sobbing! -- 'Sdeath! what a brute am I to use her thus! Yet stay! -- Aye -- she is coming now. -- How little resolution there is in woman! -- How a few soft words can turn them! No, faith! 135 -- she is not coming either! Why, Julia -- my love -- say but that you forgive me -- come but to tell me that. -- Now, this is being too resentful. -- Stay! she is coming too -- I thought she would -- no steadiness in anything! her going away must 140 have been a mere trick then. -- She sha'n't see that I was hurt by it. -- I'll affect indifference. -- (Hums a tune: then listens.) ----- No -- Z--ds! she's not coming! -- nor don't intend it, I suppose. -- This is not steadiness, but obstinacy! Yet I deserve it. 145 -- What, after so long an absence to quarrel with her tenderness! -- 'twas barbarous and unmanly! -- I should be ashamed to see her now. -- I'll wait till her just resentment is abated -- and when I distress her so again, may I lose her forever! and be 150 linked instead to some antique virago, whose gnawing passions, and long-hoarded spleen shall make me curse my folly half the day, and all the night!
MRS. MAALAPROP'S lodgings.
MRS. MALAPROP, with a letter in her hand, and
MRS. MAL. Your being Sir Anthony's son, Captain, would itself be a sufficient accommodation; -- but from the ingenuity of your appearance, I am convinced you deserve the character here given of you.
ABS. Permit me to say, madam, that as I 5 never yet have had the pleasure of seeing Miss Languish, my principal inducement in this affair at present is the honor of being allied to Mrs. Malaprop; of whose intellectual accomplishments, elegant manners, and unaffected learning, no tongue is 10 silent.
MRS. MAL. Sir, you do me infinite honor! -- I beg, Captain, you'll be seated. -- (Sit) -- Ah! few gentlemen now-a-days know how to value the ineffectual qualities in a woman! -- few think how a little 15 knowledge becomes a gentlewoman! Men have no sense now but for the worthless flower of beauty!
ABS. It is but too true, indeed, ma'am. -- Yet I fear our ladies should share the blame -- they think our admiration of beauty so great, that 20knowledge in them would be superfluous. Thus, like garden-trees, they seldom show fruit till time has robbed them of the more specious blossom. -- Few, like Mrs. Malaprop and the orange-tree, are rich in both at once! 25
MRS. MAL. Sir -- you overpower me with goodbreeding. -- He is the very pine-apple of politeness! -- You are not ignorant, Captain, that this giddy girl has somehow contrived to fix her affections on a beggarly, strolling, eaves-dropping Ensign, 30 whom none of us have seen, and nobody knows anything of.
ABS. O, I have heard the silly affair before. -- I'm not at all prejudiced against her on that account.
MRS. MAL. You are very good, and very con 35 siderate, Captain. -- I am sure I have done everything in my power since I exploded the affair! Long ago I laid my positive conjunctions on her never to think on the fellow again; -- I have since laid Sir Anthony's preposition before her; -- 40 but, I'm sorry to say, she seems resolved to decline every particle that I enjoin her.
ABS. It must be very distressing, indeed, ma'am.
MRS. MAL. Oh! it gives me the hydrostatics to such a degree! -- I thought she had persisted 45 from corresponding with him; but behold this very day I have interceded another letter from the fellow! I believe I have it in my pocket.
ABS. (aside). O the devil! my last note.
MRs. MAL. Aye, here it is. 50 ABS. (aside). Aye, my note, indeed! O the little traitress Lucy.
MRS. MAL. There, perhaps you may know the writing. (Gives him the letter.)
ABS. I think I have seen the hand before -- 55 yes, I certainly must have seen this hand before: -----
MRS. MAL. Nay, but read it, Captain.
ABS. (reads). 'My soul's idol, my adored Lydia!' --
Very tender, indeed!
MRS. MAL. Tender! aye, and profane, too, 60 o' my conscience!
ABS. 'I am excessively alarmed at the intelligence you send me, the more so as my new rival' -----
MRS. MAL. That's you, sir.
ABS. 'has universally the character of being an 65 accomplished gentleman, and a man of honor.' ----- Well, that's handsome enough.
MRS. MAL. O, the fellow had some design in writing so.
ABS. That he had, I'll answer for him, ma'am. 70
MRS. MAL.. But go on, sir -- you'll see presently.
ABS. 'As for the old weather-beaten she-dragon who guards you' -- Who can he mean by that?
MRS. MAL.Me! Sir -- me!-- he means me! There -- what do you think now? -- But go on 75 a little further.
ABS. Impudent scoundrel! -- 'it shall go hard but I will elude her vigilance, as I am told that the same ridiculous vanity which makes her dress up her coarse features, and deck her dull chat with hard words 80 which she don't understand' -----____________________