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some five, some more; protesting, something they will pay. Well, quoth George, taking up all the money, seeing you will be so wilful, you shall see what shall follow. He commands the music to play, and while they were skipping and dancing, George gets his cloak, sends up two pottles of hippocras," and leaves them and the reckoning to pay. They wondering at the stay of George, meant to be gone; but they were staid by the way, and before they went, forced to pay the reckoning anew. This showed a mind in him, he cared not whom he deceived, so he profited himself for the present.
A JEST OF GEORGE RIDING TO OXFORD.f
THERE was some half dozen of citizens, that had oftentimes been solicitors to George, he being a Master of Art at the University of Oxford, that he would ride with them to the commencement, it being at midsummer. George, willing to pleasure the gentlemen his friends, rode along with them. When they had rode the better part of the way, they baited at a village called Stoken, five miles from Wickham. Good cheer was bespoken for dinner; and frolic was the company, all but George, who could not be in that pleasant vein that did ordinarily possess him, by reason he was without money: but he had not fetched forty turns about the chamber, before his noddle had entertained a conceit how to money himself with credit, and yet glean it from some one of the company. There was among them one excellent ass, a fellow that did nothing but frisk up and down the chamber, that his money might be heard chide in his pocket. This fellow had George observed, and secretly conveyed his gilt rapier and dagger into another chamber, and there closely hid it: that done, he called up the tapster, and upon his cloak borrows five shillings for an hour or so, till his man came, as he could fashion it well enough. So much money he had ; and then who more merry than George 2 Meat was brought up : they set themselves to dinner, all full of mirth, especially my little fool, who drank not of the conclusion of their feast. Dinner ended, much prattle past, every man begins to buckle to his furniture: among whom this hichcock missed his rapier: at which all the company were in a maze; he besides his wits, for he had borrowed it of a special friend of his, and swore he had rather spend twenty nobles. This is strange, quoth
* Hippocras was a drink made of wine, sugar, and spices. ppo
# In the Puritan, Captain Idle (who is in prison) and George Pyeboard persuade Nicholas to steal Sir Godfrey's gold chain, to hide it in the garden, and to inform the simple Knight that Idle is a great conjuror able to recover it: Sir Godfrey procures the release of Idle, who, assisted by George Pyeboard, plays the conjuror, and makes the Devil drop the chain on a rosemary bank.-Act 1, s. 4; Act 4, s. 2.
George, it should be gone in this fashion, none being here but ourselves, and the fellows of the house; who were examined, but no rapier could be heard of: all the company much grieved; but George in a pitiful chafe, swore it should cost him forty shillings, but he would know'what was become of it, if art could do it: and with that he caused the ostler to saddle his mag; for George would ride to a scholar, a friend of his, that had skill in such matters. O, good Master Peele, quoth the fellow, want no money; here is forty shillings; see what you can do; and if you please, I'll ride along with you. Not so, quoth George, taking his forty shillings, I'll ride alone, and be you as merry as you can till my return. So George left them, and rode directly to Oxford. There he acquaints a friend of his with all the circumstance; who presently took horse and rode along with him to laugh at the jest. When they came back, George tells them he had brought one of the rarest men in England; whom they with much compliment bid welcome. He, after a distracted countenance, and strange words, takes this bulfinch by the wrist, and carried him into the privy, and there willed him to put in his head, but while he had written his name, and told forty: which he willingly did. That done, the scholar asked him. what he saw 2. By my faith, sir, I smelt a villanous scent, but I saw nothing. Then I have, quoth he, and with that directed him where his rapier was; saying, it is just north-east, inclosed in wood near the earth:* for which they all made diligent search, till George, who hid it under a settle, found it, to the comfort of the fellow, the joy of the company, and the eternal credit of his friend, who was entertained with wine and sugar:# and George redeemed his cloak, rode merrily to Oxford, having coin in his pocket, where this loach spares not for any expence, for the good fortune he had in the happy finding of his rapier.
HOW GEORGE SERVED HIS HOSTESS.
GeoRGE lying at an old widow's house, and had gone so far on the score that his credit would stretch no farther; for she had made a vow not to depart with drink or victuals without ready money. Which George, seeing the fury of his froward hostess, in grief kept his chamber; called to his hostess, and told her, she should understand that he was not without money, how poorly soever he appeared to her, and that my diet shall testify; in the mean time, good hostess, quoth he, send for such a friend of mine. She did : so his friend came ; to whom
* “Sir Godfrey ... I know 'tis [i. e. the chain] somewhere above the earth.
Idle. Ay, nigher the earth than thou wot'st on.”—Puritan, Act 3, s. 6.
# When this tract was written, it was customary to mix sugar with every kind of wine.
George imparted his mind, the effect whereof was this, to pawn his cloak, hose and doublet, unknown to his hostess: for, quoth George, this seven mights do I intend to keep my bed. Truly he spake, for ... his intent was, the bed should not keep him any longer. Away goes he to pawn his apparel: George bespeaks good cheer to supper, which was no shamble-butcher's stuff, but according to the place; for, , his chamber being remote from the house, at the end of the garden, his apparel being gone, it appeared to him as the counter, therefore to comfort himself, he dealt in poultry. His friend brought the money, supped with him : his hostess he very liberally paid, ... but cavilled with her at her unkindness, vowing that while he lay there, none should attend him but his friend. The hostess replied, a God's name, she was well contented with it; so was George too; for none knew better than himself what he intended. But in brief, thus he used his kind hostess. After his apparel and money was gone, he made bold with the feather-bed he lay on, which his friend slily conveyed away, having as villanous a wolf in his belly as George, though not altogether so wise, for that feather-bed they devoured in two days, feathers and all; which was no sooner digested, but away went the coverlet, sheets, and the blanket; and at the last dinner, when George's good friend perceiving nothing left but the bed-cords, as the devil would have it, straight came in his mind the fashion of a halter, the foolish kind knave would needs fetch a quart of sack for his friend George; which sack to