ACT II
Scene VI.
 

MRS. MILLAMANT, MIRABELL, MINCING.

MIRABELL
I would beg a little private audience too. You had the tyranny to deny me last night, though you knew I came to impart a secret to you that concerned my love.

MILLAMANT
You saw I was engaged.

MIRABELL
Unkind! You had the leisure to entertain a herd of fools: things who visit you from their excessive idleness, bestowing on your easiness that time which is the incumbrance of their lives. How can you find delight in such society? It is impossible they should admire you; they are not capable; or, if they were, it should be to you as a mortification: for, sure, to please a fool is some degree of folly.

MILLAMANT
I please myself.--Besides, sometimes to converse with fools is for my health.

MIRABELL
Your health! Is there a worse disease than the conversation of fools?

MILLAMANT
Yes, the vapours; fools are physic for it, next to assafoetida.

MIRABELL
You are not in a course of fools?

MILLAMANT
Mirabell, if you persist in this offensive freedom you'll displease me. I think I must resolve after all not to have you:- we shan't agree.

MIRABELL
Not in our physic, it may be.

MILLAMANT
And yet our distemper in all likelihood will be the same; for we shall be sick of one another. I shan't endure to be reprimanded nor instructed; 'tis so dull to act always by advice, and so tedious to be told of one's faults, I can't bear it. Well, I won't have you, Mirabell--I'm resolved--I think--you may go--ha, ha, ha! What would you give that you could help loving me?

MIRABELL
I would give something that you did not know I could not help it.

MILLAMANT
Come, don't look grave then. Well, what do you say to me?

MIRABELL
I say that a man may as soon make a friend by his wit, or a fortune by his honesty, as win a woman with plain-dealing and sincerity.

MILLAMANT
Sententious Mirabell! Prithee don't look with that violent and inflexible wise face, like Solomon at the dividing of the child in an old tapestry hanging!

MIRABELL
You are merry, madam, but I would persuade you for a moment to be serious.

MILLAMANT
What, with that face? No, if you keep your countenance, 'tis impossible I should hold mine. Well, after all, there is something very moving in a lovesick face. Ha, ha, ha! Well I won't laugh; don't be peevish. Heigho! Now I'll be melancholy, as melancholy as a watch-light. Well, Mirabell, if ever you will win me, woo me now.--Nay, if you are so tedious, fare you well: I see they are walking away.

MIRABELL
Can you not find in the variety of your disposition one moment -

MILLAMANT
To hear you tell me Foible's married, and your plot like to speed? No.

MIRABELL
But how you came to know it -

MILLAMANT
Without the help of the devil, you can't imagine; unless she should tell me herself. Which of the two it may have been, I will leave you to consider; and when you have done thinking of that, think of me.