History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 324 pages of information about History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2).

     Colonel Standard. Here, here, Mrs. Parly; whither so fast?

     Parly. Oh Lord! my master!  Sir, I was running to Mademoiselle
     Furbelow, the French milliner, for a new burgundy for my lady’s

     Col.  S. No, child; you’re employed about an old-fashioned
     garniture for your master’s head, if I mistake not your errand.

Parly. Oh, Sir! there’s the prettiest fashion lately come over! so airy, so French, and all that.  The pinners are double ruffled with twelve plaits of a side, and open all from the face; the hair is frizzled all up round the head, and stands as stiff as a bodkin.  Then the favourites hang loose on the temples, with a languishing lock in the middle.  Then the caul is extremely wide, and over all is a coronet raised very high, and all the lappets behind.

This lady on being questioned, says that her wages are ten pounds a year, but she makes two hundred a year of her mistress’s old clothes.

But Farquhar is best known as the author of the “Beaux Stratagem.”  Though not so full of humour, as “Love in a Bottle,” it had more action and bolder sensational incidents.  The play proved a great success, but one which will always have sad associations.  It came too late.  Farquhar died in destitution, while the plaudits resounded in his ears.

The following are specimens from his last play:—­

(Aimwell (a gentleman of broken fortune looking for a rich wife) goes to church in the country to further his designs.)

Aimwell. The appearance of a stranger in a country church draws as many gazers as a blazing star; no sooner he comes into the cathedral, but a train of whispers runs buzzing round the congregation in a moment:  Who is he? Whence comes he? Do you know him? Then I, Sir, tips me the verger with half-a-crown; he pockets the simony, and inducts me into the best pew in the church; I pull out my snuff-box, turn myself round, bow to the bishop, or the dean, if he be the commanding officer, single out a beauty, rivet both my eyes to hers, set my nose a bleeding by the strength of imagination, and show the whole church my concern—­by my endeavouring to hide it; after the sermon the whole town gives me to her for a lover, and by persuading the lady that I am a-dying for her, the tables are turned, and she in good earnest falls in love with me.

     Archer. There’s nothing in this, Tom, without a precedent; but
     instead of rivetting your eyes to a beauty, try to fix ’em upon a
     fortune; that’s our business at present.

     Aim. Psha! no woman can be a beauty without a fortune.  Let me
     alone, for I am a marksman.

Talking afterwards of Dorinda, whom he observes in church, he says,

Aimwell. Call me Oroondates, Cesario, Amadis, all that romance can in a lover paint, and then I’ll answer:—­O, Archer!  I read her thousands in her looks, she looked like Ceres in her harvest; corn, wine and oil, milk and honey, gardens, groves, and purling streams played in her plenteous face.


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History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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