heart! I believe courage must be catching! --I certainly do feel a kind of valor rising, as it were -- a kind of courage, as I may say. ----- Odds flints, pans, and triggers! I'll challenge him directly, 110
SIR LUC. Ah, my little friend! if we had Bluaderbuss-Hall here -- I could show you a range of ancestry, in the O'Trigger line, that would furnish the New Room,1 every one of whom had killed his man! -- For though the mansion-house and dirty 115 acres have slipt through my fingers, I thank heav'n our honor, and the family-pictures, are as fresh as ever.
ACRES. O Sir Lucius! I have had ancestors too! every man of 'era colonel or captain in the i2o militia!--Odds balls and barrels! say no more -- I'm braced for it -- ((my nerves are become catgut! my sinews wire! and my heart pinchbeck!))2 The thunder of your words has soured the milk of human kindness in my breast! ----- Z--ds! as the man 125 in the play says, 'I could do such deeds!'3
SIR LUC. Come, come, there must be no passion at all in the case -- these things should always be done civilly.
ACRES. I must be in a passion, Sir Lucius -- 130 I must be in a rage. -- Dear Sir Lucius, let me be in a rage, if you love me. -- Come, here's pen and paper. (Sits down to write.) I would the ink were red! -- Indite, I say, indite! -- How shall I begin? Odds bullets and blades! I'll write a good bold 135 hand, however.
SIR LUC. Pray compose yourself.
ACRES. Come -- now, shall I begin with an oath? Do, Sir Lucius, let me begin with a damme.
SIR LUC. Pho! pho! do the thing decently 140 and like a Christian. Begin now, -- 'Sir' -----
ACRES. That's too civil by half.
SIR LUC. 'To prevent the confusion that might arise ' --
ACRES [writing]. Well ----- x45 SIR LUC. 'From our both addressing the same lady' -----
ACRES. Aye -- there's the reason -- [writing] 'same lady' -- Well -----
SIR LUC. 'I shall expect the honor of your 150 company' --
ACRES. Z-----ds! I'm not asking him to dinner.
SIR LUC. Pray be easy.
ACRES. Well then [writing] -- 'honor of your company' 155
SIR LUC. 'To settle our pretensions' --
ACRES [writing]. Well --
SIR LUC. Let me see -- aye, King's-Mead-Fields will do -- 'In King's-Mead-Fields.'
ACRES. So that's done. -- Well, I'll fold it 160 up presently; my own crest -- a hand and dagger shall be the seal.
SIR LUC. You see now, this little explanation will put a stop at once to all confusion or misunderstanding that might arise between you. 165
ACRES. Aye, we fight to prevent any misunderstanding.
SIR LUC. Now, I'll leave you to fix your own time. --Take my advice, and you'll decide it this evening if you can; then let the worst come of it, 'twill 170 be off your mind to-morrow.
ACRES. Very true.
SIR LUC. So I shall see nothing more of you, unless it be by letter, till the evening. -- I would do myself the honor to carry your message; but, to tell 175 you a secret, I believe I shall have just such another affair on my own hands. There is a gay captain here, who put a jest on me lately at the expense of my country, and I only want to fall in with the gentleman, to call him out. 180
ACRES. By my valor, I should like to see you fight first! Odds life! I should like to see you kill him, if it was only to get a little lesson.
SIR LUC. I shall be very proud of instructing you. -- Well for the present-- but remember now, 185 when you meet your antagonist, do everything in a mild and agreeable manner. -- Let your courage be as keen, but at the same time as polished, as your sword. Exeunt severally.
ACRES and DAVID.
DAV. Then, by the Mass, sir! I would do no such thing -- ne'er a Sir Lucius O'Trigger in the kingdom should make me fight, when I wa'n't so minded. Oons! what will the old lady say when she hears o't! 5
ACRES. Ah! David, if you had heard Sir Lucius! Odds sparks and flames! he would have roused your valor.
DAV. Not he, indeed. I hates such bloodthirsty cormorants. Look'ee, master, if you'd wanted 10 a bout at boxing, quarter-staff, or short-staff, I should never be the man to bid you cry off: but for your curst sharps and snaps,; I never knew any good come of 'era.
ACRES. But my honor, David, my honor! I 15 must be very careful of my honor.
DAV. Aye, by the Mass! and I would be very____________________