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RUMFUSKIN, KING OF THE NORTH POLE;
OR, TREASON REWARDED.
A TRAGEDY FOR THE FIRST OF APRIL.
April 1, 1841. A Tragedy written for private performance in the Christmas holidays may not inappropriately be published on the day sacred to Foolery. RUMFUSKIN was composed-yes, composed is the word—so long ago as the year 1813, when, according to Cocker, the author was about seven-and-twenty years younger than now. To this circumstance, perhaps, it is indebted for many of its most exquisite beauties; for works of this kind are best perpetrated when the imagination is luxuriantly wild, and the judgment contemptuously immature. It has been acted (and, may we add in the modesty of a parenthesis, with great success) on a public stage, but may not be again without the author's permission : this to whomsoever it may concern. But we strongly recommend it to the notice of families who sometimes convert the back drawing-room into a theatre; for they may rely upon it that things of this kind afford even better fun for such occasions than Othello, or Isabella, or Ion, or, in short, any tragedy intended to draw tears more copiously than Rumfuskin.
DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. RUMFUSKIN, King of the North Pole. | JEM FLOGGEM, a loyal Hackney CoachSENTENTIOSUS, Lord High Chancellor. CONSCIENZO, a Conscientious Rascal. GRISKINDA, Wife of Conscienzo. RASCALLO, a Rascally Rascal.
SCRUBINDA, her confidential Maid of
SCENE I.-A chamber in RASCALLO's house.
Enter RASCALLO, musing. Rasc. Up!-rise, Ambition ! 'Tis a glorious thing ! I've got mine own consent, and will be king. But how to be so? By rebellion, plot, Treason, sedition, and I know not what ; By dragging proud Rumfuskin from the throne ?Methinks 'twere best to let the job alone. Temptation, hence !-But, then,—to wear a crown, And ride in coach-and-six about the town; To do whate'er I please, and be as greatNay, greater than a minister of state ; To see e'en generals tremble when I'nod :-I Will be a king, upon my soul and bod—y! But how goes time? (Looks at his watch.) So, so; near ten o'clock.
[A loud knock at the door. Down, busy devil !—for I hear a knock.
Cons. Ay;thou 'rt paleconfused-teeth chatter-
(With affected carelessness.) What's the price of stocks?
Since stocks thou 'st none ? Rasc. (recovering himself, and affecting a laugh.)
He! he! But say, what brings thee here ? VOL. VII.
No motive sinister. Rasc. My Conscienzo (mysteriously), wouldst thou-be-prime
minister ? Cons. What means Rascallo ? Rasc.
That if I were king, I'd make thee one.
Cons. That 's quite another thing.
Rasc. Now, might I trust thee-But I know thy conscience
Pooh, pooh! nonsense !
That's neither here nor there.
Rasc. I'll trust thee. (Aside.) But I 'll play upon his feelings, To make him sure.
Cons (aside.) I doubt some evil dealings.
Thou shalt have redress. Thou hast a wife (insidiously)
CoNs. She's starving (with emotion.)
Rasc. (with emphatic earnestness.) And thy child Is starving too.
Cons. (in agony.) Oh! do not drive me wild.
Rasc. Will Conscienzo be so base a sinner
I'm thine. What must I do?
Any fool knows that.
Not so certain that,
Cons. That thought has roused me from my waking slumber.
Rasc. Look down, ye gods ! in me behold a greater!
(draws a dagger) The way to kill, 'twill spare nor friends nor foes.
Rasc. Think, when we strike, 'tis for our bread-and-butter.
No word I 'll utter.
Rasc. For our rights!
[Exeunt, brandishing their daggers.
SCENE II.-A chamber in CONSCIENZO's house.
Enter GRISKINDA, followed by SCRUBINDA.
SCRUB. Oh, pardon, gentle lady, I but try
Grisk. Peace, peace ! unless thy moralizing will
Scrub. Madam, when money's gone, and all is spent,
Grisk. No more! 'Tis flim-flam ftummery.
To chide me.
GRISK. Am I?
Then I'll sing a song.
AiR-- While gazing on the inoon's light.”
If passing by a cook's shop,
Å dainty cutlet meet your eye,
If cash ring,
They'll soon bring
Your purse be,
This simple maxim none can doubt :
But the wisest cannot live without.
Our friends could all be found soon,
When we were rich and lived at ease ;
But, now, we
Are poor, see
Nor would they
A groat pay
Then me no more, &c.
Grisk. Thou too wilt leave me when our fortunes fall.
Scrub. No! Wet-nurse, dry-nurse, house-maid, cook, and all, To thee I'll be ; and by thy honoured sideRight side or left-my duty shall be tied. Still will I follow thee, depend upon it, While hope remains
Grisk. (aside.) To get a cast-off bonnet.
Scrub. Learn, madam, to contemn all praise betimes;
Grisk. Believe, Scrubinda, I shall one day try
SCRUB. (eagerly.) What ?
A dozen Holland-chemises.
Enter CONSCIENZO, in thought.
I'm poor as mouse.
Cons. O Fortune! wilt thou ever be thus cross !
Grisk. (tenderly.) No; let me stay, and share them drop by drop.
Gaisk. Say, my dear consort-Conscienzo, say,-
Cons. Say, my Griskinda, what's this yarn about ?
Know I must.
Hide me, night, from day !