Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

THE CHOLERIC FATHER.

231

XVI. — THE CHOLERIC FATHER. Enter SIR ANTHONY ABSOLUTE, L.; CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE, R. Capt. Absolute. Sir, I am delighted to see you here, and look. ing so well! Your sudden arrival at Bath made me apprehensive for your health.

Sir Anthony. Very apprehensive, I dare say, Jack. What, you are recruiting here, hey?

Capt. A. Yes, sir, I am on duty.

Sir A. Well, Jack, I am glad to see you, though I did not expect it; for I was going to write to you on a little matter of business. Jack, I have been considering that I grow old and infirm, and shall not probably trouble you long.

Capt. A. Pardon me, sir, I never saw you look more strong and hearty, and I pray fervently that you may continue so.

Sir A. I hope your prayers may be heard, with all my heart. Well, then, Jack, I have been considering that I am so strong and hearty, I may continue to plague you a long time. Now, Jack, I am sensible that the income of your commission, and what I have hitherto allowed you, is but a small pittance for a lad of your spirit.

Capt. A. Sir, you are very good.

Sir A. And it is my wish, while yet I live, to have my boy make some figure in the world. I have resolved, therefore, to fix you at once in a noble independence.

Capt. A. Sir, your kindness overpowers me. Yet, sir, I presume you would not wish me to quit the army?

Sir A. O! that shall be as your wife chooses.
Capt. A. My wife, sir ?
Sir A. Ay, ay, settle that between you.
Capt. A. A wife, sir, did you say?
Sir A. Ay, a wife : why, did not I mention her before ?
Capt. A. Not a word of her, sir.

Sir A. Odd so! I must n't forget her, though. Yes, Jack, the independence I was talking of is by a marriage; the fortune is saddled with a wife : but I suppose that makes no difference ?

Capt. A. Sir, sir! you amaze me!

Sir A. Why, what's the matter ? Just now you were all gratitude and duty.

Capt. A. I was, sir; you talked to me of independence and a fortune, but not a word of a wife.

Sir A. Why, what difference does that make ? Odds life, sir ! if you have the estate, you must take it with the live stock on it, as it stands.

Capt. A. Pray, sir, who is the lady?

Sir A. What's that to you, sir? Come, give me your promise to love and to marry her directly.

Capt. A. Sure, sir, that is not very reasonable, to summon my affections for a lady I know nothing of!

Sir A. I am sure, sir, 't is more unreasonable in you to objeet to a lady you know nothing of!

Capt. A. You must excuse me, sir, if tell you, once for all, that in this point I can not obey you.

Sir A. Harkye, Jack; I have heard you for some time with patience - I have been cool, quite cool; but take care ; you know I am compliance itself, when I am not thwarted; no one more easily led, when I have my own way; but don't put me in a frenzy!

Capt. A. Sir, I must repeat it; in this I can not obey you.

Sir A. Now, hang me, if ever I call you Jack again while I live!

Capt. A. Nay, sir, but hear me.

Sir A. Sir, I won't hear a word — not a word !- not one word! So, give me your promise by a nod, and I'll tell you what, Jack,

I mean, you dog, - if you don't, by

Capt. A. What, sir, promise to link myself to some mass of ugliness ; to

Sir A. Zounds! sirrah! the lady shall be as ugly as I choose : she shall have a hump on each shoulder ; she shall be as crookëd as the crescent; her one eye shall roll like the bull's in Cox's mu-se'um ; she shall have a skin like a mummy, and the beard of a Jew;--she shall be all this, sirrah! yet I'll make you õgle her all day, and sit up all night to write sonnets on her beauty! (Crosses and recrosses.)

Capt A. This is reason and moderation, indeed !

Sir A. None of your sneering, puppy ! - no grinning, jackanapes !

Capt. A. Indeed, sir, I never was in a worse humor for mirth in my life.

Sir A. T is false, sir! I know you are laughing in your sleeve; I know you 'll grin when I am gone, sirrah !

Capt. A. Sir, I hope I know my duty better.

Sir A. None of your passion, sir! none of your violence, if you please! It won't do with me, I promise you. Capt. A. Indeed, sir, I never was cooler in

my

life. Sir A. I know you are in a passion in your heart; I know you are, you hypocritical young dog! But it won't do !

Capt. A. Nay, sir, upon my word

[merged small][ocr errors]

Sir A. So, you will fly out! Can't you be cool, like me ? What good can passion do? Passion is of no service, you impudent, insolent, overbearing reprobate! There, you sneer again! Don't provoke me! But you rely upon the mildness of my temper, you do, you dog! you play upon the meekness of my disposition! Yet, take care ; the patience of a saint may be overcome at last! But mark! I give you six hours and a half to consider of this : if you then agree, without any condition, to do every thing on earth that I choose, why, I may, in time, forgive you. If not, zounds! don't enter the same hemisphere with me! don't dare to breathe the same air or use the same light with me; but get an atmosphere and a sun of your own! I'll strip you of your commission : I'll lodge a five-and-three-pence in the hands of trustees, and you shall live on the interest! I'll disown you, I 'll disenherit you! and hang me, if ever I call you Jack

(Exit.) Capt. A. Mild, gentle, considerate father! I kiss your hands.

SHERIDAN'S “RIVALS."

again!

[blocks in formation]

(There should be a table on the stage, with pen, ink, and paper ; also two chairs.]

Enter SIR LUCIUS, R.; MR. ACRES, L.
Sir Lucius. Mr. Acres, I am delighted to embrace you !
Acres. My dear Sir Lucius, I kiss your hand !

Sir L. Pray, my friend, what has brought you so suddenly to Bath?

Acr. Faith! I have followed Cupid's Jack-a-lantern, and find myself in a quagmire at last. In short, I have been very ill ased, Sir Lucius. I don't choose to mention names, but look on me as on a very ill-used gentleman.

Sir L. Pray, what is the case ? — I ask no names.

Acr. Mark me, Sir Lucius : I fall as deep as need be in love with a young lady; her friends take my part; I follow her to Bath, send word of my arrival, and receive answer, that the young lady is to be otherwise disposed of. - This, Sir Lucius, I call being ill used.

Sir L. Very ill, upon my conscience. — Pray, can you divine the cause of it ?

Act. Why, there's the matter : she has another lover, one Beverly, who, I am told, is now in Bath. - Odds slander and lies! he must be at the bottom of it.

Sir L. A rival in the case, is there? and you think he has supplanted you unfairly ?

Acr. Unfairly ? - to be sure he has. He never could have done it fairly.

Sir L. Then, sure, you know what is to be done!
Acr. Not I, upon my honor !
Sir L. We wear no swords here, but you understand me.
Acr. What! fight him ?
Sir L. Ay, to be sure! What can I mean else?
Acr. But he has given me no provocation.

Sir L. Now, I think he has given you the greatest provocation in the world. Can a man commit a more heinous * offence against another than to fall in love with the same woman? 0, it is the most unpardonable breach of friendship!

Acr. Breach of friendship! Ay, ay; but I have no acquaintance with this man. I never saw him in my life.

Sir L. That's no argument at all; he has the less right, then, to take such a liberty.

Acr. Why, that's true. I grow full of anger, Sir Lucius ! I fire apace! Odds hilts and blades! I find a man may have a deal of valor in him, and not know it! But could n't I contrive to have a little right of my side ?

Sir L. What signifies right, when your honor is concerned ? Do you think Achilles,t or my little Alexander the Great, ever inquired where the right lay? No, they drew their broad-swords, and left the lazy sons of peace to settle the justice of it.

Acr. Your words are a grenadier's march to my heart! I believe courage must be catching !- I certainly do feel a kind of valor rising, as it were — a kind of courage, as I may say. Odds fints, pans, and triggers! I'll challenge him directly.

Sir L. Ah, my little friend! If I had Blunderbuss-Hall here, I could show you a range of ancestry, in the O'Trigger line, that would furnish the New Room ; every one of whom had killed his man ! For, though the mansion-house and dirty acres have slipt through my fingers

, I thank heaven our honor and the family-pictures are as fresh as ever.

Acr. 0, Sir Lucius! I have had ancestors, too!-- every man of 'em colonel or captain in the militia !— Odds balls and barrels ! say no more — I'm braced for it.

The thunder of your words has soured the milk of human kindness in my breast ! As the man in the play says, “ I could do such deeds"

Sir L. Come, come, there must be no passion at all in the case; these things should always be done civilly. * Pronounce ha'nus.

+ Pronounce A-halls

BCENE FROM THE RIVALS.

235

Act. I must be in a passion, Sir Lucius ! I must be in a rage! Dear Sir Lucius, let me be in a rage, if you love me. Come, here's pen and paper. (Sits down to write.)

(Sits down to write.) I would the ink were red! Indite, I say, indite ! How shall I begin ? Odds bullets and blades! I'll write a good bold hand, however.

Sir L. Pray, compose yourself.
Acr. Come, now, shall I begin with an oath ?
Sir L. Pho, pho! do the thing decently. Begin now: Sir

Acr. That 's too civil by half.
Sir L. To prevent the confusion that might arise -
Acr. Well.
Sir L. From our both addressing the same lady
Acr. Ay, there's the reason same lady. - Well.
Sir L. I shall expect the favor of your company -
Acr. Zounds! I'm not asking him to dinner!
Sir L. Pray, be easy.
Acr. Well, then, honor of your company -
Sir L. To settle our pretensions,
Acr. Well.

Sir L. Let me see ; ay, King's-Mead-fields will do ; in King's-Mead-fields.

Acr. So, that's done. Well, I'll fold it up presently. My own crest- -a hand and dagger— shall be the seal. (Rises.)

Sir L. You see, now, this little explanation will put a stop at once to all confusion or misunderstanding that might arise between you. Acr. Ay, we fight to prevent any

misunderstanding. Sir L. Now I'll leave you to fix your own time. advice, and

you 'll decide it this evening, if you can ; then, let the worst come of it, 't will be off your mind to-morrow.

Acr. Very true. Sir L. So I shall see nothing more of you, unless it be by letter, till the evening. I would do myself the honor to carry your message ; but, to tell you a secret, I believe I shall have just such another affair on my own hands. There is a gay captain here, who put a jest on me lately at the expense of my country; and I only want to fall in with the gentleman, to call him out.

Acr. By my valor, I should like to see you fight first! Odds life! I should like to see you stand up to shoot him, if it was only to get a little lesson !

Take my

SHERIDAN.

« ForrigeFortsett »