Page images
PDF
EPUB

Lit. Right, angels are the only things who can be poor and lovely ; but to marry thus before you have given the worshipful company of mamma brukers a chance, is against all rule.

Roc. Would you have me marry a thing whose mind is bounded by her bonnet, a soul perfumed with foreign sentiment-as guiltless of old English virtues as hier tongue is of their native names. No! I'll have a lieart that beats with blood-a cheek that's red with it—and be no slave of such a thing of scent and paint—but strike one blow for love and human nature.

Lil. Oh, you luxurious dog! (Shaking his hand.] Oh -h! if I could only afford to marry a woman instead of a bauker's account-but what obstacles oppose your epicureau intentions towards Miss Rocket?

Ruc. I hear my father intends for me the double honour of a seat in the house, and a wife-my cousin, Alice, the wealthy young widow of Lord George Hawthorn.

Lit. Lady Alice--who shook the very apathy of the opera last week, by demanding to be balloted into the oinuibus box !

Roe. Such a wife--why do they not give her a commission in the blues, at once ?

Lit. She flashed into our fashionable system like a new comet, whose eccentricity defied all known law, and quickly drew after her a train that obliterated all the constellations of St. James's, and the heavenly bodies of May fair.

Roe. You know her, then ?

Lit. A Polka acquaintanceship! I've been introduced to her waist ;-we know each other in the house of our mutual frienuis-but of what use can I be here?

Roe. The greatest. My father has arranged my nomination for Closeborough, I shall be obliged to advocate his political principles in the house, to which party old Rocket is a virulent opponent. Lit. What's to be done? Koe. Oppose my father-and thus

oblige me by opposing my election, and I will answer for your success.

Lit. Ha! ha! help me to your borough-why, you “rascal, would you make the Home Secretary purchase in a talented member for the opposition ?

Roe. Consent."

Lit. With all my heart; I see but one obstacle--the qualification !

Roe. The three hundred a-year-that's true-stayCoke, at Eton, you were considered a fellow of great pluck.

Lit. You flatter.
Roe. You look tenacious of life.
Lit. Ha !
Roe. I'll make you a present of the widow.
Lit. Lady Alice ?

Roe. If she have not, ere this, volunteered to Morocco or Macao.

Lit. Charles, to oblige you I accept the borough-for your sake I'll encounter the widow and the five thousand a-year.

BoB rushes in, L.
Bob. Sir-sir-they are come-
Lit. They-who?
Bob. Two of the fattest clients, sir, you ever saw.
Lit. Clients—you are mad, or a fool.
Bob. Neither, sir-but I think they are both.

Lit. Stay—come here. Bob-{Bob crosses to Littleton, what are they like?

Bob. Oue, sir, is a very respectable old gentleman in black, white hair

Lit. Scriven, the attorney and money lender. The other?

Bob. A responsible---sort of-sporting character.
Lit. Craft, the bailiff-I'm ruined! [Crosses to L.
Roe. What's the debt? perhaps I-

Lit. No, Charles—to be honest with you—my hopos are too slender to bear an obligation. I'm as low in pride, now, as I am in pocket, and cannot afford to turn a friend into a creditor.

Bob. They are just on this landing, sir.

Roe. Come with me. I can offer you a room at iny father's 'till your election is over.

Bob. Step inside, sir ; while they come in, you can go out by the other door.

Lit. Farewell, fond visions of the woolsack : Bob, give up any chattels, let them take possession.

Bob. All right, sir; a table, two chairs, a bed, and a boot-jack. [Exeunt at the back, C., followed by Bob. After a pause, knocking is heard, l.

Enter RURAL, L.
Rur. Littleton! Littleton ! Litt—eh!

-bless me, no body! Ton, come in.

Enter Tom COKE, L. Tom. I'm here, minister; so these be brother LittleLon's chambers—well, they don't look prodigal, neither.

Rur. No, no, but where is he?

Tom. And they ca' this the Temple, eh? It 'll be moire loike a coil hoile aboove ground than owt else a knaw; well, minister, you would coome up to town wi’ me; here we are- -what next?

Rur. My dear boy, I know that you feel an old man like me a burthen on you—now you are a great man, a member of parliament.

Tom. That's onkind of you, minister, and you're not given to say cruel things; why, isn't your face the very first thing in the world I can remember? haven't you been a father to us since we were left orphans ? a burthen ! that's the hardest word you spoke since you taught us catechesm wi brother Littleton sitting on one knee and I on t'oother.

Rur. Think of that, Tom, do; and to see you united again is my prayer.

Tom. But wha couldn't yaw wait until we had set down quietly in the Earl of Pompion's house, according to his invitation ? 'Twas main kind of him, minister; he's the Home Secretary, and the next post after I was made member o’Parliament, brought me a hearty invitation to his house : that's hospitality.

Rur. But where is Littleton ?

Tom. I'll tell ye :-in bed, sleeping off his last night's debauch, or wi' flushed and haggard cheek, still leaning over the gambling table.

NOTE.-The language used by Tom Cokc is written in a broad dialect, to distinguish the character, but should be acted with an accent only; and in Provincial Theatres, should not be given to the gentleman performing Yorkshiremen, but to the eccentric comedian.

Rur. No, Tom, no! my little pupil, my child! a gambler!-no! he was wild, sensitive, but you

know he was

never

gers of

Tom. I know no more than this, I remember him, the rapture of my poor mother, the hope of my father-and you, you always loved him best.

Rur. Tom, Tom, don't reproach me! Tom. Reproach way, not so- -Nature gave him a great mind, me only an honest one. He was born for greater things than I, and so he had all that wealth could lavish on him—I didn't grudge it him~he fed from the silver plate, I from the wooden platter-I cared nuaw't for that; but at his grand school, why did he find the houses of my lord this, and marquis that, more welcome than his own home? I don't reproach, mind-but-but when our mother died I stood alone by her—and her last breath prayed for him. I wasn't jealous, minister; but in my father's will, the part that gave me my inheritance was writ in the hard hand of a lawyer's clerk, while the gift to Littleton, with a blessing, was penned by the trembling fin

my

father, and blotted wi' his tears. I've tried to hate him.

Rur. Tom!

Tom. I did, but I couldn't. The same strange love you all showed for him, I shared wi' you-a’most against ma will and when those short heartless letters would come, containing nowt but calls for money--money-money-I could ha’ freely given ten times what I lent, for but four words of heart's blood in 'ern, if 'twor but “God bless ye,

Tom."'. Rur. And he will say so when he sees you-he will.-Think what a dear cliild he was—so clinging, affectionate, innocent.

[Spoken very affectionately. Tom. Ye forget, that was fifteen years ago.

Rur. Was it?-bless me—so it was but you remember how generous, and kind, and wild he was how I doted on the trouble he used to give me; and how cleverquite overpov'ered my faculties. I could never teach him anything but cat's cradle.

Re-enter Bob, C. D. F. Oh, here is his servant.

[Bob advances, whistling, and sits on the table L.

Tom. Where be thy measter, lad ?

Bob. Beyond your clutches, vampire! oli, you may stare !

Tom. What dost mean?

Bob. Why, that the paltry debt I suppose you come to sue for, will be paid.

Tom. My debt ? he knows me, then ?
Bob. Unhappily, he does.

Tom. Is this his welcome when a come to tak bim by the hand ?

Bob. By the collar, you mean-oh, there, seize-seize! -your sort don't refuse even two-pence in the pound.

Tom. This is too much. (Attempts to get at Bob.

Rur. Stop, don't be rash ! let me see the boy. (Crosses to C., and puts on his spectacles.] My good boy, I'm sure you will tell me where your master is.

(Looking Bob in the face affectionately. Bob. Oh, you precious old rascal! Rur. Good gracious !

(Rural starts. Bob. Arn't you ashamed of yourself? Tom. Let me at him. Rur. (Holding Tom.] No! no! Tom, I insist.

Bob. I say it again-you are vampires, leeches, and, though I am nothing but a poor servant, before I would do a day's work like this, I'd see all the gains your trade has ever wrenched from misery sunk to the bottom of the sea-ach!

[Exit, slamming the door, . Tom. Well, minister, ar't satisfied now? Rur. He never could intend

Tom. Intend—didn't he know us—he spoke of my debt-oh, 'twas done by his orders—let us go.

[Crosses to L. Rur. He called me an old rascal-and asked me if I wasn't ashamed of myself-ashamed of-coming.

T'om. Come, come, your errand's over-forget him.

Rur. To me-to me-my hopes—my fond, fond hopes of seeing him again of reconciling-of-oh, Tom !

Tom. And I, too—but no matter-I loos him off for ever--you shall return to-day to Yorkshire.

Rur. No, not yet--there's some-some mistake-forgive him.

Tom. I cared nowt for what he said o' me, but to insoolt you, his old friend, his father!

« PreviousContinue »