"What Will Mrs. Grundy Say?"
Context: First produced at Covent Garden in 1800, this comedy is one of the best of Morton's amusing plays. An early editor, Epes Sargent, comments that Morton reveals a vivacity, an unforced pleasure, and broad, genuine humor. "His comedies were so highly prized in their day, and such was their uniform success, that he was not infrequently paid a thousand pounds for one. They still, with few exceptions, keep honourable possession of the Stage. Speed the Plough is perhaps the oftenest played of any in this country." As the drama opens, Farmer Ashfield welcomes home his contentious wife, who is indignant that the products of her neighbor, Mrs. Grundy, have been more favorably received at the market. She prattles that "Farmer Grundy's wheat brought five shillings a quarter more than ours did," that "the sun seems to shine on purpose for him," and that "Dame Grundy's butter was quite the crack of the market." In exasperation, Farmer Ashfield attempts to check his wife, but his attempts are futile. In later scenes, concerned for her daughter's chastity (II, iii) and perturbed by the indecorum of her husband's riding in Susan's coach (V, i), Dame Ashfield queries: "What will Mrs. Grundy say then?" Her name has become proverbial for conventional propriety and moral decorum.
Be quiet, woolye? aleways ding, dinging Dame Grundy into my ears–what will Mrs. Grundy zay? What will Mrs. Grundy think? Casn't thee be quiet, let ur alone, and behave thyself pratty?