Act III - Act III, Scene VI


BEN. Where's father?

SERV. There, sir, his back's toward you.

SIR SAMP. My son Ben! Bless thee, my dear body. Body o' me, thou art heartily welcome.

BEN. Thank you, father, and I'm glad to see you.

SIR SAMP. Odsbud, and I'm glad to see thee; kiss me, boy, kiss me again and again, dear Ben. [Kisses him.]

BEN. So, so, enough, father, Mess, I'd rather kiss these gentlewomen.

SIR SAMP. And so thou shalt. Mrs Angelica, my son Ben.

BEN. Forsooth, if you please. [Salutes her.] Nay, mistress, I'm not for dropping anchor here; about ship, i'faith. [Kisses Frail.] Nay, and you too, my little cock-boat--so [Kisses Miss].

TATT. Sir, you're welcome ashore.

BEN. Thank you, thank you, friend.

SIR SAMP. Thou hast been many a weary league, Ben, since I saw thee.

BEN. Ay, ay, been! Been far enough, an' that be all. Well, father, and how do all at home? How does brother Dick, and brother Val?

SIR SAMP. Dick--body o' me--Dick has been dead these two years. I writ you word when you were at Leghorn.

BEN. Mess, that's true; marry! I had forgot. Dick's dead, as you say. Well, and how? I have a many questions to ask you. Well, you ben't married again, father, be you?

SIR SAMP. No; I intend you shall marry, Ben; I would not marry for thy sake.

BEN. Nay, what does that signify? An' you marry again--why then, I'll go to sea again, so there's one for t'other, an' that be all. Pray don't let me be your hindrance--e'en marry a God's name, an the wind sit that way. As for my part, mayhap I have no mind to marry.

FRAIL. That would be pity--such a handsome young gentleman.

BEN. Handsome! he, he, he! nay, forsooth, an you be for joking, I'll joke with you, for I love my jest, an' the ship were sinking, as we sayn at sea. But I'll tell you why I don't much stand towards matrimony. I love to roam about from port to port, and from land to land; I could never abide to be port-bound, as we call it. Now, a man that is married has, as it were, d'ye see, his feet in the bilboes, and mayhap mayn't get them out again when he would.

SIR SAMP. Ben's a wag.

BEN. A man that is married, d'ye see, is no more like another man than a galley-slave is like one of us free sailors; he is chained to an oar all his life, and mayhap forced to tug a leaky vessel into the bargain.

SIR SAMP. A very wag--Ben's a very wag; only a little rough, he wants a little polishing.

MRS FRAIL. Not at all; I like his humour mightily: it's plain and honest--I should like such a humour in a husband extremely.

BEN. Say'n you so, forsooth? Marry, and I should like such a handsome gentlewoman for a bed-fellow hugely. How say you, mistress, would you like going to sea? Mess, you're a tight vessel, an well rigged, an you were but as well manned.

MRS FRAIL. I should not doubt that if you were master of me.

BEN. But I'll tell you one thing, an you come to sea in a high wind, or that lady--you may'nt carry so much sail o' your head--top and top gallant, by the mess.

MRS FRAIL. No, why so?

BEN. Why, an you do, you may run the risk to be overset, and then you'll carry your keels above water, he, he, he!

ANG. I swear, Mr Benjamin is the veriest wag in nature--an absolute sea-wit.

SIR SAMP. Nay, Ben has parts, but as I told you before, they want a little polishing. You must not take anything ill, madam.

BEN. No, I hope the gentlewoman is not angry; I mean all in good part, for if I give a jest, I'll take a jest, and so forsooth you may be as free with me.

ANG. I thank you, sir, I am not at all offended. But methinks, Sir Sampson, you should leave him alone with his mistress. Mr Tattle, we must not hinder lovers.

TATT. Well, Miss, I have your promise. [Aside to Miss.]

SIR SAMP. Body o' me, madam, you say true. Look you, Ben, this is your mistress. Come, Miss, you must not be shame-faced; we'll leave you together.

MISS. I can't abide to be left alone; mayn't my cousin stay with me?

SIR SAMP. No, no. Come, let's away.

BEN. Look you, father, mayhap the young woman mayn't take a liking to me.

SIR SAMP. I warrant thee, boy: come, come, we'll be gone; I'll venture that.