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Scene XIII.

VALENTINE, SCANDAL, TATTLE.

TATTLE
I'll be gone.

VALENTINE
You'll meet her.

TATTLE
Is there not a back way?

VALENTINE
If there were, you have more discretion than to give Scandal such an advantage. Why, your running away will prove all that he can tell her.

TATTLE
Scandal, you will not be so ungenerous. Oh, I 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?

VALENTINE
Scandal, have pity on him; he'll yield to any conditions.

TATTLE
Any, any terms.

SCANDAL
Come, then, sacrifice half a dozen women of good reputation to me presently. Come, where are you familiar? And see that they are women of quality, too--the first quality.

TATTLE
'Tis very hard. Won't a baronet's lady pass?

SCANDAL
No, nothing under a right honourable.

TATTLE
Oh, inhuman! You don't expect their names?

SCANDAL
No, their titles shall serve.

TATTLE
Alas, that's the same thing. Pray spare me their titles. I'll describe their persons.

SCANDAL
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.

TATTLE
Well, first then -

William Congreve