Enter Constance and Isabella.
Const: Twas ill luck to have the meeting broke last night, just as Setstone was coming towards him.
Isa: But, in part of recompence, you'll have the pleasure of putting him on farther straits. O, these little mischiefs are meat and drink to me.
Const: He shall tell me from whence he has his money: I am resolved now to try him to the utmost.
Isa: I would devise something for him to do, which he could not possibly perform.
Const: As I live, yonder he comes, with the jewel in his hand he promised me. Pr'ythee, leave me alone with him.
Isa: Speed the plough! If I can make no sport, I'll hinder none. I'll to my knight, Sir Timorous; shortly you shall hear news from Dametas[A]. [Footnote A: A foolish character in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, who seems to have become proverbial.]
Lov: Look you, madam, here's the jewel; do me the favour to accept it, and suppose a very good compliment delivered with it.
Const: Believe me, a very fair jewel. But why will you be at this needless charge? What acknowledgment do you expect? You know I will not marry you.
Lov: How the devil do I know that? I do not conceive myself, under correction, so inconsiderable a person.
Const: You'll alter your partial opinion, when I tell you, 'tis not a flash of wit fires me, nor is it a gay out-side can seduce me to matrimony.
Lov: I am neither fool, nor deformed, so much as to be despicable. What do I want?
Const: A good estate, that makes every thing handsome: Nothing can look well without it.
Lov: Does this jewel express poverty?
Const: I conjure you by your love to me, tell me one truth not minced by your invention, how came you by this jewel?
Lov: 'Tis well I have a voucher. Pray ask your own jeweller, Setstone, if I did not buy it of him.
Const: How glad you are now, you can tell a truth so near a lie. But where had you the money, that purchased it? Come--without circumstances and preambles--
Lov: Umph--Perhaps, that may be a secret.
Const: Say, it be one; yet he, that loved indeed, could not keep it from his mistress.
Lov: Why should you be thus importunate?
Const: Because I cannot think you love me, if you will not trust that to my knowledge, which you conceal from all the world beside.
Lov: You urge me deeply--
Const: Come, sweet servant, you shall tell me; I am resolved to take no denial. Why do you sigh?
Lov: If I be blasted, it must out.
Const: Either tell me, or resolve to take your leave for ever.
Lov: Then know, I have my means,--I know not how.
Const: This is a fine secret.
Lov: Why, then, if you will needs know, 'tis from the devil; I have money from him, what, and when I please.
Const: Have you sealed a covenant, and given away your soul for money?
Lov: No such thing intended on my part.
Const: How then?
Lov: I know not yet what conditions he'll propose. I should have spoke with him last night, but that a cross chance hindered it.
Const: Well, my opinion is, some great lady, that is in love with you, supplies you still; and you tell me an incredible tale of the devil, merely to shadow your infidelity.
Lov: Devise some means to try me.
Const: I take you at your word. You shall swear freely to bestow on me whatever you shall gain this unknown way; and, for a proof, because you tell me you can have money, what, and when you please, bring me a hundred pounds ere night.--If I do marry him for a wit, I'll see what he can do; he shall have none from me. [Aside.
Lov: You overjoy me, madam; you shall have it, an 'twere twice as much.
Const: How's this?
Lov: The devil a cross that I have, or know where to get; but I must promise well, to save my credit.--Now, devil, if thou dost forsake me!
Const: I mistrust you; and, therefore, if you fail, I'll have your hand to show against you; here's ink and paper. [LOVEBY writes.
Enter BURR, and TIMOROUS.
Burr: What makes Loveby yonder? He's writing somewhat.
Tim: I'll go see. [Looks over him.
Lov: Have you no more manners than to overlook a man when he's a writing?--Oh! is't you, Sir Timorous? You may stand still; now I think on't, you cannot read written hand.
Burr: You are very familiar with Sir Timorous.
Lov: So am I with his companions, sir.
Burr: Then there's hopes you and I may be better acquainted. I am one of his companions.
Lov: By what title? as you are an ass, sir?
Const: No more, Loveby.
Lov: I need not, madam. Alas! this fellow is only the solicitor of a quarrel, 'till he has brought it to an head; and will leave the fighting part to the courteous pledger. Do not I know these fellows? You shall as soon persuade a mastiff to fasten on a lion, as one of those to engage with a courage above their own: They know well enough whom they can beat, and who can beat them.
Enter FAILER at a distance.
Fail: Yonder they are: Now, would I compound for a reasonable sum, that I were friends with Burr. If I am not, I shall lose Sir Timorous.
Const: O, servant, have I spied you? let me run into your arms.
Fail: I renounce my lady Constance: I vow to gad, I renounce her.
Tim: To your task, Burr.
Enter NONSUCH and ISABELLA.
Const: Hold, gentlemen! no sign of quarrel.
Non: O, friends! I think I shall go mad with grief: I have lost more money.
Lov: Would I had it: that's all the harm I wish myself. Your servant, madam; I go about the business.
Non: What! does he take no pity on me?
Const: Pr'ythee, moan him, Isabella.
Isa: Alas, alas, poor uncle! could they find in their hearts to rob him!
Non: Five hundred pounds, out of poor six thousand pounds a-year! I, and mine, are undone for ever.
Fail: Your own house, you think, is clear, my lord?
Const: I dare answer for all there, as much as for myself.
Burr: Oh, that he would but think that Loveby had it!
Fail: If you'll be friends with me, I'll try what I can persuade him to.
Burr: Here's my hand, I will, dear heart.
Fail: Your own house being clear, my lord, I am apt to suspect this Loveby for such a person. Did you mark how abruptly he went out?
Non: He did indeed, Mr Failer. But why should I suspect him? his carriage is fair, and his means great; he could never live after this rate, if it were not.
Fail: This still renders him the more suspicious: He has no land, to my knowledge.
Burr: Well said, mischief. [Aside.
Const: My father's credulous, and this rogue has found the blind side of him; would Loveby heard him! [To ISABELLA.
Fail: He has no means, and he loses at play; so that, for my part, I protest to gad, I am resolved he picks locks for his living.
Burr: Nay, to my knowledge, he picks locks.
Tim: And to mine.
Fail: No longer ago than last night he met me in the dark, and offered to dive into my pockets.
Non: That's a main argument for suspicion.
Fail: I remember once, when the keys of the Exchequer were lost in the Rump-time, he was sent for upon an extremity, and, egad, he opens me all the locks with the blade-bone of a breast of mutton.
Non: Who, this Loveby?
Fail: This very Loveby. Another time, when we had sate up very late at ombre in the country, and were hungry towards morning, he plucks me out (I vow to gad I tell you no lie) four ten-penny nails from the dairy lock with his teeth, fetches me out a mess of milk, and knocks me 'em in again with his head, upon reputation.
Isa: Thou boy!
Non: What shall I do in this case? My comfort is, my gold's all marked.
Const: Will you suspect a gentleman of Loveby's worth, upon the bare report of such a rascal as this Failer?
Non: Hold thy tongue, I charge thee; upon my blessing hold thy tongue. I'll have him apprehended before he sleeps; come along with me, Mr Failer.
Fail: Burr, look well to Sir Timorous; I'll be with you instantly.
Const: I'll watch you by your favour. [Aside. [Exeunt NONSUCH and FAILER, CONSTANCE following them.
Isa: A word, Sir Timorous.
Burr: [Gets behind.] She shall have a course at the knight, and come up to him, but when she is just ready to pinch, he shall give such a loose from her, shall break her heart.
Isa: Burr there still, and watching us? There's certainly some plot in this, but I'll turn it to my own advantage. [Aside.
Tim: Did you mark Burr's retirement, madam?
Isa: Ay; his guilt, it seems, makes him shun your company.
Tim: In what can he be guilty?
Isa: You must needs know it; he courts your mistress.
Tim: Is he, too, in love with my lady Constance?
Isa: No, no: but, which is worse, he courts me.
Tim: Why, what have I to do with you? You know I care not this for you.
Isa: Perhaps so; but he thought you did: and good reason for it.
Tim: What reason, madam?
Isa: The most convincing in the world: He knew my cousin Constance never loved you: He has heard her say, you were as invincibly ignorant as a town-fop judging a new play: as shame-faced as a great overgrown school-boy: in fine, good for nothing but to be wormed out of your estate, and sacrificed to the god of laughter.
Tim: Was your cousin so barbarous to say this?
Isa: In his hearing.
Tim: And would he let me proceed in my suit to her?
Isa: For that I must excuse him; he never thought you could love one of my cousin's humour; but took your court to her, only as a blind to your affection for me; and, being possessed with that opinion, he thought himself as worthy as you to marry me.
Tim: He is not half so worthy; and so I'll tell him, in a fair way.
Burr: [To a Boy entering.] Sirrah, boy, deliver this note to madam Isabella; but be not known I am so near.
Boy: I warrant you, sir.
Burr: Now, Fortune, all I desire of thee is, that Sir Timorous may see it; if he once be brought to believe there is a kindness between her and me, it will ruin all her projects.
Isa: [To the Boy.] From whom?
Boy: From Mr Burr, madam.
Isa: [Reads.] These for Madam Isabella. Dear rogue, Sir Timorous knows nothing of our kindness, nor shall for me; seem still to have designs upon him; it will hide thy affection the better to thy servant, BURR.
Isa: Alas, poor woodcock, dost thou go a-birding? Thou hast e'en set a springe to catch thy own neck. Look you here, Sir Timorous; here's something to confirm what I have told you. [Gives him the letter.
Tim: D, e, a, r, dear; r, o, g, u, e, rogue. Pray, madam, read it; this written hand is such a damned pedantic thing, I could never away with it.
Isa: He would fain have robbed you of me: Lord, Lord! to see the malice of a man.
Tim: She has persuaded me so damnably, that I begin to think she's my mistress indeed.
Isa: Your mistress? why, I hope you are not to doubt that, at this time of day. I was your mistress from the first day you ever saw me.
Tim: Nay, like enough you were so; but I vow to gad now, I was wholly ignorant of my own affection.
Isa: And this rogue pretends he has an interest in me, merely to defeat you: Look you, look you, where he stands in ambush, like a Jesuit behind a Quaker, to see how his design will take.
Tim: I see the rogue: Now could I find in my heart to marry you in spite to him; what think you on't, in a fair way?
Isa: I have brought him about as I could wish; and now I'll make my own conditions. [Aside.] Sir Timorous, I wish you well; but he I marry must promise me to live at London: I cannot abide to be in the country, like a wild beast in the wilderness, with no Christian soul about me.
Tim: Why, I'll bear you company.
Isa: I cannot endure your early hunting-matches there; to have my sleep disturbed by break of day, with heigh, Jowler, Jowler! there Venus, ah Beauty! and then a serenade of deep-mouthed curs, to answer the salutation of the huntsman, as if hell were broke loose about me: and all this to meet a pack of gentlemen savages, to ride all day, like mad-men, for the immortal fame of being first in at the hare's death: to come upon the spur, after a trial at four in the afternoon, to destruction of cold meat and cheese, with your lewd company in boots; fall a-drinking till supper time, be carried to bed, tossed out of your cellar, and be good for nothing all the night after.
Tim: Well, madam, what is it you would be at? you shall find me reasonable to all your propositions.
Isa: I have but one condition more to add; for I will be as reasonable as you; and that is a very poor request--to have all the money in my disposing.
Tim: How, all the money?
Isa: Ay, for I am sure I can huswife it better for your honour; not but that I shall be willing to encourage you with pocket-money, or so, sometimes.
Tim: This is somewhat hard.
Isa: Nay, if a woman cannot do that, I shall think you have an ill opinion of my virtue: Not trust your own flesh and blood, Sir Timorous?
Tim: Well, is there any thing more behind?
Isa: Nothing more, only the choice of my own company, my own hours, and my own actions: These trifles granted me, in all things of moment, I am your most obedient wife and servant, Isabella.
Tim: Is't a match, then?
Isa: For once I am content it shall; but 'tis to redeem you from those rascals, Burr and Failer--that way, Sir Timorous, for fear of spies; I'll meet you at the garden door.--[Exit TIMOROUS.] I have led all women the way, if they dare but follow me.
And now march off, if I can scape but spying, With my drums beating, and my colours flying
Burr: So, their wooing's at an end; thanks to my wit.
Fail: O Burr! whither is it Sir Timorous and Madam Isabella are gone together?
Burr: Adore my wit, boy; they are parted, never to meet again.
Fail: I saw them meet just now at the garden-door: So ho, ho, ho, who's within there! Help here quickly, quickly.
Enter NONSUCH and two Servants.
Non: What's the matter?
Fail: Your niece Isabella has stolen away Sir Timorous.
Non: Which way took they?
Fail: Follow me, I'll show you.
Non: Break your necks after him, you idle varlets.
Enter LOVEBY. LOVEBY'S collar unbuttoned, band carelessly on, hat on the table, as new risen from sleep.
Lov: Boy! how long have I slept, boy?
Boy: Two hours and a half, sir.
Lov: What's a-clock, sirrah?
Boy: Near four, sir.
Lov: Why, there's it: I have promised my lady Constance an hundred pounds ere night; I had four hours to perform it in, when I engaged to do it; and I have slept out more than two of them. All my hope to get this money lies within the compass of that hat there. Before I lay down, I made bold a little to prick my finger, and write a note, in the blood of it, to this same friend of mine in t'other world, that uses to supply me: the devil has now had above two hours to perform it in; all which time I have slept, to give him the better opportunity: time enough for a gentleman of his agility to fetch it from the East Indies, out of one of his temples where they worship him; or, if he were lazy, and not minded to go so far, 'twere but stepping over sea, and borrowing so much money out of his own bank at Amsterdam: hang it, what's an hundred pounds between him and me? Now does my heart go pit-a-pat, for fear I should not find the money there: I would fain lift it up to see, and yet I am so afraid of missing: Yet a plague, why should I fear he'll fail me; the name of a friend's a sacred thing; sure he'll consider that. Methinks, this hat looks as if it should have something under it: If one could see the yellow boys peeping underneath the brims now: Ha! [Looks under round about.] In my conscience I think I do. Stand out o'the way, sirrah, and be ready to gather up the pieces, that will flush out of the hat as I take it up.
Boy: What, is my master mad, trow?
[LOVEBY snatches up the hat, looks in it hastily, and sees nothing but the paper.
Low: Now, the devil take the devil! A plague! was ever man served so as I am! [Throws his hat upon the ground.] To break the bands of amity for one hundred pieces! Well, it shall be more out of thy way than thou imaginest, devil: I'll turn parson, and be at open defiance with thee: I'll lay the wickedness of all people upon thee, though thou art never so innocent; I'll convert thy bawds and whores; I'll Hector thy gamesters, that they shall not dare to swear, curse, or bubble; nay, I'll set thee out so, that thy very usurers and aldermen shall fear to have to do with thee.
[A noise within of ISABELLA and FRANCES.
Enter FRANCES, thrusting back ISABELLA and TIMOROUS.
Franc: How now, what's the matter?
Isa: Nay, sweet mistress, be not so hard-hearted; all I desire of you is but harbour for a minute: you cannot, in humanity, deny that small succour to a gentlewoman.
Franc: A gentlewoman! I thought so; my house, affords no harbour for gentlewomen: you are a company of proud harlotries: I'll teach you to take place of tradesmen's wives, with a wannion to you.
Lov: How's this! Madam Isabella!
Isa: Mr Loveby! how happy am I to meet with you in my distress!
Lov: What's the matter, madam?
Isa: I'll tell you, if this gentlewoman will give me leave.
Franc: No, gentlewoman, I will not give you leave; they are such as we maintain your pride, as they say. [ISABELLA and LOVEBY whisper.] Our husbands trust you, and you must go before their wives. I am sure my good-man never goes to any of your lodgings, but he comes home the worse for it, as they say.
Lov: Is that all? pr'ythee, good landlady, for my sake entertain my friends.
Franc: If the gentleman's worship had come alone, it may be I might have entertained him; but for your minion!
Enter NONSUCH, FAILER, BURR, and Officers. Cry within, Here, here.
Fail: My lord, arrest Sir Timorous upon a promise of marriage to your daughter, and we'll witness it.
Tim: Why, what a strange thing of you's this, madam Isabella, to bring a man into trouble thus!
Fail: You are not yet married to her?
Tim: Not that I remember.
Isa: Well, Failer, I shall find a time to reward your diligence.
Lov: If the knight would have owned his action, I should have taught some of you more manners, than to come with officers into my lodging.
Franc: I'm glad with all my heart this minx is prevented of her design: the gentleman had got a great catch of her, as they say. His old father in the country would have given him but little thanks for it, to see him bring down a fine-bred woman, with a lute, and a dressing-box, and a handful of money to her portion.
Isa: Good Mistress Whatdeelack! I know your quarrel to the ladies; do they take up the gallants from the tradesmen's wives? Lord, what a grievous thing it is, for a she citizen to be forced to have children by her own husband!
Franc: Come, come, you're a slanderful huswife, and I squorn your harlotry tricks, that I do, so I do.
Isa: Steeple-hat your husband never gets a good look when he comes home, except he brings a gentleman to dinner; who, if he casts an amorous eye towards you, then, "Trust him, good husband, sweet husband, trust him for my sake: Verily the gentleman's an honest man, I read it in his countenance: and if you should not be at home to receive the money, I know he will pay the debt to me." Is't not so, mistress?
Enter BIBBER in slippers, with a skein of silk about his neck.
Franc: Will you see me wronged thus, under my own roof, as they say, William?
Isa: Nay, 'tis very true, mistress: you let the men, with old compliments, take up new clothes; I do not mean your wife's clothes, Mr Merchant-Tailor.
Bib: Good, i'faith! a notable smart gentlewoman!
Isa: Look to your wife, sir, or, in time, she may undo your trade; for she'll get all your men-customers to herself.
Bib: An' I should be hanged, I can forbear no longer. [He plucks out his measure, and runs to ISABELLA, to take measure of her.
Isa: How now! what means Prince Pericles by this?
Bib: [On his knees.] I must beg your ladyship e'en to have the honour to trust you but for your gown, for the sake of that last jest, flowered sattin, wrought tabby, silver upon any grounds; I shall run mad if I may not trust your ladyship.
Franc: I think you are mad already, as they say, William: You shall not trust her--
[Plucks him back.
Bib: Let me alone, Frances: I am a lion when I am angered.
Isa: Pray do not pull your lion by the tail so, mistress--In these clothes, that he now takes measure of me for, will I marry Sir Timorous; mark that, and tremble, Failer.
Fail: Never threaten me, madam; you're a person I despise.
Isa: I vow to gad, I'll be even with you, sir.
Non: [To the Bailiffs.]--And when you have arrested him, be sure you search him for my gold.
Bailiffs: [To LOVEBY.] We arrest you, sir, at my Lord Nonsuch's suit.
Lov: Me, you rascals!
Non: Search him for my gold; you know the marks on't.
Lov: If they can find any marked or unmarked gold about me, they'll find more than I can. You expect I should resist now; no, no; I'll hamper you for this.
Bail: There's nothing to be found about him.
Fail: 'Tis no matter, to prison with him; there all his debts will come upon him.
Lov: What, hurried to durance, like a stinkard!
Job: Now, as I live, a pleasant gentleman; I could find in my heart to bail him; but I'll overcome myself, and steal away. [Is going.
Bail: Come, sir, we must provide you of another lodging; but I believe you'll scarce like it.
Lov: If I do not, I ask no favour; pray turn me out of doors.
Bib: Turn him out of doors! What a jest was there? Now, an' I should be hanged, I cannot forbear bailing him: Stay, officers, I bail him body and soul for that jest.
Fail: Let us begone in time, Burr.
[Exuent BURR, FAILER, and TIMOROUS.
Franc: You shall not bail him.
Bib: I know I am a rogue to do it; but his wit has prevailed upon me, and a man must not go against his conscience. There, officers.
Lov: to Non: Old man, if it were not for thy daughter--
Non: Well, well; take your course, sir.
[Exuent NONSUCH and Bailiffs.
Lov: Come, Will, I'll thank thee at the tavern. Frances, remember this the next time you come up to make my bed.
Franc: Do your worst, I fear you not, sir. This is twice to day, William; to trust a gentlewoman, and bail a ragamuffin: I am sure he called you cuckold but yesterday, and said he would make you one.
Lov: Look you, Frances, I am a man of honour, and, if I said it, I'll not break my word with you.
Bib: There he was with you again, Frances: An excellent good jest, i'faith la.
Franc: I'll not endure it, that I won't, so I won't: I'll go to the justice's worship, and fetch a warrant for him.
Lov: But, landlady, the word cuckold will bear no action in the law, except you could prove your husband prejudiced by it. Have any of his customers forsook him for't? Or any mercer refused to trust him the less, for my calling him so?
Franc: Nay, I know not for the mercers; perhaps the citizens may take it for no slander among one another, as they say: but for the gentlemen--
Lov: Will, have they forsaken thee upon it?
Bib: No, I assure you, sir.
Lov: No, I warrant 'em: A cuckold has the signification of an honest well-meaning citizen; one, that is not given to jealousies or suspicions; a just person to his wife, &c.; one that, to speak the worst of him, does but to her, what he would be content should be done to her by other men.
Franc: But that another man should be the father of his children, as they say; I don't think that a civil thing, husband.
Lov: Not civil, landlady! why all things are civil, that are made so by custom.
Bib: Why may not he get as fine children as I, or any man?
Franc: But if those children, that are none of yours, should call you father, William!
Bib: If they call me father, and are none of mine, I am the more beholden to 'em.
Franc: Nay, if that be your humour, husband, I am glad I know it, that I may please you the better another time, as they say. [Exit FRANCES.
Bib: Nay, but Frances, Frances! 'tis such another woman. [Exit BIBBER.
Lov: 'Tis such another man:--My coat and sword, boy, I must go to Justice Trice's; bring the women; and come after me. [Exit LOVEBY.