« VorigeDoorgaan »
Manly. Why, truly, there seems to be but one way to avoid it.
Sir Fran. Ah, would you could tell me that, cousin !
Manly. The way lies plain before you, sir; the same road that brought you hither, will carry you safe home again.
Sir Fran. Odds flesh, cousin ! what! and leave a thousand pounds a year behind me?
Manly. Pooh, pooh! Leave any thing behind you, but your family, and you are a saver by it.
Sir Fran. Ay, but consider, cousin, what a scurvy figure I shall make in the country, if I come dawn withawt it,
Manly. You will make a much more lamentable figure in a gaol without it.
Sir Fran. Mayhap, 'at you have no great opinion of my journey to London then, cousin ?
Manly. Sir Francis, to do you the service of a real friend, I must speak very plainly to you: you don't yet see half the ruin that's before you.
Sir Fran. Good lack ! how may you mean, cousin ?
Manly. In one word, your whole affairs stand thus :In a week you'll lose your seat at Westminster: in a fortnight my lady will run you into a gaol, by keeping the best company: in four-and-twenty hours your daughter will run away with a sharper, because she ha'n't been used to better company: and your son will steal into marriage with a cast mistress, because he has not been used to any company at all.
Sir Fran. I'th' name of goodness, why should you think all this?
Manly. Because I have proof of it. In short, I know so much of their secrets, that if all this is not prevented to-night, it will be out of your power to do it to-morrow morning.
Sir Fran. Waunds! if wbat you tell me be true, I'll stuff my whole family into a stage-coach, and trundle them into the country again on Monday morning.
Manly. Stick to that, sir, and we may yet find a way to redeem all. I hear company entering-You know they see masks here to-day-conceal yourself in this room, and for the truth of what I have told you, take the evidence of your own senses : but be sure you keep close till I give you the signal.
Sir Fran. Sir, I'll warrant you- Ah, my lady!
my Lady Wronghead! What a bitter business have you drawn me into !
Manly. Hush ! to your post; here comes one couple already. [Sir Francis and Munly retire through M.D. Enter 'SQUIRE RICHARD and MYRTILLA, in Masquerade
Dresses, L. 'Squire R. (c.) What, is this the doctor's chamber? Myr. (...) Yes, yes, speak softly.
Squire R. (R. C.) Well, but where is he? Myr. (c.) He'll be ready for us presently, but hę says he can't do us the good turn without witnesses : so, when the count and your sister come, you know he and you may be fathers for one another.
Squire R. (R.) Well, well, tit for tat; ay, ay, that will be friendly.
Myr. (R. C.) And see, here they come !
Dresses, L. Count B. (L.) So, so, here's your brother and his bride, before us, my dear.
Jenny. (L.) Well, I vow my heart's at my mouth still. I thought I should never have got rid of mamma; but while she stood gaping upon the dance, I gave her the slip ! Lawd, do but feel how it beats here? ( Laying his hand on her bosom.)
Count B. Oh, the pretty futterer! I protest, my dear, you have put mine into the same palpitation !
Jenny. Ay, you say so- -but let's see-now- -[Laying her hand on his breast]—Oh, lud! I vow it thumps purely-Well, well, I see it will do; and so where's the parson?
Count B. Mrs. Myrtilla, will you be so good as to see if the doctor is ready for us?
Myr. He only staid for you, sir ; I'll fetch him immediately.
[Exit, R. Jenny. (c.) Pray, sir, am not I to take place of mamma, when I'm a countess ?
Count B. (1.c.) No doubt on't, my dear.
Jenny. Oh, lud, how her back will be up then, when she meets me at an assembly: or you and I in our coach and six at Hyde Park together ?
Count B. Ay, or when she hears the boxkeepers at an opera call out—The Countess of Basset's servants! Jenny. Well, I say it, that will be delicious! And then, mayhap, to have a tine gentleman, with a star and a what-d'ye-call-um riband, lead me to my chair, with his hat under his arm all the way! Hold up, says the chairman; and so, says I, my lord, your humble servant. I suppose, madam, says he, we shall see you at my Lady Quadrille's? Ay, ay, to be sure, my lord, says I -So in swops me, with my hoop stuffed up to my forehead; and away they trot, swing swang, with my tassels dangling, and my flambeaux blazing! and- -Oh, it's a charming thing to be a woman of quality!
Count B. Well, I see that plainly, my dear, there's ne'er a duchess of them all will become an equipage like you.
Jenny. Well, well, do you find equipage, and I'll find airs, I warrant you.
Squire R. (R. c.) Troth! I think this masquerading's the merriest game that ever I saw in my life! Thof', in niy mind, an there were but a little wrestling, or cudgelplaying naw, it would help it hugely. But what a rope makes the parson stay so ? Count B. Ob, here he comes, I believe.
Enter MYRTILLA, with a CONSTABLE, L. Const. (L.) Well, madam, pray which is the party that wants a spice of my office here? Myr. (L. c.) That's the gentleman.
[Pointing to the Count. Count B. (c.) Hey-day! what, in masquerade, doctor ?
Const. (L. C.) Doctor! Sir, I believe you have mistaken your man: but if you are called Count Basset, I have a billet-doux in my hand for you, that will set you right presently.
Count B. What the devil's the meaning of all this?
Const. Only my lord Chief Justice's warrant against you, for forgery, sir.
Count B. Blood and thunder.
Const. And so, sir, if you please to pull off your fool's frork there, I'll wait upon you to the next justice of peace immediately. [Sir Francis and Manly advance. Jenny. (L. c.) Oh, dear me, what's the matter?
[Trembling. Count B. Oh, nothing ; only a masquerading frolie, my dear,
'Squire R. (c.) Oh, oh, is that all ? Sir Fran. No, sirrah, that is not all ! [Sir Francis, coming softly behind the 'Squire, knocks
him down with his cane, and beats him and Jenny
alternately; drives them to R. D. 'Squire R. [Lying on the floor at R. D.] Oh, lawd! Oh, lawd! he has beaten my brains out.
Manly. (c.) Hold, hold, Sir Francis; have a little mercy upon my poor godson, pray, sir.
Sir Fran. (R.) Waunds, cousin, I ha’nt patience. Count B. Manly! Nay, then, I am blown to the devil.
[Aside. Squire R. (As before.) Oh, my head ! my head! Enter LADY WRONGHEAD, dressed as a shepherdess, L.
Lady W. (1.) What's the matter here, gentlemen ? For 'heaven's sake!- What, are you murdering my children?
Const. No, no, madam ; no murder; only a little suspicion of felony, that's all.
Sir Fran. (To Jenny.] And for you, Mrs. Hotupon't, I could find in my heart to make you wear that babit as long as you live, you jade you. Do you know, hussy, that you were within two minutes of marrying a pickpocket? Count B. So, so, all's out, I find !
. [Aside. Jenny. (R.) Oh, the mercy! why, pray, papa, is not the count a man of quality, then ?
Sir Fran. (R. C.) Oh, yes, one of the anhanged ones, it seems.
Lady W. (1.. c.) [Aside.] Married ! Oh, the confident thing! There was his urgent business then-slighted for her! I ha’nt patience !-and, for aught I know, I have been all this while making a friendship with a highwayman. Manly. (L. c.) Mr. Constable, secure there.
Sir Fran. (c.) Ah, my lady! my lady! this comes of your journey to London : but now I'll have a frolic of my own, madam; therefore pack up your trumpery this very night; for the moment my horses are able to crawl, you and your brats shall make a journey into the country again.
Lady W. (c.) Indeed, you are mistaken, Sir Francis I shall not stir out of town yet, I promise you.
Sir Fran. Not stir? Waunds, madam
Manly. Hold, sir!-If you'll give me leave a little 1 fancy I shall prevail with my lady to think better on't.
Sir Fran. Ah, cousin, you are a friend, indeed!
Manly. [Apart to Lady Wronghead, l. c.] Look you, madam : as to the favour you designed me, in sending this spurious letter enclosed to my Lady Grace, all the revenge I have taken, is to have saved your son and daughter from ruin.-Now, if you will take them fairly and quietly into the country again, I will save your ladyship from ruin.
Lady W. What do you mean, sir.
Manly. Why, Sir Francis -shall never know wbat is in this letter ; look upon it. How it came into my hands you shall know at leisure.
Lady W. Ha! my billet-doux to the count! and an appointment in it! I shall sink with confusion !
Manly. What shall I say to Sir Francis, madam ?
Lady W. Dear sir, I am in such a trembling ! preserve my honour, and I am all obedience. [Apart to Manly.
Manly. (c.) Sir Francis- -my lady is ready to receive your commands for her journey, whenever you please to appoint it.
Sir Fran. Ah, cousin, I doubt I am obliged to you for it,
Manly. Coine, come, Sir Francis ; take it as you find it. Obedience in a wife is a good thing, though it were never so 'wonderful !-And now, sir, we have nothing to do but to dispose of this gentleman.
Count B. (..) Mr. Manly! sir! I hope you won't ruin me?
Manly. (L. c.) Did you not forge this note for five hundred pounds, sir?
Count B. Sir I see you know the world, and therefore shall not pretend to prevaricate. But it has hurt nobody yet, sir: I beg you will not stigmatize me; since you bave spoiled my fortune in one family, I hope you won't be so cruel to a young fellow, as to put it out of my power, sir, to make it in another, sir.
Manly. Look you, sir : I have not much time to waste with you: but if you expect mercy yourself, you must show it to one you have been cruel to.
Count B. Cruel, sir !