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Brom. That confounded Madame La Trappe !-- Why didn't you bribe her to hold her tongue ! She has been here, and blabbed the whole affair.
Simp. And who the devil is Madame La Trappe?
Simp. Curse me if I know any smuggler-French or English. Is every body out of his senses to-day ?
Brom. No, sir, no, we are all in our senses. But Madame La Trappe, whom you affect not to know, yet who knows you perfectly well, has exposed all your peccadilloes : In short, she has divulged to your wife, that in a certain sly corner-you understand
Simp. No, I don't ; what do you mean by a sly corner? Brom. Why, not to mince the matter, you keep a girl.
Simp. I keep a girl !-Let me tell you, Mr. Bromley, this is a bad joke-a damned bad joke-and I don't allow of jesting on such a subject.
Brom. Oh! no, to be sure; it was but this morning you said to me, with that puritanical face of yours—“My marriage promise is as sacred as my acceptance."
Simp. So it is, sir.
Brom. Egad, then, if this be your way of honouring your conjugal acceptances, you'll soon lose your credit in the bank of Hymen.
Simp. Plague upon you, and Hymen, and Madame La Trappe, and the whole firm of you.
Brom. Nay, if you are angry, I have no more to say, But now, coolly : the best of us may go astray, and if you can't help being such a terrible Turk after the wo
Simp. A Turk! I, a Turk!
Brom. Aye-it's constitutional with you, I suppose.-Why, then, face it out to your wife, and swear you're innocent; but denying the fact to me-man to man-poh ! it's ridiculous.
Simp. Mr. Bromley, for the last time I beg you'll drop the subject; I am not to be made a butt for your ribaldry.
Brom. I have done ; “I have acquitted myself of a “ task of friendship, and have but one word to add-you
are watched dogged, and surrounded with spies; but “since you won't let me help you out of the scrape”- go -I abandon you to your unhappy fate.
Enter FOSTER, R. Fos. A letter, sir ; the bearer
it is o the greatest importance.
Simp. (Opening it.] Ha! from our bankers. (Reads.] * Private. We have strong reason to believe that the house of Snakely and Co., which is indebted to yours upwards of eight thousand pounds, is on the point of stopping payment”-So, here's wherewithal to put an end to your jesting.
Brom. Unlooked for disaster! What's to be done Three thousand, money lent.
Simp. We wanted but this to complete the pleasure of the morning.
Brom. [In the greatest agitation.] Go to them, Simpson--no-I'll go myself-Foster, send for a coach-or, stop, it is but a step, I shall go faster a-foot. Be calm, my dear fellow, be calm-Foster, make out a statement of this-10, rather—[ Taking Simpson's hand,] leave it to me, I'll talk to them-l'll see what's to be done with them-I'll return instantly.
(Going Simp. (Calling after him.] Hold! hold! the securities I gave you, and which Mr. Tradely is to call for.
Brom. Aye, true, the securities-at such a moment as this, I hardly-What the devil have I done with them?
Simp. You put them into your pocket-book !
Brom. Did I ? I-I'm so flustered—[Feeling in his pockets.] Oh! here they are; you'll find them in this, and
Gives Simpson the pocket-book.] This is a dreadful blow, but I'll see what can be done. Come with me, Foster, come. (Exit Bromley in the greatest agitation, followed by Foster.
Simp. A charming morning, indeed! a quarrel with my wife about nothing, and a failure in business to the amount of eight thousand pounds. Oh! I begin to perceive that in matrimonial, as well as in mercantile specie lations, when one comes to make vut the account of
pro fit, a plaguy deal must be set down
per contra creditor
END OF ACT 1.
Enter SIMPSON, L. Simp. Thanks to the intercession (of Mrs. Bromley, 1 am friends with my wife ; she has pardoned me, as she is pleased to express it, though I'm as innocent as a newborn babe. This was our first quarrel, and pray heaven it may
be the last; for, from this little specimen, I am certain that when a man's better half is discontented, t'other half has a damnable time of it.
Enter Mrs. BROMLEY, L. My dear Mrs. Bromley, how much am I obliged to you; but for
I had been a lost man. Mrs. B. Mr. Simpson, I am glad I find you alone; I desire a little private conversation with you.
Simp. With me?
Mrs. B. Pray, look whether any one is within hearing, close the door, and hand me a chair.
Simp. [Placing the chairs.—Aside.] What is all this to lead to ?
Mrs. B. (After a short pause, and very seriously.) Mr. Simpson-you know my regard for your wife ; you know I consider Susan and you as our best friends; and it is natural I should take a deep interest in all that concerns you.
Simp. You're a kind soul; if it hadn't been for your interference just now
Mrs. B. Well, well, it has had its effect; I am persuaded, therefore, you will not take amiss my speaking to you upon this very delicate subject.
Simp. No, ma'am-no-no.--[Aside.) Something new, I suppose.
Mrs. B. Then, sir, if you are not too far gone, (Simpson starts,] I would prevent the recurrence of the unhappy disagreement your misconduct has occasioned
Simp. My misconduct ! it is an invention, a libel, a calumny, and I never in
Mrs. B. I had prepared myself for all viu would say, Mr. Simpson; but listen to me as your friend; the past will be forgotten, but for the future-pray, pray, Mr. Simpson, let the scenes of this day serve you as a warming; and do not you, either by bad counsel, or pernicious example, corrupt my poor Charles.
Simp. I corrupt him! I!—don't drive me stark staring mad.
Enter Mrs. Simpson, L. Mrs. S. (Endeavouring to suppress her passion.] Very pretty-sweetly pretty, indeed-I congratulate you-1I admire your taste, Mr. Simpson.
Simp. My taste! in what?
Mrs. S. She is very handsome, I must allow_it would be difficult to make a better choice.
Simp. Again !—the same eternal, infernal subject ! [Aside, and as if startled by a sudden thought.] Lord help me! Is it possible I could have gone astray without knowing it?
Mrs. S. Twenty, or two-and-twenty at the utmost; blue eyes, ruby lips, complexion like a rose
Simp. (Unable any longer to suppress his anger.] Madam, what is your reason for all this? am I to be made the laughing-stock of the whole house? During this entire day, have I been worried by one or the other. Can there be any thing like appearances against me? Let me see: on Tuesday I supped with my old aunt; Wednesday,
Mrs. S. Don't be at the trouble of inventing excuses.
Simp. Not I, madam; I shan't condescend to justify myself. Flesh and blood can bear this no longer! Do what you please, say what you please, call me what you will; and since you are determined to be jealous, hang me if I haven't a great mind to take the trouble of giving you cause– Mrs. Simpson !
[Erit, L. Mrs. B. [Aside.] His manner convicts him.
Mrs. S. It's the way with them all; when they have nothing to say in their defence, they assume the airs of the injured party.
Mrs. B. But, my dear, what's the meaning of this altercation ?
Mrs. S. The profligate little imagines that just now I
saw his red morocco pocket-book lying on his writing, table. I know not what impulse prompted me to open it, but finding nothing in it except papers of business--securities, I believe-I was going to replace it, when I per. ceived a spring in the corner; I pressed upon it, removed a secret slide, and there, to my horror, discovered
Mrs. B. Letters ?
Mrs. B. Abominable !--[Aside.] Charles shall positively dissolve partnership. Mrs. S. She is handsome enough, but so much the
And he !-to hear him one would think his whole sou) is wrapt up in me; but I know him now; I have found him out at last, the perfidious monster!
Mrs. B. You have done well to conceal from him your discovery.
Mrs. Š. Oh, my dear, had I mentioned it to him, he would have sworn it was the portrait of some sixteenth cousin in Yorkshire, or a lady to whom he paid his addresses in his youth.
Mrs. B. No doubt of it.
Mrs. S. But I'll confound him yet. I replaced the book just where he left it—but their letters—their letters ! No doubt, the dear souls occasionally write to each other -I'll contrive to obtain possession of some of their tender epistles, and we shall then hear what the wretch will have to say for himself.
Mrs. B. Susan, my love, instead of anger and reproaches, the common error of offended wives, endeavour to reform him by kind and gentle remunstrances. Except in hearts utterly depraved, these wild attachments are seldom of long duration, when opposed by the disinterested affection of a wife.
Mrs. S. True, true, I'll—I know not what I'll do. But here comes Mr. Bromley. Ah! Anna, you are a happy woman! Let me quit you, my love, for the very sight of a faithful husband renders my monster more odious to
[Exit, L. Mrs. B. Poor thing! my heart bleeds for her.
Enter BROMLEY, gaily, r. Brom. [Speaking as he enters.1 Where is my partner? I