My wonder and my pleasure equally.
Yes, courted me to stay, waiv’d all objections.
Made it a favour to yourselves; not me,
His troublesome guest, as you surmised. Child, child!
When I recall his flattering welcome, I
Begin to think the burden of my presence
What, for Heaven—
A little, little spice
Of jealousy—that’s all—an honest pretext,
No wife need blush for. Say that you should see
(As oftentimes we widows take such freedoms,
Yet still on this side virtue,) in a jest
Your husband pat me on the cheek, or steal
A kiss, while you were by,—not else, for virtue’s sake.
I could endure all this, thinking my husband
Meant it in sport—
But if in downright earnest
(Putting myself out of the question here)
Your Selby, as I partly do suspect,
Own’d a divided heart—
My own would break—
Why, what a blind and witless fool it is,
That will not see its gains, its infinite gains—
Gain in a loss,
Or mirth in utter desolation!
He doting on a face—suppose it mine,
Or any other’s tolerably fair—
What need you care about a senseless secret?
KATHERINE Perplex’d and fearful woman! I in part Fathom your dangerous meaning. You have broke The worse than iron band, fretting the soul, By which you held me captive. Whether my husband Is what you gave him out, or your fool’d fancy But dreams he is so, either way I am free.
It talks it bravely, blazons out its shame;
A very heroine while on its knees;
Rowe’s Penitent, an absolute Calista!
KATHERINE Not to thy wretched self these tears are falling; But to my husband, and offended heaven, Some drops are due—and then I sleep in peace, Reliev’d from frightful dreams, my dreams though sad. [Exit.]
MRS. FRAMPTON I have gone too far. Who knows but in this mood She may forestall my story, win on Selby By a frank confession?—and the time draws on For our appointed meeting. The game’s desperate, For which I play. A moment’s difference May make it hers or mine. I fly to meet him. [Exit.]
MR. SELBY. MRS. FRAMPTON.
I am not so ill a guesser, Mrs. Frampton,
Not to conjecture, that some passages
In your unfinished story, rightly interpreted,
Glanced at my bosom’s peace;
You knew my wife?