel thing!

_Laura._ Can you be serious?

_Gasp._ I'll sign and seal to-morrow.

_Laura._ Noble Don Sancho! Thus, then, I annihilate the proof of his
perfidy, and my weakness.--Thus I tear to atoms his detested name; and
as I tread on these, so would I on his heart.

      _Enter_ VICTORIA, R.

_Vict._ My children then are saved! [_In transport._]

_Laura._ [_Apart._] Oh, Florio, 'tis as thou saidst--Carlos was a
villain, and deceived me.--Why this strange air? Ah, I see the
cause--you think me ruined, and will abandon me. Yes, I see it in thy
averted face; thou dar'st not meet my eyes. If I misjudge thee, speak!

_Vict._ Laura, I cannot speak.--You little guess the emotions of
heart.--Heaven knows, I pity you!

_Laura._ Pity! Oh, villain! and has thy love already snatched the form
of pity? Base, deceitful----

_Car._ [_Without._] Stand off; loose your weak hold; I'm come for
vengeance!

      _Enter_ CARLOS, L.

Where is this youth? Where is the blooming rival, for whom I have been
betrayed? Hold me not, base woman! In vain the stripling flies me; for,
by Heaven, my sword shall in his bosom write its master's wrongs!

      [VICTORIA _first goes towards the Flat, then returns, takes off
      her hat, and drops on one knee_.

_Vict._ Strike, strike it here! Plunge it deep into that bosom, already
wounded by a thousand stabs, keener and more painful than your sword can
give. Here lives all the gnawing anguish of love betrayed; here live the
pangs of disappointed hopes, hopes sanctified by holiest vows, which
have been written in the book of Heaven.----Hah! he sinks.--[_She flies
to him._]--Oh! my Carlos! beloved! my husband! forgive my too severe
reproaches; thou art dear, yet dear as ever, to Victoria's heart!

_Car._ [_Recovering._] Oh, you know not what you do--you know not what
you are. Oh, Victoria, thou art a beggar!

_Vict._ No, we are rich, we are happy! See there, the fragments of that
fatal deed, which, had I not recovered, we had been indeed undone; yet
still not wretched, could my Carlos think so!

_Car._ The fragments of the deed! the deed which that base woman----

_Vict._ Speak not so harshly.----To you, madam, I fear, I seem
reprehensible; yet, when you consider my duties as a wife and mother,
you will forgive me. Be not afraid of poverty--a woman has deceived, but
she will not desert you!

_Laura._ Is this real? Can I be awake?

_Vict._ Oh, may'st thou indeed awake to virtue!--You have talents that
might grace the highest of our sex; be no longer unjust to such precious
gifts, by burying them in dishonour.--Virtue is our first, most awful
duty; bow, Laura! bow before her throne, and mourn in ceaseless tears,
that ever you forgot her heavenly precepts!

_Laura._ So, by a smooth speech about virtue, you think to cover the
injuries I sustain. Vile, insinuating monster!--but thou knowest me
not.--Revenge is sweeter to my heart than love; and if there is a law
in Spain to gratify that passion, your virtue shall have another field
for exercise. [_Exit_, R.

_Car._ [_Turning towards_ VICTORIA.] My hated rival and my charming
wife! How many sweet mysteries have you to unfold?----Oh, Victoria! my
soul thanks thee, but I dare not yet say I love thee, till ten thousand
acts of watchful tenderness, have proved how deep the sentiment's
engraved.

_Vict._ Can it be true that I have been unhappy?--But the mysteries, my
Carlos, are already explained to you--Gasper's resemblance to my
uncle----

_Gasp._ Yes, sir, I was always apt at resemblances--In our plays at
home, I am always Queen Cleopatra--You know she was but a gipsey queen,
and I hits her off to a nicety.

_Car._ Come, my Victoria----Oh, there is a painful pleasure in my
bosom--To gaze on thee, to listen to and to love thee, seems like the
bliss of angels' cheering whispers to repentant sinners. [_Exeunt_
CARLOS _and_ VICTORIA, L.

_Gasp._ Lord help 'em! how easily the women are taken in! [_Exit_, L.


SCENE III.--_The Prado._

_Enter_ MINETTE, L.


_Min._ Ah, here comes the man at last, after I have been sauntering in
sight of his lodgings these two hours. Now, if my scheme takes, what a
happy person I shall be! and sure, as I was Donna Olivia to-day, to
please my lady, I may be Donna Olivia tonight, to please myself. I'll
address him as the maid of a lady who has taken a fancy to him, then
convey him to our house--then retire, and then come in again, and, with
a vast deal of confusion, confess I sent my maid for him. If he should
dislike my forwardness, the censure will fall on my lady; if he should
be pleased with my person, the advantage will be mine. But perhaps he's
come here on some wicked frolic or other.--I'll watch him at a distance
before I speak. [_Exit_, L. U. E.

      _Enter_ DON JULIO, R.

_Julio._ Not here, 'faith; though she gave me last night but a faint
refusal, and I had a right, by all the rules of gallantry, to construe
that into an assent.--Then she's a jilt. Hang her, I feel I am
uneasy--The first woman that ever gave me pain--I am ashamed to perceive
that this spot has attractions for me, only because it was here I
conversed with her. 'Twas here the little syren, conscious of her
charms, unveiled her fascinating face----'Twas here--Ha!

      _Enter_ DON GARCIA _and_ DON VINCENTIO, R. U. E.

_Gar._ Ha! Don Julio!

_Julio._ Pshaw! gentlemen, pray be quick.

_Gar._ (L.) 'Twas here that Julio, leaving champaigne untasted, and
songs of gallantry unsung, came to talk to the whistling branches.

_Vin._ (R.) 'Twas here that Julio, flying from the young and gay, was
found in doleful meditation--[_Altering his tone._]--on a wench, for a
hundred ducats!

_Gar._ Who is she?

_Julio._ (C.) Not Donna Olivia, gentlemen; not Donna Olivia.

_Gar._ We have been seeking you, to ask the event of your visit to her.

_Julio._ The event has proved that you have been most grossly duped.

_Vin._ I know that--Ha! ha! ha!

_Julio._ And you likewise, _I_ know that--Ha! ha! ha!----The fair lady,
so far from being a vixen, is the very essence of gentleness. To me, so
much sweetness in a wife, would be downright mawkish.

_Vin._ Well, but she's fond of a Jew's-harp.

_Julio._ Detests it; she would be as fond of a Jew.

_Gar._ Pho, pho! this is a game at cross purposes;--let us all go to Don
Cæsar's together, and compare opinions on the spot.

_Julio._ I'll go most willingly--But it will be only to cover you both
with confusion, for being the two men in Spain most easily imposed on.
[_All going_, R.

      _Enter_ MINETTE, L.

_Min._ Gentlemen, my lady has sent me for one of you, pray which of you
is it?

_Julio._ [_Returning._] Me, without doubt, child.

_Vin._ I don't know that.

_Gar._ Look at me, my dear; don't you think I am the man?

_Min._ Let me see--a good air, and well made--you are the man for a
dancer. [_To_ GARCIA.]--Well dressed, and nicely put out of hands--you
are the man for a bandbox. [_Crosses to_ VINCENTIO.]--Handsome and
bold--you are the man for my lady. [_Crosses to_ JULIO.]

_Julio._ My dear little Iris, here's all the gold in my pocket.
Gentlemen, I wish you a good night--I am your very obedient, humble--
[_Stalking by them, with his arm round_ MINETTE.

_Gar._ Pho! pr'ythee, don't be a fool. Are we not going to Donna Olivia?

_Julio._ Donna Olivia must wait, my dear boy; we can decide about her
to-morrow. Come along, my little dove of Venus! [_Exit_, L.

_Gar._ What a rash fellow it is! ten to one but this is some common
business, and he'll be robbed and murdered--they take him for a
stranger.

_Vin._ Let's follow, and see where she leads him.

_Gar._ That's hardly fair: however, as I think there's danger, we will
follow. [_Exit_, L.


SCENE IV.--DON CÆSAR'S.

_Enter_ MINETTE _and_ DON JULIO, L.


_Min._ There, sir, please to sit down, till my lady is ready to wait on
you--she won't be long----I'm sure she's out, and I may do great things
before she returns. [_Aside.--Exit_, R.

_Julio._ Through fifty back lanes, a long garden, and a narrow
staircase, into a superb apartment--all that's in the regular way; as
the Spanish women manage it, one intrigue is too much like another. If
it was not now and then for the little lively fillip of a jealous
husband or brother, which obliges one to leap from a window, or crawl,
like a cat, along the gutters, there would be no bearing the _ennui_.
Ah! ah! but this promises novelty; [_Looking through the Wing._] a young
girl and an old man--wife or daughter? They are coming this way. My
lovely incognita, by all that's propitious! Why did not some kind spirit
whisper to me my happiness? but hold--she can't mean to treat the old
gentleman with a sight of me. [_Goes behind the sofa._

      _Enter_ DON CÆSAR _and_ OLIVIA, L.

_Cæsar._ No, no, madam, no going out--There, madam, this is your
apartment, your house, your garden, your assembly, till you go to your
convent. Why, how impudent you are to look thus unconcerned!--Can hardly
forbear laughing in my face!--Very well--very well! [_Exit, double
locking the door_, L.

_Oliv._ Ha! ha! ha! I'll be even with you, my dear father, if you treble
lock it. I'll stay here two days, without once asking for my liberty,
and you'll come the third, with tears in your eyes, to take me out.--He
has forgot the door leading to the garden--but I vow I'll stay.
[_Sitting down._] I can make the time pass pleasantly enough.

_Julio._ I hope so. [_Looking over the back of the sofa._

_Oliv._ Heaven and earth!

_Julio._ My dear creature, why are you so alarmed? am I here before you
expected me? [_Coming round_, R.

_Oliv._ Expected you!

_Julio._ Oh, this pretty surprise! Come, let us sit down; I think your
father was very obliging to lock us in together.

_Oliv._ Sir! sir! my father! [_Calling at the door._

_Cæsar._ [_Without._] Ay, 'tis all in vain--I won't come near you. There
you are, and there you may stay. I shan't return, make as much noise as
you will.

_Julio._ Why, are you not ashamed that your father has so much more
consideration for your guest than you have?

_Oliv._ My guest! how is it possible he can have discovered me?
[_Aside._]

_Julio._ Pho! This is carrying the thing further than you need--if there
was a third person here, it might be prudent.

_Oliv._ Why, this assurance, Don Julio, is really--

_Julio._ The thing in the world you are most ready to pardon.

_Oliv._ Upon my word, I don't know how to treat you.

_Julio._ Consult your heart!

_Oliv._ I shall consult my honour.

_Julio._ Honour is a pretty thing to play with, but when spoken with
that very grave face, after having sent your maid to bring me here, is
really more than I expected. I shall be in an ill humour presently--I
won't stay if you treat me thus. [_Crosses_, L.]

_Oliv._ Well, this is superior to every thing! I have heard that men
will slander women privately to each other; 'tis their common amusement;
but to do it to one's face!--and you really pretend that I sent for you?

_Julio._ Ha! ha! ha! Well, if it obliges you, I will pretend that you
did not send for me; that your maid did not conduct me hither; nay, that
I have not now the supreme happiness--[_Catching her in his arms._

      _Enter_ MINETTE; _she screams, and runs out_, R.

_Julio._ Donna Olivia de Zuniga! how the devil came she here?

_Oliv._ [_Aside._] That's lucky! Olivia, my dear friend, why do you run
away? Keep the character I charge you. [_Apart to_ MINETTE.] Be still
Olivia.

_Min._ Oh! dear madam! I was--I was so frightened when I saw that
gentleman.

_Oliv._ Oh, my dear; it's the merriest pretty kind of gentleman in the
world; he pretends that I sent my maid for him into the streets, ha! ha!

_Julio._ That's right; always tell a thing yourself, which you would not
have believed.

_Min._ It is the readiest excuse for being found in a lady's apartment,
however. Now will I swear I know nothing of the matter. [_Aside._]

_Oliv._ Now, I think it a horrid poor excuse; he has certainly not had
occasion to invent reasons for such impertinencies often. Tell me that
he has made love to you to-day. [_Apart._]

_Min._ I fancy that he has had occasion to excuse impertinencies
often;--his impertinence to me to-day----

_Julio._ To you, madam?

_Min._ Making love to me, my dear, all the morning--could hardly get him
away, he was so desirous to speak to my father. Nay, sir, I don't care
for your impatience.

_Julio._ [_Aside._] Now would I give a thousand pistoles if she were a
man!

_Oliv._ Nay, then, this accidental meeting is fortunate--pray, Don
Julio, don't let my presence prevent your saying what you think proper
to my friend--shall I leave you together? [_Crosses_, L.]

_Julio._ [_Apart._] To contradict a lady on such an assertion would be
too gross; but, upon my honour, Donna Olivia is the last woman upon
earth who could inspire me with a tender idea. Find an excuse to send
her away, my angel, I entreat you. I have a thousand things to say, and
the moments are too precious to be given to her.

_Oliv._ I think so too, but one can't be rude, you know. Come, my dear,
sit down, [_Seating herself_, C.] have you brought your work?

_Julio._ The devil! what can she mean? [_Pushing himself between_
MINETTE _and the sofa_.] DONNA OLIVIA, I am sorry to inform you that my
physician has just been sent for to your father, Don Cæsar.--The poor
gentleman was seized with a vertigo.

_Oliv._ Vertigoes! Oh, he has them frequently, you know. [_To_ MINETTE.]

_Min._ Yes, and they always keep me from his sight.

_Julio._ Did ever one woman prevent another from leaving her at such a
moment before? I really, madam, cannot comprehend----

_Cæsar._ [_Without._] It is impossible--impossible, gentleman! Don Julio
cannot be here.

_Julio._ Hah! who's that?

      _Enter_ DON CÆSAR, DON GARCIA, _and_ DON VINCENTIO, L. D.

_Gar._ There! did we not tell you so? we saw him enter the garden.

_Cæsar._ What can be the meaning of all this? A man in my daughter's
apartment! [_Attempting to draw._

_Gar._ Hold, sir! Don Julio is one of the first rank in Spain, and will
unquestionably be able to satisfy your honour, without troubling your
sword. We have done mischief, Vincentio! [_Apart._]

_Julio._ [_To_ OLIVIA.] They have been cursedly impertinent! but I'll
bring you off, never fear, by pretending a passion for your busy friend,
there.

_Cæsar._ Satisfy me then in a moment; speak, one of you. [_Crosses to_
JULIO.

_Julio._ I came here, sir, by the merest accident.--The garden door was
open, curiosity led me to this apartment. You came in a moment after,
and very civilly locked me in with your daughter.

_Cæsar._ Locked you in! why, then, did you not, like a man of honour,
cry out?

_Julio._ The lady cried out, sir, and you told her you would not return;
but when Donna Olivia de Zuniga entered, for whom I have conceived a
most violent passion----

_Cæsar._ A passion for her! Oh, let me hear no more on't.--A passion for
her! You may as well entertain a passion for the untameable hyena.

_Gar._ There, Vincentio, what think you now? Xantippe or not?

_Vin._ I am afraid I must give up that--but pray support me as to this
point, Don Cæsar; is not the lady fond of a Jew's-harp?

_Cæsar._ Fond! she's fond of nothing, but playing the vixen; there is
not such a fury upon earth.

_Julio._ These are odd liberties, with a person who does not belong to
him.

_Cæsar._ I'll play the hypocrite for her no more; the world shall know
her true character, they shall know----but ask her maid there.

_Julio._ Her maid!

_Min._ Why, yes, sir; to say truth, I am but Donna Olivia's maid, after
all.

_Oliv._ [_Apart._] Dear Minette! speak for me, or I am now ruined.

_Min._ I will, ma'am.--I must confess, sir, [_Going up to_ JULIO.] there
never was so bitter a tempered creature as my lady is. I have borne her
humours for two years; I have seen her by night and by day. [OLIVIA
_pulls her sleeve, impatiently_.] I will, I will! [_To_ OLIVIA.] and
this I am sure, that if you marry her, you'll rue the day every hour the
first month, and hang yourself the next. There, madam, I have done it
roundly now. [_Exit_, R.

_Oliv._ I am undone--I am caught in my own snare! [_Aside._]

_Cæsar._ After this true character of my daughter, I suppose, signor, we
shall hear no more of your passion; so let us go down, and leave madam
to begin her penance.

_Julio._ My ideas are totally confused.--You Donna Olivia de Zuniga, and
the person I thought you, her maid! something too flattering darts
across my mind.

_Cæsar._ If you have taken a fancy to her maid, I have nothing farther
to say; but as to that violent creature----

_Julio._ Oh, do not profane her. Where is that spirit which you tell me
of? Is it that which speaks in modest, conscious blushes on her cheeks?
Is it that which bends her lovely eyes to earth?

_Cæsar._ Ay, she's only bending them to earth, considering how to
afflict me with some new obstinacy--she'll break out like a tigress in a
moment.

_Julio._ It cannot be--are you, charming woman! such a creature?

_Oliv._ Yes, to all mankind--but one. [_Looking down._]

_Julio._ But one! Oh, might that excepted one, be me!

_Oliv._ Would you not fear to trust your fate with her, you have cause
to think so hateful?

_Julio._ No, I'd bless the hour that bound my fate to hers. Permit me,
sir, to pay my vows to this fair vixen.

_Cæsar._ What, are you such a bold man as that? Pho! but if you are,
'twill be only lost time--she'll contrive, some way or other, to return
your vows upon your hands.

_Oliv._ If they have your authority, sir, I will return them--only with
my own.

_Cæsar._ What's that! what did she say? my head is giddy with surprise.

_Julio._ And mine with rapture. [_Catching her hand._

_Cæsar._ Don't make a fool of me, Olivia.--Wilt marry him?

_Oliv._ When you command me, sir.

_Cæsar._ My dear Don Julio, thou art my guardian angel--shall I have a
son-in-law at last? Garcia, Vincentio, could you have thought it?

_Gar._ No, sir; if we had, we should have saved that lady much trouble;
'tis pretty clear now, why she was a vixen.

_Vin._ Yes, yes, 'tis clear enough, and I beg your pardon, madam, for
the share of trouble I gave you--but, pray, have the goodness to tell me
sincerely, what do you think of a crash? [_Crosses to_ OLIVIA.

_Oliv._ I love music, Don Vincentio, I admire your skill, and whenever
you'll give me a concert, I shall be obliged. [_Crosses to_ CÆSAR.

_Vin._ You could not have pleased me so well, if you had married me.

      _Enter_ DON CARLOS _and_ VICTORIA, R.

_Oliv._ Hah! here comes Victoria and her Carlos. My friend, you are
happy--'tis in your eyes; I need not ask the event.

_Cæsar._ What, is this Don Carlos, whom Victoria gave us for a cousin?
Sir, you come in a happy hour.

_Car._ I do indeed, for I am most happy.

_Julio._ My dear Carlos, what has new made thee thus, since morning?

_Car._ A wife! Marry, Julio, marry!

_Julio._ What! this advice from you?

_Car._ Yes; and when you have married an angel, when that angel has done
for you such things, as makes your gratitude almost equal to your love,
you may then guess something of what I feel, in calling this angel mine.

_Oliv._ Now, I trust, Don Julio, after all this, that if I should do you
the honour of my hand, you'll treat me cruelly, be a very bad man, that
I, like my exemplary cousin----

_Vict._ Hold, Olivia! it is not necessary that a husband should be
faulty, to make a wife's character exemplary.--Should he be tenderly
watchful of your happiness, your gratitude will give a thousand graces
to your conduct; whilst the purity of your manners, and the nice honour
of your life, will gain you the approbation of those, whose praise is
fame.

_Oliv._ Pretty and matronly! thank you, my dear. We have each struck a
bold stroke to-day;--yours has been to reclaim a husband, mine to get
one: but the most important is yet to be obtained--the approbation of
our judges.

  That meed withheld, our labours have been vain;
  Pointless my jests, and doubly keen your pain;
  Might we their plaudits, and their praise provoke,
  Our _bold_ should then be term'd, a _happy_ stroke.



DISPOSITION OF THE CHARACTERS AT THE FALL OF THE CURTAIN.


              DON CÆSAR.    DONNA OLIVIA.
          DON VASQUEZ.        DON JULIO.
      DON GARCIA.                 DON CARLOS.
  DON VINCENTIO.                      DONNA VICTORIA.

    R.]                                         [L.


Clayton & Van Norden, Printers, 42 William-street.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE


Contemporary spellings have generally been retained. Hyphenation is
inconsistent throughout. Obvious misspellings and punctuation errors
have been corrected and character names harmonised; the latter applies
in particular to the character of Olivia, who was referred to in the
_Remarks_ as "Oliva". Occasionally, the same word occurred at the end of
one line and the beginning of the next, and in all such instances, one
of the two was removed.

A damaged page in the original scans had caused the loss of two words
in a passage in Act 5, scene two:

  No, (no;) the vineyards, and the cornfields, and the
  woods (of) Rosalvo, are not for him.

The words in brackets were supplemented from another scanned copy of
the text (same publisher, same year, different edition).

The following substantive changes were made:

Act IV, scene II

"then" was changed to "them" in:

     The furniture and decorations are my daughter's taste; would you
     wish THEM to remain, or will you give orders to have them
     changed?

Act V, scene II

"thorne" was replaced by "throne" in:

     Virtue is our first, most awful duty; bow, Laura! bow before her
     THRONE





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