Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Scene XIV.

SCANDAL, MRS FORESIGHT.

SCANDAL
Good night, good Mr Foresight; and I hope Mars and Venus will be in conjunction;--while your wife and I are together.

MRS FORESIGHT
Well; and what use do you hope to make of this project? You don't think that you are ever like to succeed in your design upon me?

SCANDAL
Yes, faith I do; I have a better opinion both of you and myself than to despair.

MRS FORESIGHT
Did you ever hear such a toad? Hark'ee, devil: do you think any woman honest?

SCANDAL
Yes, several, very honest; they'll cheat a little at cards, sometimes, but that's nothing.

MRS FORESIGHT
Pshaw! but virtuous, I mean?

SCANDAL
Yes, faith, I believe some women are virtuous too; but 'tis as I believe some men are valiant, through fear. For why should a man court danger or a woman shun pleasure?

MRS FORESIGHT
Oh, monstrous! What are conscience and honour?

SCANDAL
Why, honour is a public enemy, and conscience a domestic thief; and he that would secure his pleasure must pay a tribute to one and go halves with t'other. As for honour, that you have secured, for you have purchased a perpetual opportunity for pleasure.

MRS FORESIGHT
An opportunity for pleasure?

SCANDAL
Ay, your husband, a husband is an opportunity for pleasure: so you have taken care of honour, and 'tis the least I can do to take care of conscience.

MRS FORESIGHT
And so you think we are free for one another?

SCANDAL
Yes, faith I think so; I love to speak my mind.

MRS FORESIGHT
Why, then, I'll speak my mind. Now as to this affair between you and me. Here you make love to me; why, I'll confess it does not displease me. Your person is well enough, and your understanding is not amiss.

SCANDAL
I have no great opinion of myself, but I think I'm neither deformed nor a fool.

MRS FORESIGHT
But you have a villainous character: you are a libertine in speech, as well as practice.

SCANDAL
Come, I know what you would say: you think it more dangerous to be seen in conversation with me than to allow some other men the last favour; you mistake: the liberty I take in talking is purely affected for the service of your sex. He that first cries out stop thief is often he that has stol'n the treasure. I am a juggler, that act by confederacy; and if you please, we'll put a trick upon the world.

MRS FORESIGHT
Ay; but you are such an universal juggler, that I'm afraid you have a great many confederates.

SCANDAL
Faith, I'm sound.

MRS FORESIGHT
Oh, fie--I'll swear you're impudent.

SCANDAL
I'll swear you're handsome.

MRS FORESIGHT
Pish, you'd tell me so, though you did not think so.

SCANDAL
And you'd think so, though I should not tell you so. And now I think we know one another pretty well.

MRS FORESIGHT
O Lord, who's here?

William Congreve