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cann't believe it. No, no; as she says, let him L. Wish. Ay, that's true ; but in case of neces. prove it, let him prove it.
sity, as of health, or some such emergencyMrs Mar. Prove it, madam ? what, and have Pain. O, if you are prescribed marriage, you your name prostituted in a public court ! yours shall be considered ; I will only reserve to myself and your daughter's reputation worried at the bar the power to choose for you. If your physic be by a pack of bawling lawyers ! to be ushered in wholesome, it matters not who is your apothecawith an O.yes of scandal, and have your case ry. Next, my wife shall settle on me the remainopened by an old fumbling lecher in a coif, like der of her fortune, not made over already; and a man-midwife, to bring your daughter's infamy for her maintenance depend entirely on my disto light; to be a theme for legal punsters and cretion. quibblers by the statute, and become a jest, against L. Wish. This is most inhumanly savage; exa rule of court, where there is no precedent for a ceeding the barbarity of a Muscovite husband. jest in any record; not even in Doomsday-book; Fuin. I learned it from his Czarish majesty's to discompose the gravity of the bench, and pro- retinue, in a winter evening's conference over voke naughty interrogatories in more nanghty law brandy and pepper, amongst other secrets of maLatin; while the good judge, tickled with the pro- trimony and policy, as they are at present pracceeding, siinpers under a grey beard, and fidgets tised in the northern hemisphere. But this must off and on his cushion, as if he had swallowed be agreed unto, and that positively. Lastly, I cantharides, or sate upon cow.itch.
will be endowed, in right of my wife, with that L. Wish. O, 'tis very hard !
six thousand pounds which is the moiety of Mrs Mrs Mar. And then to have my young revel- Millamant's fortune in your possession, and which lers of the temple take notes, like 'prentices at a she has forfeited (as will appear by the last will conventicle; and after talk it over again in com- and testament of your deceased husband, Sir Jomons, or before drawers in an eating-house. nathan Wishfort) by her disobedience in contractL. Wish. Worse and worse.
ing herself against your consent or knowledge ; Mrs Mar. Nay, this is nothing; if it would and by refusing the offered match with Sir Wilend here 'twere well. But it must, after this, be full Witwould, which you, like a careful aunt, had consigned by the short-hand writers to the pub- provided for her. lic press; and from thence be transferred to the L. Wish. My nephew was non compos, and hands, nay, into the throats and lungs of hawkers, could not make his addresses. with voices more licentious than the loud floun- Fain. I come to make demands—I'll hear no der-man's; and this you must hear till you are objections. stunned ; nay, you must hear nothing else for L. Wish. You will grant me time to consider? some days.
Fain. Yes, while the instrument is drawing, to L. Wish. 0, 'tis insupportable! No, no, dear which you must set your hand till more sufficient friend, make it up, make it up; ay, ay, I'll com- deeds can be perfected, which I will take care shall pound. I'll give up all, myself and my all, my be done with all possible speed. In the mean while niece and her all—any thing, every thing for com- I will go for the said instrument, and, till my reposition.
turn, you may balance this matter in your own Mrs Mar. Nay, madam, I advise nothing; I discretion.
(Exit. only lay before you, as a friend, the inconvenien- L. Wish. This insolence is beyond all precedent, cies which perhaps you have overseen. Here all parallel. Must I be subject to this merciless comes Mr Fainal]—If he will be satisfied to hud- villain ? dle up all in silence, I shall be glad. You must Mirs Mlar. 'Tis severe indeed, madam, that think I would rather congratulate than condole you should smart for your daughter's failings.
L. Wish. 'Twas against my consent that she
married this barbarian; but she would have him, FAINALL enters.
though her year was not out-Ah! her first husL. Wish. Ay, ay, I do not doubt it, dear Mar- band, my son Languish, would not have carried wood : no, no, I do not doubt it.
it thus. Well, that was my choice, this is hers; Fuin. Well, madam; I have suffered myself to she is matched now with a witness- I shall be be overcome by the importunity of this lady, your mad, dear friend : is there no comfort for me friend; and am content you shall enjoy your own
Must I live to be confiscated at this rebel rate?proper estate during life'; on condition you oblige Here come two more of my Egyptian plagues too. yourself never to marry, under such penalty as I
Mrs MiLLAMANT and Sir WILFULL enter, shall think convenient. L. Wish. Never to marry !
Sir Wil, Aunt, your servant, Fuin. No more Sir Rowlands—the next im- L. Wish. Out, caterpillar ! call not me aunt; I posture may not be so timely detected.
know thee not, Mrs Mar. That condition, I dare answer, my Sir Wil, I confess I have been a little in dislady will consent to without difficulty; she has guise, as they say—'Sheart! and I'm sorry for't. already but too much experienced the perfidious. What would you have? I hope I committed no. ness of men. Besides, madam, when we retire offence, aunt-and if I did, I am willing to make to our pastoral solitude, we shall bid adicu to all satisfaction ; and what can a man say fairer? If I other thoughts.
have broke any thing, I'll pay for't, an it cost a
pound; and so let that content for what's past, dain--I come not to plead for favour; nay, not and make no more words--For what's to come, for pardon; I am suppliant only for pity-1 am to pleasure you, I'm willing to marry my cousin. going where I never shall behold you more.So pray let's all be friends: she and I are agreed Sir Wil. How, fellow-traveller 1-you shall go upon the matter before a witness.
by yourself then. L. Wish. How's this, dear niece? have I any Mira. Let me be pitied first, and afterwards comfort ? can this be true.
forgotten-I ask no more. Mill. I am content to be a sacrifice to your re- Šir Wil. By'r lady, a very reasonable request, pose, madam; and to convince you that I had no and will cost you nothing, aunt-Come, come, hand in the plot, as you were misinformed. I forgive and forget, aunt; why, you must, an you have laid my commands on Mirabell to come in are a Christian. person, and be a witness that I give my hand to Mira. Consider, madam, in reality, you could this flower of knighthood; and for the contract not receive much prejudice; it was an innocent that passed between Mirabell and me, I have ob- device ;-though I confess it had a face of guiltiliged him to make a resignation of it in your lady- ness; it was at most an artifice which love conship's presence. -he is without, and waits your trived—and errors which love produces have ever leave for admittance.
been accounted venial. At least think it is puL. Wish. Well, I'll swear I am something re- nishment enough, that I have lost what in my vived at this testimony of your obedience; but I heart I hold most dear ; that to your cruel indigcannot admit that traitor- -I fear I cannot for- nation I have offered up this beauty, and with tify myself to support his appearance. He is as her my peace and quiet; nay, all my hopes of futerrible to me as a Gorgon; if I see him I fear Iture comfort. shall turn to stone, and petrify incessantly. Sir Wil. An he does not move me, would I
Mill. If you disoblige him, he may resent your may never be o' the quorum. An it were not as refusal, and insist upon the contract still. Then, good a deed as to drink, to give her to him again 'tis the last time he will be offensive to you. -- I would I might never take shipping. Aunt,
L. Wish. Are you sure it will be the last time? if you don't forgive quickly, I shall melt, I can If I were sure of that-shall I never see tell you that.—My contract went no farther than him again?
a little mouth-glue, and that's hardly dry ;-one Mill
. Sir Wilfull, you and he are to travel to doleful sigh more from my fellow-traveller, and gether, are you not?
'tis dissolved. Sir Wil. 'Sheart, the gentleman's a civil gen- L. Wish. Well, nephew, upon your accounttleman, aunt; let him come in; why, we are sworn Ah, he has a false, insinuating tongue. Well, sir, brothers and fellow-travellers. We are to be I will stifle my just resentment, at my nephew's Pylades and Orestes, he and I–He is to be my request_I will endeavour what I can to forget, interpreter in foreign parts. He has been over- --but on proviso that you resign the contract seas once already, and with proviso that I marry with my niece immediately, my cousin, will cross 'em once again, only to bear Mira. It is in writing, and with papers of conme company.—'Sheart, I'll call him in--an I set cern; but I have sent my servant for it, and will on't once, he shall come in; and see who'll hin- deliver it to you, with all acknowledgments for der him.
(Goes lo the door and hems. your transcendent goodness. Mrs Mar. This is precious fooling, if it would L. Wish. Oh, he has witchcraft in his eyes pass; but I'll know the bottom of it.
and tongue:-when I did not see him, I could L. Wish. O, dear Marwooil, you are not go have bribed a villain to his assassination; but his ing?
appearance rakes the embers which have so long Mrs Mar. Not far, madam ; I'll return imme- lain smothered in my breast.
FAINALL and Mrs MARWOOD enter. MIRABELL enters.
Fuin. Your debate of deliberation, madam, is Sir Wil. Look up, man; I'll stand by you; expired. Here is the instrument; are you pre'sbud, an she do frown, she cann't kill you ; pared to sign? besides—harkee, she dare not frown desperately, L. Wish. If I were prepared, I am not embecause her face is none of her own; 'sheart, an powered. My niece exerts her lawful claim, bashe should, her forehead would wrinkle like the ving matched herself, by my direction, to Sir Wilcoat of a cream cheese ; but mum for that, fellow. full. traveller.
Fain. That sham is too gross to pass on me Mira. If a deep sense of the many injuries I though 'tis imposed on you, madam. bave offered to so good a lady, with a sincere re- Mill. Sir, I have given my consent. morse, and a hearty contrition, can but obtain Mira. And I, sir, have resigned my pretensions. the least glance of compassion, I am too happy. Sir Wil. And, sir, I assert my right, and will -Ah, madam, there was a time—but let it be maintain it, in defiance of you, sir, and of your forgotten-I confess I have deservedly forfeited instrument. 'Sheart, an you talk of an instruthe high place I once held, of sighing at your ment, sir, I have an old fox by my thigh shall hack feet; nay, kill me not, by turning from me in dis- your instrument of ram vellum to shreds, sir. It
shall not be sufficient for a mittimus, or a tailor's | false? My friend deceive me ! Hast thou been a measure; therefore withdraw your instrument, wicked accomplice with that profligate man? or, by'r lady, I shall draw mine.
Mrs Mar. Have you so much ingratitude and Li Wisn. Hold, nephew, hold.
injustice, to give credit, against your friend, to Mill. Good Sir Wilfull, respite your valour. the aspersions of two such mercenary trulls ? Fain. Indeed ! are you provided of your guard, Minc. Mercenary, mem! I your
words. with your single beef-eater there? But I am pre- | 'Tis true we found you and Mr Fainall in the pared for you, and insist upon my first proposal. blue garret ; by the same token, you swore us to You shall submit your own estate to my manage- secrecy upon Messalina's poems. Mercenary ! ment, and absolutely make over my wife's to my No, if we would have been mercenary, we should soleuse, as pursuant to the purport and tenour of have held our tongues ; you would have bribed this other covenant. I suppose, madam, your us sufficiently. consent is not requisite in this case; nor, Mr Fuin. Go ; you are an insignificant thing. Well, Mirabell, your resignation; nor, Sir Wilfull, your what are you the better for this ? Is this Mr Miright-You may draw your fox, if you please, sir, rabell's expedient? I'll be put off no longer You and make a Bear-garden flourish somewhere else; thing, that was a wife, shall smart for this. I for here it will not avail. This, my lady Wishfort, will not leave thee wherewithal to hide thy must be subscribed, or your darling daughter's shame : Your person shall be naked as your reputurned adrift, like a leaky hulk, to sink or swim, tation. as she and the current of this lewd town can Mrs Fain. I despise you, and defy your maagree.
lice-You have aspersed me wrongfully—I have L. Wish. Is there no means, no remedy, to proved your falsehood-Go, you and your treachstop my ruin? Ungrateful wretch! Dost thou
I will not name it but starve together not owe thy being, thy subsistence to my daugh- Perish. ter's fortune?
Fain. Not while you are worth a groat, indeed, Fain. I'll answer you when I have the rest of my dear.-Madam, I'll be fooled no longer. it in my possession.
L. Wish. Ah, Mr Mirabell, this is small comMira. But that you would not accept of a re-fort, the detection of this affair. medy from my hands—I own I have not deserved Mira. O, in good time-Your leave for the you should owe any obligation to me ; or else other offender and penitent to appear, madam. perhaps I could adviseL. Wish. O, what? what ? to save me and my
WAITWELL enters with a box of writings. child from ruin, from want, I'll forgive all that's L. Wish. O, Sir Rowland-Well, rascal. past ; nay, I'll consent to any thing to come, to Wait. What your ladyship pleases.--I have be delivered from this tyranny.
brought the black box at last, madam. Mira. Ay, madam ; but that is too late; my Mira. Give it me. Madam, you remember reward is intercepted. You have disposed of her your promise. who only could have made me a compensation L. Wish. Ay, dear sir. for all my services;-but be it as it may,
Mira. Where are the gentlemen ? solved I'll serve you; you shall not be wronged in Wait. At hand, sir, rubbing their eyes---just this savage manner.
risen from sleep L. Wish. How! Dear Mr Mirabell, can you be Fuin. 'Sdeath ! what's this to me? I'll not so generous at last! But it is not possible.- wait your private concerns. Harkee, I'll break my nephew's match; you shall
PETULANT und WITWOULD enter. have my niece yet, and ali her fortune, if you can but save me from this imminent danger. Pet. How now? what's the matter whose
Mira. Will you? I take you at your word. I hand's out ? ask no more. I must have leave for two crimi. Wit. Hey-day! what are you all together, like pals to appear.
players at the end of the last act ? L. Wish. Ay, ay, any body, any body.
Mira. You may remember, gentlemen, I once Mira. Foible is one, and a penitent.
requested your hands as witnesses to a certain
parchment A[rs FAINALL, FOIBLE, and MINCING enter.
Wit. Ay, I do; my hand I remember PetuMrs Mar. O, my shame! [MIRABELL and lant set his mark. Lady Wish. go to Mrs FAINALL and FoiBLE.] Mira. You wrong him; his name fairly These corrupt things are brought hither to ex- written, as shall appear-You do not remeinber, pose me.
[To FAINALL. gentlemen, any thing of what that parchment Fain. If it must all come out, why, let 'em contained.
(Undoing the box. know it; 'tis but “ The Way of the World.” That Wit. No. shall not urge me to relinquish or abate one tittle Pet. Not I. I writ ; I read nothing. of my terms; no, I will insist the more.
Mira. Very well, now you shall know.—MaFoi. Yes indeed, madam, I'll take my Bible dam, your promise. oath of it.
L. Wish. Ay, ay, sir, upon my honour.
Mira. Mr Fainall, it is now time that you
own disposal, and before you had by your insi- ry.-My cousin's a fine lady, and the gentleman nuations wheedled her out of a pretended settle- loves her, and she loves him, and they deserve ment of the greatest part of her fortune one another; my resolution is to see foreign Fain. Sir! pretended !
parts—I have set on't-and when I'm set on't, I Mira. Yes, sir, I say that this lady, while a inust do't. And if these two gentlemen would widow, having, it seems, received some cautions travel too, they might be spared. respecting your inconstancy and tyranny of tem- Pet. For my part, I say little I think things per, which, from her own partial opinion and are best off or on. fondness of you she could never have suspected Wait. 'Egad, I understand nothing of the mat-She did, I say, by the wholesome advice of ter.-I'm in a maze yet, like a dog in a dancingfriends, and of sages learned in the laws of this school. land, deliver this same as her act and deed to me L. Wish. Well, sir, take her, and with her all in trust, and to the uses within mentioned. You the joy I can give you. may read if you please_[Holding out the purch- Mill. Why does not the man take me! Would ment]—though perhaps what is written on the you have me give myself to you over again? back may serve your occasions.
Mira. Ay, and over and over again; (Kisses Fuin. Very likely, sir. What's here? Dam- her hand;] I would have you as often as possibly nation! (Reads.] “A deed of conveyance of the I can. Well, Heaven grant I love you not too whole estate real of Arabella Languish, widow, well, that's all my fear. in trust, to Edward Mirabell.”—Confusion ! Sir Wil. 'Sheart, you'll have time enough to
Mira. Even so, sir: 'tis “ The Way of the toy after you're married; or if you will toy now, World,” sir ; of the widows of the world. I sup- let us have a dance in the mean time, that we pose this deed may bear an elder date than what who are not lovers may have some other emyou have obtained from your lady.
ployment, besides looking on. Fain. Perfidious fiend! then thus I'll be re- Mira. With all my heart, dear Sir Wilfull. venged- [Offers to run at Mrs FAINALL. What shall we do for music?
Sir Wil. Hold, sir; now you may make your Foi. O, sir, some that were provided for Sir Bear-garden flourish somewhere else, sir. Rowland's entertainment are yet within call. Fain. Mirabell, you shall hear of this, sir, be
(A dance. sure you shall.—Let me pass, oaf. [Exit. L. Wish. As I am a person, I can hold out no
Mrs Fain. Madam, you seem to stifle your longer - I have wasted my spirits so to-day al. resentment: you had better give it vent.
ready, that I am ready to sink under the fatigue ; Mrs Mar. Yes, it shall have vent
and to your
and I cannot but have some fears upon me yet, confusion, or I'll perish in the attempt. [Éxit. that my son Fainall will pursue some desperate
L. Wish. O, daughter, daughter! 'tis plain thou hast inherited thy mother's prudence. Mira. Madam, disquiet not yourself on that Mrs Fain. Thank Mr Mirabell
, a cautious account; to my knowledge his circumstances are friend, to whose advice all is owing.
such, he must of force comply. For my part, I L. Wish. Well, Mr Mirabell, you have kept will contribute all that in me lies to a re-union : your promise—and I must perform mine.—First, in the mean time, madam, (To Mrs FAINALL, I pardon for your sake Sir Rowland there and let me, before these witnesses, restore to you this Foible. The next thing is to break the matter to deed of trust; it may be a means, well managed, my nephew—and how to do that —
to make you live easily together. Mira. For that, madam, give yourself no trouble-let me have your consent - -Sir Wilfull is From hence let those be warned who mean to my friend; he has had compassion upon lovers, wed, and generously engaged a volunteer in this action, Lest mutual falsehood stain the bridal bed; for our service, and now designs to prosecute his for each deceiver to his cost may find, travels.
That marriage frauds too oft are paid in kind. Sir Wil. 'Sheart, aunt, I have no mind to mar.
Arter our epilogue this crowd dismisses, There are some critics so with spleen diseased, I'm thinking how this play'll be pulled to pieces. They scarcely come inclining to be pleased : But pray consider, ere you doom its fall, And sure he must have more than mortal skill, How hard a thing 'twould be to please you all. Who pleases any one against his will.
Then all bad poets, we are sure, are foes, May such malicious fops this fortune find, And how their number's swelled, the town well To think themselves alone the fools designed; knows;
If any are so arrogantly vain, In shoals I've marked 'em judging in the pit, To think they singly can support a scene, Though they're on no pretence for judgment fit, And furnish fool enough to entertain ! But that they have been damned for want of wit ; For well the learned and the judicious know, Since when, they, by their own offences taught, That satire scorns to stoop so meanly low, Set up for spies on plays, and finding fault. As any one abstracted fop to show; Others there are whose malice we'd prevent; For, as, when painters form a matchless face, Such, who watch plays with scurrilous intent They from each fair one catch some different To mark out who by characters are meant:
grace, And though no perfect likeness they can trace, And shining features in one portrait blend, Yet each pretends to know the copied face. To which no single beauty must pretend; These with false glosses feed their own ill na- So poets oft do in one piece expose ture,
Whole belles assemblées of coquettes and beaux. And turn to libel what was meant a satire.