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Swipes. True, true; but, since we must die and leave our earthly possessions, it is well that the law takes such good care of us.
Had the old lady her senses when she departed ? Cur. Perfectly, perfectly. 'Squire Drawl told me she read every word of her last will and testament aloud, and never signed her name better.
Swipes. Had you any hint from the 'Squire what disposition she made of her property ?
Cur. Not a whisper! the 'Squire is as close as a miser's purse. But one of the witnesses hinted to me that she has cut off her graceless nephew with a shilling.
Swipes. Has she? Good soul! Has she? You know I come in, then, in right of my wife.
Cur. And I in my own right; and this is, no doubt, the reason why we have been called to hear the reading of the will. 'Squire Drawl knows how things should be done, though he is as air-tight as one of your own beer-barrels, brother Swipes. But here comes the young reprobate. He must be present, as a matter of course, you know." (Enter Frank MILLINGTON, R.) Your servant, young gentleman. So, your benefactress has left you, at last!
Swipes. It is a painful thing to part with old and good friends, Mr. Millington.
Frank. It is so, sir; but I could bear her loss better, had I not so often been ungrateful for her kindness. She was my only friend, and I knew not her value.
Cur. It is too late to repent, Master Millington. You will now have a chance to earn your own bread.
Swipes. Ay, ay, by the sweat of your brow, as better people are obliged to. You would make a fine brewer's boy, if you were not too old.
Cur. Ay, or a saddler's lackey, if held with a tight rein.
Frank. Gentlemen, your remarks imply that my aunt has treated me as I deserved. I am above your insults, and only hope you will bear your fortune as modestly, as I shall mine submissively. I shall retire. (As he is going, R., enter 'SQUIRE DRAWL, R.)
Squire. Stop, stop, young man! We must have your presence. Good-morning, gentlemen ; you are early on the ground.
Cur. I hope the 'Squire is well to-day.
'Squire. No, I believe not. You know I never hurry. Slow and sure is my maxim. Well, since the heirs at law are all
convened, I shall proceed to open the last will and testament of your deceased relative, according to law.
Swipes. While the 'SQUIRE is breaking the seal.) It is a trying scene to leave all one's possessions, 'Squire, in this manner!
Cur. It really makes me feel melancholy when I look round and see every thing but the venerable owner of these goods. Well did the preacher say, All is vanity!
Squire. Please to be seated, gentlemen. (All sit. — The SQUIRE puts on his spectacles, and reads slowly.) “ Imprimis: Whereas my nephew, Francis Millington, by his disobedience and ungrateful conduct, has shown himself unworthy of my bounty, and incapable of managing my large estate, I do hereby give and bequeath all my houses, farms, stocks, bonds, moneys, and property, both personal and real, to my dear cousins, Samuel Swipes, of Malt-street, brewer, and Christopher Currie, of Flycourt, saddler.” ('SQUIRE takes off his spectacles to wipe them.)
Swipes. (Dreadfully overcome.) Generous creature! kind soul! I always loved her.
Cur. She was good, she was kind ! She was in her right mind. Brother Swipes, when we divide, I'think I will take the mansion-house.
Swipes. Not so fast, if you please, Mr. Currie! My wife has long had her eye upon that, and must have it. (Both rise.)
Cur. There will be two words to that bargain, Mr. Swipes ! And, besides, I ought to have the first choice. Did not I lend her a new chaise every time she wished to ride ? And who knows what influence
Swipes. Am I not named first in her will ? And did I not furnish her with my best small beer for more than six months ? And who knows
Frank. Gentlemen, I must leave you. (Going.)
Squire. (Wiping his spectacles, and putting them on.) Pray, gentlemen, keep your seats. I have not done yet. All sit.) Let me see; where was I? — Ay,—“All my property, both
personal and real, to my dear cousins, Samuel Swipes, of Malt-street, brewer
'Squire. “To have and to hold in Trust, for the sole and exclusive benefit of my nephew, Francis Millington, until he shall have attained the age of twenty-one years; by which time I hope he will have so far reformed his evil habits, as that he may safely
be intrusted with the large fortune which I hereby bequeath to him."
Swipes. What's all this? You don't mean that we are humbugged ? In trust ! — how does that appear? Where is it?
Squire. (Pointing to the parchment.) There! In two words of as good old English as I ever penned.
Cur. Pretty well too, Mr. 'Squire, if we must be sent for to be made a laughing-stock of! She shall pay for every ride she had out of my chaise, I promise you !
Swipes. And for every drop of my beer. Fine times, if two sober, hard-working citizens are to be brought here to be made the sport of a graceless profligate! But we will manage his property for him, Mr. Currie! We will make him feel that trustees are not to be trifled with !
Cur. That will we!
'Squire. Not so fast, gentlemen; for the instrument is dated three years ago, and the young gentleman must already be of age, and able to take care of himself. Is it not so, Francis ?
Frank. It is, your worship.
'Squire. Then, gentlemen, having attended to the breaking of this seal according to law, you are released from any further trouble in the premises,
XV. THE DEBTOR AND THE DUN.
Enter REMNANT, R.* Remnant. Well, I am resolved I'll collect my bill of Col. Blarney this time. He shan't put me off again. This is the twentieth time, as I'm a sinner, that I have dunned him! His smooth words shan't humbug me now. No, no! Richard Remnant is not such a goose as to be paid in fine words for fine clothes. (Takes out a long bill, and unrolls it.) A pretty collection of items, that! Why, the interest alone would make a good round sum. But hark! He is coming. (Hastily rolls up the bill, and returns it to his pocket.)
Enter COL. BLARNEY, R. Blarney. Ah! my dear Remnant, a thousand welcomes ! How delighted I am to see you! And what stupidity on the part of my people not to make you enter at once! True, I had given orders that they should admit nobody; but those orders
* The initials R. and L. stand for the Right and Left of the stage, facing the audienos.
THE DEBTOR AND THE DUN.
1 did not extend to you, my dear sir, for to you I am always at home.
Rem. Much obliged, sir. (Fumbling in his pocket for his bill.)
Blar. (Calling to his servants). What ho! John! Martha ! confound you! I will teach you to keep my friend Remnant kieking his heels in the entry! I will teach you to distinguish among my visitors!
Rem. Indeed, sir, it is no sort of consequence.
Blar. But it is consequence! To tell you — you, one of my best friends — that I was not in!
Rem. I am your humble servant, sir. (Drawing forth bill.) I just dropped in to hand you this little – Blar. Quick, there, quick! A chair for my friend Remnant! Rem. I am very well as I am, sir. Blar. Not at all! I would have you seated. Rem. It is not necessary. (Servant hands a common chair.) Blar. Rascal ! - not that! An arm-chair!
Rem. You are taking too much trouble. (An arm-chair is placed for him.)
Blar. No, no; you have been walking some distance, and require rest. Now be seated.
Rem. There is no need of it - I have but a single word to say. I have brought Blar. Be seated, I say. I will not listen to
Rem. Well, sir, I will do as you wish. (Sits.) I was about
Blar. Upon my word, friend. Remnant, you are looking remarkably well.
Rem. Yes, sir, thank heaven, I am pretty well. I have come with this —
Blar. You have an admirable stock of health — lips fresh, skin ruddy, eyes clear and bright - really —
Rem. If you would be good enough to
Blar. À charming woman, Mr. Remnant! A very superior woman.
Rem. She will be much obliged, sir. As I was saying -
Blar. The beautiful little thing that she is ! I am quite in love with her.
Rem. You do us too much honor, sir. 1- you
Blar. And little Harry — does he make as much noise as ever, beating that drum of his ?
Rem. Ah, yes! He goes on the same as ever. But, as I was saying
Blar. And your little dog, Brisk, — does he bark as loud as ever, and snap at the legs of your
visitors ? Rem. More than ever, sir, and we don't know how to cure him. He, he! But I dropped in to
Blar. Do not be surprised if I want particular news of all your family, for I take the deepest interest in all of you.
Rem. We are much obliged to your honor, much obliged. I
Blar. (Giving his hand.) Your hand upon it, Mr. Remnant. Don't rise. Now, tell me, do you stand well with people of quality ? - for I can make interest for
them. Rem. Sir, I am your humble servant.
Blar. And I am yours, with all my heart. (Shaking hands again.)
Rem. You do me too much honor.
you. Rem. Sir, you are too kind to me.
Blar. At least I am disinterested; be sure of that, Mr. Remnant.
Rem. Certainly I have not merited these favors, sir. But,
Blar. Now I think of it, will you stay and sup with me?without ceremony, of course.
Rem. No, sir, I must return to my shop; I should have been there before this, I
Blar. What ho, there! A light for Mr. Remnant! and tell the coachman to bring the coach and drive him home.
Rem. Indeed, sir, it is not necessary. I can walk well enough. But here - (Offering bill.)
Blar. 0! I shall not listen to it. Walk? Such a night as this! I am your friend, Remnant, and, what is more, your debtor — your debtor, I say — all the world may know it.
Rem. Ah! sir, if you could but find it convenient
Blar. Hark! There is the coach. One more embrace, my dear Remnant ! (Shakes hands again.) Take care of the steps. Command me always; and be sure there is nothing in the world I would not do for you. There! Good-by.
(Exit REMNANT, conducted by Col. B.)
ALTERED FROM MOLIÈRE.