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INKLE AND YARICO.
ACT THE FIRST.
An American Forest.
Medium. [Without.] Hilli ho! ho !
Enter MEDIUM and TRUDGE.
· Med. Pshaw! it's only wasting time and breath. Bawling won't persuade him to budge a bit faster, and, whatever weight it may have in some places, bawling, it seems, don't go for argument here. Plague on't! we are now in the wilds of America.
Trudge. Hip, hillio-ho-hi!-
Trudge. Lord ! sir, if my master makes no more haste, we shall all be put to the sword by the knives of the natives. I'm told they take off heads like hats, and hang 'em on pegs, in their parlours. Mercy on us! My head aches with the very thoughts of it. Hollo! Mr Inkle! master! hollo!
Med. [Stops his mouth.] Head aches! Zounds, so does mine, with your confounded bawling. It's enough to bring all the natives about us; and we shall be stripped and plundered in a minute.
Trudge. Ay; stripping is the first thing that would happen to us; for they seem to be woefully off for a wardrobe. I niyself saw three, at a distance, with less clothes than I have when I get out of bed, all dancing about in black buff, just like Adam in mourning.
Med. This is to have to do with a schemer! a fel. low who risks his life, for a chance of advancing his interest.-Always advantage in view ! Trying, here, to make discoveries, that may promote his profit in England. Another Botany-Bay scheme, mayhap. Nothing else could induce him to quit our foraging party, from the ship; when he knows every inhabitant here is not only as black as a pepper-corn, but as hot into the bargain—and I, like a fool, to follow him! and then to let him loiter behind.-Why, nephew ;-Why, Inkle.-(Calling.)
Trudge. Why, Inkle-Well! only to see the difference of men! he'd have thought it very hard, now, if I had let him call so often after ine. Ah! I wish he was calling after me now, in the old jog-trot way, again. What a fool was I to leave London for foreign parts ! That ever I should leave Threadneedlestreet, to thread an American forest, where a man's as soon lost as a needle in a bottle of hay !
Med. Patience, Trudge ! Patience! If we once recover the ship
Trudge. Lord, sir, I shall never recover what I have lost in coming abroad. When my master and I were in London, I had such a mortal snug birth of it! Why, I was factotum.
Med. Factotum to a young merchant is no such sinecure, neither.
Trudge. But then the honour of it. Think of that, sir; to be clerk as well as own man. Only consider. You find very few city clerks made out of a man, now-a-days. To be king of the counting-house, as well as lord of the bed-chomber. Ab! if I had him
but now in the little dressing-room behind the office, tying his hair with a bit of red tape, as usual.
Med. Yes, or writing an invoice in lampblack, and shining his shoes with an ink-bottle, as usual, you blundering blockhead!
Trudge. Oh, if I was but brushing the accounts or casting up the coats !-Mercy on us! what's that?
Med. That! What?
Med. --but-hush! Oh, heavens be praised! here he is at last.
Enter INKLE, Now, nephew!
Inkle. So, Mr Medium.
Med. Zounds, one would think, by your confound ed
composure, that you were walking in St James's Park, instead of an American forest: and that all the beasts were nothing but good company; the hollow trees, here, sentry boxes, and the lions in 'em, soldiers; the jackalls, courtiers; the crocodiles, fine women; the baboons, beaux. What the plague made you loiter so long?
Med. So I should think; reflection generally comes lagging behind. What, scheming, I suppose; never quiet. At it again, eh? What a happy trader is your father, to have so prudent a son for a partner! Why, you are the carefullest Co. in the whole city. Never losing sight of the main chance; and that's the reason, perhaps, you lost sight of us, here, on the main of America.
Inkle. Right, Mr Medium. Arithmetic, I own, has been the means of our parting at present.
Trudge. Ha! A sum in division, I reckon. [Aside.
Med. And pray, if I may be so bold, what mighty scheme has just tempted you to employ your head, when you ought to make use of your heels
Inkle. My heels ! Here's pretty doctrine ! Do you think I travel merely for motion? What, would you have a man of business come abroad, scamper extravagantly here and there and everywhere, then return home, and have nothing to tell, but that he has been here and there and every where? 'Sdeath, sir, would you have me travel like a lord ?
Med. No, the Lord forbid !
Inkle. Travelling, uncle, was always intended for improvement; and improvement is an advantage; and advantage is profit, and profit is gain; which in the travelling translation of a trader, means, that you should gain every advantage of improving your profit. I have been comparing the land, here, with that of our own country. Med. And
you find it like a good deal of the land of our own country -cursedly encumbered with black-legs, I take it.
Inkle. And calculating how much it might be made to produce by the acre.
Med. You were ?
Inkle. Yes; I was proceeding algebraically upon the subject.
Inkle. I was thinking too, if so many natives could be caught, how much they might fetch at the West India markets.
Med. Now let me ask you a question or two, young cannibal-catcher, if you please.
Med. Ara't we bound for Barbadoes, partly to trade, but chiefly to carry home the daughter of the governor, Sir Christopher Curry, who has till now been under your father's care, in Threadneedle street, for polite English education?
Med. And isn't it determined, between the old folks, that you are to marry Narcissa as soon as we
Inkle. A fixed thing.
Med. Then what the devil do you do here, hunting old hairy negroes, when we ought to be obliging a fine girl in the ship? Algebra, too! You'll have other things to think of when you are married, I promise you. A plodding fellow's head, in the hands of a young wife, like a boy's slate, after school, soon gets all its arithmetic wiped off: and then it appears in its true simple state,-dark, empty, and bound in wood, Master Inkle.
Inkle. Not in a match of this kind. Why, it's a table of interest from beginning to end, old Medium.
Med. Well, well, this is no time to talk. Whe knows but, instead of sailing to a wedding, we may get cut up, here, for a wedding dinner; tossed up for a dingy duke, perhaps, or stewed down for a black baronet, or eat raw by an inky commoner? Inkle. Why sure you ar'n't
afraid ? Med. Who, I afraid? Ha! ha! ha! No, not I! What the deuce should I be afraid of? Thank Heaven I have a clear conscience, and need not be afraid of any thing. A scoundrel might not be quite so easy on such an occasion; but it's the part of an honest man not to behave like a scoundrel :-I never behaved like a scoundrel-for which reason I am an honest man, you know. But come--I hate to boast of my good qualities.
Inkle. Slow and sure, my good, virtuous Mr Medium! Our companions can be but half a mile before us : and, if we do but double their steps, we shall overtake 'em at one mile's end, by all the powers of arithmetic.
Med. Oh curse your arithmetic! (Exeunt..