The Project Gutenberg eBook of The spoil'd child: A farce, in two acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

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Title: The spoil'd child: A farce, in two acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Author: Isaac Bickerstaff

Sir Richard Ford

Prince Hoare

Dorothy Jordan

Release date: July 30, 2022 [eBook #68649]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Barker and Son, 1805

Credits: Charlene Taylor and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)




As performed at the
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.


W. Powell, Prompter.

N. B. Whoever vends spurious Copies will be prosecuted.

Dramatic Repository,

[Price 1s. 6d.




Enters opening a Letter.

“Dear Madam—Disappointed by a friend—
“Promis’d a Prologue—at my poor wit’s end—
“Ruin’d—unless so good—your laughing way—
“T’ insinuate something for my luckless Play.”
Poor Devil! what a fright he’s in—but why—
Am I to help him—What can I supply?
I’m doom’d to speak but just what Authors say:
Dull, when they’re dull—and sportive when they’re gay;
Mere puppets here, obedient to their will,
We love or hate—are blest or wretched—kill’d or kill—
Mirth we put on, just as we put on graces—
And wit—that’s sent home ready with our dresses.
What, tho’ at night so very smart and charming—
The dullest mortals breathing, in the morning—
Hence the nice sop, ’ere he our merit stamps.
Of rouge all doubtful—and these treach’rous lamps,
Midst the loud praise, still asks with cautious leer
How is she off the stage—what is she near——
But to my talk—to own it tho’ you’re loath
You’re all spoilt children of a larger growth,
Longing for each poor tinsel’d toy you see,
And only constant to variety——
Whilst each, the censor of his own defects,
The darling fault with gentlest hand corrects;
E’en from his very failings draws a merit,
And dooms each error but a proof of spirit.
Look round the world——
When we say world—we mean not now-a days
A huge globe, form’d of mountains—rivers—seas—
The polish’d mind sinks from a scene so wide,
We mean from Hyde Park Corner to Cheapside——
Look thro’ the world—you’ll find my moral true
In all the varied shapes that rise to view.
But from spoilt children of six feet in height,
To the spoilt child our stage presents to-night,
Brimful of mirth he comes—Miss Tomboy’s brother,
We hope you’ll think they’re something like each other.
To plead his cause she’ll try a sister’s skill,
I’d fain prevent her—but, “ecod you will.”——
Perhaps she may shock you, of precise prim air,
But Lord! what then, she never minds that there.
The Country Girl a kindred tie may claim,
She too is anxious for his future fame;
And if you’ll spare him, swears whene’er she’s able
She’ll tread on all your toes—under the table.
Oft’ have you deign’d their artless toils to cheer,
And crown’d with flutt’ring smiles their labours, here
View then here the brother’s faults, with judgment mild,
And spare the rod—altho’ you Spoil the Child.



Respectfully inform the Public, they have a Collection of Plays on Sale, which, considered either as to its Extent or Rarity, has scarcely been equalled, having been upwards of Thirty Years in forming, principally from the Libraries of

  • —— SHELDON, ESQ.
  • MR. DODD
  • &c. &c. &c.

In this Assemblage will be found the original Editions of our most valuable Writers; as,

  • KILLIGREW, &c. &c.

Subjoined to these, are the more modern Authors, to which every Article is added as soon as published.



1790. 1804.
Little Pickle, Mrs. Jordan. Miss De Camp.
Old Pickle, Mr. Suett. Mr. Suett.
Tagg, Mr. R. Palmer. Mr. Palmer.
John, Mr. Burton. Mr. Purser.
Thomas, Mr. Lyons. Mr. Evans.
Miss Pickle, Mrs. Hopkins. Mrs. Sparks.
Maria, Miss Heard. Mrs. Sharp.
Margery, Mrs. Booth. Mrs. Maddocks.
Susan, Mrs. Edwards. Miss Tidswell.

SCENE—Old Pickle’s Country House.

TIME—That of Representation.




SCENE I.—A Dining Parlour.—Pickle and his sister sitting by a table, on which plates are set for dinner—the sister working.


Well, well, sister, a little patience and these holidays will soon be over, the boy then goes back to school, and all will be quiet.

Miss P. Aye, till the next breaking up—no—no, brother, unless he is severely punished for what he has already done, depend upon it this vicious humour will be confirmed into habit, and his follies increase in proportion with his years.

Pick. Now would not any one think, to hear you talk, that my son had actually some vice in him, for[8] my part, I own there is something so whimsical in all his tricks, that I cannot in my heart but forgive him, aye, and for aught I know, love him better into the bargain.

Miss P. Yes, truly, because you have never been a sufferer by them, had you been rendered as ridiculous as I have been by his tricks, as you call them, you would have been the first to complain, and to punish.

Pick. Nay, as to that, he has not spared even his father—is there a day passes that I don’t break my shins over some stumbling block he lays in my way—Why there is not a door but is armed with a bason of water on the top, and just left a-jar, so that egad, I can’t walk over my own house without running the risk of being wet through.

Miss P. No wonder the child’s spoilt, since you will superintend his education yourself—you! indeed!

Pick. Sister, sister, do not provoke me—at any rate I have wit enough to conceal my ignorance, I don’t pretend to write verses and nonsense as some folks do.

Miss P. Now would you rail at me for the disposition I was born with—can I help it, if the gods have made me poetical, as the divine bard says.

Pick. Made you poetical, indeed!—s’blood if you had been born in a street near a college, aye, or even the next door to a day-school, I might not have been so surprised—but d——n it, madam, in the middle of the Minories, what had you to do with poetry and stuff?

Miss P. Provoking ignorance.

Pick. Have you not rendered yourself the sneer of all your acquaintance, by your refined poetical intercourse with Mr. Tagg, the author, a fellow[9] that stroles about the country, spouting and acting in every barn he comes to—was he not once found concealed in your closet, to the utter scandal of my house, and the ruin of your reputation!

Miss P. If you had the smallest spark of taste, you would admire the effusions of Mr. Tagg’s pen, and be enchanted at his admirable acting as much as I am.

Pick. Do you tell me I can’t educate my own child, and make a lord chancellor, or an archbishop of Canterbury of him, which ever I like—just as I please.

[Young Pickle by a string draws the chair, Old Pickle falls.

Miss P. How’s this—I’ll lay my life that is another trick of this little mischievous wretch.

Pick. (getting up.) An ungrateful little rascal, to serve me such a trick, just as I had made an archbishop of him—but he can’t be far off—I’ll immediately correct him; here, Thomas. (going, meets Thomas and servants bringing in covers for dinner.) But odso, here’s dinner—well, I’ll defer my severity till that’s over—but if I don’t make him remember this trick one while, say my name is not Pickle. (sits down to table, Pickle cutting up a pheasant.) Sister, this is the first pheasant we have had this season, it looks well—shall I help you—they say anger makes a man dry, but mine has made me hungry—come, here’s a wing for you, and some of the breast.

Enter Susan, (a Cook Maid) in haste.

Sus. Oh, dear sir—oh, dear madam—my young master—the parrot, ma’am—oh dear!


Pick. Parrot, and your young master; what the deuce does the girl mean?

Miss P. Mean! Why as sure as I live that vile boy has been hurting my poor bird.

Sus. Hurting, ma’am—no indeed, ma’am; I’ll tell you the whole truth—I was not to blame, indeed I wasn’t, ma’am, besides, I am morally certain ’twas the strange cat that kill’d it this morning.

Miss P. How! kill’d it say you;—but go on, let us hear the whole.

Sus. Why ma’am, the truth is, I did but step out of the kitchin for a moment, when in comes my young master, whips the pheasant that was roasting for dinner, from the spit, and claps down your ladyship’s parrot, picked and trussed in its place.

Pick. The parrot!—the devil.

Sus. I kept basting and basting on, and never thought I was basting the parrot.

Miss P. Oh, my sweet, my beautiful young bird, I had just taught it to talk, too.

Pick. You taught it to talk—it taught you to talk, you mean, I am sure it was old enough, ’twas hatched in the hard frost!

Miss P. Well, brother, what excuse now?—but run, Susan, and do you hear, take John, and——

Enter John, slowly and lame, his face bound up.

Oh John, here’s a piece of business.

John. Ay, ma’am sure enow—what you have heard, I see—business indeed—the poor thing will never recover.

Miss P. (joyfully) What, John, is it a mistake of Susan’s—is it still alive?—but—where—where is it, John?


John. Safe in stables, and it were as sound—a’ made her a hot mash, woud’nt touch it—so crippled will never have leg to put to ground again.

Pick. No, I’ll swear to that—for here’s one of them. (holding up a leg on a fork)

Miss P. What does the fool mean? what—what, what is in the stable—what are you talking of?

John. Master’s favourite mare, Daisy, madam—poor thing——

Pick. (alarmed) What—how—any thing the matter with Daisy? I would not part with her for——

John. Aye, sir quite done up—won’t fetch five pounds at the next fair.

Miss P. This dunce’s ignorance distracts me—come along, Susan.

[Exeunt Miss Pickle and Susan.

Pick. Why, what can it be what the devil ails her?

John. Why, sir, the long and the short of the whole affair, is as how—he’s cut me too all across the face—mercy I did not lose my eyes.

Pick. This cursed fellow will drive me mad—the mare, you scoundrel, the mare.

John. Yes, sir, the mare—then too, my shins—master Salve, the surgeon, says I must ’noint ’em wi’——

Pick. Plague on your shins—you dog—what is the matter with the mare?

John. Why, sir, as I was coming home this morning over Black Down, what does I see but young master tearing over the turf upon Daisy, thof your honour had forbid him to ride her—so I calls to him to stop—but what does he do, but smacks his whip in my face, and dash over the gate into Stoney Lane; but what’s worse, when I rated him[12] about it, he snatches up Tom Carter’s long whip, and lays me so over the legs, and before I could catch hold of him, he slips out of the stable, and was off like a shot.

Pick. Well, if I forgive him this—no—I’ll send him this moment back to school.—School! zounds, I’ll send him to sea.

Enter Miss Pickle.

Miss P. Well, brother, yonder comes your precious child—he’s muttering all the way up stairs to himself, some fresh mischief, I suppose.

Pick. Aye, here he comes—stand back—let us watch him, though I can never contain my passion long.

[they withdraw to the back of the stage.

Enter Little Pickle.

Little P. Well, so far all goes on rarely, dinner must be nearly ready; old Poll will taste well, I dare say—parrot and bread sauce—ha! ha! ha!—they suppose they are going to have a nice young pheasant, an old parrot is a greater rarity, I’m sure—I can’t help thinking how devilish tough the drumsticks will be—a fine piece of work, aunt will make when it’s found out—ecod, for aught I know, that may be better fun than the other: no doubt Sukey will tell, and John too, about the horse—a parcel of sneaking fellows, always tell, tell, tell.—I only wish I could catch them a school, once—that is all—I’d pay them well for it I’d be bound.—Oh! oh! here they are, and as I live, my father and aunt—it’s all out I see—to be sure I’m not got into[13] a fine scrape now, I almost wish I was safe at school again. (they come forward) Oh, sir, how do you do, sir, I was just coming to——

Pick. Come, come, no fooling now—how dare you look me in the face after the mischief you have done?

Little P. What—what have I done?

Pick. You know the value I set upon that mare, you have spoilt for ever.

Little P. But, sir, hear me—indeed I was not so much to blame, sir, not so very much.

Miss P. Do not aggravate your faults by pretending to excuse them—your father is too kind to you.

Little P. Dear, sir, I own I was unfortunate——I had heard you often complain, how wild and vicious little Daisy was, and indeed, sir, I never saw you ride her, but I trembled least some sad accident might befall you.

Pick. Well, and what is all this to the purpose?

Little P. And so, sir, I resolved, sooner than you should suffer, to venture my own neck, and so try to tame her for you; that was all—and so I was no sooner mounted than off she set—I could not help that you know, sir, and so this misfortune happened, and so, sir—but indeed, sir——

Pick. Could I be sure this was your motive——and ’tis purely love and regard for your old father makes you thus teaze and torment him—perhaps I might be inclined to——

John. Yes, sir, but ’tis no love and regard to me made him beat me so——

Little P. John, you know you were to blame.—Sir, indeed the truth is, John was scolding me for it, and when I told him as I have told you, why I did it, and that it was to hinder you from being hurt,[14] he said that it was no business of mine, and that if your neck was broke it was no such great matter.

Pick. What—no great matter to have my neck broke——

Little P. No, sir; so he said, and I was vex’d to hear him speak so of you, and I believe I might take up the whip, and give him a cut or two on the legs—it could not hurt him much.

Pick. Well, child, I believe I must forgive you, and so shall John too; aye, aye.——But I had forgot poor Poll—what did you roast the parrot for, you young dog?

Little P. Why, sir, I knew you and my aunt were both so fond of it, I thought you would like to see it well dress’d.

Pick. Ha!—ha!—ha!——

Little P. But dear aunt, I know you must be angry with me, and you think with reason.

Miss P. Don’t speak to me, I am not so weak as your father, whatever you may fancy.

Little P. But indeed, aunt, you must hear me, had I not loved you as I do, I should not have thus offended you, but it was merely my regard for your character.

John. Character!—

[Exit, Pickle kicks him off.

Little P. My dear aunt, I always heard that no lady’s keep parrots or lap-dogs, ’till they can no longer keep lovers—and when at school, I told ’em you had a parrot, the boys all said, then you must be a foolish old maid.

Miss P. Indeed!—impudent young wretches.

Little P. Yes, aunt, and so I resolved you should no longer be thought so—for I think you are a great deal too young, and too handsome for an old maid. (taking her hand)


Pick. Come, sister, i’faith you must forgive him, no female heart can withstand that.

Miss P. Brother, you know I can forgive where I see occasion; but though these faults are thus excused, how will you answer to a charge of scandal and ill-nature.

Little P. Ill-nature, madam—I’m sure nobody can accuse me of that.

Miss P. How will you justify the report you spread, of my being locked up in my closet with Mr. Tagg, the author—can you defend so vile an attempt to injure my reputation?

Pick. What, that too, I suppose, was from your care of her character—and so to hinder your aunt from being an old maid, you locked her up in her closet with this author, as he is called.

Little P. Nay, indeed, dear madam, I beseech you—’twas no such thing, all I said was, you were amusing yourself in your closet with a favourite author.

Miss P. I amuse myself in my closet with a favourite author! worse and worse.

Pick. Sister have patience—hear——

Miss P. I am ashamed to see you support your boy in such insolence—I, indeed! who am scrupulous to a fault; but no longer will I remain subject to such impertinence, I quit your house, sir, and you shall quit all claim to my fortune—this moment will I alter my will, and leave my money to a stranger, sooner than to your family.


Pick. Her money to a stranger, leave her money to a stranger! Oh! the three per-cent. consols—oh, the India stock—go, child—fly, throw yourself at your aunt’s feet—say any thing to please her—I shall run distracted.—Oh! those consols——


Little P. I am gone, sir—shall I say she may die as soon as she pleases, but she must not give her money to a stranger.

Pick. Aye, aye, there’s a good boy, say any thing to please her, that will do very well—say she may die as soon as she pleases, but she must not leave her money to a stranger. (Exit Little P.) Sure never man was so tormented—well, I thought when my poor dear wife, Mrs. Pickle died, and left me a disconsolate widower, I stood some chance of being a happy man, but I know not how it is, I could bear the vexation of my wife’s bad temper better than this woman’s. All my married friends were as miserable as myself—but now—faith here she comes, and in a fine humour, no doubt.

Enter Miss Pickle.

Miss P. Brother, I have given directions for my immediate departure, and am now come to tell you, I will persist in my design, unless you this moment adopt the scheme I yesterday proposed for my nephew’s amendment.

Pick. Why, my dear sister you know there is nothing I would not readily do to satisfy and appease you, but to abandon my only child, to pretend that he is not mine—to receive a beggar brat into my arms—impossible——

Miss P. (going) Very well, sir, then I am gone.

Pick. But sister, stop—was ever man so used—how long is this scheme of yours to last? how long am I to be deprived of him?

Miss P. How long! why until he is brought duly to reflect upon his bad behaviour, which nothing will induce him to do, so soon as thinking himself[17] no longer your son, but the child of poor parents—I yesterday spoke to Margaret, his old nurse, and she fully comprehends the whole affair.

Pick. But why, in addition to the quitting my own child, am I to have the torment of receiving hers? won’t the sending him away be sufficient?

Miss P. Unless the plot is managed my way, I will have nothing to do with it, but begone—can’t you perceive that his distress at losing his situation, will be augmented by seeing it possessed by another—come, come, brother, a week’s purgatory will reform him, depend upon it.

Pick. Why, to be sure, as you say—’twill reform him, and as we shall have our eyes upon him all the while, and Margaret his own nurse—

Miss P. You may be sure she will take care of him—well, since this is settled, the sooner ’tis done the better—Thomas!

Enter Thomas.

Send your young master.

Pick. I see you are finally resolved, and no other way will content you.—Well, heaven protect my poor child.

Miss P. Brother, you are so blinded by your foolish fondness, that you cease to perceive what is for his benefit—’tis happy for you, there is a person to direct you, of my superior discernment.

Enter Little Pickle.

Little P. Did you send for me, aunt?

Pick. Child, come hither, I have a great secret[18] to disclose to you, at which you will be much surprised.

Little P. A secret, sir!

Miss P. Yes, and one that requires your utmost courage to hear—you are no longer to consider that person as your father, he is not so—Margaret, who nursed you, has confessed, and the thing is sufficiently proved, that you are not his son, but hers—she exchanged you when an infant for my real nephew, and her conscience has at last compelled her to make the discovery.

Little P. I another person’s child!—impossible!—ah! you are only joking with me now, to see whether I love you or not, but indeed (to Pickle) I am yours—my heart tells me I am only only yours.

Pick. I am afraid you deceive yourself—there can be no doubt of the truth of Margaret’s account; but still assure yourself of our protection—but no longer can you remain in this house, I must not do an injury to my own child—you belong to others—to them you must now go.

Little P. Yet, sir, for an instant hear me—pity me—ah too sure I know (to Old Pickle) I am not your child—or would that distress which now draws tears of pity from a stranger, fail to move nature in you.

Miss P. Comfort yourself, we must ever consider you with compassion and regard—but now you must begone—Margaret is waiting without to receive you.


SONGLittle Pickle.

Tune—Je suis Linder.

Since then I’m doom’d, this sad reverse to prove,
To quit each object of my infant care;
Torn from an honour’d parent’s tender love,
And driven the keenest storms of fate to bear.
Ah! but forgive me, pitied let me part,
Your frowns, too sure, wou’d break my sinking heart.
Where e’er I go, what e’er my lowly state,
Yet grateful mem’ry still shall linger here,
And perhaps when musing o’er my cruel fate,
You still may greet me with a tender tear.
Ah! then forgive me, pitied let me part,
Your frowns too sure would break my sinking heart.




SCENE—A Parlour.

Enter Miss Pickle and Margery.

Mar. And so I was telling your ladyship, poor little master does so take it to heart, and so weep and wail, it almost makes me cry to hear him.

Miss P. Well, well, since he begins already to repent, his punishment shall be but short; have you brought your boy with you?

Mar. Aye, have I—poor Tommy, he came from a-board a ship but now, and is so grown, and altered—sure enough he believes every word I have told him, as your honour ordered me, and I warrant, is so sheepish and shamefaced—but here comes my master—he has heard it all already.

Enter Pickle.

But, my lady—shall I fetch my poor Tommy to you, he’s waiting without.

Pick. What, that ill-looking young rascal in the hall?—he with the jacket and trowsers.

Mar. Ay, your honour!—what, then, you have seen him.


Pick. Seen him!—ay, and felt him too.—The booby met me bolt at the corner, run his cursed carotty poll full in my face, and has loosened half the teeth in my head, I believe.

Mar. Poor lad! he’s a sailor, and but aukward as yet, and so shy I warrant—but will your honour be kind to him.

Pick. Kind to him? Why, I am to pass for his father—am not I?

Mar. Aye, I wish your honour had been poor Tommy’s father—but no such luck for me, as I say to my husband.

Pick. Indeed!—Your husband must be very much obliged to you, and so am I.

Mar. But do your honour see my poor Tommy, once dressed in his fine smart clothes——

Pick. Damme! I don’t half like that Tommy.

Miss P. Yes, yes, you shall—but now go and fetch him here to us; I should like much to see him.

Mar. (going) Do you now, madam, speak kindly to him—for poor boy, he’s quite dash’d.


Pick. Yes, and he has dash’d some of my teeth out—plague on him.

Miss P. Now, Mr. Pickle, I insist upon your observing a proper decorum and behaviour towards this poor lad; observe the condescension of my deportment—methinks I feel a strange inclination already in his favour, perhaps I may advance him bye and bye, to be my page—shall I brother?—Oh, here he comes—and I declare, as prepossessing a countenance as ever I beheld.


Enter Margery and Little Pickle as a sailor boy.

Come hither child, was ever there such an engaging air?

Mar. Go Tommy, do as you are bid, there’s a good boy—thank his honour for his goodness to you.

Little P. Be you the old fellow that’s just come to be my father?

Pick. (aside) Old fellow! he’s devilish dashed to be sure—yes, I am the old fellow, as you call it—will you be a good boy?

Little P. Ay, but what will you gi’ me?—must I be good for nothing?

Pick. (mimicking) Good for nothing! nay, that I’ll swear you are already. Well, and how long have you been come from sea? eh, how do you like a sailor’s life?

Little Pickle, Sings.

(NO SYMPHONY.)—Tune, Malton Oysters.

I am a brisk and sprightly lad,
But just come home from sea, Sir!
Of all the lives I ever led,
A sailor’s life for me, Sir.
Yeo, yeo, yeo—Yeo, yeo, yeo.
Whilst the boatswain pipes all hands.
With a yeo, yeo, yeo, Sir.
What girl but loves the merry tar?
We o’er the ocean roam, Sir,
In every clime we find a port,
In every port a home, Sir.
Yeo, yeo, yeo—&c. &c.
But, when our Country’s foes are nigh,
Each hastens to his gun, Sir,
We make the boasting Frenchmen fly,
And bang the haughty Don, Sir.
Yeo, yeo, yeo—&c. &c.
Our foes subdued, once more on shore,
We spend our cash with glee, Sir,
And when all’s gone, we drown our care,
And out again to sea, Sir.
Yeo, yeo, yeo—Yeo, yeo, yeo.
And when all’s gone, again to sea,
With a yeo, yeo, yeo, Sir.

Pick. So this is the way I am to be entertained in future, with forecastle jokes, and tarpauling songs.

Miss P. Brother, do not speak so harshly to the poor lad, he’s among strangers, and wants encouragement—come to me, my pretty boy, I’ll be your friend——

Little P. Friend! oh, what, you’re my grandmother—father, must not I call her granne?

Pick. What, he wants encouragement, sister—yes, poor soul, he’s among strangers—he’s found out one relation, however, sister—this boy’s assurance diverts me—I like him (aside.)

Little P. Granne’s mortish cross and frumpish—la father, what makes your mother, there, look so plaguy foul-weather’d.

Miss P. Mother, indeed.

Pick. Oh, nothing at all, my dear, she’s the best humoured person in the world—go throw yourself at[24] her feet, and ask her for her blessing—perhaps she may gi’ you something.

Little P. A blessing! I sha’n’t be much richer for that neither—perhaps she may give me half a crown; I’ll throw myself at her feet, and ask her for a guinea—(kneels)—Dear granne, give me your picture (catches hold of it.)

Miss P. Stand off, wretch, am I to be robbed, as well as insulted?

Mar. Fie, child, learn to behave yourself better.

Little P. Behave myself—learn you to behave yourself, I should not have thought of you indeed—get you gone—what do you here? (beats her out.)

[and Exit.

Pick. Well, sister, this plan of yours succeeds I hope to your satisfaction—he’ll make a mighty pretty page, sister—what an engaging air, he has sister; this is some revenge for her treatment of my poor boy (aside).

Miss P. I perceive this to be all a contrivance, and the boy is taught to insult me thus—you may repent of this unparalleled treatment of unprotected innocence.


Pick. What, she means her lover, the player-man, I suppose, but I’ll watch her, and her consols too; and if I catch him again in my house, it shall be his last appearance this season; I can tell him that, and the next part he plays, shall be Captain Macheath in the prison scene, egad.


Enter Little Pickle, alone.

Little P. There they go, ha! ha! ha! my scheme has gone on rarely, rather better than theirs, I think.—Blessing on the old nurse for consenting to[25] it—I’ll teach ’em to turn people out of doors—let me see, what trick shall I play ’em now—suppose I set the house on fire—no—no—’tis too soon for that as yet—that will do very well bye and bye—let me consider—I wish I could see my sister, I’ll discover myself to her, and then we might contrive something together nicely—that staircase leads to her room, I’ll try and call her (goes to the door and listens) there’s nobody in the way!—Hist! hist!—Maria—Maria—she hears me, she’s coming this way—(runs and hides himself.)

Enter Maria.

Maria. Sure somebody called me (looks around). No, there’s nobody here—heigho—I’ve almost cryed myself blind about my poor brother, for so I shall always call him, ay, and love him too—(going).

Little P. (running forward) Maria!—sister!—stop an instant.

Maria. My brother!—Charles—impossible.

Little P. ’Tis e’en so, and faith ’twas all a trick about the nurse and child; I coax’d the old woman to confess the whole to me—you can’t contrive to kill yourself for the loss of me, can you?—that would have a fine effect—is there nothing I can think of?—Suppose you pretend to fall in love with me, and we run away together.—

Maria. That will do admirably—depend upon my playing my part with a good will, for I owe some revenge for their treatment of you, besides, you know I can refuse you nothing.


Enter Old Pickle, behind.

Little P. Thank you a thousand times, my dearest Maria, thus then we’ll contrive it. (seeing Pickle coming behind, they pretend to whisper.)

Old P. What! how’s this!—“Dear Maria, and I’ll refuse you nothing.”—Death and the devil, my daughter has fallen in love with that young scoundrel and his yeo, yeo, yeo—she too, she embraces him—(comes forward)—mighty well, young madam—’tis mighty well, but come, you shall be locked up immediately, and you, you young rascal, be whipt out of the house.

Little P. You will not be so hard hearted, sure—we will not part—here is my anchor fixed—here am I moor’d for ever.—(Old Pickle takes hold of her, and endeavours to take her away, she resists, and Little Pickle detains her by the hand.)

Maria. (romantically) No—we’ll never part—Oh, cruel, cruel fate.

Old P. He’s infected her with his assurance already.—What, you young minx, do you own you love him?

Maria. Love him! Sir, I adore him, and in spite of your utmost opposition, ever, ever shall.

Old P. Oh, ruined! undone—what a wretched old man I am—but, Maria, child—

Maria. Think not to dissuade me, sir—vain attempt—no, sir, my affections are fixed never to be recalled.

Old P. Oh dear, what shall I do? what will become of me? Oh, a plague on my plots—I’ve lost my daughter, and for ought I know, my son too—why child, he’s a poor beggar, he’s not worth a sixpence.


Maria. My soul abhors so low a thought—I despise wealth—know, sir, I cherish nobler sentiments.

The generous youth shall own,
I love him for himself alone.

Old P. What, poetry too—nay then, it is time to prevent further mischief—go to your room—a good key shall assure your safety, and this young rascal shall go back to sea, and his yeo, yeo, yeo, if he will.

Maria. (going) I obey your harsh commands, sir, and am gone—but, alas! I leave my heart behind.

[Exit Maria.

Old P. Now, sir, for you—don’t look so audacious, sirrah—don’t fancy you belong to me—I utterly disclaim you——

Little P. (laughing) But that is too late now, old gentleman, you have publickly said I was your son, and d——n me, I’ll make you stand to it, sir, (threatning.)

Old P. The devil—here is an affair!—John, Thomas, William;

Enter Servants.

Take that fellow, and turn him out of doors immediately—take him, I say—

Servants. Fellow! who, sir?

Old P. Who! why zounds, him there; don’t you see him?

John. What, my new young master—No, sir, I’ve turned out one already, I’ll turn out no more.

Old P. He’s not your young master—he’s no son of mine—away with him, I say.


Sus. No, sir, we know our young master too well for all that; why he’s as like your honour as one pea is like another.

John. Ay, heaven bless him, and may he shortly succeed your honour in your estate and fortune.

Old P. (in a passion, walking up and down) Rogues! villains! I am abused, robbed—(turns them out) there’s a conspiracy against me, and this little pirate is at the head of the gang.

Enter Servant, with a Letter.

Odso, but here’s a letter from my poor boy, I see—this is a comfort, indeed. Well, I’ll send for him home now without delay. (reads) “Honoured sir, I heartily repent of having so far abused your goodness, whilst I was blest with your protection, but as I fear no penitence will ever restore me to your favour, I have resolved to put it out of my power again to offend you, by instantly bidding adieu to my country for ever.” Here, John, run, go directly to Margery’s and fetch home my son, and——

Little P. (interrupting him) You may save yourself the trouble, ’tis too late, you’ll never bring him too now, make as many signals, or fire as many guns as you please.

Old P. What do you mean?

Little P. Mean, why he and I have changed births you know.

Old P. Changed births!

Little P. Ay, I’m got into his hammock, and he’s got into mine, that’s all; he’s some leagues off at sea, by this time, for the tide serves, and the wind is fair; Botany Bay’s the word, my boys.


Old P. Botany Bay! well, I’ll instantly see if ’tis true, why, I’ll come back, just to blow your brains out, and lo be either hang’d or sent to Botany Bay after him.

[Exeunt, different ways

SCENE—A Garden——A Seat in a Bower, much shaded with Trees.

Enter Miss Pickle.

This is the hour of my appointment with Mr. Tagg, and my brother’s absence is favourable indeed—well, after such treatment, can he be surprised if I throw myself into the arms of so passionate an admirer; my fluttering heart tells me this is an important crisis in my happiness—how much these vile men have to answer for in thus bewitching us silly girls.

Tagg repeats behind the Scenes.

The heavy hours are almost past
That part my love and me,


My longing eyes may hope at last,
Their only joy to see.

Thus most charming of her sex, do I prostrate myself before the shrine of your beauty. (kneels)

Miss P. Mr. Tagg, I fear I never can be yours.

Tagg. Adorable, lovely, the most beautified Ophelia.

Miss P. Indeed Mr Tagg, you make me blush with your compliments.


Tagg. Compliments! oh! call not by that hacknied term the voice of truth—lovely nymph, ah! deign to hear me, I’ll teach you what it is to love.

Miss P. Love—dear Mr. Tagg.—oh! moderate your transports—be advised, think no more of this fatal passion.

Tagg. Think no more of it.

Can love be controll’d by advice,
Will Cupid our mother’s obey.

Oh then consent my angel to join our hearts in one, or give me my death in a bumper.

Miss P. (aside) Can I refuse any thing to such a lover?—but were I, my dear friend to consent to our tender union, how could we contrive to escape, my brother’s vigilance would overtake us and you might have reason to repent of his anger.

Tagg. Oh, he’s a Goth, a mere Vandyke, my love.

But fear makes the danger seem double,
Say Hymen what mischiefs can trouble.

I have contrived the plot and every scene of the elopement, but in this shady blest retreat will I unfold it all—lets sit down like Jessica and the fair Lorenzo here.

Would you taste the noon tide air,
To yon fragrant bower repair.

[They sit in the bower.

Since musick is the food of love, we’ll to the Nightingale’s complaining notes, tune our distresses and accord our woes.

While Tagg is singing in Burlesque, Little Pickle steals round the Stage and gets behind the Bower, and sews[31] their cloaths together, and then goes out behind unperceived by them.

Miss P. Oh! I could listen thus for ever to the united charms of love and harmony—but how are we to plan our escape.

Tagg. In a mean and low attire, muffled up in a great cloak and disguised with a large hat, will I await you in this happy spot—but why my soul—why not this instant fly—this moment will I seize my tender bit of lamb—d——m me, there I had her as dead as mutton. (aside)

Miss P. No, I am not yet equipped for an elopement, and what is of more consequence still, I have got with me a casket of jewels I have prepared, rather too valuable to leave behind.

Tagg. That is of some consequence, indeed, to me.

My diamond my pearl,
Then be a good girl
Until I come to you again.

Miss P. Come back again in the disguise immediately, and if fortune favours faithful lovers’ vows, I will contrive to slip out to you.

Tagg. Dispose of me, lovely creature, as you please, but don’t forget the casket.

Little Pickle runs in.

Granne! granne!

Miss P. What rude interruption is this?

Little P. Nothing at all—only father is coming, that’s all.

Tagg. The devil he is—what a catastrophe!

[both rise.


Miss P. One last adieu. (embracing) Think you we shall ever meet again! (they find themselves fastened together, and struggle)

Tagg. D——m me! if I think we shall ever part.

Miss P. (tenderly) Don’t detain me, won’t you let me go?

Tagg. Zounds I wish you were gone (they struggle, and at last get free, and run off different ways.)

Enter Old Pickle.

Pick. Well, all’s not so bad as I feared—he is not yet gone to sea, and Margery assures me I shall see him e’er long, quite another thing from what he was—but now let me look after my sister—though she made me play the fool, I’ll take care to prevent her—I must not give up the consols to——but odso, I have not yet seen my daughter, I’ll to her first, least young yeo, yeo, yeo, should get her ship’t off—and when I have secured fifteen, I’ll look after fifty—but who’s coming here? I’ll conceal myself and watch.

Enter Miss Pickle, with casket.

Miss P. (passing over to the bower) Mr. Tagg, Mr. Tagg—I hope he is returned—how I tremble—kind Cupid, guide your votary’s feeble steps—Oh, my dear Mr. Tagg, take the casket, and let us make haste, that we may escape before my brother comes. [catches hold of Little Pickle, who is behind the bower, disguised as Tagg. Little Pickle kissing her hand. They run towards Old Pickle, who comes forward and stops them.]


Pick. Your most obedient humble servant, madam—well said fifty, egad—sir, your most obsequious, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Romeo—John—William—Thomas, (calling the servants) you shan’t want attendants mighty prince, but mayhap you had rather sleep in a castle, great hero, we have a convenient goal close by—where you’ll be very safe, most illustrious chief.

Miss P. Heavens! a Jail! poor dear Mr. Tagg, a victim to his love for me—oh, let us implore his forgiveness—intreat him to release you. (to Tagg.)

Little P. (kneels and throws off his disguise as Tagg, and appears in his own hair, though still in the sailor’s dress) Thus let me implore for pardon, and believe, that a repentance so sincere as mine, will never suffer my heart again to wander from it’s duty towards him.

Pick. What’s this? my son (embracing Little Pickle) Odds my heart, I’m glad to see him once more—Oh you dear little fellow!—but you wicked scoundrel, how did you dare play me such tricks?

Little P. Tricks! Oh, sir, recollect you have kindly pardon’d them already; and now you must intercede for me with my aunt, that I may have her forgiveness too, for preventing her from eloping as she designed with her tender swain Mr. Tagg.

Pick. Mr. Tagg, odso, then the consols were sinking apace, but you have raised them once more.

Little P. And do you then, indeed, sir; sincerely forgive me, and forget all my follies?

Pick. Forget ’em, ah! had you vex’d me as much again, I should be more than repaid by the happiness of this moment.

Little P. Kind, sir, my joy is then complete, and I will never more offend.

[comes forward.


FINALE and Chorus.Little Pickle.

Dear sir, once more receive me,
And take me to your arms,
Nor drive me forth to wander
Expos’d to rude alarms.
His} duty, love, obedience,
My }
This penitence refuse,
Then ne’er adopt another child,
For {he} alone {is} yours.
{I } {am}
Chorus—My duty, love, &c.
Our} joy is then completed,
My }
Wou’d but each gen’rous heart,
With partial favour smiling,
Applaud the artless jest.
The object of these childish pranks,
Was barely to amuse ’em.
Then censure not a school-boy’s faults,
But laugh at, and excuse ’em.
Chorus—The object of my duty, love, &c.