* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This eBook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the eBook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the eBook. If either of these conditions applies, please check with an FP administrator before proceeding.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this file.

Title: Two Strings to his Bow

Date of first publication: 1815

Author: Robert Jephson (1736-1803)

Date first posted: May 17, 2017

Date last updated: May 17, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20170531

This eBook was produced by: Delphine Lettau & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Book cover










Drawn from:













Don Pedro,Mr Waddy.
Don Sancho,Mr Atkins.
Octavio,Mr Farley.
Ferdinand,Mr Claremont.
Borachio,Mr Davenport.
Lazarillo,Mr Munden.
Porter,Mr Platt.
1 Waiter,Mr Abbot.
2 Waiter,Mr Truman.
Donna Clara, Mrs St Leger.
Leonora,Miss Searle.
Maid,Miss Leserpe.






SCENE I.—Don Pedro's House.

Enter Don Sancho, Don Pedro, and Borachio.

Don S. Here's my hand. Is it a bargain?

Don P. Certainly—we'll have the wedding to-night. The young couple are so much in love, they will be glad to dispense with ceremony—it really looks as if heaven had a hand in this match, for if young Felix had not died so commodiously at Salamanca, we could never have been brothers-in-law.

Bora. Bless me, your honour! is poor Don Felix dead then? he was a merry young gentleman—I'm sorry for it with all my soul.

Don P. Ay, he is as dead as King Philip the Second—but did you know Don Felix?

Bora. As well as any hogshead in my cellar—I have kept a tavern three years at Salamanca, and he was my constant customer. I knew his sister too, a brave mettled damsel, that made no more of clapping on a pair of breeches, and straddling a horse-back, than if she had never been laced in stays, or encumbered with a petticoat.

Don P. Well, now she may give a more free scope to her frolics, for she has no brother left to restrain her. We sent for you, Borachio, to provide the wedding dinner. Let things be as they should be.

Bora. Never trouble your head about it. I'll set you out such a repast—the first course shall be as substantial as the bridegroom, and the second as delicate as the bride—then for wines and a dessert! I don't care if you ask all the Benedictines to sit in judgment upon their flavour and freshness.

Enter a Servant Maid.

Maid. Sir, there's a servant of a strange gentleman, who has a message for you.

Don P. What does he want with me?

Maid. He will not tell his business to any one but your worship. He has been fooling with me till I am tired with him.

Don P. Bid him come in. [Exit Maid.]

Don S. Can you guess what business a stranger can have with you?

Don P. Ay, I suppose the old business—some needy spendthrift, who has lost his purse at the gaming-table, and wants to try if I am fool enough to take a liking to him, and lend him as much more upon his no security.

Enter Lazarillo and Maid.

Lazar. I have the honour to be, gentlemen, with the most profound respect, your honour's most faithful, obsequious, and obedient humble servant.

Don S. This fellow begins his speech like the conclusion of a letter.

Don P. Have you any business with me, friend?

Lazar. May I take the liberty to ask your honour a question?

Don P. Ay, what is it?

Lazar. Pray, who may that pretty, plump, cherry-cheeked, round-hipped, buxom, genteel, light-pastern'd, black-eyed damsel be?

Don P. What business is it of your's? she's my daughter's maid.

Lazar. I wish your honour much joy of her.

Don P. What does the fellow mean? to your business, friend—who are you? what do you want with me? who do you belong to?

Lazar. Softly, softly, sir: three questions in a breath are too much for a poor man like me to answer all at once.

Don P. [To Don S.] I don't know what to make of this fellow—I believe he is none of the wisest.

Don S. I should rather suspect he was none of the honestest.

Lazar. Are you married, my pretty lass?

Don P. What would the fellow be at? what's your business, I say?

Lazar. Sir, to answer your questions—in the first place, I am my master's servant. [To the Maid.] And my pretty one, as I was going to tell you, if the Don had not interrupted me—

Don P. Who the devil is your master?

Lazar. He's a strange gentleman, sir, who has a strong inclination to pay your worship a visit. [To the Maid.] And now as to the little affair between us—

Don P. Who is this strange gentleman? what business has he with me?

Lazar. Sir, he is the noble Don Felix de Silva, of Salamanca, who waits below to have the supreme felicity of kissing your honour's hand, and has sent me before to make his compliments to you. [To the Maid.] Well, my dear, have you thought of the proposal? do you think me shocking?

Don P. Mind me, fellow—what is this you say?

Lazar. Sir, if you are curious to know particulars about me, I am Lazarillo, of Valencia, as honest a little fellow, though I say it, that should not say it, as ever rode before a portmanteau. [To the Maid.] What I pride myself for, more than any other good quality, is, that I am the adorer, and faithful slave of your divine and insurmountable beauty.

Don P. Turn this way, booby—you are either drunk or mad—why, Don Felix, of Salamanca, is dead. [Exit Maid.]

Lazar. Dead!

Don S. You may get another master, honest friend, for poor Don Felix has no occasion for you.

Lazar. This is strange news. It must be a very sudden death—perhaps it was only his ghost that hired me, but I never saw any thing so like a living creature; he gave me a rap over the shoulders just now, that I thought felt very natural. If he is really a ghost, he won't dare to pretend he's alive, and tell a lie before so much good company. [Exit.]

Don P. What do you think of this rascal? Is he a knave, or a fool?

Bora. To my thinking, he's a brewing of both.

Don S. To my poor thinking, he's crazy.

Don P. 'Fore heaven, brother-in-law that is to be, if Don Felix should be alive, we two should make but a silly figure.

Re-enter Lazarillo.

Lazar. Truly, gentlemen, this is but indifferent treatment for a stranger, to tell a poor servant like me that his master was dead.

Don P. So he is. I say.

Lazar. And I say that he is not only alive, but in good health, sound as a biscuit, and sprightly as champaigne—and at this moment is ready to come in, and give you proof positive by your own eye-sight.

Don S. What, Don Felix?

Lazar. Ay, Don Felix.

Don P. De Silva?

Lazar. Ay, De Silva.

Don S. Of Salamanca?

Lazar. Ay, of Salamanca.

Don P. I would recommend to you, friend, to lose a little blood, and have your head shaved—you are mad.

Lazar. This is enough to make me so: I say he is below at this moment waiting in the parlour.

Don P. I'll break your head, you rascal.

Don S. Keep your temper. Stay, let us see this impostor, who calls himself Don Felix. Bid him walk up stairs.

Don P. Ay, ay, you're right—let's see this resurrection.

Lazar. In a twinkling. [Exit Lazar.]

Don S. This is some sham, some cheat; but I think we sha'n't be easily imposed upon.

Don P. Let me alone, let me alone, he must rise early, brother, who makes a fool of Don Pedro.

Enter Donna Clara, in Men's Clothes.

Clara. Signior Don Pedro, after the many polite letters I have received from you, I could little expect such extraordinary treatment, to be kept half an hour cooling my heels among muleteers and lacquies.

Don P. Sir, I humbly ask your pardon. But may I take the liberty to crave your name, or title?

Clara. My name, sir, is Don Felix de Silva.

Don P. Of Salamanca?

Clara. The same.

Bora. [Aside.] Ha, what's this? why this is Donna Clara, the sister of Felix: let's see what will be the end of this.

Don P. I'm struck dumb with amazement; sir, I rejoice to see you safe and sound, which, indeed, is a little extraordinary, considering we had heard you was dead and buried. [Aside to Don San.] I wish, with all my heart, he was under ground.

Clara. It was reported, I know, that I was dead; but in fact, I only received a flesh wound in a quarrel; a fainting fit succeeded the loss of blood, and gave occasion to the report of my death: but the moment I recovered strength enough to travel, I mounted my horse, and set out to pay my respects, and keep my engagement.

Don P. I really don't know what to say to it: you have the appearance of a gentleman; but I have had such assurances that Don Felix was dead, that, unless I have some strong proofs to the contrary—you'll pardon me, sir,—I mean no harm—but, truly, in a matter of this consequence, a little caution, you know—

Clara. Sir, you're perfectly right; but here are proofs—here are no less than four letters. This is from the governor of the Bank—you know the hand and seal, I suppose.

Bora. [To Clara.] Sir, will you permit me to congratulate you upon your recovery, and your arrival in Granada?

Clara. [Aside.] Ha! confusion! my old host of Salamanca—he'll certainly know and will discover me. I think I recollect you, friend.

Bora. I believe you may, your honour; my face is no stranger at Salamanca; Joseph Borachio is as well known as the high road to Madrid.

Clara. True, true, I knew I was acquainted with you—hark! a word—don't betray me, and this purse has a twin brother as like it— [Aside to Borachio.]

Bora. Never fear, madam: there's something so engaging in your countenance, and so persuasive in your manner, that I would as soon pull down my sign as discover you. [Aside to Clara.] Aloud. I am, for want of a better, the master of the Eagle, hard by: and will be bold to say, that, for good treatment, soft beds, wholesome food, and old wine, Joseph Borachio will not give the wall to any publican in Granada.

Clara. Get your best apartments ready, and I'll order my baggage there.

Don P. Why, certainly these letters are addressed to Don Felix; but there are ways, you know, of getting another man's letters—at the same time, sir—

Clara. Nay, sir, if you still doubt, here's my old acquaintance, Joseph Borachio, he knows me; I suppose you'll take his word, though you seem a little suspicious of mine.

Bora. Lord, sir, I'll give my oath to him. [Aside.] I'll tell twenty lies every bill I bring up for half a dollar, and the devil's in my conscience if I can't tell one for a purse of doubloons. [Exit.]

Don P. Sir, I ask a thousand pardons: my doubts are vanished; you certainly are Don Felix. [To Don San.] What do you think of this, brother-in-law that was to be?

Don S. Why I think it is a little unlucky, that the dead should get out of their graves to prevent our being relations.

Enter Ferdinand and Leonora.

Leon. Did you send for me, father?

Don P. I did send for you, my dear; but matters are a little changed within this half-hour.

Clara. Is that young lady your daughter, Don Pedro?

Don P. Ay, sir, that is my daughter.

Clara. This then is the young lady I must pay my addresses to—I hope, madam, the consent of our families to my happiness, has made no unfavourable impression against the person of your humble servant.

Leon. What can I say to him—yes, sir—no, sir—

Clara. An odd reception!—yes, sir—no, sir—pray, sir, [To Don Pedro.] how am I to understand the lady?

Don P. She's a little bashful at present—she'll be more intelligible by and by—she is not much acquainted with you yet—she'll come to presently.

Clara. I hope so—this gentleman [To Ferdinand.] I suppose, is a friend of the family—a near relation.

Fer. A friend of the family certainly; but no other way a relation, than as I am to call this lady my wife.

Don S. Right! stick to that—don't give up your pretensions—my boy has spirit—that young coxcomb won't carry it so swimmingly. [Aside.]

Clara. How's this? I don't understand you, sir,—your wife?—what, does that lady intend to have two husbands?

Don P. Young gentleman, pray come with me; here has been a small mistake. Your supposed death—but I'll explain every thing to you within—depend upon it I shall fulfil my engagements.

Fer. But hark'ee, sir, I suppose you are a cavalier of honour, and don't imagine that the affections of a young lady are thrown into the bargain when the old folks are pleased to strike up a contract—you'll ask Donna Leonora's consent, I hope.

Clara. I don't know that. People of fashion never embarrass themselves with such vulgar ideas. Lawyers do all that's necessary on such occasions; if the conveyances are right, affection and that old stuff, follow of course, you know.

Don S. I suppose he'd marry a mermaid if there was a good fishing bank entailed upon her.

Clara. Sir, I have not been so unsuccessful in gallantry, as to apprehend that the lady will object to me.

Fer. Sir, I perceive you have a very favourable opinion of yourself; but it would be more to the purpose if you could persuade the lady to have the same partiality. But, sir, a word in your ear. You and I must talk of this matter in another place; you understand me. [Touches his Sword, and exit.]

Don S. Bravo! well said—he's a chip of the old block—Don Pedro, or brother-in-law that was to be, you and I must talk of this matter in another place—you understand me. [Touches his Sword, and exit.]

Don P. Oh Lord! oh Lord!

Clara. But, charming Leonora, these gallants are so warm, they have not allowed you an opportunity to speak for yourself. What do you say to me, fair creature?

Leon. I say that I look at you with horror, and that my evil genius sent you here to destroy my happiness. [Exit.]

Don P. What will become of me! I shall have a quarrel with that old ruffian in spite of me. I'll after him, and try what can be done with my daughter by coaxing: if that fails, I must even have recourse to the old fatherly expedients of locking up, and a diet of bread and water.

Clara. Hold a moment—for heaven's sake no harshness. Leave your daughter to me a little time, and my attention may, perhaps, bring her to reason. But in the interim, sir, as I have occasion for some ready cash, and my letters of credit are upon you, I must trouble you for two hundred pistoles.

Don P. With pleasure, sir. I have not so much cash about me, but if you will take the trouble just to step into the next street—

Clara. I am much obliged to you, and will take the liberty to send my servant. I can depend upon his honesty. [Exeunt.]


SCENE II.—Changes to the Hotel.

Enter Borachio.

Bora. Well, I know not how this will end for other folks, but it has had a very promising beginning for me already—a hundred pistoles for keeping a secret, which I could not get a maravedi for discovering. Then there can be no fault found with my charges or my entertainment, though I serve up crows for partridges, and a delicate ram-cat for a fricasee of rabbits. But here comes my adventurer.

Enter to him Clara.

Clara. Borachio! a word with you! As you know who I am, 'tis to no purpose to make a secret of any part of my history: my brother, you know, is dead, died at Salamanca; but you don't yet understand why I have assumed his sex and character.

Bora. I shall be glad to learn it, my sweet young lady; especially if I can be of any service to you.

Clara. My poor brother made too free with some choice wine at a vento near Salamanca. Octavio, my lover, happened to be of the party; a quarrel ensued between my brother's company and a set of strangers, who had just arrived at the same place; in the fray my brother was run through the body, and left dead on the spot; the officers of justice had orders to search for, and seize all who were present as principals in the murder; to avoid the pursuit, Octavio, as I was informed, fled hither; and with the wardrobe, credentials, and the name of my brother, here I have followed him.

Bora. Ay, madam, you was always a young lady of spirit, and 'egad! I love spirit: and though I was never to touch a pistole of the other purse you was pleased to promise me, I would no more tell your secret than I would tell my guests my own secret, how I turn Alicant into Burgundy, and sour cyder into Champagne of the first growth of France.

Clara. I rely upon you. But I wish to see my apartment; pray enquire for my servant, and bid him come to me immediately. I ordered him to wait for me near the Prado.

Bora. May I ask where you picked up that fellow?

Clara. I found him on my journey. He's an odd mixture of simplicity and cunning; but I have no reason to suspect his honesty, and that's the quality for which at present I have most occasion. [Exeunt.]


SCENE III.—A Hall in the Hotel.

Lazarillo alone.

Lazar. My master desired me to wait for him in the street, but I see no sign of him—'tis twelve by the clock, but by my guts at least four. There is no watch, clock, or pendulum in the city, that points to the dining hour with more certainty than the mechanism of my bowels: I feel a craving that must be satisfied. Odzooks! what a delicate flavour of roast, boiled, and baked, issues from these purlieus! the very smell is enough to create an appetite. Ay, that way lies the kitchen—I know it by the attraction of the odour. I'll down—but hold, not a sous, by Fortune; my purse is as empty as my belly.

Enter Octavio, a drunken Porter following with a Portmanteau.

Octa. Come along, you drunken rascal!

Por. Not a step further without payment.

Octa. Why, scoundrel! would you have your hire before you earn it?

Por. Ay, that I would—as I'd like to make sure of my straw before I was to sleep on it—pay me directly, or here I stick as fast as a mule up to the girths in the mire.

Octa. Carry in the portmanteau—there's the door, carry in the portmanteau—'tis not three yards, you sot you.

Por. Sot in your teeth—pay me. [Throws down the portmanteau.]

Lazar. What's this! egad, I may get something by it—it has an omen of dinner—I smell beef in it. [Goes up to the Porter.] Why, you drunken, staggering sputtering beast of burden, with two legs and no conscience, how dare you prate so saucily to a gentleman? reel off, or I'll teach you manners.

[Beats off the Porter, and then carries in the portmanteau.]

Octa. A good smart fellow—that looks like a servant; if he has no master, I'll hire him.

Re-enter Lazarillo.

Come hither, friend—do you know me?

Lazar. No, sir, I only know that you are a gentleman—that is, I don't know you are a gentleman, but I have a strong suspicion of it. You look for all the world as if you would not let a man who wanted his dinner, and had an excellent stomach, go without it.

Octa. Are you acquainted with the tavern?

Lazar. I think I am very well acquainted with it. The cellars are full of old wine, the larder full of butcher's meat and poultry—'twould make a man's mouth water but to look at them. Sir, does your honour smell nothing?

Octa. Smell!—no.

Lazar. Lord bless me, sir! why, there are such steams from savoury pies, such a fumette from plump partridges, and roasting pigs, that I think I can distinguish them as easily as I know a rose from a pink, or jonquil from a cauliflower.

Octa. Are you at present in service? have you any master?

Lazar. [Aside.] I'll tell a bouncing lie, and disown my master.—No, sir.

Octa. You seem to be a ready intelligent fellow—will you be my servant?

Lazar. Will I eat when I'm hungry? will I sleep when I'm weary? can your honour doubt it? command me, sir, from one extremity of the kingdom to the other; give me but as much as will keep cold air out of my stomach, and I can never tire in your service. Then, as for wages, to be sure my last master was a very princely sort of a gentleman—he gave me, sir—

Octa. No matter what—I sha'n't be more difficult to please, or less generous to reward, than he was. What's your name?

Lazar. Lazarillo, sir.

Octa. I will employ you immediately. Go to the post-house—take this pistole—enquire if there are any letters for Don Octavio, of Salamanca, and bring them here to me. [Octavio goes in.]

Lazarillo alone.

Well done, Lazarillo; between two stools they say a certain part of a man comes to the ground; but 'tis hard, indeed, if I don't take care of myself between two masters.

Enter to him Clara and Borachio.

Clara. So, my gentleman, this is your attention to my commands? I ordered you to wait for me at the Prado: I might have looked for you, it seems, till morning, if by mere accident I had not found you here.

Lazar. By your honour's leave, I waited for you till my very bowels began to yearn; such a craving came upon me, that had pikes, pistols, and petteraroes opposed my passage, I could not avoid entering the house in hopes of—

Clara. No prating. Go directly, order my baggage to be brought hither, then run to the post, and enquire if there are any letters for Don Felix, or Donna Clara, of Salamanca, and bring them to me directly.

Lazar. Here, sir?

Clara. Yes, here to this hotel. [Exit.]

Lazar. [Aside.] Zounds! what shall I do with my other master?

Bora. The post-office is but in the next street; if you should miss your way returning, enquire for me.

Lazar. For you! and pray, who are you, sir?

Bora. Joseph Borachio, the master of the Eagle: every body knows me.

Lazar. So, sir, you are master of this house?

Bora. I am.

Lazar. Then you are a happy man. I had a respect for the roundness of your belly, and the illumination of your nose, the first glimpse I had of you; but now my respect is increased to adoration. If you leave money for masses for your soul, take my advice, get the fathers, instead of praying you out of purgatory into Paradise, to pray you back into your own kitchen. In my opinion, no Paradise can be superior to it. [Exit.]

Enter Octavio, at an opposite Door to Borachio.

Octa. If this be true that Felix is still alive, I need conceal myself no longer: you say you saw him?

Bora. Saw him! yes, sir; saw him and conversed with him.

Octa. A very sudden recovery! but since 'tis so, I have no business here; I'll just send for my letters, and then back to Salamanca. Borachio!

Bora. Sir!

Octa. Let me have horses ready, I shall set out this evening.

Bora. This evening! why your honour has had no time to refresh yourself. Our roads of late are none of the safest after sun-set. Why, sir, not above a week ago, a calash of mine with a young cavalier and his new-married bride, were attacked on the road by six of the most desperate banditti that ever cried stand to a traveller.

Octa. Indeed!

Bora. Too true, sir. Two of my best mules were shot dead at the first discharge of their carbines; they wounded the gentleman, stunned my drivers, and rifled the poor young lady in a terrible manner. In truth, your honour had better not think of venturing till morning, when you have the day fairly before you.

Octa. No, hang it! such fellows seldom attack a single traveller; besides, if your horses are good, I think I could out-gallop them.

Bora. I'll answer for the horses, better never came out of Andalusia: they have straw up to their withers, and barley they may bury their ears in: poor dumb beasts, I take as much care of them, and love them as well, as if they were my fellow Christians.

Octa. What noise is that? away, landlord, and order the horses. [Exit.]

Enter Lazarillo, with Porters following him.

Lazar. This way, this way, my lads—what the deuce, my last master's here still! [To the Porters.] Fall back, rascals, and wait for me in the passage. [Exeunt Porters.]

Octa. Lazarillo!

Lazar. Sir!

Octa. I shall set out for Salamanca presently.

Lazar. Before dinner, sir?

Octa. Yes, directly.

Lazar. Mercy on me! no pity on my stomach. Truly, sir, I am but a bad traveller on an empty belly; I get such whims and vertigoes, the wind plays such vagaries in the hollow crannies of my entrails, that you would have more trouble with me than if I were a sick baboon.

Octa. I sent you to the post; where are my letters? quick, quick—what are you fumbling about?

Lazar. Patience, sir, a little patience. I thought I put them into this pocket—no, they are not there—then they must be in the other pocket. [Aside.] The letters are so unwilling to come out for fear they should be obliged to bear witness against me; I have mixed the letters of both my masters, and curse me if I know which I ought to give him.

Octa. You tedious booby! where are my letters?

Lazar. Here, sir, here are three of them; but they are not all for your honour. I'll tell you, sir, how I came by them. As I was going to the post, I met an old fellow-servant, who happened to be in a great hurry upon another errand, and he desired me to ask for his master's letters, and keep them for him. One of them belongs to him, but which I don't know, for to tell you the truth, sir, my parents found I had such fine natural parts, they would not throw away money in having me taught any thing, so reading was left out among some other accomplishments in my education.

Octa. Let me see them. I'll take my own, and give you back what belongs to your friend's master. [Takes the Letters.] What's this? to Donna Clara—in Granada!

Lazar. Have you found the letter, sir, that belongs to my comrade?

Octa. Who is your comrade?

Lazar. An old fellow servant of mine; a very honest fellow, I have known him from a boy, when he was not this high, please your honour.

Octa. His name, puppy?

Lazar. His name, sir—his name—Lopez, sir—

Octa. Where does this Lopez live?

Lazar. Starve me if I can tell, sir.

Octa. How then could you know where to carry him the letter?

Lazar. Oh, for that matter, sir, I'll tell your honour that in a moment.

Octa. Well, out with it.

Lazar. [Putting his hand to his cheek.] Deuce take it! I am stung to the bone I believe.

Octa. What's the matter?

Lazar. A muskito, sir, a little peevish, whizzing, blood sucking vermin!

Octa. Where, I say, were you to meet Lopez?

Lazar. I ask pardon, sir—in the Piazza.

Octa. What am I to think of this?

Lazar. Dear Fortune—get me out of this puzzle—[Aside.] Won't your honour give me my comrade's letter?

Octa. No, I have occasion for it; I must open it.

Lazar. Open another gentleman's letter! why, sir, 'tis reckoned one of the most unmannerly pieces of friendship a gentleman can be guilty of.

Octa. Peace, I say—I am too much interested to mind forms at present. [Reads.]


"Your sudden departure from Salamanca has occasioned the greatest consternation among your friends. They have made all possible enquiries, and have discovered that you left this town in your brother's clothes, and the general opinion is, that you are gone in pursuit of Octavio, who was known to pay his addresses to you at Salamanca. I shall not fail to communicate any further intelligence of your affairs which comes to my knowledge, and I remain with great respect,

Lazar. He little cares what may happen to me from his curiosity. [Aside.]

Octa. Clara fled from Salamanca, and in pursuit of me! find this Lopez instantly, bring him here, and I'll reward him for his intelligence.

Lazar. Yes, sir, give me the letter that belongs to him. But how am I to account for its being opened? This may bring an imputation upon my honour, about which I am amazingly punctilious.

Octa. Your honour, mongrel! say the letter was opened by mistake, and instantly find Lopez. [Exit.]

Lazarillo alone.

Lazar. Find Lopez! 'gad if I do I shall be a lucky fellow, for I know no such person. Lazarillo, thou hast a head-piece never fails thee at a pinch: if I could but read and write, I'd turn author, and invent tales and story-books. But what the deuce shall I say about opening the letter? let me see! is there no way to disguise it? I remember my mother used to make wafers with bread and water. I have a few crumbs in my pocket, and with a little mouth-moistening—I don't see why it should not answer; here goes for an experiment. [Takes bread out of his Pocket, and chews it.] Gadzooks! it has slipped down my throat—it would not go against nature. My mouth's like the hole of a till, whatever goes in falls to the bottom. I'll take more care this time. There it is—[Seals the Letter]. I think it will do. After all, what signifies how a letter's sealed, provided he likes the contents of it.

Enter Clara.

Clara. Was you at the post? did you get my letter?

Lazar. Yes, sir, there it is. [Gives the Letter.]

Clara. Why this letter has been opened.

Lazar. Impossible.

Clara. I say it has, and here it has been patched up again with a piece of bread.

Lazar. Egad, that's very extraordinary.

Clara. Confess, villain, what trick has been played with my letter—the truth instantly, or—[Seizing him.]

Lazar. Hold, sir, have a little patience, and I'll tell the truth: if you frighten me, I shall never be able to tell it.

Clara. Quick then, this moment.

Lazar. Then, sir, it was I opened it.

Clara. Impudent varlet! for what purpose?

Lazar. A mistake, nothing but a mistake, as I am a Christian: I thought it was directed to me, and I opened it.

Clara. And read it?

Lazar. No, sir, no, upon my veracity, I read nothing but the first word, and finding it was not for me, I clapped in a wafer directly just as your honour sees it.

Clara. You are sure no other person saw it?

Lazar. Sure of it! I'll take my oath. As I am an honest man, as I hope to die in my bed—if your honour has a book about you, I'll swear by it. Any other person! no, no,—lord, sir, I never was so much grieved in my life as when it was opened, I gave myself a great knock in the head for vexation. I believe you may see the mark of it here just over my left eye-brow. [Clara reads the Letter.]

Lazar. There's something in that letter does not please him. I shall have enough to do to manage my two masters.

Clara. There are the keys of my baggage, get my things ready for dressing. [Exit.]

Enter Don Pedro, at an opposite Door.

Don P. Is your master at home?

Lazar. No, sir.

Don P. Do you expect him back to dinner?

Lazar. O yes, by all means, sir.

Don P. Give him this purse when he returns, with my compliments—there are two hundred pistoles in it.—I shall wait upon him myself in the evening. [Gives a Purse to Lazarillo, and exit.]

Lazar. Yes, sir—but curse me if I know which of my masters 'tis intended for. I'll offer it to the first of them I see, and if it does not belong to him, I suppose he won't take it.

Enter Octavio.

Octa. Have you found Lopez?

Lazar. No, sir, not yet, but I have found a better thing for you.

Octa. A better thing! what's that?

Lazar. Only a purse—full of money. I believe there are two hundred pistoles in it.

Octa. I suppose it was left by my banker.

Lazar. You expected money, sir?

Octa. Yes, I left a letter of credit with him.

Lazar. Oh, then there can be no doubt it was left for you, sir. Give it to your master, says he—yes, sir, says I; so there's the money.

Octa. Hold! lock up this money till I want it—take care—put it up safely, for I shall soon have occasion for it. But go find Lopez, and bring him to me immediately. [Exit.]

Lazar. [Alone.] Go find Lopez, and bring him to me immediately—but where I shall find him, is another matter—I'll go look for what I am sure of finding, a good dinner. What a fortunate fellow was I not to make any mistake about the money!—if a man takes care in great matters, small matters will take care of themselves—or if they should go wrong, if the gusts of ill-luck should make his vessel drive a little, honesty is a sheet-anchor, and always brings him up to his birth again. [Exit.]



SCENE I.—Don Pedro's House.

Enter Clara and Leonora.

Clara. I have told you my story; I rely upon your honour, you will not discover me.

Leon. Don't fear me. You have relieved me from such anxiety by your friendly confidence, that I would rather die than betray you; nay, what is still more, I would rather lose my lover.

Clara. Of that there can be no danger; let matters proceed to the utmost, the discovery of my sex puts an end, at once, to any impediment from my claim to you.

Leon. But may I not tell Ferdinand?

Clara. No. Pray indulge me; a secret burns in a single breast; it is just possible that two may keep it, but if 'tis known to a third, I might as well tell it to the crier, and have it proclaimed at the great door of every church in Granada.

Leon. Well, you shall be obeyed; depend upon it I will be faithful to you. Men give themselves strange airs about our sex: we are so unaccustomed, they say, to be trusted, that our vanity of a confidence shews we are unworthy of it.

Clara. No matter what they say: I think half of their superiority lies in their beards and their doublets.

Don P. [Within.] Leonora!

Leon. My father calls me; farewell, dear Clara! should you want my assistance, you know you may command me. [Exit.]

Enter Ferdinand.

Fer. So, sir, I have found you. Do you know me, sir?

Clara. I have so many acquaintance whom I should wish not to know, that I don't like to answer that question suddenly.

Fer. Do you take me for a sharper, youngster?

Clara. Sharpers wear good clothes.

Fer. And puppies wear long swords.—What means that piece of steel dangling there by thy effeminate side? Is thy soft hand too weak to touch it? Death! to be rivalled by a puppet, by a thing made of cream! Why, thou compound of fringe, lace, and powder, darest thou pretend to win a lady's affections? answer, stripling, can'st thou fight for a lady?

Clara. [Aside.] He's a terrible fellow! I quake every inch of me; but I must put a good face upon it—I'll try what speaking big will do—[Advancing to him.] Why, yes, Captain Terrible; do you suppose I am to be daunted by your blustering? Bless me! if a long stride, a fierce brow, and a loud voice, were mortal, which of us should live to twenty? I'd have you to know, damn me——

Fer. Draw your sword, draw your sword, thou amphibious thing! If you have the spirit of a man, let me see how you will prove it—[Draws.]

Clara. Oh, Lord! what will become of me! hold, hold, for heaven's sake! what, will nothing but fighting satisfy you?—I'll do any thing in reason—don't be so hasty.

Fer. Oh, thou egregious dastard! you won't fight, then?

Clara. No, by no means. I'll settle this matter in another way.—[Aside.] What will become of me?

Fer. Thy hand shakes so, thou wilt not be able to sign a paper, though it were ready for thee; therefore, observe what I say to you.

Clara. Yes, sir.

Fer. And if thou darest to disobey, or murmur at the smallest article—

Clara. Yes, sir.

Fer. First then, own thou art a coward.

Clara. Yes, sir.

Fer. Unworthy of Leonora.

Clara. Yes, sir.

Fer. Return instantly to Salamanca.

Clara. [Seeing Leonora.] Ha, Leonora! not till I have chastised you for your insolence. [Draws.]

Enter Leonora, and runs between them.

Leon. Heavens! what do I see! fighting! for shame, Ferdinand! draw your sword on a—stranger! [She holds Ferdinand.]

Fer. Don't hold me.

Clara. Hold him fast, madam—you can't do him a greater kindness.

Fer. [Struggling.] Dear Leonora!

Clara. Thou miserable coward! thou egregious dastard! thou poltroon! by what name shall I call thee?

Fer. Do you hear him, Leonora?

Clara. Hold him fast, madam—I am quite in a fever with my rage at him. Madam, that fellow never should pretend to you: he was just ready to sign a paper I had prepared for him, renouncing all right and title to you.

Fer. [To Leonora.] By heaven you injure, me!

Clara. He had just consented to leave this city, and was actually upon his knees to me for mercy.

Fer. Can I bear this?

Leon. Patience, dear Ferdinand.

Clara. When seeing you coming, he plucked up a little spirit, because he knew you would prevent us, and drawing out his unwilling sword, which hung dangling like a dead weight by his side there, he began to flourish it about just as I do now, madam.

Fer. Nothing shall restrain me—loose me, or by my wrongs, I shall think you are confederate with him. Now, madam, I see why you were so anxious to prevent me from chastising that coxcomb. It was not your love of me, but your fears for him—ungrateful woman!

Leon. Dear Ferdinand, rely upon it you are mistaken—don't trust appearances.

Fer. Incomparable sex! we are their fools so often, they think nothing too gross to pass upon us—'sdeath! weathercocks, wind, and feathers, are nothing. Woman, woman, is the true type of mutability—and to be false to me for such a thing as that—I could cut such a man out of a sugared cake—I believe a confectioner made him.

Leon. Have you done yet?

Fer. No, nor ever shall till you satisfy me. Then adieu—you shall see me no more, but you shall hear of me. I'll find your Narcissus, that precious flower-pot. I'll make him an example. All the wrongs I have suffered from you shall be revenged on him. My name shall be as terrible to all future coxcombs, as broad day-light to a decayed beauty, or a wet Sunday to a powdered citizen. [Exeunt.]


SCENE II.—Changes to the Hotel.

Two Doors are placed obliquely, at opposite Sides of the Stage, as entrances to different Chambers. Table and Chairs.

Enter Lazarillo.

Lazar. I have often heard that gentlemen, that is fine gentlemen, had no conscience; but I believe the truth is, they have no stomachs: they seem to think of every thing but eating, and, for my part, I think of nothing else. But here comes one of my masters.

Enter Clara, with a Paper.

Clara. Has Don Pedro been here to enquire for me?

Lazar. Truly, sir, I can't tell.

Clara. Was he here?

Lazar. Ay, that he was certainly.

Clara. Did he leave nothing with you for me?

Lazar. Not that I know of.

Clara. What, no money?

Lazar. Money!

Clara. Ay, money. I expected a purse with two hundred pistoles.

Lazar. I believe I have made a small mistake. The purse belongs to this master, and I gave it to the other. [Aside.] Are you certain you expected a purse with two hundred pistoles?

Clara. Certain—yes—what does the fellow stare at?

Lazar. You are sure they were not for another gentleman that shall be nameless?

Clara. Is the booby drunk?

Lazar. It must be with wind then. Why, sir, I did receive a purse with the sum you mention, and from Don Pedro, but whether it was intended for you is a point that requires some consideration.

Clara. What did Don Pedro say to you?

Lazar. I'll tell you, sir. Friend, says Don Pedro, there are two hundred pistoles for your master.

Clara. Well, dolt-head! and who is your master?

Lazar. There's the point now—there's the puzzle. Ah, sir, there are many things you would not find it easy to explain, though you was educated at Salamanca, and are no doubt a great scholar.

Clara. Give me the money, fool; and no more of your impertinence.

Lazar. There it is, sir. Heaven do you good with it: I think I know some people who would be glad of just that sum, especially if they thought they had a right to it.

Clara. No more—I expect Don Pedro. Bid Borachio get a good dinner; and here, take this letter of credit, lock it up carefully, I shall have occasion for a good deal of cash, and this way 'tis most portable: be careful of it, and make no mistakes; I expect dinner to be ready as soon as I return. [Exit.]

Lazarillo, alone.

You shall not wait a moment. This is the pleasantest order I have yet received from either of my masters. Here comes Borachio—I'll try if my host understands any thing of a table.

Enter Borachio.

Signior Borachio, or Master Borachio, or Don Joseph de Borachio, you come most opportunely. We must have a dinner immediately.

Bora. Name your hour. I am always prepared; two hours hence, an hour, half an hour;—my cooks are the readiest fellows—

Lazar. Ay, but this must not be one of your every-day dinners, the first thing comes to hand, tossed up and warmed over again, neither hot nor cold, like a day in the beginning of April—that's villainous.

Bora. Do you think I have kept the first tavern in the city so long, not to know how to please a gentleman?

Lazar. Some gentlemen are easily pleased; other gentlemen are hard to be pleased; now I'm of the latter order.

Bora. Gentleman, forsooth!

Lazar. A gentleman's gentleman: that is, my master's master in most things, but in the business of his eating, absolute and uncontrolable: but come, Master Borachio, let us have your idea of a dinner.

Bora. Two courses, to be sure.

Lazar. Two courses and a dessert.

Bora. Five in the first, and seven in the second.

Lazar. Good.

Bora. Why, in the middle I would have a rich savoury soup.

Lazar. Made with craw-fish—good!

Bora. At the top, two delicate white trout, just fresh from the river.

Lazar. Good! excellent! go on, go on.

Bora. At the bottom, a roast duck.

Lazar. A duck! a scavenger! an unclean bird! a waddling glutton; his bill is a shovel, and his body but a dirt cart: away with your duck—let me have a roast turkey, plump and full-breasted, his craw full with marrow.

Bora. You shall have it.

Lazar. Now for the side dishes.

Bora. At one side stewed venison, at the other an English plum-pudding.

Lazar. An English plum-pudding! that's a dish I am a stranger to. Now, Signior Borachio, to your second course.

Bora. Roast lamb at the top, partridge at the bottom, jelly and omlette on one side, pig and ham at the other, and Olla Podrida in the middle.

Lazar. All wrong, all wrong,—what should be at the top you put at the bottom, and two dishes of pork at the same side. It won't do—it will never do, I tell you.

Bora. How would you have it? I can order it no better.

Lazar. It will never do. Mind, I don't find fault with the things; the things are good enough, very good, but half the merit of a service consists in the manner in which you put it on the table. Pig and ham at the same side! why you might as well put a Hebrew Jew into the same stall at church with the Grand Inquisitor. Mind me, do but mind me; see now, suppose this floor was the table. [Goes upon one Knee, and tears the Paper left him by his Master.] Here's the top, and there's the bottom—put your partridge here, [Places a piece of the Paper.] your lamb there, [Another piece of the Paper.] there's top and bottom—Your jelly in the middle, [Another piece of the Paper.] Olla Podrida and pig at this side together, [Two pieces of the Paper,] and the omlette and ham at this—[two pieces more of the Paper.] There's a table laid out for you as it should be—[Looking at it with great satisfaction.]

Enter Clara and Don Pedro.

Clara. Hey-day! what are you about on your knees there?

Lazar. Shewing mine host how to lay out your honour's dinner: I'm no novice at these matters—I'll venture a wager—there are the dishes.

Clara. Get up, puppy—what's this? as I live, the letter of credit I left with him to put up for me, all torn to pieces!

Lazar. Oh the devil! I was so full of the dinner, every thing else slipped out of my memory. [Aside.] Upon my soul, sir, I quite forgot it. I was so taken up about the main chance, I quite forgot the value of the paper.

Clara. Dolt! idiot! a letter of credit for no less than four hundred pistoles—what amends can you make for such unconceivable stupidity?

Bora. [To Lazarillo.] The merit of a dinner consists, you know, in the manner in which you put the things on the table. This is a confounded dear dinner, truly.

Lazar. Plague upon it, it was your fault, and not mine; it never would have happened if you had served up the course properly—pig and ham at the same side! Such a blunder was never heard of. [Exit Bora.]

Clara. [To Don Pedro.] What can I do with this fellow?

Don P. The mischief is not without remedy. You must take up the pieces, join them, and paste them on a sheet of paper. Your bankers won't refuse it.

Clara. Hear you—do you understand Don Pedro?

Lazar. Perfectly. But in truth, sir, Borachio's stupidity was enough to drive every thing out of one's memory. He wanted, sir—

Clara. Silence! take these fragments, and join them as Don Pedro directed you. Make haste, and attend at dinner.

Lazar. Yes, sir. They'll make twenty mistakes if I am not present to direct them. [Exit.]

Don P. Really, young gentleman, nothing could be more à-propos than your arrival. A day's delay longer had lost you your mistress, and a good portion into the bargain. Have you seen any thing of Ferdinand, your rival, since?

Clara. Yes, and was upon the point of a most desperate combat; but your daughter stepped in, and he ran to her for protection: but I frightened him soundly.

Don P. Indeed!

Enter Borachio.

Bora. Gentlemen, your dinner will be ready in less than half an hour.

Don P. Half an hour! can't you get it sooner? to say the truth, I'm a little hungry.

Bora. What was ordered for you can't be ready sooner.

Clara. Let us have any thing that's ready. Appetite's the best sauce. What say you, Don Pedro?

Don P. Ay, ay—better than all the cooks in France. [Exeunt.]

Enter Lazarillo with a Napkin under his Arm.

Lazar. Here, waiters! waiters! what, are the fellows deaf? I knew nothing would be done till I got among them.

Enter First Waiter, with a Dish.

1 Wait. Who calls? here——

Lazar. What have you got there? where are you going?

1 Wait. To carry it to your master.

Lazar. What is it?

1 Wait. I don't know, the cook made it, not I.

Lazar. Put it down, I'll carry it myself. [Exit 1 Waiter.]

It smells well—what is it? I'll try. [Takes a spoon out of his Pocket.] Like a good soldier, or good surgeon, I never go without my arms and my instruments. [Tastes the Dish.] Excellent, faith—I'll try it again—better and better—but here it goes for master.

Octavio meets him as he is carrying in the Dish.

Lazar. Cursed ill luck, here's my other master.

Octa. Where are you going?

Lazar. Going, sir—sir, I was going—I was going to carry this in for your honour's dinner.

Octa. Carry in my dinner, before you knew I was come home!

Lazar. Lord! sir, I knew you was coming home. I happened just now to pop my head out of the window, and saw you walking down the street, so I thought you would like to have your dinner on the table the moment you came in.

Octa. What have you got there?

Lazar. 'Tis a kind of a fricasee, very good, I promise you.

Octa. Let me have soup—what, do you bring meat before soup, you blockhead!

Lazar. Lord, sir, nothing so common. In some parts of the world soup is the very last thing brought to the table.

Octa. That's not my custom—carry that back, and order some soup immediately.

Lazar. Yes, sir.

Octa. How unfortunate! to have searched so much, and to have heard nothing of Clara. [Exit.]

Lazarillo, pretending to go down, returns.

Now I may carry this to my first master.

[Goes into Clara's Chamber.]

Enter Second Waiter with a Dish.

2 Wait. Where is this man? Lazarillo!

Lazar. [Running out.] Who calls? here I am.

2 Wait. Carry this to your master. [Exit Waiter.]

Lazar. That I will—give it to me. I'll carry it to the first. [Going towards Clara's Chamber, is called to Octavio's.] What do you want? here I am.

Enter First Waiter with a Dish.

1 Wait. Here's a dish for your master.

Lazar. You're an honest fellow. Come, stir, stir, get the soup as fast as possible. [Exit Waiter.] If I can have the good fortune to serve them both without being discovered—

[Going towards Clara's Chamber, is called from Octavio's.]

Octa. [Within.] Lazarillo!

Lazar. Coming! Coming!

Enter Second Waiter with a Dish.

2 Wait. Where is this strange fellow, Lazarillo?

Lazar. Who calls? here I am.

2 Wait. Do you attend one table, and we'll take care of the other.

Lazar. Not at all, not at all, I'll take care of them both. [Exit Waiter.]

Clara. [From within.] Lazarillo!

Lazar. Here.

Octa. [Within.] Lazarillo!

Lazar. Patience, a little patience. Coming!

Enter First Waiter with a Dish.

1 Wait. Master—what's your name, here's a pudding.

Lazar. A pudding! What pudding?

1 Wait. An English plum-pudding.

Lazar. Lay it down, lay it down. [Exit Waiter.] This is a stranger, I must be civil to him. He looks like a Mulatto in the small-pox. Let's try how he tastes. [Takes out his Spoon.] Excellent! Admirable! rich as marrow, and strong as brandy. [Eats again.] This is meat and drink, no trusting outsides. This leopard-like pudding is most divine, I can't part with it. [Eats again, and sits down.]

Enter Clara with a Cane.

Clara. I must get another servant. This fellow minds nothing. Where are you, rascal? [Sees him.] There he is cramming himself instead of attending me.

Octa. [Within.] Lazarillo!

Lazar. [Speaking with his mouth full.] In a moment, in a moment.

Clara. What are you about there? don't you see me?

Lazar. I was just—tasting this pudding for you—I promise you, sir—you'll like it.

Clara. Why, 'tis all gone.

Lazar. It slips down so fast, sir, you can't tell the taste of it till you eat a good deal.

Clara. [Beats him.] Taste that, and that, and that—

Lazar. Hold, hold, sir, for heaven's sake! take care, sir! you have no right to more than one half of me, t'other belongs to another gentleman—oh! oh! oh!

Enter Octavio.

Octa. What's this! beating my servant! Loose your hold, sir! what right have you to strike my servant? a blow to the fellow who receives my wages, is an affront to me. You must account with me for this.

Clara. [Seeing Octavio.] By all my hopes, Octavio!

Lazar. [Aside.] If this comes to a duel, and one of them falls, I am for the survivor.

Octa. You look surprised, sir! what, is this doctrine new to you?

Clara. I am not much accustomed to menaces from those lips; do you not know me, Octavio?

Octa. Know you!

Clara. Is my voice a stranger to you? must you have stronger proofs that I am Clara—if so, let this convince you.

Octa. O unexpected happiness! Art thou, indeed, my Clara? the same sincere, faithful, generous Clara, I knew and loved at Salamanca?

Clara. The same, the very same. Don Pedro's in the next room; I'll step and explain what has happened, and send immediately for Leonora and Ferdinand. [Exit.]

Lazar. May I take the liberty of offering my poor congratulations on this joyful occasion? Will you believe it, sir, I had a sort of an inkling, a divining, that something of this kind would happen; for I dreamt all last night of cats and dogs and a spread eagle.

Octa. Your dreams, I hope, go by contraries; and you shall be a witness of our harmony, for I intend to keep you in my service.

Enter Clara, Pedro, Leonora, Sancho, and Ferdinand.

Don P. Joy, joy, I give you joy, this discovery has saved us all a great deal of perplexity. Our only strife now shall be, who will fill the greatest quantity of bumpers to the felicity of this double gemini of turtles.

Don S. Brother-in-law that is to be, give me your hand: we will presently drown all animosities in a bottle of honest Borachio's Burgundy.

Lazarillo steps forward.

Lazar. To serve two masters long I strove in vain, Hard words or blows were all my toils could gain: But their displeasure now no more can move, If you [To the Audience], my kinder masters, but approve. [Exeunt.]




Contemporary spellings have been retained except for two instances where desert was changed to dessert. Missing punctuation has occasionally been added. Two further minor changes were made: Nakpin became Napkin, and a missing e was added to one instance of "he".
The corrections can be identified in the body of the text by a grey dotted underline.

[The end of Two Strings to his Bow by Robert Jephson]