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Sir L. Why, you may think there 's no being shot at withput a little risk; and if an unlucky bullet should carry a quie'tus with it - I say it will be no time then to be bothering you about family matters.
Acr. A quietus !
if that should be the case would you choose to be pickled and sent home ? — or would it be the same to you to lie here in the Abbey ? --I'm told there is very snug lying in the Abbey..
Acr. Pickled! — Snug lying in the Abbey!— Odds tremors ! Sir Lucius, don't talk so!
Sir L. I suppose, Mr. Acres, you never were engaged in an affair of this kind before.
Acr. No, Sir Lucius, never before.
Sir L. Ah! that's a pity!—there's nothing like being used to a thing. Pray, now, how would you receive the gentleman's shot?
Acr. Odds files ! — I've practiced that there, Sir Lucius - there. (Puts himself in an attitude.) A side front, hey? I'll make myself small enough : I'll stand edgeways. Sir L. Now
- you ’re quite out- -for if you stand so when I take my aim - (Leveling at him.) Acr. Zounds! Sir Lucius
are you sure it is not cocked? Sir L. Never fear. Acr. But — but you don't know
off of its own head!
Sir L. Pooh! be easy. Well, now, if I hit you in the body, my bullet has a double chance; for, if it misses a vital part of your right side, 't will be very hard if it don't succeed on the left,
Acr. A vital part !
Sir L. But, there, fix yourself so — - (placing him) - let him see the broadside of your full front; there, now, a ball or two may pass clean through your body, and never do any harm at all.
Acr. Clean through me? a ball or two clean through me!
Sir L. Ay, may they; and it is much the genteelest attitude into the bargain.
Acr. Look’ee, Sir Lucius! I'd just as lieve be shot in an awkward posture as a genteel one ; so, by my valor! I will stand edgeways.
Sir L. (Looking at his watch.) Sure, they don't mean to disappoint us. IIa! no, faith; I think I see them coming. (Crosscs to R.)
Acr. (L.) Hey! - what! — coming!
it may go
wewe - we
my dear Sir
Sir L. Ay. Who are those yonder, getting over the stile ? Acr. There are two of them, indeed! Well — let them come - hey, Sir Lucius! we
won't run! Sir L. Run! Acr. No,
we won't run, by my valor ! Sir L. What's the matter with you ?
Acr. Nothing — nothing — my dear friend Lucius! but I -I- I don't feel quite so bold, somehow, as I did. Sir L. O, fy! Consider your
honor. Acr. Ay - true — my honor. Do, Sir Lucius, edge in a word or two every now and then about my honor.
Sir L. Well, here they 're coming. (Looking R.)
Acr. Sir Lucius, if I wa’n’t with you, I should almost think I was afraid ! If my valor should leave me ! — Valor will come
Sir L. Then pray keep it fast while you have it.
yes — my valor is certainly going ! — it is sneaking off! I feel it oozing out, as it were, at the palms of
hands! Sir L. Your honor! your honor! Here they are. Acr. O, mercy!
– that I was safe at Clod Hall ! 0: could be shot before I was aware ! (Sir Lucius takes Acres by the arm, and leads him reluctantly off, R.)
XXVII. — THE IMAGINARY SICK MAN.
Enter BURLY, L., and SERVANT, R.
Ser. Why, you see, ever since he had that large fortune left him, master has a fancy that he has all sorts of complaints on him, and that he is n't long for this world.
Bur. Poor Fidget! Has such been the effect of his good fortune? Well, tell him that an old friend whom he has n't seen for ten years wishes to see him.
Ser. It's no use, sir. Unless you be a doctor of some sort, he 'll shut the door on you.
Bur. (Aside.) A doctor of some sort! Let me see. I surely am a sort of a doctor. Did n't I physic Prince Sackatoo, the black steward on board the Thunder Cloud, for an attack of colic? And have n't I a vial of nux vomica, that my good aunt gave me? To be sure I am a sort of a doctor! (Aloud.) Tell
THE IMAGINARY SICK MAN.
your master that Doctor Bughumm, late physician to his highness Prince Sackatoo, has called to see him. Ser. Ay, sir; he'll see Doctor Bughumm, and no mistake.
(Exit R.) Bur. Now, with the knob of my cane to my nose, thus, I think I may pass muster.
Enter FIDGET, R. Sir, your
obedient servant. I have the honor of addressing Mr. Frederic Fidget, I believe.
Fidget. Why, Burly, is this you ?
Fidy. Excuse me, doctor, but, really, your resemblance to an old friend of mine is
very remarkable. Bur. Very probable, sir; I am often mistaken for other people. But look at me well, sir, and tell me what age you take me to be.
Fidg. Well, sir, I should think you might be about twentytwo or twenty-three.
Bur. Ha, ha! Sir, I was ninety-five last Christmas.
Bur. It's as true, sir, as that you are a sick man. Why, sir, you see in me one of the wonderful effects of my art- of my system of practice.
Fidg. Upon my word, you are a very young-looking man for ninety-five.
Bur. Sir, I am a traveling physician, and pass from city to city, from country to country, in search of distinguished subjects, for whose benefit I may put in practice some of the wonderful secrets I have discovered in medicine. Sir, I disdain to trouble myself with ordinary maladies — with common fevers, colds, and such bagatelles. I seek such maladies as are pronounced incurable by other physicians : a good desperate case of cholera, or of dropsy-a good plague — a good hopeless case of fever or inflammation. It is such cases that I seek, and in such that I triumph ; and I only wish, sir, that you had a complication of all these maladies upon you, and were given over by all other physicians, in order that I might show you the excellence of my remedies, and do you a service. (Crosses to R.)
Fidg. (L.) Really, sir, I am much obliged for this visit, for I am in a bad way, and the doctors give me no relief.
Bur. Sir, let me feel your pulse. (Feels his pulse.) Don't be alarmed, sir. No matter how it beats — the worse the better. Ah! this pulse does n't yet know who has got hold of it. It is a bad pulse--a very bad pulse.·
Fidg. I was sure of it, doctor, and yet there are those who make light of it.
Bur. Who attends you now?
Bur. His name is n’t on my tablets in the list of great physicians. What does he say ails you ?
Fidg. He says my liver is affected; others say, my spleen. Bur. They are all ignoramuses! The trouble is in your lungs. Fidg. (Very loud.) In my lungs?
Bur. Yes, allow me. (Taps him on the breast.) Don't you feel a sort of tenderness
a pain there? Fidg. Well, doctor, I don't perceive that I do.
Bur. Is it possible you don't? (Gives him something of a thump.)
Fidg. O! now I do, doctor. You almost doubled me up.
Fidg. Well, doctor, I don't know but you are right. Is there any other inquiry?
Bur. Yes. What are your symptoms ?
limbs. Bur. Well and good. The lungs again.
Fidg. And sometimes I have a sort of colicky pain hereabouts.
Bur. No doubt of it. The lungs. You have an appetite for what you eat ?
Fidy. Yes, doctor.
Bur. The lungs. You are a little drowsy after eating, and are glad of a nap?
Fidg. Yes, doctor.
Bur. The lungs, the lungs, I tell you! What does your physician order for you by way of nourishment ?
Fidg. He prescribes a plain porridge.
THE IMAGINARY SICK MAN.
Bur. The ignoramus !
Fidy. And at night some stewed prunes, to keep my bowels in good order.
Bur. The ignoramus!
Fidy. And, above all, if I take wine, I must take it well diluted with water.
Bur. Ignorans', ignoran'tior, ignorantis'simus! Your physician is a blockhead! Throw his physic to the dogs! Throw your wine out of the window. Eat coarse bread, vegetables, fruits as much as you want. Get a trotting-horse. Take plenty of exercise.
Fidg. Exercise ! Dear doctor, I have n't stirred out of the house for a month. It would be the death of me !
Bur. Allow me to be the judge of that. Sir, I have n't been physician in chief to Prince Sackatoo for nothing. I do not mean, sir, that you should do all these things until I have fortified
you with some of my medicines. (Takes out vial of homaopathic medicines.) Behold those little globʼules !
Fidg. Shall I take them all at a dose ?
Bur. All? Three of them, my dear sir, put under a mountain, would work it from its base! (Gives him three.) Swallow them. Don't be afraid ! Should they prove too powerful, I have an antidote at hand.
Fidy. (Swallows them.) There is nothing unpleasant in the taste. Bur. No; nor in the effect, you 'll find. Don't
you begin to feel a thrill, as it were— a sort of expansion au sort of — eh ?
that you haven't felt before ? (Slaps him on back.)
Fidj. O! my dear doctor, that was rather hard! But, really, I do begin to feel a change
a sort of -
Fidg. (Walks briskly across stage.) There ! I have n't walked like that these six weeks.
Bur. To be sure you have n't! Now for the trotting-horse ! Come with me. I will accompany you.