The Rover, by Aphra Behn

Act I.

Scene I. A chamber.

Enter Florinda and Hellena.

Florinda. What an impertinent thing is a young Girl bred in a Nunnery! How full of Questions! Prithee no more, Hellena; I have told thee more than thou understand’st already.

Hellena. The more’s my Grief; I wou’d fain know as much as you, which makes me so inquisitive; nor is’t enough to know you’re a Lover, unless you tell me too, who ’tis you sigh for.

Florinda. When you are a Lover, I’ll think you fit for a Secret of that nature.

Hellena. ’Tis true, I was never a Lover yet — but I begin to have a shreud Guess, what ’tis to be so, and fancy it very pretty to sigh, and sing, and blush and wish, and dream and wish, and long and wish to see the Man; and when I do, look pale and tremble; just as you did when my Brother brought home the fine English Colonel to see you — what do you call him? Don Belvile.

Florinda. Fie, Hellena.

Hellena. That Blush betrays you — I am sure ’tis so — or is it Don Antonio the Vice–Roy’s Son? — or perhaps the rich Don Vincentio, whom my father designs for your Husband? — Why do you blush again?

Florinda. With Indignation; and how near soever my Father thinks I am to marrying that hated Object, I shall let him see I understand better what’s due to my beauty Birth and Fortune, and more to my Soul, than to obey those unjust Commands.

Hellena. Now hang me, if I don’t love thee for that dear Disobedience. I love Mischief strangely, as most of our Sex do, who are come to love nothing else — But tell me, dear Florinda, don’t you love that fine Anglese? — For I vow next to loving him my self, ’twill please me most that you do so, for he is so gay and so handsom.

Florinda. Hellena, a Maid design’d for a Nun ought not to be so curious in a Discourse of Love.

Hellena. And dost thou think that ever I’ll be a Nun? Or at least till I’m so old, I’m fit for nothing else. Faith no, Sister; and that which makes me long to know whether you love Belvile, is because I hope he has some mad Companion or other, that will spoil my Devotion; nay I’m resolv’d to provide my self this Carnival, if there be e’er a handsom Fellow of my Humour above Ground, tho I ask first.

Florinda. Prithee be not so wild.

Hellena. Now you have provided your self with a Man, you take no Care for poor me — Prithee tell me, what dost thou see about me that is unfit for Love — have not I a world of Youth? a Humor gay? a Beauty passable? a Vigour desirable? well shap’d? clean limb’d? sweet breath’d? and Sense enough to know how all these ought to be employ’d to the best Advantage: yes, I do and will. Therefore lay aside your Hopes of my Fortune, by my being a Devotee, and tell me how you came acquainted with this Belvile; for I perceive you knew Him before he came to Naples.

Florinda. Yes, I knew him at the Siege of Pampelona, he was then a Colonel of French Horse, who when the Town was ransack’d, nobly treated my Brother and my self, preserving us from all Insolencies; and I must own, (besides great Obligations) I have I know not what, that pleads kindly for him about my Heart, and will suffer no other to enter — But see my Brother.

Enter Don Pedro, Stephano, with a Masquing Habit, and Callis.

Pedro. Good morrow, Sister. Pray, when saw you your Lover Don Vincentio?

Florinda. I know not, Sir — Callis, when was he here? for I consider it so little, I know not when it was.

Pedro. I have a Command from my Father here to tell you, you ought not to despise him, a Man of so vast a Fortune, and such a Passion for you — Stephano, my things — [Puts on his Masquing Habit.]

Florinda. A Passion for me! ’tis more than e’er I saw, or had a desire should be shown — I hate Vincentio, and I would not have a Man so dear to me as my Brother follow the ill Customs of our Country, and make a Slave of his Sister — And Sir, my Father’s Will, I’m sure, you may divert.

Pedro. I know not how dear I am to you, but I wish only to be rank’d in your Esteem, equal with the English Colonel Belvile — Why do you frown and blush? Is there any Guilt belongs to the Name of that Cavalier?

Florinda. I’ll not deny I value Belvile: when I was expos’d to such Dangers as the licens’d Lust of common Soldiers threatned, when Rage and Conquest flew thro the City — then Belvile, this Criminal for my sake, threw himself into all Dangers to save my Honour, and will you not allow him my Esteem?

Pedro. Yes, pay him what you will in Honour — but you must consider Don Vincentio’s Fortune, and the Jointure he’ll make you.

Florinda. Let him consider my Youth, Beauty and Fortune; which ought not to be thrown away on his Age and Jointure.

Pedro. ’Tis true, he’s not so young and fine a Gentleman as that Belvile — but what jewels will that Cavalier present you with? those of his Eyes and Heart?

Hellena. And are not those better than any Don Vincentio has brought from the Indies?

Pedro. Why how now! Has your Nunnery-breeding taught you to understand the Value of Hearts and Eyes?

Hellena. Better than to believe Vincentio deserves Value from any woman — He may perhaps encrease her Bags, but not her Family.

Pedro. This is fine — Go up to your Devotion, you are not design’d for the Conversation of Lovers.

Hellena. Nor Saints yet a while I hope. [Aside.] Is’t not enough you make a Nun of me, but you must cast my Sister away too, exposing her to a worse confinement than a religious Life?

Pedro. The Girl’s mad — Is it a Confinement to be carry’d into the Country, to an ancient Villa belonging to the Family of the Vincentio’s these five hundred Years, and have no other Prospect than that pleasing one of seeing all her own that meets her Eyes — a fine Air, large Fields and Gardens, where she may walk and gather Flowers?

Hellena. When? By Moon–Light? For I’m sure she dares not encounter with the heat of the Sun; that were a Task only for Don Vincentio and his Indian Breeding, who loves it in the Dog-days — And if these be her daily Divertisements, what are those of the Night? to lie in a wide Moth-eaten Bed–Chamber with Furniture in Fashion in the Reign of King Sancho the First; the Bed that which his Forefathers liv’d and dy’d in.

Pedro. Very well.

Hellena. This Apartment (new furbisht and fitted out for the young Wife) he (out of Freedom) makes his Dressing-room; and being a frugal and a jealous Coxcomb, instead of a Valet to uncase his feeble Carcase, he desires you to do that Office — Signs of Favour, I’ll assure you, and such as you must not hope for, unless your Woman be out of the way.

Pedro. Have you done yet?

Hellena. That Honour being past, the Giant stretches it self, yawns and sighs a Belch or two as loud as a Musket, throws himself into Bed, and expects you in his foul Sheets, and e’er you can get your self undrest, calls you with a Snore or two — And are not these fine Blessings to a young Lady?

Pedro. Have you done yet?

Hellena. And this man you must kiss, nay, you must kiss nay but him too — and nuzle thro his Beard to find his Lips — and this you must submit to for threescore Years, and all for a Jointure.

Pedro. For all your Character of Don Vincentio she is as like to marry him as she was before.

Hellena. Marry Don Vincentio! hang me, such a Wedlock would be worse than Adultery with another Man: I had rather see her in the Hostel de Dieu, to waste her Youth there in Vows, and be a Handmaid to Lazers and Cripples, than to lose it in such a Marriage.

Pedro. You have consider’d, Sister, that Belvile has no Fortune to bring you to, is banisht his Country, despis’d at home, and pity’d abroad.

Hellena. What then? the Vice–Roy’s Son is better than that Old Sir Fisty. Don Vincentio! Don Indian! he thinks he’s trading to Gambo still, and wou’d barter himself (that Bell and Bawble) for your Youth and Fortune.

Pedro. Callis, take her hence, and lock her up all this Carnival, and at Lent she shall begin her everlasting Penance in a Monastery.

Hellena. I care not, I had rather be a Nun, than be oblig’d to marry as you wou’d have me, if I were design’d for’t.

Pedro. Do not fear the Blessing of that Choice — you shall be a Nun.

Hellena. Shall I so? you may chance to be mistaken in my way of Devotion — A Nun! yes I am like to make a fine Nun! I have an excellent Humour for a Grate: No, I’ll have a Saint of my own to pray to shortly, if I like any that dares venture on me. [Aside.]

Pedro. Callis, make it your Business to watch this wild Cat. As for you, Florinda, I’ve only try’d you all this while, and urg’d my Father’s Will; but mine is, that you would love Antonio, he is brave and young, and all that can compleat the Happiness of a gallant Maid — This Absence of my Father will give us opportunity to free you from Vincentio, by marrying here, which you must do to morrow.

Florinda. To morrow!

Pedro. To morrow, or ’twill be too late —’tis not my Friendship to Antonio, which makes me urge this, but Love to thee, and Hatred to Vincentio — therefore resolve upon’t to morrow.

Florinda. Sir, I shall strive to do, as shall become your Sister.

Pedro. I’ll both believe and trust you — Adieu.

[Ex. Ped. and Steph.]

Hellena. As become his Sister! — That is, to be as resolved your way, as he is his —

[Hell. goes to Callis.]

Florinda. I ne’er till now perceiv’d my Ruin near, I’ve no Defence against Antonio’s Love, For he has all the Advantages of Nature, The moving Arguments of Youth and Fortune.

Hellena. But hark you, Callis, you will not be so cruel to lock me up indeed: will you?

Callis. I must obey the Commands I hate — besides, do you consider what a Life you are going to lead?

Hellena. Yes, Callis, that of a Nun: and till then I’ll be indebted a World of Prayers to you, if you let me now see, what I never did, the Divertisements of a Carnival.

Callis. What, go in Masquerade? ’twill be a fine farewell to the World I take it — pray what wou’d you do there?

Hellena. That which all the World does, as I am told, be as mad as the rest, and take all innocent Freedom — Sister, you’ll go too, will you not? come prithee be not sad — We’ll out-wit twenty Brothers, if you’ll be ruled by me — Come put off this dull Humour with your Clothes, and assume one as gay, and as fantastick as the Dress my Cousin Valeria and I have provided, and let’s ramble.

Florinda. Callis, will you give us leave to go?

Callis. I have a youthful Itch of going my self. [Aside.] — Madam, if I thought your Brother might not know it, and I might wait on you, for by my troth I’ll not trust young Girls alone.

Florinda. Thou see’st my Brother’s gone already and thou shalt attend and watch us.

Enter Stephano.

Stephano. Madam, the Habits are come, and your Cousin Valeria is drest, and stays for you.

Florinda. ’Tis well — I’ll write a Note, and if I chance to see Belvile, and want an opportunity to speak to him, that shall let him know what I’ve resolv’d in favour of him.

Hellena. Come, let’s in and dress us.


Scene II. A Long Street.

Enter Belvile, melancholy, Blunt and Frederick.

Frederick. Why, what the Devil ails the Colonel, in a time when all the World is gay, to look like mere Lent thus? Hadst thou been long enough in Naples to have been in love, I should have sworn some such Judgment had befall’n thee.

Belvile. No, I have made no new Amours since I came to Naples.

Frederick. You have left none behind you in Paris.

Belvile. Neither.

Frederick. I can’t divine the Cause then; unless the old Cause, the want of Mony.

Blunt. And another old Cause, the want of a Wench — Wou’d not that revive you?

Belvile. You’re mistaken, Ned.

Blunt. Nay, ’Sheartlikins, then thou art past Cure.

Frederick. I have found it out; thou hast renew’d thy Acquaintance with the Lady that cost thee so many Sighs at the Siege of Pampelona — pox on’t, what d’ye call her — her Brother’s a noble Spaniard — Nephew to the dead General — Florinda — ay, Florinda — And will nothing serve thy turn but that damn’d virtuous Woman, whom on my Conscience thou lov’st in spite too, because thou seest little or no possibility of gaining her?

Belvile. Thou art mistaken, I have Interest enough in that lovely Virgin’s Heart, to make me proud and vain, were it not abated by the Severity of a Brother, who perceiving my Happiness —

Frederick. Has civilly forbid thee the House?

Belvile. ’Tis so, to make way for a powerful Rival, the Vice–Roy’s Son, who has the advantage of me, in being a Man of Fortune, a Spaniard, and her Brother’s Friend; which gives him liberty to make his Court, whilst I have recourse only to Letters, and distant Looks from her Window, which are as soft and kind as those which Heav’n sends down on Penitents.

Blunt. Hey day! ’Sheartlikins, Simile! by this Light the Man is quite spoil’d — Frederick, what the Devil are we made of, that we cannot be thus concerned for a Wench? —’Sheartlikins, our Cupids are like the Cooks of the Camp, they can roast or boil a Woman, but they have none of the fine Tricks to set ’em off, no Hogoes to make the Sauce pleasant, and the Stomach sharp.

Frederick. I dare swear I have had a hundred as young, kind and handsom as this Florinda; and Dogs eat me, if they were not as troublesom to me i’th’ Morning, as they were welcome o’er night.

Blunt. And yet, I warrant, he wou’d not touch another Woman, if he might have her for nothing.

Belvile. That’s thy joy, a cheap Whore.

Blunt. Why, ’dsheartlikins, I love a frank Soul — When did you ever hear of an honest Woman that took a Man’s Mony? I warrant ’em good ones — But, Gentlemen, you may be free, you have been kept so poor with Parliaments and Protectors, that the little Stock you have is not worth preserving — but I thank my Stars, I have more Grace than to forfeit my Estate by Cavaliering.

Belvile. Methinks only following the Court should be sufficient to entitle ’em to that.

Blunt. ’Sheartlikins, they know I follow it to do it no good, unless they pick a hole in my Coat for lending you Mony now and then; which is a greater Crime to my Conscience, Gentlemen, than to the Common-wealth.

Enter Willmore.

Willmore. Ha! dear Belvile! noble Colonel!

Belvile. Willmore! welcome ashore, my dear Rover! — what happy Wind blew us this good Fortune?

Willmore. Let me salute you my dear Fred, and then command me — How is’t honest Lad?

Frederick. Faith, Sir, the old Complement, infinitely the better to see my dear mad Willmore again — Prithee why camest thou ashore? and where’s the Prince?

Willmore. He’s well, and reigns still Lord of the watery Element — I must aboard again within a Day or two, and my Business ashore was only to enjoy my self a little this Carnival.

Belvile. Pray know our new Friend, Sir, he’s but bashful, a raw Traveller, but honest, stout, and one of us. [Embraces Blunt.]

Willmore. That you esteem him, gives him an interest here.

Blunt. Your Servant, Sir.

Willmore. But well — Faith I’m glad to meet you again in a warm Climate, where the kind Sun has its god-like Power still over the Wine and Woman. — Love and Mirth are my Business in Naples; and if I mistake not the Place, here’s an excellent Market for Chapmen of my Humour.

Belvile. See here be those kind Merchants of Love you look for.

Enter several Men in masquing Habits, some playing on Musick, others dancing after; Women drest like Curtezans, with Papers pinn’d to their Breasts, and Baskets of Flowers in their Hands.

Blunt. ’Sheartlikins, what have we here!

Frederick. Now the Game begins.

Willmore. Fine pretty Creatures! may a stranger have leave to look and love? — What’s here — Roses for every Month! [Reads the Paper.]

Blunt. Roses for every Month! what means that?

Belvile. They are, or wou’d have you think they’re Curtezans, who here in Naples are to be hir’d by the Month.

Willmore. Kind and obliging to inform us — Pray where do these Roses grow? I would fain plant some of ’em in a Bed of mine.

Woman. Beware such Roses, Sir.

Willmore. A Pox of fear: I’ll be bak’d with thee between a pair of Sheets, and that’s thy proper Still, so I might but strow such Roses over me and under me — Fair one, wou’d you wou’d give me leave to gather at your Bush this idle Month, I wou’d go near to make some Body smell of it all the Year after.

Belvile. And thou hast need of such a Remedy, for thou stinkest of Tar and Rope-ends, like a Dock or Pesthouse.

[The Woman puts her self into the Hands of a Man, and Exit.]

Willmore. Nay, nay, you shall not leave me so.

Belvile. By all means use no Violence here.

Willmore. Death! just as I was going to be damnably in love, to have her led off! I could pluck that Rose out of his Hand, and even kiss the Bed, the Bush it grew in.

Frederick. No Friend to Love like a long Voyage at Sea.

Blunt. Except a Nunnery, Fred.

Willmore. Death! but will they not be kind, quickly be kind? Thou know’st I’m no tame Sigher, but a rampant Lion of the Forest.

Two Men drest all over with Horns of several sorts, making Grimaces at one another, with Papers pinn’d on their Backs, advance from the farther end of the Scene.

Belvile. Oh the fantastical Rogues, how they are dress’d! ’tis a Satir against the whole Sex.

Willmore. Is this a Fruit that grows in this warm Country?

Belvile. Yes: ’Tis pretty to see these Italian start, swell, and stab at the Word Cuckold, and yet stumble at Horns on every Threshold.

Willmore. See what’s on their Back — Flowers for every Night. [Reads.] — Ah Rogue! And more sweet than Roses of ev’ry Month! This is a Gardiner of Adam’s own breeding. [They dance.]

Belvile. What think you of those grave People? — is a Wake in Essex half so mad or extravagant?

Willmore. I like their sober grave way, ’tis a kind of legal authoriz’d Fornication, where the Men are not chid for’t, nor the Women despis’d, as amongst our dull English; even the Monsieurs want that part of good Manners.

Belvile. But here in Italy a Monsieur is the humblest best-bred Gentleman — Duels are so baffled by Bravo’s that an age shews not one, but between a Frenchman and a Hang-man, who is as much too hard for him on the Piazza, as they are for a Dutchman on the new Bridge — But see another Crew.

Enter Florinda, Hellena, and Valeria, drest like Gipsies; Callis and Stephano, Lucetta, Philippo and Sancho in Masquerade.

Hellena. Sister, there’s your Englishman, and with him a handsom proper Fellow — I’ll to him, and instead of telling him his Fortune, try my own.

Willmore. Gipsies, on my Life — Sure these will prattle if a Man cross their Hands. [Goes to Hellena] — Dear pretty (and I hope) young Devil, will you tell an amorous Stranger what Luck he’s like to have?

Hellena. Have a care how you venture with me, Sir, lest I pick your Pocket, which will more vex your English Humour, than an Italian Fortune will please you.

Willmore. How the Devil cam’st thou to know my Country and Humour?

Hellena. The first I guess by a certain forward Impudence, which does not displease me at this time; and the Loss of your Money will vex you, because I hope you have but very little to lose.

Willmore. Egad Child, thou’rt i’th’ right; it is so little, I dare not offer it thee for a Kindness — But cannot you divine what other things of more value I have about me, that I would more willingly part with?

Hellena. Indeed no, that’s the Business of a Witch, and I am but a Gipsy yet — Yet, without looking in your Hand, I have a parlous Guess, ’tis some foolish Heart you mean, an inconstant English Heart, as little worth stealing as your Purse.

Willmore. Nay, then thou dost deal with the Devil, that’s certain — Thou hast guess’d as right as if thou hadst been one of that Number it has languisht for — I find you’ll be better acquainted with it; nor can you take it in a better time, for I am come from Sea, Child; and Venus not being propitious to me in her own Element, I have a world of Love in store — Wou’d you would be good-natur’d, and take some on’t off my Hands.

Hellena. Why — I could be inclin’d that way — but for a foolish Vow I am going to make — to die a Maid.

Willmore. Then thou art damn’d without Redemption; and as I am a good Christian, I ought in charity to divert so wicked a Design — therefore prithee, dear Creature, let me know quickly when and where I shall begin to set a helping hand to so good a Work.

Hellena. If you should prevail with my tender Heart (as I begin to fear you will, for you have horrible loving Eyes) there will be difficulty in’t that you’ll hardly undergo for my sake.

Willmore. Faith, Child, I have been bred in Dangers, and wear a Sword that has been employ’d in a worse Cause, than for a handsom kind Woman — Name the Danger — let it be any thing but a long Siege, and I’ll undertake it.

Hellena. Can you storm?

Willmore. Oh, most furiously.

Hellena. What think you of a Nunnery-wall? for he that wins me, must gain that first.

Willmore. A Nun! Oh how I love thee for’t! there’s no Sinner like a young Saint — Nay, now there’s no denying me: the old Law had no Curse (to a Woman) like dying a Maid; witness Jephtha’s Daughter.

Hellena. A very good Text this, if well handled; and I perceive, Father Captain, you would impose no severe Penance on her who was inclin’d to console her self before she took Orders.

Willmore. If she be young and handsom.

Hellena. Ay, there’s it — but if she be not —

Willmore. By this Hand, Child, I have an implicit Faith, and dare venture on thee with all Faults — besides, ’tis more meritorious to leave the World when thou hast tasted and prov’d the Pleasure on’t; then ’twill be a Virtue in thee, which now will be pure Ignorance.

Hellena. I perceive, good Father Captain, you design only to make me fit for Heaven — but if on the contrary you should quite divert me from it, and bring me back to the World again, I should have a new Man to seek I find; and what a grief that will be — for when I begin, I fancy I shall love like any thing: I never try’d yet.

Willmore. Egad, and that’s kind — Prithee, dear Creature, give me Credit for a Heart, for faith, I’m a very honest Fellow — Oh, I long to come first to the Banquet of Love; and such a swinging Appetite I bring — Oh, I’m impatient. Thy Lodging, Sweetheart, thy Lodging, or I’m a dead man.

Hellena. Why must we be either guilty of Fornication or Murder, if we converse With you Men? — And is there no difference between leave to love me, and leave to lie with me?

Willmore. Faith, Child, they were made to go together.

Lucetta. Are you sure this is the Man? [Pointing to Blunt.]

Sancho. When did I mistake your Game?

Lucetta. ’This is a stranger, I know by his gazing; if he be brisk he’ll venture to follow me; and then, if I understand my Trade, he’s mine: he’s English too, and they say that’s a sort of good natur’d loving People, and have generally so kind an opinion of themselves, that a Woman with any Wit may flatter ’em into any sort of Fool she pleases.

Blunt. ’Tis so — she is taken — I have Beauties which my false Glass at home did not discover.

[She often passes by Blunt and gazes on him; he struts, and cocks, and walks, and gazes on her.]

Florinda. This Woman watches me so, I shall get no Opportunity to discover my self to him, and so miss the intent of my coming — But as I was saying, Sir — by this Line you should be a Lover. [Looking in his Hand.]

Belvile. I thought how right you guess’d, all Men are in love, or pretend to be so — Come, let me go, I’m weary of this fooling. [Walks away.]

Florinda. I will not, till you have confess’d whether the Passion that you have vow’d Florinda be true or false. [She holds him, he strives to get from her.]

Belvile. Florinda! [Turns quick towards her.]

Florinda. Softly.

Belvile. Thou hast nam’d one will fix me here for ever.

Florinda. She’ll be disappointed then, who expects you this Night at the Garden-gate, and if you’ll fail not — as let me see the other Hand — you will go near to do — she vows to die or make you happy. [Looks on Callis, who observes ’em.]

Belvile. What canst thou mean?

Florinda. That which I say — Farewel. [Offers to go.]

Belvile. Oh charming Sybil, stay, complete that Joy, which, as it is, will turn into Distraction! — Where must I be? at the Garden — gate? I know it — at night you say — I’ll sooner forfeit Heaven than disobey.

Enter Don Pedro and other Masquers, and pass over the Stage.

Callis. Madam, your Brother’s here.

Florinda. Take this to instruct you farther.

[Gives him a Letter, and goes off.]

Frederick. Have a care, Sir, what you promise; this may be a Trap laid by her Brother to ruin you.

Belvile. Do not disturb my Happiness with Doubts. [Opens the Letter.]

Willmore. My dear pretty Creature, a Thousand Blessings on thee; still in this Habit, you say, and after Dinner at this Place.

Hellena. Yes, if you will swear to keep your Heart, and not bestow it between this time and that.

Willmore. By all the little Gods of Love I swear, I’ll leave it with you; and if you run away with it, those Deities of Justice will revenge me.

[Ex. all the Women except Lucetta.]

Frederick. Do you know the Hand?

Belvile. ’Tis Florinda’s. All Blessings fall upon the virtuous Maid.

Frederick. Nay, no Idolatry, a sober Sacrifice I’ll allow you.

Belvile. Oh Friends! the welcom’st News, the softest Letter! — nay, you shall see it; and could you now be serious, I might be made the happiest Man the Sun shines on.

Willmore. The Reason of this mighty Joy.

Belvile. See how kindly she invites me to deliver her from the threaten’d Violence of her Brother — will you not assist me?

Willmore. I know not what thou mean’st, but I’ll make one at any Mischief where a Woman’s concern’d — but she’ll be grateful to us for the Favour, will she not?

Belvile. How mean you?

Willmore. How should I mean? Thou know’st there’s but one way for a Woman to oblige me.

Belvile. Don’t prophane — the Maid is nicely virtuous.

Willmore. Who pox, then she’s fit for nothing but a Husband; let her e’en go, Colonel.

Frederick. Peace, she’s the Colonel’s Mistress, Sir.

Willmore. Let her be the Devil; if she be thy Mistress, I’ll serve her — name the way.

Belvile. Read here this Postcript. [Gives him a Letter.]

Willmore. [Reads.] At Ten at night — at the Garden–Gate — of which, if I cannot get the Key, I will contrive a way over the Wall — come attended with a Friend or two. — Kind heart, if we three cannot weave a String to let her down a Garden–Wall, ’twere pity but the Hangman wove one for us all.

Frederick. Let her alone for that: your Woman’s Wit, your fair kind Woman, will out-trick a Brother or a Jew, and contrive like a Jesuit in Chains — but see, Ned Blunt is stoln out after the Lure of a Damsel.

[Ex. Blunt and Lucet.]

Belvile. So he’ll scarce find his way home again, unless we get him cry’d by the Bell-man in the Market-place, and ’twou’d sound prettily — a lost English Boy of Thirty.

Frederick. I hope ’tis some common crafty Sinner, one that will fit him; it may be she’ll sell him for Peru, the Rogue’s sturdy and would work well in a Mine; at least I hope she’ll dress him for our Mirth; cheat him of all, then have him well-favour’dly bang’d, and turn’d out naked at Midnight.

Willmore. Prithee what Humor is he of, that you wish him so well?

Belvile. Why, of an English Elder Brother’s Humour, educated in a Nursery, with a Maid to tend him till Fifteen, and lies with his Grand-mother till he’s of Age; one that knows no Pleasure beyond riding to the next Fair, or going up to London with his right Worshipful Father in Parliament-time; wearing gay Clothes, or making honourable Love to his Lady Mother’s Landry–Maid; gets drunk at a Hunting–Match, and ten to one then gives some Proofs of his Prowess — A pox upon him, he’s our Banker, and has all our Cash about him, and if he fail we are all broke.

Frederick. Oh let him alone for that matter, he’s of a damn’d stingy Quality, that will secure our Stock. I know not in what Danger it were indeed, if the Jilt should pretend she’s in love with him, for ’tis a kind believing Coxcomb; otherwise if he part with more than a Piece of Eight — geld him: for which offer he may chance to be beaten, if she be a Whore of the first Rank.

Belvile. Nay the Rogue will not be easily beaten, he’s stout enough; perhaps if they talk beyond his Capacity, he may chance to exercise his Courage upon some of them; else I’m sure they’ll find it as difficult to beat as to please him.

Willmore. ’Tis a lucky Devil to light upon so kind a Wench!

Frederick. Thou hadst a great deal of talk with thy little Gipsy, coud’st thou do no good upon her? for mine was hard-hearted.

Willmore. Hang her, she was some damn’d honest Person of Quality, I’m sure, she was so very free and witty. If her Face be but answerable to her Wit and Humour, I would be bound to Constancy this Month to gain her. In the mean time have you made no kind Acquaintance since you came to Town? — You do not use to be honest so long, Gentlemen.

Frederick. Faith Love has kept us honest, we have been all fir’d with a Beauty newly come to Town, the famous Paduana Angelica Bianca.

Willmore. What, the Mistress of the dead Spanish General?

Belvile. Yes, she’s now the only ador’d Beauty of all the Youth in Naples, who put on all their Charms to appear lovely in her sight, their Coaches, Liveries, and themselves, all gay, as on a Monarch’s Birth–Day, to attract the Eyes of this fair Charmer, while she has the Pleasure to behold all languish for her that see her.

Frederick. ’Tis pretty to see with how much Love the Men regard her, and how much Envy the Women.

Willmore. What Gallant has she?

Belvile. None, she’s exposed to Sale, and four Days in the Week she’s yours — for so much a Month.

Willmore. The very Thought of it quenches all manner of Fire in me — yet prithee let’s see her.

Belvile. Let’s first to Dinner, and after that we’ll pass the Day as you please — but at Night ye must all be at my Devotion.

Willmore. I will not fail you.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51