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1. THE WIDOW BELMOUR.
WAY TO KEEP HIM.
Scene I.-A Room in Lovemore's House.
William at cards with a brother Servant.
Sero. Equal. Will. A plague go with it-tearse to a queenSero. Equal. Will. I've ruin'd my game, and be hang'd to me. I don't believe there's a footman in England plays with. worse luck than myself.--Four aces is fourteen!
Sero. That's hard :-cruel, by Jupiter!
[Plays. :: Enter Muslin. Mus. There's a couple of you, indeed !-You're so: fond of the vices of your betters, that you're scarce out of your beds, when you must pretend to imitate them and their ways, forsooth. Wil. Pr’ythee, be quiet, woman, do-Eighteen
Mus. Set you up, indeed, Mr. Coxcomb
[Plays. Mus. Have done with your foolery, will ye? and send my lady word
Will. Hold your tongue, Mrs. Muslin, you'll put us out.-What shall I play ?-I'll tell you, woman, my master and I desire to have nothing to say to you or your lady. - Twenty-Diamonds !
[Plays. Mus. But I tell you, Mr. Saucebox, that my lady desires to know when your master came home last night, and how he is this morning?
Will. Pr’ythee, be quiet: I and my master are resolved to be teas'd no more by you. And so, Mrs. Go-between, you may return as you came.- What the devil shall I play?- We'll have nothing to do with you, I tell you
Mus. You'll have nothing to do with us !—But you shall have to do with us, or I'll know the reason why.
(Snatches the cards out of his hands. Will. Death and fury! This meddling woman has destroyed my whole game. . Mus. Now, sir, will you be so obliging as to send an answer to her questions—How and when your rakehelly master came home last night?
Will. I'll tell you what, Mrs. Muslin,-you and my master will be the death of me at last; that's what you will.-In the name of charity, what do you both take me fur? Whatever appearances may be, I am but of mortal mould: nothing supernatural about me.
Mus. Upon my word, Mr. Powderpuff!
Will. I have not indeed-And so, do you see, flesh and blood can't hold it always—I can't be for ever a slave to your whims, and your second-hand airs.
Mus. Second-hand airs !
Will. Yes, second-hand airs !-- You take them at your ladies' toilets with their cast gowns, and so you descend to us with them.--And then, on the other hand, there's my master !-Because he chooses to live upon the principal of his health, and so run out his whole stock as fast as he can, he must have the pleasure of my company with him in his devil's dance to the other world.-Never at home till three, four, five, six, in the morning!
Mus. Ay, a vile, ungrateful man! to have so little regard for a wife that doats upon him.-And your love for me is all of a-piece. I've no patience with you both. A couple of false, perfidious, abandoned, profligate
Will. Hey, hey! where's your tongue running :My master is, as the world goes, a good sort of a civil kind of a husband, and I,-heaven help me!-a poor simpleton of an amorous, constant puppy, that bears with all the follies of his little tyrant here.- Come and kiss me, you jade, come and kiss me.
Mus. Paws off, Cæsar- Don't think to make me your dupe. I know, when you go with him to this new lady, this Bath acquaintance-and I know, you're as false as my master, and give all my dues to your Mrs. Mignionet there
Will. Hush, not a word of that.--I'm ruined, pressed, and sent on board a tender directly, if you blab that I trusted you with that secret.— But to charge me with falsehood, injustice, and ingratitude ! My master, to be sure, does drink an agreeable dish of tea with the widow.-Has been there every night this month past.-How long it will last, heaven knows ! But thither he goes, and I attend him.- I ask my master,-Sir, says I, what time would you please to want me?-He gives me his answer, and then I strut by Mrs. Mignionet, without so much as tipping her one glance; she stands watering at the mouth, and “ A pretty fellow, that,” says she.—“Ay, ay, gaze on,” says I, “ gaze on ;-I see what you would be at:you'd be glad to have me, you'd be glad to have me!--But, sour grapes, my dear! I'll go home and cherish my own lovely wanton.”-And so I do, you know I do.--Then, after toying with thee, I hasten back to my master-later, indeed, than he desires, but always too soon for him. He's loath to part; he lingers and dangles, and I stand cooling my heels.- 0, to the devil I pitch such a life!
Mus. Why don't you strive to reclaim the vile man then ?
Will. Softly, not so fast; I have my talent to be sure! yes, yes, I have my talent; some influence over my master's mind :-But can you suppose that I have power to turn the drift of his inclinations, and lead him as I please and to whom?-to his wife! Pshaw! ridiculous, foolish, and absurd !
Mus. Mighty well, sir! can you proceed ?
Will. I tell you, a wife is out of date now-a-days; time was---but that's all over-a wife's a drug now; mere tar-water, with every virtue under heaven, but no body takes it.
Mus. Well, I swear I could slap your impudent face. Will. Come and kiss me, I say
Mus. A fiddle-stick for your kisses !-while you encourage your master to open rebellion against the best of wives
Will. I tell you, it's her own fault; why don't she strive to please him, as you do me?—Come, throw your arms about my neck
Mus. Ay, as I used to do, Mr. Brazen !--Hush! My lady's bell rings.—How long has he been up ?- When did he come home?
Will. At five this morning; rubbed his forehead, damn’d himself for a blockhead, went to bed in a peevish humour, and is 'now in tiptop spirits with Sir Brilliant Fashion, in the next room. [Bell rings.
Mus. O lud! that bell rings again—There, there, let me be gone.
[She kisses him, and exit,