페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Sir P. Yes, yes, ma'am, 'twas so indeed.

Lady T. And then, you know, my evening amusements ! To draw patterns for ruifles, 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 spinet 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 cats to draw you to Kensington-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 niade you

my wife.

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 ?
Lady T. Hem ! hem!

Sir P.! 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 cndeavour to make yourself so disagrecable to me, and thwart ine in every lillle elegant expense?

Sir P. 'Slife, madam, I say, had you any of thesc lilile 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 taste.

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 -a charming set of acquaintances 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 ulterers 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 ex poslulation: yet, with what a charming air ste contradicts every thing I say, and how pleasantly she shows her contempt for my authority! Well, though

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 11.-Lady Sneerwell's House. Company

sitting at the back of the stage at card tables.

LADY SNEERWELL, MRS. CANDOUR, CRABTREE, SIR BENJAMIN BACBIT E, and JOSEPH SURFACE, discovered ; Servants attending with tea, &c.

Lady S. Nay, positively, we will hearit.
Joseph S. Yes, yes, the epigram, by all means.
Sir B. O plague on't, uncle !’lis mere nonsense.

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 look out my pocket-book, and in one moment produced the following:

Sure never were seen two such beautiful ponies;
Other horses are clowns, but these macaronies :
To give them this title I'm sure is not wrong,
Their legs are so slim, and their lails are so long.

Crab. There, ladies, done in the smack of a whir, 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 S. Lady Teazle, I hope we shall see Sir Peter ?

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-however, I'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, l'Il 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. O surely she's a pretty woman.
Crab. I am very glad you think so, ma'am.
Mrs. C. She has a charming fresh colour.
Lady T. Yes, when it is fresh put on.

Mrs. C. O fie! I'll swear her colour is natural: 1 have seen it come and go.

Lady T I dare swear you have, ma’am: it goes off at night, and comes again the morning.

Mrs. 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 fifty if she's an hour!

Mrs. C. Now positively you wrong her; fifty-two or fifty-three is the utmosiấand 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 effecls 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 Sneerwell, you are severe upon the widow. Come, come, 'tis not that she paiuts

some.

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 pretly 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.

« 이전계속 »