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 IV
Scene II
[Enter] TAPWELL and FROTH 1
  TAP.  Undone, undone! this was your counsel, Froth.
  FROTH.  Mine! I defy thee. Did not Master Marrall
(He has marr’d all, I am sure) strictly command us,        4
On pain of Sir Giles Overreach’ displeasure,
To turn the gentleman out of doors?
  TAP.        ’Tis true;
But now he’s his uncle’s darling, and has got        8
Master Justice Greedy, since he fill’d his belly,
At his commandment, to do anything.
Woe, woe to us!
  FROTH.        He may prove merciful.        12
  TAP.  Troth, we do not deserve it at his hands.
Though he knew all the passages of our house,
As the receiving of stolen goods, and bawdry,
When he was rogue Wellborn no man would believe him,        16
And then his information could not hurt us;
But now he is right worshipful again.
Who dares but doubt his testimony? Methinks,
I see thee, Froth, already in a cart,        20
For a close 2 bawd, thine eyes ev’n pelted out
With dirt and rotten eggs; and my hand hissing,
If I scape the halter, with the letter R 3
Printed upon it.        24
  FROTH.        Would that were the worst!
That were but nine days’ wonder: as for credit,
We have none to lose, but we shall lose the money
He owes us, and his custom; there’s the hell on’t.        28
  TAP.  He has summon’d all his creditors by the drum,
And they swarm about him like so many soldiers
On the pay day: and has found out such A New Way
To Pay His Old Debts, as ’tis very likely        32
He shall be chronicled for it!
  FROTH.        He deserves it
More than ten pageants. But are you sure his worship
Comes this way, to my lady’s?        36
        A cry within: Brave master Wellborn!
  TAP.        Yes:—I hear him.
  FROTH.  Be ready with your petition, and present it
To his good grace.        40
Enter WELLBORN in a rich habit, [followed by MARRALL,] GREEDY, ORDER, FURNACE, and Creditors; TAPWELL kneeling, delivers his bill of debt

  WELL.        How’s this! petition’d to? 4——
But note what miracles the payment of
A little trash, and a rich suit of clothes,
Can work upon these rascals! I shall be,        44
I think, Prince Wellborn.
  MAR.        When your worship’s married,
You may be—I know what I hope to see you.
  WELL.  Then look thou for advancement.        48
  MAR.        To be known
Your worship’s bailiff, is the mark I shoot at.
  WELL.  And thou shalt hit it.
  MAR.        Pray you, sir, despatch        52
These needy followers, and for my admittance, 5
Provided you’ll defend me from Sir Giles,
Whose service I am weary of, I’ll say something
You shall give thanks for.        56
  WELL.        Fear me not, Sir Giles.
  GREEDY.  Who, Tapwell? I remember thy wife brought me
Last new-year’s tide, a couple of fat turkeys.
  TAP.  And shall do every Christmas, let your worship        60
But stand my friend now.
  GREEDY.        How! with Master Wellborn?
I can do anything with him on such terms.—
See you this honest couple; they are good souls        64
As ever drew out faucet; have they not
A pair of honest faces?
  WELL.        I o’erheard you,
And the bribe he promis’d. You are cozen’d in them;        68
For, of all the scum that grew rich by my riots,
This, for a most unthankful knave, and this,
For a base bawd and whore, have worst deserv’d me,
And therefore speak not for ’em. By your place        72
You are rather to do me justice. Lend me your ear:
—Forget his turkeys, and call in his license,
And, at the next fair, I’ll give you a yoke of oxen
Worth all his poultry.        76
  GREEDY.        I am chang’d on the sudden
In my opinion! Come near; nearer, rascal.
And, now I view him better, did you e’er see
One look so like an archknave? His very countenance,        80
Should an understanding judge but look upon him,
Would hang him, though he were innocent.
  TAP.  FROTH.        Worshipful sir.
  GREEDY.  No, though the great Turk came, instead of turkeys,        84
To beg my favour, I am inexorable.
Thou hast an ill name: besides thy musty ale,
That hath destroy’d many of the king’s liege people,
Thou never hadst in thy house, to stay men’s stomachs,        88
A piece of Suffolk cheese or gammon of bacon,
Or any esculent, as the learned call it,
For their emolument, but sheer drink only.
For which gross fault I here do damn thy license,        92
Forbidding thee ever to tap or draw;
For instantly, I will, in mine own person,
Command the constable to pull down thy sign,
And do it before I eat.        96
  FROTH.        No mercy?
  GREEDY.        Vanish!
If I shew any, may my promis’d oxen gore me!
  TAP.  Unthankful knaves are ever so rewarded.  Exeunt GREEDY, TAPWELL, and FROTH.        100
  WELL.  Speak; what are you?
  1ST CRED.        A decay’d vintner, sir,
That might have thriv’d, but that your worship broke me
With trusting you with muscadine 6 and eggs,        104
And five pound suppers, with your after drinkings,
When you lodg’d upon the Bankside.
  WELL.        I remember.
  1ST CRED.  I have not been hasty, nor e’er laid to arrest you;        108
And therefore, sir——
  WELL.        Thou art an honest fellow,
I’ll set thee up again; see his bill paid.—
What are you?        112
  2ND CRED.        A tailor once, but now mere botcher. 7
I gave you credit for a suit of clothes,
Which was all my stock, but you failing in payment,
I was remov’d from the shopboard, and confin’d        116
Under a stall.
  WELL.        See him paid;—and botch no more.
  2ND CRED.  I ask no interest, sir.
  WELL.        Such tailors need not;        120
If their bills are paid in one and twenty year,
They are seldom losers.—O, I know thy face,  [To 3RD CREDITOR.]
Thou wert my surgeon. You must tell no tales;
Those days are done. I will pay you in private.        124
  ORD.  A royal gentleman!
  FURN.        Royal as an emperor!
He’ll prove a brave master; my good lady knew
To choose a man.        128
  WELL.        See all men else discharg’d;
And since old debts are clear’d by a new way,
A little bounty will not misbecome me;
There’s something, honest cook, for thy good breakfasts;        132
And this, for your respect: [To ORDER] take’t, ’tis good gold,
And I able to spare it.
  ORD.        You are too munificent.
  FURN.  He was ever so.        136
  WELL.        Pray you, on before.
  3RD CRED.        Heaven bless you!
  MAR.  At four o’clock; the rest know where to meet me.  Exeunt ORDER, FURNACE, and Creditors.
  WELL.  Now, Master Marrall, what’s the weighty secret        140
You promis’d to impart?
  MAR.        Sir, time nor place
Allow me to relate each circumstance,
This only, in a word: I know Sir Giles        144
Will come upon you for security
For his thousand pounds, which you must not consent to.
As he grows in heat, as I am sure he will,
Be you but rough, and say he’s in your debt        148
Ten times the sum, upon sale of your land;
I had a hand in’t (I speak it to my shame)
When you were defeated 8 of it.
  WELL.        That’s forgiven.        152
  MAR.  I shall deserve ’t. Then urge him to produce
The deed in which you pass’d it over to him,
Which I know he’ll have about him, to deliver
To the Lord Lovell, with many other writings,        156
And present monies; I’ll instruct you further,
As I wait on your worship. If I play not my prize
To your full content, and your uncle’s much vexation,
Hang up Jack Marrall.        160
  WELL.        I rely upon thee.  Exeunt.
Note 1. Before Tapwell’s house. [back]
Note 2. Secret. [back]
Note 3. For “Rogue.” [back]
Note 4. Q. too. [back]
Note 5. Appointment. [back]
Note 6. Wine from muscadel grapes. [back]
Note 7. Repairer. [back]
Note 8. Robbed. [back]


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