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In The Second April
by [?]

As Played at Bellegarde, in the April of 1750

“This passion is in honest minds the strongest incentive that can move the soul of man to laudable accomplishments. Is a man just? Let him fall in love and grow generous. It immediately makes the good which is in him shine forth in new excellencies, and the ill vanish away without the pain of contrition, but with a sudden amendment of heart.



DUC DE PUYSANGE, a true Frenchman, a pert, railing fribble, but at bottom a man of parts.

MARQUIS DE SOYECOURT, a brisk, conceited rake, and distant cousin to de Puysange.

CAZAIO, captain of brigands.

DOM MICHEL FRÉGOSE, a lewd, rascally friar.

GUITON, steward to de Puysange.

PAWSEY, Ormskirk’s man.

ACHON, a knave.

MICHAULT, another knave.


CLAIRE, sister to de Puysange, a woman of beauty and resolution, of a literal humor.



First at Dover, thence shifting to Bellegarde-en-Poictesme and the adjacent country.


PROEM:–More Properly an Apologue, and Treats of the Fallibility of Soap

The Duke of Ormskirk left Halvergate on the following day, after participation in two dialogues, which I abridge.

Said the Duke to Lord Humphrey Degge:

“You have been favored, sir, vastly beyond your deserts. I acquiesce, since Fate is proverbially a lady, and to dissent were in consequence ungallant. Shortly I shall find you more employment, at Dover, whither I am now going to gull my old opponent and dear friend, Gaston de Puysange, in the matter of this new compact between France and England. I shall look for you at Dover, then, in three days’ time.”

“And in vain, my Lord Duke,” said the other.

Now Ormskirk raised one eyebrow, after a fashion that he had.

“Because I love Marian,” said Lord Humphrey, “and because I mean to be less unworthy of Marian than I have been heretofore. So that I can no longer be your spy. Besides, in nature I lack aptitude for the trade. Eh, my Lord Duke, have you already forgotten how I bungled the affair of Captain Audaine and his associates?”

“But that was a maiden effort. And as I find–at alas! the cost of decrepitude,–the one thing life teaches us is that many truisms are true. ‘Practice makes perfect’ is one of them. And faith, when you come to my age, Lord Humphrey, you will not grumble at having to soil your hands occasionally in the cause of common-sense.”

The younger man shook his head. “A week ago you would have found me amenable enough to reason, since I was then a sensible person, and to be of service to his Grace of Ormskirk was very sensible,–just as to marry Miss Allonby, the young and beautiful heiress, was then the course pre-eminently sensible. All the while I loved Marian, you understand. But I clung to common-sense. Desperately I clung to common-sense. And yet–” He flung out his hands.

“Yes, there is by ordinary some plaguy yet,” the Duke interpolated.

“There is,” cried Lord Humphrey Degge, “the swift and heart-grappling recollection of the woman you gave up in the cause of common-sense,–roused by some melody she liked, or some shade of color she was wont to wear, or by hearing from other lips some turn of speech to which she was addicted. My Lord Duke, that memory wakes on a sudden and clutches you by the throat, and it chokes you. And one swears that common-sense–“

“One swears that common-sense may go to the devil,” said his Grace of Ormskirk, “whence I don’t say it didn’t emanate! And one swears that, after all, there is excellent stuff in you! Your idiotic conduct, sir, makes me far happier than you know!”

After some ten paces he turned, with a smile. “In the matter of soiling one’s hands–Personally I prefer them clean, sir, and particularly in the case of Marian’s husband. Had it been I, he must have stuck to prosaic soap; with you in the rôle there is a difference. Faith, Lord Humphrey, there is a decided difference, and if you be other than a monster of depravity you will henceforth, I think, preserve your hands immaculate.”