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Brisk. Not I, let me peris-But did I? Strange! I confess your Ladyfhip was in my thoughts; and I was in a sort of dream that did in a manner represent a very pleasing object to my imagination, but — but did I indeed ? To see how love and murder will out, But did I really name my Lady Froth ?
L. F. Three times aloud, as I love letters But did you talk of love? O Parnaffus! Who would have thought Mr. Brisk could have been in love, ha, ha, ha. O Heavens! I thought you could have no mistress but the nine muses.
Brisk. No more I have, 'egad, for I adore them all in your Ladyship-Let me perish, I don't know whether to be splenetic or airy upon it; the deuce take me if I can tell whether I am glad or sorry that your Ladyship has made the discovery.
L. F. O, be merry by all means Prince Volscius in love ! Ha, ha, ha.
Brisk. O, barbarous, to turn me into ridicule ! Yet, ha, ha, ha. The deuce take me, I cannot help laughing myself, ha, ha, ha; yet by Heavens I have a violent pallion for your Ladyship seriously.
L. F. Seriously! Ha, ha, ha.
Brisk. Seriously, ha, ha, ha. Gad I have for all I laugh.
L. F. Ha, ha, ha! What d'ye think I laugh at? Ha, ha, ha.
Brisk. Me 'egad, ha ha.
L. F. No, the deuce take me if I don't laugh at myself; for hang me if I have not a violent paffion for Mr. Brisk, ha, ha, ha.
Brisk. That's well enough, let me perish, ha, ha, ha.
[Embrace. Enter Lord Froth. Ld. F. The company are all ready
-How now! Brisk. Zoons, Madam, there's my Lord. (Softly to her.]
L, F. Take no noticebur observe me -Now cast off, and meet me at the lower end of the room, and
then join hands again; I could teach my Lord this dance purely, but I vow, Mr. Brisk, I can't tell how to come so near any other man. Oh, here's my Lord, now you Thall see me do it with him.
[They pretend to practise part of a country dance, Ld. F. -Oh, I fee there's no harm yet But I don't like this familiarity.
[Afide. L. F. --Shall you and I do our close dance, to Niew Mr. Brilk?
Ld. F. No, my dear, do it with him.
L. F. I'll do it with him, my Lord, when you are out of the way
Brisk. That's good 'egad, that's good; deuce take me I can hardly hold laughing in his face.
[Aside. Ld. F. Any other time, my dear, or we'll dance it below.
L. F. With all my heart,
Brisk. Come, my Lord, I'll wait on you-My charm. ing witty angel !
[To her. L. F. We shall have whispering time enough, you know, fince we are partners.
Care. What's the matter, 'Madam'?
LP. O the unluckiest accident, I'm afraid I Man't live to tell it you.
Care. Heaven forbid ! What is it?
L. P. I'm in such a fright; the strangest quandary and premunire ! I'm all over in an universal agitation, I dare swear every circumstance of me trembles. -your letter, your letter! By an unfortunate mistake, I have given Sir Paul your letter instead of his own.
Care. That was unlucky.
L. P. O yonder he comes reading of it, for Heaven's fake step in here and advise me quickly, before he fees.
[Exeunt. Enter Sir Paul with the letter.' Sir P.- Providence, what a conspiracy have I dir. covered But let me see to make an end on't[Reads.) HamAfter Supper in the wardrobe by the gallery. If Sir Paul should surprize us, I have a commission
from him to treat with you about the very matter of factMatter of fact ! Very pretty ; it seems, then, I am conducing to my own cuckoldom ; why this is a very trai. terous position of taking up arms by my authority against my person ! Well, let me see-'Till then I languish in-expectation of my adored charmer.
Dying Ned Careless.
Gads-bud, would that were matter of fact too. Die and be damned for a Judas Maccabeus and Iscariot both. O friendship, what art thou but a name! Henceforward let no man make a friend that would not be a cuckold : for whomsoever he receives into his bosom, will find the way to his bed, and there return his caresses with interest to his wife. Have I for this been pinioned night after
night for three years past? Have I been swathed in , blankets 'till I have been even deprived of motion ?' Have I approached the marriage-bed with reverence, as to a sacred Ihrine, and denied myself the enjoyment of • lawful domestic pleasures to preserve its purity, and muft I now find it polluted by foreign iniquity ? O my Lady Plyant, you were chaste as ice, but you are melted now, and falle as water. -But Providence has been constant to me in discovering this conspiracy; still I am beholden to Providence; if it were not for Providence,
Sir Paul, thy heart would break.
Enter Lady Plyant. L. P. So, Sir, I see you have read the letter-Well, now, Sir Paul, what do you think of your friend CarelelsHas he been treacherous, or did you give his infolence a licence to make trial of your wife's suspected vir. tue ? D'ye see here? [Snarches the letter as in anger.] Look, read it ! Gad's my life, if I thought it were fo, I would this moment renounce all communication with you. Ungrateful monster! He ? Is it so ? Ay, I fee it, a plot upon my honour; your guilty cheeks confess it: Oh, where shall wronged virtue fly for reparation! I'll be divorced this instant.
Sir P. Gads-bud, what shall I say? This is the strangest surprize! Why I don't know any thing at all, nor I don't know whether there be any thing at all in the world,
L. P. I thought I should try you, false man. I that never dissembled in my life; yet to make trial of
you, pretended to like that monster of iniquity, Careless, and found out that contrivance to let you see this letter ; which now I find was of your own inditing:
I do, Heathen, I do ; see my face no more; " I'll be divorced
Sir P. O strange, what will become of me! so amazed, and so overjoyed, so afraid, and so forry. But did you give me this letter on purpose, he ? Did
L. P. Did I? Do you doubt ine, Turk, Saracen? I have a cousin that's a proctor in the Commons, I'll go to him instantly
Sir P. Hold, stay, I beseech your Ladyship-I am so overjoyed, stay, I'll confess all.
L. P. 'What will you confels, Jew?
Sir P. Why now as I hope to be saved, I had no hand in this letter-Nay, hear me, I befeech your Ladyship: The Devil take me now if he did not go beyond my commission If I desired him to do any more than speak a good word only just for me; Gads-bud, only for poor Sir Paul, I am an Anabaptist, or a Jew, or what you please to call me..
L. P. Why, is not here matter of fact ?
Sir P. Ay, but by your own virtue and continency that matter of fact is all his own doing.–I confess I had a great desire to have some honours conferred upon me, which lie all in your Ladyship’s breast, and he being a well-spoken man, I desired him to intercede for me.
L. P. Did you so, Presumption ! Oh! he comes, " the Tarquin comes; I cannot bear his fight.' [Exit.
Sir P. Indeed—Well, Sir--- I'll dissemble with him a little.
[Afide. Care. Why, faith, I have in my time known honest gentlemen abused by a pretended coyness in their wives, and I had a mind to try my Lady's virtue-And when I
could not prevail for you, 'egad I pretended to be in love myself but all in vain, the would not hear a word upon that subject; then I writ a letter to her ; I don't know what effects that will have, but I'll be sure to tell you when I do'; though, by this light, I believe her virtue is impregnable.
Sir P. O Provider.ce! Providence l What discoveries are here made! Why, this is better and more miraculous than the rest.
Care. What do you mean?
Sir P. I cannot tell you, I am so overjoyed; come along with me to my Łady, I cannot contain myself; come my
dear friend. Care. So, so, so, this difficulty's over. [ Afde.
[Exit. Enter Mellefont and Maskwell from different doors. Mel. Malkwell, I have been looking for you. It is within a quarter of eight.
Mask. My Lady is just gone into my Lord's closet, you had belt steal into her chamber before she comes, and lie concealed there, otherwise she may lock the door when we are together, and you not easily get in to Curprize us.
Mel. He? You say true.
Mask. You had beft make haste, for after she has made fome apology to the company for her own and my Lord's absence all this while, flie'll retire to her chamber instantly. Mel.' I go this moment: Now, Fortune, I defy thee.
[Exit. Mask. I'confess you may be allowed to be secure in your own opinion; the appearance is very fair, but I have an after-game to play that shall turn the tables, and here comes the man that I must manage.
Enter Lord Touchwood. Ld. T. Maskwell, you are the man I wished to meeto
Mask. I am happy to be in the way of your Lordship's commands.
Ld. T. I have always found you prudent and careful in any thing that has concerned me or my family: Mask. I were a villain elfe-I am bound by duty and