Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
of its freenefs, but more probably becaufe the charaeter of Limberham 
was believed to be intended for a perfonal fatire on the unpopular earl of 
Lauderdale. Its plot is flmple enough; it is the {lory of a debauched 
old gentleman, named Aldo, whofe fon, after a rather long abfence on 
the Continent, returns to England, and atfumes the name of Woodall, in 
order to enjoy freely the pleafures of London life before he makes himfelf 
known to his friends. He takes a lodging in a houfe occupied by fome 
loofe women, and there meets with his father, but, as the latter does not 
recognife his fon, they become friends, and live together licentioufly fo 
long, that when the fon at length difcovers himfelf, the old man is 
obliged to overlook his vices. Otway's comedy of"Friend{hip in Falhion," 
performed the fame year, was not a whit more moral. But all thefe are 
far outdone by Ravenfcroffs comedy of "The London Cuckolds," firit 
brought out in I682, which, neverthelels, continued to be aeted until late 
in the latl century. It is a clever comedy, full of atftion, and confiiting 
of a great number of different incidents, felected from the leis moral 
tales of the old Itory-tellers as they appear in the "Decameron" of 
Boccaccio, among which that of the ignorant and uneducated young wife, 
timilar to the plot of Wycherley's " Country Wife," is again introduced. 
The corruption of morals had become fo great, that when women took 
up the pen, they exceeded in licentioufnefs even the other fex, as was 
the cafe with Mrs. -Behn. Aphra Behn is underftood to have been born 
at Canterbury, but to have paliied tome part of her youth in the colony 
of Surinam, of which her father was governor. She evidently p0H'eH'ed 
a difpotition for intrigue, and the was employed by the Englifh govern- 
ment, a few years after the Refioration, as a political fpy at Antwerp. 
She fubfequently fettled in London, and gained a living by her pen, which 
was very prolific in novels, poems, and plays. It would be dithcult to 
point out in any other works fuch fcenes of open profligacy as thofe pre- 
fented in Mrs. Behn's two comedies of " Sir Patient Fancy" and " The 
City Heirefs, or Sir Timothy Treat-all," which appeared in 1678 and 
r681. rConcea1ment of the ilightett kind is avoided, and even that which 
cannot be expofed to view, is tolerably broadly defcribed.  
lt appears that the performance of the "London Cuckolds" had 
3 F been


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