Well, well, I come. 'Sbud, a man had as good be a professed
midwife as a professed whoremaster, at this rate; to be knocked up
and raised at all hours, and in all places. Pox on 'em, I won't
come. D'ye hear, tell 'em I won't come. Let 'em snivel and cry
their hearts out.
Why, that's enough. You and he are not friends; and if he
should marry and have a child, yon may be disinherited, ha!
Where hast thou stumbled upon all this truth?
All's one for that; why, then, say I know something.
Come, thou art an honest fellow, Petulant, and shalt make
love to my mistress, thou shalt, faith. What hast thou heard of my
I? Nothing, I
If throats are to be cut, let swords clash.
Snug's the word; I shrug and am silent.
Oh, raillery, raillery! Come, I know thou art in the women's
secrets. What, you're a cabalist; I know you stayed at Millamant's
last night after I went. Was there any mention made of my uncle or
me? Tell me; if thou hadst but good nature equal to thy wit,
Petulant, Tony Witwoud, who is now thy competitor in fame, would
show as dim by thee as a dead whiting's eye by a pearl of orient; he
would no more be seen by thee than Mercury is by the sun: come, I'm
sure thou wo't tell me.
If I do, will you grant me common sense, then, for the future?
Faith, I'll do what I can for thee, and I'll pray that heav'n
may grant it thee in the meantime.
Petulant and you both will find Mirabell as warm a rival as a
Pshaw, pshaw, that she laughs at Petulant is plain. And for
my part, but that it is almost a fashion to admire her, I should--
harkee--to tell you a secret, but let it go no further between
friends, I shall never break my heart for her.
We stayed pretty late there last night, and heard something of
an uncle to Mirabell, who is lately come to town, and is between him
and the best part of his estate. Mirabell and he are at some
distance, as my Lady Wishfort has been told; and you know she hates
Mirabell worse than a quaker hates a parrot, or than a fishmonger
hates a hard frost. Whether this uncle has seen Mrs. Millamant or
not, I cannot say; but there were items of such a treaty being in
embryo; and if it should come to life, poor Mirabell would be in
some sort unfortunately fobbed, i'faith.
'Tis impossible Millamant should hearken to it.
Faith, my dear, I can't tell; she's a woman and a kind of a
And this is the sum of what you could collect last night?
The quintessence. Maybe Witwoud knows more; he stayed longer.
Besides, they never mind him; they say anything before him.
I thought you had been the greatest favourite.
Ay, tete-e-tete; but not in public, because I make remarks.
Ay, ay, pox, I'm malicious, man. Now he's soft, you know,
they are not in awe of him. The fellow's well bred, he's what you
call a--what d'ye-call-'em--a fine gentleman, but he's silly withal.
I thank you, I know as much as my curiosity requires.
Fainall, are you for the Mall?
Are you? Pray then walk by yourselves. Let not us be
accessory to your putting the ladies out of countenance with your
senseless ribaldry, which you roar out aloud as often as they pass
by you, and when you have made a handsome woman blush, then you
think you have been severe.
What, what? Then let 'em either show their innocence by not
understanding what they hear, or else show their discretion by not
hearing what they would not be thought to understand.
But hast not thou then sense enough to know that thou
ought'st to be most ashamed thyself when thou hast put another out
Not I, by this hand: I always take blushing either for a sign
of guilt or ill-breeding.
I confess you ought to think so. You are in the right, that
you may plead the error of your judgment in defence of your
Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit
That impudence and malice pass for wit.