The Shoemaker’s Holiday.
Enter HODGE, FIRK, RALPH, and five or six Shoemakers, all with cudgels or such weapons 1
HODGE. Come, Ralph; stand to it, Firk. My masters, as we are the brave bloods of the shoemakers, heirs apparent to Saint Hugh, and perpetual benefactors to all good fellows, thou shalt have no wrong; were Hammon a king of spades, he should not delve in thy close without thy sufferance. But tell me, Ralph, art thou sure ’tis thy wife?
RALPH. Am I sure this is Firk? This morning, when I stroked on her shoes, I looked upon her, and she upon me, and sighed, asked me if ever I knew one Ralph. Yes, said I. For his sake, said she—tears standing in her eyes—and for thou art somewhat like him, spend this piece of gold. I took it; my lame leg and my travel beyond sea made me unknown. All is one for that: I know she’s mine.
FIRK. Did she give thee this gold? O glorious glittering gold! She’s thine own, ’tis thy wife, and she loves thee; for I’ll stand to’t, there’s no woman will give gold to any man, but she thinks better of him than she thinks of them she gives silver to. And for Hammon, neither Hammon nor hangman shall wrong thee in London. Is not our old master Eyre, lord mayor? Speak, my hearts.
ALL. Yes, and Hammon shall know it to his cost.
Enter HAMMON, his Serving-man, JANE and Others
HODGE. Peace, my bullies; yonder they come.
RALPH. Stand to’t, my hearts. Firk, let me speak first.
HODGE. No, Ralph, let me.—Hammon, whither away so early?
HAM. Unmannerly, rude slave, what’s that to thee?
FIRK. To him, sir? Yes, sir, and to me, and others. Good-morrow, Jane, how dost thou? Good Lord, how the world is changed with you! God be thanked!
HAM. Villains, hands off! How dare you touch my love?
ALL. Villains? Down with them! Cry clubs for prentices!
HODGE. Hold, my hearts! Touch her, Hammon? Yea, and more than that: we’ll carry her away with us. My masters and gentlemen, never draw your bird-spits; shoemakers are steel to the back, men every inch of them, all spirit. Those of Hammon’s side. Well, and what of all this?
HODGE. I’ll show you.—Jane, dost thou know this man? ’Tis Ralph, I can tell thee; nay, ’tis he in faith, though he be lam’d by the wars. Yet look not strange, but run to him, fold him about the neck and kiss him.
JANE. Lives then my husband? Oh God, let me go, Let me embrace my Ralph.
HAM. What means my Jane?
JANE. Nay, what meant you, to tell me, he was slain?
HAM. Pardon me, dear love, for being misled.
[To RALPH.] ’Twas rumour’d here in London, thou wert dead.
FIRK. Thou seest he lives. Lass, go, pack home with him. Now, Master Hammon, where’s your mistress, your wife?
SERV. ’Swounds, master, fight for her! Will you thus lose her?
ALL. Down with that creature! Clubs! Down with him!
HODGE. Hold, hold!
HAM. Hold, fool! Sirs, he shall do no wrong.
Will my Jane leave me thus, and break her faith?
FIRK. Yea, sir! She must, sir! She shall, sir! What then? Mend it!
HODGE. Hark, fellow Ralph, follow my counsel: set the wench in the midst, and let her choose her man, and let her be his woman.
JANE. Whom should I choose? Whom should my thoughts affect
But him whom Heaven hath made to be my love?
Thou art my husband, and these humble weeds
Make thee more beautiful than all his wealth.
Therefore, I will but put off his attire,
Returning it into the owner’s hand,
And after ever be thy constant wife.
HODGE. Not a rag, Jane! The law’s on our side; he that sows in another man’s ground, forfeits his harvest. Get thee home, Ralph; follow him, Jane; he shall not have so much as a busk-point from thee.
FIRK. Stand to that, Ralph; the appurtenances are thine own. Hammon, look not at her!
SERV. O, swounds, no!
FIRK. Blue coat, be quiet, we’ll give you a new livery else; we’ll make Shrove Tuesday Saint George’s Day for you. Look not, Hammon, leer not! I’ll firk you! For thy head now, one glance, one sheep’s eye, anything, at her! Touch not a rag, lest I and my brethren beat you to clouts.
SERV. Come, Master Hammon, there’s no striving here.
HAM. Good fellows, hear me speak; and, honest Ralph,
Whom I have injured most by loving Jane,
Mark what I offer thee: here in fair gold
Is twenty pound, I’ll give it for thy Jane;
If this content thee not, thou shalt have more.
HODGE. Sell not thy wife, Ralph; make her not a whore.
HAM. Say, wilt thou freely cease thy claim in her And let her be my wife?
ALL. No, do not, Ralph.
RALPH. Sirrah, Hammon, Hammon, dost thou think a shoemaker is so base to be a bawd to his own wife for commodity? Take thy gold, choke with it! Were I not lame, I would make thee eat thy words.
FIRK. A shoemaker sell his flesh and blood? Oh indignity!
HODGE. Sirrah, take up your pelf, and be packing.
HAM. I will not touch one penny, but in lieu
Of that great wrong I offered thy Jane,
To Jane and thee I give that twenty pound.
Since I have fail’d of her, during my life,
I vow, no woman else shall be my wife.
Farewell, good fellows of the gentle trade:
Your morning mirth my mourning day hat made. Exit.
FIRK. [To the Serving-man.] Touch the gold, creature, if you dare! Y’are best be trudging. Here, Jane, take thou it, Now let’s home, my hearts.
HODGE. Stay! Who comes here? Jane, on again with thy mask!
Enter the EARL OF LINCOLN, the LORD MAYOR and Servants
LINCOLN. Yonder’s the lying varlet mocked us so.
L. MAYOR. Come hither, sirrah!
FIRK. I, sir? I am sirrah? You mean me, do you not?
LINCOLN. Where is my nephew married?
FIRK. Is he married? God give him joy, I am glad of it. They have a fair day, and the sign is in a good planet, Mars in Venus.
L. MAYOR. Villain, thou toldst me that my daughter Rose
This morning should be married at Saint Faith’s;
We have watch’d there these three hours at the least,
Yet see we no such thing.
FIRK. Truly, I am sorry for’t; a bride’s a pretty thing.
HODGE. Come to the purpose. Yonder’s the bride and bridegroom you look for, I hope. Though you be lords, you are not to bar by your authority men from women, are you?
L. MAYOR. See, see, my daughter’s masked.
LINCOLN. True, and my nephew,
To hide his guilt, counterfeits him lame.
FIRK. Yea, truly; God help the poor couple, they are lame and blind.
L. MAYOR. I’ll ease her blindness.
LINCOLN. I’ll his lameness cure.
FIRK. Lie down, sirs, and laugh! My fellow Ralph is taken for Rowland Lacy, and Jane for Mistress Damask Rose. This is all my knavery.
L. MAYOR. What, have I found you, minion?
LINCOLN. O base wretch
Nay, hide thy face, the horror of thy guilt
Can hardly be washed off. Where are thy powers?
What battles have you made? O yes, I see,
Thou fought’st with Shame, and Shame hath conquer’d thee.
This lameness will not serve.
L. MAYOR. Unmask yourself.
LINCOLN. Lead home your daughter.
L. MAYOR. Take your nephew hence.
RALPH. Hence! Swounds, what mean you? Are you mad? I hope you cannot enforce my wife from me. Where’s Hammon?
L. MAYOR. Your wife?
LINCOLN. What, Hammon?
RALPH. Yea, my wife; and, therefore, the proudest of you that lays hands on her first, I’ll lay my crutch ’cross his pate.
FIRK. To him, lame Ralph! Here’s brave sport!
RALPH. Rose call you her? Why, her name is Jane. Look here else; do you know her now? [ Unmasking JANE.]
LINCOLN. Is this your daughter?
L. MAYOR. No, nor this your nephew.
My Lord of Lincoln, we are both abus’d
By this base, crafty varlet.
FIRK. Yea, forsooth, no varlet; forsooth, no base; forsooth, I am but mean; no crafty neither, but of the gentle craft.
L. MAYOR. Where is my daughter Rose? Where is my child?
LINCOLN. Where is my nephew Lacy married?
FIRK. Why, here is good lac’d mutton, as I promis’d you.
LINCOLN. Villain, I’ll have thee punish’d for this wrong.
FIRK. Punish the journeyman villain, but not the journeyman shoemaker.