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joining in the argument, I rose, and, with a con- Mira. You pursue the argument with a dis. strained smile, told her, I thought nothing was so trust, that seems to be unaffected, and confesses easy as to know, when a visit began to be trou- you are conscious of a concern, for which the blesome. She reddened, and I withdrew without lady is more indebted to you, than is your wife. expecting her reply.
Fain. Fy, fy, friend ! if you grow censorious, Fuin. You were to blame to resent what she | I must leave you ;- I'll look upon the gamespoke only in compliance with her aunt.
sters in the next room. Mira. She is more mistress of herself than to Mira. Who are they? be under the necessity of such resignation.
Fain. Petulant and Witwould-Bring me some Furn. What! though half her fortune depends chocolate.
[Erit. upon her marrying with my lady's approbation? Mira. Betty, what says your clock?
Mira. I was then in such a humour, that I Bet. Turned of the last canonical hour, sir. should have been better pleased, if she had been Mira. How pertinently the jade answers me! less discreet.
ha! almost one o'clock ! [ Looking on his watch.] Fain. Now I remember, I wonder not they | O, ye are comewere weary of you : last night was one of their cabal nights; they have them three times a-week,
Enter FootMAN. and meet by turns at one another's apartments, Well, is the grand affair over? You have been where they come together, like the coroner's in- something tedious. quest, to sit upon the murdered reputations of Foot. Sir, there's such coupling at Pancras, the week. You and I are excluded; and it was that they stand behind one another, as 'twere in once proposed, that all the male sex should be a country dance. Ours was the last couple to excepted; but somebody moved, that, to avoid | lead up; and no hopes appearing of dispatch, bescandal, there might be one man of the commu- sides, the parson growing hoarse, we were afraid nity; upon which motion Witwould and Petulant his lungs would have failed before it came to our were enrolled members.
turn; so we drove round to Duke's Place; and Mira. And who may have been the foundress there they were rivetted in a trice. of this sect? My lady Wishfort, I warrant, who' Mira. So, so, you are sure they are married. publishes her detestation of mankind; and, full of Foot. Incontestably, sir: I am witness. the vigour of fifty-five, declares for a friend and Mira. Have you the certificate ? ratafia ; and let posterity shift for itself, she'll | Foot. Here it is, sir. breed no more,
Mira. Has the taylor brought Waitwell's clothes Fain. The discovery of your sham addresses to home, and the new liveries? her, to conceal your love to her niece, has pro- Foot. Yes, sir. voked this separation : had you dissembled bet- Mira. That's well. Do you go home again, d'ye ter, things might have continued in the state of hear, and bid Waitwell shake his ears, and dame nature.
Partlet rustle up her feathers, and meet me at Mira. I did as much as man could, with any one o'clock by Rosamond's pond; that I may see reasonable conscience; I proceeded to the very her before she returns to her lady: and, as you last act of flattery with her, and was guilty of a tender your ears, be secret. [Exit Footman. song in her commendation. Nay, I got a friend to put her into a lampoon, and compliment her
Enter FAINALL. with the addresses of a young fellow. The devil's in't if an old woman is to be flattered farther. Fain. Joy of your success, Mirabell; you look But for the discovery of this amour, I am indebt-pleased. ed to your friend, or your wife's friend, Mrs Mira. Ay, I have been engaged in a matter of Marwood.
some sort of mirth, which is not yet ripe for disFain. What should provoke her to be your covery. I am glad this is not a cabal-night. I enemy, unless she has made you advances, which wonder, Fainall, that you, who are married, and, you have slighted? Women do not easily forgive of consequence, should be discreet, will suffer omissions of that nature.
your wife to be of such a party. Mira. She was always civil to me, till of late. Fain. Faith, I am not jealous. Besides, most, I confess, I am not one of those coxcombs, who who are engaged, are women and relations; and, are apt to interpret a woman's good manners to for the men, they are of a kind too contemptible her prejudice; and think, that she, who does not to give scandal. refuse them every thing, can refuse them nothing. Mira. I am of another opinion. The greater
Fain. You are a gallant man, Mirabell; and the coxcomb, always the more the scandal : for, though you may have cruelty enough not to an- a woman, who is not a fool, can have but one swer a lady's advances, you have too much gene- reason for associating with a man, who is one. rosity, not to be tender of her honour. Yet, you Fain. Are you jealous as often as you see Witspeak with an jodifference, which seems to be af- would entertained by Millamant ? fected; and confesses you are conscious of a ne- Mira. Of her understanding I am, if not of gligence.
I her person.
Fain. You do her wrong; for, to give her her of England, that all Europe should know we have due, she has wit.
blockheads of all ages. Mira. She has beauty enough to make any man Mira. I wonder there is not an act of parliathink so; and complaisance enough not to con- ment to save the credit of the nation, and prohitradict him, who shalt tell her so.
bit the exportation of fools. ain. For a passionate lover, methinks you are Fain. By no means, 'tis better as it is; 'tis beta mian somewhat too discerning in the failings of ter to trade with a little loss, than to be quite your mistress.
eaten up with being overstocked. Mira. And for a discerning man, somewhat Mira. Pray, are the follies of this knight-ertoo passionate a lover; for I like her with all her rant, and those of the 'squire his brother, any faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies thing related ? are so natural, or so artful, that they become her; Fain. Not at all; Witwould grows by the and those affectations, which, in another woman, knight, like a medlar grafted on a crab. One would be odious, serve but to make her more a will melt in your mouth, and t'other set your greeable. I'll tell thee, Fainall; she once used teeth on edge; one is all pulp, and the other all me with that insolence, that, in revenge, I took core. her to pieces; sifted her, and separated her fail | Mira. So, one will be rotten before he be ripe, ings; I studied them, and got them by rote. The and the other will be rotten without ever being catalogue was so large, that I was not without | ripe at all. hopes, one day or other, to hate her heartily; to "Fain. Sir Wilful is an odd mixture of bashfulwhich end I so used myself to think of them, thatness and obstinacy. But when he's drunk, he's at length, contrary to my design and expectation, as loving as the monster in the tempest; and they gave me every hour less disturbance, till, in much after the same manner. To give t'other a few days, it became habitual to me to remem his due, he has something of good-nature, and ber them without being displeased. They are does not always want wit. now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties; Mira. Not always : but as often as his meand, in all probability, in a little time longer I mory fails him, and his common-place of comshall like them as well.
parisons. He is a fool with a good memory, and Fain. Marry her, marry her; be half as well some few scraps of other folks wit. He is one, acquainted with her charms as you are with her whose conversation can never be approved, yet defects, and my life on't you are your own man it is now and then to be endured. He has, inagain.
deed, one good quality—he is not exceptious; for Mira. Say you so?
he so so passionately affects the reputation of unFain. I have experience: I have a wife, and derstanding raillery, that he will construe an afso forth.
front into a jest; and call downright rudeness
and ill language, satire and fire. Enter Messenger.
Fain. If you have a mind to finish his picture, Mes. Is one 'squire Witwould here?
you have an opportunity to do it at full length. Bet. Yes; what's your business?
Behold the original. Mes, I have a letter for him, from his brother, sir Wilful, which I am charged to deliver into
Enter WitWOULD. his own hands.
Wit. Afford me your compassion, my dears; Bet. He's in the next room, friend- That pity me, Fainall! Mirabell, pity me! way.
[Erit Messenger. Mira. I do, from my soul. Mira. What, is the chief of that noble family Fain. Why, what's the matter? in town? sir Wilful Witwould ?
l'it. No letters for me, Betty ? Fain. He is expected to-day. Do you know Bet. Did not a messenger bring you one but him?
now, sir? Mira. I have seen him; he promises to be an Wit. Aye, but no other? extraordinary person ; I think you have the ho Bet. No, sir. nour to be related to him?
Wit. That's hard, that's very hard ; a messenFain. Yes, he is half-brother to this Witwould ger, a mule, a beast of burden; he has brought by a former wife, who was sister to my lady me a letter from the fool, my brother, as heavy Wishfort, my wife's mother. If you marry Mil as a panegyric in a funeral sermon, or a copy of lamant, you must call cousins too.
commendatory verses from one poet to another. Mira. I would rather be his relation than his And what's worse, 'tis as sure a forerunner of the acquaintance.
author, as an epistle dedicatory. Fain. He comes to town in order to equip him- Mira. A fool, and your brother, Witwould ! self for travel.
Wit. Aye, aye, my half brother. My half Mira. For travel! Why, the man, that I mean, brother he is; no nearer, upon honour. is above forty.
Mira. Then, 'tis possible he may be but half Fain. No matter for that; 'tis for the honour a fool.
Wit. Good, good, Mirabell, le drole! Good, | fore he speaks; we have all our failings : you good ! hang him! don't let us talk of him. Fain-are too hard upon him; you are, faith. Let me all, how does your lady? gad, I say any thing in excuse him-I can defend most of his faults, exthe world to get this fellow out of my head. I cept one or two; one he has, that's the truth beg pardon, that I should ask a man of pleasure, on't; if he were my brother, I could not acand the town, a question at once so foreign and quit him that, indeed, I could wish were domestic. But I talk like an old maid at a mar- otherwise. riage; I don't know what I say: but she is the Mira. Aye marry, what's that, Witwould ? best woman in the world.
Wit. 0. pardon me ! expose the infirmities of a Fain. 'Twas well you don't know what you friend ! No, my dear, excuse me there. say, or else your commendation would go near to Fain. What, I warrant he's insincere, or 'tis make me either vain or jealous.
some such trifle. Wit. No man in town lives well with a wife Wit. No, no; what if he be? 'tis no matter but Fainall. Your judgment, Mirabell?
for that; his wit will excuse that; a wit should Mira. You had hetter step and ask his wife, no more be sincere, than a woman constant; one if you would be credibly informed.
argues a want of parts, as t'other of beauty. Wit. Mirabell
Mira. May be you think him too positive? Mira. Aye
Wit. No, no, his being positive is an incentive Wit. My dear, I ask ten thousand pardons;- to argument, and keeps up conversation. gad, I have forgot what I was going to say to Fain. Too illiterate.
Wit. That! that's his happiness-his want of Mira. I thank you heartily, heartily.
learning gives him the more opportunity to shew Wit. No, but prithee, excuse me-my memo- his natural parts. ry is such a memory.
Mira. He wants words. Mira. Have you a care of such apologies, Wit. Aye; but I like him for that, now; for Witwould; for I never knew a fool but he affec- his want of words gives me the pleasure very ofted to complain, either of the spleen or his me- ten to explain his meaning. mory.
Fain. İle's impudent. Fain. What have you done with Petulant? Wit. No, that's not it,
Wit. He's reckoning his money; my money it Mira. Vain, was I have had no luck to-day.
Wit. No. Fain. You may allow him to win of you Mira. What, he speaks unseasonable truths at play; for you are sure to be too hard for him sometimes, because he has not wit enough to inat repartee: Since you monopolize the wit, that vent an evasion. is between you, the fortune must be his of Wit. Truth! ha, ha, ha! No, no; since you course.
will have it, I mean, he never speaks truth at all, Mira. I don't find, that Petulant confesses that's all. He will lie like a chambermaid, or the superiority of wit to be your talent, Wit a woman of quality's porter. Now, that is a would.
fault. Wit. Come, come, you are malicious now, and would breed debates- Petulant's my friend,
Enter COACHMAN. and a very pretty fellow, and a very honest fel Coach. Is master Petulant here, mistress? low, and has a smattering- faith and troth al Bet. Yes. pretty deal of an odd sort of small wit : nay, I Coach. Three gentlewomen in a coach would do him justice, I'm his friend, I won't wrong speak with him. him. And, if he had any judgement in the Fain. () brave Petulant ! three ! world, he would not be altogether contempti Bet. I'll tell him. ble. Come, come, don't detract from the merits Coach. You must bring two dishes of chocoof my friend.
late, and a glass of cinnamon-water, Fain. You don't take your friend to be over
[Ereunt Coachman and BETTY. nicely bred?
Wit. That should be for two fasting bona roWit. No, no, hang him, the rogue has no man- bas, and a procuress troubled with wind. Now, ners at all, that I must own—No inore breed- you may know what the three are. ing than a bum-baily, that I grant you-'Tis pi- Mira. You are very free with your friend's acty; the fellow has fire and life.
quaintance. Mira. What, courage ?
Wit. Aye, aye, friendship without freedom is Wit. Hum, faith I don't know as to that,-I as dull as love without enjoyment, or wine withcan't say as to that. Yes, faith, in controversy, out toasting; but, to tell you a secret, these are he'll contradict any body.
trulls, whom he allows coach-hire, and someMira. Though it were a man, whom he fear-thing more, by the week, to call on him once a ed; or a woman, whom he loved.
day at public places. Wit. Well, well, he does not always think be- Mira. How!
Wit. You shall see he wont go to them, be- 1 Pet. Enough, let them trundle. Anger helps cause there's no more company here to take no- complexion, saves paint. tice of him. Why this is nothing to what he used Fain. This continence is all dissembled; this to do: before he found out this way, I have is in order to have something to brag of the next known him call for himself
time he makes court to Millamant, and swear he Fain. Call for himself ! what dost thou mean? has abandoned the whole sex for her sake.
Wit. Mean! why he would slip you out of this Mira. Have you not left off your impudent chocolate-house, just when you had been talking pretensions there yet? I shall cut your throat, to him. As soon as your back was turned some time or other, Petulant, about that busiwhip he was gone; then trip to his lodging, clap ness. on a hood and a scarf, and a mask, slap into a Pet. Aye, aye, let that pass- There are hackney-coach, and drive hither to the door again other throats to be cutin a trice; where he would send in for himself, Mira. Meaning mine, sir? that is, I mean, call for himself, wait for himself, Pet. Not I; I mean nobody; I know nothing; nay, and what's more, not finding himself, some-But there are uncles and nephews in the world; times leave a letter for himself.
and there may be rivals—What, then ? all's one Mira. I confess this is something extraordina-| for that ry. I believe he waits for himself now, he is so Mira. Now, harkee, Petulant, come hitherlong a coming: 0, I ask his pardon.
Explain, or I shall call your interpreter,
Pet. Explain! I know nothing Why Enter PETULANT and BETTY.
you have an uncle, have you not, lately come to Bet. Sir, the coach stays.
town, and lodges by my lady Wishfort's ? Pet. Well, well; I come-"Sbud, a man had Mira. True. as good be a professed midwife, as a professed Pet. Why that's enough; you and he are not gallant, at this rate; to be knocked up, and rai-| friends : and if he should marry and have a sed at all hours, and in all places. Deuce on child, you may be disinherited, ha! them, I wont come-D'ye hear, tell them I wont Mira. Where hast thou stumbled upon all come- Let them snivel and cry their hearts this truth! out.
[Erit BETTY. | Pet. All's one for that; why, then, say I Fain. You are very cruel, Petulant.
know something. Pet. All's one, let it pass I have a hu- Mira. Come, thou art an honest fellow, Pemour to be cruel.
tulant, and shalt make love to my mistress; thou Mira. I hope they are not persons of condi-shalt, faith. What hast thou heard of my uncle? tion, that you use at this rate.
Pet. I! nothing; I! If throats are to be cut, Pet. Condition ! condition's a dried 'fig, if I I let swords clash: snug's the word; I shrug and am not in humour- By this hand, if they am silent. were your- a- a-your what-r'ye-call-'ems Mira. Oraillery, raiHery! Come, I know themselves, they must wait, or rub off, if I am thou art in the women's secrets—what, you're a not in the vein.
cabalist? I know you staid at Millamant's last Mira. What-d'ye-call-ems! what are they, night, after I went. Was there any mention Witwould?
made of my uncle or me? tell me. If thou Wit. Empresses, my dear— By your what hadst but good nature equal to thy wit, Petulant, d'ye-call-'ems he means Sultana queens.
Tony Witwould, who is now thy competitor in Pet. Aye, Roxalanas !
fame, would shew as dim by thee as a dead Mira. Cry you mercy.
whiting's eye by a pearl of orient; he would no Fain. Witwould says they are
more be seen by thee, than Mercury is by the Pet. What does he say they are?
sun. Come, I'm sure thou wo't tell me. Wit. I? fine ladies, I say.
Pet. If I do, will you grant me common sense, Pet. Pass on, Witwould-Harkee, by this then, for the future? light his relations--Two co-heiresses, his cousins, Mira. Faith I'll do what I can for thee; and and an old aunt, who loves intriguing better than I'll pray that it may be granted thee in the mean a conventicle.
time. Wit. Ha, ha, ha! I had a mind to see how the Pet. Well, harkee. rogue would come off-Ha, ha, ha! gad, I can't
[They talk apart. be angry with him, if he had said they were my Fain. Petulant and you, both, will find Miramother and my sisters.
bell as warm a rival as a lover. Mira. No!
Wit. 'Pshaw, 'pshaw! that she laughs at PeWit. No; the rogue's wit and readiness of in-| tulant, is plain. And, for my part—but that it is vention charm me, dear Petulant.
almost a fashion to admire her, I should
harkee-to tell you a secret, but let it go no farEnter Betty.
ther-between friends, I shall never break my Bet. They are gone, sir, in great anger. heart for her.
Mira. I thank you, I know as much as my Wit. She's handsome; but she's a sort of an curiosity requires. Fainall, are you for the uncertain woman,
Mall ? Fain. I thought you had died for her.
Fain. Aye, I'll take a turn before dinner. Wit. Umph-no
Wit. Aye, we'll all walk in the park; the laFain. She has wit.
dies talk of being there. Wit. 'Tis what she will hardly allow any body Mira. I thought you were obliged to watch else-now, I should hate that, if she were as for your brother sir Wilfull's arrival. handsome as Cleopatra. Mirabell is not so sure Wit. No, no; he comes to his aunt's, my lady of her, as he thinks for.
Wishfort: plague on him, I shall be troubled Fain. Why do you think so?
with him, too; what shall I do with the fool? Wit. We staid pretty late there last night; 1 Pet. Beg him for his estate, that I may beg and heard something of an uncle to Mirabell, you afterwards; and so have but one trouble who is lately come to town, and is between him with you both. and the best part of his estate; Mirabell and he Wit. O rare Petulant! thou art as quick as fire are at some distance, as my lady Wishfort has in a frosty morning; thou shalt to the Mall with been told; and, you know, she hates Mirabell us, and we'll be very severe. worse than a quaker hates a parrot, or than a Pet. Enough, I'm in a humour to be severe. fishmonger hates a hard frost. Whether this Mira. Are you? Pray, then, walk by youruncle has seen Mrs Millamant or not, I cannot selves--let not us be accessary to your putting say; but there were items of such a treaty being the ladies out of countenance with your senseless in embryo; and, if it should come to life, poor ribaldry, which you roar out aloud as often as Mirabell would be, in some sort, unfortunately they pass by you; and, when you have made a fobbed, i'faith!
handsome woman blush, then you think you have Fain. Tis impossible Millamant should heark been severe. en to it.
Pet. What, what? then let them either shew Wit. Faith, my dear, I can't tell; she's a wo- their innocence, by not understanding what they man, and a kind of a humourist.
hear, or else shew their discretion by not hearMira. And this is the sum of what you coulding what they would not be thought to undercollect last night?
stand. Pet. The quintessence. May be Witwould Mira. But hast not thou,' then, sense enough knows more; he staid longer besides, they to know, that thou ought'st to be most ashamed never mind him; they say any thing before him. thyself, when thou hast put another out of coun
Mira. I thought you had been the greatest fa- tenance ? vourite.
Pet. Not I, by this hand I always take Pet. Aye, tête à tête; but not in public, be- blushing either for a sign of guilt, or ill-breedcause I make remarks.
ing. Mira. You do?
Mira. I confess you ought to think so. You Pet. Aye, aye; I'm malicious, man. Now, are in the right, that you may plead the error of he's soft, you know; they are not in awe of him your judgment, in defence of your practice.
-the fellow's well-bred; he's what you call a-1 Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit what d'ye-call them, a fine gentleman; but he's That impudence and malice pass for wit. silly withal.
SCENE I.–St James's Park. | us; and that the man so often should outlive the
| lover. But, say what you will, 'tis better to be Enter Mrs FAINALL, and Mrs MARWOOD. I left, than never to have been loved. To pass Mrs Fain. Are, aye, dear Marwood, if we our youth in dull indifference, to refuse the will be happy, we must find the means in our sweets of life, because they once must leave us, selves, and among ourselves. Men are ever in is as preposterous, as to wish to have been born extremes ; either doating, or averse. While old, because we one day must be old. For my they are lovers, if they have fire and sense, their part, my youth may wear and waste, but it shall jealousies are insupportable: and, when they never rust in my possession. cease to love, (we ought to think at least, they Mrs Fain. Then, it seems, you dissemble an lothe : they look upon us with horror and dis- | aversion to mankind, only in compliance to my taste; they meet us like the ghosts of what we mother's humour. were, and, as from such, fly from us.
Mrs Mar. Certainly. To be free; I have no Mrs Mar. True; 'cis an unhappy circum- taste of those insipid, dry discourses, with which stance of life, that love should ever die before our sex, of force, must entertain themselves