The Project Gutenberg EBook of Wild Oats, by John O'Keeffe

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Title: Wild Oats
       or, The Strolling Gentlemen

Author: John O'Keeffe

Release Date: March 6, 2012 [EBook #39060]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Delphine Lettau and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Canada Team at





























With a double respect for talents, and for misfortune, these remarks are begun.

The present comedy is written by O'Keeffe, who saw not the traces of his pen as he marked the paper; whose days pass away, uncheered by the sun or any visible object; but whose mind supports with resignation his bitter calamity, and is enlightened by imagination, whilst his eyes are shut in utter darkness.

Were each close imitator of an author's style punishable by law, like the perpetrator of other wrongs, Mr. O'Keeffe might have been an independent, though not a happy man; for that source of a new kind of mirth, termed by some exquisite nonsense, of which he was the first discoverer, made the town so merry, that, like good wine, he might have sold it at any price; but this rich juice of hilarity, polluted by the false spirit of imitation, at length gave a stupor to those, whom the beverage had before revived; and the pure and the adulterated became distasteful together.

This comedy is the only attempt of the author to produce a drama above opera and farce. His productions, in the latter species of writing, are perfect compositions: nothing of the kind can be superior to his "Agreeable Surprise," and his "Son-in-Law." He has a number of other farces of little less attraction; such as "Peeping Tom."—Another class after that, and each possessing infinite fancy, whim, and novelty. Still success did not follow all his productions: a few years past he wrote very frequently, and sometimes too hastily.

On the first night of representing any of those whimsical dramas, amidst loud peals of laughter at the comic dialogue or incidents, there was generally a most affecting spectacle behind the curtain. O'Keeffe, stone-blind, (not an affliction of birth, but of late years) led by his little son, as a guide, down to the stage-door—to the lock of which he would anxiously place his ear to catch the quickest information how his work was received—and when, unhappily hisses from the audience would sound louder than applause—in strong agitation he would press his hands to each side of his head, as if he had yet one sense too much. Thus he would remain, without sight or hearing, till some unexpected sally of humour in his drama once more put the house in good temper, and they would begin to laugh and applaud;—on which, his son, rapid as lightning, would pull him by the elbow, and cry out, "Now, father, listen again."

"Wild Oats," would not disgrace an author of much higher pretensions in dramatic writing than Mr. O'Keeffe. There is great pleasantry throughout the play, many natural touches of simplicity, and some well-written dialogues and sentiments. The plot is interesting, the characters new, or at least in new situations, and the whole forms an evening's entertainment for an auditor of taste—such a one having at the same time in his memory, certain popular sentences from certain well-known comedies and tragedies: for without intimate acquaintance with all the quotations made use of by the hero of the piece, it must totally lose its effect, and this hero appear like a madman.

Perhaps, no comedy, on a first night, was ever more fortunate in a list of excellent comic actors to represent the characters.

Lewis, in Rover, fervid as usual, seemed so enamoured of his stage exploits, that every spectator forgave him his folly, for the bewitching ardour with which he pursued it.

In Ephraim, the quaker, the spirit moved Munden—as it always does—to act just as he should do.

Quick was on the London stage when this play was first performed, and though Sir George Thunder was by no means a part best suited to his abilities—yet Quick gave comic importance to all he undertook.

Mr. Thomas Blanchard, since dead, played the little part of Sim with wond'rous skill.

Mrs. Pope (once Miss Young) was excellent in Lady Amaranth.

And the silly Jane can never have so good a representative as Mrs. Wells.




Sir George Thunder Mr. Quick.
RoverMr. Lewis.
HarryMr. Holman.
BanksMr. Hull.
John DoryMr. Wilson.
Farmer GammonMr. Cubit.
LampMr. C. Powell.
Ephraim SmoothMr. Munden.
SimMr. Blanchard.
ZachariahMr. Rees.
MidgeMr. Macready.
TrapMr. Evatt.
TwitchMr. Rock.
LandlordMr. Powell.
Lady AmaranthMrs. Pope.
AmeliaMiss Chapman.
JaneMrs. Wells.
SCENE,—Part of Hampshire.








A Parlour in Lady Amaranth's House.

Enter John Dory.

John. Fine cruizing this! without flip or biscuit! don't know who's the Governor of this here fort; but if he can victual us a few—how hollow my bread room sounds! [Striking his sides.] I'm as empty as a stoved keg, and as tired as an old Dutchman—my obstinate master, Sir George, to tow my old hulk—aboard the house, ha, hoy!

Sir Geo. [Without.] John! John Dory!

John. [Sits.] I'm at anchor.

Enter Sir George Thunder.

Sir Geo. I don't know who's house we've got into here, John; but I think, when he knows me, we may hope for some refreshment—Eh! [Looking at John.] was not I your captain?

John. Yes; and I was your boatswain. And what of all that?

Sir Geo. Then how dare you sit in my presence, you bluff head?

John. Why, for the matter of that, I don't mind; but had I been your captain, and you my boatswain, the man, that stood by me at sea, should be welcome to sit before me at land.

Sir Geo. That's true, my dear John; offer to stand up, and, damme, if I don't knock you down—zounds! I am as dry as a powder match—to sail at the rate of ten knots an hour, over fallow and stubble, from my own house, but half a league on this side of Gosport, and not catch these deserters!

John. In this here chase you wanted the ballast of wisdom.

Sir Geo. How, sirrah! hasn't my dear old friend, Dick Broadside, got the command of the ship I so often fought myself—to man it for him with expedition, didn't I (out of my own pocket) offer two guineas over the king's bounty to every seaman that would enter on board her? Hav'n't these three scoundrels fingered the shot, then ran, and didn't I do right to run after them? Damn the money! I no more mind that than a piece of clinker; but 'twas the pride of my heart to see my beloved ship (the Eagle) well mann'd, when my old friend is the commander.

John. But since you've laid yourself up in ordinary, retired to live in quiet, on your estate, and had done with all sea affairs—

Sir Geo. John, John, a man should forget his own convenience for his country's good.—Though Broadside's letter said these fellows were lurking about this part of Hampshire, yet still it's all hide and seek.

John. Your ill luck.

Sir Geo. Mine, you swab?

John. Ay, you've money and gold; but grace and good fortune have shook hands with you these nineteen years, for that rogue's trick you play'd poor Miss Amelia, by deceiving her with a sham marriage, when you passed yourself for Captain Seymour, and then putting off to sea, leaving her to break her poor heart, and since marrying another lady.

Sir Geo. Wasn't I forc'd to it by my father?

John.—Ay; because she had a great fortin, her death too was a judgment upon you.

Sir Geo. Why, you impudent dog-fish!—upbraid me for running into false bay, when you were my pilot? Wasn't it you, even brought me the false clergyman that performed the sham marriage with Amelia?

John. Yes, you think so; but I took care to bring you a real clergyman.

Sir Geo. But is this a time or place for your lectures? At home, abroad, sea, or land, you will still badger me! mention my Wild Oats again and—you scoundrel, since the night my bedcurtains took fire, when you were my boatswain aboard the Eagle, you've got me quite into leading strings—you snatched me upon deck, and tossed me into the sea,—to save me from being burnt, I was almost drowned.

John. You would but for me—

Sir Geo. Yes, you dragged me out by the ear, like a waterdog—last week, 'cause you found the tenth bottle uncorked, you rushed in among my friends, and ran away with me; and, next morning Captain O'Shanaghan sends me a challenge for quitting the company, when he was in the chair! so, to save me from a headach, you'd like to've got my brains blown out.

John. Oh, very well; be burnt in your bed, and tumble in the water, by jumping into boats, like a tight fellow as you are, and poison yourself with sloe juice; see if John cares a piece of mouldy biscuit about it. But I wish you hadn't made me your valet de shamber. No sooner was I got on shore, after five years dashing among rocks, shoals, and breakers, than you sets me on a high-trotting cart horse, which knockt me up and down like an old bomb-boat in the Bay of Biscay, and here's nothing to drink after all! Because at home you keep open house, you think every body else does the same.

Sir Geo. Why, by sailing into this strange port, we may be more free than welcome.

John. Holla! I'll never cease piping, 'till it calls up a drop to wet my whistle. [Exit.

Sir Geo. Yes, (as John Dory remarks) I fear my trip through life will be attended with heavy squalls and foul weather. When my conduct to poor Amelia comes athwart my mind, it's a hurricane for that day, and turn in at night, the ballad of "Margaret and William," rings in my ear. [Sings.] "In glided Margaret's grimly ghost." Oh, zounds! the dismals are coming upon me, and can't get a cheering glass to—holloa!

Enter Ephraim Smooth.

Eph. Friend, what would'st thou have?

Sir Geo. Grog.

Eph. Neither man nor woman of that name abideth here.

Sir Geo. Ha, ha, ha! man and woman! then if you'll bring me Mr. Brandy and Mrs. Water, we'll couple them, and the first child probably will be Master Grog.

Eph. Thou dost speak in parables, which I understand not.

Sir Geo. Sheer off with your sanctified poop, and send the gentleman of the house.

Eph. The owner of this mansion is a maiden, and she approacheth.

Enter Lady Amaranth.

Lady Am. Do I behold?—It is! how dost thou uncle?

Sir Geo. Is it possible you can be my niece, Lady Maria Amaranth Thunder?

Lady Am. I am the daughter of thy deceased brother Loftus, called Earl Thunder, but no lady, my name is Mary.

Sir Geo. But, zounds! how is all this? Eh! unexpectedly find you in a strange house, of which old Sly here tells me you're the mistress; turned quaker, and disclaim your title!

Lady Am. Thou know'st the relation to whose care my father left me?

Sir Geo. Well! I know our cousin, old Dovehouse, was a quaker! but I didn't suspect he would have made you one.

Lady Am. Being now gathered to his fathers, he did bequeath unto me his worldly goods; amongst them this mansion, and the lands around it.

Eph. So thou becom'st and continue one of the faithful. I am executor of his will, and by it, I cannot give thee, Mary, possession of these goods, but on those conditions.

Sir Geo. Tell me of your thee's and thou's, quaker's wills and mansions! I say, girl, though on the death of your father, my eldest brother, Loftus, Earl Thunder, from your being a female, his title devolved to his next brother, Robert; though, as a woman, you can't be an earl, nor as a woman, you can't make laws for your sex and our sex, yet, as the daughter of a peer, you are, and, by Heaven, shall be called Lady Maria Amaranth Thunder.

Eph. Thou makest too much noise, friend.

Sir Geo. Call me friend, and I'll bump your block against the capstern.

Eph. Yea, this is a man of danger, and I will leave Mary to abide it. [Exit.

Sir G. 'Sfire, my lady—

Lady Am. Title is vanity.

Enter Zachariah.

Zach. Shall thy cook, this day, roast certain birds of the air, call'd woodcocks, and ribs of the oxen likewise?

Lady Am. All. My uncle sojourneth with me peradventure, and my meal shall be a feast, friend Zachariah.

Zach. My tongue shall say so, friend Mary.

Sir Geo. [Strikes him.] Sir George Thunder bids thee remember to call your mistress, Lady Amaranth.

Zach. Verily, George.

Sir Geo. George! sirrah, though a younger brother, the honour of knighthood was my reward for placing the glorious British flag over that of a daring enemy—therefore address me with respect.

Zach. Yea, I do, good George. [Exit.

Sir Geo. George and Mary! here's levelling, here's abolition of title with a vengeance!

Lady Am. Kinsman, be patient; thou, and thy son, my cousin Henry, whom I have not beheld, I think, these twelve years, shall be welcome to my dwelling. Where now abideth the youth?

Sir Geo. At the Naval Academy, at Portsmouth.

Lady Am. May I not see the young man?

Sir Geo. What, to make a quaker of him?—No, no. But, hold, as she's now a wealthy heiress, her marrying my son Harry, will keep up and preserve her title in our own family too. [Aside.] Would'st thou really be glad to see him? thou shalt, Mary. Ha, ha, ha! John Dory! [Calling.] Here comes my valet de chambre.

Enter John Dory.

John. Why, sir—such a breeze sprung up!

Sir Geo. Avast, old man of war; you must instantly convoy my son from Portsmouth.

John. Then I must first convoy him to Portsmouth, for he happens to be out of the dock already.

Sir Geo. What wind now?

John. You know, on our quitting harbour—

Sir Geo. Damn your sea jaw, you marvellous dolphin, give the contents of your logbook in plain English.

John. The young squire has cut and run.

Sir Geo. What?

John. Got leave to come to you: and master didn't find out before yesterday, that, instead of making for home, he had sheer'd off towards London; directly sent notice to you, and Sam has traced us all the way here to bring you the news.

Sir Geo. What, a boy of mine quit his guns? I'll grapple him.—Come, John.

Lady Am. Order the carriage for mine uncle.

Sir Geo. No, thank ye, my lady. Let your equipage keep up your own dignity. I have horses here; but I won't knock 'em up; next village is the channel for the stage—My lady, I'll bring the dog to you by the bowsprit.—Weigh anchor! crowd sail! and after him! [Exit.

Enter Ephraim. [Peeping in.]

Eph. The man of noise doth not tarry, then my spirit is glad.

Lady Am. Let Sarah prepare chambers for my kinsman, and hire the maiden for me that thou didst mention.

Eph. I will; for this damsel is passing fair, and hath found grace in mine eyes. Mary, as thou art yet a stranger in this land, and just taken possession of this estate, the laws of society command thee to be on terms of amity with thy wealthy neighbours.

Lady Am. Yea; but while I entertain the rich, the hearts of the poor shall also rejoice; I myself will now go forth into the adjacent hamlet, and invite all that cometh, to hearty cheer.

Eph. Yea, I will distribute among the poor good books.

Lady Am. And meat and drink too, friend Ephraim. In the fulness of plenty, they shall join in thanksgiving for those gifts of which I am so unworthy. [Exeunt.



A Road.

Enter Harry Thunder, and Midge follows,

Midge. I say, Dick Buskin! harkye, my lad!

Harry. What keeps Rover?

Midge. I'm sure I don't know. As you desired, I paid for our breakfast. But the devil's in that fellow; every inn we stop at, he will always hang behind, chattering to the bar-maid, or chamber-maid.

Harry. Or any, or no maid. But he's a worthy lad; and I love him better, I think, than my own brother, had I one.

Midge. Oh! but, Dick, mind, my boy.

Harry. Stop, Midge. Though 'twas my orders, when I set out on this scamper with the players, (the better to conceal my quality,) for you, before people, to treat me as your companion; yet, at the same time, you should have had discretion enough to remember, when we're alone, that I am still your master, and son to Sir George Thunder.

Midge. Sir, I ask your pardon; but by making yourself my equal, I've got so used to familiarity, that I find it curst hard to shake it off.

Harry. Well, sir, pray mind, that familiarity is all over now. My frolic's out, I now throw off the player, and shall directly return. My father must by this time, have heard of my departure from the academy at Portsmouth; and, though I was deluded away by my rage for a little acting, yet 'twas wrong of me to give the gay old fellow any cause of uneasiness.

Midge. And, sir, shall you and I never act another scene together? Shall I never again play Colonel Standard for my own benefit? Never again have the pleasure of caning your honour in the character of Tom Errand.

Harry. In future, act the part of a smart hat and coat brusher; or I shall have the honour of kicking you in the character of an idle puppy. You were a good servant; but I find, by letting you crack your jokes, and sit in my company, you're grown quite a rascal.

Midge. Yes, sir, I was a modest, well behaved lad; but evil communication corrupts good manners.

Harry. Begone, sirrah, 'till I call for you.

[Exit Midge, grumbling.

Harry. Well, if my father but forgives me.—This three month's excursion has shewn me some life, and a devilish deal of fun. For one circumstance, I shall ever remember it with delight. Its bringing me acquainted with Jack Rover. How long he stays! Jack! In this forlorn stroller, I have discovered qualities that honour human nature, and accomplishments that might grace a prince. I don't know a pleasanter fellow, except when he gets to his abominable habit of quotation. I hope he will not find the purse I've hid in his coat pocket, before we part. I dread the moment, but it's come.

Rover. [Without.] "The brisk li-li-lightening I."

Harry. Ay, here's the rattle. Hurried on by the impetuous flow of his own volatile spirits, his life is a rapid stream of extravagant whim; and while the serious voice of humanity prompts his heart to the best of actions, his features shine in laugh and levity. Studying Bays, eh, Jack?

Enter Rover.

Rover. "I am the bold Thunder."

Harry. [Aside.] I am, if he knew but all.—Keep one standing in the road.

Rover. Beg your pardon, my dear Dick; but all the fault of—Plague on't, that a man can't sleep and breakfast at an inn, then return up to his bedchamber for his gloves that he'd forgot, but there he must find chambermaids, thumping feathers and knocking pillows about, and keep one when one has affairs and business. 'Pon my soul, these girls' conduct to us is intolerable. The very thought brings the blood into my face, and whenever they attempt to serve, provoke me so, damme but I will, I will—An't I right, Dick?

Harry. No; "all in the wrong."

Rover. No matter, Dick; that's the universal play "all round the wrekin:" but you are so conceited, because, by this company you're going to join at Winchester, you are engaged for high tragedy.

Harry. And you for Rangers, Plumes, and Foppingtons.

Rover. Our first play is Lear. I was devilish imperfect in Edgar, t'other night at Lymington. I must look it over. [Takes out a book.] "Away, the foul fiend follows me!" Hollo! stop a moment, we shall have the whole county after us. [Going.

Harry. What now?

Rover. That rosy faced chambermaid put me in such a passion, that, by Heaven, I walked out of the house, and forgot to pay our bill. [Going.

Harry. Never mind, Rover, it's paid.

Rover. Paid! why, neither you nor Midge had money enough. No, really!

Harry. Ha, ha, ha! I tell you 'tis.

Rover. You paid? Oh, very well. Every honest fellow should be a stock purse. Come then, let's push on now. Ten miles to Winchester; we shall be there by eleven.

Harry. Our trunks are booked at the inn for the Winchester coach.

Rover. "Ay, to foreign climates my old trunk I bear." But I prefer walking to the car of Thespis.

Harry. Which is the way?

Rover. Here.

Harry. Then, I go there. [Pointing opposite.]

Rover. Eh!

Harry. My dear boy, on this spot, and at this moment, we must part.

Rover. Part!

Harry. Rover, you wish me well.

Rover. Well, and suppose so. Part, eh! What mystery and grand? What are you at? Do you forget,—you, Midge, and I, are engaged to Truncheon, the manager, and that the bills are already up with our names to-night to play at Winchester?

Harry. Jack, you and I have often met on a stage in assumed characters; if it's your wish we should ever meet again in our real ones, of sincere friends, without asking whither I go, or my motives for leaving you, when I walk up this road, do you turn down that.

Rover. Joke!

Harry. I'm serious. Good b'ye!

Rover. If you repent your engagement with Truncheon, I'll break off too, and go with you wherever—[Takes him under the arm.]

Harry. Attempt to follow me, and even our acquaintance ends.

Rover. Eh!

Harry. Don't think of my reasons, only that it must be.

Rover. Have I done any thing to Dick Buskin? leave me! [Turns and puts his handkerchief to his eyes.]

Harry. I am as much concerned as you to—Good b'ye!

Rover. I can't even bid him—I won't neither—If any cause could have given—Farewell.

Harry. Bless my poor fellow! Adieu. [Silently weeps.]

[Exeunt several ways.





A Village, a Farm House, and near it, a Cottage.

Enter Farmer Gammon and Ephraim.

F. Gam. Well, Master Ephraim, I may depend on thee, as you quakers never break your words.

Eph. I have spoken to Mary, and she, at my request, consenteth to take thy daughter, Jane, as her handmaid.

F. Gam. Very good of you.

Eph. Goodness I do like, and also—comely Jane. [Aside.] The maiden I will prefer, for the sake of—myself. [Aside.]

F. Gam. I intended to make a present to the person that does me such a piece of service; but I shan't affront you with it.

Eph. I am meek and humble, and must take affronts.

F. Gam. Then here's a guinea, master Ephraim.

Eph. I expected not this; but there is no harm in a guinea. [Exit.

F. Gam. So I shall get my children off my hands. My son, Sim, is robbing me day and night,—giving away my corn and what not among the poor.—My daughter Jane—when girls have nought to do, this love-mischief creeps into their minds, and then hey! they're for kicking up their heels.—Sim! [Calling.]

Enter Sim.

Sim. Yes, feyther.

F. Gam. Call your sister.

Sim. Jane, feyther wants you.

Enter Jane, from the house, with linen she had been

Jane. Did you call me?

F. Gam. I often told you both, (but it's now settled) you must go out into the world, and work for your bread.

Sim. Well, feyther, whatever you think right, must be so, and I'm content.

Jane. And I'm sure, feyther, I'm willing to do as you'd have me.

F. Gam. There's ingratitude for you! When my wife died, I brought you both up from the shell, and now you want to fly off and forsake me.

Sim. Why no; I'm willing to live with you all my days.

Jane. And I'm sure, feyther, if it's your desire I'll never part from you.

F. Gam. What, you want to hang upon me like a couple of leeches, ay, to strip my branches, and leave me a wither'd hawthorn! See who's yon.

[Exit Sim.

Jane, Ephraim Smooth has hired you for Lady Amaranth.

Jane. O lack! then I shall live in the great house.

F. Gam. She has sent us all presents of good books, [Gives her one.] to read a chapter in. That, when one's in a passion, gives a mon patience.

Jane. Thank her good ladyship.

F. Gam. My being incumbred with you both is the cause why old Banks won't give me his sister.

Jane. That's a pity. If we must have a step-mother, Madam Amelia would make us a very good one. But I wonder how she can refuse you, feyther, for I'm sure she must think you a very portly man in your scarlet vest and new scratch. You can't think how parsonable you'd look, if you'd only shave twice a week, and put sixpence in the poor-box. [Retires reading.]

F. Gam. However, if Banks still refuses, I have him in my power. I'll turn them both out of their cottage yonder, and the bailiff shall provide them with a lodging.

Enter Banks.

Well, neighbour Banks, once for all, am I to marry your sister?

Banks. That she best knows.

F. Gam. Ay, but she says she won't.

Banks. Then I dare say she won't, for though a woman, I never knew her to speak what she didn't think.

F. Gam. Then she won't have me? A fine thing this, that you and she, who are little better than paupers, dare be so damn'd saucy!

Banks. Why, farmer, I confess we're poor: but while that's the worst our enemies can say of us, we're content.

F. Gam. Od, dom it! I wish I had now a good, fair occasion to quarrel with him; I'd make him content with a devil to him; I'd knock'en down, send him to jail and—But I'll be up with him!

Enter Sim.

Sim. Oh, feyther, here's one Mr. Lamp, a ring-leader of showfolks come from Andover to act in our village. He wants a barn to play in, if you'll hire him yourn.

F. Gam. Surely, boy. I'll never refuse money. But, lest he should engage the great room in the inn, run thou and tell him—Stop, I'll go myself—A short cut through that garden.—

Banks. Why you, or any neighbour is welcome to walk in it, or to partake of what it produces, but making it a common thoroughfare is—

F. Gam. Here, Sim, kick open that garden gate.

Banks. What?

F. Gam. Does the lad hear?

Sim. Why yes, yes.

F. Gam. Does the fool understand.

Sim. Dang it, I'm as yet but young; but if understanding teaches me how to wrong my neighbour, I hope I may never live to years of discretion.

F. Gam. What, you cur, do you disobey your feyther? Burst open the garden gate, as I command you.

Sim. Feyther, he, that made both you and the garden, commands me not to injure the unfortunate.

F. Gam. Here's an ungracious rogue! Then I must do it myself. [Advances.]

Banks. [Stands before it.] Hold, neighbour. Small as this spot is, it's now my only possession: and the man shall first take my life, who sets a foot in it against my will.

F. Gam. I'm in such a passion.—

Jane. [Comes forward.] Feyther, if you're in a passion, read the good book you gave me.

F. Gam. Plague of the wench! But, you hussey, I'll—and you, you unlucky bird!

[Exit Sim and Jane.

[A shower of rain.]—Enter Rover hastily.

Rover. Zounds! here's a pelting shower, and no shelter! "Poor Tom's a-cold;" I'm wet through—Oh, here's a fair promising house. [Going to Gammon's.]

F. Gam. [Stops him.] Hold, my lad. Can't let folks in, till I know who are they. There's a public house not above a mile on.

Banks. Step in here, young man; my fire is small, but it shall cheer you with a hearty welcome.

Rover. [To Banks.] The poor cottager! [To Gammon.] And the substantial farmer! [Kneels.] "Hear, Nature, dear goddess, hear! If ever you designed to make his corn-fields fruitful, change thy purpose; that, from the blighted ear no grain may fall to fat his stubble goose—and, when to town he drives his hogs, so like himself, oh, let him feel the soaking rain; then may he curse his crime too late, and know how sharper than a serpent's tooth 'tis"—Damme, but I'm spouting in the rain all this time.

[Jumps up, and runs into Banks's.

F. Gam. Ay, neighbour, you'll soon scratch a beggar's head, if you harbour every mad vagrant. This may be one of the footpads, that, it seems, have got about the country; but I'll have an execution, and seize on thy goods, this day, my charitable neighbour! Eh, the sun strikes out, quite cleared up.

Enter Jane.

Jane. La, feyther, if there is'nt coming down the village—

F. Gam. Ah, thou hussey!

Jane. Bless me, feyther! No time for anger now. Here's Lady Amaranth's chariot, drawn by her new grand long-tailed horses.—La! it stops.

F. Gam. Her ladyship is coming out, and walks this way.—She may wish to rest herself in my house. Jane, we must always make rich folks welcome.

Jane. Dear me, I'll run in and set things to rights. But, feyther, your cravat and wig are all got so rumplified with your cross-grained tantarums.—I'll tie your neck in a big beau, and for your wig, if there is any flour in the drudging box—[Adjusts them, and runs into the house.]

F. Gam. Oh! the bailiff too that I engaged.

Enter Twitch.

Twitch. Well, Master Gammon, as you desir'd, I'm come to serve this here warrant of yours, and arrest Master Banks; where is he?

F. Gam. Yes, now I be's determined on't—he's—zounds! stand aside, I'll speak to you anon. [Looking out.]

Enter Lady Amaranth, Zachariah following.

Lady Am. Friend, Jane, whom I have taken to be my handmaid, is thy daughter?

F. Gam. Ay, so her mother said, an't please your ladyship.

Lady Am. Ephraim Smooth acquainteth me thou art a wealthy yeoman.

F. Gam. Why, my lady, I pay my rent.

Lady Am. Being yet a stranger on my estate around here, I have passed through thy hamlet to behold with mine own eye the distresses of my poor tenants. I wish to relieve their wants.

F. Gam. Right, your ladyship: for charity hides a deal of sins. How good of you to think of the poor! that's so like me; I'm always contriving how to relieve my neighbours—you must lay Banks in jail to-night. [Apart to Twitch.]

Enter Jane.

Jane. A'nt please you, will your ladyship enter our humble dwelling, and rest your ladyship in feyther's great cane bottom'd elbow chair with a high back. [Curtsies.]

F. Gam. Do, my lady. To receive so great a body from her own chariot is an honour I dreamt not of; though, for the hungry and weary foot traveller, my doors are always open, and my morsel ready. Knock; when he comes out, touch him. [Aside to Twitch.]

Lady Am. Thou art benevolent, and I will enter thy dwelling with satisfaction.

Jane. O precious! This way, my lady.

[Exeunt all but Twitch.

Twitch. Eh, where's the warrant? [Feels his pocket, and knocks at Banks's door.]

Enter Banks.

Banks. Master Twitch! What's your business with me?

Twitch. Only a little affair here against you.

Banks. Me!

Twitch. Yes; Farmer Gammon has bought a thirty pound note of hand of yours.

Banks. Indeed! Well, I didn't think his malice could have stretched so far—I thought the love, he professed for my sister, might—why, it is true, Master Twitch, to lend our indigent cottagers small sums when they've been unable to pay their rents, I got lawyer Quirk to procure me this money, and hoped their industry would have put it in my power to take up my note before now. However, I'll go round and try what they can do, then call on you and settle it.

Twitch. You must go with me.

Rover. [Without.] Old gentleman, come quick, or I'll draw another bottle of your currant wine.

Twitch. You'd best not make a noise, but come. [To Banks.]

Enter Rover.

Rover. Oh, you're here? Rain over—quite fine—I'll take a sniff of the open air too—Eh, what's the matter?

Twitch. What's that to you?

Rover. What's that to me? Why, you're a very unmannerly—

Twitch. Oh, here's a rescue!

Banks. Nay, my dear sir, I'd wish you not to bring yourself into trouble about me.

Twitch. Now, since you don't know what's civil, if the debt's not paid directly, to jail you go.

Rover. My kind, hospitable good old man to jail! What's the amount, you scoundrel.

Twitch. Better words, or I'll—

Rover. Stop; utter you a word good or bad, except to tell me what's your demand upon this gentleman, and I'll give you the greatest beating you ever got since the hour you commenced rascal. [In a low tone.]

Twitch. Why, master, I don't want to quarrel with you, because—

Rover. You'll get nothing by it. Do you know, you villain, that I am this moment the greatest man living?

Twitch. Who, pray?

Rover. "I am the bold Thunder!" Sirrah, know that I carry my purse of gold in my coat-pocket. Though damme if I know how a purse came there. [Aside, and takes it out.] There's twenty pictures of his majesty; therefore, in the king's name, I free his liege subject; [Takes Banks away.] and now who am I? Ah, ah!

Twitch. Ten pieces short, my master; but if you're a housekeeper I'll take this and your bail.

Rover. Then for bail you must have a housekeeper? What's to be done!

Enter Gammon.

Ah, here's old hospitality! I know you've a house, though your fire side was too warm for me. Lookye, here's some rapacious, griping rascal, has had this worthy gentleman arrested. Now a certain, good-for-nothing, rattling fellow has paid twenty guineas; you pass your word for the other nine, we'll step back into the old gentleman's friendly house, and over his currant wine, our first toast shall be, liberty to the honest debtor, and confusion to the hard hearted creditor.

Gam. I shan't.

Rover. Shan't! What's your name?

F. Gam. Gammon.

Rover. Gammon! Dem'me, you're the Hampshire hog.

[Exit F. Gammon.

'Sdeath! How shall I do to extricate—? I wish I had another purse in my waistcoat pocket.

Enter Lady Amaranth, from Gammon's,

Lady Am. What tumult's this?

Rover. A lady! Ma'am, your most obedient humble servant. [Bows.] A quaker too! They are generally kind and humane, and that face is the prologue to a play of a thousand good acts—may be she'd help us here. [Aside.] Ma'am, you must know that—that I—no—this gentleman—I mean this gentleman and I—He got a little behind hand, as every honest, well principled man often may, from—bad harvests and rains—lodging corn—and his cattle—from murrain, and—rot the murrain! you know this is the way all this affair happened, [To Banks.] and then up steps this gentleman, [To Twitch.] with a—a tip in his way—madam, you understand? And then in steps I—with my a—In short, madam, I am the worst story teller in the world, where myself is the hero of the tale.

Twitch. Mr. Banks has been arrested for thirty pounds, and this gentleman has paid twenty guineas of the debt.

Banks. My litigious neighbour to expose me thus!

Lady Am. The young man and maiden within, have spoken well of thy sister, and pictured thee as a man of irreproachable morals, though unfortunate.

Rover. Madam, he's the honestest fellow—I've known him above forty years, he has the best hand at stirring a fire—If you was only to taste his currant wine.

Banks. Madam, I never aspired to an enviable rank in life: but hitherto pride and prudence kept me above the reach of pity: but obligations from a stranger—

Lady Am. He really a stranger, and attempt to free thee? But, friend, [To Rover.] thou hast assumed a right which here belongeth alone to me. As I enjoy the blessings which these lands produce, I own also the heart delighting privilege of dispensing those blessings to the wretched. Thou mad'st thyself my worldly banker, and no cash of mine in thine hands, [Takes a note from a pocket book.] but thus I balance our account. [Offers it.]

Rover. "Madam, my master pays me, nor can I take money from another hand, without injuring his honour, and disobeying his commands."

"Run, run, Orlando, carve on every tree,
 The fair, the chaste, the unexpressive she."

[Runs off.

Banks. But, sir, I insist you'll return him his money. [To Twitch.] Stop! [Going.]

Twitch. Aye, stop! [Holds the skirt of his coat.]

Lady Am. Where dwelleth he?

Banks. I fancy, where he can, madam. I understand, from his discourse, that he was on his way to join a company of actors in the next town.

Lady Am. A profane stage-player with such a gentle, generous heart! Yet so whimsically wild, like the unconscious rose, modestly shrinking from the recollection of its own grace and sweetness.

Enter Jane, from the house, more dressed.

Jane. Now, my lady, I'm fit to attend your ladyship. I look so genteelish, mayhap her ladyship may take me home with her.

Lady Am. This maiden may find out for me whither he goeth. [Aside.] Call on my steward, and thy legal demands shall be satisfied. [To Twitch.]

Jane. Here, coachman, drive up my lady's chariot, nearer to our door. [Calls off.] Charott! If she'd take me with her, la! how all the folks will stare. [Aside.] Madam, though the roads are so very dusty, I'll walk all the way on foot to your ladyship's house—ay, though I should spoil my bran new petticoat.

Lady Am. Rather than sully thy garment, thou shalt be seated by me. Friend, be cheerful; thine and thy sister's sorrows shall be but an April shower.

Jane. Oh, your ladyship!—Ecod, if I didn't think so—[Aside.]

Enter Sim.

Here, you Sim, order the charott for us.

Sim. Us! Come, come, Jane, I've the little tilt cart to carry you.

Jane. Cart! [Exeunt severally.



Before an Inn.

Enter Rover and Waiter.

Rover. Hillo! friend, when does the coach set out for London?

Waiter. In about an hour, sir.

Rover. Has the Winchester coach passed?

Waiter. No, sir. [Exit.

Rover. That's lucky! Then my trunk is here still. Go I will not. Since I've lost the fellowship of my friend Dick, I'll travel no more, I'll try a London audience, who knows but I may get an engagement. This celestial lady quaker! She must be rich, and ridiculous for such a poor dog as I am, even to think of her. How Dick would laugh at me if he knew—I dare say by this she has released my kind host from the gripe—I should like to be certain, though.

Enter Landlord.

Land. You'll dine here, sir? I'm honest Bob Johnstone; kept the Sun these twenty years. Excellent dinner on table at two.

Rover. "Yet my love indeed is appetite; I'm as hungry as the sea, and can digest as much."

Land. Then you won't do for my shilling ordinary, sir; there's a very good ordinary at the Saracen's head, at the end of the town. Shou'dn't have thought indeed, hungry foot travellers to eat like——coming, sir. [Exit.

Rover. I'll not join this company at Winchester. I will take a touch at a London theatre. The public there are candid and generous, and before my merit can have time to create enemies, I'll save money, and,—"a fig for the Sultan and Sophy."

Enter Jane, at the back, and Sim, watching her.

Jane. Ay, that's he!

Rover. But if I fail, by Heaven I'll overwhelm the manager, his empire, and—"himself in one prodigious ruin."

Jane. Ruin! Oh Lord! [Runs back.]

Sim. What can you expect, when you follow young men? I've dodg'd you all the way.

Jane. Well! wasn't I sent?

Sim. Oh yes, you were sent—very likely. Who sent you?

Jane. It was—I won't tell it's my lady, 'cause she bid me not. [Aside.]

Sim. I'll keep you from sheame—a fine life I should have in the parish, rare fleering, if a sister of moine should stand some Sunday at church in a white sheet, and to all their flouts what could I say?

Rover. Thus, "I say my sister's wrong'd, my sister Blowsabella, born as high and noble as the attorney—do her justice, or by the gods I'll lay a scene of blood, shall make this haymow horrible to Beebles."—"Say that, Chamont."

Sim. I believe it's full moon. You go hoame to your place, and moind your business.

Jane. My lady will be so pleas'd I found him! I don't wonder at it, he's such a fine spoken man.

Sim. Dang it! Will you stand here grinning at the wild bucks.

Jane. Perhaps the gentleman might wish to send her ladyship a compliment. An't please you, sir, if it's even a kiss between us two, it shall go safe; for, though you should give it me, brother Sim then can take it to my lady.

Rover. "I kiss'd thee e'er I kill'd thee."

Jane. Kill me!

Rover. "No way but this, killing myself to die upon a kiss!" [Advancing.]

Sim. Go! [To Jane—puts her out.]

Rover. "Ay; to a nunnery go to." I'm cursedly out of spirits; but hang sorrow, I may as well divert myself.—"'Tis meat and drink for me to see a clown."—"Shepherd, was't ever at Court?"

Sim. Not I.

Rover. "Then thou art damn'd."

Sim. Eh!

Rover. Ay, "thou art damn'd like an ill roasted egg—all on one side."—Little Hospitality.

[Looking out.

Enter Farmer Gammon.

F. Gam. Eh, where's the showman, that wants to hire my barn? So, Madam Jane, I place her out to sarvice, and instead of attending her mistress, she gets gallopping all about the village.—How's this, son?

Rover. "Your son? Young Clodpate, take him to your wheat stack, and there teach him manners."

F. Gam. Ah, thou'rt the fellow that would bolt out of the dirty roads into people's houses. Ho, ho, ho! Sim's schooling is mightily thrown away if he hasn't more manners than thou.

Sim. Why, feyther, it is! Gadzooks, he be one of the play! Acted Tom Fool, in King Larry, at Lymington, t'other night—I thought I know'd the face, thof he had a straw cap, and a blanket about'n—Ho, ho! how comical that was when you said—

Rover. "Pillicock sat upon Pillicock hill, pil—i—loo, loo!"

Sim. That's it! He's at it! [Claps.] Laugh, feyther.

F. Gam. Hold your tongue, boy! I believe he's no better than he should be. The moment I saw him, says I to myself, you are a rogue.

Rover. There you spoke truth for once in your life.

F. Gam. I'm glad to hear you confess it. But her ladyship shall have the vagrants whipp'd out of the country.

Rover. Vagrant! "Thou wretch! despite o'erwhelm thee!" "Only squint, and, by Heaven, I'll beat thy blown body till it rebounds like a tennis ball."

Sim. Beat my feyther! No, no. Thou must first beat me. [Puts himself in a posture of defence.]

Rover. [Aside, with great feeling.] "Though love cool, friendship fall off, brothers divide, subjects rebel, oh! never let the sacred bond be crack'd 'twixt son and father!"—I never knew a father's protection, never had a father to protect. [Puts his handkerchief to his eyes.]

Sim. Ecod! he's not acting now!

Enter Landlord, with a book, pen, and ink.

F. Gam. Landlord, is this Mr. Lamp here?

Land. I've just opened a bottle for him and t'other in the parlour.

Rover. "Go, father, with thy son; give him a livery more guarded than his fellows."

Sim. Livery! Why, I be no sarvant man, though sister Jane is. Gi's thy hand. [To Rover.] I don't know how 'tis; but I think I could lose my life for him; but mustn't let feyther be lickt though—No, no! [Going, turns and looks at Rover.] Ecod, I ne'er shall forget Pillicock!

[Exeunt Farmer Gammon and Sim.

Rover. Thou art an honest reptile, I'll make my entrée on the London boards in Bayes, yes, I shall have no comparison against me. "Egad, it's very hard that a gentleman and an author can't come to teach them, but he must break his nose, and—and—all that—but—so the players are gone to dinner."

Land. No such people frequent the Sun, I assure you.

Rover. "Sun, moon, and stars!"—Now mind the eclipse, Mr. Johnson.

Land. I heard nothing of it, sir.

Rover. "There's the sun between the earth and moon—there's the moon between the earth and the sun, tol, lol, lol! dance the hay! Luna means to show her tail."

Enter Waiter.

Waiter. Two gentlemen in the parlour would speak with you.

Rover. "I attend them, were they twenty times our mother."

Waiter. Your mother, sir! why it is two gentlemen.

Rover. Say I attend them with all respect and duty. [Exit Waiter.

Land. Sir, you go in the stage; as we book the passengers, what name?

Rover. "I am the bold Thunder." [Exit.

Land. [Writing.] Mr. Thunder.

Enter John Dory.

John. I want two places in the stage coach, because I and another gentleman are going a voyage.

Land. Just two vacant; what name?

John. Avast! I go aloft. But let's see who'll be my master's messmates in the cabin: [Reads.] Captain Muccolah, Counsellor Fazacherly, Miss Gosling, Mr. Thunder. What's this? speak, man! is there one of that name going?

Land. Booked him this minute.

John. If our voyage should now be at an end before we begin it?—If this Mr. Thunder should be my master's son!—What rate is this vessel?

Land. Rate!

John. What sort of a gentleman is he?

Land. Oh; a rum sort of a gentleman; I suspect he's one of the players.

John. True; Sam said it was some player's people coaxed him away from Portsmouth school. It must be the 'squire—show me where he's moored, my old purser.

[Exit, singing, and Landlord following.



A Room in the Inn.

Lamp and Trap [discovered drinking.]

Trap. This same Farmer Gammon seems a surly spark.

Lamp. No matter. His barn will hold a good thirty pounds, and if I can but engage this young fellow, this Rover, he'll cram it every night he plays. He's certainly a devilish good actor. Now, Trap, you must enquire out a carpenter, and be brisk about the building. I think we shall have smart business, as we stand so well for pretty women, too. Oh, here he is!

Trap. Snap him at any terms.

Enter Rover.

Rover. Gentlemen, your most obedient—The waiter told me—

Lamp. Sir, to our better acquaintance. [Fills.]

Rover. I don't recollect I have the honour of knowing—

Lamp. Mr. Rover, though I am a stranger to you, your merit is none to me.

Rover. Sir. [Bows.]

Lamp. Yes, sir, my name is Lamp: I am manager of the company of comedians that's come down here, and Mr. Trap is my treasurer, engages performers, sticks bills, finds properties, keeps box-books, prompts play, and takes the town.

Trap. The most reputable company, and charming money getting circuit. [Apart to Rover.]

Rover. Hav'n't a doubt, sir.

Lamp. Only suffer me to put up your name to play with us six nights, and twelve guineas are yours.

Rover. Sir, I thank you, and must confess your offer is liberal; but my friends have flattered me into a sort of opinion that encourages me to take a touch at the capital.

Lamp. Ah, my dear Mr. Rover, a London theatre is dangerous ground.

Rover. Why, I may fail, and gods may groan, and ladies drawl, "La, what an awkward creature!" But should I top my part, then shall gods applaud, and ladies sigh, "The charming fellow!" and treasurers smile upon me, as they count the shining guineas!

Lamp. But, suppose—

Rover. Ay, suppose the contrary, I have a certain friend here, in my coat pocket [Puts his hand in his pocket.] Eh! zounds! where is—oh, the devil! I gave it to discharge my kind host—going for London, and not master of five shillings! [Aside.] "Sir, to return to the twenty pounds."

Lamp. Twenty pounds. Well, let it be so.

Rover. Sir, I engage with you, call a rehearsal when and where you please, I'll attend.

Lamp. Sir, I'll step for the cast book, and you shall chuse your characters.

Trap. And, sir, I'll write out the play-bills directly.

[Exeunt Lamp and Trap.

Rover. Since I must remain here some time, and I've not the most distant hope of ever speaking to this goddess again, I wish I had inquired her name, that I might know how to keep out of her way.

Enter John Dory and Landlord.

Landl. There's the gentleman.

John. Very well.

[Exit Landlord.

What cheer, ho, master squire?

Rover. Cheer, ho! my hearty!

John. The very face of his father! And an't you asham'd of yourself?

Rover. Why, yes, I am sometimes.

John. Do you know, if I had you at the gangways, I'd give you a neater dozen than ever you got from your schoolmaster's cat-a-nine tails.

Rover. You woudn't sure?

John. I would sure.

Rover. Indeed?—Pleasant enough! who is this genius?

John. I've dispatch'd a shallop to tell Lady Amaranth you're here.

Rover. You havn't?

John. I have.

Rover. Now, who the devil's Lady Amaranth?

John. I expect her chariot every moment, and when it comes, you'll get into it, and I'll get into it, and I'll set you down genteely at her house; then I'll have obeyed my orders, and I hope your father will be satisfied.

Rover. My father! who's he pray?

John. Pshaw! leave off your fun, and prepare to ask his pardon.

Rover. Ha, ha, ha! Why, my worthy friend, you are totally wrong in this affair. Upon my word I'm not the person you take me for. [Going.]

John. You don't go, though they've got your name down in the stage coach book, Mr. Thunder.

Rover. Mr. Thunder! stage coach book! [Pauses.] ha, ha, ha! This must be some curious blunder.

John. Oh! my lad, your father, Sir George, will change your note.

Rover. He must give me one first. Sir George! then my father is a knight, it seems; ha, ha, ha! very good, faith! 'pon my honour, I am not the gentleman that you think me.

John. I ought not to think you any gentleman for giving your honour in a falsehood. Oh! them play actors you went amongst have quite spoiled you. I wish only one of 'em would come in my way. I'd teach 'em to bring a gentleman's son tramboozing about the country.

Enter Waiter.

Waiter. Her ladyship's chariot's at the door, and I fancy it's you, sir, the coachman wants.

John. Yes, it's me. I attend your honour.

Rover. Then you insist on it that I am—

John. I insist on nothing, only you shall come.

Rover. Indeed! Shall! Shall is a word don't sound over agreeable to my ears.

John. Does a pretty girl sound well to your ear?

Rover. "More music in the clink of her horses' hoofs than twenty hautboys." Why, is this Lady Thing-o-me pretty?

John. Beautiful as a mermaid, and stately as a ship under sail.

Rover. Egad! I've a mind to humour the frolic—Well, well, I'll see your mermaid. But then on the instant of my appearance the mistake must be discovered. [Aside.] Harkye, is this father of mine you talk of at this lady's?

John. No: your father's in chase of the deserters. I find he's afraid to face the old one, so, if I tell him, he won't go with me. [Aside.] No, no, we shan't see him in a hurry.

Rover. Then I'll venture. Has the lady ever seen me?

John. Psha! none of your jokes, man; you know, that her ladyship, no more than myself, has set eyes upon you since you was the bigness of a rumbo canakin.

Rover. The choice is made. I have my Ranger's dress in my trunk: "Cousin of Buckingham, thou sage grave man!"

John. What?

Rover. "Since you will buckle fortune on my back, to bear her burden, whether I will or no, I must have patience to endure the load; but if black scandal, or foul faced"——

John. Black! my foul face was as fair as yours before I went to sea.

Rover. "Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me."

John. Man, don't stand preaching parson Sacks—come to the chariot.

Rover. Ay, to the chariot! "Bear me, Bucephalus, among the billows,—hey! for the Tygris!" [Exeunt.





Lady Amaranth's House.

Enter Lady Amaranth and Ephraim.

Lady Am. Though thou hast settled that distressed gentleman's debt, let his sister come unto me; and remit a quarter's rent unto all my tenants.

Eph. As thou bid'st I have discharged from the pound the widow's cattle; but shall I let the lawsuit drop against the farmer's son who did shoot the pheasant?

Lady Am. Yea; but instantly turn from my service the gamekeeper's man that did kill the fawn, while it was eating from his hand. We should hate guile, though we may love venison.

Eph. I love a young doe.—[Aside.] Since the death of friend Dovehouse, who, (though one of the faithful) was an active magistrate, this part of the country is infested with covetous men, called robbers, and I have, in thy name, said unto the people, whoever apprehendeth one of these, I will reward him, yea with thirty pieces of gold. [A loud knocking without.] That beating of one brass against another at thy door, proclaimeth the approach of vanity, whose pride of heart swelleth at an empty sound. [Exit.

Lady Am. But my heart is possessed with the idea of that wandering youth, whose benevolence induced him to part with, perhaps, his all, to free the unhappy debtor. His person is amiable, his address (according to worldly modes) formed to please, to delight. But he's poor; is that a crime? Perhaps meanly born: but one good action is an illustrious pedigree. I feel I love him, and in that word are birth, fame, and riches.

Enter Jane.

Jane. Madam, my lady, an't please you—

Lady Am. Didst thou find the young man, that I may return him the money he paid for my tenant?

Jane. I found him, ma'am, and—I found him, and he talked of—what he said.

Lady Am. What did he say?

Jane. He saw me, ma'am—and call'd me Blowsabella, and said he would—I'll be hang'd, ma'am, if he didn't say he would—Now, think of that;—but if he hadn't gone to London in the stage coach—

Lady Am. Is he gone? [With emotion.]

Enter John Dory.

John. Oh, my lady, mayhap John Dory is not the man to be sent after young gentlemen that scamper from school, and run about the country play acting! Pray walk up stairs, Master Thunder: [Calls off.]

Lady Am. Hast thou brought my kinsman hither?

John. Well, I havn't then.

Jane. If you havn't, what do you make a talk about it?

John. Well, don't give me your palaver, young Miss Slip Slop.—Will you only walk up, if you please, Master Harry?

Jane. Will you walk up, if you please, Master Harry?

Lady Am. Friendship requireth, yet I am not disposed to commune with company.—[Aside.

Jane. Oh, bless me, ma'am! if it isn't—

Enter Rover, dressed.

Rover. "'Tis I, Hamlet the Dane!"—"Thus far into the bowels of the land, have we marched on."—"John, that bloody and devouring boar!"

John. He called me bull in the coach.

Jane. I don't know what brought such a bull in the coach.

Rover. This the Lady Amaranth! By Heavens, the very angel quaker!

Lady Am. [Turns.] The dear, generous youth, my cousin Harry!

John. There he's for you, my lady, and make the most of him.

Jane. Oh, how happy my lady is! he looks so charming now he's fine.

John. Harkye! she's as rich as a Spanish Indiaman; and I tell you, your father wishes you'd grapple her by the heart—court her, you mad devil. [Apart to Rover.] There's an engagement to be between these two vessels: but little Cupid's the only man that's to take minutes, so come. [To Jane.]

Jane. Ma'am, an't I to wait on you?

John. No, my lass, you're to wait on me.

Jane. Wait on this great sea-bull! lack-a-daisy! am I—am—

John. By this, Sir George is come to the inn. Without letting the younker know, I'll go bring him here, and smuggle both father and son into a joyful meeting. [Aside.]—[To Jane.] Come now, usher me down like a lady.

Jane. This way, Mr. Sailor Gentleman.

[Exeunt John and Jane.

Rover. By Heavens, a most delectable woman! [Aside.

Lady Am. Cousin, when I saw thee in the village free the sheep from the wolf, why didst not tell me then thou wert son to my uncle, Sir George?

Rover. Because, my lady, then I—did'nt know it myself—[Aside.

Lady Am. Why wouldst vex thy father, and quit thy school.

Rover. "A truant disposition, good my lady, brought me from Wirtemberg."

Lady Am. Thy father designs thee for his dangerous profession; but is thy inclination turned to the voice of trumpets, and smites of mighty slaughter?

Rover. "Why, ma'am, as for old Boreas, my dad, when the blast of war blows in his ears, he's a tyger in his fierce resentment."—But for me, "I think it a pity, so it is, that villainous saltpetre should be digg'd out of the bowels of the harmless earth, which many a good tall fellow has destroyed, with wounds and guns, and drums, Heav'n save the mark!"

Lady Am. Indeed thou art tall, my cousin, and grown of comely stature. Our families have long been separated.

Rover. They have—Since Adam, I believe—[Aside.] "Then, lady, let that sweet bud of love now ripen to a beauteous flower?"

Lady Am. Love!

Rover. "Excellent wench! perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee, and when I love thee not, chaos is come again."

Lady Am. Thou art of an happy disposition.

Rover. "If I were now to die, 'twere now to be most happy." "Let our senses dance in concert to the joyful minutes, and this, and this, the only discord make." [Embracing.

Enter Jane, with cake and wine.

Jane. Ma'am, an't please you, Mr. Zachariah bid me——

Rover. "Why, you fancy yourself Cardinal Wolsey in this family."

Jane. No, sir, I'm not Cardinal Wolsey, I'm only my lady's maid here—Jenny Gammon, at your service.

Rover. "A bowl of cream for your Catholic majesty."

Jane. Cream! No, sir, it's wine and water.

Rover. "You get no water, take the wine, great potentate."—[Gives Lady Amaranth a glass, then drinks.]

Jane. Madam, my father begs leave—

Rover. "Go, go, thou shallow Pomona."—[Puts her out.] Eh! Zounds, here's my manager.

Enter Farmer Gammon and Lamp.

F. Gam. I hope her ladyship hasn't found out 'twas I had Banks arrested. [Aside.]—Would your ladyship give leave for this here honest man and his comrades to act a few plays in the town, 'cause I've let'n my barn. 'Twill be some little help to me, my lady.

Rover. My lady, I understand these affairs. Leave me to settle 'em.

Lady Am. True; these are delusions, as a woman, I understand not. But by my cousin's advice I will abide; ask his permission.

Gam. So; I must pay my respects to the young squire. [Aside.] An't please your honour, if a poor man like me [Bows.] durst offer my humble duty.—

Rover. Canst thou bow to a vagrant. Eh, Little Hospitality?

[Farmer Gammon looks in his face, and sneaks off.

Lamp. Please your honour, if I may presume to hope you'll be graciously pleased to take our little squad under your honour's protection—

Rover. Ha!

Lady Am. What say'st thou, Henry?

Rover. Ay, where's Henry? Gadso! True, that's me. Strange I should already forget my name, and not half an hour since I was christened! [Aside.] Harkye! do you play yourself? Eh! Ha! Hem! [Vapouring.] fellow?

Lamp. Yes, sir; and sir, I have just now engaged a new actor, Mr. Rover. Such an actor!

Rover. Eh! What! you've engaged that—what's his name, Rover? If such is your best actor, you shan't have my permission. My dear madam, the worst fellow in the world. Get along out of town, or I'll have all of you, man, woman, child, stick, rag, and fiddlestick, clapt into the whirligig.

Lady Am. Good man, abide not here.

Rover. Eh! What, my friend? Now, indeed, if this new actor you brag of, this crack of your company, was any thing like a gentleman—

Lamp. [Stares.] It isn't!

Rover. It is. My good friend, if I was really the unfortunate poor strolling dog you thought me, I should tread your four boards, and crow the cock of your barn-door fowl; but as fate has ordained that I'm a gentleman, and son to Sir,—Sir,—what the devil's my father's name? [Aside.] you must be content to murder Shakspeare without making me an accomplice.

Lamp. But, my most gentle sir, I, and my treasurer, Trap, have trumpeted your fame ten miles round the country:—the bills are posted, the stage built, the candles booked, fiddles engaged; all on the tip-top of expectation. We should have to-morrow night an overflow, ay, thirty pounds. Dear, worthy sir, you wou'dn't go to ruin a whole community and their families that now depend only on the exertion of your brilliant talents.

Rover. Eh! I never was uniform but in one maxim, that is, though I do little good, to hurt nobody but myself.

Lady Am. Since thou hast promised, much as I prize my adherence to those customs in which I was brought up, thou shalt not sully thy honour by a breach of thy word. Play, if it can bring good to these people.

Rover. Shall I?

Lady Am. This falleth out well; for I have bidden all the gentry round unto my house warming, and these pleasantries may afford them a cheerful and innocent entertainment.

Rover. True, my lady; your guests ar'n't quakers though you are, and when we ask people to our house, we study to please them, not ourselves. But if we do furbish a play or two, the muses sha'n't honour that churlish fellow's barn. No; the god, that illumines the soul of genius, should never visit the iron door of inhumanity. No Gammon's barn for me!—

Lady Am. Barn! no; that gallery shall be thy theatre; and, in spite of the grave doctrines of Ephraim Smooth, my friends and I will behold and rejoice in thy pranks, my pleasant cousin.

Rover. My kind, my charming lady! Hey, brighten up, bully Lamp, carpenters, tailor, manager, distribute your box tickets for my lady's gallery.—"Come, gentle coz,"

"The actors are at hand, and by their show
 You shall know all
 That you are like to know."




The Inn.

Enter Harry, and Midge.

Harry. Though I went back to Portsmouth academy with a contrite heart, to continue my studies, yet, from my father's angry letter, I dread a woeful storm at our first meeting. I fancy the people at this inn don't recollect me; it reminds me of my pleasant friend, poor Jack Rover, I wonder where he is now.

Midge. And brings to my memory a certain stray vaguing acquaintance of mine, poor Dick Buskin.

Harry. Ha, ha, ha! Then I desire, sir, you'll turn Dick Buskin again out of your memory.

Midge. Can't, sir. The dear, good-natur'd, wicked son of a——beg your honour's pardon.

Harry. Oh, but Midge, you must, as soon as I'm dressed, step out and enquire whose house is this my father's at; I did not think he had any acquaintance in this part of the country. Sound what humour he's in, and how the land lies, before I venture in his presence. [Exeunt.

Enter Sir George Thunder, agitated, and

Sir Geo. I can hear nothing of these deserters; yet, by my first intelligence, they'll not venture up to London. They must still be lurking about the country. Landlord, have any suspicious persons ever put in at your house?

Land. Yes, sir; now and then.

Sir Geo. Zounds! what do you do with them?

Land. Why, sir, when a man calls for liquor that I think has no money, I make him pay beforehand.

Sir Geo. Damn your liquor, you self-interested porpoise! Chatter your own private concerns, when the public good, or fear of general calamity, should be the only compass! These fellows, that I'm in pursuit of, have run from their ships; if our navy's unmann'd, what becomes of you and your house, you dunghill cormorant?

Land. This is a very abusive sort of a gentleman; but he has a full pocket, or he wouldn't be so saucy. [Aside.] [Exit.

Sir Geo. This rascal, I believe, doesn't know I'm Sir George Thunder. Winds, still variable, blow my affairs right athwart each other.—To know what's become of my runagate son Harry,—and there my rich lady niece, pressing and squeezing up the noble plumage of our illustrious family in her little mean quaker bonnet. But I must up to town after—'Sblood, when I catch my son Harry!—Oh, here's John Dory.

Enter John Dory.

Have you taken the places in the London coach for me?

John. Hahoy! your honour, is that yourself?

Sir Geo. No, I'm beside myself—heard any thing of my son?—

John. What's o'clock?

Sir Geo. What do you talk of clocks or timepieces—All glasses, reck'ning, and log-line, are run mad with me.

John. If it's two, your son is at this moment walking with Lady Amaranth in her garden.

Sir Geo. With Lady Amaranth!

John. If half after, they're cast anchor to rest themselves amongst the posies; if three, they're got up again; if four, they're picking a bit of cramm'd fowl; and, if half after, they're picking their teeth, and cracking walnuts over a bottle of Calcavella.

Sir Geo. My son! my dear friend, where did you find him?

John. Why, I found him where he was, and I left him where he is.

Sir Geo. What, and he came to Lady Amaranth's?

John. No; but I brought him there from this house, in her ladyship's chariot. I won't tell him Master Harry went amongst the players, or he'd never forgive him. [Aside.] Oh! such a merry, civil, crazy, crack-brain! the very picture of your honour.

Sir Geo. Ha, ha, ha! What, he's in high spirits? ha, ha, ha! the dog! [Joyfully.] But I hope he's had discretion enough to throw a little gravity over his mad humour, before his prudent cousin.

John. He threw himself on his knees before her, and that did quite as well.

Sir Geo. Ha, ha, ha! made love to her already! Oh, the impudent, the cunning villain! What, and may be he—[With great glee.]

John. Indeed he did give her a smack.

Sir Geo. Me; ha, ha, ha!

John. Oh, he's yours! a chip of the old block.

Sir Geo. He is! he is! ha, ha, ha!

John. Oh, he threw his arms around her as eager as I would to catch a falling decanter of Madeira.

Sir Geo. Huzza! victoria! Here will be a junction of bouncing estates! but, confound the money. John, you shall have a bowl for a jolly boat to swim in; roll in here a puncheon of rum, a hogshead of sugar, shake an orchard of oranges, and let the Landlord drain his fish-pond yonder. [Sings.] "A bumper! a bumper of good liquor," &c.

John. Then, my good master, Sir George, I'll order a bowl in, since you are in the humour for it—"We'll dance a little, and sing a little." [Singing.] [Exit.

Sir Geo. And so the wild rogue is this instant rattling up her prim ladyship. Eh, isn't this he? Left her already!

Enter Harry.

Harry. I must have forgot my cane in this room—My father! Eh! zounds!

Sir Geo. [Looks at his watch.] Just half after four! Why, Harry, you've made great haste in cracking your walnuts.

Harry. Yes; he's heard of my frolics with the players. [Aside.] Dear father, if you'll but forgive—

Sir Geo. Why, indeed, Harry, you've acted very bad.

Harry. Sir, it should be considered I was but a novice.

Sir Geo. However, I shall think of nothing now but your benefit.

Harry. Very odd, his approving of—[Aside.] I thank you, sir, but, if agreeable to you, I've done with benefits.

Sir Geo. If I wasn't the best of fathers, you might indeed hope none from me; but no matter, if you can but get the fair quaker.

Harry. Or the humours of the navy, sir?

Sir Geo. What, how dare you reflect on the humours of the navy? The navy has very good humours, or I'd never see your dog's face again, you villain! But I'm cool. What, eh, boy, a snug, easy chariot?

Harry. I'll order it. Waiter, desire my father's carriage to draw up. [Calls.

Sir Geo. Mine, you rogue! I've none here. I mean Lady Amaranth's.

Harry. Yes, sir; Lady Amaranth's chariot! [Calling.]

Sir Geo. What are you at? I mean that which you left this house in.

Harry. Chariot! sir, I left this house on foot.

Sir Geo. What, with John Dory?

Harry. No, sir, with Jack Rover.

Sir Geo. Why, John has been a rover to be sure; but now he's settled, since I've made him my valet de chambre.

Harry. Make him your valet! Why, sir, where did you meet him?

Sir Geo. Zounds! I met him on board, and I met him on shore, and the cabin, steerage, gallery, and forecastle. He sailed round the world with me.

Harry. Strange this, sir! certainly I understood he had been in the East Indies; but he never told me he even knew you; but, indeed, he knew me only by the name of Dick Buskin.

Sir Geo. Then how came he to bring you to Lady Amaranth's?

Harry. Bring me where?

Sir Geo. Answer me. Ar'n't you now come from her ladyship's.

Harry. [Stares.] Me? Not I.

Sir Geo. Ha! this is a lie of John's, to enhance his own services. Then you have not been there?

Harry. There! I don't know where you mean, sir.

Sir Geo. Yes; 'tis all a brag of John's, but I'll—

Enter John Dory.

John. The rum and sugar is ready; but as for the fish-pond—

Sir Geo. I'll kick you into it, you thirsty old grampus.

John. Will you? Then I'll make a comical roasted orange.

Sir Geo. How dare you say you brought my son to Lady Amaranth's?

John. And who says I did not?

Sir Geo. He that best should know; only Dick Buskin here.

John. Then Dick Buskin might find some other amusement than shooting off his guns here.

Sir Geo. Did you bring my son to Lady Amaranth's in her chariot?

John. And to be sure I did.

Sir Geo. There, what do you say to that?

Harry. I say it's false.

John. False! Shiver my hulk, Mr. Buskin, if you wore a lion's skin, I'd curry you for this.

[Exit, in a rage.

Sir Geo. No, no, John's honest; I see through it now. The puppy has seen her, perhaps he has the impudence not to like her, and so blows up this confusion and perplexity only to break off a marriage that I've set my heart on.

Harry. What does he mean? Sir, I'll assure you—

Sir Geo. Damn your assurance, you disobedient, ungrateful—I'll not part with you till I confront you with Lady Amaranth herself, face to face, and if I prove you've been deceiving me, I'll launch you into the wide ocean of life without rudder, compass, grog, or tobacco. [Exeunt.





Lady Amaranth's House.

Enter Lady Amaranth, reading.

Lady Am. The fanciful flights of my pleasant cousin enchant my senses. This book he gave me to read containeth good moral. The man Shakspeare, that did write it, they call immortal; he must indeed have been filled with a divine spirit. I understand, from my cousin, the origin of plays were religious mysteries; that, freed from the superstition of early, and the grossness of latter, ages, the stage is now the vehicle of delight and morality. If so, to hear a good play, is taking the wholesome draught of precept from a golden cup, embossed with gems; yet, my giving countenance to have one in my house, and even to act in it myself, prove the ascendancy, that my dear Harry hath over my heart—Ephraim Smooth is much scandalized at these doings.

Enter Ephraim.

Eph. This mansion is now the tabernacle of Baal.

Lady Am. Then abide not in it.

Eph. 'Tis full of the wicked ones.

Lady Am. Stay not amongst the wicked ones.

[Loud laughing without.

Eph. I must shut mine ears.

Lady Am. And thy mouth also, good Ephraim. I have bidden my cousin Henry to my house, and I will not set bounds to his mirth to gratify thy spleen, and show mine own inhospitality.

Eph. Why dost thou suffer him to put into the hands of thy servants books of tragedies, and books of comedies, prelude, interlude, yea, all lewd. My spirit doth wax wrath. I say unto thee a playhouse is the school for the old dragon, and a playbook the primer of Belzebub.

Lady Am. This is one; mark! [Reads.] "Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, the marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, become them with one half so good a grace as mercy doth. Oh, think on that, and mercy then will breathe within your lips like man new made!"—Doth Belzebub speak such words?

Eph. Thy kinsman has made all the servants actors.

Lady Am. To act well is good service.

Eph. Here cometh the damsel for whom my heart yearneth.

Enter Jane, reading a paper joyfully.

Jane. Oh, ma'am, his honour the 'squire says the play's to be "As you like it."

Eph. I like it not.

Jane. He's given me my character. I'm to be Miss Audrey, and brother Sim's to be William of the forest, as it were. But how am I to get my part by heart?

Lady Am. By often reading it.

Jane. Well, I don't know but that's as good as any other. But I must study my part. "The gods give us joy." [Exit.

Eph. Thy maidens skip like young kids.

Lady Am. Then do thou go skip with them.

Eph. Mary, thou shou'd'st be obey'd in thine own house, and I will do thy bidding.

Lady Am. Ah, thou hypocrite! To obey is easy when the heart commands.

Enter Rover, pushing by Ephraim.

Rover. Oh, my charming cousin, how agree you and Rosalind? Are you almost perfect? "Eh, what, all a-mort, old Clytus?" "Why, you're like an angry fiend broke in among the laughing gods."—Come, come, I'll have nothing here, but "Quips and cranks, and wreathed smiles, such as dwell on Hebe's cheek."

[Looking at Lady Amaranth.

Lady Am. He says we mustn't have this amusement.

Rover. "But I'm a voice potential, double as the Duke's, and I say we must."

Eph. Nay.

Rover. Yea: "By Jupiter, I swear, aye." [Music without.

Eph. I must shut my ears. The man of sin rubbeth the hair of the horse to the bowels of the cat.

Enter Lamp, with a Violin.

Lamp. Now, if agreeable to your ladyship, we'll go over your song.

Eph. I will go over it.

[Snatches the book from Lady Amaranth,
throws it on the ground, and steps on it.

Rover. Trample on Shakspeare! "You sacrilegious thief, that, from a shelf the precious diadem stole, and put it in thy pocket!" [Takes up the book and presents it again to Lady Amaranth.] Silence, "thou owl of Crete," and hear the "Cuckoo's song."

Lady Am. To practise it I'm content.

[Lamp begins to play. Ephraim jostles
him, and puts him out of tune.

Lamp. Why, what's that for, my dear sir?

Eph. Friend, this is a land of freedom, and I've as much right to move my elbow as thou hast to move thine. [Rover pushes him.] Why dost thou so friend?

Rover. Friend, this is a land of freedom, and I have as much right to move my elbow, as thou hast to move thine.

[Mimicking, shoves Ephraim out.

Lady Am. But, Harry, do your people of fashion act these follies themselves.

Rover. Ay, and scramble for the top parts as eager as for star, ribband, place, or pension. Lamp, decorate the seats out smart and theatrical, and drill the servants that I've given the small parts to—

[Exit Lamp.

Lady Am. I wished for some entertainment, (in which gay people now take delight,) to please those I have invited; but we'll convert these follies into a charitable purpose. Tickets for this day shall be delivered unto my friends gratis; but money to their amount, I will, from my own purse (after rewarding our assistants) distribute amongst the indigent of the village. Thus, whilst we please ourselves, and perhaps amuse our friends, we shall make the poor happy.


Rover. An angel! If Sir George doesn't soon arrive, to blow me, I may, I think, marry her angelic ladyship; but will that be honest? She's nobly born, though I suspect I had ancestors too, if I knew who they were. I certainly entered this house the poorest wight in England, and what must she imagine when I am discovered? That I am a scoundrel; and, consequently, though I should possess her hand and fortune, instead of loving, she'll despise me——[Sits down.] I want a friend now, to consult—deceive her I will not. Poor Dick Buskin wants money more than myself, yet this is a measure I'm sure he'd scorn. No, no, I must not.—

Enter Harry.

Harry. Now I hope my passionate father will be convinced that this is the first time I ever was under this roof. Eh, what beau is here? Astonishing! My old strolling friend!

[Unperceived, sits by Rover.

Rover. Heigho! I don't know what to do.

Harry. [In the same tone.] "Nor what to say."

Rover. [Turns] Dick Buskin! My dear fellow! Ha! ha! ha! Talk of the devil, and—I was just thinking of you—'Pon my soul, Dick, I'm so happy to see you!

[Shakes hands cordially.

Harry. But, Jack, eh, perhaps you found me out?

Rover. Found you! I'm sure I wonder how the deuce you found me out. Ah, the news of my intended play has brought you.

Harry. He does'nt know as yet who I am; so I'll carry it on. [Aside.] Then you too have broke your engagement with Truncheon, at Winchester; figuring it away in your stage clothes too. Really, tell us what you are at here, Jack?

Rover. Will you be quiet with your Jacking? I'm now 'Squire Harry.

Harry. What?

Rover. I've been pressed into this service by an old man of war, who found me at the inn, and, insisting I am son to a Sir George Thunder, here, in that character, I flatter myself I have won the heart of the charming lady of this house.

Harry. Now the mystery's out. Then it's my friend Jack has been brought here for me! [Aside.] Do you know the young gentleman they take you for?

Rover. No: but I flatter myself he is honoured in his representative.

Harry. Upon my soul, Jack, you're a very high fellow.

Rover. I am, now I can put some pounds in your pockets; you shall be employed—we're getting up "As you like it." Let's see, in the cast have I a part for you?—I'll take Touchstone from Lamp, you shall have it, my boy; I'd resign Orlando to you with any other Rosalind; but the lady of the mansion plays it herself, you rogue.

Harry. The very lady my father intended for me. [Aside.] Do you love her, Jack?

Rover. To distraction; but I'll not have her.

Harry. No! Why?

Rover. She thinks me a gentleman, and I'll not convince her I am a rascal. I'll go on with our play, as the produce is appropriated to a good purpose, and then lay down my 'squireship, bid adieu to my heavenly Rosalind, and exit for ever from her house, poor Jack Rover.

Harry. The generous fellow I ever thought him! and he sha'n't lose by it. If I could make him believe—[Aside.] Well, this is the most whimsical affair! You've anticipated, superseded me, ha! ha! ha! You'll scarce believe that I'm come here too (purposely though) to pass myself for this young Henry.

Rover. No!

Harry. I am.

Sir Geo. [Without.] Harry, where are you?

Rover. Eh! who's that?

Harry. Ah! ah! ah! I'll try it; my father will be cursedly vexed; but no other way. [Aside.

Rover. Somebody called Harry—Zounds! "if the real Simon Pure" should be arrived, I'm in a fine way!

Harry. Be quiet—that's my confederate.

Rover. Eh!

Harry. He's to personate the father, Sir George. He started the scheme, having heard that a union was intended, and Sir George not immediately expected—our plan is, if I can, before his arrival, flourish myself into the lady's good graces, and whip her up, as she's an heiress.

Rover. But who is this comrade?

Harry. One of our company, a devilish good actor in the old man.

Rover. So you're turned fortune-hunter! Oh, oh! then 'twas on this plan that you parted with me on the road, standing like a finger post, "you walk up that way, and I must walk down this." [Mimicks.] Why, Dick, I did'nt know you were half so capital a rogue.

Harry. I did'nt know my forte lay that way, till persuaded by this experienced stager.

Rover. He must be an impudent old scoundrel; who is he? Do I not know him?

Harry. Why, no—I hope not. [Aside.

Rover. I'll step down stairs, and have the honour of—I'll kick him.

Harry. Stop! No, I wou'dn't have him hurt neither.

Rover. What's his name?

Harry. His name is—is—Abrawang.

Rover. Abrawang! Abrawang! I never heard of him; but, Dick, why would you let him persuade you to such a scandalous affair?

Harry. Why faith, I would have been off it; but when once he takes a project into his head, the devil himself can't drive him out of it.

Rover. Yes; but the constable may drive him into Winchester gaol.

Harry. Eh! your opinion of our intended exploit has made me ashamed of myself—Ha! ha! ha! Harkey, Jack, to frighten and punish my adviser, do you still keep on your character of young 'Squire Thunder—you can easily do that, as he, no more than myself, has ever seen the young gentleman.

Rover. But by Heavens I'll—"Quoit him down, Bardolph."

Harry. Yes; but, Jack, if you can marry her, her fortune is a snug thing: besides, if you love each other—I tell you—

Rover. Hang, her fortune! "My love, more noble than the world, prizes not quantity of dirty lands." Oh, Dick, she's the most lovely—she is female beauty in its genuine decoration! [Exit.

Harry. Ha! ha! ha! this is the drollest—Rover little suspects that I am the identical Squire Thunder that he personates—I'll lend him my character a little longer. Yes, this offers a most excellent opportunity of making my poor friend's fortune, without injuring any body; if possible, he shall have her. I can't regret the loss of charms I never knew; and, as for an estate, my father's is competent to all my wishes. Lady Amaranth, by marrying Jack Rover, will gain a man of honour, which she might miss in an earl—it may tease my father a little at first, but he's a good old fellow in the main; and, I think, when he comes to know my motive—Eh! this must be she—an elegant woman, faith! Now for a spanking lie, to continue her in the belief that Jack is the man she thinks him.

Enter Lady Amaranth.

Lady Am. Who art thou, friend?

Harry. Madam, I've scarce time to warn you against the danger you are in, of being imposed upon by your uncle, Sir George.

Lady Am. How?

Harry. He has heard of your ladyship's partiality for his son; but is so incensed at the irregularity of his conduct, he intends, if possible, to disinherit him; and, to prevent your honouring him with your hand, had engaged, and brought me hither, to pass me on you for him, designing to treat the poor young gentleman himself as an impostor, in hopes you'll banish him your heart and house.

Lady Am. Is Sir George such a parent? I thank thee for thy caution.—What is thy name?

Harry. Richard Buskin, ma'am; the stage is my profession. In the young 'squire's late excursion, we contracted an intimacy, and I saw so many good qualities in him, that I could not think of being the instrument of his ruin, nor deprive your ladyship of so good a husband, as I am certain he'll make you.

Lady Am. Then Sir George intends to disown him?

Harry. Yes, ma'am; I've this moment told the young gentleman of it; and he's determined, for a jest, to return the compliment, by seeming to treat Sir George himself as an impostor.

Lady Am. Ha, ha, ha! 'twill be a just retaliation, and, indeed, what my uncle deserveth for his cruel intentions both to his son and me.

Sir Geo. [Without.] What, has he run away again?

Lady Am. That's mine uncle.

Harry. Yes; here is my father; and my standing out that I am not his son, will rouse him into the heat of battle, ha, ha, ha! [Aside.] Here he is, madam, now mind how he will dub me 'squire.

Lady Am. It's well I'm prepared, or I might have believed him.

Enter Sir George.

Sir Geo. Well, my lady, wasn't it my wild rogue set you to all the Calcavella capers you've been cutting in the garden? You see here I have brought him into the line of battle again—you villain, why do you drop astern there? Throw a salute shot, buss her bob-stays, bring to, and come down straight as a mast, you dog.

Lady Am. Uncle, who is this?

Sir Geo. Who is he! Ha, ha, ha! Gad, that's an odd question to the fellow that has been cracking your walnuts.

Lady Am. He is bad at his lesson.

Sir Geo. Certainly, when he ran from school—why don't you speak, you lubber? you're curst modest now, but before I came, 'twas all done amongst the posies—Here, my lady, take from a father's hand, Harry Thunder.

Lady Am. That is what I may not.

Sir Geo. There, I thought you'd disgust her, you flat fish!

Enter Rover.

Lady Am. [Taking Rover's hand.] Here, take from my hand, Harry Thunder.

Sir Geo. Eh! [Staring at Rover.]

Rover. Eh! Oh! this is your sham Sir George? [Apart.

Harry. Yes; I've been telling the lady, and she'll seem to humour him.

Rover. I shan't though. [To Harry.] How do you do, Abrawang?

Sir Geo. Abrawang!

Rover. You look like a good actor.—Ay, that's very well, indeed—never lose sight of your character—you know, Sir George is a noisy, turbulent, wicked old seaman.—Angry! bravo!—pout your under lip, purse your brows—very well! But, dem it, Abrawang, you should have put a little red upon your nose—mind a rule, ever play an angry old man, with a red nose.

Sir Geo. Nose!

[Walks about in a passion.

Rover. Very well! that's right! strut about on your little pegs.

Sir Geo. I'm in such a fury.

Rover. We know that. Your figure is the most happy comedy squab I ever saw; why only show yourself, and you set the audience in a roar.

Sir Geo. 'Sblood and fire!

Rover. "Keep it up, I like fun."

Lady Am. Who is this?

[To Sir George, pointing at Rover.

Sir Geo. Some puppy unknown.

Lady Am. And you don't know this gentleman?

[To Rover, points to Sir George.

Rover. Excellently well; "He's a fishmonger."

Sir Geo. A what?

Lady Am. Yes, father and son are determined not to know each other. You know this youth? [To Rover.]

Rover. [To Harry.] "My friend, Horatio"—"I wear him in my heart's core, yea, in my heart of heart, as I do thee." [Embracing.

Sir Geo. Such freedom with my niece before my face! Do you know that lady, do you know my son, sir?

Rover. Be quiet. "Jaffier has discovered the plot, and you can't deceive the senate."

Harry. Yes, my conscience wou'dn't let me carry it through.

Rover. "Ay, his conscience hanging about the neck of his heart, says, good Launcelot, and good Gobbo, as aforesaid, good Launcelot Gobbo, take to thy heels and run."

Sir Geo. Why, my lady! explain, scoundrel, and puppy unknown.

Lady Am. Uncle, I've heard thy father was kind to thee, return that kindness to thy child. If the lamb in wanton play doth fall among the waters, the shepherd taketh him out, instead of plunging him deeper till he dieth. Though thy hairs now be grey, I'm told they were once flaxen; in short, he is too old in folly, who cannot excuse it in youth. [Exit.

Sir Geo. I'm an old fool! Well, that's damn'd civil of you, madam niece, and I'm a grey shepherd—with her visions and her vines, and her lambs in a ditch; but as for you, young Mr. Goat, I'll butt you——

Rover. My dear Abrawang, give up the game—her ladyship, in seeming to take you for her uncle, has been only humming you! What the devil, don't you think the fine creature knows her own true born uncle?

Sir Geo. Certainly; to be sure she knows me.

Rover. Will you have done? Zounds, man, my honoured father was here himself to-day—Her ladyship knows his person.

Sir Geo. Your honoured father! and who's your honoured self?

Rover. "Now by my father's son, and that's myself, it shall be sun, moon, or a Cheshire cheese—before I budge—still crossed and crossed."

Sir Geo. What do you bawl out to me of a Cheshire cheese, I say—

Rover. "And I say, as the saying is"—your friend Dick, has told me all; but to convince you of my forgiveness, in our play, as you're rough and tough, I'll cast you Charles the Wrestler, I do Orlando; I'll kick up your heels before the whole court.

Sir Geo. Why, dam'me, I'll—And you, you undutiful chick of an old pelican—

[Lifting up his cane, to strike Harry.

Enter John, who receives the blow.

John. What are you at here? cudgelling the people about? But, Mr. Buckskin, I've a word to say to you in private.

Sir Geo. Buckskin! take that. [Beats him.

Enter Lamp, Trapp, and two female Servants.

Lamp. "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women"——

Sir Geo. The men are rogues, and the women hussies—I'll make a clear stage.

[Beats them offamongst the rest, strikes Rover.

Rover. "A blow! Essex, a blow"—An old rascally impostor stigmatizing me with a blow—no, I must not put up with it.—Zounds! I shall be tweaked by the nose all round the country—I'll follow him.—"Strike me! so may this arm dash him to the earth, like a dead dog despised—blindness and leprosy, lameness and lunacy, pride, shame, and the name of villain light on me, if I don't" bang—Mr. Abrawang. [Exit.



Another Apartment.

Enter Lady Amaranth, and Banks.

Banks. Madam, I could have paid the rent of my little cottage; but I dare say 'twas without your ladyship's knowledge, that your steward has turned me out, and put my neighbour in possession.

Lady Am. My steward oppress the poor! I did not know it indeed.

Banks. The pangs of adversity I could bear; but the innocent partner of my misfortunes, my unhappy sister—

Lady Am. I did desire Ephraim to send for thy sister—Did she dwell with thee, and both now without a home? Let her come to mine.

Banks. The hand of misery hath struck us beneath your notice.

Lady Am. Thou dost mistake—To need my assistance is the highest claim to my attention; let me see her. [Exit Banks.] I could chide myself that these pastimes have turned my eye from the house of woe. Ah! think, ye proud and happy affluent, how many, in your dancing moments, pine in want, drink the salt tear; their morsel, the bread of misery, and shrinking from the cold blast into their cheerless hovels.

Enter Banks, leading in Amelia.

Banks. Madam, my sister.

[Bows and retires.

Lady Am. Thou art welcome—I feel myself interested in thy concerns.

Amelia. Madam!

Lady Am. I judge, thou wert not always unhappy.—Tell me thy condition, then I shall better know how to serve thee. Is thy brother thy sole kindred?

Amelia. I had a husband, and a son.

Lady Am. A widow! If it recall not images thou wouldst forget, impart to me thy story—'Tis rumoured in the village, thy brother is a clergyman—tell me.

Amelia. Madam, he was; but he has lost his early patron, and is now poor and unbeneficed.

Lady Am. But thy husband—

Amelia. By this brother's advice, now twenty years since, I was prevailed on to listen to the addresses of a young sea officer, (for my brother has been a chaplain in the navy) but to our surprise and mortification, we discovered by the honesty of a sailor, in whom he put confidence, that the captain's design was only to decoy me into a seeming marriage; he ordered him to procure a counterfeit clergyman; our humble friend, instead of us, put the deceit upon his master, by concealing from him that my brother was in orders; he, flattered with the hopes of procuring me an establishment, gave in to the supposed imposture, and performed the ceremony.

Lady Am. Duplicity, even with a good intent, is ill.

Amelia. Madam, the event has justified your censure; for my husband, not knowing himself really bound by any legal tie, abandoned me—I followed him to the Indies, distracted, still seeking him—I left my infant at one of our settlements; but, after a fruitless pursuit, on my return, I found the friend, to whose care I had committed my child, was compelled to retire from the ravages of war, but where I could not learn. Rent with agonizing pangs, now without child or husband, I again saw England, and my brother; who, wounded with remorse, for being the cause of my misfortunes, secluded himself from the joys of social life, and invited me to partake the comforts of solitude in that humble asylum, from whence we've both just now been driven.

Lady Am. My pity can do thee no good, yet I pity thee; but as resignation to what must be, may restore peace, if my means can procure thee comfort, they are at thy pleasure. Come, let thy griefs subside, instead of thy cottage, accept, thou and thy brother, every convenience that my mansion can afford.

Amelia. Madam, I can only thank you with—— [Weeps.

Lady Am. My thanks are here—Come, thou shalt be cheerful. I will introduce thee to my sprightly cousin Harry, and his father, my humourous uncle; we have delights going forward that may amuse thee.

Amelia. Kind lady!

Lady Am. Come, smile—though a quaker, thou seest I am merry—the sweetest joy of wealth and power is to cheer another's drooping heart, and wipe from the pallid cheek the tear of sorrow. [Exeunt.





A Road.

Enter three Ruffians, dressed as Sailors.

1st Ruff. Well, now, what's to be done?

2d Ruff. Why, we've been long upon our shifts, and after all our tricks, twists, and turns, as London was then too hot for us, our tramp to Portsmouth was a hit.

3d Ruff. Ay; but since the cash we touched, upon pretending to be able bodied seamen, is now come to the last shilling, as we have deserted, means of a fresh supply to take us back to London, must be thought on.

2d Ruff. Ay, how to recruit the pocket without hazarding the neck.

1st Ruff. By an advertisement posted on the stocks yonder, there are collectors upon this road; thirty guineas are offered by the quaker lady, owner of the estate round here; I wish we could snap any straggler to bring before her. A quaker will only require a yea for an oath—we might sack these thirty guineas.

2d Ruff. Yes; but we must take care, if we fall into the hands of this gentleman that's in pursuit of us——'Sdeath, isn't that his man, the old boatswain?

1st Ruff. Don't run, I think we three are a match for him.

2d Ruff. Instantly put on your characters of sailors; we may get something out of him: a pitiful story makes such an impression on the soft heart of a true tar, that he'll open his hard hand, and drop you his last guinea—If we can but make him believe we were pressed, we have him; only mind me.

Enter John Dory.

John. To rattle my lantern, Sir George's temper now always blows a hurricane.

2d Ruff. What cheer? [To John.]

John. Ha hoy!

3d Ruff. Bob, up with your speaking trumpet.

2d Ruff. Do you see, brother, this is the thing—

Enter Sir George, at the back, unperceived.

Sir Geo. If these should be my deserters. [Aside.

1st Ruff. We three hands, just come home after a long voyage, were pressed in the river, and without letting us see our friends, brought round to Portsmouth, and there we entered freely, cause why? We had no choice, then we run. We hear some gentleman is in chace of us, so as the shot are all out, we'll surrender.

John. Surrender! Oh then you've no shot left indeed—let's see. [Feels his pocket.] I hav'nt the loading of a gun about me now, and this same monsieur poverty is a bitter bad enemy.

Sir Geo. They are the deserters that I've been after. [Aside.

John. Meet me in an hour's time in the little wood yonder; I'll raise a wind to blow you into safe latitude—keep out to sea, my master's the rock you'll certainly split upon.

2d Ruff. This is the first time we ever saw you; but we'll steer by your chart, for I never knew one seaman to betray another.

[Exeunt Ruffians.

Sir Geo. Then they have been pressed—I can't blame them so much for running away.

John. Yes, Sir George would certainly hang them.

Sir Geo. I wouldn't, they shall eat beef, and drink the king's health, run and tell them so—stop, I'll tell them myself.

John. Why, now you are yourself, and a kind, good gentleman, as you used to be.

Sir Geo. Since these idle rogues are inclined to return to their duty, they shan't want sea store—take them this money—but hold—I'll meet them myself, and advise them as I would my children.

[Exeunt severally.



A Wood.

Enter Rover, in his first clothes, greatly agitated,
with pistols

Rover. Which way did Mr. Abrawang take? Dick Buskin, I think, has no suspicion of my intentions:—such a choleric spark will fight, I dare say. If I fall, or even survive this affair, I leave the field of love, and the fair prize, to the young gentleman I've personated, for I'm determined to see Lady Amaranth no more—Oh, here comes Abrawang.

Enter Sir George.

Sir Geo. Now to relieve these foolish seagulls—they must be hovering about this coast—Ha! puppy unknown!—

Rover. You're the very man I was seeking.—You are not ignorant, Mr. Abrawang—

Sir Geo. Mr. what?

Rover. You will not resign your title, ha, ha, ha! Oh, very well, I'll indulge you,—Sir George Thunder, you honoured me with a blow.

Sir Geo. Did it hurt you?

Rover. 'Sdeath! but let me proceed like a gentleman; as it's my pride to reject even favours, no man shall offer me an injury.

Sir Geo. Eh!

Rover. In rank we're equal.

Sir Geo. Are we faith? [Smiling.] The English of all this is, we're to fight.

Rover. Sir, you have marked on me an indelible stain, only to be washed out by blood.

Sir Geo. Why, I've only one objection to fighting you.

Rover. What's that, sir?

Sir Geo. That you're too brave a lad to be killed.

Rover. Brave! No, sir; at present I wear the stigma of a coward.

Sir Geo. Zounds! I like a bit of fighting—hav'n't had a morsel a long time—don't know when I've smelt gunpowder—but to bring down a woodcock.

Rover. Take your ground.

Sir Geo. But what are we to do for weapons?

Rover. Here are weapons.

Sir Geo. Well, this is bold work, for a privateer to give battle to a king's ship.

Rover. Try your charge, sir, and take your ground.

Sir Geo. I would not wish to sink, burn, or destroy, what I think was built for good service; but, damme, if I don't wing you, to teach you better manners.

Enter the three Ruffians, not perceiving Rover.

3d Ruff. Ay, here's the honest fellow has brought us some cash.

[Looking at Sir George.

2d Ruff. We're betrayed, it's the very gentleman, that's in pursuit of us, and this promise was only a decoy to throw us into his power—The pistol!

[Apart, and pointing to it. Sir George ramming the charge.

[2d Ruffian seizes and wrenches the piece from Sir George.

Sir Geor. Ah, boys!

2d Ruff. You'd have our lives, now we'll have yours.

[Presents the piece at Sir George; Rover advances
quick, and knocks it out of his hand

[They run off.

Rover. Rascals! [Pursues them.

Sir Geor. [Takes up the other piece.] My brave lad! I'll—[Going.

Enter John Dory.

John. No, you shan't. [Holding him.

Sir Geor. The rogues will—

John. Never mind the rogues—

[Noise of fighting without, a piece let off.

Sir Geor. S'blood! Must I see my preserver perish. [Struggling.

John. Well, I know I'm your preserver, and I will perish, but I'll bring you out of harm's way.

[Still holding him.

Sir Geor. Though he'd fight me himself—

John. Sure we all know you'd fight the devil.

Sir Geor. He saved my life.

John. I'll save your life [Whips him up in his arms.] So hey! haul up, my noble little crab walk! [Exit.



A Room in Banks's Cottage.

Enter Farmer Gammon, Banks, and Sim.—Sim
writing, and crying.

F. Gam. Boy, go on with the inventory.

Sim. How unlucky! Feyther to lay hold of me when I wanted to practise my part. [Aside.

Banks. This proceeding is very severe, to lay an execution on my wretched trifling goods when I thought—

F. Gam. Ay, you know you've gone up to the big house with your complaint—her ladyship's steward, to be sure, has made me give back your cottage and farm; but your goods I seize for my rent.

Banks. Only leave me a very few necessaries—by the goodness of my neighbours, I may soon redeem what the law has put into your hands.

F. Gam. The affair is now in my lawyer's hands, and plaintiff and defendant chattering about it, is all smoke.

Sim. Feyther, don't be so cruel to Mr. Banks.

F. Gam. I'll mark what I may want to keep for myself. Stay here, and see that not a pin's worth be removed without my knowledge. [To Sim.] [Exit.

Sim. I'll be domm'd if I'll be your watch dog, to bite the poor, that I won't. Mr. Banks, as feyther intends to put up your goods at auction, if you could but get a friend to buy the choice of them for you again. Sister Jane has got steward to advance her a quarter's wages, and when I've gone to sell corn for feyther, besides presents, I've made a market penny now and then. Here—it's not much! but every little helps.

[Takes out a small leather purse, and offers it to Banks.

Banks. I thank you, my good natured boy; but keep your money.

Sim. Last summer, you saved me from being drowned in black pool, if you'll not take this, ecod, in there I'll directly fling it, and let old nick save it from being drowned, an'he can. [Going.

Banks. My kind lad, then I'll not hurt your feeling, by opposing your liberality.

[Takes it.

Sim. He, he, he! you've now given my heart such a pleasure as I never felt, nor I'm sure feyther afore me.

Banks. But, Sim, whatever may be his opinion of worldly prudence, still remember he's your parent.

Sim. I will—"One elbow chair, one claw table."

[Exit, writing, and Banks.

Enter Amelia.

Amelia. The confusion into which Lady Amaranth's family is thrown by the sudden departure, and apprehended danger of her young cousin, must have prevented her ladyship from giving that attention to our affairs, that I'm sure was her inclination. If I can but prevail on my brother too, to accept her protection—I can't enjoy the delights of her ladyship's hospitable mansion, and leave him here still subject to the insults of his churlish neighbour—Heavens! who's this? [Retires.

Enter Rover hastily, his hair and dress much

Rover. What a race [Panting.] I've at last got from the blood hounds! Ah, if old Abrawang had but followed and backed me, we'd have tickled their catastrophes; but when they got me alone, three upon me were odds, so, safe's the word—who's house is this I've dash'd into?—Eh! the friendly cottage of my old gentleman! Are you at home? [Calls.] Gadso! I had a hard struggle for it; yes, murder was their intent, so it was well for me that I was born without brains, I'm quite weak, faint! [Leans against the wall.]

Amelia. [Advancing.] Sir, an't you well? [With concern.]

Rover. Madam, I ask pardon,—hem, yes, ma'am, very well, I thank you—now exceeding well—got into a fray there, in a kind of a hobble with some worthy gentlemen; only simple, honest farmers. I fancy mistook me for a sheaf of barley, for they down with me, and then thresh'd so heartily, gad, their flails flew merrily about my ears, but I up, and when I could no longer fight like a mastiff, why, I—run like a greyhound—But, dear ma'am, pray excuse me. Egad, this is very rude, faith.

Amelia. You seem disturbed, [With emotion.] will you take any refreshment?

Rover. Madam, you're very good.—Only a little of your currant wine, if you please; if I don't forget, it stands—just—[PointsAmelia brings some from a beaufet.] Madam, I've the honour of drinking your health. [Drinks.]

Amelia. I hope you're not hurt, sir.

Rover. "A little better, but very weak still"—I had a sample of this before, and liked it so much, that, madam—"Won't you take another?"

Amelia. Sir!

Rover. Madam, if you'd been fighting, as I have, you'd—well, well, [Fills and drinks.] now I'm as well as any man—"In Illyria," got a few hard knocks though.

Amelia. You'd better repose a little, you seem'd much disorder'd coming in.

Rover. [Places a chair, and both sit.] Why, ma'am, you must know thus it was—

Enter Sheriff's Officer.

Off. Come, ma'am, Mr. Gammon says this chair is wanted to make up the half dozen above. [Lays hold of Amelia's chair, she rises terrified.]

Rover. What, what's all this?

Off. Why the furniture's seized on execution, and a man must do his duty.

Rover. Then, scoundrel, know, that a man's first duty is civility and tenderness to a woman.

Amelia. Heavens! where's my brother? This gentleman will bring himself into trouble.

Off. Master, d'ye see, I'm representative for his honour the High Sheriff.

Rover. Every High Sheriff should be a gentleman, and when he's represented by a rascal, he's dishonour'd.—Dem it, I might as well live about Covent Garden, and every night get beating the watch; for here, among groves and meadows, I'm always squabbling with constables. [Whips up a stick from a corner of the room, and holds it behind him.]

Off. Come, come, I must—

Rover. "As you say, sir, last Wednesday, so it was"—Sir, your most obedient, humble servant— [Bows respectfully.] Pray, sir, may I take the liberty to know, have you ever been astonished? [With great ceremony.]

Off. What?

Rover. Because, sir, I intend to astonish you; my dear fellow, give me your hand. [Takes his hand, and beats him—] Now, sir, you are astonished?

Off. Yes; but see if I don't suit you with an action.

Rover. "Right, suit the action to the word, the word to the action;" "See if the gentlewoman be not affrighted"—"Michael, I'll make thee an example."

Off. Yes, fine example, when goods are seized here by the law, and—

Rover. "Thou worm and maggot of the law!" "Hop me over every kennel, or you shall hop without my custom."

Off. I don't value your custom.

Rover. You are astonished, now I'll amaze you.

Off. No, sir, I won't be amazed—but only see if I don't—

Rover. Hop!

[Exit Officer muttering and bullying, yet frightened.

Stop, ma'am, these sort of gentry are monstrous bad company for a lady—So I'll just see him to the door, and then I'll see him outside the door.—Ma'am, I'm your most obedient humble servant. [Bows respectfully, and exit hastily.]

Amelia. I feel a strange curiosity to know who this young gentleman is. I find my heart interested, I can't account for—he must have known the house by the freedom—but then his gaiety, (without familiar rudeness) native elegance of manners, and good breeding, seem to make him at home any where.—My brother, I think, must know—

Enter Banks hastily, and agitated.

Banks. Amelia, did you see the young gentleman that was here? Some ruffian fellows, and a posse of the country people have bound and dragged him from the door, on the allegation of three men, who mean to swear he has robbed them; and they have taken him to Lady Amaranth's.

Amelia. How! He did enter here in confusion as if pursued; but I'll stake my life on his innocence. I'll speak to Lady Amaranth, and in spite of calumny, he shall have justice—he would not let me be insulted, because he saw me an unprotected woman, without a husband or a son, and shall he want an advocate? Brother, come. [Exeunt.



Lady Amaranth's.

Enter Jane, with a light.

Jane. I believe there's not a soul in the house but myself; my lady has sent all the folks round the country to search after the young 'squire, she'll certainly break her heart if any thing happens to him; I don't wonder, for surely he's a dear, sweet gentleman: the pity of it is, his going spoils all our fine play, and I had just got my part quite by heart; however, I must do the room up for Mr. Banks's sister, that my lady has invited here.

[Adjusts her toilet.

Enter Ephraim Smooth.

Eph. The man John Dory has carried the man George hither in his arms, and has locked him up. Coming into the house, they did look to me like a blue lobster with a shrimp in his claws—Oh, here is the damsel I love, and alone.

Jane. They say when folks look in the glass, at night, they see the black gentleman.

[As she is looking in a glass, Ephraim goes and
peeps over her shoulders; she screams

Eph. Thou art employed in vanity.

Jane. Well, who wants you?

Eph. It is natural for woman to love man.

Jane. Yes; but not such ugly men as you are. Why would you come in to frighten me, when you know there's nobody here but ourselves.

Eph. I am glad of that. I am the elm and thou the honey suckle; let thy arms entwine me.

Jane. Oh, what a rogue is here! but yonder comes my lady, and I'll show him off to her in his true colours. [Aside.

Eph. Clasp me around.

Jane. Well, I will, if you'll take off your hat, and make me a fine low bow.

Eph. I cannot bend my knee, nor take off my beaver.

Jane. Then you're very impudent—go along.

Eph. But to win thy favour.

[Takes off his hat, and bows.

Jane. Now kneel down to me.

Eph. I cannot, but one lovely smile may smile me down.

[She smiles, he kneels.

Jane. Well, now, read me a speech out of that fine play-book.

Eph. I read a play! a-bo-mi-na-ti-on!—But, Jane, wilt thou kiss me?

Jane. I kiss a man! a-bo-mi-na-ti-on! [Mimicking.] but you may take my hand—

Eph. Oh! 'tis a comfort to the lip of the faithful.

[Kisses her hand.

Lady Amaranth discovers Ephraim
Click to ENLARGE
lady amaranth. — ah, thou sly and deceitful hypocrite!

Enter Lady Amaranth.

Lady Am. How! [Taps him gently on the shoulder, he looks up confounded.] Ah, thou sly and deceitful hypocrite!

Eph. Verily, Mary, I was buffetted by Satan, in the shape of a damsel.

Lady Am. Begone!

Eph. My spirit is sad, though my feet move so nimble.

[Exit very slow.

Lady Am. But, Oh, Heavens, no tidings of my dearest Henry! Jane, let them renew their search.

Jane. Here's Madam Amelia, you see I've got her room ready; but I'll go make brother Sim look for the young 'squire. [Exit.

Enter Amelia.

Amelia. Oh, madam, might I implore your influence with—

Lady Am. Thou art ill accommodated here; but I hope thou wilt excuse—My mind is a sea of trouble, my peace shipwrecked—Oh, friend, hadst thou seen my cousin Harry, thou too, all who knew him, must be anxious for his safety.

John. [Without.] Heave a-head.

Enters with Sir George.

Sir Geo. Rascal! whip me up like a pound of tea, dance me about like a young bear, make me quit the preserver of my life! yes, puppy unknown will think me a poltroon, and that I was afraid to follow, and second him.

John. Well, you may as well turn into your hammock; for out to-night you shall not budge—[Sees Amelia.] Oh! marcy of Heaven! isn't it—Eh, master? Only give one look.

Amelia. [Seeing Sir George.] My husband!

[Swoons; Lady Amaranth supports her.

Sir Geo. 'Tis my Amelia!

John. [Stopping Sir George, and looking attentively at Amelia.] Reef the foresail! first, you cracked her heart by sheering off, and now you'll overset her by bringing to.

Lady Am. Hold—soft!

Amelia. Are you at length returned to me, my Seymour?

Lady Am. Seymour! her mind is disturbed, this is mine uncle, Sir George Thunder.

John. No, no, my lady, she knows what she's saying very well.

Sir Geo. Niece, I have been a villain to this lady, I confess. But, my dear Amelia, Providence has done you justice in part. From the first month I quitted you, I have never entered one happy hour on my journal; hearing that you foundered, and considering myself the cause, the worm of remorse has gnawed my timbers.

Amelia. You're not still offended with me?

Sir Geo. Me! can you forgive my offence, and condescend to take my hand as an atonement?

Amelia. Your hand! Do you forget that we are already married?

Sir Geo. Ay, there was my rascality.

John. You may say that.

Sir Geo. Hold your tongue, you impudent crimp, you pander, you bad adviser—I'll strike my false colours—I'll now acknowledge the chaplain you provided was—

John. Was a good man, and a greater honour to his black, than your honour has been to your blue cloth—Eh, by the word of a seaman, here he is himself.

Enter Banks.

Sir Geo. Your brother!

Banks. Captain Seymour! have I found you, sir?

Sir Geo. My dear Banks, I'll make every reparation.—Amelia shall really be my wife.

Banks. That, sir, my sister is already; for when I performed the marriage ceremony, which you took only as the cloak of your deception, I was actually in orders.

John. Now, who's the crimp, and the pander? I never told you this since; because I thought a man's own reflections were the best punishment for betraying an innocent woman.

Lady Am. Madam, my inmost soul partaketh of thy gladness, and joy for thy reformation. [To Sir George.] But thy prior marriage to this lady, annuls the subsequent, and my cousin Harry is not now thy heir.

Sir Geo. So much the better; he's an unnatural cub; but, Amelia, I flatter myself I have an heir, my infant boy.—

Amelia. Ah, husband, you had; but—

Sir Geo. Gone! well, well, I see I have been a miserable scoundrel—Eh, I will, yes, I'll adopt that brave kind lad, that wou'dn't let any body kill me but himself. He shall have my estate, that's my own acquisition—My lady, marry him, puppy unknown's a fine fellow! Amelia, only for him, you'd never have found your husband Captain Seymour in Sir George Thunder.

Amelia. What?

Banks. Are you Sir George Thunder?

Enter Landlord, followed by Ephraim.

Land. Please you, madam, they've got a footpad in custody.

Eph. I am come to sit in judgment, for there is a bad man in thy house, Mary. Bring him before me.

Sir Geo. Before you, old squintabus? And perhaps you don't know I'm a magistrate?

Eph. I'll examine him.

Sir Geo. You be damn'd—I'll examine him myself, [Shoves Ephraim.] Tow him in here. I'll give him a passport to Winchester bilboes.

Amelia. [Kneels to Sir George.] Oh, sir, as you hope for mercy, extend it to this youth; but even should he be guilty, which, from our knowledge of his benevolent and noble nature, I think next to an impossibility, let the services he has rendered to us—he protected, relieved your forsaken wife, and her unhappy brother, in the hour of want and sorrow.

Sir Geo. What, Amelia, plead for a robber! Consider, my love, justice is above bias or partiality. If my son violated the laws of his country, I'd deliver him up a public victim to disgrace and punishment.

Lady Am. Oh, my impartial uncle! Had thy country any laws to punish him, who instead of paltry gold, would rob the artless virgin of her dearest treasure, in the rigid judge I should now behold the trembling criminal.

Enter Twitch, with Rover bound, who keeps his face
averted, and Two

Eph. [Advances.] Speak thou.

Sir Geo. Hold thy clapper thou—Who are the prosecutors?

Eph. Call in—

Sir Geo. Will nobody stop his mouth? [John Dory pushes him up against the wall.] Where are the prosecutors?

Twitch. There, tell his worship, the justice.

2d Ruffian. A justice—Oh! the devil! I thought we should have nothing but quakers to deal with. [Aside.] Why, your honour, I'll swear—

[In a feigned country voice.

Sir Geo. [Looking at them.] Oh, ho! Clap down the hatches, secure these sharks.

Rover. I thought I should find you here, Abrawang, and that you had some knowledge of these fellows.

Lady Am. Heavens! my cousin Harry—[Aside.]

Sir Geo. The devil! isn't this my spear and shield?

John. [Advances.] My young master—Oh! what have you been at here? [Unbinds Rover.]

Enter Harry.

Harry. My dear fellow, are you safe.

Rover. Yes, Dick, I was brought in here very safe, I assure you.

Harry. A confederate in custody below has made a confession of their villainy, that they concerted this plan to accuse him of a robbery; first for revenge, then, in hope to share the reward for apprehending him: he also owns they are not sailors, but depredators on the public.

Sir Geo. Keep them safe in limbo. [Ruffians taken off.]—Not knowing that the justice of peace, whom they've brought the lad now here before, is the very man they attacked, ha, ha, ha! The rogues have fallen into their own snare.

Rover. What, now, you're a justice of peace; well said, Abrawang!

Amelia. Then, Sir George, you know him too?

Sir Geo. Know puppy unknown! to be sure.

Rover. Madam, I am happy to see you again. [To Amelia.]—Ah, how do you do, my kind host?

[Shakes hands with Banks.

Lady Am. I rejoice at thy safety—Be reconciled to him. [To Sir George.]

Sir Geo. Reconciled!—If I don't love, respect, and honour him, I should be unworthy of the life he rescued. But who is he?

Harry. Sir, he is—

Rover. Dick, I thank you for your good wishes; but I am still determined not to impose on this lady—Madam, as I at first told this well meaning tar, when he forced me to your house, I am not the son of Sir George Thunder.

John. No! Then I wish you were the son of an admiral, and I your father.

Harry. You refuse the lady? To punish you, I've a mind to take her myself.—My dear cousin—

Rover. Stop, Dick.—If I, who adore her, won't, you shall not. No, no; madam, never mind what this fellow says, he's as poor as myself—Isn't he, Abrawang.

Harry. Then, my dear Rover, since you are so obstinately disinterested, I'll no longer teize my father, whom you here see, and in your strolling friend, his very truant Harry, that ran from Portsmouth school, and joined you and fellow comedians.

Rover. Indeed!

Harry. Dear cousin, forgive me, if, through my zeal for the happiness of my friend, I endeavoured to promote yours, by giving you a husband more worthy than myself. [To Lady Amaranth.]

Rover. Am I to believe! Madam, is your uncle, Sir George Thunder, in this room?

Lady Am. He is.—[Looking at Sir George.]

Rover. 'Tis so! You, in reality, what I've had the impudence to assume! and have perplexed your father with my ridiculous effrontery.—[Turns to John Dory, angry.] I told you, I insisted I wasn't the person you took me for, but you must bring your damned chariot! I am ashamed and mortified. Madam, I beg to take my leave.

Eph. Thou art welcome to go.

Rover. [Bows.] Sir George, as the father of my friend, I cannot lift my hand against you; but I hope, sir, you'll apologize to me. [Apart.

Sir Geo. Ay, with pleasure, my noble splinter—now tell me from what dock you were launched, my heart of oak?

Rover. I've heard, in England, sir; but from my earliest knowledge, till within a very few years, I've been in the East Indies.

Sir Geo. Beyond seas? Well, and how?

Rover. It seems I was committed an infant to the care of a lady, who was herself obliged by the gentle Hyder Ally, to strike her toilet, and decamp without beat of drum, leaving me a chubby little fellow squatted on a carpet. A serjeant's wife alone returned, and snatched me off triumphant, through fire, smoke, cannon, cries, and carnage.

Lady Am. Dost thou mark? [To Amelia.]

Amelia. Sir, can you recollect the name of the town, where—

Rover. Yes, ma'am, the town was Negapatnam.

Amelia. I thank you, sir.

[Gazes with delight and earnestness on Rover.

Rover. An officer, who'd much rather act Hotspur on the stage, than in the field, brought me up behind the scenes at the Calcutta theatre—I was rolled on the boards, acted myself into the favour of a colonel,—promised a pair of colours; but, impatient to find my parents, hid myself in the steerage of an homeward bound ship; assumed the name of Rover, from the uncertainty of my fate, and, having murdered more poets than Rajahs, stept on English ground, unincumbered with rupees or pagodas. Ha, ha! Wou'dst thou come home so, little Ephraim?

Eph. I would bring myself home with some money.

Amelia. Excuse my curiosity, sir; what was the lady's name in whose care you were left?

Rover. Oh, ma'am, she was the lady of a Major Linstock: but I heard my mother's name was Seymour.

Sir Geo. Why, Amelia!

Amelia. My son!

Rover. Madam!

Amelia. It is my Charles! [Embraces him.

Sir Geo. Eh!

John. [Sings and capers, claps Ephraim on the shoulders.] Tol, lol, lol, though I never heard it before, my heart told me he was a chip of the old block.

Amelia. Your father!—

[To Rover, pointing to Sir George.

Rover. Can it?—Heaven! then have I attempted to raise my impious hand against a parent's life!

Sir Geo. My dear brave boy! Then have I a son with spirit to fight me as a stranger, yet defend me as a father.

Lady Am. [Takes him by the hand.] Uncle, you'll recollect 'twas I, who first introduced a son to thee.

Sir Geo. And I hope you will next introduce a grandson to me, young slyboots. Harry, you've lost your fortune.

Harry. Yes, sir, but I've gained a brother, whose friendship (before I knew him to be such,) I prized above the first fortune in England.

Rover. My generous friend—My dearest Rosalind!

Amelia. Then, will you take our Charles? [To L. Amaranth.]

Lady Am. Yea; but only on condition thou bestowest thy fortune on his friend and brother, mine is sufficient for us, is it not?

Rover. Angelic creature!—to think of my generous friend—But now for "As you like it." Where's Lamp and Trap—I shall ever love a play—a spark from Shakspeare's Muse of Fire, was the star that guided me through my desolate and bewildered maze of life, and brought me to these unexpected blessings.

To merit friends so good, so sweet a wife,
The Tender Husband be my part for life;
My Wild Oats sown, let candid Thespian laws
Decree that glorious harvest,—your applause.






The illustration has been moved to the appropriate place in the text.

Contemporary spellings have been retained, even where inconsistent. In a very few instances, missing punctuation has been added.

Two corrections have been made and can be identified in the body of the text by a grey dotted underline:

"Ill tie your neck in a big beau" "I'll tie your neck in a big beau"
'Pon my my soul 'Pon my soul

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Wild Oats, by John O'Keeffe


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