Northward Ho – Act 1, Scene 3

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Enter MEYBERRY, BELLAMONT, and a Prentice.

 MAYBERRY
Where is your mistress, villain?  When went she abroad?

PRENTICE
Abroad, sir?  Why, as soon as she was up, sir.

MAYBERRY
Up, sir, down, sir, so, sir.  Master Bellamont, I will tell you a strange secret in nature.  This boy is my wife’s bawd.

BELLAMONT
O fie, sir, fie!  The boy, he does not look like a bawd, he has no double chin.

PRENTICE
No, sir, nor my breath does not stink.  I smell not of garlic or aqua vitæ.  I use not to be drunk with sack and sugar.  I swear not, God damn me, if I know where the party is, when ‘tis a lie and I do know.  I was never carted, but in harvest, never whip’d but at school, never had the grincoms, never sold one maidenhead ten several times, first to an Englishman, then to a Welshman, then to a Dutchman, then to a pocky Frenchman.  I hope, sir, I am no bawd then.

MAYBERRY
Thou art a baboon and holdst me with tricks, whilst my wife grafts, grafts.  Away, trudge, run, search her out by land, and by water.

PRENTICE
Well, sir, the land I’ll ferret, and after that I’ll search her by water, for it may be she’s gone to Brainford.                                                   [Exit.

MAYBERRY
Inquire at one of mine aunts.

BELLAMONT
One of your aunts!  Are you mad?

MAYBERRY
Yea, as many of the twelve companies are, troubled, troubled.

BELLAMONT
I’ll chide you.  Go to!  I’ll chide you soundly!

MAYBERRY
Oh, Master Bellamont!

BELLAMONT
Oh Master Mayberry!  Before your servant to dance a Lancashire horn-pipe; it shows worse to me then dancing does to a deaf man that sees not the fiddles.  Sfoot, you talk like a player.

MAYBERRY
If a player talk like a madman, or a fool, or an ass, and knows not what he talks, then I’m one.  You are a poet, Master Bellamont.  I will bestow a piece of plate upon you to bring my wife upon the stage.  Would not her humour please gentlemen?

BELLAMONT
I think it would.  Yours would make gentlemen as fat as fools.  I would give two pieces of plate to have you stand by me, when I were to write a jealous man’s part.  Jealous men are either knaves or coxcombs, be you neither; you wear yellow hose without cause.

MAYBERRY
Without cause, when my master bears double!  Without cause!

BELLAMONT
And without wit.

MAYBERRY
When two virginal jacks skip up, as the key of my instrument goes down!

BELLAMONT
They are two wicked elders.

MAYBERRY
When my wife’s ring does smoke for’t.

BELLAMONT
Your wife’s ring may deceive you.

MAYBERRY
Oh, Master Bellamont, had it not been my wife had made me a cuckold, it should never have grieved me.

BELLAMONT
You wrong her, upon my soul.

MAYBERRY
No, she wrongs me upon her body.

Enter a Servingman.

 BELLAMONT
Now, blue bottle?  What flutter you for, sea-pie?

SERVINGMAN
Not to catch fish, sir.  My young master your son, Master Philip, is taken prisoner.

BELLAMONT
By the Dunkirk’s.

SERVINGMAN
Worse; by the catch-poles.  He’s encountered.

BELLAMONT
Shall I never see that prodigal come home?

SERVINGMAN
Yes, sir, if you’ll fetch him out, you may kill a calf for him.

BELLAMONT
For how much lies he?

SERVINGMAN
The debt is fourscore pound.  Marry, he’ll charge me to tell you it was fourscore and ten, so that he lies only for the odd ten pound.

BELLAMONT
His child’s part shall now be paid.  This money shall be his last and this vexation the last of mine.  If you had such a son, Master Mayberry—

MAYBERRY
To such a wife ‘twere an excellent couple.

BELLAMONT
Release him, and release me of much sorrow.  I will buy a son no more.  Go redeem him.                                                                           [Exit Servingman.

Enter Prentice and MAYBERRY’s WIFE.

 PRENTICE
Here’s the party, sir.

MAYBERRY
Hence, and lock fast the doors.  Now is my prize.

PRENTICE
If she beat you not at your own weapon, would her buckler were cleft in two pieces.                                                                                     [Exit.

BELLAMONT
I would not have you handle her too roughly.

MAYBERRY
No, I will, like a justice of peace, grow to the point.  Are not you a whore?  Never start!  Thou art a cloth-worker, and hast turn’d me.

WIFE
How, sir!  Into what, sir, have I turn’d you?

MARBERRY
Into a civil suit, into a sober beast, a land-rat, a cuckold!  Thou art a common bedfellow, art not?  Art not?

WIFE
Sir, this language to me is strange; I understand it not.

MAYBERRY
O!  You study the French now!

WIFE
Good sir, lend me patience.

MAYBERRY
I made a salad of that herb.  Dost see these flesh-hooks?  I could tear out those false eyes, those cat’s eyes, that can see in the night.  Punk, I could!

BELLAMONT
Hear her answer for herself.

WIFE
Good Master Bellamont,
Let him not do me violence.  Dear sir,
Should any but yourself shoot out these names,
I would put off all female modesty
To be reveng’d on him!

MAYBERRY
Know’st thou this ring?  There has been old running at the ring since I went.

WIFE
Yes, sir, this ring is mine.  He was a villain
That stole it from my hand.  He was a villain
That put it into yours.

MAYBERRY
They were no villains
When they stood stoutly for me, took your part,
And stead of colours fought under my sheets.

WIFE
I know not what you mean.

MAYBERRY
They lay with thee.  I mean plain dealing.

WIFE
With me!  If ever I had thought unclean
In detestation of your nuptial pillow,
Let sulphur drop from heaven and nail my body
Dead to this earth.  That slave, that damned fury,
Whose whips are in your tongue to torture me,
Casting an eye unlawful on my cheek,
Haunted your threshold daily, and threw forth
All tempting baits which lust and credulous youth
Apply to our frail sex.  But those being weak,
The second siege he laid was in sweet words.

MAYBERRY
And then the breach was made.

BELLAMONT
Nay, nay, hear all.

WIFE
At last he takes me sitting at your door
Seizes my palm, and by the charm of oaths,
Back to restore it straight, he won my hand,
To crown his finger with that hoop of gold.
I did demand it, but he mad with rage
And with desires unbridled, fled and vow’d
That ring should me undo, and now belike
His spells have wrought on you.  But, I beseech you,
To dare him to my face, and in meantime
Deny me bedroom, drive me from your board,
Disgrace me in the habit of your slave,
Lodge me in some discomfortable vault
Where neither sun nor moon may touch my sight,
Till the slander I my soul acquit.

BELLAMONT
Guiltless, upon my soul.

MAYBERRY
Troth, so think I.
I now draw in your bow, as I before
Suppos’d they drew in mine; my stream of jealousy
Ebbs back again, and I that like a horse
Ran blind-fold in a mill, all in one circle,
Yet thought I had gone foreright, now spy my error.
Villains, you have abused me, and I vow
Sharp vengeance on your heads.  Drive in your tears,
I take your word ya’re honest, which good men,
Very good men will scarce do to their wives.
I will bring home these serpents, and allow them
The heat of mine own bosom.  Wife, I charge you
Set out your haviours towards them in such colours
As if you had been their whore.  I’ll have it so;
I’ll candy o’er my words, and sleek my brow,
Entreat ‘em that they would not point at me,
Nor mock my horns, with this arm I’ll embrace ‘em,
And with this—go to.

WIFE
Oh, we shall have murder!
You kill my heart.

MAYBERRY
No, I will shed no blood.
But I will be reveng’d.  They that do wrong
Teach others way to right.  I’ll fetch my blow
Fair and afar off, and as fencers use,
Though at the foot I strike, the head I’ll bruise.

Enter PHILIP and Servant.

 BELLAFRONT
I’ll join with you.  Let’s walk.  Oh! here’s my son.
Welcome ashore, sir.  From whence come you, pray?

PHILIP
From the house of prayer and fasting, the Counter.

BELLAFRONT
Art not thou asham’d to be seen come out of a prison?

PHILIP
No, God’s my judge, but I was asham’d to go into prison.

BELLAFRONT
I am told, sir, that you spend your credit and your coin upon a light woman.

PHILIP
I ha’ seen light gold, sir, pass away amongst mercers.

BELLAFRONT
And that you have laid thirty or forty pounds upon her back to taffaty gowns, and silk petticoats.

PHILIP
None but tailors will say so.  I ne’er laid anything upon her back.  I confess I took up a petticoat and a rais’d fore-part for her, but who has to do with that?

MAYBERRY
Marry, that has every body, Master Philip.

BELLAFRONT
Leave her company, or leave me, for she’s a woman of an ill name.

PHILIP
Her name is Dorothy, sir.  I hope that’s no ill name.

BELLAFRONT
What is she?  What wilt thou do with her?

PHILIP
‘Sblood, sir, what does he with her?

BELLEFRONT
Dost mean to marry her?  Of what birth is she?  What are her comings in, what does she live upon?

PHILIP
Rents, sir, rents, she lives upon her rents, and I can have her.

BELLAFRONT
You can.

PHILIP
Nay, father, if destiny dog me I must have her.  You have often told me the nine muses are all women, and you deal with them; may not I the better be allowed one than you so many?  Look you, sir, the northern man loves white meats, the southerly man salads, the Essex man a calf, the Kentishman a wag-tail, the Lancashire man an egg-pie, the Welshman leeks and cheese, and your Londoners raw mutton, so father god-boy, I was born in London.

BELLAFRONT
Stay, look you, sir, as he that lives upon salads without mutton, feeds like an ox, for he eats grass, you know, yet rises as hungry as an ass, and as he that makes a dinner of leeks will have lean cheeks, so, thou foolish Londoner, if nothing but raw mutton can diet thee, look to live like a fool and a slave, and to die like a beggar and a knave.  Come, master Mayberry, farewell boy.

PHILIP
Farewell, Father Snot.  Sir, if I have her, I’ll spend more in mustard and vinegar in a year, then both you in beef.

BELLAFRONT
More saucy knave thou.                                                                                          [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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