British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

AMAN. Cousin, you know you command my house.

WOR. (to BERINTHIA). And, madam, you know

you command me, though I'm a very wretched 145
gamester.

BER. Oh, you play well enough to lose your money, and that's all the ladies require; so without any more ceremony let us go into the next room

and call for the cards. 150

AMAN. With all my heart.

Exit WORTHY leading AMANDA.

BER. (sola). Well, how this business will end, heaven knows; but she seems to me to be in as fair a way ----- as a boy is to be a rogue, when he's put

clerk to an attorney. 155

Exit BERINTHIA.


[SCENE III]

[BERINTHIA'S chamber.]

Enter LOVELESS cawiously in tke dark.

LOV. So, thus far all's well. I'm got into her bed- chamber, and I think nobody has perceived me steal into the house; my wife don't expect me home till four o'clock; so if Berinthia comes to bed by eleven,

I shall have a chase of five hours. Let me see, 5
where shall I hide myself? under her bed? No; we shall have her maid searching there for something or other; her closet's a better place, and I have a master key will open it: I'll e'en in there, and attack her just
when she comes to her prayers: that's the most 10
likely to prove her critical minute, for then the devil will be there to assist me.

(He opens the closet, goes in, and shuts the door after him.)

Enter BERINTHIA with a candle in her hand.

BER. Well, sure I am the best-natured woman in the world. I that love cards so well (there is but one

thing upon earth I love better) have pretended 15
letters to write, to give my friends ----- a tête-à-tête; however, I'm innocent, for picquet is the game I set 'em to: at her own peril be it, if she ventures to play with him at any other. But now what shall I do
with myself? I don't know how in the world to 20
pass my time; would Loveless were here to badiner1 a little. Well, he's a charming fellow; I don't wonder his wife's so fond of him. What if I should sit down and think of him till I fall asleep, and dream of the
Lord knows what? Oh, but then if I should 25
dream we were married, I should be fright'ned out of my wits. (Seeing a book.) What's this book? I think I had best go read. Oh, splénétique!2 it's a sermon. Well, I'll go into my closet, and read The
Plotting Sisters.3 (She opens the closet, sees30
LOVELESS, and shrieks out.) O Lord, a ghost, a ghost, a ghost, a ghost!

Enter LOVELESS, running to her.

LOV. Peace, my dear; it's no ghost; take it in your arms ----- you'll find 'tis worth a hundred of 'em.

BER. Run in again; here's somebody coming. 35

[Exit LOVELESS.]

Enter her Maid.

MAID. Lord, madam, what's the matter?

BER. O heav'ns! I'm almost frighted out of my wits: I thought verily I had seen a ghost, and 'twas nothing but the white curtain, with a black hood

pinned up against it; you may be gone again, I 40
am the fearfull'st fool. ----- Exit Maid.

Re-enter LOVELESS.

LOV. Is the coast clear?

BER. The coast clear! I suppose you are clear4 ----- you'd never play such a trick as this else.

LOV. I am very well pleased with my trick 45
thus far, and shall be so till I have played it out, if it ben't your fault: where's my wife?

BER. At cards.

LOV. With whom?

BER. With Worthy. 50

LOV. Then we are safe enough.

BER. Are you so? Some husbands would be of another mind, if he were at cards with their wives.

LOV. And they'd be in the right on't too. But I

dare trust mine. Besides, I know he's in love in 55
another place, and he's not one of those who court half a dozen at a time.

BER. Nay, the truth on't is, you'd pity him if you saw how uneasy he is at being engaged with us; but

'twas my malice: I fancied he was to meet his 60
mistress somewhere else, so did it to have the pleasure of seeing him fret.

LOV. What says Amanda to my staying abroad so late?

BER. Why, she's as much out of humor as he; 65
I believe they wish one another at the devil.

LOV. Then I'm afraid they'll quarrel at play, and soon throw up the cards; (offering to pull her into the closet) therefore, my dear charming angel, let us

make a good use of our time. 70

BER. Heavens, what do you mean?

LOV. Pray, what do you think I mean?

BER. I don't know.

LOV. I'll show you.

BER. You may as well tell me. 75

____________________
11] P like.
15] P upon the earth.
26] P frighted.
35] Q1Q2P om. Exit Loveless
35 s.d.] P om. Her.
36] P O Lord.
41] P fearfullest.
52] P You are so!
70] P om a.
1
Trifle.
2
Depressing.
3
The sub-title of Thomas Durfey's play, A Fond Husband.
4
A cant word for drunk.

-290-

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