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Love At Martinmas
by [?]

As Played at Tunbridge Wells, April 1, 1750

“He to love an altar built
Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves,
And all the trophies of his former loves;
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire;
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize.


MR. ERWYN, a gentleman of the town, ceremonious and a
coxcomb, but a man of honor.
LADY ALLONBY, a woman of fashion, and widow to
Lord Stephen Allonby.
MISS ALLONBY, daughter to Lord Stephen by a former
marriage, of a considerable fortune in her own hands.
FOOTMEN to Lady Allonby; and in the Proem FRANCIS
ORTS, commonly know as FRANCIS VANBINGHAM, a
dissolute play-actor.

A drawing-room In Lady Allonby’s villa at Tunbridge Wells.


PROEM:–To be Filed for Reference Hereafter

Lady Allonby followed in all respects the Vicar’s instructions; and midnight found her upon the pier of Bishops Onslow, Colonel Denstroude’s big and dilapidated country-residence. Frank Orts had assisted her from the rowboat without speaking; indeed, he had uttered scarcely a word, save to issue some necessary direction, since the woman first came to him at the Vicarage with her news of the night’s events. Now he composedly stepped back into the boat.

“You’ve only to go forward,” said Frank Orts. “I regret that for my own part I’m no longer an acceptable visitor here, since the Colonel and I fought last summer over one Molly Yates. Nay, I beseech you, put up your purse, my Lady.”

“Then I can but render you my heartfelt thanks,” replied Lady Allonby, “and incessantly remember you in daily prayers for the two gallant men who have this night saved a woman from great misery. Yet there is that in your voice which is curiously familiar, Mr. Orts, and I think that somewhere you and I have met before this.”

“Ay,” he responded, “you have squandered many a shilling on me here in England, where Francis Vanringham bellows and makes faces with the rest of the Globe Company. On Usk, you understand, I’m still Frank Orts, just as I was christened; but elsewhere the name of Vanringham was long ago esteemed more apt to embellish and adorn the bill of a heroic play. Ay, you’ve been pleased to applaud my grimaces behind the footlights, more than once; your mother-in-law, indeed, the revered Marchioness-Dowager of Falmouth, is among my staunchest patrons.”

“Heavens! then we shall all again see one another at Tunbridge!” said Lady Allonby, who was recovering her spirits; “and I shall have a Heaven-sent opportunity, to confirm my protestations that I am not ungrateful. Mr. Vanringham, I explicitly command you to open in The Orphan, since: as Castalio in that piece you are the most elegant and moving thing in the universal world.” [Footnote: This was the opinion of others as well. Thorsby (Roscius Anglicanus) says, “Mr. Vanringham was good in tragedy, as well as in comedy, especially as Castalio in Otway’s Orphan, and the more famous Garrick came, in that part, far short of him.” Vanringham was also noted for his Valentine in Love for Love and for his Beaugard in The Soldier’s Fortune.]

“Your command shall be obeyed,” said the actor. “And meantime, my Lady, I bid you an au revoir, with many millions of regrets for the inconveniences to which you’ve been subjected this evening, Oho, we are lamentably rustic hereabout.”

And afterward as he rowed through the dark the man gave a grunt of dissatisfaction.

“I was too abrupt with her. But it vexes me to have Brother Simon butchered like this…. These natural instincts are damnably inconvenient,–and expensive, at times, Mr. Vanringham,–beside being ruinous to one’s sense of humor, Mr. Vanringham. Why, to think that she alone should go scot-free! and of her ordering a stage-box within the hour of two men’s destruction on her account! Upon reflection, I admire the woman to the very tips of my toes. Eh, well! I trust to have need of her gratitude before the month is up.”