Scene I.A Room in Sir Peter Teazles House.
Enter Sir Peter and Lady Teazle.
Sir Pet. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, Ill not bear it!
Lady Teaz. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and whats more, I will too. What though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
Sir Pet. Very well, maam, very well; so a husband is to have no influence, no authority?
Lady Teaz. Authority! No, to be sure:if you wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married me: I am sure you were old enough.
Sir Pet. Old enough!ay, there it is! Well, well, Lady Teazle, though my life may be made unhappy by your temper, Ill not be ruined by your extravagance!
Lady Teaz. My extravagance! Im sure Im not more extravagant than a woman of fashion ought to be.
Sir Pet. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such unmeaning luxury. Slife! to spend as much to furnish your dressing-room with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn the Pantheon into a greenhouse, and give a fête champêtre at Christmas.
Lady Teaz. And am I to blame, Sir Peter, because flowers are dear in cold weather? You should find fault with the climate, and not with me. For my part, Im sure I wish it was spring all the year round, and that roses grew under our feet!
Sir Pet. Oons! madamif you had been born to this, I shouldnt wonder at your talking thus; but you forget what your situation was when I married you.
Lady Teaz. No, no, I dont; twas a very disagreeable one, or I should never have married you.
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, madam, you were then in somewhat a humbler stylethe daughter of a plain country squire. Recollect, Lady Teazle, when I saw you first sitting at your tambour, in a pretty figured linen gown, with a bunch of keys at your side, your hair combed smooth over a roll, and your apartment hung round with fruits in worsted, of your own working.
Lady Teaz. Oh, yes! I remember it very well, and a curious life I led. My daily occupation to inspect the dairy, superintend the poultry, make extracts from the family receipt-book, and comb my aunt Deborahs lapdog.
Sir Pet. Yes, yes, maam, twas so indeed.
Lady Teaz. And then, you know, my evening amusements! To draw patterns for ruffles, which I had not materials to make up; to play Pope Joan with the Curate; to read a sermon to my aunt; or to be stuck down to an old spinnet to strum my father to sleep after a fox-chase.
Sir Pet. I am glad you have so good a memory. Yes, madam, these were the recreations I took you from; but now you must have your coachvis-à-visand three powdered footmen before your chair; and, in the summer, a pair of white cats to draw you to Kensington Gardens. No recollection, I suppose, when you were content to ride double, behind the butler, on a docked coach-horse?
Lady Teaz. NoI swear I never did that: I deny the butler and the coach-horse.
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