The Rover, Part II, by Aphra Behn

Act II.

SCENE I. The Street.

Enter Fetherfool and Sancho, passing over the Stage; after them Willmore and Blunt, follow’d by Ariadne and Lucia.

Willmore. ’Tis so, by Heaven, he’s chaffering with her Pimp. I’ll spare my Curses on him for having her, he has a Plague beyond ’em. — Harkye, I’ll never love, nor lie with Women more, those Slaves to Lust, to Vanity and Interest.

Blunt. Ha, Captain! [Shaking his Head and smiling.]

Willmore. Come, let’s go drink Damnation to ’em all.

Blunt. Not all, good Captain.

Willmore. All, for I hate ’em all —

Ariadne. Heavens! if he should indeed! [Aside.]

Blunt. But, Robert, I have found you most inclined to a Damsel when you had a Bottle in your Head.

Willmore. Give me thy Hand, Ned — Curse me, despise me, point me out for Cowardice if e’er thou see’st me court a Woman more: Nay, when thou knowest I ask any of the Sex a civil Question again — a Plague upon ’em, how they’ve handled me — come, let’s go drink, I say — Confusion to the Race — A Woman! — no, I will be burnt with my own Fire to Cinders e’er any of the Brood shall lay my Flame —

Ariadne. He cannot be so wicked to keep this Resolution sure — [She passes by.] Faith, I must be resolv’d — you’ve made a pious Resolution, Sir, had you the Grace to keep it — [Passing on he pauses, and looks on her.]

Willmore. Hum — What’s that?

Blunt. That — O— nothing — but a Woman — come away.

Willmore. A Woman! Damn her, what Mischief made her cross my way just on the Point of Reformation!

Blunt. I find the Devil will not lose so hopeful a Sinner. Hold, hold, Captain, have you no Regard to your own Soul? ’dsheartlikins, ’tis a Woman, a very errant Woman.

Ariadne. Your Friend informs you right, Sir, I am a Woman.

Willmore. Ay, Child, or I were a lost Man — therefore, dear lovely Creature —

Ariadne. How can you tell, Sir?

Willmore. Oh, I have naturally a large Faith, Child, and thou’st promising Form, a tempting Motion, clean Limbs, well drest, and a most damnable inviting Air.

Ariadne. I am not to be sold, nor fond of Praise I merit not.

Willmore. How, not to be sold too! By this light, Child, thou speakest like a Cherubim, I have not heard so obliging a Sound from the Mouth of Woman-kind this many a Day — I find we must be better acquainted, my Dear.

Ariadne. Your Reason, good familiar Sir, I see no such Necessity.

Willmore. Child, you are mistaken, I am in great Necessity; for first I love thee — desperately — have I not damn’d my Soul already for thee, and wouldst thou be so wicked to refuse a little Consolation to my Body? Then secondly, I see thou art frank and good-natur’d, and wilt do Reason gratis.

Ariadne. How prove ye that, good Mr. Philospher?

Willmore. Thou say’st thou’rt not to be sold, and I’m sure thou’rt to be had — that lovely Body of so divine a Form, those soft smooth Arms and Hands, were made t’embrace as well as be embrac’d; that delicate white rising Bosom to be prest, and all thy other Charms to be enjoy’d.

Ariadne. By one that can esteem ’em to their worth, can set a Value and a Rate upon ’em.

Willmore. Name not those Words, they grate my Ears like Jointure, that dull conjugal Cant that frights the generous Lover. Rate — Death, let the old Dotards talk of Rates, and pay it t’atone for the Defects of Impotence. Let the sly Statesman, who jilts the Commonwealth with his grave Politicks, pay for the Sin, that he may doat in secret; let the brisk Fool inch out his scanted Sense with a large Purse more eloquent than he: But tell not me of Rates, who bring a Heart, Youth, Vigor, and a Tongue to sing the Praise of every single Pleasure thou shalt give me.

Ariadne. Then if I should be kind, I perceive you would not keep the Secret.

Willmore. Secrecy is a damn’d ungrateful Sin, Child, known only where Religion and Small-beer are current, despis’d where Apollo and the Vine bless the Country: you find none of Jove’s Mistresses hid in Roots and Plants, but fixt Stars in Heaven for all to gaze and wonder at — and tho I am no God, my Dear, I’ll do a Mortal’s Part, and generously tell the admiring World what hidden Charms thou hast: Come, lead me to some Place of Happiness —

Blunt. Prithee, honest Damsel, be not so full of Questions; will a Pistole or two do thee any hurt?

Lucia. None at all, Sir —

Blunt. Thou speak’st like a hearty Wench — and I believe hast not been one of Venus’ Hand-maids so long, but thou understand thy Trade — In short, fair Damsel, this honest Fellow here who is so termagant upon thy Lady, is my Friend, my particular Friend, and therefore I would have him handsomly, and well-favour’dly abus’d — you conceive me.

Lucia. Truly, Sir, a friendly Request — but in what Nature abus’d?

Blunt. Nature! — why any of your Tricks would serve — but if he could be conveniently strip’d and beaten, or tost in a Blanket, or any such trivial Business, thou wouldst do me a singular Kindness; as for Robbery he defies the Devil: an empty Pocket is an Antidote against that Ill.

Lucia. Your Money, Sir: and if he be not cozen’d, say a Spanish Woman has neither Wit nor Invention upon Occasion.

Blunt. Sheartlikins, how I shall love and honour thee for’t — here’s earnest — [Talks to her with Joy and Grimace.]

Ariadne. But who was that you entertain’d at Church but now?

Willmore. Faith, one, who for her Beauty merits that glorious Title she wears, it was — a Whore, Child.

Ariadne. That’s but a scurvy Name; yet, if I’m not mistaken, in those false Eyes of yours, they look with longing Love upon that — Whore, Child.

Willmore. Thou are i’th’ right, and by this hand, my Soul was full as wishing as my eyes: but a Pox on’t, you Women have all a certain Jargon, or Gibberish, peculiar to your selves; of Value, Rate, Present, Interest, Settlement, Advantage, Price, Maintenance, and the Devil and all of Fopperies, which in plain Terms signify ready Money, by way of Fine before Entrance; so that an honest well-meaning Merchant of Love finds no Credit amongst ye, without his Bill of Lading.

Ariadne. We are not all so cruel — but the Devil on’t is, your good — natur’d Heart is likely accompanied with an ill Face and worse Wit.

Willmore. Faith, Child, a ready Dish when a Man’s Stomach is up, is better than a tedious Feast. I never saw any Man yet cut my piece; some are for Beauty, some are for Wit, and some for the Secret, but I for all, so it be in a kind Girl: and for Wit in Woman, so she say pretty fond things, we understand; tho true or false, no matter.

Ariadne. Give the Devil his due, you are a very conscientious Lover: I love a Man that scorns to impose dull Truth and Constancy on a Mistress.

Willmore. Constancy, that current Coin with Fools! No, Child, Heaven keep that Curse from our Doors.

Ariadne. Hang it, it loses Time and Profit, new Lovers have new Vows and new Presents, whilst the old feed upon a dull repetition of what they did when they were Lovers; ’tis like eating the cold Meat ones self, after having given a Friend a Feast.

Willmore. Yes, that’s the thrifty Food for the Family when the Guests are gone. Faith, Child, thou hast made a neat and a hearty Speech: But prithee, my Dear, for the future, leave out that same Profit and Present, for I have a natural Aversion to hard words; and for matter of quick Dispatch in the Business — give me thy Hand, Child — let us but start fair, and if thou outstripst me, thou’rt a nimble Racer. [Lucia sees Shift.]

Lucia. Oh, Madam, let’s be gone: younder’s Lieutenant Shift, who, if he sees us, will certainly give an Account of it to Mr. Beaumond. Let’s get in thro the Garden, I have the Key.

Ariadne. Here’s Company coming, and for several reasons I would not be seen. [Offers to go.]

Willmore. Gad, Child, nor I; Reputation is tender — therefore prithee let’s retire. [Offers to go with her.]

Ariadne. You must not stir a step.

Willmore. Not stir! no Magick Circle can detain me if you go.

Ariadne. Follow me then at a distance, and observe where I enter; and at night (if your Passion lasts so long) return, and you shall find Admittance into the Garden. [Speaking hastily.] [He runs out after her.]

Enter Shift.

Shift. Well, Sir, the Mountebank’s come, and just going to begin in the Piazza; I have order’d Matters, that you shall have a Sight of the Monsters, and leave to court ’em, and when won, to give the Guardian a fourth part of the Portions.

Blunt. Good: But Mum — here’s the Captain, who must by no means know our good Fortune, till he see us in State.

Enter Willmore, Shift goes to him.

Shift. All things are ready, Sir, for our Design, the House prepar’d as you directed me, the Guardian wrought upon by the Persuasions of the two Monsters, to take a Lodging there, and try the Bath of Reformation: The Bank’s preparing, and the Operators and Musick all ready, and the impatient Town flockt together to behold the Man of Wonders, and nothing wanting but your Donship and a proper Speech.

Willmore. ’Tis well, I’ll go fit my self with a Dress, and think of a Speech the while: In the mean time, go you and amuse the gaping Fools that expect my coming. [Goes out.]

Enter Fetherfool singing and dancing.

Fetherfool. Have you heard of a Spanish Lady, How she woo’d an English Man?

Blunt. Why, how now, Fetherfool?

Fetherfool. Garments gay, and rich as may be, Deckt with Jewels, had she on.

Blunt. Why, how now, Justice, what run mad out of Dog-days?

Fetherfool. Of a comely Countenance and Grace is she, A sweeter Creature in the World there could not be.

Shift. Why, what the Devil’s the matter, Sir?

Blunt. Stark mad, ’dshartlikins.

Fetherfool. Of a Comely Countenance — well, Lieutenant, the most heroick and illustrious Madona! Thou saw’st her, Ned: And of a comely Counte — The most Magnetick Face — well — I knew the Charms of these Eyes of mine were not made in vain: I was design’d for great things, that’s certain — And a sweeter Creature in the World there could not be. [Singing.]

Blunt. What then the two Lady Monsters are forgotten? the Design upon the Million of Money, the Coach and Six, and Patent for Right Worshipful, all drown’d in the Joy of this new Mistress? — But well, Lieutenant, since he is so well provided for, you may put in with me for a Monster; such a Jest, and such a Sum, is not to be lost.

Shift. Nor shall not, or I have lost my Aim. [Aside.]

Fetherfool. [Putting off his Hat.] Your Pardons, good Gentlemen; and tho I perceive I shall have no great need for so trifling a Sum as a hundred thousand Pound, or so, yet a Bargain’s a Bargain, Gentlemen.

Blunt. Nay, ’dsheartlikins, the Lieutenant scorns to do a foul thing, d’ye see, but we would not have the Monsters slighted.

Fetherfool. Slighted! no, Sir, I scorn your Words, I’d have ye to know, that I have as high a Respect for Madam Monster, as any Gentleman in Christendom, and so I desire she should understand.

Blunt. Why, this is that that’s handsom.

Shift. Well, the Mountebank’s come, Lodgings are taken at his House, and the Guardian prepar’d to receive you on the aforesaid Terms, and some fifty Pistoles to the Mountebank to stand your Friend, and the Business is done.

Fetherfool. Which shall be perform’d accordingly, I have it ready about me.

Blunt. And here’s mine, put ’em together, and let’s be speedy, lest some should bribe higher, and put in before us. [Feth. takes the Money, and looks pitiful on’t.]

Fetherfool. Tis a plaguy round Sum, Ned, pray God it turn to Account.

Blunt. Account, ’dsheartlikins, tis not in the Power of mortal Man to cozen ’me.

Shift. Oh fie, Sir, cozen you, Sir! — well, you’ll stay here and see the Mountebank, he’s coming forth.

[A Hollowing. Enter from the Front a Bank, a Pageant, which they fix on the Stage at one side, a little Pavilion on’t, Musick playing, and Operators round below, or Antickers.]

[Musick plays, and an Antick Dance.]

Enter Willmore like a Mountebank, with a Dagger in one Hand, and a Viol in the other, Harlequin and Scaramouche; Carlo with other Spaniards below, and Rabble; Ariadne and Lucia above in the Balcony, others on the other side, Fetherfool and Blunt below.

Willmore. (bowing) Behold this little Viol, which contains in its narrow Bounds what the whole Universe cannot purchase, if sold to its true Value; this admirable, this miraculous Elixir, drawn from the Hearts of Mandrakes, Phenix Livers, and Tongues of Maremaids, and distill’d by contracted Sun–Beams, has besides the unknown Virtue of curing all Distempers both of Mind and Body, that divine one of animating the Heart of Man to that Degree, that however remiss, cold and cowardly by Nature, he shall become vigorous and brave. Oh stupid and insensible Man, when Honour and secure Renown invites you, to treat it with Neglect, even when you need but passive Valour, to become the Heroes of the Age; receive a thousand Wounds, each of which wou’d let out fleeting Life: Here’s that can snatch the parting Soul in its full Career, and bring it back to its native Mansion; baffles grim Death, and disappoints even Fate.

Fetherfool. Oh Pox, an a Man were sure of that now —

Willmore. Behold, here’s Demonstration —

[Harlequin stabs himself, and falls as dead.]

Fetherfool. Hold, hold, why, what the Devil is the Fellow mad?

Blunt. Why, do’st think he has hurt himself?

Fetherfool. Hurt himself! why, he’s murder’d, Man; ’tis flat Felo de se, in any ground in England, if I understand Law, and I have been a Justice o’th’ Peace.

Willmore. See, Gentlemen, he’s dead —

Fetherfool. Look ye there now, I’ll be gone lest I be taken as an Accessary. [Going out.]

Willmore. Coffin him, inter him, yet after four and twenty Hours, as many Drops of this divine Elixir give him new Life again; this will recover whole Fields of slain, and all the Dead shall rise and fight again —’twas this that made the Roman Legions numerous, and now makes France so formidable, and this alone — may be the Occasion of the loss of Germany. [Pours in Harlequin’s Wound, he rises.]

Fetherfool. Why this Fellow’s the Devil, Ned, that’s for certain.

Blunt. Oh plague, a damn’d Conjurer, this —

Willmore. Come, buy this Coward’s Comfort, quickly buy; what Fop would be abus’d, mimick’d and scorn’d, for fear of Wounds can be so easily cured? Who is’t wou’d bear the Insolence and Pride of domineering great Men, proud Officers or Magistrates? or who wou’d cringe to Statesmen out of Fear? What Cully wou’d be cuckolded? What foolish Heir undone by cheating Gamesters? What Lord wou’d be lampoon’d? What Poet fear the Malice of his satirical Brother, or Atheist fear to fight for fear of Death? Come buy my Coward’s Comfort, quickly buy.

Fetherfool. Egad, Ned, a very excellent thing this; I’ll lay out ten Reals upon this Commodity.

[They buy, whilst another Part of the Dance is danc’d.]

Willmore. Behold this little Paper, which contains a Pouder, whose Value surmounts that of Rocks of Diamonds and Hills of Gold; ’twas this made Venus a Goddess, and was given her by Apollo, from her deriv’d to Helen, and in the Sack of Troy lost, till recover’d by me out of some Ruins of Asia. Come, buy it, Ladies, you that wou’d be fair and wear eternal Youth; and you in whom the amorous Fire remains, when all the Charms are fled: You that dress young and gay, and would be thought so, that patch and paint, to fill up sometimes old Furrows on your Brows, and set yourselves for Conquest, tho in vain; here’s that will give you aubern Hair, white Teeth, red Lips, and Dimples on your Cheeks: Come, buy it all you that are past bewitching, and wou’d have handsom, young and active Lovers.

Fetherfool. Another good thing, Ned.

Carlo. I’ll lay out a Pistole or two in this, if it have the same Effect on Men.

Willmore. Come, all you City Wives, that wou’d advance your Husbands to Lord Mayors, come, buy of me new Beauty; this will give it tho now decay’d, as are your Shop Commodities; this will retrieve your Customers, and vend your false and out of fashion’d Wares: cheat, lye, protest and cozen as you please, a handsom Wife makes all a lawful Gain. Come, City Wives, come, buy.

Fetherfool. A most prodigious Fellow!

[They buy, he sits, the other Part is danc’d.]

Willmore. But here, behold the Life and Soul of Man! this is the amorous Pouder, which Venus made and gave the God of Love, which made him first a Deity; you talk of Arrows, Bow, and killing Darts; Fables, poetical Fictions, and no more: ’tis this alone that wounds and fires the Heart, makes Women kind, and equals Men to Gods; ’tis this that makes your great Lady doat on the ill-favour’d Fop; your great Man be jilted by his little Mistress, the Judge cajol’d by his Semstress, and your Politican by his Comedian; your young lady doat on her decrepid Husband, your Chaplain on my Lady’s Waiting–Woman, and the young Squire on the Landry–Maid — In fine, Messieurs,

’Tis this that cures the Lover’s Pain,

And Celia of her cold Disdain.

Fetherfool. A most devilish Fellow this!

Blunt. Hold, shartlikins, Fetherfool, let’s have a Dose or two of this Pouder for quick Dispatch with our Monsters.

Fetherfool. Why Pox, Man, Jugg my Giant would swallow a whole Cart–Load before ’twould operate.

Blunt. No hurt in trying a Paper or two however.

Carlo. A most admirable Receit, I shall have need on’t.

Willmore. I need say nothing of my divine Baths of Reformation, nor the wonders of the old Oracle of the Box, which resolves all Questions, my Bills sufficiently declare their Virtue. [Sits down. They buy.]

Enter Petronella Elenora carried in a Chair, dress’d like a Girl of Fifteen.

Shift. Room there, Gentlemen, room for a Patient.

Blunt. Pray, Seignior, who may this be thus muzzl’d by old Gaffer Time?

Carlo. One Petronella Elenora, Sir, a famous outworn Curtezan.

Blunt. Elenora! she may be that of Troy for her Antiquity, tho fitter for God Priapus to ravish than Paris.

Shift. Hunt, a word; dost thou see that same formal Politician yonder, on the Jennet, the nobler Animal of the two?

Hunt. What of him?

Shift. ’Tis the same drew on the Captain this Morning, and I must revenge the Affront.

Hunt. Have a care of Revenges in Spain, upon Persons of his Quality.

Shift. Nay, I’ll only steal his Horse from under him.

Hunt. Steal it! thou may’st take it by force perhaps; but how safely is a Question.

Shift. I’ll warrant thee — shoulder you up one side of his great Saddle, I’ll do the like on t’other; then heaving him gently up, Harlequin shall lead the Horse from between his Worship’s Legs: All this in the Crowd will not be perceiv’d, where all Eyes are imploy’d on the Mountebank.

Hunt. I apprehend you now —

[Whilst they are lifting Petronella on the Mountebank’s Stage, they go into the Crowd, shoulder up Carlo’s Saddle. Harlequin leads the Horse forward, whilst Carlo is gazing, and turning up his Mustachios; they hold him up a little while, then let him drop: he rises and stares about for his Horse.]

Carlo. This is flat Conjuration.

Shift. What’s your Worship on foot?

Hunt. I never saw his Worship on foot before.

Carlo. Sirrah, none of your Jests, this must be by diabolical Art, and shall cost the Seignior dear — Men of my Garb affronted — my Jennet vanisht — most miraculous — by St. Jago, I’ll be revenged — hah, what’s here — La Nuche — [Surveys her at a distance.]

Enter La Nuche, Aurelia, Sancho.

La Nuche. We are pursu’d by Beaumond, who will certainly hinder our speaking to Willmore, should we have the good fortune to see him in this Crowd — and yet there’s no avoiding him.

Beaumond. ’Tis she, how carefully she shuns me!

Aurelia. I’m satisfied he knows us by the jealous Concern which appears in that prying Countenance of his.

Beaumond. Stay, Cruel, is it Love or Curiosity, that wings those nimble Feet? [Holds her.]

[Lucia above and Ariadne.]

Ariadne. Beaumond with a Woman!

Beaumond. Have you forgot this is the glorious Day that ushers in the Night shall make you mine? the happiest Night that ever favour’d Love!

La Nuche. Or if I have, I find you’ll take care to remember me.

Beaumond. Sooner I could forget the Aids of Life, sooner forget how first that Beauty charm’d me.

La Nuche. Well, since your Memory’s so good, I need not doubt your coming.

Beaumond. Still cold and unconcern’d! How have I doated, and how sacrific’d, regardless of my Fame, lain idling here, when all the Youth of Spain were gaining Honour, valuing one Smile of thine above their Laurels!

La Nuche. And in return, I do submit to yield, preferring you above those fighting Fools, who safe in Multitudes reap Honour cheaper.

Beaumond. Yet there is one — one of those fighting Fools which should’st thou see, I fear I were undone; brave, handsome, gay, and all that Women doat on, unfortunate in every good of Life, but that one Blessing of obtaining Women: Be wise, for if thou seest him thou art lost — Why dost thou blush?

La Nuche. Because you doubt my Heart —’tis Willmore that he means. [Aside.] We’ve Eyes upon us, Don Carlo may grow jealous, and he’s a powerful Rival — at night I shall expect ye.

Beaumond. Whilst I prepare my self for such a Blessing.

[Ex. Beau.]

Carlo. Hah! a Cavalier in conference with La Nuche! and entertain’d without my knowledge! I must prevent this Lover, for he’s young — and this Night will surprise her. [Aside.]

Willmore. And you would be restor’d? [To Petro.]

Petronella. Yes, if there be that Divinity in your Baths of Reformation.

Willmore. There are.

New Flames shall sparkle in those Eyes;

And these grey Hairs flowing and bright shall rise:

These Cheeks fresh Buds of Roses wear,

And all your wither’d Limbs so smooth and clear,

As shall a general Wonder move,

And wound a thousand Hearts with Love.

Petronella. A Blessing on you, Sir, there’s fifty Pistoles for you, and as I earn it you shall have more. [They lift her down.]

[Exit Willmore bowing.]

Shift. Messieurs, ’tis late, and the Seignior’s Patients stay for him at his Laboratory, to morrow you shall see the conclusion of this Experiment, and so I humbly take my leave at this time.

Enter Willmore, below sees La Nuche, makes up to her, whilst the last part of the Dance is dancing.

La Nuche. What makes you follow me, Sir?

[She goes from him, he pursues.]

Willmore. Madam, I see something in that lovely Face of yours, which if not timely prevented will be your ruin: I’m now in haste, but I have more to say — [Goes off.]

La Nuche. Stay, Sir — he’s gone — and fill’d me with a curiosity that will not let me rest till it be satisfied: Follow me, Aurelia, for I must know my Destiny. [Goes out.]

[The Dance ended, the Bank removes, the People go off.]

Fetherfool. Come, Ned, now for our amorous Visit to the two Lady Monsters.

[Ex. Feth. and Blunt.]

SCENE II. Changes to a fine Chamber.

Enter Ariadne and Lucia.

Ariadne. I’m thoughtful: Prithee, Cousin, sing some foolish Song —


Phillis, whose Heart was unconfin’d

And free as Flowers on Meads and Plains,

None boasted of her being kind,

’Mongst all the languishing and amorous Swains:

No Sighs nor Tears the Nymph could move [bis.]

To pity or return their Love.

Till on a time, the hapless Maid

Retir’d to shun the heat o’th’ Day,

Into a Grove, beneath whose Shade

Strephon, the careless Shepherd, sleeping lay:

But oh such Charms the Youth adorn, [bis.]

Love is reveng’d for all her Scorn.

Her Cheeks with Blushes covered were,

And tender Sighs her Bosom warm;

A softness in her Eyes appear,

Unusual Pains she feels from every Charm:

To Woods and Ecchoes now she cries, [bis.]

For Modesty to speak denies.

Ariadne. Come, help to undress me, for I’ll to this Mountebank, to know what success I shall have with my Cavalier. [Unpins her things before a great Glass that is fasten’d.]

Lucia. You are resolv’d then to give him admittance?

Ariadne. Where’s the danger of a handsom young Fellow?

Lucia. But you don’t know him, Madam.

Ariadne. But I desire to do, and time may bring it about without Miracle.

Lucia. Your Cousin Beaumond will forbid the Banes.

Ariadne. No, nor old Carlos neither, my Mother’s precious Choice, who is as sollicitous for the old Gentleman, as my Father-in–Law is for his Nephew. Therefore, Lucia, like a good and gracious Child, I’ll end the Dispute between my Father and Mother, and please my self in the choice of this Stranger, if he be to be had.

Lucia. I should as soon be enamour’d on the North Wind, a Tempest, or a Clap of Thunder. Bless me from such a Blast.

Ariadne. I’d have a Lover rough as Seas in Storms, upon occasion; I hate your dull temperate Lover, ’tis such a husbandly quality, like Beaumond’s Addresses to me, whom neither Joy nor Anger puts in motion; or if it do, ’tis visibly forc’d — I’m glad I saw him entertain a Woman to day, not that I care, but wou’d be fairly rid of him.

Lucia. You’ll hardly mend your self in this.

Ariadne. What, because he held Discourse with a Curtezan?

Lucia. Why, is there no danger in her Eyes, do ye think?

Ariadne. None that I fear, that Stranger’s not such a fool to give his Heart to a common Woman; and she that’s concern’d where her Lover bestows his Body, were I the Man, I should think she had a mind to’t her self.

Lucia. And reason, Madam: in a lawful way ’tis your due.

Ariadne. What all? unconscionable Lucia! I am more merciful; but be he what he will, I’ll to this cunning Man, to know whether ever any part of him shall be mine.

Lucia. Lord, Madam, sure he’s a Conjurer.

Ariadne. Let him be the Devil, I’ll try his Skill, and to that end will put on a Suit of my Cousin Endymion; there are two or three very pretty ones of his in the Wardrobe, go carry ’em to my Chamber, and we’ll fit our selves and away — Go haste whilst I undress.

[Ex. Lucia.] [Ariadne undressing before the Glass.]

Enter Beaumond tricking himself, and looks on himself.

Beaumond. Now for my charming Beauty, fair La Nuche — hah — Ariadne — damn the dull Property, how shall I free my self?

[She turns, sees him, and walks from the Glass, he takes no notice of her, but tricks himself the Glass, humming a Song.]

Ariadne. Beaumond! What Devil brought him hither to prevent me? I hate the formal matrimonial Fop. [He walks about and sings.]

Sommes nous pas trop heureux,

Belle Irise, que nous ensemble.

A Devil on him, he may chance to plague me till night, and

hinder my dear Assignation. [Sings again.]

La Nuit et le Sombre voiles Coverie nos desires ardentes;

Et l’ Amour et les Etoiles Sont nos secrets confidents.

Beaumond. Pox on’t, how dull am I at an excuse? [Sets his Wig in the Glass, and sings.]

A Pox of Love and Woman-kind,

And all the Fops adore ’em.

[Puts on his Hat, cocks it, and goes to her.]
How is’t, Cuz?

Ariadne. So, here’s the saucy freedom of a Husband Lover — a blest Invention this of marrying, whoe’er first found it out.

Beaumond. Damn this English Dog of a Perriwig-maker, what an ungainly Air it gives the Face, and for a Wedding Perriwig too — how dost thou like it, Ariadne? [Uneasy.]

Ariadne. As ill as the Man — I perceive you have taken more care for your Perriwig than your Bride.

Beaumond. And with reason, Ariadne, the Bride was never the care of the Lover, but the business of the Parents; ’tis a serious Affair, and ought to be manag’d by the grave and wise: Thy Mother and my Uncle have agreed the Matter, and would it not look very sillily in me now to whine a tedious Tale of Love in your Ear, when the business is at an end? ’tis like saying a Grace when a Man should give Thanks.

Ariadne. Why did you not begin sooner then?

Beaumond. Faith, Ariadne, because I know nothing of the Design in hand; had I had civil warning, thou shouldst have had as pretty smart Speeches from me, as any Coxcomb Lover of ’em all could have made thee.

Ariadne. I shall never marry like a Jew in my own Tribe; I’ll rather be possest by honest old doating Age, than by saucy conceited Youth, whose Inconstancy never leaves a Woman safe or quiet.

Beaumond. You know the Proverb of the half Loaf, Ariadne; a Husband that will deal thee some Love is better than one who can give thee none: you would have a blessed time on’t with old Father Carlo.

Ariadne. No matter, a Woman may with some lawful excuse cuckold him, and ’twould be scarce a Sin.

Beaumond. Not so much as lying with him, whose reverend Age wou’d make it look like Incest.

Ariadne. But to marry thee — would be a Tyranny from whence there’s no Appeal: A drinking whoring Husband! ’tis the Devil —

Beaumond. You are deceiv’d, if you think Don Carlo more chaste than I; only duller, and more a Miser, one that fears his Flesh more, and loves his Money better. — Then to be condemn’d to lie with him — oh, who would not rejoice to meet a Woollen–Waistcoat, and knit Night–Cap without a Lining, a Shirt so nasty, a cleanly Ghost would not appear in’t at the latter Day? then the compound of nasty Smells about him, stinking Breath, Mustachoes stuft with villainous snush, Tobacco, and hollow Teeth: thus prepar’d for Delight, you meet in Bed, where you may lie and sigh whole Nights away, he snores it out till Morning, and then rises to his sordid business.

Ariadne. All this frights me not: ’tis still much better than a keeping Husband, whom neither Beauty nor Honour in a Wife can oblige.

Beaumond. Oh, you know not the good-nature of a Man of Wit, at least I shall bear a Conscience, and do thee reason, which Heaven denies to old Carlo, were he willing.

Ariadne. Oh, he talks as high, and thinks as well of himself as any young Coxcomb of ye all.

Beaumond. He has reason, for if his Faith were no better than his Works, he’d be damn’d.

Ariadne. Death, who wou’d marry, who wou’d be chaffer’d thus, and sold to Slavery? I’d rather buy a Friend at any Price that I could love and trust.

Beaumond. Ay, could we but drive on such a Bargain.

Ariadne. You should not be the Man; You have a Mistress, Sir, that has your Heart, and all your softer Hours: I know’t, and if I were so wretched as to marry thee, must see my Fortune lavisht out on her; her Coaches, Dress, and Equipage exceed mine by far: Possess she all the day thy Hours of Mirth, good Humour and Expence, thy Smiles, thy Kisses, and thy Charms of Wit. Oh how you talk and look when in her Presence! but when with me,

A Pox of Love and Woman-kind, [Sings.]

And all the Fops adore ’em. How it’s, Cuz — then slap, on goes the Beaver, which being

cock’d, you bear up briskly, with the second Part to the same

Tune — Harkye, Sir, let me advise you to pack up your Trumpery

and be gone, your honourable Love, your matrimonial Foppery,

with your other Trinkets thereunto belonging; or I shall talk

aloud, and let your Uncle hear you.

Beaumond. Sure she cannot know I love La Nuche. [Aside.] The Devil take me, spoil’d! What Rascal has inveigled thee? What lying fawning coward has abus’d thee? When fell you into this Leudness? Pox, thou art hardly worth the loving now, that canst be such a Fool, to wish me chaste, or love me for that Virtue; or that wouldst have me a ceremonious help, one that makes handsom Legs to Knights without laughing, or with a sneaking modest Squirish Countenance; assure you, I have my Maidenhead. A Curse upon thee, the very thought of Wife has made thee formal.

Ariadne. I must dissemble, or he’ll stay all day to make his peace again — why, have you ne’er — a Mistress then?

Beaumond. A hundred, by this day, as many as I like, they are my Mirth, the business of my loose and wanton Hours; but thou art my Devotion, the grave, the solemn Pleasure of my Soul — Pox, would I were handsomly rid of thee too. [Aside.] — Come, I have business — send me pleas’d away.

Ariadne. Would to Heaven thou wert gone; [Aside.] You’re going to some Woman now.

Beaumond. Oh damn the Sex, I hate ’em all — but thee — farewell, my pretty jealous — sullen — Fool.

[Goes out.]

Ariadne. Farewel, believing Coxcomb.

[Enter Lucia.]

Lucia. Madam, the Clothes are ready in your Chamber.

Ariadne. Let’s haste and put ’em on then. [Runs out.]

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