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matrimony is a leap in the dark indeed, if we in the Daily Advertiser But come, for fear of cannot beforehand make ourselves at all certain of discovery, we had better decamp for the present, the fidelity and affection of our wives.
March ! Belf. Marriage is precarious, I grant you, and Belf. You'll expose yourself confoundedly, must be so. You may play like a weary gamester, Tamper. tis true. I would not marry a notorious profli- Tam. Say no more. I am resolved to put her gate, nor a woman in a consumption; but there affection to the trial. If she's thorough proof, is no more answering for the continuance of her I'm made for ever. Come along. (Going good disposition, than that of her good health. Belf. Tamper!
Tam. Fine maxims! make use of them your- Tam. Oh, I am lame--I forgot. [Limping. self; they wont serve me. A fine time, indeed, Belf. Lord, Lord! what a fool self-love makes to experience a woman's fidelity-after marriage; of a man!
(Exeunt. a time when every thing conspires to render it her interest to deceive you! No, no; no fool's
ACT II. paradise for me, Belford.
Belf. A fool's paradise is better than a wise SCENE I.-Emily's Dressing-Room: acre's purgatory; Tam. 'Sdeath, Belford, who comes here ?-I
Emily, BELL, PRATTLE, sitting on a Sofa. shall be discovered.
Rell. I think you seem to be a good deal reco (Resuming his counterfeit manner. vered, Ernily?
Em. I am much better than I was, I thank Enter PRATTLE.
you-heigh ho! Prat. Gentlemen, your most obedient ; mighty Prat. Ay, ay, I knew we should be better by sorry, extremely concerned, to hear the lady's and by—These little nervous disorders are very taken ill-1 was sent for in a violent hurry-had common all over the town-merely owing to the forty patients to visit--resolved to see her, how-damp weather, which relaxes the tone of the ever--Major Belford, 1 rejoice to see you in good whole system. The poor Duchess of Porcelain health-Have Ithe honour of knowing this gentle has had a fever on her spirits these three weeks
Lady Teaser's case is absolutely hysterical; and [Pointing to TAMPER and going up to him. Lady Betty Dawdle is almost half mad with lowTum. Hum, hum!
ness of spirits, headaches, tremblings, vain fears, (Limping away from Prattle. and wanderings of the mind. Belf. An acquaintance of mine, Mr. Prattle. Em. Pray, Mr. Prattle, how does poor Miss You don't know him, I believe-A little hurt in Crompton do? the service that's all.
Prat. Never better, Ma'am. Somebody has Prat. Accidents, accidents, will happen--No removed her disorder, by prescribing very effectuless than seven brought into our infirmary yester-ally to the Marquis of Cranford. His intended day, and ten into the hospital-Did you hear, match with Miss Richman, the hundred thousand Major Belford, that poor lady Di. Racket broke pound fortune, is quite off; and so, Ma'am, Miss her arm last night, by an overturn, from her Crompton is perfectly well again-By the bye borses taking fright among the vasi crowd of too, she has another reason to rejoice : for her coaches getting in at Lady Thunder's rout: and cousin, Miss Dorothy, who lives with her, and yesterday morning, Sir Helter Skelter, who is so began, you know, to grow rather old maidish, as reinarkably fond of driving, put out his collar-bone we say, Ma'am, made a sudden conquest of Mr. by a fall from his own coach-box.
Bumper, a Lancashire gentleman of a great estate, Tam. Pox on his chattering! I wish he'd be who came up to town for the Christmas; and gone!
[Aside. they were married at Miss Crompton's yesterday Belf. But your fair patient, Mr. Prattle--I am evening. afraid we detain you.
Bell. Is it true, Mr. Prattle, that Sir John Prat. Not at all;—I'll attend her immediately Medley is going to the south of France for the -Going, returns.}--You have not heard of the recovery of his health. change in the ministry !
Prat. Very true, Ma'am, very true that he's Tam. Psha!
(Aside. going, I promise you; but not for the recovery of Belf. I have.
his health. Sir John's well enough himself—but Prot. Well, well-[Going, returns.]-Lady his affairs are in a galloping consumption, I assure Sarah Melville' brought to bed within these two you. No less than two executions in his house. hours boy-Gentlemen, your servant, your I heard it for a fact at Lady Modish's. Poor very humble servant.
[Erit. gentleman, I have known his chariot stand at Tam. Chattering jackanapes !
Arthur's till eight o'clock in the morning. He Belf. So, the apothecary's come already—we has had a sad run a long time; but that last shall have a consultation of physicians, the affair at Newmarket totally undid him. Pray, knocker tied up, and straw laid in the street short ladies, have you heard the story of Alderman ly-But are you not ashamed, Tamper, to give her Manchester's lady? all this uneasiness?
Bell. Oh, no. Pray, what is it? Tam. No matter-I'll make ber ample amends Prat. A terrible story indeed-Eloped from her at last-What could possess them to send for husband, and went off with Lord John Sprightly. this blockhead? He'll make her worse and worse Their intention, it seems, was to go over to Hó.- He will absolutely talk her to death.
land; but the Alderman pursued them to HarBelf. Oh, the puppy's in fashion, you know. wich, and catched them just as they were going
Tam. It is lucky enough the fellow did not to embark. He threatened Lord John with Å know me. He's a downright he-gossip !-and prosecution : but Lord John, who knew the Alany thing he knows might as well be published | derman's turn, came down with a thousand poundo
and so the Alderman received his wife, and all is would make a figure at a masked ball. Ha, ha well again.
ha! Bell. I vow, Mr. Prattle, you are extremely Em. Bell. Ha, ha, ha! 21 using. You know the chit-chat of the whole [Looking at each other and affecting to auga. town.
Prat. Ha, ha, ha! very comical! Ha, ha, ha! Prat. Can't avoid picking up a few slight anec- Bell. frolic, Mr. Prattle, a frolic: I think, dotes, to be sure, Ma'am-Go into the best houses however, you had better not take any notice of it in town-atlend the best families in the kingdom abroad.
-- nobody better received-nobody takes more Prat. Me! I shall never breathe it, Ma'am: I care-nobody tries to give more satisfaction. am close as oak-an absolute free-mason for se
Bell. Is there any public news of any kind, crecy- —But, Ma'am, (Rising.) I must bid you Mr. Prattle?
good morning-1 have several patients to visit Prat. None at all, Ma'am-except that the Defore dinner. Mrs. Tremor, I know, will be officers are most of them returned from the Ha- dying with the vapours till she sees me; and I am vannah.
to meet Dr. Valerian at Lord Hectic's in less than Em. So we hear, Sir.
half an hour. Prat. I saw Colonel Tamper yesterday. O, Em. Ring the bell, my dear-Mr. Prattle, your ay! and Major Belford, and another gentleman, servant. as I came in here this morning.
Prat. Ladies, your very humble servant. I Bell. That was Colonel Tamper, Sir. shall send you a cordial mixture, Ma'am, to be Prat. That gentleman, Colonel Tamper, taken in any particular faintness, or lowness of Ma'am!
spirits; and some draughts, for morning and Bell. Yes, Sir.
evening. Have a care of catching cold, be cauPrat. Pardon me, Ma am! I know Colonel tious in your diet, and I make no doubt but in a Tamper very well. - That poor gentleman was few days we shall be perfectly recovered. Ladies, soinewhat disabled—had suffered a little in the your servant: your most obedient, very humide wars-Colonel Tamper is not so unfortunate.
(Eri. Em. O yes, that horrid accident!
[The Ladies sit for some time silent. Prat. What accident ?
Bell. Sister Emily. Bell. His wounds—his woundsDon't you Em. Sister Bell !
Bell. What d’ye think of Colonel Tamper Prat. Wounds, Ma'am !-Upon my word, I now, sister ? never heard he had received any.
Em. Why I am so provoked, and so pleased; Bell. No! Why he lost a leg and eye at the so angry, and so diverted; that I don't know slege of the Havannah.
whether I should be in or out of humour, at this Prat. Did he? Why then, Ma'am, I'll be bold discovery. to say he is the luckiest man in the world.
Bell. "No!-Is it possible you can have so little Bell. Why so, Sir ?
spirit ? This tattling apothecary will tell this tine Prat. Because, Ma’arn, if he lost a leg or an story at every house he goes into—it will be towneye at the Havannah, they must be grown again, talk-If a lover of mine had attempted to put or he has somehow procured others that do the such an impudent deceit upon me, I would never business every whit as well.
see his face again. Em. Impossible !
Em. If you had a lover that you liked, Bell, Prat. I wish I may die, Ma'am, if the colonel you would not be quite so violent. had not yesterday two as good legs and fine eyes Bell. Indeed, but I should. What! to come as any man in the world. If he lost one of each here with a Canterbury tale of a leg and an eye, at the Havannah, we practitioners in physic should and Heaven knows what, merely to try the ertent be much obliged to him to communicate his re- of his power over you— To gratify his inordinate ceipt, for the benefit of Greenwich and Chelsea vanity, in case you should retain your affectin hospitals.
for him; or to reproach you for your weakness Èm. Are you sure that the colonel has had no and infidelity, if you could not reconcile yourself such loss, Sir ?
to him on that supposition. Prat. As sure as that I am here, Ma'am! I Em. It is abominably provoking, I and saw him going into the what-d’ye-call-him am yet, Bell, it is not a quarter of an hour ago, but I bassador's, just over against my house, yesterday; would have parted with half my fortune to have and the last place I was at this morning was Mrs. made it certain that there was a trick in the Daylight's, where I heard the colonel was at her story. route last night, and that every body thought he Beil. Well, I never knew one of these men of was rather improved than injured by his late ex- extraordinary sense, as they are called, that was pedition. But, odso! Lack-a-day, lack-a-day, not in some instances a greater fool than the rest lack-a-day!—now I recollect—ha, ha, ha! of mankind.
(Laughing very heartily. Em. After all, Bell, I must confess that this Bell. What's the matter. Mr. Prattle ? stratagem has convinced me of the infirmity of
Prat. Excuse me, ladies; I can't forbear my temper. This supposed accident began to laughing—ha, ha, ha !--the gentleman in the make strange work with me. t'other room, Colonel Tamper! ha, ha, ha!—I Bell. I saw that plain enough. I told you what find the colonel had a mind to pay a visit in mas- your pure and disinterested passion, sister, would querade this morning-I spoke io Major Belford- come to, long ago. Yet this is so flagrant an af I thought I knew his friend too-but he limped front, I would not marry bim these seven years. away and hid his face, and would not speak to Em. That, perhaps, might be punishing my. ine.-Upon my word, he did it very well! I could self, sister. have sworn there had been an amputation- He Bell. We must plague him, and heartily too
Oh, for a bright thought now, some charming in- Bell. Oh, you will have but little to do The vention to torment him !
business will lie chiefly on your hands, EmilyEm. Oh, as to that matter, I should le glad to You must be most intolerably provoking. If you have some comical revenge on him, with all my do but irritate him sufficiently, we shall have heart.
charming sport with him.
Em. Never fear me, Bell; Mr. Prattle's intelEnter SERVANT.
ligence has given me spirits equal to any thing. Sero. Captain Johnson, Ma’am.
Now I know it is but a trick, I shall scarce be
Sero. Colonel Tamper, Madam.
Em. Show him in! [Exit Servant.}-Now,
ladies! tary, captains, colonels, and majors, by wholesale : who is Captain Johnson, pray?
Bell. Now, sister !–Work him heartily; cut Em. Only the name that Mademoiselle Flo- him to the bone, I charge you. If you show him rival, the Belleisle Lady you saw this morning,
the least mercy, you are no woman.
Enter Colonel TAMPER. Bell. Oh, sister, the luckiest thought in the world—such a use to make of this lady.
Tam. This is to have new servants' not at Em. What d'ye mean?
hoine, indeed !-A pack of blockheads, to think Bell. Captain Johnson shall be Colonel Tam- of denying my Emily to me. I knew the poor per's rival, sister!
dear soul was a little out of order indeed—butEm. Hush! here she is.
(Sceing FLORIVAL.)-1 beg pardon, Madam! I
did not know you had company. Enter MADEMOISELLE FLORIVAL.
Bell. Oh, this gentleman is a particular friend Em. Give me leave, Madam, to introduce you of my sister's—he's let in at any time. to my sister.
(Disordered. Bell. I have heard your story, Madam, and Em. I did not expect to see you return so soon, take part in your misfortunes.
Sir! Flo. I am infinitely obliged both to you and to Tam. No; I believe I am come somewhat unthat lady, Madam.
expectedly indeed, Madam! Em. Oh! Madam, I have been extremely ill Em. If your return had not been so extremely since you was here this morning, and terrified al- precipitate, Sir, I should have sent you a message most beyond imagination.
on purpose to prevent your giving yourself that Flo. I am very sorry to hear it; may I ask trouble. what has alarmed you ?
Tam. Madam! a message! for what reason? Em. It is so ridiculous, I scarce know how to Em. Because I am otherwise engaged. tell you.
[With indifference. Bell. Then I will. You must know, Ma'am, Tam. Engaged ! I don't apprehend you, Mathat my sister was engaged to an officer, who went dam. out on a late military expedition. He is just re- Em. No; you are extremely dull then: don't turned, but is come home with the strangest con- you see I have company? Was you at the opera ceit that ever filled the brain of a lover. He took it last night, Captain Johnson ? into his head to try my sister's faith by pretending
[Coquetting with FLORIVAL. to be maimed and wounded, and has actually vi- Tam. I am thunderstruck. Madam! Miss sited her this morning in a counterfeit character. Emily! Madam! We have just now detected the imposition, and Em. Sir!-Colonel Tamper !-Sir. want your assistance to be pleasantly revenged on Tam. I say, Madam!him.
Em. Sir ! Flo. I cannot bring myself to be an advocate Tam. 'Sdeath, I have not power to speak to for the lady's cruelty—But you may both com- her. This strange and sudden alteration in your mand me in any thing.
behaviour, Madam Em. There is no cruelty in the case; I fear I Em. Alteration ! none at all, Sir; the change am gone too far for that. "As you are, in appear- is on your side, not mine. I'll be judged by this ance, such a smart young gentleman, my sister gentleman. Captain Johnson, here's a miniature has waggishly proposed to make you the instru of the colonel, which he sat for just before he ment of exciting Colonel Tamper's jealousy, by went abroad-done by a good hand, and reckoned your personating the character of a supposed a striking likenesss. Did you ever see a poor rival - Was not tha: your device, sister ?
creature so altered ?
[Giving a bracelet. Bell. It was; and if this lady will come into Flo. Why really, Madam, there is, I must own, it, and you play your part well, we'll tease the a very visible difference at present.' That black wise colonel, and make him sick of his rogueries, riband (Looking by turns on the picture and I warrant you.
COLONEL TAMPER ) makes a total eclipse of the Flo. I have been a mad girl in my time, I con- brilliancy of this right eye—and then, the irreguless, and remember when I should have joined in lar motion of the leg gives such a twist to the rest such a frolic with pleasure. At present, I fear 1 of the body, that am scarce mistress enough of my temper to main- Tam. Sir!—But it is to you I address myself tain my character with any tolerable humour. at present, Madam. I was once fond and foolish However, I will summon up all my spirits, and enough to imagine, that you had a heart truls do my best to oblige you.
generous and sensible; and flattered myself that
it was above being shaken by absence, or affected Tam. You are a villain, Sir!-Withdraw. by events. How have I been deceived! I find Bell. Oh heavens ! here will be murder-Don't that
stir, I beg you, Sir. Em. Pardon me, Sir, I never deceived you; Flo. O never fear me, Madam; I am not such nay, you see that I disdained the thought of de- a poltroon as to contend with that gentleman-Do ceiving you even for a day. Out of respect to our you think I would set my strength and skill late mutual attachment," I am resolved to deal against a poor blind man, and a cripple ? openly with you. In a word, then, every thing Tam. Follow me, Sir; I'll soon teach you to between us must now be at an end.
use your own legs. Tam. Confusion !-Every thing at an end! Fl. Oh, the sturdy beggar! stir your stumps and can you, you, Emily, have the courage to tell and begone; here's nothing for you, fellow! me so?
Tam. Villain ! Em. Why not ? Come, come, Colonel Tam- Flo. Poor man! per, vanity is your blind side.
Tam. Scoundrel! Tam. Zounds, Madam!
Flo. Prithee, man, don't expose yourself. Em. Don't be in a passion-Do but consider Tam. Puppy! the matter calmly; and though it may rather be Flo. Poor wretch! displeasing, yet when you have duly weighed all Em. What, quarrel before ladies! Ob, for circumstances I'm sure you must do me the justice shame, colonel ! to acknowledge my sincerity.
Tam. This is beyond all sufferance. I can Tam. I shall run mad- Is it possible, Emily? contain no longer-Know then, Madam, (To --Sincerity do you call this ?- Dissimulation, Emily.) to your utter confusion, I am not that damned dissimulation !
mangled thing which you imagine me—You may Em. Have patience, Sir! The loss of your see Madam- [Resuming his natural manner whole fortune would have been trifling to me; but Em. Bell. Flo. Ha, ha, ha, ha! (Laughing how can I reconcile myself to this mangling of violently. your figure ?—Let me turn the tables on you for Em. A wonderful cure of lameness and blindi moment-Suppose now, colonel, that I had been ness—Your case is truly curious, Sir ;-and also unfortunate as to have lost a leg and an eye, tested by three credible witnesses, Will you give should you, d'ye think, have retained your affection us leave to print it in the public papers ? inviolable for me.
Tam. Madam, Madam! Tam. False, false woman!-Have a care, Flo. I think the story would make a figure in Emily ! have a care say, or you'll destroy your the Philosophical Transactions. faine and happiness for ever. Consider what you Tam. Sir! are doing, ere you make a final resolution-You'll Bell. A pretty leg, indeed. Will you dance a repent your inconstancy, I tell you beforehand, minuet with me, colonel ? upon my soul, you will you'll have more reason Em. Your wounds are not mortal, I hope, coto repent it, than you can possibly imagine. lonel.
Em. Why will you oblige me now to say Tam. No, Madam! my person, I thank Heashocking things to you? It goes against me to ven, is still unhurt. I have my legs, both legs, tell you so, but I can't even see you now without Madam; and I will use them to transport me as horror; nay, was I even, from a vain point of ho far as possible from so false a woman-1 have my nour, to adhere to my engagements with you, I eyes, too-my eyes, Madam--but they shall never could never conquer my disgust. It would be a look on you again, but as the most faithless and most unnatural connection. Would not it, Cap- ungrateful of your sex. tain Johnson ?
Em. If I'm not surprised how he could act it Tam. Hell! 'sdeath! confusion !-How stea- so well! Pray, let us see you do it over again, coJily she persists in her perfidy! Madam! Ma- lonel-How was it, eh?" (Mimicking.) hip-hopdam!—I shall choke with rage-But one word, hip-hop, like Prince Volscious, I think. and I am gone for ever-for ever, for ever, Madam! Tam. I took that method, Madam, to try your Em. What would you say, Sir.
truth, constancy, and affection. I have found you Tam. Tell me then--and tell me truly: have void of all those qualities, and shall have reason wwt you received the addresses of that gentleman ? to rejoice at the effect of my experiment as long Em. He has honoured me with them, I con
as I live. fess, Sir; and every circumstance is so much in Em. If you meant to separate yourself from his favour, that I could have no manner of objec- me, you have indeed taken an excellent method. tion to him, but my unfortunate engagements to And a mighty proof you have given of your own you-But since your ill fortune has invincibly affection, truly! Instead of returning, after an divorced us from each other, I think I am at li- anxious absence, with joy into my presence, to berty to listen to him.
come home with a low and mean suspicion, with Tam. Matchless confidence !-Mighty well, a narrow jealousy of mind, when the frankness Madam !-It is not then the misfortunes that and generosity of my behaviour ought to have have befallen me, but the charms you have found engaged you to repose the most unlimited confiin tnat gentleman, which have altered your incli- dence in me! nation.
Tam. The event, Madam, has but well warFlo. Well, Sir! and what then, Sir! the lady, ranted my experiment. ! presume, is not included, like an old mansion- Em. And shall justify it, Sir, still more : for house, in the rent-roll of your estate, or the in- here, before your face, I give my hand to this ventory of your goods and chattles. Her hand, gentleman ;-solemnly declaring, that it shall I hope, is still her own property, and she may never be in your power to dissolve the connection bestow it on you or me, or any body else, just as formed between us. she pleases.
Tam. As to you, Madam, your infidelity be
Four panishment. But that gentleman shall hear | am ruined past redemption-I have behaved most from me.
extravagantly, both to your lady and Emily. I Fio. I defy you, Sir!
sball never be able to look them in the face again. Em. Nothing further remains between us- Belf. Ay, ay, I foresaw this. Did not I tell leave me, Sir!
you that you would expose yourself confoundedly? Tam. I am gone, Madam! and so help me -However, I'll be an advocate for you-my Flo Heaven, never, never to return- [Going. rival shall be an advocate for you; and I make no
doubt but you will be taken into favour again. Enter MAJOR BELFORD.
Em. Does he deserve it, major?
Belf. Why, Madam, I can't say much for him Belf. How! going in a passion ?—Hold, Tam- -or myself either, faith-We must rely entirely per -All in confusion !-I thought so—and came on your goodness. to set matters to rights again.
ilo. He's a true penitent, I see, Madam, and Flo. What do I see! Major Belford !—Major I'll answer for it, he loves you to excess. Nay, Belford ! oh!
(Faints. look on him. Belf. Ha, my name, and fainting ?- What Em. Was it well done, colonel, to cherish a can this mean? (Runs and takes her in his mean distrust of me? to trifle with the partiality arms.) By heavens, a woman! May I hope that I had shown to you ? and to endeavour to give -Hold, she recovers—It is, it is she ! my dear me pain, merely to secure a poor triumph over Florival herself !-and we shall still be happy. my weakness to yourself ?
Tam. Belford's Belleisle lady, as I live! My Tam. I am ashamed to answer you. nival a woman! I begin to feel myself very ridi- Bell. Ashamed ! and so you well may indeed. calous.
Tam. I see my absurdity; all I wish is to be Belf. What wonder, my love, has brought you laughed at, and forgiven. hither, and in this habit?
Belf. A very reasonable request. Come, MaFlo. Oh, Sir, I have a long story to relate. At dam, pity the poor fellow, und admit him to your présent, let it suffice to say, that that lady's brother good graces again. has been the noblest of friends to me; and she Flo. Let us prevail on you, dear Madam. herself this morning generously vouchsafed to Em. Well ; now I see he is most heartily moj.. take me under her protection.
tified, I am half inclined to pity him. Belf. I am bound to them for ever.
Tam. Generous Emily! return I found letters from your father, who, sup- Em. Go, you provoking wretch! 'tis more than posing you was in England with me, wrote io you deserve.
(To TAMPER acquaint me that he was inconsolable for your Tam. It shall be the future study of my lite to loss, and that he would consent to our union if I deserve this pardon.-[Kissing her hand. Bet would but assure him that you was safe and well. ford, I give you joy-Madam-[T. FLORIVAL.)-. The next post shall acquaint him of our good I have behaved so ill to you, I scarce know how fortune. Well, Tamper, am not I a lucky fellow? to give you joy as I ought.
I Tam. Oh, Belford ! I am the most miserable Belf. Come, come, no more of this at presentdog in the world.
Now we have on all sides ratified the preliminaBelf. What, have you dropped your mask, I ries, let us settle the definitive treaty as soon as see-you're on your legs again-1 met Prattle in we can-We have been two lucky féllows, Tanithe street—He stopped his chariot to speak to per—I have been fortunate in finding my mistresa, me about you, and I found that he had blown you and you as fortunate in not losing yours. up, and discovered to the ladies that you was re- Tam. So we have, Belford; and I wish every turned quite unhurt from the Havannah. brave officer in his majesty's service had secured
Tam. Did that coxcomb betray me? That to himself such comfortable winter-quarters, as ive accounts for all Emily's behaviour -Oh, major, I have, after a glorious campaign. Exeunt