صور الصفحة
PDF

THE

CONSCIOUS LOVERS.

BY

STEELE.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.
MEN.

WOMEN.
SIR JOHN BEVIL.

MRS SEALAND, second wife to SEALAND. MR SEALAND.

ISABELLA, sister to SEALAND. Bevil, junior, in love with INDIANA.

INDIANA, SEALAND's daughter, by his first wife. MYRTLE, in love with Lucinda.

LUCINDA, SEALAND's daughter, by his second CIMBERTON, a corcomb.

wife.
HUMPHREY, an old servant to SIR JOHN BEVIL. PHILLIS, maid to LUCINDA.
Tou, servant to Bevil, junior.
DANIEL, a country boy, servant to INDIANA.

Scene-London.

ACT I.
SCENE I.-Sir John Bevil's house. thee for thy gravity and sobriety in my wild

years. Enter Sir John Bevil and HUMPHREY.

Humph. Ah, sir! our manners were formed Sir J. Bed. Have you ordered that I should from our different fortunes, not our different not be interrupted while I am dressing?

ages; wealth gave a loose to your youth, and poHumph. Yes, sir; I believed you had some- verty put a restraint upon mine. thing of moment to say to me.

Sir J. Bev. Well, Humphrey, you know I have Sir J. Bev. Let me see, Humphrey; I think been a kind master to you; I have used you, for it is now full forty years, since I first took thee the ingenuous nature I observed in you from the to be about myself.

| beginning, more like an humble friend than a serHumph. I think, sir, it has been an easy forty vant. years; and I have passed them without much Humph. I humbly beg you'll be so tender of sickness, care, or labour.

me, as to explain your commands, sir, without any Sir J. Bev. Thou hast a brave constitution: farther preparation. you are a year or two older than I am, sirrah. Sir J. Bev. I'll tell thee, then. In the first

Humph. You have ever been of that mind, sir. place, this wedding of my son's, in all probability Sir J. Bed. You knave, you know it; I took | (shut the door) will never be at all.

Humph. How, sir, not be at all! for what rea- | my mask; with that the gentleman, throwing off son is it carried on in appearance?

his own, appeared to be my son, and, in his cogSir J. Bev. Honest Humphrey, have patience, cern for me, tore off that of the nobleman : at and I'll tell thee all in order, i have myself, in this they seized each other, the company called some part of my life, lived, indeed, with freedom, the guards, and, in the surprize, the lady swooned but I hope without reproach. Now, I thought li-away: upon which my son quitted his adversary, berty would be as little injurious to my son : and had now no care but of the lady-when therefore, as soon as he grew towards man, I in- raising her in his arms, ' Art thou gone, cried he, dulged him in living after his own manner. I for ever?-forbid it, Heaven !-She revives at know not how otherwise to judge of his inclina- his known voice-and, with the most familiar, tion; for what can be concluded from a beha- though modest gesture, hangs in safety over his viour under restraint and fear? But what charms shoulders, weeping, but wept as in the arins of me above all expression, is, that my son has ne-one before whom she could give herself a loose, ver, in the least action, the most distant hint or were she not under observation : while she hides word, valued himself upon that great estate of her face in his neck, he carefully conveys her from his mother's, which, according to our marriage the company. settlement, he has had ever since he came to Humph. I have observed this accident has age.

dwelt upon you very strongly. Humph. No, sir; on the contrary, he seems Sir J. Beo. Her uncommon air, her noble moafraid of appearing to enjoy it before you or any desty, the dignity of her person, and the occasion belonging to you. He is as dependent and re- itself, drew the whole assembly together; and I signed to your will, as if he had not a farthing soon heard it buzzed about she was the adopted but what must come from your immediate bounty. daughter of a famous sea-officer, who had served You have ever acted like a good and generous fa- | in France. Now, this unexpected and public disther, and he like an obedient and grateful son. covery of my son's so deep concern for her

Sir J. Bev. Nay, his carriage is so easy to all Humph. Was what, I suppose, alarmed Mr with whom he converses, that he is never assa- Sealand, in behalf of his daughter, to break off ming, never prefers himself to others, nor is ever the match ? guilty of that rough sincerity which a man is not Sir J. Bev. You are right--he came to me yescalled to, and certainly disobliges most of his ac- terday, and said, he thought himself disengaged quaintance. To be short, Humphrey, his reputa- from the bargain, being credibly informed my son tion was so fair in the world, that old Sealand, was already married, or worse, to the lady at the the great India merchant, has offered his only masquerade. I palliated matters, and insisted on daughter, and sole heiress to that vast estate of our agreement; but we parted with little less his, as a wise for him. You may be sure I made than a direct breach between us. no difficulties; the match was agreed on, and this Humph. Well, sir, and what notice have you very day named for the wedding.

taken of all this to iny young master? Humph. What hinders the proceeding?

Sir J. Bev. That's what I wanted to debate Sir J. Beo, Don't interrupt me. You know I with you---I have said nothing to hiin yet--But was, last Thursday, at the masquerade; my son, look ye, Humphrey, if there is so much in this you may remember, soon found us out- he amour of his, that he denies, upon my summons, knew his grandfather's habit, which I then wore; to marry, I have cause enough to be offended; and though it was in the mode in the last age, and then, by my insisting upon his marrying toyet the maskers, you know, followed us, as if we day, I shall know how far he is engaged to this had been the most monstrous figures in that lady in masquerade, and from thence only shall whole assembly.

be able to take my measures; in the mean time, Humph. I remember, indeed, a young man of I would have you find out how far that rogue, quality, in the habit of a clown, that was particu- his man, is let into his secret--he, I know, will larly troublesome.

play tricks as much to cross me as to serve his Sir J. Bev. Right-he was too much what he master. seemed to be. You remember how impertinently Humph. Why do you think so of him, sir? I he followed and teased us, and would know who believe he is no worse than I was for you at your we were.

Humph. I know he has a mind to come into Sir J. Beo. I see it in the rascal's looks. But that particular.

[ Aside. I have dwelt on these things too long : I'll go to Sir J. Beo, Ay, he followed ns, till the gentlemy son immediately; and, while I'm gone, your man, who led the lady in the Indian mantle, pre-part is to convince his rogue, Tom, that I am in sented that gay creature to the rustic, and bid earnest. I'll leave him to you. him (like Cymon in the fable) grow polite, by

[Erit Sir J. Bev, falling in love, and let that worthy old gentleman Humph. Well, though this father and son live alone, meaning me. The clown was not reform-as well together as possible, yet their fear of gied, but rudely persisted, and offered to force off ving each other pain is attended with constant

[ocr errors]

mutual uneasiness. I am sure I have enough to Tom. I don't know what you heavy inmates do to be honest, and yet keep well with them call noise and extravagance; but we gentlemen, both; but they know I love them, and that makes who are well fed, and cut a figure, sir, think it a the task less painful, however, Oh, here's the fine life, and that we must be very pretty fellows, prince of poor coxcombs, the representative of who are kept only to be looked at. all the better fed than taught! Ho, ho, Tom !! Humph. Very well, sir-I hope the fashion of whither so gay and so airy this morning? being lewd and extravagant, despising of decency

and order, is almost at an end, since it is arrived Enter Tom, singing.

at persons of your quality.

Tom. Master Humphrey, ha, ha! you were an Tom. Sir, we servants of single gentlemen are unhappy lad to be sent up to town in such queer another kind of people than you domestic ordi- days as you were. Why now, sir, the lacquies nary drudges that do business; we are raised are the men of pleasure of the age; the top above you: the pleasures of board-wages, tavern gamesters; and many a laced coat about town, dinners, and many a clear gain, vails, alas ! you have had their education in our party-coloured never heard or dreamt of.

regiment. We are false lovers, have a taste of Humph. Thou hast follies and vices enough for music, poetry, billet-doux, dress, politics, ruin a man of ten thousand a-year, though it is but as damsels; and when we are weary of this lewd t'other day that I sent for you to town, to put town, and have a mind to take up, whip into our you into Mr Sealand's family, that you might | masters' wigs and linen, and marry fortunes. learn a little before I put you to my young mas Humph. Hey day! ter, who is too gentle for training such a rude Tom. Nay, sir, our order is carried up to the thing as you were into proper obedience. You highest dignities and distinctions: step but into then pulled off your hat to every one you met in the Painted Chamber-and, by our titles, you'd the street, like a bashful, great, awkward cub, as take us all for men of quality--then, again, come you were. But your great oaken cudgel, when down to the Court of Requests, and you shall see you were a booby, became you much better than us all laying our broken heads together, for the that dangling stick at your button, now you are good of the nation ; and though we never carry a a fop, that's fit for nothing except it hangs there question nemine contradicente, yet this I can say to be ready for your master's hand when you are with a safe conscience, (and I wish every gentleimpertinent.

man of our cloth could lay his hand upon his Tom. Uncle Humphrey, you know my master heart, and say the same) that I never took so scorns to strike his servants; you talk as if the much as a single mug of beer for my vote in all world was now just as it was when my old mas- | my life. ter and you were in your youth — when you Humph. Sirrah, there is no enduring your exwent to dinner because it was so much a clock, travagance; I'll hear you prate no longer : I when the great blow was given in the hall at the wanted to see you to inquire how things go with pantry-door, and all the family came out of their | your master, as far as you understand them: I holes, in such strange dresses, and formal faces, suppose he knows he is to be married to-day? as you see in the pictures in our long gallery in Tom. Ay, sir, he knows it, and is dressed as the country.

gay as the sun; but, between you and I, my dear! Humph." Why, you wild rogue !

he has a very heavy heart under all that gaiety. Tom. You could not fall to your dinner, till a | As soon as he was dressed, I retired, but overheard formal fellow, in a black gown, said something him sigh in the most heavy manner. He walked over the meat, as if the cook had not made it thoughtfully to and fro in the room, then went ready enough.

into his closet: when he came out, he gave me Humph. Sirrah, who do you prate after? - this for his mistress, whose maid you know despising men of sacred characters! I hope you Humph. Is passionately fond of your fine pernever heard my young master talk so like a pro- son. fligate!

Tom. The poor fool is so tender, and loves to Tom. Sir, I say you put upon me when I first hear me talk of the world, and the plays, operas, came to town about being orderly, and the doc- and ridottoes for the winter, the Parks and Belltrine of wearing shams to make linen last clean size for our summer diversions; and lard ! says a fortnight, keeping my clothes fresh, and wear she, you are so wild—but you have a world of ing a frock within doors.

humour. Humph, Sirrah, I gave you those lessons, be- Humph. Coxcomb! Well, but why don't you cause I supposed, at that time, your master and run with your master's letter to Mrs Lucinda, as you might have dined at home every day, and he ordered you? cost you nothing; then you might have made you Tom. Because Mrs Lucinda is not so easily a good family servant; but the gang you have come at as you think for. frequented since at chocolate-houses and taverns, Humph. Not easily come at! why, sir, are not in a continual round of noise and extravagance her father and my old ma iter agreed that she and VOL. II.

41

Mr Bevil are to be one flesh before to-morrow slide, to be short-sighted, or stare, to fleer in morning?

the face, to look distant, to obserre, to orerTom. It's no matter for that: her mother, it look, yet all become me; and if I were rich, I seems, Mrs Sealaod, has not agreed to it; and could twire and loll as well as the best of you must hoow, Mr Humphrey, that, in that fa-them. Oh Tom, Tom ! is it not a pity that mily, the grey mare is the better horse.

you should be so great a coxcomb, and I so great Humph. What dost thou mean?

a coquette, and yet be such poor devils as we Tom. In one word, Mrs Sealand pretends to are? have a will of her own, and has provided a rela- Tom. Mrs Phällis, I am your humble servant tion of hers, a stiff starched philosopher, and a for thatwise fool, for her daughter; for which reason, Phil. Yes, Mr Thomas, I know how much you for these ten days past, she has suffered no mes are my humble servant, and know what you sage nor letter from my master to come near her. said to Mrs Judy, upon seeing her in one of her

Humph. And where had you this intelligence? lady's cast manteaus, that any one would have

Tom. From a foolisb fond soul, that can keep thought her the lady, and that she had ordered nothing from me o ne that will deliver this the other to wear it till it sat easy--for now only letter, too, if she is rightly managed.

| it was becoming--to my lady it was only a coverHumph. What, her pretty handmaid, Mrs ing, to Mrs Judy it was a babit. This you said Phillis?

after somebody or other. Oh Tom, Tom ! thou Tom. Even she, sir. This is the very hour, art as false and as base as the best gentleman of you know, she usually comes hither, under a pre them all : but, you wretch! talk to me no more tence of a visit to our housekeeper forsooth, on the old odious subject : don't, I say. but in reality to have a glance at

Tom. I know not how to resist your comHumph. Your sweet face, I warrant you. mands, madam. [In a submissive tone, retiring.

Tom. Nothing else in nature. You must | Phil. Commands about parting are grown know, I love to fret and play with the little mighty easy to you of late. wanton

Tom. Oh, I have her! I have nettled and put Humph. Play with the little wanton! what her into the right temper to be wrought upon will this world come to !

and set a-prating. [Aside. Why, truly, to be Tom. I met her this morning in a new man- plain with you, Mrs Phillis, I can take little teau and petticoat, not a bit the worse for her comfort of late in frequenting your house. lady's weariny; and she has always new thoughts Phil. Prav, Mr Thomas, what is it, all of a and new airs with new clothes then, she sudden, offends your nicety at our house? never fails to steal some glance or gesture from Tom. I don't care to speak particulars, but I every visitant at their house, and is indeed the dislike the whole, whole town of cuquettes at secondhand.

Phil. I thank you, sir; I am a part of that But bere she comes; in one motion she speaks whole. aud describes herself better than all the words Tom. Mistake me not, good Phillis. in the world can.

Phil. Good Phillis ! saucy enough. But howHumph. Then I hope, dear sir! when your everown affair is over, you will be so good as to Tom. I say it is, that thou art a part, which mind your master's with her.

gives me pain for the disposition of the whole. Tom. Dear Humphrey ! you know my master You inust know, madam, to be serious, I am a is my friend, and those are people I never for man, at the bottom, of prodigious nice honour.

You are too much exposed to company at your Humph. Sauciness itself ! but I'll leave you to house. To be plain, I don't like so many that do your best for him.

[Erit. would be your mistress's lovers whispering to Enter Pullis.

you.

Phil. Don't think to put that upon me. You Phil. Oh, Mr Thomas, is Mrs Sugarkey at say this, because I wrung you to the heart home --Lard! one is almost ashamed to pass when I touched your guilty conscience about along the streets. The town is quite einpty, Judy. and nobody of fashion left in it; and the or- Tom. Ah, Phillis, Phillis ! if you but knew my dinary people do so stare to see any thing dres- heart! sed like a woman of condition, as it were on the | Phil. I know too nich on't. same floor with them, pass by. Alas! alas! Tom. Nay, then, poor Crispo's fate and mine it is a sad thing to walk ! O fortune, fortune! are- therefore, give me leave to say, or

Tom. What ! a sad thing to walk ! why, sing at least, as he does upon the same occamadam Phillis, do you wish yourself lame ? "

sion Phil. No, Mr Thomas, but I wish I were generally carried in a coach or chair, and of a

Se vedette, &c. (Sings.] fortune neither to stand nor go, but to totter, or Phil, What do you think I'm to be fobbed off

get

with a song ?-I don't question but you have | SCENE II.-BEVIL junior's lodgings. Besung the same to Mrs Judy, too.

VIL, junior, reading. Tom. Don't disparage your charms, good Phillis, with jealousy of so worthless an object; be- Bev. These moral writers practise virtue afa sides, she is a poor hussy; and if you doubt the ter death. This charming vision of Mirza ! such sincerity of my love, you will allow me true to an author, consulted in a morning, sets the spirits my interest. You are a fortune, Phillis

for the vicissitudes of the day better than the Phil. What would the fop be at now? In good glass does a man's person. But what a day have time, indeed, you shall be setting up for a for- | I to go through ! to put on an easy look with an tune!

aching heart! If this lady, my father urges me Tom. Dear Mrs Phillis ! you have such a spirit to marry, should not refuse me, my dilemma is that we shall never be dull in marriage, when we insupportable. But why should I fear it? Is not come together. But I tell you, you are a for- she in equal distress with me? Has not the letter tune, and you have an estate in my hands. I have sent her this morning confessed my incli

[He pulls out a purse, she eyes it. nation to another? Nay, have I not moral assuPhil. What pretence have I to what is in your rances of her engagements, ton, to my friend hands, Mr Thomas ?

Myrtle? It's impossible but she must give in to Tom. As thus: there are hours, you know, it; for sure to be denied is a favour any man when a lady is teither pleased nor displeased, may pretend to. It must be so. Well, then, neither sick nor well, when she lolls or loiters, with the assurance of being rejected, I think I when she is without desires, from having more may confidently say to my father, I am ready to of every thing than she knows what to do with. marry her-then, let me resolve upon (what I Phil. Well, what then?

am not very good at) an honest dissimulation. Tom. When she has not life enough to keep her bright eyes quite open to look at her own

Enter Tom. dear image in the glass.

Tom. Sir John Bevil, sir, is in the next room. Phil. Explain thyself, and don't be so fond of Beo. Dunce! why did you not bring him in? thy own prating.

Tom. I told him, sir, you were in your closet. Tom. There are also prosperous and good na- Beo. I thought you had known, sir, it was my tured moments, as when a knot or a patch is duty to see my father any where. happily fixed, when the complexion particularly

[Going himself to the door, flourishes.

Tom. The devil's in my master! he has always Phil. Well, what then? I have not patience! more wit than I have.

[Aside. Tom. Why, then-or on the like' occasionswe servants, who have skill to know how to time

Bevil, junior, introducing Sir John. business, see, when such a pretty folded thing as Bev. Sir, you are the most gallant, the most this (Shews a letter. may be presented, laid, or complaisant of all parents. Sure 'tis not a comdropped, as best suits the present humour. And, pliment to say, these lodgings are yours. Why madam, because it is a long wearisome journcy I would you not walk in, sir? to run through all the several stages of a lady's Sir J. Bev. I was loath to interrupt you unscatemper, my master, who is the most reasonable sonably on your wedding-day. man in the world, presents you this to bear your Bev. One to whom I am beholden for my charges on the road. Gives her the purse. birth-day might have used less ceremony.

Phil. Now, you think me a corrupt hussy? Sir J. Bev. Well, son, I have intelligence you Tom. O fy! I only think you'll take the letter. have writ to your mistress this morning. It

Phil. Nay, I know you do; but I know my would please my curiosity to know the contents own innocence: I take it for my mistress's sake of a wedding-day letter, for courtship must then

Tom. I know it, my pretty one! I know it. be over,

Phil. Yes, I say I do it, because I would not Bev. I assure you, sir, there was no insolence have my mistress deluded by one who gives no in it upon the prospect of such a vast fortune's beproof of his passion: but I'll talk more of this as ing added to our family, but much acknowledgeyou see me on iny way home. No, Tom; I as- inent of the lady's great desert. sure thee I take this trash of thy master's not for Sir J. Bev. But, dear Jack, are you in earnest the value of the thing, but as it convinces me he in all this? and will you really marry her? has a true respect for my mistress. I reinember Bev. Did I ever disobey any command of a verse to the purpose !

yours, sir? nay, any inclination that I saw you

bent upon ? They may be false who lánguish and complain, Sir J. Bev. Why, I can't say you have, son : But they, who part with money, never feign. but, methinks, iu this whole business you have

Exeunt. not been so warm as I could have wished you;

« السابقةمتابعة »