British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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fan, while you, like an amorous spark, modishly entertain me.

L. WOOD. [to OLD BELLAIR]. Never go about to

excuse 'em; come, come, it was not so when I 145
was a young woman.

O. BELL. A dod, they're something disrespectful --

L. WOOD. Quality was then considered, and not

rallied by every fleering1 fellow. 150

O. BELL. Youth will have its jest -- a dod, it will.

L. WOOD. 'Tis good breeding now to be civil to none but players and Exchange women;2 they are treated by 'em as much above their condition as

others are below theirs. 155

O. BELL. Out! a pize on 'em! talk no more. The rogues ha' got an ill habit of preferring beauty no matter where they find it.

L. WOOD. See your son and my daughter; they

have improved their acquaintance since they 160
were within.

O. BELL. A dod, methinks they have! Let's keep back and observe.

Y. BELL. [to HARRIET]. Now for a look and

gestures that may persuade 'em I am saying 165
all the passionate things imaginable --

HAR. Your head a little more on one side. Ease yourself on your left leg and play with your right hand.

Y. BELL. Thus, is it not?

HAR. Now set your right leg firm on the 170
ground, adjust your belt, then look about you.

Y. BELL. A little exercising will make me perfect.

HAR. Smile, and turn to me again very sparkish.

Y. BELL. Will you take your turn and be in

structed? 175

HAR. With all my heart!

Y. BELL. At one motion play your fan, roll your eyes, and then settle a kind look upon me.

HAR. So!

Y. BELL. Now spread your fan, look down 180
upon it, and tell3 the sticks with a finger.

HAR. Very modish!

Y. BELL. Clap your hand up to your bosom, hold down your gown. Shrug a little, draw up your

breasts, and let 'em fall again gently, with a 185
sigh or two, etc.

HAR. By the good instructions you give, I suspect you for one of those malicious observers who watch people's eyes, and from innocent looks make scan

dalous conclusions. 190

Y. BELL. I know some, indeed, who out of mere love to mischief are as vigilant as jealousy itself, and will give you an account of every glance that passes at a play and i'th' Circle.4

HAR. 'Twill not be amiss now to seem a 195
little pleasant.

Y. BELL. Clap your fan, then, in both your hands, snatch it to your mouth, smile, and with a lively motion fling your body a little forwards. So! Now

spread it, fall back on the sudden, cover your 200
face with it and break out into a loud laughter -- take up, look grave, and fall a-fanning of yourself. -- Admirably well acted!

HAR. I think I am pretty apt at these mat

ters. 205

O. BELL. [to LADY WOODVILL]. A dod, I like this well!

L. WOOD. This promises something.

O. BELL. Come! there is love i'th' case, a dod there

is, or will be. What say you, young lady? 210

HAR, All in good time, sir; you expect we should fall to and love as game-cocks fight, as soon as we are set together. A dod, y'are unreasonable!

O. BELL. A dod, sirrah, I like thy wit well.

Enter a Servant.

SERV. The coach is at the door, madam. 215

O. BELL. Go, get you and take the air together.

L. WOOD. Will not you go with us?

O. BELL. Out! a pize! A dod, I ha' business and cannot. We shall meet at night at my sister

Townley's 220

Y. BELL. (aside). He's going to Emilia. I overheard him talk of a collation. Exeunt.


SCENE II

[LADY TOWNLEY'S drawing-room.]

Enter LADY TOWNLEY, EMILIA, and
MR. MEDLEY.

L. TOWN. I pity the young lovers we last talked of, though to say truth their conduct has been so indiscreet they deserve to be unfortunate.

MED. Y'have had an exact account, from the

great lady i'th' box down to the little orange 5
wench.

EMIL. Y'are a living libel, a breathing lampoon. I wonder you are not torn in pieces.

MED. What think you of setting up an office of

intelligence for these matters? The project 10
may get money.

L. TOWN. You would have great dealings with country ladies.

MED. More than Muddiman5 has with their

husbands. 15

165] Q2 I'm.

____________________
1
Grimacing.
2
Shop-women in the New Exchange.
3
Count.
4
Perhaps the reference here is to the inner circle at Court; cf. IV. i. 157.
5
Henry Muddiman ( 1629-1692), editor of the London Gazette, and also for some thirty years the author of handwritten news-letters which circulated widely among country gentlemen.

-172-

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