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THE JESTS OF GEORGE PEELE, WITH FOUR OF HIS COMPANIONS AT BRAINFORD.
GeoRGE, with others of his associates, being merry together at the tavern, having more store of coin than usually they did possess, although they were as regardless of their silver, as a garden whore is of her honesty; yet they intended for a season to become good husbands, if they knew how to be sparing of that their pockets were then furnished withal. Five pounds they had amongst them, and a plot must be cast how they might be merry with extraordinary cheer three or four days, and keep their five pounds whole in stock. George Peele was the man must do it, or none, and generally they conjured him by their loves, his own credit, and the reputation that went on him, that he would but in this show his wit; and withal he should have all the furtherance that in them lay. George as easy as they earnest to be won to such an exploit, consented, and [they] gathered their money together, and gave it all to George, who should be their purse-bearer, and the other four should seem as servants to George Peele; and the better to colour it, they should go change their cloaks, the one like the other, so near as they could possible; the which at Beelzebub's brother the broker's, they might quickly do. This was soon accomplished, and George was furnished with his black satin suit, and a pair of boots, which were as familiar to his legs, as the pillory to a baker's or collier's neck; and he sufficiently possessed his friends with the whole scope of his intent, as, gentle reader, the sequel will show. Instantly they took a pair of oars, whose arms were to make a false gallop no further than Brainford, where their fare was paid them so liberally, that each of them the next tide to London, purchased two new waistcoats, yet should these good benefactors come to their usual places of trade, and if they spy a better fare than their own, that happily the gentleman hath more mind to go withal, they will not only fall out with him that is of their own sweet transporters, as they are, but abuse the fare they carry with foul speeches, as a pox, or the devil go with you, as their godfather Charon, the ferryman of hell, hath taught them. I speak not this of all, but of some that are brought up in the east, some in the west, some in the north, but most part in the south; but for the rest they are honest complete men. Leaving them to come to my honest George, who is now merry at
the Three Pigeons in Brainford,” with sack and sugar, not any wine wanting, the musicians playing, my host drinking, my hostess dancing with the worshipful justice, for so then he was termed, and his mansionhouse in Kent, who came thither of purpose to be merry with his men, because he could not so conveniently near home, by reason of a shrewish wife he had. My gentle hostess gave him all the entertainment her house could afford; for Master Peele had paid royally, for all his five pounds was come to ten groats. Now George Peele's wit labours to bring in that five pounds there was spent, which was soon begotten. Being set at dinner, My host, quoth George, how falls the tide out for London ? Not till the evening, quoth mine host; have you any business, sir? Yes, marry, quoth George, I intend not to go home this two days: therefore, my host, saddle my man a horse for London, if you be so well furnished, for I must send him for one bag more, quoth George, ten pounds hath seen no sun this six months. I am ill furnished if I cannot furnish you with that, quoth my host, and presently saddled him a good nag, and away rides one of George's men to London, attending the good hour of his Master Peele in London. In the mean time George bespeaks great cheeristo supper, saying, the expected some of his friends from London. Now you must imagine there was not a penny owing in the house, for he had paid as liberal as Caesar, as far as Caesar's wealth went: for indeed most of the money was one Caesar's, an honest man yet living in London. But to the catastrophe. All the day before, had one of the other men of George Peele been a great solicitor. to my hostess, she would beg leave of his master'he might go see a maid, a sweetheart of his, so far as Kingstone, and before his master went to bed he would return again; saying, he was sure she might command it at his master's hands. My kind hostess' willing to pleasure the young fellow, knowing in her time what belonged to such matters, went to Master Peele, and moved him in it, which he angrily re
* The persons who frequented the Three Pigeons at Brentford were generally not of the most respectable description. At a later period, when the Puritans had put down the stage, it was kept by the celebrated actor Lowin, then in old age, and poverty.
fused ; but she was so earnest in it, that she swore he should not deny her, protesting he went but to see
an uncle of his some five miles off. Marry, I thank you, quoth George, my good hostess, would you so" discredit me, or hath the knave no more wit, than' at this time to go, knowing I have no-horse here," and would he base cullian go a foot 2 - Nay, good" sir, quoth mine hostess, be not angry, it is not
his intent to go a foot, for he shall have my mare;
and I will assure you, Sir, upon my word he shall, be here again to have you to bed. Well, quoth
George, hostess, I'll take you at your word, let him. go; his negligence shall light upon you. So be it, quoth mine hostess: so down goeth she, and sends,
away civil Thomas, for so, she called him,' to his sweetheart, backed upon her maré: which Thomas instead of riding to Kingstone, took London in his way, where meeting with my other horseman, attended the arrival of George Peele, which was not long after. They are at London, George in his chamber at Brainford, accompanied with none but one Anthony Nit, a barber, who dined and supped with him continually, of whom he had borrowed a lute," to pass away the melancholy afternoon, of which he could play as well as Bankes'st horse. The barber very modestly takes his leave. George obsequiously bids him to supper, who (God willing) would not fail. George being left alone with his two supposed men, gave them the mean how to escape, and walking in the court, George found fault with the weather, saying it was rawish and cold; which word mine hostess hearing, my kind hostess fetched her husband's holiday gown, which George thankfully put about him, and withal called for a cup of sack, after which he would walk into the meadows and practise upon his lute. 'Tis good for your worship to do so, quoth mine hostess: which
* A lute was always to be found in a barber's shop, for the amusement of those customers who were obliged to wait. of Bankes taught his horse, named Morocco, to perform feats much more, wonderful than any exhibited by the most accom:) plished quadrupeds of our time. Various writers mention this learned animal: among other exploits, he is said to have gone up to the top of St. Paul's church.