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Sir Bash. Shame and confusion! I am undone.
[Aside. Love. Hear this, Sir Bashful-I cannot, my dearest life, any longer behold the manifold vexations, of which, through a false prejudice, I am myself the occasion. Sir Bash. 'Sdeath! I'll hear no more of it.
[Snatches at the letter. Love. No, sir; I resign it here, where it was directed.
Lady Con. For heaven's sake let us see-It is his hand, sure enough.
Love. Yes, madam, and those are his sentiments,
Sir Bril So, so, so! he has been in love with his wife all this time, has he! Sir Bashful, will you go and see the new comedy with me? Lovemore, pray now don't you think it a base thing to invade the happiness of a friend? or to do him u clandestine wrong? or to injure him with the woman he loves ?
Lode. To cut the matter short with you, sir, we are both villains.
Sir Eril. Villains !
Mrs. Bell. I am glad to find you are awakened to a sense of your error.
Love, I am, madam, and am frank enough to own it. I am above attempting to disguise my feelings, when I am conscious they are on the side of truth and honour. With sincere remorse I ask your pardon.I should ask pardon of my Lady Constant too, but the truth is, Sir Bashful threw the whole affair in my way; and when a husband will be ashamed of loving a valuable woman, he must not be surprised, if other people take her case into consideration, and love her for him.
Sir Bril. Why, faith, that does in some sort apologize for him.
Sir Bash. Sir Bashful! Sir Bashful! thou art ruined !
[ Aside. Mrs. Bell. Well, sir, upon certain terms, I don't know but I may sign and seal your pardon.
Love. Terms! what terms?
Mrs. Bell. That you make due expiation of your guilt to that lady.
[Pointing to Mrs. LOVEMORE. Love. That lady, ma'am!—That lady has no reason to complain.
Mrs. Love. No reason to complain, Mr. Lovemore?
Love. No, madam, none; for whatever may have been my imprudences, they have had their source in your conduct.
Mrs. Love. In my conduct, sir!
Love. In your conduct :- I here declare before this company, and I am above palliating the matter; I here declare, that no man in England could be better inclined to domestic happiness, if you, madam, on your part, had been willing to make home agreeable.
Mrs. Love. There, I confess, he touches me. [Aside.
Love. You could take pains enough before marriage; you could put forth all your charms; practise all your arts; for ever changing; running an eternal round of variety, to win my affections : but when you had won them, you did not think them worth your keeping; never dressed, pensive, silent, melancholy; and the only entertainment in my house was the dear pleasure of a dull conjugal tete-a-tete; and all this insipidity, because you think the sole merit of a wife consists in her virtue: a fine way of amusing a husband, truly!
Sir Bril. Upon my soul, and so it is [Laughing.
Mrs. Loce. Sir, I must own there is too much truth in what you say. This lady has opened my eyes, and convinced me there was a mistake in my former conduct.
Love. Come, come, you need say no more. I forgive you; I forgive.
Mrs. Love. Forgive ! I like that air of confidence, when you know, that, on my side, it is, at worst, an error in judgment; whereas, on yours
Mrs. Bell. Po! po! never stand disputing: you know each other's faults and virtues: you have nothing to do but to mend the former, and enjoy the latter, There, there, kiss and be friends. There, Mrs. Lovemore, take your reclaimed libertine to your arms.
Lode. Tis in your power, madam, to make a reclaimed libertine of me indeed.
Mrs. Love. From this moment it shall be our mutual study to please each other.
Love. A match with all my heart. I shall hereafter be ashamed only of my follies, but never shall be ashamed of owning that I sincerely love you.
Sir Bash. Shan't you be ashamed?
Sir Bash. Give me your hand. I now forgive you all, from the bottom of my heart. My Lady Constant, I own the letter, I own the sentiments of it; (Embraces her.) and frorn this inoment I take you to my heart.. Lovemore, zookers! you have made a man of me!
Sir Bril. And now, Mr. Lovemore, may I presume. to hope for pardon at that lady's hands?
(Points to Mrs. LOVEMORE. Looe., My dear confederate in vice, your pardon is granted. Two sad dogs we have been. But come, give us your hand : we have used each other d-nablyfor the future we will endeavour to make each other amends.
Sir Bril. And so we will.
Love. And now I heartily congratulate the whole company that this business has had so happy a tendency to convince each of us of our folly.
Mrs. Bell. Pray, sir, don't draw me into a share of your folly.
Love. Come, come, my dear ma'am, you are not without your share of it. This will teach you, for the future, to be content with one lover at a time, without listening to a fellow you know nothing of, because he assumes a title, and reports well of himself.
Mrs. Bell. The reproof is just, I grant it.
Love. Come, let us join the company cheerfully, keep our own secrets, and not make ourselves the town talk.
Sir Bash. Ay, ay, let us keep the secret.
Love. Though, faith, if this business were known in the world, it might prove a very useful lesson : the men would see how their passions may carry them into the danger of wounding the bosom of a friend : the ladies would learn, that, after the marriage 'rites, they should not suffer their powers of pleasing to languish away, but should still remember to sacrifice to the Graces.
To win a man, when all your pains succeed,