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Lady Sneer. Hush! — here she is!

Enter MRS. CANDOUR

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IO

Mrs. Can. My dear Lady Sneerwell, how have you been this century? – Mr. Surface, what news do you hear ? — though indeed it is no matter, for I think one hears nothing else but scandal.

Jos. Surf. Just so, indeed, ma'am.

Mrs. Can. Oh, Maria! child, — what, is the whole affair off between you and Charles ? His extravagance, I presume - the town talks of nothing else.

Mar. I am very sorry, ma'am, the town has so little to do.

Mrs. Can. True, true, child: but there's no stopping people's tongues. I own I was hurt to hear it, as I indeed was to learn, from the same 15 quarter, that your guardian, Sir Peter, and Lady Teazle have not agreed lately as well as could be wished.

Mar. 'Tis strangely impertinent for people to busy themselves so.

Mrs. Can. Very true, child: but what's to be done? People will talk — there's no preventing . it. Why, it was but yesterday I was told that Miss

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Gadabout had eloped with Sir Filigree Flirt. But, Lord! there's no minding what one hears; though, to be sure, I had this from very good authority.

Mar. Such reports are highly scandalous.

Mrs. Can. So they are, child -- shameful, shameful! But the world is so censorious, no character escapes. Lord, now who would have suspected your friend, Miss Prim, of an indiscretion? Yet

such is the ill nature of people, that they say her 10 uncle stopped her last week, just as she was stepping into the York Mail° with her dancing-master.

Mar. I'll answer for't there are no grounds for that report.

Mrs. Can. Ah, no foundation in the world, I dare 15 swear; no more, probably, than for the story

circulated last month, of Mrs. Festino's affair with Colonel Cassino though, to be sure, that matter was never rightly cleared up.

Jos. Surf. The licence of invention some people 20 take is monstrous indeed.

Mar. 'Tis so; but, in my opinion, those who report such things are equally culpable.

Mrs. Can. To be sure they are; tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers 'tis an old observa25 tion, and a very true one: but what's to be done,

as I said before ? how will you prevent people

ance.

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from talking ? To-day, Mrs. Clackitt assured me, Mr. and Mrs. Honeymoon were at last become mere man and wife, like the rest of their acquaint

And at the same time Miss Tattle, who was by, affirmed, that Lord Buffalo had discovered his lady at a house of no extraordinary fame; and that Sir Harry Bouquet and Tom Saunter were to measure swords on a similar provocation. But, Lord, do you think I would report these things ! No, no! tale-bearers, as I said before, are just 10 as bad as the tale-makers.

Jos. Surf. Ah! Mrs. Candour, if every body had your forbearance and good nature !

Mrs. Can. I confess, Mr. Surface, I cannot bear to hear people attacked behind their backs; and 15 when ugly circumstances come out against our acquaintance, I own I always love to think the best. By the by, I hope 'tis not true that your brother is absolutely ruined ?

Jos. Surf. I am afraid his circumstances are very 20 bad indeed, ma'am. Mrs. Can. Ah! I heard so

but you must tell him to keep up his spirits; every body almost is in the same way: Lord Spindle, Sir Thomas Splint, Captain Quinze, and Mr. Nickit --- all up, 25 I hear, within this week; so, if Charles is undone,

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he'll find half his acquaintance ruined too, and
that, you know, is a consolation.
Jos. Surf. Doubtless, ma'am a very great one.

Reënter SERVANT
Ser. Mr. Crabtree and Sir Benjamin Backbite.

[Exit. Lady Sneer. So, Maria, you see your lover pursues you; positively you sha'n't escape.

Enter CRABTREE and SIR BENJAMIN BACKBITE

Crab. Lady Sneerwell, I kiss your hand. Mrs. Candour, I don't believe you are acquainted with

my nephew, Sir Benjamin Backbite? Egad, 10 ma'am, he has a pretty wit, and is a pretty poet too. Isn't he, Lady Sneerwell ?

Sir Ben. Oh, fie, uncle !

Crab. Nay, egad it's true; I back him at a rebuso or a charade against the best rhymer in the king15 dom. Has your ladyship heard the epigram he

wrote last week on Lady Frizzle's feather catching fire ? Do, Benjamin, repeat it, or the charade you made last night extempore at Mrs. Drowzie's

conversazione.° Come now; your first is the 20 name of a fish, your second a great naval com

mander, and

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Sir Ben. Uncle, now pr'ythee —

Crab. I' faith, ma'am, 'twould surprise you to hear how ready he is at all these sort of things.

Lady Sneer. I wonder, Sir Benjamin, you never publish any thing.

Sir Ben. To say truth, ma'am, 'tis very vulgar to print; and as my little productions are mostly satires and lampoons on particular people, I find they circulate more by giving copies in confidence to the friends of the parties. However, I have 10 some love elegies, which, when favoured with this lady's smiles, I mean to give the public.

[Pointing to MARIA. Crab. [To MARIA.) 'Fore heaven, ma'am, they'll immortalize you! you will be handed down to posterity, like Petrarch's Laura,' or Waller's 15 Sacharissa.

Sir Ben. [To Maria.] Yes, madam, I think you will like them, when you shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall meander through a meadow of margin. 'Fore Gad 20 they will be the most elegant things of their kind !

Crab. But, ladies, that's true — have you heard the news ?

Mrs. Can. What, sir, do you mean the report of

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