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1703 he produced The Inconstant, a play whichever was written-buoyant without inanity; has ever since kept the stage, and which was acted only the other day in London with great success. The play was not, however, at first very well received, owing, it is said, to the sudden springing up among the public of a taste for opera. This year also he was entrapped into marriage by a female adventurer, who became madly enamoured of him. Though immediately after marriage he found how he had been deceived, though embarrassments closed round him, and though a family quickly appeared to add to his troubles, he never once upbraided his wife, but after the first shock of discovery treated her with kindness and affection.
reckless, wanton, careless, irrepressibly vivacious, and outpouring, without being obstreperous and oppressive, and all the while totally free from a tinge of vulgarity in the composition." "Farquhar's gentlemen are Irish gentlemen," he continues, "frank, generous, eloquent, witty, and with a cordial word of gallantry always at command." Hazlitt had a high opinion of Farquhar, who, he says, has humour, character, and invention in common with the other (Vanbrugh), with a more unaffected gaiety and spirit of enjoyment which sparkles in all he does. . . . His incidents succeed one another with rapidity, but without premeditation; his wit is easy and spontaneous; his style animated, unembarrassed, and flowing; his characters full of life and spirit." "In short," says Cowden Clarke, "he was a delightful writer, and one to whom I should sooner recur for relaxation and entertainment-and without after cloying and disgust-than to any of the school of which he may be said to be the last."]
Early in 1704 he produced, with the assistance of a friend, the farce called The Stage Coach, which was well received. In 1705 his comedy The Twin Rivals appeared, and in 1706 the comedy called The Recruiting Officer. His last work was The Beaux' Stratagem, which he did not live to see produced, and which is perhaps the best of all his works. Oppressed with debt, he applied to a courtier friend for assistance; but the creature advised him to sell his commission, and pledged his honour that in a short time he would find him another. Farquhar followed the advice; but when he applied to his patron to help him to a new commission the worthy declared that he had forgotten his promise. This disappointment so preyed upon his mind that it broke him down completely, and in April, 1707, while The Beaux' Stratagem was being rehearsed at Drury Lane, he sank into his last sleep in the twenty-ninth year of his age. After his death the following letter to Wilks was found among his papers:-"Dear Bob, I have not anything to leave 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 life, thine, George Farquhar." It is pleasant to know that Wilks did his utmost for the widow and two girls, all of whom, however, fell into pitiful circumstances before their death.
Farquhar is far more natural than Congreve or any other of his rivals; "his style is pure and unaffected, his wit natural and flowing, his plots generally well contrived." His works were so successful in book form, as well as on the stage, that within fifty years of his death they had gone through more than eight editions. "The character of Wildair appears to me," says Cowden Clarke, "one of the most naturally buoyant pieces of delineation that
A WOMAN OF QUALITY.1
A Lady's Apartment. Two Chambermaids
First Cham. Are all things set in order? The toilette fixed, the bottles and combs put in form, and the chocolate ready?
Second Cham. 'Tis no great matter whether they be right or not; for right or wrong we shall be sure of our lecture; I wish, for my part, that my time were out.
First Cham. Nay, 'tis a hundred to one but we may run away before our time be half expired; and she's worse this morning than ever. Here she comes.
LADY LUREWELL enters.
Lure. Ay, there's a couple of you indeed! But how, how in the name of negligence could you two contrive to made a bed as mine was last night; a wrinkle on one side and a rumple on t'other; the pillows awry and the quilt askew!-I did nothing but tumble about, and fence with the sheets all night along.-Oh! my bones ache this morning as if I had lain all night on a pair of Dutch stairs-Go, bring
This and the following extract are from Sir Harry Wildair.
chocolate. And, d'ye hear? Be sure to stay an hour or two at least-Well! these English animals are so unpolished! I wish the persecution would rage a little harder, that we might have more of these French refugees among us.
The Maids enter with chocolate.
These wenches are gone to Smyrna for this And what made you stay so
Cham. I thought we did not stay at all, madam.
Lure. Only an hour and half by the slowest clock in Christendom-And such salvers and dishes too! The lard be merciful to me!
what have I committed to be plagued with such animals?-Where are my new japan salvers?-Broke, o'my conscience! All to pieces, I'll lay my life on't.
Cham. No, indeed, madam, but your husband
Lure. How? husband, impudence! I'll teach you manners. [Gives her a box on the ear.] your Welsh breeding? Ha'n't the colonel a name of his
Husband! Is that
Cham. Well, then, the colonel. He used them this morning, and we ha'n't got them
Lure. How! the colonel use my things! How dare the colonel use anything of mine? -But his campaign education must be pardoned And I warrant they were fisted about among his dirty levee of disbanded officers? Faugh! The very thoughts of them fellows with their eager looks, iron swords, tied-up wigs, and tucked-in cravats, make me sick as death. Come, let me see.--[Goes to take the chocolate, and starts back.] Heavens protect me from such a sight! Lord, girl! when did you wash your hands last? And have you been pawing me all this morning with them dirty fists of yours? [Runs to the glass.]-I must dress all over again-Go, take it away, I shall swoon else.-Here, Mrs. Monster, call up my tailor; and d'ye hear? you, Mrs. Hobbyhorse, see if my company be come to cards yet.
The Tailor enters.
Oh, Mr. Remnant! I don't know what ails these stays you have made me; but something is the matter, I don't like them.
Rem. I am very sorry for that, madam. But what fault does your ladyship find?
Lure. I don't know where the fault lies; but in short I don't like them; I can't tell how; the things are well enough made, but I don't like them.
Rem. Are they too wide, madam? Lure. No.
Rem. Too strait, perhaps?
Lure. Not at all! they fit me very well; but-lard bless me, can't you tell where the
Rem. Why, truly, madam, I can't tell.-But your ladyship, I think, is a little too slender for the fashion.
Lure. How! too slender for the fashion, say you?
Rem. Yes, madam! there's no such thing as
a good shape worn among the quality: your
fine waists are clear out, madam.
Lure. And why did not you plump up my stays to the fashionable size?
Rem. I made them to fit you, madam. Lure. Fit me! fit my monkey-What! d'ye think I wear clothes to please myself! Fit me! fit the fashion, pray; no matter for meI thought something was the matter, I wanted quality-air.-Pray, Mr. Remnant, let me have a bulk of quality, a spreading counter. do remember now, the ladies in the apartments, the birth-night, were most of them two yards about. Indeed, sir, if you contrive my things any more with your scanty chambermaid's air, you shall work no more
A GENTLEMANLY CANING.
LADY LUREWELL solus. Enter SIR HARRY WILDAIR. Sir H. "My life, my soul, my all that heaven can give!
Lady L. "Death's life with thee; without thee, death to live."
Still brisk and airy, I find, Sir Harry. Sir H. The sight of you, madam, exults my air, and makes joy lighten in my face.
Lady L. Would you marry me, Sir Harry? Sir H. Why, marriage is the devil!-But I will marry you.
Lady L. Your word, sir, is not to be relied on. If a gentleman will forfeit his honour in dealings of business, we may reasonably suspect his fidelity in an amour.
Sir H. My honour in dealings of business! Why, madam, I never had any business all my life.
Lady L. Yes, Sir Harry; I have heard a very odd story, and am sorry that a gentleman of your figure should undergo the scandal. Sir H. Out with it, madam.
Lady L. Why, the merchant, sir, that transmitted your bills of exchange to you in France complains of some indirect and dishonourable dealings.
Sir H. Who-old Smuggler?
Lady L. Ay, ay, you know him, I find. Sir H. I have some reason, I think. the rogue has cheated me of above within these three years.
Lady L. 'Tis your business, then, to acquit yourself publicly, for he spreads the scandal everywhere.
Sir H. Acquit myself publicly! Here, sirrah.
Enter a Servant.
My coach; I'll drive instantly into the city, and cane the old villain round the Royal Exchange.
Lady L. Why, he is in the house now, sir. Sir H. What, in this house?
Lady L. Ay, in the next room.
Sir H. Then, sirrah, lend me your cudgel. [Exit Servant. Lady L. Sir Harry, you won't raise a disturbance in the house?
Sir H. Disturbance, madam! No, no; I'll beat him with the temper of a philosopher. Here, Mrs. Parley, show me the gentleman.
[Exit with Parley. Lady L. Now shall I get the old monster
faction enough from a gentleman. But seriously, now, if you pass any more of your jests upon me I shall grow angry.
Sir H. I humbly beg your permission to break one or two more.
Ald. Oh! lord, sir, you'll break my bones. Are you mad, sir? Murder, felony, manslaughter. [Falls down. Sir H. Sir, I beg you ten thousand pardons, but I am absolutely compelled to't, upon my honour, sir. Nothing can be more averse to my inclinations than to jest with my honest, dear, loving, obliging friend the alderman.
[Striking him all this while. Alderman tumbles over and over, shakes out his pocket-book on the floor.
(FROM "THE BEAUX' STRATAGEM.")
[Strikes him. SCRUB, a Footman, and ARCHER, a Supposed
Enter LADY LUREWELL, and takes it up. Lady L. The old rogue's pocket-book; this may be of use. (Aside.) Oh! lord, Sir Harry's murdering the old man. poor Ald. Oh! dear madam, I was beaten in jest till I am murdered in good earnest.
Lady L. Well, well, I'll bring you off, seigneur frappez, frappez!
Ald. Oh! for charity's sake, madam, rescue a poor citizen.
Lady L. Oh! you barbarous man! Holdhold! frappez plus rudement. Frappez! I wonder you are not ashamed. (Holding Sir H.) A poor reverend honest elder. (Helps Ald. up.) It makes me weep to see him in this condition, poor man! Now, deuce take you, Sir Harry-for not beating him harder. Well, my dear, you shall come at night, and I'll make you amends.
[Here Sir H. takes snuff. Ald. Madam, I will have amends before I leave the place. Sir, how durst you use me thus?
Sir H. Sir?
Ald. Sir, I say that I will have satisfaction. Sir H. With all my heart.
[Throws snuff in his eyes. Ald. Oh! murder, blindness, fire! Oh! madam-madam! get me some water-water -fire-water!
[Exit with Lady L. Sir H. How pleasant is resenting an injury without passion! "Tis the beauty of revenge.
THE COUNTERFEIT FOOTMAN.
Let statesmen plot, and under business groan,
[They walk to the opposite side. Mrs. S. drops her fan; Archer runs, takes it up, and gives it to her. Arch. Madam, your ladyship's fan. Mrs. S. Oh, sir, I thank you. What a handsome bow the fellow made!
Dor. Bow! Why, I have known several footmen come down from London, set up here as dancing-masters, and carry off the best fortunes in the country.
Arch. (Aside.) That project, for aught I Brother know, had been better than ours. Scrub, why don't you introduce me?
Scrub. Ladies, this is the strange gentleman's servant, that you saw at church to-day; I understand he came from London, and so I invited him to the cellar, that he might show me the newest flourish in whetting my knives. Dor. And I hope you have made much of
Arch. Oh, yes, madam; but the strength of your ladyship's liquor is a little too potent for the constitution of your humble servant.
Mrs. S. What! then you don't usually drink ale?
Arch. No, madam; my constant drink is tea, or a little wine and water: 'tis prescribed me by the physicians, for a remedy against the spleen.
Scrub. Oh, la! Oh, la! A footman have the spleen!
Mrs. S. I thought that distemper had been only proper to people of quality.
Arch. Madam, like all other fashions it wears out, and so descends to their servants;
though, in a great many of us, I believe, it proceeds from some melancholy particles in the blood, occasioned by the stagnation of
Dor. How affectedly the fellow talks! How long, pray, have you served your present
Arch. Not long; my life has been mostly spent in the service of the ladies.
Mrs. S. And, pray, which service do you like best?
Arch. Madam, the ladies pay best; the honour of serving them is sufficient wages; [Exit. there is a charm in their looks that delivers a
pleasure with their commands, and gives our duty the wings of inclination.
Mrs. S. That flight was above the pitch of a livery: and, sir, would you not be satisfied to serve a lady again?
Arch. As groom of the chamber, madam, but not as a footman.
Mrs. S. I suppose you served as footman before?
Arch. For that reason, I would not serve in that post again; for my memory is too weak for the load of messages that the ladies lay upon their servants in London. My Lady Howd'ye, the last mistress I served, called me up one morning, and told me, "Martin, go to my Lady Allnight, with my humble service; tell her I was to wait on her ladyship yesterday, and left word with Mrs. Rebecca, that the preliminaries of the affair she knows of are stopped, till we know the concurrence of the person I know of, for which there are circumstances wanting, which we shall accommodate at the old place; but that, in the meantime, there is a person about her ladyship, that, from several hints and surmises, was accessory at a certain time to the disappointment that naturally attend things, that to her knowledge are of more importance
Scrub. Brother Martin! brother Martin!
FATHER AND SON.
[Old Mirabel, guardian of Oriana, to whom his son young Mirabel was engaged. However, three years' absence changes him, and although he loves Oriana he has formed a resolution never to marry. Dugard is brother to Oriana, and Petit her page.]
Mrs. S. But I wonder, friend, that in so many good services you had not a better provision made for you.
Arch. I don't know how, madam; I am very well as I am.
Mrs. S. Something for a pair of gloves. [Offering him money. Arch. I humbly beg leave to be excused. My master, madam, pays me; nor dare I take money from any other hand without injuring his honour and disobeying his commands.
Enter OLD and YOUNG MIRABEL, meeting.
Old Mir. Are not you a great rogue, sirrah? Y. Mir. That's a little out of my comprehension, sir; for I've heard say that I resemble my father.
Old Mir. Your father is your very humble slave. I tell thee what, child, thou art a very pretty fellow, and I love thee heartily; and a
Mrs. S. and Dor. Ha, ha! Where are you very great villain, and I hate thee mortally. going, sir?
Y. Mir. Villain, sir! Then I must be a very impudent one; for I can't recollect any pas
Arch. Why, I hav'n't half done. Scrub. I should not remember a quarter sage of my life that I'm ashamed of. of it.
Old Mir. Come hither, my dear friend; dost see this picture? [Shows him a little picture. Y. Mir. Oriana's? Psha!
Old Mir. What, sir, won't you look upon't? Bob, dear Bob, pr'ythee come hither, now. Dost want any money, child?
Y. Mir. No, sir.
Arch. The whole howd'ye was about half an hour long; I happened to misplace two syllables, and was turned off, and rendered incapable-
Dor. The pleasantest fellow, sister, I ever saw. But, friend, if your master be married, I presume you still serve a lady?
Arch. No, madam; I take care never to come into a married family; the commands of the master and mistress are always so contrary that 'tis impossible to please both.
Dor. There's a main point gained. My lord rogue? Why, she sighs for thee, and cries for is not married, I find. thee, pouts for thee, and snubs for thee; the poor little heart of it is like to burst. Come, my dear boy, be good-natured, like your own father; be now; and then, see here, read this; the effigies of the lovely Oriana, with thirty thousand pounds to her portion ! — thirty thousand pounds, you dog!-thirty thousand pounds, you rogue! how dare you refuse a lady with thirty thousand pounds, you impudent rascal?
Old Mir. Why then, here's some for thee: come here now. How canst thou be so hardhearted an unnatural, unmannerly rascal (don't mistake me, child, I a'n't angry), as to abuse this tender, lovely, good-natured, dear
Y. Mir. Will you hear me speak, sir?