Source: The Lord Chamberlain's Plays, Original
transcription by Conrad and Mary Bladey ©
Theater Royal Haymarket
Wednesday Oct. 30, 1793
The following piece is, with the permission of the right Honorable Lord
Chamberlain, intended for representation at the Theater Royal in the
Haymarket on Tuesday next, Nov. 5, 1793.
J Colman (sp?)
I Larpent esq. (sp?)
Guy Faux or the Fifth of November
Scene: the street
Captain Tryfort meeting Device
This speedy return, Device, is favorable indeed. Have you seen the dear
Yes, Sir, by great good luck I obtained an interview with the young
heiress, and had scarce delivered with the truest faith all the lies you
ordered me, when her guardians started a surprise and after ogling and
turning me about, as a Jew would an old loan, "young man" cries old
Pickpin, "what are you come to scrape up here?"
But Fanny’s peculiar ability in scheming relieved you.
On her cunning alone I rested my hopes, like a criminal on an able
Counsel. But as the Devil, or herself, would have it, she not only refused
to plead my defense, but even had the ungentlewoman-like impudence to
unreach me, nay, to tell me to my face that I was the abettor of your
crimes, your pimp in ordinary. I never was so abused by woman before!!
Fanny deceitful! Impossible! But what was the conclusion of all this?
My conclusion, to be sure? Sir-There was I standing up for your
character and my character; telling the damn’dest lies that were ever
uttered. Collared by Major Knapsack, the old soldier, pinched by Pickpin,
the old miser, while their ward Miss. Fanny Fitall swelling like the tail
of an angry cat, was spitting her epithets of abuse against her faithful
lover, and sincere domestic. But to complete the business, she retired for
a moment and returned with this letter.
A letter!! Then I dread not a syllable of what has passed.
Stop Sir- as she gave it me, even so will I return it to you. "Here
wretch ," said she, "take back your master’s letter, for indeed," looking
with repentance at her guardians, "I must own that I did encourage his
addresses but take back his deceitful nonsense," and with the push of an
Irish chairman forced me to retire. So I made a bow and took the letter,
and now making another bow, deliver it up.
Return my letter! Treacherous hypocrite! (throws it away)
Such conduct merits the cognizance of the law, and coquettes like
dilatory attorneys should be answerable for the costs and charges they so
intentionally provoke. (Takes out a memorandum book and reads.) Expenses
incurred in running after Fanny Fitall about the country: two journeys to
Bath and getting but one sight of her - 50 pounds. A warm impassioned trip
to the North and not seeing her at all - a cool 100. A present of a Gold
Repeater -- that told well since ‘twas won at a raffle but believed to
have been made for her in France. The Captain’s picture set in diamonds,
alias French paste, the likeness being judged striking - That is
If this is all your comfort you had better withdraw.
Without enumerating treats or the water fireworks - all of which would
be clear money, being so hurried to come to Town that we actually forgot
to call for the bill of expenses.
Damnation! is this a time to be plagued with your nonsense?
If not content with mine, Sir, reference your order. (gives him the
And as I destroyed it, defiled by having been in her possession, so may
I tear from my breast every semblance of -of- hey! Sure! Yes- (on opening
it he discovers a letter to himself) by all the powers of --
Tol-lol-de-rol!(kisses the letter)
Most authors are partial to their own compositions but I never knew a
man so enraptured with his own writings as to greet them with kisses.
Attend, wonder and adore!!
"My dear Captain Tryfort. I was unluckily disturbed by my two old
wretches of Guardians while I was listening to the message of that
faithful creature Device." (The Captain and Device look with astonishment
at each other, then burst into fits of laughter) Now don’t be elated with
success -- Ha-ha -- now, dammit, don’t be too sanguine.
Then read on, Sir. I won’t laugh – No – I wo-won’t -- ha ha! An amiable
"And was therefore obliged to affect this repentance of our clandestine
amour that I might deceive them and prove my constancy to you, which if
you would further prove, contrive with Device how to over reach their
security of my person and it shall be given to you for the obligation of
the release, your sincere Fanny Fitall."
Am not I a Gentleman, a Gentleman, a Gentleman.
How light do the heavy arrears of my wages feel to me.
Well, Device, how long must it be before we can rescue this dear
At the rate of 12 pounds ten per annum will come to --
What the devil are you reckoning about?
About… about 90 pounds -- aye, 87 pounds 10 sound money. Come Sir,
leave the direction of the scheme to me.
But what kind of men are the two Guardians whom we have to contend
The one, Mr Pickpin, an old miser, must be bought off; the other, Major
Knapsack, an old soldier, must be out-maneuvered.
Which from the eccentricity of his character will be no great
True, Sir. We have but to examine the Calendar for public holidays in
honor of the Crown and Constitution and we shall be sure to find him out
of his senses from the spirit of Patriotism, and his servants out of their
senses from the spirits of Wine. So the Devil’s in it if that won’t favor
Then away to the trial.
If maidens are coy to the swains that they love,
‘tis to heighten the joy when they deign to approve.
Scene A Room in Major Knapsack’s
You are a thrifty man, Mr. Pickpin, confirmed in your notions too. But
I will have my way. I will be loyal. I will prove myself a Patriot.
So you shall, my dear, your money is all your own
Ha! Pshaw! Can’t you show your passion for all those things without
spending your money? Major Knapsack, I tell you again that you will ruin
And who wouldn’t, of any sense, run the risk of ruining himself in the
support of a Constitution, which if lost would certainly ruin him.
Pshaw! Yours is all whim -- mere whim. What business have you to spend
your money? Can’t you promise to repeal a tax or build a ship? That indeed
were doing some good. But when all your liberality doesn’t extend beyond
an illumination on a Birthday, I do maintain that it is all whim.
Whim, say you! If loyalty is a whim it is one which I am countenanced
in by nearly the whole Nation. Is there a day of consequence in the
Calendar, is there one Red Letter of any importance that I don’t hail with
all due respect, with as much satisfaction as though it were a Red Ribband,
from the happy Coronation in September to the glorious Succession in
October? In short, from the Circumcision in January to the Innocents’ Day
in December inclusive. And yet shall I be ridiculed in my zealous
commemoration of this day of recalling to mind an event, the glorious show
of royal ability and divine Mercy.
No, my dear, nobody shall ridicule you. I’ll support you in it.
Zounds ! Ma’am, I can support myself. The man whose zeal acts in unison
with millions has but little to fear from the malice of a discontented
few. Nay, besides, as a soldier it would be a pride even to face millions
in support of my master prerogative.
And so, while you are careful in paying attention to Guy Faux some sly
Faux will be running away with our ward.
No, no, I‘ll take care of the girl.
You take care of the girl! Ha! Do, my dear Mrs. Knapsack, wait till I
ask you to take care of her. No! no ! I have secured her in her room
whence she may see the sacrifice of this treasonable dog without any fear
of being lost in the smoke.
And I dare swear now that you allow your servants a pot extraordinary
on the occasion.
A pot? A gallon! Damme, a hogshead to drink confusion to such
discontented mortals as yourself! Not that I encourage drunkenness – no,
mine are sober servants and if on such an occasion as this the strength of
the liquor should be too heavy for the lightness of their spirits, my
presence awes them into quietness. They never drink till I come.
No more they do, my dear. I would take my oath on it.
Enter Guzzle (in liquor)
Then pray what do you call this?
I come, yo- your Honor -- I come on a particular abstruse question,
rather may it be called a pe-petition.
In mercy grant my petition first, which is to order him to hold his
To hold his tongue! No! Freedom of speech is the privilege of every
Englishman and if he abuses that privilege ‘tis the duty of the law to
True, your Honor. Your Honor speaks like a ju-juryman. I for instance,
now I feel- hiccup! - the freedom of speech strong within me – hiccup! -
very strong indeed -- so I ought, being come here a re-representative of
the kitchen. Being one which for his known steadiness -- none of your
comings in or goings out as other servants are -- none of your changelings
as other servants are -- but one Sir for his holiness (?) solemness? And
uprightness is elected - hiccup! - free and easy elected – hiccup! free
and easy elected to carry up the petition of his con-Constituents,
videlicet his Cook, Scullery Maid, Butler, Coachman and Ostler- nom –con .
But to the point Guzzle. I fear that you have been making free before
your time with the liquor
The liquor may speak for itself, your Honor. Privilege of speech to
everything, say I, but as to myself, your Honor, I must take the liberty
to say that I have not made free before my time.
No - no - this fellow says right -- ‘tis the same with him everyday, I
This fellow thanks you, but to the point, Sir, seeing that we your
Honor’s servants never enjoy ourselves in any excess but on particular
days and holidays, and knowing that your Honor reveres the Fifth of
November as a day of feast (flash?) and merrymaking, I come, Sir, in all
gracious humility to crave your Honor’s leave to drink a health to Guy
Drink a health to Guy Faux in my house? Dammit, don’t you know your
Pardon, I know my duty - never persecute beyond the grave, but
howsoever if your Honor will be inclined to find the liquor you will find
us inclined to let your Honor put the Toast in it.
Well, well, but hark’ee Guzzle, is the yard cleared and the faggots
ready piled ?
All, all, your Honor, ‘tis my way to put things in order and clear
things away early when I am clear myself, for if a body was to stay all
night everything would seem so confused and one should be so damnably
bothered that one shouldn’t know whether one stood on the head or the
heels. So Guy Faux I say your Honor will remember poor Guy.
Ha ha! Well said, Guzzle! You don’t know, Pickpin, what a valuable
servant that is.
I question whether you do yourself.
You see how forcibly my interest takes to his heart.
Yes, as forcefully as your liquor takes to his head. Pray are all your
servants as steady in the cause?
Every soul of them, I hope. But Guzzle, poor fellow, thinks so much of
these feast days before they take place that he stupefies himself, gets
drunk as it were in anticipation of the pleasure. But come, Pickpin, won’t
you see the preparations? It will be a rare bonfire
Not I! Your servants will expect me to pay for my pleasure, and on such
days as these I make it a rule never to take a farthing in my pocket for
one might wear one’s fingers away by taking money out for the mob.
Very true, Mr. Pickpin
Pshaw! my dear, it is not very true. Nothing ought to be so gratifying
to a man that can afford it than the promoting of gaiety among the lower
class of people, particularly when the bearing of their joy strengthens
their minds to loyalty. So come along, I will have my way. I will be loyal
in spite of your talking.
Scene: The Street
Enter Captain Tryfort and Device
To be sure this is a day that may give us an opportunity of seeing the
dear girl. You say that there are great preparations making at the
Yes Sir, the preparations as far as show goes will be splendid, for not
content with lighting of his house on Earth below he has purchased Sky
Rockets to an immense amount to make the very heavens seem illuminated in
commemoration of this day.
Then I fear they will secrete my dear Frances lest her eyes should
spoil the effect of their operation.
Hum! Now I should think, Sir, if the brightness of the lady’s eyes is
so very strong you would see her best in a dark room and the windows down.
For then like the sun in an eclipse you would gaze at her through glass.
Huzzah! Remember the Fifth of November! Huzzah!
What the Devil’s the matter now, Device?
That Huzzah has startled me into a scheme, which must benefit you. You
seem to think, Sir, that you would run any risk to see Miss Fanny.
Any, however desperate.
Do you think you could run the risk of being burnt alive for her? Nay,
but seriously, Sir, if you was but to recall that stuffed representative
of old Guy and order it before the Major’s house it might produce the
effect of a dancing Bear or Hand Organ and call all the family to the
Thank you, Device, it shall be tried.
And in good luck the men are bringing it this way. Hollo! Here! Quick!
Enter two Chairmen carrying the figure of Guy Faux
The mob huzzahing after them.
Second Chairman (driving the mob off) Hoot awa’! Hoot awa’! Ye lads,
but dinna hoot near us. Ye dinna consider the weight of my fist or ye nae
would ha’ come so close on the heel.
And pray where are you going with this figure?
By my Soul but we are going straight forwards till we turn -- either to
the right or the left -- but which it is, botheration seize me if I can
To one Major Knapsack’s.
The Major is my particular friend. But what can he want with such a dead
thing as this?
To bury him alive, to be sure, your Honor. And I have taken great pains
to make him worthy of dying in so noble a house as the Major’s, and this I
may say -- search all the streets through London and you’ll not see a
prettier lad than this. No, though I made it myself.
And pray who might you be?
I and another, your Honor, are famous about this time of the year for
making good Guy Fauxes
Wonders of Guy Faux! and what may be the value of this?
Five Guineas, your Honor -- couldn’t bate a farthing. Indeed the Major
has agreed with me for that sum. Look at his arms, your Honor, you may
tell by the bearing of his arms that he is a Gentleman -- and to his legs
-- he turns out his toes as though he had been apprenticed to a Gentleman.
Besides your Honor ought to consider that a Guy Faux is a scarce commodity
and you always pay most for things that are not to be had.
And though I have too much honor to let you have it at the same price
the Major has agreed to take it at, yet if your Worship pleases to put in
a half a Guinea more I think in conscience you shall be welcome to it.
Take my advice, Sir, purchase it. I’ll make it turn to some account or
let you deduct the money out of my wages.
Very well. Follow me with it
Thank you, your Honor
I’ll follow you, and spite of this dead weight upon my hands, if you
don’t make haste I shall be after getting home before you.
A room in Major Knapsack’s house
Enter Mrs. Knapsack and Fanny
No, Miss. Though my husband forces me to silence yet he can’t oblige me
to be so with other people.
But of this company I’ll show you that I am quite a different woman,
one that will not only join in conversation but even lead in it.
Well Madam, and what I fear to say to the Major I have cause to tell
you, and therefore declare even to your face that marry the Captain I will
in spite of your or his efforts to the contrary.
Did anyone ever hear the like before?
Yes Madam, you have heard the like before, a hundred times, and may as
often again perhaps.
Fanny, Fanny, I fear that you are no better than you should be.
And why should I, Madam? To be better than I should be would be to
engross to myself what all my acquaintances I am sure stand in need of.
Very pretty indeed, but the Major shall be apprized of your
Not by you, indeed. You may kindly attempt to inform him of them but I
know him too well to think he’ll listen to you.
Not listen to me? Insolent girl! But here come your Guardians and now
you shall see if my opinion is so little attended to.
Enter Major Knapsack and Pickpin-
Yes, yes, ‘twill do, ‘twill make a rare blaze, and if the figure is but
a good one -- O, if my Guy Faux is but well made -- I assure you, Pickpin,
that I have paid dear for it but he’ll pay dear for it in the end. And
then we shall be quits. Well, Fanny, no more of the Captain, I hope.
No more, say you --
Yes, say no more. I didn’t ask you, my dear Mrs. Knapsack. I suppose
the girl is no miracle. She has a tongue of her own. Why don’t you speak,
Indeed sir, I --, I --.
My dear, I wish you were a little more diffident You see, Pickpin, what
it is to have a talkative wife. I never can squeeze in a word of my own.
Always subject to her intrusions.
Well I must confess --.
There, you see! She would rather confess herself wrong than not talk at
all. But come, Fanny, declare to Mr. Pickpin that your repentance of
having encouraged the Captain is sincere, for he won’t believe me.
Truly I always suspect as to these matters.
And with justice too.
Now what can you know about Mr. Pickpin’s matters? Well, Guzzle --
‘Tis come, ‘tis come! Guy is come! and a more comelier kind of man I
haven’t looked on some time. I was going to shake him by the hand for your
Honor’s sake but a cursed Irish porter cried "paws off!"
And where have you put it?
Why Sir, since I knew I was to have the care of it I was for ordering
it into the cellar, knowing that to be his Element and that it would be
more in character for Guy Faux to be seen among Barrels than tables and
chairs. But the Butler, with all the consequence of a Beefeater, refusing
the key, I was forced to have him carried directly to the place of
Come along then, come along! Now Pickpin, now Fanny, now you shall see
whether I deserve censure for this show of patriotism
The Back Yard of Major Knapsack’s.
The window of Fanny’s chamber open
In the middle of the yard a Pole erected, surrounded by faggots.
Captain Tryfort in the disguise of Guy Faux seated in a chair.
Device in the habit of a Chairman attending.
What a well-chosen part am I planning to recommend me to a lady’s
esteem. For if Fanny is of the same way of thinking with three fourths of
her sex, she’ll discard me for only affecting a treasonable character.
(in the Irish accent)
Begging your pardon Sir, a Lover can’t carry too much combustible
matter for his Mistress.
Come, come, Device, there is no occasion to affect the brogue yet. Hey
-- hush! as I live, one of the family. I’m a dead man. (seats himself)
Enter Major Knapsack, Pickpin and Fanny
Here it is! here it is! How do you do, friend? True to your time! How
have you succeeded? I assure you the family has formed great hopes.
To be sure then, your Honor will find him like the hope of most
families -- a little stuffed or so and as little able to talk as though he
was heir to the richest estate. But, however, to make up for such
deficiencies I have copied my betters and drest him in the first fashion
Dress a Guy Faux in the first fashion? Why ‘tis sacrilege! To throw
away good clothes on an image, a senseless encumbrance
Oh, that’s generally the fate of good clothes nowadays. If only genius
was to go well drest, Tailors would starve for want of rich patrons.
Here’s a coach! Why, a poor man might live in it for years and yet ‘tis
given as food to the flames! ‘Tis a burning shame, Major.
Why, Fanny, the figure seems to have caught your attention.
(During the Major’s examination of the figure, Device gives Fanny a
letter informing her of the deceit. )
Indeed, Sir, I do find something interesting in it.
Yes, he’s one of those kind of men that don’t say much at first, but I
assure you, Miss, that he will improve upon acquaintance .
Guzzle, you are come very opportunely. There, do you sit down and take
care that everything is in order against our return. (To Device) Young
man, come with me and you shall have your money. And now, Pickpin, we’ll
in and drink a health to the King and Constitution and a hot fire to all
Exeunt Major, Pickpin, Device and Fanny
Leave me here to keep watch! a devilish dry joke for one of my spirit,
to seat me here like a living Scarecrow. Dammit, I like your posts of
honor and not to stay to stay here, a mere Jack Ketch to a stuffed figure.
I like to have an opportunity of showing my abilities, of proving my
consequence, of –
(Captain Tryforth steals up to him and collars him)
Another word and I’ll blow your brains out.
Guzzle (falls on his knees)
I’m a dead man. Oh dear God. Mr. Guy…
Look up if you dare to.
I dare look, most august body, but am afraid to trust my eyes.
Do you know me?
You must be a Gentleman of some consequence for I never was so struck
with awe in anybody’s company before.
You won’t then hold your tongue?
Bless your Honor, if I was to hold my tongue my teeth would chatter in
spite of me.
Re enter Device
The plot must be entered upon for I heard a noise.
Device, luckily returned! To your custody I deliver this knave. If he
offers to speak, dispatch him.
Aye, do send me away. Turn me off at a moment’s warning.
Where’s my lanthorn? And now this ladder which was to have borne me
unto Death shall raise me unto Heaven. (places it against the window)
Don’t mount it, your Honor, don’t mount it! for a ladder must be very
ominous to a Gentleman of your bad habits
What! dare you speak even before he’s out of sight? Have you forgot his
In sober truth ‘tis his presence alone that produces my absence.
(mounts the ladder)
By Heaven, an approaching light. Sure ‘tis the door of Paradise that is
opening by the angel form that enters. (he leaps through the window)
How strong he must have had Death before his eyes to cry his escape
through a window an entry into Paradise.
Come, I must remove you a little further off. This way…
Any way, so that I am out of the way of danger. Oh Lud, o Lud, what a
pretty confusion Guy Faux will blow up in our family tonight.
Scene the Last
Enter Major Knapsack, Pickpin, Mrs. Knapsack and a Servant.
No, no, I tell you Fanny is safe in her chamber. Whither we will go and
from her window see the exhibition. You may take back the candles, we want
no light to see the bonfire with.
And mind that you put them out directly, and with the snuffers, not an
extinguisher, for that smokes the tallow very often and creates Waste. We
must be sparing in some things, Major, or you may never recover the
Why, sure I hear somebody talking in Fanny’s chamber -- a man’s voice
Pshaw, my dear, your head is running upon talking. Let me go first. I
wish I hadn’t ordered away the candles. Ah! Zounds! the door opens -- draw
back softly -- hush -- softly . (softly they retire to the back part of
(Tryfort peeps out with a lanthorn in his hand.)
Indeed, my dear Fanny, your alarms are futile. There’s not a Soul here.
Take my arm. Nay, do not tremble -- courage, my love! pray be more of a
woman, my angel.
(Comes forward and collars him)
Lights! – here -- thieves! -- here -- quick!!
(Servants enter with lights. Fanny runs back into her chamber.)
Guy Faux, in the very sack
Don’t touch him! he may blow you up.
And who the devil are you?
So all treasonable subjects affect to be.
Sir, I know you to be an English Judge and will not therefore condemn
from outward appearances. Strip me but of this mockery of dress and you
shall find me as staunch a heart as ever glowed with patriotism in the
breast of a soldier.
Very well spoken for a man of straw. And so you are this Captain that
would have stole a march upon us to steal away our ward?
The same! Nor am I ashamed to own that whilst I am denied the luxury of
serving my King abroad I have studied in seeking your ward for a Wife to
benefit the State at home.
As I live, Major, the girl has locked herself in! Why, Fanny…
Oh! So! I’ll make her answer! Fanny, my dear…
(knocks at the door)
You may knock and Fanny-my-dear it as much as you please, but if you
get her to answer you, may I never speak again.
Why not answer me?
She is off, gone, given us the go by.
Gone! How? with whom? where?
The way she went was out of the window and with whom she went was an
But where she is gone, the Devil take me if I can tell.
Eloped! with an Irish Chairman too…
Then I’m the happiest man breathing.
Device, I thank thee.
I would have halloo’d out for assistance but he stopped my mouth with
his dammed mutton fist. I would have followed him but he swore he would
hit me a kick of the shins. So as I didn’t much care to loose my tooth nor
have my bones broke, I judged it better to let them have their way and
that I should take my own.
Sottish rascal, had you not been drunk but kept a good lookout this had
Pardon Sir, ‘twas my drunkenness that qualified me for a Watchman, for
what man in his sober senses would have sat in a yard to watch the motions
of a Guy Faux.
You see, gentlemen, to what a disgraceful extremity your opposition to
Fanny’s choice in me has driven her to, but as an officer and a gentleman
are preferable to a chairman, will you promise me if I recover her to give
her to me for my pains?
Enter Device in his own dress.
I have a letter for you, Sir ( to the Captain)
And another for you, Sir. (to the Major).
The very man that was with us this morning!
Yes, my jewel, and this evening too.
The Irish Chairman!
Where is Fanny, you rascal?
Safely lodged, Mr. Pickpin.
And in my lodgings whither I must fly, so pardon my leaving you this
Leave us! that you shall not. For we will all go together and make her
happy with our approbation of her choice