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other; but my master had sent his portrait, which was approved of both by the young lady and her father.
Nic. No doubt, if he remained as like me as he used to
Paul. Very true, sir: it was settled that my poor master was to go to Aldwinkle Hall this very evening, that the ceremony might take place out of hand.
Nic. Well, and why didn't he go
Paul. He did go, sir: but going and coming are two different things; and it will be long enough before they find him come to Aldwinkle Hall-oh! oh!
Paul. A slight impediment, sir.-We set out, the first thing this morning, on our way there; but had scarcely performed a third part of our journey, when my poor master fell down in an apopletic fit!-oh! oh! oh!
Nic. Unhappy Gaspar! but what could he expect, living as he did?
Paul. He expected to be married, sir, and repent; but the Fates ordered it otherwise. Atropos came with her confounded shears, and cut his vital thread, as close as any tailor in the kingdom could have done. Just before he gave his last kick, he called me to him, and squeezing my hand, exclaimed, "Paul, my dear Paul, as soon as it's all over, send my body to the half-way-house, where dinner will be waiting for me, then hasten to my cousin Abraham (that's you, sir), bid him set off immediately to Aldwinkle Hall, break out the melancholy news to the Old Squire and my dear Georgiana; return, bury me decently, write an epitaph to my memory, take all I'm worth for his pains, and I shall rest in peace!-oh! oh!
Nic. Poor fellow! Did he die rich?
Paul. Pretty well for that, sir.
Nic. Then, his wishes shall be complied with. I'll lock up my grand Treatise on Vampires, hasten to Aldwinkle Hall this very moment, and return here the first thing to-morrow morning, to make preparations for the funeral. Unhappy Gaspar ! he was the last of the Nicodemus family, except myself. What a pity he wasn't as like me in other things as he was in person. But drink! drink! was the ruin of him. I'll go directly, and break the melancholy news to Miss and the Old Gentleman while you, Paul, you
Paul. I'll go to the half-way-house, and watch over my poor master's remains. Poor gentleman! drink was, as you
say, sir, the ruin of him. Heigho! sorrow is dry! I must get a little drop of something to comfort me for his loss. Good bye, sir!-Oh! Oh!
Nic. Farewell, Paul. Heu, fugaces! What frail creatures we are!
SCENE II-An Apartment in Aldwinkle Hall.
Lav. If you ask my advice, my dear Georgiana, I must candidly express my opinion, that, as you wish to marry Captain Vauntington, who has no money; and Mr. Nicodemus, who has plenty, wishes to marry you; you, having plenty, ought to take pity on the Captain's poverty, and leave me, who have nothing, to make love, if I like, to Mr. Nicodemus's abundance. It's quite enough for one party to be rich in marriage: there can be no participation, if it is otherwise, you
Geo. What you say, coz, is, as it always is, full of excellent sense; the only question is, how it is to be accomplished. You know my father's obstinacy; his engagement with Mr. Nicodemus; and-eh, here comes my father, and my dear Captain Vauntington too, as I live; they are discussing a subject too interesting to my feelings to permit my being an auditor. Let us retire, my dear cousin, and await, in hope, the end of their conference.
[Exeunt Georgiana and Lavinia.
Enter ALDWINKLE and VAUNTINGTON.
Ald. "Tis no use talking, Mr. Vauntington-if you are a Captain, you are only a South American Captain; they spring up like mushrooms, now o'days, and, egad, are worth about as much.
Vau. But, my dear sir, my family
Ald. Ah, there's the thing-if you get a family, how on earth are you to support them! Besides, I've solemnly engag ed my daughter to Mr. Nicodemus; he has it under my hand and seal-sent it to him, by the general post, above a month ago. To be sure, I've never seen the gentleman; but his character is unexceptionable.
Vau. It is not too late to retract, sir.
Ald. Indeed, but it is, sir; for I expect him to arrive every moment. He sent me word he was coming express,
though there was no occasion for that; I knew it for, independently of an amazing bright letter in the candle last night, that pointed directly towards me, my man Dickory saw a stranger on the bars this morning; that, immediately he clapped his hands, flew into the fire-a sure sign he was a good friend.
Vau. Ridiculous, childish superstition!
Ald. So you may think; but I'm of a different opinion. You're one of those heedless fellows, now, who'd walk twenty times under a ladder and never once look behind you; and, if you were to see fifty piebald horses, would'nt pull a hair out of the tail of any one of them, though you might get any thing you chose to wish for, for your pains.
Vau. But allow me to say, sir, that my passion for your daughter
Ald. Zounds, sir, you'll put me in a passion, if you go on in this way. Hav'n't I sent Dickory off to meet Mr. Nicodemus, at the half-way-house,-where he wrote me word, he should stop and dine,-on purpose to conduct him here all the sooner. I wonder they haven't arrived, for it's getting rather late.
Vau. But early impressions-first love, sir
Ald. Second thoughts are best-hey, surely, I hear the sound of visitors without. It must be Mr. Nicodemus. Now do, my good sir, oblige me by taking an answer, and going. Mr. Nicodemus has put your nose so completely out of joint, that
Vau. Vulgar rascal! [Aside.] But your former kind
Ald. Now do go.
Vau. My high expectations
Ald. Lower your tone, my good friend, I beg; zounds! do you think you're giving the word of command? It's time I turn General;-come-march!
Vau. I must submit to fate. You'll repent this, old Aldwinkle; take my word for it; the loss is as much yours as mine; so, good night! Poor Georgiana!
Ald. Thank heaven! he's off.-Now then for
Enter SERVANT, preceding NICODEMUS.
Ser. Mr. Nicodemus-Sir
[Bows and retires. Ald. Welcome, my dear, dear sir! ten thousand welcomes !
You need no introduction: from the strong resemblance you bear to your likeness, I should have known you any where. Nic. That is fortunate. I can proceed to the business at I knew if he had once seen my cousin, he would recognize me. [Aside.] I am extremely obliged by your kindness, sir-I regret that I should be the
Ald. Make no apology, my dear boy, I beg
Nic. The abruptness of this visit-
Nic. My precipitate appearance—
Ald. You do excellently well-make no apologies, pray.
Ald. I won't hear another word, till you've taken some refreshment.
Nic. The uncertainty of
Ald. Aye, aye, travelling is very uncertain
Nic. We are but too liable to be cut short in
Ald. True, true, I must cut you short now; for supper is just ready and you must needs want something, travelling so far.
Nic. Nay, my dear sir, but you must prepare yourself
Ald. Take no care about that; I have prepared every thing.
Nic. But, my dear sir,-my late-lamented
Ald. Better late than never-you're here, and that's sufficient. I did lament you hadn't come sooner, certainlyGeorgiana is dying with impatience to see you-I'll call her here. Why, Georgiana! Georgiana, I say
Nic. Zounds, he won't let me edge in a word any way; [Aside.] but, my dear sir, allow me a few serious words with you
Ald. Not another word, till you've supp'd-we'll have no serious words together, if I know it. To-morrow is time enough for business-to-night we'll devote to mirth and love, you dog-Oh, here Georgiana comes.
Nic. What shall I do now? I can't mention my cousin's death before the young lady; she'd be going into hysterics. I must let the old gentleman have his way, and get him to let me relate the particulars by-and-bye
A fine girl, faith.
Geo. Did you want me, Papa?
Ald. No, hussy; but Mr. Nicodemus does-Mr. Nicodemus my daughter Georgiana!
Geo. [Aside.]-What a solemn-looking fright! I'm sure I can never bring myself to love him.
Ald. Country bred, Mr. Nicodemus-unformed at present -so much the better, you can mould her to your liking; she's bashful, but sincere. Come, Georgiana, why don't you say something inspiring to Mr. Nicodemus, hussy, after his long journey?
Geo. Something inspiring after a long journey, Pa?Well, then, if I must say something, perhaps I can't say bet
Ald. Aye, aye, come, out with it.
Ald. Psha!—but egad it's apropos enough; a wag, Mr. Nicodemus-a wag-takes after me.
Nic. I am as much at a loss what to say as the young lady can be; supper's a timely relief, faith-[Aside.]—allow me to offer my arm, madam.
Geo. You are very polite, sir-this way, if you please. [Exeunt Nicodemus and Georgiana. Ald. I'll follow you the moment I have given some orders to the butler. I'm so rejoiced that— Enter SERVANT.
Well, sirrah, what do you want?
Ser. I don't want any thing, your honor-but here's Dickory-he's come back, and wants to see you in private, he says
Ald. Wants to see me in private !-what can the blockhead want with me in private?-Well, let him come in. [Exit Servant.] I suppose he had idled his time away so, that Mr. Nicodemus was gone before he arrived, and now he's coming, with some cock and a bull story, to excuse himself. Enter DICKORY, crying. Well, what the devil is that cursed long face for ?
Dic. Oh, master !-oh, Mr. Aldwinkle, such a misfortune! Oh! Oh !
Ald. What! I suppose, when you got to the half-wayhouse, you found Mr. Nicodemus had just departed?
Dic. Yeas, poor gentleman, he'd been quite gone above an hour afore I'd got there. I help'd to lay him out, when I found how things were.