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Manly. Suppose you may not, madam, yet you may very innocently have so much curiosity.
Lady G. Well, sir, I won't pretend to have so little of the woman in me, as to want curiosity.-But pray, do you suppose, then, this Myrtilla is a real, or a fictitious name?
Manly. Now, I recollect, inadam, there is a young woman in the house, where my Lady Wronghead lodges, that I heard somebody call Myrtilla—this letter may have been written by her but how it came directed to me, I confess, is a mystery, that, before I ever presume to see your ladyship again, I think myself obliged in honour to find out.
[Going, L. Lady G. Mr. Manly-you are not going?
Menly. 'Tis but to the next street, madam; I shall be back in ten minutes.
Lady G. Nay, but dinner's just coming up.
Manly. Madam, I can neither eat nor rest till I see an end of this affair.
Lady G. But this is so odd! why should any silly curiosity of mine drive you away?
Manly. Since you won't suffer it to be yours, madam, then it shall be only to satisfy my own curiosity.
[Exit, L. Lady G. Well--and now, what am I to think of all this! Or suppose an indifferent person had heard every word we have said to one another, what would they have thought on't? Would it have been very absurd to conclude, he is seriously inclined to pass the rest of bis life with me? I hope not--for I am sure the case is terribly clear on my side.
Enter Mrs. TRUSTY, R. [Crossing.] Well, Mrs. Trusty, is my sister dressed yet ?
Mrs. T. (L.) Yes, madam ; but my lord has been courting her so, I think, till they are both out of humour.
Lady G. (R.) How so?
Mrs. T. Why, it began, madam, with his lordship's desiring her ladyship to dine at home to-day-upon which, my lady said she could not be ready ; upon that, my lord ordered them to stay the dinner-and then, my lady ordered the coach--then my lord took her short, and said, he had ordered the coachman to set up--then my lady made him a great courtesy, and said she would wait till bis lordship's horses had dined, and was mighty pleasant; but, for fear of the worst, madam, she whis. pered me to get her chair ready.
[Exit, L. Lady G. Oh, here they come!, and, by their looks, seem a little unfit for company.
[Exit, L. Enter LADY TOWNLY, LORD TOWNLY following, R. Lady T. (L.) Well, look you, my lord, I can bear it no longer! nothing still, but about my faults--my faults! an agreeable subject, truly !
Lord T. (R.) Why, madam, if you wont hear of them, how can I ever hope to see you mend them ?
Lady T. Why, I don't intend to mend them I can't mend them you know I have tried to do it a hundred times-and-it hurts me so I can't bear it.
Lord T. (c.) And I, madam, can't bear this daily licentious abuse of your time and character.
Lady T. Abuse ! astonishing! when the universe knows I am never better company than when I am doing what I have a mind to. But, to see this world ! that men can never get over that silly spirit of contradiction! Why, but last Thursday, now !—there you wisely amended one of my faults, as you call them-you insisted upon my not going to the masquerade--and pray, what was the consequence? Was not I as cross as the devil all the night after? Was not I forced to get company at home? And was not it almost three o'clock this morning before I was able to come to myself again? And then the fault is not mended neither--for next time I shall only have twice the inclination to go : so that all this mending, and mending, you see, is but darning old lace, to make it worse than it was before.
[Crosses to R. Lord T. (L.) Well, the manner of women's living, of late, is insupportable! and, one way or other
Lady T. (R.) It's to be mended, I suppose-why, so it may; but then, my dear lord, you must give one time and when things are at worst, you know, they may mend themselves, ha! ha!
Lord T. (c.) Madam, I am not in a humour now to trifle !
Lady T. Why, then, my lord, one word of fair argument to talk with you in your own way, now--You complain of my late hours, and I of your early onesso far we are even, you'll allow-but, pray, which gives us the best figure in the eye of the polite world-my active spirited three in the morning, or your dull drowsy eleven at night? Now, I think, one has the air of a woman of quality, and t'other of a plodding mechanic, that goes to bed betimes, that he may rise early to open his shop-Faugh?
Lord T. Fie, fie, madam! Is this your way of reasoning ? 'Tis time to wake you, then—'Tis not your ill hours alone that disturb me, but as often the ill company that occasion those ill hours.
Lady T. Sure I don't understand you now, my lord ; what ill company do I keep ? ! Lord T. Why, at best, women that lose their money, and men that win it; or, perhaps, men that are voluntary bubbles at one game, in hopes a lady will give them fair play at another. Then, that unavoidable mixture with known rakes, concciled thieves, and sharpers in embroidery-or, what to me is still more shocking, that herd of familiar, chattering, crop-eared coxcombs!
Lady T. And a husband must give eminent proof of his sense, that thinks their follies dangerous !
Lord T. Their being fools, madam, is not always the husband's security ; or, if it were, fortune sometimes gives them advantages that might make a thinking woman tremble. 1 Lady T. What do you mean?
Lord T. That women sometimes lose more than they are able to pay; and, if the creditor be a little pressing, the lady may be reduced to try if, instead of gold, the gentleman will accept of a trinket.
Lady T. My lord, you grow scurrilous ; you'll make me hate you! I'll have you to know I keep company with the politest people in town, and the assemblies I frequent are full of such.
Lord T. So are the churches-now and then.
Lady T. My friends frequent them too, as well as the assemblies.
Lord T. Yes, and would do it oftener, if a groom of the chambers were allowed to furnish cards to the company.
Lady T. I see what you drive at all this while ;--you would lay an imputation on my fame to cover your own avarice. I might take any pleasures, I find, that were not expensive.
Lord T. (L.) Have a care, madam;. don't let me think you valuo your chastity only to make me reproach. able for not indulging you in every thing else that's vicious.—1, madam, have a reputation, too, to guard, that's dear to me as yours. The follies of an ungoverned wife may make the wisest man uneasy ; but 'tis his own fault if ever they render him contemptible. [Both cross.
Lady T. (L.) My lord, my lord-you would make a woman mad!
Lord T. (R.) Madam, madam, you would make a man a fool!
Lady T. If heaven has made you otherwise, that wont be in my power.
Lord T. Whatever may be in your inclination, madam, I'll prevent your making me a beggar, at least.
Lady T. (L. c.) A beggar! Crvesus! I ain out of patience! I won't come home till four to-morrow morning.
Lord T. (R. C.) That may be, madam ; but I'll order the doors to be locked at twelve.
Lady T. Then I won't come home till to-morrow night.
Lord T. (R.) Then, madam, you shall never come home again.
[Exit, R. Lady T. What does he mean? I never heard such a word from him in my life before! 'The man always used to have manners in his worst humours. There's something that I don't see at the bottom of all this. Bụt bis head's always upon sone impracticable scheme or other; so I won't trouble mine any longer about him. [Retires up the stage and returns.]-Mr. Manly, your servant!
Enter MANLY, L. Manly. (L.) I ask pardon for this intrusion, madam; but I hope my business with my lord will excuse it.
Lady T. I believe you'll find him in the next room,
Lady T. Sir, you have my leave, though you were a lady. Manly. [Aside.] What a well-bred age do we live in!
[Exit, R. Enter LADY GRACE, L., Lady T. (R.) Oh, my dear Lady Grace ! how could you leave me so unmercifully alone all this while ?
Lady G. (L.) I thought my lord had been with you.
Lady T. (R.C.) Why, yes, and therefore I wanted your relief; for he has been in such a fluster here
'Lady G. (L. c.) Bless me! for what?
Lady T. Only our usual breakfast! we have each of us had our dish of matrimonial comfort this morningWe have been charming company !
Lady G. I am mighty glad of it! Sure it must be a vast happiness when man and wife can give themselves the same turn of conversation !
Lady T. (c.). Oh, the prettiest thing in the world!
Lady G. Now, I should be afraid that, where two people are every day together so, they must often be in want of something to talk upon.
Lady T. Oh, my dear, you are the most mistaken in the world! married people have things to talk of, child, that never enter into the imagination of others. Wby, here's my lord and I now, we have not been married above two short years, you know, and we have already eight or ten things constantly in bank, that, whenever we want company, we can take up any one of them for two hours together, and the subject never the flatter; nay, if we have occasion for it, it will be as fresh next day, too, as it was the first hour it entertained us.
Lady G. Certainly that must be vastly pretty!
Lady T. Oh, there's no life like it! Why, t'other day, for example, when you dined abroad, my lord and I (Both get chairs and sit] after a pretty cheerful têtea-tête meal, sat us down by the fireside in an easy, indolent, pick-tooth way, for about a quarter of an hour, as if we had not thought of one another's being in the room.---At last, stretching himself, and yawning-My dear-says be
-you came home very late last night- 'Twas but just turned of two, says I-I was in bed -aw Lby eleven, says heSo you are every night, says Well, says he, I am amazed you can sit up so late-How can you be amazed, says I, at a thing that happens so often? Upon which we entered into a conversation-and though this is a point has entertained us above fifty times already, we always find so many pretty new things to say upon it, that I believe in my soul it will last as long as we live. [Both rise.
Lady G. But, pray, in such sort of family dialogues (though extremely well for passing the time), don't there, now and then, enter some little witty sort of bitterness ?
Ludy T. Oh, yes! which does not do amiss at all A smart repartee, with a zest of recrimination at the head of it, makes the prettiest sherbet! Ay, ay, if we