Skip to main content

Full text of "Perfection; or, The maid of Munster; A farce in one act"

See other formats




jl B6 

Bayly, Thomas Haynes 
Perfect ion 


University of CaWorni* 


NO. xxxi r. 






21 Jam 







THIS sparkling little afterpiece, so familiar to all play-goers, 
was originally produced at Drury Lane Theatre the S5th of 
March, 1830. Mr. Jones as Charles Paragon, and Madame 
Vestris as Kate O'-Brien, sustained the two principal parts with 
great vivacity and ability ; and a degree of success rarely bs- 
stowed on such dramatic trifles, has up to this time attended the 
piece. It is founded on a tale, which appeared in one of the 
" Annuals" ; and the lively, drawing-room air, which pervades 
it, has been one great element of its exceeding popularity. It is 
not only one of the standing dishes at all our theatres, but is quite 
a favourite among those venturous young gentlemen and ladies, 
who mingle in private theatricals. 

Thomas Haynes Bayly, the author of this and several other 
successful afterpieces, died at Cheltenham, England, the 22d of 
April, 1839. He was well known as one of the most graceful 
lyric poets of the age ; and his songs have been deservedly po- 
pular. We need but enumerate " The Pilot," " She Wore a 
Wreath of Roses," " The Soldier's Tear," and " Oh. no ! we 
never mention her," to prove that few modern ballad-writers 
have produced so many lyrics that are widely and well remem- 

In a notice of the death of this accomplished writer, the Lon- 
don Literary Gazette communicates the following facts respect- 
ing him : " Mr. Bayly has been, we fear, another example of 
the sad and unfortunate lot of literary men. Born to good ex- 
pectations, and married to a beautiful and accomplished woman, 
who brought him a considerable fortune, he began the world 
under the most favourable auspices, and mixed with the best 
ocietv of the day. His expectations were, however, disappoint- 


ed ; and he could not fall back into a sufficiently economical 
course, till the pressure of circumstances impoverished him be- 
yond a remedy. For it is difficult, if not impossible, for a person 
so situated to disentangle himself, and again enjoy a fair field for 
the exercise of hi-i abilities. In England, poveity is the worst of 
crimes ; and punished more unrelentingly than the deepest guilt. 
So did Mr. Bayly find it. Demand would not wait for the fruits 
of exertion ; and uo sooner was his head raised above the stormy 
waters to breathe for awhile, than it was ruthlessly plunger 
down again, and he was doomed to perish, as we have said 
another sad instance of the miserable fate of genius when onct 
involved in pecuniary embarrassments. Mr. Bayly, besides hi 
many beautiful songs, has written, we believe, thirty or forty 
pieces for the stage ; and from these a comfortable provision 
might have been drawn. But, alas for the author in want ! 
He must sell for what he can get, to supply immediate necessi- 
ties ; and sacrifice his birthright indeed for a mess of pottage ! 

" The public go nightly to theatres to laugh at ' Tom Noddy's 
Secret,' or see ' Perfection,' or witness other popular produc- 
tions ; the drawing-room resounds with the touching melody of 
' Oh, no, we never mention her !' or the playful strains of ' I'd 
be a butterfly,' whilst the writer is pining in sickness and dis- 
tress, dying oppressed andunpitied. It is a thoughtless, a heart- 
less, and a gloomy picture ; but so it is, and rare is the occasion 
when struggling talent is taken by the hand, and lifted above 
the wrongs of life, or even allowed to lift itself. The avenger is 
quick, the saviour slow ; until, as here, an early death releases 
the victim, and he sinks into that grave where the wicked cease 
from troubling, and the weary are at rest. 

" Mr. Bayly has left a widow and two children to bewail hig 
prematute loss." 


Drury Lane, 1830. Part, 1846. Botton, 184S. 

Sir Lawrence Paragon Mr. Jas. Brown. Mr. Bass. Mr. Gilbert. 

Charles Paragon " Jones. " Dyott. " G. H. Barrett 

Sam (valet to Charier) " Webster. " A. Andrew*. " T. Placide. 

Footman " Milot. " Adams. 

Kate O'Brien Madame Vestris. Mrs. Chas. Kean. Mrs. Bland. 

Sutan (her maid) Mrs. Orger. Mrs. Dyott. Mrs. W. H. Smith 


R. means Right; L. Left; R. D. Right Door; L. D. Left Door; 
8. E. Second Entrance; U. E. Upper Entrance; M. D. Middle Door. 


R., means Right; L., Left; C., Centre ; R. C., Right of Centre; 
L C., Left of Centre. 

fi.B. Pottage* marked with Inverted Commas, are vtnally omitted in tkt 



SCENE I. An Apartment in Kate O'Brien's House. 

Sus. THIS way, Sir Lawrence ; my mistress will be 
delighted to see you. Law, sir you're looking better 
than ever, I protest. 

Sir L. No, Susan, no that won't do better, perhaps, 
than when you saw me last, for I was then in a hobble 
with the gout ; but as for "better than ever," oh ! Susan, 
you wouldn't say so, if you could have seen me five-and- 
twenty years ago. I certainly was a fine grown young 
man icas, how I hate the word ! 

" Sus. You're not married yet, Sir Lawrence ; more's 
" the wonder, as I say to mistress ; and more's the pity, as I 
" say to myself. That comes of being such a fine grown 
" young man, you never could meet with your match. 
" You'll excuse my fi-eedom, sir, but you know Miss Kate 
" and I were playfellows together, and she has quite spoil- 
"ed me." 

"SirL. It's my opinion, you'd take a great deal of 
" spoiling : you're a very fine young woman, Susan, 1 
" say so /, that am a judge, that is to say have been a 
"judge. What have I to do with fine women now ?" 

Sus. What a pity it is, s\r, that you are an old bachelor 
I mean a single man. 

Sir L. Oh ! out with it an old bachelor ! there's a 
nick-name to break a man's heart with old Nick's }wn 


invention ! But I've borne it for many a long year, and 
it's now too late to think of getting rid of it. Oh, if I had 
but married Laura Pennington ! 

Sus. Ah, sir ! why didn't you do it, sir ? 

Sir L. Why Susan, the fact is she was rather too 
short not much just a degree under my own standard ; 
a sweet creature, though, and there was no other fault to 
find with her possibly 1 was wrong. But then there was 
Araminta Skinner. 

Sus. And pray, sir, what forbid the banns in that in- 
stance ] 

Sir L. I did, Susan : I managed to break oflf before I 
committed myself. I think she was growing partial to 
me ; most young women did in those days ; but all of a 
sudden it struck me, that she was- a little too short, not 
much, but about an inch below my idea of perfection. 
Then there was Maria, sweet Maria. 

Sus. Well, sir, and why didn't you make her Lady Pa- 
ragon 1 

Sir L. She was just a shade too brown ; afterwards 
I thought I should have married Louisa. 

Sus. Well, what was her fault 1 

Sir L. She was just an atom too fair ; then Fanny was 
too fat, and Theodosia was too thin, and somehow or 
other, in every girl I met, there was a something 

Sus. Not good enough for such a fine grown younj 

Sir L. Oh, Susan ! don't banter me ; 'tis no laughing 
matter; they have all got husbands, and olive branches, 
and all that sort of thing, now, and I am a fusty old ba- 
chelor ! Perhaps it is not too late to mend, either is it, 
Susan 1 hey, what say you ? I always admired you vast- 

Sus. Ay, now 'tis your turn to banter ; but if you were 
*n earnest, before our wedding-day came, you'd find me 
oo this, or too that, or too t'other. 

Sir L. No ! upon my life, that's all gone by. 

Sus. Indeed ! then, perhaps, I might find the objection 
myself; I'm too 

Sir L. Too, what 1 

Sus. Too young ! don't be angry, I'll send my mistress 
to you, sir bring your nephew and your ward together, 


if you can ; 1 fear it's too late for you to think of matri- 
mony. " If you will not when you may," -you know 
the proverb young bachelors, who are too hard to be 
pleased, must make the best of a life of single blessed- 
ness, f Exit, K. 

Sir L. Oh ! that's very true ; but, confound it, there's 
no such thing as single blessedness ; blessedness always 
comes double. Well, after all, if I can but bring about 
a match between my ward and nephew, it will be a con- 
solation to me : they have never met, and I begin to fear 
he's as particular as I used to be. But if Kate O'Brien 
does not charm him, he must be difficult to please indeed. 
[Kate sings without.] Eh ! that is her glorious voice. 

Enter KATE, R. 
My fair ward, welcome. 

Kate. And welcome a thousand times, my dear old 
guardian ; why, you look 

Sir L. Oh, don't talk about my looks ; it's a sore sub- 
ject ; fiction can no longer impose me, and that's the de- 
vil ! 1 look like a fusty old bachelor, and that's the fact 
I wish it wasn't but you look charmingly : why, we 
haven't met these two years; what a catalogue of con- 
quests you must have to give me but no engagement, I 
hope 1 

Kate. Why, in aflfaii's of war, the engagement comes 
before the conquest, does it not 1 

Sir L. That may be, madcap ! but in affairs of love, 
those eyes of yours vanquish, and then the engagement 
begins. But you are not engaged, I hope? 

Kate. Indeed I am not ; I am as free as air, and am 
likely to continue so. But why are you so anxious about 
the matter 1 I thought you wished me to marry ? 

Sir L. So I do I want you to marry a man you have 
never seen. 

Kate. I thank you kindly, sir, but I would much rather 
look before I leap. 

Sir L. So you shall look ; and, after looking, if you 
will take the leap, old as I am, I shall jump for joy. 

Kate. Well, sir, and pray where is the happy man, 
who is to make me the happy woman ? 

Sir L. He is at my house ; he is my nephew just like 
me, that is, just like what I was at his age. 


[Act I. 

Kate. Irresistible, then, of cotfrse ; and is he as particu- 
lar as you are reported to have been 1 

Sir L. Why, to say the truth, 1 am afraid he is but 
that does not signify, for the more fastidious he is, the 
more will he appreciate your perfection. Had I met with 
any body like you in my younger days 

Kate. Oh, say no more, I guess the rest. 

Sir L. My dear, I beg your pardon. I think I feel 
a draught ; are you sure that door is shut ? 

Kate. I hear, sir \Runs to the door.\ quite. 

Sir L. Bless your heart, how sensible you are but is 
there not a nasty whistling wind through that key-hole ] 

Kate. Oh ! if you had but married your first love, you 
never would have thought of that. 

Sir L. Old bachelor's whims and fancies, hey ] no 
matter, listed doors and sand-bagged windows are great 
comforts, notwithstanding. But we were talking of my 
nephew ; when he marries, he says he must and will mar- 
ry perfection. 

Kale. Does he indeed? meaning, no doubt, that 
naught but perfection can pretend to match with him : 
well done, vanity ! 

Sir L. Don't blame the lad ; I was just the same at his 

Kate. And you have reaped the advantages of it well, 
do you know I am just as particular as your nephew ? 1 
never mean to marry till 1 meet with 

Sir L. Perfection ! hey 1 

Kate. No, Sir Lawrence, one peep will not do I 
would rather he disliked me at the first peep, and loved 
me afterwards, than that he should be over head and ears 
in love with me at the first view, and I scarcely ancle 
deep, when I became his wife. 

Sir L. This is all nonsense. I will send him to you, 
and I have no fears about the result ; in you he will find 
the wife he wants, (that is) perfection. Good-bye, Kate ; 
I'll bring him to you this very day. [Exit, i,. 

Kate. Perfection, forsooth ! well, T admire the man's 
vanity. To be trotted out like a steed for sale, and, if not 
deemed satisfactory, to be trotted in again. No, no ! Kate 
O'Brien has too much spirit for that. They say 1 shall 
never marry ; and if to all who pop questions, I continue 



answering with that chilling monosyllable no, perchance 
I never may well 

\Song.] . " I'll not believe it." [Exit, R. 

SCENE II. An Apartment at Sir Lawrence Paragon's. 
CHARLES reading L. of table, SAM busying himself at table. 

Chas. Well ! what are you fidgeting about ? do be 

Sam. I'm putting to rights, sir. What a kind-hearted 
gentleman your uncle is but quite thrown away, if I 
may presume to say such a thing. If he hadn't been an 
old bachelor, he'd have been the snuggest elderly person 
I ever saw. Let it be a warning to you, sir, if I may be 
so bold ; you've missed your opportunities before now, 
you know, and you may do that once too often. 

Ch'js. Well, upon my word, free and easy. 

Sam. Why, I didn't serve you at Oxford, without know- 
ing how to claim my privilege for old acquaintance. Do 
get a wife. 

Chas. Hold your tongue, Sam. I never saw the wo- 
man yet, that I could conscientiously throw myself away 

Sam. If you please to give me leave, sir, I mean to 
alter my condition, as soon as I meet a genteel, comely 

Chas. With all my heart : marry a plain cook, if you 

Sam. No : a pretty ladies' maid I can't help taking 
warning of your uncle I'll marry forthwith. 

Chas. When you do, you'll please to take warning of 
me, and find another place ; I'll have no encumbrance, 
no soothing solace, no babes, no sucklings, on my establish- 
ment ; so, when you begin paying your addresses, I'll pay 
you your wages and when you mean to be any woman's 
humble servant, please to remember you are no servant 
of mine. 

Sam. Well, now, really, sir, that is very hard ; what 
objection can you have to the hymeneal altar ] yet I can't 
help thinking that you'll marry one of these days, not- 

Gha*. When I am, you'll find my wife a perfect wo- 


man ; and as that is a sight we are none of us likely to 
meet with, why, the probability is that you'll go to the 
grave without seeing my wife. But having given you my 
opinion of your own matrimonial plans, you'll please to 
leave me to my fate ; and moreover, as 1 see my uncle 
coming this way, you will do me the favour of leaving 
the room. 

Sam. By all means, sir. [Aside.] 1 see, my union, when- 
ever I do make a selection, must be clandecent, for he'll 
never give me a special license : but I'll be churched in 
spite of him. [Exit, L. 


Sir L. I'm sure it is an east wind, for I have a pain ii? 
my right shoulder, just like that I had in my left, in mj 
last rheumatism but one. Bless me, Charles, what a ha 
bit you have, of not wiping your feet at the street door 
the stair carpets are all of a mess. 

Chas. Bless me, uncle, I beg your pardon I have not 
been accustomed to a bachelor's house. 

Sir L. Ay, Charles, that is it ; you mean, you never 
were privy to an old -bachelor's peculiarities: look to 
yourself, then, and take care ; take warning of me. That 
ever I should live to be a scare-crow ! 

Chas. They tell me, sir, that you were very Tike what I 
now am. 

Sir L. Umph ! there is a resemblance indeed ; but you 
have not got quite the dimple I had in my chin. Oh ! 
you need not look for it now, you'll see a wrinkle instead; 
but take warning, I say have you thought of our lato 
conversation 1 

Chan. Sir Lawrence, my dear uncle ; almost anything 
I would willingly do to oblige you but matrimony, no 
there I must be obstinate. 

Sir L. And why, pray, why 1 

Chas. Oh ! I adore the sex ; yes, collectively, they ar 
my idols ; but to one individual of woman kind, never 
will I bend the knee. 

Sir L. That's all stuff; very proper rattle for a boy in 
his teens ; but live-and-twenty ought to be above it. Si- 
tuated as you are, Charles, it is your duty to marry. 


Okas. Ah, sir duty ! prove that it can be my plea- 
sure, and I shall obey. But why is it my duty ] 

Sir Li. Answer me are not you my poor, dear, dead 
brother's only son ] 

Ckas. There's no denying that, uncle. 

Sir L. Well, and I having no children of my own, are 
you not heir to my estate and property 1 

Chas. Such is at present the fact, sir ; but why force a 
pill down my throat, which you could never be induced 
to swallow why don't you marry ] why don't you hand 
down both name and fortune in the direct line 1 

Sir L. Oh, nonsense ! I'm too old to marry. 

Ckas. Not at all ; you are very hale 

Sir L. Hale ! yes I hate the word when you say a 
man's hale, you only mean he totters on tolerably, consi- 
dering his age : no man tells another under sixty, he' 
hale hale's a very wintry expression. I wish I had mar- 
ried forty years ago yes, the younger the better ; don't 
you wait too long ; I repeat, it is your duty to marry. 

Chas. So I have been told ever since I was nineteen ; 
and, I suppose, that is the reason I have never chosen a 
wife. Had I been the youngest son of a younger brother, 
with nothing but a curacy, or a cornet's commission, I 
dare say I should have been warned against matrimony, 
and should have run away with an apothecary's daughter, 
and have been the happy father of ten little blooming nudi- 

Sir L. Well, Charles, you certainly ought to know 
best ; I dare say you are as obstinate _and as headstrong 
as myself; and I hate obstinacy as I hate 

Chas. Undutiful nephews. 

Sir L. No, Charles, you are not undutiful at least, 
only on this occasion ; and as to hating you, that is im- 

Ckas. Thank you, uncle ; and now, for once, I will 
confess that I am not so obstinate as you seem to imagine. 
[ have really no very decided objection to matrimony. 

Sir L. Then, why on earth don't you look about you ? 

Chas. I do, positively, uncle ; 1 hare looked, and am 
looking, and shall or will look. But when I many, my 
choice will not be on an every-day woman my wife must 
be 'perfection. 


Sir L. Oh ! of course at least, you will think her so. 

Chas. The world must think her so, or I shall not be 
content. She must have a faultless face, a faultless mind ; 
she must be beautiful without vanity ; graceful without 
conceit ; retiring without mautaise hontc ; talented without 
display; agreeable without coquetry; amiable without 
sentimentality ; liberal without ostentation ; animated 
without frivolity 

Sir L. Hold ! stop ! mercy on me, there's no end to 
your list. 

Chas. All this my wife must be. 

Sir L. And pray, Charles, supposing the lady should 
have as long a list of indispensables, what will become of 
you 1 

Clias. I can't say; but we are discussing to very little 
purpose : I shall never live to see the sort of person 1 des- 

Sir L. Why, really, it will be no very easy matter to 
find such a one, I admit. Must she sing] 

Chas. Like a seraph. 

Sir L. Must she draw 1 

Chas. Like Angelica Kauffman. 

Sir L. Must she dance 1 

Chas. Like a sylph. 

Sir L. Well, you really are a most unconscionable per- 
son every accomplishment, and perfect in all ! 1 was 
going to present you to a fair lady of my acquaintance ; 
but I shall not do so now. 

Chas. Don't say so ! any friend of yours, as an ac- 
quaintance, 1 can have no objection to. But my wife must 
be all f describe. 

SirL. All? 

Chas. All! 

Sir L. Very well, say no more about it. I shall not in- 
troduce you to Kate. 

Chas. Kate, did you say 1 Kate ! why not] what Kate, 
which Kate 1 

Sir L. Oh ! never mind ; she is not perfection. 

Chas. I dare say not. But where is she ] who is she ? 

Sir L. The orphan daughter of General O'Brien, an 
old Irish friend of mine. 

Chas. Irish ! oh, I understand she has a brogue. 


Sir L. No, on my honour, she has no brogue. 

C/ias. Well, what they call a slight Irish accent, then 
yes, upon my faith, a mighty pretty, illigant way of talking 
for a young female. 

Sir L. Your ridicule is thrown away, and misapplied. 
My little friend, Kate O'Brien, has not an atom of her 
country's accent ; though, if she had, I'm sure she has 
too much good sense to be ashamed of it. However, since 
you've thought proper to quiz her I shall not introduce 
you to her. 

Chas. Then I'll be even with you. I'll find out her 
address I'll pay her a visit, introduce myself, and declare 
my worthy uncle sent me. 

Sir L. Her address is easily found, for she lives in the 
next street ; but I know you will not have the assurance 
to call upon her. 

Chas. I give you due notice, sir, that I will, and that 
within this hour ; so, uncle, when we meet again, I shall 
have seen your Wild Irish Girl. [Exit, R, 

Sir L. That's the way with them all : tell them they 
shall, and they won't ; tell them they shan't, and they will. 
'Twas just the same with me I was desired to marry by 
father, mother, and maiden aunts, and here I am, like a 
shrivelled old pea in a pot, at sixty and odd years. If I 
could but bring these two together, 'twould be something 
to look at ; I should have a chance for a family party on 
Christmas day, and New- Year's day, and other days, when 
family men have family parties, and jollifications, and when 
nobody but old bachelors sit sulkily by themselves. Gad ! 
Charles shan't take the girl by surprise, though ! I'll send 
her a note, and put her on her guard. [Exit, R. 

SCENE III. An Apartment at Kate O'Brien's. 

Enter SUSAN, R. 

Sits. Well, gentlefolks, certainly, are the strangest be- 
ings : there's no understanding them. My mistress was 
born with a silver spoon in her mouth a silver spoon, did I 
say "? law, it must have been a soup ladle, for she's got all 
the good things of this world about her ; and yet she won't 
marry, and settle, and make herself agreeable, but goes 
on refusing and refusing, till, one day or t'other, there'll 


[ACT I. 

be nobody to say " no" to. That's not my way ; I've 
thought the matter over very seriously, and I'm resolved 
to marry, the first opportunity. 

Enter SAM, L. 

Who can this be, I wonder. Dear me, a very nice, spruce 
young man. I wish I had put on my t'other cap. 

Sam. What a very fine young person ! Pray, ma'am, 
are you Miss O'Brien's maid 1 

Sus. I am, sir her own maid. 

Sam. Oh ! you need not tell me that ; I saw at once 
you were, an upper servant. There's lady's maid in all 
your motions. 

Sus. Oh, sir, you're vastly genteel. Pray, may I ask 
your business ? 

Sam. I've no business at present ; I mean to go into 
business when I marry ; and, when I look at you, I wish 
that were to be this afternoon. 

Sus. You misunderstand me. What brought you here ? 

Sam. I am come from Sir Lawrence Paragon. 

Sus. Are you in his service ? 

Sam. I'm his nephew's man his own man. 

Sus. Oh ! you needn't tell me that ; I saw at once, you 
were an upper servant. There's gentleman's gentleman 
in all your motions. 

Sam. But at this present moment, I come from Sir 
Lawrence Paragon; for he has really nobody in his esta- 
blishment, at all distinguished or respectable ; so he likes 
to employ me, and I am very obliging. Here's a note for 
your lady, and it's to be delivered immediately. It sounds 
very ungallant in me to say, but immediately was Sir 
Lawrence's word. 

Sus. I must run with it to my mistress; she is in her 
boudoir. [Trying to peep into the note.\ I hate this three- 
cornered way of folding notes. 

Sain. So do I, madam ; it curtails one's information 
sadly. I hope, ma<lam, you'll visit Sir Lawrence's house- 
keeper ; she is vastly genteel, indeed. 

Sus. I do drop in there sometimes. Good morning, sir. 
Tell Mrs. Fritter I shall soon pay her a visit. I wish you 
a very good morning. 

\Cartesys affectedly, and exit, L. Sam, R. 



SCENE IV. Kate O'Brien's boudoir large folding doors 
in the centre an elegant couch , with handsome shawl ly- 
ing on tt. Small table, on rollers, chair, fyc. 

KATE discovered. 

Kate. Heigho ! why was 1 born an heiress ? envied by 
my own sex, perpetually teased by the men, and knowing 
but too well, that I am sought only for my gold. Of one 
thing I am resolved : I never will marry, 'till I have good 
reason to know that I am loved for myself alone. 

Enter SUSAN, u. 

Sus. A note, madam, no answer, the young man s,aid. 
A very nice, genteel looking young man he was, too 

Kate. You think of nothing, Susan, but nice young men, 
Go about your business. 

Sus. Well, I'm sure, there's no harm in that. He was 
a very nice young man, that I will maintain. 

\Exit through the folding doors. 

Kate. [After reading the note.\ From my good guardian, 
Sir Lawrence Paragon ; and to inform me, as I am to ex- 
pect a visit from his nephew, he hopes I will appear to the 
best advantage. I suppose, all my graces now, and none 
of my airs. [Reads.] " You have only to exert tJie fascina- 
tions you 2>ossess, to win his heart, and, make me your affection- 
ate uncle" Thankye kindly, sir I fear your partiality 
blinds you. But what shall I do with the nephew 1 " The 
woman he marries must be perfection." If he resembles Sir 
Lawrence, I'm sure to like him ; and, if so, I may be 
tempted to try and win him ; but it shall be without dis- 
playing one of the perfections, which he has declared to 
be indispensable. He thinks to take me by surprise ; but 
he shall not find me without a plot. 

Enter SUSAN, c. 

Susan! [Knock without. 

Sus. Yes, ma'am [^/'dc.] There is a young gentleman 
knocking at the door a very nice looking gentleman 
but I don't dare say so. 

Kate. Wheel that sofa there. Now for the table. [<S- 
san wheels table to the front, on wh : ,ch lie a nosegay and a 


[ACT I. 

portfolio. Kale, throwing licrself on soja.] Now, unfold my 
shawl. There, throw it over my feet. Make haste. Now 
leave me. 

Sus. What can she be about 1 I think she is out of her 
lunacies. [Exit L. 

Enter SERVANT, R. 

Scr. Mr. Paragon, madam, is below. 

Kate. Show him in. [Servant sfiotet in Charles, and exit. 

C/tas. Madam, my uncle, Sir Lawrence Pai-agon, be- 
ing prevented calling on you, as he intended, I am obliged 
to introduce myself. [AwWf.J She is exceedingly pretty. 

Kate. You will excuse my not rising to receive you, sir. 
Pray sit down. I am very happy 1 am very happy to 
see you. The nephew of my father's old friend, must al- 
ways be welcome here. 

C/tas. [Aside.] Come, there's no brogue, however. Her 
manner is enchanting. Madam, you are very kind. I 
am afraid I've called at an unseasonable hour; I have dis- 
turbed you ; you are reposing perhaps you were sleep- 
ing possibly dreaming. [yls/V/e.J I wonder she doesn't 
get up. 

Kate. No, sir ; you could not have called more oppor- 
tunely. I have been looking over this endless portfolio 
of drawings. 

C/tas. Drawings! are you fond of the art? 

Kate. Excessively ! I could look at them for ever. 

Cfiax. [Asidc.\ Accomplished creature ! I always said, 
that when I did fall in love, it would be at first sight ; 
and I do believe my time is come at last. 

Kate. What a delightful art painting is ! to be able to 
perpetuate the features of those who are dear to us. 

Lhas. Charming! 

Kate. Or to treasure up some remembrances of scenes 
in which we have been happy, but which we may neve? 
look upon again. 

Chat. Delightful! 

Kate. Or to copy the classical groups of antiquity, or 
form new combinations of graceful, lovely figui'es. 

Chan. Oh ! your enthusiasm quile enchants me. 

Kate. Oh ! you are enthusiastic, also 1 

C/ias. Oh, prodigiously! Pray, my dear madam, a 


me to feast my eyes upon some of your drawings. [./i*trfe.] 
Angelic creature! 

Kate. Sir sir, what did you say 1 

Chas. Permit me to see one of your performances. 

Kate. I regret to say, I never had the least idea of 
drawing ; my houses, my trees, and my cattle, are all one 
confused jumble of scratches. 

Chas. Not draw ? 

Kate. No do you ? 

Chas. I ] Oh, no ! But I quite misunderstood you. 
I thought [.4.Vfc.] Dear me! what a pity such a sweet 
creature should lack such a resource, such an accomplish- 
ment ! 

Kate. Is anything the matter, sir! 

Chas. Oh, nothing. [Aside.] After all, it is but one. 
I've no doubt she has all the rest. 

Kate. Did you speak ? 

Chas. I was saying, I never heard so musical a voice. 

Kate. Oh, you flatter me. You mention music do you 
not doat on it ? 

Chas. Ah ! there we do agree. The woman who sings ! 

Kate. Yes, sir, 

Chas. The woman who plays! 

Kate. Yes, sir. 

Chas. The woman who does both well, is a divinity. 
You are an enthusiast in your love of music. I see you 

Kate. I am, sir : music is my passion ! music in the 
morning ; music in the evening ; music at the silent hour 
of night ; music on the water 

Chas. What a woman she is ! 

Kate. Music at any hour. 

Chas. Yes, or on any instrument. 

Kate. Oh, yes ; from the magnificent organ, to the gen- 
tle lute. 

Chas. Delicious ! 

Kate. Or a voice better than all, a soul-enchanting 

Chas. [Aside.] There is no resisting her. Oh, madam, 
sing ; 

Kate. Alas, sir ! how shall I make the sad confession ? 
much as I love music, I can only listen. 


[Act I. 

Chas. What 1 

Kate. I have not a singing note in my voice ; and no 
one could ever teach me to play. 

Chas. [Aside.} Was there ever such an impostor! Ma- 
dam, you positively astonish me. 

Kate. How so, sir can you sing ? 

Chas. Oh, no ; men are not expected to acquire those 
accomplishments ; but a woman that is 1 1 

Kate. I know, sir : you were going to say, that a wo- 
man, without them, is little better than a brute. 

Chas. Madarn, how can you suppose 

Kate. Ay, sir, and I perfectly agree with you but, sir, 
'tis my misfortune, and not my fault. 

Chas. [Jlside.] What a pensive tone of voice, and what 
a countenance ! there can be no humbug there. Spite of 
all her lamentable deficiencies, I am fascinated. 

Kale. My fate is an unhappy one I am an orphan, as 
you know, and, of course, labouring under such defects, 
I never mean to marry. 

Chas. Never mean to marry ? 

Kate. Never! 

Chas. Oh, madam, in mercy to mankind, make not so 
rash, so inconsiderate a resolve. 

Kate. Sir, it is in mercy to mankind I make it. What 
would be a fond husband s sufferings, were he to see the 
wife of his bosom sinking under the degrading conscious- 
ness that she was unworthy of him ? 

Chas. Unworthy ! 

Kate. Would he not cast her from him ! Yes, yes, he 
would do so I must live on unloved. 

Chas. [ Aside.] By Jove ! she is irresistible ! Madam, I 
adore you listen to me ; oh, listen, and smile on me 
hear me : I love you oh ! love me, pray do ! [Kneels. 

Kate. Sir, this is so unlooked-for, so unexpected. 

Chas. Nay, do not frown upon me; allow me to hope. 

Kate. Rise, sir; you may hope but the surprise, the 
agitation pray ring that bell. 

Chas. [Aside.] She's going to faint. [Rings bell, L. 

Kate. So, then, I must retire. My maid shall return, 
and speak a few words to you ; and then, after having 
seen your uncle, you may visit me again. 


Enter SUSAN, c. 

Come here, Susan. [ Whispers her. 

Svs. La, madam, is it possible ? 
Kate. Obey me instantly. Call the servant. 
Sus. John, come here, instantly. 

Enter JOHN. 

Chas. [Aside.] What on earth does she want 1 ? Why 
don't she get up 1 

Kate. Now, Susan, open the doors. John, wheel the 
sofa into the other room. Adieu, sir;* my maid shall re- 
turn immediately. 

[S/tc is wheeled into the next room, and the door closes. 

Chas. Well, positively, that is the laziest proceeding I 
ever witnessed. By the by, 'twas all my fault. I suppose 
she was too faint to move. Oh, here comes the maid. 

Enter SUSAN, c. 

Sus. [Aside.\ Well, mistress is mad, that's certain ; but 
I must do as I'm bid. 

CJias. How is your mistress ] She is a charming crea- 
ture. What a happy girl you are what a sweet mistress 
yeu have got ! 

Sus. She is charming poor thing ! 

Chas. Poor thing! what do you mean by poor thing 1 ? 

Sus. Oh, it's very sad. 

Chas. What is sad 1 

Svs. You saw my mistress whisper me 1 

Chas. Yes, to be sure! but there's nothing so sad in a 

Sus. Indeed, but there is, though. She desired me to 
reveal the affair to you : she had not courage to tell you 
herself. To be sure, you must have known it, sooner or 

Chas. What do you mean ? You frighten me out of 
my wits. 

Sus. It's a sad affliction, to be sure a very great de- 
fect she's much to be pitied. 

Chas. A defect ? another defect ? and I have committed 
myself- I've proposed 

Sus. Oh. sir! 

Chas. Speak out, do. 

30 PERFECTION. [Acr 1 

Sus. Many years ago 

Chas. That's as bad as " once upon a time." Pray go 
on make haste. 

Sus, My mistress was thrown from her horse 

Chas. Yes well, she was not killed, so what then ? 

Sus. [Pretending to weep.] Fractured limb 

Chas. Oh ! what limb ] 

Sus. Leg broke all to bits, and 

Chas. Well, speak. 

Sus. Amputation 

Chas. What ! . 

Sus. She has got a cork leg. 

Chas. A cork leg ! Horror ! What have I djone ? en- 
gaged myself 1 shall go mad ! 

Sus. Good morning, sir. I must go, if you please, to 
give my mistress the stick. 

Chas. Do, by all means. [Exit Susan.] I deserve the 
stick worst. I, that said I would marry perfection 
I've bound myself to the fraction of a woman. [Exit, R. 

SCENE V. Room at Sir Lawrence Paragon's. 
Enter SUSAN and SAM, L. 

Sam. So, you say my master is actually going to marry 
her ? Bless the man, they'll be a three-legged couple 
a matrimonial tripod. Had he seen you, when he pro- 
posed for the lady 1 

Sus. Oh! yes why? 

Sam. Then I wonder at him that's all. 

Sus. Oh ! you flatter. 

Sam. Let me see. You stand pretty stoutish on your 
pins, don't you "? 

Sus. Nonsense. I'll hear no such remarks. 

Sam. Gad ! I never saw neater timbers. You can stir 
yonr stumps with the best of them. That ever my master 
should marry a hoppikelky ! 

Sus. You'll not use such nicknames, if you please. 

Sam. Don't be angry but, you know, she has a tim- 
ber toe. Why, my master always used to say, his wife 
should be perfection ; and now he takes a woman whose 
body turns on a pivot. Here he comes, as if he was 
hunting after your mistress's other leg. 


Sus. I'll leave you, then, Sam. My presence will only 
make him worse. I suppose I shall see him by and by at 
Miss O'Binen's. Oh, they'll be a sweet couple. [Exit, L. 

Sam. Sweet couple ! couple of ducks, standing on one 
leg, with the other tucked under the left wing. 

Enter CHARLES, L. 

Chas. I wonder if the wind is fair for America. Not 
that any other place wouldn't do as well ; only the farther 
off the better. 

Sam. Do you dress for dinner, sir ] What shall I put 

Ghas. Out of my way, sir. I'll not change. Oh, Sam, 
Sam, I'm going to change my condition ; I'm going to be 
married ! 

Sam. Married ! Oh, what a lady you must have seen ! 
I never thought you would have found one perfect enough. 
At all events, when she saw you, sir, 1 warrant she put 
her best foot foremost. 

Chas. Best foot ! Oh, Sam ! but it doesn't signify. 
Where's my uncle ? 

Sam. He is coming, sir. 

Chas. Then you'll begone. You'll nave to go in mourn- 
ing for me, very soon. Oh, Sam ! Sam ! 

Sam. [Atide.] Master's mad. I suppose it's all along 
of love. [Exit, L. 


Sir L. \Aside.] Foolish girl I hate all plots. She has 
told me of her mad schemes. I must not frustrate them. 
Here is the inconsolable. I must affect ignorance. 
Well, Charles, you have seen her, I suppose 1 How is 
this] you seem agitated. What's the matter 1 ? 

Chas. Agitated ! well 1 may be, sir. 

Sir L. Explain. 

Chas. I have at least done what you wished me to 
make a long story short, I've offered Miss O'Brien my 
hand and heart. 

Sir L. No ! you delight me. Tol de rol ! 

Chas. Oh ! don't dance about, uncle ; you'll bring on 
your rheumatism. It's no dancing business, I assure you. 

Sir L. I never was so happy. Is she not perfect ? 


Chas. Perfect ! Ah, sir ! that is as all pe !>ple may 
think. I fear you have not seen her lately. 

Sir L. Not lately no but is she not indeed perfec- 
tion 1 Yes, and so you have already thrown yourself at 
her feet. 

Chas. Feet ! I wish that were possible. 

Sir L. Well, now my fondest hopes are realised, 
thought she would take steps to ingratiate herself in youi 

Chas. Take steps ! Heigho ! 

Sir L. I knew how it would be ; and I will say this for 
you, Charles, she is a fortunate girl; there's many a one 
would be glad to step into her shoes. 

Chas. Shoes ! alas ! he knows not what he says. She 
knows the substantive shoe only in the singular num- 
ber; she never buys a pair. What are rights and lefts 
to her ! 

Sir L. You look as if you were in a hobble. 

Chas. A hobble, sir ? You lacerate me. 

Sir L. How is this ! sighing ! you have made but a 
lame love affair, I am afraid. But now tell me : you al- 
ways said the woman you married should possess every 
accomplishment, every perfection. Of course, she draws. 

Chas. Why, no she doesn't exactly possess that ac- 

Sir L. Not draw ? dear that can't be helped. Of 
course, she sings 1 

Gha*. With humiliation, I confess she cannot sing. 

Sir L. Well, well; never mind; don't be cast down. 
At all events, her dancing makes amends. 

Chas. Sir, she is unable to dance. 

Sir L. Oh, nonsense ; you are jesting. I shall live to 
see you foot it together. 

Chas. Foot it ! she can't foot it. 

Sir L. Not foot it 1 pooh ! I'll make her foot it she 
shall dance with me egad, I'll invite all the country 
round ; ay, and I'll give her a hop. 

Chas. It must be a hop, if she has anything to do with 
it. But every word you say wounds me deeply, sir. The 
fact is, she's a miserable object. 

Sir L. A what ? 

Chas. Mutilated. 



Sir L. H^.t ! young man, halt ! 

Chas. That's it, sir she is halt. 

Sir L. What do you mean, young man ? 

Chas. She has a cork leg. 

Sir L. A cork leg ] 

Chas. You know the whole truth. 

Sir L. My dear Charles but did you propose ? 

Chas. Alas! I did. I knew not of her misfortunes, till 
afterwards but I have committed myself, and, as a man 
of honour, I cannot retract. 

Sir L. Oh, dear me, Charles my dear Charles, my 
poor boy, my own nephew, this must not be. You were 
not aware you must not, shall not be aware. You shall 
not marry her. Go to her ; say I sent you ; pretend to be 
in despair : say I forbid you to marry her ; say anything ; 
apologize ; explain. Lay all upon me. You must be ex- 
tricated. I'll go and consult my lawyer. Cheer up, my 
lad, all will end well. [Aside.] That it will. No fear now ; 
it will be a match. [Exit. R. 

Chas. Poor girl poor Kate ; poor, dear, melancholy, 
mutilated Kate. Why, how is this 1 am I not in love ? 
What am I about to do 1 renounce her 1 she is unfortu- 
nate no, no. Leave her to limp through the world alone ? 
I'm no such cold-hearted coward. I'll fly to her, and offer 
her this arm to lean on through life. [Exit, R. 

SCENE VI. Kate O'Brien's boudoir-, guitar on table, 
drawings, Sfc. KATE discovered. 

Kate. Will he come 1 alas, no ! 1 fear not. How can I 
expect it. Hark ! is not that his step ? yes, yes, 'tis he ; 
and I am safe. [Springs on sofa. 

Enter CHARLES, R. 

You come, then, once more. You are welcome. You 
come to bid me farewell. 

Chas. No, you wrong me. I come to claim your hand. 

Kate. Ha ! consider you will repent too late. 

Chas. No, I will not repent. When I offered to be 
your protector and friend, I knew not how much you need- 
ed both; and now, that I do know it, do you think that I 
will desert you ? Never ! 



Kate. Generous man ! take my hand, and when I for- 
get your kindness, neglect and spurn me. 1 have already 
endeavoured to show my sense of your goodness I have 
prepared a surprise for you. You seemed disappointed 
at my not being able to draw.* In your absence, I have 
endeavoured to make a sketch. Here it is. 

C/tas. Wonderful ! what a likeness ! 'tis your own por- 

Kate. I'm glad you think it like. Take it ; and remem- 
ber, 'twas my first gift. 

Chas. Thanks ! a thousand thanks. 

Kate. You are fond of music, too. Like most young 
ladies, when they are asked to sing, I refused at first but 
now, if you press me sufficiently, I may be induced to 
own, I can sing a little. 

Chas. Pray, sing I I implore 

[ Kate takes the guitar and sings. 

[Song.] " Kate Kearney." 

Chas. The very style I dote on. I'm transported, per- 
fectly ! And, now, what new surprise have you 1 

Kate. Only one. 

\A pause. She springs from the sofa, with the guitar. 

Chas. Take care you will hurt yourself. Lean on me. 
[Kate sings and dances.\ What am I to think ? 

Kate. Think, only, they've brought machinery to very 
nigh perfection. 

Chas. Impossible ! nay, your leg never was fractured. 

Kate. It never was. 

Clta-s. Huzza ! my wife's perfection. She has feet 
and thus I fall at them. [Kneels. 


Sir L. Keep him there, Kate let him always be your 

Chas. Oh, uncle, she is perfection ! I am the happiest 
dog alive. 

Sir L. I knew her scheme, and the result delights me. 
But, remember, your vanity has been humbled. You 
vowed you would many perfection you ! as if you de- 
served such a wife ; and now I have seen you implore a 
girl to have you, who you thought had no accomplish- 
ments, and only one leg to stand on 



Clias. I own it yes, Kate after all, I suppose, it must, 
be admitted that I have not met with that monster, a per- 
fect woman ; for you, certainly, displayed one little failing. 

Kate, Well, what is it, pray] 

Chas. Fibbing ! A cork"leg ! Oh, fie ! 

Kate. Nay, 1 told you no fib. 

Cf'tas. How so 1 

Kate. 1 have a cork leg absolutely two cork legs for 
I was born in Cork, in the province of Munster, in my 
own dear native Ireland. 

Chas. Cork ! Well, Sir Lawrence, we must admit she 
is a cork model of a perfect woman. 

Sir L. Too good for you, depend upon it. Oh, that I 
had married such a woman ! 

Kate. Well, after all, perhaps some may imitate me, 
with advantage ; for I concealed from my lover some of 
the accomplishments I possess ; and, consequently, my 
husband, finding me so much better than he expected, 
may think me perfection. And if those around me think 
ftnoiirably of the Maid of Munster, she cares not how of- 
ten her lameness may return ; for she will liust for hei 
bUppoit to then indulgent kindness.