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Act I

SCENE.--London.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

FAILER entering to BURR, who is putting on his buff-coat.

-

Fail: What! not ready yet, man?

Burr: You do not consider my voyage from Holland last night.

Fail: Pish, a mere ferry; get up, get up: My cousin's maids will come and blanket thee anon; art thou not ashamed to lie a-bed so long?

Burr: I may be more ashamed to rise; and so you'll say, dear heart, if you look upon my clothes: the best is, my buff-coat will cover all.

Fail: Egad, there goes more cunning than one would think to the putting thy clothes together. Thy doublet and breeches are Guelphs and Ghibellins to one another; and the stitches of thy doublet are so far asunder, that it seems to hang together by the teeth. No man could ever guess to what part of the body these fragments did belong, unless he had been acquainted with 'em as long as thou hast been. If they once lose their hold, they can never get together again, except by chance the rags hit the tallies of one another. He, that gets into thy doublet, must not think to do it by storm; no, he must win it inch by inch, as the Turk did Rhodes.

Burr: You are very merry with my wardrobe; but, till I am provided of a better, I am resolved to receive all visits in this truckle-bed.

Fail: Then will I first scotch the wheels of it, that it may not run: Thou hast cattle enough in it to carry it down stairs, and break thy neck; 'tis got a yard nearer the door already.

Enter Boy.

Boy: Sir, Mr Bibber your tailor's below, and desires to speak with you.

Fail: He's an honest fellow, and a fashionable; he shall set thee forth, I warrant thee.

Burr: Ay; but where's the money for this, dear heart?

Fail: Well, but what think you of being put into a suit of clothes without money? [Aside.

Burr: You speak of miracles.

Fail: Do you not know Will Bibber's humour?

Burr: Pr'ythee, what have I to do with his humour?

Fail: Break but a jest, and he'll beg to trust thee for a suit; nay, he will contribute to his own destruction, and give thee occasions to make one. He has been my artificer these three years; and, all the while, I have lived upon his favourable apprehension. Boy, conduct him up. [Exit Boy.

Burr: But what am I the better for this? I ne'er made jest in all my life.

Fail: A bare clinch will serve the turn; a car-wichet, a quarter-quibble, or a pun.

Burr: Wit from a Low Country soldier! One, that has conversed with none but dull Dutchmen these ten years! What an unreasonable rogue art thou? why, I tell thee, 'tis as difficult to me, as to pay him ready money.

Fail: Come, you shall be ruled for your own good; I'll throw the clothes over you to help meditation. And, upon the first opportunity, start you up, and surprise him with a jest.

Burr: Well, I think this impossible to be done: but, however, I'll attempt. [Lies down, FAILER covers him.

Fail: Husht! he's coming up.

Enter BIBBER.

Bib: 'Morrow, Mr Failer: What, I warrant you think I come a dunning now?

Fail: No, I vow to gad, Will; I have a better opinion of thy wit, than to think thou would'st come to so little purpose.

Bib: Pretty well that: No, no, my business is to drink my morning's-draught in sack with you.

Fail: Will not ale serve thy turn, Will?

Bib: I had too much of that last night; I was a little disguised, as they say.

Fail: Why disguised? Hadst thou put on a clean band, or washed thy face lately? Those are thy disguises, Bibber.

Bib: Well, in short, I was drunk; damnably drunk with ale; great hogan-mogan bloody ale: I was porterly drunk, and that I hate of all things in nature.

Burr, rising.] And of all things in nature I love it best.

Bib: Art thou there, i'faith? and why, old boy?

Burr: Because, when I am porterly drunk, I can carry myself.

Bib: Ha, ha, boy.

Fail: This porter brings sad news to you, Will; you must trust him for a suit of clothes, as bad as 'tis: Come, he's an honest fellow, and loves the king.

Bib: Why, it shall be my suit to him, that I may trust him.

Burr: I grant your suit, sir.

Fail: Burr, make haste and dress you; Sir Timorous dines here to-day: you know him?

Burr: Aye, aye, a good honest young fellow; but no conjurer; he and I are very kind.

Fail: Egad, we two have a constant revenue out of him: He would now be admitted suitor to my Lady Constance Nonsuch, my Lord Nonsuch's daughter; our neighbour here in Fleetstreet.

Burr: Is the match in any forwardness?

Fail: He never saw her before yesterday, and will not be brought to speak to her this month yet.

Burr: That's strange.

Fail: Such a bashful knight did I never see; but we must move for him.

Bib: They say, here's a great dinner to be made to-day here, at your cousin Trice's, on purpose for the interview.

Burr: What, he keeps up his old humour still?

Fail: Yes, certain; he admires eating and drinking well, as much as ever, and measures every man's wit by the goodness of his palate.

Burr: Who dines here besides?

Fail: Jack Loveby.

Bib: O, my guest.

Burr: He has ever had the repute of a brave clear-spirited fellow.

Fail: He's one of your Dear Hearts, a debauchee.

Burr: I love him the better for't: The best heraldry of a gentleman is a clap, derived to him from three generations. What fortune has he?

Fail: Good fortune at all games; but no estate: He had one; but he has made a devil on't long ago. He's a bold fellow, I vow to gad: A person, that keeps company with his betters; and commonly has gold in's pockets. Come, Bibber, I see thou longest to be at thy morning's watering: I'll try what credit I have with the butler.

Bib: Come away, my noble Festus and new customer.

Fail: Now will he drink, till his face be no bigger than a three-pence.

[Exeunt.

-

SCENE II.

Enter LOVEBY and BOY; followed by FRANCES, BIBBER'S wife.

Lov: Nay, the devil take thee, sweet landlady, hold thy tongue: Was't not enough thou hast scolded me from my lodging, which, as long as I rent it, is my castle; but to follow me here to Mr Trice's, where I am invited; and to discredit me before strangers, for a lousy, paltry sum of money?

Fran: I tell you truly, Mr Loveby, my husband and I cannot live by love, as they say; we must have wherewithal, as they say; and pay for what we take; or some shall smoke fort.

Lov: Smoke! why a piece of hung beef in Holland is not more smoked, than thou hast smoked me already. Thou knowest I am now fasting; let me have but fair play; when I have lined my sides with a good dinner, I'll engage upon reputation to come home again, and thou shall scold at me all the afternoon.

Fran: I'll take the law on you.

Lov: The law allows none to scold in their own causes: What dost thou think the lawyers take our money for?

Fran: I hope you intend to deal by my husband like a gentleman, as they say?

Lov: Then I should beat him most unmercifully, and not pay him neither.

Fran: Come, you think to fobb me off with your jests, as you do my husband; but it won't be: yonder he comes, and company with him. Husband, husband! why, William, I say!

Enter BIBBER, BURR, and FAILER, at the other end.

Lov: Speak softly, and I will satisfy thee.

Fran: You shall not satisfy me, sir; pay me for what you owe me, for chamber-rent and diet, and many a good thing besides, that shall be nameless.

Lov: What a stygian woman's this, to talk thus? Hold thy tongue 'till they be gone, or I'll cuckold thy husband.

Fran: You cuckold him--would you durst cuckold him! I will not hold my tongue, sir.

Bib: Yonder's my guest; what say you, gentlemen? Shall I call him to go down with us?

Lov: I must make a loose from her, there's no other way. Save ye, Mr Failer; is your cousin Trice stirring yet? Answer me quickly, sir, is your cousin Trice yet stirring?

Fail: I'll go and see, sir. Sure the man has a mind to beat me; but I vow to gad I have no mind to be beaten by him. Come away, Burr. Will, you follow us.

Bib: I'll be with you immediately.

[Exeunt BURR and FAILER.

Lov: Who was that with Failer, Will?

Bib: A man at arms, that's come from Holland.

Lov: A man out at arms thou mean'st, Will.

Bib: Good, i'faith.

Fran: Aye, aye; you run questing up and down after your gambols, and your jests, William; and never mind the main chance, as they say: Pray get in your debts, and think upon your wife and children.

Lov: Think upon the sack at Carey-house, with the Abricot flavour, Will. Hang a wife; what is she, but a lawful kind of manslayer? Every little hug in bed is a degree of murdering thee: and for thy children, fear 'em not: thy part of 'em shall be taylors, and they shall trust; and those, thy customers get for thee, shall be gentlemen, and they shall be trusted by their brethren; and so thy children shall live by one another.

Bib: Did you mark that, Frances? There was wit now; he call'd me cuckold to my face, and yet for my heart I cannot be angry with him. I perceive you love Frances, sir; and I love her the better for your sake; speak truly, do you not like such a pretty brown kind of woman?

Lov: I do i'faith, Will; your fair women have no substance in 'em, they shrink in the wetting.

Fran: Well, you may be undone if you will, husband: I hear there are two or three actions already out against him: You may be the last, if you think good.

Bib: Tis true she tells me; I love your wit well, sir; but I must cut my coat according to my cloth.

Fran: Sir, we'll come by our own as we can; if you put us oft' from week to week thus.

Lov: Nay, but good landlady--

Fran: Will good landlady set on the pot, as they say; or make the jack go? then I'll hear you.

Bib: Now she's too much on t'other hand; hold your prating, Frances; or I'll put you out of your Pater Nosters, with a sorrow to you.

Fran: I did but lay the law open to him, as they say, whereby to get our money in: But if you knew how he had used me, husband!

Bib: Has he used you, Frances? put so much more into his bill for lodging.

Lov: Honest Will, and so he died[A]; I thank thee, little Bibber, being sober, and, when I am drunk, I will kiss thee for't. [Footnote A: This expression seems proverbial.]

Bib: Thank me, and pay me my money, sir; though I could not forbear my jest, I do not intend to lose by you; if you pay me not the sooner, I must provide you another lodging; say I give you warning.

Lov: Against next quarter, landlord?

Bib: Of an hour, sir.

Lov: That's short warning, Will.

Bib: By this hand you shall up into the garret, where the little bed is; I'll let my best room to a better pay-master: you know the garret, sir?

Franc: Aye, he knows it, by a good token, husband.

Lov: I sweat to think of that garret, Will; thou art not so unconscionable to put me there? Why, 'tis a kind of little ease[B], to cramp thy rebellious prentices in; I have seen an usurer's iron chest would hold two on't: A penny looking-glass cannot stand upright in the window, that and the brush tills it: the hat-case must be disposed under the bed, and the comb-case will hang down, from the ceiling to the floor. If I chance to dine in my chamber, I must stay till I am empty before I can get out: and if I chance to spill the chamber-pot, it will overflow it from top to bottom. [Footnote B: A kind of dungeon, so called from its construction.]

Bib: Well, for the description of the garret, I'll bate you something of the bill.

Lov: All, all, good Will; or, to stay thy fury till my rents come up, I will describe thy little face.

Bib: No, rather describe your own little money; I am sure that's so little it is not visible.

Lov: You are in the right, I have not a cross at present, as I am a sinner; an you will not believe me, I'll turn my pockets inside outward--Ha! What's the meaning of this? my pockets heavy! has my small officer put in counters to abuse me?--How now! yellow boys, by this good light? sirrah, varlet, how came I by this gold? Ha!

Boy: What gold do you mean, sir? the devil a piece you had this morning. In these last three weeks, I have almost forgot what my teeth were made for; last night good Mrs Bibber here took pity on me, and crumm'd me a mess of gruel with the children, and I popt and popt my spoon three or four times to my mouth, before I could find the way to't.

Lov: 'Tis strange, how I should come by so much money! [Aside.] Has there been nobody about my chamber this morning, landlady?

Boy: O yes, sir; I forgot to tell you that: This morning a strange fellow, as ever eyes beheld, would needs come up to you, when you were asleep; but when he came down again, he said, he had not waked you.

Lov: Sure this fellow, whoe'er he was, was sent by Fortune to mistake me into so much money.--Well, this is not the first time my necessities have been strangely supplied: some Cadua or other has a kindness for me, that's certain: [Aside.]--Well, Mons. Bibber, from henceforward I'll keep my wit for more refined spirits; you shall be paid with dirt;--there's money for you.

Bib: Nay, good sir.

Lov: What's your sum? tell it out: will the money burn your fingers? Sirrah, boy, fetch my suit with the gold-lace at sleeves, from tribulation.

[Gives him gold. Exit Boy.] Mr Taylor, I shall turn the better bill-man[A], and knock that little coxcomb of yours, if you do not answer me what I owe you. [Footnote A: Alluding to the ancient weapon called the bill; a never-failing source of puns in old plays.]

Bib: Pray, sir, trouble not yourself; 'tis nothing; i'feck now 'tis not.

Lov: How nothing, sir?

Fran: An't, please your worship, it was seventeen pounds and a noble yesterday at noon, your worship knows: And then your worship came home ill last night, and complained of your worship's head; and I sent for three dishes of tea for your good worship, and that was six pence more, and please your worship's honour.

Lov: Well; there's eighteen pieces, tell 'em.

Bib: I say, Frances, do not take 'em.

Lov: What, is all your pleading of necessity come to this?

Bib: Now I see he will pay, he shall not pay. Frances, go home, and fetch him the whole bag of forty pounds; I'll lend it him, and the lease of the house too; he shall want for nothing.

Lov: Take the money, or I'll leave your house.

Bib: Nay, rather than displease his worship, take it. [She takes it.

Lov: So, so; go home quietly and suckle my godson, Frances. [Exit FRANCES.

Bib: If you are for the cellar, sir, you know the way. [Exit BIBBER.

Lov: No, my first visit shall be to my mistress, the Lady Constance Nonsuch. She's discreet, and how the devil she comes to love me, I know not; yet I am pretty confident she loves me. Well, no woman can be wiser, than you-know-what will give her leave to be.

Enter Lady CONSTANCE, and Madam ISABELLA.

Isa: Look, look; is not that your servant Loveby?

Lov: Tis she; there's no being seen, 'till I am better habited. [Exit LOVEBY.

Const: Let him go, and take no notice of him: Poor rogue! he little thinks I know his poverty.

Isa: And less, that you supply it by an unknown hand.

Const: Aye, and falsified my father's key to do it.

Isa: How can you answer this to your discretion?

Const: Who could see him want, she loves?

Enter SETSTONE.

Isa: O here's Mr Setstone come, your jeweller, madam.

Const: Welcome, Setstone; hast thou performed thy visit happily, and without discovery?

Set: As you would wish it, madam: I went up to his chamber without interruption; and there found him drowning his cares, and pacifying his hunger, with sleep; which advantage I took, and; undiscovered by him, left the gold divided in his pockets.

Const: Well, this money will furnish him, I hope, that we may have his company again.

Set: Two hundred and fifty good pounds, madam. Has your father missed it yet?

Const: No; if he had, we should have all heard on't before now: But, pray God Monsieur Loveby has no other haunts to divert him, now he's ransomed! What a kind of woman is his landlady?

Set: Well enough to serve a tailor; or to kiss when he comes home drunk, or wants money; but far unlikely to create jealousy in your ladyship.

Enter Servant.

Serv: Madam, Justice Trice desires your ladyship's excuse, that he has not yet performed the civilities of his hour to you; he is dispatching a little business, about which he is earnestly employed.

Const: He's master of his own occasions. [Exit Servant.

Isa: We shall see him anon, with his face as red as if it had been boiled in pump-water: But, when comes this mirror of knighthood, that is to be presented you for your servant?

Const: Oh, 'tis well thought on; 'faith thou know'st my affections are otherwise disposed; he's rich, and thou want'st a fortune; atchieve him, if thou can'st; 'tis but trying, and thou hast as much wit as any wench in England.

Isa: On condition you'll take it for a courtesy to be rid of an ass, I care not if I marry him: the old fool, your father, would be so importunate to match you with a young fool, that, partly for quietness sake, I am content to take him.

Const: To take him! then you make sure on't.

Isa: As sure, as if the sack posset were already eaten.

Const: But, what means wilt thou use to get him?

Isa: I'll bribe Failer; he's the man.

Const: Why, this knight is his inheritance; he lives upon him: Do'st thou think he'll ever admit thee to govern him? No, he fears thy wit too much: Besides, he has already received an hundred pounds, to make the match between Sir Timorous and me.

Isa: 'Tis all one for that; I warrant you, he sells me the fee-simple of him.

Set: Your father, madam--

Enter NONSUCH.

Isa: The tempest is risen; I see it in his face; he puffs and blows yonder, as if two of the winds were fighting upwards and downwards in his belly.

Set: Will he not find your false keys, madam?

Isa: I hope he will have more humanity than to search us.

Const: You are come after us betimes, sir.

Non: Oh child! I am undone; I am robbed, I am robbed; I have utterly lost all stomach to my dinner.

Const: Robbed! good my lord, how, or of what?

Non: Two hundred and fifty pounds, in fair gold, out of my study: An hundred of it I was to have paid a courtier this afternoon for a bribe.

Set: I protest, my lord, I had as much ado to get that parcel of gold for your lordship--

Non: You must get me as much more against to-morrow; for then my friend at court is to pay his mercer.

Isa: Nay, if that be all, there's no such haste: the courtiers are not so forward to pay their debts.

Const: Has not the monkey been in the study? He may have carried it away, and dropt it under the garden-window: the grass is long enough to hide it.

Non: I'll go see immediately.

Enter FAILER, BURR, TIMOROUS.

Fail: This is the gentleman, my lord.

Non: He's welcome.

Fail: And this the particular of his estate.

Non: That's welcome too.

Fail: But, besides the land here mentioned, he has wealth in specie.

Non: A very fine young gentleman.

Tim: Now, my lord, I hope there's no great need of wooing: I suppose my estate will speak for me; yet, if you please to put in a word--

Non: That will I instantly.

Tim: I hope I shall have your good word, too, madam, to your cousin for me. [To ISABELLA.

Isa: Any thing within my power, Sir Timorous.

Non: Daughter, here's a person of quality, and one, that loves and honours you exceedingly--

Tim: Nay, good my lord! you discover all at first dash.

Non: Let me alone, sir; have not I the dominion over my own daughter? Constance, here's a knight in love with you, child.

Const: In love with me, my lord! it is not possible.

Non: Here he stands, that will make it good, child.

Tim: Who, I, my lord? I hope her ladyship has a better opinion of me than so.

Non: What! are not you in love with my daughter? I'll be sworn you told me so but even now: I'll eat words for no man.

Tim: If your ladyship will believe all reports, that are raised on men of quality--

Non: He told it me with his own mouth, child: I'll eat words for no man; that's more than ever I told him yet.

Fail: You told him so but just now; fie, Sir Timorous.

Non: He shall have no daughter of mine, an he were a thousand knights; he told me, he hoped I would speak for him: I'll eat no man's words; that's more than ever I told him yet.

Isa: You need not keep such a pudder about eating his words; you see he has eaten 'em already for you.

Non: I'll make him stand to his words, and he shall not marry my daughter neither: By this good day, I will. [Exit NONSUCH.

Const: 'Tis an ill day to him; he has lost two hundred and fifty pounds in't. [To ISABELLA.

Burr: He swears at the rate of two thousand pounds a year, if the Rump act were still in being.

Fail: He's in passion, man; and, besides, he has been a great fanatic formerly, and now has got a habit of swearing, that he may be thought a cavalier.

Burr: What noise is that? I think I hear your cousin Trice's voice.

Fail: I'll go see. [Exit FAIL.

Isa: Come, Sir Timorous, be not discouraged: 'Tis but an old man's frowardness; he's always thus against rain.

Enter FAILER.

Fail: O madam, follow me quickly; and if you do not see sport, melancholy be upon my head.

[Exuent.

-

SCENE III.

The Scene changes, and TRICE is discovered playing at tables by himself, with spectacles on, a bottle, and parmezan by him; they return and see him, undiscovered by him.

Trice: Cinque and quatre: My cinque I play here, sir; my quatre here, sir: Now for you, sir: But first I'll drink to you, sir; upon my faith I'll do you reason, sir: Mine was thus full, sir! Pray mind your play, sir:--Size ace I have thrown: I'll play 'em at length, sir.

--Will you, sir? Then you have made a blot sir; I'll try if I can enter: I have hit you, sir.

--I think you can cog a dye, sir.

--I cog a dye, sir? I play as fair as you, or any man.

--You lie, sir.

--How! lie, sir? I'll teach you what 'tis to give a gentleman the lie, sir.

[Throws down the tables.

[They all laugh and discover themselves.

Isa: Is this your serious business?

Trice: O you rogue, are you there? You are welcome, huswife; and so are you, Constance, Fa tol de re tol de re la. [Claps their backs.

Isa: Pr'ythee be not so rude, Trice.

Trice: Huswife Constance, I'll have you into my larder, and shew you my provision: I have cockles, dainty fat cockles, that came in the night; if they had seen the day, I would not have given a fart for 'em. I would the king had 'em.

Const: He has as good, I warrant you.

Trice: Nay, that's a lie. I could sit and cry for him sometimes; he does not know what 'tis to eat a good meal in a whole year. His cooks are asses: I have a delicate dish of ruffs to dinner, sirrah.

Const: To dinner!

Trice: To dinner! why by supper they had been past their prime. I'll tell thee the story of 'em: I have a friend--

Enter Servant.

Serv: Sir, dinner's upon the table.

Trice: Well, well; I have a friend, as I told you--

Serv: Dinner stays, sir: 'tis dinner that stays: Sure he will hear now.

Trice: I have a friend, as I told you--

Isa: I believe he's your friend, you are so loth to part with him.

Trice: Away, away;--I'll tell you the story between the courses. Go you to the cook immediately, sirrah; and bring me word what we have to supper, before we go to dinner: I love to have the satisfaction of the day before me. [Exuent.

John Dryden

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