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THE

OLD BACHELOR.

BY

CONG REVE.

PROLOGUE.

SPOKEN BY MRS BRACEGIRDLE.

grow it.

How this vile world is changed ! In former days, | You think that strange--no matter; he 'll out.
Prologues were serious speeches before plays;
Grave, solemn things, as graces are to feasts, Well, I'm his advocate : by me, he prays you—.
Where poets begg'd a blessing from their guests. (I don't know whether I shall speak to please you,)
But now, no more like suppliants we come; He prays-0, bless me! what shall I do now?
A play makes war, and prologue is the drum : Hang me if I know what he prays, or how !
Arm'd with keen satire, and with pointed wit, And 'twas the prettiest prologue, as he wrote it:
We threaten you who do for judges sit,

Well, the deuce take me if I ha'n't forgot it!
To save our plays, or else we'll damn your pit. O Lord ! for heaven's sake excuse the play,
But, for your comfort, it falls out to-day, Because, you know, if it be damn’d to-day,
We've a young author and his first-born play; I shall be hang'd for wanting what to say.
So, standing only on his good behaviour, For my sake then-But I'm in such confusion,
He's very civil, and entreats your favour. I cannot stay to hear your resolution,
Not but the man has malice, would he shew it,

(Runs off. But, on my conscience, he's a bashful poet:

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.

WOMEN. HEARTWELL, a surly old Bachelor, pretending ARAMINTA, in love with Vainlove.

to slight women; secretly in love wiih Silvia. BELINDA, her Cousin, an affected Lady, in love BELLMOUR, in love with Belinda.

with Bellmour. Araminta.

Vainlove's forsaken SHARPER.

LUCY, her Maid. Sir Joseph WITTOL,

BETTY.
Captain BLUFFE.

Footmen.
FONDLEWIFE, a Banker.
SETTER, a Pimp.
Servant to Fondlewife:

Aranecapricious in his loze ; in love with SIEVIT, Ayhanes Forse if i ristress,

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SCENE,-London

ACT І.

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Bell. Why, faith, I think it will do well enough, SCENE I.-The Street.

-if the husbands be out of the way, for the wife BELLMOUR and VAINLOVE, meeting.

to shew her fondness, and impatience of his ab

sence, by choosing a lover as like him as she can; Bell. Vainlove, and abroad so early !–Good and what is unlike she may help out with her morrow. I thought a contemplative lover could own fancy. no more have parted with his bed in a morning Vain, But is it not an abuse to the lover to be than he could have slept in't.

made a blind of ? For she only stalks under him, Vain. Bellmour, good morrow.- Why, truth to take aim at her husband. on't is, these early sallies are not usual to me; Bell. As you say, the abuse is to the lover, not but business, as you see, sir--[Shewing letters.] the husband; for 'tis an argument of her great And business must be follow'd, or be lost. zeal towards him, that she will enjoy him in effigy.

Bell. Pox o' business !-And so must time, Vain. It must be a very superstitious country, my friend, be close pursued, or lost.—Business is where such zeal passes for true devotion. I doubt the rub of life, perverts our aim, casts off the bias, it will be damn'd by all our protestant husbands and leaves us wide and short of the intended mark for flat idolatry.—But if you can make alderman Vain. Pleasure, I guess, you mean.

Fondlewife of your persuasion, this letter will be Bell. Ay, what else has meaning ?

needless. Vain. Oh, the wise will tell you

Bell. What, the old banker with the handsome Bell.. More than they believe, or understand. wife ?

Vuin. How, how, Ned; a wise man say more Vain. Ay. than he understands?

Bell. Let me see-Lætitia-0, 'tis a delicious Bell, Ay, ay: Pox! wisdom's nothing but a morsel !- Dear Frank, thou art the truest friend pretending to know and believe more than we in the world. really do. You read of but one wise man; and Vuin. Ay, am I not ? to be continually starting all that he knew was, that he knew nothing.– of hares for you to course. We were certainly Come, come, leave business to idlers, and wisdom cut out for one another ; for my temper quits an to fools; they have need of 'em :/wit be my fa amour just where thiné takes it up.—But read culty, and pleasure my occupation; and let father that : it is an appointment for me this evening, Time shake his glass. Let low and earthly souls when Fondlewife will be gone out of town, to grovel, till they have work’d themselves six foot meet the master of a ship, about the return of a deep into a grave.—Business is not my element: I venture which he's in danger of losing.-Road, roll in a higher orb, and dwell.

read. Vain. In castles i' the air of thy own building : Bell. [Reads.] Hum, hum-Out of town this that's thy element, Ned.-Well, as high a tlier as evening, and talks of sending for Mr Spintext to you are, I have a lure may make you stoop. keep me company; but I'll take care he shall

(Flings a letter. not be at home.---Good! Spintext!-0, the faBell. Ay marry, sir; I have a hawk's eye

natic one-eyed parson ! woman's hand. - There's more elegancy in the Vain. Ay. false spelling of this superscription (Takes up the Bell. [Reads.] Hum, hum—That your converletter.) than in all Cicero.- Let me see—How sation will be much more agreeable, if you can now !--Dear perfidious Vainlove ! (Reads. counterfeit his babit to blind the servants:-Very

Vain. Hold, hold : 'Slife! that's the wrong good! Then I must be disguised—With all my

Bell Nay, let's see the name-Sylvia !-How heart-It adds a gusto to an amour; gives it the canst thou be ungrateful to that creature ? She's greater resemblance of theft; and, among us lewd extremely pretty, and loves thee entirely. I have mortals, the deeper the sin the sweeter.-Frank, heard her breathe such raptures about thee, I'm amazed at thy good-natureVain. Ay, or any body that she's about

Vuin. Faith, I hate love when 'tis forced upon Bell. No, taith, Frank, you wrong her: she has a man, as I do wine-And this business is none been just to you.

of my seeking; I only happened to be once or Vain. That's pleasant, by my troth, from thee, twice, where Lætitia was the handsomest woman who hast enjoy'd her.

in company, so consequently apply'd myself to Bell. Never-Her affections—'tis true, by her-And it seems she has taken me at my Ileaven ! she

own’d it to my face ; and, blushing word-Had you been there, or any body, it had like the virgin morn when it disclosed the cheat, been the same. which that trusty bawd of Nature, Night, had Bell. I wish I may succeed as the same. hid, confess'd her soul was true to you, though Vain. Never doubt it; forif the spirit of cuckola 1, by treachery, had stolen the bliss.

dom be once raised up in a woman, the devil Vuin. So was true as turtle-in imagination, cann't lay it, 'till she has done't. Ned, hey?—Preach this doctrine to husbands, Bell. Pr’ythee, what sort of fellow is Fonden and the married women will adore thce.

wife?

at a

!

Vain. A kind of mongrel zealot, sometimes | all; you can have no hopes of getting her for a very precise and peevish: But I have seen him mistress, and she is too proud, too inconstant, too pleasant enough in his way; much addicted to affected and too witty, and too handsome for a jealousy, but more to fondness: So that, as he is wife. often jealous without a cause, he's as often satis Bell. But she cann't have too much moneyfied without reason.

There's twelve thousand pound, Tom.

Tis Bell. A very even temper, and fit for my pur true she is excessively foppish and affected, but in pose. I must get your man Setter to provide my my conscience, I believe the baggage loves me, for disguise.

she never speaks well of me herself, nor suffers Vain. Ay, you may take him for good and all any body else to rail at me.) Then, as I told you, if you will, for you have made him fit for nobody there's twelve thousand pound-Hum-Why else. -Well

faith, upon second thoughts, she does not appear Bell. You're going to visit in return of Sylvia's to be so very affected neither-Give her her due, letter -Poor rogue. Any hour of the day I think the woman's a woman, and that's all. or night will serve herBut do you know no As such I'm sure I shall like her; for the devil thing of a new rival there?

take me if I don't love all the sex. Vain. Yes, Heartwell, that surly, old pretend Sharp. And here comes one who swears as ed woman-hater, thinks her virtuous; that's one heartily he hates all the sex, reason why I fail her: I would have her fret herself out of conceit with me, that she may enter

Enter HEARTWELL. tain some thoughts of him. I know he visits her Bell. Who, Heartwell! Ay, but he knows betevery day.

ter things -How now, George! where hast Bell. Yet rails on still, and thinks his love un thou been snarling odious truths, and entertainknown to us; a little time will swell him so, he | ing company like a physician, with discourse of must be forced to give it birth, and the discovery their diseases and infirmities? What fine laily must needs be very pleasant from himself, to see hast thou been putting out of conceit with herself, what pains he will take, and how he will strain to and persuading that the face she had been making be delivered of a secret, when he has miscarried all the morning was none of her own ? for I know on't already.

thou art as unmannerly and as unwelcome to a Vain. Well, good morrow; let's dine together; woman, as a looking-glass after the small-pox. I'll meet you at the old place.

Heart. I confess I have not been sneering fulBell. With all my heart; it lies convenient for some lies and nauseous flattery, fawning upon a us to pay our afternoon service to our mistresses; little tawdry whore, that will fawn upon me again, I find I am damnably in love, I'm so uneasy for and entertain any puppy that comes, like a tumnot seeing Belinda yesterday.

bler, with the same tricks over and over. For such, Vain. But I saw my Araminta, yet am as impa- I guess, may have been your late employment. tient.

(Erit. Bell. Would thou hadst come a little sooner ! Bell. Why what a cormorant in love am I! who, Vainlove would have wrought thy conversion, and not contented with the slavery of honourable love been a champion for the cause. in one place, and the pleasure of enjoying some half Heart. What, has he been here? that's one of a score mistresses of my own acquiring, must yet love's April-fools, is always upon some errand take Vainlove's business upon my hands, because that's to no purpose, ever embarking in advenit lay too heavy upon his ; so am not only forced tures, yet never comes to harbour. to lie with other men's wives for 'em, but must Sharp. That's because he always sets out in also undertake the harder task of obliging their foul weather, loves to buffet with the winds, meet mistresses -I must take up, or I shall never the tide, and sail in the teeth of opposition. hold out ; flesh and blood cannot bear it always. Heart. What, has he not dropt anchor at Ara.

minta? Enter SHARPER.

Bell. Truth on't is, she fits his temper best, is Sharp. I'm sorry to see this, Ned: Once a man a kind of floating island; sometimes seems in comes to his soliloquies, I give him for gone. reach, then vanishes, and keeps him busied in the Bell, Sharper, I'm glad to see thee.

search. Sharp. What, is Belinda cruel, that you are so Sharp. She had need have a good share of sense thoughtful?

to manage so capricious a lover. Bell. No faith, not for that -But there's Bell. Faith, I don't know, he's of a temper the a business of consequence fallen out to-day, that most easy to himself in the world; he takes as requires some consideration.

much always of an amour as hc cares for, and Sharp. Pr’ythee what mighty business of conse- quits it when it grows stale or unpleasant. quence canst thou have?

Sharp. An argument of very little passion, very Bell. Why, you must know,'tis a piece of work good understanding, and very ill-nature. toward the finishing of an alderman; it seems I Hcurt. And proves that Vainlove plays the must put the last hand to it, and dub him cuckold, fool with discretion. that he may be of equal dignity with the rest of Shurp. You, Bellmour, are bound in gratitude his brethren: So I must beg Belinda's pardon-to stickle for him; you with pleasure reap that

Sharp. Faith, e'cn give her over for good and I fruit, which lic takes pains to sow : Ile docs the

drudgery in the mine, and you stamp your image ing, dancing, singing, sighing, whining, rhyming, on the gold.

flattering, lying, grinning, cringing, and the drudBell. He's of another opinion, and says I do gery of loving to boot. the drudgery in the mine. Well, we have each our Bell. O brute ! the drudgery of loving! share of sport, and each that which he likes best; Heart. Ay; why to come to love through all 'tis his diversion to set, 'tis mine to cover the these incumbrances is like coming to an estate partridge.

overcharged with debts, which, by the time you Heurt. And it should be mine to let 'em go have paid, yields no further profit than what the again.

bare tillage and manuring of the land will produce Sharp. Not till you had mouth'd a little, George: at the expence of your own sweat. I think that's all thou art fit for now.

Bell. Prythee how dost thou love? Heart. Good Mr Young.fellow, you're mista Sharp. He! he hates the sex. ken; as able as yourself, and as nimble too, tho' Heart. So I hate physic too. -yet I may I mayn't have so much mercury in my limbs ; 'tis love to take it for my health. true indeed, I don't force appetite, but wait the Bell. Well come off, George, if at any time natural call of my lust, and think it time enough you should be taken straying. to be lewd, after I have had the temptation. Sharp. He has need of such an excuse, con

Bell. Time enough! ay too soon, I should ra- sidering the present state of his body. ther have expected, from a person of your gra

Heart. How d'ye mean? vity.

Sharp. Why, if whoring be purging, (as you Heart. Yet it is oftentimes too late with some call it,) then, I may say, marriage is entering into of you young, termagant flashy sinners—you a course of physic. have all the guilt of the intention, and none of Bell. How, George, does the wind blow there? the pleasure of the practice 'Tis true, you are Heart. It will as soon blow north and by south. so eager in pursuit of the temptation, that you - Marry, quotha ! I hope in heaven I have a save the devil the trouble of lending you into it: greater portion of grace, and I think I have baitNor is it out of discretion, that you don't swallowed too many of those traps to be caught in one that very hook yourselves have baited, but you are myself. cloyed with the preparative, and what you mean Bell. Who the devil would have thee, unless for a whet, turns the edge of your puny stomachs. 'twere an oyster-woman, to propagate young fry Your love is like your courage, which you shew for Billingsgate ?-Thy talent will never recomfor the first year or two upon all occasions ; till mend thee to any thing of better quality. in a little time, being disabled or disarmed, you Heart. My talent is chiefly that of* speaking abate of your vigour ; and that daring blade, which truth, which I don't expect should ever recomwas so often drawn, is bound to the peace for mend me to people of quality. I thank Heaven ever after.

I have very honestly purchased the hatred of all Bell. Thou art an old fornicator of a singular the great families in town. good principle indeed! and art for encouraging Sharp. And you, in return of spleen, hate them. youth, that they may be as wicked as thou art at -But could you hope to be received into the althy years.

liance of a noble familyHeart. I am for having every body be what they Heart. No; I hope I shall never merit that pretend to be ; a whoremaster be a whoremaster; affliction—to be punished with a wife of birth, and not like Vainlove, kiss a lap-dog with pas- be a stag of the first head, and bear my horns sion, when it would disgust him from the lady’s aloft, like one of the supporters of my wife's coat. own lips.

—'Sdeath, I would not be a cuckold to e'er an Bell. That only happens sometimes, where the illustrious where in England. dog has the sweeter breath, for the more cleanly Bell

, What, not to make your family, man, and conveyance. But, George, you must not quarrel provide for your children? with little gallantries of this nature: Women are Sharp. For her children, you mean. often won by 'em. Who would refuse to kiss a Heari. Ay, there you've nick'd it—there's the lap-dog, if it were preliminary to the lips of his devil upon devil-ó the pride and joy of heart lady?

’twould be to me to have my son and heir reSharp. Or omit playing with her fan, and cool semble such a duke !-to have a fleering cox. ing her if she were hot, when it might entitle him comb scoff andery—Master, your son's mighty like to the office of warming her when she should be his grace, has just his smile and air of's face.-. cold?

Then replies another—Methinks he has more of Bell

. What is it to read a play in a rainy day, the marquis of such a place about his nose and when it may be the means of getting into a fair eyes; though he has my Lord What-d’ye-call's lady's books? Though you should be now and mouth to a tittle—Then I, to put it off as unconthen interrupted in a witty scene, and she perhaps cern’d, come chuck the infant under the chin, preserve her laughter, tiil the jest were over ; force a smile, and cry-Ay, the boy takes after even this may be borne with, considering the re his mother's relations when the devil and she ward in prospect.

know 'tis a little compound of the whole body Heart. I confess, you that are women's asses of nobility. berr great burdens; are forced to undergo dress. Bell, and Sharp. Ha, ha, ha!

Bell. Well, but, George, I have one question have pillaged him : But I chanced to come by, to ask you

and rescued him; though, I believe, he was heartHeart. Pox, I have prattled away my time- ily frighten'd; for, as soon as ever he was loose, I hope you are in no haste for an answer; for I he ran away, without staying to see who help'd sha'n't stay now,

(Looking on his watch. him. Bell. Nay, pr’ythee, George

Sharp. Is that bully of his in the army? Heart. No; besides my business, I see a fool Bell. No, but is a pretender, and wears the hacoming this way.-Adieu.

(Exit. bit of a soldier, which, now-a-days, as often cloaks Bell. What does he mean?-0, here he comes! cowardice as a black gown does atheism.-You Stand close, let 'em pass.

must know, he has been abroad—went purely to

run away from a campaign-enrich'd himself Sir JOSEPH WITTOL and Captain BLUFFE

with the plunder of a few oaths, and here vents cross the Stage.

'em against the general, who, slighting men of Sharp. What, in the name of wonder, is it? merit, and preferring only those of interest, has Bell. Why, a fool.

made him quit the service. Sharp. 'Tis a tawdry outside.

Sharp. Wherein, no doubt, he magnifies his Bell. And a very beggarly lining-Yet he may own performance. be worth your acquaintance-A little of thy che Bell

. Speaks miracles, is the drum to his own mistry, Tom, may extract gold from that dirt. praise the only implement of a soldier he re

Sharp. Say you so ?-Faith, I am as poor as a sembles ; like that, being full of blustering noise chemist, and would be as industrious.—But what and emptiness. was he that follow'd him? Is not he a dragon Sharp. And, like that, of no use but to be that watches those golden pippins ?

beaten. Bell. Hang him, no—he a dragon ! If he be, Bell. Right : but then the comparison breaks ; 'tis a very peaceful one: I can ensure his anger for he will take a drubbing with as little noise as dormant; or, should he seem to rouse, 'tis but a pulpit-cushion. well lashing him, and he will sleep like a top. Sharp. His name, and I have done. Sharp. Ay, is he of that kidney?

Bell. Why, that, to pass it current too, he has Bell. Yet is adored by that bigot, Sir Joseph gilded with a title: he is calld Captain Bluffe. Wittol, as the image of valour: he calls him his Sharp. Well, I'll endeavour his acquaintance. Back, and indeed they are never asunder-Yet You steer another course-are bound last night, I know not by what mischance, the For Love's Island ; I for the Golden Coast : knight was alone, and had fallen into the hands May each succeed in what he wishes most. of some night-walkers, who, I suppose, would

(E.reunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.

devils on that chance which drew me hither

Ay, here, just here, this spot to me is hell; noEnter Sir JOSEPH WITTOL-SHARPER

thing to be found but the despair of what I've following.

lost.

(Looking about us in search. Sharp. Sure that's he, and alone.

Sir Jo. Poor gentleman !- By the Lord Harry, Sir Jo. Um-Ay, this, this is the very damn'd I'll stay no longer ; for I've found too place the inhuman cannibals, the bloody-minded Sharp. Ha! who's that has found ?-What villains, would have butcher'd me last night : no have you found ?--Restore it quickly, or, bydoubt they would have flea'd me alive, have sold Sir Jo. Not I, sir, not I, as I've a soul to be my skin, and devour'd my members.

saved; I have found nothing but what has been Sharp. How's this !

to my loss, as I may say, and as you were saySir Jo. An it hadn't been for a civil gentleman | ing, sir. as came by, and frighten'd'em away-But, egad, Sharp. O, your servant, sir, you are safe then, I durst not stay to give him thanks.

it seems: 'tis an ill wind that blows nobody good. Sharp. This must be Bellmour he means Well, you may rejoice over my ill fortune, since Ha! I have a thought

it paid the price of

your ransom. Sir Jo. Zooks, would the captain would comem Sir Jo. I rejoice! egad, not I, sir : I'm very the very remembrance makes me quake---Egad, sorry for your loss, with all my heart, blood and I shall never be reconciled to this place heartily. guts, sir; and if you did but know me, you'd

Sharp. 'Tis but trying, and being where I am ne'er say I were so ill-natured. at worst. -Now, luck!-Cursed fortune ! this Sharp. Know you! Why, can you be so unmust be the place, this damn'd unlucky place grateful to forget me?

Sir Jo. Egad, and so 'tis.Why, here has Sir Jo. O Lord, forget him !-No, no, sir, I been more mischief done, I perceive.

don't forget you—because I never saw your face Sharp. No, 'tis gone, 'tis lost-Ten thousand | before, egad. Ha, ha, ha!

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