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doubt it : 'tis not the first you have had from our sex, I
suppose. Well. But this is so unexpected.
Wid. Lord, how can you say so, Mr. Welldon ? I won't believe you. Don't I know you handsome gentlemen expect every thing a woman can do for you? And, by my troth, you're in the right on't. I think one can't do too much for a handsome gentleman; and so you shall find it.
Well. I shall never have such an offer again, that is certain. What shall I do? I am mightily divided
[Pretending a concern. Wid. Divided ! Oh, dear! I hope not so, Sir. If I marry, truly, I expect to have you to myself.
Well. There is no danger of that, Mrs. Lackitt. I am divided in my thoughts. My father, upon his death-bed, obliged me to see my sister disposed of, before I married myself. 'Tis that sticks upon me. They say, indeed, promises are to be broken or kept: and I know 'tis a foolish thing to be tied to a promise; but I can't help it. I don't know how to get rid of it.
Wid. Is that all ?
Well. All in all to me. The commands of a dying father, you know, ought to be obeyed.
Wid. And so they may.
Wid. They shan't be your hindrance. You would have a husband for your sister, you say : he must be very well to pass too in the world, I suppose.
Well. I would not throw her away.
Wid. Then marry her out of hand to the sea-captain you were speaking of.
Well. I was thinking of him ; but 'tis to no purpose : she hates him.
Wid. Does she hate him? Nay, 'tis no matter; an impudent rascal as he is; I would not advise her to
Well. Can you think of nobody else?
Well. Ay, pray do; I should be loth to part with my good fortune in you for so small a matter as a sister : but you find how it is with me.
Wid. Well remembered, i' faith. Well, if I thought you would like of it, I have a husband for her. What do you think of my son.
Well. You don't think of it yourself?
He shall marry her within this half hour, if you will give your consent to it.
Well. I give my consent! I'l} answer for my sister, she shall have him. You may be sure I shall be glad to get over the difficulty. Wid. No more to be said then; that difficulty is
But I vow and swear you frightened me, Mr. Welldon. If I had not had a son, now, for your sister, what must I have done, do you think? Were you not an ill-natured thing to boggle at a promise ? I could break twenty for you.
Well. I am the more obliged to you : but this son will save all.
Wid. He's in the house. I'll go and bring him myself. [Going.] You would do well to break the business to your sister : she's within; I'll send her to you
[Going again, comes back. Well. Pray do.
Wid. But, do you hear ? Perhaps she may stand upon her maidenly behaviour, and blush, and play the fool, and delay : but don't be answered so. What ! she is not a girl at these years. authority, and tell her roundly she must be married immediately. I'll manage my son, I warrant you
[Goes out in haste. Well. The widow's in haste, I see. I thought I had laid a rub in the road, about my sister ; but she has stepped over that. She is making way for herself as fast as she can; but little thinks where she is going. I could tell her she is going to play the fool; but people don't love to hear of their faults : bez sides, that is not my business at present.
Luc. With all my heart. I don't know what confinement marriage may be to the men ; but I'm sure the women have no liberty without it. I'm for any thing that will deliver me from the care of a reputation, which I begin to find impossible to preserve.
Well. I'll ease you of that care. You must be married immediately.
Luc. The sooner the better; for I am quite tired
of setting up for a husband. The widow's foolish son is the
suppose. Well. I considered your constitution, sister; and, finding you would have occasion for a fool, I have provided accordingly.
Luc. I don't know what occasion I may have for a fool when I am married ; but I find none but fools, have occasion to marry.
Well. Since he is to be a fool then, I thought it better for you to have one of his mother's making than your own; 'twill save you the trouble.
Luc. I thank you. You take a great deal of pains for me ; but, pray, tell me, what you are doing for yourself, all this while. Well. You are never true to your own secrets ;
and therefore I won't trust you with mine. Only remember this, I am your eldest sister, and consequently, laying my breeches aside, have as much occasion for a husband as you can have. I have a man in my eye, be satisfied.
Enter Widow LACKITT, with her son DANIEL. Wid. Come, Daniel, hold up thy head, child : look like a man : you must not take it as you have done. Gad's my life! there is nothing to be done with twirling your hat, man.
Dan. Why, mother, what's to be done then ?
Wid. Why, look me in the face, and mind what I say to you,
Dan. Marry, who's the fool then? What shall I get by minding what you say to me?
Wid. Mrs. Lucy, the boy is bashful; don't discourage him. Pray, come a little forward, and let him
[Going between Lucy and Daniel. Luc. A fine husband I am to have truly! [To Wel.
Wid. Come, Daniel, you must be acquainted with this gentlewoman.
Dan. Nay, I am not proud ; that is not my fault. I am presently acquainted, when I know the company; but this gentlewoman is a stranger to me.
Wid. She is your mistress. I have spoke a good word for you. Make her a bow, and go and kiss her.
Dan. Kiss her! have a care what you say : I warrant she scorns your words. Such fine folks are not used to be slopp'd and kiss’d. Do you think I don't know that, mother?
Wid. Try her, try her, man. [Daniel bows, she thrusts him forward.] Why, that's well done : go nearer her.
Dan. Is the devil in the woman? Why, so I can go nearer her, if you would let a body alone. [To his mother.] Cry you mercy, forsooth; my mother is always shaming one before company. She would have me as unmannerly as herself, and offer to kiss you. :