, very short play by Jane Austen
, in Volume the First
of her juvenilia
The Visit: A Comedy in Two Acts
To the Revd James Austen
The following Drama, which I humbly recommend to your Protection & Patronage, tho' inferior to those celebrated Comedies called "The School for Jealousy" & "The Travelled Man", will I hope afford some amusement to so respectable a Curate as yourself; which was the end in veiw when it was first composed by your Humble Servant the Author.
Sir Arthur Hampton
Sir Arthur's nephew
The scenes are laid in Lord Fitzgerald's House.
Act I Scene the first, a Parlour --
enter Lord Fitzgerald & Stanly
Stanly. Cousin, your servant.
Fitzgerald. Stanly, good morning to you. I hope you slept well last night.
Stanly. Remarkably well, I thank you.
Fitzgerald. I am afraid you found your Bed too short. It was bought in my Grandmother's time, who was herself a very short woman & made a point of suiting all her Beds to her own length, as she never wished to have any company in the House, on account of an unfortunate impediment in her speech, which she was sensible of being very disagreable to her inmates.
Stanly. Make no more excuses, dear Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald. I will not distress you by too much civility -- I only beg you will consider yourself as much at home as in your Father's house. Remember, "The more free, the more Wellcome."
Stanly. Amiable Youth!
"Your virtues, could he imitate
How happy would be Stanly's fate!"
Scene the 2d
Stanly & Miss Fitzgerald, discovered.
Stanly. What Company is it you expect to dine with you to Day, Cousin?
Miss F. Sir Arthur & Lady Hampton; their Daughter, Nephew & Neice.
Stanly. Miss Hampton & her Cousin are both Handsome, are they not?
Miss F. Miss Willoughby is extreamly so. Miss Hampton is a fine Girl, but not equal to her.
Stanly. Is not your Brother attached to the Latter?
Miss F. He admires her, I know, but I beleive nothing more. Indeed I have heard him say that she was the most beautifull, pleasing, & amiable Girl in the world, & that of all others he should prefer her for his Wife. But it never went any farther, I'm certain.
Stanly. And yet my Cousin never says a thing he does not mean.
Miss F. Never. From his Cradle he has always been a strict adherent to Truth
End of the First Act.
Scene the first. The Drawing Room.
Chairs set round in a row. Lord Fitzgerald, Miss Fitzgerald & Stanly seated.
Enter a Servant.
Servant. Sir Arthur & Lady Hampton. Miss Hampton, Mr. & Miss Willoughby.
Enter the Company.
Miss F. I hope I have the pleasure of seeing your Ladyship well. Sir Arthur, your Servant. Yrs., Mr. Willoughby. Dear Sophy, Dear Cloe,
-- They pay their Compliments alternately.
Miss F. Pray be seated. They sit Bless me! there ought to be 8 Chairs & there are but 6. However, if your Ladyship will but take Sir Arthur in your Lap, & Sophy my Brother in hers, I beleive we shall do pretty well.
Lady H. Oh! with pleasure....
Sophy. I beg his Lordship would be seated.
Miss F. I am really shocked at crouding you in such a manner, but my Grandmother (who bought all the furniture of this room) as she had never a very large Party, did not think it necessary to buy more Chairs than were sufficient for her own family and two of her particular freinds.
Sophy. I beg you will make no apologies. Your Brother is very light.
Stanly. aside What a cherub is Cloe!
Cloe. aside What a seraph is Stanly!
Enter a Servant.
Servant. Dinner is on table.
They all rise.
Miss F. Lady Hampton, Miss Hampton, Miss Willoughby.
Stanly hands Cloe; Lord Fitzgerald, Sophy; Willoughby, Miss Fitzgerald; and Sir Arthur, Lady Hampton
Scene the 2d
The Dining Parlour.
Miss Fitzgerald at top. Lord Fitzgerald at bottom.
Company ranged on each side. Servants waiting.
Cloe. I shall trouble Mr. Stanly for a Little of the fried Cow heel & Onion.
Stanly. Oh Madam, there is a secret pleasure in helping so amiable a Lady. --
Lady H. I assure you, my Lord, Sir Arthur never touches wine; but Sophy will toss off a bumper I am sure, to oblige your Lordship.
Lord F. Elder wine or Mead, Miss Hampton?
Sophy. If it is equal to you, Sir, I should prefer some warm ale with a toast and nutmeg.
Lord F. Two glasses of warmed ale with a toast and nutmeg.
Miss F. I am afraid, Mr. Willoughby, you take no care of yourself. I fear you don't meet with any thing to your liking.
Willoughby. Oh! Madam, I can want for nothing while there are red herrings on table.
Lord F. Sir Arthur, taste that Tripe. I think you will not find it amiss.
Lady H. Sir Arthur never eats Tripe; tis too savoury for him, you know, my Lord.
Miss F. Take away the Liver & Crow, & bring in the suet pudding.
(a short Pause.)
Miss F. Sir Arthur, shan't I send you a bit of pudding?
Lady H. Sir Arthur never eats suet pudding, Ma'am. It is too high a Dish for him.
Miss F. Will no one allow me the honour of helping them? Then John, take away the Pudding, & bring the Wine.
Servants take away the things and bring in the Bottles & Glasses.
Lord F. I wish we had any Desert to offer you. But my Grandmother in her Lifetime, destroyed the Hothouse in order to build a receptacle for the Turkies with its materials; & we have never been able to raise another tolerable one.
Lady H. I beg you will make no apologies, my Lord.
Willoughby. Come Girls, let us circulate the Bottle.
Sophy. A very good notion, Cousin; & I will second it with all my Heart. Stanly, you don't drink.
Stanly. Madam, I am drinking draughts of Love from Cloe's eyes.
Sophy. That's poor nourishment truly. Come, drink to her better acquaintance.
Miss Fitzgerald goes to a Closet & brings out a bottle
Miss F. This, Ladies & Gentlemen, is some of my dear Grandmother's own manufacture. She excelled in Gooseberry Wine. Pray taste it, Lady Hampton
Lady H. How refreshing it is!
Miss F. I should think, with your Ladyship's permission, that Sir Arthur might taste a little of it.
Lady H. Not for Worlds. Sir Arthur never drinks any thing so high.
Lord F. And now my amiable Sophia, condescend to marry me.
He takes her hand & leads her to the front
Stanly. Oh! Cloe, could I but hope you would make me blessed --
Cloe. I will.
Miss F. Since you, Willoughby, are the only one left, I cannot refuse your earnest solicitations -- There is my Hand.
Lady H. And may you all be Happy!