Quarlous is chatting with his good friends, Littlewit and Winwife. As
Hoy-day! how respective you are become o’ the sudden? I fear this family will turn you reformed too; pray you come about again. Because she is in possibility to be your daughter-in-law, and may ask you blessing hereafter, when she courts it to Totenham to eat cream! Well, I will forbear, sir; but i’faith, would thou wouldst leave thy exercise of widow-hunting once; this drawing after an old reverend smock by the splay-foot! There cannot be an ancient tripe or trillibub in the town, but thou art straight nosing it, and ’tis a fine occupation thou’lt confine thyself to, when thou hast got one; scrubbing a piece of buff, as if thou hadst the perpetuity of Pannier-ally to stink in; or perhaps worse, currying a carcass that thou hast bound thyself to alive. I’ll be sworn, some of them that thou art, or hast been suitor to, are so old, as no chaste or married pleasure can ever become them; the honest instrument of procreation has forty years since left to belong to them; thou must visit them as thou wouldst do a tomb, with a torch or three handfuls of link, flaming hot, and so thou may’st hap to make them feel thee and after come to inherit according to thy inches. A sweet course for a man to waste the brand of life for, to be still raking himself a fortune in an old woman’s embers! We shall have[Pg 187] thee, after thou hast been but a month married to one of them, look like the quartan ague and the black jaundice met in a face, and walk as if thou hadst borrow’d legs of a spinner, and voice of a cricket. I would endure to hear fifteen sermons a week for her, and such coarse and loud ones, as some of them must be! I would e’en desire of fate, I might dwell in a drum, and take in my sustenance with an old broken tobacco-pipe and a straw. Dost thou ever think to bring thine ears or stomach to the patience of a dry grace as long as thy table-cloth; and droned out by thy son here (that might be thy father) till all the meat on thy board has forgot it was that day in the kitchen? or to brook the noise made in a question of predestination, by the good labourers and painful eaters assembled together, put to them by the matron your spouse; who moderates with a cup of wine, ever and anon, and a sentence out of Knox between? Or the perpetual spitting before and after a sober-drawn exhortation of six hours, whose better part was the hum-ha-hum? or to hear prayers, groaned out over thy iron chests, as if they were charms to break them? And all this for the hope of two apostle-spoons, to suffer! and a cup to eat a caudle in! for that will be thy legacy. She’ll have convey’d her state safe enough from thee, an she be a right widow.