Westward Ho – Act Two, Scene Three

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Enter SIR GOSLIN, LINSTOCK, WHIRLPOOL, and the Three Citizens’ Wives masked; JUDITH HONEYSUCKLE, MABEL WAFER, and CLARE TENTERHOOK.

SIR GOSLIN
So, draw those curtains, and let’s see the pictures under ‘em.

LINSTOCK
Welcome to the Stilliard, fair ladies.

ALL THREE
Thanks, good master Linstock.

WHIRLPOOL
Hans! Some wine, Hans!

Enter HANS with cloth and buns.

HANS
Yaw, yaw, you sall hebben it mester. Old vine or new vine?

SIR GOSLIN
Speak, women.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
New wine, good Sir Goslin. Wine in the must, good Dutchman, for must is best for us women.

HANS
New vine? Vell, two pots of new vine.                                                                        [Exit.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
An honest butterbox, for if it be old, there’s none of it comes into my belly.

MISTRESS WAFER
Why, Tenterhook, pray thee, let’s dance friskin, and be merry.

LINSTOCK
Thou art so troubled with Monopolies, they so hand at thy heart-strings.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Pox a’ my heart then!

Enter HANS with wine.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Ay, and mine too, if any courtier of them all set up his gallows there; wench, use him as thou dost thy pantables. Scorn to let him kiss thy heel, for he feeds thee with nothing but court holy bread, good words, and cares not for thee. Sir Goslin, will you taste a Dutch what’s-you-call-‘em?

MISTRESS WAFER
Here, Master Linstock, half mine is yours. Bun, bun, bun, bun.

Enter JUSTINIANO as Parenthesis.

JUSTINIANO
Which room? Where are they? Wo ho, ho, ho, so, ho, boys!

SIR GOSLIN
S’foot, who’s that? Lock our room.

JUSTINIANO
Not till I am in, and then lock out the devil though he come in the shape of a puritan.

ALL THREE
Schoolmaster, welcome! Welcome, in troth.

JUSTINIANO
Who would not e scretch’d with the briars and brambles to have such burs sticking on his breeches? Save you, gentlemen. Oh, noble knight!

SIR GOSLIN
More wine, Hans.

JUSTINIANO
Am I not, gentlemen, a ferret of the right hair, that can make three conies bold at a clap into your pursenets? Ha? Little do their three husbands dream what copies I am setting the wives now? Wert not a rare jest if they should come sneaking upon us like a horrible noise of fiddlers?

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Troth, I’d not care. Let ‘em come. I’d tell ‘em, we’d ha’ none of their dull music.

MISTRESS WAFER
Here, Mistress Tenterhook.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Thanks, good Mistress Wafer.

JUSTINIANO
Who’s there? Peepers, intelligencers, eavesdroppers!

OMNES
‘Ods food, throw a pot at’s head.

JUSTINIANO
Oh lord! Oh, gentlemen, knights, ladies, that may be, citizens’ wives that are, shift for yourselves, for a pair of your husband’s heads are knocking together with Hans his, and enquiring for you.

OMNES
Keep the door lock’d.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Oh, I do, do; and let Sir Goslin—because he has been in the low countries—swear Got’s sacrament, and drive ‘em away with broken Dutch.

JUSTINIANO
Here’s a wench has simple sparks in her. She’s my pupil, gallants. Good God! I see a man is not sure that his wife is in the chamber, though his own fingers hung on the padlock. Trapdoors, false drabs, and spring-locks may cozen a covey of constables. How the silly husbands might here ha’ been gull’d with Flemish money. Come, drink up Rhine, Thames, and meander dry; there’s nobody.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Ah, thou ungodly master!

JUSTINIANO
I did but make a false fire, to try your valour, because you cried let ‘em come. By this glass of woman’s wine, I would not ha’ seen their spirits walk here, to be dub’d deputy of a ward, I. They would ha’ chronicled me for a fox in a lamb’s skin. But come, is this merry midsummer night agreed upon? When shall it be? Where shall it be?

LINSTOCK
Why, faity, tomorrow at night.

WHIRLPOOL
We’ll take a coach and ride to Ham, or so.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Oh, fie upon’t! A coach? I cannot abide to be jolted.

MISTRESS WAFER
Yet most of your citizens’ wives love jolting.

SIR GOSLIN
What say you to Blackwell or Lime-house?

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Every room there smells too much of tar.

LINSTOCK
Let’s to mine host Dogbolts at Brainford then. There you are out of eyes, out of ears, private rooms, sweet linen, winking attendance, and what cheer you will.

OMNES
Content. To Brainford.

MISTRESS WAFER
Ay, ay, let’s go by water, for, Sir Goslin, I have heard you say you love to go by water.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
But, wenches, with what pulleys shall we slide with some cleanly excuse, out of our husbands’ suspicion, being gone westward for smelts all night?

JUSTINIANO
That’s the block now we all stumble at. Wind up that string well, and all the consorts in tune.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Why, then good man scraper, ‘tis wound up. I have it. Sirrah Wafer, thy child’s at nurse. If you that are the men could provide some wise ass that could keep his countenance—

JUSTINIANO
Nay, if he be an ass he will keep his countenance.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Ay, but I mean, one that could set out his tale with audacity, and say that the child were sick, and ne’er stagger at it. That last should serve all our feet.

WHIRLPOOL
But where will that wise ass be found now?

JUSTINIANO
I see I’m born still to draw dun out a’th’mire for you. That wise beast will I be. I’ll be that ass that shall groan under the burden of that abominable lie. Heaven pardon me, and pray God the infant be not punish’d for’t. Let me see. I’ll break out in some filthy shape like a thrasher, or a thatcher, or a sowgelder, or something, and speak dreamingly, and swear how the child pukes and eats nothing—as perhaps it does not—and lies at the mercy of God—as all children and old-folks do—and then scholar Wafer, play you your part.

MISTRESS WAFER
Fear not me, for a veny or two.

JUSTINIANO
Where will you meet i’th’morning?

SIR GOSLIN
At some tavern near the waterside that’s private.

JUSTINIANO
The Greyhound, the Greyhound in Blackfriars. An excellent rendezvous.

LINSTOCK
Content. The Greyhound by eight?

JUSTINIANO
And then you may whip forth two first, and two next, on a sudden, and take oat at Bridewell dock most privately.

OMNES
Be’t so. A good place?

JUSTINIANO
I’ll go make ready my rustical properties. Let me see, scholar, hie you home, for your child shall be sick within this half hour.                                                           [Exit.

Enter MISTRESS BIRDLIME.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
‘Tis the uprightest dealing man! God’s my pity, who’s yonder?

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
I’m bold to press myself under the colours of your company, hearing that gentlewoman was in the room. A word, mistress?

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
How now? What says she?                  [Talks apart with MISTRESS BIRDLIME.

SIR GOSLIN
Zounds, what’s she? A bawd, bi’th’lord, is’t not?

MISTRESS WAFER
No, indeed, Sir Goslin. She’s a very honest woman, and a midwife.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
At the Lion in Shoreditch? And would he not read it, nor write to me? I’ll poison his supper.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
But no words that I bewrayed him.

MISTRESS TENTERHOOK
Gentlemen, I must be gone. I cannot stay in faith, pardon me. I’ll meet tomorrow. Come, nurse. Cannot tarry, by this element.

SIR GOSLIN
Mother, you, grannam, drink ere you go.

MISTRESS BIRDLIME
I am going to a woman’s labour, indeed, sir. Cannot stay.

[Exeunt MISTRESS TENTERHOOK and MISTRESS BIRDLIME.

MISTRESS WAFER
I hold my life the black-beard her husband whistles for her.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
A reckoning. Break one, break all.

SIR GOSLIN
Here, Hans, draw not. I’ll draw for all, as I’m true knight.

MISTRESS HONEYSUCKLE
Let him. Amongst women, this does stand for law,
The worthiest man, though he be fool, must draw.                                         [Exeunt.

Proceed to the Next Scene

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