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Marwood and three or four more, whom I never saw before; seeing me, they all put on their grave faces, whispered one another, then complained aloud of the vapours, and after fell into a profound silence. Poets have to risk the fame earned from their previous work when they write a new work. I please myself. You and I are excluded, and it was once proposed that all the male sex should be excepted; but somebody moved that to avoid scandal there might be one man of the community, upon which motion Witwoud and Petulant were enrolled members. For they're a sort of fools which fortune makes, And, after she has made 'em fools, forsakes.

If I have failed in my performance, it is only to be regretted, where there were so many not inferior either to a Scipio or a Lelius, that there should be one wanting equal in capacity to a Terence. If I am not mistaken, poetry is almost the only art which has not yet laid claim to your lordship's patronage. Architecture and painting, to the great honour of our country, have flourished under your influence and protection.

In the meantime, poetry, the eldest sister of all arts, and parent of most, seems to have resigned her birthright, by having neglected to pay her duty to your lordship, and by permitting others of a later extraction to prepossess that place in your esteem, to which none can pretend a better title.

Poetry, in its nature, is sacred to the good and great: It is the privilege of poetry to address them, and it is their prerogative alone to give it protection. This received maxim is a general apology for all writers who consecrate their labours to great men: Of those few fools, who with ill stars are curst, Sure scribbling fools, called poets, fare the worst: For they're a sort of fools which fortune makes, And, after she has made 'em fools, forsakes.

With Nature's oafs 'tis quite a diff'rent case, For Fortune favours all her idiot race. In her own nest the cuckoo eggs we find, O'er which she broods to hatch the changeling kind: No portion for her own she has to spare, So much she dotes on her adopted care. Poets are bubbles, by the town drawn in, Suffered at first some trifling stakes to win: But what unequal hazards do they run! Each time they write they venture all they've won: The Squire that's buttered still, is sure to be undone.

This author, heretofore, has found your favour, But pleads no merit from his past behaviour. To build on that might prove a vain presumption, Should grants to poets made admit resumption, And in Parnassus he must lose his seat, If that be found a forfeited estate. He owns, with toil he wrought the following scenes, But if they're naught ne'er spare him for his pains: Damn him the more; have no commiseration For dulness on mature deliberation. He swears he'll not resent one hissed-off scene, Nor, like those peevish wits, his play maintain, Who, to assert their sense, your taste arraign.

Some plot we think he has, and some new thought; Some humour too, no farce--but that's a fault. Satire, he thinks, you ought not to expect; For so reformed a town who dares correct? To please, this time, has been his sole pretence, He'll not instruct, lest it should give offence.

Should he by chance a knave or fool expose, That hurts none here, sure here are none of those. In short, our play shall with your leave to show it Give you one instance of a passive poet, Who to your judgments yields all resignation: So save or damn, after your own discretion. Leigh MRS. Bracegirdle MRS. Fainall, and likes Mirabell,--Mrs. Barry MRS. The time equal to that of the presentation. ACT I. A Chocolate-house. BETTY waiting. You are a fortunate man, Mr.

Have we done? What you please. I'll play on to entertain you. No, I'll give you your revenge another time, when you are not so indifferent; you are thinking of something else now, and play too negligently: I'd no more play with a man that slighted his ill fortune than I'd make love to a woman who undervalued the loss of her reputation. You have a taste extremely delicate, and are for refining on your pleasures. Prithee, why so reserved?

Something has put you out of humour. Not at all: I happen to be grave to-day, and you are gay; that's all. Confess, Millamant and you quarrelled last night, after I left you; my fair cousin has some humours that would tempt the patience of a Stoic. What, some coxcomb came in, and was well received by her, while you were by? Witwoud and Petulant, and what was worse, her aunt, your wife's mother, my evil genius--or to sum up all in her own name, my old Lady Wishfort came in.

Oh, there it is then: Yes, and Mrs. Marwood and three or four more, whom I never saw before; seeing me, they all put on their grave faces, whispered one another, then complained aloud of the vapours, and after fell into a profound silence. They had a mind to be rid of you. For which reason I resolved not to stir. At last the good old lady broke through her painful taciturnity with an invective against long visits.

I would not have understood her, but Millamant joining in the argument, I rose and with a constrained smile told her, I thought nothing was so easy as to know when a visit began to be troublesome; she reddened and I withdrew, without expecting her reply. You were to blame to resent what she spoke only in compliance with her aunt. She is more mistress of herself than to be under the necessity of such a resignation.

I was then in such a humour, that I should have been better pleased if she had been less discreet. Now I remember, I wonder not they were weary of you; last night was one of their cabal-nights: You and I are excluded, and it was once proposed that all the male sex should be excepted; but somebody moved that to avoid scandal there might be one man of the community, upon which motion Witwoud and Petulant were enrolled members.

And who may have been the foundress of this sect? My Lady Wishfort, I warrant, who publishes her detestation of mankind, and full of the vigour of fifty-five, declares for a friend and ratafia; and let posterity shift for itself, she'll breed no more.

The discovery of your sham addresses to her, to conceal your love to her niece, has provoked this separation. Had you dissembled better, things might have continued in the state of nature. I did as much as man could, with any reasonable conscience; I proceeded to the very last act of flattery with her, and was guilty of a song in her commendation. Nay, I got a friend to put her into a lampoon, and compliment her with the imputation of an affair with a young fellow, which I carried so far, that I told her the malicious town took notice that she was grown fat of a sudden; and when she lay in of a dropsy, persuaded her she was reported to be in labour.

The devil's in't, if an old woman is to be flattered further, unless a man should endeavour downright personally to debauch her: But for the discovery of this amour, I am indebted to your friend, or your wife's friend, Mrs. What should provoke her to be your enemy, unless she has made you advances which you have slighted? Women do not easily forgive omissions of that nature. She was always civil to me, till of late. I confess I am not one of those coxcombs who are apt to interpret a woman's good manners to her prejudice, and think that she who does not refuse 'em everything can refuse 'em nothing.

You are a gallant man, Mirabell; and though you may have cruelty enough not to satisfy a lady's longing, you have too much generosity not to be tender of her honour. Yet you speak with an indifference which seems to be affected, and confesses you are conscious of a negligence.

You pursue the argument with a distrust that seems to be unaffected, and confesses you are conscious of a concern for which the lady is more indebted to you than is your wife. Fie, fie, friend, if you grow censorious I must leave you: Who are they? Petulant and Witwoud. Betty, what says your clock?

Turned of the last canonical hour, sir. How pertinently the jade answers me! Well, is the grand affair over? You have been something tedious. Sir, there's such coupling at Pancras that they stand behind one another, as 'twere in a country-dance.

The Way of the World

Ours was the last couple to lead up; and no hopes appearing of dispatch, besides, the parson growing hoarse, we were afraid his lungs would have failed before it came to our turn; so we drove round to Duke's Place, and there they were riveted in a trice. So, so; you are sure they are married? Married and bedded, sir; I am witness. Have you the certificate? Here it is, sir. Has the tailor brought Waitwell's clothes home, and the new liveries?

Yes, sir. That's well. Do you go home again, d'ye hear, and adjourn the consummation till farther order; bid Waitwell shake his ears, and Dame Partlet rustle up her feathers, and meet me at one a' clock by Rosamond's pond, that I may see her before she returns to her lady. And, as you tender your ears, be secret.

Joy of your success, Mirabell; you look pleased. Ay; I have been engaged in a matter of some sort of mirth, which is not yet ripe for discovery. I am glad this is not a cabal- night. I wonder, Fainall, that you who are married, and of consequence should be discreet, will suffer your wife to be of such a party.

Faith, I am not jealous. Besides, most who are engaged are women and relations; and for the men, they are of a kind too contemptible to give scandal. I am of another opinion: Are you jealous as often as you see Witwoud entertained by Millamant? Of her understanding I am, if not of her person. You do her wrong; for, to give her her due, she has wit. She has beauty enough to make any man think so, and complaisance enough not to contradict him who shall tell her so.

For a passionate lover methinks you are a man somewhat too discerning in the failings of your mistress. And for a discerning man somewhat too passionate a lover, for I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults.

Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her, and those affectations which in another woman would be odious serve but to make her more agreeable. I'll tell thee, Fainall, she once used me with that insolence that in revenge I took her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her failings: I studied 'em and got 'em by rote.

The catalogue was so large that I was not without hopes, one day or other, to hate her heartily. To which end I so used myself to think of 'em, that at length, contrary to my design and expectation, they gave me every hour less and less disturbance, till in a few days it became habitual to me to remember 'em without being displeased.

They are now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties, and in all probability in a little time longer I shall like 'em as well. Marry her, marry her; be half as well acquainted with her charms as you are with her defects, and, my life on't, you are your own man again. Say you so? Ay, ay; I have experience. I have a wife, and so forth. Is one Squire Witwoud here? Yes; what's your business?

I have a letter for him, from his brother Sir Wilfull, which I am charged to deliver into his own hands. He's in the next room, friend. That way. What, is the chief of that noble family in town, Sir Wilfull Witwoud? He is expected to-day. Do you know him? I have seen him; he promises to be an extraordinary person. I think you have the honour to be related to him. Yes; he is half-brother to this Witwoud by a former wife, who was sister to my Lady Wishfort, my wife's mother.

If you marry Millamant, you must call cousins too. I had rather be his relation than his acquaintance. He comes to town in order to equip himself for travel.

For travel! Why the man that I mean is above forty. No matter for that; 'tis for the honour of England that all Europe should know we have blockheads of all ages. I wonder there is not an act of parliament to save the credit of the nation and prohibit the exportation of fools.

By no means, 'tis better as 'tis; 'tis better to trade with a little loss, than to be quite eaten up with being overstocked. Pray, are the follies of this knight-errant and those of the squire, his brother, anything related? Witwoud grows by the knight like a medlar grafted on a crab. One will melt in your mouth and t'other set your teeth on edge; one is all pulp and the other all core. So one will be rotten before he be ripe, and the other will be rotten without ever being ripe at all.

Sir Wilfull is an odd mixture of bashfulness and obstinacy. But when he's drunk, he's as loving as the monster in The Tempest, and much after the same manner. To give bother his due, he has something of good-nature, and does not always want wit. Not always: He is a fool with a good memory and some few scraps of other folks' wit. He is one whose conversation can never be approved, yet it is now and then to be endured. He has indeed one good quality: If you have a mind to finish his picture, you have an opportunity to do it at full length.

Behold the original. Afford me your compassion, my dears; pity me, Fainall, Mirabell, pity me. I do from my soul. Why, what's the matter? No letters for me, Betty? Did not a messenger bring you one but now, sir? Ay; but no other? No, sir. That's hard, that's very hard. A messenger, a mule, a beast of burden, he has brought me a letter from the fool my brother, as heavy as a panegyric in a funeral sermon, or a copy of commendatory verses from one poet to another.

And what's worse, 'tis as sure a forerunner of the author as an epistle dedicatory. A fool, and your brother, Witwoud? Ay, ay, my half-brother. My half-brother he is, no nearer, upon honour. Then 'tis possible he may be but half a fool.

Good, good, hang him, don't let's talk of him. Gad, I say anything in the world to get this fellow out of my head. I beg pardon that I should ask a man of pleasure and the town a question at once so foreign and domestic. But I talk like an old maid at a marriage, I don't know what I say: No man in town lives well with a wife but Fainall.

Your judgment, Mirabell? You had better step and ask his wife, if you would be credibly informed. My dear, I ask ten thousand pardons.

Gad, I have forgot what I was going to say to you. I thank you heartily, heartily. No, but prithee excuse me: Have a care of such apologies, Witwoud; for I never knew a fool but he affected to complain either of the spleen or his memory. What have you done with Petulant? He's reckoning his money; my money it was: I have no luck to- day.

You may allow him to win of you at play, for you are sure to be too hard for him at repartee: I don't find that Petulant confesses the superiority of wit to be your talent, Witwoud. Come, come, you are malicious now, and would breed debates. Petulant's my friend, and a very honest fellow, and a very pretty fellow, and has a smattering--faith and troth, a pretty deal of an odd sort of a small wit: I'm his friend, I won't wrong him. And if he had any judgment in the world, he would not be altogether contemptible.

Come, come, don't detract from the merits of my friend. You don't take your friend to be over-nicely bred? No, no, hang him, the rogue has no manners at all, that I must own; no more breeding than a bum-baily, that I grant you: What, courage? Hum, faith, I don't know as to that, I can't say as to that.

Yes, faith, in a controversy he'll contradict anybody. Though 'twere a man whom he feared or a woman whom he loved. Well, well, he does not always think before he speaks. We have all our failings; you are too hard upon him, you are, faith. Let me excuse him,--I can defend most of his faults, except one or two; one he has, that's the truth on't,--if he were my brother I could not acquit him--that indeed I could wish were otherwise.

Ay, marry, what's that, Witwoud? Oh, pardon me. Expose the infirmities of my friend? No, my dear, excuse me there. What, I warrant he's unsincere, or 'tis some such trifle. No, no; what if he be? A wit should no more be sincere than a woman constant: Maybe you think him too positive? No, no; his being positive is an incentive to argument, and keeps up conversation.

Too illiterate? That's his happiness. His want of learning gives him the more opportunities to show his natural parts. He wants words? Ay; but I like him for that now: He's impudent? No that's not it. What, he speaks unseasonable truths sometimes, because he has not wit enough to invent an evasion? Ha, ha, ha! No, no, since you will have it, I mean he never speaks truth at all, that's all.

He will lie like a chambermaid, or a woman of quality's porter. Now that is a fault. Is Master Petulant here, mistress? Three gentlewomen in a coach would speak with him. O brave Petulant! I'll tell him. You must bring two dishes of chocolate and a glass of cinnamon water. That should be for two fasting strumpets, and a bawd troubled with wind. Now you may know what the three are. You are very free with your friend's acquaintance.

Ay, ay; friendship without freedom is as dull as love without enjoyment or wine without toasting: You shall see he won't go to 'em because there's no more company here to take notice of him.

Why, this is nothing to what he used to do: Call for himself? What dost thou mean? Why he would slip you out of this chocolate-house, just when you had been talking to him. As soon as your back was turned-- whip he was gone; then trip to his lodging, clap on a hood and scarf and a mask, slap into a hackney-coach, and drive hither to the door again in a trice; where he would send in for himself; that I mean, call for himself, wait for himself, nay, and what's more, not finding himself, sometimes leave a letter for himself.

I confess this is something extraordinary. I believe he waits for himself now, he is so long a coming; oh, I ask his pardon. Sir, the coach stays. Well, well, I come. Pox on 'em, I won't come. D'ye hear, tell 'em I won't come. Let 'em snivel and cry their hearts out. You are very cruel, Petulant. All's one, let it pass. I have a humour to be cruel. I hope they are not persons of condition that you use at this rate. Condition's a dried fig, if I am not in humour.

By this hand, if they were your--a--a--your what-d'ee-call-'ems themselves, they must wait or rub off, if I want appetite. What are they, Witwoud? Empresses, my dear. By your what-d'ee-call-'ems he means Sultana Queens. Ay, Roxolanas. Cry you mercy. Witwoud says they are - PET. What does he say th'are?

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Fine ladies, I say. Pass on, Witwoud. Harkee, by this light, his relations--two co-heiresses his cousins, and an old aunt, who loves cater-wauling better than a conventicle. I had a mind to see how the rogue would come off. Gad, I can't be angry with him, if he had said they were my mother and my sisters.

No; the rogue's wit and readiness of invention charm me, dear Petulant. They are gone, sir, in great anger. Enough, let 'em trundle. Anger helps complexion, saves paint. This continence is all dissembled; this is in order to have something to brag of the next time he makes court to Millamant, and swear he has abandoned the whole sex for her sake. Have you not left off your impudent pretensions there yet? I shall cut your throat, sometime or other, Petulant, about that business.

Ay, ay, let that pass. There are other throats to be cut. Meaning mine, sir? Not I--I mean nobody--I know nothing. But there are uncles and nephews in the world--and they may be rivals.

What then? All's one for that. Harkee, Petulant, come hither. Explain, or I shall call your interpreter. I know nothing. Why, you have an uncle, have you not, lately come to town, and lodges by my Lady Wishfort's? Why, that's enough. You and he are not friends; and if he should marry and have a child, yon may be disinherited, ha! Where hast thou stumbled upon all this truth? All's one for that; why, then, say I know something.

The Way of the World by William Congreve

Come, thou art an honest fellow, Petulant, and shalt make love to my mistress, thou shalt, faith. What hast thou heard of my uncle? Nothing, I. If throats are to be cut, let swords clash. Snug's the word; I shrug and am silent. Oh, raillery, raillery! Come, I know thou art in the women's secrets.

What, you're a cabalist; I know you stayed at Millamant's last night after I went. Was there any mention made of my uncle or me? Tell me; if thou hadst but good nature equal to thy wit, Petulant, Tony Witwoud, who is now thy competitor in fame, would show as dim by thee as a dead whiting's eye by a pearl of orient; he would no more be seen by thee than Mercury is by the sun: If I do, will you grant me common sense, then, for the future?

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Faith, I'll do what I can for thee, and I'll pray that heav'n may grant it thee in the meantime. Well, harkee. Petulant and you both will find Mirabell as warm a rival as a lover. Pshaw, pshaw, that she laughs at Petulant is plain. And for my part, but that it is almost a fashion to admire her, I should-- harkee--to tell you a secret, but let it go no further between friends, I shall never break my heart for her.

She's handsome; but she's a sort of an uncertain woman. I thought you had died for her. Umh--no - FAIN. She has wit. Now, demme, I should hate that, if she were as handsome as Cleopatra. Mirabell is not so sure of her as he thinks for.

Why do you think so? We stayed pretty late there last night, and heard something of an uncle to Mirabell, who is lately come to town, and is between him and the best part of his estate. Mirabell and he are at some distance, as my Lady Wishfort has been told; and you know she hates Mirabell worse than a quaker hates a parrot, or than a fishmonger hates a hard frost.

Whether this uncle has seen Mrs. Millamant or not, I cannot say; but there were items of such a treaty being in embryo; and if it should come to life, poor Mirabell would be in some sort unfortunately fobbed, i'faith.

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Faith, my dear, I can't tell; she's a woman and a kind of a humorist. And this is the sum of what you could collect last night? The quintessence. Maybe Witwoud knows more; he stayed longer. Besides, they never mind him; they say anything before him. I thought you had been the greatest favourite. Ay, tete-e-tete; but not in public, because I make remarks. You do? Ay, ay, pox, I'm malicious, man. Now he's soft, you know, they are not in awe of him. The fellow's well bred, he's what you call a--what d'ye-call-'em--a fine gentleman, but he's silly withal.

I thank you, I know as much as my curiosity requires. Fainall, are you for the Mall? Ay, I'll take a turn before dinner.

Ay, we'll all walk in the park; the ladies talked of being there. I thought you were obliged to watch for your brother Sir Wilfull's arrival. No, no, he comes to his aunt's, my Lady Wishfort; pox on him, I shall be troubled with him too; what shall I do with the fool? Beg him for his estate, that I may beg you afterwards, and so have but one trouble with you both.

O rare Petulant, thou art as quick as fire in a frosty morning; thou shalt to the Mall with us, and we'll be very severe. Enough; I'm in a humour to be severe. Are you? Pray then walk by yourselves.

Let not us be accessory to your putting the ladies out of countenance with your senseless ribaldry, which you roar out aloud as often as they pass by you, and when you have made a handsome woman blush, then you think you have been severe. What, what? Then let 'em either show their innocence by not understanding what they hear, or else show their discretion by not hearing what they would not be thought to understand.

But hast not thou then sense enough to know that thou ought'st to be most ashamed thyself when thou hast put another out of countenance? Not I, by this hand: I always take blushing either for a sign of guilt or ill-breeding. I confess you ought to think so. You are in the right, that you may plead the error of your judgment in defence of your practice. Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit That impudence and malice pass for wit.

ACT II. James's Park. Ay, ay, dear Marwood, if we will be happy, we must find the means in ourselves, and among ourselves. Men are ever in extremes; either doting or averse. While they are lovers, if they have fire and sense, their jealousies are insupportable: True, 'tis an unhappy circumstance of life that love should ever die before us, and that the man so often should outlive the lover.

But say what you will, 'tis better to be left than never to have been loved. To pass our youth in dull indifference, to refuse the sweets of life because they once must leave us, is as preposterous as to wish to have been born old, because we one day must be old. For my part, my youth may wear and waste, but it shall never rust in my possession. Then it seems you dissemble an aversion to mankind only in compliance to my mother's humour. To be free, I have no taste of those insipid dry discourses with which our sex of force must entertain themselves apart from men.

We may affect endearments to each other, profess eternal friendships, and seem to dote like lovers; but 'tis not in our natures long to persevere. Love will resume his empire in our breasts, and every heart, or soon or late, receive and readmit him as its lawful tyrant. Bless me, how have I been deceived! Why, you profess a libertine. You see my friendship by my freedom. Come, be as sincere, acknowledge that your sentiments agree with mine.

You hate mankind? Heartily, inveterately. Your husband? Most transcendently; ay, though I say it, meritoriously. Give me your hand upon it. I join with you; what I have said has been to try you. Is it possible? Dost thou hate those vipers, men? I have done hating 'em, and am now come to despise 'em; the next thing I have to do is eternally to forget 'em. There spoke the spirit of an Amazon, a Penthesilea. And yet I am thinking sometimes to carry my aversion further.

Faith, by marrying; if I could but find one that loved me very well, and would be throughly sensible of ill usage, I think I should do myself the violence of undergoing the ceremony. You would not make him a cuckold? No; but I'd make him believe I did, and that's as bad. Why had not you as good do it?

Oh, if he should ever discover it, he would then know the worst, and be out of his pain; but I would have him ever to continue upon the rack of fear and jealousy. Ingenious mischief! Would thou wert married to Mirabell. Would I were. You change colour. Because I hate him. So do I; but I can hear him named. But what reason have you to hate him in particular? I never loved him; he is, and always was, insufferably proud.

By the reason you give for your aversion, one would think it dissembled; for you have laid a fault to his charge, of which his enemies must acquit him. Oh, then it seems you are one of his favourable enemies. Methinks you look a little pale, and now you flush again. I think I am a little sick o' the sudden. What ails you? My husband. Don't you see him? He turned short upon me unawares, and has almost overcome me.

For you, for he has brought Mirabell with him. My dear. My soul. You don't look well to-day, child. D'ye think so? He is the only man that does, madam. The only man that would tell me so at least, and the only man from whom I could hear it without mortification. Oh, my dear, I am satisfied of your tenderness; I know you cannot resent anything from me; especially what is an effect of my concern.

Mirabell, my mother interrupted you in a pleasant relation last night: I would fain hear it out. The persons concerned in that affair have yet a tolerable reputation. I am afraid Mr.

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Fainall will be censorious. He has a humour more prevailing than his curiosity, and will willingly dispense with the hearing of one scandalous story, to avoid giving an occasion to make another by being seen to walk with his wife.

This way, Mr. Mirabell, and I dare promise you will oblige us both. Excellent creature! Well, sure, if I should live to be rid of my wife, I should be a miserable man. For having only that one hope, the accomplishment of it of consequence must put an end to all my hopes, and what a wretch is he who must survive his hopes! Nothing remains when that day comes but to sit down and weep like Alexander when he wanted other worlds to conquer.

Will you not follow 'em? Faith, I think not, MRS. Pray let us; I have a reason. You are not jealous? Of whom? Of Mirabell. If I am, is it inconsistent with my love to you that I am tender of your honour?

You would intimate then, as if there were a fellow-feeling between my wife and him? I think she does not hate him to that degree she would be thought. But he, I fear, is too insensible. It may be you are deceived. It may be so. I do not now begin to apprehend it. That I have been deceived, madam, and you are false. That I am false? What mean you? To let you know I see through all your little arts. Your mutual jealousies of one another have made you clash till you have both struck fire.

I have seen the warm confession red'ning on your cheeks, and sparkling from your eyes. You do me wrong. I do not. But could you think, because the nodding husband would not wake, that e'er the watchful lover slept? And wherewithal can you reproach me? With infidelity, with loving another, with love of Mirabell. I challenge you to show an instance that can confirm your groundless accusation.

I hate him. And wherefore do you hate him? He is insensible, and your resentment follows his neglect. An instance? The injuries you have done him are a proof: What cause had you to make discoveries of his pretended passion? To undeceive the credulous aunt, and be the officious obstacle of his match with Millamant? My obligations to my lady urged me: I had professed a friendship to her, and could not see her easy nature so abused by that dissembler.

What, was it conscience then? Professed a friendship! Oh, the pious friendships of the female sex! More tender, more sincere, and more enduring, than all the vain and empty vows of men, whether professing love to us or mutual faith to one another. Shame and ingratitude! Do you reproach me? You, you upbraid me? Have I been false to her, through strict fidelity to you, and sacrificed my friendship to keep my love inviolate? And have you the baseness to charge me with the guilt, unmindful of the merit?

To you it should be meritorious that I have been vicious. And do you reflect that guilt upon me which should lie buried in your bosom? You misinterpret my reproof. I meant but to remind you of the slight account you once could make of strictest ties when set in competition with your love to me. Your guilt, not your resentment, begets your rage.

If yet you loved, you could forgive a jealousy: It shall be all discovered. You too shall be discovered; be sure you shall. I can but be exposed. If I do it myself I shall prevent your baseness. Why, what will you do? Disclose it to your wife; own what has past between us. By all my wrongs I'll do't. I'll publish to the world the injuries you have done me, both in my fame and fortune: Your fame I have preserved.

Your fortune has been bestowed as the prodigality of your love would have it, in pleasures which we both have shared. Yet, had not you been false I had e'er this repaid it. Millamant had forfeited the moiety of her fortune, which then would have descended to my wife.

And wherefore did I marry but to make lawful prize of a rich widow's wealth, and squander it on love and you? Deceit and frivolous pretence!

Death, am I not married? What's pretence? Am I not imprisoned, fettered? Have I not a wife? Nay, a wife that was a widow, a young widow, a handsome widow, and would be again a widow, but that I have a heart of proof, and something of a constitution to bustle through the ways of wedlock and this world. Will you yet be reconciled to truth and me? Truth and you are inconsistent. For loving you? I loathe the name of love after such usage; and next to the guilt with which you would asperse me, I scorn you most.

Nay, we must not part thus.

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Let me go. Come, I'm sorry. I care not. Break my hands, do--I'd leave 'em to get loose. I would not hurt you for the world. Have I no other hold to keep you here? Well, I have deserved it all. You know I love you. Poor dissembling! Oh, that--well, it is not yet - FAIN.

What is it not? What is it not yet? It is not yet too late - MRS. No, it is not yet too late--I have that comfort. It is, to love another. But not to loathe, detest, abhor mankind, myself, and the whole treacherous world. Nay, this is extravagance. Come, I ask your pardon. No tears--I was to blame, I could not love you and be easy in my doubts.

Pray forbear--I believe you; I'm convinced I've done you wrong; and any way, every way will make amends: I'll hate my wife yet more, damn her, I'll part with her, rob her of all she's worth, and we'll retire somewhere, anywhere, to another world; I'll marry thee--be pacified. You have a mask: He is …..

Mirabell has him marry Foible to further his secret plan to win Millamant. He plays a significant role in advancing the plot.

She cooperates with Mirabell in….. She reveals Mrs. Betty - She is the waiting-woman in the chocolate-house and speaks only a few lines. The Way of the World is essentially about Mirabell and his love for Millamant, and he holds the…..

Marwood perform the roles of the antagonists and villains in the play. They are diametrically opposed to Mirabell and Millamant. Both of them have clearly defined….. Outcome - The play ends in comedy, as Mirabell defeats the counter plot of Fainall and Mrs.

He produces a deed in which Mrs. Fainall had earlier signed over her fortune in trust to him.

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Therefore, Fainall cannot claim this money, which no longer belongs to his wife. Fainall and….. Although the play has only one main plot and covers a single day, it is crowded with numerous events and intrigues. The plot of The Way of the World seems to follow a logic of its own. Before the action of the play unfolds, certain events are understood to have previously taken place. Lady Wishfort is opposed to this match because her vanity has been offended by Mirabell, who earlier pretended to court her although he was really in love with Millamant, her ward.

Act I opens at a fashionable chocolate-house where Fainall has just beaten Mirabell in a game of cards. Through the conversation between Witwoud and Petulant, the audience learns……. The phrase, the way of the world, indicates ….. Minor Themes Several minor themes pervade the play. There is the romantic theme of the hero who proves his worth and finally wins the fair heroine. The importance of money to….. MOOD As the play focuses on the exposure of follies, the mood is tinged with satire.

Even though the play….. He was the son of an army officer who became the steward to the Earl of Cork. Congreve studied at Kilkenny School, where he received a classical education. At the same time, Jonathan Swift, who was two years his senior, was a student at Kilkenny College.

Congreve then entered Trinity College in Dublin at the age of sixteen; he was again a contemporary of Jonathan Swift at Trinity.

He, however, left Ireland before he could complete his degree. Civil disturbances during the Jacobite War of 3 PinkMonkey. Congreve went to England, where he first stayed with his dying grandfather at Stretton in Staffordshire and….. Both Mirabell and Millamant wish to marry each other and still enjoy the six thousand pounds inheritance that she will receive if she marries the suitor chosen by her aunt. The plot is complicated by the ways of the world.

Mirabell has offended Lady Wishfort and is opposed by Fainall and his mistress, Mrs. Fainall so that he can reach it. Both Fainall and Mrs. The dedication also constitutes a statement of purpose.

Congreve writes that he is aware that the world may charge him with vanity for dedicating his play to the earl. Congreve does not expect the play to succeed on the stage, since he is aware that he is not catering to the current tastes of Restoration society.

Congreve states his dissatisfaction with the kind of comedies being written. Congreve asserts that instead of moving the audience to laughter, comic characters should excite compassion. He is also aware that his play may not succeed on stage because many people come to the theater prepared to criticize a play without understanding its purpose.

Congreve holds Terence, an ancient Roman author of comedies, as his model. He states that Terence benefited from the encouragement of Scipio and Lelius.

Congreve then sketches a brief history of classical comedy in which he mentions Terence's models and traces the source of his inspiration back to Aristotle. Congreve emphasizes the importance of patronage and claims that contact with such superior people is the only means of attaining perfection in dialogue.

Congreve proceeds to attribute all that is best in his style to the society of Ralph, Earl of Montague. He further praises the earl by stating that if this play suffers from any deficiency, it is his Congreve's fault, since he could 4 PinkMonkey. Poetry addresses itself to the good and great. This relationship is reciprocal: Many writers dedicate their works to the good and the great.

But Congreve pleads that his address may be exempt from all the trappings of a typical dedication. Congreve outlines his aims as a writer and expresses his dissatisfaction with contemporary comedies while acknowledging his debt to the patronage of Ralph, the Earl of Montague.

The dedication contains lavish praise of the earl, which was customary in the Restoration Age. Therefore, Congreve compares the society of the earl to that of Scipio and Lelius in classical times. He blames certain misinterpretations of his work on the poor taste of the audience, accustomed to ridiculing characters who are fools. Congreve states that in his view such characters are limited; they are incapable of moving the audience to compassion and can only provoke coarse laughter.

Congreve distinguishes his characters from those depicted in contemporary comedies. The main point of difference lies in the fact that his characters invite ridicule not for their natural follies, but for the exposure of their affectation. Unfortunately, he feels that not many viewers possess the ability to distinguish correctly between these different types.

This distinction forms the basis of the characterization in the play. But not all the characters in The Way of the World are examples of affectation. Congreve also depicts the conventional fops and country bumpkins, frequent objects of ridicule in Restoration comedies.

Poets have to risk the fame earned from their previous work when they write a new work. If his new endeavor fails, the poet must lose his seat in Parnassus. Parnassus was a mountain near Delphi in Greece, sacred to Apollo and the Muses.