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to you ; for we have had a great deal of your money.

Wid. And you have done me many a good job fort ; and so,
here's to you again.

2 Knight. Why, we have been perjured but six times for you.

1 Knight. Forged but four deeds, with your husband's last deed
of gift.

2 Knight. And but three wills.

1 Knight. And counterfeited hands and seals to some six bonds ;
I think that's all, brother ?

Wid. Ay, that's all, gentlemen ; and so, here's to you again.

2 Knight. Nay, 'twould do one's heart good to be forsworn for
you. You have a conscience in your ways, and pay us well.

1 Knight. You are in the right on't, brother ; one would die for
her with all one's heart.

2 Knight. But there are rogues who make us forsworn for 'cm ;
and when we come to be paid, they'll be forsworn too, and not pay
us our wages, which they promised with oaths sufficient. '

1 Knight. Ay, a great lawyer that shall be nameless bilked me

Wid. That was hard, mcthinks, that a lawyer should use gentle-
men witnesses no better.

2 Knight. A lawyer ! d'ye wonder a lawyer should do t ? I was
bilked by a reverend divine, that preaches twice on Sundays, ,;nd
prays half an hour still before dinner.

Wid. How ! a conscientious divine, and not pp.y people for
damning themselves ! sure then, for all his talking, he docs not
believe. But, come, to our business. Pray be sure to imitate
exactly the nourish at the end of his name, [f'ulls out a dfidor hi />.

I Knight. O, he's the best in England at untangling a flourish,


Wid. And let not the seal be a jot bigger. Observe well the dash
too, at the end of this name.

2 Knight. I warrant you. madam.

Wid. Well, these and many other shifts poor widows are put to
sometimes ; for everybody would be breaking into her jointure.
They think marrying a widow an easy business, like leaping the
hedge where another has gone over before. A widow is a mere gap,
a gap with them.

THE POST huddle up the writings.

What 1 he here ! Go then, go my hearts, you have your instructions.


Old. Come, madam, to be plain with you, I'll be fobbed off no
longer. [Aside.] I'll bind her and gag her but she shall hear me.
[To the WAITERS.] Look you, friends, there's the money J pro-
mised you ; and now do you what you promised me: here my garters,
and here's a gag. [To the WIDOW.] You shall be acquainted with
my parts, lady, you shall.

Wid. Help 1 help ! What, will you ravish me ?

[The WAITERS tie her to the chair, gag her, and cxettnt.

Old. Yes, lady, I will ravish you ; but it shall be through the ear,
lady, the ear only, with my well-penned acrostics.

and his ASSISTANTS, with the two KNIGHTS OF THE POST.

What ! shall I never read my things undisturbed again ?

Jer. O la ! my mother bound hand and foot, and gaping as if
she rose before her time to-day !

Free. What means this, Oldfox ? But I'll release you from him ;
you shall be no man's prisoner but mine. Bailiffs, execute your
writ. [Unties her.

Old. Nay, then, I'll be gone, for fear of being bail, and paying
her debts without being her husband. [fMf,

i Bail. We arrest you in the king's name, at the suit of Mr.
Freeman, guardian to Jeremiah Blackacre, Esquire, in an action of
ten thousand pounds.

Wid. How, how, in a choke-bail action ! What, and the
pen-and-ink gentlemen taken too ! Have you confessed, you
rogues ?

I Knight. We needed not to confess ; for the bailiffs have dogged
us hither to the very door, and overheard all that you and we said.

Wid. Undone, undone then ! no man was ever too hard for me
till now. O Jerry, child, wilt thou vex again the mother that bore

Jer. Ay, for bearing me before wedlock, as you say. But I'll
teach you to call a Blackacre bastard, though you were never so
much my mother.


Wid. [aside.] Well, I'm undone ! not one trick left ? no law-
mesh imaginable ? [To FREEMAN.] Cruel sir, a word with youi
I pray.

Free. In vain, madam ; for you have no other way to release
yourself, but by the bonds of matrimony.

Wid. How, sir, how ! that were but to sue out a habeas corpus,
for a removal from one prison to another. Matrimony J

Free. Well, bailiffs, away with her.

Wid. O stay, sir ! can you be so cruel as to bring me under
Covert-Baron again, and put it out of my power to sue in my own
name. Matrimony to a woman is worse than excommunication, in
depriving her of the benefit of the law ; and I would rather be de-
prived of life. But, hark you, sir, I am contented you should have
the privileges of a husband, without the dominion ; that is, durante
bcneplacito. In consideration of which, I will out of my jointure
secure you an annuity of three hundred pounds a year, and pay
your debts ; and that's all you younger brothers desire to marry a
widow for, I'm sure.

Free. Well, widow, if

Jer. What 1 I hope, bully-guardian, you are not making agree-
ments without me ?

Free. No, no. First, widow, you must say no more than he is a
bastard ; have a care of that. And, then, he must have a settled
exhibition of forty pounds a year, and a nag of assizes, kept by you,
but not upon the common ; and have free ingress, egress, and

Wid. Well, I can grant all that too.

Jer. Ay, ay, fair words butter no cabbage ; but, guardian, make
her sign, sign and seal ; for otherwise, if you knew her as well as I,
you would not trust her word for a farthing.

Free. I warrant thee, squire. Well, widow, since thou art so
generous, I will be generous too ; and if you'll secure me four
hundred pounds a year, but during your life, and pay my debts,
not above a thousand pounds, I'll bate you the husband.

IV id. Have a care, sir, a settlement without a consideration is
void in law ; you must do something for't.

Free. Prithee, then let the settlement on me bo called alimony ;
and the consideration, our separation. Come, my lawyer, with
writings ready drawn, is within, and in haste. Come. {Exeunt

Enter OLIVIA with a candle in her hand.

Oliv. So, I am now prepared once more for my timorous young
lover's reception. My husband is gone ; and go thou out too, thou
next interrupter of love. [Puts out the candle.} Kind darkness,
that frees us lovers from scandal and bashfulness, from the censure
of our gallants and the world ! - So, are you there?


Enter Ici-DKUb, followed softly by MANLY.

Come, my dear punctual lover, there is not such another in the
world ; thou hast beauty and youth to please a wife ; address amv
wit to amuse and fool a husband ; nay, thou hast all things to be
wished in a lover, but your fits. I hope, my dear, you won't have
one to-night ; and that you may not, I'll lock the door, though
there be no need of it, but to lock out your hts ; for my husband is
just gone out of town again. Come, where are you ?

[Goes to the door and locks it.

Man. Well, thou hast impudence enough to give rne fits too, and
make revenge itself impotent ; hinder me from making thee yet
more infamous, if it can be. [Aside.

Oliv. Come, come, my soul, come.

Fid. Presently, my dear, we have time enough, sure.

Oliv. How, time enough ! True lovers can no more think they
ever have time enough, than love enough. Come.

Fid. But won't you let me give you and myself the satisfaction of
telling you how I abused your husband last night ?

Oliv. Not when you can give me, and yourself too, the satisfac-
tion of abusing him again to-night. Come.

Fid. Let me but tell you how your husband

Oliv. O name not his, or Manl/s more loathsome name, if you
love me ! I forbid 'em last night ; and you know I mentioned my
husband but once, and he came. No talking, pray, 'twas ominous
to us. {A noise at the door.] You make me fancy a noise at the
door already, but I'm resolved not to be interrupted. Where are
you ? Come, for rather than lose my dear expectation now, though
my husband were at the door, and the bloody ruffian manly here
in the room, with all his awful insolence, I would give myself to
this dear hand. [The noise at the door increases.'] But what's this
noise at the door? So, I told you what talking would come to.

I la ! O heavens, my husband's voice !

[Listens at the dqor.

Jlfan. [asitie.] Freeman is come too soon.

Oliv. Oh, 'tis he ! then here's the happiest minute lost that ever
bashful boy or trifling woman fooled away ! I'm undone ! my hus-
band's reconcilement too was false, as my joy all delusion. But
come this way, here's a back door. [Exit, and returns.] The
officious jade has locked us in, instead of locking others out ; but
let us then escape your way, by the balcony ; and whilst you pull
down the curtains, I'll fetch from my 'closet what next will best
secure our escape. I have left my key in the door, and 'twill not
suddenly be broken open. f/T.r//,

[A noise ,is :'/ were fcoplc forcing the door.

ilfan. Stir not yet, fearing nothing.

Fid. Nothing but your life, sir.

Man* We shall kr.on- this happy man she calls husband.


Re enter OLIVIA.

Oliv. Oh, where arc you? What, idle with fear? Come, I'll
tic the curtains, if you will hold. Here, take this cabinet and
purse, for it is thine, if we escape ; [MANLY takes them from hfr\
therefore, let us make haste. {Exit.

Man. 'Tis mine indeed now again, and it shall never escape
more from me, to you at least.

[The door broke open, enter VF.RNISH with a dark lantern
and a sivord, running at MANLY, who draws, puts by
the thrust, and defends himself, whilst FIDELIA runs at
VERNISH behind.

Vcr. So, there I'm right, sure {In a low voice.

Man. {softly ~\ Sword and dark lantern, villain, are some odds ;


Ver. Odds ! I'm sure I find more odds than I expected. What,

has my insatiable two seconds at once ? But [/// a low ^>oiec.

{Whilst they fight, OLIVIA re-enters, lying two curtains together.
Oliv. Where are you now ? What, is he entered then, and are
they fighting ? O do not kill one that can make no defence !
[MANLY \hrows VERNISH down and disarms //////.] How! but I
think he has the better on't. Here's his scarf 'tis he. So, keep
him down still. I hope thou hast no hurt, my dearest ?

{Embracing MANLY.

and tht WIDOW BLACKACRE, lighted by the two SAILORS inith


Ha ! what! Manly ! and have I been thus concerned for him !
embracing him ! and has he his jewels again too ! What means
this. O, 'tis too sure, as well as my shame ! which I'll go hide for
ever. [Offers to go out. MANLY stops her.

Man. No, my dearest ; after so much kindness as has passed
between us, I cannot part with you yet. Freeman, let nobody stir
out of the room; for notwithstanding your lights, we are yet in the
dark till this geitleman please to turn his face. {Pulls YTRNISH
by the sleeve. \ How, Vernish ! art thou the happy man then?
thou ! thou ! Sptak. I say ; but thy guilty silence tells me all.
Well, I shall not upbraid thee ; for my wonder is striking me as
dumb as thy shamt lias made thee. But what ! my little voluntcei
hurt, and fainting !

Fid. My wound, jr, is l*Mt a slight oiv in niy :v. v,i , 'tis only my
fear of your danger, iir, not yet well over.

Man. But what's here? more str.mgc thi.igs ! [(Vwrr >;ng
FIDELIA'S /<*// unlieAbchind. and without <i /."// >. vh:-:h she /<>}/
in the scuffle.] What means this long woman's hair, and f.ice ! now
all of it appears too tcautiful lor a nun ; which I ^till thought



womanish indeed ! What, you have not deceived me too, my little
volunteer ?

Oliv. Me she has, I'm sure. [Aside.

Man. Speak I


Eliza. What, cousin, I am brought hither by your woman, I
suppose, to be a witness of the second vindication of your honour ?

Oliv. Insulting is not generous. You might spare me I have

Eliza. Have a care, cousin, you'll confess anon top much ; and I
would not have your secrets.

Man. Come, your blushes answer me sufficiently, and you have
been my volunteer in love. \To FIDELIA.

Fid. I must confess I needed no compulsion to follow you all the
world over ; which 1 attempted in this habit, partly out of shame to
own my love to you, and fear of a greater shame, your refusal of it ;
for I knew of your engagement to this lady, and the corstancy of
your nature ; which nothing could have altered but herself.

Man. Dear madam, I desired you to bring me out of confusion,
and you have given me more. I know not what to speak to you, or
how to look upon you ; the sense of my rough, hard, and ill usage
of you (though chiefly your own fault), gives me more pain now 'tis
over, than you had when you suffered it ; nnd if my heart, the
refusal of such a woman [pointing to OLIVIA] were not a sacrifice
to profane your love, and a greater wrong to you thar ever yet I
did you, I would beg of you to receive it, though yoi used it as
she had done ; for though it deserved not from her tlii treatment
she gave it, it does from you.

Fid. Then it has had punishment sufficient from her already, and
needs no more from me ; and, I must confess, I would not be the
only cause of making you break your last night's Octh to me, of
never parting with me, t'f you do not forget or repent it

Alan. Then take for ever my heart, and this with it {gives for

the cabinet).; for 'twas given to you before, and my hecrt was before

your due ; I only beg leave to dispose of these few. Here, madam.

[Takes some of t/ie jewels, and offers them to OLIVIA; she

strikes them down; PLAUSIBLE and NOVEL take them up.

Plans. These pendants appertain to your most faithful humble

Nov. And this locket is mine ; my earnest for love, which she
never paid ; therefore my own again.

Wid. By what law, sir, pray ? -Cousin Oli'ia, a word. What,
do they make a seizure on your goods and chattels, vi et armis ?
Make your demand. I say, and bring your tro'er, bring your trover.
I'll follow the law for you.

Oliv. And I my revenge. [Exit.

Man. [7*0 VEKNISII.] But 'tis, my friend in your consideration
most, that I would have returned part of your wife's portion ; for


'twere hard to take all from thee, since thou has paid so dear for'f
in being such a rascal. Yet thy wife is a fortune without a portion ;
and thou art a man of that extraordinary merit in villany, the world
and fortune can never desert thee, though I do ; therefore be not
melancholy. Fare you well, sir. \Exit VKRNISH dofgedlyJ] Now,
madam, I beg your pardon [turning to FIDELIA] for lessening the
present I made you ; but my heart can never be lessened. This, I
confess, was too small for you before ; for you deserve the Indian
world ; and I would now go thither, out of covetousness for your
sake only.

Fid. Your heart, sir, is a present of that value, I can never make
any return to't [pulling MANLY from t/u- company]. But I can
give you biick such a present as this, which I got by the loss of my
father, a gentleman of the north, of no mean extraction, whose only
child I was, therefore left me in the present possession of two
thousand pounds a year ; which I left, with multitudes of pre-
tenders, to follow you, sir ; having in several public places seen
you, and observed your actions thoroughly, with admiration, when
you were too much in love to take notice of mine, which yet was
but too visible. The name of my family is Grey, my other Fidelia.
The rest of my story you shall know when I have fewer auditors.

Man. Nay, now, madam, you have taken from me all power of
making you any compliment on my part ; for I was going to tell
you, that for your sake only I would quit the unknown pleasure of a
retirement ; and rather stay in this ill world of ours still, though
odious to me, than give you more frights again at sea, and make
again too great a venture there, in you alone. But if I should tell
you now all this, and that your virtue (since greater than I thought
any was in the world) had now reconciled me to't, my friend here
would say, 'tis your estate that has made me friends with the

Free. I must confess I should ; for I think most of our
quarrels to the world are only because we cannot enjoy her as
we would do.

Man. Nay, if thou art a plain dealer too, give me thy hand ;
for now I'll say, I am thy friend indeed ; and for your two
sakes, though I have been so lately deceived in fiiends of both

I will believe there are now in the world
Good-natural friends, who are not blood-suchers,
And handsome women worthy to be friends ;
Yet, for my sake, let no one e'er confide
In tears, or oa\hs, in love, or friend untried.













SCENE I. A Wood.

Greg. I tell you no, I won't comply, and it is my business to talk
and to command.

Dorc. And I tell you you shall conform to my will, and that I
was not married to you to suffer your ill-humours.

Grfg. O the intolerable fatigue of matrimony ! Aristotle never
said a better thing in his life than when he told us "That a wife is
worse than a devil."

Dorc. Hear the learned gentleman with his Vristotlc !

Greg. And a learned man I am too ; find me out a maker of
fagots dial's able, like myself, to reason upon things, or that can
boast such an education as mine.

Dorc. An education !

Greg. Ay, hussy, a regular education ; frst at the charity-school,
where I learnt to read ; then I waited on a gentleman at Oxford,
where I learnt very near as much as my master ; from whence I
attended a travelling physician six years, inder the facetious denomi-
nation of a Merry- Andrew, where 1 leant physic.

Dorc. O that thou hadst followed hhi still ! Cursed be the hour
wherein I answered the parson " I will!"


Greg. And cursed be the parson that asked me the questioVi !

Dorc. You have reason to complain of him, indeed, who ought
to be on your knees every moment returning thanks to Heaven for
that great blessing it sent you when it scut you myself. I hope you
have not the assurance to think you deserve such a wife as me ?

Greg: No, really, I don't think I do.

AIR I. Bessy Bell.

Dorc. When n lady like me condescends to agree

To 1ft such a jackanapes taste her,
With what zeal and care should he worship the fair,
Who gives him what's meat for his master !

II is actions should still

Attend on her will.
Hear, sirrah, and take it for warning ;

To her he should be

Each night on his knee,
And so he should be on each morning.

Greg. Come, come, madam ; it was a lucky day for you when you
found me out.

Dorc. Lucky, indeed ! a fellow who eats everything I have.

Greg. That happens to be a mistake, for I drink some part on't.

Dorc. That has not even left me a bed to lie on.

Greg. You'll rise the earlier.

Dorc. And who from morning till night is eternally in an ale-

Greg. It's genteel the squire docs the same.

Dorc. Pray, sir, what are you willing I shall do with my family.

Greg. Whatever you plcnsc.

Dorc. My four little children that arc continually crying for

Greg. Give 'cm a rod ! best cure in the world for crying

Dort. And do you imagine, sot

Greg. Hark yc, my dear ; you know my temper is not over and
above passive, and that my arm is extremely active.

Dorc. I laugh at your threats poor, beggarly, insolent fellow !

Greg. Soft object of my wishing eyes, I shall play with your pretty

Dorc. Touch me if you dare, you insolent, impudent, dirty, lazy,

Greg. Oh, ho, ho! you will have it then, I find. \Bcats her.

Dorc. O, murder ! murder !


Rob. What's the matter here ? Fie upon you, fie upon you, neigh-
bour, to beat your wife in this scandalous manner !


Dorc. Well, sir, and I have a mind to be beat : and what then ?

Rob. O dear madam ! I give my consent with all my heart and

Dorc. What's that to you, sauce-box? Is it any business of
yours ?

Rob. No, certainly, madam.

Dorc. Here's an impertinent fellow for you, won't surfer a husband
to beat his own wife !

AIR II. Winchester Wedding.

Go thrash your own rib, sir, at home,

Nor thus interfere with our strife ;
May misery still be his doom

Who strives to part husband and wife !
Suppose I've a mind he should drub,

Whose bones are they, sir, he's to lick ?
At whose expense is it, you scrub ?

You are not to find him a stick.

Rob. Neighbour, I ask your pardon heartily ; here, fake and thrash
your wife ; beat her as you ought to do.

Greg. No, sir, I won't beat her.

Rob. O ! sir, that's another thing.

Greg. I'll beat her when I please ; and will not beat her when
I do not please. She is my wife, and not yours.

Rob. Certainly.

Dorc. Give me the stick, dear husband.

Rob. Well, if ever I attempt to part husband and wife again, may
I be beaten myself!


Greg. Come, my dear, let us be friends.

Dorc. What, after beating me so ?

Greg. 'Twas but in jest.

Dorc. I desire you will crack your jests on your own bones,
not on mine.

Greg. Pshaw ! you know you and I are one ; and I beat one-half
of myself when I beat you.

Dorc. Yes ; but, for the future, I desire you will beat the other
half of yourself.

Greg. Come, my pretty dear, I ask pardon ; I am sorry for't.

Dorc. For once I pardon you ; but you shall pay for't.

Greg. Pshaw ! pshaw ! child ; these arc only little affairs, neces-
sary in friendship : four or five good blows with a cudgel between
your very fond couples only tend to heighten the affections. I'll
now to the wood, and I promise thce to make a hundred fagots
before I come home again.


Dorc. If I am not revenged on those blows of yours ! Oh, that I
could but think of some method to be revenged on him ! Hang the
rogue, he is quite insensible. Oh, that I could find out some inven-
tion to get him well drubbed !


Har. Were ever two fools sent on such a message as we arc in
quest of a dumb doctor ?

James. Blame your own cursed memory that made you forget
his name. For my part, I'll travel through the world rather than
return without him ; that were as much as a lnb or two were

liar. Was ever such a cursed misfortune? to lose the letter ! I
should not even know his name if I were to hear it.

Dorc. Can I find no invention to be revenged ? Hey-day ! who
are these ?

James. Harkye, mistress ; do you know where where where
Doctor What-d'ye-call-him lives ?

Dorc. Doctor who?

James Doctor doctor What's-his-name ?

Dorc. Hey ! what, has the fellow a mind to banter me ?

Har. Is there no physician hereabouts famous for curing
dumbness ?

Dorc. I fancy you have no need of such a physician, Mr.

/far. Don't mistake us, good woman we don't mean to banter
you. We are ser.t by our master, whose daughter has lost her
speech, for a certain physician who lives hereabouts. We have
lost our direction, and 'tis as much as our lives arc worth to return
without him.

Don: There is one Doctor Lazy lives just by ; but he has left off
practising. You would not get him a mile to save the lives of a
thousand patients.

James. Direct us but to him. We'll bring him with us one way
or other, I warrant you.

Har. Ay, ay, we'll have him with us, though we carry him on our

Don: Ha ! Heaven has inspired me with one of the most
admirable inventions to be revenged on my hangdog ! [.-/JT/C/C'.]
I assure you, ff you can get him with you, he'll do your young lady's
business for her ; he's reckoned one of the best physicians in the
world, especially for dumbness.

Har. Pray tell us where he lives.

Don: You'll never be able to get him out of his own house ; but,
if you watch hereabouts, you'll certainly meet with him, for he very
often amuses himself with cutting wood.


Har. A physician cut wood !

James. I suppose he a.nuscs himself in searching after herbs,
you mean.

Dorc. No ; he's one of the most extraordinary men in the world ;
he goes dressed like a common clown ; for there is nothing he so
! much dreads as to be knovvn for a physician.

James. All your great men have some strange oddities about

Online LibraryHenry MorleyPlays from Molière → online text (page 18 of 34)