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Sir Peter. I am call'd Sir Peter Pride.
Sir Peter. My Family, Sir, has stood these many
Love. Very likely, Sir.
Sir Peter. How far you have endeavour'd to stain that spotless Fame, be judge your self.
Love. Pray, Sir, explain this Riddle.
Sir Peter. I have a Daughter young, fair, well-bred, has Sense; she is indeed the Wonder of her Sex, and this Man, whom you see here, has the Honour to be married to her. Britt. Ah! 'Tis an Honour, that I cou'd have spar'd.
(Aside. Sir Peter. Now, Sir, I'm told, that you endeavour to corrupt her Honour, and defile her Marriage-Bed. Sir, I have had the Honour to command abroad, and with Success, both to my King and my CountryAs have also the Chief Part of all our great Race; even from William the Conqueror, to this present Reign, have our unquestion d Glories stood a Pattern to our yet rising Fame : And he who dares presume to rob us of that precious Jewel, Honour, must not think to scape unpunish'd, tho' with the Hazard o’th' last Drop of Blood, that is left, to wash off the Stain. My Daughter's Honour, Sir, is as dear to me, as this vital Air, by which I breath and live.
Love. Pray Sir, who told you this?
Sir Peter. Believe me, Sir, whate'er I say, I can quote my Author for it.
Love. Then who-ever told you is a Rascal ; and were he here, I'd ram the Lie down his Throat, or make him eat a piece of
Love. How, Sir! Did you frame this abominable Fallhood ? 'Tis well you have the Honour to be ally'd to this worthy Knight, Sir Peter Pride, here; or you should know what it is to father such a Lie upon a Man of my Reputation.
Sir Peter. Oh! Here comes my Daughter.
Love. Did you, Madam, tell your Husband a strange Story, that I should make Love to you, and endeavour'd to corrupt your Honour?
Mrs. Britt. I tell him! Why, when did you make Love to me, Sir? I assure you, had you let me know of your Passion, it shou'd not have gone unrewarded. Pray, next time you fend, let it be one that knows how to take more Care. However, you have no great
Reason to despair; for since he complains without any manner of Reason, I am refolvid he shall have Cause. Therefore if you do love me, Sir, pray let me know it, and I do assure you, you shall not want Encouragement. He shall not use me at this rate for nothing.
Love. Madam, believe me, 'tis all a Riddle to me; for, till this Hour, I never heard any thing mention'd like it: I am an absolute Stranger to it.
Lady. Do you hear that, you Clown ? Are you not alham'd to abuse a Gentlewoman continually, without any Cause ?
Şir Peter. What is the Meaning of this, Son-inlaw ?
Britt. Pray, do but hear me.
Sir Peter. You shall not speak.
Mrs.Britt. I am sure Damaris knows, I never have any body comes near me, bưt such as himself; nor ever receivid any Meffage, either by Letter, or otherwiseI never committed any Crime against him, that I know of, unless fitting by my self all Day, and poring over two or three good Books be an Offence. Speak, Damaris, did I ever give him any Cause for these Sus picions, and this Usage? Thou know'st all I say or do.
Damaris. Madam, I know no Reason; nor can I bear to see the Hardship you endure ! Like a barbarous Man as he is To abuse so good a Lady ! fo Virtuous, fo Innocent, and so Pious a Lady! I am sure it makes me weep to think on'tafraid he'll break her Heart in a little time, if
Mrs. Britt. Oh, my dear Father! (Cries.
(Exit crying. Lady. Damaris, let's follow her, and endeavour to comfort her. Oh, thou Clown, to use a Gentlewoman with so much Cruelty !
.Dam. I fear he'll be the Death of her at one time or another.
(Exeunt Lady Pride and Damaris, Sir Peter. What do you think of all this, Sir? Are not you a very pretty Fellow ? Come hither, Son-in-law, ask this Gentleman Pardon, for the Affront.you have put upon him in belying of
. Britt. How ! ask his Pardon, that would have made me a Cuckold ?
Love. Sir Peter, pray
Sir Peter. I say no more Words: He has wrong'd a Gentleman; and the least he can do, is begging Pardon
Britt. 'Tis very well! He offends, and I must ask Pardon.
Sir Peter. No matter for that, you hear he denies it; and 'tis enough, if a Gentleman unsays what he has said.
Britt. So that if I catch him making me a Cuckold, and he denies it, I must not believe it, because a Gentleman said it.
Sir Peter. I say, you shall ask Pardon: Therefore no more Words, but do't.
Britt. I shall run mad, Well, what must I do?
Sir Peter. Come hither : Take your Hat off*Kneel down, and fay after “me.
Britt. Well, since it must be som (Kneels. This ’tis to be marry'd to a Gentlewoman, forsooth.
Sir Peter. Sir, I ask your Pardon.
Sir Peter. Accusing you, of having a Defign to corrupt my Wife's Honour.
Britt. Accusing you of Truth And having a Design to corrupt my Wife's Honour.
Sir Peter. For which, knowing my self in the wrong, I do ask your Pardon,
Britt. For which, knowing my self not in the wrong, I'm forc'd to ask your Pardon.
Love. Well, Sir, upon Sir Peter Pride's Account, I am content to pass it by this time : But let me hear no more Complaints. (Brittle rises, and runs off.
Sir Peter. Sir, now all is well, I humbly take my Leave.
(Exit Sir Peter. Love. Was there ever such a lucky Rogue as I? For her to encourage me to make Love to her before her Husband's Face ! Nay, and before her Father and Mother too! Oh, I am all on Fire till I have her in my Arms! But soft! who comes here?
Well, my little Scout, what News? How fares my Friend? Is Philadelphia kind? Where's thy Lady?
Pru. Where-e'er her Person is, I'm sure her best Thoughts are still employ'd on you. And however The may pretend a Passion for Mr. Cuning bam, she loves none but you. Pray, Sir, do but try her.
Love. Oh racking Thought! I'd rather make Love to a Convocation of Cats at a Witch's Up-fitting, than but speak to her. Where's my Friend? Oh! here he comes, and his fair Consort,
Enter Cuningham and Philadelphia.
Cun. Be not so cruel to say, you want the Power: If we neglect this opportunity, which kindly presents it self, the next perhaps may not be ours.
Phil. Would you then have me dispose of my self without my Aunt's Consent ? Do not urge me to that, since I have promised not to wed without it.
Cun. I ask not her Confent, but yours: Grant me but that, and leave the rest to Time and Chance.
Pru. Madam, how can you deny him that, since I know you love him?