to me! This asks a little thinking -- something 60 should be done. I'll see her instantly, and be resolved from her behavior. Exit.
The scene changes to another room.
Enter LADY EASY and EDGING.
L. EA. Where have you been, Edging?
EDG. Been, madam! I -- I -- I -- I came as soon as I heard you ring, madam.
L. EA. (aside). How guilt confounds her! but she's below my thought. -- Fetch my last new scarf 5 hither -- I have a mind to alter it a little -- make haste!
EDG. Yes, madam. ----- [Aside.] I see she does not suspect anything. Exit.
L. EA. (sitting down;). Heigh ho! I had forgot 10 -- but I'm unfit for writing now. 'Twas an hard conflict -- yet it's a joy to think it over, a secret pride to tell my heart my conduct has been just. How low are vicious minds, that offer injuries: how much superior innocence that bears 'em! Still, 15 there's a pleasure even in the melancholy of a quiet conscience. Away, my fears! it is not yet impossible -- for while his humane nature is not quite shook off, I ought not to despair.
Re-enter EDGING with a scarf.
EDG. Here's the scarf, madam. 20
L. EA. So, sit down there and -- let me see -- here, rip off all that silver!
EDG. Indeed, I, always thought it would become your ladyship better without it. But now suppose, madam, you carried another row of gold round 25 the scollops, and then you take and lay this silver plain all along the gathers, and your ladyship will perfectly see it will give the thing ten thousand times another air.
L. EA. Prithee don't be impertinent: do as I 30 bid you!
EDG. Nay, madam, with all my heart; your ladyship may do as you please.
L. EA. (aside). This creature grows so confident, and I dare not part with her, lest he should think 35 it jealousy.
Enter SIR CHARLES.
SIR CHA. So, my dear! What, at work! How are you employed, pray?
L. EA. I was thinking to alter this scarf here.
SIR CHA. What's amiss? methinks it's very 40 pretty.
EDG. Yes, Sir, it's pretty enough, for that matter, but my lady has a mind it should be proper, too.
SIR CHA. Indeed!
L. EA. I fancy plain gold and black would 45 become me better.
SIR CHA. That's a grave thought, my dear.
EDG. Oh, dear sir, not at all! my lady's much in the right; I am sure, as it is, it's fit for nothing but a girl. 50
SIR CHA. Leave the room!
EDG. Lard, sir! I can't stir, I must stay to -----
SIR CHA. (angrily). Go!
EDG. (throwing down the work hastily and crying aside). If ever I speak to him again I'll be 55 burned.
SIR CHA. Sit still, my dear, -- I came to talk with you, and -- which you well may wonder at -- what I have to say is of importance, too, but 'tis in order to my hereafter always talking kindly to you. 60
L. EA. Your words were never disobliging, nor can I charge you with a look that ever had the appearance of unkind.
SIR CHA. The perpetual spring of your good humor lets me draw no merit from what I have ap 65 peared to be, which makes me curious now to know your thoughts of what I really am: and never having asked you this before, it puzzles me; nor can I (my strange negligence considered) reconcile to reason your first thoughts of venturing upon marriage 70 with me.
L. EA. I never thought it such an hazard.
SIR CRA. How could a woman of your restraint in principles, sedateness, sense, and tender disposition, propose to see an happy life with one 75 (now I reflect) that hardly took an hour's pains ev'n before marriage, to appear but what I am? -- a loose, unheeding wretch, absent in all I do, civil, and as often rude without design, unseasonably thoughtful, easy to a fault, and, in my best of praise, 80 but carelessly good-natured. How shall I reconcile your temper with having made so strange a choice?
L. EA. Your own words may answer you -- your having never seemed to be but what you really were; and through that carelessness of temper there 85 still shone forth to me an undesigning honesty I always doubted of in smoother faces. Thus, while I saw you took least pains to win me, you pleased and wooed me most: nay, I have often thought that such a temper could never be deliberately unkind, or, 90 at the worst, I knew that errors from want of thinking might be borne, at least when probably one moment's serious thought would end 'em. These were my worst of fears, and these, when weighed by growing love against my solid hopes, were nothing. 95
SIR CHA. My dear, your understanding startles me, and justly calls my own in question. I blush to____________________