Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
The Tumblers Hunting Counter
By Thomas Dekker (c. 15701632)
From Lanthorne and Candle Light
THE WARES which they fished for being in the hand of the five sharers, do now more trouble their wits how to turn those wares into ready money, than before they were troubled to turn their credits into wares. The tree being once more to be shaken, they know it must lose fruit, and therefore their factor must barter away their merchandise, though it be with loss: abroad is into the city: he sails for that purpose, and deals with him that sold, to buy his own commodities again for ready money. He will not do it under £30 loss in the hundred: other archers bows are tried at the same mark, but all keep much about one scantling: back therefore comes their carrier with this news, that no man will disburse so much present money upon any wares whatsoever. Only he met by good fortune with one friend (and that friend is himself) who for £10 will procure them a chapman: marry, that chapman will not buy unless he may have them at £30 loss in the hundred. Fuh, cry all the sharers, a plague on these fox-furred curmudgeons, give that fellow, your friend, £10 for his pains, and fetch the rest of his money. Within an hour after, it is brought and poured down in one heap upon a tavern table; where making a goodly show as if it could never be spent, all of them consult what fee the tumbler is to have for hunting so well, and conclude that less than £10 they cannot give him, which £10 is the first money told out. Now let us cast up: in every hundred pounds is lost thirty which being five times £30 makes £150: that sum the ferret puts up clear besides his over-pricing the wares; unto which £150 lost, add £10 more, which the tumbler gulls them of, and other £10 which he hath for his voyage, all which makes £170; which deducted from £500 there remaineth only £330 to be divided amongst five, so that every one of the partners shall have but £66. Yet this they all put up merrily, washing down their losses with sack and sugar, whereof they drink that night profoundly.