Act IV - Scene iv

Fondlewife, Lætitia.

LÆT.  I hope my dearest jewel is not going to leave me—are you, Nykin?

FOND.  Wife—have you thoroughly considered how detestable, how heinous, and how crying a sin the sin of adultery is?  Have you weighed it, I say?  For it is a very weighty sin; and although it may lie heavy upon thee, yet thy husband must also bear his part.  For thy iniquity will fall upon his head.

LÆT.  Bless me, what means my dear?

FOND.  [Aside.]  I profess she has an alluring eye; I am doubtful whether I shall trust her, even with Tribulation himself.  Speak, I say, have you considered what it is to cuckold your husband?

LÆT.  [Aside.]  I’m amazed.  Sure he has discovered nothing.  Who has wronged me to my dearest?  I hope my jewel does not think that ever I had any such thing in my head, or ever will have.

FOND.  No, no, I tell you I shall have it in my head—

LÆT.  [Aside.]  I know not what to think.  But I’m resolved to find the meaning of it.  Unkind dear!  Was it for this you sent to call me?  Is it not affliction enough that you are to leave me, but you must study to increase it by unjust suspicions?  [Crying.]  Well—well—you know my fondness, and you love to tyrannise—Go on, cruel man, do: triumph over my poor heart while it holds, which cannot be long, with this usage of yours.  But that’s what you want.  Well, you will have your ends soon.  You will—you will.  Yes, it will break to oblige you.  [Sighs.]

FOND.  Verily, I fear I have carried the jest too far.  Nay, look you now if she does not weep—’tis the fondest fool.  Nay, Cocky, Cocky, nay, dear Cocky, don’t cry, I was but in jest, I was not, ifeck.

LÆT.  [Aside.]  Oh then, all’s safe.  I was terribly frighted.  My affliction is always your jest, barbarous man!  Oh, that I should love to this degree!  Yet—

FOND.  Nay, Cocky.

LÆT.  No, no, you are weary of me, that’s it—that’s all, you would get another wife—another fond fool, to break her heart—Well, be as cruel as you can to me, I’ll pray for you; and when I am dead with grief, may you have one that will love you as well as I have done: I shall be contented to lie at peace in my cold grave—since it will please you.  [Sighs.]

FOND.  Good lack, good lack, she would melt a heart of oak—I profess I can hold no longer.  Nay, dear Cocky—ifeck, you’ll break my heart—ifeck you will.  See, you have made me weep—made poor Nykin weep.  Nay, come kiss, buss poor Nykin—and I won’t leave thee—I’ll lose all first.

LÆT.  [Aside.]  How!  Heaven forbid! that will be carrying the jest too far indeed.

FOND.  Won’t you kiss Nykin?

LÆT.  Go, naughty Nykin, you don’t love me.

FOND.  Kiss, kiss, ifeck, I do.

LÆT.  No, you don’t.  [She kisses him.]

FOND.  What, not love Cocky!

LÆT.  No-h.  [Sighs.]

FOND.  I profess I do love thee better than five hundred pound—and so thou shalt say, for I’ll leave it to stay with thee.

LÆT.  No you sha’n’t neglect your business for me.  No, indeed, you sha’n’t, Nykin.  If you don’t go, I’ll think you been dealous of me still.

FOND.  He, he, he, wilt thou, poor fool?  Then I will go, I won’t be dealous.  Poor Cocky, kiss Nykin, kiss Nykin, ee, ee, ee.  Here will be the good man anon, to talk to Cocky and teach her how a wife ought to behave herself.

LÆT.  [Aside.]  I hope to have one that will show me how a husband ought to behave himself.  I shall be glad to learn, to please my jewel.  [Kiss.]

FOND.  That’s my good dear.  Come, kiss Nykin once more, and then get you in.  So—get you in, get you in.  Bye, bye.

LÆT.  Bye, Nykin.

FOND.  Bye, Cocky.

LÆT.  Bye, Nykin.

FOND.  Bye, Cocky, bye, bye.