The London Prodigal – Act Three, Scene Two

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Enter young FLOWERDALE and his FATHER, with foils in their hands.

FLOWERDALE
Sirrah Kit, tarry thou there.  I have spied Sir Lancelot and old Weathercock coming this way.  There are hard at hand.  I will by no means be spoken withal.

FATHER
I’ll warrant you.  Go, get you in.

Enter LANCELOT and WEATHERCOCK.

LANCELOT
Now, by honest friend, thou dost belong to Master Flowerdale?

FATHER
I do, sir.

LANCELOT
Is he within, my good fellow?

FATHER
No, sir, he is not within.

LANCELOT
I prithee, if he be within, let me speak with him.

FATHER
Sir, to tell you true, my master is within, but indeed would not be spoke withal.  There be some terms that stands upon is reputation, therefore he will not admit any conference till he hath shook them off.

LANCELOT
I prithee tell him his very good friend, Sir Lancelot Spurcock entreats him to speak with him.

FATHER
By my troth, sir, if you come to take up the matter between my master and the Devonshire man, you do not but beguile your hopes and lose your labour.

LANCELOT
Honest friend, I have not any such thing to him.  I come to speak with him about other matters.

FATHER
For my master, sir, hath set down his resolution, either to redeem his honour, or leave his life behind him.

LANCELOT
My friend, I do not know any quarrel touching thy master or any other person.  My business is of a different matter to him, and I prithee so tell him.

FATHER
For howsoever the Devonshire man is, my master’s mind is bloody. That’s a round O; and therefore, sir, entreaty is but vain.

LANCELOT
I have no such thing to him, I tell thee once again.

FATHER
I will then so signify to him.                                                                                   [Exit.

LANCELOT
Ah, sirrah, I see this matter is hotly carried,
But I’ll labour to dissuade him from it.

Enter FLOWERDALE.

Good morrow, Master Flowerdale.

FLOWERDALE
Good morrow, good Sir Lancelot; good morrow, Master Weathercock.  By my troth, gentlemen, I have been a reading over Nick Matchivill.  I find him good to be known, not to be followed; a pestilent humane fellow.  I have made certain annotations of him such as they be.  And how is’t, Sir Lancelot?  Ha?  How is’t?  A mad world, men cannot life quiet in it.

LANCELOT
Master Flowerdale, I do understand there is
Some jar between the Devonshire man and you.

FATHER
They, sir?  They are good friends as can be.

FLOWERDALE
Who?  Master Oliver and I?  As good friends as can be.

LANCELOT
It is a kind of safety in you to deny it, and a generous silence, which too few are endued withal.  But, sir, such a think I hear, and I could wish it otherwise.

FLOWERDALE
No such thing, Sir Lancelot, a’ my reputation, as I am an honest man.

LANCELOT
Now I do believe you then, if you do
Engage your reputation there is none.

FLOWERDALE
Nay, I do not engage my reputation there is not.  You shall not bind me to any condition of hardness; but if there be anything between us, then there is; if there be not, then there is not.  Be or not be, all is one.

LANCELOT
I do perceive by this that there is something between you, and I am very sorry for it.

FLOWERDALE
You may be deceived, Sir Lancelot.  The Italian hath a pretty saying, “Questo—” I have forgot it too, ‘tis out of my head, but in my translation, if’t hold, thus:  “If thou hast a friend, keep him; if a foe, trip him.”

LANCELOT
Come, I do see by this there is somewhat between you, and, before God, I could wish it otherwise.

FLOWERDALE
Well, what is between us can hardly be altered.  Sir Lancelot, I am to ride forth tomorrow. That way which I must ride, no man must deny me the sun.  I would not by any particular man be denied common and general passage.  If anyone saith, “Flowerdale, thou passest not this way,” my answer is, I must either on or return, but return is not my word, I must on.  If I cannot, then, make my way, nature hath done the last for me, and there’s the fine.

LANCELOT
Master Flowerdale, every man hath one tongue and two ears.  Nature, in her building, is a most curious work-master.

FLOWERDALE
That is as much as to say a man should hear more than he should speak.

LANCELOT
You say true, and indeed I have heart more than at this time I will speak.

FLOWERDALE
You say well.

LANCELOT
Slanders are more common than troths, master Flowerdale, but proof is the rule for both.

FLOWERDALE
You say true.  What do you call him hath it there in his third canton?

LANCELOT
I have heard you have been wild.  I have believed it.

FLOWERDALE
‘Twas fit, ‘twas necessary.

LANCELOT
But I have seen somewhat of late in you, that hath confirmed in me an opinion of goodness toward you.

FLOWERDALE
I’faith, sir, I am sure I never did you harm.  Some good I have done, either to you or yours, I am sure you know not; neither is it my will you should.

LANCELOT
Ay, your will, sir.

FLOWERDALE
Ay, my will sir?  ‘Sfoot, do you know ought of my will?  Begod, and you do, sir, I am abused.

LANCELOT
Go, Master Flowerdale.  What I know, I know, and know you thus much out of my knowledge, that I truly love you.  For my daughter, she’s yours.  And if you like a marriage better than a brawl, all quirks of reputation set aside, go with me presently.  And where you should fight a bloody battle, you shall me married to a lovely lady.

FLOWERDALE
Nay, but, Sir Lancelot—

LANCELOT
If you will not embrace my offer, yet assure yourself this much:  I will have order to hinder your encounter.

FLOWERDALE
Nay, but hear me, Sir Lancelot.

LANCELOT
Nay, stand not you upon imputative honour.  ‘Tis merely unsound, unprofitable, and idle inferences.  Your business is to wed my daughter, therefore give me your present word to do it.  I’ll go and provide the maid, therefore give me your present resolution, either now or never.

FLOWERDALE
Will you so put me to it?

LANCELOT
Ay, afore God, either take me now, or take me never.  Else what I thought should be our match shall be our parting.  So fare you well, for ever.

FLOWERDALE
Stay.  Fall out what may fall, my love is above all.  I will come.

LANCELOT
I expect you, and so fare you well.         [Exit LANCELOT and WETHERCOCK.

FATHER
Now, sir, how shall we do for wedding apparel?

FLOWERDALE
By the mass, that’s true.  Now help, Kit.
The marriage ended, we’ll make amends for all.

FATHER
Well, no more.  Prepare you for your bride.
We will not want for clothes, whatsoe’re betide.

FLOWERDALE
And thou shalt see when once I have my dower,
In mirth we’ll spend full many a merry hour.
As for this wench I not regard a pin,
It is her gold must bring my pleasures in.                                                    [Exit.

FATHER
Is’t possible he hath his second living,
Forsaking God, himself to the devil giving?
But that I knew his mother firm and chaste,
My heart would say my head she had disgraced.
Else would I swear he never was my son,
But her fair mind so foul a deed did shun.

Enter UNCLE.

UNCLE
How now, brother, how do you find your son?

FATHER
Oh, brother, heedless as a libertine,
Even grown a master in the school of vice;
One that doth nothing but invent deceit;
For all the day he humours up and down
How he the next day might deceive his friend.
He thinks of nothing but the present time.
For one groat ready down, he’ll pay a shilling,
But then the lender must needs stay for it.
When I was young, I had the scope of youth,
Both wild, and wanton, careless and desperate;
But such made strains as he’s possessed withal,
I thought it wonder of to dream upon.

UNCLE
I told you so, but you would not believe it.

FATHER
Well, I have found it, but one thing comforts me:
Brother, tomorrow he’s to be married
To beauteous Luce, Sir Lancelot Spurcock’s daughter.

UNCLE
Is’t possible?

FATHER
‘Tis true, and thus I mean to curb him.
This day, brother, I will you shall arrest him.
If any thing will tame him, it must be that,
For he is ranked in mischief, chained to a life
That will increase his shame and kill his wife.

UNCLE
What, arrest him on his wedding day?
That were unchristian and an unhumane part.
How many couple even for that very day
Hath purchased seven year’s sorrow afterward!
Forbear him then today, do it tomorrow,
And this day mingle not his joy with sorrow.

FATHER
Brother, I’ll have it done this very day,
And in the view of all as he comes from church.
Do but observe the course that he will take.
Upon my life he will forswear the debt;
And for we’ll have the sum shall not be slight,
Say that he owed you near three thousand pound.
Good brother, let it be done immediately.

UNCLE
Well, seeing you will have it so,
Brother, I’ll do it, and straight provide the sheriff.

FATHER
So, brother, by this means shall we perceive
Why Sir Lancelot in this pinch will do.
And how his wife doth stand affected to him,
Her love will then be tried to the uttermost
And all the rest of them.  Brother, what I will do
Shall harm him much, and much avail him too.                                    [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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