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Mar. Yes, sir, punch. A glass of warm punch after actual consultation upon what's for supper this moour journey will be comfortable.
ment in the kitchen.
Mar. Then I beg they'll admit me as one of their Enter SERVANT with a tankard.
privy-council. It's a way I have got. When I travel, This is Liberty-hall, you know.
I always choose to regulate my own supper. Let the Hard. Here's a cup, sir.
cook be called. No offence I hope, sir. Mar. So this fellow, in his Liberty-hall, will only Hard. O no, sir, none in the least : yet, I don't let us have just what he pleases. [Aside to Hast. know how, our Bridget, the cookmaid, is not very
Hard. [Taking the cup.] I hope you'll find it to communicative upon these occasions. Should we send your mind. I have prepared it with my own hands, for her, she might scold us all out of the house. and I believe you'll own the ingredients are tolerable. Hast. Let's see the list of the larder. then. I al. Will you be so good as to pledge me, sir? Here, Mr ways match my appetite to my bill of fare. Marlow, here is to our better acquaintance.
Mar. [To Hardcastle, who looks at them with sur(Drinks, and gives the cup to Marlow. prise.] Sir, he's very right, and it's my way too. 1 Mar. A very impudent fellow this; but he's a cha Hard. Sir, you have a right to command here.
racter, and I'll humour him a little. [Aside.] Sir, Here, Roger, bring us the bill of fare for to-night's my service to you.
supper: I believe it's drawn out. Your manner, Mr Hast. I see this fellow wants to give us his com- | Hastings, puts me in mind of my uncle, Colonel pany, and forgets that he's an innke per before he Wallop. It was a saying of his that no man was has learned to be a gentleman.
(Aside. sure of his supper till he had eaten it. 1 Mar. From the excellence of your cup, my old
[Serrant brings in the bill of fare, and exit. i friend, I suppose you have a good deal of business in Hast. All upon the high ropes! His uncle a colothis part of the country. Warm work now and then nel! We shall soon hear of his mother being a justice at elections, I suppose.
of peace. [Aside.] But let's hear the bill of fare. (Gires the tunkard to Hardcastle. Mar. [Perusing.) What's here! For the first Hard. No, sir; I have long given that work over. course ; for the second course ; for the dessert. The Since our betters have hit upon the expedient of elect-devil, sir ! Do you think we have brought down the ing each other, there's no business for us that sell ale. whole Joiners' Company, or the Corporation of Bed
(Gires the tankard to Hastings. ford, to eat up such a supper? Two or three little Hast. So, you have no turn for politics, I find. things, clean and comfortable, will do. Hard. Not in the least. There was a time, indeed, l Hast. But let's hear it.
fretted myself about the mistakes of government, Mar. [Reading.) For the first course : at the top, like other people ; but finding myself every day grow a pig and prune sauce. * more angry, and the government growing no better, Hard. And yet, gentlemen, to men that are hungry,
left it to mend itself. Since that, I no more pig, with prune sauce, is very good eating. Their imtrouble my head about who's in or who's out than I | pudence contounds me. [Aside.} Gentlemen, you do about John Nokes or Tom Stiles. So my service are my guests, make what altera
| are my guests, make what alterations you please. Is to you.
there any thing else you wish to retrench or alter, Hast. So that, with eating above stairs and drink gentlemen ? ing below, with receiving your friends within and Mar. Item: a pork pie, a boiled rabbit and saumusing them without, you lead a good, pleasant, sages, a florentine, a shaking-pudding, and a dish of
titl-taff-taffety cream. hard. I do stir about a good deal, that's certain. Hast. Confound your made dishes! I shall be as Half the differences of the parish are adjusted in this much at a loss in this house as at a green and yellow Fery parlour.
dinner at the French ambassador's table. I'm for Mar. (After drinking.) And you have an argument plain eating. in your cup, old gentleman, better than any in West
1 Hard. I'm sorry, gentlemen, that I have nothing minster-hall,
you like; but if there be any thing you have a par...Ay, young gentleman, that, and a little ticular fancy to
| Mar. Why, really, sir, your bill of fare is so exwar. Well, this is the first time I ever heard of an quisite, that any one part of it is full as good as an
[ Aside. other. Send us what you please. So much for supper : So then, like an experienced general, you at- and now to see that our beds are aired, and properly uem on every quarter. If you find their reason taken care of. able, you attack them with your philosophy; Hard. I intreat you'll leave all that to me. You
they have no reason, you attack them with shall not stir a step.
res your health, my philosopher. (Drinks. | Mar. Leave that to you! I protest, sir, you must gene
Good, very good ; thank you; ha! ha! Your excuse me; I always look to these things myself.
Mar. You see I'm resolved on it. A veny troublestead of the battle of Belgrade, I think it's some fellow, as ever I met with.
[Aside. philosophy oo
talk about supper. What has your Hard. Well, sir, I'm resolved at least to attend you. osophy got in the house for supper?
This may be modern modesty, but I never saw anything a. For supper, sir? Was ever such a request | look so like old-fashioned impudence.
(Exeunt Mar. and Hard. "T; supper, sir; I begin to feel an appe- ! Hast. So, I find this fellow's civilities begin to grow make devilish work to-night in the lar- | troublesome. But who can be angry with those assi
duities which are meant to please him! Ha! what Ich a brazen dog gure never my eyes be- do I see? Miss Neville, by all that's happy! 1. Why really, sir, as for supper I can't
Dorothy and the cookmaid settle these Two years after Goldsmith's dramatic triumph, a between them. I leave these kind of things
still greater in legitimate comedy arose in the person of that remarkable man, who survived down to
our own day, RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN. On . By the by, I believe they are in the 17th of January 1775, his play of The Rivals was
bustling life of it.
Hast. So then, like a tack them on every quar mana if you find they have no reason, this. Here's your health, my
Hard. Good, very good ; tha
he fought the Turks at the shall hear.
Mar. Instead of the batt
almost time to talk about supper.
Har to a man in his own house?
Mar. Yes, sir; supper, sir tite. I shall make devilish w der, I promise you.
Mar. You do, do you?
brought out at Covent Garden. In this first effort Mrs D. I confess he is a favourite of mine, because of Sheridan (who was then in his twenty-fourth every body else abuses him. year), there is more humour than wit. He had Sneer. Very much to the credit of your charity, copied some of his characters from "Humphry madam, if not of your judgment. Clinker,' as the testy but generous Captain Abso | Dan. But, egad! he allows no merit to any author lute, evidently borrowed from Matthew Bramble, but himself; that's the truth on't, though he's my and Mrs Malaprop, whose mistakes in words are the friend. echoes of Mrs Winifred Jenkins's blunders. Some Sneer. Never. He is as envious as an old maid of these are farcical enough ; but as Mr Moore verging on the desperation of six-and-thirty; and then observes (and no man has made more use of similes the insidious humility with which he seduces you to than himself), the luckiness of Mrs Malaprop's give a free opinion on any of his works, can be ex. simile- as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of ceeded only by the petulant arrogance with which he the Nile'—will be acknowledged as long as there are is sure to reject your observations. writers to be run away with by the wilfulness of | Dun. Very true, egad! though he's my friend. this truly headstrong species of composition. In Sneer. Then his affected contempt of all newspaper the same year, St Patrick's Day and The Duenna strictures; though, at the same time, he is the sorest were produced; the latter had a run of seventy-five man alive, and shrinks like scorched parchment from nights! It certainly is greatly superior to The the fiery ordeal of true criticism : yet is he so coretous Beggar's Opera,' though not so general in its of popularity, that he had rather be abused than not satire. In 1777, Sheridan had other two plays, The mentioned at all. Trip to Scarborough and The School for Scandal. In Dan. There's no denying it ; though he's my friend. plot character, and incident, dialogue, humour. and Sneer. You have read the tragedy he has just wit, The School for Scandal' is acknowledged to
Srandal' is acknowledged to finished, haven't you? surpass any comedy of modern times. It was care
Dan. O yes; he sent it to me yesterday. fully prepared by the author, who selected, arranged,
Sneer. Well, and you think it execrable, don't you? and moulded his language with consummate taste,
Dan. Why, between ourselves, egad! I must own so as to form it into a transparent channel of his
-though he's my friend that it is one of the most thoughts. Mr Moore, in his Life of Sheridan,'
--he's here!- [ Aside]—finished and most admirable gives some amusing instances of the various forms / perform which a witticism or pointed remark assumed before
Sir P. [Without] Mr Sneer with him, did you say? its final adoption. As in his first comedy Sheridan
Enter Sır FRETFUL PLAGIARY. had taken hints from Smollett; in this, his last, he had recourse to Smollett's rival, or rather twin Dan. Ah, my dear friend! Egad! we were just novelist, Fielding. The characters of Charles and speaking of your tragedy. Admirable, Sir Fretful, Joseph Surface are evidently copies from those of admirable! Tom Jones and Blifil. Nor is the moral of the play
Sneer. You never did anything beyond it, Sir Fretan improvement on that of the novel. The care
ful; never in your life. less extravagant rake is generous, warm-hearted,
Sir F. You make me extremely happy; for, with and fascinating; seriousness and gravity are ren
out a compliment, my dear Sneer, there isn't a man dered odious by being united to meanness and hypo
in the world whose judgment I value as I do yours; crisy. The dramatic art of Sheridan is evinced in
and Mr Dangle's. the ludicrous incidents and situations with which
Mrs D. They are only laughing at you, Sir Fretful; • The School for Scandal' abounds : his genius shines
for it was but just now that forth in its witty dialogues. •The entire comedy,'
Dan. Mrs Dangle !-Ah! Sir Fretful, you know says Moore, is an El Dorado of wit, where the
Mrs Dangle. My friend Sneer was rallying just now. precious metal is thrown about by all classes as
He knows how she admires you, andcarelessly as if they had not the least idea of its
Sir F. O Lord! I am sure Mr Sneer has more value. This fault is one not likely to be often
taste and sincerity than to A double-faced felcommitted! Some shorter pieces were afterwards
low! written by Sheridan: The Camp, a musical opera,
Dan. Yes, yes; Sneer will jest, but a betterand The Critic, a witty afterpiece, in the manner of
humoured• The Rehearsal.' The character of Sir Fretful
Sir F. O! I know. Plagiary, intended, it is said, for Cumberland the
Dan. He has a ready turn for ridicule; his wit dramatist, is one of the author's happiest efforts;
costs him nothing. and the schemes and contrivances of Puff the ma-,
| Sir P. No, egad! or I should wonder how he came by it.
[Aside. nager-such as making his theatrical clock strike four in a morning scene, “to beget an awful atten
'Mrs D. Because his jest is always at the expense of tion' in the audience, and to 'save a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding the
| Dan. But, Sir Fretful, have you sent your play eastern hemisphere'-are a felicitous combination of
"to the managers yet? or can I be of any service to humour and satire. The scene in which Sneer |
you? mortifies the vanity of Sir Fretful, and Puff's de- /
Sir F. No, no, I thank you; I believe the piece scription of his own mode of life by his proficiency, though. I sent it to the manager of Covent Garden
ut | had sufficient recommendation with it. I thank you in the art of puffing, are perhaps the best that She
theatre this morning. ridan ever wrote.
Sneer. I should have thought now, that it might |
have been cast (as the actors call it) better at Drury [A Sensitive Author.]
Sir F. O lud! no-never send a play there while 1 [From "The Critic.'] live. Hark ye!
[ Irhispers Sneer. Enter SERVANT to DANGLE and SNEER.
Sneer. Writes himself! I know he does.
Sir F. I say nothing I take away from no man's Servant. Sir Fretful Plagiary, sir.
merit-am hurt at no man's good fortune. I say noDangle Beg him to walk up. [Exit servant.] Now, thing; but this I will say; through all my knowledge Mrs Dangie, Sir Fretful Plagiary is an author to your of life, I have observed that there is not a passion to own taste.
| strongly rooted in the human heart as envy!..
Sneer. I believe you have reason for what you say, Mrs D. Or if I made any objection, I am sure it indeed.
was to nothing in the piece; but that I was afraid it Sir P. Besides, I can tell you, it is not always 80 was, on the whole, a little too long. safe to leave & play in the hands of those who write Sir F. Pray, madam, do you speak as to duration themselves.
of time; or do you mean that the story is tediously Sneer. What! they may steal from them? eh, my spun out? dear Plagiary!
* Mrs D. O lud ! no. I speak only with reference to Sir F. Steal! to be sure they may; and, egad! the usual length of acting plays. ferre your best thoughts as gipsies do stolen children, Sir F. Then I am very happy-very happy indeed; disfigure them to make 'em pass for their own. I because the play is a short play, a remarkably short
Sneer. But your present work is a sacrifice to Mel- play. I should not venture to differ with a lady on a pomene; and he, you know, never
point of taste ; but on these occasions the watch, you Sir F. That's no security. A dexterous plagiarist know, is the critic. i may do anything. Why, sir, for aught I know he Mrs D. Then, I suppose, it must have been Mr might take out some of the best things in my tragedy | Dangle's drawling manner of reading it to me. and put them into his own comedy.
Sir F. 0! if Mr Dangle read it, that's quite another Sreer. That might be done, I dare be sworn. affair; but I assure you, Mrs Dangle, the first evening
Sir F. And then, if such a person gives you the you can spare me three hours and a half, I'll underleast hint or assistance, he is devilish apt to take the take to read you the whole from beginning to end, with merit of the whole.
the prologue and epilogue, and allow time for the Dan. If it succeeds.
music between the acts. Sir P. Ay! but with regard to this piece, I think Mrs D. I hope to see it on the stage next. [Exit. I can hit that gentleman, for I can safely swear he Dan. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to never read it.
get rid as easily of the newspaper criticisms as you Sneer. I'll tell you how you may hurt him more. do of ours. Sir F. How!
Sir F. The newspapers! sir, they are the most Sncer. Swear he wrote it.
villanous, licentious, abominable, infernal- not that Sir F. Plague on't now, Sneer; I shall take it ill. I ever read them; no, I make it a rule never to look I believe you want to take away my character as an into a newspaper, author!
Dan. You are quite right; for it certainly must Sneer. Then I am sure you ought to be very much hurt an author of delicate feelings to see the liberties obliged to me.
they take. Sir F. Eh! sir !
to Sir F. No; quite the contrary; their abuse is, in Dan. O! you know he never means what he says. fact, the best panegyric; I like it of all things. An Sir P. Sincerely, then, you do like the piece ? author's reputation is only in danger from their supSneer. Wonderfully!
Sir F. But, come now, there must be something Sneer. Why, that's true; and that attack, now, on that you think might be mended, eh? Mr Dangle, has you the other day nothing struck you?
Sir F. What?' where ! Den. Why, faith, it is but an ungracious thing for Dan. Ay! you mean in a paper of Thursday; it the most part to
was completely ill-natured to be sure. Sir P. With most authors it is just so, indeed ; they Sir F. O! so much the better; ha! ha! ha! I are in general strangely tenacious; but, for my part, wouldn't have it otherwise.
am never so well pleased as when a judicious critic Dan. Certainly, it is only to be laughed at, forpoints out any defe
ints out any defect to me; for what is the purpose Sir F. You don't happen to recollect what the of showing a work to a friend if you don't mean to fellow said, do you? profit by his opinion?
Sneer. Pray, Dangle; Sir Fretful seems a little Sneer. Very true. Why then, though I seriously anxiousadmin
mire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one Sir F. O lud, no! anxious, not I, not the least-I Small objection which, if you'll give me leave, I'll -but one may as well hear, you know.
Dan. Sneer, do you recollect ? Make out someSir F. Sir, you can't oblige me more.
[A side. Sneer. I think it wants incident.
Sneer. I will. [To Dangle.] Yes, yes, I remember . Good God! you surprise me! wants incident? perfectly. 7; Yes; I own I think the incidents are too few. Sir P. Well, and pray now-not that it signifies
". Good God! Believe me, Mr Sneer, there is what might the gentleman say? person for whose judgment I have a more implicit Sneer. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not
e; but I protest to you, Mr Sneer, I am only the slightest invention or original genius whatever, appre! dear Dangle, how does it strike you? msire that the incidents are too crowded. My though you are the greatest traducer of all other
the plot quite sufficient; and the four first Sneer. That as to comedy, you have not one idea of my lifa un degrees the best I ever read or saw in your own, he believes, even in your commonplace that the interest rather falls off in the fifth. I might venture to suggest anything, it is book, where stray jokes and pilfered witticisms are
kept with as much method as the ledger of the lost and stolen office.
Sir F. Ha, ha, ha! very pleasant. don't fall of yes, you do, upon my soul; it certainly Sneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have
ssure you; no, no, it don't fall off the skill even to steal with taste; but that you glean Dangle, did'nt you say it struck from the refuse of obscure volumes, where more judi.
cious plagiarists have been before you; so that the deed, I did not. I did not see a body of your work is a composition of dregs and sedia of the play from the beginning to ments, like a bad tavern's worst wine.
Sir P. Ha, ha! judges afte, Ponmy soul, the women are the best Sneer. In your more serious efforts, he says, your
| bombast would be less intolerable if the thoughts
Dan. Really, I can't agt
Sir F. Rises, I believe you mean, sir.
Sir F. Yes, yes, you do, up
Dan. Now, Mrs Dangle, did you in the same light?
Mrs D. No, indeed, I fault in any part of the play " the end.
Sir P. Upon my soul,
were ever guited to the expressions; but the homeli-be allowable; but in a man, I am sure, it is always ness of the sentiment stares through the fantastic in- contemptible. We have pride, envy, rivalship, and a cumbrance of its fine language, like a clown in one of thousand little motives to depreciate each other; but the new uniforms.
the male slanderer must have the cowardice of a 11 Sir P. Ha, ha!
woman before he can traduce one. Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarseness of your style, as tambour sprigs
Enter SERVANT. would a ground of linsey-Woolsey; while your imita | Serv. Madam, Mrs Candour is below, and if your tions of Shakspeare resemble the mimicry of Fal- | ladyship's at leisure, will leave her carriage. staff's page, and are about as near the standard of the | Lady S. Beg her to walk in. [Excit Servant.] Now, original.
Maria, however, here is a character to your taste; for Sir P. Ha!
though Mrs Candour is a little talkative, every body Sneer. In short, that even the finest passages you allows her to be the best natured and best sort of steal are of no service to you; for the poverty of your woman. own language prevents their assimilating, so that! Maria. Yes—with a very gross affectation of good they lie on the surface like lumps of marl on a barren nature and benevolence, she does more mischief than moor, encumbering what it is not in their power to the direct malice of old Crabtree. fertilize.
Joseph S. I'faith that's true, Lady Sneerwell: Sir R. (After great agitation.] Now, another person whenever I hear the current running against the would be vexed at this.
characters of my friends, I never think them in such Sneer. Oh! but I wouldn't have told you, only to danger as when Candour undertakes their defence. divert you.
Lady S. Hush !-here she is! Sir 7. I know it. I am diverted-ha, ha, ha! not the least invention! ha, ha, ha! very good, very
Enter Mrs CANDOUR. good!
Mrs C. My dear Lady Sneerwell, how have you Sneer. Yes; no genius! ha, ha, ha!
been this century ? Mr Surface, what news do you Dan. A severe rogue, ha, ha, ha!--but you are hear?-though indeed it is no matter, for I think one quite right, Sir Fretful, never to read such nonsense. hears nothing else but scandal,
Sir F. To be sure; for if there is anything to one's Joseph S. Just eo, indeed, ma'am. praise, it is a foolish vanity to be gratified at it; and Mrs C. Oh, Maria ! child-what! is the whole if it is abuse, why one is always sure to hear of it affair off between you and Charles ! His extravafrom some good-natured friend or other!
gance, I presume-the town talks of nothing else.
little to do.
Mrs C. True, true, child : but there's no stopping Uncharitableness.]
people's tongues. I own I was hurt to hear it, as I (From The School for Scandal.]
indeed was to learn, from the same quarter, that your Maria enters to LADY SNEERWELL and Joseph SURFACE.
guardian, Sir Peter and Lady Teazle, have not agreed
| lately as well as could be wished. Lady S. Maria, my dear, how do you do? What's | Maria. 'Tis strangely impertinent for people to the matter?
busy themselves so. Maria. Oh! there is that disagreeable lover of | Mrs C. Very true, child: but what's to be done! mine, Sir Benjamin Backbite, has just called at my People will talk--there's no preventing it. Why, it guardian's with his odious uncle, Crabtree ; so I slipt was but yesterday I was told that Miss Gadabout had out, and ran hither to avoid them.
eloped with Sir Filligree Flirt. But there's no mind. Is that all ?
ing what one hears; though, to be sure, I had this Joseph S. If my brother Charles had been of the froin very good authority. party, madam, perhaps you would not have been so Maria. Such reports are highly scandalons. much alarmed.
Mrs C. So they are, child-shameful, shameful! Lady S. Nay, now you are severe; for I dare swear | But the world is so censorious, no character escapes, the truth of the matter is, Maria heard you were here. Well, now, who would have suspected your friend, But, my dear, what has Sir Benjamin done that you Miss Prim, of an indiscretion? Yet such is the illshould avoid him so?
nature of people that they say her uncle stopt her last Maria. Oh, he has done nothing-but 'tis for what week, just as she was stepping into the York mail with he has said: his conversation is a perpetual libel on her dancing-master. all his acquaintance.
Maria. I'll answer for't there are no grounds for Joseph S. Ay, and the worst of it is, there is no ads that report. vantage in not knowing him--for he'll abuse a stranger Mrs C. Ah, no foundation in the world, I dare just as soon as his best friend ; and his uncle Crab- swear; no more, probably, than for the story circulated tree's as bad.
last month of Mrs Festino's affair with Colonel CasLady S. Nay, but we should make allowance. Sir sino; though, to be sure, that matter was neret Benjamin is a wit and a poet.
rightly cleared up. Maria. For my part, I own, madam, wit loses its Joseph S. The license of invention some people respect with me when I see it in company with | take is monstrous indeed. malice. What do you think, Mr Surface?
Maria. 'Tis som but, in my opinion, those who reJoseph S. Certainly, madam ; to smile at the jest port such things are equally culpable. which plants a thorn in another's breast is to become Mrs C. To be sure they are ; tale-bearers are as bad a principal in the mischiet.
as the tale-makers--'tis an old observation, and a very il Lady S. Pshaw!-there's no possibility of being true one : but what's to be done, as I said before! how it witty without a little ill nature: the malice of a good will you prerent people from talking! To-day Mrs il thing is the barb that makes it stick. What's your Clackitt assured me Mr and Mrs Honeymoon were al opinion, Mr Surface
last become mere man and wife, like the rest of their Joseph S. To be sure, madam ; that conversation, acquaintance. * * No, no! tale-bearers, as ! where the spirit of raillery is suppressed, will ever ap- said before, are just as bad as the tale-makers. pear tedious and insipid.
| Joseph S. Ah! Mrs Candour, if every body had Maria. Well, I'll not debate how far scandal may 1 your forbearance and good-nature !
Mrs C. I confess, Mr Surface, I cannot bear to hear to the credit of a prudent lady of her stamp as a fever people attacked behind their backs; and when ugly is generally to those of the strongest constitutions. circumstances come out against our acquaintance, I | But there is a sort of puny sickly reputation that is own I always love to think the best. By the by, I hope always ailing, yet will outlive the robuster characters
'tis not true that your brother is absolutely ruined ? of a hundred prudes. i Joseph S. I am afraid his circumstances are very Sir B. True, madam, there are valetudinarians in bad indeed, ma'am.
reputation as well as constitution; who, being conMrs C. Ah ! I heard so—but you must tell him to scious of their weak part, avoid the least breath of keep up his spirits ; everybody almost is in the same air, and supply their want of stamina by care and cir.
way–Lord Spindle, Sir Thomas Splint, and Mr Nickit cumspection i -all up, I hear, within this week; so, if Charles is Mrs C. Well, but this may be all a mistake. You
undone, he'll find half his acquaintance ruined too; know, Sir Benjamin, very trifling circumstances often ll and that, you know, is a consolation.
give rise to the most injurious tales. Joseph S. Doubtless, ma'am-a very great one. Crab. That they do, I'll be sworn, ma'am. O lud!
Mr Surface, pray is it true that your uncle, Sir Oliver, Enter SERVANT.
is coming home? Serv. Mr Crabtree and Sir Benjamin Backbite. | Joseph S. Not that I know of, indeed, sir,
(Exit Servant. Crað. He has been in the East Indies a long time. Lady S. So, Maria, you see your lover pursues you ; You can scarcely remember him, I believe? Sad compositively you shan't escape.
fort whenever he returns, to hear how your brother
has gone on. Enter CRABTREE and SIR BENJAMIN BACKBITE.
Joseph S. Charles has been imprudent, sir, to be Crab. Lady Sneerwell, I kiss your hand. Mrs Can-sure ; but I hope no busy people have already prejudour, I don't believe you are acquainted with my diced Sir Oliver against him. He may reform. nephew, Sir Benjamin Backbite? Egad ! ma'am, he Sir B. To be sure he may; for my part I never behas a pretty wit, and is a pretty poet, too; isn't he, lieved him to be so utterly void of principle as people Lady Sneerwell!
say; and though he has lost all his friends, I am told Sir B. O fie, uncle!
nobody is better spoken of by the Jews. Crab. Nay, egad, it's true; I back him at a rebus Crab. That's true, egad, nephew. If the Old Jewry o a charade against the best rhymer in the kingdom. was a ward, I believe Charles would be an alderman : Has your ladyship heard the epigram he wrote last no man more popular there! I hear he pays as many week on Lady Frizzle's feather catching fire? Do, annuities as the Irish tontine; and that, whenever he Benjamin, repeat it, or the charade you made last is sick, they have prayers for the recovery of his health night extempore at Mrs Drowzie's conversazione. in all the synagogues. Come now; your first is the name of a fish, your Sir B. Yet no man lives in greater splendour. second a great naval commander, and
They tell me, when he entertains his friends, he will Sir B. Uncle, now-prithee
sit down to dinner with a dozen of his own securities; Crab. I'faith, ma'am, 'twould surprise you to hear have a score of tradesmen waiting in the antechamber, how ready he is at these things.
I and an officer behind every guest's chair. Lady š. I wonder, Sir Benjamin, you never publish | Joseph S. This may be entertainment to you, genanything.
|tlemen ; but you pay very little regard to the feelings Sir B. To say truth, ma'am, 'tis very vulgar to of a brother." print; and as my little productions are mostly satires Maria. Their malice is intolerable. Lady Sneerand lampoons on particular people, I find they circu- well, I must wish you a good morning : I'm not very late more by giving copies in confidence to the friends well.
[Exit Maria. of the parties. However, I have some love elegies, Mrs C. O dear! she changes colour very much. which, when favoured with this lady's smiles, I mean Lady S. Do, Mrs Candour, follow her: she may to give the public.
want your assistance. Crab. 'Fore heaven, ma'am, they'll immortalise Mrs C. That I will, with all my soul, ma'am. Poor you! you will be handed down to posterity, like Pe- dear girl, who knows what her situation may be ! trarch's Laura, or Waller's Sacharissa.
[Exit Mrs Candour. Sir B. Yes, madam, I think you will like them, Lady S. 'Twas nothing but that she could not bear when you shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, to hear Charles reflected on, notwithstanding their where a neat rivulet of text shall murmur through a difference. mneadow of margin. 'Fore gad they will be the most Sir B. The young lady's penchant is obvious. elegant things of their kind!
Crab. But, Benjamin, you must not give up the Crab. But, ladies, that's true-have you heard the pursuit for that: follow her, and put her into good news!
| humour. Repeat her some of your own verses. Come, Mrs C. What, sir, do you mean the report of - I'll assist you.
Crab. No, ma'am, that's not it-Miss Nicely is ! Sir B. Mr Surface, I did not mean to hurt you : going to be married to her own footman.
but, depend on't, your brother is utterly undone. MIT C. Impossible!
Crab. O lud, ay ! undone as ever man was. Can't Crab. Ask Sir Benjamin.
raise a guinea! Sir B. 'Tis very true, ma'am ; everything is fixed, Sir B. And every thing sold, I'm told, that was and the wedding liveries bespoke.
moveable. Crab. Yes; and they do say there were very press- Crab. I have seen one that was at his house. Not ing reasons for it.
a thing left but some empty bottles that were overLady S. Why, I have heard something of this before. I looked, and the family pictures, which I believe are Mrs C. It can't be ; and I wonder any one should framed in the wainscots. beliere such a story of so prudent a lady as Miss Sir B. And I'm very sorry, also, to hear some bad Nicely.
stories against him. Sir B. O lud! ma'am, that's the very reason 'twas Crab. "Oh! he has done many mean things, that's keliered at once. She has always been so cautious certain. and so reserved that everybody was sure there was Sir B. But, however, as he is your brothersome reason for it at bottom.
Crab. We'll tell you all another opportunity. Mrs C. Why, to be sure, a tale of scandal is as fatal |
[Exeunt Crabtree and Sir Benjamin