Gripus

Gripus And gold and silver are but filthy dross.
Then seek not gold and silver which are dross,
But rather lay thy treasure up in heaven! —
Slim Hem!
Gripus And thou has meat and drink and lodging too
And clothing too, what more can man require?
And thou art single —
But I must lay up money for my children,
My children's children and my great-grandchildren;
For, Slim! thy master will be shortly married —
Slim Married!
Gripus Yea! married. Wherefore dost thou stare,
As though my words had spoke of aught impossible?
Slim My lord, I stare not but my ears played false.
Methought you had said married.
Gripus Married, fool!
Is't aught unlikely? I'm not very old,
And my intended has a noble fortune.
Slim My lord 'tis likely.
Gripus Haste, then, to the butchers,
And ere thou go, tell Bridget she is wanted —
Slim I go — Gods! what a subject for an ode.
With Hymen, Cupids, Venus, Loves and Graces!

[Exit]

Gripus [solus] This matrimony is no light affair;
'Tis downright venture and mere speculation.
Less risk there is in what the merchant trusts
To winds and waves and the uncertain elements —
For he can have assurance for his goods
And put himself beyond the reach of losses —
But who can e'er ensure to me a wife
Industrious and managing and frugal,
Who will not spend far more than she has brought,
But be almost a saving to her husband? —
But none can tell — the broker cannot tell
He is not cheated in the wares he buys,
And to judge well of women or the seas
Would oft surpass the wisest merchant's prudence;
For both are deep alike — capricious too —
And the worst things that money can be sunk in.
But Bridget comes —
Bridget Your pleasure, Sir, with me?
Gripus Bridget, I wish to have a little converse
Upon a matter that concerns us both
Of like importance both to thee and me.
Bridget Of like importance and concerning both!
What can your Honour have to say to me?
[aside] O lord! I would give all that I am worth
To know what 'tis —
Gripus Then prithee rein thy tongue
That ever battles with thine own impatience.
But to the point. Thou knowst, for twenty years
Together we have lived as man and wife,
But never hath the sanction of the Church
Stamped its legality upon our union.
Bridget Well, what of that?
Gripus Why, when in wiser years
Men look upon the follies of their youth,
They oft repent, and wish to make amends,
And seek for happier in more virtuous days.
In such a case, and such is mine I own,
'Tis marriage offers us the readiest way
To make atonement for our former deeds.
And thus have I determined in my heart
To make amends — in other words to marry.

Bridget O Lord! how overjoyed I am to hear it!
I vow that I have often thought myself,
What wickedness it was to live as we did!
But do you joke?
Gripus Not so upon my oath.
I am resolved to marry and beget
A little heir to leave my little wealth to.
I am not old, my hair is hardly grey,
My health is good — what hast thou to object?
Bridget O dear! how close your honour puts the question!
I've said as much already as was fit
And incompatible with female modesty —
But would your honour please to name a day?
Gripus To name a day! But hark! I hear a knock —
'Tis perhaps young Prodigal, I did expect him.
Bridget But Sir — a day?
Gripus Zounds! dost thou hear the bell?
Wilt thou not run? He was to bring me money!

[Exit Bridget and returns]

Bridget 'Tis he, I've shown him to the little study.
Gripus Then stay thee here, and when I've settled him
I will return and hold more converse with thee.

[Exit]

Bridget [sola] My head runs round! O, what a happy change!
Now I shall be another woman quite.
Dame Bridget, then, adieu! and don't forget
Your Lady Gripus now that is to be;
Great Lady Gripus — O Lord! —
The Lady of the old and rich Sir Gripus!
O how will people whisper, as I pass,
" There goes my Lady" — " What a handsome gownd,
All scarlet silk embroidered with gold!"
Or green and gold will perhaps become me better —
How vastly fine, how handsome I shall be
In green and gold! Besides, a lady too!
I'll have a footman too, to walk behind me.
Slim is too slender to set off a livery,
I must have one more lustier than him,
A proper man to walk behind his lady.
O how genteel! methinks I see myself
In green and gold and carrying my fan —
Or perhaps I'd have a redicule about me!
The lusty footman all so spruce behind me
Walking on tip-toes in a bran new livery;
And he shall have a favour in his hat
As sure as ever I am Lady Gripus!

[Enter Slim]

Slim Why how now, Bridget, you're turned actress sure!
Bridget An actor, fellow, no! To something better,
To something grander and more ladylike,
Know I am turned!
Slim A lunatic, 'tis plain.
But, lovee, leave this jesting for a while,
And hear thy servant, who thus pleads for favour.
Bridget For favour Sirrah! But I must be kind,
I will forget your insolence this once,
And condescend to keep you in my service.
But no! I want a much more lustier man,
You are too slender to become my livery
I must excard you, you must suit yourself!
Slim Why, how now, Bridget —
Bridget You forget me, sure!
Slim Forget thee, Bridget? Never from my heart
Shall thy dear image part.
Ah! no,
I love you so
No language can impart!
Alas! 'tis love that makes me thin,
I have a fiery flame within,
That burns and shrivels up my skin —
'Tis Cupid's little dart,
And by this kiss I swear —

[Attempts to kiss her]

Bridget Ruffin, begone, or I will tell my lord.
Do you not care for difference of rank,
Nor make distinction between dirt and dignity?
Slim Why, Bridget, once you did not treat me thus.
Bridget No, times are altered, Fortune's wheel is turned,
You still are Slim, but, though I once was Bridget,
I'm Lady Gripus now that is to be.
Did not his Honour tell you he should marry?
Slim Yea, to a lady of an ample fortune.
Bridget Why, that, you fool, he said in allegolly.
A virtuous woman, is she not a crown,
A crown of gold and glory to her husband?
Slim Heavens is it possible? I pray forgive me
That I could doubt a moment of that fortune
Which is but due to your assembled merits.
Bridget Well, Slim, I do not wish to harbour malice,
But while you show a proper due respect
You may be certain of my condescension.
But hark! I hear his lordship on the stairs,
And we must have some privacy together. [Exit Slim]
O lord, how overjoyed I am your honour —
Gripus Bridget, I thank thee for thy friendly zeal,
That seems to glory in thy master's bliss;
And much it grieves me that I can't requite it
Except by mere reciprocal good-wishes.
For as a change in my domestic government
Will make thy place in future but a sinecure,
It grieves me much that I must warn you thus
To seek and get a situation elsewhere.
Bridget O dear! O lord! O what a shock! O lord!

[Faints]

Gripus Ho! Slim — the devil's in the fool, to faint.
Halloo! — What shall I do? Halloo! Halloo!
Ho! Slim, I say — run, Sirrah, for the brandy!
Slim The brandy, Sir? there is none in the house!
Gripus No brandy! None! What, none at all, thou knave?
What, none at all? Thou rascal thou hast drunk it.
Why Bridget, Bridget — what, no brandy, knave?
Zounds! what a fit! Where is my brandy, wretch!
Thou toping villain, say, or I will slay thee!

[Lets Bridget fall and collars Slim]

Slim O lord! Forgive me, Bridget had the wind,
And drank the brandy up to warm her stomach.
Gripus A tipsy Bacchanal! Then let her lie!
I'll not be drunken out of house and home.
Zounds! brandy for the wind — a cure indeed!
A little water had done just as well.
This is the way, then, when I want a drop;
I always find my cellar is stark naked.
But both shall go, yes, I discard ye. Thieves!
Begone, ye thieves!

[Bridget jumps up]

Bridget No, not without my wages!
I'll have a month's full wages or my warning!
I'll not be left at nonplush for a place.
Gripus A month's full warning! What, another month,
To sack, to ransack, and to strip the house,
And then depart in triumph with your booty!
Begone, I say!
Bridget No, not without my wages!
And I'll have damages, you cruel man!
I will convict you of a breach of marriage!
Gripus Begone, I say! Deceitful thing! begone —
Who ever dared to promise such a match
But thy own fancy, and thy lying tongue?
What, marry one as poor as a church mouse,
And equally devoid of rank and beauty!
Reason would sleep and prudence would be blind,
And Gripus then would be no longer Gripus,
But only fitting for more sober men
To lodge in Bedlam and to call a lunatic.
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