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.
Scene II

  OVER.  Spare for no cost; let my dressers crack with the weight
Of curious viands.
  GREEDY.        “Store indeed’s no sore,” sir.
  OVER.  That proverb fits your stomach, Master Greedy.        4
And let no plate be seen but what’s pure gold,
Or such whose workmanship exceeds the matter
That it is made of; let my choicest linen
Perfume the room, and, when we wash, the water,        8
With precious powders mix’d, so please my lord,
That he may with envy wish to bathe so ever.
  MAR.  ’Twill be very chargeable.
  OVER.        Avaunt, you drudge!        12
Now all my labour’d ends are at the stake,
It’s a time to think of thrift? Call in my daughter.  [Exit MARRALL.]
And, Master Justice, since you love choice dishes,
And plenty of them——        16
  GREEDY.        As I do, indeed, sir,
Almost as much as to give thanks for ’em.
  OVER.  I do confer that providence, 2 with my power
Of absolute command to have abundance,        20
To your best care.
  GREEDY.        I’ll punctually discharge it,
And give the best directions. Now am I,
In mine own conceit, a monarch; at the least,        24
Arch-president of the boil’d, the roast, the bak’d;
For which I will eat often, and give thanks
When my belly’s brac’d up like a drum, and that’s pure justice.  Exit.
  OVER.  It must be so. Should the foolish girl prove modest,        28
She may spoil all; she had it not from me,
But from her mother; I was ever forward,
As she must be, and therefore I’ll prepare her.

Alone—and let your women wait without.
  MARG.  Your pleasure, sir?
  OVER.        Ha! this is a neat dressing!
These orient pearls and diamonds well plac’d too!
The gown affects me not, it should have been        36
Embroider’d o’er and o’er with flowers of gold;
But these rich jewels and quaint fashion help it.
And how below? since oft the wanton eye,
The face observ’d, descends unto the foot,        40
which being well proportion’d, as yours is,
Invites as much as perfect white and red,
Though without art. How like you your new woman,
The Lady Downfall’n?        44
  MARG.        Well, for a companion;
Not as a servant.
  OVER.        Is she humble, Meg,
And careful too, her ladyship forgotten?        48
  MARG.  I pity her fortune.
  OVER.        Pity her! trample on her.
I took her up in an old tamin 3 gown,
(Even starv’d for want of twopenny chops,) to serve thee;        52
And if I understand she but repines
To do thee any duty, though ne’er so servile,
I’ll pack her to her knight, where I have lodg’d him,
Into the Counter, 4 and there let them howl together.        56
  MARG.  You know your own ways; but for me, I blush
When I command her, that was once attended
With persons not inferior to myself
In birth.        60
  OVER.    In birth! why, art thou not my daughter,
The blest child of my industry and wealth?
Why, foolish girl, was’t not to make thee great
That I have run, and still pursue, those ways        64
That hale down curses on me, which I mind not?
Part with these humble thoughts, and apt 5 thyself
To the noble state I labour to advance thee;
Or, by my hopes to see thee honourable,        68
I will adopt a stranger to my heir,
And throw thee from my care. Do not provoke me.
  MARG.  I will not, sir; mould me which way you please.
Re-enter GREEDY

  OVER.  How! interrupted!
  GREEDY.        ’Tis matter of importance.
The cook, sir, is self-will’d, and will not learn
From my experience. There’s a fawn brought in, sir,
And, for my life, I cannot make him roast it        76
With a Norfolk dumpling in the belly of it;
And, sir, we wise men know, without the dumpling
’Tis not worth three pence.
  OVER.        Would it were whole in thy belly,        80
To stuff it out! Cook it any way; prithee, leave me.
  GREEDY.  Without order for the dumpling?
  OVER.        Let it be dumpl’d
Which way thou wilt; or tell him, I will scald him        84
In his own caldron.
  GREEDY.        I had lost my stomach
Had I lost my mistress dumpling; I’ll give thanks for’t.  [Exit.]
  OVER.  But to our business, Meg; you have heard who dines here?        88
  MARG.  I have, sir.
  OVER.        ’Tis an honourable man;
A lord, Meg, and commands a regiment
Of soldiers, and, what’s rare, is one himself,        92
A bold and understanding one; and to be
A lord, a and good leader, in one volume,
Is granted unto few but such as rise up
The kingdom’s glory.        96
Re-enter GREEDY

  GREEDY.        I’ll resign my office,
If I be not better obey’d.
  OVER.        ’Slight, art thou frantic?
  GREEDY.  Frantic! ’Twould make me frantic, and stark mad,        100
Were I not a justice of peace and quorum too,
Which this rebellious cook cares not a straw for.
There are a dozen of woodcocks——
  OVER.        Make thyself        104
Thirteen, the baker’s dozen.
  GREEDY.        I am contented,
So they may be dress’d to my mind; he has found out
A new device for sauce, and will not dish ’em        108
With toasts and butter. My father was a tailor,
And my name, though a justice, Greedy Woodcock;
And, ere I’ll see my lineage so abus’d,
I’ll give up my commission.        112
  OVER.        [loudly.]  Cook!—Rogue, obey him!
I have given the word, pray you now remove yourself
To a collar of brawn, 6 and trouble me no further.
  GREEDY.  I will, and meditate what to eat at dinner.  Exit.        116
  OVER.  And as I said, Meg, when this gull 7 disturb’d us,
This honourable lord, this colonel,
I would have thy husband.
  MARG.        There’s too much disparity        120
Between his quality and mine, to hope it.
  OVER.  I more than hope’t, and doubt not to effect it.
Be thou no enemy to thyself, my wealth
Shall weigh his titles down, and make you equals.        124
Now for the means to assure him thine, observe me:
Remember he’s a courtier, and a soldier,
And not to be trifled with; and, therefore, when
He comes to woo you, see you do not coy it:        128
This mincing modesty has spoil’d many a match
By a first refusal, in vain after hop’d for.
  MARG.  You’ll have me, sir, preserve the distance that
Confines a virgin?        132
  OVER.        Virgin me no virgins!
I must have you lose that name, or you lose me.
I will have you private—start not—I say, private;
If thou art my true daughter, not a bastard,        136
Thou wilt venture alone with one man, though he came
Like Jupiter to Semele, and come off, too;
And therefore, when he kisses you, kiss close.
  MARG.  I have heard this is the strumpet’s fashion, sir,        140
Which I must never learn.
  OVER.        Learn any thing,
And from any creature that may make thee great;
From the devil himself.        144
  MARG.        [Aside.]  This is but devilish doctrine!
  OVER.  Or, if his blood grow hot, suppose he offer
Beyond this, do not you stay till it cool,
But meet his ardour; if a couch be near,        148
Sit down on’t, and invite him.
  MARG.        In your house,
Your own house, sir! For Heaven’s sake, what are you then?
Or what shall I be, sir?        152
  OVER.        Stand not on form;
Words are no substances.
  MARG.        Though you could dispense
With your own honour, cast aside religion,        156
The hopes of Heaven, or fear of hell, excuse me,
In worldly policy, this is not the way
To make me his wife; his whore, I grant it may do.
My maiden honour so soon yielded up,        160
Nay, prostituted, cannot but assure him
I, that am light to him, will not hold weight
Whene’er 8 tempted by others; so, in judgment,
When to his lust I have given up my honour,        164
He must and will forsake me.
  OVER.        How! forsake thee!
Do I wear a sword for fashion? or is this arm
Shrunk up or wither’d? Does there live a man        168
Of that large list I have encounter’d with
Can truly say I e’er gave inch of ground
Not purchas’d with his blood that did oppose me?
Forsake thee when the thing is done! He dares not.        172
Give me but proof he has enjoy’d thy person,
Though all his captains, echoes to his will,
Stood arm’d by his side to justify the wrong,
And he himself in the head of his bold troop,        176
Spite of his lordship, and his colonelship,
Or the judge’s favour, I will make him render
A bloody and a strict account, and force him,
By marrying thee, to cure thy wounded honour!        180
I have said it.
Re-enter MARRALL

  MAR.        Sir, the man of honour’s come,
Newly alighted.
  OVER.        In, without reply;        184
And do as I command, or thou art lost.  Exit MARGARET.
Is the loud music I gave order for
Ready to receive him?
  MAR.        ’Tis, sir.        188
  OVER.        Let them sound
A princely welcome.  [Exit MARRALL.] Roughness awhile leave me;
For fawning now, a stranger to my nature,
Must make way for me.        192

  LOV.        Sir, you meet your trouble.
  OVER.  What you are pleas’d to style so is an honour
Above my worth and fortunes.
  ALL.        [Aside.]  Strange, so humble.        196
  OVER.  A justice of peace, my lord.  Presents GREEDY to him.
  LOV.        Your hand, good sir.
  GREEDY.  [Aside.]  This is a lord, and some think this a favour;
But I had rather have my hand in my dumpling.        200
  OVER.  Room for my lord.
  LOV.        I miss, sir, your fair daughter
To crown my welcome.
  OVER.        May it please my lord        204
To taste a glass of Greek wine first, and suddenly
She shall attend my lord.
  LOV.  You’ll be obey’d, sir.  Exeunt all but OVERREACH.
  OVER.  ’Tis to my wish: as soon as come, ask for her!        208
Why, Meg! Meg Overreach.—
[Re-enter MARGARET]

How! tears in your eyes
Hah! dry ’em quickly, or I’ll dig ’em out.
Is this a time to whimper? Meet that greatness        212
That flies into thy bosom, think what ’tis
For me to say, “My honourable daughter;”
And thou, when I stand bare, to say, “Put on;”
Or, “Father, you forget yourself.” No more:        216
But be instructed, or expect——he comes.

A black-brow’d girl, my lord,
  LOV.        As I live, a rare one. They salute.
  ALL.  [Aside.]  He’s ta’en already: I am lost.        220
  OVER.        [Aside.]  That kiss
Came twangling off, I like it.—Quit the room.  [Exeunt all but OVERREACH, LOVELL, and MARGARET.
A little bashful, my good lord, but you,
I hope, will teach her boldness.        224
  LOV.        I am happy
In such a scholar: but——
  OVER.        I am past learning,
And therefore leave you to yourselves.—Remember.  Aside to MARGARET and exit.        228
  LOV.  You see, fair lady, your father is solicitous,
To have you change the barren name of virgin
Into a hopeful wife.
  MARG.        His haste, my lord,        232
Holds no power o’er my will.
  LOV.        But o’er your duty.
  MARG.  Which forc’d too much, may break.
  LOV.        Bend rather, sweetest.        236
Think of your years.
  MARG.        Too few to match with yours:
And choicest fruits too soon pluck’d, rot and wither.
  LOV.  Do you think I am old?        240
  MARG.        I am sure I am too young.
  LOV.  I can advance you.
  MARG.        To a hill of sorrow,
Where every hour I may expect to fall,        244
But never hope firm footing. You are noble,
I of a low descent, however rich;
And tissues match’d with scarlet 9 suit but ill.
O, my good lord, I could say more, but that        248
I dare not trust these walls.
  LOV.        Pray you, trust my ear then.
Re-enter OVERREACH [behind], listening

  OVER.  Close at it! whispering! this is excellent!
And, by their postures, a consent on both parts.        252
Re-enter GREEDY behind

  GREEDY.  Sir Giles, Sir Giles!
  OVER.        The great fiend stop that clapper!
  GREEDY.  It must ring out, sir, when my belly rings noon.
The bak’d-meats are run out, the roasts turn’d powder.        256
  OVER.  I shall powder you.
  GREEDY.        Beat me to dust, I care not;
In such a cause as this, I’ll die a martyr.
  OVER.  Marry, and shall, you barathrum 10 of the shambles!  Strikes him.        260
  GREEDY.  How! strike a justice of peace! ’Tis petty treason,
Edwardi quinto: but that you are my friend,
I would commit you without bail or mainprize 11
  OVER.  Leave your bawling, sir, or I shall commit you        264
Where you shall not dine-to-day. Disturb my lord,
When he is in discourse!
  GREEDY.        Is’t a time to talk
When we should be munching!        268
  LOV.        Hah! I heard some noise
  OVER.  Mum, villain; vanish! Shall we break a bargain
Almost made up?  Thrusts GREEDY off.
  LOV.        Lady, I understand you,        272
And rest most happy in your choice, believe it;
I’ll be a careful pilot to direct
Your yet uncertain bark to a port of safety.
  MARG.  So shall your honour save two lives, and bind us        276
Your slaves for ever.
  LOV.        I am in the act rewarded,
Since it is good; howe’er, you must put on
An amorous carriage towards me to delude        280
Your subtle father.
  MARG.        I am prone to that.
  LOV.  Now break we off our conference.—Sir Giles!
Where is Sir Giles?  [OVERREACH comes forward.]        284

  OVER.        My noble lord; and how
Does your lordship find her?
  LOV.        Apt, Sir Giles, and coming;
And I like her the better.        288
  OVER.        So do I too.
  LOV.  Yet should we take forts at the first assault,
’Twere poor in the defendant; I must confirm her
With a love-letter or two, which I must have        292
Deliver’d by my page, and you give way to’t.
  OVER.  With all my soul:—a towardly gentleman!
Your hand, good Master Allworth; know my house
Is ever open to you.        296
  ALL.        [Aside.]  ’Twas shut till now.
  OVER.  Well done, well done, my honourable daughter!
Thou’rt so already. Know this gentle youth,
And cherish him, my honourable daughter.        300
  MARG.  I shall, with my best care.  Noise within, as of a coach.
  OVER.        A coach!
  GREEDY.        More stops
Before we go to dinner! O my guts!        304

  L. ALL.        If I find welcome,
You share in it; if not, I’ll back again,
Now I know your ends; for I come arm’d for all
Can be objected.        308
  LOV.        How! the Lady Allworth!
  OVER.  And thus attended!  LOVELL salutes LADY ALLWORTH, LADY ALLWORTH salutes MARGARET.
  MAR.        No, “I am a dolt!
The spirit of lies had ent’red me!”        312
  OVER.        Peace, Patch; 12
’Tis more than wonder! an astonishment
That does possess me wholly!
  LOV.        Noble lady,        316
This is a favor, to prevent 13 my visit,
The service of my life can never equal.
  L. ALL.  My lord, I laid wait for you, and much hop’d
You would have made my poor house your first inn:        320
And therefore doubting that you might forget me,
Or too long dwell here, having such ample cause,
In this unequall’d beauty, for your stay,
And fearing to trust any but myself        324
With the relation of my service to you,
I borrow’d so much from my long restraint
And took the air in person to invite you.
  LOV.  Your bounties are so great, they rob me, madam,        328
Of words to give you thanks.
  L. ALL.        Good Sir Giles Overreach.  Salutes him.
—How dost thou, Marrall? Lik’d you my meat so ill,
You’ll dine no more with me?        332
  GREEDY.        I will, when you please,
And it like 14 your ladyship.
  L. ALL.        When you please, Master Greedy;
If meat can do it, you shall be satisfied.        336
And now, my lord, pray take into your knowledge
This gentleman; howe’er his outside’s coarse.  Presents WELLBORN.
His inward linings are as fine and fair
As any man’s; wonder not I speak at large:        340
And howsoe’er his humour carries him
To be thus accoutred, or what taint soever,
For his wild life, hath stuck upon his fame,
He may, ere long, with boldness, rank himself        344
With some that have contemn’d him. Sir Giles Overreach,
If I am welcome, bid him so.
  OVER.        My nephew!
He has been too long a stranger. Faith you have,        348
Pray let it be mended.  LOVELL confers aside with WELLBORN.
  MAR.        Why, sir, what do you mean?
This is “rogue Wellborn, monster, prodigy,
That should hang or drown himself;” no man of worship,        352
Much less your nephew.
  OVER.        Well, sirrah, we shall reckon
For this hereafter.
  MAR.        I’ll not lose my jeer,        356
Though I be beaten dead for’t.
  WELL.        Let my silence plead
In my excuse, my lord, till better leisure
Offer itself to hear a full relation        360
Of my poor fortunes.
  LOV.        I would hear, and help ’em.
  OVER.  Your dinner waits you.
  LOV.        Pray you lead, we follow.        364
  L. ALL.  Nay, you are my guest; come, dear Master Wellborn.  Exeunt all but GREEDY.
  GREEDY.  “Dear Master Wellborn!” so she said; Heaven! Heaven!
If my belly would give me leave, I could ruminate
All day on this: I have granted twenty warrants        368
To have him committed, from all prisons in the shire,
To Nottingham gaol; and now, “Dear Master Wellborn!”
And, “My good nephew!”—but I play the fool
To stand here prating, and forget my dinner.        372
Re-enter MARRALL

Are they set, Marrall?
  MAR.        Long since; pray you a word, sir.
  GREEDY.  No wording now.
  MAR.        In troth, I must, My master,        376
Knowing you are his good friend, makes bold with you,
And does entreat you, more guests being come in
Than he expected, especially his nephew,
The table being full too, you would excuse him,        380
And sup with him on the cold meat.
  GREEDY.        How! no dinner,
After all my care?
  MAR.        ’Tis but a penance for        384
A meal; besides, you broke your fast.
  GREEDY.        That was
But a bit to stay my stomach. A man in commission
Give place to a tatterdemalion!        388
  MAR.        No bug 15 words, sir;
Should his worship hear you——
  GREEDY.        Lose my dumpling too,
And butter’d toasts, and woodcocks!        392
  MAR.        Come, have patience.
If you will dispense a little with your worship,
And sit with the waiting women, you’ll have dumpling,
Woodcock, and butter’d toasts too.        396
  GREEDY.        This revives me:
I will gorge there sufficiently.
  MAR.        This is the way, sir.  Exeunt.
Note 1. A room in Overreach’s house. [back]
Note 2. Responsibility for providing. [back]
Note 3. A coarse cloth. [back]
Note 4. One of the London prisons. [back]
Note 5. Fit. [back]
Note 6. Neck of a boar. [back]
Note 7. Fool. [back]
Note 8. So Gifford. Q. when he is. [back]
Note 9. Silks matched with woolen. [back]
Note 10. Gulf: here, insatiable glutton. [back]
Note 11. A writ commanding the sheriff to take bail. [back]
Note 12. Fool. [back]
Note 13. Anticipate. [back]
Note 14. If it please. [back]
Note 15. Terrifying. [back]


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