MIRABELL, FAINALL, BETTY.
Joy of your success, Mirabell; you look pleased.
Ay; I have been engaged in a matter of some sort of mirth,
which is not yet ripe for discovery. I am glad this is not a cabal-
night. I wonder, Fainall, that you who are married, and of
consequence should be discreet, will suffer your wife to be of such
Faith, I am not jealous. Besides, most who are engaged are
women and relations; and for the men, they are of a kind too
contemptible to give scandal.
I am of another opinion: the greater the coxcomb, always the
more the scandal; for a woman who is not a fool can have but one
reason for associating with a man who is one.
Are you jealous as often as you see Witwoud entertained by
Of her understanding I am, if not of her person.
You do her wrong; for, to give her her due, she has wit.
She has beauty enough to make any man think so, and
complaisance enough not to contradict him who shall tell her so.
For a passionate lover methinks you are a man somewhat too
discerning in the failings of your mistress.
And for a discerning man somewhat too passionate a lover, for
I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her
follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her, and
those affectations which in another woman would be odious serve but
to make her more agreeable. I'll tell thee, Fainall, she once used
me with that insolence that in revenge I took her to pieces, sifted
her, and separated her failings: I studied 'em and got 'em by rote.
The catalogue was so large that I was not without hopes, one day or
other, to hate her heartily. To which end I so used myself to think
of 'em, that at length, contrary to my design and expectation, they
gave me every hour less and less disturbance, till in a few days it
became habitual to me to remember 'em without being displeased.
They are now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties, and in all
probability in a little time longer I shall like 'em as well.
Marry her, marry her; be half as well acquainted with her
charms as you are with her defects, and, my life on't, you are your
own man again.
Say you so?
Ay, ay; I have experience. I have a wife, and so forth.