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show his face!-If he were here, I'd make him give up his pretensions directly!—
Abs. Hold, Bob-let me set you right-there is no such man as Beverley in the case. -The person who assumed that name is before you; and as his pretensions are the same in both characters, he is ready to support them in whatever way you please.
Sir Luc. Well, this is lucky.-Now you have an opportunity—
Acres. What, quarrel with my dear friend Jack Absolute? not if he were fifty Beverleys! Zounds! Sir Lucius, you would not have me so unnatural.
Sir Luc. Upon my conscience, Mr. Acres, your valour has oozed away with a vengeance.
Acres. Not in the least! Odds backs and abettors! I'll be your second with all my heart-and if you should get a quietus you may command me entirely. I'll get you snug lying in the Abbey here; or pickle you, and send you over to Blunderbuss-Hall, or anything of the kind, with the greatest pleasure.
Sir Luc. Pho! pho! you are little better than a coward. Acres. Mind, gentlemen, he calls me a coward; coward was the word, by my valour.
Sir Luc. Well, sir?
Acres. Look'ee, Sir Lucius, 'tis n't that I mind the word coward-coward may be said in joke-But if you had called me a poltroon, odds daggers and balls— Sir Luc. Well, sir?
Acres. I should have thought you a very ill-bred man. Sir Luc. Pho! you are beneath my notice.
Abs. Nay, Sir Lucius, you can't have a better second my friend Acres-He is a most determined dogcalled in the country Fighting Bob.— He generally kills a man a week — don't you, Bob?
Acres. Ay-at home!—
Sir Luc. Well, then, captain, 'tis we must begincome out, my little counsellor-[Draws his sword]and ask the gentleman whether he will resign the lady without forcing you to proceed against him?
Abs. Come on then, sir-[Draws]; since you won't let it be an amicable suit, here's my reply.
Enter Sir ANTHONY ABSOLUTE, DAVID, Mrs. MALAPROP, LYDIA, and JULIA
Dav. Knock 'em all down, sweet Sir Anthony; knock down my master in particular; and bind his hands over to their good behaviour!
Sir Anth. Put up, Jack, put up, or I shall be in a frenzy-how came you in a duel, sir?
Abs. Faith, sir, that gentleman can tell you better than I; 't was he called on me, and you know, sir, I serve his majesty.
Sir Anth. Here's a pretty fellow; I catch him going to cut a man's throat, and he tells me he serves his majesty!-Zounds! sirrah, then how durst you draw the king's sword against one of his subjects?
Abs. Sir, I tell you! that gentleman called me out, without explaining his reasons.
Sir Anth. Gad! sir, how came you to call my son out, without explaining your reasons?
Sir Luc. Your son, sir, insulted me in a manner which my honour could not brook.
Sir Anth. Zounds! Jack, how durst you insult the gentleman in a manner which his honour could not brook?
Mrs. Mal. Come, come, let's have no honour before ladies-Captain Absolute, come here- How could you intimidate us so?—Here's Lydia has been terrified to death for you.
Abs. For fear I should be killed, or escape, ma'am? Mrs. Mal. Nay, no delusions to the past-Lydia is convinced; speak, child.
Sir Luc. With your leave, ma'am, I must put in a word here I believe I could interpret the young lady's silence.-Now mark
Lyd. What is it you mean, sir?
Sir Luc. Come, come, Delia, we must be serious now this is no time for trifling.
Lyd. 'Tis true, sir; and your reproof bids me offer this gentleman my hand, and solicit the return of his affections.
Abs. Oh! my little angel, say you so?—Sir LuciusI perceive there must be some mistake here, with regard to the affront which you affirm I have given you. I can only say that it could not have been intentional. And as you must be convinced that I should not fear to support a real injury-you shall now see that I am not ashamed to atone for an inadvertency—I ask your pardon. - But for this lady, while honoured with her approbation, I will support my claim against any man whatever.
Sir Anth. Well said, Jack, and I'll stand by you, my boy.
Acres. Mind, I give up all my claim—I make no pretensions to anything in the world-and if I can't get a wife without fighting for her, by my valour! I'll live a bachelor.
Sir Luc. Captain, give me your hand-an affront handsomely acknowledged becomes an obligation ;and as for the lady — if she chooses to deny her own handwriting, here[Takes out letters Mrs. Mal. Oh, he will dissolve my mystery!-Sir Lucius, perhaps there's some mistake,—perhaps I can illuminate
Sir Luc. Pray, old gentlewoman, don't interfere where you have no business.-Miss Languish, are you my Delia, or not?
Lyd. Indeed, Sir Lucius, I am not.
[Walks aside with Captain ABSOLUTE Mrs. Mal. Sir Lucius O'Trigger-ungrateful as you are-I own the soft impeachment - pardon my blushes, I am Delia.
Sir Luc. You Delia-pho! pho! be easy.
Mrs. Mal. Why, thou barbarous Vandyke—those letters are mine- When you are more sensible of my benignity-perhaps I may be brought to encourage your addresses.
Sir Luc. Mrs. Malaprop, I am extremely sensible of your condescension; and whether you or Lucy have put this trick on me, I am equally beholden to you.-And to show you I am not ungrateful, Captain Absolute,
since you have taken that lady from me, I'll give you my Delia into the bargain.
Abs. I am much obliged to you, Sir Lucius ; but here's my friend, Fighting Bob, unprovided for.
Sir Luc. Hah! little Valour-here, will you make your fortune?
Acres. Odds wrinkles! No.-But give me your hand, Sir Lucius, forget and forgive; but if ever I give you a chance of pickling me again, say Bob Acres is a dunce, that's all.
Sir Anth. Come, Mrs. Malaprop, don't be cast down bloom yet. are in your Mrs. Mal. O Sir Anthony-men are all barbarians. [All retire but JULIA and FAULKLAND
Jul. [Aside.] He seems dejected and unhappy-not sullen; there was some foundation, however, for the tale he told me-O woman! how true should be your judgment, when your resolution is so weak!
Faulk. Julia!-how can I sue for what I so little deserve? I dare not presume-yet Hope is the child of Penitence.
Jul. O Faulkland, you have not been more faulty in your unkind treatment of me, than I am now in wanting inclination to resent it. As my heart honestly bids me place my weakness to the account of love, I should be ungenerous not to admit the same plea for yours.
Faulk. Now I shall be blest indeed!
Sir Anth. [Coming forward.] What's going on here? -So you have been quarrelling too, I warrant!-Come,