The Old Bachelor
SCENE: The Street.
BELLMOUR and VAINLOVE meeting.
BELL. Vainlove, and abroad so early! Good-morrow; I thought a contemplative lover
could no more have parted with his bed in a morning than he could have slept in't.
VAIN. Bellmour, good-morrow. Why, truth on't is, these early sallies are not usual to me;
but business, as you see, sir-- [Showing Letters.] And business must be followed, or be
BELL. Business! And so must time, my friend, be close pursued, or lost. Business is the
rub of life, perverts our aim, casts off the bias, and leaves us wide and short of the
VAIN. Pleasure, I guess you mean.
BELL. Ay; what else has meaning?
VAIN. Oh, the wise will tell you -
BELL. More than they believe--or understand.
VAIN. How, how, Ned! A wise man say more than he understands?
BELL. Ay, ay! Wisdom's nothing but a pretending to know and believe more than we
really do. You read of but one wise man, and all that he knew was, that he knew nothing.
Come, come, leave business to idlers and wisdom to fools; they have need of 'em. Wit be
my faculty, and pleasure my occupation; and let Father Time shake his glass. Let low and
earthly souls grovel till they have worked themselves six foot deep into a grave. Business
is not my element--I roll in a higher orb, and dwell -
VAIN. In castles i' th' air of thy own building. That's thy element, Ned. Well, as high a
flier as you are, I have a lure may make you stoop. [Flings a Letter.]
BELL. I, marry, sir, I have a hawk's eye at a woman's hand. There's more elegancy in the
false spelling of this superscription [takes up the Letter] than in all Cicero. Let me see.--
How now!-- Dear PERFIDIOUS VAINLOVE. [Reads.]
VAIN. Hold, hold, 'slife, that's the wrong.