MRS. FAINALL, LADY WISHFORT, MRS. MARWOOD.
O my dear friend, how can I enumerate the benefits that I
have received from your goodness? To you I owe the timely discovery
of the false vows of Mirabell; to you I owe the detection of the
impostor Sir Rowland. And now you are become an intercessor with my
son-in-law, to save the honour of my house and compound for the
frailties of my daughter. Well, friend, you are enough to reconcile
me to the bad world, or else I would retire to deserts and
solitudes, and feed harmless sheep by groves and purling streams.
Dear Marwood, let us leave the world, and retire by ourselves and be
Let us first dispatch the affair in hand, madam. We
shall have leisure to think of retirement afterwards. Here is one
who is concerned in the treaty.
O daughter, daughter, is it possible thou shouldst be my
child, bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh, and as I may say,
another me, and yet transgress the most minute particle of severe
virtue? Is it possible you should lean aside to iniquity, who have
been cast in the direct mould of virtue? I have not only been a
mould but a pattern for you, and a model for you, after you were
brought into the world.
I don't understand your ladyship.
Not understand? Why, have you not been naught? Have you not
been sophisticated? Not understand? Here I am ruined to compound
for your caprices and your cuckoldoms. I must pawn my plate and my
jewels, and ruin my niece, and all little enough -
I am wronged and abused, and so are you. 'Tis a false
accusation, as false as hell, as false as your friend there; ay, or
your friend's friend, my false husband.
My friend, Mrs. Fainall? Your husband my friend, what do
I know what I mean, madam, and so do you; and so shall
the world at a time convenient.
I am sorry to see you so passionate, madam. More temper
would look more like innocence. But I have done. I am sorry my
zeal to serve your ladyship and family should admit of
misconstruction, or make me liable to affronts. You will pardon me,
madam, if I meddle no more with an affair in which I am not
O dear friend, I am so ashamed that you should meet with such
returns. You ought to ask pardon on your knees, ungrateful
creature; she deserves more from you than all your life can
accomplish. Oh, don't leave me destitute in this perplexity! No,
stick to me, my good genius.
I tell you, madam, you're abused. Stick to you? Ay,
like a leech, to suck your best blood; she'll drop off when she's
full. Madam, you shan't pawn a bodkin, nor part with a brass
counter, in composition for me. I defy 'em all. Let 'em prove
their aspersions: I know my own innocence, and dare stand a trial.