« 上一頁繼續 »
Mr. H. Why didn't you show him up, blockhead ?
Butler. Show him up, sir ? With all my heart, sir. Up, or down, all's one to me.
[Exit. Jurvis. Ay, we have one or other of that family in this house from morning till night. He comes on the old affair, I suppose. The match between his son, that's just returned from Paris, and Miss Richland, the young lady he's guardian to.
Mr. H. Perhaps so.—Mr. Croaker, knowing my friendship for the young lady, has got it into his head, that I can persuade her to what I please.
Jarvis. Ah! if loved yourself but half as well as she loves you, we should soon see a marriage, that would set all things to rights again.
Mr. H. Love me! Sure, Jarvis, you dream.-No, no; her intimacy with me never amounted to more than friendship-mere friendship. That she is the most lovely woman that ever warmed the human heart with desire, I own: But never let me harbour a thought of making her unhappy, by a connexion with one so unworthy her merits as I am. No, Jarvis, it shall be my study to serve her, even in spite of my wishes ;and to secure her happiness, though it destroys my
Jarvis. Was ever the like !--I want patience!
Mr. H. Besides, Jarvis, though I could obtain Miss Richland's consent, do you think I could succeed with her guardian, or Mrs. Croaker, his wife; who, though both
very fine in their way, are yet a little opposite in their dispositions, you know.
Jarvis. Opposite enough, Heaven knows: the very reverse of each other; she all laugh, and no joke; he always complaining, and never sorrowful;-a fretful poor soul, that has a new distress for every hour in the four and twenty
Mr. H. Hush, hush, he's coming up, he'll hear you!
Jarvis. A raven, that bodes nothing but mischief; a coffin and cross bones; a bundle of rue; a sprig of deadly nightshade; a-[HONEYWOOD stopping his mouth at last, pushes
(Exit JARVIS. Mr. H. I must own my old monitor is not entirely wrong. There is something in my friend Croaker's conversation that quite depresses me. His
mirth is an antidote to all gaiety, and his appearance has a stronger effect on my spirits than an undertaker's shop.--Mr. Croaker, this is such a satisfaction
Enter CROAKER. Croak. A pleasant morning to Mr. Honeywood, and many of them.—How is this?-You look most shockingly to-day, my dear friend. I hope this weather does not affect your spirits. To be sure, if this weather continues, 1 say nothing But God send we be all better this day three months.
Mr. H. I heartily concur in the wish, though I own, not in your apprehensions.
Crvak. May be not; Indeed what signifies what weather we have in a country going to ruin like ours? -Taxes rising, and trade falling.-Money flying out of the kingdom, and Jesuits swarming into it. I know at this time, no less than a hundred and twentyseven Jesuits between Charing Cross, and Temple Bar!
Mr. H. The Jesuits will scarce pervert you or me, I should hope.
Croak. May be not; Indeed, what signifies whom they pervert, in a country that has scarce any religion to lose? I am only afraid for our wives and daughters.
Mr. H. I have no apprehensions for the ladies, I assure you.
Croak. May be not. Indeed, what signifies whether they be perverted or no ? The women, in my
time, were good for something. I have seen a lady dressed from top to toe in her own manufactures formerly. But now-a-days, the devil a thing of their own manufactures about them, except their faces.
Mr. H. But, however these faults may be practised abroad, you don't find them at home, either with Mrs. Croaker, Olivia, or Miss Richland.
Croak. The best of them will never be canonized for a saint when she is dead.—By the bye, my dear friend, I don't find this match between Miss Richland and my son, much relished, either by one side or the other.
Mr. H. I thought otherwise.
Croak. Ah, Mr. Honeywood, a little of your fine serious advice to the young lady might go far: I know she has a very exalted opinion of your understanding.
Mr. H. But would not that be usurping an authority, that more properly belongs to yourself.
Cruak. My dear friend, you know but little of my authority at home. People think, indeed, because they see me come out in the moruing thús, with a pleasant face, and to make
my friends all's well within. But I have cares that would break a heart of stone.--My wife has so encroached upon every one of my privileges, that I am now no more than a mere lodger in my own house.
Mr. H. But a little spirit exerted on your side might perhaps restore your authority.
Croak. No, though I had the spirit of a lion! I do rouse sometimes; but what then! Always haggling and haggling.– A man is tired of getting the better before his wife is tired of losing the victory.
Mr. H. It's a melancholy consideration indeed, that our chief comforts often produce our greatest anxieties, and that an increase of our possessions, is but an inlet to new disquietudes.
Croak. Ah, my dear friend, these were the very
words of poor Dick Doleful to me not a week before he made away with himself.—Indeed, Mr. Honeywood, I never see you but you put me in mind of poor Dick.-Ab, there was merit neglected for you! and so true a friend! we loved each other for thirty years, and yet he never asked me to lend him a single farthing.
Mr. H. Pray what could induce him to commit 60 rash an action at last?
Croak. I don't know; some people were malicious enough to say, it was keeping company with me; because we used to meet now and then, and open our hearts to each other. To be sure, I loved to hear him talk, and he loved to hear me talk-poor, dear Dick! He used to say, that Croaker rhimed to Joker; and so we used to laugh-poor
[Going to cry. Mr. H. His fate affects me. Croak. Ay, he grew sick of this miserable life, where we do nothing but eat and grow hungry, dress and undress, get up and lie down; while reason, that should watch like a nurse by our side, falls as fast asleep as we do,
Mr. H. To say truth, if we compare that part of life which is to come, by that which we have past, the prospect is hideous.
Croak. Life, at the greatest and best, is but a froward child, that must be humoured and coaxed a little, till it falls asleep,and then all the care is over.
Mr. H. Very true, sir, nothing can exceed the vanity of our existence, but the folly of our pursuits. We wept when we came into the world, and every day tells us why.
Croak. Ah, my dear friend, it is a perfect satisfaction to be miserable with you. My son Leontine shan't lose the benefit of such fine conversation.—I'll just step home for him.—I am willing to show him so much seriousness in one scarce older than himselfAnd what if I bring my last letter to the Gazetter, on
the increase and progress of earthquakes? It will amuse us I promise you. I there prove how the late earthquake is coming round to pay us another visit from London to Lisbon, from Lisbon to the Canary Islands, from the Canary Islands to Palmyra, from Palmyra to Constantinople, and so from Constantinople back to London again.
[Exit. Mr. H. Poor Croaker! His situation deserves the utmost pity. I shall scarcely recover my spirits these three days. Sure to live upon such terms is worse than death itself. [Pausing and Sighing:
Enter BUTLER. Butler. More company below, sir; Mrs. Croaker and Miss Richland ;-Shall I show them up ?-Oh, I may save myself the trouble, for they're showing up themselves.
[Exit. Enter Mrs. CROAKER, and Miss RICHLAND. Miss R. You're always in such spirits !
Mrs. C. We have just come, my dear Honeywood, from the auction - There was the old deaf dowager, as usual, bidding like a fury against herself.- And then so curious in antiques ! herself the most genuine piece of antiquity in the whole collection.
Mr. H. Excuse ladies, if some uneasiness from friendship makes me unfit to share in this good humour: I know you'll pardon me,
Mrs. C. I vow, he seems as melancholy as if he had taken a dose of
husband this morning. Well, if Richland here can pardon you, I must.
Miss R. You would seem to insinuate, madam, that I have particular reasons for being disposed to refuse it.
Mrs. C. Whatever I insinuate, my dear, don't be so ready to wish an explanation.
Miss R. I own I should be sorry, Mr. Honeywood's long friendship and mine, should be misunderstood. Dr. H. There's no answering for others, madam,