Skip to main content
Bayly, Thomas Haynes
University of CaWorni*
NO. xxxi r.
MODERN STANDARD DRAMA,
EDITED BY EPES SARGENT,
AUTHOR OF " VELASCO, A TRAGEDY," &c.
PERFECTI O N_:
THE MAID OF MUNSTER.
IN ONE ACT.
BY THOMAS HAfNES BAYLY.
IviTH THE STAGE BUSINESS, CAST OF CHARACTERS, COS-
TUMES, RELATIVE POSITIONS, &c
(S. FRENCH, GENERAL
151 NASSAU-STREET, CORNER OF SPRUCE.
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-
Xll EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION.
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
CAST OF CHARACTERS.
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
EXITS AND ENTRANCES.
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.
Enter SIR LAWRENCE and SUSAN, R.
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-
"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
16 PERFECTION. [Act I
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
Sus. And pray, sir, what forbid the banns in that in-
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-
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,
SCENE I.] PERFECTION. ]7
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
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
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.
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-
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
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-
20 PERFECTION. [Acrl
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
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.
Enter SIR LAWRENCE PARAGON, 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
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
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.
SCENE II.] PERFECTION. 21
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
22 PERFECTION. [Act I.
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
Sir L. Hold ! stop ! mercy on me, there's no end to
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
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.
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.
SCENE II.] PERFECTION. 23
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
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
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
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. 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
portfolio. Kale, throwing licrself on soja.] Now, unfold my
shawl. There, throw it over my feet. Make haste. Now
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
Kate. No, sir ; you could not have called more oppor-
tunely. I have been looking over this endless portfolio
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.
Kate. Or to treasure up some remembrances of scenes
in which we have been happy, but which we may neve?
look upon again.
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
SCKWE IV.] PERFECTION. 27
me to feast my eyes upon some of your drawings. [./i*trfe.]
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-
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-
Chas. Delicious !
Kate. Or a voice better than all, a soul-enchanting
Chas. [Aside.] There is no resisting her. Oh, madam,
Kate. Alas, sir ! how shall I make the sad confession ?
much as I love music, I can only listen.
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 ?
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.
SCENE IV.] PERFECTION. 29
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.
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-
[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
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.
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.
SCEHEV.] PERFECTION. 31
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
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.
Enter SIR LAWRENCE, R.
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 ?
32 PERFECTION. [Aci I.
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
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 ?
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
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.
Enter SIR LAWRENCE, L.
Sir L. Keep him there, Kate let him always be your
Chas. Oh, uncle, she is perfection ! I am the happiest
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.
DISPOSITION OF THE CHARACTERS AT THE FALL OF
OHARF.EB. KATK O'BRIEN. SIR LAWRENCE
PRINTED IN U.S A