Thomas Love Peacock


THE THREE DOCTORS

A Musical Farce
in two acts


            Dramatis Personæ.
            Hippy
            Narcotic
            Windgall
            Barbet
            Milestone
            O'Fir
            Shenkin

            Caroline
            Lucy

            Servants, &c.

THE THREE DOCTORS

ACT I.

SCENE I.--A Spacious Apartment: the Furniture in great Confusion: Servants putting it to rights.

        CHORUS.
          Work harder and faster:
            Be rubbing and scrubbing:
          For fear our new master
            Should give us a drubbing.

        SHENKIN.
          But when we've done working,
            Old ale we shall stow in.

        SECOND SERVANT.
          Good news for the jerkin
            Of Owen Ap-Owen.

        CHORUS.
          Work harder and faster:
            Be rubbing and scrubbing:
          For fear our new master
            Should give us a drubbing.

        SHENKIN.
Pless me! pless me! here's pustle and uproar! I'll ask Squire Hippy for half an hour's holiday, that I may just sit under a tree, and think whether I'm tead or alive; for I'm pothered out of my senses and intellects.

        SECOND SERVANT.
A creat change, Master Shenkin, since the teath of Sir Peter.

        SHENKIN.
Our new master, look you, turns the house out of window; and here's all sorts of toctors coming town from London. There's a man-toctor, and a horse-toctor, and a tog-toctor--and---

[Enter HIPPY.]

        HIPPY.
Shenkin--Shenkin--will this confounded house never be put in order?

        SHENKIN.
Inteed, your honour, look you, I hope in two or three tays we'll pring it apout.

        HIPPY.
Two or three centuries. That old sot, Sir Peter Paxarett, thought of nothing but liquor and pipes; and here's every thing in such infernal confusion. Why don't those rascals make more haste?

        SHENKIN.
Make more haste, you fillains--you lazy ruffians--you sots--you---

        HIPPY.
Oh! that twinge! And I have not a sofa fit to lie down on. Ah! I shall die before Dr. Narcotic comes. Shenkin--I think a ride would do me good.

        SHENKIN.
A creat teal of coot, I tare pe sworn, your honour.---Cot send him out for half an hour! [Aside.]

        HIPPY.
But there is not a horse fit to ride, though there are ten in the stable. That old booby, Sir Peter, left them to his drunken knave of a groom, and now they are all, to a beast, in the last stage of the glanders. They'll not live till Mr. Windgall comes. And the kennel, too--every dog mangy--: such management! And the park--a mere wilderness--a nursery of briars--a plantation of nettles--without any live stock but goats, that have eaten up all the bark of the trees. There won't be a tree alive when Mr. Milestone comes.

        SHENKIN.
Please, your honour, how many peoples is coming, to cure the house, and the stable, and the togs, and the cardens?

        HIPPY.
What's that to you--you--sirrah! Dr. Narcotic is coming to cure me, and Dr. Windgall is coming to cure the horses, and Dr. Barbet is coming to cure the dogs; and the great Marmaduke Milestone, Esq., is coming to trim my grounds, and marry my daughter; and I've ordered an upholsterer, and an architect, and---

        SHENKIN.
Pless me! pless me!

        HIPPY.
Why don't those fellows finish their work here, and put the dining-room in order? Get about your business, you lazy--idle--loitering--creeping--dreaming--dawdling--lingering---[drives them off]. And you too, you two-legged goat--you walking cheese--you animated onion--you ale-barrel--you tobacco-pipe! [Drives off SHENKIN.]

                 Song
        HIPPY.
        Couldn't that old sot, Sir Peter,
        Keep his house a little neater
        Not a sofa to recline on;
        Not a table fit to dine on;
        Dogs and horses all past healing;
        Every servant drunk and reeling:---
        Flames of scorching anger burn me:
          I'm so hurried,
          Vexed and flurried,
          Teased and worried,
        Zounds! I know not where to turn me!

        Piled in heaps the pans and kettles:
        All the garden full of nettles:
        In the arbours sheep are housing:
        In the greenhouse goats are browsing:
        Forced to scramble, when I ramble,
        Through a copse of furze and bramble,
        I'm with endless plagues surrounded:
          Rage--vexation--
          Tribulation--
          Botheration--
        And confusion thrice confounded.

[Exit.]

[Enter CAROLINE and LUCY.]


        CAROLINE.
Well, Lucy, how do you like the mountains of Wales?

        LUCY.
Indeed, Miss Caroline, there is so much confusion and bustle in this house that I could almost fancy myself in Kensington again. I am afraid the death of Sir Peter has not done much good to Mr. Hippy--for he seems more fidgety and discontented than ever.

        CAROLINE.
You know, Lucy, my father has been long an invalid, and thinks himself but half alive without a physician.

        LUCY.
And I am afraid, ma'am, now he's come to this great fortune, he means to discard your poor lover, Mr. O'Fir. He'll certainly die if you prove false-hearted.

        CAROLINE.
No, Lucy. He was faithful to me when in an obscure and humble station, and I should despise myself if I could forget him, now that the unexpected death of a distant relation has raised my father to affluence.

                 Duet
        CAROLINE.
        To him, my dear, my wandering youth,
        Who first received my plighted truth,
          I'll ever constant prove:
        Life's rugged path has not a charm,
        The stings of fortune to disarm,
          Like constancy in love.

        LUCY.
        The varying scenes through which we stray
        With magic wiles in vain essay
          The constant mind to move:
        The faithless train, that rove and range,
        Will find no charm in endless change,
          Like constancy in love.

        BOTH.
        The breast of truth no fears confound,
        Though darkness close our hopes around,
          And tempests scowl above:
        The ills, at which the crowd repine
        Can never reach the sacred shrine
         Of constancy in love.

        LUCY.
Indeed, ma'am, Mr. O'Fir was a good, kind-hearted gentleman, though he was always running about the country; but that's not to be wondered at, because, they say, the Irishmen are always caught wild.

        CAROLINE.
Bless your simplicity, girl. Mr. O'Fir was a picturesque tourist.

[Enter HIPPY.]

        HIPPY.
What's that about a picturesque tourist? I'll be sworn you're talking of that fellow O'Fir, that used to pass all the summer in posting over the country, and the winter in making love to you, and scribbling quarto volumes of tours. It was all very well when we lived at Kensington, but it won't do now. I intend to adorn my family by having the great Marmaduke Milestone, Esquire, for a son-inlaw.

        CAROLINE.
Dear sir! how can I possibly like a man I have never seen?

        HIPPY.
And how can you possibly dislike a man you have never seen?

        CAROLINE.
When we lived at Kensington, I promised in your presence to marry Mr. O'Fir; and I am too dutiful, and too fond of truth, to think of breaking my word.

        HIPPY.
You are a disobedient minx, and I say again you shall marry Mr. Milestone.--Eh! what the devil do you want?

[Enter SHENKIN.]

        SHENKIN.
Sir, there's a shentleman in the hall. [Presenting a card.]

        HIPPY.
Nicholas Narcotic, M.D.--Shew the shentleman in--and bring sandwiches and Madeira. [Exit SHENKIN.]

[Enter NARCOTIC.]

        HIPPY.
Dr. Narcotic--your most obedient. My daughter, Miss Caroline Hippy.

        NARCOTIC.
Sir--mem--proud of the honour--came post--own chariot--four hacks--two hundred and twenty-nine miles in thirty-three hours fifteen minutes.

        CAROLINE.
Were you ever in Wales before, Dr. Narcotic?

        NARCOTIC.
Never, mem. Bad country for a physician. Climate remarkably salubrious: people remarkably poor.

        CAROLINE.
For botanical pursuits, I should think, sir---

        NARCOTIC.
Botany, mem--true. Simples here in abundance. Botanise yourself, perhaps. Extremely happy, mem, to assist your pursuits. Fine science, mem: the flowery vestibule of the laboratory of nature.

        HIPPY.
Dr. Narcotic.

        NARCOTIC.
Sir---

        HIPPY.
Did you come here post to cure my complaints, or to talk nonsense to my daughter?

        NARCOTIC.
Nonsense, sir! Brimstone and nitre!

        CAROLINE.
Excuse my father, sir, it is his way.

        NARCOTIC.
His way--mem--forgive any gentleman his way. Nothing more--mem--than a morbid affection of the manners, arising from bad education, and quarrelsome company.

        HIPPY.
Death and fury, sir---

        NARCOTIC.
Noli me tangere! A mere tremor cordis--mem--an irritability of the præcordia. Cool him--mem--in a few hours. Copious bleedings--saline draughts--vitriolic acid--tartarised antimony--mucilaginous diluents--and the antiphlogistic regimen.

        HIPPY [Aside.]
Now, if I were not half dying, and in want of him to set me up, damme but I'd knock him down.

[Enter SHENKIN and WINDGALL.]

        SHENKIN.
Another shentleman, sir--Mr. Windgall.

[SHENKIN sets wine, &c., on the table, and exit.]

        WINDGALL.
Sir--I have the honour to present to your notice Gregory Windgall, doctor of horse.

        NARCOTIC.
A farrier---

        WINDGALL.
Farrier, sir! Give me leave to tell you, that a member of the Veterinary College holds in equal contempt that degrading appellation, and the little ugly mongrel that offers it.

        NARCOTIC.
I would have you to know, Mr. Windgall, you speak to an M.D.--an M.D., sir--a regular physician of the University of St. Andrews.

        WINDGALL.
Speak another word, sir, in contempt of the liberal profession of doctor of horse, and I'll take your diploma out of its tin box, and stick you in its place, like Gulliver in a marrow-bone.

        CAROLINE.
Pray--pray--gentlemen.

[Enter SHENKIN.]

        SHENKIN.
Toctor Parpet. [Exit.]

[Enter BARBET.]

                 Song
        BARBET.
        From London town,
        Where high renown
        My skill doth crown,
        I've rattled down:
        And now present
        To your content--
      Good sir--your most obedient.

        All ills I cure
        That dogs endure:
        I give them drugs,
        I shave their mugs,
        I comb their coats,
        I cut their throats,
      As you may deem expedient.

        Cæsar, Towler,
        Pompey, Jowler,
        Ranger, Hero,
        Neptune, Nero,
        One and all
        Obey my call,
      For faith, sir, I'm no noodle.

        At my command
        They go or stand,
        Pointer, terrier,
        Greyhound, harrier,
        Bull-dog, ban-dog,
        Newfoundland dog,
      Spaniel, pug, or poodle.

        Strike and parry--
        Fetch and carry--
        Current clear,
        Plunge in here,
        Seize that stick,
        Bring it quick,
      And lay it down before us.

        'Mong tribes canine
        My skill's divine,
        And what all speech
        And sense confounds,
        My art can teach
        A pack of hounds
      To bow-wow-wow in chorus.

        HIPPY.
Now, gentlemen, as you are all here, I shall proceed to open the case: but first, a little refreshment after the fatigues of travelling---

[SHENKIN runs in.]

        SHENKIN.
Pless me! pless me! there's a chaise proken down, and a shentleman upset in the water!

        CAROLINE.
Heavens! run to his assistance!

        HIPPY.
Call all the rascals together!

[Runs off, driving SHENKIN.]

        WINDGALL.
Take care of the horses! [Runs off.]

        BARBET.
Let loose the Newfoundland dogs. Here, Cæsar! Neptune! [Runs off. ]

        NARCOTIC.
Lancets! blankets! volatile alkali! peppermint! tobacco! and spirits of hartshorn! [Runs off. ]

        CAROLINE.
Oh! Lucy! I am so terrified!

        LUCY [looking out.]
He's safe, ma'am. They have him among them, and are shaking him to pieces.--Well! as I hope to be saved---

        CAROLINE.
What's the matter, girl?

        LUCY.
It's Mr. O'Fir, ma'am!

        CAROLINE.
Mr. O'Fir!

        LUCY.
It is indeed, ma'am: and they are all coming this way, and Mr. Hippy first.

[Enter HIPPY.]

        HIPPY.
Caroline!

        CAROLINE.
Papa!

        HIPPY.
Here's a cursed unlucky affair. We've just picked O'Fir out of the water.

        CAROLINE.
Indeed! Oh! I am so happy.

        HIPPY.
You shan't be happy. As he's an old acquaintance, and has just escaped drowning, I can't be so unfriendly, or so uncharitable, as not to ask him to walk in; though I had much rather tell him to walk out.

        CAROLINE.
Dear sir---

        HIPPY.
But I shall take care to quash his hopes of you. Be quiet. I won't hear a word in his favour.

[Enter O'FIR.]

        O'FIR.
By my soul, this is the luckiest ducking I ever had in my life. Ah! my sweet Caroline! I almost thought I should never see you again. I believed you had run away, and forsaken poor O'Fir.

        HIPPY.
Well, and suppose she had, what then?

        O'FIR.
What then? And is it old Mr. Hippy that asks me the question?

        HIPPY.
Yes, it is old Hippy that asks the question.

        O'FIR.
And aren't you ashamed of yourself? Didn't you promise me your consent?

        HIPPY.
I don't know what I promised when I was Mr. Hippy of Kensington. Now I'm Humphry Hippy, Esquire, of Venison Hall, in Merionethshire---

        O'FIR.
Then, sir, as Mr. Hippy of Kensington, who was a gentleman, and Miss Caroline's father, I have the honour of drinking your health: and as Humphry Hippy, Esq., who has broken his word, and is therefore no gentleman at all, I have the honour of pulling your nose.

        HIPPY.
Help! help! murder! Here, Shenkin! Owen! Davy!

[Enter NARCOTIC, WINDGALL, BARBET, and Servants.]

        HIPPY.
Shew that gentleman the stable--shew that gentleman the kennel--and shew that gentleman the door.

        O'FIR.
Show me the door! Oh! I see it plainly enough. But I tell you what, old Hippy! I won't see the outside of it, till I and Miss Caroline walk through it together.

        HIPPY [Aside.]
Now there's an impudent rascal!

        O'FIR.
Peter! bring my travelling trunk.

[Enter O'FIR's servants, with the trunk.]

        HIPPY.
'Sdeath, sir! what justification---

        NARCOTIC.
Really, sir, this inflammatory conduct---

        WINDGALL.
It won't do, sir, to be restive here.

        BARBET.
Symptoms of hydrophobia.

        O'FIR.
One at a time, if you please [Unlocking his trunk.] If any one among you has any thing to say to Phelim O'Fir, let him say it like a gentleman. I'll lend him a speaking-trumpet. [Takes out a pair of pistols.] This is the shortest way of settling differences among friends.

                 Septetto
        O'FIR.
        This trigger, if I pull it,
        Will emancipate a bullet
          That shall set our quarrels right.

        HIPPY.
        Where the devil shall I hide me
        From that pistol cocked beside me?
          I'm in such a cursed fright!

        NARCOTIC.
        When I see a loaded pistol,
        My diastole and systole
          Forget their functions quite.

        CAROLINE.
        Forbear, forbear, I pray you:
        Let my entreaties stay you,
          And put your rage to flight.

        BARBET.
        Such ill I ne'er foreboded:
        For a pistol, cocked and loaded,
          Is worse than a mad dog's bite.

        LUCY.
        Oh dear! I'm almost fainting,
        With terror past the painting:
          I can't endure the sight.

        WINDGALL.
        That bloody-minded stranger
        Sets us all at rack and manger:
          But damn me if I'll fight!

[Having sung these verses successively, they repeat them in chorus.]

End of the First Act.


*

ACT II.

SCENE I.--The Park.

[Enter NARCOTIC.]

        NARCOTIC.
No dislike to any chemical preparation but one: the granulated composition of nitre, sulphur, and charcoal, called, by the ignobile vulgus, gunpowder. The subsequent process of ignition, rarefaction, expansion, and explosion has too laxative an effect on my constitution. However, still alive and in safety. Who would have thought that, after forty years of pounding, compounding, and decompounding, love would give Nicholas Narcotic an inflammation of the heart? Amor nullis medicabilis herbis. Oh, sweet Caroline!

                 Song
      Cupid! cease, you pleasing plague, you!
        No! ah! no! I can't resist him!
      Fast I feel a fiery ague
        Shoot through all my nervous system.
      Bring, ah! bring, to cure my heartache,
      Mild emollient, cool cathartic,
      Cream of tartar, rhubarb, aloes,
      Salts, and castor oil, and mallows.

      'Sdeath! I'm in a raging fever!
      Cardialgic inflammation
        Boils in this, my great receiver,

[laying his hand on his breast]
        Like a double distillation.
          Hope inspires me---
          Passion fires me---
          Love pursues me---
          Rage subdues me:
          Nought can rule me,
          Nought can cool me,
      In this furious perspiration.

[Exit.]

[Enter WINDGALL.]

        WINDGALL.
Hip! Doctor! Doctor Narcotic!

        NARCOTIC [Returning.]
Sir!

        WINDGALL.
Can you oblige me with a small quantity of calomel and castor oil, for old Fly-away?

        NARCOTIC.
Sir, as a regular physician, I never carry drugs; and if I did, should have none to spare for a farrier. [Exit.]

        WINDGALL.
Farrier again! There's an insult. I'll follow the little miscreant, and drag him through the horsepond. No--I had better let it alone. I have had my dose of quarrelling from that confounded wild Irishman. Sweet girl, Miss Hippy. Pretty little figure. Fine large estate. Who knows but she may throw a sheep's eye on Gregory Windgall, doctor of horse?

                 Song
      Oh! if I can carry her!
      Oh! if I can marry her!
        I'll leave alone
        Black, bay, and roan,
      And be no more a farrier.

      A farrier, a farrier---
      Oh, horrid sound, a farrier!
        A squire I'll be
        Of high degree,
      And fly the sound of farrier.

      A borough then I'll ply for;
      A title then I'll try for;
        And not disgrace
        The noble race
      Of that sweet maid I die for.

      Oh! if I can carry her! &c.

[Exit.]

[Enter CAROLINE and O'FIR.]

        O'FIR.
Oh! the pack of cowards! how neatly I put them to flight!--And so your father insists on your breaking your engagement with poor Phelim?

        CAROLINE.
He does, indeed: and I assure you, duty and inclination have long maintained a severe struggle in the heart of your Caroline.

        O'FIR.
And pray, now, on what principle of moral philosophy does he think himself justified in breaking his word?

        CAROLINE.
On none that I know of, Phelim: and really, in that respect---

        O'FIR.
Och! and did not you use to say, that you and I were as good as married, and the devil himself should not part us?

        CAROLINE.
I did not say exactly those words.

        O'FIR.
Not exactly. It was the same thing, with a little difference.

[Enter HIPPY, behind.]

        HIPPY [Aside.]
What mischief are those two plotting here?

        O'FIR.
But now, as he won't give his consent, we have only to take French leave, and be off to the next parson. He'll forgive us fast enough, when it's all over: and if he don't, I have a snug little estate on the banks of the Shannon, where there's plenty of oatmeal, and potatoes, and dried herrings, and buttermilk; and that's food enough for Cupid.

                 Quintetto
        O'FIR.
      Just rest here awhile, till I come with the chaise.

        CAROLINE.
      The thought of such rashness my senses dismays.

        O'FIR.
      Oh fear not, my darling; your terrors disarm,
      For love and your Phelim shall shield you from harm.

        CAROLINE.
      My father will scold, and the neighbours will say---

        O'FIR.
      What we'll never hear, when we're out of the way.
      In the chaise, with ourselves, hope and pleasure you'll find---

        CAROLINE.
      And repentance, I fear, as a footman behind.
      But yours I was ever, and yours I am still,
      And I'll follow my Phelim wherever he will.

        BOTH.
      By our snug little cot, where the Shannon shall run,
      Together we'll sit in the shade and the sun.
      Content with each other, we'll wish not to roam,
      And forget all the world but ourselves and our home. [Exit O'FIR.]

        HIPPY.
      Zooks! here's a plot--'tis well I'm near:
      But soft--approaching steps I hear.

[Enter NARCOTIC and WINDGALL, at opposite sides.]

        NARCOTIC.
      To thee, sweet maid, a patient kneels,
      Who cannot speak how much he feels. [Kneeling.]

        WINDGALL.
      O deign, sweet fair, my hopes to crown,
      By thee knocked up, and broken down. [Kneeling on the other side.]

        CAROLINE.
      In vain you kneel--in vain you moan---
      My hand and heart are not my own.

        NARCOTIC & WINDGALL.
      Prostrate on earth, for mercy suing---

        CAROLINE.
      You are in vain for mercy suing---
      These wretches here our plans will ruin.

[CAROLINE steps back. NARCOTIC and WINDGALL, throw themselves forward into the arms of each other.]

        NARCOTIC & WINDGALL.
      Flames and sulphur! fire and ruin!

        HIPPY [rushing forward.]
      Furies! what mischief here is brewing?
      Hence! or my stick your skulls shall ruin. [Drives off NARCOTIC and WINDGALL.]
      Come you with me. 'Tis vain to chafe.
      Lock and key shall make all safe. [Exit with CAROLINE.]

[Enter MILESTONE and SHENKIN.]

        MILESTONE.
Tell your master, that Marmaduke Milestone, Esquire, manufacturer of landscapes, waits his pleasure. And take especial care of that portfolio.

        SHENKIN.
I shall exert, sir, look you, all tue care, and figilance, and circumspection apout it. [Exit.]

        MILESTONE.
That fellow's an uncivilised goat--a mountain-savage--a wild man of the woods. Wants shaving and polishing. As much in need of improvement as the place he inhabits. Great capabilities here. Soon be my own, to clump and level ad libitum. Hope the young lady won't prove refractory. Published many books. Sold none. Bad speculation. Present plan much better. Marriage to a fortune cures all evils except itself.

[Enter HIPPY.]

        HIPPY.
My dear, dear Mr. Milestone! I am so glad to see you.

        MILESTONE.
Sir, this cordial welcome is in the highest degree gratifying to my sensibility.

        HIPPY.
Oh, Mr. Milestone! I am in such a dilemma.

        MILESTONE.
Confide in me. I may excogitate a remedy.

        HIPPY.
You may as well think of arranging chaos. You know, Mr. Milestone, by the death of Sir Peter Paxarett, I came into possession of this estate, and never was a place in such a deplorable condition. Not a single apartment in a state of decent order: nothing clean: hardly two chairs alike. Sofas in the cellar, beds in the kitchen, and beer-barrels in the drawing-room. All the horses and dogs invalids, like myself: and the park your own eyes can judge of. The beautiful statues all lost or demolished. Neptune has been lying these twenty years in the dust-hole: Atlas had his head knocked off, to make him prop up a shed: and only the day before yesterday we fished Bacchus out of the horsepond.

        MILESTONE.
For the park, sir, make yourself easy. The wand of enchantment shall be waved over it. The rocks shall be blown up: the trees shall be cut down: the wilderness and all its goats shall vanish like mist: Pagodas and Chinese bridges, gravelwalks and shrubberies, bowling-greens, canals, and clumps of larch, shall rise upon its ruins. One age, sir, has drawn to light the treasures of ancient learning; another has penetrated into the depths of metaphysics; a third has brought to perfection the science of astronomy: but it was reserved for the exclusive genius of the present times to invent the noble art of picturesque gardening, which has given, as it were, a new tint to the complexion of nature, and a new outline to the physiognomy of the universe.

        HIPPY [Aside.]
Now there's a clever fellow. What a pity I can't understand him!

        MILESTONE.
But Miss Caroline, your amiable daughter--When shall I have the felicity--?

        HIPPY.
Ah! there's my distress. I sent for three doctors to cure me and my cattle, and two of the rascals have fallen in love with her. And besides, she has a wild Irishman of a lover, that was going to shoot us all, this morning, one after another.

        MILESTONE.
Rivals! my blood boils at the idea. Bray the doctors in their own mortar! --Don't like the thought of the Irishman [aside.]

[Bell without.]

        HIPPY.
There's the dinner-bell.

        MILESTONE.
Dinner-bell! refreshing sound!

                 Duet
        MILESTONE.
      All my troubles disappear,
      When the dinner-bell I hear,
      Over woodland, dale, and fell,
      Swinging slow with solemn swell,--
        The dinner-bell! the dinner-bell!

        HIPPY.
      What can bid my heart-ache fly?
      What can bid my head-ache die?
      What can all the ills dispel,
      In my morbid frame that dwell?
        The dinner-bell! the dinner-bell!

        BOTH.
      Hark!--along the tangled ground,
      Loudly floats the pleasing sound!
      Sportive Fauns to Dryads tell,
      'Tis the cheerful dinner-bell!
        The dinner-bell! the dinner-bell! [Exeunt.]

[Enter O'FIR.]

        O'FIR.
Now, my sweet mountain-tulip!--Ah! she's off by herself. Here's a disaster. Och! as I came along I heard the dinner-bell going: and I dare say there she is, among all the ragamuffinly doctors. I'll just walk in, and stir up a quarrel, and carry her off in a hubbub: and if old Hippy proves obstreperous, I shall be apt to serve him as I did the Tipperary tailor.

                 Song
        O'FIR.
    A tailor called on me, and, scraping his legs,
    As one morning I sate o'er my muffin and eggs,
    Says he: "Here I've brought you a little account,
    And I'll be mighty glad to receive the amount."

    Says I: "My sweet soul," and I shrugged up my brow,
    "I don't find it convenient to pay it just now."
    "You had better," says he, "for your own little sake,
    Or perhaps you won't relish the measure I'll take.

    "I must have the money, so make no appeals;
    Or I'll lay you, my honey, next week, by the heels."
    Says I: "For my heels I can't answer, I trow,
    But I'll just give you now a soft taste of my toe."

    So I kicked him down stairs, in the midst of his threats;
    Which you see is a new way of paying old debts:
    "Now," says I, "you've just learned, without any demur,
    The footing you stand on with Phelim O'Fir."

[Enter BARBET]

        BARBET.
Insufferable insolence! intolerable outrage!

        O'FIR.
Who are you, my little parboiled potatoe?

        BARBET.
My name is Barbet.

        O'FIR.
Ah! the dog-doctor. Something's the matter. You've swallowed a distemper pill.

        BARBET.
No, sir. I have been insulted, grossly insulted, by an upstart physician. Swore he would not dine in my company. Said I should go to the steward's table.---[Aside.] Here's a man that will shoot him, if I can touch his feelings.---He has been making love to Miss Caroline.

        O'FIR.
Then I'll clap an extinguisher on the farthing rushlight of his life. I'll put an end to his being, a period to his existence, and a termination to his days. I'll revenge your quarrel, on one condition.

        BARBET.
Name it.

        O'FIR.
Let all the dogs out of the kennel, and turn them into the dining-room.

        BARBET.
I will.

        O'FIR.
Immediately.

        BARBET.
This instant.

        O'FIR.
About it, my hero! Oh! I'll worry 'em finely [Exeunt severally.]

*

SCENE II.--The Dining-room.

[HIPPY, CAROLINE, MILESTONE, NARCOTIC, and WINDGALL discovered at table. CAROLINE between MILESTONE and NARCOTIC: both paying her great attention.
SHENKIN and other servants waiting. Welch harp without.
]

[Enter O'FIR.]

        O'FIR [advancing to the table, and filling a glass of wine.]
My best respects to all this amiable company.

        HIPPY.
Give me leave to tell you, sir, this is a very unwelcome intrusion.

        O'FIR.
Be quiet, half a minute. I've two objects in coming here: to take away my wife and pay my respects to the doctor. Doctor Narcotic, I am your most obliged and obedient humble servant. [ Pulls off NARCOTIC's wig, and puts it in his pocket.].

        NARCOTIC.
Sulphur and iron! what do you mean, you monster? [Jumping up with the table-cloth under his chin, oversets the dinner service.]

        HIPPY.
Phew! here's all hell let loose.

        BARBET [without].
Cæsar! Jowler! Neptune! Pompey!

        O'FIR.
Come along, my jewel!

[Takes CAROLINE's hand. Exeunt O═FIR and CAROLINE. Dogs run on the stage and put to flight the rest of the party]

        MILESTONE.
Oh, that infernal Irishman and his pack of hell-hounds! My portfolio torn to pieces! My plan for Lord Littlebrain's park rent into a million of atoms!

[Enter NARCOTIC.]

        NARCOTIC.
Where the devil's my wig?

[Enter BARBET.]

        BARBET.
Ha! ha! ha! see what you get by sending me to the steward's table.

        NARCOTIC.
Oh, you dwarf-laurel bolus!

[Enter HIPPY.]

        HIPPY.
Where's my daughter? Where's Dr. Narcotic? Doctor! Doctor! feel my pulse! I'm in the last stage of a galloping consumption!

[Enter WINDGALL with one skirt to his coat.]

        WINDGALL.
Ruined! ruined! pocket and pocketbook carried off by a mastiff!

        BARBET.
I'll help you to that. [Gives WINDGALL the pocket-book.]

[Enter SHENKIN and LUCY.]

        SHENKIN.
Please your honour, look you, Mrs. Lucy and myself have a creat inclinations to pe married.

        LUCY.
Yes, your honour.

        HIPPY.
Go to the devil together.

[Enter O'FIR and CAROLINE.]

        O'FIR.
Give me leave, Mr. Hippy, to introduce to you Mrs. O'Fir.

        HIPPY.
Oh, you disobedient vixen!

        O'FIR.
Hark ye, Mr. Humphry Hippy! You gave me your daughter when I was richer than you, and when the tables turned, you wanted to take her away. I have just obtained possession of what is fairly my own, and want none of your dirty estate.

        CAROLINE.
Father! won't you forgive me?

        HIPPY.
Caroline! Caroline! I can't part with you, you jade, though you've disappointed my hopes of seeing you Mrs. Milestone. But I begin to suspect, I have been more in the wrong than you; so let us take hands and be friends.

        O'FIR.
Now you're old Hippy again.

        MILESTONE.
Very pretty treatment this for Marmaduke Milestone, Esquire!

        O'FIR.
My dear sir, I'll give you satisfaction immediately.

        MILESTONE.
Sir, I am much obliged to you: I am satisfied.

        O'FIR.
And when I've given old Pestle his wig, I hope he'll be satisfied.

        NARCOTIC.
No, sir, I shall not be satisfied, till I have first asked our friends here, if they will give a retaining fee to the Three Doctors.

                 Finale
        HIPPY.
      Quick the dinner bring again:

        O'FIR.
      And uncork the old champagne.

        CAROLINE & LUCY.
      All dlsasters now are past:
      Here we meet in peace at last.

        WINDGALL & BARNET.
      Let us hope, for fees, to you,
      Not in vain the Doctors sue.

        NARCOTIC.
      All they ask, to crown their cause,
      Is one dose of your applause.

        CHORUS.
      All they ask, to crown their cause,
      Is one dose of your applause.

THE END.


[The Three Doctors was first published in 1903]


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