Page images
PDF
EPUB

A FARCE, IN TWO ACTS.

AS IT WAS PERFORMED AT DRURY LANE THEATRE, DECEMBER, 1806.

MR. H-
BELVIL

LANDLORD PRY

"Mr. Hthou wert DAMNED. Bright shone the morning on the play-bills that announced thy appear. ance, and the streets were filled with the buzz of persons asking one another if they would go to see Mr. Hand answering that they would certainly; but before night the gaiety, not of the author, but of his friends and the town, was eclipsed, for thou wert DAMNED! Hadst thou been anonymous, thou haply mightst have lived. But thou didst come to an untimely end for thy tricks, and for want of a better name to pass them off." Theatrical Examiner.

[ocr errors]

MR. H

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

If we have sinn'd in paring down a name,
All civil, well-bred authors do the same.
Survey the columns of our daily writers-
You'll find that some Initials are great fighters.
How fierce the shock, how fatal is the jar,
When Ensign W. meets Lieutenant R.
With two stout seconds, just of their own gizzard,
Cross Captain X. and rough old General Izzard!
Letter to Letter spreads the dire alarms,
Till half the Alphabet is up in arms.

Nor with less lustre have Initials shone,
To grace the gentler annals of Crim. Con
Where the dispensers of the public lash
Soft penance give; a letter and a dash-
Where Vice reduced in size shrinks to a failing,
And loses half her grossness by curtailing.
Faux pas are told in such a modest way,-
"The affair of Colonel B- with Mrs. A—”
You must forgive them-for what is there, say,
Which such a pliant Vowel must not grant

MELESINDA

Miss Mellon.

MAID TO MELESINDA Mrs. Harlowe. Gentlemen, Ladies, Waiters, Servants, &c.

PROLOGUE, SPOKEN BY MR. ELLISTON

[ocr errors]

To such a very pressing Consonant?
Or who poetic justice dares dispute,
When, mildly melting at a lover's suit,
The wife's a Liquid, her good man a Mute?
Even in the homelior scenes of honest life,
The coarse-spun intercourse of man and wife,
Initials I am told have taken place

Of Deary, Spouse, and that old-fashion'd race;
And Cabbage, ask'd by brother Snip to tea,
Replies "I'll come-but it don't rest with me-
I always leaves them things to Mrs. C."
O should this mincing fashion ever spread
From names of living heroes to the dead,
How would Ambition sigh, and hang the head,
As each loved syllable should melt away-
Her Alexander turn'd into Great A-
A single C. her Cæsar to express-
Her Scipio shrunk into a Roman S—

And, nick'd and dock'd to these new modes of speech,
Great Hannibal himself a Mr. H.

PP

MR. H—,

A FARCE. IN TWO ACTS.

ACT I.

SCENE.-A Public Room in an Inn. Landlord,
Waiters, Gentlemen, &c.

Enter MR. H.

Mr. H. Landlord, has the man brought home my boots ?

Landlord. Yes, Sir.

Mr. H. You have paid him?

Landlord. There is the receipt, Sir, only not quite filled up, no name, only blank"Blank, Dr. to Zekiel Spanish for one pair of best hessians." Now, Sir, he wishes to know what name he shall put in, who he shall say "Dr."

Mr. H. Why, Mr. H. to be sure. Landlord. So I told him, Sir; but Zekiel has some qualms about it. He says he hinks that Mr. H. only would not stand good in law.

Mr. H. Rot his impertinence! Bid him put in Nebuchadnezzar, and not trouble me vith his scruples.

Landlord. I shall, Sir.

Enter 4th Waiter.

4th Waiter. Sir, one Mr. Printagain is inquiring for you.

Mr. H. Oh, I remember, the poet; he is [Exit. publishing by subscription. Give him a guinea, and tell him he may put me down. 4th Waiter. What name shall I tell him,

Enter a Waiter.

Waiter. Sir, Squire Level's man is below, with a hare and a brace of pheasants for Mr. H.

Mr. H. Give the man half-a-crown, and bid him return my best respects to his master. Presents, it seems, will find me out, with any

name or no name.

putting it in.
This is one of the plaguy
comforts of going anonymous [Exit 2d Waiter,

Enter 3d Waiter.

3d Waiter. Two letters for Mr. H. [Erit. Mr. H. From ladies (opens them). This from Melesinda, to remind me of the morning call I promised; the pretty creature positively languishes to be made Mrs. H. I believe I must indulge her (affectedly). This from her cousin, to bespeak me to some party, I suppose (opening it).—Oh, “this evening ". -"Tea and cards" - (surveying himself with complacency). Dear H., thou art certainly a pretty fellow. I wonder what makes thee such a favourite among the ladies: I wish it may not be owing to the concealment of thy unfortunate -pshaw !

__

Mr. H. Zounds, fellow, I give him a shilling for leaving out my name not for

Sir?

Mr. H. Zounds, he is a poet; let him fancy [Exit 4th Waiter,

a name.

Enter 5th Waiter.

5th Waiter. Sir, Bartlemy the lame beggar, that you sent a private donation to last Monday, has by some accident discovered his benefactor, and is at the door waiting to return thanks.

Enter 2d Waiter.

the

2d Waiter. Sir, the man that makes up Directory is at the door.

Mr. H. Oh, poor fellow, who could put it into his head? Now I shall be teased by Mr. H. Give him a shilling; that is what all his tribe, when once this is known. Well, these fellows come for. tell him I am glad I could be' of any service to him, and send him away.

2d Waiter. He has sent up to know by what name your Honour will please to be inserted.

5th Waiter. I would have done so, Sir; but the object of his call now, he says, is only to know who he is obliged to Mr. H. Why, me.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

5th Waiter. Yes, Sir.

Mr. H. Me, me, me; who else, to be sure? 5th Waiter. Yes, Sir; out he is anxious to know the name of his benefactor.

Mr. H. Neither of which I can do, while I have no name. Here is more of the plaguy comforts of going anonymous, that one can neither serve one's friend nor one's country. Damn it, a man had better be without a nose, than without a name. I will not live long in this mutilated, dismembered state; I will to Melesinda this instant, and try to forget these vexations. Melesinda! there is music in the name; but then, hang it! there is none in mine to answer to it. [Exit. (While MR. H. has been speaking, two Gentlemen have been observing him curiously.)

anonymous.

2d Gent. Phoo! that is the charm.-Who is he? and what is he? and what is his

Mr. H. Here is a pampered rogue of a beggar, that cannot be obliged to a gentleman in the way of his profession, but he must know the name, birth, parentage and education of his benefactor! I warrant you, next he will require a certificate of one's good behaviour, and a magistrate's licence in one's pocket, lawfully empowering so and SCENE in the Street. MR. H. walking, BELVIL so to give an alms. Any thing more?

meeting him.

5th Waiter. Yes, Sir; here has been Mr. Patriot, with the county petition to sign; and Mr. Failtime, that owes so much money, has sent to remind you of your promise to bail him.

name ?The man with the great nose on
his face never excited more of the gaping
passion of wonderment in the dames of
Strasburg, than this new-comer, with the
single letter to his name, has lighted up
among the wives and maids of Bath: his
simply having lodgings here, draws more
visiters to the house than an election. Come
with me to the Parade, and I will show you
more of him.
[Exeunt.

Belvil. My old Jamaica schoolfellow, that I have not seen for so many years? it must it can be no other than Jack (going up to him). My dear Ho

[ocr errors]

Mr. H. (Stopping his mouth). Ho! the devil, hush.

Belvil. Why sure it is

Mr. H. It is, it is your old friend Jack, that shall be nameless.

Belvil. My dear Ho

Mr. H. (Stopping him). Don't name it.
Belvil. Name what?

1st Gent. Who the devil is this extraordinary personage?

2d Gent. Who? Why 'tis Mr. H. 1st Gent. Has he no more name? 2d Gent. None that has yet transpired. No more! why that single letter has been enough to inflame the imaginations of all the ladies in Bath. He has been here but a fortnight, and is already received into all the first families.

1st Gent. Wonderful! yet, nobody know some credit with the ladies. who he is, or where he comes from !

Belvil. With the ladies!

Mr. H. And truly I think not without some pretensions. My fortune

2d Gent. He is vastly rich, gives away money as if he had infinity; dresses well, as you see; and for address, the mothers are all dying for fear the daughters should get him; and for the daughters, he may command them as absolutely as-—————. Melesinda, the rich heiress, 'tis thought, will carry him. 1st Gent. And is it possible that a mere

Belvil. Sufficiently splendid, if I may judge from your appearance.

Mr. H. My figure

Belvil. Airy, gay, and imposing.

Mr. H. My parts

Belvil. Bright.

Mr. H. My conversation

Belvil. Equally remote from flippancy and taciturnity.

Mr. H. My curst unfortunate name. I have reasons to conceal it for a time.

Belvil. I understand you-Creditors, Jack?
Mr. H. No, I assure you.

Belvil. Snapp'd up a ward, peradventure, and the whole Chancery at your heels?

Mr. H. I don't use to travel with such cumbersome luggage.

Belvil. You ha'n't taken a purse?

Mr. H. To relieve you at once from all disgraceful conjecture, you must know, 'tis nothing but the sound of my name.

Belvil. Ridiculous! 'tis true yours is none of the most romantic; but what can that signify in a man?

Mr. H. You must understand that I am in

Mr. H. But then my name-damn my name! priest shall pronounce the irrevocable charm,
Belvil. Childish!
which makes two names one.
Belvil. And that name-

-and then she

Mr. H. Not so. Oh, Belvil, you are blest with one which sighing virgins may repeat without a blush, and for it change the paternal. But what virgin of any delicacy (and I require some in a wife) would endure | to be called Mrs. ?

Belvil. Ha, ha, ha! most absurd. Did not Clementina Falconbridge, the romantic Clementina Falconbridge, fancy Tommy Potts and Rosabella Sweetlips sacrifice her mellifluous appellative to Jack Deady? Matilda her cousin married a Gubbins, and her sister Amelia a Clutterbuck.

Mr. H. Potts is tolerable, Deady is sufferable, Gubbins is bearable, and Clutterbuck is endurable, but Ho

Belvil. Hush, Jack, don't betray yourself. But you are really ashamed of the family name?

Belvil. Certainly. But what then? to get her to consent

must be pleased, ha, Jack?

Mr. H. Exactly such a girl it has been my fortune to meet with; hark'e (whispers) — (musing). Yet, hang it! 'tis cruel to betray her confidence.

Mr. H. To accompany me to the altar without a name- -in short, to suspend her curiosity (that is all) till the moment the

[blocks in formation]

Mr. H. Ay, and of my father that begot me, and my father's father, and all their forefathers that have borne it since the Conquest.

Belvil. But how do you know the women are so squeamish ?

Mr. H. I have tried them. I tell you there is neither maiden of sixteen nor widow of sixty but would turn up their noses at it. I have been refused by nineteen virgins, twenty-nine relicts, and two old maids.

Belvil. That was hard indeed, Jack.
Mr. H. Parsons have stuck at publishing
the banns, because they averred it was a
heathenish name; parents have lingered
their consent, because they suspected it was
a fictitious name; and rivals have declined
my challenges, because they pretended it was
an ungentlemanly name.

Enter MR. H.
Mr. H. My dear Melesinda.

Melesinda. My dear H. that is all you give me power to swear allegiance to,-to be enamoured of inarticulate sounds, and call

Belvil. Ha, ha, ha! but what course do with sighs upon an empty letter. But I you mean to pursue?

will know.

Mr. H. To engage the affections of some generous girl, who will be content to take me as Mr. H.

Belvil. Mr. H.

Mr. H. My dear Melesinda, press me no more for the disclosure of that, which in the face of day so soon must be revealed. Call it whim, humour, caprice, in me. Suppose I have sworn an oath, never, till the cere mony of our marriage is over, to disclose my true name.

Mr. H. Yes, that is the name I go by here; you know one likes to be as near the truth as possible.

SCENE.-An Apartment in MELESINDA's House.
MELESINDA sola, as if musing.

Melesinda. H, H, H. Sure it must be something precious by its being concealed. It can't be Homer, that is a Heathen's name; nor Horatio, that is no surname; what if it be Hamlet? the Lord Hamlet-pretty, and I his poor distracted Ophelia! No, 'tis none of these; 'tis Harcourt or Hargrave, or some such sounding name, or Howard, high-born Howard, that would do; maybe it is Harley, methinks my H. resembles Harley, the feeling Harley. But I hear him! and from his own lips I will once for ever be resolved.

Melesinda. Oh! H, H, H. I cherish here a fire of restless curiosity which consumes me. "Tis appetite, passion, call it whim, caprice, in me. Suppose I have sworn, I must and will know it this very night.

Mr. H. Ungenerous Melesinda! I implore says, what from his figger and the appearance you to give me this one proof of your confidence. The holy vow once past, your H. shall not have a secret to withhold.

he cuts, and his sumpshous way of living, and above all from the remarkable circumstance that his surname should begin with an H, that he must be—

Both. Well, well

Susan. Neither more nor less than the Prince.

Both. Prince!

Susan. The Prince of Hessey-Cassel in disguise.

Both. Very likely, very likely.

Susan. Oh, there can't be a doubt on it. Mrs. Guesswell says she knows it.

1st Waiter. Now if we could be sure that the Prince of Hessy what-do-you-call-him was in England on his travels.

2d Waiter. Get a newspaper. Look in the newspapers.

Susan. Fiddle of the newspapers; who else can it be?

Both. That is very true (gravely).

Melesinda. My H. has overcome: his Melesinda shall pine away and die, before she dare express a saucy inclination; but what shall I call you till we are married?

Mr. H. Call me? call me anything, call me Love, Love! ay Love: Love will do very well. Melesinda. How many syllables is it, Love? Mr. H. How many? ud, that is coming to the question with a vengeance! One, two, three, four,-what does it signify how many syllables?

Melesinda. How many syllables, Love? Mr. H. My Melesinda's mind, I had hoped, was superior to this childish curiosity. Melesinda. How many letters are there in it? [Exit MR. H. followed by MELESINDA, repeating the question.

SCENE. A Room in the Inn. Two Waiters

disputing.

[ocr errors]

Enter LANDLORD.

1st Waiter. Sir Harbottle Hammond, you may depend upon it.

2d Waiter. Sir Harry Hardcastle, I tell you. 1st Waiter. The Hammonds of Huntingdon

Landlord. Here, Susan, James, Philip, where are you all? The London coach is come in, and there is Mr. Fillaside, the fat passenger, has been bawling for somebody to help him off with his boots.

shire.

2d Waiter. The Hardcastles of Hertfordshire.

[The Chambermaid and Waiters slip out. (Solus.) The house is turned upside down since the strange gentleman came into it.

1st Waiter. The Hammonds.

2d Waiter. Don't tell me : does not Nothing but guessing and speculating, and Hardcastle begin with an H? speculating and guessing; waiters and

1st Waiter. So does Hammond for that chambermaids getting into corners and speculating; ostlers and stable-boys speculating in the yard; I believe the very horses in the stable are speculating too, for there they stand in a musing posture, nothing for them to eat, and not seeming to care whether

1st Waiter. Here comes Susan Chamber- they have anything or no; and after all maid may be she can tell.

what does it signify? I hate such curious odso, I must take this box up into his bed-room he charged me to see to it

Enter SUSAN.

I

Both. Well, Susan, have you heard any- myself; I hate such inquisitivething who the strange gentleman is? wonder what is in it-it feels heavy; (reads) Leases, title-deeds, wills." Here now a man might satisfy his curiosity at once. Deeds must have names to them, so must leases and wills. But I wouldn't — no I wouldn't— -it is a pretty box too-prettily dovetailed-I admire the fashion of it much. But I'd cut my fingers.off, before I'd do such

Susan. Haven't you heard? it's all come out! Mrs. Guesswell, the parson's widow, has been here about it. I overheard her talking in confidence to Mrs. Setter and Mrs. Pointer, and she says they were holding a sort of a cummitty about it.

Both. What? What?

Susan. There can't be a doubt of it, she a dirty what have I to do-curse the

matter.

2d Waiter. Faith, so it does if you go to spell it. I did not think of that. I begin to to be of your opinion; he is certainly a Hammond.

[ocr errors]

« PreviousContinue »