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The rivals


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Title:TheRivalsAComedy
Author:RichardBrinsleySheridan
ReleaseDate:March6,2008[EBook#24761]
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHERIVALS***

ProducedbyKentCooper

TheRIVALS
AComedy
ByRichardBrinsleySheridan
*******
PREFACE

Aprefacetoaplayseemsgenerallytobeconsideredasakindofclosetprologue,inwhich—ifhispiecehasbeensuccessful—theauthorsolicitsthat

indulgencefromthereaderwhichhehadbeforeexperiencedfromtheaudience:


butasthescopeandimmediateobjectofaplayistopleaseamixedassemblyin
representation(whosejudgmentinthetheatreatleastisdecisive,)itsdegreeof
reputationisusuallyasdeterminedaspublic,beforeitcanbepreparedforthe
coolertribunalofthestudy.Thusanyfarthersolicitudeonthepartofthewriter
becomesunnecessaryatleast,ifnotanintrusion:andifthepiecehasbeen
condemnedintheperformance,Ifearanaddresstothecloset,likeanappealto
posterity,isconstantlyregardedastheprocrastinationofasuit,froma
consciousnessoftheweaknessofthecause.Fromtheseconsiderations,the
followingcomedywouldcertainlyhavebeensubmittedtothereader,without
anyfartherintroductionthanwhatithadintherepresentation,butthatits
successhasprobablybeenfoundedonacircumstancewhichtheauthoris
informedhasnotbeforeattendedatheatricaltrial,andwhichconsequentlyought
nottopassunnoticed.
Ineedscarcelyadd,thatthecircumstancealludedtowasthewithdrawingofthe
piece,toremovethoseimperfectionsinthefirstrepresentationwhichweretoo
obvioustoescapereprehension,andtoonumeroustoadmitofahastycorrection.
Therearefewwriters,Ibelieve,who,eveninthefullestconsciousnessoferror,
donotwishtopalliatethefaultswhichtheyacknowledge;and,howevertrifling
theperformance,tosecondtheirconfessionofitsdeficiencies,bywhateverplea
seemsleastdisgracefultotheirability.Inthepresentinstance,itcannotbesaid
toamounteithertocandourormodestyinme,toacknowledgeanextreme
inexperienceandwantofjudgmentonmatters,inwhich,withoutguidancefrom
practice,orspurfromsuccess,ayoungmanshouldscarcelyboastofbeingan
adept.Ifitbesaid,thatundersuchdisadvantagesnooneshouldattempttowrite
aplay,Imustbegleavetodissentfromtheposition,whilethefirstpointof
experiencethatIhavegainedonthesubjectis,aknowledgeofthecandourand
judgmentwithwhichanimpartialpublicdistinguishesbetweentheerrorsof
inexperienceandincapacity,andtheindulgencewhichitshowseventoa
dispositiontoremedythedefectsofeither.
Itwereunnecessarytoenterintoanyfurtherextenuationofwhatwasthought
exceptionableinthisplay,butthatithasbeensaid,thatthemanagersshould
havepreventedsomeofthedefectsbeforeitsappearancetothepublic—andin
particulartheuncommonlengthofthepieceasrepresentedthefirstnight.It
wereanillreturnforthemostliberalandgentlemanlyconductontheirside,to
sufferanycensuretorestwherenonewasdeserved.Hurryinwritinghaslong
beenexplodedasanexcuseforanauthor;—however,inthedramaticline,itmay
happen,thatbothanauthorandamanagermaywishtofillachasminthe




entertainmentofthepublicwithahastinessnotaltogetherculpable.Theseason
wasadvancedwhenIfirstputtheplayintoMr.Harris'shands:itwasatthattime
atleastdoublethelengthofanyactingcomedy.Iprofitedbyhisjudgmentand
experienceinthecurtailingofit—till,Ibelieve,hisfeelingforthevanityofa
youngauthorgotthebetterofhisdesireforcorrectness,andheleftmany
excrescencesremaining,becausehehadassistedinpruningsomanymore.
Hence,thoughIwasnotuninformedthattheactswerestilltoolong,Iflattered
myselfthat,afterthefirsttrial,Imightwithsaferjudgmentproceedtoremove
whatshouldappeartohavebeenmostdissatisfactory.Manyothererrorsthere
were,whichmightinparthavearisenfrommybeingbynomeansconversant
withplaysingeneral,eitherinreadingoratthetheatre.YetIownthat,inone
respect,Ididnotregretmyignorance:forasmyfirstwishinattemptingaplay
wastoavoideveryappearanceofplagiary,IthoughtIshouldstandabetter
chanceofeffectingthisfrombeinginawalkwhichIhadnotfrequented,and
where,consequently,theprogressofinventionwaslesslikelytobeinterrupted
bystartsofrecollection:foronsubjectsonwhichthemindhasbeenmuch
informed,inventionisslowofexertingitself.Fadedideasfloatinthefancylike
half-forgottendreams;andtheimaginationinitsfullestenjoymentsbecomes
suspiciousofitsoffspring,anddoubtswhetherithascreatedoradopted.
Withregardtosomeparticularpassageswhichonthefirstnight'srepresentation
seemedgenerallydisliked,Iconfess,thatifIfeltanyemotionofsurpriseatthe
disapprobation,itwasnotthattheyweredisapprovedof,butthatIhadnot
beforeperceivedthattheydeservedit.Assomepartoftheattackonthepiece
wasbeguntooearlytopassforthesentenceofjudgment,whichisevertardyin
condemning,ithasbeensuggestedtome,thatmuchofthedisapprobationmust
havearisenfromvirulenceofmalice,ratherthanseverityofcriticism:butasI
wasmoreapprehensiveoftherebeingjustgroundstoexcitethelatterthan
consciousofhavingdeservedtheformer,Icontinuenottobelievethatprobable,
whichIamsuremusthavebeenunprovoked.However,ifitwasso,andIcould
evenmarkthequarterfromwhenceitcame,itwouldbeungeneroustoretort:for
nopassionsuffersmorethanmalicefromdisappointment.Formyownpart,I
seenoreasonwhytheauthorofaplayshouldnotregardafirstnight'saudience
asacandidandjudiciousfriendattending,inbehalfofthepublic,athislast
rehearsal.Ifhecandispensewithflattery,heissureatleastofsincerity,and
eventhoughtheannotationberude,hemayrelyuponthejustnessofthe
comment.Consideredinthislight,thataudience,whosefiatisessentialtothe
poet'sclaim,whetherhisobjectbefameorprofit,hassurelyarighttoexpect
somedeferencetoitsopinion,fromprinciplesofpolitenessatleast,ifnotfrom


gratitude.
Asforthelittlepunycritics,whoscattertheirpeevishstricturesinprivate
circles,andscribbleateveryauthorwhohastheeminenceofbeingunconnected
withthem,astheyareusuallyspleen-swolnfromavainideaofincreasingtheir
consequence,therewillalwaysbefoundapetulanceandilliberalityintheir
remarks,whichshouldplacethemasfarbeneaththenoticeofagentleman,as
theiroriginaldulnesshadsunkthemfromthelevelofthemostunsuccessful
author.
ItisnotwithoutpleasurethatIcatchatanopportunityofjustifyingmyselffrom
thechargeofintendinganynationalreflectioninthecharacterofSirLucius
O'Trigger.Ifanygentlemenopposedthepiecefromthatidea,Ithankthem
sincerelyfortheiropposition;andifthecondemnationofthiscomedy(however
misconceivedtheprovocation)couldhaveaddedonesparktothedecaying
flameofnationalattachmenttothecountrysupposedtobereflectedon,Ishould
havebeenhappyinitsfate,andmightwithtruthhaveboasted,thatithaddone
morerealserviceinitsfailure,thanthesuccessfulmoralityofathousandstagenovelswillevereffect.
Itisusual,Ibelieve,tothanktheperformersinanewplay,fortheexertionof
theirseveralabilities.Butwhere(asinthisinstance)theirmerithasbeenso
strikinganduncontroverted,astocallforthewarmestandtruestapplausefroma
numberofjudiciousaudiences,thepoet'safter-praisecomeslikethefeeble
acclamationofachildtoclosetheshoutsofamultitude.Theconduct,however,
oftheprincipalsinatheatrecannotbesoapparenttothepublic.Ithinkit
thereforebutjusticetodeclare,thatfromthistheatre(theonlyoneIcanspeakof
fromexperience)thosewriterswhowishtotrythedramaticlinewillmeetwith
thatcandourandliberalattention,whicharegenerallyallowedtobebetter
calculatedtoleadgeniusintoexcellence,thaneitherthepreceptsofjudgment,or
theguidanceofexperience.
TheAUTHOR
*******
DRAMATISPERSONAE

AsoriginallyactedatCOVENTGARDENTHEATREin1775


SirANTHONYABSOLUTE
CAPTAINABSOLUTE
FAULKLAND
ACRES
SirLUCIUSO'TRIGGER
FAG
DAVID
THOMAS
Mrs.MALAPROP
LYDIALANGUISH
JULIA
LUCY
Maid,Boy,Servants,&c.
SCENE—Bath.

Timeofaction—Fivehours.
*******
PROLOGUE
BytheAUTHOR
[EnterSERJEANT-AT-LAW,andATTORNEYfollowing,andgivingapaper.]
SERJEANT
What'shere!—avilecramphand!Icannotsee
Withoutmyspectacles.
ATTORNEY
Hemeanshisfee.
Nay,Mr.Serjeant,goodsir,tryagain.[Givesmoney.]
SERJEANT
Thescrawlimproves![more]Ocome,'tisprettyplain.
Hey!how'sthis?Dibble!—sureitcannotbe!
Apoet'sbrief!apoetandafee!
ATTORNEY
Yes,sir!thoughyouwithoutreward,Iknow,


WouldgladlypleadtheMuse'scause.
SERJEANT
So!—so!
ATTORNEY
Andifthefeeoffends,yourwrathshouldfall
Onme.
SERJEANT
DearDibble,nooffenceatall.
ATTORNEY
SomesonsofPhoebusinthecourtswemeet,
SERJEANT
AndfiftysonsofPhoebusintheFleet!
ATTORNEY
Norpleadsheworse,whowithadecentsprig
Ofbaysadornshislegalwasteofwig.
SERJEANT
Full-bottom'dheroesthus,onsigns,unfurl
Aleafoflaurelinagroveofcurl!
Yettellyourclient,that,inadversedays,
Thiswigiswarmerthanabushofbays.
ATTORNEY
Doyou,then,sir,myclient'splacesupply,
Profuseofrobe,andprodigaloftie—
Doyou,withallthoseblushingpowersofface,
Andwontedbashfulhesitatinggrace,
Riseinthecourt,andflourishonthecase.[Exit.]
SERJEANT
Forpracticethensuppose—thisbriefwillshowit,—
Me,SerjeantWoodward,—counselforthepoet.
Usedtotheground,Iknow'tishardtodeal
Withthisdreadcourt,fromwhencethere'snoappeal;


Notrickinghere,toblunttheedgeoflaw,
Or,damn'dinequity,escapebyflaw:
Butjudgmentgiven,yoursentencemustremain;
Nowritoferrorlies—toDruryLane:
Yetwhensokindyouseem,'tispastdispute
Wegainsomefavour,ifnotcostsofsuit.
Nospleenishere!Iseenohoardedfury;—
IthinkIneverfacedamilderjury!
Sadelseourplight!wherefrownsaretransportation.
Ahissthegallows,andagroandamnation!
Butsuchthepubliccandour,withoutfear
Myclientwaivesallrightofchallengehere.
Nonewsmanfromoursessionisdismiss'd,
Norwitnorcriticwescratchoffthelist;
Hisfaultscanneverhurtanother'sease,
Hiscrime,atworst,abadattempttoplease:
Thus,allrespecting,heappealstoall,
Andbythegeneralvoicewillstandorfall.
*******
Prologue
BytheAUTHOR
SPOKENONTHETENTHNIGHT,BYMRS.BULKLEY.

Grantedourcause,oursuitandtrialo'er,
Theworthyserjeantneedappearnomore:
InpleasingIadifferentclientchoose,
HeservedthePoet—IwouldservetheMuse.
Likehim,I'lltrytomerityourapplause,
Afemalecounselinafemale'scause.
Lookonthisform—wherehumour,quaintandsly,
Dimplesthecheek,andpointsthebeamingeye;
Wheregayinventionseemstoboastitswiles
Inamoroushint,andhalf-triumphantsmiles;
Whileherlightmaskorcoverssatire'sstrokes,
Orhidestheconsciousblushherwitprovokes.
Lookonherwell—doessheseemform'dtoteach?


Shouldyouexpecttohearthisladypreach?
Isgreyexperiencesuitedtoheryouth?
Dosolemnsentimentsbecomethatmouth?
Bidherbegrave,thoselipsshouldrebelprove
Toeverythemethatslandersmirthorlove.
Yet,thusadorn'dwitheverygracefulart
Tocharmthefancyandyetreachtheheart—
Mustwedisplaceher?Andinsteadadvance
Thegoddessofthewofulcountenance—
ThesentimentalMuse!—Heremblemsview,
ThePilgrim'sProgress,andasprigofrue!
Viewher—toochastetolooklikefleshandblood—
Primlyportray'donemblematicwood!
There,fix'dinusurpation,shouldshestand,
She'llsnatchthedaggerfromhersister'shand:
Andhavingmadehervotariesweepaflood,
Goodheaven!she'llendhercomediesinblood—
BidHarryWoodwardbreakpoorDunstal'scrown!
ImprisonQuick,andknockNedShuterdown;
WhilesadBarsanti,weepingo'erthescene,
Shallstabherself—orpoisonMrs.Green.
Suchdireencroachmentstopreventintime,
Demandsthecritic'svoice—thepoet'srhyme.
Canourlightscenesaddstrengthtoholylaws!
Suchpunypatronagebuthurtsthecause:
Fairvirtuescornsourfeebleaidtoask;
Andmoraltruthdisdainsthetrickster'smask
Forheretheirfavouritestands,whosebrowsevere
Andsad,claimsyouth'srespect,andpity'stear;
Who,whenoppress'dbyfoesherworthcreates,
Canpointaponiardattheguiltshehates.
***********
THERIVALS

***********


ACTI
*******
SceneI.—Astreet.[EnterTHOMAS;hecrossesthestage;FAGfollows,
lookingafterhim.]
FAG
What!Thomas!sure'tishe?—What!Thomas!Thomas!
THOMAS
Hey!—Odd'slife!Mr.Fag!—giveusyourhand,myoldfellow-servant.
FAGExcusemyglove,Thomas:—I'mdevilishgladtoseeyou,mylad.Why,my
princeofcharioteers,youlookashearty!—butwhothedeucethoughtofseeing
youinBath?
THOMASSure,master,MadamJulia,Harry,Mrs.Kate,andthepostillion,be
allcome.
FAG
Indeed!
THOMASAy,masterthoughtanotherfitofthegoutwascomingtomakehima
visit;—sohe'damindtogi'ttheslip,andwhip!wewerealloffatanhour's
warning.
FAG
Ay,ay,hastyineverything,oritwouldnotbeSirAnthonyAbsolute!
THOMASButtellus,Mr.Fag,howdoesyoungmaster?Odd!SirAnthonywill
staretoseetheCaptainhere!
FAG
IdonotserveCaptainAbsolutenow.
THOMAS
Whysure!


FAG
AtpresentIamemployedbyEnsignBeverley.
THOMAS
Idoubt,Mr.Fag,youha'n'tchangedforthebetter.
FAG
Ihavenotchanged,Thomas.
THOMAS
No!Whydidn'tyousayyouhadleftyoungmaster?
FAGNo.—Well,honestThomas,Imustpuzzleyounofarther:—brieflythen—
CaptainAbsoluteandEnsignBeverleyareoneandthesameperson.
THOMAS
Thedeviltheyare!
FAGSoitisindeed,Thomas;andtheensignhalfofmymasterbeingonguardat
present—thecaptainhasnothingtodowithme.
THOMASSo,so!—What,thisissomefreak,Iwarrant!—Dotellus,Mr.Fag,
themeaningo't—youknowIha'trustedyou.
FAG
You'llbesecret,Thomas?
THOMAS
Asacoach-horse.
FAGWhythenthecauseofallthisis—Love,—Love,Thomas,who(asyoumay
getreadtoyou)hasbeenamasqueradereversincethedaysofJupiter.
THOMASAy,ay;—Iguessedtherewasaladyinthecase:—butpray,whydoes
yourmasterpassonlyforensign?—Nowifhehadshammedgeneralindeed——
FAGAh!Thomas,thereliesthemysteryo'thematter.Hark'ee,Thomas,my
masterisinlovewithaladyofaverysingulartaste:aladywholikeshimbetter
asahalfpayensignthanifsheknewhewassonandheirtoSirAnthony
Absolute,abaronetofthreethousandayear.


THOMASThatisanoddtasteindeed!—Buthasshegotthestuff,Mr.Fag?Is
sherich,hey?
FAGRich!—Why,Ibelievesheownshalfthestocks!Zounds!Thomas,she
couldpaythenationaldebtaseasilyasIcouldmywasherwoman!Shehasa
lapdogthateatsoutofgold,—shefeedsherparrotwithsmallpearls,—andall
herthread-papersaremadeofbank-notes!
THOMASBravo,faith!—Odd!Iwarrantshehasasetofthousandsatleast:—
butdoesshedrawkindlywiththecaptain?
FAG
Asfondaspigeons.
THOMAS
Mayonehearhername?
FAGMissLydiaLanguish.—Butthereisanoldtoughauntintheway;though,
by-the-by,shehasneverseenmymaster—forwegotacquaintedwithmisswhile
onavisitinGloucestershire.
THOMAS
Well—Iwishtheywereonceharnessedtogetherinmatrimony.—Butpray,
Mr.Fag,whatkindofaplaceisthisBath?—Iha'heardadealof
it—here'samorto'merrymaking,hey?
FAGPrettywell,Thomas,prettywell—'tisagoodlounge;inthemorningwego
tothepump-room(thoughneithermymasternorIdrinkthewaters);after
breakfastwesaunterontheparades,orplayagameatbilliards;atnightwe
dance;butdamntheplace,I'mtiredofit:theirregularhoursstupifyme—nota
fiddlenoracardaftereleven!—However,Mr.Faulkland'sgentlemanandIkeep
itupalittleinprivateparties;—I'llintroduceyouthere,Thomas—you'lllikehim
much.
THOMAS
SureIknowMr.Du-Peigne—youknowhismasteristomarryMadamJulia.
FAG
Ihadforgot.—But,Thomas,youmustpolishalittle—indeedyou
must.—Herenow—thiswig!—Whatthedevildoyoudowithawig,


Thomas?—NoneoftheLondonwhipsofanydegreeoftonwearwigsnow.
THOMASMore'sthepity!more'sthepity!Isay.—Odd'slife!whenIheardhow
thelawyersanddoctorshadtooktotheirownhair,Ithoughthow'twouldgo
next:—oddrabbitit!whenthefashionhadgotfootonthebar,Iguessed'twould
mounttothebox!—but'tisalloutofcharacter,believeme,Mr.Fag:andlook'ee,
I'llnevergi'upmine—thelawyersanddoctorsmaydoastheywill.
FAG
Well,Thomas,we'llnotquarrelaboutthat.
THOMASWhy,blessyou,thegentlemenoftheprofessionsben'tallofamind
—forinourvillagenow,thoffJackGauge,theexciseman,hasta'entohis
carrots,there'slittleDickthefarrierswearshe'llneverforsakehisbob,though
allthecollegeshouldappearwiththeirownheads!
FAG
Indeed!wellsaid,Dick!—Buthold—mark!mark!Thomas.
THOMAS
Zooks!'tisthecaptain.—IsthattheLadywithhim?
FAGNo,no,thatisMadamLucy,mymaster'smistress'smaid.Theylodgeat
thathouse—butImustafterhimtotellhimthenews.
THOMAS
Odd!he'sgivinghermoney!—Well,Mr.Fag——
FAGGood-bye,Thomas.IhaveanappointmentinGyde'sporchthiseveningat
eight;meetmethere,andwe'llmakealittleparty.
[Exeuntseverally.]
*******
SceneII.—ADressing-roominMrs.MALAPROP'sLodgings.[LYDIA
sittingonasofa,withabookinherhand.Lucy,asjustreturnedfroma
message.]


LUCYIndeed,ma'am,Itraversedhalfthetowninsearchofit:Idon'tbelieve
there'sacirculatinglibraryinBathIha'n'tbeenat.
LYDIA
AndcouldnotyougetTheRewardofConstancy?
LUCY
No,indeed,ma'am.
LYDIA
NorTheFatalConnexion?
LUCY
No,indeed,ma'am.
LYDIA
NorTheMistakesoftheHeart?
LUCYMa'am,asillluckwouldhaveit,Mr.BullsaidMissSukeySaunterhad
justfetcheditaway.
LYDIA
Heigh-ho!—DidyouinquireforTheDelicateDistress?
LUCYOr,TheMemoirsofLadyWoodford?Yes,indeed,ma'am.Iaskedevery
whereforit;andImighthavebroughtitfromMr.Frederick's,butLadySlattern
Lounger,whohadjustsentithome,hadsosoiledanddog's-earedit,itwa'n'tfit
foraChristiantoread.
LYDIAHeigh-ho!—Yes,IalwaysknowwhenLadySlatternhasbeenbeforeme.
Shehasamostobservingthumb;and,Ibelieve,cherisheshernailsforthe
convenienceofmakingmarginalnotes.—Well,child,whathaveyoubrought
me?
LUCYOh!here,ma'am.—[Takingbooksfromunderhercloak,andfromher
pockets.]ThisisTheGordianKnot,—andthisPeregrinePickle.HereareThe
TearsofSensibility,andHumphreyClinker.ThisisTheMemoirsofaLadyof
Quality,writtenbyherself,andherethesecondvolumeofTheSentimental
Journey.


LYDIA
Heigh-ho!—Whatarethosebooksbytheglass?
LUCYThegreatoneisonlyTheWholeDutyofMan,whereIpressafew
blonds,ma'am.
LYDIA
Verywell—givemethesalvolatile.
LUCY
Isitinabluecover,ma'am?
LYDIA
Mysmelling-bottle,yousimpleton!
LUCY
Oh,thedrops!—here,ma'am.
LYDIA
Hold!—here'ssomeonecoming—quick,seewhoitis.——
[ExitLUCY.]
SurelyIheardmycousinJulia'svoice.
[Re-enterLUCY.]
LUCY
Lud!ma'am,hereisMissMelville.
LYDIA
Isitpossible!——
[ExitLUCY.]
[EnterJULIA.]
LYDIAMydearestJulia,howdelightedamI!—[Embrace.]Howunexpected
wasthishappiness!
JULIATrue,Lydia—andourpleasureisthegreater.—Butwhathasbeenthe


matter?—youweredeniedtomeatfirst!
LYDIAAh,Julia,Ihaveathousandthingstotellyou!—Butfirstinformme
whathasconjuredyoutoBath?—IsSirAnthonyhere?
JULIAHeis—wearearrivedwithinthishour—andIsupposehewillbehereto
waitonMrs.Malapropassoonasheisdressed.
LYDIAThenbeforeweareinterrupted,letmeimparttoyousomeofmy
distress!—Iknowyourgentlenaturewillsympathizewithme,thoughyour
prudencemaycondemnme!Mylettershaveinformedyouofmywhole
connectionwithBeverley;butIhavelosthim,Julia!Myaunthasdiscoveredour
intercoursebyanotesheintercepted,andhasconfinedmeeversince!Yet,
wouldyoubelieveit?shehasabsolutelyfalleninlovewithatallIrishbaronet
shemetonenightsincewehavebeenhere,atLadyMacshuffle'srout.
JULIA
Youjest,Lydia!
LYDIANo,uponmyword.—Shereallycarriesonakindofcorrespondence
withhim,underafeignednamethough,tillshechoosestobeknowntohim:—
butitisaDeliaoraCelia,Iassureyou.
JULIA
Then,surely,sheisnowmoreindulgenttoherniece.
LYDIAQuitethecontrary.Sinceshehasdiscoveredherownfrailty,sheis
becomemoresuspiciousofmine.ThenImustinformyouofanotherplague!—
ThatodiousAcresistobeinBathto-day;sothatIprotestIshallbeteasedoutof
allspirits!
JULIACome,come,Lydia,hopeforthebest—SirAnthonyshallusehisinterest
withMrs.Malaprop.
LYDIAButyouhavenotheardtheworst.UnfortunatelyIhadquarrelledwith
mypoorBeverley,justbeforemyauntmadethediscovery,andIhavenotseen
himsince,tomakeitup.
JULIA
Whatwashisoffence?


LYDIANothingatall!—But,Idon'tknowhowitwas,asoftenaswehadbeen
together,wehadneverhadaquarrel,and,somehow,Iwasafraidhewouldnever
givemeanopportunity.So,lastThursday,Iwrotealettertomyself,toinform
myselfthatBeverleywasatthattimepayinghisaddressestoanotherwoman.I
signedityourfriendunknown,showedittoBeverley,chargedhimwithhis
falsehood,putmyselfinaviolentpassion,andvowedI'dneverseehimmore.
JULIA
Andyoulethimdepartso,andhavenotseenhimsince?
LYDIA'Twasthenextdaymyauntfoundthematterout.Iintendedonlytohave
teasedhimthreedaysandahalf,andnowI'velosthimforever.
JULIAIfheisasdeservingandsincereasyouhaverepresentedhimtome,he
willnevergiveyouupso.Yetconsider,Lydia,youtellmeheisbutanensign,
andyouhavethirtythousandpounds.
LYDIAButyouknowIlosemostofmyfortuneifImarrywithoutmyaunt's
consent,tillofage;andthatiswhatIhavedeterminedtodo,eversinceIknew
thepenalty.NorcouldIlovethemanwhowouldwishtowaitadayforthe
alternative.
JULIA
Nay,thisiscaprice!
LYDIAWhat,doesJuliataxmewithcaprice?—IthoughtherloverFaulkland
hadinuredhertoit.
JULIA
Idonotloveevenhisfaults.
LYDIA
Butapropos—youhavesenttohim,Isuppose?
JULIA
Notyet,uponmyword—norhashetheleastideaofmybeinginBath.
SirAnthony'sresolutionwassosudden,Icouldnotinformhimofit.
LYDIAWell,Julia,youareyourownmistress,(thoughundertheprotectionof
SirAnthony),yethaveyou,forthislongyear,beenaslavetothecaprice,the


whim,thejealousyofthisungratefulFaulkland,whowilleverdelayassuming
therightofahusband,whileyousufferhimtobeequallyimperiousasalover.
JULIANay,youarewrongentirely.Wewerecontractedbeforemyfather's
death.That,andsomeconsequentembarrassments,havedelayedwhatIknowto
bemyFaulkland'smostardentwish.Heistoogeneroustotrifleonsuchapoint:
—andforhischaracter,youwronghimthere,too.No,Lydia,heistooproud,
toonobletobejealous;ifheiscaptious,'tiswithoutdissembling;iffretful,
withoutrudeness.Unusedtothefopperiesoflove,heisnegligentofthelittle
dutiesexpectedfromalover—butbeingunhackneyedinthepassion,his
affectionisardentandsincere;andasitengrosseshiswholesoul,heexpects
everythoughtandemotionofhismistresstomoveinunisonwithhis.Yet,
thoughhispridecallsforthisfullreturn,hishumilitymakeshimundervalue
thosequalitiesinhimwhichwouldentitlehimtoit;andnotfeelingwhyhe
shouldbelovedtothedegreehewishes,hestillsuspectsthatheisnotloved
enough.Thistemper,Imustown,hascostmemanyunhappyhours;butIhave
learnedtothinkmyselfhisdebtor,forthoseimperfectionswhicharisefromthe
ardourofhisattachment.
LYDIAWell,Icannotblameyoufordefendinghim.Buttellmecandidly,Julia,
hadheneversavedyourlife,doyouthinkyoushouldhavebeenattachedtohim
asyouare?—Believeme,therudeblastthatoversetyourboatwasaprosperous
galeoflovetohim.
JULIAGratitudemayhavestrengthenedmyattachmenttoMr.Faulkland,butI
lovedhimbeforehehadpreservedme;yetsurelythatalonewereanobligation
sufficient.
LYDIAObligation!whyawaterspanielwouldhavedoneasmuch!—Well,I
shouldneverthinkofgivingmyhearttoamanbecausehecouldswim.
JULIA
Come,Lydia,youaretooinconsiderate.
LYDIA
Nay,Idobutjest.—What'shere?
[Re-enterLUCYinahurry.]
LUCY


Oma'am,hereisSirAnthonyAbsolutejustcomehomewithyouraunt.
LYDIA
They'llnotcomehere.—Lucy,doyouwatch.
[ExitLUCY.]
JULIAYetImustgo.SirAnthonydoesnotknowIamhere,andifwemeet,
he'lldetainme,toshowmethetown.I'lltakeanotheropportunityofpayingmy
respectstoMrs.Malaprop,whensheshalltreatme,aslongasshechooses,with
herselectwordssoingeniouslymisapplied,withoutbeingmispronounced.
[Re-enterLUCY.]
LUCY
OLud!ma'am,theyarebothcomingupstairs.
LYDIAWell,I'llnotdetainyou,coz.—Adieu,mydearJulia.I'msureyouarein
hastetosendtoFaulkland.—There—throughmyroomyou'llfindanother
staircase.
JULIA
Adieu![EmbracesLYDIA,andexit.]
LYDIAHere,mydearLucy,hidethesebooks.Quick,quick!—FlingPeregrine
Pickleunderthetoilet—throwRoderickRandomintothecloset—putThe
InnocentAdulteryintoTheWholeDutyofMan—thrustLordAimworthunderthe
sofa—cramOvidbehindthebolster—there—putTheManofFeelingintoyour
pocket—so,so—nowlayMrs.Chaponeinsight,andleaveFordyce'sSermons
openonthetable.
LUCY
Oburnit,ma'am!thehair-dresserhastornawayasfarasProper
Pride.
LYDIA
Nevermind—openatSobriety.—FlingmeLordChesterfields
Letters.—Nowfor'em.
[ExitLUCY.]


[EnterMrs.MALAPROP,andSirANTHONYABSOLUTE.]
Mrs.MALAPROPThere,SirAnthony,theresitsthedeliberatesimpletonwho
wantstodisgraceherfamily,andlavishherselfonafellownotworthashilling.
LYDIA
Madam,Ithoughtyouonce——
Mrs.MALAPROPYouthought,miss!Idon'tknowanybusinessyouhaveto
thinkatall—thoughtdoesnotbecomeayoungwoman.Butthepointwewould
requestofyouis,thatyouwillpromisetoforgetthisfellow—toilliteratehim,I
say,quitefromyourmemory.
LYDIAAh,madam!ourmemoriesareindependentofourwills.Itisnotsoeasy
toforget.
Mrs.MALAPROPButIsayitis,miss;thereisnothingonearthsoeasyasto
forget,ifapersonchoosestosetaboutit.I'msureIhaveasmuchforgotyour
poordearuncleasifhehadneverexisted—andIthoughtitmydutysotodo;
andletmetellyou,Lydia,theseviolentmemoriesdon'tbecomeayoungwoman.
SirANTHONYWhysureshewon'tpretendtorememberwhatshe'sordered
not!—ay,thiscomesofherreading!
LYDIA
Whatcrime,madam,haveIcommitted,tobetreatedthus?
Mrs.MALAPROPNowdon'tattempttoextirpateyourselffromthematter;you
knowIhaveproofcontrovertibleofit.—Buttellme,willyoupromisetodoas
you'rebid?Willyoutakeahusbandofyourfriends'choosing?
LYDIAMadam,Imusttellyouplainly,thathadInoprefermentforanyone
else,thechoiceyouhavemadewouldbemyaversion.
Mrs.MALAPROPWhatbusinesshaveyou,miss,withpreferenceandaversion?
Theydon'tbecomeayoungwoman;andyououghttoknow,thatasbothalways
wearoff,'tissafestinmatrimonytobeginwithalittleaversion.IamsureIhated
yourpoordearunclebeforemarriageasifhe'dbeenablackamoor—andyet,
miss,youaresensiblewhatawifeImade!—andwhenitpleasedHeavento
releasemefromhim,'tisunknownwhattearsIshed!—Butsupposewewere


goingtogiveyouanotherchoice,willyoupromiseustogiveupthisBeverley?
LYDIACouldIbeliemythoughtssofarastogivethatpromise,myactions
wouldcertainlyasfarbeliemywords.
Mrs.MALAPROPTakeyourselftoyourroom.—Youarefitcompanyfor
nothingbutyourownill-humours.
LYDIA
Willingly,ma'am—Icannotchangefortheworse.[Exit.]
Mrs.MALAPROP
There'salittleintricatehussyforyou!
SirANTHONY
Itisnottobewonderedat,ma'am,—allthisisthenatural
consequenceofteachinggirlstoread.HadIathousanddaughters,by
Heaven!I'dassoonhavethemtaughttheblackartastheiralphabet!
Mrs.MALAPROP
Nay,nay,SirAnthony,youareanabsolutemisanthropy.
SirANTHONYInmywayhither,Mrs.Malaprop,Iobservedyourniece'smaid
comingforthfromacirculatinglibrary!—Shehadabookineachhand—they
werehalf-boundvolumes,withmarblecovers!—FromthatmomentIguessed
howfullofdutyIshouldseehermistress!
Mrs.MALAPROP
Thosearevileplaces,indeed!
SirANTHONYMadam,acirculatinglibraryinatownisasanevergreentreeof
diabolicalknowledge!Itblossomsthroughtheyear!—Anddependonit,Mrs.
Malaprop,thattheywhoaresofondofhandlingtheleaves,willlongforthe
fruitatlast.
Mrs.MALAPROP
Fy,fy,SirAnthony!yousurelyspeaklaconically.
SirANTHONYWhy,Mrs.Malaprop,inmoderationnow,whatwouldyouhave
awomanknow?


Mrs.MALAPROPObserveme,SirAnthony.Iwouldbynomeanswisha
daughterofminetobeaprogenyoflearning;Idon'tthinksomuchlearning
becomesayoungwoman;forinstance,IwouldneverlethermeddlewithGreek,
orHebrew,oralgebra,orsimony,orfluxions,orparadoxes,orsuch
inflammatorybranchesoflearning—neitherwoulditbenecessaryforherto
handleanyofyourmathematical,astronomical,diabolicalinstruments.—But,
SirAnthony,Iwouldsendher,atnineyearsold,toaboarding-school,inorderto
learnalittleingenuityandartifice.Then,sir,sheshouldhaveasupercilious
knowledgeinaccounts;—andasshegrewup,Iwouldhaveherinstructedin
geometry,thatshemightknowsomethingofthecontagiouscountries;—but
aboveall,SirAnthony,sheshouldbemistressoforthodoxy,thatshemightnot
mis-spell,andmis-pronouncewordssoshamefullyasgirlsusuallydo;and
likewisethatshemightreprehendthetruemeaningofwhatsheissaying.This,
SirAnthony,iswhatIwouldhaveawomanknow;—andIdon'tthinkthereisa
superstitiousarticleinit.
SirANTHONYWell,well,Mrs.Malaprop,Iwilldisputethepointnofurther
withyou;thoughImustconfess,thatyouareatrulymoderateandpolitearguer,
foralmosteverythirdwordyousayisonmysideofthequestion.But,Mrs.
Malaprop,tothemoreimportantpointindebate—yousayyouhavenoobjection
tomyproposal?
Mrs.MALAPROPNone,Iassureyou.Iamundernopositiveengagementwith
Mr.Acres,andasLydiaissoobstinateagainsthim,perhapsyoursonmayhave
bettersuccess.
SirANTHONY
Well,madam,Iwillwritefortheboydirectly.Heknowsnotasyllable
ofthisyet,thoughIhaveforsometimehadtheproposalinmyhead.
Heisatpresentwithhisregiment.
Mrs.MALAPROPWehaveneverseenyourson,SirAnthony;butIhopeno
objectiononhisside.
SirANTHONYObjection!—lethimobjectifhedare!—No,no,Mrs.Malaprop,
Jackknowsthattheleastdemurputsmeinafrenzydirectly.Myprocesswas
alwaysverysimple—intheiryoungerdays,'twas"Jack,dothis";—ifhe
demurred,Iknockedhimdown—andifhegrumbledatthat,Ialwayssenthim
outoftheroom.


Mrs.MALAPROPAy,andtheproperestway,o'myconscience!—nothingisso
conciliatingtoyoungpeopleasseverity.—Well,SirAnthony,IshallgiveMr.
Acreshisdischarge,andprepareLydiatoreceiveyourson'sinvocations;—andI
hopeyouwillrepresenthertothecaptainasanobjectnotaltogetherillegible.
SirANTHONYMadam,Iwillhandlethesubjectprudently.—Well,Imustleave
you;andletmebegyou,Mrs.Malaprop,toenforcethismatterroundlytothe
girl.—Takemyadvice—keepatighthand:ifsherejectsthisproposal,clapher
underlockandkey;andifyouwerejusttolettheservantsforgettobringher
dinnerforthreeorfourdays,youcan'tconceivehowshe'dcomeabout.[Exit.]
Mrs.MALAPROPWell,atanyrate,Ishallbegladtogetherfromundermy
intuition.ShehassomehowdiscoveredmypartialityforSirLuciusO'Trigger—
sure,Lucycan'thavebetrayedme!—No,thegirlissuchasimpleton,Ishould
havemadeherconfessit.—Lucy!—Lucy!—[Calls.]Hadshebeenoneofyour
artificialones,Ishouldneverhavetrustedher.
[Re-enterLUCY.]
LUCY
Didyoucall,ma'am?
Mrs.MALAPROP
Yes,girl.—DidyouseeSirLuciuswhileyouwasout?
LUCY
No,indeed,ma'am,notaglimpseofhim.
Mrs.MALAPROP
Youaresure,Lucy,thatyounevermentioned——
LUCY
Ohgemini!I'dsoonercutmytongueout.
Mrs.MALAPROP
Well,don'tletyoursimplicitybeimposedon.
LUCY
No,ma'am.


Mrs.MALAPROPSo,cometomepresently,andI'llgiveyouanotherletterto
SirLucius;butmind,Lucy—ifeveryoubetraywhatyouareentrustedwith
(unlessitbeotherpeople'ssecretstome),youforfeitmymalevolenceforever;
andyourbeingasimpletonshallbenoexcuseforyourlocality.[Exit.]
LUCYHa!ha!ha!—So,mydearSimplicity,letmegiveyoualittlerespite.—
[Alteringhermanner.]Letgirlsinmystationbeasfondastheypleaseof
appearingexpert,andknowingintheirtrusts;commendmetoamaskof
silliness,andapairofsharpeyesformyowninterestunderit!—Letmeseeto
whataccounthaveIturnedmysimplicitylately.—[Looksatapaper.]For
abettingMissLydiaLanguishinadesignofrunningawaywithanensign!—in
money,sundrytimes,twelvepoundtwelve;gowns,five;hats,ruffles,caps,&c.,
&c.,numberless!—Fromthesaidensign,withinthislastmonth,sixguineasand
ahalf.—Aboutaquarter'spay!—Item,fromMrs.Malaprop,forbetrayingthe
youngpeopletoher—whenIfoundmatterswerelikelytobediscovered—two
guineas,andablackpaduasoy.—Item,fromMr.Acres,forcarryingdivers
letters—whichIneverdelivered—twoguineas,andapairofbuckles.—Item,
fromSirLuciusO'Trigger,threecrowns,twogoldpocket-pieces,andasilver
snuff-box!—Welldone,Simplicity!—YetIwasforcedtomakemyHibernian
believe,thathewascorresponding,notwiththeaunt,butwiththeniece;for
thoughnotoverrich,Ifoundhehadtoomuchprideanddelicacytosacrificethe
feelingsofagentlemantothenecessitiesofhisfortune.[Exit.]
***********
ACTII
*******
SceneI.—CAPTAINABSOLUTE'sLodgings.[CAPTAINABSOLUTEand
FAG.]
FAGSir,whileIwasthereSirAnthonycamein:Itoldhimyouhadsentmeto
inquireafterhishealth,andtoknowifhewasatleisuretoseeyou.
ABSOLUTE


Andwhatdidhesay,onhearingIwasatBath?
FAGSir,inmylifeIneversawanelderlygentlemanmoreastonished!He
startedbacktwoorthreepaces,rappedoutadozeninterjecturaloaths,and
asked,whatthedevilhadbroughtyouhere.
ABSOLUTE
Well,sir,andwhatdidyousay?
FAGOh,Ilied,sir—Iforgotthepreciselie;butyoumaydependon't,hegotno
truthfromme.Yet,withsubmission,forfearofblundersinfuture,Ishouldbe
gladtofixwhathasbroughtustoBath;inorderthatwemayliealittle
consistently.SirAnthony'sservantswerecurious,sir,verycuriousindeed.
ABSOLUTE
Youhavesaidnothingtothem?
FAGOh,notaword,sir,—notaword!Mr.Thomas,indeed,thecoachman
(whomItaketobethediscreetestofwhips)——
ABSOLUTE
'Sdeath!—yourascal!youhavenottrustedhim!
FAGOh,no,sir—no—no—notasyllable,uponmyveracity!—Hewas,indeed,
alittleinquisitive;butIwassly,sir—devilishsly!Mymaster(saidI),honest
Thomas(youknow,sir,onesayshonesttoone'sinferiors,)iscometoBathto
recruit—Yes,sir,Isaidtorecruit—andwhetherformen,money,orconstitution,
youknow,sir,isnothingtohim,noranyoneelse.
ABSOLUTE
Well,recruitwilldo—letitbeso.
FAGOh,sir,recruitwilldosurprisingly—indeed,togivethethinganair,Itold
Thomas,thatyourhonourhadalreadyenlistedfivedisbandedchairmen,seven
minoritywaiters,andthirteenbilliard-markers.
ABSOLUTE
Youblockhead,neversaymorethanisnecessary.
FAGIbegpardon,sir—Ibegpardon—but,withsubmission,alieisnothing


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