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There is scarce a language in Europe, in which there is not a play taken from our romance of Pamela : in Italian and French particularly, several writers of the first eminence have chosen it for the subject of different dramas.
The little piece now ventured into the world, owes its origin to the same source : not only the general subject is drawn from Pamela, but almost every circumstance in it. The reader will almost immediately recollect the courtship of Parson Williams -the squire's jealousy and behaviour in consequence of it; and the difficulty he had to prevail with himself to marry the girl; notwithstanding his passion for her the miller is a close copy of Goodman AndrewsRalph is imagined, from the wild son which he is mentioned to have had-Theodosia, from the young lady of quality, with whom Mr. B. through his sister's persuasion, is said to have been in treaty before his marriage with Pa. mela-even the gipsies are borrowed from a trifling incident in the latter part of the work.
In prosecuting this plan, which he has varied from the original, as far as he thought convenient, the author has made simplicity his principal aim. His scenes, on account of the music, which could not be perfect without such a mixture, necessarily consist of serious and buffoon. He knows grossness and insipidity lay in his way: whether he has had art enough to avoid stumbling upon them, the candid public are left to determine.
MAID OF THE MILL.
ACT I. SCENE 1.
A rural prospect, with a mill at work. Several people
employed about ; on one side a house, Patty reading in the window; on the other a barn, where FANNY sits mending a net; Giles appears at a distance in the mill; Fairfield and RALPH taking sacks from a
FREE from sorrow, free from strife,
O how blest the miller's life!
Nought can vex him,
Nought perplex him,
By indulgent fortune sent:
More than plenty and content.
Fai. Well done, well done ; 'tis a sure sign work goes on merrily when folks sing at it. Stop the mill there; and dost hear, son Ralph, hoist yon sacks of flour
upon this cart, lad, and drive it up to lord Aimworth's; coming from London last night with strange company, no doubt there are calls enough for it by this time.
Ral. Ay feyther, whether or not, there's no doubt but you'll find enow for a body to do.
Fai. What dost mutter? Is't not a strange plague that thou can'st never go about any thing with a good will; murrain take it, what's come o’er the boy? So then thou wilt not set a hand to what I have desired thee!
Ral. Why don't you speak to suster Pat to do something then ? I thought when she came home to us after my old lady's death, she was to have been of some use in the house; but instead of that, she sits there all day, reading outlandish books, dressed like a fine madumasel, and the never a word you says to she.
32 Fai. Sirrah, don't speak so disrespectfully of thy sister; thou wilt never have the tithe of her deserts.
Ral. Why I'll read and write with her for what she dares;
and as for playing on the hapsicols, I thinks her rich good mother might have learn’d her something more properer, seeing she did not remember to leave her a legacy at last.
Fai. That's none of thy business, sirrah. 40
Ral. A farmer's wife painting pictures, and playing on the hapsicols; why I'll be hang'd now, for all as old as she is, if she knows any more about milking a cow, than I do of sewing a petticoat.
Fai. Ralph, thou hast been drinking this morning.
Ral. Well, if so be as I have, it's nothing out of your pocket, nor mine neither.
Fai. Who has been giving thee liquor, sirrah?
50 Ral. Yes, a gentleman that's come piping hot from London: he is below at the Cat and Bagpipes; I cod he rides a choice bit of a nag; I dare to say she'd fetch as good as forty pound at ever a fair in all England.
Fai. A fig's end for what she'd fetch ; mind thy business, or by the lord Harry
Ral. Why I won't do another hand's turn to-day now, so that's flat. Fai. Thou wilt not
60 Ral. Why no I wont; so what argufies your putting yourself in a passion, feyther! I've promised to go back to the gentleman ; and I don't know but what he's a lord too, and mayhap he may do more for me than you thinks of.