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Sir L. A rival in the case, is there ? — and you think he has supplanted you unfairly?
Acr. Unfairly ? — to be sure he has. He never could have done it fairly.
Sir L. Then, sure, you know what is to be done !
Sir L. Now, I think he has given you the greatest provocation in the world. Can a man commit a more heinous* offence agains' another than to fall in love with the same woman? O, it is the most unpardonable breach of friendship!
Acr. Breach of friendship! Ay, ay; but I have no acquaintance with this man. I never saw him in
life. Sir L. That's no argument at all; he has the less right, then, to take such a liberty.
Acr. Why, that's true. I grow full of anger, Sir Lucius ! I fire
Odds hilts and blades! I find a man may have a deal of valor in him, and not know it ! But could p't I contrive to have a little right of my
side ? Sir L. What signifies right, when your honor is concerned ? Do you think Achilles,t or my little Alexander the Great, ever inquired where the right lay? No, they drew their broad-swords, and left the lazy sons of peace to settle the justice of it.
Acr. Your words are a grenadier's march to my heart! I believe courage must be catching !~ I certainly do feel a kind of valor rising, as it were a kind of courage, as I may say. Odds flints, pans, and triggers! I'll challenge him directly.
Sir L. Ah, my little friend ! If I had Blunderbuss-Hall here, I could show you a range of ancestry, in the O'Trigger line, that would furnish the New Room ; every one of whom had killed his man ! For, though the mansion-house and dirty acres have slipt through my fingers, I thank heaven our honor and the family-pictures are as fresh as ever.
Acr. 0, Sir Lucius ! I have had ancestors, too! - every man of 'em colonel or captain in the militia ! - Odds balls and barrels! say no more — I’m braced for it.
The thunder of your words has soured the milk of human kindness in my breast ! As the man in the play says, “I could do such deeds
Sir L. · Come, come, there must be no passion at all in the case; these things should always be done civilly. * Pronounce hā'nus.
+ Pronounce A-killēs.
SCENE FROM THE RIVALS.
Acr. I must be in a passion, Sir Lucius ! I must be in a rage ! Dear Sir Lucius, let me be in a rage,
Come, here 's pen and paper. (Sits down to write.) I would the ink were red! Indite, I
indite ! How shall I begin ? Odds bullets and blades ! I'll write a good bold hand, however.
Sir L. Pray, compose yourself.
shall I begin with an oath ? Sir L. Pho, pho! do the thing decently. Begin now: Sir
Acr. That's too civil by half. Sir L. To prevent the confusion that might arise Acr. Well. Sir L. From our both addressing the same lady – Acr. Ay, there's the reason same lady. — Well. Sir L. I shall expect the favor of your company Acr. Zounds! I'm not asking him to dinner ! Sir L. Pray, be easy. Acr. Well, then, honor of your company — Sir L. To settle our pretensions,— Acr. Well. Sir L. Let me see; ay, King's-Mead-fields will do ; in King's-Mead-fields.
Acr. So, that's done. Well, I'll fold it up presently. My own crest —a hand and dagger- shall be the seal. (Rises.)
Sir L. You see, now, this little explanation will put a stop at once to all confusion or misunderstanding that might arise between you.
Acr. Ay, we fight to prevent any misunderstanding.
Sir L. Now I'll leave you to fix your own time. advice, and you 'll decide it this evening, if you can ; then, let the worst come of it, 't will be off your
mind to-morrow. Acr. Very true.
Sir L. So I shall see nothing more of you, unless it be by letter, till the evening. I would do myself the honor to carry your message ; but, to tell you a secret, I believe I shall have just such another affair on my own hands.
There is a gay captain here, who put a jest on me lately at the expense
of try; and I only want to fall in with the gentleman, to call him out.
Acr. By my valor, I should like to see you fight first! Odds life! I should like to see you stand up to shoot him, if it was only to get a little lesson !
XVIII. — PEDANTS SEEKING PATRONAGE. [R. stands for the right of the stage, facing the audience ; L. for the left ; C.
for the center.] CHARACTERS. DIGIT, a mathematician ; he has a folio volume under his arm,
and wears a very seedy black coat. SESQUIPEDALIA, a linguist and philosopher ; he wears spectacles, and carries a cane. TRILL, a musician ; he has a roll of music, to which he occasionally refers. DRONE, a servant, slow of motion and slow of speech. The scene is supposed to be in the ante-room of Mr. Morrell's house. *
Enter DIGIT, L.
Digit. If theologians are in want of a proof that mankind are daily degenerating, let them apply to me, Archimedest Digit. I can furnish them with one as clear as any demonstration in Euclid's third or fifth book; and it is this, the growing inattention to the sublime and exalted science of mathematics. 0, that the patriotic inhabitants of this extensive country should suffer so degrading a circumstance to exist ! Why, yesterday, I asked a lad of fifteen which he preferred, algebra or geometry, and he told me — 0, horrible! - he told me he had never studied either! I was thunderstruck, I was astonished, I was petrified ! Never studied geometry! never studied algebra !
- and fifteen years The dark ages are returning. Heathenish obscurity will soon overwhelm the world, unless I do something immediately to enlighten it: and for this purpose I have now applied to Mr. Morrell, who lives here, and is celebrated for his pătronage of learning and learnëd men. I wish somebody would (Looks off R., and calls.) Who waits there?
Enter DRONE, R. Is Mr. Morrell at home ?
Drone. Can't say ; s'pose he is; indeed, I am sure he is -01 was just now. On the whole, I rather think he is.
Digit. Why, I could solve an equation while you are answer. ing a question of five words, I mean if the unknown terms were all on one side of the equation. Can I see him?
* It is important, in the delivery of dialogues, in order to prevent confusion, to have the places of entrance and exit, whether right or left, well understood beforehand ; also to have every crossing of the stage marked and understood. Unless this is done, awkwardness will be produced by an unexpected movement. In some of the dialogues the editor has inserted the proper marks ; in others, the speakers are left to arrange them. The animation and naturalness of a dialogue often depend upon proper and expressive movements across the stage, or to and fro.
† Pronounced Ar-ke-me'dēs.
PEDANTS SEEKING PATRONAGE.
Drone. There is nobody in this house by the name of Quation.
Digit. (Aside.) Now, here's a fellow that can not distinguish between an algebraic term and the denomination of his master! - I wish to see Mr. Morrell upon an affair of infinite importance,
ahem ! Drone. O, very likely, sir. I will inform him that Mr. Quation wishes to see him (mimicking) upon an affair of infinite importance, ahem !
Digit. No, no! Digit-Digit. My name is Digit.
Digit. Alone.) That fellow is certainly a negative quantity. He is minus common sense. If this Mr. Morrell is the man I take him to be, he can not but pătronize my talents. Should he not, I don't know how I shall obtain a new coat. I have.worn this ever since I began to write my theory of sines and cotangents; and my elbows have so often formed right angles with the plane surface of my table, that a new coat or a parallel patch is very necessary.
But here comes Mr. Morrell.
Enter SESQUIPEDALIA, L. Sir (bowing low), I am your most mathematical servant. sorry, sir, to give you this trouble ; but an affair of consequence
(pulling the rays over his elbows) – an affair of consequence, as your servant informed you
Sesquipedalia. Servus non est mihi, Dom'i-ne ; that is, I have no servant, sir. I presume you have erred in
your calculation; and
Digit. (R.) No, sir. The calculations I am about to present you are founded on the most correct theorems of Euclid. You may examine them, if you please. They are contained in this small manuscript. (Producing a folio.)
Sesq. Sir, you have bestowed a degree of interruption upon my observations. I was about, or, according to the Latins, fu-tu'rus sum, to give you a little information concerning the luminary who appears to have deceived your vision. My name, sir, is Tullius Maro Titus Crispus Sesquipedalia ; by profession a linguist and philosopher. The most abstruse points in physics or metaphysics are to me transpărent as ēther. I have come to this house for the purpose of obtaining the pătronage of a gentleman who befriends all the literati. Now, sir, perhaps I have induced conviction, in mente tua, that is, in
your mind, that
calculation was erroneous.
Digit. Yes, sir ; as to your person, I was mistaken ; but my calculations, I maintain, are correct, to the tenth part of a circulating decimal.
Sesq. But what is the subject of your manuscript ? Have you discussed the infinite divisibility of matter?
Digit. No, sir ; I can not reckon infinity; and I have nothing to do with subjects that can not be reckoned.
Sesq. Why, I can reckon about it. I reckon it is divisible ad infini'tum. But perhaps your work is upon the materiality of light; and if so, which side of the question do you espouse ?
Digit. 0, sir, I think it quite immaterial.
Sesq. What! light immaterial! Do you say light is immaterial ?
Digit. No; I say it is quite immaterial which side of the question I espouse. I have nothing to do with it. And, besides, I am a bachelor, and do not mean to espouse any thing at present.
Sesq. Do you write upon the attraction of cohesion? You know, matter has the properties of attraction and repulsion.
Digit. I care nothing about matter, so I can find enough for mathematical děmonstration.
Sesq. I can not conceive what you have written upon, then. 0! it must be the centrip'etal and centrif'ugal motions.
Digit. (Peevishly.) No, no! I wish Mr. Morrell would come ! Sir, I have no motions but such as I can make with my pencil upon my slate, thus. (Figuring upon his hand.) Six, minus four, plus two, equal eight, minus six, plus two. There, those are my motions.
Sesq. O! I perceive you gróvel in the depths of arithmetic. I suppose you never soared into the regions of philosophy. You never thought of the vacuüm which has so long filled the heads of philosophers.
Digit. Vacuüm! (Putting his hand to his forehead.) Let me think.
Sesq. Ha! What! have you got it sub manu, that is, under your hand ? Ha, ha, ha!
Digit. Eh! under my hand? What do you mean, sir ? that
my head is a vacuum ? Would you insult me, sir ? insult Archimedes Digit? Why, sir, I'll cipher you into infinite divisibility! I'll set you on an inverted cone, and give you a centripetal and centrifugal motion out of the window, sir! I'll scatter your solid contents ! (Crosses to L.)
Sesq. (R.) Da veniam, that is, pardon me! it was merely a lapsus lingua, that is
Digit. (L.) Well, sir, I am not fond of lapsus linguæs, at all, sir. However, if you did not mean to offend, I accept your apology.
I wish Mr. Morrell would come !