No, madam, his love for your ladyship. Gad take me, I beg
your pardon,--for I never heard a word of your ladyship's passion
till this instant.
My passion! And who told you of my passion, pray sir?
Why, is the devil in you? Did not I tell it you for a
Gadso; but I thought she might have been trusted with her own
Is that your discretion? Trust a woman with herself?
You say true, I beg your pardon. I'll bring all off. It was
impossible, madam, for me to imagine that a person of your
ladyship's wit and gallantry could have so long received the
passionate addresses of the accomplished Valentine, and yet remain
insensible; therefore you will pardon me, if, from a just weight of
his merit, with your ladyship's good judgment, I formed the balance
of a reciprocal affection.
O the devil, what damned costive poet has given thee this
lesson of fustian to get by rote?
I dare swear you wrong him, it is his own. And Mr Tattle only
judges of the success of others, from the effects of his own merit.
For certainly Mr Tattle was never denied anything in his life.
No; I suppose that is not in your power; but you would if you
could, no doubt on't.
Not in my power, madam! What, does your ladyship mean that I
have no woman's reputation in my power?
'Oons, why, you won't own it, will you? [Aside.]
Faith, madam, you're in the right; no more I have, as I hope
to be saved; I never had it in my power to say anything to a lady's
prejudice in my life. For as I was telling you, madam, I have been
the most unsuccessful creature living, in things of that nature; and
never had the good fortune to be trusted once with a lady's secret,
And I'll answer for him; for I'm sure if he had, he would
have told me; I find, madam, you don't know Mr Tattle.
No indeed, madam, you don't know me at all, I find. For sure
my intimate friends would have known -
Then it seems you would have told, if you had been trusted.
O pox, Scandal, that was too far put. Never have told
particulars, madam. Perhaps I might have talked as of a third
person; or have introduced an amour of my own, in conversation, by
way of novel; but never have explained particulars.
But whence comes the reputation of Mr Tattle's secrecy, if he
was never trusted?
Why, thence it arises--the thing is proverbially spoken; but
may be applied to him--as if we should say in general terms, he only
is secret who never was trusted; a satirical proverb upon our sex.
There's another upon yours--as she is chaste, who was never asked
the question. That's all.
A couple of very civil proverbs, truly. 'Tis hard to tell
whether the lady or Mr Tattle be the more obliged to you. For you
found her virtue upon the backwardness of the men; and his secrecy
upon the mistrust of the women.
Gad, it's very true, madam, I think we are obliged to acquit
ourselves. And for my part--but your ladyship is to speak first.
Am I? Well, I freely confess I have resisted a great deal of
And i'Gad, I have given some temptation that has not been
No? I can show letters, lockets, pictures, and rings; and if
there be occasion for witnesses, I can summon the maids at the
chocolate-houses, all the porters at Pall Mall and Covent Garden,
the door-keepers at the Playhouse, the drawers at Locket's,
Pontack's, the Rummer, Spring Garden, my own landlady and valet de
chambre; all who shall make oath that I receive more letters than
the Secretary's office, and that I have more vizor-masks to enquire
for me, than ever went to see the Hermaphrodite, or the Naked
Prince. And it is notorious that in a country church once, an
enquiry being made who I was, it was answered, I was the famous
Tattle, who had ruined so many women.
It was there, I suppose, you got the nickname of the Great
True; I was called Turk-Tattle all over the parish. The next
Sunday all the old women kept their daughters at home, and the
parson had not half his congregation. He would have brought me into
the spiritual court, but I was revenged upon him, for he had a
handsome daughter whom I initiated into the science. But I repented
it afterwards, for it was talked of in town. And a lady of quality
that shall be nameless, in a raging fit of jealousy, came down in
her coach and six horses, and exposed herself upon my account; Gad,
I was sorry for it with all my heart. You know whom I mean--you
know where we raffled -
O barbarous! I never heard so insolent a piece of vanity.
Fie, Mr Tattle; I'll swear I could not have believed it. Is this
Gadso, the heat of my story carried me beyond my discretion,
as the heat of the lady's passion hurried her beyond her reputation.
But I hope you don't know whom I mean; for there was a great many
ladies raffled. Pox on't, now could I bite off my tongue.
No, don't; for then you'll tell us no more. Come, I'll
recommend a song to you upon the hint of my two proverbs, and I see
one in the next room that will sing it. [Goes to the door.]
For heaven's sake, if you do guess, say nothing; Gad, I'm
Pray sing the first song in the last new play.