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PROLOGUE,

Spoken by Mrs. Bracegirdle.

MOOR

OORS have this Way (as Story tells) to know
Whether their Brats are truly got, or no ;

Into the Sea the New-born Babe is thrown,
There, as Inftinct directs, to fwim, or drown.
A barbarous Device, to try if Spouse
Has kept religiously her Nuptial Vows.
Such are the Trials Poets make of Plays:
Only they trust to more inconftant Seas;
So does our Author, this his Child commit
To the tempeftuous Mercy of the Pit,
To know if it be truly born of Wit.
Criticks avaunt; for you are Fish of Prey,
And feed, like Sharks, upon an Infant Play.
Be ev'ry Monster of the Deep away;
Let's have a fair Trial, and a clear Sea.

Let Nature work, and do not Damn too foon,
For Life will fruggle long ere it fink down:
And will at least rife thrice, before it drown.
Let us confider, had it been our Fate,
Thus hardly to be prov'd Legitimate!
I will not fay, we'd all in Danger been,
Were each to fuffer for his Mother's Sin:
But, by my Troth, I cannot avoid thinking,

How nearly fome good Men might have fcap'd finking.
But Heav'n be prais'd, this Cuftom is confin'd
Alone to th' Offspring of the Mufes kind:

Our Chriftian Cuckolds are more bent to Pity;
I know not one Moor-Husband in the City.
Ith good Man's Arms the Chopping Baftard thrives,
For he thinks all his own that is his Wives.
Whatever Fate is for this Play defign'd,
The Poet's fure he shall fome Comfort find:
For if his Mufe has play'd him falfe, the worst
That can befall him, is to be divorc'd;
You Husbands judge, if that, be to be Curs'd.

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Drama

MEN.

Maskell, A Villain; pretended'
Friend to Mellefont, Gallant to
Lady Touchwood, and in Love
with Cynthia.

Mr. Betterton.

Lord Touchwood, Uncle to Mellefont. Mr. Kynafton.
Mellefont, promised to, and in Love?

with Cynthia.

Careless, his Friend.

Lord Froth, A Solemn Coxcomb.
Brisk, A pert Coxcomb.

Sir Paul Plyant, An Uxorious, Fool

}Mr. Williams

Mr. Verbruggen.
Mr. Bowman.

Mr. Powell.

ifh, old Knight; Brother to Lady Mr. Dogget. Touchwood, and Father to Cynthia.

WOME N.

Lady Touchwood, In Love with Mellefont. Mrs. Barrey. Cynthia, Daughter to Sir Paul by a former Wife, promised to Mellefont.

Lady Froth, A great Coquet; Pre

Mrs. Bracegirdle.

tender to Poetry, Wit, and Learn- Mrs. Mountfort. ing.

Lady Plyant, Infolent to her Hus

band, and eafy to any Pretender. Mrs. Leigh.

Chaplain, Boy, Footmen, and Attendants.

The SCENE, A Gallery in the Lord Touchwood's Houfe with Chambers adjoining.

THE

THE

DOUBLE-DEALER.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

A Gallery in the Lord Touchwood's Houfe, with Chambers adjoining.

Enter Careless, Croffing the Stage, with his Hat, Gloves, and Sword in his Hands; as just risen from Table: Mellefont following him.

N

MELLEFONT.

ED, Ned, whither fo faft? What, turn'd
Flincher! Why, you wo'not leave us?

Care. Where are the Women? I'm weary of guzling, and begin to think them the better Company.

Mel. Then thy Realon ftaggers, and

thou'rt almoft Drunk.

Care. No, Faith, but your Fools grow noify

and

7

if a Man muft endure the Noife of Words without Sense, I think the Women have more Mufical Voices, and become Nonfense better.

7

Mel.

Mel. Why, they are at the end of the Gallery; retir'd to their Tea, and Scandal; according to their Ancient Custom, after Dinner.- -But I made a Pretence to follow you, because I had fomething to fay to you in private, and I am not like to have many Opportunities this Evening.

Care. And here's this Coxcomb moft critically come to interrupt you.

SOK

SCENE II.

[To them] Brisk.

Brisk. Boys, boys, Lads, where are you? What, do you give ground? Mortgage for a Bottle, ha ? Careless, this is your Trick; you're always fpoiling Company by leaving it.

Care. And thou art always fpoiling Company by coming into't.

Brisk. Pooh, ha, ha, ha, I know you envy me. Spite, proud Spite, by the Gods! and burning Envy-I'll be judg'd by Mellefont here, who gives and takes Raillery better, you or I. Pfhaw, Man, when I fay you spoil Company by leaving it, I mean you leave no Body for the Company to laugh at. I think there I was with you, ha? Mellefont.

Mel. O' my Word, Brisk, that was a home thrust, you have filenc'd him.

Brisk. Oh, my Dear Mellefont, let me perish, if thou art not the Soul of Conversation, the very Effence of Wit, and Spirit of Wine, -The Duce take me, if there were three good Things faid, or one understood, fince thy Amputation from the Body of our Society,He, I think that's pretty and metaphorical enough: I'gad I could not have faid it out of thy Company,-Careless, ha?

Care.

Care. Hum, ay, what is't?

Brisk. O, Mon Cour! What is't! Nay gad I'll punish you for want of Apprehension: The Duce take me if I tell you.

Mel. No, no, hang him, he has no Tafte,But, dear Brisk, excufe me, I have a little Business.

Care.Pr'ythee get thee gone; thou fee'ft we are ferious. Mel. We'll come immediately, if you'll but go in, and keep up good Humour and Senfe in the Company: Pr'ythee do, they'll fall afleep elfe.

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Lord

Brisk. I'gad fo they will-Well I will, I will, gad you fhall command me from the Zenith to the Nadir.-But the duce take me if I fay a good thing 'till you come,But pr'ythee dear Rogue, make hafte, pr'ythee make hafte, I fhall burft elfe. And yonder your Uncle, my Lord Touchwood, fwears he'll difinherit you, and Sir Paul Plyant threatens to disclaim you for a Son-in-Law, and my Froth won't dance at your Wedding to Morrow; nor, the Duce take me, I won't write your Epithalamiumand fee what a Condition you're like to be brought to. Mel. Well, I'll speak but three Words, and follow you. Brisk. Enough, enough, Careless, bring your Apprehenfion along with you.

SCENE III.

Mellefont, Careless.

Care. Pert Coxcomb.

Mel. Faith'tis a good-natur'd Coxcomb, and has very entertaining Follies-You must be more humane to him at this Juncture, it will do me Service. I'll tell you, I would have Mirth continued this Day at any rate; tho' Patience purchase Folly, and Attention be paid with Noife: There are Times when Senfe may be unfeasonable, as well

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