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and I shall be in town within these three days; so that you have nothing to do but to obey your careful Jet* then
[To Pa La.] Sir, my father, for whom I have a blind obedience, has commanded me to receive your passionate addresses; but you must also give me leave to avow, that I cannot merit them from so accomplished a cavalier.
Pala. I want many things, madam, to render me accomplished; and the first and greatest of them is your favour.
Mel. Let me die, Philotis, but this is extremely French; but yet Count Rhodophil—a gentleman, sir, that understands the grand monde so well, who has haunted the best conversations, and who, in short, has voyaged, may pretend to the good graces of a lady.
Pala. [Aside.] Hey-day! Grand monde! Conversation! voyaged! and good graces! I find my mistress is one of those that run mad in new French words.
Mel. I suppose, sir, you have made the tour of France; and, having seen all that's fine there, will make a considerable reformation in the rudeness of our court: For let me die, but an unfashioned, untravelled, mere Sicilian, is a bete; and has nothing in the world of an honnete homme.
Pala. I must confess, madam, that
Mel. And what new minuets have you brought over with you? their minuets are to a miracle! and our Sicilian jiggs are so dull and sad to them!Pala. For minuets, madam
Mel. And what new plays are there in vogue? And who danced best in the last grand ballet? Come, sweet servant, you shall tell me all.
Pala. [aside.] Tell her all? Why, she asks all, and will hear nothing.—To answer in order, madam, to your demands
Mel. I am thinking what a happy couple we shall be! For you shall keep up your correspondence abroad, and every thing that's new writ, in France, and fine, I mean all that's delicate, and bien tourne, we will have first.
Pala. But, madam, our fortune
Mel. I understand you, sir; you'll leave that to me: For the menage of a family, I know it better than any lady in Sicily.
Pala. Alas, madam, we
Mel. Then, we will never make visits together, nor see a play, but always apart; you shall be everyday at the king's levee, and I at the queen's; and we will never meet, but in the drawing-room.
Phil. Madam, the new prince is just passed by the end of the walk.
Mel. The new prince, sayest thou r Adieu, dear servant; I have not made my court to him these two long hours. O, it is the sweetest prince! so
obligeant, charmant, ravissant, that- Well, I'll
make haste to kiss his hands, and then make half a score visits more, and be with you again in a twinkling. [Exit running, with Phil.
Pala. [solus.] Now heaven, of thy mercy, bless me from this tongue! it may keep the field against a whole army of lawyers, and that in their own language, French gibberish. It is true, in the daytime, it is tolerable, when a man has field-room to run from it; but to be shut up in a bed with her, like two cocks in a pit, humanity cannot support it. I must kiss all night in my own defence, and hold her down, like a boy at .cuffs, and give her the rising blow every time she begins to speak.
But here comes Rhodophil. It is pretty odd that my mistress should so much resemble his: The same newsmonger, the same passionate lover of a court,
the same But, Basta, since I must marry her. I'll
say nothing, because he shall not laugh at my misfortune.
Rho. Well, Palamede, how go the affairs of love? You have seen your mistress?Pala. I have so.
Rho. And how, and how? has the old Cupid, your father, chosen well for you? is he a good woodman ?.
Pala. She's much handsomer than I could have imagined: In short, I love her, and will marry her.
Rho. Then you are quite off from your other mistress?
Pala. You are mistaken; I intend to love them both, as a reasonable man ought to do: For, since all women have their faults and imperfections, it is fit that one of them should help out the other.
Rho. This were a blessed doctrine, indeed, if our wives would hear it; but they are their own enemies: If they would suffer us but now and then to make excursions, the benefit of our variety would be theirs; instead of one continued, lazy, tired love, they would, in their turns, have twenty vigorous, fresh, and active lovers.
Pala. And I would ask any of them, whether a poor narrow brook, half dry the best part of the year, and running ever one way, be to be compared to a lusty stream, that has ebbs and flows?
Rho. Ay, or is half so profitable for navigation?
Enter Doralice, walking by, and reading.
Pala. Ods my life, Rhodophil, will you keep my counsel?
Rho. Yes: Where's the secret?
Pala. There it is: [Shewing Don.] I may tell you, as my friend, sub sigillo, &c. this is that very lady, with whom I am in love.
Rho. By all that's virtuous, my wife! [Aside.
Pala. You look strangely: How do you like her? Is she not very handsome?
Rho. Sure he abuses me. [Aside.]—Why the devil do you ask my judgment?
Pala. You are so dogged now, you think no man's mistress handsome but your own. Come, you shall hear her talk too; she has wit, I assure you.
Rho. This is too much, Palamede. [Going back. Pala. Pr'ythee do not hang back so: Of an old tried lover, thou art the most bashful fellow!
[Pulling him forward.
Dor. Were you so near, and would not speak, dear husband? [Looking up.
Pala. Husband, quoth a! I have cut out a fine piece of work for myself. [Aside.
Rho. Pray, spouse, how long have you been acquainted with this gentleman?
Dor. Who? I acquainted with this stranger? To my best knowledge, I never saw him before.
Enter Mela Nth A at the other end.
Pala. Thanks, fortune, thou hast helped me.
Rho. Palamede, this must not pass so. I must know your mistress a little better.
Pala. It shall be your own fault else. Come, I'll introduce you.
Rho. Introduce me! where?
Pala. There. To my mistress.
[Pointing to Mel A Nth A, who swiftly passes over the stage. Rho. Who? Melantha! O heavens, I did not see her.
Pala. But I did: I am an eagle where I love; I have seen her this half hour.
Dor. [Aside.] I find he has wit, he has got off so readily; but it would anger me, if he should love Melantha.
Rho. [Aside.] Now, I could even wish it were my wife he loved; I find he's to be married to my mistress.
Pala. Shall I run after, and fetch her back again, to present you to her?
Rho. No, you need not; I have the honour to have some small acquaintance with her.
Pala. [Aside.] O Jupiter! what a blockhead was I, not to find it out! my wife, that must be, is his mistress. I did a little suspect it before. Well, I must marry her, because she's handsome, and because I hate to be disinherited by a younger brother, which I am sure I shall be, if 1 disobey; and yet I must keep in with Rhodophil, because I love his wife.—[To Rho.] I must desire you to make my excuse to your lady, if I have been so unfortunate to cause any mistake; and, withal, to beg the honour of being known to her.
Rho. O, that is but reason.—Hark you, spouse, pray look upon this gentleman as my friend; whom, to my knowledge, you have never seen before this hour.
Dor. I am so obedient a wife, sir, that my husband's commands shall ever be a law to me.