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THE LAME LOVER:
which tree was not only an ornamental tree, but a useful tree; and not only a useful tree, but a plum-tree; and not only a plum-tree, but the best of plum-trees, a damascen plum? Most assuredly no. If so be then, that this be so, and so it most certainly is, I apprehend no doubt will remain with the court, but my client a verdict will have, with full costs of suit, in such a manner and so forth, as may nevertheless appear notwithstanding.
Sir Luke. Have you done, Mr. Serjeant?
Şir Luke. Gentlemen of the Jury-I am in this cause counsel for Hob-Zounds! I think the head moves.
Col. No, no, Mrs. Simper jogg'd the chair with her foot, that was all.
Sir Luke. For Hercules Hobson---(I could have sworn it had stir'd)-I shan't, gentlemen, upon this occasion, attempt to move your passions, by flowing periods and rhetorical flowers, as Mr. Serjeant has done ; no, gentlemen, if I get at your hearts, I will make my way through your heads, however thick they may be--in order to which, I will pursue the learned gentleman, through what he calls his probable proofs: and first, as to this tree's being cut down in the night; in part we will grant him that point, but, under favour, not a dark night Mr. Serjeant; no, quite the reverse, we can prove the moon shone bright, with uncommon lustre that night-So that if so be as how people did not see, that was none-[Serjeant sneezes.] nay, Mrs. Circuit, if you break the thread of my
Mrs. Circ. Me break! I said nothing I'm sure.
Sir Luke. I am sure somebody did; it could not be the head---consider the least interruption puts one out of one's-None of our faults, they might
have look'd on and seen if they would. And then as to this beautiful tree, with which Mr. Serjeant has ornamented his spot-No, gentlemen, no such matter at all ; I am instructed to say quite the reverse ; a stunted tree, a blighted, blasted tree ; à tree not only limbless, and leafless, but very near lifeless; that was the true state of the tree : and then as to its use, we own it was a plum-tree indeed, but not of the kind Mr. Serjeant sets forth, a damascen plum; our proofs say loudly a bull plum; but if so be and it had been a damascen plum, will any man go for to say, that a damascen plum is the best kind ot plum ; not a whit, I take upon me to say it is not a noun substantive plum—with plenty of sugar it does pretty well indeed in a tart, but to eat it by itself, will Mr. Serjeant go to compare it with the queen mother, the padrigons
Serj. (Appearing suddenly from under the gown.] The green gages, or the orleans.
Mrs. Circ. As I live 'tis my husband! [All run off except sir Luke, and the Serjeant.]
Serj. Nay, sir Luke, don't you run away too give me a buss—since I was born I never heard a finer reply; I am sorry I did not hear your argument out-but I could not resist.
Sir Luke. This I own was a little surprise-had you been long here, Mr. Serjeant?
Serj. But the instant you enter'd.
[ Aside. Serj. But come, won't you refresh you, sir Luke -you have had hard duty to-day.
Sir Luke. I drank very freely at table.
Serj. Nay, for the matter of that, I ha’nt been idle ; (both drink.] But come, throw off your gown, and let us finish the bottle : I ha'nt had such a mind to be merry I can't tell the day when.
Sir Luke. Nay then, Mr. Serjeant, have at you -come, here's long life and health to the law.
[Drinks. Serj. I'll pledge that toast in a bumper. [Drinks.] --I'll take Charlotte's hint, and see if I can't draw the truth out of the knight by a bottle. (Aside.]
Sir Luke. I'll try if I can't fuddle the fool, and get rid of him that way.
Aside.] Serj. I could not have thought it: why where the deuce did you pick up all this? But by the bye, pray who was the cryer?
Sir Luke. Did you not know her ? Mrs. Simper, your neighbour.
Serj. A pestilent jade! she's a good one I warrant.
Sir Luke. She is thought very pretty; what say you to a glass in her favour?
Serj. By all means in the world! [they drink.] and that spark the clerk ?
Sir Luke. Colonel Secret, a friend to the lady
Serj. A friend ! oh, ay,-I understand you come, let us join 'em together
Sir Luke. Alons. (drink.] Egad, I shall be caught in my own trap, I begin to feel myself fluster'dalready.
[Aside.) Serj. Delicate white wine, indeed! I like it better every glass. (Sings.]
Drink and drive care away,
Drink and be merry. Sir Luke. True, my dear Serjeant--this is the searcher of secrets--the only key to the heart.
Serj. Right, boy, in vino veritas.
Sir Luke. No deceit in a bumper. (sings.] Drink and be merry. Serj. Merry! damme, what a sweet fellow
you are, what would I give to be half so jolly and gay
Sir Luke. (Appearing very drunk.] Would you: And yet do you know, Serjeant, that at this very juncture of time, there is a thing has popp'd into my head, that distresses me very much.
Serj. Then drive it out with a bumper. (drinks) Well, how is it now!
Sir Luke. Now ! the matter is not mended at all.
Serj. What the deuce is the business that so sticks in your stomach.
Sir Luke. You know my dear Serjeant, I am your friend, your real, your affectionate friend.
Serj. I believe it, sir Luke.
Sir Luke. And yet, for these six months, I have conceal'd a secret, that touches you near, very near.
Serj. Me near! That was wrong, very wrong; friends should have all things in common.
Sir Luke. That's what I said to myself; sir Luke, says I, open your heart to your friend; but to tell you the truth, what sealed up my lips, was the fear that this secret should make you sulky and sad.
Serj. Me sulky and sad! ha! ha! how little you know of me.
Sir Luke. Swear then that you won't be uneasy. Serj. Well, I do. Sir Luke. [Rising.) Soft ! let us see that all's safe ;-well, Mr. Serjeant, do you know that you are-a fine, honest fellow?
Serj. Is that a secret?
Sir Luke. Be quiet; a damn'd honest fellow but as to your wife
Serj. Well ?
Serj. How! it is a falshood, sir Luke, my wife is as virtuous a wom
Sir Luke. Oh ! if you are angry, your servantI thought that the news would have pleased you --for after all, what is the business to me? What do I get by the bargain?
Serj. That's true ; but then would it not vex any man to hear his wife abused in such a
Sir Luke. Not if it's true, you old fool.
Serj. I say it is false : prove it; give me that satisfaction, sir Luke.
Sir Luke. Oh! you shall have that pleasure directly; and to come at once to the point-you remember last new year's day how severely it froze.
Serj. I do recollect.
Sir Luke. Very well; we were all invited to dine at alderman Inkle's.
Serj. Very right.
Sir Luke. Well, and I did not go : Mrs. Cira cuit made me dine here in this house-was it my fault?
Serj. No, no, sir Luke, no.
Sir Luke. At table says she-she said, I was the picture of you-was it
fault? Serj. Well, and suppose you are; where's the mischief in that?
Sir Luke. Be quiet I tell you ;-then throwing her arms round my neck,-it is my husband himself I embrace, it is my little old man that I kiss ! --for she has a prodigious affection for you at bottom--was it my fault?
Serj. But what is there serious in this, dost think I mind such trifles ?
Sir Luke. Hold your tongue, you fool, for a moment-then throwing her Teresa aside-upon my soul she is prodigious fine every where here
fault? Serj. My fault ! my fault! I see no fault in all !
Sir Luke. (pretending to cry.] No! why then my dear friend, do you know that I was so unworthy, so profligate, so abandon'd-as to-Crises] say no more, the business is done.
Serj. Ay, indeed!
Sir Luke. Oh ! fact! there is not the least doubt of the matter; that is no hear-say, dy'e see, I was by all the while. Serj. Very pretty! very fine upon my word.