A NEW WAY TO PAY OLD DEBTS

By Philip Massinger

Before 1633

 

 

 

 

Dramatis Persons:

Lord Lovell.

     Tom Allworth, a Young Gentleman, Page to Lord

          Lovell.

Sir Giles Overreach, a Cruel Extortioner.

     Margaret, Daughter of Sir Overreach.

     Marrall, a Term-Driver; a Creature of Sir Giles

          Overreach.

Frank Wellborn, a Prodigal.

Greedy, a Hungry Justice Of Peace.

Lady Allworth, a rich Widow.

     Order, Steward.

     Amble, Usher.

     Furnace, Cook.

     Watchall, Porter.

Wllldo, a Parson.

Tapwell, an Alehouse Keeper.

     Froth, Wife of Tapwell.

Chambermaid.

Waiting Woman.

Creditors, Servants, &c.

SCENE:  The Country near Nottingham.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

Before Tapwell's House.

Enter Wellborn in tattered apparel,

Tapwell, and Froth.

Well.  No bouse? nor no tobacco?

Tap.                                             Not a suck, sir;

Nor the remainder of a single can

Left by a drunken porter, all night palled too.

Froth.  Not the dropping of the tap for your morning's draught, sir:

'Tis verity, I assure you.

Well.                            Verity, you brache!

The devil turned precisian! Rogue, what am I?

Tap.  Troth, durst I trust you with a looking-glass,

To let you see your trim shape, you would quit me,

And take the name yourself,

Well.                                   How, dog!

Tap.                                                    Even so, sir.

And I must tell you, if you but advance

Your Plymouth cloak, you shall be soon instructed

There dwells, and within call, if it please your worship,

A potent monarch called the constable,

That does command a citadel called the stocks;

Whose guards are certain files of rusty billmen

Such as with great dexterity will hale

Your tattered, lousy −

Well.                       Rascal! slave!

Froth.                                           No rage, sir.

Tap.  At his own peril: − do not put yourself

In too much heat, there being no water near

To quench your thirst; and sure, for other liquor,

As mighty ale, or beer, they are things, I take it,

You must no more remember; not in a dream, sir.

Well.  Why, thou unthankful villain, dar'st thou talk thus!

Is not thy house, and all thou hast, my gift?

Tap.  I find it not in chalk; and Timothy Tapwell

Does keep no other register.

Well.                                    Am not I he

Whose riots fed and clothed thee? wert thou not

Born on my father's land, and proud to be

A drudge in his house?

Tap.                           What I was, sir, it skills not;

What you are, is apparent: now, for a farewell,

Since you talk of father, in my hope it will torment you,

I'll briefly tell your story. Your dead father,

My quondam master, was a man of worship,

Old Sir John Wellborn, justice of peace and quorum,

And stood fair to be custos rotulorum;

Bore the whole sway of the shire, kept a great house,

Relieved the poor, and so forth; but he dying,

And the twelve hundred a year coming to you,

Late Master Francis, but now forlorn Wellborn −

Well.  Slave, stop! or I shall lose myself.

Froth.                                                    Very hardly;

You cannot out of your way.

Tap.                                     But to my story:

You were then a lord of acres, the prime gallant,

And I your under-butler; note the change now:

You had a merry time of’t; hawks and hounds,

With choice of running horses; mistresses

Of all sorts and all sizes, yet so hot,

As their embraces made your lordship melt;

Which your uncle, Sir Giles Overreach, observing,

(Resolving not to lose a drop of them,)

On foolish mortgages, statutes, and bonds,

For a while supplied your looseness, and then left you.

Well.  Some curate hath penned this invective, mongrel,

And you have studied it.

Tap.                              I have not done yet:

Your land gone, and your credit not worth a token,

You grew the common borrower; no man 'scaped

Your paper-pellets, from the gentleman

To the beggars on highways, that sold you switches

In your gallantry.

Well.                  I shall switch your brains out.

Tap.  Where poor Tim Tapwell, with a little stock,

Some forty pounds or so, bought a small cottage;

Humbled myself to marriage with my Froth here,

Gave entertainment −

Well.                      Yes, to whores and canters,

Clubbers by night −

Tap.                     True, but they brought in profit,

And had a gift to pay for what they called for,

And stuck not like your mastership. The poor income

I gleaned from them hath made me in my parish

Thought worthy to be scavenger, and in time

I may rise to be overseer of the poor;

Which if I do, on your petition, Wellborn,

I may allow you thirteen-pence a quarter.

And you shall thank my worship.

Well.                                           Thus, you dog-bolt,

And thus −

[Beats and kicks him.]

Tap.  [to his wife] Cry out for help!

Well.                                          Stir, and thou diest: −

Your potent prince, the constable, shall not save you.

Hear me, ungrateful hell-hound! did not I

Make purses for you? then you licked my boots,

And thought your holiday cloak too coarse to clean them.

'Twas I that, when I heard thee swear if ever

Thou couldst arrive at forty pounds thou wouldst

Live like an emperor, twas I that gave it

In ready gold. Deny this, wretch!

Tap.                                              I must, sir;

For, from the tavern to the taphouse, all,

On forfeiture of their licenses, stand bound

Ne'er to remember who their best guests were,

If they grew poor like you.

Well.                                 They are well rewarded

That beggar themselves to make such cuckolds rich.

Thou viper, thankless viper! impudent bawd! −

But since you are grown forgetful, I will help

Your memory, and tread you into mortar,

Nor leave one bone unbroken.

[Beats him again.]

Tap.                                     Oh!

Froth.                                       Ask mercy.

Enter Allworth.

Well.  'Twill not be granted.

All.                                    Hold − for my sake, hold. −

Deny me, Frank! they are not worth your anger.

Well.  For once thou hast redeemed them from this sceptre;

But let them vanish, creeping on their knees,

And, if they grumble, I revoke my pardon.

Froth.  This comes of your prating, husband; you presumed

On your ambling wit, and must use your glib tongue,

Though you are beaten lame for't.

Tap.                                              Patience, Froth;

There's law to cure our bruises.

[They crawl off on their hands and knees.]

Well.                                     Sent to your mother?

All.  My lady, Frank, my patroness, my all!

She's such a mourner for my father's death,

And, in her love to him, so favours me,

That I cannot pay too much observance to her.

There are few such stepdames.

Well.                                     'Tis a noble widow,

And keeps her reputation pure, and clear

From the least taint of infamy; her life,

With the splendour of her actions, leaves no tongue

To envy or detraction. Prithee tell me,

Has she no suitors?

All.                       Even the best of the shire, Frank,

My lord excepted; such as sue and send,

And send and sue again, but to no purpose:

Their frequent visits have not gained her presence.

Yet she's so far from sullenness and pride,

That I dare undertake you shall meet from her

A liberal entertainment: I can give you

A catalogue of her suitors' names.

Well.                                            Forbear it,

While I give you good counsel: I am bound to it.

Thy father was my friend, and that affection

I bore to him, in right descends to thee;

Thou art a handsome and a hopeful youth,

Nor will I have the least affront stick on thee,

If I with any danger can prevent it.

All.  I thank your noble care; but, pray you, in what

Do I run the hazard?

Well.                      Art thou not in love?

Put it not off with wonder.

All.                                     In love, at my years!

Well.  You think you walk in clouds, but are transparent.

I have heard all, and the choice that you have made,

And, with my finger, can point out the north star

By which the loadstone of your folly's guided;

And, to confirm this true, what think you of

Fair Margaret, the only child and heir

Of Cormorant Overreach? Does it blush and start,

To hear her only named? blush at your want

Of wit and reason.

All.                     You are too bitter, sir.

Well.  Wounds of this nature are not to be cured

With balms, but corrosives. I must be plain:

Art thou scarce manumised from the porter's lodge

And yet sworn servant to the pantofle,

And dar'st thou dream of marriage? I fear

'Twill be concluded for impossible

That there is now, or e'er shall be hereafter,

A handsome page or player's boy of fourteen

But either loves a wench or drabs love him;

Court-waiters not exempted.

All.                                     This is madness.

Howe'er you have discovered my intents,

You know my aims are lawful; and if ever

The queen of flowers, the glory of the spring,

The sweetest comfort to our smell, the rose,

Sprang from an envious briar, I may infer

There's such disparity in their conditions

Between the goodness of my soul, the daughter,

And the base churl her father.

Well.                                      Grant this true,

As I believe it, canst thou ever hope

To enjoy a quiet bed with her whose father 

Ruined thy state?

All.                     And yours too.

Well.                                         I confess it;

True; I must tell you as a friend, and freely,

That, where impossibilities are apparent,

'Tis indiscretiön to nourish hopes.

Canst thou imagine (let not self-love blind thee)

That Sir Giles Overreach, that, to make her great

In swelling titles, without touch of conscience

Will cut his neighbour's throat, and I hope his own too,

Will e'er consent to make her thine? Give o'er,

And think of some course suitable to thy rank,

And prosper in it.

All.                      You have well advised me.

But in the mean time you that are so studious

Of my affairs wholly neglect your own:

Remember yourself, and in what plight you are.

Well.  No matter, no matter.

All.                                      Yes, 'tis much material:

You know my fortune and my means; yet something

I can spare from myself to help your wants.

Well.  How's this?

All.                    Nay, be not angry; there's eight pieces

To put you in better fashion.

Well.                                   Money from thee!

From a boy! a stipendiary! one that lives

At the devotion of a stepmother

And the uncertain favour of a lord!

I'll eat my arms first. Howsoe'er blind Fortune

Hath spent the utmost of her malice on me −

Though I am vomited out of an alehouse,

And thus accoutred − know not where to eat,

Or drink, or sleep, but underneath this canopy −

Although I thank thee, I despise thy offer:

And as I in my madness broke my state

Without the assistance of another's brain,

In my right wits I'll piece it; at the worst,

Die thus and be forgotten.

All.                                    A strange humour!

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE II.

A Room in Lady Allworth's House.

Enter Order, Amble, Furnace, and Watchall.

Ord.  Set all things right, or, as my name is Order,

And by this staff of office that commands you,

This chain and double ruff, symbols of power,

Whoever misses in his functiön,

For one whole week makes forfeiture of his breakfast,

And privilege in the wine-cellar.

Amb.                                       You are merry,

Good master steward.

Furn.                        Let him; I'll be angry.

Amb.  Why, fellow Furnace, 'tis not twelve o'clock yet,

Nor dinner taking up; then, 'tis allowed,

Cooks, by their places, may be choleric.

Furn.  You think you have spoke wisely, goodman Amble,

My lady's go-before!

Ord.                        Nay, nay, no wrangling.

Furn.  Twit me with the authority of the kitchen!

At all hours, and all places, I'll be angry;

And thus provoked, when I am at my prayers

I will be angry.

Amb.            There was no hurt meant.

Furn.  I am friends with thee; and yet I will be angry.

Ord.  With whom?

Furn.              No matter whom: yet, now I think on it,

I am angry with my lady.

Watch.                           Heaven forbid, man!

Ord.  What cause has she given thee?

Furn.                            Cause enough, master steward.

I was entertained by her to please her palate,

And, till she forswore eating, I performed it.

Now, since our master, noble Allworth, died,

Though I crack my brains to find out tempting sauces,

And raise fortifications in the pastry

Such as might serve for models in the Low Countries;

Which, if they had been practisèd at Breda,

Spinola might have thrown his cap at it, and ne'er took it.

Amb.  But you had wanted matter there to work on.

Furn.  Matter! with six eggs, and a strike of rye meal,

I had kept the town till doomsday, perhaps longer.

Ord.  But what's this to your pet against my lady?

Furn.  What's this? marry this; when I am three parts roasted

And the fourth part parboiled, to prepare her viands,

She keeps her chamber, dines with a panada

Or water-gruel, my sweat never thought on.

Ord.  But your art is seen in the dining-room.

Furn.                                                         By whom?

By such as pretend love to her, but come

To feed upon her. Yet, of all the harpies

That do devour her, I am out of charity

With none so much as the thin-gutted squire

That's stolen into commission.

Ord.                                        Justice Greedy?

Furn.  The same, the same: meat's cast away upon him,

It never thrives; he holds this paradox,

Who eats not well, can ne'er do justice well:

His stomach's as insatiate as the grave,

Or strumpets' ravenous appetites.

[Knocking within.]

Watch.                                        One knocks.

[Exit.]

Ord.  Our late young master!

Re-enter Watchall and Allworth.

Amb.                                   Welcome, sir.

Furn.                                                       Your hand;

If you have a stomach, a cold bake-meat's ready.

Ord.  His father's picture in little.

Furn.                                    We are all your servants.

Amb.  In you he lives.

All.                             At once, my thanks to all;

This is yet some comfort. Is my lady stirring?

Enter Lady Allworth,

Waiting Woman, and Chambermaid.

Ord.  Her presence answers for us.

L. All.                                         Sort those silks well.

I'll take the air alone.

[Exeunt Waiting Woman and Chambermaid.]

Furn.                     You air and air;

But will you never taste but spoon-meat more?

To what use serve I?

L. All.                    Prithee, be not angry;

I shall ere long; i' the mean time, there is gold

To buy thee aprons, and a summer suit.

Furn.  I am appeased, and Furnace now grows cool.

L. All.  And, as I gave directions, if this morning

I am visited by any, entertain them

As heretofore; but say, in my excuse,

I am indisposed.

Ord.                  I shall, madam.

L. All.                                     Do, and leave them.

Nay, stay you, Allworth.

[Exeunt Order, Amble, Furnace, and Watchall.]

All.                              I shall gladly grow here,

To wait on your commands.

L. All.                                 So soon turned courtier!

All.  Style not that courtship, madam, which is duty

Purchased on your part.

L. All.                        Well, you shall o'ercome;

I'll not contend in words. How is it with

Your noble master?

All.                        Ever like himself,

No scruple lessened in the full weight of honour.

He did command me, pardon my presumption,

As his unworthy deputy, to kiss

Your ladyship's fair hands.

L. All.                               I am honoured in

His favour to me. Does he hold his purpose

For the Low Countries?

All.                               Constantly, good madam;

But he will in person first present his service.

L. All.  And how approve you of his course? you are yet

Like virgin parchment, capable of any

Inscription, vicious or honourable.

I will not force your will, but leave you free

To your own election.

 All.                            Any form you please,

I will put on; but, might I make my choice,

With humble emulation I would follow

The path my lord marks to me.

L. All.                                      'Tis well answered,

And I commend your spirit: you had a father,

Blessed be his memory! that some few hours

Before the will of Heaven took him from me,

Who did commend you, by the dearest ties

Of perfect love between us, to my charge;

And, therefore, what I speak, you are bound to hear

With such respect as if he lived in me.

He was my husband, and howe'er you are not

Son of my womb, you may be of my love,

Provided you deserve it.

All.                               I have found you,

Most honoured madam, the best mother to me;

And, with my utmost strengths of care and service,

Will labour that you never may repent

Your bounties showered upon me.

L. All.                                           I much hope it.

These were your father's words: "If e'er my son

Follow the war, tell him it is a school

Where all the principles tending to honour

Are taught, if truly followed: but for such

As repair thither as a place in which

They do presume they may with license practise

Their lusts and riots, they shall never merit

The noble name of soldiers. To dare boldly,

In a fair cause, and for their country's safety,

To run upon the cannon's mouth undaunted;

To obey their leaders, and shun mutinies;

To bear with patiënce the winter's cold

And summer's scorching heat, and not to faint

When plenty of provision fails, with hunger;

Are the essential parts make up a soldier,

Not swearing, dice, or drinking."

All.                                           There's no syllable

You speak, but is to me an oracle,

Which but to doubt were impious.

L. All.                                           To conclude:

Beware ill company, for often men

Are like to those with whom they do converse;

And, from one man I warn you, and that's Wellborn:

Not 'cause he's poor, that rather claims your pity;

But that he's in his manners so debauched,

And hath to vicious courses sold himself.

'Tis true, your father loved him, while he was

Worthy the loving; but if he had lived

To have seen him as he is, he had cast him off,

As you must do.

All.                    I shall obey in all things.

L. All.  Follow me to my chamber, you shall have gold

To furnish you like my son, and still supplied,

As I hear from you.

All.                        I am still your creature.

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE III.

A Hall in the same.

Enter Overreach, Greedy, Order, Amble,

Furnace, Watchall, and Marrall.

Greedy.  Not to be seen!

Over.                             Still cloistered up! Her reason,

I hope, assures her, though she make herself

Close prisoner ever for her husband's loss,

'Twill not recover him.

Ord.                             Sir, it is her will.

Which we, that are her servants, ought to serve,

And not dispute: howe'er, you are nobly welcome;

And, if you please to stay, that you may think so,

There came, not six days since, from Hull, a pipe

Of rich Canary, which shall spend itself

For my lady's honour.

Greedy.                     Is it of the right race?

Ord.  Yes, Master Greedy. 

Amb.                                 How his mouth runs o'er!

Furn.  I'll make it run, and run. Save your good worship!

Greedy.  Honest Master Cook, thy hand; again: how I love thee!

Are the good dishes still in being? speak, boy.

Furn.  If you have a mind to feed, there is a chine

Of beef, well seasoned.

Greedy.                         Good!

Furn.                                    A pheasant, larded.

Greedy.  That I might now give thanks for't!

Furn.                                               Other kickshaws.

Besides, there came last night, from the forest of Sherwood,

The fattest stag I ever cooked.

Greedy.                                   A stag, man!

Furn.  A stag, sir; part of it prepared for dinner,

And baked in puff-paste.

Greedy.                          Puff-paste too! Sir Giles,

A ponderous chine of beef! a pheasant larded!

And red deer too, Sir Giles, and baked in puff-paste!

All business set aside, let us give thanks here.

Furn.  How the lean skeleton's rapt!

Over.                                         You know we cannot.

Mar.  Your worships are to sit on a commission,

And if you fail to come, you lose the cause.

Greedy.  Cause me no causes. I'll prove't, for such dinner,

We may put off a commission: you shall find it

Henrici decimo quarto.

Over.                            Fie, Master Greedy!

Will you lose me a thousand pounds for a dinner?

No more, for shame! we must forget the belly

When we think of profit.

Greedy.                          Well, you shall o'er-rule me;

I could e'en cry now. − Do you hear, Master Cook,

Send but a corner of that immortal pasty,

And I, in thankfulness, will, by your boy,

Send you − a brace of three-pences.

Furn.  Will you be so prodigal?

Enter Wellborn.

Over.  Remember me to your lady. − Who have we here?

Well.  You know me.

Over.                        I did once, but now I will not;

Thou art no blood of mine. Avaunt, thou beggar!

If ever thou presume to own me more,

I'll have thee caged and whipped.

Greedy.                                    I'll grant the warrant. −

Think of pie-corner, Furnace!

[Exeunt Overreach, Greedy, and Marrall.]

Watch.                                 Will you out, sir?

I wonder how you durst creep in.

Ord.                                          This is rudeness,

And saucy impudence.

Amb.                            Cannot you stay

To be served, among your fellows, from the basket,

But you must press into the hall?

Furn.                                        Prithee, vanish

Into some outhouse, though it be the pigstye;

My scullion shall come to thee.

Enter Allworth.

Well.                                        This is rare:

Oh, here's Tom Allworth. Tom!

All.                                          We must be strangers:

Nor would I have you seen here for a million.

[Exit.]

Well.  Better and better. He contemns me too!

Enter Waiting Woman and Chambermaid.

Woman.  Foh, what a smell's here! what thing's this?

Cham.                                                       A creature

Made out of the privy; let us hence, for love's sake,

Or I shall swoon.

Woman.            I begin to faint already.

[Exeunt Waiting Woman and Chambermaid.]

Watch.  Will you know your way?

Amb.                                     Or shall we teach it you,

By the head and shoulders?

Well.                                  No; I will not stir;

Do you mark, I will not: let me see the wretch

That dares attempt to force me. Why, you slaves,

Created only to make legs, and cringe;

To carry in a dish, and shift a trencher;

That have not souls only to hope a blessing

Beyond black-jacks or flagons; you, that were born

Only to consume meat and drink, and batten

Upon reversions! − who advances? who

Shews me the way?

Ord.                     My lady!

Enter Lady Allworth,

Waiting Woman, and Chambermaid.

Cham.                            Here's the monster.

Woman.  Sweet madam, keep your glove to your nose.

Cham.                                                         Or let me

Fetch some perfumes may be predominant;

You wrong yourself else.

Well.                              Madam, my designs

Bear me to you!

L. All.              To me!

Well.                         And though I have met with

But ragged entertainment from your grooms here,

I hope from you to receive that noble usage

As may become the true friend of your husband,

And then I shall forget these.

L. All.                                   I am amazed 

To see and hear this rudeness. Darest thou think,

Though sworn, that it can ever find belief,

That I, who to the best men of this country

Denied my presence since my husband's death,

Can fall so low as to change words with thee,

Thou son of infamy! forbear my house,

And know and keep the distance that's between us;

Or, though it be against my gentler temper,

I shall take order you no more shall be

An eyesore to me.

Well.                  Scorn me not, good lady;

But, as in form you are angelical,

Imitate the heavenly natures, and vouchsafe

At the least awhile to hear me. You will grant

The blood that runs in this arm is as noble

As that which fills your veins; those costly jewels,

And those rich clothes you wear, your men's observance,

And women's flattery, are in you no virtues,

Nor these rags, with my poverty, in me vices.

You have a fair fame, and, I know, deserve it;

Yet, lady, I must say, in nothing more

Than in the pious sorrow you have shewn

For your late noble husband.

Ord.                                       How she starts!

Furn.  And hardly can keep finger from the eye,

To hear him named.

L. All.                     Have you aught else to say?

Well.  That husband, madam, was once in his fortune

Almost as low as I; want, debts, and quarrels

Lay heavy on him: let it not be thought

A boast in me, though I say, I relieved him.

'Twas I that gave him fashion; mine the sword,

That did on all occasions second his;

I brought him on and off with honour, lady;

And when in all men's judgments he was sunk,

And, in his own hopes, not to be buoyed up,

I stepped unto him, took him by the hand,

And set him upright.

Furn.                      Are not we base rogues,

That could forget this?

Well.                           I confess, you made him

Master of your estate; nor could your friends,

Though he brought no wealth with him, blame you for it;

For he had a shape, and to that shape a mind

Made up of all parts, either great or noble;

So winning a behaviour, not to be

Resisted, madam.

L. All.                 Tis most true, he had.

Well.  For his sake, then, in that I was his friend,

Do not contemn me.

L. All.                     For what's past excuse me,

I will redeem it. − Order, give the gentleman

A hundred pounds.

Well.                   No, madam, on no terms:

I will nor beg nor borrow sixpence of you,

But be supplied elsewhere, or want thus ever.

Only one suit I make, which you deny not

To strangers; and 'tis this.

[Whispers to her.]

L. All.                            Fie! nothing else?

Well.  Nothing, unless you please to charge your servants

To throw away a little respect upon me.

L. All.  What you demand is yours.

Well.                                              I thank you, lady.

[Aside] Now what can be wrought out of such a suit

Is yet in supposition: − I have said all;

When you please, you may retire.

[Exit Lady Allworth.]

 [To the Servants]                      Nay, all's forgotten;

And, for a lucky omen to my project,

Shake hands, and end all quarrels in the cellar.

Ord.  Agreed, agreed.

Furn.                        Still merry Master Wellborn.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

SCENE I.

A Room in Overreach's House.

Enter Overreach and Marrall.

Over.  He's gone, I warrant thee; this commission crushed him.

Mar.  Your worships have the way on and ne'er miss

To squeeze these unthrifts into air: and yet,

The chapfallen justice did his part, returning

For your advantage the certificate,

Against his conscience, and his knowledge too,

With your good favour, to the utter ruin

Of the poor farmer.

Over.                    'Twas for these good ends

I made him a justice: he that bribes his belly,

Is certain to command his soul.

Mar.                                          I wonder,

Still with your license, why, your worship having

The power to put this thin-gut in commission,

You are not in't yourself?

Over.                              Thou art a fool;

In being out of office I am out of danger;

Where, if I were a justice, besides the trouble,

I might or out of wilfulness or error

Run myself finely into a premunire,

And so become a prey to the informer.

No, I'll have none of’t; 'tis enough I keep

Greedy at my devotion: so he serve

My purposes, let him hang or damn, I care not;

Friendship is but a word.

Mar.                               You are all wisdom.

Over.  I would be worldly-wise; for the other wisdom,

That does prescribe us a well-governed life,

And to do right to others as ourselves,

I value not an atom.

Mar.                     What course take you,

With your good patience, to hedge in the manor

Of your neighbour, Master Frugal? as 'tis said,

He will nor sell, nor borrow, nor exchange;

And his land, lying in the midst of your many lordships,

Is a foul blemish.

Over.                 I have thought on't, Marrall,

And it shall take. I must have all men sellers,

And I the only purchaser.

Mar.                              'Tis most fit, sir.

Over.  I'll therefore buy some cottage near his manor,

Which done, I'll make my men break ope his fences,

Ride o'er his standing corn, and in the night

Set fire on his barns, or break his cattle's legs:

These trespasses draw on suits, and suits expenses,

Which I can spare, but will soon beggar him.

When I have harried him thus two or three year,

Though he sue in forma pauperis, in spite

Of all his thrift and care, he'll grow behindhand.

Mar.  The best I ever heard! I could adore you.

Over.  Then, with the favour of my man of law,

I will pretend some title: want will force him

To put it to arbitrement; then, if he sell

For half the value, he shall have ready money,

And I possess his land.

Mar.                           Tis above wonder!

Wellborn was apt to sell, and needed not

These fine arts, sir, to hook him in.

Over.                                           Well thought on.

This varlet, Marrall, lives too long, to upbraid me

With my close cheat put upon him. Will nor cold

Nor hunger kill him?

Mar.                        I know not what to think on't.

I have used all means; and the last night I caused

His host, the tapster, to turn him out of doors;

And have been since with all your friends and tenants,

And, on the forfeit of your favour, charged them,

Though a crust of mouldy bread would keep him from starving,

Yet they should not relieve him. This is done, sir.

Over.  That was something, Marrall, but thou must go further,

And suddenly, Marrall.

Mar.                         Where, and when you please, sir.

Over.  I would have thee seek him out, and, if thou canst,

Persuade him that 'tis better steal than beg;

Then, if I prove he has but robbed a henroost,

Not all the world shall save him from the gallows.

Do anything to work him to despair;

And 'tis thy masterpiece.

Mar.                             I will do my best, sir.

Over.  I am now on my main work with the Lord Lovell,

The gallant-minded, popular Lord Lovell,

The minion of the people's love. I hear

He's come into the country, and my aims are

To insinuate myself into his knowledge,

And then invite him to my house.

Mar.                                          I have you;

This points at my young mistress.

Over.                                          She must part with

That humble title, and write honourable,

Right honourable, Marrall, my right honourable daughter,

If all I have, or e'er shall get, will do it.

I'll have her well attended; there are ladies

Of errant knights decayed and brought so low,

That for cast clothes and meat will gladly serve her.

And 'tis my glory, though I come from the city,

To have their issue whom I have undone,

To kneel to mine as bondslaves.

Mar.                                         'Tis fit state, sir.

Over.  And therefore, I'll not have a chambermaid

That ties her shoes, or any meaner office,

But such whose fathers were right worshipful.

'Tis a rich man's pride! there having ever been

More than a feud, a strange antipathy,

Between us and true gentry.

Enter Wellborn.

Mar.                                 See, who's here, sir.

Over.  Hence, monster! prodigy!

Well.                                      Sir, your wife's nephew;

She and my father tumbled in one belly.

Over.  Avoid my sight! thy breath's infectious, rogue!

I shun thee as a leprosy, or the plague.

Come hither, Marrall –

                           [Aside] this is the time to work him.

Mar.  I warrant you, sir.

[Exit Overreach.]

Well.                             By this light I think he's mad.

Mar.  Mad! had you ta'en compassion on yourself,

You long since had been mad.

Well.                                     You have ta'en a course,

Between you and my venerable uncle,

To make me so.

Mar.               The more pale-spirited you,

That would not be instructed. I swear deeply −

Well.  By what?

Mar.                By my religion.

Well.                                       Thy religion!

The devil's creed: − but what would you have done?

Mar.  Had there been but one tree in all the shire,

Nor any hope to compass a penny halter,

Before, like you, I had outlived my fortunes,

A withe had served my turn to hang myself.

I am zealous in your cause; pray you hang yourself

And presently, as you love your credit.

Well.                                                    I thank you.

Mar.  Will you stay till you die in a ditch, or lice devour you? −

Or, if you dare not do the feat yourself,

But that you'll put the state to charge and trouble,

Is there no purse to be cut, house to be broken,

Or market-woman with eggs, that you may murder,

And so dispatch the business?

Well.                                        Here's variety,

I must confess; but I'll accept of none

Of all your gentle offers, I assure you.

Mar.  Why, have you hope ever to eat again,

Or drink? or be the master of three farthings?

If you like not hanging, drown yourself! take some course

For your reputation.

Well.                      'Twill not do, dear tempter,

With all the rhetoric the fiend hath taught you.

I am as far as thou art from despair;

Nay, I have confidence, which is more than hope,

To live, and suddenly, better than ever.

Mar.  Ha! ha! these castles you build in the air

Will not persuade me or to give or lend

A token to you.

Well.               I'll be more kind to thee:

Come, thou shalt dine with me.

Mar.                                        With you!

Well.  Nay more, dine gratis.

Mar.  Under what hedge, I pray you? or at whose cost?

Are they padders or abram-men that are your consorts?

Well.  Thou art incredulous; but thou shalt dine

Not alone at her house, but with a gallant lady;

With me, and with a lady.

Mar.                                Lady! what lady?

With the Lady of the Lake, or queen of fairies?

For I know it must be an enchanted dinner.

Well.  With the Lady Allworth, knave.

Mar.                                        Nay, now there's hope

Thy brain is cracked.

Well.                        Mark there, with what respect

I am entertained.

Mar.                With choice, no doubt, of dog-whips.

Why, dost thou ever hope to pass her porter?

Well.  'Tis not far off, go with me; trust thine own eyes.

Mar.  Troth, in my hope, or my assurance rather,

To see thee curvet, and mount like a dog in a blanket,

If ever thou presume to pass her threshold,

I will endure thy company.

Well.                                 Come along then.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE II.

A Room in Lady Allworth's House.

Enter Allworth, Waiting Woman, Chambermaid,

Order, Amble, Furnace, and Watchall.

Woman.  Could you not command your leisure one hour longer?

Cham.  Or half an hour?

All.                            I have told you what my haste is:

Besides, being now another's, not mine own,

Howe'er I much desire to enjoy you longer,

My duty suffers, if, to please myself,

I should neglect my lord.

Woman.                         Pray you do me the favour

To put these few quince-cakes into your pocket;

They are of mine own preserving.

Cham.                                      And this marmalade;

'Tis comfortable for your stomach.

Woman.                                        And, at parting,

Excuse me if I beg a farewell from you.

Cham.  You are still before me. − I move the same suit, sir.

[Allworth kisses them severally.]

Furn.  How greedy these chamberers are of a beardless chin!

I think the tits will ravish him.

All.                                      My service

To both.

Woman.  Ours waits on you.

Cham.                                 And shall do ever.

Ord.  You are my lady's charge, be therefore careful

That you sustain your parts.

Woman.                           We can bear, I warrant you.

[Exeunt Waiting Woman and Chambermaid.]

Furn.  Here, drink it off; the ingredients are cordial,

And this the true elixir; it hath boiled

Since midnight for you. 'Tis the quintessence

Of five cocks of the game, ten dozen of sparrows,

Knuckles of veal, potatoe-roots and marrow,

Coral and ambergris: were you two years older,

And I had a wife, or gamesome mistress,

I durst trust you with neither: you need not bait

After this, I warrant you, though your journey's long;

You may ride on the strength of this till to-morrow morning.

All.  Your courtesies overwhelm me: I much grieve

To part from such true friends, and yet find comfort,

My attendance on my honourable lord,

Whose resolution holds to visit my lady,

Will speedily bring me back.

[Knocking within. Exit Watchall.]

Mar.  [within] Dar'st thou venture further?

Well.  [within]                    Yes, yes, and knock again.

Ord.  'Tis he; disperse!

Amb.                           Perform it bravely.

Furn.  I know my cue, ne'er doubt me.

[Exeunt all but Allworth.]

Re-enter Watchall, ceremoniously introducing

Wellborn and Marrall.

Watch.  Beast that I was, to make you stay! most welcome;

You were long since expected.

Well.                                       Say so much

To my friend, I pray you.

Watch.                          For your sake, I will, sir.

Mar.  For his sake!

Well.                    Mum; this is nothing.

Mar.                                                   More than ever

I would have believed, though I had found it in my primer.

All.  When I have given you reasons for my late harshness,

You'll pardon and excuse me; for, believe me,

Though now I part abruptly, in my service

I will deserve it.

Mar.                Service! with a vengeance!

Well.  I am satisfied: farewell, Tom.

All.                                               All joy stay with you!

[Exit Allworth.]

Re-Enter Amble.

Amb.  You are happily encountered; I yet never

Presented one so welcome a I know

You will be to my lady.

Mar.                          This is some vision,

Or, sure, these men are mad, to worship a dunghill;

It cannot be a truth.

Well.                      Be still a pagan,

An unbelieving infidel; be so, miscreant,

And meditate on "blankets, and on dog-whips!"

Re-enter Furnace.

Furn.  I am glad you are come: until I know your pleasure

I knew not how to serve up my lady's dinner.

Mar.  His pleasure! is it possible?

Well.                                           What's thy will?

Furn.  Marry, sir, I have some grouse, and turkey chicken,

Some rails and quails, and my lady willed me ask you,

What kind of sauces best affect your palate,

That I may use my utmost skill to please it.

Mar.  [Aside] The devil's entered this cook: sauce for his palate!

That, on my knowledge, for almost this twelvemonth,

Durst wish but cheese-parings and brown bread on Sundays.

Well.  That way I like them best.

Furn.                                         It shall be done, sir.

[Exit.]

Well.  What think you of “the hedge we shall dine under?"

Shall we feed gratis?

Mar.                        I know not what to think;

Pray you make me not mad.

Re-enter Order.

Ord.                                 This place becomes you not;

Pray you walk, sir, to the dining room.

Well.                                                   I am well here,

Till her ladyship quits her chamber.

Mar.                                              Well here, say you?

'Tis a rare change! but yesterday you thought

Yourself well in a barn, wrapped up in peas-straw.

Re-enter Waiting Woman and Chambermaid.

Woman.  O! sir, you are wished for.

Cham.                               My lady dreamt, sir, of you.

Woman.  And the first command she gave, after she rose,

Was (her devotions done) to give her notice

When you approached here.

Cham.                              Which is done, on my virtue.

Mar.  I shall be converted; I begin to grow

Into a new belief, which saints nor angels

Could have won me to have faith in.

Woman.                                            Sir, my lady!

Enter Lady Allworth.

L. All.  I come to meet you, and languished till I saw you.

This first kiss is for form; I allow a second

To such a friend.

[Kisses Wellborn.]

Mar.                 To such a friend! Heaven bless me!

Well.  I am wholly yours; yet, madam, if you please

To grace this gentleman with a salute −

Mar.  Salute me at his bidding!

Well.                                         I shall receive it

As a most high favour.

L. All.                         Sir, you may command me.

[Advances to kiss Marrall, who retires.]

Well.  Run backward from a lady! and such a lady!

Mar.  To kiss her foot is, to poor me, a favour

I am unworthy of.

[Offers to kiss her foot.]

L. All.                 Nay, pray you rise;

And since you are so humble, I'll exalt you:

You shall dine with me to-day, at mine own table.

Mar.  Your ladyship's table! I am not good enough

To sit at your steward's board.

L. All.                                    You are too modest:

I will not be denied.

Re-enter Furnace.

Furn.                    Will you still be babbling

Till your meat freeze on the table? the old trick still;

My art ne'er thought on!

L. All.                            Your arm, Master Wellborn: −

[To Marrall] Nay, keep us company.

Mar.                                          I was ne'er so graced.

[Exeunt Wellborn, Lady Allworth, Amble,

Marrall, Waiting Woman, and Chambermaid.]

Ord.  So! we have played our parts, and are come off well;

But if I know the mystery, why my lady

Consented to it, or why Master Wellborn

Desired it, may I perish!

Furn.                           Would I had

The roasting of his heart that cheated him,

And forces the poor gentleman to these shifts!

By fire! for cooks are Persians, and swear by it,

Of all the griping and extorting tyrants

I ever heard or read of, I ne'er met

A match to Sir Giles Overreach.

Watch.                                    What will you take

To tell him so, fellow Furnace?

Furn.                                      Just as much

As my throat is worth, for that would be the price on't.

To have a usurer that starves himself,

And wears a cloak of one and twenty years

On a suit of fourteen groats, bought of the hangman,

To grow rich, and then purchase, is too common:

But this Sir Giles feeds high, keeps many servants,

Who must at his command do any outrage;

Rich in his habit, vast in his expenses;

Yet he to admiration still increases

In wealth and lordships.

Ord.                    He frights men out of their estates,

And breaks through all law-nets, made to curb ill men,

As they were cobwebs. No man dares reprove him.

Such a spirit to dare and power to do were never

Lodged so unluckily.

Re-enter Amble laughing.

Amb.                       Ha! ha! I shall burst.

Ord.  Contain thyself, man.

Furn.                                 Or make us partakers

Of your sudden mirth.

Amb.                        Ha! ha! my lady has got

Such a guest at her table! − this term-driver, Marrall,

This snip of an attorney −

Furn.                          What of him, man?

Amb.  The knave thinks still he's at the cook's shop in Ram Alley,

Where the clerks divide, and the elder is to choose;

And feeds so slovenly!

Furn.                        Is this all?

Amb.                                       My lady

Drank to him for fashion sake, or to please Master Wellborn;

As I live, he rises, and takes up a dish

In which there were some remnants of a boiled capon,

And pledges her in white broth!

Furn.                                        Nay, 'tis like

The rest of his tribe.

Amb.                     And when I brought him wine,

He leaves his stool, and, after a leg or two,

Most humbly thanks my worship.

Ord.                                            Risen already!

Amb.  I shall be chid.

Re-enter Lady Allworth, Wellborn, and Marrall.

Furn.                     My lady frowns.

L. All.   [To Amble]                      You wait well!

Let me have no more of this; I observed your jeering:

Sirrah, I'll have you know, whom I think worthy

To sit at my table, be he ne'er so mean,

When I am present, is not your companion.

Ord.  Nay, she'll preserve what's due to her.

Furn.                                                  This refreshing

Follows your flux of laughter.

L. All.  [To Wellborn]           You are master

Of your own will. I know so much of manners,

As not to inquire your purposes; in a word,

To me you are ever welcome, as to a house

That is your own.

Well.  [Aside to Marrall]  Mark that.   

Mar.                                              With reverence, sir,

An it like your worship.

Well.                             Trouble yourself no further,

Dear madam; my heart's full of zeal and service,

However in my language I am sparing. −

Come, Master Marrall.

Mar.                           I attend your worship.

[Exeunt Wellborn and Marrall.]

 

L. All.  I see in your looks you are sorry, and you know me

An easy mistress: be merry; I have forgot all. −

Order and Furnace, come with me; I must give you

Further directions.

Ord.                    What you please.

Furn.                                             We are ready.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE III.

The Country near Lady Allworth's House.

Enter Wellborn, and Marrall bare-headed.

Well.  I think I am in a good way.

Mar.                                       Good! sir; the best way,

The certain best way.

Well.                       There are casualties

That men are subject to.

Mar.                             You are above them;

And as you are already worshipful,

I hope ere long you will increase in worship,

And be right worshipful.

Well.                              Prithee do not flout me:

What I shall be, I shall be. Is't for your ease,

You keep your hat off?

Mar.                           Ease! an it like your worship!

I hope Jack Marrall shall not live so long,

To prove himself such an unmannerly beast,

Though it hail hazel-nuts, as to be covered

When your worship's present.

Well.  [Aside]                         Is not this a true rogue,

That, out of mere hope of a future cozenage,

Can turn thus suddenly? 'tis rank already. 

Mar.  I know your worship's wise, and needs no counsel,

Yet if, in my desire to do you service,

I humbly offer my advice, (but still

Under correction,) I hope I shall not

Incur your high displeasure.

Well.                                  No; speak freely.

Mar.  Then, in my judgment, sir, my simple judgment,

(Still with your worship's favour,) I could wish you

A better habit, for this cannot be

But much distasteful to the noble lady

(I say no more) that loves you: for, this morning,

To me, and I am but a swine to her,

Before the assurance of her wealth perfumed you,

You savoured not of amber.

Well.                                  I do now then!

Mar.  This your batoon hath got a touch of it. −

[Kisses the end of his cudgel.]

Yet, if you please, for change, I have twenty pounds here,

Which, out of my true love, I'll presently

Lay down at your worship's feet; 'twill serve to buy you

A riding suit.

Well.           But where's the horse?

Mar.                                           My gelding

Is at your service: nay, you shall ride me,

Before your worship shall be put to the trouble

To walk afoot. Alas! when you are lord

Of this lady's manor, as I know you will be,

You may with the lease of glebe land, called Knave's-acre,

A place I would manure, requite your vassal.

Well.  I thank thy love, but must make no use of it;

What's twenty pounds?

Mar.                         'Tis all that I can make, sir.

Well.  Dost thou think, though I want clothes, I could not have them,

For one word to my lady?

Mar.                                As I know not that!

Well.  Come, I will tell thee a secret, and so leave thee.

I will not give her the advantage, though she be

A gallant-minded lady, after we are married,

(There being no woman but is sometimes froward,)

To hit me in the teeth, and say, she was forced

To buy my wedding-clothes, and took me on

With a plain riding-suit, and an ambling nag.

No, I'll be furnished something like myself,

And so farewell: for thy suit touching Knave's-acre,

When it is mine, 'tis thine.

[Exit Wellborn.]

Mar.                                I thank your worship. −

How was I cozened in the calculation

Of this man's fortune! my master cozened too,

Whose pupil I am in the art of undoing men;

For that is our profession! Well, well, Master Wellborn,

You are of a sweet nature, and fit again to be cheated:

Which, if the Fates please, when you are possessed

Of the land and lady, you, sans question, shall be.

I'll presently think of the means.

[Walks by, musing.]

[Enter Overreach, speaking to a Servant within.]

Over.                                        Sirrah, take my horse.

I'll walk to get me an appetite; 'tis but a mile,

And exercise will keep me from being pursy. −

Ha! Marrall! is he conjuring? perhaps

The knave has wrought the prodigal to do

Some outrage on himself, and now he feels

Compunction in his conscience for't: no matter,

So it be done. − Marrall!

Mar.                            Sir.

Over.                               How succeed we

In our plot on Wellborn?

Mar.                               Never better, sir.

Over.  Has he hanged or drowned himself?

Mar.                                                    No, sir, he lives;

Lives once more to be made a prey to you,

A greater prey than ever.

Over.                             Art thou in thy wits?

If thou art, reveal this miracle, and briefly.

Mar.  A lady, sir, is fallen in love with him.

Over.  With him? what lady?

Mar.                                   The rich Lady Allworth.

Over.  Thou dolt! how dar'st thou speak this?

Mar.                                                       I speak truth.

And I do so but once a year, unless

It be to you, sir: we dined with her ladyship,

I thank his worship.

Over.                     His worship!

Mar.                                        As I live, sir,

I dined with him, at the great lady's table,

Simple as I stand here; and saw when she kissed him,

And would, at his request, have kissed me too;

But I was not so audacious as some youths are,

That dare do anything, be it ne'er so absurd,

And sad after performance.

Over.                                 Why, thou rascal!

To tell me these impossibilities.

Dine at her table! and kiss him! or thee! −

Impudent varlet, have not I myself,

To whom great countesses' doors have oft flew open,

Ten times attempted, since her husband's death,

In vain, to see her, though I came − a suitor?

And yet your good solicitorship, and rogue Wellborn,

Were brought into her presence, feasted with her! −

But that I know thee a dog that cannot blush,

This most incredible lie would call up one

On thy buttermilk cheeks.

Mar.                                Shall I not trust my eyes, sir,

Or taste? I feel her good cheer in my belly.

Over.  You shall feel me, if you give not over, sirrah:

Recover your brains again, and be no more gulled

With a beggar's plot, assisted by the aids

Of serving-men and chambermaids, for beyond these

Thou never saw'st a woman, or I'll quit you

From my employments.

Mar.                           Will you credit this yet?

On my confidence of their marriage, I offered Wellborn −

[Aside.] I would give a crown now I durst say his worship −

My nag, and twenty pounds.

Over.                                  Did you so, idiot?

[Strikes him down.]

Was this the way to work him to despair,

Or rather to cross me?

Mar.                        Will your worship kill me?

Over.  No, no; but drive the lying spirit out of you.

Mar.  He's gone.

Over.               I have done then: now, forgetting

Your late imaginary feast and lady,

Know, my Lord Lovell dines with me to-morrow.

Be careful nought be wanting to receive him;

And bid my daughter's women trim her up,

Though they paint her, so she catch the lord, I'll thank them:

There's a piece for my late blows.

Mar.  [Aside]                               I must yet suffer:

But there may be a time −

Over.                           Do you grumble?

Mar.                                                      No, sir.

[Exeunt.]

ACT III.

SCENE I.

The Country near Overreach's House.

Enter Lord Lovell, Allworth, and Servants.

Lov.  Walk the horses down the hill: something in private

I must impart to Allworth.

[Exeunt Servants.]

All.                                  O, my lord,

What sacrifice of reverence, duty, watching,

Although I could put off the use of sleep,

And ever wait on your commands to serve them;

What dangers, though in ne'er so horrid shapes,

Nay death itself, though I should run to meet it,

Can I, and with a thankful willingness suffer!

But still the retribution will fall short

Of your bounties showered upon me.

Lov.                                                   Loving youth,

Till what I purpose be put into act,

Do not o'erprize it; since you have trusted me

With your soul's nearest, nay, her dearest secret,

Rest confident 'tis in a cabinet locked

Treachery shall never open. I have found you

(For so much to your face I must profess,

Howe'er you guard your modesty with a blush for't)

More zealous in your love and service to me

Than I have been in my rewards.

All.                                            Still great ones,

Above my merit.

Lov.                  Such your gratitude calls them:

Nor am I of that harsh and rugged temper

As some great men are taxed with, who imagine

They part from the respect due to their honours

If they use not all such as follow them,

Without distinction of their births, like slaves.

I am not so conditioned: I can make

A fitting difference between my footboy

And a gentleman by want compelled to serve me.

All.  'Tis thankfully acknowledged; you have been

More like a father to me than a master:

Pray you, pardon the comparison.

Lov.                                             I allow it;

And, to give you assurance I am pleased in't,

My carriage and demeanour to your mistress,

Fair Margaret, shall truly witness for me

I can command my passions.

All.                                        'Tis a conquest

Few lords can boast of when they are tempted − Oh!

Lov.  Why do you sigh? can you be doubtful of me?

By that fair name I in the wars have purchased,

And all my actions, hitherto untainted,

I will not be more true to mine own honour

Than to my Allworth!

All.                          As you are the brave Lord Lovell,

Your bare word only given is an assurance

Of more validity and weight to me

Than all the oaths, bound up with imprecations,

Which, when they would deceive, most courtiers practice;

Yet being a man, (for, sure, to style you more

Would relish of gross flattery,) I am forced,

Against my confidence of your worth and virtues,

To doubt, nay more, to fear.

Lov.                                    So young, and jealous!

All.  Were you to encounter with a single foe,

The victory were certain; but to stand

The charge of two such potent enemies,

At once assaulting you, as wealth and beauty,

And those too seconded with power, is odds

Too great for Hercules.

Lov.                            Speak your doubts and fears,

Since you will nourish them, in plainer language.

That I may understand them.

All.                                     What's your will,

Though I lend arms against myself, (provided

They may advantage you,) must be obeyed.

My much-loved lord, were Margaret only fair,

The cannon of her more than earthly form,

Though mounted high, commanding all beneath it,

And rammed with bullets of her sparkling eyes,

Of all the bulwarks that defend your senses

Could batter none, but that which guards your sight.

But when the well-tuned accents of her tongue

Make music to you, and with numerous sounds

Assault your hearing, (such as Ulysses, if he

Now lived again, howe'er he stood the Syrens,

Could not resist,) the combat must grow doubtful

Between your reason and rebellious passions.

Add this too; when you feel her touch, and breath

Like a soft western wind when it glides o'er

Arabia, creating gums and spices;

And, in the van, the nectar of her lips,

Which you must taste, bring the battalia on,

Well armed, and strongly lined with her discourse,

And knowing manners, to give entertainment; −

Hippolytus himself would leave Diana,

To follow such a Venus.

Lov.                                Love hath made you

Poetical, Allworth.

All.                       Grant all these beat off,

Which if it be in man to do, you'll do it,

Mammon, in Sir Giles Overreach, steps in

With heaps of ill-got gold, and so much land,

To make her more remarkable, as would tire

A falcon's wings in one day to fly over.

O my good lord! these powerful aids, which would

Make a mis-shapen negro beautiful,

(Yet are but ornaments to give her lustre,

That in herself is all perfection,) must

Prevail for her: I here release your trust;

'Tis happiness enough for me to serve you

And sometimes, with chaste eyes, to look upon her.

Lov.  Why, shall I swear?

All.                                 O, by no means, my lord;

And wrong not so your judgment to the world

As from your fond indulgence to a boy,

Your page, your servant, to refuse a blessing

Divers great men are rivals for.

Lov.                                         Suspend

Your judgment till the trial. How far is it

To Overreach' house?

All.                       At the most, some half hour's riding;

You'll soon be there.

Lov.                        And you the sooner freed

From your jealous fears.

All.  O that I durst but hope it!

[Exeunt.]

ACT III, SCENE II.

A Room in Overreach's House.

Enter Overreach, Greedy, and Marrall.

Over.  Spare for no cost; let my dressers crack with the weight

Of curious viands.

Greedy.              "Store indeed's no sore," sir.

Over.  That proverb fits your stomach, Master Greedy. 

And let no plate be seen but what's pure gold,

Or such whose workmanship exceeds the matter

That it is made of; let my choicest linen

Perfume the room, and, when we wash, the water,

With precious powders mixed, so please my lord,

That he may with envy wish to bathe so ever.

Mar.  'Twill be very chargeable.

Over.                                           Avaunt, you drudge!

Now all my laboured ends are at the stake,

Is't a time to think of thrift? Call in my daughter.

[Exit Marrall.]

And, Master Justice, since you love choice dishes,

And plenty of them −

Greedy.                   As I do, indeed, sir,

Almost as much as to give thanks for them.

Over.  I do confer that providence, with my power

Of absolute command to have abundance,

To your best care.

Greedy.               I'll punctually discharge it,

And give the best directions. Now am I,

In mine own conceit, a monarch; at the least,

Arch-president of the boiled, the roast, the baked;

For which I will eat often, and give thanks

When my belly's braced up like a drum, and that's pure justice.

[Exit.]

Over.  It must be so: should the foolish girl prove modest,

She may spoil all; she had it not from me,

But from her mother; I was ever forward,

As she must be, and therefore I'll prepare her.

Enter Margaret.

Alone − and let your women wait without.

Marg.  Your pleasure, sir?

Over.                                Ha! this is a neat dressing!

These orient pearls and diamonds well placed too!

The gown affects me not, it should have been

Embroidered o'er and o'er with flowers of gold;

But these rich jewèls and quaint fashion help it.

And how below? since oft the wanton eye,

The face observed, descends unto the foot,

Which being well proportioned, as yours is,

Invites as much as perfect white and red,

Though without art. How like you your new woman,

The Lady Downfallen?

Marg.                        Well, for a companion;

Not as a servant.

Over.                 Is she humble, Meg,

And careful too, her ladyship forgotten?

Marg.  I pity her fortune.

Over.                              Pity her! trample on her.

I took her up in an old tamin gown,

(Even starved for want of twopenny chops,) to serve thee,

And if I understand she but repines

To do thee any duty, though ne'er so servile,

I'll pack her to her knight, where I have lodged him,

Into the counter, and there let them howl together.

Marg.  You know your own ways; but for me, I blush

When I command her, that was once attended

With persons not inferior to myself

In birth.

Over.    In birth! why, art thou not my daughter,

The blest child of my industry and wealth?

Why, foolish girl, was't not to make thee great

That I have run, and still pursue, those ways

That hale down curses on me, which I mind not?

Part with these humble thoughts, and apt thyself

To the noble state I labour to advance thee;

Or, by my hopes to see thee honourable,

I will adopt a stranger to my heir,

And throw thee from my care: do not provoke me.

Marg.  I will not, sir; mould me which way you please.

Re-enter Greedy.

Over.  How! interrupted!

Greedy.                           'Tis matter of importance.

The cook, sir, is self-willed, and will not learn

From my experience: there's a fawn brought in, sir,

And, for my life, I cannot make him roast it

With a Norfolk dumpling in the belly of it;

And, sir, we wise men know, without the dumpling

'Tis not worth three-pence.

Over.  Would it were whole in thy belly,

To stuff it out! cook it any way; prithee, leave me.

Greedy.  Without order for the dumpling?

Over.                                               Let it be dumpled

Which way thou wilt; or tell him, I will scald him

In his own caldron.

Greedy.                 I had lost my stomach

Had I lost my mistress dumpling; I'll give thanks for't.

[Exit.]

Over.  But to our business, Meg; you have heard who dines here?

Marg.  I have, sir.

Over.                  'Tis an honourable man;

A lord, Meg, and commands a regiment

Of soldiers, and, what's rare, is one himself,

A bold and understanding one: and to be

A lord, and a good leader, in one volume,

Is granted unto few but such as rise up

The kingdom's glory.

Re-enter Greedy.

Greedy.                   I'll resign my office,

If I be not better obeyed.

Over.                             'Slight, art thou frantic?

Greedy.  Frantic! 'twould make me frantic, and stark mad,

Were I not a justice of peace and quorum too,

Which this rebellious cook cares not a straw for.

There are a dozen of woodcocks −

Over.                                          Make thyself

Thirteen, the baker's dozen.

Greedy.                             I am contented,

So they may be dressed to my mind; he has found out

A new device for sauce, and will not dish them

With toasts and butter; my father was a tailor,

And my name, though a justice, Greedy Woodcock;

And, ere I'll see my lineage so abused,

I'll give up my commission.

Over.  [Loudly]                  Cook! − Rogue, obey him!

I have given the word, pray you now remove yourself

To a collar of brawn, and trouble me no further.

Greedy.  I will, and meditate what to eat at dinner.

[Exit.]

Over.  And as I said, Meg, when this gull disturbed us,

This honourable lord, this colonel,

I would have thy husband.

Marg.                               There's too much disparity

Between his quality and mine, to hope it.

Over.  I more than hope, and doubt not to effect it.

Be thou no enemy to thyself; my wealth

Shall weigh his titles down, and make you equals.

Now for the means to assure him thine, observe me;

Remember he's a courtier, and a soldier,

And not to be trifled with; and, therefore, when

He comes to woo you, see you do not coy it:

This mincing modesty has spoiled many a match

By a first refusal, in vain after hoped for.

Marg.  You'll have me, sir, preserve the distance that

Confines a virgin?

Over.                  Virgin me no virgins!

I must have you lose that name, or you lose me.

I will have you private − start not − I say, private;

If thou art my true daughter, not a bastard,

Thou wilt venture alone with one man, though he came

Like Jupiter to Semele, and come off, too;

And therefore, when he kisses you, kiss close.

Marg.  I have heard this is the strumpet's fashion, sir,

Which I must never learn.

Over.                                Learn anything,

And from any creature that may make thee great;

From the devil himself.

Marg.  [Aside]           This is but devilish doctrine!

Over.  Or, if his blood grow hot, suppose he offer

Beyond this, do not you stay till it cool,

But meet his ardour; if a couch be near,

Sit down on't, and invite him.

Marg.                                  In your house,

Your own house, sir; for Heaven's sake, what are you then?

Or what shall I be, sir?

Over.                           Stand not on form;

Words are no substances.

Marg.                             Though you could dispense

With your own honour, cast aside religion,

The hopes of Heaven, or fear of hell, excuse me,

In worldly policy, this is not the way

To make me his wife; his whore, I grant it may do.

My maiden honour so soon yielded up,

Nay, prostituted, cannot but assure him

I, that am light to him, will not hold weight

Whene'er tempted by others; so, in judgment,

When to his lust I have given up my honour,

He must and will forsake me.

Over.                                     How! forsake thee!

Do I wear a sword for fashion? or is this arm

Shrunk up or withered? does there live a man

Of that large list I have encountered with

Can truly say I e'er gave inch of ground

Not purchased with his blood that did oppose me?

Forsake thee when the thing is done! he dares not.

Give me but proof he has enjoyed thy person,

Though all his captains, echoes to his will,

Stood armed by his side to justify the wrong,

And he himself in the head of his bold troop,

Spite of his lordship, and his colonelship,

Or the judge's favour, I will make him render

A bloody and a strict account, and force him,

By marrying thee, to cure thy wounded honour!

I have said it.

Re-enter Marrall.

Mar.           Sir, the man of honour's come,

Newly alighted.

Over.               In, without reply;

And do as I command, or thou art lost.

[Exit Margaret.]

Is the loud music I gave order for

Ready to receive him?

Mar.                          'Tis, sir.

Over.                                    Let them sound

A princely welcome.

[Exit Marrall.]

                               Roughness awhile leave me;

For fawning now, a stranger to my nature,

Must make way for me.

Loud music.

Enter Lord Lovell, Greedy, Allworth, and Marrall.

Lov.                           Sir, you meet your trouble.

Over.  What you are pleased to style so is an honour

Above my worth and fortunes.

All.  [Aside]                            Strange, so humble.

Over.  A justice of peace, my lord.

[Presents Greedy to him.]

Lov.                                              Your hand, good sir.

Greedy.  [Aside]

This is a lord, and some think this a favour;

But I had rather have my hand in my dumpling,

Over.  Room for my lord.

Lov.                               I miss, sir, your fair daughter

To crown my welcome.

Over.                           May it please my lord

To taste a glass of Greek wine first, and suddenly

She shall attend my lord.

Lov.                                 You'll be obeyed, sir.

[Exeunt all but Overreach.]

Over.  'Tis to my wish: as soon as come, ask for her! −

Why, Meg! Meg Overreach. −

Re-enter Margaret.

                                           How! tears in your eyes!

Hah! dry them quickly, or I'll dig them out.

Is this a time to whimper? meet that greatness

That flies into thy bosom, think what 'tis

For me to say, My honourable daughter;

And thou, when I stand bare, to say, Put on;

Or, Father, you forget yourself. No more:

But be instructed, or expect − he comes.

Re-enter Lord Lovell, Greedy, Allworth, and Marrall.

A black-browed girl, my lord.

[Lord Lovell kisses Margaret.]

Lov.                                     As I live, a rare one.

All.  [Aside] He's ta'en already: I am lost.

Over.                                                       That kiss

Came twanging off, I like it; quit the room. −

[Exeunt all but Overreach, Lovell, and Margaret.]

A little bashful, my good lord, but you,

I hope, will teach her boldness.

Lov.                                          I am happy

In such a scholar: but −

Over.                          I am past learning,

And therefore leave you to yourselves: −

[Aside to Margaret]                                  remember.

[Exit.]

Lov.  You see, fair lady, your father is solicitous,

To have you change the barren name of virgin

Into a hopeful wife.

Marg.                     His haste, my lord,

Holds no power o'er my will.

Lov.                                      But o'er your duty.

Marg.  Which forced too much, may break.

Lov.                                          Bend rather, sweetest:

Think of your years.

Marg.                     Too few to match with yours:

And choicest fruits too soon plucked, rot and wither.

Lov.  Do you think I am old?

Marg.                                 I am sure I am too young.

Lov.  I can advance you.

Marg.                            To a hill of sorrow;

Where every hour I may expect to fall,

But never hope firm footing. You are noble,

I of a low descent, however rich;

And tissues matched with scarlet suit but ill.

O, my good lord, I could say more, but that

I dare not trust these walls.

Lov.                                  Pray you, trust my ear then.

Re-enter Overreach behind, listening.

Over.  Close at it! whispering! this is excellent!

And, by their postures, a consent on both parts.

Re-enter Greedy behind.

Greedy.  Sir Giles, Sir Giles!

Over.                        The great fiend stop that clapper!

Greedy.  It must ring out, sir, when my belly rings noon.

The baked-meats are run out, the roast turned powder.

Over.  I shall powder you.

Greedy.                            Beat me to dust, I care not;

In such a cause as this, I'll die a martyr.

Over.  Marry, and shall, you barathrum of the shambles!

[Strikes him.]

Greedy.  How! strike a justice of peace! 'tis petty treason,

Edwardi quinto: but that you are my friend,

I would commit you without bail or mainprize.

Over.  Leave your bawling, sir, or I shall commit you

Where you shall not dine to-day: disturb my lord,

When he is in discourse!

Greedy.                         Is't a time to talk

When we should be munching?

Lov.                                     Hah! I heard some noise.

Over.  Mum, villain; vanish! shall we break a bargain

Almost made up?

[Thrusts Greedy off.]

Lov.                   Lady, I understand you,

And rest most happy in your choice, believe it;

I'll be a careful pilot to direct

Your yet uncertain bark to a port of safety.

Marg.  So shall your honour save two lives, and bind us

Your slaves forever.

Lov.                         I am in the act rewarded,

Since it is good; howe'er, you must put on

An amorous carriage towards me to delude

Your subtle father.

Marg.                   I am prone to that.

Lov.  Now break we off our conference. − Sir Giles!

Where is Sir Giles?

[Overreach comes forward.]

Re-enter Allworth, Marrall, and Greedy.

Over.                  My noble lord; and how

Does your lordship find her?

Lov.                                    Apt, Sir Giles, and coming;

And I like her the better.

Over.                              So do I too.

Lov.  Yet should we take forts at the first assault,

'Twere poor in the defendant; I must confirm her

With a love-letter or two, which I must have

Delivered by my page, and you give way to't.

Over.  With all my soul: − a towardly gentleman!

Your hand, good Master Allworth; know my house

Is ever open to you.

All.  [Aside]           ‘Twas shut till now.

Over.  Well done, well done, my honourable daughter!

Thou'rt so already: know this gentle youth,

And cherish him, my honourable daughter.

Marg.  I shall, with my best care.

[Noise within, as of a coach.]

Over.                                        A coach!

Greedy.                                                More stops

Before we go to dinner! O my guts!

Enter Lady Allworth and Wellborn.

L. All.                                            If I find welcome,

You share in it; if not, I'll back again,

Now I know your ends; for I come armed for all

Can be objected.

Lov.                  How! the Lady Allworth!

Over.  And thus attended!

[Lovell kisses Lady Allworth,

Lady Allworth kisses Margaret.]

Mar.                              No, "I am a dolt!

The spirit of lies hath entered me!"

Over.                                              Peace, Patch;

'Tis more than wonder! an astonishment

That does possess me wholly!

Lov.                                        Noble lady,

This is a favour, to prevent my visit,

The service of my life can never equal.

L. All.  My lord, I laid wait for you, and much hoped

You would have made my poor house your first inn:

And therefore doubting that you might forget me,

Or too long dwell here, having such ample cause,

In this unequalled beauty, for your stay,

And fearing to trust any but myself

With the relation of my service to you,

I borrowed so much from my long restraint

And took the air in person to invite you.

Lov.  Your bounties are so great, they rob me, madam,

Of words to give you thanks.

L. All.                             Good Sir Giles Overreach. −

[Kisses him.]

How dost thou, Marrall? − liked you my meat so ill,

You'll dine no more with me?

Greedy.                                 I will, when you please,

An it like your ladyship.

L. All.                      When you please, Master Greedy;

If meat can do it, you shall be satisfied. −

And now, my lord, pray take into your knowledge

This gentleman; howe'er his outside's coarse,

[Presents Wellborn.]

His inward linings are as fine and fair

As any man's; wonder not I speak at large:

And howsoe'er his humour carries him

To be thus accoutred, or what taint soever,

For his wild life, hath stuck upon his fame,

He may, ere long, with boldness, rank himself

With some that have contemned him. Sir Giles Overreach,

If I am welcome, bid him so.

Over.                                   My nephew!

He has been too long a stranger: faith you have,

Pray let it be mended.

[Lovell confers aside with Wellborn.]