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his coming just at this time is the cruellest piece of ill fortune.
SCENE II.-A Room in SIR PETER TEAZLE'S House
Enter MRS. CANDOUR and MAID
Maid. Indeed, ma'am, my lady will see nobody at present.
Mrs. Can. Did you tell her it was her friend. Mrs. Candour ?
Maid. Yes, ma'am ; but she begs you will excuse her.
Mrs. Can. Do go again; I shall be glad to see her, if it be only for a moment, for I am sure she must be in great distress.-[Exit MAID.] Dear heart, how provoking! I'm not mistress of half the circumstances ! We shall have the whole affair in the newspapers, with the names of the parties at length, before I have dropped the story at a dozen houses.
Enter SIR BENJAMIN BACKBITE
Oh, dear Şir Benjamin l, you have heard, I suppose
Sir Ben. Of Lady Teazle and Mr. Surface-
Mrs. Can. Well, I never was so surprised in my life. I am so sorry for all parties, indeed.
Sir Ben. Now, I don't pity Sir Peter at all : he was so extravagantly partial to Mr. Surface.
Mrs. Can. Mr.' Surface! Why, ''twas with Charles Lady Teazle was detected.
Sir Ben. No, no, I tell you: Mr. Surface is the gallant.
Mrs. Can. No such thing I Charles is the man. 'Twas Mr. Surface brought Sir Peter on purpose to discover them.
Sir Ben. I tell you I had it from one-
Mrs. Can. From one immediately. But here comes Lady Sneerwell ; perhaps she knows the whole affair.
Enter LADY SNEERWELL
Lady Sneer. So, my dear Mrs. Candour, here's a sad affair of our friend Lady Teazle !
Mrs. Can. Ay, my dear friend, who would have thought
Lady Sneer. Well, there is no trusting appearances ; though, indeed, she was always too lively for me.
Mrs. Can, To be sure, her manners were a little too free; but then she was so young!
Lady Sneer. And had, indeed, some good qualities.
Mrs. Can. So she had, indeed. But have you heard the particulars ?
Lady Sneer. No; but everybody says that Mr. Surface
Sir Ben. Ay, there; I told you Mr. Surface was the
Mrs. Can. No, no; indeed the assignation was with Charles.
Lady Sneer. With Charles ! You alarm me, Mrs. Candour!
Mrs. Can. Yes, yes ; he was the lover. Mr. Surface, to do him justice, was only the informer.
Sir Ben. Well, I 'U not dispute with you, Mrs. Candour ; but, be it which it may, I hope that Sir Peter's wound will not
Mrs. Can. Sir Peter's wound! Oh, mercy ! I didn't hear a word of their fighting.
Lady Sneer. Nor I, a syllable.
Sir Ben. Sir," says Sir Peter, immediately after the discovery, you are a most ungrateful fellow."
Mrs. Can. Ay, to Charles
Sir Ben. No, no-to Mr. Surface-"a most ungrateful fellow; and old as I am, sir,” says he, I insist on immediate satisfaction."
Mrs. Can. Ay, that must have been to Charles ; for 'tis very unlikely Mr. Surface should fight in his own house.
Sir Ben. Gad's life, ma'am, not at all—" giving me immediate satisfaction."-On this, ma'am, Lady Teazle, secing Sir Peter in such danger, ran out of the room in strong hysterics, and Charles after her, calling out for hartshorn and water; then, madam, they began to fight with swords
Crab. With pistols, nephew-pistolsI have it from undoubted authority.
Mrs. Can. Oh, Mr. Crabtree, then it is all true !
Crab. Too true, indeed, ma'am, and Sir Peter is dangerously wounded
Sir Ben. By a thrust in segoon quite through his left side
Crab. By a bullet lodged in the thorax.
Crab. Yes, madam ; though Charles would have avoided the matter, if he could.
Mrs. Can. I told you who it was; I knew Charles was the person.
Sir Ben. My uncle, I see, knows nothing of the matter.
Crab. But Sir Peter taxed him with the basest ingratitude
Sir Ben. That I told you, you know
Crab. Do, nephew, let me speak / -and insisted on immediate
Sir Ben. Just as I said
Crab. Odds life, nephew, allow others to know something too!
A pair of pistols lay on the bureau (for Mr. Surface, it seems, had come home the night before late from Salthill, where he had been to see the Montem with a friend, who has a son at Eton), so, unluckily, the pistols were left charged.
Sir Ben. I heard nothing of this.
Crab. Sir Peter forced Charles to take one, and they fired, it seems, pretty nearly together. Charles's shot took effect, as I tell you, and Sir Peter's missed; but, what is very extraordinary, the ball struck against a little bronze Shakspeare that stood over the fire-place, grazed out of the window at a right angle, and wounded the postman, who was just coming to the door with a double letter from Northamptonshire.
Sir Ben. My uncle's account is more circumstantial, I confess; but I believe mine is the true one, for all that.
Lady Sneer. (Aside.) I am more interested in this affair than they imagine, and must have better information.
(Exit Sir Ben. Ah ! Lady Sneerwell's alarm is very easily accounted for.
Crab. Yes, yes, they certainly do say—but that's neither here nor there.
Mrs. Can. But, pray, where is Sir Peter at present ?
Crab. Oh! they brought him home, and he is now in the house, though the servants are ordered to deny him.
Mrs. Can. I believe so, and Lady Teazle, I suppose, attending him.
Crab. Yes, yes; and I saw one of the faculty enter just before me.
Sir Ben. Hey! who comes here ? Crab. Oh, this is he: the physician, depend on 't. Mrs. Can. Oh, certainly ! it must be the physician ; and now we shall know.
Enter SIR OLIVER SURFACE
Crab. Well, doctor, what hopes ?
Sir Ben. Now, doctor, isn't it a wound with a smallsword ? .
Crab. A bullet lodged in the thorax, for a hundred !
Sir Oliv. Doctor ! a wound with a small-swordand a bullet in the thorax | Oons ! are you mad, good people ?
Sir Ben. Perhaps, sir, you are not a doctor ?
Sir Oliv. Truly, I am to thank you for my degree, if I am.
Crab. Only a friend of Sir Peter's, then, I presume. But, sir, you must have heard of his accident ?
Sir Oliv. Not a word ...
Sir Oliv. Hey ! what the plague ! you seem to differ strangely in your accounts : however, you agree that Sir Peter is dangerously wounded.
Sir Ben. Oh, yes, we agree in that..!
Sir Oliv. Then, upon my word, for a person in that situation, he is the most imprudent man alive ; for here he comes, walking as if nothing at all was the matter.
Enter SIR PETER TEAZLE
Odds heart, Sir Peter! you are come in good time, I promise you; for we had just given you over !
Sir Ben. [Aside to CRABTREE.) Egad, uncle, this is the most sudden recovery.
Sir Oliv. Why, man! what do you out of bed with a small-sword through your body, and a bullet lodged in your thorax ?
Sir Pet. A small-sword and a bullet !
Sir Oliv. Ay; these gentlemen would have killed you without law or physic, and wanted to dub me a doctor, to make me an accomplice.
Sir Pet. Why, what is all this?
Sir Ben. We rejoice, Sir Peter, that the story of the duel is not true, and are sincerely sorry for your other misfortune.
Sir Pet. So, so; all over the town already! [Aside
Crab. Though, Sir Peter, you were certainly vastly to blame to marry at your years,
Sir Pet. Sir, what business is that of yours ?
Mrs. Can. Though, indeed, as Sir Peter made so good a husband, he 's very much to be pitied.
Sir Pet. Plague on your pity, ma'am! I desire none of it.
Sir Ben. However, Sir Peter, you must not mind the laughing and jests you will meet with on the occasion.
Sir Pet. Sir, sir ; I desire to be master in my own house. Crab. 'Tis no uncommon case, that 's one comfort.
Sir Pet. I insist on being left to myself, without ceremony: I insist on your leaving my house directly !
Mrs. Can. Well, well, we are going; and depend on’t, we'll make the best report of it we can.
(Exit Sir Pet. Leave my house ! Crab. And tell how hardly you've been treated. [Exit Sir Pet. Leave my house! Sir Ben. And how patiently you bear it.
[Exit Sir Pet. Fiends ! vipers ! furies ! Oh! that their own venom would choke them! Sir Oliv. They are very provoking indeed, Şir Peter.
Enter ROWLEY Row. I hear high words : what has ruffled you, sir ?
Sir Pet. Psha! what signifies asking ? Do I ever pass a day without my vexations ?