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SCENE 1.-A Room in OAKLY's House. my tenderness and soft disposition To be per
petually running over the whole town, nay, the Noise heard within-Mrs Oakly, within.
whole kingdom, too, in pursuit of your amours ! Don't tell me I know it is so- It's mon--Did not I discover that you was great with strous, aud I will not bear it.
mademoiselle, my own woman?–Did not you Oak. [Within.) But, my dear
contract a shameful familiarity with Mrs FreeMrs Oak. Nay, nay, &c. [Squabbling within. man?--Did not I detect your intrigue with lady
Wealthy !---Was not you, Enter Mrs Oakly, with a letter, Oakly fol
Oak. Oons! madam, the Grand Turk himself lowing.
has not half so niany mistresses---You throw me Say what you will, Mr Oakly, you shall never out of all patience-Do I know any body but persuade me but this is some filthy intrigue of our common friends ?-Am I visited by any body yours.
that does not visit you?-Do I ever go out, unQak. I can assure you, my
less you go with me?-And am I not as conMrs Oak. Your love ! - Don't I know your- stantly by your side, as if I was tied to your Tell
me, I say, this instant, every circumstance apron-strings? relating to this letter.
Mrs Oak. Go, go; you are a false manOak. How can I tell you, when you will not Have not I found you out a thousand times? so much as let me see it?
And have not I this moment a letter in my hand, Mrs Oak. Look you, Mr Oakly, this usage is which convinces me of your baseness ? Let not to be borne. You take a pleasure in abusing me know the whole affair, or I will
Oak. Let you know! Let me know what you Mrs Oak. [Rising.) ---Well, sir—you see I would have of me- -You stop my letter before have detected you Tell me this instant where it comes to my hands, and then expect that I she is concealed. should know the contents of it.
Oak. S0-10-50- - This hurts me-I'm shockMrs Oak. Heaven be praised! I stopt it-I ed
(To himself suspected some of these doings for some time Mrs Oak. What, are you confounded with past—But the letter informs me who she is, and your guilt ? Have I caught you at last? I'll be revenged on her sufficiently. Oh, you Oak. O that wicked Charles ! To decoy a base man, you !
young lady from her parents in the country! The Oak. I beg, my dear, that you would mode profligacy of the young fellows of this age is aborate your passion !-Shew me the letter, and I'll minable.
To himself. convince you of my innocence.
Mrs Oak. [Half aside, and musing.Charles ! Mrs Oak. Innocence !- Abominable !—Inno- Let me see ! Charles ! No! Impossible. This cence !- But I am not to be made such a fool is all a trick. I am convinced of your perfidy, and very sure Oak. He has certainly ruined this poor lady. that
To himself. Oak. 'Sdeath and fire! your passion hurries Mrs Oak. Art! Art! All art! There's a sudyou out of your senses— Will you hear me? den turn now! You have ready wit for an in
Mrs Oak. No, you are a base man; and I trigue, I find. will not hear you.
Dak. Such an abandoned action! I wish I had Oak. Why, then, my dear, since you will nei- never had the care of him. [To himself. ther talk reasonably yourself, nor listen to rea- Mrs Oak. Mighty fine, Mr Oakly! Go on, son froin me, I sha'l take my leave till you are sir; go on! I see wbat you mean.
Your assuin a better humour. So, your servant! (Going. rance provokes me beyond your very falsehood
Mrs Oak. Ay, go, you cruel man!- -Go to itself. So, you imagine, sir, that this affected your mistresses, and leave your poor wife to her concern, this flimsy pretence about Charles, is to miseries—— Ilow unfortunate a woman am I !- bring you off? Matchless confidence! But I åm I could die with vexation
armed against every thing I am prepared for all [Throwing herself into a chair. your dark schemes: I am aware of all your low Oak. There it is Now dare not I stir a step stratagems. further-If I offer to go, she is in one of her fits Oak. See there, now! Was ever any thing so in an instant-Never, sure, was woman at once provoking? To persevere in your ridiculousof so violent and so delicate a constitution ! For Heaven's sake, my dear, don't distract me! What shall I say to sooth her? Nay, never make When you see my mind thus agitated and uneathyself so uneasy, my dear-Come, come, you sy, that a young fellow, whom his dying father, know I love you. Nay, nay, you shall be con- my own brother, committed to my care, should vinced.
be guilty of such enormous wickedness; I say, Mrs Oak. I know you hate me; and that your when you are witness of my distress on this ocunkindness and barbarity will be the death of casion, how can you be weak enough and cruel
[Whining. enough toOak. Do not vex yourself as this rate- I love Mrs Oak. Prodigiously well, sir! You do it you most passionately—Indeed, I do—This must very well. Nay, keep it up, carry it on, there's be some mistake.
nothing like going through with it. O you artful Mrs Oak. Oh, I am an unhappy woman! creature! But, sir, I am not to be so casily satis
[Weeping.fied. I do not believe a syllable of all thisOak. Dry up thy tears, my love, and be com Give me the letter—[Snatching the letter.}-You forted ! You will find that I am not to blame in shall sorely repent this vile business, for I am rethis matter-Come, let me see this letter-Nay, solved that I will know the bottom of it. you shall not deny me. [Taking the letter.
[E.rit Mrs OAK. Mrs Oak. There ! Take it; you know the Oak. This is beyond all patience. Provoking hand, I am sure.
woman! Her absurd suspicions interpret every Oak. To Charles Oakly, esq. —[Reading.), thing the wrong way. She delights to make me Hand.! 'Tis a clerk-like hand, indeed! A good wretched, because she sees I am attached to her, round text! and was certainly never penned by and conrerts my tenderness and affection into a fair lady.
the instruments of my own torture. But this Mrs Oak. Ay, laugh at me, do!
ungracious boy! Iu how many troubles will he Oak. Forgive me, my love, I did not mean to involve his own and this lady's family—I never laugh at thee- But what says the letter?-[Read- imagined that he was of such abandoned princiing:}— Daughter eloped-you must be privy to ples. O, here he comes !
it-scandalous- dishonourable-satisfaction * revenge:-un, um, um- injured father:
Enter MAJOR OAKLY and CHARLES • HENRY RUSSET.' Cha, Good-morrow, sir,
Maj. Good-morrow, brother, good-morrow !- Oak. How can you trifle with my distresses, What! You have been at the old work, I find ? .najor ?. Did not I tell you it was about a letter? I heard you—ding! dong ! i'faith! She has rung Maj. A letter! Hum—a suspicious circuma noble peal in your ears. But how now? Why, stance, to be sure ! What, and the seal a true sure, you've had a remarkable warm bout on't.- lover's knot now, hey? or an heart transfixed You seem more ruffled than usual.
with darts; or, possibly, the wax bore the indusOak. I am, indeed, brother! Thanks to that trious impression of a thimble ; or, perhaps, the young gentleman there. Have a care, Charles ! folds were lovingly connected by a wafer, prickYou may be called to a severe account for this. ed with a pin, and the direction written in a vile The honour of a family, sir, is no such light mat- scrawl, and not a word spelt as it should be; ha, ter.
ha, ha! Cha Sir!
Oak. Pooh! brother-Whatever it was, the Maj. Hey day? What, has a curtain lecture letter, you find, was for Charles, not for me produced a lecture of morality? What is all this outrageous jealousy is the devil! this?
Maj. Mere matrimonial blessings, and domesOak. To a profligate mind, perhaps, these tic comfort, brother! Jealousy is a certain sign things may appear agreeable in the beginning.- of love. But don't you tremble at the consequences ? Oak. Love! it is this very love that hath made
Cha. I see, sir, that you are displeased with us both so miserable. Her love for me has conme; but I am quite at a loss to guess at the oc-fined me to my house, like a state prisoner, withcasion.
out the liberty of seeing my friends, or the use of Oak. Tell me, sir! Where is Miss Harriot pen, ink, and paper; while my love for her bas Russet ?
made such a fool of me, that I have never had Che. Miss Harriot Russet ! Sir-explain-- the spirit to contradict her.
Oak. Have not you decoyed her from her fa- Maj. Ay, ay; there you've hit it; Mrs Oakly ther?
would make an excellent wife, if you did but Cha. I decoyed her ! —Decoyed my Har- know how to manage her. riot !- I would sooner die than do her the least Oak. You are a rare fellow, indeed, to talk of injury. What can this mean?
managing a wife! a debauched bachelor! a ratMaj. I believe the young dog has been at her, tle-brained, rioting fellow-who have picked up after all.
your common-place notions of women in bagnios, Oak. I was in hopes, Charles, you had better taverns, a. J the camp; whose most refined comprinciples. But there's a letter just come from merce with the sex has been in order to delude her father
country girls at your quarters, or to besiege the Cha. A letter! What letter? Dear sir, give it virtue of abigails, milliners, or mantua-maker's me. Some intelligence of my Harriot, major !- | 'prentices. The letter, sir; the letter this moment, for Hea- Maj. So much the better! So much the betven's sake!
ter ! Women are all alike in the main, brother, Oak. If this warmth, Charles, tends to prove high or low, inarried or single, quality or no quayour innocence
lity. I have found them so, from a duchess down Cha. Dear sir, excuse me, I'll prove any thing to a milk-maid. -Let me but see this letter, and I'll
Oak. Your savage notions are ridiculous.-Oak. Let you see it? I could hardly get a What do you know of a husband's feelings? You, sight of it myself. Mrs Oakly has it.
who comprise all your qualities in your honour, Cha. Has she got it? Major, I'll be with you as you call it! Dead to all sentiments of delicacy, again directly.
[Exit Cha. hastily. and incapable of any but the grossest attachments Maj. Hey-day! The devil's in the boy! What to women. This is your boasted refinement, your a fiery set of people! By my troth, I think the thorough knowledge of the world! While, with whole family is made of nothing but combusti- regard to women, one poor train of thinking, bles !
one narrow set of ideas, like the uniform of the Oak. I like this emotion. It looks well. It whole regiment, serves the whole corps. may serve, too, to convince my wife of the folly Maj. Very fine, brother! There's commonof her suspicions. Would to Heaven I could place for you, with a vengeance ! Henceforth, quiet them for ever!
expect no quarter from me. I tell you again Maj. Why, pray now, my dear naughty bro- and again, I know the sex better than you do.ther, what heinous offence have you committed | They all love to give themselves airs, and to have this morning? What new cause of suspicion? | power : every woman is a tyrant at the bottom. You have been asking one of the maids to mend But they could never make a fool of me. No, your ruffle, I suppose, or have been hanging your no! no woman should ever domineer over me, head out of window, when a pretty young woman let her be mistress or wife. has past by, or
Oak. Single men can be no judges in these cases. They must happen in all families. But | closet? No, no; these fits, the more care you when things are driven to extremities—to see a take of them, the more you will increase the diswoman in uneasiness—a woman one loves, toom temper: let them alone, and they will wear one's wife, who can withstand it? You neither themselves out, I warrant you. think nor speak like a man that has loved, and Oak. True-very true- you're certainly in the been married, major !
right-I'll follow your advice. Where do you Maj. I wish I could hear a married man speak dine to-day? I'll order the coach and go with my language-I'm a bachelor, it's true; but I am you. no bad judge of your case, for all that. I know Maj. O brave ! keep up this spirit, and you're yours, and Mrs Oakly's disposition to a hair.— made for ever. She is all impetuosity and fire-a very magazine Oak. You shall see now, major! Who's there? of touchwood and gunpowder. You are hot enough, too, upon occasion; but then, it's over in
Enter Servant. an instant. În come love and conjugal affection, as you call it; that is, mere folly and Order the coach directly: I shall dine out to weakness—And you draw off your forces, just day. when you should pursue the attack, and follow Ser. The coach, sir! Now, sir ! your advantage.' Have at her with spirit, and Oak. Ay, now, immediately. the day's your own, brother!
Ser. Now? Sir !-the-the-coach ! Sir ! Oak. I tell you, brother, you mistake the mat- that is--my inistresster. Sulkiness, fits, tears! These, and such as Oak. Sirrah! Do as you're bid. Bid them put these, are the things which make a feeling man to this instant. uneasy. Her passion and violence have not half Ser. Ye--yes, sir-yes, sir. [Erit Ser. such an effect on me.
Oak. Well, where shall we dine ? Maj. Why, then, you may be sure, she'll play Maj. At the St Alban's, or where you will.that upon you, which she finds does most execu- | This is excellent, if you do but hold it. tion. But you must be proof against every thing. Oak. I will have my own way, I am deterIf she's furious, set passion against passion ; if mined. you find her at her tricks, play off art against art, Maj. That's right. and foil her at her own weapons. That's your
Oak. I am steel. game, brother!
Maj. Bravo! Oak. Why, what would you have me do? Oak. Adamant.
Maj. Do as you please, for one month, whe- Maj. Bravissimo! ther she likes it or not; and, I'll answer for it, Oak. Just what you'd have me. she will consent you shall do as you please all Maj. Why, that's well said. But will you de her life after.
it? Oak. This is fine talking. You do not consi- Oak. I will. der the difficulty that
Maj. You won't. Maj. You must overcome all difficulties. As- Oak. I will. I'll be a fool to her no longer.sert your right boldly, man! Give your own or But, hark ye, major! my hat and sword lie in ders to servants, and see they observe them; my study. I'll go and steal them out, while she read your own letters, and never let her have a is busy talking with Charles. sight of them; make your own appointinents, Maj. Steal them! for shame! prithee, take and never be persuaded to break them; see them boldly, call for them, make them bring what company you like; go out when you please; thern to you here, and go out with spirit, in the return when you please; and don't suffer yourself face of your whole family. to be called to account where you have been.- Oak. No, no-you are wrong-let her rave afIn short, do but shew yourself a man of spirit, ter I am gone; and, when I return, you know, I leave off whining about love, and tenderness, and shall exert myself with more propriety, after this nonsense, and the business is done, brother!
affront to her authority. Oak, I believe you are in the right, major! I Maj. Well, take your own way; see you're in the right. I'll do it; I'll certainly Oak. Ay, ay-let me manage it; let me mado it. But, then, it hurts me to the soul, to nage it.
(Erit Oak. think what uneasiness I shall give her. The first Maj. Manage it! Ay, to be sure, you are a opening of my design will throw her into fits, and rare manager? It is dangerous, they say, to the pursuit of it, perhaps, may be fatal.
meddle between man and wife. I am no great Maj. Fits ! Ha, ha, ha! Fits! I'll engage to favourite of Mrs Oakly's already; and, in cure her of her fits. Nobody understands hys- week's time, I expect to have the door shut in terical cases better than I do: besides, my sister's my teeth. symptoms are not very dangerous. Did you ever hear of her falling into a fit when you was not
Enter CHARLES by? Was she ever found in convulsions in her How now, Charles, what news?
Cha. Ruined and undone ! She's gone, uncle ! daughter, or a mistress with lady Freelove, to be My Harriot's lost for ever!
sure! I'll tell you what, Charles ! you're a good Maj. Gone off with a man? I thought so: boy, but you don't know the world. Women are they are all alike.
fifty times oftener ruined by their acquaintance Cha. O no! Fled to avoid that hateful match with each other, than by their attachment to with sir Harry Beagle.
Ore thorough-paced lady will train up a Maj. Faith, a girl of spirit! Joy ! Charles, I thousand novices. That lady Freelove is an argive you joy ! she is your own, my boy! A fool rant -By the by, did not she, last summer, and a great estate ! Devilish strong tenptations! make formal proposals to Harriot's father from
Cha. A wretch! I was sure she would never lord Trinket? think of him.
Cha. Yes! but they were received with the Maj. No! to be sure ! commend me to your utmost contempt. The old gentleman, it seems, modesty! Refuse five thousand a-year and a ba- hates a lord, and he told her so in plain terms. ronet, for pretty Mr Charles Oakly! It is true, Maj. Such an aversion to the nobility may indeed, that the loody has not a single idea in his not run in the blood. The girl, I warrant you, head besides a hound, a hunter, a five-barred has no objection. However, if she's there, watch gate, and a horse-race; but, then, he's rich, and her narrowly, Charles ! lady Freelove is as misthat will qualify his absurdities. Money is a chievous as a monkey, and as cunning, too.wonderful improver of the understanding. But Have a care of her. I say, have a care of her. whence comes all this intelligence?
Cha. If she's there, I'll have ber out of the Cha. In an angry letter from her father. How house within this lalf hour, or set fire to it. miserable I am! If I had not offended my Har- Maj. Nay, now, you're too violent-Stay a riot, much offended her by that foolish riot and moment, and we'll consider what's best to be drinking at your house in the country, she would done. certainly, at such a time, have taken refuge in my arms.
Re-enter Oakly. Maj. A very agreeable figure for a young lady, to be sure, and extremely decent !
Oak. Come, is the coach ready? Let us be Cha. I am all uneasiness. Did not she tell gone. Does Charles with us? me, that she trembled at the thoughts of having Cha. go with you! What can I do? I am trusted her affections with a man of such a wild so vext and distracted, and so many thoughts disposition? What a heap of extravagancies was crowd in upon me, I don't know which way to
turn myself. Maj. Extravagancies with a witness ! Ah, you Mrs Oak. [Within.] The coach ! dines out! silly young dog, you would ruin yourself with her where is your master? father, in spite of all I could do. There you Oak. Zounds! brother, here she is! sat, as drunk as a lord, telling the old gentleman the whole affair, and sweariug you would drive
Enter Mrs Oakly. sir Harry Beagle out of the country, though I kept winking and nodding, pulling you by the Mrs Oak. Pray, Mr Oakly, what is the mat. sleeve, and kicking your shins under the table, in ter you cannot dine at home to-day? hopes of stopping you, but all to no purpose. Vak. Don't be uneasy, my dear! I have a lit
Cha. What distress may she be in at this in- tle business to settle with my brother; so I am stant! Alone, and defenceless! Where? Where only just going to dinner with him and Charles can she be?
to the tavern. Maj. What relations or friends has she in Mrs Oak. Why cannot you settle your business town
here as well as at a tavern? But it is some of Cha. Relations! let me see.-Faith! I have your ladies' business, I suppose, and so you must it. If she is in town, ten to one but she is at get rid of my company. This is chiefly your her aunt's, lady Freelove's. I'll go thither imme- fault, major Oakly! diately.
Maj. Lord, sister! what signifies it, whether a Maj. Lady Freelove's ! Hold, hold, Charles ! man dines at home or abroad? [Coolly. do you know her ladyship?
Mrs Oak. It signifies a great deal, sir! and I Cha. Not much ; but I'll break through all don't chooseforms to get to iny Harriot.
Maj. Phoo! let him go, my dear sister, let Maj. I do know her ladyship.
him go! he will be ten times better company Cha. Well, and what do you know of her? when he coines back. I tell you what, sister
Maj. Oh, nothing! Fler ladyship is a woman you sit at home till you are quite tired of of the world, that's all-she'll introduce Har- one another, and, then, you grow cross, and fall riot to the best company.
out, If you would bui part a little now and Cha. What do you mean?
then, you might meet again in good humour. Maj. Yes, yes; I would trust a wife, or a Mrs Ouk. I beg, major Oakly, that you would
guilty of ?