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THE FUNERAL ;

oR,

GRIEF A-LA-MODE.

By

STEELE.

PROLOGUE.

NATURE’s deserted and dramatic art,
To dazzle now the eye, has left the heart:
Gay lights and dresses, long-extended scenes,
Demons and angels moving in machines;
All that can now, or please, or fright the fair,
May be perform'd without a writer's care,
And is the skill of carpenter, not player.
Old Shakespeare's days could not thus faradvance:
But what’s his buskin to our ladder dance?
In the mid region a silk youth to stand,
With that unwieldy engine at command 1
Gorg’d with intemperate meals while here you sit,
Well may you take activity for wit.
Fie, let confusion on such dulness seize :
Blush you’re so pleas'd, as we, that so we please.

But we, still kind to your inverted sense,
Do most unnatural things once more dispense;
For, since you're still prepost’rous in delight,
Our author made, a full house to invite,
A funeral for a comedy to-night. -
Nor does he fear that you will take the hint,
And let the funeral his own be meant;
No, in Old England, nothing can be won
Without a faction, good or ill be done:
To own this our frank author does not fear,
But hopes for a prevailing party here;
He knows h’ has num’rous friends, nay, know"
they'll shew it,
And for the fellow-soldier save the poet.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

MEN. Lord BRUMPTON. × . Lord HARDY, Son to Lord Brumpton. Mr CAMPLEY. ... Mr TRUSTY, Steward to Lord Brumpton. CABINET. Mr SABLE, an Undertaker. PUZZLE, a Lawyer. TRIM, Servant to Lord Hardy. ToM, the Lawyer's Clerk.

WOMEN.
Lady BRUMPtoN. -
Lady CHARLotte, an Orphan, Ward to Lo"
Brumpton.

Lady HARRIOT, her Sister.
Mademoiselle D’EPINGLE.
TATTLEAID.
Mrs FARDINGALE.
KATE MATCHLock. -

Visitant Ladies, SABLE's Servants, Recruits,8° SCENE I. Enter CABINET, SABLE, and CAMPLEY.

SCENE,-Covent-Garden.

ACT I.

Cab. I burst into laughter. I cann’t bear to see writ over an undertaker's door, Dresses for the dead, and necessaries for funerals!—ha, ha, ha! Sab. Well, sir, 'tis very well: I know you are of the laughers, the wits, that take the liberty to deride all things that are magnificent and solemn. Cab. But is it not strangely contradictory, that men can come to so open, so apparent an hypocrisy, as, in the face of all the world, to hire prosessed mourners to grieve, lament, and follow, in their stead, the nearest relations, and suborn others to do by art what they themselves should be prompted to by nature. Sab. Alas ! sir, the value of all things under the sun is merely fantastic.—We run, we strive, and Purchase things with our blood and money, quite foreign to our intrinsic real happiness, and which have a being in imagination only, as you may see by the pother that is made about precedence, titles, court-favours, maidenheads, and china-ware. Camp. Ay, Mr Sable, but all those are objects that promote our joy, are bright to the eye, or stamp upon our minds pleasure and self-satisfaction. Sab. You are extremely mistaken—and there is often nothing more inwardly distress'd, than a young bride in her glittering retinue, or deeply § , than a young widow in her weeds and lack train; of both which the lady of this house may be an instance; for she has been the one, and is, I’ll be sworn, the other. Cab. You talk, Mr Sable, most learnedly. Sab. I have the deepest learning, sir, experience. Remember your widow cousin, that marfied last month. . Cab. Ay, but how could you imagine she was in all that grief an hypocrite? Could all those shrieks, those swoonings, that rising falling bosom constrained 2 You're uncharitable, Sable, to believe it. What colour, what reason had you for it? Sab. But, as for her, nothing, she resolv’d, that

look'd bright or joyous should, after her love's

eath, approach her. All her servants that were not coal-black must turn out; a fair complexion made her eyes and heart ache; she'd none but flownright jet; and, to exceed all example, she ird my mourning furniture by the year, and, in case of my mortality, ty'd my son to the same *rticle; so in six weeks time ran away with a Young fellow.—Pr'ythee, push on briskly, Mr Canet; now is your time to have this widow; for Tauléaid tells me she always said she'd never marry.

Cib. As you say, that's generally the most hopeful sign.

WOL. IV.

Sub. I tell you, sir, 'tis an infallible one: You know those professions are only to introduce discourse of matrimony and young fellows.

Cab. But I swear I .. not have confidence, ev’n after all our long acquaintance, and the mutual love which his lordship (who, indeed, has now been so kind as to leave us) has so long interrupted, to mention a thing of such a nature so unseasonably.

Sab. Unseasonably ' Why, I tell you, 'tis the only season, (granting her sorrow unfeigned.) When would you speak of passion, but in the midst of passions : There's a what d'ye call a crisis—The lucky minute, that’s so talk'd of, is a moment between joy and grief, which you must take hold of, and push your fortune. But get you in, and you’ll best read your fate in the reception Mrs Tattleaid gives you: All she says, and all she does, nay, her very love and hatred are mere repetitions of her ladyship's passions. I’ll say that for her, she's a true lady's woman, and is herself as much a second-hand thing as her clothes. But I must beg your pardon, sir; my people are come, I see. [Ereunt CAB. and CAMP. Enter SABLE's Men.]—Where, in the name of goodness, have you all been 2 Have you brought the saw-dust and tar, for embalming? Have you the hangings and the sixpenny nails, and my lord's coat of arms ?

Enter Servant.

Serv. Yes, sir, and had come sooner, but I went to the herald's for a coat for Alderman Gathergrease, that died last night he has promised to invent one against to-morrow.

Sab. Ah! pox take some of our cits; the first thing after o death is to take care of their birth-pox! let him bear a pair of stockings; he is the first of his family that ever wore one. Well, come, you that are to be mourners in this house, put on your sad looks, and walk by me, that I may sort you. Ha, you ! a little more upon the dismal. [Forming their countenances.]—This fellow has a good mortal look—place him near the eorpse;—that wainscot face must be o' top of the stairs;–that fellow almost in a fright (that looks as if he were full of some strange misery) at the entrance of the hall—So-but I’ll fix you all myself—Let's have no laughing now, on any provocation. [Makes faces.] Look yonder, that hale, well-looking puppy! You ungrateful scoundrel, did not I pity you, take you out of a great man's service, and shew you the pleasure of receiving wages: Did not I give you ten, then fifteen, now twenty shillings a week, to be sorrowful ? and the more I give you, I think, the gladder you are.

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Enter Grave-digger.

* Grav. I carried home to your house the shroud

the gentleman was buried in last might: I could

not get his ring off very easily, therefore I brought

you the finger and all: and, sir, the sexton gives

his service to you, and desires to know whether you’d have any bodies remov’d or not: if not, he'll let them lie in their graves a week longer.

Sa', Give him my service.

Enter Goody TRAsh.

I wonder, Goody Trash, you could not be more punctual, when I told you. I wanted you, and your two daughters, to be three virgins to-night, to stand in white about my lady Catherine Grissel's body; and you know you were privately to bring her home from the man-midwife's, where she died in child-birth, to be buried like a maid:— but there is nothing minded. Well, I have put off that till to-morrow. Go, and get your bags of brick-dust and your whiting; go, and sell to the cook-maids; know who is surfeited about town ; bring me no bad news, none of your recoveries again. [Erit Goody TRAsii.] And you, Mr Blockhead, I warrant you have not call'd at Mr Pestle's the apothecary-Will that fellow never pay me? I stand bound for all the poison in that starving murderer's shop ! He serves me just as Dr Quibus did, who promised to write a treatise against water-gruel, a damn'd healthy slop, that has done me more injury than all the faculty. Look you now, you are all upon the sneer: let me have none but downright stupid countenancesI’ve a good mind to turn you all off, and take people out of the play-house; but, hang them,they are as ignorant of their parts as you are of yours: they never act but when they speak; when the chief indication of the mind is in the gesture, or, indeed, in case of sorrow, in no gesture, except you were to act a widow, or so—but yours, you dolts, is all in dumb show, dumb show. I mean expressive elegant show ; as who can see such an horrid ugly phiz as that fellow's, and not be shocked, offended, and killed of all joy while he beholds it? But we must not loiter—Ye stupid rogues, whom I have picked out of the rubbish of mankind, and fed for your eminent worthlessness, attend, and know that I speak you this moment stiff and immutable to all sense of noise, mirth, or laughter. [Makes mouths at them as they pass by him, to bring them to a constant countenance.] So:—they are pretty well—pretty well. [Excunt.

Enter TRUsTY and Lord BRUMPTON. Trusty. 'Twas fondness, sir, and tender duty to you, who have been so worthy and so just a master to me, made me stay near you: they left me so, and there I found you wake from your lethargic slumber; on which I will assume an authority to beseech you, sir, to make just use of your revived life, in seeing who are your true friends, and knowing her who has so wrought upon your noble nature, as to make it act against itself, in disinheriting your brave son.

I. Brump. Sure, ’tis impossible she should be such a creature as you tell me—My mind reflects upon ten thousand endearments that plead unanswerably for her;-her chaste reluctant love, her easy observance of all my wayward humours, to which she would accommodate herself with so much ease, I could scarce observe it was a virtue in her; she hid her very patience. Trusty. It was all art, sir, or indifference to you; for what I say is downright matter of fact. L. Brump. Why didst thou ever tell me it? or why not in my life-time 2 for I must call it so; nor can I date a minute mine, after her being false: all past that moment is death and darkness.Why didst thou not tell me then, I say ? Trusty. Because you were too much in love with her to be inform'd. I must, I will conjure you to be conceal’d, and but contain yourself in hearing one discourse with that cursed instrument of all her secrets, that Tattleaid, and you will see what I tell you; you will call me then your guardian and good genius. L. Brump. Well, you shall govern me; but would I had died in earnest ere I had known it: my head swims, as it did when I fell into my fit, at the thoughts of it.—All human life's a mere vertigo! Trusty. Ay, ay, my lord, fine reflections, fine reflections; but that does no business. Thus, sir, we’ll stand concealed, and hear, I doubt not, a much sincerer dialogue than usual between vicious persons; for a late accident has given a little jealousy, which makes them over-act their love and confidence in each other. [They retire.

Enter Widow and TATTLEAID, meeting, and Uz running to each other.

Wid. Oh, Tattleaid! his and our hour is come!

Tat. I always said, by his church-yard cough, you'd bury him, but still you were impatient.

Wid. Nay, thou hast ever been my comfort, my confidant, my friend, and my servant: and now I’ll reward thy pains; for tho' I scorm the whole sex of fellows, I'll give them hopes for thy sake:—every smile, every frown, every gesture, humour, caprice, and whimsy of mine shall be gold to thee, girl; thou shalt feel all the sweets and wealth of being a fine rich widow’s woman. Oh! how my head runs my first year out, and jumps to all the joys of widowhood . If, thirteen months hence, a friend should haul one to a play one has a mind to see, what pleasure 'twill be, when my lady Brumpton's footman's called, who kept a place for that very purpose, to make a sudden insurrection of fine wigs in the pit and side-boxes. Then, with a pretty sorrow in one's face, and a willing blush, for being stared at, one ventures to look round, and bow to one of one's own quality. Thus [very directly) to a snug pretending fellow of no fortune. Thus [as scarce seeing him] to one that writes lampoons. Thus [fearfully] to one one really loves. Thus [looking down] to one woman acquaintance. From box to box thus, [with looks ... Then the serenades 1 the lovers!

Tat. Oh, madam, you make my heart bound within me. I’ll warrant you, madam, I’ll man them all; and, indeed, madam, the men are really, very silly creatures: 'tis no such hard matter— They rulers! they governors I warrant you indeed! Wid, Ay, Tattleaid, they imagine themselve mighty things. I laugh to see men go on our errands, strut in great offices, live in cares, hazards, and scandals, to come home and be fools to us, in brags of their dispatches, and negociations, and their wisdoms—as my good dear deceas'd used to entertain me; which I to relieve myself from—would lisp some silly request, pat him on the face He shakes his head at my pretty folly, calls me simpleton, gives me a jewel, then goes to bed, so wise, so satisfied, and so deceived. Tat. But I protest, madam, I’ve always wonder'd how you could accomplish my young lord's being . , Wid. Why, Tatty, you must know, my late 'lord—How prettily that sounds:—My late lord -But, I say, my late lord's foible was generosity -I press'd him there; and whenever you, by my order, had told him stories to my son-in-law’s disadvantage, in his rage and resentment, I (whose interest lay otherwise) always fell on my knees to implore his pardon, and, with tears, sighs, and importunities for him, |. against him : Besides this, you know I had, when I pleased, fits— Fits are a mighty help in the government of a good-natured man. Tat. O, rare, madam! Your ladyship's a great head-piece: but now, dear madam, is the hard task, if I may take the liberty to say it—to enjoy all freedoms, and seem to abstain: but now, madam, a fine young gentleman, with a red coat, that ances—— Wid. You may be sure the happy man (if it be in fate that there is a happy man, to make me an "...o. woman) shall not be an old one again: -out the day is now my own–Yet, now I think on't, Tattleaid, be sure to keep an obstinate shyne; to all our old acquaintance. Tat. Ay, madam—I believe, madam—I speak, madam, but my humble sense—Mr Cabinet would marry you. Wid. Marry me ! No, Tattleaid, he that is so mean as to marry a woman after an affair with

her, will be so base as to upbraid that very weakness.

Enter a Servant.

Serv. A gentleman to Mrs Tattleaid. - - [Exit TAt. Wid. Go to him.—Bless me! how careless and open have I been to this subtle creature in the case of Cabinet; she’s certainly in his interests. ow miserable it is to have one one hates always about one; and when one cann’t endure one's own reflection upon some actions, who can bear the thoughts of another upon them But she has me by deep secrets.

Enter TATTLEAid.

Tat. Madam, Counsellor Puzzle is come to wait on your ladyship, about the will and the conveyance of the estate—there must, it seeins, be no time lost, for fear of things. Fie, fie, madam, you a widow these three hours, and not look'd on a parchment yet—Oh, impious ! to neglect the will of the dead

Wid. As you say, indeed, there is no will of a husband's so willingly obeyed as his last. But I must go in, and receive him in my formalities: leaning on a couch is a necessary posture, as his going behind his desk when he speaks to a client—But do you bring him in hither till I am ready. [Exit.

Tat. Mr Counsellor, Mr Counsellor "

- [Calling.

Enter PUzzle and Clerk.

Puz. Servant, good Madam Tattleaid.—Myancient friend is gone, but business must be minded.

Tat. I told my lady twice or thrice, as she lies in dumb grief on the couch within, that you were here, but she regarded me not; however, since you say it is of such moment, I’ll venture to introduce you. Please but to repose here a little, while I step in ; for, methinks, I would a little

re her. p p. Alas! alas! poor lady | Earit TAttleAID.

Damn’d hypocrites!—Well, this nobleman's death is a little sudden; therefore, pray let me recollect: —Open the bag, good Tom. Now, Tom, thou art my nephew, my dear sister Kate's only son, and my heir, therefore I will conceal from thee, on no occasion, anything; for I would enter thee into business as soon as possible. Know then, child, that the lord of this house was one of your men of honour and sense, who lose the latter in the former, and are apt to take all men to be like themselves: now this gentleman entirely trusted, me, and I made the only use a man of business o can of a trust—I cheated him; for I impercepti- or bly, before his face, made his whole estate liable to an hundred per annum for myself, for good | services, &c. As for legacies, they are good or not, as I please; for, let me tell you, a man must take pen, ink, and paper, sit down by an old fellow, and pretend to take directions, but a true lawyer never makes any man's will but his own; and as the priest of old, among us, got near the dying man, and gave all to the church, so now the lawyer gives all to the law.

Clerk. Ay, sir, but priests then cheated the nation by doing their offices in an unknown language.

Puz, True—but ours is a way much surer; for we cheat in no language at all, but loll in our own coaches, elegant in gibberish, and learned in jingle. —Pull out the parchment —There’s the deed; I made it as long as I could Well, I hope to see the day when the indenture shall be the exact measure of the land that passes by it; for ’tis a discouragement to the gown, that every ignorant

rogue of an heir should, in a word or two, understand his father's meaning, and hold ten acres of land by half an acre of parchment—Nay, I hope to see the time when that there is indeed some F. made in, shall be wholly effected, and, y the improvement of the noble art of tautology, every inn in Holborn an inn of court. Let others think of logic, rhetoric, and I know not what imertinence, but mind thou tautology—What's the rst excellence in a lawyer? Tautology. What's the second 2 Tautology. What's the third Tautology; as an old pleader said of action. But to turn to the deed—[Pulls out an immeasurable parchment] for the will is of no force, if I please, for he was not capable of making one after the former, as I o it—upon which account I now wait on my lady.—By the way, Tom, do you know the true meaning of the word a deed 2 Clerk. Ay, sir, as if a man should say the deed. Puz. Right; 'tis emphatically so called, be: cause after it all deeds and actions are of no effect, and you have nothing to do but hang yourself—theonly obliging thing you can then do. But I was telling you the use of tautology—Read towards the middle of that instrument. Clerk. [Reads.] I, the said Earl of Brumpton, do give, bestow, grant, and bequeath, over and above the saidJ. all the site and capital messuage called by the name of Oatham, and all out-houses, barns, stables, and other edifices and buildings, yards, orchards, gardens, fields, arbors, trees, lands, earths, meadows, greens, pastures, feedings, woods, under-woods, ways,waters, watercourses, fishing-ponds, pools, commons, common of pasture, paths, heath-thickets, profits, commodities, and emohuments, with their and every of their appurtenances whatsoever, to the said capital messuage and site belonging, or in any wise appertaining, or with the same heretofore used, occupied, or enjoyed, accepted, executed, known, or taken as part, parcel, or member of the same; containing in the whole, by estimation, four hundred acres of the large measure, or thereabouts, be the same more or less: all and singular which the said site, capital messuage, and other the premises, with their and every of their appurtenances, are situate, lying, and being— [Puzzle nods and sneers as the synonymous words are repeating, whom L. BRUMPTON scornfully mimics. Puz. Hold, hold, good Tom; you do come on indeed in business, but do’nt use your nose enough in reading-[Reads in a ridiculous low tone, till out of breath.]—Why, you're quite out: you read to be understood—let me see it—I, the said earl—Now, again, suppose this were to be in Latin—[Runs into Latin terminations.] Making Latin is only making it no English—Ego pra

dict—Comes de Brumpton totas meas barnos—out-housaset stabulas—yardos But there needs no further perusal. I now recollect the whole—My lord, by this instrument, disinherits his son utterly, gives all to my lady, and, moreover, grants the guardianship of two fortune wards to her—idest, to be sold by her, which is the subject of . business to her ladyship, who, methinks, a little over-does the affair of grief, in letting me wait thus long on such welcome articles But here—

Enter TATTLEAID, wiping her eyes.

Tat. I have, in vain, done all I can to make her regard me. Pray, Mr Puzzle, you're a man of sense, come in yourself, and speak reason, to o: her to some consideration of herself, if possible. Puz. Tom, I'll come down to the hall to you. —Dear madam, lead on. [Erit Clerk one way, PUzzle and TATTLEAID another. - t [Lord BRUMPton and TRUSTY advance from their concealment, after a long pause, and sturing at each other.] L. Brump. Trusty, on thy sincerity, on thy fidelity to me, thy friend, thy patron, and thy master, answer me directly to one question— Am I really alive? Am I that identical, that numerical, that very same Lord Brumpton, that— Trusty. That very lord—that very Lord Brumpton, the very generous, honest, and good Lord Brumpton, who spent his strong and riper years with honour ...” reputation :-that very Lord Brumpton who buried a fine lady, who brought him a fine son, who is a fine gentleman; but, in his age, that very man, unseasonably captivated with youth and beauty, married a very fine young lady, who has dishonoured his bed, disinherited his brave son, and dances o'er his grave. L. Brump. Oh, that damn'd tautologist tookThat Puzzle, and his irrevocable deed.—[Pausing.]—Well, I know I do not really live, but wander o'er the place where once I had a treasure ——I’ll haunt her, Trusty, gaze in that false beauteous face, till she trembles, till she looks pale, nay, till she blushes. Trusty. Ay, ay, my lord, you s a ghost very much; there's flesh and blood in that expression—that false beauteous face | L. Brump. Then, since you see my weakness: be a friend, and arm me with all your care and all vour reason. 3. If you'll condescend to let me direct you, you shall cut off this rotten limb, this false, disloyal wife, and save your noble parts, your son, your family, your honour. Short is the date in which ill acts prevail, But honesty’s a rock can never fail. [Excunt.

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