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Sir THOMAS. Staytape, Juliet, run and stop them; say I am gone out; I am sick; I am engaged: but, whatever you do, be sure you don't let Bever come in. Secure of the victory, I invited them to the celebr
RUST. A, trưly, Mr. Puff, this is but a bitter beginning; then the young man must turn himself to some other trade.
PUFF. Servant, Sir Thomas; I suppose you have heard the news of
DACTYL. I confess, I did not suspect it; but there is no knowing what effect these things will have till they come on the stage.
RUST. For my part; I don't know much of these matters; but a couple of gentlemen near me, who feem'd sagacious enough too, declared that it was the vilest stuff they ever had heard, and wondered the players would act it.
DACTYL. Yes; I don't remember to have seen a more general dislike.
PUFF. I was thinking to ask you, Sir Thomas, for your interest with Mr. Bever about buying the copy: but now no mortal would read it. Lord, Sir, it would not pay for paper and print.
RUST. I remember Kennet, in his Roman Antiquities, mentions a play of Terence's, Mr. Dactyl, that was terribly treated; but that he attributes to the people's fondness for certain funambuli, or rope. dancers; but I have not lately heard of any famous tumblers in town: Sir Thomas, have you?
Sir THOMAS. How should I; do you suppose I trouble my head about tumblers ?
BEVER, speaking without. Not to be spoke with! Don't tell me, Sir; he must, he shall.
Sir THOMAS. Mr. Bever's voice. If he is admitted in his present disposition, the whole secret will certainly out. Gentlemen, fome affairs of a most interest. ing nature makes it impossible for me to have the honour of
your company to night; therefore ! beg you would be fo good as to
RUST. I shall only just stay to see Mr. Bever. Poor lad! he will be most horribly down in the mouth: a little comfort won't come amifs.
RUST. Not here! why I thought I heard his voice but just now.
RUST. May be lo; then we will go. Sir Thomas, my compliments of condolence, if you please, to the poet.
DACTYL. And mine; for I suppose we sha'n't see him soon.
PUFF. Poor gentleman! I warrant he won't thew his head for these fix months.
RUST. Ay, ay: indeed, I am very sorry for him; lo tell him, Sir.
DACTYL and PUFF.
Enter BEVER. So, Sir; this is delicate treatment, after all I have suffered.
BEVER, Well, Sir Thomas Lofty, what think you now of your Robinson Crusoe? a pretty performance!
Sir THOMAS. Think, Mr. Bever! I think the public are blockheads; a tasteless, a stupid, ignorant tribe; and a man of genious deserves to be damn'd who writes any thing for them. But courage, dear Dick! the principals will give you what the peo
ple refuse; the closet will do you that justice the ftage has denied: print your play.
Sir THOMAS. Speak lower, dear Dick; be moderate, my good, dear lad!
BEVER. Oh, Sir Thomas, you may be easy enough; you are safe and secure, removed far from that precipice that has dashed me to pieces.
Sir THOMAS. .: Dear Dick, don't believe it will hurt you. The critics, the real judges, will discover in that piece such excellent talents
BEVER. No, Sir Thomas, no. I shall neither flatter you nor myself; I have acquired a right to speak what I think. Your play, Sir, is a wretched performance; and in this opinion all mankind are united.
your piece had been greatly received, I would have declared Sir Thomas Lofty the author ; if coldly, I would have owned it myself: but such disgraceful, such contemptible treatment! I own, the burthen is too heavy for me; so, Sir, you must bear it yourself.
Sir THOMAS. Me, dear Dick! what to become ridiculous in the decline of my life; to destroy in one hour the fame that forty years has been building ! that was the prop, the support of my age! Can you be cruel enough to delire it?
BEVER. Zounds! Sir, and why must I be your crutch? Would you have me become a voluntary victim? No, Sir, this cause does not merit a martyrdom.
Sir THOMAS. I own myself greatly oblig'd; but persevere, dear Dick, persevere; you have time to recover your fame: I beg it with tears in my eyes. Another play will —
BEVER. No, Sir Thomas; I have done with the stage: the Muses and I meet no more.
BEVER. Not one, where your piece won't pursue me. If I go to the bar, the ghort of this cursed comedy will follow, and hunt me in Westminster-hall: nay, when I die, it will stick to my memory, and I shall be handed down to pofterity with the author of Love in a Hollow Tree.
Sir THOMAS. Then marry: you are a pretty smart figure; and your poetical talents
BEVER. And what fair would admit of my suit, or family wish to receive me? Make the case your own, Sir Thomas; would you?
BEVER. Then give me your niece; her hand shall seal up my lips.
Sir THOMAS. What, Juliet? willingly. But are you serious, do you really admire the girl?
BEVER. Beyond what words can express. It was by her advice I consented to father your play.