British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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Lard! can't you sit still and talk with one? I am

sure there's ten times more love in that, and fifty 55
times the satisfaction, people may say what they will.

SIR CHA. Well! now you're good you shall have your own way. I am going to lie down in the next room, and, since you love a little chat, come and

throw my night-gown over me, and you shall 60
talk me to sleep. Exit SIR CHARLES.

EDG. Yes, sir. -- For all his way, I see he likes me still.

Exit after him.


The scene changes to the terrace.


L. MO. Nay, madam, there you are too severe upon him, for bating now and then a little vanity, my Lord Foppington does not want wit sometimes to make him a very tolerable woman's man.

L. BET. But such eternal vanity grows tire­ 5

L. EA. Come, if he were not so loose in his morals, vanity, methinks, might easily be excused, considering how much 'tis in fashion. For pray observe,

what's half the conversation of most of the fine 10
young people about town but a perpetual affectation of appearing foremost in the knowledge of manners, new modes, and scandal? and in that I don't see anybody comes up to him.

L. MO. Nor I, indeed -- and here he comes. 15
[To LADY BETTY.] Pray, madam, let's have a little more of him; nobody shows him to more advantage than your ladyship.

L. BET. Nay, with all my heart; you'll second

me, my lord. 20

L. MO. Upon occasion, madam.

L. EA. (aside, and smiling to LORD MORELOVE). Engaging upon parties, my lord?


L. FOP. So, ladies! what's the affair now?

L. BET. Why, you were, my lord; I was allow­ 25
ing you a great many good qualities, but Lady Easy says you are a perfect hypocrite, and that whatever airs you give yourself to the women, she's confident you value no woman in the world equal to your,
own lady. 30

L. FOP. You see, madam, how I am scandalized upon your account. But it's so natural for a prude to be malicious when a man endeavors to be well with anybody but herself: did you never observe

she was piqued at that before? Ha! ha! 35

L. BET. I'll swear you are a provoking creature.

L. FOP. Let's be more familiar upon't and give her disorder: ha! ha!

L. BET. Ha! ha! ha!

L. FOP. Stap my breath, but Lady Easy is an 40
admirable discoverer. Marriage is indeed a prodigious security of one's inclination: a man's likely to take a world of pains in an employment where he can't be turned out for his idleness.

L. BET. I vow, my lord, that's vastly generous 45
to all the fine women; you are for giving 'em a despotic power in love, I see, to reward and punish as they think fit.

L. FOP. Ha! ha! Right, madam! what signifies

beauty without power? And a fine woman when 50
she's married makes as ridiculous a figure as a beaten general marching out of a garrison.

L. EA. I'm afraid, Lady Betty, the greatest danger in your use of power would be from a too

heedless liberality; you would more mind the 55
man than his merit.

L. FOP. (to LADY BETTY). Piqued again, by all that's fretful! Well, certainly to give envy is a pleasure inexpressible.

L. BET. Ha! ha! ha! 60

L. EA. (aside to LORD MORELOVE). Does not she show him well, my lord?

L. MO. (to LADY EASY). Perfectly, and me too to myself, for now I almost blush to think I ever was

uneasy at him. 65

L. FOP. Lady Easy, I ask ten thousand pardons! I'm afraid I am rude all this while.

L. EA. Oh, not at all, my lord: you are always good company when you please: not but in some things,

indeed, you are apt to be like other fine gentle - 70
men, a little too loose in your principles.

L. FOP. O madam! never to the offence of the ladies; I agree in any community with them; nobody is a more constant churchman, when the fine women

are there. 75

L. EA. Oh fie, my lord! you ought not to go for their sakes at all. And I wonder you, that are for being such a good husband of your virtues, are not afraid of bringing your prudence into a lampoon or

a play. 80

L. BET. Lampoons and plays, madam, are only things to be laughed at.

L. MO. Plays now, indeed, we need not be so much afraid of, for since the late short-sighted view of

I em1 vice may go on and prosper; the stage 85
dares hardly show a vicious person speaking like himself, for fear of being called profane for exposing him.

L. EA. 'Tis hard, indeed, when people won't distinguish between what's meant for contempt and

what for example. 90

8] DD be easily.
16] P (some copies, according to Habbema) om. madam.
46] DD them.
60] DD Ha! ha!
63] DD om. too.
66] QQ Ha! ha! Lady Easy.
83] QQDD one need.
I.e., Collier's Short View.


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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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