Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act IV
Scene VII
  SUB.        You shall see, sir.  [Exeunt.]
[Re-enter]  FACE with KASTRIL  [to]  SURLY and SUBTLE 1

  FACE.  Why, now’s the time, if ever you will quarrel
Well, as they say, and be a true-born child:
The doctor and your sister both are abdus’d. 2
  KAS.  Where is he? Which is he? He is a slave,        4
Whate’er he is, and the son of a whore.—Are you
The man, sir, I would know?
  SUR.        I should be loth, sir,
To confess so much.        8
  KAS.        Then you lie i’ your throat.
  SUR.        How!
  FACE.  [To KASTRIL.]  A very arrant rogue, sir, and a cheater,
Employ’d here by another conjurer        12
That does not love the doctor, and would cross him
If he knew how.
  SUR.        Sir, you are abus’d
  KAS.        You lie:        16
And ’tis no matter.
  FACE.        Well said, sir! He is
The impudent’st rascal——
  SUR.        You are indeed. Will you hear me, sir?        20
  FACE.  By no means: bid him be gone.
  KAS.        Begone, sir, quickly.
  SUR.  This is strange!—Lady, do you inform your brother.
  FACE.  There is not such a foist 3 in all the town.        24
The doctor had him presently; and finds yet
The Spanish count will come here.—Bear up, Subtle.  [Aside.
  SUB.  Yes, sir, he must appear within this hour.
  FACE.  And yet this rogue would come in a disguise,        28
By the temptation of another spirit,
To trouble our art, though he could not hurt it!
  KAS.        Ay,
I know—Away,  [to his sister.]  you talk like a foolish mauther. 4        32
  SUR.  Sir, all is truth she says.
  FACE.        Do not believe him, sir.
He is the lying’st swabber! Come your ways, sir.
  SUR.  You are valiant out of company!        36
  KAS.        Yes, how then, sir?
[Enter DRUGGER with a piece of damask]

  FACE.  Nay, here’s an honest fellow too that knows him,
And all his tricks. Make good what I say, Abel,
This cheater would ha’cozen’d thee o’ the widow.—[Aside to DRUG.]        40
He owes this honest Drugger here seven pound,
He has had on him in twopenny’s orths of tobacco.
  DRUG.  Yes, sir. And he has damn’d himself three terms to pay me.
  FACE.  And what does he owe for lotium? 5        44
  DRUG.        Thirty shillings, sir;
And for six syringes.
  SUR.        Hydra of villainy!
  FACE.  Nay, sir, you must quarrel him out o’ the house.        48
  KAS.        I will:
—Sir, if you get not out o’ doors, you lie;
And you are a pimp.
  SUR.        Why, this is madness, sir,        52
Not valour in you; I must laugh at this.
  KAS.  It is my humour; you are a pimp and a trig. 6
And an Amadis de Gaul, or a Don Quixote.
  DRUG.  Or a knight o’ the curious coxcomb, do you see?        56
[Enter ANANIAS.]

  ANA.  Peace to the household!
  KAS.        I’ll keep peace for no man.
  ANA.  Casting of dollars is concluded lawful.
  KAS.  Is he the constable?        60
  SUB.        Peace, Ananias.
  FACE.        No. Sir.
  KAS.  Then you are an otter, and a shad, a whit,
A very tim. 7        64
  SUR.        You’ll hear me, sir?
  KAS.        I will not.
  ANA.  What is the motive?
  SUB.        Zeal in the young gentleman,        68
Against his Spanish slops.
  ANA.        They are profane,
Lewd, superstitious, and idolatrous breeches.
  SUR.  New rascals!        72
  KAS.        Will you be gone, sir?
  ANA.        Avoid, Sathan!
Thou art not of the light! That ruff of pride
About thy neck, betrays thee; and is the same        76
With that which the unclean birds, in seventy-seven, 8
Were seen to prank it with on divers coasts:
Thou look’st like antichrist, in that lewd hat.
  SUR.  I must give away.        80
  KAS.        Be gone, sir.
  SUR.        But I’ll take
A course with you——
  ANA.        Depart, proud Spanish fiend!        84
  SUR.  Captain and doctor.
  ANA.        Child of perdition!
  KAS.  Hence, sir!—[Exit SURLY.]
Did I not quarrel bravely?        88
  FACE.        Yes, indeed, sir.
  KAS.  Nay, an I give my mind to’t, I shall do’t.
  FACE.  O, you must follow, sir, and threaten him tame:
He’ll turn again else.        92
  KAS.        I’ll re-turn him then.  [Exit.]
  FACE.  Drugger, this rogue prevented us, for thee:
We had determin’d that thou should’st ha’ come
In a Spanish suit, and ha’ carried her so; and he,        96
A brokerly slave, goes, puts it on himself.
Hast brought the damask?
  DRUG.        Yes, sir.
  FACE.        Thou must borrow        100
A Spanish suit. Hast thou no credit with the players?
  DRUG.  Yes, sir; did you never see me play the Fool?
  FACE.  I know not, Nab:—thou shalt, if I can help it.—[Aside.]
Hieronimo’s 9 old cloak, ruff, and hat will serve;        104
I’ll tell thee more when thou bring’st ’em.  [Exit DRUGGER.] SUBTLE hath whisper’d with ANAN. this while
  ANA.        Sir, I know.
The Spaniard hates the brethren, and hath spies
Upon their actions: and that this was one        108
I make no scruple.—But the holy synod
Have been in prayer and meditation for it;
And ’tis reveal’d no less to them than me,
That casting of money is most lawful.        112
  SUB.        True.
But here I cannot do it: if the house
Should chance to be suspected, all would out,
And we be lock’d up in the Tower for ever,        116
To make gold there for th’ state, never come out;
And then are you defeated.
  ANA.        I will tell
This to the elders and the weaker brethren,        120
That the whole company of the separation
May join in humble prayer again.
  SUB.        And fasting.
  ANA.  Yea, for some fitter place. The peace of mind        124
Rest with these walls!  [Exit.]
  SUB.        Thanks, courteous Ananias.
  FACE.  What did he come for?
  SUB.        About casting dollars,        128
Presently out of hand. And so I told him,
A Spanish minister came here to spy,
Against the faithful——
  FACE.        I conceive. Come, Subtle,        132
Thou art so down upon the least disaster!
How wouldst thou ha’ done, if I had not help’d thee out?
  SUB.  I thank thee, Face, for the angry boy, i’ faith.
  FACE.  Who would ha’ look’d 10 it should ha’ been that rascal Surly?        136
He had dy’d his beard and all. Well, sir.
Here’s damask come to make you a suit.
  SUB.        Where’s Drugger?
  FACE.  He is gone to borrow me a Spanish habit;        140
I’ll be the count now.
  SUB.        But where’s the widow?
  FACE.  Within, with my lord’s sister; Madam Dol
Is entertaining her.        144
  SUB.        By your favour, Face,
Now she is honest, I will stand again.
  FACE.  You will not offer it?
  SUB.        Why?        148
  FACE.        Stand to your word,
Or—here comes Dol, She knows——
  SUB.        You’re tyrannous still.
[Enter DOL hastily]

  FACE.—Strict for my right.—How now, Dol! Hast told her,
The Spanish count will come?
  DOL.        Yes; but another is come,
You little looked for!
  FACE.        Who’s that?        156
  DOL.        Your master;
The master of the house.
  SUB.        How, Dol!
  FACE.        She lies,        160
This is some trick. Come, leave your quiblins, 11 Dorothy.
  DOL.  Look out and see.  [FACE goes to the window.]
  SUB.        Art thou in earnest?
  DOL.        ’Slight,        164
Forty o’ the neighbours are about him, talking.
  FACE.  ’Tis he, by this good day.
  DOL.        ’Twill prove ill day
For some on us.        168
  FACE.        We are undone, and taken.
  DOL.  Lost, I’m afraid.
  SUB.        You said he would not come,
While there died one a week within the liberties. 12        172
  FACE.  No: ’twas within the walls.
  SUB.        Was’t so! cry you mercy.
I thought the liberties. What shall we do now, Face?
  FACE.  Be silent: not a word, if he call or knock.        176
I’ll into mine old shape again and meet him,
Of Jeremy, the butler, I’ the meantime,
Do you two pack up all the goods and purchase 13
That we can carry i’ the two trunks. I’ll keep him        180
Off for today, if I cannot longer: and then
At night, I’ll ship you both away to Ratcliff,
Where we will meet to-morrow, and there we’ll share.
Let Mammon’s brass and pewter keep the cellar;        184
We’ll have another time for that. But, Dol,
Prithee go heat a little water quickly;
Subtle must shave me. All my captain’s beard
Must off, to make me appear smooth Jeremy.        188
You’ll do it?
  SUB.        Yes, I’ll shave you as well as I can.
  FACE.  And not cut my throat, but trim me?
Note 1. The same. [back]
Note 2. Cheated. [back]
Note 3. Rascal. [back]
Note 4. Girl. [back]
Note 5. A lotion. [back]
Note 6. Dandy. [back]
Note 7. Kastril’s terms of abuse are not meant to be appropriate. [back]
Note 8. The allusion here has not been explained. [back]
Note 9. In Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy. [back]
Note 10. Expected. [back]
Note 11. Quibbles. [back]
Note 12. The district outside the walls subject to the city authorities. [back]
Note 13. Stolen goods, booty. [back]


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