« PreviousContinue »
to guess at what they mean : but you have little reason to believe that a woman of this age, who has had an indifference for you in your prosperity, will fall in love with your ill-fortune. Besides, Angelica has a great fortune of her own; and great fortunes either expect another great fortune, or a fool.
Jer. No, sir; but Mr. Tattle is come to wait upon you.
Val. Well, I cannot help it-you must bring him up; he knows I don't go abroad. [Exit Jer.
Scand. Pox on him, I'll be gone.
Val. No, pr’ythee stay: Tattle and you should never be asunder; you are light and shadow, and shew one another. He is perfectly thy reverse both in humour and understanding; and, as you up
for defamation, he is a mender of reputations.
Scund. A mender of reputations! ay, just as he is a keeper of secrets, another virtue that he sets up for in the same manner. For the rogue will speak aloud in the posture of a whisper; and deny a woman's name, while he gives you the marks of her person. “ He will forswear receiving a letter from “ her, and at the same time shew you her hand in “ the superscription: and yet perhaps he has coun“ terfeited her hand too, and sworn to a truth; but “ he hopes not to be believed; and refuses the repu
“ tation of a lady's favour, as a doctor says no to a “ bishoprick, only that it may be granted him.”-In short, he is a public professor of secrecy, and makes proclamation that he holds private intelligence.--He is here.
Tatt. Valentine, good morrow: Scandal, I am yours —that is, when you speak well of me.
Scand. That is, when I am yours? for while I am my own, or any body's else, that will never happen.
Tatt. How inhuman !
Val. Why, Tattle, you need not be much concerned at any thing that he says: for to conyerse with Scandal, is to play at Losing Loadum; you must lose a good name to him, before you can win it for yourself.
Tatt. But how barbarous that is, and how unfortunate for him, that the world shall think the better of any person for his calumniation! I thank Heaven, it has always been a part of my character to handle the reputations of others very tenderly indeed.
Scand. Ay, such rotten reputations as you have to deal with are to be handled tenderly indeed.
Tatt. Nay, why rotten? why should you say rotten, when you know not the persons of whom you speak ? How cruel that is !
Scand. Not know them? Why, thou never hadst to do with any one that did not stink to all the town.
Tatt. Ha, ha, ha! nay, now you make a jest of it indeed. For there is nothing more known, than that nobody knows any thing of that nature of me. As I hope to be saved, Valentine, I never exposed a woman, since I knew what woman was.
Val. And yet you have conversed with several?
Tatt. To be free with you I have—I don't care if I own that—nay, more (I'm going to say a bold word now), I never could meddle with a woman that had to do with any body else.
Scand. How !
Val. Nay, faith, I'm apt to believe him-except her husband, Tattle.
Tatt. Oh that
Scand. What think you of that noble commoner, Mrs. Drab?
Tatt. Pooh, I know Madam Drab has made her brags in three or four places, that I said this and that, and writ to her, and did I know not what but, upon my reputation, she did me wrong-well, well, that was malice-but I know the bottom of it. She was bribed to that by one we all know-a man toomonly to bring me into disgrace with a certain woman of quality
Scand. Whom we all know.
Tatt. No matter for that-Yes, yes, every body knows-10 doubt on't, every body knows my secrets ! —But I soon satisfied the lady of my innocence ; for I told her Madam, says I, there are some persons who make it their business to tell stories, and say this
and that of one and the other, and every thing in the world; and, says I, if your grace
Scand. Grace !
Tatt. O Lord, what have I said? --My unlucky tongue!
Val. Ha, ha, ha!
Scand. Why, Tattle, thou hast more impudence than one can in reason expect : I shall have an esteem for thee-well, and ha, ha, ha! well, go on, and what did you say to her grace ?
Val. I confess this is something extraordinary.
Tatt. Not a word, as I hope to be saved; an arrant lapsus linguæ !--Come, let us talk of something else.
Val. Well, but how did you acquit yourself?
Tatt. Pooh, pooh, nothing at all, I only rallied with you. A woman of ordinary rank was a little jealous of me, and I told her something or other faith, I know not what,--Come, let's talk of something else.
[Hums a song. Scand. Hang him, let him alone; he has a mind we should inquire.
Tats. Valentine, I supped last night with your mistress, and her uncle old Foresight: I think your father lies at Foresight's.
Tatt. Upon my soul, Angelica’s a fine woman.And so is Mrs. Foresight, and her sister Mrs. Frail.
Scand. Yes, Mrs. Frail is a very fine woman; we all know her. Tatt. Oh, that is not fair.
Scand. To tell what ? Why, what do you know of Mrs. Frail ?
Tatt. Who I ? Upon honour I don't know whether she be a man or woman; but by the smoothness of her chin, and roundness of her hips.
Scand. Nó !
Tatt. Why then, as I hope to be saved, I believe a woman only obliges a man to secresy, that she may have the pleasure of telling herself.
Scand. No doubt on it. Well, but has she done you wrong, or no? You have had her? ha ?
Tatt. Though I have more honour than to tell first; I have more manners than to contradict what a lady has declared.
Scand. Well, you own it?
Tatt. I am strangely surprised l Yes, yes, I cannot deny it, if she taxes me with it.
Scand. She'll be here by and by ; she sees Valentine every morning.
Tatt. How !
Val. She does me the favour-I mean, of a visit sometimes. I did not think she had granted more to
Scand. Nor I, faith. But Tattle does not use to