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[Thomas Morton was a very prolific as well as a successful dramatist. His plots are generally consistent, his scenes thoroughly English, his characters are drawn from living men and women, and are not, as in most of our modern sensational dramas, imaginary idiots or monsters. He was born at Durham in 1764, and entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn with a view to follow ing the law as a profession. His first piece proving successful, he turned professional author, and never had occasion to regret the change. The pieces of no dramatist of his day have kept the stage so long, and many of them still remain stock pieces. Of these, “ The School of Reform," “A Cure for the Heart-ache," "A Rowland for an Oliver,' “ The Invincibles," " Speed the Plough," and "Town and Country," may be named as the greatest favourites. He died in 1838.] LORD AVONDALE, FERMENT, ROBERT TYKE, an OLD MAN.
An Apartment in Avondale Castle ; two chairs. Enter LORD AVONDALE, R.; he pauses, then proceeds to
opposite door off stage, and opens it.-Tyke enters from it.
Ld. A. (R.) Come hither-How is this, Robert ? When I left England you were a youth, whose example was pointed out as an object of imitation-your morals were pure, your industry exemplary-how is it, then, that I now see you an abandoned outcast ?
Tyke. (L.) Ah, sur, it was all along wi' you.
Ld. A. Me! was not my bounty ample ? did not I give you independence ?
Tyke. Ah, that was it—when you sent me that little child to take care on
Ld. A. Hush !
Tyke Well, well ;—and that big lump of money ! you see, as I had not worked for it, it made me quite fidgetty; I always had my hand in my pocket, scrummeling it about like—so, as all Yorkshire lads like
galloping horses, I bought one, and took't to races, up at our country side-and, ecod! I pulled stuff into my hat as clean as ninepence. Oh, oh! says I, I'll make short work of this; I'll go to Newmarket, where the lords do bring their cattle, and settle matters in a liurry. So I went, and mighty pleased I was; for the jockey lords called me 'squire, you see—and clapping me on the back, in this manner, says, 'Squire, your horse will beat everything!
Ld. A. Indeed !
Tyke. Yes, yes—that was pleasant enough; but, unluckily, the jockey lads told me a cursed heap o' lies; for ma horse always came in lag last. Then they told ma to hedge; but it was not the hedging I had been used to, and somehow I got intid ditch like-So what with that and playing cards at Lamb skinnings (for, bless you, I could not catch them at Snitchums), I was
Ld. A. Ruined.
Tyke, Yes; as jockey lords said-completely cleaned out.
Ld. A. Did you not return to honest labour ?
no, I could not my hands had got sost and smooth, and I had a ring girt about my finger ;no,
I could not tak to work. Ld. A. Go on.
Tyke. Why, as I could stay there no longer, I thought it would not be a bad plan to go away- -So I went intid stable, and, would you believe it ? the horse that beat mine somehow coaxed and contrived to get me on his back like-and, ecod, galloped off wi' me a matter of a hundred miles.- I thought no more about it myself
Ld. A. But they did ?
Tyke. Yes, dom them, and were very cross indeed; for they put me intid castle, and tried me at 'sizes.
Ld. A. What could you say to avert your fate ?
Tyke. Why, I told the judgesays I, my lord, I hope you'll excuse my not being used to this kind of tackle-exchange is no robbery, mistakes of this kind will happen; but, I assure you, I've kept the best of company with the jockey lords, and such like as yourself. So they all smiled, as much as to say, he's one of us, like—and I thought all was right enough; but the judge puts him on a black cap, and, without saying with your leave, or onything, orders me to be hanged.
Ld. A. Poor wretch!
Tyke. Don't you be frightened ! they did not hang me, man-don't believe that; no, bless you, they sent ma to Botany Bay for fourteen years.
Ld. A. Where, I hope, you remained resigned to
Tyke. Oh ! quite resigned, for I could not get awayI dare say I tried a hundred times.
Ld. A. Why did not I know it—had you sent to my houseTyke. I did send to your
house. Ld. A. Well ! Tyke. Why, they wrote word, I think, that you
had been called up to t’other house—but then I did not know where that was—and that you was sent abroad by Government: I was sorry to hear that, because I knew what that was by myself like; not that it surprised me, because I heard of your always being at Cockpit, and I guessed what that would end in.
Ld. A. Pshaw! Come hither; tell me—I dread to ask it—that child-where-hush! we are interrupted.
[Exeunt, l. Mr. Ferment peeps through R., looks about, then enters.
Mr. F. While his lordship is engaged, no harm in taking a peep. Charming rooms ! fit for expanded genius like mine: here I shall meander through these enchanting labyrinths till I reach the closettum sanctorum—the-eh! somebody in that room : it would be mal-apropos to stumble on the peer before I'm introduced—but he's safe with the general, so never mind. (Re-enter TYKE, L.) Sir, your most devoted servant.
Tyke. Same to you, sir; same to you. (crosses to r.)
Mr. F. Odd figure! Oh, I see at once who he is great county man, in the commission-get well with him-may be useful. Sorry, sir, the robbery was not brought home to that rascal. Tyke. Are you? Now there we differ.
(Takes chair and sits r.) Mr. F. Indeed ! (Sits L.) You, who are used to the sessions, must know these things better than I. Your friend, Lord Avondale, is a great character, extremely popular :-Did you hear his last speech ?
Tyke (R.) No; I don't myself much fancy last speeches.
Mr. F. (L.) In the country, perhaps ?
Mr. F. What, run out a little, eh-rather out at the elbows ?
Tyke. A good deal.
Mr. T. You'll excuse me; but I see things in a moment—What-cards, hazard—ah, my dear sir, you should have got some friend to have tied you up.
Tyke. You think so? Why, I could have got that done fast enough.
Mr. F. But I suppose you were determined to take your swing ?
Tyke. Not exactly; but I did not go abroad on that account.
Mr. F. Oh, I know it in a moment–ill health ?
Tyke. Why, I certainly should have died if I had stayed.
Mr. F. Indeed !-Oh, my dear sir, in this world we must all have our trials, and
Dir. F. You of course were properly attended : you had good judges of your case ?
Tyke. They were reckoned so; I did not much fancy them myself.
Mr. F. And they said a voyage would save you ?
Tyke. I was.
old symptoms-(Takes the box)— This is a very pretty box -I've lost mine.
Mr. F. Do me the honour to use that till. -(Apart) -If he would but keep it! (Tyke puts it in his pocket.) He has—My dear sir, you have doubtless considerable interest with Lord Avondale ?
Tyke. Why, I believe he would not much like to offend me.
Mr. F. Lucky fellow! (Apart.) My name, sir, is Ferment; by and by I shall be introduced to the peer. You know business—a word thrown in by you would prevent my being thrown into the wrong box-eh ? (TYKE winks and nods.) I apprehend you.
Tyke. You apprehend me, do you? (Alarmed.)
Mr. F. That is, I conceive-I understand-ah, sir, you don't know me.
Tyke. No, I don't, and you don't know me.
Mr. F. Yes, I do ; you are a generous, disinterested gentleman- 1-I can see what others can't.
Tyke. Yes, you can.
Enter LORD AVONDALE Unobserved by FERMENT, L.
Ld. A. Ah! whom have we here? (Apart.)
Mr. F. As for the peer, you'll see how I'll manage him. I'll worm into his secrets. I say, which is the weak side-where is he ticklish ?
Tyke. Ticklish !- I'm sure I never tried.