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Which is call'd to this moment "The Smuggler's Leap!"
Nay more, I am told, on a moonshiny night,
Grappling the Ghost of Smuggler Bill,
And the Ghost of the dapple-grey lying between 'em.
And now, gentle reader, one word ere we part,
Don't use naughty words, in the next place,—and
Your language adopt a bad habit of swearing!
Or "shake me !"-or "bake me !"
Or such-like expressions-remember Old Nick
Above all, to my last gravest caution attend-
SCENE FROM "THE ROAD TO RUIN."
[Thomas Holcroft was born in London, 1745, his father being a shoemaker by trade, but more frequently by choice, 66 a collector of rags, a hardwareman, a dealer in buttons, buckles, and pewter spoons-in short, a trafficker in whatever could bring gain; but there was one thing which fixed his attention more than any
other, which was the fetching the pottery from Staffordshire and the hawking it all through the north of England." In these journeys, as we learn from "The Life of Holcroft," which he began himself and which Hazlitt finished, his son, Thomas, accompanied him, driving his asses and doing other menial work. At ten years of age he found employment with a horse-trainer at Newmarket, and at sixteen, beginning to feel a craving for knowledge, he returned to London, where he found his father a cobbler, and took a spell himself at the shoemaking business. Tom's drawback, in the eyes of others, was his habit of idling his time in reading; but, liking it better than work, he took to teaching an evening school, and then kept a day school somewhere in the country, with such indifferent success that he had but one pupil. After living upon potatoes and buttermilk for three months, he tried authorship in a small way, creeping into newspapers and the smallest magazines, and at last joined a "spouting club." Astonished at his success, he became stagcstruck, and applied to Foote for an engagement. He was received with kindness and the offer of a very subordinate position, but meeting with Macklin, was induced to try his fortunes in a theatre in Dublin. For the next seven years he was a strolling player, and often penniless. At the end of that time he got a footing in Drury Lane, but his role was walking in processions, and his first part the dumb steward in "Love for Love." In 1780 things began to mend, and he was employed by the booksellers to write the accounts of the riots in that year. All this time Holcroft was a quiet and unknown student. He became a translator of French and German books. His "Memoirs of Baron Trenck" and "Caroline de Litchfield," both translations, succeeded, and more literary work was the result. One of his translating feats was remarkable; he went to Paris to see and hear Beaumarchais' play of "Figaro," which was unpublished, and went every evening until he brought it away in his memory, and it was brought out immediately at Covent Garden under the title of "Follies of a Day;" it produced him six hundred pounds from the manager, besides a large sum for the copyright. He wrote more than thirty dramatic pieces, of which "The Road to Ruin" was the most popular. There is not on record a more remarkable instance of what an entirely self-educated man can do by perseverance. Many of his lyrics, including the well-known "Gaffer Gray," are very fine. He died on the 3rd of March, 1809.]
A rich Banker.
A profligate Friend of Harry's.
SCENE-An Apartment in DORNTON's House. A Table, Chairs, &c.
Enter HARRY DORNTON, MILFORD, and Footman. Footman. My old master is in a bitter passion, sir. Harry. I know it.
Footman. He is gone down to turn the servant out of doors that let you in.
Harry. Is he? Then go you and let your fellowservant in again.
Footman. I dare not, sir. He inquired who was with my young master. Milford. Well.
Footman. And when he heard it was you, sir, he was ten times more furious. [Exit.
Harry. All's well that ends well. This has been a losing voyage, Milford.
Milford. I am a hundred and fifty in.
Milford. I believe I had better avoid your father for the present.
Harry. I think you had. Dad considers you as my tempter; the cause of my ruin.
Milford. And I, being in his debt, he conceives he may treat without ceremony.
Harry. Nay; Jack, do him justice. It is not the money you had of him, but the ill advice he imputes to you, that galls him.
Milford. I hear he threatens to arrest me.
Harry. Yes; he has threatened to strike my name out of the firm, and disinherit me, a thousand times. Milford. Oh! but he has been very serious in menacing me.
Harry. And me too.
Milford. You'll be at the tennis-court to-morrow?
Milford. What, not to see the grand match?
Milford. Oh yes, you will.
Milford. Yes, over night; you'll waver in the morning.
Harry. No; it is high time, Jack, to grow prudent. Milford. Ha, ha, ha! My plan is formed: I'll soon be out of debt.
Harry. How will you get the money?
Harry. Ha, ha, ha!
Milford. I am resolved on it. How many men of rank and honour, having lost their fortunes, have doubly recovered them.
Harry. And very honourably?
Harry. Ha, ha, ha! Nobody, nobody.
Milford. But pray, Harry, what is it you find so attractive in my late father's amorous relict?
Harry. Ha, ha, ha! What, the Widow Warren? Milford. She seems to think, and even reports, you are to marry her.
Harry. I would rather be a post-horse; nay, the brute that drives a post-horse, than the base thing thou hast imagined.
Milford. Then why are you so often there?
Milford. What, it is her daughter, Sophia?
Milford. The poor young thing is fond of you? Harry. I should be half mad, if I thought she was not; yet am obliged to half hope she is not.
Harry. What a question. Am I not a profligate; and, in all probability, ruined? Not even my father can overlook this last affair.
Milford. The loss of my father's will, and the mystery made of its contents by those who witnessed it, are strange circumstances.
Harry. In which the widow triumphs.
Harry. And the worthy alderman, your father, being overtaken by death in the south of France, carefully makes a will, and then as carefully hides it where it is not to be found; or commits it to the custody of some mercenary knave, who has made his market of it to the widow. So, here comes the supposed executor of this supposed will.
Enter Mr. SULKY.
My dear Mr. Sulky, how do you do!
I am very sorry. What's your
Harry. Ha, ha, ha!
Sulky. Ruin, bankruptcy, infamy.
Harry. What, my good cynic!
Sulky. And fashionably ruined.
Harry. Ha, ha, ha! Is the Bank of England ruined? Sulky. I say ruined. Nothing less than a miracle can save the house. The purse of Fortunatus could
not supply you.
Harry. No; it held nothing but guineas. Notes, bills, paper, for me.
Sulky. Such effrontery is insufferable. For these five years, sir, you've been driving to ruin more furiously than
Harry. An ambassador's coach on a birth-night. I saw you were stammering for a simile.
Harry. Youth mounts the box, seizes the reins, and jehus headlong on in the dark; Passion and Prodigality