Thomas Dekker.

The guls hornbook : and The belman of London in two parts online

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selfe. The prologue of which li it goe off well,
there is good hope all shall end well : All the
cunning thereof is how to Begin, and to doe that
the Taker studies his part at his fingers ends.



THE BEL-MAN OF LONDON 121

The Stage on which he playes the Prologue, is The
either in Fleetestreete, the Strond, or in Poules, stage for
and most commonly in the afternoone, when ^^^
Country Clyents are at most leysure to walke in ^^^^^7
those places, or for dispatching of their businesse,
travell from Lawyer to Lawyer, through
Chancery lane, Holburne, and such like places.
In this heate of running to and fro, if a plaine
fellow well and cleanly apparrelled, either in
home-spunne russet, or freeze, (as the Season
requires) with a side pouch at his girdle happen
to appeare in his rusticall likenesse. There is a
Cozen sayes one. At which word out flies the
Taker, and thus gives the onset upon my old
Penny-father. Sir, God save you, you are
welcome to London, how doe all our good
friends in the Countrie ? I hope they be wel :
the Russetting amazed at these salutations of a
stranger, replies : Sir, all our friendes in the
Contrie are in health, but pray pardon me, I
know you not beleeve it : No (answeres the
Taker) are you not a Lancashire man, or of such
a Country ? if he say, yes, then the Fish nibbles
and he gives him more line to play with, if hee
say, no, then the Taker hath about with another
weapon and sweares soberly, In good sooth sir,
I know your face, and am sure we have beene
merry together, I pray (if I may beg it without
offence) bestow your name upon me, and your
dwelling place. The innocent Man, suspecting
no poison in this gilded cup, tels him presently
his name and abiding, by what gentlemen hee
dwels &c. which being / done, the Taker (for
thus interrupting him in his way, and for the



122 THE BEL-MAN OF LONDON

How the wrong in mistaking him for another) offers a quarr
^P^^^ ^H ^^ wine : if the Cozen be such an Asse to goe
into a taverne, then he is sure to be unckled, but
if hee smacice my Taker and smell gun-powder
traines, yet will not be blowne up ; they part
fairely ; and then to the Verser goes the Taker,
discovering what he hath done, and delivers the
mans name, country, and dwelling to the Verser ;
who boldly stepping to him, or crossing the way
to meete him full in the face, takes acquaintance
presently of him, salutes him by his name,
inquires how such, and such gentlemen doe, that
dwell in the same towne by him, and albeit the
honest Hoh-nayle-nvearer, can by no meanes be
brought to remember this newe friend, yet, will
hee nill hee, to the taverne hee sweares to have
him, and to bestow upon him the best wine in
London.

Diverse other puUies (if these two faile) have
they to drawe simple men into their company, as
by dropping a shilling in the open way, which
being taken up in the Country mans sight, must
be spent in wine, because hee shall have his
Halfe-part : or by intreating him to step into a
taverne, til the Verser have writ a word or two
into the Countrie, which hee must carry to his
friends, offering the Cozen a shilling for his
paines. But the conclusion of all is, that if they
thinke his bag is well lyned with silver, to the
taverne by one subtle hooke or other, they will
pull him, where being set with the Verser and
the Taker, and wine called for : In comes the
Barnard stumbling into the Roome as it were by
chance, seeming to be halfe drunke : and crying



THE BEL-MAN OF LONDON 123

the company mercy for being so bold with them, The part

they modestly answere, no hurt is done, and of the

aske him if he will drinke with them : he takes ^^'^^^'^

their offer, and sweares to pay for a pynte of

wine, which they by no meanes will suffer.

But the ^^r;?


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