Page images

strongest resemblance, yet contrive to make your portrait independent of you; so that you may sink the original and not hurt the picture. No, no: the merit of these is the inveterate likeness-all stiff and awkward as the originals, and like nothing in human nature besides.

Sir Oliver. Ah! we shall never see such figures of men again.

Charles. I hope not. Well, you see, Master Premium, what a domestic character I am; here I sit of an evening surrounded by my family. But come, get to your pulpit, Mr. Auctioneer; here's an old gouty chair of my grandfather's will answer the purpose.

Careless. Ay, ay, this will do. But, Charles, I haven't a hammer; and what's an auctioneer without his hammer? Charles. Egad, that 's true. What parchment have we here? Oh, our genealogy in full. (Taking the pedigree down.) Here, Careless, you shall have no common bit of mahogany: here's the family tree for you, you rogue! This shall be your hammer, and now you may knock down my ancestors with their own pedigree.

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) What an unnatural rogue!-an ex post facto parricide!

Careless. Yes, yes, here's a list of your generation indeed. 'Faith, Charles, this is the most convenient thing you could have found for the business, for 't will not only serve as a hammer, but a catalogue into the bargain. Come, begin- A-going, a-going, a-going!

Charles. Bravo, Careless! Well, here's my greatuncle, Sir Richard Raveline: a marvelous good general in his day, I assure you. He served in all the Duke of Marlborough's wars, and got that cut over his eye at the battle of Malplaquet. What say you, Mr. Premium? Look at him-there's a hero! not cut out of his feathers, as your modern clipped captains are, but enveloped in wig and regimentals, as a general should be. What do you bid? Sir Oliver. (Aside to Moses.) Bid him speak. Moses. Mr. Premium would have you speak. Charles. Why, then, he shall have him for ten pounds; and I'm sure that 's not dear for a staff-officer.

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) Heaven deliver me! his famous. uncle Richard for ten pounds! (Aloud.) Very well, sir, I take him at that.

Charles. Careless, knock down my uncle Richard.Here now is a maiden sister of his, my great-aunt Deborah; done by Kneller in his best manner, and esteemed a very formidable likeness. There she is, you see: a shepherdess feeding her flock. You shall have her for five pounds ten, -the sheep are worth the money.

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) Ah! poor Deborah! a woman who set such a value on herself! (Aloud.) Five pounds ten-she's mine.

Charles. Knock down my aunt Deborah! Here now are two that were a sort of cousins of theirs. You see, Moses, these pictures were done some time ago, when beaux wore wigs, and the ladies their own hair.

Sir Oliver. Yes, truly, head-dresses appear to have been a little lower in those days.

Charles. Well, take that couple for the same.
Moses. 'Tis a good bargain.

Charles. Careless!-This now is a grandfather of my mother's; a learned judge, well known on the western circuit. What do you rate him at, Moses?

Moses. Four guineas.

Charles. Four guineas! Gad's life, you don't bid me the price of his wig. Mr. Premium, you have more respect for the woolsack: do let us knock his Lordship down at fifteen.

Sir Oliver. By all means.

Careless. Gone!

Charles. And there are two brothers of his, William and Walter Blunt, Esquires, both members of Parliament, and noted speakers; and what 's very extraordinary, I belive this is the first time they were ever bought or sold.

Sir Oliver. That is very extraordinary, indeed! I'll take them at your own price, for the honor of Parliament. Careless. Well said, little Premium! I'll knock them down at forty.

Charles. Here's a jolly fellow-I don't know what relation, but he was mayor of Norwich: take him at eight pounds.

Sir Oliver. No, no: six will do for the mayor.

Charles. Come, make it guineas, and I'll throw you the two aldermen there into the bargain.

Sir Oliver. They're mine.

Charles. Careless, knock down the mayor and aldermen. But plague on 't! we shall be all day retailing in this manner: do let us deal wholesale; what say you, little Premium? Give me three hundred pounds for the rest of the family in the lump.

Careless. Ay, ay: that will be the best way.

Sir Oliver. Well, well,-anything to accommodate you: they are mine. But there is one portrait which you have always passed over.

Careless. What, that ill-looking little fellow over the settee?

Sir Oliver. Yes, sir, I mean that; though I don't think him so ill-looking a little fellow, by any means.

Charles. What, that? Oh, that's my Uncle Oliver! "T was done before he went to India.

Careless. Your Uncle Oliver! Gad, then you'll never be friends, Charles. That now, to me, is as stern a looking rogue as ever I saw; an unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance! an inveterate knave, depend on 't. Don't you think so, little Premium?

Sir Oliver. Upon my soul, sir. I do not: I think it is as honest a looking face as any in the room, dead or alive. But I suppose Uncle Oliver goes with the rest of the lumber?

Charles. No, hang it! I'll not part with poor Noll. The old fellow has been very good to me, and egad, I'll keep his picture while I 've a room to put it in.

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) (Aside.) The rogue's my nephew after all! -(Aloud.) But, sir, I have somehow taken a fancy to that picture.

Charles. I'm sorry for 't, for you certainly will not have it. Oons! haven't you got enough of them?

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) I forgive him everything! (Aloud.) But, sir, when I take a whim in my head, I don't value money. I'll give you as much for that as for all the rest.

Charles. Don't tease me, master broker: I tell you I'll not part with it, and there's an end of it.

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) How like his father the dog is! (Aloud.) Well, well, I have done. (Aside.) I did not perceive it before, but I think I never saw such a striking resemblance. (Aloud.) Here is a draft for your sum.

Charles. Why 't is for eight hundred pounds!
Sir Oliver. You will not let Sir Oliver go?

Charles. Zounds! no, I tell you, once more.

Sir Oliver. Then never mind the difference: we 'll balance that another time. But give me your hand on the bargain; you are an honest fellow, Charles-I beg pardon, sir, for being so free. Come, Moses.

Charles. Egad, this is a whimsical old fellow!-But hark'ee, Premium, you'll prepare lodgings for these gentlemen.

Sir Oliver. Yes, yes; I'll send for them in a day or two. Charles. But hold,-do now send a genteel conveyance for them; for I assure you they were most of them used to ride in their own carriages.

Sir Oliver. I will, I will—for all but Oliver.

Charles. Ay, all but the little nabob.

[blocks in formation]

Sir Oliver. (Aside.) A dear extravagant rogue! (Aloud.) Good-day!-Come, Moses. (Aside.) hear now who dares call him a profligate!


Let me

(Exit with MOSES.) Careless. Why, this is the oddest genius of the sort I ever met with.

Charles. Egad, he 's the prince of brokers, I think. I wonder how the devil Moses got acquainted with so honest a fellow. Ha! here's Rowley.-Do, Careless, say I'll join the company in a few moments.

Careless. I will-but don't let that old blockhead persuade you to squander any of that money on old musty debts, or any such nonsense; for tradesmen, Charles, are the most exorbitant fellows.

Charles. Very true; and paying them is only encouraging them.


Nothing else.


Charles. Ay, ay, never fear. (Exit CARELESS.) this was an odd old fellow, indeed. Let me see: two-thirds of these five hundred and thirty odd pounds are mine by right. 'Fore heaven! I find one 's ancestors are more valuable relations than I took them for!-Ladies and gentlemen, your most obedient and very grateful servant.

(Bows ceremoniously to the pictures.)


From The Critic.'

Sir Fretful. Sincerely, then, you do like the piece?
Sneer. Wonderfully!

Sir Fretful. But come, now, there must be something that you think might be mended, eh? Mr. Dangle, has nothing struck you?

Dangle. Why, faith, it is but an ungracious thing for the most part to—

Sir Fretful. With most authors it is just so indeed; they are in general strangely tenacious; but, for my part, I am never so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect to me; for what is the purpose of showing a work to a friend, if you don't mean to profit by his opinion?

Sneer. Very true. Why, then, though I seriously admire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one small objection, which, if you 'll give me leave, I'll mention. Sir Fretful. Sir, you can't oblige me more. Sneer. I think it wants incident.

Sir Fretful. Good God!-you surprise me!—wants incident!

Sneer. Yes; I own I think the incidents are too few.

Sir Fretful. Good God! Believe me, Mr. Sneer, there is no person for whose judgment I have a more implicit deference, but I protest to you, Mr. Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the incidents are too crowded. My dear Dangle, how does it strike you?

Dangle. Really, I can't agree with my friend Sneer. I think the plot quite sufficient, and the four first acts by many degrees the best I ever read or saw in my life. If I might venture to suggest anything, it is that the interest rather falls off in the fifth.

Sir Fretful. Rises, I believe you mean, sir.

Dangle. No; I don't, upon my word.

Sir Fretful. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul; it certainly don't fall off, I assure you; no, no, it don't fall off. Dangle. Now, Mrs. Dangle, didn't you say it struck you in the same light?

Mrs. Dangle. No, indeed, I did not; I did not see a fault in any part of the play, from the beginning to the end.

« PreviousContinue »