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Title: The Belle's Stratagem
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.

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Canada team (http://www.pgdpcanada.net)



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM,

A Comedy,
As Acted At The
Theatre-Royal
in
Covent-Garden.

By MRS. COWLEY.



London:
Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand.
1782.



  TO
  THE QUEEN.


      MADAM,

In the following Comedy, my purpose was, to draw a FEMALE CHARACTER,
which with the most lively Sensibility, fine Understanding, and elegant
Accomplishments, should unite that beautiful Reserve and Delicacy which,
whilst they veil those charms, render them still more interesting. In
delineating such a Character, my heart naturally dedicated it to YOUR
MAJESTY; and nothing remained, but permission to lay it at Your feet.
Your Majesty's graciously allowing me this high Honour, is the point to
which my hopes aspired, and a reward, of which without censure I may be
proud.

      MADAM,

  With the warmest wishes for the continuance
  of your Majesty's felicity,

  I am
  YOUR MAJESTY's
  Most devoted
  and most dutiful Servant,
  _H. Cowley_.



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.


MEN.

  DORICOURT,               Mr. _Lewis_.
  HARDY,                   Mr. _Quick_.
  SIR GEORGE TOUCHWOOD,    Mr. _Wroughton_.
  FLUTTER,                 Mr. _Lee Lewes_.
  SAVILLE,                 Mr. _Aickin_.
  VILLERS,                 Mr. _Whitfield_.
  COURTALL,                Mr. _Robson_.
  SILVERTONGUE,            Mr. _W. Bates_.
  CROWQUILL,               Mr. _Jones_.
  FIRST GENTLEMAN,         Mr. _Thompson_.
  SECOND GENTLEMAN,        Mr. _L'Estrange_.
  MOUNTEBANK,              Mr. _Booth_.
  FRENCH SERVANT,          Mr. _Wewitzer_.
  PORTER,                  Mr. _Fearon_.
  DICK,                    Mr. _Stevens_.


WOMEN.

  LETITIA HARDY,           Miss _Younge_.
  MRS. RACKET,             Mrs. _Mattocks_.
  LADY FRANCES TOUCHWOOD,  Mrs. _Hartley_.
  MISS OGLE,               Mrs. _Morton_.
  KITTY WILLIS,            Miss _Stewart_.
  LADY,                    Mrs. _Poussin_.

  MASQUERADERS, TRADESMEN, SERVANTS, &c.



THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM.



ACT I.


SCENE I.--_Lincoln's-Inn._

_Enter_ Saville, _followed by a Servant, at the top of the stage,
looking round, as if at a loss_.


_Saville._

Lincoln's-Inn!--Well, but where to find him, now I am in
Lincoln's-Inn?--Where did he say his Master was?

_Serv._ He only said in Lincoln's-Inn, Sir.

_Sav._ That's pretty! And your wisdom never enquired at whose chambers?

_Serv._ Sir, you spoke to the servant yourself.

_Sav._ If I was too impatient to ask questions, you ought to have taken
directions, blockhead!

      _Enter_ Courtall _singing_.

Ha, Courtall!--Bid him keep the horses in motion, and then enquire at
all the chambers round. [_Exit servant._

What the devil brings you to this part of the town?--Have any of the
Long Robes, handsome wives, sisters or chambermaids?

_Court._ Perhaps they have;--but I came on a different errand; and, had
thy good fortune brought thee here half an hour sooner, I'd have given
thee such a treat, ha! ha! ha!

_Sav._ I'm sorry I miss'd it: what was it?

_Court._ I was informed a few days since, that my cousins Fallow were
come to town, and desired earnestly to see me at their lodgings in
Warwick-Court, Holborn. Away drove I, painting them all the way as so
many Hebes. They came from the farthest part of Northumberland, had
never been in town, and in course were made up of rusticity, innocence,
and beauty.

_Sav._ Well!

_Court._ After waiting thirty minutes, during which there was a violent
bustle, in bounced five fallow damsels, four of them maypoles;--the
fifth, Nature, by way of variety, had bent in the Æsop style.--But
they all opened at once, like hounds on a fresh scent:--"Oh, cousin
Courtall!--How do you do, cousin Courtall! Lord, cousin, I am glad you
are come! We want you to go with us to the Park, and the Plays, and the
Opera, and Almack's, and all the fine places!"----The devil, thought I,
my dears, may attend you, for I am sure I won't.--However, I heroically
stayed an hour with them, and discovered, the virgins were all come to
town with the hopes of leaving it--Wives:--their heads full of
Knight-Baronights, Fops, and adventures.

_Sav._ Well, how did you get off?

_Court._ Oh, pleaded a million engagements.----However, conscience
twitched me; so I breakfasted with them this morning, and afterwards
'squired them to the gardens here, as the most private place in town;
and then took a sorrowful leave, complaining of my hard, hard fortune,
that obliged me to set off immediately for Dorsetshire, ha! ha! ha!

_Sav._ I congratulate your escape!--Courtall at Almack's, with five
aukward country cousins! ha! ha! ha!--Why, your existence, as a Man of
Gallantry, could never have survived it.

_Court._ Death, and fire! had they come to town, like the rustics of
the last age, to see Paul's, the Lions, and the Wax-work--at their
service;--but the cousins of our days come up Ladies--and, with the
knowledge they glean from magazines and pocket-books, Fine Ladies;
laugh at the bashfulness of their grandmothers, and boldly demand their
_entrées_ in the first circles.

_Sav._ Where can this fellow be!--Come, give me some news--I have been
at war with woodcocks and partridges these two months, and am a stranger
to all that has passed out of their region.

_Court._ Oh! enough for three Gazettes. The Ladies are going to petition
for a bill, that, during the war, every man may be allowed Two Wives.

_Sav._ 'Tis impossible they should succeed, for the majority of both
Houses know what it is to have one.

_Court._ Gallantry was black-ball'd at the _Coterie_ last Thursday, and
Prudence and Chastity voted in.

_Sav._ Ay, that may hold 'till the Camps break up.--But have ye no
elopements? no divorces?

_Court._ Divorces are absolutely out, and the Commons-Doctors starving;
so they are publishing trials of _Crim. Con._ with all the separate
evidences at large; which they find has always a wonderful effect on
their trade, actions tumbling in upon them afterwards, like mackarel at
Gravesend.

_Sav._ What more?

_Court._ Nothing--for weddings, deaths, and politics, I never talk of,
but whilst my hair is dressing. But prithee, Saville, how came you
in town, whilst all the qualified gentry are playing at pop-gun on
Coxheath, and the country over-run with hares and foxes?

_Sav._ I came to meet my friend Doricourt, who, you know, is lately
arrived from Rome.

_Court._ Arrived! Yes, faith, and has cut us all out!--His carriage,
his liveries, his dress, himself, are the rage of the day! His first
appearance set the whole _Ton_ in a ferment, and his valet is besieged
by _levées_ of taylors, habit-makers, and other Ministers of Fashion, to
gratify the impatience of their customers for becoming _à la mode de
Doricourt_. Nay, the beautiful Lady Frolic, t'other night, with two
sister Countesses, insisted upon his waistcoat for muffs; and their
snowy arms now bear it in triumph about town, to the heart-rending
affliction of all our _Beaux Garçons_.

_Sav._ Indeed! Well, those little gallantries will soon be over; he's on
the point of marriage.

_Court._ Marriage! Doricourt on the point of marriage! 'Tis the happiest
tidings you could have given, next to his being hanged--Who is the Bride
elect?

_Sav._ I never saw her; but 'tis Miss Hardy, the rich heiress--the match
was made by the parents, and the courtship begun on their nurses knees;
Master used to crow at Miss, and Miss used to chuckle at Master.

_Court._ Oh! then by this time they care no more for each other, than I
do for my country cousins.

_Sav._ I don't know that; they have never met since thus high, and so,
probably, have some regard for each other.

_Court._ Never met! Odd!

_Sav._ A whim of Mr. Hardy's; he thought his daughter's charms would
make a more forcible impression, if her lover remained in ignorance of
them 'till his return from the Continent.

      _Enter_ Saville's _Servant_.

_Serv._ Mr. Doricourt, Sir, has been at Counsellor Pleadwell's, and gone
about five minutes. [_Exit Servant._

_Serv._ Five minutes! Zounds! I have been five minutes too late all my
life-time!--Good morrow, Courtall; I must pursue him. (_Going._)

_Court._ Promise to dine with me to-day; I have some honest fellows.
(_Going off on the opposite side._)

_Sav._ Can't promise; perhaps I may.--See there, there's a bevy of
female Patagonians, coming down upon us.

_Court._ By the Lord, then, it must be my strapping cousins.--I dare not
look behind me--Run, man, run. [_Exit, on the same side._


SCENE II.--_A Hall at_ Doricourt'_s_. (_A gentle knock at the door._)

_Enter the Porter._

_Port._ Tap! What sneaking devil art thou? (_Opens the door._)

      _Enter_ Crowquill.

So! I suppose _you_ are one of Monsieur's customers too? He's above
stairs, now, overhauling all his Honour's things to a parcel of 'em.

_Crowq._ No, Sir; it is with you, if you please, that I want to speak.

_Port._ Me! Well, what do you want with me?

_Crowq._ Sir, you must know that I am--I am the Gentleman who writes the
_Tête-à-têtes_ in the Magazines.

_Port._ Oh, oh!--What, you are the fellow that ties folks together, in
your sixpenny cuts, that never meet any where else?

_Crowq._ Oh, dear Sir, excuse me!--we always go on _foundation_; and
if you can help me to a few anecdotes of your master, such as what
Marchioness he lost money to, in Paris--who is his favourite Lady in
town--or the name of the Girl he first made love to at College--or any
incidents that happened to his Grandmother, or Great aunts--a couple
will do, by way of supporters--I'll weave a web of intrigues, losses,
and gallantries, between them, that shall fill four pages, procure me a
dozen dinners, and you, Sir, a bottle of wine for your trouble.

_Port._ Oh, oh! I heard the butler talk of you, when I lived at Lord
Tinket's. But what the devil do you mean by a bottle of wine!--You gave
him a crown for a retaining fee.

_Crowq._ Oh, Sir, that was for a Lord's amours; a Commoner's are never
but half. Why, I have had a Baronet's for five shillings, though he was
a married man, and changed his mistress every six weeks.

_Port._ Don't tell me! What signifies a Baronet, or a bit of a Lord,
who, may be, was never further than sun and fun round London? _We_ have
travelled, man! My master has been in Italy, and over the whole island
of Spain; talked to the Queen of France, and danced with her at a
masquerade. Ay, and such folks don't go to masquerades for nothing; but
mum--not a word more--Unless you'll rank my master with a Lord, I'll not
be guilty of blabbing his secrets, I assure you.

_Crowq._ Well, Sir, perhaps you'll throw in a hint or two of other
families, where you've lived, that may be worked up into something; and
so, Sir, here is one, two, three, four, five shillings.

_Port._ Well, that's honest, (_pocketing the money._) To tell you the
truth, I don't know much of my master's concerns yet;--but here comes
Monsieur and his gang: I'll pump them: they have trotted after him all
round Europe, from the Canaries to the Isle of Wight.

      _Enter several foreign Servants and two Tradesmen._

      (_The Porter takes one of them aside._)

_Tradesm._ Well then, you have shew'd us all?

_Frenchm._ All, _en vérité, Messieurs_! you _avez_ seen every ting.
_Serviteur, serviteur._ [_Exeunt_ Tradesmen.

Ah, here comes one _autre_ curious Englishman, and dat's one _autre_
guinea _pour moi_.

      _Enter_ Saville.

_Allons, Monsieur_, dis way; I will shew you tings, such tings you
never see, begar, in England!--velvets by Le Mosse, suits cut by Verdue,
trimmings by Grossette, embroidery by Detanville----

_Sav._ Puppy!--where is your Master?

_Port._ Zounds! you chattering frog-eating dunderhead, can't you see a
Gentleman?--'Tis Mr. Saville.

_Frenchm._ Monsieur Saville! _Je suis mort de peur._--Ten tousand
pardons! _Excusez mon erreur_, and permit me you conduct to Monsieur
Doricourt; he be too happy _à vous voir_. [_Exeunt_ Frenchman _and_
Saville.

_Port._ Step below a bit;--we'll make it out some-how!--I suppose a
slice of sirloin won't make the story go down the worse. [_Exeunt_
Porter _and_ Crowquill.


SCENE III.----_An Apartment at_ Doricourt'_s_.

_Enter_ Doricourt.

_Doric._ (_speaking to a servant behind_) I shall be too late for St.
James's; bid him come immediately.

      _Enter_ Frenchman _and_ Saville.

_Frenchm._ Monsieur Saville. [_Exit_ Frenchman.

_Doric._ Most fortunate! My dear Saville, let the warmth of this embrace
speak the pleasure of my heart.

_Sav._ Well, this is some comfort, after the scurvy reception I met
with in your hall.--I prepared my mind, as I came up stairs, for a _bon
jour_, a grimace, and an _adieu_.

_Doric._ Why so?

_Sav._ Judging of the master from the rest of the family. What the devil
is the meaning of that flock of foreigners below, with their parchment
faces and snuffy whiskers? What! can't an Englishman stand behind your
carriage, buckle your shoe, or brush your coat?

_Doric._ Stale, my dear Saville, stale! Englishmen make the best
Soldiers, Citizens, Artizans, and Philosophers in the world; but the
very worst Footmen. I keep French fellows and Germans, as the Romans
kept slaves; because their own countrymen had minds too enlarged and
haughty to descend with a grace to the duties of such a station.

_Sav._ A good excuse for a bad practice.

_Doric._ On my honour, experience will convince you of its truth. A
Frenchman neither hears, sees, nor breathes, but as his master directs;
and his whole system of conduct is compris'd in one short word,
_Obedience_! An Englishman reasons, forms opinions, cogitates, and
disputes; he is the mere creature of your will: the other, a being,
conscious of equal importance in the universal scale with yourself, and
is therefore your judge, whilst he wears your livery, and decides on
your actions with the freedom of a censor.

_Sav._ And this in defence of a custom I have heard you execrate,
together with all the adventitious manners imported by our Travell'd
Gentry.

_Doric._ Ay, but that was at eighteen; we are always _very_ wise at
eighteen. But consider this point: we go into Italy, where the sole
business of the people is to study and improve the powers of Music: we
yield to the fascination, and grow enthusiasts in the charming science:
we travel over France, and see the whole kingdom composing ornaments,
and inventing Fashions: we condescend to avail ourselves of their
industry, and adopt their modes: we return to England, and find the
nation intent on the most important objects; Polity, Commerce, War, with
all the Liberal Arts, employ her sons; the latent sparks glow afresh
within our bosoms; the sweet follies of the Continent imperceptibly
slide away, whilst Senators, Statesmen, Patriots and Heroes, emerge from
the _virtû_ of Italy, and the frippery of France.

_Sav._ I may as well give it up! You had always the art of placing your
faults in the best light; and I can't help loving you, faults and all:
so, to start a subject which must please you, When do you expect Miss
Hardy?

_Doric._ Oh, the hour of expectation is past. She is arrived, and I this
morning had the honour of an interview at Pleadwell's. The writings were
ready; and, in obedience to the will of Mr. Hardy, we met to sign and
seal.

_Sav._ Has the event answered? Did your heart leap, or sink, when you
beheld your Mistress?

_Doric._ Faith, neither one nor t'other; she's a fine girl, as far as
mere flesh and blood goes.----But----

_Sav._ But what?

_Doric._ Why, she's _only_ a fine girl; complexion, shape, and features;
nothing more.

_Sav._ Is not that enough?

Doric. No! she should have spirit! fire! _l'air enjoué_! that something,
that nothing, which every body feels, and which no body can describe, in
the resistless charmers of Italy and France.

_Sav._ Thanks to the parsimony of my father, that kept me from travel! I
would not have lost my relish for true unaffected English beauty, to
have been quarrell'd for by all the Belles of Versailles and Florence.

_Doric._ Pho! thou hast no taste. _English_ beauty! 'Tis insipidity;
it wants the zest, it wants poignancy, Frank! Why, I have known a
Frenchwoman, indebted to nature for no one thing but a pair of decent
eyes, reckon in her suite as many Counts, Marquisses, and _Petits
Maîtres_, as would satisfy three dozen of our first-rate toasts. I have
known an Italian _Marquizina_ make ten conquests in stepping from her
carriage, and carry her slaves from one city to another, whose real
intrinsic beauty would have yielded to half the little _Grisettes_ that
pace your Mall on a Sunday.

_Sav._ And has Miss Hardy nothing of this?

_Doric._ If she has, she was pleased to keep it to herself. I was in
the room half an hour before I could catch the colour of her eyes; and
every attempt to draw her into conversation occasioned so cruel an
embarrassment, that I was reduced to the necessity of news, French
fleets, and Spanish captures, with her father.

_Sav._ So Miss Hardy, with only beauty, modesty, and merit, is doom'd to
the arms of a husband who will despise her.

_Doric._ You are unjust. Though she has not inspir'd me with violent
passion, my honour secures her felicity.

_Sav._ Come, come, Doricourt, you know very well that when the honour
of a husband is _locum-tenens_ for his heart, his wife must be as
indifferent as himself, if she is not unhappy.

_Doric._ Pho! never moralise without spectacles. But, as we are upon the
tender subject, how did you bear Touchwood's carrying Lady Frances?

_Sav._ You know I never look'd up to her with hope, and Sir George is
every way worthy of her.

_Doric._ _A la mode Angloise_, a philosopher even in love.

_Sav._ Come, I detain you--you seem dress'd at all points, and of course
have an engagement.

_Doric._ To St. James's. I dine at Hardy's, and accompany them to the
masquerade in the evening: but breakfast with me to-morrow, and we'll
talk of our old companions; for I swear to you, Saville, the air of the
Continent has not effaced one youthful prejudice or attachment.

_Sav._--With an exception to the case of Ladies and Servants.

_Doric._ True; there I plead guilty:--but I have never yet found any man
whom I could cordially take to my heart, and call Friend, who was not
born beneath a British sky, and whose heart and manners were not truly
English. [_Exit_ Doricourt _and_ Saville.


SCENE IV.--_An Apartment at Mr._ Hardy'_s_.

Villers _seated on a sopha, reading_.

_Enter_ Flutter.

_Flut._ Hah, Villers, have you seen Mrs. Racket?----Miss Hardy, I find,
is out.

_Vill._ I have not seen her yet. I have made a voyage to Lapland since
I came in. (_flinging away the book._) A Lady at her toilette is as
difficult to be moved, as a Quaker, (_yawning_). What events have
happened in the world since yesterday? have you heard?

_Flut._ Oh, yes; I stopt at Tattersall's as I came by, and there I
found Lord James Jessamy, Sir William Wilding, and Mr.----. But, now
I think of it, you sha'n't know a syllable of the matter; for I have
been informed you never believe above one half of what I say.

_Vill._ My dear fellow, somebody has imposed upon you most
egregiously!--Half! Why, I never believe one tenth part of what you
say; that is, according to the plain and literal expression: but, as I
understand you, your intelligence is amusing.

_Flut._ That's very hard now, very hard. I never related a falsity in
my life, unless I stumbled on it by mistake; and if it were otherwise,
your dull matter-of-fact people are infinitely oblig'd to those warm
imaginations which soar into fiction to amuse you; for, positively, the
common events of this little dirty world are not worth talking about,
unless you embellish 'em!----Hah! here comes Mrs. Racket: Adieu to
weeds, I see! All life!

      _Enter Mrs._ Racket.

Enter, Madam, in all your charms! Villers has been abusing your toilette
for keeping you so long; but I think we are much oblig'd to it, and so
are you.

Mrs. _Rack._ How so, pray? Good-morning t'ye both. Here, here's a hand
a-piece for you. (_They kiss her hands._)

_Flut._ How so! Because it has given you so many beauties.

Mrs. _Rack._ Delightful compliment! What do you think of that, Villers?

_Vill._ That he and his compliments are alike--shewy, but won't bear
examining.----So you brought Miss Hardy to town last night?

Mrs. _Rack._ Yes, I should have brought her before, but I had a fall
from my horse, that confined me a week.--I suppose in her heart she
wished me hanged a dozen times an hour.

_Flut._ Why?

Mrs. _Rack._ Had she not an expecting Lover in town all the time? She
meets him this morning at the Lawyer's.--I hope she'll charm him; she's
the sweetest girl in the world.

_Vill._ Vanity, like murder, will out.--You have convinced me you think
yourself more charming.

Mrs. _Rack._ How can that be?

_Vill._ No woman ever praises another, unless she thinks herself
superior in the very perfections she allows.

_Flut._ Nor no man ever rails at the sex, unless he is conscious he
deserves their hatred.

Mrs. _Rack._ Thank ye, Flutter--I'll owe ye a _bouquet_ for that. I am
going to visit the new-married Lady Frances Touchwood.--Who knows her
husband?

_Flut._ Every body.

Mrs. _Rack._ Is there not something odd in his character?

_Vill._ Nothing, but that he is passionately fond of his wife;--and so
petulant is his love, that he open'd the cage of a favourite Bullfinch,
and sent it to catch Butterflies, because she rewarded its song with her
kisses.

Mrs. _Rack._ Intolerable monster! Such a brute deserves----

_Vill._ Nay, nay, nay, nay, this is your sex now----Give a woman but
one stroke of character, off she goes, like a ball from a racket; sees
the whole man, marks him down for an angel or a devil, and so exhibits
him to her acquaintance.--This monster! this brute! is one of the
worthiest fellows upon earth; sound sense, and a liberal mind; but
doats on his wife to such excess, that he quarrels with every thing
she admires, and is jealous of her tippet and nosegay.

Mrs. _Rack._ Oh, less love for me, kind Cupid! I can see no difference
between the torment of such an affection, and hatred.

_Flut._ Oh, pardon me, inconceivable difference, inconceivable; I see it
as clearly as your bracelet. In the one case the husband would say, as
Mr. Snapper said t'other day, Zounds! Madam, do you suppose that _my_
table, and _my_ house, and _my_ pictures!--_A-propos, des Bottes._ There
was the divinest Plague of Athens sold yesterday at Langford's! the dead
figures so natural, you would have sworn they had been alive! Lord
Primrose bid Five hundred--Six, said Lady Carmine.--A thousand, said
Ingot the Nabob.--Down went the hammer.--A _rouleau_ for your bargain,
said Sir Jeremy Jingle. And what answer do you think Ingot made him?

Mrs. _Racket._ Why, took the offer.

_Flut._ Sir, I would oblige you, but I buy this picture to place in the
nursery: the children have already got Whittington and his Cat; 'tis
just this size, and they'll make good companions.

Mrs. _Rack._ Ha! ha! ha! Well, I protest that's just the way now--the
Nabobs and their wives outbid one at every sale, and the creatures have
no more taste----

_Vill._ There again! You forget this story is told by Flutter, who
always remembers every thing but the circumstances and the person he
talks about:--'twas Ingot who offer'd a _rouleau_ for the bargain, and
Sir Jeremy Jingle who made the reply.

_Flut._ Egad, I believe you are right.--Well, the story is as good one
way as t'other, you know. Good morning. I am going to Mrs. Crotchet's
concert, and in my way back shall make my bow at Sir George's.
(_Going._)

_Vill._ I'll venture every figure in your taylor's bill, you make some
blunder there.

_Flut._ (_turning back_) Done! My taylor's bill has not been paid these
two years; and I'll open my mouth with as much care as Mrs. Bridget
Button, who wears cork plumpers in each cheek, and never hazards more
than six words for fear of shewing them. [_Exit_ Flutter.

Mrs. _Rack._ 'Tis a good-natur'd insignificant creature! let in every
where, and cared for no where.--There's Miss Hardy return'd from
Lincoln's-Inn:--she seems rather chagrin'd.

_Vill._ Then I leave you to your communications.

      _Enter_ Letitia, _followed by her Maid_.

Adieu! I am rejoiced to see you so well, Madam! but I must tear myself
away.

_Letit._ Don't vanish in a moment.

_Vill._ Oh, inhuman! you are two of the most dangerous women in
town.--Staying here to be cannonaded by four such eyes, is equal to
a _rencontre_ with Paul Jones, or a midnight march to Omoa!--They'll
swallow the nonsense for the sake of the compliment. (_Aside._)
[_Exit_ Villers.

_Letit._ (_gives her cloak to her maid._) Order Du Quesne never to come
again; he shall positively dress my hair no more. [_Exit Maid._] And
this odious silk, how unbecoming it is!--I was bewitched to chuse it.
(_Throwing herself on a sopha, and looking in a pocket-glass, Mrs._
Racket _staring at her_.) Did you ever see such a fright as I am to-day?

Mrs. _Rack._ Yes, I have seen you look much worse.

_Letit._ How can you be so provoking? If I do not look this morning
worse than ever I look'd in my life, I am naturally a fright. You shall
have it which way you will.

Mrs. _Rack._ Just as you please; but pray what is the meaning of all
this?

_Letit._ (_rising._) Men are all dissemblers! flatterers! deceivers!
Have I not heard a thousand times of my air, my eyes, my shape--all
made for victory! and to-day, when I bent my whole heart on one poor
conquest, I have proved that all those imputed charms amount to
nothing;--for Doricourt saw them unmov'd.--A husband of fifteen months
could not have examined me with more cutting indifference.

Mrs. _Rack._ Then you return it like a wife of fifteen months, and be as
indifferent as he.

_Letit._ Aye, there's the sting! The blooming boy, who left his image in
my young heart, is at four and twenty improv'd in every grace that fix'd
him there. It is the same face that my memory, and my dreams, constantly
painted to me; but its graces are finished, and every beauty heightened.
How mortifying, to feel myself at the same moment his slave, and an
object of perfect indifference to him!

Mrs. _Rack._ How are you certain that was the case? Did you expect him
to kneel down before the lawyer, his clerks, and, your father, to make
oath of your beauty?

_Letit._ No; but he should have look'd as if a sudden ray had pierced
him! he should have been breathless! speechless! for, oh! Caroline, all
this was I.

Mrs. _Rack._ I am sorry you was such a fool. Can you expect a man, who
has courted and been courted by half the fine women in Europe, to feel
like a girl from a boarding-school? He is the prettiest fellow you have
seen, and in course bewilders your imagination; but he has seen a
million of pretty women, child, before he saw you; and his first
feelings have been over long ago.

_Letit._ Your raillery distresses me; but I will touch his heart, or
never be his wife.

_Mrs. Rack._ Absurd, and romantic! If you have no reason to believe his
heart pre-engaged, be satisfied; if he is a man of honour, you'll have
nothing to complain of.

_Letit._ Nothing to complain of! Heav'ns! shall I marry the man I adore,
with such an expectation as that?

_Mrs. Rack._ And when you have fretted yourself pale, my dear, you'll
have mended your expectation greatly.

_Letit._ (_pausing._) Yet I have one hope. If there is any power whose
peculiar care is faithful love, that power I invoke to aid me.

      _Enter Mr._ Hardy.

_Hardy._ Well, now; wasn't I right? Aye, Letty! Aye, Cousin Racket!
wasn't I right? I knew 'twould be so. He was all agog to see her before
he went abroad; and, if he had, he'd have thought no more of her face,
may be, than his own.

_Mrs. Rack._ May be, not half so much.

_Hardy._ Aye, may be so:--but I see into things; exactly as I foresaw,
to-day he fell desperately in love with the wench, he! he! he!

_Letit._ Indeed, Sir! how did you perceive it?

_Hardy._ That's a pretty question! How do I perceive every thing? How
did I foresee the fall of corn, and the rise of taxes? How did I know,
that if we quarrelled with America, Norway deals would be dearer? How
did I foretell that a war would sink the funds? How did I forewarn
Parson Homily, that if he didn't some way or other contrive to get more
votes than Rubrick, he'd lose the lectureship? How did I----But what the
devil makes you so dull, Letitia? I thought to have found you popping
about as brisk as the jacks of your harpsichord.

_Letit._ Surely, Sir, 'tis a very serious occasion.

_Hardy._ Pho, pho! girls should never be grave before marriage. How did
you feel, Cousin, beforehand? Aye!

_Mrs. Rack._ Feel! why exceedingly full of cares.

_Hardy._ Did you?

_Mrs. Rack._ I could not sleep for thinking of my coach, my liveries,
and my chairmen; the taste of clothes I should be presented in,
distracted me for a week; and whether I should be married in white or
lilac, gave me the most cruel anxiety.

_Letit._ And is it possible that you felt no other care?

_Hardy._ And pray, of what sort may your cares be, Mrs. Letitia? I begin
to foresee now that you have taken a dislike to Doricourt.

_Letit._ Indeed, Sir, I have not.

_Hardy._ Then what's all this melancholy about? A'n't you going to be
married? and, what's more, to a sensible man? and, what's more to a
young girl, to a handsome man? And what's all this melancholy for, I
say?

_Mrs. Rack._ Why, because he _is_ handsome and sensible, and because
she's over head and ears in love with him; all which, it seems, your
foreknowledge had not told you a word of.

_Letit._ Fye, Caroline!

_Hardy._ Well, come, do you tell me what's the matter then? If you
don't like him, hang the signing and sealing, he sha'n't have ye:--and
yet I can't say that neither; for you know that estate, that cost his
father and me upwards of fourscore thousand pounds, must go all to him
if you won't have him: if he won't have you, indeed, 'twill be all
yours. All that's clear, engross'd upon parchment, and the poor dear
man set his hand to it whilst he was a dying.--"Ah!" said I, "I foresee
you'll never live to see 'em come together; but their first son shall be
christened Jeremiah after you, that I promise you."----But come, I say,
what is the matter? Don't you like him?

_Letit._ I fear, Sir--if I must speak--I fear I was less agreeable in
Mr. Doricourt's eyes, than he appeared in mine.

_Hardy._ There you are mistaken; for I asked him, and he told me he
liked you vastly. Don't you think he must have taken a fancy to her?

_Mrs. Rack._ Why really I think so, as I was not by.

_Letit._ My dear Sir, I am convinced he has not; but if there is spirit
or invention in woman, he shall.

_Hardy._ Right, Girl; go to your toilette--

_Letit._ It is not my toilette that can serve me: but a plan has struck
me, if you will not oppose it, which flatters me with brilliant success.

_Hardy._ Oppose it! not I indeed! What is it?

_Letit._ Why, Sir--it may seem a little paradoxical; but, as he does not
like me enough, I want him to like me still less, and will at our next
interview endeavour to heighten his indifference into dislike.

_Hardy._ Who the devil could have foreseen that?

_Mrs. Rack._ Heaven and earth! Letitia, are you serious?

_Letit._ As serious as the most important business of my life demands.

_Mrs. Rack._ Why endeavour to make him dislike you?

_Letit._ Because 'tis much easier to convert a sentiment into its
opposite, than to transform indifference into tender passion.

_Mrs. Rack._ That may be good philosophy, but I am afraid you'll find it
a bad maxim.

_Letit._ I have the strongest confidence in it. I am inspired with
unusual spirits, and on this hazard willingly stake my chance for
happiness. I am impatient to begin my measures. [_Exit_ Letitia.

_Hardy._ Can you foresee the end of this, Cousin?

_Mrs. Rack._ No, Sir; nothing less than your penetration can do that, I
am sure; and I can't stay now to consider it. I am going to call on the
Ogles, and then to Lady Frances Touchwood's, and then to an Auction,
and then--I don't know where----but I shall be at home time enough to
witness this extraordinary interview. Good-bye. [_Exit Mrs._ Racket.

_Hardy._ Well, 'tis an odd thing--I can't understand it--but I foresee
Letty will have her way, and so I sha'n't give myself the trouble to
dispute it. [_Exit_ Hardy.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.



ACT II.


SCENE I. _Sir George Touchwood_'s.

_Enter_ Doricourt _and_ Sir George.


_Doricourt._

Married, ha! ha! ha! you, whom I heard in Paris say such things of the
sex, are in London a married man.

_Sir Geo._ The sex is still what it has ever been since _la petite
morale_ banished substantial virtues; and rather than have given my name
to one of your high-bred fashionable dames, I'd have crossed the line in
a fire-ship, and married a Japanese.

_Doric._ Yet you have married an English beauty, yea, and a beauty born
in high life.

_Sir Geo._ True; but she has a simplicity of heart and manners, that
would have become the fair Hebrew damsels toasted by the Patriarchs.

_Doric._ Ha! ha! Why, thou art a downright matrimonial Quixote. My life
on't, she becomes as mere a Town Lady in six months as though she had
been bred to the trade.

_Sir Geo._ Common--common--(_contemptuously_). No, Sir, Lady Frances
despises high life so much from the ideas I have given her, that she'll
live in it like a salamander in fire.

_Doric._ Oh, that the circle _dans la place Victoire_ could witness thy
extravagance! I'll send thee off to St. Evreux this night, drawn at full
length, and coloured after nature.

_Sir Geo._ Tell him then, to add to the ridicule, that Touchwood glories
in the name of Husband; that he has found in one Englishwoman more
beauty than Frenchmen ever saw, and more goodness than Frenchwomen can
conceive.

_Doric._ Well--enough of description. Introduce me to this phœnix; I
came on purpose.

_Sir Geo._ Introduce!--oh, aye, to be sure--I believe Lady Frances is
engaged just now--but another time. How handsome the dog looks to-day!
_Aside._

_Doric._ Another time!--but I have no other time. 'Sdeath! this is the
only hour I can command this fortnight!

_Sir Geo._ [_Aside._ I am glad to hear it, with all my soul.] So then,
you can't dine with us to-day? That's very unlucky.

_Doric._ Oh, yes--as to dinner--yes, I can, I believe, contrive to dine
with you to-day.

_Sir Geo._ Psha! I didn't think on what I was saying; I meant
supper.--You can't sup with us?

_Doric._ Why, supper will be rather more convenient than dinner.--But
you are fortunate--if you had ask'd me any other night, I could not have
come.

_Sir Geo._ To-night!--Gad, now I recollect, we are particularly engaged
to-night.--But to-morrow night--

_Doric._ Why look ye, Sir George, 'tis very plain you have no
inclination to let me see your wife at all; so here I sit (_throws
himself on a sopha._)--There's my hat, and here are my legs.--Now I
sha'n't stir till I have seen her; and I have no engagements: I'll
breakfast, dine, and sup with you every day this week.

_Sir Geo._ Was there ever such a provoking wretch! But, to be plain with
you, Doricourt, I and my house are at your service: but you are a damn'd
agreeable fellow, and ten years younger than I am; and the women, I
observe, always simper when you appear. For these reasons, I had rather,
when Lady Frances and I are together, that you should forget we are
acquainted, further than a nod, a smile, or a how-d'ye.

_Doric._ Very well.

_Sir Geo._ It is not merely yourself in _propriâ personâ_ that I object
to; but, if you are intimate here, you'll make my house still more the
fashion than it is; and it is already so much so, that my doors are of
no use to me. I married Lady Frances to engross her to myself; yet such
is the blessed freedom of modern manners, that, in spite of me, her
eyes, thoughts, and conversation, are continually divided amongst all
the Flirts and Coxcombs of Fashion.

_Doric._ To be sure, I confess that kind of freedom is carried rather
too far. 'Tis hard one can't have a jewel in one's cabinet, but the
whole town must be gratified with its lustre. He sha'n't preach me out
of seeing his wife, though. _Aside._

_Sir Geo._ Well, now, that's reasonable. When you take time to reflect,
Doricourt, I always observe you decide right, and therefore I hope----

      _Enter Servant._

_Serv._ Sir, my Lady desires----

_Sir Geo._ I am particularly engaged.

_Doric._ Oh, Lord, that shall be no excuse in the world (_leaping
from the sopha_). Lead the way, John.--I'll attend your Lady. [_Exit,
following the Servant._

_Sir Geo._ What devil possessed me to talk about her!--Here, Doricourt!
(_Running after him._) Doricourt!

      _Enter_ Mrs. Racket, _and_ Miss Ogle, _followed by a
      Servant_.

_Mrs. Rack._ Acquaint your Lady, that Mrs. Racket, and Miss Ogle, are
here. [_Exit_ Servant.

_Miss Ogle._ I shall hardly know Lady Frances, 'tis so long since I was
in Shropshire.

_Mrs. Rack._ And I'll be sworn you never saw her _out_ of
Shropshire.--Her father kept her locked up with his Caterpillars and
Shells; and loved her beyond any thing--but a blue Butterfly, and a
petrified Frog!

_Miss Ogle._ Ha! ha! ha!--Well, 'twas a cheap way of breeding her:--you
know he was very poor, though a Lord; and very high-spirited, though a
Virtuoso.--In town, her Pantheons, Operas, and Robes de Cour, would have
swallowed his Sea-Weeds, Moths, and Monsters, in six weeks!--Sir George,
I find, thinks his Wife a most extraordinary creature: he has taught her
to despise every thing like Fashionable Life, and boasts that example
will have no effect on her.

_Mrs. Rack._ There's a great degree of impertinence in all that--I'll
try to make her a Fine Lady, to humble him.

_Miss Ogle._ That's just the thing I wish.

      _Enter Lady_ Frances.

_Lady Fran._ I beg ten thousand pardons, my dear Mrs. Racket.--Miss
Ogle, I rejoice to see you: I should have come to you sooner, but I was
detained in conversation by Mr. Doricourt.

_Mrs. Rack._ Pray make no apology; I am quite happy that we have your
Ladyship in town at last.--What stay do you make?

_Lady Fran._ A short one! Sir George talks with regret of the scenes we
have left; and as the ceremony of presentation is over, will, I believe,
soon return.

_Miss Ogle._ Sure he can't be so cruel! Does your Ladyship wish to
return so soon?

_Lady Fran._ I have not the habit of consulting my own wishes; but,
I think, if they decide, we shall not return immediately. I have yet
hardly form'd an idea of London.

_Mrs. Rack._ I shall quarrel with your Lord and Master, if he dares
think of depriving us of you so soon. How do you dispose of yourself
to-day?

_Lady Fran._ Sir George is going with me this morning to the mercer's,
to chuse a silk; and then----

_Mrs. Rack._ Chuse a silk for you! ha! ha! ha! Sir George chuses your
laces too, I hope; your gloves, and your pincushions!

_Lady Fran._ Madam!

_Mrs. Rack._ I am glad to see you blush, my dear Lady Frances. These are
strange homespun ways! If you do these things, pray keep 'em secret.
Lord bless us! If the Town should know your husband chuses your gowns!

_Miss Ogle._ You are very young, my Lady, and have been brought up in
solitude. The maxims you learnt among the Wood-Nymphs in Shropshire,
won't pass current here, I assure you.

_Mrs. Rack._ Why, my dear creature, you look quite frighten'd!--Come,
you shall go with us to an Exhibition, and an Auction.--Afterwards,
we'll take a turn in the Park, and then drive to Kensington;--so we
shall be at home by four, to dress; and in the evening I'll attend you
to Lady Brilliant's masquerade.

_Lady Fran._ I shall be very happy to be of your party, if Sir George
has no engagements.

_Mrs. Rack._ What! Do you stand so low in your own opinion, that you
dare not trust yourself without Sir George! If you chuse to play Darby
and Joan, my dear, you should have stay'd in the country;--'tis an
Exhibition not calculated for London, I assure you!

_Miss Ogle._ What I suppose, my Lady, you and Sir George, will be seen
pacing it comfortably round the Canal, arm and arm, and then go lovingly
into the same carriage;--dine _tête-à-tête_, spend the evening at
Picquet, and so go soberly to bed at Eleven!--Such a snug plan may do
for an Attorney and his Wife; but, for Lady Frances Touchwood, 'tis as
unsuitable as linsey-woolsey, or a black bonnet at the _Festino_!

_Lady Fran._ These are rather new doctrines to me!--But, my dear Mrs.
Racket, you and Miss Ogle must judge of these things better than I
can. As you observe, I am but young, and may have caught absurd
opinions.--Here is Sir George!

      _Enter Sir_ George.

_Sir Geo._ (_Aside._) 'Sdeath! another room full!

_Lady Fran._ My love! Mrs. Racket, and Miss Ogle.

_Mrs. Rack._ Give you joy, Sir George.--We came to rob you of Lady
Frances for a few hours.

_Sir Geo._ A few hours!

_Lady Fran._ Oh, yes! I am going to an Exhibition, and an Auction,
and the Park, and Kensington, and a thousand places!--It is quite
ridiculous, I find, for married people to be always together--We shall
be laughed at!

_Sir Geo._ I am astonished!--Mrs. Racket, what does the dear creature
mean?

_Mrs. Rack._ Mean, Sir George!--what she says, I imagine.

_Miss Ogle._ Why, you know, Sir, as Lady Frances had the misfortune to
be bred entirely in the Country, she cannot be supposed to be versed in
Fashionable Life.

_Sir Geo._ No; heaven forbid she should!--If she had, Madam, she would
never have been my Wife!

_Mrs. Rack._ Are you serious?

_Sir Geo._ Perfectly so.--I should never have had the courage to have
married a well-bred Fine Lady.

_Miss Ogle._ Pray, Sir, what do you take a Fine Lady to be, that you
express such fear of her? (_sneeringly._)

_Sir Geo._ A being easily described, Madam, as she is seen every where,
but in her own house. She sleeps at home, but she lives all over the
town. In her mind, every sentiment gives place to the Lust of Conquest,
and the vanity of being particular. The feelings of Wife, and Mother,
are lost in the whirl of dissipation. If she continues virtuous, 'tis
by chance--and if she preserves her Husband from ruin, 'tis by her
dexterity at the Card-Table!--Such a Woman I take to be a perfect Fine
Lady!

_Mrs. Rack._ And you I take to be a slanderous Cynic of
two-and-thirty.--Twenty years hence, one might have forgiven such a
libel!--Now, Sir, hear my definition of a Fine Lady:--She is a creature
for whom Nature has done much, and Education more; she has Taste,
Elegance, Spirit, Understanding. In her manner she is free, in her
morals nice. Her behaviour is undistinguishingly polite to her Husband,
and all mankind;--her sentiments are for their hours of retirement. In a
word, a Fine Lady is the life of conversation, the spirit of society,
the joy of the public!--Pleasure follows where ever she appears, and
the kindest wishes attend her slumbers.--Make haste, then, my dear Lady
Frances, commence Fine Lady, and force your Husband to acknowledge the
justness of my picture!

_Lady Fran._ I am sure 'tis a delightful one. How can you dislike it,
Sir George? You painted Fashionable Life in colours so disgusting, that
I thought I hated it; but, on a nearer view, it seems charming. I have
hitherto lived in obscurity; 'tis time that I should be a Woman of the
World. I long to begin;--my heart pants with expectation and delight!

_Mrs. Rack._ Come, then; let us begin directly. I am inpatient to
introduce you to that Society, which you were born to ornament and
charm.

_Lady Fran._ Adieu! my Love!--We shall meet again at dinner. (_Going._)

_Sir Geo._ Sure, I am in a dream!--Fanny!

_Lady Fran._ (_returning_) Sir George?

_Sir Geo._ Will you go without me?

_Mrs. Rack._ Will you go without me!--ha! ha! ha! what a pathetic
address! Why, sure you would not always be seen side by side, like two
beans upon a stalk. Are you afraid to trust Lady Frances with me, Sir?

_Sir George._ Heaven and earth! with whom can a man trust his wife,
in the present state of society? Formerly there were distinctions
of character amongst ye: every class of females had its particular
description; Grandmothers were pious, Aunts, discreet, Old Maids
censorious! but now aunts, grandmothers, girls, and maiden gentlewomen,
are all the same creature;--a wrinkle more or less is the sole
difference between ye.

_Mrs. Rack._ That Maiden Gentlewomen have lost their censoriousness, is
surely not in your catalogue of grievances.

_Sir Geo._ Indeed it is--and ranked amongst the most serious
grievances.--Things went well, Madam, when the tongues of three or four
old Virgins kept all the Wives and Daughters of a parish in awe. They
were the Dragons that guarded the Hesperian fruit; and I wonder they
have not been oblig'd, by act of parliament, to resume their function.

_Mrs. Rack._ Ha! ha! ha! and pension'd, I suppose, for making strict
enquiries into the lives and conversations of their neighbours.

_Sir Geo._ With all my heart, and impowered to oblige every woman to
conform her conduct to her real situation. You, for instance, are a
Widow: your air should be sedate, your dress grave, your deportment
matronly, and in all things an example to the young women growing up
about you!--instead of which, you are dress'd for conquest, think of
nothing but ensnaring hearts; are a Coquette, a Wit, and a Fine Lady.

_Mrs. Rack._ Bear witness to what he says! A Coquette! a Wit! and a
Fine Lady! Who would have expected an eulogy from such an ill-natur'd
mortal!--Valour to a Soldier, Wisdom to a Judge, or glory to a Prince,
is not more than such a character to a Woman.

_Miss Ogle._ Sir George, I see, languishes for the charming society of a
century and a half ago; when a grave 'Squire, and a still graver Dame,
surrounded by a sober family, form'd a stiff groupe in a mouldy old
house in the corner of a Park.

_Mrs. Rack._ Delightful serenity! Undisturb'd by any noise but the
cawing of rooks, and the quarterly rumbling of an old family-coach on a
state-visit; with the happy intervention of a friendly call from the
Parish Apothecary, or the Curate's Wife.

_Sir Geo._ And what is the society of which you boast?--a meer chaos,
in which all distinction of rank is lost in a ridiculous affectation of
ease, and every different order of beings huddled together, as they were
before the creation. In the same _select party_, you will often find the
wife of a Bishop and a Sharper, of an Earl and a Fidler. In short, 'tis
one universal masquerade, all disguised in the same habits and manners.

_Serv._ Mr. Flutter. [_Exit_ Servant.

_Sir Geo._ Here comes an illustration. Now I defy you to tell from his
appearance, whether Flutter is a Privy Counsellor or a Mercer, a Lawyer,
or a Grocer's 'Prentice.

      _Enter_ Flutter.

_Flut._ Oh, just which you please, Sir George; so you don't make me a
Lord Mayor. Ah, Mrs. Racket!----Lady Frances, your most obedient; you
look--now hang me, if that's not provoking!--had your gown been of
another colour, I would have said the prettiest thing you ever heard in
your life.

_Miss Ogle._ Pray give it us.

_Flut._ I was yesterday at Mrs. Bloomer's. She was dress'd all in green;
no other colour to be seen but that of her face and bosom. So says I, My
dear Mrs. Bloomer! you look like a Carnation, just bursting from its
pod.

_Sir Geo._ And what said her Husband?

_Flut._ Her Husband! Why, her Husband laugh'd, and said a Cucumber would
have been a happier simile.

_Sir Geo._ But there _are_ Husbands, Sir, who would rather have
corrected than amended your comparison; I, for instance, should consider
a man's complimenting my Wife as an impertinence.

_Flut._ Why, what harm can there be in compliments? Sure they are not
infectious; and, if they were, you, Sir George, of all people breathing,
have reason to be satisfied about your Lady's attachment; every body
talks of it: that little Bird there, that she killed out of jealousy,
the most extraordinary instance of affection, that ever was given.

_Lady Fran._ I kill a Bird through jealousy!--Heavens! Mr. Flutter, how
can you impute such a cruelty to me?

_Sir Geo._ I could have forgiven you, if you had.

_Flut._ Oh, what a blundering Fool!--No, no--now I remember--'twas your
Bird, Lady Frances--that's it; your Bullfinch, which Sir George, in one
of the refinements of his passion, sent into the wide world to seek its
fortune.--He took it for a Knight in disguise.

_Lady Fran._ Is it possible! O, Sir George, could I have imagin'd it was
you who depriv'd me of a creature I was so fond of?

_Sir Geo._ Mr. Flutter, you are one of those busy, idle, meddling
people, who, from mere vacuity of mind, are, the most dangerous inmates
in a family. You have neither feelings nor opinions of your own; but,
like a glass in a tavern, bear about those of every Blockhead, who gives
you his;--and, because you _mean_ no harm, think yourselves excus'd,
though broken friendships, discords, and murders, are the consequences
of your indiscretions.

_Flut._ (_taking out his Tablets_) Vacuity of Mind!--What was the next?
I'll write down this sermon; 'tis the first I have heard since my
Grandmother's funeral.

_Miss Ogle._ Come, Lady Frances, you see what a cruel creature your
loving Husband can be; so let us leave him.

_Sir Geo._ Madam, Lady Frances shall not go.

_Lady Fran. Shall_ not, Sir George?--This is the first time such an
expression--(_weeping_)

_Sir Geo._ My love! my life!

_Lady Fran._ Don't imagine I'll be treated like a Child! denied what I
wish, and then pacified with sweet words.

_Miss Ogle_ (_apart_). The Bullfinch! that's an excellent subject; never
let it down.

_Lady Fran._ I see plainly you would deprive me of every pleasure, as
well as of my sweet Bird--out of pure love!--Barbarous Man!

_Sir Geo._ 'Tis well, Madam;--your resentment of that circumstance
proves to me, what I did not before suspect, that you are deficient both
in tenderness and understanding.--Tremble to think the hour approaches,
in which you would give worlds for such a proof of my love. Go, Madam,
give yourself to the Public; abandon your heart to dissipation, and
see if, in the scenes of gaiety and folly that await you, you can
find a recompence for the lost affection of a doating Husband.
[_Exit_ Sir George.

_Flut._ Lord! what a fine thing it is to have the gift of Speech! I
suppose Sir George practises at Coachmakers-hall, or the Black-horse in
Bond-street.

_Lady Fran._ He is really angry; I cannot go.

_Mrs. Rack._ Not go! Foolish Creature! you are arrived at the moment,
which some time or other was sure to happen; and everything depends on
the use you make of it.

_Miss Ogle._ Come, Lady Frances! don't hesitate!--the minutes are
precious.

_Lady Fran._ I could find in my heart!--and yet I won't give up
neither.--If I should in this instance, he'll expect it for ever.

      [_Exeunt Lady_ Frances, _and Mrs._ Racket.

_Miss Ogle._ Now you act like a Woman of Spirit.

      [_Exeunt Miss_ Ogle, _and Mrs._ Racket.

_Flut._ A fair tug, by Jupiter--between Duty and Pleasure!--Pleasure
beats, and off we go, _Iö triumphe_! [_Exit_ Flutter.


      _Scene changes to an Auction Room.--Busts, Pictures, &c. &c._

      _Enter_ Silvertongue _with three Puffers_.

_Silv._ Very well,--very well.--This morning will be devoted to
curiosity; my sale begins to-morrow at eleven. But, Mrs. Fagg, if you
do no better than you did in Lord Fillagree's sale, I shall discharge
you.--You want a knack terribly: and this dress--why, nobody can mistake
you for a Gentlewoman.

_Fag._ Very true, Mr. Silvertongue; but I can't dress like a Lady upon
Half-a-crown a day, as the saying is.--If you want me to dress like a
Lady, you must double my pay.----Double or quits, Mr. Silvertongue.

_Silv._----_Five Shillings_ a day! what a demand! Why, Woman, there are
a thousand Parsons in the town, who don't make Five Shillings a day;
though they preach, pray, christen, marry, and bury, for the Good of the
Community.--Five Shillings a day!--why, 'tis the pay of a Lieutenant in
a marching Regiment, who keeps a Servant, a Mistress, a Horse; fights,
dresses, ogles, makes love, and dies upon Five Shillings a day.

_Fag._ Oh, as to that, all that's very right. A Soldier should not be
too fond of life; and forcing him to do all these things upon Five
Shillings a day, is the readiest way to make him tir'd on't.

_Silv._ Well, Mask, have you been looking into the Antiquaries?--have
you got all the terms of art in a string--aye?

_Mask._ Yes, I have: I know the Age of a Coin by the taste; and can fix
the Birth-day of a Medal, _Anno Mundi_ or _Anno Domini_, though the
green rust should have eaten up every character. But you know, the brown
suit and the wig I wear when I personate the Antiquary, are in Limbo.

_Silv._ Those you have on, may do.

_Mask._ These!--Why, in these I am a young travell'd _Cognoscento_:
Mr. Glib bought them of Sir Tom Totter's Valet; and I am going there
directly. You know his Picture-Sale comes on to-day; and I have got my
head full of Parmegiano, Sal Rosa, Metzu, Tarbaek, and Vandermeer. I
talk of the relief of Woovermans, the spirit of Teniers, the colouring
of the Venetian School, and the correctness of the Roman. I distinguish
Claude by his Sleep, and Ruysdael by his Water. The rapidity of
Tintoret's pencil strikes me at the first glance; whilst the harmony of
Vandyk, and the glow of Correggio, point out their Masters.

      _Enter Company._

_1st Lady._ Hey-day, Mr. Silvertongue! what, nobody here!

_Silv._ Oh, my Lady, we shall have company enough in a trice; if your
carriage is seen at my door, no other will pass it, I am sure.

_1st Lady._ Familiar Monster! [_Aside._] That's a beautiful Diana, Mr.
Silvertongue; but in the name of Wonder, how came Actæon to be placed on
the top of a House?

_Silv._ That's a David and Bathsheba, Ma'am.

_Lady._ Oh, I crave their pardon!----I remember the Names, but know
nothing of the Story.

      _More Company enters._

_1st Gent._ Was not that Lady Frances Touchwood, coming up with Mrs.
Racket?

_2d Gent._ I think so;----yes, it is, faith.----Let us go nearer.

      _Enter Lady_ Frances, _Mrs._ Racket, _and Miss_ Ogle.

_Silv._ Yes, Sir, this is to be the first Lot:--the Model of a City, in
wax.

_2d Gent._ The Model of a City! What City?

_Silv._ That I have not been able to discover; but call it Rome, Pekin,
or London, 'tis still a City: you'll find in it the same jarring
interests, the same passions, the same virtues, and the same vices,
whatever the name.

_Gent._ You may as well present us a Map of _Terra Incognita_.

_Silv._ Oh, pardon me, Sir! a lively imagination would convert this
waxen City into an endless and interesting amusement. For instance--look
into this little House on the right-hand; there are four old Prudes in
it, taking care of their Neighbours Reputations. This elegant Mansion
on the left, decorated with Corinthian pillars--who needs be told that
it belongs to a Court Lord, and is the habitation of Patriotism,
Philosophy, and Virtue? Here's a City Hall--the rich steams that
issue from the windows, nourish a neighbouring Work-House. Here's a
Church--we'll pass over that, the doors are shut. The Parsonage-house
comes next;--we'll take a peep here, however.--Look at the Doctor! he's
asleep on a volume of Toland; whilst his Lady is putting on _rouge_ for
the Masquerade.--Oh! oh! this can be no English City; our Parsons are
all orthodox, and their Wives the daughters of Modesty and Meekness.

      _Lady_ Frances _and Miss_ Ogle _come forward, followed by_
      Courtall.

_Lady Fran._ I wish Sir George was here.----This man follows me about,
and stares at me in such a way, that I am quite uneasy.

_Miss Ogle._ He has travell'd, and is heir to an immense estate; so he's
impertinent by Patent.

_Court._ You are very cruel, Ladies. Miss Ogle--you will not let me
speak to you. As to this little scornful Beauty, she has frown'd me dead
fifty times.

_Lady Fran._ Sir--I am a married Woman. (_Confus'd._)

_Court._ A married Woman! a good hint. (_Aside._) 'Twould be a shame if
such a charming Woman was not married. But I see you are a Daphne just
come from your sheep, and your meadows; your crook, and your waterfalls.
Pray now, who is the happy Damon, to whom you have vow'd eternal truth
and constancy?

_Miss Ogle._ 'Tis Lady Frances Touchwood, Mr. Courtall, to whom you are
speaking.

_Court._ Lady Frances! By Heaven, that's Saville's old flame. [_Aside._]
I beg your Ladyship's pardon. I ought to have believed that such beauty
could belong only to your Name----a Name I have long been enamour'd of;
because I knew it to be that of the finest Woman in the world.

      _Mrs._ Racket _comes forward_.

_Lady Fran._ [_Apart._] My dear Mrs. Racket, I am so frighten'd! Here's
a Man making love to me, though he knows I am married.

_Mrs. Rack._ Oh, the sooner for that, my dear; don't mind him. Was you
at the _Cassino_ last night, Mr. Courtall?

_Court._ I look'd in.----'Twas impossible to stay. No body there but
Antiques. You'll be at Lady Brilliant's to-night, doubtless?

_Mrs. Rack._ Yes, I go with Lady Frances.

_Lady Fran._ Bless me! I did not know this Gentleman was acquainted with
Mrs. Racket.--I behaved so rude to him! [_To Miss_ Ogle.]

_Mrs. Rack._ Come, Ma'am; [_looking at her Watch_.] 'tis past one. I
protest, if we don't fly to Kensington, we sha'n't find a soul there.

_Lady Fran._ Won't this Gentleman go with us?

_Court._ [_Looking surpris'd._] To be sure, you make me happy, Madam,
beyond description.

_Mrs. Rack._ Oh, never mind him--he'll follow.

      [_Exeunt Lady_ Frances, _Mrs._ Racket, _and Miss_ Ogle.

_Court._ Lady _Touchwood_! with a vengeance! But, 'tis always so;--your
reserved Ladies are like ice, 'egad!--no sooner begin to soften, than
they melt. [_Following._

END OF THE SECOND ACT.



ACT III.


SCENE I. _Mr._ Hardy'_s_.

_Enter_ Letitia _and Mrs._ Racket.


_Mrs._ Racket.

Come, prepare, prepare; your Lover is coming.

_Letit._ My Lover!--Confess now that my absence at dinner was a severe
mortification to him.

_Mrs. Rack._ I can't absolutely swear it spoilt his appetite; he eat as
if he was hungry, and drank his wine as though he liked it.

_Letit._ What was the apology?

_Mrs. Rack._ That you were ill;--but I gave him a hint, that your
extreme bashfulness could not support his eye.

_Letit._ If I comprehend him, aukwardness and bashfulness are the last
faults he can pardon in a woman; so expect to see me transform'd into
the veriest maukin.

_Mrs. Rack._ You persevere then?

_Letit._ Certainly. I know the design is a rash one, and the event
important;--it either makes Doricourt mine by all the tenderest ties of
passion, or deprives me of him for ever; and never to be his wife will
afflict me less, than to be his wife and not be belov'd.

_Mrs. Rack._ So you wo'n't trust to the good old maxim--"Marry first,
and love will follow?"

_Letit._ As readily as I would venture my last guinea, that good fortune
might follow. The woman that has not touch'd the heart of a man before
he leads her to the altar, has scarcely a chance to charm it when
possession and security turn their powerful arms against her.--But
here he comes.--I'll disappear for a moment.--Don't spare me.
[_Exit_ Letitia.

      _Enter_ Doricourt (_not seeing Mrs._ Racket.)

_Doric._ So! [_Looking at a Picture._] this is my mistress, I
presume.--_Ma foi!_ the painter has hit her off.--The downcast eye--the
blushing cheek--timid--apprehensive--bashful.--A tear and a prayer-book
would have made her _La Bella Magdalena_.--

  Give _me_ a woman in whose touching mien
  A mind, a soul, a polish'd art is seen;
  Whose motion speaks, whose poignant air can move.
  Such are the darts to wound with endless love.

_Mrs. Rack._ Is that an impromptu? [_Touching him on the shoulder with
her fan._]

_Doric._ (_starting._) Madam!--[_Aside._] Finely caught!--Not
absolutely--it struck me during the dessert, as a motto for your
picture.

_Mrs. Rack._ Gallantly turn'd! I perceive, however, Miss Hardy's charms
have made no violent impression on you.--And who can wonder?--the poor
girl's defects are so obvious.

_Doric._ Defects!

_Mrs. Rack._ Merely those of education.--Her father's indulgence ruin'd
her.--_Mauvaise honte_--conceit and ignorance--all unite in the Lady you
are to marry.

_Doric._ Marry!--I marry such a woman!--Your picture, I hope, is
overcharged.--I marry _mauvaise honte_, pertness and ignorance!

_Mrs. Rack._ Thank your stars, that ugliness and ill temper are not
added to the list.--You must think her handsome?

_Doric._ Half her personal beauty would content me; but could the
Medicean Venus be animated for me, and endowed with a vulgar soul,
_I_ should become the statue, and my heart transformed to marble.

_Mrs. Rack._ Bless us!--We are in a hopeful way then!

_Doric._ (_Aside._) There must be some envy in this!--I see she is a
coquette. Ha, ha, ha! And you imagine I am persuaded of the truth of
your character? ha, ha, ha! Miss Hardy, I have been assur'd, Madam, is
elegant and accomplished:----but one must allow for a Lady's painting.

_Mrs. Rack._ (_Aside._) I'll be even with him for that. Ha! ha! ha! and
so you have found me out!--Well, I protest I meant no harm; 'twas only
to increase the _éclat_ of her appearance, that I threw a veil over her
charms.----Here comes the Lady;--her elegance and accomplishments will
announce themselves.

      _Enter_ Letitia, _running_.

_Let._ La! Cousin, do you know that our John----oh, dear heart!--I
didn't see you, Sir. (_Hanging down her head, and dropping behind Mrs._
Racket.)

_Mrs. Rack._ Fye, Letitia! Mr. Doricourt thinks you a woman of elegant
manners. Stand forward, and confirm his opinion.

_Let._ No, no; keep before me.----He's my Sweetheart; and 'tis impudent
to look one's Sweetheart in the face, you know.

_Mrs. Rack._ You'll allow in future for a Lady's painting, Sir. Ha! ha!
ha!

_Doric._ I am astonish'd!

_Let._ Well, hang it, I'll take heart.--Why, he is but a Man, you know,
Cousin;--and I'll let him see I wasn't born in a Wood to be scar'd by an
Owl. [_Half apart; advances, and looks at him through her fingers._] He!
he! he! [_Goes up to him, and makes a very stiff formal curtesy._]--[_He
bows._]--You have been a great Traveller, Sir, I hear?

_Dor._ Yes, Madam.

_Let._ Then I wish you'd tell us about the fine sights you saw when you
went over-sea.--I have read in a book, that there are some countries
where the Men and Women are all Horses.--Did you see any of them?

_Mrs. Rack._ Mr. Doricourt is not prepared, my dear, for these
enquiries; he is reflecting on the importance of the question, and will
answer you----when he can.

_Let._ When he can! Why, he's as slow in speech, as Aunt Margery, when
she's reading Thomas Aquinas;--and stands gaping like mum-chance.

_Mrs. Rack._ Have a little discretion.

_Let._ Hold your tongue!--Sure I may say what I please before I am
married, if I can't afterwards.--D'ye think a body does not know how to
talk to a Sweetheart. He is not the first I have had.

_Dor._ Indeed!

_Let._ Oh, Lud! He speaks!--Why, if you must know--there was the Curate
at home:--when Papa was a-hunting, he used to come a suitoring, and make
speeches to me out of books.--No body knows what a _mort_ of fine things
he used to say to me;--and call me Venis, and Jubah, and Dinah!

_Dor._ And pray, fair Lady, how did you answer him?

_Let._ Why, I used to say, Look you, Mr. Curate, don't think to come
over me with your flim-flams; for a better Man than ever trod in your
shoes, is coming over-sea to marry me;--but, ifags! I begin to think I
was out.--Parson Dobbins was the sprightfuller man of the two.

_Dor._ Surely this cannot be Miss Hardy!

_Let._ Laws! why, don't you know me! You saw me to-day--but I was
daunted before my Father, and the Lawyer, and all them, and did not care
to speak out:--so, may be, you thought I couldn't;--but I can talk as
fast as any body, when I know folks a little:--and now I have shewn my
parts, I hope you'll like me better.

      _Enter_ Hardy.

_Har._ I foresee this won't do!--Mr. Doricourt, may be you take my
Daughter for a Fool; but you are mistaken: she's a sensible Girl, as any
in England.

_Dor._ I am convinced she has a very uncommon understanding, Sir.
[_Aside._] I did not think he had been such an Ass.

_Let._ My Father will undo the whole.--Laws! Papa, how can you think he
can take me for a fool! when every body knows I beat the Potecary at
Conundrums last Christmas-time? and didn't I make a string of names,
all in riddles, for the Lady's Diary?--There was a little River, and a
great House; that was Newcastle.--There was what a Lamb says, and three
Letters; that was _Ba_, and _k-e-r_, ker, Baker.--There was--

_Hardy._ Don't stand ba-a-ing there. You'll make me mad in a moment!--I
tell you, Sir, that for all that, she's dev'lish sensible.

_Doric._ Sir, I give all possible credit to your assertions.

_Letit._ Laws! Papa, do come along. If you stand watching, how can my
Sweetheart break his mind, and tell me how he admires me?

_Doric._ That would be difficult, indeed, Madam.

_Hardy._ I tell you, Letty, I'll have no more of this.----I see well
enough----

_Letit._ Laws! don't snub me before my Husband--that is to be.--You'll
teach him to snub me too,--and I believe, by his looks, he'd like to
begin now.--So, let us go, Cousin; you may tell the Gentleman what
a genus I have--how I can cut Watch-papers, and work Cat-gut; make
Quadrille-baskets with Pins, and take Profiles in Shade; ay, as
well as the Lady at No. 62, South Moulton-street, Grosvenor-square.
[_Exit_ Hardy _and_ Letitia.

_Mrs. Rack._ What think you of my painting, now?

_Doric._ Oh, mere water-colours, Madam! The Lady has caricatured your
picture.

_Mrs. Rack._ And how does she strike you on the whole?

_Doric._ Like a good Design, spoiled by the incapacity of the Artist.
Her faults are evidently the result of her Father's weak indulgence. I
observed an expression in her eye, that seemed to satyrise the folly of
her lips.

_Mrs. Rack._ But at her age, when Education is fixed, and Manner becomes
Nature--hopes of improvement--

_Doric._ Would be as rational, as hopes of Gold from a Jugler's
Crucible.--Doricourt's Wife must be incapable of improvement; but it
must be because she's got beyond it.

_Mrs. Rack._ I am pleased your misfortune sits no heavier.

_Doric._ Your pardon, Madam; so mercurial was the hour in which I was
born, that misfortunes always go plump to the bottom of my heart, like a
pebble in water, and leave the surface unruffled.--I shall certainly set
off for Bath, or the other world, to-night;--but whether I shall use
a chaise with four swift coursers, or go off in a tangent--from the
aperture of a pistol, deserves consideration; so I make my _adieus_.
(_Going._)

_Mrs. Rack._ Oh, but I intreat you, postpone your journey 'till
to-morrow; determine on which you will--you must be this night at the
Masquerade.

_Doric._ Masquerade!

_Mrs. Rack._ Why not?--If you resolve to visit the other world, you may
as well take one night's pleasure first in this, you know.

_Doric._ Faith, that's very true; Ladies are the best Philosophers,
after all. Expect me at the Masquerade. [_Exit_ Doricourt.

_Mrs. Rack._ He's a charming Fellow!--I think Letitia sha'n't have him.
(_Going._)

      _Enter_ Hardy.

_Hardy._ What's he gone?

_Mrs. Rack._ Yes; and I am glad he is. You would have ruined us!--Now, I
beg, Mr. Hardy, you won't interfere in this business; it is a little out
of your way. [_Exit Mrs._ Racket.

_Hardy._ Hang me, if I don't though. I foresee very clearly what will
be the end of it, if I leave ye to yourselves; so, I'll e'en follow him
to the Masquerade, and tell him all about it: Let me see.--What shall my
dress be? A Great Mogul? No.--A Grenadier? No;--no, that, I foresee,
would make a laugh. Hang me, if I don't send to my favourite little
Quick, and borrow his Jew Isaac's dress:--I know the Dog likes a glass
of good wine; so I'll give him a bottle of my Forty-eight, and he shall
teach me. Aye, that's it--I'll be Cunning Little Isaac! If they complain
of my want of wit, I'll tell 'em the cursed Duenna wears the breeches,
and has spoilt my parts. [_Exit_ Hardy.


SCENE II.----_Courtall_'s.

_Enter_ Courtall, Saville, _and three others, from an Apartment in the
back Scene_. (_The last three tipsey._)

_Court._ You shan't go yet:--Another catch, and another bottle!

_First Gent._ May I be a bottle, and an empty bottle, if you catch me at
that!--Why, I am going to the Masquerade. Jack----, you know who I mean,
is to meet me, and we are to have a leap at the new lustres.

_Second Gent._ And I am going too--a Harlequin--(_hiccups_) Am not I in
a pretty pickle to make Harlequinades?----And Tony, here--he is going in
the disguise--in the disguise--of a Gentleman!

_First Gent._ We are all very disguised; so bid them draw up--D'ye hear!
[_Exeunt the three Gentlemen._

_Sav._ Thy skull, Courtall, is a Lady's thimble:--no, an egg-shell.

_Court._ Nay, then you are gone too; you never aspire to similes, but in
your cups.

_Sav._ No, no; I am steady enough--but the fumes of the wine pass
directly through thy egg-shell, and leave thy brain as cool as----Hey! I
am quite sober; my similes fail me.

_Court._ Then we'll sit down here, and have one sober bottle.--Bring a
table and glasses.

_Sav._ I'll not swallow another drop; no, though the juice should be the
true Falernian.

_Court._ By the bright eyes of her you love, you shall drink her health.

_Sav._ Ah! (_sitting down_.) Her I loved is gone (_sighing._)--She's
married!

_Court._ Then bless your stars you are not her Husband! I would be
Husband to no Woman in Europe, who was not dev'lish rich, and dev'lish
ugly.

_Sav._ Wherefore ugly?

_Court._ Because she could not have the conscience to exact those
attentions that a Pretty Wife expects; or, if she should, her
resentments would be perfectly easy to me, nobody would undertake to
revenge her cause.

_Sav._ Thou art a most licentious fellow!

_Court._ I should hate my own wife, that's certain; but I have a warm
heart for those of other people; and so here's to the prettiest Wife in
England--Lady Frances Touchwood.

_Sav._ Lady Frances Touchwood! I rise to drink her. (_drinks_) How the
devil came Lady Frances in your head? I never knew you give a Woman of
Chastity before.

_Court._ That's odd, for you have heard me give half the Women of
Fashion in England.--But, pray now, what do you take a Woman of Chastity
to be? (_sneeringly._)

_Sav._ Such a woman as Lady Frances Touchwood, Sir.

_Court._ Oh, you are grave, Sir; I remember you was an Adorer of
her's--Why didn't you marry her?

_Sav._ I had not the arrogance to look so high--Had my fortune been
worthy of her, she should not have been ignorant of my admiration.

_Court._ Precious fellow! What, I suppose you would not dare tell her
now that you admire her?

_Sav._ No, nor you.

_Court._ By the Lord, I have told her so.

_Sav._ Have! Impossible!

_Court._ Ha! ha! ha!--Is it so?

_Sav._ How did she receive the declaration?

_Court._ Why, in the old way; blushed, and frowned, and said she was
married.

_Sav._ What amazing things thou art capable of! I could more easily
have taken the Pope by the beard, than prophaned her ears with such a
declaration.

_Court._ I shall meet her at Lady Brilliant's to-night, where I shall
repeat it; and I'll lay my life, under a mask, she'll hear it all
without blush, or frown.

_Sav._ (_rising_) 'Tis false, Sir!--She won't.

_Court._ She will! (_rising_) Nay, I'd venture to lay a round sum, that
I prevail on her to go out with me----only to taste the fresh air, I
mean.

_Sav._ Preposterous vanity! From this moment I suspect that half the
victories you have boasted, are false and slanderous, as your pretended
influence with Lady Frances.

_Court._ Pretended!--How should such a Fellow as you, now, who never
soared beyond a cherry-cheeked Daughter of a Ploughman in Norfolk, judge
of the influence of a Man of my Figure and Habits? I could shew thee
a list, in which there are names to shake thy faith in the whole
sex!--and, to that list I have no doubt of adding the name of Lady----

_Sav._ Hold, Sir! My ears cannot bear the profanation;--you cannot--dare
not approach her!--For your soul you dare not mention Love to her! Her
look would freeze the word, whilst it hovered on thy licentious lips!

_Court._ Whu! whu! Well, we shall see--this evening, by Jupiter, the
trial shall be made--if I fail--I fail.

_Sav._ I think thou darest not!--But my life, my honour on her purity.
[_Exit_ Saville.

_Court._ Hot-headed fool! But since he has brought it to this point, by
Gad I'll try what can be done with her Ladyship (_musing_)--(_rings_)
She's frost-work, and the prejudices of education yet strong: _ergo_,
passionate professions will only inflame her pride, and put her on her
guard.--For other arts then!

      _Enter_ Dick.

Dick, do you know any of the servants at Sir George Touchwood's?

_Dick._ Yes, Sir; I knows the Groom, and one of the House-maids: for the
matter-o'-that, she's my own Cousin; and it was my Mother that holp'd
her to the place.

_Court._ Do you know Lady Frances's Maid?

_Dick._ I can't say as how I know she.

_Court._ Do you know Sir George's Valet?

_Dick._ No, Sir; but Sally is very thick with Mr. Gibson, Sir George's
Gentleman.

_Court._ Then go there directly, and employ Sally to discover whether
her Master goes to Lady Brilliant's this evening; and, if he does, the
name of the shop that sold his Habit.

_Dick._ Yes, Sir.

_Court._ Be exact in your intelligence, and come to me at Boodle's:
[_Exit_ Dick.] If I cannot otherwise succeed, I'll beguile her as Jove
did Alcmena, in the shape of her Husband. The possession of so fine a
Woman--the triumph over Saville, are each a sufficient motive; and
united, they shall be resistless. [_Exit_ Courtall.


SCENE III.----_The Street._

_Enter_ Saville.

_Sav._ The air has recover'd me! What have I been doing! Perhaps my
petulance may be the cause of _her_ ruin, whose honour I asserted:--his
vanity is piqued;--and where Women are concerned, Courtall can be a
villain.

      _Enter_ Dick. _Bows, and passes hastily._

Ha! that's his Servant!----Dick!

_Dick._ [_returning_] Sir.

_Sav._ Where are you going, Dick?

_Dick._ Going! I am going, Sir, where my Master sent me.

_Sav._ Well answer'd;--but I have a particular reason for my enquiry,
and you must tell me.

_Dick._ Why then, Sir, I am going to call upon a Cousin of mine, that
lives at Sir George Touchwood's.

_Sav._ Very well.--There, [_gives him money_] you must make your Cousin
drink my health.--What are you going about?

_Dick._ Why, Sir, I believe 'tis no harm, or elseways I am sure I would
not blab.--I am only going to ax if Sir George goes to the Masquerade
to-night, and what Dress he wears.

_Sav._ Enough! Now, Dick, if you will call at my lodgings in your way
back, and acquaint me with your Cousin's intelligence, I'll double the
trifle I have given you.

_Dick._ Bless your honour, I'll call----never fear. [Exit _Dick._

_Sav._ Surely the occasion may justify the means:--'tis doubly my duty
to be Lady Frances's Protector. Courtall, I see, is planning an artful
scheme; but Saville shall out-plot him. [_Exit_ Saville.


SCENE IV.----_Sir_ George Touchwood_'s._

_Enter_ Sir George _and_ Villers.

_Vill._ For shame, Sir George! you have left Lady Frances in tears.--How
can you afflict her?

_Sir Geo._ 'Tis I that am afflicted;--my dream of happiness is
over.--Lady Frances and I are disunited.

_Vill._ The Devil! Why, you have been in town but ten days: she can have
made no acquaintance for a Commons affair yet.

_Sir Geo._ Pho! 'tis our minds that are disunited: she no longer places
her whole delight in me; she has yielded herself up to the world!

_Vill._ Yielded herself up to the World! Why did you not bring her to
town in a Cage? Then she might have taken a peep at the World!--But,
after all, what has the World done? A twelvemonth since you was the
gayest fellow in it:--If any body ask'd who dresses best?--Sir George
Touchwood.--Who is the most gallant Man? Sir George Touchwood.--Who is
the most wedded to Amusement and Dissipation? Sir George Touchwood.--And
now Sir George is metamorphosed into a sour Censor; and talks of
Fashionable Life with as much bitterness, as the old crabbed Fellow in
Rome.

_Sir Geo._ The moment I became possessed of such a jewel as Lady
Frances, every thing wore a different complexion: that Society in which
I liv'd with so much _éclat_, became the object of my terror; and I
think of the manners of Polite Life, as I do of the atmosphere of a
Pest-house.--My Wife is already infected; she was set upon this morning
by Maids, Widows, and Bachelors, who carried her off in triumph, in
spite of my displeasure.

_Vill._ Aye, to be sure; there would have been no triumph in the case,
if you had not oppos'd it:--but I have heard the whole story from Mrs.
Racket; and I assure you, Lady Frances didn't enjoy the morning at
all;--she wish'd for you fifty times.

_Sir Geo._ Indeed! Are you sure of that?

_Vill._ Perfectly sure.

_Sir Geo._ I wish I had known it:----my uneasiness at dinner was
occasioned by very different ideas.

_Vill._ Here then she comes, to receive your apology; but if she is true
Woman, her displeasure will rise in proportion to your contrition;--and
till you grow careless about her pardon, she won't grant it:----however,
I'll leave you.----Matrimonial Duets are seldom set in the style I like.
[_Exit_ Villers.

      _Enter Lady_ Frances.

_Sir Geo._ The sweet sorrow that glitters in these eyes, I cannot bear
(_embracing her_). Look chearfully, you Rogue.

_Lady Fran._ I cannot look otherwise, if you are pleas'd with me.

_Sir Geo._ Well, Fanny, to-day you made your _entrée_ in the Fashionable
World; tell me honestly the impressions you receiv'd.

_Lady Fran._ Indeed, Sir George, I was so hurried from place to place,
that I had not time to find out what my impressions were.

_Sir Geo._ That's the very spirit of the life you have chosen.

_Lady Fran._ Every body about me seem'd happy--but every body seem'd in
a hurry to be happy somewhere else.

_Sir Geo._ And you like this?

_Lady Fran._ One must like what the rest of the World likes.

_Sir Geo._ Pernicious maxim!

_Lady Fran._ But, my dear Sir George, you have not promis'd to go with
me to the Masquerade.

_Sir Geo._ 'Twould be a shocking indecorum to be seen together, you
know.

_Lady Fran._ Oh, no; I ask'd Mrs. Racket, and she told me we might be
seen together at the Masquerade--without being laugh'd at.

_Sir Geo._ Really?

_Lady Fran._ Indeed, to tell you the truth, I could wish it was the
fashion for married people to be inseparable; for I have more heart-felt
satisfaction in fifteen minutes with you at my side, than fifteen days
of amusement could give me without you.

_Sir Geo._ My sweet Creature! How that confession charms me!--Let us
begin the Fashion.

_Lady Fran._ O, impossible! We should not gain a single proselyte; and
you can't conceive what spiteful things would be said of us.--At
Kensington to-day a Lady met us, whom we saw at Court, when we were
presented; she lifted up her hands in amazement!----Bless me! said she
to her companion, here's Lady Francis without Sir Hurlo Thrumbo!--My
dear Mrs. Racket, consider what an important charge you have! for
Heaven's sake take her home again, or some Enchanter on a flying Dragon
will descend and carry her off.--Oh, said another, I dare say Lady
Frances has a clue at her heel, like the peerless Rosamond:--her tender
swain would never have trusted her so far without such a precaution.

_Sir Geo._ Heav'n and Earth!----How shall Innocence preserve its lustre
amidst manners so corrupt!--My dear Fanny, I feel a sentiment for thee
at this moment, tenderer than Love--more animated than Passion.----I
could weep over that purity, expos'd to the sullying breath of Fashion,
and the _Ton_, in whose latitudinary vortex Chastity herself can
scarcely move unspotted.

      _Enter_ Gibson.

_Gib._ Your Honour talk'd, I thought, something about going to the
Masquerade?

_Sir Geo._ Well.

_Gib._ Isn't it?--hasn't your Honour?--I thought your Honour had forgot
to order a Dress.

_Lady Fran._ Well consider'd, Gibson.--Come, will you be Jew, Turk, or
Heretic; a Chinese Emperor, or a Ballad-Singer; a Rake, or a Watchman?

_Sir Geo._ Oh, neither, my Love; I can't take the trouble to support a
character.

_Lady Fran._ You'll wear a Domino then:--I saw a pink Domino trimm'd
with blue at the shop where I bought my Habit.--Would you like it?

_Sir Geo._ Any thing, any thing.

_Lady Fran._ Then go about it directly, Gibson.----A pink Domino trimm'd
with blue, and a Hat of the same--Come, you have not seen my Dress
yet--it is most beautiful; I long to have it on.

      [_Exeunt_ Sir George _and_ Lady Frances.

_Gib._ A pink Domino trimm'd with blue, and a Hat of the same----What
the devil can it signify to Sally now what his Dress is to be?--Surely
the Slut has not made an assignation to meet her Master! [_Exit_ Gibson.

END OF THE THIRD ACT.



ACT IV.


SCENE----_A Masquerade._

_A Party dancing Cotillons in front--a variety of Characters pass and
repass._

_Enter_ Folly _on a Hobby-Horse, with Cap and Bells_.


_Mask._

Hey! Tom Fool! what business have you here?

_Foll._ What, Sir! Affront a Prince in his own Dominions! [_Struts off._

_Mountebank._ Who'll buy my Nostrums? Who'll buy my Nostrums?

_Mask._ What are they? (_They all come round him._)

_Mount._ Different sorts, and for different customers. Here's a Liquor
for Ladies--it expels the rage of Gaming and Gallantry; Here's a Pill
for Members of Parliament--good to settle Consciences. Here's an
Eye-Water for Jealous Husbands--it thickens the Visual Membrane,
through which they see too clearly. Here's a Decoction for the
Clergy--it never sits easy, if the patient has more than One Living.
Here's a Draught for Lawyers--a great promoter of Modesty. Here's a
Powder for Projectors--'twill rectify the fumes of an Empty Stomach, and
dissipate their airy castles.

_Mask._ Have you a Nostrum that can give patience to Young Heirs, whose
Uncles and Fathers are stout and healthy?

_Mount._ Yes; and I have an Infusion for Creditors--it gives resignation
and humility, when Fine Gentlemen break their promises, or plead their
privilege.

_Mask._ Come along:--I'll find you customers for your whole cargo.

      _Enter_ Hardy, _in the Dress of_ Isaac Mendoza.

_Hardy._ Why, isn't it a shame to see so many stout, well-built Young
Fellows, masquerading, and cutting _Couranta's_ here at home--instead of
making the French cut capers to the tune of your Cannon--or sweating the
Spaniards with an English _Fandango_?--I foresee the end of all this.

_Mask._ Why, thou little testy Israelite! back to Duke's Place; and
preach your tribe into a subscription for the good of the land on whose
milk and honey ye fatten.--Where are your Joshuas and your Gideons, aye?
What! all dwindled into Stockbrokers, Pedlars, and Rag-Men?

_Har._ No, not all. Some of us turn Christians, and by degrees grow into
all the privileges of Englishmen! In the second generation we are
Patriots, Rebels, Courtiers, and Husbands. [_Puts his fingers to his
forehead._]

      _Two other Masks advance._

_3d Mask._ What, my little Isaac!----How the Devil came you here?
Where's your old Margaret?

_Har._ Oh, I have got rid of her.

_3d Mask._ How?

_Har._ Why, I persuaded a young Irishman that she was a blooming plump
Beauty of eighteen; so they made an Elopement, ha! ha! ha! and she is
now the Toast of Tipperary. Ha! there's Cousin Racket and her Party;
they sha'n't know me. [_Puts on his Mask._

      _Enter Mrs._ Racket, _Lady_ Frances, _Sir_ George, _and_
      Flutter.

_Mrs. Rack._ Look at this dumpling Jew; he must be a Levïte by his
figure. You have surely practised the flesh-hook a long time, friend, to
have raised that goodly presence.

_Har._ About as long, my brisk Widow, as you have been angling for a
second Husband; but my hook has been better baited than your's.--You
have only caught Gudgeons, I see. [_Pointing to_ Flutter.

_Flut._ Oh! this is one of the Geniuses they hire to entertain the
Company with their _accidental_ sallies.----Let me look at your
Common-Place Book, friend.--I want a few good things.

_Har._ I'd oblige you, with all my heart; but you'll spoil them in
repeating--or, if you shou'd not, they'll gain you no reputation--for
no body will believe they are your own.

_Sir Geo._ He knows ye, Flutter;--the little Gentleman fancies himself a
Wit, I see.

_Har._ There's no depending on what _you_ see--the eyes of the jealous
are not to be trusted.--Look to your Lady.

_Flut._ He knows ye, Sir George.

_Sir Geo._ What! am I the Town-talk? [_Aside_]

_Har._ I can neither see Doricourt nor Letty.--I must find them out.
[_Exit_ Hardy.

_Mrs. Rack._ Well, Lady Frances, is not all this charming? Could you
have conceived such a brilliant assemblage of objects?

_Lady Fran._ Delightful! The days of enchantment are restor'd; the
columns glow with Sapphires and Rubies. Emperors and Fairies, Beauties
and Dwarfs, meet me at every step.

_Sir Geo._ How lively are first impressions on sensible minds! In four
hours, vapidity and languor will take place of that exquisite sense of
joy, which flutters your little heart.

_Mrs. Rack._ What an inhuman creature! Fate has not allow'd us these
sensations above ten times in our lives; and would you have us shorten
them by anticipation?

_Flut._ O Lord! your Wise Men are the greatest Fools upon earth:--they
reason about their enjoyments, and analyse their pleasures, whilst the
essence escapes. Look, Lady Frances: D'ye see that Figure strutting in
the dress of an Emperor? His Father retails Oranges in Botolph Lane.
That Gypsey is a Maid of Honour, and that Rag-man a Physician.

_Lady Fran._ Why, you know every body.

_Flut._ Oh, every creature.--A Mask is nothing at all to me.--I can give
you the history of half the people here. In the next apartment there's a
whole family, who, to my knowledge, have lived on Water-Cresses this
month, to make a figure here to-night;--but, to make up for that,
they'll cram their pockets with cold Ducks and Chickens, for a Carnival
to-morrow.

_Lady Fran._ Oh, I should like to see this provident Family.

_Flut._ Honour me with your arm. [_Exeunt_ Flutter _and Lady_ Frances.

_Mrs. Rack._ Come, Sir George, you shall be _my_ Beau.--We'll make the
_tour_ of the rooms, and meet them. Oh! your pardon, you must follow
Lady Frances; or the wit and fine parts of Mr. Flutter may drive you out
of her head. Ha! ha! ha! [_Exit Mrs._ Racket.

_Sir Geo._ I was going to follow her, and now I dare not. How can I be
such a fool as to be govern'd by the _fear_ of that ridicule which I
despise! [_Exit Sir_ George.

      _Enter_ Doricourt, _meeting a Mask_.

_Doric._ Ha! my Lord!--I thought you had been engaged at Westminster on
this important night.

_Mask._ So I am--I slipt out as soon as Lord Trope got upon his legs;
I can _badinage_ here an hour or two, and be back again before he is
down.----There's a fine Figure! I'll address her.

      _Enter_ Letitia.

Charity, fair Lady! Charity for a poor Pilgrim.

_Letit._ Charity! If you mean my prayers, Heaven grant thee Wit,
Pilgrim.

_Mask._ That blessing would do from a Devotee: from you I ask other
charities;--such charities as Beauty should bestow--soft Looks--sweet
Words--and kind Wishes.

_Letit._ Alas! I am bankrupt of these, and forced to turn Beggar
myself.----There he is!--how shall I catch his attention?

_Mask._ Will you grant me no favour?

_Letit._ Yes, one--I'll make you my Partner--not for life, but through
the soft mazes of a minuet.--Dare you dance?

_Doric._ Some spirit in that.

_Mask._ I dare do any thing you command.

_Doric._ Do you know her, my Lord?

_Mask._ No: Such a woman as that, would formerly have been known in any
disguise; but Beauty is now common--Venus seems to have given her
_Cestus_ to the whole sex.

      _A Minuet._

_Doric._ (_during the Minuet_) She dances divinely.--(_When ended_)
Somebody must know her! Let us enquire who she is. [_Exit._

      _Enter_ Saville _and_ Kitty Willis, _habited like Lady_
      Frances.

_Sav._ I have seen Courtall in Sir George's habit, though he
endeavoured to keep himself conceal'd. Go, and seat yourself in the
tea-room, and on no account discover your face:--remember too, Kitty,
that the Woman you are to personate is a Woman of Virtue.

_Kitty._ I am afraid I shall find that a difficult character: indeed I
believe it is seldom kept up through a whole Masquerade.

_Sav._ Of that _you_ can be no judge----Follow my directions, and you
shall be rewarded. [_Exit_ Kitty.

      _Enter_ Doricourt.

_Dor._ Ha! Saville! Did you see a Lady dance just now?

_Sav._ No.

_Dor._ Very odd. No body knows her.

_Sav._ Where is Miss Hardy?

_Dor._ Cutting Watch-papers, and making Conundrums, I suppose.

_Sav._ What do you mean?

_Dor._ Faith, I hardly know. She's not here, however, Mrs. Racket tells
me.--I ask'd no further.

_Sav._ Your indifference seems increas'd.

_Dor._ Quite the reverse; 'tis advanced thirty-two degrees towards
hatred.

_Sav._ You are jesting?

_Dor._ Then it must be with a very ill grace, my dear Saville; for I
never felt so seriously: Do you know the creature's almost an Ideot?

_Sav._ What!

_Dor._ An Ideot. What the devil shall I do with her? Egad! I think I'll
feign myself mad--and then Hardy will propose to cancel the engagements.

_Sav._ An excellent expedient. I must leave you; you are mysterious, and
I can't stay to unravel ye.--I came here to watch over Innocence and
Beauty.

_Dor._ The Guardian of Innocence and Beauty at three and twenty! Is
there not a cloven foot under that black gown, Saville?

_Sav._ No, faith. Courtall is here on a most detestable design.--I
found means to get a knowledge of the Lady's dress, and have brought a
girl to personate her, whose reputation cannot be hurt.--You shall know
the result to-morrow. Adieu. [_Exit_ Saville.

_Dor._ (_musing_) Yes, I think that will do.--I'll feign myself mad, see
the Doctor to pronounce me incurable, and when the parchments are
destroyed----

      [_As he stands in a musing posture_, Letitia _enters, and
      sings_.]


SONG.

  _Wake! thou Son of Dullness, wake!_
    _From thy drowsy senses shake_
  _All the spells that Care employs,_
    _Cheating Mortals of their joys._

  II.

  _Light-wing'd Spirits, hither haste!_
    _Who prepare for mortal taste_
  _All the gifts that Pleasure sends,_
    _Every bliss that youth attends._

  III.

  _Touch his feelings, rouze his soul,_
    _Whilst the sparkling moments roll;_
  _Bid them wake to new delight,_
    _Crown the magic of the night._

_Dor._ By Heaven, the same sweet creature!

_Let._ You have chosen an odd situation for study. Fashion and Taste
preside in this spot:--they throw their spells around you:--ten thousand
delights spring up at their command;--and you, a Stoic--a being without
senses, are wrapt in reflection.

_Dor._ And you, the most charming being in the world, awake me to
admiration. Did you come from the Stars?

_Let._ Yes, and I shall reascend in a moment.

_Dor._ Pray shew me your face before you go.

_Let._ Beware of imprudent curiosity; it lost Paradise.

_Dor._ Eve's curiosity was rais'd by the Devil;--'tis an Angel tempts
mine.--So your allusion is not in point.

_Let._ But _why_ would you see my face?

_Dor._ To fall in love with it.

_Let._ And what then?

_Dor._ Why, then--Aye, curse it! there's the rub. [_Aside._]

_Let._ Your Mistress will be angry;--but, perhaps, you have no Mistress?

_Dor._ Yes, yes; and a sweet one it is!

_Let._ What! is she old?

_Dor._ No.

_Let._ Ugly?

_Dor._ No.

_Let._ What then?

_Dor._ Pho! don't talk about _her_; but shew me your face.

_Let._ My vanity forbids it;--'twould frighten you.

_Dor._ Impossible! Your Shape is graceful, your Air bewitching, your
Bosom transparent, and your Chin would tempt me to kiss it, if I did not
see a pouting red Lip above it, that demands----

_Let._ You grow too free.

_Dor._ Shew me your face then--only half a glance.

_Let._ Not for worlds.

_Dor._ What! you will have a little gentle force? [_Attempts to seize
her Mask._

_Let._ I am gone for ever! [_Exit._

_Dor._ 'Tis false;--I'll follow to the end. [_Exit._

      Flutter, _Lady_ Frances, _and_ Saville _advance_.

_Lady Fran._ How can you be thus interested for a stranger?

_Sav._ Goodness will ever interest; its home is Heaven: on earth 'tis
but a Wanderer. Imprudent Lady! why have you left the side of your
Protector? Where is your Husband?

_Flut._ Why, what's that to him?

_Lady Fran._ Surely it can't be merely his habit;----there's something
in him that awes me.

_Flut._ Pho! 'tis only his grey beard.--I know him; he keeps a
Lottery-office on Cornhill.

_Sav._ My province, as an Enchanter, lays open every secret to me. Lady!
there are dangers abroad--Beware! [_Exit._

_Lady Fran._ 'Tis very odd; his manner has made me tremble. Let us seek
Sir George.

_Flut._ He is coming towards us.

      Courtall _comes forward, habited like Sir_ George.

_Court._ There she is! If I can but disengage her from that fool
Flutter--crown me, ye Schemers, with immortal wreaths.

_Lady Fran._ O my dear Sir George! I rejoice to meet you--an old
Conjuror has been frightening me with his Prophecies.--Where's Mrs.
Racket?

_Court._ In the dancing-room.--I promis'd to send you to her, Mr.
Flutter.

_Flut._ Ah! she wants me to dance. With all my heart. [_Exit._

_Lady Fran._ Why do you keep on your mask?--'tis too warm.

_Court._ 'Tis very warm--I want air--let us go.

_Lady Fran._ You seem quite agitated.----Sha'n't we bid our company
adieu?

_Court._ No, no;--there's no time for forms. I'll just give directions
to the carriage, and be with you in a moment. (_Going, steps back._) Put
on your mask; I have a particular reason for it. [_Exit._

      Saville _advances with_ Kitty.

_Sav._ Now, Kitty, you know your lesson. Lady Frances, (_takes off his
mask_) let me lead you to your Husband.

_Lady Fran._ Heavens! is Mr. Saville the Conjuror? Sir George is just
stept to the door to give directions.--We are going home immediately.

_Sav._ No, Madam, you are deceiv'd: Sir George is this way.

_Lady Fran._ This is astonishing!

_Sav._ Be not alarm'd: you have escap'd a snare, and shall be in safety
in a moment. [_Exit_ Saville _and Lady_ Frances.

      _Enter_ Courtall, _and seizes_ Kitty's _Hand_.

_Court._ Now!

_Kitty._ 'Tis pity to go so soon.

_Court._ Perhaps I may bring you back, my Angel----but go now, you must.
[_Exit._] [_Music._]

      Doricourt _and_ Letitia _come forward_.

_Dor._ By Heavens! I never was charm'd till now.--English beauty--French
vivacity--wit--elegance. Your name, my Angel!--tell me your name, though
you persist in concealing your face.

_Let._ My name has a spell in it.

_Dor._ I thought so; it must be _Charming_.

_Let._ But if reveal'd, the charm is broke.

_Dor._ I'll answer for its force.

_Let._ Suppose it Harriet, or Charlotte, or Maria, or--

_Dor._ Hang Harriet, and Charlotte, and Maria--the name your Father gave
ye!

_Let._ That can't be worth knowing, 'tis so transient a thing.

_Dor._ How, transient?

_Let._ Heav'n forbid my name should be _lasting_ till I am married.

_Dor._ Married! The chains of Matrimony are too heavy and vulgar for
such a spirit as yours.----The flowery wreaths of Cupid are the only
bands you should wear.

_Let._ They are the lightest, I believe: but 'tis possible to wear those
of Marriage gracefully.----Throw 'em loosely round, and twist 'em in a
True-Lover's Knot for the Bosom.

_Dor._ An Angel! But what will you be when a Wife?

_Let._ A Woman.--If my Husband should prove a Churl, a Fool, or a
Tyrant, I'd break his heart, ruin his fortune, elope with the first
pretty Fellow that ask'd me--and return the contempt of the world with
scorn, whilst my feelings prey'd upon my life.

_Dor._ Amazing! [_Aside_] What if you lov'd him, and he were worthy of
your love?

_Let._ Why, then I'd be any thing--and all!--Grave, gay, capricious--the
soul of whim, the spirit of variety--live with him in the eye of
fashion, or in the shade of retirement----change my country, my
sex,--feast with him in an Esquimaux hut, or a Persian pavilion--join
him in the victorious war-dance on the borders of Lake Ontario, or
sleep to the soft breathings of the flute in the cinnamon groves of
Ceylon--dig with him in the mines of Golconda, or enter the dangerous
precincts of the Mogul's Seraglo----cheat him of his wishes, and
overturn his empire to restore the Husband of my Heart to the blessings
of Liberty and Love.

_Dor._ Delightful wildness! Oh, to catch thee, and hold thee for ever in
this little cage! [_Attempting to clasp her._

_Let._ Hold, Sir! Though Cupid must give the bait that tempts me to the
snare, 'tis Hymen must spread the net to catch me.

_Dor._ 'Tis in vain to assume airs of coldness----Fate has ordain'd you
mine.

_Let._ How do you know?

_Dor._ I feel it _here_. I never met with a Woman so perfectly to my
taste; and I won't believe it form'd you so, on purpose to tantalize me.

_Let._ This moment is worth a whole existence. [_Aside._]

_Dor._ Come, shew me your face, and rivet my chains.

_Let._ To-morrow you shall be satisfied.

_Dor._ To-morrow! and not to-night?

_Let._ No.

_Dor._ Where then shall I wait on you to-morrow?----Where see you?

_Let._ You shall see me in an hour when you least expect me.

_Dor._ Why all this mystery?

_Let._ I like to be mysterious. At present be content to know that I am
a Woman of Family and Fortune. Adieu!

      _Enter_ Hardy.

_Har._ Adieu! Then I am come at the fag end. [_Aside._]

_Dor._ Let me see you to your carriage.

_Let._ As you value knowing me, stir not a step. If I am follow'd, you
never see me more. [_Exit._

_Dor._ Barbarous Creature! She's gone! What, and is this really
serious?--am I in love?----Pho! it can't be----O Flutter! do you know
that charming Creature?

      _Enter_ Flutter.

_Flut._ What charming Creature? I pass'd a thousand.

_Dor._ She went out at that door, as you enter'd.

_Flut._ Oh, yes;--I know her very well.

_Dor._ Do you, my dear Fellow? Who?

_Flut._ She's kept by Lord George Jennett.

_Har._ Impudent Scoundrel! [_Aside._]

_Dor._ Kept!!!

_Flut._ Yes; Colonel Gorget had her first;--then Mr. Loveill;--then--I
forget exactly how many; and at last she's Lord George's. [_Talks to
other Masks._]

_Dor._ I'll murder Gorget, poison Lord George, and shoot myself.

_Har._ Now's the time, I see, to clear up the whole. Mr. Doricourt!--I
say--Flutter was mistaken; I know who you are in love with.

_Dor._ A strange _rencontre_! Who?

_Har._ My Letty.

_Dor._ Oh! I understand your rebuke;--'tis too soon, Sir, to assume the
Father-in-law.

_Har._ Zounds! what do you mean by that? I tell you that the Lady you
admire, is Letitia Hardy.

_Dor._ I am glad _you_ are so well satisfied with the state of my
heart.--I wish _I_ was. [_Exit._

_Har._ Stop a moment.--Stop, I say! What, you won't? Very well--if I
don't play you a trick for this, may I never be a Grand-father! I'll
plot _with_ Letty now, and not against her; aye, hang me if I don't.
There's something in my head, that shall tingle in his heart.--He shall
have a lecture upon impatience, that I foresee he'll be the better for
as long as he lives. [_Exit._

      Saville _comes forward with other Masks_.

_Sav._ Flutter, come with us; we're going to raise a laugh at
Courtall's.

_Flut._ With all my heart. "Live to Live," was my Father's motto: "Live
to Laugh," is mine. [_Exit._


SCENE----Courtall's.

_Enter_ Kitty _and_ Courtall.

_Kitty._ Where have you brought me, Sir George? This is not our home.

_Court._ 'Tis _my_ home, beautiful Lady Frances! [_Kneels, and takes off
his Mask._] Oh, forgive the ardency of my passion, which has compell'd
me to deceive you.

_Kitty._ Mr. Courtall! what will become of me?

_Court._ Oh, say but that you pardon the Wretch who adores you. Did you
but know the agonizing tortures of my heart, since I had the felicity of
conversing with you this morning----or the despair that now--[_Knock._]

_Kitty._ Oh! I'm undone!

_Court._ Zounds! my dear Lady Frances. I am not at home. Rascal! do you
hear?----Let no body in; I am not at home.

_Serv._ [_Without_] Sir, I told the Gentlemen so.

_Court._ Eternal curses! they are coming up. Step into this room,
adorable Creature! _one_ moment; I'll throw them out of the window if
they stay three. [_Exit_ Kitty; _through the back scene_.

      _Enter_ Saville, Flutter, _and Masks_.

_Flut._ O Gemini! beg the Petticoat's pardon.--Just saw a corner of it.

_1st Mask._ No wonder admittance was so difficult. I thought you took us
for Bailiffs.

_Court._ Upon my soul, I am devilish glad to see you--but you perceive
how I am circumstanc'd. Excuse me at this moment.

_2d Mask._ Tell us who 'tis then.

_Court._ Oh, fie!

_Flut._ We won't blab.

_Court._ I can't, upon honour.--Thus far--She's a Woman of the first
Character and Rank. Saville, [_takes him aside_] have I influence, or
have I not?

_Sav._ Why, sure, you do not insinuate--

_Court._ No, not insinuate, but swear, that she's now in my
bed-chamber:--by gad, I don't deceive you.--There's Generalship, you
Rogue! Such an humble, distant, sighing Fellow as thou art, at the end
of a six-months siege, would have _boasted_ of a kiss from her
glove.----I only give the signal, and--pop!--she's in my arms.

_Sav._ What, Lady Fran----

_Court._ Hush! You shall see her name to-morrow morning in red letters
at the end of my list. Gentlemen, you must excuse me now. Come and drink
chocolate at twelve, but--

_Sav._ Aye, let us go, out of respect to the Lady:--'tis a Person of
Rank.

_Flut._ Is it?--Then I'll have a peep at her. (_Runs to the door in the
back Scene._)

_Court._ This is too much, Sir. (_Trying to prevent him._)

_1st Mask._ By Jupiter, we'll all have a peep.

_Court._ Gentlemen, consider--for Heaven's sake----a Lady of Quality.
What will be the consequences?

_Flut._ The consequences!--Why, you'll have your throat cut, that's
all--but I'll write your Elegy. So, now for the door! [_Part open the
door, whilst the rest hold_ Courtall.]----Beg your Ladyship's pardon,
whoever you are: [_Leads her out._] Emerge from darkness like the
glorious Sun, and bless the wond'ring circle with your charms. [_Takes
off her Mask._]

_Sav._ Kitty Willis! ha! ha! ha!

_Omnes._ Kitty Willis! ha! ha! ha! Kitty Willis!

_1st Mask._ Why, what a Fellow you are, Courtall, to attempt imposing on
your friends in this manner! A Lady of Quality--an Earl's Daughter--Your
Ladyship's most obedient.----Ha! ha! ha!

_Sav._ Courtall, have you influence, or have you not?

_Flut._ The Man's moon-struck.

_Court._ Hell, and ten thousand Furies, seize you all together!

_Kitty._ What! me, too, Mr. Courtall? me, whom you have knelt to, prayed
to, and adored?

_Flut._ That's right, Kitty; give him a little more.

_Court._ Disappointed and laugh'd at!----

_Sav._ Laugh'd at and despis'd. I have fullfilled my design, which was
to expose your villainy, and laugh at your presumption. Adieu, Sir!
Remember how you again boast of your influence with Women of Rank; and,
when you next want amusement, dare not to look up to the virtuous and to
the noble for a Companion. [_Exit, leading_ Kitty.

_Flut._ And, Courtall, before you carry a Lady into your bed-chamber
again, look under her mask, d'ye hear? [_Exit._

_Court._ There's no bearing this! I'll set off for Paris directly.
[_Exit._

END OF THE FOURTH ACT.



ACT V.


SCENE I.----_Hardy_'s.

_Enter_ Hardy _and_ Villers.


_Villers._

Whimsical enough! Dying for her, and hates her; believes her a Fool, and
a Woman of brilliant Understanding!

_Har._ As true as you are alive;--but when I went up to him last night,
at the Pantheon, out of downright good-nature to explain things----my
Gentleman whips round upon his heel, and snapt me as short as if I had
been a beggar-woman with six children, and he Overseer of the Parish.

_Vill._ Here comes the Wonder-worker--[_Enter_ Letitia.] Here comes the
Enchantress, who can go to Masquerades, and sing and dance, and talk a
Man out of his wits!----But pray, have we Morning Masquerades?

_Let._ Oh, no--but I am so enamour'd of this all-conquering Habit, that
I could not resist putting it on, the moment I had breakfasted. I shall
wear it on the day I am married, and then lay it by in spices--like the
miraculous Robes of St. Bridget.

_Vill._ That's as most Brides do. The charms that helped to catch the
Husband, are generally _laid by_, one after another, 'till the Lady
grows a downright Wife, and then runs crying to her Mother, because she
has transform'd her _Lover_ into a downright Husband.

_Har._ Listen to me.--I ha'n't slept to-night, for thinking of plots to
plague Doricourt;--and they drove one another out of my head so quick,
that I was as giddy as a goose, and could make nothing of 'em.----I wish
to goodness you could contrive something.

_Vill._ Contrive to plague him! Nothing so easy. Don't undeceive him,
Madam, 'till he is your Husband. Marry him whilst he possesses the
sentiments you labour'd to give him of Miss Hardy--and when you are his
Wife----

_Let._ Oh, Heavens! I see the whole--that's the very thing. My dear Mr.
Villers, you are the divinest Man.

_Vill._ Don't make love to me, Hussey.

      _Enter Mrs._ Racket.

_Mrs. Rack._ No, pray don't--for I design to have Villers myself in
about six years.--There's an oddity in him that pleases me.--He holds
Women in contempt; and I should like to have an opportunity of breaking
his heart for that.

_Vill._ And when I am heartily tired of life, I know no Woman whom I
would with more pleasure make my Executioner.

_Har._ It cannot be----I foresee it will be impossible to bring it
about. You know the wedding wasn't to take place this week or more--and
Letty will never be able to play the Fool so long.

_Vill._ The knot shall be tied to-night.----I have it all here,
(_pointing to his forehead:_) the licence is ready. Feign yourself ill,
send for Doricourt, and tell him you can't go out of the world in peace,
except you see the ceremony performed.

_Har._ I feign myself ill! I could as soon feign myself a Roman
Ambassador.----I was never ill in my life, but with the tooth-ach--when
Letty's Mother was a breeding I had all the qualms.

_Vill._ Oh, I have no fears for _you_.--But what says Miss Hardy? Are
you willing to make the irrevocable vow before night?

_Let._ Oh, Heavens!--I--I--'Tis so exceeding sudden, that really----

_Mrs. Rack._ That really she is frighten'd out of her wits--lest it
should be impossible to bring matters about. But _I_ have taken the
scheme into my protection, and you shall be Mrs. Doricourt before night.
Come, [_to Mr._ Hardy] to bed directly: your room shall be cramm'd with
phials, and all the apparatus of Death;----then heigh presto! for
Doricourt.

_Vill._ You go and put off your conquering dress, [_to_ Letty] and get
all your aukward airs ready--And you practise a few groans [_to_
Hardy.]--And you--if possible--an air of gravity [_to Mrs._ Racket].
I'll answer for the plot.

_Let._ Married in jest! 'Tis an odd idea! Well, I'll venture it.
[_Exit_ Letitia _and Mrs._ Racket.

_Vill._ Aye, I'll be sworn! [_looks at his watch_] 'tis past three.
The Budget's to be open'd this morning. I'll just step down to the
House.----Will you go?

_Har._ What! with a mortal sickness?

_Vill._ What a Blockhead! I believe, if half of us were to stay away
with mortal sicknesses, it would be for the health of the Nation.
Good-morning.--I'll call and feel your pulse as I come back. [_Exit._

_Har._ You won't find 'em over brisk, I fancy. I foresee some ill
happening from this making believe to die before one's time. But hang
it--a-hem!--I am a stout man yet; only fifty-six--What's that? In
the last Yearly Bill there were three lived to above an hundred.
Fifty-six!----Fiddle-de-dee! I am not afraid, not I. [_Exit._


SCENE II.----_Doricourt_'s.

Doricourt _in his Robe-de-Chambre_.

_Enter_ Saville.

_Sav._ Undress'd so late?

_Doric._ I didn't go to bed 'till late--'twas late before I slept--late
when I rose. Do you know Lord George Jennett?

_Sav._ Yes.

_Doric._ Has he a Mistress?

_Sav._ Yes.

_Doric._ What sort of a creature is she?

_Sav._ Why, she spends him three thousand a year with the ease of a
Duchess, and entertains his friends with the grace of a _Ninon_.
_Ergo_, she is handsome, spirited, and clever. [Doricourt _walks about
disordered_.] In the name of Caprice, what ails you?

_Doric._ You have hit it--_Elle est mon Caprice_--The Mistress of Lord
George Jennett is my caprice--Oh, insufferable!

_Sav._ What, you saw her at the Masquerade?

_Doric._ _Saw_ her, _lov'd_ her, _died_ for her--without knowing
her--And now the curse is, I can't hate her.

_Sav._ Ridiculous enough! All this distress about a Kept Woman, whom any
man may have, I dare swear, in a fortnight--They've been jarring some
time.

_Doric._ Have her! The sentiment I have conceived for the Witch is so
unaccountable, that, in that line, I cannot bear her idea. Was she a
Woman of Honour, for a Wife, I cou'd adore her--but, I really believe,
if she should send me an assignation, I should hate her.

_Sav._ Hey-day! This sounds like Love. What becomes of poor Miss Hardy?

_Doric._ Her name has given me an ague. Dear Saville, how shall I
contrive to make old Hardy cancel the engagements! The moiety of the
estate which he will forfeit, shall be his the next moment, by deed of
gift.

_Sav._ Let me see--Can't you get it insinuated that you are a dev'lish
wild fellow; that you are an Infidel, and attached to wenching, gaming,
and so forth?

_Doric._ Aye, such a character might have done some good two centuries
back.----But who the devil can it frighten now? I believe it must be the
mad scheme, at last.--There, will that do for the grin?

_Sav._ Ridiculous!--But, how are you certain that the Woman who has so
bewildered you, belongs to Lord George?

_Doric._ Flutter told me so.

_Sav._ Then fifty to one against the intelligence.

_Doric._ It must be so. There was a mystery in her manner, for which
nothing else can account. [_A violent rap._] Who can this be? [Saville
_looks out_.]

_Sav._ The proverb is your answer--'tis Flutter himself. Tip him a scene
of the Mad-man, and see how it takes.

_Doric._ I will--a good way to send it about town. Shall it be of the
melancholy kind, or the raving?

_Sav._ Rant!--rant!--Here he comes.

_Doric._ Talk not to me who can pull comets by the beard, and overset an
island!

      _Enter_ Flutter.

There! This is he!--this is he who hath sent my poor soul, without coat
or breeches, to be tossed about in ether like a duck-feather! Villain,
give me my soul again!

_Flut._ Upon my soul I hav'n't got it. [_Exceedingly frightened._]

_Sav._ Oh, Mr. Flutter, what a melancholy sight!----I little thought to
have seen my poor friend reduced to this.

_Flut._ Mercy defend me! What's he mad?

_Sav._ You see how it is. A cursed Italian Lady--Jealousy--gave him a
drug; and every full of the moon----

_Doric._ Moon! Who dares talk of the Moon? The patroness of genius--the
rectifier of wits--the----Oh! here she is!--I feel her--she tugs at my
brain--she has it--she has it----Oh! [_Exit._

_Flut._ Well! this is dreadful! exceeding dreadful, I protest. Have you
had Monro?

_Sav._ Not yet. The worthy Miss Hardy--what a misfortune!

_Flut._ Aye, very true.--Do they know it?

_Sav._ Oh, no; the paroxysm seized him but this morning.

_Flut._ Adieu! I can't stay. [_Going in great haste._]

_Sav._ But you must. (_holding him_) Stay, and assist me:--perhaps he'll
return again in a moment; and, when he is in this way, his strength is
prodigious.

_Flut._ Can't indeed--can't upon my soul. [_Exit._

_Sav._ Flutter--Don't make a mistake, now;--remember 'tis Doricourt
that's mad. [_Exit._

_Flut._ Yes--you mad.

_Sav._ No, no; Doricourt.

_Flut._ Egad, I'll say you are both mad, and then I can't mistake.
[_Exeunt severally._


SCENE III.----_Sir_ George Touchwood'_s_.

_Enter Sir_ George, _and Lady_ Frances.

_Sir Geo._ The bird is escaped--Courtall is gone to France.

_Lady Fran._ Heaven and earth! Have ye been to seek him?

_Sir Geo._ Seek him! Aye.

_Lady Fran._ How did you get his name? I should never have told it you.

_Sir Geo._ I learnt it in the first Coffee-house I entered.--Every body
is full of the story.

_Lady Fran._ Thank Heaven! he's gone!--But I have a story for you--The
Hardy family are forming a plot upon your Friend Doricourt, and we are
expected in the evening to assist.

_Sir Geo._ With all my heart, my Angel; but I can't stay to hear it
unfolded. They told me Mr. Saville would be at home in half an hour,
and I am impatient to see him. The adventure of last night----

_Lady Fran._ Think of it only with gratitude. The danger I was in has
overset a new system of conduct, that, perhaps, I was too much inclined
to adopt. But henceforward, my dear Sir George, you shall be my constant
Companion, and Protector. And, when they ridicule the unfashionable
Monsters, the felicity of our hearts shall make their satire pointless.

_Sir Geo._ Charming Angel! You almost reconcile me to Courtall. Hark!
here's company (_stepping to the door._) 'Tis your lively Widow--I'll
step down the back stairs, to escape her. [_Exit Sir_ George.

      _Enter Mrs._ Racket.

_Mrs. Rack._ Oh, Lady Frances! I am shock'd to death.--Have you received
a card from us?

_Lady Fran._ Yes; within these twenty minutes.

_Mrs. Rack._ Aye, 'tis of no consequence.----'Tis all over--Doricourt is
mad.

_Lady Fran._ Mad!

_Mrs. Rack._ My poor Letitia!--Just as we were enjoying ourselves with
the prospect of a scheme that was planned for their mutual happiness, in
came Flutter, breathless, with the intelligence:--I flew here to know if
you had heard it.

_Lady Fran._ No, indeed--and I hope it is one of Mr. Flutter's dreams.

      _Enter_ Saville.

A-propos; now we shall be informed. Mr. Saville, I rejoice to see you,
though Sir George will be disappointed: he's gone to your lodgings.

_Sav._ I should have been happy to have prevented Sir George. I hope
your Ladyship's adventure last night did not disturb your dreams?

_Lady Fran._ Not at all; for I never slept a moment. My escape, and the
importance of my obligations to you, employed my thoughts. But we have
just had shocking intelligence--Is it true that Doricourt is mad?

_Sav._ So; the business is done. (_Aside._) Madam, I am sorry to say,
that I have just been a melancholy witness of his ravings: he was in the
height of a paroxysm.

_Mrs. Rack._ Oh, there can be no doubt of it. Flutter told us the whole
history. Some Italian Princess gave him a drug, in a box of sweetmeats,
sent to him by her own page; and it renders him lunatic every month.
Poor Miss Hardy! I never felt so much on any occasion in my life.

_Sav._ To soften your concern, I will inform you, Madam, that Miss
Hardy is less to be pitied than you imagine.

_Mrs. Rack._ Why so, Sir?

_Sav._ 'Tis rather a delicate subject--but he did not love Miss Hardy.

_Mrs. Rack._ He did love Miss Hardy, Sir, and would have been the
happiest of men.

_Sav._ Pardon me, Madam; his heart was not only free from that Lady's
chains, but absolutely captivated by another.

_Mrs. Rack._ No, Sir--no. It was Miss Hardy who captivated him. She met
him last night at the Masquerade, and charmed him in disguise--He
professed the most violent passion for her; and a plan was laid, this
evening, to cheat him into happiness.

_Sav._ Ha! ha! ha!--Upon my soul, I must beg your pardon; I have not
eaten of the Italian Princess's box of sweetmeats, sent by her own page;
and yet I am as mad as Doricourt, ha! ha! ha!

_Mrs. Rack._ So it appears--What can all this mean?

_Sav._ Why, Madam, he is at present in his perfect senses; but he'll
lose 'em in ten minutes, through joy.--The madness was only a feint, to
avoid marrying Miss Hardy, ha! ha! ha!--I'll carry him the intelligence
directly. (_Going._)

_Mrs. Rack._ Not for worlds. I owe him revenge, now, for what he has
made us suffer. You must promise not to divulge a syllable I have told
you; and when Doricourt is summoned to Mr. Hardy's, prevail on him to
come--madness, and all.

_Lady Fran._ Pray do. I should like to see him shewing off, now I am in
the secret.

_Sav._ You must be obeyed; though 'tis inhuman to conceal his happiness.

_Mrs. Rack._ I am going home; so I'll set you down at his lodgings, and
acquaint you, by the way, with our whole scheme. _Allons!_

_Sav._ I attend you (_leading her out._)

_Mrs. Rack._ You won't fail us? [_Exit_ Saville, _and Mrs._ Racket.

_Lady Fran._ No; depend on us. [_Exit._


SCENE IV.----Doricourt'_s_.

Doricourt _seated, reading_.

_Doric._ (_flings away the book_) What effect can the morals of
Fourscore have on a mind torn with passion? (_musing_) Is it possible
such a soul as her's, can support itself in so humiliating a situation?
A kept Woman! (_rising_) Well, well--I am glad it is so--I am glad it is
so!

      _Enter_ Saville.

_Sav._ What a happy dog you are, Doricourt! I might have been mad, or
beggar'd, or pistol'd myself, without its being mentioned--But you,
forsooth! the whole Female World is concerned for. I reported the state
of your brain to five different women--The lip of the first trembled;
the white bosom of the second heaved a sigh; the third ejaculated, and
turned her eye--to the glass; the fourth blessed herself; and the fifth
said, whilst she pinned a curl, "Well, now, perhaps, he'll be an amusing
Companion; his native dullness was intolerable."

_Doric._ Envy! sheer envy, by the smiles of Hebe!----There are not less
than forty pair of the brightest eyes in town will drop crystals, when
they hear of my misfortune.

_Sav._ Well, but I have news for you:--Poor Hardy is confined to his
bed; they say he is going out of the world by the first post, and he
wants to give you his blessing.

_Doric._ Ill! so ill! I am sorry from my soul. He's a worthy little
Fellow--if he had not the gift of foreseeing so strongly.

_Sav._ Well; you must go and take leave.

_Doric._ What! to act the Lunatic in the dying Man's chamber?

_Sav._ Exactly the thing; and will bring your business to a short issue:
for his last commands must be, That you are not to marry his Daughter.

_Doric._ That's true, by Jupiter!--and yet, hang it, impose upon a poor
fellow at so serious a moment!--I can't do it.

_Sav._ You must, 'faith. I am answerable for your appearance, though it
should be in a strait waistcoat. He knows your situation, and seems the
more desirous of an interview.

_Doric._ I don't like encountering Racket.--She's an arch little devil,
and will discover the cheat.

_Sav._ There's a fellow!--Cheated Ninety-nine Women, and now afraid of
the Hundredth.

_Doric._ And with reason--for that hundredth is a Widow. [_Exeunt._


SCENE V.----_Hardy_'s.

_Enter Mrs._ Racket, _and Miss_ Ogle.

_Miss Ogle._ And so Miss Hardy is actually to be married to-night?

_Mrs. Rack._ If her Fate does not deceive her. You are apprised of the
scheme, and we hope it will succeed.

_Miss Ogle._ Deuce, take her! she's six years younger than I am.
(_Aside_)--Is Mr. Doricourt handsome?

_Mrs. Rack._ Handsome, generous, young, and rich.----There's a Husband
for ye! Isn't he worth pulling caps for?

_Miss Ogle._ I' my conscience, the Widow speaks as though she'd give
cap, ears, and all for him. (_Aside._) I wonder you didn't try to catch
this wonderful Man, Mrs. Racket?

_Mrs. Rack._ Really, Miss Ogle, I had not time. Besides, when I marry,
so many stout young fellows will hang themselves, that, out of regard to
society, in these sad times, I shall postpone it for a few years. This
will cost her a new lace--I heard it crack. (_Aside._)

      _Enter Sir_ George, _and Lady_ Frances.

_Sir Geo._ Well, here we are.--But where's the Knight of the Woeful
Countenance?

_Mrs. Rack._ Here soon, I hope--for a woeful Night it will be without
him.

_Sir Geo._ Oh, fie! do you condescend to pun?

_Mrs. Rack._ Why not? It requires genius to make a good pun--some men of
bright parts can't reach it. I know a Lawyer who writes them on the back
of his briefs; and says they are of great use--in a dry cause.

      _Enter_ Flutter.

_Flut._ Here they come!--Here they come!----Their coach stopped, as mine
drove off.

_Lady Fran._ Then Miss Hardy's fate is at a crisis.--She plays a
hazardous game, and I tremble for her.

_Sav._ (_without_) Come, let me guide you!--This way, my poor Friend!
Why are you so furious?

_Doric._ (_without_) The House of Death--to the House of Death!

      _Enter_ Doricourt, _and_ Saville.

Ah! this is the spot!

_Lady Fran._ How wild and fiery he looks!

_Miss Ogle._ Now, I think, he looks terrified.

_Flut._ Poor creature, how his eyes work!

_Mrs. Rack._ I never saw a Madman before--Let me examine him--Will he
bite?

_Sav._ Pray keep out of his reach, Ladies--You don't know your danger.
He's like a Wild Cat, if a sudden thought seises him.

_Sir Geo._ You talk like a Keeper of Wild Cats--How much do you demand
for shewing the Monster?

_Doric._ I don't like this--I must rouse their sensibility. There!
there she darts through the air in liquid flames! Down again! Now I have
her----Oh, she burns, she scorches!--Oh! she eats into my very heart!

_Omnes._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Mrs. Rack._ He sees the Apparition of the wicked Italian Princess.

_Flut._ Keep her Highness fast, Doricourt.

_Miss Ogle._ Give her a pinch, before you let her go.

_Doric._ I am laughed at!

_Mrs. Rack._ Laughed at--aye, to be sure; why, I could play the Madman
better than you.--There! there she is! Now I have her! Ha! ha! ha!

_Doric._ I knew that Devil would discover me. (_Aside_) I'll leave the
house:----I'm covered with confusion. (_Going._)

_Sir Geo._ Stay, Sir--You must not go. 'Twas poorly done, Mr. Doricourt,
to affect madness, rather than fulfil your engagements.

_Doric._ Affect madness!--Saville, what can I do?

_Sav._ Since you are discovered, confess the whole.

_Miss Ogle._ Aye, turn Evidence, and save Yourself.

_Doric._ Yes; since my designs have been so unaccountably discovered, I
will avow the whole. I cannot love Miss Hardy--and I will never----

_Sav._ Hold, my dear Doricourt! be not so rash. What will the world say
to such----

_Doric._ Damn the world! What will the world give me for the loss of
happiness? Must I sacrifice my peace, to please the world?

_Sir Geo._ Yes, every thing, rather than be branded with dishonour.

_Lady Fran._ Though _our_ arguments should fail, there _is_ a Pleader,
whom you surely cannot withstand--the dying Mr. Hardy supplicates you
not to forsake his Child.

      _Enter_ Villers.

_Vill._ Mr. Hardy requests you to grant him a moment's conversation,
Mr. Doricourt, though you should persist to send him miserable to the
grave. Let me conduct you to his chamber.

_Doric._ Oh, aye, any where; to the Antipodes--to the Moon--Carry me--Do
with me what you will.

_Mrs. Rack._ Mortification and disappointment, then, are specifics in
a case of stubbornness.--I'll follow, and let you know what passes.
[_Exeunt_ Villers, Doricourt, _Mrs._ Racket, _and Miss_ Ogle.

_Flut._ Ladies, Ladies, have the charity to take me with you, that I may
make no blunder in repeating the story. [_Exit_ Flutter.

_Lady Fran._ Sir George, you don't know Mr. Saville. [_Exit Lady_
Frances.

_Sir Geo._ Ten thousand pardons--but I will not pardon myself, for not
observing you. I have been with the utmost impatience at your door twice
to-day.

_Sav._ I am concerned you had so much trouble, Sir George.

_Sir Geo._ Trouble! what a word!--I hardly know how to address you; I am
distressed beyond measure; and it is the highest proof of my opinion of
your honour, and the delicacy of your mind, that I open my heart to you.

_Sav._ What has disturbed you, Sir George?

_Sir Geo._ Your having preserved Lady Frances, in so imminent a danger.
Start not, Saville; to protect Lady Frances, was my right. You have
wrested from me my dearest privilege.

_Sav._ I hardly know how to answer such a reproach. I cannot apologize
for what I have done.

_Sir Geo._ I do not mean to reproach you; I hardly know what I mean.
There is one method by which you may restore peace to me; I cannot
endure that my Wife should be so infinitely indebted to any man who is
less than my Brother.

_Sav._ Pray explain yourself.

_Sir Geo._ I have a Sister, Saville, who is amiable; and you are worthy
of her. I shail give her a commission to steal your heart, out of
revenge for what you have done.

_Sav._ I am infinitely honoured, Sir George; but----

_Sir Geo._ I cannot listen to a sentence which begins with so
unpromising a word. You must go with us into Hampshire; and, if you see
each other with the eyes I do, your felicity will be complete. I know no
one, to whose heart I would so readily commit the care of my Sister's
happiness.

_Sav._ I will attend you to Hampshire, with pleasure; but not on the
plan of retirement. Society has claims on Lady Frances, that forbid it.

_Sir Geo._ Claims, Saville!

_Sav._ Yes, claims; Lady Frances was born to be the ornament of Courts.
She is sufficiently alarmed, not to wander beyond the reach of her
Protector;--and, from the British Court, the most tenderly-anxious
Husband could not wish to banish his Wife. Bid her keep in her eye the
bright Example who presides there; the splendour of whose rank yields to
the superior lustre of her Virtue.

_Sir Geo._ I allow the force of your argument. Now for intelligence!

      _Enter Mrs._ Racket, _Lady_ Frances, _and_ Flutter.

_Mrs. Rack._ Oh! Heav'ns! do you know----

_Flut._ Let me tell the story----As soon as Doricourt--

_Mrs. Rack._ I protest you sha'n't--said Mr. Hardy----

_Flut._ No, 'twas Doricourt spoke first--says he--No, 'twas the
Parson--says he----

_Mrs. Rack._ Stop his mouth, Sir George--he'll spoil the tale.

_Sir Geo._ Never heed circumstances--the result--the result.

_Mrs. Rack._ No, no; you shall have it in form.--Mr. Hardy performed
the Sick Man like an Angel--He sat up in his bed, and talked so
pathetically, that the tears stood in Doricourt's eyes.

_Flut._ Aye, stood--they did not drop, but stood.--I shall, in future,
be very exact. The Parson seized the moment; you know, they never miss
an opportunity.

_Mrs. Rack._ Make haste, said Doricourt; if I have time to reflect, poor
Hardy will die unhappy.

_Flut._ They were got as far as the Day of Judgement, when we slipt out
of the room.

_Sir Geo._ Then, by this time, they must have reached _Amazement_,
which, every body knows, is the end of Matrimony.

_Mrs. Rack._ Aye, the Reverend Fathers ended the service with that word,
Prophetically----to teach the Bride what a capricious Monster a Husband
is.

_Sir Geo._ I rather think it was Sarcastically--to prepare the
Bridegroom for the unreasonable humours and vagaries of his Help-mate.

_Lady Fran._ Here comes the Bridegroom of to-night.

      _Enter_ Doricourt _and_ Villers.--Villers _whispers_ Saville,
      _who goes out_.

_Omnes._ Joy! joy! joy!

_Miss Ogle._ If _he_'s a sample of Bridegrooms, keep me single!--A
younger Brother, from the Funeral of his Father, could not carry a more
fretful countenance.

_Flut._ Oh!--Now, he's melancholy mad, I suppose.

_Lady Fran._ You do not consider the importance of the occasion.

_Vill._ No; nor how shocking a thing it is for a Man to be forced to
marry one Woman, whilst his heart is devoted to another.

_Mrs. Rack._ Well, now 'tis over, I confess to you, Mr. Doricourt, I
think 'twas a most ridiculous piece of Quixotism, to give up the
happiness of a whole life to a Man who perhaps has but a few moments to
be sensible of the sacrifice.

_Flut._ So it appeared to me.--But, thought I, Mr. Doricourt has
travelled--he knows best.

_Doric._ Zounds! Confusion!--Did ye not all set upon me?--Didn't ye talk
to me of Honour--Compassion--Justice?

_Sir Geo._ Very true--You have acted according to their dictates, and I
hope the utmost felicity of the Married State will reward you.

_Doric._ Never, Sir George! To Felicity I bid adieu--but I will
endeavour to be content. Where is my--I must speak it--where is my
_Wife_?

      _Enter_ Letitia, _masked, led by_ Saville.

_Sav._ Mr. Doricourt, this Lady was pressing to be introduced to you.

_Dor._ Oh! (_Starting_).

_Let._ I told you last night, you shou'd see me at a time when you least
expected me--and I have kept my promise.

_Vill._ Whoever you are, Madam, you could not have arrived at a happier
moment.--Mr. Doricourt is just married.

_Let._ Married! Impossible! 'Tis but a few hours since he swore to me
eternal Love: I believ'd him, gave him up my Virgin heart--and
now!--Ungrateful Sex!

_Dor._ Your Virgin heart! No, Lady----my fate, thank Heaven! yet wants
that torture. Nothing but the conviction that you was another's, could
have made me think one moment of Marriage, to have saved the lives of
half Mankind. But this visit, Madam, is as barbarous as unexpected. It
is now my duty to forget you, which, spite of your situation, I found
difficult enough.

_Let._ My situation!--What situation?

_Dor._ I must apologise for explaining it in this company--but, Madam, I
am not ignorant, that you are the companion of Lord George Jennet--and
this is the only circumstance that can give me peace.

_Let._ I--a Companion! Ridiculous pretence! No, Sir, know, to your
confusion, that my heart, my honour, my name is unspotted as her's you
have married; my birth equal to your own, my fortune large--That, and my
person, might have been your's.--But, Sir, farewell! (_Going._)

_Dor._ Oh, stay a moment----Rascal! is she not----

_Flut._ Who, she? O Lard! no--'Twas quite a different person that I
meant.--I never saw that Lady before.

_Dor._ Then, never shalt thou see her more. [_Shakes_ Flutter.]

_Mrs. Rack._ Have mercy upon the poor Man!--Heavens! He'll murder him.

_Dor._ Murder him! Yes, you, myself, and all Mankind. Sir
George--Saville--Villers--'twas you who push'd me on this
precipice;--'tis you who have snatch'd from me joy, felicity, and life.

_Mrs. Rack._ There! Now, how well he acts the Madman!--This is something
like! I knew he would do it well enough, when the time came.

_Dor._ Hard-hearted Woman! enjoy my ruin--riot in my wretchedness.
[Hardy _bursts in_.]

_Har._ This is too much. You are now the Husband of my Daughter; and how
dare you shew all this passion about another Woman?

_Dor._ Alive again!

_Har._ Alive! aye, and merry. Here, wipe off the flour from my face. I
was never in better health and spirits in my life.--I foresaw t'would
do--. Why, my illness was only a fetch, Man! to make you marry Letty.

_Dor._ It was! Base and ungenerous! Well, Sir, you shall be gratified.
The possession of my heart was no object either with You, or your
Daughter. My fortune and name was all you desired, and these--I leave
ye. My native England I shall quit, nor ever behold you more. But, Lady,
that in my exile I may have one consolation, grant me the favour you
denied last night;--let me behold all that mask conceals, that your
whole image may be impress'd on my heart, and chear my distant solitary
hours.

_Let._ This is the most awful moment of my life. Oh, Doricourt, the
slight action of taking off my Mask, stamps me the most blest or
miserable of Women!

_Dor._ What can this mean? Reveal your face, I conjure you.

_Let._ Behold it.

_Dor._ Rapture! Transport! Heaven!

_Flut._ Now for a touch of the happy Madman.

_Vill._ This scheme was mine.

_Let._ I will not allow that. This little stratagem arose from my
disappointment, in not having made the impression on you I wish'd. The
timidity of the English character threw a veil over me, you could not
penetrate. You have forced me to emerge in some measure from my natural
reserve, and to throw off the veil that hid me.

_Dor._ I am yet in a state of intoxication--I cannot answer you.--Speak
on, sweet Angel!

_Let._ You see I _can_ be any thing; chuse then my character--your Taste
shall fix it. Shall I be an _English_ Wife?--or, breaking from the bonds
of Nature and Education, step forth to the world in all the captivating
glare of Foreign Manners?

_Dor._ You shall be nothing but yourself--nothing can be captivating
that you are not. I will not wrong your penetration, by pretending that
you won my heart at the first interview; but you have now my whole
soul--your person, your face, your mind, I would not exchange for those
of any other Woman breathing.

_Har._ A Dog! how well he makes up for past slights! Cousin Racket, I
wish you a good Husband with all my heart. Mr. Flutter, I'll believe
every word you say this fortnight. Mr. Villers, you and I have manag'd
this to a T. I never was so merry in my life--'Gad, I believe I can
dance. (_Footing._)

_Doric._ Charming, charming creature!

_Let._ Congratulate me, my dear friends! Can you conceive my happiness?

_Har._ No, congratulate me; for mine is the greatest.

_Flut._ No, congratulate me, that I have escaped with life, and give me
some sticking plaster--this wild cat has torn the skin from my throat.

_Sir Geo._ I expect to be among the first who are congratulated--for I
have recovered one Angel, while Doricourt has gained another.

_Har._ Pho! pho! Don't talk of Angels, we shall be happier by half as
Mortals. Come into the next room; I have order'd out every drop of my
Forty-eight, and I'll invite the whole parish of St. George's, but what
we'll drink it out--except one dozen, which I shall keep under three
double locks, for a certain Christening, that I foresee will happen
within this twelvemonth.

_Dor._ My charming Bride! It was a strange perversion of Taste, that led
me to consider the delicate timidity of your deportment, as the mark of
an uninform'd mind, or inelegant manners. I feel now it is to that
innate modesty, _English_ Husbands owe a felicity the Married Men of
other nations are strangers to: it is a sacred veil to your own charms;
it is the surest bulwark to your Husband's honour; and cursed be the
hour--should it ever arrive--in which _British_ Ladies shall sacrifice
to _foreign Graces_ the Grace of Modesty!

_FINIS._



EPILOGUE.


  _Nay, cease, and hear me--I am come to scold--_
  _Whence this night's plaudits, to a thought so old?_
  _To gain a Lover, hid behind a Mask!_
  _What's new in that? or where's the mighty task?_
  _For instance, now--What Lady Bab, or Grace,_
  _E'er won a Lover--in her_ natural _Face_?
  _Mistake me not--French red, or blanching creams,_
  _I stoop not to--for those are hackney'd themes;_
  _The arts I mean, are harder to detect,_
  _Easier put on, and worn to more effect;--_
  _As thus----_
  _Do Pride and Envy, with their horrid lines,_
  _Destroy th' effect of Nature's sweet designs?_
  _The Mask of Softness is at once applied,_
  _And gentlest manners ornament the Bride._
    _Do thoughts too free inform the Vestal's eye,_
  _Or point the glance, or warm the struggling sigh?_
  _Not Dian's brows more rigid looks disclose;_
  _And Virtue's blush appears, where Passion glows._

    _And you, my gentle Sirs, wear Vizors too;_      }
  _But here I'll strip you, and expose to view_      }
  _Your hidden features----First I point at you._    }
  _That well-stuff'd waistcoat, and that ruddy cheek;_
  _That ample forehead, and that skin so sleek,_
  _Point out good-nature, and a gen'rous heart----_
  _Tyrant! stand forth, and, conscious, own thy part:_
  _Thy Wife, thy Children, tremble in thy eye;_
  _And Peace is banish'd--when the_ Father's _nigh_.

    _Sure 'tis enchantment! See, from ev'ry side_
  _The Masks fall off!--In charity I hide_
  _The monstrous features rushing to my view----_
  _Fear not, there, Grand-Papa--nor you--nor you:_
  _For should I shew your features to each other,_
  _Not one amongst ye'd know his Friend, or Brother._
  _'Tis plain, then, all the world, from Youth to Age,_
  _Appear in Masks--Here, only, on the Stage,_
  _You see us as we are:_ Here _trust your eyes;_
  _Our wish to please, admits of no disguise._



_Of the Publisher may be had_,

_By the same_ AUTHOR,


  THE RUNAWAY, a Comedy.
  ALBINA, a Tragedy.
  WHO'S THE DUPE? a Farce.
  THE MAID OF ARRAGON, a Poem, Part I.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:


Hyphenation in inconsistent throughout; missing punctuation and
occasional missing spaces have been added. The errata have been
incorporated. The spelling of character names has been harmonised.
Overall, contemporary spellings have been retained; however, a small
number of words have been modernised to prevent misunderstanding. One
instance of "genus" was left unchanged, since it may well serve a
purpose in furthering the characterisation. A section of publisher's
advertising at the end was illegible and has been omitted. One instance
of double typesetting (same word at end of one line and the beginning
of the next) was corrected.

Although there is occasional reference in the stage directions to "(the)
Miss Ogles" it is clear from the context that the name is "Ogle" and
only one character of that name is present, so the name was changed
accordingly.

At the end of the scene at Sir George's in Act 2, Mrs Racket exits twice
in short order; this reflects the original. Three substantive changes
were made:

In Act 2, "your" was changed to "you" in Harcourt's speech:

      _Har._ I foresee this won't do!--Mr. Doricourt, may be you
      take my Daughter for a Fool; but *you* are mistaken: she's a
      sensible Girl, as any in England.

In Act 4, "On" was replaced by "Oh" at the beginning of Flutter's
speech:

      _Flut._ Oh, every creature.--A Mask is nothing at all to
      me.--I can give you the history of half the people here.

In Act 5, scene 3, Is is was changed to Is it in Lady Frances
Touchwood's question:

      Is it true that Doricourt is mad?





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