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belie a lady; it is contrary to his character. How one may be deceived in a woman, Valentine !
Tatt. Nay, what do you mean, gentlemen ?
Val. What did I say? I hope you won't bring me to confess an answer, when you never asked me the question !
Tatt. But, gentlemen, this is the most inhuman proceeding.
Val. Nay, if you have known Scandal thus long, and cannot avoid such a palpable decoy as this was ; the ladies have a fine time, whose reputations are in your keeping.
Enter JEREMY. Fer. Sir, Mrs. Frail has sent to know if you are stirring.
Val. Shew her up when she comes. [Exit Jer.
Val. If there were, you have more discretion than to give Scandal such an advantage; why, your running an ay will prove all that he can tell her.
Tatt. Scandal, you will not be so ungenerous~0,1 shall lose my reputation of secrecy for ever.-I shall never be received but upon public days; and my
visits will never be admitted beyond a drawing-room: I shall never see a bed-chamber again, never be locked in a closet, nor run behind a screen, or under a table; never be distinguished among the waiting women by the name of trusty Mr. Tattle more. You will not be so cruel ?
Val. Scandal, have pity on him ; he'll yield to any conditions.
Tatt. Any, any terms.
Scand. Come then, sacrifice half a dozen women of good reputation to me presently. -Come, where are you familiari-And' see that they are women of quality too, the first quality.
Tatt. 'Tis very hard. -Won't a baronet's lady pass?
Scand. No, nothing under a right honourable.
Tatt. Alas, that is the same thing. Pray spare me their titles ; I'll describe their persons.
Scand. Well, begin then. But take notice, if you are so ill a painter, that I cannot know the person by your picture of her, you must be condemned, like other bad painters, to write the name at the bottom.
Tatt. Well, first then
Enter Mrs, FRAIL.
O unfortunate! she's come already. Will you have patience till another time?--I'll double the number.
Scand. Well, on that condition- Take heed you don't fail me.
Mrs. F. I shall get a fine reputation, by coming to see fellows in a morning! Scandal, you devil, are you here too? Oh, Mr. Tattle, every thing is safe with
you, we know.
Tatt. Mum O madam, you do me too much honour,
Val. Well, lady Galloper, how does Angelica ?
Mrs. F. No, I'll allow a lover present with his mistress to be particular-but otherwise I think his passion ought to give place to his manners.'
Val. But what if he has more passion than manners ?
Mrs. F. Then let him marry, and reform.
Val. Marriage indeed may qualify the fury of his passion; but it very rarely mends a man's manners.
Mrs. F. You are the most mistaken in the world; there is no creature perfectly civil, but a husband : for in a little time he grows only rude to his wife ; and that is the highest good-breeding, for it begets his civility to other people. Well, I'll tell you news; but, I suppose, you heard your brother Benjamin is landed. And my brother Foresight's daughter is come out of the country—I assure you, there's a inatch talk'd of by the old people.-Well, if he be but as great a sea beast, as she is a land monster, we
shall have a most amphibious breed--the progeny will be all otters : he has been bred at sea, and she has never been out of the country.
Val. Pox take them! their conjunction bodes me no good, I'm sure.
Mrs. F. Now you talk of conjunction, my brother Foresight has cast both their nativities, and prognosticates an admiral and an eminent justice of the peace to be the issue male of their two bodies. 'Tis the most superstitious old fool! He would have persuaded me, that this was an unlucky day, and would not let me come abroad : but I invented a dream, and sent him to Artemidorus for interpretation, and so stole out to see you. Well, and what will you give me now? Come, I must have something.
Val. Step into the next room—and I'll give you something.
Scand. Ay, we'll all give you something.
Mrs. F. I thought you would give me something that would be a trouble to you to keep.
Val. And Scandal shall give you a good name.
Mrs. F. That's more than he has for himself. And what will you give me, Mr. Tattle ?
Tatt. I? My soul, madam.
Mrs. F. Pooh, no, I thank you, I have enough to do to take care of my own. Well; but I'll come and see you one of these mornings: I hear, you have a great many pictures.
Tatt. I have a pretty good collection, at your service; some originals.
Scand. Hang him, he has nothing but the Seasons and the Twelve Cæsars, paltry copies; and the Five Senses, as ill represented as they are in himself; and he himself is the only original you will see there.
Mrs. F. Ay, but I hear he has a closet of beauties.
Scand. Yes, all that have done him favours, if you will believe him.
Mrs. F. Ay, let me see those, Mr. Tattle.
Tatt, Oh, madam, those are sacred to love and contemplation. No man but the painter and myself was ever blest with the sight.
Mrs. F. Well, but a woman
Tatt. Nor woman, till she consented to have her picture there toomfor then she is obliged to keep the
Scand. No, no? come to me if you'd see pictures
Scand. Yes, faith, I can shew you your own picture, and most of your acquaintance, to the life, and as like as at Kneller's.
Mrs. F. O lying creature !--Valentine, does not he lie I-I can't believe a word he says.
Val. No, indeed he speaks truth now : for, as Tattle has pictures of all that have granted him favours, he has the pictures of all that have refused him—if satires, descriptions, characters, and lampoons, are pictures,
Scand. Yes, mine are most in black and white-and