For having only that one hope, the accomplishment of it of
consequence must put an end to all my hopes, and what a wretch is he
who must survive his hopes! Nothing remains when that day comes but
to sit down and weep like Alexander when he wanted other worlds to
To let you know I see through all your little arts.--Come,
you both love him, and both have equally dissembled your aversion.
Your mutual jealousies of one another have made you clash till you
have both struck fire. I have seen the warm confession red'ning on
your cheeks, and sparkling from your eyes.
I do not. 'Twas for my ease to oversee and wilfully neglect
the gross advances made him by my wife, that by permitting her to be
engaged, I might continue unsuspected in my pleasures, and take you
oftener to my arms in full security. But could you think, because
the nodding husband would not wake, that e'er the watchful lover
With infidelity, with loving another, with love of Mirabell.
'Tis false. I challenge you to show an instance that can
confirm your groundless accusation. I hate him.
And wherefore do you hate him? He is insensible, and your
resentment follows his neglect. An instance? The injuries you have
done him are a proof: your interposing in his love. What cause had
you to make discoveries of his pretended passion? To undeceive the
credulous aunt, and be the officious obstacle of his match with
My obligations to my lady urged me: I had professed a
friendship to her, and could not see her easy nature so abused by
What, was it conscience then? Professed a friendship! Oh,
the pious friendships of the female sex!
More tender, more sincere, and more enduring, than all
the vain and empty vows of men, whether professing love to us or
mutual faith to one another.
Shame and ingratitude! Do you reproach me? You, you
upbraid me? Have I been false to her, through strict fidelity to
you, and sacrificed my friendship to keep my love inviolate? And
have you the baseness to charge me with the guilt, unmindful of the
merit? To you it should be meritorious that I have been vicious.
And do you reflect that guilt upon me which should lie buried in
You misinterpret my reproof. I meant but to remind you of
the slight account you once could make of strictest ties when set in
competition with your love to me.
'Tis false, you urged it with deliberate malice. 'Twas
spoke in scorn, and I never will forgive it.
Your guilt, not your resentment, begets your rage. If yet
you loved, you could forgive a jealousy: but you are stung to find
you are discovered.
It shall be all discovered. You too shall be discovered;
be sure you shall. I can but be exposed. If I do it myself I shall
prevent your baseness.
By all my wrongs I'll do't. I'll publish to the world
the injuries you have done me, both in my fame and fortune: with
both I trusted you, you bankrupt in honour, as indigent of wealth.
Your fame I have preserved. Your fortune has been bestowed
as the prodigality of your love would have it, in pleasures which we
both have shared. Yet, had not you been false I had e'er this
repaid it. 'Tis true--had you permitted Mirabell with Millamant to
have stolen their marriage, my lady had been incensed beyond all
means of reconcilement: Millamant had forfeited the moiety of her
fortune, which then would have descended to my wife. And wherefore
did I marry but to make lawful prize of a rich widow's wealth, and
squander it on love and you?
Death, am I not married? What's pretence? Am I not
imprisoned, fettered? Have I not a wife? Nay, a wife that was a
widow, a young widow, a handsome widow, and would be again a widow,
but that I have a heart of proof, and something of a constitution to
bustle through the ways of wedlock and this world. Will you yet be
reconciled to truth and me?
Impossible. Truth and you are inconsistent.--I hate you,
and shall for ever.
But not to loathe, detest, abhor mankind, myself, and the
whole treacherous world.
Nay, this is extravagance. Come, I ask your pardon. No
tears--I was to blame, I could not love you and be easy in my
doubts. Pray forbear--I believe you; I'm convinced I've done you
wrong; and any way, every way will make amends: I'll hate my wife
yet more, damn her, I'll part with her, rob her of all she's worth,
and we'll retire somewhere, anywhere, to another world; I'll marry
thee--be pacified.--'Sdeath, they come: hide your face, your tears.
You have a mask: wear it a moment. This way, this way: be