BY JOHN GAY
PEACHUMsitting at a table with a large book of accounts before him.
AIR I. An old woman clothed in gray.
Through all the employments of life,
Each neighbor abuses his brother;
Whore and rogue they call husband and wife:
All professions be-rogue one another.
The priest calls the lawyer a cheat,
The lawyer be-knaves the divine;
And the statesman, because he's so great,
Thinks his trade as honest as mine.
A lawyer is an honest employment; so is mine. Like me, too, he acts in a double capacity, both 10 against rogues and for 'em; for 'tis but fitting that we should protect and encourage cheats, since we live by 'em.
FILCH. Sir, Black Moll hath sent word her trial comes on in the afternoon, and she hopes you will order matters so as to bring her off.
PEACH. Why, she may plead her belly1 at worst; to my knowledge she hath taken care of that 5 security. But as the wench is very active and industrious, you may satisfy her that I'll soften the evidence.
FILCH. Tom Gagg, sir, is found guilty.
PEACH. A lazy dog! When I took him the 10 time before, I told him what he would come to if he did not mend his hand. This is death without reprieve. I may venture to book him. (Writes.) 'For Tom Gagg, forty pounds.' Let Betty Sly know that I'll save her from transportation,2 for I can 15 get more by her staying in England.
FILCH. Betty hath brought more goods into our lock3 to-year,4 than any five of the gang; and in truth, 'tis a pity to lose so good a customer.
PEACH. If none of the gang take her off,5 she 20 may, in the common course of business, live a twelve- month longer. I love to let women scape. A good sportsman always lets the hen partridges fly, because the breed of the game depends upon them. Besides, here the law allows us no reward; there is noth 25 ing to be got by the death of women -- except our wives.
FILCH. Without dispute, she is a fine woman! 'Twas to her I was obliged for my education, and (to say a bold word) she hath trained up more 30 young fellows to the business than the gaming-table.
PEACH. Truly, Filch, thy observation is right. We and the surgeons are more beholden to women than all the professions besides.