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Love. Read that, Sir Bashful. [Gives him Sir BrilLiant's letter.] Read that, and judge if I have not
(Sir Bashful reads to himself. Sir Bril. Hear but what I have to say
Love. No, sir, no; I have done with you for the present.-As for you, madam, I am satisfied with your conduct--I was indeed a little alarmed, but I have been a witness of your behaviour, and I am above harbouring low suspicions.
Sir Bash. Upon my word, Mr. Lovemore, this is carrying the jest too far.
Love. Sir!—It is the basest action a gentleman can be guilty of!
Sir Bash. Why, so I think. Sir Brilliant, [Aside.] here, take this letter, and read it to him; his own letter
to my wife.
Sir Bril. Let me have it.
[Takes the letter. Sir Bash. 'Tis indeed, as you say, the worst thing a gentleman can be guilty of.
Love. 'Tis an unparalleled breach of friendship.
Sir Bril. Well, I can't see any thing unparalleled in it: I believe it will not be found to be without a precedent—as for example
[Reads. To my Lady Constanta
Why should i conceal, my dear madam, that your charms have touched my heart ? Love. Zoons ! my letter
[Aside. Sir Bril. [Reading.) I long have loved you, long adored. Could I but flatter myself
Sir Bash. The basest thing a man can be guilty of, Mr. Lovenore ! Love. All a forgery, sir: all a forgery.
[Snatches the letter. Sir Bash. That I deny; it is the very identical letter my lady threw away with such indignation.—My Lady Constant, how have I wronged you !--That was
the cause of your taking it so much to heart, Mr. Lovemore, was it?
Love. A mere contrivance to palliate his guilt. Po! Po! I won't stay a moment longer among ye. I'll into another room to avoid ye all. [Opens the door.) Hell and destruction !—what fiend is conjured up here? Zoons ! let me make my escape out of the house.
[Runs to the opposite door. Mrs. Love. I'll secure this door; you must not go,
Love. 'Sdeath, madam, let me pass !
Mrs. Love. Nay, you shall stay: I want to introduce an acquaintance of mine to you.
Love. I desire, madam
Enter MRS. BELLMOUR.
Mrs. Bell. My lord, my Lord Etheridge; I am heartily glad to see your lordship. [Taking hold of him. Mrs. Love. Do, my dear, let me introduce this lady
[Turning him to her. Love. Here's the devil and all to do!
[Aside. Mrs. Bell. My lord, this is the most fortunate encounter Love. I wish I was fifty miles off.
[Aside. Mrs. Love. Mrs. Bellmour, give me leave to introduce Mr. Lovemore to you.
(Turning him to her. Mrs. Bell. No, my dear ma'am, let me introduce Lord Etheridge to you. [Pulling him.] My lord
Sir Bril. In the name of wonder, what is all this?
Sir Bash. Wounds! is this another of his intrigues blown up?
Mrs. Love. My dear ma'am, you are mistaken : this is my husband.
Mrs. Bell. Pardon me, ma’am, 'tis my Lord Etheridge.
Mrs. Love. My dear, how can you be so ill-bred in your own house ?-Mrs. Bellmour,this is Mr. Lovemore.
Love. Are you going to toss me in a blanket, madam? -call
the rest of your people, if you are. Mrs. Bell. Pshaw! prythee now, my lord, leave off your humours. Mrs. Lovemore, this is my Lord Etheridge, a lover of mine, who has made proposals of marriage to me. Come, come, you shall have a wife: I will take compassion on you. Love. D-nation! I can't stand it.
[Aside. Mrs. Bell. Come, cheer up, my lord: what the deuce, your dress is altered ! what's become of the star and ribband? And so the gay, the florid, the magnifique Lord Etheridge dwindles down into plain Mr. Lovemore, the married man !Mr. Lovemore, your most obedient, very humble servant, sir.
Love. I can't bear to feel myself in so ridiculous a situation.
[Aside. Sir Bash. He has been passing himself for a lord, has he?
Mrs. Bell. I beg my compliments to your friend Mrs. Loveit: I am much obliged to you both for your very honourable designs.
[Courtesying to him. Love. I was never so ashamed in all
life! [Aside. Sir Bril. So, so, so, all his pains were to hide the star from me. This discovery is a perfect cordial to my dejected spirits.
Mrs. L'ell. Mrs. Lovemore, I cannot sufficiently acknowledge the providence that directed you to pay me a visit, and I shall henceforth consider you as my deliverer.
Love. Zoons! It was she that fainted away in the closet, and be d-n'd to her jealousy.
[Aside. Sir Bril. My lord, (Advances to him.] My lord, my Lord Etheridge, as the man says in the play, “ Your lordship's right welcome back to Denmark."
Love. Now he comes upon me.-0! I'm in a fine situation !
[Aside. Sir Bril. My lord, I hope that ugly pain in your lordship's side is abated. Love. Absurd, and ridiculous!
[ Aside. Sir Bril. There is nothing forming there, I hope, my lord.
Love. D-nation! I can't bear all this, I won't stay to be teased by any of you—I'll go to the company
in the card room. [Goes to the door in the back scene. ] Here is another fiend! I am beset with them.
Enter LADY CONSTANT. No way for an escape?
[Attempts both stage doors, and is prevented. Lady Con. I have lost every rubber I play'd forquite broke; do, Mr. Lovemore, lend me another hundred.
Love. I would give a hundred you were all in Nova Scotia.
Lady Con. Mrs. Lovemore, let me tell you, you are married to the 'falsest man; he has deceived me strangely.
Mrs. Love. I begin to feel for him, and to pity his uneasiness.
Mrs. Bell. Never talk of pity; let him be probed to the quick
Sir Bash. The case is pretty plain, I think, now, Sir Brilliant.
Sir Bril. Pretty plain, upon my soul! Ha! ha!
Love. I'll turn the tables upon Sir Bashful, for all this--[Takes Sir Bashful's letter out of his pocket.]where is the mighty harm now in this letter?
Sir Bash. Where's the harm? -Ha! ha! ha!
Love. [Reads.] I cannot, my dearest life, any longer behold
Sir Bash. Shame and confusion! I am 'undone.
[Aside. Love. Hear this,, Sir Bashful-I cannot, my dearest life, any longer behold the manifold vexations, of which, through a false prejudice, I am myself the occasion. Sir Bash. 'Sdeath! I'll hear no more of it.
[Snatches at the letter. Love. No, sir; I resign it here, where it was directed.
Lady Con. For heaven's sake let us seem It is his hand, sure enough.
Love. Yes, madam, and those are his sentiments.
Sir Bril. So, so, so! he has been in love with his wife all this time, has he! Sir Bashful, will you go and see the new comedy with me? Lovemore, pray now don't you think it a base thing to invade the happiness of a friend? or to do him ú clandestine wrong? or to injure him with the woman he loves?
Love. To cut the matter short with you, sir, we are both villains.
Sir Bril. Villains !
Mrs. Bell. I am glad to find you are awakened to a sense of your error.
Love. I am, madam, and am frank enough to own it. I am above attempting to disguise my feelings, when I am conscious they are on the side of truth and honour. With sincere remorse I ask your pardon.I should ask pardon of my Lady Constant too, but the truth is, Sir Bashful threw the whole affair in my way; and when a husband will be ashamed of loving a valuable woman, he must not be surprised, if other people take her case into consideration, and love her for him.
Sir Bril. Why, faith, that does in some sort apologize for him.