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Row. Well, I 'm not inquisitive.
Sir Oliv. Well, Sir Peter, I have seen both my nephews in the manner we proposed.
Sir Pet. A precious couple they are !
Row. Yes, and Sir Oliver is convinced that your judgment was right, Sir Peter.
Sir Oliv. Yes, I find Joseph is indeed the man, after all.
Row. Ay, as Sir Peter says, he is a man of sentiment.
Sir Oliv. And acts up to the sentiments he professes.
Sir Oliv. Oh, he's a model for the young men of the age ! -but how's this, Sir Peter ? you don't join us in your friend Joseph's praise, as I expected.
Sir Pet. Sir Oliver, we live in a damned wicked world, and the fewer we praise the better.
Row. What I do you say so, Sir Peter, who were never mistaken in your life?
Sir Pet. Psha! plague on you both! I see by your sneering you have heard the whole affair. I shall go mad among you!
Row. Then, to fret you no longer, Sir Peter, we are indeed acquainted with it all. I met Lady Teazle coming from Mr. Surface's so humbled, that she deigned to request me to be her advocate with you.
Sir Pet. And does Sir Oliver know all this?
Sir Oliv. Yes, yes, and the little French milliner. Oh, I have been vastly diverted with the story ! ha! ha! ha!
Sir Pet. 'Twas very pleasant.
Sir Oliv. I never laughed more in my life, I assure you; ha! ha! ha!
Sir Pet. Oh, vastly diverting! ha! ha! ha!
Row. To be sure, Joseph with his sentiments ! ha! ha! ha !
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, his sentiments ! ha! ha! ha! Hypocritical villain !
Sir Oliv. Ay, and that rogue Charles to pull Sir Peter out of the closet; ha! ha! ha!
Sir Pet. Ha! ha! 'twas devilish entertaining, to be sure !
Sir Oliv. Ha! ha! ha! Egad, Sir Peter, I should like
to have seen your face when the screen was thrown down ; ha! ha!
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, my face when the screen was thrown down; ha! ha! ha! Oh, I must never show my head again!
Sir Oliv. But come, come, it isn't fair to laugh at you, neither, my old friend; though, upon my soul, I can't help it.
Sir Pet. Oh, pray don't restrain your mirth on my account; it does not hurt me at all ! I laugh at the whole affair myself. Yes, yes, I think being a standing jest for all one's acquaintance a very happy situation. Oh yes; and then of a morning to read the paragraphs about Mr. S- Lady T, and Sir P, will be so entertaining !
Row. Without affectation, Sir Peter, you may despise the ridicule of fools. But I see Lady Teazle going towards the next room ; I am sure you must desire a reconciliation as earnestly as she does.
Sir Oliv. Perhaps my being here prevents her coming to you. Well, I'll leave honest Rowley to mediate between you ; but he must bring you all presently to Mr. Surface's, where I am now returning, if not to reclaim a libertine, at least to expose hypocrisy.
Sir Pet. Ah, I'll be present at your discovering yourself there with all my heart; though 'tis a vile unlucky place for discoveries. Row. We'll follow.
[Exit SIR OLIVER SURFACE Sir Pet. She is not coming here, you see, Rowley.
Row. No, but she has left the door of that room open, you perceive. See, she is in tears.
Sir Pet. Certainly a little mortification appears very becoming in a wife. Don't you think it will do her good to let her pine a little ?
Row. Oh, this is ungenerous in you!
Sir Pet. Well, I know not what to think. You remember the letter I found of hers evidently intended for Charles ?
Row. A mere forgery, Sir Peter ; laid in your way on purpose. This is one of the points which I intend Snake shall give you conviction of. Sir Pet. I wish I were once satisfied of that. She looks
What a remarkably elegant turn of the head she has ! Rowley, I'll go to her.
Sir Pet. Though, when it is known that we are reconciled people will laugh at me ten times more.
Row. Let them laugh, and retort their malice only by showing them you are happy in spite of it.
Sir Pet. I' faith, so I will I and, if I'm not mistaken, we may yet be the happiest couple in the country.
Row. Nay, Sir Peter, he who once lays aside suspicion
Sir Pet. Hold, Master Rowley ! if you have any regard for me, never let me hear you utter any thing like a sentiment ; I have had enough of them to serve me the rest of my life.
SCENE III.—The Library in JOSEPH SURFACE's House
Enter JOSEPH SURFACE and LADY SNEERWELL
Lady Sneer. Impossible! Will not Sir Peter immediately be reconciled to Charles, and of course no longer oppose his union with Maria ? The thought is distraction to me.
Jos. Surf. Can passion furnish a remedy ?
Lady Sneer. No, nor cunning either. Oh, I was a fool, an idiot, to league with such a blunderer !
Jos. Surf. Sure, Lady Sneerwell, I am the greatest sufferer ; yet you see I bear the accident with calmness.
Lady Sneer. Because the disappointment doesn't reach your heart; your interest only attached you to Maria. Had you felt for her what I have for that ungrateful libertine, neither your temper nor hypocrisy could prevent your showing the sharpness of your vexation.
Jos. Surf. But why should your reproaches fall on me for this disappointment ?
Lady Sneer. Are you not the cause of it? Had you not a sufficient field for your roguery in imposing upon Sir Peter, and supplanting your brother, but you must endeavour to seduce his wife ? I hate such an avarice of crimes ; 'tis an unfair monopoly, and never prospers.
Jos. Surf. Well, I admit I have been to blame. I confess I deviated from the direct road of wrong, but I don't think we're so totally defeated neither.
Lady Sneer. No !
since we met, and that you still believe him faithful to
Lady Sneer. I do believe so.
Jos. Surf. And that he has undertaken, should it be necessary, to swear and prove that Charles is at this time contracted by vows and honour to your ladyship, which some of his former. letters to you will serve to support?
Lady Sneer. This, indeed, might have assisted.
Jos. Surf, Come, come ; it is not too late yet.--[Knocking at the door.) But hark l; this is probably my uncle, Sir Oliver ; retire to that room; we 'll consult farther when he is gone
Lady Sneer. Well, but if he should find you out too ?
Jos. Surf. Oh, I have no fear of that. Sir Peter will hold his tongue for his own credit's sake---and you may depend on it I shall soon discover Sir Oliver's weak side!
Lady Sneer. I have no diffidence of your abilities : only be constant to one roguery at a time.
Jos. Surf. I will, I will ![Exit LADY SNEERWELL.] So ! 'tis confounded hard, after such bad fortune, to be baited by one's confederate in evil. Well, at all events, my character is so much better than Charles's, that I certainly hey lwhat-this is not Sir Oliver, but old Stanley again. Plague on't that he should return to tease me just now ! I shall have Sir Oliver come and find him hereand
Enter SIR OLIVER SURFACE
Gad's life, Mr. Stanley, why have you come back to plague me at this time ? You must not stay now, upon my word.
Sir Oliv. Sir, I hear your uncle Oliver is expected here, and though he has been so penurious to you, I 'll try what. he'll do for me."
Jos. Surf. Sir, 'tis impossible for you to stay now, so I must beg- -Come any other time, and I promise you, you shall be assisted.
Sir Oliv. No: Sir Oliver and I must be acquainted.
Jos. Surf. Zounds, sir! then I insist on your quitting the room directly.
Sir Oliv. Nay, sir
this gentleman out. Since you compel me, sir, not one moment--this is such insolence. (Going to push him out
Enter CHARLES SURFACE
Chas. Surf. Heyday! what's the matter now? What the devil, have you got hold of my little broker here ? Zounds, brother, don't hurt little Premium. What's the matter, my little fellow ?
Jos. Surf. So! he has been with you too, has he ?
Chas. Surf. To be sure he has. Why, he's as honest a little-But sure, Joseph, you have not been borrowing money too, have you ?
Jos. Surf. Borrowing! no! But, brother, you know we expect Sir Oliver here every
Chas. Surf. O Gad, that's true! Noll mustn't find the little broker here, to be sure.
Jos. Surf. Yet Mr. Stanley insists-
Chas. Surf. Ay, ay, Stanley or Premium, 'tis the same thing, as you say ; for I suppose he goes by half a hundred names, besides A. B. at the coffee-house.
(Knocking Jos. Surf. 'Sdeath, here's Sir Oliver at the door.Now I beg, Mr. Stanley
Chas. Surf. Ay, ay, and I beg, Mr. Premium-
[Both forcing SIR OLIVER out
Enter SIR PETER and LADY TEAZLE, MARIA, and ROWLEY
Sir Pet. My old friend, Sir Oliver-hey! What in the name of wonder-here are dutiful nephews-assault their uncle at a first visit !
Lady Teaz. Indeed, Sir Oliver, 'twas well we came in to rescue you.
Row. Truly it was ; for I perceive, Sir Oliver, the character of old Stanley was no protection to you.