A Lawyer is an honest Employment, so is mine. Like me too he acts in a double Capacity, both against Rogues and for em; for tis but fitting that we should protect and encourage Cheats, since we live by them.
PEACHUM. Why, she may plead her Belly at worst; to my Knowledge she hath taken care of that Security. But, as the Wench is very active and industrious, you may satisfy her that Ill soften the Evidence.
PEACHUM. A lazy Dog! When I took him the 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 Ill save her from Transportation, for I can get more by her staying in England.
PEACHUM. If none of the Gang take her off, she 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 nothing to be got by the Death of Womenexcept our Wives.
FILCH. When a Gentleman is long kept in suspence, Penitence may break his Spirit ever after. Besides, Certainty gives a Man a good Air upon his Trial, and makes him risque another without Fear or Scruple. But Ill away, for tis a Pleasure to be the Messenger of Comfort to Friends in Affliction.
But tis now high time to look about me for a decent Execution against next Sessions. I hate a lazy Rogue, by whom one can get nothing till he is hangd. A Register of the Gang, [Reading] Crook-fingerd Jack. A Year and a half in the Service; Let me see how much the Stock owes to his Industry; one, two, three, four, five Gold Watches, and seven Silver ones. A mighty clean-handed Fellow! Sixteen Snuff-boxes, five of them of true Gold. Six Dozen of Handkerchiefs, four silver-hilted Swords, half a Dozen of Shirts, three Tye-Periwigs, and a piece of Broad-Cloth. Considering these are only the Fruits of his leisure Hours, I dont know a prettier Fellow, for no Man alive hath a more engaging Presence of Mind upon the Road. Wat Dreary, alias Brown Will, an irregular Dog, who hath an underhand way of disposing of his Goods. Ill try him only for a Sessions or two longer upon his Good-behaviour. Harry Padington, a poor petty-larceny Rascal, without the least Genius; that Fellow, though he were to live these six Months, will never come to the Gallows with any Credit. Slippery Sam; he goes off the next Sessions, for the Villain hath the Impudence to have Views of following his Trade as a Tailor, which he calls an honest Employment. Mat of the Mint; listed not above a Month ago, a promising sturdy Fellow, and diligent in his way; somewhat too bold and hasty, and may raise good Contributions on the Public, if he does not cut himself short by Murder. Tom Tipple, a guzzling soaking Sot, who is always too drunk to stand himself, or to make others stand. A Cart is absolutely necessary for him. Robin of Bagshot, alias Gorgon, alias Bluff Bob, alias Carbuncle, alias Bob Booty.
PEACHUM. I have set his Name down in the Black List, thats all, my Dear; he spends his Life among Women, and as soon as his Money is gone, one or other of the Ladies will hang him for the Reward, and theres forty Pounds lost to us for-ever.
Mrs. PEACHUM. You know, my Dear, I never meddle in matters of Death; I always leave those Affairs to you. Women indeed are bitter bad Judges in these cases, for they are so partial to the Brave that they think every Man handsome who is going to the Camp or the Gallows.
But really Husband, you should not be too hard-hearted, for you never had a finer, braver set of Men than at present. We have not had a Murder among them all, these seven Months. And truly, my Dear, that is a great Blessing.
PEACHUM. What a dickens is the Woman always a whimpring about Murder for? No Gentleman is ever lookd upon the worse for killing a Man in his own Defence; and if Business cannot be carried on without it, what would you have a Gentleman do?
PEACHUM. Murder is as fashionable a Crime as a Man can be guilty of. How many fine Gentlemen have we in Newgate every Year, purely upon that Article! If they have wherewithal to persuade the Jury to bring it in Manslaughter, what are they the worse for it? So, my Dear, have done upon this Subject. Was Captain Macheath here this Morning for the Bank-Notes he left with you last Week?
Mrs. PEACHUM. Yes, my Dear; and though the Bank hath stopt Payment, he was so cheerful and so agreeable! Sure there is not a finer Gentleman upon the Road than the Captain! If he comes from Bagshot at any reasonable Hour, he hath promisd to make one this Evening with Polly and me, and Bob Booty at a Party of Quadrille. Pray, my Dear, is the Captain rich?
PEACHUM. The Captain keeps too good Company ever to grow rich. Marybone and the Chocolate-houses are his Undoing. The Man that proposes to get Money by Play should have the Education of a fine Gentleman, and be traind up to it from his Youth.
Mrs. PEACHUM. Really, I am sorry upon Pollys Account the Captain hath not more Discretion. What Business hath he to keep Company with Lords and Gentlemen? he should leave them to prey upon one another.
PEACHUM. Look ye, Wife. A handsome Wench in our way of Business is as profitable as at the Bar of a Temple Coffee-House, who looks upon it as her livelihood to grant every Liberty but one. You see I would not indulge the Girl as far as prudently we can. In anything, but Marriage! After that, my Dear, how shall we be safe? Are we not then in her Husbands Power? For a Husband hath the absolute Power over all a Wifes Secrets but her own. If the Girl had the Discretion of a Court-Lady, who can have a Dozen young Fellows at her Ear without complying with one, I should not matter it; but Polly is Tinder, and a Spark will at once set her on a Flame. Married! If the Wench does not know her own Profit, sure she knows her own Pleasure better than to make herself a Property! My Daughter to me should be, like a Court-Lady to a Minister of State, a Key to the whole Gang. Married! If the Affair is not already done, Ill terrify her from it, by the Example of our Neighbours.
PEACHUM. But tis your Duty, my Dear, to warn the Girl against her Ruin, and to instruct her how to make the most of her Beauty. Ill go to her this moment, and sift her. In the mean time, Wife, rip out the Coronets and Marks of these Dozen of Cambric Handkerchiefs, for I can dispose of them this Afternoon to a Chap in the City.
Never was a Man more out of the way in an Argument than my Husband. Why must our Polly, forsooth, differ from her Sex, and love only her Husband? And why must Pollys Marriage, contrary to all Observation, make her the less followed by other Men? All Men are Thieves in Love, and like a Woman the better for being anothers Property.
Mrs. PEACHUM. Come hither, Filch. I am as fond of the Child, as though my Mind misgave me he were my own. He hath as fine a Hand at picking a Pocket as a Woman, and is as nimble-fingerd as a Juggler. If an unlucky Session does not cut the Rope of thy Life, I pronounce, Boy, thou wilt be a great Man in History. Where was your Post last Night, my Boy?
FILCH. I plyd at the Opera, Madam; and considering twas neither dark nor rainy, so that there was no great Hurry in getting Chairs and Coaches, made a tolerable Hand ont. These seven Handkerchiefs, Madam.
FILCH. I had a fair Tug at charming Gold Watch. Pox take the Tailors for making the Fobs so deep and narrow! It stuck by the way, and I was forcd to make my Escape under a Coach. Really, Madam, I fear I shall be cut off in the Flower of my Youth, so that every now and then (since I was pumpt) I have Thoughts of taking up and going to Sea.
Mrs. PEACHUM. You should go to Hockley in the Hole, and to Marybone, Child, to learn Valour. These are the Schools that have bred so many brave Men. I thought, Boy, by this time, thou hadst lost Fear as well as Shame. Poor Lad! how little does he know yet of the Old Baily! For the first Fact Ill insure thee from being hangd; and going to Sea, Filch, will come time enough upon a Sentence of Transportation. But now, since you have nothing better to do, evn go to your Book, and learn your Catechism; for really a Man makes but an ill Figure in the Ordinarys Paper, who cannot give a satisfactory Answer to his Questions. But, hark you, my Lad. Dont tell me a Lye; for you know I hate a Liar. Do you know of anything that hath passd between Captain Macheath and our Polly?
Mrs. PEACHUM. Yonder comes my Husband and Polly. Come, Filch, you shall go with me into my own Room, and tell me the whole Story. Ill give thee a most delicious Glass of a Cordial that I keep for my own drinking.
POLLY. I know as well as any of the fine Ladies how to make the most of myself and of my Man too. A Woman knows how to be mercenary, though she hath never been in a Court or at an Assembly. We have it in our Natures, Papa. If I allow Captain Macheath some trifling Liberties, I have this Watch and other visible Marks of his Favour to show for it. A Girl who cannot grant some Things, and refuse what is most material, will make but a poor hand of her Beauty, and soon be thrown upon the Common.
PEACHUM. You know, Polly, I am not against your toying and trifling with a Customer in the way of Business, or to get out a Secret, or so. But if I find out that you have playd the Fool and are married, you Jade you, Ill cut your Throat, Hussy. Now you know my Mind.
Our Polly is a sad Slut! nor heeds what we have taught her.
I wonder any Man alive will ever rear a Daughter!
For she must have both Hoods and Gowns, and Hoops to swell her Pride,
With Scarfs and Stays, and Gloves and Lace; and she will have Men beside;
And when shes drest with Care and Cost, all tempting, fine and gay,
As Men should serve a Cowcumber, she flings herself away.
Our Polly is a sad Slut! &c.
You Baggage! you Hussy! you inconsiderate Jade! had you been hangd, it would not have vexd me, for that might have been your Misfortune; but to do such a mad thing by Choice! The Wench is married, Husband.
PEACHUM. Married! the Captain is a bold Man, and will risk anything for Money; to be sure he believes her a Fortune. Do you think your Mother and I should have livd comfortably so long together, if ever we had been married? Baggage!
Mrs. PEACHUM. I knew she was always a proud Slut; and now the Wench hath playd the Fool and Married, because forsooth she would do like the Gentry. Can you support the Expence of a Husband, Hussy, in Gaming, Drinking and Whoring? Have you Money enough to carry on the daily Quarrels of Man and Wife about who shall squander most? There are not many Husbands and Wives, who can bear the Charges of plaguing one another in a handsome way. If you must be married, could you introduce no body into our Family but a Highwayman? Why, thou foolish Jade, thou wilt be as ill-usd, and as much neglected, as if thou hadst married a Lord!
PEACHUM. Let not your Anger, my Dear, break through the Rules of Decency, for the Captain looks upon himself in the Military Capacity, as a Gentleman by his Profession. Besides what he hath already, I know he is in a fair way of getting, or of dying; and both these ways, let me tell you, are most excellent Chances for a Wife. Tell me, Hussy, are you ruind or no?
Mrs. PEACHUM. How the Mother is to be pitied who hath handsome Daughters! Lock, Bolts, Bars, and Lectures of Morality are nothing to them: They break through them all. They have as much Pleasure in cheating a Father and Mother, as in cheating at Cards.
PEACHUM. See, Wench, to what a Condition you have reducd your poor Mother! a Glass of Cordial, this instant. How the poor Woman takes it to heart! [Polly goes out, and returns with it. Ah, Hussy, now this is the only Comfort your Mother has left!
Mrs. PEACHUM. Yes, indeed, the Sex is frail. But the first time a Woman is frail, she should be somewhat nice methinks, for then or never is the time to make her Fortune. After that, she hath nothing to do but to guard herself from being found out, and she may do what she pleases.
PEACHUM. 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 all endeavour to make the best of it.
PEACHUM. I hear Customers in tother Room: Go, talk with em, Polly; but come to us again, as soon as they are goneBut, hark ye, Child, if tis the Gentleman who was here Yesterday about the Repeating Watch; say, you believe we cant get Intelligence of it till to-morrow. For I lent it to Suky Straddle, to make a figure with it to-night at a Tavern in Drury-Lane. If tother Gentleman calls for the Silver-hilted Sword; you know Beetle-browd Jemmy hath it on, and he doth not come from Tunbridge till Tuesday Night; so that it cannot be had till then.
PEACHUM. But Money, Wife, is the true Fullers Earth for Reputations, there is not a Spot or a Stain but what it can take out. A rich Rogue now-a-days is fit Company for any Gentleman; and the World, my Dear, hath not such a contempt for Roguery as you imagine. I tell you, Wife, I can make this Match turn to our Advantage.
Mrs. PEACHUM. 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, Pollys Dower would come into a Dispute.
PEACHUM. There is not a Fellow that is cleverer in his way, and saves more Goods out of the Fire than Ned. But now, Polly, to your Affair; for Matters must be left as they are. You are married, then, it seems?
PEACHUM. Parting with him! Why, this is the whole Scheme and Intention of all Marriage Articles. The comfortable Estate of Widow-hood, is the only Hope that keeps up a Wifes 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 pleasd? If you have any Views of this sort, Polly, I shall think the Match not so very unreasonable.
PEACHUM. 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 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 there is no Malice in the Case.
Scene 11. Mrs. PEACHUM, PEACHUM. [Polly listning.]
Mrs. PEACHUM. The Thing, Husband, must and shall be done. For the sake of Intelligence we must take other Measures, and have him peachd the next Session without her Consent. If she will not know her Duty, we know ours.
PEACHUM. But really, my Dear, it grieves ones 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 cant find it in my Heart to have a hand in his Death. I wish you could have made Polly undertake it.
Now Im a Wretch, indeed.Methinks I see him already in the Cart, sweeter and more lovely than the Nosegay in his Hand!I hear the Crowd extolling his Resolution and Intrepidity!What Vollies of Sighs are sent from the Windows of Holborn, that so comely a Youth should be brought to Disgrace!I see him at the Tree! The whole Circle are in Tears!even Butchers weep!Jack Ketch himself hesitates to perform his Duty, and would be glad to lose his Fee, by a Reprieve. What then will become of Polly!As yet I may inform him of their Design, and aid him in his Escape.It shall be soBut then he flies, absents himself, and I bar myself from his dear dear Conversation! That too will distract me.If he keep out of the way, my Papa and Mama may in time relent, and we may be happy.If he stays, he is hangd, and then he is lost for ever!He intended to lie conceald in my Room, till the Dusk of the Evening: If they are abroad, Ill this Instant let him out, lest some Accident should prevent him. [Exit, and returns.
MACHEATH. Is there any Power, any Force that could tear me from thee? You might sooner tear a Pension out of the hands of a Courtier, a Fee from a Lawyer, a pretty Woman from a Looking-glass, or any Woman from Quadrille.But to tear me from thee is impossible!