The Belle's Stratagem


Writers: Hannah Cowley


| MEN. |

| Doricourt,

| Hardy

| Sir George Touchwood

| Flutter

| Saville

| Villers

| Courtall

| Silvertongue

| Crowquill

| Porter | Dick

| WOMEN. |

| Letitia Hardy

| Mrs. Racket

| Lady Frances Touchwood

| Miss Ogle

| Kitty Willis|




Enter Saville, followed by a Servant, at the top of the stage, looking round, as if at a loss.


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.


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.


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.


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.




Sir George Touchwood's.

Enter Doricourt and Sir George.


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.
 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.





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.



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.


*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.


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.




*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.


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.


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.]


| 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!


Dor. 'Tis false;---I'll follow to the end.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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?


Court. There's no bearing this! I'll set off for Paris directly.






Enter Hardy and 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.


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.




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 NinonErgo, 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!


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.


Sav. Flutter---Don't make a mistake, now;---remember 'tis Doricourt that's mad.


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.


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.




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.




*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!