Love for Love by William Congreve - HTML preview

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ACT II

 

 SCENE I.

 A room in FORESIGHT's house.

 FORESIGHT and SERVANT.

FORE. Hey day! What, are all the women of my family abroad? Is not my wife come home? Nor my sister, nor my daughter?

SERV. No, sir.

FORE. Mercy on us, what can be the meaning of it? Sure the moon is in all her fortitudes. Is my niece Angelica at home?

SERV. Yes, sir.

FORE. I believe you lie, sir.

SERV. Sir?

FORE . I say you lie, sir. It is impossible that anything should be as I would have it; for I was born, sir, when the crab was ascending, and all my affairs go backward.

SERV. I can't tell indeed, sir.

FORE. No, I know you can't, sir: but I can tell, and foretell, sir.

 

 SCENE II.

 [To them] NURSE.

FORE. Nurse, where's your young mistress?

NURSE . Wee'st heart, I know not, they're none of 'em come home yet. Poor child, I warrant she's fond o' seeing the town. Marry, pray heaven they ha' given her any dinner. Good lack-a-day, ha, ha, ha, Oh, strange! I'll vow and swear now, ha, ha, ha, marry, and did you ever see the like!

FORE. Why, how now, what's the matter?

NURSE . Pray heaven send your worship good luck, marry, and amen with all my heart, for you have put on one stocking with the wrong side outward.

FORE. Ha, how? Faith and troth I'm glad of it; and so I have: that may be good luck in troth, in troth it may, very good luck. Nay, I have had some omens: I got out of bed backwards too this morning, without premeditation; pretty good that too; but then I stumbled coming down stairs, and met a weasel; bad omens those: some bad, some good, our lives are chequered. Mirth and sorrow, want and plenty, night and day, make up our time. But in troth I am pleased at my stocking; very well pleased at my stocking. Oh, here's my niece! Sirrah, go tell Sir Sampson Legend I'll wait on him if he's at leisure: --'tis now three o'clock, a very good hour for business: Mercury governs this hour.

 

 SCENE III.

 ANGELICA, FORESIGHT, NURSE.

ANG. Is it not a good hour for pleasure too, uncle? Pray lend me your coach; mine's out of order.

FORE . What, would you be gadding too? Sure, all females are mad to-day. It is of evil portent, and bodes mischief to the master of a family. I remember an old prophecy written by Messahalah the Arabian, and thus translated by a reverend Buckinghamshire bard:-

'When housewives all the house forsake,

And leave goodman to brew and bake,

Withouten guile, then be it said,

That house doth stand upon its head;

And when the head is set in grond,

Ne marl, if it be fruitful fond.'

Fruitful, the head fruitful, that bodes horns; the fruit of the head is horns. Dear niece, stay at home--for by the head of the house is meant the husband; the prophecy needs no explanation.

ANG. Well, but I can neither make you a cuckold, uncle, by going abroad, nor secure you from being one by staying at home.

FORE. Yes, yes; while there's one woman left, the prophecy is not in full force.

ANG . But my inclinations are in force; I have a mind to go abroad, and if you won't lend me your coach, I'll take a hackney or a chair, and leave you to erect a scheme, and find who's in conjunction with your wife. Why don't you keep her at home, if you're jealous of her when she's abroad? You know my aunt is a little retrograde (as you call it) in her nature. Uncle, I'm afraid you are not lord of the ascendant, ha, ha, ha!

FORE. Well, Jill-flirt, you are very pert, and always ridiculing that celestial science.

ANG . Nay, uncle, don't be angry--if you are, I'll reap up all your false prophecies, ridiculous dreams, and idle divinations. I'll swear you are a nuisance to the neighbourhood. What a bustle did you keep against the last invisible eclipse, laying in provision as 'twere for a siege. What a world of fire and candle, matches and tinder-boxes did you purchase! One would have thought we were ever after to live under ground, or at least making a voyage to Greenland, to inhabit there all the dark season.

FORE. Why, you malapert slut -

ANG . Will you lend me your coach, or I'll go on--nay, I'll declare how you prophesied popery was coming only because the butler had mislaid some of the apostle spoons, and thought they were lost. Away went religion and spoon-meat together. Indeed, uncle, I'll indite you for a wizard.

FORE. How, hussy! Was there ever such a provoking minx?

NURSE. O merciful father, how she talks!

ANG. Yes, I can make oath of your unlawful midnight practices, you and the old nurse there -

NURSE . Marry, heaven defend! I at midnight practices? O Lord, what's here to do? I in unlawful doings with my master's worship-- why, did you ever hear the like now? Sir, did ever I do anything of your midnight concerns but warm your bed, and tuck you up, and set the candle and your tobacco-box and your urinal by you, and now and then rub the soles of your feet? O Lord, I!

ANG . Yes, I saw you together through the key-hole of the closet one night, like Saul and the witch of Endor, turning the sieve and shears, and pricking your thumbs, to write poor innocent servants' names in blood, about a little nutmeg grater which she had forgot in the caudle-cup. Nay, I know something worse, if I would speak of it.

FORE . I defy you, hussy; but I'll remember this, I'll be revenged on you, cockatrice. I'll hamper you. You have your fortune in your own hands, but I'll find a way to make your lover, your prodigal spendthrift gallant, Valentine, pay for all, I will.

ANG . Will you? I care not, but all shall out then. Look to it, nurse: I can bring witness that you have a great unnatural teat under your left arm, and he another; and that you suckle a young devil in the shape of a tabby-cat, by turns, I can.

NURSE. A teat, a teat--I an unnatural teat! Oh, the false, slanderous thing; feel, feel here, if I have anything but like another Christian. [Crying.]

FORE . I will have patience, since it is the will of the stars I should be thus tormented. This is the effect of the malicious conjunctions and oppositions in the third house of my nativity; there the curse of kindred was foretold. But I will have my doors locked up;--I'll punish you: not a man shall enter my house.

ANG . Do, uncle, lock 'em up quickly before my aunt come home. You'll have a letter for alimony to-morrow morning. But let me be gone first, and then let no mankind come near the house, but converse with spirits and the celestial signs, the bull and the ram and the goat. Bless me! There are a great many horned beasts among the twelve signs, uncle. But cuckolds go to heaven.

FORE. But there's but one virgin among the twelve signs, spitfire, but one virgin.

ANG. Nor there had not been that one, if she had had to do with anything but astrologers, uncle. That makes my aunt go abroad.

FORE . How, how? Is that the reason? Come, you know something; tell me and I'll forgive you. Do, good niece. Come, you shall have my coach and horses--faith and troth you shall. Does my wife complain? Come, I know women tell one another. She is young and sanguine, has a wanton hazel eye, and was born under Gemini, which may incline her to society. She has a mole upon her lip, with a moist palm, and an open liberality on the mount of Venus.

ANG. Ha, ha, ha!

FORE. Do you laugh? Well, gentlewoman, I'll--but come, be a good girl, don't perplex your poor uncle, tell me--won't you speak? Odd, I'll -

 

 SCENE IV.

 [To them] SERVANT.

SERV. Sir Sampson is coming down to wait upon you.

ANG. Good-bye, uncle--call me a chair. I'll find out my aunt, and tell her she must not come home.

FORE . I'm so perplexed and vexed, I'm not fit to receive him; I shall scarce recover myself before the hour be past. Go nurse, tell Sir Sampson I'm ready to wait on him.

NURSE . Yes, sir,

FORE. Well--why, if I was born to be a cuckold, there's no more to be said--he's here already.

 

 SCENE V.

 FORESIGHT, and SIR SAMPSON LEGEND with a paper.

SIR SAMP . Nor no more to be done, old boy; that's plain--here 'tis, I have it in my hand, old Ptolomey, I'll make the ungracious prodigal know who begat him; I will, old Nostrodamus. What, I warrant my son thought nothing belonged to a father but forgiveness and affection; no authority, no correction, no arbitrary power; nothing to be done, but for him to offend and me to pardon. I warrant you, if he danced till doomsday he thought I was to pay the piper. Well, but here it is under black and white, signatum, sigillatum, and deliberatum; that as soon as my son Benjamin is arrived, he's to make over to him his right of inheritance. Where's my daughter that is to be?--Hah! old Merlin! body o' me, I'm so glad I'm revenged on this undutiful rogue.

FORE. Odso, let me see; let me see the paper. Ay, faith and troth, here 'tis, if it will but hold. I wish things were done, and the conveyance made. When was this signed, what hour? Odso, you should have consulted me for the time. Well, but we'll make haste -

SIR SAMP . Haste, ay, ay; haste enough. My son Ben will be in town to-night. I have ordered my lawyer to draw up writings of settlement and jointure--all shall be done to-night. No matter for the time; prithee, brother Foresight, leave superstition. Pox o' the time; there's no time but the time present, there's no more to be said of what's past, and all that is to come will happen. If the sun shine by day, and the stars by night, why, we shall know one another's faces without the help of a candle, and that's all the stars are good for.

FORE. How, how? Sir Sampson, that all? Give me leave to contradict you, and tell you you are ignorant.

SIR SAMP . I tell you I am wise; and sapiens dominabitur astris; there's Latin for you to prove it, and an argument to confound your Ephemeris.--Ignorant! I tell you, I have travelled old Fircu, and know the globe. I have seen the antipodes, where the sun rises at midnight, and sets at noon-day.

FORE . But I tell you, I have travelled, and travelled in the celestial spheres, know the signs and the planets, and their houses. Can judge of motions direct and retrograde, of sextiles, quadrates, trines and oppositions, fiery-trigons and aquatical-trigons. Know whether life shall be long or short, happy or unhappy, whether diseases are curable or incurable. If journeys shall be prosperous, undertakings successful, or goods stolen recovered; I know -

SIR SAMP. I know the length of the Emperor of China's foot; have kissed the Great Mogul's slippers, and rid a-hunting upon an elephant with a Cham of Tartary. Body o' me, I have made a cuckold of a king, and the present majesty of Bantam is the issue of these loins.

FORE. I know when travellers lie or speak truth, when they don't know it themselves.

SIR SAMP. I have known an astrologer made a cuckold in the twinkling of a star; and seen a conjurer that could not keep the devil out of his wife's circle.

FORE . What, does he twit me with my wife too? I must be better informed of this. [Aside.] Do you mean my wife, Sir Sampson? Though you made a cuckold of the king of Bantam, yet by the body of the sun -

SIR SAMP. By the horns of the moon, you would say, brother Capricorn.

FORE . Capricorn in your teeth, thou modern Mandeville; Ferdinand Mendez Pinto was but a type of thee, thou liar of the first magnitude. Take back your paper of inheritance; send your son to sea again. I'll wed my daughter to an Egyptian mummy, e'er she shall incorporate with a contemner of sciences, and a defamer of virtue.

SIR SAMP . Body o' me, I have gone too far; I must not provoke honest Albumazar: --an Egyptian mummy is an illustrious creature, my trusty hieroglyphic; and may have significations of futurity about him; odsbud, I would my son were an Egyptian mummy for thy sake. What, thou art not angry for a jest, my good Haly? I reverence the sun, moon and stars with all my heart. What, I'll make thee a present of a mummy: now I think on't, body o' me, I have a shoulder of an Egyptian king that I purloined from one of the pyramids, powdered with hieroglyphics, thou shalt have it brought home to thy house, and make an entertainment for all the philomaths, and students in physic and astrology in and about London.

FORE. But what do you know of my wife, Sir Sampson?

SIR SAMP . Thy wife is a constellation of virtues; she's the moon, and thou art the man in the moon. Nay, she is more illustrious than the moon; for she has her chastity without her inconstancy: 'sbud I was but in jest.

 

 SCENE VI.

 [To them] JEREMY.

SIR SAMP . How now, who sent for you? Ha! What would you have?

FORE. Nay, if you were but in jest--who's that fellow? I don't like his physiognomy.

SIR SAMP. My son, sir; what son, sir? My son Benjamin, hoh?

JERE. No, sir, Mr Valentine, my master; 'tis the first time he has been abroad since his confinement, and he comes to pay his duty to you.

SIR SAMP. Well, sir.

 

 SCENE VII.

 FORESIGHT, SIR SAMPSON, VALENTINE, JEREMY.

JERE. He is here, sir.

VAL. Your blessing, sir.

SIR SAMP. You've had it already, sir; I think I sent it you to-day in a bill of four thousand pound: a great deal of money, brother Foresight.

FORE. Ay, indeed, Sir Sampson, a great deal of money for a young man; I wonder what he can do with it!

SIR SAMP. Body o' me, so do I. Hark ye, Valentine, if there be too much, refund the superfluity; dost hear, boy?

VAL . Superfluity, sir? It will scarce pay my debts. I hope you will have more indulgence than to oblige me to those hard conditions which my necessity signed to.

SIR SAMP. Sir, how, I beseech you, what were you pleased to intimate, concerning indulgence?

VAL. Why, sir, that you would not go to the extremity of the conditions, but release me at least from some part.

SIR SAMP. Oh, sir, I understand you--that's all, ha?

VAL. Yes, sir, all that I presume to ask. But what you, out of fatherly fondness, will be pleased to add, shall be doubly welcome.

SIR SAMP . No doubt of it, sweet sir; but your filial piety, and my fatherly fondness would fit like two tallies. Here's a rogue, brother Foresight, makes a bargain under hand and seal in the morning, and would be released from it in the afternoon; here's a rogue, dog, here's conscience and honesty; this is your wit now, this is the morality of your wits! You are a wit, and have been a beau, and may be a--why sirrah, is it not here under hand and seal-- can you deny it?

VAL. Sir, I don't deny it.

SIR SAMP . Sirrah, you'll be hanged; I shall live to see you go up Holborn Hill. Has he not a rogue's face? Speak brother, you understand physiognomy, a hanging look to me--of all my boys the most unlike me; he has a damned Tyburn face, without the benefit o' the clergy.

FORE. Hum--truly I don't care to discourage a young man,--he has a violent death in his face; but I hope no danger of hanging.

VAL. Sir, is this usage for your son?--For that old weather-headed fool, I know how to laugh at him; but you, sir -

SIR SAMP. You, sir; and you, sir: why, who are you, sir?

VAL. Your son, sir.

SIR SAMP. That's more than I know, sir, and I believe not.

VAL. Faith, I hope not.

SIR SAMP. What, would you have your mother a whore? Did you ever hear the like? Did you ever hear the like? Body o' me -

VAL. I would have an excuse for your barbarity and unnatural usage.

SIR SAMP . Excuse! Impudence! Why, sirrah, mayn't I do what I please? Are not you my slave? Did not I beget you? And might not I have chosen whether I would have begot you or no? 'Oons, who are you? Whence came you? What brought you into the world? How came you here, sir? Here, to stand here, upon those two legs, and look erect with that audacious face, ha? Answer me that! Did you come a volunteer into the world? Or did I, with the lawful authority of a parent, press you to the service?

VAL . I know no more why I came than you do why you called me. But here I am, and if you don't mean to provide for me, I desire you would leave me as you found me.

SIR SAMP . With all my heart: come, uncase, strip, and go naked out of the world as you came into 't.

VAL. My clothes are soon put off. But you must also divest me of reason, thought, passions, inclinations, affections, appetites, senses, and the huge train of attendants that you begot along with me.

SIR SAMP. Body o' me, what a manyheaded monster have I propagated!

VAL . I am of myself, a plain, easy, simple creature, and to be kept at small expense; but the retinue that you gave me are craving and invincible; they are so many devils that you have raised, and will have employment.

SIR SAMP . 'Oons, what had I to do to get children,--can't a private man be born without all these followers? Why, nothing under an emperor should be born with appetites. Why, at this rate, a fellow that has but a groat in his pocket may have a stomach capable of a ten shilling ordinary.

JERE. Nay, that's as clear as the sun; I'll make oath of it before any justice in Middlesex.

SIR SAMP. Here's a cormorant too. 'S'heart this fellow was not born with you? I did not beget him, did I?

JERE . By the provision that's made for me, you might have begot me too. Nay, and to tell your worship another truth, I believe you did, for I find I was born with those same whoreson appetites too, that my master speaks of.

SIR SAMP . Why, look you there, now. I'll maintain it, that by the rule of right reason, this fellow ought to have been born without a palate. 'S'heart, what should he do with a distinguishing taste? I warrant now he'd rather eat a pheasant, than a piece of poor John; and smell, now, why I warrant he can smell, and loves perfumes above a stink. Why there's it; and music, don't you love music, scoundrel?

JERE. Yes; I have a reasonable good ear, sir, as to jigs and country dances, and the like; I don't much matter your solos or sonatas, they give me the spleen.

SIR SAMP. The spleen, ha, ha, ha; a pox confound you--solos or sonatas? 'Oons, whose son are you? How were you engendered, muckworm?

JERE . I am by my father, the son of a chair-man; my mother sold oysters in winter, and cucumbers in summer; and I came upstairs into the world; for I was born in a cellar.

FORE. By your looks, you should go upstairs out of the world too, friend.

SIR SAMP . And if this rogue were anatomized now, and dissected, he has his vessels of digestion and concoction, and so forth, large enough for the inside of a cardinal, this son of a cucumber.--These things are unaccountable and unreasonable. Body o' me, why was not I a bear, that my cubs might have lived upon sucking their paws? Nature has been provident only to bears and spiders; the one has its nutriment in his own hands; and t'other spins his habitation out of his own entrails.

VAL. Fortune was provident enough to supply all the necessities of my nature, if I had my right of inheritance.

SIR SAMP . Again! 'Oons, han't you four thousand pounds? If I had it again, I would not give thee a groat.--What, would'st thou have me turn pelican, and feed thee out of my own vitals? S'heart, live by your wits: you were always fond of the wits, now let's see, if you have wit enough to keep yourself. Your brother will be in town to-night or to-morrow morning, and then look you perform covenants, and so your friend and servant: --come, brother Foresight.

 

 SCENE VIII.

 VALENTINE, JEREMY.

JERE. I told you what your visit would come to.

VAL . 'Tis as much as I expected. I did not come to see him, I came to see Angelica: but since she was gone abroad, it was easily turned another way, and at least looked well on my side. What's here? Mrs Foresight and Mrs Frail, they are earnest. I'll avoid 'em. Come this way, and go and enquire when Angelica will return.

 

SCENE IX.

 MRS FORESIGHT and MRS FRAIL.

MRS FRAIL. What have you to do to watch me? 'S'life I'll do what I please.

MRS FORE. You will?

MRS FRAIL. Yes, marry will I. A great piece of business to go to Covent Garden Square in a hackney coach, and take a turn with one's friend.

MRS FORE. Nay, two or three turns, I'll take my oath.

MRS FRAIL . Well, what if I took twenty--I warrant if you had been there, it had been only innocent recreation. Lord, where's the comfort of this life if we can't have the happiness of conversing where we like?

MRS FORE. But can't you converse at home? I own it, I think there's no happiness like conversing with an agreeable man; I don't quarrel at that, nor I don't think but your conversation was very innocent; but the place is public, and to be seen with a man in a hackney coach is scandalous. What if anybody else should have seen you alight, as I did? How can anybody be happy while they're in perpetual fear of being seen and censured? Besides, it would not only reflect upon you, sister, but me.

MRS FRAIL . Pooh, here's a clutter: why should it reflect upon you? I don't doubt but you have thought yourself happy in a hackney coach before now. If I had gone to Knight's Bridge, or to Chelsea, or to Spring Garden, or Barn Elms with a man alone, something might have been said.

MRS FORE. Why, was I ever in any of those places? What do you mean, sister?

MRS FRAIL. Was I? What do you mean?

MRS FORE. You have been at a worse place.

MRS FRAIL. I at a worse place, and with a man!

MRS FORE. I suppose you would not go alone to the World's End.

MRS FRAIL. The World's End! What, do you mean to banter me?

MRS FORE. Poor innocent! You don't know that there's a place called the World's End? I'll swear you can keep your countenance purely: you'd make an admirable player.

MRS FRAIL. I'll swear you have a great deal of confidence, and in my mind too much for the stage.

MRS FORE. Very well, that will appear who has most; you never were at the World's End?

MRS FRAIL. No.

MRS FORE. You deny it positively to my face?

MRS FRAIL. Your face, what's your face?

MRS FORE. No matter for that, it's as good a face as yours.

MRS FRAIL . Not by a dozen years' wearing. But I do deny it positively to your face, then.

MRS FORE. I'll allow you now to find fault with my face; for I'll swear your impudence has put me out of countenance. But look you here now, where did you lose this gold bodkin? Oh, sister, sister!

MRS FRAIL. My bodkin!

MRS FORE. Nay, 'tis yours, look at it.

MRS FRAIL. Well, if you go to that, where did you find this bodkin? Oh, sister, sister! Sister every way.

MRS FORE. Oh, devil on't, that I could not discover her without betraying myself. [Aside.]

MRS FRAIL. I have heard gentlemen say, sister, that one should take great care, when one makes a thrust in fencing, not to lie open oneself.

MRS FORE . It's very true, sister. Well, since all's out, and as you say, since we are both wounded, let us do what is often done in duels, take care of one another, and grow better friends than before.

MRS FRAIL . With all my heart: ours are but slight flesh wounds, and if we keep 'em from air, not at all dangerous. Well, give me your hand in token of sisterly secrecy and affection.

MRS FORE. Here 'tis, with all my heart.

MRS FRAIL . Well, as an earnest of friendship and confidence, I'll acquaint you with a design that I have. To tell truth, and speak openly one to another, I'm afraid the world have observed us more than we have observed one another. You have a rich husband, and are provided for. I am at a loss, and have no great stock either of fortune or reputation, and therefore must look sharply about me. Sir Sampson has a son that is expected to-night, and by the account I have heard of his education, can be no conjurer. The estate you know is to be made over to him. Now if I could wheedle him, sister, ha? You understand me?

MRS FORE . I do, and will help you to the utmost of my power. And I can tell you one thing that falls out luckily enough; my awkward daughter-in-law, who you know is designed to be his wife, is grown fond of Mr Tattle; now if we can improve that, and make her have an aversion for the booby, it may go a great way towards his liking you. Here they come together; and let us contrive some way or other to leave 'em together.

 

SCENE X.

 [To them] TATTLE and MISS PRUE.

MISS. Mother, mother, mother, look you here!

MRS FORE. Fie, fie, Miss, how you bawl! Besides, I have told you, you must not call me mother.

MISS. What must I call you then, are you not my father's wife?

MRS FORE . Madam; you must say madam. By my soul, I shall fancy myself old indeed to have this great girl call me mother. Well, but Miss, what are you so overjoyed at?

MISS . Look you here, madam, then, what Mr Tattle has given me. Look you here, cousin, here's a snuff-box; nay, there's snuff in't. Here, will you have any? Oh, good! How sweet it is. Mr Tattle is all over sweet, his peruke is sweet, and his gloves are sweet, and his handkerchief is sweet, pure sweet, sweeter than roses. Smell him, mother--madam, I mean. He gave me this ring for a kiss.

TATT. O fie, Miss, you must not kiss and tell.

MISS . Yes; I may tell my mother. And he says he'll give me something to make me smell so. Oh, pray lend me your handkerchief. Smell, cousin; he says he'll give me something that will make my smocks smell this way. Is not it pure? It's better than lavender, mun. I'm resolved I won't let nurse put any more lavender among my smocks--ha, cousin?

MRS FRAIL. Fie, Miss; amongst your linen, you must say. You must never say smock.

MISS. Why, it is not bawdy, is it, cousin?

TATT. Oh, madam; you are too severe upon Miss; you must not find fault with her pretty simplicity: it becomes her strangely. Pretty Miss, don't let 'em persuade you out of your innocency.

MRS FORE. Oh, demm you toad. I wish you don't persuade her out of her innocency.

TATT. Who, I, madam? O Lord, how can your ladyship have such a thought? Sure, you don't know me.

MRS FRAIL . Ah devil, sly devil. He's as close, sister, as a confessor. He thinks we don't observe him.

MRS FORE. A cunning cur, how soon he could find out a fresh, harmless creature; and left us, sister, presently.

TATT. Upon reputation

MRS FORE . They're all so, sister, these men. They love to have the spoiling of a young thing, they are as fond of it, as of being first in the fashion, or of seeing a new play the first day. I warrant it would break Mr Tattle's heart to think that anybody else should be beforehand with him.

TATT. O Lord, I swear I would not for the world -

MRS FRAIL . O hang you; who'll believe you? You'd be hanged before you'd confess. We know you--she's very pretty! Lord, what pure red and white!--she looks so wholesome; ne'er stir: I don't know, but I fancy, if I were a man -

MISS. How you love to jeer one, cousin.

MRS FORE . Hark'ee, sister, by my soul the girl is spoiled already. D'ee think she'll ever endure a great lubberly tarpaulin? Gad, I warrant you she won't let him come near her after Mr Tattle.

MRS FRAIL . O my soul, I'm afraid not--eh!--filthy creature, that smells all of pitch and tar. Devil take you, you confounded toad-- why did you see her before she was married?

MRS FORE. Nay, why did we let him--my husband will hang us. He'll think we brought 'em acquainted.

MRS FRAIL. Come, faith, let us be gone. If my brother Foresight should find us with them, he'd think so, sure enough.

MRS FORE. So he would--but then leaving them together is as bad: and he's such a sly devil, he'll never miss an opportunity.

MRS FRAIL. I don't care; I won't be seen in't.

MRS FORE. Well, if you should, Mr Tattle, you'll have a world to answer for; remember I wash my hands of it. I'm thoroughly innocent.

 

 SCENE XI.

 TATTLE, MISS PRUE.

MISS. What makes 'em go away, Mr Tattle? What do they mean, do you know?

TATT. Yes my dear; I think I can guess, but hang me if I know the reason of it.

MISS. Come, must not we go too?

TATT. No, no, they don't mean that.

MISS. No! What then? What shall you and I do together?

TATT. I must make love to you, pretty Miss; will you let me make love to you?

MISS. Yes, if you please.

TATT . Frank, i'Gad, at least. What a pox does Mrs Foresight mean by this civility? Is it to make a fool of me? Or does she leave us together out of good morality, and do as she would be done by?--Gad, I'll understand it so. [Aside.]

MISS. Well; and how will you make love to me--come, I long to have you begin,-must I make love too? You must tell me how.

TATT. You must let me speak, Miss, you must not speak first; I must ask you questions, and you must answer.

MISS. What, is it like the catechism? Come then, ask me.

TATT. D'ye think you can love me?

MISS. Yes.

TATT. Pooh, pox, you must not say yes already; I shan't care a farthing for you then in a twinkling.

MISS. What must I say then?

TATT. Why you must say no, or you believe not, or you can't tell -

MISS. Why, must I tell a lie then?

TATT . Yes, if you'd be well bred. All well bred persons lie.-- Besides, you are a woman, you must never speak what you think: your words must contradict your thoughts; but your actions may contradict your words. So when I ask you if you can love me, you must say no, but you must love me too. If I tell you you are handsome, you must deny it, and say I flatter you. But you must think yourself more charming than I speak you: and like me, for the beauty which I say you have, as much as if I had it myself. If I ask you to kiss me, you must be angry, but you must not refuse me. If I ask you for more, you must be more angry,--but more complying; and as soon as ever I make you say you'll cry out, you must be sure to hold your tongue.

MISS. O Lord, I swear this is pure. I like it better than our old- fashioned country way of speaking one's mind;--and must not you lie too?

TATT. Hum--yes--but you must believe I speak truth.

MISS. O Gemini! Well, I always had a great mind to tell lies; but they frighted me, and said it was a sin.

TATT. Well, my pretty creature; will you make me happy by giving me a kiss?

MISS. No, indeed; I'm angry at you. [Runs and kisses him.]

TATT. Hold, hold, that's pretty well, but you should not have given it me, but have suffered me to have taken it.

MISS. Well, we'll do it again.

TATT. With all my heart.--Now then, my little angel. [Kisses her.]

MISS. Pish.

TATT. That's right,--again, my charmer. [Kisses again.]

MISS. O fie, nay, now I can't abide you.

TATT. Admirable! That was as well as if you had been born and bred in Covent Garden. And won't you shew me, pretty miss, where your bed-chamber is?

MISS. No, indeed won't I; but I'll run there, and hide myself from you behind the curtains.

TATT. I'll follow you.

MISS. Ah, but I'll hold the door with both hands, and be angry;-- and you shall push me down before you come in.

TATT. No, I'll come in first, and push you down afterwards.

MISS. Will you? Then I'll be more angry and more complying.

TATT. Then I'll make you cry out.

MISS. Oh, but you shan't, for I'll hold my tongue.

TATT. O my dear apt scholar!

MISS. Well, now I'll run and make more haste than you.

TATT. You shall not fly so fast, as I'll pursue.