Act II - Act II, Scene IX


MRS FRAIL. What have you to do to watch me? 'S'life I'll do what I please.

MRS FORE. You will?

MRS FRAIL. Yes, marry will I. A great piece of business to go to Covent Garden Square in a hackney coach, and take a turn with one's friend.

MRS FORE. Nay, two or three turns, I'll take my oath.

MRS FRAIL. Well, what if I took twenty--I warrant if you had been there, it had been only innocent recreation. Lord, where's the comfort of this life if we can't have the happiness of conversing where we like?

MRS FORE. But can't you converse at home? I own it, I think there's no happiness like conversing with an agreeable man; I don't quarrel at that, nor I don't think but your conversation was very innocent; but the place is public, and to be seen with a man in a hackney coach is scandalous. What if anybody else should have seen you alight, as I did? How can anybody be happy while they're in perpetual fear of being seen and censured? Besides, it would not only reflect upon you, sister, but me.

MRS FRAIL. Pooh, here's a clutter: why should it reflect upon you? I don't doubt but you have thought yourself happy in a hackney coach before now. If I had gone to Knight's Bridge, or to Chelsea, or to Spring Garden, or Barn Elms with a man alone, something might have been said.

MRS FORE. Why, was I ever in any of those places? What do you mean, sister?

MRS FRAIL. Was I? What do you mean?

MRS FORE. You have been at a worse place.

MRS FRAIL. I at a worse place, and with a man!

MRS FORE. I suppose you would not go alone to the World's End.

MRS FRAIL. The World's End! What, do you mean to banter me?

MRS FORE. Poor innocent! You don't know that there's a place called the World's End? I'll swear you can keep your countenance purely: you'd make an admirable player.

MRS FRAIL. I'll swear you have a great deal of confidence, and in my mind too much for the stage.

MRS FORE. Very well, that will appear who has most; you never were at the World's End?


MRS FORE. You deny it positively to my face?

MRS FRAIL. Your face, what's your face?

MRS FORE. No matter for that, it's as good a face as yours.

MRS FRAIL. Not by a dozen years' wearing. But I do deny it positively to your face, then.

MRS FORE. I'll allow you now to find fault with my face; for I'll swear your impudence has put me out of countenance. But look you here now, where did you lose this gold bodkin? Oh, sister, sister!

MRS FRAIL. My bodkin!

MRS FORE. Nay, 'tis yours, look at it.

MRS FRAIL. Well, if you go to that, where did you find this bodkin? Oh, sister, sister! Sister every way.

MRS FORE. Oh, devil on't, that I could not discover her without betraying myself. [Aside.]

MRS FRAIL. I have heard gentlemen say, sister, that one should take great care, when one makes a thrust in fencing, not to lie open oneself.

MRS FORE. It's very true, sister. Well, since all's out, and as you say, since we are both wounded, let us do what is often done in duels, take care of one another, and grow better friends than before.

MRS FRAIL. With all my heart: ours are but slight flesh wounds, and if we keep 'em from air, not at all dangerous. Well, give me your hand in token of sisterly secrecy and affection.

MRS FORE. Here 'tis, with all my heart.

MRS FRAIL. Well, as an earnest of friendship and confidence, I'll acquaint you with a design that I have. To tell truth, and speak openly one to another, I'm afraid the world have observed us more than we have observed one another. You have a rich husband, and are provided for. I am at a loss, and have no great stock either of fortune or reputation, and therefore must look sharply about me. Sir Sampson has a son that is expected to-night, and by the account I have heard of his education, can be no conjurer. The estate you know is to be made over to him. Now if I could wheedle him, sister, ha? You understand me?

MRS FORE. I do, and will help you to the utmost of my power. And I can tell you one thing that falls out luckily enough; my awkward daughter-in-law, who you know is designed to be his wife, is grown fond of Mr Tattle; now if we can improve that, and make her have an aversion for the booby, it may go a great way towards his liking you. Here they come together; and let us contrive some way or other to leave 'em together.