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[Gratitude to Quick, for his able personation of Tony Lumpkin in “She Stoops to Conquer," induced Goldsmith to consent to alter Sir Charles Sedley's translation of Bruey's Comedy of 6 Le Grondeur" into a Farce for his benefit. The following is an outline of the plot. Sourby, an ill-tempered, discontented man, is the torment of his family, neighbors, and servants. In the opening of the piece his son is on the point of being married to Clarissa, the consent of Sourby being chiefly obtained by the lady, who believes he has a design upon her himself, relinquishing her naturally mild character for that of a termagant. The character thus assumed agrees however so well with his own, that, in defiance of previous arrangements, he determines to marry her himself, a design favored by her fortune being in his power. No other remedy occurs to the lovers to avoid his tyranny than further deception : the lady therefore assumes the character of an extravagant, giddy woman of fashion, who is determined to have "habits, feasts, fiddles, hautboys, masquerades, concerts, and especially a ball for fifteen days after their nuptials.” Above all, her intended husband must learn to dance; and she will admit of no excuse on the plea of years. In a change of scene the dancing-master arrives; Sourby, as soon as he knows his errand, orders him off and threatens chastisement: but the former having his cue, declares he has positive orders from Clarissa to make him dance, and drawing his sword compels him to do so by force. In the midst of this scene Wentworth arrives, and Sourby, in a fit of rage, renounces the lady. The piece was represented at Covent Garden Theatre, on the 8th of May 1773, but was not repeated. As it has never been printed, a scene, from the MS. copy, in the possession of John Paine Collier, Esq., is here given.-See Life, ch. xiii.]
Sourby (the Grumbler)
MR. QUICK. Octavio (his Son)
MR. DAVIS. Wentworth (Brother-in-law to Sourby)
MR. OWENSON. Dancing Master (called Signior Capriole in the Bills)
MR. KING. Scamper (Servant)
Mr. SAUNDERS. Clarissa (in love with Octavio)
Miss HELME. Jenny (her Maid)
Enter SCAMPER (Sourby's servant) to SOURBY, and his intended
wife's maid JENNY.
Scam. Sir, a gentleman would speak with you.
JENNY. Good! Here comes Scamper ; he'll manage you, I'll warrant me.
[Aside. SOUR. Who is it?
SCAM. He says his name is Monsieur Ri–Ri–Stay, Sir, I'll go and ask him again.
Sour. (Pulling him by the ears.) Take that, sirrah, by the way. SCAM. Ahi! Ahi!
[Exit. JENNY. Sir, you have torn off his hair, so that he must now have a wig: you have pulled his ears off; but there are none of them to be had for money.
Sour. I'll teach him—'Tis certainly Mr. Rigaut, my notary; I know who it is, let him come in. Could he find no time but this to bring me money? Plague take the blockhead!
Enter DANCING-Master and his FIDDLER. Sour. This is not my man. Who are you, with your compliments ?
Dan. Mast. (Bowing often.) I am called Rigaudon, Sir, at
Sour. (To Jenny.) Have not I seen that face somewhere before?
JENNY. There are a thousand people like one another.
Sour. Give it to me,I would fain know who taught Clarissa to fold a letter thus. What contains it?
JENNY. (Aside, while he unfolds the letter.) A lover, I believe, never complained of that before.
Sour. (Reads.) “Every body says I am to marry the most brutal of men. I would disabuse them; and for that reason you and I must begin the ball to-night.” She is mad!
Dan. Mast. Go on, pray Sir.
Sour. (Reads.) “ You told me you cannot dance; but I have sent you the first man in the world.”
(Sourby looks at him from head to foot.)
Sour. (Reads.) “Who will teach you in less than an hour enough to serve your purpose." I learn to dance !
Dan. Mast. Finish, if you please.
SOUR. “And if you love me, you will learn the Allemande.” The Allemande! Mr. the first man in the world, do you know you are in some danger here?
Dan. Mast. Come, Sir, in a quarter of an hour, you shall dance to a miracle !
Sour. Mr. Rigaudon, do you know I will send you out of the window if I call my servants ?
Dan. Mast. (Bidding his man play.) Come, brisk, this little prelude will put you in humor; you must be held by the hand; or have you some steps of your own ?
Sour. Unless you put up that d-d fiddle, I'll beat it about your ears.
Dan. Mast. Zounds, Sir! if you are thereabouts, you shall dance presently-I say presently.
Sour. Shall I dance, villain?
Dan. Mast. Yes. By the heavens above shall you dance. I have orders from Clarissa to make you dance. She has paid me, and dance you shall; first, let him go out.
[He draws his sword, and puts it under his arm. Sour. Ah! I'm dead. What a madman has this woman sent me!
JENNY. I see I must interpose. Stay you there, Sir; let me speak to him; Sir, pray do us the favor to go and tell the lady, that it's disagreeable to my master.
Dan. Mast. I will have him dance.
Sour. (Taking her aside.) Yes, tell him that when he will, without costing him a farthing, I'll bleed and purge him his bellyfull.
Dan Mast. I'll have nothing to do with that; I'll have him dance, or have his blood.
Sour. The rascal! (muttering.)
JENNY. Sir, I can't work upon him; the madman will not hear reason; some harm will happen—we are alone.