The School for Scandal

Author: Richard Brinsley Sheridan  | Date: 1777




SIR PET. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I’ll not bear it!

LADY TEAZ. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you

please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and what’s

more, I will too. What though I was educated in the country, I

know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable

to nobody after they are married.

SIR PET. Very well, ma’am, very well; so a husband is to have no

influence, no authority?

LADY TEAZ. Authority! No, to be sure:- if you wanted authority over

me, you should have adopted me, and not married me: I am sure

you were old enough.

SIR PET. Old enough!- ay, there it is! Well, well, Lady Teazle,

though my life may be made unhappy by your temper, I’ll not be

ruined by your extravagance!

LADY TEAZ. My extravagance! I’m sure I’m not more extravagant than a

woman of fashion ought to be.

SIR PET. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such

unmeaning luxury. ’Slife! to spend as much to furnish your

dressing-room with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn

the Pantheon into a greenhouse, and give a fete champetre at


LADY TEAZ. And am I to blame, Sir Peter, because flowers are dear in

cold weather? You should find fault with the climate, and not

with me. For my part, I’m sure I wish it was spring all the year

round, and that roses grew under our feet!

SIR PET. Oons! madam- if you had been born to this, I shouldn’t

wonder at your talking thus; but you forget what your situation

was when I married you.

LADY TEAZ. No, no, I don’t; ’twas a very disagreeable one, or I

should never have married you.

SIR PET. Yes, yes, madam, you were then in somewhat a humbler style-

the daughter of a plain country squire. Recollect, Lady Teazle,

when I saw you first sitting at your tambour, in a pretty

figured linen gown, with a bunch of keys at your side, your hair

combed smooth over a roll, and your apartment hung round with

fruits in worsted, of your own working.

LADY TEAZ. Oh, yes! I remember it very well, and a curious life I

led. My daily occupation to inspect the dairy, superintend the

poultry, make extracts from the family receipt-book, and comb my

aunt Deborah’s lapdog.

SIR PET. Yes, yes, ma’am, ’twas so indeed.

LADY TEAZ. And then, you know, my evening amusements! To draw

patterns for ruffles, which I had not the materials to make up;

to play Pope Joan with the Curate; to read a sermon to my aunt;

or to be stuck down to an old spinet to strum my father to sleep

after a fox-chase.

SIR PET. I am glad you have so good a memory. Yes, madam, these were

the recreations I took you from; but now you must have your

coach- vis-a-vis- and three powdered footmen before your chair;

and, in the summer, a pair of white cats to draw you to

Kensington Gardens. No recollection, I suppose, when you were

content to ride double, behind the butler, on a docked


LADY TEAZ. No- I swear I never did that; I deny the butler and the


SIR PET. This, madam, was your situation; and what have I done for

you? I have made you a woman of fashion, of fortune, of rank- in

short, I have made you my wife.

LADY TEAZ. Well, then, and there is but one thing more you can make

me to add to the obligation, that is-

SIR PET. My widow, I suppose?

LADY TEAZ. Hem! hem!

SIR PET. I thank you, madam- but don’t flatter yourself; for, though

your ill-conduct may disturb my peace of mind, it shall never

break my heart, I promise you: however, I am equally obliged to

you for the hint.

LADY TEAZ. Then why will you endeavour to make yourself so

disagreeable to me, and thwart me in every little elegant


SIR PET. ’Slife, madam, I say, had you any of these little elegant

expenses when you married me?

LADY TEAZ. Lud, Sir Peter! would you have me be out of the fashion?

SIR PET. The fashion, indeed! what had you to do with the fashion

before you married me?

LADY TEAZ. For my part, I should think you would like to have your

wife thought a woman of taste.

SIR PET. Ay- there again- taste! Zounds! madam, you had no taste

when you married me!

LADY TEAZ. That’s very true, indeed, Sir Peter! and, after having

married you, I should never pretend to taste again, I allow. But

now, Sir Peter, since we have finished our daily jangle, I

presume I may go to my engagement at Lady Sneerwell’s?

SIR PET. Ay, there’s another precious circumstance- a charming set

of acquaintance you have made there!

LADY TEAZ. Nay, Sir Peter, they are all people of rank and fortune,

and remarkably tenacious of reputation.

SIR PET. Yes, egad, they are tenacious of reputation with a

vengeance; for they don’t choose anybody should have a character

but themselves! Such a crew! Ah! many a wretch has rid on a

hurdle who has done less mischief than these utterers of forged

tales, coiners of scandal, and clippers of reputation.

LADY TEAZ. What, would you restrain the freedom of speech?

SIR PET. Ah! they have made you just as bad as any one of the


LADY TEAZ. Why, I believe I do bear a part with a tolerable grace.

But I vow I bear no malice against the people I abuse: when I

say an ill-natured thing, ’tis out of pure good humour; and I

take it for granted they deal exactly in the same manner with

me. But, Sir Peter, you know you promised to come to Lady

Sneerwell’s too.

SIR PET. Well, well, I’ll call in just to look after my own


LADY TEAZ. Then, indeed, you must make haste after me or you’ll be

too late. So good-bye to ye. [Exit.

SIR PET. So- I have gained much by my intended expostulation! Yet

with what a charming air she contradicts everything I say, and

how pleasantly she shows her contempt for my authority! Well,

though I can’t make her love me, there is great satisfaction in

quarrelling with her; and I think she never appears to such

advantage as when she is doing everything in her power to plague

me. [Exit.


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Chicago: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, "Act II," The School for Scandal in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0 (Irvine, CA: World Library, Inc., 1996), Original Sources, accessed March 23, 2019,

MLA: Sheridan, Richard Brinsley. "Act II." The School for Scandal, in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, Irvine, CA, World Library, Inc., 1996, Original Sources. 23 Mar. 2019.

Harvard: Sheridan, RB, 'Act II' in The School for Scandal. cited in 1996, Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, World Library, Inc., Irvine, CA. Original Sources, retrieved 23 March 2019, from