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Re-enter Devil. Devil. I had like to have forgot, here's your week's
рау. for the news paper, five and five pence, which with the two-and-a-penny, master pass'
s'd his word for to Mrs. Suds, your washer-woman, makes the three half crowns.
Cape. Lay it on the table.
Devil. Here's a man on the stairs wants you; by the sheepishness of his looks, and the shabbiness of his dress, he's either a pick-pocket, or a poet Here, walk in, Mr. What-d'ye-call-'um, the gentleman's at home.
(Surveys the figure, laughs, and exit.)
Enter Poet. Poet. Your name, I presume,
presume, is Cape. Cape. You have hit it, sir.
Poet. Sir, I beg pardon ; you are a gentleman that write ?
Poet. Why, sir, my case, in a word, is this ; I, like you, have long been a retainer of the '
muses, as you may see by their livery.
Cape. They have not discarded you, I hope.
Poet. No, sir, but their upper servants, the booksellers, have. I printed a collection of jests upon my own account, and they have ever since refused to employ me; you, sir, I hear, are in their graces : now I have brought you, sir, three imitations of Juvenal in prose ; Tully's oration for Milo, in blank verse; two essays on the British herring fishery, with a large collection of rebusses; which, if you will dispose of to them, in your own name, we'll divide the profits.
Cape. I am really, sir, sorry for your distress, but I have a larger cargo of my own manufacturing than they chuse to engage in.
. Poet. That's pity; you have nothing in the
compiling or index way, that you wou'd intrust to the care of another?
Cape. I'm concern'd it is not in my power at present to be useful to you ; but if this trifle
Poet. Sir, your servant. Shall I leave you any
Cape. By no means.
Cape. Poor fellow! and how far am I removed from his condition ? Virgil had his Pollio; Horace his Mecænas; Martial his Pliny: my protectors are Title-page, the publisher; Vamp, the bookseller ; and Index, the printer, a most noble triumvirate; and the rascals are as proscriptive and arbitary, as the famous Roman one, into the bargain.
Enter Sprightly. Spri. What! in soliloquy, George ? reciting some of the pleasantries, I suppose, in your new piece.
Cape. My disposition has, at present, very little of the vis comica.
Spri. What's the matter?
Cape. Survey that mass of wealth upon the table; all my own, and earn'd in little more than a week.
Spri. Why, 'tis an inexhaustible mine!
Cape. Ay, and delivered to me, too, with all the soft civility of Billingsgate, by a printer's prime minister, call'd a Devil.
Spri. I met the imp upon the stairs; but I thought these midwives to the muses were the idolizers of you, their favourite suns.
Cape. Our tyrants, Tom. Had I indeed a posthumous piece of infidelity, or an amourous novel,
decorated with luscious copper-plates, the slaves would be civil enough.
Spri. Why don't you publish your own works?
Cape. What! and paper my room with 'em ? no, no, that will never do; there are secrets in all trades; ours is one great mystery, but the explanation wou'd be too tedious at present. Spri. Then why don't you
attention to some other object?
Cape. That subject was employing my thoughts. Spri. How have you resolved?
Cape. I have, I think, at present, two strings to my bow; if my comedy succeeds, it buys me a commission; if my mistress, my Laura, proves kind, I am settled for life; but if both my
snap, adieu to the quill, and welcome the musket.
Spri. Heroically determined ! But à propos how proceeds your honourable passion?
Cape. But slowly-I believe I have a friend in her heart, but a most potent enemy in her head : you know, I am poor, and she is prudent. With regard to her fortune too, I believe her brother's consent essentially necessary-But you promised to make me acquainted with him.
Spri. I expect him here every instant. He may, George, be useful to you in more than one capacity ; if your comedy is not crouded, he is a character, I can tell you, that will make no contemptible figure in it.
Cape. His sister gave me a sketch of him last
Spri. A sketch can never convey him. His peculiarities require infinite labour and high finish
Cape. Give me the out-lines.
. He is a compound of contrarieties; pride and meanness; folly and archness : at the same time that he wou'd take the wall of a prince of the blood, he would not scruple eating a fry'd
sausage at the Mews-Gate. There is a minuteness, now and then, in his descriptions; and some whimsical, unaccountable turns in his conversation, that are entertaining enough: but the extravagance and oddity of his manner, and the boast of his birth, compleat his character.
Cape. But how will a person of his pride and pedigree relish the humility of this apartment ? Spri
. Oh, he is prepar'd-You are, George, tho' prodigiously learn'd and ingenious, an abstracted being, odd and whimsical; the case with all you great geniuses : You love the snug, the chimney-corner of life; and retire to this obscure nook, merely to avoid the importunity of the great. Cape. Your servant
Your servant But what attraction can a character of this kind have for Mr. Cadwallader?
Spri. Infinite! next to a peer, he honours a poet : and modestly imputes his not making a figure in the learned world himself to the neglect of his education-hush! he's on the stairs-on with your cap, and open your book. Remember great dignity and absence.
Enter Vamp. Cape. Oh, no; 'tis Mr. Vamp: your commands, good sir?
Vamp. I have a word, master Cape, for your private ear.
Cape. You may communicate; this gentleman is a friend.
Vamp. An author?
Vamp. Bless me! he's very young, and exceedingly well rigg'd; what, a good subscription, I reckon.
Cape. Not a month from Leyden; an admira
ble theologist; he study'd it in Germany ; if you should want such a thing now, as ten or a dozen manuscript sermons, by a deceas'd clergyman, I believe he can supply you.
Vamp. No, no, I don't deal in the sermon way, now; I lost money by the last I printed, for all 'twas wrote by a methodist; but, I believe, sir, if they be’nt long, and have a good deal of Latin in 'em, I can get you a chap.
Spri. For what, sir ?
Vamp. The manuscript sermons you have wrote, and want to dispose of.
Spri. Sermons that I have wrote ?
Vamp. Nay, nay, don't be afraid ; I'll keep council; old Vamp had not kept a shop so long at the Turnstile, if he did not know how to be secret ; why in the year forty-five, when I was in the treasonable way, I never squeak’d; I never gave up but one author in my life, and he was dying of a consumption, so it never came to a trial.
Spri. Indeed !
Vamp. Never look here (shews the side of his head) crop'd close bare as a board !-and for nothing in the world but an innocent book of bawdy, as I hope for mercy : Oh! the laws are very hard, very severe upon us.
Śpri. You have given me, sir, so positive a proof of your secresy that you may rely upon my communication.
Vamp. You will be safe-but gadso, we must mind business, tho'; here, master Cape, you must provide me with three taking titles for these pamphlets, and if you can think of a pat Latin motto for the largest