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Warn. Yes, in my conscience is she; for Sir Martin's tongue's no slander.
Sir John. But does he say to the contrary?
Warn. If one would believe him,—which, for my part, I do not --he has in a manner confessed it to me.
Sir John. Hell and damnation!
Warn. Courage, sir, never vex yourself; I'll warrant you 'tis all a lie.
Sir John. But, how shall I be sure 'tis so? Warn. When you are married, you'll soon make trial, whether she be a maid or no.
Sir John. I do not love to make that experiment at my own cost.
Warn. Then you must never marry.
Sir John. Ay, but they have so many tricks to cheat a man, which are entailed from mother to daughter through all generations; there's no keeping a lock for that door, for which every one has a key.
Warn. As, for example, their drawing up their breaths, with—oh! you hurt me, can you be so cruel? then, the next day, she steals a visit to her lover, that did you the courtesy before-hand, and in private tells him how she cozened you; twenty to one but she takes out another lesson with him, to practise the next night.
Sir John. All this while, miserable I must be their May-game!
Warn. 'Tis well, if you escape so; for commonly he strikes in with you, and becomes your friend.
Sir John. Deliver me from such a friend, that stays behind with my wife, when I gird on my sword to go abroad.
Warn. Ay, there's your man, sir; besides, he will be sure to watch your haunts, and tell her of them,
, if occasion be, she may have wherewithal to recriminate: at least she will seem to be jealous of you; and who would suspect a jealous wife?
Sir John. All manner of ways I am most miserable.
Warn. But, if she be not a maid when you marry. her, she
make a good wife afterwards; 'tis but imagining you have taken such a man's widow.
Sir John. If that were all; but the man will come and claim her again.
Warn. Examples have been frequent of those that have been wanton, and yet afterwards take up Sir John. Ay, the same thing they took up
Warn. The truth is, an honest simple girl, that's ignorant of all things, maketh the best matrimony: There is such pleasure in instructing her; the best is, there's not one dunce in all the sex ; such a one with a good fortune
Sir John. Ay, but where is she, Warner? Warn. Near enough, but that you are too far engaged.
Sir John. Engaged to one, that hath given me the earnest of cuckoldom beforehand!
Warn, What think you then of Mrs Christian here in the house? There's five thousand pounds,
and a better penny.
Sir John. Ay, but is she fool enough?
Sir John. Dear Warner, step into the next room, and inveigle her out this way, that I may speak to
Warn. Remember, above all things, you keep Moody will be sure to hinder it.
Sir John. Dost thou think I shall get her aunt's eonsent? Warn. Leave that to me.
[Exit WARN. Sir John. How happy a man shall I be, if I can but compass this! and what a precipice have I avoided! then the revenge, too, is so sweet, to steal a wife under her father's nose, and leave 'em in the lurch, who have abused me; well, such a servant as this Warner is a jewel.
Enter WARNER and Mrs CHRISTIAN to him.
Warn. There she is, sir; now I'll go to prepare her aunt.
[Exit. Sir John. Sweet mistress, I am come to wait upon you.
Chr. Truly you are too good to wait on me.
Sir John. Why? 'tis the honest end of womankind.
Chr. Twenty years hence, forsooth: I would not lie in bed with a man for a world, their beards will so prickle one.
Sir John. Pah/What an innocent girl it is, and very child! I like a colt that never yet was backed; for so I shall make her what I list, and mould her as I will. Lord! her innocence makes me laugh my cheeks all wet. [Aside. Sweet lady
Chr. I'm but a gentlewoman, forsooth.
Sir John. Well then, sweet mistress, if I get your friends' consent, shall I have yours?
Chr. My old lady may do what she will, forsooth; but by my truly, Î hope she will have more care of me, than to marry me yet. Lord bless me, what should I do with a husband?
Sir John. Well, sweetheart, then instead of wooing you, I must woo my old lady.
Chr. Indeed, gentleman, my old lady is married already: Cry you mercy, forsooth, I think a knight.
Sir John. Happy in that title, only to make you a lady.
Chr. Believe me, Mr Knight, I would not be a lady; it makes folks proud, and so humorous, and so ill huswifes, forsooth.
Sir John, Pah!-she's a baby, the simplest thing that ever yet I knew: the happiest man I shall be in the world; for should I have my wish, it should be to keep school, and teach the bigger girls, and here, in one, my wish it is absolved.
Enter Lady DUPE. 2. Dupe. By your leave, sir: I hope this noble knight will make you happy, and you make him—
Chr. What should I make him? [Sighing. L, Dupe. Marry, you shall make him happy in a Chr. I will not marry, madam. L. Dupe. You fool! Sir John. Pray, madam, let me speak with you; on my soul, 'tis the prettiest innocentest thing in
L. Dripe. Indeed, sir, she knows little besides her work, and her prayers; but I'll talk with the fool.
Sir John. Deal gently with her, dear madam.
[Sobbingły. L: Dupe
. Sir, it shall be to night. Sir John. This innocence is a dowry beyond all price.
[Exeunt old Lady and Mrs CHRISTIAN.
this noble knight?
Enter Sir Martin to Sir John, musing. Sir Mart. You are very melancholy, methinks, sir.
Sir John. You are mistaken, sir.
Sir Mart. You may dissemble as you please, but Mrs Millisent lies at the bottom of
Sir John. My heart, I assure you, has no room for so poor a trifle.
Sir Mart. Sure you think to wheedle me; would you have me imagine you do not love her?
Sir John. Love her! why should you think me such a sot? love a prostitute, an infamous person!
Sir Mart. Fair and soft, good Sir John.
Sir John. You see, I am no very obstinate rival, I leave the field free to you: Go on, sir, and pursue your good fortune, and be as happy as such a common creature can make thee.
Sir Mart. This is Hebrew-Greek to me; but I must tell you, sir, I will not suffer my divinity to be prophaned by such a tongue as yours.
Sir John. Believe it; whate'er I say, I can quote my author for.
Sir Mart. Then, sir, whoever told it you, lied in his throat, d'ye see, and deeper than that, d'ye sce, in his stomach, and his guts, d'ye see: Tell me she's a common person! he's a son of a whore that said it, and I'll make him eat his words, though he spoke 'em in a privy-house.
Sir John. What if Warner told me so? I hope you'll grant him to be a competent judge in such a business.
Sir Mart. Did that precious rascal say it?-Now I think on't, I'll not believe you: In fine, sir, I'll hold you an even wager he denies it.
Sir John, I'll lay you ten to one, he justifies it to