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THE

CARELESS HUSBAND.

BY

CIBPER.

PROLOGUE.

OF all the various vices of the

age, And shoals of fools exposed upon the stage, How few are lasht that call for satire's rage! What can you think to see our plays so full Of madmen, coxcombs, and the drivelling fool ? Of cits, of sharpers, rakes and roaring bullies, Of cheats, of cuckolds, aldermen and cullies? Would not one swear, 'twere taken for a rule, That satire's rod, in the dramatic school, Was only meant for the incorrigible fool? As if too vice and folly were confined To the vile scum alone of human kind, Creatures a muse should scorn; such abject

trash Deserves not satire's, but the hangman's lash. Wretches, so far shut out from sense of shame, Newgate or Bedlam only should reclaim; For satire ne'er was meant to make wild monsters

tame. No, sirs

We rather think the persons fit for plays,
Are they whose birth and education says
They've every help that should improve mankind,
Yet still are slaves to a vile tainted mind;
Such as in wit are often seen to abound,
And yet have some weak part where folly's found :
For follies sprout, like weeds, highest in fruitful

ground.
And, 'tis observed, the garden of the mind
To no infestive weed's so much inclined
As the rank pride that some from affectation

find : A folly too well known to make its court With most success among the better sort. Such are the persons we to-day provide, And nature's fools for once are laid aside. This is the ground on which our play we build, But in the structure, must to judgment yield: And where the poet fails in art, or care, We beg your wonted mercy to the player,

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ,

WOMEN.
MEN.

Lady BETTY MODish, attached to Lord More. Lord MORELOVE, attached to Lady Betly.

lore,
Lord FOPPINGTON, a Corcomb of Fashion. Lady Easy, Wife to Sir Charles.
Sir CHARLES Easy, the Careless Husband. Lady GRAVEAIRS, a Woman of Intrigue,
Servant.

Mrs EDGING, Woman to Lady Easy.
SCENE,-Windsor.

ACT I.

down, after he came in from hunting, he sent me SCENE I.- Sir CHARLES EASY's Lodgings. into his dressing-room, to fetch his snuff-box out

of his waistcoat pocket; and so, as I was searchEnter Lady Easy.

ing for the box, madam, there I found this wickLady Easy. Was ever woman's spirit, by an ed letter from a mistress; which I had no sooninjurious husband, broke like mine? A vile licen er read, but, I declare it, my very blood rose at tious man! must be bring home his follies, too? him again ; methought I could have torn him Wrong me with my very servant ! 0! how te and her to pieces. dious a relief is patience! and yet, in my condi Lady Eusy. Intolerable! This odious thing's tion, 'tis the only remedy: for to reproach bim jealous of him herself, and wants me to join with my wrongs, is taki on myself the means of with her in a revenge upon him-Sure I am fal. a redress, bidding defiance to his falsehood, and len, indeed! But 'twere to make me lower yet, naturally but provokes him to undo me. The to let her think I understand her. [Alde. uneasy thought of my continual jealousy may Edy. Nay, pray, madam, read it; you will be teaze him to a fixed aversion; and hitherto, out of patience at it. though he neglects, I cannot think he hates me. Lady Eusy. You are bold, mistress; has my It must be so: since I want power to please him, indulgence, or your master's good humour, flathe never shall upbraid me with an attempt of tered you into the assurance of reading his letmaking him uneasy~My eyes and tongue shall ters? a liberty I never gave myself-Here--lay yet be blind and silent to my wrongs; nor would it where you had it immediately-Should he I have him think my virtue could suspect bim, know of your sauciness, 'twould not be my fatill, by some gross, apparent proof of his misdo vour could protect you. (Erit Lady EASY, ing, he forces me to see—and to forgive it. Edg. Your favour ! marry come up! sure I

don't depend upon your favour! It's not come Enter EDGING, hustily.

to that, I hope. Poor creature !-- don't you Edg. O madam!

think I am my master's mistress for nothing. Lady Eusy. What's the matter?

You shall find, madam, I won't be snapt up as I Edg I have the strangest thing to shew your

have been-Not but it vexes me to think she ladyship-such a discovery

should not be as uneasy as I. I am sure be is a Lady Easy. You are resolved to make it with base man to me, and I could cry my eyes out out much ceremony, I find. What's the business, that she should not think him as bad to her every

jot. If I am wronged, sure she may very well Edg. The business, madam! I have not pa expect it, that is but his wife-A conceited thing tience to tell you; I am out of breath at the very

-she need not be so easy, neither-I am as handthoughts on't ; I shall not be able to speak this some as she, I hope-Here's my master-I'll half hour.

try whether I ain to be buffed by her or no. Lady Easy. Not to the purpose, I believe!

[Wulks behind. but, methinks, you talk impertinently with a great deal of ease.

Enter Sir CHARLES EASY. Edy. Nav, madam, perhaps not so impertinent Sir Cha. So! The day is come again !-Life as your ladyship thinks; there is that will speak but rises to another stage, and the same dull jourto the purpose, I am sure—A base man

ney is before us. How like children do we judge

[Gives a letter. of happiness !.When I was stinted in my fortune, Lady Easy. What is this? An open letter ! alınost every thing was a pleasure to me, because Whence comes it?

most things then being out of my reach, I had Edg. Nay, read it, madam ; you will soon always the pleasure of hoping for them; now guess-If these are the tricks of husbands, keep fortune's in my hand, she is as insipid as an old ine a maid still, say I.

acquaintance-It is mighty silly faith! Just the Lady Eusy. (Looking on the superscription.] same thing by my wife, too; I am told she is erTo Sir Charles Easy ! Ha! Too well I know tremely han isone-nay, and have heard a great this hateful hand. Ó my heart ! but I must veil many people say, she is certainly the best womy jealousy, which 'tis not fit this creature man in the world—Why, I don't know but she should suppose I am acquainted with. [ Aside.) may; yet I could never find that her person or This direction is to your master; how came you good qualities gave me any concern. In my eye by it?

the woman has no more charms than my mother. Edg. Why, madam, as my master was lying Edg. Hum! he takes no notice of me yet

pray?

I'll let him sec I can take as little notice of him. Sir Cha. And your ladyship's pretty curiosity [She wulks by him gruvely ; he turns her ubout has lookcd it over, I presume-ha? und holds her; she struggles.] Pray, sir !

(Shakes her again. Sir Cha. A pretty pert air, that--I'll humour Edg. O lud! dear sir, don't be angry-indeed it-What's the matter, child? Are not you well? | I'll never touch one again. Kiss me, hussy.

Sir Cha. I don't believe you will, and I'll tell Edg. No, the deuce fetch me if I do!

you
how
you

shall be sure you never will.
Sir Cha. Has any thing put thee out of hu Edg. Yes, sir.
mour, love?

Sir Cha. By stedfastly believing, that the next Edg. No, sir, 'tis not worth my being out of time you offer it, you will have your pretty white humour at—though, if ever you have any thing neck twisted behind you. to say to me again, I'll be burned.

Edg. Yes, sir.

(Curt'sying. Sir Cha. Somebody has belied me to thec. Sir Cha. And you will be sure to remember

Eug. No, sir, 'tis you have belied yourself to every thing I have said to you? me-Did not I ask you, when you first made a Edy. Yes, sir. fool of me, if you would be always constant to Sir Cha. And now, child, I was not angry with me? and did not you say I might be sure you your person, but your follies; which, since I find would ? And here, instead of that, you are going you are a little sensible of don't be wholly dison in your old intrigue with my lady Graveairs. couraged--for I believe I-I shall have occasion Sir Chu. So

for you again Edg. Beside, don't you suffer my lady to huff Edg. Yes, sir. me cvery day as if I were her dog, or bad no Sir Cha. In the mean time, let me hear no more more concern with you—I declare I won't bear of your lady, child. it, and she sha'n't think to huff memfor aught Edy. No, sir. I know, I am as agreeable as she: and though

Sir Cha. Here she comes : be gone! she dares not take any notice of your basevess Edg. Yes, sir--Oh! I was never so frightened to her, you sha'n't think to use me so-and so,

in my life.

(Exit. pray, take

your nasty letter-I know the hand Sir Cha. So! good discipline makes good solwell enough--for my part, I won't stay in the diers—It often puzzles me to think, from my family to be abused at this rate; I that have re own carelessness, and my wife's continual good fused lords and dukes for your sake. I'd have humour, whether she really knows any thing of you to know, sir, I have had as many blue and the strength of my forces I'll sift her a little. green ribbons after me, for aught I know, as would have made me a falbala apron.

Enter Lady Easy. Sir Cha. My lady Graveairs ! iny nasty letter ! My dear, how do you do? You are dressed very and I won't stay in the family! Death! I'm in early to-day: are you going out? a pretty condition !- What an unlimited privi Lady Eusy. Only to church, my dear. lege has this jade got from being a whore !

Sir Chu. Is it so late, then? Edg. I suppose, sir, you think to usc every bo Lady Eusy. The bell has just rung. dly as you do your wife.

Sir Cha. Well, child, how does Windsor air Sir Cha. My wife! hah! Come hither, Mis agree with you? Do you find yourself any better Edging; hark you, drab.

yet? or have you a mind to go to London again? [Seizing her by the shoulder. Lady Easy. No, indeed, my dear; the air is so Eily. Oh!

very pleasant, that it it were a place of less comSir Chu. When you speak of my wife, you are pany, I could be content to end my days here. to say your lady, and you are never to speak of Sir Cha Prythee, my dear, what sort of comyour lady to me in any regard of her being my pany would most please you? wife-for, look you, child, you are not her strun Ludy Eusy. When business would permit it, pet, but mine; therefore, I only give you leave to yours; and, in your absence, a sincere friend, that be saucy with me. In the next place, you are were truly happy in an honest husband, to sit a never to suppose there is any such person as my cheerful hour, and talk in mutual praise of our lady Graveairs; and lastly, my pretty one, how condition. came you by this letter ?

Sir Cha. Are you then really very happy, my Edg. It's no matter, perhaps.

dear? Sir Cha. Ay, but if you should not tell me Lady Easy. Why should you question it? quickly, how are you sure I won't take a great

(Smiling on him. piece of flesh out of your shoulder, my dear? Sir Cha. Because I fancy I am not so good to

(Shukes her. you as I should be. Edg. O lud ! O lud! I will tell you, sir. Lady Easy. Pshaw ! Sir Cha. Quickly then.

Sir Cha. Nay, the deuce take me if I don't Edg. Oh! I took it out of your pocket, sir. really confess snyself so bad, that I have often Sir Chu. When?

wondered how any woman of your sense, rank, Eig. Oh! this morning, when you sent me for and person, could think it worth her while tó four snuff box.

have so many useless good qualities. VOL. IU,

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ties, nor,

a kiss.

Lady Easy. Fie, my dear!

deuce take me, if I would not as soon have an Sir Cha. By my soul, I am serious !

affair with thy woman. Lady Easy. I cannot boast of my good quali Lady Easy. Indeed, my dear, I should as soon

if I could, do I believe you think them suspect you with one as t'other. useless.

Sir Cha, Poor dear-shouldst thou-give me Sir Cha. Nay, I submit to you-Don't you find them so ? Do you perceive that I am one tittle Lady Easy. Pshaw! you don't care to kiss me. the better husband for your being so good a wife? Sir Cha. By my soul, I do! I wish I may

Lady Easy. Pshaw! you jest with me. die, if I don't think you a very fine woman!

Sir Cha. Upon my life I don't–Tell me truly, Lady Easy. I only wish you would think me was you never jealous of me?

a good wife. [Kisses her.] But pray, my dear, Lady Easy. Did I ever give you any sign of it? | wliat has made you so strangely inquisitive?

Sir Cha. Üm-that's true-but do you really Sir Chu. Inquisitive!- Why—a—I don't know; think I never gave you occasion ?

one is always saying one foolish thing or another Lady Easy. That's an odd question—but sup -Toll le roll! (Sings and talks.] My dear, what! pose you had :

are we never to have any ball here! Toll le roll! Sir Cha. Why then, what good has your vir- I fancy I could recover my dancing again, if I tue done you, since all the good qualities of it would but practise. Toll loll loll! could not keep me to yourself?

Lady Easy. This excess of carelessness to me Ludy Easy. What occasion have you given excuses half his vices. If I can make him once me to suppose I have not kept you to myself? think seriously—Time yet may be my friend. Sir Cha. I given you occasion-Fie! My dear

[Aside. -- you may be sure-1-look you, that is not the thing, but still a-(death! what a blunder have I

Enter a Servant. made?)-a-still, I say, madam, you sha'n't make Sero. Sir, Lord Morelove gives his serviceme believe you have never been jealous of me; Sir Cha. Lord Morelove? where is he? not that you ever had any real cause, but I know Serv. At the Chocolate-house; he called me women of your principles have more pride than to him as I went by, and bid me tell your honour those that have no principles at all; and where he'll wait upon you presently. there is pride, there must be some jealousy Lady Easy. I thought you had not expected so that, if you are jealous, my dear, you know you him here again this season, my dear. wrong me, and

Sir Cha. I thought so, too; but you see there's Lady Easy. Why then, upon my word, my dear, no depending upon the resolution of a man that's I don't know that ever I wronged you that way in love. in my life.

Iudy Eusy. Is there a chair? Sir Chu. But suppose I had given a real cause Serv. Yes, madam.

[Exit Servant. to be jealous, how would you do then ?

Lady Ellisy. I suppose Lady Betty Modish has Laity Easy. It must be a very substantial one drawn him hither. that makes me jealous.

Sir Cha. Ay, poor soul, for all his bravery, Sir Chu. Sas it were a substantial one; sup- I am afraid so. pose, now, I were well with a woman of your own Lady Eusy. Well, my dear, I ha’n’t time to ask acquaintance, that, under pretence of frequent my lord how he does now; you'll excuse me to visits to you, should only come to carry on an af hin, but I hope you'll make him dine with us. fair with me

-suppose, now, my lady Graveairs Sir Cha. I'll ask him. If you see Lady Betty and I were great ?

at prayers, make her dine, too: but don't take any Lady Eusy. Would I could not suppose it! notice of my

lord's being in town. [Aside.

Ludy Eusy. Very well ! if I should not meet Sir Cha. If I come off here, I believe I am pret- her there, I'll call at her lodgings. ty safe. [Aside.)-Suppose, I say, my lady Grave. Sir Cha. Do so. airs and I were so very familiar, that not only Ludy Eusy. My dear, your servant. yourself, but half the town should see it?

(Erit Lady Easy. Ludy Eusy. Then I should cry myself sick in Sir Cha. My dear, I'm yours.----Well! one some dark closet, and forget my tears when you way or other, this woman will certainly bring spoke kindly to me.

about her business with me at last; for though Sir Cha. "The most convenient piece of virtue, she cannot make me happy in her own person, sure, that ever wife was mistress of.

(Asıde. she lets me be so intolerably easy with the woLady Eusy. But pray, my dear, did you ever men that can, that she has at least brought me think that I had any ill thoughts of my lady | into a fair way of being as weary of them, too. Graveairs? Sir Chu. O fie, child ! only you know she and

Enter Servant and Lord MORELOVE. I used to be a little free sometimes; so I had a Serv. Sir, my lord's come. mind to see if you thought there was any harm in Ld More. Dear Charles ! it; but since I find you so very easy, I think myself Sir Chu. My dear lord ! this is an happiness obliged to tell you, that, upon my soul, imy dear, undreamt of ; I little thought to have seen you I have so little regard to her person, that the at Windsor again this season! I concluded, of

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her power.

course, that books and solitude had secuired you, I was rude, and that she would never believe any
'till winter.

man could love a woman, that thought her in
Ld More. Nay, I did not think of coming my the wrong in any thing she had a mind to, at
self, but I found myself not very well in London; least if he dared to tell her so. This provoked
so I thought-a-little hunting, and this air me into her whole character, with so much spirit
Sir Cha. Ha! ha! ha!

and civil malice, as I have seen her bestow upon Ld More. What do you laugh at ?

a woman of true beauty, when the men first Sir Cha. Only because you should not go on toasted her; so, in the middle of my wisdom, she with your story: if you did but see how silly a told me, she desired to be alone, that I would man fumbles for an excuse, when he is a little take my odious proud heart along with me, and ashamed of being in love, you would not wonder trouble her no more -1-bowed very low, what I laugh at; ha, ha, ha!

and, as I left the room, vowed I never would,
Ld Alore. Thou art á very happy fellow- and that my proud heart should never be hum-
nothing touches thee-always easy—Then you bled by the outside of a fine woman—About an
conclude I follow Lady Betty again?

hour after, I whipped into my chaise for Lon-
Sir Cha. Yes, faith do I: and to make you don, and have never seen her since.
easy, my lord, I cannot see why a man, that can Ser Chu. Very well; and how did you find
ride fifty miles after a poor stag, should be ashamed your proud heart by that time you got to Houn-
of running twenty in chase of a fine woman, that, slow?
in all probability, will show him so much the bet Ld More. I am almost ashamed to tell you-
ter sport, too.

[Embracing. I found her so much in the right, that I cursed
Ld More. Dear Charles, don't flatter my dis- my pride for contradicting her at all, and began
temper; I own I still follow her : do you think to think, according to her maxim, that no woman
her charms have power to excuse me tothe world? could be in the wrong to a man that she had in

Sir Cha. Ay! ay! a fire woman's an excuse for any thing, and the scandal of our being in Sir Cha. Ha, ha! Well, I'll tell you what you jest, is a jest itself; we are all forced to be their shall do. You can see her without trembling, I fools before we can be their favourites.

hope? Ld More. You are willing to give me hope ; but Id More. Not if she receives me well. I cann't believe she has the least degree of incli

Sir Cha. If she receives you well, you will nation for me.

have no occasion for what I am going to say to Sir Cha. I don't know that I am sure her pride you---first you shall dine with her. likes you, and that's generally your fine ladies' Li Mlore. How? where? when? darling passion.

Sir Cha. Here! here ! at two o'clock. Ll More. Do you suppose, if I could grow in Ld More. Dear Charles ! different, it would touch her?

Sir Chu. My wife is gone to invite her ; when Sir Chu. Sting her to the heart - Will you you see her first, be neither too humble, nor too take my advice?

stubborn; let her see, by the ease in your behaLd More. I have no relief but that. Had I viour, you are still pleased in being near her, not thee now and then to talk an hour, my life while she is upon reasonable terms with you. were insupportable.

This will either open the door of an eclaircisseSir Chu. I am sorry for that, my lord ;-but ment, or quite shut it against youi--and if she mind what I say you.

-but hold, first let me is still resolved to keep you outknow the particulars of your quarrel with her. La More. Nay, if she insults me, then, perhaps,

Ld Moje. Why-about three weeks ago, when I may recover pride enough to rally her by an I was last here at Windsor, she had for some overacted submission. days treated me with a little more reserve, and Sir Cha. Why, you improve, my lord ! this is another with more freedom, than I found myself the very thing I was going to propose to you. easy at.

Ld More. Was it, faith! hark you, dare

you
Sir Cha. Who was that other?

stand by me?
Ld More. One of my lord Foppington's gang Sir Chu. Dare I! ay, to my last drop of assue

the pert coxcomb that's just come to a small rance, against all the insolent airs of the proud.
estate and a great periwig-he that sings himself est beauty in Christendom.
among the women -What do you call him ? Ld More. Nay, then, defiance to her— We two
-- lle won't speak to a commoner when a lord - Thou hast inspired me-I find myself as valia
is in company

-you always see him with a cane ant as a flattered coward. dangling at his button, bis breast open, no gloves, Sir Cha. Courage, my lord ; I'll warrant we one eye tucked under his hat, and a tooth-pick beat her. -Startup, that's his name.

Ld More. My blood stirs at the very thought Sir Cha. O! I have met him in a visit -but on't: I long to be engaged. pray go on.

Sir Chu. She will certainly give ground, when Ld More. So, disputing with her about the she once sees you are thoroughly provoked. conduct of women, I took the liberty to tell her Ld More. Dear Charles, thou art a friend inhow far I thought she erred in hers. She told me decd!

to

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