Wilf. Your wine, sirs! your wine! You do not justice to mine host of the Three Tuns, nor credit to yourselves; I swear the beverage is good! It is as palatable poison as you will purchase within a mile round Ludgate! Drink, gentlemen; make free. You know I am a man of expectations; and hold my money as light as the purse in which I carry it.
Gay. We drink, Master Wilford. Not a man of us has been chased as yet.
Wilf. But you fill not fairly, sirs! Look at my measure! Wherefore a large glass, if not for a large draught? Fill, I pray you, else let us drink out of thimbles! This will never do for the friends of the nearest of kin to the wealthiest peer in Britain.
Gay. We give you joy, Master Wilford, of the prospect of advancement which has so unexpectedly opened to you.
Wilf. Unexpectedly indeed! But yesterday arrived the news that the Earl’s only son and heir had died; and to-day has the Earl himself been seized with a mortal illness. His dissolution is looked for hourly; and I, his cousin in only the third degree, known to him but to be unnoticed by him—a decayed gentleman’s son—glad of the title and revenues of a scrivener’s clerk—am the undoubted successor to his estates and coronet.
George. Here am I, sir!
Charg. Have you taken in more wine to that company?
George. Yes, sir.
Charg. That’s right. Serve them as quick as they order! A fair company! I have seen them here before. Take care they come again. A choice company! That Master Waller, I hear, is a fine spirit—leads the town. Pay him much duty. A deep purse, and easy strings.
George. And there is another, sir;—a capital gentleman, though from the country. A gentleman most learned in dogs and horses! He doth talk wondrous edification:—one Master Wildrake. I wish you could hear him, sir.
Charg. Well, well!—attend to them. Let them not cool o’er the liquor, or their calls will grow slack. Keep feeding the fire while it blazes, and the blaze will continue. Look to it well!