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Abs. Not to please your father, sir ?
Sir Anth. To please my father / zounds I not to pleaseOh, my father-odd so 1-yes-yes; if my father indeed had desired—that's quite another matter. Though he wa’n’t the indulgent father that I am, Jack.
Abs. I dare say not, sir.
Sir Anth. But, Jack, you are not sorry to find your mistress is so beautiful ?
Abs. Sir, I repeat it—if I please you in this affair, 'tis all I desire. Not that I think a woman the worse for being handsome ; but, sir, if you please to recollect, you before hinted something about a hump or two, one eye, and a few more graces of that kind-now, without being very nice, I own I should rather choose a wife of mine to have the usual number of limbs, and a limited quantity of back: and though one eye may be very agreeable, yet as the prejudice has always run in favour of two, I would not wish to affect a singularity in that article.
Sir Anth. What a phlegmatic sot it is ! · Why, sirrah, you're an anchorite /-a vile, insensible stock.
You a soldier 1-you're a walking block, fit only to dust the company's regimentals on! Odds life ! I have a great mind to marry the girl myself.
Abs. I am entirely at your disposal, sir : if you should think of addressing Miss Languish yourself, I suppose you would have me marry the aunt; or if you should change your mind, and take the old lady—'tis the same to meI'll marry the niece.
Sir Anth. Upon my word, Jack, thou’rt either a very great hypocrite, or-but, come, I know your indifference on such a subject must be all a lie I'm sure it mustcome, now-damn your demure face !--come, confess Jack-you have been lying—ha'n't you? You have been playing the hypocrite, hey |--I'll never forgive you, if you ha'n't been lying and playing the hypocrite,
Abs. I'm sorry, sir, that the respect and duty which I bear to you should be so mistaken.
Sir Anth. Hang your respect and duty! Butcome along with me. I'll write a note to Mrs. Malaprop, and you shall visit the lady directly. Her eyes shall be the Promethean torch to you-come along, I'll never forgive you, if you don't come back stark mad with rapture and impatience—if you don't, egad, I will marry the girl myself!
SCENE II.-JULIA's Dressing-room
FAULKLAND discovered alone
Faulk. They told me Julia would return directly ; I wonder she is not yet come ! How mean does this captious, unsatisfied temper of mine appear to my cooler judgment ! Yet I know not that I indulge it in any other point: but on this one subject, and to this one subject, whom I think I love beyond my life, I am ever ungenerously fretful and madly capricious! I am conscious of it—yet I cannot correct myself! What tender honest joy sparkled in her eyes when we met ! how delicate was the warmth of her expressions ! I was ashamed to appear less happy—though I had come resolved to wear a face of coolness and upbraiding. Sir Anthony's presence prevented my proposed expostulations : yet I must be satisfied that she has not been so very happy in my absence. She is coming! Yes! - I know the nimbleness of her tread, when she thinks her impatient Faulkland counts the moments or her stay.
Jul. I had not hoped to see you again so soon.
Faulk. Could I, Julia, be contented with my first welcome-restrained as we were by the presence of a third person ?
Jul. Oh, Faulkland, when your kindness can make me thus happy, let me not think that I discovered something of coldness in your first salutation.
Faulk. 'Twas but your fancy, Julia. I was rejoiced to see you—to see you in such health. Sure I had no cause for coldness ?
Jul. Nay, then, I see you have taken something ill. You must not conceal from me what it is.
Faulk. Well, then-shall I own to you that my joy at hearing of your health and arrival here, by your neighbour Acres, was somewhat damped by his dwelling much on the high spirits you had enjoyed in Devonshire—on your mirth-your singing-dancing, and I know not what ! For such is my temper, Julia, that I should regard every mirthful moment in your absence as a treason to constancy. The mutual tear that steals down the cheek of parting lovers is a compact, that no smile shall live there till they meet again.
Jul. Must I never cease to tax my Faulkland with th teasing minute caprice? Can the idle reports of a sir boor weigh in your breast against my tried affection ?
Faulk. They have no weight with me, Julia : No, i “I am happy if you have been so-yet only say, that you did not sing with mirth-say that you thought of Faulk land in the dance. Jul. I never can be happy in your absence.
If I weai a countenance of content, it is to show that my min? holds no doubt of my Faulkland's truth. If I seeme. sad, it were to make malice triumph ; and say, that had fixed my heart on one, who left me to lament hi. roving, and my own credulity. "Believe me, Faulkland I mean not to upbraid you, when I say, that I have ofte dressed sorrow in smiles, lest my friends should gues whose unkindness' had caused my tears.
Faulk. You were ever all goodness tó me. Oh, I am a brute, when I but admit a doubt of your true constancy.
Jul. If ever without such cause from you, as I will nc suppose possible, you find my affections veering but point, may I become a proverbial scoff for levity and bas ingratitude.
Faulk. Ah ! Julia, that last word, is grating to m I would I had no title to your gratitude ! Search yoo heart, Julia ; perhaps what you have mistaken for lov , is but the warm effusion of a. too thankful heart.
Jul. For what quality must I love you ?
Faulk. For no quality! To regard me for any qua : 43 of mind or understanding, were only to esteem 'me. A for person I have often wished myself deformed, to ej convinced that I owed no obligation there for any part (; yöur affection.
Jul. Where nature has bestowed a show of nice attor tion in the features of a man, he should laugh at it; misplaced. I have seen men, who in this vain article, pa háps, might rank above you ; but my heart has ne 9 A asked my eyes if it were so or not.
dir Faulk. Now this is not well from you, Julia-I des im person in a man-r-yet if you loved me as I wish, tho«T I were an Æthiop, you'd think none so fair.
Jul. I see you are determined to be unkind! The con tract which 'my poor father bound us in gives you more than a lover's privilege.
Faulk. Again, Julia, you raise ideas that feed and justify "my doubts.
I would not have been more free-noI am proud of my restraint. Yet---yet-perhaps your high respect alone for this solemn compact has fettered your inclinations, which else had made a worthier choice. How shall I be sure, had you remained unbound in thought and promise, that I should still have been the object of
your persevering love ? h
Jul. Then try me now. Let us be free as strangers as to what is past: my heart will not feel more liberty! I
Faulk. There now so hasty, Julia ! so anxious to be 211
free! If your love for me were fixed and ardent, you would
, Oh! you torture me to the heart ! I cannot bear it. Faulk. I do not mean to distress you. If I loved you less I should never give you an uneasy moment. But hear 'me. All my fretful doubts arise from this. Women are not used to weigh and separate the motives of their affections: the cold dictates of prudence, gratitude, or filial duty, may sometimes be mistaken for the pleadings of the heart. I would not boast-yét let me say, that I have neither age, person, nor character, to found dislike on; my fortune such as few ladies could be charged with indiscretion in the match. Oh, Julia ! when love receives Tsuch countenance from prudence, nice minds will be suspicious of its birth
Jul. I know not whither your insinuations would tend : hut as they seem pressing to insult me, I will spare you the bgret of having done so.--I have given you no cause for this !
[Exit in tears Faulk. In tears! Stay, Julia : stay but for a moment. ic
The door is fastened 1-Julia l-my soul--but for one moment I hear her sobbing _'Sdeath .. what a brute -Mm I to use her thus ! : Yet stay.--Ay-she is coming
now: how little resolution there is in woman |-how a Pow soft words can turn them kNo, faith she is not
ming either. Why, Julia--my love-say but that you ha rgive me—come but to tell me that—now this is being 280 resentful. Stay ... she is coming too-I thought she could-no steadiness in anything: her going away must have been a mere trick then she shan't see that I was hurt by it. I'll affect indifference -- Hums a ture : then 9. listens.) No---zounds ! she's not coming nor don't intend it, I suppose.—This is not steadiness, but obstinacy!
Yet I deserve it.—What, after so long an absence to quarrel with her tenderness !-'twas barbarous and unmanly I should be ashamed to see her now.-I'll wait till her just resentment is abated-and when I distress her so again, may I lose her for ever! and be linked instead to some antique virago, whose gnawing passions, and long hoarded spleen, shall make me curse my folly half the day and all the night.
SCENE III.-MRS. MALAPROP's Lodgings
MRS. MALAPROP, with a letter in her hand, and CAPTAIN
Mrs. Mal. Your being Sir Anthony's son, captain, would itself be a sufficient accommodation ; but from the ingenuity of your appearance, I am convinced you deserve the character here given of you.
Abs. Permit me to say, madam, that as I never yet have had the pleasure of seeing Miss Languish, my principal inducement in this affair at present is the honour of being allied to Mrs. Malaprop; of whose intellectual accomplishments, elegant manners, and unaffected learning, no tongue is silent. Mrs. Mal. Sir, you do me infinite honour !
I beg, captain, you'll be seated. [They sit.] Ah! few gentlemen, now-a-days, know how to value the ineffectual qualities in a woman I few think how a little knowledge becomes a gentlewoman l-Men have no sense now but for the worthless flower of beauty !
Abs. It is but too true, indeed, ma'am ; yet I fear our ladies should share the blame--they think our admiration of beauty so great, that knowledge in them would be superfluous. Thus, like garden-trees, they seldom show fruit, till time has robbed them of the more specious blossom. Few, like Mrs, Malaprop and the orange-tree, are rich in both at once !
Mrs. Mat. Sir, you overpower me with good-breeding. -He is the very pine-apple of politeness |—You are not ignorant, captain, that this giddy girl has somehow contrived to fix her affections on a beggarly, strolling, eavesdropping ensign, whom none of us have seen, and nobody knows anything of.