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my heart that it was spring all the year round, and roses grew under one's feet.
“Sir P. Nay, but, madam, then you would not wear them; but try snowballs, and icicles. But tell me, madam, how can you feel any satisfaction in wearing these, when you might reflect that one of the rosebuds would have furnished a poor family with a dinner ?
Lady T. Upon my word, Sir Peter, begging your pardon, that is a very absurd way of arguing. By that rule, why do you indulge in the least superfluity? I dare swear á beggar might dine tolerably on your great-coat, or sup off your laced waistcoat-nay, I dare say he wouldn't eat your gold-headed cane in a week. Indeed, if you would reserve nothing but necessaries, you should give the first poor man you meet your wig, and walk the streets in your night-cap, which, you know, becomes you very much.
“ Sir P. Well, go on to the articles.
"Jarv. (reading). Fruit for my lady's monkey, £5 per week.
“Sir P. Five pounds for the monkey!--why 'tis a dessert for an alderman !
"Lady T. Why, Sir Peter, would you starve the poor aniinal? I dare swear he lives as reasonably as other monkeys do.
“ Sir P. Well, well, go on.
· Lady T. Repairing china that he breaks—and I am sure no monkey breaks less.
“Jarv. * Paid Mr. Warren for perfumes—milk of roses, £30.
“ Lady T. Very reasonable.
“ Sir P. 'Sdeath, madam, if you had been born to these expenses I should not have been so much amazed ; but I took you, madam, an honest country squire's daughter
“Lady T. Oh, filthy! don't' name it. Well, heaven forgive my mother, but I do believe my father must have been a man of quality.
“ Sir P. Yes, madam, when first I saw you, you were drest in a pretty-figured linen gown, with a bunch of keys by your side; your occupations, madam, to superintend the poultry; your accomplishments, a complete knowledge of the family receipt-book-then you sat in a room hung round with fruit in worsted of your own working ; your amusements were to play
country dances on an old spinet to your father while he went asleep after a fox-chase—to read 'Tillotson's Sermons' to your aunt Deborah. These, madam, were your recreations, and these the accomplishments that captivated me. Now, forsooth, you must have two footmen to your chair, and a pair of white dogs in a phaeton ; you forget when you used to ride double behind the butler on a docked bay coach-horse. .. Now you must have a French hairdresser ; do you
did not look as well when you had your hair combed smooth over a roller? ..... Then you could be content to sit with me, or walk by the side of the ha-ha.
“ Lady T. True, I did ; and, when you asked me if I could love an old fellow, who would deny me nothing, I simpered and said, “Till death.'
“ Sir P. Why did you say so? “ Lady T. Shall I tell you
the truth? “ Sir P. If it is not too great a favour.
Lady T. Why, then the truth is I was heartily tired of all these agreeable recreations you have so well remembered, and having a spirit to spend and enjoy fortune, I was determined to marry the first fool I should meet with me a wife, for which I am much obliged to you, and ií you
have a wish to make me more grateful still, make me a widow.*
“ Sir P. Then, you never had a desire to please me, or add to my happiness?
“Lady T. Sincerely, I never thought about you ; did you imagine that age was catching? I think you have been overpaid for all you could bestow on me. Here am I surrounded by half a hundred lovers, not one of whom but would buy a single smile by a thousand such baubles as you grudge me.
Sir P. Then you wish me dead? “ Lady T. You know I do not, for you have made no settlement on me.
“ Sir P. I am but middle-aged.
“ Lady T. There's the misfortune ; put yourself on, or back, twenty years, and either way I should like you the better.
Yes, sir, and then your behaviour too was different; you would dress, and smile, and bow; fly to fetch me anything I wanted ;
* The speeches which are omitted consist merely of repetitions of the mame thoughts, with but very little variation of the language.
praise everything I did or said ; fatigue your stiff face with an eternal grin; nay, you even committed poetry, and muffled your harsh tones into a lover's whisper. to sing it yourself, so that even my mother said you were the smartest old bachelor she ever saw-a billet-doux engrossed on buckram!!!!!!*
Let girls take my advice and never marry an old bachelor. He must be so either because he could find nothing to love in women, or because women could find nothing to love in him.”
The greater part of this dialogue is evidently experimental, and the play of repartee protracted with no other view, than to take the chance of a trump of wit or humour turning up.
In comparing the two characters in this sketch with what they are at present, it is impossible not to be struck by the signal change that they have undergone. The transformation of Sir Peter into a gentleman has refined, without weakening, the ridicule of his situation; and there is an interest created by the respectability and amiableness of his sentiments, which, contrary to the effect produced in general by elderly gentlemen so circumstanced, makes us rejoice, at the end, that he has his young wife all to himself. The improvement in the character of Lady Teazle is still more marked and successful. In. stead of an ill-bred young shrew, whose readiness to do wrong leaves the mind in but little uncertainty as to her fate, we have i a lively and innocent, though imprudent.country girl, transplanted into the midst of all that can bewilder and endanger her, but with still enough of the purity of rural life about her heart, to keep the blight of the world from settling upon it permanently.
There is, indeed, in the original draught a degree of glare and coarseness, which proves the eye of the artist to have been fresh from the study of Wycherly and Vanbrugh ; and this want of delicacy is particularly observable in the subsequent scene between Lady Teazle and Surface--the chastening down of which to its present tone is not the least of those triumphs.
* These notes of admiration are in the original, and seem meant to exe press the surprise of the author at the extravagance of his own joke.
of taste and skill which every step in the elaboration of this fine comedy exhibits.
" Scene* _YOUNG PLIANT'S Room.
“ Young P. I wonder her ladyship is not here : she promised me to call this morning. I have a hard game to play here, to pursue my designs on Maria.
I have brought myself into a scrape with the mother-in-law. However, I think we have taken care to ruin my brother's character with my uncle, should he come to-morrow. Frank has not an ill quality in his nature ; yet, a neglect of forms, and of the opinion of the world, has hurt him in the estimation of all his graver friends. I have profited by his errors, and contrived to gain a character, which now serves me as a mask to lie under.
“ Enter LADY TEAZLE. “ Lady T. What, musing, or thinking of me?
Young P. I was thinking unkindly of you; do you know, now, that you must repay me for this delay, or I must be coaxed into good humour ?
“ Lady T. Nay, in faith you should pity me—this old curmudgeon of late is grown so jealous, that I dare scarce go out, till I know he is secure for some time.
Young P. I am afraid the insinuations we have had spread about Frank have operated too strongly on him—we meant only to direct his suspicions to a wrong object.
Lady T. Oh, hang him! I have told him plainly that if he continues to be so suspicious, I'll leave him entirely, and make him allow me a separate maintenance.
“ Young P. But, my charmer, if ever that should be the case, you see before you the man who will ever be attached to you. But you must not let matters come to extremities ; you can never be revenged so well by leaving him, as by living with him, and let my sincere affection make amends for his brutality.
“ Lady T. But how shall I be sure now that you are sincere ? I have sometimes suspected that you loved my
niece. “ Young P. Oh, hang her! a puling idiot, without sense or spirit.
* The third of the fourth act in the present form of the comedy. This scene underwent many changes afterwards, and was oftener put back into the crucible than any other part of the play.
“ Lady 7. But what proofs have I of your love to me, for I have still so much of my country prejudices left, that if I were to do a foolish thing (and I think I can't promise), it shall be for a man who would risk everything for me alone. How shall I be sure you love me?
Young P. I have dreamed of you every night this week past.
Lady T. That's a sign you have slept every night for this week past; for my part, I would not give a pin for a lover who could not wake for a month in absence. “Young P. I have written verses on you out of number.
Lady T. I never saw any. “ Young P. No--they did not please me, and so I tore them.
“ Lady T. Then it seems you wrote them only to divert yourself.
Young P. Am I doomed for ever to suspense ?
Young P. Then let me on my knees“ Lady T. Nay, nay, I will have no raptures either. This much I can tell you, that if I am to be seduced to do wrong,
I am not to be taken by storm, but by deliberate capitulation, and that only where my reason or my heart is convinced.
“Young P. Then, to say it at once the world gives itself liberties
“ Lady T. Nay, I am sure without cause ; for I am as yet unconscious of any ill, though I know not what I may be forced to.
“ Young P. The fact is, my dear Lady Teazle, that your extreme innocence is the very cause of your danger ; it is the integrity of your heart that makes you run into a thousand imprudences which a full consciousness of error would make you guard against. Now, in that case, you can't conceive how much more circumspect you would be.
Lady T. Do you think so?
Young P. Most certainly. Your character is like a person in a plethora, absolutely dying of too much health.
Lady T. So, then, you would have me sin in my own defence, and part with my virtue to preserve my reputation.
“ Young P. Exactly so, upon my credit, ma'am.”
It will be observed that much of the original material is still