LADY WISHFORT, WAITWELL disguised as for SIR ROWLAND.
Dear Sir Rowland, I am confounded with confusion at the
retrospection of my own rudeness,--I have more pardons to ask than
the pope distributes in the year of jubilee. But I hope where there
is likely to be so near an alliance, we may unbend the severity of
decorum, and dispense with a little ceremony.
My impatience, madam, is the effect of my transport; and till
I have the possession of your adorable person, I am tantalised on
the rack, and do but hang, madam, on the tenter of expectation.
You have excess of gallantry, Sir Rowland, and press things
to a conclusion with a most prevailing vehemence. But a day or two
for decency of marriage -
For decency of funeral, madam! The delay will break my
heart--or if that should fail, I shall be poisoned. My nephew will
get an inkling of my designs and poison me--and I would willingly
starve him before I die--I would gladly go out of the world with
that satisfaction. That would be some comfort to me, if I could but
live so long as to be revenged on that unnatural viper.
Is he so unnatural, say you? Truly I would contribute much
both to the saving of your life and the accomplishment of your
revenge. Not that I respect myself; though he has been a perfidious
wretch to me.
O Sir Rowland, the hours that he has died away at my feet,
the tears that he has shed, the oaths that he has sworn, the
palpitations that he has felt, the trances and the tremblings, the
ardours and the ecstasies, the kneelings and the risings, the heart-
heavings and the hand-gripings, the pangs and the pathetic regards
of his protesting eyes!--Oh, no memory can register.
What, my rival? Is the rebel my rival? A dies.
No, don't kill him at once, Sir Rowland: starve him
gradually, inch by inch.
I'll do't. In three weeks he shall be barefoot; in a month
out at knees with begging an alms; he shall starve upward and
upward, 'till he has nothing living but his head, and then go out in
a stink like a candle's end upon a save-all.
Well, Sir Rowland, you have the way,--you are no novice in
the labyrinth of love,--you have the clue. But as I am a person,
Sir Rowland, you must not attribute my yielding to any sinister
appetite or indigestion of widowhood; nor impute my complacency to
any lethargy of continence. I hope you do not think me prone to any
iteration of nuptials?