Henry Morley.

Plays from Molière online

. (page 13 of 34)
Online LibraryHenry MorleyPlays from Molière → online text (page 13 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Fid. Nay, then I'll make bold to make my claim, too.

[Both going towards OLIVIA.

Man. Hold, you impertinent, officious tops \/lsidc^\ How

have I been deceived !

Free, Madam, there are certain appurtenances to a lover's, heart,
called jewels, which always go along with it.

Fid. And which, with lovers, have no value in themselves, but
from the heart they come with. Our captain's, madam, it seems
you scorn to keep, and much more will those worthless things with-
out it, I am confident.

Oliv. A gentleman so well made as you are may be confident
us easy women could not deny you anything you ask, if 'twere for
yourself; but, since 'tis for another, I beg your leave to give him
my answer. [A side ^\ An agreeable young fellow this and would
not be my aversion. [Aloud.] Captain, your young friend here
has a very persuading face, I confess ; yet you might have asked
me yourself for those trifles you* left with me, which (hark you a
little, for I dare trust you with the secret ; you are a man of so
much honour, I'm sure) I say then, not expecting your return, or
hoping ever to see you again, I have delivered your jewels to

Man. Whom?

Oliv. My husband.

Man. Your husband ?

Oliv. Ay, my husband. For since you could leave me, I am
lately and privately married to one, who is a man of so much honour
and experience in the world, that I dare not ask him for your jewels
again to restore 'em to you ; lest he should conclude you never
would have parted with 'em to me on any other score but the ex-
change of my honour ; which rather than you'd let me lose, you'd
lose I'm sure yourself, those trifles of yours.

Man. Triumphant impudence ! but married too !

Oliv. O, speak not so loud, my servants know it not : I am mar-
ried ; there's no resisting one's destiny or love, you know.

Man. Why. did you love him too?

Oliv. Most passionately : nay, love him now, though I have mar-
ried him, and he me : which mutual love 1 hope you are loo good,



124 1HE PLAIN DEALER. [ACT ri.

too generous a man to disturb, by any future claim, or visits to me.
Tis true, he is now absent in the country, but returns shortly :
therefore I beg of you, for your own ease and quiet, and my honour,
you will never see me more.

Man. 1 wish I had never seen you.

Oliv. But if you should ever have anything to say to me hereafter,
let that young gentleman there be your messenger.

Man. You would be kinder to him ; I find he should be welcome.

Oliv. Alas ! his youth would keep my husband from suspicions,
and his visits from scandal ; for we women may have pity for such
as he, but no love ; and I already think you do not well to spirit
him away to sea ; and the sea is already but too rich with the spoil
of the shore.

Man. True perfect woman ! If I could say anything more in-
jurious to her now, I would ; for I could out-rail a kicked coward ;
but now I think on't, that were rather to discover my love than
hatred ; and I must not talk, for something I must do. \Aside.

Olii'. I think I have given him enough of me now, never to be
troubled with him again. [Aside.

Re-enter LETTICE.

Well, Lettice, are the cards and all ready within ? I come then.
Captain, I beg your pardon : you will not make one at ombre ?

Man. No, madam, but I'll wish you a little good luck before you
go.

Oliv. No, if you would have me thrive, curse me : for that you'll
do heartily, I suppose.

Man. Then if you will have it so, may all the curses light upon
you women ought to fear, and you deserve ! First, may the curse
of loving play attend your sordid tovetousness, and fortune cheat
you, by trusting to her, as you have cheated me ; the curse of pride,
or a good reputation, fall on your lust ; the curse of affectation on
your beauty ; the curse of your husband's company on your plea-
sures ; and the curse of scorn, jealousy, or despair on your love;
and then the curse of loving on !

Oliv. And to requite all your curses, I will only return you your
last ; may the curse of loving me still fall upon your proud hard
heart, tbat could be so cruel to me in these horrid curses ! but
Heaven forgive you ! [Exit.

Free. Well, you see now, mistresses, like friends, are lost by
letting 'em handle your money ; and most women are such kind of
witches, who can have no power over a man, unless you give 'em
money ; but when once they have got any from you, they never
leave you till they have all. Therefore I never dare give a woman
a farthing.

Man. Well, there is yet this comfort by losing one's money with
one's mistress, a man is out of danger of getting another ; of being
made prize again by love, who, like a pirate, takes you by spreading



SCENE I.] THE PLAIN DEALER. 125

false colours ; but when once you have run your ship aground, the
treacherous picaroon loofs ; so by your ruin you save yourself from
slavery at least.

Enter BOY.

Boy. Mrs. Lettice, here's Madam Blackacre come to wait upon
her honour. \_Exettnt LETTICE and BOY.

Man. D'ye hear that ? Let us begone before she comes : for
henceforward I'll avoid the whole sex for ever, and woman as a
sinking ship. [Exeunt MANLY and FIDELIA.

Free. And I'll stay, to revenge on her your quarrel to the sex ;
for out of love to her jointure, and hatred to business, I would
marry her, to make an end of her thousand suits, and my thousand
engagements, to the comfort of two unfortunate sort of people, my
plaintiffs and her defendants, my creditors and her adversaries.

Enter WIDOW BLACKACRE, led in by MAJOR OLDFOX, <7</ JERRY
BLACK ACRE following, laden with green bags.

Wid. 'Tis an arrant sea-ruffian ; but I am glad I met with him
at last, to serve him again, major ; for the last service was not good
in law. Boy, duck, Jerry, where is my paper of memorandums ?
Give me, child : so. Where is my cousin Olivia now, my kind
relation ?

Free. Here is one that would be your kind relation, madam.

Wid. What mean you, sir ?

Free. Why, faith (to be short), to marry you, widow.

Wid. Is not this the wild, rude person we saw at Captain Manly's ?

Jer. Ay, forsooth, an't please.

Wid. What would you ? What are you ? Marry me !

Free. Ay, faith ; for I am a younger brother, and you are a
widow.

Wid. You are an impertinent person ; and go about your business.

Free. I have none, but to marry thee, widow.

Wid. But I have other business, I'd have you to know.

Free. But I'll make you pleasanter business than any you have ;
for the business, widow

Wid. Go, I'm sure you're an idle fellow.

Free. Try me but, widow, and employ me as you find my abilities
and industry.

Old. Pray be civil to the lady, Mr. ; she is a person of

quality, a person that is no person

Free. Yes, but she's a person that is a widow. Be you mannerly
to her, because you are to pretend only to be her squire, to arm her
to her lawyer's chambers ; but 1 will be impudent ; for she must
love and marry me.

li'id. Marry come up, you saucy familiar Jack! Gad forgive
me ! now-a-days, every idle, young, hectoring, roaring companion,
with a pair of turned red breeches, and a broad back, thinks to



:26 THE PLAIN DEALER. [ACT II.

carry away any widow ot the best degree. But I'd have you to
know, sir, all widows are not got, like places at Court, by impudence
and importunity only.

Old. No, no, soft, soft, you are a young man, and not fit

Free. For a widow ? yes sure, old man, the fitter,

Ohi. Go to, go to ; if others had not laid in their claims before
you

Free. Not you. I hope.

Old. Why not I, sir? sure 1 am a much more proportionable
match for her than you, sir ; I, who am an elder brother, of a com-
fortable fortune, and of equal years with her.

Wid. How's that, you unmannerly person ? I'd have you to
know, I was born in Ann' undc<? Caroli print.

Old. Your pardon, lady, your pardon ; be not offended with your
very humble servant But, I say, sir, you are a beggarly younger
brother, twenty years younger than her, without any land or stock,
bat your great stock of impudence ; therefore what pretension can
you have to her ?

Free. You have made it for me ; first, because I am a younger
brother.

Wid. Why, is that a sufficient plea to a relict ? how appears it,
sir? by what foolish custom?

Free. By custom time out of mind only. Then, sir, because I
have nothing to keep me after her death, I am the likelier to take"
care of her life. And for my being twenty years younger than her,
and having a sufficient stock of impudence, I leave it to her
whether they will be valid exceptions to me in her widow's law or
equity.

Old. Well, she has been so long in Chancery, that III stand to
her equity and decree between us. Come, lady, pray snap up this
young snap at first, or we shall be troubled with him. Give him a
city-widow's answer, that is, with all the ill-breeding imaginable.
\_Asiik to the Widow.] Come, madam.

Wid. Well then, to make an end of this foolish wooing, for
nothing internipts business more ; first, for you, major

Old. You declare in my favour, then ?

Free. What, direct the court ! Come, young lawyer, thou shall be
a counsel for me. [70 JERRY.

Jcr. Gad, I shall betray your cause then, as well as an older
lawyer ; never stir.

Wid. First, I say. for you, major, my walking hospital of an
ancient foundation ! tiiou bag of mummy, that wouklst fall asunder,
if 'twere not for cerecloths

Old. How, lady !

Free. Ha ! ha !

Jer. Hey, brave mother! use all suitors thus, for my sake.

Wid. Thou withered, hobbling, distorted cripple ; nay, thou art
n cripple all over ; wcv.ildst thou make me the staff of thy age. the
crutch of thy decrcpidness ? me



SCENE i.] THE PLAIN DEALER. 127

Free. Well said, widow ! Faith, thou wouldst make a man love
thee now, without dissembling.

Wid. Thou senseless, impertinent, quibbling, drivelling, feeble,
paralytic, nincompoop !

Jer, Hey, brave mother, for calling of names, i : fac !

Wid. Wouldst thou make a caudle-maker, a nurse of me ? can't
you be bedrid without a bedfellow ? won't your swan-skins, furs,
flannels, and the scorched trencher keep you warm there ? would
you have me your Scotch warming-pan ! me

Old. O heavens !

Free. I told you I should be thought the fitter man, major.

Jer. Ay, you old fobus, and you would have been my guardian,
would you, to have taken care of my estate, that half oft should
never come to me, by letting long leases at peppercorn rents ?

Wid. If I would have married an old man, 'tis well known I
might have married an earl, nay, what's more, a judge, and been
covered the winter nights with the lamb-skins, which I prefer to
the ermines of nobles. And dost thou think I would wrong my
poor minor there for you ?

Free. Your minor is a chopping minor, God bless him !

[StroKes JERRY on the head.

Old, Your minor may be a major of horse or foot, for his bigness :
and it seems you will have the cheating of your minor to yourself.

Wid. Pray, sir, bear witness ; cheat my minor ! Ill bring my
action of the case for the slander.

Free. Nay I would bear false witness for thee now, widow, since
you have done me justice, and have thought me the fitter man for
you.

Wid. Fair and softly, sir, 'tis my minor's case, more than my
own ; and I must do him justice now on you.

Free. How !

Old. So then.

Wid. You are, first (I warrant), some renegado irom the inns of
court and the law ; and thou'lt come to suffer for"t by the law, that
is, be hanged.

Jer. Not about your neck, forsooth, I hope.

Free. But, madam

Old. Henr the Court.

Wid. Thou art some debauched, drunken, lewd, hectoring,
gaming companion, and wantcst some widow's old gold to nick
upon ; but I thank you, sir, that's for my lawyers.

Free. Faith, we should ne'er quarrel about that ; for guineas
would serve my turn. But, widow

Wid. Thou art a foul-mouthed boaster, a mere braggadocio, and
wilt belie thyself more than thou dost women, and art even- way a
base deceiver of women ; and would deceive me too, would you ?

Free. Nay, faith, widow, this is judging without seeing the
evidence.

Wid. I say, you are worn-out at livc-and-twenty, both in body



I 2 8 THE PLAIN DEALER. [ACT It

and fortune ; and in fine, you are a cheating, cozening spendthrift ;
and having sold your own annuity, would waste my jointure.

Jcr. And make havoc of our estate personal, and all our gilt
plate ; I should soon be picking up all our mortgaged apostle-
spoons, bowls, and beakers, out of most of the ale-houses betwixt
Hercules-pillars and the Boatswain in Wapping ; nay, and you'd
be scouring amongst my trees, and make 'em knock down one
nnother, like routed, reeling watchmen at midnight j would you so,
bullv ?

Free. Nay, prithee, widow, hear me.

Wid. No, sir ; I'd have you to know, thou pitiful, paltry, lath-
backed fellow, if I would have married a young man, 'tis well known
I could have had any young heir in Norfolk, nay, the hopefullest
young man this day at the King's-bench bar ; I that am a relict and
executrix of known plentiful assets and parts, who understand my-
self .and the law. And would you have me under covert-baron
again ? No, sir, no covert-baron for me.

Free. But, dear widow, hear me. I value you only, not your
jointure.

Wid. Nay, sir, hold there ; I know your love to a widow is
covetousness of her jointure ; and a widow a little stricken in years,
with a good jointure, is like an old mansion-house in a good pur-
chase, never valued, but take one, take t'other ; and perhaps, when
you are in possession, you'd neglect it^ let it drop to the ground, lor
want of necessary repairs or expenses upon't.

Free. No, widow, one would be sure to keep all tight, when one
is to forfeit one's lease by dilapidation.

Wid. Fie, fie ! I neglect my business with this foolish discourse
of love. Jerry, child, let me sec the list of the jury ; I'm sure my
cousin Olivia has some relations amongst them. But where is she?
Free. Nay, widow, but hear me one word only.
Wid. Nay, sir, no more. pray. I will no more hearken to your
foolish love-motions, than to offers of arbitration.

{Exeunt WIDOW and JERRY.

Free. Well, I'll follow thee yet ; for he that has a pretension at
Court, or to a widow, must never give over for a little ill-usage.

Old, Therefore, I'll get her by assiduity, patience, and long suffer-
ings, which you will not undergo ; for you idle young fellows leave
off love when it comes to be business ; and industry gets more
women than love.

Free. Ay, industry, the fool's and old man's merit. But 111 be
industrious too, and make a business on't, and get her by law,
wrangling, and contests, and not by sufferings ; and, because you
are no dangerous rival, I'll give thee counsel, major :
If you litigious widow e'er would gain.
Sigh no: to her. but by the law complain. Exeunt.



SCENE I.] THE PLAIN DKA LER. 129

ACT III.

SCENE \.-Westminster Hall.
' Enter MANLY and FREEMAN, two SAILORS behind.

Man. I hate this place worse than a. man that has inherited a
chancery suit : 1 wish I were well out on't again.

Free. Why, you need not be afraid of this place ; for a man with-
out money needs no more fear a. crowd of lawyers than a crowd of
pickpockets.

Man. This, the reverend of the law would have thought the
palace or residence of Justice ; but, if it be, she lives here with the
state of a Turkish emperor, rarely seen ; and besieged rather than
defended by her numerous black-guard here.

Free. Mcthinks 'tis like one of their own halls in Christmas time,
whither from all parts fools bring their money, to try by the dice
(not the worst judges) whether it shall be their own or no ; but after
a tedious fretting and wrangling, they drop away all their money on
both sides ; and, finding neither the better, at last go emptily and
lovingly away together to the tavern, joining their curses against
the young lawyer's box, that sweeps all, like the old ones.
Man. Spoken like a revelling Christmas lawyer.
Free. Yes, I was one, I confess, but was fain to leave the law, out
of conscience, and fall to making false musters : rather choose to
cheat the king than his subjects ; plunder rather than take fees.

Man. Well, a plague and a purse-famine light on the law ; and
that female limb of it who dragged me hither to-day ! But prithee
go see if, in that crowd of daggled gowns there ^pointing to a crowd
^LAWYERS at the end of the stage\ thou canst find her.

[Ex-it FREEMAN.
How hard it is to be a hypocrite !
At least to me, who am but newly so.
I thought it once a kind of knavery,
Nay, cowardice, to hide one's fault ; but now
The common frailty, love, becomes my shame.
He must not know I love the ungrateful still,
Lest he contemn me more than she ; for I,
It seems, can undergo a woman's scorn,
But not a man's

l-'nlcr F l r>K Li A.

Fid. Sir, good sir, generous captain.

Man. Prithee, kind impertinence, leave me. Why should - - thou
follow me, flatter my generosity now. since thou knowcst I h.;\c r.'j
money left ? if I had it. I'd give it thee, to buy my quiet.

Fid. I never followed yet, sir, reward or fame, but you alone ;
nor do I now beg anything but leave to share your miseries. You

L



HO THE PLAIN DEALER. [ACT in.

should not be a niggard of 'cm, since, methinks, you have enough
to spare. Let me follow you now, because you hate me, as you
h.ivc often sai'.i.

Man. I ever hated a coward's company, I must confess.

Fid. Let me follow you till I am none, then ; for you, I'm sure,
will go through surh worlds of dangers, that, I shall be inured to
: em ; nay, I shall be afraid of your anger more than danger, and so
turn valiant out 01 fear. Dear captain, do not cast me off till you
have tried me once more ; do not, do not go to sea again without
me.

Man. Thou to sea ! to court, thou fool ; remember the advice \
gave thee : thou art a handsome spaniel, and canst fawn naturally :
go, busk about anil run thyself into the next great man's lobby ;
(irst fawn upon the slaves without, and then run into the lady's
bedchamber. Go seek, I say. and lose me ; for I am not able to
keep thee ; I have not bread ior myself.

Fid. Therefore I will not go, because then I may help and serve
you.

Man. Thou !

Fid. \ warrant you. .>ir ; for. at worst, I could beg or steal for
you.

Man. Nay, more bragging ! Dost thou not know there's ventur-
ing your life in stealing ? Go, prithee, away : thou art as hard
to shake off as that flattering, effeminating mischief, love.

Fid. Love did you name ? Why, you are not so miserable as to
be vet in love, sure ?

Man. No, no, prithee away, begone, or [Aside.! I had almost

discovered my love and shame ; Well, if I had, that thing could not
think trie worse of me or if he did no yes, he shall know it he
shall but then I must never leave him, for they are such secrets
that make parasites lords of their masters ; for any slavery or
tyranny is easier than love's. [Aloud.] Come hither, since thou
art so forward to serve me : hast thou but resolution enough to
endure the torture of a secret? for such to some is insupportable.

Fid. I would keep it as safe as if your dear, precious life de-
pended on : t.

Man. Out on your dearness. It concerns more than my life
my honour.

Fid. Doubt it not, sir.

Man. And do not discover it, by too much fear of discovering it ;
but have a great care you let not Freeman find it out.

Fid. I warrant you, sir, I am already all joy with the hopes of
your commands ; and shall be all wings in the execution of 'em :
speak quickly, sir.

Man. You said you'd beg for me.

Fid. I did, sir.

Man. Then YOU shall beg for me,

Fid. With aU my heart, sir.

.1. f ..v;. Make suit for me.



SCENE I.] THE PLAIN DEALER. 131

Fid. How, sir ?

Man. D'ye start ! Thinkes.t thou, thou couldst do me any other
service ? Come, no dissembling honour : I know you can do it
handsomely, thou wert made fort. You have lost your time with
me at sea, you must recover it.

Fid. Do not, sir, beget yourself more reasons for your aversion to
me, and make my obedience to you a fault ; I am the unfittest in
the world to do you such a service.

Man. Your cunning arguing against it shows but how fit you are
for it. No more dissembling ; here (I say) you must go use it for
me to Olivia.

Fid. To her, sir ?

Man. Go flatter, lie, kneel, promise, anything to get her for me :
I cannot live unless I have her. Didst thou not say thou wouldst
do anything to save my life ? and she said you had a persuading
face.

Fid. But did not you say, sir, your honour was dearer to you
than your life ? and would you have me contribute to the loss of
that, and carry love from you to the most infamous, most false,
and

Man. And most beautiful 1 [Sighs aside.

Fid. Most ungrateful woman that ever lived ; for sure she must
be so, that could desert you so soon, use you so basely, and so

lately too : do not, do not forget it, i,ir, and think

Man. No, I will not forget it, but think of revenge. Go, begone,
and prevail for me, or never see me more.
Fid. You scorned her last night

Man. 1 know not what I did last night ; I dissembled last
night.

Fid. Heavens!

Man. Begone, I say, and bring me love or compliance back,
or hopes at least, or I'll never see thy face again, bj
ffid, O, do not swear, sir ! first hear me.
Man. I'm impatient, away ! you'll find me here till twelve.

[Turns away.

Fid. Sir

Man. Not one word, no insinuating argument more, or soothing
persuasion ; you'll li;ive need of ;ill your rhetoric with her : go
strive to alter her, not mo ; begone.

\_Rctires to the end vj the sdige, rtnd .v. '<(
Fid. Should I discover to him now my sex,
And lay before him his strange cruelty,
'T would but incense it more. No, 'tis not time.
For his love must I then betray my own?
Were ever love or chance till now severe ?
Or shifting woman posed with such a task ?
Forced to beg that which kills her, if obtain'd,
And give away her lover not to lose him !

E3



THE PLAIN DEALER. [ACT in.



[Enttr WIDOW BLACKACRE,/// the middle of half-a-dozen LAWYERS,
whispered to by a fellow in black, JERRY BLACKACRE/<?//W-
the crowd.

Wid. Offer me a reference, you saucy companion you ! d'ye know
who you speak to ? Art thou a solicitor in Chancery, and offer a
reference? A pretty fellow ! Mr. Serjeant Ploddon, here's a
fellow has the impudence to offer me a reference !

Serf. Plod. Who's that has the impudence to offer a reference
within these walls ?

Wid. Nay, for a splitter of causes to do't !

Serj. Plod. No, madam ; to a lady learned in the law, as you are,
the oner of a reference were to impose upon you.

Wid. No, no, never fear me for a reference, Mr. Serjeant. J3ut
come, have you not forgot your brief? Are you sure you shan't
make the mistake of hark you \Whispers^\ Go then, go to your
court of Common Pleas, and say one thing over and over again :
you do it so naturally, you'll never be suspected for protracting
time.

Serj. Plod. Come, I know the course of the court, and your
business. {Exit.

Wid. Let's see, Jerry, where are my minutes? Come, Mr.
Quaint, pray go talk a great deal for me in Chancery ; let your
words be easy, and your sense hard ; my cause requires it : branch
it bravely, and deck my cause with flowers, that the snake may lie
hidden. Go, go, and be sure you remember the decree of my Lord
Chancellor. Tricesimo quarf of the queen.

Quaint. I will, as I see cause, extenuate, or exemplify matter of
ftct ; baffle truth with impudence ; answer exceptions with questions,
though never so impertinent ; for reasons give 'cm words ; for law
and equity, tropes and figures ; and so relax and enervate the
sinews of their argument with the oil of my eloquence. But
when my lungs can reason no longer, and not being able to say
anything more for our cause, say everything of our adversary ;
whose reputation, though never so clear and evident in the eye of
the world, yet with sharp invectives

Wid. Alias, Billingsgate.

Quaint. With poignant and sour invectives, I say, I will deface,
wipe out, and obliterate his fair reputation, even as a record with
the juice of lemons ; and tell such a story (for the truth on't is, all
that we can do for our client in Chancery is telling a story) a fine
story, a long story, such a story

Wid. Go, save thy breath for the cause ; talk at the bar, Mr.
Quaint : you are so copiously fluent, you can weary any one's ears
sooner than your own tongue. Go, weary our adversaries' counsel,
and the court ; go, thou art a fine-spoken person : adad, I shall
make thy wife jealous of me, if you can but court the court into a
decree for us. Go, get you gone, and remember [Whispers.]



SCENE I.] THE PLAIN DEALER. 133

' Exit QUAINT.] Come, Mr. Blunder, pray bawl soundly for me,



Online LibraryHenry MorleyPlays from Molière → online text (page 13 of 34)