Puff. What before the play began?—how the plague could he?

Dang. That’s true, i’faith!

Puff. But you will hear what he thinks of the matter.

“Sir Christ.Alas! my noble friend, when I behold
Yon tented plains in martial symmetry
Array’d; when I count o’er yon glittering lines
Of crested warriors, where the proud steeds neigh,
And valour-breathing trumpet’s shrill appeal,
Responsive vibrate on my listening ear;
When virgin majesty herself I view,
Like her protecting Pallas, veil’d in steel,
With graceful confidence exhort to arms!
When, briefly, all I hear or see bears stamp
Of martial vigilance and stern defence,
I cannot but surmise—forgive, my friend,
If the conjecture’s rash—I cannot but
Surmise the state some danger apprehends!”

Sneer. A very cautious conjecture that.

Puff. Yes, that’s his character; not to give an opinion but on secure grounds.—Now then.

“Sir Walt.O most accomplish’d Christopher!”—

Puff. He calls him by his christian name, to show that they are on the most familiar terms.

“Sir Walt.O most accomplish’d Christopher! I find
Thy staunch sagacity still tracks the future,
In the fresh print of the o’ertaken past.”

Puff. Figurative!

“Sir Walt.Thy fears are just.
Sir Christ.But where? whence? when? and what
The danger is,—methinks I fain would learn.
Sir Walt.You know, my friend, scarce two revolving suns,
And three revolving moons, have closed their course
Since haughty Philip, in despite of peace,
With hostile hand hath struck at England’s trade.
Sir Christ.I know it well.
Sir Walt.Philip, you know, is proud Iberia’s king!
Sir Christ.He is.
Sir Walt.His subjects in base bigotry
And Catholic oppression held;—while we,
You know, the Protestant persuasion hold.
Sir Christ. We do.
Sir Walt.You know, beside, his boasted armament,
The famed Armada, by the Pope baptized.
With purpose to invade these realms—
Sir Christ.Is sailed,
Our last advices so report.
Sir Walt.While the Iberian admiral’s chief hope,
His darling son—
Sir Christ.                     Ferolo Whiskerandos hight—
Sir Walt.The same—by chance a prisoner hath been ta’en,
And in this fort of Tilbury—
Sir Christ.Is now
Confined—’tis true, and oft from yon tall turret’s top
I’ve mark’d the youthful Spaniard’s haughty mien—
Unconquer’d, though in chains.
Sir Walt.                     You also know”—

Dang. Mr. Puff, as he knows all this, why does Sir Walter go on telling him?

Puff. But the audience are not supposed to know anything of the matter, are they?

Sneer. True; but I think you manage ill: for there certainly appears no reason why Sir Walter should be so communicative.

Puff. ’Fore Gad, now, that is one of the most ungrateful observations I ever heard!—for the less inducement he has to tell all this, the more, I think, you ought to be obliged to him; for I am sure you’d know nothing of the matter without it.

Dang. That’s very true, upon my word.

Puff. But you will find he was not going on.

“Sir Christ.Enough, enough—’tis plain—and I no more
Am in amazement lost!”—

Puff. Here, now you see, Sir Christopher did not in fact ask any one question for his own information.

Sneer. No, indeed: his has been a most disinterested curiosity!

Dang. Really, I find. that we are very much obliged to them both.

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