MELISSA. Prithee explain it then, nor keep me longer in suspense.
KITTY. The affair is this, Madam: Mr. Gayless is over head and ears in debt; you are over head and ears in love; you'll marry him tomorrow. The next day your whole fortune goes to his creditors, and you and your children are to live comfortably upon the re mainder.10
MELISSA. I cannot think him base.
KITTY. But I know they are all base. You are very young and very ignorant of the sex; I am young too, but have more experience; you never was in love before; I have been in love with an hundred and tried 'em all and know 'em to be a parcel of barbarous, perjured, deluding, bewitching devils.
MELISSA. The low wretches you have had to do with may answer the character you give 'em; but Mr. Gayless --
KITTY. Is a man, Madam.
MELISSA. I hope so, Kitty, or I would have nothing to do with him.20
KITTY. With all my heart--I have given you my sentiments upon the occasion, and shall leave you to your own inclinations.
MELISSA. Oh, Madam, I am much obliged to you for your great condescension, ha, ha, ha! However, I have so great a regard for your opinion, that had I certain proofs of his villainy --
KITTY. Of his poverty you may have a hundred; I am sure I have had none to the contrary.
MELISSA (aside). Oh, there the shoe pinches.
KITTY. Nay, so far from giving me the usual perquisites of my place, he has not so much as kept me in temper with little endearing30 civilities; and one might reasonably expect when a man is deficient in one way, that he should make it up in another.
MELISSA. So who's at the door.
I must be cautious how I hearken too much to this girl; her bad opinion of Mr. Gayless seems to arise from his disregard of her.
Enter Sharp and Kitty.
So, Sharp; have you found your master? Will things be ready for the ball and entertainment?
SHARP. To your wishes, Madam. I have just now bespoke the music and supper, and wait now for your ladyship's farther commands.
MELISSA. My compliments to your master, and let him know I and40 my company will be with him by six. We design to drink tea and play at cards before we dance.