Westward Ho – Act Five, Scene Four

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Enter TENTERHOOK, HONEYSUCKLE, WAFER, JUSTINIANO, and his Wife, with AMBUSH and Chamberlain.

HONEYSUCKLE
Sergeant Ambush, as th’art an honest fellow, scout in some back room, till the watchword be given for sallying forth.

AMBUSH
Dun’s the mouse.

TENTERHOOK
A little low woman, sayest thou, in a velvel cap, and one of ‘hem in a beaver? Brother Honeysuckle, and Brother Wafer, hark, they are they.

WAFER
But art sure their husbands are abed with ‘em?

CHAMBERLAIN
I think so, sir. I know not. I left ‘em together in one room, and was division fell amongst ‘tm, the fates can discover, not I.

TENTERHOOK
Leave us, good chamberlain. We are some of their friends. Leave us, good chamberlain. Be merry a little. Leave us, honest chamberlain. [Exit Chamberlain.
We are abus’d. We are bought and sold in Brainford Market. Never did the sickness of one belayed nurse-child suck so cold to the hearts of three fathers. Never were three innocent citizens so horribly, so abominably wrung under the withers.

HONEYSUCKLE & WAFER
What shall we do? How shall we help ourselves?

HONEYSUCKLE
How shall we pull this thorn out of our foot before it rankle?

TENTERHOOK
Yes, yes, yes, well enough. One of us stay here to watch, do you see? To watch. Have and eye, have an ear. I and my brother Wafer and Master Justiniano will set the town in an insurrection, bring hither the constable and his bill-men, break open up ‘em, take ‘em in their wickedness, and put ‘em to their purgation.

HONEYSUCKLE & WAFER
Agreed

JUSTINIANO
Ha, ha, purgation!

TENTERHOOK
We’ll have ‘em before some country justice of coram—for we scorn to be bound to the peace—and this justice shall draw his sword in our defence. If we find ‘em to be malefactors, we’ll ticklem ‘em.

HONEYSUCKLE
Agreed. Do not stay, but do’t. Come.

JUSTINIANO
Are you mad? Do you know what you do? Whither will you run?

ALL THREE
To set the town in an uproar.

JUSTINIANO
An uproar! Will you make the townsmen think that Londoners nver come hither but upon Stain Thomas’s night? Say you should rattle up the constable, thrash all the counry toether, hedge in the house with flails, pike-staves, and pitchforks, take your wives napping, these western smelts nibbling, and that like to many Vulcans, every smith should discover his Venus dancing with Mars in a net? Would this plaster cure the headache?

TENTERHOOK
Ay, it would.

HONEYSUCKLE & WAFER
Nay, it should.

JUSTINIANO
Nego, nego, no, no. It shall be prov’d unto you, your heads would ache worse; when women are proclaimed to be light, they strive to be more light, for who dares disprove a proclamation?

TENTERHOOK
Ay, but when light wives make heavy husbands, let these husbands play mad Hamlet and cry revenge. Come, and we’ll do so.

MISTRESS JUSTINIANO
Pray, stay, be not so heady at my entreaty.

JUSTINIANO
My wife entreats you, and I entreat you to have mercy on yourselves, though you have none over the women. I’ll tell you a tale. This last Christmas, a citizen and his wife—as it might be one of you—were invited to the revels one night at one of the inns a’ court. The husband, having business, trusts his wife thither to take up a room for him before. She did so. But before she went, doubts a rising, what blocks her husband would stumble at, to hinder his entrance. It was consulted upon, by what token, by what trick, by what banner or brooch he should be known to be he when he rapp’d at the gate.

ALL THREE
Very good.

JUSTINIANO
The crowd, he was told, would be great; their clamours greater, and able to drown the throats of a shoal of fishwives. He himself therefore devises an excellent watchword, and the sign at which he woud hang out himself, should be a horn. He would wind his horn, and that should give ‘em warning that he was come.

ALL THREE
So.

JUSTINIANO
The torchman and whifflers had an item to receive him. He comes, rings out his horn with an alarum, enters with shout, all the house rises—thinking some sowgelder pressed in—his wife blushed, the company jested, the simple man like a beggar going to the stocks laugh’d, as not being sensible of his own disgrace, and hereupon the punies set down this decree that no man shall hereafter come to laugh at their revels—if his wife be entered before him—unless he carry his horn about him.

WAFER
I’ll not trouble them.

JUSTINIANO
So if you trumpet abroad and preach at the market cross your wives’ shame, ‘tis your own shame.

ALL THREE
What shall we do, then?

JUSTINIANO
Take my counsel. I’ll ask no fee for’t. Bar our host, banish mine hostess, beat away the chamberlain, let the ostlers walk, enter you the chambers peaceably, lock the doors gingerly, look upon your wives woefully, but upon the evildoers, most wickedly.

TENTERHOOK
What shall we reap by this?

JUSTINIANO
An excellent harvest, this. You shall hear the poor mousetrapp’d guilty gentlemen call for mercy; your wives you shall see kneeling at your feet and weeping, and wringing, and blushing, and cursing Brainford, and crying “pardona moy, pardona moy, pardona moy,” whilst you have the choice to stand either at judges to condemn ‘em, beadles to torment ‘em, or confessors to absolve ‘em. And what a glory will it be for you three to kiss your wives like forgetful husbands, to exhort and forgive the young men like pitiful fathers, then to call for oars, then to cry “Hay for London!” then to make a supper, then to drown all in sack and sugar, then to go to bed, and then to rise and open shop, where you may ask any man what he lacks with your cap off, and none shall perceive whether the brims wring you.

TENTERHOOK
We’ll raise no towns.

HONEYSUCKLE
No, no, let’s knock first.

WAFER
Ay, that’s best. I’ll summon a parley.                                                                   [Knocks.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
[Within.] Whose there? Have you stockfish in hand that you beat so hard? Who are you?

TENTERHOOK
That’s my wife. Let Justiniano speak, for all they know our tongues.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
[Within.] What a murrain ail these colts, to keep such a kicking, Monopoly?

JUSTINIANO
Yes.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
[Within.] Is Master Linstock up too, and the captain?

JUSTINIANO
Both are in the field. Will you open your door?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
[Within.] Oh, you are proper gamesters t bring flase dice with you from London to cleat yourselves. Is’t possible that three shallow women should gull three such gallants?

TENTERHOOK
What means this?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
[Within.] Have we defied you upon the walls all night to open our gates to you i’th’morning? Our honest husbands, they—silly men—lie praying in their beds now, that the water under us may not be rough, the tilt that covers us may not be rent, and the straw about our feed may keep our pretty legs warm. I warrant they walk upon Queen-hive—as Leander did for Hero—to watch for our landing, and should we wrong such kind hearts? Would we might ever be troubled with the toothache then?

TENTERHOOK
This thing that makes fools of us thus, is my wife.                                              [Knocks.

MISTRESS WAFER
Ay, ay, knock your bellies full. We hug one another abed and lie laughing till we tickle again to remember how we sent you a bat-fowling.

WAFER
An almont parret. That’s my Mab’s voice. I know by the sound.

JUSTINIANO
‘Sfoot, you ha’ spoil’d half already, and you’ll spoil all, if you dam not up your mouths! Villainy! Nothing but villainy! I’m afraid they have smelt your breaths at the keyhole, and now they set you to catch flounders, whilst in the meantime, the concupiscentious malefactors make ‘em ready and then take London napping.

ALL THREE
I’ll not be gull’d so.

TENTERHOOK
Show yourselves to be men, and break open doors.

JUSTINIANO
Break open doors, and show yourselves to be beasts. If you break open doors, your wives may lay flat burglary to your charge.

HONEYSUCKLE
Lay a pudding. Burglary!

JUSTINIANO
Will you then turn coridons because you are among clowns? Shall it be said you have no brains being in Brainford?

ALL THREE
Master Parenthesis, we will enter and set upon ‘em.

JUSTINIANO
Well, do so. But enter not so that all the country may cry shame of your doings. Knock, ‘em down, burst open Erebus and bring an old house over our heads if you do.

WAFER
No matter, we’ll bear it off with heads and shoulders.                                   [Knocks.

MISTRESS WAFER looks out.

MISTRESS WAFER
You cannot enter indeed, la. Gods my pittikin, our three husbands summon a parley! Let that long old woman either creep under t heed or else stand upright behind the painted cloth.                                                                                             [Exit.

WAFER
Do you hear, you Mabel?

MISTRESS WAFER
Let’s never hide our heads now, for we are discovered.

HONEYSUCKLE
But all this while, my Honeysuckle appears not.

JUSTINIANO
Why, then two of them have pitch’d their tents there and your lies in ambuscade with your enemy there.

HONEYSUCKLE
Stand upon your guard there, while I batter here.        [Knock at the other door.

MONOPOLY
Who’s there?

JUSTINIANO
Hold, I’ll speak in a small voice like one of the women. Here’s a friend. Are you up? Rise, rise, stir, stir!

MONOPOLY
[Within.] ‘Ud’s foot! What weasel are you? Are you going to catch quails that you bring your pipes with you? I’ll see what troubled ghost it is that cannot sleep.                                                                                                                    [Looks out.

TENTERHOOK
Oh, Master Monopoly, God save you!

MONOPOLY
Amen, for the last itme I saw you , the devil was at mine elbow in buff. What, three merry men, and three merry men, and three merry men be we too.

HONEYSUCKLE
How does my wife, Master Monopoly?

MONOPOLY
Who? My overthwart neighbour, passing well. This is kindly done. Sir Goslin is not far from you. We’ll join our armies presently. Here be rare fields to walk in. Captain, rise, Captain Linstock, bestir your stumps, for the Philestines are upon us.                                                                                                                                       [Exit.

TENTERHOOK
This Monopoly is an arrant knave, a cogging knave, for all he’s a courtier. If Monopoly be suffer’d to ride up and down with other men’s wives, he’ll undo both city and country.

Enter MISTRESS TENTERHOOK, MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE, and MISTRESS WAFER.

JUSTINIANO
Moll, mask thyself. They shall not know thee.

ALL THREE WOMEN
How now, sweethearts? What make you here?

WAFER
Not that which you make here.

TENTERHOOK
Marry, you make bulls of your husbands.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Buzzards, do we not? Out, you yellow infirmities! Do all slowers show in your eyes like columbines?

WAFER
Wife, what says the collier? Is not thy soul blacker than his coals? How does the child? How does my flesh and blood wife?

MISTRESS WAFER
Your flesh and blood is very well recovered now, mouse.

WAFER
I know ‘tis. The collier has a sack-full of news to empty.

TENTERHOOK
Clare, where by your two rings with diamonds?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
At hand, sir, with a wet finger.

TENTERHOOK
I dreamt you had lost ‘em. What a profane varlet is this shoulder clapper, to lie thus upon my wife and her rings.

Enter MONOPOLY, WHIRLPOOL, and LINSTOCK.

MONOPOLY, WHIRLPOOL, & LINSTOCK
Save you, gentlemen.

TENTERHOOK, HONEYSUCKLE, & WAFER
And you and our wives from you.

MONOPOLY
Your wives have sav’d themselves for one.

TENTERHOOK
Master Monopoly, though I meet you in high Germany, I hope you can understand broken English. Have you discharg’d your debt?

MONOPOLY
Yes, sir, with a double charge. Your harpy that set his ten commandments upon my back had to diamonds to save him harmless.

TENTERHOOK
Of you, sir.

MONOPOLY
Me, sir. Do you think there be no diamond courtiers?

Enter AMBUSH.

TENTERHOOK
Sergeant Ambush, issue forth. Monopoly, I’ll cut off your convoy mast. Sergeant Ambush, I charge you as you hope to receive comfort from the smell of mace, speak not like a sergeant, but deal honestly, of whom had you the diamonds?

AMBUSH
Of your wife, sir, if I’m an honest man.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Of me, you pewter-buttoned rascal!

MONOPOLY
Sirrah, you that live by nothing but the carrion of poultry.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Schoolmaster, hark hither.                                             [Whispers to JUSTINIANO.

MONOPOLY
Where are my gems and precious stones that were my bail?

AMBUSH
Forthcoming, sir, though your money is not. Your creditor has ‘em.

JUSTINIANO
[To MISTRESS TENTERHOOK.] Excellent! Peace. [Aloud.] Why, Master Tenterhook, if the diamonds be of the reported value, I’ll pay your money. Receive ‘em, keep ‘em till Master Monopoly be fatter i’th’purse; for Master Monopoly, I know you will not be long empty, Master Monopoly.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Let him have ‘em, good Tenterhook. Where are they?

TENTERHOOK
At home. I lock’d ‘em up.

Enter MISTRESS BIRDLIME.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
No, indeed, forsooth. I lock’d ‘em up, and those are they your wife has, and those are they your husband—like a bad liver as he is—woud lhave given to a niece of mine that lies in my house to take physic—to have committed fleshly treason with her.

TENTERHOOK
Ay, at your house—you old—

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
You, perdy, and that honest bachelor, never all me old for the matter.

[Points to HONEYSUCKLE.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Motherly woman, he’s my husband and no bachelor’s buttons are at his doublet.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
‘Las, I speak innocently and that lean gentleman set in his staff there. But, as I’m a sinner, both I and the young woman had an eye to the main chance, and though they brought more about ‘em than Captain Candish’s voyage came to, they should not, nor could not—unless I had been a naughty woman—have entered the straits.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK, MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE, & MISTRESS WAFER
Have we smelt you out, foxes?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Do you come after us with hue and cry when you are the thieves yourselves?

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Murder, I see, cannot be hid, but if this old Sybil of your speak oracles, for my part, I’ll be like an almanac that threatens nothing but foul weather.

TENTERHOOK
That bawd has been damn’d five hundred times and is her word to be taken?

JUSTINIANO
To be dam’d once is enough, for anyone of her coat.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
Why, sir, what is my coat that you sit thus upon my skirts?

JUSTINIANO
Thy coat is an ancient coat, one of the seven deadly sins. Put thy coat first to making. But, do you hear, you mother of iniquity, you that can lose and find your ears when you list, go. Sail with the rest of your bawdy-traffickers to the place of sixpenny sinfulness, the suburbs.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
I scorn the sinfulness of any suburbs in Christendom. ‘Tis well known I have uprisers and downlyers with the city, night by night, like a profane fellow as thou art.

JUSTINIANO
Right, I know thou hast. I’ll tell you gentlefolks, there’s more resort to this fortune teller than of forlorn wives married to old husbands, and of green sickness wenches that can get no husbands to the house of a wise woman. She has tricks to keep a vaulting house under the law’s nose.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
Thou dost the law’s nose wrong to belie be so.

JUSTINIANO
For either a cunning woman has a chamber in her house or a physician, or a picture-maker, or an attorney, because all these are good cloaks for the rain. And then if the female party that’s cliented above-stairs be young, she’s a squire’s daughter of low degree that lies there for physic, or comes up to be placed with a countess; if of middle age, she’s a widow, and has suits at the term or so.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Oh, fie upon her! Burn the witch! Out of our company!

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Let’s hem her out of Brainford fi she get not the faster to London.

MISTRESS WAFER
Oh, no, for God’s sake, rather hem her out of London and let her keep in Brianford still.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
No, you cannot hem me out of London. Had I known this your rings should ha’ been pox’d ere I would ha’ touch’d ‘em. I will take a pair of oars.                  [Exit.

JUSTINIANO
Let that ruin of intemperance be rak’d up in dust and ashes. And now tell me, if you had rais’d the town, had not the tiles tumbled upon your heads? For you see your wives are chaste, these good men civil. All is but a May-game. She has her diamonds, you shall have your money, the child is recovered, the false collier discovered, they came to Brainford to be merry, you were caught in Birdlime; and therefore se the hare’s head against the goose giblets, put all instruments in tune, and every husband play music upon the lips of his wife whilst I begin first.

OMNES
Come, wenches, be’t so.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Mistress Justiniano, is’t you were asham’d all this while of showing your face? Is she your wife, schoolmaster?

JUSTINIANO
Look you, your schoolmaster has been in France, and lost his hair. No more Parenthesis now, but Justiniano. I will now play the merchant with you. Look not strange at her, nor at me, the story of us both shall be as good as an old wive’s tale, to cut off our way to London.

Enter Chamberlain.

How now?

CHAMBERLAIN
Alas, sir, the knight yonder, Sir Goslin, has almost his throat cut by poulterers and townsmen and rascals, and all the noise that went with him, poor fellows, have their fiddle-cases pull’d over heir ears.

OMNES
Is Sir Goslin hurt?

CHAMBERLAIN
Not much hurt, sir, but he bleeds like a pig for his crown’s crack’d.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Then has he been twice cut i’th’head since we landed—once with a pottle-pot, and now with old iron.

JUSTINIANO
Gentlemen, hasten to his rescue some, whiles others call for oars.

OMNES
Away then to London!

JUSTINIANO
Farewell, Brainford.
Gold that buys health can never be ill spent,
Nor hours laid out in harmless merriment.

SONG.

Oars, oars, oars, oars,
   To London, hey, to London, hey.
Hoist up sails and let’s away,
For the safest bay,
For us to land is London shores.
Oars, oars, oars, oars,
Quickly shall we get to land,
If you, if you, if you,
Lend us but half a hand,
Oh, lent us half a hand.                                                          [Exeunt.

 

F I N I S.

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