Act IV - Act IV, Scene XIII


BEN. All mad, I think. Flesh, I believe all the calentures of the sea are come ashore, for my part.

MRS FRAIL. Mr Benjamin in choler!

BEN. No, I'm pleased well enough, now I have found you. Mess, I have had such a hurricane upon your account yonder.

MRS FRAIL. My account; pray what's the matter?

BEN. Why, father came and found me squabbling with yon chitty-faced thing as he would have me marry, so he asked what was the matter. He asked in a surly sort of a way--it seems brother Val is gone mad, and so that put'n into a passion; but what did I know that? what's that to me?--so he asked in a surly sort of manner, and gad I answered 'n as surlily. What thof he be my father, I an't bound prentice to 'n; so faith I told 'n in plain terms, if I were minded to marry, I'd marry to please myself, not him. And for the young woman that he provided for me, I thought it more fitting for her to learn her sampler and make dirt-pies than to look after a husband; for my part I was none of her man. I had another voyage to make, let him take it as he will.

MRS FRAIL. So, then, you intend to go to sea again?

BEN. Nay, nay, my mind run upon you, but I would not tell him so much. So he said he'd make my heart ache; and if so be that he could get a woman to his mind, he'd marry himself. Gad, says I, an you play the fool and marry at these years, there's more danger of your head's aching than my heart. He was woundy angry when I gave'n that wipe. He hadn't a word to say, and so I left'n, and the green girl together; mayhap the bee may bite, and he'll marry her himself, with all my heart.

MRS FRAIL. And were you this undutiful and graceless wretch to your father?

BEN. Then why was he graceless first? If I am undutiful and graceless, why did he beget me so? I did not get myself.

MRS FRAIL. O impiety! How have I been mistaken! What an inhuman, merciless creature have I set my heart upon? Oh, I am happy to have discovered the shelves and quicksands that lurk beneath that faithless, smiling face.

BEN. Hey toss! What's the matter now? Why, you ben't angry, be you?

MRS FRAIL. Oh, see me no more,--for thou wert born amongst rocks, suckled by whales, cradled in a tempest, and whistled to by winds; and thou art come forth with fins and scales, and three rows of teeth, a most outrageous fish of prey.

BEN. O Lord, O Lord, she's mad, poor young woman: love has turned her senses, her brain is quite overset. Well-a-day, how shall I do to set her to rights?

MRS FRAIL. No, no, I am not mad, monster; I am wise enough to find you out. Hadst thou the impudence to aspire at being a husband with that stubborn and disobedient temper? You that know not how to submit to a father, presume to have a sufficient stock of duty to undergo a wife? I should have been finely fobbed indeed, very finely fobbed.

BEN. Harkee, forsooth; if so be that you are in your right senses, d'ye see, for ought as I perceive I'm like to be finely fobbed,--if I have got anger here upon your account, and you are tacked about already. What d'ye mean, after all your fair speeches, and stroking my cheeks, and kissing and hugging, what would you sheer off so? Would you, and leave me aground?

MRS FRAIL. No, I'll leave you adrift, and go which way you will.

BEN. What, are you false-hearted, then?

MRS FRAIL. Only the wind's changed.

BEN. More shame for you,--the wind's changed? It's an ill wind blows nobody good,--mayhap I have a good riddance on you, if these be your tricks. What, did you mean all this while to make a fool of me?

MRS FRAIL. Any fool but a husband.

BEN. Husband! Gad, I would not be your husband if you would have me, now I know your mind: thof you had your weight in gold and jewels, and thof I loved you never so well.

MRS FRAIL. Why, can'st thou love, Porpuss?

BEN. No matter what I can do; don't call names. I don't love you so well as to bear that, whatever I did. I'm glad you show yourself, mistress. Let them marry you as don't know you. Gad, I know you too well, by sad experience; I believe he that marries you will go to sea in a hen-pecked frigate--I believe that, young woman- -and mayhap may come to an anchor at Cuckolds-Point; so there's a dash for you, take it as you will: mayhap you may holla after me when I won't come to.

MRS FRAIL. Ha, ha, ha, no doubt on't.--MY TRUE LOVE IS GONE TO SEA. [Sings]