Page images

King. I think so; nay, he who cannot scorn the nare row interest of his own poor self, to serve his country, and defend her rights, deserves not the protection of a country to defend his own;* at least, should not be trusted with the rights of other men.

Sir John. I wish no such were ever trusted.

King. I wish so too; but how are kings to know the hearts of men ?

Sir John. 'Tis difficult indeed; yet something might be done.

King. What ?

Sir John. The man whom a King employs, or a nation trusts, should be thoroughly tryed. Examine his pri. vate character: mark how he lives; is he luxurious, or proud, or ambitious, or extravagant ? avoid him : the soul of that man is mean; necessity will press him, and publick fraud must pay his private debts. But, if you find a man with a clear head, sound judgment, and a right-honest heart, that is the man to serve both you and his country.

King. You are right; and such by me shall ever be distinguished. "Tis both my duty and my interest to promote them. To such, if I give wealth, it will enrich the public; to such, if I give power, the nation will be mighty ; to such, if I give honour, I shall raise my own. But, surely, Sir John, your's is not the language, nor the sentiments of a common miller; how, in a cottage, could you gain this superior wisdom ?

Sir John. Wisdom is not confin’d to palaces; nor always to be bought with gold. I read often, and think sometimes; and he who does that, may gain some knowledge, even in a cottage. As for any thing superior, I pretend not to it. What I have said, I hope is plain good sense; at least 'tis honest, and well meant.

* Persons in the lower classes of life can see how this applies to the great, but too frequently shew themselves to be not at all more ready to sacrifice private interest to public (as in evading taxes, sinuggliog, and the like) than those whom they condemn, and whom they fancy they should not imitate if placed in bigh situations,

King. Sir John, I think so; and, to convince you how much I esteem your plain-dealing and sincerity of heart, receive this ring as a mark of my favour.

Sir John. I thank your Majesty.

King. Don't thank me now; at present I have business that must be dispatch'd, and will desire you to leave me; before 'tis long I'll see you again.

Sir John. I wish your Majesty a good night. [Exit.

King. Well, my lords, what do you think of this miller?

First Courtier. He talks well; what he is in the bot. tom I don't know.

Second Courtier. His words, methinks, are those of a truly honest and sincere man.

Third Courtier. I fancy he's set on by somebody to impose upon your Majesty with this fair shew' of honesty.

First Courtier. Or is not be some cunning knave, that wants to work himself into your Majesty's favour?

King. I have a fancy come into my head to try him; which I will communicate to you, and put in execution immediately. An hour hence, my lords, I shall expect to see you at Sir John's.


SCENE III. A Tavern.

Enter Sir Timothy FLASH, the LANDLORD,

and GREENWOOD. Sir Timothy. Honest Bacchus, how dost thou do?

Landlord. Sir, I am very glad to see you ; pray when did you come to town?

Sir Timothy. Yesterday; and on an affair that I shall want a little of your assistance in.

Land. Any thing in my power, you know, you may command.

Sir Timothy. You must know, then, I have an intrigue with a young lady that's just come to town with her father, and want an agreeable house to meet her at; can you recommend one to me?

Land. I can recommend you, Sir, to the most convenient woman in all London. What think you of Mrs. Wheedle ?

Sir Tim. The best woman in all the world : I know her very well; how could I be so stupid not to think of her ? Greenwood, do you know where our country neighbour, Sir John Cockle, lodges ?

Greenwood. Yes, Sir.

Sir Tim. Don't be out of the way then; I shall send a letter by you presently, which you must deliver privately into Miss Kitty's own hand. If she comes with you, I shall give you directions where to conduct her, and do you come back here and let me know.

Greenw. Yes, Sir. Poor Kitty, is it thus thy false. hood to me is to be punish'd? I will prevent thy ruin however.

[ Aside, and Exit. Land. You are a merry wag, Sir Timothy.

Sir Tim. Merry, ay! why what is life without enjoy. ing the pleasures of it? Come, I'll write this letter, and then, honest Bacchus, we'll taste what wine thou hast



SCENE IV. Sir John's Lodgings.

Miss Kırty and Mrs. STARCH. Miss. But pray, Mrs. Starch, does all new fashions come up first at court ?

Mrs. Starch. O dear, madam, yes. Where else should they come up? And we milliners, and taylors, and barbers, and mantua-makers, go there to learn fashions for the good of the public.

Miss. But, madam; was not you saying just now that it was the fashion for the ladies to paint themselves?

Mrs. Starch. Yes.

Miss. Well, that is pure; then one may be as hand. some as ever one will, you know.. And it it was not for

* The piece might be divided into Two Acts at this place.

[ocr errors]

a few freckles, I believe I should be very well, should not I, Mrs. Starch?

Mrs. Starch. Indeed, madam, you are very hand. some.

Miss. Nay, don't flatter me now; do you really think I am handsome ?

Mrs. Starch. Upon my word you are. What a shape is there! What a genteel air! What a sparkling eye!

Miss. Indeed, I doubt you flatter me. Not but I have an eye, and can make use of it too as well as the best of them, if I please. But pray, Mrs. Starch, which do you think the most genteel walk now? To trip it away o this manner? or to swim smoothly along, thus?

Mrs. Starch. They both become you extremely.

Miss. Do they really? I'm glad you think so, for, in. deed, I believe you are a very good judge. And, now I think on't, I'll have your opinion in something else. What do you think it is that makes a fine lady ?

Mrs. Starch. Why, madam, a fine person, fine wit, fine airs, and fine clothes.

Miss. Well, you have told me already that I'm very handsome, you know, so that's one thing; but, as for wit, what's that? I don't know what that is, Mrs. Starch.

Mrs. Starch. O madam, wit is, as one may say, the the being very witty; that is comical, as it were; doing something to make every body laugh.

Miss. O, is that all? nay then I can be as witty as any body, for I am very comical. Well, but what's the next? Fine airs; 0, let me alone for fine airs; I have airs enough, if I can but get lovers to practise 'em upon. And then, fine clothes, why, these are very fine clothes, I think ;, don't you think so, Mrs. Starch?

Mrs. Starch. Yes, madam.

Enter Sir Jonn, observing them.

Miss. And is not this a very pretty cap too? Does not it become me?

Mrs. Starch. Yes, madam.

« big?

Miss. But don't you think this hoop a little too

Sir John. No, no, too big! no. Not above six ' or seven yards round.

Mrs. Starch. Indeed, Sir, 'tis within the circum6.ference of the mode a great deal.

Sir John. That it may be, but I'm sure it's beyond o the circumference of modesty a great deal. Nothing can become you, child, that is not plain and proper.

Miss. Papa, can't you dress yourself as you've a mind, and let us alone. How should you know any thing of women's fashions? Come, let us go into the next room.

[Exeunt Miss and Mrs. Starch. Enter Joe with GREENWOOD. Joe. Sir, here's one that you'll be very glad to see. ,

Sir John. Who is it? What, honest Greenwood! may I believe my eyes ?

[Exit Joe. Greenwood. Sir, I am very glad to see you; I hope all your family are well.

Sir Johc. Very well. But, what has brought thee to London? What's the meaning of this livery? I don't understand thee.

Greenw. I don't wonder that you are surprized; but I will explain myself. You know the faithful, honest love I bear your daughter, and you are sensible, since the addresses of Sir Timothy Flash, how much her falsehood has grieved me; yet more for her sake, even than my own: my own unhappiness I could endure with patience, but the thoughts of seeing her reduced to shame and misery, I cannot bear.

Sir John. What dost thou mean? Greenw. I very much suspect his designs upon her are not honourable.

Sir John. Not honourable! would he-wrong us so !But, go on.

Greenw. Immediately after you had left the country, hearing that he was hastening to London after you, and wanted a servant, I went and offered myself, resolving, by a strict watch on all his actions, to prevent, if possi

« PreviousContinue »