« PreviousContinue »
THE Jealous Wife! a comedy !
At vice and folly, each a lawful game,
In Nature's volume to the general eye. Quarrels, upbraidings, jealousies, and spleen, Books too he read, nor blush'd to use their store Grow too familiar in the comic scene.
He does but what his betters did before. Tinge but the language with heroic chime, Shakespeare has done it, and the Grecian stage 'Tis
passion, pathos, character, sublime ! Caught truth of character from Homer's page. What round big words had swell’d the pompous If in his scenes an honest skill is shewn,
And borrowing little, much appears his own; A king the husband, and the wife a queen! If what a master's happy pencil drew Then might distraction rend her graceful hair, He brings more forward in dramatic view ; See sightless forms, and scream, and gape, and To your decision he submits his cause, stare ;
Secure of candour, anxious for applause.
But peace! the gentle prologue custom sends, Do justice on him !-As on fools before,
I am convinced of your perfidy, and very sure SCENE I.-A Room in OAKLY's House. Noise thatheard within.
Oak. 'Sdeath and fire ! your passion hurries Mrs Oak. (Within.] Don't tell me I know it you out of your senses Will you hear me? is so—it's monstrous, and I will not bear it.
Mrs Oak. No, you are a base man; and I Oak. (Within.] But, my dear!
will not hear you. Mrs. Oak. Nay, nay, &c. (Squabbling within.
Ouk. Why then, my dear, since you will nei
ther talk reasonably yourself, nor listen to reason Enter Mrs OAKLY, with a Letter, OAKLY fol- from me, I shall take my leave till you are in a lowing:
better humour. So, your servant ! [Going, Mrs Oak. Say what you will, Mr Oakly, you
Mrs Oak. Ay, go, you cruel man!
-Go to shall never persuade me but this is some filthy your mistresses, and leave your poor wife to her intrigue of yours.
miseries. -How unfortunate a woman am I!Oak. I can assure you, my love!
I could die with vexation Mrs Ouk. Your love !-Don't I know your
[Throwing herself into a chair. Tell me, I say, this instant, every circumstance
Oak. There it is–Now dare not I stir a step relating to this letter.
further-If I offer to go, she is in one of her fits Oak. How can I tell you, when you will not so
in an instant-Never sure was woman at once much as let me see it?
of so violent and so delicate a constitution ! What A[rs Oak. Look you, Mr Oakly, this usage is shall I say to sooth her ? Nay, never make thynot to be borne. You take a pleasure in abusing self so uneasy, my dear—Come, come, you know my tenderness and soft disposition.--To be per
I love you. Nay, nay, you shall be convinced. petually running over the whole town, nay, the
Mrs Oak. I know you hate me; and that your whole kingdom too, in pursuit of your amours !
unkindness and barbarity will be the death of me. -Did not I discover that you was great with
(Whining, mademoiselle, my own woman ?-Did not you Oak. Do not vex yourself at this rate-1 love contract a shameful familiarity with Mrs Freeman?
you most passionately—Indeed I do—This must Did not I detect your intrigue with Lady Wcal: be some mistake. thy ?- Was not you,
Mrs Ouk. O, I am an unhappy woman! Oak. Oons ! madam, the Grand Turk himself
(Weeping: has not half so many mistresses-You throw me Oak. Dry up thy tears, my love, and be comout of all patience-Do I know any body but our
forted! You will find that I am not to blame in common friends ?-Am I visited by any body, this matter -- Come, let me see this letter that does not visit you ?-Do I ever go out, un
Nay, you shall not deny me. [Taking the letter, less you go with me?-And am I not as constant
ilrs Ouk. There ! take it, you know the hand, ly by your side, as if I was tied to your apron
I am sure. strings?
Oak. To Charles Oakly, Esq. (Reading: Mrs Oak, Go, go, you are a false man
Hand ! 'Tis a clerk-like hand, indeed! a good Have not I found you out a thousand times? And round text! and was certainly never penned by have not I this moment a letter in my hand, which
a fair lady. convinces me of your baseness ?—Let me know Mrs Ouk. Ay, laugh at me, do ! the whole affair, or I will
Oak. Forgivo me, my love, I did not mean to Oak. Let you know? Let me know what you laugh at the But what says the letter?would have of me-You stop my letter before Reading 1“ Daughter eloped-you must be privy it comes to my hands, and then expect that i toit-scandalous--dishonourable-satisfaction should know the contents of it.
revenge”-um, um, um -“ injured father. Mrs Oak, Heaven be praised I stopt it !-I
HIỆNRY RỤssET.” suspected some of these doings for some time past Airs Ouk. (Rising.) Well, sir-you see I havo -But the letter informs me who she is, and I'll detected you
-Tell me this instant where she be revenged on her sufficiently. Oh, you base is concealed. man, you !
Ouk. So-S0----0 -This hurts me-I'm Oak, I beg, my dear, that you would moderate shock’d
[To himself. your fadssion !-Shew me the letter, and I'll con Mrs Oak. What are you confounded with your vince you of my innocence.
guilt? Have I caught you at last ? Mrs Ouk. Innocence !- Abominable !-Inno Oak. O that wicked Charles ! to decny a young sence !-But am not to be made such a fool- lady from her parents in the country ! Ta pro
fligacy of the young fellows of this age is abomi Oak. To a profligate mind, perhaps, these things nable.
(To himself. may appear agreeable in the beginning ; but don't Mrs Oak. (Half aside and musing.) Charles ! - you tremble at the consequences ? Let me see !-Charles !-No! Impossible. This Chur. I see, sir, that you are displeased with is all a trick.
me, but I am quite at a loss to guess at the ocOak. He has certainly ruined this poor lady. casion.
[To himself. Oak. Tell me, sir !- where is Miss Harriot Mrs Oak. Art! art ! all art! There's a sud-Russet den turn now! You have ready wit for an in Char. Miss Harriot Russet !-Sir—Explain. trigue, I find.
Oak. Have not you decoyed her from her fae. Oak. Such an abandoned action! I wish I had ther? never had the care of him.
[To himself Char. I!-Decoyed her-Decoyed my HarMIrs Cuk. Miyhty fine, Mr Oakly! Go on, sir, riot!- I would sooner die than do her the least go on! I see what you mean. Your assurance injury.- What can this mean? provokes me beyond your very falsehood itself. Maj. I believe the young dog has been at her, So you imagine, sir, that this affected concern, after all. this flimsy pretence about Charles, is to bring Oak. I was in hopes, Charles, you had better you off. Matchless confidence! But I am armed principles. But there's a letter just come from against every thing--I am prepared for all your her fatherdark schemes: I am aware of all your low stra Char. A letter !-- What letter? Dear sir, give tagems.
it me. Some intelligence of my Harriot, major Oak. See there now! Was ever any thing so The letter, sir, the letter this moment, for Hea. provoking? To persevere in your ridiculous ven's sake! For Heaven's sake, my dear, don't distract me. Oak. If this warmth, Charles, tends to prove When you see my mind thus agitated and un your innocenceeasy, that a young fellow, whom his dying father, Char. Dear sir, excuse me
-I'll prove any my own brother, committed to my care, should thing-Let me bnt see this letter, and I'!!be guilty of such enormous wickedness; I say, Oak. Let you see it?- I could hardly get a when you are witness of my distress on this oc- sight of it myself. Mrs Oakly has it. casion, how can you be weak enough and cruel Char. Has she got it ? Major, I'll be with you enough to
(Erit hastily. Mrs Oak. Prodigiously well, sir! You do it Maj. Hey-day! The devil's in the boy! What very well. Nay, keep it up, carry it on, there's a fiery set of people! By my troth, I think the nothing like going through with it. O you art- whole family is made of nothing but combustibles. ful creature! But, sir, I am not to be so easily Oak. I like this emotion. It looks well. It satisfied. I do not believe a syllable of all this may serve too to convince my wife of the foly Give me the letter—[Snatching the letter.]—You of her suspicions. Would to Heaven I could quiet shail sorely repent this vile business, for I am re them for ever! solved that I will know the bottom of it. (Eril. Maj. Why, pray now, my dear naughty bro.
Ouk. This is beyond all patience. Provoking ther, what heinous offence have you committed woman! Her absurd suspicions interpret every this morning ? What new cause of suspicion? thing the wrong way. She delights to make me You have been asking one of the maids to mend wretched, because she sees I am attached to her, your rifle, I suppose, or have been hanging your and converts my tenderness and affection into head out of window, when a pretty young wothe instruments of my own torture. But this un- ma
man has past by, or gracious boy! In how many troubles will he in Ouk. How can you trifle with my distresses, volve his own and his lady's family-I never ima- major? Did not I tell you it was about a letter? gined that he was ot such abandoned principles. Muj. A letter !-bum-A suspicious circunO, here he comes !
stance, to be sure! What, and the seal a true
lover's knot now, hey! or an heart transfixt with Enter Mujor OAKLY and CHARLES.
darts; or possibly the wax bore the industrious Char. Good-morrow, sir !
impression of a thimble; or perhaps the folds Maj. Good-morrow, brother, good-morrow! - were lovingly connected by a wafer pricked with What! you have been at the old work, I find. a pin, and the direction written in a vile scrawl, I heard you—ding! dong! i'faith! - She has rung and not a word spelt as it should be; ha, ha, a noble peal in your ears. But how now? Why ha! You seen more ruffled than usual.
letter, you find, was for Charles, not for ineOuk. I am, indecd, brother ! Thanks to that this outrageous jealousy is the devil. young gentleman there. Have a care, Charles ! Maj. Mere matrimonial blessings and domesyou may be called to a severe account for this. tic comfort, brother ! jealousy is a certain siça The honour of a family, sir, is no such light mat- of love. ter.
Oak. Love! it is this very love that hath made Chur. Sir!
us both so miserable. Her love for me has corr Maj. Hey-day! What, has a curtain lecture fined me to my house, like a state prisoner, withproduced a lecture of morality? What is all this? out the liberty of seeing my friends, or the use
suretiyle en hau ere markable i hrow power on the long ha bak. Pooh! brother-Whatever it was the
of pen, ink, and paper; while my love for her has that upon you, which she finds does most execumade such a fool of me, that Í have never had tion. But you must be proof against every thing. the spirit to contradict her.
If she's furious, set passion against passion; if Maj. Ay, ay, there you've hit it; Mrs Oakly you find her at her tricks, play off art against art, would make an excellent wife, if you did but know and foil her at her own weapons. That's your how to manage her.
Oak. You are a rare fellow, indeed, to talk of Ouk. Why, what would you have me do? managing a wife-A debauched bachelor-a rat Maj. Do as you please, for one month, whetle-brained, rioting fellow-who have picked up ther she likes it or not; and, I'll answer for it, your common-place notions of women in bagnios, she will consent you shall do as you please all taverns, and the camp; whose most refined com- her life after. merce with the sex has been in order to delude Oak. This is fine talking. You do not consicountry girls at your quarters, or to besiege the der the difficulty thatvirtue of abigails, milliners, or mantua-makers' Maj. You must overcome all difficulties. As. *prentices.
sert your right boldly, man! give your own orMaj. So much the better !—so much the bet- ders to servants, and see they observe them ; read ter! women are all alike in the main, brother, your own letters, and never let her have a sight high or low, married or single, quality or no qua- of them; make your own appointments, and nelity. I have found them so, from a duchess down ver be persuaded to break them; see what comto a milk-maid.
pany you like; go out when you please; return Oak. Your savage notions are ridiculous. What when you please, and don't suffer yourself to be do you know of a husband's feelings ?-You, who called to account where you have been. In short, comprise all your qualities in your honour, as you do but shew yourself a man of spirit, leave off call it !-Dead to all sentiments of delicacy, and whining about love and tenderness, and nonsense, incapable of any but the grossest attachments to and the business is done, brother! women. This is your boasted refinement, your Oak. I believe you are in the right, major ! I thorough knowledge of the world! While with see you're in the right. I'll do it, I'll certainly regard to women, one poor train of thinking, one do it. But then it hurts me to the soul, to think narrow set of ideas, like the uniform of the regi- what uneasiness I shall give her. The first openment, serves the whole corps.
ing of my design will throw her into fits, and the Maj. l'ery fine, brother !—there's common pursuit of it perhaps may be fatal. place for you with a vengeance. Henceforth, Maj. Fits ! ha, ha, ha!-Fits !—I'll engage to expect no quarter from me. I tell you again and cure her of her fits. Nobody understands hysteagain, I know the sex better than you do. They rical cases better than I do: besides, my sister's all love to give themselves airs, and to have symptoms are not very dangerous. Did you ever power : every woman is a tyrant at the bottom. hear of her falling into a fit when you was not But they could never make a fool of me.-No, by !-Was she ever found in convulsions in her no! no woman should ever domineer over me, closet ? —No, no, these fits, the more care you let her be mistress or wife.
take of them, the more you will increase the disOak. Single men can be no judges in these temper: let them alone, and they will wear themcases. They must happen in all families. But selves out, I warrant you. when things are driven to extremities--to see a Ouk. True-very true-you're certainly in the woman in uneasiness—a woman one loves too~ right-I'll follow your advice. Where do you one's wife-who can withstand it? You neither dine to-day? I'll order the coach, and go with speak nor think like a man that has loved, and you. been married, major !
Maj. O brave ! keep up this spirit, and you're Maj. I wish I could hear a married man speak made for ever. my language I'm a bachelor, it's true; but I Oak. You shall scc now, major! Who's there? am no bad judge of your case for all that. I know yours and Mrs Oakly's disposition to a hair. She
Enter Servant. is all impetuosity and fire-A very magazine of Order the coach directly. I shall dine out to-day. touchwood and gunpowder. You are hot enough Serv. The coach, sir !Now, sir ? too upon occasion, but then it's over in an in Oak. Ay, now, imigediately. stant. In comes love and conjugal affection, as Serv. Now, sir?-the-the-coach! Sir !--you call it ;-that is, mere folly and weakness, that is—my mistressand you draw off your forces, just when you should Oak. Sirrah! do as you're bid. Bid them puc pursue the attack, and follow your advantage. to this instant. Have at her with spirit, and the day's your own, Sero. Ye
Oak. Well, where shall we dine ? Oak. I tell you, brother, you mistake the mat Maj. At the St Alban's, or where you will. ter. Sulkiness, fits, tears !—These, and such as This is excellent, if you do but hold it. these, are the things which make a feeling man Oak. I will have my own way, I am deterini. uneasy. Her passion and violence have not half ned. such an effect on ine.
Maj. That's right. Maj. Why, then, you may be sure, she'll play Oak. I am steel.
Oak. Ay, ay
Maj. Extravagancies with a witness ! Ah, you Onk, Adamant.
silly young dog, you would ruin yourself with her Maj. Bravissimo!
father, in spite of all I could do. There you sat, Oak. Just what you'd have me.
as drunk as a lord, telling the old gentleman the Maj. Why that's well said. But will you do it? whole affair, and swearing you would drive Sir Oak. I will,
Harry Beagle out of the country, though I kept Maj. You won't,
winking and nodding, pulling you by the sleeve, Oak. I will. I'll be a fool to her no longer. and kicking your shins under the table, in hopes But hark ye, major! my hat and sword lie in my of stopping you, but all to no purpose. study. I'll go and stcal them out, while she is Char. What distress may she be in at this inbusy talking with Charles.
stant ! Alone and defenceless !--Where? where Maj. Steal them ! for shame! Pr’ythee take can she be? them boldly, call for them, make them bring them Maj. What relations or friends has she in to you here, and go out with spirit, in the face of town? your whole family.
Char. Relations ! let me see:-Faith! I have Oak. No, no-you are wrong-let her ráve it.- If she is in town, ten to one but she is at after I am gone, and when I return, you know, her aunt's, Lady Freelove's. I'll go thither inI shall exert myself with more propriety, after mediately. this open affront to her authority.
Maj. Lady Freelove's! Hold, hold, Charles ! Maj. Well, take your own way.
do you know her ladyship? let me manage it, let me ma Char. Not much; but I'll break through all
(Exit. forms to get my Harriot. Maj. Manage it! ay, to be sure, you're a rare Maj. I do know her ladyship. manager! It is dangerous, they say, to meddle Char. Well, and what do you know of her? between man and wife. I am no great favourite Maj. O nothing! Her ladyship is a woman of Mrs Oakly's already; and in a week's time of the world, that's all-she'll introduce Harexpect to have the door shut in my teeth.
riot to the best company. Enter CHARLES.
Char. What do you mean?
Maj. Yes, yes, I would trust a wife, or a daughHow now, Charles, what news?
ter, or a mistress with Lady Freelove, to be sure ! Char. Kuin'd and undone! she's gone, uncle! -I'll tell you what, Charles ! you're a good boy, my Harriot's lost for ever.
but you don't know the world. Women are firMuj. Gone off with a man? -I thought so: ty times oftener ruined by their acquaintance they are all alike.
with cach other, than by their attachment to men. Char. O no! Fled to avoid that hateful match One thorough-paced ladly will train up a thousand with Sir Harry Beagle.
novices. That Lady Freelove is an arrantMaj. Faith, a girl of spirit !-Joy ! Charles, By the bye, did not she, last summer, make for. I give you joy; she is your own, my boy!-A mal proposals to Harriot's father from Lord fool and a great estate! devilish strong tempta- Trinket? tions !
Char. Yes! but they were received with the Char. A wretch! I was sure she would never utmost contempt. The old gentleman, it seems, think of him.
hates a lord, and he told her so in plain terms. Muj. No! to be sure ! commend me to your Maj. Such an aversion to the nobility may not modesty! - Refuse five thousand a year, and a run in the blood. The girl, I warrant you, has baronet, for pretty Mr Charles Oakly! It is true, no objection. However, if she's there, watch indeed, that the looby has not a single idea in her narrowly, Charles ! Lady Freelove is as mishis head besides a hound, a hunter, a five-barred chievous as a monkey, and as canning too. gate, and a horse-race; but then he's rich, and Have a care of her. I say, have a care of her. that will qualify his absurdities. Money is a Char. If she's there, i'll have her out of the wonderful improver of the understanding.- house within this half honr, or set fire to it. But whence coines all this intelligence ?
Maj. Nay, now you're too violent.----Stay a Char. In an angry letter from her father. moment, and we'll consider what's best to be How miserable I am! If I had not offended my done. Harriot, much offended her by that foolish riot and drinking at your house in the country, she
Re-cnter OAKLY. would certainly, at such a time, have taken re Oak. Come, is the coach ready? Let us be fuge in my arms.
gone. Does Charles go with us? Maj. À very agreeable refuge for a young Char. I go with you -What can I do? I lady to be sure, and extremely decent!
am so vext and distracted, and so many thoughts Char. I am all uneasiness. Did not she tell | crowd in upon me, I don't know which way to me, that she trembled at the thoughts of having turn myself. trusted ber affections with a man of such a wild Mrs Oak. (Within.] The coach !-dines out! disposition? What a heap of extravagancies was —where is your master? I guilty of!
Oak. Zounds! brother, here she is!