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Snar. I believe I had best make it up with the reptile: nay, Mr. Laconic, you know I never denied the fire of your poetry.
. Lac. Nor I the force of your prose : each in his walk, Mr, Snarl; but let us understand one another a little: like other actors, before the public, indeed, we ought to preserve the masque as well as we can, but when the curtain drops, the deception should end; my poetical flights are no more inspired by one of the nine, than your prose animadversions are dictated by public spirit.
Snar. Nay, but Laconic---
Lac. A dinner sometimes I do. What, don't I know the tricks, of your trade, the old plan of plaintiff and defendant; Theatricus condemins, Leonora defends, Buckhorse reviles, Tranquillus rez torts; What the Director asserts, a Proprietor denies: Whilst, all the time, Theatricus, Leonora, Buckhorse, Tranquillus, the Director, and the Proprietor, all centre in one individual, called Timothy Snarl.
Snar. .Well, well, I know you have a mind to be pleasant, but a truce to our jangling---for what port are you bound?
Lac. A neighbouring one, the new house in the Haymarket.
Lac. Allons ! but what pretence can we have to get on the · stage?
Snar. Here's a letter to introduce a young actress.
Snar. This Foote has given you good food in his time: I rememe ber how brilliant you was upon his misfortune about a twelvemonth ago
Lac. True, true.
Snar. Ah ! how sweetly you rung the chimes upon foot and leg, and leg and foot.--Ah!-
Lac. Yes, that accident was lucky enough; it furnished our · paper in clenches and stings for more than a month.---But, wont you knock?
[Snarl knocks. Enter a SERVANT. Snar. Is your master within ?
Sero. On the stage, Sir.
Mr. Foote and SERVANT discovered.
Enter SNARL and LACONIC. · Snar. Here's a letter; when you have perused the contents, I shall be glad of your answer.
Foote. Sir, you shall have it.
[Foote withdraws Lac, Ah ! pretty enough! hark’ee, Snarl, this artichecture? what order do you call it?
Lac. They are push'd into the street: then the stage--hold ! what have we here?
Snar. As I live a couple of ladies*.
Snar. Oh! this inscription will tell us : Prisca-Zounds ! 'tis in Latin! pox take these impertinent puppies : what need any language to Englishmen, but English ?-But they must be shewing their learning. Hark'ee, Laconic, you understand Latin.
Lac. Latin, ad unguem.
Lac. Pris, comedian.--Oh! are you there !--ha, ha, was there ever so absurd a design?
Snar. What's the matter?
Lac. To put for a frontispiece a paltry comedian : it is only Priscilla, that's all.
Snar. Priscilla ? who was she?
Lac. She was an actress in Betterton's time; her name is in the old folio edition of Shakespear; a good low comedian, but internally ugly.
• Two figures, representing the ancient and modern comedy,
Snar. I can't say her figure was much in her favour..
Lac. No, an absolute fright---but a vast fund of humour. She was the Clive of the company. · Sriar. And now for the other.
Lac. A bird of the same feather ;---Sublato jure nocendi.--The inscription does not tell us her name, but the hint is not a bad one for that gentleman there,
Snar. What is it?
Lac: Not unlikely; but he is here: upon my word, Mr. Whatdy'e-call-um,--you have made great alterations here.
Foote. I hope you approve them?
Snar. As' to that, we have not had time to consider minutely; but what do you say to my letter? • Foote. I am referred for the lady's qualifications to you, Sir: I suppose her figure.
Snar. Is fine.
Foote. These are valuable requisites for our profession : could I have the honour of seeing the lady?
Snar. Whenever you please.
Snar. Very well.---Come, Laconic:---but stay---there is one circumstance it may be proper to mention, as perhaps it may prove an objection.
Foote. What is it?
Snar. As to the young gentlewoman's colour; the lady's a Blackamoor.
Foote. A black !
Foote. None at all: a good actress, like a good horse, can't be of a bad colour: I beg I may see her. .
Snar. You shall : your servant. [Exeunt Laconic and Snarl.
Foote. Your very obedient.-Do you know who these gentlemen , . are?
Serv. No, Sir, but there is one wants you withoux, that you know.
Scaff. Sarvent, master, I hope things are as they should be?
Foote. If the public, whose servant I am, are but satisfied, you are sure of my voice.
Scaff. Why, I don't see any fault they can find; the Orchester indeed is rather too small.
Foote. No, pretty well.
Scaff. Aye, at present; but if in the winter you should chanoe to. have oratorios, you will scarce have room for the hupsicol.
Foote. Oh! that may be easily altered.
Scaff. True ;-well, master Foote, let us now talk a little of beim siness.
Foote. Oh! the deuce!
Foote. Very well; but why do you bring it to me?
Foote. No, there you are mistakep, my good master Scaffold, you are much better off; it is these ladies and gentlemen who are to be your paymasters.
Scaff. What, the gentlefolk above and below?
Foote. Aye, the whole public! for if they don't, I am sure it is out of my power,
• Scaff. Why, I can't say but my security is mended, that is if so be as how they be willing-but-ah!-this is one of your skits, you
will never leave off;—but come, master Foote, you should not be long winded, consider what expedition we have made; all this work here in three months : a tight job, master Foote. II .
Foote. And you, master Scaffold, claim much merit from that?
Foote. I will undertake, that less than half that number of hands shall undo more work in an hour, than you can complete in a year.
Scaff. May be so, I see there is amongst them some tight likely lads; but, come master, let us now be serus a little?
Foote. Upon my word, I am serious; I consider myself but as a trustee for the public; and what their generosity bestows upon me, I will most justly assign over to you.
Scaff. Aye, why then, since that is the case, let us hear a little of how and about it; well now, and what scheme, what plan have you got, to give a jog to the generous ?
Foote. Why, I have some things they have liked, and others that I hope they will like.
Scaff. What, I suppose men and women, and talking stuff, that you take out of play-books.
Foote. Of that kind.
Scaff. Ah! pox! that will ne'er do, could not you give 'em a christening, or funeral? or hey!-aye, that is the best of 'em all; zooks, let 'em have a crownation.
Scaff. No, why not? why then we shall have 'em crowd hither in shoals.
Foote. No, no, no, Scaffold :
Scaff. Why, as you say, that work is little better than scandalous magnation : hey! gad, I have a thought! odd rot it, give 'em a pantomine; I likes to see that little patch-coated feller, slap one, and kick t'other, and then pop he is out of the window.
Foote. Nor shall great Philip's son, thro' our crime,
Scaff. Philip, pshaw, I'd never mind Philip, nor any of the fan mily: what harm can they do you? Come do, and I'll bate of my · bill:-do, for the carpenter's credit.
Foote. Your credit !