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THE

Lockerbie

Dumfriesshire 1965

ACTING DRAM

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LIBRARY OF STANDARD WORKS.

THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL:

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SCENE I.-Lady Sneerwell's House.

Discovered Lady SNEERWELL, at the dressing-table,
SNAKE drinking chocolate.

Lady S. The paragraphs, you say, Mr. Snake, were all inserted?

Snake. They were, madam; and as I copied them myself in a feigned hand, there can be no suspicion whence they came.

Lady S. Did you circulate the report of Brittle's intrigue with Captain Boastall?

her colouring is too dark, and her outlines often extravagant. She wants that delicacy of tint and mellowness of sneer, which distinguish your lady-ship's scandal.

Lady S. Ah! you are partial, Snake.

Snake. Not in the least-everybody allows that Lady Sneerwell can do more with a word or a loo than many can do with the most laboured detail, even when they happen to have a little truth on their side to support it.

Lady S. Yes, my dear Snake; and I am no hy pocrite to deny the satisfaction I reap from the success of my efforts. Wounded myself in the early part of my life by the envenomed tongue of slander, I confess I have since known no pleasure equal to the reducing others to the level of my own reputation.

Snake. Nothing can be more natural. But, Lady Sneerwell, there is one affair in which you have lately employed me, wherein, I confess, I am at loss to guess your motives.

Lady S. I conceive you mean with respect to my neighbour, Sir Peter Teazle, and his family.

Snake. I do. Here are two young men, to whom father's death; the eldest possessing the most Sir Peter has acted as a kind of guardian since their amiable character, and universally well spoken or

the youngest, the most dissipated and extravagant young fellow in the kingdom, without friends or character: the former an avowed admirer of your ladyship's, and apparently your favourite: the latter attached to Maria, Sir Peter's ward, and conLadyfessedly beloved by her. Now, on the face of these circumstances, it is utterly unaccountable to me, why you, the widow of a city knight, with a good jointure, should not close with the passion, of a man of such character and expectations as Mr. Surface; and more so why you should be so uncommonly earnest to destroy the mutual attachment subsisting between his brother Charles and Maria.

Snake. That's in as fine a train as your ladyship could wish. In the common course of things, I think it must reach Mrs. Clackitt's ears within four-and-twenty hours; and then, you know, the business is as good as done.

Lady S. Why, truly, Mrs. Clackitt has a very pretty talent, and a great deal of industry.

Snake. True, madam, and has been tolerably successful in her day. To my knowledge she has been the cause of six matches being broken off, and three sons being disinherited; of four forced elopements, as many close confinements, nine separate maintenances, and two divorces. Nay, I have more than once traced her causing a tête-à-tête in the Town and Country Magazine, when the parties, perhaps, had never seen each other's faces before in the course of their lives.

Lady S. Then at once to unravel this mystery, I must inform you, that love has no share whatever in the intercourse between Mr. Surface and me. Snake. No!

Lady S. His real attachment is to Maria, or her fortune; but finding in his brother a favoured rival, he has been obliged to mask his pretensions, and profit by my assistance.

Snake. Yet still I am more puzzled why you should interest yourself in his success.

Lady S. Heavens! how dull you are! Cannot

Lady S. She certainly has talents, but her man-you surmise the weakness which I hitherto, through Der is gross.

Snake. 'Tis very true.- - She generally designs well, has a free tongue and a bold invention; but No. 1..

shame, have concealed even from you? Must I confess, that Charles, that libertine, that extravagant, that bankrupt in fortune and reputation, that

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