Act I

SCENE I.—Sir John Brute’s House

Enter Sir John Brute.

Sir J. What cloying meat is love, when matrimony’s the sauce to it! Two years’ marriage has debauched my five senses. Everything I see, everything I hear, everything I feel, everything I smell, and everything I taste, methinks, has wife in’t. No boy was ever so weary of his tutor, no girl of her bib, no nun of doing penance, or old maid of being chaste, as I am of being married. Sure, there’s a secret curse entailed upon the very name of wife. My lady is a young lady, a fine lady, a witty lady, a virtuous lady, and yet, I hate her. There is but one thing on earth I loath beyond her, that’s fighting. Would my courage come up to a fourth part of my ill-nature, I’d stand buff to her relations, and thrust her out of doors. But marriage has sunk me down to such an ebb of resolution, I dare not draw my sword, though even to get rid of my wife. But here she comes.

Enter Lady Brute.

Lady B. Do you dine at home to-day, Sir John?

Sir J. Why? Do you expect I should tell you what I don’t know myself?

Lady B. I thought there was no harm in asking you.

Sir J. If thinking wrong were an excuse for impertinence, women might be justified in most things they say or do.

Lady B. I am sorry I have said anything to displease you.

Sir J. Sorrow for things past, is of as little importance to me, as my dining at home or abroad ought to be to you.

Lady B. My inquiry was only that I might have provided what you liked.

Sir J. Six to four you had been in the wrong there again; for what I liked yesterday I don’t like to-day, and what I like to-day, ’tis odds I mayn’t like to-morrow.

Lady B. But if I had asked you what you liked?

Sir J. Why, then, there would be more asking about it than the thing is worth.

Lady B. I wish I did but know how I might please you.

Sir J. Ay, but that sort of knowledge is not a wife’s talent.

Lady B. Whatever my talent is, I’m sure my will has ever been to make you easy.

Sir J. If women were to have their wills, the world would be finely governed.

Lady B. What reason have I given you to use me as you do of late? It once was otherwise: you married me for love.

Sir J. And you me for money: so you have your reward, and I have mine.

Lady B. What is it that disturbs you?

Sir J. A parson.

Lady B. Why, what has he done to you?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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