« PreviousContinue »
SCENE I.--Outside of the Hermitage. Enter Miss Stoic and Nichol AS from Hermitage.
Miss Stoic. DOLT! dotard ! to_fend away Sir Edward
Specious' servant-Go-call' him back directly.
Nich. Lord, ma'am, what can I do? You abuse me for admitting Mrs. Aubrey in the morning, and then the major brings her home at night.
Miss Stoic. Ay; and Olivia with her; and therefore Sir Edward is the very person I would hear from. Away!
[Exit Nicholas. Olivia's innocence confirm'd, I cannot turn her from my door, but, like my brother, must confess I've been impos'd on by a flanderous world! Re-enter NICHOLAS, with Sir EDWARD's Servant.
Ser. From sir Edward Specious, Madam. (giving her a letter.)
Miss Stoic. Now, then! (reads) “ As I must not have the pleasure of seeing you, owing to your solitary life, I write to say, I have been deprived of Miss Olivia's hand and heart by the malignity of her artful Governess; but with your kind afsistance, I still hope to call her Lady Specious.” With my aslistance! Oh! I understand—and he fhan't want an opportunity-1'll send an answer in an hour, and till then, let calm philosophy compose his mind; (Exit Servant) for, as the antient Bard expreffes it, “ Man's but a vapour, and full of moes-just cuts a caper, and down he goes.”
Enter, hastily, from the House, Major TORNADO.
Major. Help, Sister! help to relieve the garrifon, or it will surrender at discretion; for there's Olivia has been storming it with such a volley of interrogatories.
Miss Stoic. What interrogatories?
Major. Why, poor girl! such as, Why I adopted her without seeing her—why I concealed from her her parents' names—and I can't stand it, I can march up,likea hero, to the mouth of a lighted cannon, but the voice of a fupplicating woman !-Do you know, because I named Lord Danvers with unusual feeling, she snatched his picture from me.
Miss Stoic. Lord Danvers' picture?
Major. Ay: and she put it round her neck, and I can't get it back again; but I hope-Zounds! I don't know what I hope.-Sister, befriend me, tell her at once my sacred promise to Lord Danvers.
Miss Stoic. Your sacred promise !
Major. Ay: to her former benefactor-to that gallant friend, who, wounded in his country's cause, and dying upon India's plains, implored me to protect his infant charge-“Take her," he cried,
and, to secure her from her parents' power, swear never to reveal their names, but call her by your own!" I pressed his hand in token of compliance; he told me more of the disastrous tale, and, blessing me, expired—Impart thus much, and pity for us both will teach her to be filent,
Miss Stoic. And if pity don't, philosophy will ; for the shall copy my superior mind, and smile at this world's vain pursuits. - Brother, 'tis done. (going)
Major. Thanks, thanks !-Be careful though, hịnt not Lord Danvers was her grandfather, but
say that he adopted her, like me, from motives of humanity.
Miss Stoic. Think you I'll help her to unfold the names of parents who so wrong'd her? No; I have hitherto, myself, neglected her, and therefore fhall atone by tender, lifterly and philanthropic
Major. What a pair of treasures! (kissing her hand)
rExit Miss Stoic. Bless my soul! I'm so agitated, and so happy—I'll build my cottage this moment—I'll turn country gentleman for life, and, with dear Olivia, a husband for her like Mr. Doric, a young family, a pack of hounds-Yorks, Lancasters, and a large farm in my own hands, I'll bring rural tactics to such perfection, that retired brother-officers shall say, Gibraltar besieg'd is dull to my modern cottage.
0: Doric. (without) Very glad to see you indeed, old boy—and that's the house of the old Hermitess, is it?
Major. How now! old Hermitefs! More agitation ! oh ho! (retires)
Enter Old Doric and Tradelove. Tradel. Your hand again, old schoolfellow! What, so you came here for amusement, I suppose?
0. Doric. Quite the contrary—came on business-callid suddenly from London to Somersetshire-met Bob Smalltalk at Bristol-know Bob Smalltalk of your town? Got into goflip-told me of all your new building-jobs-new town-hall, bridge, family-seats-fo being only forty miles off, róde poft-hafte on fpeculation, and, except horse bolting after fox-chase, and pitching me from one county to another Tradel
: Indeed!—why 'slife! were you much hurt?
O. Doric. No; quite the contrary. And now I'm here, mean to take one George Dorville by surprise; and, over a bottle, thank him for the account of Jack's reformation. (producing a letter) Harkye, another Inigo Jones-going to town to turn active partner-and would sooner—but bad company-mistook, and went to west enda town; when, notorious now, fashionable people all come into the city.
Tradel. What! to pay money into their bankers' hands?
0. Doric. Quite the contrary; to borrow money of their bankers—and where one smart equipage jogs down St. James's-street, twenty rattle up Ludgate-hill—But time's precious ; must make in terest 'gainst my rival architects—so, mum!—first canvass Nick's old fweetheart here.
Major. (behind) Nick's old sweetheart!
0. Doric. And mine also, ha! ha! We were the honest men long searched for in the dark by old Diogenes the second.
Major. (advancing) Sir, answer me—Who the devil do you call old Diogenes the second?
0. Doric. What's that to you, Sir?
Major. Every thing, fir : and I insist you own this lady's hatred to the world proceeded solely from her hatred to its vices (pointing to the Hera mitage.)
0. Boric. No: quite the contrary. Major. What!
0. Doric. Why, don't I know ? Didn't she write red-hot love-verses in the newspapers, under the signature of Laura Seraphina ; and didn't my friend, Ned Nick, the attorney, answer them by the name of Rolando Furioso? And didn't the press groan for months with " Feelings amaranthine! Chains adamantine! and bleeding hearts panting ?"
Major. What then, fir ?
0. Doric. Why, then didn't Furioso, that is, Nick, the lawyer, work himself into such a real passion for his unknown Seraphina, that is, Do. rothy, the spinster,—that, after chasing the incognita through fylvan vallies, and thro' flowery meads, he at last found her in the dark alcoves of Crutched Friars; and, alas ! instead of the roseate youth, and dazzling smiles the glowing poet fancied, he saw such wrinkles, and such wizen looks, that, to console his heart's despair, he
Major. He what, sir ?
0. Doric. Why, he charg'd her 6s. and 8d. for every stanza, and sent Seraphina a bill of costs, as long as his own face! and then I went between 'em, as their modern, mutual friend and being, as you fee, a sort of lady's man, she forced me to reject her too, and then, like all philosophers, she left the world, because the world left her ; but I can make her think it still a paradise—and the reward I ask-hark ye! (pulling Major towards him) is to be architect to her old fiery, bully-loving brother.
Major. What old fiery, bully-loving
0. Doric. Why, he from India ; and he must comply; for the poor nabob’s Seraphina's pigeon.
Major. Very likely. (putting on his hat fiercely) But he's not your's—a fiery, bully-loyingdare you, to my face, repeat that?
0. Doric. No; quite the contrary. (in great alarm)
Major. 'Tis well ; and I'll this moment to my fifter ; not to distress, but to amuse her with your vanity; for if the ever deign'd even to lookpooh! stick to your trade-raise houses upon terra firma, and don't build castles in the air ; for, tho' not bullying, as you suppose, I prize my sister's