Northward Ho – Act 2, Scene 2

Return to previous scene

Enter BELLAMONT, MAYBERRY, and MISTRESS MAYBERRY.

 MAYBERRY
Come, wife, our two gallants will be here presently.  I have promis’d them the best of entertainment, with protestation never to reveal to thee their slander.  I will have thee bear thyself, as if thou mad’st a feast upon Simon and Jude’s day to country gentlewomen that come to see the pageant.  Bid them extremely welcome, though thou wish their throats cut.  ‘Tis in fashion.

WIFE
O God!  I shall never endure them!

BELLAMONT
Endure them.  You are a fool.  Make it your case, as it may be many women’s of the freedom.  That you had a friend in private whom your husband should lay to his bosom, and he in requital should lay his wife to his bosom.  What treads of the toe, salutations by winks, discourse by bitings of the lip, amorous glances, sweet stol’n kisses when your husband’s back’s turn’d, would pass between them. Bear your self to Greenshield, as if you did love him for affecting you so entirely, not taking any notice of his journey.  They’ll put more tricks upon you.  You told me Greenshield means to bring his sister to your house, to have her brood here.

MAYBERRY
Right, she’s some crack’d demi-culverin that hath miscarried in service.  No matter though it be some charge to me for a time, I care not.

WIFE
Lord, was there ever such a husband?

MAYBERRY
Why, wouldst thou have me suffer their tongues to run at large, in ordinaries and cock-pits?  Though the knaves do lie, I tell you, Master Bellamont, lies that come from stern looks and satin outsides, and gilt rapiers also, will be put up and go for currant.

BELLAMONT
Right, sir, ‘tis a small spark gives fire to a beautiful woman’s discredit.

MAYBERRY
I will therefore use them like informing knaves, in this kind, make up their mouths with silver and after be reveng’d upon them.  I was in doubt I should have grown fat of late, and it were not for lawsuits and fear of our wives we rich men should grow out of all compass.

Enter GREENSHIELD and FEATHERSTONE.

They come.  My worthy friends, welcome.  Look, my wife’s colour rises already.

GREENSHIELD
You have not made her acquainted with the discovery?

MAYBERRY
O, by no means.  Ye see, gentlemen, the affection of an old man.  I would fain make all whole again.  Wife, give entertainment to our new acquaintance.  Your lips, wife; any woman may lend her lips without her husband’s privity.  ‘Tis allowable.

WIFE
You are very welcome.  I think it be near dinner time, gentlemen.  I’ll will the maid to cover, and return presently.                                                                                    [Exit.

BELLAMONT
God’s precious!  Why doth she leave them?

MAYBERRY
O, I know her stomach; she is but retir’d into another chamber, to ease her heart with crying a little; it hath ever been her humour.  She hath done it five or six times in a day, when courtiers have been here, if any thing be out of order, and yet every return laugh’d and been as merry.  And how is it, gentlemen, you are well acquainted with this room, are you not?

GREENSHIELD
I had a delicate banquet once on that table.

MAYBERRY
In good time.  [Aside.] But you are better acquainted with my bed chamber.

BELLAFRONT
Were the cloth of gold cushions set forth at your entertainment?

FEATHERSTONE
Yes, sir.

MAYBERRY
And the cloth of tissue valance?

FEATHERSTONE
They are very rich ones.

MAYBERRY
[Aside.] God refuse me!  They are lying rascals!  I have no such furniture.

GREENSHIELD
I protest it was the strangest and yet withal the happiest fortune that we should meet you two at Ware, that ever redeemed such desolate actions.  I would not wrong you again for a million of Londons.

MAYBERRY
No, do you want any money?  Or if you be in debt, I am a hundreth pound i’th’ subsidy.  Command me.

FEATHERSTONE
Alas, good gentleman, did you ever read of the like patience in any of your ancient Romans?

BELLAMONT
You see what a sweet face in a velvet cap can do.  Your citizens wives are like partridges; the hens are better then the cocks.

FEATHERSTONE
I believe it in troth, sir.  You did observe how the gentlewoman could not contain herself when she saw us enter.

BELLAMONT
Right.

FEATHERSTONE
For thus much I must speak in allowance of her modesty; when I had her most private she would blush extremely.

BELLAMONT
Ay, I warrant you, and ask you if you would have such a great sin lie upon your conscience as to lie with another man’s wife?

FEATHERSTONE
In troth, she would.

BELLAMONT
And tell you there were maids enough in London, if a man were so virtuously given, whose portions would help them to husbands though gentlemen gave the first onset.

FEATHERSTONE
You are a merry old gentleman in faith, sir; much like to this was her language.

BELLAMONT
And yet clip you with as voluntary a bosom, as if she had fallen in love with you at some inns a’ court revels, and invited you by letter to her lodging.

FEATHERSTONE
Your knowledge, sir, is perfect without any information.

MAYBERRY
I’ll go see what my wife is doing, gentlemen.  When my wife enters, show her this ring, and ‘twill quit all suspicion.

[Exit MAYBERRY.  BELLAMONT walks aloof.

FEATHERSTONE
Dost hear, Luke Greenshield?  Will thy wife be here presently?

GREENSHIELD
I left my boy to wait upon her, but this light, I think God provides; for if this citizen had not out of his overplus of kindness proferr’d her, her diet and lodging under the name of my sister, I could not have told what shift to have made, for the greatest part of my money is revolted.  We’ll make more use of him.  The whoreson rich innkeeper of Doncaster her father showed himself a rank ostler, to send her up at this time a year, and by the carrier too; ‘twas a jade’s trick of him.

FEATHERSTONE
But have you instructed her to call on you, brother?

GREENSHIELD
Yes, and she’ll do it.  I left her at Bosom’s Inn; she’ll be here presently.

Enter MAYBERRY, after him MISTRESS MAYBERRY and KATE.

 MAYBERRY
Master Greenshield, your sister is come.  My wife is entertaining her.  By the mass, I have been upon her lips already.  Lady, you are welcome.  Look you, Master Greenshield, because your sister is newly come out of the fresh air, and that to be pent up in a narrow lodging here i’th’city may offend her health, she shall lodge at a garden house of mine in Morefields where, if it please you and my worthy friend here to bear her company, your several lodgings and joint commons, to the poor ability of a citizen, shall be present.

FEATHERSTONE
O, God, sir!

MAYBERRY
Nay, no compliment; your loves command it.  Shall’s to dinner, gentlemen?  Come, Master Bellamont, I’ll be the gentleman usher to this fair lady.

 [Exeunt MAYBERRY and BELLAMONT

GREENSHIELD
Here is your ring, Mistress.  A thousand times, and would have willingly lost my best of maintenance that I might have found you half so tractable.

WIFE
Sir, I am my self; I know not by what means you have grown upon my husband; he is much deceived in you, I take it.  Will you go in to dinner? O, God that I might have my will of him, and it were not for my husband, I’d scratch out his eyes presently!

[Exeunt  MISTRESS MAYBERRY and GREENSHIELD.

FEATHERSTONE
Welcome to London, bonny mistress Kate.  Thy husband little dreams of the familiarity that hath past between thee and I, Kate.

KATE
No matter if he did; he ran away from me like a base slave as he was, out of Yorkshire, and pretended he would go the island voyage, since I ne’er heard of him till within this fortnight.  Can the world condemn me for entertaining a friend, that am used so like an infidel?

FEATHERSTONE
I think not, but if your husband knew of this he’d be divorc’d.

KATE
He would be an ass then.  No, wise men should deal by their wives as the sale of ordinance passeth in England; if it break the first discharge, the workmen is at the loss of it; if the second, the merchant and the workmen jointly; if the third, the merchant; so in our case, if a woman prove false the first year, turn her upon her father’s neck; if the second, turn her home to her father but allow her a portion; but if she hold pure metal two year and fly to several pieces in the third, repair the ruins of her honesty at your charges, for the best piece of ordinance may be crack’d in the casting, and for women to have cracks and flaws, alas, they are born to them.  Now, I have held out four year.  Doth my husband do any things about London?  Doth he swagger?

FEATHERSTONE
O, as tame as a fray in Fleet Street, when there are nobody to part them.

KATE
I ever thought so; we have notable valiant fellows about Doncaster; they’ll give the lie and the stab both in an instant.

FEATHERSTONE
You like such kind of manhood best, Kate.

KATE
Yes, in troth, for I think any woman that loves her friend, had rather have him stand by in it then lie by it.  But, I pray thee, tell me, why must I be quartered at this citizen’s garden house, say you?

FEATHERSTONE
The discourse of that will set thy blood on fire to be reveng’d on thy husband’s forehead piece.

Enter BELLAFRONT and MISTRESS MAYBERRY.

 WIFE
Will you go in to dinner, sir?

KATE
Will you lead the way, forsooth?

WIFE
No, sweet.  Forsooth, we’ll follow you.      [Exeunt KATE and FEATHERSTONE.
O, Master Bellamont, as ever you took pity upon the simplicity of a poor abused gentlewoman, will you tell me one thing?

BELLAMONT
Any thing, sweet Mistress Mayberry.

WIFE
Ay, but will you do it faithfully?

BELLAMONT
As I respect your acquaintance I shall do it.

WIFE
Tell me then, I beseech you, do not you think this minx is some naughty pack whom my husband hath fallen in love with and means to keep under my nose at his garden house?

BELLAMONT
No, upon my life, is she not.

WIFE
O, I cannot believe it.  I know by her eyes she is not honest.  Why should my husband proffer them such kindness that have abused him and me so intolerable and will not suffer me to speak?  There’s the hell on’t; not suffer me to speak!

BELLAMONT
Fie, fie!  He doth that like a usurer that will use a man with all kindness that he may be careless of paying his money upon his day, and afterwards take the extremity of the forfeiture.  Your jealousy is idle.  Say this were true, it lies in the bosom of a sweet wife to draw her husband from any loose imperfection, from wenching, from covetousness, from crabbedness which is the old man’s common disease, by her politic yielding.  She may do it from crabbedness; for example, I have known as tough blades as any are in England broke upon a feather bed.  Come to dinner.

WIFE
I’ll be ruled by you, sir, for you are very much like mine uncle.

BELLAMONT
Suspicion works more mischief, grows more strong,
To sever chaste beds then apparent wrong.                                  [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: