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and polite arguer, for almost every third word you say is on my side of the question. But, Mrs. Malaprop, to the more important point in debate-you say you have no objection to my proposal?
Mrs. Mal. None, I assure you. I am under no positive engagement with Mr. Acres, and as Lydia is so obstinate against him, perhaps your son may have better success.
Sir Anth. Well, madam. I will write for the boy directly. He knows not a syllable of this yet, though I have for some time had the proposal in my head. He is at present with his regiment.
Mrs. Mal. We have never seen your son, Sir Anthony; but I hope no objection on his side.
Sir Anth. Objection !-let him object if he dare !--- No, no, Mrs. Malaprop, Jack knows that the least demur puts me in a frenzy directly. My process was always very simplein his younger days, 'twas "Jack, do this ;" -if he demurred, I knocked him down—and if he grumbled at that, I always sent him out of the room.
Mrs. Mal. Ay, and the properest way, o' my conscience !--nothing is so conciliating to young people as severity.–Well, Sir Anthony, I shall give Mr. Acres his discharge, and prepare Lydia to receive your son's invocations ;—and I hope you will represent her to the captain as an object not altogether illegible.
Sir Anth. Madam, I will handle the subject prudently.—Well, I must leave you: and let me beg you, Mrs. Malaprop, to enforce this matter roundly to the girl.—Take my advicekeep a tight hand: if she rejects this proposal, clap her under lock and key; and if you were just to let the servants forget to bring her dinner for three or four days, you can't conceive how she'd come about.
Abs. Now for a parental lecture-I hope he has heard nothing of the business that has brought me here—I wish the gout had held him fast in Devonshire, with all my soul !
Sir, I am delighted to see you here; looking
Sir Anth. Very apprehensive, I dare say,
Abs. Yes, sir, I am on duty.
Sir Anth. Well, Jack, I am glad to see you,
more strong and hearty; and I pray frequently that you may continue so.
Sir Anth. I hope your prayers may be heard, with all my lieart. Well then, Jack, I have been considering that I am so strong and hearty I may continue to plague you a long time. Now, Jack, I am sensible that the income of your commission, and what I have hitherto allowed you. is but a small pittance for a lad of your spirit.
Abs. Sir, you are very good.
Sir Anth. And it is my wish, while yet I live, to have my boy make some figure in the world. I have resolved, therefore, to fix you at once in a noble independence.
Abs. Sir, your kindness overpowers mesuch generosity makes the gratitude of reason more iively than the sensations even of filial affection.
Sir Anth. I am glad you are so sensible of my attention—and you shall be master of a large estate in a few weeks.
Abs. Let my future life, sir, speak my gratitude; I cannot express the sense I have of your munificence.—Yet, sir. I presume you would not wish me to quit the army ?
Sir Anth. Oh, that shall be as your wife chooses.
Abs. My wife, sir !
Sir Anth. Ay, ay, settle that between yousettle that between you. Abs. A wife, sir, did you say?
Sir Anth. Ay, a wife—why, did not 1 mention her before ?
Abs. Not a word of her, sir.
Sir Anth. Odd so !-I mustn't forget her, though.--Yes, Jack, the independence I was talking of is by a marriage—the fortune is saddled with a wife—but I suppose that makes no difference.
Abs. Sir! sir !--you amaze me!
Sir Anth. Why, what the devil's the matter with the fool? Just now you were all gratitude and duty.
Abs. I was, sir—you talked to me of independence and a fortune, but not a word of a wife.
Sir Anth. Why—what difference does that make? Odds life, sir ! if you have the estate, you must take it with the live stock on it, as it stands.
Abs. If my happiness is to be the price, I must beg leave to decline the purchase.Pray, sir, who is the lady?
Sir Anth. What's that to you, sir?-Come, give me your promise to love, and to marry her directly.
Abs. Sure, sir, this is not very reasonable, to summon my affection for a lady I know nothing of !
Sir Anth. I am sure, sir, 'tis more unreasonable in you to object to a lady you know nothing of. Abs. Then, sir, I must tell you plainly that