THE WAY OF THE WORLD
By WILLIAM CONGREVE.
MIRABELLand FAINALL, rising from cards.
MIRA. You are a fortunate man, Mr. Fainall.
FAIN. Have we done?
MIRA. What you please. I'll play on to entertain
time, when you are not so indifferent; you are thinking of something else now, and play too negligently;
the coldness of a losing gamester lessens the pleasure
of the winner: I'd no more play with a man that
|FAIN. No, I'll give you your revenge another ||5|
woman who undervalued the loss of her reputation.
|slighted his ill fortune, than I'd make love to a ||10|
MIRA. You have a taste extremely delicate, and
are for refining on your pleasures.
FAIN. Prithee, why so reserved? Something has
MIRA. Not at all: I happen to be grave today;
and you are gay; that's all.
FAIN. Confess, Millamant and you quarrelled
last night, after I left you; my fair cousin has some
Stoic. What! some coxcomb came in, and was well
received by her, while you were by.
|humors that would tempt the patience of a ||20|
MIRA. Witwoud and Petulant; and what was
worse, her aunt, your wife's mother, my evil genius;
Wishfort came in.
|or to sum up all in her own name, my old Lady ||25|
FAIN. Oh, there it is then! She has a lasting
passion for you, and with reason. What! then my
wife was there?
four more, whom I never saw before; seeing me,
they all put on their grave faces, whispered one
another, then complained aloud of the vapors, and
after fell into a profound silence.
|MIRA. Yes, and Mrs. Marwood and three or ||30|
|FAIN. They had a mind to be rid of you. ||35|
MIRA. For which reason I resolved not to stir.
At last the good old lady broke through her painful
taciturnity, with an invective against long visits.
I would not have understood her, but Millamant
strained smile told her I thought nothing was so easy
as to know when a visit began to be troublesome;
she reddened and I withdrew, without expecting
|joining in the argument, I rose and with a con ||40|
spoke only in compliance with her aunt.
|FAIN. You were to blame to resent what she ||45|
MIRA. She is more mistress of herself than to be
under the necessity of such a resignation.
FAIN. What? though half her fortune depends
|upon her marrying with my lady's approbation? ||50|
MIRA. I was then in such a humor, that I should
have been better pleased if she had been less discreet.
FAIN. Now I remember, I wonder not they were
nights; they have 'em three times a week, and meet
by turns, at one another's apartments, where they
come together like the coroner's inquest, to sit upon
the murdered reputations of the week. You and I
|weary of you; last night was one of their cabal ||55|
the male sex should be excepted; but somebody
moved that to avoid scandal there might be one man
of the community; upon which motion Witwoud and
Petulant were enrolled members.
|are excluded; and it was once proposed that all ||60|
of this sect? My Lady Wishfort, I warrant, who
publishes her detestation of mankind; and full of the
vigor of fifty-five, declares for a friend and ratafia;
and let posterity shift for itself, she'll breed no
|MIRA. And who may have been the foundress ||65|
FAIN. The discovery of your sham addresses to
her, to conceal your love to her niece, has provoked
this separation: had you dissembled better, things
might have continued in the state of nature.
reasonable conscience; I proceeded to the very last
act of flattery with her, and was guilty of a song in
her commendation. Nay, I got a friend to put her
into a lampoon, and compliment her with the im
|MIRA. I did as much as man could, with any ||75|
I carried so far, that I told her the malicious town
took notice that she was grown fat of a sudden; and
when she lay in of a dropsy, persuaded her she was
reported to be in labor. The devil's in't, if an old
|putation of an affair with a young fellow, which ||80|
should endeavor downright personally to debauch
her; and that my virtue forbade me. But for the
discovery of that amour, I am indebted to your
friend, or your wife's friend, Mrs. Marwood.____________________
|woman is to be flattered further, unless a man ||85|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan.
Contributors: George Henry Nettleton - Editor, Arthur Eillicot Case - Editor.
Publisher: Boston ; Houghton Mifflin company,..
Place of publication: Boston; New York.
Publication year: 1939.
Page number: 313.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.