The Roaring Girl – Act Four, Scene One

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Unhappy in the follies of a son,
Led against judgment, sense, obedience, And all the powers of nobleness and wit:
Oh, wretched father!


 Now, Trapdoor, will she come?

In man’s apparel, sir; I am in her heart now
And share in all her secrets.

Peace, peace, peace.
Here, take my German watch; hang ‘t up in sight
That I may see her hang in English for’t.

I warrant you for that now; next sessions rids her, sir: this watch will bring her in better than a hundred constables.

Good Trapdoor, sayst thou so? Thou cheer’st my heart
After a storm of sorrow. My gold chain too:
Here, take a hundred marks in yellow links.

That will do well to bring the watch to light, sir,
And worth a thousand of your headboroughs’ lanthorns.

Place that a’ the court cupboard, let it lie
Full in the view of her thief-whorish eye.

She cannot miss it, sir; I see’t so plain
That I could steal ‘t myself.

Perhaps thou shalt too,
That or something as weighty; what she leaves,
Thou shalt come closely in and filch away,
And all the weight upon her back I’ll lay.

You cannot assure that, sir.

No, what lets it?

Being a stout girl, perhaps she’ll desire pressing,
Then all the weight must lie upon her belly.

Belly or back I care not so I’ve one.

You’re of my mind for that, sir.

Hang up my ruff band with the diamond at it;
It may be she’ll like that best.

[Aside.] It’s well for her that she must have her choice; he thinks nothing too good for her.  If you hold on this mind a little longer, it shall be the first work I do to turn thief myself; would do a man good to be hang’d when he is so well provided for.

So, well said; all hangs well, would she hung so too:
The sight would please me more than all their glistering.
Oh, that my mysteries to such straits should run
That I must rob myself to bless my son!                                [Exeunt.

Enter SEBASTIAN, with MARY FITZALLARD like a page, and MOLL in man’s clothing.

Thou hast done me a kind office, without touch
Either of sin or shame; our loves are honest.

I’d scorn to make such shift to bring you together else.

Now have I time and opportunity
Without all fear to bid thee welcome, love.                                           [Kiss.

Never with more desire and harder venture.

How strange this shows, one man to kiss another.

I’d kiss such men to choose, Moll;
Methinks a woman’s lip tastes well in a doublet.

Many an old madam has the better fortune then,
Whose breaths grew stale before the fashion came;
If that will help ’em, as you think ’twill do,
They’ll learn in time to pluck on the hose too.

The older they wax, Moll, troth, I speak seriously,
As some have a conceit their drink tastes better
In an outlandish cup than in our own,
So methinks every kiss she gives me now
In this strange form is worth a pair of two.
Here we are safe and furthest from the eye
Of all suspicion: this is my father’s chamber,
Upon which floor he never steps till night;
Here he mistrusts me not, nor I his coming.
At mine own chamber he still pries unto me;
My freedom is not there at mine own finding,
Still check’d and curb’d: here he shall miss his purpose.

And what’s your business now you have your mind, sir?
At your great suit I promis’d you to come;
I pitied her for name’s sake, that a Moll
Should be so cross’d in love when there’s so many
That owes nine lays apiece, and not so little.
My tailor fitted her. How like you his work?

So well no art can mend it for this purpose,
But to thy wit and help we’re chief in debt
And must live still beholding.

Any honest pity
I’m willing to bestow upon poor ring-doves.

I’ll offer no worse play.

Nay, and you should, sir;
I should draw first and prove the quicker man.

Hold, there shall need no weapon at this meeting;
But ’cause thou shalt not loose thy fury idle,
Here take this viol, run upon the guts,
And end thy quarrel singing.

Like a swan above bridge,
For look you here’s the bridge, and here am I.

Hold on, sweet Moll.

I’ve heard her much commended, sir, for one that was ne’er taught.

I’m much beholding to ’em. Well, since you’ll needs put us together, sir, I’ll play my part as well as I can; it shall ne’er be said I came into a gentleman’s chamber and let his instrument hang by the walls.

Why, well said, Moll! I’faith, it had been a shame for that gentleman then that would have let it hung still and ne’er offered thee it.

There it should have been still then for Moll, for though the world judge impudently of me, I ne’er came into that chamber yet where I took down the instrument myself.

Pish, let ’em prate abroad; th’art here where thou art known and lov’d. There be a thousand close dames that will call the viol an unmannerly instrument for a woman and therefore talk broadly of thee, when you shall have them sit wider to a worse quality.

Push, I ever fall asleep and think not of ’em, sir, and thus I dream.

Prithee let’s hear thy dream, Moll.

The song.

I dream there is a mistress,
And she lays out the money;
She goes unto her sisters,
She never comes at any.

Enter SIR ALEXANDER behind them.

She says she went to th’Burse for patterns;
You shall find her at
Saint Kathern’s,
And comes home with never a penny.

That’s a free mistress, faith.

[Aside.] Ay, ay, ay, like her that sings it, one of thine own choosing.

But shall I dream again?
Here comes a wench will brave ye,
Her courage was so great:
She lay with one o’the navy,
Her husband lying i’the
Yet oft with him she cavill’d.
I wonder what she ails.
Her husband’s ship lay gravell’d,
When hers could
hoise up sails;
Yet she began like all my foes
To call whore first, for so do those:
A pox of all false

Marry, amen say I.

[Aside.] So say I too.

Hang up the viol now, sir: all this while I was in a dream; one shall lie rudely then, but being awake, I keep my legs together. A watch: what’s a’ clock here?

[Aside.] Now, now, she’s trapp’d.

Between one and two; nay, then I care not. A watch and a musician are cousin-germans in one thing: they must both keep time well, or there’s no goodness in ’em; the one else deserves to be dash’d against a wall, and t’other to have his brains knock’d out with a fiddle case. What? A loose chain and a dangling diamond.
Here were a brave booty for an evening-thief now;
There’s many a younger brother would be glad
To look twice in at a window for’t,
And wriggle in and out, like an eel in a sandbag.
Oh, if men’s secret youthful faults should judge ’em,
‘Twould be the general’st execution
That e’er was seen in England;
There would be but few left to sing the ballets.
There would be so much work: most of our brokers
Would be chosen for hangmen, a good day for them;
They might renew their wardropes of free cost then.

This is the roaring wench must do us good.

No poison, sir, but serves us for some use,
Which is confirm’d in her.

Peace, peace!
Foot, I did hear him sure, where’er he be!

Who did you hear?

My father.
‘Twas like a sight of his; I must be wary.

[Aside.] No, wilt not be. Am I alone so wretched
That nothing takes? I’ll put him to his plunge for’t.

Life, here he comes! [To MOLL, giving her money.] Sir, I beseech you take it;
Your way of teaching does so much content me,
I’ll make it four pound. Here’s forty shillings, sir.
I think I name it right. [Aside to her.] Help me, good Moll.
Forty in hand.

Sir, you shall pardon me;
I have more of the mean’st scholar I can teach.
This pays me more than you have off’red yet.

At the next quarter
When I receive the means my father ‘lows me,
You shall have t’other forty.

[Aside.] This were well now,
Were ‘t to a man whose sorrows had blind eyes,
But mine behold his follies and untruths
With two clear glasses.  How now?


What’s he there?

You’re come in good time, sir: I’ve a suit to you;
I’d crave your present kindness.

What is he there?

A gentleman, a musician, sir, one of excellent fing’ring.

[Aside.] Ay, I think so; I wonder how they scap’d her.

H’as the most delicate stroke, sir.

[Aside.] A stroke indeed: I feel it at my heart.

Puts down all your famous musicians.

[Aside.] Ay, a whore may put down a hundred of ’em.

Forty shillings is the agreement, sir, between us.
Now, sir, my present means mounts but to half on’t.

And he stands upon the whole.

Ay, indeed does he, sir.

[Aside.] And will do still; he’ll ne’er be in other tale.

Therefore I’d stop his mouth, sir, and I could.

Hum, true, there is no other way indeed.
[Aside.] His folly hardens; shame must needs succeed.
Now, sir, I understand you profess music.

I am a poor servant to that liberal science, sir.

Where is it you teach?

Right against Clifford’s Inn.

Hum, that’s a fit place for it. You have many scholars?

And some of worth whom I may call my masters.

[Aside.] Ay, true, a company of whoremasters.
You teach to sing too?

Marry, do I, sir.

I think you’ll find an apt scholar of my son,
Especially for prick-song.

I have much hope of him.

[Aside.] I am sorry for’t; I have the less for that.
You can play any lesson?

At first sight, sir.

There’s a thing called The Witch. Can you play that?

I would be sorry anyone should mend me in’t.

[Aside.] Ay, I believe thee: thou hast so bewitch’d my son,
No care will mend the work that thou hast done.
I have bethought myself, since my art fails,
I’ll make her policy the art to trap her.
Here are four angels mark’d with holes in them,
Fit for his crack’d companions; gold he will give her:
These will I make induction to her ruin
And rid shame from my house, grief from my heart.
Here, son, in what you take content and pleasure,
Want shall not curb you. [Giving him money.] Pay the gentleman
His latter half in gold.

I thank you, sir.

[Aside.] Oh, may the operation an’t end three:
In her, life, shame in him, and grief in me.                    [Exit SIR ALEXANDER.

Faith, thou shalt have ’em: ’tis my father’s gift.
Never was man beguil’d with better shift.

He that can take me for a male musician,
I cannot choose but make him my instrument
And play upon him.                                                                   [Exeunt omnes.

Proceed to the next scene


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