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Mrs. Love. Again ?-Pr’ythee, Mrs. Malapert, none of your advice -How dare you talk in this manner to me?- Let me hear no more of this impertinent freedom.
[Walks about. Mus. (r.) No, ma'am.- -It's very well, ma’amI have done, ma'am. [Disconcerted, and then she speaks aside.] What the devil is here to do? An unmannerly thing, to go for to huff me in this manner!
Mrs. Love. [Still walking about, l.] To make his character public, and render him the subject of every tea-table throughout this town, would only serve to widen the breach, and, instead of his neglect, might call forth his anger, and settle at last into a fixed aversion. Lawyers, parting, and separate maintenance, would ensue. No--I must avoid that-if possible, I will avoid that. What must be done?
Mus. [Crossing, L.] What can she be thinking of now? The sulky thing, not to be more familiar with such a friend as I am! What can she mean ?- - Did you speak to me, ma'am ?
Mrs. Love. (R.) Suppose I were to try that!-Muslin. Mus. Ma'am! Now for it
Mrs. Love. You heard Sir Brilliant deny that Mr. Lovemore visits at this Widow Bellmour's.
Mus. (L. c.) Lard, ma'am, he is as full of fibs as a French milliner-he does visit there I know it all from William-I'll be hanged in my own garters, if he does not.
Mrs. Love. (R. C.) I know not what to do-Heigho! Let my chair be got ready instantly.
Mus. Your chair, ma'am ?-Are you going out, ma'am ?
Mrs. Love. Don't teaze me with your talk, but do as I bid you, and bring my cloak down to the parlour immediately.-Heigho!
[Erit," L. Mus. What is in the wind now ?-An ill-natured puss, not to tell me what she is about. It's no matter, [gets a chair and sits, c.] she does not know what she is about. Before I'd lead such a life as she does, I'd take a lover's leap into the Regent's canal. I love to see company, for my part, and not to be mop'd to death here with her humdrum ways-tease, tease, tease“ Heigho! Muslin, go to William- where's his master ?-when did he come home ?-how long has he been up!-how does he do?”' with the same thing over and over again, to the end of
the chapter. A fine life indeed, for a person that has such fine spirits as I have by nature; it's enough to ruin my constitution. I love to see company, for my partBless me! I had like to have forgot, there's that Mrs. Marmalet comes to my route to-night-I had as lieve she had stay'd away-She's nothing but mere lumber So formal-She wont play above shilling whist: who the devil does she think is to make a shilling party for her? No such thing to be done now-a-days-Nobody plays shilling whist now, unless I was to send for the tradespeople-but I sha'n't let myself down at that rate for Madam Marmalet, I promise you. [Exit, R.
END OF ACT 1.
SCENE 1.-Sir Bashful Constant's.
Enter Sir BASHFUL, R. (Knock.) Sir Bash. Did not I hear a knock at the door? Yes, yes, I did–The coach is just driving away“Ay, ay, I am right enough, (c.) Sideboard ! Sideboard ! come hither, Sideboard ! ì must know who it is. My wife keeps the best company in England-but I must be cautidus-Servants love to peep into the bottom of their master's secrets.
Enter SIDEBOARD, L. Whose coach was that at the door just now ?
Side. (L.) The Duchess of Hurricane's, please your honour.
Sir Bash. The Duchess of Hurricane's ! A woman of great rank. The Duchess of Hurricane, Sideboard ! What did she want?
Side. I can't say, your honourShe left this card.
Sir Bash. (R. C.) A card ! Let me see it. [Reads.
“ The Duchess of Hurricane's compliments to Lady Constant; she has left the rooks, and the country squires, and the crows, and the fox hunters, and the hounds, to their own dear society for the rest of the winter; and lets her ladyship know, that she sees company, at Hurricane House, on Wednesdays, for the remainder of the season. Make me thankful ! Here's a card from a duchess !
[Aside. What have you in your hand ?
Side. Cards that have been left here all this morning, your honour.
Sir Bash. All the morning! Why, I may as wellMay as well keep the Coach and Horses in Piccadilly-I won't bear this, Sideboard, I can't bear it. [Aside. Ha! ha! ha! Let me see-let me see!
Side. There, your honour. [Gives the cards. Sir Bash. What! all these this morning, Sideboard ? Side. Yes, please your honour.
Sir Bash. This is too much, Sideboard-it is too much indeed! Ha! ha! ha! [Aside.] I can't bear it, Sideboard! No, no, I cannot bear it. Ha! ha! ha! [Aside.] Make me thankful ! All people of tiptop condition to visit my wife. Ha! ha! ha!
[Aside. Enter FURNISH, R. crossing to L. What's the matter, Furnish?
Fur. (c.) Nothing, sir ; nothing's the matter.
Sir Bash. What are you about? Where are you going? What have you to do now?
Fur. To do, sir?-Only to tell the chairmen they must go out with the chair this evening, and Black George with a flambeau before them, to pay some visits, that's all.
Sir Bash. What polite ways people of fashion have of being intimate with one another ! An empty chair to return visits for her! I can't help laughing at it. Ha ! ha! ha!—I like to see her do like other people. [Aside.] But I shall be found out by my servants. [SIDEBOARD and Furnish stand near, l. s. e.] I tell you, Sideboard, and I tell you too, Mrs. Impertinence, that my lady leads a life of folly, and noise, and hurry, and cards, and dice, and absurdity, and nonsense; and I won't bear it--I am resolv'd I will not - I think I hear her coming ! I do I do, I will not go on this way! and now, I'll tell her roundly a piece of my mind.
Enter LADY CONSTANT, R. She looks charmingly to-day! [Aside.] So, my Lady Constant-I have had my house full of duns again today.
Lady Con. (R.) Obliging creatures to call so often! What did they want?
Sir Bash. What did they want !—They wanted their money.
Lady Con. Well, and you paid them-Did not you?
Sir Bash. I pay them!-'Sdeath, madam! what do you take me for?
Lady Con. I took you for a husband, but I find I was mistaken.
Sir Bash. (L. c.) Death and fire! I see you're an ungrateful woman-I am sure, my Lady Constant, I have behav’d with great good-nature to you. Did not I go into parliament, madam, to please you? Did not I go and get drunk at a borough for a month together; ay, and mobbed at the George and Vulture, and pelted and horse-whipp'd the day before election—and all this to please you? Did not I stand up in the House to make a speech merely to gratify your pride? And did not I expose myself there? Did I know whether I stood upon my head or my heels? What the devil had I to do in parliament ? What's
my country to me? Lady Con. (R. C.) Who mention’d your country, sir?
Sir Bash. I desire you won't mention it_I have nothing to do with it; and I desire you will tell your people to come no more after me.
I know how to prevent that. Notice in the Gazette will exempt me from your extravagancies--I did not live in the Temple for nothing !
Fur. I protest, I never ard any body talk so mean in all my days before.
Lady Con. Don't you be so pert, pray. [To Servants.] . Leave the room-Go both of you down stairs.
[Exeunt FURNISH and SIDEBOARD, L. S. E. Sir Bash." (R.) I have kept it up pretty well before my servants. She's a fine woman, and talks admirably!
[Aside. Lady Con. (..) Is there never to be an end of this
usage, Sir Bashful? Am I to be for ever made unhappy by your humours?
Sir Bash. (c.) Humours ! I like that expression prodigiously!-Humours indeed !
Lady Con. (L. c.) You may harp upon the word, sir--Humours you have, sir, and such as are become insupportable.
Sir Bash. She talks like an angel ! [Aside.] Madam, [moderating his voice, and tuking her hand) I should have no humours, as you call them, if your extravagan. cies were not insupportable. What would the world say? Let us canvass the matter quietly and easy. [Purt.)What would the world think of my understanding, if I was seen to encourage your way of life?
Lady Con. What will they think of it now, sir?Take this along with you, there is a certain set of people, who, when they would avoid an error, are sure to fall into the opposite extreme.
Sir Bash. (R.) There's for you! that's a translation from Horace-Dum vitant stulti vitia-0, she is a notable woman.
[Aside. Lady Con. Let me tell you, Sir Bashful, there is not in the world a more ridiculous sight, than a person wrapping up himself in imaginary wisdom-if he can but guard against one giant-vice, while he becomes an easy prey to a thousand other absurdities.
Sir Bash. [Turning, r.] Lord, I am nothing at all to her in an argument ! She has a tongue that can reason me out of my senses-I could almost find in my heart to tell her the whole truth. [To LADY Con.] Look ye, madam, you know I am good-natured at the bottom, and any thing in reason
Lady Con. (L. C.) When did I desire any thing else? Is it unreasonable to live with decency? Is it unreasonable to keep the company I have always been us'd to? Is it unreasonable to conform to the modes of life, when our own fortune can so well afford it!
Sir Bash. (c.) She's a very reasonable woman, and I wish I had but half her sense! [Aside.] I'll tell you what, my Lady Constant, to avoid eternal disputes, if a sum of money, within moderate compass, would make matters easy—I know you have contracted habits in life ---And I know the force of habit is not easily conquer'd. I would not have her conquer it: my pride would be hurt if she did. (Aside.] And so, madam, if a brace of hun.