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Enter JOE STANDFAST, L., singing, his knee bound.
Joe. (L.) So, master Blunt-prepared, I see, to give the birds a broadside. Ah, there's the old boy-[Looking at sign.] who has given our enemies many a broadside! bless your old weather-beaten phiz.—
Hen. (R.) You're very polite.
[Bows to him.
Joe. To be sure I am. I strike my main-top to him by way of salute, every morning before I stow my locker: that's the face of an honest heart, Master Blunt. 'Tis not, to be sure, done to the life; but what the painter ha'nt made out, a grateful mind can: I fought under him when he was captain, and twice after he was Vice. He made me master, after our first brush; and, but for this splintered timber of mine, I'd been by his side in the West Indies, when the brave old boy died. Died! I lie, he did not die; for he made himself immortal. His goodness laid me up in a snug cabin here on the larboard tack, made me a freeholder with £30 a year; and when your master, his honour's cousin and heir, steers by the compass of true glory, as the admiral did, he shall have my vote for sailing into the port of Parliament; if he gets it before, damme!
Hen. Sir Edward resembles him at least in his fondness for the sex, it seems.
Joe. Why, to be sure, the old buck did love the lasses -What brave fellow does not? We tars live but to love and fight; but the wenches often jilt us, Master Blunt, for all that.
And now I take my glass,
Drink England and my King,
Content with my old lass,
Get groggy, dance, and sing-[Hiccups.]
[Mary appears at the door of the Turnpike-house, L. U. E., with a newspaper in her hand.
Joe. (c.) Yes, yes, the old boy loved the sex, I grant; but he never hung out false colours to deceive the inno cent; and if, in the heat of action, his passions gave a wound, he never rested till he found a balm to heal it again. [Looking with kindness at Mary.]-Ah! bless thy little tender heart! I wish, for thy sake, he had lived to come home again.
Hen. Does she grieve for the admiral, who died more than a year since?
Joe. Why, no: but she's the child of ill-luck. Her sweetheart, you see, about four years since, was down here at the lodge, when their hearts, it seems, were secretly grappled to each other. The lad was a favourite of the admiral, and went out to the Indies with him: there he got promotion; and when death struck the old boy's flag, and no will left, this lad, d'ye see, was their sheet anchor; but returning home, in the very chops of the Channel they engaged an enemy, and after three hours' hard fighting, the mounseer struck; but her poor lad, Lieutenant Travers, was among the brave boys that fell. Had he lived, he had now been promoted. The newspaper she holds in her hand brought the account but two days since.
Hen. Then you seem to think, spite of your experience, she is sincere?
Joe. Why, if death and disappointment don't make folk sincere, what should? But a braver lad, they say, never kept the mid-watch. [Mary weeps, and retires into the Turnpike-house, L. U. E.] Poor wench! No wonder it makes her weep-tough as my heart is, damme, but it almost sets my pumps a-going.-But he died as a British seaman should, in the lap of victory; and his death was glorious! And I dare say he did not fight the worse for loving a pretty girl.
Hen. If you doubt that, hear the story of poor Tom Starboard.
Tom Starboard was a lover true,
Tom did; and never yet had fail'd.
In fight Tom Starboard knew no fear;
Had sav'd his life, and Fate was kind.
For still his manly bosom burn'd
With love-his heart was heart of oak !
His strength restor'd, Tom nimbly ran
They laid his Nancy in the grave!
[Joe and Henry Blunt go into Admiral, R. S. E.
Enter OLD MAYTHORN and ROBERT from the Milkhouse.
Old May. Nay, nay, boy, bridle thy temper; Sir Edward is licentious, hot-brained, and giddy: but so he don't dishonour us
Rob. Ay, to be sure! Let the vox devour the lamb, and zay nothing. Peg at the Admiral is marked for un already; and he must have Mary, too, or you'll no longer have the turnpike, farm, or dairy.
Old May. I don't fear Sir Edward, boy, more than thy temper." I always understood from the good admiral that I was rent free; yet Sir Edward claims arrears for years past; and as I have no acquittal to show, we must take care what we do." Thou shouldst not have beat his servant last night.
Rob. Dame un! the rogue's no better than a pimp; and, if it wer'nt for bringing you and zister to povertyOld May. There again-I was going to tell thee, boy, that Mary is not thy sister,
"Old May. No! she's a natural daughter of the late admiral. At three months old, her mother dying, he placed her under my care, to be brought up as my own child; but as she (poor innocent) must now share our lot, I charge thee, boy, not even to hint it to her 'twould break her heart. Hush!
[Mary advances from Turnpike-house-Robert retires, R. Old M. Don't weep, my dearest lamb. It is, I own, a woful change!
Mary. Ah, sir! the admiral, whose goodness gave us abundance-whose parental kindness (for such it was) kept me at school, and bred me as his daughter; his loss was heavy to us all. And now my dearest William, too! our only hope! after five years' absence-[Weeps.] Oh! had he but survived
Old M. Ay, ay, "child; had he and the good admiral returned, your union would have been bless'd with abundance. Ah, well! we have seen better days-but we must now submit. [Exit, L.
Mary. Oh, how changed is all the world to me! Objects which used to inspire delight now only serve to increase my affliction.
The poplar grove his presence grac'd,
All gladsome once, seem dreary;
[Exit into the Turnpike-house, L. U. E. Enter SIR EDWARD, with a gun, &c., from the Publichouse, R. S. E.
Sir E. Take out the greyhounds, and give them a course; and let the groom exercise the curricle horses. [Crack slips from behind the Public-house, R. U. E. Crack. Sir, I'll exercise the curricle and horses, and I'll give the dogs a course.
Sir E. (L.) Are you there, my impudent friend?
Crack. (R.) That epithet does not suit me, sir—I'm remarkably modest. Many pretend to do what they can't; such, I allow, are impudent. Now, I can do every thing, and I don't pretend at all.
Sir E. And, pray, who are you, that are so very officious?
Crack. If you wish to make me your bosom friend, don't puzzle me: but, sir, I believe I am the overseer of the parish; for I visit all the ale-houses every Sabbath day. Sir E. Yes, and most other days-I saw you drunk last night.
Crack. Purely out of respect to sobriety-I told you I was the overseer. My neighbours have weak heads; and, as their wives and families depend upon the labour of their hands, rather than they should neglect their - duty, I sometimes drink their share and my own too-I saved five from being drunk last night, and that's hard work-however, good deeds reward themselves.