The Roaring Girl – Act Three, Scene Three

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Enter SIR ALEXANDER WENGRAVE, SIR DAVY DAPPER, SIR ADAM APPLETON at one door, and TRAPDOOR at another door.

  SIR ALEXANDER
Out with your tale, Sir Davy, to Sir Adam;
A knave is in mine eye deep in my debt.

 SIR DAVY
Nay, if he be a knave, sir, hold him fast.   [SIR ALEXANDER takes TRAPDOOR aside.

  SIR ALEXANDER
Speak softly. What egg is there hatching now?

 TRAPDOOR
A duck’s egg, sir, a duck that has eaten a frog; I have crack’d the shell and some villainy or other will peep out presently. The duck that sits is the bouncing ramp, that roaring girl my mistress, the drake that must tread is your son Sebastian.

  SIR ALEXANDER
Be quick.

 TRAPDOOR
As the tongue of an oyster-wench.

  SIR ALEXANDER
And see thy news be true.

  TRAPDOOR
As a barber’s every Saturday night. Mad Moll—

  SIR ALEXANDER
Ah.

  TRAPDOOR
Must be let in without knocking at your back gate.

  SIR ALEXANDER
So.

  TRAPDOOR
Your chamber will be made bawdy.

  SIR ALEXANDER
Good.

  TRAPDOOR
She comes in a shirt of mail.

  SIR ALEXANDER
How shirt of mail?

  TRAPDOOR
Yes, sir, or a male shirt, that’s to say in man’s apparel.

  SIR ALEXANDER
To my son?

  TRAPDOOR
Close to your son: your son and her moon will be in conjunction, if all almanacs lie not. Her black safeguard is turn’d into a deep slop, the holes of her upper body to button holes, her waistcoat to a doublet, her placket to the ancient seat of a codpiece, and you shall take ’em both with standing collars.

  SIR ALEXANDER
Art sure of this?

  TRAPDOOR
As every throng is sure of a pickpocket, as sure as a whore is of the clients all Michaelmas Term, and of the pox after the term.

  SIR ALEXANDER
The time of their tilting?

  TRAPDOOR
Three.

 SIR ALEXANDER
The day?

  TRAPDOOR
This.

  SIR ALEXANDER
Away, ply it, watch her.

  TRAPDOOR
As the devil doth for the death of a bawd, I’ll watch her; do you catch her.

  SIR ALEXANDER
She’s fast: here weave thou the nets. Hark–

  TRAPDOOR
They are made.

  SIR ALEXANDER
I told them thou didst owe me money; hold it up, maintain ‘t.

  TRAPDOOR
Stiffly, as a puritan does contention. [Loudly.] Pox, I owe thee not the value of a halfpenny halter!

  SIR ALEXANDER
Thou shalt be hang’d in’t ere thou scape so! Varlet, I’ll make thee look through a grate.

 TRAPDOOR
I’ll do’t presently, through a tavern grate. Drawer! Pish!        [Exit TRAPDOOR.

 SIR ADAM
Has the knave vex’d you, sir?

 SIR ALEXANDER
Ask’d him my money;
He swears my son receiv’d it. Oh, that boy
Will ne’er leave heaping sorrows on my heart
Till he has broke it quite.

  SIR ADAM
Is he still wild?

 SIR ALEXANDER
As is a Russian bear.

 SIR ADAM
But he has left
His old haunt with that baggage?

 SIR ALEXANDER
Worse still and worse:
He lays on me his shame, I on him my curse.

 SIR DAVY
My son Jack Dapper then shall run with him,
All in one pasture.

 SIR ADAM
Proves your son bad too, sir?

 SIR DAVY
As villainy can make him. Your Sebastian
Dotes but on one drab, mine on a thousand,
A noise of fiddlers, tobacco, wine and a whore,
A mercer that will let him take up more,
Dice, and a water-spaniel with a duck: oh,
Bring him a-bed with these! When his purse jingles,
Roaring boys follow at’s tale, fencers and ningles,
Beasts Adam ne’er gave name to: these horse-leeches suck
My son; he being drawn dry, they all live on smoke.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Tobacco?

 SIR DAVY
Right, but I have in my brain
A windmill going that shall grind to dust
The follies of my son, and make him wise
Or a stark fool; pray lend me your advise.

 SIR ALEXANDER and SIR ADAM
That shall you, good Sir Davy.

 SIR DAVY
Here’s the springe
I ha’ set to catch this woodcock in: an action
In a false name, unknown to him, is ent’red
I’th’counter to arrest Jack Dapper.

 SIR ALEXANDER and SIR ADAM
Ha, ha, he!

 SIR DAVY
Think you the counter cannot break him?

 SIR ADAM
Break him?
Yes, and break’s heart too if he lie there long.

 SIR DAVY
I’ll make him sing a countertenor sure.

 SIR ADAM
No way to tame him like it; there he shall learn
What money is indeed, and how to spend it.

 SIR DAVY
He’s bridled there.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Ay, yet knows not how to mend it.
Bedlam cures not more madmen in a year
Than one of the counters does; men pay more dear
There for their wit than anywhere; a counter:
Why, ’tis an university! Who not sees?
As scholars there, so here men take degrees
And follow the same studies all alike.
Scholars learn first logic and rhetoric.
So does a prisoner: with fine honey’d speech
At’s first coming in he doth persuade, beseech,
He may be lodg’d with one that is not itchy,
To lie in a clean chamber, in sheets not lousy;
But when he has no money, then does he try
By subtle logic and quaint sophistry
To make the keepers trust him.

 SIR ADAM
Say they do?

 SIR ALEXANDER
Then he’s a graduate.

 SIR DAVY
Say they trust him not?

 SIR ALEXANDER
Then is he held a freshman and a sot,
And never shall commence, but being still barr’d
Be expuls’d from the master’s side to th’ twopenny ward,
Or else i’ th’ hole be plac’d.

 SIR ADAM
When then I pray
Proceeds a prisoner?

 SIR ALEXANDER
When money being the aim
He can dispute with his hard creditors’ hearts
And get out clear, he’s then a Master of Arts.
Sir Davy, send your son to Wood Street College:
A gentleman can nowhere get more knowledge.

 SIR DAVY
There gallants study hard.

 SIR ALEXANDER
True, to get money.

 SIR DAVY
Lies by th’ heels, i’faith; thanks, thanks. I ha’ sent
For a couple of bears shall paw him.

Enter SERGEANT CURTILAX and YEOMAN HANGER.

 SIR ADAM
Who comes yonder?

 SIR DAVY
They look like puttocks; these should be they.

 SIR ALEXANDER
I know ’em;
They are officers, sir. We’ll leave you.

 SIR DAVY
My good knights.
Leave me; you see I’m haunted now with spirits.

 SIR ALEXANDER and SIR ADAM
Fare you well, sir.                               [Exeunt SIR ALEXANDER and SIR ADAM.

 CURTILAX
[Aside to HANGER.] This old muzzle-chops should be he by the fellow’s description.  Save you, sir.

 SIR DAVY
Come hither, you mad varlets. Did not my man tell you I watch’d here for you?

 CURTILAX
One in a blue coat, sir, told us that in this place an old gentleman would watch for us, a thing contrary to our oath, for we are to watch for every wicked member in a city.

 SIR DAVY
You’ll watch then for ten thousand. What’s thy name, honesty?

 CURTILAX
Sergeant Curtilax I, sir.

 SIR DAVY
An excellent name for a sergeant, Curtilax.
Sergeants indeed are weapons of the law
When prodigal ruffians far in debt are grown:
Should not you cut them, citizens were o’erthrown.
Thou dwell’st hereby in Holborn, Curtilax?

 CURTILAX
That’s my circuit, sir; I conjure most in that circle.

 SIR DAVY
And what young toward whelp is this?

 HANGER
Of the same litter: his yeoman, sir; my name’s Hanger.

 SIR DAVY
Yeoman Hanger.
One pair of shears sure cut out both your coats:
You have two names most dangerous to men’s throats;
You two are villainous loads on gentlemen’s backs.
Dear ware, this Hanger and this Curtilax.

 CURTILAX
We are as other men are, sir. I cannot see but he who makes a show of honesty and religion, if his claws can fasten to his liking, he draws blood. All that live in the world are but great fish and little fish, and feed upon one another: some eat up whole men; a sergeant cares but for the shoulder of a man. They call us knaves and curs, but many times he that sets us on worries more lambs one year than we do in seven.

 SIR DAVY
Spoke like a noble Cerberus. Is the action ent’red?

 HANGER
His name is ent’red in the book of unbelievers.

 SIR DAVY
What book’s that?

 CURTILAX
The book where all prisoners’ names stand, and not one amongst forty when he comes in believes to come out in haste.

 SIR DAVY
Be as dogged to him as your office allows you to be.

 CURTILAX and HANGER
Oh, sir!

 SIR DAVY
You know the unthrift Jack Dapper?

 CURTILAX
Ay, ay, sir. That gull? As well as I know my yeoman.

 SIR DAVY
And you know his father too, Sir Davy Dapper?

 CURTILAX
As damn’d a usurer as ever was among Jews; if he were sure his father’s skin would yield him any money, he would when he dies flay it off, and sell it to cover drums for children at Bartholomew Fair.

 SIR DAVY

 [Aside.] What toads are these to spit poison on a man to his face!  Do you see, my honest rascals? Yonder greyhound is the dog he hunts with: out of that tavern Jack Dapper will sally. Sa, sa; give the counter, on, set upon him.

 CURTILAX and HANGER
We’ll charge him upo’ th’ back, sir.

  SIR DAVY
Take no bail, put mace enough into his caudle, double your files, traverse your ground.

 CURTILAX and HANGER
Brave, sir.

 SIR DAVY
Cry arm, arm, arm.

 CURTILAX and HANGER
Thus, sir.

 SIR DAVY
There boy, there boy, away: look to your prey, my true English wolves, and so I vanish.                                                                                [Exit SIR DAVY.

 CURTILAX
Some warden of the sergeants begat this old fellow, upon my life! Stand close.

 HANGER
Shall the ambuscado lie in one place?

 CURTILAX
No,  nook thou yonder.

Enter MOLL and TRAPDOOR.

 MOLL
Ralph.

 TRAPDOOR
What says my brave captain male and female?

 MOLL
This Holborn is such a wrangling street.

 TRAPDOOR
That’s because lawyers walks to and fro in’t.

 MOLL
Here’s such justling, as if everyone we met were drunk and reel’d.

 TRAPDOOR
Stand, mistress: do you not smell carrion?

 MOLL
Carrion? No, yet I spy ravens.

 TRAPDOOR
Some poor wind-shaken gallant will anon fall into sore labour, and these men-midwives must bring him to bed i’the counter: there all those that are great with child with debts lie in.

 MOLL
Stand up.

 TRAPDOOR
Like your new maypole.

 HANGER
Whist, whew.

 CURTILAX
Hump, no.

 MOLL
Peeping? It shall go hard, huntsmen, but I’ll spoil your game. They look for all the world like two infected maltmen coming muffled up in their cloaks in a frosty morning to London.

 TRAPDOOR
A course, captain; a bear comes to the stake.

Enter JACK DAPPER and GULL.

 MOLL
It should be so, for the dogs struggle to be let loose.

 HANGER
Whew.

 CURTILAX
Hemp.

 MOLL
Hark, Trapdoor, follow your leader.

 JACK
Gull.

 GULL
Master.

 JACK
Didst ever see such an ass as I am, boy?

 GULL
No, by my troth, sir. To lose all your money, yet have false dice of your own! Why, ’tis as I saw a great fellow used t’other day: he had a fair sword and buckler, and yet a butcher dry-beat him with a cudgel.

 MOLL
Honest sergeant—

 TRAPDOOR
Fly, fly, Master Dapper: you’ll be arrested else!

 JACK
Run, Gull, and draw!

 GULL
Run, master, Gull follows you!                           [Exeunt  JACK DAPPER and GULL.

 CURTILAX
I know you well enough: you’re but a whore to hang upon any man.

 MOLL
Whores then are like sergeants, so now hang you! [To TRAPDOOR.] Draw, rogue, but strike not: for a broken pate they’ll keep their beds and recover twenty marks damages.

 CURTILAX
You shall pay for this rescue! [To HANGER.] Run down Shoe Lane and meet him.                                                                        [Exeunt CURTILAX and HANGER.

 TRAPDOOR
Shoo! Is this a rescue, gentlemen, or no?

  MOLL
Rescue? A pox on ’em! Trapdoor, let’s away;
I’m glad I have done perfect one good work today.
If any gentleman be in scriveners’ bands,
Send but for Moll, she’ll bail him by these hands.                          [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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