Westward Ho – Act Five, Scene One

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Enter MONOPOLY, WHIRLPOOL, LINSTOCK, MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE, MISTRESS WAFER, and MISTRESS WAFER, their hats off.

MONOPOLY
Why, chamberlain? Will not these fiddlers be drawn forth? Are they not in tune yet? Or are the rogues afraid a’th’statute, and dare not travel so far without a passport?

WHIRLPOOL
What chamberlain!

LINSTOCK
Where’s mine host? What, chamberlain!

Enter Chamberlain.

CHAMBERLAIN
Anon, sir, here, sir, at hand, sir.

MONOPOLY
Where’s this noise? What a lousy town’s this? Has Brainford no music in’t?

CHAMBERLAIN
They are but rosining, sir, and they’ll scrape themselves into your company presently.

MONOPOLY
Plague a’ their cat’s-guts, and their scraping! Dost not see women here, and can we thinkst thou be without a noise then?

CHAMBERLAIN
The troth is, sir, one of the poor instruments caught a sore mischance last night: his most base bridge fell down, and belike they are making a gathering for the reparations of that.

WHIRLPOOL
When they come, let’s ham ‘em with a pox.

CHAMBERLAIN
Well, sir, you shall, sir.

MONOPOLY
Stay, chamberlain. Where’s our knight, Sir Goslin? Where’s Sir Goslin?

CHAMBERLAIN
Troth, sir, my master, and Sir Goslin are guzzling; they are dabbling together fathom deep. The knight hath drunk so much health to the gentleman yonder, on his knees, that he has almost lost the use of his legs.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Oh, for love, let none of ‘em enter our room. Fie!

MISTRESS WAFER
I would not have ‘em cast up their accounts here, for more than they mean to be drunk this twelvemonth.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Good Chamberlain, keep them and their healths out of our company.

CHAMBERLAIN
I warrant you, their healths shall not hurt you.                                                        [Exit.

MONOPOLY
Ay, well said. They’re none of our giving. Let ‘em keep their own quarter. Nay, I told you the man would soak him if he were ten knights. If he were a knight of gold they’d fetch him over.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Out upon him!

WHIRLPOOL
There’s a lieutenant and a captain amongst ‘em too.

MONOPOLY
Nay, then look to have somebody lie on the earth for’t. It’s ordinary for your lieutenant to be drunk with your captain and your captain to cast with your knight.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Did you never hear how Sir Fabian Scarecrow—even such another—took me up one night before my husband being in wine?

MISTRESS WAFER
No indeed. How was it?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
But I think I took him down with a witness.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
How? Good Tenterhook.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Nay, I’ll have all your ears take part of it.

OMNES
Come on, then.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
He used to frequent me and my husband diverse times, and at last comes he out one morning to my husband, and says, “Master Tenterhook,” says he, “I must trouble you to lend me two hundred pound about a commodity which I am to deal in,” and what was that commodity but his knighthood?

OMNES
So.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
“Why, you shall, Master Scarecrow,” says my good man. So within a little while after, Master Fabian was created knight.

MONOPOLY
Created a knight! That’s no good heraldry. You must say dubb’d.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
And why not created, pray?

OMNES
Ay, well done. Put him down at’s own weapon?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Not created! Why, all things have they being by creation.

LINSTOCK
Yes, by my faith, is’t.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
But to return to my tale.

WHIRLPOOL
Ay, marry; mark now.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
When he had climb’d up this costly ladder of preferment, he disburses the money back again very honourably; comes home, and was by my husband invited to supper; there supp’d with us besides, another gentleman incident to the court, one that had bespoke me of my husband to help me into the banqueting bouse and see the revelling; a young gentlewoman, and that wag, our schoolmaster, Master Parenthesis, for I remember he said grace, methings I see him yet, how he turn’d up the white a’th’eye when he came to the last gasp, and that he was almost past grace.

MISTRESS WAFER
Nay, he can do’t.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
All suppertime, my new-minted knight made wine the wagon to his meat, for it ran down his throat so fast that before my chambermaid had taken half up, he was not scarce able to stand.

MONOPOLY
A general fault at citizens’ tables.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
And I, thinking to play upon him, ask’d him, “Sir Fabian Scarecrow,” quoth I, “what pretty gentlewoman will you raise up not to stall her your lady?” But he, like a foul-mouthed man, swore, “Zounds, I’ll stall never a punk in England. A lady! There’s too many already.” “Oh, fie, Sir Fabian,” quoth I, “will you call her that shall be your wife such an odious name?” And then he sets out a throat and swore again, like a stinking breath’d knight, as he was, that women were like horses.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE & MISTRESS WAFER
Oh, filthy knave!

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
“They’d break over any hedge to change their pasture, though it were worse.” “Fie, man, fie,” says the gentlewoman.

MONOPOLY
Very good.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
And he, bristling up his beard to rail at her too, I cut him over the thumbs thus, “Why, Sir Fabian Scarecrow, did I incense my husband to lent you so much money upon your bare work, and do you backbite my friends and me to our faces? I thought you had had more perseverance. If you bore a knightly and a degenerous mind you would scorn it; you had wont t be more deformable amongst women. Fie, that you’ll be so humoursome! Here was nobody so egregious towards you, Sir Fabian!” And thus, in good sadness, I gave him the best words I could pick out to make him asham’d of his doings.

WHIRLPOOL
And how took he this correction?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Very heavily, for he slept presently upon’t; and in the morning was the sorriest knight, and I warrant is so to this day that lives by bread in England.

MONOPOLY
To see what wine and women can do, the one makes a man not to have a word to throw at a dog, the other makes a man to eat his own words, though they were never so filthy.

WHIRLPOOL
I see these fiddlers cannot build up their bridge, that some music may come over us.

LINSTOCK
No, faith, they are drunk too. What shall’s do therefore?

MONOPOLY
Sit up at cards all night?

MISTRESS WAFER
That’s servingman’s fashion.

WHIRLPOOL
Drink burnt wine and eggs then?

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
That’s an excuse for your suburb wenches.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
No, no, let’s set upon our posset and so march to bed, for I begin to wax light with having my natural sleep pull’d out a’ mine eyes.

OMNES
Agreed. Be’t so. The sack posset and to bed.

MONOPOLY
What, chamberlain! I must take a pipe of tobacco.

THREE WOMEN
Not here, not here, not here.

MISTRESS WAFER
I’ll rather love a man that takes a purse than him that takes tobacco.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
By my little finger, I’ll break all your pipes and burn the case, and the box too, and you draw out your stinking smoke afore me.

MONOPOLY
Prithee, good Mistress Tenterhook, I’ll ha’ done in a trice.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Do you long to have me swoon?

MONOPOLY
I’ll use but half a pipe, in troth.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Do you long to see me lie at your feet?

MONOPOLY
Smell to’t. ‘Tis perfum’d.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Oh God, oh God, you anger me. You stir my blood. You move me. You make me spoil a good face with frowning at you. This was ever your fashion, so to smoke my husband when you come home, that I could not abide him in mine eye. He was a mote in it, methought, a month after. Pray, spawl in another room. Fie, fie, fie!

MONOPOLY
Well, well, come, we’ll for once feed her humour.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Get two rooms off at least, if you love us.

MISTRESS WAFER
Three, three, Master Linstock three.

LINSTOCK
‘Sfoot, we’ll dance to Norwich, and take it there, if you’ll stay till we return again. Here’s a stir, you’ll ill abide a fiery face that cannot endure a smoky nose.

MONOPOLY
Come, let’s satisfy our appetite.

WHIRLPOOL
And that will be hard for us, but we’ll do our best.

[Exeunt MONOPOLY, WHIRLPOOL, and LINSTOCK.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
So, are they departed? What string may we three think that these three gallants harp upon, by bringing to this sinful town of Brainford, ha?

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
I know what string they would harp upon, if they could put us into the right tune.

MISTRESS WAFER
I know what one of ‘em buzz’d in mine ear, till like a thief in a candle he made mine ears burn, but I swore to say nothing.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
I know as verily they hope, and brag one to another, that this night they’ll row westward in our husbands whirries, as we hope to be row’d to London tomorrow morning in a pair of oars. But, wenches, let’s be wise and make rooks of them that I warrant are now setting pursenets to conycatch us.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE & MISTRESS WAFER
Content.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
They shall know that citizens’ wives have with enough to outstrip twenty such gulls; though we are merry, let’s not be mad. Be as wanton as new-married wives, as fantastic and light-headed to the eye as feather-makers, but as pure about the heart, as if we dwelt amongst ‘em in Blackfriars.

MISTRESS WAFER
We’ll eat and drink with ‘em.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE & MISTRESS WAFER
Oh, ‘twill be excellent!

MISTRESS WAFER
But how shall we shift ‘em off?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Not as ill-debtors do their creditors, with good words, but as lawyers do their clients wit they’re overthrown by some new knavish trick, and thus is shall be: One of us must dissemble to be suddenly very sick.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
I’ll be she.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Nay, though we can all dissemble well, yet I’ll be she; for men are so jealous, or rather envious of one another’s happiness—especially in this out of town gossiping—that he who shall miss his hen, if he be a right cock indeed, will watch the other from treading.

MISTRESS WAFER
That’s certain. I know that by myself.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
And like Æsop’s dog, unless himself might eat hay, will lie in the manger and starve; but he’ll hinder the horse from eating any. Besides, it will be as good as a Welch hook for you to keep out the other at the stave’s end, for you may boldly stand upon this point, that unless every man’s heels may be tripp’d up, ou scorn to play at football.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
That’s certain. Peace, I hear them spitting after their tobacco.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
A chair, a chair. One of you keep as great a coil and calling, as as if you ran for a midwife; th’other hold my head whilst I cut my lace.

MISTRESS WAFER
Passion of me! Master Monopoly, Master Linstock, and you be men, help to draw Mistress Tenterhook! Oh, quickly, quickly, she’s sick, and taken with an agony.

Enter as she cries MONOPOLY, LINSTOCK, and WHIRLPOOL.

OMNES
Sick? How? How now? What’s the matter?

MONOPOLY
Sweet Clare, call up thy spirits.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Oh, Master Monopoly, my spirits will not come at my calling. I am terrible and ill. Sure, sure, I’m struck with some wicked planet, or it hit my very heart. Oh, I feel myself worse and worse.

MONOPOLY
Some burnt sack for her, good wenches, or posset drink. Pox a’ this rogue chamberlain! One of you call him. How her pulses beat! A draught of cinnamon water now for her were better than two tankards out of the Thames. How now? Ha?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Ill, ill, ill, ill, ill.

MONOPOLY
I’m accurst to spend money in this town of iniquity. There’s no good think ever comes out of it, and it stands upon such musty ground, by reason of the river, that I cannot see how a tender woman can to well in’t. ‘Sfoot! Sick now! Cast down now ‘tis come to the push.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
My mind misgives me that all’s not sound in London.

WHIRLPOOL
Pox on ‘em that be not sound. What need that touch you?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
I fear you’ll never carry me thither.

OMNES
Puh, puh, say not so.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Pray, let my clothes be utterly undone, and then lay me in my bed.

LINSTOCK
Walk up and down a little.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Oh, Master Linstock, ‘tis no walking will serve my turn. Have me to bed, good sweet Mistress Honeysuckle. I doubt that old hag Gillian of Brainford has bewitch’d me.

MONOPOLY
Look to her, good wenches.

MISTRESS WAFER
[Aside.] Ay, so we will, and to you too. This was excellent!

[Exeunt MISTRESS TENTERHOOK, MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE, and MISTRESS WAFER.

WHIRLPOOL
This is strange.

LINSTOCK
Villainous spiteful luck! No matter. T’other two hold bias.

WHIRLPOOL
Peace, mark how he’s nipp’d. Nothing grieves me so much as that poor Pyramis here must have a wall this night between him and his Thisbe.

MONOPOLY
No remedy, trust Troilus; and it grieves me as much, that you’ll want your false Cressid tonight, for here’s no Sir Pandarus to usher you into your chamber.

LINSTOCK
I’ll summon a parley to one of the wenches and see how all goes.

MONOPOLY
No whispering with the common enemy, by this iron. He sees the devil that sees how all goes amongst the women tonight. Nay, s’foot? If I stand piping till you dance, damn me.

LINSTOCK
Why, you’ll let me call to ‘em but at the keyhole.

MONOPOLY
Puh, good Master Linstock, I’ll not stand by whilst you give fire at your keyholes. I’ll hold no trencher till another feeds; no stirrup till another gets up; be no doorkeeper. I ha’ not been so often at court, but I know what the backside of the hangings are made of. I’ll trust none under a piece of tapestry, viz. a coverlet.

WHIRLPOOL
What will you say if the wenches do this to gull us?

MONOPOLY
No matter. I’ll not be double gull’d, by them and by you. Go, will you take the lease of the next chamber and do as I do?

BOTH
And what’s that?

MONOPOLY
Any villainy in your company, but nothing out on’t. Will you sit up, or lie by’t?

WHIRLPOOL
Nay, lie sure, for lying is most in fashion.

MONOPOLY
Troth then, I’ll have you before me.

BOTH
It shall be yours.

MONOPOLY
Yours, i’faith. I’ll play Janus with two faces and look asquint both ways for one night.

LINSTOCK
Well, sir, you shall be our doorkeeper.

MONOPOLY
Since we must swim, let’s leap into one flood.
We’ll either by all naught, or else all good.                                                       [Exeunt.

Proceed to the Next Scene

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