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 I
Scene III

  GREEDY.  Not to be seen!
  OVER.        Still cloistered up! Her reason,
I hope, assures her, though she make herself
Close prisoner ever for her husband’s loss,        4
“Twill not recover him.
  ORD.        Sir, it is her will,
Which we, that are her servants, ought to serve,
And not dispute. Howe’er, you are nobly welcome;        8
And, if you please to stay, that you may think so,
There came, not six days since, from Hull, a pipe
Of rich Canary, which shall spend itself
For my lady’s honour.        12
  GREEDY.        Is it of the right race?
  ORD.  Yes, Master Greedy.
  AMB.        How his mouth runs o’er?
  FURN.  I’ll make it run, and run. Save your good worship!        16
  GREEDY.  Honest Master Cook, thy hand; again, how I love thee!
Are the good dishes still in being? Speak, boy.
  FURN.  If you have a mind to feed, there is a chine 2
Of beef, well seasoned.        20
  GREEDY.        Good!
  FURN.        A pheasant, larded.
  GREEDY.  That I might now give thanks for’t!
  FURN.        Other kickshaws.        24
Besides, there came last night, from the forest of Sherwood,
The fattest stag I ever cook’d.
  GREEDY.        A stag, man!
  FURN.  A stag, sir; part of it prepar’d for dinner,        28
And bak’d in puff-paste.
  GREEDY.        Puff-paste too! Sir Giles,
A ponderous chine of beef! a pheasant larded!
And red deer too, Sir Giles, and bak’d in puff-paste!        32
All business set aside, let us give thanks here.
  FURN.  How the lean skeletons rapt!
  OVER.        You know we cannot.
  MAR.  Your worships are to sit on a commission,        36
And if you fail to come, you lose the cause.
  GREEDY.  Cause me no causes. I’ll prove’t, for such dinner,
We may put off a commission: you shall find it
Henrici decimo quarto.        40
  OVER.        Fie, Master Greedy!
Will you lose me a thousand pounds for a dinner?
No more, for shame! We must forget the belly
When we think of profit.        44
  GREEDY.        Well, you shall o’er-rule me;
I could ev’n cry now.—Do you hear, Master Cook,
Send but a corner of that immortal pasty,
And I, in thankfulness, will, by your boy,        48
Send you—a brace of three-pences.
  FURN.        Will you be so prodigal?

  OVER.  Remember me to your lady. Who have we here?
  WELL.  You know me.        52
  OVER.        I did once, but now I will not;
Thou art no blood of mine. Avaunt, thou beggar!
If ever thou presume to own me more,
I’ll have thee cag’d and whipp’d.        56
  GREEDY.        I’ll grant the warrant.
Think of pie-corner, Furnace!  [Exeunt OVERREACH, GREEDY, and MARRALL.
  WATCH.        Will you out, sir?
I wonder how you durst creep in.        60
  ORD.        This is rudeness.
And saucy impudence.
  AMB.        Cannot you stay
To be serv’d, among your fellows, from the basket, 3        64
But you must needs press into the hall?
  FURN.        Prithee, vanish
Into some outhouse, though it be the pigstye;
My scullion shall come to thee.        68

  WELL.        This is rare:
Oh, here’s Tom Allworth. Tom!
  ALL.        We must be strangers;
Nor would I have you seen here for a million.  Exit.        72
  WELL.  Better and better. He contemns me too!
Enter Waiting Woman and Chambermaid

  WOMAN.  Foh, what a smell’s here! What thing’s this?
  CHAM.        A creature
Made out of the privy; let us hence, for love’s sake,        76
Or I shall swoon.
  WOMAN.        I begin to feel faint already.  [Exeunt Waiting Woman and Chambermaid.
  WATCH.  Will you know your way;
  AMB.        Or shall we teach it you,        80
By the head and shoulders?
  WELL.        No; I will not stir;
Do you mark, I will not: let me see the wretch
That dares attempt to force me. Why, you slaves,        84
Created only to make legs, 4 and cringe;
To carry in a dish, and shift a trencher;
That have not souls only to hope a blessing
Beyond black-jacks 5 or flagons; you, that were born        88
Only to consume meat and drink, and batten 6
Upon reversions!—who advances? Who
Shews me the way?
  ORD.        My lady!        92
Enter LADY ALLWORTH, Waiting Woman, and Chambermaid

  CHAM.        Here’s the monster.
  WOMAN.  Sweet madam, keep your glove to your nose.
  CHAM.        Or let me
Fetch some perfumes may be predominant;        96
You wrong yourself else.
  WELL.        Madam, my designs
Bear me to you.
  L. ALL.        To me!        100
  WELL.        And though I have met with
But ragged entertainment from your grooms here,
I hope from you to receive that noble usage
As may become the true friend of your husband,        104
And then I shall forget these.
  L. ALL.        I am amaz’d
To see and hear this rudeness. Dar’st thou think,
Though sworn, that it can ever find belief,        108
That I, who to the best men of this country
Deni’d my presence since my husband’s death,
Can fall so low as to change words with thee?
Thou son of infamy, forbear my house,        112
And know and keep the distance that’s between us;
Or, though it be against my gentler temper,
I shall take order you no more shall be
An eyesore to me.        116
  WELL.        Scorn me not, good lady;
But, as in form you are angelical,
Imitate the heavenly natures, and vouchsafe
At the least awhile to hear me. You will grant        120
The blood that runs in this arm is as noble
As that which fills your veins; those costly jewels,
And those rich clothes you wear, your men’s observance,
And women’s flattery, are in you no virtues,        124
Nor these rags, with my poverty, in me vices.
You have a fair fame, and, I know, deserve it;
Yet, lady, I must say, in nothing more
Than in the pious sorrow you have shewn        128
For your late noble husband.
  ORD.        How she starts!
  FURN.  And hardly can keep finger from the eye
To hear him nam’d.        132
  L. ALL.        Have you aught else to say?
  WELL.  That husband, madam, was once in his fortune
Almost as low as I; want, debts, and quarrels
Lay heavy on him: let it not be thought        136
A boast in me, though I say, I reliev’d him.
’Twas I that gave him fashion; mine the sword,
That did on all occasions second his;
I brought him on and off with honour, lady;        140
And when in all men’s judgments he was sunk,
And, in his own hopes, not to be buoy’d 7 up,
I stepp’d unto him, took him by the hand,
And set him upright.        144
  FURN.        Are not we base rogues,
That could forget this?
  WELL.        I confess, you made him
Master of your estate; nor could your friends,        148
Though he brought no wealth with him, blame you for it;
For he had a shape, and to that shape a mind
Made up of all parts, either great or noble:
So winning a behaviour, not to be        152
Resisted, madam.
  L. ALL.        ’Tis most true, he had.
  WELL.  For his sake, then, in that I was his friend,
Do not contemn me.        156
  L. ALL.        For what’s past excuse me,
I will redeem it. Order, give the gentleman
A hundred pounds.
  WELL.        No, madam, on no terms:        160
I will nor beg nor borrow sixpence of you,
But be suppli’d elsewhere, or want thus ever.
Only one suit I make, which you deny not
To strangers; and ’tis this.  Whispers to her.        164
  L. ALL.        Fie! nothing else?
  WELL.  Nothing, unless you please to charge your servants
To throw away a little respect upon me.
  L. ALL.  What you demand is yours.        168
  WELL.        I thank you, lady.
Now what can be wrought out of such a suit
Is yet in supposition: I have said all;
When you please, you may retire.—  [Exit LADY ALL.]        172
Nay, all’s forgotten;  [To the Servants.]
And, for a lucky omen to my projects,
Shake hands, and end all quarrels in the cellar.
  ORD.  Agreed, agreed.        176
  FURN.        Still merry Master Wellborn.  Exeunt.
Note 1. A hall in the same. [back]
Note 2. Part of the back: ribs or sirloin. [back]
Note 3. The basket of broken meats given in alms. [back]
Note 4. Bow. [back]
Note 5. A leathern beer can. [back]
Note 6. Feed. [back]
Note 7. Q. bung’d. [back]


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.