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THE LITTLE THIEF.
The first edition of this Play, in 1640, has the name of Fletcher alone to it, and it was pro
bably therefore his production, without any assistance froin Iris partner Beaumont. It used to be acted frequently in the last century; but we have not heard of any alteration or representation of it these many years.
Mex. Tom Lurcher, a wild young Man, Brother
to Alathe. JACK WILDBRAIN, Nephew to the Lady. Justice AlGRIPE, married to Mariu. FRANK HEARTLOVE, enamourd of Maria. Toby, Coachman to the Lady. GENTLEMEN. SERVANTS. SEXTON. BELL-RINGERS.
Enter Lurcher and Wildbrain. Lurc. JACK!
shither? Wildb. What wind brought thee In what old hollow tree, or rotten wall, Hast thou been, like a swallow, all this winWhere hast thou been, man? [ter?
Lurc. Following the plough.
Wildb. Not in my opinion;
Lurc. 'Tis gone :
Is nothing but a lawful cozenage, (neighbour, An allow'd way to cheat? Why should my That hath no more soul than his horsekeeper, Nor bounteous faculties above a brooin-man, Have forty thousand pounds, and I four Why should he keep it?
(groats? Wildb. Thy old opinion still. Lurc. Why should that scriv'ner, [thing That ne'er writ reason in his life, nor any That time e'er gloried in ; that never knew How to keep any courtesy conceal'd, But noverini universi must proclaim it, Purchase perpetually, and I a rascal? (ler Consider this; why should that mouldy cobMarry his daughter to a wealthy merchant, And give five thousand pounds? is this good
justice? Because he has a tougher constitution, Can feed upon old songs, and save his money, Therefore inust I go beg?
Wildb. What's this to thee? [min'd Lurc. Any great preparation?
Lurc. I may meet with him
Lurc. Do you no harm, sir;
[be marrd Wilub. For beauty I, a safe course : For yet methinks the marriage should be No halter hangs in my way; I defy it. If thou may'st have thy will: farewell!
say Lure. But a worse fate, a wilful poverty ; nothing!
[Exit. For where thou gain'st by one that indeed
Enter Gentlemen. loves thee,
(destiny! A thousand will draw from thec; 'tis thy Wildb. You're welcome, noble friends. One is a kind of weeping cruss, Jack,
1 Gent. I thank you, sir.- [brain, A gentle purgatory: do not fling at all; Nephew to the old lady; bis name's WildYou'll pay the box so often, 'till you perish. And wild his best condition.
Wildb. Take you no care for that, sir, 'tis 2 Gent, I have heard of bim.my pleasure :
pray you tell ine, sir, is young Maria merry I will employ my wits a great deal faster After her marriage-rites? Does she look lively? Than you shall do your fingers; and my loves, How does she like her man? If I mistake not, shall prove riper harvest Wildb. Very scurvily; Aud handsomer, and come within less dan. And as untowardly she prepares herself: Where's thy young sister?
ger. But it is mine aunt's will, that this dall me. Lurc. I know not where she is; she's not tal
(souneness. worth caring for,
[her! Must be mix'd with her, to allay her handShe has no wit. Oh, you'd be nibbling with
Gent. Had Heartlove no last friends? She's far enough, I hope; I know not where; Wildb. His means are little; She's not worth caring for, a sullen thing, And where those littles are, as little coin forts She would not take my counsel, Jack; and so Ever keep company: I know she loves him, I parted from her.
His memory beyond the hopes of Wildb. Leave her to her wants ?
Beyond the Indies in his mouldy cabinets; Lurc. I gave her a little money, what I But 'tis her unhandsome fate
Enter Heart love.
1 Gent. I'm
for't. (start not, sir! meet her
Here comes poor Frank. Nay, we're friends; Riding from market one day, 'twixt her dor- We see your willow, and are sorry for’t; If I do, by this hand I wo'not spare
And, tho' it be a wedding, we're half mournHer butter-pence.
(my fortunes: Wildb. Thou wilt not rob thy sister?
Heurtl. Good gentlemen, reinember not Lurc. She shall account me for her eggs They are not to be help'd with words. and cheeses.
(love her? Wildb. Look up, man! [a wench? Wildb. A pretty girl.–Did not old Algripe A
proper sensible fellow, and shrink for a A very pretty girl she was.
Are there no more? or is she all the handLurc. Some such thing;
Heartl. Prithee, leave fooling. [someness? But he was too wise to tasten. Let hier
Wildb. Prithee, leave thou whining ! Wildb. Then where's thy mistress?
Have maids forgot to love? Lurc. Where you sha' not find her,
Heartl. You are injurious. flow thee. Nor know what stuff she is made on; no, in- Wildb. Let 'em alone a while, they'll foldeed, sir,
i Cent. Corne, good Frank, I chose her not for your use.
Forget now, since there is no remedy, [do. Wilb. Sure she's handsome. [handsome; And shew a merry face, as wise men would
Luc. Yes, indeed is she ; she is very 2 Gent. Be a tree gnest, and think not of But that's all one. Wildb. You'll come to th' marriage?
Wildb. Thiuk how to nick him home; thou Lurc. Is it
know'st she dotes on thee; To-day?
(church now. Graft me a dainty medlar on his crabstock; Wildb. Now, now, they are come from Pay me the dreaming puppy.
Some farrier's dairy maid.] That this is sense, and may be true, I won't dispute; but I can't yet help thinking that the better reading is,
A farmer's dairy maid. Sympson. » Dorsers.) i. e. Panniers. See Johnson's Dictionary.
Heartl. Well, make your mirth, the whilst But from a sounder heart: yes, and can weep I bear my misery:
But'tis for you, that ever I believ'd you, (too; Honest minds would have better thoughts. Tears of more pious value than your marriage! Wildb. I am her kinsman,
You would encase yourself, and I must creAnd love her well, am tender of her youth; Yet, honest Frank, before I'd have that stinks So much my old obedience compels from me! ard,
Go, and forget me, and my poverty, That walking rotten tomb, enjoy her maiden- I need not bid you, you're too perfect that way; Heartl. Prithee, leave mocking!
But still remember that I lovd, Maria, (me ! Wildb. Prithee, Frank, believe me; Lov'd with a loyal love. Nay, turn not from Go to, consider. Hark, they knock to dinner! I will not ask a tear inore, you are bountiful ;
[Knock within. Go, and rejoice, and I will wait upon you Come, wo't thou go?
That little of my life left! 2 Gent. I prithee, Frank, go with us, Mariu. Good sir, hear me! [obedience And laugh and dance as we do.
What has been done, was th' act of my Hearll. You're light, gentlemen, [leave! And not my will, forc'd from me by my pa. Nothing to weigle your hearts; pray give me I'll come and see, and take my leave. Now 'tis done; do as I do, bear it handsomely; Wildb. We'll look for you.
And if there can be more society, Do not despair; I have a trick yet.
Without dishonour to my tie of marriage,
[Erit. Or place for noble love, I shall love you still. Heurtl. Yes,
You had the first; the last, had my will prose When I'm mischievous I'll believe your pro- per'd. She's gone, for ever gone, (I cannot help it) You talk of little time of life, dear Frank; My hopes and all my happiness gone with Certain, I am not married for eternity: her,
(jollity The joy my marriage brings, tells ine I'm Gone like a pleasing dream! What mirth and mortal,
[serable; Reigns round about this house ! how every
And shorter-liv'd than you, else I were mioffice
Nor can the gold and ease his age hath Sweats with new joys! Can she be merry too? brought me Is all this pleasure set by her appointment?
Add what I coveted, content. Go with me; Sure sh'has a false heart then. Still they grow They seek a day of joy; prithee let's shew it, louder.
[her, Tho' it be forc'd; and, by this kiss believe me, The old man's god, his gold, has won upon
However I must live at his command now, (Light-hearted, cordial gold !) and all my ser
I'll die at yours. vices,
Heartl. I have enough; I'll honour you! That offer'd naked truth, are clean forgotten :
[Ereunt. Yet if she were compelld—but it can't be
Enter Lurcher. If I could but imagine her will mine,
Lurc. Here are my triukets, and this lusty Altho' he had her body
marriage Enter Lady and Wildbruin.
I mean to visit; I have shifts of all sorts,
And here are thousand wheels to set 'ein Lady. He shall come in! [enemy, working. Walk without doors o'this day? Tho' an
I'm very merry, for I know this wedding It must not be.
Will yield nie lusty pillage: ifmad Wildgoose, Wildb. You must compel him, madam.
That debauch'd rogue, keep but his ancient Lady. No, she shall fetch him in, nephew; revels, it shall be so.
And breed a hubbub in the house, I'ın happy. Wildb. It will be fittest. [E.rit with Ludy. Heartl. Can fair Maria fouk again upon
Enter Alathe: me?
[ness ? Now, what are you? Can there be so much impudence in sweet- Alathe. A poor distressed boy, sir, (treat
Friendless and comfortless, that would enEnter Mariu.
Some charity and kindness from your worslip. Or has she got a strong heart to defy me? I would fain serve, sir, and as fain endeavour She comes herself: how rich she is in jewels! With duteous labour to deserve the love Methinks they shew like frozen isicles, Of that good gentleman shall entertain me. Cold winter had hung on her. How the roses, Lure. A pretty boy, but of too mild a That kept continual spring within her cheeks, breeding, Are wither'd witb the old man's dull embraces! Too tender, and too bashful a bebaviour. Sbe would speak to me. I can sigh tao lady; What canst thou do?
3 You would encase yourself.] Sympson supposes encase a corruption, and would substitute ercuse. We think encase may be genuine, and used in the sense of defend, arm yourself with an ercuse. VOL. III.
I like not;
Alathe. I can learn any thing [master. And on the edge of danger I do best, sir. That's good and honest, and shall please a I have a thousand faces to deceive, [ter: Lurc. He blushes as he speaks, and that And, to those, twice so many tongues to flat
An impudence, no brass was ever tougher; I love a bold and secure confidence, (now, And for my conscienceAn impudence that one may trust: this boy Lurc. Peace! I've found a jewel, Had I instructed him, had been a jewel, A jewel all the Indies cannot match! A treasure for my use. Thou canst not lie? And thou shalt feel Alathe. I would not willingly.
Alathe. This tittle, and I've done, sir: Lurc. Nor thou hast no wit
I never can confess, I've that spell on me; To dissemble neatly?
And such rare modesties before a magistrate, Alathe. Do you love such boys, sir ? Such innocence to catch a judge, such ignoLure. Oh, mainly, mainly; I'd have my
TCome, boy! boy impudent,
Lure. I'll learn of thee; thou art mine own. Out-face all truth, yet do it piously;
I'll give thee action presently.
Lure. 'Tis most natural; Though't be i'ti' churchYour soft, demure, A name born to thee: sure thou art a fairy ! still children
Shew but thy skill, and I shall make thee Are good for nothing, but to get long graces, happy.
(Exeunt. And sing songs to dull tunes: I would keep thee,
Enter Lady, Nurse, Mrs. Newlove, and Toby. And cherish thee, hadst thou
Lady. Where be these knaves? who strew3
Is the bride's bed made? Alathe. Do you speak this seriously?
Toby. Yes, madam, and a bell Lurc. Yes, indeed do I.
Ilung under it artificially. Aluthe. Would you have your boy, sir, i uły. Out, knave, out! Read in these moral mischiefs?
Must we have larums now? Lurr. Now thou mov'st me. [activities? Toby. A little warning, [healths, madam. Alathe. And be a well-train'd youth in all That we inay know when to begin our Lure. By any means.
The justice is a kind of old jade, madam, Alathe. Or do you this to try me,
That will go merriest with a bell. Fearing a proneness?
Lady. All the house drunk? Lurr. I speak this to make thee.
Toby. This is a day of jubilee. Alathe. Then take me, sir, and cherish me, Lady. Are the best hangings up? and the and love me;
[sir, plate set out? You have me what you would: believe me,
Who makes the posset, Nurse? I can do any thing for your advantage.
Nurse. The dairy-maid, [per.I guess at what you mean; I can lic naturally, And she will put that in will make him caAs easily as I can sleep, sir, and securely; Well, inadam, well, you might ha' chose anoAs naturally I can steal too
A handsomer, for her years". [ther, Lure. That I'm glad on, (thou’rt excellent. Lady. Peace! he is rich, Nurse; Right heartily glad on; hold thee there, Ile's rich, and that is beauty.
Aluthe. Steal any thing from any body liv- Nurse. I am sure he's rotten; (saw hers! Lurch. Not from thy master? [ing. 'Would l’had been hang'd when he first Alathe. That is mine own body,
Lady. Termagant! [looks to him? And must not be.
What an angry quean is this!" Where, who Lure. The boy mends mightily.
Toby. He's very merry, madam; master Alathe. A rich man, that like snow heaps
Wildbrain up his inonies,
Ilas him in hand, i'th' bottom o’the cellar : I have a kind of pious zeal to meet still; He sighs and tipplesA fool, that isot deserves 'em, I take pity on, Nurse. Alas, goud gentleman! For fear he should run mail, and so I ease My heart's sore for thee.
(nie! Lady. Sorrow must have his course. SirLurc. Excellent boy, and able to instruct Give bim sonne sack to dry up his rememOf mine own nature just!
Thiin. Alathe. I scorn all hazard.
How does the bridegroom? I am afraid of 4 A hundsomer for your years.] The amendment proposed by Sympson.
5 When he first saw her. Termagant.] The word termagant has hitherto been made a part of the Nurse's speech. It undoubtedly (as Sympson upposes) belongs to the Lady; though he would omit the words ungry queun in the next time, and put tei magunt in their place,