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THE OLD HUSBAND AND THE YOUNG WIFE.
(From "The School for Scandal.")
Lady Teazle. I'm sure I don't care how soon we leave off quarrelling, provided you 'll own you were tired first.
Sir Peter. Well—then let our future contest be, who shall be most obliging
Lady Teas. I assure you, Sir Peter, good nature becomes you. You look now as you did before we were married, when you used to walk with me under the elms, and tell me stories of what a gallant you were in your youth, and chuck me under the ehin, you would ; and ask me if I thought I could love an old fellow, who would deny me nothing-didn't you?
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, and you were as kind and attentive
Lady Teaz. Ay, so I was, and would always take your part, when my acquaintance used to abuse you, and turn you into ridicule.
Sir Pet. Indeed !
Laily Teaz. Ay, and when my cousin Sophy has called you a stiff, peevish old bachelor, and laughed at me for thinking of marrying one who might be my father, I have always defended you, and said, I didn't think you so ugly by any means.
Sir Pet. Thank you.
Sir Pet. And you prophesied right; and we shall now be the happiest couple
Lady Teaz. And never differ again?
Sir Pet. No, never !--though at the same time, indeed, my dear Lady Teazle, you must watch your temper very seriously; for in all our little quarrels, iny dear, if you recollect, my love, you always began first.
Lady Teaz. I beg your pardon, my dear Sir Peter : indeed, you always gave the provocation.
Sir Pet. Now see, my angel! take care-contradicting isn't the way to keep friends.
Lady Traz. Then don't you begin it, my love!
Sir Pet. There, now! you—you are going on.
You don't perceive, my love, that you are just doing the very thing which you know always makes me angry
Lady Teaz. Nay, you know if you will be angry without any reason, my dear
Sir Pet. There ! now you want to quarrel again.
Lady Teaz. Why, you, to be sure. I said nothing-but there's no bearing your tcmper.
Sir Pet. No, no, madam : the fault's in your own tenper.
Sir Pet. Now may all the plagues of marriage be doubled on me, if ever I try to be friends with you any more!
Lady Teaz. So much the better.
and I was a madman to marry you-a pert, rural coquette, that had refused half the honest 'squires in the neighbourhood.
Lady Teaz. And I am sure I was a fool to marry you—an old dangling bachelor, who was single at fifty, only because he never could meet with any one who would have him.
Sir Pet. Ay, ay, madam ; but you were pleased enough to listen to me: you never had such an offer before.
Lady Traz. No! didn't I refuse Sir Tivy Terrier, who everybody said would have been a better match? for his estate is just as good as yours, and he ha: broke his neck since we have been married.
Sir Pet. I have done with you, madam! You are an unfeeling, ungrateful—but there's an end of everything. I believe you capable of everything that is bad. Yes, madam, I now believe the reports relative to you and Charles, madam. Yes, madam, you and Charles are, not with-out grounds
Lady Teaz. Take care, Sir Peter! you had better not insinuate any such thing! I'll not be suspected without cause, I promise you.
Sir Pet. Very well, madam! very well! A separate maintenance as
soon as you please. Yes, madam, or a divorce! I'll make an example of myself for the benefit of all old bachelors. Let us separate, madam.
Lady Teaz. Agreed ! agreed! And now, my dear Sir Peter, we are of a mind once more, we may be the happiest couple, and never differ again, you know: ha! ha! ha! Well, you are going to be in a passion, I see, and I shall only interrupt you-so, bye, bye!
[Exit Sir Pet. Plagues and tortures! can't I make her angry either! Oh, I am the most miserable fellow! But I'll not bear her presuming to keep her temper: no! she may break my heart, but she shan't keep her temper.
ATILDA! thou hast seen me start,
As if a dagger thrill'd my heart, When it has happ'd some casual phrase Waked memory of my former days.
Believe that few can backward cast
dark and fatal tale ! I must-I will — Pale phantom, cease, Leave me one little hour in peace ! Thus haunted, think'st thou I have skill Thine own commission to fulfil ? Or, while thou point'st with gesture fierce, Thy blighted cheek, thy bloody hearse, How can I paint thee as thou wert, So fair in face, so warm in heart !
“Yes, she was fair !—Matilda, thou Hast a soft sadness on thy brow; But hers was like the sunny glow That laughs on earth and all below! We wedded secret- there was needDiffering in country and in creed; And when to Mortham's tower she came, We mention'd not her race nor name, Until thy sire, who fought afar, Should turn him home from foreign war, On whose kind influence we relied To soothe her father's ire and pride. Few months we lived retired, unknown, To all but one dear friend alone, One darling friend—I spare his shame, I will not write the villain's name ! My trespasses I might forget, And sue in vengeance for the debt