The School For Scandal
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Part 2 out of 3
LADY TEAZLE. I beg your Pardon--my dear Sir Peter--indeed--
you always gave the provocation.
SIR PETER. Now--see, my Love take care--contradicting isn't the way
to keep Friends.
LADY TEAZLE. Then don't you begin it my Love!
SIR PETER. There now--you are going on--you don't perceive[,]
my Life, that you are just doing the very thing my Love which
you know always makes me angry.
LADY TEAZLE. Nay--you know if you will be angry without any reason--
SIR PETER. There now you want to quarrel again.
LADY TEAZLE. No--I am sure I don't--but if you will be so peevish----
SIR PETER. There--now who begins first?
LADY TEAZLE. Why you to be sure--I said nothing[--]but there's
no bearing your Temper.
SIR PETER. No--no--my dear--the fault's in your own temper.
LADY TEAZLE. Aye you are just what my Cousin Sophy said you
SIR PETER. Your Cousin Sophy--is a forward impertinent Gipsey--
LADY TEAZLE. Go you great Bear--how dare you abuse my Relations--
SIR PETER. Now may all the Plagues of marriage be doubled on me,
if ever I try to be Friends with you any more----
LADY TEAZLE. So much the Better.
SIR PETER. No--no Madam 'tis evident you never cared a pin for me--
I was a madman to marry you--
LADY TEAZLE. And I am sure I was a Fooll to marry you--an old
dangling Batchelor, who was single of [at] fifty--only because
He never could meet with any one who would have him.
SIR PETER. Aye--aye--Madam--but you were pleased enough to listen
to me--you never had such an offer before--
LADY TEAZLE. No--didn't I refuse Sir Jeremy Terrier--who everybody
said would have been a better Match--for his estate is just as good
as yours--and he has broke his Neck since we have been married!
SIR PETER. I have done with you Madam! You are an unfeeling--
ungrateful--but there's an end of everything--I believe you capable
of anything that's bad--Yes, Madam--I now believe the Reports
relative to you and Charles--Madam--yes--Madam--you and Charles are--
not without grounds----
LADY TEAZLE. Take--care Sir Peter--you had better not insinuate any
such thing! I'll not be suspected without cause I promise you----
SIR PETER. Very--well--Madam--very well! a separate maintenance--
as soon as you Please. Yes Madam or a Divorce--I'll make an example
of myself for the Benefit of all old Batchelors--Let us separate,
LADY TEAZLE. Agreed--agreed--and now--my dear Sir Peter we are
of a mind again, we may be the happiest couple--and never differ
again, you know--ha! ha!--Well you are going to be in a Passion
I see--and I shall only interrupt you--so, bye! bye! hey--
young Jockey try'd and countered.
SIR PETER. Plagues and tortures! She pretends to keep her temper,
can't I make her angry neither! O! I am the miserable fellow!
But I'll not bear her presuming to keep her Temper--No she may
break my Heart--but she shan't keep her Temper.
SCENE II.--At CHARLES's House
Enter TRIP, MOSES, and SIR OLIVER
TRIP. Here Master Moses--if you'll stay a moment--I'll try whether
Mr.----what's the Gentleman's Name?
SIR OLIVER. Mr.----Moses--what IS my name----
MOSES. Mr. Premium----
TRIP. Premium--very well.
[Exit TRIP--taking snuff.]
SIR OLIVER. To judge by the Servants--one wouldn't believe the master
was ruin'd--but what--sure this was my Brother's House----
MOSES. Yes Sir Mr. Charles bought it of Mr. Joseph with the
Furniture, Pictures, &c.--just as the old Gentleman left it--
Sir Peter thought it a great peice of extravagance in him.
SIR OLIVER. In my mind the other's economy in selling it to him
was more reprehensible by half.----
TRIP. My Master[,] Gentlemen[,] says you must wait, he has company,
and can't speak with you yet.
SIR OLIVER. If he knew who it was wanted to see him, perhaps
he wouldn't have sent such a Message.
TRIP. Yes--yes--Sir--He knows you are here--I didn't forget
SIR OLIVER. Very well--and pray Sir what may be your Name?
TRIP. Trip Sir--my Name is Trip, at your Service.
SIR OLIVER. Well then Mr. Trip--I presume your master is seldom
TRIP. Very seldom Sir--the world says ill-natured things of him
but 'tis all malice--no man was ever better beloved--Sir he seldom
sits down to dinner without a dozen particular Friends----
SIR OLIVER. He's very happy indeed--you have a pleasant sort
of Place here I guess?
TRIP. Why yes--here are three or four of us pass our time agreeably
enough--but then our wages are sometimes a little in arrear--and not
very great either--but fifty Pounds a year and find our own Bags and
SIR OLIVER. Bags and Bouquets!--Halters and Bastinadoes! [Aside.]
TRIP. But a propos Moses--have you been able to get me that little
SIR OLIVER. Wants to raise money too!--mercy on me! has his
distresses, I warrant[,] like a Lord--and affects Creditors and Duns!
MOSES. 'Twas not be done, indeed----
TRIP. Good lack--you surprise me--My Friend Brush has indorsed it
and I thought when he put his name at the Back of a Bill 'twas
as good as cash.
MOSES. No 'twouldn't do.
TRIP. A small sum--but twenty Pound--harkee, Moses do you think
you could get it me by way of annuity?
SIR OLIVER. An annuity! ha! ha! a Footman raise money by annuity--
Well done Luxury egad! [Aside.]
MOSES. Who would you get to join with you?
TRIP. You know my Lord Applice--you have seen him however----
TRIP. You must have observed what an appearance he makes--nobody
dresses better, nobody throws off faster--very well this Gentleman
will stand my security.
MOSES. Well--but you must insure your Place.
TRIP. O with all my Heart--I'll insure my Place, and my Life too,
if you please.
SIR OLIVER. It's more than I would your neck----
MOSES. But is there nothing you could deposit?
TRIP. Why nothing capital of my master's wardrobe has drop'd
lately--but I could give you a mortgage on some of his winter
Cloaths with equity of redemption before November or--you shall
have the reversion--of the French velvet, or a post obit on the
Blue and Silver--these I should think Moses--with a few Pair of
Point Ruffles as a collateral security--hey, my little Fellow?
MOSES. Well well--we'll talk presently--we detain the Gentlemen----
SIR OLIVER. O pray don't let me interrupt Mr. Trip's Negotiation.
TRIP. Harkee--I heard the Bell--I believe, Gentlemen I can now
introduce you--don't forget the annuity little Moses.
SIR OLIVER. If the man be a shadow of his Master this is the Temple
of Dissipation indeed!
SCENE III.--CHARLES, CARELESS, etc., etc.
At Table with Wine
CHARLES. 'Fore Heaven, 'tis true!--there is the great Degeneracy
of the age--many of our acquaintance have Taste--Spirit, and
Politeness--but plague on't they won't drink----
CARELESS. It is so indeed--Charles--they give into all the
substantial Luxuries of the Table--and abstain from nothing but
wine and wit--Oh, certainly society suffers by it intolerably--
for now instead of the social spirit of Raillery that used
to mantle over a glass of bright Burgundy their conversation
is become just like the Spa water they drink which has all the
Pertness and flatulence of champaine without its spirit or Flavour.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. But what are they to do who love Play better than
CARELESS. True--there's Harry diets himself--for gaming and is now
under a hazard Regimen.
CHARLES. Then He'll have the worst of it--what you wouldn't train
a horse for the course by keeping him from corn--For my Part egad
I am never so successful as when I'm a little--merry--let me throw
on a Bottle of Champaine and I never lose--at least I never feel
my losses which is exactly the same thing.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Aye that may be--but it is as impossible to follow
wine and play as to unite Love and Politics.
CHARLES. Pshaw--you may do both--Caesar made Love and Laws
in a Breath--and was liked by the Senate as well as the Ladies--
but no man can pretend to be a Believer in Love, who is an abjurer
of wine--'tis the Test by which a Lover knows his own Heart--
fill a dozen Bumpers to a dozen Beauties, and she that floats
atop is the maid that has bewitched you.
CARELESS. Now then Charles--be honest and give us yours----
CHARLES. Why I have withheld her only in compassion to you--
if I toast her you should give a round of her Peers, which
is impossible! on earth!
CARELESS. O, then we'll find some canonized Vestals or heathen
Goddesses that will do I warrant----
CHARLES. Here then--Bumpers--you Rogues--Bumpers! Maria--Maria----
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Maria who?
CHARLES. Oh, damn the Surname 'tis too formal to be register'd
in Love's calendar--but now Careless beware--beware--we must have
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Nay Never study[,] Careless--we'll stand to the
Toast--tho' your mistress should want an eye--and you know you have
a song will excuse you----
CARELESS. Egad so I have--and I'll give him the song instead
of the Lady.----
Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen;
Here's to the widow of fifty;
Here's to the flaunting extravagant quean,
And here's to the housewife that's thrifty.
Chorus. Let the toast pass,--
Drink to the lass,
I'll warrant she'll prove an excuse for a glass.
Here's to the charmer whose dimples we prize;
Now to the maid who has none, sir;
Here's to the girl with a pair of blue eyes,
And here's to the nymph with but one, sir.
Chorus. Let the toast pass, &c.
Here's to the maid with a bosom of snow:
Now to her that's as brown as a berry:
Here's to the wife with a face full of woe,
And now to the damsel that's merry.
Chorus. Let the toast pass, &c.
For let 'em be clumsy, or let 'em be slim,
Young or ancient, I care not a feather;
So fill a pint bumper quite up to the brim,
So fill up your glasses, nay, fill to the brim,
And let us e'en toast them together.
Chorus. Let the toast pass, &c.
[Enter TRIP whispers CHARLES]
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Bravo Careless--Ther's Toast and Sentiment too.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. E' faith there's infinite charity in that song.----
CHARLES. Gentlemen, you must excuse me a little.--Careless,
take the Chair, will you?
CARELESS. Nay prithee, Charles--what now--this is one of your
Peerless Beauties I suppose--has dropped in by chance?
CHARLES. No--Faith--to tell you the Truth 'tis a Jew and a Broker
who are come by appointment.
CARELESS. O dam it let's have the Jew in.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Aye and the Broker too by all means----
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Yes yes the Jew and the Broker.
CHARLES. Egad with all my Heart--Trip--bid the Gentlemen walk in--
tho' there's one of them a Stranger I can tell you----
TRIP. What Sir--would you chuse Mr. Premium to come up with----
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Yes--yes Mr. Premium certainly.
CARELESS. To be sure--Mr. Premium--by all means Charles,
let us give them some generous Burgundy, and perhaps they'll
CHARLES. O, Hang 'em--no--wine does but draw forth a man's natural
qualities; and to make them drink would only be to whet their Knavery.
Enter TRIP, SIR OLIVER, and MOSES
CHARLES. So--honest Moses--walk in--walk in pray Mr. Premium--
that's the Gentleman's name isn't it Moses.
MOSES. Yes Sir.
CHARLES. Set chairs--Trim.--Sit down, Mr Premium.--Glasses Trim.--
sit down Moses.--Come, Mr. Premium I'll give you a sentiment--
Here's Success to Usury--Moses fill the Gentleman a bumper.
MOSES. Success to Usury!
CARELESS. Right Moses--Usury is Prudence and industry and deserves
SIR OLIVER. Then Here is--all the success it deserves!
CHARLES. Mr. Premium you and I are but strangers yet--but I hope
we shall be better acquainted by and bye----
SIR OLIVER. Yes Sir hope we shall--more intimately perhaps than
you'll wish. [Aside.<5>]
CARELESS. No, no, that won't do! Mr. Premium, you have demurred
at the toast, and must drink it in a pint bumper.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. A pint bumper, at least.
MOSES. Oh, pray, sir, consider--Mr. Premium's a gentleman.
CARELESS. And therefore loves good wine.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Give Moses a quart glass--this is mutiny,
and a high contempt for the chair.
CARELESS. Here, now for't! I'll see justice done, to the last
drop of my bottle.
SIR OLIVER. Nay, pray, gentlemen--I did not expect this usage.
CHARLES. No, hang it, you shan't; Mr. Premium's a stranger.
SIR OLIVER. Odd! I wish I was well out of their company. [Aside.]
CARELESS. Plague on 'em then! if they won't drink, we'll not sit down
with them. Come, Harry, the dice are in the next room.--Charles,
you'll join us when you have finished your business with the
CHARLES. I will! I will!--
[Exeunt SIR HARRY BUMPER and GENTLEMEN; CARELESS following.]
CARELESS. [Returning.] Well!
CHARLES. Perhaps I may want you.
CARELESS. Oh, you know I am always ready: word, note, or bond,
'tis all the same to me.
MOSES. Sir, this is Mr. Premium, a gentleman of the strictest
honour and secrecy; and always performs what he undertakes.
Mr. Premium, this is----
CHARLES. Psha! have done. Sir, my friend Moses is a very honest
fellow, but a little slow at expression: he'll be an hour giving
us our titles. Mr. Premium, the plain state of the matter is this:
I am an extravagant young fellow who wants to borrow money; you I
take to be a prudent old fellow, who have got money to lend. I am
blockhead enough to give fifty per cent. sooner than not have it!
and you, I presume, are rogue enough to take a hundred if you can
get it. Now, sir, you see we are acquainted at once, and may proceed
to business without further ceremony.
SIR OLIVER. Exceeding frank, upon my word. I see, sir, you are
not a man of many compliments.
CHARLES. Oh, no, sir! plain dealing in business I always think best.
SIR OLIVER. Sir, I like you the better for it. However, You are
mistaken in one thing; I have no money to lend, but I believe
I could procure some of a friend; but then he's an unconscionable dog.
Isn't he, Moses? And must sell stock to accommodate you. Mustn't he,
MOSES. Yes, indeed! You know I always speak the truth, and scorn
to tell a lie!
CHARLES. Right. People that speak truth generally do. But these
are trifles, Mr. Premium. What! I know money isn't to be bought
without paying for't!
SIR OLIVER. Well, but what security could you give? You have
no land, I suppose?
CHARLES. Not a mole-hill, nor a twig, but what's in the bough pots
out of the window!
SIR OLIVER. Nor any stock, I presume?
CHARLES. Nothing but live stock--and that's only a few pointers
and ponies. But pray, Mr. Premium, are you acquainted at all
with any of my connections?
SIR OLIVER. Why, to say the truth, I am.
CHARLES. Then you must know that I have a devilish rich uncle
in the East Indies, Sir Oliver Surface, from whom I have the greatest
SIR OLIVER. That you have a wealthy uncle, I have heard; but how your
expectations will turn out is more, I believe, than you can tell.
CHARLES. Oh, no!--there can be no doubt. They tell me I'm
a prodigious favourite, and that he talks of leaving me everything.
SIR OLIVER. Indeed! this is the first I've heard of it.
CHARLES. Yes, yes, 'tis just so. Moses knows 'tis true; don't you,
MOSES. Oh, yes! I'll swear to't.
SIR OLIVER. Egad, they'll persuade me presently I'm at Bengal.
CHARLES. Now I propose, Mr. Premium, if it's agreeable to you,
a post-obit on Sir Oliver's life: though at the same time the old
fellow has been so liberal to me, that I give you my word, I should
be very sorry to hear that anything had happened to him.
SIR OLIVER. Not more than I should, I assure you. But the bond you
mention happens to be just the worst security you could offer me--
for I might live to a hundred and never see the principal.
CHARLES. Oh, yes, you would! the moment Sir Oliver dies, you know,
you would come on me for the money.
SIR OLIVER. Then I believe I should be the most unwelcome dun
you ever had in your life.
CHARLES. What! I suppose you're afraid that Sir Oliver is too good
SIR OLIVER. No, indeed I am not; though I have heard he is as hale
and healthy as any man of his years in Christendom.
CHARLES. There again, now, you are misinformed. No, no,
the climate has hurt him considerably, poor uncle Oliver.
Yes, yes, he breaks apace, I'm told--and is so much altered
lately that his nearest relations would not know him.
SIR OLIVER. No! Ha! ha! ha! so much altered lately that his
nearest relations would not know him! Ha! ha! ha! egad--ha! ha! ha!
CHARLES. Ha! ha!--you're glad to hear that, little Premium?
SIR OLIVER. No, no, I'm not.
CHARLES. Yes, yes, you are--ha! ha! ha!--you know that mends your
SIR OLIVER. But I'm told Sir Oliver is coming over; nay, some say
he is actually arrived.
CHARLES. Psha! sure I must know better than you whether he's come or
not. No, no, rely on't he's at this moment at Calcutta. Isn't he,
MOSES. Oh, yes, certainly.
SIR OLIVER. Very true, as you say, you must know better than I,
though I have it from pretty good authority. Haven't I, Moses?
MOSES. Yes, most undoubted!
SIR OLIVER. But, Sir, as I understand you want a few hundreds
immediately, is there nothing you could dispose of?
CHARLES. How do you mean?
SIR OLIVER. For instance, now, I have heard that your father left
behind him a great quantity of massy old plate.
CHARLES. O Lud! that's gone long ago. Moses can tell you how
better than I can.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] Good lack! all the family race-cups and
corporation-bowls!--[Aloud.] Then it was also supposed that his
library was one of the most valuable and compact.
CHARLES. Yes, yes, so it was--vastly too much so for a private
gentleman. For my part, I was always of a communicative disposition,
so I thought it a shame to keep so much knowledge to myself.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] Mercy upon me! learning that had run in the
family like an heir-loom!--[Aloud.] Pray, what has become of the
CHARLES. You must inquire of the auctioneer, Master Premium, for
I don't believe even Moses can direct you.
MOSES. I know nothing of books.
SIR OLIVER. So, so, nothing of the family property left, I suppose?
CHARLES. Not much, indeed; unless you have a mind to the family
pictures. I have got a room full of ancestors above: and if you
have a taste for old paintings, egad, you shall have 'em a bargain!
SIR OLIVER. Hey! what the devil! sure, you wouldn't sell your
forefathers, would you?
CHARLES. Every man of them, to the best bidder.
SIR OLIVER. What! your great-uncles and aunts?
CHARLES. Ay, and my great-grandfathers and grandmothers too.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] Now I give him up!--[Aloud.] What the plague,
have you no bowels for your own kindred? Odd's life! do you take me
for Shylock in the play, that you would raise money of me on your own
flesh and blood?
CHARLES. Nay, my little broker, don't be angry: what need you care,
if you have your money's worth?
SIR OLIVER. Well, I'll be the purchaser: I think I can dispose of
the family canvas.--[Aside.] Oh, I'll never forgive him this! never!
CARELESS. Come, Charles, what keeps you?
CHARLES. I can't come yet. I'faith, we are going to have a sale
above stairs; here's little Premium will buy all my ancestors!
CARELESS. Oh, burn your ancestors!
CHARLES. No, he may do that afterwards, if he pleases. Stay,
Careless, we want you: egad, you shall be auctioneer--so come
along with us.
CARELESS. Oh, have with you, if that's the case. I can handle
a hammer as well as a dice box! Going! going!
SIR OLIVER. Oh, the profligates! [Aside.]
CHARLES. Come, Moses, you shall be appraiser, if we want one.
Gad's life, little Premium, you don't seem to like the business?
SIR OLIVER. Oh, yes, I do, vastly! Ha! ha! ha! yes, yes, I think
it a rare joke to sell one's family by auction--ha! ha!--[Aside.]
Oh, the prodigal!
CHARLES. To be sure! when a man wants money, where the plague should
he get assistance, if he can't make free with his own relations?
SIR OLIVER. I'll never forgive him; never! never!
END OF THE THIRD ACT
SCENE I.--A Picture Room in CHARLES SURFACE'S House
Enter CHARLES, SIR OLIVER, MOSES, and CARELESS
CHARLES. Walk in, gentlemen, pray walk in;--here they are, the family
of the Surfaces, up to the Conquest.
SIR OLIVER. And, in my opinion, a goodly collection.
CHARLES. Ay, ay, these are done in the true spirit of portrait-
painting; no volontiere grace or expression. Not like the works
of your modern Raphaels, who give you the strongest resemblance,
yet contrive to make your portrait independent of you; so that
you may sink the original and not hurt the picture. No, no;
the merit of these is the inveterate likeness--all stiff and
awkward as the originals, and like nothing in human nature besides.
SIR OLIVER. Ah! we shall never see such figures of men again.
CHARLES. I hope not. Well, you see, Master Premium, what a domestic
character I am; here I sit of an evening surrounded by my family. But
come, get to your pulpit, Mr. Auctioneer; here's an old gouty chair
of my grandfather's will answer the purpose.
CARELESS. Ay, ay, this will do. But, Charles, I haven't a hammer;
and what's an auctioneer without his hammer?
CHARLES. Egad, that's true. What parchment have we here? Oh,
our genealogy in full. [Taking pedigree down.] Here, Careless,
you shall have no common bit of mahogany, here's the family tree
for you, you rogue! This shall be your hammer, and now you may
knock down my ancestors with their own pedigree.
SIR OLIVER. What an unnatural rogue!--an ex post facto parricide!
CARELESS. Yes, yes, here's a list of your generation indeed;--
faith, Charles, this is the most convenient thing you could have
found for the business, for 'twill not only serve as a hammer,
but a catalogue into the bargain. Come, begin--A-going, a-going,
CHARLES. Bravo, Careless! Well, here's my great uncle, Sir Richard
Ravelin, a marvellous good general in his day, I assure you.
He served in all the Duke of Marlborough's wars, and got that cut
over his eye at the battle of Malplaquet. What say you, Mr. Premium?
look at him--there's a hero! not cut out of his feathers, as your
modern clipped captains are, but enveloped in wig and regimentals,
as a general should be. What do you bid?
SIR OLIVER. [Aside to Moses.] Bid him speak.
MOSES. Mr. Premium would have you speak.
CHARLES. Why, then, he shall have him for ten pounds, and I'm sure
that's not dear for a staff-officer.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] Heaven deliver me! his famous uncle Richard
for ten pounds!--[Aloud.] Very well, sir, I take him at that.
CHARLES. Careless, knock down my uncle Richard.--Here, now,
is a maiden sister of his, my great-aunt Deborah, done by Kneller,
in his best manner, and esteemed a very formidable likeness.
There she is, you see, a shepherdess feeding her flock. You shall
have her for five pounds ten--the sheep are worth the money.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] Ah! poor Deborah! a woman who set such a value
on herself!--[Aloud.] Five pounds ten--she's mine.
CHARLES. Knock down my aunt Deborah! Here, now, are two that were
a sort of cousins of theirs.--You see, Moses, these pictures were done
some time ago, when beaux wore wigs, and the ladies their own hair.
SIR OLIVER. Yes, truly, head-dresses appear to have been a little
lower in those days.
CHARLES. Well, take that couple for the same.
MOSES. 'Tis a good bargain.
CHARLES. Careless!--This, now, is a grandfather of my mother's,
a learned judge, well known on the western circuit,--What do you
rate him at, Moses?
MOSES. Four guineas.
CHARLES. Four guineas! Gad's life, you don't bid me the price
of his wig.--Mr. Premium, you have more respect for the woolsack;
do let us knock his lordship down at fifteen.
SIR OLIVER. By all means.
CHARLES. And there are two brothers of his, William and Walter Blunt,
Esquires, both members of Parliament, and noted speakers; and, what's
very extraordinary, I believe, this is the first time they were ever
bought or sold.
SIR OLIVER. That is very extraordinary, indeed! I'll take them at
your own price, for the honour of Parliament.
CARELESS. Well said, little Premium! I'll knock them down at forty.
CHARLES. Here's a jolly fellow--I don't know what relation, but
he was mayor of Norwich: take him at eight pounds.
SIR OLIVER. No, no; six will do for the mayor.
CHARLES. Come, make it guineas, and I'll throw you the two aldermen
here into the bargain.
SIR OLIVER. They're mine.
CHARLES. Careless, knock down the mayor and aldermen. But,
plague on't! we shall be all day retailing in this manner;
do let us deal wholesale: what say you, little Premium?
Give me three hundred pounds for the rest of the family in the lump.
CARELESS. Ay, ay, that will be the best way.
SIR OLIVER. Well, well, anything to accommodate you; they are mine.
But there is one portrait which you have always passed over.
CARELESS. What, that ill-looking little fellow over the settee?
SIR OLIVER. Yes, sir, I mean that; though I don't think him so
ill-looking a little fellow, by any means.
CHARLES. What, that? Oh; that's my uncle Oliver! 'Twas done
before he went to India.
CARELESS. Your uncle Oliver! Gad, then you'll never be friends,
Charles. That, now, to me, is as stern a looking rogue as ever
I saw; an unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance!
an inveterate knave, depend on't. Don't you think so, little Premium?
SIR OLIVER. Upon my soul, Sir, I do not; I think it is as honest a
looking face as any in the room, dead or alive. But I suppose uncle
Oliver goes with the rest of the lumber?
CHARLES. No, hang it! I'll not part with poor Noll. The old fellow
has been very good to me, and, egad, I'll keep his picture while I've
a room to put it in.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] The rogue's my nephew after all!--[Aloud.]
But, sir, I have somehow taken a fancy to that picture.
CHARLES. I'm sorry for't, for you certainly will not have it.
Oons, haven't you got enough of them?
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] I forgive him everything!--[Aloud.] But,
Sir, when I take a whim in my head, I don't value money. I'll
give you as much for that as for all the rest.
CHARLES. Don't tease me, master broker; I tell you I'll not part
with it, and there's an end of it.
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] How like his father the dog is.-- [Aloud.]
Well, well, I have done.-- [Aside.] I did not perceive it before,
but I think I never saw such a striking resemblance.-- [Aloud.]
Here is a draught for your sum.
CHARLES. Why, 'tis for eight hundred pounds!
SIR OLIVER. You will not let Sir Oliver go?
CHARLES. Zounds! no! I tell you, once more.
SIR OLIVER. Then never mind the difference, we'll balance that
another time. But give me your hand on the bargain; you are an
honest fellow, Charles--I beg pardon, sir, for being so free.--
CHARLES. Egad, this is a whimsical old fellow!--But hark'ee,
Premium, you'll prepare lodgings for these gentlemen.
SIR OLIVER. Yes, yes, I'll send for them in a day or two.
CHARLES. But, hold; do now send a genteel conveyance for them,
for, I assure you, they were most of them used to ride in their
SIR OLIVER. I will, I will--for all but Oliver.
CHARLES. Ay, all but the little nabob.
SIR OLIVER. You're fixed on that?
SIR OLIVER. [Aside.] A dear extravagant rogue!--[Aloud.] Good day!
Come, Moses.--[Aside.] Let me hear now who dares call him profligate!
[Exit with MOSES.]
CARELESS. Why, this is the oddest genius of the sort I ever met with!
CHARLES. Egad, he's the prince of brokers, I think. I wonder how
the devil Moses got acquainted with so honest a fellow.--Ha! here's
Rowley.--Do, Careless, say I'll join the company in a few moments.
CARELESS. I will--but don't let that old blockhead persuade you
to squander any of that money on old musty debts, or any such
nonsense; for tradesmen, Charles, are the most exorbitant fellows.
CHARLES. Very true, and paying them is only encouraging them.
CARELESS. Nothing else.
CHARLES. Ay, ay, never fear.--
So! this was an odd old fellow, indeed. Let me see, two-thirds
of these five hundred and thirty odd pounds are mine by right.
Fore Heaven! I find one's ancestors are more valuable relations
than I took them for!--Ladies and gentlemen, your most obedient
and very grateful servant.
[Bows ceremoniously to the pictures.]
Ha! old Rowley! egad, you are just come in time to take leave
of your old acquaintance.
ROWLEY. Yes, I heard they were a-going. But I wonder you can
have such spirits under so many distresses.
CHARLES. Why, there's the point! my distresses are so many, that
I can't affort to part with my spirits; but I shall be rich and
splenetic, all in good time. However, I suppose you are surprised
that I am not more sorrowful at parting with so many near relations;
to be sure, 'tis very affecting; but you see they never move a muscle,
so why should I?
ROWLEY. There's no making you serious a moment.
CHARLES. Yes, faith, I am so now. Here, my honest Rowley, here,
get me this changed directly, and take a hundred pounds of it
immediately to old Stanley.
ROWLEY. A hundred pounds! Consider only----
CHARLES. Gad's life, don't talk about it! poor Stanley's wants
are pressing, and, if you don't make haste, we shall have some one
call that has a better right to the money.
ROWLEY. Ah! there's the point! I never will cease dunning you
with the old proverb----
CHARLES. BE JUST BEFORE YOU'RE GENEROUS.--Why, so I would if I could;
but Justice is an old hobbling beldame, and I can't get her to keep
pace with Generosity, for the soul of me.
ROWLEY. Yet, Charles, believe me, one hour's reflection----
CHARLES. Ay, ay, it's very true; but, hark'ee, Rowley, while I have,
by Heaven I'll give; so, damn your economy! and now for hazard.
SCENE II.--The Parlour
Enter SIR OLIVER and MOSES
MOSES. Well sir, I think as Sir Peter said you have seen Mr. Charles
in high Glory--'tis great Pity He's so extravagant.
SIR OLIVER. True--but he would not sell my Picture--
MOSES. And loves wine and women so much--
SIR OLIVER. But He wouldn't sell my Picture.
MOSES. And game so deep--
SIR OLIVER. But He wouldn't sell my Picture. O--here's Rowley!
ROWLEY. So--Sir Oliver--I find you have made a Purchase----
SIR OLIVER. Yes--yes--our young Rake has parted with his Ancestors
like old Tapestry--sold Judges and Generals by the foot--and maiden
Aunts as cheap as broken China.--
ROWLEY. And here has he commissioned me to re-deliver you Part
of the purchase-money--I mean tho' in your necessitous character
of old Stanley----
MOSES. Ah! there is the Pity of all! He is so damned charitable.
ROWLEY. And I left a Hosier and two Tailors in the Hall--who
I'm sure won't be paid, and this hundred would satisfy 'em.
SIR OLIVER. Well--well--I'll pay his debts and his Benevolences
too--I'll take care of old Stanley--myself-- But now I am no more
a Broker, and you shall introduce me to the elder Brother
ROWLEY. Not yet a while--Sir Peter I know means to call there about
TRIP. O Gentlemen--I beg Pardon for not showing you out--this way--
Moses, a word.
[Exit TRIP with MOSES.]
SIR OLIVER. There's a Fellow for you-- Would you believe it that
Puppy intercepted the Jew, on our coming, and wanted to raise money
before he got to his master!
SIR OLIVER. Yes--they are now planning an annuity Business--
Ah Master Rowley[,] in my Day Servants were content with the Follies
of their Masters when they were worn a little Thread Bare but now
they have their Vices like their Birth Day cloaths with the gloss on.
SCENE III.--A Library
SURFACE and SERVANT
SURFACE. No letter from Lady Teazle?
SERVANT. No Sir--
SURFACE. I am surprised she hasn't sent if she is prevented from
coming--! Sir Peter certainly does not suspect me--yet I wish
I may not lose the Heiress, thro' the scrape I have drawn myself
in with the wife--However, Charles's imprudence and bad character
are great Points in my Favour.
SERVANT. Sir--I believe that must be Lady Teazle--
SURFACE. Hold[!] see--whether it is or not before you go to the
Door--I have a particular Message for you if it should be my Brother.
SERVANT. 'Tis her ladyship Sir--She always leaves her Chair at the
milliner's in the next Street.
SURFACE. Stay--stay--draw that Screen before the Window--that will
do--my opposite Neighbour is a maiden Lady of so curious a temper!--
[SERVANT draws the screen and exit.]
I have a difficult Hand to play in this Affair--Lady Teazle as lately
suspected my Views on Maria--but She must by no means be let into
that secret, at least till I have her more in my Power.
Enter LADY TEAZLE
LADY TEAZLE. What[!] Sentiment in soliloquy--have you been very
impatient now?--O Lud! don't pretend to look grave--I vow I couldn't
SURFACE. O Madam[,] Punctuality is a species of Constancy, a very
unfashionable quality in a Lady.
LADY TEAZLE. Upon my word you ought to pity me, do you now Sir Peter
is grown so ill-tempered to me of Late! and so jealous! of Charles too
that's the best of the story isn't it?
SURFACE. I am glad my scandalous Friends keep that up. [Aside.]
LADY TEAZLE. I am sure I wish He would let Maria marry him--
and then perhaps He would be convinced--don't you--Mr. Surface?
SURFACE. Indeed I do not.--[Aside.] O certainly I do--for then
my dear Lady Teazle would also be convinced how wrong her suspicions
were of my having any design on the silly Girl----
LADY TEAZLE. Well--well I'm inclined to believe you--besides
I really never could perceive why she should have so any admirers.
SURFACE. O for her Fortune--nothing else--
LADY TEAZLE. I believe so for tho' she is certainly very pretty--
yet she has no conversation in the world--and is so grave and
reserved--that I declare I think she'd have made an excellent wife
for Sir Peter.--
SURFACE. So she would.
LADY TEAZLE. Then--one never hears her speak ill of anybody--which
you know is mighty dull--
SURFACE. Yet she doesn't want understanding--
LADY TEAZLE. No more she does--yet one is always disapointed when
one hears [her] speak--For though her Eyes have no kind of meaning
in them--she very seldom talks Nonsense.
SURFACE. Nay--nay surely--she has very fine eyes--
LADY TEAZLE. Why so she has--tho' sometimes one fancies there's
a little sort of a squint--
SURFACE. A squint--O fie--Lady Teazle.
LADY TEAZLE. Yes yes--I vow now--come there is a left-handed Cupid
in one eye--that's the Truth on't.
SURFACE. Well--his aim is very direct however--but Lady Sneerwell
has quite corrupted you.
LADY TEAZLE. No indeed--I have not opinion enough of her to be taught
by her, and I know that she has lately rais'd many scandalous hints of
me--which you know one always hears from one common Friend, or other.
SURFACE. Why to say truth I believe you are not more obliged to her
than others of her acquaintance.
LADY TEAZLE. But isn't [it] provoking to hear the most ill-natured
Things said to one and there's my friend Lady Sneerwell has circulated
I don't know how many scandalous tales of me, and all without
any foundation, too; that's what vexes me.
SURFACE. Aye Madam to be sure that is the Provoking circumstance--
without Foundation--yes yes--there's the mortification indeed--
for when a slanderous story is believed against one--there certainly
is no comfort like the consciousness of having deserved it----
LADY TEAZLE. No to be sure--then I'd forgive their malice--
but to attack me, who am really so innocent--and who never say
an ill-natured thing of anybody--that is, of any Friend--!
and then Sir Peter too--to have him so peevish--and so suspicious--
when I know the integrity of my own Heart--indeed 'tis monstrous.
SURFACE. But my dear Lady Teazle 'tis your own fault if you suffer
it--when a Husband entertains a groundless suspicion of his Wife and
withdraws his confidence from her--the original compact is broke and
she owes it to the Honour of her sex to endeavour to outwit him--
LADY TEAZLE. Indeed--So that if He suspects me without cause
it follows that the best way of curing his jealousy is to give him
SURFACE. Undoubtedly--for your Husband [should] never be deceived
in you--and in that case it becomes you to be frail in compliment
to his discernment--
LADY TEAZLE. To be sure what you say is very reasonable--and when
the consciousness of my own Innocence----
SURFACE. Ah: my dear--Madam there is the great mistake--'tis this
very conscious Innocence that is of the greatest Prejudice to you--
what is it makes you negligent of Forms and careless of the world's
opinion--why the consciousness of your Innocence--what makes you
thoughtless in your Conduct and apt to run into a thousand little
imprudences--why the consciousness of your Innocence--what makes you
impatient of Sir Peter's temper, and outrageous at his suspicions--
why the consciousness of your own Innocence--
LADY TEAZLE. 'Tis very true.
SURFACE. Now my dear Lady Teazle if you but once make a trifling
Faux Pas you can't conceive how cautious you would grow, and how
ready to humour and agree with your Husband.
LADY TEAZLE. Do you think so--
SURFACE. O I'm sure on't; and then you'd find all scandal would
cease at once--for in short your Character at Present is like
a Person in a Plethora, absolutely dying of too much Health--
LADY TEAZLE. So--so--then I perceive your Prescription is that
I must sin in my own Defence--and part with my virtue to preserve
SURFACE. Exactly so upon my credit Ma'am[.]
LADY TEAZLE. Well certainly this is the oddest Doctrine--and the
newest Receipt for avoiding calumny.
SURFACE. An infallible one believe me--Prudence like experience
must be paid for--
LADY TEAZLE. Why if my understanding were once convinced----
SURFACE. Oh, certainly Madam, your understanding SHOULD be
convinced--yes--yes--Heaven forbid I should persuade you to do
anything you THOUGHT wrong--no--no--I have too much honor
to desire it--
LADY TEAZLE. Don't--you think we may as well leave Honor
out of the Argument? [Rises.]
SURFACE. Ah--the ill effects of your country education I see
still remain with you.
LADY TEAZLE. I doubt they do indeed--and I will fairly own to you,
that If I could be persuaded to do wrong it would be by Sir Peter's
ill-usage--sooner than your honourable Logic, after all.
SURFACE. Then by this Hand, which He is unworthy of----
Sdeath, you Blockhead--what do you want?
SERVANT. I beg your Pardon Sir, but I thought you wouldn't chuse
Sir Peter to come up without announcing him?
SURFACE. Sir Peter--Oons--the Devil!
LADY TEAZLE. Sir Peter! O Lud! I'm ruined! I'm ruin'd!
SERVANT. Sir, 'twasn't I let him in.
LADY TEAZLE. O I'm undone--what will become of me now Mr. Logick.--
Oh! mercy, He's on the Stairs--I'll get behind here--and if ever
I'm so imprudent again----
[Goes behind the screen--]
SURFACE. Give me that--Book!----
[Sits down--SERVANT pretends to adjust his Hair--]
Enter SIR PETER
SIR PETER. Aye--ever improving himself!--Mr. Surface--
SURFACE. Oh! my dear Sir Peter--I beg your Pardon--[Gaping and
throws away the Book.] I have been dosing [dozing] over a stupid
Book! well--I am much obliged to you for this Call--You haven't
been here I believe since I fitted up this Room--Books you know
are the only Things I am a Coxcomb in--
SIR PETER. 'Tis very neat indeed--well well that's proper--
and you make even your Screen a source of knowledge--hung
I perceive with Maps--
SURFACE. O yes--I find great use in that Screen.
SIR PETER. I dare say you must--certainly--when you want to find
out anything in a Hurry.
SURFACE. Aye or to hide anything in a Hurry either--
SIR PETER. Well I have a little private Business--if we were alone--
SURFACE. You needn't stay.
SURFACE. Here's a Chair--Sir Peter--I beg----
SIR PETER. Well--now we are alone--there IS a subject--my dear
Friend--on which I wish to unburthen my Mind to you--a Point
of the greatest moment to my Peace--in short, my good Friend--
Lady Teazle's conduct of late has made me very unhappy.
SURFACE. Indeed I'm very sorry to hear it--
SIR PETER. Yes 'tis but too plain she has not the least regard
for me--but what's worse, I have pretty good Authority to suspect
that she must have formed an attachment to another.
SURFACE. Indeed! you astonish me.
SIR PETER. Yes--and between ourselves--I think I have discover'd
SURFACE. How--you alarm me exceedingly!
SIR PETER. Ah: my dear Friend I knew you would sympathize with me.--
SURFACE. Yes--believe me Sir Peter--such a discovery would hurt me
just as much as it would you--
SIR PETER. I am convinced of it--ah--it is a happiness to have
a Friend whom one can trust even with one's Family secrets--
but have you no guess who I mean?
SURFACE. I haven't the most distant Idea--it can't be
Sir Benjamin Backbite.
SIR PETER. O--No. What say you to Charles?
SURFACE. My Brother--impossible!--O no Sir Peter you mustn't credit
the scandalous insinuations you hear--no no--Charles to be sure
has been charged with many things but go I can never think
He would meditate so gross an injury--
SIR PETER. Ah! my dear Friend--the goodness of your own Heart
misleads you--you judge of others by yourself.
SURFACE. Certainly Sir Peter--the Heart that is conscious of its own
integrity is ever slowest to credit another's Treachery.--
SIR PETER. True--but your Brother has no sentiment[--]you never hear
him talk so.--
SURFACE. Well there certainly is no knowing what men are capable of--
no--there is no knowing--yet I can't but think Lady Teazle herself
has too much Principle----
SIR PETER. Aye but what's Principle against the Flattery of a
handsome--lively young Fellow--
SURFACE. That's very true--
SIR PETER. And then you know the difference of our ages makes it very
improbable that she should have any great affection for me--and if she
were to be frail and I were to make it Public--why the Town would only
laugh at the foolish old Batchelor, who had married a girl----
SURFACE. That's true--to be sure People would laugh.
SIR PETER. Laugh--aye and make Ballads--and Paragraphs and the Devil
knows what of me--
SURFACE. No--you must never make it public--
SIR PETER. But then again that the Nephew of my old Friend,
Sir Oliver[,] should be the Person to attempt such an injury--
hurts me more nearly--
SURFACE. Undoubtedly--when Ingratitude barbs the Dart of Injury--
the wound has double danger in it--
SIR PETER. Aye--I that was in a manner left his Guardian--
in his House he had been so often entertain'd--who never in my Life
denied him my advice--
SURFACE. O 'tis not to be credited--There may be a man capable
of such Baseness, to be sure--but for my Part till you can give me
positive Proofs you must excuse me withholding my Belief. However,
if this should be proved on him He is no longer a brother of mine
I disclaim kindred with him--for the man who can break thro' the Laws
of Hospitality--and attempt the wife of his Friend deserves to be
branded as the Pest of Society.
SIR PETER. What a difference there is between you--what noble
SURFACE. But I cannot suspect Lady Teazle's honor.
SIR PETER. I'm sure I wish to think well of her--and to remove
all ground of Quarrel between us--She has lately reproach'd me more
than once with having made no settlement on her--and, in our last
Quarrel, she almost hinted that she should not break her Heart if
I was dead.--now as we seem to differ in our Ideas of Expense
I have resolved she shall be her own Mistress in that Respect
for the future--and if I were to die--she shall find that I have not
been inattentive to her Interests while living--Here my Friend
are the Draughts of two Deeds which I wish to have your opinion on--
by one she will enjoy eight hundred a year independent while I live--
and by the other the bulk of my Fortune after my Death.
SURFACE. This conduct Sir Peter is indeed truly Generous! I wish
it may not corrupt my pupil.--[Aside.]
SIR PETER. Yes I am determined she shall have no cause to complain--
tho' I would not have her acquainted with the latter instance of my
affection yet awhile.
SURFACE. Nor I--if I could help it.
SIR PETER. And now my dear Friend if you please we will talk over
the situation of your Hopes with Maria.
SURFACE. No--no--Sir Peter--another Time if you Please--[softly].
SIR PETER. I am sensibly chagrined at the little Progress you seem
to make in her affection.
SURFACE. I beg you will not mention it--What are my Disappointments
when your Happiness is in Debate [softly]. 'Sdeath I shall be ruined
SIR PETER. And tho' you are so averse to my acquainting Lady Teazle
with YOUR passion, I am sure she's not your Enemy in the Affair.
SURFACE. Pray Sir Peter, now oblige me.--I am really too much
affected by the subject we have been speaking of to bestow a thought
on my own concerns--The Man who is entrusted with his Friend's
Distresses can never----
SERVANT. Your Brother Sir, is--speaking to a Gentleman in the Street,
and says He knows you're within.
SURFACE. 'Sdeath, Blockhead--I'm NOT within--I'm out for the Day.
SIR PETER. Stay--hold--a thought has struck me--you shall be at home.
SURFACE. Well--well--let him up.--
He'll interrupt Sir Peter, however. [Aside.]
SIR PETER. Now, my good Friend--oblige me I Intreat you--before
Charles comes--let me conceal myself somewhere--Then do you tax him
on the Point we have been talking on--and his answers may satisfy me
SURFACE. O Fie--Sir Peter--would you have ME join in so mean
a Trick? to trepan my Brother too?
SIR PETER. Nay you tell me you are SURE He is innocent--if so you
do him the greatest service in giving him an opportunity to clear
himself--and--you will set my Heart at rest--come you shall not refuse
me--here behind this Screen will be--hey! what the Devil--there seems
to be one listener here already--I'll swear I saw a Petticoat.--
SURFACE. Ha! ha! ha! Well this is ridiculous enough--I'll tell you,
Sir Peter--tho' I hold a man of Intrigue to be a most despicable
Character--yet you know it doesn't follow that a man is to be an
absolute Joseph either--hark'ee--'tis a little French Milliner--
a silly Rogue that plagues me--and having some character, on your
coming she ran behind the Screen.--
SIR PETER. Ah a Rogue--but 'egad she has overheard all I have been
saying of my Wife.
SURFACE. O 'twill never go any farther, you may depend on't.
SIR PETER. No!--then efaith let her hear it out.--Here's a Closet
will do as well.--
SURFACE. Well, go in there.--
SIR PETER. Sly rogue--sly Rogue.--
SURFACE. Gad's my Life what an Escape--! and a curious situation
I'm in!--to part man and wife in this manner.--
LADY TEAZLE. [peeps out.] Couldn't I steal off--
SURFACE. Keep close, my Angel!
SIR PETER. [Peeping out.] Joseph--tax him home.
SURFACE. Back--my dear Friend
LADY TEAZLE. [Peeping out.] Couldn't you lock Sir Peter in?--
SURFACE. Be still--my Life!
SIR PETER. [Peeping.] You're sure the little Milliner won't blab?
SURFACE. In! in! my good Sir Peter--'Fore Gad, I wish I had a key
to the Door.
CHARLES. Hollo! Brother--what has been the matter? your Fellow
wouldn't let me up at first--What[?] have you had a Jew or a wench
SURFACE. Neither Brother I assure you.
CHARLES. But--what has made Sir Peter steal off--I thought He had
been with you--
SURFACE. He WAS Brother--but hearing you were coming He didn't
chuse to stay--
CHARLES. What[!] was the old Gentleman afraid I wanted to borrow
money of him?
SURFACE. No Sir--but I am sorry to find[,] Charles--you have lately
given that worthy man grounds for great Uneasiness.
CHARLES. Yes they tell me I do that to a great many worthy men--
but how so Pray?
SURFACE. To be plain with you Brother He thinks you are endeavouring
to gain Lady Teazle's Affections from him.
CHARLES. Who I--O Lud! not I upon my word.--Ha! ha! ha! so the old
Fellow has found out that He has got a young wife has He? or what's
worse she has discover'd that she has an old Husband?
SURFACE. This is no subject to jest on Brother--He who can laugh----
CHARLES. True true as you were going to say--then seriously I never
had the least idea of what you charge me with, upon my honour.
SURFACE. Well it will give Sir Peter great satisfaction to hear this.
CHARLES. [Aloud.] To be sure, I once thought the lady seemed
to have taken a fancy--but upon my soul I never gave her the least
encouragement.--Beside you know my Attachment to Maria--
SURFACE. But sure Brother even if Lady Teazle had betray'd the
fondest Partiality for you----
CHARLES. Why--look'ee Joseph--I hope I shall never deliberately
do a dishonourable Action--but if a pretty woman was purposely
to throw herself in my way--and that pretty woman married to a man
old enough to be her Father----
CHARLES. Why I believe I should be obliged to borrow a little of your
Morality, that's all.--but, Brother do you know now that you surprize
me exceedingly by naming me with Lady Teazle--for faith I always
understood YOU were her Favourite--
SURFACE. O for shame--Charles--This retort is Foolish.
CHARLES. Nay I swear I have seen you exchange such significant
SURFACE. Nay--nay--Sir--this is no jest--
CHARLES. Egad--I'm serious--Don't you remember--one Day, when
I called here----
CHARLES. And found you together----
SURFACE. Zounds, Sir--I insist----
CHARLES. And another time when your Servant----
SURFACE. Brother--brother a word with you--Gad I must stop him--
CHARLES. Informed--me that----
SURFACE. Hush!--I beg your Pardon but Sir Peter has overheard all
we have been saying--I knew you would clear yourself, or I shouldn't
CHARLES. How Sir Peter--Where is He--
SURFACE. Softly, there! [Points to the closet.]
CHARLES. [In the Closet!] O 'fore Heaven I'll have him out--
Sir Peter come forth!
CHARLES. I say Sir Peter--come into court.--
[Pulls in SIR PETER.]
What--my old Guardian--what[!] turn inquisitor and take evidence
SIR PETER. Give me your hand--Charles--I believe I have suspected
you wrongfully; but you mustn't be angry with Joseph--'twas my Plan--
SIR PETER. But I acquit you--I promise you I don't think near so ill
of you as I did--what I have heard has given me great satisfaction.
CHARLES. Egad then 'twas lucky you didn't hear any more. Wasn't it
SIR PETER. Ah! you would have retorted on him.
CHARLES. Aye--aye--that was a Joke.
SIR PETER. Yes, yes, I know his honor too well.
CHARLES. Yet you might as well have suspected him as me in this
matter, for all that--mightn't He, Joseph?
SIR PETER. Well well I believe you--
SURFACE. Would they were both out of the Room!
Enter SERVANT, whispers SURFACE
SIR PETER. And in future perhaps we may not be such Strangers.
SURFACE. Gentlemen--I beg Pardon--I must wait on you downstairs--
Here is a Person come on particular Business----
CHARLES. Well you can see him in another Room--Sir Peter and
I haven't met a long time and I have something to say [to] him.
SURFACE. They must not be left together.--I'll send this man away
and return directly--
[SURFACE goes out.]
SIR PETER. Ah--Charles if you associated more with your Brother,
one might indeed hope for your reformation--He is a man of Sentiment--
Well! there is nothing in the world so noble as a man of Sentiment!
CHARLES. Pshaw! He is too moral by half--and so apprehensive of
his good Name, as he calls it, that I suppose He would as soon let
a Priest in his House as a Girl--
SIR PETER. No--no--come come,--you wrong him. No, no, Joseph is no
Rake but he is no such Saint in that respect either. I have a great
mind to tell him--we should have such a Laugh!
CHARLES. Oh, hang him? He's a very Anchorite--a young Hermit!
SIR PETER. Harkee--you must not abuse him, he may chance to hear
of it again I promise you.
CHARLES. Why you won't tell him?
SIR PETER. No--but--this way. Egad, I'll tell him--Harkee, have
you a mind to have a good laugh against Joseph?
CHARLES. I should like it of all things--
SIR PETER. Then, E'faith, we will--I'll be quit with him for
discovering me.--He had a girl with him when I called. [Whispers.]
CHARLES. What[!] Joseph[!] you jest--
SIR PETER. Hush!--a little French Milliner--and the best of the jest
is--she's in the room now.
CHARLES. The devil she is--
SIR PETER. Hush! I tell you. [Points.]
CHARLES. Behind the screen! Odds Life, let's unveil her!
SIR PETER. No--no! He's coming--you shan't indeed!
CHARLES. Oh, egad, we'll have a peep at the little milliner!
SIR PETER. Not for the world--Joseph will never forgive me.
CHARLES. I'll stand by you----
SIR PETER. Odds Life! Here He's coming--
[SURFACE enters just as CHARLES throws down the Screen.]
Re-enter JOSEPH SURFACE
CHARLES. Lady Teazle! by all that's wonderful!
SIR PETER. Lady Teazle! by all that's Horrible!
CHARLES. Sir Peter--This is one of the smartest French Milliners
I ever saw!--Egad, you seem all to have been diverting yourselves
here at Hide and Seek--and I don't see who is out of the Secret!--
Shall I beg your Ladyship to inform me!--Not a word!--Brother!--
will you please to explain this matter? What! is Honesty Dumb too?--
Sir Peter, though I found you in the Dark--perhaps you are not so
now--all mute! Well tho' I can make nothing of the Affair, I make
no doubt but you perfectly understand one another--so I'll leave you
to yourselves.--[Going.] Brother I'm sorry to find you have given
that worthy man grounds for so much uneasiness!--Sir Peter--there's
nothing in the world so noble as a man of Sentiment!--
[Stand for some time looking at one another. Exit CHARLES.]
SURFACE. Sir Peter--notwithstanding I confess that appearances
are against me. If you will afford me your Patience I make no doubt
but I shall explain everything to your satisfaction.--
SIR PETER. If you please--Sir--
SURFACE. The Fact is Sir--that Lady Teazle knowing my Pretensions
to your ward Maria--I say Sir Lady Teazle--being apprehensive of the
Jealousy of your Temper--and knowing my Friendship to the Family. S
he Sir--I say call'd here--in order that I might explain those
Pretensions--but on your coming being apprehensive--as I said of your
Jealousy--she withdrew--and this, you may depend on't is the whole
truth of the Matter.
SIR PETER. A very clear account upon the [my] word and I dare swear
the Lady will vouch for every article of it.
LADY TEAZLE. For not one word of it Sir Peter--
SIR PETER. How[!] don't you think it worthwhile to agree in the lie.
LADY TEAZLE. There is not one Syllable of Truth in what that
Gentleman has told you.
SIR PETER. I believe you upon my soul Ma'am--
SURFACE. 'Sdeath, madam, will you betray me! [Aside.]
LADY TEAZLE. Good Mr. Hypocrite by your leave I will speak for
SIR PETER. Aye let her alone Sir--you'll find she'll make out
a better story than you without Prompting.
LADY TEAZLE. Hear me Sir Peter--I came hither on no matter relating
to your ward and even ignorant of this Gentleman's pretensions to
her--but I came--seduced by his insidious arguments--and pretended
Passion[--]at least to listen to his dishonourable Love if not
to sacrifice your Honour to his Baseness.
SIR PETER. Now, I believe, the Truth is coming indeed[.]
SURFACE. The Woman's mad--
LADY TEAZLE. No Sir--she has recovered her Senses. Your own Arts
have furnished her with the means. Sir Peter--I do not expect you
to credit me--but the Tenderness you express'd for me, when I am sure
you could not think I was a witness to it, has penetrated so to my
Heart that had I left the Place without the Shame of this discovery--
my future life should have spoken the sincerity of my Gratitude--
as for that smooth-tongued Hypocrite--who would have seduced the wife
of his too credulous Friend while he pretended honourable addresses
to his ward--I behold him now in a light so truly despicable that
I shall never again Respect myself for having Listened to him.
SURFACE. Notwithstanding all this Sir Peter--Heaven knows----
SIR PETER. That you are a Villain!--and so I leave you to your
SURFACE. You are too Rash Sir Peter--you SHALL hear me--The man
who shuts out conviction by refusing to----
[Exeunt, SURFACE following and speaking.]
END OF THE FOURTH
SCENE I.--The Library
Enter SURFACE and SERVANT
SURFACE. Mr. Stanley! and why should you think I would see him?--
you must know he came to ask something!
SERVANT. Sir--I shouldn't have let him in but that Mr. Rowley
came to the Door with him.
SURFACE. Pshaw!--Blockhead to suppose that I should now be in
a Temper to receive visits from poor Relations!--well why don't
you show the Fellow up?
SERVANT. I will--Sir--Why, Sir--it was not my Fault that Sir Peter
discover'd my Lady----
SURFACE. Go, fool!--
Sure Fortune never play'd a man of my policy such a Trick before--
my character with Sir Peter!--my Hopes with Maria!--destroy'd in
a moment!--I'm in a rare Humour to listen to other People's
Distresses!--I shan't be able to bestow even a benevolent sentiment
on Stanley--So! here--He comes and Rowley with him--I MUST try to
recover myself, and put a little Charity into my Face however.----
Enter SIR OLIVER and ROWLEY
SIR OLIVER. What! does He avoid us? that was He--was it not?
ROWLEY. It was Sir--but I doubt you are come a little too abruptly--
his Nerves are so weak that the sight of a poor Relation may be too
much for him--I should have gone first to break you to him.
SIR OLIVER. A Plague of his Nerves--yet this is He whom Sir Peter
extolls as a Man of the most Benevolent way of thinking!--
ROWLEY. As to his way of thinking--I can't pretend to decide[,]
for, to do him justice He appears to have as much speculative
Benevolence as any private Gentleman in the Kingdom--though he is
seldom so sensual as to indulge himself in the exercise of it----
SIR OLIVER. Yet [he] has a string of charitable Sentiments I suppose
at his Fingers' ends!--
ROWLEY. Or, rather at his Tongue's end Sir Oliver; for I believe
there is no sentiment he has more faith in than that 'Charity begins
SIR OLIVER. And his I presume is of that domestic sort which never
stirs abroad at all.
ROWLEY. I doubt you'll find it so--but He's coming--I mustn't seem
to interrupt you--and you know immediately--as you leave him--I come
in to announce--your arrival in your real Character.
SIR OLIVER. True--and afterwards you'll meet me at Sir Peter's----
ROWLEY. Without losing a moment.
SIR OLIVER. So--I see he has premeditated a Denial by the
Complaisance of his Features.
SURFACE. Sir--I beg you ten thousand Pardons for keeping--
you a moment waiting--Mr. Stanley--I presume----
SIR OLIVER. At your Service.
SURFACE. Sir--I beg you will do me the honour to sit down--
I entreat you Sir.
SIR OLIVER. Dear Sir there's no occasion--too civil by half!
SURFACE. I have not the Pleasure of knowing you, Mr. Stanley--
but I am extremely happy to see you look so well--you were nearly
related to my mother--I think Mr. Stanley----
SIR OLIVER. I was Sir--so nearly that my present Poverty I fear
may do discredit to her Wealthy Children--else I should not
have presumed to trouble you.--
SURFACE. Dear Sir--there needs no apology--He that is in Distress
tho' a stranger has a right to claim kindred with the wealthy--
I am sure I wish I was of that class, and had it in my power
to offer you even a small relief.
SIR OLIVER. If your Unkle, Sir Oliver were here--I should have
SURFACE. I wish He was Sir, with all my Heart--you should not want
an advocate with him--believe me Sir.
SIR OLIVER. I should not need one--my Distresses would recommend
me.--but I imagined--his Bounty had enabled you to become the agent
of his Charity.
SURFACE. My dear Sir--you are strangely misinformed--Sir Oliver
is a worthy Man, a worthy man--a very worthy sort of Man--but avarice
Mr. Stanley is the vice of age--I will tell you my good Sir in
confidence:--what he has done for me has been a mere--nothing[;]
tho' People I know have thought otherwise and for my Part I never
chose to contradict the Report.
SIR OLIVER. What!--has he never transmitted--you--Bullion--Rupees--
SURFACE. O Dear Sir--Nothing of the kind--no--no--a few Presents
now and then--china, shawls, congo Tea, Avadavats--and indian
Crackers--little more, believe me.
SIR OLIVER. Here's Gratitude for twelve thousand pounds!--
Avadavats and indian Crackers.
SURFACE. Then my dear--Sir--you have heard, I doubt not, of the
extravagance of my Brother--Sir--there are very few would credit
what I have done for that unfortunate young man.
SIR OLIVER. Not I for one!
SURFACE. The sums I have lent him! indeed--I have been exceedingly
to blame--it was an amiable weakness! however I don't pretend
to defend it--and now I feel it doubly culpable--since it has
deprived me of the power of serving YOU Mr. Stanley as my Heart
SIR OLIVER. Dissembler! Then Sir--you cannot assist me?
SURFACE. At Present it grieves me to say I cannot--but whenever
I have the ability, you may depend upon hearing from me.
SIR OLIVER. I am extremely sorry----
SURFACE. Not more than I am believe me--to pity without the Power
to relieve is still more painful than to ask and be denied----
SIR OLIVER. Kind Sir--your most obedient humble servant.
SURFACE. You leave me deeply affected Mr. Stanley--William--
be ready to open the door----
SIR OLIVER. O, Dear Sir, no ceremony----
SURFACE. Your very obedient----
SIR OLIVER. Your most obsequious----
SURFACE. You may depend on hearing from me whenever I can be
SIR OLIVER. Sweet Sir--you are too good----
SURFACE. In the mean time I wish you Health and Spirits----
SIR OLIVER. Your ever grateful and perpetual humble Servant----
SURFACE. Sir--yours as sincerely----
SIR OLIVER. Charles!--you are my Heir.
Soh!--This is one bad effect of a good Character--it invites
applications from the unfortunate and there needs no small degree
of address to gain the reputation of Benevolence without incurring
the expence.--The silver ore of pure Charity is an expensive article
in the catalogue of a man's good Qualities--whereas the sentimental
French Plate I use instead of it makes just as good a shew--and pays
ROWLEY. Mr. Surface--your Servant: I was apprehensive of
interrupting you, tho' my Business demands immediate attention--
as this Note will inform you----
SURFACE. Always Happy to see Mr. Rowley--how--Oliver--Surface!--
My Unkle arrived!
ROWLEY. He is indeed--we have just parted--quite well--after
a speedy voyage--and impatient to embrace his worthy Nephew.
SURFACE. I am astonished!--William[!] stop Mr. Stanley, if He's not
ROWLEY. O--He's out of reach--I believe.
SURFACE. Why didn't you let me know this when you came in together.--
ROWLEY. I thought you had particular--Business--but must be gone
to inform your Brother, and appoint him here to meet his Uncle.
He will be with you in a quarter of an hour----
SURFACE. So he says. Well--I am strangely overjoy'd at his coming--
never to be sure was anything so damn'd unlucky!
ROWLEY. You will be delighted to see how well He looks.
SURFACE. O--I'm rejoiced to hear it--just at this time----
ROWLEY. I'll tell him how impatiently you expect him----
SURFACE. Do--do--pray--give my best duty and affection--indeed,
I cannot express the sensations I feel at the thought of seeing
him!--certainly his coming just at this Time is the cruellest
piece of ill Fortune----
SCENE II.--At SIR PETER'S House
Enter MRS. CANDOUR and SERVANT
SERVANT. Indeed Ma'am, my Lady will see nobody at Present.
MRS. CANDOUR. Did you tell her it was her Friend Mrs. Candour----
SERVANT. Yes Ma'am but she begs you will excuse her----
MRS. CANDOUR. Do go again--I shall be glad to see her if it be
only for a moment--for I am sure she must be in great Distress
--Dear Heart--how provoking!--I'm not mistress of half the
circumstances!--We shall have the whole affair in the newspapers
with the Names of the Parties at length before I have dropt the story
at a dozen houses.
Enter SIR BENJAMIN
Sir Benjamin you have heard, I suppose----
SIR BENJAMIN. Of Lady Teazle and Mr. Surface----
MRS. CANDOUR. And Sir Peter's Discovery----
SIR BENJAMIN. O the strangest Piece of Business to be sure----
MRS. CANDOUR. Well I never was so surprised in my life!--I am so
sorry for all Parties--indeed,
SIR BENJAMIN. Now I don't Pity Sir Peter at all--he was so
extravagant--partial to Mr. Surface----
MRS. CANDOUR. Mr. Surface!--why 'twas with Charles Lady Teazle
SIR BENJAMIN. No such thing Mr. Surface is the gallant.
MRS. CANDOUR. No--no--Charles is the man--'twas Mr. Surface brought
Sir Peter on purpose to discover them----
SIR BENJAMIN. I tell you I have it from one----
MRS. CANDOUR. And I have it from one----
SIR BENJAMIN. Who had it from one who had it----
MRS. CANDOUR. From one immediately--but here comes Lady Sneerwell--
perhaps she knows the whole affair.
Enter LADY SNEERWELL
LADY SNEERWELL. So--my dear Mrs. Candour Here's a sad affair
of our Friend Teazle----
MRS. CANDOUR. Aye my dear Friend, who could have thought it.
LADY SNEERWELL. Well there is no trusting to appearances[;] tho'--
indeed she was always too lively for me.
MRS. CANDOUR. To be sure, her manners were a little too--free--
but she was very young----
LADY SNEERWELL. And had indeed some good Qualities.
MRS. CANDOUR. So she had indeed--but have you heard the Particulars?
LADY SNEERWELL. No--but everybody says that Mr. Surface----
SIR BENJAMIN. Aye there I told you--Mr. Surface was the Man.
MRS. CANDOUR. No--no--indeed the assignation was with Charles----
LADY SNEERWELL. With Charles!--You alarm me Mrs. Candour!
MRS. CANDOUR. Yes--yes He was the Lover--Mr. Surface--do him
justice--was only the Informer.
SIR BENJAMIN. Well I'll not dispute with you Mrs. Candour--
but be it which it may--I hope that Sir Peter's wound will not----
MRS. CANDOUR. Sir Peter's wound! O mercy! I didn't hear a word
of their Fighting----
LADY SNEERWELL. Nor I a syllable!
SIR BENJAMIN. No--what no mention of the Duel----
MRS. CANDOUR. Not a word--
SIR BENJAMIN. O, Lord--yes--yes--they fought before they left
LADY SNEERWELL. Pray let us hear.
MRS. CANDOUR. Aye--do oblige--us with the Duel----
SIR BENJAMIN. 'Sir'--says Sir Peter--immediately after the Discovery,
'you are a most ungrateful Fellow.'
MRS. CANDOUR. Aye to Charles----
SIR BENJAMIN. No, no--to Mr. Surface--'a most ungrateful Fellow;
and old as I am, Sir,' says He, 'I insist on immediate satisfaction.'
MRS. CANDOUR. Aye that must have been to Charles for 'tis very
unlikely Mr. Surface should go to fight in his own House.
SIR BENJAMIN. Gad's Life, Ma'am, not at all--giving me immediate
satisfaction--on this, Madam--Lady Teazle seeing Sir Peter in such
Danger--ran out of the Room in strong Hysterics--and Charles after
her calling out for Hartshorn and Water! Then Madam--they began
to fight with Swords----
CRABTREE. With Pistols--Nephew--I have it from undoubted authority.
MRS. CANDOUR. Oh, Mr. Crabtree then it is all true----
CRABTREE. Too true indeed Ma'am, and Sir Peter Dangerously
SIR BENJAMIN. By a thrust in second--quite thro' his left side
CRABTREE. By a Bullet lodged in the Thorax----
MRS. CANDOUR. Mercy--on me[!] Poor Sir Peter----
CRABTREE. Yes, ma'am tho' Charles would have avoided the matter
if he could----
MRS. CANDOUR. I knew Charles was the Person----
SIR BENJAMIN. O my Unkle I see knows nothing of the matter----
CRABTREE. But Sir Peter tax'd him with the basest ingratitude----
SIR BENJAMIN. That I told you, you know----
CRABTREE. Do Nephew let me speak--and insisted on immediate----
SIR BENJAMIN. Just as I said----
CRABTREE. Odds life! Nephew allow others to know something too--
A Pair of Pistols lay on the Bureau--for Mr. Surface--it seems,
had come home the Night before late from Salt-Hill where He had been
to see the Montem with a Friend, who has a Son at Eton--so unluckily
the Pistols were left Charged----
SIR BENJAMIN. I heard nothing of this----
CRABTREE. Sir Peter forced Charles to take one and they fired--
it seems pretty nearly together--Charles's shot took Place as I tell
you--and Sir Peter's miss'd--but what is very extraordinary the Ball
struck against a little Bronze Pliny that stood over the Fire Place--
grazed out of the window at a right angle--and wounded the Postman,
who was just coming to the Door with a double letter from
SIR BENJAMIN. My Unkle's account is more circumstantial I must
confess--but I believe mine is the true one for all that.
LADY SNEERWELL. I am more interested in this Affair than they
imagine--and must have better information.--
Back to Full Books