The Roaring Girl – Act Three, Scene Two

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Enter MISTRESS GALLIPOT as from supper, her Husband after her.

  GALLIPOT
What, Pru! Nay, sweet Prudence!

  MISTRESS GALLIPOT
What a pruing keep you; I think the baby would have a teat, it kyes so. Pray be not so fond of me: leave your city humours; I’m vex’d at you to see how like a calf you come bleating after me.

 GALLIPOT
Nay, honey Pru. How does your rising up before all the table show? And flinging from my friends so uncivilly? Fie, Pru, fie, come!

MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Then up and ride, i’faith.

 GALLIPOT
Up and ride? Nay, my pretty Pru, that’s far from my thought, duck. Why, mouse, thy mind is nibbling at something. What is’t? What lies upon thy stomach?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Such an ass as you. Hoyda, y’are best turn midwife or physician! Y’are a pothecary already, but I’m none of your drugs.

 GALLIPOT
Thou art a sweet drug, sweet’st Pru, and the more thou art pounded, the more precious.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Must you be prying into a woman’s secrets, say ye?

 GALLIPOT
Woman’s secrets?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
What, I cannot have a qualm come upon me but your teeth waters till your nose hang over it.

 GALLIPOT
It is my love, dear wife.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Your love? Your love is all words; give me deeds: I cannot abide a man that’s too fond over me, so cookish; thou dost not know how to handle a woman in her kind.

 GALLIPOT
No, Pru? Why, I hope I have handled—

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Handle a fool’s head of your own, fie, fie!

 GALLIPOT
Ha, ha, ’tis such a wasp! It does me good now to have her sting me, little rogue.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Now fie, how you vex me! I cannot abide these apron husbands, such cotqueans: you overdo your things; they become you scurvily.

 GALLIPOT
[Aside.] Upon my life, she breeds! Heaven knows how I have strain’d myself to please her, night and day. I wonder why we citizens should get children so fretful and untoward in the breeding, their fathers being for the most part as gentle as milch-kine.  Shall I leave thee, my Pru?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Fie, fie, fie.

 GALLIPOT
Thou shalt not be vex’d no more, pretty kind rogue: take no cold, sweet Pru.                                                                                                                           [Exit GALLIPOT.

MISTRESS GALLIPOT

 As your wit has done. [Taking out a letter.] Now, Master Laxton, show your head. What news from you? Would any husband suspect that a woman crying, “Buy any scurvygrass” should bring love letters amongst her herbs to his wife? Pretty trick, fine conveyance! Had jealousy a thousand eyes, a silly woman with scurvygrass blinds them all.
Laxton, with bays
Crown I thy wit for this: it deserves praise.
This makes me affect thee more; this proves thee wise.
‘Lack what poor shift is love forc’d to devise?
To th’ point:                                                                                                [She reads the letter.
“Oh, sweet creature,” —a sweet beginning— “pardon my long absence, for thou shalt shortly be possessed with my presence. Though Demophon was false to Phyllis, I will be to thee as Pandarus was to Cressida; though Aeneas made an ass of Dido, I will die to thee ere I do so. Oh, sweet’st creature, make much of me, for no man beneath the silver moon shall make more of a woman than I do of thee. Furnish me therefore with thirty pounds; you must do it of necessity for me: I languish till I see some comfort come from thee, protesting not to die in thy debt, but rather to live so, as hitherto I have and will.
Thy true Laxton ever.
“Alas, poor gentleman! Troth, I pity him.
How shall I raise this money? Thirty pound?
‘Tis thirty sure, a “three” before an O;
I know his threes too well. My childbed linen?
Shall I pawn that for him? Then if my mark
Be known, I am undone; it may be thought
My husband’s bankrout. Which way shall I turn?
Laxton, what with my own fears and thy wants,
I’m as a needle ‘twixt two adamants.

Enter MASTER GALLIPOT hastily.

 GALLIPOT
Nay, nay, wife, the women are all up! [Aside.] Ha! How, reading a’ letters? I smell a goose, a couple of capons, and a gammon of bacon from her mother out of the country, I hold my life.  Steal, steal!

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, beshrew your heart!

 GALLIPOT
What letter’s that?
I’ll see’t.                                                                                          [She tears the letter.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, would thou hadst no eyes to see
The downfall of me and thyself: I’m forever,
Forever I’m undone!

 GALLIPOT
What ails my Pru?
What paper’s that thou tear’st?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Would I could tear
My very heart in pieces, for my soul
Lies on the rack of shame that tortures me
Beyond a woman’s suffering.

 GALLIPOT
What means this?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Had you no other vengeance to throw down
But even in height of all my joys—

 GALLIPOT
Dear woman!

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
When the full sea of pleasure and content
Seem’d to flow over me—

 GALLIPOT
As thou desirest to keep
Me out of bedlam, tell what troubles thee?
Is not thy child at nurse fall’n sick, or dead?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, no!

 GALLIPOT
Heavens bless me! Are my barns and houses
Yonder at Hockley Hole consum’d with fire?
I can build more, sweet Pru.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
‘Tis worse, ’tis worse.

 GALLIPOT
My factor broke, or is the Jonas sunk?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Would all we had were swallowed in the waves,
Rather than both should be the scorn of slaves.

 GALLIPOT
I’m at my wits’ end!

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, my dear husband,
Where once I thought myself a fixed star
Plac’d only in the heaven of thine arms,
I fear now I shall prove a wanderer.
Oh, Laxton, Laxton, is it then my fate
To be by thee o’erthrown?

 GALLIPOT
Defend me, wisdom,
From falling into frenzy! On my knees,
Sweet Pru, speak: what’s that Laxton who so heavy
Lies on thy bosom?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
I shall sure run mad!

 GALLIPOT
I shall run mad for company then. Speak to me:
I’m Gallipot thy husband. Pru, why, Pru!
Art sick in conscience for some villainous deed
Thou wert about to act? Didst mean to rob me?
Tush, I forgive thee! Hast thou on my bed
Thrust my soft pillow under another’s head?
I’ll wink at all faults, Pru; ‘las, that’s no more
Than what some neighbours near thee have done before.
Sweet honey Pru, what’s that Laxton?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh!

 GALLIPOT
Out with him!

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, he’s born to be my undoer!
This hand which thou call’st thine to him was given;
To him was I made sure i’ th’ sight of heaven.

 GALLIPOT
I never heard this thunder.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Yes, yes, before
I was to thee contracted, to him I swore,
Since last I saw him twelve months three times told
The moon hath drawn through her light silver bow,
For o’er the seas he went, and it was said,
But rumour lies, that he in France was dead.
But he’s alive, oh, he’s alive! He sent
That letter to me, which in rage I rent,
Swearing with oaths most damnably to have me,
Or tear me from this bosom. Oh, heavens save me!

 GALLIPOT
My heart will break! Sham’d and undone forever!

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
So black a day poor wretch went o’er thee never.

 GALLIPOT
If thou shouldst wrastle with him at the law,
Th’ art sure to fall: no odd sleight, no prevention.
I’ll tell him th’ art with child.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Umh.

 GALLIPOT
Or give out
One of my men was ta’en a-bed with thee.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Umh, umh.

 GALLIPOT
Before I lose thee, my dear Pru,
I’ll drive it to that push.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Worse, and worse still:
You embrace a mischief to prevent an ill.

 GALLIPOT
I’ll buy thee of him, stop his mouth with gold.
Think’st thou twill do?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh me, heavens grant it would!
Yet now my senses are set more in tune,
He writ, as I remember in his letter,
That he in riding up and down had spent
Ere he could find me thirty pounds: send that;
Stand not on thirty with him.

 GALLIPOT
Forty, Pru;
Say thou the word ’tis done. We venture lives
For wealth, but must do more to keep our wives.
Thirty or forty, Pru?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Thirty, good sweet;
Of an ill bargain let’s save what we can.
I’ll pay it him with my tears: he was a man
When first I knew him of a meek spirit;
All goodness is not yet dried up, I hope.

 GALLIPOT
He shall have thirty pound; let that stop all:
Love’s sweets taste best when we have drunk down gall.

Enter MASTER TILTYARD and his Wife, MASTERGOSHAWK and MISTRESS OPENWORK.

God-so, our friends! Come, come, smooth your cheek;
After a storm the face of heaven looks sleek.

 TILTYARD
Did I not tell you these turtles were together?

 MISTRESS TILTYARD
How dost thou, sirrah? Why, sister Gallipot!

 MISTRESS OPENWORK
Lord, how she’s chang’d!

 GOSHAWK
Is your wife ill, sir?

 GALLIPOT
Yes, indeed la, sir, very ill, very ill, never worse!

 MISTRESS TILTYARD
How her head burns! Feel how her pulses work.

 MISTRESS OPENWORK
Sister, lie down a little; that always does me good.

 MISTRESS TILTYARD
In good sadness, I find best ease in that too.
Has she laid some hot thing to her stomach?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
No, but I will lay something anon.

 TILTYARD
Come, come, fools, you trouble her. Shall’s go, Master Goshawk?

 GOSHAWK
Yes, sweet Master Tiltyard. [Taking MISTRESS OPENWORK aside.] Sirrah Rosamond, I hold my life Gallipot hath vex’d his wife.

 MISTRESS OPENWORK
She has a horrible high colour indeed.

 GOSHAWK
We shall have your face painted with the same red soon at night when your husband comes from his rubbers in a false alley; thou wilt not believe me that his bowls run with a wrong bias.

 MISTRESS OPENWORK
It cannot sink into me that he feeds upon stale mutton abroad, having better and fresher at home.

 GOSHAWK
What if I bring thee where thou shalt see him stand at rack and manger?

 MISTRESS OPENWORK
I’ll saddle him in’s kind and spur him till he kick again.

 GOSHAWK
Shall thou and I ride our journey then?

 MISTRESS OPENWORK
Here’s my hand.

 GOSHAWK
No more.  Come, Master Tiltyard, shall we leap into the stirrups with our women and amble home?

 TILTYARD
Yes, yes; come, wife.

 MISTRESS TILTYARD
In troth, sister, I hope you will do well for all this.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
I hope I shall. Farewell, good sister, sweet Master Goshawk.

 GALLIPOT
Welcome, brother, most kindly welcome, sir.

 OMNES
Thanks, sir, for our good cheer.   [Exeunt all but GALLIPOT and his Wife.

 GALLIPOT
It shall be so, because a crafty knave
Shall not outreach me nor walk by my door
With my wife arm in arm, as ’twere his whore,
I’ll give him a golden coxcomb, thirty pound.
Tush, Pru, what’s thirty pound? Sweet duck, look cheerly.

MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Thou art worthy of my heart: thou buy’st it dearly.

 Enter LAXTON muffled.

 LAXTON
‘Ud’s light, the tide’s against me! A pox of your pothecaryship! Oh, for some glister to set him going! ‘Tis one of Hercules’ labours to tread one of these city hens because their cocks are still crowing over them; there’s no turning tail here, I must on.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, husband, see, he comes!

 GALLIPOT
Let me deal with him.

 LAXTON
Bless you, sir.

 GALLIPOT
Be you bless’d too, sir, if you come in peace.

 LAXTON
Have you any good pudding tobacco, sir?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Oh, pick no quarrels, gentle sir! My husband
Is not a man of weapon as you are;
He knows all: I have op’ned all before him
Concerning you.

 LAXTON
Zounds, has she shown my letters!

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Suppose my case were yours, what would you do
At such a pinch, such batteries, such assaults
Of father, mother, kindred, to dissolve
The knot you tied, and to be bound to him?
How could you shift this storm off?

 LAXTON
If I know, hang me.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Besides a story of your death was read
Each minute to me.

 LAXTON
[Aside.] What a pox means this riddling?

 GALLIPOT
Be wise, sir; let not you and I be toss’d
On lawyers’ pens: they have sharp nibs and draw
Men’s very heart-blood from them. What need you, sir,
To beat the drum of my wife’s infamy,
And call your friends together, sir, to prove
Your precontract  when sh’has confess’d it?

 LAXTON
Umh, sir,
Has she confess’d it?

 GALLIPOT
Sh’ has, faith, to me, sir,
Upon your letter sending.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
I have, I have.

 LAXTON
[Aside.] If I let this iron cool, call me slave.
Do you hear, you dame Prudence? Think’st thou, vile woman,
I’ll take these blows and wink?

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Upon my knees—

 LAXTON
Out, impudence!

GALLIPOT
Good sir—

 LAXTON
You goatish slaves,
No wild fowl to cut up but mine?

 GALLIPOT
Alas, sir,
You make her flesh to tremble; fright her not.
She shall do reason and what’s fit.

 LAXTON
I’ll have thee,
Wert thou more common than an hospital
And more diseased.

 GALLIPOT
But one word, good sir.

 LAXTON
So, sir?

 GALLIPOT
I married her, have lain with her, and got
Two children on her body; think but on that.
Have you so beggarly an appetite,
When I upon a dainty dish have fed,
To dine upon my scraps, my leavings? Ha, sir?
Do I come near you now, sir?

 LAXTON
Be-Lady, you touch me.

 GALLIPOT
Would not you scorn to wear my clothes, sir?

 LAXTON
Right, sir.

 GALLIPOT
Then pray, sir, wear not her, for she’s a garment
So fitting for my body, I’m loath
Another should put it on; you will undo both.
Your letter, as she said, complain’d you had spent
In quest of her some thirty pound: I’ll pay it.
Shall that, sir, stop this gap up ‘twixt you two?

 LAXTON
Well, if I swallow this wrong, let her thank you;
The money being paid, sir, I am gone.
Farewell, oh women! Happy’s he trusts none.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
Dispatch him hence, sweet husband.

 GALLIPOT
Yes, dear wife.
Pray, sir, come in. Ere Master Laxton part
Thou shalt in wine drink to him.

 MISTRESS GALLIPOT
With all my heart.
[Aside to LAXTON.] How dost thou like my wit?

  LAXTON
[Aside to MISTRESSGALLIPOT.] Rarely!

 [Exit MISTRESS GALLIPOT and his Wife.

That wile
By which the serpent did the first woman beguile
Did ever since all women’s bosoms fill;
Y’are apple-eaters all, deceivers still.                                         [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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