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Title: The Politician Out-Witted

Author: Samuel Low

Editor: Montrose Jonas Moses

Release date: June 26, 2009 [eBook #29227]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Starner, Brownfox and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcribers' Note:

This e-book contains the text of The Politician Out-witted, extracted from Representative Plays by American Dramatists: Vol 1, 1765-1819. Comments and background to all the plays, and links to the other plays are available here.

For your convenience, the transcribers have provided the following links:


Spelling as in the original has been preserved.



By Samuel Low

[Pg 353]


(b. December 12, 1765)

Very little is known about the author of "The Politician Out-witted,"[1] a play which I have selected as representative of the efforts of the American drama, as early as 1789, to reflect the political spirit of the time. Assiduous search on the part of the present editor has failed to bring to light any information from any of the historical societies regarding Mr. Low, except that he was born on December 12, 1765, and that he must have been, in his political sympathies, an anti-federalist. The reader who is interested in literary comparisons might take this play of Low's and read it in connection with Dunlap's "The Father," in which a prologue gives a very excellent example of the American spirit. Dunlap's "Darby's Return" might likewise be read in connection with "The Politician Out-witted," inasmuch as it refers to the Federal Constitution, and to Washington's inauguration.

The present play, which was opposed to the Federal union, was, according to some authorities, offered to the actors, Hallam and Henry, and was promptly rejected by them. There is no record of the piece having thereafter succeeded in reaching the theatre. It is mentioned both in Dunlap and in Seilhamer in a casual manner.

In the New York Directory, of 1794, we find Samuel Low mentioned as a clerk in the Treasury Department, and, in a later Directory of 1797-1798, he is referred to as the first bookkeeper in the Bank of New York.[2]

[Pg 354]

In the preface to his published poems, after the diffident manner of the time, Low says: "Many of the pieces were written at a very early age, and most of them under singular disadvantages; among which, application to public business, for many years past, was not the least; not only because it allowed little leisure for literary pursuits, but because it is of a nature peculiarly inimical to the cultivation of poetic talent. For his own amusement and improvement he has written—at the request of his friends he publishes."

We know that he was a writer of odes, exhibiting some grace in his handling of this poetic form. He is also credited with having written a long poem entitled "Winter Displayed," in 1794. In 1800, two volumes of poems appeared in New York, and among the subscribers listed were John Jacob Astor, William Dunlap, Philip Hone, Dr. Peter Irving, and members of the Beekman and Schermerhorn families.[3] Examining the contents of these volumes, one discovers that Samuel Low, in a social and fraternal way, must have been a very active member of New York society. On January 8, 1800, his "Ode on the Death of Washington" was recited by Hodgkinson at the New York Theatre.

At St. Paul's Church, and at Trinity Church, his anthems and odes were ever to the fore. He must have been a member of the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, because a "Hymn to Liberty" was penned by him, and sung in church on the anniversary of that organization, May 12, 1790.

His Masonic interests are indicated throughout the volume by poems written especially for such orders as the Holland Lodge, and the Washington Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. He was also asked to write an epitaph on John Frederick Roorbach.

His interest in politics may likewise be seen in several poems written about the Constitution of the United States; while his literary taste may be measured by his tribute to Kotzebue, the "second Shakespeare," in which occur the lines:

"The purest, sweetest among modern bards
Who tread the difficult dramatic path."

[Pg 355]

Except for this, as one of the biographical sources says, nothing is known of Low's history, "and he is only saved from absolute oblivion by his two small volumes of poems."

Yet "The Politician Out-witted" has historical value, and, in its dialogue, exhibits how well Low had studied the artificial comedy of Sheridan. The construction of the plot is mechanical, but the convictions of the two opposing fathers, on the subject of the Constitution, give the play an interest in character and in viewpoint which is marked. It is not a piece adapted to the theatre, there being slight action of a cumulative kind; but, as an example of early closet drama, it cannot be ignored.[Pg 357]


[1] The/Politician Out-witted,/a/Comedy,/In Five Acts./Written in the Year 1788./By an American./"Then let not Censure, with malignant joy,/"The harvest of his humble hope destroy!"/Falconer's Shipwreck. [Colophon.]/New-York:/Printed for the Author, by W. Ross, in Broad-Street,/and Sold by the Different Booksellers./ M. DCC. LXXXIX./

[2] Through the assiduous researches of a member of the staff of the Americana Division of the New York Public Library, who has generously given me permission to use the results of this investigation, there is brought to light, in the New York Directory for 1803, the name of Widow Ann Low, keeper of a boarding-house. There is a plausible theory framed by this investigator that, maybe, Samuel Low died during the New York yellow fever epidemic of 1803, although his name does not occur in the New York Evening Post death lists for that year. It may be that our Samuel, as revealed in the annals of the Dutch Reform Church, v. 1, p. 273; v. 32, p. 23 (New York Geneological and Biographical Society), married Anne Creiger, as recorded on April 20, 1797, and that she may be the "Widow Ann" referred to above. The Nicholas Low mentioned in the Directories of the time as President of the Bank of New York, and who was well-to-do, must have been the brother, or some near relation. There are many Samuel Lows of this period; one (1739-1807) mentioned in the D. A. R. Lineage, v. 15; another who married Margaret Kip. The nearest we get to our Low's parentage is a reference, in the Reports of the New York Geneological and Biographical Society, v. 29, p. 36, to John and Susanna Low, whose son, Samuel, was, born December 22, 1765. Identification has yet to be established.

[3] Poems, By Samuel Low. In two volumes. New York: Printed by T. & J. Swords. 1800.

THE POLITICIAN OUT-WITTED, A COMEDY, IN FIVE ACTS. Fac-Simile Title-Page to the 1789 Edition

[Pg 358]


Old Loveyet.
Charles Loveyet, engaged to Harriet.
Frankton, his Friend.
Harriet, daughter to Trueman.
Maria, her Friend.
Tabitha Cantwell.

Scene—The city of New-York. Time of four acts is one day, and the fifth act commences the second day.

[Pg 359]




Scene I. Old Loveyet's House.

Enter Old Loveyet.

Ugh, ugh, ugh,—what a sad rage for novelty there is in this foolish world! How eagerly all your inspectors in the Daily Advertiser, the New-York Packet, and all the long catalogue of advertisers and intelligencers, catch'd at the news of the day just now at the Coffee-House; though a wise man and a king has told them, there's nothing new under the sun. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Enter Thomas.

Well, Thomas, what's the news?


Thomas. Nothing strange, sir.

Loveyet. That's more than I can say, Thomas, for I'm sure 'tis strange to hear so many people praise this same new Constitution, as it is call'd.—Has the New-York Journal been brought to-day?

Thomas. Yes, sir.

[Fetches the newspaper.

Loveyet. Look if it contains anything worth reading, Thomas; anything in behalf of the good old cause.

Thomas. Yes, sir, here's something will suit your honour's notion to a hair.

[Offers it to Loveyet.

Loveyet. No, Thomas, do you read it,—I'm afraid I shall cast my eyes upon something that's on the other side of the question; some wicked consolidation scheme or another.

Thomas. Why, you know, sir, there's never anything in this paper but what's on your side of the question.

Loveyet. True, true; by my body, you're right enough, Tom.—I forgot that: but never mind; since you've got the paper, do you read it.

Thomas. He only wants me to read, because he can't see to do it himself,—he's almost as blind as a bat, and yet he won't use spectacles for fear of being thought old.


[Pg 360]

Loveyet. Come, Thomas, let's have it,—I'm all ears to hear you.

Thomas. 'Tis a pity you have not a little more eyesight and brains along with your ears. [Aside.] [Reads.] "Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Boston, dated February the third, 1788.—Our convention will pass the federal government by a considerable majority: The more it is examined, the more converts are made for its adoption. This you may rely on."

Loveyet. 'Tis a cursed lie.—Why, why, you confounded scoundrel, do you mean to ridicule your master?

Thomas. I ask pardon, sir; I thought it was the New-York Journal; but I see it is Mr. Child's Daily Advertiser.

Loveyet. A plague on his aristocratic intelligence!—Begone, you vile foe to American Liberty, or I'll—

[Exit Thomas.

Enter Trueman.

What, my friend Trueman! well, what's the news, eigh?

Trueman. I have not learn'd a single monosyllable, sir.

Loveyet. Nothing concerning this same Constitution there is so much talk about, friend Horace? A miserable Constitution, by the bye. If mine was no better,—ugh, ugh, ugh,—I say, if—ugh, ugh, if my constitution was no better than this same political one, I solemnly swear, as true as I am this day, man and boy, two score and three years, five months, eleven days, six hours, and, and,—[Pulling out his watch.] fifty-nine minutes old; why, I—I—I would,—I don't know what I wou'd not do. Ugh, ugh.

Trueman. Mr. Loveyet, you run on in such a surprising manner with your narrations, imprecations, admirations, and interrogations, that, upon my education, sir, I believe you are approaching to insanity, frenzy, lunacy, madness, distraction,—a man of your age—

Loveyet. Age, sir, age!—And what then, sir, eigh! what then? I'd have you to know, sir, that I shall not have lived forty years till next spring twelvemonth, old as I am; and if my countenance seems to belie me a little or so, why—trouble, concern for the good of my country, sir, and this tyrannical, villainous Constitution have made me look so; but my health is sound, sir; my lungs are good, sir, [Raising his voice.]—ugh, ugh, ugh,—I am neither spindle-shank'd nor crook-back'd, and I can kiss a pretty girl with as good a relish as—ugh, ugh,—ha, ha, ha. A[Pg 361] man of five and forty, old, forsooth! ha, ha. My age, truly!—ugh, ugh, ugh.

Trueman. You talk very valiantly, Mr. Loveyet; very valiantly indeed; I dare say now you have temerity and enterprise enough, even at this time of day, to take a wife.

Loveyet. To be sure I have. Let me see,—I shou'd like a woman an inch or two less than six feet high now, and thick in proportion: By my body, such a woman wou'd look noble by the side of me when she was entient.

Trueman. Oh, monstrous! Entient! an entient woman by the side of an antient husband! Most preposterous, unnatural, and altogether incongruous!

Loveyet. Poh, a fig for your high-flown nonsense. I suppose you think it would cost me a great deal of trouble.

Trueman. No, no; some clever young blade will save you the trouble.

Loveyet. By my body, I should love dearly to have such a partner; she would be a credit to me when she had me under the arm.

Trueman. Under the thumb, you mean.

Loveyet. Under the Devil, you mean.

Trueman. You're right; you might as well be under the Devil's government as petticoat government; you're perfectly right there.

Loveyet. I'm not perfectly right;—I—I—I mean you are not perfectly right; and as for her age, why I should like her to be—let me see—about ten years younger than myself: a man shou'd be at least ten years older than his wife.

Trueman. Ten years; fifty-three and ten are sixty-three. Then you mean your wife shall be fifty-three years of age.

Loveyet. S'death, sir! I tell you I am but two and forty years old: She sha'n't be more than thirty odd, sir, and she shall be ten years younger than I am too.

Trueman. Yes, thirty odd years younger than you are; ha, ha. The exiguity of those legs is a most promising earnest of your future exploits, and demonstrate your agility, virility, salubrity, and amorosity; ha, ha, ha. I can't help laughing to think what a blessed union there will be between August and December; a jolly, buxom, wanton, wishful, plethoric female of thirty odd, to an infirm, decrepit, consumptive, gouty, rheumatic, asthmatic, phlegmatic mortal of near seventy; ha, ha. Ex[Pg 362]quisitely droll and humourous, upon my erudition. It puts me in mind of a hot bed in a hard winter, surrounded with ice, and made verdant and flourishing only by artificial means.

Loveyet. Pshaw, you're a fool!

Enter Toupee.

Toupee. Pardonnez moy, monsieur. I hope it not be any intrusion; par dieu, I will not frize dat Jantemon à la mode Paris no more, becase he vas fronte me.

Trueman. What's the matter, Mr. Toupee?

Toupee. I vill tella your honare of the fracas. I vas vait on monsieur a—choses, and make ma compliment avec beaucoup de grace, ven monsieur vas read de news papier; so I say, is your honare ready for be dress? De great man say, "No—, d—n de barbare." [In a low voice.] I tell de parsone, sare, I have promise 'pon honare for dress one great man vat is belong to de Congress, 'bout dis time, sans manquer: De ansare vas (excuse moy, monsieur), "go to h-ll, if you be please; I must read 'bout de Constitution." Dis is de ole affair, monsieur, en verité.

Loveyet. Sixty-three, indeed! Heaven forbid! But if I was so old, my constitution is good; age is nothing, the constitution is all,—ugh, ugh, ugh.

Toupee. Sare, you vill give me leaf, vat is dat Constitution?

Loveyet. Hold your prating, you booby.

Toupee. You booby,—Vat is dat booby, I vonder!

Trueman. Ha, ha, a good constitution! With great propriety did the man ask you what constitution you meant. Ha, ha, ha.

Toupee. Par Dieu, monsieur de Schoolmastare sall larn a me vat is de booby! oui, an de Constitution,—foy d'Homme d'Honneur.

Trueman. What a figure for a sound constitution! ha, ha.

Loveyet. Ugh, hang you for an old simpleton! Talk of my age and constitution.—Ugh, ugh, ugh.


Trueman. Fractious old blockhead!

Toupee. Blockhead! Pourquoi you call a mine head von block, sare?

Trueman. I mean that old curmudgeon who goes hobbling along there, like a man of forty.

Toupee. Pardonnez moy, monsieur; S'il vous plaît, ve make de éclaircissement, if you tell me vat is de interpretation—you booby.[Pg 363]

Trueman. What! have you the effrontery to call me a booby? S'death, you scoundrel, what do you mean?

Toupee. Vous ne m'entendez pas.


Trueman. Do you threaten me, you insignificant thing? Do you call me names?

Toupee. Diable! me no stand under your names.

Trueman. Zounds and fury! I am raving. Must I bear to be abus'd in this manner, by a vile Tonsor?

Toupee. Yes, you Schoolmastare; you tell me vat be you booby.

Trueman. Pertinacious, audacious reptile!

[Canes Toupee.

Toupee. Ah, mon dieu! mon dieu!

[Runs off.

Trueman. To insult a professor of Orthography, Analogy, Syntax, and Prosody!

Scene II. A Street.

Enter Young Loveyet.

In compliance with the commands of a father, here I am, once more in the place of my nativity. Duty to him, and curiosity to know, why he has enjoined my sudden departure so peremptorily, as well as a desire to see New-York (perhaps never to leave it more) have all conspir'd to bring me here sooner than I am expected,—let me see—yes, I must try to find out Frankton first. [Humphry crosses the stage.] Here, friend, honest man, prithee stop.

Humphry. What's your will?

Loveyet. Can you inform me, friend, where one Mr. Frankton lives?

Humphry. No, I don't know where anybody lives in this big city, not I; for my part, I believe how they all lives in the street, there's such a monstrous sight of people a scrouging backards and forards, as the old saying is. If I was home now—

Loveyet. Where is your home, if I may make so free?

Humphry. Oh, you may make free and welcome, for the more freer the more welcomer, as the old saying is; I never thinks myself too good to discourse my superiors: There's some of our townsfolks now, why some of 'um isn't so good as I, to be sure. There's Tom Forge, the blacksmith, and little Daniel Snip, the tailor, and Roger Peg, the cobbler, and Tim Frize, the barber, and Landlord Tipple, that keeps the ale-house at the sign of the[Pg 364] Turk's Head, and Jeremy Stave, the clerk of the meeting-house, why, there an't one of 'um that's a single copper before a beggar, as the old saying is; but what o' that? We isn't all born alike, as father says; for my part, I likes to be friendly, so give us your hand. You mus'n't think how I casts any reflections on you; no, no, I scorn the action. [They shake hands.] That's hearty now—Friendship is a fine thing, and, a friend indeed is a friend in need, as the saying is.

Loveyet. What an insufferable fool it is!

[Half aside.

Humphry. Yes, it is insufferable cool, that's sartin; but it's time to expect it.

Loveyet. Worse and worse!

Humphry. Yes, I warrant you it will be worser and worser before long; so I must e'en go home soon, and look after the corn and the wheat, or else old father will bring his pigs to a fine market, as the old proverb goes.

Loveyet. You're quite right; you mean your father wou'd bring his corn to a fine market: You mean it as a figurative expression, I presume.

Humphry. Not I, I isn't for none of your figure expressions, d' ye see, becase why, I never larnt to cipher;—every grain of corn a pig! Ha, ha, ha. That's pleasant, ecod; why the Jews wou'dn't dare for to shew their noses out o'doors, everything wou'd smell so woundily of pork! Ha, ha, ha.

Loveyet. A comical countryman of mine this. [Aside.] What is your name, my honest lad?

Humphry. Why, if you'll tell me your name, I'll tell you mine, d' ye see; for, one good turn desarves another, as the old saying is, and, evil be to them that evil thinks, every tub must stand upon its own bottom, and, when the steed is stolen, shut the stable door, and, while the grass grows, the mare starves—the horse I mean; it don't make no odds, a horse is a mare, but a mare an't a horse, as father says, d' ye see—and——

Loveyet. What a monstrous combination of nonsense!

Humphry. Don't tell me what I am, but tell me what I have been—

Loveyet. Prithee, Mr. Sancho, let's have no more of those insipid proverbs. You was going to tell me your name.

Humphry. My name is Cubb,—Humphry Cubb, at your sarvice, as the saying is.

Loveyet. Hah! my worthy friend Frankton—[Pg 365]

Enter Frankton.

Frankton. My best, my long expected Charles! your arrival has made me the happiest man alive.

[They embrace.

Loveyet. I am heartily glad to see you, George, and to meet you so opportunely; 'tis not fifteen minutes since I landed on my native soil, and you are the very person, above every other in the city, whom I wish'd first to see.

Frankton. Then you have not forgot your friend.

Loveyet. Far from it, Frankton; be assured that the joy I now feel at meeting with you, is by no means the least I expect to experience.

Frankton. Our satisfaction is then mutual—your friends are all happy and well, and I know your arrival will not a little contribute to their felicity, as well as mine—but who have you here, Loveyet? Landed not fifteen minutes ago, and in close confab with one of our Boors already?

Humphry. A boar! why you're worser than he there—he only took father's corn for pigs, but do you take me for a boar, eigh? Do I look like a hog, as the saying is?

Frankton. Begone, you illiterate lubber!—My dear Charles, I have a thousand things to say to you, and this is an unfit place for conversation.

Loveyet. We will adjourn to the Coffee-House.

Frankton. No, you shall go with me to my lodgings.

Humphry. Why, what a cruel-minded young dog he is! See how he swaggers and struts—he looks very like the Pharisee's head, on old Coming Sir, honest Dick Tipple's sign, I think—No, now I look at him good, he's the very moral of our Tory.

Loveyet. I wait your pleasure, Frankton.

Frankton. Then allons!

[Exeunt Frankton and Loveyet.

Humphry. [Burlesquing them.] Forward, march—as our Captain says—[Struts after them.]—Literary lubber, eigh! But I'll be up with the foutre.

Frankton and Loveyet return.

Frankton. Do you call me a foutre, you rascal?

Humphry. Call you a future! ha, ha, ha. I was a talking about something that I was a going for to do some other time, sir.—Doesn't future magnify some other time, eigh?

Frankton. The future signifies the time to come, to be sure.[Pg 366]

Humphry. Well, then, isn't I right? What argufies your signifies, or your magnifies? There an't the toss up of a copper between 'um—I wou'dn't give a leather button for the choice, as the old proverb goes.

Frankton. Harkee, Mr. Talkative, if you ever——

Humphry. No, sir, never,—that I won't—no, no, you may be sure of that.

Frankton. Sure of what?

Humphry. Nothing, sir; we can be sartin of nothing in this world, as Mr. Thumpum says.

Loveyet. Ha, ha, ha.

Frankton. Oh, what a precious numskull it is!

Loveyet. [To Frankton.] I have a letter here, which announces to my father, my intention to leave the West-Indies the beginning of March, but I miss'd of the expected conveyance—I have half a mind to send it yet. I would not have him apprized of my arrival; for I wish to try if he would know me;—and yet I long to embrace my aged and venerable parent.—Will you do me the favour to take this letter to my father, Mr. Cubb? He lives at number two hundred and fifty, in Queen-Street, in a three-story red brick house.—I'll reward you for it.

Humphry. As for your rewards, I'm above it, d' ye see: If I do it, I'll do it without fear or reward, as the saying is; but if you think fit, you may treat a body to the valuation of a mug or so. Don't you love ale? for they says how the Yorkers is cursed fellows for strong beer.

Loveyet. What a digression!

Humphry. I scorn your words—'tis no transgression at all to drink ale—Why, Parson Thumpum himself drinks ale.

Loveyet. Well, will you carry the letter? You shall have as much strong beer when you come back as you can stagger under.

Humphry. Why, if I was for to have my beer a-board before I go, I shou'dn't get top-heavy, as the saying is; for I can carry as much weight in my head as e'er a he that wears a head, without staggering.

Frankton. I dare say you can; you have always plenty of that.

Humphry. Yes, you're right—I know what you mean; I've got it here a little, as old Mr. Scourge says. [Exeunt Frankton and Loveyet.] But as for what you said just now—no, no, sir; I'll never foutre you, I warrant you—I always curses and swears[Pg 367] in plain English, d' ye see—I—what's he gone? I hope he won't come back again for the sixth time; three times has he been in and out within the circumference of a minute. But I won't stay here no longer—I'll go and try if I can't find out where Doll lives, my old sweetheart; I an't so poor, but what I can buy her a ribbon or so; and, if all comes to all, I can get a new pair o' breeches too; for, to be sure, this one doesn't look quite so decent, and if that doesn't fetch her, the devil shall, as the old saying is. I'm cursedly afraid, I sha'n't be able to find out her quarters.


Scene III. Mr. Friendly's House.

Enter Harriet and Maria.

Harriet. Pray, Maria, how were you entertained at the Assembly last night?

Maria. Very indifferently, I assure you, my dear: You know, Harriet, I do most cordially hate dancing at any time; but what must one do with one's self these irksome, heavy, dreary Winters? If it were not for cards, visits to and from, and——

Harriet. Assemblies.

Maria. Yes, as my last resource, Assemblies, I should absolutely be in a state of despair before Spring.—Then one may take an excursion on York or Long-Island—an agreeable sail on the East-River—a walk in the Broadway, Pharisee-like, to be seen of men, and—to see them—and then how refreshing to take a negligent stroll on the Battery, the Fort, the Mall, and from thence to Miss Such-a-one, then to Mrs. Such-a-one, then to Lady What's-her-name, and then home;—but now I am half of my time as motionless as Pitt's statue; as petrified and inanimate as an Egyptian mummy, or rather frozen snake, who crawls out of his hole now and then in this season to bask in the rays of the sun.

Harriet. And whenever the sunshine of Mr. Frankton's eyes breaks upon you, you revive.

Maria. Pshaw—I wish you had Mr. Frankton yourself, since you are so full of his sweet image.

Harriet. I'm sure you did not wish so last night: Your eyes seem'd to say,—I wish I could secure the good-for-nothing, agreeable rake.

Maria. Oh, you heard my eyes say so, did you? I ask pardon of your penetration.

Harriet. But do you really think the Winter is so destitute of comforts?[Pg 368]

Maria. Ha, ha, comforts! by comforts I suppose you mean the sweets of domestic life—the large portion of comfort arising from a large winter fire, and the very pleasing tittle-tattle of an antiquated maiden aunt, or the equally pleasing (tho' less loquacious) society of a husband, who, with a complaisance peculiar to husbands, responds—sometimes by a doubtful shrug, sometimes a stupid yawn, a lazy stretch, an unthinking stare, a clownish nod, a surly no, or interrogates you with a—humph? till bed time, when, heaven defend us! you are doom'd to be snor'd out of your wits till day-break, when——

Harriet. Hold, Maria—what a catalogue of uncomfortable comforts have you run over.—Pleasure and Comfort are words which imply the same thing with me; but in this enlighten'd age, when words are so curiously refin'd and defin'd, modern critics and fashionable word-mongers have, in the abundance of their wisdom, made a very nice distinction between them—for my part, I always endeavour to reconcile modish pleasure with real comfort, and custom with reason, as much as is in any way consistent with the obligation one is under to conform a little to the perverse notions of mankind.

Maria. There now!—you know I can't abide to hear you moralize—prithee, my dear Harriet, leave that to grey beards and long-ear'd caps—everything is beautiful in its season, you know.

Harriet. Common sense and propriety are ever in season, Maria, and I was going to mention a sentimental pleasure, a rational enjoyment, which is peculiar to the present season, tho' beautiful in every one, if you had not got frightened at the idea of being comforted.

Maria. Well, my dear comfortable, rational, sentimental Harriet! Let me hear what this rational enjoyment of yours is?

Harriet. Hearing a good play, my dear.

Maria. Hearing a good play! why not seeing it, pray?

Harriet. Because I believe plays are frequently seen, and not heard; at least, not as they ought to be.

Maria. I protest you are quite a critic, Harriet.

Harriet. If you desire amusement, what so likely to beguile the heavy hours as Comedy? If your spirits are depress'd, what so replete with that which can revive them as the laughter-loving Thalia? If the foibles and vices of human nature ought to suffer correction, in what way can they be satiriz'd so happily and suc[Pg 369]cessfully as on the stage;—or if elegance of language, and refinement of sentiment——

Maria. Humph—there's sentiment again.

Harriet. You dislike every good thing I have mentioned this morning, Maria,—except one.

Maria. What's that, my dear?

Harriet. Mr. Frankton.

Maria. Ha, ha. Why, to be sure, the good things of this life are not to be despis'd, and men are not the worst creatures belonging to this life, nor Mr. Frankton the worst of men, but—apropos, about plays—did you observe how much I was affected the other night at the tragedy of Zara?

Harriet. I really did not—I wish I had seen such a pleasing proof of your sensibility.

Maria. Oh, you cruel creature!—wish to see your friend in tears?

Harriet. 'Tis rather unusual to see a lady of your taste and spirit, either weep at a pathetic incident in tragedy, or laugh at a comic scene; and as for the gentlemen, your lads of spirit, such as are falsely called ladies' men, they are not so masculine as to understand, and, therefore, not so effeminate as to weep; tho' one would conclude, from their effeminacy in appearance and behaviour, that they would cry if you were to look at them.

Maria. To be sure, a little matter will draw tears from the feminine part of mankind.

Harriet. For your part, you seem'd to be neither laughing nor crying, but rather displeas'd and uneasy.

Maria. Oh, you mistake the matter entirely, my dear; your skill in physiognomy is but indifferent, I find—why, after the tragedy was over, I laugh'd most inordinately for a considerable time.

Harriet. On what account, pray?

Maria. Why, you must know, my dear, Mr. Frankton sat in the box opposite to the one I was in.

Harriet. Yes, I know your dear Mr. Frankton was in the opposite box.

Maria. My dear Mr. Frankton! Did I say so? Why I could not say more of him, were he my husband.

Harriet. If you conform to custom, you would not say so much of a husband.[Pg 370]

Maria. But I did not say any such thing. Says I, you must know, my dear Harriet——

Harriet. No, no, there was no Harriet mentioned.

Maria. But I say there was—so, as I was going to tell you, you must know, my dear Harriet, that Mr. Frankton sat opposite to me at the theatre; and as he seem'd to be very much chagrin'd at the attention which was paid me by a couple of beaux, I took some pains to mortify him a little; for, tho' he strove to hide his uneasiness by chattering, and whispering, and tittering, and shewing his white teeth, his embarrassment was very visible under his affected unconcern.

Harriet. How exactly she has described her own situation and feelings! [Aside.]—I find that you acquire your skill in physiognomy from sympathy; or from making suitable comparisons, and drawing natural inferences from them; but now for the remainder of your pleasant anecdote, Maria.

Maria. So, I was extremely civil to my two worshipping votaries, grinn'd when they did, and talk'd as much nonsense as either of them. During this scene of mock-gallantry, one of my love-sick swains elevated his eyes in a most languishing manner; and, clasping his sweet, unlucky hands together rather eagerly, my little dog Muff happen'd to be in the way, by which means my pet was squeez'd rather more than it lik'd, and my Adonis's finger bit by it so feelingly, that it would have delighted you to see how he twisted his soft features about, with the excruciating anguish. Ha, ha, ha.

Harriet. Ha, ha, ha. Exceeding ludicrous indeed!—But pray, my dear careless, sprightly Maria, was you not a little nettled to see Mr. Frankton and his nymphs so great? And are you not deeply in love with each other, notwithstanding your coquetry at the theatre, and his levity at the Assembly?—Yes, yes,—your aversion to the dancing last night was only pretence. I hope when your hearts are cemented by wedlock, you will both do better.

Maria. It will be well if I do no worse; but, to hear you talk, one would swear you were not in love yourself.

Harriet. Love is an amiable weakness, of which our sex are peculiarly susceptible.

Maria. Ha, ha, ha; of which our sex are peculiarly susceptible—what an evasion!—and so my dear lovelorn, pensive, sentimental, romantic Harriet has never experienced that same[Pg 371] amiable weakness which, it seems, the weaker sex is so susceptible of. But I won't tease you about Mr. Loveyet any more; adieu.


Harriet. Ha, ha; why in such sudden haste, my dear?

Maria. I have already made my visit longer than I intended, and I have plagu'd you enough now; adieu.

Harriet. Ha, ha, ha; that is laughable enough.

[Exeunt, separately.

End of the First Act.


Scene I. Frankton's Lodgings.

Frankton and Young Loveyet sitting.

Loveyet. When did you say you saw her?

Frankton. Last night, in company with several other belles of no small note, who did not look a tittle the handsomer for appearing at the same time with her, I assure you.

Loveyet. Then she's as charming as ever.

Frankton. Charming as ever! By all that's beautiful, a Seraphim is nothing to her! And as for Cherubims, when they compete with her,

Conscious of her superior charms they stand,
And rival'd quite by such a beauteous piece
Of mortal composition; they, reluctant,
Hide their diminish'd heads.

Loveyet. You extol her in very rapturous strains, George—I hope you have not been smitten by her vast perfections, like the Cherubims.

Frankton. I am really enraptur'd with the bewitching little Goddess!

Loveyet. Do you positively think her so much superior to the generality of women?

Frankton. Most indubitably I do—don't you, pray?

Loveyet. I thought her handsome once—but—but—but you certainly are not in love with her.

Frankton. Not I, faith. Ha, ha, ha. My enamorata and yours are two distinct persons, I assure you—and two such beau[Pg 372]ties!—By all that's desirable, if there was only one more in the city who could vie with the lovely girls, and boast of the same elegantly proportioned forms; the same beauty, delicacy and symmetry of features; the same celestial complexion, in which the lily and carnation are equally excell'd; the same——

Loveyet. Oh, monstrous! Why, they exceed all the Goddesses I ever heard of, by your account.

Frankton. Well, if you had let me proceed, I should have told you that if one more like them could be found in town, they would make a more beautiful triple than the three renowned goddesses who were candidates for beauty and a golden apple long ago; but no matter now.—The account you have given of the lovely Harriet, has rekindled the flame she so early inspir'd me with, and I already feel myself all the lover; how then shall I feel, when I once more behold the dear maid, like the mother of mankind—"with grace in all her steps, heaven in her eye; in every gesture, dignity and love!"

Frankton. Aye—and what do you think of your father's sending for you to marry you to this same beautiful piece of mortality?

Loveyet. Is it possible? Then I am happy indeed! But this surpasses my most sanguine hopes!

Frankton. Did you suppose he would object to the alliance then?

Loveyet. I did not know,—my hope was only founded on the probability of his approving it.

Frankton. Well, I can now inform you that your hope has a better basis to rest on, and that there is as fair a prospect of its being shortly swallowed up in fruition as ever Cupid and Hymen presented to a happy mortal's view.—For your farther comfort, I have the pleasure to acquaint you, that Mr. Trueman is equally fond of the match.

Loveyet. Better and better—my dear George! You are the best of friends,—my happy genius! My very guardian angel!

Frankton. Well said, Heroics—come, spout away.

Loveyet. Yes, I am happy, very happy, indeed: Moralists disparage this world too much,—there is such a thing as happiness under the sun,—I feel it now most irrefragably,—here it vibrates in a most extatic manner.

Frankton. Why, you are positively the arrantest love-sick swain that ever had recourse to a philter.[Pg 373]

Loveyet. Profane heretic in love! Did not you extol the two Seraphims just now in the same generous language? But you have never experienced the blissful transition from doubt and solicitude to certainty and peace, as I do now.

Frankton. How do you know that?

Loveyet. I only conjecture so—Did you ever feel the same transports I do?

Frankton. How, in the name of sense, should I know how you feel?

Loveyet. Feel!—I feel that kind heaven, my friend, my father, and my dearest girl, all conspire to bless me!

Frankton. There he rides his hobby-horse again.

Loveyet. Aye, and a generous horse he is—he carries me very pleasantly, I assure you.

Frankton. Yes, and, I dare say, could convey you more agreeably and speedily to Paradise than the Ass did Mahomet.

Loveyet. Ha, ha. I think you have improved my idea.

Frankton. To improve your reason, and check your strange delirium, I have.

Loveyet. I will talk more dispassionately;—but my heart will palpitate at the thought of meeting the lovely source of its joy, and the ultimatum of all its wishes!

Frankton. I suppose you know she lives with Mr. Friendly.

Loveyet. With Mr. Friendly!

Frankton. Yes, she is nearly related to his family, and as the style in which they live, corresponds with her former prosperity better than the present ineligible situation of her father does, he has granted them her valuable company, after their repeated solicitations had prov'd the sincerity of their regard.

Loveyet. But how do you account for Mr. Trueman's poverty, since fortune has lately put it so much in Harriet's power to relieve him from it? I dare not think it arises from her want of filial regard; I do not know anything so likely to abate the ardour of my attachment as a knowledge of that; but it is an ungenerous suggestion, unworthy the benignity and tenderness of the gentle Harriet.

Frankton. It is so.—Two things, on the part of the old gentleman, are the cause: his pride will not suffer him to be the subject of a daughter's bounty; and his regard for that daughter's welfare, makes him fearful of being instrumental in impairing her fortune.[Pg 374]

Loveyet. I thought the angelic girl could not be ungrateful to the parent of her being; but don't let us tarry—I am already on the wing.

Frankton. You are too sanguine; you must not expect to succeed without a little opposition.

Loveyet. How! what say you? pray be explicit.

Frankton. I will remove your suspense.—There is a Mr. Worthnought, a thing by some people call'd a man, a beau, a fine gentleman, a smart fellow; and by others a coxcomb, a puppy, a baboon and an ass.

Loveyet. And what of him?

Frankton. Nothing; only he visits Miss Harriet frequently.

Loveyet. Hah!—and does she countenance his addresses?

Frankton. I'll explain.—He imagines she is fond of him, because she does not actually discard him; upon which presumption he titters, capers, vows, bows, talks scraps of French, and sings an amorous lay—with such an irresistibly languishing air, that she cannot do less than compliment him—on the fineness of his voice, for instance; the smartness of his repartees, the brilliancy of his wit, the gaiety and vivacity of his temper, his genteel carriage, his handsome person, his winning address, his——

Loveyet. Hah! you surely cannot be in earnest, Frankton.

Frankton. To be serious then,—the sum total of the affair, I take to be this.—In order to kill a heavy hour, she sometimes suffers the fool to be in her company, because the extravagance of his behaviour, and the emptiness of his upper region furnish her with a good subject for ridicule; but your presence will soon make him dwindle into his primitive insignificance.

Loveyet. If your prediction proves false, Harriet will be false indeed;—but I must see her straightway.

Frankton. I think you go pretty well fraught with the fruits of our united deliberations.

Loveyet. Deliberations!—away with the musty term—

No caution need my willing footsteps guide;—
When Love impels—what evil can betide?
Patriots may fear, their rulers lack more zeal,
And nobly tremble for the public weal;
To front the battle, and to fear no harm,
The shield must glitter on the warrior's arm:
Let such dull prudence their designs attend,
But Love, unaided, shall obtain its end!


[Pg 375]

Scene II. Old Loveyet's House.

Enter Old Loveyet and Trueman.

Loveyet. I tell you it is the most infernal scheme that ever was devis'd.

Trueman. And I tell you, sir, that your argument is heterodox, sophistical, and most preposterously illogical.

Loveyet. I insist upon it, sir, you know nothing at all about the matter; and, give me leave to tell you, sir—

Trueman. What—give you leave to tell me I know nothing at all about the matter! I shall do no such thing, sir—I'm not to be govern'd by your ipse dixit.

Loveyet. I desire none of your musty Latin, sir, for I don't understand it, not I.

Trueman. Oh, the ignorance of the age! To oppose a plan of government like the new Constitution. Like it, did I say?—There never was one like it:—neither Minos, Solon, Lycurgus nor Romulus, ever fabricated so wise a system;—why it is a political phenomenon, a prodigy of legislative wisdom, the fame of which will soon extend almost ultramundane, and astonish the nations of the world with its transcendent excellence.—To what a sublime height will the superb edifice attain!

Loveyet. Your aspiring edifice shall never be erected in this State, sir.

Trueman. Mr. Loveyet, you will not listen to reason: only attend calmly one moment—[Reads.]—"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide—"

Loveyet. I tell you I won't hear it.

Trueman. Mark all that. [Reads again.] "Section the first.—All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." Very judicious and salutary, upon my erudition.—"Section the second—"

Loveyet. I'll hear no more of your sections.

Trueman. "Section the second.—The House of Representatives—"

Loveyet. They never shall represent me, I promise them.

Trueman. Why, you won't hear me out.

Loveyet. I have heard enough to set me against it.[Pg 376]

Trueman. You have not heard a quantum sufficit to render you competent to give a decisive opinion; besides, you hear with passion and prejudice.

Loveyet. I don't care for that; I say it is a devilish design upon our liberty and property; by my body, it is;—it would reduce us to poverty and slavery.

Enter Humphry, listening.

Humphry. What's that about liberty, and property, and slavery, and popery, and the devil? I hope the pope and the devil an't come to town for to play the devil, and make nigers of us!

Trueman. You will have it your own way.

Loveyet. To be sure I will—in short, sir, the old Constitution is good enough for me.

Humphry. I wonder what Constitution magnifies.

Trueman. The old Constitution!—ha, ha, ha, ha. Superlatively ludicrous and facetious, upon my erudition; and highly productive of risibility—ha, ha, ha. The old Constitution! A very shadow of a government—a perfect caput mortuum;—why, one of my schoolboys would make a better: 'tis grown as superannuated, embecilitated, valetudinarianated, invalidated, enervated and dislocated as an old man of sixty odd.

Loveyet. Ah, that's me—that's me—sixty odd, eigh—[Aside.] I—I—ugh, ugh, I know what you want:—a consolidation and annihilation of the States.

Trueman. A consolidation and annihilation!—You certainly have bid defiance to the first rudiments of grammar, and sworn war against the whole body of lexicographers. Mercy on me! If words are to be thus abus'd and perverted, there is an end of the four grand divisions of grammar at once: If consolidation and annihilation are to be us'd synonymously, there is a total annihilation of all the moods, tenses, genders, persons, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, substantives, conjunctions, interjections, prepositions, participles,—


Humphry. Oh dear, oh dear,—what a wise man a Schoolmaster is!

Trueman. How can the States be consolidated and annihilated too? If they are consolidated or compounded into one national mass, surely the individual States cannot be annihilated, for, if they were annihilated, where would be the States to compose a consolidation?—Did you ever study Logic, sir?[Pg 377]

Loveyet. No, but I've studied common sense tho', and that tells me I am right, and consequently you are wrong; there, that's as good logic as yours.

Trueman. You mean Paine's Common Sense, I suppose—yes, yes, there you manifest something like common sense, Mr. Loveyet.

Loveyet. 'Tis no such thing, sir; it lately took three speakers, and much better ones than Paine, no less than three whole days, to prove that consolidation and annihilation are one and the same thing.

Trueman. An execrable Triumvirate—a scandalum magnatum to all public bodies: I suppose they and their adherents are now sitting in Pandemonium, excogitating their diabolical machinations against us.

Loveyet. A pack of nonsensical stuff!

Trueman. Harkee, Mr. Loveyet, I will propound a problem to you. We will suppose there are two parallel lines drawn on this floor, which, notwithstanding they may be very contiguous to each other, and advance ad infinitum, can never approximate so near as to effect a junction, in which fundamental axiom all mathematicians profess a perfect congruity and acquiescence:—now, to elucidate the hypothesis a little, we will suppose here is one line; and we will further suppose here is another line. [Draws his cane over Loveyet's feet, which makes him jump.] Now we will suppose that line is you, and this line is compos'd, form'd, constituted, made up of discernment, political knowledge, public spirit, and true republicanism,—but, as I predicated antecedently, that line is you—[Striking his cane on Loveyet's feet.] You must not forget that.

Loveyet. S'death, sir, do you mean to make a mathematical instrument of me, to try experiments with?

Trueman. Now take notice—as the East is to the West, the North Pole to the South ditto, the Georgium Sidus to this terraqueous globe, or the Aborigines of America to the Columbians of this generation, so is that line to this line, or Mr. Loveyet to true wisdom and judgment; sometimes appearing to verge towards a coalition with them, but never to effect it. There, sir,—in this argument, you have a major, a minor and a conclusion, consonant to the received principles of logic.

Loveyet. Confound your senseless comparisons; your problems, your mathematics, and your Georgium Sidus.[Pg 378]

Humphry. Aye, confound your gorgon hydras, I say too.

Loveyet. Here you have been spending your breath to prove—what?—that I am not a rational human being, but a mathematical line.

Trueman. I know you are not a mathematical line; you are not the twentieth part so straight and well made;—I only wish to convince you that the present government is an ignis fatuus that is leading you and thousands more to ruin.

Loveyet. But I don't choose to be convinc'd by you.

Trueman. No more than you'll be convinc'd you are sixty years old, I suppose.

Loveyet. Now see there again, see there! isn't this enough to try Job's patience? I'll let you know that my bodily and political Constitutions are both good, sir, both sound alike.

Trueman. I know they are. Ha, ha, ha.

Humphry. Pray, old gentleman, what sort of things may them same constitutions be?

Trueman. Avaunt, thou plebeian, thou ignoramus!

Humphry. Why, I lay now I can say that as good as you, for all you're such a fine scholard.—I won't be plain, thou ignorant mouse.

Trueman. "Monstrum horrendum, cui lumen ademptum!"

Humphry. Monstrous memorandums, cu—no, I can't say that; that's too hard for me. Well, what a glorious thing it is for to have good larning.

Loveyet. Sixty odd years indeed! provoking wretch!

Humphry. What a bloody passion he's in!

Trueman. Pray, Mr. Loveyet, do not anathematize me so;—if you do not civilize your phraseology a little, I must have recourse to a little castigation, for, necessitas non habet legem, you know, Mr. Loveyet.

Loveyet. I know nothing about such nonsense, not I.

Trueman. You are the most unenlightened, contumacious, litigious, petulant, opprobrious, proditorious, misanthropic mortal I ever confabulated a colloquy with; by the dignity of my profession you are.

Humphry. What monstrous queer words he discourses the old fellow with!

Loveyet. Mighty pleasant and witty, by my body; sixty years, forsooth!—But I'll be aveng'd of you.—Your daughter[Pg 379] sha'n't have my son—there, sir,—how do you like that? Sixty years, indeed! Ugh, ugh.

Humphry. What an old reprobate it is! He swears till he sweats again.

Trueman. What an unlucky affair!


Loveyet. And give me leave to tell you, Mr. Schoolmaster, I was an old—I—I mean—I was a great fool to disparage him so much as to think of the match.

Trueman. Illiberal aspersion! But were I as contemptible as you think me, a disastrous war has rendered me so; and as for my child, Providence has placed her above dependence on an unfortunate father: the bequest of a worthy relation has made her, what the world calls, rich; but her mind—is far richer; the most amiable temper, improved by a virtuous and refined education (not to mention her beauty) deservedly makes her the object of general love and respect, and renders your present resolution a matter of perfect indifference to me.

Loveyet. Well, well, so be it; but you never shall be Charles's father-in-law, for all that—that's as fix'd as fate,—you may beg my forgiveness for your faults by and by, but your daughter shall never be mine, I promise you.

Trueman. Conceited old sot!


Humphry. He's gone at last.

Loveyet. What brought you here, pray?

Humphry. Why, my legs, to be sure.—Here, old gentleman, if you'll promise you won't get in such a passion as you did just now, I've got some news to tell you.

Loveyet. I in a passion? 'tis no such thing—I didn't mind anything he said, because he's old and fretful;—but what news, eigh—what news?

Humphry. Here's a letter for you.

[Gives it to Loveyet.

Loveyet. [Opens the letter and reads.] I am heartily glad, 'faith! [Reads again.]—'Od's my life, I'm as happy as the Great Mogul, and as good-natur'd—

Humphry. That's clever; I likes to see people good-natur'd,—it makes me as happy as the Great Pogul.

Loveyet. I'll go tell old Trueman's daughter, Charles is coming, but not for her—I know she'll be mortify'd, poor girl, but I can't help that. Who gave you this letter?

Humphry. Why your son, to be sure.

Loveyet. When did you leave the Havanna, pray?[Pg 380]

Humphry. The Havanna?

Loveyet. Yes, are you not from the West-Indies?

Humphry. Who—me?—not I.

Loveyet. Why, what the plague makes you think he was my son, then?

Humphry. Because he said you was his father—that's a good reason, an't it? But it's a wise son knows his own father, as the old saying is.

Loveyet. How can that be, when the letter is dated in the Island of Cuba, the twentieth day of January, and he says he don't expect to leave it till the beginning of March, and this is only February, so it is impossible he shou'd be here yet.

Humphry. May be you an't the old gentleman, then.

Loveyet. To be sure I an't an old gentleman. Did he say I was old, eigh?

Humphry. Yes, I believe he did.

Loveyet. I believe you lie—and I'll let you know that I an't old enough to be his father, you—

Humphry. Well, if the case lies there, that settles the harsh, d' ye see; but, for my part, I think how you look old enough and ugly enough to be his great-grandfather, as the old saying is.

Loveyet. Sirrah, get out of my house, or I'll break your bones for you.

Humphry. I'm a going—howsomever, give me the letter again; you've got no business with it—you an't his father.

Loveyet. You lie! I am his father—if he was here, he wou'dn't deny it.

Humphry. Why, he is here, I tell you—here in New-York. I suppose how he's made a small mistake about the day of the month, and says he's just arrived from the East-Indies, for he's cursed apt for to make blunders;—that about the corn and the pigs; ha, ha, ha.

Loveyet. Do you laugh at me, you vagabond?

Humphry. Not I, old gentleman; I've got too much respect for old age, I'll insure you.

Loveyet. I shall go distracted!

Humphry. Put on your spectacles and look again—I'm sure your eyes must perceive you, for I'll give my corporal oath he an't in the East-Indies.

Loveyet. It is not the East-Indies, you great calf; you mean the West-Indies.[Pg 381]

Humphry. No matter if it's East or West; the odds an't much for the matter o' that.

Loveyet. What an abominable fool!

Humphry. I'm no more a fool than you are—

Loveyet. Be gone, you scoundrel! Here, Thomas—[Enter Thomas.], lug this fellow out of doors.

Thomas. Yes, sir.

Humphry. No, you sha'n't tho', d' ye see.

Thomas. I'm cursedly afraid of the great two-handed fellow too.

[Aside, and exit with Humphry.

Loveyet [manet].

Abusive rascal! But I won't put myself in a passion with such a vile animal.—I—I'll read the letter again.

"Honour'd Sir,

"I have just time enough to acquaint you by the Oceanus, Captain Seaborn, who is now preparing to sail, that I have at length adjusted my business so as to be able to leave this place for New-York, the beginning of March; in which case you may look for me before the first of April next; when I promise myself the happiness of seeing you once more, and enjoying the society of the best of parents: till then I shall continue to be, with truly filial attachment, and anxious expectation of the happy event, your obliged and dutiful son,—Charles Loveyet."

I wonder he don't say anything of the coffee and madeira I wrote to him about;—egad, I must mind the main chance; a penny sav'd, is a penny got; and charity begins at home. By strictly attending to these excellent maxims, I am worth about five and twenty per cent. more than any other merchant in the city; and as for that stupid proverb, money is the root of all evil, 'tis well enough for those to say so, who have none; for my part, I know that much of the good things of this world is better than not enough—that a man can live longer upon a hundred thousand pounds than one thousand pounds—that if, the more we have the more we want, the more we have the more we make—and that it is better to make hay while the sun shines against a rainy day, when I shall be upon my last legs, than to work and toil like an ass in the rain; so it plainly appears that money is the root of all good;—that's my logic.—I long to see the young rogue tho'—I dare say he looks very like his father;—but, had I thought old Trueman wou'd have us'd me so ill, I wou'd not have wrote for[Pg 382] him yet; for he shall not have his old sweetheart:—if he offers to disobey me in this respect, by my body, I'll disinherit the ungracious dog immediately.


Scene III. Another part of Loveyet's House.

Dolly and Thomas.

Thomas. I've set a bowl of grog before him, pretty much to the northward, and a luncheon of bread and beef almost as big as his head; for he said he was consumed hungry.

Dolly. I language to behold him;—but I'm afraid he'll be rude to a body. [Enter Humphry, with a large luncheon of bread and butter.] Oh, as I'm alive, it is Humphry; old Cubb, the miller's son! Now will the great bear be for rumpling and hugging a body, as he us'd to do.


Humphry. How d' ye do again, as the saying is? You're a devilish honest fellow, as I'm a gentleman; and thank 'e for your frugality, with all my heart: I've eaten up all the beef and grog, so I thought I wou'd go to the cupboard, and cut a small slice of bread and butter, d' ye see.

Thomas. Why didn't you cut yourself a larger slice, while you was about it?

Humphry. Oh, it's big enough, thank 'e; I never eat much at a meal; but if I crave more, I'll speak. [Sees Dolly.] Wha—what—Doll! is that you? Oh, the wonderful works of nature! Who'd ha' thought to ha' found you here. What, don't you know me? not know your old sweetheart? By Job, I want to buss you, most lasciviously.

[Crams all the bread in his mouth in haste, and offers to kiss her.—Thomas hinders him.

Dolly. Oh, oh!

Thomas. What, do you dare to do such a thing before me, you country brute?

Humphry. Aye, no sooner said than done; that's my way.

Thomas. But you sha'n't say nor do your lascivious tricks before me, I warrant you.

Dolly. Oh, the filthy beast! he has frightened me out of my seventy-seven senses; he has given me a fever.

Humphry. I don't care if you'll give me a favour, or not; for I don't value it an old horse-shoe, not I; I can get favours enough in New-York, if I go to the expense.—I know what—I suppose you forget when Jack Wrestle, the country mack-marony[Pg 383]

Dolly. Oh, oh!

Humphry. Why, in the country you us'd for to kiss me without axing.

Dolly. I scorn your words, you worthless blackguard; so I do.


Thomas. Sir, I'd have you to know, sir, that I won't suffer you, sir, to abuse this young lady, sir, in this manner, sir; and, sir—in short, sir, you're a dirty fellow, for your pains, sir.

Humphry. And you're a great litterly lubber, as the saying is; and if you'll be so friendly as for to fetch the mug of ale you promis'd me, I'll lick you out of pure gratitude: have a care—grog makes me fight like a tyger.

Thomas. It's a bargain,—I shou'd be sorry to try you; but I'll go lace you ale a little, and that will spoil your fighting, I warrant you.

[Aside, and exit.

Dolly. You sha'n't fight him.—Oh, law, I wou'dn't trust myself with him alone, for the riches of the Indians!

[Exit, after him.

Humphry. [Mimicking her.] What an unfaithless trollop! She's got to be very vartuous since she's liv'd in town, but vartue is but skin deep, as the saying is:—wou'dn't even let me kiss her;—I meant nothing but the genteel thing neither,—all in an honest way. I wonder what she can see in that clumsy booby's face, for to take his part, sooner than I!—but I'll go buy a new coat and breeches, and get my head fricaseed, and my beard comb'd a little, and then I'll cut a dash with the best on 'em. I'll go see where that ill-looking fellow stays with the ale.


End of the Second Act.


Scene I. A Barber's Shop.

Humphry in new clothes, reading a newspaper.—Toupee shaving him.

Humphry. Pray now, master barber, what does Constitution mean? I hears so many people a quarrelling about it,—I wish I cou'd get somebody to give me the exclamation of it; here it is among the news too. It's spelt C, O, N, con—S, T, I, sti—consti—T, U, tu—constitu—T, I, ti—constituti—O, N, on—con-sti-[Pg 384]tu-ti-on,—but your city folks calls it Constitushon; they've got such a queer pronouncication.

Toupee. Vat you please, sare?

Humphry. Yes, it pleases me well enough; I only want to know what it magnifies.

Toupee. Je ne vous entens pas, monsieur.

Humphry. Why, what outlandish dialogue is that you're a talking? I can't understand your lingo as well as the Schoolmaster's, with his monstrous memorandums, and his ignorant mouses.

Toupee. You be 'quainted with monsieur de Schoolmastare, monsieur?

Humphry. Yes, mounsieur; he and the consumptive old gentleman, old what's his name, was a wrangling about that confounded name that I was axing you about;—caw—con—[Looks at the paper.] aye, Constitution.

Toupee. Dat Constitution is no bon;—de Schoolmastare vas strike me for dat. By gar, I get de satisfaction!

Humphry. He talks as crooked as a Guinea niger.


Toupee. He vas call me—ah, le diable!—block; dis—[Points to his head.] blockhead, oui, blockhead.

Humphry. If you've got a mind, I'll lather him for you.

Toupee. Yes; den I vill lader you for nothing.

Humphry. You lather me for nothing?—I'll lather you for less yet, you barber-looking—

Toupee. No, no; me lader you so.

[Lathers Humphry's face.

Humphry. Oh, with soap-suds, you mean:—I ax pardon, mounsieur; I thought how you was a going for to lather me without soap-suds or razor, as the old proverb is.

Toupee. Dat is no possible, monsieur.

Humphry. I believe not; you shou'd be shav'd as clean as a whistle, if you was; 'faith should you.

Toupee. Yes, I will shave you very clean;—here is de bon razor for shave de beard. [Draws the razor over the back of Humphry's hand, to shew him it can cut a hair.]

Humphry. [Bellowing out.] You ill-looking, lousy, beard-combing, head-shaving rascal! Did you ever know any body for to have a beard upon their hand?

Toupee. You be von big 'merican brute, sur mon âme!

Humphry. You lie, as the saying is. What a mouth he makes whenever he goes for to talk his gibberage!—He screws it up[Pg 385] for all the world like a pickled oyster. I must have a care I don't get some of that snuff out of his nose.

Toupee. You please for taste de snuff?

Humphry. I don't care if I smell some. [Takes a pinch of snuff, which makes him sneeze, while Toupee is shaving him; by which he gets his face cut.]

Toupee. Prenez garde à vous!

Humphry. The devil take the snuff and you!


Toupee. S'il vous plaît, monsieur, you vill please for take de—de—vat is dat—de lettre—de shallange to monsieur de Schoolmastare, for fight me?

Humphry. Yes, that I will, with the most carefullest manner;—he shall have it in the greatest pleasure.

[Toupee gives a paper to Humphry.

Toupee. Dat is de bon civility,—I vill be your—a—very good friend.

Humphry. Thank 'e kindly, Mounsieur.

[Exeunt, severally.

Scene II. A Street.

Enter Young Loveyet and Humphry.

Loveyet. Not find where he lives?

Humphry. No;—you're the most unluckiest gentleman for making of blunders,—didn't you tell me how your father liv'd in number two hundred and fifty, in Queen-Street, in the three-story brick house?

Loveyet. I did; is not that the house?

Humphry. No—why, your father don't live there.

Loveyet. Did you enquire for Mr. Loveyet?

Humphry. Yes, I saw Mr. Loveyet.

Loveyet. The devil is in the fellow, I believe. Did you give him my letter?

Humphry. Yes, but I didn't want to.

Loveyet. Why not?

Humphry. Becase I wanted for to carry it to your father.

Loveyet. What makes you think Mr. Loveyet is not my father?

Humphry. Somebody told me so that's got a good right to know; I've his own words for it.

Loveyet. My father tell you so?

Humphry. The young man is crazy, I believe.—I say Mr. Loveyet said you wasn't his son; so I suppose he can't be your father by that.[Pg 386]

Loveyet. I forgot that the letter would probably produce this misunderstanding. [Aside.]—He is the only one I know, whom I have a right to call my father.

Humphry. May be you're the old fellow's bastard, and if you're a bastard, you can't be a son, you know: aye, that's the catch, I suppose.

Loveyet. Your new clothes make you quite smart, Mr. Cubb.

Humphry. Yes, don't I look quite smart, with these here new clothes? they're all new, I'll insure you—only a little the worse for wear; I bought 'em at the vandue option, at the Fly-Market.

Loveyet. But how came you by that patch on one side of your face, and that large crop of beard on the other?

Humphry. Mounsieur, the outlandish barber, give me a small cut across the whiskers; but the best of all you ha'n't seen yet;—see here.

[Pulls off his hat.

Loveyet. Aye, now you look something like—quite fierce—entirely the fine gentleman, upon my falsehood. A genteel dress is the very soul of a man, Mr. Cubb.

Humphry. Like enough, for I've got more soul to shew myself, now I cut such a dash; I've got a soul to see the shews at the play-house; and, I think, I've got a great deal more soul to spend a few shillings at the ale-house.

Loveyet. That's true; I'm glad you remind me of my promise.

Humphry. Not I, I didn't remind you,—I scorn it.

Loveyet. I dare say you do. [Gives him money.] There, drink my health with that.

Humphry. With all my heart—soul, I mean;—aye, here's soul enough—[Jingling the money.]—to buy the matter o' twenty mugs;—come, let's go at once.

Loveyet. I?—excuse me, sir; I have particular business elsewhere.—Sir, your most humble servant.

Humphry. Sir, I am your most humble sarvint too. [Bows awkwardly.]

[Exeunt, severally.

Scene III. Mr. Friendly's House.

Enter Harriet.

[Knocking at the door.] What an incessant knocking! Mr. Friendly's family are out, and between their company and my own, I expect to be engaged all day: I am fairly tired of these morning visits;—they are fashionable, and, therefore, agreeable,[Pg 387] to those who can make propriety and happiness subservient to custom and false politeness; but, for my part—

Enter Servant.

Servant. Miss Airy is waiting in her carriage, madam.

Harriet. Admit her. [Exit Servant.] She is the only one I wish to see this morning.

Enter Maria.

Maria. My dear Harriet, I am rejoic'd to find you at home;—I this minute heard something, which I knew would make you happy; and that, I trust, is a good excuse for troubling you twice a day with my company.

Harriet. You wrong my friendship, Maria, if you think you can oblige me too often with your desirable company; 'tis true I was wishing for a little cessation of that torrent of formal visitors which is pouring in from morning till night; but far be it from Harriet to reckon her Maria among that number.

Maria. You are very good, my dear; but you must give me leave to be a little jealous that I am not the only one who is favoured with such a preference.

Harriet. Indeed, I do not know any one I have a particular desire to see this morning, except yourself.

Maria. You forget Mr. Loveyet, when you say so.

Harriet. Poh! I am not talking of men.

Maria. No; but it is very probable you are thinking of a man.

Harriet. And pray what reason have you to think, that my thoughts run upon such an improper subject?

Maria. Improper subject,—ha, ha, ha. So my very discreet, prudish little Harriet never lets man enter into her head; tho' it is pretty notorious somebody has enter'd into her heart long ago.

Harriet. Your discernment must be very subtle, if you know all that is in my heart.

Maria. I only judge of your heart, by your tongue; and the abundance of the former is generally inferred from the speech of the latter.—Yes, yes—that constant, hypocritical heart of yours is now throbbing with love, hope, curiosity, and—a thousand speechless sensations, the improper subject of which, I do not hesitate to declare, is odious man; and that man, the accomplished Mr. Loveyet.

Harriet. Pshaw,—how can you tantalize one so?[Pg 388]

Maria. Well, well, it shall not be serv'd like Tantalus any more: he was doom'd to behold; and, beholding, to wish and languish for the tempting draught, in vain: but a better doom awaits the happy Harriet;—what she desires is not thus interdicted, but will soon be obtain'd, and—

Harriet. How strangely you talk, Maria.

Maria. Well, I will not keep you in suspense any longer. Old Mr. Loveyet has received a letter from his son, signifying his intention to leave the West-Indies shortly after its date, so you may expect to see him very soon. Then hey for a wedding, &c.

Harriet. Ha, ha; you are a droll girl.

Maria. But my time is precious; I am just going to the widow Affable's:—about twelve months ago she paid me a visit, when, agreeably to the form in such cases made and provided, she beg'd I would be more sociable, and she would take it so kindly of me:—accordingly I shall step in en passant, to shew her my sociability and kindness, which I shall, perhaps, repeat at the end of another year.

Harriet. How can you be so cruel? The pleasure I experience in your society, makes me regret that any one should be deprived of it.

Maria. That is very strange:—I should imagine, if you priz'd my company so much, you would wish me to withhold it from others; because, the more I bless them with my presence, the less will come to your share, you know, my dear;—nor is it easy to conceive how you could be so fond of my sweet person, without being jealous at the partiality of others;—but, after all, good people, they say, are scarce; and my humble admirers shall find the saying verified in me; because they are not fully sensible of my superior value; but, since you prove the contrary, by extolling my conversation and friendship so much, I likewise shall observe a contrary conduct, and indulge you with a tête-à-tête frequently, my dear.—But I have fifty places to call at yet:—I am to wait on Miss Nancy Startup, Miss Biddy Dresswise, Miss Gaudy, Miss Titterwell, Mrs. Furbelow, Mrs. Neverhome, Mrs—et cætera, et cætera; which visits I mean to pay with all the formality and fashionable shortness in my power: from thence I shall proceed to Mademoiselle Mincit, the milliner; from thence to two or three score of shops in William-Street, to buy a prodigious number of important—

Harriet. Trifles.[Pg 389]

Maria. You are right, my dear;—as I live, I would not be one of those officious "Nothing else, Ma'ms?" for all the goods from the North Church to Maiden-Lane.—Adieu,—I leave you to meditate on what I have told you.

Harriet. Farewell. [Exit Maria.] Now Maria is gone, I will see no more company.—If anything can be an excuse for a falsehood, the present occasion offers a very good one:—I feel my mind pretty much at ease, and I do not choose to have it disturbed by the impertinence of pretended friends.—Who is there?

Enter Servant.

Servant. Madam.

Harriet. Whoever calls to see me to-day, remember I am not at home.

Servant. Mr. Worthnought is here now, Madam; must I deny you to him?

Harriet. Undoubtedly. [Exit Servant.] I am disgusted with the repetition of that coxcomb's nonsense.—[Sighs.]—I wish Charles was here:—In spite of the false delicacy of that tyrant, Custom, which forbids us to speak the exquisite effusions of a susceptible heart, I can now speak boldly, while that heart dictates to the willing tongue what complacence it feels at the prospect of its Charles's return.


Scene IV. Another part of Mr. Friendly's House.

Worthnought, discovered solus.

Worthnought. Who comes here! He sha'n't see her, if I don't, 'foregad—Curse me, but he shall go away with a flea in his ear.

Enter Young Loveyet, followed by Humphry.

Humphry. Mr. Lovit—Mr. Lovit.—[Takes him aside.] As I was a going along, d'ye see, I see you pop in here, and so I follow'd you, to tell you, how old Mr. Lovit said he was intend for to go for to see the old fellow's daughter, to tell her something about the letter. Don't Mrs. Harriet live here?

Loveyet. I'll make haste, and supersede the design of his errand, if possible;—it would be a pity he should come before I had appriz'd Harriet I was not in the West-Indies. [Aside.]—I am obliged to you for your information.

[To Humphry.

[Pg 390]

Humphry. Thank 'e, as the saying is. [Going,—Worthnought whispers with him.]—What's that to you?—How clumsy mounsieur has dress'd his calabash!—Powder'd over the face and eyes.


Worthnought. I wish I knew what he wanted with him;—perhaps it is something about me.


Loveyet. What Butterfly is this we have here!—I suppose it is the fop, Frankton mentioned.


Worthnought. Sir, I have the honour to be, with the profoundest respect and esteem, your most obedient, most devoted, and most obliged humble slave, foy d'Homme d'Honneur—Tol lol, &c.


Loveyet. A very pompous salutation, truly. [Aside.]—Your polite address does me too much honour, sir;—I cannot conceive how you can be my obliged slave, as I do not recollect I ever saw you before.

Worthnought. Why, sir, I'll tell you:—Your appearance, sir, bespeaks the gentleman of distinction, sir,—

Loveyet. My appearance;—superficial coxcomb!


Worthnought. 'Tis true, my words were words of course; but I meant every word, sir, 'pon hanor.—"Cupid, Gad of saft persuasion, &c."

[Sings affectedly, and takes snuff.

Loveyet. Humph,—To whom, sir, am I indebted, for so much civility?

Worthnought. Dick Worthnought, esquire, at your service, sir.

Loveyet. The very fool.


Worthnought. And give me leave to add, sir, that I feel the highest felicity, that you have given me so good an opportunity of asking you, in my turn, for the favour of your name, sir.

Loveyet. My name is Loveyet, sir.—With what solemnity the coxcomb talks!


Worthnought. A native of this city, I presume, Mr. Loveyet.

Loveyet. I am, sir; but I have been absent for some years, and, as I was a youth when I left the city, I cannot be supposed to have retained much of the Yorker.

Worthnought. Pardon me, sir;—to a person of penetration, the Yorker is still conspicuous under the disguise of the foreigner; and I am proud to have the hanor of being your countryman, sir.

Loveyet. I fancy the honour is by no means reciprocal.


[Pg 391]

Worthnought. You are acquainted with Miss Harriet Trueman, I presume, Mr. Loveyet.

Loveyet. I was formerly acquainted with the lady.

Worthnought. You must know, sir, that your humble servant has the hanor and felicity of being that lady's very humble admirer.

Loveyet. I dare say she is admired by all who have the pleasure of knowing her.

Worthnought. Give me leave, sir,—I mean her lover.

Loveyet. Conceited ape!


Worthnought. You have no pretensions, sir, I presume.

Loveyet. Pretensions?

Worthnought. Aye, sir; I thought you might have a small penchant, as the French call it;—you apprehend me; but she don't intend to see company to-day. I am monstrously chagrin'd, sir, 'foregad, that I have it not in my power to introduce you to the divine mistress of my heart; but, as matters are circumstanc'd, I think it is not worth our while to stay.

Loveyet. I mean to see Miss Trueman before I shall think so.

Worthnought. Oh, fie, sir;—you wou'd not force a lady to give you her company against her inclination:—perhaps, indeed, she may appear to receive you with some warmth, and you may flatter yourself you have fairly made a canquest of her, and think Dick Worthnought esquire, is out-rival'd; but if so, you are most demnably bit, 'foregad, for she's as slippery as ice, tho' not quite so cold;—she is the very standard of true modern coquetry, the quintessence of the beau-monde, and the completest example of New-York levity, that New-York has the hanor to call its beautiful inhabitant: ha, ha,—she'll jilt you;—however, the dear creature, with all her amiable foibles, has been so profuse of her attention to me, that I should be ungrateful not to acknowledge the various favours she has hanor'd me with.

Loveyet. Consummate impudence! [Aside.]—Miss Trueman's character is well known, sir.

Worthnought. Miss Trueman's character! Demme, sir, do you mean to say anything against her character?

Loveyet. No;—and I will take care you shall not, with impunity.

Worthnought. You are the most unmannerly fellow I ever convers'd with, 'pan hanor.[Pg 392]

Loveyet. And you the most contemptible puppy; or that fellow would be unmannerly enough to chastise you for your insolence.

Worthnought. That's a demnable rub, demme;—curse him, I'm afraid he isn't afraid of me, after all. [Aside.]—You wou'd find me as brave as yourself then; demme, but you wou'd.

Loveyet. I'll try you. [Offers to cane him, which makes him cry out.—Then enter Harriet, hastily.]

Harriet. Oh, dear!—what's the matter?

[Seeing Charles, she shrieks.

Loveyet. My dearest,—my adorable Harriet!

Harriet. Is it possible? I did not dream that Mr. Loveyet was the person who wanted to see me.

Loveyet. And am I again blest with a sight of the dear object of all my wishes and affections!—I thank you, heaven; you have been bountiful, indeed! The rolling billows, under your propitious guidance, have at length wafted me to my native land, to love and my dear Harriet.

Worthnought. What the devil does he mean!


Harriet. Your unexpected appearance, and the unaccountable circumstance which attends it, have discomposed me in such a manner, that I cannot express, as I wish, how happy I am in your safe arrival.

Worthnought. Hah,—happy in his arrival! If so, she will not be very happy in his rival, I'm afraid.


Loveyet. I will explain the occasion of my charmer's fright immediately;—at present I can only tell you that your wou'd-be lover, here—

Harriet. My lover!

Loveyet. So he confidently call'd himself, and took such other insufferably vain and impudent freedoms with your name, that I attempted to give him a little wholesome admonition with this, if his effeminate cries had not brought my lovely Harriet in to prevent me; but the very attempt has proved him to be the basest of dastards. [While he is saying this, Worthnought makes several attempts to interrupt him.]

Harriet. [To Worthnought.] I am equally surpriz'd and incens'd, sir, that you would dare to take such freedoms with my name.

Loveyet. Be assured, Miss Harriet, if you condescend to grant your valuable company to such superficial gentry, they will[Pg 393] ever prove themselves as unworthy of it as he has; but your goodness does not let you suspect the use which such characters make of the intimacy they are honour'd with, or you would spurn their unmeaning flattery, and ridiculous fopperies, with indignation.

Harriet. I ever till now consider'd him as a respectful, well-meaning person, as far as regarded myself; and as such, gave him a prudent share of my civilities; but I never thought either his intellects or his person sufficient to entitle him to a partial intimacy.

Worthnought. You cannot deny, madam, that I have repeatedly experienced the most flattering proofs of your partiality, that a lady (who values her reputation) can ever bestow on her admirer.

Harriet. Contemptible thing! An admirer, forsooth! Of what?—Your ideas are too mean and frothy to let you admire anything but my dress, or some other trifle as empty and superficial as the trifler I am speaking to. My demeanour towards you was nothing but the effect of cheerfulness and politeness; qualities which, I believe, are inherent in me, and of which, therefore, all with whom I am acquainted are the objects; but your present unmanly and insupportably impudent discourse, makes me despise myself almost as much as you, for allowing such a wretch even that small degree of attention which he so illy deserved.

Worthnought. You are very insulting, madam, 'pan hanor.—

Loveyet. How apt such fellows are to have honour in their mouths.


Worthnought. This is only a trick to conceal your inconstancy during his absence; but it is the nature of the sex to deceive us.

Harriet. 'Tis the nature of a fool to say so; and if that fool does not instantly quit the subject and the house together, I must request the favour of Mr. Loveyet to make him.

Loveyet. "As matters are circumstanced, Mr. Worthnought, I think it is not worth your while to stay."

Worthnought. Her unparallel'd rudeness shall not compel me to leave the house, till I please.

Loveyet. "Oh, fie, sir,—you would not force a lady to give you her company against her inclination."[Pg 394]

Worthnought. You are very fond of echoing my words, it seems.

Loveyet. Yes, when I can apply them to your disappointment and disgrace.—"I am monstrously chagrin'd, sir, 'foregad, that I have it not in my power to introduce you to the divine mistress of my heart." Ha, ha, ha.

Worthnought. 'Tis very well,—I will have revenge;—if the laws of politeness (which I would rather die than infringe) did not forbid swearing before a lady [In a contemptuous tone.], curse me, but I would d——n you for a—

Loveyet. [Interrupting him.]—"You must know, sir, I have the hanor and felicity of being this lady's very humble admirer."—You have failed in your predictions, I think, sir.

Worthnought. Yes, and she shall soon pay for her duplicity; tho' I would not have you think that her ill usage mortifies me in the least: I never was in love with her, nor did I ever intend marriage, which is more than she can say; and, I believe, it is fortunate for us both, that you arriv'd when you did, or something might have happened, which would have obliged me to marry her, merely to prevent her from being miserable.—Ha, ha, ha. Tol lol, &c.


Harriet. What a superlative wretch!

Loveyet. He is too contemptible to cost you a thought, Harriet:—none but the puppy tribe, and a few splenetic old maids, will pay any attention to his slander; they, no doubt, will spread it with avidity;—but to be traduced by such, is to be praised.—Hah!—there comes my father;—I forgot to tell you I expected him here: I will try if he knows me.

Enter Old Loveyet.

Old Loveyet. Madam, your most obedient;—Sir, your servant.

Loveyet. [Bows.] I find he does not know me:—Nature, be still; for now I feel he is indeed my father.

Harriet. Mr. Loveyet, I am happy to see you.

Old Loveyet. She would not be quite so happy, if she knew my errand. [Aside.]—I have waited on you, madam, upon disagreeable business.

Harriet. How, sir?—I beg you will not leave me in suspense: What is it?[Pg 395]

Old Loveyet. It is a matter of a delicate nature, madam, and therefore, must not be spoken at random.

Loveyet. Heaven avert any unfavourable event!


Harriet. Mr. Loveyet, your cautious innuendoes give me sensible uneasiness.

Loveyet. I will withdraw, Miss Trueman;—My love—friendship, I would say, though it wishes to afford you happiness, and participate in your troubles, does not presume to intrude on the private conversation Mr. Loveyet wishes.

Harriet. I dare say your presence is no restraint, sir.

Old Loveyet. I don't know that, madam: pray, who is the gentleman?

Harriet. The gentleman is my very particular friend, sir.

Old Loveyet. By my body, here is rare work going on.—[Aside.]—Well, madam, as the gentleman is your very particular friend; and as his love—friendship, I mean, is so great, that you dare to entrust all your secrets with him; I shall acquaint you, that, as you and my son have long entertained a partiality for each other, and being desirous to fulfill all my engagements, as well as to make him happy, I have wrote for him to come and conclude the marriage; but, for very good reasons, I have this day determined to forbid the bans; and Mr. Trueman says, he is very willing too.

Loveyet. Hah!—what can all this mean?


Old Loveyet. You must know, madam, your father has us'd me very ill; and—to be plain with you, madam, your familiarity with this person, convinces me you wou'd have play'd the fool with my son, without my breaking the match. Ugh, ugh.

Loveyet. The old gentleman imagines I am going to cut myself out, it seems.

[Aside to Harriet.

Harriet. You do not know who this is, sir, or you would not put any improper constructions on the friendly freedom you have observ'd between us.

Loveyet. True; and, therefore, you need not be concerned at what he says.—Since he has made this unlucky resolution, he must not know who I am.

[Aside to Harriet.

Old Loveyet. How well she dissembles!—Friendly freedom,—a pretty term that, for the wanton hussy. [Aside.]—I wish Charles was here now; he wou'd acknowledge his father's kindness in preventing a match, which, I am sure, would end in sorrow and disappointment.[Pg 396]

Loveyet. I doubt that much.—This parent of mine is a singular character.

[Aside to Harriet.

Harriet. It is necessary you should be made acquainted with some of his oddities: his most striking peculiarity is a desire to be thought younger than he is; and, I dare say, some remark of my father, respecting his age, is the only cause of his present ill humour.

Old Loveyet. Look how they whisper!—well, she is the most brazen coquette I ever knew!—Yes, yes, now her scandalous conduct is glaring enough. [Aside.]—I wish you and your very particular friend, a good day, madam.


Harriet. I think our troubles increase fast: how unlucky, that this dispute should happen at the very crisis of your arrival;—an event which we fondly expected would be attended with the most pleasing circumstances.

Loveyet. Those fond expectations, my lovely partner in trouble, shall soon be realized;—this is only the momentary caprice of old age.

Harriet. You must take care not to talk of age, before him.

Loveyet. Yes, my fair monitor; I shall think of that: and now permit me, in my turn, to give you a little advice.—In the first place, I would have you go to your father—fall at his feet—clasp your fair hands, thus—beseeching him in such terms as that gentle heart is so well form'd to dictate, and persuading him with the all-prevailing music of that tuneful voice, to recall his rigourous intention, nor doom such angelic goodness and beauty to despair, by persisting to oppose an alliance which alone can make you blest; and without which, the most faithful of lovers will be rendered the most wretched one on earth. I shall take a similar method with my old gentleman, and I think I can insure myself success.

Harriet. This is all very fine; but—to have the voluntary consent of the parent one loves,—how infinitely more agreeable! I would not offend mine, for the world: and yet—

Loveyet. And yet you will be obliged to offend him, by having me, eigh?

Harriet. Pshaw;—how strangely you misconstrue my meaning: I was going to observe, that I expect his obstinacy and pride will prove invincible, in spite of all the rhetoric you are pleased to ascribe to me.[Pg 397]

Loveyet. Then we will employ a little rhetoric, against which another class of fathers are not quite so invincible.—Parsons are plenty, you know; and Gold and Silver are persuasive little words. Love inspires me with the spirit of prophecy, and tells me I shall soon with propriety call the loveliest of her sex, mine.

Harriet. You are very eloquent, Mr. Loveyet: I do not think the subject merits so many florid speeches.

Loveyet. Not merit them!—

'Tis not in human language, to define
Merit so rare, and beauty—so divine!
Then what avails this little praise of mine?

Harriet. Harriet deserves not praise so great as thine.


End of the Third Act.


Scene I. Trueman's House.

Trueman [solus].

I sincerely lament this unfortunate dispute.—I know Harriet loves that young fellow, though he has been so long absent; and, therefore, I regret it; for, to what end do I live but to see her happy!—But I will not give way to his father;—perhaps he may think better of the matter, for I know him to be of a placable nature, though passionate;—and yet he seems to be inflexible in his resolution.

Enter Humphry.

Humphry. Sarvint, Mr. Schoolmaster;—here's a challenge for you.

[Gives Trueman the barber's note.

Trueman. A challenge! Surely the old blockhead would not make himself so ridiculous.

Humphry. Yes, it's for that;—I remember he said you call'd him a blockhead.

Trueman. You may go and tell him I advise him to relinquish his knight-errant project, or I will expose his absurdity by taking the advantage which the law offers in such cases.

Humphry. That is, you'll take the law of him, if he goes for to fight you.[Pg 398]

Trueman. Fight me!—Oh, grovelling idea! Wit-forsaken progeny of a more than soporific pericranium! Fight me!—Hear and be astonished, O Cicero, Demosthenes, Socrates, Plato, Seneca, Aristotle,—

Humphry. Oh, for shame!—Do you read Haristotle?

Trueman. Be it known to thee, thou monstrous mass of ignorance, if such an uninformed clod, dull and heavy as that element to which it must trace its origin, can comprehend these very obvious and palpable truths, expressed in the most plain, simple, easy, unscholastic diction.—I repeat again, that you may apprehend me with the greater perspicuity and facility,—be it known to thee, that those immaculate sages would have died rather than have used such an expression; by the dignity of my profession, they would:—'tis true that the ancients had such things as single combats among the Olympic games, and they were always performed by the populace; but such a fight, alias a tilt, a tournament, a wrestle, could not, according to the rule of right, and the eternal fitness and aptitude of things, be properly denominated a bona fide fight; for, as I before observed, it was ipso facto, a game, an Olympic game.—Olympic, from Olympus.

Humphry. Pray now, Mr. Schoolmaster, if a body mought be so bold, what do you think of the last war? Does your Schoolmastership think how that was a fona bide fight?

Trueman. You are immensely illiterate; but I will reply to your interrogatory.—My opinion of the late war, is as follows, to wit.—Imprimis. The Americans were wise, brave and virtuous to struggle for that liberty, independence and happiness, which the new government will now render secure. Item. The Americans were prodigious fortunate to obtain the said liberty, independence and happiness. A war, encounter, combat, or, if you please, fight like this, is great and glorious; it will immortalize the name of the renowned Washington,—more than that of Cincinnatus, Achilles, Æneas, Alexander the Great, Scipio, Gustavus Vasa, Mark Anthony, Kouli Khan, Cæsar or Pompey.

Humphry. Cæsar and Pompey! Why them is nigers' names.

Trueman. O tempora! O mores!

Humphry. He talks Greek like a Trojan.—Tempora mores;—I suppose how that's as much as to say, it was the temper of the Moors, that's the nigers, for to be call'd Cæsar and Pompey.—I guess how he can give me the exclamation of that plaguy word.—Con—let me see [Spells it in the manner he did before.][Pg 399]—Please your worshipful reverence, Mr. Schoolmaster, what's Latin for Constitution?

Trueman. To tell you what is Latin for Constitution, will not make you a particle the wiser; I will, therefore, explain it in the vernacular tongue.—Constitution then, in its primary, abstract, and true signification, is a concatenation or coacervation of simple, distinct parts, of various qualities or properties, united, compounded, or constituted in such a manner, as to form or compose a system or body, when viewed in its aggregate or general nature. In its common, or generally received, acceptation, it implies two things.—First, the nature, habit, disposition, organization or construction of the natural, corporeal, or animal system.—Secondly, a political system, or plan of government. This last definition, I apprehend, explains the Constitution you mean.

Humphry. Like enough, but I don't understand a single word you've been a talking about.

Trueman. No! 'Tis not my fault then:—If plainness of language, clearness of description, and a grammatical arrangement of words will not suffice, I can do no more.

Enter Old Loveyet listening.

Humphry. I mean the Constitution that you read in the newspapers about; that that your worship was a going to get at loggerheads with old Mr. What's-his-name, about.

Loveyet. I'll old you, you rascal!

Trueman. Did you never hear your friends in the country talk of the new Constitution?

Humphry. Not I, I never heard anybody talk about it, at the Pharisee's Head;—I don't believe Jeremy Stave, the clark of the meeting-house, no, nor Parson Thumpum himself ever heard of such a word—No, not even old Mr. Scourge, the Schoolmaster.

Trueman. A hopeful genius, for a Schoolmaster, upon my education. Do you send him to me,—I'll qualify him for that important station.

Humphry. And I'll be qualify'd I never larnt such a word when I went to his school.

Trueman. Nor any other one, I believe, properly speaking.

Humphry. Oh yes, I'll say that for him;—he us'd to take a great deal of pains for to larn us proper speaking.

Trueman. The Constitution you hear so much noise about, is a new government, which some great and good men have lately[Pg 400] contrived, and now recommend for the welfare and happiness of the American nation.

Loveyet. Oh, the traitor!

Humphry. But didn't old Mr. What's-his-name say, how they wanted for to make slaves of us?

Loveyet. There's old Mr. What's-his-name, again.

Trueman. Mr. Loveyet is a weak man;—you must not mind what he says.

Loveyet. Oh, I shall burst!

Trueman. Only think now of his sending me a challenge, because I told him he was sixty odd years of—

Loveyet. [Running towards them.] Death and the devil! Have I sent you a challenge?

Humphry. No, not you, old gentleman.

Loveyet. I'll give you old gentleman.—Take that, for calling me old again. [Offers to strike him; but missing his blow, he falls down.] Oh, what an unlucky dog I am! My evil genius is certainly let loose today.

Trueman. Let us coolly enquire into this enigmatical affair, Mr. Loveyet. [Breaks open the note, and reads.] What is all this?—Booby—blockhead—satisfaction—challenge—courage—honour—gentleman—honour'd per Monsieur Cubb.

Humphry. Aye, that's I.

Trueman. And pray, Mr. Cubb, who gave you this pretty epistle?

Humphry. Why, mounsieur, the barber.

Trueman. By the dignity of my profession, it must be so:—Now there's a solution to the enigma.—Mr. Loveyet, you will excuse my mistaking this business so much;—the paltry Frisieur never enter'd my head;—you recollect I gave him a little flagellation this morning.

Loveyet. Yes, and I recollect the occasion too;—this confounded upstart Constitution (that cause of all my crosses and troubles) is at the bottom of every mischief.

Trueman. Yes, your wou'd-be Constitution, has indeed done a deal of mischief.

Loveyet. I deny it;—it is perfectly inoffensive and mild.

Trueman. Mild, indeed:—happy would it be for America, if her government was more coercive and energetic!—I suppose you have heard that Massachusetts has ratified this upstart Constitution;—this is the sixth grand column in the federal edi[Pg 401]fice; we only want three more to make up the lucky nine; and then the nine Muses will make our western world their permanent abode; and he who is at once their Favourite and Patron, will preside over the whole: then we shall see another Golden Age; arts will then flourish, and literature be properly encouraged. That's the grand desideratum of my wishes.

Loveyet. A fig for your Latin and your literature!—That's the way your unconstitutional Constitutionalists take the advantage of our weak side, and—

Trueman. And the said weak side being easily discovered, as you have but one side,—go on, sir.

Loveyet. And cram their unconstitutional bolus down our throats, with Latin;—you and your vile junto of perfidious politicians want to Latin us out of our liberties.

Humphry. Well, why don't they take the law of the pollikitchens then, eigh?

Trueman. Mr. Loveyet, I never knew a man of your age and wisdom—

Loveyet. Age, sir!—Wisdom!—Yes, wisdom, sir.—Age again, eigh? Ugh, ugh.

Trueman. Was there ever such preposterous behaviour!—You are getting as crazy as your favorite Constitution.

Loveyet. You are crazier than either, you old blockhead, or you would not make such a crazy speech: I say my constitution is a thousand per cent. better than yours. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Trueman. A pretty figure for a good constitution! What a striking instance of health, youth, and beauty! How emblematically grotesque! The very image of deformity and infirmity! A perfect mirror for Milton's description of Sin and Death.

Not Yorick's skull, nor Hamlet's ghost,
Nor all the tragic, stage-made host;
With saucer eyes, and looks aghast,
Would make me run away so fast:
Not all who Milton's head inspire,—
"Gorgons and Hydras and Chimæras dire!"
Nor haggard Death, nor snake-torn Sin,
Look half so ugly, old and thin;
No—all his hell-born, monstrous crew,
Are not so dire a sight as you!
[Pg 402]

[While Trueman is saying this, Loveyet appears to be in a violent rage, and makes several attempts to interrupt the former, who shuns Loveyet, as if afraid.]

Loveyet. Fire and murder!—Must I bear to be held up for such a monster? Perdition!—What shall I do? What shall I say?—Oh! oh! oh!—Oh! liberty! Oh, my country! Look how he ridicules me!—Did ever any poor man suffer so much for the good of his country!—But I won't give up the glorious cause yet;—sir,—Mr. Trueman—I insist upon it, the new Constitution, sir,—I say, that the old—the new—that—that—'Zounds and fury!—

[Running towards him, and making an attempt to strike him.

Trueman. My dear Mr. Loveyet, compose yourself a little;—for heaven's sake, sir, consider;—your animal Constitution is not able to withstand the formidable opposition of my political one;—the shock is too great;—let me persuade you, sir; and as soon as nine States accede to the adoption of the new Constitution, we will investigate the merits of the old. Ha, ha, ha.

[This speech and the preceding one, are to be spoken at the same time; during which, Trueman and Loveyet run about the stage, and Humphry retreats from them as they approach him.]

Enter Harriet alarmed.

Harriet. Oh, Papa,—my dear Papa, what's the matter!

Loveyet. And, sir, as sure as—as—eight times nine is sixty-three, your new government is not bottom, not sound; and—

Trueman. And as sure as you are sixty-three, your head is not sound.

Loveyet. Here is your incomparable daughter;—I came here to acquaint you of her scandalous conduct; but now she can save me that trouble.

Trueman. How, sir! My daughter's scandalous conduct?

Loveyet. I was going to tell you. I caught her with a strange gallant,—a "very particular friend;" whose "love,—friendship, I would say," was so sincere, that she was kind enough to grant him a little "friendly freedom," in my presence.

Trueman. Heaven protect me! There certainly must be something in this.


Loveyet. And that I have received a letter from my son.

Humphry. Aye, now he's his son again.


Loveyet. And that he will be here soon, and that when he comes, I am going to marry him to Miss Maria Airy.[Pg 403]

Humphry. I must go tell Mr. Lovit of that, at once.

[Aside, and exit.

Loveyet. And—but it is no matter now:—I suppose she will tell you a fine story of a cock and a bull.

Harriet. I shall not be base enough to deceive a father, I give you my honour, sir.

Loveyet. I am very much mistaken if you have not given that to somebody already:—A woman's honour is a very perishable commodity; a little thing often spoils it.

Harriet. By what a feeble tenure does poor woman hold her character and peace of mind!—It is true, sir, that a woman's reputation is too frequently, with ruffian cruelty, blasted in the bud, without a cause; and that so effectually, that it seldom or never flourishes again; but let me remind you, sir, in the words of the poet, that—

"Honour's a sacred tie, the law of kings;—
It ought not to be sported with."

Loveyet. I say it ought to be sported with; and, by my body, 'tis capital sport, too;—eigh, Horace?—[Sings.]—"Then hoity toity, whisky frisky, &c."

Trueman. A truce to your insipid, hard-labour'd wit: the honour you are pleased to call in question, is not an empty name which can be purchased with gold; it is too inestimable to be counterpoised by that imaginary good; otherwise the titles of Honourable and Excellent would be always significant of his Honour's or his Excellency's intrinsic worth;—a thing "devoutly to be wish'd," but unfortunately too seldom exemplified; for, as the dramatic muse elegantly says of money,—"Who steals my purse, steals trash."

Loveyet. I deny it;—the dramatic muse, as you call him, was a fool:—trash indeed! Ha, ha, ha. Money trash! Ready Rhino trash! Golden, glittering, jingling money!—I'm sure he cou'dn't mean the hard stuff.

Trueman. Very sublime conceptions, upon my erudition; and expressed by some truly elegant epithets; but your ideas, like your conscience, are of the fashionable, elastic kind;—self-interest can stretch them like Indian-rubber.

Loveyet. What a stupid old gudgeon!—Well, you'll believe what I tell you, sooner or later, Mr. Schoolmaster; so your servant:—as for you, Miss Hypocrite, I wish your Honour farewell, and I guess you may do the same.


[Pg 404]

Trueman. These insinuations, Harriet, have put my anxiety to the rack.

Harriet. I am happy I can so soon relieve you from it, sir. Young Mr. Loveyet arrived this morning; but, it seems, the old gentleman has entirely forgot him, during his long absence; and when he heard his father's resolution, in consequence of the dispute he had with you, he did not think proper to make himself known. It was this which made him think me so culpable, that you hear he talks of marrying him to my friend Maria.

Trueman. I see into the mistake; but the worst construction the affair will admit, does not justify his using you so indecently; and, if it were not for the more powerful consideration of a daughter's happiness, I would make him repent it.

Harriet. I have ever found my honoured, my only parent both wise in concerting plans for that daughter's happiness, and good in executing them to the utmost of his ability; and, I dare say, he does not think her alliance with Mr. Loveyet's son will prove unfavourable to her happiness.

Trueman. Far from it, my child:—Your unusual good sense makes a common-place lecture unnecessary, Harriet; but beware of flattery and dissimulation; for the manners of the present age are so dissolute, that the young fellows of these degenerate days think they cannot be fine gentlemen without being rakes, and—in short, rascals; for they make a merit even of debauching innocence:—indeed, that is scarcely to be wondered at, when so many of those who are called ladies of taste and fashion, strange as it may seem, like them the better for it;—but I hope, you and Mr. Loveyet are exceptions to such depravity.

Harriet. I think I can venture to assure you, we are, sir;—and now, if my father has nothing more to impart, I will take my leave of him; and be assured, sir, your advice shall be treasured here, as a sacred pledge of paternal love.—Adieu, Papa.

Trueman. Farewell, Harriet;—Heaven prosper your designs.

[Exeunt severally.

Scene II. A Street.

Enter Humphry and Worthnought meeting.

Worthnought. Sir, your most obedient.

Humphry. Here's that mackmarony again.


Worthnought. I have not the honour to know your name, sir, but if you will inform me what you were whispering with Mr.[Pg 405] Loveyet about, you will make me the most obsequious and devoted of your slaves.

Humphry. My slave!—Why, I wou'dn't have you for a slave, if you was to pay me for it;—with your silk sattin breeches, and your lily white gloves, and your crimp'd up toes, and your fine powder'd calabash, that's so smart outside.

Worthnought. You entirely mistake my meaning, friend;—I'm a man of quality.—Do I look like a servant, a hireling, a vile menial?

Humphry. No, you look more like a dancing-master, a fighting-master, or a play-actor, or some such flashy folks; but looks is nothing, for everybody dresses alike nowadays; like master, like man, as the old saying is; ecod, you can't tell a Congressman from a marchant's 'prentice, everybody dresses so fine.

Worthnought. Ha, ha, ha,—he is pasitively a very eccentric bady, and there is a small tincture of a barbarous sart of wit in what he says; but it wants an immensity of correction, an infinitude of polishing; he is a mere son of nature, everything he says is express'd in such a Gathic, uncouth, Anti-Chesterfieldian style; and as for his dress, it is pasitively most prepasterously clownish and original.

Humphry. Why he talks as many long-winded, old-fashioned words, as the Schoolmaster.

Worthnought. Mr.—Mr.—Pray what is your proper name, besides Humphry? Your sirname, I mean.

Humphry. My proper sirname is Humphry Cubb; why our family is the most largest family within the circumroundibus of fifty miles, and the most grandest too, tho' I say it that shou'dn't say it; for my father's father's great-grandfather was a just-ass of the peace, when King George the third was a sucking baby, and, therefore, as father says, a greater man then, than he was, ha, ha, ha. And his great aunt, by his mother's side, had the honour to be chief waiting woman to Mynheer Van Hardsprakencrampdejawmetlongname, the Dutch governor's public scratchetary; but I needn't go so far back neither, for I've got, at this present time, no less than two second cousins; one of 'em is soup-provider for the county, and t'other belongs to the liglislature, and both belonging to our family too;—both Cubbs.

Worthnought. Yes, the world abounds with Cubbs, just such unlick'd ones as you are;—there is a profusion of them in[Pg 406] this city.—You must know, I am Dick Worthnought, esquire; a gentleman, a buck of the blood, and a—you understand me.

Humphry. Why, your family must be as big as mine, then; for I've seen hundreds of such Worth-nothing bloody bucks as you, since I've been in town.

Worthnought. Your criticisms are perfectly barbarous and disagreeable, 'foregad; but,—will you let me know what you and the West-India young gentleman were whispering about, at Miss Trueman's?

Humphry. Yes.—You can have Miss Trueman now, if you've a mind.

Worthnought. Can I? Only prove your words, and enroll me your everlasting, your indissoluble friend, demme.

Humphry. Friend me none of your friends; I don't want such everlasting friends as you, d'ye see, becase why, if you never make a beginning with your friendship, I'm sure it can't be everlasting; and if you've got a mind to shew your friendliness, I'm sure you cou'dn't have a more fitter time than now.

Worthnought. What wou'd the addity have me say, I wonder.

Humphry. I wou'dn't have you say anything,—you talk too much already, for the matter o' that; I like for to see people do things, not talk 'em.

Worthnought. There [Gives him money.]—is that what you want?

Humphry. Aye, I thought you understood me well enough.—Your friendship wants as much spurring and kicking and coaxing as our lazy old gelding at home;—I wou'dn't trust such a friend as far as I cou'd fling a cow by the tail.

Worthnought. Poh, poh,—to the point, to the point.

Humphry. Why, then you must know, how old Mr. Lovit is a going for to marry the West-Indian young gentleman to young Mistress Airy, I think he call'd her; and so you can go try Mistress Harriet yourself, for I'm sure she won't have him now.

Worthnought. Why, pray?

Humphry. Why if she gets him, she'll get a bastard, for old Mr. Lovit isn't his father.

Worthnought. No?

Humphry. No;—and then he and the Schoolmaster kick'd up a proper rumpus about a challenge I fetch'd him; and that's[Pg 407] all the news you'll get for your money.—A poor shilling that won't buy ale to my oysters to-night.


Worthnought [manet].

This is a lucky meeting, 'foregad;—I'll go immediately and report, that young Loveyet has of late seen my quondam charmer carry a copy of him in miniature about her, which (strange to tell) is continually growing nearer to the life; and that he refuses to have her, on that account.—"If she gets him, she will get a bastard."—By which I choose to understand,—matters have gone so far, that she cannot save herself from that disgrace, even if she marries him.—Now, in order that this tale of mine may transpire briskly, I must first see some of my tattling female friends;—they will set it a going like wild-fire.—Split me, but it is an excellent thought;—ha, ha, ha. Poor Loveyet.


Scene III. Herald's House.

Enter Cantwell and Herald.

Cantwell. I am very happy to find you home;—I was almost eat up with the vapours before I saw you. [Sighs.]—Well, what's the news, Miss Herald?

Herald. Nothing strange, Miss Tabitha; I am as barren of anything new, as an old Almanack.

Cantwell. Oh shocking!—"as barren of anything new."—What an odious expression!—The most vulgarest comparison in nature.

Herald. Umph.—I suppose, if Mr. Gracely was here, you would not be so much in the dumps.

Cantwell. Ah, Miss Herald!—If you felt the corruptions of your wicked heart, you would be in the dumps too, as you call it.


Herald. I believe there is a certain corruption in your heart, which our sex are apt to feel very sensibly, and that is the want of a husband.

Cantwell. The want of a husband!—I vow, you are monstrous indelicate, Miss Herald; I am afraid you are wandering from the paths of vartue, as dear good Mr. Gracely says.

Herald. There comes his very reverse,—Mr. Worthnought.

Cantwell. Ah, he is a profane rake; he is lighter than vanity, as Mr. Gracely says;—a mere painted sepulchre.[Pg 408]

Herald. That ancient sepulchre of yours is pretty much daub'd, I think.


Enter Worthnought.

Worthnought. Ladies, J'ay bien de la joye de vous voir. I have the supernal and superlative hanor and felicity, of being most respectfully yours.

Cantwell. I hope I have the pleasure to see Mr. Worthnought well.

Worthnought. Là, Là, Mademoiselle; assez bien: Je vous suis obligé.—She has reviv'd her wither'd chaps with rouge in a very nasty manner, 'pan hanor. [Aside.]—Have you heard the news, respecting Miss Harriet Trueman, ladies?

Cantwell. Yes, now I think on 't, there is a report about town, that old Mr. Loveyet saw her and another rather familiar together.

Worthnought. Oh, you have not heard half, madam.

Cantwell. Do, let us hear, Mr. Worthnought.

Herald. Aye, do; but do not say anything that will hurt Miss Tabitha's delicacy; for, before you came in, I was complaining that I was barren of anything new, and she was almost ready to swoon at the expression.

Worthnought. If Miss Tabitha has such an antipathy to barrenness, she will not be offended at my subject, which is a very prolific one, I assure you; for Miss Trueman is on the verge of bearing a son.

Cantwell. Oh, horrid! What will this wicked world come to at last!—A good-for-nothing, wanton hussy.

Worthnought. Very true, madam:—by persons of easy notions of virtue, indeed, it would be considered a trifling faux pas, as the French call it; a perfect bagatelle; or, at most, a superficial act of incontinency; but to those who have such rigid notions of virtue as Miss Cantwell, for example, or Miss Herald, or their humble servant; it appears quite another thing, quite another thing, ladies:—though it is one of my foibles;—I own it is a fault to be so intalerably nice about the affairs of women; but it is a laudable imperfection, if I may be allowed the phrase;—it is erring on the safe side, for women's affairs are delicate things to meddle with, ladies.

Cantwell. You are perfectly in the right, Mr. Worthnought, but one can't help speaking up for the honour of one's sex, you know.[Pg 409]

Worthnought. Very true, madam:—to make the matter still worse, ladies, Mr. Loveyet is just arrived from abroad to be married to her; and the old gentleman is going to ally him immediately to Miss Maria Airy in consequence of it.

Herald. I am glad of that, however;—I will forgive Miss Trueman her failing, if that is the case, for then I shall have a better chance to gain Frankton.


Worthnought. But this is entre nous, ladies.—[Looks at his watch.] Hah,—the tête-à-tête!—Ladies, I have the hanor to be your slave.


Cantwell. You are positively the greatest lady's man, Mr. Worthnought,—

Worthnought. I am proud of your compliment, madam; and I wish Miss Tabitha could consider me such, from her own experience; it would be conferring the highest hanor on her slave, 'pan hanor.

Cantwell. Oh, sir,—your politeness quite confuses me.


Worthnought. Miss Herald, your thrice devoted.—Mademoiselle, je suis votre Serviteur très humble.

Cantwell. Mr. Worthnought, your servant.—[Exit Worthnought.]—Don't you think he is a very pretty fellow, Miss Herald?—He's the very pattern of true politeness; his address is so winning and agreeable,—and then, he talks French, with the greatest felicity imaginable.

Herald. I cannot say I see many perfections in him; but you talk'd very differently just now;—Mr. Worthnought then was lighter than vanity; and now, it seems, he has more weight with you, than good Mr. Gracely.

Cantwell. You are only mortify'd that Mr. Worthnought took so little notice of you, ma'am; you see he prefers me to you, though you value yourself so much upon being a little young, ma'am; you see men of sense don't mind a few years, ma'am; so your servant, ma'am.


Herald [manet].

What a vain old fool! Now will she make this story of her swain spread like a contagion: as for me, I must circulate it pretty briskly too; perhaps, it may make me succeed better with Frankton; otherwise the poor girl might lie in peaceably, for me.


[Pg 410]

Scene IV. Old Loveyet's House.

Old Loveyet discovered solus.

Enter Charles Loveyet.

Charles. Mr. Loveyet, your most obedient.

Loveyet. Sir, your servant.

Charles. Don't you know me, sir?

Loveyet. Yes, I think I have seen you before.

Charles. You really have, sir.

Loveyet. Oh, yes, I recollect now;—you are the person who have supplanted my son.

Charles. Indeed, sir, I am not that person.

Loveyet. How!—Was you not with Harriet Trueman, this morning?

Charles. Yes, sir; but I have no intention to supplant your son, I assure you; on the contrary, it is the supreme wish of my heart, that his love may be rewarded with so rich a treasure as the amiable Harriet.

Loveyet. He shall be rewarded with a much richer one, if he is wise enough to think so.

Charles. If it be wisdom to prefer another to Harriet, then may I ever remain a fool!


Loveyet. But pray, sir, what is your business with me?

Charles. My business is first to know if you have any objection to my marrying Miss Trueman, sir.

Loveyet. What a paradoxical fellow this is! [Aside.]—Did not you this minute say, you did not intend to have her?

Charles. I did not, sir; I mean to have her if possible, and that without disappointing your son; but I shall explain myself better, by telling you who I am. Look at me well, sir—did you never see such a face before?

Loveyet. I hope I am not talking to a lunatic! [Aside.]—Yes, I saw you this morning.

Charles. Did you never see me before that, sir?

Loveyet. [Looks at him steadfastly.] Yes,—I'm sure I have; and I'm very much mistaken, if—yes, that reconciles all his strange conduct;—it must be so;—it is Charles himself.

Charles. My father!

[Embracing him.

Loveyet. And are you indeed my son?

Charles. I hope I am, sir; and as such, I thus kneel to obtain forgiveness for deceiving you so.


[Pg 411]

Loveyet. Rise up my lad;—by my body, I am rejoic'd to see you;—you did take your father in a little, to be sure; but never mind it;—I'll take you in another way, perhaps.

Charles. I wish you would take me in the matrimonial way, sir;—that would be a most agreeable take in.

Loveyet. Well, well, we shall not disagree about that:—I am very happy this affair clears up Harriet's conduct so well; she is a fine girl, that's certain; and, if you love her as much as you formerly did, why—I don't know what I may not do.

Charles. Oh, sir, you make me unspeakably happy! If my Love is to be the condition of the welcome Bond, I do not care if it is executed to-morrow; for, were the penalty an age of love, I am sure I could pay it.

Loveyet. By my body, I'll have a wedding soon, and a merry one too:—I'll go and make it up with old Trueman;—but then he must not talk of the Constitution.—That's true, Charles, what government are you for, eigh?—The old or the new?

Charles. Sir?

Loveyet. I say, which Constitution do you like best?

Charles. What the mischief shall I say!—Now Love befriend me. [Aside.] Since you seem desirous of knowing my opinion on this subject, sir; I must candidly tell you, I am decidedly in favour of the new Constitution.

Loveyet. Hah—the new Constitution!—A good-for-nothing, corrupted, aristocratic profligate!—But you shall not have her now; that is as fixed as fate.

Charles. Oh, cruel event! How soon all my towering hopes fall prostrate in the dust!—Do, sir, try and think better of the matter;—I will promise to make myself think or do anything you please, rather than have the double misfortune to offend my father, and lose my Harriet.

Loveyet. Base foe to the liberties of his country!

Charles. It is very strange, sir, that you should be so violent about such matters, at your time of life.

Loveyet. Hah! do you dare?—Yes, he wants to provoke me still more;—to talk to me about my time of life! Why, I'm not old enough for your father, you great whelp you:—Ungracious young bastard,—to have the assurance to ridicule his father!—Out of my house, you 'scape-grace!

Charles. Unnatural usage for so trivial an offense!—But I obey you, sir: I'll remain no longer in the house of a father, who[Pg 412] is so destitute of a father's feelings; and since I see you value my happiness so little, sir, I shall not think myself undutiful, if I take some necessary steps to promote it myself.

Loveyet. Out of my house, I say!—Promote your own happiness, forsooth; did you ever know any one to be happy without money, you fool?—And what will you do, if I don't choose to give you any, eigh?

Charles. As well as I can:—I have a few of your unnecessary thousands in my hands, thank fortune;—I'll try if they will not befriend me, if their avaricious owner, and my unnatural parent will not.

[Aside, and exit.

Loveyet. My time of life, indeed.—Provoking profligate!—I'll give Miss Airy all I'm worth, if she'll consent to have him;—the graceless fellow has us'd me so ill, that he shall be punish'd for it.


End of the Fourth Act.


Scene I. A Street.

Enter Young Loveyet, Humphry, and a Negro with a trunk on his head.

Loveyet. Did you hear him say so?

Humphry. Yes; he said how he was intend you should have Miss Mary Airy, or Airy Mary, or some such a name.

Loveyet. Say you so, father?—I believe I shall do myself the pleasure to baulk you. I want you to go a little way with my man; but you will be sure to make no mistake.

Humphry. No, no, never fear me; I an't so apt for to make blunders as you.

Loveyet. [Looking at his watch.] 'Sdeath! I should have been with her half an hour ago.—I know I can depend on you. Here, Cuffy, go with this gentleman.

Humphry. Why, if I am a gentleman, Mr. Cuffy needn't give himself the trouble;—I can carry it myself.

Cuffy. Tankee, massa buckaraw; you gi me lilly lif, me bery glad;—disa ting damma heby. [Puts down the trunk.]—An de debelis crooka tone in a treet more worsa naw pricka pear for poor son a bitch foot; an de cole pinch um so too![Pg 413]

Loveyet. No, no, you shall carry it;—your head is harder than his.

Humphry. To be sure, my head is a little soft.

Loveyet. You must let him take it to number two hundred and twenty-one, Broadway;—will you remember the direction?

Humphry. Yes, number two hundred and twenty-one, Broadway.

Loveyet. Right;—and enquire for Mr. Frankton, and tell him who it is from.

Humphry. Aye, aye, let me alone for that.

[Exit, with Negro.

Loveyet [manet].

I think I am even with the old gentleman now;—but I lament the necessity of this conduct; and, if a man could eat and digest matrimony, without a little matter of money, I would forgive my unreasonable father, with all my heart; and he might eat his gold himself; though, by the bye, this sum of money, in equity and good conscience, is mine.—Now he wants to cross my inclination, by making me the rival of my friend;—what a strange whim! But if I don't trick him out of his project and his money too, it shall not be my fault.


Scene II. Mr. Friendly's House.

Harriet [solus].

Notwithstanding the arrival of Charles, and the happy result of the interview with my father, my mind is not at ease;—these strange rumours must have some foundation;—one says he is married to Maria; another says, he is discovered to be illegitimate; a third reports, he was found in company with a woman of ill fame; and to conclude the catalogue of evil tidings, a fourth says, that old Mr. Loveyet is going to disinherit him, in consequence of his having made him a grandfather, since his arrival.—But here he comes.

Enter Young Loveyet.

Loveyet. She seems very thoughtful;—perhaps, she too has been unfortunate in her suit to her father;—or, what is far worse, perhaps,—but I will not cherish such gloomy apprehensions.—Your servant, madam.

Harriet. Good day, Mr. Loveyet.—"Your servant, madam!"—What a stoical salutation! I fear there is too much truth in what I have heard.


[Pg 414]

Loveyet. You seem unusually serious, Miss Harriet: I hope Mr. Trueman has not proved relentless as you expected.

Harriet. No sir; it gives me pleasure to acquaint you, my father was all kindness and forgiveness.

Loveyet. I wish I could say so of mine;—he indeed was kind and forgiving too at first; but no sooner had I begun to anticipate approaching happiness, than one luckless circumstance deprived me of all that love and hope had inspired.

Harriet. An unlucky circumstance, indeed; but would the disappointment really be so great, if you were obliged to give up the thought of an alliance with me?

Loveyet. How, Miss Harriet! Give up the thought of having you!—By heaven, it must be so!—Yes, the beau would never have presumed to say so much if it were not so;—and Frankton's ambiguous account of them both, confirms the suspicion;—and then the extravagant encomiums he bestowed on her yesterday.—Confusion! my fears were just, though he ridicul'd me for exposing them.—But she must not see my anxiety.


Harriet. If my doubts are well founded, he must be an adept in the art of dissimulation. I will try him a little farther.—[Aside.] What think you, Mr. Loveyet, of our New-York beauties? Have not the superior charms of so many fine women, been able to overcome such old-fashioned notions as constancy and priority of affection?

Loveyet. I have beheld their beauty with equal pleasure and astonishment; and the understanding, the affability, and vivacity, by which strangers, with so much propriety, characterize my fair countrywomen, give them a pre-eminence over the ladies of most other countries, that is highly gratifying to a mind already so much attached to its native city, by the most endearing of all human ties;—they are all that the warmest, the most luxuriant fancy can wish; beautiful—almost beyond the possibility of an increase of charms; and—I had almost said, they furnish room for love and warm conceptions, "even to madness!"

Harriet. I am in doubt no longer;—such passionate expressions must have Love for their prompter.


Loveyet. My friend Frankton extolled them highly; but his description derogates from their desert;—you, too, he praised;—I listened to him—with unspeakable delight, and believed him with all the ardour of faith and expectation; for I could readily believe that, which I had so often, so sweetly experienced;—but[Pg 415] when you last blest my eyes with that enchanting form, how was the idea exceeded by the reality!—To do justice to such perfection, the praises I this minute bestowed on the ladies I have seen, would be spiritless and insufficient!—To charms like Miss Harriet's, what hermit could remain insensible!—I was not insensible;—the tender passion, I began so early to entertain; a passion, which length of absence, and a succession of objects and events, had rendered too dormant, was then excited to sensations the most exquisitely sensible;—was then taught to glow with a flame, too fervent to be now suppressed!

Harriet. Were I but sure of his sincerity!


Loveyet. With what indifference she hears me!—If she is so insensible to the genuine effusions of a heart like mine, I am lost indeed! But I will try a little deception to discover the truth. [Aside.]—What a lovely picture Mr. Frankton drew of Miss Airy! But it was not too highly finished; for a thousand Loves and Graces have conspired, to make her the most accomplished of her sex.

Harriet. My pride shall not let him triumph over my chagrin. [Aside.]—I know Miss Airy to be as accomplished as you represent her, sir: and Mr. Frankton gave such a lovely description of her, you say;—I dare say he did;—oh,—yes—yes [Appears disconcerted, by striving to hide her concern.]—he loves her to distraction;—Mr. Frankton has doubtless made a wise choice.

Loveyet. By all that's false, she is concerned at Frankton's having praised his mistress! She absolutely loves him!


Harriet. And you have seen the amiable Miss Airy, sir.

Loveyet. Forgive me, honour and veracity. [Aside.]—Yes, Miss Trueman; and not without a deep sense of her uncommon worth and beauty.

Harriet. I admire your discernment, sir;—Mr. Frankton, too, is a very nice judge of female merit; and he cannot evince his judgment better, than by praising my friend Maria.

Loveyet. Pardon me, madam: with submission to your friend's merit, I think his panegyric would better apply to you.

Harriet. That compliment is too great, to be meant, I fancy.

Loveyet. I rather think, you value the author of it so little, that you would as soon he should withhold it, madam.

Harriet. Certainly, sir, when I have reason to think there is another who has a better right to it, and for whom it is secretly intended.[Pg 416]

Loveyet. You wrong me much, madam:—some tattling gossip or designing knave, has whispered some falsehood to my prejudice;—probably my rival,—Mr. Worthnought.

Harriet. If you have come here with a design to use me ill, sir, I beg you will tell me so, and then I shall act accordingly.

Loveyet. Your actions accord very illy with your professions, I think, madam.

Harriet. Your duplicity, sir, both in word and action, justifies my retorting that ungenerous accusation.

Loveyet. I entreat you to believe me, Miss Harriet, when I say, I am unconscious of having done anything I ought to be ashamed of, since my arrival: I am so confident of this, that the circulation of a malicious rumour, however dishonourable to me, would give me little disquiet, did I not reflect, that it is the object of Harriet's credulity;—a reflection, that is the source of real unhappiness to me:—be kind then, Harriet, and tell me wherein I am guilty;—obscurity in a matter so interesting, gives more torture to the mind, than the most unwelcome truth.

Harriet. He must be sincere. [Aside.]—Your request shall be comply'd with, sir.—The principal offence you are charged with, is your having been smitten by the lady, on whom you have bestowed such liberal commendation;—be that as it may, I heard Mr. Loveyet talk of such a match:—I believe it will require a more able advocate than yourself, to defend this cause.

Loveyet. Suppose I assure you, on the sacred honour of a gentleman, that what you have heard is false;—suppose I add the more important sanction of an oath, to seal the truth.

Harriet. I will save you that trouble:—you have an advocate here, which has already gained your cause.

Loveyet. Oh, Harriet, you are too good!—Conscious as I am of the rectitude of my conduct, as it respects my Harriet;—sure as I am of not deserving your displeasure, I still feel myself unworthy of such matchless goodness.

Harriet. You say too much; and compel me to tell you that you merit my highest esteem.

Loveyet. Esteem! What a cold epithet!—And am not I entitled to something more than esteem?

Harriet. Excuse the poverty of the expression; and be assured, my heart dictated a more exalted word;—let this confession atone for the fault.[Pg 417]

Loveyet. And yet I would fain attract your esteem too; for, I have heard connoisseurs in the science of Love say, it is possible to love an object, and that to distraction, without having a particle of esteem for it.

Harriet. I have assured you that my esteem is at least equalled by a more passionate affection:—but how strangely you talk!—First you acknowledge yourself unworthy of my favour;—then you are alarmed that I should only esteem you; and when I talk of a passion, superior to mere Platonic love, you are afraid, on the other hand, it is a blind, enthusiastic impulse, not founded on esteem.—How inconsistent are lovers!

Loveyet. Your reasoning, like your person, surprises, charms and subdues:—I will be more consistent;—but our contention is only for pre-eminence in love;—delightful emulation! Agreeable inconsistency!

Harriet. I am now ashamed of my childish suspicions; but I should not have been so credulous, had it not been for an affection, which rendered my better judgment blind to the fallacy, and made me more apprehensive of your inconstancy, than satisfied of your innocence; and this disposed me to misinterpret every thing you said.

Loveyet. And your apparent indifference, in consequence of that misinterpretation, excited similar suspicions in me; and thus, mutual distrust produced mutual misapprehension.

Harriet. But you have not told me the particulars of your interview with old Mr. Loveyet.

Loveyet. Were you to hear those particulars, they would only afford you pain;—'tis sufficient for me to tell you, he has turned me out of his house, only because I told him, I was a friend to the new Constitution, forsooth.

Harriet. He is a strange character:—when I call'd on my father, I was alarmed to find them at high words;—and he abus'd me most unmercifully.

Loveyet. He did? 'Tis well for him he has call'd himself my father;—but if my Harriet consents, I will immediately put myself in a situation that will justify my preventing his future ill usage:—Fortune has enabled me to act independent either of his frown or his favour;—I have taken such measures, in consequence of his base usage, as will guard us against the effects of the one, without obliging us to cringe for the other.[Pg 418]

Harriet. I am happy to hear it; but affluence is not my object, nor poverty my dread; and I am happy I can convince you how little I desire an alliance for interest, by now tendering you the whole of my trifling fortune, in case your father should deprive you of yours.

Loveyet. Charming Harriet! Miracle of disinterested love! Thus let me evince my gratitude.

[Kneels, and kisses her hand.

Harriet. Pray do not worship me, Mr. Loveyet; I am less generous than you imagine;—self-love is at the bottom of this noble declaration; for if I did not suppose you capable of making me happier than any other man, I would keep both my fortune and my person, to myself.

Loveyet. Better and better!—Your explanation gives me new reason to adore such uncommon worth, and makes me blest beyond measure! By heaven, New-York does not contain such a fortunate fellow!

Enter Frankton.

Harriet. [Seeing Frankton.]—Ha, ha. You could not say more, if you were addressing my friend Maria.

Loveyet. Talk not of your friend Maria,—

Harriet. You talked enough of her perfections just now, for both of us.

Frankton. He did, eigh?


Loveyet. I spoke of her as I thought she deserv'd; she is a lovely creature, but—but [Sees Frankton.]—Frankton!

Frankton. I hope Miss Trueman will excuse my coming in so abruptly:—I have been looking for Mr. Loveyet, all over the city; at last I concluded, I might find him here.

Harriet. Really sir; and pray, what made you conclude so?

Frankton. I thought it was within the compass of probability, madam.

Loveyet. Perhaps it was the lady you wanted to see so much, Frankton;—that she might be here, was certainly within the compass of probability.

Frankton. Had I then known what I have discovered since, I should have looked for you at some place not very distant from the lady, whose perfections you have been contemplating with so much admiration; for by Miss Harriet's account, you have seen her, perhaps, more than once.[Pg 419]

Loveyet. I saw her yesterday, and was charmed with her beauty.—Whenever I am betrayed into one falsehood, I am obliged to support it with twenty more.


Harriet. It is really so, sir;—he was enraptured with her idea just now.—I fear your friend is your rival, sir.

Loveyet. And I fear my friend is my rival, madam.

Harriet. Nay, what cause have you for such a fear?

Loveyet. About as good as you have, my dear.—I am glad you came in when you did, Frankton; for you must know, we have had certain mutual doubts and jealousies; in consequence of which, a little ill-natured altercation, otherwise called love, ensued: a small foretaste of conjugal felicity; but the short-liv'd storm soon subsided, and a reconciliation made all calm again.

Frankton. I have something to say to you in private, Loveyet. [Aside to Loveyet.]—I am sorry to deprive you of Mr. Loveyet's company, madam; but I trust you will excuse me, when I tell you I have particular business with him.

Harriet. By all means, sir.

Frankton. Your most obedient, madam.

Loveyet. [Goes up to Harriet.]—Adieu;—expect me soon, and be assured of my unalterable fidelity.

[Exit with Frankton.

Harriet. Farewell.—I wish he had look'd for you a little farther, before he had taken you away.—There are so many captivating objects in the city (as he has already seen and declared), and dissipation abounds so much among us, that who knows, if he is now sincere, how long he will remain so;—and how long after marriage:—"Ah, there's the rub."—Well, matrimony will put his constancy to the test, that's one comfort;—it is a hazardous expedient, but it is a certain one.

Scene III. A Street.

Enter Frankton and Young Loveyet.

Loveyet. He denounces perpetual enmity against me; threatens me with beggary, and (what is worse) resolves to prevent my union with Harriet, and thus blast all my hopes; but I shall take care to disappoint his views;—I have just sent the most valuable part of my property to—

Frankton. Hah! There goes Miss Airy, I believe:—pray excuse me, Charles; perhaps she has observed me. You have eased my mind of its doubts, and your resolution has made your friend happy.—Adieu.

[Exit in haste.

[Pg 420]

Loveyet [manet].

A plague take your hurry, I say:—In the very moment of my telling him about sending the money to his house, he must conceit he saw Miss Airy;—but he has not received it yet, or he would have told me.—I hope Humphry has made no mistake;—I must see about it immediately.


Scene IV. The Street before Maria's House.

Enter Humphry and Negro with a trunk.

Humphry. This here is the house, I warrant you;—these crooked figures is enough for to puzzle a lawyer.—He said number two hundred and twenty-one:—two two's and a one stands for that, and there it is. [Knocks,—Servant comes out.] Does one Mr. Frankton live here, pray?

Servant. No;—he is here pretty often though, and I expect he will live here altogether, by and by.

Humphry. Aye, I suppose he's only a lodger;—yes, this must be the place.

Servant. 'Tis not the place you want, I believe.—Mr. Airy lives here.

Humphry. Mr. Airy! Aye, aye, now I've got it.—Here, Mr. What-d'ye-call'um, will you please to tell Miss Mary, somebody wants for to speak to her. [Exit Servant.] Now I've found out the mistake;—since I told him how the old man was a going for to marry him to Miss Mary, he thought he must obey the old fellow, for fear he shou'dn't let him have any of his money, and she's got a swinging fortune, they say; so he sent the trunk to her.—But what shou'd he tell me to take it to Mr. Frankton's for?—Why I suppose he thought I should find him here, for the man says he's here very often:—and then the number on the door; why, that settles the matter at once,—there can't be two numbers alike, in the same street, sartainly:—Yes, he's made one of his old blunders.

Servant returns.

Servant. Please to walk in, sir.

Humphry. Aye, aye;—here, master Cuffy, this way.

[They go in.

[Pg 421]

Scene V. A Room in Maria's House.

Maria and Old Loveyet discovered sitting.

Loveyet. It certainly is a mistake, madam; I have sent nothing out of my house to-day.

Maria. He said it was from Mr. Loveyet, sir.—I confess I could not conceive what could induce you to send me a trunk of money.

Loveyet. Who brought it, madam?

Maria. A clownish kind of person, sir,—a countryman, I believe.

Loveyet. Ah, now I begin to suspect something.—What a sad rascal!—want to cheat his father! But this lucky mistake will spoil his project.


Maria. You are striving to unravel the mystery, sir.—I am afraid the man has made some serious mistake.

Loveyet. No matter,—it could not have come to a more suitable place; for, now it is here, it shall be yours, if you will consent to a proposal I have to make to you; for I have discovered it to be my property, after all.

Maria. If I can with propriety consent to anything you may propose, I will, sir;—but I hope you do not think either your or your son's money will tempt me.

Loveyet. No, madam,—that is to say, I dare say it will not tempt you to do anything that is wrong;—but money is a tempting thing too,—though not quite so tempting as Miss Maria.—Hem, hem.—There was a delicate compliment for her!


Maria. Mercy on me! What can the ugly old mortal mean! It cannot be possible he would have the vanity to propose his odious self.


Loveyet. You must know, madam, my son has lately arrived from the West-Indies—

Maria. Really?—You rejoice me, sir.—Happy, happy Harriet!

Loveyet. Not so happy as you imagine, madam; for she is not to have my son, I assure you; I intend a lady of greater beauty and merit for him, who is not very far from me now,—provided she and her father have no objection.—There I put it home to her [Aside.]. Ugh, ugh.

Maria. I fear there is something in this rumour about Harriet.


[Pg 422]

Loveyet. Come, shall it be so, eigh?—Well, silence gives consent.—I know you can't have any particular objection. I must have you for a—Ugh, ugh, uh.

Maria. I must humour this joke a little. [Aside.]—The honour you wish to confer on me, is so great, Mr. Loveyet, that I want words to express a suitable acknowledgment;—but what will the world say, when a gentleman of Mr. Loveyet's sedateness and experience stoops to a giddy girl like me?

Loveyet. By my body, she thinks I want to have her myself.—Why, what a lucky young dog I am! I wish old Trueman was here now;—'ods my heart, and my life, and my—ugh, ugh,—but I must talk the matter over coolly with her. Hem, hem. [Aside.]—Oh, you dear little charming, angelic creature;—I love you so much, I cou'd find in my heart to—'Zounds! I cou'd eat you up.—By my body, but you must give me a sweet kiss. [Offers to kiss her.] 'Sblood! I can't bear it any longer. [Snatches a kiss.]—Ugh, ugh.

Maria. What a preposterous old dotard! [Aside.]—You will excuse me, Mr. Loveyet; I have company waiting for me.

Loveyet. By all means, my blossom;—it goes to my very heart to part with you, though;—but go to your company, my love, go, go.—I wou'dn't disoblige you, nor put the least thing in your way, for the seraglio—of the Grand Seignior. You may give up the trunk to my son now, if he calls for it, my love. [Exit Maria.] Oh, what a dear creature! Such sweet lips,—such panting, precious, plump, little—oh, I cou'd jump out of my skin at the thoughts of it!—By my body, I must have her, and poor Charles may have Harriet, for all.—A fig for both the Constitutions now, I say; I wou'dn't give my dear little Maria for a score of them.


Scene VI. A Street.

Enter Young Loveyet.

I wish I could find that fellow;—I cannot think he has been treacherous;—but it is very strange, neither he nor my man have returned yet:—I am tired of seeking Frankton too;—since he made free to call at Harriet's for me, I think I will go to Miss Airy's for him: they say she lives near by. [Enter Humphry.]—Well, sir, what have you done with the trunk?[Pg 423]

Humphry. Why, what you told me, to be sure. I've been a making your man Cuffy drunk, with some of the money you give me; but he's 'most sober now.

Loveyet. Did you see Mr. Frankton?

Humphry. No; but I carried the trunk to his lodgings though: I was just a going to Mr. Airy's, to see if I cou'dn't find you there.

Loveyet. Mr. Airy's?

Humphry. Aye,—where Mr. Frankton lodges; number two hundred and twenty-one;—there it is before your eyes.

Loveyet. That is number one hundred and twenty-two;—you did not carry it there, I hope.

Humphry. Yes I did.—Why isn't that the place?

Loveyet. Confound your dull brains!—Did you not enquire who liv'd there?

Humphry. Yes, Mr. Airy lives there.

Loveyet. What a strange circumstance!—You are sure Mr. Airy lives there.

Humphry. Sure and sartin;—why I see the young lady you're a going to be married to, and I give her the trunk; for I think the sarvint said how Mr. Frankton lodg'd there.—I hope there's no harm done.

Loveyet. I hope so too;—I must step in, and see; but this is the last time I shall send you with a message.

[Goes in.

Humphry. Like enough, for I'm a going home in the country to-morrow.


Scene VII. Trueman's House.

Enter Trueman [reading a letter].

This is very unaccountable;—Richard Worthnought, eigh:—I wish, Mr. Worthnought, you had been at my school a while, before you scrawl'd this wretched epistle:—but the subject is still more unintelligible.

Enter Worthnought.

Worthnought. Mr. Trueman, I am yours.

Trueman. I deny it.—Heaven forbid, such a thing as you should be either mine or my daughter's!

Worthnought. I should not gain much credit by the alliance, I believe.—You have received my letter, sir, I presume.[Pg 424]

Trueman. I think you presume—rather more than becomes you, sir.

Worthnought. I find, the foolish old Put don't like me. [Aside.]—I am sorry you do not approve of my offer; but, but—a—rat me, but I must have her, for all that. Ha, ha, ha;—'foregad, I must, old gentleman.

Enter Old Loveyet.

Loveyet. But I say you shall not have her, sir;—there, I suppose you will have the impudence to call me old gentleman next.

Worthnought. Demme, sir; what have you to do with his daughter?

Loveyet. Nothing; but my son has something to do with her: ha'n't he, friend Horace?

Trueman. Heyday! what does all this mean?—Has any State rejected the new Constitution?

Worthnought. Come, let's have no palitics, for gad's sake;—rat the canstitution:—I wou'dn't give une Fille de joye, for all the musty canstitutions in christendom.

Trueman. By the dignity of my profession, you never read Publius then; or you would have liked one constitution.

Worthnought. Publius! ha, ha, ha.—I read Publius! Not I, sir, I assure you:—an outré fellow,—a dull, mysterious, mechanical writer, as ever I refused to read, split me.

Loveyet. So he is, so he is, sir: by my body, I am glad to find somebody of my mind.

[Trueman and Loveyet retire to the back of the stage.

Enter Frankton and Humphry.

Frankton. You saw him go into Miss Airy's house, this morning, you say.

Humphry. Yes.

[Walks thoughtlessly about the stage.

Frankton. I think, this is a tolerable confirmation of the matter.


Worthnought. Hah,—Frankton;—'foregad, I am yours, superlatively.

Frankton. Are you, positively? Hah,—she is here. [Enter Maria, on the opposite side.] Your humble servant, Miss Airy.

Maria. [Pretends to take no notice of Frankton.] Mr. Trueman, I hope I have the pleasure to see you well.[Pg 425]

Trueman. I thank you, madam. [Resumes his discourse with Loveyet, who does not yet observe Maria.]

Maria. I hoped to have found Miss Harriet here, sir.

Trueman. Madam?—

[Turns to Loveyet again.

Loveyet. Therefore, sir, as I was telling you, I am determined to have her.

[To Trueman.

Trueman. [Leaving Loveyet.] How is this, madam?—Mr. Loveyet tells me, he is determined to have you.

Frankton. Who! How!—Have who, sir?

[Loud and earnestly.

Loveyet. [Seeing Maria.] By my body, there she is herself.—Have who, sir?—Why, have this lady, sir; who do you think?—My sweet Miss Airy, I have the transcendent pleasure to kiss your hand, ugh, ugh.

Maria. Oh, fie, Mr. Loveyet.—I will have the pleasure to tease Frankton, now. [Retires with Old Loveyet, whispering, and looking tenderly at him.]

Frankton. Amazement!—The old fellow!


Worthnought. This is all very astanishing, 'foregad:—demme, but she deserves to die an old maid, if she has him.


Maria. [Pretends to observe Frankton, for the first time.]—Mr. Frankton!—I did not observe you before: I give you joy of your friend's arrival, sir;—I suppose you have seen him;—he is very agreeable.

Frankton. Then I need not ask you, if you have seen him, madam.

Maria. He was at my house not two hours ago.

Frankton. Did not you see him before that, madam?

Maria. I did not, sir.

Frankton. Detested falsehood!


Maria. The old gentleman acquainted me of his arrival, only a few minutes before.

Loveyet. Eigh, how,—old gentleman!—she did not mean me, I hope.


Frankton. And you think Mr. Loveyet is so agreeable then.

Loveyet. Aye, that's me;—by my body, he is jealous of me. Ha, ha; poor young fool!


Frankton. He thinks very highly of you, I assure you, madam; he speaks of you with admiration.[Pg 426]

Maria. And what of that, sir?—You speak as if you thought him my only admirer.


Frankton. Disgusting vanity! [Aside.]—No, madam,—the number of your admirers is at least equal to that of your acquaintance;—but there is only one, who sincerely loves, as well as admires you.

Loveyet. Come, come, sir; none of your airs, sir:—love her indeed;—why—why, she don't love you.

[Ogling and winking at her, &c.

Worthnought. Ha, ha, gudgeons all, demme;—old square toes is cursedly bit; I see that.


Maria. Mr. Loveyet, I return'd the trunk to your son.

Humphry. His son.—Ha, ha.

Loveyet. Yes, yes, he told me so just now:—the poor dog was ready to jump out of his skin, when I told him he should have Harriet.

Enter Cantwell and Herald.

Worthnought. Oh, the devil!—Now shall I be blown up, like a barrel of gun-powder.


Cantwell. Servant, gentlemen and ladies.—How is your daughter, Mr. Trueman? I hope she is likely to do well.

Trueman. I hope she is, madam; it is a match which we all approve.

Cantwell. No, no, sir; I mean concerning her late affair.

Herald. Why, young Loveyet certainly would not stoop so low, as to have her now.

Trueman. 'Zounds! Why not, pray?

Loveyet. What, in the name of ill luck, can they mean!—I hope, I—oh, there they come.

Enter Harriet and Charles Loveyet.

Cantwell. Oh, dear, here they are;—why she don't look as if that was the case.

[To Herald.

Trueman. I desire, ladies, to know what you mean, by these mysterious whispers.

Cantwell. La! sir; you only want to put a body to the blush; but if you want an explanation, that gentleman [Pointing to Worthnought.] can give it to you.

Charles. The villain! [Aside.]—I fancy I could explain it as well.[Pg 427]

Worthnought. Hem, hem,—now comes on my trial.


Charles. But first,—your blessing, sir.

[Kneels to his father.

Harriet. And yours, sir.

[Kneels to Trueman.

Loveyet. What,—married already!

Charles. This ten minutes, sir.


Cantwell   Married!

Worthnought. Then my ill-star'd fortune is decided.


Trueman. Upon my erudition, you have been too precipitate, Harriet; but I have no reason to think, you will repent it; you, therefore, have my sincerest benediction.

[Raising her.

Maria. I give you joy, my dear.

[To Harriet.

Frankton. Now all my fears have vanished.

[Aside, and goes to Young Loveyet.

Loveyet. By my body, you have made quick work of it, Charles.

Charles. For fear of the worst, I have.


Loveyet. But—but are you in favour of the new Constitution yet?

Charles. At present I can think of no Constitution but that of Love and Matrimony, sir.

Loveyet. And I shall be sorry if your matrimonial Constitution does not prove the better one of the two.—Eigh, Maria?

Worthnought. Dick Worthnought, esquire, thou art an ass and a liar; and, what is worse than both,—as poor as poverty. Oh, Fortune, thou blind disposer of human events, when wilt thou make a man of me?

[Going angrily.

Charles. Stay a little, if you please, sir.—My happiness is too great at present, to let me take that revenge, which the baseness of your conduct deserves: but justice bids me accuse you of having wickedly, and without cause, endeavoured to injure the reputation of this lady, whom it is my highest boast and felicity now to call my wife; my making her such, however, at the very time when the baneful tongue of Slander is so diligent to damn her spotless fame,—[Looking significantly at Cantwell and Herald.]—will at once convince the public of her innocence, and the cruelty of her enemies. With her, you have also injured her connexions; but I, for my own part, am fully satisfied with those symptoms of shame and repentance, which you now evince.[Pg 428]

Trueman. Upon my education, I did not think him susceptible of either.—A few minutes ago, I received this audacious epistle from him.

"Sir, I have the honour to—acquaint you—that I have an inclination—to marry your daughter,—notwithstanding—the late scandalous—reports that are transpiring to her disadvantage, and (what is still worse) the—comparative meanness—of her fortune to mine."—The comparative meanness of her fortune to mine.

Harriet,   Ha, ha, ha.

Worthnought. Never was put so much to my trumps, 'foregad.


Herald. Unmannerly wretches!

[Scornfully, and exit.

Cantwell. Oh, the wickedness of this wicked world!

[Exit after her.

Loveyet. Why, this is just as it should be now;—I think business goes on finely.

Maria. You will not think so, much longer.


Loveyet. By my body, I am as merry as a cricket;—an't you, Maria? For my part, I feel so well pleased, I could find in my heart to—to do as you have done;—[To Charles.] cou'dn't you, my love?

[To Maria.

Maria. Yes, sir.

Loveyet. Oh, you dear little rogue! With whom, eigh, with whom?—Don't be bashful,—tell them.—I know she means me.


Maria. I beg to be excused from telling that, sir; but I will tell you who it is I would not have.

Loveyet. Aye, that's him.—[Aside, looking at Frankton.]—Well, who is it you won't have, Maria, who is it?

Maria. You, sir.


Loveyet. Me, eigh?—me—me, Maria?

Charles. Preposterous infatuation!

Loveyet. D——'d, wanton, treacherous jilt!

[Walks about discomposed.

Maria. You have jilted yourself, sir;—nothing but excess of dotage and self-conceit could have let you impose on yourself in such a manner.[Pg 429]

Frankton. And may I then hope—

Maria. Hope?—Oh, yes, sir;—you have my permission to hope for anything you please.

Charles. And you, madam, the disposition to gratify his hopes, I fancy.

Loveyet. I fancy you lie, sir; and you sha'n't have Harriet, for your impertinence.

Charles. Excuse me, father;—it is not in your power to prevent that;—the happy deed is already executed.

Loveyet. 'Zounds! that's true!—and, what is still worse, the other deed is executed too.—Fire and fury! All is lost, for the sake of that inveigling, perfidious young Syren. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Trueman. [Burlesquing what Loveyet has said in a former scene.] "'Sdeath, sir! I tell you I am but two and forty years old: she sha'n't be more than thirty odd, sir; and she shall be ten years younger than I am too.—A man of five and forty, old, forsooth!" Ha, ha, ha.

Loveyet. Perdition! Is this what I have come to at last?—Despis'd,—betray'd,—laugh'd at,—supplanted by a puppy,—[Pointing to Frankton]—trick'd out of my money by a graceless, aristocratic son,—I—I'll—I'll go hang myself.

[Exit in a passion.

Humphry. This is, for all the world, like the show I see t'other night, at the Play-house.

Charles. His agitation of mind distresses me: my happiness is not complete, while it is enjoyed at the expense of a father's:—painful reflection!—We will go immediately, Harriet, and endeavour to pacify him.

His conduct shall instruct the hoary Sage,
That youth and beauty were not meant for age;
His rage, resentment, av'rice, dotage, pride,
(Sad view of human nature's frailest side!)
Shall mend us all;—but chiefly I shall prove,
That all his Politics, can never match my Love.

The End.


General: Variable hyphenation of mack(-)marony and to(-)day as in original.

Page 353: Politican corrected to Politician.

Footnote 2: Geneological as in original text (twice).