Fiction > Harvard Classics > Philip Massinger > A New Way to Pay Old Debts
Philip Massinger (1583–1640).  A New Way to Pay Old Debts.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act II
Scene III
[The country near LADY ALLWORTH’S house]
[Enter] WELLBORN, and MARRALL [bare-headed]

  WELL.  I think I am in a good way.
  MAR.        Good! sir; the best way,
The certain best way.
  WELL.        There are casualties        4
That men are subject to.
  MAR.        You are above ’em;
And as you are already worshipful,
I hope ere long you will increase in worship,        8
And be right worshipful.
  WELL.        Prithee do not flout me:
What I shall be, I shall be. Is’t for your ease,
You keep your hat off?        12
  MAR.        Ease! an it like your worship!
I hope Jack Marrall shall not live so long,
To prove himself such an unmannerly beast,
Though it hail hazel-nuts, as to be cover’d        16
When your worship’s present.
  WELL.        Aside.  Is not this a true roque,
That, out of mere hope of a future coz’nage, 1
Can turn thus suddenly? ’Tis rank already.        20
  MAR.  I know your worship’s wise, and needs no counsel,
Yet if, in my desire to do you service,
I humbly offer my advice, (but still
Under correction,) I hope I shall not        24
Incur your high displeasure.
  WELL.        No; speak freely.
  MAR.  Then, in my judgment, sir, my simple judgment,
(Still with your worship’s favour,) I could wish you        28
A better habit, for this cannot be
But much distasteful to the noble lady
(I say no more) that loves you; for, this morning,
To me, and I am but a swine to her,        32
Before the assurance of her wealth perfum’d you,
You savour’d not of amber. 2
  WELL.        I do now then!
  MAR.  This your baton hath got a touch of it.—  Kisses the end of his cudgel.        36
Yet, if your please, for change, I have twenty pounds here,
Which, out of my true love, I’ll presently
Lay down at your worship’s feet; ’twill serve to buy you
A riding suit.        40
  WELL.        But where’s the horse?
  MAR.        My gelding
Is at your service; nay, you shall ride me,
Before your worship shall be put to the trouble        44
To walk afoot. Alas, when you are lord
Of this lady’s manor, as I know you will be,
You may with the lease of glebe land, called Knave’s-acre,
A place I would manure, 3 requite your vassal.        48
  WELL.  I thank thy love, but must make no use of it;
What’s twenty pounds?
  MAR.        ’Tis all that I can make, sir.
  WELL.  Dost thou think, though I want clothes, I could not have them,        52
For one word to my lady?
  MAR.        As I know not that!
  WELL.  Come, I will tell thee a secret, and so leave thee.
I will not give her the advantage, though she be        56
A gallant-minded lady, after we are married,
(There being no woman but is sometimes froward,)
To hit me in the teeth, and say, she was forc’d
To buy my wedding-clothes, and took me on        60
With a plain riding-suit, and an ambling nag.
No, I’ll be furnish’d something like myself,
And so farewell: for thy suit touching Knave’s-acre,
When it is mine, ’tis thine.        64
  MAR.        I thank your worship.  Exit WELL.
How was I cozen’d 4 in the calculation
Of this man’s fortune! My master cozen’d too,
Whose pupil I am in the art of undoing men;        68
For that is our profession! Well, well, Master Wellborn,
You are of a sweet nature, and fit again to be cheated:
Which, if the Fates please, when you are possess’d
Of the land and lady, you, sans question, shall be.        72
I’ll presently think of the means.  Walks by, musing.
Enter OVERREACH, [speaking to a Servant within]

  OVER.        Sirrah, take my horse.
I’ll walk to get me an appetite; ’tis but a mile,
And exercise will keep me from being pursy. 5        76
Ha! Marrall! Is he conjuring? Perhaps
The knave has wrought the prodigal to do
Some outrage on himself, and now he feels
Compunction in his conscience for’t: no matter,        80
So it be done. Marrall!
  MAR.        Sir.
  OVER.        How succeed we
In our plot on Wellborn?        84
  MAR.        Never better, sir.
  OVER.  Has he hang’d or drown’d himself?
  MAR.        No, sir, he lives;
Lives once more to be made a prey to you,        88
A greater prey than ever.
  OVER.        Art thou in thy wits?
If thou art, reveal this miracle, and briefly.
  MAR.  A lady, sir, is fall’n in love with him.        92
  OVER.  With him? What lady?
  MAR.        The rich lady Allworth.
  OVER.  Thou dolt! how dar’st thou speak this?
  MAR.        I speak truth.        96
And I do so but once a year, unless
It be to you, sir. We din’d with her ladyship,
I thank his worship.
  OVER.        His worship!        100
  MAR.        As I live, sir,
I din’d with him, at the great lady’s table,
Simple as I stand here; and saw when she kiss’d him,
And would, at his request, have kiss’d me too:        104
But I was not so audacious as some youths are,
That dare do anything, be it ne’er so absurd,
And sad after performance.
  OVER.        Why, thou rascal!        108
To tell me these impossibilities.
Dine at her table! and kiss him! or thee!——
Impudent varlet, have not I myself,
To whom great countesses’ doors have oft flew open,        112
Ten times attempted, since her husband’s death,
In vain, to see her, though I came-a suitor?
And yet your good solicitorship, and rogue Wellborn,
Were brought into her presence, feasted with her!——        116
But that I know thee a dog that cannot blush,
This most incredible lie would call up one
On thy buttermilk cheeks.
  MAR.        Shall I not trust my eyes, sir,        120
Or taste? I feel her good cheer in my belly.
  OVER.  You shall feel me, if you give not over, sirrah:
Recover your brains again, and be no more gull’d
With a beggar’s plot, assisted by the aids        124
Of serving-men and chambermaids, for beyond these
Thou never saw’st a woman, or I’ll quit you
From my employments.
  MAR.        Will you credit this yet?        128
On my confidence of their marriage, I offer’d Wellborn——
Aside.  I would give a crown now I durst say “his worship”——
My nag and twenty pounds.
  OVER.        Did you so, idiot!  Strikes him down.        132
Was this the way to work him to despair,
Or rather to cross me?
  MAR.        Will your worship kill me?
  OVER.  No, no; but drive the lying spirit out of you.        136
  MAR.  He’s gone.
  OVER.        I have done then: now, forgetting
Your late imaginary feast and lady,
Know, my Lord Lovell dines with me to-morrow.        140
Be careful nought be wanting to receive him;
And bid my daughter’s women trim her up,
Though they paint her, so she catch the lord, I’ll thank them.
There’s a piece for my late blows.        144
  MAR.        Aside.  I must yet suffer:
But there may be a time——
  OVER.        Do you grumble?
  MAR.        No, sir.  [Exeunt.]        148
Note 1. Cheating. [back]
Note 2. Ambergris, a fashionable perfume. [back]
Note 3. Cultivate. [back]
Note 4. Cheated. [back]
Note 5. Fat and short-winded. [back]


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