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Capt. Nay, sir, but hear me.
Sir Anth. Sir, I won't hear a word — not a word; not one word ! so give me your promise by a nod. And I'll tell you what, Jack — I mean, you dog - if you don't
Capt. What, sir, promise to link myself to some mass of ugliness! • Sir Anth. 'Sdeath, sirrah! the lady shall be as ugly as I choose : she shall have a hump on each shoulder; she shall be as crooked as the crescent; her one eye shall roll like the bull's in Cox's Museum; she shall have a skin like a mummy, and the beard of a Jew. She shall be all this, sirrah! yet I'll make you ogle her all day, and sit up all night to write sonnets on her beauty.
Capt. This is reason and moderation indeed !
Capt. Indeed, sir, I never was in a worse humor for mirth in my life.
Sir Anth. 'Tis false, sir ; I know you are laughing in your sleeve; I know you'll grin when I am gone, sirrah !
Capt. Sir, I hope I know my duty better.
Sir Anth. None of your passion, sir! none of your violence, if you please - it wont do with me, I promise you.
Capt. Indeed, sir, I was never cooler in my life.
Sir Anth. 'Tis a confounded lie! — I know you are in a passion in your heart; I know you are, you hypocritical young dog — but it won't do.
Capt. Nay, sir, upon my word —
Sir Anth. So you will fly out! can't you be cool, like me? What good can passion do? Passion is of no service, you impudent, insolent, over-bearing reprobate !— There, you sneer again ! don't provoke me! but you rely upon the mildness of my temper
— you do, you dog! you play upon the meekness of my disposition! Yet, take care — the patience of a saint may be overcome at last — but mark! I give you six hours and a half to consider of this : if you then agree, without any condition, to do every thing on earth that I choose, why, confound you ! I may in time forgive you - if not, 'sdeath! don't enter the same hemisphere with me; don't dare to breathe the same air, or use the same light with me; but get an atmosphere and a sun of your own! I'll strip you of your commission; I'll lodge a five-and-threepence in the hands of trustees, and you shall live on the interest. I'll disown you, I'll disinherit you l and hang me! if ever I call you Jack again !
Captain Absolute. 'Tis just as Fag told me, indeed! Whimsical enough, 'faith! My father wants to force me to marry the very girl I am plotting to run away with! He must not know of my connexion with her yet awhile. He has too summary a method of proceeding in these matters; however, I'll read my recantation instantly. My conversion is something sudden, indeed; but I can assure him, it is very sincere. So, so, here he comes : he looks plaguy gruff.
[Enter Sir Anthony.]
Sir Anthony. No- I'll die sooner than forgive him! Die, did I say? I'll live these fifty years to plague him! At our last meeting, his impudence had almost put me out of temper— an obstinate
- passionate — self-willed boy! Who can he take after ? This is my return for what I have done for him! for putting him at twelve years old into a marching regiment, and allowing him fifty pounds a year, besides his pay, ever since! But I have done with him — he's anybody's son for me — I never will see him more — nevernever — never — never.
Capt. Now for a penitential face !
Capt. A sincere penitent. I am come, sir, to acknowledge my error, and to submit entirely to your will.
Sir Anth. What's that ?
Capt. I have been revolving, and reflecting, and considering on your past goodness, and kindness, and condescension to me.
Sir Anth. Well, sir ?
Capt, I have been likewise weighing, and balancing, what you were pleased to mention, concerning duty, and obedience, and authority.
Sir Anth. Why, now you talk sense, absolute sense! I never heard-anything more sensible in my life. Confound you, you shall be Jack again.
Capt. I am happy in the appellation.
Sir Anth. Why then Jack, my dear Jack, I will now inform you who the lady really is. Nothing but your passion and violence, you silly fellow, prevented me telling you at first. Prepare, Jack, for wonder and rapture — prepare. What think you of Miss Lydia Languish ?
Capt. Languish! What, the Languishes of Worcestershire ?
Sir Anth. Worcestershire ! No. Did you ever meet Mrs. Malaprop, and her niece, Miss Languish, who came into our country, just before you were last ordered to your regiment ?
Capt. Malaprop! Languish! I don't remember ever to have heard the names before. Yet stay, I think I do recollect something - Languish — Languish-she squints, don't she? A little redhaired girl ?
Sir Anth. Squints! A red-haired girl: 'Sdeath : no !
Sir Anth. Jack! Jack! what think you of blooming, love-breathing seventeen ?
Capt. As to that, sir, I am quite indifferent; if I can please you in the matter, 'tis all I desire.
Sir Anth. Nay, but Jack, such eyes ! such eyes ! so innocently wild! so bashfully irresolute! Not a glance but speaks and kindles some thought of love! Then, Jack, her cheeks! her cheeks ! Jack : so deeply blushing at the insinuations of her tell-tale eyes ! Then, Jack, her lips ! O, Jack, lips, smiling at their own discretion ! and, if not smiling, more sweetly pouting - more lovely in sullenness! Then, Jack, her neck! O, Jack ! Jack !
Capt. And which is to be mine, sir, the niece or the aunt ?
When I was of your age, such a description would have made me fly like a rocket! The aunt, indeed! Odds life ! when I ran away with your mother, I would not have touched anything old or ugly to gain an empire.
Capt. Not to please your father, sir ?
Sir Anth. To please my father — 'Sdeath! not to please -0, my father — Odso!— yes, yes; if my father, indeed, had desired that's quite another matter. Though he wasn't the indulgent father that I am, Jack.
Capt. I dare say not, sir !
Sir Anth. But, Jack, you are not sorry to find your mistress is so beautiful ?
Capt. Sir, I repeat it, if I please you in this affair, 'tis all I desire. Not that I think a woman the worse for being handsome; but, sir, if you please to recollect, you before hinted something about a hump or two, one eye, and a few more graces of that kind — now, without being very nice, I own I should rather choose a wife of mine to have the usual number of limbs, and a limited quantity of back; and, though one eye may be very agreeable, yet, as the prejudice has always run in favor of two, I would not wish to affect a singularity in that article.
Sir Anth. What a phlegmatic sot it is! Why, sirrah, you are an anchorite ! a vile, insensible stock! You a soldier ! you're a walking block, fit only to dust the company's regimentals on! Odds life, I have a great mind to marry the girl myself.
Capt. I am entirely at your disposal, sir; if you should think of addressing Miss Languish yourself, I suppose you would have me marry the aunt; or, if you should change your mind, and take the old lady, 'tis the same to me, I'll marry the niece.
Sir Anth. Upon my word, Jack, thou art either a very great hypocrite, or — but come, I know your indifference on such a subject must be all a lie — I'm sure it must — come now, hang your demure face; come, confess, Jack, you have been lying ha n't you? You have been playing the hypocrite, hey? I'll never forgive you, if you ha n't been lying and playing the hypocrite.
Capt. I'm sorry, sir, that the respect and duty which I bear to you should be so mistaken.
Sir Anth. Hang your respect and duty! But come along with me. I'll write a note to Mrs. Malaprop, and you shall visit the lady directly. Her eyes shall be the Promethean torch to you - come along. I'll never forgive you, if you do n't come back stark mad with rapture and impatience --- if you don't, 'egad, I'll marry the girl myself.
SIR PETER AND LADY TEAZLE.
Sir Peter. When an old bachelor marries a young wife, what is he to expect? 'Tis now above six months since my Lady Teazle made me the happiest of men, and I have been the most miserable dog ever since. We tifted a little going to church, and fairly quarrelled before the bells were done ringing. I was more than once nearly choked with gall, during the honey-moon ; and had fairly lost every satisfaction in life, before my friends had done wishing me joy. And yet I chose, with great caution, a girl bred wholly in the country, who had never known luxury beyond one silk gown, or dissipation beyond the annual gala of a race-ball. Yet now she can play her part in all the little extravagant fopperies of the town, with as good a grace as if she had never seen a bush or a grass-plot out of Grosvenor-square. I am sneered at by all my acquaintance - paragraphed in the newspapers --- she dissipates my fortune, and contradicts all my humors. And yet, the worst of it is, I doubt I love her, or I should never bear all this, but I am determined never to let her know it. — No, no, no! I think I'll try what a little expostulation will do. So, here she comes:
Sir P. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I won't bear it.
Lady Teazle. Very well, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, just as you please; but I know I ought to have my own way in every thing; and what's more, I will..