Act V - Scene vi

Sharper, Setter, Sir Joseph, and Bluffe.

SHARP.  Heh!  Sure fortune has sent this fool hither on purpose.  Setter, stand close; seem not to observe ’em; and, hark ye.  [Whispers.]

BLUFF.  Fear him not.  I am prepared for him now, and he shall find he might have safer roused a sleeping lion.

SIR JO.  Hush, hush! don’t you see him?

BLUFF.  Show him to me.  Where is he?

SIR JO.  Nay, don’t speak so loud.  I don’t jest as I did a little while ago.  Look yonder!  Agad, if he should hear the lion roar, he’d cudgel him into an ass, and his primitive braying.  Don’t you remember the story in Æsop’s Fables, bully?  Agad, there are good morals to be picked out of Æsop’s Fables, let me tell you that, and Reynard the Fox too.

BLUFF.  Damn your morals.

SIR JO.  Prithee, don’t speak so loud.

BLUFF.  Damn your morals; I must revenge the affront done to my honour.  [In a low voice.]

SIR JO.  Ay; do, do, captain, if you think fitting.  You may dispose of your own flesh as you think fitting, d’ye see, but, by the Lord Harry, I’ll leave you.  [Stealing away upon his tip-toes.]

BLUFF.  Prodigious!  What, will you forsake your friend in extremity?  You can’t in honour refuse to carry him a challenge.  [Almost whisperingand treading softly after him.]

SIR JO.  Prithee, what do you see in my face that looks as if I would carry a challenge?  Honour is your province, captain; take it.  All the world know me to be a knight, and a man of worship.

SET.  I warrant you, sir, I’m instructed.

SHARP.  Impossible!  Araminta take a liking to a fool?  [Aloud.]

SET.  Her head runs on nothing else, nor she can talk of nothing else.

SHARP.  I know she commanded him all the while we were in the Park; but I thought it had been only to make Vainlove jealous.

SIR JO.  How’s this!  Good bully, hold your breath and let’s hearken.  Agad, this must be I.

SHARP.  Death, it can’t be.  An oaf, an idiot, a wittal.

SIR JO.  Ay, now it’s out; ’tis I, my own individual person.

SHARP.  A wretch that has flown for shelter to the lowest shrub of mankind, and seeks protection from a blasted coward.

SIR JO.  That’s you, bully back.  [Bluffe frowns upon Sir Joseph.]

SHARP.  She has given Vainlove her promise to marry him before to-morrow morning.  Has she not?  [To Setter.]

SET.  She has, sir; and I have it in charge to attend her all this evening, in order to conduct her to the place appointed.

SHARP.  Well, I’ll go and inform your master; and do you press her to make all the haste imaginable.