British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

MRS. SUL. But I must tell you, sir, that this is

not to be borne. 115

SUL. I'm glad on't.

MRS. SUL. What is the reason, sir, that you use me thus inhumanely?

SUL. Scrub!

SCRUB. Sir. 120

SUL. Get things ready to shave my head.

Exit [followed by SCRUB].

MRS. SUL. Have a care of coming near his temples, Scrub, for fear you meet something there that may turn the edge of your razor. -- Inveterate stupidity! did you ever know so hard, so ob­ 125 stinate a spleen as his? O sister, sister! I shall never ha' good of the beast till I get him to town: London, dear London, is the place for managing and breaking a husband.

DOR. And has not a husband the same op­ 130
portunities there for humbling a wife?

MRS. SUL. No, no, child, 'tis a standing maxim in conjugal discipline, that when a man would en- slave his wife, he hurries her into the country; and when a lady would be arbitrary with her hus­ 135 band, she wheedles her booby up to town. A man dare not play the tyrant in London, because there are so many examples to encourage the subject to rebel. O Dorinda, Dorinda! a fine woman may do

anything in London: o'my conscience, she may 140
raise an army of forty thousand men.

DOR. I fancy, sister, you have a mind to be trying your power that way here in Lichfield; you have drawn the French count to your colors already.

MRS. SUL. The French are a people that 145
can't live without their gallantries.

DOR. And some English that I know, sister, are not averse to such amusements.

MRS. SUL--Well, sister, since the truth must out,

it may do as well now as hereafter; I; think one 150
way to rouse my lethargic, sottish husband is to give him a rival. Security begets negligence in all people, and men must be alarmed to make 'em alert in their duty: women are like pictures, of no value in the
hands of a fool, till he hears men of sense bid 155
high for the purchase.

DOR. This might do, sister, if my brother's understanding were to be convinced into a passion for you; but I fancy there's a natural aversion of his

side; and I fancy, sister, that you don't come 160
much behind him, if you dealt fairly.

MRS. SUL. I own it, we are united contradictions, fire and water. But I could be contented, with a great many other wives, to humor the censorious

mob, and give the world an appearance of living 165
well with my husband, could I bring him but to dissemble a little kindness to keep me in countenance.

DOR. But how do you know, sister, but that, instead of rousing your husband by this artifice to a

counterfeit kindness, he shouild awake in a real 170

Mrs. SUL. Let him: if I can't entice him to the one, I would provoke him to the other.

DOR. But how must I behave myself between ye?

Mrs. SUL. You must assist me. 175

DOR. What, against my own brother!

Mrs. SUL. He's but half a brother, and I'm your entire friend. If I go a step beyond the bounds of honor, leave me; till then, I expect you should go

along with me in everything; while I trust my 180
honor in your hands, you may trust your brother's in mine. The count is to dine here today.

DOR. 'Tis a strange thing, sister, that I can't like that man.

Mrs. SUL. You like nothing; your time is 185
not come: love and death have their fatalities, and strike home one time or other. You'll pay for all one day, I warrant ye. But come, my lady's tea is ready, and 'tis almost church time. Exeunt.


The inn.

Enter AIMWELLdressed, and ARCHER.

AIM. And was she the daughter of the house?

ARCH. The landlord is so blind as to think so; but I dare swear she has better blood in her veins.

AIM. Why dost think so?

ARCH. Because the baggage has a pert je ne 5
sais quioi;1 she reads plays, keeps a monkey, and is troubled with vapors.

AIM. By which discoveries I guess that you know more of her.

ARCH. Not yet, faith; the lady gives herself 10
airs; forsooth, nothing under a gentleman!

AIM. Let me take her in hand.

ARCH. Say one word more o' that, and I'll declare myself, spoil your sport there, and everywhere else;

look ye, Aimwell, every man in his own sphere. 15

AIM. Right; and therefore you must pimp for your master.

ARCH. In the usual forms, good sir, after I have served myself.-- But to our business. You are so

well dressed, Tom, and make so handsome a 20
figure, that I fancy you may do execution in a country church; the exterior part strikes first, and you're in the right to make that impression favorable.

AIM. There's something in that which may turn

to advantage. The appearance of a stranger in 25
a country church draws as many gazers as a blazingstar; no sooner he comes into the cathedral, but a train of whispers runs buzzing round the congregation in a moment: 'Who is he? Whence comes he?
Do you know him?' Then I sir, tips me the 30
verger with half a crown; he pockets the simony,

An inexpressible something.


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