British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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'sheepish'; that's much against him. Yet, can't he be cured of his timidity by being taught to be proud of his wife? Yes, and can't I -- But I vow I'm dis

posing of the husband, before I have secured 185
the lover.

Enter Miss NEVILLE.

MISS HARD. I'm glad you're come, Neville, my dear. Tell me, Constance, how do I look this evening? Is there anything whimsical about me? Is it

one of my well-looking days, child? Am I in 190
face to-day?

MISS NEV. Perfectly, my dear. Yet, now I look again -- bless me! -- sure, no accident has happened among the canary birds or the gold-fishes? Has your

brother or the cat been meddling? Or has the 195
last novel been too moving?

MISS HARD. No; nothing of all this. I have been threatened -- I can scarce get it out -- I have been threatened with a lover.

MISS NEV. And his name -- 200

MISS HARD. Is Marlow.

MISS NEV. Indeed!

MISS HARD. The son of Sir Charles Marlow.

MISS NEV. As I live, the most intimate friend

of Mr. Hastings, my admirer. They are never 205
asunder. I believe you must have seen him when we lived in town.

MISS HARD. Never.

MISS NEV. He's a very singular character, I as

sure you. Among women of reputation and 210
virtue, he is the modestest man alive; but his acquaintance give him a very different character among creatures of another stamp: you understand me.

MISS HARD. An odd character, indeed! I shall

never be able to manage him. What shall I 215
do? Pshaw, think no more of him, but trust to occurrences for success. But how goes on your own affair, my dear? Has my mother been courting you for my brother Tony, as usual?

MISS NEV. I have just come from one of 220
our agreeable tête-à-têtes. She has been saying a hundred tender things, and setting off her pretty monster as the very pink of perfection.

MISS HARD. And her partiality is such that she

actually thinks him so. A fortune like yours 225
is no small temptation. Besides, as she has the sole management of it, I'm not surprised to see her unwilling to let it go out of the family.

MISS NEV. A fortune like mine, which chiefly

consists in jewels, is no such mighty tempta­ 230
tion. But at any rate, if my dear Hastings be but constant, I make no doubt to be too hard for her at last. However, I let her suppose that I am in love with her son; and she never once dreams that my
affections are fixed upon another. 235

MISS HARD. My good brother holds out stoutly. I could almost love him for hating you so.

MISS NEV. It is a good-natured creature at bottom, and I'm sure would wish to see me married to

anybody but himself. But my aunt's bell rings 240
for our afternoon's walk round the improvements. Allons. Courage is necessary, as our affairs are critical.

MISS HARD. Would it were bedtime, and all were

well.1Exeunt. 245


SCENE [II]

An alehouse room.

Several shabby fellows with punch and tobacco. TONY at the head of the table, a little higher than the rest: a mallet in his hand.

OMNES. Hurrea, hurrea, hurrea, bravo!

FIRST FELLOW. Now, gentlemen, silence for a song. The Squire is going to knock himself down2 for a song.

OMNES. Ay, a song, a song. 5

TONY. Then I'll sing you, gentlemen, a song I made upon this alehouse, 'The Three Pigeons.'


SONG

Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonsense, and learning;

Good liquor, I stoutly maintain, 10
Gives genus a better discerning. Let them brag of their heathenish gods,
Their Lethes, their Styxes, and Stygians; Their Quis, and their Quæs, and their Quods,
They're all but a parcel of pigeons.315

Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!

When Methodist preachers come down,
A-preaching that drinking is sinful,
I'll wager the rascals a crown,

They always preach best with a skinful. 20
But when you come down with your pence, For a slice of their scurvy religion,
I'll leave it to all men of sense,
But you, my good friend, are the pigeon.

Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!25

Then come, put the jorum4 about,
And let us be merry and clever,
Our hearts and our liquors are stout,
Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons forever.

Let some cry up woodcock or hare, 30
Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons; But of all the birds in the air,
Here's a health to the Three Jolly Pigeons.

Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!

____________________
24] OO But you; some modern editions alter to That you.
1
Cf. Falstaff's phrase, I Henry IV, V. i. 125.
2
'Call upon himself.' Tony, mallet in hand, presides as chairman.
3
Simpletons, dupes
4
Drinking-bowl.

-771-

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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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