"Adding Insult To Injuries"

Context: Edward Moore began his writing career as an author of fables, offering to the public Fables for the Female Sex, in 1744. They have been compared to the earlier fables by John Gay, better known for The Beggar's Opera. Like his predecessor, Moore also turned to the theater, and in 1748 offered to the actor David Garrick, then manager of Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, his first attempts, The Foundling. Its reception was mixed. Some critics applied to it a couplet Garrick had meant as a general comment on comedies, written as Epilogue for the performance: "From such dull stuff, what profit can you reap? You cry:–''Tis very fine!' and fall asleep." Henry Brooke in his preface to the printed edition damned it with faint praise. Some of the audience found revolting the character of Faddle, and said he had a mind too deformed for public exhibition. His friend, young Belmont, the play's hero, is only a step above him in baseness, and that because he does possess courage. But the great Mrs. Cibber put life into the insipid character of "The Foundling," and the play continued to be performed, and was even translated into French. Out of it all, the dramatist found a wife. A poetic spinster, falling in love with him, sent a letter in verse to her young cousin: "Would you think it, my coz, for the fault I must own, Your Jenny, at last, is quite covetous grown: Though millions, if fortune should lavishly pour, I still should be wretched, if I had not More." The poem circulated. Moore got the message, and out of curiosity sought out Jenny. Liking what he saw, he gambled on his luck, married her, and wrote a greatly improved tragedy, The Gamester. In the plot of The Foundling, Sir Charles Raymond has a son, Colonel Raymond, in love with Rosetta Belmont. Her father, Sir Robert, has another child, young Belmont. Rosetta has a passion for William Faddle, unprincipled but full of fun. Rosetta has made friends with Fidelia, about whose parentage little is known, and so young Belmont thinks he can enjoy her without marrying her, with Faddle's help. He puts out the story that she is an heiress, but will not comment on her family. His sister backs his love affair in hopes the girl can redeem him from his wildness. The situation is cleared at the end. Fidelia is really Harriet, the lost daughter of Sir Charles. While he was in France, her nurse stole her, announcing that the girl was dead, and then putting out the story that she had discovered a foundling at her steps. Having brought her up, she sells her at the age of twelve to Villiard, who now claims to be her guardian. But the repentent nurse confesses, Sir Charles welcomes his missing daughter, and marries her to a reformed young Belmont. Colonel Raymond marries Rosetta for a general pairing-up. At the beginning of Act V, Fidelia and Belmont are trying to clarify their situation when the two parents and Villiard appear, the latter accusing young Belmont of stealing his ward.


VILLIARD
My doors were broken open at midnight by this gentleman, myself wounded, and Fidelia ravished from me. He ran off with her in his arms. Nor, till this morning, in a coach which brought her hither, have my eyes ever beheld her.
SIR ROBERT
A very fine business, truly, young man! [To his son.]
FIDELIA
He has abused you, sir. Mr. Belmont is noble–
BELMONT
No matter, Fidelia. Well, sir, you have been robbed, you say? [To Villiard.]
VILLIARD
And will have justice, sir.
BELMONT
Take it from this hand then. [Drawing.]
SIR CHARLES
Hold, sir. This is adding insult to injuries. Fidelia must be restored, sir.
SIR ROBERT
Ay, sir, Fidelia must be restored.
FIDELIA
But not to him. Hear but my story. . . .