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Mrs. R. Make haste, said Doricourt; if I have time to reflect, poor Hardy will die unhappy.
Flut. They were got as far as the day of judgment, when we slipped out of the room.
Sir G. Then, by this time, they must have reached amazement, which, every body knows, is the end of matrimony.
Mrs. R. Ay, the reverend fathers ended the sera vice with that word, prophetically—to teach the bride what a capricious monster a husband is.
Sir G. I rather think it was sarcasșically—to prepare the bridegroom for the unreasonable humours and vagaries of his helpmate.
Lady F. Here comes the bridegroom of to-night. Enter Doricourt and Villers.-Villers whispers SAVILLE, who
out. Omnes. Joy! joy ! joy!
Miss 0. If he's a sample of bridegrooms, keep me single! A younger brother, from the funeral of his father, could not carry a more fretful countenance.
Flut. Oh! Now he's melancholy mad, I suppose.
Lady F. You do not consider the importance of the occasion.
Vill. No; nor how shocking a thing it is for a man to be forced to marry one woman whilst his heart is devoted to another.
Mrs. R. Well, now 'tis over, I confess to you, Mr. Doricourt, I think 'twas a most ridiculous piece of Quixotism, to give up the happiness of a whole life to a man who perhaps has but a few moments to be sensible of the sacrifice.
Flut. So it appeared to me. But, thought I, Mr.
Doric. Zounds! Confusion! Did ye not all set upon
their dictates, and I hope the utmost felicity of the married state will reward you.
Doric. Never, Sir George! To felicity I bid adieu -but I will endeavour to be content, Where is my ---I must speak it—where is my
Enter Letitia, masked, led by Saville. Sav. Mr. Doricourt, this lady was pressing to be introduced to you. Doric. Oh!
[Starting Letit. I told you last night you should see me at a time when you least expected me—and I have kept my promise.
Vill. Whoever you are, madam, you could not have arrived at a happier moment. Mr. Doricourt is just married.
Letit. Married ! Impossible ! 'Tis but a few hours since he swore to me eternal love: I believed him, gave him up my virgin heart—and now !Ungrateful
Doric. Your virgin heart! Nu lady, thank Heaven! yet wants that torture. Nothing but the conviction that you was another's, could have made me think one moment of marriage, to have saved the lives of half mankind. But this visit, madam, is as barbarous as unexpected. It is now my duty to forget you, which, spite of your situation, I found difficult enough.
Letit. My situation! What situation ?
Doric. I must apologise for explaining it in this company--but, madam, I am not ignorant that you are the companion of Lord George Jennet—and this is the only circumstance that can give me peace,
Letit. I-a companion! Ridiculous pretence! No, sir, know, to your confusion, that my heart, my hosour, my name, is unspotted as hers you have marriod; my birth equal to your own, any fortune large. That, and my person, might have been yours. But, sir, farewell !
[Going Doric. Oh, stay a moment--Rascal! is she not
Flut. Who, she? O lord! no- – 'Twas quite a different person that I meant. I never saw that lady before. Doric. Then, never shalt thou see her more.
[Shakes Flutter. Mrs. R. Have mercy upon
poor man! Heavens! He'll murder him.
Doric. Murder him! Yes, you, myself, and all mankind, Sir George-Saville-Villers—’twas, you who pushed me on this precipice; 'tis you who have snatched from me joy, felicity, and life.
Mrs. R. There! Now, how well he acts the madman! This is something like! I knew he would do it well enough, when the time came.
Doric. Hard-hearted woman! enjoy my ruin-riot in my wretchedness.
[HARDY bursts in. Hardy. This is too much. You are now the husband of my daughter; and how dare
show all this passion about another woman?
Doric. Alive again!
Hardy. Alive! ay, and merry. Here, wipe off the four from my face. I was never in better health and spirits in my life. I foresaw 'twould do. Why, my illness was only a fetch, man! to make you marry Letty.
Doric. It was ! Base and ungenerous! Well, sir, you shall be gratified. The possession of my heart was no object either with you or your daughter. My fortune and name was all you desired, and these-1 leave ye. My native England I shall quit, nor ever behold you more. But, lady, that, in my exile, I
may have one consolation, grant me the favour you denied last night ;- let me behold all that mask conceals, that your whole image may be impressed on my heart, and cheer my distant solitary hours.
Letit. This is the most awful moment of my life. Oh, Doricourt, the slight action of taking off my mask stamps me the most blest or miserable of women!
Doric. What can this mean? Reveal your face, I conjure you,
Letit. Behold it.
Letit. This little stratagem arose from my disappointment in not having made the impression on you I wished. The timidity of the English character threw a veil over me you could not penetrate. You have forced me to emerge in some measure from my natural reserve, and to throw off the veil that hid me.
Doric. I am yet in a state of intoxication—I cannot answer you.Speak on, sweet angel!
Letit. You see I can be any thing; chuse then my character-your taste shall fix it. Shall I be an English wife ?-or, breaking from the bonds of nature and education, step forth to the world in all the captivating glare of foreign manners ?
Doric. You shall be nothing but yourself—nothing can be captivating that you are not. I will not wrong your penetration, by pretending that you won my heart at the first interview; but you have now my whole soul-your person, your face, your mind, I would not exchange for those of any other woman breathing.
Hardy. A dog! how well he makes up for past slights! Cousin Rackett, I wish you a good husband, with all my heart. Mr. Flutter, i'll believe every word you say this fortnight. Mr. Villers, you and I have managed this to a T. I never was so merry in my life—-'Gad, I believe I can dance. [Footing.] Come into the next room ; I have ordered out every drop of my forty-eight, and I'll invite the whole parish of St. George's, but what we'll drink it out-except one dozen, which I shall keep under three double locks,
for a certain christening, that I foresee will happen within this twelvemonth.
Doric. Charming, charming creature !
Letit. Congratulate me, my dear friends! Can you conceive my happiness?
Hardy. No, congratulate me; for mine is the greatest.
Flut. No, congratulate me, that I have escaped with life, and give me sonje sticking plaister - this wild cat has torn the skin from my
throat. Sir G. I expect to be among the first who are congratulated—for I have recovered one angel, while Doricourt has gained another.
Hardy. Pho! pho! Don't talk of angels, we shall be happier by half as mortals.
Doric. My charming bride! It was a strange perversion of taste, that led me to consider the delicate timidity of your deportment as the mark of an uninformed mind, or inelegant manners. I feel now it is to that innate modesty, English husbands owe a felicity the married men of other nations are strangers to; it is a sacred veil to your own charms; it is the surest bulwark to your husband's honour; and cursed be the hour-should it ever arrive-in which British ladies shall sacrifice to foreign graces the grace of modesty!