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sir

Paul, yours

Sir Paul. All turned topsy-turvy, as sure as a

Care. You need not fear, madam; you have gun.

charms to fix inconstancy itself. Lord Froth. How do you mean? My wife! Lady Ply. O dear, you make me blush. Sir Paul. The strangest posture of affairs ! Lord Froth. Come, my dear, shall we take Lord Froth. What! my wife?

leave of my lord and lady? Sir Paul. No, no, I mean the family. Your Cyn. They will wait upon your lordship prelady's affairs may be in a very good posture; I sently. saw her go into the garden with Mr Brisk. Lady Froth. Mr Brisk, my coach shall set you

Lord Froth. How? Where, when, what to do? | down.

Sir Paul. I suppose they have been laying their All. What's the matter? heads together.

[A great shriek froin the corner of the stage. Lord Froth. How?

Sir Paul. Nay, only about poetry, I suppose, Enter Lady Toucuwood, and runs out affrightmy lord; making couplets.

ed, my Lord after her, like a parson. Lord Froth. Couplets!

Lady Touch, Oh! I'm betrayed—Save me, Sir Paul. Oh, here they come.

help me!

Lord Touch. Now, what evasion, strumpet ? Enter LADY FROTI and Brisk.

Lady Touch. Stand off, let me go. Brisk. My lord, your humble servant; Lord Touch. Go, and thy own infamy pursue - The finest night!

thee! -You stare as you were all amazedI Lady Froth. My dear, Mr Brisk and I have do not wonder at it-But too soon you'll know been star-gazing I don't know how long.

mine, and that woman's shame. Sir Paul. Does it not tire your ladyship? Are

Enter Mellefont, disguised in a parson's habit, not you weary with looking up? Lady Froth. Oh, no! I love it violently

and pulling in MASKWELL. My dear, you are melancholy.

Mel. Nay, by Heaven ! you shall be seen Lord Froth. No, my dear, I am but awake. Careless, your hand--Do you hold down your

Lady Froth. Snuff some of my spirit of harts-head? Yes, I am your chaplain; look in the face horn.

of your injured friend, thou wonder of all falseLord Froth. I have some of my own, thank hood.

Lord Touch. Are you silent, monster ? Lady Froth. Well, I swear, Mr Brisk, you un Mel. Good Heavens! How I believed and loderstand astronomy like an old Egyptian! ved this man! Take him hence, for he is a dis

Brisk. Not comparably to your ladyship; you case to my sight. are the very Cynthia of the skies, and queen of Lord Touch. Secure that manifold villain.

[Servants seize him. Lady Froth. That's because I have no light, Care. Miracle of ingratitude ! but what's by reflection from you, who are the Brisk. This is all very surprising, let me perish.

Lady Froth. You know I told you Saturn lookBrisk. Madam, you have eclipsed me quite, ed a little more angry than usual. let me perish–I cannot answer that.

Lord Touch. We'll think of punishment at leiLady Froth. No matter -Harkee, shall you sure; but let me hasten to do justice, in rewardand I make an almanack together?

ing virtue and wronged innocence.- Nephew, Brisk. With all my soul Your ladyship bas 1 hope I have your pardon, and Cynthia's ? made me the man in it already, I am so full of Niel. We are your lordship's creatures. the wounds which you have given.

Lord Touch. And be each other's comfortLady Froth. O, finely taken! I swear now Let me join your hands-Mutual love, lasting you are even with me; 0 Parnassus, you have health, and circling joys, tread round each happy an infinite deal of wit!

year

of

your long lives. Sir Paul. So he has, Gads-bud; and so has your ladyship.

Let secret villainy from hence be warned,

Howe'er in private mischiefs are conceived, Enter LADY PLYant, CARELESS, and Cynthia.

Torture and shame attend their open birth : Lady Ply. You tell me most surprising things; Like vipers in the womb, base treachery lies bless me, who would ever trust a man? O, my Suill gnawing that, whence first it did arise ; heart aches for fear they should all be deceitful No sooner born, but the vile parent dies. alike.

[Freunt omnes.

you, my dear.

stars.

sun.

THE

PROVOKED WIFE.

BY

VANBRUGH.

DRAMATIS PERSONE.

MEN.

Constable and Watch.
CONSTANT, ?
HEARTFREE,
} gentlemen of the town.

WOMEN.
Sir JOHN BRUTE, a drunken debauchee.

LADY BRUTE. LORD RAKE, ?

Belinda, attached to HEARTFREE, Col. Bully, companions to Sir Joux Brute.

Lady FANCYFUL.
Razor, valet de chambre to Sir Jonn Brute. MADEMOISELLE, a French waiting-woman.
Justice of the peace.

Corner, servant to Lady FANCYFUL.
Scene-London.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-Sir John BRUTE's house. draw my sword, though even to get rid of my

wife! But here she comes. Enter Sir John, solus.

Enter LADY BRUTE. What cloying meat is love, when matrimony's ! the sauce to it! Two years marriage has de Lady Brute. Do you dine at home to-day, sir 'bauched my five senses! Every thing I see, eve- John? ry thing I hear, every thing I feel, every thing I Sir John. Why, do you expect I should tell you smell

, and every thing I taste-methinks has wife what I don't know myself? in it! No boy was ever so weary of his tutor, or Lady Brute, I thought there was no harm in girl of her bib, no pun of doing penance, or old asking you. maid of being chaste--as I am of being married. Sir John. If thinking wrong were an excuse for Sure there is a secret curse entailed upon the impertinence, women might be justified in most very name of wife! My lady is a young lady, a things they say or do. fine lady, a witty lady, a virtuous lady-and yet Lady Brute. I am sorry I have said I hate her. There is' but one thing on earth I to displease you. loath beyond ber-that's fighting. Would my Sir John. Sorrow for things past is of as little courage come up to a fourth part of my ill-na- importance to me, as my dining at home or ture, I would stand buff to her relations, and thrust abroad ought to be to you. her out of doors. But marriage has sunk me Lady Brute. My enquiry was only that I miglit down to such an ebb of resolution, I dare not have provided what you liked.

any thing

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Sir John. Six to four you had been in the wrong there again; for what I liked yesterday I

Enter Belinda. don't like to-day; and what I like to-day, 'tis odds I may not like to-morrow,

Good-morrow, dear cousin.
Lady Brute. But if I had asked

you
what

you Bel. Good-morrow, madam; you look pleased liked?

this morning. Sir John. Why, then, there would be more Lady Brute. I am so. asking about it than the thing is worth.

Bel. With what, pray? Lady Brute. I wish I did but know how I Lady Brute. With my husband. might please you.

Bel. Drown husbands ! for yours is a provoSir John. Aye, but that sort of knowledge is king fellow: As he went out just now, I prayed not a wife's talent,

him to tell me what time of day it was; and he Lady Brute. Whatever my talent is, I am sure asked me if I took him for the church-clock, that my will has ever been to make you easy. was obliged to tell all the parish.

Sir John. If women were to have their wills, Lady Brute. He has been saying some good the world would be finely governed.

obliging things to me too. In short, Belinda, he Lady Brute. What reason have I given you to has used me so barbarously of late, that I could use me as you do of late! It once was other- almost resolve to play the downright wife-and wise : You married me for love.

cuckold him. Sir John. And you me for money; So you have Bel. That would be downright indeed. your reward, and I have mine.

Lady Brute. Why, after all, there is more to Lady Brute. What is it, that disturbs you? be said for it than you would imagine, child. He Sir John. A parson.

is the first aggressor, not I. Lady Brute. Why, what has he done to you? Bel. Ah, but you know, we must return good Sir John. He has married ine. Erit Sir Joun. for evil.

Lady Brute. The devil's in the fellow, I think. Lady Brute. That may be a mistake in the I was told, before I married him, that thus translation, Prithee be of my opinion, Belinda; 'twould be: But I thought I had charms enough for I'm positive I'm in the right; and if you'll to govern him; and that, where there was an keep up the prerogative of a woman, you'll likeestate, a woman must needs be happy:. So my wise be positive you are in the right, whenever vanity has deceived me, and my ambition has you do any thing you have a mind to. But I made me uneasy, But there's some comfort still; shall play the fool and jest on, till I make you if one would be revenged of him, these are good begin to think I'm in earnest. tines; a woman may have a gallant, and a sepa Bel. I shall not take the liberty, madam, to rate maintenance too--The surly puppy-yet he's think of any thing, that you desire to keep from a fool fort: For hitherto he has been no monster: But who knows how far he may provoke Lady Brute. Alas, my dear, I have no secrets. me? I never loved him, yet I have been ever true My heart could never vet contine my tongue. to him;

and that, in spite of all the attacks of art Bel. Your eyes, you mean; for I'm sure I have and nature upon a poor weak woman's heart, in seen them gadding, when your tongue has been favour of a tempting lover. Methinks so noble locked up sate enough. a defence, as I have made, should be rewarded Lady Brute. My eyes gadding! Prithee after with a better usage-Or who can tell- Perhaps a who child? good part of what I suffer from my husband, may Bel. Why, after one, that thinks you hate him, be a judgment upon me for my cruelty to my lo as much as I know you love him. ver-Lord, with what pleasure could I indulge Lady Brute. Constant, you mean? that thought, were there but a possibility of find Bel. I do so. ing arguments to make it good! And how do I Lady Brute. Lord, what should put such a know but there may--Let me see-What oppo- | thing into your head? ses !-My matrimonial vow -Why, what did I Bel

. Thät, which puts things into most people's vow? I think I promised to be true to my bus- heads; observation. band. Well; and he promised to be kind to me: Lady Brute. Why, what have you observed, in But he han't kept his word—Why, then I'm ab- the name of wonder? solved from mine. O, but that condition was Bel. I have observed you blush, when you met not expressed-No matter, it was understood. him; force yourself away from him; and then be Well, by all I see, if I argue the matter a little out of humour with every thing about you: In a longer with myself, I shall not find so many bug-word, never was a poor creature su-spurred on by bears in the way, as I thought I should. Lord, desire, or so reined in with fear! what fine notions of virtue do we women take up Lady Brute. Ilow s:rong is fancy! upon the credit of old foolish philosophers ! V'ir Bel. How weak is woman! tue its own reward, virtue's this, virtue's that, Lady Brute. Prithee, niece, have a better opix Virtue's an ass, and a gallauit's worth forty on't. nion of your aunt's inclinativna

me.

Bel. Dear aunt, have a better opinion of your Bel. It is true ; but then a woman must abanniece's understanding

don one of the supreme blessings of her life. Lady Brute. You'll make me angry.

For I ain fully convinced, no man has half that Bel. You'll make me laugh,

pleasure in possessing a mistress, as a woman has Lady Brute. Then you are resolved to per in jilting a gallant. sist?

Lady Brute. The happiest woman, then, on Bel. Positively.

earth must be our neighbour. Lady Brute. And all I can say—

Bel. O the impertinent composition! She has Bel. Will signify nothing.

vanity and affectation enough to make her a riLady Brute. Though I should swear 'twere diculous original, in spite of all that art and na-false

ture ever furnished to any of her sex before her. ; Bel. I should think it true.

Lady Brute. She concludes all men her capLady Brute. Then let us forgive, (kissing her] tives; and whatever course they take, it serves to for we have both offended : 1, in making a ser confirm her in that opinion. cret, you, in discovering it.

Bel. If they shun her, she thinks it is m, esty, Bil. Good nature may do much: But you have and takes it for a proof of their passion. more reason to forgive one, than I have to par Lady Brute. And if they are rude to her, it is don the other.

conduct, and done to prevent town talk. Lady Brute. "Tis true, Belinda, vou have given Bel. When her folly makes them laugh, she me so many proofs of your friendship, that my thinks they are pierced with her wit. reserve has been indeed a crime: But that you Lady Brute. And when her impertinence may more easily forgive me, remember, child, makes them dull, concludes they are jealous of that, when our nature prompts us to a thing our her favours. honour and religion have forbid us, we would Bel. All their actions and their words, she (were it possible) conceal, even from the soul it- takes for granted, aim at her. self, the knowledge of the body's weakness. Lady Brute. And pities all other women, be

Bel. Well, I hope, to make your friend amends, cause she thinks they envy her. you will hide nothing from her for the future, Bel. Pray, out of pity to ourselves, let us find though the body should still grow weaker and a better subject; for I am weary of this. Do you weaker.

think your husband inclined to jealousy? Lady Brute. No, from this moment, I have no Ludy Brute. O, no; he does not love me well more reserve; and, for a proof of my repentance, enough for that. Lord, how wrong men's maxims I own, Belinda, I am in danger. Merit and wit are ! They are seldom jealous of their wives, unassault me from without, nature and love solicit less they are very fond of them: whereas they me within; my husband's barbarous usage piques ought to consider the women's inclinations, for me to revenge; and Satan, catching at the fair there depends their fate. Well, men may talk; occasion, throws in my way that vengeance, but they are not so wise as we-that's certain. which, of all vengeance, pleases women best. Hel. At least in our affairs.

Bel. 'Tis well Constant don't know the weak Ludy Brute. Nay, I believe we should out-do ness of the fortification; for, o' my conscience, them in the business of the state too: For, mche'd soon come on to the assault.

thinks, they do, and undo, and make but bad Lady Brute. Ay, and I'm afraid carry the town work on't. too. But whatever you may have observed, I Bel. Why, then, don't we get into the intrigues have dissembled so well as to keep him ignorant. of government as well as they? So you see I'm no eoquet, Belinda : And, if you Lady Brute. Because we have intrigues of our follow my advice, you will never be one neither. own, that make us more sport, child. And so, Tis true, coquetry is one of the main ingre- let's in and consider of then. [Ereunt. dients in the natural composition of a woman, and I, as well as others, could be well enough

SCENE II.- A dressing-room. pleased to see a crowd of young fellows ogling, and glancing, and watching all occasions to do

Enter Lady FANCYFUL, MADEMOISELLE, and forty foolish officious things: Nay, should some

CORNET.
of them push on, even to hanging or drowning,
Why-Faith-if I should let pure woman alone, Lady Fun. How do I look this morning?
I should e'en be but too well pleased with it. Cor. Your ladyship looks very ill, truly.

Bel. I'll swear, 'twould tickle me strangely. Lady Fun. Lard, how ill-natured thou art,

Lady Brute. But, after all, 'tis a vicious prac-Cornet, to tell me so, though the thing should be tice in us, to give the least encouragement, but true. Don't you know, that I have humility where wc design to come to a conclusion. For enough to be hut too easily out of conceit with it is an unreasonable thing to engage a man in a myself? Hold the glass ; İ dare swear that will disease, which we, before-hand, resolve we will have more manners than you have. Mademoipever apply a cure to,

selle, let me have your opinion too.

moy.

Madem. My opinion pe, matam, dat your la- | French ladies, when they are thus accablées ? dyship never look so well in

your
life.

Madem. Matam, dey never complain. Au Lady Fan. Well, the French are the prettiest contraire. When one Frense laty have got a obliging people! they say the most acceptable, hundred lover --Den she do all she canwell-mannered things—and never flatter.

to get a hundred more. Madem. Your ladyship say great justice in Lady Fan. Well, let me die, I think they have teed.

le goût bon. For 'tis an unutterable pleasure to Lady Fan. Nay, every thing's just in my house be adored by all the men, and envied by all the but Cornet. The very looking-glass gives her the women -Yet I'll swear I'm concerned at the dementi. But I am almost afraid it flatters me, torture I give them. Lard, why was I formed to it makes me look so very engaging,

make the whole creation uneasy? But let me [Looking affectedly in the glass. read my letter.

[Reads. Madem. Inteed, matam, your

face

ре

handsomer den all de looking-glass in de world, croyez

• If
you
have a mind to hear of

your

faults,

instead of being praised for your virtues, take Lady Fan. But is it possible my eyes can be "the pains to walk in the Green-walk in Saint so languishing and so very full of fire ! . James's Park, with your woman, an hour hence.

Mudem. Matam, if de glass was burning-glass, • You'll there meet one, who hates you for some I believe your eyes set de fire in de house. things, as he could love you for others, and

Lady Fan. You may take that night-gown, therefore is willing to endeavour your reformamademoiselle; get out of the room, Cornet; I • tion—If you come to the place I mention, can't endure you. This wench, methinks, does

you'll know who I am: if you don't, you never look so insufferably ugly,

shall : So take your

choice. Madem. Every ting look ugly, niatamn, dat stand by your latiship.

This is strangely familiar, mademoiselle ; now Lady Fan. No really, mademoiselle; methinks have a provoking fancy to know, who this innyou look mighty pretty:

pudent fellow is. Madem. Ah matam! de moon have no eclat, Madem. Den take your scarf and your mask, ven de sun appear.

and go to de rendezvous. De Frense laty do Lady Fan. O pretty expression! Have you justement comme ça. ever been in love, mademoiselle?

Lady Fan. Rendezvous! What, rendezyous Madem. Ouy, matam.

(sighing. with a man, mademoiselle? Lady Fan. And were you beloved again? Madem. Eh, pourquoy non? Madem. No, matam.

(sighing. Lady Fan. What, and a man perhaps I never Lady Fan. O ye gods! What an unfortunate saw in my life! creature should I be in such a case! But nature Madem. Tant mieux: C'est donc quelque has made me nice for my own defence: I'm chose de nouveau. nice, strangely nice, mademoiselle. I believe, Lady Fan. Why, how do I know what designs were the merit of whole mankind bestowed upon he may have? He may intend to ravish me, for one single person, I should still think the fellow aught I know. wanted something to make it worth my while to Madem. Ravish ?-Bagatelle. I would fain take notice of him: And yet I could love; nay, see one impudent rogue ravish mademoiselle; fondly love, were it possible to have a thing made Oui, je le voudrois ! on purpose for me: For I'm not cruel, mademoi Lady Fan. O but my reputation, mademoiselle; I'm only nice.

selle, my reputation; ah, ma chere reputation ! Madem. Ah, matam! I wish I was fine gentle Mladem. Matam Quand on l'a une fois man for your sake. I do all de ting in de world, perdue— On n'en est plus embarrassée. to get a little way

heart. I make song, Lady Fun. Fe, mademoiselle, fe! reputation I make verse, I give you de serenade, I give great is a jewel. many present to mademoiselle; I no eat, I no Madem. Qui coute bien chere, matam. sleep, I be lean, I be mad, I hang myself, I drown Lady Fun. Why sure you would not sacrifice myself

. Ah, ma chere dame, que je vous aime- your honour to your pleasure? rois !

Embracing her. Madem. Je suis philosophe. Lady Fan. Well, the French have strange Lady Fan. Bless me, how you talk! Why, obliging ways with them; you may take those two what it honour be a burden, mademoiselle, must pair of gloves, mademoiselle.

it not be borne? Madem. Me humbly tank my sweet lady.

Madem. Chaqu'un a sa façon-Quand quel

que chose m'incommode moy—-je m'en defais, Enter Servant, with a letter. Ser. Madam, here's a letter for your ladyship. Lady Fan. Get you gone, you little naughty

Lady Fan. 'Tis thus I am importuned every Frenchwoman yon! I row and swear I must turn morning, mademoiselle, Pray, how do the

Pray, how do the you oật of doors, if you talk thus.

into your

vite.

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