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proposes to her with a complete deli- change of subject fosters their inven cacy, and digriiy, without lowering tion; the prngency of piquant speeches himself, without recrimination, with reduces truth to small but precious out wronging himself or his friend. coin, suitable to the lightness of their When Oronte reads him a sonnet, he hands. And the heart is no more taint. does not assume in the fop a nature ed by it than the intelligence. The which he has not, but praises the con Frenchman is of a sober temperament, ventional verses in conventional lan- with little taste for the brutishness of guage, and is not so clumsy as to dis- the drunkard, for violent joviality, fos play a poetical judgment which would the riot of loose suppers; he is more le out of place. He takes at once his over gentle, obliging, always ready to cone from the circumstances; he per- please; in order to set him at ease he ceives instantly what he must say and needs that flow of goodwill and ele what be silent about, in what degree gance which polite society creates and and in what gradations, what exact ex- cherishes. And in accordance there. pedient will reconcile truth and con- with, he shapes his temperate and ventional propriety, how far he ought amiable inclinations into maxims; it is to go or where to take his stand, what a point of honor with him to be serfaint line separates decorum from flat viceable and refined. Such is the gentery, truth from awkwardness. On this tleman, the product of society, in a narrow path he proceeds free from em- sociable race. It was not so with the barrassment or mistakes, never put English. Their ideas do not spring out of his way by the shocks or changes up in chance conversation, but by of circumstance, never allowing the the concentration of solitary thought; calm smile of politeness to quit his this is the reason why ideas were then lips, never omitting to receive with a wanting. Their gentlemanly feelings laugh of good humor the nonsense of are not the fruit of sociable instincts, his neighbor. This cleverness, entirely but of personal reflection; that is why French, reconciles in him fundamental gentlemanly feelings were then at á honesty and worldly breeding; without discount. The brutish foundation reit, he would be altogether on the one mained; the outside alone was smooth. side or the other. In this way comedy, Manners were gentle, sentiments harsh; finds its hero half-way between the roul speech was studied, ideas frivolous. and the preacher.
Thought and refinement of soul were Such a theatre depicts a race and an rare, talent and Auent wit abundant. age. This mixture of solidity and There was politeness of manner, not elegance belongs to the seventeenth of heart; they had only the set rules century, and belongs to France. The and the conventionalities of life, its world does not deprave, it develops giddiness and heedlessness. Frenchmen ; it polished then not only their manners and their homes, but
VII. also their sentiments and ideas. Con
The English comedy-writers paint versation provoked thought; it was no these vices, and possess them. Their mere talk, but an inquiry; with the talent and their stage are tainted by exchange of news, it called forth the them. Art and philosophy are absent interchange of reflections. Theology The authors do not advance upon and philosophy entered into it; mor: general idea, and they do not proceed als, and the observation of the heart, by the most direct method. They, pu. formed its daily pabulum, Science together ill, and are embarrassed by kept up its vitality, and lost only its materials. Their pieces have generally aridity. Pleasantness cloaked reason, two intermingled plots, manifestly die but did not smother it. Frenchmen tinct,* combined in order to multiply never think better than in society; the incidents, and because the public de play of features excites them; their mands a multitude of characters and ready ideas flash into rightning, in their facts. A strong current of boisterous shock with the ideas of others. The varied current of conversation suits ways find a complete comedy grossly amalga
* Dryden bigasts of this. With him, we ako their fits and starts, che frequent mated with a complete tragedy.
action is necessary to stir up their dense | only to fill up the evenings of coquettes appreciation ; they do as the Romans and coxcombs. did, who packed several Greek plays Moreover, this pleasure is not real into one. They grew tired of the it has no resemblance to the hearty French simplicity of action, because laughter of Molière. In English comthey had not the French refined taste. edy there is always an undercurrent of The two series of actions mingle and tartness. We have seen this, and more jostle one with another. We cannot in Wycherley ; the others though less see where we are going ; every mo- cruel, joke sourly. Their characters in ment we are turned out of our path. a joke say harsh things to one another ; The scenes are ill connected; they they amuse themselves by hurting each change twenty times from place to other ; a Frenchman is pained to hear place. When one scene begins to de- this interchange of mock politeness ; velop itself, a deluge of incidents in- he does not go to blows by way of fun. terrupts. An irrelevant dialogue drags Their dialogue turns naturally to viruon between the incidents, suggesting a lent satire ; instead of covering vice, it book with the notes introduced pro- makes it prominent ; instead of making miscuously into the text. There is no it ridiculous, it makes it odious ; plan carefully conceived and rigorously
" Clarissa. Prithee, tell me how you have carried out; they took, as it were, a passed the night? plan, and wrote out the scenes one after Araminta. Why, I have been studying all another, pretty much as they came
the ways my brain could produce to plague my
husband. into their head. Probability is not well Cl. No wonder indeed you look so fresh this cared for. There are poorly arranged morning, after the satisfaction of such pleasing disguises, ill simulated folly, mock ideas all night." * marriages, and attacks by robbers These women are really wicked, and worthy of the comic opera. In order that too openly. Throughout vice is to obtain a sequence of ideas and prob- crude, pushed to extremes, served up ability, we must set out from some gen. with material adjuncts. Lady Fidget eral idea. The conception of avarice, says: “ Our virtue is like the stateshypocrisy, the education of women, ill. man's religion, the quaker's word, the assorted marriages, arranges and binds gamester's oath, and the great man's together by its individual power inci- honor ; but to cheat those that trust dents which are to reveal it. But in us." +. Or again : “ If you'll consult the English comedy we look in vain the widows of this town,” says a young for such a conception. Congreve, lady who does not wish to marry again, Farquhar, Vanbrugh, are only men, of " they'll tell you, you should never take wit, not thinkers. They skim the a lease of a house you can hire for a surface of things, but do not penetrate. quarter's warning.” Í Or again : “ My They play with their characters. They heart cut a caper up to my mouth,” aim at success, at amusement. They says a young heir, “when I heard my sketch caricatures, they, spin out in father was shot through the head.”'S lively fashion a vain and bantering con. The gentlemen collar each other on the versation; they make answers clash stage, treat the ladies roughly before with one another, fling forth paradoxes; spectators, contrive an adultery not far their nimble fingers manipulate and off between the wings. Basé or ferouggle with the incidents in a hundred cious parts abound. There are furies ingenious and unlooked-for ways. They like Mrs. Loveit and Lady Touchwood. have animation, they abound in gesture There are swine like parson Bull and and repartee; the constant bustle of the go-between Coupler. Lady Touch. the stage and its lively spirit surround wood wants to stab her lover on the them with continual excitement. But stage. || Coupler, on the stage, uscs the pleasure is only skin-deep; we have
* Vanbrugh, Confederacy, ii. :: seen nothing of the eternal foundation
Wycherley, The Country Wife, v: 4. and the real nature of mankind; we Vanbrugh, Relapse, ji. end. I loie. carry no thought away; we have pass-want but leisure to invont fresh falsehood, and
I She says to Maskwell, her lover: “You ed an hour, and that is all; the amuse soothe me to a fond belief of all your fictions ment teaches us nothing, and serves but I will stab the lie that's forming in you
gestures wh.ch recall the court of | as the maddest and at the same time Henry III. of France. Wretches like they speak as well as the best instruct Fainall as Maskwell are unmitigated ed; they can give the model of witty scoundrels, and their hatefulness is not conversation ; they have lightness of even cloaked by the grotesque. Even touch, brilliancy, and also facility, ex. honest women like Silvia and Mrs. actness, without which you cannot draw Sullen are plunged into the most shock- the portrait of a man of the world. They ing situations. Nothing shocked the find naturally on their palette the strong English public of those days; they had colors which suit their barbarians, and no real education, but only its varnish. the pretty tints which suit their exquis
There is a forced connection between ites. she mind of a writer, the world which
VIII. surrounds him, and the characters which he produces; for it is from this First there is the blockhead, Squire world that he draws the materials out Sullen, a low kind of sot, of whom his of which he composes them. The senti- wife speaks in this fashion : "After his ments which he contemplates in others man and he had rolled about the room, and feels himself are gradually arranged like sick passengers in a storm, he into characters; he can only invent comes flounce into bed, dead as a sal. after his given model and his acquired mon into a fishmonger's basket; his experience ; and his characters only feet cold as ice, his breath hot as a manifest what he is, or abridge what he furnace, and his hands and his face as has seen.
Two features are prominent greasy as his flannel nightcap: с in this world ; they are prominent also matrimony! He tosses up the clothes on this stage. All the successful with a barbarous swing over his shoul. characters can be reduced to two classes ders, disorders the whole economy of -natural beings on the one part, and my bed, leaves me half naked, and my artificial on the other ; the first with whole night's comfort is the tuneable the coarseness and shamelessness of serenade of that wakeful nightingale, their primitive inclinations, the second his nose !” * Sir John Brute says : with the frivolities and vices of worldly “ What the plague did I marry her (his habits : the first uncultivated, their wife) for? I knew she did not like me: simplicity revealing nothing but their if she had, she would have lain with innate baseness; the second cultivated, me.” 7 He turns his drawing room their refinement instilling into them into a stable, smokes it foul to drive nothing but a new corruption. And the the women away, throws his pipe a: talent of the writers is suited to the their heads, drinks, swears, and curses. painting of these two groups: they pos- Coarse words and oaths Aow through sess the grand English faculty, which his conversation like filth through a is the knowledge of exact detail and gutter. He gets drunk at the tavern, real sentiments, they see gestures, sur-ånd howls out, “ Damn morality 1 and roundings dresses; they hear the sounds damn the watch ! and let the constable of voices, and they have the courage to be married.” He cries out that he is exhibit them; they have inherited, very, a free-born Englishman ; he wants to go ittle, and at a great distance,and in spite out and break every thing. He leaves of themselves, still they have inherited the inn with other besotted scamps from Shakspeare; they manipulate and attacks the women in the street freely, and without any softening the He robs a tailor who was carrying a coarse harsh red color which alone can doctor's gown, puts it on, thrashes the bring out the figures of their brutes. On guard. He is seized and taken by the the other hand, they have animation constable ; on the road he breaks out and a good style ; they can express the into abuse, and ends by proposing tu thoughtless chatter, the frolicsome af. him, amid the hiccups and stupid reit
: fectations, the inexhaustible and capri-erations of a drunken man, to go and cious abundance of drawing-room stu find out somewhere a bottle and a girl pidities; they have as much liveliness
* Parquhar, The Beaut Stratagem, s. bpart, and save a sin, in pity to your soul." Vanbrugh, Provoked Wifs, v. 6. Congre ve, Double Dealor, V. 17.
1 Ibid, iii. 3.
He returns iome at last, covered with | a Scotch-coal fre in the great parlor, blood and mud, growling like a dog, set all the Turkey-work chairs in their with red swollen eyes, calling his wife places ; get the great brass candlesticks a slut and a liar. He goes to her, forci- out and be sure stick the sockets full of bly embraces her, and as she turns away, laurel. Run! . . . And do you hear, cries, " I see it goes damnably against run away to nurse, bid her let Miss your stomach-and therefore--kiss me Hoyden loose again, and if it was not again. (Kisses and tumbles her.) So, shifting-day, let her put on a clear. now you being as dirty and as nasty tucker, quick ! " * The pretended son: as myself, we may gr pig together." * in-law wants to marry Hoyden straigh! He wants to get a cup of cold tea out off. “ Not so soon neither! that's of the closet, kicks open the door, and shooting my girl before you bid hei discovers his wife's and niece's gallants. stand. . . . Besides, my wench's wed He storms, raves madly with his clam- ding-gown is not come home yet.” 1 my tongue, then suddenly falls asleep. The other suggests that a speeáy marHis valet comes and takes the insensi- riage will save money. Spare money? ble burden on his shoulders. It is the says the father, “ Udswoons, I'll give portrait of a mere animal, and I fancy my wench a wedding dinner, though I it is not a nice one.
go to grass with the king of Assyria That is the husband ; let us look at for't. Ah ! poor girl, she'll be the father, Sir Tunbelly Clumsey, a scared out of her wits on her weddingcountry gentleman, elegant, if any of night ; for, honestly speaking, she does thien were. Tom Fashion knocks at not know a man from a woman but by the door of the mansion, which looks his beard and his breeches." | Foplike Noah's ark,” and where they re- pington, the real son-in-law, arrives. ceive people as in a besieged city. A Sir Tunbelly, taking him for an imposservant appears at a window with a tor, calls him a dog ; Hoyden proposes blunderbuss in his hand, who is at last. to drag him in the horse-pond ; they with great difficulty persuaded that he bind him hand and foot, and thrust him ought to let his master know that some into the dog-kennel; Sir Tunbelly puts body wishes to see
him." Ralph, go thy his fist under his nose, and threatens to weas, and ask Sir Tunbelly if he pleas. knock his teeth down his throat. Afteres to be waited upon. And dost hear? wards, having discovered the impostor, call to nurse that she may lock up Miss he says, “ My lord, will you cut his Hoyden before the geat's open.” throat? 'or shall I?... Here, give me Please to observe that in this house my dog-whip. . : . Here, here, here, they keep a watch over the girls. Sir let me beat out his brains, and that will Tunbelly comes up with his people, decide all.” He_raves, and wants to armed with guns, pitchforks, scythes, fall upon Tom Fashion with his fists. and clubs, in no amiable mood, and Such is the country gentleman, of high wants to know the name of his visitor. birth and a farmer, boxer and drinker, “ Till I know your name, I shall not brawler and beast. There steams up ask you to come into my house; and from all these scenes a smell of cook. when I know your name—'tis six to ing, the noise of riot, the odor of a dung four I don't ask you neicher.” He hill. 8 is like a watch-dog growling and look- Like father like child. What a can ing at the calves of an intruder. But did creature is Miss Hoyden! She be presently learns that this intruder is grumbles to herself,“ It's we 11 I have a ais future son-in-law; he utters some husband a-coming, or, ecod, I'd marry exc.amations, and makes his excuses. the baker ; I would so! Nobody can “ Cod's my life! I ask your lordship's knock at the gate, but presently I must pardon ten thousand time. (To a ser be locked up; and here's the young vant.) Her , run in a doors quickly. Get greyhound bitch can run loose about
the house all the day long, she can , * Vanbrugh, Provoked Wife, v. 3. + The valet Rasor says to his master: "Come her her future husband has arrivedh
'tis very well.” || When the nurse teils to your kennel, you cuckoldy drunken sot you.' -Ibid.
lbid. iii. 5.
1 lbid. Vanbrugh's Relapse, ii. 3. * Ibid.
6 Ibid. v. 3.
1 Ibid. iii. 4.
sze leaps for joy, and kisses the old when I am a wife and a lady both
“O Lord! I'll go put on my nurse, ecod, I'll flaunt it with the best laced smock, though I'm whipped till of 'em.". But she is cautious all the the blood run down my heels for't." *
She knows that her father has Tom comes himself, and asks her if his dog's wh.p handy, and that he will she will be his wife. “Sir, I never give her a good shake. “But, d'ye disobey my father in any thing but eat- hear?” she says to the nurse. Pray ing of green gooseberries.” But your take care of one thiag: when the busi. father wants to wait ... “a whole ness comes to break out, be sure you week." “A week --Why I shall be get between me and my father, for you an old woman by that time.” | I can know his tricks: he'll knock me not give all her answers. There is the down.” Here is your true moral spirit of a goat behind her kitchen. ascendency. For such a character, talk. She marries Tom secretly on the there is no other, and Sir Tunbelly spot, and the chaplain wishes them many does well to keep her tied up, and to children. “Ecod,” she says, “ with all let her taste a discipline of daily my heart I the more the merrier, I say ; stripes. ha! nurse !” But Lord Foppington,
IX. her real intended, turns up and Tom makes off. Instantly her plan is for acter to town, and place her with her
Let us accompany this modest char. med. She bids the nurse and chap.equals in fine society. All these artlain hold their tongues.
less ladies do wonders there, both in will be sure to hold your tongues, and
of actions and maxims. not say a word of what's , past, I'll e'en Wycherley's Country Wife gives us the marry this lord too."
What,” says nurse, “two husbands, my dear?" be partly honest, & she has the man
tone. When one of them happens to “Why, you had three, good nurse, you ners and the boldness of a hussar in may hold your tongue." She never
Others seem born with theless takes a dislike to the lord, and
petticoats. very soon; he is not well made, he the souls of courtesans and procuresses. hardly gives her any pocket-money; Dorinda, " there will be title, place,
“If I marry my lord Aimwell,” says she hesitates between the two. “If I leave my lord, I must leave my lady and the drawing-room,
and precedence, the Park, the play,
splendor, tvo; and when I rattle about the
equipage, noise and flambeaux.-Hey, streets in my coach, they?ltrondy_say: my lady Aimwell's servants
there There goes mistress-mistress—mistress what? What's this man's name Aimwell's coach put forward! Stand
Lights, lights the stairs ! My lady I have married, nurse ?" “Squire Fashion." “Squire Fashion is it? by, make room for her ladyship-Are Well, 'Squire, that's better
than noth: not these things moving ?” She is ingill Love him! why do you Miss Betty, Belinda, for example. Be
candid, and so are others-Corinna, think I love him, nurse? ecod, I would linda says to her aunt, whose virtue is not care if he were hanged, so I were but once married to him l-No-that tottering : "The sooner you capitulate which pleases me, is to think what work the better." Further on, when she
has decided to marry Heartfree, to I'll make when I get to London ; for
save her aunt who is compromised, she * Vanbrugh's Relapse, iii. 4. Ibid. iv. 1.
makes a confession of faith which 1 Ibid. iv. 4. The character of the nurse promises well for the future of her new is excellent. Tom Fashion thanks her for the
spouse; Were't not for your affair training she has given Hoyden: " Alas, all in the balance, I should go near to I can boast of is, I gave her pure good milk, and so your honour would have said, an you
• Ibid. iv. I.
1 Ibid. v. 5. had seen how the poor thing sucked it. See also the characte i a young stupid Eh! God's blessing on the sweet face on't! blockhead, Squire Humphrey. (Vanbrugh's how it used to hang at this poor teat, and suck Fourney to London.) He has only a single and squeeze, and kick and sprawl it would, till idea, to be always eating: the belly on't
was so full, it would drop off like § Wycherley's Hippolita ; Farquhar's Sil a leech." This is good, even after Juliet's via. Qarse in Shakspeare.
| Farquhar's Beaux Stratagem. iv. i. I Ibid. iv. 6.
Vankrugh's Provoked Wife, iii. 3.
I Ibid. v. 5: