"Rich Beyond The Dreams Of Avarice"

Context: After a volume of fables for females and a simple comedy, The Foundling, in 1753 Moore became editor of The World, a weekly periodical that attacked the foibles and vices of the fashionable. He carried his campaign into the theater with The Gamester, whose opening was ruined by a campaign by gambling-house owners to stop its performance and weaken its message. Finally Moore declared that his purpose was rather to rouse pity for the victims than hatred for the vice. The preachment is stated at the final curtain: "Let frailer minds take warning; and from example learn, that want of prudence is want of virtue." Actually, as one character declares, how can a cure be found for the excitement involving the anxious hope of winning money and the agonizing fear of losing it? Moore tries by picturing Beverley as a person who prefers the delight of dice and bad company to the charms of his wife. By his gambling he has dissipated not only his own fortune and that of his wife, but that entrusted to him by a loving sister. However, more than gambling brings about Beverley's downfall. The villainous Stukely plots his ruin as an approach to his wife. He reveals his scheming in a soliloquy at the end of the first act. The message of the play starts with the rising curtain. Mrs. Beverley acknowledges the low state of their fortune while her sister-in-law Charlotte curses her brother and his "pernicious vice of gambling." Her hope is that his little son may be taught prudence by his father's example. Both women express suspicion of the supposed friend Stukely. In comes Lewson, in love with Charlotte. They are the only normal people in the play. He announces that at the previous day's sale of Beverley's house and furniture, a friend bought much of it which he wants Mrs. Beverley to use. Stukely plots a rigged gambling session further to ruin Beverley, though he claims to have sold most of his possessions to pay off the creditors of his great friend. As a final villainy, he plans to get Lewson murdered with suspicion pointing to Beverley, who will be jailed as a debtor, so opening Stukely's path to Mrs. Beverley. In the final act, Stukely's servant Bates announces he has stabbed Lewson according to orders. Beverley is also jailed. The news that his uncle has suddenly died naming him the heir, will not help his desperate situation because he has already sold his expectations to repay Stukely. So he takes poison. Too late to save the gamester's life, Stukely is unmasked by Bates, and Lewson reappears alive. The acting of the Popes in the initial performance and of Kemble and Mrs. Siddon in revivals helped make audiences overlook the silliness of Beverley and the imprudence of his wife. Garrick, director at the Drury Lane Theatre where the play opened, is supposed to have rewritten and tightened several scenes, especially the fourth-act clash between Lewson and Stukely. With all its flaws, according to modern standards, the tragedy was translated into French, German, and Dutch. In Act II, scene ii, begins what seems like a reconciliation.


BEVERLEY
They hurt me beyond bearing.–Is Stukely false! Then honesty has left us! 'T were sinning against Heaven to think so.
MRS. BEVERLEY
I never doubted him.
BEVERLEY
No; you are charity. Meakness and ever-during patience live in that heart, and love that knows no change.–Why did I ruin you?
MRS. BEVERLEY
You have not ruined me. I have no wants, when you are present, nor wishes in your absence, but to be blest with your return. Be but resigned to what has happened, and I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
BEVERLEY
My generous girl!