The Roaring Girl – Act Two, Scene Two

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Enter SEBASTIAN solus.

  SEBASTIAN
If a man have a free will, where should the use
More perfect shine than in his will to love?
All creatures have their liberty in that,

Enter SIR ALEXANDER and listens to him.

Though else kept under servile yoke and fear;
The very bondslave has his freedom there.
Amongst a world of creatures voic’d and silent
Must my desires wear fetters? [Aside.] Yea, are you
So near? Then I must break with my heart’s truth,
Meet grief at a back way; well.  Why, suppose
The two-leav’d tongues of slander or of truth
Pronounce Moll loathsome: if before my love
She appear fair, what injury have I?
I have the thing I like. In all things else
Mine own eye guides me, and I find ’em prosper.
Life, what should ail it now? I know that man
Ne’er truly loves, if he gainsay ‘t he lies,
That winks and marries with his father’s eyes.
I’ll keep mine own wide open.

 Enter MOLL and a Porter with a viol on his back.

  SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] Here’s brave willfulness, A made match. Here she comes; they met a’ purpose.

  PORTER
Must I carry this great fiddle to your chamber, Mistress Mary?

  MOLL
Fiddle, goodman hog-rubber? Some of these porters bear so much for others they have no time to carry wit for themselves.

  PORTER
To your own chamber, Mistress Mary?

  MOLL
Who’ll hear an ass speak? Whither else, goodman pageant-bearer? They’re people of the worst memories.                                                                    [Exit Porter.

  SEBASTIAN
Why, ’twere too great a burthen, love, to have them carry things in their minds and a’ their backs together.

  MOLL
Pardon me, sir, I thought not you so near.

  SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] So, so, so.

  SEBASTIAN
I would be nearer to thee, and in that fashion
That makes the best part of all creatures honest.
No otherwise I wish it.

  MOLL
Sir, I am so poor to requite you, you must look for nothing but thanks of me. I have no humour to marry: I love to lie a’ both sides a’th’bed myself; and again a’th’other side, a wife, you know, ought to be obedient, but I fear me I am too headstrong to obey, therefore I’ll ne’er go about it. I love you so well, sir, for your good will I’d be loath you should repent your bargain after, and therefore we’ll ne’er come together at first. I have the head now of myself and am man enough for a woman; marriage is but a chopping and changing, where a maiden loses one head and has a worse i’th’place.

 SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] The most comfortablest answer from a roaring girl
That ever mine ears drunk in.

  SEBASTIAN
This were enough
Now to affright a fool forever from thee,
When ’tis the music that I love thee for.

  SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] There’s a boy spoils all again.

  MOLL
Believe it, sir, I am not of that disdainful temper, but I could love you faithfully.

 SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] A pox on you for that word! I like you not now:
Y’are a cunning roarer; I see that already.

  MOLL
But sleep upon this once more, sir, you may chance shift a mind tomorrow. Be not too hasty to wrong yourself; never while you live, sir, take a wife running: many have run out at heels that have done’t. You see, sir, I speak against myself, and if every woman would deal with their suitor so honestly, poor younger brothers would not be so often gull’d with old cozening widows that turn o’er all their wealth in trust to some kinsman and make the poor gentleman work hard for a pension. Fare you well, sir.

  SEBASTIAN
Nay, prithee, one word more.

  SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] How do I wrong this girl: she puts him off still!

  MOLL
Think upon this in cold blood, sir: you make as much haste as if you were a-going upon a sturgeon voyage. Take deliberation, sir; never choose a wife as if you were going to Virginia.

  SEBASTIAN
And so we parted, my too-cursed fate.

  SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] She is but cunning, gives him longer time in’t.

 Enter a Tailor.

  TAILOR
Mistress Moll, Mistress Moll: so ho ho so ho!

  MOLL
There boy, there boy! What, dost thou go a-hawking after me with a red clout on thy finger?

  TAILOR
I forgot to take measure on you for your new breeches.

  SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] Hoyda! Breeches! What, will he marry a monster with two trinkets? What age is this? If the wife go in breeches, the man must wear long coats like a fool.

 MOLL
What fiddling’s here? Would not the old pattern have serv’d your turn?

 TAILOR
You change the fashion; you say you’ll have the great Dutch slop, Mistress Mary.

 MOLL
Why, sir, I say so still.

 TAILOR
Your breeches then will take up a yard more.

 MOLL
Well, pray look it be put in then.

 TAILOR
It shall stand round and full, I warrant you,

 MOLL
Pray make ’em easy enough.

 TAILOR
I know my fault now: t’other was somewhat stiff between the legs; I’ll make these open enough, I warrant you.

SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] Here’s good gear towards! I have brought up my son to marry a Dutch slop and a French doublet, a codpiece-daughter!

 TAILOR
So, I have gone as far as I can go.

 MOLL
Why then, farewell.

TAILOR
If you go presently to your chamber, Mistress Mary, pray send me the measure of your thigh by some honest body.

 MOLL
Well, sir, I’ll send it by a porter presently.                                                   [Exit MOLL.

 TAILOR
So you had need: it is a lusty one; both of them would make any porter’s back ache in England.                                                                                                           [Exit Tailor.

 SEBASTIAN
I have examined the best part of man,
Reason and judgment, and in love they tell me
They leave me uncontroll’d: he that is sway’d
By an unfeeling blood past heat of love,
His springtime must needs err; his watch ne’er goes right
That sets his dial by a rusty clock.

 SIR ALEXANDER
[Coming forward.] So, and which is that rusty clock, sir? You?

 SEBASTIAN
The clock at Ludgate, sir; it ne’er goes true.

 SIR ALEXANDER
But thou goest falser: not thy father’s cares
Can keep thee right. When that insensible work
Obeys the workman’s art, lets off the hour
And stops again when time is satisfied;
But thou runn’st on, and judgment, thy main wheel,
Beats by all stops, as if the work would break
Begun with long pains for a minute’s ruin,
Much like a suffering man brought up with care
At last bequeath’d to shame and a short prayer.

 SEBASTIAN
I taste you bitterer than I can deserve, sir.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Who has bewitch’d thee, son? What devil or drug
Hath wrought upon the weakness of thy blood
And betray’d all her hopes to ruinous folly?
Oh, wake from drowsy and enchanted shame,
Wherein thy soul sits with a golden dream,
Flatter’d and poisoned! I am old, my son;
Oh, let me prevail quickly,
For I have weightier business of mine own
Than to chide thee: I must not to my grave
As a drunkard to his bed, whereon he lies
Only to sleep and never cares to rise.
Let me dispatch in time; come no more near her.

 SEBASTIAN
Not honestly? Not in the way of marriage?

 SIR ALEXANDER
What, sayst thou marriage? In what place, the sessions-house? And who shall give the bride, prithee, an indictment?

 SEBASTIAN
Sir, now ye take part with the world to wrong her.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Why, wouldst thou fain marry to be pointed at?
Alas, the number’s great; do not o’erburden ‘t.
Why, as good marry a beacon on a hill,
Which all the country fix their eyes upon
As her thy folly dotes on. If thou long’st
To have the story of thy infamous fortunes,
Serve for discourse in ordinaries and taverns,
Th’ art in the way; or to confound thy name,
Keep on, thou canst not miss it; or to strike
Thy wretched father to untimely coldness,
Keep the left hand still, it will bring thee to’t.
Yet if no tears wrung from thy father’s eyes,
Nor sighs that fly in sparkles from his sorrows,
Had power to alter what is willful in thee,
Methinks her very name should fright thee from her
And never trouble me.

 SEBASTIAN
Why is the name of Moll so fatal, sir?

 SIR ALEXANDER
Marry one, sir, where suspect is entered,
For seek all London from one end to t’other
More whores of that name than of any ten other.

 SEBASTIAN
What’s that to her? Let those blush for themselves.
Can any guilt in others condemn her?
I’ve vow’d to love her: let all storms oppose me
That ever beat against the breast of man,
Nothing but death’s black tempest shall divide us.

 SIR ALEXANDER
Oh, folly that can dote on nought but shame!

 SEBASTIAN
Put case a wanton itch runs through one name
More than another: is that name the worse
Where honesty sits possess’d in’t? It should rather
Appear more excellent and deserve more praise
When through foul mists a brightness it can raise.
Why, there are of the devil’s honest gentlemen,
And well descended, keep an open house,
And some a’th’good man’s that are arrant knaves.
He hates unworthily that by rote contemns,
For the name neither saves nor yet condemns.
And for her honesty, I have made such proof an’t
In several forms, so nearly watch’d her ways,
I will maintain that strict against an army,
Excepting you my father. Here’s her worst:
Sh’ has a bold spirit that mingles with mankind,
But nothing else comes near it, and oftentimes
Through her apparel somewhat shames her birth,
But she is loose in nothing but in mirth.
Would all Molls were no worse.

 SIR ALEXANDER
[Aside.] This way I toil in vain and give but aim
To infamy and ruin. He will fall;
My blessing cannot stay him: all my joys
Stand at the brink of a devouring flood
And will be willfully swallowed, willfully,
But why so vain? Let all these tears be lost:
I’ll pursue her to shame, and so all’s cross’d.        [Exit SIR ALEXANDER.

 SEBASTIAN
He is gone with some strange purpose, whose effect
Will hurt me little if he shoot so wide,
To think I love so blindly. I but feed
His heart to this match to draw on th’other,
Wherein my joy sits with a full wish crown’d,
Only his mood excepted, which must change
By opposite policies, courses indirect:
Plain dealing in this world takes no effect.
This mad girl I’ll acquaint with my intent,
Get her assistance, make my fortunes known:
‘Twixt lovers’ hearts, she’s a fit instrument
And has the art to help them to their own
By her advice, for in that craft she’s wise:
My love and I may meet, spite of all spies.           [Exit SEBASTIAN.

Proceed to the next scene

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