PEACH. And how do you propose to live, child?
POLLY. Like other women, sir, upon the industry of my husband.
MRS. PEACH. What, is the wench turned fool? A highwayman's wife, like a soldier's, hath as little 15 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 widow. 20
POLLY. But I love him, sir: how then could I have thoughts of parting with him?
PEACH. Parting with him! Why, that is the whole scheme and intention of all marriage articles. The comfortable estate of widowhood is the only 25 hope that keeps up a wife's spirits. Where is the woman who would scruple to be a wife, if she had it in her power to be a widow whenever she pleased? If you have any views of this sort, Polly, I shall think the match not so very unreasonable. 30
POLLY. How I dread to hear your advice! Yet I must beg you to explain yourself.
PEACH. Secure what he hath got, have him peached the next sessions, and then at once you are made a rich widow. 35
POLLY. What, murder the man I love! The blood runs cold at my heart with the very thought of it.
PEACH. Fie, Polly! What hath murder to do in the affair? Since the thing sooner or later must happen, I dare say the captain himself would like 40 that we should get the reward 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. 45
MRS. PEACH. Ay, husband, now you have nicked the matter.1 To have him peached is the only thing could ever make me forgive her.
POLLY. Oh, ponder well! be not severe;
So save a wretched wife! 50 For on the rope that hangs my dear Depends poor Polly's life.
MRS. PEACH. But your duty to your parents, hussy, obliges you to hang him. What would many a wife give for such an opportunity! 55
POLLY. What is a jointure, what is widowhood to me? I know my heart. I cannot survive him.
The turtle2 thus with plaintive crying,
Her lover dying,
The turtle thus with plaintive crying, 60 Laments her dove. Down she drops, quite spent with sighing,
Paired in death, as paired in love.
Thus, sir, it will happen to your poor Polly. MRS. PEACH. What, is the fool in love in 65earnest then? I hate thee for being particular.3 Why, wench, thou art a shame to thy very sex.
POLLY. But hear me, mother! If you ever loved --
MRS. PEACH. Those cursed play-books she 70 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.
MRS. PEACH. Away, hussy. Hang your hus 75 band, and be dutiful.
MRS. PEACHUM, PEACHUM.
MRS. PEACH. The thing, husband, must and shall be done. For the sake of intelligence we must take other measures, and have him peached the next session without her consent. If she will not know her duty, we know ours. 5
PEACH. But really, my dear, it grieves one's heart to take off a great man. When I consider his personal bravery, his fine stratagem, how much we have already got by him, and how much more we may get, methinks I can't find in my heart to 10 have a hand in his death. I wish you could have made Polly undertake it.
40] O1O2Q say, the 62] Q (some copies) pent.____________________