The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. III
Part 5 out of 12
Harry Bellmour, having killed his man in a duel, flies to Brussels,
perforce leaving behind him Leticia, to whom he is affianced. During his
absence Sir Feeble Fainwou'd, a doting old alderman and his rival,
having procured his pardon from the King to prevent it being granted if
applied for a second time, and keeping this stratagem secret, next
forges a letter as if from the Hague which describes in detail
Bellmour's execution for killing a toper during a tavern brawl. He then
plies his suit with such ardour that Leticia, induced by poverty and
wretchedness, reluctantly consents to marry him. On the wedding morning
Bellmour returns in disguise and intercepts a letter that conveys news
of the arrival of Sir Feeble's nephew, Frank, whom his uncle has never
seen. The lover straightway resolves to personate the expected
newcomer, and he is assisted in his design by his friend Gayman, a town
gallant, who having fallen into dire need is compelled to lodge, under
the name of Wasteall, with a smith in Alsatia. His estate has been
mortgaged to an old banker, Sir Cautious Fulbank, whose wife Julia he
loves, and to her he pretends to have gone to Northamptonshire to his
uncle's death bed. He is discovered, unknown to himself, in his slummy
retreat by Bredwel, Sir Cautious' prentice, who has to convey him a
message with reference to the expiration of the mortgage, and who
reveals the secret to Lady Fulbank. She promptly abstracts five hundred
pounds from her husband's strong box and forwards it to her lover by
Bredwel, disguised as a devil, with an amorous message purporting to be
from some unknown bidding him attend at a certain trysting place that
night without fail. Gayman, now able to redeem his forfeited estates,
dresses in his finest clothes and appears at Sir Feeble Fainwou'd's
wedding. Bellmour has meanwhile revealed himself to Leticia, who is
plunged in despair at the nuptials. Lady Fulbank, who is present, greets
Gayman and asks him to give her an assignation in the garden, but he
excuses himself in order to keep his prior appointment, and she leaves
him in dissembled anger. Bredwel then in his satanic masquerade meets
Gayman, and bringing him a roundabout way, introduces him into Sir
Cautious' house, where, after having been entertained with a masque of
dances and songs as by spirits, he is conducted to Lady Fulbank's
chamber by her maid disguised as an ancient crone, and admitted to his
mistress' embraces. Meanwhile Sir Feeble Fainwou'd, who just at the
moment of entering the bridal chamber has been hurriedly fetched away by
Bellmour under the pretext of an urgent message from Sir Cautious
concerning some midnight plot and an outbreak in the city, arrives at
the house in great terror, and Sir Cautious (not knowing the reason of
so late a visit) and he sit opposite each other for a while, gaping and
staring in amaze. Bredwel, to pass Gayman out undetected, ushers him
through the room white-sheeted like a ghost, and the two old fools are
well frightened, but eventually they conclude there has been some
mistake or trick. Sir Feeble returns home to find Leticia with her
jewels about to flee, but she succeeds in reassuring him. Gayman now
visits Lady Fulbank and gives her some account of his adventures with
the she-devil, all of which he half jestingly ascribes to magic. Sir
Cautious and various guests enter, dice are produced and, luck favouring
the gallant, Gayman wins one hundred pounds from the old Banker, and a
like sum from several others of the company. As the niggardly Sir
Cautious bewails his losses the victor offers to stake three hundred
pounds against a night with Julia, the bargain, of course, being kept
from the lady. After some rumination Sir Cautious accepts and Gayman
wins the throw. That night he causes himself to be conveyed to Sir
Cautious' house in a chest and Sir Cautious leads him to Lady Fulbank in
bed, she supposing him to be her husband. Meanwhile Sir Feeble being
with Leticia is about to enter her bed when from behind the curtains
Bellmour appears unmasqued, dressed in a torn and blood-stained shirt
and brandishing a dagger. Sir Feeble flies in terror. The next morning
Lady Fulbank discovers the trick which has been played upon her and
rates both her husband and lover soundly. Bellmour and Leticia arriving
throw themselves on her protection. Sir Feeble and Sir Cautious are at
length obliged to acquiesce in the existing state of things and to
resign their ladies to their two gallants. They are unable to protest
even when Sir Feeble finds that his daughter Diana has married Bredwel
instead of Sir Cautious' nephew Bearjest for whom she was designed,
whilst the choused fop is wedded to Pert, Lady Fulbank's woman, to whom
he had been previously contracted.
The plot of _The Lucky Chance; or, An Alderman's Bargain_ is original
save for the details of Lady Fulbank's design upon Gayman, when he is
conveyed to her house by masqued devils and conducted to her chamber by
Pert dressed as a withered beldame. In this Mrs. Behn exactly copies
Shirley's excellent comedy, _The Lady of Pleasure_, produced at the
Private House in Drury Lane, October, 1635, (4to 1637). In the course of
Lady Bornwell's intrigue with Kickshaw he is taken blindfold to the
house of the procuress, Decoy, who, in the guise of a doting crone,
leads him to a chamber where he imagines he is to meet a succubus,
whilst the Lady, unknown to him, entertains him herself.
_The Lucky Chance; or, An Alderman's Bargain_, produced at the Theatre
Royal, Drury Lane, in 1687, was, with the exception of the disapproval
of a certain pudibond clique, received with great favour, and kept the
stage for a decade or more. During the summer season of 1718 there was,
on 24 July, a revival, 'not acted twenty years,' of this witty comedy at
Lincoln's Inn Fields. Gayman was played by Frank Leigh, son of the
famous low comedian; Sir Feeble Fainwou'd by Bullock.
On 25 November, 1786, there was produced at Drury Lane a comedy by Mrs.
Hannah Cowley (1743-1809), a prolific but mediocre dramatist, entitled,
_A School for Greybeards; or, The Mourning Bride_ (4to 1786 and 1787).
Genest writes: 'On the first night it struck me that I had seen
something like the play before and when the 4th act came I was fully
satisfied--that part of the plot which concerns Antonia, Henry, and
Gasper [Donna Antonia (The Mourning Bride), Mrs. Crouch; Don Henry,
Kemble; Don Gasper (a Greybeard), Parsons; Donna Seraphina, Miss
Farren]; and even the outlines of Seraphina's character, are taken from
_The Lucky Chance_--as Mrs. Behn's play, though a very good one is too
indecent to be ever represented again. Mrs. Cowley might without any
disgrace to herself have borrowed whatever she pleased provided she had
made a proper acknowledgement--instead of which she says in her preface
"--The idea of the business which concerns Antonia, Henry and Gasper was
presented to me in an obsolete Comedy; I say the _idea_, for when it is
known that in the original the scene lay among traders in London--and
those traders of the lowest and most detestable manners, it will be
conceived at once, that in removing it to Portugal and fixing the
characters among the nobility, it was hardly possible to carry with me
_more_ than the idea"--the traders whom Mrs. Cowley mentions, are both
Knights, the one an Alderman, the other a Banker.' Genest then compares
various scenes and expressions from _The Lucky Chance_ with Mrs. Cowley
and concludes 'The other scenes though they may differ in the dialogue
yet agree in essentials--the scene in the 5th act between Alexis and
Gasper bears the strongest resemblance to that between Sir Feeble and
Sir Cautious in The Lucky Chance. Mrs. Cowley was ashamed to advance a
direct lie, but she was not ashamed to insinuate a falsehood--_A Naeuio
uel sumpsisti multa, si fateris; uel, si negas surripuisti_--Cicero.'
The strictures of our stage historian are entirely apposite and correct.
Henry, Don Gasper and Antonia of the Georgian comedy are none other but
Bellmour, Sir Feeble, and Leticia. With regard to the reception of _The
School for Greybeards_ 'the audience took needless offence at a scene in
the 4th act, and an unfortunate expression in Young Bannister's part
[Don Sebastian. Bannister, jun., also spoke the prologue], revived the
opposition in the last scene--no more was heard till King [Don Alexis]
advanced to speak the last speech--some alteration was made on the 2nd
night, and the play was acted 9 times or more in the course of the
season, but never afterwards [It was played at Bath 28 October, 1813.
Chatterley acted Don Gasper; Miss Greville (from the Pantheon theatre),
Donna Seraphina. It had little success]--it is a good Comedy and was
very well acted.'
The audience must indeed have been qualmish prudes. Of all plays it is
the most harmless. The scene in the fourth Act to which exception was
taken seems to have been No. II, after the marriage of Gasper and
Antonia, a most trifling and inept business. In Act V, IV, Alexis says
to Viola: 'As for you Madam bread and water, and a dark chamber shall be
your lot--' but Sebastian (Bannister, jun.), who has married Viola,
breaks in crying: 'No, Sir,--I am the arbiter of her lot;--however, I
confirm half your punishment; and a dark chamber she shall certainly
have.' To this speech in the 4to Mrs. Cowley appends the following note:
'This is the expression, I am told, which had nearly prov'd fatal to the
Comedy. I should not have printed it, but from the resolution I have
religiously kept, of restoring every thing that was objected to.'
Imagination and ingenuity fail to fathom the cryptic indecency. _The
School for Greybeards_ is, in fine, a modest and mediocre comedy of
12 December, 1786, Walpole, writing from Berkeley Square to the Countess
of Upper Ossary, says: 'To-night ... I am going to Mrs. Cowley's new
play, which I suppose is as _instructive_ as the _Marriage of Figaro_,
for I am told it approaches to those of Mrs. Behn in spartan delicacy;
but I shall see Miss Farren, who, in my poor opinion, is the first of
all actresses.' Writing three days later to the same lady he has: '_The
Greybeards_ have certainly been chastised, for we did not find them at
all gross. The piece is farcical and improbable, but has some good
things, and is admirably acted.' Those 'good things' are entirely due to
To the Right Honourable _Laurence_, Lord _Hyde_, Earl of _Rochester_,
one of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council, Lord High Treasurer
of _England_, and Knight of the Noble Order of the Garter.
When I consider how Ancient and Honourable a Date Plays have born, how
they have been the peculiar Care of the most Illustrious Persons of
_Greece_ and _Rome_, who strove as much to outdoe each other in
Magnificence, (when by Turns they manag'd the great Business of the
Stage, as if they had contended for the Victory of the Universe;) I say,
my Lord, when I consider this, I with the greater Assurance most humbly
address this Comedy to your Lordship, since by right of Antient Custom,
the Patronage of Plays belong'd only to the great Men, and chiefest
Magistrates. Cardinal _Richelieu_, that great and wise Statesman, said,
That there was no surer Testimony to be given of the flourishing
Greatness of a State, than publick Pleasures and Divertisements--for
they are, says he--the Schools of Vertue, where Vice is always either
punish't, or disdain'd. They are secret Instructions to the People, in
things that 'tis impossible to insinuate into them any other Way. 'Tis
Example that prevails above Reason or DIVINE PRECEPTS. (Philosophy not
understood by the Multitude;) 'tis Example alone that inspires Morality,
and best establishes Vertue, I have my self known a Man, whom neither
Conscience nor Religion cou'd perswade to Loyalty, who with beholding in
our Theatre a Modern Politician set forth in all his Colours, was
converted, renounc'd his opinion, and quitted the Party.
The Abbot of _Aubignac_ to show that Plays have been ever held most
important to the very Political Part of Government, says, The Phylosophy
of _Greece_, and the Majesty and Wisdom of the Romans, did equally
concern their Great Men in making them Venerable, Noble, and
Magnificent: Venerable, by their Consecration to their Gods: Noble, by
being govern'd by their chiefest Men; and their Magnificency was from
the publick Treasury, and the liberal Contributions of their Noble Men.
It being undeniable then, that Plays and publick Diversions were thought
by the Greatest and Wisest of States, one of the most essential Parts of
good Government, and in which so many great Persons were interested;
suffer me to beg your Lordships Patronage for this little Endeavour,
and believe it not below the Grandure of your Birth and State, the
Illustrious Places you so justly hold in the Kingdom, nor your
Illustrious Relation to the greatest Monarch of the World, to afford it
the Glory of your Protection; since it is the Product of a Heart and
Pen, that always faithfully serv'd that Royal Cause, to which your
Lordship is by many Tyes so firmly fixt: It approaches you with that
absolute Veneration, that all the World is oblig'd to pay you; and has
no other Design than to express my sense of those excellent Vertues,
that make your Lordship so truly admir'd and lov'd. Amongst which we
find those two so rare in a Great Man and a Statesman, those of Gracious
Speech and easie Access, and I believe none were ever sent from your
Presence dissatisfied. You have an Art to please even when you deny; and
something in your Look and Voice has an Air so greatly good, it
recompences even for Disappointment, and we never leave your Lordship
but with Blessings. It is no less our Admiration, to behold with what
Serenity and perfect Conduct, that great Part of the Nations Business is
carry'd on, by one single Person; who having to do with so vast Numbers
of Men of all Qualitys, Interests, and Humours, nevertheless all are
well satisfi'd, and none complain of Oppression, but all is done with
Gentleness and Silence, as if (like the first Creator) you cou'd finish
all by a Word. You have, my Lord, a Judgment so piercing and solid, a
Wisdom so quick and clear, and a Fortitude so truly Noble, that those
Fatigues of State, that wou'd even sink a Spirit of less Magnitude, is
by yours accomplish't without Toil, or any Appearance of that harsh and
crabbed Austerity, that is usually put on by the buisy Great. You, my
Lord, support the Globe, as if you did not feel its Weight; nor so much
as seem to bend beneath it: Your Zeal for the Glorious Monarch you love
and serve, makes all things a Pleasure that advance his Interest, which
is so absolutely your Care. You are, my Lord, by your generous Candor,
your unbyast Justice, your Sweetness, Affability, and Condescending
Goodness (those never-failing Marks of Greatness) above that Envy which
reigns in Courts, and is aim'd at the most elevated Fortunes and Noblest
Favourites of Princes: And when they consider your Lordship, with all
the Abilitys and Wisdom of a great Counsellor, your unblemisht Vertue,
your unshaken Loyalty, your constant Industry for the Publick Good, how
all things under your Part of Sway have been refin'd and purg'd from
those Grossnesses, Frauds, Briberys, and Grievances, beneath which so
many of his Majestys Subjects groan'd, when we see Merit establish't and
prefer'd, and Vice discourag'd; it imposes Silence upon Malice it self,
and compells 'em to bless his Majesty's Choice of such a Pillar of the
State, such a Patron of Vertue.
Long may your Lordship live to remain in this most Honourable Station,
that his Majesty may be serv'd with an entire Fidelity, and the Nation
be render'd perfectly Happy. Since from such Heads and Hearts, the
Monarch reaps his Glory, and the Kingdom receives its Safety and
Tranquility. This is the unfeign'd Prayer of,
Your Lordships most Humble
And most Obedient Servant
The little Obligation I have to some of the witty Sparks and Poets of
the Town, has put me on a Vindication of this Comedy from those Censures
that Malice, and ill Nature have thrown upon it, tho in vain: The Poets
I heartily excuse, since there is a sort of Self-Interest in their
Malice, which I shou'd rather call a witty Way they have in this Age, of
Railing at every thing they find with pain successful, and never to shew
good Nature and speak well of any thing; but when they are sure 'tis
damn'd, then they afford it that worse Scandal, their Pity. And nothing
makes them so thorough-stitcht an Enemy as a full Third Day, that's
Crime enough to load it with all manner of Infamy; and when they can no
other way prevail with the Town, they charge it with the old never
failing Scandal--That 'tis not fit for the Ladys: As if (if it were as
they falsly give it out) the Ladys were oblig'd to hear Indecencys only
from their Pens and Plays and some of them have ventur'd to treat 'em as
Coursely as 'twas possible, without the least Reproach from them; and in
some of their most Celebrated Plays have entertained 'em with things,
that if I should here strip from their Wit and Occasion that conducts
'em in and makes them proper, their fair Cheeks would perhaps wear a
natural Colour at the reading them: yet are never taken Notice of,
because a Man writ them, and they may hear that from them they blush at
from a Woman--But I make a Challenge to any Person of common Sense and
Reason--that is not wilfully bent on ill Nature, and will in spight of
Sense wrest a double _Entendre_ from every thing, lying upon the Catch
for a Jest or a Quibble, like a Rook for a Cully; but any unprejudic'd
Person that knows not the Author, to read any of my Comedys and compare
'em with others of this Age, and if they find one Word that can offend
the chastest Ear, I will submit to all their peevish Cavills; but Right
or Wrong they must be Criminal because a Woman's; condemning them
without having the Christian Charity, to examine whether it be guilty or
not, with reading, comparing, or thinking; the Ladies taking up any
Scandal on Trust from some conceited Sparks, who will in spight of
Nature be Wits and _Beaus_; then scatter it for Authentick all over the
Town and Court, poysoning of others Judgments with their false Notions,
condemning it to worse than Death, Loss of Fame. And to fortifie their
Detraction, charge me with all the Plays that have ever been offensive;
though I wish with all their Faults I had been the Author of some of
those they have honour'd me with. For the farther Justification of this
Play; it being a Comedy of Intrigue Dr. _Davenant_ out of Respect to the
Commands he had from Court, to take great Care that no Indecency should
be in Plays, sent for it and nicely look't it over, putting out anything
he but imagin'd the Criticks would play with. After that, Sir Roger
_L'Estrange_ read it and licens'd it, and found no such Faults as 'tis
charg'd with: Then Mr. _Killigrew_, who more severe than any, from the
strict Order he had, perus'd it with great Circumspection; and lastly
the Master Players, who you will I hope in some Measure esteem Judges of
Decency and their own Interest, having been so many Years Prentice to
the Trade of Judging.
I say, after all these Supervisors the Ladys may be convinc'd, they left
nothing that could offend, and the Men of their unjust Reflections on so
many Judges of Wit and Decencys. When it happens that I challenge any
one, to point me out the least Expression of what some have made their
Discourse, they cry, _That Mr_. Leigh _opens his Night Gown, when he
comes into the Bride-chamber_; if he do, which is a Jest of his own
making, and which I never saw, I hope he has his Cloaths on underneath?
And if so, where is the Indecency? I have seen in that admirable Play of
_Oedipus_, the Gown open'd wide, and the Man shown, in his Drawers and
Waist coat, and never thought it an Offence before. Another crys, _Why
we know not what they mean, when the Man takes a Woman off the Stage,
and another is thereby cuckolded_; is that any more than you see in the
most Celebrated of your Plays? as the _City Politicks_, the _Lady
Mayoress_, and the _Old Lawyers Wife_, who goes with a Man she never saw
before, and comes out again the joyfull'st Woman alive, for having made
her Husband a Cuckold with such Dexterity, and yet I see nothing
unnatural nor obscene: 'tis proper for the Characters. So in that lucky
Play of the _London Cuckolds_, not to recite Particulars. And in that
good Comedy of _Sir Courtly Nice_, the _Taylor to the young Lady_--in
the fam'd Sir _Fopling Dorimont and Bellinda_, see the very Words--in
_Valentinian_, see the Scene between the _Court Bawds_. And
_Valentinian_ all loose and ruffld a Moment after the Rape, and all this
you see without Scandal, and a thousand others The _Moor of Venice_ in
many places. The _Maids Tragedy_--see the Scene of undressing the Bride,
and between the _King_ and _Amintor_, and after between the _King_ and
_Evadne_--All these I Name as some of the best Plays I know; If I
should repeat the Words exprest in these Scenes I mention, I might
justly be charg'd with course ill Manners, and very little Modesty, and
yet they so naturally fall into the places they are designed for, and so
are proper for the Business, that there is not the least Fault to be
found with them; though I say those things in any of mine wou'd damn the
whole Peice, and alarm the Town. Had I a Day or two's time, as I have
scarce so many Hours to write this in (the Play, being all printed off
and the Press waiting,) I would sum up all your Beloved Plays, and all
the Things in them that are past with such Silence by; because written
by Men: such Masculine Strokes in me, must not be allow'd. I must
conclude those Women (if there be any such) greater Critics in that sort
of Conversation than my self, who find any of that sort in mine, or any
thing that can justly be reproach't. But 'tis in vain by dint of Reason
or Comparison to convince the obstinate Criticks, whose Business is to
find Fault, if not by a loose and gross Imagination to create them, for
they must either find the Jest, or make it; and those of this sort fall
to my share, they find Faults of another kind for the Men Writers. And
this one thing I will venture to say, though against my Nature, because
it has a Vanity in it: That had the Plays I have writ come forth under
any Mans Name, and never known to have been mine; I appeal to all
unbyast Judges of Sense, if they had not said that Person had made as
many good Comedies, as any one Man that has writ in our Age; but a Devil
on't the Woman damns the Poet.
Ladies, for its further Justification to you, be pleas'd to know, that
the first Copy of this Play was read by several Ladys of very great
Quality, and unquestioned Fame, and received their most favourable
Opinion, not one charging it with the Crime, that some have been pleas'd
to find in the Acting. Other Ladys who saw it more than once, whose
Quality and Vertue can sufficiently justifie any thing they design to
favour, were pleas'd to say, they found an Entertainment in it very far
from scandalous; and for the Generality of the Town, I found by my
Receipts it was not thought so Criminal. However, that shall not be an
Incouragement to me to trouble the Criticks with new Occasion of
affronting me, for endeavouring at least to divert; and at this rate,
both the few Poets that are left, and the Players who toil in vain will
be weary of their Trade.
I cannot omit to tell you, that a Wit of the Town, a Friend of mine at
Wills Coffee House, the first Night of the Play, cry'd it down as much
as in him lay, who before had read it and assured me he never 'saw a
prettier Comedy. So complaisant one pestilent Wit will be to another,
and in the full Cry make his Noise too; but since 'tis to the witty Few
I speak, I hope the better Judges will take no Offence, to whom I am
oblig'd for better Judgments; and those I hope will be so kind to me,
knowing my Conversation not at all addicted to the Indecencys alledged,
that I would much less practice it in a Play, that must stand the Test
of the censoring World. And I must want common Sense, and all the
Degrees of good Manners, renouncing my Fame, all Modesty and Interest
for a silly Sawcy fruitless Jest, to make Fools laugh, and Women blush,
and wise Men asham'd; My self all the while, if I had been guilty of
this Crime charg'd to me, remaining the only stupid, insensible. Is this
likely, is this reasonable to be believ'd by any body, but the wilfully
blind? All I ask, is the Priviledge for my Masculine Part the Poet in
me, (if any such you will allow me) to tread in those successful Paths
my Predecessors have so long thriv'd in, to take those Measures that
both the Ancient and Modern Writers have set me, and by which they have
pleas'd the World so well: If I must not, because of my Sex, have this
Freedom, but that you will usurp all to your selves; I lay down my
Quill, and you shall hear no more of me, no not so much as to make
Comparisons, because I will be kinder to my Brothers of the Pen, than
they have been to a defenceless Woman; for I am not content to write for
a Third day only. I value Fame as much as if I had been born a _Hero_;
and if you rob me of that, I can retire from the ungrateful World, and
scorn its fickle Favours.
THE LUCKY CHANCE;
or, An Alderman's Bargain.
Spoken by Mr. _Jevon_.
_Since with old Plays you have so long been cloy'd,
As with a Mistress many years enjoy'd,
How briskly dear Variety you pursue;
Nay, though for worse ye change, ye will have New.
Widows take heed some of you in fresh Youth
Have been the unpitied Martyrs of this Youth.
When for a drunken Sot, that had kind hours,
And taking their own freedoms, left you yours;
'Twas your delib'rate choice your days to pass
With a damn'd, sober, self-admiring Ass,
Who thinks good usage for the Sex unfit,
And slights ye out of Sparkishness and Wit.
But you can fit him--Let a worse Fool come,
If he neglect, to officiate in his room.
Vain amorous Coxcombs every where are found,
Fops for all uses, but the Stage abound.
Though you shou'd change them oftener than your Fashions,
There still wou'd be enough for your Occasions:
But ours are not so easily supplied,
All that cou'd e'er quit cost, we have already tried.
Nay, dear sometimes have bought the Frippery stuff. |
This, Widows, you--I mean the old and tough-- |
Will never think, be they but Fool enough. |
Such will with any kind of Puppies play; |
But we must better know for what we pay: |
We must not purchase such dull Fools as they. |
Shou'd we shew each her own partic'lar Dear,
What they admire at home, they wou'd loath here.
Thus, though the Mall, the Ring, the Pit is full,
And every Coffee-House still swarms with Fool;
Though still by Fools all other Callings live,
Nay our own Women by fresh Cullies thrive,
Though your Intrigues which no Lampoon can cure,
Promise a long Succession to ensure;
And all your Matches plenty do presage:
Dire is the Dearth and Famine on the Stage.
Our Store's quite wasted, and our Credit's small,
Not a Fool left to bless our selves withal.
We re forc't at last to rob, (which is great pity,
Though 'tis a never-failing Bank) the City.
We show you one to day intirely new,
And of all Jests, none relish like the true.
Let that the value of our Play inhance,
Then it may prove indeed the_ Lucky Chance.
Sir _Feeble Fainwou'd_, an old Alderman to be married Mr. _Leigh_.
Sir _Cautious Fulbank_, an old Banker married to _Julia_, Mr. _Nokes_.
Mr. _Gayman_, a Spark of the Town, Lover of _Julia_, Mr. _Betterton_.
Mr. _Bellmour_. contracted to _Leticia_. disguis'd, and
passes for Sir _Feeble's_ Nephew, Mr. _Kynaston_.
Mr. _Bearjest_, Nephew to Sir _Cautious_, a Fop, Mr. _Jevon_.
Capt. _Noisey_, his Companion, Mr. _Harris_.
Mr. _Bredwel_, Prentice to Sir _Cautious_, and Brother
to _Leticia_, in love with _Diana_, Mr. _Bowman_.
_Rag_, Footman to _Gayman_.
_Ralph_, Footman to Sir _Feeble_.
_Dick_, Footman to Sir _Cautious_.
_Gingle_, a Music Master.
Lady _Fulbank_, in love with _Gayman_, honest and
generous, Mrs. _Barry_.
_Leticia_. contracted to _Bellmour, married to Sir
_Feeble_, young and virtuous, Mrs. _Cook_.
_Diana_, Daughter to Sir _Feeble_, in love with Bredwel;
virtuous, Mrs. _Mountford_.
_Pert_, Lady _Fulbank's_ Woman.
Gammer _Grime_, Landlady to _Gayman_, a Smith's
Wife in _Alsatia_, Mrs. _Powell_.
_Susan_, Servant to Sir _Feeble_.
_Phillis, Leticia's_ Woman.
A Parson, Fidlers, Dancers and Singers.
_The Scene_, LONDON.
SCENE I. _The Street, at break of Day_.
_Enter_ Bellmour _disguis'd in a travelling Habit_.
_Bel_. Sure 'tis the day that gleams in yonder East,
The day that all but Lovers blest by Shade
Pay chearful Homage to:
Lovers! and those pursu'd like guilty me
By rigid Laws, which put no difference
'Twixt fairly killing in my own Defence,
And Murders bred by drunken Arguments,
Whores, or the mean Revenges of a Coward.
--This is _Leticia's_ Father's House-- [_Looking about_.
And that the dear Balcony
That has so oft been conscious of our Loves;
From whence she has sent me down a thousand Sighs,
A thousand looks of Love, a thousand Vows.
O thou dear witness of those charming Hours,
How do I bless thee, how am I pleas'd to view thee
After a tedious Age of Six Months Banishment.
_Enter Mr_. Gingle _and several with Musick_.
_Fid_. But hark ye, Mr. _Gingle_, is it proper to play before the
_Gin_. Ever while you live, for many a time in playing after the first
night, the Bride's sleepy, the Bridegroom tir'd, and both so out of
humour, that perhaps they hate any thing that puts 'em in mind they
[_They play and sing_.
_Enter_ Phillis _in the Balcony, throws 'em Money_.
_Rise_, Cloris, _charming Maid, arise!
And baffle breaking Day,
Shew the adoring World thy Eyes
Are more surprizing gay;
The Gods of Love are smiling round,
And lead the Bridegroom on,
And_ Hymen _has the Altar crown'd.
While all thy sighing Lovers are undone.
To see thee pass they throng the Plain;
The Groves with Flowers are strown,
And every young and envying Swain
Wishes the hour his own.
Rise then, and let the God of Day,
When thou dost to the Lover yield,
Behold more Treasure given away
Than he in his vast Circle e'er beheld_.
_Bel_. Hah, _Phillis, Leticia's_ Woman!
_Ging_. Fie, Mrs. _Phillis_, do you take us for Fiddlers that play for
Hire? I came to compliment Mrs. _Leticia_ on her Wedding-Morning because
she is my Scholar.
_Phil_. She sends it only to drink her Health.
_Ging_. Come, Lads, let's to the Tavern then--
_Bel_. Hah! said he _Leticia_? Sure, I shall turn to Marble at this
News: I harden, and cold Damps pass through my senseless Pores.--Hah,
_Enter_ Gayman _wrapt in his Cloke_.
_Gay_. 'Tis yet too early, but my Soul's impatient,
And I must see _Leticia_.
[_Goes to the door_.
_Bel_. Death and the Devil--the Bridegroom! Stay, Sir, by Heaven, you
pass not this way.
[_Goes to the door as he is knocking, pushes him away, and draws_.
_Gay_. Hah! what art thou that durst forbid me Entrance?--Stand off.
[_They fight a little, and closing view each other_.
_Gay_. My dearest _Bellmour_!
_Bel_. Oh thou false Friend, thou treacherous base Deceiver!
_Gay_. Hah, this to me, dear _Harry_?
_Bel_. Whither is Honour, Truth and Friendship fled?
_Gay_. Why, there ne'er was such a Virtue,
'Tis all a Poet's Dream.
_Bel_. I thank you, Sir.
_Gay_. I'm sorry for't, or that ever I did any thing that could deserve
it: put up your Sword--an honest man wou'd say how he's offended, before
he rashly draws.
_Bel_. Are not you going to be married, Sir?
_Gay_. No, Sir, as long as any Man in _London_ is so, that has but a
handsom Wife, Sir.
_Bel_. Are you not in love, Sir?
_Gay_. Most damnably,--and wou'd fain lie with the dear jilting Gipsy.
_Bel_. Hah, who would you lie with, Sir?
_Gay_. You catechise me roundly--'tis not fair to name, but I am no
Starter, _Harry_; just as you left me, you find me. I am for the
faithless _Julia_ still, the old Alderman's Wife.--'Twas high time the
City should lose their Charter, when their Wives turn honest: But pray,
Sir, answer me a Question or two.
_Bel_. Answer me first, what makes you here this Morning?
_Gay_. Faith, to do you service. Your damn'd little Jade of a Mistress
has learned of her Neighbours the Art of Swearing and Lying in
abundance, and is--
_Bel_. To be married! [Sighing.
_Gay_. Even so, God save the Mark; and she'll be a fair one for many an
Arrow besides her Husband's, though he an old _Finsbury_ Hero this
_Bel_. Who mean you?
_Gay_. Why, thy Cuckold that shall be, if thou be'st wise.
_Bel_. Away; Who is this Man? thou dalliest with me.
_Gay_. Why, an old Knight, and Alderman here o'th' City, Sir _Feeble
Fainwou'd_, a jolly old Fellow, whose Activity is all got into his
Tongue, a very excellent Teazer; but neither Youth nor Beauty can grind
his Dudgeon to an Edge.
_Bel_. Fie, what Stuff's here!
_Gay_. Very excellent Stuff, if you have but the Grace to improve it.
_Bel_. You banter me--but in plain _English_, tell me,
What made you here thus early,
Entring yon House with such Authority?
_Gay_. Why, your Mistress _Leticia_, your contracted Wife, is this
Morning to be married to old Sir _Feeble Fainwou'd_, induc'd to't I
suppose by the great Jointure he makes her, and the improbability
of your ever gaining your Pardon for your high Duel--Do I speak
_English_ now, Sir?
_Bel_. Too well, would I had never heard thee.
_Gay_. Now I being the Confident in your Amours, the Jack-go-between--
the civil Pimp or so--you left her in charge with me at your Departure.
_Bel_. I did so.
_Gay_. I saw her every day; and every day she paid the Tribute of a
shower of Tears, to the dear Lord of all her Vows, young _Bellmour_:
Till faith at last, for Reasons manifold, I slackt my daily Visits.
_Bel_. And left her to Temptation--was that well done?
_Gay_. Now must I afflict you and my self with a long tale of Causes why;
Or be charg'd with want of Friendship.
_Bel_. You will do well to clear that Point to me.
_Gay_. I see you're peevish, and you shall be humour'd.--You know my
_Julia_ play'd me e'en such another Prank as your false one is going to
play you, and married old Sir _Cautious Fulbank_ here i'th' City; at
which you know I storm'd, and rav'd, and swore, as thou wo't now, and
to as little purpose. There was but one way left, and that was
_Bel_. Well, that Design I left thee hot upon.
_Gay_. And hotly have pursu'd it: Swore, wept, vow'd, wrote, upbraided,
prayed and railed; then treated lavishly, and presented high--till,
between you and I, _Harry_, I have presented the best part of Eight
hundred a year into her Husband's hands, in Mortgage.
_Bel_. This is the Course you'd have me steer, I thank you.
_Gay_. No, no, Pox on't, all Women are not Jilts. Some are honest, and
will give as well as take; or else there would not be so many broke
i'th' City. In fine, Sir, I have been in Tribulation, that is to say,
Moneyless, for six tedious Weeks, without either Clothes, or Equipage to
appear withal; and so not only my own Love-affair lay neglected--but
thine too--and I am forced to pretend to my Lady, that I am i'th'
Country with a dying Uncle--from whom, if he were indeed dead, I expect
two thousand a Year.
_Bel_. But what's all this to being here this Morning?
_Gay_. Thus have I lain conceal'd like a Winter-Fly, hoping for some
blest Sunshine to warm me into life again, and make me hover my flagging
Wings; till the News of this Marriage (which fills the Town) made me
crawl out this silent Hour, to upbraid the fickle Maid.
_Bel_. Didst thou?--pursue thy kind Design. Get me to see her; and sure
no Woman, even possest with a new Passion,
Grown confident even to Prostitution,
But when she sees the Man to whom she's sworn so very--very much, will
find Remorse and Shame.
_Gay_. For your sake, though the day be broke upon us,
And I'm undone, if seen--I'll venture in--
[_Throws his Cloke over_.
_Enter Sir_ Feeble Fainwou'd, _Sir_ Cautious Fulbank, Bearjest
_and_ Noisey. [_Pass over the Stage, and go in_.
Hah--see the Bridegroom! And with him my destin'd Cuckold, old Sir
_Cautious Fulbank_.--Hah, what ail'st thou, Man?
_Bel_. The Bridegroom! Like _Gorgon's_ Head he'as turned me into Stone.
_Gay_. _Gorgon's_ Head--a Cuckold's Head--'twas made to graft upon.
_Bel_. By Heaven, I'll seize her even at the Altar,
And bear her thence in Triumph.
_Gay_. Ay, and be borne to _Newgate_ in Triumph, and be hanged in
Triumph--'twill be cold Comfort, celebrating your Nuptials in the
Press-Yard, and be wak'd next Morning, like Mr. _Barnardine_ in the
Play--Will you please to rise and be hanged a little, Sir?
_Bel_. What wouldst thou have me do?
_Gay_. As many an honest Man has done before thee--Cuckold him--
_Bel_. What--and let him marry her! She that's mine by sacred Vows
already! By Heaven, it would be flat Adultery in her!
_Gay_. She'll learn the trick, and practise it the better with thee.
_Bel_. Oh Heavens! _Leticia_ marry him! and lie with him!--
Here will I stand and see this shameful Woman,
See if she dares pass by me to this Wickedness.
_Gay_. Hark ye, _Harry_--in earnest have a care of betraying your self;
and do not venture sweet Life for a fickle Woman, who perhaps hates you.
_Bel_. You counsel well--but yet to see her married!
How every thought of that shocks all my Resolution!--
But hang it, I'll be resolute and saucy,
Despise a Woman who can use me ill,
And think my self above her.
_Gay_. Why, now thou art thy self--a Man again.
But see, they're coming forth, now stand your ground.
_Enter Sir_ Feeble, _Sir_ Cautious, Bearjest, Noisey, Leticia
_sad_, Diana, Phillis. [_Pass over the Stage_.
_Bel_. 'Tis she; support me, _Charles_, or I shall sink to Earth,
--Methought in passing by she cast a scornful glance at me;
Such charming Pride I've seen upon her Eyes,
When our Love-Quarrels arm'd 'em with Disdain--
I'll after 'em, if I live she shall not 'scape me.
[_Offers to go_, Gay. _holds him_.
_Gay_. Hold, remember you're proscribed,
And die if you are taken.
_Bel_. I've done, and I will live, but he shall ne'er enjoy her.
--Who's yonder, _Ralph_, my trusty Confident?
Now though I perish I must speak to him.
--Friend, what Wedding's this?
_Ral_. One that was never made in Heaven, Sir;
'Tis Alderman _Fainwou'd_, and Mrs. _Leticia Bredwel_.
_Bel_. Bredwel--I have heard of her,--she was Mistress--
_Ral_. To fine Mr. _Bellmour_, Sir,--ay, there was a Gentleman
--But rest his Soul--he's hang'd, Sir. [_Weeps_.
_Bel_. How! hang'd?
_Ral_. Hang'd, Sir, hang'd--at the _Hague_ in _Holland_.
_Gay_. I heard some such News, but did not credit it.
_Bel_. For what, said they, was he hang'd?
_Ral_. Why, e'en for High Treason, Sir, he killed one of their Kings.
_Gay_. Holland's a Commonwealth, and is not rul'd by Kings.
_Ral_. Not by one, Sir, but by a great many; this was a Cheesemonger
--they fell out over a Bottle of Brandy, went to Snicker Snee; Mr.
_Bellmour_ cut his Throat, and was hang'd for't, that's all, Sir.
_Bel_. And did the young Lady believe this?
_Ral_. Yes, and took on most heavily--the Doctors gave her over--and
there was the Devil to do to get her to consent to this Marriage--but
her Fortune was small, and the hope of a Ladyship, and a Gold Chain at
the Spittal Sermon, did the Business--and so your Servant, Sir.
_Bel_. So, here's a hopeful Account of my sweet self now.
_Enter Post-man with Letters_.
_Post_. Pray, Sir, which is Sir _Feeble Fainwou'd's_?
_Bel_. What wou'd you with him, Friend?
_Post_. I have a Letter here from the _Hague_ for him.
_Bel_. From the _Hague_! Now have I a curiosity to see it--I am his
Servant--give it me--[_Gives it him, and Exit_.--Perhaps here may be
the second part of my Tragedy, I'm full of Mischief, _Charles_--and have
a mind to see this Fellow's Secrets. For from this hour I'll be his evil
Genius, haunt him at Bed and Board; he shall not sleep nor eat; disturb
him at his Prayers, in his Embraces; and teaze him into Madness. Help
me, Invention, Malice, Love, and Wit: [_Opening the Letter_.
Ye Gods, and little Fiends, instruct my Mischief. [_Reads_.
_According to your desire I have sent for my Son from
_St. Omer's_, whom I have sent to wait on you in_ England;
_he is a very good Accountant, and fit for Business, and much
pleased he shall see that Uncle to whom he's so obliged, and
which is so gratefully acknowledged by--Dear Brother, your
--Hum--hark ye, _Charles_, do you know who I am now?
_Gay_. Why, I hope a very honest Friend of mine, _Harry Bellmour_.
_Bel_. No, Sir, you are mistaken in your Man.
_Gay_. It may be so.
_Bel_. I am, d'ye see, _Charles_, this very individual, numerical young
Mr.--_what ye call 'um Fainwou'd_, just come from _St. Omers_ into
_England_--to my Uncle the Alderman. I am, _Charles_, this very Man.
_Gay_. I know you are, and will swear't upon occasion.
_Bel_. This lucky Thought has almost calm'd my mind.
And if I don't fit you, my dear Uncle,
May I never lie with my Aunt.
_Gay_. Ah, Rogue--but prithee what care have you taken about your
Pardon? 'twere good you should secure that.
_Bel_. There's the Devil, _Charles_,--had I but that--but I have had a
very good Friend at work, a thousand Guyneys, that seldom fails; but yet
in vain, I being the first Transgressor since the Act against Duelling.
But I impatient to see this dear delight of my Soul, and hearing from
none of you this six weeks, came from _Brussels_ in this disguise--for
the _Hague_ I have not seen, though hang'd there--but come--let's away,
and compleat me a right _St. Omer's_ Spark, that I may present my self
as soon as they come from Church.
SCENE II. _Sir_ Cautious Fulbank's _House_.
_Enter Lady_ Fulbank, Pert _and_ Bredwel. Bredwel _gives her a Letter_.
_Lady_ Fulbank _reads_.
_Did my_ Julia _know how I languish in this cruel Separation,
she would afford me her pity, and write oftner. If only the
Expectation of two thousand a year kept me from you, ah!_
Julia, _how easily would I abandon that Trifle for your more
valued sight; but that I know a fortune will render me
more agreeable to the charming_ Julia, _I should quit all my
Interest here, to throw my self at her Feet, to make her
sensible how I am intirely her Adorer_.
--Faith, _Charles_, you lie--you are as welcome to me now,
Now when I doubt thy Fortune is declining,
As if the Universe were thine.
_Pert_. That, Madam, is a noble Gratitude. For if his Fortune be
declining, 'tis sacrificed to his Passion for your Ladyship.
--'Tis all laid out on Love.
L. _Ful_. I prize my Honour more than Life,
Yet I had rather have given him all he wish'd of me,
Than be guilty of his Undoing.
_Pert_. And I think the Sin were less.
L. _Ful_. I must confess, such Jewels, Rings and Presents as he made me,
must needs decay his Fortune.
_Bred_. Ay, Madam, his very Coach at last was turned into a Jewel for
your Ladyship. Then, Madam, what Expences his Despair have run him on
--As Drinking and Gaming, to divert the Thought of your marrying my
L. _Ful_. And put in Wenching too.--
_Bred_. No, assure your self, Madam--
L. _Ful_. Of that I would be better satisfied--and you too must assist
me, as e'er you hope I should be kind to you in gaining you _Diana_.
_Bred_. Madam, I'll die to serve you.
_Pert_. Nor will I be behind in my Duty.
L. _Ful_. Oh, how fatal are forc'd Marriages!
How many Ruins one such Match pulls on!
Had I but kept my Sacred Vows to _Gayman_,
How happy had I been--how prosperous he!
Whilst now I languish in a loath'd embrace,
Pine out my Life with Age--Consumptions, Coughs.
--But dost thou fear that Gayman is declining?
_Bred_. You are my Lady, and the best of Mistresses--
Therefore I would not grieve you, for I know
You love this best--but most unhappy Man.
L. _Ful_. You shall not grieve me--prithee on.
_Bred_. My Master sent me yesterday to Mr. _Crap_, his Scrivener, to
send to one Mr. _Wasteall_, to tell him his first Mortgage was out,
which is two hundred pounds a Year--and who has since ingaged five or
six hundred more to my Master; but if this first be not redeem'd, he'll
take the Forfeit on't, as he says a wise Man ought.
L. _Ful_. That is to say, a Knave, according to his Notion of a wise
_Bred_. Mr. _Crap_, being busy with a borrowing Lord, sent me to Mr.
_Wasteall_, whose Lodging is in a nasty Place called _Alsatia_, at a
L. _Ful_. But what's all this to _Gayman_?
_Bred_. Madam, this _Wasteall_ was Mr. _Gayman_.
L. _Ful_. _Gayman_! Saw'st thou _Gayman_?
_Bred_. Madam, Mr. _Gayman_, yesterday.
L. _Ful_. When came he to Town?
_Bred_. Madam, he has not been out of it.
L. _Ful_. Not at his Uncle's in _Northamptonshire_?
_Bred_. Your Ladyship was wont to credit me.
L. _Ful_. Forgive me--you went to a Black-Smith's--
_Bred_. Yes, Madam; and at the door encountred the beastly thing he
calls a Landlady; who lookt as if she had been of her own Husband's
making, compos'd of moulded Smith's Dust. I ask'd for Mr. _Wasteall_,
and she began to open--and did so rail at him, that what with her
_Billinsgate_, and her Husband's hammers, I was both deaf and dumb--at
last the hammers ceas'd, and she grew weary, and call'd down Mr.
_Wasteall_; but he not answering--I was sent up a Ladder rather than a
pair of Stairs; at last I scal'd the top, and enter'd the inchanted
Castle; there did I find him, spite of the noise below, drowning his
Cares in Sleep.
L. _Ful_. Whom foundst thou? _Gayman_?
_Bred_. He, Madam, whom I waked--and seeing me, Heavens, what Confusion
seiz'd him! which nothing but my own Surprize could equal. Asham'd--he
wou'd have turn'd away;
But when he saw, by my dejected Eyes, I knew him,
He sigh'd, and blusht, and heard me tell my Business:
Then beg'd I wou'd be secret; for he vow'd his whole
Repose and Life depended on my silence. Nor had I told it now,
But that your Ladyship may find some speedy means to draw him from
this desperate Condition.
L. _Ful_. Heavens, is't possible?
_Bred_. He's driven to the last degree of Poverty--
Had you but seen his Lodgings, Madam!
L. _Ful_. What were they?
_Bred_. 'Tis a pretty convenient Tub, Madam. He may lie a long in't,
there's just room for an old join'd Stool besides the Bed, which one
cannot call a Cabin, about the largeness of a Pantry Bin, or a Usurer's
Trunk; there had been Dornex Curtains to't in the days of Yore; but they
were now annihilated, and nothing left to save his Eyes from the Light,
but my Landlady's Blue Apron, ty'd by the strings before the Window, in
which stood a broken six-penny Looking-Glass, that shew'd as many Faces
as the Scene in _Henry_ the Eighth, which could but just stand upright,
and then the Comb-Case fill'd it.
L. _Ful_. What a leud Description hast thou made of his Chamber?
_Bred_. Then for his Equipage, 'tis banisht to one small Monsieur, who
(saucy with his Master's Poverty) is rather a Companion than a Footman.
L. _Ful_. But what said he to the Forfeiture of his Land?
_Bred_. He sigh'd and cry'd, Why, farewel dirty Acres; It shall not
trouble me, since 'twas all but for Love!
L. _Ful_. How much redeems it?
_Bred_. Madam, five hundred Pounds.
L. _Ful_. Enough--you shall in some disguise convey this Money to him,
as from an unknown hand: I wou'd not have him think it comes from me,
for all the World: That Nicety and Virtue I've profest, I am resolved
_Pert_. If I were your Ladyship, I wou'd make use of Sir _Cautious's_
Cash: pay him in his own Coin.
_Bred_. Your Ladyship wou'd make no Scruple of it, if you knew how this
poor Gentleman has been us'd by my unmerciful Master.
L. _Ful_. I have a Key already to his Counting-House; it being lost, he
had another made, and this I found and kept.
_Bred_. Madam, this is an excellent time for't, my Master being gone to
give my Sister _Leticia_ at Church.
L. _Ful_. 'Tis so, I'll go and commit the Theft, whilst you prepare to
carry it, and then we'll to dinner with your Sister the Bride.
SCENE III. _The House of Sir_ Feeble.
_Enter Sir_ Feeble, Leticia, _Sir_ Cautious, Bearjest, Diana, Noisey.
_Sir_ Feeble _sings and salutes 'em_.
Sir _Feeb_. Welcome, _Joan Sanderson_, welcome, welcome. [_Kisses the
Bride_. Ods bobs, and so thou art, Sweet-heart. [_So to the rest_.
_Bear_. Methinks my Lady Bride is very melancholy.
Sir _Cau_. Ay, ay, Women that are discreet, are always thus upon their
Sir _Feeb_. Always by day-light, Sir _Cautious_.
_But when bright_ Phoebus _does retire,
To_ Thetis' _Bed to quench his fire.
And do the thing we need not name,
We Mortals by his influence do the same.
Then then the blushing Maid lays by
Her simpering, and her Modesty;
And round the Lover clasps and twines
Like Ivy, or the circling Vines_.
Sir _Feeb_. Here, _Ralph_, the Bottle, Rogue, of Sack, ye Rascal; hadst
thou been a Butler worth hanging, thou wou'dst have met us at the door
with it.--Ods bods, Sweet-heart, thy health.
_Bear_. Away with it, to the Bride's _Haunce in Kelder_.
Sir _Feeb_. Gots so, go to, Rogue, go to, that shall be, Knave, that
shall be the morrow morning; he--ods bobs, we'll do't, Sweet heart;
here's to't. [_Drinks again_.
_Let_. I die but to imagine it, wou'd I were dead indeed.
Sir _Feeb_. Hah--hum--how's this? Tears upon the Wedding day? Why,
why--you Baggage, you, ye little Thing, Fools-face--away, you Rogue,
you're naughty, you're naughty. [_Patting and playing, and following
her_. Look--look--look now,--buss it--buss it--buss it--and Friends;
did'ums, did'ums beat its none silly Baby--away, you little Hussey,
away, and pledge me--
[_She drinks a little_.
Sir _Cau_. A wise discreet Lady, I'll warrant her; my Lady would
prodigally have took it off all.
Sir _Feeb_. Dear's its nown dear Fubs; buss again, buss again, away,
away--ods bobs, I long for Night--look, look, Sir _Cautious_, what an
Sir _Cau_. Ay, so there is, Brother, and a modest Eye too.
Sir _Feeb_. Adad, I love her more and more, _Ralph_--call old _Susan_
hither--come, Mr. _Bearjest_, put the Glass about. Ods bobs, when I was
a young Fellow, I wou'd not let the young Wenches look pale and wan--but
would rouse 'em, and touse 'em, and blowze 'em, till I put a colour in
their Cheeks, like an Apple _John_, affacks--Nay, I can make a shift
still, and Pupsey shall not be jealous.
_Enter_ Susan, _Sir_ Feeble _whispers her, she goes out_.
_Let_. Indeed, not I; Sir. I shall be all Obedience.
Sir _Cau_. A most judicious Lady; would my _Julia_ had a little of her
Modesty; but my Lady's a Wit.
_Enter_ Susan _with a Box_.
Sir _Feeb_. Look here, my little Puskin, here's fine Playthings for its
nown little Coxcomb--go--get you gone--get you gone, and off with this
St. _Martin's_ Trumpery, these Play-house Glass Baubles, this Necklace,
and these Pendants, and all this false Ware; ods bobs, I'll have no
Counterfeit Geer about thee, not I. See--these are right as the Blushes
on thy Cheeks, and these as true as my Heart, my Girl. Go, put'em on,
and be fine.
[_Gives 'em her_.
_Let_. Believe me, Sir, I shall not merit this kindness.
Sir _Feeb_. Go to--More of your Love, and less of your Ceremony--give
the old Fool a hearty buss, and pay him that way--he, ye little wanton
Tit, I'll steal up--and catch ye and love ye--adod, I will--get ye
gone--get ye gone.
_Let_. Heavens, what a nauseous thing is an old Man turn'd Lover!
[_Ex_. Leticia _and_ Diana.
Sir _Cau_. How, steal up, Sir _Feeble_--I hope not so; I hold it most
indecent before the lawful hour.
Sir _Feeb_. Lawful hour! Why, I hope all hours are lawful with a Man's
Sir _Cau_. But wise Men have respect to Times and Seasons.
Sir _Feeb_. Wise young Men, Sir _Cautious_; but wise old Men must nick
their Inclinations; for it is not as 'twas wont to be, for it is not as
'twas wont to be--
[_Singing and Dancing_.
_Ral_. Sir, here's a young Gentleman without wou'd speak with you.
Sir _Feeb_. Hum--I hope it is not that same Bellmour come to forbid the
Banes--if it be, he comes too late--therefore bring me first my long
Sword, and then the Gentleman.
_Bear_. Pray, Sir, use mine, it is a travell'd Blade I can assure you,
Sir _Feeb_. I thank you, Sir.
_Enter_ Ralph _and_ Bellmour _disguised, gives him a Letter,
_Francis Fainwou'd_! [_Embraces him_.
_Bel_. I am glad he has told me my Christian name.
Sir _Feeb_. Sir _Cautious_, know my Nephew--'tis a young _St. Omers_
Scholar--but none of the Witnesses.
Sir _Cau_. Marry, Sir, and the wiser he; for they got nothing by't.
_Bea_. Sir, I love and honour you, because you are a Traveller.
Sir _Feeb_. A very proper young Fellow, and as like old _Frank
Fainwou'd_ as the Devil to the Collier; but, _Francis_, you are come
into a very leud Town, _Francis_, for Whoring, and Plotting, and
Roaring, and Drinking; but you must go to Church, _Francis_, and avoid
ill Company, or you may make damnable Havock in my Cash, _Francis_,
--what, you can keep Merchants Books?
_Bel_. That's been my study, Sir.
Sir _Feeb_. And you will not be proud, but will be commanded by me,
_Bel_. I desire not to be favour'd as a Kinsman, Sir, but as your
Sir _Feeb_. Why, thou'rt an honest Fellow, _Francis_,--and thou'rt
heartily welcome--and I'll make thee fortunate. But come, Sir
_Cautious_, let you and I take a turn i'th' Garden, and get a right
understanding between your Nephew Mr. _Bearjest_, and my Daughter _Dye_.
Sir _Cau_. Prudently thought on, Sir, I'll wait on you.--
[_Ex. Sir_ Feeble, _and Sir_ Cautious.
_Bea_. You are a Traveller, I understand.
_Bel_. I have seen a little part of the World, Sir.
_Bea_. So have I, Sir, I thank my Stars, and have performed most of my
Travels on Foot, Sir.
_Bel_. You did not travel far then, I presume, Sir?
_Bea_. No, Sir, it was for my diversion indeed; but I assure you, I
travell'd into _Ireland_ a-foot, Sir.
_Bel_. Sure, Sir, you go by shipping into _Ireland_?
_Bea_. That's all one, Sir, I was still a-foot, ever walking on the
_Bel_. Was that your farthest Travel, Sir?
_Bea_. Farthest--why, that's the End of the World--and sure a Man can
go no farther.
_Bel_. Sure, there can be nothing worth a Man's Curiosity?
_Bea_. No, Sir, I'll assure you, there are the Wonders of the World,
Sir: I'll hint you this one. There is a Harbour which since the Creation
was never capable of receiving a Lighter, yet by another Miracle the
King of _France_ was to ride there with a vast Fleet of Ships, and to
land a hundred thousand Men.
_Bel_. This is a swinging Wonder--but are there store of Mad-men there,
_Bea_. That's another Rarity to see a Man run out of his Wits.
_Noi_. Marry, Sir, the wiser they I say.
_Bea_. Pray, Sir, what store of Miracles have you at _St. Omers?_
_Bel_. None, Sir, since that of the wonderful _Salamanca_ Doctor, who
was both here and there at the same Instant of time.
_Bea_. How, Sir? why, that's impossible.
_Bel_. That was the Wonder, Sir, because 'twas impossible.
_Noi_. But 'twas a greater, Sir, that 'twas believed.
_Enter L_. Fulb. _and_ Pert, _Sir_ Cau. _and Sir_ Feeb.
Sir _Feeb_. Enough, enough, Sir _Cautious_, we apprehend one another.
Mr. _Bearjest_, your Uncle here and I have struck the Bargain, the Wench
is yours with three thousand Pound present, and something more after
Death, which your Uncle likes well.
_Bea_. Does he so, Sir? I'm beholding to him; then 'tis not a Pin matter
whether I like or not, Sir.
Sir _Feeb_. How, Sir, not like my Daughter _Dye_?
_Bea_. Oh, Lord, Sir,--die or live, 'tis all one for that, Sir--I'll
stand to the Bargain my Uncle makes.
_Pert_. Will you so, Sir? you'll have very good luck if you do.
_Bea_. Prithee hold thy Peace, my Lady's Woman.
L. _Ful_. Sir, I beg your pardon for not waiting on you to Church--
I knew you wou'd be private.
_Enter_ Let_. fine in Jewels_.
Sir _Feeb_. You honour us too highly now, Madam.
[_Presents his Wife, who salutes her_.
L. _Ful_. Give you Joy, my dear _Leticia_! I find, Sir, you were
resolved for Youth, Wit and Beauty.
Sir _Feeb_. Ay, ay, Madam, to the Comfort of many a hoping Coxcomb: but
_Lette_,--Rogue _Lette_--thou wo't not make me free o'th' City a second
time, wo't thou entice the Rogues with the Twire and the wanton Leer
--the amorous Simper that cries, come, kiss me--then the pretty round
Lips are pouted out--he, Rogue, how I long to be at 'em!--well, she
shall never go to Church more, that she shall not.
L. _Ful_. How, Sir, not to Church, the chiefest Recreation of a City
Sir _Feeb_. That's all one, Madam, that tricking and dressing, and
prinking and patching, is not your Devotion to Heaven, but to the young
Knaves that are lick'd and comb'd and are minding you more than the
Parson--ods bobs, there are more Cuckolds destin'd in the Church, than
are made out of it.
Sir _Cau_. Hah, ha, ha, he tickles ye, i'faith, Ladies. [_To his Lady_.
_Bel_. Not one chance look this way--and yet
I can forgive her lovely Eyes,
Because they look not pleas'd with all this Ceremony;
And yet methinks some sympathy in Love
Might this way glance their Beams--I cannot hold--
Sir, is this fair Lady my Aunt?
Sir _Feeb_. Oh, _Francis_! Come hither, _Francis_.
_Lette_, here's a young Rogue has a mind to kiss thee.
[_Puts them together, she starts back_.
--Nay, start not, he's my own Flesh and Blood,
My Nephew--Baby--look, look how the young
Rogues stare at one another; like will to like, I see that.
_Let_. There's something in his Face so like my _Bellmour_, it calls my
Blushes up, and leaves my Heart defenceless.
_Ralph_. Sir, Dinner's on the Table.
Sir _Feeb_. Come, come--let's in then--Gentlemen and Ladies,
And share to day my Pleasures and Delight,
Adds bobs, they must be all mine own at Night.
SCENE I. Gayman's _Lodging_.
_Enter _Gayman_ in a Night-Cap, and an old Campaign Coat
tied about him, very melancholy_.
_Gay_. Curse on my Birth! Curse on my faithless Fortune!
Curse on my Stars, and curst be all--but Love!
That dear, that charming Sin, though t'have pull'd
Innumerable Mischiefs on my head,
I have not, nor I cannot find Repentance for.
Nor let me die despis'd, upbraided, poor:
Let Fortune, Friends and all abandon me--
But let me hold thee, thou soft smiling God,
Close to my heart while Life continues there.
Till the last pantings of my vital Blood,
Nay, the last spark of Life and Fire be Love's!
--How now, _Rag_, what's a Clock?
_Rag_. My Belly can inform you better than my Tongue.
_Gay_. Why, you gormandizing Vermin you, what have you done with the
Three pence I gave you a fortnight ago.
_Rag_. Alas, Sir, that's all gone long since.
_Gay_. You gutling Rascal, you are enough to breed a Famine in a Land. I
have known some industrious Footmen, that have not only gotten their own
Livings, but a pretty Livelihood for their Masters too.
_Rag_. Ay, till they came to the Gallows, Sir.
_Gay_. Very well, Sirrah, they died in an honourable Calling--but hark
ye, _Rag_,--I have business, very earnest business abroad this Evening;
now were you a Rascal of Docity, you wou'd invent a way to get home my
last Suit that was laid in Lavender--with the Appurtenances thereunto
belonging, as Perriwig, Cravat, and so forth.
_Rag_. Faith, Master, I must deal in the black Art then, for no human
means will do't--and now I talk of the black Art, Master, try your Power
once more with my Landlady.
_Gay_. Oh! name her not, the thought on't turns my Stomach--a sight of
her is a Vomit; but he's a bold Hero that dares venture on her for a
kiss, and all beyond that sure is Hell it self--yet there's my last,
last Refuge--and I must to this Wedding--I know not what,--but
something whispers me,--this Night I shall be happy--and without _Julia_
_Rag. Julia_, who's that? my Lady _Fulbank_, Sir?
_Gay_. Peace, Sirrah--and call--a--no--Pox on't, come back--and
yet--yes--call my fulsome Landlady.
Sir _Cautious_ knows me not by Name or Person.
And I will to this Wedding, I'm sure of seeing _Julia_ there.
And what may come of that--but here's old Nasty coming.
I smell her up--hah, my dear Landlady.
_Enter _Rag_ and _Landlady.
Quite out of breath--a Chair there for my Landlady.
_Rag_. Here's ne'er a one, Sir.
_Land_. More of your Money and less of your Civility, good Mr.
_Gay_. Dear Landlady--
_Land_. Dear me no Dears, Sir, but let me have my Money--Eight Weeks
Rent last Friday; besides Taverns, Ale-houses, Chandlers, Landresses'
Scores, and ready Money out of my Purse; you know it, Sir.
_Gay_. Ay, but your Husband don't; speak softly.
_Land_. My Husband! what, do you think to fright me with my Husband?--
I'd have you to know I'm an honest Woman, and care not this--for my
Husband. Is this all the thanks I have for my kindness, for patching,
borrowing and shifting for you; 'twas but last Week I pawn'd my best
Petticoat, as I hope to wear it again, it cost me six and twenty
shillings besides Making; then this Morning my new _Norwich_ Mantua
followed, and two postle Spoons, I had the whole dozen when you came
first; but they dropt, and dropt, till I had only _Judas_ left for
_Gay_. Hear me, good Landlady.
_Land_. Then I've past my word at the _George Tavern_, for forty
Shillings for you, ten Shillings at my Neighbour _Squabs_ for Ale,
besides seven Shillings to Mother _Suds_ for Washing; and do you fob me
off with my Husband?
_Gay_. Here, _Rag_, run and fetch her a Pint of Sack--there's no other
way of quenching the Fire in her flabber Chops.
--But, my dear Landlady, have a little Patience.
_Land_. Patience! I scorn your Words, Sir--is this a place to trust in?
tell me of Patience, that us'd to have my money before hand; come, come,
pay me quickly--or old _Gregory Grimes_ house shall be too hot to
_Gay_. Is't come to this, can I not be heard?
_Land_. No, Sir, you had good Clothes when you came first, but they
dwindled daily, till they dwindled to this old Campaign--with tan'd
coloured Lining--once red--but now all Colours of the Rain-bow, a Cloke
to sculk in a Nights, and a pair of piss-burn'd shammy Breeches. Nay,
your very Badge of Manhood's gone too.
_Gay_. How, Landlady! nay then, i'faith, no wonder if you rail so.
_Land_. Your Silver Sword I mean--transmogrified to this two-handed
Basket Hilt--this old Sir _Guy_ of _Warwick_--which will sell for
nothing but old Iron. In fine, I'll have my money, Sir, or i'faith,
_Alsatia_ shall not shelter you.
_Gay_. Well, Landlady--if we must part--let's drink at parting; here,
Landlady, here's to the Fool--that shall love you better than I have
done. [_Sighing, drinks_.
_Land_. Rot your Wine--dy'e think to pacify me with Wine, Sir?
[_She refusing to drink, he holds open her Jaws_, Rag
_throws a Glass of Wine into her Mouth_.
--What, will you force me?--no--give me another Glass, I scorn to be so
uncivil to be forced, my service to you, Sir--this shan't do, Sir.
[_She drinks, he, embracing her, sings_.
_Ah_, Cloris, _'tis in vain you scold,
Whilst your Eyes kindle such a Fire.
Tour Railing cannot make me cold,
So fast as they a Warmth inspire_.
_Land_. Well, Sir, you have no reason to complain of my Eyes nor my
Tongue neither, if rightly understood. [_Weeps_.
_Gay_. I know you are the best of Landladies,
As such I drink your Health-- [_Drinks_.
But to upbraid a Man in Tribulation--fie--'tis not done like a Woman
of Honour, a Man that loves you too.
_Land_. I am a little hasty sometimes, but you know my good Nature.
_Gay_. I do, and therefore trust my little wants with you. I shall be
rich again--and then, my dearest Landlady--
_Land_. Wou'd this Wine might ne'er go through me, if I wou'd not go,
as they say, through Fire and Water--by Night or by Day for you.
_Gay_. And as this is Wine I do believe thee. [_He drinks_.
_Land_. Well--you have no money in your Pocket now, I'll warrant you--
here--here's ten Shillings for you old _Greg'ry_ knows not of.
[_Opens a great greasy purse_.
_Gay_. I cannot in Conscience take it, good Faith, I cannot--besides,
the next Quarrel you'll hit me in the Teeth with it.
_Land_. Nay, pray no more of that; forget it, forget it. I own I was to
blame--here, Sir, you shall take it.
_Gay_. Ay,--but what shou'd I do with Money in these damn'd Breeches?
--No, put it up--I can't appear abroad thus--no, I'll stay at home, and
lose my business.
_Land_. Why, is there no way to redeem one of your Suits?
_Gay_. None--none--I'll e'en lay me down and die.
_Land_. Die--marry, Heavens forbid--I would not for the World--let me
see--hum--what does it lie for?
_Gay_. Alas! dear Landlady, a Sum--a Sum.
_Land_. Well, say no more, I'll lay about me.
_Gay_. By this kiss but you shall not--_Assafetida_, by this Light.
_Land_. Shall not? that's a good one, i'faith: shall you rule, or I?
_Gay_. But shou'd your Husband know it?--
_Land_. Husband--marry come up, Husbands know Wives secrets? No, sure,
the World's not so bad yet--where do your things lie? and for what?
_Gay_. Five Pounds equips me--_Rag_ can conduct you--but I say you shall
not go, I've sworn.
_Land_. Meddle with your matters--let me see, the Caudle Cup that
_Molly's_ Grandmother left her, will pawn for about that sum--I'll sneak
it out--well, Sir, you shall have your things presently--trouble not
your head, but expect me.
[_Ex_. Landlady _and_ Rag.
_Gay_. Was ever man put to such beastly shifts? 'Sdeath, how she stunk--
my senses are most luxuriously regal'd--there's my perpetual Musick too--
[_Knocking of Hammers on a Anvil_.
The ringing of Bells is an Ass to't.
_Rag_. Sir, there's one in a Coach below wou'd speak to you.
_Gay_. With me, and in a Coach! who can it be?
_Rag_. The Devil, I think, for he has a strange Countenance.
_Gay_. The Devil! shew your self a Rascal of Parts, Sirrah, and wait on
him up with Ceremony.
_Rag_. Who, the Devil, Sir?
_Gay_. Ay, the Devil, Sir, if you mean to thrive.
Who can this be--but see he comes to inform me--withdraw.
_Enter_ Bredwel _drest like a Devil_.
_Bred_. I come to bring you this--
[_Gives him a Letter_.
_Receive what Love and Fortune present you with, be grateful
and be silent, or 'twill vanish like a dream, and leave you
more wretched that it found You_.
[Gives him a bag of Money.
_Bred_. Nay, view it, Sir, 'tis all substantial Gold.
_Gay_. Now dare not I ask one civil question for fear it vanish all--
But I may ask, how 'tis I ought to pay for this great Bounty.
_Bred_. Sir, all the Pay is Secrecy--
_Gay_. And is this all that is required, Sir?
_Bred_. No, you're invited to the Shades below.
_Gay_. Hum, Shades below!--I am not prepared for such a Journey, Sir.
_Bred_. If you have Courage, Youth or Love, you'll follow me:
When Night's black Curtain's drawn around the World,
And mortal Eyes are safely lockt in sleep, [_In feign'd Heroick Tone_.
And no bold Spy dares view when Gods caress,
Then I'll conduct thee to the Banks of Bliss.
--Durst thou not trust me?
_Gay_. Yes, sure, on such substantial security. [_Hugs the Bag_.
_Bred_. Just when the Day is vanish'd into Night,
And only twinkling Stars inform the World,
Near to the Corner of the silent Wall,
In Fields of _Lincoln's-Inn_, thy Spirit shall meet thee.
_Gay_. Hum--I am awake sure, and this is Gold I grasp.
I could not see this Devil's cloven Foot;
Nor am I such a Coxcomb to believe,
But he was as substantial as his Gold.
Spirits, Ghosts, Hobgoblins, Furies, Fiends and Devils,
I've often heard old Wives fright Fools and Children with,
Which, once arriv'd to common Sense, they laugh at.
--No, I am for things possible and Natural:
Some Female Devil, old and damn'd to Ugliness,
And past all Hopes of Courtship and Address,
Full of another Devil called Desire,
Has seen this Face--this Shape--this Youth,
And thinks it's worth her Hire. It must be so:
I must moil on in the damn'd dirty Road,
And sure such Pay will make the Journey easy:
_And for the Price of the dull drudging Night,
All Day I'll purchase new and fresh Delight_.
SCENE II. _Sir_ Feeble's _House_.
_Enter_ Leticia, _pursu'd by_ Phillis.
_Phil_. Why, Madam, do you leave the Garden,
For this retreat to Melancholy?
_Let_. Because it suits my Fortune and my Humour;
And even thy Presence wou'd afflict me now.
_Phil_. Madam, I was sent after you; my Lady _Fulbank_ has challeng'd
Sir _Feeble_ at Bowls, and stakes a Ring of fifty Pound against his
_Let_. Tell him I wish him Luck in every thing,
But in his Love to me--
Go tell him I am viewing of the Garden.
_Enter_ Bellmour _at a distance behind her_.
--Blest be this kind Retreat, this 'lone Occasion,
That lends a short Cessation to my Torments,
And gives me leave to vent my Sighs and Tears. [_Weeps_.
_Bel_. And doubly blest be all the Powers of Love,
That give me this dear Opportunity.
_Let_. Where were you, all ye pitying Gods of Love?
That once seem'd pleas'd at _Bellmour's_ Flame and mine,
And smiling join'd our Hearts, our sacred Vows,
And spread your Wings, and held your Torches high.
[_She starts, and pauses_.
_Let_. Where were you now? When this unequal Marriage
Gave me from all my Joys, gave me from _Bellmour_;
Your Wings were flag'd, your Torches bent to Earth,
And all your little Bonnets veil'd your Eyes;
You saw not, or were deaf and pitiless.
_Bel_. Oh my _Leticia_!
_Let_. Hah, 'tis there again; that very voice was _Bellmour's_:
Where art thou, Oh thou lovely charming Shade?
For sure thou canst not take a Shape to fright me.
--What art thou?--speak!
[_Not looking behind her yet for fear_.
_Bel_. Thy constant true Adorer,
Who all this fatal Day has haunted thee
To ease his tortur'd Soul. [_Approaching nearer_.
_Let_. My Heart is well acquainted with that Voice,
But Oh, my Eyes dare not encounter thee.
[_Speaking with signs of fear_.
_Bel_. Is it because thou'st broken all thy Vows?
--Take to thee Courage, and behold thy Slaughters.
_Let_. Yes, though the Sight wou'd blast me, I wou'd view it. [_Turns_.
--'Tis he--'tis very _Bellmour!_ or so like--
I cannot doubt but thou deserv'st this Welcome. [_Embraces him_.
_Bel_. Oh my _Leticia_!
_Let_. I'm sure I grasp not Air; thou art no Fantom:
Thy Arms return not empty to my Bosom,
But meet a solid Treasure.
_Bel_. A Treasure thou so easily threw'st away;
A Riddle simple Love ne'er understood.
_Let_. Alas, I heard, my _Bellmour_, thou wert dead.
_Bel_. And was it thus you mourn'd my Funeral?
_Let_. I will not justify my hated Crime:
But Oh! remember I was poor and helpless,
And much reduc'd, and much impos'd upon.
_Bel_. And Want compell'd thee to this wretched Marriage--did it?
_Let_. 'Tis not a Marriage, since my _Bellmour_ lives;
The Consummation were Adultery.
I was thy Wife before, wo't thou deny me?
_Bel_. No, by those Powers that heard our mutual Vows,
Those Vows that tie us faster than dull Priests.
_Let_. But oh my _Bellmour_, thy sad Circumstances
Permit thee not to make a publick Claim:
Thou art proscribed, and diest if thou art seen.
_Let_. Yet I wou'd wander with thee o'er the World,
And share thy humblest Fortune with thy Love.
_Bel_. Is't possible, _Leticia_, thou wou'dst fly
To foreign Shores with me?
_Let_. Can _Bellmour_ doubt the Soul he knows so well?
_Bel_. Perhaps in time the King may find my Innocence, and may extend
Mean time I'll make provision for our Flight.
_Let_. But how 'twixt this and that can I defend
My self from the loath'd Arms of an impatient Dotard,
That I may come a spotless Maid to thee?
_Bel_. Thy native Modesty and my Industry
Shall well enough secure us.
Feign your nice Virgin-Cautions all the day;
Then trust at night to my Conduct to preserve thee.
--And wilt thou yet be mine? Oh, swear a-new,
Give me again thy Faith, thy Vows, thy Soul;
For mine's so sick with this Day's fatal Business,
It needs a Cordial of that mighty strength;
Swear--swear, so as if thou break'st--
Thou mayst be--any thing--but damn'd, _Leticia_.
_Let_. Thus then, and hear me, Heaven! [_Kneels_.
_Bel_. And thus--I'll listen to thee. [_Kneels_.
_Enter Sir_ Feeble, _L_. Fulbank, _Sir_ Cautious.
Sir _Feeb_. _Lette, Lette, Lette_, where are you, little Rogue, _Lette_?
_Bel_. snatches her to his Bosom, as if she fainted.
_Bel_. Oh Heavens, she's gone, she's gone!
Sir _Feeb_. Gone--whither is she gone?--it seems she had the Wit to
take good Company with her--
[_The Women go to her, take her up_.
_Bel_. She's gone to Heaven, Sir, for ought I know.
Sir _Cau_. She was resolv'd to go in a young Fellow's Arms, I see.
Sir _Feeb_. Go to, _Francis_--go to.
L. _Ful_. Stand back, Sir, she recovers.
_Bel_. Alas, I found her dead upon the Floor,
--Shou'd I have left her so--if I had known your mind--
Sir _Feeb_. Was it so--was it so?--Got so, by no means, _Francis_.--
_Let_. Pardon him, Sir, for surely I had died,
Bur for his timely coming.
Sir _Feeb_. Alas, poor Pupsey--was it sick--look here--here's a fine
thing to make it well again. Come, buss, and it shall have it--oh, how I
long for Night. _Ralph_, are the Fidlers ready?
_Ral_. They are tuning in the Hall, Sir.
Sir _Feeb_. That's well, they know my mind. I hate that same twang,
twang, twang, fum, fum, fum, tweedle, tweedle, tweedle, then scrue go
the Pins, till a man's Teeth are on an edge; then snap, says a small
Gut, and there we are at a loss again. I long to be in bed with a--hey
tredodle, tredodle, tredodle,--with a hay tredool, tredodle, tredo--
[_Dancing and playing on his Stick like a Flute_.
Sir _Cau_. A prudent Man would reserve himself--Good-facks, I danc'd so
on my Wedding-day, that when I came to Bed, to my Shame be it spoken, I
fell fast asleep, and slept till morning.
L. _Ful_. Where was your Wisdom then, Sir _Cautious_? But I know what a
wise Woman ought to have done.
Sir _Feeb_. Odsbobs, that's Wormwood, that's Wormwood--I shall have my
young Hussey set a-gog too; she'll hear there are better things in the
World than she has at home, and then odsbobs, and then they'll ha't,
adod, they will, Sir _Cautious_. Ever while you live, keep a Wife
ignorant, unless a Man be as brisk as his Neighbours.
Sir _Cau_. A wise Man will keep 'em from baudy Christnings then, and
Sir _Feeb_. Christnings and Gossipings! why, they are the very Schools
that debauch our Wives, as Dancing-Schools do our Daughters.
Sir _Cau_. Ay, when the overjoy'd good Man invites 'em all against that
time Twelve-month: Oh, he's a dear Man, cries one--I must marry, cries
another, here's a Man indeed--my Husband--God help him--
Sir _Feeb_. Then he falls to telling of her Grievance, till (half
maudlin) she weeps again: Just my Condition, cries a third: so the
Frolick goes round, and we poor Cuckolds are anatomiz'd, and turn'd the
right side outwards; adsbobs, we are, Sir _Cautious_.
Sir _Cau_. Ay, ay, this Grievance ought to be redrest, Sir _Feeble_; the
grave and sober part o'th' Nation are hereby ridicul'd,--Ay, and
cuckolded too for ought I know.
L. _Ful_. Wise Men knowing this, should not expose their Infirmities, by
marrying us young Wenches; who, without Instruction, find how we are
_Enter Fiddles playing, Mr_. Bearjest _and_ Diana _dancing_;
Bredwel, Noisey, &c.
L. _Ful_. So, Cousin, I see you have found the way to Mrs. _Dy's_ Heart.
_Bea_. Who, I, my dear Lady Aunt? I never knew but one way to a Woman's
Heart, and that road I have not yet travelled; for my Uncle, who is a
wise Man, says Matrimony is a sort of a--kind of a--as it were, d'ye
see, of a Voyage, which every Man of Fortune is bound to make one time
or other: and Madam--I am, as it were--a bold Adventurer.
_Dia_. And are you sure, Sir, you will venture on me?
_Bea_. Sure!--I thank you for that--as if I could not believe my Uncle;
For in this case a young Heir has no more to do, but to come and see,
settle, marry, and use you scurvily.
_Dia_. How, Sir, scurvily?
_Bea_. Very scurvily, that is to say, be always fashionably drunk,
despise the Tyranny of your Bed, and reign absolutely--keep a Seraglio
of Women, and let my Bastard Issue inherit; be seen once a Quarter, or
so, with you in the Park for Countenance, where we loll two several ways
in the gilt Coach like _Janus_, or a Spread-Eagle.
_Dia_. And do you expect I shou'd be honest the while?
_Bea_. Heaven forbid, not I, I have not met with that Wonder in all my
L. _Ful_. How, Sir, not an honest Woman?
_Bea_. Except my Lady Aunt--Nay, as I am a Gentleman and the first of my
Family--you shall pardon me, here--cuff me, cuff me soundly.
[_Kneels to her_.
_Enter_ Gayman _richly drest_.
_Gay_. This Love's a damn'd bewitching thing--Now though I should lose
my Assignation with my Devil, I cannot hold from seeing _Julia_ to
night: hah--there, and with a Fop at her Feet.--Oh Vanity of Woman!
[_Softly pulls her_.
L. _Ful_. Oh, Sir, you're welcome from _Northamptonshire_.
_Gay_. Hum--surely she knows the Cheat. [_Aside_.
L. _Ful_. You are so gay, you save me, Sir, the labour of asking if your
Uncle be alive.
_Gay_. Pray Heaven she have not found my Circumstances!
But if she have, Confidence must assist me-- [_Aside_.
--And, Madam, you're too gay for me to inquire
Whether you are that _Julia_ which I left you?
L. _Ful_. Oh, doubtless, Sir--
_Gay_. But why the Devil do I ask--Yes, you are still the same; one of
those hoiting Ladies, that love nothing like Fool and Fiddle; Crouds of
Fops; had rather be publickly, though dully, flatter'd, than privately
ador'd: you love to pass for the Wit of the Company, by talking all
L. _Ful_. Rail on, till you have made me think my Virtue at so low Ebb,
it should submit to you.
_Gay_. What--I'm not discreet enough;
I'll babble all in my next high Debauch,
Boast of your Favours, and describe your Charms
To every wishing Fool.
L. _Ful_. Or make most filthy Verses of me--
Under the name of _Cloris_--you _Philander_,
Who in leud Rhimes confess the dear Appointment;
What Hour, and where, how silent was the Night,
How full of Love your Eyes, and wishing mine.
Faith, no; if you can afford me a Lease of your Love,
Till the old Gentleman my Husband depart this wicked World,
I'm for the Bargain.
Sir _Cau_. Hum--what's here, a young Spark at my Wife?
[_Goes about 'em_.
_Gay_. Unreasonable _Julia_, is that all,
My Love, my Sufferings, and my Vows must hope?
Set me an Age--say when you will be kind,
And I will languish out in starving Wish:
But thus to gape for Legacies of Love,
Till Youth be past Enjoyment,
The Devil I will as soon--farewel.
[_Offers to go_.
L. _Ful_. Stay, I conjure you stay.
_Gay_. And lose my Assignation with my Devil. [_Aside_.
Sir _Cau_. 'Tis so, ay, ay, 'tis so--and wise Men will perceive it; 'tis
here--here in my forehead, it more than buds; it sprouts, it flourishes.
Sir _Feeb_. So, that young Gentleman has nettled him, stung him to the
quick: I hope he'll chain her up--the Gad-Bee's in his Quonundrum--in
Charity I'll relieve him--Come, my Lady _Fulbank_, the Night grows old
upon our hands; to dancing, to jiggiting--Come, shall I lead your
L. _Ful_. No, Sir, you see I am better provided--
[_Takes_ Gayman's _hand_.
Sir _Cau_. Ay, no doubt on't, a Pox on him for a young handsome Dog.
[_They dance all_.
Sir _Feeb_. Very well, very well, now the Posset; and then--ods bobs,
_Dia_. And then we'll have t'other Dance.
Sir _Feeb_. Away, Girls, away, and steal the Bride to Bed; they have
a deal to do upon their Wedding-nights; and what with the tedious
Ceremonies of dressing and undressing, the smutty Lectures of the Women,
by way of Instruction, and the little Stratagems of the young Wenches
--odds bobs, a Man's cozen'd of half his Night: Come, Gentlemen, one
Bottle, and then--we'll toss the Stocking.
[_Exeunt all but L_. Ful. Bred, _who are talking, and_ Gayman.
L. _Ful_. But dost thou think he'll come?
_Bred_. I do believe so, Madam--
L. _Ful_. Be sure you contrive it so, he may not know whither, or to
whom he comes.
_Bred_. I warrant you, Madam, for our Parts.
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