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Aim. You're very exact, I find, in the age of your ale. Bon. As punctual, Sir, as I am in the age of my children: I'll show you such ale !-Here, tapster, broach number 1706, as the saying is-Sir, you shall taste my anno Domini. -I have lived in Litchfield, man and boy, above eight and fifty years, and I believe, have not consumed eight and fifty ounces of meat.
Aim. At a meal, you mean, if one may guess by your bulk.
Bon. Not in my life, Sir, I have fed purely upon ale; I have eat my ale, drank my ale, and I always sleep upon ale. [Enter tapster, with a tankard.] Now, Sir, you shall see-Your worship's health; [drinks]-Ha! delicious, delicious!-Fancy it Burgundy, only fancy it,-and 'tis worth ten shillings a quart.
Aim. [Drinks] 'Tis confounded strong.
Bon. Strong! it must be so, or how should we be strong that drink it?
Aim. And have you lived so long upon this ale, landlord? Bon. Eight-and-fifty years, upon my credit, Sir: but it kill'd my wife, poor woman, as the saying is.
Aim. How came that to pass?
Bon. I don't know how, Sir,-she would not let the ale take its natural course, Sir; she was for qualifying it every now and then with a dram, as the saying is; and an honest gentleman that came this way from Ireland, made her a present of a dozen bottles of usquebaugh-but the poor woman was never well after-but however, I was obliged to the gentleman, you know.
Aim. Why, was it the usquebaugh that kill'd her?
Bon. My lady Bountiful said so-she, good lady, did what could be done she cured her of three tympanies; but the fourth carried her off. But she's happy, and I'm contented, as the saying is.
Aim. Who is that lady Bountiful you mentioned?
Bon. Odd's my life, Sir, we'll drink her health: [drinks] -My lady Bountiful is one of the best of women. Her last husband, Sir Charles Bountiful, left her worth a thousand pounds a year; and I believe she lays out one half on't in charitable uses, for the good of her neighbours.
Aim. Has the lady been any other way useful in her generation?
Bon. Yes, Sir, she has had a daughter by Sir Charles; the finest woman in all our country, and the greatest fortune.
She has a son too, by her first husband; 'squire Sullen, who married a fine lady from London t'other day; if you please, Sir, we'll drink his health. [drinks]
Aim. What sort of a man is he?
Bon. Why, Sir, the man's well enough; says little, thinks less, and does-nothing at all, faith: but he's a man of great estate, and values nobody.
Aim. A sportsman, I suppose?
Bon. Yes, he's a man of pleasure; he plays at whist, and smokes his pipe eight-and-forty hours together sometimes.
Aim. A fine sportsman, truly !-And married, you say? Bon. Ay; and to a curious woman, Sir.-But he's my landlord; and so a man, you know, would nothumble service to you. [drinks]-Though I value not a farthing what he can do to me; I pay him his rent at quarter day I have a good running trade-I have but one daughter, and I can give her-but no matter for that.
Aim. You're very happy, Mr. Boniface; pray, What other company have you in town?
Bon. A power of fine ladies; and then we have the French officers.
Aim. O, that's right, you have a good many of those gentlemen: pray how do you like their company?
Bon. So well, as the saying is, that I could wish we had as many more of them. They're full of money, and pay double for every thing they have. They know, Sir, that we paid good round taxes for the taking of 'em; and so they are willing to reimburse us a little; one of 'em lodges in my house. [Bell rings] I beg your worship's pardon-I'll wait on you again in half a minute.
V.-Lovegold and Lappet.
Love., ALL's well hitherto; my dear money is safe.—Is it you, Lappet?
Lap. I should rather ask if it be you, Sir; why, you look so young and vigorous
Love. Do I? Do I?
Lap. Why, you grow younger and younger every day, Sir; you never looked half so young in your life, Sir, as you do now. Why, Sir, I know fifty young fellows of five and twenty, that are older than you are.
Love. That may be, that may be, Lappet, considering the lives they lead; and yet I am a good ten years above fifty.
Lap. Well, and what's ten years above fifty? "Tis the very flower of a man's age. Why, Sir, you are now in the very prime of your life.
Love. Very true, that's very true, as to understanding; but I am afraid, could I take off twenty years, it would do me no harm with the ladies, Lappet.-How goes on our affair with Mariana? Have you mentioned any thing about what her mother can give her? For nowadays nobody marries a woman, unless she bring something with her besides a petticoat.
Lap. Sir, why, Sir, this young lady will be worth to you as good a thousand pounds a year, as ever was told. Love. How! A thousand pounds a year?
Lap. Yes, Sir. There's in the first place, the article of a table; she has a very little stomach; she does not eat above an ounce in a fortnight; and then, as to the quality of what she eats, you'll have no need of a French cook upon her account. As for sweetmeats, she mortally hates them; so there is the article of desserts wiped off all at once. You'll have no need of a confectioner, who would be eternally bringing in bills for preserves, conserves, biscuits, comfits, and jellies, of which half a dozen ladies would swallow you ten pounds worth at a meal. This, I think, we may very moderately reckon at two hundred pounds a year at least. For clothes, she has been bred up at such a plainness in them, that should we allow but for three birthnight suits a year, saved, which are the least a town lady would expect, there go a good two hundred pounds a year more.— For jewels (of which she hates the very sight) the yearly interest of what you must lay out in them would amount to one hundred pounds. Lastly, she has an utter detestation for play, at which I have known several moderate ladies lose a good two thousand pounds a year. Now, let us take only the fourth part of that, which amounted to five hundred, to which if we add two hundred pounds on the table account, two hundred pounds in clothes, and one hundred pounds in jewels-there is, Sir, your thousand pounds a year, in hard money.
Love. Ay, ay, these are pretty things; it must be confessed, very pretty things; but there is nothing real in them. Lap. How, Sir! Is it not something real to bring you a vast store of sobriety, the inheritance of a love for simplicity of dress, and a vast acquired fund of hatred for play?
Love. This is downright raillery, Lappet, to make me up a fortune out of the expenses she won't put me to.But there is another thing that disturbs me. You know this girl is young, and young people generally love one another's company; it would ill agree with a person of my temper to keep an assembly for all the young rakes, and flaunting girls in town.
Lap. Ah, Sir, how little do you know of her! This is another particularity that I had to tell you of;-she has a most terrible aversion to young people, and loves none but persons of. your years. I would advise you, above all things, to take care not to appear too young. She insists on sixty at least. She says that fifty-six years are not able to content her.
Love. This humour is a little strange, methinks.
Lap. She carries it further, Sir, than can be imagined. She has in her chamber several pictures; but, what do you think they are? None of your smockfaced yourg fellows, your Adonises, your Parises, and your Apolloes: No, Sir, you see nothing there, but your handsome figures of Saturn, king Priam, old Nestor, and good father Anchises upon This son's shoulders.
Love. Admirable ! This is more than I could have hoped; to say the truth, had I been a woman, I should never have loved young fellows.
Lap. I believe you: pretty sort of stuff, indeed, to be in love with your young fellows! Pretty masters, indeed, with their fine complexions, and their fine feathers!
Love. And do you really think me pretty tolerable ?
Lap. Tolerable! You are ravishing: If your picture was drawn by a good hand, Sir, it would be invaluable! Turn about a little, if you please—there, what can be more charming? Let me see you walk-there's a person for you; tall, straight, free and degagee: Why, Sir, you have no fault about you.
Love. Not many-hem-hem-not many, I thank Heaven; only a few rheumatic pains now and then, and a small catarrh that seizes me sometimes.
Lap. Ah, Sir, that's nothing; your catarrh sits very well upon you, and you cough with a very good grace.
Love. But tell me, what does Mariana say of my per&son?
Lap. She has a particular pleasure in talking of it; and
I assure you, Sir, I have not been backward, on all such occasions, to blazon forth your merit, and to make her sensible how advantageous a match you will be to her?
Love. You did very well, and I am obliged to you.
Lap. But, Sir, I have a small favour to ask of you ;-I have a lawsuit depending, which I am on the very brink of losing, for want of a little money; [He looks gravely] and you could easily procure my success, if you had the least friendship for me.-You can't imagine, Sir, the pleasure she takes in talking of you: [He looks pleased] Ah! How you will delight her, how your venerable mien will charm her! She will never be able to withstand you.- -But indeed, Sir, this lawsuit will be a terrible consequence to me: [He looks grave again] I am ruined if I lose it; which a very small matter might prevent-ah! Sir, had you but seen the raptures with which she heard me talk of you. [He resumes his gaiety] How pleasure sparkled in her eyes at the recital of your good qualities! In short, to discover a secret to you, which I promised to conceal, I have worked up her imagination till she is downright impatient of having the match concluded.
Love. Lappet, you have acted a very friendly part; and I own that I have all the obligations in the world to you. Lap. I beg you would give me this little assistance, Sir: [He looks serious] It will set me on my feet, and I shall be eternally obliged to you.
Love. Farewell; I'll go and finish my despatches.
Lap. I assure you, Sir, you could never assist me in a greater necessity.
Love. I must give some orders about a particular affair. Lap. I would not importune you, Sir, if I was not forced by the last extremity.
Love. I expect the tailor, about turning my coat :-don't you think this coat will look well enough turned, and with new buttons, for a wedding suit?
Lap. For pity's sake, Sir, don't refuse me this small favour: I shall be undone, indeed, Sir. If it were but so small a matter as ten pounds, Sir
Love. I think I hear the tailor's voice.
Lap. If it were but five pounds, Sir; but three pounds, Sir; nay, Sir, a single guinea would be of service for a day or two. [As he offers to go out on either side, he intercepts him.]