British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

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

THE JEALOUS WIFE

BY GEORGE COLMAN, THE ELDER


ACT I

SCENE [I]

A room in OAKLY'S house. Noise heard within.

MRS. OAKLY (within). Don't tell me! I know it is so. It's monstrous, and I will not bear it.

OAKLY (within). But, my dear!

MRS. OAK. [within]. Nay, nay, etc.

(Squabbling within.)

Enter MRS. OAKLY, with a letter, OAKLY following.

MRS. OAK. Say what you will, Mr. Oakly, 5
you shall never persuade me but this is some filthy intrigue of yours.

OAK. I can assure you, my love --

MRS. OAK. Your love! Don't I know your -- Tell me, I say, this instant, every circumstance 10 relating to this letter.

OAK. How can I tell you, when you will not so much as let me see it?

MRS. OAK. Look you, Mr. Oakly, this usage is not to be borne. You take a pleasure in 15 abusing my tenderness and soft disposition. To be perpetually running over the whole town, nay, the whole kingdom too, in pursuit of your amours! Did not I discover that you were great with Mademoiselle, my own woman? Did not you con­ 20 tract a shameful familiarity with Mrs. Freeman? Did not I detect your intrigue with Lady Wealthy? Were not you --

OAK. Ooons, madam, the Grand Turk himself has not half so many mistresses! You throw 25 me out of all patience. Do I know anybody but our common friends? Am I visited by anybody that does not visit you? Do I ever go out, unless you go with me? And am I not as constantly by

your side as if I was tied to your apron strings? 30

MRS. OAK. Go, go, you are a false man. Have not I found you out a thousand times? And have I not this moment a letter in my hand, which convinces me of your baseness? Let me know the

whole affair, or I will -- 35

OAK. Let you know! -- Let me know what you would have of me. You stop my letter before it comes to my hands, and then expect that I should know the contents of it.

MRS. OAK. Heaven be praised! I stopped 40 it. I suspected some of these doings for some time past. But the letter informs me who she is, and I'll be revenged on her sufficiently. O, you base man, you!

OAK. I beg, my dear, that you would mod­ 45 erate your passion! Show me the letter, and I'll convince you of my innocence.

MRS. OAK. Innocence! abominable! innocence! But I am not to be made such a fool. I am con

vinced of your perfidy, and very sure that -- 50

OAK. 'Sdeath and fire! your passion hurries you out of your senses. Will you hear me?

MRS. OAK. No, you are a base man, and I will not hear you.

OAK. Why then, my dear, since you will 55 neither talk reasonably yourself, nor listen to reason from me, I shall take my leave till you are in a better humor. So, your servant! (Going.)

MRS. OAK. Ay, go, you cruel man! Go to your

mistresses, and leave your poor wife to her 60
miseries. How unfortunate a woman am I! I could die with vexation.

(Throwing herself into a chair.)

OAK. There it is. Now dare not I stir a step further. If I offer to go, she is in one of her fits in an instant. Never, sure, was woman at once 65 of so violent and so delicate a constitution! What shall I say to soothe her? -- Nay, never make thyself so uneasy, my dear. Come, come, you know I love you. Nay, nay, you shall be convinced.

MRS. OAK. I know you hate me; and that 70 your unkindness and barbarity will be the death of me. (Whining.)

OAK. Do not vex yourself at this rate. I love you most passionately. Indeed I do. This must

be some mistake. 75

MRS. OAK. O, I am an unhappy woman!

(Weeping.)

OAK. Dry up thy tears, my love, and be comforted! -- You will find that I am not to blame in this matter. Come, let me see this letter. Nay,

you shall not deny me. (Taking the letter.) 80

MRS. OAK. There! take it! You know the hand, I am sure.

OAK. (reading). 'To CHARLES OAKLY, ESQ.' -- Hand! 'Tis a clerk-like hand, indeed! A good

round text! and was certainly never penned 85
by a fair lady.

MRS. OAK. Ay, laugh at me, do!

____________________
19] OO was.
23] OO was.

-679-

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