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you and Maskwell, are acquainted with the Care. I'm mistaken if there be not a fasecret of my aunt Touchwood's violent passion miliarity between them you do not suspect, for me. Since my first refusal of her ad- for all her passion for you.
dresses, she has endeavoured to do me all Mel. Pho, pho! nothing in the world but ill offices with my uncle; yet has managed his design to do me service; and he endeavours em with that subtilty, that to him they have to be well in her esteem that he may be able borne the face of kindness; while her malice, to effect it.
like a dark lantern, only shone upon me Care, Well, I shall be glad to be mistaken; where it was directed; but, whether urg'd but your aunt's aversion in her revenge, canby her despair, and the short prospect of time not be any way so effectually shown, as in she saw to accomplish her designs, whether promoting a means to disinherit you. She is the hopes of revenge, or of her love, termi- handsome, and cunning, and naturally amorous: nated in the view of this my marriage with Maskwell is flesh and blood at best, and opCynthia, I know not; but this morning she portunities between them are frequent. His surprised me in my own chamber. affection for you, you have confessed, is
Care. Was there ever such a fury? Well, grounded upon his interest; that you have bless us! proceed. What followed? transplanted; and, should it take root in my Mel. It was long before either of us spoke; lady, I don't see what you can expect from passion had tied her tongue, and amazement the fruit.
mine. In short, the consequence was thus; Mel. I confess the consequence is visible she omitted nothing that the most violent love were your suspicions just. could urge, or tender words express; which company is broke up: let's meet 'em. when she saw had no effect, but still I pleaded honour and nearness of blood to my uncle, Re-enter BRISK, with LORD TOUCHWOOD, LORD then came the storm fear'd at first; for, starting from my bedside, like a fury she flew to my sword, and with much ado I prevented her doing me or herself a mischief. Having disarmed her, in a gust of passion she left me, and in a resolution, confirmed by a thousand curses, not to close her eyes till they had seen my ruin,
FROTH, and SIR PAUL PLIANT. Lord T. Out upon't, nephew; leave your father-in-law and me to maintain our ground against young people.
Mel. I beg your lordship's pardon. We were just returning
Sir P. Where you, son? 'Gadsbud, much better as it is-Good, strange! I swear I'm Care. Exquisite woman! But, what the almost tipsy; t'other bottle would have been devil, does she think thou hast no more sense too powerful for me as sure as can be, it than to disinherit thyself? For, as I take it, would: we wanted your company; but, Mr. this settlement upon you is with a proviso Brisk-where is he? I swear and vow he's a that your uncle have no children. most facetious person, and the best company; and, my lord Froth, your lordship is so merry a man, he, he, he!
Mel. It is so. Well, the service you are to do me, will be a pleasure to yourself: I must get you to engage my lady Pliant all this Lord F. O fie, sir Paul, what do you mean? evening, that my pious aunt may not work Merry! O, barbarous! I'd as lieve you call'd her to her interest: and if you chance to me- -fool. secure her to yourself, you may incline her Sir P. Nay, I protest and vow now 'tis to mine. She's handsome, and knows it; is true; when Mr. Brisk jokes, your lordship's very silly, and thinks she has sense; and has laugh does so become you, he, he, he. on old fond husband.
Care. I confess a very fair foundation for a lover to build upon.
Lord F. Ridiculous, sir Paul! you are strangely mistaken: I find champaign is powerful. I assure you, sir Paul, I laugh at nobody's Mel. For my lord Froth, he and his wife jest but my own, or a lady's, I assure you, will be sufficiently taken up with admiring sir Paul. one another, and Brisk's gallantry, as they Brisk. How! how, my lord? What, affront call it. I'll observe my uncle myself; and my wit! Let me perish! do I never say any Jack Maskwell has promised me to watch my thing worthy to be laugh'd at? aunt narrowly, and give me notice upon any Lord F. O fie, don't misapprehend me: I suspicion. As for sir Paul, my wise father- don't say so; for I often smile at your conin-law that is to be, my dear Cynthia has ceptions. But there is nothing more unbesuch a share in his fatherly fondness, he coming a man of quality than to laugh: 'tis would scarce make her a moment uneasy to such a vulgar expression of the passion! every have her happy hereafter. body can laugh. Then especially to laugh at Care. So, you have manned your works: the jest of an inferior person, or when any but I wish you may not have the weakest body else of the same quality does not laugh guard, where the enemy is strongest. with him ridiculous! to be pleased with what pleases the crowd! Now, when I laugh, 1 always laugh alone.
Mel. Maskwell, you mean: pr'ythee, why should you suspect him?
Care. Faith, I cannot help it: you know never lik'd him; I am a little superstitious in physiognomy.
Mel. He has obligations of gratitude to bind him to me; his dependance upon my uncle is through my means.
Care. Upon your aunt, you mean.
Brisk. I suppose that's because you laugh at your own jests, 'egad; ha, ha, ha!
Lord F. He, he! I swear though your raillery provokes me to a smile.
Brisk. Ay, my lord, it's a sign I hit you in the teeth, if you show 'em.
Lord F. He, he, he! I swear that's so very pretty, I can't forbear.
Lord T. Sir Paul, if you please we'll retire prehend.-Take it t'other way: suppose I to the ladies, and drink a dish of tea to settle a witty thing to you. our heads.
Sir P. With all my heart.—Mr. Brisk, you'll come to us or call me when you're going to joke: I'll be ready to laugh incontinently. [Exeunt Lord Touchwood and Sir Paul Pliant.
Mel. But does your lordship never see
Oh no-Never laugh, indeed, sir. Care. No! why what d'ye go there for? Lord F. To distinguish myself from the commonality, and mortify the poets; the fellows grow so conceited when any of their foolish wit prevails upon the side boxes! I swear-he, he, he-I have often constrain'd my inclinations to laugh-he, he, he-to avoid giving them encouragement.
Mel. You are cruel to yourself, my lord, as well as malicious to them.
[To Careless. Care. Then I shall be disappointed indeed. Mel. Let him alone, Brisk; he is obstinately bent not to be instructed.
Brisk. I'm sorrry for him, the deuce take me. Mel. Shall we go to the ladies, my lord? Lord F. With all my heart; methinks we are a solitude without 'em.
Mel. Or, what say you to another bottle of champaign?
Lord F. O, for the universe, not a drop more, I beseech you. Oh, intemperate! 1 have a flushing in my face already.
[Takes out a pocket Glass, and looks in it. Brisk. Let me see, let me see, my lordbroke my glass that was in the lid of my snuff-box. Hum! Deuce take me, I have encouraged a pimple here too.
[Takes the Glass, and looks in it. Lord F. Then you must fortify him with a patch; my wife shall supply you. Come, gentlemen, allons. [Exeunt.
Lord F. I confess I did myself some violence at first; but now I think I have conquered it. Brisk. Let me perish, my lord, but there is something very particular and novel in the humour; 'tis true, it makes against wit, and I'm sorry for some friends of mine that write; for your ladyship's service. but-'egad, I love to be malicious. Nay, deuce take me, there's wit in't too; and wit must be foil'd by wit: cut a diamond with a diamond; no other way, 'egad.
Enter MASKWELL and LADY TOUCHWOOD. Lady T. I'll hear no more. You're false and ungrateful; come, I know you false. Mask. I have been frail, I confess, madam,
Lord F. Oh, I thought you would not be long before you found out the wit.
Care. Wit! in what? Where the devil's the wit, in not laughing when a man has a mind to't?
Lady T. That I should trust a man whom had known betray his friend!
Mask. What friend have I betray'd? or to whom?
Lady T. Your fond friend, Mellefont, and to me; can you deny it? Mask. I do not.
Lady T. Have you not wrong'd my lord, who has been a father to you in your wants, Brisk. O Lord, why can't you find it out? and given you being? Have you not wrong'd Why, there 'tis, in the not laughing.-Don't him in the highest manner? you apprehend me?- My lord, Careless is a
Mask. With your ladyship's help, and for very honest fellow; but, harkye, you under- your service, as I told you before-I can't stand me, somewhat heavy; a little shallow, deny that neither. Any thing more, madam? or so. Why, I'll tell you now: suppose now Lady T. More, audacious villain! O, what's you come up to me-nay, pr'ythee, Careless, more is most my shame-Have you not disbe instructed-Suppose, as I was saying, you honour'd me?
come up to me, holding your sides, and Mask. No, that I deny; for I never told in laughing as if you would-Well! I look grave, all my life; so that accusation's answer'd-on and ask the cause of this immoderate mirth: to the next.
you laugh on still, and are not able to tell Lady T. Death! do you dally with my pasme: still I look grave; not so much as smile- sion? insolent devil! But have a care; provoke Care. Smile! no; what the devil should me not; you shall not escape my vengeance. you smile at, when you suppose I can't-Calm villain! how unconcern'd he stands, tell you? confessing treachery and ingratitude! Is there Brisk. Pshaw, pshaw, pr'ythee don't inter- a vice more black? O, I have excuses, thourupt me--but I tell you, you shall tell me at sands, for my faults: fire in my temper; paslast; but it shall be a great while first. sions in my soul, apt to every provocation Care. Well, but pr'ythee don't let it be a oppressed at once with love, and with despair. great while, because I long to have it over. Brisk. Well then, you tell me some good jest, or very witty thing, laughing all the while as if you were ready to die- and I hear it, and look thus; would not you be disappointed?
But a sedate, a thinking villain, whose black blood runs temperately bad, what excuse can clear?
Mask. Will you be in temper, madam? I would not talk not to be heard. I have been a very great rogue for your sake, and you Care. No; for if it were a witty thing, I reproach me with it; I am ready to be a rogue should not expect you to understand it. still to do you service; and you are flinging Lord F. O fie, Mr. Careless; all the world conscience and honour in my face, to rebale allow Mr. Brisk to have wit: my wife says my inclinations. How am I to behave myself? he has a great deal; I hope you think her You know I am your creature; my life and a judge. fortune in your power; to disoblige you brings Brisk. Pho, my lord, his voice goes for me certain ruin. Allow it, I would betray nothing I can't tell how to make him ap-you, I would not be a traitor to myself: I
don't pretend to honesty, because you know
Lady T. How, how? thou dear, thou pre
I am a rascal: but I would convince you, cious villain, how? from the necessity, of my being firm to you.
Mask. You have already been tampering
Lady T. Necessity, impudence! Can no gra- with my lady Pliant. titude incline you? no obligations touch you?
Lady T. I have: she is ready for any im
Were you not in the nature of a servant? pression I think fit. and have not I, in effect, made you lord of Mask. She must be thoroughly persuaded all, of me, and of my lord? Where is that that Mellefont loves her, humble love, the languishing, that adoration which was once paid me, and everlastingly engaged?
Mask. Fixed, rooted in my heart, whence nothing can remove 'em; yet youLady T. Yet; what yet?
Mask. Nay, misconceive me not, madam, when I say I have had a generous, and a faithful passion, which you had never favoured but through revenge and policy.
Lady T. Ha!
Lady T. She is so credulous that way naturally, and likes him so well, that she will believe it faster than I can persuade her. But I don't see what you can propose from such a trifling design; for her first conversing with Mellefont will convince her of the contrary.
Mask. I know it.-I don't depend upon it; but it will prepare something else, and gain us leisure to lay a stronger plot: if I gain a little time, I shall not want contrivance. One minute gives invention to destroy What, to rebuild, will a whole age employ. [Exeunt.
SCENE I.-The same.
Enter LADY FROTH and CYNTHIA.
Mask. Look you, madam, we are alonepray contain yourself, and hear me. know you lov'd your nephew, when I first sigh'd for you; I quickly found it: an argument that I loved; for, with that art you veil'd your passion, 'twas imperceptible to all but jealous eyes. This discovery made me bold, I confess it; for by it I thought you in my power: your nephew's scorn of you added to my hopes; I watched the occasion, and took one wink for three weeks together. you, just repulsed by him, warm at once with Cyn. Prodigious! I wonder want of sleep, love and indignation; your disposition, my and so much love, and so much wit as your arguments, and happy opportunity, accom-ladyship has, did not turn your brain. plish'd my design. How I have loved you Lady F. O, my dear Cynthia, you must not since, words have not shown; then how should rally your friend. But really, as you say, I words express? wonder too-But then I had a way; for, be
Lady T. Well, mollifving devil! and have tween you and I, I had whimsies and vapours; I not met your love with forward fire? but I gave them vent.
Mask. Your zeal, 1 grant, was ardent, but misplaced: there was revenge in view; that woman's idol had defil'd the temple of the god, and love was made a mock-worship. - A son and heir would have edg'd young Mellefont upon the brink of ruin, and left him nought but you to catch at for prevention.
Lady T. Again, provoke me! Do you wind me like a larum, only to rouse my own still'd soul for your diversion? Confusion!
Cyn. How pray, madam?
Lady F. O, I writ; writ abundantly. - Do you never write?
Cyn. Write! what?
Lady F. Songs, elegies, satires, encomiums, panegyrics, lampoons, plays, or heroic poems. Cyn. O Lord, not I, madam; I'm content to be a courteous reader.
Lady F. O, inconsistent! In love, and not write! If my lord and I had been both of Mask. Nay, madam, I'm gone, if you re- your temper, we had never come together.-lapse. What needs this? I say nothing but O, bless me! what a sad thing would that have what yourself, in open hours of love, have been, if my lord and I should never have met! told me. Why should you deny it? Nay, Cyn. Then neither my lord or you would how can you? Is not all this present heat ever have met with your match, on my conowing to the same fire? Do not you love him science.
still? How have I this day offended you, but Lady F. O'my conscience, no more we in not breaking off his match with Cynthia? should; thou say'st right; for sure my lord which, ere to-morrow, shall be done, had you but patience.
Froth is as fine a gentleman, and as much a man of quality!-Ah! nothing at all of the Lady T. How! what said you, Maskwell? common air-I think I may say, he wants no-Another caprice to unwind my temper? thing but a blue ribbon and a star to make Mask. No, by my love, I am your slave; him shine the very phosphorus of our hemithe slave of all your pleasures; and will not sphere. Do you understand those two hard rest till I have given you peace, would you words? If you don't I'll explain 'em to you. suffer me. Cyn. Yes, yes, madam, I'm not so ignorant. Lady T. O, Maskwell, in vain do I disguise-At least I won't own it, to be troubled with me from thee; thou knowest me; knowest the your instructions. [Aside. very inmost windings and recesses of my soul. Lady F. Nay, I beg your pardon; but, beO Mellefont!-Married to-morrow!-Despair ing derived from the Greek, I thought you strikes me. Yet my soul knows I hate him might have escap'd the etymology. But I'm too let him but once be mine, and next im- the more amazed, to find you a woman of mediate ruin seize him. letters, and not write! Bless me, how can Mel
Mask. Compose yourself; you shall have lefont believe you love him? your wish.-Will that please you?
Cyn. Why faith, madam, he that won't take
Gyn. He does no, indeed, offret etter pers- Mel As, my bed, I sual have the same ness or formality; for walsh I like him: nere measca de mi nacolzess that your lordship bas. 1 17. think myself happy.
Lady P. And my lord with him: pray observe the difference
Enter LORD FROTH, MILLIONI, and BRISL
Brisk. Your ladyship is in the right; [To Lid, Free] but, egid, I'm wholly turned lats satire. I confess I write but seldom; but wien I do—kren i mɔies, "egad.—But my lord was telling me, your ladyship has made an [Aride, essay toward an arrose poem.
Cyn. Impertinent creature! I could almost
be angry with her now.
Lady F. My lord, I have been telling Cyn- Lad. F. Did my lord tell you? Yes, I vow, this how much I have been in love with you; and the subject is my lord's love to me. And I swear I have; I'm not ashamed to own it what do you think [eali it? I dare swear you now; ah! it makes my heart leap; I vow I won't guess-The Syil bub, ha, ha, ha! sigs when I think ont-My dear lord! Ha, ha, ha! do you remember, my lord?
[Squeezes him by the Hand, looks kindly on him, sighs, and then laughs out. Lord F. Pleasant creature! Perfectly well, Ab! that look, ay, there it is; who could rsist? I was so my heart was made a captive first, and ever since it has been in love with happy slavery.
Brisk. Because my lord's title's Froth, 'egad, ha, ha, ha!-deace take me, very apropos and surprising, ba, ba, ha!
Lady F. Hey, ay, is not it? And then I call my lord Spumoso; and myself-what dye think I call my self?
Brisk. Lactilia, may be-gad, I cannot tell, Lady F. Biddy, that's all; just my own name. Brisk. Biddy! 'egad, very pretty - deuce Lady F. O that tongue, that dear deceitful take me, if your ladyship has not the art of tongue! that charming softness in your mien surprising the most naturally in the world. I and your expression-and then your bow! hope you'll make me happy in communicating Good, my lord, bow as you did when I gave the poem.
you my picture. Here, suppose this my pic- Lady F. O, you must be my confidant; 1 ture-(Gives him a pocket Glass] Pray mind must ask your advice.
my lord; ah! he bows charmingly. [Lord Brisk. I'm your humble servant, let me peFroth bows profoundly low, then kisses the rish. I presume your ladyship has read Bossu? Glass Nay, my lord, you shan't kiss it so much; I shall grow jealous, I vow now. Lord F. I saw myself there, and kissed it for your sake.
Lady F. Ah! gallantry to the last degree. Mr. Brisk, you're a judge; was ever any thing' so well bred as my lord?
Brisk. Never any thing-but your ladyship, let me perish.
Lady F. O, prettily turned again! let me die but you have a great deal of wit.-Mr. Mellefont, don't you think Mr. Brisk has a world of wit?
Mel. O yes, madam.
Brisk. O heavens, madam
-Lady F. More wit than any body.
Brisk. I'm everlastingly your humble ser
vant, deuce take me, madam.
Lady F. O yes; and Kapin, and Dacier upon Aristotle and Horace. My lord, you must not be jealous, I'm communicating all to Mr. Brisk.
Lord F. No, no, I'll allow Mr. Brisk. Have you nothing about you to show him, my dear? Lady F. Yes, I believe I have. Mr. Brisk, come, will you go into the next room? and there I'll show you what I have.
[Exit with Brisk. Lord F. I'll walk a turn in the garden, and come to you. [Exil
Mel. You're thoughtful, Cynthia. Cyn. I'm thinking that though marriage makes man and wife one flesh, it leaves 'em still two fools; and they become more conspicuous by setting off) one another.
Mel. That's only when two fools meet, and their follies are opposed.
Cyn. Nay, I have known two wits meet, and by the opposition of their wit, render Lord F. Don't you think us a happy cou- themselves as ridiculous as fools. Matrimony ple? To Cyn. is a hazardous game to engage in. What Cyn. I vow, my lord, I think you are the think you of drawing stakes, and giving over happiest couple in the world; for you're not in time?
only happy in one another, and when you are Mel. No, hang't, that's not endeavouring to together, but happy in yourselves, and by win, because it's possible we may lose; since yourselves. we have shuffled and cut, let's e'en turn up trump now.
Lord F. I hope Mellefont will make a good husband too.
Cyn. 'Tis my interest to believe he will, my
1) For instance, a lady's white hand is set off embellished) by the contrast of the black keys of the pianoforte; and gentlemen generally prefer to play on an ebony flute.
Lady P. Inhuman and treacherousSir P. Thou serpent and first tempter of womankind—
Cyn. Bless me! Sir-madam-what mean
Cyn. Then I find it's like cards; if either of us have a good hand, it is an accident of fortune. Mel. No, marriage is rather like a game at bowls; fortune indeed makes the match, and the two nearest, and sometimes the two fur-you? thest are together; but the game depends en- Sir P. Thy, Thy, come away, Thy; touch tirely upon judgment. him not; come hither, girl; go not near him, there's nothing but deceit about him; snakes are in his looks, and the crocodile of Nilus is Mel. Not at all; only a friendly trial of skill, in his wicked appetite; he would devour thy and the winnings to be laid out in an enter- fortune, and starve thee alive.
Cyn. Still it is a game, and consequently one of us must be a loser.
Lady P. Dishonourable, impudent creature! Mel. For heaven's sake, madam, to whom do you direct this language?
Enter SIR PAUL and LADY PLIANT. Sir P. 'Gadsbud! I am provoked into a fer- Lady P. Have I behaved myself with all the mentation, as my lady Froth says. Was ever decorum and nicety befitting the person of sir the like read of in story? Paul's wife; have I preserved my honour as
Lady P. Sir Paul, have patience, let me it were in a snow-house; have I, I say, prealone to rattle him up. served myself like a fair sheet of paper, for you to make a blot upon?
Sir P. 'Pray your ladyship, give me leave to be angry; I'll rattle him up, I warrant you; I'll teach him, with a certiorari, to make love to my wife.
Sir P. And she shall make a simile with any woman in England.
Mel. I am so amazed, I know not what to
Lady P. You teach him! I'll teach him my-say. self; so pray, sir Paul, hold you contented.
Sir P. Do you think my daughter-this Sir P. Hold yourself contented, my lady Pli- pretty creature-'Gadsbud, she's a wife for a ant; I find passion coming upon me even to cherubim!-Do you think her fit for nothing desperation, and I cannot submit as formerly, but to be a stalking-horse, 1) to stand before therefore give way. you while you take aim at my wife? 'Gadsbud, I was never angry before in my life, and I'll never be appeased again.
Lady P. How now? will you be pleased to retire, and
Mel. Confusion! this is my aunt; such malice can be engendered no where else. [Aside. Lady P. Sir Paul, take Cynthia from his sight; leave me to strike him with the remorse of his intended crime.
Sir P. No, marry, will I not be pleased; I am pleased to be angry, that's my pleasure at Mel. What can this mean? [this time, Lady P. 'Gads my life, the man's distracted. Why, how now, who are you? What am I? Slidikins, can't I govern you? What did I Cyn. Pray, sir, stay; hear him; I dare afmarry you for? Am I not to be absolute and firm he's innocent. uncontrolable? Is it fit a woman of my spirit Sir P. Innocent! Why, harkye; come hiand conduct should be contradicted in a mat-ther, Thy, harkye, I had it from his aunt, my ter of this concern? sister Touchwood. 'Gadsbud, he does not care
Sir P. It concerns me, and only me; besi- a farthing for any thing of thee, but thy pordes, I'm not to be governed at all times. When tion; why he's in love with my wife; he I am in tranquillity, my lady Pliant shall com- would have tantalized thee, and dishonour'd mand sir Paul; but when I'm provoked to thy poor father, and that would certainly have fury, I cannot incorporate with patience and broke my heart. I'm sure, if ever I should reason; as soon may tigers match with tigers, have horns, they would kill me; they would lambs with lambs, and every creature couple never come kindly; I should die of 'em, like with its foe, as the poet says. any child that was cutting his teeth-I should
Lady P. He's hot-headed still! 'Tis in vain indeed, Thy, therefore come away; but Proto talk to you; but remember I have a cur-vidence has prevented all, therefore come away tain-lecture1) for you, you disobedient, head- when I bid you. strong brute:
Cyn. I must obey. [Exit with Sir Paul. Sir P. No, 'tis because I won't be headstrong, Lady P. O, such a thing! the impiety of it because I won't be a brute, and have my head startles me; to wrong so good, so fair a creafortified, that I am thus exasperated. But I ture, and one that loves you tenderly: 'tis a will protect my honour: and yonder is the barbarity of barbarities, and nothing could be violater of my fame. guilty of it
Lady P. Tis my honour that is concerned, Mel. But the greatest villain imagination can and the violation was intended to me. Your form, I grant it; and next to the villany of honour! you have none! but what is in my such a fact, is the villany of aspersing me with keeping, and I can dispose of it when I please; the guilt. How? which way was I to wrong therefore don't provoke me. her? for yet I understand you not.
Sir P. Hum,'gadsbud, she says true. [Aside] Well, my lady, march on; I will fight under you then: I am convinced, as far as passion will permit. [Sir Paul and Lady Pliant come up to Mellefont.
1) Tis a dreadful thing for a man to be subject to the threats of a curtain-lecture; but what a scene when put in practice. The lady commences her discourses in bed, depriving the husband of his sleep-It is called curtain-lecture from the bed curtains.
Lady P. Why, 'gads my life, cousin Mellefont, you cannot be so peremptory as to
1) It is a custom to go on moonlight nights shooting cur-