short apology at the latter end in the behalf of young ladies who notoriously wash1 and paint though 180 they have naturally good complexions.
EMIL. What a deal of stuff you tell us!
MED. Such as the town affords, madam. The Russians, hearing the great respect we have for foreign dancing, have lately sent over some of 185 their best balladines,2 who are now practising a famous ballet which will be suddenly3 danced at the Bear Garden.4
L. TOWN Pray, forbear your idle stories, and give us an account of the state of love as it now 190 stands.
MED. Truly, there has been some revolutions in those affairs -- great chopping and changing among the old, and some new lovers whom malice, indiscretion, and misfortune have luckily brought into 195 play.
L. TOWN. What think you of walking into the next room and sitting down before you engage in this business?
MED. I wait upon you, and I hope (though 200 women are commonly unreasonable) by the plenty of scandal I shall discover, to give you very good content, ladies. Exeunt.
[MRS. LOVEIT'S lodgings.]
Enter MRS. LOVEITand PERT. MRS. LOVEITputting up a letter, then pulling out her pocket-glass and looking in it.
LOV. I hate myself, I look so ill today.
PERT. Hate the wicked cause on't, that base man Mr. Dorimant, who makes you torment and vex 5 yourself continually.
LOV. He is to blame, indeed.
PERT. To blame to be two days without sending, writing, or coming near you, contrary to his oath and covenant! 'Twas to much purpose to make 10 him swear! I'll lay my life there's not an article but he has broken -- talked to the vizards i'the pit, waited upon the ladies from the boxes to their coaches, gone behind the scenes, and fawned upon those little insignificant creatures, the players. 15 'Tis impossible for a man of his inconstant temper to forbear, I'm sure.
LOV. I know he is a devil, but he has something of the angel yet undefaced in him, which makes him so charming and agreeable that I must love him, 20 be he never so wicked.
PERT. I little thought, madam, to see your spirit tamed to this degree, who banished poor Mr. Lackwit but for taking up another lady's fan in your presence. 25
LOV. My knowing of such odious fools contributes to the making of me love Dorimant the better.
PERT. Your knowing of Mr. Dorimant, in my mind, should rather make you hate all man 30 kind.
LOV. So it does, besides himself.
PERT. Pray, what excuse does he make in his letter?
LOV. He has had business. 35
PERT. Business in general terms would not have been a current excuse for another. A modish man is always very busy when he is in pursuit of a new mistress.
LOV. Some fop has bribed you to rail at him. 40 He had business; I will believe it, and will forgive him.
PERT. You may forgive him anything, but I shall never forgive him his turning me into ridicule, as I hear he does. 45
LOV. I perceive you are of the number of those fools his wit [has] made his enemies.
PERT. I am of the number of those he's pleased to rally, madam, and if we may believe Mr. Wagfan and Mr . Caperwell, he sometimes makes merry 50 with yourself too, among his laughing companions.
LOV. Blockheads are as malicious to witty men as ugly women are to the handsome; 'tis their interest, and they make it their business to defame 'em.
PERT. I wish Mr. Dorimant would not make 55 it his business to defame you.
LOV. Should he, I had rather be made infamous by him than owe my reputation to the dull discretion of those fops you talk of.
-- Bellinda! (Running to her.) 60
BELL. My dear!
LOV. You have been unkind of late.
BELL. Do not say unkind -- say unhappy.
LOV. I could chide you. Where have you been these two days? 65
BELL. Pity me rather, my dear; where I have been so tired with two or three country gentlewomen, whose conversation has been more unsufferable than a country fiddle.
LOV. Are they relations? 70
BELL. No; Welsh acquaintance I made when I____________________