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Mrs. Mal. There, Sir Anthony, there sits the deliberate simpleton who wants
to disgrace her family, and lavish herself on a fellow not worth a shilling.
Lyd. Madam, I thought you once
Mrs. Mal. You thought, miss! I don't know any business you have to think at allthought does not become a young woman. But the point we would request of you is, that you will promise to forget this fellow-to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
Lyd. Ah, madam! our memories are independent of our wills.
It is not so easy to forget.
Mrs. Mal. But I say it is, miss; there is nothing on earth so easy as to forget, if a person chooses to set about it. I'm sure I have as much forgot your poor dear uncle as if he had never existed—and I thought it my duty so to do; .and let me tell you, Lydia, these violent memories don't become a young wom
Sir Anth. Why sure she won't pretend to remember what she's ordered not !-ay, this comes of her reading !
Lyd. What crime, madam, have I committed, to be treated thus ?
Mrs Mal. Now don't attempt to extirpate yourself from the matter; you know I have proof controvertible of it.—But tell me, will you promise to do as you're bid? Will you take a husband of your friends' choosing ?
Lyd. Madam, I must tell you plainly, that had I no preferment for any one else, the choice you have made would be my aversion.
Mrs. Mal. What business have you, miss, with preference and aversion? They don't become a young woman; and you ought to know, that as both always wear off, 'tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion. I am sure I hated your poor dear uncle before marriage as if he'd been a blackamoorand yet, miss, you are sensible what a wife I made !—and when it pleased Heaven to release me from him, 'tis unknown what tears I shed !—But suppose we were going to give you another choice, will you promise us to give up this Beverley ? Lyd. Could I belie my thoughts so far as to give that promise, my actions would certainly as far belie my words.
Mrs. Mal. Take yourself to your room.You are fit company for nothing but your own ill-humors.
Lyd. Willingly, ma'am-I cannot change for the worse.
Erit. Mrs. Mal. There's a little intricate hussy for you!
Sir Anth. It is not to be wondered at, ma'am,—all this is the natural consequence of teaching girls to read. Had I a thousand daughters, by Heaven! I'd as soon have them taught the black art as their alphabet!
Mrs. Mal. Nay, nay, Sir Anthony, you are an absolute misanthropy.
Sir Anth. In my way hither, Mrs. Malaprop, I observed your niece's maid coming forth from a circulating library!—She had a book in each hand—they were half-bound volumes, with marble covers I-From that moment I guessed how full of duty I should see her mistress!
Mrs. Mal. Those are vile places, indeed!
Sir Anth. Madam, a circulating library in a town is an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge! It blossoms through the year !-And depend on it, Mrs. Malaprop, that they who are so fond of handling the leaves, will long for the fruit at last.
Mrs. Mal. Fy, fy, Sir Anthony! you surely speak laconically
Sir Anth. Why, Mrs. Malaprop, in moderation now, what would you have a know?
Mrs. Mal. Observe, me, Sir Anthony. I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman; for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or simony, or fluxions, or paradoxes, or sucli inflammatory branches of learning - neither would it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments.—But, Sir Anthony, I would send her, at nine years old, to a boardingschool, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice. Then, sir, she should have a supercilious knowledge in accounts ;-and as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries ;—but above all, Sir Anthony, she should be mistress of orthodoxy, that she might not misspell, and mispronounce words so shamefully as girls usually do; and likewise that she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying. This, Sir Anthony, is what I would have know ;-and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it.
Sir Anth. Well, well, Mrs. Malaprop, I will dispute the point no further with you; though I must confess that you are a truly moderate