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Polly. But I love him, sir; how then could I have thoughts of parting with him i 486
Peach. Parting with him! why that is the whole scheme and intention of all marriage articles. The comfortable estate of widowhood is the only hope that keeps up a wife's spirits. Where is the woman who would scruple to be a wife if she had it in her power to be a widow whenever she pleased? If you have any views of this sort, Polly, I shall think the match not so very unreasonable.
Polly. How 1 dread to hear your advice! yet I must beg you to explain yourself.
■ Peach. Secure what he hath got, have him peach'd the next sessions, and then at once you are made a rich widow. 499
Polly. What! murder the man I love! the blood runs cold at my heart with the very thought of it!
Peach, Fy, Polly! what hath murder to do in the affair? Since the thing sooner or later must happen, I dare say the Captain himself would like that we should get the reward for his death sooner than a stranger. Why, Polly, the Captain knows that as 'tis his employment to rob, so't is ours to take robbers; every man in his business*: so tHar merely no malice in the case.. 509
Mrs. Peach. Ay, hiisband, no* you have nick*dthe matter. Toliave Mm' peach'd iS'the pnty*rfnn^Aiuld ever make me forgivVSefc" "* w*""s",tt" *
Now ponder well, ye parents dear.
Poll y. Oh ponder well I be not severe;
Mrs. Peach. But your duty to your parents, hussy, obliges you to hang him. What would many a wife give lor such an opportunity!
Polly. What is a jointure, what is widowhood, te me i I know my heart; I cannot survive him. 521
Le printemps rappelle aux armes.
The turtle thus with plaintive crying,
Down she drops quite spent with sighing,
Thus, sir, it will happen to your poor Polly. , Mrs. Peach. What! is the fool in love in earnest then 1 I hate thee for being particular. Why, wench, thou art a shame to thy very sex. 531
Polly. But hear me mother—if you ever lov'd
Mrs. Peach. Those cursed play-books she reads have been her ruin. One word more, hussy, and I shall knock your brains out, if you have any.
Peach. Keep out of the way, Polly, for fear of mischief, and consider of what is proposed to you. 537
Mrs. Peach. Away, hussy. Haug your husband, and be dutiful. [Polly Listening.] The thing, husband, must and shall be done. For the sake of intelligence we must take other measures, and have him peach'd the next session without her consent. If she will not know her duty, we know ours.
Peach. But really, my dear, it grieves one's heart to take off a great man. When I consider his personal bravery, his fine stratagem, how much we have already got by him, and how much more we may get, methinks I cannot find in my heart to have a hand in his death: I wish you could have made Polly undertake it. 450
Mrs. Peach. But in a case of necessity—our own lives are in danger.
Peach. Then indeed we must comply with the customs of the world, and make gratitude give way to interest.—He shall be taken off.
Mrs. Peach. I'll undertake to manage Polly
Peach. And I '11 prepare matters lor the Old Bailey.
[Exeunt Pcachum and Mrs. Peachum. Polly. Now I'm.a wretch indeed.—Methinks I see him already in the cart, sweeter and more lovely than the nosegay in his hand !—I hear the crowd extolling his resolution and intrepidity !—What volliesof sighs are sent from the windows of Holborn, that so comely a youth should be brought to disgrace!—I see him at the tree! the whole circle are in tears!—even butchers weep !—Jack Kelch himself hesitates to perform his duty, and would be glad to lose his fee, by a reprieve! What then will become of Polly ?—As yet I 1 may inform him of their design, and aid him in his
escape.—It shall be so. But then he flies, absents
himself, and I bar myself from his dear, dear conversation! that too will distradl me.—If he keeps out of the way, my papa and mamma may in time relent, and we may be happy—If he stays, he is hang'd, and then he is lost for ever!—He intended to lie conceal'd in my room till the dusk of the evening. If they are abroad I '11 this instant let him out, lest some accident should prevent him.
[Exit, and returns with Macheath.
Pretty parrot, say, &c.
Mac. Pretty Polly, say.
To some newer lover t
,v . .
Polly. Without disguise,
My constant heart discover. Fondly let me loll.
Mac. Opretty, pretty Poll!
Polly. And are you as fond of me as ever, my
Mac. SuspecT: my honour, my courage, suspect any thing but my love.—May my pistols miss fire, and my mare slip her shoulder while I am pursued, if I ever forsake thee!
Polly. Nay, my dear! I have no reason to doubt you, for I find, in the romance you lent me, none oi the great heroes were ever false in love..
/ sipt eachflow'r,
I chang'd ev'ry hour,
But hcre ev'ry Jlow'r is united.
Polly. Were you sentenc'd to transportation, sure my dear, you could not leave me behind you—could you? .. , i
Mac. Is there any power, any force, that could tear me from thee? You might sooner tear a pension out of the hands of a courtier, a fee from a lawyer, a pretty woman from alooking glass, or any woman from quadrille—But to tear me from thee is impossible!
Pray fair one be kind.
It rov'd lihe the bee.
Till Polly my passion requited;