Page images
PDF

March. It will; for thence will come forth gold; and, oh! my child, you know too well how much we stand in need of it.

Rosa. I do indeed; and, if I dare advise, out of the little profit that produces, store up a parr, my father.

March. No; 'tis already all disposed of—all devoted; and to the best of purposes—to make you happy, Rosa j to place you far above the frowns of fortune. There (giving her a newspaper), read; read that advertisement; 'tis of my inserting.

Rosa {reading). "Wanted, as teacher to a ** young person of the age of sixteen, a lady who "will instruct her in music and drawing, on "moderate terms. Apply at the Priory, near "Ashdown."—How! this for me, my father?

March. Yes; 'tis for you I have encountered such unusual toil. Think not that vanity's my motive: but consider, child, my health's precarious; and when I am gone, what will become of thee?

Rosa. O! cease, Sir, cease to talk thus.

March. Nay, we are now prepared: for mistress once of these fine arts, you may insure a livelihood by instructing others: as tutoress, you may procure an honest, ample income; and your father —yes, my Rosa, death will lose half its terrors at recollection that my child's provided for.

Rosa. Death !—oh! in pity, Sir—I can't exist without you—what, what will money yield me ?— remember, when I've lost you, I am bereft of all that's dear to me on earth—I have no mother to—

March. Mother !—have a care I—have I not charged you on your life never to breathe that deadly, harrowing word i

Rosa.

Rosa. You have; but the occasion called it forth; and 'tis indeed most hard that I'm to know no more, than that (he's in her grave. Oh! let me once again entreat you to impart her history; give me each circumstance; or, if you will not tell me how she lived, inform me how she died.

March, (sternly.) Well then, she died of a broken heart.

Rosa. What 1 she was wronged?

March. She was; by a villain, a most abandoned villain.

Rosa. Oh! may Heaven pour down its choicest vengeance—

March, {laying bold of her hand.) Hold! his punishment is equal to his crimes—'tis in his head! his heart!—it gnaws, it maddens, it consumes him!—Fear not, my girl, I—I can answer for his sufferings; hell knows no torments like them.

Rosa. What! you avenged her wrongs ?—noble, virtuous man!

March. Virtuous!—death and shame!—Hear me, Rosa; hitherto I have commanded silence on this subject, now I implore it; if you've one spark of pity for your distracted father, never, never name your mother.—Virtuous !—oh! my child {■weeps and lays his head on her neck).

Rosa. Well, well, compose yourself: from this hour depend upon my silence.

Enter Craftly and Jenkins, from the
Library.

Craft. Come along, Jenkins; come from the crowd in the library, and I'll tell you such a secret. —Heh! that scribbler Marchrnont; what brings him here?

B a March.

March. Mr. Craftly, may I entreat a word with you?—I must inform you, Sir, that hitherto I have maintained myself and this unequalled child, by what my publications have produced from men of your profession in the capital.

Craft. Well, Sir, and what's this to me? March. You (hall hear, Sir. This day I have completed a new work, which, from the nature and locality of the subject, I offer first to you. Ic is a Satire on Extortioners; and is intended to expose that selfish, ravenous set, who> pirate-like, plunder each stranger that frequents our coast.

Craft. And you want me to buy it?—ha! ha! ha!—Do you hear him, Jenkins? he supposes I deal in books.

March. Why, don't you keep a library, Sir! Craft. To be sure I do; but there's every thing going forward in it but reading. Look, take a peep at them. One half of the company, you fee, are making love, or talking scandal; and the other buying trinkets, or shaking the dice-box. Books indeed! why one would be enough for your frequenters of a watering-place; first, because most of them never read at all; secondly, because I doubt whether many of them can read; and thirdly, because those who do, so soon forget every line of the author, that one volume is a library to them.

March. Nay, Sir, but when you reflect on the tendency of the production—

Craft. Psha; hang the tendency: write a panegyric on the glorious art of raffling, and then perhaps I'll talk to you. See! see how the flats bite! —all pulling out their cash, all putting down their names:—that's the manuscript, that's the real productive writing; and I'll bet, I get more by my evening raffles than ever bookseller got by Milton

or or Shakspeare. Besides, you are alive: if you want your book to fell, you should shoot yourself. An author never lives till he dies. So, to London —fend vour works back to London.

March. I will; for there (thank Heaven!) a library is still the feat of study and of learning, and never yet was prostituted to gaming and chicanery. —Come, Rosa, let us return to the Priory.

Craft. Take care, Sir; remember that Priory belongs to my ward Gabriel; that the rent is small, in consideration of its ruinous state} recollect there are arrears.

March. I know; but he's too liberal—

Craft. He! what has he to do with it? don't I turn him round my finger? So be on your guard, Sir; and instead of satirizing extortioners, extol raffling.

March. Never, Sir; for though my toil's incessant, and my gains small, I will not profit by corrupting morals; and I would rather welcome beggary or famine, than pen a line to injure virtue, or degrade myself. Come, my child j we've been perhaps too sanguine; but we will not despair.

[Exit with Rosa.

Craft. Insolent gazetteer!—but I'll humble him; yes, yes, I've already laid a train for him. —And now for the secret; what new master-stroke do you think this clever little octavo (pointing to his head) has atcliieved this morning? Mrs. Decoy, a widow of family and fashion, first cousin to a baronet often thousand a year, has consented to marry Gabriel.

Jenk. What, your ward?

Craft. Aye: Mr. Primitive, his rich uncle in. Jamaica, desired me to select a wife for him, and I've done it: the widow has consented, and Ga

B 3 briel briel is at this moment paying his first addresses to her.

Jenk. Impossible: a woman of family and expectations marry such a rustic!

Craft. That's it—that's the very reason. She says she is tired of town life, and town lovers; and therefore selects Gabriel for his rural simplicity. But I don't care about the motive; she's to give me twelve hundred pounds for my consent, and a third of what Mr. Primitive settles on her into the bargain: now that's what I call a good morning's raffle.

Gabr. {without.) "Come, let us dance and « sing—"

Craft. He comes, the enamoured swain appears. Now we shall hear how the courtship went on.

Enter Gabriel, singing.

Gabr. « While all the village bells shall ring." —It's a match, guardy!—the great lady consents: I'm a great man, you're another, and you shall be another, Jenkins.

Craft. Bravo! excellent!—What, and you like the thoughts of matrimony now?

Gabr. Hugely.—I thought at first it would lead to wrangling and quarellingj but—he! he! he!— I find that's all a mistake; for the moment we are united, that moment we are divided.

Craft. Divided!

Gabr. Yes: a husband mustn't sit next to his wife at table, nor hand her out of a room, nor dance with her. In short, he mustn't be seen with her:— "So," says she, " we can't quarrel if we don't "meet, you know."—" No," says I j " and, at ** that rate, if a man wishes never to fee a woman,

"ecod!

« PreviousContinue »