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Grisk. Thou too wilt leave me when our fortunes fall.
SCRUB. No! Wet-nurse, dry-nurse, house-maid, cook, and all,
To thee I'll be ; and by thy honoured side-
Right side or left-my duty shall be tied.
Still will I follow thee, depend upon it,
While hope remains-
GRISK. (aside.) To get a cast-off bonnet.
SCRUB. Learn, madam, to contemn all praise betimes;
For flattery, madam, is the nurse of crimes.
Grisk. Believe, Scrubinda, I shall one day try
To pay thee well for thy fidelity.
Should e'er kind Fortune bless me with her gifts,
I'll give thee-
SCRUB. (eagerly.) What?
A dozen Holland-chemises.
Take this half-crown. Retire. Here comes my lord.
SCRUB. (pocketing the money.) Thus virtue ever is its own reward.
Enter CONSCIENZO, in thought.
Geisk. Why wears my Conscienzó that sad brow?
Why ruminates my lord like any cow ?
Rouse ! like a kitten frisk about the house,
Nor like a tom-cat mope.
I'm poor as mouse.
Grisk. (anxiously.) Mouse ! say not church-mouse.
Cons. (with dignified resignation.) Poor as mouse of church.
Grisk. Sure Fortune flogs us with her longest birch.
Cons. O Fortune! wilt thou ever be thus cross !
I'm tired as dog, and sick as any horse.
(To Grisk.) Leave me, my love ; I fain would be alone ;
For all my sorrows must be all mine own.
Grisk. (tenderly.) No; let me stay, and share them drop by drop.
Cons. Oh! here's a sample of a wife !—Then stop.
Gaisk. Say, my dear consort,--Conscienzo, say, -
Why still thou quit'st thy bed ere break of day?
Why still, thy loving, fond Griskinda scorning,
Thou com’st home every night at three i' the morning?
And when thou com’st her dark-brown woes to share,
She finds thee still as surly as a bear ?
Cons. Say, my Griskinda, what's this yarn about?
Grisk. There is a secret, and I'll find it out.
Cons. Oh! spare me.
Know I must.
Cons. Will no kind windmill grind me into dust!
Grisk. (kneeling.) In pity tell me.
Hide me, night, from day!
Must I the secret of my friend betray ?
O fatal force! I can resist no longer;
I am the weaker one, since thou’rt the stronger,-
Now list, and tremble.—About ten o'clock
I happen'd at Rascallo's door to knock,
When thus his purpose burst upon mine ear,
In dreadful speech-
(RASCALLO, who has been listening at a door in the centre,
rushes forward, and comes between them.) Rasc:
Behold him, traitor, here ! (CONSCIE
IENZO and GRISKINDA kneel. He points a dagger at the bosom of each. SCRUBINDA rushes in, and holds
a rolling-pin over RASCALLO's head. TABLEAU.) SCRUB. Hold ! monster, hold
Smiles at thy rolling-pin, frail kitchen-maid.
Hence to thy scullery!
Here I'd stay, base bragger,
Had'st thou ten hands, and in each hand a dagger.
Get thee down stairs !
Then stay, poor blockhead,
Till from thy thick skull thy dull brains be knocked.
Rasc. O, what a maid is this ! As I'm alive,
Her soul's 'as large as any common five !
This is the maid whom Fate designs my wife :
I'll marry her; I will, upon my life!
Sweet guardian of the sable pots and pans,
I'll make thee mine—so let's proclaim the banns.
SCRUB. All impudence must sink before this man's!
What means thy bold presumption ? monster, say!
Rasc. First take that threatening rolling-pin away.
Cons. Grisk. Good sir, we can't stand kneeling here all day.
Rasc. Still kneel, till I'm resolved for love or war.
Rasc. Rise, then; you're free.
SCRUB. (embracing Rasc.) Now talk of love.
To give't a zest, we'll season it with murther.
As for this outrage, friends, I beg your pardon.
Cons. I care not for thy humours a brass fardon :
But, mark me! when thou’rt next inclined for joking,
Be't not with daggers in one's bowels poking.
Grisk. Now say, Rascallo, whence this fearful rout?
Rasc. I'll tell thee.-Sweet Scrubinda, just step out.
Anon we will confer about our marriage.
SCRUB. First, promise me thou'lt let me keep a carriage.
Rasc. Now, by the sweetly-flowing silver Styx,
I'll let thee drive, my love, a coach-and-six;
And, unless Fortune on my purpose frown,
I'll place upon thy head a glittering crown.
SCRUB. A crown!
Cons. (aside to Rascallo.) My friend, too rashly spoken.
Rasc. (recovering himself.) I mean a-Brummagem five-shilling
Now leave us, love. (Aside.) A woman's like a parrot, -
Ne'er happy but when swinging in her chariot.
Scrub. (aside.) To learn what's going on, I'll use this device:
I'll close the door, and listen at a crevice. [Exit SCRUBINDA.
Rasc. Now, Conscienzo, was this noble ?-eh?-
Say, was this giving me, thy friend, fair play?
Was't right to trust my secret to thy wife,
Risking thine own and thy Rascallo's life?
To tell a woman about killing kings,
And filching crowns -and them 'ere sort o' things?
Cons. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
He! he! he! he! he! he!
Rasc. Flames, fire, and fury! do you laugh at me?
Cons. We laugh to find thee such a stupid elf.
Whate'er she knows, thou'st told her, sir, thyself.
Rasc. And so I have.—May we depend upon her ?
Grisk. Thou may'st.
Grisk. (kneeling, and with great solemnity.) Upon my word and
Rasc. Hear then my plan; 'tis ready cut and dried.
(Shows a paper.)
(To Cons.) Thou and myself, together, side by side,
Will to the palace, when the king's alone,
And ask him civilly to yield the throne.
If he refuse, as 'tis most like he will,
Then to our business--kill, kill, kill, kill, kill;
Disarm the guard, and, this great work being done,
Despatch the Privy Council one by one.
Cons. (pityingly.) And won't you not spare any?
No, not none.
Next storm the Mint, and, having seized the treasure,
Thou shalt proclaim me king.
l'll do’t with pleasure. Rasc. The fair Serubinda, then, l'll make my queen,
And deck her beauteous form-in sarsnet green,
Fringe, feathers, flounces, furbelows--so fine out,
That from other queens she'll take the shine out.
Thou, eweet Griskinda, shalt attend upon her (in a patronising tone),
The first and foremost of her dames of honour.
I'll keep my word: here 'mongst my mems I set it.
(Writes in a pocket-book.) Grisk. (aside.) Now don't he wish her majesty (sneeringly) may
Rasc. Thee, Conscienzo, will I elevate,
And make thee all that's noble, grand, and great:
Still shalt thou find me to thy interest partial,
So be thou—in short, everything from Archbishop of Canterbury
down to City Marshal.
Cons. (bowing.) My liege,
that is to be, I mean Grisk. (aside.) Nor sun nor moon shall e'er behold her queen.
Cons. Some slight objections might I dare to start
Against thy royal scheme?
With all my heart.
Cons. The royal presence how shall we approach ?
Rasc. Well urged-(meditating)-I have't: we 'll hire a hack-
Cons. Next, we've no friends, no money-
That's the reason :
If we were rich, the devil take high treason.
Come, follow me: hence with thy fearful fuss,
Fit only for a puling boy at nurse ;
(Pronounce nuss, &c.]
I tell thee I'll put money in thy purse.
Our states are bad they cannot well be worse;
And if we fail, the King can but —
Cons, and GRISK,
Cons. Why did I league with him in this vile plot?
Ambition, thou art like I know not what.
He that is lured by thy enticements fair
Is like the bark that floats — I know not where;
And I am like those rash and daring men
Mad with wild schemes, who lived -I know not when.
But shall this be ? No-no; I'll fall to pray’rs,
And kick ambition all the way down stairs.
Avaunt, ye very various visions vain!
So — Conscienzo is himself again!
GRISK. (sneeringly.) 'Tis wisely done! when Fortune kneels be.
All sparkling in a full-dress suit of glory,
To spurn her favours ; and the crown and rule
She tenders, to throw from thee like a fool.
Coxs. To kill a king!
Thou mewling, puling elf !
I'll go and knock his pate about myself.
Cons. Hold! I'm resolved. The deed myself I'll do.
Grisk. Go kill the King, and the king-killer too (significantly).
Coxs. I understand thee not, my sweet rose-bud.
[SCRUBINDA appears listening. Speak thy dark meaning. GRISK.
'Tis as clear as mud.
Dost not perceive ? — Rascallo mounts the throne,
And what he 'll do when there – is not yet known.
Scrubinda, too O torture ! -- will be queen,
And what her acts may be is not yet seen.
These things premised, I must take leave to say,
We are as fit for king and queen as they.
Cons. What's to be done ?
Betray them to the King.
They 'll both be hang'd, or -- to be plain - they 'll swing.
Cons. What follows then ?
Then? Why, what ought to follow? We'll kill the King, and win the crown dead-hollow.
Cons. O, my Griskinda ! 'tis a question which is,
Or thou, or I, most fit to wear the-small-clothes.
Grisk. Then, let us on.
But if we fail ?
We fail. Cons. But should the King make head? GRISK.
Still scorn we to turn tail.
[Exeunt GRISKINDA and CONSCIENZO.
SCRUBINDA comes forward.
SCRUB. Now that's what I call neat: the genteel thing-
To up and tell our matters to the King !
And get me hang’d, and my Rascallo too!
Bear up, my woman's heart! - Nowwhat's to do? -
Ha ! — with their own base measures I 'll come o'er 'em :
A swift-wing'd cab shall bear me there before 'em.
Thus have I seen on Alps' recumbent heights,
When the dim turret of the sky alights
(While flickering whirlwinds flutter on the shore,
Mocking each fragment's undulating roar) —
A storm-fed lion pulverise the light,
Till all is lost in rage and universal night.
[Exit SCRUBINDA, with a rush.
SCENE III. - A Hall in the Palace.
Enter RUMFUSKIN, musing.
Rum. Why was I born a king, ah! tell me why
Was I foredoom'd to so much misery?
Why make a king of these here realms of me?
O luckless fate! O hapless destiny !
What is a king? - or what, indeed, is man?
Or what is life? O tell me ye who can.
To be a king! what is it, say, but, oh!
To wear a crown, and reign-
supreme in woe.
Thou happy shepherd, or thou thoughtless clown,
Give me thy peace, take thou my weary crown ;
I'll give my palace for thy humble cot,-
Like other kings I say 't, but like them, too,—I'll not.