The London Prodigal – Act Three, Scene Three

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Enter OLIVER; afterwards SIR ARTHUR GREENSHOOD.

OLIVER
Cham assured thick be the place, that the scoundrel appointed to meet me.  If a come, zo; if a come not, zo.  And che war avise, he should make a coystrel an us, ched vese him, and che vang him in hand.  Che would hoist him and give it him to and again, zo chud.  Who bin a there?  Sir Arthur!  Chil stay aside.

ARTHUR
[Aside.] I have dogged the Devonshire man into the field,
For fear of any harm that should befall him.
I had an inkling of that yesternight,
That Flowerdale and he should meet this morning.
Though, of my soul, Oliver fears him not,
Yet for I’d see fair play on either side,
Made me to come, to see their valours tried.
[Aloud.] Good morrow to Master Oliver.

OLIVER
God an good morrow.

ARTHUR
What, Master Oliver, are you angry?

OLIVER
Why, an it be, tit and grieven you?

ARTHUR
Not me at all, sir, but I imagine by
Your being here thus armed, you stay for some
That you should fight withal.

OLIVER
Why, and he do, che would not desire you to take his part.

ARTHUR
No, by my troth, I think you need it not,
For he you look for, I think, means not to come.

OLIVER
No, and che war assur a that, ched avese him in another place.

Enter DAFFODIL.

DAFFODIL
Oh, Sir Arthur, Master Oliver, aye me!
Your love, and yours, and mine, sweet Mistress Luce,
This morn is married to young Flowerdale.

ARTHUR
Married to Flowerdale!  ‘Tis impossible.

OLIVER
Married, man, che hope thou dost but jest,
To make an a volowten marriment of it.

DAFFODIL
Oh, ‘tis too true.  Here comes his uncle.

Enter UNCLE, Sheriff, and Officers.

UNCLE
God morrow, Sir Arthur, good morrow, Master Oliver.

OLIVER
God and good morn, Master Flowerdale.  I pray you tellen us,
Is your scoundrel kinsman married?

UNCLE
Master Oliver, call him what you will, but he is married to Sir Lancelot’s daughter here.

ARTHUR
Unto her?

OLIVER
Aye, ha the old yellow zrved me thick trick?
Why, man,  he was a promise, chill chud a had her.
Is a zitch a vox?  Chill look to his water, che vor him.

UNCLE
The must plays, they are coming from the church.
Sheriff, do your office.  Fellows, stand stoutly to it.

Enter all to the wedding [SIR LANCELOT, FLOWERDALE, WEATHERCOCK, CIVET, LUCE, FRANCES, DELIA, FATHER and Attendants].

 OLIVER
God give you  joy, as the old zaid proverb is, and some zorrow among.  You met us well, did you not?

LANCELOT
Nay, be not angry, sir, the fault is in me.  I have done all the wrong, kept him from coming to the field to you, as I might, sir, for I am a justice, and sworn to keep the peace.

WEATHERCOCK
Aye, marry, is he, sir, a very justice, and sworn to keep the peace.  You must not disturb the wedding.

LANCELOT
Nay, never frown nor storm, sir.  If you do,
I’ll have an order taken for you.

OLIVER
Well, well, chill be quiet.

WEATHERCOCK
Master Flowerdale, welcome with all my heart.

FLOWERDALE
Uncle, this is she, i’faith.  Master under-sheriff, arrest me?  At whose suit?  Draw, Kit.

UNCLE
At my suit, sir.

LANCELOT
Why, what’s the matter, Master Flowerdale?

UNCLE
This is the matter, sir:  this unthrift here hath cozened you, and hath had of me, inseveral sums, three thousand pound.

FLOWERDALE
Why, Uncle, Uncle!

UNCLE
Cousin, cousin, you have uncled me, and if you be not staid, you’ll prove a cozener unto all who know you.

LANCELOT
Why, sir, suppose he be to you in debt
Ten thousand pound, his state to me appears
To be at least three thousand a year.

UNCLE
Oh, sir, I was too late informed of that plot,
How that he went about to cozen you,
And formed a will, and sent it
To your good friend here, Master Weathercock,
In which was nothing true, but brags and lies.

LANCELOT
Ha, hath he not such lordships, lands and ships?

UNCLE
Not worth a groat, not worth a halfpenny, he.

LANCELOT
I pray, tell us true, be plain, young Flowerdale.

FLOWERDALE
My uncle here’s mad, and disposed to do me wrong.  But here’s my man, an honest fellow, by the lord, and of good credit.

FATHER
Not I, sir.
I am too old to lie.  I rather know
You forged a will, where every line you writ,
You studied where to court your lands must lie.

WEATHERCOCK
And I prithee, where be they, honest friend?

FATHER
I’faith, nowhere, sir, for he hath none at all.

WEATHERCOCK
Benedicite!  We are o’er wretched, I believe.

LANCELOT
I am cozened, and my hopefullest child undone!

FLOWERDALE
You are not cozened, nor is she undone.  They slander me, by this light, they slander me.  Look you, my uncle here’s an usurer, and would undo me, but I’ll stand in law.  Do you but bail me, you shall do no more.  You, brother Civet, and Master Weathercock, do but bail me, and let me have my marriage money paid me, and we’ll ride down, and there your own eyes shall see how my poor tenants there will welcome me.  You shall but bail me, you shall do no more, you greedy gnat.  Their bail will serve.

UNCLE
Aye, sir, I’ll ask no better bail.

LANCELOT
No, sir, you shall not take my bail, nor his,
Nor my son, Civet’s.  I’ll not deal with him.
Let’s uncle make false dice with his false bones,
I will not have to do with him.  Mocked, gulled, and wronged!
Come, girl, though it be late, it falls out well.
Thou shalt not live with him in beggar’s hell.

LUCE
He is my husband, and high heaven doth know
With what unwillingness I went to church.
But you enforced me, you compelled me to it.
The holy church-man pronounced these words but now,
“I must not leave my husband in distress.”
Now I must comfort him, not go with you.

LANCELOT
Comfort a cozener?  On my curse, forsake him!

LUCE
This day you caused me on your curse to take him.
Do not, I pray, my grieved soul oppress.
God knows my heart doth bleed at his distress.

LANCELOT
Oh, Master Weathercock,
I must confess I forced her to this match,
Led with opinion his false will was true.

WEATHERCOCK
Aye, he hath over-reached me too.

LANCELOT
She might have lived like Delia, in a happy virgin’s state.

DELIA
Father, be patient.  Sorrow comes too late.

LANCELOT
And on her knees she begged and did entreat,
If she must needs taste a sad marriage life,
She craved to be Sir Arthur Greenshood’s wife.

ARTHUR
You have done her and me the greater wrong.

LANCELOT
Oh, take her yet.

ARTHUR
Not I.

LANCELOT
Or, Master Oliver, accept my child,
And half my wealth is yours.

OLIVER
No, sir, chil break no laws.

LUCE
Never fear, she will not trouble you.

DELIA
Yet, sister, in this passion,
Do not run headlong to confusion.
You may affect him, though not follow him.

FRANCES
Do, sister, hang him!  Let him go.

WEATHERCOCK
Do, faith, Mistress Luce.  Leave him.

LUCE
You are three gross fools.  Let me alone.
I swear I’ll live with him in all his moan.

OLIVER
But an he have his legs at liberty,
Cham averd he will never life with you.

ARTHUR
Aye, but he is now in huckster’s handling for running away.

LANCELOT
Huswife, you hear how you and I am wronged,
And if you will redress it yet you may;
But if you stand on terms to follow him
Never come near my sight nor look on me,
Call me not father, look not for a groat,
For all thy portion I will this day give
Unto thy sister Francis.

FRANCIS
How say you to that, Tom.  I shall have a good deal.  Besides, I’ll be a good wife, and a good wife is a good thing, I can tell.

CIVET
Peace, Frances.  I would be sorry to see thy sister cast away, as I am a gentleman.

LANCELOT
What, are you yet resolved?

LUCE
Yes, I am resolved.

LANCELOT
Come then, away.  Or now or never come.

LUCE
This way I turn.  Go you unto your feast,
And I to weep that am with grief oppressed.

LANCELOT
For ever fly my sight.  Come, gentlemen,
Let’s in.  I’ll help you to far better wives than her.
Delia, upon my blessing talk not to her.
Base baggage in such haste to beggary.

UNCLE
Sheriff, take your prisoner to your charge.

FLOWERDALE
Uncle, be-God, you have used me very hardly,
By my troth, upon my wedding day.

[Exeunt all but LUCE, FLOWERDALE, FATHER, UNCLE, Sheriff, and Officers.

LUCE
Oh, Master Flowerdale, but hear me speak:
Stay but a little while, good master sheriff.
If not for him, for my sake pity him.
Good sir, stop not your ears at my complaint,
My voice grows weak, for woman’s words are faint.

FLOWERDALE
Look you, uncle, she kneels to you.

UNCLE
Fair maid, for you, I love you with all my heart,
And grieve, sweet soul, thy fortune is so bad,
That thou shouldst match with such a graceless youth.
Go to thy father, think not upon him,
Whom hell hath marked to be the son of shame.

LUCE
Impute his wildness, sir, unto his youth,
And think that now is the time he doth repent.
Alas, what good or gain can you receive,
To imprison him that nothing hath to pay?
And where nought is, the king doth lose his due.
Oh, pity him, as God shall pity you.

UNCLE
Lady, I know his humours all too well,
And nothing in the world can do him good,
But misery itself to chain him with.

LUCE
Say that your debts were paid, then is he free?

UNCLE
Aye, virgin, that being answered, I have done,
But to him that is all as impossible,
As I to scale the high pyramids.
Sheriff, take your prisoner.  Maiden, fare thee well.

LUCE
Oh, go not yet, good Master Flowerdale.
Take my word for the debt; my word, my bond.

FLOWERDALE
Aye, by God, Uncle, and my bond too.

LUCE
Alas, I ne’er ought nothing but I paid it,
And I can work; alas, he can do nothing.
I have some friends perhaps will pity me.
His chiefest friends do seek his misery.
All that I can or beg, get, or receive,
Shall be for you.  Oh, do not turn away.
Methinks, within, a face so reverent,
So well experienced in this tottering world,
Should have some feeling of maiden’s grief.
For my sake, his father’s, and your brother’s sake,
Aye, for your soul’s sake that doth hope for joy,
Pity my state.  Do not two souls destroy.

UNCLE
Fair maid, stand up; not in regard of him,
But in pity of thy hapless choice,
I do release him.  Master Sheriff, I thank you;
And officers, there is for you to drink.

[Gives them money; exit Sheriff and Officers.

Here, maid, take this money; there is a hundred angels,
And for I will be sure he shall not have it,
Here, Kester, take it you, and use it sparingly.
But let not her have any want at all.
Dry your eyes, niece, do not too much lament
For him, whose life hath been in riot spent.
If well he useth thee, he gets him friends,
If ill, a shameful end on him depends.                                                               [Exit.

FLOWERDALE
A plague go with you for an old fornicator!  Come, Kit, the money; come, honest Kit.

FATHER
Nay, by my faith,sir, you shall pardon me.

FLOWERDALE
And why, sir, pardon you?  Give me the money, you old rascal, or I shall  make you.

LUCE
Pray, hold your hands; give it him, honest friend.

FATHER
If you be so content, with all my heart.

FLOWERDALE
Content, sir.  ‘Sblood she shall be content, whether she will or no.  A rattle baby come to follow me!  Go, get you gone to the greasy chuff your father, bring me your dowry, or never look at me.

FATHER
Sir, she hath forsook her father and all her friends for you.

FLOWERDALE
Hang thee, her friends and father altogether!

FATHER
Yet part with something to provide her lodging.

FLOWERDALE
Yes, I mean to part with her and you, but if I part with one angel, hang me at a post. I’ll rather throw them as a cast at dice, as I have done a thousand of their fellows.

FATHER
Nay then, I will be plain, degenerate boy.
Thou hadst a father would have been ashamed.

FLOWERDALE
My father was an ass, an old ass.

FATHER
Thy father!  Proud licentious villain!
What, are you at your foils?  I’ll foil with you.

LUCE
Good sir, forbear him.

FATHER
Did not this whining woman hang on me,
I’d teach thee was it was to abuse thy father.
Go!  Hang, beg, starve, dice, game, that when all is gone
Thou mayst after despair and hang thyself.

LUCE
O, do not curse him!

FATHER
I do not curse him, and to pray for him were vain.
It grieves me that he bears his father’s name.

FLOWERDALE
Well, you old rascal, I shall meet with you.  Sirrah, get you gone.  I will not strip the livery over your ears, because you paid for it.  But do not use my name, sirrah, do you hear?  Look  you, do not use my name, you were best.

FATHER
Pay me twenty pound then, that I lent you,
Or give me security when I may have it.

FLOWERDALE
I’ll pay thee not a penny, and for security I’ll give thee none.  Minckins, look you do not follow me, look you do not.  If you do, beggar, I shall slit your nose.

LUCE
Alas, what shall I do?

FLOWERDALE
Why, turn whore, that’s a good trade,
And so perhaps I’ll see thee now and then.                                             [Exit.

LUCE
Alas the day that ever I was born!

FATHER
Sweet mistress, do not weep.  I’ll stick to you.

LUCE
Alas, my friend, I know not what to do.
My father and my friends, they have despised me;
And I, a wretched maid, thus cast away,
Knows neither where to go, nor what do say.

FATHER
It grieves me at the soul to see her tears
Thus stain the crimson roses of her cheeks.
Lady, take comfort, do not mourn in vain.
I have a little living in this town,
The which I think comes to a hundred pound;
All that and more shall be at your dispose.
I’ll straight go help you to some strange disguise,
And place you in a service in this town,
Where you shall know all, yet yourself unknown.
Come, grieve no more where no help can be had.
Weep not for him that is more worse than bad.

LUCE
I thank you, sir.                                                                               [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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