The London Prodigal – Act Three, Scene One

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By my truth, this is good luck.  I thank God for this.  In good sooth, I have even my heart’s desire.  Sister Delia, now I may boldly call you so, for your father hath frank and freely given me his daughter Frances.

Aye, by my troth, Tom; thou hast my good will too, for I thank God I longed for a husband, and, would I might never stir, for one his name was Tom.

Why, sister, now you have your wish.

You say very true, sister Delia, and I prithee call me nothing but Tom and I’ll call thee sweetheart, and Frank.  Will it not do well, sister Delia?

It will do very well with both of you.

But, Tom, must I go as I do now when I am married?

No, Frank, I’ll have thee go like a citizen
In a guarded gown, and a French hood.


By my troth, that will be excellent indeed.
Brother, maintain your wife to your estate.
Apparel you yourself like to your father,
And let her go like to your ancient mother.
He sparing got his wealth, left it to you.
Brother, take heed of price, it soon bids thrift adieu.

So as my father and my mother went!  That’s a jest indeed.  Why, she went in a fringed gown, a single ruffle, and a white cap; and my father in a mocado coat, a pair of red satin sleeves, and a canvas back.

And yet his wealth was all as much as yours.

My estate, my estate, I think God, is forty pound a year, in good leases and tenements, besides twenty mark a year at Cuckold’s-haven, and that come to us all by inheritance.

That may, indeed, ‘tis very fitly plied.
I know not how it comes, but so it falls out,
That those whose fathers have died wondrous rich,
And took no pleasure but to gather wealth,
Thinking of little that they leave behind
For them, they hope, will be of their like mind.
But it falls out contrary.  Forty years sparing
Is scarce three seven years spending; never caring
What will ensue, when all their coin is gone.
Oft have I heard that pride and riot kiss’d,
And then repentance cries, “for had I wist.”

You say well, sister Delia, you say well.  But I mean to live within my bounds; for look you, I have set down my rest thus far, but to maintain my wife in her French-hood, and her coach, keep a couple of geldings, and a brace of greyhounds, and this is all I’ll do.

And you’ll do this with forty pound a year?

Aye, and a better penny, sister.

Sister, you forget that at Cuckold’s-haven.

By my troth, well remembered, Frank.
I’ll give thee that to buy three pins.

Keep you the rest for points.  Alas the day!
Fools shall have wealth, though all the world say nay.
Come, brother, will you in?  Dinner stays for us.

Aye, good sister, with all my heart.

Aye, by my troth, Tom, for I have a good stomach.

And I the like, sweet Frank.  No, sister, do not think
I’ll go beyond my bounds.

God grant you may not.                                                            [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene


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