Congreve Monologues

The Way of the World (Mirabell)

Mirabell says

Why do we daily commit disagreeable and dangerous actions? To save that idol, reputation. If the familiarities of our loves had produced that consequence of which you were apprehensive, where could you have fixed a father’s name with credit but on a husband? I knew Fainall to be a man lavish of his morals, an interested and professing friend, a false and a designing lover, yet one whose wit and outward fair behaviour have gained a reputation with the town, enough to make that woman stand excused who has suffered herself to be won his addresses. A better man ought not to have been sacrificed to the occasion; a worse had not answered to the purpose. When you are weary of him you know your remedy.

The Way of the World (Mrs. Marwood)

Mrs. Marwood says

Indeed, Mrs. Engine, is it thus with you? Are you become a go-between of this importance? Yes, I shall watch you. Why this wench is the PASSE-PARTOUT, a very master-key to everybody’s strong box. My friend Fainall, have you carried it so swimmingly? I thought there was something in it; but it seems it’s over with you. Your loathing is not from a want of appetite then, but from a surfeit. Else you could never be so cool to fall from a principal to be an assistant, to procure for him! A pattern of generosity, that I confess. Well, Mr. Fainall, you have met with your match. -O man, man! Woman, woman! The devil’s an ass: if I were a painter, I would draw him like an idiot, a driveller with a bib and bells. Man should have his head and horns, and woman the rest of him. Poor, simple fiend! ‘Madam Marwood has a month’s mind, but he can’t abide her.’ ‘Twere better for him you had not been his confessor in that affair, without you could have kept his counsel closer. I shall not prove another pattern of generosity; he has not obliged me to that with those excesses of himself, and now I’ll have none of him. Here comes the good lady, panting ripe, with a heart full of hope, and a head full of care, like any chymist upon the day of projection.

The Way of the World (Lady Wishfort)

Lady Wishfort says

Well, and how shall I receive him? In what figure shall I give his heart the first impression? There is a great deal in the first impression. Shall I sit? No, I won’t sit, I’ll walk, -ay, I’ll walk from the door upon his entrance, and then turn full upon him. No, that will be too sudden. I’ll lie, -ay, I’ll lie down. I’ll receive him in my little dressing-room; there’s a couch -yes, yes, I’ll give the first impression on a couch. I won’t lie neither, but loll and lean upon one elbow, with one foot a little dangling off, jogging in a thoughtful way. Yes; and then as soon as he appears, start, ay, start and be surprised, and rise to meet him in a pretty disorder. Yes; oh, nothing is more alluring than a levee from a couch in some confusion. It shows the foot to advantage, and furnishes with blushes and re-composing airs beyond comparison. Hark! There’s a coach