By COLLEY CIBBER
Scene, SIR CHARLES EASY'S lodgings.
Enter LADY EASYalone.
L. EA. Was ever woman's spirit, by an injurious husband, broke like mine? A vile, licentious man! must he bring home his follies too? Wrong me with my very servant! Oh, how tedious a relief is patience! and yet in my condition 'tis the only 5 remedy, for to reproach him with my wrongs is taking on myself the means of a redress, bidding defiance to his falsehood, and naturally but provokes him to undo me. Th' uneasy thought of my continual jealousy may tease him to a fixed aver 10 sion, and hitherto, though he neglects, I cannot think he hates me. -- It must be so: since I want power to please him, he never shall upbraid me with an attempt of making him uneasy ----- My eyes and tongue shall yet be blind and silent to my 15 wrongs, nor would I have him think my virtue could suspect him, till by some gross apparent proof of his misdoing he forces me to see -- and to forgive it.
Enter EDGING hastily.
EDG. Oh, madam!
L. EA. What's the matter? 20
EDG. I have the strangest thing to show your ladyship -- such a discovery -----
L. EA. You are resolved to make it without much ceremony, I find. What's the business, pray?
EDG. The business, madam! I have not pa 25 tience to tell you -- I am out of breath at the very thoughts on't -- I shall not be able to speak this half hour.
L. EA. Not to the purpose, I believe; but methinks you talk impertinently with a great deal of ease. 30
EDG. Nay, madam, perhaps not so impertinent as your ladyship thinks: there's that will speak to the purpose, I am sure -- a base man!
(Gives a letter.)
L. EA. What's this -- an open letter? Whence comes it? 35
EDG. Nay, read it, madam, you'll soon guess ----- if these are the tricks of husbands, keep me a maid still, say I.
L. EA. (looking on the superscription, aside). 'To Sir Charles Easy!' Ha! Too well I know this 40 hateful hand. Oh, my heart! but I must veil my jealousy, which 'tis not fit this creature should suppose I am acquainted with. -- This direction is to your master: how came you by it?
EDG. Why, madam, as my master was lying 45 down, after he came in from hunting, he sent me into his dressing-room to fetch his snuff-box out of his waistcoat-pocket, and so, as I was searching for the box, madam, there I found this wicked letter from a mistress, which I had no sooner read but, I de 50 clare it, my very blood rose at him again: methought I could have torn him and her to pieces.
L. EA. (aside). Intolerable! This odious thing's jealous of him herself, and wants me to join with her in a revenge upon him. Sure I am fallen indeed! 55 But 'twere to make me lower yet, to let her think I understand her.
EDG. Nay, pray, madam, read it; you'll be out of patience at it.
L. EA. You are bold, mistress; has my indul 60 gence [or] your master's good humor flattered you into the assurance of reading his letters? -- a liberty I never gave myself. Here -- lay it where you had it immediately: should he know of your sauciness, 'twould not be my favor could protect you. 65
Exit LADY EASY.
EDG. Your favor! Marry come up! Sure I don't depend upon your favor! -- 'tis not come to that, I hope. Poor creature -- don't you think I am my master's mistress for nothing: you shall find, madam, I won't be snapped up as I have been. 70 Not but it vexes me to think she should not be as uneasy as I. I am sure he's a base man to me, and I could cry my eyes out that she should not think him as bad to her every jot. If I am wronged, sure she may very well expect it, that is but his wife. A 75 conceited thing! -- she need not be so easy neither -- I am as handsome as she, I hope. Here's my master -- I'll try whether I am to be huffed by her or no.
Enter SIR CHARLES EASY.
SIR CHA. So! the day is come again. Life but rises to another stage, and the same dull journey 80 is before us. How like children do we judge of hap-____________________