WID. Nay, sir, hold there; I know your love to a widow is covetousness of her jointure: and 1175 a widow, a little stricken in years, with a good jointure, is like an old mansion-house in a good purchase, never valued, but take one, take t'other: and perhaps, when you are in possession, you'd neglect it, let it drop to the ground, for want of neces 1180 sary repairs or expenses upon't.
FREE. No, widow, one would be sure to keep all tight, when one is to forfeit one's lease by dilapidation.
WID. Fie! fie! I neglect my business with 1185 this foolish discourse of love. Jerry, child, let me see the list of the jury: I'm sure my cousin Olivia has some relations amongst 'em. But where is she?
FREE. Nay, widow, but hear me one word only.
WID. Nay, sir, no more, pray; I will no 1190 more hearken again to your foolish love-motions, than to offers of arbitration.
Exeunt WIDOW BLACKACRE and JERRY.
FREE. Well, I'll follow thee yet; for he that has a pretension at court, or to a widow, must never give over for a little ill-usage. 1195
OLD. Therefore I'll get her by assiduity, patience, and long-sufferings, which you will not undergo; for you idle young fellows leave off love when it comes to be business; and industry gets more women than love. 1200
FREE. Ay, industry, the fool's and old man's merit; but I'll be industrious too, and make a business on't, and get her by law, wrangling, and contests, and not by sufferings: and, because you are no dangerous rival, I'll give thee counsel, major: 1205
If you litigious widow e'er would gain,
Sigh not to her, but by the law complain;
To her, as to a bawd, defendant sue
With statutes, and make justice pimp for you.
Enter MANLY and FREEMAN, two Sailors behind.
MAN. I hate this place, worse than a man that has inherited a chancery suit: I wish I were well out on't again.
FREE. Why, you need not be afraid of this place: for a man without money needs no more fear a 5 crowd of lawyers than a crowd of pickpockets.
MAN. This, the reverend of the law would have thought the palace or residence of Justice; but, if it be, she lives here with the state of a Turkish emperor, rarely seen; and besieged rather than defended 10 by her numerous black guard,1 here.
FREE. Methinks 'tis like one of their own halls in Christmas time, whither from all parts fools bring their money, to try by the dice (not the worst judges) whether it shall be their own or no:215 but after a tedious fretting and wrangling they drop away all their money on both sides, and, finding neither the better, at last, go emptily and lovingly away together to the tavern, joining their curses against the young lawyer's box, that sweeps all, 20 like the old ones.
MAN. Spoken like a revelling Christmas lawyer.
FREE. Yes, I was one, I confess, but was fain to leave the law, out of conscience, and fall to making false musters:3 rather chose to cheat the king 25 than his subjects; plunder, rather than take fees.
MAN. Well, a plague and a purse-famine light on the law, and that female limb of it who dragged me hither today! But prithee, go see if, in that crowd of daggled4 gowns there (pointing to a crowd of30lawyers at the end of the stage), thou canst find her.
How hard it is to be an hypocrite!
At least to me, who am but newly so.
I thought it once a kind of knavery,
Nay, cowardice, to hide one's faults; but now 35 The common frailty, love, becomes my shame. He must not know I love th' ungrateful still,
Lest he contemn me more than she; for I,
It seems, can undergo a woman's scorn,
But not a man's -- 40
Enter to him FIDELIA.
FID. Sir, good sir, generous captain.
MAN. Prithee, kind impertinence, leave me. Why should'st thou follow me, flatter my generosity now, since thou know'st I have no money left? If I had it, I'd give it thee, to buy my quiet. 45
FID. I never followed yet, sir, reward or fame, but you alone; nor do I now beg anything but leave to share your miseries. You should not be a niggard of 'em, since, methinks, you have enough to spare. Let me follow you now, because you hate me, as 50 you have often said.
MAN. I ever hated a coward's company, I must confess.____________________