Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

CONSCIOUS LOVERS,

BY

STEEL E.

PROLOGUE.

To win your hearts and to secure your praise
The comic writers strive by various ways,
By subtile stratagems they act their game
And leave untry'd no avenue to fame:
One writes the spouse a beating from his wife,
And says each stroke was copied from the life;
Some fix all wit and humour in grimace,
And make a livelihood of Pinkey's face;
Here one gay shew and costly habit tries,
Confiding to the judgment of your eyes;
Another smuts his scene, (a cunning shaver)
Sure of the rakes' and of the wenches' favour.
Oft have these arts prevail'd, and one may guess,
If practis'd o'er again, would find success;
But the bold sage, the poet of to-night,
By new and desp’rate rules resolv'd to write,
Fain would he give more just applauses rise,
And please by wit that scorns the aids of vice;

The praise he seeks from worthier motives springs,
Such praise, as praise to those that give it brings.
Your aid, most humbly sought, then Britons

lend,
And lib'ral mirth like lib'ral men defend;
No more let ribaldry, with licence writ,
Usurp the name of eloquence or wit.
No more let lawless farce uncensur'd go,
The lewd dull gleanings of a Smithfield show;
'Tis yours with breeding to refine the age,
To chasten wit and moralize the stage.

Ye modest, wise, and good! ye fair! ye brave !
To-night the champion of your virtues save,
Redeem from long contempt the comic name,
And judge politely for your country's fame.

DRAMATIS PERSONE.

MEN.

DANIEL, a country Boy, Servant to Indiana.
Sir JOHN BEVIL.
Mr SEALAND.

WOMEN.
BEVIL, Jun. in love with Indiana, !

Mrs SEALAND, second Wife to Sealand. MYRTLE, in love with Lucinda.

ISABELLA, Sister to Serland. CIMBERTON, a Coxcomb.

INDIANA, Sealand's Daughter by his first Wifa HUMPHREY, an old Servant to Sir John. LUCINDA, Sealand's Daughter by his second Wife. Tom, Servant to Bevil, Jun.

PHILLIS, Maid to Lucinda.
SCENE,-London.

Vu

[ocr errors]

ACT I.

[ocr errors]

2w palehe

we were.

[ocr errors]

with whom he converses, that he is never assuming, SCENE I.-Sir John Bevil's House, never prefers himself to others, nor is ever guil.

ty of that rough sincerity which man is not callEnter Sir John BEVIL and HUMPHREY.

ed to, and certainly disobliges most of his acSir J. B. Have you order'd that I should not quaintance. To be short, Humphrey, his repube interrupted while I am dressing?

tation was so fair in the world, that old Sealand, Humph. Yes, sir: I believ'd you had some the great India merchant, has offer'd his only thing of moment to say to me.

daughter, and sole heiress to that vast estate of Sir J. B. Let me see, Humphrey; I think it his, as a wife for him. You may be sure I made is now full forty years, since I first took thee to, no difficulties; the match was agreed on, and this be about myself.

very day named for the wedding. Humph. I think, sir, it has been an easy forty Humph. What hinders the proceeding ? years, and I have pass'd 'em without much sick

Sir J. B. Don't interrupt me.

You know 1 ness, care, or labour.

was, Jast Thursday, at the masquerade; my son, Sir J. B. Thou hast a brave constitution : you you may remember, soon found us out he are a year or two older than I am, sirrah. knew his grand-father's habit, which I then wore;

Humph. You have ever been of that mind, sir. and though it was in the mode in the last age,

Sir J. B. You knave, you know it ; I'torok thee yet the maskers, you know, follow'd us as if we for thy gravity and sobriety in my wild years. had been the most monstrous figures in that whole

Humph. Ah, sir ! our 'manners were form'd assembly. from our different fortunes, not our different ages: Humph. I remember, indeed, a young man wealth gave a loose to your youth, and poverty quality in the habit of a clown that was partict:put a restraint upon mine.

larly troublesome. Sir J. B. well, Humphrey, you know I have Sir J. B. Right-he was too much what he been a kind master to you; I have us’d'you, for seen’d to be. You remember how impertinently the ingenuous nature I observed in you from the he follow'd and teasel us, and would know who beginning, morc like an humble friend than a servant.

Humph. I know he has a mind to come into Humph. I humbly beg you'll be so tender of that particular:

[dside. me as to explain your commands, sir, without Sir J. B. Ay, lie followed us till the gentleman any farther preparation.

who led the lady in the Indian mantle presented Sir J, B.'l'ri tell thee, then. In the first place that gay creature to the rustic, and bid him (like this wedding of my son's in all probability (shut Cymon in the fable) grow polite, by falling in the door) will never be at all.

love, and let that' worthy old gentleman alone, Humph. How, sir, not be at all! for what rea- meaning me. The clown was not reform’d, but son is it carried on in appearance?

rudely persisted, and offer'd to force off my mask; 1) Sir J, B. Honest Humphrey, have patience, and with that tlie gentleman throwing off his own, I'll tell thee all in order. I have myself in some appeared to be my son, and in his concern for part of my life lived indeed with freedom, but I me, tore off that of the nobleman : at this they hope without reproach: now I thought liberty seized each other, the company called the guards, would be as little injurious to my son, therefore and in the surprise the lady swoon'd away; upon as soon as he grew towards man I indulg'd him which my son quitted his adversary, and had now in living after his own manner. I know not how no care but of the lady when raising her in otherwise to judge of his inclination ; for what his arms, “ Art thou gone,” cry'd he, "for ever can be concluded from a behaviour under re

--forbid it, Heav'n!”-She revives at his known straint and fear? But what charms me above all voice-and with the most familiar, though moexpression is, that my son has never in the least dest gesture, hangs in safety over his shoulders action, the most distant hint or word, valued him- weeping, but wept as in the arms of one before self upon that great estate of his mother's, which, whom she could give herself a loosc, were she according to our marriage-settlement, he has had not under observation : while she hides her face ever since he came to age.

in his neck; he carefully conveys her from the Humph. No, sir; on the contrary, he seems company. afraid of appearing to enjoy it before you or any Humph. I have observed this accident has belonging to you. He is as dependent and re dwelt upon you very strongly. sign'd to your will as if he had not a farthing but Sir J. B. Her uncommon air, her noble mowhat must come from your immediate bounty desty, the dignity of her person, and the occasion You have ever acted like a good and generous itself, drew the whole assembly together; and I father, and he like an obedient and grateful soni soon heard it buzz'd about she was the adopted

Sir J. B. Nay, his carriage is so easy to all Vaughter of a famous sca-officer who had serv'da

son's age.

in France. Now this unexpected and public dis- to be ready for your master's hand when you are covery

of

my son's so deep concern for her - impertinent. Humph. Was what, I suppose, alarm’d Mr Tom. Uncle Humphrey, you know my master Sealand, in behalf of his daughter, to break off scorns to strike his servants; you talk as if the the match,

world was now just as it was when my old masSir J. B. You are right he came to me yes- ter and you were in your youth-when you terday, and said he thought himself disengaged went to dinner because it was so much o'clock, from the bargain, being credibly informed my son when the great blow was given in the ball at the was already marry’d, or worse, to the lady at the pantry door, and all the family came out of their masquerade. I palliated matters, and insisted on holes in such strange dresses and formal faces as our agreement : but we parted with little less you see in the pictures in our long gallery in the than a direct breach between us.

country. Humph. Well, sir, and what notice have you Humph. Why, you wild rogue ! taken of all this to my.young master?

Tom. You could not fall to your dinner till a Sir J. B. That's what I wanted to debate with formal fellow in a black gown said something you— I have said nothing to him yet—But look over the meat, as if the cook had not made it ye, Humphrey, if there is so much in this amour ready enough. of his that he denies upon my summons to mar Humph. Sirrah, who do you prate after ?ry, I have cause enough to be offended; and then, despising men of sacred characters! I hope you by my insisting upon his marrying to-day, I shalí never heard my young master talk so like a proknow how far he is engaged to this lady in mas- fligate. querade, and from thence only shall be able to Tom. Sir, I say you put upon me when I first take my measures; in the mean time, I would

came to town about being orderly, and the dochave you find out how far that rogue bis man is trine of wearing shams to make linen last clean let into his secret--he, I know, will play tricks a fortnight, keeping my clothes fresh, and wearas much to cross me as to serve his master, ing a frock within doors.

Humph. Why do you think so of him, sir? I Humph. Sirrah, I gave you those lessons bebelieve he is no worse than I was for you at your cause I suppos’d at that time your master and

you might have din’d at home every day, and Sir J. B. I see it in the rascal's looks. But I cost you nothing; then you might have made I have dwelt on these things too long: I'll go to you a good family servant; but the gang you

my son immediately, and while I'm gone, your have frequented since at chocolate-louses and part, is to convince his rogue, Tom, tliat I am in taverns, in a continual round of noise and extra. earnest. I'll leave him to you.

1 Exit. vaganceHumph. Well, tho' this father and son live as Tom. I don't know what you heavy inmates well together as possible, yet their fear of giving call noise and extravagance; but we gentlemen each other pain is attended with constant mutual who are well fed, and cut a figure, sir, think it a uneasiness. I am sure I have enough to do to fine life, and that we must be very pretty fellows be honest, and yet keep well with them both; who are kept only to be looked at, but they know I love 'em, and that makes the Humph. Very well, sir-I hope the fashion of

task less painful however.—Oh, here's the prince being lewd and extravagant, despising of decency 1 of

poor coxcombs, the representative of all the and order, is almost at an end, since it is arrived better fed than taught!-Ho, ho, Tom! whither at persons of your quality. so gay and so airy this morning?

Tom. Master Humphrey, ha, ha! you were an

unhappy lad to be sent up to town in such queer Enter Tom, singing.

days as you were. Why now, sir, the lackeys Tom. Sir, we servants of single gentlemen are are the men of pleasure of the age, the top another kind of people than you domestic ordi- gamesters; and many a laced coat about town nary drudges that do business ; we are rais'd have had their education in our party-colour'd above you: the pleasures of board wages, tavern- regiment. We are false lovers, have a taste of dinners, and many a clear gain; vails, alas ! you music, poetry, billet-doux, dress, politics, ruin never heard or dreamt of.

damsels; and when we are weary of this lewd Humph. Thou hast follies and vices enough town, and have a mind to take up, whip into our for a man of ten thousand a-ycar, tho' it is but masters' wigs and linen, and marry fortunes. as t'other day that I sent for you to town to put Humpk. Hey-day! you into Mr Sealand's family, that you might Tom. Nay, sir, our order is carried up to the learn a little before I put you to my young mas highest diguities and distinctions ; step but into ter, who is too gentle for training such a rude the Painted Chamber--and by our titles you'd thing as you were into proper obedience.You take us all for men of quality—then again, come then pull'd off your hat to every one you met in down to the Court of Requests, and you shall see the street, like a bashful, great, awkward cub as us all laying our broken heads together, for the you were. But your great oaken cudgel, whep good of the nation; and though we never carry you were a booby, became you much better than a question nemine contradicente, yet this I can that dangling stick at your button, now you are say with a safe. conscience, (and I wish every gena fop, that's fit for nothing except it hangs there I tleman of our cloth could lay his hand upon his

3

my life.

heart and say the same) that I never took so visitant at their house, and is indeed the whole much as a single mug of beer for my vote in all town of coquettes at second-hand.—But here she

comes ; in one motion she speaks and describes Humph. Sirrah, there is no enduring your ex herself better than all the words in the world can. travagance; I'll hear you prate no longer : I Humph. Then I hope, dear sir! when your wanted to see you to inquire how things go with own affair is over, you will be so good as to mind your master, as far as you understand them: Iyour master's with her. suppose he knows he is to be married to-day. Tom. Dear Humphrey! you know my master

Tom. Ay, sir, he knows it, and is dress'd as is my friend, and those are people I never forgay as the sun; but, between you and I, my dear! | gethe has a very heavy heart under all that gaiety. Humph. Sauciness itself! but I'll leave you to As soon as he was dress'd I retir’d, but over do your best for him.

[Erit. heard him sigh in the most heavy manner. He walk'd thoughtfully to and fro in the room, then

Enter PHILLIS. went into his closet : when he came out he gave Phil. Oh, Mr Thomas, is Mrs Sugarkcy at nie this for his mistress, whose maid, you know-home?-Lard! one is almost asham’d to pass

Humph. Is passionately fond of your fine per- along the streets. The town is quite empty, and gon.

nobody of fashion left in it; and the ordinary Tom. The poor fool is so tender, and loves to people do so stare to see any thing dress'd like a hear me talk of the world, and the plays, operas, woman of condition, as it were on the same floor and ridottos for the winter, the Parks and Bell with them, pass by. Alas! alas! it is a sad thing size for our summer diversions; and, lard ! says to walk. O fortune, fortune! she, you are so wild—but you have a world of Tom. What ! a sad thing to walk ! why, mahumour.

dam Phillis, do you wish yourself lame ? Humph. Coxcomb! Well, but why don't you Phil. No, Mr Thomas, but I wish I were gerun with your master's letter to Mrs Lucinda, as nerally carried in a coach or chair, and of a forhe order'd you?

tune neither to stand nor go, but to totter, or Tom. Because Mrs Lucinda is not so easily slide, to be short-sighted, or stare, to fleer in the come at as you think for.

face, to look distant, to observe, to overlook, yet Humph. Not easily come at? why, sir, are not all become me; and if I were rich, I could twine her father and my old master agreed that she and and loll as well as the bes. of them. Oh, Tom, Mr Bevil are to be one flesh before to-morrow Tom! is it not a pity that you should be so great morning?

a coxcomb, and I so great a coquette, and yet be Tom. It's no matter for that : her mother, it such poor devils as we are? seems, Mrs Sealand, has not agreed to it; and Tom. Mrs Phillis, I am your humble servant you must know, Mr Humphrey, that in that fa for thatmily the grey mare is the better horse.

Phil. Yes, Mr Thomas, I know how much you Humph. What dost tbou mean?

are my humble servant, and know what you Tom. In one word, Mrs Sealand pretends to said to Mrs Judy upon seeing her in one of her have a will of her own, and has provided a rela- lady's cast manteaus, that any one would have tion of hers, a stiff starch'd philosopher, and a thought her the lady, and that she had orderwise fool, for her daughter; for which reason, for ed the other to wear it till it sat easy-for these ten days past, she has suffer'd no message now only it was becoming—to my lady it was nor letter from my master to come near her. only a covering, to Mrs Judy it was a habit.

Humph. And where had you this intelligence? This you said after somebody or other. Oh Tom,

Tom. From a foolish fond soul that can keep Tom! thou art as false and as base as the best nothing from me one that will deliver this let gentleman of them all : but, you wretch ! talk ter too if she is rightly manag’d.

to me no more of the old odious subject : don't, Humph. What, her pretty handmaid, Mrs Phil. lis?

Tom. I know not how to resist your comTom. Even she, sir. This is the very hour, mands, madam. [In a submissive tone, retiring. you know, she usually comes hither, under a pre Phil. Commands about parting are grown tence of a visit to our housekeeper, forsooth, but mighty easy to you of late. in reality to have a glance at

Tom. Oh, I have her! I have nettled and put Humph. Your sweet face, I warrant you. her into the right temper to be wrought upon and

Tom. Nothing else in nature. You must set a-parting. Aside. – Why truly, to be plain know I love to fret and play with the little wan with you, Mrs Phillis, I can take little confort ton

of late in frequenting your house. Humph. Play with the little wanton! what Phil. Pray, Mr Thomas, what is it, all of a will this world come to!

sudden, offends your nicety at our house? Tom. I met her this morning in a new mantua Tom. I don't care to speak particulars, but I and petticoat, not a bit the worse for her lady's dislike the whole. wearing, and she has always new thoughts and Phil. I thank you, sir ; I am a part of that new airs with new clothes then she never whole. fails to steal some glance or gesture from every Tom. Mistake me not, good Pinillis.

I say.

eila

ever

are

[ocr errors]

Phil. Good Phillis ! saucy enough. But how- | man in the world, presents you this to bear your

charges on the road. (Gives her the purse. Tom. I say it is, that thou art a part which Phil. Now, you think me a corrupt hussy. gives me pain for the disposition of the whole. Tom. O fie! I only think you'll take the letter.

You must know, madam, to be serious, I am a Phil. Nay, I know you do; but I know my | man , at the bottom, of prodigious nice honour

. own innocence: I take it for my mistress's sake. You are too much expos’d to company at your Tom. I know it, my pretty one! I know it. house. To be plain, I don't like so many that Phil. Yes, I say, I do it because I would not would be your mistress's lovers whispering to have my mistress deluded by one who gives no you.

proof of his passion: but I'll talk more of this as Phil. Don't think to put that upon me. You you see me on my way home. —No, Tom; I say this, because I wrung you to the heart when assure thee I take this trash of thy master's, not I touched your guilty conscience about Judy. for the value of the thing, but as it convinces me

Tom. Ah, Phillis, Phillis ! if you but knew my he has a true respect for my mistress. I rememheart!

ber a verse to the purpose:Phil. I know too much on't.

They may be false who languish and complain, Tom. Nay, then, poor Crispo's fate and mine But they who part with money never feign. --therefore give me leave to say, or sing at

[Excunt, least, as he does upon the same occasion

[Sings. SCENE II.-BEVIL Junior's Lodgings. Se vedette, &c.

BEVIL, Jun. reading. Phil. What, do you think I'm to be fobb'd off B. jun. These moral writers practise virtue afwith a song ?—I don't question but you have sung ter death. This charming vision of Mirza ! Such the same to Mrs Judy too.

an author, consulted in a morning, sets the spirits Tom. Don't disparage your charms, good Pbil. for the vicissitudes of the day, better than the lis, with jealousy of so worthless an object; be glass does a man's person. But what a day have 1

sides, she is a poor hussy; and if you doubt the I to go through? To put on an casy look with sincerity of my love, you will allow me true to my an aching heart!-İf this lady, my father urges interest. You are a fortune, Phillis

me to marry, should not refuse me, my dilemma Phil. What would the fop be at now? In good is insupportable. But why should I fear it? Is time, indeed, you shall be setting up for a for- not she in equal distress with me? Has not the tune,

letter I have sent her this morning confess'd my Tom. Dear Mrs Phillis ! you have such a spi- inclination to another ? Nay, have I not moral rit that we shall never be dull in marriage, when assurances of her engagements too, to my friend

we come together. But I tell you, you are a for- Myrtle? It's impossible but she must give into 1 tune, and you have an estate in my hands. it; for sure to be deny'd is a favour any man

(He pulls out a purse, she eyes it. may pretend to. It must be so. -Well then, Phil. What pretence have I to what is in your with the assurance of being rejected, I think I hands, Mr Thomas ?

inay confidently say to my father, I am ready to Tom. As thus : there are hours, you know, marry her—then let me resolve upon (what I am when a lady is neither pleased nor displeased, not very good at) an honest dissimulation. neither sick nor well, when she lolls or loiters,

Enter Tom. when she is without desires, from having more of every thing than she knows what to do with. Tom. Sir John Bevil, sir, is in the next room. Phil. Well, what then?

B. jun. Dunce! why did you not bring him Tom. When she has not life enough to keep in? her bright eyes quite open to look at her own

Tom. I told him, sir, you were in your closet. dear image in the glass.

B. jun. I thought you had known, sir, it was Phil. Explain thyself, and don't be so fond of my duty to see my father any where. thy own prating.

(Going himself to the door. Tom. There are also prosperous and good na

Tom. The devil's in my master! he has altur’d moments, as when a knot or a patch is hap- ways more wit than I have.

[ Aside, pily fix'd, when the complexion particularly flourishes.

Bevil, Jun. introducing Sir John. Phil. Well, what then? I have not patience! B. jun. Sir, you are the most gallant, the most

Tom. Why then-or on the like occasions-complaisant, of all parents:-Sure'tis not a com we servants, who have skill to know how to time pliment to say these lodgings are yours.—Why business, see, when such a pretty folded thing as would you not walk in, sir ? this is (Sheus a letter) may be presented, laid, or

Sir J. B. I was loath to interrupt you unseadropped, as best suits the present humour. And, sonably on your wedding-day. madam, because it is a long wearisome journey B. jun. One to whom I am beholden for my to run through all the several stages of a lady's birth-day might have used less ceremony. temper, my master, who is the most reasonable Sir J. B. Well, son, I have intelligence you VOL. IV.

O

« PreviousContinue »