Act IV

SCENE I.—The Gallery in Lady Bountiful’s House

Mrs. Sullen discovered alone.

Mrs. Sul. Were I born an humble Turk, where women have no soul nor property, there I must sit contented. But in England, a country whose women are its glory, must women be abused? where women rule, must women be enslaved? Nay, cheated into slavery, mocked by a promise of comfortable society into a wilderness of solitude! I dare not keep the thought about me. Oh, here comes something to divert me.

Enter a Countrywoman.

Wom. I come, an’t please your ladyship—you’re my Lady Bountiful, an’t ye?

Mrs. Sul. Well, good woman, go on.

Wom. I have come seventeen long mail to have a cure for my husband’s sore leg.

Mrs. Sul. Your husband! what, woman, cure your husband!

Wom. Ay, poor man, for his sore leg won’t let him stir from home.

Mrs. Sul. There, I confess, you have given me a reason. Well, good woman, I’ll tell you what you must do. You must lay your husband’s leg upon a table, and with a chopping-knife you must lay it open as broad as you can, then you must take out the bone, and beat the flesh soundly with a rolling-pin, then take salt, pepper, cloves, mace, and ginger, some sweet-herbs, and season it very well, then roll it up like brawn, and put it into the oven for two hours.

Wom. Heavens reward your ladyship!—I have two little babies too that are piteous bad with the graips, an’t please ye.

Mrs. Sul. Put a little pepper and salt in their bellies, good woman.

Enter Lady Bountiful. I beg your ladyship’s pardon for taking your business out of your hands; I have been a-tampering here a little with one of your patients.

Lady Boun. Come, good woman, don’t mind this mad creature: I am the person that you want, I suppose. What would you have, woman?

Mrs. Sul. She wants something for her husband’s sore leg.

Lady Boun. What’s the matter with his leg, goody?

Wom. It come first, as one might say, with a sort of dizziness in his foot, then he had a kind of laziness in his joints, and then his leg broke out, and then it swelled, and then it closed again, and then it broke out again, and then it festered, and then it grew better, and then it grew worse again.

Mrs. Sul. Ha! ha! ha!

Lady Boun. How can you be merry with the misfortunes of other people?

Mrs. Sul. Because my own make me sad, madam.

Lady Boun. The worst reason in the world, daughter; your own misfortunes should teach you to pity others.

Mrs. Sul. But the woman’s misfortunes and mine are nothing alike; her husband is sick; and mine, alas! is in health.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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