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Sir Pet. Sir Oliver, I should be more surprised at this declaration, if I had not myself found him to be mean, treacherous, and hypocritical.
Lady Teaz. And if the gentleman pleads not guilty to these, pray let him call me to his character.
Sir Pet. Then, I believe, we need add no more: if he knows himself, he will consider it as the most perfect punishment, that he is known to the world.
Chas. Surf. If they talk this way to Honesty, what will they say to me, by and by?
[Aside. SIR PETER, LADY TEAZLE, and MARIA retire. Sir Oliv. As for that prodigal, his brother, there.
Chas. Surf. Ay, now comes my turn : the damned family pictures will ruin me !
[Aside. Jos. Surf. Sir Oliver - uncle, will you honour me with a hearing?
Chas. Surf. Now, if Joseph would make one of his long speeches, I might recollect myself a little.
[Aside. Sir Oliv. I suppose you would undertake to justify yourself?
TO JOSEPH SURFACE. Jos. Surf. I trust I could.
Sir Oliv. [TO CHARLES SURFACE.) Well, sir ! - and you could justify yourself too, I suppose ?
Chas. Şurf. Not that I know of, Sir Oliver.
Sir Oliv. What !- Little Premium has been let too much into the secret, I suppose?
Chas. Surf. True, sir; but they were family secrets, and should not be mentioned again, you know.
Row. Come, Sir Oliver, I know you cannot speak of Charles's follies with anger.
Sir Oliv. Odd's heart, no more I can; nor with gravity either. Sir Peter, do you know the rogue bargained with me for all his ancestors; sold me judges and generals by the foot, and maiden aunts as cheap as broken china.
Chas. Surf. To be sure, Sir Oliver, I did make a little free with the family canvas, that's the truth on't. My ancestors may rise in judgment against me, there's no denying it; but believe me sincere when I tell you
and upon my soul I would not say so if I was not that if I do not appear mortified at the exposure of my follies, it is because I feel at this moment the warmest satisfaction in seeing you, my liberal benefactor.
Sir Oliv. Charles, I believe you. Give me your hand again : the ill-looking little fellow over the settee has made your peace.
Chas. Surf. Then, sir, my gratitude to the original is still increased.
Lady Teaz. [Advancing.] Yet, I believe, Sir Oliver, here is one whom Charles is still more anxious to be reconciled to.
[Pointing to MARIA Sir Oliv. Oh, I have heard of his attachment there, and with the young lady's pardon, if I construe right-that blush
Sir Pet. Well, child, speak your sentiments !
Mar. Sir, I have little to say, but that I shall rejoice to hear that he is happy; for me, whatever claim I had to his attention, I willingly resign to one who has a better title.
Chas. Surf. How, Maria !
Sir Pet. Heyday! what's the mystery now? While he appeared an incorrigible rake, you would give your hand to no one else; and now that he is likely to reform I'll warrant you won't have him !
Mar. His own heart and Lady Sneerwell know the cause. Chas. Surf. Lady Sneerwell ! Jos. Surf. Brother, it is with great concern I am obliged to speak on this point, but my regard to justice compels me, and Lady Speerwell's injuries can no longer be concealed. [Opens the door.
Enter LADY SNEERWELL.
Sir Pet. So ! another French milliner! Egad, he has one in every room in the house, I suppose !
Lady Sneer. Ungrateful Charles ! Well may you be surprised, and feel for the indelicate situation your perfidy has forced me into.
Chas. Surf. Pray, uncle, is this another plot of yours? For, as I have life, I don't understand it.
Jos. Surf. I believe, sir, there is but the evidence of one person more necessary to make it extremely clear.
Sir Pet. And that person, I imagine, is Mr. Snake. - Rowley, you were perfectly right to bring him with us, and pray let him appear.
Row. Walk in, Mr. Snake.
Enter SNAKE. I thought his testimony might be wanted : however, it happens un
luckily, that he comes to confront Lady Sneerwell, not to support her.
Lady Sneer. A villain ! Treacherous to me at last! Speak, fellow, have you too conspired against me?
Snake. I beg your ladyship ten thousand pardons : you paid me extremely liberally for the lie in question; but I unfortunately have been offered double to speak the truth.
Sir Pet. Plot and counterplot, egad! I wish your ladyship joy of your negotiation.
Lady Sneer. The torments of shame and disappointment on you all !
[Going Lady Teaz. Hold, Lady Sneerwell — before you go, let me thank you for the trouble you and that gentleman have taken, in writing letters from me to Charles, and answering them yourself; and let me also request you to make my respects to the scandalous college, of which you are president, and inform them, that Lady Teazle, licentiate, begs leave to return the diploma they granted her, as she leaves off practice, and kills characters no longer.
Lady Sneer. You, too, madam !- provoking - insolent! May your husband live these fifty years !
[Exit. Sir Pet. Oons ! what a fury ! Lady Teaz. A malicious creature, indeed ! Sir Pet. What! not for her last wish? Lady Teaz. Oh, no! Sir Oliv. Well, sir, and what have you to say now? Jos. Surf. Sir, I am so confounded, to find that Lady Sneerwell could be guilty of suborning Mr. Snake in this manner, to impose on us all, that I know not what to say; however, lest her revengeful spirit should prompt her to injure my brother, I had certainly better follow her directly. For the man who attempts to - [Exit.
Sir Pet. Moral to the last !
Sir Oliv. Ay, and marry her, Joseph, if you can. Oil and vinegar ! - egad you'll do very well together.
Row. I believe we have no more occasion for Mr. Snake at present?
Snake. Before I go, I beg pardon, once for all, for whatever uneasiness I have been the humble instrument of causing to the parties present.
Sir Pet. Well, well, you have made atonement by a good deed at last.
Snake. But I must request of the company, that it shall never be known.
Sir Pet. Hey! what the plague ! are you ashamed of having done a right thing once in your life?
Snake. Ah, sir, consider — I live by the badness of my character; and, if it were once known that I had been betrayed into an honest action, I should lose every friend I have in the world.
Sir Oliv. Well, well, we'll not traduce you by saying anything in your praise, never fear.
[Exit SNAKE. Sir Pet. There's a precious rogue !
Lady Teaz. See, Sir Oliver, there needs no persuasion now to reconcile your nephew and Maria.
Sir Oliv. Ay, ay, that's as it should be, and, egad, we'll have the wedding to-morrow morning.
Chas. Surf. Thank you, dear uncle.
Chas. Surf. Oh, I have done that a long time - a minute ago and she has looked yes.
Mar. For shame, Charles !- I protest, Sir Peter, there has not been a word
Sir Oliv. Well, then, the fewer the better; may your love for each other never know abatement.
Sir Pet. And may you live as happily together as Lady Teazle and I intend to do!
Chas. Surf. Rowley, my old friend, I am sure you congratulate me; and I suspect that I owe you much.
Sir Oliv. You do, indeed, Charles.
Chas. Surf. Why, as to reforming, Sir Peter, I'll make no promises, and that I take to be a proof that I intend to set about it. But here shall be my monitor — my gentle guide. -- Ah! can I leave the virtuous path those eyes illumine?
Though thou, dear maid, shouldst waive thy beauty's sway,
BY GEORGE COLMAN
SPOKEN BY LADY TEAZLE
I, WHO was late so volatile and gay,
when I just knew how to waste it! Leave London — just as I began to taste it !
Must I then watch the early crowing cock,
That spirit-stirring drum! – card drums I mean,