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Pity to your inexperienced youth, friendship to your worthy parents, regard to the honour of your husband, joined to the tenderness and duty I owe my lord, are the sole motives which urge me to save you all, if possible from ruin. I know my lord makes love to you ; and that you have, unwarily, been diawn in to make an assignation with him. Lady Flut. if he has been so treacherous as to tell this Lady Med. He has not, I assure you; yet I am cer. tain of the fačt; I know too well the nature of his connections with Lady Lovegrove—And now, my dear, if you would escape the snare which is laid for your undoing, be advised by me, who am your true friend. Lady Flut. I don’t think I have a friend in the world. Lady Med. You are mistaken; I am sincerely so. My lord is a man of pleasure, and is perhaps less scrupulous in affairs of gallantry, than in any other vice. Your youth and agreeable person were alone sufficient to attract him; but when superadded to this, he found you despised your husband, and made no difficulty of owing it to him, it almost amounted to an 1 DVltation. Lady Flut. An invitation, Lady Medway you use me very ill. Lady Med. To a man of his cast, madam, it certainly does. Your unacquaintedness with men of intrigue makes you blind to your own danger; but indeed, Lady Flutter, there is but one step between you and inevitable shame and misery. What do you think must be the consequence, if Sir Harry should discover that you have appointed a private place of meeting with my lord What must he think of the nature of a correspondence thus meanly carried on by stealth Ask your own heart if you can justify this to your hushand and to your friends Lady Flut. Lord bless me, Lady Medway !—you terrify me—I am amazed how you came to the know. ledge of this. Lady Med. 'Tis a happiness to you, madam, that I have, if by it I can be the means of saving you. Lady Flut. I own I was a fool for consenting; but sure, madam, you won't be so barbarous as to tell Sir Harry; it would give him such an advantage over me, I cannot bear the thoughts of it. Lady Med. Why really, my dear, I should be sorry to be under the necessity of taking so disagreeable a step; and if I thought I could rely on your honour and discretion in your future conduct, I certainly should keep your secret. Lady Flut. Madam, I'll quit your house directly, if that will satisfy you. Lady Med. By no means, madam; how would you answer that to your friends, if they should inquire the reason Here you came to town to stay the winter with me, and before a month's elapsed you quit my house ! Lady Flut. Why I can tell them that Sir Harry is so insufferable, I cannot live with him.
Lady Med. If you will be ruled by me, Lady Flut
ter, for one week, nay but for three days, I'll engage
that Sir Harry and you shall be as happy a couple as any in England. Lady Flut. Oh, gracious you could as soon convert us into angels. Lady Med. But will you promise to be guided by me, but for a little while * Lady Flut. Oh, dear Lady Medway, I know you would recommend patience and submission, and all that ; but I never can, nor never will submit to his humour. Lady Med. Why then, madam, I shall think it my duty to write to your father immediately, and let him know the danger of your situation ; “for though I “ am sure the parting you from your husband would “ afflict him, yet 'tis better he should receive you “ while you are innceent.” Lady Flut. What is it you would have me do, madarn Lady Med. Your task is not hard, if you are disposed to set about it. You are married to a very young man, Lady Flutter; who, though he is warm and volatile, does not want sense, and am sure is good-natured in the main. Lady Flut. Dear Lady Medway—you are enough to turn one’s brain. Lady Med. Hear me out, madam. You, on the other hand, who have as much sense, and as much good-nature as he, are at the same time a little too
quick and impatient of contradiction. He, I will allow, is too ready to give offence; but you in your turn must grant, that you are as sudden in taking it. Now, my dear, 'tis in your power, and give me leave to tell you, 'tis your duty also to correct yours. And I’ll answer for it that Sir Harry will follow your lead; for I am sure that he loves you a great deal better than my lord does, let him tell you what he pleases. Lady Fut. I wish I could see any proofs of it. Lady Med. Will you make the experiment : Lady Flut. What, and give up to him Lady Med. Only for once, just for a trial : if he does not receive it as he ought, I will never desire you to repeat it—I think i hear his rap at the door. Lady Flut. Well, madam, to shew you that it is not my fault that we live so uneasily, I will do as you would have me; you yourself shall be the judge; but then remember you are not to write to my papa. Lady Med. I will not, and remember you are not to have any private conferences with my lord. Lady Flut. Agreed.
Sir H. Flut. How does your ladyship do this morning : [To Lady Medway J I am tired to death, I have been at my banker's, and jolting all over the detestable city.—Defend me! Why your head is dressed so barbarously, Lady Flutter, you look like ten furies; by my life, an absolute Medusa; pr’ythee who gave thee that formidable appearance, child
Lady Flut. I am sorry you don't like it, Sir Harry; I’ll not employ that Frenchman any more. Sir H. Flut. Then I am sure you don't like it yourself; for Sir Harry's judgment has not the happiness of having any great weight with you. Lady Flut. No, I protest I think it quite becoming and genteel. Lady Med. Then it must be to oblige you, Sir Harry. Sir H. Flut. Undoubtedly, ma'am, that's her study. Lady Flut. Upon my word, Sir Harry, I would make it so, if you would let me. Sir H. Flut. My dear! say that over again pray; it sounds vastly pretty, if it were but true. Lady Flut. Why then seriously I would rather dress to please you than any body. Sir H. Flut. Hark’e, Lady Flutter, irony is a mighty ticklish weapon, and you handle it very aukwardly, upon my soul; lay it by, or you’ll cut your fingers. Lady Flut. I declare and vow I am in earnest. Sir H. Flut. Oh, dearma'am, your most obedient— but you're a bungler, take my word for it. Lady Med. But, Sir Harry, why should you doubt that Lady Flutter is serious Sir H. Flut. Why really, ma'am, because I never knew Lady Flutter serious in any thing, but her endeavours to make herself disagreeable to me. Lady Med. In which I fancy however she has not succeeded, Sir Harry. 2