The way of the world a comedy, as it is acted at the theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields by His Majesty's servants
Congreve, William, 1670-1729.
A Room in Lady Wishfort's House.
Lady Wishfort at her Toilet, Peg waiting.
Lady.
MErciful, no News of Foible yet?
Peg.
No, Madam.
Lady.

I have no more patience—If I have not fretted my self till I am pale again, there's no Veracity in me. Fetch me the Red—The Red, do you hear, Sweet-heart? An errant Ash colour, as I'm a Person. Look you how this Wench stirs! Why dost thou not fetch me a little Red? Did'st thou not hear me, Mopus?

Peg.
The red Ratifia does your Ladyship mean, or the
Cherry Brandy?
Lady.

Ratifia, Fool. No Fool. Not the Ratifia Fool—Grant me patience! I mean the Spanish Paper Idiot, Com∣plexion Darling. Paint, Paint, Paint, dost thou understand that, Changeling, dangling thy Hands like Bobbins before thee. Why dost thou not stir Puppet? thou wooden Thing upon Wires.

Peg.

Lord, Madam, your Ladyship is so impatient—I cannot come at the Paint, Madam; Mrs. Foible has lock'd it up, and carry'd the Key with her.

Lady.

A Pox take you both—Fetch me the Chery-Brandy then—[Exit Peg.] I'm as pale and as faint, I look like Mrs. Qualmsick the Curate's Wife, that's always breeding—Wench, come, come, Wench, what art thou doing, Sipping? Tasting? Save thee, dost thou not know the Bottle?

Enter Peg with a Bottle and China-cup.
Peg.
Madam, I was looking for a Cup.
Page  33
Lady.

A Cup, save thee, and what a Cup hast thou brought! Dost thou take me for a Fairy, to drink out of an Acorn? Why didst thou not bring thy Thimble? Hast thou ne'er a Brass-Thimble clinking in thy Pocket with a bit of Nutmeg? I warrant thee. Come, fill, fill.—So—again. See who that is—[One knocks] Set down the Bottle first. Here, here, under the Table—What wou'dst thou go with the Bottle in thy Hand like a Tapster. As I'm a Person, this Wench has liv'd in an Inn upon the Road, before she came to me, like Maritorne's the Asturian in Don Quixote. No Foible yet?

Peg.
No Madam, Mrs. Marwood.
Lady.

O Marwood, let her come in. Come in good Mar∣wood.

Enter Mrs. Marwood.
Mrs. Mar.

I'm surpriz'd to find your Ladyship in disha∣bilie at this time of day.

Lady.

Foible's a lost Thing; has been abroad since Morn∣ing, and never heard of since.

Mrs. Mar.

I saw her but now, as I came mask'd through the Park, in Conference with Mirabell.

Lady.

With Mirabell! You call my Blood into my Face, with mentioning that Traytor. She durst not have the Con∣fidence. I sent her to Negotiate an Affair, in which if I'm detected I'm undone. If that wheadling Villain has wrought upon Foible to detect me, I'm ruin'd. Oh my dear Friend, I'm a Wretch of Wretches if I'm detected.

Mrs. Mar.
O Madam, you cannot suspect Mrs. Foible's
Integrity.
Lady.

O, he carries Poyson in his Tongue that wou'd corrupt Integrity it self. If she has given him an Oppor∣tunity, she has as good as put her Integrity into his Hands. Ah dear Marwood, what's Integrity to an Opportunity?—Hark! I hear her—Go you Thing and send her in. [Ex. Peg. Dear Friend retire into my Closet, that I may examine her with more freedom—You'll pardon me dear Friend, I can make bold with you—There are Books over the Chim∣ney. Page  34Quarles and Pryn, and the Short View of the Stage, with Bunyan's Works to entertain you.

[Exit Marwood.
Enter Foible.
O Foible, where hast thou been? What hast thou been doing?
Foib.
Madam, I have seen the Party.
Lady.
But what hast thou done?
Foib.

Nay, 'tis your Lady ship has done, and are to do; I have only promis'd. But a Man so enamour'd—So tran∣sported! Well, here it is, all that is left; all that is not kiss'd away—Well, if worshipping of Pictures be a Sin—Poor Sir Rowland, I say.

Lady.

The Miniature has been counted like—But hast thou not betray'd me, Foible? Hast thou not detected me to that faithless Mirabell?—What had'st thou to do with him in the Park? Answer me, has he got nothing out of thee?

Foib.

So, the Devil has been before hand with me, what shall I say?—Alas, Madam, cou'd I help it, if I met that confident Thing? Was I in Fault? If you had heard how he us'd me, and all upon your Ladyship's Account, I'm sure you wou'd not suspect my Fidelity. Nay, if that had been the worst I cou'd have born: But he had a Fling at your Lady ship too; and then I could not hold; But I faith I gave him his own.

Lady.
Me? What did the filthy Fellow say?
Foib.

O Madam; 'tis a shame to say what he said—With his Taunts and his Fleers, tossing up his Nose. Humh (says he) what you are a hatching some Plot (says he) you are so early abroad, or Catering (says he) ferreting for some disbanded Officer I warrant—Half Pay is but thin Sub∣sistance (says he)—Well, what Pension does your Lady propose? Let me see (says he) what she must come down pretty deep now, she's super-annuated (says he) and—

Lady.
Ods my Life, I'll have him, I'll have him murder'd.
I'll have him poyson'd. Where does he eat? I'll marry a
Drawer to have him poyson'd in his Wine. I'll send for
Robin from Lockets—Immediately.
Page  35
Foib.

Poyson him? Poysoning's too good for him. Starve him Madam, starve him, marry Sir Rowland and get him disinherited. O you would bless your self, to hear what he said.

Lady.
A Villain, superanuated!
Foib.

Humh (says he) I hear you are laying Designs a∣gainst me too (says he), and Mrs. Millamant is to marry my Uncle; (he does not suspect a Word of your Ladyship;) but (says he) I'll fit you for that, I warrant you (says he) I'll hamper you for that (says he) you and your old Frippery too (says he) I'll handle you—

Lady.

Audacious Villain! handle me, wou'd he durst—Frippery? old Frippery! Was there ever such a foul∣mouth'd Fellow? I'll be married to Morrow, I'll be con∣tracted to Night.

Foib.
The sooner the better, Madam.
Lady.
Will Sir Rowland be here, say'st thou? when Foible?
Foib.

Incontinently, Madam. No new Sheriff's Wife expects the return of her Husband after Knighthood, with that Impatience in which Sir Rowland burns for the dear hour of kissing your Ladyship's Hands after Dinner.

Lady.

Frippery? Superannuated Frippery! I'll Frippery the Villain; I'll reduce him to Frippery and Rags. A Tat∣terdemallion—I hope to see him hung with Tatters, like a long Lane Pent-house, or a Gibbet-thief. A slander mouth'd Railer: I warrant the Spendthrift Prodigal's in Debt as much as the Million Lottery, or the whole Court upon a Birth day. I'll spoil his Credit with his Taylor. Yes, he shall have my Niece with her Fortune, he shall.

Foib.
He! I hope to see him lodge in Ludgate first, and
Angle into Black Friers for Brass Farthings, with an old
Mitten.
Lady.

Ay dear Foible; thank thee for that dear Foible. He has put me out of all patience. I shall never recompose my Features, to receive Sir Rowland with any Oeconomy of Face. This Wretch has fretted me that I am absolutely de∣cay'd. Look Foible.

Page  36
Foib.

Your Ladyship has frown'd a little too rashly, in∣deed Madam. There are some Cracks discernable in the white Vernish.

Lady.

Let me see the Glass—Cracks, say'st thou? Why I am arrantly flea'd—I look like an old peel'd Wall. Thou must repair me Foible, before Sir Rowland comes; or I shall never keep up to my Picture.

Foib.

I warrant you, Madam; a little Art once made your Picture like you; and now a little of the same Art, must make you like your Picture. Your Picture must fit for you, Madam.

Lady.

But art thou sure Sir Rowland will not fail to come? Or will a not fail when he does come? Will he be Importu∣nate Foible, and push? For if he shou'd not be Importu∣nate—I shall never break Decorums—I shall die with Confusion, if I am forc'd to advance—Oh no, I can ne∣ver advance—I shall swoon if he shou'd expect advances. No, I hope Sir Rowland is better bred, than to put a Lady to the necessity of breaking her Forms. I won't be too coy neither.—I won't give him despair—But a little Disdain is not amiss; a little Scorn is alluring.

Foib.
A little Scorn becomes your Ladyship.
Lady.

Yes, but Tenderness becomes me best—A sort of a dyingness—You see that Picture has a sort of a—Ha Foible? A swimminess in the Eyes—Yes, I'll look so—My Niece affects it; but she wants Features. Is Sir Row∣land handsome? Let my Toilet be remov'd—I'll dress above. I'll receive Sir Rowland here. Is he handsome? Don't answer me. I won't know: I'll be surpriz'd. I'll be taken by Surprize.

Foib.
By Storm, Madam. Sir Rowland's a brisk Man.
Lady.

Is he! O then he'll Importune, if he's a brisk Man. I shall save Decorums if Sir Rowland importunes. I have a mortal Terror at the apprehension of offending against De∣corums. Nothing but Importunity can surmount Deco∣rums. O I'm glad he's a brisk Man. Let my Things be remov'd, good Foible.

[Exit.
Page  37 Enter Mrs. Fainall.
Mrs. Fain.

O Foible, I have been in a Fright, least I shou'd come too late. That Devil Marwood saw you in the Park with Mirabell, and I'm afraid will discover it to my Lady.

Foib.
Discover what, Madam?
Mrs. Fain.

Nay, nay, put not on that strange Face. I am privy to the whole Design, and know that Waitwell, to whom thou wert this morning Married, is to personate Mirabell's Uncle, and as such winning my Lady, to involve her in those Difficulties, from which Mirabell only must re∣lease her, by his making his Conditions to have my Cousin and her Fortune left to her own disposal.

Foib.

O dear Madam, I beg your Pardon. It was not my Confidence in your Ladyship that was deficient; but I thought the former good Correspondence between your La∣dyship and Mr. Mirabell, might have hinder'd his communi∣cating this Secret.

Mrs. Fain.
Dear Foible forget that.
Foib.

O dear Madam, Mr. Mirabell is such a sweet win∣ning Gentleman—But your Ladyship is the Pattern of Generosity.—Sweet Lady, to be so good! Mr. Mirabell cannot chuse but be grateful. I find your Ladyship has his Heart still. Now, Madam, I can safely tell your Ladyship our success, Mrs. Marwood had told my Lady; but I war∣rant I manag'd my self. I turn'd it all for the better. I told my Lady that Mr. Mirabell rail'd at her. I laid horrid Things to his charge, I'll vow; and my Lady is so incens'd, that she'll be contracted to Sir Rowland to Night, she says;—I warrant I work'd her up, that he may have her for asking for, as they say of a Welch Maiden-head.

Mrs. Fain.
O rare Foible!
Foib.

Madam, I beg your Ladyship to acquaint Mr. Mi∣rabell of his success. I wou'd be seen as little as possible to speak to him,—besides, I believe Madam Marwood watches me.—She has a Month's mind; but I know Mr. Mirabell can't abide her.—[Enter Footman.] John—remove my Lady's Toilet. Madam your Servant. My Lady is so impatient, I fear she'll come for me, if I stay.

Page  38
Mrs. Fain.

I'll go with you up the back Stairs, lest I shou'd meet her.

[Exeunt.
Enter Mrs. Marwood.
Mrs. Mar.

Indeed Mrs. Engine, is it thus with you? Are you become a go-between of this Importance? Yes, I shall watch you. Why this Wench is the Pass-par-tout, a very Master-Key to every Bodies strong Box. My Friend Fain∣all, have you carried it so swimmingly? I thought there was something in it; but it seems it's over with you. Your loathing is not from a want of Appetite then, but from a Surfeit. Else you could never be so cool to fall from a Prin∣cipal to be an Assistant; to procure for him! A Pattern of Generosity, that I confess. Well, Mr. Fainall, you have met with your Match.—O Man, Man! Woman, Wo∣man! The Devil's an Ass: If I were a Painter, I wou'd draw him like an Idiot, a Driveler, with a Bib and Bells. Man shou'd have his Head and Horns, and Woman the rest of him. Poor simple Fiend! Madam Marwood has a Months Mind, but he can't abide her—'Twere better for him you had not been his Confessor in that Affair; without you cou'd have kept his Counsel closer. I shall not prove another Pattern of Generosity; and stalk for him, till he takes his Stand to aim at a Fortune, he has not oblig'd me to that, with those Excesses of himself; and now I'll have none of him. Here comes the good Lady, panting ripe; with a Heart full of Hope, and a Head full of Care, like any Chymist upon the Day of Projection.

Enter Lady Wishfort.
Lady.

O dear Marwood what shall I say, for this rude for∣getfulness—But my dear Friend is all Goodness.

Mrs. Mar.

No Apologies, dear Madam. I have been very well entertained.

Lady.

As I'm a Person I am in a very Chaos to think I shou'd so forget my self—But I have such an Olio of Af∣fairs really I know not what to do—[Calls]—Foible—I expect my Nephew Sir Wilfull every moment too—Why Foible—He means to Travel for Improvement.

Page  39
Mrs. Mar.

Methinks Sir Wilfull should rather think of Marrying than Travelling at his Years. I hear he is turn'd of Forty.

Lady.

O he's in less Danger of being spoil'd by his Tra∣vels—I am against my Nephews marrying too young. It will be time enough when he comes back, and has acquir'd Discretion to choose for himself.

Mrs. Mar.

Methinks Mrs. Millamant and he wou'd make a very fit Match. He may Travel afterwards. 'Tis a Thing very usual with young Gentlemen.

Lady.

I promise you I have thought on't—And since 'tis your Judgment, I'll think on't again. I assure you I will, I value your Judgment extreamly. On my Word I'll propose it.

Enter Foible.

Come, come Foible—I had forgot my Nephew will be here before Dinner—I must make haste.

Foib.

Mr. Witwoud and Mr. Petulant, are come to Dine with your Ladyship.

Lady.

O Dear, I can't appear till I'm dressld. Dear Mar∣wood shall I be free with you again, and beg you to entertain 'em. I'll make all imaginable haste. Dear Friend excuse me.

[Exit Lady and Foible.
Enter Mrs. Millamant and Mincing.
Milla.
Sure never any thing was so Unbred as that odious
Man—Marwood, your Servant.
Mrs. Mar.
You have a Colour, what's the matter?
Milla.

That horrid Fellow Petulant, has provok'd me into into a Flame—I have broke my Fan—Mincing, lend me yours;—Is not all the Powder out of my Hair?

Mrs. Mar.
No. What has he done?
Milla.

Nay, he has done nothing; he has only talk'd—Nay, he has said nothing neither; but he has contradicted every Thing that has been said. For my part, I thought Witwood and he wou'd have quarrell'd.

Page  40
Minc.
I vow Mem, I thought once they wou'd have fit.
Milla.

Well, 'tis a lamentable thing I'll swear, that one has not the liberty of choosing one's Acquaintance, as one does one's Cloaths.

Mrs. Mar.

If we had the liberty, we shou'd be as weary of one Set of Acquaintance, tho' never so good, as we are of one Suit, tho' never fo fine. A Fool and a Doily Stuff wou'd now and then find Days of Grace, and be worn for variety.

Milla.

I could consent to wear 'em, if they wou'd wear a∣like; but Fools never wear out—they are such Drap-du∣berry Things! without one cou'd give 'em to one's Chamber∣maid after a day or two.

Mrs. Mar.

'Twere better so indeed. Or what think you of the Play-house? A fine gay glossy Fool, shou'd be given there, like a new masking Habit, after the Masquerade is over, and we have done with the Disguise. For a Fool's Visit is always a Difguise; and never admitted by a Woman of Wit, but to blind her Affair with a Lover of Sense. If you wou'd but appear bare fac'd now, and own Mirabell; you might as easily put off Petulant and Witwoud, as your Hood and Scarf. And indeed 'tis time, for the Town has found it: The Se∣cret is grown too big for the Pretence: 'Tis like Mrs. Prim∣ly's great Belly; she may lace it down before, but it bur∣nishes on her Hips. Indeed, Millamant, you can no more conceal it, then my Lady Strammel can her Face, that good∣ly Face, which in defiance of her Rhenish-wine Tea, will not be comprehended in a Mask.

Milla.

I'll take my Death, Marwood, you are more Cen∣sorious, than a decay'd Beauty, or a discarded Tost; Min∣cing, tell the Men they may come up. My Aunt is not dres∣sing; their Folly is less provoking than your Mallice; the Town has found it. [Exit. Mincing.] What has it found? That Mirabell loves me is no more a Secret, than it is a Secret that you discover'd it to my Aunt, or than the Reason why you discover'd it is a Secret.

Mrs. Mar.
You are nettl'd.
Milla.
You'r mistaken. Ridiculous!
Page  41
Mrs. Mar.

Indeed my Dear, you'll tear another Fan, if you don't mitigate those violent Airs.

Milla.

O silly! Ha, ha, ha. I cou'd laugh immoderately. Poor Mirabell! his Constancy to me has quite destroy'd his Complaisance for all the World beside. I swear, I never en∣join'd it him, to be so coy—If I had the Vanity to think he wou'd obey me; I wou'd command him to shew more Gallantry—'Tis hardly well bred to be so particular on one Hand, and so insensible on the other. But I despair to prevail, and so let him follow his own way. Ha, ha, ha. Pardon me, dear Creature, I must laugh, Ha, ha, ha; tho' I grant you 'tis a little barbarous, Ha, ha, ha.

Mrs. Mar.

What pity 'tis, so much fine Raillery, and deliver'd with so significant Gesrure, shou'd be so unhappily directed to miscarry.

Milla.
Hae? Dear Creature I ask your Pardon—I swear
I did not mind you.
Mrs. Mar.
Mr. Mirabell and you both, may think it a
Thing impossible, when I shall tell him, by telling you—
Milla.

O Dear, what? for it is the same thing, if I hear it—Ha, ha, ha.

Mrs. Mar.
That I detest him, hate him, Madam.
Milla.

O Madam, why so do I—And yet the Creature loves me, Ha, ha, ha. How can one forbear laughing to think of it—I am a Sybil if I am not amaz'd to think what he can see in me. I'll take my Death, I think you are hand∣somer—And within a Year or two as young.—If you cou'd but stay for me, I shou'd overtake you—But that cannot be—Well, that Thought makes me Melan∣cholly—Now I'll be sad.

Mrs. Mar.

Your merry Note may be chang'd sooner than you think.

Milla.

Dee say so? Then I'm resolv'd I'll have a Song to keep up my Spirits.

Enter Mincing.
Minc.

The Gentlemen stay but to Comb, Madam; and will wait on you.

Page  42
Milla.

Desire Mrs.—that is in the next Room to sing the Song, I wou'd have learnt Yesterday. You shall hear it Madam—Not that there's any great matter in it—But 'tis agreeable to my Humour.

Set by Mr. John Eccles, and Sung by Mrs. Hodgson.
SONG.
I.
LOVE's but the frailty of the Mind,
When 'tis not with Ambition join'd;
A sickly Flame, which if not fed expires;
And feeding, wasts in Self-consuming Fires.
II.
'Tis not to wound a wanton Boy
Or am'rous Youth, that gives the Joy;
But 'tis the Glory to have pierc'd a Swain,
For whom inferiour Beauties sigh'd in vain.
III.
Then I alone the Conquest prize
When I insult a Rival's Eyes:
If there's Delight in Love, 'tis when I see
That Heart which others bleed for, bleed for me.
Enter Petulant and Witwoud.
Milla.
Is your Animosity compos'd, Gentlemen?
Wit.

Raillery, Raillery, Madam, we have have no Ani∣mosity—We hit off a little Wit now and then, but no Page  43 Animosity—The falling out of Wits is like the falling out of Lovers—We agree in the main, like Treble and Base. Ha, Petulant!

Pet.

Ay in the main—But when I have a Humour to contradict.

Wit.

Ay, when he has a Humour to contradict, then I contradict too. What, I know my Cue. Then we con∣tradict one another like two Battle-dores: For Contra∣dictions beget one another like Jews.

Pet.

If he says Black's Black—If I have a Humour to say 'tis Blue—Let that pass—All's one for that. If I have a Humour to prove it, it must be granted.

Wit.
Not positively must—But it may—It may.
Pet.
Yes, it positively must, upon Proof positive.
Wit.

Ay, upon Proof positive it must; but upon Proof presumptive it only may. That's a Logical Distinction now, Madam.

Mrs. Mar.

I perceive your Debates are of Importance and very learnedly handl'd.

Pet.

Importance is one Thing, and Learning's another; but a Debate's a Debate, that I assert.

Wit.

Petulant's an Enemy to Learning; he relies altoge∣ther on his Parts.

Pet.
No, I'm no Enemy to Learning; it hurts not me.
Mrs. Mar.
That's a Sign indeed its no Enemy to you.
Pet.

No, no, it's no Enemy to any Body, but them that have it.

Milla.

Well, an illiterate Man's my Aversion. I won∣der at the Impudence of any Illiterate Man, to offer to make Love.

Wit.
That I confess I wonder at too.
Milla.

Ah! to marry an Ignorant! that can hardly Read or Write.

Pet.

Why shou'd a Man be ever the further from being married tho' he can't Read, any more than he is from being Hang'd. The Ordinary's paid for setting the Psalm, and the Parish-Priest for reading the Ceremony. And for the Page  44 rest which is to follow in both Cases, a Man may do it with∣out Book—So all's one for that.

Milla.

Dee hear the Creature? Lord, here's Company, I'll be gone.

[Exeunt Millamant and Mincing.
Wit.

In the Name of Bartlemew and his Fair, what have we here?

Mrs. Mar.

'Tis your Brother, I fancy. Don't you know him?

Wit.

Not I—Yes, I think it is he—I've almost for∣got him; I have not seen him since the Revolution.

Enter Sir Wilfull Witwoud in a Country Riding Habit, and Servant to Lady Wishfort.
Serv.

Sir, my Lady's dressing. Here's Company; if you please to walk in, in the mean time.

Sir Will.

Dressing! What it's but Morning here I warrant with you in London; we shou'd count it towards Afternoon in our Parts, down in Shropshire—Why then belike my Aunt han't din'd yet—Ha, Friend?

Serv.
Your Aunt, Sir?
Sir Will.

My Aunt Sir, yes my Aunt Sir, and your Lady Sir; your Lady is my Aunt, Sir—Why, what do'st thou not know me, Friend? Why then send Somebody here that does. How long hast thou liv'd with thy Lady, Fellow, ha!

Serv.

A Week, Sir; longer than any Body in the House, except my Lady's Woman.

Sir Will.

Why then belike thou dost not know thy Lady, if thou see'st her, ha Friend?

Serv.

Why truly Sir; I cannot safely swear to her Face in a Morning, before she is dress'd. 'Tis like I may give a shrew'd guess at her by this time.

Sir. Will.

Well prithee try what thou can'st do; if thou can'st not guess, enquire her out, do'st hear Fellow? And tell her, her Nephew Sir Wilfull Witwoud is in the House.

Serv.
I shall, Sir.
Sir Will.

Hold ye, hear me Friend; a Word with you in your Ear, prithee who are these Gallants?

Page  45
Serv.

Really Sir, I can't tell; here come so many here, 'tis hard to know 'em all.

[Exit Servant.
Sir Will.

Oons this Fellow knows less than a Starling; I don't think a' knows his own Name.

Mrs. Mar.

Mr. Witwoud, your Brother is not behind Hand in forgetfulness—I fancy he has forgot you too.

Wit.

I hope so—The Devil take him that remembers first, I say.

Sir Will.
Save you Gentlemen and Lady.
Mrs. Mar.

For shame Mr. Witwoud; why won't you speak to him?—And you, Sir.

Wit.
Petulant speak.
Pet.
And you, Sir.
Sir Will.
No Offence, I hope.
[Salutes Marwood.
Mrs. Mar.
No sure, Sir.
Wit.
This is a vile Dog, I see that already. No Offence!
Ha, ha, ha, to him; to him Petulant, smoke him.
Pet.

It seems as if you had come a Journey, Sir; hem, hem.

[Surveying him round.
Sir Will.
Very likely, Sir, that it may seem so.
Pet.
No Offence, I hope, Sir,
Wit.
Smoke the Boots, the Boots; Petulant, the Boots;
Ha, ha, ha.
Sir Will.
May be not, Sir; thereafter as 'tis meant, Sir.
Pet.
Sir, I presume upon the Information of your Boots.
Sir Will.

Why, 'tis like you may, Sir: If you are not satisfy'd with the Information of my Boots, Sir, if you will step to the Stable, you may enquire further os my Horse, Sir.

Pet.
Your Horse, Sir! Your Horse is an Ass, Sir!
Sir Will.
Do you speak by way of Offence, Sir?
Mrs. Mar.

The Gentleman's merry, that's all, Sir—S'life, we shall have a Quarrel betwixt an Horse and an Ass, before they find one another out. You must not take any Thing amiss from your Friends, Sir. You are among your Friends here, tho' it may be you don't know it—If I am not mistaken, you are Sir Willfull Witwoud.

Page  46
Sir Will.

Right Lady; I am Sir Willfull Witwoud, so I write my self; no offence to any Body, I hope; and Ne∣phew to the Lady Wishfort, of this Mansion.

Mrs. Mar.
Don't you know this Gentleman, Sir?
Sir Will.

Hum! What sure 'tis not—Yea by'r Lady, but 'tis—'Sheart I know not whether 'tis or no—Yea but 'tis, by the Rekin. Brother Anthony! What Tony I saith! What do'st thou not know me? By'r Lady nor I thee, thou art so Becravated, and Beperriwig'd—'Sheart why do'st not speak? Art thou o'er-joy'd?

Wit.
Odso Brother, is it you? Your Servant Brother.
Sir Will.

Your Servant! Why yours, Sir. Your Servant again—'Sheart, and your Friend and Servant to that—And a—(puff) and a flap Dragon for your Service, Sir: And a Hare's Foot, and a Hare's Scut for your Service, Sir; an you be so cold and so courtly!

Wit.
No offence, I hope, Brother.
Sir Will.

'Sheart, Sir, but there is, and much offence.—A pox, is this your Inns o'Court breeding, not to know your Friends and your Relations, your Elders, and your Betters?

Wit.

Why Brother Willfull of Salop, you may be as short as a Shrewsbury Cake, if you please. But I tell you, 'tis not modish to know Relations in Town. You think you're in the Country, where great lubberly Brothers slabber and kiss one another when they meet, like a Call of Serjeants—'Tis not the fashion here; 'tis not indeed, dear Brother.

Sir Will.

The Fashion's a Fool; and you're a Fop, dear Brother. 'Sheart, I've suspected this—By'r Lady I conje∣etur'd you were a Fop, since you began to change the Stile of your Letters, and write in a scrap of Paper gilt round the Edges, no broader than a Subpoena. I might expect this, when you left off Honour'd Brother; and hoping you are in good Health, and so forth—To begin with a Rat me, Knight, I'm so sick of a last Nights debauch—O'ds heart, and then tell a familiar Tale of a Cock and a Bull, and a Whore and a Bottle, and so conclude—You cou'd write News before you were out of your Time, when you liv'd Page  47 with honest Pumple Nose the Attorney of Furnival's Inn—You cou'd intreat to be remember'd then to your Friends round the Rekin. We cou'd have Gazetts then, and Dawks's Letter, and the weekly Bill, 'till of late Days.

Pet.
S'life, Witwoud, were you ever an Attorney's Clerk?
Of the Family of the Furnivals. Ha, ha, ha!
Wit.

Ay, ay, but that was for a while. Not long, not long; pshaw, I was not in my own Power then. An Or∣phan, and this Fellow was my Guardian; ay, ay, I was glad to consent to that Man to come to London. He had the disposal of me then. If I had not agreed to that, I might have been bound Prentice to a Felt maker in Shrewsbury; this Fellow wou'd have bound me to a Maker of Felts.

Sir Will.

'Sheart, and better than to be bound to a Maker of Fops; where, I suppose, you have serv'd your Time; and now you may set up for your self.

Mrs. Mar.
You intend to Travel, Sir, as I'm inform'd.
Sir Will.

Belike I may Madam. I may chance to sail up∣on the salt Seas, if my Mind hold.

Pet.
And the Wind serve.
Sir Will.

Serve or not ferve, I shant ask License of you, Sir; nor the Weather-Cock your Companion. I direct my Discourse to the Lady, Sir: 'Tis like my Aunt may have told you, Madam—Yes, I have settl'd my Concerns, I may say now, and am minded to see Foreign Parts. If an how that the Peace holds, whereby that is, Taxes abate.

Mrs. Mar.

I thought you had design'd for France at all Ad∣ventures.

Sir Will.

I can't tell that; 'tis like I may, and 'tis like I may not. I am somewhat dainty in making a Resolution,—because when I make it I keep it. I don't stand shill I, shall I, then; if I say't, I'll do't: But I have Thoughts to tarry a small matter in Town, to learn somewhat of your Lingo first, before I cross the Seas. I'd gladly have a spice of your French as they say, whereby to hold discourse in Fo∣reign Countries.

Mrs. Mar.
Here is an Academy in Town for that use.
Sir Will.
There is? 'Tis like there may.
Page  48
Mrs. Mar.
No doubt you will return very much improv'd.
Wit.

Yes, refin'd, like a Dutch Skipper from a Whale∣fishing.

Enter Lady Wishfort and Fainall.
Lady.
Nephew, you are welcome.
Sir Will.
Aunt, your Servant.
Fain.
Sir Willfull, your most faithful Servant.
Sir Will.
Cousin Fainall, give me your Hand.
Lady.

Cousin Witwoud, your Servant; Mr. Petulant, your Servant.—Nephew, you are welcome again. Will you drink any Thing after your Journey, Nephew, before you eat? Dinner's almost ready.

Sir Will.

I'm very well I thank you Aunt—However, I thank you for your courteous Offer. 'Sheart, I was afraid you wou'd have been in the fashion too, and have remem∣ber'd to have forgot your Relations. Here's your Cousin Tony, belike, I may'nt call him Brother for fear of offence.

Lady.
O he's a Rallier, Nephew—My Cousin's a Wit.
And your great Wits always rally their best Friends to chuse.
When you have been abroad, Nephew, you'll understand
Raillery better.
[Fain. and Mrs. Marwood talk a-part.
Sir Will.

Why then let him hold his Tongue in the mean time; and rail when that day comes.

Enter Mincing.
Minc.

Mem, I come to acquaint your Laship that Din∣ner is impatient.

Sir Will.

Impatient? Why then belike it won't stay, 'till I pull off my Boots. Sweet-heart, can you help me to a pair of Slippers?—My Man's with his Horses, I warrant.

Lady.

Fie, fie, Nephew, you wou'd not pull off your Boots here—Go down into the Hall—Dinner shall stay for you—My Nephew's a little unbred, you'll pardon him, Madam—Gentlemen will you walk. Marwood

Mrs. Mar.

I'll follow you, Madam—Before Sir Willfull is ready.

[Manent Mrs. Marwood and Fainall.
Page  49
Fain.

Why then Foible's a Bawd, an Errant, Rank, Match∣making Bawd. And I it seems am a Husband, a Rank-Husband; and my Wife a very Errant, Rank-Wife,—all in the Way of the World. 'S death to be an Anticipated Cuckold, a Cuckold in Embrio? Sure I was born with budding Antlers like a young Satyre, or a Citizens Child. 'S death to be Out-Witted, to be Out-Jilted—Out-Matri∣mony'd,—If I had kept my speed like a Stag, 'twere some∣what,—but to crawl after, with my Horns like a Snail, and out-strip'd by my Wife—'tis Scurvy Wedlock.

Mrs. Mar.

Then shake it off, You have often wish'd for an opportunity to part;—and now you have it. But first prevent their Plot,—the half of Millamant's Fortune is too Considerable to be parted with, to a Foe, to Mirabell.

Fain.

Dam him, that had been mine—had you not made that fond discovery—that had been forfeited, had they been Married. My Wife had added Lustre to my Horns, by that Encrease of fortune,—I cou'd have worn 'em tipt with Gold, tho' my forehead had been furnish'd like a Deputy-Lieutenant's Hall.

Mrs. Mar.

They may prove a Cap of Maintenance to you still, if you can away with your Wife. And she's no worse than when you had her—I dare swear she had given up her Game, before she was Marry'd.

Fain.
Hum! That may be—She might throw up her
Cards; but Ile be hang'd if she did not put Pam in her
Pocket.
Mrs. Mar.

You Married her to keep you; and if you can contrive to have her keep you better than you expected; why should you not keep her longer than you intended?

Fain.
The means, the means.
Mrs. Mar.

Discover to my Lady your Wife's conduct; threat en to part with her—My Lady loves her, and will come to any Composition to save her reputation, take the oppor∣tunity of breaking it, just upon the discovery of this impo∣sture. My Lady will be enraged beyond bounds, and Sacri∣fice Neice, and Fortune, and all at that Conjuncture. And Page  50 let me alone to keep her warm, if she should Flag in her part, I will not fail to prompt her.

Fain.
Faith this has an appearance.
Mrs. Mar.

I'm sorry I hinted to my Lady to endeavour a match between Millamant and Sir Wilfull, that may be an Obstacle.

Fain.

O, for that matter leave me to manage him; I'll disable him for that, he will drink like a Dane: after dinner, I'll set his hand in.

Mrs. Mar.

Well, how do you stand affected towards your Lady?

Fain.

Why faith I'm thinking of it.—Let me see—I am married already; so that's over,—my Wife has plaid the Jade with me—Well, that's over too—I never lov'd her, or if I had, why that wou'd have been over too by this time—Jealous of her I cannot be, for I am certain; so there's an end of Jealousie. Weary of her, I am, and shall be—No, there's no end of that; No, no, that were too much to hope. Thus far concerning my repose. Now for my Reputation,—As to my own, I married not for it; so that's out of the Question,—And as to my part in my Wife's—Why she had parted with hers before; so bringing none to me, she can take none from me, 'tis a∣gainst all rule of Play, that I should lose to one, who has not wherewithal to stake.

Mrs. Mar.
Besides you forget, Marriage is honourable.
Fain.

Hum! Faith and that's well thought on; Marriage is honourable as you say; and if so, Wherefore should Cuckoldom be a discredit, being deriv'd from so honoura∣ble a root?

Mrs. Mar.

Nay I know not; if the root be Honourable, why not the Branches?

Fain.

So, so, why this point's clear,—Well how do we proceed?

Mrs. Mar.

I will contrive a Letter which shall be de∣liver'd to my Lady at the time when that Rascal who is to act Sir Rowland is with her. It shall come as from an unknown hand—for the less I appear to know of the Page  51 truth—the better I can play the Incendiary. Besides I would not have Foible provok'd if I cou'd help it,—because you know she knows some passages—Nay I expect all will come out—But let the Mine be sprung first, and then I care not if I'm discover'd.

Fain.

If the worst come to the worst,—I'll turn my Wife to Grass—I have already a deed of Settlement of the best part of her Estate; which I wheadl'd out of her; And that you shall partake at least.

Mrs. Mar.

I hope you are convinc'd that I hate Mirabell. now you'll be no more Jealous.

Fain.

Jealous no,—by this Kiss—let Husbands be Jea∣lous; But let the Lover still believe. Or if he doubt, let it be only to endear his pleasure, and prepare the Joy that follows, when he proves his Mistress true; but let Husbands doubts Convert to endless Jealousie; or if they have be∣lief, let it Corrupt to Superstition, and blind Credulity. I am single; and will herd no more with 'em. True, I wear the badge; but I'll disown the Order. And since I take my leave of 'em, I care not if I leave 'em a common Motto, to their common Crest.

All Husbands must, or pain, or shame, endure;
The Wise too Jealous are, Fools too secure:
[Exeunt.