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_Harry._ You refuse the lady? To punish you, I've a mind to take her myself.--My dear cousin--
_Rover._ Stop, d.i.c.k.--If I, who adore her, won't, you shall not.
No, no; madam, never mind what this fellow says, he's as poor as myself--Isn't he, Abraw.a.n.g.
_Harry._ Then, my dear Rover, since you are so obstinately disinterested, I'll no longer teize my father, whom you here see, and in your strolling friend, his very truant Harry, that ran from Portsmouth school, and joined you and fellow comedians.
_Harry._ Dear cousin, forgive me, if, through my zeal for the happiness of my friend, I endeavoured to promote yours, by giving you a husband more worthy than myself. [_To_ LADY AMARANTH.
_Rover._ Am I to believe! Madam, is your uncle, Sir George Thunder, in this room?
_Lady Am._ He is.--[_Looking at_ SIR GEORGE.
_Rover._ 'Tis so! You, in reality, what I've had the impudence to a.s.sume! and have perplexed your father with my ridiculous effrontery.
--[_Turns to_ JOHN DORY, _angry_.] I told you, I insisted I wasn't the person you took me for, but you must bring your d.a.m.ned chariot! I am ashamed and mortified. Madam, I beg to take my leave.
_Eph._ Thou art welcome to go.
_Rover._ [_Bows._] Sir George, as the father of my friend, I cannot lift my hand against you; but I hope, sir, you'll apologize to me.
_Sir Geo._ Ay, with pleasure, my n.o.ble splinter--now tell me from what dock you were launched, my heart of oak?
_Rover._ I've heard, in England, sir; but from my earliest knowledge, till within a very few years, I've been in the East Indies.
_Sir Geo._ Beyond seas? Well, and how?
_Rover._ It seems I was committed an infant to the care of a lady, who was herself obliged by the _gentle_ Hyder Ally, to strike her toilet, and decamp without beat of drum, leaving me a chubby little fellow squatted on a carpet. A serjeant's wife alone returned, and s.n.a.t.c.hed me off triumphant, through fire, smoke, cannon, cries, and carnage.
_Lady Am._ Dost thou mark? [_To_ AMELIA.
_Amelia._ Sir, can you recollect the name of the town, where--
_Rover._ Yes, ma'am, the town was Negapatnam.
_Amelia._ I thank you, sir.
[_Gazes with delight and earnestness on_ ROVER.
_Rover._ An officer, who'd much rather act Hotspur on the stage, than in the field, brought me up behind the scenes at the Calcutta theatre--I was rolled on the boards, acted myself into the favour of a colonel,--promised a pair of colours; but, impatient to find my parents, hid myself in the steerage of an homeward bound ship; a.s.sumed the name of Rover, from the uncertainty of my fate, and, having murdered more poets than Rajahs, stept on English ground, uninc.u.mbered with rupees or paG.o.das. Ha, ha! Wou'dst thou come home so, little Ephraim?
_Eph._ I would bring myself home with some money.
_Amelia._ Excuse my curiosity, sir; what was the lady's name in whose care you were left?
_Rover._ Oh, ma'am, she was the lady of a Major Linstock: but I heard my mother's name was Seymour.
_Sir Geo._ Why, Amelia!
_Amelia._ My son!
_Amelia._ It is my Charles! [_Embraces him._
_Sir Geo._ Eh!
_John._ [_Sings and capers, claps_ EPHRAIM _on the shoulders_.] Tol, lol, lol, though I never heard it before, my heart told me he was a chip of the old block.
_Amelia._ Your father!--[_To_ ROVER, _pointing to_ SIR GEORGE.
_Rover._ Can it?--Heaven! then have I attempted to raise my impious hand against a parent's life!
_Sir Geo._ My dear brave boy! Then have I a son with spirit to fight me as a stranger, yet defend me as a father.
_Lady Am._ [_Takes him by the hand._] Uncle, you'll recollect 'twas I, who first introduced a son to thee.
_Sir Geo._ And I hope you will next introduce a grandson to me, young slyboots. Harry, you've lost your fortune.
_Harry._ Yes, sir, but I've gained a brother, whose friendship (before I knew him to be such,) I prized above the first fortune in England.
_Rover._ My generous friend--My dearest Rosalind!
_Amelia._ Then, will you take our Charles? [_To_ L. AMARANTH.
_Lady Am._ Yea; but only on condition thou bestowest thy fortune on his friend and brother, mine is sufficient for us, is it not?
_Rover._ Angelic creature!--to think of my generous friend--But now for "As you like it." Where's Lamp and Trap--I shall ever love a play--a spark from Shakspeare's Muse of Fire, was the star that guided me through my desolate and bewildered maze of life, and brought me to these unexpected blessings.
To merit friends so good, so sweet a wife, The Tender Husband be my part for life; My Wild Oats sown, let candid Thespian laws Decree that glorious harvest,--your applause.