The Way of the World HTML version
St. James's Park.
MRS. FAINALL and MRS. MARWOOD.
MRS. FAIN. Ay, ay, dear Marwood, if we will be happy, we must find the means in
ourselves, and among ourselves. Men are ever in extremes; either doting or averse. While
they are lovers, if they have fire and sense, their jealousies are insupportable: and when
they cease to love (we ought to think at least) they loathe, they look upon us with horror
and distaste, they meet us like the ghosts of what we were, and as from such, fly from us.
MRS. MAR. True, 'tis an unhappy circumstance of life that love should ever die before
us, and that the man so often should outlive the lover. But say what you will, 'tis better to
be left than never to have been loved. To pass our youth in dull indifference, to refuse the
sweets of life because they once must leave us, is as preposterous as to wish to have been
born old, because we one day must be old. For my part, my youth may wear and waste,
but it shall never rust in my possession.
MRS. FAIN. Then it seems you dissemble an aversion to mankind only in compliance to
my mother's humour.
MRS. MAR. Certainly. To be free, I have no taste of those insipid dry discourses with
which our sex of force must entertain themselves apart from men. We may affect
endearments to each other, profess eternal friendships, and seem to dote like lovers; but
'tis not in our natures long to persevere. Love will resume his empire in our breasts, and
every heart, or soon or late, receive and readmit him as its lawful tyrant.
MRS. FAIN. Bless me, how have I been deceived! Why, you profess a libertine.
MRS. MAR. You see my friendship by my freedom. Come, be as sincere, acknowledge
that your sentiments agree with mine.
MRS. FAIN. Never.
MRS. MAR. You hate mankind?
MRS. FAIN. Heartily, inveterately.