The Beggar's Opera

Act III. Scene III.

A Table with Wine, Brandy, Pipes and Tobacco.

Peachum, Lockit.

LOCKIT. The Coronation Account, Brother Peachum, is of so intricate a nature, that I believe it will never be settled.

PEACHUM. It consists indeed of a great Variety of Articles. - It was worth to our People, in Fees of different kinds, above ten Instalments. - This is part of the Account, Brother, that lies open before us.

LOCKIT. A Lady's Tail of rich Brocade: - that, I see, is dispos'd of.

PEACHUM. To Mrs. Diana Trapes, the Tally-Woman and she will make a good Hand on't in Shoes and Slippers, to trick out young Ladies, upon their going into Keeping. -

LOCKIT. But I don't see any Article of the Jewels.

PEACHUM. Those are so well known that they must be sent abroad - You'll find them enter'd under the Article of Exportation. - As for the Snuff-Boxes, Watches, Swords, &c. - I thought it best to enter them under their several Heads.

LOCKIT. Seven and twenty Women's Pockets complete; with the several things therein contain'd; all Seal'd, Number'd, and Enter'd.

PEACHUM. But, Brother, it is impossible for us now to enter upon this Affair, - We should have the whole Day before us. - Besides, the Account of the last Half Year's Plate is in a Book by itself, which lies at the other Office.

LOCKIT. Bring us then more Liquor - To-day shall be for Pleasure - To-

morrow for Business - Ah, Brother, those Daughters of ours are two slippery Hussies - Keep a watchful Eye upon Polly, and Macheath in a Day or two shall be our own again.

AIR XLIV. Down in the North Country, &c.

LOCKIT. What Gudgeons are we Men!

Ev'ry Woman's easy Prey.

Though we have felt the Hook, agen

We bite and they betray.

The Bird that hath been trapt,

When he hears his calling Mate,

To her he flies, again he's clapt

Within the wiry Grate.

PEACHUM. But what signifies catching the Bird, if your Daughter Lucy will set open the Door of the Cage?

LOCKIT. If men were answerable for the Follies and Frailties of their Wives and Daughters, no Friends could keep a good Correspondence together for two Days. - This in unkind of you, Brother; for among good Friends, what they say or do goes for nothing.

[Enter a Servant.]

SERVANT. Sir, here's Mrs. Diana Trapes wants to speak with you.

PEACHUM. Shall we admit her, Brother Lockit?

LOCKIT. By all means, - She's a good Customer, and a fine-spoken Woman - And a Woman who drinks and talks so freely, will enliven the Conversation.

PEACHUM. Desire her to walk in.

[Exit Servant.]

Peachum, Lockit, Mrs. Trapes.

PEACHUM. Dear Mrs. Dye, your Servant - One may know by your Kiss, that your Ginn is excellent.

MRS. TRAPES. I was always very curious in my Liquors.

LOCKIT. There is no perfum'd Breath like it - I have been long acquainted with the Flavour of those Lips - Han't I, Mrs. Dye.

MRS. TRAPES. Fill it up - I take as large Draughts of Liquor, as I did of Love. - I hate a Flincher in either.

AIR XLV. A Shepherd kept Sheep, &c.

In the Days of my Youth I could bill like a Dove, fa, la, la, &c.

Like a Sparrow at all times was ready for Love, fa, la, la, &c.

The Life of all Mortals in Kissing should pass,

Lip to Lip while we're young - then the Lip to the Glass, fa, la, &c.

But now, Mr. Peachum, to our Business. - If you have Blacks of any kind, brought in of late; Mantoes - Velvet Scarfs - Petticoats - Let it be what it will - I am your Chap - for all my Ladies are very fond of Mourning.

PEACHUM. Why, look ye, Mrs. Dye - you deal so hard with us, that we can afford to give the Gentlemen, who venture their Lives for the Goods, little or nothing.

MRS. TRAPES. The hard Times oblige me to go very near in my Dealing. - To be sure, of late Years I have been a great Sufferer by the Parliament. - Three thousand Pounds would hardly make me amends. - The Act for destroying the Mint, was a severe Cut upon our Business - 'Till then, if a Customer stept out of the way - we knew where to have her - No doubt you know Mrs. Coaxer - there's a Wench now ('till to-day) with a good Suit of Clothes of mine upon her Back, and I could never set Eyes upon her for three Months together. - Since the Act too against Imprisonment for small Sums, my Loss there too hath been very considerable, and it must be so, when a Lady can borrow a handsom Petticoat, or a clean Gown, and I not have the least Hank upon her! And, o' my Conscience, now-a-days most Ladies take a Delight in cheating, when they can do it with Safety.

PEACHUM. Madam, you had a handsom Gold Watch of us 'tother Day for seven Guineas. - Considering we must have our Profit. - To a Gentleman upon the Road, a Gold Watch will be scarce worth the taking.

MRS. TRAPES. Consider, Mr. Peachum, that Watch was remarkable, and not of very safe Sale. - If you have any black Velvet Scarfs - they are a handsom Winter-wear, and take with most Gentlemen who deal with my Customers. - 'Tis I that put the Ladies upon a good Foot. 'Tis not Youth or Beauty that fixes their Price. The Gentlemen always pay according to their Dress, from half a Crown to two Guineas; and yet those Hussies make nothing of bilking of me. - Then too, allowing for Accidents. - I have eleven fine Customers now down under the Surgeon's Hands - what with Fees and other Expenses, there are great Goings-out, and no Comings in, and not a Farthing to pay for at least a Month's Clothing. - We run great Risques - great Risques indeed.

PEACHUM. As I remember, you said something just now of Mrs. Coaxer.

MRS. TRAPES. Yes, Sir. - To be sure I stript her of a Suit of my own Clothes about two Hours ago; and have left her as she should be, in her Shift, with a Lover of hers at my House. She call'd him up Stairs, as he was going to Mary-bone in a Hackney Coach. - And I hope, for her own sake and mine, she will persuade the Captain to redeem her, for the Captain is very generous to the Ladies.

LOCKIT. What Captain?

MRS. TRAPES. He thought I did not know him - An intimate Acquaintance of yours, Mr. Peachum - Only Captain Macheath - as fine as a Lord.

PEACHUM. To-morrow, dear Mrs. Dye, you shall set your own Price upon any of the Goods you like - We have at least half a Dozen Velvet Scarfs, and all at your Service. Will you give me leave to make you a Present of this Suit of Night-clothes for your own wearing? - But are you sure it is Captain Macheath.

MRS. TRAPES. Though he thinks I have forgot him; no body knows him better. I have taken a great deal of the Captain's Money in my Time at second-hand, for he always lov'd to have his Ladies well drest.

PEACHUM. Mr. Lockit and I have a little Business with the Captain; - You understand me - and we will satisfy you for Mrs. Coaxer's Debt.

LOCKIT. Depend upon it - we will deal like Men of Honour.

MRS. TRAPES. I don't enquire after your Affairs - so whatever happens, I wash my Hands on't - It hath always been my Maxim, that one Friend should assist another - But if you please - I'll take one of the Scarfs home with me. 'Tis always good to have something in Hand.