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me?-I won't hear it now. But pray now, how came you to choose so grave a subject as connubial happiness?
Love. Close and particular that question. [Aside.
Mrs. Bell. Well, upon my word, you have drawn your picture so well in this little song, that one would imagine you had a wife at home to sit for it.
Love. Ma'am-[Embarrassed] the compliment you are but laughing at meII1-Zounds! I am afraid she begins to suspect me. [Aside.] A very scanty knowledge of the world will serve: and and there is no need of one's own experience in these cases :--and when you, madam, are the original, it is no wonder that this copy-—
Mrs. Bell. O lard, you are going to plague me again with your odious solicitations, but I won't hear them ; you must be gone. If I should be weak enough to listen to you, what would become of Sir Brilliant Fashion ?
Love. Sir Brilliant Fashion !
Mrs. Bell. Yes, don't you know Sir Brilliant Fashion ?
Love. No, ma'am, I don't know the gentleman :-) beg pardon, if he is your acquaintance, but from what I have heard of him, I should not choose him to be among my intimates.
Enter MIGNIONET, R. in a violent hurry.
Mig. O lud ! I am frightened out of my senses ?-
Mig. Never stand asking what lady-she has fainted away, ma'am, all of a sudden. Give me the drops.
[Exit, R. D. Mrs. Bell. Let me run to her assistance.-Adieu, my lord-I shall be at home in the evening. My lord, you'll excuse me: I expect you in the evening.
[Exit, R. D. Love. (c.) I shall wait on you, ma'am. What a villain am I to carry on this scheme against so much beauty, innocence and merit. Ay, and to have the impudence to assume this badge of honour, to cover the most unwarrantable purposes ! But no reflection have her 1 must, and that quickly too. If I don't prevail soon, I am undone-she'll find me out: egad, I'll be with her betimes
this evening, and press her with all the vehemence of love. Women have their soft, unguarded moments, and who knows ?_But to take the advantage of the openness and gaiety of her heart! and then, my friend Sir Brilliant, will it be fair to supplant him ? Pr’ythee, be quiet, my dear conscience; don't you be meddling ; don't you interrupt a gentleman in his amusements. Don't you know, my good friend, that love has no respect of persons, knows no laws of friendship; besides, 'tis all my wife's fault-why don't she strive to make home agreeable ?
For foreign pleasures, foreign joys I roam,
(Going. SIR BRILLIANT is heard singing within, L. What the devil is Madam Fortune at now? Sir Brilliant, by all that's odious! No place to conceal in? No escape! The door is lock'd! Mignionet, Mignionet ! open the door! Mignionet. [Within, R.] You can't come in here,
Love. This cursed star, and this ribband, will ruin me, Let me get off this confounded tell-tale evidence.
[Takes off the Ribband in a hurry.
Enter SiR BRILLIANT, L. Sir Bril. My dear madam, I most heartily rejoiceHa!Lovemore! Love. Your slave, Sir Brilliant, your slave
(Hiding the star with his hat. Sir Bril. How is this?" I did not think you had been acquainted here !
Love. I came to look for you; I thought to have found you here; and so I have scrap'd an acquaintance with the lady, and made it subservient to your purposes. I have been giving a great character of you.
- Sir Bril. Well, but what's the matter? What are you fumbling about?
[Pulls the hat. Love. 'Sdeath, have a care !-for heaven's sake
[Crams his handkerchief there, Sir Bril. What the devil ails you? Love. Taken so unaccountably;-my old complaintSir Bril. What complaint ? Love. I must have a surgeon--occasioned by the stroke
of a tennis-ball ;-my Lord Rackett's unlucky left hand. Let me pass—there is something forming there-let me pass. To be caught is the devil. [ Aside.] Don’t name my name, you'll ruin all that I said for you if you do.Sir Brilliant, your servant. There is certainly something forming.
[Exit, L. Sir Bril. Something forming there-I believe there is something forming here! What can this mean? I must have this explained. Then Mrs. Lovemore's suspicions are right ;-) must come at the bottom of it.
Enter Mrs. BeLLMOUR, R. D. My dear Mrs. Bellmour !
Mrs. Bell. Heavens! What brings you here ! Sir Bril. I congratulate with myself upon the felicity of meeting you thus at home.
Mrs. Bell. Your visit is unseasonable--you must be gone.
Sir Bril. Madam, I have a thousand things.
Mrs. Bell. I can't hear you now; fly this moment! I have a lady taken ill in the next room.
Sir Bril. Ay, and you have had a gentleman taken ill here too.
Mrs. Bell. Do you dispute my will and pleasure? fly this instant. [Turns him out.] Šo-I'll make sure of the door. Enter Mrs. LOVEMORE, R. D. leaning on MIGNIONET.
Mig. This way, madam, here's more air in this room.
Mrs. Bell. How do you find yourself, ma'am ? Pray sit down.
[She sits, c. Mrs. Love. My spirits are too weak to bear up any longer against such a scene of villainy.
Mrs. Bell. (L.) Villainy! What villainy?
Mrs. Love. Of the blackest dye? I see, madam, you are acquainted with my husband.
Mrs. Bell. Acquainted with your husband !
Mrs. Love. A moment's patience ; that gentleman that was here with you is my husband !
[Rises. Mrs. Bell. Lord Etheridge your husband ?
Mrs. Love. Lord Etheridge, as he calls himself, and as you have been made to call him also, is no other than Mr. Lovemore.
Mrs. Bell. And has he then been base enough to assume that title to ensnare me to my undoing !
Mrs. Love. To see my husband carrying on this dark business-to see the man I have loved the man I have esteem’d-the man, I am afraid, I must still love, though esteem him again I cannot, to be a witness to his complicated wickedness, it was too much for sensibility like mine-I felt the shock too severely, and sunk under it,
Mrs. Bell. I am ready to do the same myself now. I sink into the very ground with amazement. The first time I ever saw him was at Mrs. Loveit's-she introduced him to me; the appointment was of her own making.
Mrs. Love. You know her character, I suppose, madam?
Mrs. Bell. She's a woman of fashion, and sees a great deal of good company.
Mrs. Love. Very capable of such an action, for all that.
Mrs. Bell. Well, I could never have imagined that any woman would be so base as to pass such a cheat upon me. Step this moment, and give orders never to let him within my doors again. [Exit MIGNIONET, L.] I am much obliged to you, madam, for this visit;-—to me it is highly fortunate, but I am sorry for your share in't, as the discovery brings you nothing but the conviction of your husband's baseness.
Mrs. Love. I am determined to be no further uneasy about him; nor will I live a day longer under his roof.
Mrs. Bell. Hold! hold! make no violent resolutions, You'll excuse me I can't help feeling for you, and I think this incident may be still converted to your advantage.
Mrs. Love. That can never be-I am lost beyond redemption.
Mrs. Bell. [Both L.] Don't decide that too rashly.Besides, you have heard his sentiments. Perhaps you are a little to blame yourself. We will talk this matter over coolly-Ma'am, you have saved me, and I must now discharge the obligation. You shall stay and dine with me.
Mrs. Love. I can't possibly do that~I won't give you so much trouble.
Mrs. Bell. It will be a pleasure, ma'am-you shall stay with me I will not part with you; and I will lay such a plan as may ensure him yours for ever. Come, come, my dear madam, don't you still think he has some good qualities to apologize for his vices ?
Mrs. Love. I must own I still hope he has.
Mrs. Bell. Very well then, and he may still make atonement for all; and, let me tell you, that a man who can make proper atonement for his faults, should not be entirely despised. Allons-Come, come, a man is worth thinking a little about, before one throws the hideous thing away for ever.
END OF ACT III,
SCENE I.-SIR BASHFUL CONSTANT's.
Enter LADY CONSTANT, R. with a Card, and FURNISH.
Lady Con. Is the servant waiting ?
Lady Con. Very well-I need not write-Give my humble service to Mrs. Lovemore, and I shall certainly wait on her. Fur. I shall, madam.
[Going. Lady Con. Has the servant carried back the things to Sir Brilliant Fashion, as I ordered?
Fur. We expect him back every moment, madam.
Lady Con. The insolence of that man, to think he can bribe me with his odious presents! Very well, go and send my answer to Mrs. Lovemore. [Exit FURNISH.] What can this mean?
[Reads. “Begs the favour of her ladyship's company to cards this evening.” -Cards at Mrs. Lovemore's
there's something new in that.--[Reads.] “ Hopes her ladyship will not refuse, as it is a very particular affair requires Mrs. Lovemore's friends to be present.”. There is some mystery in all this -What can it be?