Imágenes de páginas

Sir C. Hum!-well, not bad. There's novelty about the notion; it never did strike me to - O, but, no: I should be bored with the exertion of choosing. If a wife, now, could be had like a dinner — for ordering.

Leech. She can, by you. Take the first woman that comes: on my life, she 'll not refuse twelve thousand pounds a year.

Sir C. Come, I don't dislike the project; I almost feel something like a sensation coming. I haven't felt so excited for some time; it's a novel enjoyment-a surprise! I'll try it.

40. MOSES AT THE FAIR.-J. S. Coyne.

Jenkinson, having thrown aside his disguise as a quack doctor, enters with a box under his arm, encounters Moses, and sets down his box.

Jenkinson. A wonderful man! A wonderful man!

Moses. Ah, a patient of that impudent quack doctor. Jen. Quack doctor, Sir? Would there were more such! One draught of his aqua soliginus has cured me of a sweating sickness, that was on me now these six years; and carried a large imposthume off my throat, that scarce let me eat, drink or sleep, except in an upright posture, and now it has gone as clean, saving your presence, as [picks his pocket]-that, Sir! O, a wonderful man! I came here, at full length, in a cart; but I shall ride back as upright as a gate-post, if I can but come by a horse.

Moses [aside]. A customer for the colt; he seems a simple fellow. I have a horse to sell, Sir.

Jen. O! I warrant me you are one of those cozening horse-jockeys that take in poor honest folk. I know no more of horses than you do of Greek.

[ocr errors]

Moses. Nay-[aside] — but I must appear simple. I assure you, Sir, that you need not fear being cozened by me. I have a good stout colt for sale, that has been worked in the plough these two years; you can but step aside and look at him.

Jen. Well, as for that, I don't care if I do; but, bless me! I was forgetting my wares. [Takes up his box.

Moses. What have you there?

[ocr errors]

Jen. [mysteriously]. Ah! that's a secret. They 're my wares. There's a good twelve pounds' worth under the lid of that box. But you'll not talk about it, or I might be robbed; the fair's full of rogues; perhaps you 're one of 'em,-you look mighty sharp!


Moses. Nay, my good man, I am as honest as thyself; [aside] — though perhaps not quite such a simpleton!

Jen. Well, I don't care if I do look at thy horse; [aside]and you may say good-by to him. But ride and drive?

you 're sure he's quiet to

Moses. I've driven him myself, and I am not one that driveth furiously; and you may believe he 's quiet to ride, when I tell you he 's carried my mother, an old lady, and never thrown her. [Aside.] It's

true, she tumbled off once; but that was her fault, and not the colt's.

Jen. Then, I don't care if I say a bargain. How much is it to be? I don't like paying more than ten guineas.

Moses [aside]. He's not worth half the money! You shall name your own price; [aside] - and then nobody can say I cheated him. Jen. What say you to nine guineas, and the odd half-guinea for saddle and bridle?

Moses. Nay, I would not drive a hard bargain, I'm content. Jen. Stop a bit, and I'll give the money. [Pretends to search his 'pockets.] Eh?-O, nay, 't is t' other pocket; no, O! I'm a ruined man! I be robbed - thieves! I be robbed.

[ocr errors]

Moses. Robbed? This comes of carrying money. "Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator," as Juvenal says. But I will lend thee enough to take thee home again. [Going to put his hand into his pocket. Jen. [prevents him]. Nay, good young man, I have friends enow in this place who will do that for me. It is the loss of the horse that vexes me. Hold!perhaps, though I can no longer buy, you may be willing to make a barter?

Moses. Why, the practice of barter was much used among the ancients; and, indeed, the Lacedemonians had no coined money until after the time of Lycurgus, as you are aware.

Jen. No-I can't say I know the family. But will you exchange your horse against my wares? There's a good twelve pounds' worth of 'em.

Moses. A gross of green spectacles.

Jen. A dozen dozen.

[ocr errors]

Moses. What are they? Deprome- that is, bring them forth. Jen. [opens his box]. A gross of green spectacles, fine pebbles and silver rims. [Taking a pair out of case. [Taking a pair.

[ocr errors]


Moses. Let's see; [aside, calculates] · twelve times twelve is and twenty-one's into go yes, a capital bargain! - I accept; you take the colt, and I'll take the spectacles. [Offering to take the box. Jen. Nay, nay! I'll give you the box when you 've given me the colt;

so, come!


Moses. A gross of green spectacles! Huzza! [Aside.] I'll retail them for twice the money. "Nocte pluit totà redeunt spectacula "There come back spectacles many." Ha, ha! the silly fellow! Well, it's not my fault, he will cheat himself, ha, ha! O, Moses is a simpleton, is he? Moses can't make a bargain, can't he?


[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

[Exit. Jen. Of all the green spectacles I ever sold, I must say you 're the greenest.


Artevelde. This is a mighty matter, Van den Bosch, And much to be revolved ere it be answered.

Van den Bosch. The people shall elect thee with one voice.

I will insure the White-Hoods, and the rest
Will eagerly accept thy nomination,
So to be rid of some that they like less.
Thy name is honored both of rich and poor;
For all are mindful of the glorious rule
Thy father bore, when Flanders, prosperous then,
From end end obeyed him as one town.

Art. They may remember it; and, Van den Bosch, May I not, too, bethink me of the end To which this People brought my noble father? They gorged the fruits of his good husbandry, Till, drunk with long prosperity, and blind With too much fatness, they tore up the root From which their common weal had sprung and flourished. Van den B. Nay, Master Philip, let the past be past. Art. Here, on the doorstead of my father's house, The blood of his they spilt is seen no more. But when I was a child I saw it there; For so long as my widow-mother lived Water came never near the sanguine stain. She loved to show it me; and then, with awe, But hoarding still the purpose of revenge, I heard the tale; which, like a daily prayer Repeated, to a rooted feeling grew, How long he fought; how falsely came like friends The villains Guisebert Grutt and Simon Bette; All the base murder of the one by many! Even such a brutal multitude as they

Who slew my father; yea, who slew their own (For like one had he ruled the parricides),

Even such a multitude thou 'dst have me govern.

Van den B. Why, what if Jacques Artevelde was killed

He had his reign, and that for many a year,
And a great glory did he gain thereby.
And as for Guisebert Grutt and Simon Bette,
Their breath is in their nostrils as was his.
If you be as stout-hearted as your father,
And mindful of the villanous trick they played him,
Their hour of reckoning is well-nigh come.
Of that, and of this base, false-hearted league
They 're making with the earl, these two to us
Shall give account.

Art. They cannot render back

The golden bowl that 's broken at the fountain,
Or mend the wheel that 's broken at the cistern,
Or twist again the silver cord that 's loosed.
Yea, life for life, vile bankrupts as they are,-

Their worthless lives, for his of countless price,
Is their whole wherewithal to pay their debt.
Yet, retribution is a goodly thing,

And it were well to wring the payment from them
Even to the utmost drop of their heart's blood!

Van den B. Then will I call the People to the square,
And speak for your election.

Art. Not so fast.

Your vessel, Van den Bosch, hath felt the storm:
She rolls dismasted in an ugly swell,
And you would make a jury-mast of me,
Whereon to spread the tatters of your canvas.
And what am I? Why, I am as the oak
Which stood apart, far down the vale of life,
Growing retired, beneath a quiet sky.
Wherefore should this be added to the wreck ?

Van den B. I pray you, speak it in the Burgher's tongue; I lack the scholarship to talk in tropes.

Art. The question, to be plain, is briefly this:

Shall I, who, chary of tranquillity,

Not busy in this factious city's broils,

Nor frequent in the market-place, eschewed

The even battle,

shall I join the rout?

Van den B. Times are sore changed, I see; there's none in Ghent That answers to the name of Artevelde.

Thy father did not carp nor question thus,

When Ghent invoked his aid. The days have been

When not a citizen drew breath in Ghent

But freely would have died in Freedom's cause.

Art. The cause, I grant thee, Van den Bosch, is good; And, were I linked to earth no otherwise

But that my whole heart centred in myself,

I could have tossed you this poor life to play with,
Taking no second thought. But as things are,
I will revolve the matter warily,

And send thee word betimes of my conclusion.

Van den B. Betimes it must be, for the White-Hood chiefs Meet two hours hence; and ere we separate

Our course must be determined.

Art. In two hours,

If I be for you, I will send this ring

In token I have so resolved.


Van den B. Philip Van Artevelde, a greater man
Than ever Ghent beheld, we 'll make of thee,
If thou be bold enough to try this venture.
God give thee heart to do so! Fare thee well!

[Exit Van den Bosch.]

Art. [after a long pause]. Is it vain glory that thus whispers me, That 't is ignoble to have led my life In idle meditations? that the times Demand me, that they call my father's name? O, what a fiery heart was his! such souls, Whose sudden visitations daze the world, Vanish like lightning, but they leave behind A voice that in the distance far away Wakens the slumbering ages. O, my father! Thy life is eloquent, and more persuades Unto dominion than thy death deters!

42. THE WEATHERCOCK.-J. T. Allingham.

Old Fickle. What reputation, what honor, what profit, can accrue to you from such conduct as yours? One moment you tell me you are going to become the greatest musician in the world, and straight you fill my house with fiddlers.

Tristram Fickle. I am clear out of that scrape now, Sir.

Old F. Then, from a fiddler, you are metamorphosed into a philosopher; and, for the noise of drums, trumpets and hautboys, you substitute a vile jargon, more unintelligible than was ever heard at the tower of Babel.

Tri. You are right, Sir. I have found out that philosophy is folly; so I have cut the philosophers of all sects, from Plato and Aristotle down to the puzzlers of modern date.

Old F. How much had I to pay the cooper, the other day, for barrelling you up in a large tub, when you resolved to live like Diogenes?

Tri. You should not have paid him anything, Sir; for the tub would not hold. You see the contents are run out.

Old F. No jesting, Sir! this is no laughing matter. Your follies have tired me out. I verily believe you have taken the whole round of arts and sciences in a month, and have been of fifty different minds in half an hour.

Tri. And, by that, shown the versatility of my genius.

Old F. Don't tell me of versatility, Sir! Let me see a little steadiness. You have never yet been constant to anything but extravagance.

Tri. Yes, Sir,- one thing more.
Old F. What is that, Sir?

Tri. Affection for you. However my head may have wandered, my heart has always been constantly attached to the kindest of parents; and, from this moment, I am resolved to lay my follies aside, and pursue that line of conduct which will be most pleasing to the best of fathers and of friends.

Old F. Well said, my boy,- well said! You make me happy, indeed! [Patting him on the shoulder.] Now, then, my dear Tristram, let me know what you really mean to do.

« AnteriorContinuar »