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than a week there were some people who could name the father and the farm-house where the babies were put to nurse.
LADY SNEERWELL. Strange indeed!
CRABTREE. Matter of fact, I assure you. (SIR BENJ. goes up to MARIA, JOSEPH advances) O Lud! Mr. Surface, pray is it true that your uncle, Sir Oliver, is coming home?
JOSEPH. Not that I know of, indeed, sir.
CRABT. He has been in the East Indies a long time. You can scarcely remember him, I believe?-Sad comfort whenever he returns, to hear how your brother has gone on!
Jos. Charles has been imprudent, sir, to be sure; but I hope no busy people have already prejudiced Sir Oliver against him. He may reform.
SIR BENJAMIN. (advancing) To be sure he may: for my part, I never believed him to be so utterly void of principle as people say; and though he has lost all his friends, I am told nobody is better spoken of by the Jews.
CRABT. That 's true, egad, nephew. If the Old Jewry was a ward , ? I believe Charles would be an alderman: no man more popular there, —'fore Gad! I hear he pays as many annuities as the Irish tontine; 2 and that whenever he is sick, they have prayers for the recovery of his health in all the synagogues.
SIR BENJ. Yet no man lives in greater splendour. They tell me, when he entertains his friends, he will set 3 down to dinner with a dozen of his own securities; 4 have a score of tradesmen waiting in the ante-chamber; and an officer - behind every guest's chair.
Jos. This may be entertainment to you, gentlemen, but you pay very little regard to the feelings of a brother.
1. A ward is a district in a city, I trusted, in each county, the exerepresented in the city corporation cution of the laws; a sheriff's ofby an alderman. - The Old Jewry ficer is a man in the employment is a street in the City (of London.) of the sheriff, charged with the
2. Tontine, a loan raised on life arresting of debtors and carrying annuities with the benefit of sur-out of executions for debt; as these vivorships, so called from the in- men, when once in possession, canventor, Tonti, an Italian.
not leave the house containing the 3. Set, for sit.
property seized, or permit anything 4. i. e. persons who had become to be removed, till the debt is security for him to the Jews of paid, they are sometimes disguised whom he borrowed money.
as livery-servants and wait upon 5. i. e. a sheriff's officer. The the company in that capacity. sheriff is an officer to whom is en
MARIA. (advances) Their malice is intolerable. Lady Sneerwell, I must wish you a good morning; I 'm not very well.
[Exit MARIA, they all exchange looks. MRS. CANDOUR. O dear! she changes colour very much.
LADY SNEERWELL. Do, Mrs. Candour, follow her; she may want assistance.
Mrs. C. That I will with all my soul, ma'am. Poor dear girl, who knows what her situation may be!
[Exit MRS. CANDOUR. L. SNEERW. 'T was nothing but that she could not bear to hear Charles reflected on, notwithstanding their difference.
SIR BENJAMIN. The young lady's penchant is obvious.
CRABTREE. But, Benjamin, you must not give up the pursuit for that; follow her and put her into good humour. Repeat her some of your own verses. Come, I'll assist you.
Sir BENJ. Mr. Surface, I did not mean 'to hurt you; but depend on it your brother is utterly undone. CRABT. O Lud, he's undone as ever man was.
Can't raise a guinea.
SIR BENJ. And everything sold, I'm told, that was movable.
CRABT. I have seen one that was at his house. Not a thing left but some empty bottles that were overlooked, and the family pictures, which, I believe, are framed in the wainscots.
Sir BENJ. And I 'm very sorry, also, to hear some bad stories against him.
CRABT. Oh! he has done many mean things, that 's certain.
JOSEPH, and go of L. SNEERW. Ha, ha!'t is very hard for them to leave a subject they have not quite run down. 2
Jos. And I believe the abuse was no more acceptable to your ladyship than Maria.
L. SNEERW. I doubt 3 her affections are farther engaged than we imagine. But the family are to be here this evening, so you may as well dine where you are, and we shall have
1. i. e. at another opportunity. 2. To run down, to exhaust.
3. i. e. I doubt not but; I believe.
an opportunity of observing farther; in the meantime,
I 'u gó and plot mischief, and you shall study sentiment.
Enter SIR PETER.
Sir P. Very bad, Master Rowley, very bad. I meet with nothing but crosses and vexations.
Rowl. What can have happened to trouble you since yesterday?
Sir P. A good question to a married man!
Rowl. Nay, I 'm sure, Sir Peter, your lady can't be the cause of your
RowL. Come, come, Sir Peter, you love her, nothwithstanding your tempers don't exactly agree.
Sir P. But the fault is entirely hers, Master Row
1. To tiff, to quarrel slightly.
12. See note 3, p. 11.
ley. I am, myself, the sweetest_tempered man alive, and hate a teasing temper; and so I tell her a hundred 'times a-day.
SIR PETER. Ay, and what is very extraordinary, in all our disputes she is always in the wrong! But Lady Sneerwell, and the set she meets at her house, encourage the perverse ness of her disposition.—
Then, to complete my vexation, Maria, my ward, whom I ought to have the power of a father over, is determined to turn rebel too, and absolutely refuses the man whom I have long resolved on for her husband; meaning, I suppose, to bestow herself on his profligate brother.
Rowl. You know, Sir Peter, I have always taken the liberty to differ with you on the subject of these two young gentlemen. I only wish you may not be deceived in your opinion of the elder. For Charles, my life on 't! he will retrieve his errors yet.
Their worthy father, once my honoured master, was, at his years, nearly as wild a spark; yet, when he died, he did not leave a more benevolent heart to lament his loss.
Sir P. You are wrong, Master Rowley. On their father's death, you know, I acted as a kind of guardian to them both, till their uncle Sir Oliver's liberality gave thein an early independence; of course, no person could have more opportunities of judging of their hearts, and I was never mistaken in my life. Joseph is indeed a model for the young men of the age. He is a man of sentiment, and acts up to the sentiments he professes; but for the other, take my word for ’t, if he had any grain of virtue by descent, he has dissipated it with the rest of his inheritance. Ah! my old friend, Sir Oliver, will be deeply mortified when he finds how part of his bounty has been misapplied.
Rowl. I am sorry to find you so violent against the young man, because this may be the most critical period of his fortune. I came hither with news that will surprise you.
Sir P. What! let me hear.
SIR P. How! you astonish me! I thought you did not expect him this month.
RowL. I did not; but his passage has been remarkably quick.
SiR PETER. Egad, I shall rejoice to see my old friend. 'T is fifteen years since we met. We have had many a day together; but does he still enjoin us not to inform his nephews of his arrival?
ROWLEY. Most strictly. He means, before it is known, to make some trial of their dispositions.
SIR P. Ah! there needs no art to discover their merits - he shall have his way; but, pray, does he know I am married ?
RowL. . Yes, and will soon wish you joy.
Sir P. What, as we drink health to a friend in a consumption. Ah! Oliver will laugh at me. We used to rail at matrimony together, and he has been steady to his text. Well, he must be soon at my house, though. - I 'll instantly give orders for his reception.—But, Master Rowley, don't drop a word—that Lady Teazle and I ever disagree.
RowL. By no means.
Sir P. For I should never be able to stand Noll's? jokes; so I 'd have him think — Lord forgive me! that we are a very happy couple.
RowL. I understand you; but then you must be very careful not to differ while he is in the house with you. Sir P. Egad, and so we must—and that 's impossible
. Ah! Master Rowley, when an old bachelor marries a young wife, he deserves — no — the crime carries its punishment along with it.
SCENE I. Same as last.
L. TEAZLE. "Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in every thing, and what 's more I will, too. What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion, in London, are accountable to nobody after they are married.
Sir P. Very well, ma'am, very well;— so a husband is to have no influence, no authority?
1. Noll, contraction of Oliver.