Act IV - Scene xii
VAIN. I find, madam, the formality of the law must be observed, though the penalty of it be dispensed with, and an offender must plead to his arraignment, though he has his pardon in his pocket.
ARAM. I’m amazed! This insolence exceeds t’other; whoever has encouraged you to this assurance, presuming upon the easiness of my temper, has much deceived you, and so you shall find.
VAIN. Hey day! Which way now? Here’s fine doubling. [Aside.]
ARAM. Base man! Was it not enough to affront me with your saucy passion?
VAIN. You have given that passion a much kinder epithet than saucy, in another place.
ARAM. Another place! Some villainous design to blast my honour. But though thou hadst all the treachery and malice of thy sex, thou canst not lay a blemish on my fame. No, I have not erred in one favourable thought of mankind. How time might have deceived me in you, I know not; my opinion was but young, and your early baseness has prevented its growing to a wrong belief. Unworthy and ungrateful! be gone, and never see me more.
VAIN. Did I dream? or do I dream? Shall I believe my eyes, or ears? The vision is here still. Your passion, madam, will admit of no farther reasoning; but here’s a silent witness of your acquaintance. [Takes our the letter, and offers it: she snatches it, and throws it away.]
ARAM. There’s poison in everything you touch. Blisters will follow—
VAIN. That tongue, which denies what the hands have done.
ARAM. Still mystically senseless and impudent; I find I must leave the place.
VAIN. No, madam, I’m gone. She knows her name’s to it, which she will be unwilling to expose to the censure of the first finder.
ARAM. Woman’s obstinacy made me blind to what woman’s curiosity now tempts me to see. [Takes up the letter.]