Science and Art, a Farce, in Two Acts

Edited by Rebecca Nesvet

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Dramatis Personæ.

[Peter] Patent.[An inventor.]
Old [Matthew] Freeman.[A country lawyer.]
Young [Jack] Freeman.[A city lawyer; Old Freeman’s nephew; in the script, “Freeman.”][1]
Dick Lobby.[Another city lawyer; Freeman’s friend.]
Tom [Clinker].[Freeman’s servant.]
Maria.[Patent’s ward.]
Alice.[Patent’s servant.]

Act I. Scene I.

Young FREEMAN’s Lodgings in the Temple.—Two chairs and table.[2]
Young Freeman. seated, solus (reading).

Bless me! past five o’clock—Tom not yet returned, and my old uncle will be popping his bald pate into every corner of the Temple in search of me. He expects to see me one day Lord Chancellor. Oh! how irksome is the dry study of the law to an expecting anxious lover!—but what have I to expect? Surely nothing but disappointment: commanded by my uncle to pay my addresses to a lady with whose person I am unacquainted, whose disposition I am ignorant of, and whose name I have never yet heard, while at the same time I am captivated by the charms of another almost equally unknown—unknown! No: I beheld every virtue beaming in her bright eyes, every perfection in her celestial form. She has taken entire possession of my heart, and not all the power on earth———but here comes Tom.[3]

Enter TOM (drunk)

Well, my good fellow, Tom, what have you learnt? what news of my unknown, bewitching charmer?[4]

Tom.

Ecod, I believe she is a witch, with her charms; for I have run after her, and about her, till I can hardly stand.[5]

Young Freeman.

You are drunk, you dog.

Tom.

Drunk: no, no, no, no, no; not absolutely drunk, only in a medium way, that’s all.

Young Freeman.

How came you in that condition, you scoundrel?

Tom.

Why, master, the way that many a man gets drunk, by running after the girls: plague on them!

Young Freeman.

What business had you after the girls? Did I not employ you to obtain intelligence of the lady I followed home last night from the Opera?[6]

Tom.

Well, ain’t she a gig—gig—girl?[7]

Young Freeman.

True; and a most angelic one: but tell me, how did you proceed?

Tom.

Why, master, when I set out, you know it was pure warm weather, so being a little thirsty, I called in at the Dog and Duck.

Young Freeman.

Damn the Dog and Duck.

Tom.

Nay, I only drank a little ale there.

Young Freeman.

Proceed: tell me what you have learnt concerning her.

Tom.

Nay, now, have patience, and you shall hear all about it. So thinks I to myself, the best way to get intelligence of this young lady, is to go to the street where she lives, and inquire at the public-house; so in I popt, and got si—si—six-penny-worth of brandy-and-water; so, says I, “Do you know the young lady that lives in that there house over the way? “No,” says he: “but if you go down to The World’s-End, at the bottom of the street, they know all about her.”

Young Freeman.

You scoundrel! did you imagine a form of so much celestial beauty, in whose bright eyes shone refinement and intelligence, would be known in every dirty public-house in the street? I’ll cane you as long as I can stand, you dog!

Tom.

Stop, stop, master! if you strike, I’ll forget every word I was going to say.

Young Freeman.

Go on, then, and make amends for your blundering behaviour.

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Tom.

Immediately, sir; let me see where I was at; aye, aye, at the World’s-End; so in I went, and had just got a pint of ale, when I found I had mistaken the house, and got into the Rainbow.

Young Freeman.

Well: go on.

Tom.

Well, so in I went to the End of the World. “Ho, landlord!” says I, “do you know the person that lives at No. 44?” “No,” says he, “master, being as how they be newly come to the house; but if you’ll inquire at the Brown Bear, they’ll direct you to the widow that keeps the Horse Shoe, who is very well acquainted with the landlord at the Red Lion, who will tell you more about the matter;” so I went, and took a glass with them all; and the one directed me here, and the other directed me there, till at last I found I had been in the wrong street all the time; so I had all to begin over again.

Young Freeman.

Was ever man so curst? But what could I expect from a drunken fool? Sirrah! you shall no longer continue in my service!

Tom.

Very well, master; so this is all my thanks for running about so. I’ll keep my secret to myself. Farewell, master! You don’t want, I find, to hear about Maria, nor about her guardian, nor her twenty thousand pounds she has got, nor her smiles, nor her dimples.

Young Freeman.

Oh, my dear fellow! Tom, come and tell me all. Who is her guardian?

Tom.

Her guardian!—that is Old Patent, that invents the wheels and the axes, and them there queer kind of things.[8]

Young Freeman.

But tell me—what did you hear of my angel? How shall I introduce myself to her? Did you learn the private character of her guardian?

Tom.

Fair and softly, master; you have put me in a pure heat, and I think a glass of wine would not be amiss, while I am telling the story.

Young Freeman.

Curse on this beastly drunkard! was ever man so tortured?

(A knocking is heard).

See who knocks.

[Exit TOM.

Enter DICK LOBBY. Lobby.

Hollo, Jack! how do you do? Called on you, on my way, to take you to the Club.[9]

Young Freeman.

Damn the Club!

Lobby.

How? I say bless the Club. Is this honest Jack Freeman? Where, in the name of wonder, have you picked up that serious, hypocritical phiz? Has your uncle taken it into his foolish old head to be married? or has———[10]

Young Freeman.

A truce with your conjectures, my good friend: I am seriously in love.

Lobby.

In love! Ha! ha! ha! ha!

Young Freeman.

I am not in a humour to be rallied, Dick; a passion glows in my breast, honourable, pure, and may I add celestial, since it is for an object who, if the excellence of her mind may be guessed at by the sweetness of her form, must be endowed with every virtue, short of absolute perfection.

Lobby.

Mad! mad! mad!

Young Freeman.

Did you never feel the soft enchantment play round your heart, and warm it to soothing tenderness and sweet delight?

Lobby.

No, never.

Young Freeman.

Did you never wish to be united to a sweet, angelic partner, whose charms would strew roses on the rugged paths of life?

Lobby.

No, never, thank Heaven!

Young Freeman.

Then to you I need not describe my feelings. The man who——

Lobby.

Stop, stop! in the name of all your mistress’s perfections, do not torture me with sentiment, but tell me who she is.[11]

Young Freeman.

She is——an angel!

Lobby.

Pugh! pugh! I knew that before; but what is her earthly name?

Young Freeman.

I know not. Last night at the Opera was the first time my wandering eyes beheld her. She was in company with an old gentleman, who, I have since learnt, was her guardian: she dropped her fan; I flew to pick it up; it was then I greedily drank in the sweet accents of her voice. I wished to improve the opportunity thus afforded me, but met with so cold a reception from her antiquated guardian, that all my assurance vanished in a moment, and I remained the victim of despairing love; that View Page
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despair prompted me to action; the coach they drove off in went at an easy rate; I followed, and discovered the abode of this heavenly creature; but all that I have since learned concerning her is, that she is under the guardianship of one Patent.

Lobby.

What, old Patent, the schemer?

Young Freeman.

I believe the same.

Lobby.

I know his character well. If you marry his ward, he’ll make an Egyptian mummy of you, Jack; he’ll take your bones, and turn them into ivory toothpicks.

Young Freeman.

I beseech you to let me know particularly his character.

Lobby.

His character! that I can. In the first place, one would imagine that he thought nothing right in this world, as his invention is continually on the rack to make it better. I don’t know how many machines he has invented, and how many schemes he has proposed for the good of the public.

Young Freeman.

And have they turned to any account?

Lobby.

You shall hear. It was not long ago that he published proposals for an automaton manufactory, in which he explained the variety of uses these self-moving machines might be put to, and what an immense saving of expense to the nation to employ them. In the first place he contended, that the business of an army, according to the system of modern tactics, might as well be managed by automatons as real soldiers; this would be a wonderful saving, as it would render unnecessary almost the whole host of army agents, army contractors, and barrack masters; and besides, those wooden soldiers would go with the greatest coolness into action, never commit the slightest breach of discipline, and, when killed or wounded, might be easily repaired.[12]

Young Freeman.

I own, in some countries, this kind of reasoning would not be so absurd; those who march into the field at the arbitrary pleasure of a despot, may be compared to machines, who have no will of their own; but the soldiers of a free country, while they are fighting to secure their own liberty, at the same time command the approbation and applause of mankind, and present the brightest pages of history to admiring posterity. What was the next use he intended for them?[13]

Lobby.

You shall hear. He contended, that as British seamen, by some blessed knack of their own, uniformly and invariably beat their enemies wherever they found them; so British automatons, made of good hardy British oak, would have the same effect, and thereby save the lives of many an illustrious hero, whose death, though glorious, still drew the tear from every British eye, and stifled the glad sounds of victory.

Young Freeman.

This scheme did not succeed.

Lobby.

No: for when Old Patent went down to the fleet at Portsmouth to publish his proposals, our brave tars would have him thrown overboard for a rascal who wanted the enemy to get all the fighting to themselves. Baffled in this, he offered to manufacture some for a few wealthy noblemen, who told him that if he could contrive to make them say aye and nay, they would probably take a dozen or two, as they might have use for them upon the dissolution of Parliament.[14]

Young Freeman.

But pray, my good friend, give me your advice.

Lobby.

Advice to a lover! I never saw one who would take anybody’s advice but their own. My advice is, go to the club, drink down old care, and a fig for matrimony.[15]

Young Freeman.

Matrimony! the blessing of heaven!

Lobby.

And the curse of all jovial fellows. Happy the bachelor who roams through life free and unrestrained! No scolding wife—no brawling children—no horns—no bills.

Young Freeman.

You have beheld the dark side of the picture: let me expose the other to your view, and you will be dazzled with its radiance. Oh! what truer felicity can we enjoy than in the constant society of her we love. The short sweets of life shared with her swell into rapturous enjoyment; and when the clouds of misfortune lour, and we are shunned and despised by the selfish, unpitying world, who speaks peace and comfort to our distracted bosoms? from whose fond heart do we feel sweet consolation and relief? from the lovely and endearing partner of our life. Were the most abandoned sensualist for one short moment to clasp his child to his bosom, to feel its little arms clung around his neck, to feel its lips press his, and to hear it lisp out the endearing name of “father,” he would not forego the delight for all the enjoyment so which trifling vanity and unrestrained folly could afford.

Lobby.

Well, well, Jack, this may be all very good, though I know nothing about it. However, get yourself introduced to your girl, marry her as soon as you can; and if View Page
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your uncle and her guardian turn you both off, my estate is sufficient for us all. As I never intend to taste the sweets of matrimony myself, I shall at least have the pleasure of contributing to yours.[16]

Young Freeman.

You are an honest fellow, Dick; but I forgot to tell you, that I have this morning received a letter from my uncle, which informs me that he will arrive tomorrow, or perhaps this evening, in town, in order to introduce me to a lady he has taken it into his head I ought to marry: his only reasons are, that she is the ward of an old acquaintance, and has a considerable fortune.

Lobby.

So that something must be done in your affair immediately.

Young Freeman.

Immediately, my dear friend. How shall I get myself introduced?

Lobby.

Aye, there lies the difficulty; you can’t conveniently, can you, turn yourself into a flour mill, or a musical clock?[17]

Young Freeman.

No—no.

Lobby.

I fear not, however; let me see; oh, aye, I have it: here it is, my boy—I have it.

Young Freeman.

Oh, aye—let me hear it, my good genius.

Lobby.

You shall be a wonderful piece of machinery. I will introduce you as an automaton.

Young Freeman.

An automaton?

Lobby.

Yes; and I shall be the great Doctor Bolasco Rodosco, come from the farthest part of Asia, learned in the sciences of astrology, mythology, minerology, mathematics, optics, and hydraulics, who, after a study of more than one hundred years, has contrived the most excellent and most perfect machine the world ever beheld, which he now presents for the inspection of the philosophic Patent, whose renown has reached his ears from the other side of the globe.[18]

Young Freeman.

Ridiculous enough! Do you think he is so credulous?

Lobby.

Credulous! he is the essence of credulity itself: but remember—none of your sighing and sobbing; you must walk as if your whole body were full of wheels.

Young Freeman.

Well, however hard it may be for a lover to perform such a part, I’ll try it—thus, and thus.

(Walks by short starts, as if moved by wheels). Lobby.

Bravo! well done! Up, you dog Tom—a coach instantly.

Young Freeman.

I wish such a scheme may succeed.

Lobby.

Do not doubt it. Come on. Bravissimo!

(Exeunt [Young] Freeman and Dick Lobby).

Act I. Scene 2.

The House of Mr. PATENT. Enter MARIA and ALICE. Maria.

Oh, some hither, Alice! come hither! and I’ll tell you all about it.

Alice.

Well, well; but you do fluster a body so. You have no patience.

Maria.

How can I have patience? You know we went last night to the Opera, where I saw the sweetest, kindest, loveliest young gentleman I ever beheld in my life.

Alice.

I do not doubt it.

Maria.

I am sure I made some impression upon him, for he did every thing in his power to introduce himself to our notice.

Alice.

That’s the trick of them all; they like to introduce themselves to our notice.

Maria.

But my guardian repulsed him with so cold and reserved an air, that I feared he had almost affronted him.

Alice.

Oh! they are not so easily affronted: I, for my part, always repulse them when they have the audacity to address me.

Maria.

Surely, Alice, that is the reason you have never got married.

Alice.

Married! I would have you know, Miss, that I might have been married to twenty husbands, if I had chosen it.

Maria.

Nay, don’t be angry, Alice; I meant only to say that it was your own cruelty.

Alice.

Yes, yes, it was all owing to my own cruelty. There was Mr. Freemantle, the clothier, in the city, he never ventured to speak to me, but he was always a standing at his shop door, and looked at me when I passed by. Poor man! he died in about ten years afterwards: I am sure it was I that broke his heart.

Maria.

Ha! ha! ha! His heart had been very hard to be so long a breaking.

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Alice.

And there was Mr. Deputy Dripping, the tallow-chandler’s son, he used always to sit in the same pew with me at chapel; and there was young Mr. Mite, the cheesemonger’s son, he used to be so delighted when I came to pay his bills; I should most assuredly have gotten him if he had not married another.

Maria.

Ha! ha! ha!

Alice.

What do you laugh at, Miss? I’d have you to know that I am not a person to be laughed at.

Maria.

Indeed, I beg your pardon; but my dear Alice, I can think of nothing but this handsome young gentleman. If you could contrive——

Alice.

Contrive! I contrive! I’d have you to know, Miss, that I am no contriver. None of your contrivances for me.

Maria.

I am sorry, my dear Alice, I have offended you; indeed I am.

Enter PATENT. Patent.

Maria, my dear Maria, I want to speak with you. Why, you look melancholy.

Maria.

Indeed, I am so, sir. My head does ache so; I am sure I can’t live much longer in this house.

Patent.

Why so?

Maria.

There is the grinding of so many foolish machines, and the clink clank of so many pendulums, that one would think they were all day long in a flour mill.

Patent.

If you had any genius or taste, Maria, you would be very much amused in examining them.

Maria.

No, truly, sir, I think there is nothing in the house so diverting as yourself; indeed, sir, I am almost always in spirits when I see you; and when I think of you, I laugh sometimes so, you can’t think.

Patent.

How, am I so amusing?

Maria.

I don’t know: you are so queer, so out of the way, not like any other body, as one may say, and have so many strange windmill notions in your head, my dear Guardy—I dare say every one laughs as much as I do at you.[19]

Patent.

Every one as ignorant will: but the subject I mean to speak upon is one better fitted to your capacity. Come hither, child, I want to ask you a question—do you wish to be married?

Maria.

Do I wish to be married? Oh! now, my dear guardian, you talk sensibly, and like other people: indeed, my dear guardian, I won’t laugh at you now; indeed I won’t!

Patent.

Well, then, do you wish to be married?

Alice.

Indeed, sir, she is by far too young for a husband.

Maria.

Nay, now, hold your tongue, Alice; for I do wish to be married.

Alice.

Hoity toity! married already! I think she might wait till her betters be served.

(Exit ALICE). Patent.

I expect my old friend, Mr. Freeman, to introduce his nephew, your lover, here this afternoon.

Maria.

My lover? Lord, sir! he never made love to me! I never saw him![20]

Patent.

No matter, you will soon see him; he’s an excellent young man; my friend informs me that he is always attentive to business; night and morning surrounded by law books; he’ll hardly ever speak a word to you.

Maria.

Upon my word, a very pretty qualification for a husband. Now, I won’t be married till I have some courting, as we do in the country; if Mr. Freeman’s nephew is to be my lover, he must sigh after me for two or three months together: he must beg to have the pleasure and the honour of my company to all the public places about town; he must be so delighted when I am pleased; and when I don’t find myself in the humour to talk to him, he must look as grave and as melancholy as—as my worthy, reverend, and honoured guardian.

Patent.

Well, of all the curiosities of the creation, there is none which more effectually eluded the eye of philosophic inquiry than a woman; she is like a machine that is ever going wrong; vanity is the spring, caprice the pendulum, and folly the pivot upon which she turns.

Maria.

Hold, hold; I’ll never stop to hear this lecture; but to convince you, my View Page
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dear guardian, that we can sometimes be constant to one Purpose, I must inform you that I shall never give my hand to any other than the sweet young gentleman who accosted us last night at the Opera, while I have the smallest hope that I have made any impression upon his heart.

Patent.

Absurd, ridiculous girl! if ever you marry that skipping Bond Street puppy, I am one of the veriest fools in nature.[21]

Maria.

And if ever I marry Mr. Freeman’s nephew, then—then there is no constancy in the resolution of a woman.

(Exit MARIA). Patent.

What an obstinate creature! Where is Alice? She’ll counsel her to her duty. Alice! Alice! I have set my heart upon the match. Enter ALICE.
Come hither, I want to speak to you about a very important affair.

Alice.

A very important affair! good luck! (Aside, adjusting her head dress).
he surely don’t mean to address me.

What would your worthy honour please to have?[22]

Patent.

Alice, you have always been a dutiful and faithful servant to me. How long is it that you have been in my family?

Alice.

Oh, dear! sir, I keep no account of years.

Patent.

I think it is a matter of five-and-twenty years, or thereabouts.

Alice.

Five-and-twenty years! no, not so much, neither; to be sure, I was very young then.

Patent.

During which time I have found you prudent and faithful: and your knowledge of the world, no doubt, increased with age.

Alice. (With great agitation).

Aye!

Patent.

Alice, for some time past I have had in my thoughts a matrimonial project.

Alice.

(Aside, and with a great deal of girlish conceit and leering).
Oh! here it comes!

And how is it possible for me, worthy sir, to guess the fortunate female who has interested your heart.

Patent.

Nay, Alice, you mistake; it is a match for my ward Maria, I mean.

(Alice changes her air to that of gloomy haughtiness, anger, and disappointment).

Now I wish you to use all your influence to make her marry Mr. Freeman’s nephew.

Alice.

I have no influence, sir.

Patent.

Try, however: besides, I wish you to guard well, lest a dangling young fellow she saw last night at the Opera, should get admittance into the house.[23]

Alice.

Oh! you may depend upon it, sir; I’ll guard the house against all dangling young fellows. Young fellows! pugh! I hate the very sight of them.

Patent.

Do so, my dear Alice, and rely upon my gratitude: I’ll bestow upon you a greater reward than you think of. You don’t know what good fortune awaits you.

[Exit PATENT. Alice.

“My dear Alice!” He’s captivated; as sure as death, he’s smitten; he has it here. “You don’t know what good fortune awaits you.” I was sure to get a promise of marriage to-day, for I dreamed all last night that somebody put a ring upon my finger. I wonder when it will be.

(A knocking at the door). Enter DICK LOBBY, disguised in a strange outlandish manner, long beard, &c. Lobby.

Worthy dame, art thou the mistress of this honoured mansion!

Alice.

May be I am, sir, and may be not. More wonderfuller things have come to pass.

Lobby.

Is not this the house of the immortal philosopher Patent, the virtues and prudence of whose housekeeper, Miss Alice, are known to all the world.[24]

Alice.

Oh, la, sir! this, to be sure, is the house of Mr. Patent.

Lobby.

I wish, with your permission, to pass a few moments in his presence.

Alice.

And pray, sir, who are you? and what do you want?

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Lobby.

I am the great Doctor Bolasko Rodoska, come from the furthest corner of Asia.

Alice.

And what is your purpose for coming hither, sir?

Lobby.

To a person of your years and prudence I believe I may safely impart my purpose.

Alice.

Years!

Lobby.

I come to present the renowned Mr. Patent with a machine which excels all other machines upon the face of the earth.[25]

Alice.

Machine! there shall be no machine come here: my master has too many machines already. As for you, Mr. Doctor Snuffy Macrosky, come from the farthest corner of Asia, if you had any good manners, you would have called in at a barber’s shop by the way, and had your beard shaved, before you ventured to appear before the ladies.

Lobby.

Sweet angelic creature! the accents of your voice, even in anger, are delightful; would I could speak with Miss Alice, the worthy housekeeper of Mr. Patent; the sweetness of her disposition would soon yield to my request.

(Curtseying affectedly).
Alice.

Oh, sir! I—I am Miss Alice.

Lobby.

Is it possible? Charming as my fond imagination had painted you, you surpass all I had conceived.

Alice.

Oh, sir! you overpower me.

Lobby.

Oh! what delight to lead so charming a creature to the hymeneal altar.

Alice.

Oh, sir! I—I—you make me blush.

Lobby.

Deign, fair excellence, to grant my request; let me speak for a moment with Mr. Patent, and again I fly to your arms.

Alice.

Alas! I can refuse you nothing; but you will be inconstant.

Lobby.

No! no!

Alice.

You will break my tender heart.

Lobby.

Never, never.

Alice.

Ah! you’re a bewitching man!

[Exit Alice, leering and looking tenderly at him. Lobby.

Well done, as yet; but ecod, you’re a clever fellow. I hope to serve effectually my friend Freeman; but here comes Old Patent. Now to my aid, all ye powers of gravity![26]

Enter PATENT. Patent.

Your pleasure with me, sir.

(DICK LOBBY bows affectedly, with his forehead to the ground, several times, and makes many gesticulations of veneration and respect, while PATENT gazes at him with astonishment). [27] Lobby.

Pardon, renowned sir, that I am unable to express the respect and veneration with which the presence of so great a philosopher inspire me.

Patent.

Few like you, sir, in these degenerate days, estimate the value of men of science and merit; much greater than mine passes unnoticed and unknown. Will you be seated, sir?

(They take their chairs with much ceremony).

Pray, sir, whom have I the honour of beholding?

Lobby.

I am the great Doctor Bolaski Rodoski, the most renowned of the bramins of the east; and I may say, without vanity, the most skilful of the magi.

Patent.

Most worthy sir, happy am I that my humble dwelling is honoured by such a visit.

Lobby.

The cottage of the philosopher is to me more magnificent than the palace of the Emperor of China; and you, sir, though your country has been tardy in rewarding your merit, your fame has reached the farthest corner of Asia.

Patent.

Indeed!—Certainly there are few things in this world I have not endeavoured to improve.

Lobby.

Your extensive knowledge, most worthy sir, has been the theme of our universal admiration: many of your schemes for the benefit of mankind have been there practised, with the happiest effects, and your praise is on every tongue.

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Patent.

Oh, sir, you delight me to hear it! And have they yet made use of my new invented sea shoes, for walking on the top of the water.

Lobby.

Oh, certainly, sir! and our learned College of Quimpnaparabo think so highly of that and your other inventions, that they have deputed me, being the head of their venerable body, to wait upon you personally, and present you with their thanks, and to request that you will do them the honour of becoming a member of their learned and venerable society.

Patent.

I cannot but feel myself delighted in accepting so high an honour.

(They bow to each other with great affectation). Lobby.

And henceforth you will be pleased, sir, to add to your name, the letters F. double O. L., which in the language of the Bramins mean most learned and extraordinary fellow of the Philosophical Society.

Patent.

I shall do myself the pleasure of preparing a letter of thanks to the learned body.

Lobby.

And as a further proof of their esteem, they have ordered me to present to you the most wonderful piece of mechanism we believe the world ever saw.

Patent.

Oh, let me see it. Where is it?

Lobby.

You shall see it presently, sir. It is an automaton; but of so perfect a construction, that the united power of man cannot make such another.

Patent.

My dear sir, I am all impatience to see it.

Lobby.

I respect you too well to refuse you any longer that pleasure. It waits in a coach in the street. I know well how to manage the springs of it: it shall wait upon you in a moment.

[Exit DICK LOBBY. Patent.

F double O L. This piece of good fortune makes ample amends for the vexation Maria’s obstinacy has occasioned me. Peter Patent, F double O L! Well, men of genius and merit are sure to be rewarded one time or other. I am now known to all the learned in Asia. I shall get myself instructed in Arabic, that I may be able the more easily to correspond with them. I shall write a treatise upon this machine which they have sent me; this will spread my fame through all the learned in Europe—the degree of Doctor will soon be conferred upon me, and—but stop———

Re-enter DICK LOBBY, leading in [YOUNG] FREEMAN, with a mask and domino: [YOUNG] FREEMAN steps by starts, as if set a going by wheels. PATENT puts on his spectacles to observe him, and while with eager curiosity he stands directly before [YOUNG] FREEMAN, the latter, as if by an involuntary motion, throws him down, and passes.[28] Patent.

Stop it, my dear Doctor—stop it! it may chance to get into Maria’s room, and frighten her to death.

Lobby.

Worthy sir, be under no uneasiness; I shall stop it in a moment.

(Runs and touches [YOUNG] FREEMAN, who instantly stops. PATENT comes forward with very great curiosity to examine him, he by chance touches a part of his robe, [YOUNG] FREEMAN at this moment, by a seeming involuntary impulse, seizes PATENT’s wig, and holds it at arm’s length above his head; PATENT retreats fearfully). Patent.

Dear Doctor, be so good as to make it deliver up my wig. What a noble machine it is.

Lobby.

I must instruct you, sir, in the art of commanding it. There are no less than seven hundred wheels, two hundred and fifty pullies, and three hundred pendulums in its belly.

(LOBBY places [YOUNG] FREEMAN in an arm chair).

Each of these have two hundred and twenty-three distinct movements, which, during my short stay in town, I shall endeavour to explain.

Patent.

You mean, then, soon to return to your own country, sir.

Lobby.

Yes, sir, after I bring about a few changes which I think will be of advantage to this great metropolis.

Patent.

Aye, aye, what are they?

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Lobby.

In the first place, sir, I intend to transfer Kensington Gardens to the neighbourhood of Spitalfields, and place the Monument on the middle of Blackfriars Bridge.[29]

Patent.

It is not surely possible.

Lobby.

Nothing more easy, sir. The philosophic Mr. Patent cannot doubt that every thing is possible to science.

Patent.

True, sir. In the mean time I expect to have the pleasure of your company every moment you are disengaged.

Lobby.

Sir, you may command me. I must now take my leave, having important dispatches to forward to the Emperor of Mogul Tartary. Nay, do not stir; I shall not give you the trouble of waiting upon me to the door.[30]

Patent.

It is an honour, Sir.

(They bow to each other with great affectation and self-importance, and exeunt, when the Act Scene drops).

ACT II. Scene 1.

[YOUNG] FREEMAN’s Lodgings.—TOM discovered sleeping. (A loud knocking is heard). Enter OLD FREEMAN. Old Freeman

What, nobody at home, or all asleep. Hollo! Jack—Freeman. (Raps on the floor with his stick, then perceives TOM).
Oh! aye! here’s lazy Tom. Up, you lazy drone.

(Tumbles him out of the chair.) Tom.

Mercy on us!

Old Freeman.

Where’s your master, sirrah?

Tom. (Yawns).

My master, sir—aye, oh!

Old Freeman.

Answer me, sirrah, or I’ll knock you down.

Tom.

Oh, aye!—beg your pardon, Mr. Freeman—didn’t see you before.

Old Freeman.

I suppose, sirrah, you’re drunk, as usual.

Tom.

Oh, no, no, sir, not I! I am as sober, sir, as a judge—quite reformed, sir.

Old Freeman.

I am glad to hear it.

Tom.

No liquor for me, sir; I hate the very smell of it: indeed, if I had any money now, I should be tempted to drink your honour’s health, I am so glad to see your honour in town.

Old Freeman.

Well, well, it is better that you have got none—it might divert you from your good resolution. But where is your master?

Tom.

My master, sir—my master, sir, is—so harassed with business.

Old Freeman.

Glad to hear it—glad to hear it—he’ll make a fortune.

Tom.

We have been up early, sir, and down late; client after client—plaintiff and defendant. Mr. Freeman, sir, is at present the ablest counsellor at the bar.

Old Freeman.

Ecod, he’s a clever fellow—was always a cute dog—but where is he? where is he?[31]

Tom.

Oh, sir, you know where he is.

Old Freeman.

Not I—not I. How should I know?

Tom.

He is retained on a very great cause, depending in Yorkshire.[32]

Old Freeman.

What! gone to Yorkshire? How unlucky! when I came expressly to town to get him married to a handsome fortune; but I’m glad he’s so attentive to business.

Tom.

Oh, sir! were it in my power to give you a specimen of his abilities, it would surprise you.

Old Freeman.

I do not doubt it; I hope to see him Lord Chancellor some day or other. What particular cause has he been engaged in lately?

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Tom.

Oh, what should it be, sir?—why, a horrid case.

Old Freeman.

Why, what was it, eh?

Tom.

A volunteer colonel, sir, was caught drinking tea at Bagnigge Wells with a tailor’s wife.[33]

Old Freeman.

Aye, aye, like enough.

Tom.

When the tailor heroically resolved to avenge his injured honour, by calling the seducer to account in the——Court of Queen’s Bench.[34]

Old Freeman.

Aye, aye, like to hear it.

Tom.

Counsel must be retained on both sides; and the reputation of my master in these cases is so great, that the parties met each other crossing the Temple, on their way to his chambers. The question then was, who should be first; for on that depended my master’s opinion of the cause.

Old Freeman.

True, true. Well, eh?

Tom.

The Colonel, by the superior agility of his limbs, outstripped his antagonist by six yards and a half, tabled down the fees, and my master found that the man of war had truth and justice on his side, and that the son of the scissors was not entitled to a farthing of damages.

Old Freeman.

How did he prove it?—how did he prove it?

Tom.

The easiest thing in the world, sir. Let me see—the law is perfectly clear on this point, which is, that if any man drinks tea with his neighbour’s wife, the injured party is allowed a compensation in damages; but this law was enacted for men; now the Colonel being placed over or above a company of men, he is consequently more than a man; and the tailor being commonly reputed to be less, the law with regard to the parties was in noebus waysibus applicablus, therefore the plaintiff ought to be nonsuited.[35]

Old Freeman.

Aye, aye, very clear—very clear. But how did Jack get so soon into notice? how was his merit so soon discovered?

Tom.

Oh, sir, by his wit!

Old Freeman.

By his wit!

Tom.

Yes, sir, wit is the true road to preferment at the bar; and I’ll give you a specimen: let us suppose, sir, that I am a counsellor, and you are a witness. Now answer me as to what I shall interrogate you. Are you not Matthew Freeman, Esq., from Suffolk?[36]

Old Freeman.

Yes.

Tom.

Have not you or your nephew got a servant of the name of Tom Clinker?

Old Freeman.

Yes.

Tom.

And have you not been frequently in the habit of giving the said Tom some money to drink your health?

Old Freeman.

I have not given him any for a long time.[37]

Tom.

Then says I, without the least hesitation, “you have the more need to do it now.” The Court is immediately convulsed with laughter at the smartness of the repartee—the joke is put into all the fashionable newspapers in the morning—business pours in on all sides; and, if to a facility of punning, I add a happy knack at teazing and confusing a witness, I become the admiration of the town, and I have nothing to do but to march strait forwards in the road to fortune and honour.

Old Freeman.

Very good; very good. Ecod, you would make a very good lawyer yourself; and, as a proof how well I am pleased with your behaviour, I shall even give you sixpence; but hark ye, don’t get drunk with it.

Tom.

Oh no, master! thank you. (Aside).
Old curmudgeon!

Old Freeman.

And now I must go and reconcile my old friend to bear with patience my nephew’s absence. I hope he won’t give the girl to another—he’s so fond of a new project. Good day, Tom! and, do you hear, take care that your master’s chambers be kept clean, and everything in order; and be sure to have an eye that nobody comes to steal, for in London a thief looks so much like a gentleman, one can hardly tell the one from the other.

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Tom.

Oh Lord! oh Lord! oh Lord! what shall I do? I am ruined! undone! undone!

Old Freeman.

What? what? what? what’s the matter?

Tom.

Lord, sir! if the postman should come, I have not a penny to pay the postage of a letter.

Old Freeman.

How?

Tom.

Forgot to ask it. Ruined! undone!

Old Freeman.

Never mind, never mind, Tom; have no need of them.

Tom.

Must have my master’s new wig dressed, and all his boots and shoes cleaned, too, sir. Ruined! ruined!

Old Freeman.

Don’t take on so. Here’s a half-a-crown for you; but don’t spend it extravagantly, and be sure to mark down everything you lay it out for.

Tom.

That I will, please your honour. Your honour has quite revived me.

Old Freeman.

Be diligent, Tom; if your master don’t return in a week or two, I’ll give you more. Be diligent—be careful.

[Exit OLD FREEMAN. Tom.

Be diligent—be careful. There he goes! What an old fool! Well, I’ve heard it said that lies may stick in a man’s throat—I’m sure they’ve scorched mine. I must go and have beer to moisten it—that’s for my own health; then I’ll have a glass to drink good luck to my young master; and another glass to wish confusion to my old one.

[Exit TOM.

Act II. Scene 2.

Patent’s House. Enter OLD PATENT and MARIA. Patent.

My dear Maria, is it possible you could ever take a pleasure in contradicting me?

Maria.

I never did. To me it is always painful.

Patent.

Then why not consent to a marriage, planned only for your happiness?

Maria.

And which is sure to make me miserable, seeing my heart is entirely devoted to another.

Patent.

Madness! Silly, blind, deluded girl!

Maria.

Nay, there now, you’re in a passion again.

Patent.

Should Mr. Freeman not arrive to-day, you shall pack off to the country to-morrow, far from the pursuit of the silly coxcomb who has entrapped your affections.

Maria.

My dear sir, be pacified; I can be nowhere more safe from his pursuit than where I am. Love, they say, is strong, and can do many things; but, alas! I am afraid he can’t break down the walls of a house, or jump in at a three-pair of stairs window.

Patent.

No! no! I’ll defy him to get admittance here. Some men may be duped; the more fools they: they don’t know the world like me. I believe he’ll find my wisdom rather too much for his cunning. He has got philosophy and science to oppose him, and no wonder that he should be foiled in the contest.

Maria.

Well, then, my dear guardian, sit down, and be pacified, but think no more of the country; here’s my bag, and while I work I’ll sing you a song.

Patent.

Do so Maria. I like to hear you sing.

SONG—MARIA. Maria.
OH! could my sighs my wish impart, And whisper to his ear my love; Oh! could he feel the throbbing heart, Its tenderness and truth to prove!
Oh! could he view my soul sincere! Though hopeless love disturbs its rest; He’d find his image pictur’d there, For ever lov’d, and still carest.
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At morning, dawn, or close of day, I’d prize with him the lowest cot; With him would join the rural lay[38] All else but love and him forgot.
And when the term of life drew nigh, I’d wish my pillow were his breast; There breathe the last expiring sigh, And sink within his arms to rest.
(During the Song PATENT falls asleep. MARIA repeats the first verse after the symphony has ceased, whilst YOUNG FREEMAN, who had been searching for her apartment cautiously, enters, attracted by the sound of her voice; he stands enraptured with love and admiration; at the conclusion MARIA turns round, and at the appearance of [YOUNG] FREEMAN, screams aloud; PATENT awakes, and with great terror catches her in his arms. [YOUNG] FREEMAN instantly withdraws. Patent.

Bless me! bless me! What’s the matter? what’s the matter?

Maria.

Oh! oh! oh!

Patent.

Maria! Maria! what’s the matter?

Maria.

Nothing—only!—oh dear!—it was nothing!

Patent.

Nothing? then what made you cry out so?

Maria.

Oh, nothing! only I fell asleep, and thought I saw a ghost.

Patent.

Silly, ridiculous girl! you have broken my nap: I must go to finish it in my study.

Maria.

Oh, no! don’t go, don’t leave me——yes, yes, go away! But I am afraid: stop.

Patent.

Is the girl mad?

Maria.

Yes, yes, go away, but——come when I call; be sure to be within hearing—that is—if I call very loud—or send up Alice.

Patent.

Sit down, Maria, compose yourself; yonder comes Alice. This foolish dream has so affected you.

Enter ALICE. Alice.

What’s the matter now?

Patent.

Here, Alice, take care of her. She fell asleep just now, and had an ugly dream.

Alice.

Mercy on us! what was it?

Patent.

Something about a ghost. Take care of her—take care of her. I’ll look in presently.

[Exit PATENT. Maria.

Oh, Alice! Alice! what think you? I have seen him—he’s here.

Alice.

Where? seen whom?

Maria.

My lover, the sweet young gentleman.

Alice.

Oh! mercy on us! I’m frightened to death. Oh! there he is!

(Looks round fearfully, and screams at every turn). Maria.

Do, Alice, be pacified; he don’t mean to speak to you: he’s not in love with you.

Alice.

Oh, that’s true! but he may make a mistake, you know. Mercy on us! Oh! I won’t stay in the house! (A loud knocking is heard at the door).
Oh! there he is again!

Maria.

Go to the door, Alice. But stop, you must not leave me—I’ll go to the door with you—indeed, Alice, you must not leave me.

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Alice.

Aye, but I will. What, stop to be——(A loud knocking).
Oh! mercy on us!

(Runs out screaming, MARIA follows). (A continued knocking). Enter PATENT. Patent.

What’s the matter? where’s Alice? must I open the door myself?

Enter OLD FREEMAN. Old Freeman.

Oh! how do you do, old boy? You Londoners, I believe, sleep all day, because you’re awake all night. One may pull the house down before you’ll come to open the door.

Patent.

I am overjoyed to see my good old friend in London. I have impatiently expected your arrival. Where is your nephew, young Mr. Freeman?

Old Freeman.

Only about a little business—down to Yorkshire—night and day up to the ears in business.

Patent.

Are there so many law-suits depending at present?

Old Freeman.

Thousands!

Patent.

I have often thought how this might be avoided.

Old Freeman.

Avoided?

Patent.

And a scheme set on foot by which these disputes might be settled without either delay or expense.

Old Freeman.

Mad! mad! What? where would be the traffic, if all mankind were to settle their disputes themselves? I say, where would be the cash? Don’t you know, old boy, that Jack Freeman is making a fortune to settle on your ward’s young ones, eh?

Patent.

To be sure; I did not think of that; but everything is susceptible of improvement.

Old Freeman.

No, no; very well as they are.

Patent.

Had it not been for the discoveries of men of science, and the improvements which they have suggested, mankind would have still been in a state of savage barbarity: dens and caverns would have been his habitation, and his food the rank, spontaneous productions of uncultivated nature.

Old Freeman.

Nonsence! nonsence! I am for the good old way, the plain downright old way. None of your kickshaw fashions for me. The man that wears his spectacles dangling at his breast instead of placing them right upon his nose, may chance to run his head against a post.[39]

Patent.

Absurd! ridiculous! Sir, if you are too ignorant to estimate the value of men of genius, others are not. I myself, for the improvements which I have suggested, have attracted the notice of one of the most learned bodies in all Asia, and have now the honour of adding F double O L to my name.

Old Freeman. (Aside).

Ha! ha! ha! Fool! by all that’s excellent (but I must make friends with him, else Jack might lose the girl).

Come, come, my old friend, don’t let us dispute about either the new way or the old; I don’t understand these things so well as you, and that may be the reason we are of contrary opinions.

Patent.

The very reason; but I shall endeavour to make you comprehend— — —

Old Freeman.

Any other time, my good friend; but tell me, now, how your ward, Maria is: a nice girl, I dare say.

Patent.

Charming as an angel, sir.

Old Freeman.

I hope you take good care to keep her from the young fellows—keep a sharp look out—if you don’t, what betwixt cunning and impudence they’ll get the better of you.

Patent.

Cunning and impudent indeed, would be the man who should entertain the least idea of deceiving me. No, sir; science has made me more than usually circumspect, and appearances which might easily satisfy the minds of other men, are by me regarded with the most scrutinizing eye.

Old Freeman.

Well, well, I am glad to hear it; only mentioned by way of caution, you know. But come, I must see Maria. Where is she?

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Patent.

I shall introduce you immediately.

Old Freeman.

Come on, then. Nay, after you—I am not an F double O L, you know.

Patent.

Oh, sir!

(Exeunt OLD FREEMAN and PATENT).

Act II. Scene 3.

PATENT’S Study. Enter MARIA, followed by [YOUNG] FREEMAN. Young Freeman.

Nay, but hear me, my lovely Maria.

Maria.

Under these circumstances, and in this place, sir, I cannot.

Young Freeman.

Let love, all powerful love, plead my excuse; it was only under this disguise I could have the pleasure of beholding you; it was this deception alone which could afford me an opportunity of expressing how much I adore you.

Maria.

And may not that passion which you pretend to, be assumed with your disguise, and thrown off as easily.

Young Freeman.

Oh, never! My hand, my heart, my life, will all prove my sincerity.

Maria.

My heart prompts me to believe you; but, sir, I must insist upon your quitting the house. Under the present circumstances, to listen to you any longer, would betray in me a want of propriety, which would certainly lessen my character, even in your esteem.

Young Freeman.

At your commands I fly: but during my painful absence from your presence, do I bear with me the consolation of possessing a portion of your esteem?

Maria.

You have it.

Young Freeman.

And, may I add, your love?

Maria.

You are not indifferent to me.

Young Freeman.

Enraptured sound! How shall I express the overflowings of my soul?

([YOUNG] FREEMAN is on one knee, kissing the hand of MARIA, when PATENT is heard approaching). Patent. (without).

Maria!

Young Freeman. (Aside to MARIA, and falls upon his face.

I am the automaton.

MARIA is greatly agitated). Enter PATENT. Patent.

Maria, why, what’s the matter? what’s the matter?

Maria.

Oh, Sir! The automaton——

Patent.

Aye, aye—have you been meddling with it.

Maria.

It has fallen, sir.

Patent.

Heaven grant that it may not be broken! I’ll endeavour to raise it.

(He approaches [YOUNG] FREEMAN, who the moment he is touched, by a seeming involuntary motion, catches hold of his leg: PATENT with difficulty extricates himself).

Mercy on us! I have touched the wrong spring.

Enter OLD FREEMAN. Old Freeman.

What is the matter here? All in a bustle.

Patent.

A trifling accident, sir: the automaton has fallen.

Old Freeman.

The automaton! What’s that?

Patent.

There it lies, sir, the most perfect machine the world ever saw; sent as a present from one of the most learned bodies and famous universities in Asia.

Old Freeman.

It is very like a man.

Patent.

It has exhausted all the powers of human invention. By that, sir, you may see the importance which is attached to my improvements and discoveries, when a present is made to me, for which monarchs might consider me an object of envy.

Old Freeman.

Very wonderful! I could have sworn it was a man.

(Going forwards). Patent.

Nay, don’t go too near, my friend. It has so many springs in its body, that by touching one of them it may do you a serious injury.

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Maria.

For the sake of Heaven, sir, do not approach it.

Patent.

Maria, you are pale and faint; let me conduct you to your apartment. Come, come along: you’ll soon be better. Will you accompany us, sir?

Old Freeman.

Aye, aye, I’ll follow.

(Exit PATENT, leading out MARIA).

Wonderful machine, indeed! I wonder what this world will come to at last.

(Looks with cautious, eager curiosity, and often touches [YOUNG] FREEMAN with his stick).

What! do me an injury! I’ll defy it, if it were the devil himself! if it does, I’ll knock it down.(Approaches and raises the head of his nephew, the stick falls from his hand, both continue for some time on their knees, staring wildly with astonishment).

What, Jack!

Young Freeman.

My ever honoured uncle!

Old Freeman.

My dear boy, let me embrace you. How are you here? What, are you turned a machine? After the girl, I dare say. What has come of your great cause in Yorkshire? How are you in this house? Did not think you knew it. Odsbuds! I am glad to see you. What brought you hither?[40]

Enter MARIA behind. Young Freeman.

Love, sir! all-powerful love! And let me take advantage, honoured sir, of this present moment, when your heart is overflowing with kindness, to request your forgiveness for my disobedience to your commands. In short, sir, I can never consent to the match which you have proposed to me.

Old Freeman.

Why not? why not?

Young Freeman.

Although ignorant of the merits, and even the name of the lady in question, I solemnly assure you that nothing in this world shall ever induce me to give her my hand, my heart being entirely devoted to another.

Old Freeman.

Devoted to another!

Young Freeman.

Yes, sir; the lovely ward of Mr. Patent concentrates in her mind and person all that I wish of happiness in this world; and no power on earth can lessen the passion with which she has inspired me.

Old Freeman.

Ha! ha! ha! the very girl! Odsbuds! the very girl! Are you mad, Jack? Odsbuds, she’s the very girl I designed for you.

Young Freeman.

Sure, it cannot be. Am I so blessed? Oh, my honoured uncle!

Old Freeman.

Odsbuds! the very girl! Old Patent and I agreed—writings drawn up—licence bought—odsbuds! the very girl![41]

Maria. (coming forward).

Mr. Freeman!

Young Freeman.

Oh! my Maria! dearest, sweetest partner of my happy days!

Maria.

You have conquered, sir; I have overheard the manly avowal of your generous, disinterested passion. If this hand, sir, can contribute to your felicity, take it; that you have my heart, time will show.

Young Freeman.

Maria! Maria! Existence will be too, too short to show how much I adore you.

Old Freeman.

My dear sweet girl! I must have a buss; I’m an old fellow, but I’ve a warm heart—I am so happy—Heaven bless you both! but tell me, Jack, how came you hither?[42]

Young Freeman.

To see and declare my passion to my dear Maria, sir, I contrived to get myself introduced as one of those self-moving machines, called automatons.

Old Freeman.

Ha! ha! ha! So you are the most perfect machine the world ever saw, sent as a present from one of the most learned bodies and famous universities in Asia.

Young Freeman.

I am afraid I shall find it a hard task to obtain his forgiveness. My dear uncle, shall we call Mr. Patent?

Maria.

Some one has just now inquired for him.

Old Freeman.

No, no, don’t call him! I want to rally him a little. I’ll touch him on the sore side. In the mean time here is the licence, and do you two go off and get tacked together by the parson immediately. I’ll stay behind and vex him a little: I owe a grudge in our last dispute.

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Young Freeman.

My dear uncle, let us kneel to thank you.

Old Freeman.

No, no, no! Go—run! I’ll see that you’re safely out of doors.

Exeunt OLD FREEMAN, [YOUNG] FREEMAN, and MARIA).

Act II. Scene 4.

Another Apartment in PATENT’s House. Enter PATENT, followed by TOM (drunk). Patent.

Come along, fellow, whom do you look for here?

Tom.

I look for my ma—ma—master, sir.

Patent.

You have got no master here, fellow.

Tom.

Nay, I will see my master, dead or alive; for I know if that old rascal, Patent, catches him, he’ll make a gypsy mummy of him.[43]

Patent.

What do you mean, fellow?

Tom.

Hark you, friend!—were you ever in l l l l love?

Patent.

In love?

Tom.

Because my master is. No offence, I hope; but as Old Patent is a bit of a fool, and I and my master are, as one may say, pretty clever, we’ll have the girl in spite of him.

Patent.

What girl, sir?

Tom.

Why, his ward, Miss Maria. You don’t know her, I find.

Patent.

Who are you, sir? what is your master?

Tom.

My master, sir, is a gentleman, and I am a gentleman.

Patent.

And why do you seek your master here?

Tom.

Because he is here. I would not have Old Patent know it, not for a glass of the best liquor ever man tasted.

Patent.

Certainly not—certainly not.

Tom.

Because you see as how he’s a man of no judgment—a mere fool. You have heard of Old Patent, haven’t you?

Patent.

But, sirrah, what reason have you to imagine that your master is here? How could he get admittance?

Tom.

Oh! the rarest trick. I’ll tell you now, just to show you that my master and I are no f—f—fools. But don’t mention it to Old Patent.

Patent.

No! no!

Tom.

Well, then, my master being, as one might say, devilishly in love with Patent’s gi—gi—girl, what does he do but——You know Mr. Lobby, don’t you?

Patent.

Yes! yes!

Tom.

Well, what does my master do, but turn himself into a tomtit.[44]

Patent.

A tomtit?

Tom.

Yes, a tomtit. (Affects the mechanical walk of the automaton).
While Mr. Lobby, my master’s friend, you know, introduces him as the most wonderful machine in all Asia.

Patent.

Sirrah, what is your master’s name?

Tom.

I beg your pardon there, sir. Would you have me betray my master’s secrets?

Patent.

Fire and fury! tell me your master’s name this moment.

Tom.

Softly, my good friend, softly; would you have me betray my master’s secrets? I am none of your blabbing servants, that tell all they know. I have more prudence.

Patent.

Get out of the house this instant, rascal! out of the house!

Tom.

What? what? what?

Patent.

Out of the house, you scoundrel! (Pushes him out of doors).
Ruined! undone! I shall be ridiculed, despised. I have nothing to do now, when I know the trick which has been practised upon me, but to ascribe the merit of the discovery to my own penetration. Who could have thought of it? but I shall be amply revenged on the scoundrel.

[Exit PATENT.
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Act II. Scene 5.

PATENT’s Study. Enter OLD FREEMAN. Old Freeman.

Well, I hope that by this time the young couple have got nearly tacked together. Ha! ha! ha! It was a good trick——but hush, I think I hear Patent on the staircase. I shall be the machine.

(Puts on the mask and domino, and stands erect). Enter OLD PATENT. Patent.

Come, come, you scoundrel! It was in vain you thought to impose upon me. (Tears off the mask and domino, and stares with astonishment when he beholds the face and figure of  OLD FREEMAN).
What! How is this? My friend Freeman! I beg your pardon. I took you for the automaton.

Old Freeman.

Curse on your mistakes! you have almost blinded me. What though I had been the automaton?

Patent.

Because it is a rascal.

Old Freeman.

So I thought; for I saw him run down the street with your ward, Maria, under his arm.

Patent.

Death and fury!

Old Freeman.

Nay, ’tis perhaps some of his mechanical tricks; there’s no accounting for what he does, you know; he’s got so many secret springs in his body.

Patent.

How shall I pursue them? Which way shall I fly?

Old Freeman.

To be sure ’tis a great loss, as it was one of the most wonderful machines in the world, sent as a present from one of the most learned bodies in Asia.

Patent.

Where are my newly-invented pistols![45]

Old Freeman.

Nay, you must not stir yet; I want to talk with you a little. That cursed automaton might do you a mischief.

Patent.

Don’t stop me. I will be revenged.

Old Freeman.

You are an F double O L, and ought not to be moved at anything.

Patent.

Sir! sir! Do you mean to affront me?

Old Freeman.

“Impudent, indeed, would be the man who should entertain such an idea. No, sir, science has made you more than usually circumspect, and appearances are regarded by you with a scrutinizing eye.”

Patent.

Know, sir, that I have an arm to chastise this insolence.

Old Freeman.

And to show us the value that is attached to men of science, you yourself have attracted the notice of the most learned bodies in all Asia, and have now the honour adding F double O L to your name.

Old Freeman.

Insolence! villain!

Old Freeman.

Nay, do moderate your anger, my good old friend. You know we used to banter one another at school, and I can’t help being a little fond of it yet.

Patent.

But to use me so—to rejoice that a villain for a moment deceived me.[46]

Old Freeman.

The best of us all may be deceived: you know the philosopher, what do you call him, that thought the sun went round instead of the earth, he was deceived.

Patent.

True, true; Ptolemy; very true.

Old Freeman.

And I dare say many more, which your extensive reading must have made you acquainted with.

Patent.

A great many: and all very great men, too.

Old Freeman.

Besides, you may be perfectly easy about your ward, Maria; for if she marries without your consent, she forfeits all her fortune: now you have given your written consent to nobody but my nephew.

Patent.

True, true; she’s under age.

Old Freeman.

Now, my friend, I hope everything will go on well. Forgive my bantering of you.

Enter [YOUNG] FREEMAN and MARIA—they kneel. PATENT rushes forward to seize [YOUNG] FREEMAN. Patent.

Villain! scoundrel!

(OLD FREEMAN throws himself between them). Old Freeman.

Stop! That, sir, is my nephew.

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Patent.

Your nephew?

Old Freeman.

Yes, yes, my nephew. The automaton is no other than Jack Freeman, my nephew.

Patent.

Can I believe it?

Old Freeman.

You have been deceived in taking him for an automaton; but he has also deceived himself; for he has taken all this trouble to come at the girl we were persuading him to have. The laugh goes against him, eh, old boy?

Patent.

I think it does.

Young Freeman.

Nothing but my very ardent passion for Maria could have induced me to attempt an imposition on you, sir. I imagined my uncle had destined me for the arms of another, and despair suggested me to means which I own it was in some degree criminal to employ.

Maria.

Let us solicit your pardon, sir, and blessing.

Patent.

You have it, you have it. I am so happy. Are you already married?

Young Freeman.

That sacred rite, sir, is already performed.

Old Freeman.

Then, my good old boy, we have nothing to do but to feast and be merry. Adzooks! We shall have rare carousing! I have a strong inclination to dance. We must have a dozen or two of fiddlers. Odsbuds! I can hardly keep my legs.[47]

Patent.

I shall bring my new invented hurdy-gurdy.[48]

Old Freeman.

Do so, man; anything that will make a noise.

Enter ALICE. Alice.

Sir, Doctor Snuffy Macrosky desires to speak with you.

Young Freeman.

My friend, Mr. Lobby.

Patent.

Alice, your young mistress is now married. You must provide everything to solemnize the wedding.

Alice.

Well, sir, I wish my young mistress joy: but I’m mistaken if there won’t be more weddings than one, soon.

Young Freeman.

Mrs. Alice, if you please, show the doctor up.

Alice.

Doctor! My dear Mr. Snuffy Macrosky.

Old Freeman.

Very kind and familiar.

(Enter DICK LOBBY in his former disguise. He starts on seeing the company). Young Freeman.

Nay, do not be surprised, Dick: my happiness is complete. Avow yourself my friend. That disguise is no longer necessary.

Lobby. (throwing off his beard and cloak).

I can hardly believe it. What, with the consent of your honoured uncle and the learned Mr. Patent.

Old Freeman.

With our entire approbation, sir.

Lobby.

Jack, give me your hand, and your’s, my lovely creature; for surely if love may be termed a folly, it is in this instance an excusable one. I am a man of few compliments. I shall only say, that if you possess a thousandth part of the felicity I wish you both, you will be the happiest of human beings.

Old Freeman.

A very good compliment, indeed; give me your hand, my boy. Odsbuds; we’ll have a bottle to-night.

(ALICE begins to cry). Patent.

Alice! Alice! what’s the matter?

Alice.

Oh, my poor heart! That gentleman won my affections, and I fear will now prove treacherous and inconstant.

Lobby.

Alice, Dr. Rodoska, who made love to you, is no more. Any other reparation which it is in my power to make———

Alice.

Hold your false, deluding tongue, that first won my tender heart. I shall forswear your whole sex forever—that I will, Oh! my poor heart!

(Exit, crying).
Patent.

Poor thing! she has been deceived, too, I think; but as I am soon to lose the company of Maria, a project darts into my mind of taking her myself.

Old Freeman.

Very humane and very philosophic.

Lobby.

I am sorry for my behaviour to her; but it was necessary for the success of my friend. The first person, however, whose pardon I ought to solicit, is Mr. Patent. May I hope, sir———

Patent.

You have it—you have it.

Old Freeman.

Come, now for the merry-making.


Notes

Transcribed from the copy of the Queen’s Magazine in the Rare Book Collection, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill. This magazine ran for one volume, consisting of five numbers, continuously paginated throughout. The title is misspelled Queens’ Magazine. I have silently emended the punctuation error throughout this edition.

The UNC copy contains the five numbers of the volume, dated April through August 1842, as well as the prospectus for the magazine. However, some components are missing. The first number (April) has no contents page, an engraved portrait of Rymer has been excised from the second (May) number (76), and from the fourth number (July), the pages containing one complete article, “Why is the Queen’s Life Attempted?” (163–70), are missing. Additionally, the British Library and Cambridge copies include one title page with a masthead, which is not present in the UNC copy. It is not known who defaced the UNC volume nor at what point(s) in the volume’s history the defacement occurred. There are no other significant differences between this copy and the copies at the British Library and Cambridge.

For vital research imaging of the UNC copy, I am indebted to that university’s Elizabeth Ott (Curator, Rare Book Collection) and Doreen Thierauf (Postdoctoral Fellow, English).

1. Freeman: during the Regency, a member of England’s elite class of political participation, possessing the right to vote in elections for minister of Parliament. More broadly, a “freeman” is a man who is not enslaved; who is relatively autonomous. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online, s.v. “freeman” (accessed November 11, 2016). The first connotation applies to young Jack Freeman, but the play’s denouement casts doubt upon the second. Further references to this dictionary are cited as OED. [back]

2. Temple: center of London’s legal profession since the mid-fourteenth century, named for the Knights Templar, whose two temples on the site became Inns of Court. An article on the Inns of Court appeared in the Queen’s Magazine no. 5 (August 1842), 210–14. A manuscript annotation of the UNC copy, no. 5, 210, attributes this article to one “Charles Wellsley.” The Conservative politician Lord Charles Wellesley (1808–1858), second son of the renowned Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, seems unlikely to have chosen to contribute to the Queen’s Magazine. [back]

3. Lord Chancellor: appointed head of the British judiciary and speaker of the House of Lords. These roles were abolished in 2006, though the titular office remains. See Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. “Lord Chancellor” (last modified October 17, 2008). [back]

4. charmer: beauty (OED). [back]

5. Ecod: from the expletive “a god,” “o, god,” or “egad” (OED). [back]

6. Opera: the Royal Italian Opera House at Covent Garden. Jane Rendell, Pursuit of Pleasure: Gender, Space and Architecture in Regency London (London: Athlone, 2004), 104, 112, observes that during the Regency, the Opera was “a place designed to enhance the pleasure of looking,” where overcrowding at the entrances “provided opportunities for intimate contact between strangers of different sexes and classes,” and that in 1815 the entrance to the boxes was widened to give patrons “less of a chance to mingle.” The Opera is a key setting in James Malcolm Rymer’s The Dark Woman; or, the Days of the Prince Regent (London: John Dicks, 1862), in which it is depicted as a place of luxurious sexual spectacle for the demonized Regent. [back]

7. ain’t: in the source text, “’ant” (typographical error). [back]

8. axes: synonym of “axles [. . .] not found after the Old English period ex[cepting] in compounds” (OED). A cursory search of Romantic-era texts proves the term was indeed in use. For example, the Cyclopaedia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature, ed. Abraham Rees, 39 vols. (London: Longman, 1819) makes several mentions of “wheels and axes” (no page number, listed alphabetically under “AXI”). [back]

9. Club: probably one of the four exclusive gentlemen’s clubs in St. James’ Street: Boodle’s, Brooks’s, White’s and Crockford’s. Rendell, Pursuit of Pleasure, 64, notes that these gendered spaces combined exclusively masculine conviviality with quasi-domestic comforts. Lobby’s paradigmatic opposition of the “Club” with the institution of marriage illustrates this point. [back]

10. phiz: physiognomy; face (OED); uncle [. . .] married: i.e., if Freeman’s uncle marries and has children, Freeman may be disinherited in favor of this uncle’s son. [back]

11. mistress’s: in the source, “mistresses” (typographical error). [back]

12. unnecessary almost: in the source, “almost unnecessary almost” (typographical error). Were the authorial intention instead “render almost unnecessary,” the automata would not make an entire vocation redundant in the manner of the other examples. [back]

13. intended for: in the source, “intended to” (typographical error). [back]

14. Portsmouth: coastal city in Hampshire, southern England; historic home of the Royal Fleet and, since 1733, the Naval Academy. (Jack) tars: sailors, implicitly English. The hearty, good-natured, rough “Jack Tar” was a staple of nineteenth-century melodrama and frequently appears in James Malcolm Rymer’s works. An indicative example is Varney, the Vampyre; or, the Feast of Blood (1845–47), which features an amiable tar named Jack Pringle. [back]

15. club: probably the intention was “Club” (typographical error?). [back]

16. turn: in the source, “turns” (typographical error). [back]

17. flour mill [. . .] musical clock: famous inventions. The steam-powered Albion Flour Mills, which operated in Battersea, London, from 1786 to 1791, exemplified for the Romantic generation the mechanization of the bread industry. See, for example, John Farey, A Treatise on the Steam Engine: Historical, Practical, and Descriptive (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1827), 443: “The Albion Mills were said to be the means of sensibly reducing the price of flour in the metropolis, whilst they continued at work, for they occasioned a greater competition amongst the millers and meal-men than had ever existed before; but nevertheless great prejudices were excited against the company amongst the lower class of people, to whom it was represented as a monopoly highly injurious to the public. These mills were destroyed by fire in 1791 [. . .] and it has been suspected that it was not occasioned by accident; the satisfaction of the populace was afterwards expressed by songs in the streets of London.” [back]

18. farthest part of Asia: As the introduction to this edition of Science and Art explains, late eighteenth-century London clockmakers provided China’s Qianlong Emperor (d. 1799) with elaborate “musical clocks” and other automata; minerology: conventionally spelled “mineralogy.” [back]

19. windmill notions: denotes both (1) ideas about windmills and (2) fantasies reminiscent of Don Quixote (1605), in which the eponymous hero on his aimless quest mistakes windmills for giants. [back]

20. made love: expressed love (OED). [back]

21. Bond Street: associated with luxury; connects Oxford Street, known for its retail district, with the gentlemen’s playground of Piccadilly. [back]

22. luck: in the source, “lack” (typographical error). [back]

23. dangling: “hang[ing] after or about any one, especially as a loosely attached follower [...] without being a formally recognized attendant” (OED). [back]

24. are: in the source, “is” (typographical error). [back]

25. excels: exceeds (OED). [back]

26. powers of gravity: Lobby resolves not to laugh, making a pun on the scientific term “gravity.” [back]

27. forehead to the ground: apparently pretending to be Chinese. See note 18 above. [back]

28. domino: a “kind of loose cloak, app[arently] of Venetian origin, chiefly worn at masquerades, with a small mask covering the upper part of the face” (OED). [back]

29. Kensington Gardens [. . .] Monument on the middle of Blackfriars: Moving Kensington Gardens to Spitalfields would be an act of great social justice, as Kensington is a wealthy area, home to Kensington Palace, while Spitalfields is a working-class neighborhood, famous for its journeyman silk weavers, who in 1763, destroyed machinery intended to replace their labor, anticipating the Luddites. The Monument, completed in 1677, offers panoramic views of London, which would be even more scenic from the middle of the River Thames. Blackfriars Bridge connects the Inns of Court and Temple with the South Bank. Its obstruction by a relocated Monument would inconvenience the lawyers of the Temple. [back]

30. Mogul Tartary: the “warlike and formidable nation” of Chingghis Khan (“Genghis Khan”), occupying northeastern fourteenth-century China. See, for example, William Winterbottom, An Historical, Geographical, and Philosophical View of the Chinese Empire (London: J. Ridgeway, 1795), 118. [back]

31. cute: clever; derived from “acute” (OED). [back]

32. cause: case; depending in Yorkshire: pending in Yorkshire, a historical county in the North of England. The Great North Road connects Yorkshire’s main city, York, with London. [back]

33. Bagnigge Wells: North London “tea garden.” According to Geoffrey Dart, Metropolitan Art and Literature, 1810–1840: Cockney Adventures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 34–35, during the Regency, the clientele of the tea garden became increasingly working class. By 1820, Bagnigge Wells was “decidedly Cockneyfied,” wrote Warwick Wroth, The London Pleasure-Gardens of the Eighteenth Century (London: Macmillan, 1896), 7, quoted in Dart, Metropolitan Art and Literature, 34. [back]

34. Court of Queen’s Bench: There was no such court in 1820, as the monarch was a king, but there was in 1842, during Victoria’s reign. James Malcolm Rymer may have edited this line of his late father’s manuscript to make it contemporary. Malcolm died in 1835, and so never experienced the reign of a female monarch. [back]

35. nonsuited: The lawsuit is thrown out (OED), leaving the tailor dehumanized and without justice against his upper-class menace. There may also be a pun in the tailor's loss of a “suit.” [back]

36. wit: in the source, “with” (typographical error); Suffolk: county in East Anglia, to the northeast of London. [back]

37. any: in the source, “any any” (typographical error). [back]

38. rural lay: pastoral song (OED). [back]

39. kickshaw: fancy, dubious French or other foreign food or fad (OED). [back]

40. Odsbuds: God’s blood (OED). [back]

41. the: in the source, “she” (typographical error). [back]

42. buss: kiss (OED). [back]

43. gypsy: in this context, ancient Egyptian. [back]

44. tomtit: “common name of the Blue Titmouse (Parus cæruleus),” or, incorrectly, other “small birds,” used colloquially to (de)mean a “little man or boy” (OED). [back]

45. newly-invented: popular advertising term indicating a wondrous invention. See, for instance, the reference to a “newly-invented light” in “Substitute for the Sun,” The Champion, December 23, 1838, 6, and Coulson’s Treatise on his Newly-Invented Engineers’ and Mechanics’ Slide Rule (Stokesley: W. Braithwaite, 1842). [back]

46. villain: in the source, “villian” (typographical error). [back]

47. Adzooks: “gadzooks,” or “God’s hooks”: nails from the Crucifixion (OED). [back]

48. hurdy-gurdy: Welsh traditional string instrument. It features a wheel and a crank, and is therefore the musical instrument that the wheel-obsessed Patent might be most likely to construct and play. [back]