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Enter Mr. LOVEMORE. Love. Zoons, this is too much. Sir Bril. (R. c.) [Kneels down to buckle his Shoe.] This confounded buckle is always plaguing me. My dear boy, Lovemore! I rejoice to see thee.
[They stand looking at each other, Love. And have you the confidence to look me in the face?
Sir Bril. (R.). I was telling your lady, here, of the most whimsical adventure
Love. (L.) Don't add the meanness of falsehood to the black attempt of invading, the happiness of your friend. I did imagine, sir, from the long intercourse that has subsisted between us, that you might have had delicacy enough, feeling enough, honour enough, sir, not to meditate an injury like this.
Sir Bril. Ay, it's all over, I am detected! [Aside.] Mr. Lovemore, if begging your pardon for this rashness will any ways atone
Love. No, sir, nothing can atone. The provocation you have given me would justify my drawing upon you this instant, did not that lady and this roof protect you.
Sir Bril. But, Mr. Lovemore-
Love. Honour ! for shame, Sir Brilliant, don't mention the word.
Sir Bril. If begging pardon of that lady –
Love. That lady! I desire you will never speak to that lady.
Sir Bril. Nay, but pr’ythee, Lovemore-
[Both walk about in anger. Enter Sir BASHFUL, L. Sir Bash. Did not I hear loud words among you? I certainly did. What are you quarrelling about?
Love. Read that, Sir Bashful. [Gives him Sir BrilLIANT's letter.] Read that, and judge if I have not •
[SiR BASHFUL reads to himself. Sir Bril. Hear but what I have to say Love. No, sir, no; I have done with you for the pre
sent.--As for you, madam, I am satisfied with your conduct I was indeed a little alarmed, but I have been a witness of your behaviour, and I am above harbouring low suspicions. [MRS. L. seated c. of back ground.
Sir Bash. Upon my word, Mr. Lovemore, this is carrying the jest too far.
Love. Sir ! It is the basest action a gentleman can be guilty of!
Sir Bash. Why so I think. Sir Brilliant, [Aside] here, take this letter, and read it to him; his own letter to my wife. Sir Bril. Let me have it.
[Takes the letter. Sir Bash. 'Tis, indeed, as you say, the worst thing a gentleman can be guilty of.
Love. 'Tis, indeed, an unparalleled breach of friendship.
Sir Bril. Well, I can't see any thing unparalleled in it: I believe it will not be found to be without precedent as for example
[Reads. “ To my LADY CONSTANTWhy should I conceal, my dear madam, that your charms have touched my heart ?” Love. Zoons ! my letter
[Aside. Sir Bril. [Reading.] “ I long have loved you, long adored. Could I but flatter myself”
Sir Bash. The basest thing a man can be guilty of, Mr. Lovemore ! Love. All a forgery, sir; all a forgery.
(Snatches the letter. Sir Bash. That I deny ; it is the very identical letter my lady threw away with such indignation.- -My Lady Constant, how have I wronged you! That was the cause of your taking it so much to heart, Mr. Lovemore, was it?
Love. A mere contrivance to palliate his guilt. Po! po ! I won't stay a moment longer amongst ye. I'll go into another room to avoid ye all. [Opens the door.] Hell and destruction !
-what fiend is conjured up here! Zoons ! let me make my escape out of the house.
[Runs to the opposite door. Mrs. Love. [Rising.] I'll secure this door ; you must not go, my dear.
Love. 'Sdeath, madam, let me pass !
Mrs. Lore. Nay, you shall stay: I want to introduce an acquaintance of mine to you.
Love. I desire, madam
Enter Mrs. BellMOUR, R. D. Mrs. Bell. My lord, my Lord Etheridge; I am heartily glad to see your lordship. [ Taking hold of him. Mrs. Love. Do, my dear, let me introduce this lady
[Turning him to her. Love. Here's the devil and all to do!
[Aside. Mrs. Bell. My lord, this is one of the most fortunate encounters Love. I wish I was fifty miles off.
[Aside. Mrs. Love. Mrs. Bellmour, give me leave to introduce Mr. Lovemore to you. [Turning him to her.
Mrs. Bell. No, my dear ma'am, let me introduce Lord Etheridge to you. [Pulling him.] My lord
Sir Bril. In the name of wonder, what is all this? Sir Bash. Wounds! is this another of his intrigues blown up?
Mrs. Lore. My dear ma'am, you are mistaken : this is my husband. Mrs. Bell. Pardon me, ma'am, 'tis my Lord Etheridge.
Mrs. Love. My dear, how can you be so ill-bred in your own house ? Mrs. Bellmour, this is Mr. Love
Love. Are you going to toss me in a blanket, madam ? -call up the rest of your people if you are.
Mrs. Bell. Pshaw! pr’ythee now, my lord, leave off your humours. Mrs. Lovemore, this is my Lord Etheridge, a lover of mine, who has made proposals of marriage to me. Come, come, you shall have a wife: I will take compassion on you. Love. Damnation ! I can't stand it.
[Aside. Mrs. Bell. Come, cheer up, my Lord: what the deuce, your dress is altered ! what's become of the star and ribband? And so the gay, the florid; the magnifique Lord Etheridge dwindles down into plain Mr. Lovemore, the married man: Mr. Lovemore, your most obedient, very humble servant, sir.
Love. I can't bear to feel myself in so ridiculous a circumstance.
[Aside. Sir Bash. He has been passing himself for a lord, has he?
Mrs. Bell. I beg my compliments to your friend Mrs. Loveit; I am much obliged to you both for your very honourable designs.
[Courtesying to him.
Love. I was never so ashamed in all my life!
Sir Bril. So, so, so, all his pains were to hide the star from me. This discovery is a perfect cordial to my dejected spirits.
Mrs. Bell. Mrs. Lovemore, I cannot sufficiently acknowledge the providence that directed you to pay me a visit, and I shall henceforth consider you as my deliyerer.
Love. Zoons ! It was she that fainted away in the closet, and be damn'd to her jealousy.
[Aside. Sir Bril. My lord, [Advances to him.] My lord, my Lord Etheridge, as the man says in the play, Your lordship's right welcome back to Denmark.” Love. Now he comes upon me..
-O! I'm in a fine situation !
[Aside. Sir Bril. My lord, I hope that ugly pain in your lordship's side is abated. Love. Absurd and ridiculous.
[Aside. Sir Bril. There is nothing forming there, I hope, my lord.
Love. Damnation ! I can't bear all this—I won't stay to be teased by any of you-I'll go to the company in the card-room. [Goes to m. D. in the back scene. ] Here is another fiend! I am beset with them.
Enter LADY CONSTANT, M. D. No way for an escape?
[Attempts both stage doors, and is prevented. Lady Con. I have lost every rubber I play'd forquite broke. Do, Mr. Lovemore, lend me another hundred.
Love, I would give a hundred you were all in Nova Scotia.
Lady Con. Mrs. Lovemore, let me tell you, you are married to the falsest man ;-he has deceived me strangely.
Mrs. Love. I begin to feel for him, and to pity his uneasiness.
Mrs. Bell. Never talk of pity ; let him be probed to the quick.
Sir Bash. The case is pretty plain, I think now, Sir Brilliant.
Sir Bril. Pretty plain, upon my soul-Ha! ha!
this. [Takes SIR BASHFUL's letter out of his pocket.] Where is the mighty harm now, in this letter?
Sir Bash. Where is the harm ?-Ha! ha! ha!
Sir Bash. Shame and confusion! I am undone.
Love. Hear this, Sir Bashful—“ I cannot, my dearest life, any longer behold the manifold vexations, of which, through a false prejudice, I am myself the occasion.”
[Following Sir Bash. several times across the Stage. Sir Bash. 'Sdeath! I'll hear no more of it.
[Snatches at the letter. Love. No, sir ; I resign it here, where it was directed.
Lady Con. For heaven's sake, let us see. It is his hand, sure enough!
Love. Yes, madam, and those are his sentiments.
Sir Bril. So, so, so! he has been in love with his wife all this time, has he? Sir Bashful, will you go and see the new comedy with me? Lovemore, pray now don't you think it a base thing to invade the happiness of a friend? or to do him a clandestine wrong? or to injure him with the woman he loves ?
Love. To cut the matter short with you, sir, we are both villains.
Sir Bril. Villains ! Love. Ay, both! we are pretty fellows indeed ! Mrs. Bell. I am glad to find you are awakened to à sense of your error.
Love. I am, madam, and am frank enough to own it. I am above attempting to disguise my feelings, when I am conscious they are on the side of truth and honour. With sincere remorse I ask your pardon—I should ask pardon of my Lady Constant too, but the truth is, Sir Bashful threw the whole affair in my way; and, when a husband will be ashamed of loving a valuable woman, he must not be surprised, if other people take her case into consideration, and love her for him.
Sir Bril. Why, faith, that does in some sort apologize for him.