« AnteriorContinuar »
tunate situation : for an instance, he call'd me to him this morning, and looking as I thought rather wildly, Toddy, says he, sit down and write. He then dictated to me, verbatim, the letter I brought; then suddenly starting up, and hitting his forehead with his wooden hand, at the same time catching me by the throat with the other, False, cruel, perjur'd fair! says he ; you shall now pay dear for all your treachery. With that, madam, he squeez’d me by the throat, till he almost stopt my windpipe, when, finding by the hoarseness of my voice and the roughness of my chin, I was not a false perjur'd fair, he begged my pardon, I must own, in a very gentlemanly manner, and bade me hasten here with the letter.
Soph. Poor Constant !
Sop. Well, sir, if you'll contrive to make yourself comfortable in the kitchen, I'll write an answer.
Tod. The kitchen ! lord, madam, I'm a man of so humble a spirit, I should'nt have been offended if you had mentioned the cellar.
Soph. (To SUSAN.) You'll see him taken care of. (Exeunt Susan and Toddy.) Poor Constant! and is it thus, after so long a absence, we are to meet. "Twould be better to feel the pangs of expectation still, than to see thee thus return'd.
Scene, a Room in an Inn.
CONSTANT and CARELESS sitting at a table.
AIR 5th. (Duet.)
Another glass, 'tis friendship’s due,
In fancy folds thee to her heart. Carel. So this scoundrel attorney is in quiet possession of your estate ?
Cons. Even so; as my father declined in bodily
health, the soundness of his mind also became impaired; and he was worked upon by this rascal, who was then his steward, to disinherit my sister, and leave him the estate. The will was contested, but in vain; they could bring no proof that would reach him; and the bells you have heard ringing so merrily, are celebrating the anniversary of his victory. This I learnt from our host, who it seems is also a bit of a farmer. The best of the joke is, that thinking the estate securely his, my worthy steward, has laid out some thousand pounds in improving it.
Carel. Excellent! Have you pick'd up any tidings of your sister ?
Cons. Not a syllable; but I have learnt .
Cons. That Sophia, forgetting our long plighted and often renewed vows, has consented to marry this very wretch.
Carel. What, the attorney ?
(Enter a boy.) Boy. Is either of you Mr. Constant ? Cons. That's my name, my lad.
Boy. Then here's a letter for you; I brought it from a gentleman at the Blackamoor’s Head — One Mr. Toddy, I think: he told me not to wait for an answer, so your servant.
Cons. 'Tis her dear perfidious hand.
Cons. (Reads.) 6 Sophia condoles with Constant on his misfortunes.” Misfortunes ! “ The loss of his arm she could have borne, but his other calamity has cut her to the quick.” Loss of an arm! other calamity! Do you understand this ?
Carel. Not a word; but read on, for a woman often delights in perplexing a man, for the pleasure of bringing him to a right understanding at last.
Cons. “ She returns him his strange epistle, and will be happy to see him the first moment he feels himself equal to an interview :" why, what the devil is this ? Read the letter; there it is; read it, and see if you can find any thing strange in it.
Carel. (Reads.) “ Divinest of craters.”
Carel. Faith, it's absurd enough. “. Divinest of craters."
Cons. Come, come, I'm not in a jesting humour.
Carel. Nor I; therefore as you wrote the letter, you had better read it yourself.
Cons. Why this isn't the letter I sent her?
Cons. (Reads.) “ The thorns you have planted in my bosom have already grown to a quickset hedge. Fair virgin, be not guilty of manslaughter; but as
thou ant the most perfect, preterperfect, and preterpluperfect of women, look on me with an eye of tenderness, lest I throw myself into the next horse pond, to prove how much I am over head and years in love. I look upon thee 66 Yea, as a modest inoffensive ass, “ Condemn'd, poor soul, to feed where once was grass, - With outstretch'd neck and ears the paling over, 66 Looks wistfully upon a field of clover.”
Carel. 'Tis some mistake.
Cons. Mistake! what mistake ? be it as it may, I'm determined to have an interview, for the tortures of suspence are insupportable.
AIR 6th. (Duet.)
Thy pictures of delight,