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Mont. Eh ! fits the wind in that corner-it muft shift, and speedily too-[Afide.] Why, zounds, your morality has not stumbled on a married woman to flirt with ?
Sir Harry. A married woman!
Mont. Not quite indeed as to forms ;-but Lord Visage and his Nephew are expected every hour;—and the knot will then be tied without further delay.
Sir Harry. Do you know any thing of this young Visage ?
Mont. Not I!-but they say he is one of the finest fellows breathing.
Sir Harry. Constance likes the match then.
Mont. Did you never hear her speak of it ?—"Tis the very delirium of passion.
Sir Harry. Why, she never saw him.
Mont. That is true,-no!-She never saw him ;-but his picture she has, and then his reputation.
Sir Harry. You seem to dwell on it with peculiar fatiffaction.- Fool that I was, to hazard a declaration under such circumstances; if I thought she had not seen the verses,-perhaps they are yet on her harp.-—[ Aside.)-Do you know, Sir, I begin to be weary of this your name of Montagu.
Mont. That is more than I am of your title of Sir Harry. I would not pay the name of Cecil fo bad a compliment.
Sir Harry. Why Sir,-why was I betrayed into this scheme?
Mont. Nay, it was your own.
Sir Harry. Where then was your friendship, you should have check'd my wild, fantastic humour-not urged
Mont. Nay, seriously-I see no reason for regret-in compliance with a pleasant romantic whim of the mo, ment-we have changed names and characters. You have taken mine of Montague-I yours of Sir Harry ;-a deception indeed it is ;--but surely a most innocent one.
Sir Harry. I fear, Sir, no deception can be innocent :have we not imposed on a whole family? they received us with hospitality, and we return it with a lie.
Mont. You speak of us, as of common adventurers; if you were not really the Baronet, whose person and character I represent, we might hold this language ;-but since 'tis merely a change between us-excentric, as the refinement may be, that tempted you to take my name of Montague ;--the present wish to discover us, is still more fo-just at the moment of succefs.
Sir Harry. Success!
Mont. The very child of your wish,-a girl that doats on you, even in this your poverty, that has rejected me and 5000 l. a-year, for you and a knapsack; the lovely accomplished Harriet - since it must out-she confessed it to me with streaming eyes, and a candor, which, in spite of the mortification, (no trifling one, let me tell you,)
esteem- that Sir Harry. Hold, hold !-How cruelly have I involved myself-enamoured to distraction of a woman that views me with indifference.-A few common attentions have cntangled me with another I can only esteem.-[Aside.] Harriet is an amiable girl ;-and if I were convinced (Sir Paul and Lady Panick wrangling behind the scenes ).
Mont. Here are Sir Paul and Lady Panick-you shall hear more.- Did
observe her look when you came in ?
Sir Harry. I must own I did.
Mont. Enviable Cecil-that look would have made me the happiest of men.
Enter Sir Paul and Lady Panick. Sir Paul. Don't tell me, my Lady-paint the house contaminate the very air I breathe.
Lady Panick. Nay-you need not come near it, Sir Paul.
Sir Paul. Zounds, I should drink it in at every pore. swallow poison by quarts--I am bloated at the thought!
Lady Panick. Must not I have my theatre fitted up for the winter months ?-is not that reason ?-Would you have me play tragedies in warm weather - or figh sentiment in the dog-days ?--Besides-Lord Visage expects it in compliment to his Nephew's marriage with Constancewere not the preparations left to me--have I not his
Sir Paul. Yes, yes-his Lordfhip will poison by proxy, -no doubt ;--but he shall not play off his privileged tricks on me.--I'll not be prevailed on to quaff down columns of peftilential vapour.
Lady Panick. I tell you-'tis absolutely filthy-have you no ideas of cleanliness, Sir Paul?
Sir Paul. Cleanliness !-Zounds, my house my Lady is not an Augean stable, to have a river turn'd through it twice a week - do you think I am amphibious as a Dutchman-or that I have the constitution of a water-rat?
Laây Panick. Sir Paul, Sir Paull-you are a mere drudge to the false notions of a mock prudence, and take infinitely more pains to prevent an evil--than the curing it would require.
Sir Paul. Do I not succeed? Have I ever a moment's illness ?
Lady Panick. Have you ever a moment's health ? Do you not visit every empiric in town?--Does not the press groan with certificates of your restoration, and your name is as constantly found at the bottom of their bills, as the blue lamp over the door-you sacrifice every thing to your ridiculous fears----Was I not obliged to give up visiting the dowager duchess, because you would not suffer her to bring little Pompey?
Sir Paul. And, zounds-my Lady-did not little Pompey go off in-a fit of the hydrophobia ? Lady Panick. And what then, Sir Paul ? as it was, you inhifted my whole establishment should go through a course of the Ormskirk :- besides, some triftes must be overlook’d, if
you wish for an intercourse with people of fashion.-I could have introduced you into the first cast of characters; —and you would hardly suffer yourself to be proposed at the club.
Sir Paul. And was I not black-balld at the club?
Lady Panick. How could it be otherwise? --- you would not canvass, Sir Paul ; do you think people get into the Chit-Chat as they would get into a rotten borough ?-but the little flights of fashion you call fatigue--nay you call every thing fatigue.- I wonder what you married me for?
Sir Paul. Really, my Lady; I am not casuist enough to determine.—Is my peace to be constantly sacrificed to your caprice- all my caution given up ?
Lady Panick. Pretty caution indeed !-summer furs-and a dozen magnets dangling at your neck.
Sir Paul. Facts are stubborn, my Lady, facts are stubborn; was not every body with muffled throats and knockers, while I had not even a tickling ?
Lady Panick. No, but you poison'd all the rooms with the fumes of tobacco, and I know not what—made every visitor perform Quarantine-and forbade Dr. Diet the house, for fear he should bring contagion in the plaits of his hospital suit—nay, you broke off all connection with our good neighbour the Alderman.
Sir Paul. Good neighbour !-aye, that is one of your civil importunate families-driving their good things down your throat.-Zounds! I never enter'd their den - that I did not eat myself into a Plethora to satisfy the wifeand drink myself almost dropsical to oblige the husband.
Enter Subtle with a letter, introduced by Tony.
Lady Lady Panick. How! You need not wait. [Exit Subtle and Tony. Reads aloud.] “ I shall follow this in a few « instants myself -- but what I have to communicate “ does not admit even of that delay. The marriage of “ Constance and my Nephew cannot take place; he is ot unworthy of her. I have now discover'd what a long « absence had kept from my knowledge, that his person « and fortune are the victims of dislipation. I have paid “ his debts, and sent him abroad. Till we meet," &c.
Sir Paul. Ay, there I always expected as much, and recommended that Sir Harry should not have received so positive a rejection; but that you laughed at, as one of my ridiculous precautions.
Lady Panick. Why, do you suppose he will not renew his addresses ? Will you seek him ?-With your cautious management, my dear, we could not fail.
Sir Paul. Why really, my Lady-I made so desperate a plunge myself, that, whatever may be my opinion on this subject-upon my soul I have not the face to offer a word. (Going.)
Lady Panick. Was there ever circumstance so provoking? Just as my preparations were completed, and I was ready to blaze forth in all the lustre of fplendid elegance. Then my Epithalamium too, which every body faid was the prettiest thing I ever wrote-to have it-a mere dead letter, after all!
[Exit. Sir Paul, (calling after her.) No, no, my dear, as you took care to shew it in confidence to every creature with whom you had the most diftant acquaintance, I don't think its publicity will be at all affected. [Exit. SCENE. A Dressing-room, with a Harp, &c.
Enter Constance, followed by Lucy. Confl. Heigh-ho ---- What a world of perplexity have I to encounter! the husband destined for me by my guardians expected every hour and the man I love, unconscious of the passion he has inspired! Dame Na