Act V - Scene the Last

[To them] Sir Joseph, Bluffe, Sylvia, Lucy, Setter.

BLUFF.  All injuries whatsoever, Mr. Sharper.

SIR JO.  Ay, ay, whatsoever, Captain, stick to that; whatsoever.

SHARP.  ’Tis done, these gentlemen are witnesses to the general release.

VAIN.  Ay, ay, to this instant moment.  I have passed an act of oblivion.

BLUFF.  ’Tis very generous, sir, since I needs must own—

SIR JO.  No, no, Captain, you need not own, heh, heh, heh.  ’Tis I must own—

BLUFF.—That you are over-reached too, ha, ha, ha, only a little art military used—only undermined, or so, as shall appear by the fair Araminta, my wife’s permission.  Oh, the devil, cheated at last!  [Lucy unmasks.]

SIR JO.  Only a little art-military trick, captain, only countermined, or so.  Mr. Vainlove, I suppose you know whom I have got—now, but all’s forgiven.

VAIN.  I know whom you have not got; pray ladies convince him.  [Aram. and Belin. unmask.]

SIR JO.  Ah! oh Lord, my heart aches.  Ah!  Setter, a rogue of all sides.

SHARP.  Sir Joseph, you had better have pre-engaged this gentleman’s pardon: for though Vainlove be so generous to forgive the loss of his mistress, I know not how Heartwell may take the loss of his wife.  [Sylvia unmasks.]

HEART.  My wife!  By this light ’tis she, the very cockatrice.  O Sharper!  Let me embrace thee.  But art thou sure she is really married to him?

SET.  Really and lawfully married, I am witness.

SHARP.  Bellmour will unriddle to you.  [Heartwell goes to Bellmour.]

SIR JO.  Pray, madam, who are you?  For I find you and I are like to be better acquainted.

SYLV.  The worst of me is, that I am your wife—

SHARP.  Come, Sir Joseph, your fortune is not so bad as you fear.  A fine lady, and a lady of very good quality.

SIR JO.  Thanks to my knighthood, she’s a lady—

VAIN.  That deserves a fool with a better title.  Pray use her as my relation, or you shall hear on’t.

BLUFF.  What, are you a woman of quality too, spouse?

SET.  And my relation; pray let her be respected accordingly.  Well, honest Lucy, fare thee well.  I think, you and I have been play-fellows off and on, any time this seven years.

LUCY.  Hold your prating.  I’m thinking what vocation I shall follow while my spouse is planting laurels in the wars.

BLUFF.  No more wars, spouse, no more wars.  While I plant laurels for my head abroad, I may find the branches sprout at home.

HEART.  Bellmour, I approve thy mirth, and thank thee.  And I cannot in gratitude (for I see which way thou art going) see thee fall into the same snare out of which thou hast delivered me.

BELL.  I thank thee, George, for thy good intention; but there is a fatality in marriage, for I find I’m resolute.

HEART.  Then good counsel will be thrown away upon you.  For my part, I have once escaped; and when I wed again, may she be—ugly, as an old bawd.

VAIN.  Ill-natured, as an old maid—

BELL.  Wanton, as a young widow—

SHARP.  And jealous, as a barren wife.

HEART.  Agreed.

BELL.  Well; ’midst of these dreadful denunciations, and notwithstanding the warning and example before me, I commit myself to lasting durance.

BELIN.  Prisoner, make much of your fetters.  [Giving her hand.]

BELL.  Frank, will you keep us in countenance?

VAIN.  May I presume to hope so great a blessing?

ARAM.  We had better take the advantage of a little of our friend’s experience first.

BELL.  O’ my conscience she dares not consent, for fear he should recant.  [Aside.]  Well, we shall have your company to church in the morning.  May be it may get you an appetite to see us fall to before you.  Setter, did not you tell me?—

SET.  They’re at the door: I’ll call ’em in.