The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 5, Scene 2

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Enter HODGE, FIRK, RALPH, and five or six Shoemakers, all
with cudgels or such weapons.

 HODGE
Come, Ralph; stand to it, Firk.  My masters, as we are the brave bloods of the shoemakers, heirs apparent to Saint Hugh, and perpetual benefactors to all good fellows, thou shalt have no wrong.  Were Hammon a King of Spades, he should not delve in thy close without thy sufferance!  But tell me, Ralph, art thou sure ’tis thy wife?

RALPH
Am I sure this is Firk?  This morning, when I stroked on her shoes, I looked upon her, and she upon me, and sighed, asked me if ever I knew one Ralph.  Yes, said I; for his sake, said she, tears standing in her eyes, and for thou art somewhat like him, spend this piece of gold.  I took it:  my lame leg, and my travel beyond sea, made me unknown.  All is one for that:  I know she’s mine.

FIRK
Did she give thee this gold?  O glorious glittering gold!  She’s thine own, ’tis thy wife, and she loves thee, for I’ll stand to’t, there’s no woman will give gold to any man but she thinks better of him than she thinks of them she gives silver to.  And for Hammon, neither Hammon nor hangman shall wrong thee in London.  Is not our old master Eyre Lord Mayor?  Speak, my hearts!

ALL
Yes, and Hammon shall know it to his cost.

 Enter HAMMON, his Man, JANE, and others.

 HODGE
Peace, my bullies, yonder they come.

RALPH
Stand to’t, my hearts!  Firk, let me speak first.

HODGE
No, Ralph, let me.  Hammon, whither away so early?

HAMMON
Unmannerly rude slave, what’s that to thee?

FIRK
To him, sir?  Yes, sir, and to me, and others!  Good morrow, Jane, how dost thou?  Good Lord, how the world is changed with you, God be thanked.

HAMMON
Villains, hands off!  How dare you touch my love?

ALL
Villains?  Down with them!  Cry clubs for prentices!

HODGE
Hold, my hearts!  Touch her, Hammon?  Yea, and more than that:  we’ll carry her away with us.  My masters and gentlemen, never draw your bird-spits:  shoemakers are steel to the back, men every inch of them, all spirit.

ALL OF HAMMON’S SIDE
Well, and what of all this?

HODGE
I’ll show you.  Jane, dost thou know this man?  ‘Tis Ralph, I can tell thee.  Nay, ’tis he, in faith; though he be lamed by the wars, yet look not strange, but run to him, fold him about the neck and kiss him!

JANE
Lives then my husband?  O God, let me go!
Let me embrace my Ralph.

HAMMON
What means my Jane?

JANE
Nay, what meant you, to tell me he was slain?

HAMMON
Pardon me, dear love, for being misled.
[To RALPH.] ‘Twas rumoured here in London thou wert dead.

FIRK
Thou seest he lives.  Lass, go pack home with him.  Now, Master Hammon, where’s your mistress, your wife?

SERVINGMAN
‘Swounds, master, fight for her!  Will you thus lose her?

ALL
Down with that creature!  Clubs, down with him!

HODGE
Hold, hold!

HAMMON
Hold, fool!  Sirs, he shall do no wrong.
Will my Jane leave me thus, and break her faith?

FIRK
Yea, sir; she must, sir; she shall, sir!  What then?  Mend it.

HODGE
Hark, fellow Ralph, follow my counsel.  Set the wench in the midst, and let her choose her man, and let her be his woman.

JANE
Whom should I choose?  Whom should my thoughts affect,
But him whom Heaven hath made to be my love!
Thou art my husband, and these humble weeds
Makes thee more beautiful than all his wealth.
Therefore I will but put off his attire,
Returning it into the owner’s hand,
And ever after be thy constant wife.

HODGE
Not a rag, Jane!  The law’s on our side:  he that sows in another man’s ground forfeits his harvest.  Get thee home, Ralph; follow him, Jane.  He shall not have so much as a busk-point from thee.

FIRK
Stand to that, Ralph, the appurtenances are thine own.  Hammon, look not at her.

SERVINGMAN
O ‘swounds!  No!

FIRK
Blue coat, be quiet:  we’ll give you a new livery else!  We’ll make Shrove Tuesday Saint George’s Day for you!  Look not, Hammon, leer not!  I’ll firk you!  For thy head now:  one glance, one sheep’s eye, anything, at her!  Touch not a rag, lest I and my brethren beat you to clouts!

SERVINGMAN
Come, Master Hammon, there’s no striving here.

HAMMON
Good fellows, hear me speak; and honest Ralph,
Whom I have injured most by loving Jane,
Mark what I offer thee:  here in fair gold
Is twenty pound, I’ll give it for thy Jane.
If this content thee not, thou shalt have more.

HODGE
Sell not thy wife, Ralph, make her not a whore.

HAMMON
Say, wilt thou freely cease thy claim in her,
And let her be my wife?

ALL
No, do not, Ralph!

RALPH
Sirrah Hammon, Hammon, dost thou think a shoemaker is so base, to be a bawd to his own wife for commodity?  Take thy gold, choke with it!  Were I not lame, I would make thee eat thy words!

FIRK
A shoemaker sell his flesh and blood?  O indignity!

HODGE
Sirrah, take your pelf and be packing.

HAMMON
I will not touch one penny; but in lieu
Of that great wrong I offered thy Jane,
To Jane and thee I give that twenty pound.
Since I have failed of her, during my life
I vow no woman else shall be my wife.
Farewell, good fellows of the Gentle Trade:
Your morning’s mirth my mourning-day hath made. [Exeunt HAMMON and those of his side.

FIRK
[To Servingman going out.] Touch the gold, creature, if you dare!  Y’are best be trudging!  Here, Jane, take thou it.  Now let’s home, my hearts!

HODGE
Stay, who comes here?  Jane, on again with thy mask.

Enter LINCOLN, LORD MAYOR, and Servants.

 LINCOLN
Yonder’s the lying varlet mocked us so!

LORD MAYOR
Come hither, sirrah.

FIRK
Ay, sir, I am sirrah:  you mean me, do you not?

LINCOLN
Where is my nephew married?

FIRK
Is he married?  God give him joy, I am glad of it.  They have a fair day, and the sign is in a good planet:  Mars in Venus.

LORD MAYOR
Villain, thou told’st me that my daughter Rose
This morning should be married at Saint Faith’s:
We have watched there these three hours at the least,
Yet see we no such thing.

FIRK
Truly, I am sorry for’t:  a bride’s a pretty thing!

HODGE
Come to the purpose:  yonder’s the bride and bridegroom you look for, I hope.  Though you be lords, you are not to bar by your authority men from women, are you?

LORD MAYOR
See, see, my daughter’s masked!

LINCOLN
True, and my nephew,
To hide his guilt, counterfeits him lame.

FIRK
Yea, truly, God help the poor couple!  They are lame and blind.

LORD MAYOR
I’ll ease her blindness.

LINCOLN
I’ll his lameness cure.

FIRK
[Aside.] Lie down, sirs, and laugh!  My fellow Ralph is taken for Rowland Lacy, and Jane for Mistress Damask Rose!  This is all my knavery.

LORD MAYOR
What, have I found you, minion?

LINCOLN
O base wretch!
Nay, hide thy face, the horror of thy guilt
Can hardly be washed off!  Where are thy powers?
What battles have you made?  O yes, I see!
Thou fought’st with Shame, and Shame hath conquered thee.
Thy lameness will not serve.

LORD MAYOR
Unmask yourself.

LINCOLN
Lead home your daughter.

LORD MAYOR
Take your nephew hence.

RALPH
Hence?  ‘Swounds, what mean you?  Are you mad?  I hope you cannot enforce my wife from me.  Where’s Hammon?

LORD MAYOR
Your wife?

LINCOLN
What Hammon?

RALPH
Yea, my wife:  and therefore the proudest of you that lays hands on her first, I’ll lay my crutch cross his pate!

FIRK
To him, lame Ralph!  Here’s brave sport!

RALPH
Rose call you her?  Why, her name is Jane!  Look here else! [Unmasks JANE.] Do you know her now?

LINCOLN
Is this your daughter?

LORD MAYOR
No, nor this your nephew.
My Lord of Lincoln, we are both abused
By this base crafty varlet.

FIRK
Yea, forsooth no varlet, forsooth no base, forsooth I am but mean; no crafty neither, but of the Gentle Craft.

LORD MAYOR
Where is my daughter Rose?  Where is my child?

LINCOLN
Where is my nephew Lacy married?

FIRK
Why, here is good laced mutton, as I promised you.

LINCOLN
Villain, I’ll have thee punished for this wrong!

FIRK
Punish the journeyman villain, but not the journeyman shoemaker.

Enter DODGER.

 DODGER
My Lord, I come to bring unwelcome news:
Your nephew Lacy, and your daughter Rose
Early this morning wedded at the Savoy,
None being present but the Lady Mayoress.
Besides, I learned among the officers,
The Lord Mayor vows to stand in their defence,
‘Gainst any that shall seek to cross the match.

LINCOLN
Dares Eyre the shoemaker uphold the deed?

FIRK
Yes, sir:  shoemakers dare stand in a woman’s quarrel, I warrant you, as deep as another, and deeper too.

DODGER
Besides, His Grace today dines with the Mayor,
Who on his knees humbly intends to fall,
And beg pardon for your nephew’s fault.

LINCOLN
But I’ll prevent him.  Come, Sir Roger Otley:
The King will do us justice in this cause.
Howe’er their hands have made them man and wife,
I will disjoin the match, or lose my life. [Exeunt LINCOLN and LORD MAYOR.

FIRK
Adieu, Monsieur Dodger!  Farewell, fools!  Ha, ha!  O if they had stayed I would have so lammed them with flouts!  O heart!  My codpiece-point is ready to fly in pieces every time I think upon Mistress Rose, but let that pass, as my Lady Mayoress says.

HODGE
This matter is answered.  Come, Ralph, home with thy wife!  Come, my fine shoemakers, let’s to our master’s the new Lord Mayor, and there swagger this Shrove Tuesday.  I’ll promise you wine enough, for Madge keeps the cellar.

ALL
O rare!  Madge is a good wench.

FIRK
And I’ll promise you meat enough, for simpering Susan keeps the larder.  I’ll lead you to victuals, my brave soldiers:  follow your captain!  O brave! hark, hark!                                                                                    [Bell rings.

ALL
The pancake bell rings!  The pancake bell, trilill, my hearts!

FIRK
O brave!  O sweet bell!  O delicate pancakes!  Open the doors, my hearts, and shut up the windows!  Keep in the house, let out the pancakes!  O rare, my hearts!  Let’s march together for the honour of Saint Hugh to the great new hall in Gracious Street corner, which our master the new Lord Mayor hath built.

RALPH
O the crew of good fellows that will dine at my Lord Mayor’s cost today!

HODGE
By the Lord, my Lord Mayor is a most brave man!  How shall prentices be bound to pray for him and the honour of the gentlemen shoemakers!  Let’s feed and be fat with my Lord’s bounty.

FIRK
O musical bell still!  O Hodge, O my brethren!  There’s cheer for the heavens!  Venison pasties walk up and down, piping hot, like sergeants; beef and brewis comes marching in dry fats; fritters and pancakes comes trowling in in wheelbarrows; hens and oranges hopping in porters’ baskets; collops and eggs in scuttles; and tarts and custards comes quavering in in malt-shovels!

Enter more Prentices.

 ALL
Whoop!  Look here, look here!

HODGE
How now, mad lads, whither away so fast?

FIRST PRENTICE
Whither?  Why, to the great new hall!  Know you not why?  The Lord Mayor hath bidden all the prentices in London to breakfast this morning.

ALL
O brave shoemaker!  O brave lord of incomprehensible good fellowship!  Whoo!  Hark you, the pancake bell rings!                                [Cast up caps.

FIRK
Nay more, my hearts!  Every Shrove Tuesday is our year of jubilee, and when the pancake bell rings, we are as free as my Lord Mayor.  We may shut up our shops, and make holiday.  I’ll have it called Saint Hugh’s Holiday.

ALL
Agreed, agreed!  Saint Hugh’s Holiday!

HODGE
And this shall continue for ever.

ALL
O brave!  Come, come, my hearts, away, away!

FIRK
O eternal credit to us of the Gentle Craft!  March fair, my hearts!  O rare! [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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