« AnteriorContinuar »
· Pala. Yet 'tis a kind of fashion to wear a princess's cast shoes; you see the country ladies buy them, to be fine in them.
Dor. Yes, a princess's shoes may be worn after her, because they keep their fashion, by being so very little used ; but generally a married man is the creature of the world the most out of fashion : his behaviour is dumpish; his discourse, his wife and family; his habit so much neglected, it looks as if that were married too; his hat is married, his peruke is married, his breeches are married, and, if we could look within his breeches, we should find him married there too.
Pala. Am I then to be discarded for ever? pray do but mark how that word sounds; for ever! it has a very damn'd sound, Doralice.
Dor. Ay, for ever! it sounds as hellishly to me, as it can do to you, but there's no help for it.
Pala. Yet, if we had but once enjoyed one another !—but then once only, is worse than not at all: It leaves a man with such a lingering after it.
Dor. For aught I know, 'tis better that we have not; we might upon trial have liked each other . less, as many a man and woman, that have loved as desperately as we, and yet, when they came to possession, have sighed and cried to themselves, Is this all?
Pala. That is only, if the servant were not found a man of this world; but if, upon trial, we had not liked each other, we had certainly left loving; and faith, that's the greater happiness of the two.
Dor. 'Tis better as 'tis ; we have drawn off already as much of our love as would run clear; after possessing, the rest is but jealousies, and disquiets, and quarrelling, and piecing.
Pala. Ņay, after one great quarrel, there's never any sound piecing; the love is apt to break in the same place again
Dor. I declare I would never renew a love; that's like him, who trims an old coach for ten years together; he might buy a new one better cheap.
Pala. Well, madam, I am convinced, that 'tis best for us not to have enjoyed; but, gad, the strongest reason is, because I can't help it.
Dor. The only way to keep us new to one another, is never to enjoy, as they keep grapes, by hanging them upon a line ; they must touch nothing, if you would preserve them fresh.
Pala. But then they wither, and grow dry in the very keeping; however, I shall have a warmth for you, and an eagerness, every time I see you ; and, if I chance to out-live Melantha
Dor. And if I chance to out-live Rhodophile
Pala. Well, I'll cherish my body as much as I can, upon that hope. 'Tis true, I would not directly murder the wife of my bosom; but, to kill her civilly, by the way of kindness, I'll put as fair as another man: I'll begin to-morrow night, and be very wrathful with her; that's resolved on.
Dor. Well, Palamede, here's my hand, I'll venture to be your second wife, for all your threatenings.
Pala. In the mean time I'll watch you hourly, as I would the ripeness of a melon; and I hope you'll give me leave now and then to look on you, and to see if you are not ready to be cut yet.
Dor. No, no, that must not be, Palamede, for fear the gardener should come and catch you taking up the glass.
Enter RHODOPHIL. Rho. [Aside.] Billing so sweetly! now I am confirmed in my suspicions; I must put an end to this ere it go farther- LTO DORALICE.] Cry you mer.
cy, spouse, I fear I have interrupted your recreations.
Dor. What recreations ?
Rho. Nay, no excuses, good spouse; I saw fair hand conveyed to lip, and prest, as though you had been squeezing soft wax together for an indenture. Palamede, you and I must clear this reckoning: why would you have seduced my wife?
Pala. Why would you have debauched my mistress?
Rho. What do you think of that civil couple, that played at a game, called Hide and Seek, last evenng, in the grotto?
Pala. What do you think of that innocent pair, who made it their pretence to seek for others, but came, indeed, to hide themselves there? · Rho. All things considered, I begin vehemently to suspect, that the young gentleman I found in your company last night, was a certain youth of my acquaintance.
Pala. And I have an odd imagination, that you could never have suspected my small gallant, if your little villainous Frenchman had not been a false brother.
Rho. Further arguments are needless; draw off ; I shall speak to you now by the way of bilbo..
[Claps his hand to his sword. Pala. And I shall answer you by the way of Dangerfield *
[Claps his hand on his. Dor. Hold, hold; are not you two a couple of mad fighting fools, to cut one another's throats for nothing?
Dangerfield.] A dramatic bully, whose sword and habit became proverbial. “This gentleman, appearing with his mustaccios, according to the Turkish manner, Cordubee hat, and strange outof-the-way clothes, just as if one had been dressed up to act Captain Dangerfield in the play, &c.” Life of Sir Dudley North.
Pala. How for nothing? He courts the woman I must marry.
Rho. And he courts you, whom I have married.
Dor. But you can neither of you be jealous of what you love not.
Rho. Faith, I am jealous, and this makes me partly suspect that I love you better than I thought..
Dor. Pish! a mere jealousy of honour.
Rho. Gad, I am afraid there's something else in't; for Palamede has wit, and, if he loves you, there's something more in ye than I have found :. Some rich mine, for aught I know, that I have not yet discovered.
· Pala. 'Slife, what's this? Here's an argument for me to love Melantha; for he has loved her, and he has wit too, and, for aught I know, there may be a mine; but, if there be, I am resolved I'll dig for it.
Dor. [To RHODOPHIL.] Then I have found my account in raising your jealousy. O ! 'tis the most delicate sharp sauce to a cloyed stomach; it will give you a new edge, Rhodophil.
Rho. And a new point too, Doralice, if I could be sure thou art honest.
Dor. If you are wise, believe me for your own sake: Love and religion have but one thing to trust to; that's a good sound faith. Consider, if I have played false, you can never find it out by any experiment you can make upon me.
Rho. No? Why, suppose I had a delicate screwed gun; if I left her clean, and found her foul, I should discover, to my cost, she had been shot in.
Dor. But if you left her clean, and found her only rusty, you would discover, to your shame, she was only so for want of shooting. · Pala. Rhodophil, you know me too well to imagine I speak for fear; and therefore, in considera
tion of our past friendship, I will tell you, and bind it by all things holy, that Doralice is innocent.
Řho. Friend, I will believe you, and vow the same for your Melantha ; but the devil on't is, how shall we keep them so ?
Pala. What dost think of a blessed community betwixt us four, for the solace of the women, and relief of the men ? Methinks it would be a pleasant kind of life : Wife and husband for the standing dish, and mistress and gallant for the desert.
Rho. But suppose the wife and mistress should both long for the standing dish, how should they be satisfied together?
Pala. In such a case they must draw lots; and yet that would not do neither, for they would both be wishing for the longest cut.
Rho. Then I think, Palamede, we had as good make a firm league, not to invade each other's propriety.
Pala. Content, say I. From henceforth let all acts of hostility cease betwixt us; and that, in the usual form of treaties, as well by sea as land, and in all fresh waters.
Dor. I will add but one proviso, that whoever breaks the league, either by war abroad, or neglect at home, both the women shall revenge themselves by the help of the other party.
Rho. That's but reasonable. Come away, Doralice; I have a great temptation to be sealing articles in private.
Pala. Hast thou so? [Claps him on the shoulder. “ Fall on, Macduff, And cursed be he that first cries, Hold, enough."