IS Sir Rowland coming say'st thou, Foible? and are things in Order?
Yes, Madam. I have put Wax-Lights in the Scon∣ces; and plac'd the Foot-men in a Row in the Hall, in their best Liveries, with the Coach-man and Postilion to fill up the Equipage.
Have you pullvill'd the Coach-man and Postilion, that they may not stink of the Stable, when Sir Rowland comes by?
And are the Dancers and the Musick ready, that he may be entertain'd in all points with Correspondence to his Passion?
Well, and how shall I receive him? In what fi∣gure shall I give his Heart the first Impression? There is a great deal in the first Impression. Shall I sit?—No I won't sit—I'll walk—aye I'll walk from the door upon his entrance; and then turn full upon him—No, that will be too sudden. I'll lie—aye, I'll lie down—I'll receive him in my little dressing Room, there's a Couch—Yes, yes, I'll give the first Impression on a Couch—I wont lie neither but loll and lean upon one Elbow; with one Foot a little dangling off, Jogging in a thoughtful way—Yes—and then as soon as he appears, start, ay, start and be surpriz'd, and rise to meet him in a pretty disorder—Yes—O, Page 53 nothing is more alluring than a Levee from a Couch in some Confusion.—It shews the Foot to advantage, and furnishes with Blushes, and re-composing Airs beyond Com∣parison. Hark! There's a Coach.
O dear, has my Nephew made his Addresses to Mil∣lamant? I order'd him.
Ods my life, I'll send him to her. Call her down, Foible; bring her hither. I'll send him as I go—When they are together, then come to me Foible, that I may not be too long alone with Sir Rowland.
Madam, I stay'd here, to tell your Ladyship that Mr. Mirabell has waited this half hour for an Opportunity to talk with you. Tho' my Lady's Orders were to leave you and Sir Wilfull together. Shall I tell Mr. Mirabell that you are at leisure?
No—What would the Dear man have? I am thoughtfull and would amuse my self,—bid him come an∣other time.
You are very fond of Sir John Suckling to day, Mil∣lamant, and the Poets.
Sir Wilfull is coming, Madam. Shall I send Mr. Mi∣rabell away?
Ay, if you please Foible, send him away,—Or. send him hither,—just as you will Dear Foible.—I think I'll see him—Shall I? Ay, let the Wretch come.
Thyrsis a Youth of the Inspir'd train—Dear Fainall, Entertain Sir Wilfall—Thou hast Philosophy to undergo a Fool, thou art Married and hast Patience—I would confer with my own Thoughts.
O Sir Wilfull; you are come at the Critical Instant. There's your Mistress up to the Ears in Love and Contem∣plation, pursue your Point, now or never.
Yes; my Aunt would have it so,—I would gladly have been encouraged with a Bottle or two, because I'm somewhat wary at first, before I am acquainted;—But I hope after a time, I shall break my mind—that is upon further acquaintance,—So for the present Cosen, I'll take my leave—If so be you'll be so kind to make my Excuse, I'll return to my Company—
Daunted, No, that's not it, it is not so much for that—for if so be that I set on't, I'll do't. But on∣ly for the present, 'tis sufficient till further acquaintance, that's all—your Servant.
Nay, I'll swear you shall never lose so favourable an opportunity, if I can help it. I'll leave you together and lock the Door.
Nay, nay Cozen,—I have forgot my Gloves,—What dee do? 'Shart a'has lock'd the Door indeed I think—Nay Cozen Fainall, open the Door—Pshaw, What a Vixon trick is this?—Nay, now a'has seen me too—Cozen, I made bold to pass thro' as it were,—I think this Door's Inchanted—.
Well, Well, I shall understand your Lingo one of these days, Cozen, in the mean while, I must answer in plain English.
Not at present Cozen,—Yes, I made bold to see, to come and know if that how you were dispos'd to fetch a walk this Evening, if so be that I might not be trou∣blesome, I wou'd have fought a walk with you.
Nay nothing—Only for the walks sake, that's all—
I Nauseate walking; 'tis a Country diversion, I loath the Country and every thing that relates to it.
Indeed! Hah! Look ye, look ye, you do? Nay, 'tis like you may—Here are choice of Pastimes here in Town, as Plays and the like that must be confess'd indeed.—
Dear Heart, that's much—Hah! that you shou'd hate 'em both! Hah! 'tis like you may; there are some can't relish the Town, and others can't away with the Country,—'tis like you may be one of those, Cozen.
Ha, ha, ha. Yes, 'tis like I may.—You have no∣thing further to say to me?
Not at present, Cozen.—'tis like when I have an Opportunity to be more private,—I may break my mind in some measure,—I conjecture you partly guess—However that's as time shall try,—But spare to speak and spare to speed, as they say.
If it is of no great Importance, Sir Wilfull, you will oblige me to leave me: I have just now a little busi∣ness.—
Enough, enough, Cozen, Yes, yes, all a case—When you're dispos'd, when you're dispos'd. Now's as well as another time; and another time as well as now. Page 56 All's one for that,—yes, yes, if your Concerns call you, there's no hast; it will keep cold as they say,—Cosen, your Servant,
Your Servant, then with your leave I'll return to my Company.
Do you lock your self up from me, to make my search more Curious? Or is this pretty Artifice Contriv'd, to Sig∣nifie that here the Chase must end, and my pursuit be Crown'd, for you can fly no further.—
Vanity! No—I'll fly and be follow'd to the last moment, tho' I am upon the very Verge of Matrimony, I expect you shou'd solicite me as much as if I were waver∣ing at the grate of a Monastery, with one foot over the threshold. I'll be solicited to the very last, nay and after∣wards.
O, I should think I was poor and had nothing to bestow, If I were reduc'd to an Inglorious case; and free'd from the Agreeable fatigues of solicitation.
But do not you know, that when favours are con∣ferr'd upon Instant and tedious Sollicitation, that they di∣minsh in their value, and that both the giver loses the grace, and the receiver lessens his Pleasure?
It may be in things of common Application; but never sure in Love. O, I hate a Lover, that can dare to think, he draws a moments air, Independent on the Boun∣ty of his Mistress. There is not so Impudent a thing in Nature, as the sawcy look of an assured man, Confident Page 57 of Success. The Pedantick arrogance of a very Husband, has not so Pragmatical an Air. Ah! I'll never marry, unless I am first made sure of my will and pleasure.
Wou'd you have 'em both before Marriage? Or will you be contented with the first now, and stay for the other till after grace?
Ah don't be Impertinent—My dear Liberty, shall I leave thee? My faithful Solitude, my darling Contempla∣tion must I bid you then Adieu? ay-h adieu.—my morning thoughts, agreeable wakings, indolent slumbers, all ye dou∣ceurs, ye Someils du Matin adieu—I can't do't, 'cis more than Impossible—positively Mirabel, I'll lie a Bed in a mor∣ning as long as I please.
Ah! Idle Creature, get up when you will—and dee hear, I won't be call'd names after I'm Married; posi∣tively I won't be call'd Names.
Ay as Wife, Spouse, My dear, Joy, Jewel, Love, Sweet heart and the rest of that Nauseous Cant, in which Men and their Wives are so fulsomely familiar,—I shall never bear that,—Good Mirabell don't let us be familiar or fond, nor kiss before folks, like my Lady Fadler and Sr. Francis: Nor goe to Hide-Park together the first Sunday in a New Chariot, to provoke Eyes and Whispers; And then never to be seen there together again; as if we were proud of one another the first Week, and asham'd of one another for ever After. Let us never Visit together, nor go to a Play together, But let us be very strange and well bred: let us be as strange as if we had been married a great while; and as well bred as if we were not marri'd at all.
Have you any more Conditions to offer? Hither∣to your demands are pretty reasonable.
Trifles,—As liberty to pay and receive visits to and from whom I please, to write and receive Letters, without Interrogatories or wry Faces on your part. To wear what I please; and choose Conversation with re∣gard only to my own taste; to have no obligation upon me to converse with Wits that I don't like, because they are Page 58 your acquaintance; or to be intimate with Fools, because they may be your Relations. Come to Dinner when I please, dine in my dressing room when I'm out of humour without giving a reason. To have my Closet Inviolate; to be sole Empress of my Tea-table, which you must never presume to approach without first asking leave. And last∣ly, where ever I am, you shall always knock at the door before you come in. These Articles subscrib'd, If I continue to endure you a little longer, I may by degrees dwindle into a Wife.
Your bill of fare is something advanc'd in this latter account. Well, have I Liberty to offer Conditions—that when you are dwindl'd into a Wife, I may not be beyond Measure enlarg'd into a Husband?
You have free leave; propose your utmost, speak and spare not.
I thank you. Inprimis then, I Covenant that your acquaintance be General; that you admit no sworn Confi∣dent, or Intimate of your own Sex; No she friend to skreen her affairs under your Countenance and tempt you to make tryal of a Mutual Secresie. No Decoy-Duck to wheadle you a fop—scrambling to the Play in a Mask—then bring you home in a pretended fright, when you think you shall be found out.—And rail at me for missing the Play, and disappointing the Frolick which you had to pick me up and prove my Constancy.
Item, I Article, that you continue to like your own Face, as long as I shall. And while it passes Current with me, that you endeavour not to new Coin it. To which end, together with all Vizards for the day, I prohibit all Masks for the Night, made of oil'd-skins and I know not what—Hog's-bones, Hare's-gall, Pig-water, and the marrow of a roasted Cat. In short, I forbid all Commerce with the Gentlewoman in what-call-all-it-Court. Item, I shut my doors against all Bauds with Baskets, and Penny-worths of Muslin, China, Fans, Atlases, &c.—Item when you shall be Breeding.—
Which may be presum'd, with a blessing on our endeavours—
I denounce against all strait-Laceing, Squeezing for a Shape, till you mold my boy's head like a Sugar-loaf; and instead of a Man-child, make me the Father to a Crooked∣billet. Lastly to the Dominion of the Tea-Table, I submit.—But with proviso, that you exceed not in your province; but restrain your self to Native and Simple Tea-Table drinks, as Tea, Chocolate and Coffee. As likewise to Genuine and, Authoriz'd Tea-Table talk,—such as mending of Fashions spoiling Reputations, railing at absent Friends, and so forth—but that on no account you encroach upon the mens prerogative, and presume to drink healths, or toste fellows; for prevention of which; I banish all Foreign Forces, all Auxiliaries to the Tea-Table, as Orange-Brandy, all Anniseed, Cinamon, Citron and Barbado's-Waters, together with Rati∣fia and the most noble Spirit of Clary,—but for Couslip-Wine, Poppy-Water and all Dormitives, those I allow,—these proviso's admitted, in other things I may prove a tra∣ctable and complying Husband.
O horrid proviso's! filthy strong Waters! I toste fellows, Odious Men! I hate your Odious proviso's.
Then wee're agreed. Shall I kiss your hand upon the Contract? and here comes one to be a witness to the Sealing of the Deed.
Ay, ay, take him, take him, what shou'd you do?
Well then—I'll take my death I'm in a horrid fright—Fainall, I shall never say it—well—I think—I'll endure you.
Fy, fy, have him, have him, and tell him so in plain terms: For I am sure you have a mind to him.
Are you? I think I have—and the horrid Man looks as if he thought so too—Well, you ridiculous thing you, I'll have you,—I won't be kiss'd, nor I won't be thank'd—here kiss my hand tho'—so hold your tongue now, and don't say a word.
Mirabell, there's a Necessity for your obedi∣ence;—You have neither time to talk nor stay. My Mo∣ther is coming; and in my Conscience if she should see you, wou'd fall into fits, and maybe not recover time e∣nough to return to Sir Rowland, who as Foible tells me is in a fair way to succeed. Therefore spare your Extacies for another occasion, and slip down the back-stairs, where Foible waits to consult you.
Ay, go, go. In the mean time I suppose you have said something to please me.
Yonder Sir Wilfull's Drunk; and so noisy that my Mother has been forc'd to leave Sir Rowland to ap∣pease him; But he answers her only with Singing and Drinking—what they have done by this time I know not. But Petulant and he were upon quarrelling as I came by.
So it seems, when you mind not what's said to you,—If you doubt him, you had best take up with Sir Wilfull.
So, Is the fray made up, that you have left 'em?
Left 'em? I cou'd stay no longer—I have laugh'd like ten Christnings—I am tipsy with laughing—If I had staid any longer I shou'd have burst,—I must have been let out and piec'd in the sides like an unsiz'd Camlet,—Yes, yes the fray is compos'd; my Lady came in like a Noli prosequi and stop't their proceedings.
That's the Jest, there was no dispute, they cou'd neither of 'em speak for rage; And so fell a sputt'ring at one another like two roasting Apples.
Now Petulant, all's over, all's well; Gad my head be∣gins to whim it about—Why dost thou not speak? thou art both as drunk and as mute as a Fish.
Look you Mrs. Millamant,—If you can love me dear Nymph—say it—and that's the Conclusion—pass on, or pass off,—that's all.
Thou hast utter'd Volumes, Folio's, in less than Decimo Sexto, my Dear Lacedemonian, Sirrah Petulant, thou art an Epitomizer of words.
Thou art a retailer of Phrases; and dost deal in Remnants of Remnants, like a maker of Pincushions—thou art in truth (Metaphorically speaking) A speaker of short∣hand.
Thou art (without a figure) Just one half of an Ass; and Baldwin yonder, thy half Brother is the rest—A ge∣mini of Asses split, would make just four of you.
Thou dodst bite my dear Mustard-seed; kiss me for that.
Stand off—I'll kiss no more Males,—I have kiss'd your twin yonder in a humour of reconciliation, till he (hiccup) rises upon my stomack like a Radish.
There was no quarrel—there might have been a quarrel.
If there had been words enow between 'em to have express'd provocation; they had gone together by the Ears like a pair of Castanets.
If I have a humour to Quarrel, I can make less mat∣ters conclude Premises,—If you are not handsom, what then? If I have a humour to prove it.—If I shall have my Reward, say so; if not, fight for your Face the next time your self—I'll go sleep.
Do, rap thy self up like a Wood-louse and dream Re∣venge—and hear me, if thou canst learn to write by to morrow Morning, Pen me a Challenge—I'll carry it for thee.
He's horridly drunk—how came you all in this pickle?—
A plot, a plot, to get rid of the Knight,—your Hus∣band's advice; but he sneak'd off.
Out upon't, out upon't, at years of Discretion, and Comport your self at this Rantipole rate.
Offence? As I'm a Person, I'm asham'd of you,—Fogh! how you stink of Wine! Dee think my Neice will ever endure such a Borachio! you'r an absolute Bora∣chio.
At a time when you shou'd commence an Amour and put your best foot foremost—
Page 63 Sings,
My Nephew's a little overtaken Cosen—but 'tis with drinking your Health—O' my Word you are oblig'd to him.
In vino veritas Aunt,—If I drunk your Health to day Cosen—I am a Borachio. But if you have a mind to be Marry'd, say the Word, and send for the Piper, Wilfull will do't. If not, dust it away, and let's have to∣ther round—Tony, Ods heart where's Tony—Tony's an honest fellow, but he spits after a Bumper, and that's a Fault.
Your Pardon Madam, I can stay no longer—Sir Wilfull grows very powerful, Egh! how he smells! I shall be overcome if I stay.
Smells! he would poison a Tallow-Chandler and his Family. Beastly Creature, I know not what to do with him—Travel quoth a; Ay travel, travel, get thee gone, get thee but far enough, to the Saracens or the Tartars, or the Turks—for thou are not fit to live in a Christian Commonwealth, thou beastly Pagan.
Turks, no; no Turks, Aunt: Your Turks are In∣fidels, and believe not in the Grape. Your Mahometan, your Mussulman is a dry Stinkard—No Offence, Aunt. My Map says that your Turk is not so honest a Man as your Christian—I cannot find by the Map that your Mufti is Orthodox—Whereby it is a plain Case, that Orthodox is a hard Word, Aunt, and (hiccup) Greek for Claret.
Sir Rowland impatient? Good lack! what shall I do with this beastly Tumbril?—Go lie down and sleep, you Sot—Or as I'm a person, I'll have you bastinado'd with Broom-sticks. Call up the Wenches.
Dear Cosen Witwou'd, get him away, and you will bind me to you inviolably. I have an Affair of moment that invades me with some precipitation—You will ob∣lige me to all Futurity.
Come Knight—Pox on him. I don't know what to say to him—will you go to a Cock-match?
With a Wench, Tony? Is she a shake-bag Sir∣rah? let me bite your Cheek for that.
Horrible! He has a breath like a Bagpipe—ay, ay, come will you March my Salopian?
Lead on little Tony—I'll follow thee my Antho∣ny, My Tantony, Sirrah thou sha't be my Tantony; and I'll be thy Pig.
Dear Sir Rowland, I am Confounded with Confusion at the Retrospection of my own rudeness,—I have more par∣dons to ask than the Pope distributes in the Year of Jubi∣lee. But I hope where there is likely to be so near an alli∣ance,—We may unbend the severity of Decorum—and dispence with a little Ceremony.
My Impatience Madam, is the effect of my tran∣sport;—and till I have the possession of your adoreable Page 66 Person, I am tantaliz'd on a rack; And do but hang Ma∣dam, on the tenter of Expectation.
You have Excess of gallantry Sir Rowland; and press things to a Conclusion, with a most prevailing Ve∣hemence.—But a day or two for decency of Marriage—
For decency of Funeral, Madam. The delay will break my heart—or if that should fail. I shall be Poy∣son'd. My Nephew will get an inkling of my Designs and Poison me,—and I wou'd willingly starve him before I die—I wou'd gladly go out of the World with that Satisfaction.—That wou'd be some Comfort to me, If I cou'd but live so long as to be reveng'd on that Unnatu∣ral Viper.
Is he so Unnatural say you? truely I woud Con∣tribute much both to the saving of your Life; and the ac∣complishment of your revenge—Not that I respect my self; tho' he has been a perfidious wretch to me.
O Sir Rowland, the hours that he has dy'd away at my Feet, the Tears that he has shed, the Oaths that he has sworn, the Palpitations that he has felt, the Trances, and the Tremblings, the Ardors and the Ecstacies, the Kneelings and the Riseings, the Heart-heavings, and the hand-Gripings, the Pangs and the Pathetick Regards of his protesting Eyes! Oh no memory can Register.
What, my Rival! is the Rebell my Rival? a'dies.
No, don't kill him at once Sir Rowland, starve him gradually inch by inch.
I'll do't. In three weeks he shall be bare-foot; in a month out at knees with begging an Alms,—he shall starve upward and upward, till he has nothing living but his head, and then go out in a stink like a Candle's end upon a Save-all.
WellSir Rowland, you have the way,—You are no Novice in the Labyrinth of Love—You have the Clue.—But as I am a person, Sir Rowland, You must not attribute my yielding to any sinister appetite, or Indigestion of Wid∣dow-hood; Page 67 Nor Impute my Complacency, to any Lethargy of Continence—I hope you do not think me prone to any iteration of Nuptials.—
If you do, I protest I must recede—or think that I have made a prostitution of decorums, but in the Vehemence of Compassion, and to save the life of a Person of so much Importance—
Dear Madam, no. You are all Camphire and Frank∣incense, all Chastity and Odour.
Madam, the Dancers are ready, and there's one with a Letter, who must deliver it into your own hands.
Sir Rowland, will you give me leave? think favou∣rably, Judge Candidly and conclude you have found a Per∣son who wou'd suffer racks in honour's cause, dear Sir Row∣land, and will wait on you Incessantly.
What a washy Rogue art thou, to pant thus for a quarter of an hours lying and swearing to a fine Lady?
O, she is the Antidote to desire. Spouse, thou will't fare the worse for't—I shall have no appetite to interation of Nuptials—this eight and fourty Hours—by this hand I'd rather be a Chair-man in the Dog-days—than Act Sir Rowland, till this time to morrow.
Call in the Dancers;—Sir Rowland, we'll sit if you please, and see the Entertainment.
Now with your permission Sir Rowland I will peruse my Letter—I wou'd open it in your presence, because I wou'd not make you Uneasie. If it shou'd make you Un∣easie I wou'd burn it—speak if it do's—but you may see by the Superscription it is like a Woman's hand.
By Heaven! Mrs. Marwood's, I know it,—my heart akes—get it from her—
A Woman's hand? No Madam, that's no Woman's hand I see that already. That's some body whose throat must be cut.
Nay Sir Rowland, since you give me a proof of your Passion by your Jealousie, I promise you I'll make you a return, by a frank Communication—You shall see it—wee'll open it together—look you here.
Say 'tis your Nephew's hand.—quickly, his plot, swear, fwear it.—
Here's a Villain! Madam, don't you perceive it, don't you see it?
I told you at first I knew the hand—A Wo∣mans hand? the Rascal writes a sort of a large hand; your Roman hand—I saw there was a throat to be cut present∣ly. If he were my Son as he is my Nephew I'd Pistoll him—
O Treachery! But are you sure Sir Rowland, it is his writing?
Sure? am I here? do I live? do I love this Pearl of India? I have twenty Letters in my Pocket from him, in the same Character.
O what luck it is Sir Rowland, that you were pre∣sent at this Juncture! this was the business that brought Mr. Mirabell disguis'd to Madam Millamant this Afternoon. I thought something was contriving, when he stole by me and would have hid his face.
How, how!—I heard the Villain was in the house indeed, and now I remember, my Niece went away abruptly, when Sir Wilfull was to have made his ad∣dresses.
Then, then Madam, Mr. Mirabell waited for her in her Chamber, but I wou'd not tell your Lady-ship to discompose you when you were to receive Sir Row∣land.
Law? I care not for Law. I can but die, and 'tis in a good cause—my Lady shall be satisfied of my Truth and Innocence, tho' it cost me my life.
No, dear Sir Rowland, don't sight, if you shou'd be kill'd I must never shew my face or hang'd,—O Consi∣der my Reputation Sir Rowland—No you shan't fight,—I'll go in and Examine my Niece; I'll make her Confess. I conjure you Sir Rowland by all your love not to fight.
I am Charm'd Madam, I obey. But some proof you must let me give you;—I'll go for a black box, which Contains the Writings of my whole Estate, and deliver that into your hands.
Ay dear Siv Rowland, that will be some Comfort; bring the Black-box.
And may I presume to bring a Contract to be sign'd this Night? May I hope so farr?
Bring what you will; but come alive, pray come alive. O this is a happy discovery.
Dead or Alive I'll come—and married we will be in spight of treachery; Ay and get an Heir that shall defeat the last remaining glimpse of hope in my abandon'd Nephew. Come my Buxom Widdow.