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Ber. What! has he given you fresh reason to suspect his wandering?
Aman. Every hour gives me reason.
Ber. And yet, Amanda, you perhaps at this moment cause in another's breast the same tormenting doubts and jealousies which you feel so sensibly yourself.
Aman. Heaven knows I would not.
Ber. Why, you can't tell but there may be some one as tenderly attached to Townly, whom you boast of as your conquest, as you can be to your husband ?
Aman. I'm sure I never encouraged his pretensions.
Ber. Psha ! psha ! no sensible man ever perseveres to love without encouragement. Why have you not treated him as you have Lord Foppington ?
Aman. Because he presumed not so far. But let us drop the subject. Men, not women, are riddles. Mr. Loveless now follows some flirt for variety, whom I'm sure he does not like so well as he does me.
Ber. That's more than you know, madam.
Ber. I think I can guess at the person; but she's no such ugly thing neither.
Aman. Is she very handsome ?
Aman. Whate'er she be, I'm sure he does not like her well enough to bestow anything more than a little outward gallantry upon her.
Ber. [Aside.] Outward gallantry! I can't bear this.[Aloud.] Come, come, don't you be too secure, Amanda : while you suffer Townly to imagine that you do not detest him for his designs on you, you have no right to complain that your husband is engaged elsewhere. But here comes the person we were speaking of.
Enter COLONEL TOWNLY
Col. Town. Ladies, as I come uninvited, I beg, if I intrude, you will use the same freedom in turning me out again.
Aman. I believe it is near the time Loveless said he would be at home. He talked of accepting of Lord Foppington's invitation to sup at Sir Tunbelly Clumsy's.
Col. Town. His lordship has done me the honour to invite me also. If you 'll let me escort you, I'll let you into a mystery as we go, in which you must play a part when we arrive.
Aman. But we have two hours yet to spare ; the carriages are not ordered till eight, and it is not a five minutes' drive. So, cousin, let us keep the colonel to play at piquet with us, till Mr. Loveless comes home.
Ber. As you please, madam ; but you know I have a letter to write.
Col. Town. Madam, you know you may command me, though I am a very wretched gamester.
Aman. Oh, you play well enough to lose your money, and that's all the ladies require; and so, without any more ceremony, let us go into the next room, and call for cards and candles.
SCENE III.-BERINTHIA's Dressing-room
Love. So, thus far all 's well : I have got into her dressingroom, and, it being dusk, I think nobody has perceived me steal into the house. I heard Berinthia tell my wife she had some particular letters to write this evening, before she went to Sir Tunbelly's, and here are the implements of correspondence.—How shall I muster up assurance to show myself when she comes ? I think she has given me encouragement; and, to do my impudence justice, I have made the most of it.—I hear a door open, and some one coming. If it should be my wife, what the devil should I say ? I believe she mistrusts me, and, by my life, I don't deserve her tenderness; however, I am determined to reform-though not yet. Ha; Berinthia --So, I'll step in here, till I see what sort of humour she is in.
[Goes into the closei Enter BERINTHIA
Ber. Was ever so provoking a situation ! To think I should sit and hear him compliment Amanda to my face ! I have lost all patience with them both ! I would not for something have Loveless know what temper of mind they have piqued me into; yet I can't bear to leave them together. No, I'll put my papers away, and return to disappoint them.-[Goes to the closet.] -0 Lord ! a ghost I a ghost ! a ghost !
Love. Peace, my angel ! it's no ghost, but one worth a hundred spirits. Ber. How, sir, have you had the insolence to presume to -run in again, here's somebody coming.
(LOVELESS goes into the closet Enter MAID
Maid. O Lord, ma'am! what's the matter ?
Ber. O Heavens! I'm almost frightened out of my wits! I thought verily I had seen a ghost, and 'twas nothing but a black hood pinned against the wall. You may go gain ; I am the fearfullest fool!. [Exit MAID
Love. Is the coast clear ?
Ber. The coast clear! Upon my word, I wonder at your assurance !
Love. Why then you wonder before I have given you a proof of it. But where's my wife ?
Ber. At cards.
Ber. You are so ! Some husbands would be of another mind, were he at ca with their wives.
Love. And they'd be in the right on 't too : but I dare trust mine.
Ber. Indeed! and she, I doubt not, has the same confidence in you. Yet do you think she'd be content to come and find you here ?
Love. Egad, as you say, that's true —Then, for fear she should come, hadn't we better go into the next room, out of her way ?
Ber. What, in the dark ?
Ber. Hold, hold ! you are mistaken in your angel, I assure you.
Love. I hope not; for by this hand I swear-
Love. Impossible ! you cannot be so cruel.
Ber. Never trust myself in a room again with you while I live.
Love. But I have something particular to communicate
Ber. Well, well, before we go to Sir Tunbelly's, I'll walk upon the lawn. If you are fond of a moonlight evening, you 'll find me there.
Love. I' faith, they ’re coming here now -I take you at your word.
(Exit into the closet Ber. "Tis Amanda, as I live! I hope she has not heard his voice; though I mean she should have her share of jealousy in her turn.
Aman. Since you have been gone, Townly has attempted to renew his importunities. I must break with him for I cannot venture to acquaint Mr. Loveless with his conduct.
Ber. Oh, no! Mr. Loveless mustn't know of it by any means.
Aman. Oh, not for the world. I wish, Berinthia, you would undertake to speak to Townly on the subject.
Ber. Upon my word, it would be a very pleasant subject for me to talk upon! But, come, let us go back; and you may depend on 't I'll not leave you together again, if I can help it.
[Exeunt Re-enter LOVELESS
Love. So-SO! a pretty piece of business I have overheard ! Townly makes love to my wife, and I am not to know it for all the world. I must inquire into this—and, by Heaven, if I find that Amanda has, in the smallest degree yet what have I been at here 1—Oh, 'sdeath! that 's no rule.
That wife alone unsullied credit wins,
[Exit ACT FIVE
SCENE I.—The Garden behind LOVELESS's Lodgings
Love. Now, does she mean to make a fool of me, or not? I shan't wait much longer, for my wife will soon be inquiring for me to set out on our supping party. Suspense is at all times the devil, but of all modes of suspense, the watching for a loitering mistress is the worst.—But let me accuse her no longer ; she approaches with one smile to o’erpay the anxieties of a year.
Enter BERINTHIA O Berinthia, what a world of kindness are you in my debt! had you stayed five minutes longer
Ber. You would have gone, I suppose ?
[Aside Ber. And I assure you it was ten to one that I came at all. In short, I begin to think you are too dangerous a being to trifle with; and as I shall probably only make a fool of you at last, I believe we had better let matters rest as they are.
Love. You cannot mean it, sure ?
Ber. What more would you have me give to a married man ?
Love. How doubly cruel to remind me of my misfortunes !
Ber. A misfortune to be married to so charming a woman as Amanda ?
Love. I grant all her merit, but—’sdeath! what you have done by talking of her—she 's here, by all that 's unlucky, and Townly with her.—I 'll observe them.
Ber. O Gad, we had better get out of the way; for I should feel as awkward to meet her as you.
Love. Ay, if I mistake not, I see Townly coming this way also. I must see a little into this matter. [Steps aside
Ber. Oh, if that's your intention, I am no woman if I suffer myself to be outdone in curiosity.
[Goes on the other side
Enter AMANDA Aman. Mr. Loveless come home, and walking on the lawn! I will not suffer him to walk so late, though perhaps