Bev, No; we have been companions in a rash voyage, and the same storm has wrecked us both. Mine shall be self-upbraidings.
Stu. And will they feed us? You deal unkindly by me. I have sold and borrowed for you, while land or credit lasted; and now, when fortune should be tried, and my heart whispers me success, I am deserted; turned loose to beggary, while You have hoards.
Bev. What hoards? Name them, and take them.
Bev. And shall this thriftless hand seize Them too? My poor, poor wife! Must she lose all? I would not wound her so.
Stu. Nor I, but from necessity. One effort more, and fortune may grow kind. I have unusual hopes.
Bev. Think of some other means then.
Stu. I have; and you rejected them.
Bev. Prithee let me be a man.
Stu. Ay, and your friend a poor one. But I have done. And for these trinkets of a woman, why, let her keep them to deck out pride with, and shew a laughing world that she has finery to starve in.
Bev. No; she shall yield up all. My friend demands it. But need he have talked lightly of her? The jewels that She values are truth and innocence: those will adorn her ever; and for the rest, she wore them for a husband’s pride, and to his wants will give them. Alas! you know her not. Where shall we meet?
Stu. No matter. I have changed my mind. Leave me to a prison; ’tis the reward of friendship.
Bev. Perish mankind first! Leave you to a prison! No: fallen as you see me, I’m not that wretch. Nor would I change this heart, overcharged as ’tis with folly and misfortune, for one most prudent and most happy, if callous to a friend’s distresses.
Stu. You are too warm.
Bev. In such a cause, not to be warm is to be frozen. Farewell. I’ll meet you at your lodgings.
Stu. Reflect a little. The jewels may be lost. Better not hazard them. I was too pressing.
Bev. And I ungrateful. Reflection takes
up time. I have no leisure for’t.
Within an hour expect me.
Stu. The thoughtless, shallow prodigal! We shall have sport at night then—But hold—the jewels are not ours yet. The lady may refuse them. The husband may relent too. ’Tis more than probable—I’ll write a note to Beverley, and the contents shall spur him to demand them. But am I grown this rogue through avarice? No; I have warmer motives: love and revenge. Ruin the husband, and the wife’s virtue may be bid for. ’Tis of uncertain value, and sinks, or rises in the purchase, as want, or wealth, or passion governs. The poor part cheaply with it; rich dames, though pleased with selling, will have high prices for’t; your love-sick girls give it for oaths and lying; but wives, who boast of honour and affections, keep it against a famine. Why, let the famine come then; I am in haste to purchase.