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Sir T. Take a chair Mr. Blushington: you seem warm.
Sir T. You perceive, Mr. Blushington, we're like youdabble in literature a little; smack of the classics a bit!
Blush. The classics: I can launch out here; I'm on safe ground. Yes, Sir Thomas-certainly-by all means.
Sir T. Delightful study. I fagged d-d hard at college, Mr. Blushington; and was, I can assure you, véry near being elected senior wrangler.
Blush. I don't doubt it. I chafe like a buil. (Aside.)
Lady F. We are all great readers, Mr. Blushington; my daughter Dinah in particular; before she was twelve years old, she had gone twice through "The Complete Housewife," and "The Whole Duty of Man." You'll suit one another to a T. in that respect.
Blush. Hum! Oh, yes, certainly, my lady, by all means; though I can't say I've been through "The Whole Duty of Man," and "The Complete Housewife." They're rather ignorant: I must astonish them a little bit, with the extent of my learning. I begin to get more courage than I thought for. Yes, I'll surprise them now. (Aside.) Bless me, that's a very remarkable edition of Xenophon there-sixteen volumes folio: allow me to examine it. (Getting up.)
Sir T. (Rising.) Stop, stop, my dear Mr. Blushington,
Blush. Oh! Sir Thomas, I couldn't think of giving you the trouble. (Goes, as he supposes, to lay hold of one of the volumes, when the board falls down on the slab, breaks the Hercyles's head, and upsets the ink-stand.) Hey! what the devil have I done? what the devil shall I do? I beg ten thousand pardons, Sir Thomas; upon my soul, I didn't mean to do it. If I'd known it had only been sham-bless me! here's all the ink down too. Oh, dear! Oh, dear! what an accident.
Lady F. I thought what would come of your fine management, Sir Thomas. Where's a cloth? the table will be spoiled!
Blush. Here's a cloth, my lady. (Takes his white cambric handkerchief and begins wiping up the ink.) Bless me! I'm inking my handkerchief. (Folds up the handkerchief, the inky part inside, and puts it in his pocket.) Excuse my awkwardness, my lady: II-oh, lord! that I could but run away. If Gyp was but here!
Enter EVANS, Evans. Dinner's on table, Sir Thomas.
Blush. Here's a relief, then. I'm in a furnace.
Sir T. I won't have another word on the subject; there's no harm done; only the cover taken off the books, Hercules's head broke, and Mr. Blushington's handkerchief stained. You've received no material contusion yourself, I hope, my dear young friend?
Blush. Oh, dear, no! I'm in no material confusion at all: quite cool, I assure you. I wish I could jump out of the window. Mount Vesuvius is an ice-house to this. (Aside.)
Sir T. Come along, then, and I'll introduce you at once to Dinah and dinner.
Blush. More trials! what shall I have to go through next? Heaven preserve me! Lady Friendly, allow me to offer my arm. (Offers his arm to Evans by mistake, and lugs him off unknowingly.)
Sir T. I'll take your other wing, as I'm rather lame. Stop, stop. Eh! zounds! you young fellows are so brisk. I can't run races now. Why, curse me if he hasn't carried off the butler ! [Exeunt SCENE VI.-The great Dining-room in Friendly Hall; tables laid out for dinner.
Enter DINAH and FRANK.
Frank. Now, then, Di. for the important moment. An't you all in a twitter?
Dinah. La, Frank, how you do go on! Has Evans summoned the family to dinner yet?
Frank. He is gone now. Poor Ned! I can well conceive agony he is in at this moment; blushing like a full-blown rose, every step he takes. Hey! here they come.
Enter SIR THOMAS, LADY FRIENDLY, and BLUSHINGTON; followed by EVANS, GYP, NICK, and Servants.
Ha! my dear Blushington! Welcome, welcome! I rejoice to meet a fellow cantab, a brother soph, once again. Allow me to introduce you to my sister. Brother Soph, sister Di.; sister Di. brother Soph.
Blush. Thank ye my dear fellow, thank ye-hope you're well with all my heart and soul. (Advances timidly, and, without looking towards Dinah, shakes her heartily by the hand, supposing her to be young Friendly.)
Sir T. Eh! that's Dinah. This is Frank,
Blush. Happy to see you, miss-hope you're quite well, miss. (Bowing to Frank, who has taken Dinah's place, supposing him to be Dinah.)
Frank. Nay, nay; here's Dinah. Blush. Oh! yes, certainly-by all means. take. (Aside.) Extremely proud, Mr. Friendly-great honour-happy-see-Miss Dinah
Dinah. Very gratified, Mr. Blushington, to have the honour of meeting any friend of my brother.
Sir T. But come, take your places; the dinner's getting cold. Mr. Blushington, you will sit by my daughter.
Blush. Yes, certainly; by all means that is-oh! with great pleasure. What will become of me? that d-d Xenophon. I feel my cheeks burning like a firebrand; and misfortunes never come alone. (Aside.) Dear me; if I havʼn't taken the young lady's chair: beg pardon. (After some blunders on the part of Blushington, with the chairs, they sit down to dinner; he first by seating himself in Dinah's lap by mistake; the Baronet and his lady sit at the back, fronting the audience; Frank on one side, and Dinah and Blushington on the outside, nearest the audience, so that they can see the motions of all parties.)
Sir T. Now, then, Mr. Blushington, allow me to send you some soup, and you, Dinah; 'tis turtle, and fit for young lovers.
Blush. You're very good-a little drop-I'm getting some-. what cool now, if it does but last. (Aside.) Bread, Miss Dinah; allow me to help you. Eh! bless me; if I hav'n't knocked over the salt. Oh, dear! oh, dear! Excuse my awkwardness, miss. I'm at it again. (Aside.)
Dinah. Don't mention it, I beg; 'tis not of the slightest consequence. We are not in the least superstitious here.
Sir T Throw a little over your left shoulder, Mr. Blushington. (Blushington, in throwing some of the salt over his left shoulder almost blinds Nicholas, who is standing behind him with his mouth open, and receives it in his face; endeavouring to amend the error, he then salutes Sir Thomas in a similar manner, and, in his confusion, tilts his plate of hot soup into his lap.)
Blush. Oh, dear! Oh, dear!
Sir T. Hey! zounds, what's the matter now?
Nick. 'Squire ha' tilted the hot soup over his breeches, Sir Thomas.
Sir T. Dear! dear! what an accident. Some clean cloths, rascal,
Lady F. It's always unlucky to upset the salt. I thought something fatal would happen through it.
Dinah. I hope no material injury is likely to occur from this, Mr. Blushington!
Frank. You hav'n't completely scalded yourself. Nothing fatal, is there Ned? Why don't you bring some napkins, Nicholas.
Blush. I mus'n't appear to mind it, though I am more than three parts parboiled. (Aside.) Not at all-not at all'tis a mere trifle.
Nick. I'll wipe you down, sir. Nothing shall be spoiled: your silks will be as good as ever r with a little washing. It hasn't taken the skin off, has it, sir? There, now you're as well
as if nothing had happened.
Blush. Aside. As well as if nothing had happened, af ter such a fomentation as this. Why my legs and thighs seem stewing in a boiling cauldron. Oh, dear! oh, dear! if any body would but chuck me into the New River now.
Sir T. Here, Nicholas, take away the soup. You don't wish for any more, do you, Mr. Blushington? Not a drop, 1
can assure you.
Sir T. No; I think we've had enough. Shall I trouble you to cut up that capon ?
Blush Carve a capon! Lord bless me, I couldn't carve a cabbage; but I must not let them see my ignorance. I must try and hack it somehow. (Aside.) Oh, yes; certainly by all means. Eh! there, if I haven't knocked over the butterboat. Nothing but misfortunes. Oh! that I could but hide myself for ever from the light of day!
Lady F. Allow me, Mr. Blushington, You young bachel ors are not so used to carving as us old married folks: Dinah is as awkward at carving as any one. Matrimony is the only thing to make good carvers,
Blush Certainly; by all means! Your ladyship is extremely good.-I'd give a thousand pounds if dinner was but once well over. (Aside.)
Frank. Mr. Blushington, Dinah will take a glass of wine with you.
Blush. Oh! yes, certainly; by all means! Lord bless me ! Shall I take the liberty, miss?
Dinah. I beg your pardon, Mr. Blushington, but that is the vinegar cruet you have in your hand; there is the bucellas,
Blush. Ask ten thousand pardons, I'm sure; but my sight(takes hold of a jug of beer.)
Dinah. No; that is the beer.
Blush. True: yes, certainly; by all means! that is the beer: this is the wine. Very laughable! Can't think how I
can make so many mistakes! Am extremely happy to nob and hob that is, hob and nob.
Sir T. Let me recommend a piece of this pudding, Mr. Blushington: you'll find it uncommonly good; I can assure you, I do.
Blush. Oh! yes; certainly, by all means. (Sir Thomas helps Blushington to some pudding; he cuts a piece, and is about to put it into his mouth.)
Dinah. Shall I trouble you for a part of that widgeon, Mr. Blushington?
Blush. Oh! yes; certainly, by all means. (Pops the piece of pudding into his mouth.) Eh! oh! ah! I-my mouth! my mouth!-fire! water!-I'm burnt! I'm-oh! ah! eh!
Sir T. God bless me !-Ah! there's nothing so bad as hot pudding. Some water there, Nicholas!
Lady F. No; oil is the best for drawing out fire, Sir Thomas. The poor young man is full of accidents!
Dinah If I might advise Mr. Blushington, I would recom mend wine.
All. Ay, ay; a glass of sherry.
Frank. Nicholas, bring a glass of sherry, rascal!
Nick. (Aside.) Sherry! I'll give him a little brandy. He needs something, so dashed as he is: besides, he gave me some strong ale this morning, and one good turn deserves another. Here it be, sir. Gives Blushington u glass of brandy.)
Blush. Certainly, by all means-thank ye. (Drinks). Oh! murder, murder; I'm scarified-I'm skinned-I'm-Oh, dear! oh, dear!-the brandy, the brandy!
Gyp. I must get him away; he's incurable.
Sir T. What do you mean, scoundrel, by giving the gentleman brandy! You incendiary, do you think we were playing at Snap-dragon? Silence your giggling there, or I'll discharge the whole of you! Compose yourself, Mr. Blushington. Be cool! Sit down a bit.
Blush. I'm in a perspiration-a conflagration! Where's my handkerchief? (Takes his inky handkerchief, and blacks his face.)
Sir T Oh! d-e, but I can't stand that.
Gyp. I must get him away. Leave the place, sir. (Taking away his chair to give him room.)
Blush. Eh! leave the place, Gyp! certainly, by all means.
[Blushington rushes off, drawing the table-cloth (which he has fastened to his button-hole) after him, overturning the whole of the dinner things-Exeunt.