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GIRT. I, mother, must be a lady to-morrow; and by your leave, mother, (I speak it not without my duty, but only in the right of my husband) I must take place of you, mother.
Mrs. Touch. That you shall, lady daughter, and have a coach as well as I too.
Grrr. Yes, mother ; but by your leave, mother, (I speak it not without my duty, but only in my husband's right) my coach horses must take the wall of your coach horses.
Touch. Come, come, the day grows low: 'tis supper time--use my house--the wedding solemnity is at my wife's cost; thank me for nothing but my willing blessing; for, I cannot feign, my hopos are faint; and, sir, respect my daughter; she has refused for you wealthy and honest matches, known good men, well monied, better traded, best reputed.
GIR. Body o' truth! Chittisens ! Chittizens! (spoken affectedly) Sweet knigbt, as soon as ever we are married, take me to thy mercy out of this miserable Chittie ; presently carry me out of the scent of Newcastle Coal, and the bearing of Bow Bell, I beseech theo.
The 2nd Act commences with a drunken scene between Quicksilver and his master; when the latter, in consequence of his irregularities, cancels his indenture of apprenticeship, and declares that he will " no longer dishonest his house, nor endanger his stock, with his licence.”—Thus at freedom, Quicksilver takes up his lodging with old Security, an usurer, with whom he forms a plan for the conversion into money of the estate which the knight had obtained with Touchstone's daughter. This scene is admirable, but we have room for only an extract from it.
Quick. Who taught you this morality ?
Secur. 'Tis long of this witty age, Mr. Francis. But, indeed, Mistress Sinnedefie, all trades complain of inconvenience; and therefore 'tis best to have none. The merchant be complains, and says traffic is subject to much uncertainty and loss ; let them keep their goods on dry land with a vengeance, and not expose other men's substances to the mercy of winds, under protection of a wooden wall (as Mr. Francis says), and all for greedy desire to enrich themselves with unconscionable gain, two for one, or so: where I, and such other honest men, as live by lending money, are content with moderate profit; thirty or forty in the hundred, so we may bave it with quietness, and out of peril of wind and weather, rather than risk those dangerous courses of trading as they do.
Quick. I, dad! thou may'st well be called security, for thou takest the safest course.
Secur. Faith, the quieter and the more contented, and out of doubt the more godly. For merchants in their courses are never pleased, but ever repining against heaven: one prays for a westerly wind to carry his ship forth; another for an easterly to bring his ship home; and at every shaking of a leaf he falls into an agony, to think what danger his ship is in on such a coast, and so forth. The farmer, he is ever at odds with the weather; sometimes the clouds have been too barren---sometimes the heavens forget themselves, their harvests answor not their hopes ; sometimes the season falls out too fruitful, corn will bear no price, and so forth. The artificer, he's all for a stirring world; if his trade be too full, and fall short of his expectation, then falls he out of joint. Where we, that trade in nothing but money, are free from all this; we are pleased with all weathers ; let it rain or hold up, be calm or windy; let the season be whatsoever ; let trade go how it will, we take all in good part; e'en what
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please the heavens to send us : so the sun stand not still, and the moon keep her usual returns, and make up days, months, and years.
Quick. And you have good security. .
Quick. And yet, forsooth, we must have trades to live withal, for we cannot stand without legs, nor fly without wings, and a pumber of such scurvy phrases: no, I say still, he that has wit, let him live by his wit: he that has none, let him be a tradesman.
Secur. Witty Master Francis ! 'Tis pity any trade should dull that quick brain of yours. Do but bring Knight Petronel into my parchment toils once, and you shall never need to toil in any trade, on my credit !
The plot being thus laid, we are then introduced to the knight and his lady. The assumption of the lady is really ludicrous. She swears by her dignity; and when Security salutes her worshipful ladyship, she informs him, “ You are very welcome you must not put on your hat yet:” and after some time condescendingly exclaims, “ Harkye, good man ! you may put on your hat now, I do not look on you."
In the meantime Touchstone, who entertains but a poor opinion of the husband his wife has provided for their daughter Girtred, makes up a match between his other daughter, Mildred, and Goulding, whose term of apprenticeship has just expired. This marriage is extremely offensive to the dignity of “ the lady," and her mother; but the father will have his way, and the girl herself being willing, the nuptials are at once celebrated.
Her ladyship soon becomes anxious to visit the splendid castle in the country, with which the knight had filled her imagination; and he having arranged, through Quicksilver, for an advance of money upon the estate she had brought him, is anxious to get rid of her. He feigns that urgent business detains him in town; whereupon she agrees, for the pleasure of riding in her own coach, and going to her own castle, that she and her mother will go down to the castle, and prepare every thing for his reception, he promising to follow in the course of a few days.
In the 3rd Act we see her setting off for the country in her new coach. “ As I am a lady,” is now her usual form of speech; and as she passes to her coach she returns the salutations of the citizens, who pray heaven bless her ladyship, with, “thank you, good people; my coach for the love of heaven, my coach! In good truth I shall swoon else!” She exclaims against her father for allowing her sister to marry his 'prentice; congratulates herself that he must now call her “ madam, and please you, madam, and please your worship madam;" and addresses her sister thus: “ Never look to have my countenance any more, nor any thing I can do for thee. Thou ride in my coach! or come down to my castle! fie upon thee! I charge thee, in my ladyship's name, call me sister no more."
The knight having now obtained his money and his object, hastens to the Blue Anchor Tavern at Billingsgate, where he meets his crew with whom he is about to sail for Virginia. Quicksilver
agrees to accompany them, and they carouse until midnight, when, in spite of a raging tempest and violent hurricane, the intoxicated fools determine to take to a boat in order to join the ship at Blackwall. They pursue their course as far as the Isle of Dogs, when the boat is swamped. Those on board succeed with great difficulty in getting ashore, but with the loss of the borrowed money. Unable to proceed without this most essential article, they for some time consult how to act, when Quicksilver explains to them the secrets of clipping money, and manufacturing base coin, by the exercise of which arts they hope shortly to realize a sufficient sum to enable them to pursue their voyage.
But before this can be done, the Lady Flash and her mother have discovered that the castle to which they were sent was merely a castle in the air, and have returned to London in doleful plight. The lady's pride is not yet sufficiently humbled to induce her to take up her abode with her angry and despised father, or to associate with the sister who had demeaned herself by marrying an apprentice; she therefore hires an obscure lodging for herself and her servant, and supports herself by pawning her coach, her jewels, and the other paraphernalia of her“ ladyship.” These means of course soon fail, and distress comes upon her. Just at this time there is an admirable scene between Girtred and her servant, from which the following is an extract, full of keen satire, introduced with strict regard to the simple vanity of the foolish lady.
Gir. Would the Knight of the Sun, or Palmerin of England, have used their ladies so, Syn; or Sir Launcelot, or Sir Tristram?
SYN. I do not know, madam. .
Gir. Then thou know'st nothing, Syn: thou art a fool, Syn. The knighthood now-a-days are nothing like the knighthood of old time. They rode a horseback, ours go a foot. They were attended by their squires, ours by their lacqueys. They went buckled in their armour, ours muflled in their cloaks. They travelled wildernesses and desarts, ours dare scarce walk the streets. They were still pressed to engage their honor, ours still ready to pawn their clothes. They would gallop on at sight of a monster, ours run away at sight of a serjeant. They would help poor ladies, ours make poor ladies.
Syn. 1, madam, they were knights of the round table at Winchester that sought adventures, but these of the square table at ordinaries that sit at hazard.
Gir. True, Syn, let him vanish. And tell me what shall we pawn next?
Gir. Good Lord, that there are no fairies now-a-days, Syn!
GIR. To do miracles, and bring ladies money. Sure if we lay in a cleanly house, they would haunt it, Syn? I'll try. I'll sweep the chamber soon at night, and set a dish of water on the hearth. A fairy may come, and bring a pearl or a diamond. We do not know, Syn. Or there may be a pot of gold bid o' the outside, if we had tools to dig for't. Why may not we two risc early in the morning afore any body is up, and find a jewel in the streets worth £100 ? May not some great court lady, as she comes from revels at midnight, look out of the coach as 'tis running, and lose such a jewel, and we find it? Ha?
Syn. They are waking dreams these.
GIR. Or may not some old usorer be drunk over night, with a bag of money, and leave it behind him on a stall? For God sake, Syn, let's rise to-morrow at break of day, and see.
Such fanciful remarks shew out the character and situation of the poor deluded girl, much better than could have been done by any formal description put into the mouth of another person.
The projects of Sir Petronel and his companions are quickly disconcerted by the arrival of a constable, who presses them for sea service; but upon the knight asserting his title, they are all taken before a deputy alderman, who turns out to be no other than Quicksilver's fellow-apprentice, Goulding, who had been just elected to that office. Touchstone now appears, accuses the knight of his duplicity towards Girtred, and Quicksilver of some embezzlement which had just been discovered. Upon these accusations, they are both sent to prison, together with old Security, the usurer.
Mrs. Touchstone now seeks out her poor reduced daughter, who is in the very deepest distress, and thus the poor, foolish, weak mother advises her:
Mrs. Touch. Nay, sweet lady bird, sigh not, child, madam. Why do you weep thus? Be of good cheer. I shall die if you cry and mar your complexion thus.
Gir." Alas! mother, what shall I do?
* Mrs. T. Go to thy sister, child, she'll be proud thy ladyship will come under her roof She'll win thy father to release thy knight, and redeem thy gowns, and thy coach, and thy horses, and set thee up again.
GIR. But will she get him to set up my knight too? Mrs. T. That she will, or any thing else thou'lt ask her. GIR. I will begin to love her, if I thought she would do this. Mrs. T. Try her, good chuck, I warrant thee. · Thus importuned, she agrees to wait upon her sister; and Goulding, won over by their entreaties, and by assurance of the hearty repentance of the offenders, entreats his father-in-law to forego their prosecution. For a long timne Touchstone refuses to do so, but at length he is inveigled into going to the prison, where he is so entirely convinced of their true repentance, that he gives his consent, and the play thus ends happily.
We have in our extracts endeavoured to give fair specimens of the comic style in which character is developed in this interesting drama. Would our limits allow, we could multiply quotations, but wę forbear. The play is unquestionably a very superior one, and richly merits an attentive study and perusal. Would modern dramatists approach more nearly to so excellent a specimen, the stage would at the present day, we are confident, be more worthy of praise and support.
The History of the Reign of Henry the Eighth: comprising the
Political History of the Commencement of the English Řeformation. By Sharon Turner, F.S. A. and Ř. A.S.L, Longman,
4to. pp. 694. 1826. MR. SHARON TURNER is well known to the public as the author of a “ History of the Anglo-Saxons,” and, subsequently, of a “ History of England during the Middle Ages, extending from the Norman Conquest, to the Death of Henry VII.” The present volume is a continuation of these histories, and includes the reign of Henry VIII., perhaps the most important and the most difficult to treat of in all English history. The late disputes between Mr. Southey and Mr. Butler have drawn the public attention to many circumstances in this reign which the general reader had long forgotten; and, it would appear from Mr. Turner's preface, that his present volume owes its origin to those disputes. Mr. Southey submitted to Mr. Turner some questions, which he was unable to answer to his own satisfaction, and being unwilling to remain in an ignorance of which he felt ashamed. he returned to the forsaken paths of his former investigations, and the volume now under our notice is the result.
Mr. Turner is distinguished, as an historian, by patient and indefatigable research amongst original authorities and neglected documents; many of which he has drawn from the obscurity in which they lay in our public libraries. His History of the Anglo-Saxons is particularly valuable on this account. The manuscripts, upon which it is for the most part founded, belong to an age far removed from the consideration of common readers; and oppose to the enquirer difficulties, in their character and style, which require an excess of patience and diligence to overcome. The praise of having conquered all these difficulties, certainly belongs to Mr. Turner; and if we consider the circumstances of his life--the ill health under which, we regret to learn, he has laboured for many years; his attention to the profession of an attorney, and the education of his children, which, we believe, he has solely conducted_it is apparent that he must be more than an ordinary man. The natural equality of the minds of men seems to be a favorite opinion with him, but he himself is a living instance of its fallacy; very few men, if placed in his situation, could have achieved what he has done. But whilst we yield him these just praises, we cannot close our eyes against the demerits of his works. These consist, chiefly, in the want of method and judgment, and the adoption of a style of writing excessively, and often ridiculously, florid; adorning common-place thoughts with a tinsel splendour, and striving to render every day occurrences important, by surrounding them with all the glitter of expression. These faults unfortunately predominate in the work before us. Nothing can be worse than the