Scene I.A Picture Room in Charles Surfaces House.
Enter Charles Surface, Sir Oliver Surface, Moses, and Careless.
Chas. Surf. Walk in, gentlemen, pray walk in;here they are, the family of the Surfaces, up to the Conquest.
Sir Oliv. And, in my opinion, a goodly collection.
Chas. Surf. Ay, ay, these are done in the true spirit of portrait-painting; no volontière grace or expression. Not like the works of your modern Raphaels, who give you the strongest resemblance, yet contrive to make your portrait independent of you; so that you may sink the original and not hurt the picture. No, no; the merit of these is the inveterate likenessall stiff and awkward as the originals, and like nothing in human nature besides.
Sir Oliv. Ah! we shall never see such figures of men again.
Chas. Surf. I hope not. Well, you see, Master Premium, what a domestic character I am; here I sit of an evening surrounded by my family. But come, get to your pulpit, Mr. Auctioneer; heres an old gouty chair of my grandfathers will answer the purpose.
Care. Ay, ay, this will do. But, Charles, I havent a hammer; and whats an auctioneer without his hammer?
Chas. Surf. Egad, thats true. What parchment have we here? Oh, our genealogy in full. [Taking pedigree down.] Here, Careless, you shall have no common bit of mahogany, heres the family tree for you, you rogue! This shall be your hammer, and now you may knock down my ancestors with their own pedigree.
Sir Oliv. What an unnatural rogue!an ex post facto parricide!
Care. Yes, yes, heres a list of your generation indeed;faith, Charles, this is the most convenient thing you could have found for the business, for twill not only serve as a hammer, but a catalogue into the bargain. Come, beginA-going, a-going, a-going!
Chas. Surf. Bravo, Careless! Well, heres my great uncle, Sir Richard Ravelin, a marvellous good general in his day, I assure you. He served in all the Duke of Marlboroughs wars, and got that cut over his eye at the battle of Malplaquet. What say you, Mr. Premium? look at himtheres a hero! not cut out of his feathers, as your modern clipped captains are, but enveloped in wig and regimentals, as a general should be. What do you bid?
Sir Oliv. [Aside to Moses.] Bid him speak.
Mos. Mr. Premium would have you speak.
Chas. Surf. Why, then, he shall have him for ten pounds, and Im sure thats not dear for a staff-officer.
Sir Oliv. [Aside.] Heaven deliver me! his famous uncle Richard for ten pounds![Aloud.] Very well, sir, I take him at that.
Chas. Surf. Careless, knock down my uncle Richard.Here, now, is a maiden sister of his, my great- aunt Deborah, done by Kneller, in his best manner, and esteemed a very formidable likeness. There she is, you see, a shepherdess feeding her flock. You shall have her for five pounds tenthe sheep are worth the money.
Sir Oliv. [Aside.] Ah! poor Deborah! a woman who set such a value on herself![Aloud.] Five pounds tenshes mine.
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