Page images
[graphic][merged small]


Scene, Peachum'j House.

Peachum sitting at a table with a large booh of accounts before him.


An old woman clothed in gray.
Thro' all the employments ofo life,
Each neighbour abuses his brother,
Whore and rogue they call husband and wife,
All professions beroque one another:
The priest calls the lawyer a cheat.
The lawyer behnaves the divine,
And the statesman, because he's so great.
Thinhs his trade as honest as mine.

A lawyer's is an honest employment, so is mine; like me tooheactsin a double capacity, both against roguei and for 'em; for 'tis but fitting that we should protect and encourage cheats, since we live by 'em. te

* , *

Enter FitCH.

Filch. Sir, Black Moll hath sent word her trial comes on in the afternoon, and she hopes you will order masters so as to bring her off.

Peach. 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 I'll soften the evidence.

Filch. Tom Gagg, Sir, is found guilty. . 20 Peach. 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 I'll save her from transportation, for I can get more by her staying in England. . . , ^.

Filch. Betty hath brought more good* into our lock this year than any five of the gang* and in Jruth 'tis pity to lose so good a customer, . , -. ;;vJ 30 Peach. If none of the gang takes her off*' she may in the common course of business ljve,a bvelyemonth 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 women—except our wives.

Filch. Without dispute she is a fine woman! 't was to her I was obliged for my education. (To say a bold word.) She hath trained up more young fellows to the business than the gaming table. 41 Peach. Truly, Filch, thy observation is right. We and the surgeons are more beholden to women than all the professions besides.


The bonny gray-ey'd morn, &c. Filch. '7vi woman that seduces all manhind; By her we first were taught the wheedling arts; Her very eyes can cheat: when most she's hind, She trichs us of our money with our hearts. For her, lihe wolves, by night we roam for prey, And pratlise ev'ry fraud to bribe her charms; For suits of love, lihe law, are won by pay, And Beauty must be fee'd into our arms. 52

Peach. But make haste to Newgate, boy, and let my friends know what I intend; for I love to make them easy one way or other.

Filch. When a gentleman is long kept in suspense, penitence may break his spirit ever after. Besides, certainty gives a man a good air upon his trial, and makes! him risk another without fear or scruple. But I'll away, for 'tis a pleasure to be the messenger of comfort to friends in affliction. [Exit.

Peach. But it is 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 hanged. A register of the gang. [Reading.] Crookfinger'd 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 tie-periwigs, and a piece of broad cloth. Considering these are only fruits of his leisure hours, I don't 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. I'll try him only for a sessions or two longer upon his goodbehaviour. Harry Paddington; a poor petty-larceny rascal, without the least genius! that fellow, tho' 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

« PreviousContinue »