Part 2 out of 3
MISS. O dear, what shall I say? Tell me, Mr Tattle, tell me a lie.
TATT. There's no occasion for a lie; I could never tell a lie to no
purpose. But since we have done nothing, we must say nothing, I
think. I hear her,--I'll leave you together, and come off as you
can. [Thrusts her in, and shuts the door.]
TATTLE, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, ANGELICA.
ANG. You can't accuse me of inconstancy; I never told you that I
VAL. But I can accuse you of uncertainty, for not telling me
whether you did or not.
ANG. You mistake indifference for uncertainty; I never had concern
enough to ask myself the question.
SCAN. Nor good-nature enough to answer him that did ask you; I'll
say that for you, madam.
ANG. What, are you setting up for good-nature?
SCAN. Only for the affectation of it, as the women do for ill-
ANG. Persuade your friend that it is all affectation.
SCAN. I shall receive no benefit from the opinion; for I know no
effectual difference between continued affectation and reality.
TATT. [coming up]. Scandal, are you in private discourse?
Anything of secrecy? [Aside to SCANDAL.]
SCAN. Yes, but I dare trust you; we were talking of Angelica's love
to Valentine. You won't speak of it.
TATT. No, no, not a syllable. I know that's a secret, for it's
SCAN. Ha, ha, ha!
ANG. What is, Mr Tattle? I heard you say something was whispered
SCAN. Your love of Valentine.
TATT. No, madam, his love for your ladyship. Gad take me, I beg
your pardon,--for I never heard a word of your ladyship's passion
till this instant.
ANG. My passion! And who told you of my passion, pray sir?
SCAN. Why, is the devil in you? Did not I tell it you for a
TATT. Gadso; but I thought she might have been trusted with her own
SCAN. Is that your discretion? Trust a woman with herself?
TATT. You say true, I beg your pardon. I'll bring all off. It was
impossible, madam, for me to imagine that a person of your
ladyship's wit and gallantry could have so long received the
passionate addresses of the accomplished Valentine, and yet remain
insensible; therefore you will pardon me, if, from a just weight of
his merit, with your ladyship's good judgment, I formed the balance
of a reciprocal affection.
VAL. O the devil, what damned costive poet has given thee this
lesson of fustian to get by rote?
ANG. I dare swear you wrong him, it is his own. And Mr Tattle only
judges of the success of others, from the effects of his own merit.
For certainly Mr Tattle was never denied anything in his life.
TATT. O Lord! Yes, indeed, madam, several times.
ANG. I swear I don't think 'tis possible.
TATT. Yes, I vow and swear I have; Lord, madam, I'm the most
unfortunate man in the world, and the most cruelly used by the
ANG. Nay, now you're ungrateful.
TATT. No, I hope not, 'tis as much ingratitude to own some favours
as to conceal others.
VAL. There, now it's out.
ANG. I don't understand you now. I thought you had never asked
anything but what a lady might modestly grant, and you confess.
SCAN. So faith, your business is done here; now you may go brag
TATT. Brag! O heavens! Why, did I name anybody?
ANG. No; I suppose that is not in your power; but you would if you
could, no doubt on't.
TATT. Not in my power, madam! What, does your ladyship mean that I
have no woman's reputation in my power?
SCAN. 'Oons, why, you won't own it, will you? [Aside.]
TATT. Faith, madam, you're in the right; no more I have, as I hope
to be saved; I never had it in my power to say anything to a lady's
prejudice in my life. For as I was telling you, madam, I have been
the most unsuccessful creature living, in things of that nature; and
never had the good fortune to be trusted once with a lady's secret,
VAL. Not once, I dare answer for him.
SCAN. And I'll answer for him; for I'm sure if he had, he would
have told me; I find, madam, you don't know Mr Tattle.
TATT. No indeed, madam, you don't know me at all, I find. For sure
my intimate friends would have known -
ANG. Then it seems you would have told, if you had been trusted.
TATT. O pox, Scandal, that was too far put. Never have told
particulars, madam. Perhaps I might have talked as of a third
person; or have introduced an amour of my own, in conversation, by
way of novel; but never have explained particulars.
ANG. But whence comes the reputation of Mr Tattle's secrecy, if he
was never trusted?
SCAN. Why, thence it arises--the thing is proverbially spoken; but
may be applied to him--as if we should say in general terms, he only
is secret who never was trusted; a satirical proverb upon our sex.
There's another upon yours--as she is chaste, who was never asked
the question. That's all.
VAL. A couple of very civil proverbs, truly. 'Tis hard to tell
whether the lady or Mr Tattle be the more obliged to you. For you
found her virtue upon the backwardness of the men; and his secrecy
upon the mistrust of the women.
TATT. Gad, it's very true, madam, I think we are obliged to acquit
ourselves. And for my part--but your ladyship is to speak first.
ANG. Am I? Well, I freely confess I have resisted a great deal of
TATT. And i'Gad, I have given some temptation that has not been
ANG. I cite Valentine here, to declare to the court, how fruitless
he has found his endeavours, and to confess all his solicitations
and my denials.
VAL. I am ready to plead not guilty for you; and guilty for myself.
SCAN. So, why this is fair, here's demonstration with a witness.
TATT. Well, my witnesses are not present. But I confess I have had
favours from persons. But as the favours are numberless, so the
persons are nameless.
SCAN. Pooh, this proves nothing.
TATT. No? I can show letters, lockets, pictures, and rings; and if
there be occasion for witnesses, I can summon the maids at the
chocolate-houses, all the porters at Pall Mall and Covent Garden,
the door-keepers at the Playhouse, the drawers at Locket's,
Pontack's, the Rummer, Spring Garden, my own landlady and valet de
chambre; all who shall make oath that I receive more letters than
the Secretary's office, and that I have more vizor-masks to enquire
for me, than ever went to see the Hermaphrodite, or the Naked
Prince. And it is notorious that in a country church once, an
enquiry being made who I was, it was answered, I was the famous
Tattle, who had ruined so many women.
VAL. It was there, I suppose, you got the nickname of the Great
TATT. True; I was called Turk-Tattle all over the parish. The next
Sunday all the old women kept their daughters at home, and the
parson had not half his congregation. He would have brought me into
the spiritual court, but I was revenged upon him, for he had a
handsome daughter whom I initiated into the science. But I repented
it afterwards, for it was talked of in town. And a lady of quality
that shall be nameless, in a raging fit of jealousy, came down in
her coach and six horses, and exposed herself upon my account; Gad,
I was sorry for it with all my heart. You know whom I mean--you
know where we raffled -
SCAN. Mum, Tattle.
VAL. 'Sdeath, are not you ashamed?
ANG. O barbarous! I never heard so insolent a piece of vanity.
Fie, Mr Tattle; I'll swear I could not have believed it. Is this
TATT. Gadso, the heat of my story carried me beyond my discretion,
as the heat of the lady's passion hurried her beyond her reputation.
But I hope you don't know whom I mean; for there was a great many
ladies raffled. Pox on't, now could I bite off my tongue.
SCAN. No, don't; for then you'll tell us no more. Come, I'll
recommend a song to you upon the hint of my two proverbs, and I see
one in the next room that will sing it. [Goes to the door.]
TATT. For heaven's sake, if you do guess, say nothing; Gad, I'm
SCAN. Pray sing the first song in the last new play.
Set by Mr John Eccles.
A nymph and a swain to Apollo once prayed,
The swain had been jilted, the nymph been betrayed:
Their intent was to try if his oracle knew
E'er a nymph that was chaste, or a swain that was true.
Apollo was mute, and had like t'have been posed,
But sagely at length he this secret disclosed:
He alone won't betray in whom none will confide,
And the nymph may be chaste that has never been tried.
[To them] SIR SAMPSON, MRS FRAIL, MISS PRUE, and SERVANT.
SIR SAMP. Is Ben come? Odso, my son Ben come? Odd, I'm glad on't.
Where is he? I long to see him. Now, Mrs Frail, you shall see my
son Ben. Body o' me, he's the hopes of my family. I han't seen him
these three years--I warrant he's grown. Call him in, bid him make
haste. I'm ready to cry for joy.
MRS FRAIL. Now Miss, you shall see your husband.
MISS. Pish, he shall be none of my husband. [Aside to Frail.]
MRS FRAIL. Hush. Well he shan't; leave that to me. I'll beckon Mr
Tattle to us.
ANG. Won't you stay and see your brother?
VAL. We are the twin stars, and cannot shine in one sphere; when he
rises I must set. Besides, if I should stay, I don't know but my
father in good nature may press me to the immediate signing the deed
of conveyance of my estate; and I'll defer it as long as I can.
Well, you'll come to a resolution.
ANG. I can't. Resolution must come to me, or I shall never have
SCAN. Come, Valentine, I'll go with you; I've something in my head
to communicate to you.
ANGELICA, SIR SAMPSON, TATTLE, MRS FRAIL, MISS PRUE.
SIR SAMP. What, is my son Valentine gone? What, is he sneaked off,
and would not see his brother? There's an unnatural whelp! There's
an ill-natured dog! What, were you here too, madam, and could not
keep him? Could neither love, nor duty, nor natural affection
oblige him? Odsbud, madam, have no more to say to him, he is not
worth your consideration. The rogue has not a drachm of generous
love about him--all interest, all interest; he's an undone
scoundrel, and courts your estate: body o' me, he does not care a
doit for your person.
ANG. I'm pretty even with him, Sir Sampson; for if ever I could
have liked anything in him, it should have been his estate too; but
since that's gone, the bait's off, and the naked hook appears.
SIR SAMP. Odsbud, well spoken, and you are a wiser woman than I
thought you were, for most young women now-a-days are to be tempted
with a naked hook.
ANG. If I marry, Sir Sampson, I'm for a good estate with any man,
and for any man with a good estate; therefore, if I were obliged to
make a choice, I declare I'd rather have you than your son.
SIR SAMP. Faith and troth, you're a wise woman, and I'm glad to
hear you say so; I was afraid you were in love with the reprobate.
Odd, I was sorry for you with all my heart. Hang him, mongrel, cast
him off; you shall see the rogue show himself, and make love to some
desponding Cadua of fourscore for sustenance. Odd, I love to see a
young spendthrift forced to cling to an old woman for support, like
ivy round a dead oak; faith I do, I love to see 'em hug and cotton
together, like down upon a thistle.
[To them] BEN LEGEND and SERVANT.
BEN. Where's father?
SERV. There, sir, his back's toward you.
SIR SAMP. My son Ben! Bless thee, my dear body. Body o' me, thou
art heartily welcome.
BEN. Thank you, father, and I'm glad to see you.
SIR SAMP. Odsbud, and I'm glad to see thee; kiss me, boy, kiss me
again and again, dear Ben. [Kisses him.]
BEN. So, so, enough, father, Mess, I'd rather kiss these
SIR SAMP. And so thou shalt. Mrs Angelica, my son Ben.
BEN. Forsooth, if you please. [Salutes her.] Nay, mistress, I'm
not for dropping anchor here; about ship, i'faith. [Kisses Frail.]
Nay, and you too, my little cock-boat--so [Kisses Miss].
TATT. Sir, you're welcome ashore.
BEN. Thank you, thank you, friend.
SIR SAMP. Thou hast been many a weary league, Ben, since I saw
BEN. Ay, ay, been! Been far enough, an' that be all. Well,
father, and how do all at home? How does brother Dick, and brother
SIR SAMP. Dick--body o' me--Dick has been dead these two years. I
writ you word when you were at Leghorn.
BEN. Mess, that's true; marry! I had forgot. Dick's dead, as you
say. Well, and how? I have a many questions to ask you. Well, you
ben't married again, father, be you?
SIR SAMP. No; I intend you shall marry, Ben; I would not marry for
BEN. Nay, what does that signify? An' you marry again--why then,
I'll go to sea again, so there's one for t'other, an' that be all.
Pray don't let me be your hindrance--e'en marry a God's name, an the
wind sit that way. As for my part, mayhap I have no mind to marry.
FRAIL. That would be pity--such a handsome young gentleman.
BEN. Handsome! he, he, he! nay, forsooth, an you be for joking,
I'll joke with you, for I love my jest, an' the ship were sinking,
as we sayn at sea. But I'll tell you why I don't much stand towards
matrimony. I love to roam about from port to port, and from land to
land; I could never abide to be port-bound, as we call it. Now, a
man that is married has, as it were, d'ye see, his feet in the
bilboes, and mayhap mayn't get them out again when he would.
SIR SAMP. Ben's a wag.
BEN. A man that is married, d'ye see, is no more like another man
than a galley-slave is like one of us free sailors; he is chained to
an oar all his life, and mayhap forced to tug a leaky vessel into
SIR SAMP. A very wag--Ben's a very wag; only a little rough, he
wants a little polishing.
MRS FRAIL. Not at all; I like his humour mightily: it's plain and
honest--I should like such a humour in a husband extremely.
BEN. Say'n you so, forsooth? Marry, and I should like such a
handsome gentlewoman for a bed-fellow hugely. How say you,
mistress, would you like going to sea? Mess, you're a tight vessel,
an well rigged, an you were but as well manned.
MRS FRAIL. I should not doubt that if you were master of me.
BEN. But I'll tell you one thing, an you come to sea in a high
wind, or that lady--you may'nt carry so much sail o' your head--top
and top gallant, by the mess.
MRS FRAIL. No, why so?
BEN. Why, an you do, you may run the risk to be overset, and then
you'll carry your keels above water, he, he, he!
ANG. I swear, Mr Benjamin is the veriest wag in nature--an absolute
SIR SAMP. Nay, Ben has parts, but as I told you before, they want a
little polishing. You must not take anything ill, madam.
BEN. No, I hope the gentlewoman is not angry; I mean all in good
part, for if I give a jest, I'll take a jest, and so forsooth you
may be as free with me.
ANG. I thank you, sir, I am not at all offended. But methinks, Sir
Sampson, you should leave him alone with his mistress. Mr Tattle,
we must not hinder lovers.
TATT. Well, Miss, I have your promise. [Aside to Miss.]
SIR SAMP. Body o' me, madam, you say true. Look you, Ben, this is
your mistress. Come, Miss, you must not be shame-faced; we'll leave
MISS. I can't abide to be left alone; mayn't my cousin stay with
SIR SAMP. No, no. Come, let's away.
BEN. Look you, father, mayhap the young woman mayn't take a liking
SIR SAMP. I warrant thee, boy: come, come, we'll be gone; I'll
BEN, and MISS PRUE.
BEN. Come mistress, will you please to sit down? for an you stand a
stern a that'n, we shall never grapple together. Come, I'll haul a
chair; there, an you please to sit, I'll sit by you.
MISS. You need not sit so near one, if you have anything to say, I
can hear you farther off, I an't deaf.
BEN. Why that's true, as you say, nor I an't dumb, I can be heard
as far as another,--I'll heave off, to please you. [Sits farther
off.] An we were a league asunder, I'd undertake to hold discourse
with you, an 'twere not a main high wind indeed, and full in my
teeth. Look you, forsooth, I am, as it were, bound for the land of
matrimony; 'tis a voyage, d'ye see, that was none of my seeking. I
was commanded by father, and if you like of it, mayhap I may steer
into your harbour. How say you, mistress? The short of the thing
is, that if you like me, and I like you, we may chance to swing in a
MISS. I don't know what to say to you, nor I don't care to speak
with you at all.
BEN. No? I'm sorry for that. But pray why are you so scornful?
MISS. As long as one must not speak one's mind, one had better not
speak at all, I think, and truly I won't tell a lie for the matter.
BEN. Nay, you say true in that, it's but a folly to lie: for to
speak one thing, and to think just the contrary way is, as it were,
to look one way, and to row another. Now, for my part, d'ye see,
I'm for carrying things above board, I'm not for keeping anything
under hatches,--so that if you ben't as willing as I, say so a God's
name: there's no harm done; mayhap you may be shame-faced; some
maidens thof they love a man well enough, yet they don't care to
tell'n so to's face. If that's the case, why, silence gives
MISS. But I'm sure it is not so, for I'll speak sooner than you
should believe that; and I'll speak truth, though one should always
tell a lie to a man; and I don't care, let my father do what he
will; I'm too big to be whipt, so I'll tell you plainly, I don't
like you, nor love you at all, nor never will, that's more: so
there's your answer for you; and don't trouble me no more, you ugly
BEN. Look you, young woman, you may learn to give good words,
however. I spoke you fair, d'ye see, and civil. As for your love
or your liking, I don't value it of a rope's end; and mayhap I like
you as little as you do me: what I said was in obedience to father.
Gad, I fear a whipping no more than you do. But I tell you one
thing, if you should give such language at sea, you'd have a cat o'
nine tails laid cross your shoulders. Flesh! who are you? You
heard t'other handsome young woman speak civilly to me of her own
accord. Whatever you think of yourself, gad, I don't think you are
any more to compare to her than a can of small-beer to a bowl of
MISS. Well, and there's a handsome gentleman, and a fine gentleman,
and a sweet gentleman, that was here that loves me, and I love him;
and if he sees you speak to me any more, he'll thrash your jacket
for you, he will, you great sea-calf.
BEN. What, do you mean that fair-weather spark that was here just
now? Will he thrash my jacket? Let'n,--let'n. But an he comes
near me, mayhap I may giv'n a salt eel for's supper, for all that.
What does father mean to leave me alone as soon as I come home with
such a dirty dowdy? Sea-calf? I an't calf enough to lick your
chalked face, you cheese-curd you: --marry thee? Oons, I'll marry a
Lapland witch as soon, and live upon selling contrary winds and
MISS. I won't be called names, nor I won't be abused thus, so I
won't. If I were a man [cries]--you durst not talk at his rate.
No, you durst not, you stinking tar-barrel.
[To them] MRS FORESIGHT and MRS FRAIL.
MRS FORE. They have quarrelled, just as we could wish.
BEN. Tar-barrel? Let your sweetheart there call me so, if he'll
take your part, your Tom Essence, and I'll say something to him;
gad, I'll lace his musk-doublet for him, I'll make him stink: he
shall smell more like a weasel than a civet-cat, afore I ha' done
MRS FORE. Bless me, what's the matter, Miss? What, does she cry?
Mr Benjamin, what have you done to her?
BEN. Let her cry: the more she cries the less she'll--she has been
gathering foul weather in her mouth, and now it rains out at her
MRS FORE. Come, Miss, come along with me, and tell me, poor child.
MRS FRAIL. Lord, what shall we do? There's my brother Foresight
and Sir Sampson coming. Sister, do you take Miss down into the
parlour, and I'll carry Mr Benjamin into my chamber, for they must
not know that they are fallen out. Come, sir, will you venture
yourself with me? [Looking kindly on him.]
BEN. Venture, mess, and that I will, though 'twere to sea in a
SIR SAMPSON and FORESIGHT.
SIR SAMP. I left 'em together here; what, are they gone? Ben's a
brisk boy: he has got her into a corner; father's own son, faith,
he'll touzle her, and mouzle her. The rogue's sharp set, coming
from sea; if he should not stay for saving grace, old Foresight, but
fall to without the help of a parson, ha? Odd, if he should I could
not be angry with him; 'twould be but like me, a chip of the old
block. Ha! thou'rt melancholic, old Prognostication; as melancholic
as if thou hadst spilt the salt, or pared thy nails on a Sunday.
Come, cheer up, look about thee: look up, old stargazer. Now is he
poring upon the ground for a crooked pin, or an old horse-nail, with
the head towards him.
FORE. Sir Sampson, we'll have the wedding to-morrow morning.
SIR SAMP. With all my heart.
FORE. At ten a'clock, punctually at ten.
SIR SAMP. To a minute, to a second; thou shalt set thy watch, and
the bridegroom shall observe its motions; they shall be married to a
minute, go to bed to a minute; and when the alarm strikes, they
shall keep time like the figures of St. Dunstan's clock, and
consummatum est shall ring all over the parish.
[To them] SCANDAL.
SCAN. Sir Sampson, sad news.
FORE. Bless us!
SIR SAMP. Why, what's the matter?
SCAN. Can't you guess at what ought to afflict you and him, and all
of us, more than anything else?
SIR SAMP. Body o' me, I don't know any universal grievance, but a
new tax, or the loss of the Canary fleet. Unless popery should be
landed in the West, or the French fleet were at anchor at Blackwall.
SCAN. No. Undoubtedly, Mr Foresight knew all this, and might have
FORE. 'Tis no earthquake!
SCAN. No, not yet; nor whirlwind. But we don't know what it may
come to. But it has had a consequence already that touches us all.
SIR SAMP. Why, body o' me, out with't.
SCAN. Something has appeared to your son Valentine. He's gone to
bed upon't, and very ill. He speaks little, yet he says he has a
world to say. Asks for his father and the wise Foresight; talks of
Raymond Lully, and the ghost of Lilly. He has secrets to impart, I
suppose, to you two. I can get nothing out of him but sighs. He
desires he may see you in the morning, but would not be disturbed
to-night, because he has some business to do in a dream.
SIR SAMP. Hoity toity, what have I to do with his dreams or his
divination? Body o' me, this is a trick to defer signing the
conveyance. I warrant the devil will tell him in a dream that he
must not part with his estate. But I'll bring him a parson to tell
him that the devil's a liar: --or if that won't do, I'll bring a
lawyer that shall out-lie the devil. And so I'll try whether my
blackguard or his shall get the better of the day.
SCAN. Alas, Mr Foresight, I'm afraid all is not right. You are a
wise man, and a conscientious man, a searcher into obscurity and
futurity, and if you commit an error, it is with a great deal of
consideration, and discretion, and caution -
FORE. Ah, good Mr Scandal -
SCAN. Nay, nay, 'tis manifest; I do not flatter you. But Sir
Sampson is hasty, very hasty. I'm afraid he is not scrupulous
enough, Mr Foresight. He has been wicked, and heav'n grant he may
mean well in his affair with you. But my mind gives me, these
things cannot be wholly insignificant. You are wise, and should not
be over-reached, methinks you should not -
FORE. Alas, Mr Scandal,--humanum est errare.
SCAN. You say true, man will err; mere man will err--but you are
something more. There have been wise men; but they were such as
you, men who consulted the stars, and were observers of omens.
Solomon was wise, but how?--by his judgment in astrology. So says
Pineda in his third book and eighth chapter -
FORE. You are learned, Mr Scandal.
SCAN. A trifler--but a lover of art. And the Wise Men of the East
owed their instruction to a star, which is rightly observed by
Gregory the Great in favour of astrology. And Albertus Magnus makes
it the most valuable science, because, says he, it teaches us to
consider the causation of causes, in the causes of things.
FORE. I protest I honour you, Mr Scandal. I did not think you had
been read in these matters. Few young men are inclined -
SCAN. I thank my stars that have inclined me. But I fear this
marriage and making over this estate, this transferring of a
rightful inheritance, will bring judgments upon us. I prophesy it,
and I would not have the fate of Cassandra not to be believed.
Valentine is disturbed; what can be the cause of that? And Sir
Sampson is hurried on by an unusual violence. I fear he does not
act wholly from himself; methinks he does not look as he used to do.
FORE. He was always of an impetuous nature. But as to this
marriage, I have consulted the stars, and all appearances are
SCAN. Come, come, Mr Foresight, let not the prospect of worldly
lucre carry you beyond your judgment, nor against your conscience.
You are not satisfied that you act justly.
SCAN. You are not satisfied, I say. I am loth to discourage you,
but it is palpable that you are not satisfied.
FORE. How does it appear, Mr Scandal? I think I am very well
SCAN. Either you suffer yourself to deceive yourself, or you do not
FORE. Pray explain yourself.
SCAN. Do you sleep well o' nights?
FORE. Very well.
SCAN. Are you certain? You do not look so.
FORE. I am in health, I think.
SCAN. So was Valentine this morning; and looked just so.
FORE. How? Am I altered any way? I don't perceive it.
SCAN. That may be, but your beard is longer than it was two hours
FORE. Indeed! Bless me!
[To them] MRS FORESIGHT.
MRS FORE. Husband, will you go to bed? It's ten a'clock. Mr
Scandal, your servant.
SCAN. Pox on her, she has interrupted my design--but I must work
her into the project. You keep early hours, madam.
MRS FORE. Mr Foresight is punctual; we sit up after him.
FORE. My dear, pray lend me your glass, your little looking-glass.
SCAN. Pray lend it him, madam. I'll tell you the reason.
[She gives him the glass: SCANDAL and she whisper.] My passion for
you is grown so violent, that I am no longer master of myself. I
was interrupted in the morning, when you had charity enough to give
me your attention, and I had hopes of finding another opportunity of
explaining myself to you, but was disappointed all this day; and the
uneasiness that has attended me ever since brings me now hither at
this unseasonable hour.
MRS FORE. Was there ever such impudence, to make love to me before
my husband's face? I'll swear I'll tell him.
SCAN. Do. I'll die a martyr rather than disclaim my passion. But
come a little farther this way, and I'll tell you what project I had
to get him out of the way; that I might have an opportunity of
waiting upon you. [Whisper. FORESIGHT looking in the glass.]
FORE. I do not see any revolution here; methinks I look with a
serene and benign aspect--pale, a little pale--but the roses of
these cheeks have been gathered many years;--ha! I do not like that
sudden flushing. Gone already! hem, hem, hem! faintish. My heart
is pretty good; yet it beats; and my pulses, ha!--I have none--mercy
on me--hum. Yes, here they are--gallop, gallop, gallop, gallop,
gallop, gallop, hey! Whither will they hurry me? Now they're gone
again. And now I'm faint again, and pale again, and hem! and my
hem! breath, hem! grows short; hem! hem! he, he, hem!
SCAN. It takes: pursue it in the name of love and pleasure.
MRS FORE. How do you do, Mr Foresight!
FORE. Hum, not so well as I thought I was. Lend me your hand.
SCAN. Look you there now. Your lady says your sleep has been
unquiet of late.
FORE. Very likely.
MRS FORE. Oh, mighty restless, but I was afraid to tell him so. He
has been subject to talking and starting.
SCAN. And did not use to be so?
MRS FORE. Never, never, till within these three nights; I cannot
say that he has once broken my rest since we have been married.
FORE. I will go to bed.
SCAN. Do so, Mr Foresight, and say your prayers. He looks better
than he did.
MRS FORE. Nurse, nurse!
FORE. Do you think so, Mr Scandal?
SCAN. Yes, yes. I hope this will be gone by morning, taking it in
FORE. I hope so.
[To them] NURSE.
MRS FORE. Nurse; your master is not well; put him to bed.
SCAN. I hope you will be able to see Valentine in the morning. You
had best take a little diacodion and cowslip-water, and lie upon
your back: maybe you may dream.
FORE. I thank you, Mr Scandal, I will. Nurse, let me have a watch-
light, and lay the Crumbs of Comfort by me.
NURSE. Yes, sir.
FORE. And--hem, hem! I am very faint.
SCAN. No, no, you look much better.
FORE. Do I? And, d'ye hear, bring me, let me see--within a quarter
of twelve, hem--he, hem!--just upon the turning of the tide, bring
me the urinal; and I hope, neither the lord of my ascendant, nor the
moon will be combust; and then I may do well.
SCAN. I hope so. Leave that to me; I will erect a scheme; and I
hope I shall find both Sol and Venus in the sixth house.
FORE. I thank you, Mr Scandal, indeed that would be a great comfort
to me. Hem, hem! good night.
SCANDAL, MRS FORESIGHT.
SCAN. Good night, good Mr Foresight; and I hope Mars and Venus will
be in conjunction;--while your wife and I are together.
MRS FORE. Well; and what use do you hope to make of this project?
You don't think that you are ever like to succeed in your design
SCAN. Yes, faith I do; I have a better opinion both of you and
myself than to despair.
MRS FORE. Did you ever hear such a toad? Hark'ee, devil: do you
think any woman honest?
SCAN. Yes, several, very honest; they'll cheat a little at cards,
sometimes, but that's nothing.
MRS FORE. Pshaw! but virtuous, I mean?
SCAN. Yes, faith, I believe some women are virtuous too; but 'tis
as I believe some men are valiant, through fear. For why should a
man court danger or a woman shun pleasure?
MRS FORE. Oh, monstrous! What are conscience and honour?
SCAN. Why, honour is a public enemy, and conscience a domestic
thief; and he that would secure his pleasure must pay a tribute to
one and go halves with t'other. As for honour, that you have
secured, for you have purchased a perpetual opportunity for
MRS FORE. An opportunity for pleasure?
SCAN. Ay, your husband, a husband is an opportunity for pleasure:
so you have taken care of honour, and 'tis the least I can do to
take care of conscience.
MRS FORE. And so you think we are free for one another?
SCAN. Yes, faith I think so; I love to speak my mind.
MRS FORE. Why, then, I'll speak my mind. Now as to this affair
between you and me. Here you make love to me; why, I'll confess it
does not displease me. Your person is well enough, and your
understanding is not amiss.
SCAN. I have no great opinion of myself, but I think I'm neither
deformed nor a fool.
MRS FORE. But you have a villainous character: you are a libertine
in speech, as well as practice.
SCAN. Come, I know what you would say: you think it more dangerous
to be seen in conversation with me than to allow some other men the
last favour; you mistake: the liberty I take in talking is purely
affected for the service of your sex. He that first cries out stop
thief is often he that has stol'n the treasure. I am a juggler,
that act by confederacy; and if you please, we'll put a trick upon
MRS FORE. Ay; but you are such an universal juggler, that I'm
afraid you have a great many confederates.
SCAN. Faith, I'm sound.
MRS FORE. Oh, fie--I'll swear you're impudent.
SCAN. I'll swear you're handsome.
MRS FORE. Pish, you'd tell me so, though you did not think so.
SCAN. And you'd think so, though I should not tell you so. And now
I think we know one another pretty well.
MRS FORE. O Lord, who's here?
[To them] MRS FRAIL and BEN.
BEN. Mess, I love to speak my mind. Father has nothing to do with
me. Nay, I can't say that neither; he has something to do with me.
But what does that signify? If so be that I ben't minded to be
steered by him; 'tis as thof he should strive against wind and tide.
MRS FRAIL. Ay, but, my dear, we must keep it secret till the estate
be settled; for you know, marrying without an estate is like sailing
in a ship without ballast.
BEN. He, he, he; why, that's true; just so for all the world it is
indeed, as like as two cable ropes.
MRS FRAIL. And though I have a good portion, you know one would not
venture all in one bottom.
BEN. Why, that's true again; for mayhap one bottom may spring a
leak. You have hit it indeed: mess, you've nicked the channel.
MRS FRAIL. Well, but if you should forsake me after all, you'd
break my heart.
BEN. Break your heart? I'd rather the Mary-gold should break her
cable in a storm, as well as I love her. Flesh, you don't think I'm
false-hearted, like a landman. A sailor will be honest, thof mayhap
he has never a penny of money in his pocket. Mayhap I may not have
so fair a face as a citizen or a courtier; but, for all that, I've
as good blood in my veins, and a heart as sound as a biscuit.
MRS FRAIL. And will you love me always?
BEN. Nay, an I love once, I'll stick like pitch; I'll tell you
that. Come, I'll sing you a song of a sailor.
MRS FRAIL. Hold, there's my sister, I'll call her to hear it.
MRS FORE. Well; I won't go to bed to my husband to-night, because
I'll retire to my own chamber, and think of what you have said.
SCAN. Well; you'll give me leave to wait upon you to your chamber
door, and leave you my last instructions?
MRS FORE. Hold, here's my sister coming towards us.
MRS FRAIL. If it won't interrupt you I'll entertain you with a
BEN. The song was made upon one of our ship's-crew's wife. Our
boatswain made the song. Mayhap you may know her, sir. Before she
was married she was called buxom Joan of Deptford.
SCAN. I have heard of her.
Set by MR JOHN ECCLES.
A soldier and a sailor,
A tinker and a tailor,
Had once a doubtful strife, sir,
To make a maid a wife, sir,
Whose name was buxom Joan.
For now the time was ended,
When she no more intended
To lick her lips at men, sir,
And gnaw the sheets in vain, sir,
And lie o' nights alone.
The soldier swore like thunder,
He loved her more than plunder,
And shewed her many a scar, sir,
That he had brought from far, sir,
With fighting for her sake.
The tailor thought to please her
With offering her his measure.
The tinker, too, with mettle
Said he could mend her kettle,
And stop up ev'ry leak.
But while these three were prating,
The sailor slyly waiting,
Thought if it came about, sir,
That they should all fall out, sir,
He then might play his part.
And just e'en as he meant, sir,
To loggerheads they went, sir,
And then he let fly at her
A shot 'twixt wind and water,
That won this fair maid's heart.
BEN. If some of our crew that came to see me are not gone, you
shall see that we sailors can dance sometimes as well as other
folks. [Whistles.] I warrant that brings 'em, an they be within
hearing. [Enter seamen]. Oh, here they be--and fiddles along with
'em. Come, my lads, let's have a round, and I'll make one.
BEN. We're merry folks, we sailors: we han't much to care for.
Thus we live at sea; eat biscuit, and drink flip, put on a clean
shirt once a quarter; come home and lie with our landladies once a
year, get rid of a little money, and then put off with the next fair
wind. How d'ye like us?
MRS FRAIL. Oh, you are the happiest, merriest men alive.
MRS FORE. We're beholden to Mr Benjamin for this entertainment. I
believe it's late.
BEN. Why, forsooth, an you think so, you had best go to bed. For
my part, I mean to toss a can, and remember my sweet-heart, afore I
turn in; mayhap I may dream of her.
MRS FORE. Mr Scandal, you had best go to bed and dream too.
SCAN. Why, faith, I have a good lively imagination, and can dream
as much to the purpose as another, if I set about it. But dreaming
is the poor retreat of a lazy, hopeless, and imperfect lover; 'tis
the last glimpse of love to worn-out sinners, and the faint dawning
of a bliss to wishing girls and growing boys.
There's nought but willing, waking love, that can
Make blest the ripened maid and finished man.
ACT IV.--SCENE I.
SCANDAL and JEREMY.
SCAN. Well, is your master ready? does he look madly and talk
JERE. Yes, sir; you need make no great doubt of that. He that was
so near turning poet yesterday morning can't be much to seek in
playing the madman to-day.
SCAN. Would he have Angelica acquainted with the reason of his
JERE. No, sir, not yet. He has a mind to try whether his playing
the madman won't make her play the fool, and fall in love with him;
or at least own that she has loved him all this while and concealed
SCAN. I saw her take coach just now with her maid, and think I
heard her bid the coachman drive hither.
JERE. Like enough, sir, for I told her maid this morning, my master
was run stark mad only for love of her mistress.--I hear a coach
stop; if it should be she, sir, I believe he would not see her, till
he hears how she takes it.
SCAN. Well, I'll try her: --'tis she--here she comes.
[To them] ANGELICA with JENNY.
ANG. Mr Scandal, I suppose you don't think it a novelty to see a
woman visit a man at his own lodgings in a morning?
SCAN. Not upon a kind occasion, madam. But when a lady comes
tyrannically to insult a ruined lover, and make manifest the cruel
triumphs of her beauty, the barbarity of it something surprises me.
ANG. I don't like raillery from a serious face. Pray tell me what
is the matter?
JERE. No strange matter, madam; my master's mad, that's all. I
suppose your ladyship has thought him so a great while.
ANG. How d'ye mean, mad?
JERE. Why, faith, madam, he's mad for want of his wits, just as he
was poor for want of money; his head is e'en as light as his
pockets, and anybody that has a mind to a bad bargain can't do
better than to beg him for his estate.
ANG. If you speak truth, your endeavouring at wit is very
SCAN. She's concerned, and loves him. [Aside.]
ANG. Mr Scandal, you can't think me guilty of so much inhumanity as
not to be concerned for a man I must own myself obliged to? Pray
tell me truth.
SCAN. Faith, madam, I wish telling a lie would mend the matter.
But this is no new effect of an unsuccessful passion.
ANG. [Aside.] I know not what to think. Yet I should be vexed to
have a trick put upon me. May I not see him?
SCAN. I'm afraid the physician is not willing you should see him
yet. Jeremy, go in and enquire.
SCANDAL, ANGELICA, JENNY.
ANG. Ha! I saw him wink and smile. I fancy 'tis a trick--I'll
try.--I would disguise to all the world a failing which I must own
to you: I fear my happiness depends upon the recovery of Valentine.
Therefore I conjure you, as you are his friend, and as you have
compassion upon one fearful of affliction, to tell me what I am to
hope for--I cannot speak--but you may tell me, tell me, for you know
what I would ask?
SCAN. So, this is pretty plain. Be not too much concerned, madam;
I hope his condition is not desperate. An acknowledgment of love
from you, perhaps, may work a cure, as the fear of your aversion
occasioned his distemper.
ANG. [Aside.] Say you so; nay, then, I'm convinced. And if I
don't play trick for trick, may I never taste the pleasure of
revenge.--Acknowledgment of love! I find you have mistaken my
compassion, and think me guilty of a weakness I am a stranger to.
But I have too much sincerity to deceive you, and too much charity
to suffer him to be deluded with vain hopes. Good nature and
humanity oblige me to be concerned for him; but to love is neither
in my power nor inclination, and if he can't be cured without I suck
the poison from his wounds, I'm afraid he won't recover his senses
till I lose mine.
SCAN. Hey, brave woman, i'faith--won't you see him, then, if he
ANG. What signify a madman's desires? Besides, 'twould make me
uneasy: --if I don't see him, perhaps my concern for him may lessen.
If I forget him, 'tis no more than he has done by himself; and now
the surprise is over, methinks I am not half so sorry as I was.
SCAN. So, faith, good nature works apace; you were confessing just
now an obligation to his love.
ANG. But I have considered that passions are unreasonable and
involuntary; if he loves, he can't help it; and if I don't love, I
can't help it; no more than he can help his being a man, or I my
being a woman: or no more than I can help my want of inclination to
stay longer here. Come, Jenny.
SCAN. Humh! An admirable composition, faith, this same womankind.
JERE. What, is she gone, sir?
SCAN. Gone? Why, she was never here, nor anywhere else; nor I
don't know her if I see her, nor you neither.
JERE. Good lack! What's the matter now? Are any more of us to be
mad? Why, sir, my master longs to see her, and is almost mad in
good earnest with the joyful news of her being here.
SCAN. We are all under a mistake. Ask no questions, for I can't
resolve you; but I'll inform your master. In the meantime, if our
project succeed no better with his father than it does with his
mistress, he may descend from his exaltation of madness into the
road of common sense, and be content only to be made a fool with
other reasonable people. I hear Sir Sampson. You know your cue;
I'll to your master.
JEREMY, SIR SAMPSON LEGEND, with a LAWYER.
SIR SAMP. D'ye see, Mr Buckram, here's the paper signed with his
BUCK. Good, sir. And the conveyance is ready drawn in this box, if
he be ready to sign and seal.
SIR SAMP. Ready, body o' me? He must be ready. His sham-sickness
shan't excuse him. Oh, here's his scoundrel. Sirrah, where's your
JERE. Ah sir, he's quite gone.
SIR SAMP. Gone! What, he is not dead?
JERE. No, sir, not dead.
SIR SAMP. What, is he gone out of town, run away, ha? has he
tricked me? Speak, varlet.
JERE. No, no, sir, he's safe enough, sir, an he were but as sound,
poor gentleman. He is indeed here, sir, and not here, sir.
SIR SAMP. Hey day, rascal, do you banter me? Sirrah, d'ye banter
me? Speak, sirrah, where is he? for I will find him.
JERE. Would you could, sir, for he has lost himself. Indeed, sir,
I have a'most broke my heart about him--I can't refrain tears when I
think of him, sir: I'm as melancholy for him as a passing-bell,
sir, or a horse in a pound.
SIR SAMP. A pox confound your similitudes, sir. Speak to be
understood, and tell me in plain terms what the matter is with him,
or I'll crack your fool's skull.
JERE. Ah, you've hit it, sir; that's the matter with him, sir: his
skull's cracked, poor gentleman; he's stark mad, sir.
SIR SAMP. Mad!
BUCK. What, is he non compos?
JERE. Quite non compos, sir.
BUCK. Why, then, all's obliterated, Sir Sampson, if he be non
compos mentis; his act and deed will be of no effect, it is not good
SIR SAMP. Oons, I won't believe it; let me see him, sir. Mad--I'll
make him find his senses.
JERE. Mr Scandal is with him, sir; I'll knock at the door.
[Goes to the scene, which opens.]
SIR SAMPSON, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, JEREMY, and LAWYER. VALENTINE upon
a couch disorderly dressed.
SIR SAMP. How now, what's here to do?
VAL. Ha! Who's that? [Starting.]
SCAN. For heav'n's sake softly, sir, and gently; don't provoke him.
VAL. Answer me: who is that, and that?
SIR SAMP. Gads bobs, does he not know me? Is he mischievous? I'll
speak gently. Val, Val, dost thou not know me, boy? Not know thy
own father, Val? I am thy own father, and this is honest Brief
Buckram, the lawyer.
VAL. It may be so--I did not know you--the world is full. There
are people that we do know, and people that we do not know, and yet
the sun shines upon all alike. There are fathers that have many
children, and there are children that have many fathers. 'Tis
strange! But I am Truth, and come to give the world the lie.
SIR SAMP. Body o' me, I know not what to say to him.
VAL. Why does that lawyer wear black? Does he carry his conscience
withoutside? Lawyer what art thou? Dost thou know me?
BUCK. O Lord, what must I say? Yes, sir,
VAL. Thou liest, for I am Truth. 'Tis hard I cannot get a
livelihood amongst you. I have been sworn out of Westminster Hall
the first day of every term--let me see--no matter how long. But
I'll tell you one thing: it's a question that would puzzle an
arithmetician, if you should ask him, whether the Bible saves more
souls in Westminster Abbey, or damns more in Westminster Hall. For
my part, I am Truth, and can't tell; I have very few acquaintance.
SIR SAMP. Body o' me, he talks sensibly in his madness. Has he no
JERE. Very short, sir.
BUCK. Sir, I can do you no service while he's in this condition.
Here's your paper, sir--he may do me a mischief if I stay. The
conveyance is ready, sir, if he recover his senses.
SIR SAMPSON, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, JEREMY.
SIR SAMP. Hold, hold, don't you go yet.
SCAN. You'd better let him go, sir, and send for him if there be
occasion; for I fancy his presence provokes him more.
VAL. Is the lawyer gone? 'Tis well, then we may drink about
without going together by the ears--heigh ho! What a'clock is't?
My father here! Your blessing, sir.
SIR SAMP. He recovers--bless thee, Val; how dost thou do, boy?
VAL. Thank you, sir, pretty well. I have been a little out of
order, Won't you please to sit, sir?
SIR SAMP. Ay, boy. Come, thou shalt sit down by me.
VAL. Sir, 'tis my duty to wait.
SIR SAMP. No, no; come, come, sit thee down, honest Val. How dost
thou do? Let me feel thy pulse. Oh, pretty well now, Val. Body o'
me, I was sorry to see thee indisposed; but I'm glad thou art
better, honest Val.
VAL. I thank you, sir.
SCAN. Miracle! The monster grows loving. [Aside.]
SIR SAMP. Let me feel thy hand again, Val. It does not shake; I
believe thou canst write, Val. Ha, boy? thou canst write thy name,
Val. Jeremy, step and overtake Mr Buckram, bid him make haste back
with the conveyance; quick, quick. [In whisper to JEREMY.]
SIR SAMPSON, VALENTINE, SCANDAL.
SCAN. That ever I should suspect such a heathen of any remorse!
SIR SAMP. Dost thou know this paper, Val? I know thou'rt honest,
and wilt perform articles. [Shows him the paper, but holds it out
of his reach.]
VAL. Pray let me see it, sir. You hold it so far off that I can't
tell whether I know it or no.
SIR SAMP. See it, boy? Ay, ay; why, thou dost see it--'tis thy own
hand, Vally. Why, let me see, I can read it as plain as can be.
Look you here. [Reads.] THE CONDITION OF THIS OBLIGATION--Look
you, as plain as can be, so it begins--and then at the bottom--AS
WITNESS MY HAND, VALENTINE LEGEND, in great letters. Why, 'tis as
plain as the nose in one's face. What, are my eyes better than
thine? I believe I can read it farther off yet; let me see.
[Stretches his arm as far as he can.]
VAL. Will you please to let me hold it, sir?
SIR SAMP. Let thee hold it, sayest thou? Ay, with all my heart.
What matter is it who holds it? What need anybody hold it? I'll
put it up in my pocket, Val, and then nobody need hold it. [Puts
the paper in his pocket.] There, Val; it's safe enough, boy. But
thou shalt have it as soon as thou hast set thy hand to another
paper, little Val.
[To them] JEREMY with BUCKRAM.
VAL. What, is my bad genius here again! Oh no, 'tis the lawyer
with an itching palm; and he's come to be scratched. My nails are
not long enough. Let me have a pair of red-hot tongs quickly,
quickly, and you shall see me act St. Dunstan, and lead the devil by
BUCK. O Lord, let me begone: I'll not venture myself with a
SIR SAMPSON, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, JEREMY.
VAL. Ha, ha, ha; you need not run so fast, honesty will not
overtake you. Ha, ha, ha, the rogue found me out to be in forma
SIR SAMP. Oons! What a vexation is here! I know not what to do,
or say, nor which way to go.
VAL. Who's that that's out of his way? I am Truth, and can set him
right. Harkee, friend, the straight road is the worst way you can
go. He that follows his nose always, will very often be led into a
stink. Probatum est. But what are you for? religion or politics?
There's a couple of topics for you, no more like one another than
oil and vinegar; and yet those two, beaten together by a state-cook,
make sauce for the whole nation.
SIR SAMP. What the devil had I to do, ever to beget sons? Why did
I ever marry?
VAL. Because thou wert a monster, old boy! The two greatest
monsters in the world are a man and a woman! What's thy opinion?
SIR SAMP. Why, my opinion is, that those two monsters joined
together, make yet a greater, that's a man and his wife.
VAL. Aha! Old True-penny, say'st thou so? Thou hast nicked it.
But it's wonderful strange, Jeremy.
JERE. What is, sir?
VAL. That gray hairs should cover a green head--and I make a fool
of my father. What's here! Erra Pater: or a bearded sibyl? If
Prophecy comes, Truth must give place.
SIR SAMPSON, SCANDAL, FORESIGHT, MISS FORESIGHT, MRS FRAIL.
FORE. What says he? What, did he prophesy? Ha, Sir Sampson, bless
us! How are we?
SIR SAMP. Are we? A pox o' your prognostication. Why, we are
fools as we use to be. Oons, that you could not foresee that the
moon would predominate, and my son be mad. Where's your
oppositions, your trines, and your quadrates? What did your Cardan
and your Ptolemy tell you? Your Messahalah and your Longomontanus,
your harmony of chiromancy with astrology. Ah! pox on't, that I
that know the world and men and manners, that don't believe a
syllable in the sky and stars, and sun and almanacs and trash,
should be directed by a dreamer, an omen-hunter, and defer business
in expectation of a lucky hour, when, body o' me, there never was a
lucky hour after the first opportunity.
SCANDAL, FORESIGHT, MRS FORESIGHT, MRS FRAIL.
FORE. Ah, Sir Sampson, heav'n help your head. This is none of your
lucky hour; Nemo omnibus horis sapit. What, is he gone, and in
contempt of science? Ill stars and unconvertible ignorance attend
SCAN. You must excuse his passion, Mr Foresight, for he has been
heartily vexed. His son is non compos mentis, and thereby incapable
of making any conveyance in law; so that all his measures are
FORE. Ha! say you so?
MRS FRAIL. What, has my sea-lover lost his anchor of hope, then?
[Aside to MRS FORESIGHT.]
MRS FORE. O sister, what will you do with him?
MRS FRAIL. Do with him? Send him to sea again in the next foul
weather. He's used to an inconstant element, and won't be surprised
to see the tide turned.
FORE. Wherein was I mistaken, not to foresee this? [Considers.]
SCAN. Madam, you and I can tell him something else that he did not
foresee, and more particularly relating to his own fortune. [Aside
to MRS FORESIGHT.]
MRS FORE. What do you mean? I don't understand you.
SCAN. Hush, softly,--the pleasures of last night, my dear, too
considerable to be forgot so soon.
MRS FORE. Last night! And what would your impudence infer from
last night? Last night was like the night before, I think.
SCAN. 'Sdeath, do you make no difference between me and your
MRS FORE. Not much,--he's superstitious, and you are mad, in my
SCAN. You make me mad. You are not serious. Pray recollect
MRS FORE. Oh yes, now I remember, you were very impertinent and
impudent,--and would have come to bed to me.
SCAN. And did not?
MRS FORE. Did not! With that face can you ask the question?
SCAN. This I have heard of before, but never believed. I have been
told, she had that admirable quality of forgetting to a man's face
in the morning that she had lain with him all night, and denying
that she had done favours with more impudence than she could grant
'em. Madam, I'm your humble servant, and honour you.--You look
pretty well, Mr Foresight: how did you rest last night?
FORE. Truly, Mr Scandal, I was so taken up with broken dreams and
distracted visions that I remember little.
SCAN. 'Twas a very forgetting night. But would you not talk with
Valentine? Perhaps you may understand him; I'm apt to believe there
is something mysterious in his discourses, and sometimes rather
think him inspired than mad.
FORE. You speak with singular good judgment, Mr Scandal, truly. I
am inclining to your Turkish opinion in this matter, and do
reverence a man whom the vulgar think mad. Let us go to him.
MRS FRAIL. Sister, do you stay with them; I'll find out my lover,
and give him his discharge, and come to you. O' my conscience, here
MRS FRAIL, BEN.
BEN. All mad, I think. Flesh, I believe all the calentures of the
sea are come ashore, for my part.
MRS FRAIL. Mr Benjamin in choler!
BEN. No, I'm pleased well enough, now I have found you. Mess, I
have had such a hurricane upon your account yonder.
MRS FRAIL. My account; pray what's the matter?
BEN. Why, father came and found me squabbling with yon chitty-faced
thing as he would have me marry, so he asked what was the matter.
He asked in a surly sort of a way--it seems brother Val is gone mad,
and so that put'n into a passion; but what did I know that? what's
that to me?--so he asked in a surly sort of manner, and gad I
answered 'n as surlily. What thof he be my father, I an't bound
prentice to 'n; so faith I told 'n in plain terms, if I were minded
to marry, I'd marry to please myself, not him. And for the young
woman that he provided for me, I thought it more fitting for her to
learn her sampler and make dirt-pies than to look after a husband;
for my part I was none of her man. I had another voyage to make,
let him take it as he will.
MRS FRAIL. So, then, you intend to go to sea again?
BEN. Nay, nay, my mind run upon you, but I would not tell him so
much. So he said he'd make my heart ache; and if so be that he
could get a woman to his mind, he'd marry himself. Gad, says I, an
you play the fool and marry at these years, there's more danger of
your head's aching than my heart. He was woundy angry when I gave'n
that wipe. He hadn't a word to say, and so I left'n, and the green
girl together; mayhap the bee may bite, and he'll marry her himself,
with all my heart.
MRS FRAIL. And were you this undutiful and graceless wretch to your
BEN. Then why was he graceless first? If I am undutiful and
graceless, why did he beget me so? I did not get myself.
MRS FRAIL. O impiety! How have I been mistaken! What an inhuman,
merciless creature have I set my heart upon? Oh, I am happy to have
discovered the shelves and quicksands that lurk beneath that
faithless, smiling face.
BEN. Hey toss! What's the matter now? Why, you ben't angry, be
MRS FRAIL. Oh, see me no more,--for thou wert born amongst rocks,
suckled by whales, cradled in a tempest, and whistled to by winds;
and thou art come forth with fins and scales, and three rows of
teeth, a most outrageous fish of prey.
BEN. O Lord, O Lord, she's mad, poor young woman: love has turned
her senses, her brain is quite overset. Well-a-day, how shall I do
to set her to rights?
MRS FRAIL. No, no, I am not mad, monster; I am wise enough to find
you out. Hadst thou the impudence to aspire at being a husband with
that stubborn and disobedient temper? You that know not how to
submit to a father, presume to have a sufficient stock of duty to
undergo a wife? I should have been finely fobbed indeed, very
BEN. Harkee, forsooth; if so be that you are in your right senses,
d'ye see, for ought as I perceive I'm like to be finely fobbed,--if
I have got anger here upon your account, and you are tacked about
already. What d'ye mean, after all your fair speeches, and stroking
my cheeks, and kissing and hugging, what would you sheer off so?
Would you, and leave me aground?
MRS FRAIL. No, I'll leave you adrift, and go which way you will.
BEN. What, are you false-hearted, then?
MRS FRAIL. Only the wind's changed.
BEN. More shame for you,--the wind's changed? It's an ill wind
blows nobody good,--mayhap I have a good riddance on you, if these
be your tricks. What, did you mean all this while to make a fool of
MRS FRAIL. Any fool but a husband.
BEN. Husband! Gad, I would not be your husband if you would have
me, now I know your mind: thof you had your weight in gold and
jewels, and thof I loved you never so well.
MRS FRAIL. Why, can'st thou love, Porpuss?
BEN. No matter what I can do; don't call names. I don't love you
so well as to bear that, whatever I did. I'm glad you show
yourself, mistress. Let them marry you as don't know you. Gad, I
know you too well, by sad experience; I believe he that marries you
will go to sea in a hen-pecked frigate--I believe that, young woman-
-and mayhap may come to an anchor at Cuckolds-Point; so there's a
dash for you, take it as you will: mayhap you may holla after me
when I won't come to.
MRS FRAIL. Ha, ha, ha, no doubt on't.--MY TRUE LOVE IS GONE TO SEA.
MRS FRAIL, MRS FORESIGHT.
MRS FRAIL. O sister, had you come a minute sooner, you would have
seen the resolution of a lover: --honest Tar and I are parted;--and
with the same indifference that we met. O' my life I am half vexed
at the insensibility of a brute that I despised.
MRS FORE. What then, he bore it most heroically?
MRS FRAIL. Most tyrannically; for you see he has got the start of
me, and I, the poor forsaken maid, am left complaining on the shore.
But I'll tell you a hint that he has given me: Sir Sampson is
enraged, and talks desperately of committing matrimony himself. If
he has a mind to throw himself away, he can't do it more effectually
than upon me, if we could bring it about.
MRS FORE. Oh, hang him, old fox, he's too cunning; besides, he
hates both you and me. But I have a project in my head for you, and
I have gone a good way towards it. I have almost made a bargain
with Jeremy, Valentine's man, to sell his master to us.
MRS FRAIL. Sell him? How?
MRS FORE. Valentine raves upon Angelica, and took me for her, and
Jeremy says will take anybody for her that he imposes on him. Now,
I have promised him mountains, if in one of his mad fits he will
bring you to him in her stead, and get you married together and put
to bed together; and after consummation, girl, there's no revoking.
And if he should recover his senses, he'll be glad at least to make
you a good settlement. Here they come: stand aside a little, and
tell me how you like the design.
MRS FORESIGHT, MRS FRAIL, VALENTINE, SCANDAL, FORESIGHT, and JEREMY.
SCAN. And have you given your master a hint of their plot upon him?
JERE. Yes, sir; he says he'll favour it, and mistake her for
SCAN. It may make us sport.
FORE. Mercy on us!
VAL. Husht--interrupt me not--I'll whisper prediction to thee, and
thou shalt prophesy. I am Truth, and can teach thy tongue a new
trick. I have told thee what's past,--now I'll tell what's to come.
Dost thou know what will happen to-morrow?--Answer me not--for I
will tell thee. To-morrow, knaves will thrive through craft, and
fools through fortune, and honesty will go as it did, frost-nipt in
a summer suit. Ask me questions concerning to-morrow.
SCAN. Ask him, Mr Foresight.
FORE. Pray what will be done at court?
VAL. Scandal will tell you. I am Truth; I never come there.
FORE. In the city?
VAL. Oh, prayers will be said in empty churches at the usual hours.
Yet you will see such zealous faces behind counters, as if religion
were to be sold in every shop. Oh, things will go methodically in
the city: the clocks will strike twelve at noon, and the horned
herd buzz in the exchange at two. Wives and husbands will drive
distinct trades, and care and pleasure separately occupy the family.
Coffee-houses will be full of smoke and stratagem. And the cropt
prentice, that sweeps his master's shop in the morning, may ten to
one dirty his sheets before night. But there are two things that
you will see very strange: which are wanton wives with their legs
at liberty, and tame cuckolds with chains about their necks. But
hold, I must examine you before I go further. You look
suspiciously. Are you a husband?
FORE. I am married.
VAL. Poor creature! Is your wife of Covent Garden parish?
FORE. No; St. Martin's-in-the-Fields.
VAL. Alas, poor man; his eyes are sunk, and his hands shrivelled;
his legs dwindled, and his back bowed: pray, pray, for a
metamorphosis. Change thy shape and shake off age; get thee Medea's
kettle and be boiled anew; come forth with lab'ring callous hands, a
chine of steel, and Atlas shoulders. Let Taliacotius trim the
calves of twenty chairmen, and make thee pedestals to stand erect
upon, and look matrimony in the face. Ha, ha, ha! That a man
should have a stomach to a wedding supper, when the pigeons ought
rather to be laid to his feet, ha, ha, ha!
FORE. His frenzy is very high now, Mr Scandal.
SCAN. I believe it is a spring tide.
FORE. Very likely, truly. You understand these matters. Mr
Scandal, I shall be very glad to confer with you about these things
which he has uttered. His sayings are very mysterious and
VAL. Oh, why would Angelica be absent from my eyes so long?
JERE. She's here, sir.
MRS FORE. Now, sister.
MRS FRAIL. O Lord, what must I say?
SCAN. Humour him, madam, by all means.
VAL. Where is she? Oh, I see her--she comes, like riches, health,
and liberty at once, to a despairing, starving, and abandoned
wretch. Oh, welcome, welcome.
MRS FRAIL. How d'ye, sir? Can I serve you?
VAL. Harkee; I have a secret to tell you: Endymion and the moon
shall meet us upon Mount Latmos, and we'll be married in the dead of
night. But say not a word. Hymen shall put his torch into a dark
lanthorn, that it may be secret; and Juno shall give her peacock
poppy-water, that he may fold his ogling tail, and Argus's hundred
eyes be shut, ha! Nobody shall know but Jeremy.
MRS FRAIL. No, no, we'll keep it secret, it shall be done
VAL. The sooner the better. Jeremy, come hither--closer--that none
may overhear us. Jeremy, I can tell you news: Angelica is turned
nun, and I am turning friar, and yet we'll marry one another in
spite of the pope. Get me a cowl and beads, that I may play my
part,--for she'll meet me two hours hence in black and white, and a
long veil to cover the project, and we won't see one another's
faces, till we have done something to be ashamed of; and then we'll
blush once for all.
[To them] TATTLE and ANGELICA.
JERE. I'll take care, and -
ANG. Nay, Mr Tattle, if you make love to me, you spoil my design,
for I intend to make you my confidant.
TATT. But, madam, to throw away your person--such a person!--and
such a fortune on a madman!
ANG. I never loved him till he was mad; but don't tell anybody so.
SCAN. How's this! Tattle making love to Angelica!
TATT. Tell, madam? Alas, you don't know me. I have much ado to
tell your ladyship how long I have been in love with you--but
encouraged by the impossibility of Valentine's making any more
addresses to you, I have ventured to declare the very inmost passion
of my heart. O madam, look upon us both. There you see the ruins
of a poor decayed creature--here, a complete and lively figure, with
youth and health, and all his five senses in perfection, madam, and
to all this, the most passionate lover -
ANG. O fie, for shame, hold your tongue. A passionate lover, and
five senses in perfection! When you are as mad as Valentine, I'll
believe you love me, and the maddest shall take me.
VAL. It is enough. Ha! Who's here?
FRAIL. O Lord, her coming will spoil all. [To JEREMY.]
JERE. No, no, madam, he won't know her; if he should, I can
VAL. Scandal, who are these? Foreigners? If they are, I'll tell
you what I think,--get away all the company but Angelica, that I may
discover my design to her. [Whisper.]
SCAN. I will--I have discovered something of Tattle that is of a
piece with Mrs Frail. He courts Angelica; if we could contrive to
couple 'em together.--Hark'ee--[Whisper.]
MRS FORE. He won't know you, cousin; he knows nobody.
FORE. But he knows more than anybody. O niece, he knows things
past and to come, and all the profound secrets of time.
TATT. Look you, Mr Foresight, it is not my way to make many words
of matters, and so I shan't say much,--but in short, d'ye see, I
will hold you a hundred pounds now, that I know more secrets than
FORE. How! I cannot read that knowledge in your face, Mr Tattle.
Pray, what do you know?
TATT. Why, d'ye think I'll tell you, sir? Read it in my face? No,
sir, 'tis written in my heart; and safer there, sir, than letters
writ in juice of lemon, for no fire can fetch it out. I am no blab,
VAL. Acquaint Jeremy with it, he may easily bring it about. They
are welcome, and I'll tell 'em so myself. [To SCANDAL.] What, do
you look strange upon me? Then I must be plain. [Coming up to
them.] I am Truth, and hate an old acquaintance with a new face.
[SCANDAL goes aside with JEREMY.]
TATT. Do you know me, Valentine?
VAL. You? Who are you? No, I hope not.
TATT. I am Jack Tattle, your friend.
VAL. My friend, what to do? I am no married man, and thou canst
not lie with my wife. I am very poor, and thou canst not borrow
money of me. Then what employment have I for a friend?
TATT. Ha! a good open speaker, and not to be trusted with a secret.
ANG. Do you know me, Valentine?
VAL. Oh, very well.
ANG. Who am I?
VAL. You're a woman. One to whom heav'n gave beauty, when it
grafted roses on a briar. You are the reflection of heav'n in a
pond, and he that leaps at you is sunk. You are all white, a sheet
of lovely, spotless paper, when you first are born; but you are to
be scrawled and blotted by every goose's quill. I know you; for I
loved a woman, and loved her so long, that I found out a strange
thing: I found out what a woman was good for.
TATT. Ay, prithee, what's that?
VAL. Why, to keep a secret.
TATT. O Lord!
VAL. Oh, exceeding good to keep a secret; for though she should
tell, yet she is not to be believed.
TATT. Hah! good again, faith.
VAL. I would have music. Sing me the song that I like.
Set by MR FINGER.
I tell thee, Charmion, could I time retrieve,
And could again begin to love and live,
To you I should my earliest off'ring give;
I know my eyes would lead my heart to you,
And I should all my vows and oaths renew,
But to be plain, I never would be true.
For by our weak and weary truth, I find,
Love hates to centre in a point assign'd?
But runs with joy the circle of the mind.
Then never let us chain what should be free,
But for relief of either sex agree,
Since women love to change, and so do we.
No more, for I am melancholy. [Walks musing.]
JERE. I'll do't, sir. [To SCANDAL.]
SCAN. Mr Foresight, we had best leave him. He may grow outrageous,
and do mischief.
FORE. I will be directed by you.
JERE. [To MRS FRAIL.] You'll meet, madam? I'll take care
everything shall be ready.
MRS FRAIL. Thou shalt do what thou wilt; in short, I will deny thee
TATT. Madam, shall I wait upon you? [To ANGELICA.]
ANG. No, I'll stay with him; Mr Scandal will protect me. Aunt, Mr
Tattle desires you would give him leave to wait on you.
TATT. Pox on't, there's no coming off, now she has said that.
Madam, will you do me the honour?
MRS FORE. Mr Tattle might have used less ceremony.
ANGELICA, VALENTINE, SCANDAL.
SCAN. Jeremy, follow Tattle.
ANG. Mr Scandal, I only stay till my maid comes, and because I had
a mind to be rid of Mr Tattle.
SCAN. Madam, I am very glad that I overheard a better reason which
you gave to Mr Tattle; for his impertinence forced you to
acknowledge a kindness for Valentine, which you denied to all his
sufferings and my solicitations. So I'll leave him to make use of
the discovery, and your ladyship to the free confession of your
ANG. O heav'ns! You won't leave me alone with a madman?
SCAN. No, madam; I only leave a madman to his remedy.
VAL. Madam, you need not be very much afraid, for I fancy I begin
to come to myself.
ANG. Ay, but if I don't fit you, I'll be hanged. [Aside.]
VAL. You see what disguises love makes us put on. Gods have been
in counterfeited shapes for the same reason; and the divine part of
me, my mind, has worn this mask of madness and this motley livery,
only as the slave of love and menial creature of your beauty.
ANG. Mercy on me, how he talks! Poor Valentine!
VAL. Nay, faith, now let us understand one another, hypocrisy
apart. The comedy draws toward an end, and let us think of leaving
acting and be ourselves; and since you have loved me, you must own I
have at length deserved you should confess it.
ANG. [Sighs.] I would I had loved you--for heav'n knows I pity
you, and could I have foreseen the bad effects, I would have
striven; but that's too late. [Sighs.]
VAL. What sad effects?--what's too late? My seeming madness has
deceived my father, and procured me time to think of means to
reconcile me to him, and preserve the right of my inheritance to his
estate; which otherwise, by articles, I must this morning have
resigned. And this I had informed you of to-day, but you were gone
before I knew you had been here.
ANG. How! I thought your love of me had caused this transport in
your soul; which, it seems, you only counterfeited, for mercenary
ends and sordid interest.
VAL. Nay, now you do me wrong; for if any interest was considered
it was yours, since I thought I wanted more than love to make me
worthy of you.
ANG. Then you thought me mercenary. But how am I deluded by this
interval of sense to reason with a madman?
VAL. Oh, 'tis barbarous to misunderstand me longer.