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A Room in Don JERoME’s House.
Enter Louis A and DUENNA.
Louisa. But, my dear Margaret, my charming Duenna, do you think we shall succeed 2
Duenna. I tell you again, I have no doubt on’t; but it must be instantly put to the trial—Every thing is prepared in your room, and for the rest, we must trust to fortune.
Louisa. My father's oath was, never to see me till I had consented to Duenna. 'Twas thus I overheard him say to his friend, Don Guzman, “I will demand of her to-morrow, once for all, whether she will consent to marry Isaac Mendoza; if she hesitates, I will make a solemn oath never to see or speak to her, till she returns to her duty.”—These were his words. Louisa. And on his known obstinate adherence to what he has once said, you have formed this plan for my escape—But have you secured my maid in our interest? Duenna. She is a party in the whole; but remember, if we succeed, you resign all right and title in little Isaac, the Jew, over to me. Louisa. That I do with all my soul; get him, if you can, and I shall wish you joy, most heartily. He is twenty times as rich as my poor Antonio.
Thou canst not boast offortune’s store,
But when his worth my hand shall gain,
IDuenna. I hear Don Jerome coming–Quick, give me the last letter I brought you from Antonio—you know that is to be the ground of my dismission—I must slip out to seal it up, as undelivered. [Exit.
Enter Don JERom E and FERDINAND.
" Jerome. What, I suppose, you have been serenading too ! Eh, disturbing some peaceable neighbourhood with villainous catgut, and lascivious piping !, Out on’t you set your sister, here, a vile example; but I come to tell you, madam, that I’ll suffer no more of these midnight incantations—these amorous orgies, that steal the senses in the hearing; as, they say, Egyptian embalmers serve mummies, extracting the brain through the ears; however, there’s an end of your frolics—Isaac Mendoza will be here presently, and to-morrow you shall marry him. Louisa. Never, while I have life. Ferd. Indeed, sir, I wonder how you can think of such a man for a son-in-law. Jerome. Sir, you are very kind, to favour me with
your sentiments—and pray, what is your objection to him * Ferd. He is a Portuguese in the first place. Jerome. No such thing, boy, he has forsworn his country. Louisa. He is a Jew. Jerome. Another mistake: he has been a Christian these six weeks. Ferd. Ay, he left his old religion for an estate, and has not had time to get a new one. Louisa. But stands like a dead wall between church and synagogue, or like the blank leaves between the Old and New Testament. Jerome. Anything more ? Ferd. But the most remarkable part of his character is his passion for deceit and tricks of cunning. Louisa. Though at the same time, the fool predominates so much over the knave, that I am told he is generally the dupe of his own art. Ferd. True, like an unskilful gunner, he usually misses his aim, and is hurt by the recoil of his own piece. Jerome. Anything more ? Louisa. To sum up all, he has the worst fault a husband can have—he's not my choice. Jerome. But you are his ; and choice on one side is sufficient—two lovers should never meet in marriage —be you sour as you please, he is sweet-tempered, and for your good fruit, there's nothing like ingrafting on a crab. Louisa. I detest him as a lover, and shall ten times more as a husband. Jerome. I don't know that—marriage generally makes a great change—but, to cut the matter short, will you have him or not? Louisa. There is nothing else I coulddisobey youin. Jerome. Do you value your father's peace 2
Louisa. So much, that I will not fasten on him the regret of making an only daughter wretched. Jerome. Very well, ma'am, then mark me—never more will I see or converse with you till you return to your duty—no reply—this and your chamber shall be your apartments; I never will stir out, without leaving you under lock and key, and when I’m at home no creature can approach you but through my library—we'll try who can be most obstinate—out of my sight—there remain till you know your duty. [Pushes her out. Ferd. Surely, sir, my sister's inclinations should be consulted in a matter of this kind, and some regard paid to Don Antonio, being my particular friend. Jerome. That, doubtless, is a very great recommendation—I certainly have not paid sufficient respect to it. Ferd. There is not a man living I would sooner chuse for a brother-in-law. Jerome. Very possible; and if you happen to have e'er a sister, who is not at the same time a daughter of mine, I’m sure I shall have no objection to the relationship—but at present, if you please, we'll drop the subject. Ferd. Nay, sir, 'tis only my regard for my sister makes me speak. Jerome. Then pray, sir, in future, let your regard for your father make you hold your tongue. Ferd. I have done, sir—I shall only add a wish that you would reflect what at our age you would have felt, had you been crossed in your affection for the mother of her you are so severe to. Jerome. Why, I must confess I had a great affection for your mother's ducats, but that was all, boy—I married her for her fortune, and she took me in obedience to her father, and a very happy couple we were —we never expected any love from one another, and so we were never disappointed—if we grumbled a
little now and then, it was soon over, for we were never fond enough to quarrel, and when the good woman died, why, why—I had as lieve she had lived, and I wish every widower in Seville could say the same—I shall now go and get the key of this dressing room—so, good son, if you have any lecture in support of disobedience to give your sister, it must be brief; so make the best of your time, d'ye hear? [Exit. Ferd. I fear, indeed, my friend Antonio has little to hope for—however Louisa has firmness, and my father’s anger will probably only increase her affection.—In our intercourse with the world, it is natural for us to dislike those who are innocently the cause of our distress; but in the heart's attachment, a wo. man never likes a man with ardour till she has suffered for his sake ; [Noise.] soh! what bustle is here ! between my father and the Duenna too—I’ll e'en get out of the way. [Exit.
Enter Don JERoME with a Letter, pulling in the DUENNA.
Jerome. I’m astonish'd! I’m thunder-struck! here's treachery and conspiracy with a vengeance! you, Antonio's creature, and chief manager of this plot for my daughter's eloping you, that I placed here as a scarecrow
Jerome. A scarecrow—to prove a decoy-duck– what have you to say for yourself?
Duenna. Well, sir, since you have forced that letter from me, and discovered my real sentiments, I scorn to renounce them.—I am Antonio's friend, and it was my intention that your daughter should have served you as all such old tyrannical sots should be served—I delight in the tender passions, and would befriend all under their influence.
Jerome. The tender passions ! yes, they would be