Act IV - Scene xxi

Fondlewife returns with Papers.

FOND.  Good lack! good lack!  I profess the poor man is in great torment; he lies as flat—Dear, you should heat a trencher, or a napkin.—Where’s Deborah?  Let her clap some warm thing to his stomach, or chafe it with a warm hand rather than fail.  What book’s this?  [Sees the book that Bellmour forgot.]

LÆT.  Mr. Spintext’s prayer-book, dear.  Pray Heaven it be a prayer-book.  [Aside.]

FOND.  Good man!  I warrant he dropped it on purpose that you might take it up and read some of the pious ejaculations.  [Taking up the book.]  O bless me!  O monstrous!  A prayer-book?  Ay, this is the devil’s paternoster.  Hold, let me see: The Innocent Adultery.

LÆT.  Misfortune! now all’s ruined again.  [Aside.]

BELL.  [Peeping].  Damned chance!  If I had gone a-whoring with the Practice of Piety in my pocket I had never been discovered.

FOND.  Adultery, and innocent!  O Lord!  Here’s doctrine!  Ay, here’s discipline!

LÆT.  Dear husband, I’m amazed.  Sure it is a good book, and only tends to the speculation of sin.

FOND.  Speculation!  No no; something went farther than speculation when I was not to be let in.—Where is this apocryphal elder?  I’ll ferret him.

LÆT.  I’m so distracted, I can’t think of a lie.  [Aside.]