AY, ay, dear Marwood, if we will be happy, we must find the means in our selves, and among our selves. Men are ever in Extreams; either doat∣ing or averse. While they are Lovers, if they have Fire and Sense, their Jealousies are insupportable: And when they cease to Love, (we ought to think at least) they loath; they look upon us with Horror and Distaste; they meet us like the Ghosts of what we were, and as such fly from us.
True, 'tis an unhappy Circumstance of Life, that Love shou'd ever die before us; and that the Man so often shou'd out-live the Lover. But say what you will, 'tis better to be left, than never to have been lov'd. To pass our Youth in dull Indifference, to refuse the Sweets of Life because they once must leave us; is as preposterous, as to wish to have been born Old, because we one Day must be Old. For my part, my Youth may wear and waste, but it shall never rust in my Possession.
Certainly. To be free; I have no Taste of those insipid dry Discourses, with which our Sex of force must entertain themselves, apart from Men. We may af∣fect Endearments to each other, profess eternal Friendships, and seem to doat like Lovers; but 'tis not in our Natures long to persevere. Love will resume his Empire in our Breasts, and every Heart, or soon or late, receive and read∣mit him as its lawful Tyrant.
Bless me, how have I been deceiv'd! Why you profess a Libertine.
You see my Friendship by my Freedom. Come, be as sincere, acknowledge that your Sentiments agree with mine.
Most transcendantly; ay, tho' I say it, meri∣toriously.
I join with you; what I have said, has been to try you.
I have done hating 'em; and am now come to despise 'em; the next thing I have to do, is eternally to for∣get 'em.
There spoke the Spirit of an Amazon, a Pen∣thesilea.
And yet I am thinking sometimes, to carry my Aversion further.
Faith by Marrying; if I cou'd but find one that lov'd me very well, and would be throughly sensible of ill usage; I think I shou'd do my self the violence of under∣going the Ceremony.
No; but I'd make him believe I did, and that's as bad.
O if he shou'd ever discover it, he wou'd then know the worst; and be out of his Pain; but I wou'd have him ever to continue upon the Rack of Fear and Jealousy.
Ingenious Mischief! Wou'd thou wert mar∣ried to Mirabell.
I never lov'd him; he is, and always was in∣sufferably proud.
By the Reason you give for your Aversion, one wou'd think it dissembl'd; for you have laid a Fault to his Charge, of which his Enemies must acquit him.
O then it seems you are one of his favourable Enemies. Methinks you look a little pale, and now you slush again.
My Husband. Don't you see him? He turn'd short upon me unawares, and has almost overcome me.
The only Man that would tell me so at least; and the only Man from whom I could hear it without Mor∣tification.
O my Dear I am satisfy'd of your Tenderness; I know you cannot resent any thing from me; especially what is an effect of my Concern.
Mr. Mirabell; my Mother interrupted you in a pleasant Relation last Night: I wou'd fain hear it out.
The Persons concern'd in that Affair, have yet a tollerable Reputation—I am afraid Mr. Fainall will be Censorious.
He has a Humour more prevailing than his Cu∣riosity, and will willingly dispence with the hearing of one scandalous Story, to avoid giving an occasion to make ano∣ther Page 20 by being seen to walk with his Wife. This way Mr. Mirabell, and I dare promise you will oblige us both.
Excellent Creature! Well sure if I shou'd live to be rid of my Wife, I shou'd be a miserable Man.
For having only that one Hope, the accomplish∣ment of it, of Consequence must put an end to all my hopes; and what a Wretch is he who must survive his hopes! No∣thing remains when that Day comes, but to sit down and weep like Alexander, when he wanted other Worlds to conquer.
If I am, is it inconsistent with my Love to you that I am tender of your Honour?
You wou'd intimate then, as if there were a fellow∣feeling between my Wife and Him.
I think she do's not hate him to that degree she wou'd be thought.
To let you know I see through all your little Arts—Come, you both love him; and both have equally dis∣sembl'd your Aversion. Your mutual Jealousies of one ano∣ther, have made you clash till you have both struck Fire. I have seen the warm Confession red'ning on your Cheeks, and sparkling from your Eyes.
I do not—'Twas for my case to oversee and wil∣fully Page 21 neglect the gross advances made him by my Wife; that by permitting her to be engag'd, I might continue unsuspected in my Pleasures; and take you oftner to my Arms in full Security. But cou'd you think because the nodding Husband would not wake, that e'er the watchful Lover slept!
With Infidelity, with loving of another, with love of Mirabell.
'Tis false. I challenge you to shew an Instance that can confirm your groundless Accusation. I hate him.
And wherefore do you hate him? He is Insensible, and your Resentment follows his Neglect. An Instance? The Injuries you have done him are a proof: Your inter∣posing in his Love. What cause had you to make Discove∣ries of his pretended Passion? To undeceive the credulous Aunt, and be the officious Obstacle of his Match with Millamant?
My Obligations to my Lady urg'd me: I had profess'd a Friendship to her; and could not see her easie Nature so abus'd by that Dissembler.
What, was it Conscience then! prosess'd a Friend∣ship! O the pious Friendships of the Female Sex!
More tender, more sincere, and more endur∣ing, than all the vain and empty Vows of Men, whether professing Love to us, or mutual Faith to one another.
Shame and Ingratitude! Do you reproach me? You, you upbraid me! Have I been false to her, thro' strict Fidelity to you, and sacrific'd my Friendship to keep my Love inviolate? And have you the baseness to charge me with the Guilt, unmindful of the Merit! To you it shou'd be meritorious, that I have been vicious. And do you re∣flect that Guilt upon me, which should lic buried in your Bosom?
You misinterpret my Reproof. I meant but to re∣mind you of the slight Account you once could make of strictest Ties, when set in Competion with your Love to me.
Your Guilt, not your Resentment, begets your Rage. If yet you lov'd, you could forgive a Jealousy: But you are stung to find you are discover'd.
It shall be all discover'd. You too shall be discover'd; be sure you shall. I can but be expos'd—If I do it my self I shall prevent your Baseness.
Disclose it to your Wife; own what has past between us.
By all my Wrongs I'll do't—I'll publish to the World the Injuries you have done me, both in my Fame and Fortune: With both I trusted you, you Bankrupt in Honour, as indigent of Wealth.
Your Fame I have preserv'd. Your Fortune has been bestow'd as the prodigality of your Love would have it, in Pleasures which we both have shar'd. Yet had not you been false, I had e'er this repaid it—'Tis true—Had you permitted Mirabell with Millamant to have stoll'n their Mar∣riage, my Lady had been incens'd beyond all means of re∣concilement: Millamant had forseited the Moiety of her For∣tune; which then wou'd have descended to my Wife;—And wherefore did I marry, but to make lawful Prize of a rich Widow's Wealth, and squander it on Love and you?
Death, am I not married? what's pretence? Am I not Imprison'd, Fetter'd? Have I not a Wife? Nay a Wife that was a Widow, a young Widow, a handsome Widow; and would be again a Widow, but that I have a Heart of Proof, and something of a Constitution to bustle thro' the ways of Wedlock and this World. Will you yet be recon∣cil'd to Truth and me?
I loath the name of Love after such usage; Page 23 and next to the Guilt with which you wou'd asperse me, I scorn you most. Farewell.
I care not—Let me go—Break my Hands, do—I'd leave 'em to get loose.
I would not hurt you for the World. Have I no other Hold to keep you here?
Poor dissembling!—O that—Well, it is not yet—
What? what is it not? What is it not yet? It is not yet too late—
But not to loath, detest, abhor Mankind, my self and the whole treacherous World.
Nay, this is Extravagance—Come I ask your Pardon—No Tears—I was to blame, I cou'd not love you and be easie in my Doubts—Pray forbear—I be∣lieve you; I'm convinc'd I've done you wrong; and any way, every way will make amends;—I'll hate my Wife yet more, Dam her, I'll part with her, rob her of all she's worth, and will retire somewhere, any where to another World, I'll marry thee—Be pacify'd—'Sdeath they come, hide your Face, your Tears—You have a Mask, wear it a Moment. This way, this way, be persuaded.
While I only hated my Husband, I could bear to see him; but since I have despis'd him, he's too offensive.
You have been the cause that I have lov'd without Bounds, and wou'd you set Limits to that Aver∣sion, of which you have been the occasion? Why did you make me marry this Man?
Why do we daily commit disagreeable and dan∣gerous Actions? To save that Idol Reputation. If the fa∣miliarities of our Loves had produc'd that Consequence, of which you were aprehensive, Where could you have fix'd a Father's Name with Credit, but on a Husband? I knew Fainall to be a Man lavish of his Morals, an interested and professing Friend, a false and a designing Lover; yet one whose Wit and outward fair Behaviour, have gain'd a Re∣putation with the Town, enough to make that Woman stand excus'd, who has suffer'd herself to be won by his Ad∣dresses. A better Man ought not to have been sacrific'd to the Occasion; a worse had not answer'd to the Purpose. When you are weary of him, you know your Remedy.
I ought to stand in some degree of Credit with you, Mirabell.
In Justice to you, I have made you privy to my whole Design, and put it in your Power to ruin or advance my Fortune.
Whom have you instructed to represent your pretended Uncle?
Care is taken for that—She is won and worn by this time. They were married this morning.
Waitwell and Foible. I wou'd not tempt my Ser∣vant to betray me by trusting him too far. If your Mother, in hopes to ruin me, shou'd consent to marry my pretended Page 25 Uncle, he might like Mosca in the Fox, stand upon Terms; so I made him sure before-hand.
So, if my poor Mother is caught in a Con∣tract, you will discover ••e Imposture betimes; and release her by producing a •••tificate of her Gallants former Marriage.
Yes, upon Condition she consent to my Marriage with her Niece, and surrender the Moiety of her Fortune in her Possession.
That was by Foible's Direction, and my Instruction, that she might seem to carry it more privately.
Well, I have an Opinion of your Success; for I believe my Lady will do any thing to get a Husband; and when she has this, which you have provided for her, I sup∣pose she will submit to any thing to get rid of him.
Yes, I think the good Lady wou'd marry any Thing that resembl'd a Man, tho' 'twere no more than what a Butler cou'd pinch out of a Napkin.
Female Frailty! We must all come to it, if we live to be Old and feel the craving of a false Appetite when the true is decay'd.
An old Woman's Appetite is deprav'd like that of a Girl—'Tis the Green Sickness of a second Childhood; and like the faint Offer of a latter Spring, serves but to usher in the Fall; and withers in an affected Bloom.
Here she comes Ifaith full sail, with her Fan spread and her Streamers out, and a shoal of Fools for Tenders—Ha, no, I cry her Mercy.
I see but one poor empty Sculler; and he tows her Woman after him.
You seem to be unattended, Madam—You us'd to have the Beau-mond Throng after you; and a Flock of gay fine Perrukes hovering round you.
Like Moths about a Candle—I had like to have lost my Comparison for want of Breath.
O I have deny'd my self Airs to Day. I have walk'd as fast through the Crow—
Long! Lord, have I not made violent haste? I have ask'd every living Thing I met for you; I have en∣quir'd after you, as after a new Fashion.
Madam, truce with your Similitudes—No, you met her Husband and did not ask him for her.
By your leave Witwoud, that were like enquiring after an old Fashion, to ask a Husband for his Wise.
Ay, that's true—O but then I had—Mincing what had I? Why was I so long?
Oay, Letters—I had Letters—I am persecuted with Letters—I hate Letters—No Body knows how to write Letters; and yet one has 'em, one does not know why—They serve one to pin up one's Hair.
Only with those in Verse, Mr. Witwoud. I never pin up my Hair with Prose. I fancy ones Hair wou'd not curl if it were pinn'd up with Prose. I think I try'd once Mincing.
'Till I had the Cremp in my Fingers I'll vow Mem. And all to no purpose. But when your Laship pins it up with Poetry, it sits so pleasant the next Day as any Thing, and is so pure and so crips.
Mirabell, Did not you take Exceptions last Night? Oay, and went away—Now I think on't I'm angry—No, now I think on't I'm pleas'd—For I believe I gave you some Pain.
You wou'd affect a Cruelty which is not in your
O I ask your Pardon for that—One's Cruelty is one's Power, and when one parts with one's Cruelty, one parts with one's Power; and when one has parted with that, I fancy one's Old and Ugly.
Ay, ay, suffer your Cruelty to ruin the object of your Power, to destroy your Lover—And then how vain how lost a Thing you'll be! Nay, 'tis true: You are no longer handsome when you've lost your Lover; your Beauty dies upon the Instant: For Beauty is the Lovers Gift; 'tis he bestows your Charms—Your Glass is all a Cheat. The Ugly and the Old, whom the Looking-glass mortifies, yet after Commendation can be flatter'd by it, and discover Beauties in it: For that reflects our Praises, rather than your Face.
O the Vanity of these Men! Fainall, dee hear him? If they did not commend us, we were not handsome! Now you must know they could not commend one, if one was not handsome. Beauty the Lover's Gift—Lord, what is a Lover, that it can give? Why one makes Lovers as fast as one pleases, and they live as long as one pleases, and they die as soon as one pleases: And then if one pleases, one makes more.
Very pretty. Why you make no more of making Page 28 of Lovers, Madam, than of making so many Card-matches.
One no more owes one's Beauty to a Lover, than ones Wit to an Eccho: They can but reflect what we look and say; vain empty Things if we are silent or unseen, and want a being.
Yet to those two vain empty Things, you owe two the greatest Pleasures of your Life.
To your Lover you owe the pleasure of hearing your selves prais'd; and to an Eccho the pleasure of hear∣ing your selves talk.
But I know a Lady that loves talking so incessantly, she won't give an Eccho fair play; she has that everlasting Rotation of Tongue, that an Eccho must wait till she dies, before it can catch her last Words.
I wou'd beg a little private Audience too—
You had the Tyranny to deny me last Night; tho' you knew I came to impart a Secret to you, that concern'd my Love.
Unkind. You had the leisure to entertain a Herd of Fools; Things who visit you from their excessive Idle∣ness; bestowing on your easiness that time, which is the incumbrance of their Lives. How can you find delight in such Society? It is impossible they should admire you, they are not capable: Or if they were, it shou'd be to you as a Mortification; for sure to please a Fool is some degree of Folly.
I please my self—Besides sometimes to converse with Fools, is for my Health.
Yes, the Vapours; Fools are Physick for it, next to Assa-fatida.
Mirabell, If you persist in this offensive Freedom—You'll displease me—I think I must resolve after all, not to have you—We shan't agree.
And yet our Distemper in all likelihood will be the same; for we shall be sick of one another. I shan't endure to be reprimanded, nor instructed; 'tis so dull to act always by Advice, and so tedious to be told of ones Faults—I can't bear it. Well, I won't have you Mirabell—I'm resolv'd—I think—You may go—Ha, ha, ha. What wou'd you give, that you cou'd help loving me?
I would give something that you did not know, I cou'd not help it.
Come, don't look grave then. Well, what do you say to me?
I say that a Man may as soon make a Friend by his Wit, or a Fortune by his Honesty, as win a Woman with plain Dealing and Sincerity.
Sententious Mirabell! Prithee don't look with that violent and inflexible wise Face, like Solomon at the dividing of the Child in an old Tapestry-hanging.
You are merry, Madam, but I wou'd perswade you for one Moment to be serious.
What, with that Face? No, if you keep your Countenance, 'tis impossible I shou'd hold mine. Well, af∣ter all, there is something very moving in a love-sick Face. Ha, ha, ha—Well I won't laugh, don't be peevish—Heigho! Now I'll be melancholly, as melancholly as a Watch-light. Well Mirabell, If ever you will win me woe me now—Nay, if you are sotedious, fare you well;—I see they are walking away.
Can you not find in the variety of your Disposition one Moment—
Unless by the help of the Devil you can't imagine; Page 30 unless she shou'd tell me her self. Which of the two it may have been, I will leave you to consider; and when you have done thinking of that; think of me.
I have something more—Gone—Think of you! To think of a Whirlwind, tho' 'twere in a Whirlwind, were a Case of more steady Contemplation; a very tranquility of Mind and Mansion. A Fellow that lives in a Windmill, has not a more whimsical Dwelling than the Heart of a Man that is lodg'd in a Woman. There is no Point of the Compass to which they cannot turn, and by which they are not turn'd; and by one as well as another; for Motion not Method is their Occupation. To know this, and yet continue to be in Love, is to be made wise from the Dictates of Reason, and yet per∣severe to play the Fool by the force of Instinct—O here come my pair of Turtles—What, billing so sweetly! Is not Valentine's Day over with you yet?
Sirrah, Waitwell, why sure you think you were married for your own Recreation, and not for my Conveniency.
Your Pardon, Sir. With Submission, we have in∣deed been solacing in lawful Delights; but still with an Eye to Business, Sir. I have instructed her as well as I cou'd. If she can take your Directions as readily as my Instructions, Sir, your Affairs are in a prosperous way.
O las Sir, I'm so asham'd—I'm afraid my Lady has been in a thousand Inquietudes for me. But I protest, Sir, I made as much haste as I could.
That she did indeed, Sir. It was my Fault that she did not make more.
But I told my Lady as you instructed me, Sir. That I had a prospect of seeing Sir Rowland your Uncle; and that I wou'd put her Ladyship's Picture in my Pocket to shew him; which I'll be sure to say has made him so enamour'd of her Beauty, that he burns with Impatience to lie at her Ladyship's Feet and worship the Original.
Excellent Foible! Matrimony has made you elo∣quent in Love.
I told her Sir, because I did not know that you might find an Opportunity; she had so much Company last Night.
Your Diligence will merit more—In the mean time—
Stand off Sir, not a Penny—Go on and prosper, Foible—The Lease shall be made good and the Farm stock'd, if we succeed.
I don't question your Generosity, Sir: And you need not doubt of Success. If you have no more Commands Sir, I'll be gone; I'm sure my Lady is at her Toilet, and can't dress till I come—O Dear, I'm sure that [Looking out, was Mrs. Marwood that went by in a Mask; if she has seen me with you I'm sure she'll tell my Lady. I'll make haste home and prevent her. Your Servant Sir. B'w'y Wait∣well.
Sir Rowland if you please. The Jade's so pert upon her Preserment she forgets her self.
Come Sir, will you endeavour to forget your self—And transform into Sir Rowland.
Why Sir; it will be impossible I shou'd remember my self—Married, Knighted and attended all in one Day! 'Tis enough to make any Man forget himself. The Diffi∣culty will be how to recover my Acquaintance and Famili∣arity with my former self; and fall from my Transforma∣tion to a Reformation into Waitwell. Nay, I shan't be quite the same Waitwell neither—For now I remember me, I am married, and can't be my own Man again.