are those, were standing about your door when I came in? They want your master too, I suppose.
SHARP. Hum! yes, they are waiting for him. -- They are some of his tenants out of the country that want to pay him some money. 200
KITTY. Tenants! what, do you let his tenants stand in the street?
SHARP. They choose it; as they seldom come to town, they are willing to see as much of it as they can, when they do; they are raw, ignorant, hon 205 est people.
KITTY. Well, I must run home, farewell! --But do you hear? Get something substantial for us in the kitchen--a ham, a turkey, or what you will -- we'll be very merry; and, be sure remove the 210 tables and chairs away there too, that we may have room to dance: I can't bear to be confined in my French dances; tal, lal, lal. (Dancing.) Well, adieu! Without any compliment, I shall die if I don't see you soon. Exit KITTY. 215
SHARP. And without any compliment, I pray heaven you may!
(They look for some time sorrowful at each other.)
GAY. O Sharp!
SHARP. O master!
GAY. We are certainly undone! 220
SHARP. That's no news to me.
GAY. Eight or ten couple of dancers--ten or a dozen little nice dishes, with some fruit--my Lord Stately's servants, ham and turkey!
SHARP. Say no more, the very sound creates 225 an appetite: and I am sure of late I have had no occasion for whetters and provocatives.
GAY. Cursed misfortune! what can we do?
SHARP. Hang ourselves; I see no other remedy; except you have a receipt to give a ball and a 230 supper without meat or music.
GAY. Melissa has certainly heard of my bad circumstances, and has invented this scheme to distress me, and break off the match.
SHARP. I don't believe it, sir; begging your 235 pardon.
GAY. No? why did her maid then make so strict an enquiry into my fortune and affairs?
SHARP. For two very substantial reasons: the first, to satisfy a curiosity, natural to her as a 240 woman; the second, to have the pleasure of my conversation, very natural to her as a woman of taste and understanding.
GAY. Prithee be more serious: is not our all at stake? 245
SHARP. Yes, sir: and yet that all of ours is of so little consequence, that a man, with a very small share of philosophy may part from it without much pain or uneasiness. However, sir, I'll convince you in half an hour, that Mrs. Melissa knows noth 250 ing of your circumstances, and I'll tell you what too, sir, she shan't be here tonight, and yet you shall marry her tomorrow morning.
GAY. How, how, dear Sharp!
SHARP. 'Tis here, here, sir! warm, warm, 255and delays will cool it; therefore I'll away to her, and do you be as merry as love and poverty will permit you.
Would you succeed, a faithful friend depute,
Whose head can plan, and front can execute. 260 I am the man, and I hope you neither dispute my friendship or qualification.
GAY. Indeed I don't. Prithee be gone.
SHARP. I fly. Exeunt.
Enter MELISSAand KITTY.
MEL. You surprise me, Kitty! the master not at home! the man in confusion! no furniture in the house! and ill-looking fellows about the doors! 'Tis all a riddle.
KITTY. But very easy to be explained. 5
MEL. Prithee explain it then, nor keep me longer in suspense.
KITTY. The affair is this, madam: Mr. Gayless is over head and ears in debt; you are over head and ears in love; you'll marry him tomorrow, the 10 next day, your whole fortune goes to his creditors, and you and your children are to live comfortably upon the remainder.
MEL. I cannot think him base.
KITTY. But I know they are all base--you 15 are very young, and very ignorant of the sex; I am young too, but have more experience: you never was in love before; I have been in love with an hundred, and tried 'em all; and know 'em to be a parcel of barbarous, perjured, deluding, be 20 witching devils.
MEL. The low wretches you have had to do with may answer the character you give 'em; but Mr. Gayless --
KITTY. Is a man, madam. 25
MEL. I hope so, Kitty, or I would have nothing to do with him.
KITTY. With all my heart -- I have given you my sentiments upon the occasion, and shall leave you to your own inclinations. 30
MEL. Oh, madam, I am much obliged to you for your great condescension, ha, ha, ha! However, I____________________