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Mrs. T. Impossible !
[Enter servant, and announces Mrs. Ormsby Delmaine. Cupt. And, à propos, she is the very first guest I have invited.
Enter MRS. DELMAINE, R. Mrs. D. Well, here I am, Captain Maguire, an unexpected and probably an unwelcome visitor to Mrs. Charles Torrens; but when you tell me my presence is required to render an important service to my dear friend and schoolfellow, I cannot hesitate, even though I transgress a little the strict laws of etiquette.
Mrs. T. You are ever welcome to this house, madam, though I am bound to say that I cannot exactly understand in what way your services are required. Probably Captain Maguire, who undertakes the economy of my house, will be able to explain, or rather Mr. Charles Torrens, my husband, who, according to your own admission, is received as a claimant for your
hand. Mrs. D. My dear Eve, lay aside for a moment your feelings as an offended woman and apparently injured wife. I am convinced that Mr. Torrens, though gay and thoughtless, loves you sincerely, and that you alone possess his heart.
Capt. What you say is quite true, Mrs. Delmaine; and it is for the purpose of convincing Mrs. Torrens that it depends entirely on her own conduct to secure her husband's love and society, that I have ventured to take the liberty I am now doing, and that I have summoned you to my aid.
Mrs. 1. It would appear that I am to be placed on my trial; well, I will submit with a good grace; so pray open the court and proceed to business.
Capt. Then, Mrs. Torrens, I charge you with driving your husband from his natural home, and forcing him to seek those pleasures abroad which every man of the world expects to meet in his own house. Are you not aware of the temptations to which your husband has been exposed ? Do
not see that he was forced to play a false part
in society, and even to declare himself a bachelor, for the purpose of securing a good reception ?
Mrs. D. Yes, the wretch was so intensely agreeable, that even I, who am horribly difficult to please, had near. ly fallen an unresisting victim, and forgetting ali the worth and honor that are combined in Captain Maguire's heart
- Offering her hand to the Captain, who kisses it. I had almost played him false and accepted your Mr. Fitz-Foley as a lover.
Capt. Now, Mrs. Torrens, the only way you can secure your husband's return to his duty is by emancipating yourself and him from the dominion of Mr. Aminadab Sleek, and, if I may be permitted to say so, of Lady Creamly.
Mrs. T. It is quite impossible, Captain Maguire, that I can forget the obligations which duty to my mother imposes on me.
Mrs. D. (Crosses to Mrs. T.] In that case, my dear, you forget your duty to your husband; and though I would not have you neglect your filial considerations, it also teaches you that your duty to your husband is to love, honor, and obey him.
Mrs. T. There is no danger of that, for I find that Charles has returned to his usual routine, and he and Mr. Sleek are at this moment occupied in the great work.
Capt. I will easily convince you to the contrary. At what hour this morning did Charles go out, and where to?
Mrs. T. At twelve precisely, to meet Mr. Sleek.
Capt. At a quarter past twelve precisely he was in Belgrave Square, where he found the door of our dear friend, Mrs. Ormsby Delmaine, closed against him.
Mrs. D. Yes, my dear; your naughty husband would see me, but I was denied, and I am determined not to see him until he brings his charming wife to ask his pardon.
Capt. And where do you think he is going to-night?
Mrs. T. He dines with us at the sister of Mr. Sleek's, and will spend his evening in our usual serious and discreet manner.
Capt. Not a bit of it; he has accepted an invitation for dinner with the officers of the Guards, and he has asked me to present him in the evening at Lady Blank's, in Cavendish Square, with the hope of meeting our charming friend, whose pursuit he is not inclined to relinquish.
Mrs. T. What is to be done, and what do you require of me?
Mrs. I. Thu fact is, my dear Eve, Captain Maguire and I have arranged it all. In order to show Mr. Torrens that you are no longer at the mercy of Mr. Sleek and Lady Creamly, we have determined that you shall give a ball to-night. We have issued tickets to all
friends and I will present you to several of mine. The music and the refreshments are ordered, and you have nothing to do but make yourself look as handsome as possible, and surprise your husband with an unexpected pleasure. [Charles speaks outside.) And, by the way, here he comes,
fortunate moment when his presence is 'so desired.
[Maguire goes up and comes down R.
just at the
Enter CHARLES, R., seeing Mrs. DELMAINE he starts, but
quickly recovers himself. Charles. Ah! Mrs. Delmaine, I am delighted to see you in this house, and I feel obliged by your early returning my wife's visit. (Crosses to Mrs. Torrens.] Bon jour, ma petite ! [To Captain.] Ah, Maguire ! how are you? It is an unlooked-for pleasure to find you here.
Capt. My dear fellow, I just called to know at what hour we are to go to Lady Blank's to-night.
Charles. [Aside to Captain.] Don't be absurd, my wife knows nothing of my engagement.
Capt. [Not heeding him. There is to be an immense squeeze. The Duchess de B., and the Countess de F., and the Spanish beauty Donna Inez de Valencia, and valses, and polkas, and to crown the affair, Mrs. Ormsby Delmaine will, I have no doubt, have the felicity to meet you. [To Mrs. D.] If I mistake not, Mr. Torrens is engaged to you for the first polka.
Mrs. T. Sir, my husband does not polk. (Crosses to R., goes up and down R. c.
Capt. (Aside.] Courage, Charley, now is the decisive moment!
Mrs. D. [Aside.] Fail now, and you are lost forever.
Charles. With affected courage.] Yes, my dear Mrs. Ormsby Delmaine, the first polka, the first valse, and a myriad of quadrilles. Mrs. D. Oh, you unreasonable man!
Capt. (Aside to Mrs. Torrens.] Yon see, madam, the only chance of keeping your husband home at night, is to
claim him as your partner for the first polka, the first valse, and a myriad of quadrilles.
Mrs. 1'. [Aside, hesitating.] Have it as you will; I agree to everything.
Capt. [To Charles. Huzza! we have reached the winning-post-the day's our own!
Charles. [Dancing about the stage, aud snapping his fingers in the air.] Bravo! bravo ! that for old Aminadab Sleek end Lady Creamly !
In his transport he throws about the papers. At this
moment LADY CREAMLY and Mr. SLEEK enter, L.,
she with bonnet on, and he with hat and umbrella. Lady C. In the name of goodness! what are you about?
Charles. Only putting the house in order.
Lady C. (Seeing Mrs. Delmaine and the Captain, bows very stifly, and scarcely recognizes them. They return her salute in the same manner.] I am going first to dinner, as I have one or two commissions by the way. You, Mr. Sleek, will follow us as soon as possible, and—[To Mrs. Torrens.]-you, my dear, and Mr. Torrens will not delay. You know that our dear friend's hours are not those of fashionable life.
[Crosses to R. Charles. Dear mamma, my head aches so severely it is impossible I can go out 10-day.
Sleek. Why, Mr. Torrens, I never saw you looking better in
life. Capt. You're quite mistaken in your prognosis. — Charles's nerves are all shook to atoms.
Lady C. Well, then, daughter, you and Emma will come as soon as possible. I will send the carriage for you. .
Mrs. T. Oh, dear mamma, my nerves are also much affected.
Mrs. D. Excuse me, Lady Creamly, but Mrs. Charles Torrens must stay at home to take care of her husband. The duty of a wife is superior to all other considerations.
Mrs. T. Be so kind, Mr. Sleek, as to make my compliments and excuses to your sister; my husband's indisposition prevents me the pleasure of waiting on her as I
intended. (Crosses to Charles.] Come, dear husband, we must see what can be done for you.
[Eceunt Charles and Mrs. Torrens, L. Lady C. (To Mrs. Delmaine.] I suspect this is all your doing, madam.
Mrs. D. Affecting not to understand her.] I would be very happy, but really I'm engaged.
šleek. (Going up to the Captain.] I much fear, Captain Murphy Maguire, you are meddling with matters you do not understand.
Capt. (Also affecting not to understand him. I am really very sorry, it's quite out of my power to oblige you.
[Mr. Sleek and Lady Creamly look at each other with
astonishment. Lady C. (Aside to Sleck.] There is something awful going on here, which I cannot understand. I will leave you to unravel the mystery if you can, and secure Emma as I much fear my son-in-law has some designs on her independence. (Exits R., disdainfully, not noticing Mrs. Delmaine or
the Captain. Capt. [Down K.] Huzza! the enemy has beat a retreat without beat of a drum or blast of trumpet. Now Mr. Aminadab Sleek, you are our prisoner; at any rate wo are two to one against you. Do you surrender at discretion ?
Mrs. D. Mr. Sleek, have you the discretion to surrender ?
Capt. I want you to inveigle Lady Creamly-
Mrs. D. The greater the honor, if you succeed with Lady Creamly. The truth is, that between you both you have converted the house of Mr. Torrens into a state prison, and the Captain and I are determined to release him.
Capt. Now, sir, in double quick time, or in no time at all—are we to treat you as a friend or an enemy?
Sleek. It is quite indifferent how I am treated by you; my interests are not of this house, nor of this hemisphere.
Capt. Of course not ; nor have you any personal interest, except the getting of Miss Torrens's fortune