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deny it, when I tax you with it to your face; all thoughts of the marriage; for though I for, now sir Paul's gone, you are corum nobus. know you don't love Cynthia, only as a blind Mel. By heaven, I love her more than life, for year passion to me, yet it will make me jealous-O Lord, what did I say? Jealous! Lady P. Fiddle, faddle, don't tell me of this no, no, I can't be jealous; for I must not love and that, and every thing in the world; but you therefore don't hope-but don't despair give me mathemacular demonstration, answer neither. O, they're coming, I must fly. [Exit. me directly. But I have not patience. Oh! Mel. [After a Pause] So then, spite of my the impiety of it, as I was saying, and the un-care and foresight, 1 am caught, caught in my paralleled wickedness! O merciful father! how security: yet this was but a shallow artifice, could you think to reverse nature so, to make unworthy of my machiavilian aunt: there must the daughter the means of procuring the mother! be more behind: destruction follows hard, if Mel. The daughter procure the mother! not presently prevented. Lady P. Ay; for though I am not Cynthia's own mother, I am her father's wife; and that's near enough to make it incest.
Maskwell, welcome! Thy presence is a view Mel. O my precious aunt, and the devil in of land appearing to my shipwrecked hopes: conjunction! [Aside. the witch has raised the storm, and her miniLady P. O reflect upon the horror of that, sters have done their work; you see the vesand then the guilt of deceiving every body; sels are parted.
marrying the daughter, only to dishonour the Mask. I know it: I met sir Paul towing father; and then seducing meaway Cynthia. Come, trouble not your head, Mel. Where am I? is it day? and am I'll join you together ere to-morrow morning, awake? Madamor drown between you in the attempt.
Lady P. And nobody knows how circum- Mel. There's comfort in a hand stretch'd stances may happen together. To my think-out to one that's sinking, though never so far ing now, I could resist the strongest tempta- off.
tion; but yet I know 'tis impossible for me Mask. No sinking, nor no danger. Come, to know whether I could or no; there's no cheer up; why, you don't know that, while I certainty in the things of this life.
Mel. Madam, pray give me leave to ask you one question.
plead for you, your aunt has given me a retaining fee; nay, I am your greatest enemy, and she does but journey-work under me. Mel. Ha! how's this?
Lady P. O Lord, ask me the question! I'll swear I'll refuse it; I swear I'll deny it, there- Mask. What d'ye think of my being emfore don't ask me; nay, you shan't ask me; ployed in the execution of all her plots? Ha, I swear I'll deny it. Ogemini, you have ha, ha! Nay, it's true: I have undertaken to brought all the blood into my face; I warrant, break the match: I have undertaken to make I am as red as a turkey-cock. O fie, cousin your uncle disinherit you; to get you turn'd Mellefont! out of doors, and to-Ha, ha, ha!-I can't tell Mel. Nay, madam, hear me you for laughing-O she has opened her heart Lady P. Ilear you? No, no: I'll deny you to me-I'm to turn you a grazing, and tofirst, and hear you afterwards; for one does Ha, ha, ha! marry Cynthia myself; there's a not know how one's mind may change upon plot for you.
hearing. Hearing is one of the senses, and Mel. Ha! O see, I see my rising sun! Light all the senses are fallible; I won't trust my breaks through clouds upon me, and I shall honour, I assure you; my honour is infallible live in day.-O, my Maskwell, how shall I and un-come-at-ible.
thank or praise thee! thou hast outwitted woMel. For heaven's sake, madamman. But tell me, how couldst thou thus get Lady P. O name it no more.-Bless me, into her confidence, ha-how? But was it her how can you talk of heaven, and have so much contrivance to persuade my lady Pliant to this wickedness in your heart? May be, you don't extravagant belief? think it a sin-they say some of you gentle- Mask. It was; and, to tell you the truth, I men don't think it a sin-Indeed, if I did not encouraged it for your diversion: though it think it a sin-But still my honour, if it were made you a little uneasy for the present, yet no sin-But then, to marry my daughter, for the reflection of it must needs be entertaining. the conveniency of frequent opportunities-I'll I warrant she was very violent at first. never consent to that; as sure as can be, l'll| break the match.
Mel. Ha, ha, ha! Ay, a very fury. Mask. Ha, ha, ha! I know her temper. Well, you must know then that all my contrivances were but bubbles; till at last I pretended to Lady P. Nay, nay, rise up: come, you shall have been long secretly in love with Cynthia; see my good nature. I know love is power- that did my business; that convinced your ful, and nobody can help his passion: 'tis not aunt I might be trusted; since it was as much your fault, nor I swear it is not mine. How my interest as hers to break the match: then can I help it, if I have charms? And how can she thought my jealousy might qualify me to you help it, if you are made a captive? O assist her in her revenge; and, in short, in Lord, here's somebody coming; I dare not that belief, told me the secrets of her heart. stay. Well, you must consider of your crime, At length we made this agreement: if I acand strive as much as can be against it-strive, complish her designs (as I told you before), be sure: but don't be melancholy, don't de- she has engaged to put Cynthia, with all her spair: but never think that I'll grant you any fortune, into my power.
Mel. Death and amazement! Madam, upon my knees
thing-O Lord, no: but be sure you lay aside Mel. She is most gracious in her favour.
Well, and, dear Jack, how hast thou contrived?
Lord T. There should have been demonMask. I would not have you stay to hear stration of the contrary too, before it had been it now; for I don't know but she may come believed. this way. I am to meet her anon; after that Pil tell you the whole matter. Be here in this gallery an hour hence: by that time, I imagine, our consultation may be over.
Mel. I will. Till then, success attend thee.
Mask. Till then, success will attend me;
Lady T. So I suppose there was.
Lord T. How? where? when?
Lady T. That I can't tell; nay, I don't say there was; I am willing to believe as favourably of my nephew as I can. Lord T. I don't know that.
Lady T. His defence? Bless me, would you have me defend an ill thing?
Lord T. You believe it then?
[Half aside. Lady T. How? Don't you believe that, say for when I meet you, I meet the only obstacle you, my lord? to my fortune.--Čynthia, let thy beauty gild Lord T. No, I don't say so. I confess I am my crimes; and whatsoever I commit of treach-troubled to find you so cold in his defence. ery or deceit shall be imputed to me as a merit.-Treachery! what treachery? Love cancels all the bonds of friendship, and sets men right upon their first foundations. Duty to Lady T. I don't know; I am very unwillkings, piety to parents, gratitude to benefac- ing to speak my thoughts in any thing that tors, and fidelity to friends, are different and may be to my cousin's disadvantage; besides, particular ties: but the name of rival cuts 'em I find, my lord, you are prepared to receive all asunder, and is a general acquittance. Ri- an ill impression from any opinion of mine, val is equal; and love, like death, a universal which is not consenting with your own; but Jeveller of mankind.—Íla! but is there not such since I am like to be suspected in the end, a thing as honesty? Yes, and whosoever has and 'tis a pain any longer to dissemble, I own it about him bears an enemy in his breast; it to you: in short, I do believe it; nay, and for your honest man, as I take it, is that nice, can believe any thing worse, if it were laid scrupulous, conscientious person, who will to his charge.-Don't ask me my reasons, my cheat nobody but himself: such another cox-lord; for they are not fit to be told you. comb as your wise man, who is too hard for Lord T. I'm amazed! Here must be someall the world, and will be made a fool of by thing more than ordinary in this. [Aside] Not nobody but himself.-Ha, ha, ha! Well, for fit to be told me, madam? You can have no wisdom and honesty, give me cunning and interests wherein I am not concerned; and hypocrisy! Oh, 'tis such a pleasure to angle consequently the same reasons ought to be for fairfaced fools! Then that hungry gudgeon, convincing to me, which create your satisfaccredulity, will bite at any thing. Why, let tion or disquiet. me see: I have the same face, the same words Lady T. But those which cause my disquiet, and accents, when I speak what I do think, I am willing to have remote from your hearand when I speak what I do not think; the ing. Good my lord, don't press me. very same: and dear dissimulation is the only Lord T. Don't oblige me to press you. art not to be known from nature. Lady T. Whatever it was, 'tis past; and Why will mankind be fools, and be deceiv'd? that is better to be unknown, which cannot And why are friends and lovers' oaths believ'd? be prevented; therefore let me beg of you to When each, who searches strictly his own
May so much fraud and power of baseness
Lord T. When you have told me I will.
SCENE I.-The same.
Lord T. By my life, my dear, I will.
Enter LORD and LADY TOUCHWOOD,
Lord T. How? Then I must know; nay, will: : no more trifling-I charge you -by all our mutual peace to come, upon your duty
Lady T. My lord, can you blame my bro- Lady T. Nay, my lord, you need say no ther Pliant, if he refuse his daughter upon this provocation? The contract's void by this unheard-of impiety.
Lord T. I don't believe it true; he has better principles-pho, 'tis nonsense. Come, come, I know my lady Pliant: 'tis not the first time she has mistaken respect for love, and made sir Paul jealous of the civility of an undesigning person, the better to bespeak his security in her unfeigned pleasures.
Lady T. You censure hardly, my lord: sister's honour is very well known.
Lady T. But will you promise me not to Lord T. Yes, I believe I know some that be angry?-nay, you must not to be angry have been familiarly acquainted with it. This with Mellefont?I dare swear he's sorry; and,
is a little trick wrought by some pitiful contriver, envious of my nephew's merit,
were it to do again, would not
Lord T. Sorry for what? 'Death, you rack Lady T. Nay, my lord, it may be so, and me with delay.
I hope it will be found so; but that will re- Lady T. Nay, no great matter, only-well, quire some time; for, in such a case as this, I have your promise-pho, why nothing, only demonstration is necessary. your nephew had a mind to amuse himself
sometimes with a little gallantry towards must be performed in the remaining part of me. Nay, I can't think he meant any thing this evening, and before the company break seriously; but methought it looked oddly. up, lest my lord should cool, and have an Lord T. Confusion! what do I hear? opportunity to talk with him privately: my Lady T. Or, may be, he thought he was lord must not see him again. not enough akin to me upon your account, Mask. By no means; therefore you must and had a mind to create a nearer relation aggravate my lord's displeasure to a degree on his own; a lover, you know, my lord-ha, that will admit of no conference with him.ha, ha!--Well, but that's all. Now you have What think you of mentioning me?
it. Well, remember your promise, my lord; and don't take any notice of it to him.
Lord T. No, no, no.
Lady T. Nay, I swear you must not a little harmless mirth-only misplaced, that's all. But if it were more, 'tis over now, and all's well. For my part, I have forgot it; and so has he, I hope; for I have not heard any thing from him these two days.
Lady T. How?
Mask. To my lord, as having been privy to Mellefont's design upon you, but still using my utmost endeavours to dissuade him: though my friendship and love to him has made me conceal it, yet you may say I threatened the next time he attempted any thing of that kind, to discover it to my lord. Lady T. To what end is this?
Lord T. These two days! Is it so fresh?— Mask. It will confirm my lord's opinion of Unnatural villain! I'll have him stripped, and my honour and honesty, and create in him a turned naked out of my doors this moment, new confidence in me, which (should this deand let him rot and perish!
Lady T. O, my lord, you'll ruin me, if you take such public notice of it; it will be town-talk: consider your own and my honour. -Stay, I told you you would not be satisfied when you knew it.
sign miscarry) will be necessary to the forming of another plot that I have in my head a-to cheat you, as well as the rest. [Aside. Lady T. Til do it.
Mask. You had best go to my lord, keep him as long as you can in his closet, and I satis-doubt not but you will mould him to what you please: your guests are so engaged in my their own follies and intrigues, they'll miss neither of you.
Lord T. Before I've done, I will be fied. Ungrateful monster! How longLady T. Lord, I don't know: I wish lips had grown together when I told you. Almost a twelvemonth-nay, I won't tell you Lady T. When shall we meet?-At eight any more, till you are yourself. Pray, my this evening in my chamber; there rejoice at lord, don't let the company see you in this our success, and toy away an hour in mirth. disorder: yet I confess I can't blame you; Mask. I will not fail. [Exit Lady Touchfor I think I was never so surprised in my wood] I know what she means well enough. life. Who would have thought my nephew I have lost all appetite to her; yet she's a fine could have so misconstrued my kindness?- woman, and I loved her once; but I don't But will you go into your closet, and recover know, the case is altered; what was my pleayour temper? I'll make an excuse of sudden sure is become my duty; and I am as indifbusiness to the company, and come to you. ferent to her now, as if I were her husband. Pray, good, dear my lord, let me beg you do Should she smoke my design upon Cynthia, now: I'll come immediately, and tell you all. I were in a fine pickle. She has a penetrayou, my lord?
Lord T. I will. I am mute with wonder.
ting head, and knows how to interpret a coldness the right way; therefore I must dissemble
Lady T. Well, but go now; here's some- ardour and ecstacy, that's resolved. How easily body coming.
Lord T. Well, I go. You won't stay;
and pleasantly is that dissembled before frui for tion! Plague on't, that a man can't drink without quenching his thirst.-Ha! yonder comes Mellefont, thoughtful. Let me think: meet her at eight-hum-ha! I have it. If I can speak to my lord before, I will deceive 'em all, and yet secure myself. 'Twas a lucky thought! Well, this double dealing is a jewel. — Here he comes-now for me.
[Exit Lord Touchwood. Enter MASKWELL.
Mask. This was a masterpiece, and did not need my help; though I stood ready for a cue to come in, and confirm all, had there
Lady T. Have you seen Mellefont?
Enter MELLEFONT, musing.-MASKWELL, pretending not to see him, walks by him, and speaks, as it were, to himself.
Mask. I have; and am to meet him here Mercy on us! what will the wickedness of this about this time. world come to!
Lady T. How does he bear his disappointment?
Mel. How now, Jack? What, so full of contemplation that you run over? Mask. Secure in my assistance, he seemed Mask. I'm glad you're come, for I could not much afflicted, but rather laughed at the not contain myself any longer; and was just shallow artifice, which so little time must of going to give vent to a secret, which nobody necessity discover: yet he is apprehensive of but you ought to drink down. Your aunt's some further design of yours, and has engaged just gone from hence. me to watch you. I believe he will hardly Mel. And having trusted thee with the sebe able to prevent your plot; yet I would crets of her soul, thou art villanously bent to have you use caution and expedition. discover 'em all to me, ha?
Lady T. Expedition indeed; for all we do
Mask. I'm afraid my frailty leans that way;
Mel. What dost thou mean?
Mask. Listen, and be dumb: we have been bargaining about the rate of your ruin — Mel. Like any two guardians to an orphan heiress. Well.
Mask. And whereas pleasure is generally paid with mischief, what mischief I shall do is to be paid with pleasure.
Mel. So when you've swallowed the potion, you sweeten your mouth with a plum?
Mel. Why, what's the matter? She's con vinced that I don't care for her.
Care. I can't get an answer from her, that does not begin with her honour, or her virtue, or some such cant. Then she has told me the whole history of sir Paul's nine years' courtship; how he has lain for whole nights together upon the stairs, before her chamberdoor; and that the first favour he received from her, was a piece of an old scarlet petticoat for a stomacher; which, since the day of his marriage, he has, out of a piece of gallantry, converted into a night-cap; and wears it still, with much solemnity, on his anniversary wedding-night.
Mel. You are very great with him. I wonder he never told you his grievances: he will, I warrant you.
Mask. You are merry, sir; but I shall probe Care. Excessively foolish!—But that which your constitution: in short, the price of your gives me most hopes of her, is her telling me banishment is to be paid with the person of-of the many temptations she has resisted. Mel. Of Cynthia, and her fortune. - Why, you forget, you told me this before.
Mask. No, no; so far you are right; I am, as an earnest of that bargain, to full and free possession of the person your aunt.
Mel. Nay, then you have her; for a WOman's bragging to a man that she has overand come temptations, is an argument that they have were weakly offered, and a challenge to him of-to engage her more irresistibly. Here she comes with sir Paul. I'll leave you. Ply her Mel. Ha!--Pho! you trifle. close, and by-and-by clap a billet-doux into Mask. By this light, I'm serious, all raillery her hand; for a woman never thinks a apart, I knew 'twould stun you. This eve- truly in love with her, till he has been fool ning, at eight, she will receive me in her bed- enough to think of her out of her sight, and chamber. to lose so much time as to write to her. [Exit.
Mel. Hell and the devil! is she abandoned of all grace?-Why, the woman is possessed. Mask. Well, will you go in my stead? Mel. Into a hot furnace sooner. Mask. No you would not; it would not be so convenient, as I can order matters.
Mel. What d'ye mean?
Enter SIR PAUL and LADY PLIANT.
Care. You bring that along with you, sir Paul, that shall be always welcome to my privacy.
Sir P. O, sweet sir, you load your humble servants, both me and my wife, with continual favours.
Mask. Mean! not to disappoint the lady, I assure you.-Ha, ha, ha! how gravely he looks. -Come, come, I won't perplex you. 'Tis the only thing that Providence could have contrived Lady P. Sir Paul, what a phrase was there! to make me capable of serving you, either to You will be making answers, and taking that my inclination or your own necessity. upon you which ought to lie upon me: that Mel. How, how, for heaven's sake, dear you should have so little breeding, to think Maskwell? Mr. Careless did not apply himself to me.
Mask. Why thus: I'll go according to ap- Pray what have you to entertain any body's pointment; you shall have notice, at the cri- privacy? I swear and declare, in the face of tical minute, to come and surprise your aunt the world, I'm ready to blush for your ignoand me together. Counterfeit a rage against me, and I'll make my escape through the pri- Sir P. I acquiesce, my lady; but don't snub vate passage from her chamber, which I'll take so loud. [Apart. care to leave open. 'Twill be hard if then Lady P. Mr. Careless, if a person that is you can't bring her to any conditions; for wholly illiterate might be supposed to be cathis discovery will disarm her of all defence, pable of being qualified to make a suitable and leave her entirely at your mercy: nay, return to those obligations, which you are she must ever after be in awe of you, pleased to confer upon one that is wholly inMel. Let me adore thee, my better genius! capable of being qualified in all those circum I think it is not in the power of fate now to stances, I'm sure I should rather attempt it disappoint my hopes-my hopes? my certainty! than any thing in the world; [Courtesies] Mask. Well, I'll meet you here, within a for, I'm sure, there's nothing in the world quarter of eight, and give you notice.
Mel. Good fortune ever go with thee!
that I would rather. [Courtesies] But I know Mr. Careless is so great a critic, and so fine a gentleman, that it is impossible for meCare. O heavens, madam! you confound me. Sir P. 'Gadsbud, she's a fine person. Care. Mellefont, get out o'the way. - My Lady P. O Lord, sir, pardon me, we lady Pliant's coming, and I shall never suc- men have not those advantages: I know my ceed while thou art in sight, though she be- own imperfections; but, at the same time, you gins to tack about; but I made love a great must give me leave to declare in the face of while to no purpose. the world, that nobody is more sensible of
favours and things; for, with the reserve of great grief to me, indeed it is, Mr. Careless, my honour, I assure you, Mr. Careless, I that I have not a son to inherit this.-'Tis don't know any thing in the world I would true, I have a daughter; and a fine dutiful refuse to a person so meritorious.-You'll par-child she is, though I say it-blessed be Prodon my want of expression. vidence, I may say; for indeed, Mr. Careless,
Care. O, your ladyship is abounding in all I am mightily beholding to Providence-a poor excellence, particularly that of phrase. Lady P. You are so obliging, sir. Care. Your ladyship is so charming. Sir P. So, now, now; now, my lady. Lady P. So well bred.
Care. So surprising.
Lady P. So well dressed, so bonne mine,
unworthy sinner!-But if I had a son-ab,
Care. Why, methinks that might be easily
so eloquent, so unaffected, so easy, so free, see in a summer's day-indeed she is, Mr. so particular, so agreeableCareless, in all respects. Sir P. Ay, so, so, there.
Care. And I should not have taken you to
Sir P. Alas, that's not it, Mr. Careless; ah!
Care. O Lord, I beseech you, madam, don't-have been so oldLady P. So gay, so graceful, so good teeth, so fine shape, so fine limbs, so fine linen; that's not it; no, no, you shoot wide of the and I don't doubt but you have a very good skin, sir.
Care. For heaven's sake, madam—I'm quite out of countenance.
Sir P. And my lady's quite out of breath, or else you should hear.-'Gadsbud, you may talk of my lady Froth
mark a mile, indeed you do; that's not it, Mr. Careless; no, no, that's not it.
Care. No! what can be the matter then? Sir P. You'll scarcely believe me, when I shall tell you.-Why, my lady is so nice-I am her husband, as I may say, though far unworthy of that honour; yet I am her husCare. O fie, fie; not to be nam'd of a day. band; but, alas-a-day, I have no more famiMy lady Froth is very well in her accom-liarity with her person, as to that matter, than plishments, but it is when my lady Pliant is with my own mother; no indeed.
not thought of; if that can ever be.
Sir P. Nay, I swear and vow, that was pretty. Care. O, sir Paul, you are the happiest man alive. Such a lady! that is the envy of her sex, and the admiration of ours.
Care. Alas-a-day, this is a lamentable story; 'tis an injury to the world; my lady must be told on't; she must, i'faith, sir Paul.
Sir P. Ah! would to heaven you would, Mr. Careless; you are mightily in her favour. Care. I warrant you;-what! we must have a son some way or other.
Sir P. Your humble servant.-I am, I thank Sir P. Indeed I should be mightily bound heaven, in a fine way of living, as I may say, to you, if you could bring it about, Mr. Capeacefully and happily; and, I think, need not envy any of my neighbours, blessed be Lady P. Sir Paul, it's from your steward; Providence! Ay, truly, Mr. Careless, my lady here's a return of six hundred pounds; you is a great blessing; a fine, discreet, wellspo- may take fifty of it for your next half year. ken woman, as you shall see, if it becomes me to say so; and we live very comfortably together; she is a little hasty sometimes, and so am I; but mine is soon over, and then I'm so sorry. O, Mr. Careless, if it were not for one thing
Enter TIMOTHY, with a Letter, and offers
it to SIR PAUL PLIANT.
'Gadso, 'gadsbud-Tim, carry it to my lady;
[Gives him the Letter.
Enter LORD FROTH and CYNTHIA. Sir P. How does my girl? Come hither to thy father-poor lamb, thou'rt melancholy.
Lord F. Heaven's, sir Paul! you amaze me, of all things in the world-You are never pleased but when we are all upon the broad grin; all laugh, and no company: ah, then 'tis such a sight to see some teeth-Sure you're a great admirer of my lady Whifler, Mr. Sneer, and sir Lawrence Loud, and that gang.
Sir P. I vow and swear she's a very merry woman; but I think she laughs a little too
Lady P. How often have you been told of much. that, you jackanapes?
Lord F. Merry! O Lord, what a character
Sir P. Child, do so no more; d'ye hear, that is of a woman of quality! You have Tim? been at my lady Whifler's upon her day, [Exit. madam? To Cynthia. Cyn. Yes, my lord.-I must humour this [Aside.
Tim. No, and please you. Sir P. A humour of my wife's-you know, women have little fancies. But, as I was tell-fool. ing you, Mr. Careless, if it were not for one Lord F. Well, and how? he! What is thing, I should think myself the happiest man your sense of the conversation there? in the world; indeed, that touches me near, very near.
Cyn. O, most ridiculous! a perpetual concert of laughing without any harmony; for Čare. What can that be, sir Paul? sure, my lord, to laugh out of time is as disSir P. Why, I have, I thank heaven, a very agreeable as to sing out of time, or out of tune. plentiful fortune, a good estate in the country, Lord F. He, he, he! right; and then, my some houses in town, and some money, a lady Whifler is so ready, she always comes pretty tolerable personal estate; and it is alin three bars too soon: and then what do