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Mal. Yes, I intend to be there, if I do not go to court. Cap. I am glad of it with all my heart- -Saunter
There's my lady, to be sure she'll not fail. Saunt. But will you go, Malagene? Goodvile and you are at a distance.
Mal. Whoo! pox! that's nothing; I'll go for all that: but faith, I should meet my lord
at court to-night. Besides, I han't been in the drawingroom these three days; the company will wonder what's become of me.
Enter Lady SQUEAMISH.
She here! nay then-
[Congees affectedly. Lady Squ. Mr. Caper, your most devoted. -Oh dear Mr. Saunter! a thousand thanks to you for my song
Saunt. Your ladyship does your servant too much honour.
[Sings, As Chloe full of, &c. Lady Squ. Mr. Caper, you are a stranger indeed, I have not seen you these two days: Lord, where d'ye live?
Cap. I should have waited on your ladyship, but was so tired at the masquerade at my lord Flutter's t'other night.
Dances and capers. Saunt. Madam, madam, Mr. Goodvile gives a ball to-night; will your ladyship be there?
Lady Squ. Yes; I heard of it this morning; Victoria sent me word.
Cap. Oh, madam, d'ye hear the news? Goodvile makes a ball to-night: I hope I shall have the honour of your ladyship's company.
Lady Squ. Oh, by all means, Mr. Caper, pray don't you fail us.
Oh Lord, Mr. Malagene, I beg your pardon, upon my honour, I did not see you; I was so engaged in the civilities of these gentlemen.
Mal. Your wit and beauty, madam, must command the honour and admiration of all the world. But when did your ladyship see Mr. Valentine ?
Lady Squ. Oh, name him not. Mr. Malagene, he's the unworthiest, basest fellow- -besides, he has no principles, nor breeding: I wonder you gentlemen will keep him company; I swear he's enough to bring an odium on the whole sex.
Mal. The truth on't is, madam, I do drink with him now and then, because the fellow has some wit, but it is when better company is out of the way; and faith he's always very
civil to me as can be: I can rule him. Lady Squ. Oh Lord, 'tis impossible. Wit! why he was abroad but two years, and all that time too in an academy; he knows nothing of the intrigues of the French court, and has the worst mien in the world: he has a sort of an ill-natured way of talking indeed, and they say makes bold with me sometimes, but I'll assure you,
i scorn him. Mal. Truly he has made very
bold with is foully belied: ha, ha, ha.
[Aside. Lady Squ. They say he's grown a great admirer of madam Camilla of late, who passes for a wit forsooth. 'Tis true, she's well enough, but I suppose is not the first that has been troubled with his impertinent addresses.
Mal. Indeed he would not let me alone, till I brought him acquainted there: he owes that happiness to me. But methinks your ladyship speaks with something of beat- -by heaven she's jealous ! [Aside.
Lady Squ. No, I'll assure you, sir, I am not concerned at it in the least. But did you ever hear 'em discourse any thing of me?
Mal. Never any ill, madam; only a little idle raillery now and then ; but Truman and he are wont to be something lavish when they have been drunk in my company.
"Twill work. Lady Squ. Nay, I know he has spoken dishonourably of me behind my back, because he failed in his filthy designs. Madam Camilla may deserve better of him, I doubt
you, or he
not: but if I am not revenged on his falshood. Aside. Mr. Caper.
Cap. and Saunt. Madam.
Lady Squ. O Lord, sir, the town is no judge. 'Tis a tragedy, and I'll assure you there's nothing in it that's moving. I love a tragedy that moves, mightily.
Saunt. Does your ladyship know who writ it?
Lady Squ. Yes, the poet came and read it to me at my lodgings ; he is but a young man, and I suppose he has not been a writer long ; besides, he has had little or no conversation with the court, which has been the reason he has committed a great many indecorums in the conduct of it.
Saunt. I did not like it neither, for my part; there was never a song in it, ha!
Cap. No, nor so much as a dance.
Mal. Oh, 'tis impossible it should take, if there were neither song nor dance in it.
Lady Squ. And then their comedies now-a-days are the filthiest things, full of bawdy and nauseous doings, which they mistake for raillery and intrigue: besides, they have no wit in 'em neither; for all their gentlemen and men of wit, as they style 'em, are either silly, conceited, impudent coxcombs, or else rude, ill-mannerly, drunken fellows--fough-I am ashamed any one should pretend to write a comedy, that does not know the nicer rules of the court, and all the intrigues and gallantries that pass, I vow.
Mal. Who would improve in those things, must consult with your ladyship.
Lady Squ. I swear, Mr. Malagene, you are an obliging person; I wonder the world should be so malicious to give you so undeserving a character as they do: I always found you extremely generous, and a person of worth,
Mal. In troth, madam, your ladyship and myself are the subjects of abundance of envy; for I love to be malicious now and then; and faith, am the very scourge of the court: they all stand in awe of me, for I must speak what I know, though sometimes I am used a little scurvily for it; but faith I can't help it, 'tis my way.
Lady Squ. Ha, ha, ha, really I love scandal extremely too sometimes, so it be decently managed.- -But as I was saying, there is not a person in the world understands the intrigues of the court better than myself; I am the general confident of the drawing-room, and know the loves of all the people of quality in town.
Cap. Dear madam, how stands the affair between my lord Supple and madam Lofty ?
Lady Squ. Worse than ever; 'tis very provoking to see how she uses the poor creature: bụt the truth is, she can never be at rest for him; he's more troublesome than an old husband; continually whispering his softness and making his vows, till at last she is forced to fly to me for shelter, and then we do so laugh-which the goodnatured creature takes so patiently--I swear, I pity him.
Saunt. But my lady Colt, they say, is kinder to the sparkish Mr. Pruneit.
Lady Squ. O Lord, Mr. Saunter, that you should understand no better; to my knowledge it is all false ; I know all that intrigue from the beginning to the ending; it has been off this month—besides, he keeps a player again---Oh, Mr. Saunter! whatever you do, never concern yourself with those players.
Saunt. Madam, I have left the folly long since; when first I came to town, I must confess I had a gallantry there. But since I have been acquainted with your ladyship’s wit and beauty, I have learned to lay out my heart to better advantage
-I think that was finely said.
Lady Squ. I'll swear, Mr. Saunter, you have the most court-like way of expressing yourself
Saunt. Oh Lord, madam! [Bows and cringes. Lady Squ. Mr. Malagene, these are both my intimate acquaintance, and I'll swear I am proud of 'em. Here is Mr. Saunter sings the French manner better than ever I heard any English gentleman in my life. Besides, he pronounces his English, in singing, with a French kind of a tone or accent, that gives it a strange beauty, Sweet sir, do me the favour of the last new song.
Saunt. Let me die! Your ladyship obliges me beyond expression -Malagene, thou shalt hear me.
(Sings a Song in a French tone. Mal. What a devil was this? I understand not a word on't.
Saunt. Ha, Malagene, ha.
Mal. Never, madam, never: I swear your ladyship is a great judge.
Lady Squ. But how plain and distinctly too every word was pronounced ! Mal. Oh, to admiration, to admiration.
[Makes mouths aside. Lady Squ. Well, Mr. Saunter, you are a cliarming creature -- sad, Mr. Caper, I long till night comes: I'll dance with nobody but you to-night, for, I swear, I believe I shall be out of humour.
Mal. That's more than she ever was in her life, so long as she had a fool or a fiddle in her company.
Lady Squ. Tho' really I love dancing immoderately -But now you talk of intrigues, I am mistaken if you don't see something where we are going to-night.
Mal. What, Goodvile is to commence cuckold, is it not so ?
Lady Squ. Oh, fy, Mr. Malagene, fy! I vow you'll make me hate
talk so strangely, -but let me die, I can't but laugh-ha, ha, ha-Well, gentlemen, you shall dine with me to-day-what say you, Mr. Malagene, will you go?
Mal. Your ladyship may be sure of me; I hate to break good company. Lady Squ. And pray now let us be very severe,
and talk maliciously of all the town. Mr. Caper, your