Scene I.—Acres’ Lodgings.

Acres and David.

Dav. Then, by the mass, sir! I would do no such thing—ne’er a St. Lucius O’Trigger in the kingdom should make me fight, when I wasn’t so minded. Oons! what will the old lady say, when she hears o’t?

Acres. Ah! David, if you had heard Sir Lucius!—Odds sparks and flames! he would have roused your valour.

Dav. Not he, indeed. I hate such bloodthirsty cormorants. Look’ee, master, if you wanted a bout at boxing, quarter staff, or short-staff, I should never be the man to bid you cry off: but for your curst sharps and snaps, I never knew any good come of ’em.

Acres. But my honour, David, my honour! I must be very careful of my honour.

Dav. Ay, by the mass! and I would be very careful of it; and I think in return my honour couldn’t do less than to be very careful of me.

Acres. Odds blades! David, no gentleman will ever risk the loss of his honour!

Dav. I say then, it would be but civil in honour never to risk the loss of a gentleman.—Look’ee, master, this honour seems to me to be a marvellous false friend: ay, truly, a very courtier-like servant.—Put the case, I was a gentleman (which, thank God, no one can say of me;) well—my honour makes me quarrel with another gentleman of my acquaintance.—So—we fight. (Pleasant enough that!) Boh;—I kill him—(the more’s my luck!) now, pray who gets the profit of it?—Why, my honour. But put the case that he kills me!—by the mass! I go to the worms, and my honour whips over to my enemy.

Acres. No, David—in that case!—odds crowns and laurels! your honour follows you to the grave.

Dav. Now, that’s just the place where I could make a shift to do without it.

Acres. Zounds! David, you are a coward!—It doesn’t become my valour to listen to you.—What, shall I disgrace my ancestors? —Think of that, David—think what it would be to disgrace my ancestors!

Dav. Under favour, the surest way of not disgracing them, is to keep as long as you can out of their company. Look’ee now, master, to go to them in such haste—with an ounce of lead in your brains—I should think might as well be let alone. Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.

Acres. But, David, now, you don’t think there is such very, very, very great danger, hey?—Odds life! people often fight without any mischief done!

Dav. By the mass, I think ’tis ten to one against you!—Oons! here to meet some lion-hearted fellow, I warrant, with his damned double-barrelled swords, and cut-and-thrust pistols! Lord bless us! it makes me tremble to think o’t—Those be such desperate bloody-minded weapons! Well, I never could abide ’em!—from a child I never could fancy ’em!—I suppose there an’t been so merciless a beast in the world as your loaded pistol!

Acres. Zounds! I won’t be afraid!—Odds fire and fury! you shan’t make me afraid.—Here is the challenge, and I have sent for my dear friend Jack Absolute to carry it for me.

Dav. Ay, i’ the name of mischief, let him be the messenger.— For my part I wouldn’t lend a hand to it for the best horse in your stable. By the mass! it don’t look like another letter! It is, as I may say, a designing and malicious-looking letter; and I warrant smells of gunpowder like a soldier’s pouch!—Oons! I wouldn’t swear it mayn’t go off!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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