SCENE I.—Pinchwife’s House

Enter Pinchwife and Mrs. Pinchwife. A table and candle.

Pinch. Come, take the pen and make an end of the letter, just as you intended; if you are false in a tittle, I shall soon perceive it, and punish you as you deserve.—[Lays his hand on his sword.] Write what was to follow—let’s see—“You must make haste, and help me away before to-morrow, or else I shall be for ever out of your reach, for I can defer no longer our”—What follows “our”?

Mrs. Pinch. Must all out, then, bud?—Look you there, then.

[Mrs. Pinchwife takes the pen and writes.

Pinch. Let’s see—“For I can defer no longer our—wedding— Your slighted Alithea.”—What’s the meaning of this? my sister’s name to’t? speak, unriddle.

Mrs. Pinch. Yes, indeed, bud.

Pinch. But why her name to’t? speak—speak, I say.

Mrs. Pinch. Ay, buy you’ll tell her then again. If you would not tell her again—

Pinch. I will not:—I am stunned, my head turns round.— Speak.

Mrs. Pinch. Won’t you tell her, indeed, and indeed?

Pinch. No; speak, I say.

Mrs. Pinch. She’ll be angry with me; but I had rather she should be angry with me than you, bud; and, to tell you the truth, ’twas she made me write the letter, and taught me what I should write.

Pinch. [aside]. Ha! I thought the style was somewhat better than her own.—[Aloud.] Could she come to you to teach you, since I had looked you up alone?

Mrs. Pinch. O, through the key-hole, bud.

Pinch. But why should she make you write a letter for her to him, since she can write herself?

Mrs. Pinch. Why, she said because—for I was unwilling to do it—

Pinch. Because what—because?

Mrs. Pinch. Because, lest Mr. Horner should be cruel, and refuse her; or be vain afterwards, and show the letter, she might disown it, the hand not being hers.

Pinch. [aside]. How’s this? Ha!—then I think I shall come to myself again.—This changeling could not invent this lie: but if she could, why should she? she might think I should soon discover it.—Stay—now I think on’t too, Horner said he was sorry she had married Sparkish; and her disowning her marriage to me makes me think she has evaded it for Horner’s sake: yet why should she take this course? But men in love are fools; women may well be so—[aloud.] But hark you, madam, your sister went out in the morning, and I have not seen her within since.

Mrs. Pinch. Alack-a-day, she has been crying all day above, it seems, in a corner.

Pinch. Where is she? let me speak with her.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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