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.
[Scene Continues.]
Lady Wishfort and Foible.
LAdy.

Out of my house, out of my house, thou Viper, thou Serpent, that I have foster'd, thou bosome tray∣tress, that I rais'd from nothing—begon, begon, begon, go, go,—that I took from Washing of old Gause and Weaving of dead Hair, with a bleak blew Nose, over a Chafeing∣dish of starv'd Embers and Dining behind a Traver's Rag, in a shop no bigger than a Bird-cage,—go, go, starve again, do, do.

Foib.
Dear Madam, I'll beg pardon on my knees.
Lady.

Away, out, out, go set up for your self again—do, drive a Trade, do, with your three penny worth of small Ware, flaunting upon a Packthread, under a Brandy-sellers Bulk, or against a dead Wall by a Ballad-monger. Go hang out an old Frisoneer-gorget, with a yard of Yellow Colberteen again; do; an old gnaw'd Mask, two rowes of Pins and a Childs Fiddle; A Glass Necklace with the Beads broken, and a Quilted Night-cap with one Ear. Go, go, drive a trade,—these were your Commodities you trea∣cherous Trull, this was your Merchandize you dealt in, when I took you into my house, plac'd you next my self And made you Governante of my whole Family. You have forgot this, have you? Now you have feather'd you Nest.

Foib.

No, no, dear Madam. Do but hear me, have but a Moment's patience—I'll Confess all. Mr. Mirabell seduc'd me; I am not the first that he has wheadl'd with his dis∣sembling Tongue; Your Lady-ship's own Wisdom has been Page  72 deluded by him, then how shou'd I a poor Ignorant, defend my self? O Madam, If you knew but what he promis'd me; and how he assur'd me your Ladyship shou'd come to no damage—Or else the Wealth of the Indies shou'd not have brib'd me to conspire against so Good, so Sweet, so kind a Lady as you have been to me.

Lady.

No damage? What to Betray me, to Marry me to a Cast-serving-man; to make me a receptacle, an Hos∣pital for a decay'd Pimp? No damage? O thou frontless Im∣pudence, more than a big-Belly'd Actress.

Foib.

Pray do but here me Madam, he cou'd not marry your Lady-ship, Madam—No indeed his Marriage was to have been void in Law; for he was married to me first, to secure your Lady-ship. He cou'd not have bedded your Lady-ship: for if he had Consummated with your Lady∣ship; he must have run the risque of the Law, and been put upon his Clergy—Yes indeed, I enquir'd of the Law in that case before I wou'd meddle or make.

Lady.

What, then I have been your Property, have I? I have been convenient to you it seems,—while you were Catering for Mirabell; I have been broaker for you? What, have you made a passive Bawd of me?—this Exceeds all precedent; I am brought to fine uses, to become a botch∣er of second hand Marriages, between Abigails and Andrews! I'll couple you, Yes, I'll baste you together, you and your Philander. I'll Dukes-Place you, as I'm a Person. Your Turtle is in Custody already; You shall Coo in the same Cage, if there be Constable or warrant in the Parish.

[Exit
Foib.

O that ever I was Born, O that I was ever Married,—a Bride, ay I shall be a Bridewell-Bride. Oh!

Enter Mrs. Fainall.
Mrs. Fain.
Poor Foible, what's the matter?
Foib.

O Madam, my Lady's gone for a Constable; I shall be had to a Justice, and put to Bridewell to beat Hemp, poor Waitwell's gone to prison already.

Page  73
Mrs. Fain.

Have a good heart Foible, Mirabell's gone to give security for him, this is all Marwood's and my Husband's doing.

Foib.

Yes, yes; I know it Madam; she was in my Lady's Closet, and over-heard all that you said to me before Dinner. She sent the Letter to my Lady, and that missing Effect, Mr. Fainall laid this Plot to arrest Waitwell, when he pretend∣ed to go for the Papers; and in the mean time Mrs. Mar∣wood declar'd all to my Lady.

Mrs. Fain.

Was there no mention made of me in the Letter?—My Mother do's not suspect my being in the Confederacy? I fancy Marwood has not told her, tho' she has told my husband.

Foib.

Yes Madam; but my Lady did not see that part; We stifl'd the Letter before she read so far. Has that mis∣cheivous Devil told Mr. Fainall of your Ladyship then?

Mrs. Fain.

Ay, all's out, My affair with Mirabell, eve∣ry thing discover'd. This is the last day of our liveing together, that's my Comfort.

Foib.

Indeed Madam, and so 'tis a Comfort if you knew all,—he has been even with your Ladyship; which I cou'd have told you long enough since, but I love to keep Peace and Quietness by my good will: I had rather bring friends together, than set 'em at distance. But Mrs. Mar∣wood and He are nearer related than ever their Parents thought for.

Mrs. Fain.

Say'st thou so Foible? Canst thou prove this?

Foib.

I can take my Oath of it Madam, so can Mrs. Min∣cing; we have had many a fair word from Madam Marwood, to conceal something that pass'd in our Chamber one Evening when you were at Hide-Park;—And we were thought to have gone a Walking: But we went up unawares,-tho' we were sworn to secresie too; Madam Marwood took a Book and swore us upon it: But it was but a Book of Verses and Poems,—So as long as it was not a Bible-Oath, we may break it with a safe Conscience.

Page  74
Mrs. Fain.
This discovery is the most opportune thing
I cou'd wish. Now Mincing?
Enter Mincing.
Minc.

My Lady wou'd speak with Mrs. Foible, Mem. Mr. Mirabell is with her, he has set your Spouse at liberty Mrs. Foible; and wou'd have you hide your self in my Lady's Closet, till my old Lady's anger is abated. O, my old Lady is in a perilous passion, at something Mr. Fainall has said, He swears, and my old Lady cry's. There's a fearful Hur∣ricane I vow. He says Mem; how that holl have my Lady's Fortune made over to him, or he'll be divorc'd.

Mrs. Fain.
Do's your Lady and Mirabell know that?
Minc.

Yes Mem, they have sent me to see if Sir Wilfull be sober, and to bring him to them. My Lady is resolv'd to have him I think, rather than loose such a vast Summ as six thousand Pound. O, come Mrs. Foible, I hear my old Lady.

Mrs. Fain.

Foible, you must tell Mincing, that she must prepare to vouch when I call her.

Foib.
Yes, yes Madam.
Minc.

O yes Mem, I'll vouch any thing for your Lady∣ship's service, be what it will.

[Exeunt Minc. and Foib.
Enter Lady and Marwood.
Lady.

O my dear Friend, how can I Enumerate the be∣nefits that I have receiv'd from your goodness? To you I owe the timely discovery of the falle vows of Mirabell; To you the Detection of the Impostor Sir Rowland. And now you are become an Intercessor with my Son in-Law, to save the Honour of my House, and Compound for the frailty's of my Daughter. Well Friend, You are enough to recon∣cile me to the bad World, or else I wou'd retire to Desarts and Solitudes; and feed harmless Sheep by Groves and Pur∣lingPage  75Streams. Dear Marwood, let us leave the World, and retire by our selves and be Sheperdresses.

Mrs. Mar.

Let us first dispatch the affair in hand Madam, we shall have leisure to think of Retirement afterwards. Here is one who is concern'd in the treaty.

Lady.

O Daughter, Daughter, Is it possible thou shoud'st be my Child, Bone of my Bone, and Flesh of my Flesh, and as I may say, another Me, and yet transgress the most minute Particle of severe Vertue? Is it possible you should lean aside to Iniquity who have been Cast in the di∣rect Mold of Vertue? I have not only been a Mold but a Pattern for you, and a Model for you, after you were brought into the World.

Mrs. Fain.
I don't understand your Ladyship.
Lady.

Not understand? Why have you not been Naught? Have you not been Sophisticated? Not understand? Here I am ruin'd to Compound for your Caprices and your Cuc∣koldomes. I must pawn my Plate, and my Jewells and ruine my Neice, and all little enough—

Mrs. Fain.

I am wrong'd and abus'd, and so are you. 'Tis a false accusation, as false as Hell, as false as your Friend there, ay or your Friend's Friend, my false Husband.

Mrs. Mar.
My Friend, Mrs. Fainal? Your Husband my
Friend, what do you mean?
Mrs. Fain.

I know what I mean Madam, and so do you; and so shall the World at a time Convenient.

Mrs. Mar.

I am sorry to see you so passionate, Madam. More Temper wou'd look more like Innocence. But I have done. I am sorry my Zeal to serve your Ladyship and Family, shou'd admit of Misconstruction, or make me li∣able to affronts. You will pardon me, Madam, If I meddle no more with an affair, in which I am not Personally con∣cern'd.

Lady.

O dear Friend; I am so asham'd that you should meet with such returns;—you ought to ask Pardon on your Knees, Ungratefull Creature; she deserves more from Page  76 you, than all your life can accomplish—O don't leave me destitute in this Perplexity;—No, stick to me my good Ge∣nius.

Mrs. Fain.

I tell you Madam you're abus'd—stick to you? ay, like a Leach, to suck your best Blood—she'll drop off when she's full. Madam you sha'not pawn a Bodkin, nor part with a Brass Counter in Composition for me. I defie 'em all. Let 'em prove their aspersions; I know my own Innocence, and dare stand by a tryall.

[Exit.
Lady.

Why, If she shou'd be Innocent, If she shou'd be wrong'd after all, ha? I don't know what to think,—and I promise you, her Education has been unexceptionable—I may say it; for I chiefly made it my own Care to Initi∣ate her very Infancy in the Rudiments of Vertue, and to Impress upon her tender Years, a Young Odium and Aver∣sion to the very sight of Men,—ay Friend, she wou'd ha' shriek'd, If she had but seen a Man, till she was in her Teens. As I'm a Person 'tis true—She was never suffer'd to play with a Male-Child, tho' but in Coats; Nay her ve∣ry Babies were of the Feminine Gender;—O, she never look'd a Man in the Face but her own Father, or the Chaplain, and him we made a shift to put upon her for a Woman, by the help of his long Garments, and his Sleek-face; till she was going in her fifteen.

Mrs. Mar.

Twas much she shou'd be deceiv'd so long.

Lady.

I warrant you, or she wou'd never have born to have been Catechis'd by him; and have heard his long lectures, against Singing and Dancing, and such Debauche∣ries; and going to filthy Plays; and Profane Musick-meetings, where the Leud Trebles squeek nothing but Bawdy, and the Bases roar Blasphemy. O, she wou'd have swooned at the sight or name of an obscene Play-Book—and can I think after all this, that my Daughter can be Naught? What, a Whore? And thought it excommunication to set her foot Page  77 within the door of a Play-house. O my dear friend, I can't believe it, No, no; as she says, let him prove it, let him prove it.

Mrs. Mar.

Prove it Madam? What, and have your name prostituted in a publick Court; Yours and your Daughters reputation worry'd at the Barr by a pack of Bawling Law∣yers? To be usherd in with an O Yez of Scandal; and have your Case open'd by an old fumbling Leacher in a Quoif like a Man Midwife to bring your Daughter's Infamy to light, to be a Theme for legal Punsters, and Quiblers by the Statute; and become a Jest, against a Rule of Court, where there is no precedent for a Jest in any record; not even in Dooms-day-Book: to discompose the gravity of the Bench, and provoke Naughty Interrogatories, in more Naugh∣ty Law Latin, while the good Judge tickl'd with the pro∣ceeding, Simpers under a Grey beard, and fidges off and on his Cushion as if he had swallow'd Cantharides, or sat upon Cow-Itch.

Lady.
O, 'tis very hard!
Mrs. Mar.

And then to have my Young Revellers of the Temple, take Notes like Prentices at a Conventicle; and after, talk it all over again in Commons, or before Drawers in an Eating-house.

Lady.
Worse and Worse.
Mrs. Mar.

Nay this is nothing; if it wou'd end here, 'twere well. But it must after this be consign'd by the Short-hand Writers to the publick Press; and from thence be transferr'd to the hands, nay into the Throats and Lungs of Hawkers, with Voices more Licentious than the loud Flounder-man's or the Woman that crys Grey-pease; and this you must hear till you are stunn'd; Nay you must hear no∣thing else for some days.

Lady.

O, 'tis Insupportable. No, no, dear Friend make it up, make it up; ay, ay, I'll Compound. I'll give up all, my self and my all, my Neice and her all,—any thing, every thing for Composition.

Page  78
Mrs. Mar.

Nay Madam, I advise nothing, I only lay be∣fore you as a Friend the Inconveniencies which perhaps you have Overseen. Here comes Mr. Fainall. If he will be satisfi'd to huddle up all in Silence, I shall be glad. You must think I would rather Congratulate, then Condole with you.

Enter Fainall.
Lady.

Ay, ay, I do not doubt it, dear Marwood: No, no, I do not doubt it.

Fain.

Well Madam; I have suffer'd my self to be over∣come by the Importunity of this Lady your Friend; and am content you shall enjoy your own proper Estate during Life; on condition you oblige your self never to Marry, under such penalty as I think convenient.

Lady.
Never to Marry?
Fain.

No more Sir Rowlands,—the next Imposture may not be so timely detected.

Mrs. Mar,

That condition I dare answer, my Lady will consent to, without difficulty; she has already, but too much experienc'd the perfidiousness of Men. Besides Madam, when we retire to our pastoral Solitude we shall bid adieu to all other Thoughts.

Lady.
Aye that's true; but in Case of Necessity; as of
Health, or some such Emergency—
Fain.

O, if you are prescrib'd Marriage, you shall be con∣sider'd; I will only reserve to my self the Power to chuse for you. If your Physick be wholsome, it matters not who is your Apothecary. Next, my Wife shall settle on me the remainder of her Fortune, not made over already; And for her Maintenance depend entirely on my Dis∣cretion.

Lady.

This is most inhumanly Savage; exceeding the Bar∣barity of a Muscovite Husband.

Fain.

I learn'd it from his Czarish Majestie's Retinue, in a Winter Evenings Conference over Brandy and Pepper, a∣mongst Page  79 other secrets of Matrimony and Policy, as they are at present Practis'd in the Northern Hemisphere. But this must be agreed unto, and that positively. Lastly, I will be endow'd in right of my Wife, with that six thousand Pound, which is the Moiety of Mrs. Millamant's Fortune in your Possession: And which she has forfeited (as will appear by the last Will and Testament of your deceas'd Husband Sir Jonathan Wishfort) by her disobedience in Contracting her self against your Consent or Knowledge; and by refusing the offer'd Match with Sir Willful Witwou'd, which you like a careful Aunt had provided for her.

Lady.

My Nephew was non Compos; and cou'd not make his Addresses.

Fain.
I come to make demands,—I'll hear no objecti∣ons.
Lady.
You will grant me time to Consider.
Fain,

Yes, while the Instrument is drawing, to which you must set your Hand till more sufficient Deeds can be perfected, which I will take care shall be done with all pos∣sible speed. In the mean while, I will go for the said In∣strument, and till my return, you may Ballance this Matter in your own Discretion.

[Exit. Fain.
Lady.

This Insolence is beyond all Precedent, all Parallel, must I be subject to this merciless Villain?

Mrs. Mar.

'Tis severe indeed Madam, that you shou'd smart for your Daughters wantonness.

Lady.

'Twas against my Consent that she Married this Barbarian, But she wou'd have him, tho' her Year was not out.—Ah! her first Husband my Son Languish, would not have carry'd it thus. Well, that was my Choice, this is her's; she is match'd now with a Witness—I shall be mad, Dear Friend, is there no Comfort for me? Must I live to be confiscated at this Rebel-rate?—Here come two more of my Egyptian Plagues too.

Page  80Enter Millamant and Sir. Willfull.
Sir. Wil.
Aunt, your Servant.
Lady.

Out Caterpillar, Call not me Aunt, I know thee not.

Sir. Wil.

I confess I have been a little in disguise as they say,—S'heart! and I'm sorry for't. What wou'd you have? I hope I committed no Offence Aunt—and if I did I am willing to make satisfaction; and what can a man say fairer? If I have broke any thing, I'll pay for't, an it cost a Pound. And so let that content for what's past, and make no more words. For what's to come to pleasure you I'm willing to marry my Cosen. So pray lets all be Friends, she and I are agreed upon the matter, before a Wit∣ness.

Lady.
How's this dear Niece? Have I any comfort? Can this be true?
Mill.

I am content to be a Sacrifice to your repose Ma∣dam; and to Convince you that I had no hand in the Plot, as you were misinform'd; I have laid my commands on Mirabell to come in Person, and be a Witness that I give my hand to this flower of Knight-hood; and for the Con∣tract that past between Mirabell and me, I have oblig'd him to make a Resignation of it, in your Lady-ship's pre∣sence;—He is without and waits your leave for admit∣tance.

Lady.

Well, I'll swear I am something reviv'd at this Testimony of your Obedience; but I cannot admit that Traytor,—I fear I cannot fortific my self to support his ap∣pearance. He is as terrible to me as a Gorgon; if I see him, I fear I shall turn to Stone, petrifie Incessantly.

Mill.

If you disoblige him he may resent your refusal and insist upon the contract still. Then 'tis the last time he will be offensive to you.

Page  81
Lady.

Are you sure it will be the last time?—if I were sure of that—shall I never see him again?

Mill.

Sir Willful, you and he are to Travel together, are you not?

Sir Will.

'Sheart the Gentleman's a civil Gentleman, Aunt, let him come in; why we are sworn Brothers and fellow Travellers.—We are to be Pylades and Orestes, he and I—He is to be my Interpreter in foreign Parts. He has been Over-sea's once already; and with proviso that I Marry my Cosen, will cross 'em once again, only to bear me Company,—'Sheart, I'll call him in,—an I set on't once, he shall come in; and see who'll hinder him.

[Exit.
Mrs. Mar.
This is precious Fooling, if it wou'd pass, but
I'll know the bottom of it.
Lady.
O dear Marwood, you are not going?
Mar.
Not far Madam; I'll return immediately.
[Exit.
Re-enter Sir Willful and Mirabell.
Sir Will.

Look up Man, I'll stand by you, 'sbud an she do frown, she can't kill you;—besides—Hearkee she dare not frown desperately, because her face is none of her own; 'Sheart an she shou'd her forehead wou'd wrinkle like the Coat of a Cream-cheese, but mum for that, fellow Traveller.

Mir.

If a deep sense of the many Injuries I have offer'd to so good a Lady, with a sincere remorse, and a hearty Con∣trition, can but obtain the least glance of Compassion I am too Happy,—Ah Madam, there was a time—but let it be forgotten—I confess I have deservedly forfeited the high Place I once held, of sighing at your Feet; nay kill me not, by turning from me in disdain,—I come not to plead for favour;—Nay not for Pardon, I am a Suppliant only for your pity—I am going where I never shall behold you more—

Page  82
Sir. Wil.

How, fellow Traveller!—You shall go by your self then.

Mir.

Let me be pitied first; and afterwards forgotten,—I ask no more.

Sir. Wil.

By'r Lady a very reasonable request; and will cost you nothing, Aunt—Come, come, Forgive and Forget Aunt, why you must an you are a Christian.

Mir.

Consider Madam, in reality; You cou'd not receive much prejudice; it was an Innocent device; tho' I confess it had a Face of guiltiness,—it was at most an Artifice which Love Contriv'd—and errours which Love produces have ever been accounted Venial. At least think it is Punishment enough, that I have lost what in my heart I hold most dear, that to your cruel Indignation, I have offer'd up this Beauty, and with her my Peace and Quiet; Nay all my hopes of future Comfort.

Sir. Wil.

An he do's not move me, wou'd I might never be O' the Quorum—an it were not as good a deed as to drink, to give her to him again,—I wou'd I might never take Shipping—Aunt, if you don't forgive quickly; I shall melt, I can tell you that. My contract went no further than a little Mouth-Glew, and that's hardly dry;—One dolefull Sigh more from my fellow Traveller and 'tis dis∣solv'd.

Lady.

Well Nephew, upon your account—ah, he has a false Insinuating Tongue—Well Sir, I will stifle my just resentment at my Nephew's request.—I will endeavour what I can to forget,—but on proviso that you resign the Con∣tract with my Neice Immediately.

Mir.

It is in Writing and with Papers of Concern; but I have sent my Servant for it, and will deliver it to you, with all acknowledgments for your transcendent good∣ness.

Lady.

Oh, he has Witch-craft in his Eyes and Tongue;—When I did not see him I cou'd have brib'd a Villain to his Assassination; but his appearance rakes the Embers which Page  83 have so long layn smother'd in my Breast.—

[apart.
Enter Fainall and Mrs. Marwood.
Fain.

Your date of deliberation Madam, is expir'd. Here is the Instrument, are you prepar'd to sign?

Lady.

If I were prepar'd; I am not Impowr'd. My Neice exerts a lawfull claim, having Match'd her self by my direction to Sir Wilfull.

Fain.
That sham is too gross to pass on me,—tho 'tis
Impos'd on you, Madam.
Mill.
Sir, I have given my consent.
Mir.
And Sir, I have resign'd my pretensions.
Sir. Wil.

And Sir, I assert my right; and will maintain it in defiance of you Sir, and of your Instrument. S'heart an you talk of an Instrument Sir, I have an old Fox by my Thigh shall hack your Instrument of Ram Vellam to shreds, Sir. It shall not be sufficient for a Mittimus or a Taylor's measure; therefore withdraw your Instrument Sir, or by'r Lady I shall draw mine.

Lady.
Hold Nephew, hold.
Mill.
Good Sir, Wilfull respite your valour.
Fain.

Indeed? are you provided of a Guard, with your sin∣gle Beef-eater there? but I'm prepar'd for you; and Insist upon my first proposal. You shall submit your own Estate to my management, And absolutely make over my Wife's to my sole use; As pursuant to the Purport and Tenor of this other Covenant,—I suppose Madam, your Consent is not requisite in this Case; nor Mr. Mirabell, your resignati∣on; nor Sir, Wilfull, your right—You may draw your Fox if you please Sir, and make a Bear-Garden flourish some∣where else; For here it will not avail. This my Lady Wishfor't must be subscrib'd, or your Darling Daughter's turn'd a drift, like a Leaky hulk ro Sink or Swim, as she and the Current of this Lewd Town can agree.

Lady.

Is there no means, no Remedy, to stop my ruine? Ungrateful Wretch! dost thou not owe thy being, thy Page  84 subsistance to my Daughter's Fortune?

Fain.

I'll answer you when I have the rest of it in my possession.

Mir.

But that you wou'd not accept of a Remedy from my hands—I own I have not deserv'd you shou'd owe any Obligation to me; or else perhaps I cou'd advise.—

Lady.

O what? what? to save me and my Child from Ruine, from Want, I'll forgive all that's past; Nay I'll con∣sent to any thing to come, to be deliver'd from this Tyran∣ny.

Mir.

Ay Madam; but that is too late, my reward is in∣tercepted. You have dispos'd of her, who only cou'd have made me a Compensation for all my Services;—But be it as it may. I am resolv'd I'll serve you, you shall not be wrong'd in this Savage manner.

Lady.

How! dear Mr. Mirabell, can you be so generous at last! But it is not possible. Hearkee. I'll break my Ne∣phews Match, you shall have my Niece yet, and all her for∣tune; if you can but save me from this imminent dan∣ger.

Mir.
Will you? I take you at you word. I ask no more.
I must have leave for two Criminals to appear.
Lady.
Ay, ay, any Body, any body.
Mir.
Foible is one and a Penitent.
Enter Mrs. Fainall, Foible, and Mincing.
Mrs. Mar.
Mirab and Lady go to Mrs. Fain. and Foib.

O my shame! These Corrupt things are bought and brought hither to ex∣pose me—

[to Fain.]
Fain.

If it must all come out, why let 'em know it, 'tis but the way of the World. That shall not urge me to relinquish or abate one tittle of my Terms, no, I will insist the more.

Foib.

Yes indeed Madam; I'll take my Bible-oath of it.

Mins.
And so will I, Mem.
Page  85
Lady.

O Marwood, Marwood art thou false? my friend de∣ceive me? hast thou been a wicked accomplice with that profligate man?

Mrs. Mar.

Have you so much Ingratitude and Injustice, to give credit against your Friend, to the Aspersions of two such Mercenary Truls?

Minc.

Mercenary, Mem? I scorn your words. 'Tis true we found you and Mr. Fainall in the Blew garret, by the same token, you swore us to Secresie upon Messalinas's Po∣ems, Mercenary? No, if we wou'd have been Mercenary, we shou'd have held our Tongues; You wou'd have brib'd us sufficiently.

Fain.

Go, you are an Insignificant thing,—Well, what are you the better for this? Is this Mr. Mirabell's Expedient? I'll be put off no longer—You thing that was a Wife, shall smart for this. I will not leave thee wherewithall to hide thy Shame; Your Body shall be Naked as your Re∣putation.

Mrs. Fain.

I despise you and defie your Malice—You have aspers'd me wrongfully—I have prov'd your false∣hood—Go you and your treacherous—I will not name it, but starve together—perish.

Fain.
Not while you are worth a Groat, indeed my dear.
Madam, I'll be fool'd no longer.
Lady.

Ah Mr. Mirabell, this is small comfort, the dete∣ction of this affair.

Mir.

O in good time—Your leave for the other Offen∣der and Penitent to appear, Madam.

Enter Waitwell with a Box of Writings.
Lady.
O Sir Rowland—well Rascal.
Wait.

What your Ladyship pleases.—I have brought the Black box at last, Madam.

Mir.
Give it me. Madam, you remember your pro∣mise.
Lady.
I, dear Sir!
Page  86
Mir.
Where are the Gentlemen?
Watt.

At hand Sir, rubbing their Eyes,—Just risen from Sleep.

Fain.

S'death what's this to me? I'll not wait your pri∣vate concerns.

Enter Petulant and Witwoud.
Pet.

How now? what's the matter? who's hand's out?

Wit.

Hey day! what are you all got together like Play∣ers at the end of the last Act?

Mir.

You may remember Gentlemen, I once requested your hands as Witnesses to a certain Parchment.

Wit.
Ay I do, my hand I remember—Petulant set his
Mark.
Mir.

You wrong him, his name is fairly written as shall appear—you do not remember Gentlemen, any thing of what that Parchment contain'd—

[undoing the Box.]
Wit.
No.
Pet.
Not I. I writ. I read nothing.
Mir.

Very well, now you shall know—Madam, your promise.

Lady.
Ay, ay, Sir, upon my honour.
Mir.

Mr. Fainall, it is now time that you shou'd know, that your Lady while she was at her own disposal, and be∣fore you had by your Insinuations wheadl'd her out of a pre∣tended Settlement of the greatest part of her fortune—

Fain,
Sir! pretended!
Mir.

Yes Sir. I say that this Lady while a Widdow, having it seems receiv'd some Cautions respecting your In∣constancy and Tyranny of temper, which from her own partial Opinion and fondness of you, she cou'd never have suspected—she did I say by the wholesome advice of Friends and of Sages learned in the Laws of this Land, deliver this same as her Act and Deed to me in trust, and to the uses within mention'd. You may read if you please—[holdingPage  87out the Parchment.]tho perhaps what is inscrib'd on the back may serve your occasions.

Fain.
Very likely Sir, What's here? Damnation!
[Reads] A deed of Conveyance of the whole Estate real of Arabella Languish Widdow in trust to Edward Mirabell.
Confusion!
Mir.
Even so Sir, 'tis the way of the World, Sir: of the
Widdows of the World. I suppose this Deed may bear an
Elder Date than what you have obtain'd from your Lady.
Fain.
Perfidious Fiend! then thus I'll be reveng'd.
[offers to run at Mrs Fain.]
Sir. Wil.

Hold Sir, now you may make your Bear-Garden flourish somewhere else Sir.

Fain.

Mirabell, You shall hear of this Sir, be sure you shall, let me pass Oafe.

[Exit.
Mrs. Fain.
Madam, you seem to stifle your Resentment:
You had better give it Vent.
Mrs. Mar.

Yes it shall have Vent—and to your Con∣fusion, or I'll perish in the attempt.

[Exit.
Lady.

O Daughter, Daughter, 'tis plain thou hast inhe∣rited thy Mother's prudence.

Mrs. Fain.

Thank Mr. Mirabell, a Cautious Friend, to whose advice all is owing.

Lady.

Well Mr. Mirabell, you have kept your promise,—and I must perform mine.—First I pardon for your sake, Sir Rowland there and Foible,—The next thing is to break the Matter to my Nephew—and how to do that—

Mir.

For that Madam, give your self no trouble—let me have your Consent—Sir Wilfull is my Friend; he has had compassion upon Lovers and generously engag'd a Volunteer in this Action, for our Service, and now designs to prosecute his Travells.