The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 1, Scene 4

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Enter EYRE, making himself ready.

EYRE
Where be these boys, these girls, these drabs, these scoundrels?  They wallow in the fat brewis of my bounty, and lick up the crumbs of my table, yet will not rise to see my walks cleansed.  Come out, you powder-beef-queans!  What, Nan!  What, Madge Mumblecrust!  Come out, you fat midriff-swag-belly whores, and sweep me these kennels, that the noisome stench offend not the nose of my neighbors.  What, Firk, I say!  What, Hodge!  Open my shop windows!  What, Firk, I say!

Enter FIRK.

FIRK
O master, is’t you that speak bandog and bedlam this morning?  I was in a dream, and mused what madman was got into the street so early.  Have you drunk this morning that your throat is so clear?

EYRE
Ah, well said, Firk; well said, Firk.  To work, my fine knave!  Wash thy face, and thou’lt be more blest.

FIRK
Let them wash my face that will eat it; good master, send for a souse-wife, if you’ll have my face cleaner.

Enter HODGE.

EYRE
Away, sloven!  Avaunt, scoundrel!  Good morrow, Hodge:  good morrow, my fine foreman!

HODGE
O master, good morrow; y’are an early stirrer.  Here’s a fair morning!  Good morrow, Firk.  I could have slept this hour.  Here’s a brave day toward!

EYRE
O haste to work, my fine foreman, haste to work!

FIRK
Master, I am as dry as dust to hear my fellow Roger talk of fair weather:  let us pray for good leather, and let clowns and ploughboys, and those that work in the fields, pray for brave days.  We work in a dry shop; what care I if it rain?

Enter MARGERY.

EYRE
How now, Dame Margery, can you see to rise?  Trip and go, call up the drabs your maids.

MARGERY
See to rise?  I hope ’tis time enough:  ’tis early enough for any woman to be seen abroad.  I marvel how many wives in Tower Street are up so soon?  Gods me, ’tis not noon!

EYRE
Peace, Margery, peace.  Where’s Cicely Bumtrinket your maid?  She has a privy fault:  she farts in her sleep.  Call the quean up:  if my men want shoe-thread, I’ll swing her in a stirrup!

FIRK
Yet that’s but a dry beating:  here’s still a sign of drought.

Enter LACY singing.

LACY
Der was een bore van Gelderland,
Frolick si byen,
He was als dronck he cold nyet stand,
Upsolce se byen.
Tap eens de canneken,
Drincke schone mannekin.

FIRK
Master, for my life, yonder’s a brother of the Gentle Craft.  If he hear not Saint Hugh’s bones, I’ll forfeit my bones.  He’s some uplandish workman; hire him, good master, that I may learn some gibble-gabble: ’twill make us work the faster.

EYRE
Peace, Firk.  A hard world: let him pass, let him vanish!  We have a journeyman enow:  peace, my fine Firk.

MARGERY
Nay, nay, y’are best follow your man’s council; you shall see what will come on’t.  We have not men enow, but we must entertain every butter-box:  but let that pass.

HODGE
Dame, ‘fore God, if my master follow your council, he’ll consume little beef.  He shall be glad of men and he can catch them.

FIRK
Ay, that he shall!

HODGE
‘Fore God, proper man, and I warrant a fine workman!  Master, farewell; dame, adieu:  if such a man as he cannot find work, Hodge is not for you!                                                                                        [Offers to go.

EYRE
Stay, my fine Hodge.

FIRK
Faith, and your foreman go, dame, you must take a journey to seek a new journeyman!  If Roger remove, Firk follows; if Saint Hugh’s bones shall not be set-a-work, I may prick mine awl in the walls and go play!  Fare ye well, master;  God buy, dame.

EYRE
Tarry, my fine Hodge, my brisk foreman!  Stay, Firk!  Peace, pudding-broth!  By the Lord of Ludgate, I love my men as my life.  Peace, you gallimaufry!  Hodge, if he want work I’ll hire him.  One of you to him; stay, he comes to us.

LACY
Goeden dach, meester, ende u vro oak.

FIRK
Nails, if I should speak after him without drinking, I should choke!  And you, friend Oak, are you of the Gentle Craft?

LACY
Yaw, yaw, ik ben den skomawker.

FIRK
Den skomaker, quoth a!  And hark you, skomaker, have you all your tools?  A good rubbing-pin, a good stopper, a good dresser, your four sorts of awls and your two balls of wax, your paring-knife, your hand- and thumb-leathers, and good Saint Hugh’s bones to smooth up your work?

LACY
Yaw, yaw; be neit vorvend, ik hab all de dingen voour mack skoes groot and cleane.

FIRK
Ha, ha!  Good master, hire him:  he’ll make me laugh so that I shall work more in mirth than I can in earnest.

EYRE
Hear ye, friend:  have ye any skill in the mystery of cordwainers?

LACY
Ik weet niet wat yow seg; ich verstaw you neit.

FIRK
Why, thus, man. [Mimes a shoemaker at work.] Ich verste u niet, quoth a!

LACY
Yaw, yaw, yaw, ick can dat wel doen.

FIRK
Yaw, yaw:  he speaks yawing like a jackdaw that gapes to be fed with cheese- curds!  O, he’ll give a villainous pull at a can of double-beer!  But Hodge and I have the vantage:  we must drink first, because we are the eldest journeymen.

EYRE
What is thy name?

LACY
Hans:  Hans Meulter.

EYRE
Give me thy hand, th’art welcome!  Hodge, entertain him; Firk, bid him welcome.  Come, Hans; run, wife, bid your maids, your trullibubs, make ready my fine men’s breakfasts.  To him, Hodge!

HODGE
Hans, th’art welcome.  Use thyself friendly, for we are good fellows; if not, thou shalt be faught with, wert thou bigger than a giant.

FIRK
Yea, and drunk with, wert thou Gargantua!  My master keeps no cowards, I tell thee!  Ho, boy, bring him an heel-block:  here’s a new journeyman.

Enter Boy.

LACY
O ich wersto you:  ich moet een halve dossen cans bataelen.  Here, boy, nempt dis skilling, tap eens freelick.                                                       [Exit Boy.

EYRE
Quick, snipper-snapper, away!  Firk, scour thy throat, thou shalt wash it with Castilian liquor.  Come, my last of the fives!

Enter Boy.

Give me a can: have to thee; here, Hodge; here, Firk.  Drink, you mad Greeks, and work like true Trojans, and pray for Simon Eyre the shoemaker!  Here, Hans, and th’art welcome.

FIRK
Lo, dame, you would have lost a good fellow that will teach us to laugh.  This beer came hopping in well!

MARGERY
Simon, it is almost seven.

EYRE
Is’t so, Dame Clapper-dudgeon?  Is’t seven o’clock, and my men’s breakfasts not ready?  Trip and go, you soused conger, away!  Come, you mad Hyperboreans!  Follow me, Hodge; follow me, Hans; come after, my fine Firk:  to work, to work a while, and then to breakfast!                                                                [Exit EYRE.

FIRK
Soft!  Yaw, yaw, good Hans:  though my master have no more wit but to call you afore me, I am not so foolish to go behind you, I being the elder journeyman.                                                                                               [Exeunt.

Proceed to next scene

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