Gimcracks final economic alternative resides in his nieces, and so he proposes that they lend him money.
In terms of experimental philosophy, Gimcracks enthusiasm for fancy and speculation are absurd in the face of common sense.
Gimcracks science blinds him to the sexual activities and proclivities of those around him and thus he is like the father in the eighteenth-century erotic poem, "The Microscope" who is prone to be distracted by the seductions of microscopy (he is "wont to pore / On Flies and Maggots by the Hour") such that his daughters decide to use the microscope to perform a little experiment on their sleeping brother, "For Lechery and Learning sake.
Gimcracks statement that "Knowledge is my ultimate end" thus functions as a general principle that Shadwell consistently undercuts by the obviously erroneous quality of the virtuoso's observations.
Thus the play spends a great deal of its energy indicating the various costs of Gimcracks penchant for experimentalism, and does so in explicitly sexual and financial terms.
Their exchange immediately confirms that they are an unsuitable match, and moments later, Captain Hearty explains that he has no interest in Valeria: "The philosophical Gimcrack I don't value of a Cockle-Shell" (2, p.
In this way, Valeria appears to be a direct descendent of Shadwell's Gimcrack, unconcerned with men and manners.
While Valeria is not humiliated and exposed as Gimcrack is by the end of The Virtuoso, she is not fully successful within the play.
Shadwell's prescient drama, The Virtuoso, renders those associations embarrassingly visible, while likewise imagining the potential for whole-scale loss endemic to hopes for technological advancement; the original Sir Nicholas Gimcrack is humiliated not by the ridiculousness of his experiments, but by a series of sexual and financial losses.
These virtuosas are thoroughly satirized, much like Gimcrack and unlike Valeria.
Beyond the legacy of satire, however, Shadwell's Gimcrack and his later incarnation as Centlivre's Valeria more suggestively alert us to a specific set of associations with sexual desire and the circulation of wealth implicitly bound up with popularization and practice of experimental philosophy.
The Maktoum family has used the Gimcrack speech, delivered by the winning owner of the historic York race (run this year at Newbury) for two-year-olds, to shake things up in the past - memorably in 1997, when Sheikh Mohammed's spokesman Michael Osborne delivered a stark warning about prize-money levels, and in 2002, when the sheikh aligned himself with "underpaid stable staff" and chastised racecourses for acting unilaterally and selfishly.
But Ferguson's Gimcrack speech looked to me like it bore an olive branch.