British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

but for my own, and if you can contrive any way of being a whore without making me a cuckold, do it

and welcome. 440

MRS. SUL. Sir, I thank you kindly; you would allow me the sin but rob me of the pleasure. -- No, no, I'm resolved never to venture upon the crime without the satisfaction of seeing you punished for't.

SUL. Then will you grant me this, my dear? 445
Let anybody else do you the favor but that Frenchman, for I mortally hate his whole generation. Exit.

COUNT BEL. Ah, sir, that be ungrateful, for begar, I love some of yours. -- Madam -----

(Approaching her.)

MRS. SUL. No, sir. -- 450

COUNT BEL. No, sir! -- Garzoon, madam, I am not your husband!

MRS. SUL. 'Tis time to undeceive you, sir. I believed your addresses to me were no more than an

amusement, and I hope you will think the same 455
of my complaisance; and to convince you that you ought, you must know that I brought you hither only to make you instrumental in setting me right with my husband, for he was planted to listen by my
appointment. 460

COUNT BEL. By your appointment?

MRS. SUL. Certainly.

COUNT BEL. And so, madam, while I was telling twenty stories to part you from your husband, begar,

I was bringing you together all the while? 465

MRS. SUL. I ask your pardon, Sir, but I hope this will give you a taste of the virtue of the English ladies.

COUNT BEL. Begar, madam, your virtue be vera great, but garzoon, your honeste be vera little.

Enter DORINDA.

MRS. SUL. Nay, now, you're angry, sir. 470

COUNT BEL. Angry! - Fair Dorinda. (Sings'Dorinda,' the opera tune, and addresses to DORINDA.) Madam, when your ladyship want a fool, send for me. Fair Dorinda, Revenge, etc.1Exit.

MRS. SUL. There goes the true humor of his 475
nation -- resentment with good manners, and the height of anger in a song! -- Well, sister, you must be judge, for you have heard the trial.

DOR. And I bring in my brother guilty.

MRS. SUL. But I must bear the punishment. 480
'Tis hard, sister.

DOR. I own it; but you must have patience.

MRS. SUL. Patience! the cant of custom -- Providence sends no evil without a remedy -- should I

lie groaning under a yoke I can shake Off, I 485
were accessary to my ruin, and my patience were no better than self-murder.

DOR. But how can you shake off the yoke? Your divisions,2, don't come within the reach of the law

for a divorce. 490

MRS. SUL. Law! what law can search into the remote abyss of nature? what evidence can prove the unaccountable disaffections of wedlock? Can a jury sum up the endless aversions that are rooted in our

souls, or can a bench give judgment upon an­ 495
tipathies?

DOR. They never pretended, sister; they never meddle, but in case of uncleanness.

MRS. SUL. Uncleanness! O sister! casual viola

tion is a transient injury, and may possibly be 500
repaired, but can radical hatreds be ever reconciled? -- No, no, sister, nature is the first lawgiver, and when she has set tempers opposite, not all the golden links of wedlock nor iron manacles of law can keep
'um fast. 505

Wedlock we own ordained by heaven's decree, But such as heaven ordained it first to be -- Concurring tempers in the man and wife As mutual helps to draw the load of life.

View all the works of Providence above, 510
The stars with harmony and concord move;

View all the works of Providence below,
The fire, the water, earth, and air, we know,
All in one plant agree to make it grow.

Must man, the chiefest work of art divine, 515
Be doomed in endless discord to repine? No, we should injure heaven by that surmise; Omnipotence is just, were man but wise.


ACT IV

[SCENE I]

Scene continues.

Enter MRS. SULLEN.

MRS. SUL. Were I born an humble Turk, where women have no soul nor property, there I must sit contented. But in England, a country whose women are its glory, must women be abused? where women

rule, must women be enslaved? nay, cheated into 5
slavery, mocked by a promise of comfortable society into a wilderness of solitude? I dare not keep the thought about me. -- Oh, here comes something to divert me.

Enter a Country Women.

WOM. I come, an't please your ladyships -- 10
you're my lady Bountiful, an't ye?

MRS. SUL. Well, good woman, go on.

____________________
505] C 'em.
ACT IV.10] ladyship.
1
Stonehill suggests that the count combines snatches from Buononcini's opera Camilla ( 1706), with libretto by Stampiglio, translated by MacSwiney. In the first act Lavinia sings in air, 'Fair Dorinda, happy, happy, happy may'st thou ever be': in the second act an air sung by Camilla begins, 'Revenge, revenge I summon.'
2
Disagreements.

-370-

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