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I can't make her love me, there is great satisfaction in quarrelling with her; and I think she never appears to such advantage as when she is doing every thing in her power te plague me.
[Exit. Scene II.-Lady Sneerwell's House.-Company
sitting at the back of the stage at card tables.
LADY S NEERWELL, MRS. CANDOUR, CRABTREE,
Sir BENJAMIN BACBIT E, and J OSEPH SURFACES discovered ; Servants attending with tea, &c.
Lady S. Nay, positively, we will hearit.
Crab. No, no; 'fore Gad, very clever for an extempore'
Sir B. But, ladies, you should be acquainted with the circumstance. You must know, that one day last week, as Lady Betty Curricle was taking the dust in Hyde Park, in a sort of duodecimo phaeton, she dcsired me to write some verses on her ponies; upon which I took out my pocket-book, and in one moment produced the following:
Sure never were seen two such beautiful ponies;
Crab. There, ladies, done in the smack of a whip, and on horseback too.
Joseph S. A very Phæbus, mounted-indeed, Sir Benjamin.
Sir B. O dear, sir ! trifles— trifles.
Enter MARIA and LADY TEAZLE.
Mrs. C. I must have a copy.
Lady T. I believe he'll wait on your ladyship presently.
Lady S. Maria, my dear, you look grave. Come, you shall sit down to piquet with Mr. Surface.
Maria. I take very little pleasure in cards -howcver, l'll do as your ladyship pleases. [Retires up centre, with Lady Sneerwell and Surface.
Lady T'. I am surprised Mr. Surface should sit down with her; I thought he would have embraced this opportunity of speaking to me, before SirPeter came. [ Aside.
Mrs. C. [They all advance.] Now, I'll die, but you are so scandalous, I'll forswear your society.
Lady T. What's the matter, Mrs. Candour ?
Mrs. C. They'll not allow our friend Miss Vermillion to be handsome.
Lady S. Osurely she's a pretty woman.
Mrs. C. O fie! I'll swear her colour is natural: 1 have seen it come and go.
Lady T Idare swear you have, ma'am: it goes off at night, and comes again the morning.
Mirs. C. Ha! ha! ha! how I hate to hear you talk so! But surely now, her sister is, or was, very hand
Crab. Who! Mrs. Evergreen? O Lord ! she's six and filly if she's an hour!
Mrs. C. Now positively you wrong her; fifty-two or fifty-three is the utmosi—and I don't think she looks more.
Sir B. Ah! there's no judging by her looks, unless one could see her face.
Lady S. Well, well, if Mrs. Evergreen does take some pains to repair the ravages of time, you must allow she effects it with great ingenuity; and surely that's better than the careless manner in which widow Ochre caulks her wrinkles.
Sir B. Nay, now, Lady Snecrwell, you are severe upon the widow. Come, come, 'tis not that she paints
so ill- but when she has finished her face, she joinsit on so badly to her neck, that she looks like a mended stalue, in which the connoisseur may see at once that the head is modern, though the trunk’s antique. Crab. Ha! ha! ha! Well said, nephew! [Servants give the Characters coffee, &c.
and wait behind. Mrs. C. Ha! ha! ha! Well, you make me laugh; but I vow I hate you for it. What do you think of Miss Simper?
Sir B. Why she has very prelly teeth.
Lady T. Yes, and on what account, when she is neither speaking or laughing (which very seldom happens), she never absolutely shuts her mouth, but leaves it always on a jar, as it were,—thus.
[Shews her teeth. Mrs. C. How can you be so ill-natured ?
Lady T. Nay, I allow even that's better than the pains Mrs. Prim takes to conceal her losses in front. She draws her mouth till it positively resembles the aperture of a poor's box, and all her words appear to slide out edgeways, as it were,—thus-How do you do, madam? Yes, madam.
[Mimics. Lady S. Very well, Lady Teazle; I see you can be a little severe.
Lady T. In defence of a friend it is but justice. But here comes Sir Peter to spoil our pleasantry.
Enter SiR PETER TEAZLE.
Sir P. Ladies, your most obedient. Mercy on me, here is the whole set! a character dead at every word, I suppose.
Aside. Mrs. C. I am rejoiced you are come, Sir Peter. They have been so censorious—they'll allow good qualities to nobody.
Sir P. That must be very distressing to you, indeed, Mrs. Candour.
Mrs. C. Not even good nature to our friend Mrs. Pursy.
Lady T. What, the fat dowager who was at Mrs. Quadrille's, last night?
Mrs. C. Nay, but her bulk is her misfortune; and when she takes such pains to get rid of it, you ought not to reflect on her.
Lady S. That's very true, indeed.
Lady T. Yes, I know she almost lives on acids and small whey ; laces herself by pulleys; and often in the hottest noon in summer, you may see her on a little squat poney, with her hair plaited up behind like a drummer's, and pufling round the Ring on a full trot.
Mrs. C. I thank you, Lady Teazle, for defending her.
Sir P. Yes, a good defence, truly!
Mrs. C. But, Sir Benjamin is as censorious as Miss Sallow.
Crab. Yes, and she is a curious being to pretend to be censorious—an awkward gawky, without any one good point under heaven.
Mrs. C. Positively, you shall not be so very severe. Miss Sallow is a near relation of mine by marriage, and as for her person, great allowance is to be made ; for, let me tell you, a woman labours under many disadvantages who tries to pass for a girl at six and thirty.
Lady S. Though, surely, she's handsome still-and for the weakness in her eyes, considering how much she reads by candlelight, it is not to be wondered at.
Mrs. C. True, and then as to her manner; upon my word, I think it is particularly graceful, considering she never had the least education: for you know her mother was a Welsh milliner, and her father a sugarbaker at Bristol!
Sir B. Ah! you are both of you too good-natured! Sir P. Yes, damned good-natured! This their own relation! mercy on me!
[ Aside. Sir B. And Mrs. Candour is of so moral a turn. Mrs. C. Well, I will never join in ridiculing a friend; and so I constantly tell my cousin Ogle; and you all know what pretensions she has to be critical on beauty.
Crab. O to be sure! she has herself the oddest countenance that ever was seen; 'lis a collection of features from all the different countries of the globe.
Sir B. So she has, indeed-an Irish front-
Sir B. In short, her face resembles a table d'hóle at Spa-where no two guests are of a nation
Crab. Or a congress at the close of a general warwherein all the members, even to her eyes, appear to have a different interest, and her nose and chin are the only parties likely to join issue.
Mrs. C. Ha! ha! ha!
Sir P. Mercy on my life!-a person they dine with twice a week.
[Aside. Mrs. C. Nay, but I vow you shall not carry the laugh off so-for, give me leave to say, that Mrs. Ogle
Sir P. Madam, madam, I beg your pardon-lhere's no stopping these good gentlemen's tongues. But when I tell you, Mrs. Candour, that the Lady they are abusing is a particular friend of mine, I hope you'll not take her part.
Lady S. Ha! ha! ha! Well said, Sir Peter! but you are a cruel creature,—too phlegmatic yourself for a jest, and too peevish to allow wit in others.
Sir P. Ah! Madam, true wit is more nearly allied to good-nature than your ladyship is aware of.
Lady T. True, Sir Peter; I believe they are sonear akin that they can never be united.
Sir B. Or rather, suppose them man and wife, because one so seldom sees them together.
Lady T. But Sir Peter is such an enemy to scandal, I belicve he would have it put down by parliament.