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Esop. Now, mortals, attend; I have perceived from your examinations, that you have mistaken the effect of your distempers for the cause--you would willingly be relieved from many things which interfere with your passions and aifections; while your vices, from which all your cares and misfortunes arise, are totally forgotten and negiected. Then follow me, and drink to the forgetfulness of vice
'Tis vice nione disturbs the buman breast;
L Y I N G V A L E T.
DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. Sharp, [the Lying Valet) Dick, Mr Yates.
Mr Garrick. Gayless, Mr Blakes.
Melissa, Miss Bennet. Justice Guttle, Mr Taswell. Kitty Pry, Mis Clive. Beau Trippet, Mr Neal. Mrs Gadabout, Mrs Cross.
Mrs Trippet, Mrs Ridout.
afraid you joke with your poor humble servant. Gayl. I tell thee, Sharp, last night Melissa consented, and fixed to-morrow for the happy day.
Sbarp. "Tis well she did, Sir, or it might have been a dreadful one for us in our present condition : all your money spent; your moveables sold; yo!is honour almost ruined, and your humble servant almost starved; we could not possibly have stood it two days longer-But if this young lady will marry you, and relieve us, o' my conscience I'll turn friend to the sex, rail no more
ma rimony, but cuise the whores, and think of a wife myself.
Gayl. And yet, Sharp, when I think how I have imposed upon her, I ain almost resolved to throw myself at her feet, tell the real situation of my affairs, ask her pardon, and implore her pity.
Sbarp. After inarriage with all my heart, Sir; but don't let your conscier.ce and honour so far get the better of your poverty and good sense, as to rely on so great uricertainties as a fine lady's mercy and good-nature.
Gayl. I know her generous temper, and am almost persuaded to rely upon it: what, because I am poor, shall I abandon
honour? Sbarp. Yes, you must, Sir, or abandon me: so, pray, discharge one of us; for eat I must, and speedily too: and you know very well that that honour of yours will neither introduce you to a great man's table, nor get me credit for a single beef-steak.
Gayl. What can I do?
Sbarp. Nothing, while honour sticks in your throat: de gulp, master, and down with it.
Gayl. Prithee leave me to my thoughts.
Sharp. Leave you ! no, not in such bad company, I'll assure you : why you must certainly be a very great philosopher, Sir, to moralize and declaim so charmingly, as you do, about honour and conscience, when your
doors are beset with bailiffs, and not one single guinea in your pocket to bribe the villains.
Gayl: Don't be witty, and give your advice, sirrah!
Sharp. Do you be wise, and take it, Sir. Bul lo be ocricus, you certainly have spent your fortune, and out-liv'd your credit, as your pockets and my belly can testify; your father has disewn'd you; all your friends forsook you, except myself, who am starving with you. Now, Sir, if you marry this young lady, who as yet; thank heaven, know's nothing of your misfortunes, and by that means procure a better fortune than that you squander'd away, make a good husband, and turn oeconomist; you still may be happy, may still be Sir William's heir, and the lady too no loser by the bargain: there's reason and argument, Sir.
Gayl. 'Twas with that prospect I first made love to her; and though iny fortune lias been ill spent, I have, at least, purchased discretion with it.
Sbars. Pray then convince me of that, Sir, and make no more objections to the marriage. You see I am reduced to
niy waistcoat already ; and when necessity has undress'd me from top to toe, she must vegin with you ; and then we shall be forced to keep house and die by inches. Look you, Sir, if you won't resolve to take my advice, while you have one coat to your back, I must e'en take to my heels while I have strength to run, and something to cover me: so, Sir, wishing you much comfort and consolation with
your bare conscience, I am your most obedient and halfstarv'd friend and servant.
[Going Gayl. Hold, Sharp, you won't leave me.
Sbarp. I must eat, Sir; by my honour and appetite I must!
Gayl. Well then, I am resolv'd to favour the cheat; and
I shall quite change my former course of life, happy may be the consequences : at least of this I am sure
Sbarp. That you can't be worse than you are at present. Gayi. (A knocking witbout.) Who's there?
Sbarp. Some of your former good friends, who favoured you with money at fifty per cent, and helped you to spend it; and are now become daily memento's to you of the folly of trusting rogues, following whores, and laughing at my advice.
Gayl. Cease your impertinence! to the door! if they are duns, tell 'em my marriage is now certainly fix'd, and persuad: 'em still to forbear a few days longer, and keep my circumstances a secret for their sakes as well as my own.
Sbarp. O never fear it, Sir; they still liqve so much friendship for you, not to desire your ruin to their own disadvantage.
Gayl. And do you hear, Sharp, if it shou'd be any body from Melissa, say I am not at home, lest the bad appearance we make here should make 'em suspect something to our disadvantage.
Sbarp. I'll obey you, Sir ;-- but I am afraid they will easily discover the consumptive situation of our affairs by iny chop-fallen countenance.
[Exit Sharp. Gayl. These yery rascals, who are continually dunning and persecuting me, were the very persons who led me to my ruin, partook of my prosperity, and profess'd the greatest friendship.
Sbarp. (witbout.) Upon my word, Mrs Kitty; my ma, ster's not at home.
Kit. ( zeithout.) Lockee, Sharp, I must and will see him !
Gagi. Ha, what do I hear? Melissa's maid! what has brought her here? my poverty has made her my enemy too
She is certainly come with no good intent-No friendship there, without fees She's coming up stairs. What'must I do? I'll get into this closet and listen.
Enter SHARP and Kitty. Kil. I must know where he is, and will know too, Mr mpertinence!
Sburp. Not of me you won't. [Aside.] He's not within, I teil you, Mrs Kitty; I don't know myself: do you think I can conjure?
Kil. But I know you will lie abominably; therefore don't trifle with me. I come from my mistress, Melissa ; you know, I suppose, what's to be done to-morrow morning?
Sbarp. Ay, and to-morrow night too, girl!
Kil. Not if I can helpit. Aside. ]—But come, where isyour master? for see him I must.
Sburp. Pray, Mrs Kitty, what's your opinion of this match between my master and your inistress?
Kit. Why I have no opinion of it at all; and yet most of our wants will be reliev'd by it too: for instance now, your master will get a fortune, that's what I'm afraid he wants ; my mistress will get a husband, that's what she has wanted for some time: you will have the pleasure of my conversätion, and I an opportunity of breaking your head for your impertinence.
Sharp. Madam, I'm your most humble servant ! But I'll tell you wliat, Mrs Kitty, I ain positively against the match ; for, was
a man of my master's fortune. Kil. You'd marry, if you cou'd, and mend it. Ha, ha, ba! Pray, Sharp, where does your master's estate lie? Gayl. On the devil! wliat a question was there !
[Aside. Sbarp. Lie, lie; why it lies faith, I can't name any particular place, it lies in so many: his effects are divided, some here, some there; his steward hardly knows himself.
Kil. Scatter'd, scatter'd, I suppose. But harkce, Siiarp, what's become of your furniture? You seem to be a little bare here at present.
Cayl. What, has she found out that too? [Aside.
Sbarp. Why', you must know, as soon as the wedding was fixed, my master order'd mc to remove goods into a friend's house, to make room for a ball which he designs to give here the day after the marriage.
Kil. The luckiest thing in the world! for my inistress designs to have a ball and enterlainment here to-night