Act IV

SCENE I.—The scene opens with the fiddles playing a country dance

Enter DORIMANT, Lady WOODVIL, YOUNG BELLAIR, and Mrs. HARRIET, OLD BELLAIR, and EMILIA, Mr. MEDLEY and Lady TOWNLEY, as having just ended the dance.

O. Bell. So, so, so, a smart bout, a very smart bout, adod!

Lady Town. How do you like Emilia’s dancing, brother?

O. Bell. Not at all, not at all.

Lady Town. You speak not what you think, I am sure.

O. Bell. No matter for that; go, bid her dance no more, it don’t become her, it don’t become her, tell her I say so. [Aside.] Adod, I love her.

Dor. [to Lady WOODVIL]. All people mingle nowadays, madam, and in public places women of quality have the least respect showed ’em.

Lady Wood. I protest you say the truth, Mr. Courtage.

Dor. Forms and ceremonies, the only things that uphold quality and greatness, are now shamefully laid aside and neglected.

Lady Wood. Well! this is not the women’s age, let ’em think what they will; lewdness is the business now, love was the business in my time.

Dor. The women indeed are little beholding to the young men of this age; they’re generally only dull admirers of themselves, and make their court to nothing but their periwigs and their cravats, and would be more concerned for the disordering of ’em, though on a good occasion, than a young maid would be for the tumbling of her head or handkerchief.

Lady Wood. I protest you hit ’em.

Dor. They are very assiduous to show themselves at Court well dressed to the women of quality, but their business is with the stale mistresses of the town, who are prepared to receive their lazy addresses by industrious old lovers who have cast ’em off and made ’em easy.

Har. He fits my mother’s humour so well, a little more and she’ll dance a kissing dance with him anon.

Med. Dutifully observed, madam.

Dor. They pretend to be great critics in beauty; by their talk you would think they liked no face, and yet can dote on an ill one if it belong to a laundress or a tailor’s daughter; they cry a woman’s past her prime at twenty, decayed at four-and-twenty, old and unsufferable at thirty.

Lady Wood. Unsufferable at thirty! That they are in the wrong, Mr. Courtage, at five-and-thirty there are living proofs enough to convince ’em.

Dor. Ay, madam, there’s Mrs. Setlooks, Mrs. Droplip, and my Lady Lowd; show me among all our opening buds a face that promises so much beauty as the remains of theirs.

Lady Wood. The depraved appetite of this vicious age tastes nothing but green fruit, and loathes it when ’tis kindly ripened.

Dor. Else so many deserving women, madam, would not be so untimely neglected.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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