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M R. H
A FARCE-IN TWO ACTS.
SCENE.-A Public Room in an Inn. Landlord, Waiters, Gen.
Enter Mr. H.
Mr. H. Landlord, has the man brought home my boots ?
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
" 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 name or no name.
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 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 crea. ture positively languishes to be made Mrs. H. I believe I must indulge her (affeetedly.) 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 to put me down.
4th Waiter. What name shall I tell him, sir?
[Exit 4th Water.
Enter 5th Waiter.
5th Warter. 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 teazed 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.
51h Waiter. I would have done so, sir; but the object of his call now, he says, is only to know whom he is obliged to
Mr. H. Why, me. 5th Waiter. Yes, sir.
Mr. H. Me, me, me; who else, to be sure ?
5th TV aiter. 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 license in one's pocket, lawsully empowering so and so to-give an alms. Anything more?
5th Waiter. Yes, sir: here has been Mr. Patriot, with the county petition to sign; and Mr. Failtime, that owes 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.
[Erit. (While Mr. H. has been speaking, two gentlemen have
been observing him curiously.) 1st Gent. Who the devil is this extraordinary personage? 2d Gent. Who? why, 'tis Mr. H. 1st Gent. Has he no inore 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.
1.st. Gent. And is it possible that a mere anonymous
2d Gent. Phoo! that is the charm—Who is he? 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.
SCENE in the Street.
Mr. H. walking, Belvil meeting him. 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
Mr. H. (Stopping his mouth) Ho-! the devil, hush.
Mr. H. It is, it is your old friend Jack, that shall be name less.
Belvil. My dear Ho-
I have reasons to conceal it for a time.
Belvil. I understand you-creditors, Jack ?
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 han't taken a purse ?
Mr. H. To relieve you at once from all disgraceful conjectures, 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 ain 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 anpearance.
Mr. H. My figure-
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?
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, twentynine 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 the 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?
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.