« PreviousContinue »
Mem. But what sayest thou to thy dame's chafing?
Drom. Nothing, but all her dishes are chafingdishes.
Mem. I would her tongue were in thy belly.
Drom. I had as lief have a raw neat's tongue in my stomach.
Drom. Marry, if the clapper hung within an inch of my heart, that makes mine ears burn a quarter of a mile off, do you not think it would beat my
heart black and blue? Mem. Well, patience is a virtue, but pinching is worse than any vice; I will break this matter to Stellio, and if he be willing, this day shall be their wedding
Drom. Then this day shall be my liberty.
Mem. Aye, if Stellio's daughter had been wise, and by thy means cozened of a fool.
Drom. Then, sir, I'll revolt and dash out the brains of your devices.
Mem. Rather thou shalt be free. [Exeunt.
Enter SPERANTUS, HALFPENNY, PRISIUS, and
Sper. Boy, this smoke is token of some fire; I like not the look of it. Wherefore should these minstrels dream of a marriage ?
Half. Alas, sir, they rustle into every place; give credit to no such words.
Sper. I will to Prisius; I cannot be quiet; and in good time I meet him. Good morrow, neighbour.
Pris. I cast the morrow in thy face, and bid good night to all neighbourhood.
Sper. This is your old trick, to pick one's purse, and then to pick quarrels : I tell thee, I had rather thou shouldst rob my chest than embezzle my son.
Pris. Thy son! my daughter is seduced, for I hear say she is married, and our boys can tell. How sayest thou; tell the truth, or I'll grind thee to powder in my mill; be they married ?
Luc. True it is they were both in a church. Pris. That's no fault, the place is holy. Half. And there was with them a priest.
Sper. Why, what place fitter for a priest than a church?
Luc. And they took one another by the hand.
Sper. That shewed he was no dumb minister. But what said they; didst thou hear any words between them?
Luc. Faith there was a bargain during life, and the clerk cried, God give them joy.
Pris. Villain, they be married.
Sper. Yes, yes; God give you joy is a binder; I'll quickly be resolved. Candius, come forth.
Enter CANDIUS. Pris. And I'll be put out of doubt. Livia, come forth.
Sper. The micher hangs down his head.
Pris. The baggage begins to blush.
Pris. Then 'tis bootless to ask you, Livia.
Pris. It shall pass anger, thou shalt find it rage.
Liv. You gave your consent.
Pris. Impudent giglot *! was it not enough to abuse me, but also to belie me?
Cand. You, sir, agreed to this match.
Sper. Thou brazen face boy, thinkest thou by learning to persuade me to that which thou speakest. Where did I consent? when? what witness ?
Cand. In this place, yesterday, before Dromio and Risio.
Pris. I remember we heard a contract between Memphio's son and Stellio's daughter; and that our good wills being asked, which needed not, we gave them, which booted not.
Cand. 'Twas but the apparel of Accius and Silena, we were the persons.
Pris. O villany not to be borne! Wast thou privy to this practice?
Luc. In a manner.
Sper. And you, oatmeal groat*, you were acquainted with this plot.
Half. Accessary as it were.
Sper. Thou shalt be punished as principal : here comes Memphio and Stellio, they belike were privy, and all their heads were laid together to grieve our hearts.
Enter MEMPHIO, STELLIO, DRomio and Risto.
Mem. Come, Stellio, the assurance may be made to-morrow, and our children assured today.
Stel. Let the conveyance run as we agreed.
Pris. You convey cleanly indeed, if cozenage be clean dealing; for in the apparel of
apparel of your children you have conveyed a match between ours, which grieves us not a little.
Mem. Nay, in the apparel of your children you have discovered the folly of ours, which shames us overmuch.
Stel. But 'tis no matter, though they be fools they are no beggars.
Sper. And though ours be disobedient, they be
Drom. So now they tune their pipes.
Ris. You shall hear sweet music between a hoarse raven and a screech owl.
*"Oatmeal groat." This is one of the many jests on the diminutive size of Halfpenny: oats, when hulled and when the ends are cut off by a particular operation of the mill, are called groats (more generally, perhaps, written grotts or grits). Halfpenny is therefore compared not merely to a single grain of oats, but to it when both ends are cut off. The word is used by Ramsey in - The Gentle Shepherd.”.
Mem. Neighbours, let us not vary ; our boys have played their cheering parts; I suspected no less at the tavern, where our four knaves met together
Ris. If it were knavery for four to meet in a tavern, your worships wot well there were other four.
Stel. This villain calls us knaves by craft.
Luc. Nay, truly, I dare swear he used no craft, but means plainly.
Sper. This is worse; come, Halfpenny, tell truth and scape the rod.
Half. As good confess here being trust*, as at home with my hose about my heels.
Drom. Nay, I'll tell, for 'twill never become thee to utter it.
Mem. Well, out with it.
Drom. Memphio had a fool to his son, which Stellio knew not; Stellio a fool to his daughter, unknown to Memphio; to cozen each other they dealt with their boys for a match; we met with Lucio and Halfpenny, who told the love between their master's children; the youth deeply in love, the fathers unwilling to consent.
Ris. I'll take the tale by the end; then we four met, which argued we were no mountains; and in a tavern we met, which argued we were mortal; and every one in his wine told his days work, which was a sign we forgot not our business; and seeing all our masters troubled with devices, we determined a little to trouble the water before they drank; so that in the attire of * Meaning,
“ here, whilst I am trusted, as at home when I am trussed up for whipping."