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Acres. Ah, David, if you had heard Sir Lucius! Odds sparks and flames! he would have roused your valour.
Dav. Not he, indeed. I hate such bloodthirsty cormorants. Look'ee, master, if you'd wanted a bout at boxing, quarter-staff, or short-staff, I should never be the man to bid you cry off; but for your curst sharps and snaps, I never knew any good come of 'em.
Acres. But my honour, David, my honour! I must be very careful of my honour.
Dav. Aye, by the mass! And I would be very careful of it; and I think in return my honour couldn't do less than to be very careful of me.
Acres. Odd blades! David, no gentleman will ever risk the loss of his honour!
Dav. I say, then, it would be but civil in honour never to risk the loss of a gentleman. Look'ee, master, this honour seems to me to be a marvellous false friend-aye, truly a very courtier-like servant. Put the case, I was a gentleman (which, thank God, no one can say of me); well, my honour makes me quarrel with another gentleman of my acquaintance. So we fight. Pleasant enough, that! Boh! I kill him—the more's my luck! Now, pray, who gets the profit of it? Why, my honour. But put the case that he kills me! By the mass! I go to the worms, and my honour whips over to my enemy!
Acres. No, David; in that case-odds crowns and laurels ! -your honour follows you to the grave.
Dav. Now, that's just the place where I could make a Ishift to do without it.
Acres. Zounds! David, you are a coward! It doesn't become my valour to listen to you. What! shall I disgrace my ancestors? Think of that, David-think what it would be to disgrace my ancestors!
Dav. Under favour, the surest way of not disgracing them is to keep as long as you can out of their company. Look'ee now, master; to go to them in such haste-with an ounce of lead in your brains—I should think might as well be let alone. Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.
Acres. But, David, now, you don't think there is such very, very, very great danger, hey? Odds life! people often fight without any mischief done.
Dav. By the mass, I think 'tis ten to one against you! Oons! here to meet some lion-headed fellow, I warrant, with his damned double-barrelled swords and cut-and-thrust pistols! Lord bless us! it makes me tremble to think o't! Those be such desperate, bloody-minded weapons! Well, I never could abide 'em—from a child I never could fancy 'em! I suppose there a'n't been so merciless a beast in the world as your loaded pistol!
Acres. Zounds! I won't be afraid! Odds fire and fury! you sha'n't make me afraid. Here is the challenge, and I have sent for my dear friend Jack Absolute to carry it for me.
Dav. Aye, i' the name of mischief, let him be the messenger. For my part, I wouldn't lend a hand to it for the best horse in your stable. By the mass! it don't look like another letter! It is, as I may say, a designing and malicious-looking letter; and I warrant smells of gunpowder, like a soldier's pouch! Oons! I wouldn't swear it mayn't go off!
Acres. Out, you poltroon! you ha'n't the valour of a grasshopper.
Dav. Well, I say no more. 'Twill be sad news, to be sure, at Clod-Hall! But I ha' done. How Phillis will howl when she hears of it! Aye, poor creature, she little thinks what
shooting her master's going after! And I warrant old Crop, who has carried your honour, field and road, these ten years, will curse the hour he was born.
Acres. It won't do, David; I am determined to fight! So get along, you coward, while I'm in the mind.
The Literary Lady
WHAT motley cares Corilla's mind perplex,
A lettered gossip and a household wit;
Bills, books, caps, couplets, combs, a varied mass,
And there, a mantua-maker's bill unpaid;
There, new-born plays foretaste the town's applause,
A moral essay now is all her care,
A satire next, and then a bill of fare.
A scene she now projects, and now a dish;
Here Act the First, and here, Remove with Fish.
Now, while this eye in a fine frenzy rolls,
That soberly casts up a bill for coals;
Black pins and daggers in one leaf she sticks,
And tears, and threads, and bowls, and thimbles mix.
A Domestic Tiff
SIR PETER and Lady TeazLE.
Sir Pet. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it! Lady Teaz. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and, what's more, I will, too! What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
Sir Pet. Very well, ma'am, very well; so a husband is to have no influence, no authority?
Lady Teaz. Authority! No, to be sure. If you wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married me. I am sure you were old enough.
Sir Pet. Old enough! Aye, there it is. Well, well, Lady Teazle, though my life may be made unhappy by your temper, I'll not be ruined by your extravagance!
Lady Teaz. My extravagance! I'm sure I'm not more extravagant than a woman of fashion ought to be.
Sir Pet. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such unmeaning luxury. 'Slife! to spend as much to furnish your dressing-room with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn the Pantheon into a greenhouse, and give a fête champêtre at Christmas.
Lady Teaz. And am I to blame, Sir Peter, because flowers are dear in cold weather? You should find fault with the climate, and not with me. For my part, I'm sure I wish it was spring all the year round, and that roses grew under our feet.
Sir Pet. Oons! madam, if you had been born to this, I shouldn't wonder at your talking thus; but you forget what your situation was when I married you.
Lady Teaz. No, no, I don't; 'twas a very disagreeable one, or I should never have married you.
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, madam, you were then in somewhat a humbler style-the daughter of a plain country squire. Recollect, Lady Teazle, when I saw you first sitting at your tambour, in a pretty figured linen gown, with a bunch of keys at your side, your hair combed smooth over a roll, and your apartment hung round with fruits in worsted, of your own working.
Lady Teaz. Oh, yes; I remember it very well, and a curious life I led. My daily occupation to inspect the dairy, superintend the poultry, make extracts from the family receipt-book, and comb my aunt Deborah's lapdog.
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, ma'am, 'twas so indeed.
Lady Teaz. And then you know my evening amusements! To draw patterns for ruffles, which I had not materials to make up; to play Pope Joan with the curate; to read a sermon to my aunt; or to be stuck down to an old spinet to strum my father to sleep after a fox-chase.
Sir Pet. I am glad you have so good a memory. Yes, madam, these were the recreations I took you from. But now you must have your coach-vis-à-vis—and three powdered footmen before your chair; and, in the summer, a pair of white cats to draw you to Kensington Gardens. No recollection, I suppose, when you were content to ride double, behind the butler, on a docked coach-horse.
Lady Teaz. No, I swear I never did that. I deny the butler and the coach-horse.
Sir Pet. This, madam, was your situation. And what have