Well, though I can't make her love me, there is a great satisfaction in quarrelling with her; and I think she never appears to such advantage as when she's doing everything in her power to plague 140 me. Exit.
LADY SNEERWELL, MRS. CANDOUR, CRABTREE, SIR
BENJAMIN BACKBITE, and JOSEPH SURFACE.
LADY SNEER. Nay, positively, we will hear it.
JOS. SURF. Yes, yes, the epigram, by all means.
SIR BEN. Plague on't, uncle! 'tis mere nonsense.
CRAB. No, no; 'fore gad, very clever for an extempore!
SIR BEN. But, ladies, you should be acquainted with the circumstance, -- you must know, that one day last week, as Lady Betty Curricle was taking the dust in Hyde Park, in a sort of duodecimo1 phaëton, she desired me to write some verses on 10 her ponies; upon which, I took out my pocket-book, and in one moment produced the following:
'Sure never were seen two such beautiful ponies!
Other horses are clowns, and these macaronies!
Nay, to give 'em this title I'm sure isn't
wrong -- 15 Their legs are so slim and their tails are so long.'
CRAB. There, ladies -- done in the smack of a whip, and on horseback too!
JOS. SURF. A very Phoebus, mounted -- indeed, Sir Benjamin. 20
SIR BEN. 0 dear sir -- trifles -- trifles.
Enter LADY TEAZLEand MARIA.
MRS. CAN. I must have a copy.
LADY SNEER. Lady Teazle, I hope we shall see Sir Peter.
LADY TEAZ. I believe he'll wait on your lady- 25 ship presently.
LADY SNEER. Maria, my love, you look grave.
Come, you shall sit down to cards with Mr. Surface.
MARIA. I take very little pleasure in cards -- however, I'll do as your ladyship pleases. 30
LADY TEAZ. [aside]. I am surprised Mr. Surface should sit down with her. -- I thought he would have embraced this opportunity of speaking to me before Sir Peter came.
MRS. CAN. Now, I'll die but you are so scan 35 dalous, I'll forswear your society.
LADY TEAZ. What's the matter, Mrs. Candour?
MRS. CAN. They'll not allow our friend Miss Vermilion to be handsome.
LADY SNEER. Oh, surely, she's a pretty woman. 40
CRAB. I am very glad you think so, ma'am.
MRS. CAN. She has a charming fresh color.
LADY TEAZ. Yes, when it is fresh put on.
MRS. CAN. O fie! I'll swear her color is natural I have seen it come and go. 45
LADY TEAZ. I dare swear you have, ma'am it goes of a night, and comes again in the morning.
MRS. CAN. Ha! ha! ha! how I hate to hear you talk so! But surely, now, her sister is, or was, very handsome. 50
CRAB. Who? Mrs. Evergreen? -- O Lord! she's six-and-fifty if she's an hour!
MRS. CAN. Now positively you wrong her; fifty-two or fifty-three is the utmost -- and I don't think she looks more. 55
SIR BEN. Ah! there is no judging by her looks, unless one could see her face.
LADY SNEER. Well, well, if Mrs. Evergreen does take some pains to repair the ravages of time, you must allow she effects it with great ingenuity; 60 and surely that's better than the careless manner in which the widow Ochre caulks her wrinkles.
SIR BEN. Nay, now, Lady Sneerwell, you are severe upon the widow. Come, come, it is not that she paints so ill -- but, when she has 65 finished her face, she joins it on so badly to her neck, that she looks like a mended statue, in which the connoisseur may see at once that the head's modern, though the trunk's antique!
CRAB. Ha! ha! ha! Well said, nephew! 70
MRS. CAN. Ha! ha! ha! Well, you make me laugh, but I vow I hate you for't. -- What do you think of Miss Simper?
SIR BEN. Why, she has very pretty teeth.
LADY TEAZ. Yes; and on that account, when 75 she is neither speaking nor laughing (which very seldom happens), she never absolutely shuts her mouth, but leaves it always on a jar, as it were.
MRS. CAN. How can you be so ill-natured?
LADY TEAZ. Nay, I allow even that's better 80 than the pains Mrs. Prim takes to conceal her losses in front. She draws her mouth till it positively resembles the aperture of a poor's-box, and all her words appear to slide out edgeways.____________________