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Enter MELLEFONT. without perplexity. Mask. Meet me in half an hour, here, in your chaplain's chamber?

Did Maskwell tell you any thing of the own chamber. When Cynthia comes, let there be no light; and do not speak, that she may not things are all in my chamber; I want nothing

Mel. No: my dear, will you get ready ?-The distinguish you froin Mellefont. I'll urge haste but the habit. to excuse your silence.

Care. You are betrayed, and Maskwell is the Say. You have no more commands ?

villain I always thought him. Mask. None, your text is short.

Cyn. When you were gone, he said his mind Say. But pithy, and I will handle it with dis

was changed, and bid me meet him in the chapcretion.

lain's room, pretending immediately to follow Mask. It will be the first you have so served.

you, and give you notice.

[Exeunt. Care. There's Saygrace tripping by, with a SCENE II.

bundle under his arm-He cannot be ignorant Enter Lord Touchwood and MASKWELL.

that Maskwell means to use his chamber; let's

follow and examine him. Lord Touch. Sure I was born to be controuled Mel. "Tis loss of time -I cannot think him by those I should command: my very slaves will false.

[Ereunt Mel. and Care, shortly give me rules how I shall govern them.

Enter Lord TouchWOOD. Mask. I am concerned to see your lordship discomposed

Cyn. My lord musing ! Lord Touch. Have you seen my wife lately,

Lord Touch. He has a quick invention, if this or disobliged her?

were suddenly designed Yet he says he had Mask. No, my lord-What can this mean? prepared my chaplain already.

[Aside. Cyn. How is this! Now I fear, indeed. Lord Touch. Then Mellefont has urged some

Lord Touch. Cynthia here! Alone, fair cousin, body to incense her

Something she has heard and melancholy? of you, wbich carries her beyond the bounds of

Cyn. Your lordship was thoughtful. patience.

Lord Touch. My thoughts were on serious buMask. This I feared. [Aside.] Did not your

siness, not worth your hearing. lordship tell her of the honours you designed Cyn. Mine were on treachery concerning you,

and may be worth your hearing. Lord Touch. Yes.

Lord Touch. Treachery concerning me! Pray, Mask. 'Tis that; you know my lady has a

be plain--Hark! What noise ! high spirit; she thinks I am unworthy.

Mlask. [Within.] Will you not hear me? Lord Touch. Unworthy! 'Tis an ignorant pride

Ludy Touch. [Within.] No, monster! Traiin her to think so

-Honesty to me is true nobi- tor! No! lity. However, 'tis my will it shall be so, and

Cyn. My lady and Maskwell! This may be that should be convincing to her as much as rea

lucky--My lord, let me entreat you to stand be-By Heaven, I'll not be wife-ridden ! hind this screen, and listen; perhaps this chance Were it possible, it should be done this night. may give you proof of what you never could have Mask. By Heaven! he meets my wishes. [Aside.

believed from

my suspicions. Few things are impossible to willing minds.

Enter Ludy Touchwood, with a dagger, and Lord Touch. Instruct me how this may be

MASKWELL: Cynthia and Lord Touchdone; you shall see I want no inclination. Mask. I had laid a small design for to-norrow

wood abscond, listening. (as love will be inventing) which I thought to

Lady Touch. You want but leisure to invent communicate to your lordship-But it may be fresh falsehood, and sooth me to a fond belief as well done to-night.

of all your fictions; but I will stab the lie, that's Lord Touch. Here is company--Come this forming in your heart, and save a sin in pity to way, and tell me.

Alusk. Strike then-since you will have it so. Enter CARELESS and CYNTHIA.

Lady Touch. Ha! a steady villain to the last ! Care. Is not that he, now gone out with my

Mask. Come, why do you dally with me thus ? lord ?

Lady Touch. Thy' stubborn temper shocks me, Cyn. Yes. and you knew it would-This is cunning all

, Care. By Heaven! there's treachery.--The and not courage; no, I know thee well-But confusion that I saw your father in, my lady thou shalt miss thy aim. Touchwood's passion, with what imperfectly I

Mask. Ha, ba, ha ! overheard between my lord and her, confirm me

Lady Touch. Ha! Do you mock my rage? in my fears. Where's Mellefont?

Then this shall punish your fond, rash attempt ! Cyn. Here he comes.

Again smile!

[Goes to strike.

me?

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[Exeunt. your soul.

And such a smile as speaks in ambiguity! your desires. His case is desperate, and, I beTen thousand meanings lurk in each corner of lieve, he will yield to any condition—If not, that various face.

here, take this; you may employ it better than O! that they were written in thy heart,

in the heart of one who is nothing, when not That I, with this, might lay thee open to my sight! yours.

[Gives the dugger. But then 'twill be too late to know

Lady Touch. Thou canst deceive every body--Thou hast, thou hast found the only way to turn Nay, thou hast deceived me; but it is as I would my rage; too well thou knowest my jealous soul wish -Trusty villain! I could worship thee. could never bear uncertainty. Speak, then, and Mask. No more-It wants but a few mitell me-Yet are yoa silent? Oh, I am wilder-nutes of the tine; and Mellefont's love will cared in all passions ! But thus my anger melts-ry him there before his hour. [Weeps.] Here, take this poniard, for my very Lady Touch. I go, I Ay, incomparable Maskspirits faint, and I want strength to hold it; thou well!

[Erit. hast disarmed my soul. (Gives the dagger.

Mask. So! this was a pinch indeed ; my invenLord Touch. Amazement shakes me—Where tion was upon the rack, and made discovery of will this end?

her last plot : I hope Cynthia and my chaplain Mask. So, 'tis well— let your wild fury have will be ready. I will prepare for the expedition. a vent, and when you have teinper, tell me.

[Erit. Lady Touch. Now, now, now I am calm, and can hear you.

Cynthia and Lord Touchwood come forward. Mask. (Aside] Thanks, my invention : and Cyn. Now, my lord ! now I have it for you--First tell me, what Lord Touch. Astonishment binds up my rage! urged you to this violence? For your passion | Villainy upon villainy ! Heavens, what a long broke out in such imperfect terms, that yet I am

track of dark deceit has this discovered! I am to learn the cause.

confounded when I look back, and want a' clue to Lady Touch. My lord himself surprised me guide me through the various mazes of unbeard-of with the news, you were to marry Cynthia-That treachery. My wife! Damnation! My hell! you had owned your love to him, and his iodul Cyn. My lord, have patience, and be sensible gence would assist you to attain your ends. how great our happiness is, that this discovery Cyn. How, my lord !

was not made too late. Lord Touch. Pray forbear all resentments for Lord Touch. I thank you, yet it may be still awhile, and let us hear the rest.

too late, if we don't presently prevent the execuMask. I grant you, in appearance all is true ;

tion of their plots

-Ila! I'll do it. Where is I seemed consenting to my lord ; nay, transport- Mellefont, my poor injured nephew? Ilow shall ed with the blessing — But could you think that I make him ample satisfaction? I, who had been happy in your loved embraces, Cyn. I dare answer for him. could e'er be fond of inferior slavery?

Lord Touch. I do him fresh wrong to question Cyn. Nay, good my lord, forbear resentment, his forgiveness, for I know him to be all goodlet us hear it out.

Yet
my

wife! Damn her!-She'll think Lord Touch. Yes, I will contain, though I could to meet him in that dressing-room-Was it not burst.

[ Aside. so? And Maskwell will expect you in the chapMask. I, that had wantoned in the rich circle lain's chamber-For once l'ÀI add my plot tooof your world of love, could be confined within let us hasten to find out, and inform my nephew; the puny province of a girl? No-Yet, though and do you, quickly as you can, bring all the comI dote on each last favour more than all the rest, pany into this gallery. I'll expose the strumpet though I would give a limb for every look you and the villain.

Ereunt. cheaply throw away on any other object of your love; yet so far I prize your pleasures over my

SCENE IL own, that all this seeming plot that I have laid, has been to gratify your taste, and cheat the Enter Lord FROTI and Sir Paut. world, to prove a faithful rogue to you. Lady Touch. If this were true

But how can Lord Froth. By Heavens! I have slept an age it be?

-Sir Paul, what o'clock is it? Past eight ! On Mask. I have so contrived, that Mellefont will my conscience, my lady's is the most inviting presently, in the chaplain's habit, wait for Cynthia couch, and a slumber there is the prettiest amuséin your dressing-room: but I have put the change ment! But where is all the company? upon her, that she may be otherwhere employed, Sir Paul, The company! Gad's bud, I don't Do you procure her night-gown, and, with your know, my lord; but here's the strangest revoluhood tied over your face, meet him in her stead; tion, all turned topsy-turvy, as I hope for Proviyou may go privately by the back-stairs, and, un- dence. perceived, there you inay propose to reinstate Lord Froth, 0 Ileavens! What's the matter? him in his uncle's favour, if he will comply with Where is my wife? VOL. II.

IR

ness

Sir Paul. All turned topsy-turvy, as sure as a Care. You need not fear, madam; you have gun.

charins to fix inconstancy itself. Lord Froth. How do you mean? My wife! Lady Ply. O dear, you make me blush. Sir Paul. The strangest posture of affairs ! Lord Froth. Come, my dear, shall we take Lord Froth. What! my wife?

leave of my lord and lady? Sir Paul. No, no, I mean the family. Your Cyn. They will wait upon your lordship prelady's affairs may be in a very good posture; I sently. saw her go into the garden with Mr Brisk. Lady Froth. Mr Brisk, my coach shall set you

Lord Froth. How? Where, when, what to do? | down.

Sir Paul. I suppose they have been laying their AN. What's the matter? heads together.

[A great shriek from the corner of the stage. Lord Froth. How?

Sir Paul. Nay, only about poetry, I suppose, Enter Lady Touchwood, and runs out affrightmy lord; making couplets.

ed, my LORD after her, like a parson. Lord Froth. Couplets!

Lady Touch. Oh ! I'm betrayed—Save me, Sir Paul. Oh, here they come.

help me!

Lord Touch. Now, what evasion, strumpet ? Enter Lady Froth and BRISK.

Lady Touch. Stand off, let me go. Brisk. My lord, your humble servant; sir Lord Touch. Go, and thy own infamy pursue Paul, yours-The finest night!

thee! - You stare as you were all amazed—I Lady Froth. My dear, Mr Brisk and I have do not wonder at it-But too soon you'll know been star-gazing I don't know how long.

mine, and that woman's shame. Sir Paul. Does it not tire your ladyship? Are

Enter MELLEFONT, disguised in a parson's habit, not you weary with looking up? Lady Froth. Oh, no! I love it violently

and pulling in MaskwELL. My dear, you are melancholy.

Mel. Nay, by Heaven ! you shall be seenLord Froth. No, my dear, I am but awake. Careless, your hand-Do you hold down your

Lady Froth. Snuff some of my spirit of harts- head? Yes, I am your chaplain; look in the face horn.

of your injured friend, thou wonder of all false Lord Froth. I have some of my own, thank hood.

Lord Touch. Are you silent, monster ? Lady Froth. Well, I swear, Mr Brisk, you un Mel. Good Heavens! How I believed and loderstand astronomy like an old Egyptian! ved this man! Take him hence, for he is a dis

Brisk. Not comparably to your ladyship; you ease to my sight. are the very Cynthia of the skies, and queen of Lord Touch. Secure that manifold villain. stars.

[Servants seize him. Lady Froth. That's because I have no light, Care. Miracle of ingratitude ! but what's by reflection from you, who are the Brisk. This is all very surprising, let me perish.

Lady Froth. You know I told you Saturn lookBrisk. Madam, you have eclipsed me quite, ed a little more angry than usual. let me perish I cannot answer that.

Lord Touch. We'll think of punishment at leiLady Froth. No matter -Harkee, shall you sure; but let me hasten to do justice, in rewardand I make an almanack together?

ing virtue and wronged innocence. -Nephew, Brisk. With all my soul Your ladyship has I hope I have your pardon, and Cynthia's? made me the man in it already, I am so full of Mel. We are your lordship's creatures. the wounds which you have given.

Lord Touch. And be each other's comfortLady Froth. O, finely taken! I swear now Let me join

your hands -Mutual love, lasting you are even with me; O Parnassus, you have health, and circling joys, tread round each happy an infinite deal of wit!

year of your long lives. Sir Paul. So he has, Gads-bud; and so has your ladyship.

Let secret villainy from hence be warned,

Howe'er in private mischiefs are conceived, Enter Lady Plyant, CARELESS, and Cynthia.

Torture and shame attend their open birth : Lady Ply. You tell me most surprising things; Like vipers in the womb, base treachery lies bless me, who would ever trust a man? O, my Still gnawing that, whence first it did arise ; heart aches for fear they should all be deceitful No sooner born, but the vile parent dies. alike.

[Ereunt omnes.

you, my dear.

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THE

PROVOKED WIFE.

BY

VANBRUGH.

DRAMATIS PERSONE

MEN

Constable and Watch.
CONSTANT,
HEARTFREE,
gentlemen of the town.

WOMEN.
Sie John BRUTE, a drunken debauchee.

LADY BRUTE. LORD RAKE,

BELINDA, attached to HEARTFREE. CoL. BULLY, S companions to Sir Joux BRUTE.

LADY FANCYFUL.
Razor, valet de chambre to Sir John BRUTE. MADEMOISELLE, a French waiting-woman.
Justice of the peace.

Cornet, servant to Lady FANCYFUL,
Scene-London.

ACT 1.

SCENE I.-SIR JOHN BRUTE's house. draw my sword, though even to get rid of my

wife! But here she comes. Enter Sir John, solus. What cloying meat is love, when matrimony's

Enter LADY BRUTE. the sauce to it! Two years marriage has de Lady Brute. Do you dine at home to-day, sir bauched my five senses! Every thing I see, eve- John? ry thing I hear, every thing I feel, every thing I Sir John. Why, do you expect I should tell you smell

, and every thing I taste—methinks has wife what I don't know myself? in it! No boy was ever so weary of his tutor, or Lady Brute. I thought there was no harm in girl of her bib, no nun of doing penance, or old asking you. maid of being chaste—as I am of being married. Sir John. If thinking wrong were an excuse for Sure there is a secret curse entailed upon the impertinence, women might be justified in most very name of wife! My lady is a young lady, a things they say or do. fine lady, a witty lady, a virtuous ladyand yet Lady Brute. I am sorry I have said any thing I hate her. There is but one thing on earth I to displease you. loath beyond her—that's fighting. Would my Sir John. Sorrow for things past is of as little courage come up to a fourth part of my ill-na- importance to me, as my dining at home or ture, I would stand buff to her relations, and thrust abroad ought to be to you. her out of doors. But marriage has sunk me Lady Brute. My enquiry was only that I might down to such an ebb of resolution, I dare not have provided what you liked.

a

l'adog Brute. Why, what has he done to you? Is

Sir John. Six to four you had been in the wrong there again; for what I liked yesterday I

Enter BELINDA. don't like to-day; and what I like to-day, 'tis odds I may not like to-morrow.

Good-morrow, dear cousin.
Lady Brute. But if I had asked

you
what

you Bel. Good-morrow, madam; you look pleased liked?

this morning. Sir John. Why, then, there would be more Lady Brute. I am so. asking about it than the thing is worth.

Bel.' With what, pray? Lady Brute. I wish I did but know how I Lady Brute. With my husband. might please you.

Bel. Drown husbands! for

yours

is

provoSir John. Aye, but that sort of knowledge is king fellow: As he went out just now, I prayed not a wife's talent.

him to tell me what time of day it was; and he Lady Brute. Whatever my talent is, I am sure asked me if I took him for the church-clock, that my will has ever been to make you easy. was obliged to tell all the parish.

Sir John. If women were to have their wills, Lady Brute. He has been saying some good the world would be finely governed.

obliging things to me too. In short, Belinda, he Lady Brute. What reason have I given you to has used me so barbarously of late, that I could use me as you do of late? It once was other- almost resolve to play the downright wife-and wise : You married me for love.

cuckold him. Sir John. And you me for money; So you have Bel. That would be downright indeed. your reward, and I have mine.

Ludy Brute. Why, after all, there is more to Lady Brute. What is it, that disturbs you? be said for it than you would imagine, child. He Sir John. A parson.

is the first aggressor, not I.

Bel. Ah, but you know, we must return gond Sir John. He has married me. (Erit Sir John. for evil.

Lady Brute. The devil's in the fellow, I think. Lady Brute. That may be a mistake in the I was told, before I married him, that thus translation, Prithee be of my opinion, Belinda; 'twould be: But I thought I had charms enough for I'm positive I'ın in the right; and if you'll to govern him; and that, where there was an keep up the prerogative of a woman, you'll likeestate, a woman must needs be happy: So my wise be positive you are in the right, whenever vanity' has deceived me, and my ambition has you do any thing you have a mind to. But I made me uneasy. But there's some comfort still; shall play the fool and jest on, till I make you if one would be revenged of him, these are good begin to think I'm in earnest. times; a woman may have a gallant, and a sepa Bel. I shall not take the liberty, madam, to rate maintenance too—The surly puppy-yet he's think of any thing, that you desire to keep from a fool fort: For hitherto he has been no monster: But who knows how far he may provoke Lady Brute. Alas, my dear, I have no secrets. me? I never loved him, yet I have been ever true My heart could never vet confine my tongue. to him ;

and that, in spite of all the attacks of art Bel. Your eyes, you mean; for I'm sure I have and nature upon a poor weak woman's heart, in seen them gadding, when your tongue has been favour of a tempting lover. Methinks so noble locked up safe enough. a defence, as I have made, should be rewarded Lady Brute. My eyes gadding! Prithee after with a better usage-Or who can tell-Perhaps a whom, child? good part

of what I suffer from my husband, may Bel. Why, after one, that thinks you hate him, be a judgment upon me for my cruelty to my lo as much as I know you love him. ver-Lord, with what pleasure could I indulge Lady Brute. Constant, you mean? that thought, were there but a possibility of find Bel. I do so. ing arguments to make it good! And how do I Lady Brute. Lord, what should put such a know but there may—Let me see-What oppo- thing into your head ? ses !-My matrimonial vow - Why, what did I Bel

. That, which puts things into most people's yow? I think I promised to be true to my hus- heads; observation. band. Well; and he promised to be kind to me; Lady Brute. Why, what have you But he han't kept his word—Why, then I'm ab- the naine of wonder? solved from mine. O, but that condition was Bel. I have observed you blush, when you met not expressed-No matter, it was understood. bim; force yourself away from him; and then be Well, by all I see, if I argue the matter a little out of humour with every thing about you: In a longer with myself, I shall not find so many bug- word, never was a poor creature so spurred on by bears in the way, as I thought I should. Lord, desire, or so reined in with fear! what fine notions of virtue do we women take up Ludy Brute. How strong is fancy ! upon the credit of old foolish philosophers ! Vir Bel. How weak is woman ! tue its own reward, virtue's this, virtue's that Ludy Brute. Prithee, niece, have a better opis Virtue's an ass, and a gallant's worth forty on't. nion of your aunt's inclination,

me.

observed, in

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