Слике страница
PDF
ePub

fons. He had got acquainted with and deluded Miss Leeson, niece of Mrs. Tempeft, the mistress of General Savage, who is the Captain's father. Beiville had effected this unier pretence of being an Irish manager, and had engaged the Lady for the Dublin stage. Mrs. Tempest procured some knowledge of his design, and had upbraided him with it in the hearing of Mrs. Belville ; but in so outrageous a manner, that Belville easily persuaded his good wife that the woman was niad. Mr, and virs. Belville join Captain Savage and Miss Walfingham; and a few words pass on this subject, when Lady Rachel Mildew sends her compliments and says she will wait on Mr. and Mrs. Belville. Some witty hints are given of a love-affair between this Lady, who is a poet and a wit, and Torrington, an old lawyer; and Miss Walsingham tells us,' that Lady Rachel puts her charms into such repair, whenever she expe&ls to meet him, that her cheeks look for all the world like a rasberry ice upon a ground of custard.'- This piece of wit has been applauded, but we apprehend it to be defective in many eflentiał requisites of a fimile. It is not at all to be understood, but by those who are admitted to the tables of the great ; and it gives extraordinary trouble to a Reviewer, who must of neceffity, be at a loss to judge of the propriety of such dainty allusions. However, as the Author may, in this instance at least, object to the competency of the court, we fhall drop the point, and proceed.

The scene changes to Leeson's chambers in the Temple, Leeson is brother to the girl who is deluded by Belville. And Conolly is a faithful and affe&lionate Irish servant. Leeson is in difficulties, which are to be removed by his running away with a girl of large fortune. In the mean time he sends a chalJenge to Belville for the injury done to his sister. --The scene removes us to an apartment at Belville's; and opens with one of the best lessons in the School for Wives.

Mrs. Bel. How ftrangely this affair of Mrs. Tempeft hangs upon my spirits ! though I have every reason from the tenderness, the politeness, (and the generosity of Mr. Belville, as well as from the woman's behaviour, to believe the whole charge the result of a difturbed imagination-Yet suppose it should be actually true :-heigho! well, suppose it should ;-I would endeavour—I think I would endeavour to keep my temper :-a frowning, face never recovered a heart that was not to be fixed with a smiling one :--but women in general, forget this grand article of the matrimonial creed entirely ; the dignity of insulted virtue obliges them to play the fool, whenever their Corydons play the libertine ;-and, poh! they must pull down the house about the traitor's ears, though they are themselves to be crushed in pieces by the ruins.'

This excellent soliloquy is interrupted by the introduction of Lady Rachel Mildew, and the conversation turns on love, on poetry, and on Miss Leeson, as a candidate for the stage.

They

They see Belville and Captain Savage approaching, and they retire. In the conversation between Belville and Savage, the latter assures the Captain that he has an intrigue with Miss Walfingham ; and this forms one of the perplexities of the play

The second Act opens with a conversation between General Savage, the Captain's father, and his friend Torrington; in which the spirit of a keeper is very happily exemplified. The General expresses his resolution to get Miss Moreland for his fon; and to marry-Miss Walsingham himself: but in attempting to pay his devoirs, he meets with those mortifying interruptioris and checks from his mistress, which hold him up to the audit ence as an irreliftible object of laughter. 'The dialogue, here, between the old Gentleman, his friend, and his misttefs, 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 refuses to plead, is too far-fetched. Thę punishment is lo seldom 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 season, we suppose, that he (wears by the stings 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 conversation Conolly brings Belville a challenge from Leefon, and a duel is appointed. When they retire, General Savage and Miss Wallingham meet, and as the following conversation is one of the best scenes in the play, we shall give it our Readers as a farther specimen of the Author's talents and style.

Epter Mifs Wallingham. Miss Wal. General Savage, your molt humble servant;

. Gen. Såv. My dear Miss Walsingham, it is rather cruel that you should be left at home by yourself; and yet I am greatly rejoiced to find you at present without company.

Miss Wal. I can't but think myself in the best company when I have the honour of your conversation, General.

Gen. You Hatter me tco much, Madam; yet I amy come to talk to you on a serious affair, Miss Walfingham; an affair of importance to me and to yourself. Have you leisure to favour me with a short 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 Captaia suspected. (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 Wal. And yet I am greatly agitated. (afide)

Gén. Soldiers, Miss Wallingham, are said to be generally favoured by the kind partiality of the Ladies.

Miss Wal. The ladies are not without gratitude, Sir, to thote who devote their lives peculiarly to the service of their country.

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

Miss Wal. Upon my word, Sir, there's no maked battery in this question.

Gen. 'I am as fond of a coup de main, Madam, in love as in war, and hate ithe tedious method of lapping a town, when there is a polo fibility of entering sword in hand.

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

Gen. And a very great compliment i consider 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 so much, Have you any objection to change the name of Walfingham? Miss Wal. Why then, frankly, General Savage, I say, No.

Gen. Ten thousand thanks to you for this kind declaration, Miss Wal. I hope you won't think it a forward one.

Gen. I'd sooner see my son sun away in the day of battle ;-I'd sooner think Lord Rofiel was bribed by Lewis the 14th ;-and sooner vilify the memory of Algernoon Sydney !

Miss Wal. How unjust it was ever to suppose the General a tyTannical father! (afide)

Cen. You have told me condescendingly, Miss Walfingham, that you have no objection to change your name; I have but one question

Miss W'al. Pray propose it.

Gen. Would the name of Savage be disagreeable to you ? spcak frankly again, my dear girl.

Miss Wal. Why then, again, I frankly say, No. :

Gen. You make me too happy; and though ifall 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 propos sal yourself, Sir.

. Gen. You are too good to me. Torrington thought that I should meet with a repulse. Maside)

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 propose that he shall be married in a few days.

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

more to ask.

my son

Miss Wal. I must be consulted however about the day, General , but nothing in my power Mall be wanting to make him happy.

Gen. Obliging loveliness!

Miss Wal. You may imagine, that if I was not previously impressed in favour of your proposal, it would not have met my concurrence so readily.

Ger. 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 paflion for Miss Wallingham,

Miss Wal. Don't say ibar, 'General, I beg of you ; for I don's 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 prepok Selfion on your part which encouraged me to hope for a favourable reception.

Miss Wal. Then I must have been very indiscreet; for I laboured to conceal that prepossession as much as posible.

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

Miss Wal. I don't at all doubt your success with the Ladies, General; but as'we now.'understand one another so perfectly, you will give me leave to retire,

Gen. One word, my dear creature, and no more : I Mall wait opon you sometime to-day with Mr. Torrington, abouí the necer. fary settlements.

Miss Wal. You must do as you please, General, you are invin. cible 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 execution.

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! (fings)" Britons, strike home! Itrike home! Revenge, &c."

(Exit singing. This is the general style and manner of the play.' The Reader will perceive, that it is spirited, 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 Mufe, The question relating to those Gentlemen, is either of a literary or a political nature; and till it be clearly decided, it is invidious,

1

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

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 curiofity of the last-mentioned Lady. Belville, as theatrical manager, enters, and is discovered by his wife: he is sorry, and the is forgiving, and so the matter is made up. Then follows a scene betweéii General Savage and his son'; a proper counterpari, to that which we have given the Reader between the General and Miss Wallingham. We suppose the continue, ance of this mistake was expedient to the Author's fable; and we believe it to be the principal circumítance which denominates it now *, according to his own opinion of thai circumftance: "it would otherwise, perhaps, have appeared to him improbable, that two or three conversations should have been carried on by perfons to interested and in a matter so important, and that yet this mistake should fill 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 Walsingham, and to draw him into an intrigue. She counterfeits Miss Walfingham'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 100 sentimental) he reads it out; and the other stamps and exclaims as became him. The servant suddenly brings word that Miss Wallingham is overturned at Belville's door, and carried into the house in a fit. The Captain Aies to her

affiftance; finds her recovered ; and they have a kind of quarsel 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 ac'count of her husband's duel with Leeson. The duel terminatęs much to the honour of Belville. The scene then changes to Belville's house, ard an intire explanation ensues between Miss Walfingham and General Savage, to the great mortification of that Gentleman. This scene is followed by a more serious one between Belville and his wife. But the Author is not a Steele or à Cumberland in sentimental matters..

Captain Savage, who is not yet undeceived, in relation to Miss Walfingham, meets the General, and after heartily agreeing to abyse her, they resolve to go to the masquerade, where, • Vide Preface,

accord

« ПретходнаНастави »