« AnteriorContinuar »
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 thinks that Mr. H. only would not stand good in law.
Mr. H. Rot his impertinence Bid him put in Nebuchadnezzar, and not trouble me with his scruples.
Landlord. I shall, Sir.
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 naine or no maine.
Enter 2d Waiter.
2d Waiter. Sir, the man that makes up the Directory is at the door. Mr. H. Give him a shilling; that is what these fellows come for. 2d Waiter. He has sent up to know by what name your Honour will please to be inserted. Mr. H. Zounds, fellow, I give him a shilling for leaving out my name, not for
putting it in. This is one of the plaguy comforts of going anonymous. . [Erit 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 "
Enter 4th Waiter. 4th Waiter. Sir, one Mr. Printagain is inquiring for you. Mr. H. Oh, I remember, the poet; he is publishing by subscription. Give him a guinea, and tell him he may put me down. 4th Waiter. What name shall I tell him, Sir Mr. H. Zounds, he is a poet; let him fancy a mall le. [Exit 4th Writer. 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,
Mr. H. Oh, poor fellow, who could put it into his head Now I shall be teased by all his tribe, when once this is known. Well, tell him I am glad I could be of any service to him, and send him away.
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. II. Why, me.
5th Waiter. Yes, Sir. Mr. H. Me, me, me; who else, to be sure? 5th Waiter. Yes, Sir ; but he is anxious to know the name of his benefactor. 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 so to—give an alms. Any thing more ? 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. 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.) 1st Gent. Who the devil is this extraordinary personage 7 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 who he is, or where he comes from 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 anonymous.2d Gent. Phoo! that is the charm.—Who is he 7 and what is he and what is his
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. [Eccunt.
ScENE in the Street. MR. H. walking, BELVIL meeting him. Belvil. My old Jamaica schoolfellow, that I have not seen for so many years 7 it must —it can be no other than Jack (going up to him). My dear HoMr. H. (Stopping his mouth). Ho-1 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 HoMr. H. (Stopping him). Don't name it. Belvil. Name what? 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 7 Mr. H. You must understand that I am in some credit with the ladies. Belvil. With the ladies | Mr. H. And truly I think not without some pretensions. My fortune— | 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. II. My conversation— Belvil. Equally remote from slippancy and taciturnity.
Mr. H. But then my name—damn my name ! Belvil. Childish : 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 HoBelvil. Hush, Jack, don't betray yourself. But you are really ashamed of the family name 1 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. Belvil. Ha, ha, ha! but what course do you mean to pursue } 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. Yes, that is the name I go by here ; you know one likes to be as near the truth as possible. Belvil. Certainly. But what then } to get
her to consent— Mr. H. To accompany me to the altar without a name—in short, to suspend her
curiosity (that is all) till the moment the
priest shall pronounce the irrevocable charm,
which makes two names one. Belvil. And that name—and then she
must be pleased, ha, Jack 2
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. Belvil. But the family name, Jack * Mr. H. As you say, the family name must be perpetuated. Belvil. Though it be but a homely one. Mr. H. True ; but come, I will show you the house where dwells this credulous melting fair. Belvil. Ha, ha! my old friend dwindled down to one letter.
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.
Enter M.R. 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 with sighs upon an empty letter. But I will know. 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 ceremony of our marriage is over, to disclose my true name. 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.
you to give me this one proof of your confidence. The holy vow once past, your H. shall not have a secret to withhold. 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 1 Mr. H. My Melesinda's mind, I had hoped, was superior to this childish curiosity. Melesinda. How many letters are there
in it ! [Erit MR. H. followed by MELEsixDA, repeating the question.
SCENE.-A Room in the Inn. Two Waiters disputing. 1st Waiter. Sir Harbottle Hammond, you may depend upon it. 2d Waiter. Sir Harry Hardcastle, I tell you. 1st Waiter. The Hammonds of Huntingdonshire. 2d Waiter. The Hardcastles of Hertfordshire. 1st Waiter. The Hammonds. 2d Waiter. Don't tell me : Hardcastle begin with an H ! 1st Waiter. So does Hammond for that 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. 1st Waiter. Here comes Susan Chambermaid: may be she can tell.
Both. Well, Susan, have you heard anything who the strange gentleman is 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
Mr. H. Ungenerous Melesinda I implore |
says, what from his figger and the appearance 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 7 Both. That is very true (gravely).
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. [The Chambermaid and Waiters slip out. (Solus.) The house is turned upside down since the strange gentleman came into it. Nothing but guessing and speculating, and speculating and guessing ; waiters and 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 they have anything or no; and after all 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 myself ; – I hate such inquisitive I 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 a dirty—what have I to do—curse the keys, how they rattle !—rattle in one's pockets—the keys and the half-pence (takes out a bunch and plays with them). I wonder if any of these would fit; one might just try them, but I wouldn't lift up the lid if they did. Oh no, what should I be the richer for knowing 7 (All this time he tries the keys one by one). What's his name to me? a thousand names begin with an H. I hate people that are always prying, poking and prying into things—thrusting their finger into one place —a mighty little hole this—and their keys into another. Oh Lord little rusty fits it ! but what is that to me? I wouldn't go to— no, no—but it is odd little rusty should just happen—(While he is turning up the lid of the bor, MR. H. enters behind him unperceived.) Mr. H. What are you about, you dog? Landlord. Oh Lord, Sir! pardon; no thief, as I hope to be saved. Little Pry was always honest. Mr. II. What else could move you to open that box : Landlord. Sir, don't kill me, and I will confess the whole truth. This box happened to be lying—that is, I happened to be carrying this box, and I happened to have my keys out, and so—little rusty happened to fit— Mr. H. So little rusty happened to fit — and would not a rope fit that rogue's neck 1 I see the papers have not been moved : all is safe, but it was as well to frighten him a little (aside). Come, Landlord, as I think you honest, and suspect you only intended to gratify a little foolish curiosity— Landlord. That was all, Sir, upon my veracity. Mr. H. For this time I will pass it over. Your name is Pry, I think? Landlord. Yes, Sir, Jeremiah Pry, at your service. Mr. H. An apt name: you have a prying temper—I mean, some little curiosity—a sort of inquisitiveness about you. Landlord. A natural thirst after knowledge you may call it, Sir. When a boy, I was never easy but when I was thrusting up the lids of some of my school-fellows' boxes, – not to steal anything, upon my honour, Sir-only to see what was in them ; have had pens stuck in my eyes for peeping through key-holes after knowledge; could
! up the crust,-just to try if it were pigeon
or partridge,_for no other reason in the world. Surely I think my passion for nuts was owing to the pleasure of cracking the shell to get at something concealed, more than to any delight I took in eating the kernel. In short, Sir, this appetite has grown with my growth. Mr. H. You will certainly be hanged some day for peeping into some bureau or other, just to see what is in it. Landlord. That is my fear, Sir. The thumps and kicks I have had for peering into parcels, and turning of letters inside out, —just for curiosity The blankets I have been made to dance in for searching parish registers for old ladies' ages, just for curiosity . Once I was dragged through a horse-pond, only for peeping into a closet that had glass doors to it, while my Lady Bluegarters was undressing, — just for curiosity Mr. H. A very harmless piece of curiosity, truly; and now, Mr. Pry, first have the goodness to leave that box with me, and then do me the favour to carry your curiosity so far, as to inquire if my servants are within. Landlord. I shall, Sir. Here, David, Jonathan,—I think I hear them coming.— shall make bold to leave you, Sir. [Erit. Mr. H. Another tolerable specimen of the comforts of going anonymous !
Enter Tito Footmen.
1st Footman. You speak first. 2d Footman. No, you had better speak. 1st Footman. You promised to begin. Mr. H. They have something to say to me. The rascals want their wages raised, I suppose; there is always a favour to be asked when they come smiling. Well, poor rogues, service is but a hard bargain at the best. I think I must not be close with them. Well, David—well, Jonathan. 1st Footman. We have served your honour faithfully— 2d Footman. Hope your honour won't take offence Mr. H. The old story, I suppose—wages 1 1st Footman. That's not it, your honour. 2d Footman. You speak. 1st Footman. But if your honour would
never see a cold pie with the legs dangling out at top, but my fingers were for lifting
just be pleased to