George Farquhar, The Beaux-Stratagem (1707)

[The Gallery in Lady Bountiful’s House. Enter Mrs. Sullen and Dorinda.]

Act III, Scene 1

Mrs. Sullen: Ha! ha! ha! my dear sister, let me embrace thee! now we are friends indeed; for I shall have a secret of yours as a pledge for mine - now you’ll be good for something, I shall have you conversable in the subjects of the sex.
Dorinda: But do you think that I am so weak as to fall in love with a fellow at first sight?
Mrs. Sullen: Psha! now you spoil all; why should not we be as free in our friendships as the men? I warrant you, the gentleman has got to his confidant already, has avowed his passion, toasted your health, called you ten thousand angels, has run over your lips, eyes, neck, shape, air, and everything, in a description that warms their mirth to a second enjoyment.
Dorinda: Your hand, sister, I an’t well.
Mrs. Sullen: So - she’s breeding already - come, child, up with it - hem a little - so - now tell me, don’t you like the gentleman that we saw at church just now?
Dorinda: The man’s well enough.
Mrs. Sullen: Well enough! is he not a demigod, a Narcissus, a star, the man i’ the moon?
Dorinda: O sister, I’m extremely ill!
Mrs. Sullen: Shall I send to your mother, child, for a little of her cephalic plaster to put to the soles of your feet, or shall I send to the gentleman for something for you? Come, unlace your stays, unbosom yourself. The man is perfectly a pretty fellow; I saw him when he first came into church.
Dorinda: I saw him too, sister, and with an air that shone, methought, like rays about his person.
Mrs. Sullen: Well said, up with it!
Dorinda: No forward coquette behaviour, no airs to set him off, no studied looks nor artful posture - but Nature did it all ...
Mrs. Sullen: Better and better! - one touch more - come!
Dorinda: But then his looks - did you observe his eyes?
Mrs. Sullen: Yes, yes, I did. - His eyes, well, what of his eyes?
Dorinda: Sprightly, but not wandering; they seemed to view, but never gazed on anything but me. - And then his looks so humble were, and yet so noble, that they aimed to tell me that he could with pride die at my feet, though he scorned slavery anywhere else.
Mrs. Sullen: The physic works purely! - How d’ye find yourself now, my dear?
Dorinda: Hem! much better, my dear. - Oh, here comes our Mercury!
[Enter Scrub.]
Well, Scrub, what news of the gentleman?
Scrub: Madam, I have brought you a packet of news.
Dorinda: Open it quickly, come.
Scrub: In the first place I inquired who the gentleman was; they told me he was a stranger. Secondly, I asked what the gentleman was; they answered and said, that they never saw him before. Thirdly, I inquired what countryman he was; they replied, ’twas more than they knew. Fourthly, I demanded whence he came; their answer was, they could not tell. And, fifthly, I asked whither he went; and they replied, they knew nothing of the matter, - and this is all I could learn.
Mrs. Sullen: But what do the people say? can’t they guess?
Scrub: Why, some think he’s a spy, some guess he’s a mountebank, some say one thing, some another: but, for my own part, I believe he’s a Jesuit.
Dorinda: A Jesuit! why a Jesuit?
Scrub: Because he keeps his horses always ready saddled, and his footman talks French.
Mrs. Sullen: His footman!
Scrub: Ay, he and the count’s footman were jabbering French like two intriguing ducks in a mill-pond; and I believe they talked of me, for they laughed consumedly.
Dorinda: What sort of livery has the footman?
Scrub: Livery! Lord, madam, I took him for a captain, he’s so bedizzened with lace! And then he has tops to his shoes, up to his mid leg, a silver-headed cane dangling at his knuckles; he carries his hands in his pockets just so [walks in the French air.] - and has a fine long periwig tied up in a bag. - Lord, madam, he’s clear another sort of man than I!
Mrs. Sullen: That may easily be. - But what shall we do now, sister?
Dorinda: I have it - this fellow has a world of simplicity, and some cunning, the first hides the latter by abundance. - Scrub!
Scrub: Madam!
Dorinda: We have a great mind to know who this gentleman is, only for our satisfaction.
Scrub: Yes, madam, it would be a satisfaction, no doubt.
Dorinda: You must go and get acquainted with his footman, and invite him hither to drink a bottle of your ale because you ’re butler to-day.
Scrub: Yes, madam, I am butler every Sunday.
Mrs. Sullen: O’ brave! sister, o’ my conscience, you understand the mathematics already. ’Tis the best plot in the world: your mother, you know, will be gone to church, my spouse will be got to the ale-house with his scoundrels, and the house will be our own - so we drop in by accident, and ask the fellow some questions ourselves. In the country, you know, any stranger is company, and we’re glad to take up with the butler in a country-dance, and happy if he ’ll do us the favour.
Scrub: O madam, you wrong me! I never refused your ladyship the favour in my life.
[Enter Gipsy.]
Gipsy. Ladies, dinner’s upon table.
Dorinda: Scrub, we’ll excuse your waiting - go where we ordered you.
Scrub: I shall. [Exeunt.]

Act III, Scene 2

[A Room in Bonifaces Inn. Enter Aimwell and Archer.]

Archer: Well, Tom, I find you ’re a marksman.
Aimwell: A marksman! who so blind could be, as not discern a swan among the ravens?
Archer: Well, but hark’ee, Aimwell!
Aimwell: Aimwell! call me Oroondates, Cesario, Amadis, all that romance can in a lover paint, and then I’ll answer. O Archer! I read her thousands in her looks, she looked like Ceres in her harvest: corn, wine and oil, milk and honey, gardens, groves, and purling streams played on her plenteous face.
Archer: Her face! her pocket, you mean; the corn, wine and oil, lies there. In short, she has ten thousand pounds, that’s the English on’t.
Aimwell: Her eyes ...
Archer: Are demi-cannons, to be sure; so I won’t stand their battery. [Going.]
Aimwell: Pray excuse me, my passion must have vent.
Archer: Passion! what a plague, d’ ye think these romantic airs will do our business? Were my temper as extravagant as yours, my adventures have something more romantic by half.
Aimwell: Your adventures!
Archer: Yes,
The nymph that with her twice ten hundred pounds, With brazen engine hot, and quoif clear-starched, Can fire the guest in warming of the bed ..
There’s a touch of sublime Milton for you, and the subject but an innkeeper’s daughter! I can play with a girl as an angler does with his fish; he keeps it at the end of his line, runs it up the stream, and down the stream, till at last he brings it to hand, tickles the trout, and so whips it into his basket.
[Enter Boniface]
Boniface: Mr. Martin, as the saying is - yonder’s an honest fellow below, my Lady Bountiful’s butler, who begs the honour that you would go home with him and see his cellar.
Archer: Do my baise-mains to the gentleman, and tell him I will do myself the honour to wait on him immediately. [Exit Boniface].
Aimwell: What do I hear? Soft Orpheus play, and fair Toftida sing!
Archer: Psha! damn your raptures; I tell you, here’s a pump going to be put into the vessel, and the ship will get into harbour, my life on’t. You say, there’s another lady very handsome there?
Aimwell: Yes, faith.
Archer: I’m in love with her already.
Aimwell: Can’t you give me a bill upon Cherry in the meantime?
Archer: No, no, friend, all her corn, wine and oil, is ingrossed to my market. And once more I warn you, to keep your anchorage clear of mine; for if you fall foul of me, by this light you shall go to the bottom! What! make prize of my little frigate, while I am upon the cruise for you! ...
Aimwell: Well, well, I won’t. [Exit Archer. Re-enter Boniface.] Landlord, have you any tolerable company in the house, I don’t care for dining alone?
Boniface: Yes, sir, there’s a captain below, as the saying is, that arrived about an hour ago. [60]
Aimwell: Gentlemen of his coat are welcome everywhere; will you make him a compliment from me and tell him I should be glad of his company?
Boniface: Who shall I tell him, sir, would ...
Aimwell: [Aside.] Ha! that stroke was well thrown in! ...
[Aloud.] I’m only a traveller, like himself, and would be glad of his company, that’s all.
Boniface: I obey your commands, as the saying is. [Exit.]
[Re-enter Archer.]
Archer: ’Sdeath I I had forgot; what title will you give yourself?
Aimwell: My brother’s, to be sure; he would never give me anything else, so I’ll make bold with his honour this bout: - you know the rest of your cue.
Archer: Ay, ay. [Exit.]
[Enter Gibbet.]
Gibbet: Sir, I’m yours.
Aimwell: ’Tis more than I deserve, sir, for I don’t know you.
Gibbet: I don’t wonder at that, sir, for you never saw me before [Aside.] I hope.
Aimwell: And pray, sir, how came I by the honour of seeing you now?]
Gibbet: Sir, I scorn to intrude upon any gentleman - but my landlord ...
Aimwell: O sir, I ask your pardon, you ’re the captain he told me of?
Gibbet: At your service, sir.
Aimwell: What regiment, may I be so bold?
Gibbet: A marching regiment, sir, an old corps.
Aimwell: [Aside.] Very old, if your coat be regimental - [Aloud.] You have served abroad, sir?
Gibbet: Yes, sir - in the plantations, ’twas my lot to be sent into the worst service; I would have quitted it indeed, but a man of honour, you know - Besides, ’twas for the good of my country that I should be abroad: - anything for the good of one’s country - I’m a Roman for that.
Aimwell: [Aside.] One of the first; I’ll lay my life. [Aloud.] You found the West Indies very hot, sir?
Gibbet: Ay, sir, too hot for me.
Aimwell: Pray, sir, han’t I seen your face at Will’s coffee-house?
Gibbet: Yes, sir, and at White’s too.
Aimwell: And where is your company now, captain?
Gibbet: They an’t come yet.
Aimwell: Why, d’ ye expect ’em here?
Gibbet: They ’ll be here to-night, sir.
Aimwell: Which way do they march?
Gibbet: Across the country. [Aside.] The devil’s in ’t, if I han’t said enough to encourage him to declare! But I’m afraid he’s not right; I must tack about.
Aimwell: Is your company to quarter in Lichfield?
Gibbet: In this house, sir.
Aimwell: What! all?
Gibbet: My company’s but thin, ha! ha! ha! we are but three, ha! ha! ha!
Aimwell: You’re merry, sir.
Gibbet: Ay, sir, you must excuse me, sir; I understand the world, especially the art of travelling: I don’t care, sir, for answering questions directly upon the road - for I generally ride with a charge about me.
Aimwell: Three or four, I believe. [Aside.]
Gibbet: I am credibly informed that there are highwaymen upon this quarter; not, sir, that I could suspect a gentleman of your figure - but truly, sir, I have got such a way of evasion upon the road, that I don’t care for speaking truth to any man.
Aimwell: [Aside.] Your caution may be necessary. [Aloud.] Then I presume you’re no captain? [129]
Gibbet: Not I, sir; captain is a good travelling name, and so I take it; it stops a great many foolish inquiries that are generally made about gentlemen that travel, it gives a man an air of something, and makes the drawers obedient: - and thus far I am a captain, and no farther.
Aimwell: And pray, sir, what is your true profession?
Gibbet: O sir, you must excuse me! - upon my word, sir, I don’t think it safe to tell ye.
Aimwell: Ha! ha! ha! upon my word I commend you.
[ Re-enter Boniface.]
Well, Mr. Boniface, what’s the news?
Boniface: There’s another gentleman below, as the saying is, that hearing you were but two, would be glad to make the third man, if you would give him leave.
Aimwell: What is he?
Boniface: A clergyman, as the saying is.
Aimwell: A clergyman! is he really a clergyman? or is it only his travelling name, as my friend the captain has it?
Boniface: O sir, he’s a priest, and chaplain to the French officers in town.
Aimwell: Is he a Frenchman?
Boniface: Yes, sir, born at Brussels.
Gibbet: A Frenchman, and a priest! I won’t be seen in his company, sir; I have a value for my reputation, sir.
Aimwell: Nay, but, captain, since we are by ourselves - can he speak English, landlord?
Boniface: Very well, sir; you may know him, as the saying is, to be a foreigner by his accent, and that’s all.
Aimwell: Then he has been in England before?
Boniface: Never, sir; but he’s a master of languages, as the saying is; he talks Latin - it does me good to hear him talk Latin.
Aimwell: Then you understand Latin, Mr Boniface?
Boniface: Not I, sir, as the saying is; but he talks it so very fast, that I’m sure it must be good.
Aimwell: Pray, desire him to walk up.
Boniface: Here he is, as the saying is.
[Enter Foigard.]
Foigard: Save you, gentlemens, bote.
Aimwell: [Aside.] A Frenchman! [To Foigard.] Sir, your most humble servant.
Foigard: Och, dear joy, I am your most faithful shervant, and yours alsho.
Gibbet: Doctor, you talk very good English, but you have a mighty twang of the foreigner.
Foigard: My English is very veil for the vords, but we foreigners, you know, cannot bring our tongues about the pronunciation so soon.
Aimwell: [Aside.] A foreigner! a downright Teague, by this light! [Aloud.] Were you born in France, doctor?
Foigard: I was educated in France, but I was borned at Brussels; I am a subject of the King of Spain, joy.
Gibbet: What King of Spain, sir? speak!
Foigard: Upon my shoul, joy, I cannot tell you as yet.
Aimwell: Nay, captain, that was too hard upon the doctor; he’s a stranger.
Foigard: Oh, let him alone, dear joy; I am of a nation that is not easily put out of countenance.
Aimwell: Come, gentlemen, I’ll end the dispute. - Here, landlord, is dinner ready?
Boniface: Upon the table, as the saying is.
Aimwell: Gentlemen - pray - that door ...
Foigard: No, no, fait, the captain must lead.
Aimwell: No, doctor, the church is our guide.
Gibbet: Ay, ay, so it is.
[Exit Foigard foremost, the others following.]

Act III, Scene 3

[The Gallery in Lady Bountiful’s House. Enter Archer and Scrub singing, and hugging one another, the latter with a tankard in his hand Gipsy listening at a distance.]

Scrub: Tall, all, dall! - Come, my dear boy, let ’s have that song once more.
Archer: No, no, we shall disturb the family. - But will you be sure to keep the secret?
Scrub: Pho! upon my honour, as I’m a gentleman.
Archer: ’Tis enough. You must know, then, that my master is the Lord Viscount Aimwell; he fought a duel t’other day in London, wounded his man so dangerously, that he thinks fit to withdraw till he hears whether the gentleman’s wounds be mortal or not He never was in this part of England before, so he chose to retire to this place, that’s all.
Gipsy: And that’s enough for me. [Exit.]
Scrub: And where were you when your master fought?
Archer: We never know of our masters’ quarrels.
Scrub: No! if our masters in the country here receive a challenge, the first thing they do is to tell their wives; the wife tells the servants, the servants alarm the tenants, and in half an hour you shall have the whole county in arms.
Archer: To hinder two men from doing what they have no mind for. - But if you should chance to talk now of my business?
Scrub. Talk! ay, sir, had I not learned the knack of holding my tongue, I had never lived so long in a great family.
Archer: Ay, ay, to be sure there are secrets in all families.
Scrub: Secrets! ay; - but I’ll say no more. Come, sit down, we’ll make an end of our tankard: here ...
[Gives Archer the tankard.]
Archer: With all my heart; who knows but you and I may come to be better acquainted, eh? Here’s your ladies’ healths; you have three, I think, and to be sure there must be secrets among ’em. [Drinks.]
Scrub: Secrets! ay, friend. - I wish I had a friend!
Archer: Am not I your friend? come, you and I will sworn brothers.
Scrub: Shall we?
Archer:. From this minute. Give me a kiss: - and no brother Scrub -
: And now, brother Martin, I will tell you a secret that will make your hair stand on end. You must know that I am consumedly in love.
Archer: That’s a terrible secret, that’s the truth on’t.
Scrub: That jade, Gipsy, that was with us just now in the cellar, is the arrantest whore that ever wore a petticoat; and I’m dying for love of her.
Archer: Ha! ha! ha! - Are you in love with her person her virtue, brother Scrub?
Scrub: I should like virtue best, because it is more durable than beauty: for virtue holds good with some women long, and many a day after they have lost it.
Archer: In the country, I grant ye, where no woman’s virtue is lost, till a bastard be found.
Scrub: Ay, could I bring her to a bastard, I should have her all to myself; but I dare not put it upon, the lay, for fear of being sent for a soldier. Pray brother, how do you gentlemen in London like this same Pressing Act?
Archer: Very ill, brother Scrub; ’tis the worst that ever was made for us. Formerly I remember the good days, when we could dun our masters for our wage and if they refused to pay us, we could have a warrant to carry ’em before a Justice: but now if we talk of eating, they have a warrant for us, and carry us before three Justices.
Scrub: And to be sure we go, if we talk of eating; for the Justices won’t give their own servants a bad example. Now this is my misfortune - I dare not speak in the house, while that jade Gipsy dings about like a fury. - -Once I had the better end of the staff.
Archer: And how comes the change now?
Scrub: Why, the mother of all this mischief is a priest.
Archer: A priest!
Scrub: Ay, a damned son of a whore of Babylon, that came over hither to say grace to the French officers, and eat up our provisions. There’s not a day goes over his head without a dinner or supper in this house.
Archer: How came he so familiar in the family?
Scrub: Because he speaks English as if he had lived here all his life, and tells lies as if he had been a traveller from his cradle.
Archer: And this priest, I’m afraid, has converted the affections of your Gipsy?
Scrub: Converted! ay, and perverted, my dear friend: for, I’m afraid, he has made her a whore and a papist! But this is not all; there’s the French count and Mrs. Sullen, they’re in the confederacy, and for some private ends of their own, to be sure.
Archer: A very hopeful family yours, brother Scrub! suppose the maiden lady has her lover too?
Scrub: Not that I know: she’s the best on ’em, that’s the truth on’t: but they take care to prevent my curiosity, by giving me so much business, that I’m a perfect slave. What d’ ye think is my place in this family?
Archer: Butler, I suppose.
Scrub: Ah, Lord help you! I’ll tell you. Of a Monday I drive the coach, of a Tuesday I drive the plough, on Wednesday I follow the hounds, a Thursday I dun the tenants, on Friday I go to market, on Saturday I draw warrants, and a Sunday I draw beer.
Archer: Ha! ha! ha! if variety be a pleasure in life, you have enough on’t, my dear brother. But what ladies are those?
Scrub: Ours, ours; that upon the right hand is Mrs. Sullen, and the other is Mrs. Dorinda. Don’t mind ’em; sit still, man.
[Enter Mrs. Sullen and Dorinda.]
Mrs. Sullen: I have heard my brother talk of my Lord Aimwell; but they say that his brother is the finer gentleman.
Dorinda: That’s impossible, sister.
Mrs. Sullen: He’s vastly rich, but very close, they say.
Dorinda: No matter for that; if I can creep into his heart, I’ll open his breast, I warrant him: I have heard say, that people may be guessed at by the behaviour of their servants; I could wish we might talk to that fellow.
Mrs. Sullen: So do I; for I think he’s a very pretty fellow. Come this way, I’ll throw out a lure for him presently.
[Dorinda and Mrs. Sullen walk a turn towards the opposite side of the stage.]
Archer: [Aside.] Corn, wine, and oil indeed! - But, I think, the wife has the greatest plenty of flesh and blood; she should be my choice. - Ay, ay, say you so! [Mrs. Sullen drops her glove. Archer runs, takes it up and gives to her.] Madam - your ladyship’s glove.
Mrs. Sullen: O sir, I thank you! [To Dorinda.] What a handsome bow the fellow has!
Dorinda: Bow! why, I have known several footmen come down from London set up here for dancing-masters, and carry off the best fortunes in the country.
Archer: [Aside.] That project, for aught I know, had been better than ours. [To Scrub.] Brother Scrub, why don’t you introduce me?
Scrub: Ladies, this is the strange gentleman’s servant that you saw at church to-day; I understood he came from London, and so I invited him to the cellar, that he might show me the newest flourish in whetting my knives.
Dorinda: And I hope you have made much of him?
Archer: Oh yes, madam, but the strength of your lady ship’s liquor is a little too potent for the constitution of your humble servant.
Mrs. Sullen: What, then you don’t usually drink ale?
Archer: No, madam; my constant drink is tea, or a little wine and water. ’Tis prescribed me by the physician for a remedy against the spleen.
Scrub: Oh la! Oh la! a footman have the spleen!
Mrs. Sullen: I thought that distemper had been only proper to people of quality?
Archer: Madam, like all other fashions it wears out, and so descends to their servants; though in a great many of us, I believe, it proceeds from some melancholy particles in the blood, occasioned by the stagnation of wages.
Dorinda: [Aside to Mrs. Sullen.] How affectedly the fellow talks! [To Archer.] How long, pray, have yon served your present master?
Archer: Not long; my life has been mostly spent in the service of the ladies.
Mrs. Sullen: And pray, which service do you like best?
Archer: Madam, the ladies pay best; the honour of serving them is sufficient wages; there is a charm in their looks that delivers a pleasure with their commands, and gives our duty the wings of inclination.
Mrs. Sullen: [Aside.] That flight was above the pitch of a livery. [Aloud.] And, sir, would not you be satisfied to serve a lady again?
Archer: As a groom of the chamber, madam, but not as a footman.
Mrs. Sullen: I suppose you served as footman before?
: For that reason I would not serve in that post again; for my memory is too weak for the load of messages that the ladies lay upon their servants in London. My Lady Howd’ye, the last mistress I served, called me up one morning, and told me, ‘Martin, go to my Lady Allnight with my humble service; tell her I was to wait on her ladyship yesterday, and left word with Mrs. Rebecca, that the preliminaries of the affair she knows of, are stopped till we know the concurrence of the person that I know of, for which there are circumstances wanting which we shall accommodate at the old place; but that in the meantime there is a person about her ladyship, that from several hints and surmises, was accessory at a certain time to the disappointments that naturally attend things, that to her knowledge are of more importance ... ’
Dorinda: Ha! ha! ha! where are you going, sir?
Archer: Why, I han’t half done! - The whole howd’ye was about half an hour long; so I happened to misplace two syllables, and was turned off, and rendered incapable.
Dorinda: [Aside to Mrs. Sullen.] The pleasantest fellow, sister, I ever saw! [To Archer.] But, friend, if your master be married, I presume you still serve a lady?
Archer: No, madam, I take care never to come into a married family; the commands of the master and mistress are always so contrary, that ’tis impossible to please both.
Dorinda: There’s a main point gained: my lord is not married, I find. [Aside.]
Mrs. Sullen: But I wonder, friend, that in so many good services, you had not a better provision made for you.
Archer: I don’t know how, madam. I had a lieutenancy offered me three or four times; but that is not bread, madam - I live much better as I do.
Scrub: Madam, he sings rarely! I was thought to do pretty well here in the country till he came; but alack a day, I’m nothing to my brother Martin!
Dorinda: Does he? - Pray, sir, will you oblige us with a song?
Archer: Are you for passion or humour?
Scrub: Oh le! he has the purest ballad about a trifle ...
Mrs. Sullen: A trifle! pray, sir, let’s have it.
Archer: I’m ashamed to offer you a trifle, madam; but since you command me. [Sings to the tune of Sir Simon the King]

A trifling song you shall hear,
Begun with a trifle and ended:
All trifling people draw near,
And I shall be nobly attended.

Were it not for trifles, a few,
That lately have come into play;
The men would want something to do,
And the women want something to say.

What makes men trifle in dressing?
Because the ladies (they know)
Admire, by often possessing,
That eminent trifle, a beau.

When the lover his moments has trifled,
The trifle of trifles to gain:
No sooner the virgin is rifled,
But a trifle shall part ’em again.

What mortal man would be able
At White’s half an hour to sit?
Or who could bear a tea-table,
Without talking of trifles for wit?

The court is from trifles secure,
Gold keys are no trifles, we see:
White rods are no trifles, I’m sure,
Whatever their bearers may be.

But if you will go to the place,
Where trifles abundantly breed,
The levee will show you His Grace
Makes promises trifles indeed.

A coach with six footmen behind,
I count neither trifle nor sin:
But, ye gods! how oft do we find
A scandalous trifle within.

A flask of champagne, people think it
A trifle, or something as bad:
But if You’ll contrive how to drink it;
You’ll find it no trifle, egad!

A parson’s a trifle at sea,
A widow’s a trifle in sorrow:
A peace is a trifle to-day,
Who knows what may happen to-morrow!

A black coat a trifle may cloke,
Or to hide it, the red may endeavour:
But if once the army is broke,
We shall have more trifles than ever.

The stage is a trifle, they say,
The reason, pray carry along,
Because at every new play,
The house they with trifles so throng.

But with people’s malice to trifle,
And to set us all on a foot:
The author of this is a trifle,
And his song is a trifle to boot.

Mrs. Sullen: Very well, sir, we ’re obliged to you. - Something for a pair of gloves. [Offering him money.]
Archer: I humbly beg leave to be excused: my master, madam, pays me; nor dare I take money from any other hand, without injuring his honour, and disobeying his commands.
[Exit Archer and Scrub.]
Dorinda: This is surprising! Did you ever see so pretty a well-bred fellow?
Mrs. Sullen: The devil take him for wearing that livery!
Dorinda: I fancy, sister, he may be some gentleman, a friend of my lord’s, that his lordship has pitched upon for his courage, fidelity, and discretion, to bear him company in this dress, and who ten to one was his second too.
Mrs. Sullen: It is so, it must be so, and it shall be so! - for I like him.
Dorinda: What! better than the Count?
Mrs. Sullen: The Count happened to be the most agreeable man upon the place; and so I chose him to serve me in my design upon my husband. But I should like this fellow better in a design upon myself.
Dorinda: But now, sister, for an interview with this lord and this gentleman; how shall we bring that about?
Mrs. Sullen: Patience! you country ladies give no quarter if once you be entered. Would you prevent their desires, and give the fellows no wishing-time? Look’ee, Dorinda, if my Lord Aimwell loves you or deserves you, he’ll find a way to see you, and there we must leave it. My business comes now upon the tapis. Have you prepared your brother?
Dorinda: Yes, yes.
Mrs. Sullen: And how did he relish it?
Dorinda: He said little, mumbled something to himself, promised to be guided by me - but here he comes.
[ Enter Squire Sullen.]
Squire Sullen: What singing was that I heard just now?
Mrs. Sullen: The singing in your head, my dear; you complained of it all day.
Squire Sullen: You’re impertinent.
Mrs. Sullen: I was ever so, since I became one flesh with you.
Squire Sullen: One flesh! rather two carcasses joined unnaturally together.
Mrs. Sullen: Or rather a living soul coupled to a dead body.
Dorinda: So, this is fine encouragement for me!
Squire Sullen: Yes, my wife shows you what you must do.
Mrs. Sullen: And my husband shows you what you must suffer.
Squire Sullen: ’Sdeath, why can’t you be silent?
Mrs. Sullen: ’Sdeath, why can’t you talk?
Squire Sullen: Do you talk to any purpose?
Mrs. Sullen: Do you think to any purpose?
Squire Sullen: Sister, hark’ee I [Whispers.] I shan’t be home till it be late. [Exit.]
Mrs. Sullen: What did he whisper to ye?
Dorinda: That he would go round the back way, come into the closet, and listen as I directed him. But let me beg you once more, dear sister, to drop this project; for as I told you before, instead of awaking him to kindness, you may provoke him to a rage; and then who knows how far his brutality may carry him?
Mrs. Sullen: I’m provided to receive him, I warrant you. But here comes the Count: vanish! [Exit Dorinda. Enter Count Bellair.] Don’t you wonder, Monsieur le Count, that I was not at church this afternoon?
Count Bellair I more wonder, madam, that you go dere at all, or how you dare to lift those eyes to heaven that are guilty of so much killing.
Mrs. Sullen: If Heaven, sir, has given to my eyes with the power of killing the virtue of making a cure, I hope the one may atone for the other.
Count Bellair Oh, largely, madam, would your ladyship be as ready to apply the remedy as to give the wound. Consider, madam, I am doubly a prisoner; first to the arms of your general, then to your more conquering eyes. My first chains are easy - there a ransom may redeem me; but from your fetters I never shall get free.
Mrs. Sullen: Alas, sir! why should you complain to me of your captivity, who am in chains myself? You know, sir, that I am bound, nay, must be tied up in that particular that might give you ease: I am like you, a prisoner of war - of war, indeed - I have given my parole of honour! would you break yours to gain your liberty?
Count Bellair Most certainly I would, were I a prisoner among the Turks; dis is your case, you ’re a slave, madam, slave to the worst of Turks, a husband.
Mrs. Sullen: There lies my foible, I confess; no fortifications, no courage, conduct, nor vigilancy, can pretend to defend a place where the cruelty of the governor forces the garrison to mutiny.
Count Bellair And where de besieger is resolved to die before de place. - Here will I fix [Kneels]; with tears, vows, and prayers assault your heart and never rise till you surrender; or if I must storm - Love and St. Michael! - And so I begin the attack.
Mrs. Sullen: Stand off! [Aside.] Sure he hears me not! - And I could almost wish - he did not! - The fellow makes love very prettily. [Aloud.] But, sir, why should you put such a value upon my person, when you see it despised by one that knows it so much better?
Count Bellair He knows it not, though he possesses it; if he but knew the value of the jewel he is master of he would always wear it next his heart, and sleep with it in his arms.
Mrs. Sullen: But since he throws me unregarded from him ...
Count Bellair And one that knows your value well comes by and takes you up, is it not justice?
[Goes to lay hold of her. Enter Squire Sullen with his sword drawn.]
Squire Sullen: Hold, villain, hold!
Mrs. Sullen: [Presenting a pistol.] Do you hold!
Squire Sullen: What! murder your husband, to defend your bully!
Mrs. Sullen: Bully! for shame, Mr. Sullen, bullies wear long swords, the gentleman has none; he’s a prisoner, you know. I was aware of your outrage, and prepared this to receive your violence; and, if occasion were, to preserve myself against the force of this other gentleman.
Count Bellair O madam, your eyes be bettre firearms than your pistol; they nevre miss.
Squire Sullen: What! court my wife to my face!
Mrs. Sullen: Pray, Mr. Sullen, put up; suspend your fury for a minute.
Squire Sullen: To give you time to invent an excuse!
Mrs. Sullen: I need none.
Squire Sullen: No, for I heard every syllable of your discourse.
Count Bellair Ah! and begar, I tink the dialogue was vera pretty.
Mrs. Sullen: Then I suppose, sir, you heard something of your own barbarity?
Squire Sullen: Barbarity! ’oons, what does the woman call barbarity? Do I ever meddle with you?
Mrs. Sullen: No.
Squire Sullen: As for you, sir, I shall take another time.
Count Bellair Ah, begar, and so must I.
Squire Sullen: Look’ee, madam, don’t think that my anger proceeds from any concern I have for your honour, but for my own, and if you can contrive any way of being a whore without making me a cuckold, do it and welcome.
Mrs. Sullen: Sir, I thank you kindly, you would allow me the sin but rob me of the pleasure. No, no, I’m resolved never to venture upon the crime without the satisfaction of seeing you punished for’t.
Squire Sullen: Then will you grant me this, my dear? Let anybody else do you the favour but that Frenchman, for I mortally hate his whole generation.
Count Bellair Ah, sir, that be ungrateful, for begar, I love some of yours. Madam [Approaching her.]
Mrs. Sullen: No, sir.
Count Bellair No, sir! garzoon, madam, I am not your husband.
Mrs. Sullen: ’Tis time to undeceive you, sir. I believed your addresses to me were no more than an amusement, and I hope you will think the same of my complaisance; and to convince you that you ought, you must know that I brought you hither only to make you instrumental in setting me right with my husband, for he was planted to listen by my appointment.
Count Bellair By your appointment?
Mrs. Sullen: Certainly.
Count Bellair And so, madam, while I was telling twenty stories to part you from your husband, begar, I was bringing you together all the while?
Mrs. Sullen: I ask your pardon, sir, but I hope this will give you a taste of the virtue of the English ladies.
Count Bellair Begar, madam, your virtue be vera great, but garzoon, your honeste be vera little.
[Re-enter Dorinda.]
Mrs. Sullen: Nay, now, you ’re angry, sir.
Count Bellair Angry! - Fair Dorinda [Sings “Fair Dorinda”, the opera tune, and addresses Dorinda.] Madam, when your ladyship want a fool, send for me. Fair Dorinda, Revenge, &c., [Exit singing.]
Mrs. Sullen: There goes the true humour of his nation - resentment with good manners, and the height of anger in a song! Well, sister, you must be judge, for you have heard the trial.
Dorinda: And I bring in my brother guilty.
Mrs. Sullen: But I must bear the punishment. ’Tis hard, sister.
Dorinda: I own it; but you must have patience.
Mrs. Sullen: Patience! the cant of custom - Providence sends no evil without a remedy. Should I lie groaning under a yoke I can shake off, I were accessory to my ruin, and my patience were no better than self-murder.
Dorinda: But how can you shake off the yoke? your divisions don’t come within the reach of the law for a divorce.
Mrs. Sullen: Law! what law can search into the remote abyss of nature? What evidence can prove the unaccountable disaffections of wedlock? Can a jury sum up the endless aversions that are rooted in our souls, or can a bench give judgment upon antipathies?
Dorinda: They never pretended, sister; they never meddle, but in case of uncleanness.
Mrs. Sullen: Uncleanness! O sister! casual violation is a transient injury, and may possibly be repaired, but can radical hatreds be ever reconciled? No, no, sister, nature is the first lawgiver, and when she has set tempers opposite, not all the golden links of wedlock nor iron manacles of law can keep ’em fast.

Wedlock we own ordain’d by Heaven’s decree,
But such as Heaven ordain’d it first to be; ...
Concurring tempers in the man and wife
As mutual helps to draw the load of life.

View all the works of Providence above,
The stars with harmony and concord move;
View all the works of Providence below,
The fire, the water, earth and air, we know,
All in one plant agree to make it grow.

Must man, the chiefest work of art divine,
Be doom’d in endless discord to repine?
No, we should injure Heaven by that surmise,
Omnipotence is just, were man but wise.

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