The Roaring Girl – Act One, Scene Two

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Scene Two

Enter SIR ALEXANDER WENGRAVE, SIR DAVY DAPPER, SIR ADAM APPLETON, GOSHAWK, and Gentlemen.

 OMNES
Thanks, good Sir Alexander, for our bounteous cheer.

SIR ALEXANDER
Fie, fie, in giving thanks you pay too dear.

SIR DAVY
When bounty spreads the table, faith, ’twere sin,
At going off, if thanks should not step in.

SIR ALEXANDER
No more of thanks, no more. Ay, marry, sir,
Th’inner room was too close. How do you like
This parlour, gentlemen?

OMNES
Oh, passing well!

SIR ADAM
What a sweet breath the air casts here, so cool!

GOSHAWK
I like the prospect best.

LAXTON
See how ’tis furnish’d.

SIR DAVY
A very fair, sweet room.

SIR ALEXANDER
Sir Davy Dapper,
The furniture that doth adorn this room
Cost many a fair grey groat ere it came here,
But good things are most cheap when th’are most dear.
Nay, when you look into my galleries,
How bravely they are trimm’d up, you all shall swear
Y’are highly pleas’d to see what’s set down there:
Stories of men and women mix’d together,
Fair ones with foul, like sunshine in wet weather;
Within one square a thousand heads are laid
So close that all of heads the room seems made.
As many faces there fill’d with blithe looks
Show like the promising titles of new books
Writ merrily, the readers being their own eyes,
Which seem to move and to give plaudities.
And here and there, whilst with obsequious ears
Throng’d heaps do listen, a cutpurse thrusts and leers
With hawk’s eyes for his prey; I need not show him:
By a hanging villainous look yourselves may know him,
The face is drawn so rarely. Then, sir, below,
The very flower as ’twere waves to and fro,
And like a floating island seems to move
Upon a sea bound in with shores above.

Enter SEBASTIAN and MASTER GREENWIT.

 OMNES
These sights are excellent.

SIR ALEXANDER
I’ll show you all.
Since we are met, make our parting comical.

SEBASTIAN
This gentleman, my friend, will take his leave, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
Ha, take his leave, Sebastian? Who?

SEBASTIAN
This gentleman.

SIR ALEXANDER
Your love, sir, has already given me some time,
And if you please to trust my age with more,
It shall pay double interest. Good sir, stay.

GREENWIT
I have been too bold.

SIR ALEXANDER
Not so, sir. A merry day
‘Mongst friends being spent is better than gold sav’d.
Some wine, some wine. Where be these knaves I keep?

Enter three or four Serving-men, and NEATFOOT.

 NEATFOOT
At your worshipful elbow, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
You are kissing my maids, drinking, or fast asleep.

NEATFOOT
Your worship has given it us right.

SIR ALEXANDER
You varlets, stir:
Chairs, stools and cushions! Prithee, Sir Davy Dapper,
Make that chair thine.

SIR DAVY
‘Tis but an easy gift,
And yet I thank you for it, sir; I’ll take it.

SIR ALEXANDER
A chair for old Sir Adam Appleton.

NEATFOOT
A back friend to your worship.

SIR ADAM
Marry, good Neatfoot,
I thank thee for it: back friends sometimes are good.

SIR ALEXANDER
Pray make that stool your perch, good Master Goshawk.

GOSHAWK
I stoop to your lure, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
Son Sebastian,
Take Master Greenwit to you.

SEBASTIAN
Sit, dear friend.

SIR ALEXANDER
Nay, Master Laxton. Furnish Master Laxton
With what he wants, a stone: a stool I would say,
A stool.

LAXTON
I had rather stand, sir.                                  [Exeunt servants.

SIR ALEXANDER
I know you had, good Master Laxton. So, so.
Now here’s a mess of friends, and, gentlemen,
Because time’s glass shall not be running long,
I’ll quicken it with a pretty tale.

SIR DAVY
Good tales do well
In these bad days, where vice does so excel.

SIR ADAM
Begin, Sir Alexander.

SIR ALEXANDER
Last day I met
An aged man upon whose head was scor’d
A debt of just so many years as these
Which I owe to my grave: the man you all know.

OMNES
His name I pray you, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
Nay, you shall pardon me;
But when he saw me, with a sigh that brake,
Or seem’d to break, his heartstrings, thus he spake:
“Oh, my good knight,” says he, and then his eyes
Were richer even by that which made them poor,
They had spent so many tears they had no more.
“Oh, sir,” says he, “you know it, for you ha’ seen
Blessings to rain upon mine house and me:
Fortune, who slaves men, was my slave; her wheel
Hath spun me golden threads, for, I thank heaven,
I ne’er had but one cause to curse my stars.”
I ask’d him then what that one cause might be.

OMNES
So, sir?

SIR ALEXANDER
He paus’d, and as we often see
A sea so much becalm’d there can be found
No wrinkle on his brow, his waves being drown’d
In their own rage, but when th’imperious winds
Use strange invisible tyranny to shake
Both heaven’s and earth’s foundation at their noise,
The seas, swelling with wrath to part that fray,
Rise up and are more wild, more mad, than they:
Even so this good old man was by my question
Stirr’d up to roughness, you might see his gall
Flow even in’s eyes. Then grew he fantastical.

SIR DAVY
Fantastical? Ha, ha!

SIR ALEXANDER
Yes, and talk’d oddly.

SIR ADAM
Pray, sir, proceed:
How did this old man end?

SIR ALEXANDER
Marry, sir, thus:
He left his wild fit to read o’er his cards,
Yet then, though age cast snow on all his hairs,
He joy’d because, says he, “The god of gold
Has been to me no niggard: that disease
Of which all old men sicken, avarice,
Never infected me.”

LAXTON
[Aside.] He means not himself, I’m sure.

SIR ALEXANDER
“For, like a lamp
Fed with continual oil, I spend and throw
My light to all that need it, yet have still
Enough to serve myself. Oh, but,” quoth he,
“Though heaven’s dew fall thus on this aged tree,
I have a son that like a wedge doth cleave
My very heart-root.”

SIR DAVY
Had he such a son?

SEBASTIAN
[Aside.] Now I do smell a fox strongly.

SIR ALEXANDER
Let’s see: no, Master Greenwit is not yet
So mellow in years as he; but as like Sebastian,
Just like my son Sebastian, such another.

 SEBASTIAN
[Aside.] How finely like a fencer my father fetches his by-blows to hit me, but if I beat you not at your own weapon of subtlety—

 SIR ALEXANDER
“This son,” saith he, “that should be
The column and main arch unto my house,
The crutch unto my age, becomes a whirlwind
Shaking the firm foundation.”

SIR ADAM
‘Tis some prodigal.

SEBASTIAN
[Aside.] Well shot, old Adam Bell!

SIR ALEXANDER
“No city monster neither, no prodigal,
But sparing, wary, civil, and, tho’ wifeless,
An excellent husband, and such a traveller,
He has more tongues in his head than some have teeth.”

SIR DAVY
I have but two in mine.

GOSHAWK
So sparing and so wary?
What then could vex his father so?

SIR ALEXANDER
Oh, a woman!

SEBASTIAN
A flesh-fly, that can vex any man.

SIR ALEXANDER
A scurvy woman,
On whom the passionate old man swore he doted;
A creature, saith he, nature hath brought forth
To mock the sex of woman. It is a thing
One knows not how to name; her birth began
Ere she was all made. ‘Tis woman more than man,
Man more than woman, and, which to none can hap,
The sun gives her two shadows to one shape;
Nay, more, let this strange thing walk, stand or sit,
No blazing star draws more eyes after it.

SIR DAVY
A monster, ’tis some monster.

SIR ALEXANDER
She’s a varlet.

SEBASTIAN
[Aside.] Now is my cue to bristle.

SIR ALEXANDER
A naughty pack.

SEBASTIAN
‘Tis false.

SIR ALEXANDER
Ha, boy?

SEBASTIAN
‘Tis false.

SIR ALEXANDER
What’s false? I say she’s naught.

SEBASTIAN
I say that tongue
That dares speak so but yours sticks in the throat
Of a rank villain; set yourself aside—

SIR ALEXANDER
So, sir, what then?

SEBASTIAN
Any here else had lied.
[Aside.] I think I shall fit you!

SIR ALEXANDER
Lie?

SEBASTIAN
Yes.

SIR DAVY
Doth this concern him?

SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] Ah, sirrah boy!
Is your blood heated?  Boils it?  Are you stung?
I’ll pierce you deeper yet.  Oh, my dear friends,
I am that wretched father, this that son
That sees his ruin yet headlong on doth run!

SIR ADAM
Will you love such a poison?

SIR DAVY
Fie, fie!

SEBASTIAN
Y’are all mad!

SIR ALEXANDER
Th’art sick at heart, yet feel’st it not. Of all these,
What gentleman but thou, knowing his disease
Mortal, would shun the cure? Oh, Master Greenwit,
Would you to such an idol bow?

GREENWIT
Not I, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
Here’s Master Laxton: has he mind to a woman
As thou hast?

LAXTON
No, not I, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
Sir, I know it.

LAXTON
Their good parts are so rare, their bad so common,
I will have nought to do with any woman.

SIR DAVY
‘Tis well done, Master Laxton.

SIR ALEXANDER
Oh, thou cruel boy,
Thou wouldst with lust an old man’s life destroy;
Because thou seest I’m half-way in my grave,
Thou shovel’st dust upon me: would thou mightest have
Thy wish, most wicked, most unnatural!

SIR DAVY
Why, sir, ’tis thought Sir Guy Fitzallard’s daughter
Shall wed your son Sebastian.

SIR ALEXANDER
Sir Davy Dapper,
I have upon my knees woo’d this fond boy
To take that virtuous maiden.

SEBASTIAN
Hark you, a word, sir.
You on your knees have curs’d that virtuous maiden
And me for loving her, yet do you now
Thus baffle me to my face? Wear not your knees
In such entreats; give me Fitzallard’s daughter.

SIR ALEXANDER
I’ll give thee rats-bane rather!

SEBASTIAN
Well, then you know
What dish I mean to feed upon.

SIR ALEXANDER
Hark, gentlemen, he swears
To have this cutpurse drab to spite my gall.

OMNES
Master Sebastian!

SEBASTIAN
I am deaf to you all.
I’m so bewitch’d, so bound to my desires,
Tears, prayers, threats, nothing can quench out those fires
That burn within me.                                       [Exit SEBASTIAN.

SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] Her blood shall quench it then.
Lose him not, oh, dissuade him, gentlemen!

SIR DAVY
He shall be wean’d, I warrant you.

SIR ALEXANDER
Before his eyes
Lay down his shame, my grief, his miseries.

OMNES
No more, no more, away!         [Exeunt all but SIR ALEXANDER.

SIR ALEXANDER
I wash a negro,
Losing both pains and cost; but take thy flight:
I’ll be most near thee when I’m least in sight.
Wild buck, I’ll hunt thee breathless; thou shalt run on,
But I will turn thee when I’m not thought upon.

Enter RALPH TRAPDOOR.

Now, sirrah, what are you? Leave your ape’s tricks and speak!

TRAPDOOR
A letter from my captain to your worship.

SIR ALEXANDER
Oh, oh, now I remember: ’tis to prefer thee into my service.

 TRAPDOOR
To be a shifter under your worship’s nose of a clean trencher when there’s a good bit upon’t.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Troth, honest fellow. [Aside.] Humh, ha, let me see.
This knave shall be the axe to hew that down
At which I stumble; h’as a face that promiseth
Much of a villain. I will grind his wit,
And if the edge prove fine make use of it.
Come hither, sirrah. Canst thou be secret, ha?

TRAPDOOR
As two crafty attorneys plotting the undoing of their clients.

SIR ALEXANDER
Didst never, as thou hast walk’d about this town,
Hear of a wench call’d Moll, mad, merry Moll?

TRAPDOOR
Moll Cutpurse, sir?

SIR ALEXANDER
The same. Dost thou know her then?

 TRAPDOOR
As well as I know ’twill rain upon Simon and Jude’s day next. I will sift all the taverns i’th’city and drink half-pots with all the watermen a’ th’ Bankside, but if you will, sir, I’ll find her out.

 SIR ALEXANDER
That task is easy; do’t then. Hold thy hand up.
What’s this? Is’t burnt?

TRAPDOOR
No, sir, no, a little sing’d with making fireworks.

 SIR ALEXANDER
[Giving him money.] There’s money, spend it; that being spent, fetch more.

 TRAPDOOR
Oh, sir, that all the poor soldiers in England had such a leader! For fetching, no water-spaniel is like me.

 SIR ALEXANDER
This wench we speak of strays so from her kind
Nature repents she made her. ‘Tis a mermaid
Has toll’d my son to shipwreck.

TRAPDOOR
I’ll cut her comb for you.

SIR ALEXANDER
I’ll tell out gold for thee then; hunt her forth,
Cast out a line hung full of silver hooks
To catch her to thy company: deep spendings
May draw her that’s most chaste to a man’s bosom.

 TRAPDOOR
The jingling of golden bells and a good fool with a hobbyhorse will draw all the whores i’th’town to dance in a morris.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Or rather—for that’s best, they say sometimes
She goes in breeches—follow her as her man.

TRAPDOOR
And when her breeches are off, she shall follow me.

SIR ALEXANDER
Beat all thy brains to serve her.

TRAPDOOR
Zounds, sir, as country wenches beat cream till butter comes.

SIR ALEXANDER
Play thou the subtle spider, weave fine nets
To ensnare her very life.

TRAPDOOR
Her life?

SIR ALEXANDER
Yes, suck
Her heart-blood if thou canst; twist thou but cords
To catch her, I’ll find law to hang her up.

TRAPDOOR
Spoke like a worshipful bencher.

SIR ALEXANDER
Trace all her steps; at this she-fox’s den
Watch what lambs enter: let me play the shepherd
To save their throats from bleeding and cut hers.

TRAPDOOR
This is the goll shall do’t.

SIR ALEXANDER
Be firm and gain me
Ever thine own. This done, I entertain thee:
How is thy name?

TRAPDOOR
My name sir is Ralph Trapdoor, honest Ralph.

SIR ALEXANDER
Trapdoor, be like thy name, a dangerous step
For her to venture on, but unto me—

TRAPDOOR
As fast as your sole to your boot or shoe, sir.

SIR ALEXANDER
Hence then, be little seen here as thou canst.
I’ll still be at thine elbow.

TRAPDOOR
The trapdoor’s set.
Moll, if you budge y’are gone; this me shall crown:
A roaring boy the Roaring Girl puts down.

SIR ALEXANDER
God-a-mercy, lose no time.                                           [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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