The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter a Servingman.

 SERVINGMAN
Let me see, now:  the sign of the Last in Tower Street.  Mass, yonder’s the house!  What, haw!  Who’s within?

Enter RALPH.

 RALPH
Who calls there?  What want you, sir?

SERVINGMAN
Marry, I would have a pair of shoes made for a gentlewoman against tomorrow morning.  What, can you do them?

RALPH
Yes, sir, you shall have them.  But what length’s her foot?

SERVINGMAN
Why, you must make them in all parts like this shoe, but at any hand fail not to do them, for the gentlewoman is to be married very early in the morning.

RALPH
How?  By this shoe must it be made?  By this?  Are you sure, sir?  By this?

SERVINGMAN
How?  By this?  Am I sure?  By this?  Art thou in thy wits?  I tell thee I must have a pair of shoes, dost thou mark me?  A pair of shoes, two shoes, made by this very shoe, this same shoe, against tomorrow morning by four o’clock.  Dost understand me?  Canst thou do it?

RALPH
Yes, sir, yes; ay, ay, I can do’t!  By this shoe, you say; I should know this shoe!  Yes, sir, yes:  by this shoe.  I can do’t.  Four o’clock, well:  whither shall I bring them?

SERVINGMAN
To the sign of the Golden Ball in Watling Street.  Enquire for one Master Hammon, a gentleman, my master.

RALPH
Yea, sir.  By this shoe, you say.

SERVINGMAN
I say Master Hammon at the Golden Ball.  He’s the bridegroom, and those shoes are for his bride.

RALPH
They shall be done by this shoe.  Well, well, Master Hammon at the Golden Shoe–I would say the Golden Ball.  Very well, very well; but I pray you, sir, where must Master Hammon be married?

SERVINGMAN
At Saint Faith’s Church under Paul’s:  but what’s that to thee?  Prithee, dispatch those shoes, and so farewell.                                                      [Exit SERVINGMAN.

RALPH
By this shoe, said he.  How am I amazed
At this strange accident!  Upon my life,
This was the very shoe I gave my wife
When I was pressed for France; since when, alas!
I never could hear of her.  It is the same,
And Hammon’s bride no other but my Jane.

Enter FIRK.

 FIRK
‘Snails, Ralph, thou hast lost thy part of three pots a countryman of mine gave me to breakfast!

RALPH
I care not:  I have found a better thing.

FIRK
A thing?  Away!  Is it a man’s thing, or a woman’s thing?

RALPH
Firk, dost thou know this shoe?

FIRK
No, by my troth, neither dost thou know me!  I have no acquaintance with it, ’tis a mere stranger to me.

RALPH
Why then, I do; this shoe, I durst be sworn,
Once covered the instep of my Jane.
This is her size, her breadth; thus trod my love;
These true-love knots I pricked; I hold my life,
By this old shoe I shall find out my wife.

FIRK
Ha, ha!  Old shoe, that wert new:  how a murrain came this ague-fit of foolishness upon thee?

RALPH
Thus, Firk:  even now here came a servingman;
By this shoe would he have a new pair made,
Against tomorrow morning, for his mistress
That’s to be married to a gentleman.
And why may not this be my sweet Jane?

FIRK
And why mayest not thou be my sweet arse?  Ha, ha!

RALPH
Well, laugh, and spare not; but the truth is this:
Against tomorrow morning I’ll provide
A lusty crew of honest shoemakers,
To watch the going of the bride to church.
If she prove Jane, I’ll take her in despite
Of Hammon, and the devil, were he by;
If it be not my Jane, what remedy?
Hereof am I sure:  I shall live till I die,
Although I never with a woman lie.                                                    [Exit.

FIRK
Thou lie with a woman, to build nothing but Cripplegates!  Well, God send fools fortune!  And it may be he light upon his matrimony by such a device, for wedding and hanging goes by destiny.                                                                         [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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