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W O M E N..
To raise the penfive mind
gay, And help to laugh a thoughtful bour away.
If any quibbling wit dispute my thesis,
How does the pleasur'd eye with rapture glancs
Our quthor, in this awful court of Drury,
А с т I..
SCENE, A genteel Apartment.
prithee, Harwood, what, in the name of my« stery, hath brought thee to town at this unfashionable 6 time of the year?
• Har. The loss of my fair housekeeper.
• Fran. Elop'd! Why, I thought you had so great a * regard for each other, that you had been as inseparable
as old age and avarice, or a coquette and a lookingglass.
• Har. I thought so too ; but women are as changed • able as their dresses; there is no answering for the hu• mours of the sex-though, faith, I cannot altogether • excuse myself in the affair of our parting.
• Fran. Prithee, explain.
• Har. You know, Charles, after the death of my wife, • (whom, with shame I must own, I never thoroughly lo• ved, as she was not mine but my father's choice), I pre. « vail'd on Maria, who was either beggar'd by an unnatu• ral father or a villainous uncle, to take upon her the care • of my family-Her good sense, beauty, and behaviour, • imperceptibly won my heart; but my pride forbidding • me to marry a woman without a fortune, I made use • of every means in my power to-gain her affections.
• Fran. I understand you; to gain them in the old way!
• Har. But the fair Maria was so much upon her • guard, or so obftinately virtuous, that nothing but • downright matrimony would induce her to liften to • my solicitations.
• Fran. An unreasonable gipsey! and fo you dropp'd ( the affair?
• Har. Not quite so hafty in your conclufions, good Sir. • After a vast profusion of lying and swearing, which • fail'd of the defir'd success, I determin'd to make my
grand attack. • Fran. Resolv'd like a man of spirit! • Har. And accordingly, one night the last week,
• When ev'ry eye was clos’d, and the pale moon . And stars alone shone conscious of the theft,
« Hot with the Gallic grape, and high in blood, 6 and so forth, I began my affault
Fran. Bravo! • Har. It would be needless to tell thee I was repuls'd ! - In short, the dear, lovely, affronted, virtuous Maria • fo highly resented the familiarity, that the instantly left « the house; and from that hour I have not set eye on o the fair enslaver.
• Fran. And fo you are come to town to hire a new housekeeper?
• Har. No; to marry my old one, if I can be so for • tunate as to encounter her-I must have her-I can• not be easy without her I have some faint hopes of
* meeting with her, as she was seen on the London road I-Which do you think the most likely way of finding I her out?
• Fran. Hum-this requires fome thought-Ay• Pray, what do you think of a penitential advertise< ment?
• Har. No, hang it! should I be discovered for the ( author, it would make me too ridiculous.
• Fran. That's true, I must confess-Stay-Do yor • imagine she will be looking after another place?
• Har. I fancy she will, as her finances must be low.
• Fran. Then the only method I can put you into; is • an application to some of our intelligence-warehouses.
• Har. I don't understand your cant-phrase : Pray, • what do you mean by an intelligence-warehouse?
• Fran. A register-office. • Har. Oh, I take you! the places where servants may be heard of-Pray, were not these offices invent• ed by the ingenious author of Tom Jones?
• Fran. They were- - The project hath been, and still • is, of great utility to the public; but as there is no ge• neral rule without an exception, this laudable inftitution • hath been ftrangely perverted, through the villainy and • avarice of fome of its managers—There is an old rascal • in this neighbourhood who hath amass'd a tolerable for
tune by abuses of this kind. His office is frequented
by persons of every degree; and, among its other con6 veniences, the good old trade of pimping is carried on " with great success and decency. I believe as many pro• selytes have been made to the flesh by the knavery of • this rascal, as by the most successful bawd in town.
• Har. So, I find the old fellow is a genius in his way.
• Fran. A complete one-Our old school-fellow Jack . Williams is his clerk; from which honourable employ
ment he retires in a few days to a stewardship, to which • I have lately recommended him-By his means I have • often had an opportunity of overhearing some passages 6 which have afforded great humour and entertainment.
• Har. If my heart were not so full for the loss of • this dear woman, I could like to throw away an hour « in an amusement of this kind. • Fran. That you may this very morning, if you
• pleale • please I'll introduce you-It will help to diffipate
your melancholy for the loss of your fair deferter.
• Har. Plha, I'm not in humour to relish any plea• fantry-Excuse me, Charles- some other time l'il ac. cept of your offer.
• Fran. Since you are so serious, I must infift on your • going-Why, thou art as melancholy as a fuperfeded • placeman-Come, come, George, don't despair -I • warrant we will find out this charmer in a few days • You must go with me, Harwood.
• Har. Then I'm ready to attend you. • Fran. Allons donc.
[Exeunt. SCENE, A Register-office *.
Enter Williams. Wil. The bufiness of the morning is partly over What a crowd of deluded females have flock'd to this office within these three hours, in expectation of the imaginary place we have advertis'd! ----A register-office, under the direction of so conscientious a person as Mr Gulwell, instead of a public good, becomes a public evil--My upright matter feldom feels any reflections of this kind. Avarice is his leading principle; and so long as he can swell his bage by the folly or credulity of mankind, he will not suffer conscience to hinder him in the pursuit of gain— Mr Frankly!--a-propos--- I must have
his opinion of this letter-'tis an affair too serious to • be connived at.
• Enter Harwood and Frankly. • Fran. Mr Williams, your fervant. • Wil. Sir, your moft obedient.
• Fran. I am come to ask the favour of your giving • this gentleman an opportunity of overhearing the humours of the register-office. • Wil. Sir, you could not impofe upon me a more wel. come command Sir I beg pardon for my
freedom if I mistake not, I had the honour of being your • schoolfellowYour name, I think, is Harwood ?
• Har. It is, Sir- -I am very glad to see you, Mr 6 Williams. • Wil. Come, Sir, this is no time for compliments :. I
".expect • The Farce usually begins here.