« AnteriorContinua »
“This night, our wit," the pert apprentice cries,
MR. R. SMITH.
Enter SIR WILLIAM HoneyWOOD, JARVIS. Sir Wm. Good Jarvis, make no apologies for this honest bluntness. Fidelity, like yours, is the best excuse for every freedom.
Jaro. I can't help being blunt, and being very angry too, when I hear you talk of disinheriting so good, so worthy a young gentleman as your nephew, my master. All the world loves him.
Sir Wm. Say rather, that he loves all the world; that is his fault.
Jarv. I am sure there is no part of it more dear to him than you are, though he has not seen you since he was a child.
Sir Wm. What signifies his affection to me; or how can I be proud of a place in a heart, where every sharper and coxcomb find an easy entrance T
Jarv. I grant you that he is rather too good-natured; that he's too much every man's man; that he laughs this minute with one, and cries the next with another : but whose instructions may be thank for all this?
Sir Wm. Not mine, sure? My letters to him during my employment in Italy, taught him only that philosophy which might prevent, not defend his errors.
Jarv. Faith, begging your honour's pardon, I'm sorry they taught him any philosophy at all; it has only served to spoil him. This same philosophy is a good horse in the stable, but an arrant jade on a journey. For my own part, whenever I bear bim mention the name on't, I'm always sure he's going to play the fool.
Sir Wm. Don't let us ascribe his faults to his philosophy, I entreat you. No, Jarvis, his good-nature arises rather from his fears of offending the importunate, than his desire of making the deserving happy.
Jarv. What it arises from, I don't know. But to be sure, every body has it, that asks it.
Sir Wm. Ay, or that does not ask it. I have been now for some time a concealed spectator of his follics, and find them as boundless as his dissipation.
Jarv. And yet, faith, he has some fine name or other for them all. He calls his extravagance, generosity; and his trusting every body, universal benevolence. It was but last week he went security for a fellow whose face be scarce knew, and that he called an act of exalted mu
munificence; ay, that was the name he gave it.
Sir Win. Aud upou that I proceed, as my last effort, thuugla with very little hopes to reclaim him. That very fellow has just absconded, and I have taken up the security. Now, uy intention is to involve him in fictitious distress, before he has plunged binself into real calamity: to arrest him for that very debt; to clap an officer upon him, and then let him see which of his friends will come to his relief.
Jarv, Well, if I could but any way see him thoroughly vexed, every groap of his would be music to me; yet faith, I believe it impossible. I have tried to fret him myself every morning these three years; but instead of being angry, he sits as calmly to hear me scold, as he does to his hair-dresser.
Sir Wm. We must try him once more, however, and I'll go this instant to put my scheme into execution: and I don't despair of succeeding, as, by your means, I can have frequent opportunities of being about him without being known. What a pity it is, Jarvis, that any man's goodwill to others should produce so much neglect of himself, as to require correction! Yet we must touch his weaknesses with a delicate hand. There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence, that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.
[Exit. Jarv. Well, go thy ways, Sir William Honeywood. It is not without reason, that the world allows thee to be the best of men. But here comes his hopeful nephew; the strange goodnatured, foolish, open-hearted — And yet, all his faults are such that one loves him still the better for them.
Enter Honeywoon. Honey. Well, Jarvis, what messages from my friends this morning?
Jary. You have no friends.
Jarv. (Pulling out bills.) A few of our usual cards of compliment, that 's all. This bill from your tailor; this from your mercer; and this from the little broker in Crooked-lave. He says he has been at a great deal of trouble to get back the money you borrowed,
Honey. That I don't know; but I am sure we were at a great deal of trouble in getting him to lend it.
Jarr. He has lost all patience.
Jarv. There's that ten guineas you were sending to the poor gentleman and his children in the Fleet. I believe that would stop his mouth for a while at least.
Honey. Ay, Jarvis, but what will fill their mouths in the mean time? Must I be cruel, because he happens to be importunate; and, to relieve his avarice, leave them to insupportable distress?
Jarv. 's death! Sir, the question now is how to relieve yourself; yourself. Haven 't I reason to be out of my senses, when I see things going at sixes and sevens?
Honey. Whatever reason you may have for being out of your senses, I hope you 'll allow that I am not quite unreasonable for continuing in mine.
Jarv, You are the only man alive in your present situation that could do so. Every thing upon the waste. There's Miss Richland and her fine fortune gone already, and upon the point of being given to your rival.
Honey. I'm no man's rival.
Jarv. Your uncle in Italy preparing to disinherit you; your own fortune almost spent; and nothing but pressing creditors, false friends, and a pack of drunken servants that your kindness has made upfit for any other family.
Honey. Then they have the more occasion for being in mine.
Jarv. Soh! What will you have done with him that I caught stealing your plate in the pantry? In the fact; I caught him in the fact.
Honey. In the fact? If so, I really think that we should pay him his wages, and turn him off.
Jarv. He shall be turned off at Tyburn, the dog; we 'll hang him, if it be only to frighten the rest of the family.
Iloney. No, Jarvis; it's enough that we have lost what he has stolen; let us not add to it the loss of a fellow-creature!
Jarv. Very fine! well, here was the footman just now, to
complain of the butler: he says he does most work, and ought to have most wages.
Honey. That's but just; though perhaps here comes the butler to complain of the footman.
Jarv. Ay, it's the way with them all, from the scullion to the privy-counsellor. If they have a bad master, they keep quarrelling with him; if they have a good master, they keep quarrelling with one another.
Enter BUTLER, drunk. But. Sir, I'll not stay in the family with Jonathan; you must part with him, or part with me, that 's the ex exposition of the matter, Sir.
Honey. Full and explicit enough. But what's his fault, good Philip?
But. Sir, he's given to drinking, Sir, and I shall have my morals corrupted by keeping such company.
Honey. Ha! ba! he has such a diverting way
But. I find my wine's a-going, Sir; and liquors don't go without mouths, Sir; I hate a drunkard, Sir.
Honey. Well, well, Philip, I'll hear you upon that another time; so go to bed now.
Jarv. To bed! let him go to the devil.
But. Begging your honour's pardon, and begging your pardon, master Jarvis, I'll not go to bed, nor to the devil neither. I have enough to do to mind my cellar. I forgot, your honour, Mr. Croaker is below. I camc on purpose to tell you.
Honey. Why didn't you show him up, blockhead ?
But. Show him up, Sir! With all my heart, Sir. Up or down, all 's one to me.
[Exit. Jarv. 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 be 's guardian to.
Honey. Perhaps so. Mr. Croaker, knowing my friendship for the young lady, has got it into his head that I can persuade her lo what I please.