British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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real modesty, why should you put that great constraint upon yourself to feign it?

OLIV. Oh, hideous, hideous advice! Let us go out

of the hearing of it. She will spoil us, Lettice. 200

Exeunt OLIVIA and LETTICE at one door, ELIZA at t'other.


The scene changes to the Cock in Bow Street.

A table and bottles.


MAN. How! saved her honor by making her husband believe you were a woman! 'Twas well, but hard enough to do, sure.

FID. We were interrupted before he could con

tradict me. 5

MAN. But can't you tell me, d'ye say, what kind of man he was?

FID. I was so frightened, I confess, I can give no other account of him but that he was pretty

tall, round-faced, and one, I'm sure, I ne'er had 10
seen before.

MAN. But she, you say, made you swear to return tonight?

FID. But I have since sworn, never to go near her

again; for the husband would murder me, or 15
worse, if he caught me again.

MAN. No, I'll go with you, and defend you tonight, and then I'll swear, too, never to go near her again.

FID. Nay, indeed, sir, I will not go, to be 20
accessary to your death too. Besides, what should you go again, sir, for?

MAN. No disputing, or advice, sir; you have reason to know I am unalterable. Go, therefore,

presently, and write her a note, to enquire if 25
her assignation with you holds; and if not to be at her own house, where else; and be importunate to gain admittance to her tonight. Let your messenger, ere he deliver your letter, enquire first if her husband
be gone out. Go, 'tis now almost six of the 30
clock; I expect you back here before seven, with leave to see her then. Go, do this dextrously, and expect the performance of my last night's promise, never to part with you.

FID. Ay, sir; but will you be sure to remem­ 35
her that?

MAN. Did I ever break my word? Go, no more replies, or doubts. Exit FIDELIA.


Where hast thou been?

FREE. In the next room, with my Lord 40
Plausible and Novel.

MAN. Ay, we came hither, because 'twas a private house; but with thee indeed no house can be private, for thou hast that pretty quality of the familiar fops

of the town, who, in an eating-house, always 45
keep company with all people in't but those they came with.

FREE. I went into their room, but to keep them, and my own fool the squire, out of your room; but

you shall be peevish now, because you have no 50
money. But why the devil won't you write to those we were speaking of? since your modesty, or your spirit, will not suffer you to speak to 'em, to lend you money, why won't you try 'em at last that way?

MAN. Because I know 'em already, and can 55
bear want better than denials, nay, than obligations.

FREE. Deny you! they cannot. All of 'em have been your intimate friends.

MAN. No, they have been people only I have

obliged particularly. 60

FREE. Very well; therefore you ought to go to 'em the rather, sure.

MAN. No, no. Those you have obliged most, most certainly avoid you, when you can oblige 'em

no longer; and they take your visits like so many 65
duns: friends, like mistresses, are avoided for obligations past.

FREE. Pshaw! but most of 'em are. your relations, men of great fortune and honor.

MAN. Yes; but relations have so much honor 70
as to think poverty taints the blood, and disown their wanting kindred; believing, I suppose, that as riches at first makes a gentleman, the want of 'em degrades him. But damn 'em! now I am poor, I'll
anticipate their contempt, and disown them. 75

FREE: But you have many a female acquaintance whom you have been liberal to, who may have a heart to refund to you a little, if you would ask it: they are not all Olivias.

MAN. Damn thee! how couldst thou think of 80
such a thing? I would as soon rob my footman of his wages. Besides 'twere in vain too; for a wench is like a box in an ordinary, receives all people's money easily, but there is no getting, nay, shaking any out
again; and he that fills it is surest never to keep 85
the key.

FREE. Well, but noble captain, would you make me believe that you, who know half the town, have so many friends, and have obliged so many, can't

borrow fifty or an hundred pound? 90

MAN. Why, noble lieutenant, you who know all the town, and call all you know friends, methink, should not wonder at it, since you find ingratitude too for how many lords' families (though descended

from; blacksmiths or tinkers) hast thou called 95
great and illustrious? how many ill tables [called]

4]Q4Q6 are interrupted.
17]Q6W1 I will go.
37]Q4Q6 never.
73]Q6 make.
74]Q1 I'm.
83]Q4Q6 receive.
85]Q1W1 sure.
96]Q1Q3Q4Q6W1 call.


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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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