British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

LUCY. Did you call, ma'am?

MRS. MAL. Yes, girl. -- Did you see Sir Lucius while you was out?

LUCY. No, indeed, ma'am, not a glimpse of him.

MRS. MAL. You are sure, Lucy, that you 365
never mentioned ----

LUCY. O Gemini! I'd sooner cut my tongue out.

MRS. MAL. Well, don't let your simplicity be imposed on.

LUCY. No, ma'am. 370

MRS. MAL. So, come to me presently, and I'll give you another letter to Sir Lucius; -- but mind, Lucy -- if ever you betray what you are intrusted with -- (unless it be other people's secrets to me) you forfeit

my malevolence forever: -- and your being a 375
simpleton shall be no excuse for your locality.

Exit MRS. MALAPROP.

LUCY. Ha! ha! ha! -- So, my dear simplicity, let me give you a little respite -- (altering her manner) -- let girls in my station be as fond as they please of appear

ing expert, and knowing in their trusts -- com­ 380
mend me to a mask of silliness, and a pair of sharp eyes for my own interest under it! -- Let me see to what account have I turned my simplicity lately -- [Looks at a paper]. For abetting Miss Lydia Languish
in a design of running away with an Ensign! -- 385
in money -- sundry times -- twelve pound twelve -- gowns, five -- hats, ruffles, caps, &c., &c. -- numberless! -- From the said Ensign, within this last month, six guineas and a half. -- About a quarter's pay! --
Item, from Mrs. Malaprop, for betraying the 390
young people to her--when I found matters were likely to be discovered -- two guineas, and a black paduasoy. -- Item, from Mr. Acres, for carrying divers letters -- which I never delivered -- two
guineas, and a pair of buckles. -- Item, from395
Sir Lucius O'Trigger -- three crowns -- two gold pocket-pieces -- and a silver snuff-box! -- Well done, simplicity! -- Yet I was forced to make my Hibernian believe that he was corresponding, not with the aunt,
but with the niece: for, though not over rich, I 400
found he had too much pride and delicacy to sacrifice the feelings of a gentleman to the necessities of his fortune. Exit.


ACT II

SCENE I

CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE'S lodgings.

CAPTAIN ABSOLUTEand FAG.

FAG. Sir, while I was there Sir Anthony came in: I told him you had sent me to inquire after his health, and to know if he was at leisure to see you.

ABS. And what did he say on hearing I was at

Bath? 5

FAG. Sir, in my life I never saw an elderly gentleman more astonished! He started back two or three paces, rapped out a dozen interjectoral oaths, and asked what the devil had brought you here!

ABS. Well, sir, and what did you say? 10

FAG. O, I lied, sir -- I forget the precise lie; but you may depend on't, he got no truth from me. Yet, with submission, for fear of blunders in future, I should be glad to fix what has brought us to Bath, in

order that we may lie a little consistently. -- Sir 15
Anthony's servants were curious, sir, very curious indeed.

ABS. You have said nothing to them -----?

FAG. O, not a word, sir -- not a word. -- Mr.

Thomas, indeed, the coachman (whom I take to 20
be the discreetest of whips) -----

ABS. 'Sdeath! -- you rascal! you have not trusted him!

FAG. O, no, sir! -- no -- no -- not a syllable, upon

my veracity! -- He was, indeed, a little inquis­ 25
itive; but I was sly, sir -- devilish sly! -- My master (said I), honest Thomas (you know, sir, one sayshonest to one's inferiors), is come to Bath to recruit -- Yes, sir -- I said, to recruit -- and whether for men,
money, or constitution, you know, sir, is nothing 30
to him, nor any one else.

ABS. Well -- recruit -- will do -- let it be so -----

FAG. O, sir, recruit will do surprisingly -- indeed, to give the thing an air, I told Thomas that your

Honor had already enlisted five disbanded chair­ 35
men,1 seven minority waiters,2 and thirteen billiard markers.

ABS. You blockhead, never say more than is necessary.

FAG. I beg pardon, sir -- I beg pardon -- 40
But, with submission, a lie is nothing unless one supports it. -- Sir, whenever I draw on my invention for a good current lie, I always forge indorsements, as well as the bill.

ABS. Well, take care you don't hurt your 45
credit by offering too much security. -- Is Mr. Faulkland returned?

FAG. He is above, sir, changing his dress.

ABS. Can you tell whether he has been informed

of Sir Anthony's and Miss Melville's arrival? 50

FAG. I fancy not, sir; he has seen no one since he came in, but his gentleman, who was with him at Bristol. -- I think, sir, I hear Mr. Faulkland coming down --

ABS. Go tell him I am here. 55

____________________
383] O1 I have.
11] O1 forgot.
1
Sedan-chair bearers.
2
Extra hands only occasionally employed (waiters out of work).

-810-

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