MRS. RACK. [Rising, and speaking aside.] This provoking indifference is not to be borne! I must rouse him from it, or lose all hopes of happiness. [To him.] Let me tell you, Mr. Racket, your present behavior is neither manly nor polite. Contrary to the advice of Colonel Campbell, my guardian, I threw myself and my fortune into your arms, blindly excusing, as the levities of youth, your noted propensities to vicious dissipation.
MRS. RACK. Sir, this is adding insult to injury! In marrying you, I risked the displeasure of all my friends: and though the excellent Colonel Campbell, my second father, yielded to my will, I hazarded by my conduct that paternal love, which was the first joy of my heart. On your faith I staked all.
RACK. O ho! my friend Doctor Four-per-cent, the medical broker. He must be attended to. Im coming. Show him into another room. [Exit JACOB.] He must not be kept waiting. He is a physician indeed! [Exit.]
MRS. RACK. Whose medicine is the most deadly of all poisons; the pernicious palliative, which, like the morning stimulant, encourages to persist in the race of destruction. What resource have I for reclaiming him? Reproach will not do; that but renders still more disgusting the domestic scene, which ought to allure, not repulse. If I could rouse his dormant lovefor that he still loves me I know; if I could make him fear to lose my affection; if I could make him jealous! Jealousy!it will be playing with edged tools. Something I must try, or I shall be undone! His companion, the English officer, has already, by his eyes, made overtures. If I mistake him not, he is villain enough to rob his bottle-companion of his money and his wife, while he insults him with the title of friend. I will encourage his familiarities, and perhaps [Sees RACKET coming.] He seems vexed. I will begin to play my new part.
RACK. Yes; and when a gentleman lends a lady money,a fine lady, a gay lady, a young lady,it is pretty well understood what premium he expects. You shall have money. My medical broker has a note of mine to discount; that is to get discounted by a friend, who has in trust the money of a poor widow-woman, whose whole support depends on the interest he procures upon her little mite.Damn him, hypocrite!
MRS. RACK. Why, indeed, my dear, your nose looks as if it wanted the doctor as much as your purse. It is rather hard, though, that I cant have your company, either at home or abroad. A fine woman may dispense with her husbands assiduities at home, but, for the sake of public opinion, he ought to attend her abroad: for if she is seen at the assembly, the theatre, and public walks with a pretty fellow, the ill-natured world will talk. However, if you cant go, I must take Rusport as usual, and rely upon my prudence as the safeguard of my reputation. Adieu! dont forget the money, the medicine, the healing balm! Ha, ha, ha! [Exit.]
RACK. Hum! Whats the meaning of all this? Pretty fellow, prudence, reputation! Your humble servant, Mrs. Racket; you wish for my attentions to blind the worlds eye. A convenient husband! A stalking-horse, or ox!My head aches! Is itno, damn it, not yet; this headache is not her gift. Well, this drinking is not the thing for a sober citizen. [Looks at his watch.] Half-past eleven, by all thats indolent, and my store not yet visited.
RACK. My dear fellow, it was only a cow. Ill tell you the whole affair. You must know I honored St. Patrick, last night, with as hearty a set of boys as ever encircled a table: fellows who have no peace with a full glass before them, and to whom an empty one is worse than the devil. We kept it up; and going to see Frank MConnally home, who was a little cut, I fell in with a very modest milch-cow. Frank swore she was a bull; and, as the bare thought of a bull makes an Irishman horn-mad, I swore she was a horse; and, to convince him, with a spring I mounted, but, somehow or other, found myself most uncleanly deposited in the kennel, with no other animal near than honest Frank, now thoroughly persuaded, that if it was not a bull at first, I had made it one.
RUSP. And so you broke your nose cow-riding! You, being perfectly sober, out of pure friendship, bestrode a cow, to convince a drunken Irishman that she was not a bull. My dear fellow, dont tell this story until the tenth bumper has gone round. But a truce with badinage; you know Im a man of business.
RUSP. I dont know exactly. I am afraid it is too late to proceed by land; they tell me the lakes will be broke up; and Im detained until my servant and baggage arrive. Its a curst awkward situation. My bills of credit are with my baggage. Couldnt you let me have another hundred with perfect convenience?
RUSP. My drafts will be honored at sight, be assured; but if not convenient, dont think of it. Where are the ladies? Your wifes a damned fine woman, Racket, and if you will herd with horned cattleI say no more. [Walks up the stage.]
RACK. Yes; all those packages we received yesterday, first changing the marks. But I must see him. Go. [Exit Jacob.] Rusport, Ill try and serve you. Excuse meIll send my wife to you. Excuse me a minute. [Exit.]
RUSP. [Alone.] You cannot serve me better than by sending your wife, and I can excuse your presence most willingly. This fellow knows me to be a professed libertine, yet sends to me, without jealousy, a wife whom he neglects and ill-uses. He must have a higher opinion of her virtue than I have. I must bring the enemy to terms soon; and yet the sinews of war are wanting. How to raise money? I would willingly keep this jewel longer [looking at a ring on his finger], though the sight of it is a constant reproach to me. It must dazzle the eyes of Rackets giddy wife, and fascinate the attention of her sentimental sister. Once married, and secure of her fortune, I will annihilate this glittering evidence, which darts a ray more piercing to my conscience, than any of those which flow from its surface to the eye of the admiring beholder. Would I could annihilate [Sees MRS. RACKET entering.] Ah! as gay and radiant as the morn, bright Delia comes!