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THE WOLVES AND THE LAMB
by William Makepeace Thackeray
MR. HORACE MILLIKEN, a Widower, a wealthy City Merchant.
GEORGE MILLIKEN, a Child, his Son.
CAPTAIN TOUCHIT, his Friend.
CLARENCE KICKLEBURY, brother to Milliken's late Wife.
JOHN HOWELL, M's Butler and confidential Servant.
CHARLES PAGE, Foot-boy.
BULKELEY, Lady Kicklebury's Servant.
Coachman, Cabman; a Bluecoat Boy, another Boy (Mrs. Prior's Sons).
LADY KICKLEBURY, Mother-in-law to Milliken.
MRS. BONNINGTON, Milliken's Mother (married again).
MISS PRIOR, her Daughter, Governess to Milliken's Children.
ARABELLA MILLIKEN, a Child.
MARY BARLOW, School-room Maid.
A grown-up Girl and Child of Mrs. Prior's, Lady K.'s Maid, Cook.
THE WOLVES AND THE LAMB.
Scene.--MILLIKEN'S villa at Richmond; two drawing-rooms opening
into one another. The late MRS. MILLIKEN'S portrait over the
mantel-piece; bookcases, writing-tables, piano, newspapers, a
handsomely furnished saloon. The back-room opens, with very large
windows, on the lawn and pleasure-ground; gate, and wall--over
which the heads of a cab and a carriage are seen, as persons
arrive. Fruit, and a ladder on the walls. A door to the dining-
room, another to the sleeping-apartments, &c.
JOHN.--Everybody out; governor in the city; governess (heigh-ho!)
walking in the Park with the children; ladyship gone out in the
carriage. Let's sit down and have a look at the papers. Buttons
fetch the Morning Post out of Lady Kicklebury's room. Where's the
Daily News, sir?
PAGE.--Think it's in Milliken's room.
JOHN.--Milliken! you scoundrel! What do you mean by Milliken?
Speak of your employer as your governor if you like; but not as
simple Milliken. Confound your impudence! you'll be calling me
PAGE.--Well! I didn't know. YOU call him Milliken.
JOHN.--Because I know him, because I'm intimate with him, because
there's not a secret he has but I may have it for the asking;
because the letters addressed to Horace Milliken, Esq., might as
well be addressed John Howell, Esq., for I read 'em, I put 'em away
and docket 'em, and remember 'em. I know his affairs better than
he does: his income to a shilling, pay his tradesmen, wear his
coats if I like. I may call Mr. Milliken what I please; but not
YOU, you little scamp of a clod-hopping ploughboy. Know your
station and do your business, or you don't wear THEM buttons long,
I promise you. [Exit Page.]
Let me go on with the paper [reads]. How brilliant this writing
is! Times, Chronicle, Daily News, they're all good, blest if they
ain't. How much better the nine leaders in them three daily papers
is, than nine speeches in the House of Commons! Take a very best
speech in the 'Ouse now, and compare it with an article in The
Times! I say, the newspaper has the best of it for philosophy, for
wit, novelty, good sense too. And the party that writes the
leading article is nobody, and the chap that speaks in the House of
Commons is a hero. Lord, Lord, how the world is 'umbugged!
Pop'lar representation! what IS pop'lar representation? Dammy,
it's a farce. Hallo! this article is stole! I remember a passage
in Montesquieu uncommonly like it. [Goes and gets the book. As he
is standing upon sofa to get it, and sitting down to read it, MISS
PRIOR and the Children have come in at the garden. Children pass
across stage. MISS PRIOR enters by open window, bringing flowers
into the room.]
JOHN.--It IS like it. [He slaps the book, and seeing MISS PRIOR
who enters, then jumps up from sofa, saying very respectfully,]
JOHN.--I beg your pardon, Miss.
MISS P.--[sarcastically.] Do I disturb you, Howell?
JOHN.--Disturb! I have no right to say--a servant has no right to
be disturbed, but I hope I may be pardoned for venturing to look at
a volume in the libery, Miss, just in reference to a newspaper
harticle--that's all, Miss.
MISS P.--You are very fortunate in finding anything to interest you
in the paper, I'm sure.
JOHN.--Perhaps, Miss, you are not accustomed to political discussion,
and ignorant of--ah--I beg your pardon: a servant, I know, has no
right to speak. [Exit into dining-room, making a low bow.]
MISS PRIOR.--The coolness of some people is really quite
extraordinary! the airs they give themselves, the way in which they
answer one, the books they read! Montesquieu: "Esprit des Lois!"
[takes book up which J. has left on sofa.] I believe the man has
actually taken this from the shelf. I am sure Mr. Milliken, or her
ladyship, never would. The other day "Helvetius" was found in Mr.
Howell's pantry, forsooth! It is wonderful how he picked up French
whilst we were abroad. "Esprit des Lois!" what is it? it must be
dreadfully stupid. And as for reading "Helvetius" (who, I suppose,
was a Roman general), I really can't understand how-- Dear, dear!
what airs these persons give themselves! What will come next? A
footman--I beg Mr. Howell's pardon--a butler and confidential valet
lolls on the drawing-room sofa, and reads Montesquieu! Impudence!
And add to this, he follows me for the last two or three months
with eyes that are quite horrid. What can the creature mean? But
I forgot--I am only a governess. A governess is not a lady--a
governess is but a servant--a governess is to work and walk all day
with the children, dine in the school-room, and come to the
drawing-room to play the man of the house to sleep. A governess is
a domestic, only her place is not the servants' hall, and she is
paid not quite so well as the butler who serves her her glass of
wine. Odious! George! Arabella! there are those little wretches
quarrelling again! [Exit. Children are heard calling out, and
seen quarrelling in garden.]
JOHN [re-entering].--See where she moves! grace is in all her
steps. 'Eaven in her high--no--a-heaven in her heye, in every
gesture dignity and love--ah, I wish I could say it! I wish you
may procure it, poor fool! She passes by me--she tr-r-amples on
me. Here's the chair she sets in [kisses it.] Here's the piano
she plays on. Pretty keys, them fingers out-hivories you! When
she plays on it, I stand and listen at the drawing-room door, and
my heart thr-obs in time! Fool, fool, fool! why did you look on
her, John Howell! why did you beat for her, busy heart! You were
tranquil till you knew her! I thought I could have been a-happy
with Mary till then. That girl's affection soothed me. Her
conversation didn't amuse me much, her ideers ain't exactly
elevated, but they are just and proper. Her attentions pleased me.
She ever kep' the best cup of tea for me. She crisped my buttered
toast, or mixed my quiet tumbler for me, as I sat of hevenings and
read my newspaper in the kitching. She respected the sanctaty of
my pantry. When I was a-studying there, she never interrupted me.
She darned my stockings for me, she starched and folded my chokers,
and she sowed on the habsent buttons of which time and chance had
bereft my linning. She has a good heart, Mary has. I know she'd
get up and black the boots for me of the coldest winter mornings.
She did when we was in humbler life, she did.
You have a good heart, Mary!
MARY.--Have I, dear John? [sadly.]
JOHN.--Yes, child--yes. I think a better never beat in woman's
bosom. You're good to everybody--good to your parents whom you
send half your wages to: good to your employers whom you never
robbed of a halfpenny.
MARY [whimpering].--Yes, I did, John. I took the jelly when you
were in bed with the influenza; and brought you the pork-wine
JOHN.--Port, not pork, child. Pork is the hanimal which Jews
ab'or. Port is from Oporto in Portugal.
MARY [still crying].--Yes, John; you know everything a'most, John.
JOHN.--And you, poor child, but little! It's not heart you want,
you little trump, it's education, Mary: it's information: it's
head, head, head! You can't learn. You never can learn. Your
ideers ain't no good. You never can hinterchange em with mine.
Conversation between us is impossible. It's not your fault. Some
people are born clever; some are born tall, I ain't tall.
MARY.--Ho! you're big enough for me, John. [Offers to take his
JOHN.--Let go my 'and--my a-hand, Mary! I say, some people are
born with brains, and some with big figures. Look at that great
ass, Bulkeley, Lady K.'s man--the besotted, stupid beast! He's as
big as a life-guardsman, but he ain't no more education nor ideers
than the ox he feeds on.
MARY.--Law, John, whatever do you mean?
JOHN.--Hm! you know not, little one! you never can know. Have YOU
ever felt the pangs of imprisoned genius? have YOU ever felt what
'tis to be a slave?
MARY.--Not in a free country, I should hope, John Howell--no such a
thing. A place is a place, and I know mine, and am content with
the spear of life in which it pleases heaven to place me, John: and
I wish you were, and remembered what we learned from our parson
when we went to school together in dear old Pigeoncot, John--when
you used to help little Mary with her lessons, John, and fought Bob
Brown, the big butcher's boy, because he was rude to me, John, and
he gave you that black hi.
JOHN.--Say eye, Mary, not heye [gently].
MARY.--Eye; and I thought you never looked better in all your life
than you did then: and we both took service at Squire Milliken's--
me as dairy-girl, and you as knife-boy; and good masters have they
been to us from our youth hup: both old Squire Milliken and Mr.
Charles as is master now, and poor Mrs. as is dead, though she had
her tantrums--and I thought we should save up and take the
"Milliken Arms"--and now we have saved up--and now, now, now--oh,
you are a stone, a stone, a stone! and I wish you were hung round
my neck, and I were put down the well! There's the hup-stairs
bell. [She starts, changing her manner as she hears the bell, and
JOHN [looking after her].--It's all true. Gospel-true. We were
children in the same village--sat on the same form at school. And
it was for her sake that Bob Brown the butcher's boy whopped me. A
black eye! I'm not handsome. But if I were ugly, ugly as the
Saracen's 'Ead, ugly as that beast Bulkeley, I know it would be all
the same to Mary. SHE has never forgot the boy she loved, that
brought birds'-nests for her, and spent his halfpenny on cherries,
and bought a fairing with his first half-crown--a brooch it was, I
remember, of two billing doves a-hopping on one twig, and brought
it home for little yellow-haired, blue-eyed, red-cheeked Mary.
Lord, Lord! I don't like to think how I've kissed 'em, the pretty
cheeks! they've got quite pale now with crying--and she has never
once reproached me, not once, the trump, the little tr-rump!
Is it my fault [stamping] that Fate has separated us? Why did my
young master take me up to Oxford, and give me the run of his
libery and the society of the best scouts in the University? Why
did he take me abroad? Why have I been to Italy, France, Jummany
with him--their manners noted and their realms surveyed, by jingo!
I've improved myself, and Mary has remained as you was. I try a
conversation, and she can't respond. She's never got a word of
poetry beyond Watt's Ims, and if I talk of Byron or Moore to her,
I'm blest if she knows anything more about 'em than the cook, who
is as hignorant as a pig, or that beast Bulkeley, Lady Kick's
footman. Above all, why, why did I see the woman upon whom my
wretched heart is fixed for ever, and who carries away my soul with
her--prostrate, I say, prostrate, through the mud at the skirts of
her gownd! Enslaver! why did I ever come near you? O enchantress
Kelipso! how you have got hold of me! It was Fate, Fate, Fate.
When Mrs. Milliken fell ill of scarlet fever at Naples, Milliken
was away at Petersborough, Rooshia, looking after his property.
Her foring woman fled. Me and the governess remained and nursed
her and the children. We nursed the little ones out of the fever.
We buried their mother. We brought the children home over Halp and
Happenine. I nursed 'em all three. I tended 'em all three, the
orphans, and the lovely gu-gu-governess. At Rome, where she took
ill, I waited on her; as we went to Florence, had we been attacked
by twenty thousand brigands, this little arm had courage for them
all! And if I loved thee, Julia, was I wrong? and if I basked in
thy beauty day and night, Julia, am I not a man? and if, before
this Peri, this enchantress, this gazelle, I forgot poor little
Mary Barlow, how could I help it? I say, how the doose could I
Enter Lady KICKLEBURY, BULKELEY following with parcels and a
LADY K.--Are the children and the governess come home?
JOHN.--Yes, my lady [in a perfectly altered tone].
LADY K.--Bulkeley, take those parcels to my sitting-room.
JOHN.--Get up, old stoopid. Push along, old daddylonglegs [aside
LADY K.--Does any one dine here to-day, Howell?
JOHN.--Captain Touchit, my lady.
LADY K.--He's always dining here.
JOHN.--My master's oldest friend.
LADY K.--Don't tell me. He comes from his club. He smells of
smoke; he is a low, vulgar person. Send Pinhorn up to me when you
go down stairs. [Exit Lady K.]
JOHN.--I know. Send Pinhorn to me, means, Send my bonny brown
hair, and send my beautiful complexion, and send my figure--and, O
Lord! O Lord! what an old tigress that is! What an old Hector!
How she do twist Milliken round her thumb! He's born to be bullied
by women: and I remember him henpecked--let's see, ever since--ever
since the time of that little gloveress at Woodstock, whose picter
poor Mrs. M. made such a noise about when she found it in the
lumber-room. Heh! HER picture will be going into the lumber-room
some day. M. must marry to get rid of his mother-in-law and mother
over him: no man can stand it, not M. himself, who's a Job of a
man. Isn't he, look at him! [As he has been speaking, the bell
has rung, the Page has run to the garden-door, and MILLIKEN enters
through the garden, laden with a hamper, band-box, and cricket-
MILLIKEN.--Why was the carriage not sent for me, Howell? There was
no cab at the station, and I have had to toil all the way up the
hill with these confounded parcels of my lady's.
JOHN.--I suppose the shower took off all the cabs, sir. When DID a
man ever git a cab in a shower?--or a policeman at a pinch--or a
friend when you wanted him--or anything at the right time, sir?
MILLIKEN.--But, sir, why didn't the carriage come, I say?
MILLIKEN.--How do you mean I know? confound your impudence!
JOHN.--Lady Kicklebury took it--your mother-in-law took it--went
out a-visiting--Ham Common, Petersham, Twick'nam--doose knows
where. She, and her footman, and her span'l dog.
MILLIKEN.--Well, sir, suppose her ladyship DID take the carriage?
Hasn't she a perfect right? And if the carriage was gone, I want
to know, John, why the devil the pony-chaise wasn't sent with the
groom? Am I to bring a bonnet-box and a hamper of fish in my own
hands, I should like to know?
MILLIKEN.--Why do you grin, you Cheshire cat?
JOHN.--Your mother-in-law had the carriage; and your mother sent
for the pony-chaise. Your Pa wanted to go and see the Wicar of
Putney. Mr. Bonnington don't like walking when he can ride.
MILLIKEN.--And why shouldn't Mr. Bonnington ride, sir, as long as
there's a carriage in my stable? Mr. Bonnington has had the gout,
sir! Mr. Bonnington is a clergyman, and married to my mother. He
has EVERY title to my respect.
JOHN.--And to your pony-chaise--yes, sir.
MILLIKEN.--And to everything he likes in this house, sir.
JOHN.--What a good fellow you are, sir! You'd give your head off
your shoulders, that you would. Is the fish for dinner to-day?
Band-box for my lady, I suppose, sir? [Looks in]--Turban,
feathers, bugles, marabouts, spangles--doose knows what. Yes, it's
for her ladyship. [To Page.] Charles, take this band-box to her
ladyship's maid. [To his master.] What sauce would you like with
the turbot? Lobster sauce or Hollandaise? Hollandaise is best--
most wholesome for you. Anybody besides Captain Touchit coming to
MILLIKEN.--No one that I know of.
JOHN.--Very good. Bring up a bottle of the brown hock? He likes
the brown hock, Touchit does. [Exit JOHN.]
Enter Children. They run to MILLIKEN.
BOTH.--How d'you do, Papa! How do you do, Papa!
MILLIKEN.--Kiss your old father, Arabella. Come here, George--
GEORGE.--Don't care for kissing--kissing's for gals. Have you
brought me that bat from London?
MILLIKEN.--Yes. Here's the bat; and here's the ball [takes one
GEORGE.--Where's the wickets, Papa. O-o-o--where's the wickets?
MILLIKEN.--My dear, darling boy! I left them at the office. What
a silly papa I was to forget them! Parkins forgot them.
GEORGE.--Then turn him away, I say! Turn him away! [He stamps.]
MILLIKEN.--What! an old, faithful clerk and servant of your father
and grandfather for thirty years past? An old man, who loves us
all, and has nothing but our pay to live on?
ARABELLA.--Oh, you naughty boy!
GEORGE.--I ain't a naughty boy.
ARABELLA.--You are a naughty boy.
GEORGE.--He! he! he! he! [Grins at her.]
MILLIKEN.--Hush, children! Here, Arabella darling, here is a book
for you. Look--aren't they pretty pictures?
ARABELLA.--Is it a story, Papa? I don't care for stories in
general. I like something instructive and serious. Grandmamma
Bonnington and grandpapa say--
GEORGE.--He's NOT your grandpapa.
ARABELLA.--He IS my grandpapa.
GEORGE.--Oh, you great story! Look! look! there's a cab. [Runs
out. The head of a Hansom cab is seen over the garden-gate. Bell
rings. Page comes. Altercation between Cabman and Captain TOUCHIT
appears to go on, during which]
MILLIKEN.--Come and kiss your old father, Arabella. He's hungry
ARABELLA.--Don't. I want to go and look at the cab; and to tell
Captain Touchit that he mustn't use naughty words. [Runs towards
garden. Page is seen carrying a carpet-bag.]
Enter TOUCHIT through the open window smoking a cigar.
TOUCHIT.--How d'ye do, Milliken? How are tallows, hey, my noble
merchant? I have brought my bag, and intend to sleep--
GEORGE.--I say, godpapa--
GEORGE.--Give us a cigar!
TOUCHIT.--Oh, you enfant terrible!
MILLIKEN [wheezily].--Ah--ahem--George Touchit! you wouldn't mind--
a--smoking that cigar in the garden, would you? Ah--ah!
TOUCHIT.--Hullo! What's in the wind now? You used to be a most
inveterate smoker, Horace.
MILLIKEN.--The fact is--my mother-in-law--Lady Kicklebury--doesn't
like it, and while she's with us, you know--
TOUCHIT.--Of course, of course [throws away cigar]. I beg her
ladyship's pardon. I remember when you were courting her daughter
she used not to mind it.
MILLIKEN.--Don't--don't allude to those times. [He looks up at his
GEORGE.--My mamma was a Kicklebury. The Kickleburys are the oldest
family in all the world. My name is George Kicklebury Milliken, of
Pigeoncot, Hants; the Grove, Richmond, Surrey; and Portland Place,
London, Esquire--my name is.
TOUCHIT.--You have forgotten Billiter Street, hemp and tallow
GEORGE.--Oh, bother! I don't care about that. I shall leave that
when I'm a man: when I'm a man and come into my property.
MILLIKEN.--You come into your property?
GEORGE.--I shall, you know, when you're dead, Papa. I shall have
this house, and Pigeoncot; and the house in town--no, I don't mind
about the house in town--and I shan't let Bella live with me--no, I
BELLA.--No; I won't live with YOU. And I'LL have Pigeoncot.
GEORGE.--You shan't have Pigeoncot. I'll have it: and the ponies:
and I won't let you ride them--and the dogs, and you shan't have
even a puppy to play with and the dairy and won't I have as much
cream as I like--that's all!
TOUCHIT.--What a darling boy! Your children are brought up
beautifully, Milliken. It's quite delightful to see them together.
GEORGE.--And I shall sink the name of Milliken, I shall.
MILLIKEN.--Sink the name? why, George?
GEORGE.--Because the Millikens are nobodies--grandmamma says they
are nobodies. The Kickleburys are gentlemen, and came over with
William the Conqueror.
BELLA.--I know when that was. One thousand one hundred and one
thousand one hundred and onety-one!
GEORGE.--Bother when they came over! But I know this, when I come
into the property I shall sink the name of Milliken.
MILLIKEN.--So you are ashamed of your father's name, are you,
George, my boy?
GEORGE.--Ashamed! No, I ain't ashamed. Only Kicklebury is
sweller. I know it is. Grandmamma says so.
BELLA.--MY grandmamma does not say so. MY dear grandmamma says
that family pride is sinful, and all belongs to this wicked world;
and that in a very few years what our names are will not matter.
GEORGE.--Yes, she says so because her father kept a shop; and so
did Pa's father keep a sort of shop--only Pa's a gentleman now.
TOUCHIT.--Darling child! How I wish I were married! If I had such
a dear boy as you, George, do you know what I would give him?
GEORGE [quite pleased].--What would you give him, god-papa?
TOUCHIT.--I would give him as sound a flogging as ever boy had, my
darling. I would whip this nonsense out of him. I would send him
to school, where I would pray that he might be well thrashed: and
if when he came home he was still ashamed of his father, I would
put him apprentice to a chimney-sweep--that's what I would do.
GEORGE.--I'm glad you're not my father, that's all.
BELLA.--And I'M glad you're not my father, because you are a wicked
BELLA.--Grandmamma says so. He is a worldly man, and the world is
wicked. And he goes to the play: and he smokes, and he says--
TOUCHIT.--Bella, what do I say?
BELLA.--Oh, something dreadful! You know you do! I heard you say
it to the cabman.
TOUCHIT.--So I did, so I did! He asked me fifteen shillings from
Piccadilly, and I told him to go to--to somebody whose name begins
with a D.
CHILDREN.--Here's another carriage passing.
BELLA.--The Lady Rumble's carriage.
GEORGE.--No, it ain't: it's Captain Boxer's carriage [they run into
TOUCHIT.--And this is the pass to which you have brought yourself,
Horace Milliken! Why, in your wife's time, it was better than
this, my poor fellow!
MILLIKEN.--Don't speak of her in THAT way, George Touchit!
TOUCHIT.--What have I said? I am only regretting her loss for our
sake. She tyrannized over you; turned your friends out of doors;
took your name out of your clubs; dragged you about from party to
party, though you can no more dance than a bear, and from opera to
opera, though you don't know "God Save the Queen" from "Rule
Britannia." You don't, sir; you know you don't. But Arabella was
better than her mother, who has taken possession of you since your
MILLIKEN.--My dear fellow! no, she hasn't. There's MY mother.
TOUCHIT.--Yes, to be sure, there's Mrs. Bonnington, and they
quarrel over you like the two ladies over the baby before King
MILLIKEN.--Play the satirist, my good friend! laugh at my weakness!
TOUCHIT.--I know you to be as plucky a fellow as ever stepped,
Milliken, when a man's in the case. I know you and I stood up to
each other for an hour and a half at Westminster.
MILLIKEN.--Thank you! We were both dragons of war! tremendous
champions! Perhaps I am a little soft as regards women. I know my
weakness well enough; but in my case what is my remedy? Put
yourself in my position. Be a widower with two young children.
What is more natural than that the mother of my poor wife should
come and superintend my family? My own mother can't. She has a
half-dozen of little half brothers and sisters, and a husband of
her own to attend to. I dare say Mr. Bonnington and my mother will
come to dinner to-day.
TOUCHIT.--Of course they will, my poor old Milliken, you don't dare
to dine without them.
MILLIKEN.--Don't go on in that manner, George Touchit! Why should
not my step-father and my mother dine with me? I can afford it. I
am a domestic man and like to see my relations about me. I am in
the city all day.
TOUCHIT.--Luckily for you.
MILLIKEN.--And my pleasure of an evening is to sit under my own
vine and under my own fig-tree with my own olive-branches round
about me; to sit by my fire with my children at my knees: to coze
over a snug bottle of claret after dinner with a friend like you to
share it; to see the young folks at the breakfast-table of a
morning, and to kiss them and so off to business with a cheerful
heart. This was my scheme in marrying, had it pleased heaven to
prosper my plan. When I was a boy and came from school and
college, I used to see Mr. Bonnington, my father-in-law, with HIS
young ones clustering round about him, so happy to be with him! so
eager to wait on him! all down on their little knees round my
mother before breakfast or jumping up on his after dinner. It was
who should reach his hat, and who should bring his coat, and who
should fetch his umbrella, and who should get the last kiss.
TOUCHIT.--What? didn't he kiss YOU? Oh, the hard-hearted old ogre!
MILLIKEN.--DON'T, Touchit! Don't laugh at Mr. Bonnington! he is as
good a fellow as ever breathed. Between you and me, as my half
brothers and sisters increased and multiplied year after year, I
used to feel rather lonely, rather bowled out, you understand. But
I saw them so happy that I longed to have a home of my own. When
my mother proposed Arabella for me (for she and Lady Kicklebury
were immense friends at one time), I was glad enough to give up
clubs and bachelorhood, and to settle down as a married man. My
mother acted for the best. My poor wife's character, my mother
used to say, changed after marriage. I was not as happy as I hoped
to be; but I tried for it. George, I am not so comfortable now as
I might be. A house without a mistress, with two mothers-in-law
reigning over it--one worldly and aristocratic, another what you
call serious, though she don't mind a rubber of whist: I give you
my honor my mother plays a game at whist, and an uncommonly good
game too--each woman dragging over a child to her side: of course
such a family cannot be comfortable. [Bell rings.] There's the
first dinner-bell. Go and dress, for heaven's sake.
TOUCHIT.--Why dress? There is no company!
MILLIKEN.--Why? ah! her ladyship likes it, you see. And it costs
nothing to humor her. Quick, for she don't like to be kept
TOUCHIT.--Horace Milliken! what a pity it is the law declares a
widower shall not marry his wife's mother! She would marry you
else,--she would, on my word.
JOHN.--I have took the Captain's things in the blue room, sir.
[Exeunt gentlemen, JOHN arranges tables, &c.]
Ha! Mrs. Prior! I ain't partial to Mrs. Prior. I think she's an
artful old dodger, Mrs. Prior. I think there's mystery in her
unfathomable pockets, and schemes in the folds of her umbrella.
But--but she's Julia's mother, and for the beloved one's sake I am
civil to her.
MRS. PRIOR.--Thank you Charles [to the Page, who has been seen to
let her in at the garden-gate], I am so much obliged to you! Good
afternoon, Mr. Howell. Is my daughter--are the darling children
well? Oh, I am quite tired and weary! Three horrid omnibuses were
full, and I have had to walk the whole weary long way. Ah, times
are changed with me, Mr. Howell. Once when I was young and strong,
I had my husband's carriage to ride in.
JOHN [aside].--His carriage! his coal-wagon! I know well enough
who old Prior was. A merchant? yes, a pretty merchant! kep' a
lodging-house, share in a barge, touting for orders, and at last a
snug little place in the Gazette.
MRS. PRIOR.--How is your cough, Mr. Howell? I have brought you
some lozenges for it [takes numberless articles from her pocket],
and if you would take them of a night and morning--oh, indeed, you
would get better! The late Sir Henry Halford recommended them to
Mr. Prior. He was his late Majesty's physician and ours. You know
we have seen happier times, Mr. Howell. Oh, I am quite tired and
JOHN.--Will you take anything before the school-room tea, ma'am?
You will stop to tea, I hope, with Miss Prior, and our young folks?
MRS. PRIOR.--Thank you: a little glass of wine when one is so
faint--a little crumb of biscuit when one is so old and tired! I
have not been accustomed to want, you know; and in my poor dear Mr.
JOHN.--I'll fetch some wine, ma'am. [Exit to the dining-room.]
MRS. PRIOR.--Bless the man, how abrupt he is in his manner! He
quite shocks a poor lady who has been used to better days. What's
here? Invitations--ho! Bills for Lady Kicklebury! THEY are not
paid. Where is Mr. M. going to dine, I wonder? Captain and Mrs.
Hopkinson, Sir John and Lady Tomkinson, request the pleasure.
Request the pleasure! Of course they do. They are always asking
Mr. M. to dinner. They have daughters to marry, and Mr. M. is a
widower with three thousand a year, every shilling of it. I must
tell Lady Kicklebury. He must never go to these places--never,
never--mustn't be allowed. [While talking, she opens all the
letters on the table, rummages the portfolio and writing-box, looks
at cards on mantelpiece, work in work-basket, tries tea-box, and
shows the greatest activity and curiosity.]
Re-enter John, bearing a tray with cakes, a decanter, &c.
Thank you, thank you, Mr. Howell! Oh, oh, dear me, not so much as
that! Half a glass, and ONE biscuit, please. What elegant sherry!
[sips a little, and puts down glass on tray]. Do you know, I
remember in better days, Mr. Howell, when my poor dear husband--
JOHN.--Beg your pardon. There's Milliken's bell, going like mad.
MRS. PRIOR.--What an abrupt person! Oh, but it's comfortable, this
wine is! And--and I think how my poor Charlotte would like a
little--she so weak, and ordered wine by the medical man! And when
dear Adolphus comes home from Christ's Hospital, quite tired, poor
boy, and hungry, wouldn't a bit of nice cake do him good! Adolphus
is so fond of plum-cake, the darling child! And so is Frederick,
little saucy rogue; and I'll give them MY piece, and keep my glass
of wine for my dear delicate angel Shatty! [Takes bottle and paper
out of her pocket, cuts off a great slice of cake, and pours wine
from wine-glass and decanter into bottle.]
PAGE.--Master George and Miss Bella is going to have their teas
down here with Miss Prior, Mrs. Prior, and she's up in the school-
room, and my lady says you may stay to tea.
MRS. PRIOR.--Thank you, Charles! How tall you grow! Those
trousers would fit my darling Frederick to a nicety. Thank you,
Charles. I know the way to the nursery. [Exit Mrs. P.]
PAGE.--Know the way! I believe she DO know the way. Been a having
cake and wine. Howell always gives her cake and wine--jolly cake,
ain't it! and wine, oh, my!
JOHN.--You young gormandizing cormorant! What! five meals a day
ain't enough for you! What? beer ain't good enough for you, hey?
[Pulls boy's ears.]
PAGE [crying].--Oh, oh, do-o-n't, Mr. Howell. I only took half a
glass, upon my honor.
JOHN.--Your a-honor, you lying young vagabond! I wonder the ground
don't open and swallow you. Half a glass! [holds up decanter.]
You've took half a bottle, you young Ananias! Mark this, sir!
When I was a boy, a boy on my promotion, a child kindly took in
from charity-school, a horphan in buttons like you, I never lied;
no, nor never stole, and you've done both, you little scoundrel.
Don't tell ME, sir! there's plums on your coat, crumbs on your
cheek, and you smell sherry, sir! I ain't time to whop you now,
but come to my pantry to-night after you've took the tray down.
Come without your jacket on, sir, and then I'll teach you what it
is to lie and steal. There's the outer bell. Scud, you vagabond!
Enter LADY K.
LADY K.--What was that noise, pray?
JOHN.--A difference between me and young Page, my lady. I was
instructing him to keep his hands from picking and stealing. I was
learning him his lesson, my lady, and he was a-crying it out.
LADY K.--It seems to me you are most unkind to that boy, Howell.
He is my boy, sir. He comes from my estate. I will not have him
ill-used. I think you presume on your long services. I shall
speak to my son-in-law about you. ["Yes, my lady; no, my lady;
very good, my lady." John has answered each sentence as she is
speaking, and exit gravely bowing.] That man must quit the house.
Horace says he can't do without him, but he must do without him.
My poor dear Arabella was fond of him, but he presumes on that
defunct angel's partiality. Horace says this person keeps all his
accounts, sorts all his letters, manages all his affairs, may be
trusted with untold gold, and rescued little George out of the
fire. Now I have come to live with my son-in-law, I will keep his
accounts, sort his letters, and take charge of his money: and if
little Georgy gets into the grate, I will take him out of the fire.
What is here? Invitation from Captain and Mrs. Hopkinson.
Invitation from Sir John and Lady Tomkinson, who don't even ask me!
Monstrous! he never shall go--he shall not go! [MRS. PRIOR has re-
entered, she drops a very low curtsy to Lady K., as the latter,
perceiving her, lays the cards down.]
MRS. PRIOR.--Ah, dear madam! how kind your ladyship's message was
to the poor lonely widow woman! Oh, how thoughtful it was of your
ladyship to ask me to stay to tea!
LADY K.--With your daughter and the children? Indeed, my good Mrs.
Prior, you are very welcome!
MRS. PRIOR.--Ah! but isn't it a cause of thankfulness to be MADE
welcome? Oughtn't I to be grateful for these blessings?--yes, I
say BLESSINGS. And I am--I am, Lady Kicklebury--to the mother--
of--that angel who is gone [points to the picture]. It was your
sainted daughter left us--left my child to the care of Mr.
Milliken, and--and you, who are now his guardian angel I may say.
You ARE, Lady Kicklebury--you are. I say to my girl, Julia, Lady
Kicklebury is Mr. Milliken's guardian angel, is YOUR guardian
angel--for without you could she keep her place as governess to
these darling children? It would tear her heart in two to leave
them, and yet she would be forced to do so. You know that some
one--shall I hesitate to say whom I MEAN--that Mr. Milliken's
mother, excellent lady though she is, does not love my child
because YOU love her. You DO love her, Lady Kicklebury, and oh! a
mother's fond heart pays you back! But for you, my poor Julia must
go--go, and leave the children whom a dying angel confided to her!
LADY K.--Go! no, never! not whilst I am in this house, Mrs. Prior.
Your daughter is a well-behaved young woman: you have confided to
me her long engagement to Lieutenant--Lieutenant What-d'you-
call'im, in the Indian service. She has been very, very good to my
grandchildren--she brought them over from Naples when my--my angel
of an Arabella died there, and I will protect Miss Prior.
MRS. PRIOR.--Bless you, bless you, noble, admirable woman! Don't
take it away! I must, I WILL kiss your dear, generous hand! Take
a mother's, a widow's blessings, Lady Kicklebury--the blessings of
one who has known misfortune and seen better days, and thanks
heaven--yes, heaven!--for the protectors she has found!
LADY K.--You said--you had--several children, I think, my good Mrs.
MRS. PRIOR.--Three boys--one, my eldest blessing, is in a wine-
merchant's office--ah, if Mr. Milliken WOULD but give him an order!
an order from THIS house! an order from Lady Kicklebury's son-in-
LADY K.--It shall be done, my good Prior--we will see.
MRS. PRIOR.--Another, Adolphus, dear fellow! is in Christ's
Hospital. It was dear, good Mr. Milliken's nomination. Frederick
is at Merchant Taylor's: my darling Julia pays his schooling.
Besides, I have two girls--Amelia, quite a little toddles, just the
size, though not so beautiful--but in a mother's eyes all children
are lovely, dear Lady Kicklebury--just the size of your dear
granddaughter, whose clothes would fit her, I am sure. And my
second, Charlotte, a girl as tall as your ladyship, though not with
so fine a figure. "Ah, no, Shatty!" I say to her, "you are as tall
as our dear patroness, Lady Kicklebury, whom you long so to see;
but you have not got her ladyship's carriage and figure, child."
Five children have I, left fatherless and penniless by my poor dear
husband--but heaven takes care of the widow and orphan, madam--and
heaven's BEST CREATURES feed them!--YOU know whom I mean.
LADY K.--Should you not like, would you object to take--a frock or
two of little Arabella's to your child? and if Pinhorn, my maid,
will let me, Mrs. Prior, I will see if I cannot find something
against winter for your second daughter, as you say we are of a
MRS. PRIOR.--The widow's and orphans' blessings upon you! I said
my Charlotte was as tall, but I never said she had such a figure as
CHARLES.--Mrs. Bonnington! [Enter MRS. BONNINGTON.]
MRS. B.--How do you do, Lady Kicklebury?
LADY K.--My dear Mrs. Bonnington! and you come to dinner of course?
MRS. B.--To dine with my own son, I may take the liberty. How are
my grandchildren? my darling little Emily, is she well, Mrs. Prior?
LADY K. [aside].--Emily? why does she not call the child by her
blessed mother's name of Arabella? [To MRS. B.] ARABELLA is quite
well, Mrs. Bonnington. Mr. Squillings said it was nothing; only
her grandmamma Bonnington spoiling her, as usual. Mr. Bonnington
and all your numerous young folk are well, I hope?
MRS. B.--My family are all in perfect health, I thank you. Is
Horace come home from the city?
LADY K.--Goodness! there's the dinner-bell,--I must run to dress.
MRS. PRIOR.--Shall I come with you, dear Lady Kicklebury?
LADY K.--Not for worlds, my good Mrs. Prior. [Exit Lady K.]
MRS. PRIOR.--How do you do, my DEAR madam? Is dear Mr. Bonnington
QUITE well? What a sweet, sweet sermon he gave us last Sunday. I
often say to my girl, I must not go to hear Mr. Bonnington, I
really must not, he makes me cry so. Oh! he is a great and gifted
man, and shall I not have one glimpse of him?
MRS. B.--Saturday evening, my good Mrs. Prior. Don't you know that
my husband never goes out on Saturday, having his sermon to
MRS. P.--Oh, those dear, dear sermons! Do you know, madam, that my
little Adolphus, for whom your son's bounty procured his place at
Christ's Hospital, was very much touched indeed, the dear child,
with Mr. Bonnington's discourse last Sunday three weeks, and
refused to play marbles afterwards at school? The wicked, naughty
boys beat the poor child; but Adolphus has his consolation! Is
Master Edward well, ma'am, and Master Robert, and Master Frederick,
and dear little funny Master William?
MRS. B.--Thank you, Mrs. Prior; you have a good heart, indeed!
MRS. P.--Ah, what blessings those dears are to you! I wish your
dearest little GRANDSON---
MRS. B.--The little naughty wretch! Do you know, Mrs. Prior, my
grandson, George Milliken, spilt the ink over my dear husband's
bands, which he keeps in his great dictionary; and fought with my
child, Frederick, who is three years older than George--actually
beat his own uncle!
MRS. P.--Gracious mercy! Master Frederick was not hurt, I hope?
MRS. B.--No; he cried a great deal; and then Robert came up, and
that graceless little George took a stick; and then my husband came
out, and do you know George Milliken actually kicked Mr. Bonnington
on his shins, and butted him like a little naughty ram?
MRS. P.--Mercy! mercy! what a little rebel! He is spoiled, dear
madam, and you know by WHOM.
MRS. B.--By his grandmamma Kicklebury. I know it. I want my son
to whip that child, but he refuses. He will come to no good; that
MRS. P.--Ah, madam, don't say so! Let us hope for the best.
Master George's high temper will subside when certain persons who
pet him are gone away.
MRS. B.--Gone away! they never will go away! No, mark my words,
Mrs. Prior, that woman will never go away. She has made the house
her own: she commands everything and everybody in it. She has
driven me--me--Mr. Milliken's own mother--almost out of it. She
has so annoyed my dear husband, that Mr. Bonnington will scarcely
come here. Is she not always sneering at private tutors, because
Mr. Bonnington was my son's private tutor, and greatly valued by
the late Mr. Milliken? Is she not making constant allusions to old
women marrying young men, because Mr. Bonnington happens to be
younger than me? I have no words to express my indignation
respecting Lady Kicklebury. She never pays any one, and runs up
debts in the whole town. Her man Bulkeley's conduct in the
neighborhood is quite--quite--
MRS. P.--Gracious goodness, ma'am, you don't say so! And then what
an appetite the gormandizing monster has! Mary tells me that what
he eats in the servants' hall is something perfectly frightful.
MRS. B.--Everybody feeds on my poor son! You are looking at my
cap, Mrs. Prior? [During this time MRS. PRIOR has been peering
into a parcel which MRS. BONNINGTON brought in her hand.] I
brought it with me across the Park. I could not walk through the
Park in my cap. Isn't it a pretty ribbon, Mrs. Prior?
MRS. P.--Beautiful! beautiful? How blue becomes you! Who would
think you were the mother of Mr. Milliken and seven other darling
children? You can afford what Lady Kicklebury cannot.
MRS. B.--And what is that, Prior? A poor clergyman's wife, with a
large family, cannot afford much.
MRS. P.--He! he! You can afford to be seen as you are, which Lady
K. cannot. Did you not remark how afraid she seemed lest I should
enter her dressing-room? Only Pinhorn, her maid, goes there, to
arrange the roses, and the lilies, and the figure--he! he! Oh,
what a sweet, sweet cap-ribbon! When you have worn it, and are
tired of it, you will give it me, won't you? It will be good
enough for poor old Martha Prior!
MRS. B.--Do you really like it? Call at Greenwood Place, Mrs.
Prior, the next time you pay Richmond a visit, and bring your
little girl with you, and we will see.
MRS. P.--Oh, thank you! thank you! Nay, don't be offended! I
must! I must! [Kisses MRS. BONNINGTON.]
MRS. B.--There, there! We must not stay chattering! The bell has
rung. I must go and put the cap on, Mrs. Prior.
MRS. P.--And I may come too? YOU are not afraid of my seeing your
hair, dear Mrs. Bonnington! Mr. Bonnington too young for YOU!
Why, you don't look twenty!
MRS. B.--Oh, Mrs. Prior!
MRS. P.--Well, five-and-twenty, upon my word--not more than five-
and-twenty--and that is the very prime of life. [Exeunt Mrs. B.
and Mrs. P., hand in hand. As Captain TOUCHIT enters, dressed for
dinner, he bows and passes on.]
TOUCHIT.--So, we are to wear our white cravats, and our varnished
boots, and dine in ceremony. What is the use of a man being a
widower, if he can't dine in his shooting-jacket? Poor Mill! He
has the slavery now without the wife. [He speaks sarcastically to
the picture.] Well, well! Mrs. Milliken! YOU, at any rate, are
gone; and with the utmost respect for you, I like your picture even
better than the original. Miss Prior!
Enter Miss PRIOR.
MISS PRIOR.--I beg pardon. I thought you were gone to dinner. I
heard the second bell some time since. [She is drawing back.]
TOUCHIT.--Stop! I say, Julia! [She returns, he looks at her, takes
her hand.] Why do you dress yourself in this odd poky way? You
used to be a very smartly dressed girl. Why do you hide your hair,
and wear such a dowdy, high gown, Julia?
JULIA.--You mustn't call me Julia, Captain Touchit.
TOUCHIT.--Why? when I lived in your mother's lodging, I called you
Julia. When you brought up the tea, you didn't mind being called
Julia. When we used to go to the play with the tickets the Editor
gave us, who lived on the second floor--
JULIA.--The wretch!--don't speak of him!
TOUCHIT.--Ah! I am afraid he was a sad deceiver, that Editor. He
was a very clever fellow. What droll songs he used to sing! What
a heap of play-tickets, diorama-tickets, concert-tickets, he used
to give you! Did he touch your heart, Julia?
JULIA.--Fiddlededee! No man ever touched my heart, Captain
TOUCHIT.--What! not even Tom Flight, who had the second floor after
the Editor left it--and who cried so bitterly at the idea of going
out to India without you? You had a tendre for him--a little
passion--you know you had. Why, even the ladies here know it.
Mrs. Bonnington told me that you were waiting for a sweetheart in
India to whom you were engaged; and Lady Kicklebury thinks you are
dying in love for the absent swain.
JULIA.--I hope--I hope--you did not contradict them, Captain
TOUCHIT.--Why not, my dear?
JULIA.--May I be frank with you? You were a kind, very kind friend
to us--to me, in my youth.
TOUCHIT.--I paid my lodgings regularly, and my bills without asking
questions. I never weighed the tea in the caddy, or counted the
lumps of sugar, or heeded the rapid consumption of my liqueur--
JULIA.--Hush, hush! I know they were taken. I know you were very
good to us. You helped my poor papa out of many a difficulty.
TOUCHIT [aside].--Tipsy old coal-merchant! I did, and he helped
JULIA.--And you were always our best friend, Captain Touchit. When
our misfortunes came, you got me this situation with Mrs. Milliken--
and, and--don't you see?--
JULIA [laughing].--I think it is best, under the circumstances,
that the ladies here should suppose I am engaged to be married--or
or, they might be--might be jealous, you understand. Women are
sometimes jealous of others,--especially mothers and mothers-in-
TOUCHIT.--Oh, you arch schemer! And it is for that you cover up
that beautiful hair of yours, and wear that demure cap?
JULIA [slyly].--I am subject to rheumatism in the head, Captain
TOUCHIT.--It is for that you put on the spectacles, and make
yourself look a hundred years old?
JULIA.--My eyes are weak, Captain Touchit.
TOUCHIT.--Weak with weeping for Tom Flight. You hypocrite! Show
me your eyes!
TOUCHIT.--Show me your eyes, I say, or I'll tell about Tom Flight
and that he has been married at Madras these two years.
MISS P.--Oh, you horrid man! [takes glasses off.] There.
TOUCHIT.--Translucent orbs! beams of flashing light! lovely lashes
veiling celestial brightness! No, they haven't cried much for Tom
Flight, that faithless captain! nor for Lawrence O'Reilly, that
killing Editor. It is lucky you keep the glasses on them, or they
would transfix Horace Milliken, my friend the widower here. DO you
always wear them when you are alone with him?
MISS P.--I never AM alone with him. Bless me! If Lady Kicklebury
thought my eyes were--well, well--you know what I mean,--if she
thought her son-in-law looked at me, I should be turned out of
doors the next day, I am sure I should. And then, poor Mr.
Milliken! he never looks at ME--heaven help him! Why, he can't see
me for her ladyship's nose and awful caps and ribbons! He sits and
looks at the portrait yonder, and sighs so. He thinks that he is
lost in grief for his wife at this very moment.
TOUCHIT.--What a woman that was--eh, Julia--that departed angel!
What a temper she had before her departure!
MISS P.--But the wind was tempered to the lamb. If she was angry--
the lamb was so very lamblike, and meek, and fleecy.
TOUCHIT.--And what a desperate flirt the departed angel was! I
knew half a dozen fellows, before her marriage, whom she threw
over, because Milliken was so rich.
MISS P.--She was consistent at least, and did not change after
marriage, as some ladies do; but flirted, as you call it, just as
much as before. At Paris, young Mr. Verney, the attache, was never
out of the house: at Rome, Mr. Beard, the artist, was always
drawing pictures of her: at Naples, when poor Mr. M. went away to
look after his affairs at St. Petersburg, little Count Posilippo
was for ever coming to learn English and practise duets. She
scarcely ever saw the poor children--[changing her manner as Lady
KICKLEBURY enters] Hush--my lady!
TOUCHIT.--You may well say, "poor children," deprived of such a
woman! Miss Prior, whom I knew in very early days--as your
ladyship knows--was speaking--was speaking of the loss our poor
LADY K.--Ah, sir, what a loss! [looking at the picture.]
TOUCHIT.--What a woman she was--what a superior creature!
LADY K.--A creature--an angel!
TOUCHIT.--Mercy upon us! how she and my lady used to quarrel!
[aside.] What a temper!
LADY K.--Hm--oh, yes--what a temper [rather doubtfully at first].
TOUCHIT.--What a loss to Milliken and the darling children!
MISS PRIOR.--Luckily they have YOU with them madam.
LADY K.--And I will stay with them, Miss Prior; I will stay with
them! I will never part from Horace, I am determined.
MISS P.--Ah! I am very glad you stay, for if I had not YOU for a
protector, I think you know I must go, Lady Kicklebury. I think
you know there are those who would forget my attachment to these
darling children, my services to--to her--and dismiss the poor
governess. But while you stay I can stay, dear Lady Kicklebury!
With you to defend me from jealousy I need not QUITE be afraid.
LADY K.--Of Mrs. Bonnington? Of Mr. Milliken's mother; of the
parson's wife who writes out his stupid sermons, and has half a
dozen children of her own? I should think NOT indeed! I am the
natural protector of these children. I am their mother. I have no
husband! You STAY in this house, Miss Prior. You are a faithful,
attached creature--though you were sent in by somebody I don't like
very much [pointing to TOUCHIT, who went off laughing when JULIA
began her speech, and is now looking at prints, &c., in next room].
MISS P.--Captain Touchit may not be in all things what one could
wish. But his kindness has formed the happiness of my life in
making me acquainted with YOU, ma'am: and I am sure you would not
have me be ungrateful to him.
LADY K.--A most highly principled young woman. [Goes out in garden
and walks up and down with Captain TOUCHIT.]
Enter Mrs. BONNINGTON.
MISS P.--Oh, how glad I am you are come, Mrs. Bonnington. Have you
brought me that pretty hymn you promised me? You always keep your
promises, even to poor governesses. I read dear Mr. Bonnington's
sermon! It was so interesting that I really could not think of
going to sleep until I had read it all through; it was delightful,
but oh! it's still better when he preaches it! I hope I did not do
wrong in copying a part of it? I wish to impress it on the
children. There are some worldly influences at work with them,
dear madam [looking at Lady K. in the garden], which I do my feeble
effort to--to modify. I wish YOU could come oftener.
MRS. B.--I will try, my dear--I will try. Emily has sweet
MISS P.--Ah, she takes after her grandmamma Bonnington!
MRS. B.--But George was sadly fractious just now in the school-room
because I tried him with a tract.
MISS P.--Let us hope for better times! Do be with your children,
dear Mrs. Bonnington, as constantly as ever you can, for MY sake as
well as theirs! I want protection and advice as well as they do.
The GOVERNESS, dear lady, looks up to you as well as the pupils;
SHE wants the teaching which you and dear Mr. Bonnington can give
her! Ah, why could not Mr. and Mrs. Bonnington come and live here,
I often think? The children would have companions in their dear
young uncles and aunts; so pleasant it would be. The house is
quite large enough; that is, if her ladyship did not occupy the
three south rooms in the left wing. Ah, why, WHY couldn't you
MRS. B.--You are a kind, affectionate creature, Miss Prior. I do
not very much like the gentleman who recommended you to Arabella,
you know. But I do think he sent my son a good governess for his
Two Ladies walk up and down in front garden.
TOUCHIT.--Miss Julia Prior, you are a wonder! I watch you with
respect and surprise.
MISS P.--Me! what have I done? a poor friendless governess--respect
TOUCHIT.--I have a mind to tell those two ladies what I think of
Miss Julia Prior. If they knew you as I know you, O Julia Prior,
what a short reign yours would be!
MISS P.--I have to manage them a little. Each separately it is not
so difficult. But when they are together, oh, it is very hard
Enter MILLIKEN dressed, shakes hands with Miss P.
MILLIKEN.--Miss Prior! are you well? Have the children been good?
and learned all their lessons?
MISS P.--The children are pretty good, sir.
MILLIKEN.--Well, that's a great deal as times go. Do not bother
them with too much learning, Miss Prior. Let them have an easy
life. Time enough for trouble when age comes.
JOHN.--Dinner, sir. [And exit.]
MILLIKEN.--Dinner, ladies. My Lady Kicklebury (gives arm to Lady K).
LADY K.--My dear Horace, you SHOULDN'T shake hands with Miss Prior.
You should keep people of that class at a distance, my dear
creature. [They go in to dinner, Captain TOUCHIT following with
Mrs. BONNINGTON. As they go out, enter MARY with children's tea-
tray, &c., children following, and after them Mrs. PRIOR. MARY
gives her tea.]
MRS. PRIOR.--Thank you, Mary! You are so very kind! Oh, what
GEORGY.--I say, Mrs. Prior, I dare say you would like to dine best,
MRS. P.--Bless you, my darling love, I had my dinner at one o'clock
with my children at home.
GEORGY.--So had we: but we go in to dessert very often; and then
don't we have cakes and oranges and candied-peel and macaroons and
things! We are not to go in to-day; because Bella ate so many
strawberries she made herself ill.
BELLA.--So did you.
GEORGY.--I'm a man, and men eat more than women, twice as much as
women. When I'm a man I'll eat as much cake as ever I like. I
say, Mary, give us the marmalade.
MRS. P.--Oh, what nice marmalade! I know of some poor children--
MISS P.--Mamma! don't, mamma [in an imploring tone].
MRS. P.--I know of two poor children at home, who have very seldom
nice marmalade and cake, young people.
GEORGE.--You mean Adolphus and Frederick and Amelia, your children.
Well, they shall have marmalade and cake.
BELLA.--Oh, yes! I'll give them mine.
MRS. P.--Darling, dearest child!
GEORGE [his mouth full].--I won't give 'em mine: but they can have
another pot, you know. You have always got a basket with you, Mrs.
Prior. I know you have. You had it that day you took the cold
MRS. P.--For the poor blind black man! oh, how thankful he was!
GEORGE.--I don't know whether it was for a black man. Mary, get us
another pot of marmalade.
MARY.--I don't know, Master George.
GEORGE.--I WILL have another pot of marmalade. If you don't, I'll--
I'll smash everything--I will.
BELLA.--Oh, you naughty, rude boy!
GEORGE.--Hold YOUR tongue! I WILL have it. Mary shall go and get
MRS. P.--Do humor him, Mary; and I'm sure my poor children at home
will be the better for it.
GEORGE.--There's your basket! now put this cake in, and this pat of
butter, and this sugar. Hurray, hurray! Oh, what jolly fun! Tell
Adolphus and Amelia I sent it to them--tell 'em they shall never
want for anything as long as George Kicklebury Milliken, Esq., can
give it 'em. Did Adolphus like my gray coat that I didn't want?
MISS P.--You did not give him your new gray coat?
GEORGE.--Don't you speak to me; I'm going to school--I'm not going
to have no more governesses soon.
MRS. P.--Oh, my dear Master George, what a nice coat it is, and how
well my poor boy looked in it!
MISS P.--Don't, mamma! I pray and entreat you not to take the
Enter JOHN from dining-room with a tray.
JOHN.--Some cream, some jelly, a little champagne, Miss Prior; I
thought you might like some.
GEORGE.--Oh, jolly! give us hold of the jelly! give us a glass of
JOHN.--I will not give you any.
GEORGE.--I'll smash every glass in the room if you don't; I'll cut
my fingers; I'll poison myself--there! I'll eat all this sealing-
wax if you don't, and it's rank poison, you know it is.
MRS. P.--My dear Master George! [Exit JOHN.]
GEORGE.--Ha, ha! I knew you'd give it me; another boy taught me
BELLA.--And a very naughty, rude boy.
GEORGE.--He, he, he! hold your tongue Miss! And said he always got
wine so; and so I used to do it to my poor mamma, Mrs. Prior.
Usedn't to like mamma much.
BELLA.--Oh, you wicked boy!
GEORGY.--She usedn't to see us much. She used to say I tried her
nerves: what's nerves, Mrs. Prior? Give us some more champagne!
Will have it. Ha, ha, ha! ain't it jolly? Now I'll go out and
have a run in the garden. [Runs into garden].
MRS. P.--And you, my dear?
BELLA.--I shall go and resume the perusal of the "Pilgrim's
Progress," which my grandpapa, Mr. Bonnington, sent me. [Exit
MISS P.--How those children are spoilt! Goodness; what can I do?
If I correct one, he flies to grandmamma Kicklebury; if I speak to
another, she appeals to grandmamma Bonnington. When I was alone
with them, I had them in something like order. Now, between the
one grandmother and the other, the children are going to ruin, and
so would the house too, but that Howell--that odd, rude, but honest
and intelligent creature, I must say--keeps it up. It is wonderful
how a person in his rank of life should have instructed himself so.
He really knows--I really think he knows more than I do myself.
MRS. P.--Julia dear!
MISS P.--What is it, mamma?
MRS. P.--Your little sister wants some underclothing sadly, Julia
dear, and poor Adolphus's shoes are quite worn out.
MISS P.--I thought so; I have given you all I could, mamma.
MRS. P.--Yes, my love! you are a good love, and generous, heaven
knows, to your poor old mother who has seen better days. If we had
not wanted, would I have ever allowed you to be a governess--a poor
degraded governess? If that brute O'Reilly who lived on our second
floor had not behaved so shamefully wicked to you, and married Miss
Flack, the singer, might you not have been Editress of the Champion
of Liberty at this very moment, and had your Opera box every night?
[She drinks champagne while talking, and excites herself.]
MISS P.--Don't take that, mamma.
MRS. P.--Don't take it? why, it costs nothing; Milliken can afford
it. Do you suppose I get champagne every day? I might have had it
as a girl when I first married your father, and we kep' our gig and
horse, and lived at Clapham, and had the best of everything. But
the coal-trade is not what it was, Julia. We met with misfortunes,
Julia, and we went into poverty: and your poor father went into the
Bench for twenty-three months--two year all but a month he did--and
my poor girl was obliged to dance at the "Coburg Theatre"--yes you
were, at ten shillings a week, in the Oriental ballet of "The
Bulbul and the Rose:" you were, my poor darling child.
MISS P.--Hush, hush, mamma!
MRS. P.--And we kep' a lodging-house in Bury Street, St. James's,
which your father's brother furnished for us, who was an extensive
oil-merchant. He brought you up; and afterwards he quarrelled with
my poor James, Robert Prior did, and he died, not leaving us a
shilling. And my dear eldest boy went into a wine-merchant's
office: and my poor darling Julia became a governess, when you had
had the best of education at Clapham; you had, Julia. And to think
that you were obliged, my blessed thing, to go on in the Oriental
ballet of "The Rose and the Bul--"
MISS P.--Mamma, hush, hush! forget that story.
Enter Page from dining-room.
PAGE.--Miss Prior! please, the ladies are coming from the dining-
room. Mrs. B. have had her two glasses of port, and her ladyship
is now a-telling the story about the Prince of Wales when she
danced with him at Canton House. [Exit Page.]
MISS P.--Quick, quick! There, take your basket! Put on your
bonnet, and good-night, mamma. Here, here is a half sovereign and
three shillings; it is all the money I have in the world; take it,
and buy the shoes for Adolphus.
MRS. P.--And the underclothing, my love--little Amelia's
MISS P.--We will see about it. Good-night [kisses her]. Don't be
seen here,--Lady K. doesn't like it.
Enter Gentlemen and Ladies from dining-room.
LADY K.--We follow the Continental fashion. We don't sit after
dinner, Captain Touchit.
CAPTAIN T.--Confound the Continental fashion! I like to sit a
little while after dinner [aside].
MRS. B.--So does my dear Mr. Bonnington, Captain Touchit. He likes
a little port-wine after dinner.
TOUCHIT.--I'm not surprised at it, ma am.
MRS. B.--When did you say your son was coming, Lady Kicklebury?
LADY K.--My Clarence! He will be here immediately, I hope, the
dear boy. You know my Clarence?
LADY K.--And like him, I'm sure, Captain Touchit! Everybody does
like Clarence Kicklebury.
TOUCHIT.--The confounded young scamp! I say, Horace, do you like
MILLIKEN.--Well--I--I can't say--I--like him--in fact, I don't.
But that's no reason why his mother shouldn't. [During this,
HOWELL, preceded by BULKELEY, hands round coffee. The garden
without has darkened, as if evening. BULKELEY is going away
without offering coffee to Miss PRIOR. JOHN stamps on his foot,
and points to her. Captain TOUCHIT, laughing, goes up and talks to
her now the servants are gone.]
MRS. B.--Horace! I must tell you that the waste at your table is
shocking. What is the need of opening all this wine? You and Lady
Kicklebury were the only persons who took champagne.
TOUCHIT.--I never drink it--never touch the rubbish! Too old a
LADY K.--Port, I think, is your favorite, Mrs. Bonnington?
MRS. B.--My dear lady, I do not mean that you should not have
champagne, if you like. Pray, pray, don't be angry! But why on
earth, for you, who take so little, and Horace, who only drinks it
to keep you company, should not Howell open a pint instead of a
great large bottle?
LADY K.--Oh, Howell! Howell! We must not mention Howell, my dear
Mrs. Bonnington. Howell is faultless! Howell has the keys of
everything! Howell is not to be controlled in anything! Howell is
to be at liberty to be rude to my servant!
MILLIKEN.--Is that all? I am sure I should have thought your man
was big enough to resent any rudeness from poor little Howell.
LADY K.--Horace! Excuse me for saying that you don't know--the--
the class of servant to whom Bulkeley belongs. I had him, as a
great favor, from Lord Toddleby. That class of servant is
accustomed generally not to go out single.
MILLIKEN.--Unless they are two behind a carriage-perch they pine
away, as one love-bird does without his mate!
LADY K.--No doubt! no doubt! I only say you are not accustomed
here--in this kind of establishment, you understand--to that class
MRS. B.--Lady Kicklebury! is my son's establishment not good enough
for any powdered monster in England? Is the house of a British
LADY K.--My dear creature! my dear creature! it IS the house of a
British merchant, and a very comfortable house.
MRS. B.--Yes, as you find it.
LADY K.--Yes, as I find it, when I come to take care of my
departed, angel's children, Mrs. Bonnington--[pointing to picture]--
of THAT dear seraph's orphans, Mrs. Bonnington. YOU cannot. You
have other duties--other children--a husband at home in delicate
MRS. B.--Lady Kicklebury, no one shall say I don't take care of my
MILLIKEN.--My dear mother! My dear Lady Kicklebury! [To T., who
has come forward.] They spar so every night they meet, Touchit.
Ain't it hard?
LADY K.--I say you DO take care of Mr. Bonnington, Mrs. Bonnington,
my dear creature! and that is why you can't attend to Horace. And
as he is of a very easy temper--except sometimes with his poor
Arabella's mother--he allows all his tradesmen to cheat him, all
his servants to cheat him, Howell to be rude to everybody--to me
amongst other people, and why not to my servant Bulkeley, with whom
Lord Toddleby's groom of the chambers gave me the very highest
MRS. B.--I'm surprised that noblemen HAVE grooms in their chambers.
I should think they were much better in the stables. I am sure I
always think so when we dine with Doctor Clinker. His man does
bring such a smell of the stable with him.
LADY K.--He! he! you mistake, my dearest creature! Your poor
mother mistakes, my good Horace. You have lived in a quiet and
most respectable sphere--but not--not--
MRS. B.--Not what, Lady Kicklebury? We have lived at Richmond
twenty years--in my late husband's time--when we saw a great deal
of company, and when this dear Horace was a dear boy at Westminster
School. And we have PAID for everything we have had for twenty
years, and we have owed not a penny to any TRADESMAN, though we
mayn't have had POWDERED FOOTMEN SIX FEET HIGH, who were
impertinent to all the maids in the place--Don't! I WILL speak,
Horace--but servants who loved us, and who lived in our families.
MILLIKEN.--Mamma, now, my dear, good old mother! I am sure Lady
Kicklebury meant no harm.
LADY K.--Me! my dear Horace! harm! What harm could I mean?
MILLIKEN.--Come! let us have a game at whist. Touchit, will you
make a fourth? They go on so every night almost. Ain't it a pity,
TOUCHIT.--Miss Prior generally plays, doesn't she?
MILLIKEN.--And a very good player, too. But I thought you might
TOUCHIT.--Well, not exactly. I don't like sixpenny points, Horace,
or quarrelling with old dragons about the odd trick. I will go and
smoke a cigar on the terrace, and contemplate the silver Thames,
the darkling woods, the starry hosts of heaven. I--I like smoking
better than playing whist. [MILLIKEN rings bell.]
MILLIKEN.--Ah, George! you're not fit for domestic felicity.
TOUCHIT.--No, not exactly.
MILLIKEN.--Lights and a whist-table. Oh, I see you bring 'em. You
know everything I want. He knows everything I want, Howell does.
Let us cut. Miss Prior, you and I are partners!
LADY K.--Don't smoke, you naughty boy. I don't like it. Besides,
it will encourage your brother-in-law to smoke.
CLARENCE K.--Anything to oblige you, I'm sure. But can't do
without it, mother; it's good for my health. When I was in the
Plungers, our doctor used to say, "You ought never to smoke more
than eight cigars a day"--an order, you know, to do it--don't you
LADY K.--Ah, my child! I am very glad you are not with those
unfortunate people in the East.
K.--So am I. Sold out just in time. Much better fun being here,
than having the cholera at Scutari. Nice house, Milliken's. Snob,
but good fellow--good cellar, doosid good cook. Really, that salmi
yesterday,--couldn't have it better done at the "Rag" now. You
have got into good quarters here, mother.
LADY K.--The meals are very good, and the house is very good; the
manners are not of the first order. But what can you expect of
city people? I always told your poor dear sister, when she married
Mr. Milliken, that she might look for everything substantial,--but
not manners. Poor dear Arabella WOULD marry him.
K.--Would! that is a good one, mamma! Why, you made her! It's a
dozen years ago. But I recollect, when I came home from Eton,
seeing her crying because Charley Tufton--
LADY K.--Mr. Tufton had not a shilling to bless himself with. The
marriage was absurd and impossible.
K.--He hadn't a shilling then. I guess he has plenty now. Elder
brother killed, out hunting. Father dead. Tuf a baronet, with
four thousand a year if he's a shilling.
LADY K.--Not so much.
K.--Four thousand if it's a shilling. Why, the property adjoins
Kicklebury's--I ought to know. I've shot over it a thousand times.
Heh! I remember, when I was quite a young 'un, how Arabella used to
go out into Tufton Park to meet Charley--and he is a doosid good
fellow, and a gentlemanlike fellow, and a doosid deal better than
this city fellow.
LADY K.--If you don't like this city fellow, Clarence, why do you
come here? why didn't you stop with your elder brother at
K.--Why didn't I? Why didn't YOU stop at Kicklebury, mamma?
Because you had notice to quit. Serious daughter-in-law, quarrels
about management of the house--row in the building. My brother
interferes, and politely requests mamma to shorten her visit. So
it is with your other two daughters; so it was with Arabella when
she was alive. What shindies you used to have with her, Lady
Kicklebury! Heh! I had a row with my brother and sister about a
confounded little nursery-maid.
K.--And so I had notice to quit too. And I'm in very good quarters
here, and I intend to stay in 'em, mamma. I say--
LADY K.--What do you say?
K.--Since I sold out, you know, and the regiment went abroad,
confound me, the brutes at the "Rag" will hardly speak to me! I
was so ill, I couldn't go. Who the doose can live the life I've
led and keep health enough for that infernal Crimea? Besides, how
could I help it? I was so cursedly in debt that I was OBLIGED to
have the money, you know. YOU hadn't got any.
LADY K.--Not a halfpenny, my darling. I am dreadfully in debt
K.--I know you are. So am I. My brother wouldn't give me any, not
a dump. Hang him! Said he had his children to look to. Milliken
wouldn't advance me any more--said I did him in that horse
transaction. He! he! he! so I did! What had I to do but to sell
out? And the fellows cut me, by Jove. Ain't it too bad? I'll
take my name off the "Rag," I will, though.
LADY K.--We must sow our wild oats, and we must sober down; and we
must live here, where the living is very good and very cheap,
Clarence, you naughty boy! And we must get you a rich wife. Did
you see at church yesterday that young woman in light green, with
rather red hair and a pink bonnet?
K.--I was asleep, ma'am, most of the time, or I was bookin' up the
odds for the Chester Cup. When I'm bookin' up, I think of nothin'
LADY K.--That was Miss Brocksopp--Briggs, Brown and Brocksopp, the
great sugar-bakers. They say she will have eighty thousand pound.
We will ask her to dinner here.
K.--I say--why the doose do you have such old women to dinner here?
Why don't you get some pretty girls? Such a set of confounded old
frumps as eat Milliken's mutton I never saw. There's you, and his
old mother Mrs. Bonnington, and old Mrs. Fogram, and old Miss
What's-her-name, the woman with the squint eye, and that immense
Mrs. Crowder. It's so stoopid, that if it weren't for Touchit
coming down sometimes, and the billiards and boatin', I should die
here--expire, by gad! Why don't you have some pretty women into
the house, Lady Kicklebury?
LADY K.--Why! Do you think I want that picture taken down: and
another Mrs. Milliken? Wisehead! If Horace married again, would
he be your banker, and keep this house, now that ungrateful son of
mine has turned me out of his? No pretty woman shall come into the
house whilst I am here.
K.--Governess seems a pretty woman: weak eyes, bad figure, poky,
badly dressed, but doosid pretty woman.
LADY K.--Bah! There is no danger from HER. She is a most faithful
creature, attached to me beyond everything. And her eyes--her eyes
are weak with crying for some young man who is in India. She has
his miniature in her room, locked up in one of her drawers.
K.--Then how the doose did you come to see it?
LADY K.--We see a number of things, Clarence. Will you drive with
K.--Not as I knows on, thank you. No, Ma; drivin's TOO slow: and
you're goin' to call on two or three old dowagers in the Park?
Thank your ladyship for the delightful offer.
JOHN.--Please, sir, here's the man with the bill for the boats; two
K.--Damn it, pay it--don't bother ME!
JOHN.--Haven't got the money, sir.
LADY K.--Howell! I saw Mr. Milliken give you a cheque for twenty-
five pounds before he went into town this morning. Look sir [runs,
opens drawer, takes out cheque-book]. There it is, marked,
JOHN.--Would your ladyship like to step down into my pantry and see
what I've paid with the twenty-five pounds? Did my master leave
any orders that your ladyship was to inspect my accounts?
LADY K.--Step down into the pantry! inspect your accounts? I never
heard such impertinence. What do you mean, sir?
K.--Dammy, sir, what do you mean?
JOHN.--I thought as her ladyship kept a heye over my master's
private book, she might like to look at mine too.
LADY K.--Upon my word, this insolence is too much.
JOHN.--I beg your ladyship's pardon. I am sure I have said
K.--Said, sir! your manner is mutinous, by Jove, sir! if I had you
in the regiment!--
JOHN.--I understood that you had left the regiment, sir, just
before it went on the campaign, sir.
K.--Confound you, sir! [Starts up.]
LADY K.--Clarence, my child, my child!
JOHN.--Your ladyship needn't be alarmed; I'm a little man, my lady,
but I don't think Mr. Clarence was a-goin' for to hit me, my lady;
not before a lady, I'm sure. I suppose, sir, that you WON'T pay
K.--No, sir, I won't pay him, nor any man who uses this sort of
JOHN.--I told Rullocks, sir, I thought it was JEST possible you
K.--That's a nice man, that is--an impudent villain!
LADY K.--Ruined by Horace's weakness. He ruins everybody, poor
K.--Why don't you get rid of the blackguard?
LADY K.--There is a time for all things, my dear. This man is very
convenient to Horace. Mr. Milliken is exceedingly lazy, and Howell
spares him a great deal of trouble. Some day or other I shall take
all this domestic trouble off his hands. But not yet: your poor
brother-in-law is restive, like many weak men. He is subjected to
other influences: his odious mother thwarts me a great deal.
K.--Why, you used to be the dearest friends in the world. I
recollect when I was at Eton--
LADY K.--Were; but friendship don't last for ever. Mrs. Bonnington
and I have had serious differences since I came to live here: she
has a natural jealousy, perhaps, at my superintending her son's
affairs. When she ceases to visit at the house, as she very
possibly will, things will go more easily; and Mr. Howell will go
too, you may depend upon it. I am always sorry when my temper
breaks out, as it will sometimes.
K.--Won't it, that's all!
LADY K.--At his insolence, my temper is high; so is yours, my dear.
Calm it for the present, especially as regards Howell.
K.--Gad! d'you know I was very nearly pitching into him? But once,
one night in the Haymarket, at a lobster-shop, where I was with
some fellows, we chaffed some other fellows, and there was one
fellah--quite a little fellah--and I pitched into him, and he gave
me the most confounded lickin' I ever had in my life, since my
brother Kicklebury licked me when we were at Eton; and that, you
see, was a lesson to me, ma'am. Never trust those little fellows,
never chaff 'em: dammy, they may be boxers.
LADY K.--You quarrelsome boy! I remember you coming home with your
naughty head SO bruised. [Looks at watch.] I must go now to take
my drive. [Exit LADY K.]
K.--I owe a doose of a tick at that billiard-room; I shall have
that boatman dunnin' me. Why hasn't Milliken got any horses to
ride? Hang him! suppose he can't ride--suppose he's a tailor. He
ain't MY tailor, though, though I owe him a doosid deal of money.
There goes mamma with that darling nephew and niece of mine.
[Enter BULKELEY]. Why haven't you gone with my lady, you, sir?
BULKELEY.--My lady have a-took the pony-carriage, sir; Mrs.
Bonnington have a-took the hopen carriage and 'orses, sir, this
mornin', which the Bishop of London is 'olding a confirmation at
Teddington, sir, and Mr. Bonnington is attending the serimony. And
I have told Mr. 'Owell, sir, that my lady would prefer the hopen
carriage, sir, which I like the hexercise myself, sir, and that the
pony-carriage was good enough for Mrs. Bonnington, sir; and Mr.
'Owell was very hinsolent to me, sir; and I don't think I can stay
in the 'ouse with him.
K.--Hold your jaw, sir.
BULKELEY.--Yes, sir. [Exit BULKELEY.]
K.--I wonder who that governess is?--sang rather prettily last
night--wish she'd come and sing now--wish she'd come and amuse me--
I've seen her face before--where have I seen her face?--it ain't at
all a bad one. What shall I do? dammy, I'll read a book: I've not
read a book this ever so long. What's here? [looks amongst books,
selects one, sinks down in easy-chair so as quite to be lost.]
Enter Miss PRIOR.
MISS PRIOR.--There's peace in the house! those noisy children are
away with their grandmamma. The weather is beautiful, and I hope
they will take a long drive. Now I can have a quiet half-hour, and
finish that dear pretty "Ruth"--oh, how it makes me cry, that
pretty story. [Lays down her bonnet on table--goes to glass--takes
off cap and spectacles--arranges her hair--Clarence has got on
chair looking at her.]
K.--By Jove! I know who it is now! Remember her as well as
possible. Four years ago, when little Foxbury used to dance in the
ballet over the water. DON'T I remember her! She boxed my ears
behind the scenes, by jingo. [Coming forward]. Miss Pemberton!
Star of the ballet! Light of the harem! Don't you remember the
grand Oriental ballet of the "Bulbul and the Peri?"
MISS P.--Oh! [screams.] No, n--no, sir. You are mistaken: my name
is Prior. I--never was at the "Coburg Theatre." I--
K. [seizing her hand].--No, you don't, though! What! don't you
remember well that little hand slapping this face? which nature
hadn't then adorned with whiskers, by gad! You pretend you have
forgotten little Foxbury, whom Charley Calverley used to come
after, and who used to drive to the "Coburg" every night in her
brougham. How did you know it was the "Coburg?" That IS a good
one! HAD you there, I think.
MISS P.--Sir, in the name of heaven, pity me! I have to keep my
mother and my sisters and my brothers. When--when you saw me, we
were in great poverty; and almost all the wretched earnings I made
at that time were given to my poor father then lying in the Queen's
Bench hard by. You know there was nothing against my character--
you know there was not. Ask Captain Touchit whether I was not a
good girl. It was he who brought me to this house.
K.--Touchit! the old villain!
MISS P.--I had your sister's confidence. I tended her abroad on
her death-bed. I have brought up your nephew and niece. Ask any
one if I have not been honest? As a man, as a gentleman, I entreat
you to keep my secret! I implore you for the sake of my poor
mother and her children! [kneeling.]
K.--By Jove! how handsome you are! How crying becomes your eyes!
Get up; get up. Of course I'll keep your secret, but--
MISS P.--Ah! ah! [She screams as he tries to embrace her. HOWELL
HOWELL.--Hands off, you little villain! Stir a step and I'll kill
you, if you were a regiment of captains! What! insult this lady
who kept watch at your sister's death-bed and has took charge of
her children! Don't be frightened, Miss Prior. Julia--dear, dear
Julia--I'm by you. If the scoundrel touches you, I'll kill him.
I--I love you--there--it's here--love you madly--with all my 'art--
MISS P.--Howell--for heaven's sake, Howell!
K.--Pooh--ooh! [bursting with laughter]. Here's a novel, by jingo!
Here's John in love with the governess. Fond of plush, Miss
Pemberton--ey? Gad, it's the best thing I ever knew. Saved a good
bit, ey, Jeames? Take a public-house? By Jove! I'll buy my beer
JOHN.--Owe for it, you mean. I don't think your tradesmen profit
much by your custom, ex-Cornet Kicklebury.
K.--By Jove! I'll do for you, you villain!
JOHN.--No, not that way, Captain. [Struggles with and throws him.]
K. [screams.]--Hallo, Bulkeley! [Bulkeley is seen strolling in the
BULKELEY.--What is it, sir?
K.--Take this confounded villain off me, and pitch him into the
Thames--do you hear?
JOHN.--Come here, and I'll break every bone in your hulking body.
BULKELEY.--Come, come! whathever his hall this year row about?
MISS P.--For heaven's sake don't strike that poor man.
BULKELEY.--YOU be quiet. What's he a-hittin' about my master for?
JOHN.--Take off your hat, sir, when you speak to a lady. [Takes up
a poker.] And now come on, both of you, cowards! [Rushes at
BULKELEY and knocks his hat off his head.]
BULKELEY [stepping back].--If you'll put down that there poker, you
know, then I'll pitch into you fast enough. But that there poker
ain't fair, you know.
K.--You villain! of course you will leave this house. And, Miss
Prior, I think you understand that you will go too. I don't think
my niece wants to learn DANCIN', you understand. Good-by. Here,
Bulkeley! [Gets behind footman and exit.]
MISS P.--Do you know the meaning of that threat, Mr. Howell?
JOHN.--Yes, Miss Prior.
MISS P.--I was a dancer once, for three months, four years ago,
when my poor father was in prison.
JOHN.--Yes, Miss Prior, I knew it. And I saw you a many times.
MISS P.--And you kept my secret?
JOHN.--Yes, Ju--Jul--Miss Prior.
MISS P.--Thank you, and God bless you, John Howell. There, there.
You mustn't! indeed you mustn't!
JOHN.--You don't remember the printer's boy who used to come to Mr.
O'Reilly, and sit in your 'all in Bury Street, Miss Prior? I was
that boy. I was a country-bred boy--that is if you call Putney
country, and Wimbledon Common and that. I served the Milliken
family seven year. I went with Master Horace to college, and then
I revolted against service, and I thought I'd be a man and turn
printer like Doctor Frankling. And I got in an office: and I went
with proofs to Mr. O'Reilly, and I saw you. And though I might
have been in love with somebody else before I did--yet it was all
hup when I saw you.
MISS P. [kindly.]--YOU must not talk to me in that way, John
JOHN.--Let's tell the tale out. I couldn't stand the newspaper
night-work. I had a mother and brothers and sisters to keep, as
you had. I went back to Horace Milliken and said, Sir, I've lost
my work. I and mine want bread. Will you take me back again? And
he did. He's a kind, kind soul is my master.
MISS P.--He IS a kind, kind soul.
JOHN.--He's good to all the poor. His hand's in his pocket for
everybody. Everybody takes advantage of him. His mother-in-lor
rides over him. So does his Ma. So do I, I may say; but that's
over now; and you and I have had our notice to quit. Miss, I
JOHN.--I have saved a bit of money--not much--a hundred pound.
Miss Prior--Julia--here I am--look--I'm a poor feller--a poor
servant--but I've the heart of a man--and--I love you--oh! I love
MARY.--Oh ho--ho! [Mary has entered from garden, and bursts out
MISS P.--It can't be, John Howell--my dear, brave, kind John
Howell. It can't be. I have watched this for some time past, and
poor Mary's despair here. [Kisses Mary, who cries plentifully.]
You have the heart of a true, brave man, and must show it and prove
it now. I am not--am not of your pardon me for saying so--of your
class in life. I was bred by my uncle, away from my poor parents,
though I came back to them after his sudden death; and to poverty,
and to this dependent life I am now leading. I am a servant, like
you, John, but in another sphere--have to seek another place now;
and heaven knows if I shall procure one, now that that unlucky
passage in my life is known. Oh, the coward to recall it! the
MARY.--But John whopped him, Miss! that he did. He gave it him
well, John did. [Crying.]
MISS P.--You can't--you ought not to forego an attachment like
that, John Howell. A more honest and true-hearted creature never
breathed than Mary Barlow.
MISS P.--She has loved you since she was a little child. And you
loved her once, and do now, John.
MARY.--Oh, Miss! you hare a hangel,--I hallways said you were a
MISS P.--You are better than I am, my dear much, much better than I
am, John. The curse of my poverty has been that I have had to
flatter and to dissemble, and hide the faults of those I wanted to
help, and to smile when I was hurt, and laugh when I was sad, and
to coax, and to tack, and to bide my time,--not with Mr. Milliken:
he is all honor, and kindness, and simplicity. Who did HE ever
injure, or what unkind word did HE ever say? But do you think,
with the jealousy of those poor ladies over his house, I could have
stayed here without being a hypocrite to both of them? Go, John.
My good, dear friend, John Howell, marry Mary. You'll be happier
with her than with me. There! There! [They embrace.]
MARY.--O--o--o! I think I'll go and hiron hout Miss Harabella's
frocks now. [Exit MARY.]
Enter MILLIKEN with CLARENCE--who is explaining things to him.
CLARENCE.--Here they are, I give you my word of honor. Ask 'em,
MILLIKEN.--What is this I hear? You, John Howell, have dared to
strike a gentleman under my roof! Your master's brother-in-law?
JOHN.--Yes, by Jove! and I'd do it again.
MILLIKEN.--Are you drunk or mad, Howell?
JOHN.--I'm as sober and as sensible as ever I was in my life, sir--
I not only struck the master, but I struck the man, who's twice as
big, only not quite as big a coward, I think.
MILLIKEN.--Hold your scurrilous tongues sir! My good nature ruins
everybody about me. Make up your accounts. Pack your trunks--and
never let me see your face again.
JOHN.--Very good, sir.
MILLIKEN.--I suppose, Miss Prior, you will also be disposed to--to
follow Mr. Howell?
MISS P.--To quit you, now you know what has passed? I never
supposed it could be otherwise--I deceived you, Mr. Milliken--as I
kept a secret from you, and must pay the penalty. It is a relief
to me, the sword has been hanging over me. I wish I had told your
poor wife, as I was often minded to do.
MILLIKEN.--Oh, you were minded to do it in Italy, were you?
MISS P.--Captain Touchit knew it, sir, all along: and that my
motives and, thank God, my life were honorable.
MILLIKEN.--Oh, Touchit knew it, did he? and thought it honorable--
honorable. Ha! ha! to marry a footman--and keep a public-house?
I--I beg your pardon, John Howell--I mean nothing against you, you
know. You're an honorable man enough, except that you have been
damned insolent to my brother-in-law.
JOHN.--Oh, heaven! [JOHN strikes his forehead, and walks away.]
MISS P.--You mistake me, sir. What I wished to speak of was the
fact which this gentleman has no doubt communicated to you--that I
danced on the stage for three months.
MILLIKEN.--Oh, yes. Oh, damme, yes. I forgot. I wasn't thinking
KICKLEBURY.--You see she owns it.
MISS P.--We were in the depths of poverty. Our furniture and
lodging-house under execution--from which Captain Touchit, when he
came to know of our difficulties, nobly afterwards released us. My
father was in prison, and wanted shillings for medicine, and I--I
went and danced on the stage.
MISS P.--And I kept the secret afterwards; knowing that I could
never hope as governess to obtain a place after having been a
MILLIKEN.--Of course you couldn't,--it's out of the question; and
may I ask, are you going to resume that delightful profession when
you enter the married state with Mr. Howell?
MISS P.--Poor John! it is not I who am going to--that is, it's
Mary, the school-room maid.
MILLIKEN.--Eternal blazes! Have you turned Mormon, John Howell,
and are you going to marry the whole house?
JOHN.--I made a hass of myself about Miss Prior. I couldn't help
her being l--l--lovely.
KICK.--Gad, he proposed to her in my presence.
JOHN.--What I proposed to her, Cornet Clarence Kicklebury, was my
heart and my honor, and my best, and my everything--and you--you
wanted to take advantage of her secret, and you offered her
indignities, and you laid a cowardly hand on her--a cowardly hand!--
and I struck you, and I'd do it again.
MILLIKEN.--What? Is this true? [Turning round very fiercely to K.]
KICK.--Gad! Well--I only--
MILLIKEN.--You only what? You only insulted a lady under my roof--
the friend and nurse of your dead sister--the guardian of my
children. You only took advantage of a defenceless girl, and would
have extorted your infernal pay out of her fear. You miserable
sneak and coward!
KICK.--Hallo! Come, come! I say I won't stand this sort of chaff.
Dammy, I'll send a friend to you!
MILLIKEN.--Go out of that window, sir. March! or I will tell my
servant, John Howell, to kick you out, you wretched little scamp!
Tell that big brute,--what's-his-name?--Lady Kicklebury's man, to
pack this young man's portmanteau and bear's-grease pots; and if
ever you enter these doors again, Clarence Kicklebury, by the
heaven that made me!--by your sister who is dead!--I will cane your
life out of your bones. Angel in heaven! Shade of my Arabella--to
think that your brother in your house should be found to insult the
guardian of your children!
JOHN.--By jingo, you're a good-plucked one! I knew he was, Miss,--
I told you he was. [Exit, shaking hands with his master, and with
Miss P., and dancing for joy. Exit CLARENCE, scared, out of
JOHN [without].--Bulkeley! pack up the Capting's luggage!
MILLIKEN.--How can I ask your pardon, Miss Prior? In my wife's
name I ask it--in the name of that angel whose dying-bed you
watched and soothed--of the innocent children whom you have
faithfully tended since.
MISS P.--Ah, sir! it is granted when you speak so to me.
MILLIKEN.--Eh, eh--d--don't call me sir!
MISS P.--It is for me to ask pardon for hiding what you know now:
but if I had told you--you--you never would have taken me into your
house--your wife never would.
MILLIKEN.--No, no. [Weeping.]
MISS P.--My dear, kind Captain Touchit knows it all. It was by his
counsel I acted. He it was who relieved our distress. Ask him
whether my conduct was not honorable--ask him whether my life was
not devoted to my parents--ask him when--when I am gone.
MILLIKEN.--When you are gone, Julia! Why are you going? Why
should you go, my love--that is--why need you go, in the devil's
MISS P.--Because, when your mother--when your mother-in-law come to
hear that your children's governess has been a dancer on the stage,
they will send me away, and you will not have the power to resist
them. They ought to send me away, sir; but I have acted honestly
by the children and their poor mother, and you'll think of me
MILLIKEN.--Julia, my dearest--dear--noble--dar--the devil! here's
Enter Lady K., Children, and CLARENCE.
LADY K.--So, Miss Prior! this is what I hear, is it? A dancer in
my house! a serpent in my bosom--poisoning--yes, poisoning those
blessed children! occasioning quarrels between my own son and my
dearest son-in-law; flirting with the footman! When do you intend
to leave, madam, the house which you have po--poll--luted?
MISS P.--I need no hard language, Lady Kicklebury: and I will reply
to none. I have signified to Mr. Milliken my wish to leave his
MILLIKEN.--Not, not, if you will stay. [To Miss P.]
LADY K.--Stay, Horace! she shall NEVER stay as governess in this
MILLIKEN.--Julia! will you stay as mistress? You have known me
for a year alone--before, not so well--when the house had a
mistress that is gone. You know what my temper is, and that my
tastes are simple, and my heart not unkind. I have watched you,
and have never seen you out of temper, though you have been tried.
I have long thought you good and beautiful, but I never thought to
ask the question which I put to you now:--come in, sir! [to
CLARENCE at door]:--now that you have been persecuted by those who
ought to have upheld you, and insulted by those who owed you
gratitude and respect. I am tired of their domination, and as
weary of a man's cowardly impertinence [to CLARENCE] as of a
woman's jealous tyranny. They have made what was my Arabella's
home miserable by their oppression and their quarrels. Julia! my
wife's friend, my children's friend! be mine, and make me happy!
Don't leave me, Julia! say you won't--say you won't--dearest--
MISS P.--I won't--leave--you.
GEORGE [without].--Oh, I say! Arabella, look here: here's papa
a-kissing Miss Prior!
LADY K.--Horace--Clarence my son! Shade of my Arabella! can you
behold this horrible scene, and not shudder in heaven! Bulkeley!
Clarence! go for a doctor--go to Doctor Straitwaist at the Asylum--
Horace Milliken, who has married the descendant of the Kickleburys
of the Conqueror, marry a dancing-girl off the stage! Horace
Milliken! do you wish to see me die in convulsions at your feet? I
writhe there, I grovel there. Look! look at me on my knees! your
own mother-in-law! drive away this fiend!
MILLIKEN.--Hem! I ought to thank you, Lady Kicklebury, for it is
you that have given her to me.
LADY K.--He won't listen! he turns away and kisses her horrible
hand. This will never do: help me up, Clarence, I must go and
fetch his mother. Ah, ah! there she is, there she is! [Lady K.
rushes out, as the top of a barouche, with Mr. and Mrs. BONNINGTON
and Coachman, is seen over the gate.]
MRS. B.--What is this I hear, my son, my son? You are going to
marry a--a stage-dancer? you are driving me mad, Horace!
MILLIKEN.--Give me my second chance, mother, to be happy. You have
had yourself two chances.
MRS. B.--Speak to him, Mr. Bonnington. [BONNINGTON makes dumb
LADY K.--Implore him, Mr. Bonnington.
MRS. B.--Pray, pray for him, Mr. Bonnington, my love--my lost,
LADY K.--Oh, my poor dear Mrs. Bonnington!
MRS. B.--Oh, my poor dear Lady Kicklebury. [They embrace each
LADY K.--I have been down on my knees to him, dearest Mrs.
MRS. B.--Let us both--both go down on our knees--I WILL [to her
husband]. Edward, I will! [Both ladies on their knees.
BONNINGTON with outstretched hands behind them.] Look, unhappy
boy! look, Horace! two mothers on their wretched knees before you,
imploring you to send away this monster! Speak to him, Mr.
Bonnington. Edward! use authority with him, if he will not listen
to his mother--
LADY K.--To his mothers!
TOUCHIT.--What is this comedy going on, ladies and gentlemen? The
ladies on their elderly knees--Miss Prior with her hair down her
back. Is it tragedy or comedy--is it a rehearsal for a charade, or
are we acting for Horace's birthday? or, oh!--I beg your
Reverence's pardon--you were perhaps going to a professional duty?
MR. B.--It's WE who are praying this child, Touchit. This child,
with whom you used to come home from Westminster when you were
boys. You have influence with him; he listens to you. Entreat him
to pause in his madness.
MRS. B.--That--that woman--that serpent yonder--that--that dancing-
woman, whom you introduced to Arabella Milliken,--ah! and I rue the
day:--Horace is going to mum--mum--marry her!
TOUCHIT.--Well! I always thought he would. Ever since I saw him
and her playing at whist together, when I came down here a month
ago, I thought he would do it.
MRS. B.--Oh, it's the whist, the whist! Why did I ever play at
whist, Edward? My poor Mr. Milliken used to like his rubber.
TOUCHIT.--Since he has been a widower--
LADY K.--A widower of that angel! [Points to picture.]
TOUCHIT.--Pooh, pooh, angel! You two ladies have never given the
poor fellow any peace. You were always quarrelling over him. You
took possession of his house, bullied his servants, spoiled his
children; you did, Lady Kicklebury.
LADY K.--Sir, you are a rude, low, presuming, vulgar man.
Clarence! beat this rude man!
TOUCHIT.--From what I have heard of your amiable son, he is not in
the warlike line, I think. My dear Julia, I am delighted with all
my heart that my old friend should have found a woman of sense,
good conduct, good temper--a woman who has had many trials, and
borne them with great patience--to take charge of him and make him
happy. Horace, give me your hand! I knew Miss Prior in great
poverty. I am sure she will bear as nobly her present good
fortune; for good fortune it is to any woman to become the wife of
such a loyal, honest, kindly gentleman as you are!
JOHN.--If you please, my lady--if you please, sir--Bulkeley--
LADY K.--What of Bulkeley, sir?
JOHN.--He has packed his things, and Cornet Kicklebury's things, my
MILLIKEN.--Let the fellow go.
JOHN.--He won't go, sir, till my lady have paid him his book and
wages. Here's the book, sir.
LADY K.--Insolence! quit my presence! And I, Mr. Milliken, will
quit a house--
JOHN.--Shall I call your ladyship a carriage?
LADY K.--Where I have met with rudeness, cruelty, and fiendish [to
Miss P., who smiles and curtsies]--yes, fiendish ingratitude. I
will go, I say, as soon as I have made arrangements for taking
other lodgings. You cannot expect a lady of fashion to turn out
like a servant.
JOHN.--Hire the "Star and Garter" for her, sir. Send down to the
"Castle;" anything to get rid of her. I'll tell her maid to pack
her traps. Pinhorn! [Beckons maid and gives orders.]
TOUCHIT.--You had better go at once, my dear Lady Kicklebury.
TOUCHIT.--THE OTHER MOTHER-IN-LAW IS COMING! I met her on the road
with all her family. He! he! he! [Screams.]
Enter Mrs. PRIOR and Children.
MRS. P.--My lady! I hope your ladyship is quite well! Dear, kind
Mrs. Bonnington! I came to pay my duty to you, ma'am. This is
Charlotte, my lady--the great girl whom your ladyship so kindly
promised the gown for; and this is my little girl, Mrs. Bonnington,
ma'am, please; and this is my Bluecoat boy. Go and speak to dear,
kind Mr. Milliken--our best friend and protector--the son and son-
in-law of these dear ladies. Look, sir! He has brought his copy
to show you. [Boy shows copy.] Ain't it creditable to a boy of
his age, Captain Touchit? And my best and most grateful services
to you, sir. Julia, Julia, my dear, where's your cap and
spectacles, you stupid thing? You've let your hair drop down.
What! what!--[Begins to be puzzled.]
MRS. B.--Is this collusion, madam?
MRS. P.--Collusion, dear Mrs. Bonnington!
LADY K.--Or insolence, Mrs. Prior!
MRS. P.--Insolence, your ladyship! What--what is it? what has
happened? What's Julia's hair down for? Ah! you've not sent the
poor girl away? the poor, poor child, and the poor, poor children!
TOUCHIT.--That dancing at the "Coburg" has come out, Mrs. Prior.
MRS. P.--Not the darling's fault. It was to help her poor father
in prison. It was I who forced her to do it. Oh! don't, don't,
dear Lady Kicklebury, take the bread out of the mouths of these
poor orphans! [Crying.]
MILLIKEN.--Enough of this, Mrs. Prior: your daughter is not going
away. Julia has promised to stay with me--and--never to leave me--
as governess no longer, but as wife to me.
MRS. P.--Is it--is it true, Julia?
MISS P.--Yes, mamma.
MRS. P.--Oh! oh! oh! [Flings down her umbrella, kisses JULIA, and
running to MILLIKEN,] My son, my son! Come here, children. Come,
Adolphus, Amelia, Charlotte--kiss your dear brother, children.
What, my dears! How do you do, dears? [to MILLIKEN'S children].
Have they heard the news? And do you know that my daughter is
going to be your mamma? There--there--go and play with your little
uncles and aunts, that's good children! [She motions off the
Children, who retire towards garden. Her manner changes to one of
great patronage and intense satisfaction.] Most hot weather, your
ladyship, I'm sure. Mr. Bonnington, you must find it hot weather
for preachin'! Lor'! there's that little wretch beatin' Adolphus!
George, sir! have done, sir! [Runs to separate them.] How ever
shall we make those children agree, Julia?
MISS P.--They have been a little spoiled, and I think Mr. Milliken
will send George and Arabella to school, mamma: will you not,
MR. MILLIKEN.--I think school will be the very best thing for them.
MRS. P.--And [Mrs. P. whispers, pointing to her own children] the
blue room, the green room, the rooms old Lady Kick has--plenty of
room for us, my dear!
MISS P.--No, mamma, I think it will be too large a party,--Mr.
Milliken has often said that he would like to go abroad, and I hope
that now he will be able to make his tour.
MRS. P.--Oh, then! we can live in the house, you know: what's the
use of payin' lodgin', my dear?
MISS P.--The house is going to be painted. You had best live in
your own house, mamma; and if you want anything, Horace, Mr.
Milliken, I am sure, will make it comfortable for you. He has had
too many visitors of late, and will like a more quiet life, I
think. Will you not?
MILLIKEN.--I shall like a life with YOU, Julia.
JOHN.--Cab, sir, for her ladyship!
LADY K.--This instant let me go! Call my people. Clarence, your
arm! Bulkeley, Pinhorn! Mrs. Bonnington, I wish you good-morning!
Arabella, angel! [looks at picture] I leave you. I shall come to
you ere long. [Exit, refusing MILLIKEN's hand, passes up garden,
with her servants following her. MARY and other servants of the
house are collected together, whom Lady K. waves off. Bluecoat boy
on wall eating plums. Page, as she goes, cries, Hurray, hurray!
Bluecoat boy cries, Hurray! When Lady K. is gone, JOHN advances.]
JOHN.--I think I heard you say, sir, that it was your intention to
MILLIKEN.--Yes; oh, yes! Are we going abroad, my Julia?
MISS P.--To settle matters, to have the house painted, and clear
[pointing to children, mother, &c.] Don't you think it is the best
thing that we can do?
MILLIKEN.--Surely, surely: we are going abroad. Howell, you will
come with us of course, and with your experiences you will make a
capital courier. Won't Howell make a capital courier, Julia? Good
honest fellow, John Howell. Beg your pardon for being so rude to
you just now. But my temper is very hot, very.
JOHN [laughing].--You are a Tartar, sir. Such a tyrant! isn't he,
MISS P.--Well, no; I don't think you have a very bad temper, Mr.
JOHN.--You must--take care of him--alone, Miss Prior--Julia--I mean
Mrs. Milliken. Man and boy I've waited on him this fifteen year:
with the exception of that trial at the printing-office, which--
which I won't talk of NOW, madam. I never knew him angry; though
many a time I have known him provoked. I never knew him say a hard
word, though sometimes perhaps we've deserved it. Not often--such
a good master as that is pretty sure of getting a good servant--
that is, if a man has a heart in his bosom; and these things are
found both in and out of livery. Yes, I have been a honest servant
to him,--haven't I, Mr. Milliken?
MILLIKEN.--Indeed, yes, John.
JOHN.--And so has Mary Barlow. Mary, my dear! [Mary comes
forward.] Will you allow me to introduce you, sir, to the futur'
Mrs. Howell?--if Mr. Bonnington does YOUR little business for you,
as I dare say [turning to Mr. B.], hold gov'nor, you will!--Make it
up with your poor son, Mrs. Bonnington, ma'am. You have took a
second 'elpmate, why shouldn't Master Horace? [to Mrs. B.] He--he
wants somebody to help him, and take care of him, more than you do.
TOUCHIT.--You never spoke a truer word in your life, Howell.
JOHN.--It's my general 'abit, Capting, to indulge in them sort of
statements. A true friend I have been to my master, and a true
friend I'll remain when he's my master no more.
MILLIKEN.--Why, John, you are not going to leave me?
JOHN.--It's best, sir, I should go. I--I'm not fit to be a servant
in this house any longer. I wish to sit in my own little home,
with my own little wife by my side. Poor dear! you've no
conversation, Mary, but you're a good little soul. We've saved a
hundred pound apiece, and if we want more, I know who won't grudge
it us, a good fellow--a good master--for whom I've saved many a
hundred pound myself, and will take the "Milliken Arms" at old
Pigeoncot--and once a year or so, at this hanniversary, we will pay
our respects to you, sir, and madam. Perhaps we will bring some
children with us, perhaps we will find some more in this villa.
Bless 'em beforehand! Good-by, sir, and madam--come away, Mary!
MRS. P. [entering with clothes, &c.]--She has not left a single
thing in her room. Amelia, come here! this cloak will do capital
for you, and this--this garment is the very thing for Adolphus.
Oh, John! eh, Howell! will you please to see that my children have
something to eat, immediately! The Milliken children, I suppose,
have dined already?
JOHN.--Yes, ma'am; certainly, ma'am.
MRS. P.--I see he is inclined to be civil to me NOW!
MISS P.--John Howell is about to leave us, mamma. He is engaged to
Mary Barlow, and when we go away, he is going to set up
housekeeping for himself. Good-by, and thank you, John Howell
[gives her hand to JOHN, but with great reserve of manner]. You
have been a kind and true friend to us--if ever we can serve you,
count upon us--may he not, Mr. Milliken?
MISS P.--But you will still wait upon us--upon Mr. Milliken, for a
day or two, won't you, John, until we--until Mr. Milliken has found
some one to replace you. He will never find any one more honest
than you, and good, kind little Mary. Thank you, Mary, for your
goodness to the poor governess.
MARY.--Oh miss! oh mum! [Miss P. kisses Mary patronizingly].
MISS P. [to JOHN].--And after they have had some refreshment, get a
cab for my brothers and sister, if you please, John. Don't you
think that will be best, my--my dear?
MILLIKEN.--Of course, of course, dear Julia!
MISS P.--And, Captain Touchit, you will stay, I hope, and dine with
Mr. Milliken? And, Mrs. Bonnington, if you will receive as a
daughter one who has always had a sincere regard for you, I think
you will aid in making your son happy, as I promise you with all my
heart and all my life to endeavor to do. [Miss P. and M. go up to
MRS. BONNINGTON.--Well, there, then, since it must be so, bless
you, my children.
TOUCHIT.--Spoken like a sensible woman! And now, as I do not wish
to interrupt this felicity, I will go and dine at the "Star and
MISS P.--My dear Captain Touchit, not for worlds! Don't you know I
mustn't be alone with Mr. Milliken until--until--?
MILLIKEN.--Until I am made the happiest man alive! and you will
come down and see us often, Touchit, won't you? And we hope to see
our friends here often. And we will have a little life and spirit
and gayety in the place. Oh, mother! oh, George! oh, Julia! what a
comfort it is to me to think that I am released from the tyranny of
that terrible mother-in-law!
MRS. PRIOR.--Come in to your teas, children. Come this moment, I
say. [The Children pass quarrelling behind the characters, Mrs.
PRIOR summoning them; JOHN and MARY standing on each side of the
dining-room door, as the curtain falls.]