LADY TEAZ. Go -- you are an insinuating wretch! But we shall be missed -- let us join the 290 company.
JOS. SURF. But we had best not return together.
LADY TEAZ. Well, don't stay -- for Maria shan't come to hear any more of your reasoning, I promise you. Exit LADY TEAZLE. 295
JOS. SURF. A curious dilemma, truly, my politics have run me into! I wanted, at first, only to ingratiate myself with Lady Teazle, that she might not be my enemy with Maria; and I have, I don't know how, become her serious lover. Sincerely 300 I begin to wish I had never made such a point of gaining so very good a character, for it has led me into so many cursed rogueries that I doubt I shall be exposed at last. Exit.
Enter SIR OLIVER SURFACE and ROWLEY.
SIR OLIV. Ha! ha! ha! and so my old friend is married, hey? -- a young wife out of the country. -- Ha! ha ! ha ! -- that he should have stood bluff1 to old bachelor so long, and sink into a husband at last!
Row. But you must not rally him on the sub 5 ject, Sir Oliver; 'tis a tender point, I assure you, though he has been married only seven months.
SIR OLIV. Then he has been just half a year on the stool of repentance! -- Poor Peter! But you say he has entirely given up Charles -- never sees him, 10 hey?
Row. His prejudice against him is astonishing, and I am sure greatly increased by a jealousy of him with Lady Teazle, which he has been industriously led into by a scandalous society in the neighbor- 15 hood, who have contributed not a little to Charles's ill name; whereas the truth is, I believe, if the lady is partial to either of them, his brother is the favorite.
SIR OLIV. Aye, -- I know there are a set of malicious, prating, prudent gossips, both male and 20 female, who murder characters to kill time, and will rob a young fellow of his good name before he has years to know the value of it, -- but I am not to be prejudiced against my nephew by such, I promise you! No, no; -- if Charles has done nothing 25 false or mean, I shall compound for his extravagance.
Row. Then, my life on't, you will reclaim him. -- Ah, sir, it gives me new life to find that your heart is not turned against him, and that the son of my good old master has one friend, however, left. 30
SIR OLIV. What! shall I forget, Master Rowley, when I was at his years myself? Egad, my brother and I were neither of us very prudent youths -- and yet, I believe, you have not seen many better men than your old master was? 35
Row. Sir, 'tis this reflection gives me assurance that Charles may yet be a credit to his family.-- But here comes Sir Peter.
SIR OLIV. Egad, so he does! -- Mercy on me, he's greatly altered, and seems to have a settled mar 40 ried look! One may read husband in his face at this distance!
Enter SIR PETER TEAZLE.
SIR PET. Hah! Sir Oliver -- my old friend! Welcome to England a thousand times!
SIR OLIV. Thank you, thank you, Sir Peter! 45 and i'faith I am glad to find you well, believe me! SIR PET. Ah! 'tis a long time since we met -- sixteen years, I doubt, Sir Oliver, and many a cross accident in the time.
SIR OLIV. Aye, I have had my share -- but, 50 what! I find you are married, hey, my old boy? -- Well, well, it can't he helped -- and so I wish you joy with all my heart!
SIR PET. Thank you, thank you, Sir Oliver. -- Yes, I have entered into the happy state -- but we'll 55 not talk of that now.
SIR OLIV. True, true, Sir Peter; old friends should not begin on grievances at first meeting. No, no, no.
Row. (to SIR OLIVER).* Take care, pray, sir.
SIR OLIV. Well, so one of my nephews is a 60 wild rogue, hey?
SIR PET. Wild! Ah! my old friend, I grieve for your disappointment there -- he's a lost young man, indeed; however, his brother will make you amends; Joseph is, indeed, what a youth should be -- 65 everybody in the world speaks well of him.
SIR OLIV. I am sorry to hear it -- he has too good a character to be an honest fellow. -- Everybody speaks well of him! Psha! then he has bowed as low to knaves and fools as to the honest dignity of 70 genius or virtue.
SIR PET. What, Sir Oliver! do you blame him for not making enemies?
SIR OLIV. Yes, if he has merit enough to deserve them. 75
SIR PET. Well, well -- you'll be convinced when you know him. 'Tis edification to hear him converse -- he professes the noblest sentiments.
SIR OLIV. Ah, plague of his sentiments! If he salutes me with a scrap of morality in his 80 mouth, I shall be sick directly. But, however, don't mistake me, Sir Peter; I don't mean to defend Charles's errors -- but, before I form my judgment of either of them, I intend to make a trial of their hearts -- and my friend Rowley and I have 85 planned something for the purpose.____________________