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this day never saw vintner's cellar: and so he left George in a cold chamber, a thin shirt, a ravished bed, no comfort left him, but the bare bones of deceased capons. In this distress George bethought him what he might do: nothing was left him : and as his eye wandered up and down the empty chamber, by chance he spied out an old armour, at which sight George was the joyfulest man in Christendom; for the armour of Achilles, that Ulysses and Ajax
... strove for, was not more precious to them, than this to him: for he presently claps it upon his back,
the halbert in his hand, the morion on his head; and so gets out the back way, marches from Shoreditch to Clarkenwell, to the no small wonder of those spectators that beheld him. Being arrived to the wished haven he would be, an old acquaintance of his furnished him with an old suit, and an old cloak for his old armour. How the hostess looked when she saw that metamorphosis in her chamber, judge those bomborts that live by tapping, between the age of fifty and threescore.
HOW HE SERVED. A TAPSTER.
GeoRGE was making merry with three or four of his friends in Pye-corner, where the tapster of the house was much given to poetry; for he had engrossed the Knight of the Sun, Venus and Adonis, and other pamphlets, which the stripling had collected together, and knowing George to be a poet, he took great delight in his company, and out of his bounty would bestow a brace of cans of him. George observing the humour of the tapster, meant presently to work upon him. What will you say, quoth George to his friends, if out of this spirit of the cellar I fetch a good angel that shall bid us all to supper? We would gladly see that, quoth his friends, Content yourself, quoth George. The tapster ascends with his two cans; delivers one to Master Peele, and the other to his friends; gives them kind welcome; but George instead of giving him thanks, bids him not to trouble him, and begins in these terms. I protest, gentlemen, I wonder you will urge me so much; I swear I have it not about me. What is the matter, quoth the tapster, hath any one angered you? No faith, quoth George, I'll tell thee, it is this. There is a friend of ours in Newgate, for nothing but only the command of the justices; and he being now to be released, sends to me to bring him an angel. Now the man I love dearly well, and if he want ten angels, he shall have them, for I know him sure: but here's the misery, either I must go home, or I must be forced to pawn this; and plucks an old Harry groat" out of his pocket. The tapster looks upon it: why, and it please you, Sir, quoth he, this is but a groat. No, sir, quoth George, I know it is but a groat; but this groat will I not lose for forty pounds: for this groat had I of my mother, as a testimony of a lease of a house I am to possess after her decease ; and if I should lose this groat, I were in a fair case; and either I must pawn this groat, or there the fellow must lie still. Quoth the tapster, If it please you, I will lend you an angel on it, and I will assure you it shall be safe. Wilt thou, quoth George? as thou art an honest man, lock it up in thy chest, and let me have it, whensoever I call for it. As I am an honest man you shall, quoth the tapster. George delivered him his groat: the tapster gave him ten shillings: to the tavern go they with the money, and there merrily spend it. It fell out in a small time after, the tapster, having many of these lurches fell to decay, and indeed was turned out of service, having no more coin in the world than this groat; and in this misery he met George as poor as himself. O sir, quoth the tapster, you are happily met; I have your groat safe, though since I saw you last, I have bid great extremity: and I protest, save that groat, I have not one penny in the world; therefore I pray you, sir, help me to my money, and take your pawn. Not for the world, quoth George; thousayest thou hast but that groat in the world, my bargain was, that thou shouldst keep that groat until I did demand it of thee; I ask thee none. I will do thee more good, because thou art an honest fellow ; keep thou that groat still, till I call for it; and so doing, the proudest Jack in England cannot justify that thou art not worth a groat; otherwise they might; and so, honest Michael, farewell. So George leaves the poor tapster picking of his fingers, his head full of proclamations what he might do; at last, sighing, he ends with this proverb: - - -
For the price of a barrel of beer,
HOW GEORGE SERVED A GENTLEWOMAN.
GeoRGE used often to an ordinary in this town, where a kinswoman of the good wife's in the house, held a great pride and vain opinion of her own mother-wit; for her tongue was as a jack continually wagging; and for she had heard that George was a scholar, she thought she would find a time to give him notice, that she had as much in her head, as ever was in her grandfather's. Yet in some things she differed from the women in those days; for their natural complexion was their beauty: now this Titmouse, what she is scanted by nature, she doth replenish by art, as her boxes of red and white daily can testify. But to come to George, who arrived at the ordinary among other gallants, throws his cloak upon the table, salutes the gentlemen, and presently calls for a cup of canary. George had a pair of hose on, that for some offence durst not be seen in that hue they were first dyed in, but from his
first colour being a youthful green, his long age turned him into a mournful black, and for his antiquity was in print. Which this busy body perceiving, thought now to give it him to the quick; and drawing near Master Peele, looking upon his breeches, by my troth, sir, quoth she, these are exceedingly well printed. At which word, George being a little moved in his mind, that his old hose were called in question, answered, and by my faith, Mistress, quoth George, your face is most damnably ill painted. How mean you, sir? quoth she. Marry thus, mistress, quoth George, that if it were not for printing and painting, my arse and your face would grow out of reparations.” At which she biting her lip, in a parat fury went down the stairs. The gentlemen laughed at the sudden answer of George, and being seated to dinner, the gentlemen would needs have the company of this witty gentlewoman to dine with them; who with little denying came, in hope to cry quittance with George. When she was ascended, the gentlemen would needs place her by Master Peele; because they did use to dart one at
* “Flavia. Pray you in ancient times were not those satin hose? In good faith now they are new dyed, pinked, and scowered, they show as well as if they were new. What, mute, Balurdo?
“ Feliche. Ay in faith, and 'twere not for printing and painting, my breech and your face would be out of reparation.”
First Part of Antonio and Mellida, Act 2, sc. 1. 1602.
Was Marston, or the Author of the Jests, the plagiary The