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with a kind of provincial dialect; yet her tones are enchanting as the softest harmony-" a concord of sweet sounds."
"The Country Girl" was originally called "The Country Wife;" and received its new title from Mr. Garrick, who revived the comedy, when he was manager of Drury Lane, and expunged those parts of it, which probably were thought the most entertaining in the age when it was written, but which an improved taste delicately rejects. The comedy, in its present state, boasts the witty dialogue of former times, blended with the purity, and happy incidents, of modern dramas.
As the catastrophe of all comedies is marriage, marriage was likewise the catastrophe of poor Wycherly's own comick scenes; for he married, and the rest of his life was a deep tragedy. He married the Countess of Drogheda, who was young, rich, and beautiful; but who had not domestic virtues to reward him for the loss of his sovereign's favour, which immediately followed their union. It is said, the king resented the author's not having solicited his consent to the nuptials; but other causes were more likely to have effected his disgrace at court. The slighted Cleveland might be his enemy; or, as Charles the Second was a social spirit, perhaps, like Sparkish in this play, he" Could not love a woman, whom other men did not love."-And his Majesty might require Wycherly's passion for the Duchess to incite his own; as companions, by seeing others drink, are merrily led to the joys of intoxication.
ACT THE FIRST.
HARCOURT and BELVILLE discovered sitting. Harc. Ha, ha, ha! and so you are in love, nephew, not reasonably and gallantly, as a young gentleman ought, but sighingly, miserably so-not content to be ankle deep, you have soused over head and ears—ha, Dick?
Belv. I am pretty much in that condition, indeed, uncle. [Sighs. Harc. Nay, never blush at it—when I was of your age I was ashamed too-but three years at college, and half a one at Paris, methinks should have cured you of that unfashionable weakness-modesty.
Belv. Could I have released myself from that, I had, perhaps, been at this instant happy in the possession of what I must despair now ever to obtain— Heigho!
Harc. Ha, ha, ha! very foolish indeed.
Belv. Don't laugh at me, uncle; I am foolish, I know; but, like other fools, I deserve to be pitied.
Harc. Pr'ythee don't talk of pity; how can I help you; for this country girl of yours is certainly
Belv. No, no-I won't believe it; she is not married, nor she sha'n't, if I can help it.
Hare. Well said, modesty. With such a spirit, you can help yourself, Dick, without my assistance. Belo. But you must encourage, and advise me too, or I shall never make any thing of it.
Harc. Provided the girl is not married; for I never, never encourage young men to covet their neighbours' wives.
Belo. My heart assures me, that she is not married.
Harc. O, to be sure, your heart is much to be relied upon-but to convince you that I have a fellowfeeling of your distress, and that I am as nearly allied. to you in misfortunes as in relationship -you must
Belo. What, uncle? you alarm me!
Harc. Miserably in love.
Belv. That's charming.
Harc. And my mistress is just going to be married to another.
Belv. Better and better.
Harc. I knew my fellow-sufferings would please you; but now prepare for the wonderful wonder of wonders!
Harc. My mistress is in the same house with yours. Belv. What, are you in love with Peggy too? [Rising from his chair. Harc. Well said, jealousy.-No, no, set your heart at rest. Your Peggy is too young, and too simple for me. I must have one a little more knowing, a little better bred, just old enough to see the difference be
tween me and a coxcomb, spirit enough to break from a brother's engagements, and chuse for herself.
Belv. You don't mean Alithea, who is to be married to Mr. Sparkish?
Harc. Can't I be in love with a lady that is going to be married to another, as well as you, sir?
Belv. But Sparkish is your friend?
Harc. Pr'ythee don't call him my friend; he can be nobody's friend, not even his own-He would thrust himself into my acquaintance, would introduce me to his mistress, though I have told him again and again that I was in love with her, which, instead of ridding me of him, has made him only ten times more troublesome and me really in love-He should suffer for his self-sufficiency.
Bel. "Tis a conceited puppy!-And what success with the lady?
Harc. No great hopes-and yet, if I could defer the marriage a few days, I should not despair;-her honour, I am confident, is her only attachment to my rival-she can't like Sparkish, and if I can work upon his credulity, a credulity which even popery would be ashamed of, I may yet have the chance of throwing sixes upon the dice to save me.
Belv. Nothing can save me.
Harc. No, not if you whine and sigh, when you should be exerting every thing that is man about you. I have sent Sparkish, who is admitted at all hours in the house, to know how the land lies for you, and if she is not married already.
Belo. How cruel you are-you raise me up with one hand, and then knock me down with the other! Harc. Well, well, she shan't be married. [Knocking at the Door.] This is Sparkish, I suppose: don't drop the least hint of your passion to him; if you do, you may as well advertise it in the public papers.
Belv. I'll be careful.