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.
Page  1

THE Way of the World A COMEDY.

ACT I. SCENE I.

A Chocolate-house.
Mirabell and Fainall [Rising from Cards] Betty waiting.
Mira.
YOU are a fortunate Man, Mr. Fainall.
Fain.
Have we done?
Mira.

What you please. I'll play on to en∣tertain you.

Fain.

No, I'll give you your Revenge another time, when you are not so indifferent; you are thinking of some∣thing else now, and play too negligently; the Coldness of a losing Gamester lessens the Pleasure of the Winner: I'd no more play with a Man that slighted his ill Fortune, than I'd make Love to a Woman who undervalu'd the Loss of her Reputation.

Page  2
Mira.

You have a Taste extreamly delicate, and are for refining on your Pleasures.

Fain.

Prithee, why so reserv'd? Something has put you out of Humour.

Mira.

Not at all: I happen to be grave to day; and you are gay; that's all.

Fain.

Confess, Millamant and you quarrell'd last Night, after I left you; my fair Cousin has some Humours, that would tempt the patience of a Stoick. What, some Cox∣comb came in, and was well receiv'd by her, while you were by.

Mira.

Witwoud and Petulant; and what was worse, her Aunt, your Wife's Mother, my evil Genius; or to sum up all in her own Name, my old Lady Wishfort came in.—

Fain.

O there it is then—She has a lasting Passion for you, and with Reason.—What, then my Wife was there?

Mira.

Yes, and Mrs. Marwood and three or four more, whom I never saw before; seeing me, they all put on their grave Faces, whisper'd one another; then complain'd aloud of the Vapours, and after fell into a profound Silence.

Fain.
They had a mind to be rid of you.
Mira.

For which Reason I resolv'd not to stir. At last the good old Lady broke thro' her painful Taciturnity, with an Invective against long Visits. I would not have under∣stood her, but Millamant joining in the Argument, I rose and with a constrain'd Smile told her, I thought nothing was so easie as to know when a Visit began to be troublesome; she redned and I withdrew, without expecting her Re∣ply.

Fain.

You were to blame to resent what she spoke only in Gompliance with her Aunt.

Mira.

She is more Mistress of her self, than to be under the necessity of such a resignation.

Fain.

What? tho' half her Fortune depends upon her marrying with my Lady's Approbation?

Mira.

I was then in such a Humour, that I shou'd have been better pleas'd if she had been less discreet.

Page  3
Fain.

Now I remember, I wonder not they were weary of you; last Night was one of their Cabal-nights; they have 'em three times a Week, and meet by turns, at one another's Apartments, where they come together like the Coroner's Inquest, to sit upon the murder'd Reputations of the Week. You and I are excluded; and it was once pro∣pos'd that all the Male Sex shou'd be excepted; but some∣body mov'd that to avoid Scandal there might be one Man of the Community; upon which Motion Witwoud and Pe∣tulant were enroll'd Members.

Mira.

And who may have been the Foundress of this Sect? My Lady Wishfort, I warrant, who publishes her Detesta∣tion of Mankind; and full of the Vigour of Fifty five, de∣clares for a Friend and Ratafia; and let Posterity shift for it self, she'll breed no more.

Fain.

The discovery of your sham Addresses to her, to conceal your Love to her Niece, has provok'd this Separa∣tion: Had you dissembl'd better, Things might have con∣tinu'd in the state of Nature.

Mira.

I did as much as Man cou'd, with any reasonable Conscience; I proceeded to the very last Act of Flattery with her, and was guilty of a Song in her Commendation: Nay, I got a Friend to put her into a Lampoon, and com∣plement her with the Imputation of an Affair with a young Fellow, which I carry'd so far, that I told her the malici∣ous Town took notice that she was grown fat of a suddain; and when she lay in of a Dropsie, persuaded her she was re∣ported to be in Labour. The Devil's in't, if an old Wo∣man is to be flatter'd further, unless a Man shou'd endea∣vour downright personally to debauch her; and that my Virtue forbad me. But for the discovery of that Amour, I am Indebted to your Friend, or your Wife's Friend Mrs. Marwood.

Fain.

What should provoke her to be your Enemy, with∣out she has made you Advances, which you have slighted? Women do not easily forgive Omissions of that Nature.

Mira.

She was always civil to me, till of late; I confess I am not one of those Coxcombs who are apt to interpret a Page  4 Woman's good Manners to her Prejudice; and think that she who does not refuse 'em every thing, can refuse 'em no∣thing.

Fain.

You are a gallant Man, Mirabell; and tho' you may have Cruelty enough, not to satisfie a Lady's longing; you have too much Generosity, not to be tender of her Ho∣nour. Yet you speak with an Indifference which seems to be affected; and confesses you are conscious of a Negli∣gence.

Mira.

You pursue the Argument with a distrust that seems to be unaffected, and confesses you are conscious of a Concern for which the Lady is more indebted to you, than your Wife.

Fain.

Fie, fie Friend, if you grow Censorious I must leave you;—I'll look upon the Gamesters in the next Room.

Mira.
Who are they?
Fain.

Petulant and Witwoud.—Bring me some Choco∣late.

[Exit.
Mira.
Betty, what says your Clock?
Betty.
Turn'd of the last Canonical Hour, Sir.
[Exit:
Mira.

How pertinently the Jade answers me! Ha? al∣most One a Clock! [Looking on his Watch] O, y'are come—

Enter a Servant.

Well; is the grand Affair over? You have been something tedious.

Serv.

Sir, there's such Coupling at Pancras, that they stand behind one another, as 'twere in a Country Dance. Ours was the last Couple to lead up; and no hopes appearing of dispatch, Besides, the Parson growing hoarse, we were afraid his Lungs would have fail'd before it came to our turn; so we drove round to Duke's Place; and there they were riveted in a trice.

Mira.
So, so, you are sure they are Married.
Serv.
Married and Bedded, Sir: I am Witness.
Page  5
Mira.
Have you the Certificate?
Serv.
Here it is, Sir.
Mira.

Has the Taylor brought Waitwell's Cloaths home, and the new Liveries?

Serv.
Yes, Sir.
Mira.

That's well. Do you go home again, d'ee hear, and adjourn the Consummation till farther Order; bid Waitwell shake his Ears, and Dame Partlet rustle up her Fea∣thers, and meet me at One a Clock by Rosamond's Pond. That I may see her before she returns to her Lady; and as you tender your Ears be secret.

[Exit Servant.
Re-Enter Fainall.
Fain.
Joy of your Success, Mirabell; you look pleas'd.
Mira.

Ay; I have been engag'd in a Matter of some sort of Mirth, which is not yet ripe for discovery. I am glad this is not a Cabal-night. I wonder, Fainall, that you who are Married, and of Consequence should be discreet, will suffer your Wife to be of such a Party.

Fain.

Faith, I am not Jealous. Besides, most who are engag'd are Women and Relations; and for the Men, they are of a Kind too Contemptible to give Scandal.

Mira.

I am of another Opinion. The greater the Cox∣comb, always the more the Scandal: For a Woman who is not a Fool, can have but one Reason for associating with a Man that is.

Fain.

Are you Jealous as often as you see Witwoud enter∣tain'd by Millamant?

Mira.
Of her Understanding I am, if not of her Person.
Fain.

You do her wrong; for to give her her Due, she has Wit.

Mira.

She has Beauty enough to make any Man think so; and Complaisance enough not to contradict him who shall tell her so.

Fain.

For a passionate Lover, methinks you are a Man somewhat too discerning in the Failings of your Mistress.

Page  6
Mira.

And for a discerning Man, somewhat too passi∣onate a Lover; for I like her with all her Faults; nay, like her for her Faults. Her Follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her; and those Affectations which in ano∣ther Woman wou'd be odious, serve but to make her more agreeable. I'll tell thee, Fainall, she once us'd me with that Insolence, that in Revenge I took her to pieces; sisted her and separated her Failings; I study'd 'em, and got 'em by rote. The Catalogue was so large, that I was not without hopes, one Day or other to hate her heartily: To which end I so us'd my self to think of 'em, that at length, con∣trary to my Design and Expectation, they gave me every Hour less and less disturbance; 'till in a few Days it became habitual to me, to remember 'em without being displeas'd. They are now grown as familiar to me as my own Frail∣ties; and in all probability in a little time longer I shall like 'em as well.

Fain.

Marry her, marry her; be half as well acquainted with her Charms, as you are with her Defects, and my Life on't, you are your own Man again.

Mira.
Say you so?
Fain.

I, I, I have Experience: I have a Wife, and so forth.

Enter Messenger.
Mess.
Is one Squire Witwoud here?
Betty.
Yes; what's your Business?
Mess.

I have a Letter for him, from his Brother Sir Wil∣full, which I am charg'd to deliver into his own Hands.

Betty.
He's in the next Room, Friend—That way.
[Exit. Mess.
Mira.
What, is the Chief of that noble Family in Town,
Sir Wilfull Witwoud?
Fain.
He is expected to Day. Do you know him?
Mira.

I have seen him, he promises to be an extraordi∣nary Person; I think you have the Honour to be related to him.

Page  7
Fain.

Yes; he is half Brother to this Witwoud by a for∣mer Wife, who was Sister to my Lady Wishfort, my Wife's Mother. If you marry Millamant you must call Cousins too.

Mira.
I had rather be his Relation than his Acquaint∣ance.
Fain.
He comes to Town in order to Equip himself for
Travel.
Mira.
For Travel! Why the Man that I mean is above
Forty.
Fain.

No matter for that; 'tis for the Honour of Eng∣land, that all Europe should know we have Blockheads of all Ages.

Mira.

I wonder there is not an Act of Parliament to save the Credit of the Nation, and prohibit the Exportation of Fools.

Fain.

By no means, 'tis better as 'tis; 'tis better to Trade with a little Loss, than to be quite eaten up, with being overstock'd.

Mira.

Pray, are the Follies of this Knight-Errant, and those of the Squire his Brother, any thing related?

Fain.

Not at all; Witwoud grows by the Knight, like a Medlar grafted on a Crab. One will melt in your Mouth, and t'other set your Teeth on edge; one is all Pulp, and the other all Core.

Mira.

So one will be rotten before he be ripe, and the other will be rotten without ever being ripe at all.

Fain.

Sir Wilfull is an odd mixture of Bashfulness and Obstinacy.—But when he's drunk, he's as loving as the Monster in the Tempest; and much after the same manner. To give the t'other his due; he has something of good Na∣ture, and does not always want Wit.

Mira.

Not always; but as often as his Memory fails him, and his common place of Comparisons. He is a Fool with a good Memory, and some few Scraps of other Folks Wit. He is one whose Conversation can never be approv'd, yet it is now and then to be endur'd. He has indeed one good Quality, he is not Exceptious; for he so passionately affects Page  8 the Reputation of understanding Raillery; that he will construe an Affront into a Jest; and call downright Rude∣ness and ill Language, Satyr and Fire.

Fain.

If you have a mind to finish his Picture; you have an opportunity to do it at full length. Behold the Original.

Enter Witwoud.
Wit.
Afford me your Compassion, my Dears; pity me,
Fainall, Mirabell, pity me.
Mira.
I do from my Soul.
Fain.
Why, what's the Matter?
Wit.
No Letters for me, Betty?
Betty.
Did not the Messenger bring you one, but now
Sir?
Wit.
Ay, but no other?
Betty.
No, Sir.
Wit.

That's hard, that's very hard;—A Messenger, a Mule, a Beast of Burden, he has brought me a Letter from the Fool my Brother, as heavy as a Panegyrick in a Funeral Sermon, or a Copy of Commendatory Verses from one Poet to another. And what's worse, 'tis as sure a forerunner of the Author, as an Epistle Dedicatory.

Mira.
A Fool, and your Brother Witwoud!
Wit.

Ay, ay, my half Brother. My half Brother he is, no nearer upon Honour.

Mira.
Then 'tis possible he may be but half a Fool.
Wit.

Good, good Mirabell, le Drole! Good, good, hang him, don't let's talk of him;—Fainall, how does your Lady? Gad, I say any thing in the World to get this Fel∣low out of my Head. I beg Pardon that I shou'd ask a Man of Pleasure, and the Town, a Question at once so For∣reign and Domestick. But I Talk like an old Maid at a Marriage, I don't know what I say: But she's the best Wo∣man in the World.

Fain.

'Tis well you don't know what you say, or else your Commendation wou'd go near to make me either Vain or Jealous.

Page  9
Wit.
No Man in Town lives well with a Wife but
Fainall: Your Judgment Mirabell.
Mira.

You had better step and ask his Wife; if you wou'd be credibly inform'd.

Wit.
Mirabell.
Mira.
Ay.
Wit.

My Dear, I ask ten thousand Pardons;—Gad I have forgot what I was going to say to you.

Mira.
I thank you heartily, heartily.
Wit.

No, but prithee excuse me,—my Memory is such a Memory.

Mira.

Have a care of such Apologies, Witwoud;—for I never knew a Fool but he affected to complain, either of the Spleen or his Memory.

Fain.
What have you done with Petulant?
Wit.
He's reckoning his Mony,—my Mony it was;—
I have no Luck to Day.
Fain.

You may allow him to win of you at Play;—for you are sure to be too hard for him at Repartee: since you monopolize the Wit that is between you, the Fortune must be his of Course.

Mira.

I don't find that Petulant confesses the Superiority of Wit to be your Talent, Witwoud.

Wit.

Come, come, you are malicious now, and wou'd breed Debates.—Petulant's my Friend, and a very honest Fellow, and a very pretty Fellow, and has a smattering—Faith and Troth a pretty deal of an odd sort of a small Wit: Nay, I'll do him Justice. I'm his Friend, I won't wrong him neither—And if he had but any Judgment in the World,—he wou'd not be altogether contemptible. Come come, don't detract from the Merits of my Friend.

Fain.

You don't take your Friend to be overnicely bred.

Wit.

No, no, hang him, the Rogue has no Manners at all, that I must own—No more breeding than a Bum-baily, that I grant you,—'Tis Pity faith; the Fellow has Fire and Life.

Mira.
What, Courage?
Page  10
Wit.

Hum, faith I don't know as to that,—I can't say as to that.—Yes, Faith, in a Controversie he'll contra∣dict any Body.

Mira.

Tho' 'twere a Man whom he fear'd, or a Woman whom he lov'd.

Wit.

Well, well, he does not always think before he speaks;—We have all our Failings; you're too hard up∣on him, you are Faith. Let me excuse him,—I can de∣fend most of his Faults, except one or two; one he has, that's the Truth on't, if he were my Brother, I cou'd not acquit him—That indeed I cou'd wish were other∣wise.

Mira.
Ay marry, what's that, Witwoud?
Wit.
O pardon me—Expose the Infirmities of my
Friend.—No, my Dear, excuse me there.
Fain.
What I warrant he's unsincere, or 'tis some such
Trifle.
Wit.

No, no, what if he be? 'Tis no matter for that, his Wit will excuse that: A Wit shou'd no more be sincere, than a Woman constant; one argues a decay of Parts, as t'other of Beauty.

Mira.
May be you think him too positive?
Wit.

No, no, his being positive is an Incentive to Argu∣ment, and keeps up Conversation.

Fain.
Too Illiterate.
Wit.

That! that's his Happiness—His want of Learn∣ing, gives him the more opportunities to shew his natural Parts.

Mira.
He wants Words.
Wit.

Ay; but I like him for that now; for his want of Words gives me the pleasure very often to explain his meaning.

Fain.
He's Impudent.
Wit.
No; that's not it.
Mira.
Vain.
Wit.
No.
Mira.

What, he speaks unseasonable Truths sometimes, because he has not Wit enough to invent an Evasion.

Page  11
Wit.

Truths! Ha, ha, ha! No, no, since you will have it,—I mean he never speaks Truth at all,—that's all. He will lie like a Chambermaid, or a Woman of Quality's Porter. Now that is a Fault.

Enter Coachman.
Coach.
Is Master Petulant here, Mistress?
Betty.
Yes.
Coach.

Three Gentlewomen in the Coach would speak with him.

Fain.
O brave Petulant, three!
Betty.
I'll tell him.
Coach.
You must bring two Dishes of Chocolate and a
Glass of Cinnamon-water.
[Exit.
Wit.

That should be for two fasting Strumpets, and a Bawd troubl'd with Wind. Now you may know what the three are.

Mira.
You are very free with your Friends Acquaintance.
Wit.

Ay, ay, Friendship without Freedom is as dull as Love without Enjoyment, or Wine without Toasting; but to tell you a Secret, these are Trulls that he allows Coach∣hire, and something more by the Week, to call on him once a Day at publick Places.

Mira.
How!
Wit.

You shall see he won't go to 'em because there's no more Company here to take notice of him—Why this is nothing to what he us'd to do;—Before he found out this way, I have known him call for himself—

Fain.
Call for himself? What dost thou mean?
Wit.

Mean, why he wou'd slip you out of this Choco∣late-house, just when you had been talking to him—As soon as your Back was turn'd—Whip he was gone;—Then trip to his Lodging, clap on a Hood and Scarf, and Mask, slap into a Hackney-Coach, and drive hither to the Door again in a trice; where he wou'd send in for himself, that I mean, call for himself, wait for himself, nay and what's more, not finding himself, sometimes leave a Letter for him∣self.

Page  12
Mira.

I confess this is something extraordinary—I be∣lieve he waits for himself now, he is so long a coming; O I ask his Pardon.

Enter Petulant.
Betty,
Sir, the Coach stays.
Pet.

Well, well; I come—Sbud, a Man had as good be a profess'd Midwise as a profest Whoremaster, at this rate; to be knock'd up and rais'd at all Hours, and in all Places. Pox on 'em I won't come.—Dee hear, tell 'em I won't come.—Let 'em snivel and cry their Hearts out.

Fain.
You are very cruel, Petulant.
Pet.

All's one, let it pass—I have a Humour to be cruel.

Mira.

I hope they are not Persons of Condition that you use at this rate.

Pet.

Condition, Condition's a dry'd Fig, if I am not in Humour—By this Hand, if they were your—a—a—your What-dee call-'ems themselves, they must wait or rub off, if I want Appetite.

Mira.
What-dee-call-'ems! What are they, Witwoud?
Wit.

Empresses, my Dear—By your What-dee-call|'ems he means Sultana Queens.

Pet.
Ay, Roxolana's.
Mira.
Cry you Mercy.
Fain.
Witwoud says they are—
Pet.
What does he say th' are?
Wit.
I; fine Ladies I say.
Pet.

Pass on, Witwoud—Hearkee, by this Light his Relations—Two Coheiresses his Cousins, and an old Aunt, that loves Catterwauling better than a Conventi∣cle.

Wit.

Ha, ha, ha; I had a Mind to see how the Rogue wou'd come off—Ha, ha, ha; Gad I can't be angry with him; if he said they were my Mother and my Sisters.

Mira.
No!
Page  13
Wit.

No; the Rogue's Wit and Readiness of Invention charm me, dear Petulant.

Betty.
They are gone Sir, in great Anger.
Pet.

Enough, let 'em trundle. Anger helps Complexion, saves Paint.

Fain.

This Continence is all dissembled; this is in order to have something to brag of the next time he makes Court to Millamant, and swear he has abandon'd the whole Sex for her Sake.

Mira.

Have you not left off your impudent Pretensions there yet? I shall cut your Throat, sometime or other Petu∣lant, about that Business.

Pet.

Ay, ay, let that pass—There are other Throats to be cut—

Mira.
Meaning mine, Sir?
Pet.

Not I—I mean no Body—I know nothing.—But there are Uncles and Nephews in the World—And they may be Rivals—What then? All's one for that—

Mira.

How! hearkee Petulant, come hither—Explain, or I shall call your Interpreter.

Pet.

Explain, I know nothing—Why you have an Uncle, have you not, lately come to Town, and lodges by my Lady Wishfort's?

Mira.
True.
Pet.

Why that's enough—You and he are not Friends; and if he shou'd marry and have a Child, you may be dis∣inherited, ha?

Mira.
Where hast thou stumbled upon all this Truth?
Pet.

All's one for that; why then say I know some∣thing.

Mira.

Come, thou art an honest Fellow Petulant, and shalt make Love to my Mistress, thou sha't, Faith. What hast thou heard of my Uncle?

Pet.

I, nothing I. If Throats are to be cut, let Swords clash; snugs the Word, I shrug and am silent.

Mira.

O Raillery, Raillery. Come, I know thou art in the Women's Secrets—What you're a Cabalist, I know you staid at Millamant's last Night, after I went. Was Page  14 there any mention made of my Uncle, or me? Tell me; if thou hadst but good Nature equal to thy Wit Petulant, Tony Witwoud, who is now thy Competitor in Fame, wou'd shew as dim by thee as a dead Whiting's Eye, by a Pearl of Orient; he wou'd no more be seen by thee, then Mercury is by the Sun: Come, I'm sure thou wo't tell me.

Pet.

If I do, will you grant me common Sense then, for the future?

Mira.
Faith I'll do what I can for thee; and I'll pray that
Heav'n may grant it thee in the mean time.
Pet.
Well, hearkee.
Fain.
Petulant and you both will find Mirabell as warm a
Rival as a Lover.
Wit.

Pshaw, pshaw, that she laughs at Petulant is plain. And for my part—But that it is almost a Fashion to ad∣mire her, I shou'd—Hearkee—To tell you a Secret, but let it go no further—Between Friends, I shall never break my Heart for her.

Fain.
How!
Wit.
She's handsome; but she's a sort of an uncertain
Woman.
Fain.
I thought you had dy'd for her.
Wit.
Umh—No—
Fain.
She has Wit.
Wit.

'Tis what she will hardly allow any Body else;—Now, Demme, I shou'd hate that, if she were as handsome as Cleopatra. Mirabell is not so sure of her as he thinks for.

Fain.
Why do you think so?
Wit.

We staid pretty late there last Night; and heard something of an Uncle to Mirabell, who is lately come to Town,—and is between him and the best part of his Estate; Mirabell and he are at some distance, as my Lady Wishfort has been told; and you know she hates Mirabell, worse than a Quaker hates a Parrot: Or then a Fishmonger hates a hard Frost. Whether this Uncle has seen Mrs. Millamant or not, I cannot say; but there were Items of such a Treaty being in Embrio; and if it shou'd come to Life; poor Page  15Mirabell wou'd be in some sort unfortunately fobb'd ifaith.

Fain.
'Tis impossible Millamant should hearken to it.
Wit.

Faith, my Dear, I can't tell; she's a Woman and a kind of a Humorist.

Mira.
And this is the Sum of what you cou'd collect last
Night.
Pet.

The Quintessence. May be Witwoud knows more, he stay'd longer—Besides they never mind him; they say any thing before him.

Mira.
I thought you had been the greatest Favourite.
Pet.
Ay teste a teste; But not in publick, because I make
Remarks.
Mira.
Do you.
Pet.

Ay, ay, pox I'm malicious, Man. Now he's soft you know, they are not in awe of him—The Fellow's well bred, he's what you call a—What-dee-call-'em. A fine Gentleman, but he's silly withal.

Mira.

I thank you, I know as much as my Curiosity requires. Fainall, are you for the Mall?

Fain.
Ay, I'll take a turn before Dinner.
Wit.

Ay, we'll all walk in the Park, the Ladies talk'd of being there.

Mira.

I thought you were oblig'd to watch for your Bro∣ther Sir Wilfull's arrival.

Wit.

No, no, he comes to his Aunts, my Lady Wishfort; pox on him, I shall be troubled with him too; what shall I do with the Fool?

Pet.

Beg him for his Estate; that I may beg you after∣wards; and so have but one Trouble with you both.

Wit.

O rare Petulant; thou art as quick as a Fire in a frosty Morning; thou shalt to the Mall with us; and we'll be very severe.

Pet.
Enough, I'm in a Humour to be severe.
Mira.

Are you? Pray then walk by your selves,—Let not us be accessary to your putting the Ladies out of Countenance, with your senseless Ribaldry; which you roar out aloud as often as they pass by you; and when you Page  16 have made a handsome Woman blush, then you think you have been severe.

Pet.

What, what? Then let 'em either shew their Inno∣cence by not understanding what they hear, or else shew their Discretion by not hearing what they would not be thought to understand.

Mira.

But hast not thou then Sense enough to know that thou ought'st to be most asham'd thy Self, when thou hast put another out of Countenance.

Pet.

Not I, by this Hand—I always take blushing either for a Sign of Guilt, or ill Breeding.

Mira.

I confess you ought to think so. You are in the right, that you may plead the error of your Judgment in defence of your Practice.

Where Modesty's ill Manners, 'tis but fit
That Impudence and Malice, pass for Wit.
[Exeunt.
Page  17

ACT II. SCENE I.

St. James's Park.
Enter Mrs. Fainall and Mrs. Marwood.
M.Fain.

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.

Mrs. Mar.

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.

Mrs. Fain.
Then it seems you dissemble an Aversion to
Mankind, only in compliance with my Mothers Humour.
Mrs. Mar.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

Bless me, how have I been deceiv'd! Why you profess a Libertine.

Page  18
Mrs. Mar.

You see my Friendship by my Freedom. Come, be as sincere, acknowledge that your Sentiments agree with mine.

Mrs. Fain.
Never.
Mrs. Mar.
You hate Mankind.
Mrs. Fain.
Heartily, Inveterately.
Mrs. Mar.
Your Husband.
Mrs. Fain.

Most transcendantly; ay, tho' I say it, meri∣toriously.

Mrs. Mar.
Give me your Hand upon it.
Mrs. Fain.
There.
Mrs. Mar.

I join with you; what I have said, has been to try you.

Mrs. Fain.
Is it possible? Dost thou hate those Vipers
Men?
Mrs. Mar.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

There spoke the Spirit of an Amazon, a Pen∣thesilea.

Mrs. Mar.

And yet I am thinking sometimes, to carry my Aversion further.

Mrs. Fain.
How?
Mrs. Mar.

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.

Mrs. Fain.
You would not make him a Cuckold?
Mrs. Mar.

No; but I'd make him believe I did, and that's as bad.

Mrs. Fain.
Why, had not you as good do it?
Mrs. Mar.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

Ingenious Mischief! Wou'd thou wert mar∣ried to Mirabell.

Mrs. Mar.
Wou'd I were.
Mrs. Fain.
You change Colour.
Mrs. Mar.
Because I hate him.
Page  19
Mrs. Fain.
So do I; but I can hear him nam'd. But what
Reason have you to hate him in particular?
Mrs. Mar.

I never lov'd him; he is, and always was in∣sufferably proud.

Mrs. Fain.

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.

Mrs. Mar.

O then it seems you are one of his favourable Enemies. Methinks you look a little pale, and now you slush again.

Mrs. Fain.
Do I? I think I am a little sick o' the suddain.
Mrs. Mar.
What ails you?
Mrs. Fain.

My Husband. Don't you see him? He turn'd short upon me unawares, and has almost overcome me.

Enter Fainall and Mirabell.
Mrs. Mar.
Ha, ha, ha; he comes opportunely for you.
Mrs. Fain.
For you, for he has brought Mirabell with him.
Fain.
My Dear.
Mrs. Fain.
My Soul.
Fain.
You don't look well to Day, Child.
Mrs. Fain.
Dee think so?
Mira.
He is the only Man that do's, Madam.
Mrs. Fain.

The only Man that would tell me so at least; and the only Man from whom I could hear it without Mor∣tification.

Fain.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

Mr. Mirabell; my Mother interrupted you in a pleasant Relation last Night: I wou'd fain hear it out.

Mira.

The Persons concern'd in that Affair, have yet a tollerable Reputation—I am afraid Mr. Fainall will be Censorious.

Mrs. Fain.

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.

[Exeunt Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell.
Fain.

Excellent Creature! Well sure if I shou'd live to be rid of my Wife, I shou'd be a miserable Man.

Mrs.
Mar. Ay!
Fain.

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.

Mrs. Mar.
Will you not follow 'em?
Fain.
Faith, I think not.
Mrs. Mar.
Pray let us; I have a Reason.
Fain.
You are not Jealous?
Mrs. Mar.
Of whom?
Fain.
Of Mirabell.
Mrs. Mar.

If I am, is it inconsistent with my Love to you that I am tender of your Honour?

Fain.

You wou'd intimate then, as if there were a fellow∣feeling between my Wife and Him.

Mrs. Mar.

I think she do's not hate him to that degree she wou'd be thought.

Fain.
But he, I fear, is too Insensible.
Mrs. Mar.
It may be you are deceiv'd.
Fain.
It may be so. I do now begin to apprehend it.
Mrs. Mar.
What?
Fain.
That I have been deceiv'd Madam, and you are false.
Mrs. Mar.
That I am false! What mean you?
Fain.

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.

Mrs. Mar.
You do me wrong.
Fain.

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!

Mrs. Mar.
And wherewithal can you reproach me?
Fain.

With Infidelity, with loving of another, with love of Mirabell.

Mrs. Mar.

'Tis false. I challenge you to shew an Instance that can confirm your groundless Accusation. I hate him.

Fain.

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?

Mrs. Mar.

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.

Fain.

What, was it Conscience then! prosess'd a Friend∣ship! O the pious Friendships of the Female Sex!

Mrs. Mar.

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.

Fain.
Ha, ha, ha; you are my Wife's Friend too.
Mrs. Mar.

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?

Fain.

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.

Page  22
Mrs. Mar.
'Tis false, you urg'd it with deliberate Malice—
'Twas spoke in scorn, and I never will forgive it.
Fain.

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.

Mrs. Mar.

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.

Fain.
Why, what will you do?
Mrs. Mar.

Disclose it to your Wife; own what has past between us.

Fain.
Frenzy!
Mrs. Mar.

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.

Fain.

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?

Mrs. Mar.
Deceit and frivolous Pretence.
Fain.

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?

Mrs. Mar.
Impossible. Truth and you are inconsistent—
I hate you, and shall for ever.
Fain.
For loving you?
Mrs. Mar.

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.

Fain.
Nay, we must not part thus.
Mrs. Mar.
Let me go.
Fain.
Come, I'm sorry.
Mrs. Mar.

I care not—Let me go—Break my Hands, do—I'd leave 'em to get loose.

Fain.

I would not hurt you for the World. Have I no other Hold to keep you here?

Mrs. Mar.
Well, I have deserv'd it all.
Fain.
You know I love you.
Mrs. Mar.

Poor dissembling!—O that—Well, it is not yet—

Fain.

What? what is it not? What is it not yet? It is not yet too late—

Mrs. Mar.
No, it is not yet too late—I have that Comfort.
Fain.
It is to love another.
Mrs. Mar.

But not to loath, detest, abhor Mankind, my self and the whole treacherous World.

Fain.

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.

[Exeunt.
Enter Mirabell and Mrs. Fainall.
Mrs. Fain.
They are here yet.
Mira.
They are turning into the other Walk.
Mrs. Fain.

While I only hated my Husband, I could bear to see him; but since I have despis'd him, he's too offensive.

Page  24
Mira.
O you should Hate with Prudence.
Mrs. Fain.
Yes, for I have Lov'd with Indiscretion.
Mira.
You shou'd have just so much disgust for your
Husband, as may be sufficient to make you relish your
Lover.
Mrs. Fain.

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?

Mira.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

I ought to stand in some degree of Credit with you, Mirabell.

Mira.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

Whom have you instructed to represent your pretended Uncle?

Mira.
Waitwell, my Servant.
Mrs. Fain.
He is an humble Servant to Foible my Mothers
Woman; and may win her to your Interest.
Mira.

Care is taken for that—She is won and worn by this time. They were married this morning.

Mrs. Fain.
Who?
Mira.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

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.

Mira.

Yes, upon Condition she consent to my Marriage with her Niece, and surrender the Moiety of her Fortune in her Possession.

Mrs. Fain.
She talk'd last Night of endeavouring at a
Match between Millamant and your Uncle.
Mira.

That was by Foible's Direction, and my Instruction, that she might seem to carry it more privately.

Mrs. Fain.

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.

Mira.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

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.

Mira.

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.

Mrs. Fain.
Here's your Mistress.
Enter Mrs. Millamant, Witwoud, and Mincing.
Mira.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

I see but one poor empty Sculler; and he tows her Woman after him.

Mira.

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.

Page  26
Wit.

Like Moths about a Candle—I had like to have lost my Comparison for want of Breath.

Milla.

O I have deny'd my self Airs to Day. I have walk'd as fast through the Crow—

Wit.
As a Favourite in disgrace; and with as few Followers.
Milla.
Dear Mr. Witwoud, truce with your Similitudes:
For I am as sick of 'em—
Wit.
As a Phisician of a good Air—I cannot help it
Madam, tho' 'tis against my self.
Milla.
Yet again! Mincing, stand between me and his
Wit.
Wit.
Do Mrs. Mincing, like a Skreen before a great Fire.
I confess I do blaze to Day, I am too bright.
Mrs. Fain.
But dear Millamant, why were you so long?
Milla.

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.

Wit.

Madam, truce with your Similitudes—No, you met her Husband and did not ask him for her.

Mira.

By your leave Witwoud, that were like enquiring after an old Fashion, to ask a Husband for his Wise.

Wit.
Hum, a hit, a hit, a palpable hit, I confess it.
Mrs. Fain.
You were dress'd before I came abroad.
Milla.

Ay, that's true—O but then I had—Mincing what had I? Why was I so long?

Minc.
O Mem, your Laship staid to peruse a Pecquet of
Letters.
Milla.

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.

Wit.
Is that the way? Pray Madam, do you pin up your
Hair with all your Letters? I find I must keep Copies.
Milla.

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.

Minc.
O Mem, I shall never forget it.
Page  27
Milla.
Ay, poor Mincing tift and tift all the morning.
Minc.

'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.

Wit.
Indeed, so crips?
Minc.
You're such a Critick, Mr. Wtiwoud.
Milla.

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.

Mira.
Do's that please you?
Milla.
Infinitely; I love to give Pain.
Mira.

You wou'd affect a Cruelty which is not in your

Nature; your true Vanity is in the power of pleasing.
Milla.

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.

Mira.

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.

Milla.

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.

Wit.

Very pretty. Why you make no more of making Page  28 of Lovers, Madam, than of making so many Card-matches.

Milla.

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.

Mira.

Yet to those two vain empty Things, you owe two the greatest Pleasures of your Life.

Milla.
How so?
Mira.

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.

Wit.

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.

Milla.
O Fiction; Fainall, let us leave these Men.
Mira.
Draw off Witwoud.
[Aside to Mrs. Fainall.
Mrs. Fain.
Immediately; I have a Word or two for
Mr. Witwoud.
Mira.

I wou'd beg a little private Audience too—

[Exit Witwoud and Mrs. Fainall.

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.

Milla.
You saw I was engag'd.
Mira.

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.

Milla.

I please my self—Besides sometimes to converse with Fools, is for my Health.

Mira.
Your Health! Is there a worse Disease then the
Conversation of Fools?
Milla.

Yes, the Vapours; Fools are Physick for it, next to Assa-fatida.

Page  29
Mira.
You are not in a Course of Fools?
Milla.

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.

Mira.
Not in our Physick it may be.
Milla.

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?

Mira.

I would give something that you did not know, I cou'd not help it.

Milla.

Come, don't look grave then. Well, what do you say to me?

Mira.

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.

Milla.

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.

Mira.

You are merry, Madam, but I wou'd perswade you for one Moment to be serious.

Milla.

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.

Mira.

Can you not find in the variety of your Disposition one Moment—

Milla.
To hear you tell me that Foible's married, and your
Plot like to speed—No.
Mira.
But how you came to know it—
Milla.

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.

[Exit.
Mira.

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?

Enter Waitwell and Foible.

Sirrah, Waitwell, why sure you think you were married for your own Recreation, and not for my Conveniency.

Wait.

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.

Mira.
Give you Joy, Mrs. Foible.
Foib.

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.

Wait.

That she did indeed, Sir. It was my Fault that she did not make more.

Mira.
That I believe.
Foib.

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.

Page  31
Mira.

Excellent Foible! Matrimony has made you elo∣quent in Love.

Wait.
I think she has profited, Sir. I think so.
Foib.
You have seen Madam Millamant, Sir?
Mira.
Yes.
Foib.

I told her Sir, because I did not know that you might find an Opportunity; she had so much Company last Night.

Mira.

Your Diligence will merit more—In the mean time—

[Gives Mony.
Foib.
O dear Sir, your humble Servant.
Wait.
Spouse.
Mira.

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.

Foib.

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.

[Exit Foible.
Wait.

Sir Rowland if you please. The Jade's so pert upon her Preserment she forgets her self.

Mira.

Come Sir, will you endeavour to forget your self—And transform into Sir Rowland.

Wait.

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.

Ay there's the Grief; that's the sad change of Life;
To lose my Title, and yet keep my Wife.
[Exeunt;
Page  32

ACT III. SCENE I.

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.
Page  52

ACT IV. SCENE I.

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

IS Sir Rowland coming say'st thou, Foible? and are things in Order?

Foib.

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.

Lady.

Have you pullvill'd the Coach-man and Postilion, that they may not stink of the Stable, when Sir Rowland comes by?

Foib.
Yes, Madam:
Lady.

And are the Dancers and the Musick ready, that he may be entertain'd in all points with Correspondence to his Passion?

Foib.
All is ready, Madam.
Lady.
And—well—and how do I look, Foible?
Foib.
Most killing well, Madam.
Lady.

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.

Foib.
'Tis he, Madam.
Lady.

O dear, has my Nephew made his Addresses to Mil∣lamant? I order'd him.

Foib.
Sir Wilfull is set into Drinking, Madam, in the Parlour.
Lad.

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.

[Exit.
Enter Mrs. Millamant, and Mrs. Fainall.
Foib.

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?

Mill.

No—What would the Dear man have? I am thoughtfull and would amuse my self,—bid him come an∣other time.

There never yet was Woman made,
Nor shall but to be curs'd.
Repeating and Walking about.
That's hard!
Fain.

You are very fond of Sir John Suckling to day, Mil∣lamant, and the Poets.

Mill.
He? Ay, and filthy Verses—So I am.
Foib.

Sir Wilfull is coming, Madam. Shall I send Mr. Mi∣rabell away?

Mill.

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.

[Repeating.]

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.

Page  54
Fain.
I am oblig'd to you, that you would make me your
Proxy in this Affair; but I have business of my own.
Enter Sir Wilfull.

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.

Sir. Wil.

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—

This while Mill. walks about Re∣peating to her self.
Fain.
O fie Sir Wilfull! What, you must not be Daunted.
Sir Wil.

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.

Fain.

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.

[Exit.
Sir. Wil.

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—.

Mill.
[Repeating.]
I prithee spare me gentle Boy,
Press me no more for that slight Toy.
Sir. Will.
Anan? Cozen, your Servant.
Mill.
—That foolish tristle of a heart—Sir Wilfull!
Sir Wil.
Yes,—your Servant. No offence I hope, Cozen.
Mill.
[Repeating.]
I swear it will not do its part,
Tho' thou do'st thine, employ'st thy Power and Art.
Page  55 Natural, easie Suokling!
Sir. Wil.
Anan? Suckling? No such Suckling neither,
Cozen, nor Stripling: I thank Heav'n, I'm no Minor.
Mill.
Ah Rustick! ruder than Gothick.
Sir Wil.

Well, Well, I shall understand your Lingo one of these days, Cozen, in the mean while, I must answer in plain English.

Mill.
Have you any business with me, Sir Wilfull?
Sir Wil.

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.

Mill.
A walk? What then?
Sir. Wil.

Nay nothing—Only for the walks sake, that's all—

Mill.

I Nauseate walking; 'tis a Country diversion, I loath the Country and every thing that relates to it.

Sir Wil.

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.—

Mill.
Ah l' etourdie! I hate the Town too.
Sir Wil.

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.

Mill.

Ha, ha, ha. Yes, 'tis like I may.—You have no∣thing further to say to me?

Sir. Wil.

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.

Mill.

If it is of no great Importance, Sir Wilfull, you will oblige me to leave me: I have just now a little busi∣ness.—

Sir Wil.

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,

I think this door's lock'd.
Mill.
You may go this way Sir.
Sir. Will.

Your Servant, then with your leave I'll return to my Company.

[Exit.
Mill.
Ay, ay, ha, ha, ha.
Like Phoebus sung the no less am'rous Boy.
Enter Mirabell.
Mir.
—Like Daphne she as lovely and as Coy.

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.—

Mill.

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.

Mir.
What, after the last?
Mill.

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.

Mir.

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?

Mill.

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.

Mira.

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?

Mill.

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.

Mira.
Then I'll get up in a morning as early as I please.
Mill.

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.

Mira.
Names!
Mill.

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.

Mir.

Have you any more Conditions to offer? Hither∣to your demands are pretty reasonable.

Mill.

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.

Mir.

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?

Mill.

You have free leave; propose your utmost, speak and spare not.

Mir.

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.

Mill.
Detestable Inprimis! I go to the Play in a Mask!
Mir.

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.—

Page  59
Mill.
Ah! Name it not.
Mir.

Which may be presum'd, with a blessing on our endeavours—

Mill.
Odious endeavours!
Mir.

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.

Mill.

O horrid proviso's! filthy strong Waters! I toste fellows, Odious Men! I hate your Odious proviso's.

Mir.

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.

Enter Mrs. Fainall.
Mill.
Fainall, what shall I do? shall I have him? I think
I must have him.
Mrs. Fain.

Ay, ay, take him, take him, what shou'd you do?

Mill.

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.

Page  60
Mrs. Fain.

Fy, fy, have him, have him, and tell him so in plain terms: For I am sure you have a mind to him.

Mill.

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.

Mrs. Fain.

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.

Mill.

Ay, go, go. In the mean time I suppose you have said something to please me.

Mir.
I am all Obedience.
[Exit Mirab.
Mrs. Fain.

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.

Mill.
Well, If Mirabell shou'd not make a good Husband,
I am a lost thing;—for I find I love him violent∣ly.
Mrs. Fain.

So it seems, when you mind not what's said to you,—If you doubt him, you had best take up with Sir Wilfull.

Mill.
How can you name that super-annuated Lubber,
oh!
Enter Witwou'd from drinking.
Mrs. Fain.

So, Is the fray made up, that you have left 'em?

Page  61
Wit.

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.

Mill.
What was the dispute?
Wit.

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.

Enter Petulant Drunk.

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.

Pet.

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.

Wit.

Thou hast utter'd Volumes, Folio's, in less than Decimo Sexto, my Dear Lacedemonian, Sirrah Petulant, thou art an Epitomizer of words.

Pet.
Witwou'd—You are an anihilator of sense.
Wit.

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.

Pet.

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.

Wit.

Thou dodst bite my dear Mustard-seed; kiss me for that.

Pet.

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.

Mill.
Eh! filthy creature—what was the quarrel?
Pet.

There was no quarrel—there might have been a quarrel.

Page  62
Wit.

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.

Pet.
You were the Quarrel.
Mill.
Me!
Pet.

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.

Wit.

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.

Pet.
Carry your Mistresses Monkey a Spider,—go flea
Dogs, and read Romances—I'll go to bed to my Maid.
[Exit.
Mrs. Fain.

He's horridly drunk—how came you all in this pickle?—

Wit.

A plot, a plot, to get rid of the Knight,—your Hus∣band's advice; but he sneak'd off.

Enter Lady and Sir Wilfull drunk.
Lady.

Out upon't, out upon't, at years of Discretion, and Comport your self at this Rantipole rate.

Sir Wil.
No Offence Aunt.
Lady.

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.

Sir Wil.
Borachio!
Lady.

At a time when you shou'd commence an Amour and put your best foot foremost—

Sir Wil.
Sheart, an you grutch me your Liquor, make a
Bill—Give me more drink and take my Purse.

Page  63 Sings,

Prithee fill me the Glass
Till it laugh in my Face,
With Ale that is Potent and Mellow;
He that Whines for a Lass,
Is an Ignorant Ass,
For a Bumper has not its Fellow.
But if you wou'd have me Marry my Cosen,—say the Word, and I'll do't—Wilfull will do't, that's the Word—Wilfull will do't, that's my Crest—my Motto I have forgot.

Lady.

My Nephew's a little overtaken Cosen—but 'tis with drinking your Health—O' my Word you are oblig'd to him.

Sir Wil.

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.

Sings,

We'll drink and we'll never ha'done Boys
Put the glass then aroundwith the Sun Boys
Let Apollo's Example invite us;
For he's drunk every Night,
And that makes him so bright,
That he's able next Morning to light us.
the Sun's a good Pimple, an honest Soaker, he has a Cellar at your Antipodes. If I travel Aunt, I touch at your Anti∣podes—your Antipodes are a good rascally sort of topsy turvy Fellows—If I had a Bumper I'd stand upon my Page  64 Head and drink a Health to 'em—A Match or no Match, Cosen, with the hard Name,—Aunt, Wilfull will do't, If she has her Maidenhead let her look to't,—if she has not, let her keep her own Counsel in the mean time, and cry out at the nine Months end.

Mill.

Your Pardon Madam, I can stay no longer—Sir Wilfull grows very powerful, Egh! how he smells! I shall be overcome if I stay.

Come, Cosen.
[Ex. Mill. and Mrs. Fain.
Lady.

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.

Sir Wil.

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.

Sings.

To drink is a Christian Diversion,
Unknown to the Turk and the Persian:
Let Mahometan Fools
Live by Heathenish Rules,
And be damn'd over Tea-Cups and Coffee.
But let British Lads sing,
Crown a Health to the King,
And a Fig for your Sultan and Sophy.
Ah Tony!

Page  65Enter Foible, and whispers Lady.
Lady.

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.

[Ex. Foib.
Sir Wil.
Ahey! Wenches, where are the Wenches?
Lady.

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.

Wit.

Come Knight—Pox on him. I don't know what to say to him—will you go to a Cock-match?

Sir. Wil.

With a Wench, Tony? Is she a shake-bag Sir∣rah? let me bite your Cheek for that.

Wit.

Horrible! He has a breath like a Bagpipe—ay, ay, come will you March my Salopian?

Sir Wil.

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.

And a fig for your Sultan and Sophy.
[Exit Singing with Witwou'd.
Lady.
This will never do. It will never make a Match.
—At least before he has been abroad.
Enter Waitwell, disguis'd as for Sir Rowland.

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.

Wait.

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.

Lady,

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—

Wait.

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.

Lady,

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.

Wait.
Perfidious to you!
Lady.

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.

Wait.

What, my Rival! is the Rebell my Rival? a'dies.

Lady,

No, don't kill him at once Sir Rowland, starve him gradually inch by inch.

Wait.

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.

Lady,

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.—

Wait.
Far be it from me—
Lady.

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—

Wait.
I esteem it so—
Lady.
Or else you wrong my Condescension—
Wait.
I do not, I do not—
Lady.
Indeed you do.
Wait.
I do not, fair shrine of Vertue.
Lady.
If you think the least scruple of Carnality was an
Ingredient—
Wait.

Dear Madam, no. You are all Camphire and Frank∣incense, all Chastity and Odour.

Lady.
Or that—
Enter Foible.
Foib.

Madam, the Dancers are ready, and there's one with a Letter, who must deliver it into your own hands.

Lady.

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.

[Exit.
Wait.
Fie, fie!—What a Slavery have I undergone;
Spouse, hast thou any Cordial—I want Spirits.
Foib.

What a washy Rogue art thou, to pant thus for a quarter of an hours lying and swearing to a fine Lady?

Wait.

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.

Page  68 Enter Lady with a Letter.
Lady.

Call in the Dancers;—Sir Rowland, we'll sit if you please, and see the Entertainment.

Dance.

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.

Foib.

By Heaven! Mrs. Marwood's, I know it,—my heart akes—get it from her—

[to him,]
Wait.

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.

Lady.

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.

Reads—Madam, tho' unknown to you [Look you there 'tis from no body that I know]—I have that honour for your Character, that I think my self oblig'd to let you know you are abus'd. He who pretends to be Sir Row∣land is a cheat and a Rascal.—
Oh Heavens! what's this?
Foib.
Unfortunate, all's ruin'd.
Wait.
How, how, Let me see, let me see—reading A
Rascal and disguis'd and subborn'd for that imposture,—O villany
O villany!—by the Contrivance of
Lady.
I shall faint, I shall die, I shall die, oh!
Foib.

Say 'tis your Nephew's hand.—quickly, his plot, swear, fwear it.—

[to him.
Page  69
Wait.

Here's a Villain! Madam, don't you perceive it, don't you see it?

Lady.
Too well, too well. I have seen too much.
Wait.

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—

Foib.

O Treachery! But are you sure Sir Rowland, it is his writing?

Wait.

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.

Lady.
How!
Foib.

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.

Lady.

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.

Foib.

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.

Wait.
Enough, his date is short.
Foib.
No, good Sir Rowland, don't incurr the Law.
Wait.

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.

Lady.

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.

Page  70
Wait.

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.

Lady.

Ay dear Siv Rowland, that will be some Comfort; bring the Black-box.

Wait.

And may I presume to bring a Contract to be sign'd this Night? May I hope so farr?

Lady.

Bring what you will; but come alive, pray come alive. O this is a happy discovery.

Wait.

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.

Ere long you shall Substantial proof receive
That I'm an Arrant Knight—
Foib.
Or arrant Knave.
[Exeunt
Page  71

ACT V. SCENEI.

[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.