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Wood. [Aside.] That, besides herself, is a cooling card.—Pray, how young are they?
Saint. About my age: soine eighteen, or twenty, or thereabouts.
Wood. Oh, very good! Two more young women besides yourself, and both handsome ?
Saint. No, verily, they are painted outsides; you must not cast your eyes upon them, nor listen to their conversation : You are already chosen for a better work.
Wood. I warrant you, let me alone: I am chosen, I. Saint. They are a couple of alluring wanton minxes.
Wood. Are they very alluring, say you? very wanton ?
Saint. You appear exalted, when I mention those pit-falls of iniquity.
Wood. Who, I exalted? Good faith, I am as sober, a melancholy poor soul!-
Saint. I see this abominable sin of swearing is rooted in you. Tear it out; oh, tear it out! it will destroy your precious soul.
Wood. I find we two shall scarce agree: I must not come to your closet when I have got a bottle; for, at such a time, I am horribly given to it.
Saint. Verily, a little swearing may be then allowable: You may swear you love me, it is a lawful oath; but then, you must not look on harlots.
Wood. I must wheedle her, and whet my courage first on her; as a good musician always preludes before a tune. Come, here is my first oath.
[Embracing her. Enter ALDO. Aluo. How now, Mrs Saintly! what work have we here towards?
Wood. [Aside.] Aldo, my own natural father, as I live! I remember the lines of that hide-bound face:
Does he lodge here? If he should know me, I am ruined.
Saint. Curse on his coming! he has disturbed us. [Aside.] Well, young gentleman, I shall take a time to instruct you better.
. Wood. You shall find me an apt scholar.
Saint. I must go abroad upon some business; but remember your promise, to carry yourself soberly, and without scandal in my farnily; and so I leave you to this gentleman, who is a member of it.
[Exit SAINT. Aldo. [Aside.] Before George, a proper fellow, and a swinger he should be, by his make the rogue would humble a whore, I warrant him.--You are welcome, sir, amongst us; most heartily welcome, as I may say:
Wood. All's well: he knows me not.-Sir, your civility is obliging to a stranger, and may befriend me, in the acquaintance of our fellow-lodgers.
Aldo. Hold you there, sir: I must first understand you a little better; and yet, methinks, you should be true to love.
Wood. Drinking and wenching are but slips of youth: I had those two good qualities from my father.
Aldo. Thou, boy! Aha, boy! a true Trojan, I warrant thee! (Hugging him.] Well
, I say no more;
I but you are lighted into such a family, such food for concupiscence, such bona roba's!
Wood. One I know, indeed ; a wife : But bona roba's, say you?
Aldo. I say, bona roba's, in the plural number. Wood. Why, what a Turk Mahomet shall I be! No, I will not make myself drunk with the conceit of so much joy: The fortune's too great for mortal man; and I a poor unworthy sinner.
Aldo. Would I lie to my friend? Am I a man? Am I a christian? There is that wife you mentioned,
a delicate little wheedling devil, with such an appearance of simplicity; and with that, she does so undermine, so fool her conceited husband, that he despises her!
Wood. Just ripe for horns : His destiny, like a Turk's, is written in his forehead. *
Aldo. Peace, peace! thou art yet ordained for greater things. There is another, too, a kept mistress, a brave strapping jade, a two-handed whore ! Wood. A kept mistress, too! my
bowels her already: she is certain prize.
Aldo. But this lady is so termagant an empress! and he is so submissive, so tame, so led a keeper, and as proud of his slavery as a Frenchman. I am confident he dares not find her false, for fear of a quarrel with her; because he is sure to be at the charges of the war. She knows he cannot live without her, and therefore seeks occasions of falling out, to make him purchase peace.
I believe she is now aiming at a settlement.
Wood. Might not I ask you one civil question? How
pass you your time in this noble family? For I find you are a lover of the game, and I should be loth to hunt in your purlieus.
Aldo. I must first tell you something of my condition. I am here a friend to all of them; I am their factotum, do all their business; for, not to boast, sir, I am a man of general acquaintance: There is no news in town, either foreign or domestic, but I have it first; no inortgage of lands, no sale of houses, but I have a finger in them.
* The Mahommedan doctrine of predestination is well known, They reconcile themselves to all dispensations, by saying, “ They are written on the forehead” of him, to whose lot they have fallen.
Wood. Then, I suppose, you are a gainer by your
Aldo. No, I do all gratis, and am most commonly a loser; only a buck sometimes from this good lord, or that good lady in the country: and I eat it not alone, I must have company.
Wood. Pray, what company do you invite ?
Aldo. Peace, peace, I am coming to you: Why, you must know I am tender-natured; and if
any unhappy difference have arisen betwixt a mistress and her gallant, then I strike in, to do good offices betwixt them; and, at my own proper charges, conclude the quarrel with a reconciling supper.
Wood. I find the ladies of pleasure are beholden
Aldo. Before George, I love the poor
little devils. I am indeed a father to them, and so they call me: I give them my counsel, and assist them with my purse. I cannot see a pretty sinner hurried to prison by the land-pirates, but nature works, and I must bail her; or want a supper, but I have a couple of crammed chickens, a cream tart, and a bottle of wine to offer her.
Wood. Sure you expect some kindness in return.
Aldo. Faith, not much: Nature in me is at low water-mark; my body's a jade, and tires under me; yet I love to smuggle still in a corner; pat them down, and pur over them; but, after that, I can do them little harm.
Wood. Then I'm acquainted with your business: You would be a kind of deputy-fumbler under me.
Aldo. You have me right. Be you the lion, to devour the prey; I am your jackall
, to provide it for you: There will be a bone for me to pick.
Wood. Your humility becomes your age. For my part, I am vigorous, and throw at all.
Aldo. As right as if I had begot thee! Wilt thou give me leave to call thee son?
Wood. With all my heart.
Aldo. Your man told me, you were just returned from travel : What parts have you last visited ?
Wood. I came from France.
Aldo. Then, perhaps, you may have known an ungracious boy of mine there.
Wood. Like enough : Pray, what's his name?
Wood. I must confess I do know the gentleman; satisfy yourselfhe's in health, and upon his return.
Aldo. That's some comfort: But, I hear, a very rogue, a lewd young fellow.
Wood. The worst I know of him is, that he loves a wench; and that good quality he has not stolen. [Music at the Balcony over head: Mrs Tricksy and Judith appear.]-Hark! There's music above.
Aldo. "Tis at my daughter Tricksy's lodging; the kept mistress I told you of, the lass of mettle. But for all she carries it so high, I know her pedigree; her mother's a sempstress in Dog-and-Bitch yard, and was, in her youth, as right as she is.
Wood. Then she's a two-piled punk, a punk of two descents.
Aldo. And her father, the famous cobler, who taught Walsingham to the black-birds. How stand thy affections to her, thou lusty rogue ? Wood. All on fire : A most urging creature ! Aldo. Peace ! they are beginning.