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so happy as a married one, in the main; yet I ncy, where two people are so very much together, they must often be in want of something to talk upon.
Lady Arabella. Clarinda, you are the most mistaken in the world; married people have things to talk of, child, that never enter into the imagination of others. Why now, here's my lord and I, we han't been married above two short years, you know, and we have already eight or ten things constantly in bank, that whenever we want company, we can talk of any one of them for two hours together, and the subject never the flatter. It will be as fresh next day, if we have occasion for it, as it was the first day it entertained us.
Clarinda. Why, that must be wonderful pretty.
Lady Arabella. Oh, there's no life like it! This very day now, for example, my lord and I, after a pretty cheerful tête-à-tête dinner, sat down by the fireside, in an idle, indolent, picktooth way for a while, as if we had not thought of one another's being in the room. At last (stretching himself and yawning twice), My dear, says he, you came home very late last night. 'Twas but two in the morning, says I. I was in bed (yawning) by eleven, says he. So you are every night, says I. Well, says he, I am amazed how you can sit up so late. How can you be amazed, says I, at a thing which happens so often? Upon which we entered into conversation. And though this is a point
has ent ained us above fifty times already, we always find so many pretty new things to say upon 't, that I believe in my soul it will last as long as we live.
Clarinda. But in such sort of family dialogues (though extremely well for passing of time) don't there now and then enter some little witty sort of bitterness?
Lady Arabella. Oh yes; which don't do amiss at all, a little something that's sharp, moderates the extreme sweetness of matrimonial society, which would else perhaps be cloying. Though, to tell you the truth, Clarinda, I think we squeezed a little too much lemon into it this bout; for it grew so sour at last, that I think I almost told him he was a fool; and he talked something oddly of turning me out of doors.
Clarinda. Oh, but have a care of that!
Lady Arabella. Why, to be serious, Clarinda, what would you have a woman do in my case? There is no one thing he can do in this world to please me-except giving me money; and that he is growing weary of; and I at the same time (partly by nature, and partly perhaps by keeping the best company) do with my soul love almost everything that he hates. I dote upon assemblies, adore masquerades, my heart bounds at a ball; I love play to distraction, cards enchant me, and dice-put me out of my little wits.—Dear, dear hazard, what music there is in the rattle of the dice, compared to a sleepy opera! Do you ever play at hazard, Clarinda?
Clarinda. Never; I don't think it sits well upon women; it's very masculine, and has too much of a rake; you see how it makes the men swear and curse. Sure it must incline the women to do the same too, if they durst give way to it.
Lady Arabella. So it does; but hitherto, for a little decency, we keep it in; and when, in spite of our teeth, an oath gets into our mouths, we swallow it.
Clarinda. That's enough to burst you; but in time perhaps you'll let 'em fly as they do.
Lady Arabella. Why, 'tis probable we may, for the pleasure of all polite women's lives now, you know, is founded upon entire liberty to do what they will. But shall I tell you what happened t' other night? Having lost all my money but ten melancholy guineas, and throwing out for them, what do you think slipped from me?
Clarinda. An oath?
Lady Arabella. Gud soons!
Clarinda. O Lord! O Lord! Did not it frighten you out of your wits?
Lady Arabella. Clarinda, I thought a gun had gone off.—But I forget, you are a prude, and design to live soberly.
Clarinda. Why, 'tis true; both my nature and education do a good deal incline me that way.
Lady Arabella. Well, surely to be sober is to be terribly dull. You will marry, won't you?
Clarinda. I can't tell but I may.
Lady Arabella. And you 'll live in town? Clarinda. Half the year I should like it very well.
Lady Arabella. And you would live in London half a year, to be sober in it?
Lady Arabella. Why can't you as well go and be sober in the country?
Clarinda. So I would the t' other half year.
Lady Arabella. And pray what pretty scheme of life would you form now, for your summer and winter sober entertainments?
Clarinda. A scheme that, I think, might very well
Lady Arabella. Let's hear it.
Clarinda. I could in summer pass my time very agreeably, in riding soberly, in walking soberly, in sitting under a tree soberly, in gardening soberly, in reading soberly, in hearing a little music soberly, in conversing with some agreeable friends soberly, in working soberly, in managing my family and children (if I had any) soberly, and possibly by these means I might induce my husband to be as sober as myself.
Lady Arabella. Well, Clarinda, thou art a most contemptible creature. But let's have the sober town scheme too, for I 'm charmed with the country one.
Clarinda. You shall, and I'll try to stick to my sobriety there too.
Lady Arabella. If you do, you'll make me sick of you. But let's hear it, however.
Clarinda. I would entertain myself in observing the new fashions soberly, I would please myself in new clothes soberly, I would divert myself with agreeable friends at home and abroad soberly, I would play at quadrille soberly, I would go to court soberly, I would go to some plays soberly, I would go to operas soberly, and I think I could go once, or, if I liked my company, twice to a masquerade soberly.
Lady Arabella. If it had not been for that last piece of sobriety, I was going to call for some surfeit-water. Clarinda. Why don't you think, that with the further aid of breakfasting, dining, supping, and sleeping (not to say a word of devotion), the four-and-twenty hours might roll over in a tolerable manner?
Lady Arabella. How I detest that word, tolerable!
THE RELAPSE: OR VIRTUE IN DANGER
MR. LOVELESS and Amanda, a young married couple, have come to town after spending their honeymoon in the country, and are visited by Berinthia, a young widow, Amanda's cousin, and Lord Foppington, formerly Sir Novelty Fashion, an empty-headed coxcomb who has just bought his title, and goes the rounds of his acquaintance to be congratulated upon it. He describes to the ladies the daily occupations of a man of fashion.