Act III - Scene i

SCENE: The Street.

Silvia and Lucy.

SILV.  Will he not come, then?

LUCY.  Yes, yes; come, I warrant him, if you will go in and be ready to receive him.

SILV.  Why did you not tell me?  Whom mean you?

LUCY.  Whom you should mean, Heartwell.

SILV.  Senseless creature, I meant my Vainlove.

LUCY.  You may as soon hope to recover your own maiden-head as his love.  Therefore, e’en set your heart at rest, and in the name of opportunity mind your own business.  Strike Heartwell home before the bait’s worn off the hook.  Age will come.  He nibbled fairly yesterday, and no doubt will be eager enough to-day to swallow the temptation.

SILV.  Well, since there’s no remedy—yet tell me—for I would know, though to the anguish of my soul, how did he refuse?  Tell me, how did he receive my letter—in anger or in scorn?

LUCY.  Neither; but what was ten times worse, with damned senseless indifference.  By this light I could have spit in his face.  Receive it!  Why, he received it as I would one of your lovers that should come empty-handed; as a court lord does his mercer’s bill or a begging dedication—he received it as if ’t had been a letter from his wife.

SILV.  What! did he not read it?

LUCY.  Hummed it over, gave you his respects, and said he would take time to peruse it—but then he was in haste.

SILV.  Respects, and peruse it!  He’s gone, and Araminta has bewitched him from me.  Oh, how the name of rival fires my blood.  I could curse ’em both; eternal jealousy attend her love, and disappointment meet his.  Oh that I could revenge the torment he has caused; methinks I feel the woman strong within me, and vengeance kindles in the room of love.

LUCY.  I have that in my head may make mischief.

SILV.  How, dear Lucy?

LUCY.  You know Araminta’s dissembled coyness has won, and keeps him hers—

SILV.  Could we persuade him that she loves another—

LUCY.  No, you’re out; could we persuade him that she dotes on him, himself.  Contrive a kind letter as from her, ’twould disgust his nicety, and take away his stomach.

SILV.  Impossible; ’twill never take.

LUCY.  Trouble not your head.  Let me alone—I will inform myself of what passed between ’em to-day, and about it straight.  Hold, I’m mistaken, or that’s Heartwell, who stands talking at the corner—’tis he—go get you in, madam, receive him pleasantly, dress up your face in innocence and smiles, and dissemble the very want of dissimulation.  You know what will take him.

SILV.  ’Tis as hard to counterfeit love as it is to conceal it: but I’ll do my weak endeavour, though I fear I have not art.

LUCY.  Hang art, madam, and trust to nature for dissembling.

     Man was by nature woman’s cully made:
     We never are but by ourselves betrayed.