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THE GOOD-NATUE'D MAN
ACT L—SCENE I.
Scene, a Parlour in MB. Boncour's House.
Enter Boncour and Mrs. Boncour.
Pray be pacified
Mrs. Bone. It is intolerable, and I will never submit to it.
Bone. But, my dear!
Mrs. Bone. Good Mr. Boncour, leave off that odious word; you know I detest it; such fulsome stuff is nauseous to the ears of a woman of strict virtue.
Bone. I don't doubt your virtue.
Mrs. Bone. You don't I am very much oblig'd to
you, indeed; nor any one else, I apprehend: I thank Heaven my carriage is such that I dare confront the world.
Bone. You mistake me, Madam.
Mrs. Bone. That is as much as to say I have not common understanding; to be sure, I can't comprehend any thing.
Bone. I should be sorry to think I had given y<ou any reason to be out of humour.
Mrs. Bone. Then I am in the wrong; a wife is always in the wrong, certainly; it is impossible for a wife to be in the right in any thing.
Bone. My dear, I never said so.
Mrs. Bone. That is as much as to say, I don't tell truth: I desire you will treat me with good manners at least; that I think I may expect. A woman of virtue, who brought you a fortune, may expect that.
Bone. Madam, I esteem you for your virtue, and am grateful to you for your fortune; I should blush if you could upbraid me with lavishing it on my own pleasures, or ever denying you the enjoyment of it.
Mrs. Bone. How! have I a coach at my command? you keep one, indeed, but I am sure I have no command of it.
Bone. Indeed you wrong me.
Mrs. Bone. Why, have you not lent it this very morning without my knowledge?
Bone. My dear, I thought the chariot would have serv'd.
Mrs. Bone. How can that serve when I am to take three other ladies with me.
Bone. Who's there?
Bid John take the chariot to my cousin, and let the coach attend my wife—I ask your pardon, child; I own I should have told you of it, but business really put it out of my head.
Mrs. Bone. Well, and suppose I should find but one of the ladies at home, must I drag about a heavy coach all over the town, like an alderman's or a country justice of peace's lady?
Bone. Nay, since you are so unresolv'd—the promise was not absolute; you shall not be uneasy on any
account Tell the fellow he need not go to my cousin
at all—(Exit Servant) now, my dear, you may have your choice, and I hope you will be easy.
Mrs. Bone. Easy! yes; I have a great deal of reason to be easy, truly; now your relations, if they have not the coach will lay the whole blame upon me 5 sure
never was so unfortunate a creature as I am! no,
let them have both, and then they will be satisfied; I dare say I shall find a coach amongst my acquaintance, though you deny me your's. [Exit.
Bone. So! this comes of meddling with matters out of my sphere; but I deserve it, who know her temper so well.
Enter Sir George Boncour.
Sir Geo. Brother, good morrow, I hope no accident hath happened, for I met my sister in a violent hurry at the door.
Bone. No, nothing extraordinary: wives will have their humours, you know.
Sir Geo. Ay, wives who have such husbands.
Bone. I hope I give her no occasion to be uneasy.
Sir Geo. Indeed you do—You are a very wicked man, brother.
Sir Geo. For you have spoilt a very good sort of a woman; you have many an uneasy hour, many a heartache, many a sigh, and many a tear to answer for, which you have been the occasion of to my poor sister.
Bone. I don't remember I ever deny'd her any thing.
Sir Geo. That is the very reason; for what can a poor woman be oblig'd to consult so unsteady as her own inclinations? If you would contradict her a little, it would prevent her contradicting herself. A man pretends to be a good husband, and yet imposes continually that hard task upon his wife, to know what she has a mind to.
Bone. Brother, I admit raillery, but I should contemn myself, if I refused any thing to a woman who brought me so immense a fortune, to which my circumstances were so very unequal: I do not think with the world, that I make a woman amends for robbing her of her fortune, by taking her person into the bargain.
Sir Geo. I would not have you rob her; I would only have you keep her from robbing herself. Ah! I should have made an excellent husband, if I could ever have been persuaded to marry.
Bone. Doubtless your wife would have agreed rarely with this doctrine.
Sir Geo. She must have been a most unreasonable woman else; for I should have desired no more of her than only to do whatever I would have her. I am not that person you would make me appear; for, except a few diversions which I have an antipathy to, such as music, balls, cards, plays, operas, assemblies, visits, and entertainments, I should scarce ever deny her any thing.
Bone. Your exceptions put me in mind of some general pardons, where every thing is forgiven except crimes.
Sir Geo. I suppose you would have me suffer her to keep an assembly and rendezvous of all such idle people as can't stay at home; that is, have nothing to do any where else.
Bone. Perhaps I love an assembly no more than you.
Sir Geo. Why do you keep one then?
Bone. For the same reason that I do many other things not very agreeable to me, to gratify my wife.