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A Court of Justice.
BALANCE, Scale, and SCRUPLE, upon the Bench ;
CONSTABLE, Kıte, MOB.
Kite and CONSTABLE advance.
Kite. Pray, who are those hunourable gentlemen upon the bench?
Const. He in the middle is Justice Balance, he on the right is Justice Scale, and he on the left is Justice Scruple, and I am Mr Constable; four
Kite. O dear, sir! I am your most obedient servant. (Saluting the Constable.] I fancy, sir, that your employment and mine are much the same; for my business is to keep people in order, and, if they disobey, to knock them down; and then we are both staff officers.
Const. Nay, I'm a serjeant myself of the militiaCome, brother, you shall see me exercise. Suppose this a musket; now I'm shouldered.
(Puts his Staff on his right Shoulder. Kite. Ay, you are shouldered pretty well for a constable’s staff; but for a musket, you must put it on the other shoulder, my dear!
Const. Adso! that's true-Come, now give the word of command.
Kite. Silence, you dog, silence !
[Strikes him over the Head with his Halbert, Const. That's the way to silence a man with a wit
--What do you mean, friend?
Const. Your exercise differs so much from ours, that we shall ne'er agree about it; if my own captain had given me such a rap, I had taken the law of him.
Bal. Captain, you're welcome.
Scrup. Come, honest captain, sit by me. (Plume ascends, and sits upon the Bench.)--Now, produce your prisoners -Here, that fellow there, set him up - Mr Constable, what have you to say against this man?
Const. I have nothing to say against him, an' please you.
Bal. No; what made you bring him hither?
Scale. Did not the contents of your warrant direct you what sort of men to take up?
Const. I can't tell, an' pleasė ye; I can't read.
Scrup. A very pretty constable, truly. I find we have no business here,
Kite. May it please the worshipful bench, I de. sire to be heard in this case, as being the counsel for
Bal." Come, serjeant, you shall be heard, since nobody else will speak; 'we won't come here for nothing
Kite. This man is but one man, the country may sparé 'him, and the army wants him; besides, he's cut out by nature for a grenadier; he's five feeț ten inches high; he shall box, wrestle, or dance the
Cheshire round with any man in the country; he gets drunk every Sabbath-day, and he beats his wife.
Wife. You lie, sirrah, you lie; an please your worship, he's the best natured pains taking st man in the parish, witness my
children. Scrup. A wife and five children ! You constable, you rogue, how durst you impress a man that has a wife and five children?
Scale. Discharge him, discharge him.
Bal. Hold, gentlemen.-Harkye, friend, how do you maintain your wife and five children?
Plume. They live upon wild-fowl and venison, sir ; the husband keeps a gun, and kills all the hares and partridges within five miles round.
Bal. A gun! nay if he be so good at gunning, he shall have enough on't. He may be of use against the French, for he shoots flying to be sure.
Scrup. But his wife and children, Mr Balance ?
Wife. Ay, ay, that's the reason you would send him away ; you know I have a child every year, and you are afraid that they should come upon the parish
Plume. Lookye there, gentlemen; the honest woman has spoke it at once; the parish had better maintain five children this year, than six or seven the next. That fellow, upon his high feeding, may get you two or three beggars at a birth.
Wife. Lookye, Mr ('aptain, the parish shall get nothing by sending him away, for I won't lose my teeming-time, if there be a man left in the parish. Bal Send that woman to the house of correction,
and the man
[Takes him down. Scale. Here, you constable, the next.
that black-faced fellow, he has a gun-powder look; what can you say against this man, constable?
Const. Nothing, but that he's a very honest man.
Plume. Pray, gentlemen, let me have one honest man in my company for the novelty's sake.
Bal. What are you, friend?
Scrup. Lookye, gentlenien, this fellow has a trade; and the act of parliament here expresses, that we are to impress no man that has any visible means of a livelihood.
Kite. May it please your worship, this man has no visible means of a livelihood, for he works underground.
Plume, Well said, Kite; besides, the army wants miners.
Bal. Right, and had we an order of government for't, we could raise you, in this and the neighbouring county of Stafford, five hundred colliers, that would run you under ground like moles, and do more service in a siege than all the miners in the army
Scrup. Well, friend, what have you to say for yourself?
Mob. I'm married.
Kite. May it please your worship, she's with child in conscience. Scale. Who married you,
mistress? Woman. My husband : we agreed that I should call him husband, to avoid passing for a whore, and that he should call me wife, to shun going for a soldier.
Plume. A very pretty couple !—What say you, Mr Kite? Will you take care of the woman?
Kite, Yes, sir, she shall go with us to the sea-side, and there, if she has a mind to drown herself, we'll take care nobody shall hinder her.
Bal. Here, constable, bring in my man. [Exit CONSTABLE. )--Now, captain, I'll fit you with a man such as you never listed in your life.
Enter CONSTABLE and Sylvia. Oh, my
friend Pinch! I'm very glad to see you. Syl. Well, sir, and what then?
Scale. What then! is that your respect to the bench?
Syl. Sir, I don't care a farthing for you, nor your bench neither.
Scrup. Lookye, gentlemen, that's enough; he's a very impudent fellow, and fit for a soldier. Scule. A notorious
fit for a soldier.
Const. A whoremaster, I say, and therefore fit to go.
Bal. What think you, captain?
Plume. I think he's a very pretty fellow, and therefore fit to serve.
Syl. Me for a soldier ! Send your own lazy lubberly sons at home; fellows that hazard their necks every day in the pursuit of a fox, yet dare not peep abroad to look an enemy in the face.
Const. May it please your worships, I have a woman at the door to swear a rape against this rogue.
Syl. Is it your wife, or daughter, booby?
we'll see him listed immediately,
Plume. [Reads.] Articles of war, against mutiny and desertion, &c. Syl. Hold, sir_Once more, gentlemen, have a you do; for
you shall severely smart for any violence you offer to me ;-and you, Mr Balance,