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forsworn for them, and, when we come to be the suit of Mr Freeman, guardian to Jeremiah paid, they'll be forsworn too, and not pay us our Blackacre, Esq., in an action of ten thousand wages, which they promised with oaths sufficient. pounds.

i Knight. Ay; a great lawyer, that shall be Wid. How, how! in a choak-bail action ! nameless, bilk'd me too.

What, and the pen-and-ink gentlemen taken too? Wid. That was hard, methinks, that a lawyer -Have you confessed, you rogues ? should use gentlemen witnesses no better. i Knight. We needed not to confess; for the

i Knight. A lawyer! d’ye wonder a lawyer bailiffs dogg'd us hither to the very door, and should do't? I was bilk'd by a reverend divine, overheard all that you and we said. that preaches twice on Sundays, and prays half Wid. Undone, undone then! No man was an hour still before dinner.

ever too hard for me till now.-Jerry, child, wilt Wid. How! a conscientious divine, and not thou vex again the womb that bore thee?

v pay people for damning themselves ! Sure, then, Jer. Ay, for bearing me before wedlock, as for all his talking, he does not believe damnation. you say: But I'll teach you to call a Blackacre -But come, to our business : Pray be sure to a bastard, though you were never so much my imitate exactly the flourish at the end of this mother.

[Pulls out a deed or two. Wid. Well, I'm undone.-Not one trick left? i Knight. O, he's the best in England at un- no law-meush imaginable ?-(Aside.] Cruel sir, tangling a flourish, madam.

a word with you, I pray. Wid. And let not the seal be a jot bigger : ob- Free. In vain, madam ; for you have no other serve well the dash too at the end of this name. way to release yourself but by the bonds of ma2 Knight. I warrant you, madam.

trimony. Wid. Well, these and many other shifts poor Wid. How, sir, how !--that were but to sue widows are put to sometimes; for every body out an habeas corpus, for a removal from one would be riding a widow, as they say, and break- prison to another.-Matrimony ! ing into her jointure: they think marrying a wi- Free. Well, bailiffs, away with her. dow an easy business, like leaping the hedge Wid. O, stay, sir ! Can you be so cruel as to where another has gone over before : a widow is bring me under covert-baron again, and put it a mere gap, a gap with them.

out of my power to sue in my own name?" Ma

trimony to a woman is worse than excommuniEnter to them Major OldFox, with two Waiters. cation, in depriving her of the benefit of the law; (The Knighis of the Post huddle up their writings.] and I would rather be deprived of life.-But, hark What, he here !--Go then, go, my hearts ; you you, sir, I am contented you should hold and enhave your instructions.

joy my person by lease or patent; but not by the (Ereunt Knights of the Post. spiritual patent, call’d a licence; that is, to have Old. Come, madam, to be plain with you, I'll the privileges of a husband, without the domibe fobb’d off no longer.-.-I'll bind her and gag nion; that is, durante beneplacito: in consideraher, but she shall hear me.-e{Aside.)--Look you, tion of which, I will, out of my jointure, secure friends, there's the money I promised you ; and you an annuity of three hundred pounds a-year, now do you what you promised me: here are my and pay your debts; and that's all you younger garters, and here's a gag.--You shall be acquaint- brothers desire to marry a widow for, I'm sure. ed with my parts, lady, you shall.

Free. Well, widow, ifWid. Acquainted with your parts !--A rape ! Jer. What, I hope, bully-guardian, you are a rape !--What, will you ravish me?

not making agreements without me? (The Waiters tie her to the chair, and gag her, Free. No, no.—First, widow, you must say no and ercunt.

more that he is the son of a whore: have a care Old. Yes, lady, I will ravish you; but it shall of that: and then, he must have a settled exhibe through the ear, lady, the ear only, with my bition of forty pounds a-year, and a nag of aswell-penn'd acrostics.

sizes, kept by you, but not upon the common;

and have free ingress, egress, and regress, to and Enter to them FREEMAN, JERRY BLACKACRE, from your maid's garret. three bailiffs, a Constable, and his Assistants,

Ilid. Well, I can grant all that too. wilk the two Knighls of the Post.

Jer. Ay, ay; fair words butter no cabbage :What, shall I never read my things undisturb’d But, guardian, make her sign, sign and scal; for again?

otherwise, if you knew her as well as I, you Jer. O la!--My mother bound hand and foot, would not trust her word for a farthing. and gaping, as if she rose before her time to-day! Free. I warrant thee, squire.-Well, widow,

Free. What means this, Oldfox !---But I'll re- since thou art so generous, I will be generous lease you from him: You shall be no man's pri- too; and if you'll secure me four hundred pounds soner but mine.-Bailiffs, execute your writ. a-year, but during your life, and pay my debts,

[FREEMAN unties her. (not above a thousand pounds,) I'll bate you your Old. Nay then, I'll be gone, for fear of being person, to dispose of as you please. bail, and paying her debts, without being her hus- Wid. Have a care, sir ; a settlement without a

(Exit Oldfox. consideration is void in the law: You must do 1st Bail. We arrest you in the king's name, at I something for’t. VOL. III.

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Free. Pr’ythee then let the settlement on me what talking would come to.-[The noise at the be call'd alimony; and the consideration, our door increases.]–Ha!-0 Heavens! my husband's separation.—Come; my lawyer, with writings voice !

(OLIVIA listens at the door. ready drawn, is within, and in haste. Come. Man. Freeman is come too soon. (Aside.

Mw. But what, no other kind of considera- Olio. O, 'tis he !—Then here's the happiest tion, Mr Freeman ?-Well, a widow, I see, is a minute lost, that ever bashful boy or trifling wokind of sinecure, by custom of which the uncon- man fool'd away !—I'm undone !—my husband's scionable incumbent enjoys the profits, without reconcilement too was false as my joy :-all deany duty, but does that still elsewhere. (Ereunt. lusion.-But come this way; here's a back door.

[Erit, and returns. SCENE IV.-Changes to OLIVIA's Lodgings.

The officious jade has lock'd us in, instead of

locking others out!-But let us then escape your Enter OLIVIA, with a Candle in her hund.

way, by the balcony; and, whilst you pull down Oliv. So, I am now prepared once more for the curtains, I'll fetch, from my closet, what next my timorous young lover's reception : my hus- will best secure our escape : Í have left my key band is gone-and go thou out too, thou next in the door, and 'twill not suddenly be broke interrupter of love-(Puts out the candle.] Kind open.

(Erit. darkness! that frees us lovers from scandal and [A noise as it were people forcing the door. bashfulness, from the censure of our gallants and Mun. Stir not; yet fear nothing. the world. So, are you there?

Fid. Nothing but your life, sir.

Man. We shall know this happy man she calls Enter to OLIVIA, FIDELIA, followed softly by husband. MANLY.

OLIVIA re-enters. Come, my dear punctual lover, there is not such another in the world: thou hast beauty and youth Oliv. Oh, where are you? What, idle with to piease a wife; address and wit to amuse and fear?-Come, I'll tie the curtains, if you will fool a husband ; nay, thou hast all things to be hold.—Here, take this cabinet and purse, for it wished in a lover, but your fits :- I hope, my is thine, if we escape; (MANLY takes from her dear, you won't have one to-night? and that the cabinet and purse.) therefore let us make you may not, I'll lock the door, though there be haste.

[Exit Olivia. no need of it but to lock out your fits; for my Man. 'Tis mine indeed now again; and it shall husband is just gone out of town again. ---Come, never escape more from me, to you at least. where are you? [Goes to the door, und locks it. The door broke open.- Enter VERNISH, alone,

Man. Well, thou hast impudence enough to give me fits too, and make revenge itself impo

with a dark Lanthorn and a Sword, running tent. Hinder me from making thee more infa

at MANLY; who draws, puts by the thrust, and mous, if it can be.

[Aside.

defends himself, whilst FIDELIA runs at VEROliv. Come, come, my soul, come.

NISH behind.
Fid. Presently, my dear; we have time enough, Ver. So, there I'm right sure-

[With a low coice. Oliv. How! time enough! True lovers can no Man. (Softly.) Sword and dark lanthorn, vil. more think they ever have time enough than lain, are some odds; but love enough: You shall stay with me all night; Ver. Odds! I'm sure I find more odds than I but that is but a lover's moment. Come. expected.

What, has my insatiable two seconds Fid. But won't you let me give you and my- at once? But

[With a low voice, self the satisfaction of telling you how I abused [Whilst they fight, OLIVIA re-enters, tying your husband last night?

two curtains together. 0110. Not when you can give me and yourself Oliv. Where are you now ?-What, is he entoo the satisfaction of abusing him again to-night. ter'd then, and are they fighting ?-Oh! do not --Come.

kill one that can make no defence !--[MANLY Frú. Let me but tell you how your husband-throws VERNISII down, and disarms him.] How!

Oliv. O, name not his, or Manly's more loath- --But I think he has the better on't.--Here's his some name, if you love me: I forbade 'em last scarf: ’tis he. So, keep him down still.— I hope night: and, you know, I mention'd my husband thou hast no hurt, my dearest? [Embracing MAN. but once, and he came.- No talking, pray; 'twas ominous to us. You make me fancy a noise at

Enter to them FREEMAN, Lord PLAUSIBLE, the door already ; but I'm resolved not to be in

NOVEL, JERRY BLACKACRE, and the Widove terrupted.--[A noise at the door.f-Where are

BLACKACRE, lighted in by the tuo Sailors with

Torches. you ? Come; for, rather than lose my dear expectation now, though my husband were at the Ha!-What, Manly !-And have I been thus door, and the bloody ruffian Manly here in the concern’d for him ? embracing him! and has room, with all his awful insolence, I would give he his jewels again too? What means this ?myself to this dear hand, to be led away to hea- 0, 'tis too sure, as well as my shame, which I'll vens of joys, which none but thou canst give.- go hide for ever. But what's this noise at the door? So, I told you [Offers to go out, and MANLY stops here

sure,

due :

Man. No, my dearest, after so much kindness to you before, and my heart was before your es has pass'd between us, I cannot part with you I only beg leave to dispose of these fewHere, yet.-Freeman, let nobody stir out of the room; madam, I never yet left my wench unpaid. for, notwithstanding your lights, we are yet in (Tukes some of the jewels, and offers them to the dark, tili this gentleman please to turn his OLIVIA: she strikes them down: PLAUSIBLE face.-Pulls VERNISH by the steede.) How, Ver- and Novel take them up. nish! art thou the happy man then? 'l'hou! thou! Oliv. So it seems, by giving her the cabinet. -Speak, I say ; but thy guilty silence tells me all. L. Plaus. The pendants appertain to your most

Well, I shall not upbraid thee; for my won faithful humble servant. der is striking me as dumb as thy shaine has made Noo. And this locket is mine; my earnest for thee. But what, my little volunteer hurt and love, which she never paid ; therefore my own fainting!

again. Fut. My wound, sir, is but a slight one, in my Wid. By what law, sir, pray !--Cousin Olivia, arm : 'tis only my fear of your danger, sir, not a word : What, do they make a seizure on your yet well over.

goods and chattels, vi et armis ? Make your de. Mar. But what's here? More strange things! mand, I say, and bring your trover : I'll follow [Observing Fidelia's huir untied vehind, und the law for you. without a peruke, which she lost in the scuffle.

Oliv. And I my revenge.

[Erit OLIVIA. What means this long woman's hair and face? Man. [7. Ver.) But 'tis, my friend, in your Now all of it appears too beautiful for a man, consideration most that I would have return'd which I still thought womanish indeed !---What, part of your wife's portion ; for 'twere hard to you hare not deceived me too, my little volunteer take all from thee, since thou hast paid so dear Uliv. Me she has, I'm sure.

(Aside. for't, in being such a rascal: Yet thy wife is a Dian. Speak.

fortune without a portion; and thou art a man

of that extraordinary merit in villainy, the world Enier Eliza and LETTICE.

and fortune can never desert thee, though I do ; Elis. What, cousin ! I am brought bither by therefore be not melancholy. Fare :v well, sir. your woman, I suppose, to be a witness of the [Erit VERNISH, doggedly.)--Now, aram, I beg second vindication of your honour?

your pardon (Turning to FIDELIA.] for lessening Oliv. Insulting is not generous: You might the present I made you ; but my heart can never spare me: I have you.

be lessen'd: This, I confess, was too small for Eliz. Have a care, cousin ; you'll confess anon you before; for you deserve the Indian world; too much ; and I would not have your secrets. and I would now go thither out of covetousness,

Man. Come, your blushes answer me suffi- for your sake only. ciently, and you have been my volunteer in love. Fid. Your heart, sir, is a present of that value,

(To FideliA. I can never make any return to't; (Pulling MANFad. I must confess, I needed no compulsion LY from the compuny.] but I can give you back to follow you all the world over ; which I attempt- such a present as this, which I got by the loss of ed in this habit, partly out of shame to own my my father, a gentleman of the north, of no mean love to you, and fear of a greater shame, your re- extraction, whose only child I was ; therefore left fusal of it; for I knew of your engagement to this me in the present possession of two thousand laily, and the constancy of your nature, which no-pounds a-year, which I left, with multitudes of thing could have alier'd but herself.

pretenders, to follow you, sir ; having in several sian. Dear madam, I desirod you to bring me public places seen you, and observed your actions out of confusion, and you have given me more. I thoroughly, with admiration, when you were too kuow not what to speak to you, or how to look much in love to take notice of mine, which yet upon you: The sense of my rough, hard, and ill was but too visible. The name of my family is usave of you, (though chiefly your own fault,) Grey; my other, Fidelia: The rest of my story gives me more pain, now 'tis over, than you had you shall know when I have fewer auditors. when you suffer'd it: and if my heart, the refu. Man. Nay, now, madam, you have taken from sal of such a woman, [Pointing to OLIVIA.) were me all power of making you any compliment on not a sacrifice to profane your love, and a greater my part ; for I was going to tell you, that, for wrong to you than ever yet I did you, I would your sake only, I would quit the unknown pleabeg of you to receive it, though you used it as sure of retirement, and rather stay in this ill she has done ; for though it deserved not from world of ours still, though odious to me, than her the treatment she gave it, it does froin you. give you more frights again at sea, and make again

Fod. Then it has had punishment sufficient from too great venture there, in you alone. But if I her already, and needs no more from me; and, should tell you now all this, and that your virtue I must confess, I would not be the only cause of (since greater than I thought any was in the making you break your last night't oath to me, world) had now reconciled me to't, my friend of never parting with me, if you do not forget or here would say, 'tis your estate that has made repent it.

me friends with the world. "Mun. Then take for ever my heart, and this Free. I must confess I should; for I think most with it; (Gives her the cabinet.] for 'twas given of our quarrels to the world are just such as we

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have to a handsome woman, only because we can- I will believe there are now in the world not enjoy her as we would do.

Good-natured friends who are not prostitutes, Man. Nay, if thou art a plain dealer too, give And handsome women worthy to be friends : me thy hand; for now I'll say I am thy friend Yet, for my sake, let no one e'er confide indeed : and, for your sakes, though I have been In tears, or oaths, in love, or friend untried. so lately deceived in friends of both sexes,

(Exeunt omzes.

EPILOGUE.

SPOKEN BY THE WIDOW BLACKACRE.

Το

you, the judges learned in stage laws, Here's daily done the great affair o'the nation : Our poet now, by me, submits his cause; Let love and us then ne'er have long vacation.For with young judges, such as most of you, But hold : like other pleaders, I have done, The men by women best their business do : Not my poor client's business, but my own. And truth on’t is, if you did not sit here, Spare me a word then, now, for him.- First know, To keep for us a term throughout the year, Squires of the long robe, he does humbly shew We could not live by'r tongues ; nay, but for you, He has a just right in abusing you, Our chamber-practice would be little too. Because he is a brother templar too; And 'tis not only the stage-practiser,

For, at the bar, you rally one another, Who, by your meeting, gets her living here; Nay, fool and knave is swallow'd from a brother: For, as in ball of Westminster,

If not the poet here, the templar spare, Sleek sempstress vents, amidst the courts, her and maul him when you catch him at the bar.ware ;

From you, our common modish censurers, So, while we bawl, and you in judgment sit, Your favour, not your judgment, 'tis he fears: The visor-mask sells linen too i' the pit. Of all loves begs you then to rail, find fault; O, many of your friends, besides us here, For plays, like women, by the world are thought, Do live by putting off their several ware. (When you speak kindly of 'em,) very naught,

THE

OLD BACHELOR,

BY

CONGREVE.

PROLOGUE.

APOKEN BY MRS BRACEGIRDLE.

grow it.

How this vile world is changed ! In former days, You think that strange no matter; he'll out-
Prologues were serious speeches before plays;
Grave, solemn things, as graces are to feasts, Well, I'm his advocate : by me, he prays you,
Where poets begg'd a blessing from their guests. (I don't know whether I shall speak to please you,)
But now, no more like suppliants we come; He prays-0, bless me! what shall I do now ?
A play makes war, and prologue is the drum : Hang me if I know what he prays, or how !
Arm’d with keen satire, and with pointed wit, And 'twas the prettiest prologue, as he wrote it :
We threaten you who do for judges sit,

Well, the deuce take me if I ha'n't forgot it!
To save our plays, or else we'll damn your pit. O Lord! for heaven's sake excuse the play,
But, for your comfort, it falls out to-day, Because, you know, if it be damn'd to-day,
We've a young author and his first-born play; I shall be hang'd for wanting what to say.
So, standing only on his good behaviour, For my sake then-But I'm

in such confusion, He's very civil, and entreats your favour. I cannot stay to hear your resolution, Not but the man has malice, would he shew it,

(Runs off But, on my conscience, he's a bashful poet:

a

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.

WOMEN. HEARTWELL, a surly old Bachelor, pretending ARAMINTA, in love with Vainlove.

lo slight women; secretly in love wilk Silvia. BELINDA, her Cousin, an affected Lady, in love BELLMOUR, in love with Belinda.

with Bellmour. VAINLOVE, capricious in his love ; in love with LÆTITIA, Wife to Fondlewife. Araminta,

SILVIA, Vainlove's forsaken Mistress. SHARPER.

LUCY, her Maid, Sir JOSEPH WITTOL.

BETTY.
Captain BLUFFE.

Footmen.
FONDLEWIFE, a Banker.
SETTER, a Pimp:
Servant to Fondlewife.

SCENE,-London,

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