British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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may be come. But let me tell you one thing by 115
the way, sirrah: I doubt you have been an idle fellow; if thou hadst behaved thyself as thou shouldst have done, the girl would never have left thee. Exeunt.


SCENE [II]
BERINTHIA's apartment.

Enter her Maid, passing the stage, followed by
WORTHY.

WOR. Hem, Mrs. Abigail, is your mistress to be spoken with?

AB. By you, sir, I believe she may.

WOR. Why 'tis by me I would have her spoken

with. 5

AD. I'll acquaint her, sir. Exit ABIGAIL.

WOR. (solus). One lift more I must persuade her to give me, and then I'm mounted. Well, a young bawd and a handsome one for my money: 'tis they

do the execution; I'll never go to an old one, but 10
when I have occasion for a witch. Lewdness looks heavenly to a woman when an angel appears in its cause, but when a hag is advocate, she thinks it comes from the devil. An old woman has something so terrible in her looks, that whilst she is persuading your mistress to forget she has a soul, she stares bell and damnation full in her face.

Enter BERINTHIA.

BER. Well, sir, what news bring you?

WOR. No news, madam: there's a woman going

to cuckold her husband. 20

BER. Amanda?

WOR. I hope so.

BER. Speed her well.

WOR. Ay, but there must be a more than a God

speed, or your charity won't be worth a farthing. 25

BER. Why, han't I done enough already?

WOR. Not quite.

BER. What's the matter?

WOR. The lady has a scruple still, which you must

remove. 30

BER. What's that?

WOR. Her virtue ----- she says.

BER. And do you believe her?

WOR. No, but I believe it's what she takes for her

virtue; it's some relics of lawful love: she is not 35
yet fully satisfied her husband has got another mistress, which unless I can convince her of, I have opened the trenches in vain, for the breach must be wider before I dare storm the town.

BER. And so I'm to be your engineer? 40
WOR. I'm sure you know best how to manage the battery.

BER. What think you of springing a mine? I have a thought just now come into my head, how to

blow her up at once. 45

WOR. That would be a thought, indeed!

BER. ----- Faith, I'll do't, and thus the execution of it shall be. We are all invited to my Lord Foppington's tonight to supper; he's come to town with

his bride, and makes a ball, with an entertain­ 50
ment of music. Now you must know, my undoer here, Loveless, says he must needs meet me about some private business (I don't know what 'tis) before we go to the company. To which end he has told his
wife one lie, and I have told her another. But 55
to make her amends, I'll go immediately and tell her a solemn truth.

WOR. What's that?

BER. Why, I'll tell her, that to my certain knowl

edge her husband has a rendezvous with his mis­ 60
tress this afternoon; and that if she'll give me her word she'll be satisfied with the discovery without making any violent inquiry after the woman, I'll direct her to a place where she shall see 'em meet.
Now, friend, this I fancy may help you to a 65
critical minute. For home she must go again to dress. You, with your good-breeding, come to wait upon us to the hall, find her all alone, her spirit enflamed against her husband for his treason, and her
flesh in a heat from some contemplations upon 70
the treachery; her blood on a fire, her conscience in ice; a lover to draw, and the devil to drive ----- Ah, poor Amanda!

WOR. (kneeling). Thou angel of right, let me fall

down and adore thee! 75

BER. Thou minister of darkness, get up again, for I hate to see the devil at his devotions.

WOR. Well, my incomparable Berinthia ----- how shall I requite you -----?

BER. Oh, ne'er trouble yourself about that: 80
virtue is its own reward: there's a pleasure in doing good, which sufficiently pays itself. Adieu.

WOR. Farewell, thou best of women.

Exeunt several ways.

Enter AMANDA, meeting BERINTHIA.

AMAN. Who was that went from you?

BER. A friend of yours. 85

AMAN. What does he want?

BER. Something you might spare him, and be ne'er the poorer.

AMAN. I can spare him nothing but my friendship;

my love already's all disposed of: though, I con­ 90
fess, to one ungrateful to my bounty.

BER. Why, there's the mystery: you have been so bountiful you have cloyed him. Fond wives do by their husbands as barren wives do by their lap

____________________
26] Q1Q2 Why han't; P Why, han't.
50] P maketh.
62] P she will.
64] P them.
68] Q1 ball. Find; Q2P ball, find.

-297-

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