Act I - Scene iii

[To him] Sharper.

SHARP.  I’m sorry to see this, Ned.  Once a man comes to his soliloquies, I give him for gone.

BELL.  Sharper, I’m glad to see thee.

SHARP.  What! is Belinda cruel, that you are so thoughtful?

BELL.  No, faith, not for that.  But there’s a business of consequence fallen out to-day that requires some consideration.

SHARP.  Prithee, what mighty business of consequence canst thou have?

BELL.  Why, you must know, ’tis a piece of work toward the finishing of an alderman.  It seems I must put the last hand to it, and dub him cuckold, that he may be of equal dignity with the rest of his brethren: so I must beg Belinda’s pardon.

SHARP.  Faith, e’en give her over for good and all; you can have no hopes of getting her for a mistress; and she is too proud, too inconstant, too affected and too witty, and too handsome for a wife.

BELL.  But she can’t have too much money.  There’s twelve thousand pound, Tom.  ’Tis true she is excessively foppish and affected; but in my conscience I believe the baggage loves me: for she never speaks well of me herself, nor suffers anybody else to rail at me.  Then, as I told you, there’s twelve thousand pound.  Hum!  Why, faith, upon second thoughts, she does not appear to be so very affected neither.—Give her her due, I think the woman’s a woman, and that’s all.  As such, I’m sure I shall like her; for the devil take me if I don’t love all the sex.

SHARP.  And here comes one who swears as heartily he hates all the sex.