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THE

WAY OF THE WORLD.

BY

CONGREVE.

PROLOGUE.

Of those few fools who with ill stars are curst, Heowns with toil he wrote the following scenes;
Sure scribbling fools, call’d poets, fare the worst : But, if they're naught, ne'er spare him for his
For they're a set of fools which Fortune makes, pains.
And, after she has made 'em fools, forsakes. Damn him the more; have no commiseration
With Nature's oafs 'tis quite a different case, For dulness on mature deliberation.
For Fortune favours all her idiot-race:

He swears he'll not resent one hiss'd-off scene, In her own nest the cuckoo-eggs we find, Nor, like those peevish wits, his play maintain, O'er which she broods to hatch the changeling. Who, to assert their sense, your taste arraign. kind.

Some plot we think he has, and some new thought: No portion for her own she has to spare, Some humour too, no farce; but that's a fault. So much she dotes on her adopted care.

Satire, he thinks, you ought not to expect; Poets are bubbles, by the town drawn in, For so reform’d a town, who dares correct? Suffer'd at first some trifling stakes to win: To please, this time, has been his sole pretence, But what unequal hazards do they run ! He'll not instruct, lest it should give offence. Each time they write, they venture all they've won: Should he by chance a knave or fool expose, The squire that's butter'd still, is sure to be undone. That hurts none here, sure here are none of those. This author, heretofore, has found your favour; In short, our play shall (with your leave to shew But pleads no merit from his past behaviour.

it) To build on that might prove a vain presumption, Give you one instance of a passive poet, Should grants, to poets made, admit resumption: Who to your judgments yields all resignation, And in Parnassus he must lose his seat,

To save, or damn, after your own discretion. If that be found a forfeited estate.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

Mrs MILLAMANT, a fine Lady, Niece to Lady MEN.

Wishfort, and loves Mirabell. FAINALL, in love with Mrs Marwood.

Mrs MARWOOD, Friend to Mr Fainall, and likes

Mirabell. MIRABELL, in love with Mrs Millamant.

Mrs FAINALL, Daughter to Lady Wishfort. WATWOULD;} Followers of Mrs Millamant, FOIBLE, Woman to Lady Wishfort. Sir WiLFUL WITWOULD, Half-brother to Wit- MINCING, Woman to Nirs Millamant. would.

Footmen and Attendants. WAITWELL, Seroant to Mirabell.

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WOMEN
Lady WISHFORT, Enemy to Mirabell.

SCENE,-London--The Time equal to that of the Representation.

ACT I.

tertain you,

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nature.

weary of you ; last night was one of their cabal SCENE I.- A Chocolate-House. MirabelL and nights : they have 'em three times a-week, and FAINALL rising from Cards. BETTY waiting.

meet by turns at one another's apartments, where

they come together, like the coroner's inquest, to Mira. You are a fortunate man, Mr Fainall. sit upon the murder'd reputations of the week. Fain. Have we done?

You and I are excluded, and it was once proMira. What you please. I'll play on to en posed that all the male sex should be excepted;

but somebody moved, that, to avoid scandal, there Fain. No; I'll give you your revenge another might be one man of the community; upon which time, when you are not so indifferent ; you are motion Witwould and Petulant were enrolld thinking of something else now, and play too ne members. gligently : the coldness of a losing gamester les Mira. And who may have been the foundress sens the pleasure of the winner. I'd no more of this sect? My Lady Wishfort, I warrant, who play with a man that slighted his ill-fortune, than publishes her detestation of mankind; and, full I'd make love to a woman who undervalued the of the vigour of fifty-five, declares for a friend loss of her reputation.

and ratafia ; and let posterity shift for itself, she'll Mira. You have a taste extremely delicate, breed no more. and are for refining on your pleasures.

Fain. The discovery of your shann addresses to Fain. Pr’ythee, why so reserved ? Something her, to conceal your love to her niece, has prohas put you out of humour.

voked this separation : had you dissembled betMira. Not at all; I happen to be grave to-day, ter, things might have continued in the state of and you are gay, that's all.

Fain. Confess, Millamant and you quarrellid Mira. I did as much as man could, with any last night, after I left you: my fair cousin has reasonable conscience; I proceeded to the very some humours that would tempt the patience of last act of flattery with her, and was guilty of a a stoic.—What, some coxcomb came in, and was song in her commendation. Nay, I got a friend well received by her, while you were by? to put her into a lampoon, and compliment her

Mira, Witwould and Petulant; and, what was with the addresses of an affair with a young felworse, her aunt, your wife's mother, my evil ge- low, which I carried so far, that I told her the nius; or, to sum up all in her own name, my old malicious town took notice that she was grown Lady Wishfort came in.

fat of a sudden; and when she lay in of a dropsy, Fain. O, there it is then -She has a lasting persuaded her she was reported to be in labour. passion for you, and with reason.-—-What, then – The devil's in't if an old woman is to be fatmy wife was there?

ter'd farther, unless a man should endeavour Mira. Yes ; and Mrs Marwood, and three or downright personally to debauch her; and that four more whom I never saw before : seeing me, my virtue forbade me. But for the discovery of they all put on their grave faces, whisper'd one this amour, I am indebted to your friend, or your to another; then complain'd aloud of the va wife's friend, Mrs Marwood. pours, and after fell into a profound silence. Fuin. What should provoke her to be your

Fain. They had a mind to be rid of you. enemy, unless she has made you advances which

Mira. For which reason I resolved not to stir. you have slighted? Women do not easily forgive At last the good old lady broke through her pain. omissions of that nature. ful taciturnity, with an invective against long vi Mira. She was always civil to me till of late : sits. I would not have understood her; but Mil I confess I am not one of those coscombs who lamant joining in the argument, I rose, and, with are apt to interpret a woman's good manners to a constrain’d smile, told her, I thought nothing her prejudice, and think that she who does not was so easy as to know when a visit began to be refuse 'em every thing can refuse 'em nothing. troublesome: she redden'd, and I withdrew, with Fain. You are a gallant man, Mirabell; and out expecting her reply.

though you may have cruelty enough not to anFain. You were to blame, to resent what she swer a lady's advances, you have too much gespoke only in compliance with her aunt. nerosity not to be tender of her honour. Yet you

Mira. She is more mistress of herself than to speak with an indifference which seems to be afbe under the necessity of such resignation. fected, and confesses you are conscious of a ne

Fain. What, though half her fortune depends gligence. upon her marrying with my lady's approbation? Alira. You pursue the argument with a dis

Mira. I was then in such a humour, that I trust that seems to be unaffected, and confesses should have been better pleased if she had been you are conscious of a concern for which the laless discreet.

dy is more indebted to you than is your wife. Pain. Now I remember, I wonder not they were Fain. Fie, fie, friend! if you grow censorious,

I must leave you, I'll look upon the gamester3 a man somewhat too discerning in the failings of in the next room.

your mistress. Mira. Who are they?

Miru. And for a discerning man, somewhat Fain. Petulant and Witwould.—Bring me some too passionate a lover; for I like her with all her chocolate.

(Exit. faults ; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies Mira. Betty, what says your clock ?

are so natural, or so artful, that they become her ; Betty. Turn’d of the last canonical hour, sir. and those affectations, which in another woman

Mira. How pertinently the jade answers me! would be odious, serve but to make her more Ha! almost one o'clock! (Looking at his watch.] | agreeable.--I'll tell thee, Fainall, she once used -0, ye're come

me with that insolence, that, in revenge, I took A Footman enters.

her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her fail

ings; I studied 'em, and got 'em by rote, The Well, is the grand affair over? You have been catalogue was so large, that I was not without something tedious.

hopes, one day or other, to hate her heartily: to Foot, Sir, there's such coupling at Pancras, that which end I so used myself to think of 'em, that they stand behind one another, as'twere in a coun at length, contrary to my design and expectation, try dance. Ours was the last couple to lead up; they gave me every hour less disturbance; till in and no hopes appearing of dispatch, besides the a few days it became habitual to me to rememparson Towing hoarse, we were afraid his lungs ber 'em without being displeased. They are now would have fail'd before it came to our turn ; so grown as familiar to me as my own frailties; and, we drove round to Duke's-Place, and there they in all probability, in a little time longer I shall were rivetted in a trice.

like 'em as well. Miru. So, so; you are sure they are 'married ? Fain. Marry her, marry her; be half as well Foot. Incontestibly, sir ; I am witness. acquainted with her charms as you are with her Mira. Have you the certificate?

defects, and my life on't you are your own man Fool. Here it is, sir.

again. Mira. Has the tailor brought Waitwell's Mira. Say you so ? clothes home, and the new liveries?

Fain. Ay, ay, I have experience; I have a Foot. Yes, sir.

wife, and so forth. Mira. That's well.-Do you go home again, d'ye hear, and adjourn the consummation till

A Messenger enters. farther order : bid Waitwell shake his cars, and Mess. Is one 'Squire Witwould here? dame Partlet rustle up her feathers, and meet me Betty. Yes; what's your business? at one o'clock by Rosamond's pond, that I may Mess. I have a letter for him, from his brosee her before she returns to her lady; and as you ther, Sir Wilful, which I am charged to deliver tender your ears be secret. [Exit Footmun. | into his own hands.

Betty. He's in the next room, friend.—That FAINALL enters.

way.

[Erit Messenger. Fain. Joy of your success, Mirabell ! You look Nlira. What, is the chief of that noble family pleased.

in town, Sir Wilful Witwould ? Mira. Ay; I have been engaged in a matter Fain. He is expected to-day.-Do you know of some sort of mirth, which is not yet ripe for him? discovery. I am glad this is not a cabal-night. Mira. I have seen him; he promises to be an I wonder, Fainall, that you who are married, and extraordinary person. I think you have the hoof consequence should be discreet, will suffer your nous to be related to him. wife to be of such a party.

Fain. Yes; he is half-brother to this Witwould, Fuin. Faith, I am not jealous. Besides, most by a former wife, who was sister to my Lady Wishwho are engaged are women and relations; and fort, my wife's mother. If you marry Millamant, for the men, they are of a kind too contemptible you must call cousins too. to give scandal.

Mira, I would rather be his relation than his Miru. I am of another opinion. The greater acquaintance, the coxcomb, always the more the scandal ; for Fain. He comes to town in order to equip !ima woman who is not a fool can have but one rea self for travel. son for associating with a man who is one.

Mira. For travel ! Why, the man that I mean Fain. Are you jealous as often as you see Wit is above forty. would entertain'd by Millamant ?

Fain. No matter for that ; 'tis for the honour Mira. Of her understanding I am, if not of her of England, that all Europe should know we have personi.

blockheads of all ages. Fuin. You do her wrong; for, to give her her Mira. I wonder there is not an act of parliadue, she has wit.

ment to save the credit of the nation, and prohiMira. She has beauty enough to make any man bit the exportation of fools. think so; and complaisance enough not to con Fain. By no means ; 'tis better as 'tis : 'tis bettradict him who shall tell her so.

ter to trade with little loss, than to be quite eaten Fain. For a passionate lover, methinks, you are up with being overstock’d. VOL. III.

2 C

Mira. Pray, are the follies of this knight-er. Irit. No man in town lives well with a wife rant and those of the 'squire his brother any thing but Fainall. Your judgment, Mirabell. related ?

Iliru. You bad better step and ask his wife, Fain. Not at all; Witwould grows by the knight, if you would be credibly informed. like a medlar grafted on a crab : one will melt in Il'it. Mirabell. your mouth, and t'other set your teeth on edge; Mira. Ay. one is all pulp, and the other all core.

Wit. My dear, I ask ten thousand pardons : Mira. So one will be rotten before he be ripe; gad, I have forgot what I was going to say and the other will be rotten without ever being to you. ripe at all.

Mira. I thank you heartily, heartily. Fain. Sir Wilful is an odd mixture of bashful I'it. No, but pr’ythee excuse me-my memo. ness and obstinacy. But when he's drunk, he's | ry is such a memory: as loving as the monster in the Tempest, and Mira. Have a care of such apologies, Witmuch after the same manner. To give t’other would:—for I never knew a fool but he affected his due, he has something of good-nature, and to complain either of the spleen, or his memory. does not always want wit.

Fain. What have you done with Petulant? Miru. Not always; but as often as his memory Wit. He's reckoning his money, my money fails him, and his common place of comparisons. it was—I have had no luck to-day. He is a fool with a good memory, and some few Fain. You may allow him to win of you at scraps of other folks' wit. He is one whose con- play; for you are sure to be too hard for him at versation can never be approved; yet it is now repartee :-Since you monopolize the wit that is and then to be endured. He has indeed one good between you, the fortune must be his of course. quality he is not exceptious; for he so passion. dira. I don't find that Petulant confesses the ately affects the reputation of understanding rail supcriority of wit to be your talent, Witwould. lery, that he will construe an affront into a jest, Wit. Come, come, you are malicious now, and and call downright rudeness and iil language sa would breed debates -Petulant's my friend, tire and fire.

and a very pretty fellow, and a very honest fellow, Fain. If you have a mind to finish his picture, and has a smattering—faith and troth a pretty you have an opportunity to do it in full length. deal of an odd sort of a small wit; nay, I do bim -Behold the original !

justice, I'm his friend, I won't wrong him; and

if he had any judgment in the world, he would WITWOULD enters.

not be altogether contemptible. Come, come, Wit. Afford me your compassion, my dears : don't detract from the merits of my friend. pity me, Fainall; Mirabell, pity me.

Fuin. You don't take your friend to be over Alira. I do from my soul.

nicely bred. Fuin. Why, what's the matter?

Wit. No, no, hang bim, the rogue has no manWit. No letters for me, Betty?

ners at all, that I must own-No more brecding Betty. Did not a niessenger bring you one but than a bum-bailiff

, that I grant you—'Tis a pity;

the fellow has fire and life. Wit. Ay; but no other?

Alira. What, courage ? Betty. No, sir.

Wit. Hum, faith I don't know as to that, I Wil. That's hard, that's very hard-A mes cann't say as to that. Yes, faith, in controversenger! A mule, a heast of burden!—He has sy, he'll contradict any body. brought nie a letter from the fool iny brother, as Mira. Though 'twere a man whom he seared, heavy as a panegyric in a funeral sermon, or a or a woman whom he loved. copy of con mendatory verses from one poet to Wil. Well, well, he does not always think beanother. And what's worse, 'tis as sure a fore-fore he speaks; we have all our failings :-you runner of the author, as an cpistle dedicatory! are too hard upon him, you are, faith. Let me

Mira. A fool, and your brother, Witwould ? excuse him.- 1 can defend most of his faults, ex

Wit. Ay, ay, my balf-brother. My half-bro- cept one or two ;-one he has, that's the truth ther, he is no nearer, upon honour.

on't; if he were my brother I could not acquit Alira. Then 'tis possible he may be but half a him—that, indeed, I could wish were otherwise. fool.

Mira. Ay, marry, what's that, Witwould? Wit. Good, good, Mirabell, le Drole ! Good, Wit. O pardon me-expose the infirmities of good; hang him, don't let's talk of him :--Fain- my friend ! -No, my dear, excuse me there. all, how does your lady? Gad, I say any thing in Fuin. What, I warrant he's insincere, or 'tis the world to get this fellow out of my head. I some such trifle. beg pardon that I should ask a man of pleasure, Wit. No, no ; what if he be ? 'tis no matter and the town, a question at once so foreign and for that, his wit will excuse that: a wit should domestic. But I talk like an old maid at a mar no more be sincere, than a woman constant; one riage; I don't know what I say :--but she's the argues a decay of parts, as t'other of beauty. best woman in the world.

Mira. May be you think him too positive? Fuin. 'Tis well you don't know what you say, Wit. No, no; his being positive is an incenor else your commendation would go near to tive to argument, and keeps up conversation. make me either vain op jealous.

Fuin. Too illiterate.

now, sir?

Wit. That! that's his happiness; his want of as good be a professed midwife, as a professed learning gives him the more opportunity to shew gallant, at this rate ; to be knocked up, and raised his natural parts.

at all hours, and in all places. Deuce on 'em, I Mira. He wants words.

won't come-D’ye hear, tell 'em I won't come Wit. Ay; but I like him for that now; for his -Let 'em snivel and cry their hearts out. want of words gives me the pleasure very often

(Exit BETTY, to explain his meaning.

Fain. You are very cruel, Petulant. Fain. He's impudent.

Pet. All's one, let it pass- I have a humour Wit. No, that's not it.

to be cruel. Mira. Vain ?

Mira. I hope they are not persons of condition Wit. No.

that you use at this rate. Mira. What, he speaks unseasonable truths Pét. Condition ! condition's a dried fig, if I am sometimes, because he has not wit enough to in- not in humour-By this hand, if they were your vent an evasion ?

-a-a-your what-d'ye-call-’ems themselves, Wit. Truth! ha, ha, ha! No, no; since you they must wait or rub off, if I am not in the vein. will have it-I mean, he never speaks truth at Alira. What-d'ye-call-’ems! what are they, all, that's all. He will lie like a chambermaid, Witwould ? or a woman of quality's porter. Now that is a Wit. Einpresses, my dear-By your whatfault.

d'ye-call-’ems he means sultana queens.

Pet. Ay, Rosalanas.
A Coachman enters.

Mira. Cry you mercy.
Coach Is Master Petulant here, mistress? Fain. Witwould says they are
Betty. Yes.

Pet. What does he say they are ?
Coach. Three gentlewomen in a coach would Wit. I? fine ladies I say.
speak with him.

Pet. Pass on, Witwould-Hark'e, by this light, Fain. O brave Petulant ! three !

his relations-Two co-heiresses his cousins, and Betty. I'll tell him.

an old aunt, who loves intriguing better than a Coach. You must bring two dishes of choco-conventicle. late and a glass of cinnamon water.

Wit. Ha, ha, ha! I had a mind to see how the (Exeunt Coachman and Betty. rogue would come off-Ha, ha, ha! gad I cann't Wit. That should be for two fasting bona ro be angry with him, if he had said they were my bas, and a procuress troubled with wind. Now mother and my sisters. you may know what the three are.

Miru. No? Mira. You are very free with your friend's Wit. No; the rogue's wit and readiness of inacquaintance.

vention charm me. -Dear Petulant ! Wit. Ay, ay, friendship without freedom is as

BETTY enters. dull as love without enjoyment, or wine without toasting; but, to tell you a secret, these are trulls Betty. They are gone, sir, in great anger. whom he allows coach-hire, and something more, Pet. Enoughi, let 'em trundle. Anger helps by the week, to call on him once a day at public complexion, saves paint.. places.

Fuin. This continence is all dissembled; this Mira. How !

is in order to have something to brag of the next Wit. You shall see he won't go to 'em, be- time he makes court to Millamant, and swear he cause there's no more company here to take no has abandoned the whole sex for her sake. tice of him. Why this is nothing to what he Mira. Have you not left off your impudent used to do: before he found out this way, I have pretensions there yet? I shall cut your throat known him to call for himselt:

some time or other, Petulant, about that business, Fain. Call for himself! What dost thou mean? Pet. Ay, ay, let that pass--There are other

Wit. Mean? why he would slip you out of this throats to be cut. chocolate-house, just when you had been talking Mira. Meaning mine, sir? to him. As soon as your back was turn'd--whip Pet. Not I-I mean nobody-I know nothing he was gone; then trip to his lodging, clap on a But there are uncles and nephews in the hood and scarf, and a mask, slip into a hackney world-And they may be rivals—What then, all's coach, and drive hither to the door again in a one for that, trice; where he would send in for himself, that Mira. Now, hark'e, Petulant, come hitheris, I mean, call for himself, wait for himself, nay, Explain, or I shall call your interpreter. and what's more, not finding himself, sometimes Pet. Explain! I know nothing - Why you have leave a letter for himself.

an uncle, have you not, lately come to town, and Mira. I confess this is something extraordi- | lodges by my Lady Wishfort's? nary-I believe he waits for himself now, he is Miru. True. so long a-coming. O, I ask his pardon.

Pet. Why, that's enough, You and he are not

friends : and, if he should marry and have a child, PETULANT and BETTY enter.

you may be disinherited, ba? Betty. Sir, the coach stays.

Mira. Where hast thou stumbled upon all this Pet. Well, well, I come.—'Sbud, a man had truth?

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