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 V
Scene I

  L. ALL.  By this you know how strong the motives were
That did, my lord, induce me to dispense
A little, with my gravity, to advance,
In personating some few favours to him,        4
The plots and projects of the down-trod Wellborn.
Nor shall I e’er repent, although I suffer
In some few men’s opinions for’t, the action;
For he that ventur’d all for my dear husband        8
Might justly claim an obligation from me
To pay him such a courtesy; which had I
Coyly or over-curiously 2 denied,
It might have argu’d me of little love        12
To the deceased.
  LOV.        What you intended, madam,
For the poor gentleman hath found good success;
For, as I understand, his debts are paid,        16
And he once more furnish’d for fair employment:
But all the arts that I have us’d to raise
The fortunes of your joy and mine, young Allworth,
Stand yet in supposition, though I hope well;        20
For the young lovers are in wit more pregnant
Than their years can promise; and for their desires,
On my knowledge, they are equal.
  L. ALL.        As my wishes        24
Are with yours, my lord; yet give me leave to fear
The building, though well grounded: to deceive
Sir Giles, that’s both a lion and a fox
In his proceedings, were a work beyond        28
The strongest undertakers; not the trial
Of two weak innocents.
  LOV.        Despair not, madam:
Hard things are compass’d oft by easy means;        32
And judgment, being a gift deriv’d from Heaven,
Though sometimes lodg’d i’ the hearts of worldly men,
That ne’er consider from whom they receive it,
Forsakes such as abuse the giver of it.        36
Which is the reason that the politic
And cunning statesman, that believes he fathoms
The counsels of all kingdoms on the earth,
Is by simplicity oft over-reach’d.        40
  L. ALL.  May he be so! Yet, in his name to express it,
Is a good omen.
  LOV.        May it to myself
Prove so, good lady, in my suit to you!        44
What think you of the motion?
  L. ALL.        Troth, my lord,
My own unworthiness may answer for me;
For had you, when that I was in my prime,        48
My virgin flower uncropp’d, presented me
With this great favour; looking on my lowness
Not in a glass of self-love, but of truth,
I could not but have thought it as a blessing        52
Far, far beyond my merit.
  LOV.        You are too modest,
And undervalue that which is above
My title, or whatever I call mine.        56
I grant, were I a Spaniard, to marry
A widow might disparage me; but being
A true-born Englishman, I cannot find
How it can taint my honour: nay, what’s more,        60
That which you think a blemish is to me
The fairest lustre. You already, madam,
Have given sure proofs how dearly you can cherish
A husband that deserves you; which confirms me,        64
That, if I am not wanting in my care
To do you service, you’ll be still the same
That you were to your Allworth: in a word,
Our years, our states, our births are not unequal,        68
You being descended nobly, and alli’d so;
If then you may be won to make me happy,
But join your lips to mine, and that shall be
A solemn contract.        72
  L. ALL.        I were blind to my own good,
Should I refuse it; [Kisses him] yet, my lord, receive me
As such a one, the study of whose whole life
Shall know no other object but to please you.        76
  LOV.  If I return not, with all tenderness,
Equal respect to you, may I die wretched!
  L. ALL.  There needs no protestation, my lord,
To her that cannot doubt.—        80
Enter WELLBORN, [handsomely apparelled]

        You are welcome, sir.
Now you look like yourself.
  WELL.        And will continue
Such in my free acknowledgment, that I am        84
Your creature, madam, and will never hold
My life mine own, when you please to command it.
  LOV.  It is a thankfulness that well becomes you.
You could not make choice of a better shape        88
To dress your mind in.
  L. ALL.        For me, I am happy
That my endeavours prosper’d. Saw you of late
Sir Giles, your uncle?        92
  WELL.        I heard of him, madam,
By his minister, Marrall; he’s grown into strange passions
About his daughter. This last night he look’d for
Your lordship at his house, but missing you,        96
And she not yet appearing, his wise head
Is much perplex’d and troubl’d.
  LOV.        It may be,
Sweetheart, my project took.        100
  L. ALL.        I strongly hope.
  OVER.  [within.]  Ha! find her, booby, thou huge lump of nothing,
I’ll bore thine eyes out else.
  WELL.        May it please your lordship,        104
For some ends of mine own, but to withdraw
A little out of sight, though not of hearing,
You may, perhaps, have sport.
  LOV.        You shall direct me.  Steps aside.        108
Enter OVERREACH, with distracted looks, driving in MARRALL before him, [with a box] 3

  OVER.  I shall sol fa you, rogue!
  MAR.        Sir, for what cause
Do you use me thus?
  OVER.        Cause, slave! Why, I am angry,        112
And thou a subject only fit for beating,
And so to cool my choler. Look to the writing;
Let but the seal be broke upon the box
That hast slept in my cabinet these three years,        116
I’ll rack thy soul for’t.
  MAR.        Aside.  I may yet cry quittance,
Though now I suffer, and dare not resist.
  OVER.  Lady, by your leave, did you see my daughter lady?        120
And the lord her husband? Are they in your house?
If they are, discover, that I may bid ’em joy;
And, as an entrance to her place of honour,
See your ladyship be on her left hand, and make curtsies        124
When she nods on you; which you must receive
As a special favour.
  L. ALL.        When I know, Sir Giles,
Her state requires such ceremony, I shall pay it;        128
But in the meantime, as I am myself,
I give you to understand, I neither know
Nor care where her honour is.
  OVER.        When you once see her        132
Supported, and led by the lord her husband,
You’ll be taught better.——Nephew.
  WELL.        Sir.
  OVER.        No more?        136
  WELL.  ’Tis all I owe you.
  OVER.        Have you redeem’d rags
Made you thus insolent?
  WELL.        [in scorn.]  Insolent to you!        140
Why, what are you, sir, unless in your years,
At the best, more than myself?
  OVER.        [Aside.]  His fortune swells him:
’Tis rank 4 he’s married.        144
  L. ALL.        This is excellent!
  OVER.  Sir, in calm language, though I seldom use it,
I am familiar with the cause that makes you
Bear up thus bravely; there’s a certain buzz        148
Of a stol’n marriage, do you hear? of a stol’n marriage,
In which, ’tis said, there’s somebody hath been cozen’d;
I name no parties.
  WELL.        Well, sir, and what follows?        152
  OVER.  Marry, this; since you are peremptory. Remember,
Upon mere hope of your great match, I lent you
A thousand pounds: put me in good security,
And suddenly, by mortgage or by statute,        156
Of some of your new possessions, or I’ll have you
Dragg’d in your lavender robes 5 to the gaol. You know me,
And therefore do not trifle.
  WELL.        Can you be        160
So cruel to your nephew, now he’s in
The way to rise? Was this the courtesy
You did me “in pure love, and no ends else”?
  OVER.  End me no ends! Engage the whole estate,        164
And force you spouse to sign it, you shall have
Three or four thousand more, to roar and swagger
And revel in bawdy taverns.
  WELL.        And beg after;        168
Mean you not so?
  OVER.        My thoughts are mine, and free.
Shall I have security?
  WELL.        No, indeed you shall, not,        172
Nor bond, nor bill, nor bare acknowledgment;
Your great looks fright not me.
  OVER.        But my deeds shall.
Outbrav’d!  Both draw.        176
  L. ALL.  Help, murder! murder!
Enter Servants

  WELL.        Let him come on,
With all his wrongs and injuries about him,
Arm’d with his cut-throat practices to guard him;        180
The right that I bring with me will defend me,
And punish his extortion.
  OVER.        That I had thee
But single in the field!        184
  L. ALL.        You may; but make not
My house your quarrelling scene.
  OVER.        Were’t in a church,
By Heaven and Hell, I’ll do’t!        188
  MAR.        Now put him to
The shewing of the deed.  [Aside to WELLBORN.]
  WELL.        This rage is vain, sir;
For fighting, fear not, you shall have your hands full,        192
Upon the least incitement; and whereas
You charge me with a debt of a thousand pounds,
If there be law, (howe’er you have no conscience,)
Either restore my land, or I’ll recover        196
A debt, that’s truly due to me from you,
In value ten times more than what you challenge.
  OVER.  I in thy debt! O impudence! did I not purchase
The land left by thy father, that rich land,        200
That had continued in Wellborn’s name
Twenty descents; which, like a riotous fool,
Thou didst make sale of it? Is not here inclos’d
The deed that dost confirm it mine?        204
  MAR.        Now, now!
  WELL.  I do acknowledge none; I ne’er pass’d over
Any such land. I grant, for a year or two
You had it in trust; which if you do discharge,        208
Surrend’ring the possession, you shall ease
Yourself and me of chargeable suits in law,
Which, if you prove not honest, as I doubt it,
Must of necessity follow.        212
  L. ALL.        In my judgment,
He does advise you well.
  OVER.        Good! good! Conspire
With you new husband, lady; second him        216
In his dishonest practices; but when
This manor is extended 6 to my use,
You’ll speak in an humbler key, and sue for favour.
  L. ALL.  Never: do not hope it.        220
  WELL.        Let despair first seize me.
  OVER.  Yet, to shut up thy mouth, and make thee give
Thyself the lie, the loud lie, I draw out
The precious evidence; if thou canst forswear        224
Thy hand and seal, and make a forfeit of  Opens the box, [and displays the bond.]
Thy ears to the pillory, see! here’s that will make
My interest clear—ha!
  L. ALL.        A fair skin of parchment.        228
  WELL.  Indented, I confess, and labels too;
But neither wax nor words. How! thunderstruck?
Not a syllable to insult with? My wise uncle,
Is this your precious evidence? Is this that makes        232
Your interest clear?
  OVER.        I am o’erwhelm’d with wonder!
What prodigy is this? What subtle devil
Hath raz’d out the inscription, the wax        236
Turned into dust? The rest of my deeds whole
As when they were deliver’d, and this only
Made nothing! Do you deal with witches, rascal?
There is a statute 7 for you, which will bring        240
Your neck in an hempen circle; yes, there is;
And now ’tis better thought for, cheater, know
This juggling shall not save you.
  WELL.        To save thee,        244
Would beggar the stock of mercy.
  OVER.        Marrall!
  MAR.        Sir.
  OVER.  Flattering him.  Though the witnesses are dead, your testimony        248
Help with an oath or two: and for thy master,
Thy liberal master, my good honest servant,
I know thou wilt swear anything, to dash
The cunning sleight: besides, I know thou art        252
A public notary, and such stand in law
For a dozen witnesses: the deed being drawn too
By thee, my careful Marrall, and delivered
When thou were’t present, will make good my title.        256
Wilt thou not swear this?
  MAR.        I! No, I assure you:
I have a conscience not sear’d up like yours;
I know no deeds.        260
  OVER.        Wilt thou betray me?
  MAR.        Keep him
From using of his hands, I’ll use my tongue,
To his no little torment.        264
  OVER.        Mine own varlet
Rebel against me!
  MAR.        Yes, and uncase 8 you too.
“The idiot, the patch, the slave, the booby,        268
The property fit only to be beaten
For your morning exercise,” your “football,” or
“The unprofitable lump of flesh,” your “drudge,”
Can now anatomise you, and lay open        272
All your black plots, and level with the earth
Your hill of pride, and, with these gabions 9 guarded
Unload my great artillery, and shake,
Nay pulverize, the walls you think defend you.        276
  L. ALL.  How he foams at the mouth with rage!
  WELL.        To him again.
  OVER.  O that I had thee in my gripe, I would tear thee
Joint after joint!        280
  MAR.        I know you are a tearer,
But I’ll have first your fangs par’d off, and then
Come nearer to you; when I have discover’d, 10
And made it good before the judge, what ways        284
And devilish practices you us’d to cozen
With an army of whole families, who yet live,
And but enrolled for soldiers, were able
To take in 11 Dunkirk.        288
  WELL.        All will come out.
  L. ALL.        The better.
  OVER.  But that I will live, rogue, to torture thee,
And make thee wish, and kneel in vain, to die,        292
These swords that keep thee from me should fix here,
Although they made my body but one wound,
But I would reach thee.
  LOV.        Aside.  Heaven’s hand is in this;        296
One bandog 12 worry the other!
  OVER.        I play the fool,
And make my anger but ridiculous:
There will be a time and place, there will be, cowards,        300
When you shall feel what I dare do,
  WELL.        I think so:
You dare do any ill, yet want true valour
To be honest, and repent.        304
  OVER.        They are words I know not,
Nor e’er will learn. Patience, the beggar’s virtue,

Shall find no harbour here:—after these storms
At length a calm appears. Welcome, most welcome!        308
There’s comfort in thy looks. Is the deed done?
Is my daughter married? Say but so, my chaplain,
And I am tame.
  WILLDO.        Married! Yes, I assure you.        312
  OVER.  Then vanish all sad thoughts! There’s more gold for thee.
My doubts and fears are in the titles drown’d
Of my honourable, my right honourable daughter.
  GREEDY.  Here will 13 be feasting! At least for a month,        316
I am provided: empty guts, croak no more.
You shall be stuff’d like bagpipes, not with wind,
But bearing 14 dishes.
  OVER.        Instantly be here?  Whispering to WILLDO.        320
To my wish! to my wish! Now you that plot against me,
And hop’d to trip my heels up, that contemn’d me,
Think on’t and tremble.—Loud music—They come! I hear the music.
A lane there for my lord!        324
  WELL.        Think sudden heat
May yet be cool’d, sir.
  OVER.        Make way there for my lord!

  MARG.  Sir, first your pardon, then your blessing, with
Your full allowance of the choice I have made.
As ever you could make use of your reason,  Kneeling.
Grow not in passion; since you may as well
Call back the day that’s past, as untie the knot        332
Which is too strongly fasten’d: not to dwell
Too long on words, this is my husband.
  OVER.        How!
  ALL.  So I assure you; all the rites of marriage,        336
With every circumstance, are past. Alas! sir,
Although I am no lord, but a lord’s page,
Your daughter and my lov’d wife mourns not for it;
And, for right honourable son-in-law, you may say,        340
Your dutiful daughter.
  OVER.        Devil! are they married?
  WILLDO.  Do a father’s part, and say, Heaven give ’em joy!
  OVER.  Confusion and ruin! Speak, and speak quickly,        344
Or thou art dead.
  WILLDO.        They are married.
  OVER.        Thou hadst better
Have made a contract with the king of fiends,        348
Than these:—my brain turns!
  WILLDO.        Why this rage to me?
Is not this your letter, sir, and these the words?
“Marry her to this gentleman.”        352
  OVER.        It cannot—
Nor will I e’er believe it, ’s death! I will not;
That I, that in all passages I touch’d
At worldly profit have not left a print        356
Where I have trod for the most curious search
To trace my footsteps, should be gull’d by children,
Baffl’d and fool’d, and all my hopes and labours
Defeated and made void.        360
  WELL.        As it appears,
You are so, my grave uncle.
  OVER.        Village nurses
Revenge their wrongs with curses; I’ll not waste        364
A syllable, but thus I take the life
Which, wretched, I gave to thee.  Offers to kill MARGARET.
  LOV.  [coming forward.] Hold, for your own sake!
Though charity to your daughter hath quite left you,        368
Will you do an act, though in your hopes lost here,
Can leave no hope for peace or rest hereafter?
Consider; at the best you are but a man,
And cannot so create your aims, but that        372
They may be cross’d.
  OVER.        Lord! thus I spit at thee,
And at thy counsel; and again desire thee,
And as thou art a soldier, if thy valour        376
Dares shew itself where multitude and example
Lead not the way, let’s quit the house, and change
Six words in private.
  LOV.        I am ready.        380
  L. ALL.        Stay, sir,
Contest with one distracted!
  WELL.        You’ll grow like him,
Should you answer his vain challenge.        384
  OVER.        Are you pale?
Borrow his help, though Hercules call it odds,
I’ll stand against both as I am, hemm’d in thus.
Since, like a Libyan lion in the toil,        388
My fury cannot reach the coward hunters,
And only spends itself, I’ll quit the place.
Alone I can do nothing; but I have servants
And friends to second me; and if I make not        392
This house a heap of ashes (by my wrongs,
What I have spoke I will make good!) or leave
One throat uncut,—if it be possible,
Hell, add to my afflictions!  Exit.        396
  MAR.        Is’t not brave sport?
  GREEDY.  Brave sport! I am sure it has ta’en away my stomach;
I do not like the sauce.
  ALL.        Nay, weep not, dearest,        400
Though it express your pity; what’s decreed
Above, we cannot alter.
  L. ALL.        His threats move me
No scruple, madam.        404
  MAR.        Was it not a rare trick,
An it please your worship, to make the deed nothing?
I can do twenty neater, if you please
To purchase and grow rich; for I will be        408
Such a solicitor and steward for you,
As never worshipful had.
  WELL.        I do believe thee;
But first discover the quaint 15 means you us’d        412
To raze out the conveyance?
  MAR.        They are mysteries
Not to be spoke in public: certain minerals
Incorporated in the ink and wax—        416
Besides, he gave me nothing, but still fed me
With hopes and blows; but that was the inducement
To this conundrum. If it please your worship
To call to memory, this mad beast once caus’d me        420
To urge you or to drown or hang yourself;
I’ll do the like to him, if you command me.
  WELL.  You are a rascal! He that dares be false
To a master, though unjust, will ne’er be true        424
To any other. Look not for reward
Or favour from me; I will shun thy sight
As I would do a basilisk’s. Thank my pity,
If thou keep thy ears; howe’er, I will take order        428
Your practice shall be silenc’d.
  GREEDY.        I’ll commit him,
If you’ll have me, sir.
  WELL.        That were to little purpose;        432
His conscience be his prison. Not a word,
But instantly be gone.
  ORD.        Take this kick with you.
  AMB.  And this.        436
  FURN.        If that I had my cleaver here,
I would divide your knave’s head.
  MAR.        This is the haven
False servants still arrive at.  Exit.        440

  L. ALL.        Come again!
  LOV.  Fear not, I am your guard.
  WELL.        His looks are ghastly.
  WILLDO.  Some little time I have spent, under your favours,        444
In physical studies, and if my judgment err not,
He’s mad beyond recovery: but observe him,
And look to yourselves.
  OVER.        Why, is not the whole world        448
Include in yourself? To what use then
Are friends and servants? Say there were a squadron
Of pikes, lin’d through with shot, when I am mounted
Upon my injuries, shall I fear to charge them?        452
No: I’ll through the battalia, and, that routed,  Flourishing his sword sheathed. 16
I’ll fall to execution.—Ha! I am feeble:
Some undone widow sits upon mine arm,
And takes away the use of’t; and my sword,        456
Glu’d to my scabbard with wrong’d orphans’ tears,
Will not be drawn. Ha! what are these? Sure, hangmen,
That come to bind my hands, and then to drag me
Before the judgment-seat: now they are new shapes,        460
And do appear like Furies, with steel whips
To scourge my ulcerous soul. Shall I then fall
Ingloriously, and yield? No; spite of Fate,
I will be forc’d to hell like to myself.        464
Though you were legions of accursed spirits,
Thus would I fly among you.  [Rushes forward and flings himself on the ground.]
  WELL.        There’s no help;
Disarm him first, then bind him.        468
  GREEDY.        Take a mittimus, 17
And carry him to Bedlam.
  LOV.        How he foams!
  WELL.  And bites the earth!        472
  WILLDO.        Carry him to some dark room,
There try what art can do for his recovery.
  MARG.  O my dear father!  They force OVERREACH off.
  ALL.        You must be patient, mistress.        476
  LOV.  Here is a precedent to teach wicked men,
That when they leave religion, and turn atheists,
Their own abilities leave them. Pray you take comfort,
I will endeavour you shall be his guardians        480
In his distractions: and for your land, Master Wellborn,
Be it good or ill in law, I’ll be an umpire
Between you, and this, th’ undoubted heir
Of Sir Giles Overreach. For me, here’s the anchor        484
That I must fix on.
  ALL.        What you shall determine,
My lord, I will allow of.
  WELL.        ’Tis the language        488
That I speak too; but there is something else
Beside the repossession of my land,
And payment of my debts, that I must practise.
I had a reputation, but ’twas lost        492
In my loose course; and until I redeem it
Some noble way, I am but half made up.
It is a time of action; if your lordship
Will please to confer a company upon me        496
In your command, I doubt not in my service
To my king and country but I shall do something
That may make me right again.
  LOV.        Your suit is granted,        500
And you lov’d for the motion.
  WELL.  [coming forward.]  Nothing wants then
But your allowance—
Note 1. A room in Lady Allworth’s house. [back]
Note 2. Fastidiously. [back]
Note 3. In Q. after “took,” above. [back]
Note 4. Obvious. [back]
Note 5. Clothes in pawn were said to be “laid up in lavender.” [back]
Note 6. Seized. [back]
Note 7. The law against witchcraft. [back]
Note 8. Flay. [back]
Note 9. Wicker baskets filled with earth used to protect soldiers when digging trenches. [back]
Note 10. Revealed. [back]
Note 11. Capture. [back]
Note 12. Fierce watchdog. [back]
Note 13. Q. will I. [back]
Note 14. Solid. [back]
Note 15. Crafty. [back]
Note 16. Q. unsheathed. [back]
Note 17. A writ of committal. [back]


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