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once provoke, and justify your wife in her resentInnent. But there is a sort of sneering, ironical treatment, that I never knew fail of nettling a woman to the quick; and the best of it is, the thing won't bear repetition; for let them deliver your very words, without the tone and air accompanying them, and there shall not appear the least harm in them.
Sir H. Flut. Ay, that, that’s the secret I want to come at ; that's the true art of tormenting, and what of all the talents your lordship possesses, I envy you for the most Heavens, how I have seen my lady swell, and tears start into her eyes, when, devil take me, if I thought you were not in perfect good humour all the while—Now I am rather petulant, flash, flash, flash, as quick as lightning, till I put myself into a confounded passion, when I only meant to vex her —Though I think I was rather temperate too, this morning.
Ilord Med. How was it; let’s hear !
Sir H. Flut. Why, I came home at three o’clock, as I told you, a little tipsey too, by the bye; but what was that to her, you know ; for I am always good-humoured in my cups. To bed I crept, as softly as a mouse, for I had no more thoughts of quarrelling with her then, than I have now with your lordship—La, says she, with a great heavy sigh, it is a sad thing that one must be disturbed in this manner; and on she went, mutter, mutter, mutter, for a
quarter of an hour; I all the while lying as quiet as a lamb, without making her a word of an answer; at last, quite tired of her perpetual buzzing in my ear, pr’ythee be quiet, Mrs. Wasp, says I, and let me sleep (I was not thoroughly awake when I spoke). Do so, Mr. Drone, grumbled she, and gave a great flounce. I said no more, for in two minutes I was as fast as a top. Just now, when I came down to breakfast, she was seated at the tea-table all alone, and looked so neat, and so cool, and so pretty, that e”gad, not thinking of what had passed, I was going to give her a kiss; when up she toss'd her demure little face, you were a pretty fellow last night, Sir Harry, says she. So I am every night, I hope, ma'am, says I, making her a very low bow. Was not that something in your manner, my lord Lord Med. Oh, very well, very well— Sir H. Flut. Pray where were you till that unconscionable hour says she. At the tavern, drinking, says I, very civilly. And who was with you, sir? Oh, thought I, I’ll match you for your enquiries; I nam'd your lordship, and half a dozen more wild fellows (whom, by the way, I had not so much as seen), and two or three girls of the town, added I, whistling,
and looking another way - Lord Med. That was rather a little, though but a little, too much. Sir H. Flut. Down she slapp'd her cup and saucer; if this be the case, Sir Harry (half sobbing), I shall desire a separate bed. That's as I please, madam, sticking my hand in my side, and looking her full in the face. No, it shall be as I please, sir—it sha’n’t, madam; it shall, sir; and it sha’nt and it shall, and it shall and it sha’n’t, was bandied backwards and forwards, till we were both out of breath with passion. At last she said something to provoke me; I don’t know what it was, but I answer'd her a little tartly. You would not have said it, I believe—I’d give the world for your command of temper—but it slipp'd out, faith—
Lord Med. What was it *
Sir H. Flut. Why, I said (for she vexed me cursedly), I said—faith, I think I—as good as told her she ly’d.
Lord Med. Oh, fye
Sir H. Flut. She burst out a crying, I kick'd down the tea-table, and away I scamper'd up to you lordship, to receive advice and consolation.
Lord Med. Why, really, Sir Harry, I pity you; to be ty'd to such a little termagant is the devil; but 'tis the fortune of wedlock. One thing I have always observed; the more a husband submits, the more a wife tyrannizes. 'Twas my own case at first; but I was soon obliged to alter my course, and by exerting myself a little, I brought Lady Medway to be as wellbehaved, I think, as any woman of quality in town.
Sir H. Flut. So she is, upon my word, my lord; 1’d change with you with all my heart, if my lady were a little younger. Duce take me, but I wish we were like the Spartans; I assure you, if their laws were in force here, my wife should be at your service, and I dare say I should be as welcome to yours.
Lord Med. Oh, undoubtedly, Sir Harry | Sir H. Flut. The women would ike it vastly— your wife and mine I mean. Lord Med. How do you know that Sir H. Flut. Why I know mine does not care sixpence for me, and I suppose it may be pretty much the same with yours, and with all of them for that imatter. Lord Med. That doesn't follow—But how do you intend to act with regard to Lady Flutter I suppose this little breach will be made up like all the rest. Sir H. Flut. Not by me, I assure you, my lord; I don’t intend to speak to her to-day ; and when I do, she shali ask my pardon before I forgive her. Lord Med. Poh, that's children's play, fall out, and then pray, pray, kiss and be friends. No, Sir Harry, if you would shew yourself a man, and a husband, let her see that you despise her little girlish petulance, by taking no farther notice of it. Now, were I in your case, I’d behave just as if nothing at all had happened. If she pouts, smile; and ask her how she likes your new sword knot, or the point in your ruffles, or any other idle question. You know she must give you an answer. If it be a peevish one, laugh in her face, take up your hat, and wish her a good morning; if, on the contrary, she speaks with goodhumour, seem not to hear her, but walk about the room, repeating verses. Then, as if you had not observed her before, Did you speak to me, Lady Flutter but without waiting for her reply, slide out of the room, humming a tune—Now all this, you sce, where she to relate it, will not have the appearance of ill treatment; and yet, my life for yours, it humbles her more than all the blustering airs you could put on. Sir H. Fut. I am sure you are right, my lord. The case is plain ; but the difficulty is in executing the thing properly, I am so warm in my temper. Oh, what would I give for your glorious cool sneer of contempt —i'll try for it positively; and, 'egad, I’ll now go to her and make the experiment; and so, my lord, adieu for the present, and thanks for this lesson. Jord Med. Sir Harry I do you dine at home to day Sir H. Flut. I don’t know how that may be till I have reconnoitred; your lordship, I know, does not — and i hate to dine alone with the women. Lord Med. Oh, I shall certainly be at home soon after dinner, for I shall long to know on what terms you and my lady may be by that time. | Sir H Fut. Oh, Heaven knows—we may be at cuffs by that time, perhaps; but I shall be in the way. [Exit Sir Harry. Lord Med. If he follows my advice, I think she must hate him heartily—and then I step in as her comforter —But I have other business to mind at present—so