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tune has cut us out for one another; for I am to be married within these three days; married, past redemption, to a young, fair, rich, and virtuous lady; and it shall go hard but I will love my wife as little, as, I perceive, you do your husband.
Dor. Remember, I invade no propriety: my servant you are, only 'till you are married.
Pala. In the meantime, you are to forget you have a husband.
Dor. And you, that you are to have a wife.
Bel. [aside, to her Lady.] O madam, my lord's just at the end of the walks! and, if you make not haste, will discover you.
Dor. Some other time, new servant, we'll talk further of the premises; in the mean while, break not my first commandment, that is, not to follow me.
Pala. But where, then, shall I find you again?
Dor. At court. Yours, for two days, sir.
Pala. And nights, I beseech you, madam.
[Exeunt Doralice and Beliz.
Pala. Well, I'll say that for thee, thou art a very dexterous executioner; thou hast done my business at one stroke: yet I must many another—and yet I must love this; and if it lead me into some little inconveniencies, as jealousies, and duels, and death, and so forth—yet, while sweet love is in the case, Fortune, do thy worst, and avaunt, mortality!
Enter Rhodophil, who seems speaking to one tcithin.
Rho. Leave 'em with my lieutenant, while I fetch new orders from the king.—How? Palamede!
[Sees Palamede. Pala. Rhodophil!
Rho. Who thought to have seen you in Sicily?Pala. Who thought to have found the court so far from Syracuse? Rho. The king best knows the reason of the proT gress. But, answer me, I beseech you, what brought you home from travel?
Pala. The commands of an old rich father.
Rho. And the hopes of burying him?
Pala. Both together, as you see, have prevailed on my good nature. In few words, my old man has already married me; for he has agreed with another old man, as rich and as covetous as himself; the articles are drawn, and I have given my consent, for fear of being disinherited; and yet know not what kind of woman I am to marry. . Rho. Sure your father intends you some very ugly wife, and has a mind to keep you in ignorance till you have shot the gulf. Pala. I know not that; but obey I will, and must.
Rho. Then I cannot chuse but grieve for all the good girls and courtezans of France and Italy. They have lost the most kind-hearted, doting, prodigal humble servant, in Europe.
Pala. All I could do, in these three years I staid behind you, was to comfort the poor creatures for the loss of you. But what's the reason that, in all this time, a friend could never hear from you?
Rho. Alas, dear Palamede! I have had no joy to write, nor indeed to do any thing in the world to please me. The greatest misfortune imaginable is fallen upon me.
Pala. Pr'ythee, what's the matter?
Rho. In one word, I am married: wretchedly married; and have been above these two years. Yes, faith, the devil has had power over me, in spite of my vows and resolutions to the contrary.
Pala. I find you have sold yourself for filthy lucre; she's old, or ill conditioned.
Rho. No; none of these: I'm sure she's young; for her humour, she laughs, sings, and dances
250 MARRIAGE A-1A-MODE. ACT I.eternally; and, which is more, we never quarrel about it, for 1 do the same.
Pala. You're very unfortunate indeed: then the case is plain, she is not handsome.
Rho. A great beauty too, as people say.
Pala. As people say: why, you should know that best yourself.
Rho. Ask those, who have smelt to a strong perfume two years together, what's the scent.
Pala. But here are good qualities enough for one woman.
Rho. Ay, too many, Palamede. If I could put them into three or four women, I should be content.
Pala. O, now I have found it! you dislike her for no other reason but because she's your wife.
Rho. And is not that enough? All that I know of her perfections now, is only by memory. I remember, indeed, that about two years ago I loved her passionately; but those golden days are gone, Palamede: Yet I loved her a whole half year, double the natural term of any mistress; and I think, in my conscience, I could have held out another quarter, but then the world began to laugh at me, and a certain shame, of being out of fashion, seized me. At last, we arrived at that point, that there was nothing left in us to make us new to one another. Yet still I set a good face upon the matter, and am infinite fond of her before company; but when we are alone, we walk like lions in a room; she one way, and I another. And we lie with our backs to each other, so far distant, as if the fashion of great beds was only invented to keep husband and wife sufficiently asunder.
Pala. The truth is, your disease is very desperate; but, though you cannot be cured, you may be patched up a little: you must get you a mistress, Rho
dophil. That, indeed, is living upon cordials; but, as fast as one fails, you must supply it with another. You're like a gamester who has lost his estate; yet, in doing that, you have learned the advantages of play, and can arrive to live upon't.
Rho. Truth is, I have been thinking on't, and have just resolved to take your counsel; and, faith, considering the damned disadvantages of a married man, I have provided well enough, for a poor humble sinner, that is not ambitious of great matters.
Pala. What is she, for a woman?
Rho. One of the stars of Syracuse, I assure you: Young enough, fair enough; and, but for one quality, just such a woman as I could wish.
Pala. O friend, this is not an age to be critical in beauty. When we had good store of handsome women, and but few chapmen, you might have been more curious in your choice; but now the price is enhanced upon us, and all mankind set up for mistresses, so that poor little creatures, without beauty, birth, or breeding, but only impudence, go off at unreasonable rates: And a man, in these hard times, snaps at them, as he does at broad gold; never examines the weight, but takes light or heavy, as he can get it.
Rho. But my mistress has one fault, that's almost unpardonable; for, being a town-lady, without any relation to the court, yet she thinks herself undone if she be not seen there three or four times a day with the princess Amalthea. And, for the king, she haunts and watches him so narrowly in a morning, that she prevents even the chemists, who beset his chamber, to turn their mercury into his gold.
Pala. Yet, hitherto, methinks, you are no very unhappy man.
Rho. With all this, she's the greatest gossip in nature; for, besides the court, she's the most eternal J
visitor of the town; and yet manages her time so well, that she seems ubiquitary. For my part, I can compare her to nothing but the sun; for, like him, she takes no rest, nor ever sets in one place, but to rise in another.
Pala. I confess, she had need be handsome, with these qualities.
Rho. No lady can be so curious of a new fashion, as she is of a new French word: she's the very mint of the nation; and as fast as any bullion comes out of France, coins it immediately into our language.
Pala. And her name is
Rho. No naming; that's not like a cavalier: Find her, if you can, by my description; and I am not so ill a painter that I need write the name beneath the picture.
Pala. Well, then, how far have you proceeded in your love?
Rho. Tis yet in the bud, and what fruit it may bear I cannot tell; for this insufferable humour, of haunting the court, is so predominant, that she has hitherto broken all her assignations with me, for fear of missing her visits there.
Pala. That's the hardest part of your adventure. But, for aught I see, fortune has used us both alike: I have a strange kind of mistress too in court, besides her I am to marry.
Rho. You have made haste to be in love, then; for, if I am not mistaken, you are but this day arrived.
Pala. That's all one: I have seen the lady already, who has charmed me; seen her in these walks, courted her, and received, for the first time, an answer that does not put me into despair.
To them Argaleon, Amalthea, and Artemis. I'll tell you more at leisure my adventures. The