Page images
PDF
EPUB

Prim. There he is! there's the true, genuine, and unadulterated child of nature -Come to thy uncle's arms (GAB. is afraid to leave Craftly's arm), S’life, what are you afraid of, Gabriel? come to thy uncle's arms, I say! (Gab. leaves Craftly's arm, but finding he can't support himself, staggers and reels back to CRAFTLY) look! now, look at that rural embarrassment! don't be ashamel, boy, it is worth all the case and impudence of town-bred puppies.

Gabr. I'm quite overcome, I assure you, uncle.

Prim. Delightful diffidence! you rogue, I've heard of your pranks, of your early rising every morning, and of your being at home every evening; and if I hadn't, your countenance would have betrayed you:- look at that mush of health (Gabr. Smiles) - look at that rofy hue (GABR. bursts cut laughing)-ha, ha! there again! now that's the true broad laugh of innocence and nature,

Gabr. (aside to CRAFT.) I say, guardy, there's no fear of his finding me out--for ecod! he's as drunk as Chloe.

Prim. But come, where is your other half? If she prove as uncorrupted as yourself, I than't wait till the year's out, no-l'll sign the settlement to

morrow.

Enter Mrs. LACKBRAIN in a plain Chip Hat,

Cloak, &c.

Craft. That's well, that's a neat cottage dress.

Gabr. Ah! here she is, uncle, here's the sweet source of connubial joy.

Mrs, L. Dear Gabriel!

Gabr. Divine Lydia! (taking her hand and killing it.)

Prim. Fond pair! the Golden Age is returned, and I fee—(taking out his handkerchief and balf crying) -- I see they were born to make ine the happiest of middle-aged gentlemen.-But now for it, now for the inside. -Odlheart! I forgot though

I must particularly recommend this lady to the attention of you both; she is an object of compas-. sion (taking Mrs. B. by the hand,); and, as such, I'm sure must be welcome, (GABR. and Mrs. L. both draw back.)—Why, what d'ye ftare at ? She deserves it, believe me, he deserves it.

Mrs. L. No doubt; but pray, Sir, have you known the lady long?

Prim. Till yesterday I never saw her,

Mrs. L. So I thought :--but this is not a proper place for explanation ; pray walk in, and we'll talk further. This way, Ma'am, this way.

Prim. Aye, this way.-And now, as the song says,

Henceforth I'll lead a village life,

In cottage most obscure-a;
For, with this loving man and wife,

My joys are quite secure-a.

[Exeunt PRIMITIVE, Mrs. B. and Mrs. L. Craft. Well, Gabriel, what do you think?

Gabr. Think ! that he beats me hollow :-I'm only a child of nature; but, damme! he's a natural. And now, if spouse undermines the stranger

Craft. Aye, once get her out of the house, and Clifford will instantly take her abroad. You fee that veffel yonder-he's waiting for me to bring him information.

Gabr, Indeed!

Craft. Yes : and Marchmont and his daughter are for ever cut out of their chance. So now all's

safe ;

fafe ; and while I go to Clifford, do you send for a lawyer to prepare the settlement; and then we'll fay the Golden Age is returned.

Gabr. We will; and I'll go fend for a lawyer directly.--[Exit CRAFT.]~But now, first for my paddock gentleman : by this time I hope my servants have found him out, and-dang it! nothing fhall make me forget my promise to cousin baronet and then, let nunky once lign the settlement, and I'll also say, as the song says

The scene is chang'd, 'cis alter'd quite,

No more l’m limple Gaby ;
I'll learn to dance, to sing, and fight,
And ogle every lady.

[Exit.

SCENE- A small Room in the Cottage ; a Door

in the Flat, a Chair placed near it. Enter Sir HARRY TORPID from Door in Flat.

Sir H. 'Sdeath! this will never do: I have been alone in chat dressing-room these two hours; and though I'm in love, I still can't fupport folitudeno, I shall certainly relapse, if somebody don't come and ratele me into an agreeable state of vexation. I feel all the symptoms, the doze, the stupor, the numbness.-Egad! I almost long for my friend Gabriel, and his lumps and bumps ; any thing in preference to this dying style of living. Ha! a reprieve! I see the thing of all others likely to produce agitation-a petticoat ! and, no doubt, Mrs. Gabriel. I'll return to the dressingīpom.-[Re enters.]

Enter

Enter PRIMITive and Mrs. BELPORD. Prim. Now do, for my fake, pray, pray justify yourself.

Mrs. B. Sir, I have told you I am slandered.

Prim. Well but consider, what Mrs. Gabriel says is perfectly true ; I know nothing of your history, she does ; and if I should defile this innocent abode, by introducing to it a person of suspicious character

Mrs. B. Suspicious !

Prim. Pardon me; these were my niece's words, not mine: and when he added, her husband's constancy might be corrupted

Mrs. B. Corrupted! and by me!--Sir, I can only answer, I am innocent; and if this be doubted, let me be gone. I know, by losing you, I've lost my beit, my only friend; but if you think I'd be indebted for my fafety to those who say I would difgrace my benefactor, and mar connubial and domestic love, you know but little of me, I cannot guess the motive for their cruelty; nor Mould I, by accusing others, vindicate myself; but let me tell you, Sir, Nander is a rank and poisonous weed, and never yet took root in pure unsullied ground.

Prim. Well then, why don't you explain yourself ?-Plague on't! why not tell me your name, your family, your history ? --Come now do, do be good-natured

Mrs. B. Alas! I dare not.
Prim. Dare not!

Mrs. B. No; my pride won't suffer me: and my story would but expose one, whom, spite of all my wrongs, I still am weak enough to—(pulls out her handkerchief and weeps.)-Ask me no morepity me, and let me begone.

1

Prim. (half crying.) 'Tis all over-I see 'cis all over.-Farewell !

Mrs. B. Farewell ! and, for the service you have rendered me, my gratitude shall only die with me. -(Going, fe returns and kisses his hand.)-Oh! I did hope you would have proved a father to me.

Prim. Did you ? (weeps.) My poor daughter hoped the fame-but I deserted her. 1-go; since you won't communicate, I entreat you go : for pity's sake, don't let us be bidding farewell all night.—(Takes out a purse, and puts it in her hand) There, you know where to apply when you want more ; you understand me; whilft I have a guinea, you shall never want a part of it.

Mrs. B. Bless you ! bless you, Sir!-But I forgot; I have left fome drawings and manuscripts in the next room, may I venture to return for them?

Prim. You may : but if you see me when you come back, don't speak to me; we've had enough of leave-taking-damn it! another farewell would choak me.- [Exit Mrs. BELFORD.]-Poor foul ! I hope 'tis no crime to picy her.-And, spite of the chaste fociety of the Cottage, I've a great mind to call her back, and no, no, I mustn't risk defiling so spotless and immaculate a scene.--Heigho! I'll sit down and compose myself.-(Looks round.) Ay, ay, in that chair I may rest unseen by her while she passes.---(Pointing to the chair near the flat.)-Yes, here I may be quiet.-(Sits in it.) And if I can but Neep and forget her.-Poor soul! she hoped I might have proved a father to her. Poor soul !-(falls back and dozes.)

(SIR HARRY opens door, which is exaftly be

hind the chair, but don't push it far enough i to hit the chair.)

Sir H.

[ocr errors][merged small]

8

« PreviousContinue »