The Double-Dealer "She Lays It On With A Trowel"

William Congreve

"She Lays It On With A Trowel"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In Lord Touchwood's house, a group of fashionable people–Cynthia, Lord Froth, Lady Froth, and Brisk–discuss a set of verses that Lady Froth is writing on her coachman. Although the verses are empty of meaning, everyone applauds them. The people turn from this activity to the criticism of some of their acquaintances, Lady Whifler and Mr. Sneer. The latter, nephew of Lady Toothless, is held to be a nauseating creature, and his aunt has horrible manners: she grins toothlessly, like an oyster at low tide. And then there is the fat female fool whose name no one at the moment remembers, who paints her face to excess: she lays color on with a trowel. Lady Froth suggests that Brisk write a song on her, but he has already done so. The gist of it is that the lady makes her own faces, and every day has a new one.


LADY FROTH
Then that t'other great strapping lady–I can't hit of her name–the old fat fool that paints so exorbitantly.
BRISK
I know whom you mean–but, deuce take me! I can't hit of her name neither.–Paints, d'ye say? why she lays it on with a trowel.–Then she has a great beard that bristles through it, and makes her look as if she were plastered with lime and hair, let me perish!
LADY FROTH
Oh, you made a song upon her, Mr. Brisk.
BRISK
He! egad, so I did:–my lord can sing it.