« ForrigeFortsett »
XVIII. - PEDANTS SEEKING PATRONAGE. [R. stands for the right of the stage, facing the audience ; L. for the left ; C.
for the center.] CHARACTERS. — DIGIT, a mathematician ; he has a folio volume under his arm,
and wears a very seedy black coat. SESQUIPEDALIA, e linguist and philosopher ; he wears spectacles, and carries a cane. TRILL, 4 musician ; he has a roll of music, to which he occasionally refers. DRONE, a servant, slow of motion and slow of speech. The scene is supposed to be in the ante-room of M. More rell's house.*
Enter DIGIT, L. Digit. If theologians are in want of a proof that mankind are daily degenerating, let them apply to me, Archimedest Digit. I can furnish them with one as clear as any demonstration in Euclid's third or fifth book; and it is this, the growing inattention to the sublime and exalted science of mathematics. 0, that the patriotic inhabitants of this extensive country should suffer so degrading a circumstance to exist! Why, yesterday, I asked a lad of ifteen which he preferred, algebra or geometry, and he told me — 0, horrible ! - he told me he had never studied either! I was thunderstruck, I was astonished, I was petrified! Never studied geometry! never studied algebra ! - and fifteen years old! The dark ages are returning. Heathenish obscurity will soon overwhelm the world, unless I do something immediately to enlighten it: and for this purpose I have now applied to Mr. Morrell, who lives here, and is celebrated for his pătronage of learning and learnöd men. I wish somebody would (Looks off R., and calls.) Who waits there?
Enter DRONE, R. Is Mr. Morrell at home ?
Drone. Can't say; s'pose he is ; indeed, I am sure he is —or was just now. On the whole, I rather think he is.
Digit. Why, I could solve an equation while you are answering a question of five words, - I mean if the unknown terms were all on one side of the equation. Can I see him ?
* It is important, in the delivery of dialogues, in order to prevent confusion, to have the places of entrance and exit, whether right or left, well understood beforehand ; also to have every crossing of the stage marked and understood. Unless this is done, awkwardness will be produced by an unexpected movement. In some of the dialogues the editor has inserted the proper marks ; in others, the speakers are left to arrange them. The animation and naturalness of a dialogue often depend upon proper and expressive movementa across the stage, or to and fro.
† Pronouncod Aroke-medēs.
PEDANTS SEEKING PATRONAGE.
Drone. There is nobody in this house by the name of Quation.
Digit. (Aside.) Now, here's a fellow that can not distinguish between an algebraic term and the denomination of his master ! - I wish to see Mr. Morrell upon an affair of infinite importance,
ahem ! Drone. O, very likely, sir. I will inform him that Mr. Quation wishes to see him (mimicking) upon an affair of infinite importance, — ahem!
Digit. No, no! Digit-Digit. My name is Digit.
Digit. (Alone.) That fellow is certainly a negative quantity . He is minus common sense. If this Mr. Morrell is the man I take him to be, he can not but pătronize my talents. Should he not, I don't know how I shall obtain a new coat. I have worn this ever since I began to write my theory of sines and cotangents; and my elbows have so often formed right angles with the plane surface of my table, that a new coat or a parallel patch is very necessary. But here comes Mr. Morrell.
Enter SESQUIPEDALIA, L. Sir (bowing low), I am your most mathematical servant. I am sorry, sir, to give you this trouble ; but an affair of consequence -(pulling the rags over his elbows) –
an affair of consequence, as your servant informed you
Sesquipedalia. Servus non est mihi, Dom’i-ne ; that is, I have no servant, sir. I presume you have erred in
your calculation; and
Digit. (R.) No, sir. The calculations I am about to present you are founded on the most correct theorems of Euclid. You may examine them, if you please. They are contained in this small manuscript. (Producing a folio.)
Sesq. Sir, you have bestowed a degree of interruption upon my observations. I was about, or, according to the Latins, fu-tu'rus sum, to give you a little information concerning the luminary who appears to have deceived your vision. My name, sir, is Tullius Maro Titus Crispus Sesquipedalia ; by profession a linguist and philosopher. The most abstruse points in physics or metaphysics are to me transpărent as ēther. I have come to this house for the purpose of obtaining the pătronage of a gentleman who befriends all the literati. Now, sir, perhaps I have induced conviction, in mente tua, that is, in your mind, that your calculation was erroneous.
Digit. Yes, sir; as to your person, I was mistaken ; but my calculations, I maintain, are correct, to the tenth part of a circulating decimal.
Sesq. But what is the subject of your manuscript ? flave you discussed the infinite divisibility of matter?
Digit. No, sir ; I can not reckon infinity; and I have nothing to do with subjects that can not be reckoned.
Sesq. Why, I can reckon about it. I reckon it is divisible ad infinitum. But perhaps your work is upon the materiality of light; and if so, which side of the question do you espouse ?
Digit. O, sir, I think it quite immaterial.
Sesq. What! light immaterial! Do you say light is immaterial?
Digit. No; I say it is quite immaterial which side of the question I espouse. I have nothing to do with it. And, besides, I am a bachelor, and do not mean to espouse any thing at present.
Sesq. Do you write upon the attraction of cohesion 1 You know, matter has the properties of attraction and repulsion.
Digit. I care nothing about matter, so I can find enough for mathematical děmonstration.
Sesq. I can not conceive what you have written upon, then. 0! it must be the centripetal and centrifugal motions.
Digit. (Peevishly.) No, no! I wish Mr. Morrell would come! Sir, I have no motions but such as I can make with my pencil upon my slate, thus. (Figuring upon his hand.) Six, minus four, plus two, equal eight, minus six, plus two. There, those are my motions.
Sesq. O! I perceive you grðvel in the depths of arithmetic. I suppose you never soared into the regions of philosophy. You never thought of the vacuüm which has so long filled the heads of philosophers.
Digit. Vacuüm! (Putting his hand to his forehead.). Let me think.
Sesq. Ha! What! have you got it sub manu, that is, under your
hand ? Ha, ha, ha! Digit. Eh ! under my hand? What do you mean, sir ? — that my head is a vacuum ? Would you insult me, sir ? — insult Archimedes Digit? Why, sir, I'll cipher you into infinite divisibility! I'll set you on an inverted cone, and give you a centripetal and centrifugal motion out of the window, sir! I'll scatter your solid contents ! (Crosses to L.)
Sesq. (R.) Da veniam, that is, pardon me! it was merely a lapsus lingue, that is
Digit. (L.) Well, sir, I am not fond of lapsus linguæs, at all, sir. However, if you did not mean to offend, I accept your apology. I wish Mr. Morrell would come !
Sesq. But, sir, is your work upon mathematica ?
PEDANTS SEEKING PATRONAGE.
Digit. Yes, sir. In this manuscript I have endeavored to elucidate the squaring of the circle.
Sesq. But, sir, a square circle is a contradiction in terms. You can not make one.
Digit. I perceive you are a novice in this sublime science. The object is to find a square which shall be equal to a given circle; which I have done by a rule drawn from the radii of the circle and the diagonal of the square. And by my rule the area of the square will equal the area of the circle.
Sesq. Your terms are to me incomprehensible. Diagonal is derived from the Greek. Dia and gònia, that is, “ through the corner.” But I don't see what it has to do with a circle; for, if I understand aright, a circle, like a sphere, has no corners.
Digit. You appear to be very ignorant of the science of numbers. Your life must be very insipidly spent in poring over philosophy and the dead languages. You never tasted, as I have, the pleasure arising from the investigation of a difficult problem, or the discovery of a new rule in quadratic equations.
Sesq. Poh! poh! (Crosses to L., and hits Digit on the leg with his cane.)
Digit. (Crossing to R.) O, you villain!
Digit. (R.) And so do I wish, sir, that that cane was raised to the fourth power, and laid over your head as many times as there are units in a thousand! 0:0!
Sesq. (C.) Did my cane come in contact with the sphere of attraction around your shin? I must confess, sir,
Enter TRILL, L.
Trill. (L.) Which of you, gentlemen, is Mr. Morrell ?
Trill. No, sir ; I am a teacher of music. Flute, harp, viol, violin, violoncello,* organ, or any thing of the kind; any instrument you can mention. I have just been displaying my powers at a concert, and come recommended to the pătronage of Mr. Morrell.
Sesq. For the same purpose are that gentleman and myself here.
Digit. (R. - Still rubbing his shin.) 0! O!
Trill. Nas the gentleman the gout? I have heard of its being cured by music. Shall I sing you a solo? Hem! hem! (Clears his throat, and begins to sing.) Faw
• Pronounced ve-o-lon-chel'lo. Sound ph as f in sphere and symphony.
Digit. Hold! If we must have a solo, let it be sung so logo that I can't hear it. I want none of your tunes. I'd make that philosopher sing, though, and dance, too, if he had n't made a vulgar fraction of my leg.
Sesq. In vér-i-ta'te, that is, in truth, it happened forte, that is, by chance.
Trill. (Talking to himself.) If B be flat, me is in E.
Digit. To Sesq.) Ay, sir; this is only an in'tegral part of your conduct ever since you came into this house. You have continued to multiply your insults in the abstract ratio of a geometrical progression, and at last have proceeded to violence. The dignity of Archimedes Digit never experienced such a reduction descending before.
Trill. (To himself.) Twice fa sol la, and then comes me again.
Digit. If Mr. Morrell does not admit me soon, I 'll leave the house, while my head is on my shoulders.
Trill. Gentlemen, you neither keep time nor chord. But, if you can sing, we will try a trio before we go.
Sesq. Can you sing an ode of Horace or Anac'ro-on? I should like to hear one of them.
Digit. I had rather hear you sing a demonstration of the forty-seventh proposition, first book.
Prill. I never heard of those performers, sir; where do they belong?
Sesq. They did belong to Italy and Greece.
Trill. (Crosses to R.) Ah! Italy! There are our best masters, such as Morelli and Fuselli. Can you favor me with some of their compositions ?
Sesq. (L.) O, yes; if you have a taste that way, I can furnish you with them, and with Virgil, Sallust, Cicero, Cæsar, and Quintilian; and I have an old Greek Lexicon which I can spare.
Trill. Ad lib'itum, my dear sir, they will make a handsome addition to my musical library.
Digit. (C.) But, sir, what pretensions have you to the pătronage of Mr. Morrell ? I don't
believe you can square the circle. Trill. Pretensions, sir! I have gained a victory over the great Tantamarrarra, the new opera-singer, who pretended to vie
'T was in the symphony of Handel's Oratorio of Saul, where, you know, every thing depends upon the tempo giusto, and where the primo should precede in smorgando, and the secondo, agitati. But he was on the third ledger line, I was an octavo below, when, with a sudden appoggiatura, I rose to D in alt, and conquered him.