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Lord Med. And pray, who may be the happy mant
Lady Med. Young Branville, Sir Anthony's nephew, who is now on his travels, and is expected every day home.
Lord Med. A forward little gipsey “ This is the “curse of marrying early, to have our children tug“ging at our purse-strings, at a time when we have “ as quick a relish for the joys of life as they have, “ and ten times a better capacity for pursuing them.” —Look’ye, madam, I cannot give her a shilling; Sir Anthony is ready to take her as she is ; and if they should have a family, is able to provide liberally for them all. On the contrary, if she follows her own soft inclinations, in marrying Mr. Branville, I suppose, in three or four years, I should have the pleasure of seeing myself a grand papa to two or three pretty lit. tle beggars, who, between their mother's vanity, and their father's poverty, may happen to continue so all their lives.
Lady Med. But, my lord, as Sir Anthony has sent his nephew abroad at his own expence, it looks as if he meant to do something handsome for him: besides, he is his uncle’s heir, in case he should die without children by marriage.
Lord Med. And so you think you can keep him in a state of celibacy, by refusing him your daughter –Oh fye, Lady Medway, I never heard you argue so weakly. Sir Anthony is not yet past the prime of life; besides, he has owned to me that it was his being discarded by Mrs. Knightly, which made him resolve, at once in a sort of pique, to marry the first girl that fell in his way; birth and reputation being all the fortune he desired with her. A man thus circumstanced is very little likely to continue a batchelor— No, no ; I'll take him in the humour, and secure him while I may. Lady Med. Before it be too late, my lord, let me once more beseech you to reflect on the misery of a married life, where on either side love or esteem is . wanting. Have we not a glaring instance of this in the house with us, in Sir Harry Flutter and his wife are they not as wretched a pair as ever met in wedlock, perpetually quarrelling 1 I own, I almost repent my invitation to them, and wish them fairly back again in the country. Lord Med. That must not be. [Aside..] You have made a very unlucky choice in your example, ma'am; a foolish boy, and a giddy girl, that know not either of them what they would be at. He married the wife his mother chose for him, to get rid of his tutor; and she took the husband her wise father provided for her, to escape from a boarding-school. What can be expected from two such simpletons He, proud of the authority of a husband, exercises it from the same principle, and with pretty much the same capacity, that children shew with regard to poor little animals that are in their power, in teasing and controlling them ; and this he thinks makes him look manly. Lady Med. So I imagine, for I have heard him say, he does no more than other husbands.
Lord Med. She, on the other hand, fancies the prerogatives of a wife consist in contradićting and opposing him; and this, I presume, she thinks is doing like other wives ; but my life for it, when they know a little more of the world, they will be very happy. Lady Med. Never in each other, I am afraid, my lord. “Lord Med. And pray, ma'am, let me ask you, what “mighty felicity have you enjoyed, in being married “ to the man of your choice “Lady Med. This is a strange question, my lord! “I never complained of my lot; but if I have not “ been completely happy, it is not owing to any fault * of mine. “Lord Med. Is may be mine for aught I know— “but I only mention it, to shew you that love is not “such an almighty deity, as to confer happiness “ without certain ingredients besides, that I could 44 name. “Lady Med. My lord, where it is reciprocal, there “ wants not much besides. “Lord Med. Be sure you preach that wise doćtrine “ to your daughter; it will become your prudence, “and no doubt will be extremely agreeable to her “pretty romantic notions.”—But, pr’ythee, let us have done with the subječt at once. One circumstance more, however, I shall acquaint you with ; if the marriage between Medway and this lady should be accomplished, I have other purposes to appropriate her fortune to, than buying a husband for your daughter
—But this is only in speculation—the thing may never happen—for nothing but the last extremity should compel me to urge my son against his inclination. In regard to Louisa, in two words, I will be obeyed : do me the favour to tell her as much. I shall see her presently, and expect such an answer from her, as her duty shall dićtate. Lady Med. My lord, it is an unpleasing task you
have assign'd me, but I will obey you. [Éxit. Lord Med. [Looking after her.] That you have always done, so much praise I will allow you — but I
am out of humour with every thing. If this boy should dislike the match, I am undone at once; and I fear, from some hints I have lately received, I shall ... find an obstacle in the way which will not easily be removed “’Sdeath what a thing it is to have po“verty staring a man in the face, and no way to keep “ the horrid spectre from laying hold on you !—No “ way but one; it all depends on Medway’s filial “ duty”—A thousand vexations crowd upon me together—'Tis a pretty time for a man to think of intriguing ! and yet the blooming beauty of that little madcap, with all her childishness about her, has caught such hold on me, that I must have her—Oh,
with what alacrity now could I pursue the chace, if
my thoughts were a little more disengaged She
has been complaining to my wife of her husband's ill
usage of her; and he, I suppose, will come to me
presently, to take a lesson, as he calls it, to enable - B
him to use her worse he sha’n’t want my assistance and here he comes to receive it.
Enter Sir HARRY FLU Trek.
Sir H. Flut. Oh, my dear lord. Lord Med. Why you seem out of breath, Sir Harry; what is the matter? Sir H. Flut. Upon my soul, my lord, I have been so stunn'd this morning, with the din of conjugal interrogatories, that I am quite bated— do let me lounge a little on this couch of yours. Lord Med. What, I suppose you were playing the rogue last night. Sir H. Flut. No, faith, only at the tavern. I was at home before three o’clock, and yet my wife was -such an unreasonable little devil, as to ask me forty questions about my staying out so late. Lord Med. It's the way of them all—but I hope you are too well acquainted with your own prerogative, to give her any satisfaction on those accounts. Sir H. Flut. Satisfaction 1 oh, catch me at that, and sacrifice me—no, no–But pray now, my lord, how would you behave on such an occasion for I should be very glad to find that my condućt squared with yours. Lord Med. Why—not roughly—you know that is hot my way—it is not manly; besides, it would at Bij