Act II

Scene 1 - A Tavern Near Newgate

Jemmy Twitcher, Crook-fingered Jack, Wat Dreary, Robin of Bagshot, Ned, Harry Paddington, Mat of the Mint, Ben Budge, and the rest of the gang, at the table, with wine, brandy, and tobacco.

Ben. But prithee, Mat, what is become of why brother Tom? I have not seen him since my return from transportation.

Mat. Poor brother Tom had an accident this time twelvemonth, and so clever a made fellow he was that I could not save him from those flaying rascals the surgeons, and now, poor man, he is among the otamies at Surgeons’ Hall.

Ben. So it seems his time was come.

Jem. 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.

Crook. 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!

Rob. Of tried courage and indefatigable industry!

Ned. Who is there here that would not die for his friend?

Har. 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 hath a right to enjoy life.

Mat. We retrench the superfluities of mankind. The world is avaricious, and I hate avarice. A covetous fellow, like a jackdaw, steals what he was never made to enjoy for the sake of hiding it. These are the robbers 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?

Jem. Our several stations for the day are fixed. Good luck attend us all! Fill the glasses.

Air.—Fill every glass, etc.

Mat. Fill every glass, for wine inspires us,

   And fires us
With courage, love, and joy.
Women and wine should life employ;
Is there aught else on earth desirous?
   Chorus. Fill every glass, etc.

Enter Macheath

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? I drink a dram now and then with the stage coachmen 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.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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