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The Belle's Strategem, Act 5, Scene 2 | History Matters: Celebrating Women's Plays of the Past

The Belle's Strategem
The Belle's Strategem, Act 5, Scene 2

The Scene

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Doricourt in his Robe-de-Chambre.

Enter Saville.

Sav.

Undress'd so late?

Doric.

I didn't go to bed 'till late—'twas late before I slept-late when I rose. Do you know Lord George Jennett?

Sav.

Yes.

Doric.

Has he a Mistress?

Sav.

Yes.

Doric.

What sort of a creature is she?

Sav.

Why, she spends him three thousand a year with the ease of a Duchess, and entertains his friends with the grace of a Ninon. Ergo, she is handsome, spirited, and clever.

Doricourt walks about disordered.

In the name of Caprice, what ails you?

Doric.

You have hit it—Elle est mon Caprice—The Mis|tress of Lord George Jennett is my caprice—Oh, insuf|ferable!

Sav.

What, you saw her at the Masquerade?

Doric.

Saw her, lov'd her, died for her—without know|ing her—And now the curse is, I can't hate her.

Sav.

Ridiculous enough! All this distress about a Kept Woman, whom any man may have, I dare swear, in a fortnight—They've been jarring some time.

Doric.

Have her! The sentiment I have conceived for the Witch is so unaccountable, that, in that line, I can|not bear her idea. Was she a Woman of Honour, for a Wife, I cou'd adore her—but, I really believe, if she should send me an assignation, I should hate her.

Sav.

Hey-day! This sounds like Love. What be|comes of poor Miss Hardy?

Doric.

Her name has given me an ague. Dear Saville, how shall I contrive to make old Hardy cancel the en|gagements! The moiety of the estate which he will for|feit, shall be his the next moment, by deed of gift.

Sav.

Let me see—Can't you get it insinuated that you are a dev'lish wild fellow; that you are an Infidel, and attached to wenching, gaming, and so forth?

Doric.

Aye, such a character might have done some good two centuries back.—But who the devil can it frighten now? I believe it must be the mad scheme, at last.—There, will that do for the grin?

Sav.

Ridiculous!—But, how are you certain that the Woman who has so bewildered you, belongs to Lord George?

Doric.

Flutter told me so.

Sav.

Then fifty to one against the intelligence.

Doric.

It must be so. There was a mystery in her manner, for which nothing else can account.

A violent rap.

Who can this be?

Saville looks out.

Sav.

The proverb is your answer—'tis Flutter himself. Tip him a scene of the Mad-man, and see how it takes.

Doric.

I will—a good way to send it about town. Shall it be of the melancholy kind, or the raving?

Sav.

Rant!—rant!—Here he comes.

Doric.

Talk not to me who can pull comets by the beard, and overset an island!

Enter Flutter.

There! This is he!—this is he who hath sent my poor soul, without coat or breeches, to be tossed about in ether like a duck-feather! Villain, give me my soul again!

Flut.

Upon my soul I hav'n't got it.

Exceedingly frightened.

Sav.

Oh, Mr. Flutter, what a melancholy sight!—I little thought to have seen my poor friend reduced to this.

Flut.

Mercy defend me! What's he mad?

Sav.

You see how it is. A cursed Italian Lady—Jea|lousy—gave him a drug; and every full of the moon—

Doric.

Moon! Who dares talk of the Moon? The patroness of genius—the rectifier of wits—the—Oh! here she is!—I feel her—she tugs at my brain—she has it—she has it—Oh!

Exit.

Flut.

Well! this is dreadful! exceeding dreadful, I protest. Have you had Monro?

Sav.

Not yet. The worthy Miss Hardy—what a misfortune!

Flut.

Aye, very true.—Do they know it?

Sav.

Oh, no; the paroxysm seized him but this morn|ing.

Flut.

Adieu! I can't stay.

Going in great haste.

Sav.

But you must.

holding him

Stay, and assist me: —perhaps he'll return again in a moment; and, when he is in this way, his strength is prodigious.

Flut.

Can't indeed—can't upon my soul.

Exit.

Sav.

Flutter—Don't make a mistake, now;—remem|ber 'tis Doricourt that's mad.

Exit.

Flut.

Yes—you mad.

Sav.

No, no; Doricourt.

Flut.

Egad, I'll say you are both mad, and then I can't mistake.

Exeunt severally.

About the Playwright

Hannah Cowley
Hannah Cowley

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