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them; they break through them all; they have] as much pleasure in cheating a father and mother, as in cheating at cards.
Peach. Why, Polly, I shall soon know if you are married, by Macheath's keeping from our house.
Can love be control'd by advice?
Mrs. P. Then all the hopes of our family are gone for ever and ever!
I like a ship in storms was toss'd,
O joy beyond expression!
I ask no more;
My all's in my possession.'
Peach. I hear customers in t'other room; 80 talk with them, Polly; but come again as soon as they are gone.-But hark ye, child, if 'tis the gentleman who was here yesterday about the repeating watch, say you can't get intelligence of it till to-morrow, for I lent it to Sukey Straddle, to make a figure with to- * Peach. And Macheath may hang his father night at a tavern in Drury-lane. If t'other and mother-in-law, in hopes to get into their gentleman calls for the silver-hilted sword, daughter's fortune. you know Beetle-browed Jemmy hath it on, Polly. I did not marry him (as 'tis the and he doth not come from Tunbridge till fashion), coolly and deliberately, for honour Tuesday night, so that it cannot be had till or money-but I love him. then. [Exit Polly] Dear wife, be a little paMrs. P. Love him! worse and worse! I cified; don't let your passion run away with thought the girl had been better bred. Oh your senses: Polly, I grant you, hath done a husband! husband! her folly makes me mad! rash thing.
my head swims! I'm distracted! I can't sup- Mrs. P. Ifshe had had only an intrigue with port myself-Oh! [Faints. the fellow, why the very best families have Peach. See, wench, to what a condition excused and huddled up a frailty of that sort, you have reduced your poor mother! A glass 'Tis marriage, husband, that makes it a blemish. of cordial this instant! How the poor woman Peach. But money, wife, is the true fullers'takes it to heart! [Polly goes out, and re-earth for reputations; there is not a spot or turns with it] Ah, hussy! now this is the stain but what it can take out. I tell you, only comfort your mother has left.
wife, I can make this match turn to our ad
Polly. Give her another glass, sir; my vantage. mamma drinks double the quantity whenever she is in this way. This, you see, fetches her. Mrs. P. The girl shows such readiness, and so much concern, that I almost could find in my heart to forgive her.
O Polly, you might have toy'd and kiss'd:
Mrs. P. Not with a highwayman-you sorry slut.
Mrs. P. I am very sensible, husband, that captain Macheath is worth money, but I am in doubt whether he hath not two or three wives already, and then, if he should die in a session or two, Polly's dower would come into dispute.
Peach. That indeed is a point which ought to be considered. The lawyers are bitter enemies to those in our way; they don't care that any body should get a clandestine livelihood but themselves.
Polly. 'Twas only Nimming Ned: he brought in a damask window-curtain, a hoop-petticoat, a pair of silver candlesticks, a perriwig, and one silk stocking, from the fire that hap
Peach. A word with you, wife. 'Tis no new thing for a wench to take a man without consent of parents. You know 'tis the pened last night. frailty of woman, my dear!
Peach. There is not a fellow that is cleverer Mrs. P. Yes, indeed, the sex is frail; but in his way, and saves1) more goods out of the first time a woman is frail, she should be the fire, than Ned. But now, Polly, to your somewhat nice methinks, for then or never affair; for matters must not be as they are. is her time to make her fortune: after that You are married then, it seems? she hath nothing to do but to guard herself from being found out, and she may do what she pleases.
Peach. Make yourself a little easy; I have a thought shall soon set all matters again to rights. Why so melancholy, Polly? since what is done cannot be undone, we must endeavour to make the best of it.
Polly. Yes, sir.
Peach. And how do you propose to live, child?
Polly. Like other women, sir; upon the industry of my husband.
Mrs. P. What! is the wench turn'd fool? a highwayman's wife, like a soldier's, bath as little of his pay as of his company.
Peach. And had not you the common views of a gentlewoman in your marriage, Polly? Polly. I don't know what you mean, sir. Peach. Of a jointure, and of being a
Polly. Then all my sorrows are at an end. Mrs. P. A mighty likely speech in troth widow. for a wench who is just married!
Polly. But I love him, sir: how then could the customs of the world, and make gratitude
I have thoughts of parting with him?
give way to interest-He shall be taken off.
Peach. Parting with him! why that is the whole scheme and intention, of all marriage articles. The comfortable estate of widowhood is the only hope that keeps up a wife's [Exeunt Peachum and Mrs. Peachum. spirits. Where is the woman who would Polly. Now I'm a wretch indeed!--Methinks scruple to be a wife, if she had it in her I see him already in the cart, sweeter and power to be a widow whenever she pleased? more lovely than the nosegay in his hand! — If you have any views of this sort, Polly, II hear the crowd extolling his resolution and shall think the match not so very unreason- intrepidity! I see him at the tree!) the whole circle are in tears!-What then will
Polly. How I dread to hear your advice! become of Polly?-As yet I may inform him yet I must beg you to explain yourself. of their design, and aid him in his escape.
Peach. Secure what he hath got, have him It shall be so.-But then he flies, absents himpeach'd the next sessions, and then at once self, and I bar myself from his dear, dear you are made a rich widow. conversation! that too will distract me.-If be Polly. What! murder the man I love! the keeps out of the way, my papa and mamma blood runs cold at my heart with the very may in time relent, and we may be happythought of it! If he stays, he is hanged, and then he is lost Peach. Fie, Polly! what hath murder to do for ever!-He intended to lie concealed in my in the affair? Since the thing sooner or later room till the dusk of the evening. If they are must happen, I dare say that the captain him- abroad, I'll this instant let him out, lest some self would like that we should get the reward accident should prevent him.
for his death sooner than a stranger. Why, Polly, the captain knows that as 'tis his employment to rob, so 'tis ours to take robbers; every man in his business: so that there is no malice in the case.
Mrs. P. To have him peached is the only thing could ever make me forgive her.
Oh ponder well! be not severe ;
So save a wretched wife:
For on the rope that hangs my dear,
Depends poor Polly's life.
Pretty Polly, say,
When I was away,
Polly. Without disg ise,
My constant heart discover.
O pretty, pretty Poll!
Mrs. P. But your duty to your parents, Polly. And are you as fond of me as ever, hussy, obliges you to hang him. What would my dear? many a wife give for such an opportunity!
Mac. Suspect my honour, my courage, Polly. What is a jointure, what is widow-suspect any thing but my love.-May my hood, to me? I know my heart; I cannot pistols miss fire, and my mare slip her shoulder survive him. Thus, sir, it will happen to your while I am pursued, if ever I forsake thee! poor Polly. Polly. Nay, my dear! I have no reason to Mrs. P. What is the fool in love in doubt you, for I find, in the romance you earnest then? I hate thee for being particu-lent me, none of the great heroes were false lar. Why! wench, thou art a shame to thy in love. very sex!
Polly. But hear me, mother-if you ever
Mrs. P. Those cursed play books she reads have been her ruin! One word more, hussy, and I shall knock your brains out, if you have any.
Peach. Keep out of the way, Polly, for fear of mischief, and consider of what is proposed to you.
My heart was so free,
It roved like the bee,
I changed ev'ry hour,
Mrs. P. Away, hussy. Hang your husband, and be dutiful. [Polly listens] The thing, Mac. Is there any power, any force, that husband, must and shall be done. If she will could tear me from thee? You might sooner not know her duty, we know ours. tear a pension out of the hands of a courtier, Peoch. But really, my dear, it grieves one's a fee from a lawyer, a pretty woman from a heart to take off a great man. When I con-looking-glass, or any woman from quadrilk sider his personal bravery, his fine stratagems, -But to tear me from thee is impossible; how much we have already got by him, and
how much more we may get, methinks I Mac. Were I laid on Greenland's coast, can't find in my heart to have a hand in his death: I wish you could have made Polly'
Mrs. P. But in case of necessity-our own lives are in danger.
Peach. Then indeed we must comply with
And in my arms embraced my lass,
Soon as the burning day was closed,
poor man, he is among the otamies 1), at
I could mock the sultry toil
Polly. Yes, I would go with thee. But oh! -how shall I speak it? I must be torn from thee! We must part!
Mac. How! part!
Polly. We must, we must!-My papa and mamma are set against thy life: they now, even now, are in search after thee; they are preparing evidence against thee; thy life depends upon a moment!
O, what a pain it is to part!
Can I leave thee, can I leave thee?
Ben. So, it seems, his time was come. Jemmy. But the present time is ours, and nobody alive hath more. Why are the laws levelled at us? are we more dishonest than the rest of mankind? What we win, gentlemen, is our own, by the law of arms, and the right of conquest.
Jack. Where shall we find such another set of practical philosophers, who, to a man, are above the fear of death?
Wat. Sound men and true!
Robin. Of tried courage, and indefatigable industry!
Ned. Who is there here that would not die for his friend?
Harry. Who is there here that would betray him for his interest?
Mat. Show me a gang of courtiers that can say as much.
Ben. We are for a just partition of the world; for every man has a right to enjoy life, Mat. We retrench the superfluities of mankind. The world is avaricious, and I hate One kiss, and then!-one kiss!-Be gone!-avarice. A covetous fellow, like a jackdaw, Farewell!
steals what he was never made to enjoy, for Mac. My hand, my heart, my dear, is so the sake of hiding it. These are the robbers rivetted to thine, that I cannot unloose my hold!
Polly. But my papa may intercept thee, and then I should lose the very glimmering of hope. A few weeks, perhaps, may reconcile us all. Shall thy Polly hear from thee? Mac. Must I then go?
Polly. And will not absence change your love?
of mankind; for money was made for the free-hearted and generous: and where is the injury of taking from another what he hath not the heart to make use of?
Jemmy. Our several stations for the day are fixed. Good luck attend us all! Fill the glasses!
Mac. If you doubt it, let me stay-and be Fill ev'ry glass, for wine inspires us, hanged. And fires us, Polly. Oh, how I fear! how I tremble!-With courage, love, and joy. Go-but, when safety will give you leave, Women and wine should life employ; you will be sure to see me again; for, till Is there aught else on earth desirous? then, Polly is wretched. Chorus. Fill ev'ry glass, etc.
Mac. The miser thus a shilling sees,
"Which he's obliged to pay;
SCENE L-A Tavern near Newgate. JEMMY TWITCHER, CROOK-FINGER'D JACK, WAT DREARY, ROBIN OF BAGSHOT, NIMMING NED, HARRY PADDINGTON, MAT-O'THEMINT, BEN BUDGE, and the rest of the Gang, at the Table, with Wine, Brandy, and Tobacco.
Ben. But pr'ythee, Mat, what is become of thy brother-Tom? I have not seen him since my return from transportation,
Mac. Gentlemen, well met; my heart hath been with you this hour, but an unexpected affair hath detained me. No ceremony, I beg you!
Mat. We were just breaking up, to go upon duty. Am I to have the honour of taking the air with you, sir, this evening, upon the Heath? Į drink a dram, now and then, with the stagecoachmen, in the way of friendship and intelligence; and I know that, about this time, there will be passengers upon the western road, who are worth speaking with.
Mac. I was to have been of that party—but—
Mac. Is there any one that suspects my courage?
Mat. We have all been witnesses of it.
Mac. In the division of our booty, have I ever shown the least marks of avarice or injustice?
Mat. Poor brother Tom had an accident 1), this time twelvemonth, and so clever made a Mat. By these questions, something seems fellow as he was, I could not save him from to have ruffled you. Are any of us suspected? these stealing rascals, the surgeons; and now,
1) Only hanged.
Mac. I have a fixed confidence, gentlemen, in you all, as men of honour, and as such I 1) Anatomies, skeletons.
value and respect you. Peachum is a man that is useful to us.
Is the porter gone for all the ladies, according
Mal. Is he about to play us any foul play? to my directions? I'll shoot him through the head. Drawer. I expect him back every minute Mac. I beg you, gentlemen, act with con- but you know, sir, you sent him as far as duct and discretion. A pistol is your last Hockley-in-the-hole for three of the ladies; for one in Vinegar-yard, and for the rest of them, somewhere about Lewkner's-lane. Sure
VIXEN, BETTY DOXY, JENNY DIVER, MES.
Mat. He knows nothing of this meeting. Mac. Business cannot go on without him: some of them are below, for I hear the bar he is a man who knows the world, and is a bell. As they come, I will show them up. necessary agent to us. We have had a slight Coming! coming. [Exit. difference, and, till it is accommodated, I shall be obliged to keep out of his way. Any pri- Enter MRS. COAXER, DOLLY TRULL, MRS. vate dispute of mine shall be of no ill consequence to my friends. You must continue to act under his direction; for, the moment we break loose from him, our gang is ruined. Mac. Dear Mrs. Coaxer, you are welcome! Mat. He is, to us, of great convenience. you look charmingly to-day: I hope you don't Mac. Make him believe I have quitted the want the repairs of quality, and lay on paint.— gang, which I can never do but with life. Dolly Trull! kiss me, you slut! are you as At our private quarters I will continue to amorous as ever, hussy? you are always so meet you. A week, or so, will probably re- taken up with stealing hearts, that you dout .concile us. allow yourself time to steal any thing else.Mat. Your instructions shall be observed. Ah, Dolly! thou wilt ever be a coquette.Tis now high time for us to repair to our Mrs. Vixen, I'm yours! I always loved a several duties; so, till the evening, at our woman of wit and spirit; they make charming quarters in Moorfields, we bid you farewell. mistresses, but plaguy wives. - Betty Doxy! Mac. I shall wish myself with you. Suc- come hither, hussy: do you drink as hard as cess attend you.
[Sits down melancholy at the Table.
AIR AND CHORUS.—MAT-O'THE-MINT AND GANG.
Hark! I hear the sound of coaches,
ever? you had better stick to good wholesome beer; for, in troth, Betty, strong waters will, in time, ruin your constitution: you should leave those to your betters. What, and my pretty Jenny Diver too! as prim and demure as ever! there is not any prude, though ever so high bred, hath a more sanctified look, with a more mischievous heart: ah, thou art a dear, artful hypocrite! - Mrs. Slammekin! as careless and genteel as ever! all you fine ladies, who know your own beauty, affect an undress. But see! here's Sukey Tawdry come [The Gang, ranged in the Front of the to contradict what I was saying.-Molly Brazen! Stage, load their Pistols, and stick them [She kisses him] That's well done! I love a under their Girdles; then go off, sing-free-hearted wench: thou hast a mest agreeing the first Part in Chorus, able assurance, girl, and art as willing as a turtle.
Let the chemists toil like asses,
And turns all our lead to gold.
Mac. What a fool is a fond wench! Polly is most confoundedly bit. I love the sex; and man who loves money might as well be contented with one guinea, as I with one woman. The town, perhaps, hath been as much obliged to me for recruiting it with free-hearted ladies, as to any recruiting officer in the army. If it were not for us and
AIR AND CHORUS. MACHEATH AND LADIES.
the other gentlemen of the sword, Drury Beauty's a flower despised in decay.
lane 1) would be uninhabited.
Chorus. Youth's the season, etc.
Let us drink and sport to-day,
Ours is not to-morrow;
Love with youth flies swift away,
Mac. Now, pray, ladies, take your places Here, drawer, bring us more wine. If any of the ladies choose gin, I hope they will be so
free as to call for it.
is strong enough for me. Indeed, sir, I nee Jenny. You look as if you meant me. Wine drink strong waters but when I have the cholic. Mac. Just the excuse of the fine ladies!
why, a lady of quality is never without the treat, I believe, Mrs. Sukey will join me—as cholic. I hope, Mrs. Coaxer, you have had for any thing else, ladies, you cannot, in congood success of late in your visits among the science, expect it. mercers 1).
Mrs. C. We have so many interlopers; yet, with industry, one may still have a little picking. If any woman hath more art than another, to be sure 'tis Jenny Diver.
Mrs. S. Dear madam!
[Offering the Pass to Mrs. Vixen. Mrs. V. I wouldn't for the world. Mrs. S. Nay-thus I must stay all night. Mrs. V. Since you command meMac. Have done with your compliments, Mrs. S. [After having given way to Mrs. ladies, and drink about. You are not so fond Vixen, pushes her from the Door] Let your of me, Jenny, as you used to be. before you.
Jenny. "Tis not convenient, sir, to show my fondness among so many rivals. Tis your
own choice, and not the warmth of my in- Enter LoCKIT, Turnkeys, MACHEATH, and
clination, that will determine you.-But, to be sure, sir, with so much good fortune as you Lockit. Noble captain, you are welcome! have had upon the road, you must be grown you have not been a lodger of mine this year immensely rich. and a half. You know the custom, sir; garMac. The road, indeed, hath done me jus-nish 1), captain, garnish.-Hand me down those tice, but the gaming-table hath been my ruin. fetters there. Jenny. A man of courage should never put Mac. Those, Mr. Lockit, seem to be the any thing to the risk but his life. These are heaviest of the whole set. With your leave, the tools of a man of honour: cards and dice I should like the further pair better. are only fit for cowardly cheats, who prey upon their friends.
[She takes up his Pistol; Sukey Tawdry takes up the other.
Sukey. This, sir, is fitter for your hand. Besides your loss of money, 'tis a loss to the ladies. How fond could I be of you! but, before company, 'tis ill bred.
Mac. Wanton hussies!
Jenny. I must, and will, have a kiss, to give my wine a zest.
Lockit. Look ye, captain, we know what is fittest for our prisoners. When a gentleman uses me with civility, I always do the best I can to please him.-Hand them down, I say. We have them of all prices, from one guinea to ten; and 'tis fitting every gentleman should please himself.
Mac. I understand you, sir. [Gives Money] The fees here are so many, and so exorbitant, that few fortunes can bear the expense of getting off handsomely, or of dying like a gentleman 2).
[They take him about the Neck, and make Signs to Peachum and Con- Lockit. Those, I see, will fit the captain stables, who rush in upon him. better.-Take down the further pair.-Do but Peach. I seize you, sir, as my prisoner. examine them, sir-Never was better workMac. VVas this well done, Jenny?-Women How genteelly they are made!-They will sit are decoy ducks; who can trust them? beasts, as easy as a glove, and the nicest man in jades, jills, harpies, furies, whores! England might not be ashamed to wear them. Peach. Your case, Mr. Macheath, is not [He puts on the Chains] If I had the best particular. The greatest heroes have been gentleman in the land in my custody, I could ruined by women. — But, to do them justice, not equip him more handsomely. And so, sirI must own they are a pretty sort of crea- I now leave you to your private meditations. tures, if we could trust them. You must now, sir, take your leave of the ladies; and, if they have a mind to make you a visit, they will be sure to find you at home. This gentleman, ladies, lodges in Newgate. Constables, wait upon the captain to his lodgings.
At the tree I shall suffer with pleasure,
In all kinds of ill,
[Exeunt Lockit, Turnkeys, and Constables.
Man may escape from rope and gun,
The fly, that sips treacle, is lost in the sweets,
I shall find no such furies as these are. hanged) be confident to hear the reproaches [Exit Macheath, guarded with of a wench, who lays her ruin at my doorPeachum and Constables. I am in the custody of her father; and, to be Mrs. V. Look ye, Mrs. Jenny, though Mr. sure, if he knows of the matter, I shall have Peachum may have made a private bargain a fine time on't betwixt this and my exewith you and Sukey Tawdry, for betraying cution. But I promised the wench marriage.he captain, as we were all assisting we ought What signifies a promise to a woman? does all to share alike. not man, in marriage itself, promise a hundred Jenny. As far as bowl of punch, or a things that he never means to perform? Do look upon a promise as an excuse for followall we can, women will believe us; for they
1) This is called shop-lifting, where a woman goes to
mercer's, or other shop, ander pretence of buying some-. thing and they generally take with them double the quantity they have paid for; but they come under so many different shapes, and are so extremely clever at their business, that it is almost impossible to detect them.