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WOMAN'S WILL.

1

A Comedy

IN FIVE ACTS.

(2-4)

BELVILLE, of a somewhat peevish, fretful temper; and

whose inquietude is much increased, by the coquetry

and affectation of his mistress Arabella. Belmour, friend of Belville, but suspected by him of

an attachment to Arabella; in love with Belinda. LoveMore, whom Belville believes to be his true friend;

but who secretly endeavours to supplant him with Ara

bella. Wormwood, of a moody disposition: a pretender to

virtue and honor, yet employing mean and contemptible arts to gain Belinda. Acting in concert with Love

more. WITling, a pert coxcomb, who affecis a passion for

Arabella. Modely, a man of the Town; friend of Belville and

Belmour. SIR Peter Positive, perverse and obstinate ; at one

time greatly uxorious, at another, suspicious in the

extreme. OLD HARCOURT, a widower, encouraged by Sir P.

Positive in his addresses to Melissa, to whom Sir

Peter is Guardian. Young HARCOURT, his son, lately returned from India,

whither he went, in infancy, with his uncle. On his arrival in England, he becomes enamoured of Melissa, ignorant, at first, of his father's pretensions to her.But being afterwards made acquainted with the circumstance, as also of the pertinacity and selfishness of Old H. he determines on remaining unknown to him for a time, takes the name of Moreton, and aided by Lucy,

endeavours to frighten him from the intended marriage. Demur, a Lawyer. WILLIAM, servant to Arabella. ROBERT, servant to Lovemore. LADY POSITIVE, a waning beauty; but who yet imagines

that no man can behold her without losing his heart. ARABELLA, niece of Sir P. P. really in love with Bel

ville, but assuming an air of indifference towards him, in order to make trial (as she terms it,) of his con

stancy. BELINDA, sister to ARABELLA ; in love with Belmour, Melissa, Sir Peter's ward; in love with Young Har

court. Lucy, a waiting-woman; artful and intriguing.

WOMAN'S WILL.

a Comedy.

ACT I.

Enter BelMOUR, BELVILLE, and Modely. Belm. Welcome to England, my friends ! you have had, I hope, an agreeable tour?

Mode. Superlatively agreeable, I assure you, Charles. -Nothing edifies like travelling. Why, Sir, the man who has not made the tour of Europe

Belm. Must be, according to your idea of mankind, an Idiot.

Mode. No, no, not absolutely that, neither. I would not be too severe upon you poor fellows, whom love or necessity obliges to stay at home. But, in my opinion, the man who has not travelled-(admiring himself.)

Belm. Can never be so complete a gentleman as Mr. Modely.

Mode. (aside.) Egad he has it: it gives me an infinite deal of pleasure to find my merit is so conspicuous.-I would not be the trumpeter of my own importance,. Charles ; but the truth is, I am something different from the style of creature that I sported before my visit to Paris. Egad, I hardly know myself. Don't you perceive some alteration, eh, Charles !

Belm. Considerable, Sir : your coat is shorter by about an half yard, and Belv. 'Sdeath, here comes that fop, Witling.

Enter WITLING. Wit. Ha! Welcome, gentlemen, welcome, I rejoice to see you. You have made a plaguy long stay. We were all in despair, egad-quite in despair—thought you would never return. You are greatly improved though, wonderfully improved, Mr. Modely.

Mode. No! Do you think so, though? Why then I'll give you a plan of our route, Mr. Witling, which I would advise you immediately to pursue, as I know of no person who stands more in need of improvement, than yourself.

Wit. You are satirical, Mr. Modely, very satiricalegad, you learnt it abroad, I suppose Did'nt you, Mr, Modely?

Mode. Certainly, Mr. Witling, certainly. There's nothing to be learnt here, you know.

Wit. True, Sir, true. This is a damn'd bad place for improvement, that's certain. We can follow the fashions as well as any people, but we never set 'em,

Mode. O, never, never. We are dull, Sir-very dull : oppressed by the weight and heaviness of our atmosphere. Now the air of France is purity itself, and so very powerful, that egad it's not impossible but that a dozen years of its inspiration might refine even you.

Wit. You really think so?

Mode. Yes, Sir, for I was assured by a celebrated French philosopher, that he was acquainted with several Englishmen who had actually lost all tone and elasticity of fibre, but who, from residing for a certain space of time in France, were so totally altered that he could not discover any great degree of difference between his countrymen and them.

Wit. Ha ! ha! ha! an admirable picture, Mr. Belville ?

Belv. In my opinion 'tis ratlier a caricature, Sir. I pretend not to be an absolute judge of the merit of the two nations ; but I cannot think that England would lose by a comparison.

Wit. Mr. Belville's sentiments, Mr. Modely, are such as might have been applauded a century ago, but I imagined that a travelled gentleman like him had learnt to despise his own country, while he admired every other.

Mode. O, you are mistaken, Sir. The chief business of Mr. Belville's travelling has been in amassing curiosities.

Wit. Curiosities! If he had brought over a little polir tesse among his curiosities, it would not have been amiss,

my

egad. There's too much of John Bull in him, Mr. Modely.

Beiv. (aside to Belmour.) 'Sdeath, this fool.

Belm. Peace, George, peace: no railing against fools. Come, come, do 'em justice: they certainly have their merit. Beside, their company is in some sort desirable.

Belv. Desirable!

Belm. Aye, desirable--for the insipidity of their jargon gives one an additional relish for the conversation of men of sense. So, liey for fools! I am their advocate.

Wit. (comes forward.) Well, but how did you pass your time in Paris ?

Mode. Why, farth, as merrily as good wine and good company.could make us.

Wit. Merrily! That's impossible, if Belville was of the party.- I never knew him merry in life.

Mode. Come, cone, there are times when he is not absolutely insupportable. Like his climate, indeed, he is frequently sombre, but he has his brilliant moments, I assure you.

Wit. Well, but who did you find there—any diverting characters ?

Mode. O, innumerable! Few, indeed, whom I had the honor of knowing. There was, however, one damnd troublesome, chattering fellow whom we have met at -What the devil's his name !

Wit. O, I know who you mean. Jack Voluble, who is eternally talking without saying any thing.

Mode. The same, the same.

Belm. (to Witling.) Why thou art the most satirical rogue

I

ever met with. Wit. Aye, aye, I can be severe enough upon occasion. But above all, I hate a sanctified face. 'T'is no more a sign of probity in a man than of chastity in a woman. I always suspect it. Why there's Wormwood now, Lovemore's friend,-a fellow, who, while he privately gives into all the vices of the times, is ever openly railing against them. Ha! my dear Wormwood, yours.

Enter WORMWOOD. Belo. Prythee, Belmour, let us leave them awhile. Walk this way.

[Ereunt Belo. and Belm. Wit. But why the devil dost always wear that melan

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