Page images

Croak. But I fay there is no cruelty. Don't you know, blockhead, that girls have always a round about way of faying yes before company ? So get you both gone together into the next room, and hang him that interrupts the tender explanation. Get you gone, I fay; I'll not hear a work.

Leont. But, fir, I muft beg leave to infist

Croak. Get off, you puppy, or I'll beg leave to infift upon knocking you down. Stupid whelp. But I don't wonder, the boy takes entirely after his mother. [Exeunt mifs Rich. and Leont.

Enter Mrs. CROAKER.

Mrs. Croak. Mr. Croaker, I bring you fomething, my dear, that I believe will make you smile.

Croak. I'll hold you a guinea of that, my dear. Mrs. Croak. A letter; and, as I knew the hand, I ventured to open it.

Croak. And how.can you expect your breaking open my letters should give me pleasure ?

Mrs. Croak. Poo, it's from your fifter at Lyons, and contains good news: read it.

Croak. What a Frenchified cover is here! That fifter of mine has some good qualities, but I could never teach her to fold a letter.

Mrs. Croak. Fold a fiddleftick. Read what it contains.

Croak, (reading.) Dear Nick, An English gentle'man, of large fortune, has for fome time made private, 'tho' bonourable proposals to your daughter Olivia. They • love each other tenderly, and I find she has confented,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

without letting any of the family know, to crown his ad'dreffes. As fuch good offers don't come every day, your own good fenfe, his large fortune and family confiderations will induce you to forgive her.


< Yours ever,

RACHEL CROAKER,' My daughter, Olivia, privately contracted to a man of large forture! This is good news indeed. My hear never foretold me of this. And yet, how flily the little baggage has carried it fince fhe came home. Not a word on't to the old ones for the world. Yet I thought I faw fomething she wanted to conceal.

Mrs. Croak, Well, if they have concealed their amour, they fhan't conceal their wedding; that shall be public I'm refolved.

Croak. I tell thee, woman, the wedding is the most foolish part of the ceremony. I can never get this woman to think of the most ferious part of the nuptial engagement.

Mrs. Croak. What, would you have me think of their funeral? But come, tell me, my dear, don't you owe more to me than you care to confefs ? Would you have ever been known to Mr. Lofty, who has undertaken Mifs Richland's claim at the treafury, but for me? Who was it firft made him an acquaintance at lady Shabbaroon's rout? Who got him to promife us his intereft? Is not he a back-ftairs favourite, one that can do what he pleafes with those that do what they please? Isn't he an acquaintance that all your groaning and lamentations could never have got us ?


Croak. He is a man of importance, I grant you. And yet, what amazes me is, that while he is giving away places to all the world, he can't get one for himself.

Mrs. Croak, That perhaps may be owing to his nicety. Great men are not easily satisfied.


Serv. An expreffe from Monfieur Lofty. He vil be vait upon your honour's inftraminant. He be only giving four five inftruction, read two three memorial, call upon von ambassadeur. He vil be vid you in one

tree minutes.

Mrs. Croak. You fee now, my dear. What an extenfive department! Well, friend, let your mafter know, that we are extremely honoured by this honour. Was there any thing ever in a higher ftyle of breeding! All meffages among the great are now done by exprefs.

Croak. To be fure, no man does little things with more folemnity, or claims more respect than he. But he's in the right on't. In our bad world, respect is given, where respect is claim'd.

Mrs. Croak. Never mind the world, my dear ; you were never in a pleasanter place in your life. Let us now think of receiving him with proper refpect (a loud rapping at the door) and there he is by the thundering


Croak. Ay, verily, there he is; as close upon the heels of his own exprefs, as an indorsement upon the back of a bill. Well, I'll leave you to receive him, whilft I go to chide my little Olivia for intending to fteal a marriage

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

without mine or her aunt's confent.

I must seem to be

angry, or fhe too may begin to defpite my authority.


Enter LOFTY, Speaking to his fervant.

Lofty. And if the Venetian ambassador, or that teazing creature the marquis, fhould call, I'm not at home. Dam'me, I'll be pack-horfe to none of them. My dear madam, I have just snatched a moment.-And if the expreffes to his grace be ready, let them be fent off; they're of importance. Madam, I ask a thousand pardons. Mrs. Croak. Sir, this honour

Lofty. And Dubardieu! if the perfon calls about the commission, let him know that it is made out. As for lord Cumbercourt's ftale requeft, it can keep cold: you. understand me. Madam, I afk ten thousand pardons. Mrs. Croak. Sir, this honour

[ocr errors]

Lofty. And, Dubardieu! if the man comes from the Cornish borough, you must do hin; you must do him, I say. Madam, I ask ten thousand pardons. And if the Ruffian-ambaffador calls: but he will fcarcely call today, I believe. And now, madam, I have just got time to express my happiness in having the honour of being permitted to profefs myself your moft obedient humble fervant.

Mrs. Croak. Sir, the happiness and honour are all mine; and yet, I'm only robbing the public while I detain you.

Lofty. Sink the public, madam, when the fair are to be attended. Ah, could all my hours be fo charmingly

devoted! Sincerely, don't you pity us poor creatures in affairs? Thus it is eternally; folicited for places here, teazed for penfions there, and courted every where. I know you pity me. Yes, I fee you do.

Mrs. Croak. Excufe me, fir.

Toils of empires plea

fures are, as Waller says.

Lofty. Waller, Waller; is he of the house? Mrs. Croak. The modern poet of that name, fir. Lofty. Oh, a modern! We men of bufinefs defpife the moderns; and as for the ancients, we have no time to read them. Poetry is a pretty thing enough for our wives and daughters; but not for us. Why now, here I stand that know nothing of books; I fay, madam, I know nothing of books; and yet, I believe, upon a landcarriage fishery, a ftamp-act, or a jag-hire, I can talk my two hours without feeling the want of them.

Mrs. Croak. The world is no ftranger to Mr. Lofty's eminence in every capacity.

Lofty. I vow to gad, madam, you make me blush. I'm nothing, nothing, nothing in the world; a mere obfcure gentleman. To be fure, indeed, one or two of the prefent minifters are pleased to represent me as a formidable man. I know they are pleased to be-fpatter me at all their little dirty levees. Yet, upon my foul, I wonder what they fee in me to treat me fo! Measures, not men, have always been my mark; and I vow, by all that's honourable, my refentment has never done the men, as mere men, any manner of harm-that is as mere


Mrs. Croak. What importance, and yet what modefty!

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »