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PEACHUM'S House.

PEACHUM, Mrs. PEACHUM, and POLLY.

Peachum.

But now, Polly, to your affair; for matters must not be as they are. You are married

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Polly. Yes, Sir.

Peachum. And how do you propose to live, child? Polly. Like other women, Sir, upon the industry of my husband.

Mrs. Peachum. What, is the wench turn'd fool? A highway-man's wife, like a soldier's, hath as little of his pay as of his company.

Peachum. And had you not the common views of a gentlewoman in your marriage, Polly?

Polly. I don't know what you mean, Sir. Peachum. Of a jointure, and of being a widow. Polly. But I love him, Sir: how then could I have thoughts of parting with him?

Peachum. 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 I dread to hear your advice! Yet I must beg you to explain yourself.

Peachum. Secure what he hath got, have him peach'd the next sessions, and then at once you are made a rich widow.

Polly. What, murder the man I love! The blood runs cold at my heart with the very thought of it.

Peachum. Fie, 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 'tis ours to take robbers; every man in his business. So that there is no malice in the case.

Mrs. Peachum. Ay, husband, now you have nick'd the matter. To have him peach'd is the only thing could ever make me forgive her.

AIR, 'Now ponder well, ye parents dear.'

Polly. Oh, ponder well, be not severe ;
So save a wretched wife!

For on the rope that hangs my dear,
Depends poor Polly's life.

Mrs. Peachum. But your duty to your parents, hussy, obliges you to hang him. What would many a wife give for such an opportunity!

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Polly. What is a jointure, what is widowhood to me? I know my heart. I cannot survive him.

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AIR, Le printemps rappelle aux armes.'

The turtle thus with plaintive crying,
Her lover dying,

The turtle thus with plaintive crying
Laments her dove.

Down she drops quite spent with sighing,
Pair'd in death, as pair'd in love.

Thus, Sir, it will happen to your poor Polly.

Mrs. Peachum. What, is the fool in love in earnest then? I hate thee for being particular: why, wench, thou art a shame to thy very sex.

Polly. But hear me, mother. loved

Mrs. Peachum. 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.

Peachum. Keep out of the way, Polly, for fear of mischief, and consider of what is proposed to you.

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If you ever

Mrs. Peachum. Away, hussy. Hang 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.

Peachum. 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 can't find in my heart to have an hand in his death. I wish you could have made Polly undertake it.

Mrs. Peachum. But in a case of necessity. our own lives are in danger.

Peachum. Then, indeed, we must comply with the customs of the world, and make gratitude give way to interest-He shall be taken off.

Mrs. Peachum. I'll undertake to manage Polly. Peachum. And I'll prepare matters for the Old Bailey. Exeunt PEACHUM 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 volleys of 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 Ketch 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 may inform him of their design, and aid him in his escape. It shall be so.

P

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Newgate.

MACHEATH, LUCY.

Enter POLLY.

Polly. Where is my dear husband?-Was a rope ever intended for this neck!-Oh, let me throw my arms about it and throttle thee with love !—Why dost thou turn away from me?-'Tis thy Polly-'tis thy wife.

Macheath. Was ever such an unfortunate rascal as I am!

Lucy. Was there ever such another villain!

Polly. Oh, Macheath! was it for this we parted? Taken! Imprisoned! Tried! Hanged!—cruel reflection! I'll stay with thee till death-no force shall tear thy dear wife from thee now.-What means my love? -Not one kind word! not one kind look! Think what thy Polly suffers to see thee in this condition.

Macheath. Aside. I must disown her. The wench is distracted.

Lucy. Can I have no reparation? Sure men were born to lie, and women to believe them! Oh, villain ! villain !

Polly. Am I not thy wife?-Thy neglect of me, thy aversion to me too severely proves it.-Look on me. -Tell me, am I not thy wife?

Lucy. Perfidious wretch !
Polly. Barbarous husband!

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