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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Sir Peter and Lady Teazle Agree to Disagree
By Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816)
 
From the ‘School for Scandal

Sir Peter Teazle discovered: enter Lady Teazle.

LADY TEAZLE—Lud! Sir Peter, I hope you haven’t been quarreling with Maria? It is not using me well to be ill-humored when I am not by.  1
  Sir Peter—Ah, Lady Teazle, you might have the power to make me good-humored at all times.  2
  Lady Teazle—I am sure I wish I had; for I want you to be in a charming sweet temper at this moment. Do be good-humored now, and let me have two hundred pounds, will you?  3
  Sir Peter—Two hundred pounds! what, a’n’t I to be in a good humor without paying for it? But speak to me thus, and i’ faith there’s nothing I could refuse you. You shall have it; but seal me a bond for the payment.  4
  Lady Teazle—Oh, no—there—my note of hand will do as well.  [Offering her hand.]  5
  Sir Peter—And you shall no longer reproach me with not giving you an independent settlement. I mean shortly to surprise you; but shall we always live thus, hey?  6
  Lady Teazle—If you please. I’m sure I don’t care how soon we leave off quarreling, provided you’ll own you were tired first.  7
  Sir Peter—Well—then let our future contest be, who shall be most obliging.  8
  Lady Teazle—I assure you, Sir Peter, good-nature becomes you. You look now as you did before we were married, when you used to walk with me under the elms, and tell me stories of what a gallant you were in your youth; and chuck me under the chin, you would, and ask me if I thought I could love an old fellow who would deny me nothing—didn’t you?  9
  Sir Peter—Yes, yes; and you were as kind and attentive—  10
  Lady Teazle—Ay, so I was; and would always take your part when my acquaintance used to abuse you, and turn you into ridicule.  11
  Sir Peter—Indeed!  12
  Lady Teazle—Ay, and when my cousin Sophy has called you a stiff, peevish old bachelor, and laughed at me for thinking of marrying one who might be my father, I have always defended you, and said I didn’t think you so ugly by any means.  13
  Sir Peter—Thank you.  14
  Lady Teazle—And I dared say you’d make a very good sort of a husband.  15
  Sir Peter—And you prophesied right; and we shall now be the happiest couple—  16
  Lady Teazle—And never differ again?  17
  Sir Peter—No, never!—though at the same time, indeed, my dear Lady Teazle, you must watch your temper very seriously; for in all our little quarrels, my dear, if you recollect, my love, you always began first.  18
  Lady Teazle—I beg your pardon, my dear Sir Peter: indeed, you always gave the provocation.  19
  Sir Peter—Now, see, my angel! take care: contradicting isn’t the way to keep friends.  20
  Lady Teazle—Then don’t you begin it, my love!  21
  Sir Peter—There now! you—you are going on. You don’t perceive, my life, that you are just doing the very thing which you know always makes me angry.  22
  Lady Teazle—Nay, you know if you will be angry without any reason, my dear—  23
  Sir Peter—There! now you want to quarrel again.  24
  Lady Teazle—No, I’m sure I don’t; but if you will be so peevish—  25
  Sir Peter—There now! who begins first?  26
  Lady Teazle—Why, you, to be sure. I said nothing—but there’s no bearing your temper.  27
  Sir Peter—No, no, madam: the fault’s in your own temper.  28
  Lady Teazle—Ay, you are just what my cousin Sophy said you would be.  29
  Sir Peter—Your cousin Sophy is a forward, impertinent gipsy.  30
  Lady Teazle—You are a great bear, I am sure, to abuse my relations.  31
  Sir Peter—Now may all the plagues of marriage be doubled on me, if ever I try to be friends with you any more!  32
  Lady Teazle—So much the better.  33
  Sir Peter—No, no, madam: ’tis evident you never cared a pin for me, and I was a madman to marry you,—a pert rural coquette, that had refused half the honest ’squires in the neighborhood!  34
  Lady Teazle—And I am sure I was a fool to marry you—an old dangling bachelor, who was single at fifty only because he could never meet with any one who would have him.  35
  Sir Peter—Ay, ay, madam; but you were pleased enough to listen to me: you never had such an offer before.  36
  Lady Teazle—No! didn’t I refuse Sir Tivy Terrier, who everybody said would have been a better match? for his estate is just as good as yours, and he has broke his neck since we have been married.  37
  Sir Peter—I have done with you, madam! You are an unfeeling, ungrateful—but there’s an end of everything. I believe you capable of everything that is bad. Yes, madam, I now believe the reports relative to you and Charles, madam. Yes, madam, you and Charles are, not without grounds—  38
  Lady Teazle—Take care, Sir Peter! you had better not insinuate any such thing! I’ll not be suspected without cause, I promise you.  39
  Sir Peter—Very well, madam! very well! A separate maintenance as soon as you please. Yes, madam; or a divorce! I’ll make an example of myself for the benefit of all old bachelors. Let us separate, madam.  40
  Lady Teazle—Agreed! agreed! And now, my dear Sir Peter, we are of a mind once more, we may be the happiest couple, and never differ again, you know: ha! ha! ha! Well, you are going to be in a passion, I see, and I shall only interrupt you—so, by-by!  [Exit.]  41
  Sir Peter—Plagues and tortures! can’t I make her angry either? Oh, I am the most miserable fellow! But I’ll not bear her presuming to keep her temper: no! she may break my heart, but she shan’t keep her temper.  [Exit.]  42
 
 
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