British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview

DOR. Open it quickly, come.

SCRUB. In the first place I enquired who the gentleman was; they told me he was a stranger. Secondly, I asked what the gentleman was; they an

swered and said, that they never saw him before. 60
Thirdly, I enquired what countryman he was; they replied, 'twas more than they knew. Fourthly, I demanded whence he came; their answer was, they could not tell. And, fifthly, I asked whither he went;
and they replied, they knew nothing of the mat­ 65
ter, -- and this is all I could learn.

MRS. SUL. But what do the people say? Can't they guess?

SCRUB. Why, some think he's a spy, some guess

he's a mountebank, some say one thing, some an­ 70
other; but for my own part, I believe he's a Jesuit.

DOR. A Jesuit. Why a Jesuit?

SCRUB. Because he keeps his horses always ready saddled, and his footman talks French.

MRS. SUL. His footman! 75

SCRUB. Ay, he and the count's footman were gabbering French like two intriguing ducks in a millpond; and I believe they talked of me, for they laughed consumedly.

DOR. What sort of Every has the footman? 80

SCRUB. Livery! Lord, madam, I took him for a captain, he's so bedizened with lace! And then he has tops to his shoes, up to his mid leg, a silver- headed cane dangling at his knuckles; he carries his

hands in his pockets just so -- (walks in the85
French air) -- and has a fine long periwig tied up in a bag. Lord, madam, he's dear another sort of man than I!

MRS. SUL. That may easily be. -- But what shall

we do now, sister? 90

DOR. I have it. This fellow has a world of simplicity, and some cunning; the first hides the latter by abundance. -- Scrub!

SCRUB. Madam!

DOR. We have a great mind to know who this 95
gentleman is, only for our satisfaction.

SCRUB. Yes, madam, it would be a satisfaction, no doubt.

DOR. You must go and get acquainted with his

footman, and invite him hitherto drink a bottle 100
of your ale, because you're butler today.

SCRUB. Yes, madam, I am butler every Sunday.

MRS. SUL. O brave, sister! O' my conscience, you understand the mathematics already -- 'tis the best

plot in the world: your mother, you know, will 105
be gone to church, my spouse will be got to the alehouse with his scoundrels, and the house will be our own -- so we drop in by accident, and ask the fellow some questions ourselves. In the country, you
know, any stranger is company, and we're glad 110
to take up with the butler in a country-dance, and happy if he'll do us the favor.

SCRUB. Oh! Madam, you wrong me! I never refused your ladyship the favor in my life.

Enter GIPSEY.

GIP. Ladies, dinner's upon table. 115

DOR. Scrub, well excuse your waiting -- go where we ordered you.

SCRUB. I shall. Exeunt.


[SCENE II]

Scene changes to the inn.

Enter AIMWELLand ARCHER.

ARCH. Well, Tom, I find you're a marksman.

AIM. A marksman I who so blind could be, as not discern a swan among the ravens?

ARCH Well, but hark'ee, Aimwell --

AIM. Aimwell! Call me Oroondates, Cesario, 5
Amadis,1 all that romance can in a lover paint, and then I'll answer. O Archer! I read her thousands in her looks, she looked like Ceres in her harvest: corn, wine, and oil, milk and honey, gardens,
groves, and purling streams played on her plen­ 10
teous face.

ARCH. Her face! her pocket, you mean; the corn, wine, and oil lies there. In short, she has ten thousand pound, that's the English on't.

AIM. Her eyes -- 15

ARCH. Are demi-cannons, to be sure; so I won't stand their battery. (Going.)

AIM. Pray excuse me; my passion must have vent.

ARCH. Passion! what a plague, d'ee think these

romantic airs will do our business? Were My 20
temper as extravagant as yours, my adventures have something more romantic by half.

AIM. Your adventures!

ARCH. Yes;

The nymph that with her twice ten hundred pounds, 25
With brazen engine2 hot, and quoif3 dear starched, Can fire the guest in warming of the bed -----

There's a touch of sublime Milton for you, and the subject but an innkeeper's daughter! I can play

with a girl as an angler does with his fish; he 30
keeps it at the end of his line, runs it up the stream, and down the stream, till at last he brings it to hand, tickles4 the trout, and so whips it into his basket.

Enter BONNIFACE.

BON. Mr. Martin, as the saying is -- yonder's an

honest fellow below, my Lady Bountiful's but­ 35
let, who begs the honor that you would go home with him and see his cellar.

____________________
1
Well-known heroes of romance.
2
Warming-pan.
3
cap.
4
Trout were 'tickled' by stroking them gently until they were quiet enough to permit the fisherman to dose his hand upon them.

-363-

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