British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview

[SCENE II]

The scene changes to OLIVIA'S lodging.

Enter Lord PLAUSIBLEand Boy with a candle.

L. PLAUS. Little gentleman, your most obedient, faithful, humble servant! Where, I beseech you, is that divine person, your noble lady? BOY. Gone out, my lord; but commanded me to

give you this letter. (Gives him a letter.) 5

Enter to him NOVEL.

L. PLAUS. (aside). Which he must not observe. (Puts it up.)

NOV. Hey, boy, where is thy lady?

BOY. Gone out, sir; but I must beg a word with you. Gives him a letter, and exit.

NOV. For me? So. -- (Puts up the letter.) 10
Servant, servant, my lord! you see the lady knew of your coming, for she is gone out.

L. PLAUS. Sir, I humbly beseech you not to censure the lady's good breeding: she has reason to

use more liberty with me than with any other 15
man.

NOV. How, viscount, how?

L. PLAUS. Nay, I humbly beseech you, be not in choler; where there is most love, there may be

most freedom. 20

NOV. Nay, then 'tis time to come to an éclaircissement1 with you, and to tell you, you must think no more of this lady's love.

L. PLAUS. Why, under correction, dear sir?

NOV. There are reasons, reasons, viscount. 25

L. PLAUS. What, I beseech you, noble sir?

NOV. Prithee, prithee, be not impertinent, my lord; some of you lords are such conceited, well- assured, impertinent rogues.

L. PLAUS. And you noble wits are so full of 30
shamming and drolling, one knows not where to have you seriously.

NOV. Well, you shall find me in bed with this lady one of these days.

L. PLAUS. Nay, I beseech you, spare the 35
lady's honor; for hers and mine will be all one shortly.

NOV. Prithee, my lord, be not an ass. Dost thou think to get her from me? I have had such good encouragements --

L. PLAUS. I have not been thought
of 'em.

NOV. What, not like mine! Come to an éclaircissement, as I said.

L. PLAUS. Why, seriously then, she has told me

'Viscountess' sounded prettily. 45

NOV. And me, that Novel was a name she would sooner change hers for than for any title in England.

L. PLAUS. She has commended the softness and respectfulness of my behavior.

NOV. She has praised the briskness of my 50
raillery, of all things, man.

L. PLAUS. The sleepiness of my eyes she liked.

NOV. Sleepiness! dulness, dulness. But the fierceness of mine she adored.

L. PLAUS. The brightness of my hair she 55
liked.

NOV. The brightness! no, the greasiness, I warrant. But the blackness and lustre of mine she admires.

L. PLAUS. The gentleness of my smile. 60

NOV. The subtilty of my leer.

L. PLAUS. The clearness of my complexion.

NOV. The redness of my lips.

L. PLAUS. The whiteness of my teeth.

NOV. My jaunty way of picking them. 65

L. PLAUS. The sweetness of my breath.

NOV. Ha, ha! -- Nay, then she abused you, 'tis plain; for you know what Manly said: the sweetness of your pulvillio she might mean; but for your breath!

ha, ha, ha! Your breath is such, man, that 70
nothing but tobacco can perfume, and your complexion nothing could mend but the small-pox.

L. PLAUS. Well, sir, you may please to be merry; but, to put you out of all doubt, sir, she has received

some jewels from me of value. 75

NOV. And presents from me, besides what I presented her jauntily, by way of ombre, of three or four hundred pound value, which I'm sure are the earnestpence for our love-bargain.

L. PLAUS. Nay, then, sir, with your favor, 80
and to make an end of all your hopes, look you there, sir, she has writ to me --

NOV. How! how! well, well, and so she has to me; look you there -- (Deliver to each other their letters.)

L. PLAUS. What's here? 85

NOV. How's this? (Reads out.) -- 'My dear lord, -- You'll excuse me for breaking my word with you, since 'twas to oblige, not offend you; for I am only gone abroad but to disappoint

Novel, and meet you in the drawing-room, where 90
I expect you with as much impatience as when I used to suffer Novel's visits -- the most impertinent fop that ever affected the name of a wit: therefore not capable, I hope, to give you jealousy; for, for
your sake alone, you saw I renounced an old 95
lover, and will do all the world. Burn the letter, but lay up the kindness of it in your heart, with your Olivia.'

Very fine! but pray let's see mine.

L. PLAUS. I understand it not; but sure she 100
cannot think so of me.

NOV. (reads the other letter). Humh! ha! -- 'meet -- for your sake' -- umh -- 'quitted an old lover --

____________________
38] Q1W1 om. good.
1
Clarification, understanding.

-241-

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