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L. P. Gads my life, the man's distracted; why how now, who are you? What am I? Slidikins, can't I govern you. What did I marry you for Am I not to be absolute and uncontroulable? Is it fit a woman of my spirit and conduct should be contradicted in a matter of this concern!
Sir P. It concerns me, and only me:--Besides, I am not to be governed at all times. When I am in tranquility my Lady Plyant shall command Sir Paul; but when I am provoked to fury, I cannot incorporate with patience and reason,-as soon may tigers match with tigers, lambs with lambs, and every creature couple with its foe, as the poet says.
L. P. He's hot-headed still! 'ris in vain to talk to you ; but reme.nber I have a curtain-lecture for you, you disobedient, head trong brute.
Sir P. No, 'tis because I won't be headstrong, because I won't be a brute, and have my head fortified, that I am thus exafperated.-But I will protect my ho. nour, and yonder is the violator of my fame.
L. P. 'Tis my honour that is concerned, and the vio. lation was intended to me: Your honour ! none but what is in my keeping, and I can dispose of it when I please therefore don't provoke me.
Sit P. Hum, gads-bud the fays true-Well, my Lady, march on, I will fight under you then; I am convinced as far as passion will permit.
[Lady Pl. aud Sir Paul come up to Mellefont. L, P. Inhuman and treacherous.
Sir P. Thou serpent, and first tempter of womankind.
Cyn. Bless me, Sir! Madam, what mean you ?
Sir P. Thy, Thy, come away Thy, touch him not ; come hither, girl, go hot near him, there is nothing but deceit about him; Înakes are in his peruke, and the crocodile of Nilus is in his belly, he will eat thee up
alive. L. P. Dishonourable, impudent creature !
Mel. For Heaven's fake, Madam, to whom do you direct this language ?
L. P. Have I behaved myself with all the decorum and nicety, befitting the person of Sir Paul's wife? Have I preserved my honour as it were in a snow-house for
these three years past? Have I been white and unsullied even by Sir Paul himself?
Sir P. Nay, she has been an invincible wife, even to me, that's the truth on't.
L. P. Have I, I say, preserved myself like a fair sheet of paper for you to make a blot upon ?
Sir P. And she shall make a simile with any woman in England.
Mel. I am so amazed, I know not what to say.
Sir P. Do you think my daughter, this pretty creature; gads-bud she's a wife for a cherubin! Do you think her fit for nothing but to be a stalking horse, to stand before
wife? Gadsbud I was never angry before in my life, and I'll never be appeased again.
Mel. Hell and damnation ! this is my aunt ; such malice can be engendered no where else. [ Afide.
L. P. Sir Paul, take Cynthia from his fight; leave me to strike him with the remorse of his intended erime.
Cyn. Pray Sir, stay, hear him, I dare affirm he's in. nocent.
Sir P. Innocent! Why, hark’ee, come hither, Thy, hark’ee, I had it from his aunt, my fifter Touchwood Gads-bud, he does not care a farthing for any thing of thee, but thy portion ; 'why, he's in love with my wife; he would have tantalized thee, and made a cuckold of thy poor father,--and that would certainly have broke my heart--I am sure if ever I should have horns, they would kill me ; they would never come kindly, I should die of them, like a child that was cutting his teethI should indeed, Thy - therefore come away ; but Providence has prevented all, therefore come away when I
Cyn. I must obey. [Exeunt Sir Paul and Cynthia.
L. P. Oh, such a thing ! the impiety of it startles me-to wrong so good, so fair
, a creature, and loves you tenderly 'Tis a barbarity of barbarities, and nothing could be guilty of it
Mel. But the greatest villaio imagination can form, I grant it; and next to the villainy of such a fact, is the villainy of afperfing me with the guilt. How? Which way was I to wrong her? For yet I understand you not.
'L. P. Why, gads my life, cousin Mellefont, you cannot be fo peremptory as to deny it, when I tax you with it to your face; for, now Sir Paul is gone, you are corum nobus.
Mel. By Heaven I love her more than life, or
L. P. Fiddle, faddle, don't tell of this and that, and, every thing in the world, but givé mé mathemacular demonstration, answer me directly But I have not patience-Oh! the impiety of it, as I was saying, and the unparalleled wickedness! O merciful father! How could
think to reverse nature so, to make the daugh-. ter the means of procuring the mother?
Mel. The daughter to procure the mother!
L. P. Ay, for tho' I am not Cynthia's own mother, I am her father's wife, and that's near enough to make it incest.
Mel. Incest! O my precious aunt, and the devil in conjunction.
[ Aside. L. P. O reflect upon the horror of that, and then the guilt of deceiving every body; marrying the daughter only to make a cuckold of the father; and then seducing me, debauching my purity, and perverting ine from the road of virtue, in which I have trod thus long, and never made one trip, not one faux pas; O consider it, what would you have to answer for, it you fliould provoke me to frailty?' Alas! humanity is feeble, Heaven knows ! very feeble, and unable to support itself.
Mel. Where am I? Is it day? and ain I awake ? Ma. dam
L. P. And nobody knows how circumstances may happen together; to my thinking, now I could refift the strongest temptation ---- but yet I know, 'tis im , poffible for me to know whether I could or not; there's no certainty in the things of this life.
Mel. Madam, pray give me leave to ask you one ques: tion.
L. P: O lord, ask me the question! I'll swear I'll refuse it; I swear I'll deny it-therefore don't ask me; nay you shan't ask me,' I swear I'll deny it. O Gemini, you have brought all the blood into my face ; I warrant I am as red as a turky-cock; O fye, coufin Mellefont. Mel. Nay, Madam, hear me; I mean
may be it
L. P. Hear you, no, no; I'll deny you first, and hear you
afterwards. For one does not know how one's mind may change upon hearing. --Hearing is one of the senses, and all the senses are fallible; I won't trust my honour, I assure you; my honour is infallible and uncomatible.
Mel. For Heaven's fake, Madam.
L. P. O name it no more -Bless me, how can you talk of Heaven, and have to much wickedness in your heart ? May be you don't think it a fin, they say some of you gentlemen don't think it a fin is no fin to them that don't think it fo ; indeed, if I did 'not think it a fin but still my honour, if it were no fin - but then to marry my daughter for the conveni. ency of frequent opportunities -I'll never consent to that; as sure as can be I'll break the match.
Mel. Death and amazement Madam, upon my knees L. P. Nay, nay, rise up; come, you
my good. nature. I know love is powerful, and nobody can help his paffion : 'tis not your fault, nor I swear it is not mine. -How can I help it if I have charms. And how can you help it if you are made a captive? I swear it is pity it should be a fault but
honour-well, but your honour too-but the fin !--well
, but the necessity - lord, here's somebody coming, I dare not stay. Well, you must consider of your crime, and strive as much as can be against it--ftrive, be sure—but don't be inelancholic, don't despair-but never think that I'll grant you any thing; o lord, no ;--but be sure you lay afide all thoughts of the marriage; for tho' I know you don't love Cynthia, only as a blind for your passion to me, yet it will make me jealous--lord, what did I fay? Jealous ! no, no, I can't be jealous, for I must not love you—therefore don't hope—but don't despair neither0, they're coming, I must fly.
[Exit. Mel. (after a pause.) So then---spite of my care and foresight I am caught, caught in my security.-Yet this was but a shallow artifice, unworthy of
Machia• velian aunt.' There must be more behind, this is but the first flash, the priming of her engine; destruction follows hard, if not most presently prevented.
Enter Maskwell. Maskwell, welcome, thy presence is a view of land, ap. pearing to my shipwrecked hopes; the witch has raised the storm, and her ministers have done their work ; you see the vessels are parted.
Mask. I know it; I met Sir Paul towing away Cynthia. Come, trouble not your head, I'll join you togegether ere to-morrow morning, or drown between you in the attempt.
Mel. There's comfort in a hand stretched out to one that's sinking, though never so far off.
Mask. No finking, nor no danger -- Come, cheer up; why you don't know that while I plead for you, your aunt has given me a retaining fee ; —nay, I am your greatest enemy, and the does but journey-work un. der me.
Mel. Ha! how's this?
Mask. What do ye think of my being employed in the execution of all her plots ? Ha, ha, ha, by Heaven it is true ; I have undertaken to break the match, I have undertaken to make your uncle disinherit you, to get you turned out of doors, and to -ha, ha, ha, I can't tell you for laughing Oh, she has opened her heart to
-I am to turn you a grazing, and to-ha, ha, ha, marry Cynthia myself; there's a plot for
you. Mel. Ha! O see, I see my rising fun! light breaks thro' clouds upon me, and I shall live in day · Maskwell! ho shall I thank or praise thee ; thou hast outwitted woman.-But tell me, how couldst thou thus get into her confidence? Ha! how? But was it her contrivance to persuade my Lady Plyant into this extrava.
Mask. It was, and to tell you the truth I encouraged it for your
diversion ; tho'it make you a little uneasy for the present, yet the reflexion of it must needs be entertaining- I warrant she was very violent at first.
Mel. Ha, ha, ha, ay, a very fury; but I was most afraid of her violence at last-If you had not come as you did, I don't know what she might have attempted.
Mask. Ha, ha, ha, I know her temper. - Well, you must know then, that all my contrivances were but bubbles ; 'till at last I pretended to have been long secretly