George Gascoigne’s Supposes – the Cambridge Young Actors’ Company adaptation.
George Gascoigne Supposes is unusual among EDOX plays, because it was presented first not in Oxford but at Gray’s Inn, in 1566. It was then subsequently staged at Trinity College, Oxford, on 8th January, 1581/2 (Gascoigne himself was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge). The play has been of interest to scholars principally as a source for Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
In summer 2017, EDOX collaborated with a mixed-gender children’s company, The Cambridge Young Actors Company, who produced an adaptation of Supposes under the direction of Sam Plumb. Read Sam’s account of the process here (link needed).
The cast started with a version, lightly annotated by James McBain, of the 2000 edition of the play in George Gascoigne, A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres, ed, G. W. Pigman III (Oxford: OUP, 2000); this edition can be purchased online. The cast then adapted freely: their final performance text is presented here.
The EDOX-CYAC production of Supposes was presented at the Mumford Theatre, Cambridge, Queen’s College, Cambridge, and finally at Trinity College, Oxford, site of its 1581/2 production. The first half was performed in the College Gardens, and the second in the College dining hall, with a meal. The audience was mostly students from the University of Georgia Oxford Summer Programme.
Our aim in using the child actors was to replicate the likely ages of the original performers — boys often went up to Oxford around the age of 14. The UGA students provided an ideal audience, because they were residing in Trinity for the summer, and thus, like many in the original audience, were ‘at home’ in the dining hall, and known to each other — so suitably relaxed and ready to be loudly appreciative. Our film about the Supposes production is available here (link to film)
James McBain, ‘George Gascoigne at Oxford’, in Medieval English Theatre 39 (2017) 126-40.
James McBain ‘“Attentive Mindes and Serious Wits”: Legal Training and Early Drama’ in The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500–1700 edited Lorna Hutson (Oxford UP, 2017) 80–96.
adapted by Sam Plumb and The Cast (Feb. 2017)
from James McBain’s edition (Jan. 2017)
of George Gascoigne’s translation and adaptation (1566)
of Ludovico Ariosto’s I Suppositi (1551)
CAST & CHARACTERS
Aunty BABS (Barbara). Polly’s Nanny……………..…..…. SARA WILLIS
POLLY. A young woman from Camden…………..CHARLOTTE CROSS
QUENTIN. Lawyer of Camden, prev. Peterborough..……RIANA WHITE
PEGGY. a spiv associated with Quentin & others……… KATHY QUINN
Charles DRYER. Quentin’s legal assistant………….… LISSY COOPER
EDDY. Up-and-coming musician, prev. Brighton…..……… HARRY GEE
DYLAN. Eddy’s roadie…………………..……..…..… THEO COLERIDGE
DANIELLE. Eddy’s Camden agent……………… CHARLOTTE CROSS
CURTIS. Eddy’s Camden fixer/messenger. JACOB VON HEIMENDAHL
TED. Door-to-door salesman from Cambridge.……….…. JOSH BAILEY
PATRICK. Assistant to Ted…………………………..… MAISIE RIORDAN
DAMIEN. Camden nightclub owner. Polly’s father…….. TOM SEEKINGS
NEVILLE. One of Damien’s enforcers………………….. LISSY COOPER
Aunty TRISH. A war-widow, now working for Damien…… JOSH BAILEY
PHIL. Brighton nightclub owner. Eddy’s father……………. LUKE DENNY
LEO. Doorman at Phil’s nightclub……………………………SARA WILLIS
CAMILLA. Owner of the Rose & Crown in Camden….MAISIE RIORDAN
[The comedy is set in 1950s Camden, on a street outside Damien’s Club and Eddy’s house. When the action begins, Eddy and Dylan are in disguise as each other.]
PROLOGUE: Damien Tries to Explain the Plot
There is an air of celebration. The cast welcome the audience. Sudden hush as DAMIEN enters and sits on a chair centre stage.
DAMIEN: I suppose you are assembled here, supposing to reap the fruit of my travails : and to be plain, I mean presently to present you with a Comedy called Supposes,
Dramatically, a banner behind DAMIEN is unfurled, reading ‘Supposes’.
the very name whereof may peradventure drive into every one of your heads a sundry Suppose, to suppose the meaning of our supposes . Some percase will suppose we mean to occupy your ears with sophistical handling of subtle Suppositions. Some other will suppose we go about to decipher unto you some quaint conceits, which hitherto have been only supposed as it were in shadows — CURTIS!
CURTIS is creeping up on the banner with his stick and is about to strike it, but stops when DAMIEN yells. DAMIEN continues as if nothing has happened.
and some I see smiling as though they supposed we would trouble you with the vain suppose of some wanton Suppose. But understand, this our Suppose is nothing else but a mistaking or imagination of one thing for another: for you shall see the musician supposed for the roadie, the roadie for the musician; the talent for the support, and the support for the talent; the stranger for a well- known friend, and the familiar for a stranger. But what? I suppose that even already you suppose me very fond , that have so simply disclosed unto you the subtleties of these our Supposes: where otherwise in deed I suppose you should have heard almost the last of our Supposes, before you could have supposed any of them arighte . Let this then suffice.
Polly tells Aunty Babs the Truth about her Romance with ‘Dylan’.
Enter Aunty BABS, leading POLLY from Damien’s Club.
BABS: Here is nobody, come forth Polly, let us look about, to be sure lest any man hear our talk: for I think within the house the tables, the planks, the beds, the portals , yea and the cupboards themselves have ears.
POLLY: You might as well have said, the windows and the doors: do you not see how they harken ?
BABS: Well you jest fair, but I would advise you take heed, I have bidden you a thousand times beware, you will be spied one day talking with Dylan.
POLLY: And why should I not talk with Dylan as well as with any other, I pray you?
BABS: I have given you a wherefore for this why many times, but go to, follow your own advice till you overwhelm us all with sudden mishap.
POLLY: I would thou knewest I love not Dylan, nor any of so mean estate, but have bestowed my love more worthily than thou deemest , but I will say no more at this time.
BABS: Then I am glad you have changed your mind yet.
POLLY: Nay I neither have changed, nor will change it.
BABS: Then I understand you not, how said you?
POLLY: Marry I say that I love not Dylan, nor any such as he, and yet I neither have changed nor will change my mind.
BABS: I can not tell, you love to lie with Dylan very well: this geare is Greek to me, either it hangs not well together, or I am very dull of understanding, speak plain I pray you.
POLLY: I can speak no plainer, I have sworn to the contrary.
BABS: How make you so dainty to tell it Aunty Babs, least she should reveal it? you have trusted me as far as may be, I may show to you, in things that touch your honour if they were known: and make you strange to tell me this? I am sure it is but a trifle in comparison of those things whereof heretofore you have made me privy .
POLLY: Well, it is of greater importance than you think Nanny, yet would I tell it you under condition and promise that you shall not tell it again, nor give any sign or token to be suspected that you know it.
BABS: I promise you of my honesty, say on.
POLLY: Well hear you me then: this young man whom you have always taken for Dylan, is a musician from Brighton, his right name Eddy, son to Phil, one of the worthiest nightclub owners in that town.
BABS: How Eddy? Is it not our neighbour, which?
POLLY: Hold thy talking Aunty Babs, and harken to me, that I may explain the whole case unto thee: the man whom to this day you have supposed to be Dylan, is (as I say) Eddy, a musician that came from Brighton to find fame in this City, and even at his first arrival met me in the street, fell enamoured of me, and of such vehement force were the passions he suffered, that immediately he cast aside both guitar and records, and determined on me only to apply his study: and to the end he might the more commodiously both see me and talk with me, he exchanged both name, habit , clothes, and credit with his servant Dylan, whom only he brought with him out of Brighton, and so with the turning of a hand, of Eddy a musician, he became Dylan a roadie, and soon after sought service of my father, and obtained it.
BABS: Are you sure of this?
POLLY: Yea out of doubt, on the other side Dylan took upon him the name of Eddy his boss, the habit, the credit, instruments, and all things needful to a musician, and in short space profited very much, and is now esteemed as you see.
BABS: Are there no other Brightonians here: nor none that pass this way, which may discover them?
POLLY: Very few that pass this way, and few or none that tarry here any time.
BABS: This hath been a strange adventure, but I pray you how hang these things together? That the musician whom you say to be the roadie, and not the talent, is become an earnest suitor to you, and requireth you of your father in marriage?
POLLY: That is a policy devised between them, to put Doctor Dotipole out of conceit, the old dotard , he that so instantly doth lie upon my father for me: but look where he comes, as God help me it is he, out upon him, what a luskie yonker is this? Yet I had rather be a Nun a thousand times, than be cumbered with such a Coystrell .
BABS: Daughter you have reason, but let us go in before he come any nearer.
POLLY goes back into Damien’s Club. Aunty BABS waits behind in the doorway.
1.2. Peggy and Quentin discuss Quentin’s Suit for Polly’s Hand
Enter QUENTIN and PEGGY.
QUENTIN: Were there dames here, or did mine eyes dazil ?
PEGGY: Nay sir here were Polly and her Nanny.
QUENTIN: Was my Polly here? Alas I knew her not.
BABS (to audience): He must have better eyesight that should marry your Polly, or else he may chance to oversee the best point in his tables sometimes.
Exit Aunty BABS.
PEGGY: Sir it is no marvel , the air is very misty to day: I myself knew her better by her apparel than by her face.
QUENTIN: In good faith and I thank God I have mine eye sight good and perfit , little worse than when I was but twenty years old.
PEGGY: How can it be otherwise? You are but young.
QUENTIN: I am fifty years old.
PEGGY (to audience): He tells ten less than he is.
QUENTIN: What sayst thou of ten less?
PEGGY: I say I would have thought you ten less, you look like one of five and thirty, or seven and thirty at the most.
QUENTIN: I am no less than I tell.
PEGGY: You are like enough to live fifty more, show me your hand.
QUENTIN: Why is Peggy a Chiromancer ?
PEGGY: What is not Peggy? I pray you show me it a little.
QUENTIN: Here it is.
PEGGY: O how straight and infracte is this line of life, what a mount of Venus here is! But this light serveth not very well, I will behold it an other day, when the air is clearer, and look at tell you somewhat, peradventure to your contentation .
QUENTIN: You shall do me great pleasure: but tell me, I pray thee Peggy, whom dost thou think Polly liketh better, Eddy or me?
PEGGY: Why you out of doubt: she is a nightclub owner’s daughter of a noble mind, and maketh greater accompte of the reputation she shall have in marrying your worship, than that poor musician, whose birth and parentage God knoweth, and very few else.
QUENTIN: Yet he taketh it upon him bravely in this country.
PEGGY: Yea, where no man knoweth the contrary: but let him brave
it, boast his birth, and do what he can, the virtue and knowledge that is within this body of yours, is worth more than all the country he came from.
QUENTIN: It becommeth not a man to praise himself: but in deed I may say, and say truly, that my knowledge hath stood me in better stead at a pinch , than could all the goods in the world. I came out of Peterborough after the riots, and first I came to Hoxton, after hither, where by reading, counselling , and pleading, within twenty years I have gathered and gained as good as three quarters of a million quid.
PEGGY: Yea marry, this is the right knowledge, Philosophy, Poetry,
Logic, and all the rest, are but pickling sciences in comparison to this.
QUENTIN: But pickling in deed, whereof we have a verse:
I said “tell me baby, face to face,
A-how could another man take my place?”
She said “Money honey!
If you want to get along with me.”
PEGGY: O excellent verse, who made it? Elvis?
QUENTIN: Elvis? Tush it is The Drifters.
PEGGY: Sure who so ever wrote it, the moral is excellent, and worthy to be written in letters of gold: but to the purpose: I think you shall never recover the wealth that you lost at Peterborough.
QUENTIN: I think I have doubled it, or rather made it four times as
much: but in deed, I lost mine only son there, a child of five years old.
PEGGY: O great pity.
QUENTIN: Yea, I had rather have lost all the goods in the world.
PEGGY: Alas, alas, by God and grafts of such a stock are very gayson in these days.
QUENTIN: I know not whether he were slain, or the kidnappers took him
and kept him as a bond slave.
PEGGY: Alas, I could weep for compassion, but there is no remedy but patience, you shall get many by this young damsel with the grace of God.
QUENTIN: Yea, if I get her.
PEGGY: Get her? why doubt you of that?
QUENTIN: Why, her father holds me off with delays, so that I must
PEGGY: Content your self sir, he is a wise man, and desirous to place his daughter well, he will not be too rash in his determination, he will think well of the matter, and let him think, for the longer he thinketh, the more good of you shall he think: whose wealth, whose virtue, whose skill, or whose estimation can he compare to yours in Camden?
QUENTIN: And hast thou not told him that I would make his daughter a
dower of one hundred and fifty grand?
PEGGY: Why, even now, I came but from thence since.
QUENTIN: What said he?
PEGGY: Nothing, but that Eddy had proffered the like.
QUENTIN: Eddy? How can he make any dower, and his father not here?
PEGGY: Think you I did not tell him so? Yes I warrant you, I forgot
nothing that may further your cause, and doubt you not, Eddy
shall never have her unless it be in a dream.
QUENTIN: Well gentle Peggy, go thy ways and tell Damien I require
nothing but his daughter, I will none of his goods: I shall enrich her of mine own: and if this dower of one hundred and fifty grand seem not sufficient, I will make it fifty grand more, yea a hundred, or what so ever he will demand rather than fail: go to Peggy, show thy self friendly in working this feat for me, spare for no cost, since I have gone thus far, I will be loath to be out bidden. Go.
PEGGY: Where shall I come to you again?
QUENTIN: At my house.
QUENTIN: When thou wilt.
PEGGY: Shall I come at dinner time?
QUENTIN: I would bid thee to dinner, but it is a Saint’s even which I
have ever fasted.
PEGGY: Fast till thou famish .
QUENTIN: Hark .
PEGGY (to audience): He speaketh of a dead man’s fast.
QUENTIN: Thou hearest me not.
PEGGY: For thou understandest me not.
QUENTIN: I dare say thou art angry I bid thee not to dinner, but come if
thou wilt, thou shalt take such as thou findest.
PEGGY: What? Think you I know not where to dine?
QUENTIN: Yes Peggy thou art not to seek.
PEGGY: No be you sure, there are enowe will pray me.
QUENTIN: That I know well enough Peggy, but thou canst not be better
welcome in any place than to me, I will tarry for thee.
PEGGY: Well, since you will needs, I will come.
QUENTIN: Dispatch then, and bring no news but good.
PEGGY: Better than my reward by the rood .
QUENTIN exits; PEGGY remains.
Peggy meets ‘Dylan’
PEGGY (to audience): O miserable covetous wretch, he findeth an
excuse by Saint Nicholas’ fast, because I should not dine with him, as though I should dine at his own dish. He maketh goodly feasts I promise you, it is no wonder though he think me bound unto him for my fare : for over and besides that his provision is as scant as may be, yet there is great difference between his diet and mine.
Enter EDDY from Damien’s Club, in disguise as Dylan.
But; is not this one of Damien’s roadies that commeth forth? It is, of him I shall understand where his boss is. Whither goeth this joyly gallant?
EDDY: I come to seek some body that may accompany my boss at
dinner, he is alone, and would fain have good company. Go in, my boss is ready to dine.
PEGGY: What? Dineth he so early?
EDDY: He that riseth early, dineth early.
PEGGY: I would I were his spiv. Master doctor never dineth till noon, and
how delicately then god knoweth, I will be bold to go in, for I count my self bidden.
EDDY: You were best so.
PEGGY goes in. EDDY remains.
EDDY: Hard hap had I when I first begun this unfortunate enterprise, for
I supposed the readiest medicine to my miserable affects had been to change name, clothes, and credite with my roadie, and to place myself in Damien’s nightclub, thinking that as shevering cold by glowing fire, thirst by drink, hunger by pleasant repasts , and a thousand such like passions find remedy by their contraries , so my restless desire might have found quiet by continual contemplation. But alas, I find that only love is unsaciable , for as the fly playeth with the flame till at last she is cause of her own decay, so the lover that thinketh with kissing and colling to content his unbridled appetite, is commonly seen the only cause of his own consumption: Two years are now past since under the colour of Damien’s service I have been a sworn servant to Cupid, of whom I have received as much favour and grace as ever man found in his service, I have free liberty at all times to behold my desired, to talk with her, to embrace her, yea (be it spoken in secret) to lie with her. Well, my roadie promised me yesterday to devise yet again some new conspiracy to drive master doctor out of conceit , and to lay a snare that the fox himself might be caught in, what it is, I know not, nor I saw him not since he went about it: I will go see if he be within, that at least if he help me not, he may yet prolong my life for this once.
Enter CURTIS, carrying a slingshot and bag.
But here commeth his fixer. Ho Curtis hark, where is Eddy?
1.4. Curtis tells ‘Dylan’ where to find ‘Eddy’
CURTIS: Eddy? Marry he is in his skin.
EDDY: Ah whorson boy, I say, how shall I find Eddy?
CURTIS: Find him? How mean you, by the week or by the year?
EDDY: You crack halter , if I catch you by the ears, I shall make
you answer me directly.
CURTIS: In deed?
EDDY: Tarry me a little.
CURTIS: In faith sir I have no leisure.
EDDY: Shall we try who can run fastest?
CURTIS: Your legs be longer than mine, you should have given me the
EDDY: Go to, tell me where is Eddy?
CURTIS: I left him in the street, where he gave me this score, this
rucksack I would have said, and bad me bear it to Danielle, and return to him at the strip bar.
EDDY: If thou see him, tell him I must needs speak with him
immediately. Or abide awhile , I will go seek him my self, rather than be suspected of going to his house.
CURTIS goes in to Eddy’s house, and EDDY leaves another way.
End of Act .1.
2.1. Eddy and Dylan Come Up with a New Plan
EDDY: I think if I had as many eyes as Argus , I could not have sought a
man more narrowly in every street and every by lane. There are not many clubbers, dealers, nor spivs in the Borough of Camden, but I have met with them, except him, peradventure he is come home another way. But look where he commeth at the last.
DYLAN enters, in disguise as Eddy.
DYLAN: In good time have I spied my good boss.
EDDY: For the love of God call me ‘Dylan’, not boss, maintain the
credit that thou haste hitherto kept, and let me alone.
DYLAN: Yet sir let me sometimes do my duty unto you, especially where
EDDY: Yea, but so long the parrot useth to cry knappe in sport, that at
the last she calleth her master knave in earnest: so long you will use to call me boss, that at the last we shall be heard. What news?
DYLAN: Yea excellent, we have as good as won the wager.
EDDY: Oh, how happy were I if this were true.
DYLAN: Hear you me, yesternight in the evening I walked out, and found
Peggy, and with small entreating I had her home to supper, where by such means as I used, she became my great friend, and told me the whole order of our adversary’s determination: yea and what Damien doth intend to do also, and hath promised me that from time to time, what she can espie she will bring me word of it.
EDDY: I can not tell whether you know her or no, she is not to trust
unto, a very flattering and a lying knave.
DYLAN: I know her very well, she can not deceive me, and this that
she hath told me I know must needs be true.
EDDY: And what was it in effect?
DYLAN: That Damien had purposed to give his daughter in marriage to
this doctor, upon the dower that he had proffered.
EDDY: Are these your good news? Your excellent news?
DYLAN: Stay awhile, you will understand me before you hear me.
EDDY: Well, say on.
DYLAN: I answered to that, I was ready to make her the like dower.
EDDY: Well said.
DYLAN: Abide, you hear not the worst yet.
EDDY: O God, is there any worse behind?
DYLAN: Worse? Why what assurance could you suppose that I might
make without some special consent from Phil my father?
EDDY: Nay you can tell, you are better musician than I.
DYLAN: Indeed you have lost your time: for the tunes that you
finger nowadays treat of small science.
EDDY: Leave thy jesting, and proceed.
DYLAN: I said further, that I received letters lately from my father,
whereby I understood that he would be here very shortly to perform all that I had proffered: therefore I required him to request Damien on my behalf, that he would stay his promise to the doctor for a fortnight or more.
EDDY: This is somewhat yet, for by this means I shall be sure to linger
and live in hope one fortnight longer, but at the fortnight’s end when Phil cometh not, how shall I then do? Yea and though he came, how may I any way hope of his consent, when he shall see, that to follow this amorous enterprise, I have set aside all music, all remembrance of my duty, and all dread of shame. Alas, alas, I may go hang myself.
DYLAN: Comfort your self man, and trust in me: there is a salve for
every sore, and doubt you not, to this mischief we shall find a remedy.
EDDY: O friend revive me, that hitherto since I first attempted this
matter have been continually dying.
DYLAN: Well, harken a while then: this morning I took my bike
and rode into town to solace my self, and as I passed Kings Cross Station, I met at the zebra crossing a salesman, and as me thought by his habit and his looks, he should be none of the wisest. He saluted me, and I him. I asked him from whence he came, and whither he would. He answered that he had come from Southwark, then from Hackney, now was going to Camden, and so to his country, which is Cambridge. As soon as I knew him to be a Cantabrigian, suddenly lifting up mine eyes, as it were with an admiration I said unto him, “Are you a Cantabrigian, and come to Camden?” “Why not”, said he. Quoth I, half and more with a trembling voice, “Know you the danger that should ensue if you be known in Camden to be a Cantabrigian?” He more than half amazed, desired me earnestly to tell him what I meant.
EDDY: I understand not whereto this tendeth.
DYLAN: I believe you, but hearken to me.
EDDY: Go to then.
DYLAN: I answered him in this sort: “Gentleman, because I have
heretofore found very courteous entertainment in your country, being a musician there, I account my self as it were bound to a Cantabrigian, and therefore if I knew of any mishap towards any of that country, God forbid but I should disclose it: and I marvel that you knew not of the injury that your countrymen offered this other day to the Ambassadors of Hampstead Heath.”
EDDY: What tales he telleth me: what appertain these to me?
DYLAN: If you will harken a while, you shall find them no tales, but that
they appertain to you more than you think for.
DYLAN: I told him further: “These Ambassadors of Hampstead Heath
had divers bikes, cars, and vans, laden with divers costly records, gorgeous clothes, and other things which they carried as presents, passing that way to the MP for Camden, the which were not only stayed in Cambridge by the officers whom you call customers, but searched, ransacked, tossed and turned, and in the end exacted for tribute , as if they had been the goods of a mean lowlife”.
EDDY: Whither the devil will he? Is it possible that this gear appertaineth
any thing to my cause? I find neither head nor foot in it.
DYLAN: O how impatient you are: I pray you stay a while.
EDDY: Go to yet a while then.
DYLAN: I proceeded, that upon these causes the MP sent his
Ambassador to declare the case unto the University there, of whom he had the most uncourteous answer that ever was heard, whereupon he was so enraged with all that country, that for revenge he had sworn to spoil as many of them as ever should come to Camden, and to send them home in their pants and socks.
EDDY: Make an end I pray thee.
DYLAN: He, as I say, when he heard these words, would have turned
round, and I feigning a countenance as though I were somewhat pensive and careful for him, paused a while, and after with a great sigh said to him: “Gentleman, for the courtesy that (as I said) I have found in your country, and because your affairs shall be the better dispatched, I will find the means to lodge you in my house, and you shall say to every man, that you are a Brightonian of Moulsecoomb, your name Phil, father to me that am indeed of that country and city, called here Eddy: and I (to pleasure you) will (during your abode here) do you reverence as you were my father”.
EDDY: Out upon me, what a gross headed fool am I? Now I perceive
whereto this tale tendeth .
DYLAN: Well, and how like you of it?
EDDY: Indifferently, but one thing I doubt.
DYLAN: What is that?
EDDY: Marry, that when he hath been here two or three days, he shall
hear of every man that there is no such thing between the MP and the town of Cambridge.
DYLAN: As for that let me alone, I do entertain and will entertain him so
well, that within these two or three days I will disclose unto him all the whole matter, and doubt not but to bring him in for performance of as much as I have promised to Damien: for what hurt can it be to him, when he shall bind a strange name and not his own?
EDDY: What, think you he will be entreated to stand bound for a dower
of one hundred and fifty grand by the year?
DYLAN: Yea why not, if it were half a million, as long as he is not indeed
the man that is bound?
EDDY: Well, if it be so, what shall we be the nearer to our purpose?
DYLAN: Why, when we have done as much as we can, how can we do
EDDY: And where have you left him?
DYLAN: At the Rose and Crown, because of his motor. He and his man
shall lie in my house.
EDDY: Why brought you him not with you?
DYLAN: I thought better to use your advice first.
EDDY: Well, go take him home, make him all the cheer you can, spare
for no cost, I will allow it.
DYLAN: Content, look where he commeth.
EDDY: Is this he? Go meet him, by my truth he looks even like a good
soul, he that fisheth for him, might be sure to catch a cod’s head : I will rest here a while to decipher him.
DYLAN goes to greet TED. EDDY stands aside.
2.2. ‘Eddy’ Confirms the Plan with Ted.
Enter TED and PATRICK.
TED: He that travaileth in this world passeth by many perils.
PATRICK: You say true sir, if the van had been a little more laden this
morning at the warehouse, we had been all broken down, for I think, there are none of us that could have fixed it.
TED: I speak not of that.
PATRICK: O you mean the foul way that we had since we came from
this Southwark, I promise you, I was afraid twice or thrice, that your car would have lien fast in the mire .
TED: Jesu, what a blockhead thou art, I speak of the peril we are in
presently since we came into Camden.
PATRICK: A great peril I promise you, that we were no sooner arrived,
than you found a friend that brought you from the Rose and Crown, and lodged you in his own house.
TED: Yea marry, God reward the gentle young man that we met, for else
we had been in a wise case by this time. But have done with these tales, and take you heed sirrah that you do not say we be Cantabrigians, and remember that you call me Phil of Moulsecoomb.
PATRICK: Sure I shall never remember these outlandish words, I could
well remember ‘Boulsecoomb’.
TED: I say, Moulsecoomb, and not ‘Boulsecoomb’, with a vengeance.
PATRICK: Let another name it then when need is, for I shall never
TED: Then hold thy peace, and take heed thou name not Cambridge.
PATRICK: How say you, if I feign my self dumb as I did once in Ely
TED: Do as thou thinkest best: but look where cometh the musician
whom we are much bound unto.
DYLAN: Welcome, my dear father Phil.
TED: Gramercy my good son Eddy.
DYLAN: That is well said, be mindful of your tongue, for these
Camdenites be as crafty as the devil of hell.
TED: No, no, be you sure we will do as you have bidden us.
DYLAN: For if you should name Cambridge they would spoil you
immediately, and turn you out of the borough, with more shame, than I would should befall you for a hundred quid.
TED: I warrant you, I was giving Patrick warning as I came to you, and I
doubt not but he will take good heed.
DYLAN: Yea and trust not all the roadies in my team too far, for they are
Camdenites all, and never knew my father, nor came never in Brighton. This is my pad, will it please you to go in? I will follow.
DYLAN, TED and PATRICK enter Eddy’s house. EDDY remains.
2.3. Eddy Decides to Stay and Laugh at Quentin
EDDY: This gear that had no evil beginning, if it continue so and fall to
happy end. But is not this the silly doctor with the side bonnet, the doting fool, that dare presume to become a suitor to such a peerless Paragon ? Alas, I jest and have no joy, I will stand here aside and laugh a little at this lobcock .
2.4. Eddy Spreads Rumours about Peggy
Enter QUENTIN and Charles DRYER, his assistant.
DRYER: Boss, what the devil mean you to go seek guests at this time of
the day? The MP’s clerks have dined ere this time, which are alway the last in the market.
QUENTIN: I come to seek Peggy, to the end she may dine with me.
DRYER: As though six mouths and the cat for the seventh, be not
sufficient to eat an harlotrie sausage, a pennyworth of cheese, and half a tin of beans, this is all the dainties you have dressed for you and your family.
QUENTIN: Ah greedy gut, art thou afeard thou shalt want?
DRYER: I am afeard indeed, it is not the first time I have found it so.
EDDY (to audience): Shall I make some sport with this gallant? What
shall I say to him?
QUENTIN: Thou art afeard belike that she will eat thee and the rest.
DRYER: Nay, rather that she will eat your motor, both seats and ashtray.
EDDY (to audience): In faith now let me alone.
QUENTIN: Hold thy peace drunken knave, and espy me Peggy.
EDDY (to audience): Since I can do no better, I will set such a stance
between him and Peggy, that all this town shall not make them friends.
DRYER: Could you not have sent to seek her, but you must come
yourself? Surely you come for some other purpose, for if you would have had Peggy to dinner, I warrant you she would have tarried here an hour since.
QUENTIN: Hold thy peace, here is one of Damien’s roadies, of him I
shall understand where he is: good fellow art not thou one of Damien’s club-assistants?
EDDY: Yes sir, at your knamandement .
QUENTIN: Gramercy, tell me then, hath Peggy been there this day or
EDDY: Yes sir, and I think she be there still (starts laughing).
QUENTIN: What laughest thou?
EDDY: At a thing, that every man may not laugh at.
EDDY: Talk, that Peggy had with my boss this day.
QUENTIN: What talk I pray thee?
EDDY: I may not tell it.
QUENTIN: Doth it concern me?
EDDY: Nay I will say nothing.
QUENTIN: Tell me.
EDDY: I can say no more.
QUENTIN: I would but know if it concern me, I pray thee tell me.
EDDY: I would tell you, if I were sure you would not tell it again.
QUENTIN: Believe me I will keep it close: Dryer give us leave a little, go
EDDY: If my boss should know that it came by me, I were better to die a
QUENTIN: He shall never know it, say on.
EDDY: Yea, but what assurance shall I have?
QUENTIN: Here is a letter will serve the turn: I swear to thee by the
contents hereof never to disclose it to any man.
EDDY: I will tell you, I am sorry to see how Peggy doth abuse you,
persuading you that always she laboureth for you, where in deed, she lieth on my boss continually, as it were with tooth and nail for a stranger, a musician, born in Brighton they call him Darcy or Arsey, he hath a mad name I can never hit upon it.
QUENTIN: And thou reckonnest it as madly: is it not Eddy?
EDDY: That same, I should never have remembered it: and the villain
speaketh all the evil of you that can be devised.
QUENTIN: To whom?
EDDY: To my boss, yea and to Polly herself sometimes.
QUENTIN: Is it possible? Ah slave, and what saith she?
EDDY: More evil than I can imagine: that you are the miserablest and
most niggardly man that ever was.
QUENTIN: Sayeth Peggy so by me?
EDDY: And that as often as she cometh to your house, she is like to die
for hunger, you fare so well.
QUENTIN: That the devil take her else.
EDDY: And that you are the testiest man, and most divers to please in
the whole world, so that she cannot please you unless she should even kill herself with continual pain.
QUENTIN: O devilish tongue.
EDDU: Furthermore, that you cough continually and spit, so that a dog
cannot abide it.
QUENTIN: I never spit nor cough more than thus: (coughs erratically)
and that but since I caught this murre , but who is free from it?
EDDY: You say true sir, yet further she saith, your arm holes stink, your
feet worse than they, and your breath worst of all.
QUENTIN: If I quit her not for this gear.
EDDY: And that your balls are bursting.
QUENTIN: O villain, she lieth, and if I were not in the street thou
shouldst see them.
EDDY: And she saith, that you desire this young girl, as much for other
mens’ pleasure as for your own.
QUENTIN: What meaneth she by that?
EDDY: Peradventure that by her beauty, you would entice many young
men to your house.
QUENTIN: Young men? To what purpose?
EDDY: Nay, guess you that.
QUENTIN: Is it possible that Peggy speaketh thus of me?
EDDY: Yea, and much more.
QUENTIN: And doth Damien believe her?
EDDY: Yea, more than you would think, in such sort, that long ere this,
he would have given you a flat repulse, but Peggy entreated him to continue you a suitor for her advantage.
QUENTIN: How for her advantage?
EDDY: Marry, that during your suit she might still have some reward for
her great pains.
QUENTIN: She shall have a rope, and yet this is more than she deserveth: I had thought to have given her this tie when I had worn it a little nearer, but she shall have… (Improvise here)
EDDY: In good faith sir, they were but lost on her. Will you any thing else
with me sir?
QUENTIN: Nay, I have heard too much of thee already.
EDDY: Then I will take my leave of you.
QUENTIN: Farewell, but tell me, may I not know thy name?
EDDY: Sir, they call me Suckmycock.
QUENTIN: An ill favoured name by my truth, art thou of this country
EDDY: No sir, I was born by a street men call Lickmycrack. Fare you
QUENTIN: Farewell. Oh God how have I been abused? What a
spokesperson? What a messenger had I provided?
DRYER: Why sir, will you tarry for Peggy till we die for hunger?
QUENTIN: Trouble me not, that the devil take you both.
DRYER (to audience): These news what so ever they be, like him not.
QUENTIN: Are thou so hungry yet? I pray to God thou be never
DRYER: By the mass, no more I shall as long as I am your assistant.
QUENTIN: Go with mischance.
DRYER: Yea, and a mischief to you, and to all such covetous wretches.
Exit QUENTIN and DRYER.
End of Act 2.
3.1. Part 1: Danielle and Curtis Argue.
Enter DANIELLE, carrying the bag, and CURTIS, holding a slingshot.
DANIELLE (to audience): By that time we come to the house, I trust that
of these twenty packets of fags in the rucksack we shall find but very few whole, but it is a folly to talk to him. (To CURTIS:) What the devil, wilt thou never lay that stick out of they hand? (To audience:) He fighteth with the dogs, beateth the pigeons, at every thing in the street he findeth occasion to tarry, if he spy a slipstring by the way such another as himself, a spiv, a fixer, or a dwarf, the devil of hell cannot hold him in chains, but he will be doing with him: I cannot go two steps, but I must look back for my yonker . (To CURTIS:) Go to halter-sick , if you break one fag I may chance break —
CURTIS: What will you break? Your nose in mine arse?
DANIELLE: Ah beast.
CURTIS: If I be a beast, yet I am no dirty slag.
DANIELLE: Is it even so? Is the wind in that door? If I were unloaden I
would tell you whether I be a dirty slag or no.
CURTIS: You are alway laden either with wine or with ale.
DANIELLE: Ah spiteful boy, shall I suffer him?
CURTIS: Ah cowardly beast, darest thou strike and say never a word?
DANIELLE: Well, my boss shall know of this gear, either he shall redress
it, or he shall lose one of us.
DYLAN suddenly appears
CURTIS: Tell him the worst thou canst by me.
DYLAN: What noise, what a rule is this?
CURTIS: Marry sir, she striketh me because I tell her of her swearing.
DANIELLE: The villain lieth deadly, he reviles me because I bid him
DYLAN: Holla: no more of this. Danielle, do you make in a readiness
those publicity photos, mic leads, and also my rider: and let your to-do list be as clear as glass against I return, that I may tell you when I will have fags, and when drugs. Curtis, lay down that rucksack and follow me. (To audience:) Oh that I could tell where to find Peggy, but look where he cometh that can tell me of her.
Exit CURTIS and DANIELLE. DYLAN spots EDDY entering.
3.1. Part 2: Eddy Sends Dylan to Fetch Peggy
EDDY: O dear friend, go thy ways seek Peggy, find her out, and
conclude somewhat to our contentation.
DYLAN: But where shall I find her?
EDDY: At the parties if there be any, or else in the market with the
poulters or the fishmongers.
DYLAN: What should she do with them?
EDDY: Marry she watcheth whose caters buy the best meat, if any buy
a fat frankfurter, a good tin of beans, fresh bacon or any such good dish, she followeth to the house, and either with some news, or some stale jest she will be sure to make herself a guest.
DYLAN: In faith, and I will seek there for her.
EDDY: Then must you needs find her, and when you have done I will
make you laugh.
EDDY: At certain sport I made today with Master Doctor.
DYLAN: And why not now?
EDDY: No it asketh further leisure, I pray thee dispatch, and find out
Peggy that honest spiv.
DYLAN exits, EDDY remains.
3.2. Eddy Complains about Fortune
EDDY: This amorous case that hangeth in controversy between Domine
doctor and me, may be compared to them that play at poker. O how often have I thought my self sure of the upper hand herein? But I triumphed before the victory: and then how oft again have I thought the field lost? Thus have I been tossed now over, now under, even as fortune list to whirl the wheel, neither sure to win nor certain to lose the wager: and this practice that now my roadie hath devised, although hitherto it hath not succeeded amiss, yet can I not count my self assured of it, for I fear still that one mischance or other will come and turn it topsy-turvy. But look where my boss cometh.
3.3. Damien locks ‘Dylan’ in his Dungeon
Enter DAMIEN from his Club.
EDDY: Here sir.
DAMIEN: Go in and bid Neville come hither that I may tell him what he
shall go about, and go you into my study, there upon the shelf you shall find a roll of writings which Cliff Richard made to my father, when he sold him the Drifters single, endorsed with both their names: bring it hither to me.
EDDY: It shall be done sir.
DAMIEN: Go, I will prepare other manner of writings for you than you are
EDDY exits into Damien’s Club.
O fools that trust any man but themselves nowadays, oh spiteful fortune, thou doest me wrong I think, that from the depth of Hell-pit thou hast sent me this roadie to be the subversion of me and all mine.
Enter NEVILLE, one of Damien’s enforcers, from the club.
Come hither sir and hear what I shall say unto you: go in to my study, where you shall find Dylan, step to him all at once, take him and with a cord that I have laid on the table for the nonce , bind him hand and foot, carry him into the boot of my van, make fast the door and bring me the key, it hangeth by upon a pin on the wall, despatch and do this gear as privily as you can, and thou Neville come hither to me again with speed.
NEVILLE: Well sir I shall.
NEVILLE exits into Damien’s Club.
DAMIEN: Alas how shall I be revenged of this extreme despite ? If I
punish this boy according to his devilish deserts, I shall heap further cares upon mine own head, for to such detestable offences no punishment can seem sufficient, but only death: and in such cases it is not lawful for a man to be his own carver, the laws are ordained, and officers appointed to minister justice for the redress of wrongs: and to the potestates I complain me, I shall publish mine own reproach to the world: yea, what should it prevail me to use all the punishments that can be devised? The thing once done can not be undone. My daughter is deflowered, and I utterly dishonested, how can I then wipe that blot off my brow? And on whom shall I seek revenge? Alas, alas, I myself have been the cause of all these cares, and have deserved to bear the punishment of all these mishaps. Alas, I should not have committed my dearest darling in custody to so careless a creature as this old Aunty Babs: for we see by common proof, that these old women be either peevish, or to pitiful: either easily inclined to evil, or quickly corrupted with bribes and rewards. O wife, my good wife (that now liest cold in the grave) now may I well bewail the want of thee, and mourning now may I bemoan that I miss thee: if thou hadst lived, such was thy government of the least things, that thou wouldest prudently have provided for the preservation of this pearl: a costly jewel may I well accompt her, that hath been my chief comfort in youth, and is now become the corrosive of mine age. O Polly, full evil hast thou requited the clemency of thy careful father, and yet to excuse thee guiltless before God, and to condemn thee guilty before the world, I can count none other but my wretched self the caitiff and causer of all my cares: the goods of the world are uncertain, the gains to be rejoiced at, and the loss not greatly to be lamented, only the children cast away, cutteth the parents throat with the knife of inward care, which knife will kill me surely, I make none other accompte .
3.4. Peggy Wakes Up
Enter NEVILLE from Damien’s Club.
NEVILLE: Boss, I have done as you bade me, and here is the key.
DAMIEN: Well, go then Neville and seek Sergeant Wolf the copper, he
dwelleth by Scotland Yard. Desire him to lend me a pair of the fetters he useth for his prisoners, and come again quickly.
NEVILLE: Well boss.
DAMIEN: Hear you, if he ask what I would do with them, say you can not
tell, and tell neither him nor any other, what is become of Dylan.
NEVILLE: I warant you boss. Fie upon the Devil, it is a thing almost
unpossible for a man nowadays to handle money but the metal will stick on his fingers: I marvelled alway at this fellow of mine Dylan, that of the wages he received, he could maintain himself so bravely apparelled, but now I perceive the cause, he had the disbursing and receipt of all my master’s affairs, the keys of the bar, Dylan here, Dylan there, in favour with my master, in favour with his daughter, what would you more, he was Magister fac totem , he was as fine as caviar, and we silly wretches as coarse as pilchards: well, behold what it is come to in the end, he had been better to have done less.
Enter PEGGY, suddenly and unexpectedly.
PEGGY: Thou saist true Neville, he hath done too much indeed.
NEVILLE: From whence comest thou in the devil’s name?
PEGGY: Out of the same house thou camest from, but not out of the
NEVILLE: We had thought thou hadst been gone long since.
PEGGY: When I arose from the table, I felt a rumbling in my belly, which
made me run to the loo, and there I fell on sleep in the bath, and have line there ever since: And thou, whether goest thou?
NEVILLE: The boss hath sent me on an errand in great haste.
PEGGY: Whether I pray thee?
NEVILLE: Nay I may not tell, farewell.
PEGGY: As though I need any further instructions: O God what news I
hard even now, as I lay in the bath: O good Eddy and poor Quentin, that have so earnestly stroven for this damsel, happy is he that can get her I promise you, he shall be sure of mo than one at a clap that catcheth her, either Adam or Eve within her belly: oh God how men may be deceived in a woman: who would have believed the contrary but that she had been a virgin? But is not this the old scabbed war-widow that I heard disclosing all this gear to Damien, as I stood in the bath ere now? It is she. Whither goeth Aunty Trish?
3.5 Aunty Trish Tells Peggy What Happened
TRISH: To a gossip of mine hereby.
PEGGY: What? To tattle of the goodly stir that thou keptst concerning
TRISH: No, no: but how knew you of that gear?
PEGGY: You told me.
TRISH: I? When did I tell you?
PEGGY: Even now when you told it to Damien, I both saw you and
heard you, though you saw me not: a good part I promise you, to accuse the poor wench, kill the old man with care, over and besides the danger you have brought Dylan and Aunty Babs unto, and many more, fie, fie.
TRISH: Indeed I was to blame, but not so much as you think.
PEGGY: And how not so much? Did I not hear you tell?
TRISH: Yes, But I will tell you how it came to pass: I have knowen for a
great while, that this Dylan and Polly have lain together, and all by the means of the Nanny, yet I held my peace, and never told it. Now this other day Aunty Babs fell on scolding with me, and twice or thrice called me drunked old whore, and such names that it was too bad: and I called her bawd, and told her that I knew well enough how often she had brought Dylan to Polly’s bed: yet all this while I thought not that any body had heard me, but it befell clean contrary, for Damien was on the other side of the wall, and heard all our talk, whereupon he sent for me, and forced me to confess all that you heard.
PEGGY: And why wouldest thou tell him? I would not for… (She
TRISH: Well, if I had thought Damien would have taken it so, he
should rather have killed me.
PEGGY: Why? How could he take it?
TRISH: Alas, it pitieth me to see the poor young woman how she weeps,
wails, and tears her hair, not esteeming her own life half so dear as she doth poor Dylan’s: and her father, he weeps on the other side, that it would pierce an heart of stone with pity: but I must be gone.
PEGGY: Go, that the gun powder consume the old trot .
Exit PEGGY. Aunty TRISH makes her way over the stage.
End of Act 3.
4.1. Dylan sends Curtis to Aunty Trish
Enter DYLAN, with CURTIS some way behind him.
DYLAN (to audience): What shall I do? Now cometh the man that will not be abused, the right Phil, the right father of the right Eddy. (To CURTIS:) But behold, run Curtis to yonder old woman before she get within the doors, and desire her to call out Dylan. But hear you: if she ask who would speak with him, say thy self and none other.
DYLAN steps aside. CURTIS goes to Aunty TRISH.
CURTIS: Honest woman, you gossip, thou rotten whore, hearest thou
not old witch?
TRISH: A rope stretch your young bones, either you must live to be as
old as I, or be hanged while you are young.
CURTIS: I pray thee, look if Dylan be within.
TRISH: Yes that he is I warrant him.
CURTIS: Desire him then to come hither and speak a word with me, he
shall not tarry.
TRISH: Content your self, he is otherwise occupied.
CURTIS: Yet tell him so gentle girl.
TRISH: I tell you he is busy.
CURTIS: Why is it such a matter to tell him so, thou crooked Crone ?
TRISH: A rope stretch you, marry.
CURTIS: A pox eat you, marry.
TRISH: Thou wilt be hanged I warrant thee, if thou live to it.
CURTIS: And thou wilt be burnt I warrant thee, if the canker consume
TRISH: If I come near you hemp-string , I will teach you to sing sol fa .
CURTIS: Come on, and if I get a stone I will scare crows with you.
TRISH: Go with a mischief, I think thou be some devil that would tempt
DYLAN: Curtis, hear you? Come away, let her go with a vengeance, why
come you not?
Aunty TRISH and CURTIS exit, arguing.
Alas look where my step-dad Phil cometh: what shall I do? Where shall I hide me? He shall not see me in these clothes, nor before I have spoken with the right Eddy.
DYLAN hides on stage.
4.3. Phil and Camilla discuss Phil’s Journey
Enter PHIL, CAMILLA and LEO.
PHIL: Honest publican it is even so: be you sure there is no love to be
compared like the love of the parents towards their children, it is not long since I thought that a very weighty matter should not have made me come out of Brighton, and yet now I have taken this tedious toil and travail upon me, only to see my son, and to have him home with me.
CAMILLA: By my faith sir it hath been a great travail indeed and too
much for one of your age?
PHIL: Yea be you sure: I came in company with certain music dealers of
my country, who had affairs to despatch as far as to Hassocks, from thence by train to Three Bridges, and from Three Bridges hither, continually against the tide.
CAMILLA: Yea, and I think that you had but homely lodging by the way.
PHIL: The worst that ever men had, but that was nothing to the stir that
the searchers kept with me when I came aboard the train, Jesus how often they untrussed my mail and ransacked a little capcase that I had, tossed and turned all that was within it, searched my bosom, yea my chinos, that I assure you I thought they would have flayed me to search between the fell and the flesh for fardings .
CAMILLA: Sure I have heard no less, and that the dealers bobbe them
some times, but they play the knaves still.
PHIL: Yea be you well assured, for such an office is the inheritance of a
knave, and an honest man will not meddle with it.
CAMILLA: Well, this passage shall seem pleasant unto you when you
shall find your child in health and well: but I pray you sir why did you not rather send for him into Brighton, than to come your self, specially since you had none other business? Peradventure you had rather endanger your self by this noisome journey, than hazard to draw him from his gigging.
PHIL: Nay, that was not the matter, for I had rather have him give over
his music altogether and come home.
CAMILLA: Why? If you minded not to make him famous, to what end
did you send him hither at the first?
PHIL: I will tell you: when he was at home he did as most young men
do, he played many mad pranks and did many things that liked me not very well, and I thinking, that by that time he had seen the world, he would learn to know himself better, exhorted him to get a record deal, and put in his election what place he would go to. At the last he came hither, and I think he was scarce here so soon as I felt the want of him, in such sort, as from that day to this I have passed few nights without tears: I have written to him very often that he should come home, but continually he refused, still beseeching me to continue his recordings, wherein he doubted not (as he said) but to profit greatly.
CAMILLA: Indeed he is very much commended of all men, and specially
of the best reputed managers.
PHIL: I am glad he hath not lost his time, but I care not greatly for so
much fame, I would not be without the sight of him again so long, for all the record deals in the world. I am old now, and if God should call me in his absence, I promise you I think it would drive me into desperation.
CAMILLA: It is commendable in a man to love his children, but to be so
tender over them is more womanlike?
PHIL: Well, I confess it is my fault: and yet I will tell you another cause
of my coming hither, more weighty that this. Divers of my country have been here since he came hither, by whom I have sent unto him, and some of them have been thrice, some four or five times at his pad, and yet could never speak with him: I fear he applies his concentration so, that he will not leese the minute of an hour from his guitar. What, alas, he might yet talk with his countrymen for a while, he is a young man, tenderly brought up, and if he fare thus continually night and day at his guitar, it may be enough to drive him into a frenzy.
CAMILLA: Indeed, enough were as good as a feast: lo you sir, here is
your son Eddy’s house, I will knock.
PHIL: Yea, I pray you knock.
CAMILLA: They hear not.
PHIL: Knock again.
CAMILLA: I think they be on sleep.
LEO: If this gate were your Grandfather’s soul, you could not knock
more softly, let me come: ho, ho, is there any body within?
4.4. Danielle Agrees to Introduce Phil to ‘Phil’
DANIELLE comes to the window of Eddy’s house.
DANIELLE: What devil of hell is there? I think he will break the gates in
LEO: Marry madam, we had thought you had been on sleep within, and
therefore we thought best to wake you: what doth Eddy?
DANIELLE: He is not within.
PHIL: Open the door good lady I pray thee.
DANIELLE: If you think to lodge here, you are deceived I tell you, for
here are guests enough already.
PHIL: A good manager, and much for thy artist’s honesty by our Lady:
and what guests I pray thee?
DANIELLE: Here is Phil my master’s father, lately come out of Brighton.
PHIL: Thou speakest truer than thou art aware of, he will be, by that
time thou hast opened the door: open I pray thee heartily.
DANIELLE: It is a small matter for me to open the door, but here is no
lodging for you, I tell you plain, the house is full.
PHIL: Of whom?
DANIELLE: I told you: here is Phil my master’s father come from
PHIL: And when came he?
DANIELLE: He came three hours since, or more, he alighted at the
Rose and Crown, and left his car there: afterward my client brought him hither.
PHIL: Good lady, I think thou hast good sport to mock me.
DANIELLE: Nay, I think you have good sport to make me tarry here, as
though I have nothing else to do: I am matched with an unruly mate in the kitchen, I will go look to him another while.
PHIL: I think she be drunken.
CAMILLA: Sure she seems so: see you not how red she is about the
PHIL: Abide lady, what Phil is it whom thou talkest of?
DANIELLE: An honest gentleman, father to Eddy my master.
PHIL: And where is he?
DANIELLE: Here within.
PHIL: May we see him?
DANIELLE: I think you may if you be not blind.
PHIL: Go to, go tell him here is one would speak with him.
DANIELLE: Marry that I will willingly do.
PHIL: I can not tell what I should say to this gear. Leo what thinkest thou
LEO: I cannot tell you what I should say sir, the world is large and long,
there may be more Phils and more Eddys than one, yea and more Camdens, more Brightons, and more Moulsecoombs: peradventure this is not that Camden which you sent your son unto.
PHIL: Peradventure thou art a fool, and she was another that answered
us even now. But be you sure honest woman, that you mistake not the house?
CAMILLA: Nay, then God help, think you I know not Eddy’s pad? Yes,
and himself also: I saw him here no longer since than yesterday. But here comes one that will tell us tidings of him, I like his countenance better than the other’s that answered at the window erewhile.
4.5. ‘Phil’ Prevents Phil from Entering Eddy’s House
TED enters. DANIELLE returns to the window to watch.
TED: Would you speak with me sir?
PHIL: Yea sir, I would fain know whence you are.
TED: Sir I am a Brightonian, at your commandment.
PHIL: What part of Brighton?
TED: Of Moulsecoomb.
PHIL: What shall I call your name?
TED: My name is Phil.
PHIL: What trade do you occupy?
TED: Venue manager.
PHIL: What venue brought you hither?
TED: None, I came only to see a son that I have here, whom I saw not
these two years.
PHIL: What call they your son?
PHIL: Is Eddy your son?
TED: Yea verily.
PHIL: And are you Phil?
TED: The same.
PHIL: And a venue manager of Moulsecoomb?
TED: What need I tell you so often? I will not tell you a lie.
PHIL: Yes, you have told me a false lie, and thou art a villain and no
TED: Sir, you offer me great wrong with these injurious words.
PHIL: Nay, I will do more than I have yet proffered to do, for I will prove
thee a liar, and a knave to take upon thee that thou art not.
TED: Sir I am Phil of Moulsecoomb, out of all doubt, if I were not I would
be loath to tell you so.
PHIL: Oh, see the boldness of this brute beast, what a brazen face he
setteth on it?
TED: Well, you may believe me if you list: what wonder you?
PHIL: I wonder at thy impudency, for thou, nor nature that framed thee,
can ever counterfeit thee to be me, ribald villain, and lying wretch that thou art.
DANIELLE: Shall I suffer a knave to abuse my master’s father thus?
Hence villain, hence, or I will sheath this good falchion in your paunch: if my master Eddy find you prating here on this fashion to his father, I would not be in your coat for mo record deals than I gat these twelve months: come you in again sir, and let this Cur bark here till he burst.
DANIELLE pulls TED back inside.
4.6. Phil and Company Discuss the Falsehood of Camden
PHIL: Leo, how likest thou this gear?
LEO: Sir, I like it as evil as may be, but have you not often heard tell of
the falsehood of Camden, and now may you see, it falleth out accordingly.
CAMILLA: Friend, you do not well to slander the borough, these men
are no Camdenites you may know by their tongue.
LEO: Well, there is never a barrel better herring, between you both: but
indeed your coppers are most to blame, that suffer such faults to escape unpunished.
CAMILLA: What know the coppers of this? Think you they know of
LEO: Nay, I think they will know as little as may be, specially when they
have no gains by it, but they ought to have their ears as open to hear of such offences, as the Ingates be to receive guests.
PHIL: Hold thy peace fool.
LEO: By the mass I am afeard that we shall be proved fools both two.
PHIL: Well, what shall we do?
LEO: I would think best we should go seek Eddy himself.
CAMILLA: I will wait upon you willingly, and either at the bars, or at the
nightclubs we shall find him.
PHIL: By our Lady I am weary, I will run no longer about to seek him, I
am sure hither he will come at the last.
LEO: Sure, my mind gives me that we shall find a new Eddy ere it be
DYLAN emerges from his hiding place.
CAMILLA: Look where he is, whether runs he? Stay you awhile, I will go
tell him that you are here: Eddy, Eddy, ho Eddy, I would speak with you.
4.7. Dylan Pretends not to Recognise Phil
DYLAN (to audience): Now can I hide me no longer. Alas what shall I
do? I will set a good face on, to bear out the matter.
CAMILLA: O Eddy, Phil your father is come out of Brighton.
DYLAN: Tell me that I know not, I have been with him and seen him
CAMILLA: Is it possible? And it seemeth by him that you know not of
DYLAN: Why, have you spoken with him? When saw you him I pray
CAMILLA: Look you where he stands, why go you not to him? Look you
Phil, behold your dear son Eddy.
PHIL: Eddy? this is not Eddy, this seemeth rather to be Dylan, and it is
Dylan in deed.
LEO: Why, doubt you of that?
DYLAN: What saith this honest man?
PHIL: Marry sir, indeed you are so honourably clad, it is no marvel if you
DYLAN: To whom speaketh he?
PHIL: What, God heal, do you not know me?
DYLAN: As far as I remember mate, I never saw you before.
PHIL: Ah runagate , ah villain traitor, doest thou use thy step-dad
thus? What hast thou done with my son villain?
Enter DANIELLE and CURTIS from Eddy’s house, spoiling for a fight. DANIELLE carries a pestle, CURTIS a slingshot and stones.
DANIELLE: Doth this dog bark here still? and will you suffer him boss
thus to revile you?
DYLAN: Come in, come in, what wilt thou do with this pestle?
DANIELLE: I will rap the old cackabed on the costerd .
DYLAN: Away with it, and you sirrah, lay down these stones, come in at
door every one of you, bear with him for his age, I passe not of his evil words.
DYLAN takes DANIELLE and CURTIS back inside.
4.8. Phil and Company Plan to meet Quentin the Lawyer
PHIL: Alas, who shall relieve my miserable estate? To whom shall I
complain, since he whom I brought up of a child, yea and cherished him as if he had been mine own, doth now utterly deny to know me? And you whom I took for an honest man, and he that should have brought me to the sight of my son, are compact with this false wretch, and would face me down that he is Eddy. Alas, you might have some compassion of mine age, to the misery I am now in, and that I am a stranger desolate of all comfort in this country, or at the least, you should have feared the vengeance of God the supreme judge (which knoweth the secrets of all hearts) in bearing this false witness with him, whom heaven and earth do know to be Dylan and not Eddy.
LEO: If there be many such witnesses in this country, men may go about
to prove what they will in controversies here.
CAMILLA: Well sir, you may judge of me as it pleaseth you, and how the
matter commeth to pass I know not, but truly, ever since he came first hither, I have known him by the name of Eddy, the son of Phil a Moulsecoombite, now whether he be so indeed, or whether he be Dylan, (as you allege) let that be proved by them that knew him before he came hither. But I protest before God, that which I have said, is neither a matter compact with him, nor any other, but even as I have heard him called and reputed of all men.
PHIL: Out and alas, he whom I sent hither with my son to be his roadie,
and to give attendance on him, hath either cut his throat, or by some evil means made him away, and hath not only taken his garments, his guitar, his money, and that which he brought out of Brighton with him, but usurpeth his name also, and turneth to his own commodity the bills of exchange that I have always allowed for my son’s expenses. Oh miserable Phil, oh unhappy old man: oh eternal god, is there no judge? no copper? No higher powers whom I may complain unto for redress of these wrongs?
CAMILLA: Yes sir, we have potestates, we have judges, and above all,
we have a most just Queen, doubt you not, but you shall have justice if your cause be just.
PHIL: Bring me then to the judges, to the potestates, or to whom you
think best: for I will disclose a pack of the greatest knaverie, a fardell of the foulest falsehood that ever was heard of.
CAMILLA: Go we then.
Exit LEO, CAMILLA and PHIL.
End of Act 4.
5.1. Dylan spots Peggy
DYLAN: What a mishap was this? that before I could meet with Eddy, I
have light even full in the lap of Phil, where I was constrained to deny my name, to deny my step-dad, and to feign that I knew him not, to contend with him, and to revile him, in such sort, that hap what hap can, I can never hap well in favour with him again: therefore if I could come to speak with the right Eddy, I will renounce unto him both habit and credit, and way as fast as I can trudge into some strange country, where I may never see Phil again. Alas, he that of a little child hath brought me up unto this day, and nourished me as if I had been his own: and indeed (to confess the truth) I have no father to trust unto but him. But look where Peggy cometh, the fittest woman in the world to go on my message to Eddy.
5.2. Peggy tells Dylan that ‘Dylan’ has been Imprisoned by Damien
PEGGY (To audience): Two good news have I heard to day already, one
that Eddy prepared a great feast this night: the other, that he seeketh for me, and I to ease him of his travail, least he should run up and down seeking me, and because no one loveth better than I to have an errand where good cheer is, come in post haste even home to his own house: and look where he is.
DYLAN: Peggy, thou must do one thing for me if thou love me.
PEGGY: If I love you not, who loves you? command me.
DYLAN: Go then a little there, to Damien’s house, ask for Dylan, and tell
PEGGY: Wot you what? I cannot speak with him, he is nicked.
DYLAN: Nicked? How cometh that to pass? Where is he nicked?
PEGGY: In a vile car-boot there within his boss’s garage.
DYLAN: Canst thou tell wherefore?
PEGGY: Be you content to know he is nicked, I have told you too
DYLAN: If ever you will do anything for me, tell me.
PEGGY: I pray you desire me not, what were you the better if you
DYLAN: More than thou thinkest Peggy by God.
PEGGY: Well, and yet it stands me upon more than you think, to keep it
DYLAN: Why Peggy, is this the trust I have had in you? are these the
fair promises you have always made me?
PEGGY: By the mass I would I had fasted this night with master doctor,
rather than have come hither.
DYLAN: Well Peggy, either tell me, or at few words never think to be
welcome to this house from hence forth.
PEGGY: Nay, yet I had rather leese all the lads in this town, but if I tell
you any thing that displease you, blame nobody but your self now.
DYLAN: There is nothing can grieve me more than Dylan’s mishap, no
not mine own, and therefore I am sure thou canst tell me no worse tidings.
PEGGY: Well, since you would needs have it, I will tell you: he was
taken a bed with your beloved Polly.
DYLAN: Alas, and doth Damien know it?
PEGGY: An old trot in the house disclosed it to him, whereupon he took
both Dylan and the Nanny which hath been the broker of all this bargain, and clapped them both in a boot, where I think they shall have sour sops to their sweet meats.
DYLAN: Peggy, go thy ways into the kitchen, command the cook to boil
and fry what liketh thee best, I make thee supervisor of this supper.
PEGGY: By the mass if you should have studied this sevennight, you
could not have appointed me an office to please me better, you shall see what dishes I will devise.
PEGGY exits into Eddy’s house.
5.3. Dylan Resolves to Give Up the Act
DYLAN: I was glad to rid her out of the way, least she should see me
burst out these swelling tears, which hitherto with great pain I have prisoned in my breast, and least she should hear the echo of my doubled sighs, which bounce from the bottom of my heavy heart. O cursed I, O cruel fortune, that so many dispersed griefs as were sufficient to subvert a legion of lovers, hast suddenly assembled within my careful carcass to fret this fearful heart in sunder with desperation. What shall I do? Alas what shift shall I make? It is too late now to imagine any further deceit, for every minute seemeth an hour till I find some succour for the miserable captive Eddy. Well, since there is no other remedy, I will go to my step-dad Phil, and to him will I tell the whole truth of the matter, that at the least he may provide in time, before his son feel the smart of some sharp revenge and punishment: this is the best, and thus will I do: yet I know, that for mine own part I shall do bitter penance for my faults for-passed: but such is the good will and duty that I bear to Eddy, as even with the loss of my life I must not stick to adventure any thing which may turn to his commodity. But what shall I do? Shall I go seek my step-dad about the town, or shall I tarry his return hither? If I meet him in the streets, he will cry out upon me, neither will he harken to any thing that I shall say, till he have gathered all the people wondering about me, as it were at a busker. Therefore I were better to abide here, and yet if he tarry long, I will go seek him, rather than prolong the time to Eddy’s peril.
5.4. Peggy Asks ‘Eddy’ for More Ingredients
PEGGY enters from Eddy’s house.
PEGGY (speaking into the house): Yea prep them, but lay them not to
the fire, till they will be ready to sit down: this gear goeth in order: but if I had not gone in, there had fallen a foul fault.
DYLAN: And what fault I pray thee?
PEGGY: Marry, Danielle would have laid the sausages and the
bacon both to the fire at once, like a fool, she did not consider, that the one would have more frying than the other.
DYLAN: Alas, I would this were the greatest fault.
PEGGY: Why? And either the one should have been burned before the
other had been fried, or else she must have drawn them off the pan: and they would have been served to the board either cold or raw.
DYLAN: Thou hast reason Peggy.
PEGGY: Now mate, if it please you I will go into the town and buy
more beans, sausages, and eggs, for without such the supper were more than half lost.
DYLAN: There are within already, doubt you not, there shall lack nothing
that is necessary.
DYLAN exits into Eddy’s house, leaving the door open.
PEGGY: Since I told him the news of Dylan, he is clean beside himself:
he hath so many hammers in his head, that his brains are ready to burst: and let them break, so I may sup with him tonight, what care I? But is not this Dominus noster Quentinus that cometh before? Well said, by my truth we will teach master doctor to wear a cornered cap of a new fashion: by God Polly shall be his, he shall have her out of doubt, for I have told Eddy such news of her, that he will none of her.
5.5. Quentin and Phil Discover What Happened to Quentin’s Son
Enter QUENTIN, PHIL and LEO, mid-conversation.
QUENTIN: Yea, but how will you prove that he is not Eddy, having such
presumptions to the contrary? Or how shall it be thought that you are Phil, when another taketh upon him this same name, and for proof bringeth him for a witness, which hath been ever reputed here for Eddy?
PHIL: I will tell you sir, let me be kept here fast in prison, and at my
charges let there be some man sent into Brighton, that may bring hither with him two or three of the honestest men in Moulsecoomb, and by them let it be proved if I or this other be Phil, and whether it be Eddy or Dylan my servant: and if you find me contrary, let me suffer death for it.
PEGGY (to audience): I will go salute master Doctor.
QUENTIN: It will ask great labour and great expenses to prove it this
way, but it is the best remedy that I can see.
PEGGY: God save you sir.
QUENTIN: And reward you as you have deserved.
PEGGY: Then shall he give me your favour continually.
QUENTIN: He shall give you a halter, knave and villain that thou art.
PEGGY: I know I am a knave, but no villain, I am your messenger.
QUENTIN: I neither take thee for my messenger, nor for my friend.
PEGGY: Why? Wherein have I offended you boss?
QUENTIN: Hence to the gallows knave.
PEGGY: What, soft and fair sir, I pray you, I prae sequar , you are
QUENTIN: I will be even with you, be you sure, honest woman.
PEGGY: Why sir? I never offended you.
QUENTIN: Well, I will teach you: out of my sight knave.
PEGGY: What? I am no dog, I would you wist .
QUENTIN: Pratest thou yet villain? I will make thee—
PEGGY: What will you make me? I see well the more a man doth suffer
you, the worse you are.
QUENTIN: A villain, if it were not for this gentleman, I would tell you
PEGGY: Villain? Nay, I am as honest as you.
QUENTIN: Thou liest in thy throat knave.
PHIL: O sir, stay your wisdom.
PEGGY: What will you fight? Marry come on.
QUENTIN: Well knave, I will meet with you another time, go your way.
PEGGY: Even when you list sir, I will be your man.
QUENTIN: And if I be not even with thee, call me cut .
PEGGY: Nay by the mass, all is one, I care not, for I have nothing: if I
had either lands or goods, peradventure you would pull me into the law.
PEGGY exits into Eddy’s house.
PHIL: Mate, I perceive your patience is moved.
QUENTIN: This villain: but let him go, I will see her punished as she
hath deserved. Now to the matter, how said you?
PHIL: This spiv hath disquieted you sir, peradventure you would be
loath to be troubled any further.
QUENTIN: Not a whit, say on, and let her go with a vengeance.
PHIL: I say, let them send at my charge to Moulsecoomb.
QUENTIN: Yea I remember that well, and it is the surest way as this
case requireth: but tell me, how is he your servant? and how come you by him? Inform me fully in the matter.
PHIL: I will tell you sir: when the riots broke out in Peterborough.
QUENTIN: Oh, you put me in remembrance of my mishaps.
PHIL: How sir?
QUENTIN: For I was driven among the rest out of Peterborough (it is
my native country) and there I lost more than ever I shall recover again while I live.
PHIL: Alas, a pitiful case by Saint Anne.
QUENTIN: Well, proceed.
PHIL: At that time (as I said) there were certain of our country that
scoured those roads near Peterborough, and had espial of a van that came laden from thence with great abundance of riches.
QUENTIN: And peradventure most of mine.
PHIL: So they boarded them, and in the end overcame them, and
brought the goods to Ely, from whence they came, and amongst other things that they had, was this villain my step-son, a boy at that time, I think not past five years old.
QUENTIN: Alas, I lost one of that same age there.
PHIL: And I being there, and liking the child’s favour well, proffered them
two grand for him, and had him.
QUENTIN: What? Was the child an orphan? or had the kidnappers
brought him from Peterborough?
PHIL: They said he was a child of Peterborough, but what is that to the
matter? Once two grand he cost me, that I wot well.
QUENTIN: Alas, I speak it not for that sir, I would it were he whom I
PHIL: Why, whom mean you sir?
LEO: Beware sir, be not too lavish .
QUENTIN: Was his name Dylan then? Or had he not another name?
LEO: Beware what you say sir.
PHIL: What the devil hast thou to do? Dylan? no sir, his name was Carl.
LEO: Yea, well said, tell all and more too, do?
QUENTIN: O Lord, if it be as I think, how happy were I? And why did
you change his name then?
PHIL: We called him Dylan, because when he cried as children do
sometimes, he would always cry on that name Dylan.
QUENTIN: Well, then I see well it is my own only child, whom I lost,
when I lost my country: he was named Carl after his grandfather, and this Dylan whom he always remembered in his lamenting, was his god father that nourished him and brought him up.
LEO: Sir, have I not told you enough of the falsehood of Camden? This
lawyer will not only pick your purse, but beguile you of your step-son also, and make you believe he is his son.
QUENTIN: Well good fellow, I have not used to lie.
LEO: Sir no, but every thing hath a beginning.
QUENTIN: Fie, Phil have you not the least suspect that may be of me.
LEO: No marry, but it were good he had the most suspect that may be.
QUENTIN: Well, hold thy peace a little good fellow. I pray you tell me
Phil had the child any remembrance of his father’s name, his mother’s name or the name of his family?
PHIL: He did remember them, and could name his mother also, but sure
I have forgotten the name.
LEO: I remember it well enough.
PHIL: Tell it then.
LEO: Nay, that I will not marry, you have told him too much already.
PHIL: Tell it I say, if thou can.
LEO: Can? Yes by the mass I can well enough: but I will have my
tongue pulled out, rather than tell it, unless he tell it first: do you not perceive sir, what he goeth about?
QUENTIN: Well, I will tell you then, my name you know already: my wife
his mothers name was Sophie, the house that I came of, they call Quincy.
LEO: I never heard him speak of Quincy but indeed I have heard him
say, his mother’s name was Sophie: but what of that? A great matter I promise you, it is like enough that you two have compact together to deceive my master.
QUENTIN: What needeth me more evident tokens? this is my son out of
doubt whom I lost eigtheen years since, and a thousand thousand times have I lamented for him: he should have also a mould on his left shoulder.
LEO: He hath a moulde there indeed: and an hole in an other place too,
I would your nose were in it.
QUENTIN: Fair words fellow Leo: oh I pray you let us go talk with him,
O fortune, how much am I bound to thee if I find my son?
PHIL: Yea how small am I beholden to fortune, that know not where my
son is become, and you whom I chose to be mine advocate, will now by the means of this Dylan become mine adversary.
QUENTIN: Sir, let us first go find mine: and I warrant you yours will be
found also ere it be long.
PHIL: God grant, go we then.
QUENTIN: Since the door is open, I will neither knock nor call, but we
will be bold to go in.
LEO: Sir, take you heed, least he lead you to some mischief.
PHIL: Alas Leo, if my son be lost what care I what become of me?
LEO: Well, I have told you my mind sir, doe you as you please.
LEO, PHIL and QUENTIN exit into Eddy’s house.
5.6. Damien Asks Aunty Trish how Peggy knows about Polly’s Disgrace
Enter DAMIEN and Aunty TRISH from Damien’s Club.
DAMIEN: Come hither you old kallat , you tattling huswife , that the devil
cut out your tongue: tell me, how could Peggy know of this gear but by you?
TRISH: Boss, she never knew it of me, she was the first that told me of it.
DAMIEN: Thou liest old drab , but I would advise you tell me the truth,
or I will make those old bones rattle in your skin.
TRISH: Sir, if you find me contrary, kill me.
DAMIEN: Why? Where should she talk with thee?
TRISH: She talked with me of it here in the street.
DAMIEN: What did you here?
TRISH: I was going to the weavers for a web of cloth you have there.
DAMIEN: And what cause could Peggy have to talk of it, unless thou
began the matter first?
TRISH: Nay, she began with me sir, reviling me, because I had told
you of it: I asked her how she knew of it, and she said she was in the bath when you examined me erewhile.
DAMIEN: Alas, alas, what shall I do then? In at doors old whore, I will
pluck that tongue of thine out by the roots one day. Alas it grieveth me more that Peggy knoweth it, than all the rest: she that will have a thing kept secret, let him tell it to Peggy, the people shall know it, and as many have ears and no mo: by this time she hath told it a hundreth places. Quentin was the first, Eddy the second, and so from one to another throughout the city. Alas, what dower, what marriage shall I now prepare for my daughter? But is not this Peggy that cometh out of my neighbour’s house? what the devil aileth her to leap and laugh so like a scaghead in the highway?
5.7. Peggy Tells Damien the Truth about ‘Dylan’
PEGGY enters from Eddy’s house, laughing.
PEGGY (to audience): O God, that I might find Damien at home.
DAMIEN (to audience): What the devil would she with me?
PEGGY (to audience): That I may be the first that shall bring him these
DAMIEN (to audience): What will she tell me, in the name of God?
PEGGY (to audience): O Lord, how happy am I? Look where he is.
DAMIEN: What news Peggy, that thou art so merry?
PEGGY: Boss, I am merry to make you glad: I bring you joyful news.
DAMIEN: And that I have need of Peggy.
PEGGY: I know boss, that you are a sorrowful man for this mishap that
hath chanced in your house, peradventure you thought I had not knowen of it: but let it pass, pluck up your sprites, and rejoice, for he that hath done you this injury is so well born, and hath so rich parents, that you may be glad to make him your son in law.
DAMIEN: How knowest thou?
PEGGY: His father Phil, one of the worthiest venue managers in all
Brighton, is now come to the city, and is here in your neighbour’s pad.
DAMIEN: What, in Eddy’s pad?
PEGGY: Nay in Dylan’s pad, for where you have always supposed
this gentleman to be Eddy, it is not so, but your servant whom you have imprisoned, hitherto supposed to be Dylan, he is indeed Eddy, and that other is Dylan: and thus they have always, even since their first arrival in Camden, exchanged names, to the end that Eddy the musician, under the name of Dylan a roadie, might be entertained in your house, and so win the love of your daughter. And here they will be with you by and by, both Phil this worthy man, and master doctor Quentin.
DAMIEN: Quentin? what to do?
PEGGY: Quentin? Why thereby lies another tale, that most fortunate
adventure that ever you heard: wot you what? This other Dylan, whom all this while we supposed to be Eddy, is found to be the son of Quentin, whom he lost at the riots of Peterborough, and was after sold in Brighton to this Phil, the strangest case that ever you heard: a man might make a comedy of it, they will come even straight, and tell you the whole circumstance of it themselves.
DAMIEN: Nay I will first go hear the story of this Dylan, be it Dylan or
Eddy that I have here within, before I speak with Phil.
PEGGY: So shall you do well sir, I will go tell them that they may stay a
while, but look where they come.
DAMIEN goes into his Club.
5.8. Ted and Phil Make Peace
TED, QUENTIN, DRYER and PHIL enter from Eddy’s house, mid-conversation.
TED: Sir, you shall not need to excuse the matter any further, since I
have received no greater injury than by words: let them pass like wind, I take them well in worth, and am rather well pleased than offended, for it shall both be a good warning to me another time how to trust every man at the first sight, yea, and I shall have good game hereafter to tell this pleasant story another day in Cambridge.
QUENTIN: Gentlemen, you have reason, and be you sure, that as many
as hear it, will take great pleasure in it, and you Phil may think that God in heaven above hath ordained your coming hither at this present, to the end I might recover my lost son, whom by no other means I could ever have found out.
PHIL: Surely sir I think no less, for I think that not so much as a leaf
falleth from the tree, without the ordinance of god. But let us go seek Damien, for me thinketh every day a year, every hour a day, and every minute too much till I see my Eddy.
QUENTIN: I cannot blame you, go we then. Dryer, take you that
gentleman home in the mean time, the fewer the better to be present at such affairs.
They go to exit, but PEGGY prevents them.
5.9. Peggy and Quentin Make Peace
PEGGY: Master doctor, will you not show me this favour, to tell me the
cause of your displeasure?
QUENTIN: Gentle Peggy, I must needs confess I have done thee
wrong, and that I believed tales of thee, which in deed I find now contrary.
PEGGY: I am glad then that it proceeded rather of ignorance than of
QUENTIN: Yea believe me Peggy.
PEGGY: O sir, but yet you should not have given me such foul words.
QUENTIN: Well, content thy self Peggy, I am thy friend as I have always
been: for proof whereof, come sup with me tonight, and from day to day this seven night be thou my guest: but behold, here cometh Damien out of his house.
5.10. All is Resolved
Enter DAMIEN, EDDY, Aunty BABS, POLLY and others from Damien’s Club. Enter THE REST from Eddy’s house (apart from Neville).
QUENTIN: We are come unto you sir, to turn your sorrow into joy and
gladness: the sorrow, we mean, that of force you have sustained since this mishap of late fallen in your house. But be you of good comfort sir, and assure your self, that this young man which youthfully and not maliciously hath committed this amorous offence, is very well able with consent of this worthy man his father, to make you sufficient amends, being born in Moulsecoomb of Brighton, of a noble music venue, no way inferior unto you, and of wealth (by the report of such as know it) far exceeding that of yours.
PHIL: And I here in proper person, do present unto you sir, not only my
assured friendship and brotherhood, but do earnestly desire you to accept my poor child (though unworthy) as your son in law: and for recompense of the injury he hath done you, I proffer my whole music empire in dower to your daughter, yea and more would, if more I might.
QUENTIN: And I sir, who hath hitherto so earnestly desired your
daughter in marriage, do now willingly yield up and quit claim to this young man, who both for his years, and for the love he beareth her, is most meetest to be her husband: for where I was desirous of a wife by whom I might have issue, to leave that little which God hath sent me, now have I little need, that (thanks be to god) have found my dearly beloved son, whom I lost of a child at the riots of Peterborough.
DAMIEN: Worthy gentleman, your friendship, your alliance, and the
nobility of your birth are such, as I have much more cause to desire them of you, than you to request of me that which is already granted: therefore I gladly, and willingly receive the same, and think my self most happy now of all my life past, that I have gotten so toward a son in law to my self, and so worthy a father in law to my daughter, yea and much the greater is my contentation , since this worthy gentleman master Quentin, doth hold himself satisfied. And now behold your son.
DYLAN: O father.
PEGGY: Behold the natural love of the child to the father, for inward joy
he cannot pronounce one word, instead whereof he sendeth sobs and tears to tell the effect of his inward intention. But why do you abide here abroad? Will it please you to go into the house boss?
DAMIEN: Peggy hath said well, will it please you to go in sir?
NEVILLE enters, carrying handcuffs.
NEVILLE: Here I have brought you sir, both fetters and bolts.
DAMIEN: Away with them now.
NEVILLE: Yea, but what shall I do with them?
DAMIEN: Marry I will tell thee Neville, to make a right end of our
supposes, lay one of those bolts in the fire, and make thee a suppository as long as mine arm, God save the sample . (To audience:) Ladies and gentlemen, if you suppose that our supposes have given you sufficient cause of delight, show some token, whereby we may suppose you are content.
It’s a cliche, but our rehearsal process was a learning curve. Not because I was strongly inclined towards open exploration right from the start, and more because I changed my mind after trying specific things out.
To begin with, I was sucked into a void of Katie Mitchell and Stanislavski. I had just read her book, “The Director’s Craft”, and had really liked what I had seen of her work, although in retrospect it is harder to believe that her rigid theories and her flexible practice truly dovetail. Anyway, what this means is first and foremost I made a list of all the “facts” and all the “questions” raised by the script. This took a long time, but I was excited by the notion of producing a vividly detailed farce; I wondered if the broad characters and situations on show could handle that sort of close attention.
They might have, but we couldn’t. Roundtable discussions of objectives, super objectives, actions, points of concentration and other psychological minutiae is heavy going, particularly in a youth theatre context. I also had an iconoclast’s bad feeling about being so pointlessly loyal to a non-revered text. Renaissance Ferrara was not a location we could sink our teeth into, and nor were names like Philogano, so why bother? It would never be funny in a sophisticated way if we couldn’t get the names right. Jokes for lawyers at 1500s Gray’s Inn were going to need strong and irreverent appropriation to land. There were long scenes (1.1 and 2.1 spring to mind) and long long speeches which we could struggle with forever without being confident a modern audience would go with us. Something had to be done.
By this point, I was reading Jez Butterworth’s “Mojo”, and I could see my young actors enjoying the fierce rivalries, high stakes and eccentric stereotypes of the music scene in 1950s Camden. I also had a note from our historical advisor ringing in my ears from when we asked him to define “parasite”. This is what Pasiphilo is called in the text. Vividly, James suggested that a “parasite” is a bit like a “spiv”, a kind of socially mobile professional go-between, the likes of which might easily be found in 1950s Camden. So, we tried it out.
First, we had fun changing words and details to suit our concept. Concept adaptations have a mixed reputation, but I was struck by how much my young cast felt more at home in the piece once they had been allowed to make major suggestions of this kind. The scholar and servant duo at the centre of the piece became a musician and a roadie. Parents became rival nightclub owners. Gossips became war widows. And of course, the parasite became a spiv.
From here, it seemed half-baked not to change names as well. “Erostrato” means something to modern scholars and early modern lawyers, but very little to young actors and their typical audiences of friends and families, no matter how many historical lectures or glosses we tried to absorb. What’s more, names are important in convoluted farces involving mistaken identity. There is an acceptable and probably intended level of confusion when you use a name like Philogano for an important character who doesn’t actually appear until Act 4, but giving ourselves and our audience more control seemed pragmatic, even if it was at the price of some potentially intended comic obfuscation. Erostrasto became Eddy, Philogano Phil, unnamed characters like the Ferrarese and the Sienese were also christened and, to the great relief of the young actor to whom it applied, even Crapino the lackey became Curtis the fixer (replete with Bart Simpson-esque slingshot).
From here, we really started to enjoy making the show. I had already cast the piece to stretch the performers rather than simply meet their existing skills. Josh Bailey had played a romantic lead in our last production, so I gave him two smaller parts; a comically idiotic foreigner and a gossipy old woman. He leapt at the challenge.
Other than being a source for Shakespeare on a couple of occasions, Supposes gets name-checked because it is one of the earliest clear examples of improvisation in early modern drama. I wrote a little blog on this for Shakespeare’s Globe which provides more context (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/blog.shakespearesglobe.com/post/160017107968/improvisation-research-in-action/amp). One of the interesting things we found is that the kind of improv used in Supposes was perfect for our youth group and community audience. It is relatively high-wire stuff; Erostrato asks Cleander what he wants to do to Pasiphilo the parasite, and Cleander is supposed to improvise a list of tortures until Erostrato interrupts him. In other words, the text calls for playful complicity between the performers; if the interruption comes too early we won’t get to enjoy watching the actor playing Cleander squirm, but if it comes too late, an excitingly risqué moment dies on its feet. I say this was perfect for us for two reasons; firstly most of us had recently taken an entirely improvised comedy up to the Edinburgh Fringe and were freshly spontaneous and playful, in a Keith Johnstone, perhaps overly verbal, way.
Secondly, in a community or youth drama context, the categories of actor and audience and fairly porous; we all pretty much knew each other. So when one actor is making the other one improvise, we know what’s happening, and there’s a sufficiently informal atmosphere for it to happen playfully and well.
Two final notes.
One. For 1.1 and 2.1, as well as making some cuts (filleting, so as not to spoil the arc), I inserted flashback-style sequences with music to clarify and complicate the longer speeches crucial for plot. So, when Polynesta (Polly, in our version), describes first meeting her lover, we replayed this meeting whilst she spoke. Similarly, when Dulippo (Dylan) describes meeting the foreigner and persuading him to pretend to be his father, we replayed this in a kind of dumbshow. I thought these moments helped to clarify what was being said. Also, for an audience more comfortable with visuals than acoustics (spectators, I suppose), they hopefully provided a refreshing sensory sorbet.
Two. For a laugh, I used a couple of pre-recorded fx motifs. Whenever anyone mentioned the “falsehood of Camden” (the “falsehood of Ferrara” in the original) I played an fx of howling wolves and had everyone on stage run around until they howls finished. Similarly, whenever anyone mentioned the disappearance of Cleander’s son and the related wars, I played the trumpet solo from the Godfather soundtrack and had anyone on stage look out whimsically into a spotlight. The idea behind both these decisions was to squeeze extra comedy out of the comic repetition of these plot motifs. Needless to say, Camden proves true and Cleander’s son is found, so we were hopefully playing a similarly self-conscious and satirical game to the original text.
A bus somewhere in south London