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FOOTE. Not one,
SMART. Pr'ythee why not?
FOOT E. Why look’ee, Smart, tho you are, in the language of the world, my friend, yet there is one thing you, I am furç, love better than any body.
SMART. What's that?
FOOT E. Mischief.
Ş MA RT. No, prythee
FOOT E. How now, am I sure that you, who. So readily give up your relations, may not have fome design upon me.
SMART. I don't understand you.
FOOTE. Why, as soon as my characters begin to circulate a little successfully, my mouth is stopp'd in a minute, by the clamour of
your relations, --- Oh, damme, 'tis a shame, --- it shou'd not be, people of disținction brought upon the stage.
And so out of compliment to your cousins, I am to be beggar'd, for treating the public with the follies of your family, at your own request.
SM AR T. How can you think I wou'd be such a dog. What the devil, then, are we to have nothing personal? Give us the actors however.
CAN KE R. Give us then a national portrait ; a Scotchman or an Irishman.
FOOT E. If you mean merely the dialect of the two countries, I can't think it either a subject of satyr or humour ; it is an accidental unhappiness, for which a man is no more accountable, than the colour of his hair. Now affettation I take to be the true comic object. If, indeed, a north Briton, struck with a scheme of reformation, should advance from the banks of the Tweed, to teach the English the true pronunciation of their own language, he would, I think, merit your laughter : nor would a Dublin mechanic, who, from heading the Liberty boys in a skirmish on Ormond Quay, should think he had a right to prescribe military laws
to the first commander in Europe, be a less ridiculous object.
SM AR T.
peasants, or the partial principles of a single scoundrel, are to stand as characteristical marks of a whole country; your pride may produce a laugh, but, believe me, it is at the expence of your understanding.
CANKER. Heyday, what a system is here ! Laws for laughing! And pray, fage Sir, instruct us when we may laugh with propriety.
FOOTE. At an old beau, a superannuated beauty, a military coward, a stuttering orator, or a gouty dancer. In short, whoever affects to be what he is not, or strives to be what he cannot, is an object worthy the poet's pen, and your mirth.
SMART. Psha, I don't know what you mean by your is nots, and cannots damn'd abstruse jargon. Ha, Canker.
CAN KER. Well, but if you will not give us persons, let us have things. ; Treat us with a modern amour, or a state intrigue, or a
FOOT E. And so amuse the public ear, at the expence of private peace. You must excuse me.
CANKER. And with these principles, you expect to thrive on this spot?
SMART No, no, it won't do. I tell thee the plain roast and boild of the theatres, will never do at this table. We muft have high feafon'd ragoûts, and rich fauces.
FOOTE. Why, perhaps, by way of desert, I may produce something that may hit your palate.
FOOTE. What think you of one of those itinerane field orators, who tho' at deelar'd enmity with common sense, have the address to poifon the principles, and, at the same time, pick the pockets of half our industrious fellow-subjects.
CA N K E R. Have a care. Dangerous ground. Lüdere cum facris, you know.
FooT Ε. Now I look upon it in a different manner. I consider these gentlemen in the light of public performers, like myself; and whether we exhibit at Tottenham-court, or the Hay-market, our purpose is the same, and the place is immaterial.
FOOTE. Nay, more, I must beg leave, to assert, that tidicule is the only antidote against this pernicious poison. This is a madness that argument can never cure: and, should a little wholesome severity be apply'd, persecution would be the immediate cry: where then can we have recourse, but to the comic muse; perhaps, the archness and severity of her smile, may redress an evil, that the Laws cannot reach, or reafon réclaim.
CAN KER. Why, if it does not cure those already distemper'd, it may be a means to stop the infection.
F O O.TE. .,
you may judge. We are just going upon a repetition of the piece. I should be glad to have your opinion.
SM AR T.
FO O T E. One indulgence : As you are Englishmen, I think, I need not beg, that as from neceffity most of my performers are new, you will allow for their inexperience, and encourage their timidity.
SMART. But reasonable. .