Love for Love/Act IV

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57737Love for Love — Act IVWilliam Congreve




Valentine's lodging.


SCAN. Well, is your master ready? does he look madly and talk madly?

JERE. Yes, sir; you need make no great doubt of that. He that was so near turning poet yesterday morning can't be much to seek in playing the madman to-day.

SCAN. Would he have Angelica acquainted with the reason of his design?

JERE. No, sir, not yet. He has a mind to try whether his playing the madman won't make her play the fool, and fall in love with him; or at least own that she has loved him all this while and concealed it.

SCAN. I saw her take coach just now with her maid, and think I heard her bid the coachman drive hither.

JERE. Like enough, sir, for I told her maid this morning, my master was run stark mad only for love of her mistress.--I hear a coach stop; if it should be she, sir, I believe he would not see her, till he hears how she takes it.

SCAN. Well, I'll try her: --'tis she--here she comes.



[To them] ANGELICA with JENNY.

ANG. Mr Scandal, I suppose you don't think it a novelty to see a woman visit a man at his own lodgings in a morning?

SCAN. Not upon a kind occasion, madam. But when a lady comes tyrannically to insult a ruined lover, and make manifest the cruel triumphs of her beauty, the barbarity of it something surprises me.

ANG. I don't like raillery from a serious face. Pray tell me what is the matter?

JERE. No strange matter, madam; my master's mad, that's all. I suppose your ladyship has thought him so a great while.

ANG. How d'ye mean, mad?

JERE. Why, faith, madam, he's mad for want of his wits, just as he was poor for want of money; his head is e'en as light as his pockets, and anybody that has a mind to a bad bargain can't do better than to beg him for his estate.

ANG. If you speak truth, your endeavouring at wit is very unseasonable.

SCAN. She's concerned, and loves him. [Aside.]

ANG. Mr Scandal, you can't think me guilty of so much inhumanity as not to be concerned for a man I must own myself obliged to? Pray tell me truth.

SCAN. Faith, madam, I wish telling a lie would mend the matter. But this is no new effect of an unsuccessful passion.

ANG. [Aside.] I know not what to think. Yet I should be vexed to have a trick put upon me. May I not see him?

SCAN. I'm afraid the physician is not willing you should see him yet. Jeremy, go in and enquire.




ANG. Ha! I saw him wink and smile. I fancy 'tis a trick--I'll try.--I would disguise to all the world a failing which I must own to you: I fear my happiness depends upon the recovery of Valentine. Therefore I conjure you, as you are his friend, and as you have compassion upon one fearful of affliction, to tell me what I am to hope for--I cannot speak--but you may tell me, tell me, for you know what I would ask?

SCAN. So, this is pretty plain. Be not too much concerned, madam; I hope his condition is not desperate. An acknowledgment of love from you, perhaps, may work a cure, as the fear of your aversion occasioned his distemper.

ANG. [Aside.] Say you so; nay, then, I'm convinced. And if I don't play trick for trick, may I never taste the pleasure of revenge.--Acknowledgment of love! I find you have mistaken my compassion, and think me guilty of a weakness I am a stranger to. But I have too much sincerity to deceive you, and too much charity to suffer him to be deluded with vain hopes. Good nature and humanity oblige me to be concerned for him; but to love is neither in my power nor inclination, and if he can't be cured without I suck the poison from his wounds, I'm afraid he won't recover his senses till I lose mine.

SCAN. Hey, brave woman, i'faith--won't you see him, then, if he desire it?

ANG. What signify a madman's desires? Besides, 'twould make me uneasy: --if I don't see him, perhaps my concern for him may lessen. If I forget him, 'tis no more than he has done by himself; and now the surprise is over, methinks I am not half so sorry as I was.

SCAN. So, faith, good nature works apace; you were confessing just now an obligation to his love.

ANG. But I have considered that passions are unreasonable and involuntary; if he loves, he can't help it; and if I don't love, I can't help it; no more than he can help his being a man, or I my being a woman: or no more than I can help my want of inclination to stay longer here. Come, Jenny.




SCAN. Humh! An admirable composition, faith, this same womankind.

JERE. What, is she gone, sir?

SCAN. Gone? Why, she was never here, nor anywhere else; nor I don't know her if I see her, nor you neither.

JERE. Good lack! What's the matter now? Are any more of us to be mad? Why, sir, my master longs to see her, and is almost mad in good earnest with the joyful news of her being here.

SCAN. We are all under a mistake. Ask no questions, for I can't resolve you; but I'll inform your master. In the meantime, if our project succeed no better with his father than it does with his mistress, he may descend from his exaltation of madness into the road of common sense, and be content only to be made a fool with other reasonable people. I hear Sir Sampson. You know your cue; I'll to your master.




SIR SAMP. D'ye see, Mr Buckram, here's the paper signed with his own hand.

BUCK. Good, sir. And the conveyance is ready drawn in this box, if he be ready to sign and seal.

SIR SAMP. Ready, body o' me? He must be ready. His sham-sickness shan't excuse him. Oh, here's his scoundrel. Sirrah, where's your master?

JERE. Ah sir, he's quite gone.

SIR SAMP. Gone! What, he is not dead?

JERE. No, sir, not dead.

SIR SAMP. What, is he gone out of town, run away, ha? has he tricked me? Speak, varlet.

JERE. No, no, sir, he's safe enough, sir, an he were but as sound, poor gentleman. He is indeed here, sir, and not here, sir.

SIR SAMP. Hey day, rascal, do you banter me? Sirrah, d'ye banter me? Speak, sirrah, where is he? for I will find him.

JERE. Would you could, sir, for he has lost himself. Indeed, sir, I have a'most broke my heart about him--I can't refrain tears when I think of him, sir: I'm as melancholy for him as a passing-bell, sir, or a horse in a pound.

SIR SAMP. A pox confound your similitudes, sir. Speak to be understood, and tell me in plain terms what the matter is with him, or I'll crack your fool's skull.

JERE. Ah, you've hit it, sir; that's the matter with him, sir: his skull's cracked, poor gentleman; he's stark mad, sir.


BUCK. What, is he non compos?

JERE. Quite non compos, sir.

BUCK. Why, then, all's obliterated, Sir Sampson, if he be non compos mentis; his act and deed will be of no effect, it is not good in law.

SIR SAMP. Oons, I won't believe it; let me see him, sir. Mad--I'll make him find his senses.

JERE. Mr Scandal is with him, sir; I'll knock at the door.

[Goes to the scene, which opens.]



SIR SAMPSON, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, JEREMY, and LAWYER. VALENTINE upon a couch disorderly dressed.

SIR SAMP. How now, what's here to do?

VAL. Ha! Who's that? [Starting.]

SCAN. For heav'n's sake softly, sir, and gently; don't provoke him.

VAL. Answer me: who is that, and that?

SIR SAMP. Gads bobs, does he not know me? Is he mischievous? I'll speak gently. Val, Val, dost thou not know me, boy? Not know thy own father, Val? I am thy own father, and this is honest Brief Buckram, the lawyer.

VAL. It may be so--I did not know you--the world is full. There are people that we do know, and people that we do not know, and yet the sun shines upon all alike. There are fathers that have many children, and there are children that have many fathers. 'Tis strange! But I am Truth, and come to give the world the lie.

SIR SAMP. Body o' me, I know not what to say to him.

VAL. Why does that lawyer wear black? Does he carry his conscience withoutside? Lawyer what art thou? Dost thou know me?

BUCK. O Lord, what must I say? Yes, sir,

VAL. Thou liest, for I am Truth. 'Tis hard I cannot get a livelihood amongst you. I have been sworn out of Westminster Hall the first day of every term--let me see--no matter how long. But I'll tell you one thing: it's a question that would puzzle an arithmetician, if you should ask him, whether the Bible saves more souls in Westminster Abbey, or damns more in Westminster Hall. For my part, I am Truth, and can't tell; I have very few acquaintance.

SIR SAMP. Body o' me, he talks sensibly in his madness. Has he no intervals?

JERE. Very short, sir.

BUCK. Sir, I can do you no service while he's in this condition. Here's your paper, sir--he may do me a mischief if I stay. The conveyance is ready, sir, if he recover his senses.




SIR SAMP. Hold, hold, don't you go yet.

SCAN. You'd better let him go, sir, and send for him if there be occasion; for I fancy his presence provokes him more.

VAL. Is the lawyer gone? 'Tis well, then we may drink about without going together by the ears--heigh ho! What a'clock is't? My father here! Your blessing, sir.

SIR SAMP. He recovers--bless thee, Val; how dost thou do, boy?

VAL. Thank you, sir, pretty well. I have been a little out of order, Won't you please to sit, sir?

SIR SAMP. Ay, boy. Come, thou shalt sit down by me.

VAL. Sir, 'tis my duty to wait.

SIR SAMP. No, no; come, come, sit thee down, honest Val. How dost thou do? Let me feel thy pulse. Oh, pretty well now, Val. Body o' me, I was sorry to see thee indisposed; but I'm glad thou art better, honest Val.

VAL. I thank you, sir.

SCAN. Miracle! The monster grows loving. [Aside.]

SIR SAMP. Let me feel thy hand again, Val. It does not shake; I believe thou canst write, Val. Ha, boy? thou canst write thy name, Val. Jeremy, step and overtake Mr Buckram, bid him make haste back with the conveyance; quick, quick. [In whisper to JEREMY.]




SCAN. That ever I should suspect such a heathen of any remorse! [Aside.]

SIR SAMP. Dost thou know this paper, Val? I know thou'rt honest, and wilt perform articles. [Shows him the paper, but holds it out of his reach.]

VAL. Pray let me see it, sir. You hold it so far off that I can't tell whether I know it or no.

SIR SAMP. See it, boy? Ay, ay; why, thou dost see it--'tis thy own hand, Vally. Why, let me see, I can read it as plain as can be. Look you here. [Reads.] THE CONDITION OF THIS OBLIGATION--Look you, as plain as can be, so it begins--and then at the bottom--AS WITNESS MY HAND, VALENTINE LEGEND, in great letters. Why, 'tis as plain as the nose in one's face. What, are my eyes better than thine? I believe I can read it farther off yet; let me see. [Stretches his arm as far as he can.]

VAL. Will you please to let me hold it, sir?

SIR SAMP. Let thee hold it, sayest thou? Ay, with all my heart. What matter is it who holds it? What need anybody hold it? I'll put it up in my pocket, Val, and then nobody need hold it. [Puts the paper in his pocket.] There, Val; it's safe enough, boy. But thou shalt have it as soon as thou hast set thy hand to another paper, little Val.



[To them] JEREMY with BUCKRAM.

VAL. What, is my bad genius here again! Oh no, 'tis the lawyer with an itching palm; and he's come to be scratched. My nails are not long enough. Let me have a pair of red-hot tongs quickly, quickly, and you shall see me act St. Dunstan, and lead the devil by the nose.

BUCK. O Lord, let me begone: I'll not venture myself with a madman.




VAL. Ha, ha, ha; you need not run so fast, honesty will not overtake you. Ha, ha, ha, the rogue found me out to be in forma pauperis presently.

SIR SAMP. Oons! What a vexation is here! I know not what to do, or say, nor which way to go.

VAL. Who's that that's out of his way? I am Truth, and can set him right. Harkee, friend, the straight road is the worst way you can go. He that follows his nose always, will very often be led into a stink. Probatum est. But what are you for? religion or politics? There's a couple of topics for you, no more like one another than oil and vinegar; and yet those two, beaten together by a state-cook, make sauce for the whole nation.

SIR SAMP. What the devil had I to do, ever to beget sons? Why did I ever marry?

VAL. Because thou wert a monster, old boy! The two greatest monsters in the world are a man and a woman! What's thy opinion?

SIR SAMP. Why, my opinion is, that those two monsters joined together, make yet a greater, that's a man and his wife.

VAL. Aha! Old True-penny, say'st thou so? Thou hast nicked it. But it's wonderful strange, Jeremy.

JERE. What is, sir?

VAL. That gray hairs should cover a green head--and I make a fool of my father. What's here! Erra Pater: or a bearded sibyl? If Prophecy comes, Truth must give place.




FORE. What says he? What, did he prophesy? Ha, Sir Sampson, bless us! How are we?

SIR SAMP. Are we? A pox o' your prognostication. Why, we are fools as we use to be. Oons, that you could not foresee that the moon would predominate, and my son be mad. Where's your oppositions, your trines, and your quadrates? What did your Cardan and your Ptolemy tell you? Your Messahalah and your Longomontanus, your harmony of chiromancy with astrology. Ah! pox on't, that I that know the world and men and manners, that don't believe a syllable in the sky and stars, and sun and almanacs and trash, should be directed by a dreamer, an omen-hunter, and defer business in expectation of a lucky hour, when, body o' me, there never was a lucky hour after the first opportunity.




FORE. Ah, Sir Sampson, heav'n help your head. This is none of your lucky hour; Nemo omnibus horis sapit. What, is he gone, and in contempt of science? Ill stars and unconvertible ignorance attend him.

SCAN. You must excuse his passion, Mr Foresight, for he has been heartily vexed. His son is non compos mentis, and thereby incapable of making any conveyance in law; so that all his measures are disappointed.

FORE. Ha! say you so?

MRS FRAIL. What, has my sea-lover lost his anchor of hope, then? [Aside to MRS FORESIGHT.]

MRS FORE. O sister, what will you do with him?

MRS FRAIL. Do with him? Send him to sea again in the next foul weather. He's used to an inconstant element, and won't be surprised to see the tide turned.

FORE. Wherein was I mistaken, not to foresee this? [Considers.]

SCAN. Madam, you and I can tell him something else that he did not foresee, and more particularly relating to his own fortune. [Aside to MRS FORESIGHT.]

MRS FORE. What do you mean? I don't understand you.

SCAN. Hush, softly,--the pleasures of last night, my dear, too considerable to be forgot so soon.

MRS FORE. Last night! And what would your impudence infer from last night? Last night was like the night before, I think.

SCAN. 'Sdeath, do you make no difference between me and your husband?

MRS FORE. Not much,--he's superstitious, and you are mad, in my opinion.

SCAN. You make me mad. You are not serious. Pray recollect yourself.

MRS FORE. Oh yes, now I remember, you were very impertinent and impudent,--and would have come to bed to me.

SCAN. And did not?

MRS FORE. Did not! With that face can you ask the question?

SCAN. This I have heard of before, but never believed. I have been told, she had that admirable quality of forgetting to a man's face in the morning that she had lain with him all night, and denying that she had done favours with more impudence than she could grant 'em. Madam, I'm your humble servant, and honour you.--You look pretty well, Mr Foresight: how did you rest last night?

FORE. Truly, Mr Scandal, I was so taken up with broken dreams and distracted visions that I remember little.

SCAN. 'Twas a very forgetting night. But would you not talk with Valentine? Perhaps you may understand him; I'm apt to believe there is something mysterious in his discourses, and sometimes rather think him inspired than mad.

FORE. You speak with singular good judgment, Mr Scandal, truly. I am inclining to your Turkish opinion in this matter, and do reverence a man whom the vulgar think mad. Let us go to him.

MRS FRAIL. Sister, do you stay with them; I'll find out my lover, and give him his discharge, and come to you. O' my conscience, here he comes.




BEN. All mad, I think. Flesh, I believe all the calentures of the sea are come ashore, for my part.

MRS FRAIL. Mr Benjamin in choler!

BEN. No, I'm pleased well enough, now I have found you. Mess, I have had such a hurricane upon your account yonder.

MRS FRAIL. My account; pray what's the matter?

BEN. Why, father came and found me squabbling with yon chitty-faced thing as he would have me marry, so he asked what was the matter. He asked in a surly sort of a way--it seems brother Val is gone mad, and so that put'n into a passion; but what did I know that? what's that to me?--so he asked in a surly sort of manner, and gad I answered 'n as surlily. What thof he be my father, I an't bound prentice to 'n; so faith I told 'n in plain terms, if I were minded to marry, I'd marry to please myself, not him. And for the young woman that he provided for me, I thought it more fitting for her to learn her sampler and make dirt-pies than to look after a husband; for my part I was none of her man. I had another voyage to make, let him take it as he will.

MRS FRAIL. So, then, you intend to go to sea again?

BEN. Nay, nay, my mind run upon you, but I would not tell him so much. So he said he'd make my heart ache; and if so be that he could get a woman to his mind, he'd marry himself. Gad, says I, an you play the fool and marry at these years, there's more danger of your head's aching than my heart. He was woundy angry when I gave'n that wipe. He hadn't a word to say, and so I left'n, and the green girl together; mayhap the bee may bite, and he'll marry her himself, with all my heart.

MRS FRAIL. And were you this undutiful and graceless wretch to your father?

BEN. Then why was he graceless first? If I am undutiful and graceless, why did he beget me so? I did not get myself.

MRS FRAIL. O impiety! How have I been mistaken! What an inhuman, merciless creature have I set my heart upon? Oh, I am happy to have discovered the shelves and quicksands that lurk beneath that faithless, smiling face.

BEN. Hey toss! What's the matter now? Why, you ben't angry, be you?

MRS FRAIL. Oh, see me no more,--for thou wert born amongst rocks, suckled by whales, cradled in a tempest, and whistled to by winds; and thou art come forth with fins and scales, and three rows of teeth, a most outrageous fish of prey.

BEN. O Lord, O Lord, she's mad, poor young woman: love has turned her senses, her brain is quite overset. Well-a-day, how shall I do to set her to rights?

MRS FRAIL. No, no, I am not mad, monster; I am wise enough to find you out. Hadst thou the impudence to aspire at being a husband with that stubborn and disobedient temper? You that know not how to submit to a father, presume to have a sufficient stock of duty to undergo a wife? I should have been finely fobbed indeed, very finely fobbed.

BEN. Harkee, forsooth; if so be that you are in your right senses, d'ye see, for ought as I perceive I'm like to be finely fobbed,--if I have got anger here upon your account, and you are tacked about already. What d'ye mean, after all your fair speeches, and stroking my cheeks, and kissing and hugging, what would you sheer off so? Would you, and leave me aground?

MRS FRAIL. No, I'll leave you adrift, and go which way you will.

BEN. What, are you false-hearted, then?

MRS FRAIL. Only the wind's changed.

BEN. More shame for you,--the wind's changed? It's an ill wind blows nobody good,--mayhap I have a good riddance on you, if these be your tricks. What, did you mean all this while to make a fool of me?

MRS FRAIL. Any fool but a husband.

BEN. Husband! Gad, I would not be your husband if you would have me, now I know your mind: thof you had your weight in gold and jewels, and thof I loved you never so well.

MRS FRAIL. Why, can'st thou love, Porpuss?

BEN. No matter what I can do; don't call names. I don't love you so well as to bear that, whatever I did. I'm glad you show yourself, mistress. Let them marry you as don't know you. Gad, I know you too well, by sad experience; I believe he that marries you will go to sea in a hen-pecked frigate--I believe that, young woman- -and mayhap may come to an anchor at Cuckolds-Point; so there's a dash for you, take it as you will: mayhap you may holla after me when I won't come to.

MRS FRAIL. Ha, ha, ha, no doubt on't.--MY TRUE LOVE IS GONE TO SEA. [Sings.]




MRS FRAIL. O sister, had you come a minute sooner, you would have seen the resolution of a lover: --honest Tar and I are parted;--and with the same indifference that we met. O' my life I am half vexed at the insensibility of a brute that I despised.

MRS FORE. What then, he bore it most heroically?

MRS FRAIL. Most tyrannically; for you see he has got the start of me, and I, the poor forsaken maid, am left complaining on the shore. But I'll tell you a hint that he has given me: Sir Sampson is enraged, and talks desperately of committing matrimony himself. If he has a mind to throw himself away, he can't do it more effectually than upon me, if we could bring it about.

MRS FORE. Oh, hang him, old fox, he's too cunning; besides, he hates both you and me. But I have a project in my head for you, and I have gone a good way towards it. I have almost made a bargain with Jeremy, Valentine's man, to sell his master to us.

MRS FRAIL. Sell him? How?

MRS FORE. Valentine raves upon Angelica, and took me for her, and Jeremy says will take anybody for her that he imposes on him. Now, I have promised him mountains, if in one of his mad fits he will bring you to him in her stead, and get you married together and put to bed together; and after consummation, girl, there's no revoking. And if he should recover his senses, he'll be glad at least to make you a good settlement. Here they come: stand aside a little, and tell me how you like the design.




SCAN. And have you given your master a hint of their plot upon him? [To JEREMY.]

JERE. Yes, sir; he says he'll favour it, and mistake her for Angelica.

SCAN. It may make us sport.

FORE. Mercy on us!

VAL. Husht--interrupt me not--I'll whisper prediction to thee, and thou shalt prophesy. I am Truth, and can teach thy tongue a new trick. I have told thee what's past,--now I'll tell what's to come. Dost thou know what will happen to-morrow?--Answer me not--for I will tell thee. To-morrow, knaves will thrive through craft, and fools through fortune, and honesty will go as it did, frost-nipt in a summer suit. Ask me questions concerning to-morrow.

SCAN. Ask him, Mr Foresight.

FORE. Pray what will be done at court?

VAL. Scandal will tell you. I am Truth; I never come there.

FORE. In the city?

VAL. Oh, prayers will be said in empty churches at the usual hours. Yet you will see such zealous faces behind counters, as if religion were to be sold in every shop. Oh, things will go methodically in the city: the clocks will strike twelve at noon, and the horned herd buzz in the exchange at two. Wives and husbands will drive distinct trades, and care and pleasure separately occupy the family. Coffee-houses will be full of smoke and stratagem. And the cropt prentice, that sweeps his master's shop in the morning, may ten to one dirty his sheets before night. But there are two things that you will see very strange: which are wanton wives with their legs at liberty, and tame cuckolds with chains about their necks. But hold, I must examine you before I go further. You look suspiciously. Are you a husband?

FORE. I am married.

VAL. Poor creature! Is your wife of Covent Garden parish?

FORE. No; St. Martin's-in-the-Fields.

VAL. Alas, poor man; his eyes are sunk, and his hands shrivelled; his legs dwindled, and his back bowed: pray, pray, for a metamorphosis. Change thy shape and shake off age; get thee Medea's kettle and be boiled anew; come forth with lab'ring callous hands, a chine of steel, and Atlas shoulders. Let Taliacotius trim the calves of twenty chairmen, and make thee pedestals to stand erect upon, and look matrimony in the face. Ha, ha, ha! That a man should have a stomach to a wedding supper, when the pigeons ought rather to be laid to his feet, ha, ha, ha!

FORE. His frenzy is very high now, Mr Scandal.

SCAN. I believe it is a spring tide.

FORE. Very likely, truly. You understand these matters. Mr Scandal, I shall be very glad to confer with you about these things which he has uttered. His sayings are very mysterious and hieroglyphical.

VAL. Oh, why would Angelica be absent from my eyes so long?

JERE. She's here, sir.

MRS FORE. Now, sister.

MRS FRAIL. O Lord, what must I say?

SCAN. Humour him, madam, by all means.

VAL. Where is she? Oh, I see her--she comes, like riches, health, and liberty at once, to a despairing, starving, and abandoned wretch. Oh, welcome, welcome.

MRS FRAIL. How d'ye, sir? Can I serve you?

VAL. Harkee; I have a secret to tell you: Endymion and the moon shall meet us upon Mount Latmos, and we'll be married in the dead of night. But say not a word. Hymen shall put his torch into a dark lanthorn, that it may be secret; and Juno shall give her peacock poppy-water, that he may fold his ogling tail, and Argus's hundred eyes be shut, ha! Nobody shall know but Jeremy.

MRS FRAIL. No, no, we'll keep it secret, it shall be done presently.

VAL. The sooner the better. Jeremy, come hither--closer--that none may overhear us. Jeremy, I can tell you news: Angelica is turned nun, and I am turning friar, and yet we'll marry one another in spite of the pope. Get me a cowl and beads, that I may play my part,--for she'll meet me two hours hence in black and white, and a long veil to cover the project, and we won't see one another's faces, till we have done something to be ashamed of; and then we'll blush once for all.



[To them] TATTLE and ANGELICA.

JERE. I'll take care, and -

VAL. Whisper.

ANG. Nay, Mr Tattle, if you make love to me, you spoil my design, for I intend to make you my confidant.

TATT. But, madam, to throw away your person--such a person!--and such a fortune on a madman!

ANG. I never loved him till he was mad; but don't tell anybody so.

SCAN. How's this! Tattle making love to Angelica!

TATT. Tell, madam? Alas, you don't know me. I have much ado to tell your ladyship how long I have been in love with you--but encouraged by the impossibility of Valentine's making any more addresses to you, I have ventured to declare the very inmost passion of my heart. O madam, look upon us both. There you see the ruins of a poor decayed creature--here, a complete and lively figure, with youth and health, and all his five senses in perfection, madam, and to all this, the most passionate lover -

ANG. O fie, for shame, hold your tongue. A passionate lover, and five senses in perfection! When you are as mad as Valentine, I'll believe you love me, and the maddest shall take me.

VAL. It is enough. Ha! Who's here?

FRAIL. O Lord, her coming will spoil all. [To JEREMY.]

JERE. No, no, madam, he won't know her; if he should, I can persuade him.

VAL. Scandal, who are these? Foreigners? If they are, I'll tell you what I think,--get away all the company but Angelica, that I may discover my design to her. [Whisper.]

SCAN. I will--I have discovered something of Tattle that is of a piece with Mrs Frail. He courts Angelica; if we could contrive to couple 'em together.--Hark'ee--[Whisper.]

MRS FORE. He won't know you, cousin; he knows nobody.

FORE. But he knows more than anybody. O niece, he knows things past and to come, and all the profound secrets of time.

TATT. Look you, Mr Foresight, it is not my way to make many words of matters, and so I shan't say much,--but in short, d'ye see, I will hold you a hundred pounds now, that I know more secrets than he.

FORE. How! I cannot read that knowledge in your face, Mr Tattle. Pray, what do you know?

TATT. Why, d'ye think I'll tell you, sir? Read it in my face? No, sir, 'tis written in my heart; and safer there, sir, than letters writ in juice of lemon, for no fire can fetch it out. I am no blab, sir.

VAL. Acquaint Jeremy with it, he may easily bring it about. They are welcome, and I'll tell 'em so myself. [To SCANDAL.] What, do you look strange upon me? Then I must be plain. [Coming up to them.] I am Truth, and hate an old acquaintance with a new face. [SCANDAL goes aside with JEREMY.]

TATT. Do you know me, Valentine?

VAL. You? Who are you? No, I hope not.

TATT. I am Jack Tattle, your friend.

VAL. My friend, what to do? I am no married man, and thou canst not lie with my wife. I am very poor, and thou canst not borrow money of me. Then what employment have I for a friend?

TATT. Ha! a good open speaker, and not to be trusted with a secret.

ANG. Do you know me, Valentine?

VAL. Oh, very well.

ANG. Who am I?

VAL. You're a woman. One to whom heav'n gave beauty, when it grafted roses on a briar. You are the reflection of heav'n in a pond, and he that leaps at you is sunk. You are all white, a sheet of lovely, spotless paper, when you first are born; but you are to be scrawled and blotted by every goose's quill. I know you; for I loved a woman, and loved her so long, that I found out a strange thing: I found out what a woman was good for.

TATT. Ay, prithee, what's that?

VAL. Why, to keep a secret.

TATT. O Lord!

VAL. Oh, exceeding good to keep a secret; for though she should tell, yet she is not to be believed.

TATT. Hah! good again, faith.

VAL. I would have music. Sing me the song that I like.




    I tell thee, Charmion, could I time retrieve,
    And could again begin to love and live,
    To you I should my earliest off'ring give;
    I know my eyes would lead my heart to you,
    And I should all my vows and oaths renew,
    But to be plain, I never would be true.


    For by our weak and weary truth, I find,
    Love hates to centre in a point assign'd?
    But runs with joy the circle of the mind.
    Then never let us chain what should be free,
    But for relief of either sex agree,
    Since women love to change, and so do we.

No more, for I am melancholy. [Walks musing.]

JERE. I'll do't, sir. [To SCANDAL.]

SCAN. Mr Foresight, we had best leave him. He may grow outrageous, and do mischief.

FORE. I will be directed by you.

JERE. [To MRS FRAIL.] You'll meet, madam? I'll take care everything shall be ready.

MRS FRAIL. Thou shalt do what thou wilt; in short, I will deny thee nothing.

TATT. Madam, shall I wait upon you? [To ANGELICA.]

ANG. No, I'll stay with him; Mr Scandal will protect me. Aunt, Mr Tattle desires you would give him leave to wait on you.

TATT. Pox on't, there's no coming off, now she has said that. Madam, will you do me the honour?

MRS FORE. Mr Tattle might have used less ceremony.




SCAN. Jeremy, follow Tattle.

ANG. Mr Scandal, I only stay till my maid comes, and because I had a mind to be rid of Mr Tattle.

SCAN. Madam, I am very glad that I overheard a better reason which you gave to Mr Tattle; for his impertinence forced you to acknowledge a kindness for Valentine, which you denied to all his sufferings and my solicitations. So I'll leave him to make use of the discovery, and your ladyship to the free confession of your inclinations.

ANG. O heav'ns! You won't leave me alone with a madman?

SCAN. No, madam; I only leave a madman to his remedy.




VAL. Madam, you need not be very much afraid, for I fancy I begin to come to myself.

ANG. Ay, but if I don't fit you, I'll be hanged. [Aside.]

VAL. You see what disguises love makes us put on. Gods have been in counterfeited shapes for the same reason; and the divine part of me, my mind, has worn this mask of madness and this motley livery, only as the slave of love and menial creature of your beauty.

ANG. Mercy on me, how he talks! Poor Valentine!

VAL. Nay, faith, now let us understand one another, hypocrisy apart. The comedy draws toward an end, and let us think of leaving acting and be ourselves; and since you have loved me, you must own I have at length deserved you should confess it.

ANG. [Sighs.] I would I had loved you--for heav'n knows I pity you, and could I have foreseen the bad effects, I would have striven; but that's too late. [Sighs.]

VAL. What sad effects?--what's too late? My seeming madness has deceived my father, and procured me time to think of means to reconcile me to him, and preserve the right of my inheritance to his estate; which otherwise, by articles, I must this morning have resigned. And this I had informed you of to-day, but you were gone before I knew you had been here.

ANG. How! I thought your love of me had caused this transport in your soul; which, it seems, you only counterfeited, for mercenary ends and sordid interest.

VAL. Nay, now you do me wrong; for if any interest was considered it was yours, since I thought I wanted more than love to make me worthy of you.

ANG. Then you thought me mercenary. But how am I deluded by this interval of sense to reason with a madman?

VAL. Oh, 'tis barbarous to misunderstand me longer.



[To them] JEREMY.

ANG. Oh, here's a reasonable creature--sure he will not have the impudence to persevere. Come, Jeremy, acknowledge your trick, and confess your master's madness counterfeit.

JERE. Counterfeit, madam! I'll maintain him to be as absolutely and substantially mad as any freeholder in Bethlehem; nay, he's as mad as any projector, fanatic, chymist, lover, or poet in Europe.

VAL. Sirrah, you be; I am not mad.

ANG. Ha, ha, ha! you see he denies it.

JERE. O Lord, madam, did you ever know any madman mad enough to own it?

VAL. Sot, can't you apprehend?

ANG. Why, he talked very sensibly just now.

JERE. Yes, madam; he has intervals. But you see he begins to look wild again now.

VAL. Why, you thick-skulled rascal, I tell you the farce is done, and I will be mad no longer. [Beats him.]

ANG. Ha, ha, ha! is he mad or no, Jeremy?

JERE. Partly, I think,--for he does not know his own mind two hours. I'm sure I left him just now in the humour to be mad, and I think I have not found him very quiet at this present. Who's there? [One knocks.]

VAL. Go see, you sot.--I'm very glad that I can move your mirth though not your compassion.

ANG. I did not think you had apprehension enough to be exceptions. But madmen show themselves most by over-pretending to a sound understanding, as drunken men do by over-acting sobriety. I was half inclining to believe you, till I accidently touched upon your tender part: but now you have restored me to my former opinion and compassion.

JERE. Sir, your father has sent to know if you are any better yet. Will you please to be mad, sir, or how?

VAL. Stupidity! You know the penalty of all I'm worth must pay for the confession of my senses; I'm mad, and will be mad to everybody but this lady.

JERE. So--just the very backside of truth,--but lying is a figure in speech that interlards the greatest part of my conversation. Madam, your ladyship's woman.




ANG. Well, have you been there?--Come hither.

JENNY. Yes, madam; Sir Sampson will wait upon you presently. [Aside to ANGELICA.]

VAL. You are not leaving me in this uncertainty?

ANG. Would anything but a madman complain of uncertainty? Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing, and the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase. Never let us know one another better, for the pleasure of a masquerade is done when we come to show our faces; but I'll tell you two things before I leave you: I am not the fool you take me for; and you are mad and don't know it.




VAL. From a riddle you can expect nothing but a riddle. There's my instruction and the moral of my lesson.

JERE. What, is the lady gone again, sir? I hope you understood one another before she went?

VAL. Understood! She is harder to be understood than a piece of Egyptian antiquity or an Irish manuscript: you may pore till you spoil your eyes and not improve your knowledge.

JERE. I have heard 'em say, sir, they read hard Hebrew books backwards; maybe you begin to read at the wrong end.

VAL. They say so of a witch's prayer, and dreams and Dutch almanacs are to be understood by contraries. But there's regularity and method in that; she is a medal without a reverse or inscription, for indifference has both sides alike. Yet, while she does not seem to hate me, I will pursue her, and know her if it be possible, in spite of the opinion of my satirical friend, Scandal, who says -

    That women are like tricks by sleight of hand,
    Which, to admire, we should not understand.