British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

blunder upon that word? Now the deuce 100
take him for using it, and the macaronies1 for inventing it.



A room in STOCKWELL'S house.


STOCK. Gratify me so far, however, Mr. Belcour, as to see Miss Rusport; carry her the sum she wants, and return the poor girl her box of diamonds, which Dudley left in my hands; you know what to say

on the occasion better than I do; that part of 5
your commission I leave to your own discretion, and you may season it with what gallantry you think fit.

BEL. You could not have pitched upon a greater bungler at gallantry than myself, if you had rum

maged every company in the city, and the whole 10
court of aldermen into the bargain: part of your errand, however, I will do; but whether it shall be with an ill grace, or a good one, depends upon the caprice of a moment, the humor of the lady, the
mode of our meeting, and a thousand undefin­ 15
able small circumstances that nevertheless determine us upon all the great occasions of life.

STOCK. I persuade myself you will find Miss Rusport an ingenuous, worthy, animated girl.

BEL. Why, I like her the better, as a woman; 20
but name her not to me, as a wife! No, if ever I marry, it must be a staid, sober, considerate damsel, with blood in her veins as cold as a turtle's; quick of scent as a vulture when danger's in the wind,
wary and sharp-sighted as a hawk when 25
treachery is on foot: with such a companion at my elbow, forever whispering in my ear -- 'Have a care of this man, he's a cheat; don't go near that woman, she's a flirt; over head there's a scaffold,
under foot there's a well'; oh! sir, such a woman 30
might lead me up and down this great city without difficulty or danger; but with a girl of Miss Rusport's complexion, heaven and earth! Sir, we should be duped, undone, and distracted, in a fortnight.

STOCK. Ha! ha! ha! Why you are become 35
wondrous circumspect of a sudden, pupil; and if you can find such a prudent damsel as you describe, you have my consent -- only beware how you choose; discretion is not the reigning quality amongst the
fine ladies of the present time; and I think in 40
Miss Rusport's particular I have given you no bad counsel.

BEL. Well, well, if you'll fetch me the jewels, I believe I can undertake to carry them to her;

but as for the money, I'll have nothing to do 45
with that; Dudley would be your fittest ambassador on that occasion; and, if I mistake not, the most agreeable to the lady.

STOCK. Why, indeed, from what I know of the

matter, it may not improbably be destined to 50
find its way into his pockets. Exit.

BEL. Then depend upon it these are not the only trinkets she means to dedicate to Captain Dudley. As for me, Stockwell indeed wants me

to marry; but till I can get this bewitching girl, 55
this incognita, out of my head, I can never think of any other woman.

Servant enters, and delivers a letter.

Hey-day! Where can I have picked up a correspondent already? 'Tis a most execrable manu

script -- Let me see -- Martha Fulmer -- Who 60
is Martha Fulmer? Pshaw! I won't be at the trouble of deciphering her damned pothooks. Hold, hold, hold! What have we got here?

Dear Sir,

I've discovered the lady you was so much65
smitten with, and can procure you an interview with her; if you can be as generous to a pretty girl as you was to a paltry old captain -- (How did she find that out!) -- you need not despair: come to me im
mediately; the lady is now in my house, and 70
expects you

Martha Fulmer.

O thou dear, lovely, and enchanting paper, which I

was about to tear into a thousand scraps, 75
devoutly I entreat thy pardon: I have slighted thy contents, which are delicious; slandered thy characters, which are divine; and all the atonement I can make is implicitly to obey thy mandates.


STOCK. Mr. Belcour, here are the jewels; this 80
letter encloses bills for the money; and, if you will deliver it to Miss Rusport, you'll have no farther trouble on that score.

BEL. Ah, sir! the letter which I've been reading

disqualifies me for delivering the letter which 85
you have been writing: I have other game on foot; the loveliest girl my eyes ever feasted upon is started in view, and the world cannot now divert me from pursuing her.

STOCK. Hey-day! What has turned you 90
thus on a sudden?

BEL. A woman: one that can turn, and overturn me and my tottering resolutions every way she will. Oh, sir, if this is folly in me, you must rail

19]O1O2O3 ingenuous, DBN ingenious. (Cf. ingenuous heart in IV. viii. 31.)
Dandies of the period.


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