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They fee Belville and Captain Savage approaching, and they retire. In the converfation between Belville and Savage, the latter affures the Captain that he has an intrigue with Mifs Walfingham; and this forms one of the perplexities of the play.

The fecond Act opens with a converfation between General Savage, the Captain's father, and his friend Torrington; in which the fpirit of a kee er is very happily exemplified. The General expreffes his refolution to get Mis Moreland for his fon; and to marry Mifs Wallingham himself: but in attempting to pay his devoirs, he meets with thofe mortifying interruptions and checks from his miftrefs, which hold him up to the audience as an irrefiftible object of laughter. The dialogue, here, between the old Gentleman, his friend, and his mistress, is very well managed, on the whole; but we think the Author is not happy in his fimiles. That which is taken from the punishment of a felon who refufes to plead, is too far-fetched. The punishment is fo feldom inficted that it is not known to one man in ten thousand. And gilding a death warrant for the execution of a prifoner is a cuftom which we believe to be totally

unknown.

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This is followed by a lively dialogue between Mifs Wallingham and Belville in which the vanity of that gay Gentleman is feverely mortified; which is the reafon, we fuppofe, that he fwears by the flings of mortification.' On Mifs Walfingham's departure, he is joined by Captain Savage, who is made eafy by his account of the interview. While they are in converfation Conolly brings Belville a challenge from Leeson, and a duel is appointed. When they retire, General Savage and Mifs Walfingham meet, and as the following converfation is one of the belt fcenes in the play, we fhall give it our Readers as a farther fpecimen of the Author's talents and ftyle.

Enter Mifs Walfingham.

"Mifs Wal. General Savage, your mot humble fervant.

Gen. Sav. My dear Mifs Walfingham, it is rather cruel that you hould be left at home by yourself; and yet I am greatly rejoiced to find you at prefent without company.

Mifs Wal. I can't but think myfelf in the belt company when I have the honour of your converfation, General.

• Gen. You flatter me too much, Madam; yet I am come to talk to you on a ferious affair, Mifs Walfingham; an affair of importance to me and to yourself. Have you leifure to favour me with a thort audience if I beat a parley?

Mifs Wal. Any thing of importance to you, Sir, is always fufficient to command my leifure-Tis as the Captain fufpected. (afide.)

Gen. You tremble, my lovely girl, but don't be alarmed; for though my business is of an important nature, I hope it won't be of a difagreeable one.

• Mih

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• Miss Well And yet I am greatly agitated. (ujide)

• Gen. Soldiers, Mifs Wallingham, are faid to be generally favoured by the kind partiality of the Ladies.

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• Mifolal. The ladies are not without gratitude, Sir, to thofe who devote their lives peculiarly to the fervice of their country.

• Gen. Generously faid, Madam. Then give me leave, without any maked battery, to ask if the heart of an honest foldier is a prize at all worth your acceptance.

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Mifs Wal. Upon my word, Sir, there's no masked battery in this question.

• Gen. I am as fond of a coup de main, Madam, in love as in war, and hate the tedious method of fapping a town, when there is a posfibility of entering fword in hand.

Mifs Wal. Why really, Sir, a woman may as well know her own mind, when the is first fummoned by the trumpet of a lover, as when the undergoes all the tiresome formality of a fiege. You fee I have caught your own mode of converfing, General.

Gen. And a very great compliment I confider it, Madam. But now that you have candidly confeffed an acquaintance with your own mind; answer me with that frankness, for which every body admires you fo much, Have you any objection to change the name of Walfingham ?

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• Mifs Wal. Why then, frankly, General Savage, I fay, No. * Gen. Ten thousand thanks to you for this kind declaration. • Majs Wal. I hope you won't think it a forward one.

Gen. I'd fooner see my fon run away in the day of battle ;-I'd fooner think Lord Ruffel was bribed by Lewis the 14th ;-and fooner vilify the memory of Algernoon Sydney!

Mifs Wal. How unjuft it was ever to fuppofe the General à tyrannical father! (afide)

Gen. You have told me condefcendingly, Mifs Walfingham, that you have no objection to change your name; I have but one question more to ask.

Mifs Wal. Pray propose it.

Gen. Would the name of Savage be difagreeable to you? fpeak; frankly again, my dear girl.

Mifs Wal. Why then, again, I frankly fay, No.

Gen. You make me too happy; and though 1 fhall readily own, that a propofal of this nature would come with more propriety from my fon make the propo

Mifs Wal. I am much better pleased that fal yourself, Sir.

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Gen. You are too good to me. Torrington thought that I fhould meet with a repulfe. (afide)·

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Mifs Wal. Have you communicated that bufinefs to the Captain,

Sir?

Gen. No, my dear Madam, I did not think that at all neceffary. I have always been attentive to the Captain's happiness; and I propofe that he fhall be married in a few days.

'Mifs Wal, What, whether I will or no? Gen. O, you can have no objection.

Mis

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• Mifs Wal. I'must be confulted however about the day, General, but nothing in my power fhall be wanting to make him happy. Gen. Obliging loveliness!

Mifs Wal. You may imagine, that if I was not previously impreffed in favour of your propofal, it would not have met my concurrence fo readily.

Gen. Then you own, that I had a previous friend in the garrifon. Mifs Wal. I don't blush to acknowledge it, when I consider the accomplishments of the object, Sir.

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Gen. O, this is too much, Madam; the principal merit of the object is his paffion for Mifs Wallingham.

Mifs Wal. Don't fay that, General, I beg of you; for I don't think there are many women in the kingdom who could behold him with indifference.

Gen. Ah, you flattering, flattering angel. And yet, by the memory of Marlborough, my lovely girl, it was the idea of a prepoffeffion on your part which encouraged me to hope for a favourable reception.

Miss Wal, Then I must have been very indifcreet; for I laboured to conceal that prepoffeffion as much as poffble.

• Gen. You cou'dn't conceal it from me! you cou'dn't conceal it from me! the female heart is a field which I am thoroughly acquainted with; and which has more than once been a witness to my victories, Madam,"

• Mifs Wal. I don't at all doubt your fuccefs with the Ladies, General; but as we now underfstand one another fo perfectly, you will give me leave to retire.

Gen. One word, my dear creature, and no more: I fhall wait upon you sometime to-day with Mr. Torrington, about the neceffary fettlements.

Mifs Wal. You must do as you pleafe, General, you are invincible in every thing.

Gen. And if you please, we'll keep every thing a profound fecret, till the articles are all fettled, and the definitive treaty ready for execution.

• Mifs Wal. You may be fure, that delicacy will not fuffer me to be communicate on the subject, Sir.

• Gen. Then you leave every thing to my management.

• Mifs Wal. I can't truft a more noble negociator.

[Exit.

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Gen. The day's my own! (fings) "Britons, ftrike home! ftrike home! Revenge, &c." [Exit finging. This is the general ftyle and manner of the play. The Reader will perceive, that it is fpirited, and agreeable; but, in one or two instances, fomewhat injured by an affected phrase, or a studied turn of a fentence. To be communicate is one of these affectations, if it be not an error of the prefs. And to refer to the late attempt against the memories of Lord Ruffel and Algernoon Sydney, is unbecoming the Comic Mufe, The question relating to thofe Gentlemen, is either of a literary or a political nature; and till it be clearly decided, it is invidious, D 4

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and perhaps cruel, to raise the cry of mad-dog against the individual who has started it.

The third Act opens with a fcene at Mifs Leefon's lodgings; where Lady Rachel Mildew, and Mrs. Belville, meet, to try.. the abilities of the young actrefs; or, rather, to gratify the jealous curiofity of the last-mentioned Lady. Belville, as theatrical manager, enters, and is difcovered by his wife he is forry, and the is forgiving, and fo the matter is made up. Then follows a fcene between General Savage and his fon; a proper counterpart to that which we have given the Reader between the General and Mifs Walfingham. We fuppofe the continuance of this mistake was expedient to the Author's fable; and we believe it to be the principal circumftance which denominates it new, according to his own opinion of that circumftance it would otherwife, perhaps, have appeared to him im. probable, that two or three converfations fhould have been carried on by perfons (o interefted and in a matter fo important, and that yet this miflake fhould still continue.-But to go on with the play.

Lady Rachel and Mrs. Belville, not entirely fatisfied with Belville's repentance, lay a plot to try him. Lady Rachel is to play the part of Mifs Walfingham, and to draw him into an intrigue. She counterfeits Mifs Walfingham's hand writing; and her letter is delivered to Belville while Captain Savage is with him; and as the Author has not chofen to make his hero very delicate and fecret in his amours (for that would have been perhaps too fentimental) he reads it out; and the other #tamps and exclaims as became him. The fervant fuddenly brings word that Mifs Walfingham is overturned at Belville's door, and carried into the houfe in a fit. The Captain flies to her afiiftance; finds her recovered; and they have a kind of quarrel about Lady Rachel's letter. The old General interrupts them; and the mistake which has been so useful to the Author is in fome measure removed; and the lovers go out in diftrefs.

The fourth A& opens with the diftrefs of Mrs. Belville on account of her husband's duel with Leefon. The duel terminates much to the honour of Belville. The fcene then changes to Belville's house, and an intire explanation enfues between Mifs Walfingham and General Savage, to the great mortification of that Gentleman. This fcene is followed by a more serious one between Belville and his wife. But the Author is not a Steele or a Cumberland in fentimental matters.

Captain Savage, who is not yet undeceived, in relation to Mifs Walfingham, meets the General, and after heartily agreeing to abufe her, they refolve to go to the mafquerade, where,

• Vide Preface,

accord

according to the forged letter, fhe is to go off with Belville. About this time Leefon is difcovered to have run away with Emily, Belville's fifter. He is purfued by Belville, who generoutly confents to his having her.

The business at the mafquerade is conducted in the beginning of the fifth A&t. Belville there purfues his wife, miftaking her for Mifs Walfingham; but instead, of making love to her, he profefles his intention to reform, and henceforth, to be faithful to the virtues of Mrs. Belville. They are interrupted by the General, the Captain, and Torrington; whofe aim is to dif cover the bafenefs of Mifs Walfingham. Belville fecures her in a clofet; and after fome altercation, the Captain draws, and refolves to force his way to his unfaithful fair one. At that in. ftant Mrs. Belville comes forth, to the aftonishment of the whole company, and Belville is confirmed in his determination to be a good husband. This is followed by a reconciliatory fcene between Captain Savage and Mifs Walfingham; and the play concludes as ufual by bringing all the proper people together; putting the lovers in the way of matrimony; and making the reformed rake give fome good advice to the audience.

We have fo many occafions to review compofitions of this kind that we find it difficult to avoid a fameness in our manner of criticiling them. Some of our Readers may expect we should execute this business in form; and treat the fubject in order of fable, character, unity, &c. This we do not imagine to be neceffary, where there is nothing remarkable, with refpect to thofe articles. The play before us, would not bear a comparison with fome of our comedies in point of wit; or with others for meer language and moral fentiments. But the Author has, in a great degree, fucceeded in compromifing the difference between the two parties who now divide the theatre. He has more business, fpirit, and intrigue, than many of our fentimental writers; he is not inelegant in his ftyle; and he has more decency, inftruction, and morality than is to be found in our modern witty performances, without being in the leaft heavy, or unentertaining in his manner..

As the influence of the ftage upon the language of a country is great, the critic, amidst his attention to higher objects, will not overlook thofe little improprieties which, if not timely reprehended, may grow fashionable, from the popular notion that the theatre is the school of correct and elegant speaking and writing. We have noticed one imperfection of the kind here hinted at, which has difgufted us in almost every page of this comedy; viz. the vicious custom of contracting, gutting, and frittering words to pieces, by the mifapplication of thofe elifions which are frequently neceffary in verfification, but feldom, if ever, requifite, or allowable, in profe, In dialogue, indeed, or in any

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