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Act II

SCENE I.

Enter, as from Dinner, TRICE, TIMOROUS, FAILER, BURR, CONSTANCE, ISABELLA.

Trice: Speak thy conscience; was it not well dressed, sirrah?

Tim: What think you of the Park, after our plenteous entertainment, madam?

Isa: I defy the Park, and all its works.

Const: Come, Mr Trice, we'll walk in your garden.

[Exuent all but FAILER and BURR.

Fail: O, one thing I had almost forgot to tell you; one of us two must ever be near Sir Timorous.

Burr: Why?

Fail: To guard our interest in him from the enemy, madam Isabella; who, I doubt, has designs upon him. I do not fear her wit, but her sex; she carries a prevailing argument about her.

Enter BIBBER with a Bottle.

Bib: By this hand, I have alight upon the best wine in your cousin's cellar; drink but one glass to me, to shew I am welcome, and I am gone.

Fail: Here then, honest Will; 'tis a cup of forbearance to thee.

Bib: Thank you, sir, I'll pledge you--now here's to you again.

Fail: Come away; what is't, Will?

Bib: 'Tis what you christened it, a cup of forbearance, sir.

Fail: Why, I drank that to thee, Will, that thou shouldst forbear thy money.

Bib: And I drink this to you, sir; henceforward I'll forbear working for you.

Fail: Then say I:

Take a little Bibber,
And threw him in the river;
And if he will trust never,
Then there let him lie ever.

Bib: Then say I:

Take a little Failer,
And throw him to the jailor;
And there let him lie,
Till he has paid his tailor.

Burr: You are very smart upon one another, gentlemen.

Fail: This is nothing between us; I use to tell him of his title, Fiery facias; and his setting dog, that runs into ale-houses before him, and comes questing out again, if any of the woots, his customers, be within.

Bib: I'faith 'tis true; and I use to tell him of his two capon's tails about his hat, that are laid spread-eaglewise to make a feather; I would go into the snow at any time, and in a quarter of an hour I would come in with a better feather upon my head; and so farewel, sir; I have had the better on you hitherto, and for this time I am resolved to keep it.

[Exit BIBBER.

Fail: The rogue's too hard for me; but the best on't is, I have my revenge upon his purse.

Enter ISABELLA.

Isa: Came not Sir Timorous this way, gentlemen? He left us in the garden, and said he would look out my Lord Nonsuch, to make his peace with him.

Fail: Madam, I like not your enquiring after Sir Timorous: I suspect you have some design upon him: You would fain undermine your cousin, and marry him yourself.

Isa: Suppose I should design it, what are you the worse for my good fortune? Shall I make a proposition to you? I know you two carry a great stroke with him: Make the match between us, and propound to yourselves what advantages you can reasonably hope: You shall chouse him of horses, cloaths, and money, and I'll wink at it.

Burr: And if he will not be choused, shall we beat him out on't?

Isa: For that, as you can agree.

Fail: Give us a handsel of the bargain; let us enjoy you, and 'tis a match.

Isa: Grammercy i'faith, boys; I love a good offer, howe'er the world goes; but you would not be so base to wrong him that way?

Fail: I vow to gad but I would, madam: In a horse, or a woman, I may lawfully cheat my own father: Besides, I know the knight's complexion; he would be sure to follow other women; and all that.

Isa: Nay, if he fought with the sword, he should give me leave to fight with the scabbard.

Burr: What say you, madam? Is't a bargain?

Isa: 'Tis but a promise; and I have learnt a court trick for performing any thing [Aside]. Well, gentlemen, when I am married I'll think upon you; you'll grant there's a necessity I should cuckold him, if it were but to prove myself a wit.

Fail: Nay, there's no doubt you'll cuckold him, and all that; for look you, he's a person fit for nothing else; but I fear we shall not have the graffing of the horns; we must have livery and seisin beforehand of you, or I protest to gad we believe you not.

Isa: I have past my word; is't not sufficient? What! do you think I would tell a lie to save such a paltry thing as a night's lodging?--Hark you, sir. [To BURR.

Fail: Now will she attempt Burr; egad, she has found him out for the weaker vessel.

Isa: I have no kindness for that Failer; we'll strike him out, and manage Sir Timorous ourselves.

Burr: Indeed we won't.

Isa: Failer's a rook; and, besides, he's such a debauched fellow--

Burr: I am ten times worse.

Isa: Leave it, and him that taught it you: You have virtuous inclinations, and I would not have you ruin yourself. He, that serves many mistresses, surfeits on his diet, and grows dead to the whole sex: 'Tis the folly in the world next long ears and braying.

Burr: Now I'm sure you have a mind to me; when a woman once falls a preaching, the next thing is ever use and application.

Isa: Forbear your rudeness!--

Burr: Then I am sure you mean to jilt me: You decline Failer, because he has wit; and you think me such an ass, that you may pack me off so soon as you are married; no, no, I'll not venture certainties for uncertainties.

Isa: I can hold no longer;--Mr Failer, what do you think this fellow was saying of you?

Fail: Of me, madam?

Isa: That you were one of the arrantest cowards in Christendom, though you went for one of the Dear Hearts; that your name had been upon more posts than playbills; and that he had been acquainted with you these seven years, drunk and sober, and yet could never fasten a quarrel upon you.

Burr: Do you believe this, dear heart?

Isa: If you deny it, I'll take his sword, and force you to confess it.

Fail: I vow to gad; this will not do, madam: You shall not set us at variance so easily; neither shall you have Sir Timorous.

Isa: No! then mark my words: I'll marry him in spite of you; and, which is worse, you shall both work my ends, and I'll discard you for your pains.

Fail: You shall not touch a bit of him: I'll preserve his humbles from you, egad; they shall be his keeper's fees[A].

[Footnote A: The keeper of a royal forest had for his fees the skin, head, umbles (i.e. inwards), chine, and shoulders. HOLINSHED'S Chronicle, vol. i. p. 104.]

Burr: She shall cut an atom sooner than divide us. [Exuent BURR and FAILER.

Enter CONSTANCE.

Const: I have given 'em the slip in the garden, to come and overhear thee: No fat overgrown virgin of forty ever offered herself so dog-cheap, or was more despised; methinks now this should mortify thee exceedingly.

Isa: Not a whit the more for that: Cousin mine, our sex is not so easily put out of conceit with our own beauties.

Const: Thou hast lost the opinion of thy honesty, and got nothing in recompence: Now that's such an oversight in a lady--

Isa: You are deceived; they think me too virtuous for their purpose; but I have yet another way to try, and you shall help me.

Enter LOVEBY, new habited.

Const: Mr Loveby, welcome, welcome: Where have you been this fortnight?

Lov: Faith, madam, out of town, to see a little thing that's fallen to me upon the death of a grandmother.

Const: You thank death for the windfall, servant: But why are you not in mourning for her?

Lov: Troth, madam, it came upon me so suddenly, I had not time: 'Twas a fortune utterly unexpected by me.

Isa: Why, was your grandmother so young, you could not look for her decease?

Lov: Not for that neither; but I had many other kindred, whom she might have left it to; only she heard I lived here in fashion, and spent my money in the eye of the world.

Const: You forge these things prettily; but I have heard you are as poor as a decimated cavalier, and had not one foot of land in all the world.

Lov: Rivals' tales, rivals' tales, madam.

Const: Where lies your land, sir?

Lov: I'll tell you, madam, it has upon it a very fair manor house; from one side you have in prospect an hanging garden.

Isa: Who was hanged there? not your grandmother, I hope?

Lov: In the midst of it you have a fountain: You have seen that at Hampton-court? it will serve to give you a slight image of it. Beyond the garden you look to a river through a perspective of fruit-trees; and beyond the river you see a mead so flowery!--Well, I shall never be at quiet, till we two make hay there.

Const: But where lies this paradise?

Lov: Pox on't; I am thinking to sell it, it has such a villanous unpleasant name, it would have sounded so harsh in a lady's ear. But for the fountain, madam--

Const: The fountain's a poor excuse, it will not hold water; come, the name, the name.

Lov: Faith, it is come so lately into my hands, that I have forgot the name on't.

Isa: That's much, now, that you should forget the name, and yet could make such an exact description of the place.

Lov: If you would needs know, the name's Bawdy.--Sure this will give a stop to their curiosity. [Aside.

Isa: At least you will tell us in what county it lies, that my cousin may send to enquire about it: come, this shall not serve your turn; tell us any town that's near it.

Lov: 'Twill be somewhat too far to send; it lies in the very north of Scotland.

Isa: In good time, a paradise in the Highlands; is't not so, sir?

Const: It seems you went post, servant: in troth you are a rank rider, to go to the north of Scotland, stay and take possession, and return again, in ten days time.

Isa: I never knew your grandmother was a Scotch woman: Is she not a Tartar too? Pray whistle for her, and let's see her dance; come--whist, grannee!

Const: Fie, fie, servant; what, no invention in you? all this while a-studying for a name of your manor? come, come, where lies it? tell me.

Lov: No, faith, I am wiser than so; I'll discover my seat to no man; so I shall have some damned lawyer keep a prying into my title, to defeat me of it.

Const: How then shall I be satisfied, there is such a thing in nature?

Lov: Tell me what jewel you would wear, and you shall have it: Enquire into my money, there's the trial.

Const: Since you are so flush, sir, you shall give me a locket of diamonds, of three hundred pounds.

Isa: That was too severe; you know he has but two hundred and fifty pounds to bestow. [To her.

Lov: Well, you shall have it, madam: But I cannot higgle; I know you'll say it did not cost above two hundred pieces.

Isa: I'll be hanged if he does not present you with a parcel of melted flints set in gold, or Norfolk pebbles.

Lov: Little gentlewoman, you are so keen--Madam, this night I have appointed business, to-morrow I'll wait upon you with it. [Exit LOVEBY.

Isa: By that time he has bought his locket, and paid his landlady, all his money will be gone. But do you mean to prosecute your plot to see him this evening?

Const: Yes, and that very privately; if my father know it, I am undone.

Enter SETSTONE.

Isa: I heard him say, this night he had appointed business.

Set: Why, that was it, madam; according to your order, I put on a disguise, and found him in the Temple-walks: Having drawn him aside, I told him, if he expected happiness, he must meet me in a blind alley, I nam'd to him, on the back side of Mr Trice's house, just at the close of evening; there he should be satisfied from whom he had his supplies of money.

Const: And how did he receive the summons?

Set: Like a bold Hector of Troy; without the least doubt or scruple: But, the jest on't was, he would needs believe that I was the devil.

Const: Sure he was afraid to come then?

Set: Quite contrary; he told me I need not be so shy, to acknowledge myself to him; he knew I was the devil; but he had learnt so much civility, as not to press his friend to a farther discovery than he was pleased. I should see I had to do with a gentleman; and any courtesy I should confer on him, he would not be unthankful; for he hated ingratitude of all things.

Const: 'Twas well carried not to disabuse him: I laugh to think what sport I shall have anon, when I convince him of his lies, and let him know I was the devil, to whom he was beholden for his money: Go, Setstone; and in the same disguise be ready for him. [Exit SETSTONE.

Isa: How dare you trust this fellow?

Const: I must trust some body: Gain has made him mine, and now fear will keep him faithful.

To them, BURR, FAILER, TIMOROUS, TRICE, and NONSUCH.

Fail: Pray, my lord, take no pique at it: 'Tis not given to all men to be confident: Egad, you shall see Sir Timorous will redeem all upon the next occasion.

Non: A raw miching boy.

Isa: And what are you but an old boy of five and fifty? I never knew any thing so humoursome--I warrant you, Sir Timorous; I'll speak for you.

Non: Would'st thou have me be friends with him? for thy sake he shall only add five hundred a-year to her jointure, and I'll be satisfied: Come you hither, sir.

[Here TRICE and NONSUCH and TIMOROUS talk privately; BURR with FAILER apart, CONSTANCE with ISABELLA.

Const: You'll not find your account in this trick to get Failer beaten; 'tis too palpable and open.

Isa: I warrant you 'twill pass upon Burr for a time: So my revenge and your interest will go on together.

Fail: Burr, there's mischief a-brewing, I know it by their whispering, I vow to gad: Look to yourself, their design is on you; for my part, I am a person that am above 'em.

Tim: to Trice: But then you must speak for me, Mr Trice: and you too, my lord.

Non: If you deny't again, I'll beat you; look to't, boy.

Trice: Come on; I'll make the bargain.

Isa: You were ever good in a flesh-market.

Trice: Come, you little harlotry; what satisfaction can you give me for running away before the ruffs came in?

Const: Why, I left you to 'em, that ever invite your own belly to the greatest part of all your feasts.

Trice: I have brought you a knight here, huswife, with a plentiful fortune to furnish out a table; and what would you more? Would you be an angel in heaven?

Isa: Your mind's ever upon your belly.

Trice: No: 'tis sometimes upon yours: But, what say'st thou to sir Timorous, little Constance?

Const: Would you have me married to that king Midas's face?

Trice: Midas me no Midas; he's a wit; he understands eating and drinking well: Poeta coquus, the heathen philosopher could tell you that.

Const: Come on, sir: what's your will with me? [Laughs.

Tim: Why, madam, I could only wish we were a little better acquainted, that we might not laugh at one another so.

Const: If the fool puts forward, I am undone.

Tim: Fool!--do you know me, madam?

Const: You may see I know you, because I call you by your name.

Fail: You must endure these rebukes with patience, Sir Timorous.

Const: What, are you planet struck? Look you, my lord, the gentleman's tongue-tied.

Non: This is past enduring.

Fail: 'Tis nothing, my lord;--courage, Sir Timorous.

Non: I say 'tis past enduring; that's more than ever I told you yet: Do you come to make a fool of my daughter?

Isa: Why lord--

Non: Why lady--[Exit NONSUCH.

Trice: Let's follow the old man, and pacify him.

Isa: Now, cousin,--[Exuent ISA. TRICE, BURR.

Const: Well, Mr Failer, I did not think you, of all the rest, would have endeavoured a thing so much against my inclination, as this marriage: if you had been acquainted with my heart, I am sure you would not.

Fail: What can the meaning of this be? you would not have me believe you love me; and yet how otherwise to understand you I vow to gad I cannot comprehend.

Const: I did not say I loved you; but if I should take a fancy to your person and humour, I hope it is no crime to tell it you. Women are tied to hard unequal laws: The passion is the same in us, and yet we are debarred the freedom to express it. You make poor Grecian beggars of us ladies; our desires must have no language, but only be fastened to our breasts.

Fail: Come, come; egad I know the whole sex of you: Your love's at best but a kind: of blind-man's-buff, catching at him that's next in your way.

Const: Well, sir, I can take nothing ill from you; when 'tis too late you'll see how unjust you have been to me. I have said too much already.--[Is going.

Fail: Nay stay, sweet madam! I vow to gad my fortune's better than I could imagine.

Const: No, pray let me go, sir; perhaps I was in jest.

Fail: Really, madam, I look upon you as a person of such worth, and all that, that I vow to gad I honour you of all persons in the world; and though I am a person that am inconsiderable in the world, and all that, madam, for a person of your worth and excellency I would--

Const: What would you, sir?

Fail: Sacrifice my life and fortunes, I vow to gad, madam.

Enter ISABELLA, BURR, and TIMOROUS, at a distance from them.

Isa: There's Failer close in talk with my cousin; he's soliciting your suit, I warrant you, Sir Timorous: Do but observe with what passion he courts for you.

Burr: I do not like that kneading of her hand though.

Isa: Come, you are such a jealous coxcomb: I warrant you suspect there's some amour between 'em; there can be nothing in't, it is so open: Pray observe.

Burr: But how come you so officious, madam? you, that ere now had a design upon Sir Timorous for yourself?

Isa: I thought you had a better opinion of my wit, than to think I was in earnest. My cousin may do what she pleases, but he shall never pin himself upon me, assure him.

Const: to Fail: Sir Timorous little knows how dangerous a person he has employed in making love.--[Aloud.

Burr: How's this! Pray, my lady Constance, what's the meaning of that you say to Failer?

Fail: What luck was this, that he should overhear you! Pax on't!

Const: Mr Burr, I owe you not that satisfaction; what you have heard you may interpret as you please.

Tim: The rascal has betrayed me.

Isa: In earnest, sir, I do not like it.

Fail: Dear Mr Burr, be pacified; you are a person I have an honour for; and this change of affairs shall not be the worse for you, egad, sir.

Const: Bear up resolutely, Mr Failer; and maintain my favours, as becomes my servant.

Burr: He maintain 'em! go, you Judas; I'll teach you what 'tis to play fast and loose with a man of war. [Kicks him.

Tim: Lay it on, Burr.

Isa: Spare him not, Burr.

Const: Fear him not, servant.

Fail: Oh, oh! would nobody were on my side! here I am praised, I vow to gad, into all the colours of the rainbow.

Const: But remember 'tis for me.

Burr: As you like this, proceed, sir; but, come not near me to-night, while I'm in wrath.

[Exuent BURR and TIMOROUS.

Const: Come, sir; how fare you after your sore trial? You bore it with a most heroic patience.

Isa: Brave man at arms, but weak to Balthazar[A]! [Footnote A: Alluding to the old play of Hieronymo.]

Fail: I hope to gad, madam, you'll consider the merit of my sufferings. I would not have been beaten thus, but to obey that person in the world--

Const: Heaven reward you for't; I never shall.

Fail: How, madam!

Isa: Art thou such an ass, as not to perceive thou art abused? This beating I contrived for you: you know upon what account; and have yet another or two at your service. Yield up the knight in time, 'tis your best course.

Fail: Then does not your ladyship love me, madam?

Const: Yes, yes, I love to see you beaten.

Isa: Well, methinks now you have had a hard bargain on't: You have lost your cully, Sir Timorous, and your friend, Burr, and all to get a poor beating. But I'll see it mended against next time for you.

[Exuent CONSTANCE and ISABELLA, laughing.

Fail: I am so much amazed, I vow to gad, I do not understand my own condition. [Exit.

-

SCENE II.

Enter LOVEBY solus, in the dark, his sword drawn, groping out his way.

Lov: This is the time and place he pointed me, and 'tis certainly the devil I am to meet; for no mortal creature could have that kindness for me, to supply my necessities as he has done, nor could have done it in so strange a manner. He told me he was a scholar, and had been a parson in the fanatic's times: a shrewd suspicion it was the devil; or at least a limb of him. If the devil can send churchmen on his errands, lord have mercy on the laity! Well, let every man speak as he finds, and give the devil his due; I think him a very honest and well-natured fellow; and if I hear any man speak ill of him, except it be a parson, that gets his living by it, I wear a sword at his service. Yet, for all this, I do not much care to see him. He does not mean to hook me in for my soul, does he? If he does, I shall desire to be excused. But what a rogue am I, to suspect a person, that has dealt so much like a gentleman by me! He comes to bring me money, and would do it handsomely, that it might not be perceived. Let it be as 'twill, I'll seem to trust him; and, then, if he have any thing of a gentleman in him, he wills corn to deceive me, as much as I would to cozen him, if I were the devil, and he Jack Loveby.

Enter FAILER at the other end of the stage.

Fail: What will become of me to-night! I am just in the condition of an out-lying deer, that's beaten from his walk for offering to rut. Enter I dare not, for Burr.

Lov: I hear a voice, but nothing do I see. Speak, what thou art?

Fail: There he is, watching for me. I must venture to run by him; and, when I am in, I hope my cousin Trice will defend me. The devil would not lie abroad in such a night.

Lov: I thought it was the devil, before he named himself.

[FAILER goes to run off, and falls into LOVEBY'S arms.

Lov: Honest Satan, well encountered! I am sorry, with all my heart, it is so dark. 'Faith, I should be very glad to see thee at my lodging; pr'ythee, let's not be such strangers to one another for the time to come. And what hast thou got under thy cloak there, little Satan? I warrant thou hast brought me some more money.

Fail: Help, help; thieves! thieves!

[LOVEBY lets him go.

Lov: This is Failer's voice: How the devil was I mistaken! I must get off, ere company comes in.

[Exit Loveby.

Fail: Thieves! thieves!

Enter Trice, Burr, and Timorous, undressed.

All: Where! where!

Fail: One was here just now; and it should be Loveby by his voice, but I have no witness.

Trice: It cannot be; he wants no money.

Burr: Come, sirrah; I'll take pity on you to-night: You shall lie in the truckle-bed.

Trice: Pox o' this noise! it has disturbed me from such a dream of eating!--[Exeunt.

John Dryden

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