Love for Love by William Congreve - HTML preview

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ACT III

 

 SCENE I.

 NURSE alone.

NURSE . Miss, Miss, Miss Prue! Mercy on me, marry and amen. Why, what's become of the child? Why Miss, Miss Foresight! Sure she has locked herself up in her chamber, and gone to sleep, or to prayers: Miss, Miss,--I hear her.--Come to your father, child; open the door. Open the door, Miss. I hear you cry husht. O Lord, who's there? [peeps] What's here to do? O the Father! A man with her! Why, miss, I say; God's my life, here's fine doings towards--O Lord, we're all undone. O you young harlotry [knocks]. Od's my life, won't you open the door? I'll come in the back way.

 

 SCENE II.

 TATTLE, MISS PRUE.

MISS. O Lord, she's coming, and she'll tell my father; what shall I do now?

TATT. Pox take her; if she had stayed two minutes longer, I should have wished for her coming.

MISS. O dear, what shall I say? Tell me, Mr Tattle, tell me a lie.

TATT . There's no occasion for a lie; I could never tell a lie to no purpose. But since we have done nothing, we must say nothing, I think. I hear her,--I'll leave you together, and come off as you can. [Thrusts her in, and shuts the door.]

 

 SCENE III.

 TATTLE, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, ANGELICA.

ANG. You can't accuse me of inconstancy; I never told you that I loved you.

VAL. But I can accuse you of uncertainty, for not telling me whether you did or not.

ANG. You mistake indifference for uncertainty; I never had concern enough to ask myself the question.

SCAN. Nor good-nature enough to answer him that did ask you; I'll say that for you, madam.

ANG. What, are you setting up for good-nature?

SCAN. Only for the affectation of it, as the women do for ill- nature. 

ANG. Persuade your friend that it is all affectation. 

SCAN. I shall receive no benefit from the opinion; for I know no effectual difference between continued affectation and reality. 

TATT. [coming up]. Scandal, are you in private discourse? Anything of secrecy? [Aside to SCANDAL.] 

SCAN. Yes, but I dare trust you; we were talking of Angelica's love to Valentine. You won't speak of it. 

TATT. No, no, not a syllable. I know that's a secret, for it's whispered everywhere.

SCAN. Ha, ha, ha!

ANG. What is, Mr Tattle? I heard you say something was whispered everywhere.

SCAN. Your love of Valentine.

ANG. How!

TATT. No, madam, his love for your ladyship. Gad take me, I beg your pardon,-for I never heard a word of your ladyship's passion till this instant.

ANG. My passion! And who told you of my passion, pray sir?

SCAN. Why, is the devil in you? Did not I tell it you for a secret?

TATT. Gadso; but I thought she might have been trusted with her own affairs.

SCAN. Is that your discretion? Trust a woman with herself?

TATT . You say true, I beg your pardon. I'll bring all off. It was impossible, madam, for me to imagine that a person of your ladyship's wit and gallantry could have so long received the passionate addresses of the accomplished Valentine, and yet remain insensible; therefore you will pardon me, if, from a just weight of his merit, with your ladyship's good judgment, I formed the balance of a reciprocal affection.

VAL . O the devil, what damned costive poet has given thee this lesson of fustian to get by rote?

ANG. I dare swear you wrong him, it is his own. And Mr Tattle only judges of the success of others, from the effects of his own merit. For certainly Mr Tattle was never denied anything in his life.

TATT. O Lord! Yes, indeed, madam, several times.

ANG. I swear I don't think 'tis possible.

TATT. Yes, I vow and swear I have; Lord, madam, I'm the most unfortunate man in the world, and the most cruelly used by the ladies.

ANG. Nay, now you're ungrateful.

TATT. No, I hope not, 'tis as much ingratitude to own some favours as to conceal others.

VAL. There, now it's out.

ANG. I don't understand you now. I thought you had never asked anything but what a lady might modestly grant, and you confess.

SCAN. So faith, your business is done here; now you may go brag somewhere else.

TATT. Brag! O heavens! Why, did I name anybody?

ANG. No; I suppose that is not in your power; but you would if you could, no doubt on't.

TATT. Not in my power, madam! What, does your ladyship mean that I have no woman's reputation in my power?

SCAN. 'Oons, why, you won't own it, will you? [Aside.]

TATT . Faith, madam, you're in the right; no more I have, as I hope to be saved; I never had it in my power to say anything to a lady's prejudice in my life. For as I was telling you, madam, I have been the most unsuccessful creature living, in things of that nature; and never had the good fortune to be trusted once with a lady's secret, not once.

ANG. No?

VAL. Not once, I dare answer for him.

SCAN . And I'll answer for him; for I'm sure if he had, he would have told me; I find, madam, you don't know Mr Tattle.

TATT. No indeed, madam, you don't know me at all, I find. For sure my intimate friends would have known -

ANG. Then it seems you would have told, if you had been trusted.

TATT . O pox, Scandal, that was too far put. Never have told particulars, madam. Perhaps I might have talked as of a third person; or have introduced an amour of my own, in conversation, by way of novel; but never have explained particulars.

ANG. But whence comes the reputation of Mr Tattle's secrecy, if he was never trusted?

SCAN . Why, thence it arises--the thing is proverbially spoken; but may be applied to him--as if we should say in general terms, he only is secret who never was trusted; a satirical proverb upon our sex. There's another upon yours--as she is chaste, who was never asked the question. That's all.

VAL . A couple of very civil proverbs, truly. 'Tis hard to tell whether the lady or Mr Tattle be the more obliged to you. For you found her virtue upon the backwardness of the men; and his secrecy upon the mistrust of the women.

TATT. Gad, it's very true, madam, I think we are obliged to acquit ourselves. And for my part--but your ladyship is to speak first.

ANG. Am I? Well, I freely confess I have resisted a great deal of temptation.

TATT. And i'Gad, I have given some temptation that has not been resisted.

VAL. Good.

ANG. I cite Valentine here, to declare to the court, how fruitless he has found his endeavours, and to confess all his solicitations and my denials.

VAL. I am ready to plead not guilty for you; and guilty for myself.

SCAN. So, why this is fair, here's demonstration with a witness.

TATT. Well, my witnesses are not present. But I confess I have had favours from persons. But as the favours are numberless, so the persons are nameless.

SCAN. Pooh, this proves nothing.

TATT . No? I can show letters, lockets, pictures, and rings; and if there be occasion for witnesses, I can summon the maids at the chocolate-houses, all the porters at Pall Mall and Covent Garden, the door-keepers at the Playhouse, the drawers at Locket's, Pontack's, the Rummer, Spring Garden, my own landlady and valet de chambre; all who shall make oath that I receive more letters than the Secretary's office, and that I have more vizor-masks to enquire for me, than ever went to see the Hermaphrodite, or the Naked Prince. And it is notorious that in a country church once, an enquiry being made who I was, it was answered, I was the famous Tattle, who had ruined so many women.

VAL. It was there, I suppose, you got the nickname of the Great Turk.

TATT . True; I was called Turk-Tattle all over the parish. The next Sunday all the old women kept their daughters at home, and the parson had not half his congregation. He would have brought me into the spiritual court, but I was revenged upon him, for he had a handsome daughter whom I initiated into the science. But I repented it afterwards, for it was talked of in town. And a lady of quality that shall be nameless, in a raging fit of jealousy, came down in her coach and six horses, and exposed herself upon my account; Gad, I was sorry for it with all my heart. You know whom I mean--you know where we raffled –

SCAN. Mum, Tattle.

VAL. 'Sdeath, are not you ashamed?

ANG. O barbarous! I never heard so insolent a piece of vanity. Fie, Mr Tattle; I'll swear I could not have believed it. Is this your secrecy?

TATT . Gadso, the heat of my story carried me beyond my discretion, as the heat of the lady's passion hurried her beyond her reputation. But I hope you don't know whom I mean; for there was a great many ladies raffled. Pox on't, now could I bite off my tongue.

SCAN . No, don't; for then you'll tell us no more. Come, I'll recommend a song to you upon the hint of my two proverbs, and I see one in the next room that will sing it. [Goes to the door.]

TATT. For heaven's sake, if you do guess, say nothing; Gad, I'm very unfortunate.

SCAN. Pray sing the first song in the last new play.

SONG.

 Set by Mr John Eccles.

 I.

A nymph and a swain to Apollo once prayed,

The swain had been jilted, the nymph been betrayed:

Their intent was to try if his oracle knew

E'er a nymph that was chaste, or a swain that was true.

 II.

Apollo was mute, and had like t'have been posed,

But sagely at length he this secret disclosed:

He alone won't betray in whom none will confide,

And the nymph may be chaste that has never been tried.

 

 SCENE IV.

 [To them] SIR SAMPSON, MRS FRAIL, MISS PRUE, and SERVANT.

SIR SAMP . Is Ben come? Odso, my son Ben come? Odd, I'm glad on't. Where is he? I long to see him. Now, Mrs Frail, you shall see my son Ben. Body o' me, he's the hopes of my family. I han't seen him these three years--I warrant he's grown. Call him in, bid him make haste. I'm ready to cry for joy.

MRS FRAIL. Now Miss, you shall see your husband.

MISS. Pish, he shall be none of my husband. [Aside to Frail.]

MRS FRAIL. Hush. Well he shan't; leave that to me. I'll beckon Mr Tattle to us.

ANG. Won't you stay and see your brother?

VAL . We are the twin stars, and cannot shine in one sphere; when he rises I must set. Besides, if I should stay, I don't know but my father in good nature may press me to the immediate signing the deed of conveyance of my estate; and I'll defer it as long as I can. Well, you'll come to a resolution.

ANG. I can't. Resolution must come to me, or I shall never have one.

SCAN. Come, Valentine, I'll go with you; I've something in my head to communicate to you.

 

 SCENE V.

 ANGELICA, SIR SAMPSON, TATTLE, MRS FRAIL, MISS PRUE.

SIR SAMP . What, is my son Valentine gone? What, is he sneaked off, and would not see his brother? There's an unnatural whelp! There's an ill-natured dog! What, were you here too, madam, and could not keep him? Could neither love, nor duty, nor natural affection oblige him? Odsbud, madam, have no more to say to him, he is not worth your consideration. The rogue has not a drachm of generous love about him--all interest, all interest; he's an undone scoundrel, and courts your estate: body o' me, he does not care a doit for your person.

ANG . I'm pretty even with him, Sir Sampson; for if ever I could have liked anything in him, it should have been his estate too; but since that's gone, the bait's off, and the naked hook appears.

SIR SAMP. Odsbud, well spoken, and you are a wiser woman than I thought you were, for most young women now-a-days are to be tempted with a naked hook.

ANG . If I marry, Sir Sampson, I'm for a good estate with any man, and for any man with a good estate; therefore, if I were obliged to make a choice, I declare I'd rather have you than your son.

SIR SAMP . Faith and troth, you're a wise woman, and I'm glad to hear you say so; I was afraid you were in love with the reprobate. Odd, I was sorry for you with all my heart. Hang him, mongrel, cast him off; you shall see the rogue show himself, and make love to some desponding Cadua of fourscore for sustenance. Odd, I love to see a young spendthrift forced to cling to an old woman for support, like ivy round a dead oak; faith I do, I love to see 'em hug and cotton together, like down upon a thistle.

 

 SCENE VI.

 [To them] BEN LEGEND and SERVANT.

BEN. Where's father?

SERV. There, sir, his back's toward you.

SIR SAMP. My son Ben! Bless thee, my dear body. Body o' me, thou art heartily welcome.

BEN. Thank you, father, and I'm glad to see you.

SIR SAMP. Odsbud, and I'm glad to see thee; kiss me, boy, kiss me again and again, dear Ben. [Kisses him.]

BEN. So, so, enough, father, Mess, I'd rather kiss these gentlewomen.

SIR SAMP. And so thou shalt. Mrs Angelica, my son Ben.

BEN . Forsooth, if you please. [Salutes her.] Nay, mistress, I'm not for dropping anchor here; about ship, i'faith. [Kisses Frail.] Nay, and you too, my little cockboat--so [Kisses Miss].

TATT. Sir, you're welcome ashore.

BEN. Thank you, thank you, friend.

SIR SAMP. Thou hast been many a weary league, Ben, since I saw thee.

BEN. Ay, ay, been! Been far enough, an' that be all. Well, father, and how do all at home? How does brother Dick, and brother Val?

SIR SAMP. Dick--body o' me--Dick has been dead these two years. I writ you word when you were at Leghorn.

BEN . Mess, that's true; marry! I had forgot. Dick's dead, as you say. Well, and how? I have a many questions to ask you. Well, you ben't married again, father, be you?

SIR SAMP. No; I intend you shall marry, Ben; I would not marry for thy sake.

BEN . Nay, what does that signify? An' you marry again--why then, I'll go to sea again, so there's one for t'other, an' that be all. Pray don't let me be your hindrance--e'en marry a God's name, an the wind sit that way. As for my part, mayhap I have no mind to marry.

FRAIL. That would be pity--such a handsome young gentleman.

BEN . Handsome! he, he, he! nay, forsooth, an you be for joking, I'll joke with you, for I love my jest, an' the ship were sinking, as we sayn at sea. But I'll tell you why I don't much stand towards matrimony. I love to roam about from port to port, and from land to land; I could never abide to be port-bound, as we call it. Now, a man that is married has, as it were, d'ye see, his feet in the bilboes, and mayhap mayn't get them out again when he would.

SIR SAMP. Ben's a wag.

BEN . A man that is married, d'ye see, is no more like another man than a galleyslave is like one of us free sailors; he is chained to an oar all his life, and mayhap forced to tug a leaky vessel into the bargain.

SIR SAMP. A very wag--Ben's a very wag; only a little rough, he wants a little polishing.

MRS FRAIL. Not at all; I like his humour mightily: it's plain and honest--I should like such a humour in a husband extremely.

BEN . Say'n you so, forsooth? Marry, and I should like such a handsome gentlewoman for a bed-fellow hugely. How say you, mistress, would you like going to sea? Mess, you're a tight vessel, an well rigged, an you were but as well manned.

MRS FRAIL. I should not doubt that if you were master of me.

BEN. But I'll tell you one thing, an you come to sea in a high wind, or that lady-you may'nt carry so much sail o' your head--top and top gallant, by the mess.

MRS FRAIL. No, why so?

BEN. Why, an you do, you may run the risk to be overset, and then you'll carry your keels above water, he, he, he!

ANG. I swear, Mr Benjamin is the veriest wag in nature--an absolute sea-wit.

SIR SAMP. Nay, Ben has parts, but as I told you before, they want a little polishing. You must not take anything ill, madam.

BEN. No, I hope the gentlewoman is not angry; I mean all in good part, for if I give a jest, I'll take a jest, and so forsooth you may be as free with me.

ANG. I thank you, sir, I am not at all offended. But methinks, Sir Sampson, you should leave him alone with his mistress. Mr Tattle, we must not hinder lovers.

TATT. Well, Miss, I have your promise. [Aside to Miss.]

SIR SAMP. Body o' me, madam, you say true. Look you, Ben, this is your mistress. Come, Miss, you must not be shame-faced; we'll leave you together.

MISS. I can't abide to be left alone; mayn't my cousin stay with me?

SIR SAMP. No, no. Come, let's away.

BEN. Look you, father, mayhap the young woman mayn't take a liking to me.

SIR SAMP. I warrant thee, boy: come, come, we'll be gone; I'll venture that.

 

SCENE VII.

 BEN, and MISS PRUE.

BEN . Come mistress, will you please to sit down? for an you stand a stern a that'n, we shall never grapple together. Come, I'll haul a chair; there, an you please to sit, I'll sit by you.

MISS. You need not sit so near one, if you have anything to say, I can hear you farther off, I an't deaf.

BEN . Why that's true, as you say, nor I an't dumb, I can be heard as far as another,--I'll heave off, to please you. [Sits farther off.] An we were a league asunder, I'd undertake to hold discourse with you, an 'twere not a main high wind indeed, and full in my teeth. Look you, forsooth, I am, as it were, bound for the land of matrimony; 'tis a voyage, d'ye see, that was none of my seeking. I was commanded by father, and if you like of it, mayhap I may steer into your harbour. How say you, mistress? The short of the thing is, that if you like me, and I like you, we may chance to swing in a hammock together.

MISS. I don't know what to say to you, nor I don't care to speak with you at all.

BEN. No? I'm sorry for that. But pray why are you so scornful?

MISS. As long as one must not speak one's mind, one had better not speak at all, I think, and truly I won't tell a lie for the matter.

BEN . Nay, you say true in that, it's but a folly to lie: for to speak one thing, and to think just the contrary way is, as it were, to look one way, and to row another. Now, for my part, d'ye see, I'm for carrying things above board, I'm not for keeping anything under hatches,--so that if you ben't as willing as I, say so a God's name: there's no harm done; mayhap you may be shame-faced; some maidens thof they love a man well enough, yet they don't care to tell'n so to's face. If that's the case, why, silence gives consent.

MISS . But I'm sure it is not so, for I'll speak sooner than you should believe that; and I'll speak truth, though one should always tell a lie to a man; and I don't care, let my father do what he will; I'm too big to be whipt, so I'll tell you plainly, I don't like you, nor love you at all, nor never will, that's more: so there's your answer for you; and don't trouble me no more, you ugly thing.

BEN . Look you, young woman, you may learn to give good words, however. I spoke you fair, d'ye see, and civil. As for your love or your liking, I don't value it of a rope's end; and mayhap I like you as little as you do me: what I said was in obedience to father. Gad, I fear a whipping no more than you do. But I tell you one thing, if you should give such language at sea, you'd have a cat o' nine tails laid cross your shoulders. Flesh! who are you? You heard t'other handsome young woman speak civilly to me of her own accord. Whatever you think of yourself, gad, I don't think you are any more to compare to her than a can of small-beer to a bowl of punch.

MISS . Well, and there's a handsome gentleman, and a fine gentleman, and a sweet gentleman, that was here that loves me, and I love him; and if he sees you speak to me any more, he'll thrash your jacket for you, he will, you great sea-calf.

BEN . What, do you mean that fair-weather spark that was here just now? Will he thrash my jacket? Let'n,--let'n. But an he comes near me, mayhap I may giv'n a salt eel for's supper, for all that. What does father mean to leave me alone as soon as I come home with such a dirty dowdy? Sea-calf? I an't calf enough to lick your chalked face, you cheese-curd you: --marry thee? Oons, I'll marry a Lapland witch as soon, and live upon selling contrary winds and wrecked vessels.

MISS . I won't be called names, nor I won't be abused thus, so I won't. If I were a man [cries]--you durst not talk at his rate. No, you durst not, you stinking tarbarrel.

 

 SCENE VIII.

 [To them] MRS FORESIGHT and MRS FRAIL.

MRS FORE. They have quarrelled, just as we could wish.

BEN. Tar-barrel? Let your sweetheart there call me so, if he'll take your part, your Tom Essence, and I'll say something to him; gad, I'll lace his musk-doublet for him, I'll make him stink: he shall smell more like a weasel than a civet-cat, afore I ha' done with 'en.

MRS FORE. Bless me, what's the matter, Miss? What, does she cry? Mr Benjamin, what have you done to her?

BEN. Let her cry: the more she cries the less she'll--she has been gathering foul weather in her mouth, and now it rains out at her eyes.

MRS FORE. Come, Miss, come along with me, and tell me, poor child.

MRS FRAI L. Lord, what shall we do? There's my brother Foresight and Sir Sampson coming. Sister, do you take Miss down into the parlour, and I'll carry Mr Benjamin into my chamber, for they must not know that they are fallen out. Come, sir, will you venture yourself with me? [Looking kindly on him.]

BEN. Venture, mess, and that I will, though 'twere to sea in a storm.

 

SCENE IX.

 SIR SAMPSON and FORESIGHT.

SIR SAMP . I left 'em together here; what, are they gone? Ben's a brisk boy: he has got her into a corner; father's own son, faith, he'll touzle her, and mouzle her. The rogue's sharp set, coming from sea; if he should not stay for saving grace, old Foresight, but fall to without the help of a parson, ha? Odd, if he should I could not be angry with him; 'twould be but like me, a chip of the old block. Ha! thou'rt melancholic, old Prognostication; as melancholic as if thou hadst spilt the salt, or pared thy nails on a Sunday. Come, cheer up, look about thee: look up, old stargazer. Now is he poring upon the ground for a crooked pin, or an old horse-nail, with the head towards him.

FORE. Sir Sampson, we'll have the wedding to-morrow morning.

SIR SAMP. With all my heart.

FORE. At ten a'clock, punctually at ten.

SIR SAMP . To a minute, to a second; thou shalt set thy watch, and the bridegroom shall observe its motions; they shall be married to a minute, go to bed to a minute; and when the alarm strikes, they shall keep time like the figures of St. Dunstan's clock, and consummatum est shall ring all over the parish.

 

 SCENE X.

 [To them] SCANDAL.

SCAN. Sir Sampson, sad news.

FORE. Bless us!

SIR SAMP. Why, what's the matter?

SCAN. Can't you guess at what ought to afflict you and him, and all of us, more than anything else?

SIR SAMP . Body o' me, I don't know any universal grievance, but a new tax, or the loss of the Canary fleet. Unless popery should be landed in the West, or the French fleet were at anchor at Blackwall.

SCAN. No. Undoubtedly, Mr Foresight knew all this, and might have prevented it.

FORE . 'Tis no earthquake!

SCAN. No, not yet; nor whirlwind. But we don't know what it may come to. But it has had a consequence already that touches us all.

SIR SAMP. Why, body o' me, out with't.

SCAN . Something has appeared to your son Valentine. He's gone to bed upon't, and very ill. He speaks little, yet he says he has a world to say. Asks for his father and the wise Foresight; talks of Raymond Lully, and the ghost of Lilly. He has secrets to impart, I suppose, to you two. I can get nothing out of him but sighs. He desires he may see you in the morning, but would not be disturbed tonight, because he has some business to do in a dream.

SIR SAMP . Hoity toity, what have I to do with his dreams or his divination? Body o' me, this is a trick to defer signing the conveyance. I warrant the devil will tell him in a dream that he must not part with his estate. But I'll bring him a parson to tell him that the devil's a liar: --or if that won't do, I'll bring a lawyer that shall outlie the devil. And so I'll try whether my blackguard or his shall get the better of the day.

 

 SCENE XI.

 SCANDAL, FORESIGHT.

SCAN . Alas, Mr Foresight, I'm afraid all is not right. You are a wise man, and a conscientious man, a searcher into obscurity and futurity, and if you commit an error, it is with a great deal of consideration, and discretion, and caution -

FORE. Ah, good Mr Scandal -

SCAN . Nay, nay, 'tis manifest; I do not flatter you. But Sir Sampson is hasty, very hasty. I'm afraid he is not scrupulous enough, Mr Foresight. He has been wicked, and heav'n grant he may mean well in his affair with you. But my mind gives me, these things cannot be wholly insignificant. You are wise, and should not be over-reached, methinks you should not -

FORE. Alas, Mr Scandal,--humanum est errare.

SCAN . You say true, man will err; mere man will err--but you are something more. There have been wise men; but they were such as you, men who consulted the stars, and were observers of omens. Solomon was wise, but how? -by his judgment in astrology. So says Pineda in his third book and eighth chapter -

FORE . You are learned, Mr Scandal.

SCAN. A trifler--but a lover of art. And the Wise Men of the East owed their instruction to a star, which is rightly observed by Gregory the Great in favour of astrology. And Albertus Magnus makes it the most valuable science, because, says he, it teaches us to consider the causation of causes, in the causes of things.

FORE. I protest I honour you, Mr Scandal. I did not think you had been read in these matters. Few young men are inclined -

SCAN. I thank my stars that have inclined me. But I fear this marriage and making over this estate, this transferring of a rightful inheritance, will bring judgments upon us. I prophesy it, and I would not have the fate of Cassandra not to be believed. Valentine is disturbed; what can be the cause of that? And Sir Sampson is hurried on by an unusual violence. I fear he does not act wholly from himself; methinks he does not look as he used to do.

FORE. He was always of an impetuous nature. But as to this marriage, I have consulted the stars, and all appearances are prosperous -

SCAN . Come, come, Mr Foresight, let not the prospect of worldly lucre carry you beyond your judgment, nor against your conscience. You are not satisfied that you act justly.

FORE. How?

SCAN. You are not satisfied, I say. I am loth to discourage you, but it is palpable that you are not satisfied.

FORE. How does it appear, Mr Scandal? I think I am very well satisfied.

SCAN. Either you suffer yourself to deceive yourself, or you do not know yourself.

FORE. Pray explain yourself.

SCAN. Do you sleep well o' nights?

FORE. Very well.

SCAN. Are you certain? You do not look so.

FORE. I am in health, I think.

SCAN. So was Valentine this morning; and looked just so.

FORE. How? Am I altered any way? I don't perceive it.

SCAN. That may be, but your beard is longer than it was two hours ago.

FORE. Indeed! Bless me!

 

 SCENE XII.

 [To them] MRS FORESIGHT.

MRS FORE. Husband, will you go to bed? It's ten a'clock. Mr Scandal, your servant.

SCAN. Pox on her, she has interrupted my design--but I must work her into the project. You keep early hours, madam.

MRS FORE. Mr Foresight is punctual; we sit up after him.

FORE. My dear, pray lend me your glass, your little looking-glass.

SCAN. Pray lend it him, madam. I'll tell you the reason.

[She gives him the glass: SCANDAL and she whisper.] My passion for you is grown so violent, that I am no longer master of myself. I was interrupted in the morning, when you had charity enough to give me your attention, and I had hopes of finding another opportunity of explaining myself to you, but was disappointed all this day; and the uneasiness that has attended me ever since brings me now hither at this unseasonable hour.

MRS FORE. Was there ever such impudence, to make love to me before my husband's face? I'll swear I'll tell him.

SCAN . Do. I'll die a martyr rather than disclaim my passion. But come a little farther this way, and I'll tell you what project I had to get him out of the way; that I might have an opportunity of waiting upon you. [Whisper. FORESIGHT looking in the glass.]

FORE . I do not see any revolution here; methinks I look with a serene and benign aspect--pale, a little pale--but the roses of these cheeks have been gathered many years;--ha! I do not like that sudden flushing. Gone already! hem, hem, hem! faintish. My heart is pretty good; yet it beats; and my pulses, ha!--I have none--mercy on me--hum. Yes, here they are--gallop, gallop, gallop, gallop, gallop, gallop, hey! Whither will they hurry me? Now they're gone again. And now I'm faint again, and pale again, and hem! and my hem! breath, hem! grows short; hem! hem! he, he, hem!

SCAN. It takes: pursue it in the name of love and pleasure.

MRS FORE. How do you do, Mr Foresight!

FORE. Hum, not so well as I thought I was. Lend me your hand.

SCAN. Look you there now. Your lady says your sleep has been unquiet of late.

FORE. Very likely.

MRS FORE. Oh, mighty restless, but I was afraid to tell him so. He has been subject to talking and starting.

SCAN. And did not use to be so?

MRS FORE. Never, never, till within these three nights; I cannot say that he has once broken my rest since we have been married.

FORE. I will go to bed.

SCAN. Do so, Mr Foresight, and say your prayers. He looks better than he did.

MRS FORE. Nurse, nurse!

FORE. Do you think so, Mr Scandal?

SCAN. Yes, yes. I hope this will be gone by morning, taking it in time.

FORE. I hope so.

 

 SCENE XIII.

 [To them] NURSE.

MRS FORE. Nurse; your master is not well; put him to bed.

SCAN . I hope you will be able to see Valentine in the morning. You had best take a little diacodion and cowslip-water, and lie upon your back: maybe you may dream.

FORE. I thank you, Mr Scandal, I will. Nurse, let me have a watch- light, and lay the Crumbs of Comfort by me.

NURSE. Yes, sir.

FORE. And--hem, hem! I am very faint.

SCAN . No, no, you look much better.

FORE. Do I? And, d'ye hear, bring me, let me see--within a quarter of twelve, hem--he, hem!--just upon the turning of the tide, bring me the urinal; and I hope, neither the lord of my ascendant, nor the moon will be combust; and then I may do well.

SCAN. I hope so. Leave that to me; I will erect a scheme; and I hope I shall find both Sol and Venus in the sixth house.

FORE. I thank you, Mr Scandal, indeed that would be a great comfort to me. Hem, hem! good night.

 

 SCENE XIV.

 SCANDAL, MRS FORESIGHT.

SCAN. Good night, good Mr Foresight; and I hope Mars and Venus will be in conjunction;--while your wife and I are together.

MRS FORE. Well; and what use do you hope to make of this project? You don't think that you are ever like to succeed in your design upon me?

SCAN. Yes, faith I do; I have a better opinion both of you and myself than to despair.

MRS FORE. Did you ever hear such a toad? Hark'ee, devil: do you think any woman honest?

SCAN. Yes, several, very honest; they'll cheat a little at cards, sometimes, but that's nothing.

MRS FORE. Pshaw! but virtuous, I mean?

SCAN . Yes, faith, I believe some women are virtuous too; but 'tis as I believe some men are valiant, through fear. For why should a man court danger or a woman shun pleasure?

MRS FORE. Oh, monstrous! What are conscience and honour?

SCAN . Why, honour is a public enemy, and conscience a domestic thief; and he that would secure his pleasure must pay a tribute to one and go halves with t'other. As for honour, that you have secured, for you have purchased a perpetual opportunity for pleasure.

MRS FORE . An opportunity for pleasure?

SCAN. Ay, your husband, a husband is an opportunity for pleasure: so you have taken care of honour, and 'tis the least I can do to take care of conscience.

MRS FORE. And so you think we are free for one another?

SCAN. Yes, faith I think so; I love to speak my mind.

MRS FORE . Why, then, I'll speak my mind. Now as to this affair between you and me. Here you make love to me; why, I'll confess it does not displease me. Your person is well enough, and your understanding is not amiss.

SCAN. I have no great opinion of myself, but I think I'm neither deformed nor a fool.

MRS FORE. But you have a villainous character: you are a libertine in speech, as well as practice.

SCAN . Come, I know what you would say: you think it more dangerous to be seen in conversation with me than to allow some other men the last favour; you mistake: the liberty I take in talking is purely affected for the service of your sex. He that first cries out stop thief is often he that has stol'n the treasure. I am a juggler, that act by confederacy; and if you please, we'll put a trick upon the world.

MRS FORE. Ay; but you are such an universal juggler, that I'm afraid you have a great many confederates.

SCAN. Faith, I'm sound.

MRS FORE. Oh, fie--I'll swear you're impudent.

SCAN. I'll swear you're handsome.

MRS FORE. Pish, you'd tell me so, though you did not think so.

SCAN. And you'd think so, though I should not tell you so. And now I think we know one another pretty well.

MRS FORE. O Lord, who's here?

 

 SCENE XV.

 [To them] MRS FRAIL and BEN.

BEN . Mess, I love to speak my mind. Father has nothing to do with me. Nay, I can't say that neither; he has something to do with me. But what does that signify? If so be that I ben't minded to be steered by him; 'tis as thof he should strive against wind and tide.

MRS FRAIL. Ay, but, my dear, we must keep it secret till the estate be settled; for you know, marrying without an estate is like sailing in a ship without ballast.

BEN. He, he, he; why, that's true; just so for all the world it is indeed, as like as two cable ropes.

MRS FRAIL. And though I have a good portion, you know one would not venture all in one bottom.

BEN. Why, that's true again; for mayhap one bottom may spring a leak. You have hit it indeed: mess, you've nicked the channel.

MRS FRAIL. Well, but if you should forsake me after all, you'd break my heart.

BEN . Break your heart? I'd rather the Mary-gold should break her cable in a storm, as well as I love her. Flesh, you don't think I'm false-hearted, like a landman. A sailor will be honest, thof mayhap he has never a penny of money in his pocket. Mayhap I may not have so fair a face as a citizen or a courtier; but, for all that, I've as good blood in my veins, and a heart as sound as a biscuit.

MRS FRAIL. And will you love me always?

BEN. Nay, an I love once, I'll stick like pitch; I'll tell you that. Come, I'll sing you a song of a sailor.

MRS FRAIL. Hold, there's my sister, I'll call her to hear it.

MRS FORE. Well; I won't go to bed to my husband to-night, because I'll retire to my own chamber, and think of what you have said.

SCAN. Well; you'll give me leave to wait upon you to your chamber door, and leave you my last instructions?

MRS FORE. Hold, here's my sister coming towards us.

MRS FRAIL. If it won't interrupt you I'll entertain you with a song.

BEN . The song was made upon one of our ship's-crew's wife. Our boatswain made the song. Mayhap you may know her, sir. Before she was married she was called buxom Joan of Deptford.

SCAN. I have heard of her.

BEN. [Sings]:

 BALLAD.

 Set by MR JOHN ECCLES.

 I.

A soldier and a sailor,

A tinker and a tailor,

Had once a doubtful strife, sir,

To make a maid a wife, sir,

Whose name was buxom Joan.

For now the time was ended,

When she no more intended

To lick her lips at men, sir,

And gnaw the sheets in vain, sir,

And lie o' nights alone.

 II.

The soldier swore like thunder,

He loved her more than plunder,

And shewed her many a scar, sir,

That he had brought from far, sir,

With fighting for her sake.

The tailor thought to please her

With offering her his measure.

The tinker, too, with mettle

Said he could mend her kettle,

And stop up ev'ry leak.

 III.

But while these three were prating,

The sailor slyly waiting,

Thought if it came about, sir,

That they should all fall out, sir,

He then might play his part.

And just e'en as he meant, sir,

To loggerheads they went, sir,

And then he let fly at her

A shot 'twixt wind and water,

That won this fair maid's heart.

BEN. If some of our crew that came to see me are not gone, you shall see that we sailors can dance sometimes as well as other folks. [Whistles.] I warrant that brings 'em, an they be within hearing. [Enter seamen]. Oh, here they be--and fiddles along with 'em. Come, my lads, let's have a round, and I'll make one. [Dance.]

BEN . We're merry folks, we sailors: we han't much to care for. Thus we live at sea; eat biscuit, and drink flip, put on a clean shirt once a quarter; come home and lie with our landladies once a year, get rid of a little money, and then put off with the next fair wind. How d'ye like us?

MRS FRAIL. Oh, you are the happiest, merriest men alive.

MRS FORE. We're beholden to Mr Benjamin for this entertainment. I believe it's late.

BEN . Why, forsooth, an you think so, you had best go to bed. For my part, I mean to toss a can, and remember my sweet-heart, afore I turn in; mayhap I may dream of her.

MRS FORE. Mr Scandal, you had best go to bed and dream too.

SCAN . Why, faith, I have a good lively imagination, and can dream as much to the purpose as another, if I set about it. But dreaming is the poor retreat of a lazy, hopeless, and imperfect lover; 'tis the last glimpse of love to worn-out sinners, and the faint dawning of a bliss to wishing girls and growing boys.

There's nought but willing, waking love, that can

Make blest the ripened maid and finished man.