der! Poor fool, I'll give thee ease immediately. ----- But, madam, you were pleased just now to offer me my revenge at piquet. Now, here's nobody within, and I think we can't make use of a better opportunity.
L. BET. Oh, no! not now, my lord; I have a 620 favor I would fain beg of you first.
L. FOP. But time, madam, is very precious in this place, and I shall not easily forgive myself if I don't take him by the forelock.
L. BET. But I have a great mind to have 625 a little more sport with my Lord Morelove first, and would fain beg your assistance.
L. FOP. Oh, with all my heart! -- (aside) and, upon second thoughts, I don't know but piquing a rival in public may be as good sport as being 630 well with a mistress in private: for, after all, the pleasure of a fine woman is like that of her own virtue, not so much in the thing as the reputation of having it. ----- Well, madam, but how can I serve you in this affair? 635
L. BET. Why, methought, as my Lord Morelove went out, he showed a stem resentment in his look that seemed to threaten me with rebellion and downright defiance. Now I have a great fancy that you and I should follow him to the terrace and 640 laugh at his resolution before he has time to put it in practice.
L. FOP. And so punish his fault before he commits it -- ha! ha! ha!
L. BET. Nay, we won't give him time, if his 645 courage should fail, to repent it.
L. FOP. Ha! ha! ha! let me blood, if I don't long to be at it! ha! hal
L. BET. Oh,'twill be such diversion to see him bite his lips and broil within, only with seeing us 650 ready to split our sides in laughing at nothing, ha! ha!
L. FOP. (aside). Ha! ha! I see the creature does really like me. -- And then, madam, to hear him hum a broken piece of a tune in affectation 655 of his not minding us--'twill be so foolish when we know he loves us to death all the while, ha! ha!
L. BET. And if at last his sage mouth should open in surly contradiction of our humor, then will we, in pure opposition to his, immediately fall foul 660 upon everything that is not gallant and fashionable; constancy shall be the mark of age and ugliness, virtue a jest; we'll rally discretion out of doors, lay gravity at our feet, and only love, free love, disorder, liberty and pleasure be our standing principles. 665
L. FOP. Madam, you transport me: for if ever I was obliged to nature for any one tolerable qualification, 'twas positively the talent of being exuberantly pleasant upon this subject. I am impatient -- my fancy's upon the wing already 670 -- let's fly to him.
L. BET. No, no; stay till I am just got out: our going together won't be so proper.
L. FOP. As your ladyship pleases, madam. But when this affair is over, you won't forget that 675 I have a certain revenge due.
L. BET. Ay! ay! after supper I am for you. Nay, you shan't stir a step, my lord.
L. FOP. (seeing her to the door). Only to tell you, you have fixed me yours to the last existence 680 of my soul's eternal entity.
L. BET. Oh, your servant! Exit.
L. FOP. Ha! Ha! stark mad for me, by all that's handsome! Poor Morelove! that a fellow who has ever been abroad should think a woman of her 685 spirit is to be taken as the confederates do towns, by a regular siege, when so many of the French successes might have shown him the surest way is to whisper the governor. How can a coxcomb give himself the fatigue of bombarding a woman's under 690 standing, when he may with so much ease make a friend of her constitution? I'll see if I can show him a little French play with Lady Betty. Let me see -- ay, I'll make an end of it the old way -- get her into piquet at her own lodgings, not mind 695 one tittle of my play, give her every game before she's half up, that she may judge the strength of my inclination by my haste of losing up to her price; then of a sudden, with a familiar leer, cry 'Rat piquet!' -- sweep counters, cards and money all upon 700 the floor, et donc -- l'affaire est faite.1Exit.
Scene, the Castle terrace.
Enter LADY BETTYand LADY EASY.
L. EA. My dear, you really talk to me as if I were your lover, and not your friend; or else I am so dull that by all you've said I can't make the least guess at your real thoughts. Can you be serious for a moment? 5
L. BET. Not easily, but I would do more to oblige you.
L. EA. Then pray deal ingenuously, and tell me without reserve, are you sure you don't love my Lord Morelove? 10
L. BET. Then seriously--I think not: but because I won't be positive, you shall judge by the worst of my symptoms. First, I own I like his con-____________________