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Sir P. Ay! and what is very extraordinary, in all our disputes she is always in the wrong! But Lady Sneerwell, and the set she meets at her house, encourage thc perverseness of her disposition. Then, to complete my vexation, Maria, my ward, whom I ought to have the power of a father over, is determined to turn rebel too, and absolutely refuses the man whom I have long resolved on for her husband; meaning, I suppose, to bestow herself on his profligate brother.
Rowley. You know, sir, I have always taken the liberty to differ with you on the subject of these two young gentlemen. I only wish you may not be deeeived in your opinion of the elder. For Charles, my life on't! he will retrieve his errors yet. Their worthy father, once my honoured master, was, at his years, nearly as wild a spark; yet, when he died, he did not leave a more benevolent heart to lament his loss.
Sir P. You are wrong, Master Rowley. On their father's death, you know, I acted as a kind of guardian to them both, till their uncle Sir Oliver's eastern liberalily gave them an early independence: of course, no person could have more opportunities of judging of their hearts, and I was never mistaken in my life. Joseph is indeed a model for the young men of the age. He is a man of sent'ment, and acts up to the sentiments he professes; but for the other, take my word for’t, if he had any grain of virtue by descent, he has dissipated it with the rest of his inheritance. ih!
my old friend, Sir Oliver, will be deeply mortified when he finds how part of his bounty has been zaisapplied.
Rowly. I am sorry to find you so violent against the young man, because this may be the most critical period of his fortune. I came hither with news that will surprise you.
Sir P. What! let me hear.
Rowley. Sir Oliver is arrived, and at this moment in town.
Sir P. How! you astonish me! I thought you did not expect him this month.
Rowley. I did not; Lut his passage has been remarkably quick.
Sir P. Egad, I shall rejoice to see my old friend. 'Tis sixteen years since we met.-We have had many a day together:-but does he still enjoin us not to inform his nephews of his arrival?
Rowley. Most strictly. He means, before it is known, to make some trial of their dispositions.
Sir P. Ah! there needs no art to discover their merits—however, he shall have his way: but, pray, does he know I am married ?
Rowley. Yes, and will soon wish you joy.
Sir P. What, as we drink health to a friend in a consumption. Ah! Oliver will laugh at mc. We used to rail at matrimony together: but he has been steady to his text. Well, he must be at my house, though!—I'll instantly give orders for his reception. But, master Rowley, don't drop a word that Lady Teazle and I ever disagree.
Rowley. By no means.
Sir P. For I should never be able to stand Noll's jokes; so I'd have him think, Lord forgive me! that we are a very happy couple.
Rowley. I understand you:—but then you must be very careful not to differ while he is in the house with you.
Sir P. Egad, and so we must-and that's impossible. Ah! master Rowley, when an old bachelor marries a young wife, he deserves-no-the crime carries its punishment along with it.
SCENE I.--Sir Peter's House,
Enter Lady T'EAZLE and Sir PETER. Sir P. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it!
Lady T. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in every thing; and, whalis more, I will too. What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
Sir P. Very well, ma'am, very well;- --so a husband is to have no influence, no authority ?
Lady T. Authority! No, to be sure ;—if you wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married me: I am sure you were old enough.
Sir P. old enough!-ay—there it is. Well, well, Lady Teazle, though my life may be made unhappy by your temper, I'll not be ruined by your extravagance.
Lady T. My extravagance! I'm sure I'm not more extravagant than a woman of fashion ought to be.
Sir P. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such unmeaning luxury. 'Slife! to spend as much to furnish your dressing-room with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn the Pantheon into a green house, and give a fête champêtre at Christmas.
Lady T. Lord, Sir Peter, am I to blame, because flowers are dear in cold weather ? You should find fault with the climate, and not with me. For my part, I'm sure, I wish it was spring all the year round, and that roses grew under our feet!
Sir P. Oons ! madam-if you had been born to this, I shouldn't wonder at your talking thus; but you forget what your silo alion was when I married you
Lady T. No, ro, I don't ; 'was a very disagreeable one, or I should never have married you.
Sir P. Yes, yes, madam, you were then in somewhat a humbler style;—the daughter of a plain country squire. Recollect, Lady Teazle! when I saw your first silling at your lambour, in a pretty figured linen gown, with a bunch of keys at your side ; your hair combed smooth over a roll, and your apartment hung round with fruits in worsted, of your own working.
Lady T. 0, yes! I remember it very well, and a curious life I led.—My daily occupation to inspect the dairy, superintend the poultry, make extracts from the family receipt book, and com} my aunt Deboralı’s lap-dog
Sir P. Yes, yes, ma'am, 'twas so indeed.
Lady T'. And then, you know, my evening amusements! To draw patterns for ruilles, which I had not materials to make up; to play Pope Joan with the curate; to read a novel to my aunt; or to be stuck down to an old spinel to strom my father to sleep after a foxchase.
Sir P. I am glad you have so good a memory. Yes, madam, these were the recreations I took you from; but now you must have your coach-vis-à-vis—and three powdered footmen before your chair; and, in the summer, a pair of white cals to draw you to Kensinglon-gardens. No recollection, I suppose, when you were content to ride double, behind the butler, on a dock'd coach-horse.
Lady T. No—I swear I never did that:1 deny the butler and the coach-horse.
Sir P. This, madam, was your situation ; and what have I done for you? I have made you a woman of fashion, of fortune, of rank; in short, I have made you
Lady T. Well, then,-and there is but one thing more you can make me to add to the obligation, and that is
Sir P. My widow, I suppose ?
Sir P. I thank you, madam-but don't flatter yourself; for though your ill conduct may distà”b my peace of mind, it shall never break my heart, I promise you; however, I am equally obliged to you for the hint.
Lady T. Then why will you endeavour to make yourself so disagreeable to me, and thwart me in cvery lillle elegant expense ?
Sir P. 'Slife, madam, I say, had you any of thesc liltle elegant expenses when you married me?
Lady T. Lud, Sir Peter! would you have me be out of the fashion?
Sir P. The fashion, indeed! What had you to do with the fashion before you married me?
Lady T. For my part, I should think you would like to have your wife thought a woman of lasie.
Sir P. Ay—there again-taste--Zounds! madam, you had no taste when you married me!
Lady T. That's very true, indeed, Sir Peter; and after having married you, I should never pretend to taste again, I allow. But now, Sir Peter, since we have finished our daily jangle, I presume I may go lo my engagement at Lady Snecrwell's.
Sir P. Ay, there's another precious circumstance La charming setofacquaintances you have made there.
Lady T. Nay, Sir Peter, they are all people of rank and fortune, and remarkably tenacious of reputation.
Sir P. Yes, egad, they are tenacious of reputation with a vengeance: for they don't choose any body should have a character but themselves!— Such a crew! Ah! many a wretch has rid on a hurdle who has done less mischief than these utterers of forged tales, coiners of scandal, and clippers of reputation.
Lady T. What! would you restrain the freedom of speech?
Sir P. Ah! they have made you just as bad as any one of the society.
Lady T. Why, I believe I do bear a part with a tolerable grace.
Sir P. Grace, indeed !
Lady T. But I vow I bear no malice against the pcople I abuse. When I say an ill-natured thing, 't is out of pure good humour; and I take it for granted, they deal exactly in the same manner with me. But, Sir Peter, you know you promised to come lo Lady Sneerwell's too.
Sir P. Well, well, I'll call in just to look after my own character.
Lady T, Then indeed you must make haste after me, or you'll be too late. So, good bye to ye.
[Exit Lady TEAZLE. Sir P. So I have gain’d much by my intended exposlulation: yet, with what a charming air sl.e contradicts every thing I say, and how pleasantly she shows her contempt for my authority! Well, though