Page images

Nic. That's comfortable.

Paul. I have brought you a specimen of the cloaks and hatbands. See, 'ent they quite degagee ?-just the thingEh !

Nic. They cannot be better.

Paul. You shall have as handsome a funeral as your heart can wish for. The landlord, and his two waiters, hare promised to be mourners over the bier--the mutes spoke to me last night about attending—and as for the pall-bearers, leave Paul alone for them; so, you see, there'll be nothing wanting.

Nic. Will the bells toll before and after, as I wished thein ?

Paul. Your own ears shall convince you, sir, that they have not been forgotten.

Nic. Good, good, good!

Paul. I have settled for the funeral to take place to. morrow; you'll be quite ready then ?

Nic. Yes, I shall keep myself on purpose.
Paul. It can be put off, if you wish it.
Nic. By no means! the sooner the better.

When once the burial has taken place, I shall be at rest; I shan't have a quiet night, till then.

Puul. You will, of course, move the first in the proces. sion; it could'nt take place without you ; and you'll like a ride. Ald. (Aside, R. D. F.] The devil take such rides, say I! Nic. But, the epitaph-you've forgotten the epitaph. Paal. No, I havn't, sir ; l're written one for you myself -but you shall hear. (Reads. ] Here, taken one day by surprise,

Mister Nicodemus lies.
Hod he a little longer tarried,
To Miss Aldwinkle he'd been married ;
But Death, to spare a late repentance,
Cried,Come Nick, come,' so strait he went hence,

And now awaits his final sentence." There, how d’ye like it?-you must admire the final sentence if you don't any other part of it.

Nic. The matter is better than the manner, but it will do : let me have it neatly engraved.

Paul. Set your mind at ease, it shall be done by one of the first lapidaries we have.

Nic. But you must need refreshment. Come this way, and I will get you a bone to pick. I will now go and continue my researches in the Domestic History of Vampires, that I may be completely au fuit to my task, and not prove myself a novice; and, by the time I've married old Aldwin-' kle's daughter, I shall be able to put my theory in practice. Come, Paul, come. [Exeunt Paul and Nicodemus, L. Aldwinkle and Dick

ory come forward.] Dic. (L.) Dang me, if this baiu't the first time I ever heard of a dead man being asked when he liked to be buried.

Ald. (R.) I am perfectly perforated, in every part, with horror-going to marry my danghter to a vampire-ah! no doubt, to practise on her. But, thank heaven! he'll be buried to-morrow. Dickory, go you, the first thing tomorrow, and see him box'd up; and, d'ye hear, bribe the sexton to dig his grave a foot or two deeper, and put one of the heaviest and largest stones he can get upon it.

Dic. I will, sir ; any thing to keep him down and prevent his coming up.

Ald. And, in the mean time, we'll go and hide ourselves, till daybreak, in the cellar. When ghosts are abroad, the only safe place is under ground.

Dic. You be right, squire--and if he do dare to come there, dang me if we don't lay un in the Red Sea o' one o' your pipes o’port. [Exeunt Aldwinkle, R. and Dickory, Le

SCENE II.-Another Apartment in Aldwinkle Hall. Enter GEORGIANA, LAVINIA, and VAUNTINGTON, L. arn

in arm. Lav. (L.) Why, my dear Georgiana, if I could be weak enough to bend my mind to superstition, I must own, there are corroborating circumstances enough to prove the poor gentleman a ghost, even to the most sceptical. But the reign of the invisible world has passed away with the ages of chivalry and ignorance; the establishment of Sanday schools, my dear, has signed the death-warrant of all ghosts, past, present, and to come; so you must excuse me, if I remain incredulous.

Geo. (R.) I am convinced, Mr. Nicodemus is a ghost, a veritable ghost, and nothing but a ghost.

Vau. (c.) A ghost my rival ?-then Othello's occupation's gone. To run him through, will only be thrusting at the air-with such an antagonist as him, the best way will be to cut and run.

Enter NICODEMUS, L. S. E. unperceived by Georgiana, fic.

Nic. Eh! engaged in secret conversation. I'll not break in upon their privacy.

[ Aside. Vau. (c.) if we can but once get this Mr. Nicodemus under ground, we'll manage to keep him there, if we heap a mountain upon him. I'll teach him how to rival me, a marrowless rascal !

Nic. What's that they are saying about burying me under a mountain. I must hear farther.

[Aside. Geo. (c.) If he does force me to marry him, you must come at night, captain, and knock him on the head.

Vau. Aye, fumigate him.

Nic. Knock me on the head, and fumigate me? here's atrocity!

[ Aside. Geo. Or get him between two feather beds, and smother him.

Nic. Here's a she-devil.—What an escape! [Aside.
Geo. Any thing, to get rid of the monster.
Nic. A very affectionate wife, upon my honour.

Vau. I'm getting strangely valiant. I only wish I could face this wandering gentleman now I'd teach him how to rest at night.—Dammé, l'd

(Nicodemus coming forward Gev. Ah!

[Screams-rushes out. Vau. Oh! the devil.

Take care.

[Exit hastily, L. Lav. (R.) Shall I follow their example ?-No, why should I?-I never was afraid of a man yct, and I'm sure I won't be of the ghost of one. (Aside.] “ Angels and ministers of grace defend me !-Art thou a spirit of health, or

Nic. (L.) I fear I have alarmed you, madam.—'Twas unintentionally; I trust my interruption is not materiul.

Lav. No, sir. 'Tis immaterial if I'm to believe what I'm told.--Do you bring any news from the other world,

pray ?

Nic. From the other world! She means the new world, I suppose. (Aside.) I know of no other news, madam, than that the glorious cause of liberty is making rapid way there. Lav. Hum!--that accounts for his being at liberty here--

{ Aside. | Nic. If I may trust the promise of those eyes, they own a pature kinder than your cousin. Were my fate linked to thine, methinks you would not nurse that fierce extermi

[ocr errors]

nating spirit to which I was unwillingly and invisibly obliged to bear witness, ere while, in Miss Aldwinkle.

Lav. I certainly should not wish to disturb your existence, so long as you remained harmless.

Nic. My researches, madam, among beings of another world, necessarily keep me secluded from this, during the day ; but, at night, I invariably revisit and mingle with som ciety. Could I but meet with a congenial spirit in wedlock, who would take a part in my supernatural studies, it might wonderfully change my nature and habits. Such a spirit, I would fain hope, I have found in you, lovely girl

[Kisses her hand. Lav. A very gallant ghost, upon my honour.

Nic. But I must tear myself away, or I shall be too late for the funeral.

Lav. Bless me! here's a sudden change this is from gay to grave, with a witness to it.

Nic. Farewell, I regret I am obliged to leave you—a fatal necessity.Heigho, farewell ! [Exit Nicodemus.

Lav. How extraordinary! If he is a ghost, I don't see any difference between ghosts aud men, for my part. He looks like a man, and, i'faith, kisses like one too. Really, if he should ask me to marry him, I don't know what i should say to it. I suppose, he won't insist upon my being a ghostess.—No, no, if he marries me, he'll like me to be a woman- and faith, a woman he shall find me.

(Exit Lavinia, L.

SCENE III.- Refectory of Aldwinkle Hall.

- Enter ALDWINKLE and VAUNTINGTON, R. Ald. (R. C.) I have said it, captain. If your valour gives you stoutness of stomach sufficient to enable you to sit up in the haunted rooin, all night, to-night-that is, in my bed. room, and lay this ghost if he should come, you have my full permission to marry my daughter.

Vuu. (L. c.) It's a bargain, squire ; for my dear Gcorgiana's sake, damme, l've spirit enough in me to face ten thousand ghosts.

Ald. You shall have a battle of brandy, a pair of pistols, Friar Bacon, and Doctor Faustus į so you cannot fail.

Vau. I only want a good heart, sir, and that I've got al. ready.

Ald. I can tell you one thing in your favour. He was to be buried to-day; so I don't think he'll trouble us any more~ I've sent Dickory to see, and expect him back every moment; but away with you to your post-it's past eleven already, aud you must'nt let the ghost come and catch you unprepared. Vau. Oh, never fear, squire.“ Omnia vincit amor.”

(Exit Vauntington, R. Dic. [Without.] Tol de dol, de dol, lol. Ald. That's Dickory's voice.

Enter DICKORY, dancing and singing, L. Well, Dickory?

Dic. It be all over, squire.—He be earth'd down, safe enough vow, sur. I did'nt come away till I'd seen sexton fill up every crack there were-he'll be cunning, to get out this time.

Ald. Bravo! Egad, I'm so rejoiced that “Tell Thomas to bring in the great bowl of punch I ordered him to get ready; and, d’ye hear, bid him put a pint of brandy additional into it. We shall be sure to lack spirits, now we've got 'rid of the ghosts.--'Fore heaven, we'll have a night on't, Dickory.

Dic. Here be Thomas, squire; and the punch too.Tol de dol, de dol lol.

Enter SERVANT, wilh punch, L. Aid. Put it down, Thomas; put it down. (Servant puts down the punch and retires.] Now, Dickory, fill up your glass- [ Fills)--and our first toast shall be peace to Mr. Nicndemus's manes.

[Drinks. Dic. Wi' all my heart-( Fills.]–Here be peace to Mr. Nicodemus's remainders.

(Drinks. A!d. Fill up again, Dickory. [Fills.} And now, I'll give you

Enter NICODEMUS, behind. Confusion to all midnight intruders !

[Drinks. Nic. [Unobserved. Zounds ! do they nean to insult me? Dic. [Filling.] Confusion to all midnight excluders

[Drinks. Ald. Come, here's wishing the surgeons nayn't get hold of him

[Going to fill. Nic. [Coming between them.] Sir! (Strikes his stick on the table. Dickory and Aldwin

kle run off hastily, R.] Nic. Zounds! one would think I was a spectre : where

« PreviousContinue »