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MAN OF THE WORLD.
SCENE I.-A Library.
Enter BETTY, R. and SAM, L.
Belty. (R. C.) The postman is at the gate, Sam; pray step and take in the letters.
Sum. (L.) John the gardener is gone for them, Mrs. Betty.
Betty. Bid John bring them to me, Sam: tell him I am here in the library.
Sam. I'll send him to your ladyship in a crack.
Enter NANNY, r.
Nanny. (R.) Miss Constantia desires to speak to you, Mrs. Betty.
Betty. How is she now?-any better, Nanny?
Nanny. (R. c.) Something; but very low spirited still. I verily believe it is as you say.
Betty. O! I would take my book oath of it. I cannot be deceived in that point, Nanny.-Aye, aye, her business is done-she is certainly breeding, depend upon
Nanny. Why, so the housekeeper thinks too.
Betty. Nay, I know the father, the man that ruined her.
Nanny. The deuce you do!
Betty. As sure as you are alive, Nanny; or I am greatly deceived-and yet-1 can't be deceived neither. -Was not that the cook that came galloping so hard over the common just now?
Nanny. [Both c.] The same: how very hard he galloped; he has been but three quarters of an hour, he says, coming from Hyde-Park-Corner.
Betty. And what time will the family be down?
Nanny. He has orders to have dinner ready by five; there are to be lawyers, and a great deal of company. here he fancies there is to be a private wedding to night, between our young Master Charles, and Lord Lumbercourt's daughter, the Scotch lady, who, he says, is just come post from Bath, in order to be married to him.
Betty. Ay, ay, Lady Rodolpha-nay, like enough, for I know it has been talked of a good while well, go tell Miss Constantia that I will be with her imme'diately.
Nanny. I shall, Mrs. Betty.
[Exit, R. Betty. So!-I find they all believe the impertinent creature is breeding-that's pure! it will soon reach my lady's ears, I warrant.
Enter JOHN, L.
Well, John, ever a letter for me?
John. (L. c.) No, Mrs. Betty; but here is one for Miss Constantia.
Betty. Give it me-Hum! my lady's hand.
John. And here is one, which the postman says is for my young master-but it's a strange direction-[Reads.] To Charles Egerton, Esq."
Betty. O! yes, yes; this is for Master Charles, John; for he has dropped his father's name of Macsycophant, and has taken up that of Egerton-the parliament has ordered it.
John. The parliament !-pr'ythee, why so, Mrs. Betty?
Betty. Why, you must know, John, that my lady, his mother, was an Egerton, by her father; she stole a match with our old master, for which all her family, on both sides, have hated Sir Pertinax, and the whole crew of the Macsycophants, ever since; and so, John, my lady's uncle, Sir Stanley Egerton, dying old batchelor, and, as I said before, mortally hating our old master, and all the crew of the Macsycophants, left his whole estate to Master Charles, who was his godson; but on condition that he should drop his father's name of Macsycophant, and take up that of Egerton, and that is
the reason, John, why the parliament has made him change his name.
John. I am glad that Master Charles has got the estate, however, for he is a sweet-tempered gentle
Betty. As ever lived.-But come, John; as I know you love Miss Constantia, and are fond of being where she is, I will make you happy; you shall carry this letter to her.
John. (c.) Shall I, Mrs. Betty? I am much obliged to you. Where is she?
Betty. In the housekeeper's room, settling the dessert. Give me Mr. Egerton's letter, and I'll leave it on the table in his dressing-room: I see it is from his brother Sandy.-So-now go and deliver your letter to your sweetheart, John.
John. (R. C.) That I will; and I am much beholden to you for the favour of letting me carry it to her for though she should never have me, yet I shall always love her, and wish to be near her, she is so sweet a creature. Your servant, Mrs. Betty. [Exit, R. Betty. (R. c.) Your servant, John.-Ha, ha, ha! poor fellow he perfectly doats on her; and daily follows her about with nosegays and fruit, and the first of every thing in the season. Ay, and my young master, Charles, too, is in as bad a way as the gardener:-in short, every body loves her, and that's one reason why I hate her. For my part, I wonder what the deuce the men see in her-a creature that was taken in for charity; I'm sure she's not so handsome. I wish she was out of the family once; if she was, I might then stand a chance of being my lady's favourite myself-ay, and perhaps of getting one of my young masters for a sweetheart, or at least the chaplain: but as to him, there would be no such great catch if I should get him. I will try for him, however; and my first step shall be to tell the doctor all I have discovered about Constantia's intrigues with her spark at Hadley. Yes, that will do; for the doctor loves to talk with me-loves to hear me talk too; and I verily believe-he, he, he! that he has a sneaking kindness for me, and this story will make him have a good opinion of my honesty, and that, I am sure, will be one step towards-O! bless me, here he comes, and I'll watch an opportunity my young master with him. to speak to him as soon as he is alone, for I will blow
her up, I am as resolved, as great a favourite, and as cunning as she is. [Exit, R. Enter EGERTON, L. SIDNEY following, as if in
Sid. (L.) Nay, dear Charles, but why are you so impetuous? Why do you break from me abruptly?
Eger. [Crosses to R. and turns.] I have done, sir; you have refused. I have nothing more to say upon the subject. I am satisfied. [Crosses to L.
Sid. (c.) Come, come, correct this warmth-it is the only weak ingredient in your nature, and you ought to watch it carefully. [EGER. crosses to L.] Because I will not abet an unwarrantable passion by an abuse of my sacred character, in marrying you beneath your rank, and in direct opposition to your father's hopes and happiness-you blame me, you angrily break from me, and call me unkind.
Eger. (L) Dear Sidney, for my warmth I stand condemned: but for my marriage with Constantia, 1 think I can justify it upon every principle of filial duty, honour, and worldly prudence.
Sid. Only make that appear, Charles, and you know you may command me.
Eger. I am sensible how unseemly it appears in a son to descant on the unamiable passions of a parent; but, as we are alone, and friends, I cannot help observing, in my own defence, that when a father will not allow the use of reason to any of his family-when his pursuit of greatness makes him a slave abroad, only to be a tyrant at home-when a narrow partiality to Scotland, on every trivial occasion, provokes him to enmity even with his wife and children, only because they give a national preference where they think it most justly due; and when, merely to gratify his own ambition, he would marry his son into a family he detests; sure, Sidney, a son thus circumstanced (from the dignity of human reason, and the feelings of a loving heart) has a right-not only to protest against the blindness of a parent, but to pursue those measures that virtue and happiness point
Sid. The violent temper of Sir Pertinax, I own, cannot be defended on many occasions, but still-your intended alliance with Lord Lumbercourt
Eger. (c.) [With impatience.] O! contemptible !
-a trifling, quaint, haughty, voluptuous, servile tool! the mere lacquey of party and corruption; who, for the prostitution of near thirty years, and the ruin of a noble fortune, has had the despicable satisfaction, and the infamous honour, of being kicked up and kicked down, kicked in and kicked out, just as the insolence, compassion, or convenience of leaders predominated; and now, being forsaken by all parties, his whole political consequence amounts to the power of franking a letter, and the right honourable privilege of not paying a tradesman's bill.
Sid. (R. C.) Well, but dear Charles, you are not to wed my lord, but his daughter.
Eger. (L. c.) Who is as disagreeable to me for a companion, as her father for a friend or an ally.
Sid. What, her Scotch accent, I suppose, offends you?
Eger. No, upon my honour; not in the least; I think it entertaining in her but, were it otherwise, in decency, and indeed in national affection, being a Scotchman myself, I can have no objection to her on that account: besides, she is my near relation.
Sid. So I understand. But pray, Charles, how came Lady Rodolpha, who I find was born in England, to be bred in Scotland?
Eger. From the dotage of an old, formal, obstinate, stiff, rich, Scotch grandmother, who, upon a promise of leaving this grandchild all her fortune, would have the girl sent to her to Scotland, when she was but a year old, and there has she been ever since, bred up with this old lady, in all the vanity and unlimited indulgence that fondness and admiration could bestow on a spoiled child, a fancied beauty, and a pretended wit: and is this a woman fit to make my happiness? this the partner that Sidney would recommend to me for life?-to you, who best know me, I appeal.
Sid. Why, Charles, it is a delicate point, unfit for me to determine; besides, your father has set his heart upon the match.
Eger. All that I know; but still I ask and insist upon your candid judgment: is she the kind of woman that you think could possibly contribute to my happiness? I beg you will give me an explicit answer.
Sid. The subject is disagreeable; but, since I must speak, I do not think she is.