Love for Love "You Must Not Kiss And Tell"

William Congreve

"You Must Not Kiss And Tell"

Context: Mrs. Foresight rebukes her sister, Mrs. Frail, a woman of the town, for injudiciously riding around London with gentlemen in hackney-coaches, strongly hinting that her behavior has been immoral. In the course of the conversation it comes to light that Mrs. Foresight is no more moral than is Mrs. Frail. Mrs. Frail then confesses that she must enter into a marriage that will provide her with security. She says that Ben, the wealthy Sir Sampson Legend's son, is expected back from sea. He is supposed to marry Miss Prue, Mrs. Foresight's awkward country stepdaughter, but it seems that Miss Prue is much attached to Tattle, a half-witted beau. Mrs. Frail tells Mrs. Foresight that she will encourage the affair, as a marriage between Miss Prue and Tattle would leave Ben on the matrimonial market. At this point Tattle and Miss Prue enter. Miss Prue displays a snuffbox filled with snuff that Tattle has given her and also shows a ring which he has given her for a kiss. Tattle objects that she should not kiss and tell, but she says that she will tell her mother, meaning her stepmother, Mrs. Foresight.

Look you here, madam, then, what Mr. Tattle has given me.–Look you here, cousin, here's a snuff-box; nay, there's snuff in't;–here, will you have any?–Oh good! how sweet it is.–Mr. Tattle is all over sweet, his peruke is sweet, and his gloves are sweet, and his handkerchief is sweet, pure sweet, sweeter than roses.–Smell him, mother, madam, I mean.–He gave me this ring for a kiss.
O fy, miss! you must not kiss and tell.
Yes; I may tell my mother. . . .