Arthur Friedman (ed.), The Plays of William Wycherley

Find Location in text

Main Text


The Scene changes to Christina's Lodging. Enter Christina, Isabel.

Isa. For Heavens sake undress your self, Madam; they'l not 2return to night, all people have left the Park an hour agoe.


Chri. What is't a Clock?


Isa. 'Tis past one.

pg 445

Chri. It cannot be.


Isa. I thought, that time had only stolen from happy Lovers; 7the Disconsolate have nothing to do but to tell the Clock.


Chri. I can only keep account with my misfortunes.


Isa. I am glad they are not innumerable.


Chri. And truly my undergoing so often your impertinency, is 11not the least of them.


Isa. I am then more glad, Madam, for then they cannot be 13great, and it is in my power, it seems, to make you in part happy, 14if I cou'd but hold this villanous tongue of mine, but then let the 15people of the Town hold their tongues if they will, for I cannot but 16tell you what they say.


Chri. What do they say?


Isa. Faith, Madam, I am afraid to tell you, now I think on't.


Chri. Is it so ill?


Isa. Oh, such base unworthy things.


Chri. Do they say, I was really Clerimont's Wench as he boasted; 22and that the ground of the quarrell betwixt Valentine and him, was 23not Valentines vindication of my honour, but Clerimonts jealousie of 24him.


Isa. Worse, worse a thousand times, such villanous things to the 26utter ruin of your reputation.


Chri. What are they?


Isab. Faith, Madam, you'l be angry, 'tis the old trick of Lovers 29to hate their informers, after they have made 'em such.


Chri. I will not be angry.


Isab. They say then, since Mr. Valentines flying into France, you 32are grown mad, have put your self into Mourning, live in a dark 33room, where you'l see no body, nor take any rest day or night, but 34rave and talk to your self perpetually.


Chri. Now what else?


Isab. But the surest sign of your madness is, they say, because 37you are desperately resolv'd (in case my Lord Clerimont should Critical Apparatus38dye of his wounds) to Transport your self and Fortune into France, 39to Mr. Valentine, a man that has not a groat to return you in 40exchange.


Chri. All this hitherto, is true; now to the rest.


Isab. Indeed, Madam, I have no more to tell you, I was sorry, 43I'm sure, to hear so much of any Lady of mine.


Chri. Insupportable insolence.

pg 4545

Isab. This is some revenge for my want of sleep to night; so I 46hope my old second is come; 'tis seasonable relief. [Aside.

[Knocking at the door.
Critical Apparatus47

Chri. Unhappy Valentine, cou'dst thou but see [Exit Isabella. 48how soon thy absence, and mis-fortunes have disbanded all thy 49Friends, and turn'd thy Slaves all Renegades, thou sure wou'dst 50prize my only faithful heart.

Enter my Lady Flippant, Lydia, Isabel, to her.

Flip. Hail faithful Shepherdess;1 but truly, I had not kept my 52word with you, in coming back to night, if it had not been for 53this Lady, who has her intrigues too with the fellows, as well 54as you.


Lyd. Madam, under my Lady Flippants protection, I am confident 56to beg yours; being just now pursu'd out of the Park, by a relation 57of mine, by whom it imports me extreamly not to be discover'd; 58but I fear he is now at the door. [Knocking at the door. 59Let me desire you to deny me to him couragiously, for he 60will hardly believe he can be mistaken in me.

To Isabel going out.

Chri. In such an occasion where impudence is requisite, she 62will serve you, as faithfully as you can wish, Madam.


Flip. Come, come, Madam, do not upbraid her with her assur- 64ance, a qualification that only fits her for a Ladies Service; a fine 65Woman of the Town, can be no more without a woman that can 66make an excuse with an assurance, then she can be without a glass 67certainly.


Chri. She needs no Advocate.


Flip. How can any one alone manage an amorous intrigue; 70though the Birds are tame, some body must help draw the Net; if 71'twere not for a Woman that could make an excuse with assurance, 72how shou'd we whedle, jilt, trace, discover, countermine, under- 73mine, and blow up the stinking fellows, which is all the pleasure 74I receive, or design by them; for I never admitted a man to my 75conversation, but for his punishment certainly.


Chri. No body will doubt that, certainly.

Isabel returns.
Critical Apparatus77

Isab. Madam, the Gentleman will not be mistaken, he says you 78are here, he saw you come in; he is your Relation, his name's pg 4679Ranger, and is come to wait upon you home; I had much ado to 80keep him from coming up.


Lyd. Madam, for Heavens sake help me, 'tis yet in your power, 82if but while I retire into your Dining-room, you [To Christina, 83will please to personate me, and own your self, for her, he pursu'd 84out of the Park; you are in Mourning too, and your Stature so 85much mine, it will not contradict you.


Chri. I am sorry, Madam, I must dispute any command of yours; 87I have made a resolution to see the face of no man, till an unfortunate 88Friend of mine, now out of the Kingdom, return.


Lyd. By that Friend, and by the hopes you have to see him, let 90me conjure you to keep me from the sight of mine now; Dear 91Madam, let your charity prevail over your superstition.


Isab. He comes, he comes Madam.

Ranger enters. Lydia withdraws and stands unseen at the door.

Ran. Ha! this is no Lydia.


Chri. What unworthy defamer has encouraged you to offer me 95this insolence.


Ran. She is liker Lydia in her style, then her face; I see I am 97mistaken, but to tell her I follow'd her for another, were an affront, 98rather then an excuse; she's a glorious creature. [Aside.


Chri. Tell me, Sir, whence had you reason for this your rude 100pursuit of me, into my Lodging, my Chamber; why should you 101follow me?


Ran. Faith, Madam, because you run away from me.


Chri. That was no sign of an acquaintance.


Ran. You'l pardon me Madam.


Chri. Then it seems you mistook me for another, and the night 106is your excuse, which blots out all distinctions: but now you are 107satisfyed in your mistake, I hope, you will go seek out your Woman 108in another place.


Ran. Madam, I allow not the excuse you make for me; if I have 110offended, I will rather be condemned for my love, then pardon'd 111for my insensibility.


Lyd. How's that? [behind.


Chri. What do you say?


Ran. Though the night had been darker, my heart wou'd not 115have suffer'd me to follow any one but you; he has been too long 116acquainted with you, to mistake you.

pg 47117

Lyd. What means this tenderness; he mistook me for her sure?


Chri. What says the Gentleman? did you know me then Sir?


Ran. Not I, the Devil take me, but I must on now. [Aside. 120Cou'd you imagine, Madam, by the innumerable crowd of your 121admirers, you had left any man free in the Town, or ignorant of the 122power of your Beauty.


Chri. I never saw your face before, that I remember.


Ran. Ah Madam! you wou'd never regard your humb'lest Slave; 125I was till now a modest Lover.


Lyd. Falsest of men. [behind.


Chri. My woman said, you came to seek a Relation here, not a 128Mistress.


Ran. I must confess, Madam, I thought you wou'd sooner dis- 130prove my dissembled error, then admit my visit; and I was resolv'd 131to see you.


Lyd. 'Tis clear. [behind.


Ran. Indeed, when I follow'd you first out of the Park, I was 134afraid you might have been a certain Relation of mine, for your 135Statures and Habits are the same; but when you enter'd here, I 136was with joy convinc'd: Besides, I would not for the world have 137given her troublesom love, so much encouragement, to have dis- 138turb'd my future addresses to you; for the foolish woman do's 139perpetually torment me, to make our relation nearer; but never 140more in vain, then since I have seen you, Madam.


Lyd. How shall I suffer this? 'tis clear he disappointed me to 142night for her, and made me stay at home, that I might not dis- 143appoint him of her company in the Park. [behind.


Chri. I am amaz'd! but let me tell you, Sir, if the Lady were here, 145I wou'd satisfie her, the sight of me shou'd never frustrate her 146ambitious designs upon her cruel Kinsman.


Lyd. I wish you cou'd satisfie me. [behind.


Ran. If she were here, she wou'd satisfie you, she were not 149capable of the honour to be taken for you (though in the dark) 150faith, my Cousin is but a tolerable woman to a man that had not 151seen you.


Chri. Sure to my Plague, this is the first time you ever 153saw me?


Ran. Sure to the Plague of my poor heart, 'tis not the hundredth 155time I have seen you; for since the time I saw you first, you have pg 48156not been at the Park,1 Play-house, Exchange,2 or other publick 157place, but I saw you; for it was my business to watch and follow 158you.


Chri. Pray, when did you see me last at the Park, Play-house, or 160Exchange.


Ran. Some two, three days, or a week ago.


Chri. I have not been this month out of this Chamber.


Lyd. That is to delude me. [behind.


Chri. I knew you were mistaken.


Ran. You'll pardon a Lovers memory, Madam. 166A pox, I have hang'd my self in my own line, one would think, 167my perpetual ill luck in lying, should break me of the quality; 168but like a loosing Gamster, I am still for pushing on, till none 169will trust me. [Aside.


Chri. Come, Sir, you run out of one error into a greater, you would 171excuse the rudeness of your mistake, and intrusion at this hour, 172into my Lodgings, with your gallantry to me, more unseasonable 173and offensive.


Ran. Nay, I am in Love I see, for I blush, and have not a word to 175say for my self.


Chri. But, Sir, if you will needs play the Gallant, pray leave my 177House before Morning, lest you should be seen go hence, to the 178scandal of my honour.


Chri. Rather then that shou'd be, I'll call up the House and 180Neighbours to bear witness, I bid you be gon.3

pg 49Critical Apparatus181

Ran. Since you take a night-visit so ill, Madam, I will never wait 182upon you again, but by day; I go, that I may hope to return, and 183for once, I will wish you a good night without me.


Chri. Good night, for as long as I live. [Ex. Ranger


Lyd. And good night to my Love, I'm sure. [Behind.


Chri. Though I have done you an inconsiderable service, I 187assure you, Madam, you are not a little oblig'd to me. 188Pardon me dear Valentine. [Aside.


Lyd. I know not yet, whether I am more oblig'd then injur'd; 190when I do I assure you, Madam, I shall not be insensible of either.


Chri. I fear, Madam, you are as liable to mistakes, as your 192Kinsman.


Lyd. I fear, I am more subject to 'em, it may be for want of 194sleep, therefore I'll go home.


Chri. My Lady Flippant, good night.


Flip. Good night, or rather good morrow, faithful Shepherdess.


Chri. I'll wait of you down.


Lyd. Your Coach stays yet, I hope.


Flip. Certainly. [Ex. Omnes.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
44. 38 wounds)] ⁓,
Critical Apparatus
45. 47 Exit ] ⁓.
Editor’s Note
1 The designation perhaps derives from John Fletcher's The Faithful Shepherdess. The play had been acted twice during October 1668 and once during February 1669 and probably by amateurs at court during April 1670.
Critical Apparatus
45. 77 Gentleman] Centleman
Editor’s Note
1 In this play 'the Park' perhaps always means St. James's Park. In other plays it may equally well mean Hyde Park.
Editor’s Note
2 Since places of pleasure are being mentioned, the reference is probably to the New Exchange rather than the newly rebuilt Royal Exchange in the City. 'About the fifth year of K. James, in the Strand, … Robert, Earl of Salisbury, caused to be Erected a stately Building, which upon … April the 10th…. 1609. was begun to be richly furnished with Wares…. the King gave it the Name of Brittains Burse Now commonly called, The New Exchange' (Samuel Clarke, A Geographical Description of All the Countries in the Known World [1671], p. 137 [misnumbered 147], in his A Mirrour or Looking-Glass [1671], vol. i). In Etherege's She Wou'd if She Cou'd (1668), II. ii, p. 23, Courtall makes an assignation with Lady Cockwood 'in the Lower walk of the New Exchange', and the first scene of Act III takes place there (p. 30), as does the second scene of Act III of Wycherley's The Country-Wife. Love in a Wood was 'Printed … for H. Herringman, at the Sign of the Blew Anchor, in the Lower-Walk of the New Exchange'.
Editor’s Note
3 Perhaps these two successive speeches by Christina should be run together as Hunt and Ward have done silently. It is possible, for example, that Wycherley himself deleted an intervening speech but forgot to delete Christina's second speech heading. It seems more probable, however, that the compositor skipped over an intervening speech by Ranger because the ending of it was close to the ending of Christina's first speech or because the beginning of it was close to the beginning of her second speech. I suggest that Ranger was intended to say something like, 'I wou'd stay here till to morrow noon to prevent any scandal to your honour' or 'Rather then that shou'd be, Madam, I wou'd stay here till to morrow noon.'
Critical Apparatus
49. 181 you] yon
logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out