« PreviousContinue »
your forenoon in tittle-tattles? away; it's well, i faith. Will you go in, gentlemen ?
Thor. We'll follow presently; my son and I Have a few words of business. Car. At your pleasure.
[Exeunt all but THORNEY and FRANK. Thor. I think you guess the reason, Frank, for
which I sent for you.
Frank. Yes, sir.
Thor. I need not tell you With what a labyrinth of dangers daily *The best part of my whole estate's encumber'd; Nor have I any clue to wind it out, But what occasion proffers me; wherein, If you should falter, I shall have the shame, And you
the loss. On these two points rely Our happiness or ruin. If you marry With wealthy Carter's daughter, there's a portion Will free my land; all which I will instate, Upon the marriage, to you: otherwise I must be of necessity enforced To make a present sale of all; and yet, For ought I know, live in as poor distress, , Or worse, than now I do; you hear the sum: I told you thus before; have you consider'd on't?
Frank. I have, sir; and however I could wish To enjoy the benefit of single freedom, For that I find no disposition in me To undergo the burden of that care That marriage brings with it; yet to secure
And settle the continuance of your credit;
Thor. You have already used
-speak, the truth,You love her, do
not? Frank. 'Twere pity, sir, I should deceive her.
Thor. Better you had been unborn.
Frank. Else, sir,
Thor. Oh, thou art a villain !
Frank. To me, sir, this ! oh, my cleft heart!
Thor. To thee, Son of my curse. Speak truth and blush, thou
monster! Hast thou not married Winnifrede, a maid Was fellow-servant with thee?
Frank. Some swift spirit
Has blown this news abroad; I must outface it.
[Aside. Thor. Do you study for excuse? why all the
country Is full on't.
Frank. With your license, 'tis not charitable, I'm sure it is not fatherly, so much To be o'ersway'd with credulous conceit Of mere impossibilities; but fathers Are privileged to think and talk at pleasure. Thor. Why, canst thou yet deny thou hast no
travellers, day and night,
Thor. Thou hast, dissembler.
Frank. Sir, though mine innocence Needs not a stronger witness than the clearness Of an unperish'd conscience; yet for that I was inform’d, how mainly you had been
Possess'd of this untruth,- to quit all scruple
Thor. From whom?
Frank. Alas! I knew
love To me; so I conceiv'd it.
-on I must : Fate leads me; I will follow.] Ford has furnished Frank with the same apology which he had previously put in the mouth of Giovanni. See vol. i., p. 140. Nothing need be added to what is said on that passage, to which the reader will have the goodness to turn. Giovanni, indeed, is a villain of a gigantic stamp, but he has an accomplice in his crime, and is at once seducing and seduced; whereas, the person before us is a cold, calculating wretch, an agent of evil, upon principle; for (to say nothing of his fearful perjuries in the first scene) he must have planned the seduction of Winnifrede, with the full knowledge of bis engagement to marry Susan. With the usual inconsistency of those who seek to smother their conscience by plunging deeper into guilt, he observes, just below, that the fate which here "leads him on," pursues
' him! VOL. II.
Thor. My good son,
Frank. The peace is soon concluded.
Re-enter Old CARTER and SUSAN. Car. Why, master Thorney, do you mean to talk out your dinner? the company attends your coming. Whạt must it be, master Frank ? or son Frank? I am plain Dunstable.?
Thor. Son, brother, if your daughter like to have
Frank. I dare be confident, she is not alter'd From what I left her at our parting last:Are you, fair maid?
Sus. You took too sure possession Of an engaged heart.
Frank. Which now I challenge.
Car. Marry, and much good may it do thee, son. Take her to thee; get me a brace of boys at a burthen, Frank; the nursing shall not stand thee in a pennyworth of milk; reach her home and spare not: when's the day? Thor. To-morrow, if
you please. To use ceremony Of charge and custom were to little purpose; Their loves are married fast enough already.
I am plain Dunstable.] i. e. Blunt and honest. The proverb is of very ancient date, and is not even yet quite worn out; only, as Sir Hugh says, the phrase is a little variations : for, with the usual propensity of our countrymen to assist the memory by alliteration, a man like Carter, is now Downright Dunstable.