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A monologue from the play by Aphra Behn
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. 3. Ed. Montague Summers. London: Heinemann, 1915.
You are my Lady, and the best of Mistresses–Therefore I would not grieve you, for I know you love this best–but most unhappy Man. [Pause.] My Master sent me yesterday to Mr. Crap,
his Scrivener, to send to one Mr. Wasteall, to tell him his first Mortgage was out, which is two hundred pounds a Year–and who has since engaged five or six hundred more to my Master;
but if this first be not redeem’d, he’ll take the Forfeit on’t, as he says a wise Man ought. Mr. Crap, being busy with a borrowing Lord, sent me to Mr. Wasteall, whose Lodging is in a nasty Place called Alsatia, at a Black-Smith’s.
Well, Madam, this Wasteall was Mr. Gayman! He’s driven to the last degree of Poverty–Had you but seen his Lodgings, Madam! I went to the Black-Smith’s, and at the door,
I encountered the beastly thing he calls a Landlady; who looked as if she had been of her own Husband’s making, compose’d of moulded Smith’s Dust. I ask’d for Mr. Wasteall,
and she began to open–and so did rail at him, that what with her Billinsgate, and her Husband’s hammers, I was both deaf and dumb–at last the hammers ceas’d,
and she grew weary, and call’d down Mr. Wasteall; but he not answering–I was sent up a Ladder rather than a pair of Stairs; at last I scal’d the top, and enter’d the enchanted Castle;
there did I find him, spite of the noise below, drowning his Cares in Sleep. He waked–and seeing me, Heavens, what Confusion seiz’d him! which nothing but my own Surprise could equal.
Asham’d–he wou’d have turn’d away; but when he saw, by my dejected Eyes, I knew him, He sigh’d, and blushed, and heard me tell my Business: Then beg’d I wou’d be secret;
for he vow’d his whole Repose and Life depended on my silence. Nor had I told it now, But that your Ladyship may find some speedy means to draw him from this desperate condition.