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have been less observant of your temper; suppose you had been married to my brother Sir George?
Mrs. Boric. Sir George! why Sir George? I know no man who would make a better husband.
Bone. So he says himself, and this I must confess, he would never have had a dispute of this kind with his wife; for he would have told her peremptorily, Madam, I have invited the company, and you shall stay and dine with them.
Mrs. Bone. Well, and that would have been kinder than indifference; for my part, I aver, I could bear contradiction from a man that was fond of me.
Bone. What, rather than compliance?
Mrs. Bone. I am not that fool you may imagine me; 1 know a little of human nature, and am convine'd there is no man truly fond of his wife, who is not uneasy at the loss of her company.
Bone. Will it please you if I order you to stay at home?
Mrs. Bone. Order me! no, truly, if my company be so indifferent that you consult only my pleasure in desiring it, I shall never think myself oblig'd to you on that account: I thank heaven, I am not every where so despicable, but that there are some weak enough to desire my conversation, and, perhaps, might prefer it to the agreeable Miss Valence herself.
Bone. She is a guest of my daughter's, not of mine: surely you don't conceive I have any particular pleasure in Miss Valence's company?
Mrs. Bone. 0, I am not jealous, I assure you, you wrong me mightily if you think I am jealous; shemust be a poor creature, indeed, who could be jealous of every little flirt; no, I should have too much contempt for the man who delighted in the conversation of such flirts; but this I think I might reasonably expect, that he would enjoy them by himself, and not insist on my being of the company.
Bone. You cannot charge me with any such behaviour, nay, scarce with a single desire that would contradict your inclinations; therefore, when you told me you would dine abroad, I answered, just as you please; though I knew not the company to be disagreeable to you.
Mrs. Bone. But I will not dine abroad, Mr. Boncour, I will dine at home; pray give me leave to know my own inclinations better than you; I am neither a fool nor a child, whatever you may think of me, nor will I be treated as such by any husband in the universe! What! I suppose I must shortly come with my hands before me, and ask you leave before I do any thing; pray, Mr. Boncour, will you give me leave to make a few visits this morning?
Bone. Ha, ha, ha! My dear, did I ever deny you!
Mrs. Bone. You insist on my asking then, it seems, but I assure you I shall not; I did not part with my fortune to part with my liberty too, so your servant.
Bone. Well, Sir George is in the right; I have spoil'd this woman certainly; for her temper from a good one, is now become intolerable; but she brought me a fortune; true, she did, and an immense one, and with it, what 1 took for better and for worse; and so it is idle to complain. [Exit. ACT III.—SCENE I.
Scene, Mr. Boncour's House. Enter Boncour and Servant.
Mr. Valence's man left this letter.
Banc. So! here I shall have, I suppose, my neighbour's sentiments at large on this important business. (Beads the letter.)
'I have maturely weigh'd your proposal; and to convince you of the desire I have to an alliance with your family, notwithstanding some offers made me, which, to a worldly minded man, might perhaps appear more advantageous, I have consented to the union between our children, for which purpose I have drawn up a few articles, not doubting but you will think them very reasonable.
'First, You shall vest your whole estate immediately in the possession of your son, out of which, besides your wife's fortune, you shall be allotted two hundred pounds per annum during life.
'Secondly, You shall pay down fifteen thousand pounds as your daughter's portion, for which she shall have a proportionable settlement, as our lawyers shall agree.
'Thirdly, That, as a very large part of my estate will, at my death, descend to my son, I shall remain in
possession of the whole during my life, except'
But why should I read any farther? is this man mad, or doth he conclude me to be so?
Enter Sir George Boncour.
Sir Geo. I call'd on you, brother, to let you know I shall dine with you, for my friend has sent me word the house will sit late.
Bone. Oh, Sir George, I am particularly glad to see you; I will give you an instance that your opinion of mankind is juster than my own; since I saw you, I have, to comply with my son's inclinations, propos'd a match in Mr. Valence's family; could you imagine he would send me such a letter as this in answer? oh, you need only look at the articles.
Sir Geo. (reading.) Well, what of this? Bone What I can you think the man is in his senses? Sir Geo. Certainly; for 'tis impossible he should suppose you to be in your's, when you made him the offer to which this letter is an answer.
Bone. But, brother, is my making him an advantageous offer a reason for so impudent an imposition?
Sir Geo. Aye, surely, no one can give another a stronger hint to impose upon him than by first imposing upon himself; you have infinite obligations to him I think, for he sees you have an inclination to beggary, and therefore would make you a beggar. Besides, can any thing be more reasonable than what he proposes? I am sure I should not expect such gentle terms in the same case? what doth he desire of you more than to throw yourself on the bounty of your son? well, and who the devil would make any scruple of trusting a son, especially such a son as your's—a fine gentleman—one who keeps a wench—never fear, man, I warrant he'll allow you pocket-money enough.
Bone. Baillery, Sir George, may exceed the bounds of good-nature, as well as good-breeding; I did not expect that you would have treated the serious concerns of my family in so ludicrous a manner, nor have laughed at me when I ask'd your advice.
Sir Geo. Zounds! what shall I say? I thought to have pleas'd you, by calling his demands reasonable; shall I take the other side of the question? for, like a lawyer, I can speak on either; he hath taken the most prudent way of calling you a fool, and his proposals seem to proceed rather from a design of insulting you, than from any hopes of success.
Bone. It really has that appearance.
Sir Geo. Well, then, and do you want my advice what to do?
Bone. I shall, undoubtedly, reject them with scorn, and, if myself alone were concern'd, I could with ease: —but my son, I fear, has set his heart on the young lady.
Sir Geo. Then break his heart: why what a devil of a fellow is this son of your's? he sets his fortune on one wench, and his heart on another?
Bone. Come, brother, you are a little too hasty: when we reflect on the follies of our youth, we should be more candid to the faults of our children.
Sir Geo. You are welcome to throw the sins of my youth in my face: I own I have been as wicked as any, and therefore, I would not suffer a son to be so; of what use is a parent's experience, but to correct his children; and, give me leave to tell you, you are a very unnatural father, in not suffering your son to reap any benefit from your former sins; but you, brother, to obtain the character of a good-natur'd man, are content to be the bubble of all the world.
Bone. Well, I had rather be the bubble of other men's will than of my own; for, let me tell you, brother, whatever impositions knavery puts upon others, it puts greater on itself.