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ACT THE FIRST.
Enter DUGARD, and his Man, Petit, in Riding
Habits. Dug. Sirrah, what's o'clock ? Petit. Turned of eleven, sir.
Dug. No more! We have rid a swinging pace from Nemours, since two this morning! Petit, run to Rousseau's, and bespeak a dinner, at a louis d'or a head, to be ready by one.
Petit. How many will there be of you, sir ? Dug. Let me see-Mirabel one, Duretete two, myself three
Petit. And I four.
Dug. How now, sir ? at your old travelling familiarity! When abroad, you had some freedom, for want
of better company, but among my friends, at Paris, pray remember your distance-Begone, sir! [Exit Petit.] This fellow's wit was necessary abroad, but he's too cunning for a domestic; I must dispose of him some way else. Who's here? Old Mirabel, and my sister !—My dearest sister!
Enter OLD MIRABEL and ORIANA.
Oriana. My brother! Welcome!
Dug. Monsieur Mirabel! I'm heartily glad to see you.
Old Mir. Honest Mr Dugard, by the blood of the Mirabels, I'm your most humble servant !
Dug. Why, sir, you've cast your skin, sure; you're brisk and gay-lusty health about you-no sign of age, but your silver hairs,
Old Mir. Silver hairs ! Then they are quicksilver hairs, sir.
Whilst I have golden pockets, let my hairs be silver, an' they will. Adsbud, sir, I can dance, and sing, and drink, and no, I can't wènch. But, Mr Dugard, no news of my son Bob in all
your travels ? Dug. Your son's come home, sir.
Old Mir. Come home! Bob come home! By the blood of the Mirabels, Mr Dugard, what say you ?
Oriana. Mr Mirabel returned, sir? Dug. He's certainly come, and you may see him within this hour or two.
Old Mir. Swear it, Mr Dugard, presently swear it.
Dug. Sir, he came to town with me this morning; I left him at the Banieurs, being a little disordered after riding, and I shall see him again presently.
Old Mir. What! and he was ashamed to ask a blessing with his boots on! A nice dog! Well, and how fares the young rogue, ha?
Dug. A fine gentleman, sir: He'll be his own mes senger,
Old Mir. A fine gentleman ! But is the
like Dug. Why, yes, sir; he's very like his mother, and as like you as most modern sons are to their fathers.
Old Mir. Why, sir, don't you think that I begat him?
Dug. Why, yes, sir; you married his mother, and he inherits your estate. He's very like you, upon my word.
Oriana. And pray, brother, what's become of his honest companion, Duretete?
Dug. Who, the captain? The very same, he went abroad; he's the only Frenchman I ever knew that could not change. Your son, Mr Mirabel, is more obliged to nature for that fellow's composition, than for his own : for he's more happy in Duretete's folly than his own wit. In short, they are as inseparable as finger and thumb; but the first instance in the world, I believe, of opposition in friendship.
Old Mir. Very well : will he be home to dinner, think ye?
Dug. Sir, he has ordered me to bespeak a dinner for us at Rousseau's, at a louis d'or a head.
Old Mir. A louis d'or a head! Well said, Bob; by the blood of the Mirabels, Bob's improved ! But, Mr Dugard, was it so civil of Bob to visit Monsieur Rousseau before his own natural father, eh ?--Harkye, Oriana, what think you now of a fellow that can eat and drink ye a whole louis d'or at a sitting ? He must be as strong as Hercules; life and spirit in abundance. Before Gad, I don't wonder at these men of quality, that their own wives can't serve them! A louis d'or a head ! 'tis enough to stock a whole nation with bastards, 'tis, 'faith –Mr Dugard, I leave you with your sister.
[Exit. Duy. Well, sister, I need not ask
do, your looks resolve me; fair, tall, well-shaped; you're almost grown out of my remembrance,
Oriana. Why, truly, brother, I look pretty well, thank nature and my toilet; I eat three meals a day, am very merry when up, and sleep soundly when I'm down.
Dug. But, sister, you remember that upon my going abroad, you would chuse this old gentleman for your guardian ; he's no more related to our family than Prester John, and I have no reason to think you mistrusted my management of your fortune : Therefore, pray be so kind as to tell me, without reservation, the true cause of making such a choice.
Oriuna. Lookye, brother, you were going a rambling, and 'twas proper, lest I should go a rambling too, that somebody should take care of me. Old Monsieur Mirabel is an honest gentleman, was our father's friend, and has a young lady in his house, whose company I like, and who has chosen him for her
guardian as well as I.
Dug. Who, Mademoiselle Bisarre ?
Oriana. The same; we live merrily together, without scandal or reproach; we make much of the old gentleman between us, and be takes care of us; all the week we dance and sing, and upon Sundays, go first to church, and then to the play.--Now, brother, besides these motives for chusing this gentleman for my guardian, perhaps I had some private reasons.
Dug. Not so private as you imagine, sister : Your love to young Mirabel's no secret, I can assure you, but so public, that all your friends are ashamed on't.
Oriana. O'my word, then, my friends are very bashful; though I'm afraid, sir, that those people are not ashamed enough at their own crimes, who have so many blushes to spare for the faults of their neighbours.
Dug. Ay, but, sister, the people say
Oriuna. Pshaw ! hang the people! they'll talk treason, and profane their Maker ; must we therefore
infer, that our king is a tyrant, and religion a cheat? Lookye, brother, their court of enquiry is a tavern, and their informer, claret : They think as they drink, and swallow reputations like loches; a lady's health goes briskly round with the glass, but her honour is lost in the toast.
Dug. Ay, but, sister, there is still something
Oriana. If there be something, brother, 'tis none of the people's something : Marriage is my thing, and I'll stick toʻt.
Dug, Marriage ! Young Mirabel marry! he'll build churches sooner. Take heed, sister, though your honour stood proof to his home-bred assaults, you must keep a stricter guard for the future: He has now got the foreign air, and the Italian softness; his wit's improved by converse, his behaviour finished by observation, and his assurances confirmed by suc
Sister, I can assure you, he has made his conquests; and 'tis a plague upon your sex, to be the soonest deceived by those very. men that you know have been false to others. But then, sister, he's as fickle
Oriana. For God's sake, brother, tell me no more of his faults, for, if you do, I shall run mad for him : Say no more, sir ; let me but get him into the bands of matrimony, I'll spoil his wandering, I warrant him; I'll do his business that way, never fear.
Dug. Well, sister, I won't pretend to understand the engagements between
your lover; I expect, when you have need of my counsel or assistance, you
will let me know more of your affairs. Mirabel is a gentleman, and as far as my honour and interest can reach, you may command me, to the furtherance of your happiness : In the mean time, sister, I have a great mind to make you a present of another humble servant; a fellow that I took up at Lyons, who has served me honestly ever since.
Oriana. Then why will you part with him?