« PrécédentContinuer »
Lady T. Nay, Sir Peter, they are all people of rank and fortune, and remarkably tenacious of reputation.
Sir P. Yes, egad, they are tenacious of reputation with a vengeance; for they don't choose anybody should have a character but themselves!-Such a crew! Ah! many a wretch has rid on a hurdle' who has done less mischief than these utterers of forged tales, coiners of scandal, and clippers of reputation.
Lady T. What! would you restrain the freedom of speech? Sir P. Ah! they have made you just as bad as any one of the society.
Lady T. Why, I believe I do bear a part with a tolerable
Lady P. But I vow I bear no malice against the people I abuse. When I say an ill-natured thing, 'tis out of pure goodhumor; and I take it for granted, they deal exactly in the same manner with me. But, Sir Peter, you know you promised to come to Lady Sneerwell's too.
Sir. P. Well, well, I'll call in just to look after my own character.
Lady T. Then indeed you must make haste after me, or you'll be too late. So, good-by to you. [Exit LADY TEAZLE. Sir P. So I have gained much by my intended expostulation: yet, with what a charming air she contradicts every thing I say, and how pleasingly she shows her contempt for my authority! Well, though I can't make her love me, there is great satisfaction in quarreling with her; and I think she never appears to such advantage, as when she is doing everything in her power to plague me. [Exit.
18. CONVERSATIONS AFTER MARRIAGE.
Lady Teazle. Lud! Sir Peter, I hope you haven't been quarreling with Maria? It is not using me well to be ill-humored when I am not by.
Sir Peter. [Left.] Ah! Lady Teazle, you might have the power to make me good-humored at all times.
1 Hurdle, (her dl), a sort of sledge used to draw traitors to execution.
Lady T. [Right.] I am sure I wish I had; for I want you to be in a charming sweet temper at this moment. Do be good-. humored now, and let me have two hundred pounds, will you?
Sir P. Two hundred pounds! What, ain't I to be in a good humor without paying for it? But speak to me thus, and i' faith there's nothing I could refuse you. You shall have it [gives her notes]; but seal me a bond of repayment.
Lady T. Oh no; there my note of hand will do as well.
[Offering her hand. Sir P. And you shall no longer reproach me with not giving you an independent settlement. I mean shortly to surprise you: -but shall we always live thus, hey?
Lady T. If you please. I'm sure I don't care how soon we leave off quarreling, provided you'll own you were tired first. Sir P. Well; then let our future contest be, who shall be most obliging.
Lady T. I assure you, Sir Peter, good-nature becomes you: you look now as you did before we were married, when you used to walk with me under the elms, and tell me stories of what a gallant' you were in your youth, and chuck me under the chin, you would; and ask me if I thought I could love an old fellow, who would deny me nothing-didn't you?
Sir P. Yes, yes, and you were kind and attentive
Lady T. Ay, so I was, and would always take your part when my acquaintance used to abuse you, and turn you into ridicule. Sir P. Indeed!
Lady T. Ay; and when my cousin Sophy has called you a stiff, peevish old bachelor, and laughed at me for thinking of marrying one who might be my father, I have always defended you, and said, I didn't think you so ugly by any means.
Sir P. Thank you.
Lady T. And I dared say you'd make a věry good sort of a husband.
Sir P. And you prophesied right and we shall now be the happiest couple
Lady T. And never differ again?
Sir P. No, never!-though at the same time, indeed, my dear Lady Teazle, you must watch your temper věry seriously; for in all our little quarrels, my dear, if you recollect, my love, you always begin first.
Lady T. I beg your pardon, my dear Sir Peter; indeed, you always gave the provocation.
Sir P. Now see, my angel! take care-contradicting isn't the way to keep friends.
Lady T. Then don't you begin it, my love.
You don't per
Sir P. There, now! you-you are going on. ceive, my life, that you are just doing the very thing which you know always makes me angry.
Lady T. Nay, you know if you will be angry without any dear
Sir P. There! now you want to quarrel again.
Lady T. No, I am sure I don't; but if you will be so peevishSir P. There now! who begins first?
Lady T. Why you, to be sure. I said nothing-but there's no bearing your temper.
Sir P. No, no, madam; the fault's in your own temper.
Lady T. Ay, you are just what my cousin Sophy said you would be.
Sir P. Your cousin Sophy is a forward, impertinent gipsy. Lady T. You are a great bear, I'm sure, to abuse my relations. Sir P. Now may all the plagues of marriage be doubled on me, if ever I try to be friends with you any mōre.
Lady T. So much the better.
Sir P. No, no, madam : 'tis evident you never cared a pin for me, and I was a madman to marry you—a pert, rural coquette' that had refused half the honèst squires in the neighborhood.
Lady T. And I am sure I was a fool to marry you—an old dangling bachelor, who was single at fifty, only because he never could meet with any one who would have him. [Crosses L.
Sir P. Ay, ay, madam; but you were pleased enough to listen to me you never had such an offer before.
Lady T. No! didn't I refuse Sir Tivy Terrier, who everybody said would have been a better match? for his estate is just as good as yours, and he has broke his neck since we have been married. [Crosses R.
Sir P. [L.] I have done with you, madam! You are an unfeeling, ungrateful-but there's an end of every thing. I believe you capable of every thing that is bad. Yes, madam, I now believe the reports relative to you and Charles, madam. Yes, madam, you and Charles are-not without grounds.
Lady T. [R.] Take care, Sir Peter! you had better not insinuate any such thing! I'll not be suspected without cause, I promise you.
Sir P. Věry well, madam! very well! A separate main'tenance as soon as you please! Yes, madam, or a divorce!—I'll make an example of myself for the benefit of all old bachelors.
Lady T. Agreed! agreed! And now, my dear Sir Peter, we are of a mind once more, we may be the happiest couple-and never differ again, you know-ha! ha! ha! Well, you are going to be in a passion, I see, and I shall only interrupt you; so, bye-bye. [Exit LADY TEAZLE Sir P. Plagues and tortures! make her angry either! Oh, I am the most miserable fellow! But I'll not bear her presuming to keep her temper: no! she may break my heart, but she shan't keep her temper. [Exit.
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN, the celebrated orator, statesman, and comic play-writer, was born at Dublin in 1751. His father, Thomas Sheridan, was well known as an actor, clocutionist, and author of a pronouncing dictionary. Richard, an idle and mischievous boy, passed at school for a hopeless blockhead. He left Harrow at the age of eighteen, studied law with indifferent success in the Middle Temple, and, when barely of age, made a runaway marriage with Miss Linley, a beautiful and accomplished singer. His earliest comedy, "The Rivals," a humorous and lively play, appeared in 1775, when the author was little more than twenty-three years old. About the same period he became one of the proprietors of Drury Lane Theater. His farce of "St. Patrick's Day," and opera of "The Duenna," appeared in 1776; and "The School for Scandal," which in plot, character, incident, dialogue, humor, and wit, perhaps, surpasses any comedy of modern times, was played in 1777. His last play, "The Critic," appeared in 1779. He obtained a seat in parliament in 1780. He worked hard for the House of Commons, and, in his great efforts, was one of the most showy and striking of parliamentary orators. His famous speech on the trial of Warren Hastings produced an impression on the public mind never, perhaps, surpassed. Losing his wife in 1792, he married again, in 1796, a lady with whom he received £5000; and with this money, and £15,000 from shares in the theater, he purchased an estate, but his sottish habits soon dispelled his dreams of splendor, and finally reduced him to penury. He was treasurer of the navy during the ministry of Fox and Grenville; but after 1812 he was no longer able to speak in the house. He died in 1816, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
19. A CURTAIN LECTURE OF MRS. CAUDLE.
AH! that's the third umbrella gone since Christmas. What were you to do? Why, let him go home in the rain, to be sure. I'm very certain there was nothing about him that could
spoil.-Take cold, indeed! He doesn't look like one of the sort to take cold. Besides, he'd have better taken cold than taken our umbrella.-Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear the rain? And, as I'm alive, if it isn't St. Swithin's day! Do you hear it against the windows? Nonsense! you don't impose upon me; you can't be asleep with such a shower as that! Do you hear it, I say? Oh! you DO hear it! Well, that's a pretty flood, I think, to last for six weeks; and no stirring all the time out of the house.
2. Pooh! don't think me a fool, Mr. Caudle; don't insult me; he return the umbrella! Anybody would think you were born yesterday. As if anybody ever did return an umbrella! There : do you hear it? Worse and worse. Cats and dogs, and for six weeks: always six weeks; and no umbrella!—I should like to know how the children are to go to school to-morrow! They shan't go through such weather; I am determined. No; they shall stop at home and never learn any thing (the blessed creatures!), sooner than go and get wet! And when they grow up, I wonder who they'll have to thank for knowing nothing: who, indeed, but their father. People who can't feel for their own children ought never to be fathers.
3. But I know why you lent the umbrella: oh! yes, I know very well. I was going out to tea at dear mother's to-morrow : you knew that, and you did it on purpose. Don't tell me ; you hate to have me go there, and take every mean advantage to hinder me. But don't you think it, Mr. Caudle; no, sir: if it comes down in bucketfulls, I'll go all the more. No; and I won't have a cab! Where do you think the money's to come from? You've got nice high notions at that club of yours! A cab, indeed! Cost me sixteen-pence, at least. Sixteen-pence! two-and-eight-pence; for there's back again. Cabs, indeed! I should like to know who's to pay for 'em ; for I'm sure you can't, if you go on as you do, throwing away your property, and beggaring your children, buying umbrellas!
4. Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear it? But I don't care-I'll go to mother's to-morrow-I will; and what's more, I'll walk every step of the and way; know you that will give me my death. Don't call me a foolish woman; You know I can't wear clogs;
it's you that's the foolish man.
and with no umbrella, the wet's sure to give me a cold: it always