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They see Belville and Captain Savage approaching, and they retire. In the convertation between Belville and Savage, the latter affures the Captain that he has an intrigue with Miss Walsingham; and this forms one of the perplexities of the play.
The second Act opens with a conversation between General Savage, the Cap:ain's father, and his friend Torringion; in wbich the spirit of a kee er is very happily exemplified. The General expresses his resolution tó gei Miis Moreland for his fon; and to marry Miss Wallinghain himself: but in atrempting to pay his devoirs, he meets with those mortifying interruptions and checks from his mistress, which hold him up to the audio ence as an irresistible 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 felou who refuses to plead, is too fai-fetched. The punishment is so seidom inflicted that it is not known to one man in ten thousand. And gilding a death warrant for the execution of a prisoner is a custom which we believe to be totally unknown.
This is followed by a lively dialogue between Miss Wallingham and Belville in which the vanity of that gay Gentleman is severely mortified; which is the reason, we suppole, that he swears • by the fings of mortification. On Miss Wallingham's departure, he is joined by Captain Savage, who is made easy by his account of the interview. While they are in conversa. tion Conolly brings Belville a challenge from Leeson, and a duel is appointed. When they retire, General Savage and Miss Wallingham meet, and as the following conversation is one of the belt scenes in the play, we shall give it our Readers as a farther specimen of the Author's talents and style.
Enter Miss Walengbam. Miss Wal. General Savage, your moit humble servant. • Gen. Sav. My dear Miss Walkingham, it is rather cruel that you hould be left at home by yourself; and yet I ain greatly rejoiced to find you at present without company.
• Miss Wal. I can't bút think myself in the best company when ! have the honour of your conversation, General.
• Gen. You flatter me too much, Madam; yet I am come to talk to you on a serious affair, Mits Walfingham; an affair of importance to me and to yourself. Have you leisure to favour me with a thort audience if I beat a parley?
* Miss Wal. Any thing of importance to you, Sir, is always fufficient to command my leisure -'Tis as the Captain faspected. (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 disagreeable one,
Mifs als And yet I am greatly agitated. (afide) · Gen. Soldiers,> Mifs Wallingham, are said to be generally favoured by the kind partiality of the Ladies.
• Mifoit'ala The ladies are not without gratitude, Sir, to those who devote their lives peculiarly to the service of their country.
• Gen. Generously said, Madam. Then give me leave, without any maked battery, to ask if the heart of an honelt foldier is a prize at all worth your acceptance.
Miss Wal. Upon my word, Sir, there's no malked battery in this
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 porfibility of entering sword in hand.
• Miss IV al. Why really, Sir, a woman may as well know her own mind, when she is firit summoned by the trumpet of a lover, as when she undergoes all the tiresome formality of a liege. You see! have caught your own mode of converfing, General.
• Gen. And a very great compliment I consider it, Madam. But now that you have candidly confessed an acquaintance with your own mind; answer me with that frankness, for which every body admires you so much, Have you any objection to change the name of Walfingham?
Miss ü'al. Why then, frankly, General Savage, I say, No. • Gen. Ten thousand thanks to you for this kind declaration. • Miss W'al. I hope you won't think it a forward one.
• Gen. I'd soorier fee my fon ron away in the day of battle ;-I'd sooner think Lord Ruffel was bribed by Lewis the 14th ;--and sooner vilify the memory of Algernoon Sydney !
"Miss Wat. How anjut it was ever to suppose the General à tytannical father! (afide)
! Gen. You have told me condescendingly, Miss Walfingham, that you have no objection to change your name; I have but one question more to ask. ?. Miss W’al. Pray propose it.
• Gen. Would the name of Savage be disagreeable to you ? speak frankly again, my dear girl.
• Miss Wal. Why then, again, I frankly say, No.
• Gen. You make me too happy; and though I fall readily own, that a proposal of this nature would come with more propriety from
* Miß Wal. I am much better pleased that you make the propo. fal yourself, Sir.
Gen. You are too good to me. Torrington thought that I should meet with a repulse. ( afide):
• Miss Wal. Have you communicated that business to the Captain, Sir?
Gen. No, my dear Madam, I did not think that at all necessary, I have always been attentive to the Captain's happiness; and I pro. pose that he shall be married in a few days. • Miss Wal. What, whether I will or nu pre
Gen. 0, you can bave no objection.
• Miss Wal. I'mut be consulted however about the day, General , but nothing in my power shall be wanting to make him happy.
• Gen. Obliging loveliness!
• Miss W'al. You may imagine, that if I was not previously impressed in favour of your proposal, it would not have met my concurrence so readily.
• Gen. Then you own, that I had a previous friend in the garrison.
• Miss Wal. I don't blush to acknowledge it, when I consider the accomplishments of the object, Sir.
Gen. O, this is too much, Madam ; the principal merit of the object is his paffion for Miss Wallingham.
Miss Wal. Don't say 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, Aattering angel. And yet, by the memory of Marlborough, my lovely girl, it was the idea of a prepof. session on your part which encouraged me to hope for a favourat! reception
• Miss Wal. Then I must have been very indiscreet; for I laboured to conceal that prepoffeffion as much as poltble.
• 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 vi&ories, Madam,
• Miss Wal. I don't at all doubt your success with che Ladies, General; but as we now understand one another fo perfectly, you will give me leave to retire.
• Gen. One word, my dear creature, and no more : I fall wait opon you sometime to-day with Mr. Torrington, about the necefsary settlements.
Miss Wal. You must do as you please, General, you are invincible in every thing.
• Gen. And if you please, we'll keep every thing a profound secret, till the articles are all settled, and the definitive treaty ready for exccution.
• Miss Wal. You may be sure, that delicacy will not suffer me to be communicate on the subject, Sir.
• Gen. Then you leave every thing to my management. • Miss Wal. I can't trust a more noble negociator. [Exit.
• Gen. The day's my own! (lings) “ Bricons, frike home ! strike home! Revenge, &c.”
(Exit finging. This is the general style and manner of the play. The · Reader will perceive, that it is fpirited, and agreeable ; but, in one or two instances, somewhat injured by an affected phrase, or a studied turn of a sentence. To be communicate is one of these affectations, if it be not an error of the press. And to refer to the late attempt against the memories of Lord Ruffel and Algernoon Sydney, is unbecoming the Comic Muse. The question relating to those Gentlemen, is either of a literary or a political nature ; and till it be clearly decided, it is invidious, and perhaps cruel, to raise the cry of mad-dog against the individual who has started it. according to the forged letter, she is to go off with Belville About this time Leelon is discovered to have run away with kmily, Belville's fifter. He is purfued by Belville, who generoudly contents to his having her.
The third Act opens with a scene at Miss Leeson's lodgings; where Lady Rachel Mildew, and Mrs. Belville, meet, to try: the abilities of the young actress ; or, rather, to gratify the jealous curiosity of the last-mentioned Lady. Belville, as theatrical manager, enters, and is discovered by his wife: he is forry, and the is forgiving, and so the matter is made up. Then follows a scene between General Savage and his ton ; a proper counterpart to that which we have given the Reader between the General and Miss Wallingham. We suppose the continuance of this mistake was expedient to the Author's fable; and we believe it to be the principal circumstance which denominates it now *, according to his own opinion of that circumftance : it would otherwise, perhaps, have appeared to him improbable, that two or three conversations should have been carried op by persons to interested and in a mater so important, and that yet this mistake should still continue.-But to go on with the play.
Lady Rachel and Mrs. Belville, not entirely satisfied with Belville's repentance, lay a plot to try him. Lady Rachel'is to play the part of Miss Walfingham, and to draw him into an intrigue. She counterfeirs Miss Walsingham's hand writing; and her letter is delivered to Belville while Captain Savage is with him; and as the Author has not chosen to make his hero very delicate and secret in his amours (for that would have been perhaps too sentimental) he reads it out; and the other Hamps and exclaims as became him. The servant fuddenly brings word that Miss Wallingham is overturned at Belville's door, and carried into the house in a fit. The Captain Aies 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 some measure removed; and the lovers go out in distress.
The fourth Act opens with the distress of Mrs. Belville on account of her husband's duel with Leelon. The duel terminates much to the honour of Belville. The scene then changes to Belville's house, and an intire explanation ensues between Miss Walsingham and General Savage, to the great mortification of that Gentleman. This scene is followed by a more serious one between Bclville and his wife. But the Author is not a Steele or a Cumberland in sentimental matters.
Captain Savage, who is not yet undeceived, in relation to Miss Wa' finghain, meets the General, and after heartily agreeing to abufe her, they resolve to go to the masquerade, where,
The bufinels at the masquerade is conducted in the begin. ning of the hfth Ad. Belville there pursues his wife, mistaking her for Miss Walbingbam ; but instead of making love to her, he proft fles 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; whole aim is to difcover the basenets of Miss Walfingham. Belville fecures her in a closet; and after some altercation, the Captain draws, and resolves to force his way to his unfaithful fair one. At that in. Atant Mrs. Belville comes forth, to the astonishment of the whole company, and Belville is confirmed in his determination to be a good husband. This is followed by a reconciliatory scene between Captain Savage and Miss Walfingham ; and the play concludes as usual 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 so many occafions to review compofitions of this kind that we find it difficult to avoid a fameness in our manner of criticising them. Some of our Readers may expect we should execute this business in form;
and treat the subject in order of fable, char aller, unity, &c. This we do not imagine to be necesary, where there is nothing remarkable, with respect to those articles. The play before us, would not bear a comparison with some of our comedies in point of wit ; or with others for meer language and moral sentiments. But the Author has, in a great degree, succeeded in compromising the difference between the two parties who now divide the theatre. He has more buhness, spirit, and intrigue, than many of our fentimental writers; he is not inelegant in his style ; and he has more de. cency, instruction, and morality than is to be found in our modern witty performances, without being in the least heavy, or unentertainiog in his manner.
As the influence of the stage upon the language of a country is great, the critic, amidit his attention to higher objects, will not overlook those 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 wri. ting. 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 cultom of contracting, gutting, and frictering words to pieces, by the misapplication of those elissons which are frequently necessary in versification, but seldom, if ever, requifite, or allowable, in profe. In dialogue, indeed, or in any