British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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Charles, my life on't! he will retrieve his errors 55 yet. Their worthy father, once my honored master, was, at his years, nearly as wild a spark; yet, when he died, he did not leave a more benevolent heart to lament his loss.

SIR PET. You are wrong, blaster Rowley. 60
On their father's death, you know, I acted as a kind of guardian to them both, till their uncle Sir Oliver's Eastern liberality gave them an early independence; of course, no person could have more
opportunities of judging of their hearts, and I 65
was never mistaken in my life. Joseph is indeed a model for the young men of the age. He is a man of sentiment, and acts up to the sentiments he professes; but, for the other, take my word for't,
if he had any grains of virtue by descent, he 70
has dissipated them with the rest of his inheritance. Ah! my old friend, Sir Oliver, will be deeply mortified when he finds how part of his bounty has been misapplied.

ROW. I am sorry to find you so violent against 75
the young man, because this may be the most critical period of his fortune. I came hither with news that will surprise you.

SIR PET. What! let me hear.

ROW. Sir Oliver is arrived, and at this mo­ 80
ment in town.

SIR PET. How! you astonish me! I thought you did not expect him this month.

ROW. I did not; but his passage has been

remarkably quick. 85

SIR PET. Egad, I shall rejoice to see my old friend, -- 'tis sixteen years since we met -- we have had many a day together; but does he still enjoin us not to inform his nephews of his arrival?

ROW. Most strictly. He means, before it is 90
known, to make some trial of their dispositions.

SIR PET. Ah! There needs no art to discover their merits -- however, he shall have his way; but, pray, does he know I am married?

ROW. Yes, and will soon wish you joy. 95

SIR PET. What, as we drink health to a friend in a consumption! Ah, Oliver will laugh at me -- we used to rail at matrimony together -- but he has been steady to his text. Well, he must be at my house, though -- I'll instantly give orders 100 for his reception. But, Master Rowley, don't drop a word that Lady Teazle and I ever disagree.

ROW. By no means.

SIR PET. For I should never be able to stand

Noll's jokes; so I'd have him think, Lord for­ 105
give me! that we are a very happy couple.

ROW. I understand you -- but then you must be very careful not to differ while he's in the house with you.

SIR PET. Egad, and so we must -- and 110
that's impossible. Ah! Master Rowley, when an old bachelor marries a young wife, he deserves no -- the crime carries the punishment along with it. Exeunt.

End of Act 1st.





SIR PET. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it!

LADY TEAZ. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my

own way in everything, and what's more, I will5
too. -- What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.

SIR PET. Very well, ma'am, very well, -- so a

husband is to have no influence, no authority? 10
LADY TEAZ. Authority! No, to be sure -- if you wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married me; I am sure you were old enough.

SIR PET. Old enough! -- aye, there it is! -- 15
Well, well, Lady Teazle, though my life may be made unhappy by your temper, I'll not be ruined by your extravagance.

LADY TEAZ. My extravagance! I'm sure I'm not

more extravagant than a woman of fashion 20
ought to be.

SIR PET. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such unmeaning luxury. 'Slife! to spend as much to furnish your dressing-room

with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn 25
the Pantheon1 into a greenhouse, and give a fête champêtre2 at Christmas!

LADY TEAZ. Lord, Sir Peter, am I to blame because flowers are dear in cold weather? You

should find fault with the climate, and not with 30
me. For my part, I am sure I wish it was spring all the year round, and that roses grew under one's feet!

SIR PET. Oons! madam -- if you had been born

to this, I shouldn't wonder at your talking thus. 35

57] CSEMR yet; D but.
63] M omits -Eastern.
70] CSD grains; MR grain.
71] CSD them; MR it.
88] CSEMR us; D me.
99] CSD be at; M be soon at; R lie at (which he terms 'the obvious emendation').
102] CSEMR ever; D omits.
104] D shall for should.
108] CSD he's; MR he is.
113] CSDR the; M its.
ACT II] Hereafter the detailed collations, as given in Act I, are replaced by selective textual notes. See Appendix.
A fashionable concert-hall in Oxford Street.
An open-air festival.


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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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