Thomas May

THE OLD COUPLE

licensed 1636

a synoptic, alphabetical character list

SIR ARGENT SCRAPE

An old, covetous, rich knight. Said by his neighbors to be ninety-five years old at least, too crippled with age to walk. He and his betrothed, Lady Covet, are the Old Couple of the title. He is uncle and heir presumptive to the fugitive, Eugeny, who believes that only Sir Argent's intervention can clear his name of murder. Sir Argent is first believed to be working to arrange a pardon for his nephew- extenuating circumstances for the crime are frequently hinted at but never clarified- but Theodore discovers the truth and reports to the despairing Eugeny. Sir Argent is greedy for the additional 1500 per year he will gain if he ensures his nephew is captured and executed and is laying plots and offering bribes to ensure a miscarriage of justice enriches him. His corruption is confirmed when he explains his strategy to Lady Covet in a private conversation overheard by Euphues and Barnet. It is also clear that their forthcoming marriage is entirely mercenary on both sides. Each hopes to outlive the other and inherit everything. In a long soliloquy Sir Argent passionately declares that the anticipated riches of his marriage, gold and power, are restoring his youthful vigor. His gloating is interrupted by "Fruitful" who enrages him with the news of Lady Covet's pre-nuptial conveyance of her estates to trustees, safely out of his hands. He immediately plans to cancel the wedding and leave. The couple meet and have a furious quarrel in front of their guests. Freeman persuades Sir Argent not to leave. Meanwhile, Sir Argent's anonymous agent betrays Eugeny's hiding-place to Officers, who arrest him. Euphues reports an offstage incident: the satisfying spectacle of the reformed Earthworm denouncing Sir Argent for his own avarice in general, his disgraceful betrayal of a kinsman in particular. Sir Argent returns to take his leave, but before he can depart is confronted by the arrival of the captive Eugeny. He reproaches Sir Argent and warns him of the shame he has earned by his betrayal. Instead of fraudulently increasing his wealth at the expense of his kinsman's life, at his age he should be using his existing fortune to do good works in the community. This fierce denunciation causes Sir Argent to repent. When Scudmore reveals his true identity and releases Eugeny from the threat of execution, Sir Argent is given no lines to reveal his reaction. Nor is it clear whether his marriage to Lady Covet will proceed, in the concluding celebrations of the betrothals of the two younger couples to be reunited.

ARTEMIA

Daughter to Freeman, cousin to Euphues and in love with Eugeny. She is devoted to him and loyal, despite his admitted guilt for the murder of Scudmore. She is amazed at his news that his safety and their future happiness have been entrusted to his best friend, Theodore, by an amazing coincidence the son of their miserly neighbor, Earthworm. She accepts Eugeny's report of Theodore's trustworthiness and agrees to confide in him as a go-between. She asks her cousin Euphues to arrange an introduction, which awakens the curiosity of the latter to investigate whether she is having a secret affair with the boy next door. They meet and agree on comforting messages from her to be delivered to Eugeny, which will much relieve his melancholy. Alone, she still pines for her lover and expresses her futility and loneliness at length. Euphues inquires into her secret business with Theodore. She resourcefully pretends that they are old friends, having once met in Venice. The astute Euphues reveals that he has uncovered her secret contact with Eugeny and offers to help her. Theodore accompanies Artemia to the forest to meet Eugeny and warn him to escape. Confirmation of his uncle's treachery, provided by Euphues, has made evasive action most urgent, but they arrive too late to prevent his arrest. She swoons in distress and is comforted by Eugeny, although he seems doomed. When Eugeny's name is cleared by the reappearance of Scudmore, alive, the couple are free to be married the next day, with the complete approval of her father and cousin.

BARNET

A young gentleman apparently in search of a rich marriage, attached to the much richer Dotterel on a similar quest. He appears to be aware of his own financial limitations, too realistic to pursue his apparent attraction to Lady Whimsey; his friends all agree that she is out of his league. He hints at having a secret scheme of his own to make a fortune. (He is secretly working for Lady Whimsey in her quest for a rich husband- together they have agreed to manipulate Dotterel to the altar for their mutual benefit.) He encourages Dotterel's infatuation with Lady Whimsey. Later Euphues and Barnet discuss the successful progress of Dotterel's suit. Barnet appears to be secretly working as Lady Whimsey's agent, on commission, to assist her in her quest for a new rich husband. When the grotesque bridal couple enter, he and Euphues hide behind the hangings to eavesdrop and make witty remarks at their expense. Euphues is moved by Sir Argent's confession to rush to offer help to his cousin Artemia. Barnet has business with Lady Whimsey, when his mysterious hints are finally clarified. He has been working to obtain her a husband, specifically Dotterel and is prepared to return her fee if the marriage falls through. He is another defrauded heir. In his case, a rich estate due to him has been stolen by Dotterel's father and its return will make him far richer than the fee he was offered. It seems that they have an agreement that Lady Whimsey will return it to him on her marriage, as its extraction from a foolish husband will present no problem, but make little difference to her own increased wealth while amply rewarding Barnet with justice and his due riches. The marriage duly takes place offstage while other characters attend to the revelation of Scudmore's survival, Barnet having succeeded in reclaiming his property.

LADY COVET

She and her betrothed, Sir Argent Scrape, are the Old Couple of the title. Said to be at least eighty. She first appears on crutches to receive her guests, Freeman, Euphues, Dotterel, Barnet and Lady Whimsey and is sociably teased by Euphues over her forthcoming marriage. Before her entrance he has revealed her earlier fraud, in that she criminally withheld from Scudmore his entire estate, to satisfy her avarice. He was too poor to prosecute her and is now believed dead. She is encouraged in her marriage plans by Sir Argent's revelation to her in a conversation they believe private, of his plans to increase his own wealth by a similar miscarriage of justice against Eugeny. It is clear that their planned marriage is entirely mercenary on both sides. Each hopes to outlive the other and inherit everything. They are overheard by Euphues and Barnet. Lady Covet next needs to conclude her pre-nuptial paperwork with her Chaplain. "Fruitful" persuades her of the wisdom of securing her estates to herself, from her new husband, by a deed of conveyance to trustees ("feoffees"). The deed is sealed and witnessed. Lady Covet discovers that her Chaplain has betrayed her financial scheme to her bridegroom and quarrels furiously with both Sir Argent and "Fruitful." All the visiting guests witness the outcome: "Fruitful" assures her and them that she will be made an adequate allowance from her sequestered funds to live the better without luxuries for her spiritual health. He promises to bring her trustees to meet her, to reassure her. Instead, Trusty her steward informs her that the trustees are not to be trusted, at which she falls into a desperate panic for her livelihood and begins to feel the first pangs of guilt, that she is now being justly punished for her own misdeeds. She grieves that her deserved poverty makes her unable to make restitution to those she has cheated, and her neighbors (Freeman and Euphues) begin to pity her. "Fruitful" now informs her that her estates will all be returned to her, except the manor due to Scudmore. When she confesses her guilt in obtaining it, he reveals his true identity. It remains unclear, during the concluding celebrations, reunions and betrothals, whether Lady Covet and Sir Argent will proceed with their own wedding after all.

DOTTEREL

A rich gull in search of a wife. He is accompanied by Barnet, whose relationship to him, as friend or cousin, is not entirely clear. Dotterel's folly is principally seen as unworldly romanticism: he is determined to disguise his status as an eligible rich heir and seek a bride based only on his innate worthiness (which is lacking). Barnet clearly doubts his chances of succeeding in love on personality alone, but brings him to Freeman's house to meet Euphues and discuss Dotterel's strategy for wooing Artemia. This is abortive, as he falls in love with the worldly and witty Lady Whimsey at first sight. He begins to flirt with her during their visit to Lady Covet's house; she gives him her scarf to wear as a favor. He confides to Barnet that he is no longer interested in Artemia; Barnet further encourages his pursuit of Lady Whimsey. It now appears that Barnet is secretly working as Lady Whimsey's agent, on commission, to assist her in her quest for a new rich husband. He has learned that Dotterel has a fortune of 2000 per year. Dotterel rushes headlong into wedding plans. He reads the Lady a sonnet he claims to have written for her but which Barnet recognizes as stolen from a book. When they last appear, amid the general rejoicing of the other characters at Scudmore's survival, Eugeny's reprieve and the young couples' betrothals, it is to announce that their own marriage has already taken place. Dotterel remains unaware that Barnet has contrived the alliance, in collaboration with Lady Whimsey, in order to regain his own property, wrongly taken from him by Dotterel's father. Dotterel simply seems delighted with his older, more masterful bride.

EARTHWORM

An old, miserly niggard. Lifelong avarice has worked on Earthworm like a debilitating disease. His unhealthy obsession with hoarding gold and goods has wrecked his health: a starvation diet, ragged clothes and inadequate heating have made him ill while he rejoices in his economy. He has neglected needy relations and is despised by the community for his selfishness and lack of charity to his poorer neighbors. His son, Theodore, has returned from abroad to intervene and cure his father if at all possible. Earthworm is unaware that Lady Whimsey has selected him as an eligible next husband and is about to commence her plans to entrap him when the play begins. He is delighted that Theodore seems to have inherited his miserly habits. His son dutifully extols thrift and moderation and is rewarded with the possession of Earthworm's keys. Theodore's plan to cure him begins to work, first by humoring him, then secretly feeding him a sleeping draught to prevent his obsession with counting his gold all night long. While he sleeps, Theodore invites all his poor neighbors to take shares in his hoarded gold and corn and he is blessed in his absence for his charity. A ruinous fire breaks out in Earthworm's barn. He is first furious with his servant Jasper for carelessness, then mystified as to why all his poor neighbors should so willingly rush to his rescue. Their prayers for his preservation strangely move him, although he is convinced that he does not deserve them to be heard. He breaks down and repents his avarice, delighting his son. He welcomes the neighbors in a scene of mutual gratitude and piety. He has finally learned the lesson that it is better to give then receive. He reflects on his former sins of omission, particularly his neglect of Matilda, his orphaned niece. He now wants to find her and make amends by becoming a second father to her. Meanwhile, Euphues reports an offstage incident: the satisfying spectacle of the reformed Earthworm denouncing Sir Argent for his own avarice in general, his disgraceful betrayal of a kinsman in particular. When affairs end happily for all concerned, Earthworm insists on being allowed to play host to the joint wedding celebrations of Matilda and Scudmore, Artemia and Eugeny.

EUGENY

Nephew to Sir Argent Scrape, he is in love with Artemia and on the run for the murder of Scudmore. The circumstances of Scudmore's presumed death and miraculous survival are never fully clarified. Extenuating circumstances surrounding the "murder" are hinted at and Eugeny's grief and repentance for his guilt are stressed. He is believed by some characters to have fled the country but is reluctant to leave his beloved Artemia. He is in hiding in a forest, pining away with lover's melancholy and despair, his whereabouts initially only known to his loyal friend, Theodore. He risks the danger of capture and death to visit Artemia. His only hope is in the honest dealing of his uncle (and heir), Sir Argent, who could apparently clear his name. His clandestine reunion with Artemia allows them to renew their lovers' vows of devotion; he also advises her to employ Theodore as a go-between. Alone in his hiding-place, Eugeny gives way to despair and complains bitterly to Fortune. He compares himself to a religious hermit, happy in solitude. He laments over his 'foul crime" and grieves over the suffering he has caused Artemia. He is afraid of forfeiting his life to justice for her sake. Theodore attempts to encourage him by advising moderation, but brings bad news. Eugeny's uncle is in reality secretly laying traps to capture him, and offering bribes to corrupt justice to ensure Eugeny's execution and his own inheritance. Eugeny is devastated by this betrayal of kinship, unnatural and vicious, and Theodore laments with him for the loss of the golden age of virtue and family values. A sweet, sad song in the forest interrupts them. Eugeny is struck by its melancholy beauty; Theodore goes to investigate. He reports the sight of a lady as fair as her voice and Eugeny is appalled to recognise Matilda, the tragic lover of the man he killed. Before Theodore's other business with his father and cousin allow him to visit Eugeny again he is arrested by Officers. Although he faces death, he does not blame them for doing their job. It is clear that he has been betrayed by an agent of his uncle, but is unaware of this. He begs to be allowed to visit Sir Argent on the way to prison and also asks to be allowed to see Theodore. He does not want to distress Artemia further by meeting her as a prisoner. Before his request can be determined, both Artemia and Theodore arrive, too late to warn him to escape. She swoons. Eugeny tries to comfort her. The urgency of his peril becomes clear. The Assizes are imminent and he has very little time to prepare his defense, although Euphues will also be trying to help. Eugeny is brought to Lady Covet's to meet the other characters. He reproaches Sir Argent and warns him of the shame he has earned by his betrayal. Instead of fraudulently increasing his wealth at the expense of his kinsman's life, at his age he should be using his existing fortune to do good works in the community. This fierce denunciation causes Sir Argent to repent. Eugeny bids farewell to his friends and is about to be taken to trial when "Fruitful" arrives with news that Lady Covet's fortune is safe. Subsequently revealing himself to be Scudmore, his reappearance absolves Eugeny who is free to marry Artemia amidst great general rejoicing. Euphues welcomes him as a cousin in marriage as well as a friend. Note: there is no connection between this character and the similarly named Eugenio of May's The Heire.

EUPHUES

Freeman's nephew, cousin to Artemia and friend to Scudmore (supposedly slain by Eugeny). A witty, intelligent and inquisitive gentleman, he is an outspoken satirist of the vices and foibles of the neighborhood. He readily agrees to his cousin Artemia's mysterious request that he should arrange a meeting between her and the unknown Theodore. He indulges his curiosity that she may be consulting an astrologer or conducting a secret romance and decides to investigate her secret business in order to protect her. He sends Theodore a letter to propose the meeting she has requested. He accompanies Freeman to Lady Covet's betrothal celebrations, but reveals his disapproval of her. After a topical satirical tirade on Bishops, he supplies the information that Lady Covet's avarice and lack of conscience previously led her to cheat his friend Scudmore out of his fortune before his presumed death. Later, Euphues and Barnet discuss the successful progress of Dotterel's pursuit of Lady Whimsey. Euphues remarks that unlike the other mercenary characters, his cousin Artemia is likely only ever to marry for true love; this reminds him of his promise to meet Theodore. He is forestalled by the entrance of the bride and groom, carried in by servants, as they are both too lame to walk. He and Barnet hide behind the hangings to eavesdrop the grotesque couple and make witty remarks at their expense. They also overhear confirmation of Sir Argent's vicious plot against Eugeny, which disgusts them both and which determines Euphues to try to come to the rescue of his cousin's beloved. He is not fooled by Artemia's story of being an old friend of Theodore, having cleverly worked out their mutual connection to Eugeny. He encourages her to confide in him and promises to do all in his power to help. Back at Lady Covet's, Euphues with the other guests witnesses the furious quarrel between the bridge and groom over Lady Covet's pre-nuptial deed of conveyance of her estates to trustees. They are all impressed by Fruitful's handling of the situation, but Euphues is most full of praise for the Chaplain's wit. Lady Covet's repentance, when she is suddenly deprived of her fortune, moves him to pity. When all problems and threats are happily resolved, Euphues is delighted to welcome Eugeny as a cousin in marriage as well as a friend.

FREEMAN

Father to Artemia, uncle to Euphues. A thoroughly decent and hospitable gentleman and virtuous neighbor in the community. Although somewhat scandalized by the grotesque betrothal of the decrepit Sir Argent and Lady Covet, he takes his family and friends to pay their respects to the happy couple. Freeman agrees with Euphues that Lady Covet's earlier deed defrauding Scudmore of his entire estate was "foul," adding that Scudmore was too poor to prosecute her in law before his death. Freeman, with the other neighbors, witnesses the outcome of Lady Covet's disastrous decision to sign a pre-nuptial conveyance of her estates to trustees. Freeman manages to persuade the furious bridegroom, Sir Argent, not to depart in a rage. After Eugeny's arrest he comforts his daughter, assuring Artemia of his support and approval for her choice of husband. Meanwhile, Lady Covet's repentance, when she is suddenly deprived of her fortune, moves him to pity. He is present at the happy conclusion, but having already given his provisional blessing to Artemia's love, has nothing to add when the couple are reunited, to be married the next day. He tacitly defers to Earthworm's generous wish to host the double wedding celebrations of his daughter and the other's niece.

FRUITFUL

The name assumed by the disguised Scudmore, supposedly slain, acting as Chaplain to the Lady Covet.

JASPER

Earthworm's servant. He delivers to Theodore the letter from Euphues, and more importantly agrees to serve his young master in his attempt to cure the old one. Jasper pledges secrecy to Theodore and is entrusted with the preparation of mysterious disguises and reinforcements. In a soliloquy, Jasper explains his seeming disloyalty to Earthworm. He justifies it in morality, as Theodore seems entirely honest and not intent on endangering the old man; the welcome novelty of a beer-money bonus from the son has also had an effect on his decision. Earthworm later blames Jasper for the fire in his barn; it is unclear whether the fire was an accident or indeed set by Jasper or Theodore as part of the plan to cure Earthworm of his obsession.

MATILDA

A virtuous young woman. She is grieving for the supposed death of her lover, Scudmore. She is first overheard singing a lament in the forest by Eugeny and Theodore. Theodore reports that she is as beautiful as her voice; Eugeny then recognises her with horror and guilt as the bereaved lover of the man he has killed. Her story is deeply tragic: her father long dead, her mother died two years ago and now she has lost her betrothed. She lives, not rich but respectable, a lonely orphan in the next village. They leave to avoid her, although she heard their voices and comes to investigate the intrusion into her solitude. She is unafraid, however. She believes that sorrow has made her bold and she wanders the forest alone, safe in her innocence. After Earthworm repents his avarice and recalls his family duties, he remembers a long-lost niece, his sister's orphaned child, whom Theodore realizes must be Matilda. Theodore finds her again and the cousins are reunited. She is at first unwilling to return home with him, to bring her desperate grief into their lives, but is persuaded by Theodore's wise words that her solitary life is prolonging her sadness to no point. She accepts his invitation to make her home with them, to find comfort in their hospitality and cherish her memories while letting go of her despair. Theodore brings her to join the final celebrations of the happy resolution and she is reunited with Scudmore to be married in a double ceremony with Artemia and Eugeny.

NEIGHBORS

Earthworm's unnamed Neighbors. Three are assigned lines and more may be present. Theodore enlists Earthworm's poor neighbors in his plan to cure his father of avarice. He pretends to be Jasper's fellow servant, tells them that Earthworm has already repented his miserly ways and is determined to make amends. Claiming Earthworm is too embarrassed to meet them, or receive their thanks, Theodore invites them to take their first weekly gifts of gold and corn from Earthworm's store. The neighbors are thrilled, offering praise and blessings for Earthworm's reported religious conversion into a good and charitable neighbor. They are later reported rushing to put out the fire in Earthworm's barn and appear to earn his thanks for their intervention, as the incident, combined with their good intentions and prayers for him have truly caused him to repent.

OFFICERS

An unspecified number of unnamed Officers. They arrest Eugeny. The first Officer confides to the prisoner that they had been given a tip-off by "a plain fellow," who seems likely to have been an agent of Sir Argent.

SCUDMORE

A young gentleman supposed to have been slain by Eugeny. But, disguised under the name Fruitful, he is living as Chaplain to the Lady Covet. The circumstances of his supposed murder are never adequately explained. He first appears with Lady Covet's steward, Trusty, discussing Covet's wedding preparations, which include the signing of certain legal papers. Freeman, Euphues and Barnet later discuss Lady Covet's fraudulent deed in confiscating Scudmore's entire estate (500 pounds per year), which he was too poor to prosecute in law before his "unfortunate" death. "Fruitful" has persuaded Lady Covet of the wisdom of securing her estates to herself, from her new husband, by a pre-nuptial deed of conveyance to trustees ("feoffees"). The deed is sealed and witnessed. The problem still remains that Sir Argent will be rich enough to contest the deed and sue for the restoration of her estates to himself: "Fruitful" plans to prevent this by preventing the marriage at the last minute by revealing to the groom the bride's own determination to defraud him. To Sir Argent he professes not disloyalty to Lady Covet, but a religious duty to tell the truth to prevent injustice. Lady Covet is furious with him on discovering his betrayal. All the visiting neighbors witness the outcome: "Fruitful" assures her and them that she will be made an adequate allowance from her sequestered funds to live the better without luxuries for her spiritual health. He departs, promising Lady Covet to bring her trustees to a meeting where she will be reassured. Trusty meanwhile convinces her that her fortune is lost to untrustworthy trustees. After she has repented in her panic and despair, "Fruitful" returns to reassure her after all. All her estates are to be returned to her, with the exception of the manor wrongfully taken from Scudmore. When Lady Covet confesses her guilt in this, Scudmore reveals his true identity to general delight and the express admiration of his friend Euphues. Scudmore glosses over the circumstances of his presumed death, miraculous cure and strange concealment, in order for the company to celebrate the happy outcome without delay. Scudmore is reunited with Matilda; together with Eugeny and Artemia, they will be married together and entertained with great hospitality at Earthworm's expense.

THEODORE

Earthworm's virtuous son, cousin to the bereaved Matilda and loyal friend to the fugitive Eugeny. He is not known in the neighborhood, having only recently returned from studying abroad; his return and his character are the subject of general speculation. Said to be a scholar and a traveler, the fact that he dresses all in black has caused gossip that he may be a conjurer. In fact, he is a paragon, described by his grateful friend, Eugeny, as noble, wise and heroic. His filial piety in rescuing his father from his debilitating addiction to avarice also demonstrates his wit and deep understanding of human nature. He is driven by pity for his father's condition, wrecked by consuming avarice in "body, mind and frame." He delights Earthworm by seeming to be everything his father would wish him to be, dutifully extolling thrift and moderation to gain his trust. He is rewarded with the possession of Earthworm's keys. Theodore's plan to cure his addiction begins to work, first humoring him, then secretly feeding him a sleeping draught to prevent his obsession with counting his gold all night long. He has enlisted the help of his father's servant, Jasper, in the next stage of his cure. Having delegated the arrangement of mysterious disguises and reinforcements, Theodore visits Eugeny in his dismal hiding-place. He attempts to encourage his despairing friend by advising moderation, but brings bad news. Eugeny's uncle, believed to be working for his nephew's pardon, is in reality secretly laying traps to capture him, and offering bribes to corrupt justice to ensure Eugeny's execution and his inheritance. Eugeny is devastated by this betrayal of kinship and Theodore laments with him for the loss of the golden age of virtue and family values. A sweet, sad song in the forest interrupts them. Eugeny is struck by its melancholy beauty; Theodore goes to investigate. He reports the sight of a lady as fair as her voice and Eugeny is appalled to recognize Matilda, the tragic lover of the man he killed. They leave to avoid meeting her. Back at his father's house, Theodore enlists Earthworm's poor neighbors in the next stage of his plan to cure his father. He pretends to be Jasper's fellow servant, tells them that Earthworm has already repented his miserly ways and is determined to make amends. Claiming Earthworm is too embarrassed to meet them, or receive their thanks, Theodore invites them to take their first weekly gifts of gold and corn from Earthworm's store. The neighbors are thrilled, offering praise and blessings for Earthworm's reported religious conversion into a good and charitable neighbor. He next meets Artemia, with many expressions of mutual respect and willingly takes comforting messages from her to Eugeny, glad to be able to relieve his friend's melancholy. A fire in his father's barn allows Earthworm to see how ready his neighbors now are to rush to his help. Earthworm is finally moved to repent his avarice and selfishness to Theodore's delight. Earthworm's recollection of his neglected duty to his orphaned niece, Matilda, prompts Theodore to identify her with the forlorn 'nymph' in the woods. He offers to find her and bring her home and cherish her, as a kinsman should. Theodore finds her and the cousins are reunited. She is at first unwilling to return home with him, to bring her desperate grief into their lives, but is persuaded by Theodore's wise words that her solitary life is prolonging her sadness to no point. Again he stresses the need for moderation. She accepts his invitation to make her home with them, to find comfort in their hospitality and cherish her memories while letting go of her despair. He next accompanies Artemia to the forest with an urgent warning that Eugeny must flee his uncle's treachery. They arrive too late to prevent his arrest. All characters are present in the final scene when all difficulties are resolved by Scudmore's emergence from disguise. Theodore promptly fetches Matilda to be reunited with her love. He has the satisfaction of seeing his father's new generosity in action as Earthworm insists on hosting the lavish double wedding to follow.

TRUSTY

Steward to the Lady Covet. He is companion of her Chaplain, Fruitful, unaware that he is Scudmore in disguise. They first appear discussing Covet's wedding preparations, which include the signing of certain legal papers. It is not clear whether Trusty, who witnesses the pre-nuptial deed intended to deprive Sir Argent of his bride's estates, is simply obeying her orders or is complicit in Fruitful's privately declared aim of liberating Lady Covet from her corrupting wealth for her own sake. He is last seen breaking to Lady Covet the bad news that her trustees are not to be trusted, which sends her into such a panic that she repents of her avarice.

LADY WHIMSEY

A widow. Admitting to thirty-five, she is in search of a rich husband to replace her first, whose huge fortune she has already spent. She is Artemia's friend and first visits her en route to pursue her apparent plan to seduce and marry the rich but miserly widow, Earthworm. She is known to Euphues as a cheerful cynic in matters of love and marriage; he also hints that she is promiscuous. Her opinions are witty and robustly "feminist." She is prepared to act like a man in marrying purely for money, would prefer to marry a fool rather than her intellectual equal and would prefer a much older man she is certain to outlive and inherit from. This is why she has apparently set her sights on the elderly and repellent Earthworm rather than his otherwise eligible son. Dotterel, originally in pursuit of Artemia, falls in love with her at first sight. He flirts with her during their visit to Lady Covet's house; she gives him her scarf to wear as a favor. Later in the visit Euphues and Barnet discuss the successful progress of Dotterel's suit. Barnet is secretly working as Lady Whimsey's agent, on commission, to assist her in her actual plan to marry Dotterel. If she succeeds in marrying Dotterel, she will cause an estate to be returned to Barnet that was fraudulently taken from him by Dotterel's father. Lady Whimsey marries Dotterel offstage while other characters are involved in the happy resolution of the main plot; the couple return to share in the general celebrations.