Mrs. Pinch [aside]. O Lord, then she’ll discover all!—[Aloud]. Pray hold, bud; what, d’ye mean to discover me? she’ll know I have told you then. Pray, bud, let me talk with her first.

Pinch. I must speak with her, to know whether Horner ever made her any promise, and whether she be married to Sparkish or no.

Mrs. Pinch. Pray, dear bud, don’t, till I have spoken with her, and told her that I have told you all; for she’ll kill me else.

Pinch. Go then, and bid her come out to me.

Mrs. Pinch. Yes, yes, bud.

Pinch. Let me see—


Mrs. Pinch. [aside]. I’ll go, but she is not within to come to him: I have just got time to know of Lucy her maid, who first set me on work, what lie I shall tell next; for I am e’en at my wit’s end.


Pinch. Well, I resolve it, Horner shall have her: I’d rather give him my sister than lend him my wife; and such an alliance will prevent his pretensions to my wife, sure. I’ll make him of kin to her, and the he won’t care for her.

Re-enter Mrs. Pinchwife.

Mrs. Pinch. O Lord, bud! I told you what anger you would make me with my sister.

Pinch. Won’t she come hither?

Mrs. Pinch. No, no. Lack-a-day, she’s ashamed to look you in the face: and she says, if you go in to her, she’ll run away downstairs, and shamefully go herself to Mr. Horner, who has promised her marriage, she says; and she will have no other, so she won’t.

Pinch. Did he so?—promise her marriage!—then she shall have no other. Go tell her so; and if she will come and discourse with me a little concerning the means, I will about it immediately. Go.—[Exit Mrs Pinchwife.] His estate is equal to Sparkish’s, and his extraction as much better than his, as his parts are; but my chief reason is, I’d rather be akin to him by the name of brother-in-law than that of cuckold.

Re-enter Mrs. Pinchwife. Well, what says she now?

Mrs. Pinch. Why, she says, she would only have you lead her to Horner’s lodging; with whom she first will discourse the matter before she talks with you, which yet she cannot do; for alack, poor creature, she says she can’t so much as look you in the face, therefore she’ll come to you in a mask. And you must excuse her, if she make you no answer to any question of yours, till you have brought her to Mr. Horner; and if you will not chide her, nor question her, she’ll come out to you immediately.

Pinch. Let her come: I will not speak a word to her, nor require a word from her.

Mrs. Pinch. Oh, I forgot: besides, she says she cannot look you in the face, though through a mask; therefore would desire you to put out the candle.

Pinch. I agree to all. Let her make haste.—There, ’tis out.— [Puts out the candle. Exit Mrs. Pinchwife.] My case is something better: I’d rather fight with Horner for not lying with my sister, than for lying with

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