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Hus. Pish! bastards, bastards, bastards! Begot in tricks-begot in tricks.
Wife. Heaven knows how those words wrong me: but I may
Hus. Have done, thou harlot,
A whit in humour. Midnight, still I love you,
That I broke custom? that I flagg'd in money?
As when my 'state was fullest.
Wife. Be it so.
Hus. Nay, I protest,-and take that for an earnest,—
I will for ever hold thee in contempt,
And never touch the sheets that cover thee,
Wife. Sir, do but turn a gentle eye on me, And what the law shall give me leave to do, You shall command.
Hus. Look it be done. Shall I want dust,
A bawd to dice; I'll shake the drabs myself,
And make them yield. I say, look it be done.
Wife. I take my leave; it shall.
I hate the very hour I chose a wife :
A trouble-a trouble! Three children, like three evils,
Hang upon me. Fie, fie, fie!
Strumpet and bastards!"
There are few things (we grieve to think that it is so), there are few things in the drama more natural than this scene. At the end The next example that we shall give is no less so.
of the preceding scene the lady goes out as if to seek her uncle for the purpose enjoined her, and in the meantime two or three " gentlemen" enter, and remonstrate with her husband on his conduct-it does not appear by what authority; and one of them fights with, wounds, and disarms him. There is no apparent object or pretence for introducing these persons; and the only excuse we can discover for it is, that the husband's passions may thus be roused up to a pitch of rage and phrensy which they might otherwise not be supposed to have reached; and these may keep rankling in him till his wife's return; which is supposed to take place in the scene which follows:
"Enter Wife and Servant.
Ser. 'Faith, mistress, if it might not be presumption In me to tell you so, for his excuse
You had small reason, knowing his abuse.
Wife. I grant I had; but, alas!
Why should our faults at home be spread abroad? 'Tis grief enough within doors. At first sight
My uncle could run o'er his prodigal life
As perfectly as if his serious eye
Had numbered all his follies:
Knew of his mortgaged lands, his friends in bonds,
Are in form uglier than an unshap'd bear,
To all his stooping fortunes. "Twill be a means, I hope,
To make new league between us, and redeem
His virtues with his lands.
Ser. I should think so, mistress. If he should not now be kind to you, and love you, and cherish you, I should think the devil must keep open house in him.
Wife. I doubt not but he will. Now, pr'ythee, leave me; I think I hear him coming.
Ser. I am gone.
Wife. By this good means I shall preserve my lands,
And free my husband out of usurers' hands.
Now there's no need of sale; my uncle's kind:
Hus. Now are you come? Where's the money? Let's see the money. Is the rubbish sold? those wise-acres, your lands? Why, when the money-where is it? Pour it down-down with it— down with it: I say pour it on the ground-let's see it—let's see it. Wife. Good sir, keep but in patience, and I hope my words shall like you well. I bring you better comfort than the sale of my dowry.
Hus. Ha!-What's that?
Wife. Pray do not fright me, sir, but vouchsafe me hearing.My uncle, glad of your kindness to me, and mild usage (for so I made it to him), hath, in pity of your declining fortunes, provided a place for you at Court, of worth and credit: which so much overjoyed
Hus. Out on thee, filth! over and over-joyed when I am in torment? (Spurns her.) Thou politic whore, subtler than nine devils, was this the journey to nunck? to set down the history of me, and of my state and fortunes? Shall I, that dedicated myself to pleasure, be now confined in service? To crouch and stand, like an old man i'the hams, with my hat off? I that could never abide to uncover my head i'the church? Base slut! this fruit bear thy complaints?
Wife. O, Heaven knows
That my complaints were praises and best words
Knew of your mortgag'd lands, and were possess'd
If you suspect it but a plot in me
To keep my dowry, or for mine own good
Enter a Servant, hastily.
What the devil! How now! thy hasty news!
[Draws a dagger.
Ser. May it please you, Sir,
Hus. What! may I not look upon my dagger?
Speak, villain, or I'll execute the point
Ser. Why, Sir, a gentleman from the University stays below to speak with you.
Hus. From the University?
That long word runs thro' me.
Wife. Was ever wife so wretchedly beset?
Had not this news stepp'd in between, the point
Had offer'd violence unto my breast.
That which some women call great misery
Would shew but little here; would scarce be seen
Among my miseries. I may compare,
A place of credit a base servitude.
What shall become of me and my poor children,
The heavy weight of sorrow draws my lids
This grief will last;—it wakes and sleeps with me."
The next scene exhibits the wretched husband in confe ́rence with the Master of the College, where his brother is pursuing his studies-who comes to remonstrate with him on having suffered his brother to be imprisoned for some debt of his (the husband's), for which he had become bound. Towards the end of this scene a sudden thought seems to strike him— he calls for a bowl of wine-swallows part of it-and dismisses the master with a promise speedily to satisfy him on the score of his brother's unhappy situation. And just at this moment, as he is reflecting on his vices and miseries, and the causes and consequences of them, one of his little boys comes in to him, playing. The scene which ensues, and part of that which follows it, we shall give as a concluding extract; and must add (almost against our will-for who would be willing to confess that this is human nature?) that they are written with admirable truth and simplicity. The idea of the first passage, in which the child mistakes his father's contortions for sportive attempts to frighten him, is truly Shakspearean; the conceit between the "white boy" and the "red boy" is far from being a false or a
far-fetched one; and the exclamation of the child-"O! you hurt me, father!" is the very perfection of truth and nature.— He believes that his father is playing with him,-only too roughly!
"Enter a little Boy, with a top and a scourge.
Are you not well?
Son. What ail you, father? my top as long as you stand so. You take up all the room with your wide legs.—Puh! you can't make me afraid with this ;-I fear no vizards nor bugbears.
[He takes up this child by the skirt of his coat with one hand, and draws his dagger with the other.
Hus. Up, sir, for here thou hast no inheritance left.
Son. O, you hurt me, father!
Hus. My eldest beggar,
Thou shalt not live to ask an usurer bread;
To cry at a great man's gate; or follow,
"Good your honour," by a coach; no, nor your brother.
Son. How shall I learn now my head's broke?
Rather than beg. Be not thy name's disgrace;
Come view thy second brother's. Fates! my children's blood
Scene changes.-A Maid discovered with a child in her on a couch by her, asleep.
[Exit with his Son.
Maid. Sleep, sweet babe; sorrow makes thy mother sleep.
arms; the Mother
Enter Husband, with his Son bleeding.
Hus. Whore, give me that boy. [Strives with her for the child.