The School for Scandal, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Act V

SCENE I. — The Library

Enter Surface and Servant

Surface. Mr. Stanley! and why should you think I would see him? — you must know he came to ask something!

Servant. Sir — I shouldn’t have let him in but that Mr. Rowley came to the Door with him.

Surface. Pshaw! — Blockhead to suppose that I should now be in a Temper to receive visits from poor Relations! — well why don’t you show the Fellow up?

Servant. I will — Sir — Why, Sir — it was not my Fault that Sir Peter discover’d my Lady —

Surface. Go, fool! —

[Exit Servant.]

Sure Fortune never play’d a man of my policy such a Trick before — my character with Sir Peter! — my Hopes with Maria! — destroy’d in a moment! — I’m in a rare Humour to listen to other People’s Distresses! — I shan’t be able to bestow even a benevolent sentiment on Stanley — So! here — He comes and Rowley with him — I MUST try to recover myself, and put a little Charity into my Face however. — [Exit.]

Enter Sir Oliver and Rowley

Sir Oliver. What! does He avoid us? that was He — was it not?

Rowley. It was Sir — but I doubt you are come a little too abruptly — his Nerves are so weak that the sight of a poor Relation may be too much for him — I should have gone first to break you to him.

Sir Oliver. A Plague of his Nerves — yet this is He whom Sir Peter extolls as a Man of the most Benevolent way of thinking! —

Rowley. As to his way of thinking — I can’t pretend to decide[,] for, to do him justice He appears to have as much speculative Benevolence as any private Gentleman in the Kingdom — though he is seldom so sensual as to indulge himself in the exercise of it —

Sir Oliver. Yet [he] has a string of charitable Sentiments I suppose at his Fingers’ ends! —

Rowley. Or, rather at his Tongue’s end Sir Oliver; for I believe there is no sentiment he has more faith in than that ‘Charity begins at Home.’

Sir Oliver. And his I presume is of that domestic sort which never stirs abroad at all.

Rowley. I doubt you’ll find it so — but He’s coming — I mustn’t seem to interrupt you — and you know immediately — as you leave him — I come in to announce — your arrival in your real Character.

Sir Oliver. True — and afterwards you’ll meet me at Sir Peter’s —

Rowley. Without losing a moment.

[Exit.]

Sir Oliver. So — I see he has premeditated a Denial by the Complaisance of his Features.

Enter Surface

Surface. Sir — I beg you ten thousand Pardons for keeping — you a moment waiting — Mr. Stanley — I presume —

Sir Oliver. At your Service.

Surface. Sir — I beg you will do me the honour to sit down — I entreat you Sir.

Sir Oliver. Dear Sir there’s no occasion — too civil by half!

Surface. I have not the Pleasure of knowing you, Mr. Stanley — but I am extremely happy to see you look so well — you were nearly related to my mother — I think Mr. Stanley —

Sir Oliver. I was Sir — so nearly that my present Poverty I fear may do discredit to her Wealthy Children — else I should not have presumed to trouble you. —

Surface. Dear Sir — there needs no apology — He that is in Distress tho’ a stranger has a right to claim kindred with the wealthy — I am sure I wish I was of that class, and had it in my power to offer you even a small relief.

Sir Oliver. If your Unkle, Sir Oliver were here — I should have a Friend —

Surface. I wish He was Sir, with all my Heart — you should not want an advocate with him — believe me Sir.

Sir Oliver. I should not need one — my Distresses would recommend me. — but I imagined — his Bounty had enabled you to become the agent of his Charity.

Surface. My dear Sir — you are strangely misinformed — Sir Oliver is a worthy Man, a worthy man — a very worthy sort of Man — but avarice Mr. Stanley is the vice of age — I will tell you my good Sir in confidence:— what he has done for me has been a mere — nothing[;] tho’ People I know have thought otherwise and for my Part I never chose to contradict the Report.

Sir Oliver. What! — has he never transmitted — you — Bullion — Rupees — Pagodas!

Surface. O Dear Sir — Nothing of the kind — no — no — a few Presents now and then — china, shawls, congo Tea, Avadavats — and indian Crackers — little more, believe me.

Sir Oliver. Here’s Gratitude for twelve thousand pounds! — Avadavats and indian Crackers.

Surface. Then my dear — Sir — you have heard, I doubt not, of the extravagance of my Brother — Sir — there are very few would credit what I have done for that unfortunate young man.

Sir Oliver. Not I for one!

Surface. The sums I have lent him! indeed — I have been exceedingly to blame — it was an amiable weakness! however I don’t pretend to defend it — and now I feel it doubly culpable — since it has deprived me of the power of serving YOU Mr. Stanley as my Heart directs —

Sir Oliver. Dissembler! Then Sir — you cannot assist me?

Surface. At Present it grieves me to say I cannot — but whenever I have the ability, you may depend upon hearing from me.

Sir Oliver. I am extremely sorry —

Surface. Not more than I am believe me — to pity without the Power to relieve is still more painful than to ask and be denied —

Sir Oliver. Kind Sir — your most obedient humble servant.

Surface. You leave me deeply affected Mr. Stanley — William — be ready to open the door —

Sir Oliver. O, Dear Sir, no ceremony —

Surface. Your very obedient —

Sir Oliver. Your most obsequious —

Surface. You may depend on hearing from me whenever I can be of service —

Sir Oliver. Sweet Sir — you are too good —

Surface. In the mean time I wish you Health and Spirits —

Sir Oliver. Your ever grateful and perpetual humble Servant —

Surface. Sir — yours as sincerely —

Sir Oliver. Charles! — you are my Heir.

[Exit.]

Surface, solus Soh! — This is one bad effect of a good Character — it invites applications from the unfortunate and there needs no small degree of address to gain the reputation of Benevolence without incurring the expence. — The silver ore of pure Charity is an expensive article in the catalogue of a man’s good Qualities — whereas the sentimental French Plate I use instead of it makes just as good a shew — and pays no tax.

Enter Rowley

Rowley. Mr. Surface — your Servant: I was apprehensive of interrupting you, tho’ my Business demands immediate attention — as this Note will inform you —

Surface. Always Happy to see Mr. Rowley — how — Oliver — Surface! — My Unkle arrived!

Rowley. He is indeed — we have just parted — quite well — after a speedy voyage — and impatient to embrace his worthy Nephew.

Surface. I am astonished! — William[!] stop Mr. Stanley, if He’s not gone —

Rowley. O— He’s out of reach — I believe.

Surface. Why didn’t you let me know this when you came in together. —

Rowley. I thought you had particular — Business — but must be gone to inform your Brother, and appoint him here to meet his Uncle. He will be with you in a quarter of an hour —

Surface. So he says. Well — I am strangely overjoy’d at his coming — never to be sure was anything so damn’d unlucky!

Rowley. You will be delighted to see how well He looks.

Surface. O— I’m rejoiced to hear it — just at this time —

Rowley. I’ll tell him how impatiently you expect him —

Surface. Do — do — pray — give my best duty and affection — indeed, I cannot express the sensations I feel at the thought of seeing him! — certainly his coming just at this Time is the cruellest piece of ill Fortune —

[Exeunt.]

SCENE II. — At Sir Peter’s House

Enter Mrs. Candour and Servant

Servant. Indeed Ma’am, my Lady will see nobody at Present.

Mrs. Candour. Did you tell her it was her Friend Mrs. Candour —

Servant. Yes Ma’am but she begs you will excuse her —

Mrs. Candour. Do go again — I shall be glad to see her if it be only for a moment — for I am sure she must be in great Distress

[exit MAID]

— Dear Heart — how provoking! — I’m not mistress of half the circumstances! — We shall have the whole affair in the newspapers with the Names of the Parties at length before I have dropt the story at a dozen houses.

Enter Sir Benjamin

Sir Benjamin you have heard, I suppose —

Sir Benjamin. Of Lady Teazle and Mr. Surface —

Mrs. Candour. And Sir Peter’s Discovery —

Sir Benjamin. O the strangest Piece of Business to be sure —

Mrs. Candour. Well I never was so surprised in my life! — I am so sorry for all Parties — indeed,

Sir Benjamin. Now I don’t Pity Sir Peter at all — he was so extravagant — partial to Mr. Surface —

Mrs. Candour. Mr. Surface! — why ’twas with Charles Lady Teazle was detected.

Sir Benjamin. No such thing Mr. Surface is the gallant.

Mrs. Candour. No — no — Charles is the man — ’twas Mr. Surface brought Sir Peter on purpose to discover them —

Sir Benjamin. I tell you I have it from one —

Mrs. Candour. And I have it from one —

Sir Benjamin. Who had it from one who had it —

Mrs. Candour. From one immediately — but here comes Lady Sneerwell — perhaps she knows the whole affair.

Enter Lady Sneerwell

Lady Sneerwell. So — my dear Mrs. Candour Here’s a sad affair of our Friend Teazle —

Mrs. Candour. Aye my dear Friend, who could have thought it.

Lady Sneerwell. Well there is no trusting to appearances[;] tho’ — indeed she was always too lively for me.

Mrs. Candour. To be sure, her manners were a little too — free — but she was very young —

Lady Sneerwell. And had indeed some good Qualities.

Mrs. Candour. So she had indeed — but have you heard the Particulars?

Lady Sneerwell. No — but everybody says that Mr. Surface —

Sir Benjamin. Aye there I told you — Mr. Surface was the Man.

Mrs. Candour. No — no — indeed the assignation was with Charles —

Lady Sneerwell. With Charles! — You alarm me Mrs. Candour!

Mrs. Candour. Yes — yes He was the Lover — Mr. Surface — do him justice — was only the Informer.

Sir Benjamin. Well I’ll not dispute with you Mrs. Candour — but be it which it may — I hope that Sir Peter’s wound will not —

Mrs. Candour. Sir Peter’s wound! O mercy! I didn’t hear a word of their Fighting —

Lady Sneerwell. Nor I a syllable!

Sir Benjamin. No — what no mention of the Duel —

Mrs. Candour. Not a word —

Sir Benjamin. O, Lord — yes — yes — they fought before they left the Room.

Lady Sneerwell. Pray let us hear.

Mrs. Candour. Aye — do oblige — us with the Duel —

Sir Benjamin. ‘Sir’ — says Sir Peter — immediately after the Discovery, ‘you are a most ungrateful Fellow.’

Mrs. Candour. Aye to Charles —

Sir Benjamin. No, no — to Mr. Surface — ‘a most ungrateful Fellow; and old as I am, Sir,’ says He, ‘I insist on immediate satisfaction.’

Mrs. Candour. Aye that must have been to Charles for ’tis very unlikely Mr. Surface should go to fight in his own House.

Sir Benjamin. Gad’s Life, Ma’am, not at all — giving me immediate satisfaction — on this, Madam — Lady Teazle seeing Sir Peter in such Danger — ran out of the Room in strong Hysterics — and Charles after her calling out for Hartshorn and Water! Then Madam — they began to fight with Swords —

Enter Crabtree

Crabtree. With Pistols — Nephew — I have it from undoubted authority.

Mrs. Candour. Oh, Mr. Crabtree then it is all true —

Crabtree. Too true indeed Ma’am, and Sir Peter Dangerously wounded —

Sir Benjamin. By a thrust in second — quite thro’ his left side

Crabtree. By a Bullet lodged in the Thorax —

Mrs. Candour. Mercy — on me[!] Poor Sir Peter —

Crabtree. Yes, ma’am tho’ Charles would have avoided the matter if he could —

Mrs. Candour. I knew Charles was the Person —

Sir Benjamin. O my Unkle I see knows nothing of the matter —

Crabtree. But Sir Peter tax’d him with the basest ingratitude —

Sir Benjamin. That I told you, you know —

Crabtree. Do Nephew let me speak — and insisted on immediate —

Sir Benjamin. Just as I said —

Crabtree. Odds life! Nephew allow others to know something too — A Pair of Pistols lay on the Bureau — for Mr. Surface — it seems, had come home the Night before late from Salt–Hill where He had been to see the Montem with a Friend, who has a Son at Eton — so unluckily the Pistols were left Charged —

Sir Benjamin. I heard nothing of this —

Crabtree. Sir Peter forced Charles to take one and they fired — it seems pretty nearly together — Charles’s shot took Place as I tell you — and Sir Peter’s miss’d — but what is very extraordinary the Ball struck against a little Bronze Pliny that stood over the Fire Place — grazed out of the window at a right angle — and wounded the Postman, who was just coming to the Door with a double letter from Northamptonshire.

Sir Benjamin. My Unkle’s account is more circumstantial I must confess — but I believe mine is the true one for all that.

Lady Sneerwell. I am more interested in this Affair than they imagine — and must have better information. —

[Exit.]

Sir Benjamin. Ah! Lady Sneerwell’s alarm is very easily accounted for. —

Crabtree. Yes yes, they certainly DO say — but that’s neither here nor there.

Mrs. Candour. But pray where is Sir Peter at present —

Crabtree. Oh! they — brought him home and He is now in the House, tho’ the Servants are order’d to deny it —

Mrs. Candour. I believe so — and Lady Teazle — I suppose attending him —

Crabtree. Yes yes — and I saw one of the Faculty enter just before me —

Sir Benjamin. Hey — who comes here —

Crabtree. Oh, this is He — the Physician depend on’t.

Mrs. Candour. O certainly it must be the Physician and now we shall know —

Enter Sir Oliver

Crabtree. Well, Doctor — what Hopes?

Mrs. Candour. Aye Doctor how’s your Patient?

Sir Benjamin. Now Doctor isn’t it a wound with a small sword —

Crabtree. A bullet lodged in the Thorax — for a hundred!

Sir Oliver. Doctor! — a wound with a small sword! and a Bullet in the Thorax! — oon’s are you mad, good People?

Sir Benjamin. Perhaps, Sir, you are not a Doctor.

Sir Oliver. Truly Sir I am to thank you for my degree If I am.

Crabtree. Only a Friend of Sir Peter’s then I presume — but, sir, you must have heard of this accident —

Sir Oliver. Not a word!

Crabtree. Not of his being dangerously wounded?

Sir Oliver. The Devil he is!

Sir Benjamin. Run thro’ the Body —

Crabtree. Shot in the breast —

Sir Benjamin. By one Mr. Surface —

Crabtree. Aye the younger.

Sir Oliver. Hey! what the plague! you seem to differ strangely in your accounts — however you agree that Sir Peter is dangerously wounded.

Sir Benjamin. Oh yes, we agree in that.

Crabtree. Yes, yes, I believe there can be no doubt in that.

Sir Oliver. Then, upon my word, for a person in that Situation, he is the most imprudent man alive — For here he comes walking as if nothing at all was the matter.

Enter Sir Peter

Odd’s heart, sir Peter! you are come in good time I promise you, for we had just given you over!

Sir Benjamin. ‘Egad, Uncle this is the most sudden Recovery!

Sir Oliver. Why, man, what do you do out of Bed with a Small Sword through your Body, and a Bullet lodg’d in your Thorax?

Sir Peter. A Small Sword and a Bullet —

Sir Oliver. Aye these Gentlemen would have kill’d you without Law or Physic, and wanted to dub me a Doctor to make me an accomplice.

Sir Peter. Why! what is all this?

Sir Benjamin. We rejoice, Sir Peter, that the Story of the Duel is not true — and are sincerely sorry for your other Misfortune.

Sir Peter. So — so — all over the Town already! [Aside.]

Crabtree. Tho’, Sir Peter, you were certainly vastly to blame to marry at all at your years.

Sir Peter. Sir, what Business is that of yours?

Mrs. Candour. Tho’ Indeed, as Sir Peter made so good a Husband, he’s very much to be pitied.

Sir Peter. Plague on your pity, Ma’am, I desire none of it.

Sir Benjamin. However Sir Peter, you must not mind the Laughing and jests you will meet with on the occasion.

Sir Peter. Sir, I desire to be master in my own house.

Crabtree. ’Tis no Uncommon Case, that’s one comfort.

Sir Peter. I insist on being left to myself, without ceremony, — I insist on your leaving my house directly!

Mrs. Candour. Well, well, we are going and depend on’t, we’ll make the best report of you we can.

Sir Peter. Leave my house!

Crabtree. And tell how hardly you have been treated.

Sir Peter. Leave my House —

Sir Benjamin. And how patiently you bear it.

Sir Peter. Friends! Vipers! Furies! Oh that their own Venom would choke them!

Sir Oliver. They are very provoking indeed, Sir Peter.

Enter Rowley

Rowley. I heard high words: what has ruffled you Sir Peter —

Sir Peter. Pshaw what signifies asking — do I ever pass a Day without my Vexations?

Sir Oliver. Well I’m not Inquisitive — I come only to tell you, that I have seen both my Nephews in the manner we proposed.

Sir Peter. A Precious Couple they are!

Rowley. Yes and Sir Oliver — is convinced that your judgment was right Sir Peter.

Sir Oliver. Yes I find Joseph is Indeed the Man after all.

Rowley. Aye as Sir Peter says, He’s a man of Sentiment.

Sir Oliver. And acts up to the Sentiments he professes.

Rowley. It certainly is Edification to hear him talk.

Sir Oliver. Oh, He’s a model for the young men of the age! But how’s this, Sir Peter? you don’t Join us in your Friend Joseph’s Praise as I expected.

Sir Peter. Sir Oliver, we live in a damned wicked world, and the fewer we praise the better.

Rowley. What do YOU say so, Sir Peter — who were never mistaken in your Life?

Sir Peter. Pshaw — Plague on you both — I see by your sneering you have heard — the whole affair — I shall go mad among you!

Rowley. Then to fret you no longer Sir Peter — we are indeed acquainted with it all — I met Lady Teazle coming from Mr. Surface’s so humbled, that she deigned to request ME to be her advocate with you —

Sir Peter. And does Sir Oliver know all too?

Sir Oliver. Every circumstance!

Sir Peter. What of the closet and the screen — hey[?]

Sir Oliver. Yes yes — and the little French Milliner. Oh, I have been vastly diverted with the story! ha! ha! ha!

Sir Peter. ’Twas very pleasant!

Sir Oliver. I never laugh’d more in my life, I assure you: ha! ha!

Sir Peter. O vastly diverting! ha! ha!

Rowley. To be sure Joseph with his Sentiments! ha! ha!

Sir Peter. Yes his sentiments! ha! ha! a hypocritical Villain!

Sir Oliver. Aye and that Rogue Charles — to pull Sir Peter out of the closet: ha! ha!

Sir Peter. Ha! ha! ’twas devilish entertaining to be sure —

Sir Oliver. Ha! ha! Egad, Sir Peter I should like to have seen your Face when the screen was thrown down — ha! ha!

Sir Peter. Yes, my face when the Screen was thrown down: ha! ha! ha! O I must never show my head again!

Sir Oliver. But come — come it isn’t fair to laugh at you neither my old Friend — tho’ upon my soul I can’t help it —

Sir Peter. O pray don’t restrain your mirth on my account: it does not hurt me at all — I laugh at the whole affair myself — Yes — yes — I think being a standing Jest for all one’s acquaintance a very happy situation — O yes — and then of a morning to read the Paragraphs about Mr. S— — Lady T— — and Sir P— — will be so entertaining! — I shall certainly leave town tomorrow and never look mankind in the Face again!

Rowley. Without affectation Sir Peter, you may despise the ridicule of Fools — but I see Lady Teazle going towards the next Room — I am sure you must desire a Reconciliation as earnestly as she does.

Sir Oliver. Perhaps MY being here prevents her coming to you — well I’ll leave honest Rowley to mediate between you; but he must bring you all presently to Mr. Surface’s — where I am now returning — if not to reclaim a Libertine, at least to expose Hypocrisy.

Sir Peter. Ah! I’ll be present at your discovering yourself there with all my heart; though ’tis a vile unlucky Place for discoveries.

Sir Oliver. However it is very convenient to the carrying on of my Plot that you all live so near one another!

[Exit Sir Oliver.]

Rowley. We’ll follow —

Sir Peter. She is not coming here you see, Rowley —

Rowley. No but she has left the Door of that Room open you perceive. — see she is in Tears —!

Sir Peter. She seems indeed to wish I should go to her. — how dejected she appears —

Rowley. And will you refrain from comforting her —

Sir Peter. Certainly a little mortification appears very becoming in a wife — don’t you think it will do her good to let her Pine a little.

Rowley. O this is ungenerous in you —

Sir Peter. Well I know not what to think — you remember Rowley the Letter I found of her’s — evidently intended for Charles?

Rowley. A mere forgery, Sir Peter — laid in your way on Purpose — this is one of the Points which I intend Snake shall give you conviction on —

Sir Peter. I wish I were once satisfied of that — She looks this way — what a remarkably elegant Turn of the Head she has! Rowley I’ll go to her —

Rowley. Certainly —

Sir Peter. Tho’ when it is known that we are reconciled, People will laugh at me ten times more!

Rowley. Let — them laugh — and retort their malice only by showing them you are happy in spite of it.

Sir Peter. Efaith so I will — and, if I’m not mistaken we may yet be the happiest couple in the country —

Rowley. Nay Sir Peter — He who once lays aside suspicion —

Sir Peter. Hold Master Rowley — if you have any Regard for me — never let me hear you utter anything like a Sentiment. I have had enough of THEM to serve me the rest of my Life.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE THE LAST. — The Library

Surface and Lady Sneerwell

Lady Sneerwell. Impossible! will not Sir Peter immediately be reconciled to Charles? and of consequence no longer oppose his union with Maria? the thought is Distraction to me!

Surface. Can Passion — furnish a Remedy?

Lady Sneerwell. No — nor cunning either. O I was a Fool, an Ideot — to league with such a Blunderer!

Surface. Surely Lady Sneerwell I am the greatest Sufferer — yet you see I bear the accident with Calmness.

Lady Sneerwell. Because the Disappointment hasn’t reached your HEART— your interest only attached you to Maria — had you felt for her — what I have for that ungrateful Libertine — neither your Temper nor Hypocrisy could prevent your showing the sharpness of your Vexation.

Surface. But why should your Reproaches fall on me for this Disappointment?

Lady Sneerwell. Are not you the cause of it? what had you to bate in your Pursuit of Maria to pervert Lady Teazle by the way. — had you not a sufficient field for your Roguery in blinding Sir Peter and supplanting your Brother — I hate such an avarice of crimes — ’tis an unfair monopoly and never prospers.

Surface. Well I admit I have been to blame — I confess I deviated from the direct Road of wrong but I don’t think we’re so totally defeated neither.

Lady Sneerwell. No!

Surface. You tell me you have made a trial of Snake since we met — and that you still believe him faithful to us —

Lady Sneerwell. I do believe so.

Surface. And that he has undertaken should it be necessary — to swear and prove that Charles is at this Time contracted by vows and Honour to your Ladyship — which some of his former letters to you will serve to support —

Lady Sneerwell. This, indeed, might have assisted —

Surface. Come — come it is not too late yet — but hark! this is probably my Unkle Sir Oliver — retire to that Room — we’ll consult further when He’s gone. —

Lady Sneerwell. Well but if HE should find you out to —

Surface. O I have no fear of that — Sir Peter will hold his tongue for his own credit sake — and you may depend on’t I shall soon Discover Sir Oliver’s weak side! —

Lady Sneerwell. I have no diffidence of your abilities — only be constant to one roguery at a time —

[Exit.]

Surface. I will — I will — So ’tis confounded hard after such bad Fortune, to be baited by one’s confederate in evil — well at all events my character is so much better than Charles’s, that I certainly — hey — what! — this is not Sir Oliver — but old Stanley again! — Plague on’t that He should return to teaze me just now — I shall have Sir Oliver come and find him here — and —

Enter Sir Oliver

Gad’s life, Mr. Stanley — why have you come back to plague me at this time? you must not stay now upon my word!

Sir Oliver. Sir — I hear your Unkle Oliver is expected here — and tho’ He has been so penurious to you, I’ll try what He’ll do for me —

Surface. Sir! ’tis impossible for you to stay now — so I must beg — come any other time and I promise you you shall be assisted.

Sir Oliver. No — Sir Oliver and I must be acquainted —

Surface. Zounds Sir then [I] insist on your quitting the — Room directly —

Sir Oliver. Nay Sir —

Surface. Sir — I insist on’t — here William show this Gentleman out. Since you compel me Sir — not one moment — this is such insolence.

[Going to push him out.]

Enter Charles

Charles. Heyday! what’s the matter now? — what the Devil have you got hold of my little Broker here! Zounds — Brother, don’t hurt little Premium. What’s the matter — my little Fellow?

Surface. So! He has been with you, too, has He —

Charles. To be sure He has! Why, ’tis as honest a little — But sure Joseph you have not been borrowing money too have you?

Surface. Borrowing — no! — But, Brother — you know sure we expect Sir Oliver every —

Charles. O Gad, that’s true — Noll mustn’t find the little Broker here to be sure —

Surface. Yet Mr. Stanley insists —

Charles. Stanley — why his name’s Premium —

Surface. No no Stanley.

Charles. No, no — Premium.

Surface. Well no matter which — but —

Charles. Aye aye Stanley or Premium, ’tis the same thing as you say — for I suppose He goes by half a hundred Names, besides A. B’s at the Coffee–House. [Knock.]

Surface. ‘Sdeath — here’s Sir Oliver at the Door — Now I beg — Mr. Stanley —

Charles. Aye aye and I beg Mr. Premium —

Sir Oliver. Gentlemen —

Surface. Sir, by Heaven you shall go —

Charles. Aye out with him certainly —

Sir Oliver. This violence —

Surface. ’Tis your own Fault.

Charles. Out with him to be sure.

[Both forcing Sir Oliver out.]

Enter Sir Peter Teazle, Lady Teazle, Maria, and Rowley

Sir Peter. My old Friend, Sir Oliver! — hey! what in the name of wonder! — Here are dutiful Nephews! — assault their Unkle at his first Visit!

Lady Teazle. Indeed Sir Oliver ’twas well we came in to rescue you.

Rowley. Truly it was — for I perceive Sir Oliver the character of old Stanley was no Protection to you.

Sir Oliver. Nor of Premium either — the necessities of the former could not extort a shilling from that benevolent Gentleman; and with the other I stood a chance of faring worse than my Ancestors, and being knocked down without being bid for.

Surface. Charles!

Charles. Joseph!

Surface. ’Tis compleat!

Charles. Very!

Sir Oliver. Sir Peter — my Friend and Rowley too — look on that elder Nephew of mine — You know what He has already received from my Bounty and you know also how gladly I would have look’d on half my Fortune as held in trust for him — judge then my Disappointment in discovering him to be destitute of Truth — Charity — and Gratitude —

Sir Peter. Sir Oliver — I should be more surprized at this Declaration, if I had not myself found him to be selfish — treacherous and Hypocritical.

Lady Teazle. And if the Gentleman pleads not guilty to these pray let him call ME to his Character.

Sir Peter. Then I believe we need add no more — if He knows himself He will consider it as the most perfect Punishment that He is known to the world —

Charles. If they talk this way to Honesty — what will they say to ME by and bye!

Sir Oliver. As for that Prodigal — his Brother there —

Charles. Aye now comes my Turn — the damn’d Family Pictures will ruin me —

Surface. Sir Oliver — Unkle — will you honour me with a hearing —

Charles. I wish Joseph now would make one of his long speeches and I might recollect myself a little —

Sir Oliver. And I suppose you would undertake to vindicate yourself entirely —

Surface. I trust I could —

Sir Oliver. Nay — if you desert your Roguery in its Distress and try to be justified — you have even less principle than I thought you had. — [To Charles Surface] Well, Sir — and YOU could JUSTIFY yourself too I suppose —

Charles. Not that I know of, Sir Oliver.

Sir Oliver. What[!] little Premium has been let too much into the secret I presume.

Charles. True — Sir — but they were Family Secrets, and should not be mentioned again you know.

Rowley. Come Sir Oliver I know you cannot speak of Charles’s Follies with anger.

Sir Oliver. Odd’s heart no more I can — nor with gravity either — Sir Peter do you know the Rogue bargain’d with me for all his Ancestors — sold me judges and Generals by the Foot, and Maiden Aunts as cheap as broken China!

Charles. To be sure, Sir Oliver, I did make a little free with the Family Canvas that’s the truth on’t:— my Ancestors may certainly rise in judgment against me there’s no denying it — but believe me sincere when I tell you, and upon my soul I would not say so if I was not — that if I do not appear mortified at the exposure of my Follies, it is because I feel at this moment the warmest satisfaction in seeing you, my liberal benefactor.

Sir Oliver. Charles — I believe you — give me your hand again: the ill-looking little fellow over the Couch has made your Peace.

Charles. Then Sir — my Gratitude to the original is still encreased.

Lady Teazle. [Advancing.] Yet I believe, Sir Oliver, here is one whom Charles is still more anxious to be reconciled to.

Sir Oliver. O I have heard of his Attachment there — and, with the young Lady’s Pardon if I construe right that Blush —

Sir Peter. Well — Child — speak your sentiments — you know — we are going to be reconciled to Charles —

Maria. Sir — I have little to say — but that I shall rejoice to hear that He is happy — For me — whatever claim I had to his Affection — I willing resign to one who has a better title.

Charles. How Maria!

Sir Peter. Heyday — what’s the mystery now? while he appeared an incorrigible Rake, you would give your hand to no one else and now that He’s likely to reform I’ll warrant You won’t have him!

Maria. His own Heart — and Lady Sneerwell know the cause.

[Charles.] Lady Sneerwell!

Surface. Brother it is with great concern — I am obliged to speak on this Point, but my Regard to justice obliges me — and Lady Sneerwell’s injuries can no longer — be concealed — [Goes to the Door.]

Enter Lady Sneerwell

Sir Peter. Soh! another French milliner egad! He has one in every Room in the House I suppose —

Lady Sneerwell. Ungrateful Charles! Well may you be surprised and feel for the indelicate situation which your Perfidy has forced me into.

Charles. Pray Unkle, is this another Plot of yours? for as I have Life I don’t understand it.

Surface. I believe Sir there is but the evidence of one Person more necessary to make it extremely clear.

Sir Peter. And that Person — I imagine, is Mr. Snake — Rowley — you were perfectly right to bring him with us — and pray let him appear.

Rowley. Walk in, Mr. Snake —

Enter Snake

I thought his Testimony might be wanted — however it happens unluckily that He comes to confront Lady Sneerwell and not to support her —

Lady Sneerwell. A Villain! — Treacherous to me at last! Speak, Fellow, have you too conspired against me?

Snake. I beg your Ladyship — ten thousand Pardons — you paid me extremely Liberally for the Lie in question — but I unfortunately have been offer’d double to speak the Truth.

Lady Sneerwell. The Torments of Shame and Disappointment on you all!

Lady Teazle. Hold — Lady Sneerwell — before you go let me thank you for the trouble you and that Gentleman have taken in writing Letters from me to Charles and answering them yourself — and let me also request you to make my Respects to the Scandalous College — of which you are President — and inform them that Lady Teazle, Licentiate, begs leave to return the diploma they granted her — as she leaves of[f] Practice and kills Characters no longer.

Lady Sneerwell. Provoking — insolent! — may your Husband live these fifty years!

[Exit.]

Sir Peter. Oons what a Fury —

Lady Teazle. A malicious Creature indeed!

Sir Peter. Hey — not for her last wish? —

Lady Teazle. O No —

Sir Oliver. Well Sir, and what have you to say now?

Surface. Sir, I am so confounded, to find that Lady Sneerwell could be guilty of suborning Mr. Snake in this manner to impose on us all that I know not what to say — however, lest her Revengeful Spirit should prompt her to injure my Brother I had certainly better follow her directly.

[Exit.]

Sir Peter. Moral to the last drop!

Sir Oliver. Aye and marry her Joseph if you can. — Oil and Vinegar egad:— you’ll do very well together.

Rowley. I believe we have no more occasion for Mr. Snake at Present —

Snake. Before I go — I beg Pardon once for all for whatever uneasiness I have been the humble instrument of causing to the Parties present.

Sir Peter. Well — well you have made atonement by a good Deed at last —

Snake. But I must Request of the Company that it shall never be known —

Sir Peter. Hey! — what the Plague — are you ashamed of having done a right thing once in your life?

Snake. Ah: Sir — consider I live by the Badness of my Character! — I have nothing but my Infamy to depend on! — and, if it were once known that I had been betray’d into an honest Action, I should lose every Friend I have in the world.

Sir Oliver. Well — well we’ll not traduce you by saying anything to your Praise never fear.

[Exit Snake.]

Sir Peter. There’s a precious Rogue — Yet that fellow is a Writer and a Critic.

Lady Teazle. See[,] Sir Oliver[,] there needs no persuasion now to reconcile your Nephew and Maria —

Sir Oliver. Aye — aye — that’s as it should be and egad we’ll have the wedding to-morrow morning —

Charles. Thank you, dear Unkle!

Sir Peter. What! you rogue don’t you ask the Girl’s consent first —

Charles. Oh, I have done that a long time — above a minute ago — nd She has look’d yes —

Maria. For Shame — Charles — I protest Sir Peter, there has not been a word —

Sir Oliver. Well then the fewer the Better — may your love for each other never know — abatement.

Sir Peter. And may you live as happily together as Lady Teazle and I— intend to do —

Charles. Rowley my old Friend — I am sure you congratulate me and I suspect too that I owe you much.

Sir Oliver. You do, indeed, Charles —

Rowley. If my Efforts to serve you had not succeeded you would have been in my debt for the attempt — but deserve to be happy — and you over-repay me.

Sir Peter. Aye honest Rowley always said you would reform.

Charles. Why as to reforming Sir Peter I’ll make no promises — and that I take to be a proof that I intend to set about it — But here shall be my Monitor — my gentle Guide. — ah! can I leave the Virtuous path those Eyes illumine?

Tho’ thou, dear Maid, should’st wave [waive] thy Beauty’s Sway,

— Thou still must Rule — because I will obey:

An humbled fugitive from Folly View,

No sanctuary near but Love and YOU:

You can indeed each anxious Fear remove,

For even Scandal dies if you approve. [To the audience.]

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/sheridan/richard_brinsley/school_for_scandal/act5.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30