« EelmineJätka »
at their ease to do so too, I call for my coach; to go to visit fifty dear friends, of whom I hope I never shall find one at home while I live.
JUSTICE.' So ! there's the morning and afternoon pretty well disposed of. Pray, how, madam, do you pass your evenings ?
SIR JOHN. Like a woman of spirit, sir; a great spirit. Give me a box and dice. Seven 's the main! Oons, sir, 1 set you a hundred pound! Why, do you think, women are married now-a-days to sit at home and ineud napkins? Oh, the Lord help your head !
JUSTICE. Mercy on us, Mr. Constable! What will this age come to ?
CONSTABLE. What will it come to indeed, if such women as these are not set in the stocks!
Fable. A Band, a Bob-wig, and a Feather, But prate, and talk, and play the fool. Attacked a lady's heart together.
He said 'twas wealth gave joy and mirth, The Band in a most learned plea,
And that to be the dearest wife Made up of deep philosophy,
Of one who laboured all his life
Was heaven upon earth.
When these two blades had done, d' ye How happy she would be !
The Feather--as it might be meThe Bob he talked of management, Steps, sir, from bebind the screen, What'wondrous blessings Heaven sent With such an air and such a mien Ou care, and pains, and industry: Like you, old gentleman-in short, And truly he must be so free
He quickly spoiled the statesman's sport To own he thought your airy beaux, It proved such sunshine weather, With powdered wig and dancing shoes, That you must know, at the first beck Were good for nothing-mend his soul! The lady leaped about his neck,
And off they went together!
GEORGE FARQUHAR. GEORGE FARQUHAR (1678–1707) was a better artist, in stage effect and happy combinations of incident and adventure, than most of this race of comic writers. He had an uncontrollable vivacity and love of sport, which still render bis comedies attractive both on the stage and in the closet. Farquhar was an Irishman, born in Londonderry, and, after some college irregularity, he took to the stage. Happening accidentally to wound a brother-actor in a fencing-scene, he left the boards at the age of cighteen, and procured a commission in the army from the Earl of Orrery. His first play, 'Love and a Bottle, came out at Drury Lane in 1698; the ‘Constant Couple' in 1700; the • Incoustant' in 1705; the Stage-coach’in 1701; ile • Twin Rivals' in 1705; the Recruiting Officer'in 1706 ; and the ‘Beaux' Stratagem' in 1707. Farquhar was early married to a lady who had deceived him by pretending to be possessed of a fortune, and he sunk a victim to ill liealth and over-exertion in his thirtieth year. A letter written shortly before his death_to Wilks the actor, possesses a touching brevity of expression: ‘Dear Bob, I have not anything to leave to thee to perpetuate my memory but two helpless girls. Look upon them sometimes, and think of him that was to the last moment of his lite lbinem GEORGE FARQUHAR.' One of these daughters, it appears, married a low tradesman,' and tbe other became a servant, while their mother died in circuinstances of the utmost indigence.
The · Beaux' Stratagem' is Farquhar's best comedy. The plot is admirably managed, and the disguises of Archer and Aimwell form a ludicrous, yet natural series of incidents. Boniface, the landlord, is still a favourite on the stage. Scrub, the servant, is equally true avd amusing, and the female characters, though as free-spoken, if not as frail as the fine-bred ladies of Congreve and Vanbrugh, are sufficiently discriminated. Sergeant Kile, in the ‘Recruiting Officer,' is an original picture of low life and humour rarely surpassed. Farquhar has not the ripe wit of Congreve, or of our best comic writers. He was the Smollett, not the Fielding, of the stage.
'Farquhar,' says Leigh Hunt, 'was a good-natured, sensitive, reflecting man, of so high an order of what may be called the town class of genius, as to sympathise with mankind at large upon the strength of what he saw of them in little, and to extract from a quintessence of good sense an inspiration just short of the romantic and imaginative; that is to say, he could turn what he had experienced in cominon life to the best account, but required in all cases the support of its ordinary associations, and could not project his spirit beyond them. He felt the little world too much, and the universal too little. He saw into all false pretensions, but not into all true ones; and if he bad had a larger sphere of nature to fall back upon in his adversity, would probably not have died of it. The wings of his fancy were too common, and grown in too artificial an air, to support him in the sudden gulfs and aching voids of that new region, and enable him to beat his way to their green islands. His genius was so entirely social, that notwithstanding wliat appeared to the contrary in his personal manners, and what he took for his own superiority to ii, compelled him to assume in his writings all the airs of the most received town ascendency; and when it had once warmed itself in this way, it would seem that it had attained the healthiness natural to its best condition, and could have gone on for ever, increasing both in enjoyment and in power, had external circumstances been favourable. He was becoming gayer and gayer, when death, in the shape of a sore anxiety, called him away as if from a pleasant party, and left the house ringing with his jest.'
Humorous Scéne at an Inn.
Bon. Yes, sir, I'm old Will Boniface; pretty well known upon this road, as the saying is.
AIM. Oh, Mr. Boniface, your servant.
BON. Sir. I have now in my cellar ten tun of the best ale in Staffordshire; 'tis smooth as oil, sweet as milk, clear as amber, and strong as brandy, and will be just fourteen years old the filth day of next March, old style.
Aim. You're very exact, I find, in the age of your ale.
Bon. As punctual, sir, as I am in the age of muy children : I'll shew you such ale. Here, tapster, broach number 1706, as the saying is. Sir, you shall taste my anno domini. " I have lived in Lichfield, man and boy, about eight-and-fifty years, and I believe have not consumed eight-and-fifty Ounces of meat.
AIM. At a meal, you mean, if one may guess by your bulk ?
Bon Not in my life, sir; I bave fed purely upon ale: I have ate my ale, drank my ale, and I always sleep upon my ale.
Enter Tapster with a Tankard. Now, sir, you shall see Your worship’s health. [Drinks.]-Tal delicious, delicious fancy it Burgundy; only fancy it—and 'tis worth ten shilliugs a quart.
AIM. [Drinks 'Tis confounded strong.
Bon. Eight-and-fifty years, upon my credit, sir; but it killed my wife, poor woman, as the saying is.
Aim. How came that to pass ?
Bon I don't know how, sir; she would not let the ale take its natural course, sir, she was for qualifying it every now and then with a dram, as the saying is; and an honest gentleman, that came this way from Ireland, made her a present of a dozen bottles of usquebaugh--but the poor woman was never well after; but, however, I was obliged to the gentleman, you know.
AIM. Why, wus it the usquebaugh that killed her ?
Bon. My Lady Bountiful said so. She, good lady, did what could be done; she cored her of three tympanies: but the fourth carried her off: but she's happy, and I'm contented, as the saying is.
Aim. Who's that Lady Bountiful you mentioned ?
Bon. Odds my life, sir, we'll drink her health. [Drinks.] My Lady Bountiful is one of the best of women. Her last husband, Sir Charles Bountiful, left her worth a thousand pounds a year; and I believe she lays out one-half on't in charitable uses for the good of her neighbors.
Aim. Has the lady any children ?
Bon. Yes, sir, she has a daughter by Sir Charles ; the finest woman in all our county, and the greatest fortune. She has a son, too, by her first husband, 'Squire Sullen, who married a fine lady from London t'other day; if you please, sir, we'll drink his health. [Drinks.]
AIM. What sort of a man is he?
Bon. Why, sir, the man's well enough; says little, thjuks less, and does nothing at all, faith ; but he's a man of great estate, and values nobody.
Aim. A sportsmen, I suppose ?
Box. Yes, he's a man of pleasure; he plays at whist, and smokes his pipe eightand-forty hours together sometimes.
AIM. A fine sportsman, truly !-and married, you say ?
Bon. Ay; and to a curious woman, sir. But he's my landlord, and so a man you know, would not—- Sir, my humble service. [Drinks.] Though I value not a farthing what he can do to ine; I pay him his rent at quarter day; I have a good running trade; I have but one daughter, and I can give her - But no matter for that.
AIM. You're very happy, Mr. Boniface. Pray, what other company have you in town?
Bon. A power of fine ladies; and then we have the French officers.
Aim. Oh, that's right; you have a good many of those gentlemen. Pray, how do you like their company?
Bon. So well, as the saying is, that I could wish we had as many more of 'cm. They're full of money, and pay double for everything they have. They know, sir, that we paid good round taxes for the making of 'em ; and so they are willing to reimburse us a little; one of 'em lodges in my house. [Bell Rings.] I beg your worsbip's pardon; I'll wait on you in half a minute.
From the 'Recruiting Officer.'
Scene-The Market-place. Drum beats the Grenadiers' march. Enter SERGEANT KITE, followed by THOMAS APPLETREE, COSTAR PEARMAIN, and the MOB.
KITE. (Making a speech.] If any gentlemen, soldiers, or others, have a mind to serve his majesty, and pull down the French king; if any 'prentices have severe masters, any children have undutiful parents; if any servants have too little wages, or any husband a bad wife, let them repair to the noble Sergeant Kite, at the sigu of the Raven, in this good town of Shrewsbury, and they shall receive present relief and entertainment. (Drum.] Gentlemen, I don't beat my drums here to ensnare or inveig!e any man; for you must know, gentlemen, that I am a man of honour: besides I don't beat up for common soldiers; 10, I list only grenadiers-grenadiers, gentlemen. Pray, gentlemen, observe this cap-this is the cap of honour-it dubs man a gentleman in the drawing of a trigger; and he that has the good-fortune to be born six foot high, was born to be a great man. Sir, will you give me leave to try this cap upon your head ?
COSTAR. Is there no harm in 't? Won't the cap list me?
Cost. My mind misgives me plaguily. Let me see it. [Going to put it on.] It smells woundily of sweat and brimstone. Smell, Tummas.
THOMAS. Ay, wauns does it.
KITE. Oh, a mighty large bed !-bigger by half than the great bed at Ware--ten thousand people may lie in it together, and never feel one another.
Cost. But do folk sleep sound in this same bed of honour ?
Cost. Brother! hold there, friend; I am no kindred to you that I know of yet. Look ye, sergeant, no coaxing, no wheedling, d'ye see. If I have a mind to list, why, so; if not, why 'tis not so; therefore take your cap and your brothership back again, for I am not disposed at this present writing. No coaxing, no brothering me, faith.
KITE. I coax! I wheedle! I'm above it, sır; I have served twenty campaigns ; but, sır, you talk well, and I must own you are a man every inch of you; a pretty, yorng sprightly fellow! I love a fellow with a spirit; but I scorn to coax : 'tis base; though I inust say, that never in my life have I seen a man better built. How firm and strong he treads !-he steps like a castle !-but I scorn to wheedle any man ! Come, honest lad! will you take share of a pot ?
Cost. Nay, for that matter, I'll spend my penny with the best he that wears a head; that is, begging your pardon, sir, and in a fair way.
KITE. Give me your hand then; and now, gentlemen, I have no more to say but this-here's a purse of gold, and there is a tub of humming ale at my quarters ; 'tis the king's money and the king's drink; he's a generous king and loves his subjects. I bope, gentlemen, you won't refuse the king's health ?
ALL MOB. No, no, no.
For now he's free to sing and play
[The Mob sing the chorus.
Over, &c. KITE. Hey, boys! thus we soldiers live! drink, sing, dance, play ; we live, az one should say–we live-—'tis impossible to tell how we live-we are all princes ; why, why you are a king, you are an emperor, and I'm a prince; now an't we?
Tuo. No, Sergeant, I'll be no emperor.
Tho. Ay, wauns will I; for since this pressing act, they are greater than any emperor under the sun.
KITE. Done; you are a justice-of-peace, and you are a king, and I'm a duke, and a ruin duke, an't I ?
Cost. I'll be a queen,
KITE. Bravely said, faith! Huzza for the queen (Huzza.) But harkye, you, Mr. Justice, and you, Mr. Queen, did you ever see the king's picture ?
Botu. No, no, no.
KITE. I wonder at that; I have two of them set in gold, and as like his majesty; God bless the mark !_see here, they are set in gold.
[Taking two broad pieces out of his pocket ; presents one to each. Tho. The wonderful works of nature! [Looking at il.) What's this written about? here's a posy, I believe. Ca-ro-lus ! what's that, sergeant ?
KITE. Oh, Carolus ! why, Carolus is Latin for King George ; that's all.
Cost. 'Tis a fine thing to be a scollard. Sergeant, will you part with this? I'll buy it on you, if it come within the compass of a crown.
KITE. A crown! never talk of buying ; 'tis the same thing among friends, you know. I'll present them to ye both: you shall give me as good a thing. Put them up, and remember your old friend when I am over the hills and far away.. (They sing and put up the money.]
Enter PLUME, the Recruiting Officer, singiog,
Over the hills and over the main,
Over the hills and far away. Come on, my men of mirth, away with it; I'll make one among you. Who are these hearty lads ?
KITE. Off with your hats; ’ounds ! off with your hats ; this is the captain ; the captain.
Tuo. We have seen captains afore now, man.
Tho. And I 'se scarcely doff mine for any captain in England. My vether 's a freeholder.
PLUME. Who are those jolly lads, sergeant ?
KITE. A couple of honest brave fellows, that are willing to serve their king; I have entertained them just now as volunteers, under your honour's command.
PLUME. And good entertainment they shall have : volunteers are the men I want; those are the men fit to make soldiers, captains, generals.
Cost. Wounds, Tummas, what's this I are you listed ?