The Country Wife, Act IV

ACT 4
Scene I In Pinchwife’s house in the morning. Lucy, Alithea dress’d in new Cloths.

Lucy
Well—Madam, now have I dress’d you, and set you out with so many ornaments, and spent upon you ounces of essence, and pulvilio; and all this for no other purpose, but as People adorn, and perfume a Corps, for a stinking second-hand-grave, such or as bad I think Master Sparkish’s bed.

Alithea
Hold your peace.

Lucy
Nay, Madam, I will ask you the reason, why you wou’d banish poor Master Harcourt for ever from your sight? how cou’d you be so hard-hearted?

Alithea
‘Twas because I was not hard-hearted.

Lucy
No, no; ’twas stark love and kindness, I warrant.

Alithea
It was so; I wou’d see him no more, because I love him.

Lucy
Hey day, a very pretty reason.

Alithea
You do not understand me.

Lucy
I wish you may your self.

Alithea
I was engag’d to marry, you see, another man, whom my justice will not suffer me to deceive, or injure.

Lucy
Can there be a greater cheat, or wrong done to a Man, than to give him your person, without your heart, I shou’d make a conscience of it.

Alithea
I’ll retrieve it for him after I am married a while.

Lucy
The Woman that marries to love better, will be as much mistaken, as the Wencher that marries to live better. No; Madam, marrying to encrease love, is like gaming to become rich; alas you only loose what little stock you had before.

Alithea
I find by your Rhetorick you have been brib’d to betray me.

Lucy
Only by his merit, that has brib’d your heart you see against your word, and rigid honour; but what a Divel is this honour? ’tis sure a disease in the head, like the Megrim, or Falling-sickness that alwayes hurries People away to do themselves mischief; Men loose their lives by it: Women what’s dearer to ’em, their love, the life of life.

Alithea
Come, pray talk you no more of honour, nor Master Harcourt; I wish the other wou’d come, to secure my fidelity to him, and his right in me.

Lucy
You will marry him then?

Alithea
Certainly, I have given him already my word, and will my hand too, to make it good when he comes.

Lucy
Well, I wish I may never stick pin more, if he be not an errant Natural, to t’other fine Gentleman.

Alithea
I own he wants the wit of Harcourt, which I will dispense withal, for another want he has, which is want of jealousie, which men of wit seldom want.

Lucy
Lord, Madam, what shou’d you do with a fool to your Husband, you intend to be honest don’t you? then that husbandly virtue, credulity, is thrown away upon you.

Alithea
He only that could suspect my virtue, shou’d have cause to do it; ’tis Sparkish’s confidence in my truth, that obliges me to be so faithful to him.

Lucy
You are not sure his opinion may last.

Alithea
I am satisfied, ’tis impossible for him to be jealous, after the proofs I have had of him: Jealousie in a Husband, Heaven defend me from it, it begets a thousand plagues to a poor Woman, the loss of her honour, her quiet, and her—

Lucy
And her pleasure.

Alithea
What d’ye mean, Impertinent?

Lucy
Liberty is a great pleasure, Madam.

Alithea
I say loss of her honour, her quiet, nay, her life sometimes; and what’s as bad almost, the loss of this Town, that is, she is sent into the Country, which is the last ill usage of a Husband to a Wife, I think.

Lucy
O do’s the wind lye there? [Aside.] Then of necessity, Madam, you think a man must carry his Wife into the Country, if he be wise; the Country is as terrible I find to our young English Ladies, as a Monastery to those abroad: and on my Virginity, I think they wou’d rather marry a London-Goaler, than a high Sheriff of a County, since neither can stir from his employment: formerly Women of wit married Fools, for a great Estate, a fine seat, or the like; but now ’tis for a pretty seat only in Lincoln’s Inn-fields, St. James’s-fields, or the Pall-mall.

Enter to them Sparkish, and Harcourt dress’d like a Parson.

Sparkish
Madam, your humble Servant, a happy day to you, and to us all.

Harcourt
Amen.—

Alithea
Who have we here?

Sparkish
My Chaplain faith—O Madam, poor Harcourt remembers his humble service to you; and in obedience to your last commands, refrains coming into your sight.

Alithea
Is not that he?

Sparkish
No, fye no; but to shew that he ne’re intended to hinder our Match has sent his Brother here to joyn our hands: when I get me a Wife, I must get her a Chaplain, according to the Custom; this is his Brother, and my Chaplain.

Alithea
His Brother?

Lucy
And your Chaplain, to preach in your Pulpit then—[Aside.

Alithea
His Brother!

Sparkish
Nay, I knew you wou’d not believe it; I told you, Sir, she wou’d take you for your Brother Frank.

Alithea
Believe it!

Lucy
His Brother! hah, ha, he, he has a trick left still it seems–[Aside.

Sparkish
Come my dearest, pray let us go to Church before the Canonical hour is past.

Alithea
For shame you are abus’d still.

Sparkish
By the World ’tis strange now you are so incredulous.

Alithea
‘Tis strange you are so credulous.

Sparkish
Dearest of my life, hear me, I tell you this is Ned Harcourt of Cambridge, by the world, you see he has a sneaking Colledg look; ’tis true he’s something like his Brother Frank, and they differ from each other no more than in their age, for they were Twins.

Lucy
Hah, ha, he.

Alithea
Your Servant, Sir, I cannot be so deceiv’d, though you are; but come let’s hear, how do you know what you affirm so confidently?

Sparkish
Why, I’ll tell you all; Frank Harcourt coming to me this morning, to wish me joy and present his service to you: I ask’d him, if he cou’d help me to a Parson; whereupon he told me, he had a Brother in Town who was in Orders, and he went straight away, and sent him, you see there, to me.

Alithea
Yes, Frank goes, and puts on a black-coat, then tell’s you, he is Ned, that’s all you have for’t.

Sparkish
Pshaw, pshaw, I tell you by the same token, the Midwife put her Garter about Frank’s neck, to know ’em asunder, they were so like.

Alithea
Frank tells you this too.

Sparkish
Ay, and Ned there too; nay, they are both in a Story.

Alithea
So, so, very foolish.

Sparkish
Lord, if you won’t believe one, you had best trye him by your Chamber-maid there; for Chamber-maids must needs know Chaplains from other Men, they are so us’d to ’em.

Lucy
Let’s see; nay, I’ll be sworn he has the Canonical smirk, and the filthy, clammy palm of a Chaplain.

Alithea
Well, most reverend Doctor, pray let us make an end of this fooling.

Harcourt
With all my soul, Divine, Heavenly Creature, when you please.

Alithea
He speaks like a Chaplain indeed.

Sparkish
Why, was there not, soul, Divine, Heavenly, in what he said.

Alithea
Once more, most impertinent Black-coat, cease your persecution, and let us have a Conclusion of this ridiculous love.

Harcourt
I had forgot, I must sute my Stile to my Coat, or I wear it in vain.[Aside.

Alithea
I have no more patience left, let us make once an end of this troublesome Love, I say.

Harcourt
So be it, Seraphick Lady, when your Honour shall think it meet, and convenient so to do.

Sparkish
Gad I’m sure none but a Chaplain cou’d speak so, I think.

Alithea
Let me tell you Sir, this dull trick will not serve your turn, though you delay our marriage, you shall not hinder it.

Harcourt
Far be it from me, Munificent Patroness, to delay your Marriage, I desire nothing more than to marry you presently, which I might do, if you your self wou’d; for my Noble, Good-natur’d and thrice Generous Patron here wou’d not hinder it.

Sparkish
No, poor man, not I faith.

Harcourt
And now, Madam, let me tell you plainly, no body else shall marry you by Heavens, I’ll die first, for I’m sure I shou’d die after it.

Lucy
How his Love has made him forget his Function, as I have seen it in real Parsons.

Alithea
That was spoken like a Chaplain too, now you understand him, I hope.

Sparkish
Poor man, he takes it heinously to be refus’d; I can’t blame him, ’tis putting an indignity upon him not to be suffer’d, but you’l pardon me Madam, it shan’t be, he shall marry us, come away, pray Madam.

Lucy
Hah, ha, he, more ado! ’tis late.

Alithea
Invincible stupidity, I tell you he wou’d marry me, as your Rival, not as your Chaplain.

Sparkish
Come, come Madam. [Pulling her away.

Lucy
I pray Madam, do not refuse this Reverend Divine, the honour and satisfaction of marrying you; for I dare say, he has set his heart upon’t, good Doctor.

Alithea
What can you hope, or design by this?

Harcourt
I cou’d answer her, a reprieve for a day only, often revokes a hasty doom; at worst, if she will not take mercy on me, and let me marry her, I have at least the Lover’s second pleasure, hind’ring my Rival’s enjoyment, though but for a time.

Sparkish
Come Madam, ’tis e’ne twelve a clock, and my Mother charg’d me never to be married out of the Canonical hours; come, come, Lord here’s such a deal of modesty, I warrant the first day.

Lucy
Yes, an’t please your Worship, married women shew all their Modesty the first day, because married men shew all their love the first day.

Exeunt Sparkish, Alithea, Harcourt, and Lucy.

The Scene changes to a Bed-chamber, where appear Pinchwife, Mrs. Pinchwife.

Mr Pinchwife
Come tell me, I say.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Lord, han’t I told it an hundred times over.

Mr. Pinchwife
I wou’d try, if in the repetition of the ungrateful tale, I cou’d find her altering it in the least circumstance, for if her story be false, she is so too. [Aside.] Come how was’t Baggage?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Lord, what pleasure you take to hear it sure!

Mrs Pinchwife
No, you take more in telling it I find, but speak how was’t?

Mrs. Pinchwife
He carried me up into the house, next to the Exchange.

Mr. Pinchwife
So, and you two were only in the room.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Yes, for he sent away a youth that was there, for some dryed fruit, and China Oranges.

Mr. Pinchwife
Did he so? Damn him for it—and for—

Mrs. Pinchwife
But presently came up the Gentlewoman of the house.

Mr. Pinchwife
O ’twas well she did, but what did he do whilest the fruit came?

Mrs. Pinchwife
He kiss’d me an hundred times, and told me he fancied he kiss’d my fine Sister, meaning me you know, whom he said he lov’d with all his Soul, and bid me be sure to tell her so, and to desire her to be at her window, by eleven of the clock this morning, and he wou’d walk under it at that time.

Mr. Pinchwife
And he was as good as his word, very punctual, a pox reward him for’t. [Aside.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Well, and he said if you were not within, he wou’d come up to her, meaning me you know, Bud, still.

Mr. Pinchwife
So—he knew her certainly, but for this consession, I am oblig’d to her simplicity. [Aside.] But what you stood very still, when he kiss’d you?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Yes I warrant you, wou’d you have had me discover’d my self?

Mr. Pinchwife
But you told me, he did some beastliness to you, as you call’d it, what was’t?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Why, he put—

Mr. Pinchwife
What?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Why he put the tip of his tongue between my lips, and so musl’d me—and I said, I’d bite it.

Mr. Pinchwife
An eternal canker seize it, for a dog.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Nay, you need not be so angry with him neither, for to say truth, he has the sweetest breath I ever knew.

Mr. Pinchwife
The Devil—you were satisfied with it then, and wou’d do it again.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Not unless he shou’d force me.

Mr. Pinchwife
Force you, changeling! I tell you no woman can be forced.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Yes, but she may sure, by such a one as he, for he’s a proper, goodly strong man, ’tis hard, let me tell you, to resist him.

Mr. Pinchwife
So, ’tis plain she loves him, yet she has not love enough to make her conceal it from me, but the sight of him will increase her aversion for me, and love for him; and that love instruct her how to deceive me, and satisfie him, all Ideot as she is: Love, ’twas he gave women first their craft, their art of deluding; out of natures hands, they came plain, open, silly and fit for slaves, as she and Heaven intended ’em; but damn’d Love — Well — I must strangle that little Monster, whilest I can deal with him.— Go fetch Pen, Ink and Paper out of the next room:

Mrs. Pinchwife
Yes Bud.

Exit Mrs. Pinchwife.

Mr. Pinchwife
Why should Women have more invention in love than men? It can only be, because they have more desires, more solliciting passions, more lust, and more of the Devil. [Aside.

Mistris Pinchwife returns.

Come, Minks, sit down and write.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Ay, dear Bud, but I can’t do’t very well.

Mr. Pinchwife
I wish you cou’d not at all.

Mrs. Pinchwife
But what shou’d I write for?

Mr. Pinchwife
I’ll have you write a Letter to your Lover.

Mrs. Pinchwife
O Lord, to the fine Gentleman a Letter!

Mr. Pinchwife
Yes, to the fine Gentleman.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Lord, you do but jeer; sure you jest.

Mr. Pinchwife
I am not so merry, come write as I bid you.

Mrs. Pinchwife
What, do you think I am a fool?

Mr. Pinchwife
She’s afraid I would not dictate any love to him, therefore she’s unwilling; but you had best begin.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Indeed, and indeed, but I won’t, so I won’t.

Mr. Pinchwife
Why?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Because he’s in Town, you may send for him if you will.

Mr. Pinchwife
Very well, you wou’d have him brought to you; is it come to this? I say take the pen and write, or you’ll provoke me.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Lord, what d’ye make a fool of me for? Don’t I know that Letters are never writ, but from the Countrey to London, and from London into the Countrey; now he’s in Town, and I am in Town too; therefore I can’t write to him you know.

Mr. Pinchwife
So I am glad it is no worse, she is innocent enough yet.  [Aside.] Yes you may when your Husband bids you write Letters to people that are in Town.

Mrs. Pinchwife
O may I so! Then I’m satisfied.

Mr. Pinchwife
Come begin— Sir—
Dictates.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Shan’t I say, Dear Sir? You know one says always something more than bare Sir.

Mr. Pinchwife
Write as I bid you, or I will write Whore with this Penknife in your Face.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Nay good Bud—Sir—

She writes.

Mr. Pinchwife
Though I suffer’d last night your nauseous, loath’d Kisses and Embraces—Write

Mrs. Pinchwife
Nay, why shou’d I say so, you know I told you, he had a sweet breath.

Mr. Pinchwife
Write.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Let me but put out, loath’d.

Mr. Pinchwife
Write I say.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Well then.

Writes.

Mr. Pinchwife
Let’s see what have you writ? Though I suffer’d last night your kisses and embraces— Takes the paper, and reads. Thou impudent creature, where is nauseous and loath’d?

Mrs. Pinchwife
I can’t abide to write such filthy words.

Mr. Pinchwife
Once more write as I’d have you, and question it not, or I will spoil thy writing with this, I will stab out those eyes that cause my mischief.

Holds up the penknife.

Mrs. Pinchwife
O Lord, I will.

Mr. Pinchwife
So—so—Let’s see now! Reads. Though I suffer’d last night your nauseous, loath’d kisses, and embraces; Go on—Yet I would not have you presume that you shall ever repeat them—So—
She writes.

Mrs. Pinchwife
I have writ it.

Mr. Pinchwife
On then—I then conceal’d my self from your knowledge, to avoid your insolencies—

She writes.

Mrs. Pinchwife
So—

Mr. Pinchwife
The same reason now I am out of your hands—

She writes.

Mrs. Pinchwife
So—

Mr. Pinchwife
Makes me own to you my unfortunate, though innocent frolick, of being in man’s cloths.

She writes.

Mrs. Pinchwife
So—

Mr. Pinchwife
That you may for ever more cease to pursue her, who hates and detests you—

She writes on.

Mrs. Pinchwife
So — h —[Sighs.]

Mr. Pinchwife
What do you sigh? — detests you — as much as she loves her Husband and her Honour —

Mrs. Pinchwife
I vow Husband he’ll ne’er believe, I shou’d write such a Letter.

Mr. Pinchwife
What he’d expect a kinder from you? come now your name only.

Mrs. Pinchwife
What, shan’t I say your most faithful, humble Servant till death?

Mr. Pinchwife
No, tormenting Fiend; her stile I find wou’d be very soft. Aside. Come wrap it up now, whilest I go fetch wax and a candle; and write on the back side, for Mr. Horner.

Exit Pinchwife.

Mrs. Pinchwife
For Mr. Horner — So, I am glad he has told me his name; Dear Mr. Horner, but why should I send thee such a Letter, that will vex thee, and make thee angry with me; —well I will not send it —Ay but then my husband will kill me —for I see plainly, he won’t let me love Mr. Horner —but what care I for my Husband —I won’t so I won’t send poor Mr. Horner such a Letter —but then my Husband —But oh —what if I writ at bottom, my Husband made me write it —Ay but then my Husband wou’d see’t —Can one have no shift, ah, a London woman wou’d have had a hundred presently; stay —what if I shou’d write a Letter, and wrap it up like this, and write upon’t too; ay but then my Husband wou’d see’t —I don’t know what to do —But yet y vads I’ll try, so I will —for I will not send this Letter to poor Mr. Horner, come what will on’t. [She writes, and repeats what she hath writ.] Dear, Sweet Mr. Horner—So— my Husband wou’d have me send you a base, rude, unmannerly Letter — but I won’t — so — and wou’d have me forbid you loving me — but I wont — so — and wou’d have me say to you, I hate you poor Mr. Horner — but I won’t tell a lye for him — there — for I’m sure if you and I were in the Countrey at cards together, — so — I cou’d not help treading on your Toe under the Table — so — or rubbing knees with you, and staring in your face, ’till you saw me —very well — and then looking down, and blushing for an hour together — so — but I must make haste before my Husband come; and now he has taught me to write Letters: You shall have longer ones from me, who am Dear, dear, poor dear Mr. Horner, your most Humble Friend, and Servant to command ’till death, Margery Pinchwife. Stay I must give him a hint at bottom — so — now wrap it up just like t’other — so — now write for Mr. Horner, — But oh now what shall I do with it? for here comes my Husband.

Enter Pinchwife.

Mr. Pinchwife
I have been detained by a Sparkish Coxcomb, who pretended a visit to me; but I fear ’twas to my Wife. [Aside. What, have you done?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Ay, ay Bud, just now.

Mr. Pinchwife
Let’s see’t, what d’ye tremble for; what, you wou’d not have it go?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Here — No I must not give him that, so I had been served if I had given him this. [Aside.

He opens, and reads the first Letter.

Mr. Pinchwife

Come, where’s the Wax and Seal?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Lord, what shall I do now? Nay then I have it —[Aside.] Pray let me see’t, Lord you think me so errand a fool, I cannot seal a Letter, I will do’t, so I will.

Snatches the Letter from him, changes it for the other, seals it, and delivers it to him.

Mr. Pinchwife
Nay, I believe you will learn that, and other things too, which I wou’d not have you.

Mrs. Pinchwife
So, han’t I done it curiously? I think I have, there’s my Letter going to Mr. Horner; since he’ll needs have me send Letters to Folks. [Aside.

Mr. Pinchwife
‘Tis very well, but I warrant, you wou’d not have it go now?

Mrs. Pinchwife
Yes indeed, but I wou’d, Bud, now.

Mr. Pinchwife
Well you are a good Girl then, come let me lock you up in your chamber, ’till I come back; and be sure you come not within three strides of the window, when I am gone; for I have a spye in the street.

Exit Mrs. Pinchwife. Pinchwife locks the door.

At least, ’tis fit she think so, if we do not cheat women, they’ll cheat us; and fraud may be justly used with secret enemies, of which a Wife is the most dangerous; and he that has a handsome one to keep, and a Frontier Town, must provide against treachery, rather than open Force — Now I have secur’d all within, I’ll deal with the Foe without with false intelligence.

Holds up the Letter. Exit Pinchwife.

The Scene changes to Horner’s Lodging. Quack and Horner.

Quack
Well Sir, how fadges the new design; have you not the luck of all your brother Projectors, to deceive only your self at last.

Horner
No, good Domine Doctor, I deceive you it seems, and others too; for the grave Matrons, and old ridgid Husbands think me as unfit for love, as they are; but their Wives, Sisters and Daughters, know some of ’em better things already.

Quack
Already!

Horner
Already, I say; last night I was drunk with half a dozen of your civil persons, as you call ’em, and people of Honour, and so was made free of their Society, and dressing rooms for ever hereafter; and am already come to the privileges of sleeping upon their Pallats, warming Smocks, tying Shooes and Garters, and the like Doctor, already, already Doctor.

Quack
You have made use of your time, Sir.

Horner
I tell thee, I am now no more interruption to ’em, when they sing, or talk bawdy, than a little squab French Page, who speaks no English.

Quack
But do civil persons, and women of Honour drink, and sing bawdy Songs?

Horner
O amongst Friends, amongst Friends; for your Bigots in Honour, are just like those in Religion; they fear the eye of the world, more than the eye of Heaven, and think there is no virtue, but railing at vice; and no sin, but giving scandal: They rail at a poor, little, kept Player, and keep themselves some young, modest Pulpit Comedian to be privy to their sins in their Closets, not to tell ’em of them in their Chappels.

Quack
Nay, the truth on’t is, Priests amongst the women now, have quite got the better of us Lay Confessors, Physicians.

Horner
And they are rather their Patients, but— [Enter my Lady Fidget, looking about her.] Now we talk of women of Honour, here comes one, step behind the Screen there, and but observe; if I have not particular privileges, with the women of reputation already, Doctor, already.

Lady Fidget
Well Horner, am not I a woman of Honour? you see I’m as good as my word.

Horner
And you shall see Madam, I’ll not be behind hand with you in honour; and I’ll be as good as my word too, if you please but to withdraw into the next room.

Lady Fidget
But first, my dear Sir, you must promise to have a care of my dear Honour.

Horner
If you talk a word more of your Honour, you’ll make me incapable to wrong it; to talk of Honour in the mysteries of Love, is like talking of Heaven, or the Deity in an operation of Witchcraft, just when you are employing the Devil, it makes the charm impotent.

Lady Fidget
Nay, fie, let us not be smooty; but you talk of mysteries, and bewitching to me, I don’t understand you.

Horner
I tell you Madam, the word money in a Mistresses mouth, at such a nick of time, is not a more disheartning sound to a younger Brother, than that of Honour to an eager Lover like my self.

Lady Fidget
But you can’t blame a Lady of my reputation to be chary.

Horner
Chary — I have been chary of it already, by the report I have caus’d of my self.

Lady Fidget
Ay, but if you shou’d ever let other women know that dear secret, it would come out; nay, you must have a great care of your conduct; for my acquaintance are so censorious, (oh ’tis a wicked censorious world, Mr. Horner) I say, are so censorious, and detracting, that perhaps they’ll talk to the prejudice of my Honour, though you shou’d not let them know the dear secret.

Horner
Nay Madam, rather than they shall prejudice your Honour, I’ll prejudice theirs; and to serve you, I’ll lye with ’em all, make the secret their own, and then they’ll keep it: I am a Machiavel in love Madam.

Lady Fidget
O, no Sir, not that way.

Horner
Nay, the Devil take me, if censorious women are to be silenc’d any other way.

Lady Fidget
A secret is better kept I hope, by a single person, than a multitude; therefore pray do not trust any body else with it, dear, dear Mr. Horner. Embracing him.

Enter Sir Jaspar Fidget.

Sir Jaspar
How now!

Lady Fidget
O my Husband—prevented—and what’s almost as bad, found with my arms about another man— that will appear too much—what shall I say? [Aside]. Sir Jaspar come hither, I am trying if Mr. Horner were ticklish, and he’s as ticklish as can be, I love to torment the confounded Toad; let you and I tickle him.

Sir Jaspar
No, your Ladyship will tickle him better without me, I suppose, but is this your buying China, I thought you had been at the China House?

Horner
China-House, that’s my Cue, I must take it [Aside.] A Pox, can’t you keep your impertinent Wives at home? some men are troubled with the Husbands, but I with the Wives; but I’d have you to know, since I cannot be your Journey-man by night, I will not be your drudge by day, to squire your wife about, and be your man of straw, or scare-crow only to Pyes and Jays; that would be nibling at your forbidden fruit; I shall be shortly the Hackney Gentleman-Usher of the Town.

Sir Jaspar
Heh, heh, he, poor fellow he’s in the right on’t faith, to squire women about for other folks, is as ungrateful an employment, as to tell money for other folks; Aside. heh, he, he, ben’t angry Horner

Lady Fidget
No, ’tis I have more reason to be angry, who am left by you, to go abroad indecently alone; or, what is more indecent, to pin my self upon such ill bred people of your acquaintance, as this is.

Sir Jaspar
Nay, pr’ythee what has he done?

Lady Fidget
Nay, he has done nothing.

Sir Jaspar
But what d’ye take ill, if he has done nothing?

Lady Fidget
Hah, hah, hah, Faith, I can’t but laugh however; why d’ye think the unmannerly toad wou’d not come down to me to the Coach, I was fain to come up to fetch him, or go without him, which I was resolved not to do; for he knows China very well, and has himself very good, but will not let me see it, lest I should beg some; but I will find it out, and have what I came for yet.

Exit Lady Fidget, and locks the door, followed by Horner to the door.

Horner
Apart to Lady Fidget] Lock the door Madam–So, she has got into my chamber, and lock’d me out; oh the impertinency of woman-kind! Well Sir Jaspar, plain dealing is a Jewel; if ever you suffer your Wife to trouble me again here, she shall carry you home a pair of Horns, by my Lord Major she shall; though I cannot furnish you my self, you are sure, yet I’ll find a way.

Sir Jaspar
Hah, ha, he, at my first coming in, and finding her arms about him, tickling him it seems, I was half jealous, but now I see my folly. [Aside. Heh, he, he, poor Horner.

Horner
Nay, though you laugh now, ’twill be my turn e’re long: Oh women, more impertinent, more cunning, and more mischievous than their Monkeys, and to me almost as ugly—now is she throwing my things about, and rifling all I have, but I’ll get into her the back way, and so rifle her for it—

Sir Jaspar
Hah, ha, ha, poor angry Horner:

Horner
Stay here a little, I’ll ferret her out to you presently, I warrant.

Exit Horner at t’other door.

Sir Jaspar
Sir Jaspar calls through the door to his Wife, she answers from within.] Wife, my Lady Fidget, Wife, he is coming into you the back way.

Lady Fidget
Let him come, and welcome, which way he will.

Sir Jaspar
He’ll catch you, and use you roughly, and be too strong for you.

Lady Fidget
Don’t you trouble your self, let him if he can.

Quack. [Behind] This indeed, I cou’d not have believ’d from him, nor any but my own eyes.

Enter Mistris Squeamish.

Squeamish
Where’s this Woman-hater, this Toad, this ugly, greasie, dirty Sloven?

Sir Jaspar
So the women all will have him ugly, methinks he is a comely person; but his wants make his form contemptible to ’em; and ’tis e’en as my Wife said yesterday, talking of him, that a proper handsome Eunuch, was as ridiculous a thing, as a Gigantick Coward.

Squeamish
Sir Jaspar, your Servant, where is the odious Beast?

Sir Jaspar
He’s within in his chamber, with my Wife; she’s playing the wag with him.

Squeamish
Is she so, and he’s a clownish beast, he’ll give her no quarter, he’ll play the wag with her again, let me tell you; come, let’s go help her—What, the door’s lock’t?

Sir Jaspar
Ay, my Wife lock’t it—

Squeamish
Did she so, let us break it open then?

Sir Jaspar
No, no, he’ll do her no hurt.

Squeamish
No — But is there no other way to get into ’em, whither goes this? I will disturb ’em. [Aside.

Exit Squeamish at another door. Enter Old Lady Squeamish.

Old Lady Squeamish
Where is this Harlotry, this Impudent Baggage, this rambling Tomrigg? O Sir Jaspar, I’m glad to see you here, did you not see my vil’d Grandchild come in hither just now?

Sir Jaspar
Yes.

Old Lady Squeamish
Ay, but where is she then? where is she? Lord Sir Jaspar I have e’ne ratled my self to pieces in pursuit of her, but can you tell what she makes here, they say below, no woman lodges here.

Sir Jaspar
No.

Old Lady Squeamish
No — What does she here then? say if it be not a womans lodging, what makes she here? but are you sure no woman lodges here?

Sir Jaspar
No, nor no man neither, this is Mr. Horners Lodging.

Old Lady Squeamish
Is it so are you sure?

Sir Jaspar
Yes, yes.

Old Lady Squeamish
So then there’s no hurt in’t I hope, but where is he?

Sir Jaspar
He’s in the next room with my Wife.

Old Lady Squeamish
Nay if you trust him with your wife, I may with my Biddy, they say he’s a merry harmless man now, e’ne as harmless a man as ever came out of Italy with a good voice and as pretty harmless company for a Lady, as a Snake without his teeth.

Sir Jaspar
Ay. ay poor man.

Enter Mrs. Squeamish.

Squeamish
I can’t find ’em — Oh are you here, Grandmother, I follow’d you must know my Lady Fidget hither, ’tis the prettyest lodging, and I have been staring on the prettyest Pictures.

Enter Lady Fidget with a piece of China in her hand, and Horner following.

Lady Fidget
And I have been toyling and moyling, for the pretti’st piece of China, my Dear.

Horner
Nay she has been too hard for me do what I cou’d.

Squeamish
Oh Lord I’le have some China too, good Mr. Horner , don’t think to give other people China, and me none, come in with me too.

Horner
Upon my honour I have none left now.

Squeamish
Nay, nay I have known you deny your China before now, but you shan’t put me off so, come —

Horner
This Lady had the last there.

Lady Fidget
Yes indeed Madam, to my certain knowledge he has no more left.

Squeamish
O but it may be he may have some you could not find.

Lady Fidget
What d’y think if he had had any left, I would not have had it too, for we women of quality never think we have China enough.

Horner
Do not take it ill, I cannot make China for you all, but I will have a Rol-waggon for you too, another time.

Squeamish
Thank you dear Toad. [To Horner aside.

Lady Fidget
What do you mean by that promise?

Horner
Alas she has an innocent, literal understanding. [Apart to Lady Fidget.

Old Lady Squeamish
Poor Mr. Horner, he has enough to doe to please you all, I see.

Horner
Ay Madam, you see how they use me.

Old Lady Squeamish
Poor Gentleman I pitty you.

Horner
I thank you Madam, I could never find pitty, but from such reverend Ladies as you are, the young ones will never spare a man.

Squeamish
Come come, Beast, and go dine with us, for we shall want a man at Hombre after dinner.

Horner
That’s all their use of me Madam you see.

Squeamish
Come Sloven, I’le lead you to be sure of you. [Pulls him by the Crevat.

Old Lady Squeamish
Alas poor man how she tuggs him, kiss, kiss her, that’s the way to make such nice women quiet.

Horner
No Madam, that Remedy is worse than the Torment, they know I dare suffer any thing rather than do it.

Old Lady Squeamish
Prythee kiss her, and I’le give you her Picture in little, that you admir’d so last night, prythee do.

Horner
Well nothing but that could bribe me, I love a woman only in Effigie, and good Painting as much as I hate them — I’le do’t, for I cou’d adore the Devil well painted.

Kisses Mrs. Squeamish

Squeamish

Foh, you filthy Toad, nay now I’ve done jesting.

Old Lady Squeamish
Ha, ha, ha, I told you so.

Squeamish
Foh a kiss of his —

Sir Jaspar
Has no more hurt in’t, than one of my Spaniels.

Squeamish
Nor no more good neither.

Quack
I will now believe any thing he tells me. [Behind.

Enter Mr. Pinchwife.

Lady Fidget
O Lord here’s a man, Sir Jaspar, my Mask, my Mask, I would not be seen here for the world.

Sir Jaspar
What not when I am with you.

Lady Fidget
No, no my honour — let’s be gone.

Squeamish
Oh Grandmother, let us be gone, make hast, make hast, I know not how he may censure us.

Lady Fidget
Be found in the lodging of any thing like a man, away.

Exeunt Sir Jaspar, Lady Fidget, Old Lady Squeamish, Mrs. Squeamish.

Quack

What’s here another Cuckold — he looks like one, and none else sure have any business with him. [Behind.

Horner
Well what brings my dear friend hither?

Mr. Pinchwife
Your impertinency.

Horner
My impertinency — why you Gentlemen that have got handsome Wives, think you have a privilege of saying any thing to your friends, and are as brutish, as if you were our Creditors.

Mr. Pinchwife
No Sir, I’le ne’re trust you any way.

Horner
But why not, dear Jack, why diffide in me, thou knowst so well.

Mr. Pinchwife
Because I do know you so well.

Horner
Han’t I been always thy friend honest Jack, always ready to serve thee, in love, or battle, before thou wert married, and am so still.

Mr. Pinchwife
I believe so you wou’d be my second now indeed.

Horner
Well then dear Jack, why so unkind, so grum, so strange to me, come prythee kiss me deare Rogue, gad I was always I say, and am still as much thy Servant as —

Mr. Pinchwife
As I am yours Sir. What you wou’d send a kiss to my Wife, is that it?

Horner
So there ’tis — a man can’t shew his friendship to a married man, but presently he talks of his wife to you, prythee let thy Wife alone, and let thee and I be all one, as we were wont, what thou art as shye of my kindness, as a Lumbard-street Alderman of a Courtiers civility at Lockets.

Mr. Pinchwife
But you are over kind to me, as kind, as if I were your Cuckold already, yet I must confess you ought to be kind and civil to me, since I am so kind, so civil to you, as to bring you this, look you there Sir. [Delivers him a Letter.

Horner
What is’t?

Mr. Pinchwife
Only a Love Letter Sir.

Horner
From whom — how, this is from your Wife — hum — and hum —[Reads.

Mr. Pinchwife
Even from my Wife Sir, am I not wondrous kind and civil to you, now too? But you’l not think her so. [Aside.

Horner
Ha, is this a trick of his or hers– [Aside.

Mr. Pinchwife
The Gentleman’s surpriz’d I find, what you expected a kinder Letter?

Horner
No faith not I, how cou’d I.

Mr. Pinchwife
Yes yes, I’m sure you did, a man so well made as you are must needs be disappointed, if the women declare not their passion at first sight or opportunity.

Horner
But what should this mean? stay the Postscript. Be sure you love me whatsoever my husband says to the contrary, and let him not see this, lest he should come home home, and pinch me, or kill my Squirrel. [Reads aside.] It seems he knows not what the Letter contains. [Aside.

Mr. Pinchwife
Come ne’re wonder at it so much.

Horner
Faith I can’t help it.

Mr. Pinchwife
Now I think I have deserv’d your infinite friendship, and kindness, and have shewed my self sufficiently an obliging kind friend and husband, am I not so, to bring a Letter from my Wife to her Gallant?

Horner
Ay, the Devil take me, art thou, the most obliging, kind friend and husband in the world, ha, ha.

Mr. Pinchwife
Well you may be merry Sir, but in short I must tell you Sir, my honour will suffer no jesting.

Horner
What do’st thou mean?

Mr. Pinchwife
Does the Letter want a Comment? then know Sir, though I have been so civil a husband, as to bring you a Letter from my Wife, to let you kiss and court her to my face, I will not be a Cuckold Sir, I will not.

Horner
Thou art mad with jealousie, I never saw thy Wife in my life, but at the Play yesterday, and I know not if it were she or no, I court her, kiss her!

Mr. Pinchwife
I will not be a Cuckold I say, there will be danger in making me a Cuckold.

Horner
Why, wert thou not well cur’d of thy last clap?

Mr. Pinchwife
I weare a Sword.

Horner
It should be taken from thee, lest thou should’st do thy self a mischiefe with it, thou art mad, Man.

Mr. Pinchwife
As mad as I am, and as merry as you are, I must have more reason from you e’re we part, I say again though you kiss’d, and courted last night my Wife in man’s clothes, as she confesses in her Letter.

Horner
Ha —[Aside.

Mr. Pinchwife
Both she and I say you must not design it again, for you have mistaken your woman, as you have done your man.

Horner
Oh — I understand something now —[Aside.] Was that thy Wife? why would’st thou not tell me ’twas she? faith my freedome with her was your fault, not mine.

Mr. Pinchwife
Faith so ’twas —[Aside.

Horner
Fye, I’de never do’t to a woman before her husbands face, sure.

Mr. Pinchwife
But I had rather you should do’t to my wife before my face, than behind my back, and that you shall never doe.

Horner
No — you will hinder me.

Mr. Pinchwife
If I would not hinder you, you see by her Letter, she wou’d.

Horner
Well, I must e’ne acquiess then, and be contented with what she writes.

Mr. Pinchwife
I’le assure you ’twas voluntarily writ, I had no hand in’t you may believe me.

Horner
I do believe thee, faith.

Mr. Pinchwife
And believe her too, for she’s an innocent creature, has no dissembling in her, and so fare you well Sir.

Horner
Pray however present my humble service to her, and tell her I will obey her Letter to a tittle, and fulfill her desires be what they will, or with what difficulty soever I do’t, and you shall be no more jealous of me, I warrant her, and you —

Mr. Pinchwife
Well then fare you well, and play with any mans honour but mine, kiss any mans wife but mine, and welcome —

Exit Mr. Pinchwife

Horner
Ha, ha, ha, Doctor.

Quack
It seems he has not heard the report of you, or does not believe it.

Horner
Ha, ha, now Doctor what think you?

Quack
Pray let’s see the Letter — hum — for — deare — love you —[Reads the Letter

Horner
I wonder how she cou’d contrive it! what say’st thou to’t, ’tis an Original.

Quack
So are your Cuckolds too Originals: for they are like no other common Cuckolds, and I will henceforth believe it not impossible for you to Cuckold the Grand Signior amidst his Guards of Eunuchs, that I say —

Horner
And I say for the Letter, ’tis the first love Letter that ever was without Flames, Darts, Fates, Destinies, Lying and Dissembling in ‘t.

Enter Sparkish pulling in Mr. Pinchwife.

Sparkish
Come back, you are a pretty Brother-in-law, neither go to Church, nor to dinner with your Sister Bride.

Mr. Pinchwife
My Sister denies her marriage, and you see is gone away from you dissatisfy’d.

Sparkish
Pshaw, upon a foolish scruple, that our Parson was not in lawful Orders, and did not say all the Common Prayer, but ’tis her modesty only I believe, but let women be never so modest the first day, they’l be sure to come to themselves by night, and I shall have enough of her then; in the mean time, Harry Horner, you must dine with me, I keep my wedding at my Aunts in the Piazza.

Horner
Thy wedding, what stale Maid has liv’d to despaire of a husband, or what young one of a Gallant?

Sparkish
O your Servant Sir — this Gentlemans Sister then — No stale Maid.

Horner
I’m sorry for’t.

Mr. Pinchwife
How comes he so concern’d for her –[Aside.

Sparkish
You sorry for’t, why do you know any ill by her?

Horner
No, I know none but by thee, ’tis for her sake, not yours, and another mans sake that might have hop’d, I thought —

Sparkish
Another Man, another man, what is his Name?

Horner
Nay since ’tis past he shall be nameless. Poor Harcourt I am sorry thou hast mist her — [Aside

Mr. Pinchwife
He seems to be much troubled at the match —. [Aside.

Sparkish
Prythee tell me — nay you shan’t go Brother.

Mr. Pinchwife
I must of necessity, but I’le come to you to dinner. [Exit Pinchwife.

Sparkish
But Harry, what have I a Rival in my Wife already? but withal my heart, for he may be of use to me hereafter, for though my hunger is now my sawce, and I can fall on heartily without, but the time will come, when a Rival wil be as good good sawce for a married man to a wife, as an Orange to Veale.

Horner
O thou damn’d Rogue, thou hast set my teeth on edge with thy Orange.

Sparkish
Then let’s to dinner, there I was with you againe, come.

Horner
But who dines with thee?

Sparkish
My Friends and Relations, my Brother Pinchwife you see of your acquaintance.

Horner
And his Wife.

Sparkish
No gad, he’l nere let her come amongst us good fellows, your stingy country Coxcomb keeps his wife from his friends, as he does his little Firkin of Ale, for his own drinking, and a Gentleman can’t get a smack on’t, but his servants, when his back is turn’d broach it at their pleasures, and dust it away, ha, ha, ha, gad I am witty, I think, considering I was married to day, by the world, but come —

Horner
No, I will not dine with you, unless you can fetch her too.

Sparkish
Pshaw what pleasure can’st thou have with women now, Harry?

Horner
My eyes are not gone, I love a good prospect yet, and will not dine with you, unless she does too, go fetch her therefore, but do not tell her husband, ’tis for my sake.

Sparkish
Well I’le go try what I can do, in the mean time come away to my Aunts lodging, ’tis in the way to Pinchwifes.

Horner
The poor woman has call’d for aid, and stretch’d forth her hand Doctor, I cannot but help her over the Pale out of the Bryars.

Exeunt Sparkish, Horner, Quack.

The Scene changes to Pinchwifes house. Mrs. Pinchwife alone leaning on her elbow. A Table, Pen, Ink, and Paper.

Mrs. Pinchwife
Well ’tis ‘ene so, I have got the London disease, they call Love, I am sick of my Husband, and for my Gallant; I have heard this distemper, call’d a Feaver, but methinks ’tis liker an Ague, for when I think of my Husband, I tremble and am in a cold sweat, and have inclinations to vomit, but when I think of my Gallant, dear Mr. Horner, my hot fit comes, and I am all in a Feaver, indeed, & as in other Feavers, my own Chamber is tedious to me, and I would fain be remov’d to his, and then methinks I shou’d be well; ah poor Mr. Horner, well I cannot, will not stay here, therefore I’le make an end of my Letter to him, which shall be a finer Letter than my last, because I have studied it like any thing; O Sick, Sick!

Takes the Pen and writes.

Enter Mr. Pinchwife who seeing her writing steales softly behind her, and looking over her shoulder, snatches the paper from her.

Mr. Pinchwife
What writing more Letters?

Mrs. Pinchwife
O Lord Budd, why d’ye fright me so?

She offers to run out: he stops her, and reads.

Mr. Pinchwife
How’s this! nay you shall not stir Madam.
Deare, Deare, deare, Mr Horner — very well — I have taught you to write Letters to good purpose — but let’s see’t.
First I am to beg your pardon for my boldness in writing to you, which I’de have you to know, I would not have done, had not you said first you lov’d me so extreamly, which if you doe, you will never suffer me to lye in the arms of another man, whom I loath. nauseate, and detest — [Now you can write these filthy words] but what follows — Therefore I hope you will speedily find some way to free me from this unfortunate match, which was never, I assure you, of my choice, but I’m afraid ’tis already too far gone; however if you love me, as I do you, you will try what you can do, but you must help me away before to morrow, or else alass I shall be for ever out of your reach, for I can defer no longer our — our — what is to follow our — speak what? our Journey into [The Letter concludes. the Country I suppose — Oh Woman, damn’d Woman, and and Love, damn’d Love, their old Tempter, for this is one of his miracles, in a moment, he can make those blind that cou’d see, and those see that were blind, those dumb that could speak, and those prattle who were dumb before, nay what is more than all, make these dow-bak’d, sensless, indocile animals, Women, too hard for us their Politick Lords and Rulers in a moment; But make an end of your Letter, and then I’le make an end of you thus, and all my plagues together. [Draws his sword.

Mrs Pinchwife
O Lord, O Lord you are such a Passionate Man, Budd.

Enter Sparkish.

Sparkish
How now what’s here to doe.

Mr Pinchwife
This Fool here now!

Sparkish
What drawn upon your Wife? you shou’d never do that but at night in the dark when you can’t hurt her, this is my Sister in Law is it not? ay faith e’ne our Country Margery, one may know her, come [Pulls aside her Handkercheife.] she and you must go dine with me, dinner’s ready, come, but where’s my Wife, is she not come home yet, where is she?

Mr Pinchwife
Making you a Cuckold, ’tis that they all doe, as soon as they can.

Sparkish
What the Wedding day? no, a Wife that designs to make a Cully of her Husband, will be sure to let him win the first stake of love, by the world, but come they stay dinner for us, come I’le lead down our Margery.

Mrs Pinchwife
No — Sir go we’l follow you.

Sparkish
I will not wag without you.

Mr Pinchwife
This Coxcomb is a sensible torment to me amidst the greatest in the world.

Sparkish
Come, come Madam Margery.

Mr Pinchwife
No I’le lead her my way, what wou’d you treat your friends with mine, for want of your own Wife?

Leads her to t’other door, and locks her in and returns.

I am contented my rage shou’d take breath —[Aside

Sparkish
I told Horner this.

Mr Pinchwife
Come now.

Sparkish
Lord, how shye you are of your Wife, but let me tell you Brother, we men of wit have amongst us a saying, that Cuckolding like the small Pox comes with a fear, and you may keep your Wife as much as you will out of danger of infection, but if her constitution incline her to’t, she’l have it sooner or later by the world, say they.

Mr Pinchwife
What a thing is a Cuckold, that every fool can make him ridiculous — [Aside.] Well Sir — But let me advise you, now you are come to be concern’d, because you suspect the danger, not to neglect the means to prevent it, especially when the greatest share of the Malady will light upon your own head, for —
How’sere the kind Wife’s Belly comes to swell.
The Husband breeds for her, and first is ill.

         

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A Digital Anthology of Writing in English, 1660-1783