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Full Online Book HomePlaysEvery Man In His Humor - Act 1 Scene 2
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Every Man In His Humor - Act 1 Scene 2 Post by :GedMT Category :Plays Author :Ben Jonson Date :May 2012 Read :2460

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Every Man In His Humor - Act 1 Scene 2

ACT I SCENE II

(SCENE II.-A Room in KNOWELL.'S House.
Enter E. KNOWELL, with a letter in his hand, followed by BRAINWORM.)


E. Know. Did he open it, say'st thou?

Brai. Yes, O' my word, sir, and read the contents.

E. Know. That scarce contents me. What countenance, prithee, made he in the reading of it? was he angry, or pleased?

Brai. Nay, sir, I saw him not read it, nor open it, I assure your worship.

E. Know. No! how know'st thou then that he did either?

Brai. Marry, sir, because he charged me, on my life, to tell nobody that he open'd it; which, unless he had done, he would never fear to have it revealed.

E. Know. That's true: well, I thank thee, Brainworm.

(Enter STEPHEN.)

Step. O, Brainworm, didst thou not see a fellow here in what-sha-call-him doublet? he brought mine uncle a letter e'en now.

Brai. Yes, master Stephen; what of him?

Step. O, I have such a mind to beat him--where is he, canst thou tell?

Brai. Faith, he is not of that mind: he is gone, master Stephen.

Step. Gone! which way? when went he? how long since?

Brai. He is rid hence; he took horse at the street-door.

Step. And I staid in the fields! Whoreson scanderbag rogue! O that I had but a horse to fetch him back again!

Brai. Why, you may have my master's gelding, to save your longing, sir.

Step. But I have no boots, that's the spite on't.

Brai. Why, a fine wisp of hay, roll'd hard, master Stephen.

Step. No, faith, it's no boot to follow him now: let him e'en go and hang. Prithee, help to truss me a little: he does so vex me--

Brai. You'll be worse vexed when you are trussed, master Stephen. Best keep unbraced, and walk yourself till you be cold; your choler may founder you else.

Step. By my faith, and so I will, now thou tell'st me on't: how dost thou like my leg, Brainworm?

Brai. A very good leg, master Stephen; but the woollen stocking does not commend it so well.

Step. Foh! the stockings be good enough, now summer is coming on, for the dust: I'll have a pair of silk against winter, that I go to dwell in the town. I think my leg would shew in a silk hose--

Brai. Believe me, master Stephen, rarely well.

Step. In sadness, I think it would: I have a reasonable good leg.

Brai. You have an excellent good leg, master Stephen; but I can not stay to praise it longer now, and I am very sorry for it.

(Exit.)

Step. Another time will serve, Brainworm. Gramercy for this.

E. Know. Ha, ha, ha.

Step. 'Slid, I hope he laughs not at me; an he do--

E. Know. Here was a letter indeed, to be intercepted by a man's father, and do him good with him! He cannot but think most virtuously, both of me, and the sender, sure, that make the careful costermonger of him in our familiar epistles. Well, if he read this with patience I'll be gelt, and troll ballads for master John Trundle yonder, the rest of my mortality. It is true, and likely, my father may have as much patience as another man, for he takes much physic; and oft taking physic makes a man very patient. But would your packet, master Wellbred, had arrived at him in such a minute of his patience! then we had known the end of it, which now is doubtful, and threatens--(Sees Master Stephen.) What, my wise cousin! nay, then I'll furnish our feast with one gull more toward the mess. He writes to me of a brace, and here's one, that's three: oh, for a fourth, Fortune, if ever thou' It use thine eyes, I entreat thee--

Step. Oh, now I see who he laughed at: he laughed at somebody in that letter. By this good light, an he had laughed at me--

E. Know. How now, cousin Stephen, melancholy?

Step. Yes, a little: I thought you had laughed at me, cousin.

E. Know. Why, what an I had, coz? what would you have done?

Step. By this light, I would have told mine uncle.

E. Know. Nay, if you would have told your uncle, I did laugh at you, coz.

Step. Did you, indeed?

E. Know. Yes, indeed.

Step. Why then

E. Know. What then?

Step. I am satisfied; it is sufficient.

E. Know. Why, be so, gentle coz: and, I pray you, let me entreat a courtesy of you. I am sent for this morning by a friend in the Old Jewry, to come to him; it is but crossing over the fields to Moorgate: Will you bear me company? I protest it is not to draw you into bond or any plot against the state, coz.

Step. Sir, that's all one an it were; you shall command me twice so far as Moorgate, to do you good in such a matter. Do you think I would leave you? I protest--

E. Know. No, no, you shall not protest, coz.

Step. By my fackings, but I will, by your leave:--I'll protest more to my friend, than I'll speak of at this time.

E. Know. You speak very well, coz.

Step. Nay, not so neither, you shall pardon me: but I speak to serve my turn.

E. Know. Your turn, coz! do you know what you say? A gentleman of your sorts, parts, carriage, and estimation, to talk of your turn in this company, and to me alone, like a tankard-bearer at a conduit! fie! A wight that, hitherto, his every step hath left the stamp of a great foot behind him, as every word the savour of a strong spirit, and he! this man! so graced, gilded, or, to use a more fit metaphor, so tenfold by nature, as not ten housewives' pewter, again a good time, shews more bright to the world than he! and he! (as I said last, so I say again, and still shall say it) this man! to conceal such real ornaments as these, and shadow their glory, as a milliner's wife does her wrought stomacher, with a smoaky lawn, or a black cyprus! O, coz! it cannot be answered; go not about it: Drake's old ship at Deptford may sooner circle the world again. Come, wrong not the quality of your desert, with looking downward, coz; but hold up your head, so: and let the idea of what you are be portrayed in your face, that men may read in your physnomy, here within this place is to be seen the true, rare, and accomplished monster, or miracle of nature, which is all one. What think you of this, coz?

Step. Why, I do think of it: and I will be more proud, and melancholy, and gentlemanlike, than I have been, I'll insure you.

E. Know. Why, that's resolute, master Stephen!--Now, if I can but hold him up to his height, as it is happily begun, it will do well for a suburb humour: we may hap have a match with the city, and play him for forty pound.--Come, coz.

Step. I'll follow you.

E. Know. Follow me! you must go before.

Step. Nay, an I must, I will. Pray you shew me, good cousin.

(Exeunt.)

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