Scene I.Captain Absolutes Lodgings.
Captain Absolute and Fag.
Fag. Sir, while I was there, Sir Anthony came in: I told him you had sent me to inquire after his health, and to know if he was at leisure to see you.
Abs. And what did he say, on hearing I was at Bath?
Fag. Sir, in my life I never saw an elderly gentleman more astonished! He started back two or three paces, rapped out a dozen interjectural oaths, and asked what the devil had brought you here.
Abs. Well, sir, and what did you say?
Fag. Oh, I lied, sirI forgot the precise lie; but you may depend ont, he got no truth from me. Yet, with submission, for fear of blunders in future, I should be glad to fix what has brought us to Bath, in order that we may lie a little consistently. Sir Anthonys servants were curious, sir, very curious indeed.
Abs. You have said nothing to them?
Fag. Oh, not a word, sir,not a word! Mr. Thomas, indeed, the coachman (whom I take to be the discreetest of whips)
Abs. Sdeath!you rascal! you have not trusted him!
Fag. Oh, no, sirnononot a syllable, upon my veracity! He was, indeed, a little inquisitive; but I was sly, sirdevilish sly! My master (said I), honest Thomas (you know, sir, one says honest to ones inferiors,) is come to Bath to recruit.Yes, sir, I said to recruitand whether for men, money, or constitution, you know, sir, is nothing to him nor any one else.
Abs. Well, recruit will dolet it be so.
Fag. Oh, sir, recruit will do surprisinglyindeed, to give the thing an air, I told Thomas that your honour had already enlisted five disbanded chairmeh, seven minority waiters, and thirteen billiard-markers.
Abs. You blockhead, never say more than is necessary.
Fag. I beg pardon, sirI beg pardonbut, with submission, a lie is nothing unless one supports it. Sir, whenever I draw on my invention for a good current lie, I always forge indorsements as well as the bill.
Abs. Well, take care you dont hurt your credit by offering too much security.Is Mr. Faulkland returned?
Fag. He is above, sir, changing his dress.
Abs. Can you tell whether he has been informed of Sir Anthony and Miss Melvilles arrival?
Fag. I fancy not, sir; he has seen no one since he came in but his gentleman, who was with him at Bristol.I think, sir, I hear Mr. Faulkland coming down
Abs. Go tell him I am here.
Fag. Yes, sir.[Going.] I beg pardon, sir, but should Sir Anthony call, you will do me the favour to remember that we are recruiting, if you please.
Abs. Well, well.
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