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in vain, she would not hear a word upon that Mask. I am sorry, my lord, I cannot make subject; then, I writ a letter to her; I don't you an answer; this is an occasion, in which I know what effects that will have, but I'll be sure would not willingly be silent. to tell you, when I do; though, by this light, I Lord Touch, I know you would excuse himbelieve her virtue is impregnable.
And I know as well that you cannot. Sir Paul. O Providence ! Providence! What Mask. Indeed, I was in hopes it had been but discoveries are here made! Why, this is better, a youthful heat, that might have soon boiled over; and more miraculous than the rest.
butCare. What do you mean?
Lord Touch. Say on. Sir Paul. I cannot tell you, I am so overjoy- Mask. I have nothing more to say, my lord ed; come along with me to my lady ; I cannot but to express my concern; for I think his contain myself; come, my dear friend.
frenzy increases daily. Care. So, so, so, this difficulty's over. [ Aside. Lord Touch. How! give me but proof of it,
(Eseunt. ocular proof, that I may justify my dealing with
him to the world, and share my fortunes. Enter MelleroxT and MASKWELL, from differ
Mask. O, my lord ! consider that is bard : ent doors.
besides, time may work upon him : then, for me Mel. Maskwell, I have been looking for you— to do it! I have professed an everlasting friendIt is within a quarter of eight.
ship to him. Mask. My lady is just gone into my lord's clo- Lord Touch. Ile is your friend, and what am I? set; you had best steal into her chainber before Mask. I am answered. she comes, and lie concealed there; otherwise, Lord Touch. Fear not his displeasure ; I will she may lock the door when we are together, and put you out of his and Fortune's power; and for you not easily get in to surprize us.
that thou art scrupulously honest, I will secure Mel. Ha? You say true.
thy fidelity to him, and give any honour never to Mask. You had best make haste; for, after she own any discovery that you shall make me. Can has made some apology to the company for her you give me a demonstrative proof? Speak. own and my lord's absence all this wbi!e, she'll Mask. I wish I could not-To be plain, my retire to her chainber instantly.
lord, I intended this evening to have tried all arMel. I go this moment: Now, Fortune, I defy guments to dissuade him froin a design, which I thee.
[Erit. suspect; and, if I had not succeeded, to have Mask. I confess, you may be allowed to be informed your lordship of what I knew. secure in your own opinion; the appearance is Lord Touch. I thank you. What is the vilvery fair; but I have an after-yame to play, that lain's purpose ? shall turn the tables; and here comes the man Mask. He has owned nothing to me of late, that I must manage.
and, what I mean now, is only a bare suspicion
of my own. If your lordship will meet me a Enter Lord Touchwood.
quarter of an hour hence, there, in that lobby, Lord Touch. Maskwell, you are the man I by my lady's bed-chamber, I shall be able to tell wished to meet.
you more. Mask. I am happy to be in the way of your Lord Touch. I will. lordship's commands.
Mask. My duty to your lordship makes me Lord Touch. I have always found you prudent do a severe piece of justice. and careful in any thing, that has concerned me Lord Touch. I will be secret, and reward your or my family.
honesty beyond your hopes.
[Ereunt. Mask. I were a villain else-I am bound by duty and gratitude, and my own inclination, to SCENE II. opening, shews Lady Torchwood's be ever your lordship's servant.
chamber. Lord Touch. Enough—You are my friend ; I know it: Yet there has been a thing in your
MELLEFONT solus. knowledge, which has concerned me nearly, that Mel. Pray Heaven my aunt keep touch with you have concealed from me.
-Oh, that her lord were but Mask. My lord !
sweating behind this hanging, with the expectaLord Touch. Nay, I excuse your friendship to tion of what I shall see-Hist, she comesmy unnatural nephew thus far-—But, I know, Little does she think what a mine is just ready to you have been privy to his impious designs upon spring under her feet. But, to my post. my wife. This evening, she has told me all : her
[Goes behind ihe hangings. good-nature concealed it as long as was possible;
Enter LADY TOUCIWOOD. but, he perseveres so in villainy, that she has told me even you were weary of dissuading him, Lady Touch. 'Tis eight o'clock : methinks, I though you have once actually hindered him from should have found him herc-Who does not preforcing her.
vent the hour of love, outstays the time; fur, to (She weeps.
be duly punctual, is too slow. I was accusing | fall, fall a little, thou swelling heart; let me have you of neglect.
some intermission of this rage, and one minute's
coolness to dissemble. Enter MASKWELL.-MELLEFONT absconding.
Mel. You have been to blame- I like those Mask. I confess, you do reproach me, when tears, and hope they are of the purest kind-peI see you here before me; but, 'tis fit I should nitential tears. be still behind-hand, still to be more and more Lady Touch. Oh, the scene was shifted quick indebted to your goodness.
before me-I had not time to think I was surLady Touch. You can excuse a fault too well, prised to see a monster in the glass, and now I not to have been to blame- A ready answer find 'tis myself: can you have mercy to forgive shews you were prepared.
the faults I have imagined, but never put in pracMusk. Guilt is ever at a loss, and confusion tice? Oh, consider, consider how fatal you have waits upon it; when innocence and bold truth been to me, you have already killed the quiet of are always ready for expression
this life. The love of you was the first wandera Lady Touch. Not in love; words are the weak ing fire that e'er misled my steps, and while I had support of cold indifference; love has no lan- only that in view, I was betrayed into unthoughtguage to be heard.
of ways of ruin. Musk. Excess of joy has made me stupid ! Mel. May I believe this true? Thus, may my lips be ever closed. (Kisses her.] Lady Touch. Oh, be not cruelly incredulous ! And thus-Oh, who would not lose his speech How can you doubt these streaming eyes? Keep upon condition to have joys above it!
the severest eye over all my future conduct, and, Lady Touch. Hold, let me lock the door first. if I once relapse, let me not hope forgiveness !
[Goes to the door. 'twill ever be in your power to ruin me-my lord Mask. (Aside.] That I believed; 'twas well I shall sign to your desires; I will myself create left the private passage open.
your happiness, and Cynthia shall be this night Lady Touch. So, that's safe.
your bride-do but conceal my failings, and fors Mask. And so may all your pleasures be, and give. secret as this kiss
Mel. Upon such terms, I will be ever yours in Mel. And may all treachery be thus discover- every honest way. ed!
(Leaps out. Lady Touch. Ah!
MASKWELL softly introduces Lord TouchWOOD, Mei. Villain ! [Offers to draw.
and retires. Mask. Nay, then, there's but one way. Mask. I have kept my word; he is here, but I
[Runs out. inust not be seen. Mel. Say you so? were you provided for an Lord Touch. Hell and amazement! She is in escape? Hold, madam, you have no more holes tears ! to your burrow; I stand between you and this Lady Touch. (Kneeling) Eternal blessings sally-port.
thank you-Ha! my lord listening! Oh, fortune Lady Touch. Thunder strike thee dead for this has o'erpaid me all, all! all's my own! deceit, immediate lightning blast thee, ine, and
(Aside. the whole word !--Oh! I could rack myself, Mel. Nay, I beseech you, rise. play the vulture to my own heart, and gnaw it, Lady Touch. [Aloud.] Never, never! I'll piece-meal, for not boding to me this misfortune. grow to the ground, be buried quick beneath it, Mel. Be patient
ere I'll be consenting to so damned a sin as inLady Touch. Be damned.
cest ! unnatural incest ! Mel. Consider, I have you on the hook; you Mel. Ha ! will but founder yourself a weary, and be, never- Lady Touch. Oh, cruel man, will you not let theless, my prisoner.
me go! I'll forgive all that's past0 Heaven, Lady Touch. I'll hold my breath and die, but you will not ravish me! I'll be free.
Mel. Damnation ! Mel. O madam, have a care of dying unpre- Lord Touch. Monster! dog! your life shall pared; I doubt that you have some unrepented answer thissins that may hang heavy, and retard your flight. [Draws, and runs at MELLEFONT; is held by Lady Touch. Oh! what shall I do?
Mel. None. Hell has served you even as for Heaven's sake! Heaven has done, left you to yourself.---You are Mel. Confusion, my uncle! Oh, the damned in a kind of Erasmus paradise ; yet, if you please, sorceress ! you may make it a purgatory; and, with a little Lady Touch. Moderate your rage, good my penance and my absolution, all this may turn to lord! He's mad, alas, he's mad—indeed he is, a good account.
my lord, and knows not what he does-see how Ludy Touch, [Aside.] Hold in my passion, and wild he looks !
Mel. By Heaven, 'twere senseless not to be, and you are running horn-mad after your fortune. mad, and see such witchcraft.
[As she is going, she turns back and smiles at Ludy Touch, My lord, you hear him, he talks him. idly.
Lord Touch. I fear he's mad, indeed let's Lord Touch. Hence from my sight, thou living send Maskwell to him. infamy to my name! when next I see that face,
[Ereunt LORD and Lady TouchWOOD, I'll write villain in it with my sword's point. Mel. Send him to her. Oh, I could curse my
Mel. Now, by my soul, I will not go, till stars, fate, and chance; all causes and accidents have inade known my wrongs—nay, till í have of fortune in this life! but to what purpose ? made known yours, which (if possible) are greater They talk of sending Maskwell to me; I never —though she has all the host of hell her ser-had more need of him--but what can he do? vants !
imagination cannot form a fairer and more plauLady Touch. Alas, he raves! For Heaven's sible design, than this of his, which has miscarsake, away, my lord! he'll either tempt you to ex- ried—0 my precious aunt ! I shall never thrive travagance, or commit some himself.
without I deal with the devil, or another woman. Mel
. Death and furies! will you not hear me? Women, like flames, have a destroying power, why, by Heaven, she laughs, grins, points to your Ne'er to be quenched, till they themselves de back; she forks out cuckoldom with her fingers, vour.
Lord Touch. Ha! Enter LADY Touchwood and MASKWELL.
Mask. Why do I love! Yet Heaven, and my
waking conscience, are my witnesses, I never Lady Touch. Was it not lucky?
gave one working thought a vent, which might Mask. Lucky! fortune is your own, and 'tis discover that I loved, nor ever must; no, let it her interest so to be; by Heaven, I believe you prey upon my heart; for I would rather die than can controul her power, and she fears it; though seem once, barely seem, once dishonest: Oh, chance brought my lord, 'twas your own art that should it once be known I love fair Cynthia, all turned it to advantage.
this, that I have done, would look like rival's maLady Touch. 'Tis true, it might have been my lice, false friendship to my lord, and base self-inruin- but yonder's my lord; I believe he is coming terest. Let me perish first, and from this hour to find you; I'll not be seen.
avoid all sight and speech, and, if I can, all
[Erit. thought of that pernicious beauty. Ha ! but Mask. So; I durst not own my introducing my what is my distraction doing? I am wildly talklord, though it succeeded well for her, for she ing to myself, and some ill chance might have diwould have suspected a design, which I should rected malicious ears this way. have been puzzled to excuse. My lord is thought
[Seems to start, seeing my lord. ful-I'll be so, too; yet he shall know my thoughts; Lord Touch. Start not-let guilty and dishoor think he does
nest souls start at the revolution of their thoughts,
but be thou fixed, as is thy virtue. Enter LORD Touchwood.
Mask. I am confounded, and beg your lordWhat have I done?
ship's pardon for those free discourses which I Lord Touch. Talking to himself!
have had with myself. Mask. 'Twas honest, and shall I be rewarded Lord Touch. Come, I beg your pardon that I for it? No, 'twas honest, therefore I shall not overheard
you, and yet it shall not need—honest nay, rather, therefore, I ought not; for it re- Maskwell! thy, and my good genius, led me hiwards itself.
ther-mine, in that I have discovered so much Lord. Touch. Unequalled virtue ! [Aside. manly virtue ; thine, in that thou shalt have due
Mask. But should it be known! then I have reward of all thy worth. Give me thy handlost a friend! He was an ill man, and I have my nephew is the alone remaining branch of all gained; for half myself I lent him, and that I our ancient family; him I thus blow away, and have recalled; so, I have served myself, and, what constitute thee, in his room, to be my heir is yet better, I have served a worthy lord, to Mask. Now, Heaven forbid whom I owe myself.
Lord Touch. No more---I have resolved--the Lord Touch. Excellent man ! (Aside. writings are ready drawn, and wanted nothing
Mask. Yet I am wretched-Oh, there is a se- but to be signed, and have his name inserted cret burns within this breast, which, should it yours will fill the blank as well--I will have no once blaze forth, would ruin all, consume my reply--let me command this time, for 'tis the last honest character, and brand me with the name in which I will assume authority---hereafter, you of villain.
shall rule where I have power.
Alask. I humbly would petition
Enter Lord and Lady Touchwood. Lord Touch. Is it for yourself! [MASKWELL pauses.] I'll hear of nought for any body else. Lady Touch. Maskwell your heir, and marry
Mask. Then witness, Heaven, for me, this Cynthia ! wealth and honour was not of my seeking, nor
Lord Touch. I cannot do too much for so would I build my fortune on another's ruin: I much merit. had but one desire
Lady Touch. But this is a thing of too great Lord Touch. Thou shalt enjoy it. If all I am moment to be so suddenly resolved. Why Cynworth in wealth or interest can purchase Cynthia? Why must he be married? Is there not rethia, she is thine. I am sure sir Paul's consent ward enough in raising his low fortune, but be will follow fortune; I will quickly shew him must mix his blood with mine, and wed my which way that is going.
niece? How know you, that my brother will conMask. You oppress me with bounty; my gra- sent, or she? nay, he himself, perhaps, may have titude is weak, and shrinks beneath the weight, affections otherwhere. and cannot rise to thank you—what, enjoy my Lord Touch. No, I am convinced he loves love! forgive the transports of a blessing so un
her. expected, so unhoped for, so unthought of! Lady Touch. Maskwell love Cynthia ! impos
Lord Touch. I will confirm it, and rejoice with sible ! thee.
Erit. Lord Touch. I tell you, he confessed it to me. Mask. This is prosperous indeed! why, let Lady Touch. Confusion ! How is this ! him find me out a villain, settled in possession of
[ Aside. a fair estate, and full fruition of my love; I'll Lord Touch. His humility long stifled his pasbear the railings of a losing gamester—but should sion; and his love of Mellefont would have made he find me out before ! 'tis dangerous to delay, him still conceal it: but, by encouragement, I let me think-should my lord proceed to treat wrung the secret from him, and know he is no openly of my marriage with Cynthia, all must be way to be rewarded but in her. I will defer my discovered, and Mellefont can be no longer blind farther proceedings in it, till you have considered ed. It must not be; nay, should my lady know it: but remember how we are both indebted to it--aye, then were fine work indeed! her fury him.
spare nothing, though she involved herself Lady Touch. Both indebted to him! Yes, we in ruin. No, it must be by stratagem---I must are both indebted to him, if you knew all-vildeceive Mellefont once more, and get my lord to lain! Oh, I am wild with this surprize of treachconsent to my private management. He comes ery: it is impossible; it cannot be-he love Cynopportunely-now will I, in my old way, discover thia! What shall I do? How shall I think? I the whole, real truth of the matter to him, that cannot think—all my designs are lost, my love he may not suspect one word on't.
unsated, my revenge unfinished, and fresh cause No mask like open truth to cover lies, of fury from unthought-of plagues ! As to go naked is the best disguise.
Enter Sir PAUL.
Sir Paul. Madam, sister, my lady sister, did
you see my lady, my wife? Mel. Oh, Maskwell, what hopes ? I am con- Lady Touch. Oh! Torture ! founded in a maze of thoughts, each leading into Sir Paul. Gad's-bud, I cannot find her high another, and all ending in perplexity. My uncle nor low; where can she be, think you? will not see, nor hear me.
Lady Touch. Where she is serving you, as all Mask. No matter, sir; don't trouble your head; your sex ought to be served; making you a beast. all is in my power,
Don't you know, that you are a tool, brother? Mel. How, for Heaven's sake?
Sir Paul. A fool; he, he, he! you are merryMask. Little do you think, that your aunt has no, no, not I; I know no such matter. kept her word-how the devil she wrought my Lady Touch. Why, then, you don't know half lord into this dotage, I know not; but he is gone your happiness. to sir Paul about my marriage with Cynthia, and Sir Paul. That's a jest, with all my heart, faith has appointed me his heir.
and troth—but hark ye, my lord told me someMel. The devil he has! What's to be done? thing of a revolution of things; I don't know
Mask. I have it, it must be by stratagem; for what to make on't--Gad's-bud, I must consult it is in vain to make application to him. I think my wife-he talks of disinheriting his nephew, I have that in my head, which cannot fail.- and I don't know what--look you, sister, I must Where is Cynthia?
know what my girl has to trust to; or not a sylMel. In the garden.
lable of a wedding, Gad's-bud--to shew you that Mask. Let us go and consult her: my life for I am not a fool. yours, I cheat my lord.
Lady Touch. Ilear me: consent to the break[E.reunt. ing off this marriage, and the promoting any
other, without consulting me, and I will renounce ly meant for a statesman or a jesuit-but thou all blood, all relation and concern with you for art too honest for the one, and too pious for ever-nay, I'll be your enemy, and pursue you to the other. destruction; I'll tear your eyes out, and tread Mask. Well, get yourselves ready, and meet you under my feet.
me in half an hour, yonder, in my lady's dressing Sir Paul. Why, what's the matter now? Good room; go by the back-stairs, and so we may slip Lord, what's all this for? Pooh, here's a joke in- down without being observed-----I'll send the deed--why, where's my wife?
chaplain to you with his robes; I have made him Lady Touch. With Careless, in the close ar- | my own--and ordered him to meet us to-morrow
may want you by this time, as much as morning at St Alban’s; there we will sum up you want her.
this account to all our satisfactions. Sir Paul. Oh, if she be with Mr Careless, 'tis Mel. Should I begin to thank or praise thee, well enough.
I should waste the little time we have. Lady Touch. Fool, sot, insensible ox! but re
[Erit Mel. member what I said to you, or you had better Mask. Madam, you will be ready. eat your own horns; by this light, you had. Cyn. I will be punctual to the minute. Sir Paul. You are a passionate woman, Gad's
[Going. bud-but, to say truth, all our family are choleric; Mask. Stay, I have a doubt- -Upon second I am the only peaceable person amongst them. thoughts, we had better meet in the chaplain's
[Exeunt. chamber here, the corner chamber at this end Enter Mellefont, MASkwell, and CYNTA. that you need 'not come through this door
of the gallery; there is a back way into it, so Mel. I know no other way but this he has and a pair of private stairs leading down to the proposed; if you have love enough to run the stables — It will be more convenient.
Cyn. I am guided by you—but Mellefont will Cyn. I don't know whether I have love mistake. enough--but I find I have obstinacy enough, to Mask. No, no, I'll after him immediately, and pursue whatever I have once resolved; and a tell him. true female courage to oppose any thing that re- Cyn. I will not fail.
[Exit. sists my will, though it were reason itself.
Mask. Why, qui vult decipi decipiatur. Tis Mask. That's right-well, I'll secure the wri- no fault of mine. I have told them in plain terms tings, and run the hazard along with you. how easy it is for me to cheat them; and if they
Cyn. But how can the coach and six horses be will not hear the serpent's hiss, they must be got ready without suspicion?
stung into experience and future cautionMask. Leave it to my care; that shall be so Now to prepare my lord 10 consent to this far from being suspected, that it shall be got rea- But first I must instruct my little Levite; there dy by my lord's own order.
is no plot, public or private, that can expect to Mel. How?
prosper without one of them has a finger in it; Mask. Why, I intend to tell my lord the whole he promised me to be within at this hour—Mr matter of our contrivance; that's my way. Saygrace, Mr Saygrace! Mel. I do not understand you.
(Goes to the chamber door, and knocks. Musk. Why, I'll tell my lord I laid this plot [Mr SAYGRACE looking out.] Sweet sir, I will with you, on purpose to betray you; and that, but pen the last line of an acrostic, and be with which put me upon it, was the finding it impos- you in the twinkling of an ejaculation, in the prosible to gain the lady any other way, but in the nouncing of an Amen, or before you canhopes of her marrying you.
Mask. Nay, good Mr Saygrace, do not proMel. So.
long the time by describing to me the shortness Mask. So, why so, while you are busied in of your stay; rather, if you please, defer the fimaking yourself ready, I'll wheedle ber into the nishing of your wit, and let us talk about our coach; and, instead of you, borrow my lord's business; it shall be tithes in your way. chaplain, and so run away with her myself. Mel. Oh, I conceive you, you'll tell him so.
Enter SAYGRACE. Mask. Tell hiin so! Aye; why, you don't Say. You shall prevail; I would break off in think I mean to do so?
the middle of a sermon to do you a pleasure. Mel. No, no; ha, ha! I dare swear thou wilt Mask. You could not do me a greaternot.
except--the business in handMask. Therefore, for our farther security, I provided a habit for Mellefont? would have you disguised like a parson, that if Say. I have; they are ready in my chamber, my lord should have curiosity to peep, he may together with a clean starched "band and cuffs. not discover you in the coach, but think the cheat Mask. Good : let them be carried to him---is carried on as he would have it.
Have you stitched the gown-sleeve, that he may Mel. Excellent Maskwell! thou wert certain- be puzzled, and waste time in putting it on?