A Select Collection of Old English Plays is a web novel created by Dodsley and Hazlitt.
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WID. Ha! What shall we do, niece?
SAD. If you please to command our lodging.
PLEA. It will be too much trouble.
WID. Let’s go to Loveall’s.
PLEA. Not I, by my faith: it is scarce for our credits to let her come to us.
WID. Why, is she naught?
CON. Faith, madam, her reputation is not good.
WID. But what shall we do, then?
CON. Dare you adventure to oblige us?
WID. Thank you, sir? we’ll go to my nephew’s at Covent Garden: he may shift among his acquaintance.
PLEA. It was well thought on; the Piazza is hard by, too.
WID. We’ll borrow your coach thither, and we’ll send it you back again straight.
CON. We’ll wait upon you, madam.
WID. This accident troubles me. I am heartily sorry for the poor fellow.
PLEA. I am sorry too: but pray, aunt, let us not forget ourselves in our grief. I am not ambitious of a red cross upon the door.
CON. Mistress Pleasant is in the right; for if you stay, the officers will put you in.
WID. We shall trouble you, sir, for your coach.
_Enter_ PARSON, CAPTAIN, WILD, WANTON, CARELESS, _and_ JOLLY.
PAR. I am reconciled, and will no longer be an uncharitable churchman. I think this sack is a cooler.
CAPT. What! does it make you to see your error?
PAR. Yes, and consider my man-of-war: nor will I again dispute his letters of mart, nor call them pa.s.ses for pirates. I am free.
CAPT. And welcome. Anything but anger is sufferable, and all is jest, when you laugh; and I will hug thee for abusing me with thy eyes in their scabbards; but when you rail with drawn eyes, red and naked, threatening a Levite’s second revenge to all that touches your concubine, then I betake me to a dark lantern and a constable’s staff; and by help of these fathers whom I cite, I prove my text: _Women that are kind ought to be free._
PAR. But, captain, is it not lawful for us shepherds to reclaim them?
CAPT. A mere mistake; for sin, like the sea, may be turned out, but will ne’er grow less: and though you should drain this Mistress Doll, yet the wh.o.r.e will find a place, and perhaps overflow some maid, till then honest; and so you prove the author of a new sin, and the defiler of a pure temple: therefore I say, while you live, let the wh.o.r.e alone, till she wears out; nor is it safe to vamp them, as you shall find. Read Ball the first and the second.
WILD. No more discourse. Strike up, fiddlers.
CAPT. See who’s that knocks?
[_A country-dance. When they are merry, singing catches and drinking healths, the_ WIDOW, MISTRESS PLEASANT, _and the two Lovers, knock at the door._
SER. Sir, ’tis Mistress Pleasant and the two gentlemen that dined there to-day.
WILD. My aunt and Mistress Pleasant!
JOLLY. What a pox makes them abroad at this time of night?
CAPT. It may be, they have been a-wenching.
SER. Sir, they were upon alighting out of the coach when I came up.
WILD. Quickly, Mistress Wanton; you and your husband to bed; there’s the key. Master Parson, you know the way to the old chamber, and to it quickly; all is friends now.
PAR. Sweetheart, we’ll steal away.
WAN. The devil on them, they have spoiled our mirth.
WILD. Jack, get you and your company down the back-way into the kitchen, and stay there till we see what this visit means.
CAPT. Means! What should it mean? It is nothing but the mischievous nature all honest women are endued with, and naturally given to spoil sport. I wonder what fart blew them hither to-night.
WILD. Nay, have a little patience, captain, you and Master Jolly must sit quietly awhile within, till we know the cause.
CAPT. It is but deferring our mirth for an hour or so.
SER. Sir, here’s my lady.
WILD. Quickly remove those things there. Captain, step in there—-
_Enter_ WIDOW, PLEASANT, SAD, _and_ CONSTANT.
WID. Nephew, do you not wonder to see me here at this time of night?
WILD. I know it is not ordinary, therefore I believe ’tis some design. What is it, Mistress Pleasant? Shall I make one?
PLEA. As I live, sir, pure necessity. Neither mirth nor kindness hath begot this visit.
CARE. What! is your coach broke?
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