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Enter Rowley, L. Row. I heard high words : what has rufflcd you, sir ?
Sir P. (c.) Pshaw! what signifies asking ? Do I ever pass a day without my vexations ?
Row. Well, I'm not inquisitive. Sir 0. (R.) Well, I am not inquisitive; I come only to tell you that I have seen both my nephews in the manner we proposed.
Sir P. A precious couple they are!
Row. Yes, and Sir Oliver is convinced that your judgement was right, Sir Peter.
Sir 0. Yes, I find Joseph is indeed the man, after all. Row. Ay, as Sir Peter says, he is a man of sentiment. Sir O. And acts up to the sentiments he professes. Row. It certainly is edification to hear him talk.
Sir 0. Oh, he's a model for the young men of the age ! But how's this, Sir Peter? You don't join us in your friend Joseph's praise, as I expected.
Sir P. (c.) Sir Oliver, we live in a damned wicked world, and the fewer we praise the better.
Row. (L.) What ! do you say so, Sir Peter, who were never mistaken in your life?
Sir P. (c.) Pshaw ! Plague on you both! I see by your sneering you have heard the whole affair. I shall go mad among you !
Row. Theu, to fret you no longer, Sir Peter, we are indeed acquainted with it all. I met Lady Teazle coining from Mr. Surface's so humble, that she deigned to request mne to be her advocate with you.
Sir P. Aud does Sir Oliver know all this? Sir n. Every circumstauce. Sir. P. What of the closet and the screen, hey? Sir 0. Yes, yes, and the little French milliner. O, I have been vastly diverted with the story! Ha! ha! ha!
Sir P. 'Twas very pleasant.
Sir 0. I never laughed more in my life, I assure you : Ha ! ha! ha!
Sir P. 0, vastly diverting! Ha! ha! ha! Row. To be sure, Joseph with his sentiments : Ha! ha! ha! Sir P. Yes, yes, his sentiments ! Ha! ha! ha! Hypocritical villain !
Sir 0. Ay, and that rogue Charles to pull Sir Peter out of the closet : Ha! ha! ha!
Sir P. Ha! ha! 'Twas devilish entertaining, to be sure ! Sir 0. Ha ! ha! ha! Egad, Sir Peter, I should like to
bave seen your face when the screen was thrown down Ha! ha!
Sir P. Yes, yes, my face when the screen was thrown down : Ha! ha! ha! Oh, I must never show my head again!
Sir 0. But come, come ; it isn't fair to laugh at you ueither, my old friend ; though, upon my soul, I can't help it.
Sir P. O pray don't restrain your mirth on my account: it does not hurt me at all! I laugh at the whole affair myself. Yes, yes, I think being a standing jest for all one's acquaintance a very happy situation. ( yes, and then of a morning to read the paragraphs about Mr. S Lady T-, and Sir P, will he so entertaining ! 'I shall certainly leave town to-morrow, and never look mankind in the face again.
[Crosses, R. Row. (c.) Without affectation, Sir Peter, you may despise the ridicule of fools : but I see Lady Teazle going towards the next room ; I am sure you must desire a reconciliation as carnestly as she does.
Sir 0. Perhaps my being here prevents her coming to you. [Crosses, L.] Well, I'll leave honest Rowley to mediate between you; but he must bring you all presently to Mr. Surface's, where I am now returning, if not to reclaim a libertine, at least to expose hypocrisy. [Exit, l.
Sir P. Ah, I'll be present at your discovering yourself there with all my heart; though 'tis a vile unlucky place for discoveries. She is not coming here, you see, Rowley.
Row. No, but she has left the door of that room open, you perceive. See, she is in tears.
Sis P. Certainly a little mortification appears very becoming in a wife. Don't you think it will do her good to let her pine a little ?
Row. Oh, this is ungenerous in you!
Sir P. Well, I know not what to think. You remember the letter I found of hers, evidently intended for Charles?
Row. A mere forgery, Sir Peter, laid in your way on purpose. This is one of the points which I intend Snake shall give you conviction-of.
Sir P. I wish I were once satisfied of that. She looks this way. What a remarkably elegant turn of the head s!e has ! Rowley, I'll go to her.
Sir P. Though when it is known that we are reconciled, people will laugh at me ten times more.
Row. Let them laugh, and retort their malice only b showing them you are happy in spite of it.
Sir P. l'faith, so I will ! and, if I'm not mistaken, w: may yet be the happiest couple in the county.
Row. Nay, Sir Peter, he who once lays aside suspicion
Sir P. Hold, inaster Rowley! If you have any regard for me, never let me hear you utter any thing like a sentiment: I have had enough of them to serve me the rest of my life.
[Exeunt, R. SCENE II.--The Library. Enter LADY Sneerwell and JOSEPH SURFACE, L.
Ludy S. Impossible ! Will not Sir Peter immediately be reconciled to Charles, and of consequence no longer oppose his union with Maria ? The thonght is distraction to me.
Joseph S. Can passion furnish a remedy?
Eudy S. No, nor cunning veither. (! I was a fool an idiot, to league with such a blunderer!
Joseph S. Sure, Lady Sneerwell, I am the greatest sufferer ; yet you see I bear the accident with calmness, Well, I admit I have been to blame. I confess I deviated from the direct road of wrong, but I don't think we're so totally defeated neither.
Ludy S. No!
Joseph S. You tell me you have made a trial of Snake since we met, and that you still believe him faithful to us.
Lady S. I do believe so,
Joseph S. And that he has undertaken, should it be necessary, to swear aud prove, that Charles is at this time contracted by vows and honour to your ladyship, which some of his former letters to you will serve to support.
Lady S. This, indeed, might have assisted.
Joseph S. Come, come; it is not too late yet. [Knocking at the door, L.) But hark! this is probably my uncle, Sir Oliver : retire to that room; we'll consult farther when he
Lady S. Well, but if he should find you out, too ?
Joseph S. Oh, I have no fear of that. Sir Peter will hold his tongue for his own credit's sake--and you may depend on it, I shall soon discover Sir Oliver's weak side!
Lady S. I have no diffidence of your abilities ! only be constant to one roguery at a time. (Exit Lady Sneerwell, R. Joseph S. I will, I will. So! 'tis confounded hard, after such bad fortune, to be baited by one's confederate in evil. Well, at all events, my character is so much better than Charles's, that I certainly-Hey !-what !--this is not Sir Oliver, but old Stanley again. Plague on't! that he should return to teaze me just now I shall have Sir Oliver come and find him here and
Enter Sir OLIVER SURFACE, L. Gad's life, Mr. Stanley, why have you come back to plague me at this time? You must not stay now, upon my word.
Sir 0. (L.) Sir, I hear your uncle Oliver is expected here, and though he has been so penurious to you I'll try what he'll do for me.
Joseph S. (R.) Sir, 'tis impossible for you to stay now, so I must beg- -Come any other time, and I promise you, you shall be assisted.
Sir o. No : Sir Oliver and I must be acquainted.
Juseph S. Zounds, sir! then I insist on your quitting the room directly.
Sir 0. Nay, sir
Joseph S. Sir, I insist on't: here, William ! show this gentleman out. Since you compel ne, sir,-not one moment—this is such insolence! [Going to push him out, L.
Enter CHARLES SURFACE, L. Charles S. Hey day! what's the matter now! What the devil, have you got hold of my little broker here? Zounds, brother! don't hurt little Premium. [Crosses, c.] What's the matter, my little fellow?
Joseph S. (R.) So! he has been with you too, has he?
Charles S. (c.) To be sure he has. Why, he's as honest a little-But sure, Joseph, you have not been borrowing money too, have you ?
Joseph S. Borrowing! No! But, brother, you know we expect Sir Oliver here every
Charles S. O Gad, that's true! Noll mustn't find the little broker here, to be sure?
Joseph S. Yet Mr. Stanley insists-
Charles S. Ay, ay, Stanley or Premium, 'tis the same thing, as you say; for I suppose he goes by half a hundred Dames, besides A. B. at the coffee-house.
Joseph S. 'Sdeath! here's Sir Oliver at the door. Now I beg, Mr. Stanley
Charles S. Ay, ay, and I beg, Mr. Premium-
[Both forcing Sir Oliver out, L. Enter LADY TEAZLE and SIR PETER, MARIA, and
ROWLEY, L. Sir P. My old friend, Sir Oliver-hey! What in the name of wonder-here are dutiful nephews-assault their uncle at a first visit!
Lady T. Indeed, Sir Oliver, 'twas well we came in to rescue you.
Row. Truly, it was ; for I perceive, Sir Oliver, the character of old Stanley was no protection to you.
Sir O. Nor of Prensium either; the necessities of the former could not extort a shilling from that benevolent gentleman ; and with the other, I stood a chance of faring worse than my ancestors, and being knocked dowu without being bid for.
Joseph S. (R.) Charles !
Sir 0. (c.) Sir Peter, my friend, and Rowley too-look on that elder nephew of mine. You know what he has already received from my bounty; and you also know how gladly I would have regarded half my fortune as held in trust for lim : judge then my disappointment in discovering him to be destitute of truth, charity, and gratitude.
Sir P. Sir Oliver, I should be more surprised at this declaration, if I had not myself found hiin to be selfish, treacherous, and hypocritical.
Lady T. And if the gentleman pleads not guilty to these, pray let him call me to his character.
Sir P. Then, I beliere, we need add no more: if hc knows himself, he will consider it as the most perfect punishment, that he is known to the world.
Charles S. If they talk this way to honesty, what will they say to me, by and bye ?
[ Aside. (Sir Peter, Lady Teacle, and Mariu, retire.