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- THE WOLVES AND THE LAMB - 1/13 -
THE WOLVES AND THE LAMB
by William Makepeace Thackeray
MR. HORACE MILLIKEN, a Widower, a wealthy City Merchant. GEORGE MILLIKEN, a Child, his Son. CAPTAIN TOUCHIT, his Friend. CLARENCE KICKLEBURY, brother to Milliken's late Wife. JOHN HOWELL, M's Butler and confidential Servant. CHARLES PAGE, Foot-boy. BULKELEY, Lady Kicklebury's Servant. MR. BONNINGTON. Coachman, Cabman; a Bluecoat Boy, another Boy (Mrs. Prior's Sons).
LADY KICKLEBURY, Mother-in-law to Milliken. MRS. BONNINGTON, Milliken's Mother (married again). MRS. PRIOR. MISS PRIOR, her Daughter, Governess to Milliken's Children. ARABELLA MILLIKEN, a Child. MARY BARLOW, School-room Maid. A grown-up Girl and Child of Mrs. Prior's, Lady K.'s Maid, Cook.
THE WOLVES AND THE LAMB.
Scene.--MILLIKEN'S villa at Richmond; two drawing-rooms opening into one another. The late MRS. MILLIKEN'S portrait over the mantel-piece; bookcases, writing-tables, piano, newspapers, a handsomely furnished saloon. The back-room opens, with very large windows, on the lawn and pleasure-ground; gate, and wall--over which the heads of a cab and a carriage are seen, as persons arrive. Fruit, and a ladder on the walls. A door to the dining- room, another to the sleeping-apartments, &c.
JOHN.--Everybody out; governor in the city; governess (heigh-ho!) walking in the Park with the children; ladyship gone out in the carriage. Let's sit down and have a look at the papers. Buttons fetch the Morning Post out of Lady Kicklebury's room. Where's the Daily News, sir?
PAGE.--Think it's in Milliken's room.
JOHN.--Milliken! you scoundrel! What do you mean by Milliken? Speak of your employer as your governor if you like; but not as simple Milliken. Confound your impudence! you'll be calling me Howell next.
PAGE.--Well! I didn't know. YOU call him Milliken.
JOHN.--Because I know him, because I'm intimate with him, because there's not a secret he has but I may have it for the asking; because the letters addressed to Horace Milliken, Esq., might as well be addressed John Howell, Esq., for I read 'em, I put 'em away and docket 'em, and remember 'em. I know his affairs better than he does: his income to a shilling, pay his tradesmen, wear his coats if I like. I may call Mr. Milliken what I please; but not YOU, you little scamp of a clod-hopping ploughboy. Know your station and do your business, or you don't wear THEM buttons long, I promise you. [Exit Page.]
Let me go on with the paper [reads]. How brilliant this writing is! Times, Chronicle, Daily News, they're all good, blest if they ain't. How much better the nine leaders in them three daily papers is, than nine speeches in the House of Commons! Take a very best speech in the 'Ouse now, and compare it with an article in The Times! I say, the newspaper has the best of it for philosophy, for wit, novelty, good sense too. And the party that writes the leading article is nobody, and the chap that speaks in the House of Commons is a hero. Lord, Lord, how the world is 'umbugged! Pop'lar representation! what IS pop'lar representation? Dammy, it's a farce. Hallo! this article is stole! I remember a passage in Montesquieu uncommonly like it. [Goes and gets the book. As he is standing upon sofa to get it, and sitting down to read it, MISS PRIOR and the Children have come in at the garden. Children pass across stage. MISS PRIOR enters by open window, bringing flowers into the room.]
JOHN.--It IS like it. [He slaps the book, and seeing MISS PRIOR who enters, then jumps up from sofa, saying very respectfully,]
JOHN.--I beg your pardon, Miss.
MISS P.--[sarcastically.] Do I disturb you, Howell?
JOHN.--Disturb! I have no right to say--a servant has no right to be disturbed, but I hope I may be pardoned for venturing to look at a volume in the libery, Miss, just in reference to a newspaper harticle--that's all, Miss.
MISS P.--You are very fortunate in finding anything to interest you in the paper, I'm sure.
JOHN.--Perhaps, Miss, you are not accustomed to political discussion, and ignorant of--ah--I beg your pardon: a servant, I know, has no right to speak. [Exit into dining-room, making a low bow.]
MISS PRIOR.--The coolness of some people is really quite extraordinary! the airs they give themselves, the way in which they answer one, the books they read! Montesquieu: "Esprit des Lois!" [takes book up which J. has left on sofa.] I believe the man has actually taken this from the shelf. I am sure Mr. Milliken, or her ladyship, never would. The other day "Helvetius" was found in Mr. Howell's pantry, forsooth! It is wonderful how he picked up French whilst we were abroad. "Esprit des Lois!" what is it? it must be dreadfully stupid. And as for reading "Helvetius" (who, I suppose, was a Roman general), I really can't understand how-- Dear, dear! what airs these persons give themselves! What will come next? A footman--I beg Mr. Howell's pardon--a butler and confidential valet lolls on the drawing-room sofa, and reads Montesquieu! Impudence! And add to this, he follows me for the last two or three months with eyes that are quite horrid. What can the creature mean? But I forgot--I am only a governess. A governess is not a lady--a governess is but a servant--a governess is to work and walk all day with the children, dine in the school-room, and come to the drawing-room to play the man of the house to sleep. A governess is a domestic, only her place is not the servants' hall, and she is paid not quite so well as the butler who serves her her glass of wine. Odious! George! Arabella! there are those little wretches quarrelling again! [Exit. Children are heard calling out, and seen quarrelling in garden.]
JOHN [re-entering].--See where she moves! grace is in all her steps. 'Eaven in her high--no--a-heaven in her heye, in every gesture dignity and love--ah, I wish I could say it! I wish you may procure it, poor fool! She passes by me--she tr-r-amples on me. Here's the chair she sets in [kisses it.] Here's the piano she plays on. Pretty keys, them fingers out-hivories you! When she plays on it, I stand and listen at the drawing-room door, and my heart thr-obs in time! Fool, fool, fool! why did you look on her, John Howell! why did you beat for her, busy heart! You were tranquil till you knew her! I thought I could have been a-happy with Mary till then. That girl's affection soothed me. Her conversation didn't amuse me much, her ideers ain't exactly elevated, but they are just and proper. Her attentions pleased me. She ever kep' the best cup of tea for me. She crisped my buttered toast, or mixed my quiet tumbler for me, as I sat of hevenings and read my newspaper in the kitching. She respected the sanctaty of my pantry. When I was a-studying there, she never interrupted me. She darned my stockings for me, she starched and folded my chokers, and she sowed on the habsent buttons of which time and chance had bereft my linning. She has a good heart, Mary has. I know she'd get up and black the boots for me of the coldest winter mornings. She did when we was in humbler life, she did.
You have a good heart, Mary!
MARY.--Have I, dear John? [sadly.]
JOHN.--Yes, child--yes. I think a better never beat in woman's bosom. You're good to everybody--good to your parents whom you send half your wages to: good to your employers whom you never robbed of a halfpenny.
MARY [whimpering].--Yes, I did, John. I took the jelly when you were in bed with the influenza; and brought you the pork-wine negus.
JOHN.--Port, not pork, child. Pork is the hanimal which Jews ab'or. Port is from Oporto in Portugal.
MARY [still crying].--Yes, John; you know everything a'most, John.
JOHN.--And you, poor child, but little! It's not heart you want, you little trump, it's education, Mary: it's information: it's head, head, head! You can't learn. You never can learn. Your ideers ain't no good. You never can hinterchange em with mine. Conversation between us is impossible. It's not your fault. Some people are born clever; some are born tall, I ain't tall.
MARY.--Ho! you're big enough for me, John. [Offers to take his hand.]
JOHN.--Let go my 'and--my a-hand, Mary! I say, some people are born with brains, and some with big figures. Look at that great ass, Bulkeley, Lady K.'s man--the besotted, stupid beast! He's as big as a life-guardsman, but he ain't no more education nor ideers than the ox he feeds on.
MARY.--Law, John, whatever do you mean?
JOHN.--Hm! you know not, little one! you never can know. Have YOU ever felt the pangs of imprisoned genius? have YOU ever felt what
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